swatcha doin’?

Posted on 18 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, lace/shawls, projects

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even though i left home with a good-sized bag of swatches, i didn’t have nearly enough to guide the precise work of pattern writing, so i had more research to conduct during my work retreat. i am nothing if not a process person—i revel in this aspect of my work.

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after completing janet guthrie, my next goal was to write up three patterns that i had test knitters waiting on. barb especially was waiting for one and i don’t like to keep her unoccupied for long, haha.

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this next design was actually inspired by barb and cynthia, who mentioned a couple of times that a dress-length, sleeveless ivar would make an excellent jumper. i loved that idea, but had to let it stew for a while; i thought maybe it would be a good idea to change out the stitch pattern and reshape the body a bit for that application.

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then in the fall when barb and i were examining samples in our shop and discussing how knitters are so universally drawn to certain motifs, i had a brainstorm—wouldn’t the motif from the curling cowl and mitts be a good choice for the dressy ivar? it’s such a favorite and one of our best sellers. she quickly agreed and i set to work on swatches.

this design is really going to work well for fall and winter, so choosing the stone soup fingering yarn (as i did for ivar) was a no brainer—it’s light, warm, and tweedy, perfect for this look. but for spring and summer, i wanted to see if one of our hemp or cotton blends would also work.

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i first swatched with hempshaugh fingering (front) and ginny sport (back)—gorgeous, but not even in the same gauge ballpark as the stone soup fingering.

by the way, one of the topics covered in my new craftsy class, improve your knitting, is how to measure the gauge of patterns with moving sts or special textures. getting a beat on where the motif begins and ends or how much a fabric should be stretched to get gauge can be tricky . . .

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so next i tried the hempshaugh lace, which i had knit in garments using needles similar to the size i used for the stone soup fingering. compared to the fingering weight (top), the lace (bottom) knits almost to the same gauge, but the fabric is much more delicate and fluid.

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on 4.0 mm needles (bottom), i almost got a gauge that compares well with the stone soup, but the fabric was very liquid; i wanted a little more body. the next size down was better, but i still worried that in a longer garment, it might be a little unstable. two sizes smaller, i hit gauge very nicely and had a fabric i liked (top). again with this yarn as with the cotton blend, the difference between prewashed and postwashed gauge was considerable and the change in drape even more drastic.

it really pays for me to swatch a lot; not only do i get the precise numbers i need but i feel much more confident that my choices will work. since i wasn’t going to be knitting the prototype of this design myself, i was even more obsessive about it; i don’t want the test knitters to be worrying over whether the fabric is right—they need to focus on whether the instructions are right!

with those decisions made then, i got to work on redesigning the ivar into a jumper/vest as a pullover or cardigan (and yes, it will have a sleeve option, too)—something for everybody. even though we have a fully sized pattern in the correct gauge, the process of adding body shaping and a skirt to it was grueling and took the better part o f two days. but by friday night i had something to send to barb and kristi, who are knitting the sample garments. i also sent it to our tech editor tana so every number i wrote would be double checked by an expert.

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with that all done, i got to work on a simple, “little nothing” scarf/stole in our lace weight mohair yarns, chebris and cabécou. we haven’t done one of these in a while and i thought a nice wide scarf for spring would be a great addition to the collection.

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i had my eye on a simple but elegant stitch pattern—fun to knit in that way that makes you want to work just a few more rows to finish up the repeat before bed/work/dinner/cleaning. you know the kind . . .

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a bath and a few pins turned caterpillars to butterflies and points out the obvious necessity for swatching—growth. how, as the designer, could i possibly predict an accurate stitch count without seeing the final fabric?

the other thing is that i just want to know that the yarn is right for the motif. i assumed that the cabécou was a hands-down winner, but after swatching, i really loved the pattern in the chebris lace—maybe even more; it surprised me by being lighter than air and soft as a feather. and erica agreed from the photos i sent. but as the swatches get handled, i’m growing more and more fond of the cabécou after all—i love them both and so we shall knit the piece in both. jeanna is working on the stole right now in chebris and we’ll find someone to knit the smaller scarf in the finer lace.

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the motif is also luscious in the heavier ginny DK—just so cuddly! i’m sure we’ll knit a sample in this as well to bring forward into the january collection.

one of the goals of ensemble is to encourage the knitting of pieces that endure—ones that will work with your wardrobe not just in one season, but for many. so you will see as we progress and build it, that we’ll show pieces from previous seasons alongside and layered with new ones. i’m really excited about this concept and we’ve already got looks planned for both spring and next fall/winter that take advantage of the idea.

