Archive for November, 2011

motheye

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

after a wonderful weekend of teaching in rochester, ny, i am taking a couple of days off with my friends cookie and laura to knit, talk shop, and roam the wine trails along the finger lakes of central new york state.

and yesterday, on a hill overlooking seneca lake, we took just a little of that time to take photos of the motheye scarves to accompany today’s pattern release.

i’m very grateful to laura and cookie for agreeing to model them—don’t they look wonderful? we managed to get a nice series of shots in just before the rain began to fall.

shown above in spirit trail nona, a soft and silky merino/cashmere/silk blend in the gorgeous rosewood colorway.

jen will be restocking her online shop very soon and bringing plenty of nona along to the knitters review retreat this weekend, where the red scarf will be on display in her booth.

we’re very lucky that our friend vanessa, who test knit the scarf, was willing to lend me her sample for a slightly extended period of time so i could use it along with my own sample in the photo shoot.

hers was knit in zen yarn garden serenity silk +, also in merino/cashmere/silk, this time in frosted kiwi.

to purchase pattern or view complete pattern information, please click here to visit the product page in the knitspot pattern shop.

cookie and i have been so lucky to have a couple of days to hang out with our friend laura here in this beautiful area of new york state. it’s a very interesting time of year here—there is a sense of quietude and expectancy in the air for the signs that mark the descent of winter—early nightfall, those first flurries of snow, the last falling leaves.

it’s supposed to snow tomorrow, in fact—i’m a little glad this will be my last travel for a while . . .

though it will be nice to end the teaching year in the company of several of my favorite people—it’ll be great to see jen from spirit trail, whose beautiful nona yarn inspired this design, among others. thank you jen for sharing your talents so generously!

i won’t see roxanne from zen yarn garden this weekend but i want to thank her too—that skein of green yarn was a gift from her at knitters fair and it is perfect for this scarf—thank you roxanne!

and now a few more views of these two lovely pieces and our even more lovely models . . . thank you laura and cookie!

on the edge

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

the influence of the internet on knitting and knitters over the last decade is almost incalculable. before it, knitters who could afford to travel and study found ways to explore our craft in the outer regions and to meet other fiber artists worldwide. some of us would develop pen pal exchanges with a knitter or two who lived far away. but for the most part, our knitting friendships were limited to a small circle of knitters who lived within driving distance and who had time to share.
if you happened to find them.

and working relationships between authors were much more precious, requiring the ability and funding to travel periodically and to use the the telephone at length, then to further trade files by shipping hardcopy pages back and forth. now two knitting authors can easily get together via email, skype, and file sharing, to create an article, book, or other work project—in fact it can be done without the two parties ever actually meeting in person or using a traditional publishing house. the possibilities make one’s head spin.

and it just such a project that i have to show off today.



coastal knits
is a brand new collection of sweater and accessory patterns from bicoastal author/designer friends hannah fettig and alana dakos

one of them lives on the west coast of the united states and one on the east coast. this collection of ten designs celebrates their friendship and is inspired by where each of them lives.

from alana on the west coast, for instance, we have some lovely light sweaters that you could throw on for a walk along the beach or when entering a restaurant, but tuck away in a tote while shopping.

her designs are influenced by light and by the year-round presence of flowers and greenery.

i think my favorite piece in the book is the rustling leaves beret

i love the way the pattern converges to the top point. it’s similar, though not the same as, the beret i’ve been working on during my trip. i might have to knit one of these too!

hannah’s sweaters reflect the dark blue water of the atlantic ocean and the rocky coastline near her home on the east coast.

in addition to the patterns included, we also get a peek at the yarns that inspire these two designers

from the east coast, hannah introduces us to string theory hand dyed yarn.

and from the west coast, we meet yarns from alpenglow and pigeonroof studios.

there is also a short section on how to choose the right size for you, accompanied by tricks and tips for making your way through the patterns included.

my very favorite tip of all???

seee? i’m not the only designer and teacher who sounds like a broken record! it’s good advice.

not only have hannah and alana shared this book with us on the blog today—they have also set aside a giveaway copy for knitspot readers. aren’t we lucky this week?

if you’d like to win it, leave a comment at the end of this post by 9 pm EST on sunday, nov 20th. we’ll announce as soon as possible after that; i’m teaching at a retreat over the weekend and i’m not sure when i’ll be posting (definitely by next tuesday, though).

what’s in vogue . . .

Monday, November 14th, 2011

rizzoli publishes some of the most beautiful books in print today; when i lived in new york, i often found myself tempted into their shop on my way to or from work appointments. though i never had enough spare cash to indulge myself in a glossy new book on west 57th street, i often had very good luck further downtown in scoring some of their fine art books secondhand.

there’s no better way to pass the time than to leaf through a high quality book, with its scholarly writing, heavy paper, and beautifully turned out photos—who could ask for more?

actually, there might be just one thing—what about doing an absolutely gorgeous publication on our favorite wooly topic? well today i’m holding just that—a delicious new offering from rizzoli about vogue knitting.

the book tells the story of vogue knitting magazine, beginning with a brief history of the publication, told in words and pictures.

a good number of vintage covers are used to illustrate the magazine’s timeline, a reminder of its history as knitting’s premier fashion magazine.