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i still needed to write the skirt pattern, but i also needed to get started on my own next knit so i could write up THAT pattern afterward. going back to the swatches for the ivaresque jumper/vest, i was so taken with the translation of the motif in the fingering weight yarn that i decided we could use a second design that took advantage of its slightly bolder size and was configured a bit differently.

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i would work again with the ginny sport, this time in the georgia shade—it’s sooooo . . . . sexy. i thought this would be wonderful as an easy, boyfriend pullover with a v-neck and a boxy fit to throw on at the beach or over a t-shirt on a cool night. knit on size 6 needles, the cotton blend is airy and floaty, but has body to support itself nicely.

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my crash course in knitting this yarn had barely begun when i put the first sleeve on the needles and when i blocked it out alongside janet guthrie, i found i had overcompensated on estimating the growth of the sts (believe me, i learned a LOT about knitting with our plant based yarns in the last month!). anyway, pretty as it was, it turned out a bit too narrow. i could stretch it to the size i wanted, but then density of the fabric suffered in a way i didn’t like. also, i wasn’t as happy with the hem as i’d hoped, so i was game to reknit this. one sleeve as a sacrificial lamb for the sake of a whole sweater? i’m ok with that as the designer—as long as it means the pattern gauge will be right when YOU knit it.

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i quickly made up for lost time by knitting the whole front the following day. it just flew off the needles, believe me—i had no expectation of finishing it so fast but there you have it. it also felt good to be making something after spending a lot of time on test squares; it’s good to be diligent in research, but nice to feel productive too.

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i even blocked it to be sure i was on the right track. it was perfect and i love it; i have a feeling i’m going to be living in this sweater once it’s seamed together (and then again in the fall). it’s a simple design, with the pattern running straight up the middle. to keep things in scale across the whole size range, i also used the pattern on the sleeve—it will add interest at the outer edges as well as a sexy, summery detail to an otherwise androgynous style.

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well i couldn’t resist getting the back started right away—can you blame me? i decided on the fly (since i hadn’t committed to a written pattern yet) to add some optional short row shaping to the back; i thought a little extra length would be cute and just the touch that sets this basic sweater apart (aside from that addictive stitch pattern, of course).

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as i mentioned, i still had a skirt pattern to write and another, more complex shawl in the works, so i stretched out the knitting of the back over the next few days, alternating it with some lace shawl knitting. i was binding off the back neck sts while waiting for my car to the airport the other day, so i did complete it before heading home.

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i thought ahead though and also cast on for a sleeve, because this design is a great travel knitting project. the sleeve would be my plane knitting and was as enjoyable and quick as could be; in addition to finishing off janet guthrie on friday morning, i also knit the sleeve cap and bound off.

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i’m skipping ahead a bit on the timeline just to say that i had three pieces finished by friday and had cast on for the second sleeve. i’m really gunning to get this done as fast as possible because right now we are having the perfect weather to wear it; i don’t want to have to wait for fall. it will be simple to stitch together and just needs a bit of neck ribbing to finish.

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and for the summer, i am totally knitting one of these in the hemp fingering—i know i’m going to want a light pullover that doesn’t stick to the skin at ALL and for me, hempshaugh is just the ticket.

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by sunday morning, all of my pieces were complete and i treated the unblocked ones to a nice hot soak in soapy water, then pinned them out to dry.

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amazing isn’t it, what a difference blocking will make? i never get tired of it—so worth taking this step; the pieces are much much easier to work with after a bath or steam blocking.

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yesterday morning i added the neck trim before starting my day—all that’s left now is to seam in the sleeve caps and sew up the underarms and sides. i’l be sure to share the results in my next post—i’d have it done already but have been trying to give equal time to my shawl pattern and skirt knitting.

next time i’ll tell you all about those—this time i’m mixing it up a bit!

It’s Back

Posted on 8 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, patterns, projects, spinning and fiber, yarn and dyeing

Hi, again! I had to drop by and show you some more tempting new things…..

For those of you that missed out on the spinning fiber last month, we have some more!

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This time around we have one of our very special plant fibers as a roving option. This super shiny and silky soft fiber is Hempshaugh Buckwheat. Hemp is usually a rough plant fiber, so many spinners haven’t used it, but this is a soft and unique blend that will make for an excellent project!

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The other fibers are Better Breakfast (65/35 Merino/Alpaca). This dark, stormy grey is a rich color that will complement many outfits and skin tones.

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This creamy white is a soft and luscious color. It has some slight variations in shade that lend a lot of character and charm to the roving.

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You all seemed smitten with the Chebris Multi last month, so we had our brilliant millers create a similar fiber blend in Better Breakfast. This unique mix is similar to our muesli with a stunning blend of grey and brown. It is the perfect shade for a sweater or accessory as it pairs beautifully with most neutrals.

Now, for the yarn! I mentioned in my last post that I wanted to use the fluffy and cozy new Better Breakfast Worsted to make a blanket wrap for my sister. I could not decide which of those shades to use, so I grabbed a couple skeins of each and decided on some stripes.

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I am knitting Hypoteneuse. I highly recommend this pattern if you’re like me and haul your knitting everywhere! I knit in the car, in class, at the laundromat, restaurants, waiting rooms, and everywhere else. I had this pattern memorized three rows into the motif and it goes so quickly. I am knitting a half to a full stripe a day, depending on my homework demands.

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My kitty, CC, loves to cuddle under it while I knit. She is an adult, but will never get bigger than a kitten due to a genetic disorder. She is a great knitting buddy and loves anything Alpaca!

More to tempt you…

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Biscotti on the top and Muesli on the bottom. The biscotti is a little different from the fingering and DK shade as it was blended with brown alpaca and light merino as opposed to brown merino and light alpaca.

When I saw the two new shades in Worsted, I was planning my next project. I love the way this yarn is working up as a blanket or wrap, but I want to do a cabled hat like Woodcutters Toque or Gobi  with the new shades.

What would you knit with the new Worsted, and which fiber was your favorite this month?

the hermitage

Posted on 12 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, lace/shawls

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just a few days after getting in from filming my newest craftsy class in colorado, i was packing up to take off again. in truth, i barely had a minute to spare in between, but i made it out the door in time and i even got to sleep for a few hours (always a bonus!).

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when i last wrote a knitting update, i showed you the swatches for my spring knits and the beginnings of a stripey top—with the front and sleeves complete and blocked, i had all the information i needed to knit the back and finish up my sample. so that last piece was my plane project and no sooner had i buckled in than i was up and running the knitspot design studio right from my seat, complete with beverage of choice.

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by the time i got to atlanta, where i was laid over for a couple of hours, i was halfway through the body shaping and increasing my way to the armhole BO. i’m working with our luscious 3-ply ginny sport—a smooth blend of the softest dehaired alpaca/ cotton/merino/nylon. i chose the mississippi shade for the main color and georgia for the striped accent. the yarn is a dream to work with—every stitch falls right into place—and the colors are so soft and touchable, mmmm. i can’t believe how much knitting i got done during my flights, woo-hoo!

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this time, i was heading for NYC, one of my favorite places in the world. as you can see the pilot gave us a real show upon landing, flying so low and close to the city that as we passed brooklyn, i could see my friend nancy’s building from the plane (not shown in this photo, haha; i got out the camera too late).

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i holed up there for a two-week work retreat, to design and write patterns. i’ve got a bevy of spring teaching and show events scheduled for the next two months and with our spring ensemble also scheduled to release at the end of april, i needed to get ahead of the ballgame while i had the chance. and it’s best to have quiet, uninterrupted for concentrating on calculations and construction choices.

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it was a gorgeous day for landing and we were treated to incredible views as we circled up and around the city.

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there’s the skyline from the eastern angle; i can’t believe all the new buildings that have popped up just since i was here last.

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by the time i got in, i had just a little left to go on my back piece. after a brisk evening walk to shake off the flight and stock up on groceries, i got some dinner in my belly and settled down to finish it up. the next morning there was just one thing left to do before i could block it . . .