VK has been graced with the work of fashion’s best photographers as well—even today, it continues to present knits in fashion stories that occur within a constructed photographic “setting”.

while we now have several beautiful knitting magazines, each with a slightly different approach to presenting knit fashion, vogue knitting has the longest history among those currently published.

and during the 80s and 90s, it was the only one we had and whatever it was showing was considered the height of current knitting trends. i know that personally, i always looked forward to seeing what was shown next.

and while these large, oversized sweaters were never a good fit for my frame, i still very much enjoyed the presentation of current fashion trends presented by VK.

my favorite inclusions though were always their new takes on classic sweater designs—i loved to see colorwork and texture used in ways that married very traditional techniques with new shapes or updated detailing.

the book includes a wonderful retrospective of some of VK’s best designs as well as some of its trendiest—there are many sweaters included that i still would knit today.

and fortunately, the book includes patterns for all of the sweaters featured in this review.

the magazine not only featured well-known photographers, but also clothing designers and continues to do so today. perry ellis, calvin klein, and isaac mizrahi are just a few that have contributed to the magazine.

this direct link and crossover with 7th avenue fashion houses distinguishes vogue knitting from other magazines of our craft.

having such a long running publication history enabled the editors to include a feature that i just loved and looked forward to in each issue—the “[XX] years ago in vogue” feature, where a beautiful sweater from another era was resuscitated and made new again by the magazines design staff, complete with before and after photos.

the rizzoli edition covers all of these much-loved facets of the magazine’s history, including instructions for the pieces shown throughout, taking us right up to the current decade

similar to the the rowan compendiums, but with lots more history included.

a short section of techniques and and explanation of abbreviations used throughout the patterns is included at the back.

the book is a wonderful tribute to a magazine with such a long and illustrious history; i like that so many of my own favorites are compiled into one volume.

and fortunately for us, rizzoli has generously set aside one copy of vogue knitting to be mailed to one lucky reader.

if you’d like to win a copy, leave a comment at the end of this post by 9 pm EST on thursday, nov 17 and you’ll be in the running. we’ll announce as soon as possible after that; i’m teaching at a retreat over the weekend and i’m not sure when i’ll be posting (definitely by next tuesday, though).

have a good week; i’ll be back with some knitting news soon.

blümchen

Friday, November 11th, 2011

it’s such a pleasure that our sprössling sweater pattern is so very popular—i smile each time a knitter reports that they enjoyed knitting it as much as they like wearing it, enough that they might knit it again. and i know i like mine—i’ve knit two and i still want to make another myself.

well that got me thinking . . . maybe sprössling needed a sibling. because as much as i wanted another one, i wouldn’t mind if the next one was in a different stitch pattern and maybe had a v-neck instead of a round one.

then i met marjorie in richmond, where i taught twice last year. the first time i saw her in october 2010, marjorie had knit two or three sprösslings, which was a big compliment in itself. but then when i went back in may, she had logged eight or nine—she has a lot of sisters and nieces who wanted one.

well i thought, if for no other reason than that marjorie needs a new sweater to knit, i must get going on the next sprössling (she was very encouraging of the idea, haha). so when i got home from that trip, i started swatching in briar rose sea pearl for the new version.

the idea was an immediate hit with readers; my friend nathalie provided the perfect name right away and blümchen was conceived. i cast on in june and knit my sweater pieces throughout my summer teaching trips.

the plan was to replicate all the things we love about sprössling and at the same time, give it a fresh new look. so we’re keeping the pretty (and very flattering) inset shaping lines, the vertical openwork stitch pattern, the ever-so-slightly ribbed fabric, and most importantly, the fit.

the changes include a v-shaped neckline, a different stitch pattern, sizes that fall between the ones in the original pattern, and a short sleeved option. this version is also specifically designed for silkier yarns which have more drape and give (you can absolutely use a bouncier yarn, but you may want to plan in a little more ease).

so far, the test knitters are loving theirs and i hope you will, too.

shown here: size small in briar rose sea pearl, a soft and silky merino/tencel blend in the mysterious gray-lavender that chris calls simply anne’s.

the gorgeous little glass buttons were made especially for this sweater by sarina at moving mud; once i knew what size i wanted, i sent her my swatch and left the rest up to her

enough said—they are perfect.

to purchase pattern or view complete pattern information, please click here to visit the product page in the knitspot pattern shop.

we are so lucky to have special people to work with in this business—here we are again, chris and me, making something pretty with her yarn. i don’t know how many times we’ve done this thing together now, but i always look forward to the next one. i’m off to travel now, and one of my stops will be at the knitters review retreat, where i’ll get to spend some R&R time with my dear friend. i can’t WAIT.

many, many thanks to todd horvath and gwyneddh jones, owners of bittersweet’s chocolate and pastry for allowing us the use of their shop and kitchen to do our blümchen photo shoot.

todd creates the most incredible chocolate confections—the best in our area. if you live anywhere nearby, bittersweet’s is a must stop for your next celebration (or just because!).

and finally, thank you david for your beautiful photos, your patience, and for being such a great sport; you’re the best!