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remember the front piece that i blocked at home before i left? something about it was bugging me the whole time i knit up to the neck and my suspicions grew when i pinned it out. that placket seemed awfully long compared to what i intended when i wrote the pattern. sure enough when i checked, it was about two inches longer than it was supposed to be and so were the side seams. part of it was growth of the fabric, but mostly it seemed like a mistake. ugh.

i like to generate an initial pattern with an old software i have, just to get a starter set of numbers and it’s usually pretty good, so at first i thought the problem was me not reading my pattern correctly. but when i double checked again, i had knit what it said—my mistake was actually in not stopping sooner to question it. bottom line—i had to fix it, grrr. i first assumed i’d just rip back and reknit those fronts from the start of the placket, but i set it aside to see if could come up with another solution while i knit the back.

and i did.

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i know—not for everyone, right? but i wanted to see if i could truly save time by simply cutting out what i didn’t need and then grafting it. i planned the whole thing out first so i could knit the back to match the NEW front; it worked out just right that i could take out one entire pattern repeat to get my piece to a more desirable length. so i snipped the first thread and got started. first i removed one row of the left front, in the stockinette region between two pattern lines. since i had washed and blocked the piece, these stitches were not going anywhere, but if they were slippery, i would have placed them on the needles as to hold them

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then i unraveled the section i wanted to remove below the cut (because you can’t unravel in an upward direction).

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i subtracted an additional row which i would replace with the grafting row. i cut the yarn and spliced on a length to sew with—they say that a row of knitting uses a yarn length that is about three times the length of the row. my front at this point was about eight inches wide so i cut my yarn at around thirty inches and there was plenty to work with.

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next, the grafting itself. don’t laugh at my nerdiness, but i actually like grafting—there, i’ve said it. i LIKE it—i even look forward to a difficult lace graft with mixed knits and purls and openwork; there’s nothing like beating a good challenge to make me feel more confident about everything else.

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anyway, you can see that i was even a little lazy and did not use fresh yarn, but just what was at hand. and i learned something new—while not pretty, the crimps actually helped me judge the length of each grafting stitch; once i found a rhythm, most of them sort of plopped into place with an almost audible click (ok, maybe i do get into this knitting stuff a little too much . . .).

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the stitching was done in no time—with stockinette, it goes super quickly. at each end the edges will be off by a half stitch, which i fix with a matching half stitch into the row below, using the yarn in hand.

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it looks a little lumpy because of the crimped yarn—also, there were a few loose stitches at the start and end of my row, but instead of ripping back—i was committed now and confident i could make this whole operation work—i just went over the row with a tapestry needle to even them out and remove the excess.

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much better—on close inspection, my sts were very even; i felt sure the rest of the ugliness would work itself out in a nice hot bath—i.e., reblocking.

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now i had two uneven fronts so it was time to tackle the other side. so far, i’d spent about twenty-five minutes on the whole thing—even with stopping to take pictures every other minute, i was definitely saving time over reknitting.

the right side went even faster than the left side and soon i was done.

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after a little primping to straighten out those stitches, i was satisfied.

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and i really did save a whole bunch of time—several hours, very worth it.

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i was so happy with the results that i treated myself to spending the evening of swatching, with the free time i gained by not reknitting. here they are the next morning, ready to go into the bath with the sweater pieces.

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i had a lunch date with agnes and cathy, so before i left i ran a soapy bath and piled in everything i had to block up to this point and left them to soak while i was out. while my preferred method of initial blocking for wools is to pin and steam the pieces, i’ve been using wet blocking with the plant fibers because they change so much more in gauge after a bath.

steam will still work to prepare pieces to be seamed, but won’t set the size as it will with protein fibers. and while our plant-based yarns still have a good measure of protein fiber, i’m finding that for design purposes, i get a more accurate idea of the final size with wet-blocking.

out into the rain i went—i was excited to be eating again at nobu that day.

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beautiful food—and tastes SO delicious too; what a treat! and they had plenty of gluten free options, lucky me.

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i think this was an espresso or chocolate mousse; isn’t it pretty?

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but the best thing about the day was seeing the ladies—i just love them. we talked about all sorts of things—knitting, books, movies, and food; all of our favorite subjects. though the day outside was miserably wet and cold, they made it warm and special. afterward, we all went back to work a little more glowy.

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back at my little workshop, i rinsed my pieces, squeezed them in a towel, and began the work of pinning them out. i usually don’t enjoy this part of wet blocking—the wiggly wet fabric is harder to work with than when i steam-block the dry pieces. but i’m getting used to dealing with it. these were no exception—i really had to ease those side seams down to the right length, but by working in quarters from my four-point system, eventually they were tamed.

and that graft sure did work out nicely.

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the sleeves were a little easier, being small. another thing i love about these plant based yarns is how quickly they dry—these took only a few hours; really fast for a cotton blend yarn, especially on a rainy day. i left them pinned til the next morning, just to be sure. i also pinned out those other swatches, which i tell you about next time . . .

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the next day was sunny bright, so i hustled myself out into the brisk air for a nice run in the park—and was duly rewarded with the appearance of these perfect snowdrops nestled into a heavily wooded area. getting back to near-daily running was another goal i wanted to accomplish during my trip. winter wreaks havoc with my running schedule—even a mild winter like ours will throw a week of bad weather at me here and there to interrupt my mojo. and with the schedule i’ve been keeping, running is almost an indulgence some weeks—i do it, but not at the length or with the discipline i’m used to. time to take back that hour for myself that i love so much and use it for spring training.

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post-shower and stretching, i put my feet up to start some finishing work. so as not to waste the incredible light in the apartment, it worked out better to spend most of my my day hours on knitting and stitching, while working at night on patterns. with this top, i first added the front plackets in the contrasting shade, then seamed the shoulders before knitting on the collar. it took a couple of tries to get the right number of sts so that it lies flat, neither buckling nor pulling up, but the second pass was successful. the plackets are not buttoned, they just overlap at the bottom; i stitched them down last.

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next i added the collar—easy peasy, since there is little danger of picking up too many sts or anything—with a collar that folds out like this, looser is always better, especially for the bind off. i planned to add the armhole finish for the sleeveless version so we could photograph that first, then we’ll remove it and sew in the sleeve. it’s amazing how that little sleeve changes the look, haha.

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i had forgotten to bring my 16-inch needle, so the armhole finish had to wait til i got home, but i wanted to tell you about the collar because the pattern instructions will seem weird unless you are in the know—they tell you to pick up the collar from the wrong side of the neck edge (the inside).

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that’s to ensure that when you fold down the collar on the outside, it will look like this—nice and flat and clean. the pick up will show on the outside of the neck edge, yes, but it will be hidden under the folded collar at the back.

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but just to put everyone’s mind at rest, it still looks really nice i think—not messy at all. the bind off from the back neck edge gives it a clean finish so that you can tip up your collar knowing that your knitting makes you look good.

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i got home two nights ago but yesterday i had to leave the house early for a day filled with errands. this morning i had a chance to add the final touch to this top and take a few pictures. i couldn’t be happier with it—in fact, i love it. this top has been on my mind and in my sketchbook for over a year; i remember talking about it with katharine last summer and she was goading me on as i described, literally saying, “yes, yes, YES”.

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i’m naming it janet guthrie and it will become available in our spring ensemble collection, out next month—just in time for racing season. it’s a slim fit on my dress form and of course it can be worn comfortably without much ease (the ginny blend is super stretchy and comfortable), but it fits me slightly looser, which i prefer, especially in warm weather. one of these days soon, i’ll get david to take a few snaps

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and i am SO going to knit myself one of these tops in the hempshaugh fingering yarn too—maybe even in a solid color with just the texture for striping—it will substitute in nicely for the ginny, knitting to the same gauge.

i’ve got tons more stuff to show you from my trip; i wrote four sweater patterns, a lace scarf pattern, and a new skirt pattern, plus worked on a complex shawl pattern during that two weeks. i’ll be back in the next installment with more about all that. in the meantime, spring has been teasing us both at home and away; i can just about taste that warm sun, even as the temperatures dip dow for a few last days this weekend.

well, i’ve got plenty to keep me busy, knitting up some of those patterns i wrote—i can’t even knit them all myself but thankfully, barb, kristi, cherie, and jeanna are helping out (i’m so grateful you guys!).

speaking of knitting, time to do some—go finish up some UFOs so we can knit for spring together!

classy and adventurous

Posted on 19 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, book reviews/events, designing

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not very long ago, i blogged about preparing for and traveling to denver to visit friends and film a new craftsy class. a small group of super people formed a team and worked for weeks beforehand to help make it happen.

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our darling friend cherie worked like a demon to knit most of the stepouts i needed for my class—more on that later, as i got several queries about what step outs actually are (silly me, i didn’t think when i used that word in passing).

evan, my producer and our scriptwriter kim, met with me weekly from the beginning of january to the middle of february to put together a class packed with wonderful, animated material.

they took scribblings like these and worked with the graphic designers to make them into animated illustrations to highlight the lessons. they also helped me distill a book’s worth of talking points into the most important and precise instructional text.

and you—because where would we be without you??—the questions and concerns you write and post about, the feedback that you give me, and the challenges you want to take on, are all resources for choosing material to include in my classes.

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and today this new class goes live! (click here for a specially-priced instructor offer). this class a compendium of some favorite knitting tips and techniques—those foundation principles and methods that i use over and over in my own work because they’ve proven to serve me so well—not that this is a definitive compendium of every technique; these are my favorite ways of doing things, the ones i reach for nearly every time. if you like the way my knitting looks, this class shows how i get those results.

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the craftsy platform provides a special learning environment, perfect for those who cannot access live classes easily, have trouble learning in a distracting environment, or whose work/home life throws up obstacles to traditional classes. the ability to use the platform on any device, to log in at any time, and to the use material over and over—even in slow motion!—is like having a walking, talking encyclopedia at our fingertips.

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just yesterday i was emailing with an artist who wrote me, wanting to know if she could learn to knit on her own—and of course i recommended the craftsy platform, even thought i haven’t yet taught a beginning knitting class for them (though i’d like to; i just love teaching beginners). i really believe they offer top-notch visual support for learning; i am always surprised and pleased at the precise filming when i see a new class.

(our accountant doug has been making noise about learning to knit recently and keep hoping he’ll try it; maybe if you all leave a comment to encourage him, he’ll see how much support he has!).

but i’ve digressed . . .

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this class moves through a series of technique-based lessons, beginning with better basics—understanding some fundamentals in a little more depth to build on with other skills. this section is great for newer knitters, covering topics such as universal techniques for better castons and bindoffs, reading your knitted fabric, using the pattern as a resource, and making yarn work for you.

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those famous step outs make their entrance right away to support each lesson—they are the knitted pieces i use to demonstrate techniques and concepts throughout the class. knitting step outs is a special talent and i can’t be grateful enough that our friend cherie has accepted the assignment of creating them for several of my craftsy classes now.

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many of them need to be knit several times (or seemingly a million times; i’m sure cherie doesn’t even want to hear the phrase “split leaf lace”) in order to show a series of steps; the pieces are then traded in and out of the on-camera frame to show progress. it takes an incredible amount of planning to think weeks ahead about every last demonstration piece we’ll need, not to mention the patience of job to knit them. plus the knitter has to think through the little things almost as much as i do—using the same color yarn holder or stitch marker for each identical piece, so that to the viewer, it appears to be the same one. a few weeks of work to be sure and not even a real FO to show for it (except for this class, haha).

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following right behind the basics are some techniques that build on that foundation—for those who avoid provisional castons, knit-on edgings, fixing mistakes on the needles, and the like—this is where you can boost your confidence and take the bull by the horns. with copious illustration and precise camera work, my techniques for performing these maneuvers are dissected and passed on to you in detail. the only danger here is that you’ll wear out a key or two replaying that video over and over—but no one will be there to tattle about it.

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the final lessons focus on shaping your project into a real, live FO—something to wear and show off with pride. after all, isn’t that what a lot of us worry about, that all of our hours of enjoyment will fall a little in our eyes when the final project hits the light of day? we want the world to see what WE envision as we knit through the hours, right? believe me, you can make it happen.

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and i’ll be there to hold your hand.

because that’s the other cool thing about these classes—not only is the instruction clear, precise, and well documented, but the ability to interact and ask questions of the instructor is invaluable. i check my instructor dashboard every morning (or nearly, if i’m traveling) to answer questions posted during the class. your questions are my breakfast, haha; and you know that’s the most important meal of the day . . .

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i hope you’ll take this opportunity to use this special instructor pricing link to purchase my new class (a bargain at half off). because frankly, your support of my classes through craftsy is one of the ways we keep the blog, our ravelry groups, and other educational projects going; we really appreciate your support to keep that work going!

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by the way, if you’ve been wondering where the heck i’ve been lately, i pack dup a bunch of stuff and holed up in NYC for a bit write a group of patterns for our spring ensemble collection. i have been keeping my nose to the grindstone but i’m nearly done—i return home on wednesday and will tell you ALL about it.

and finally, a special note to my friend sam—happy pi day sam!

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