Designer Spotlight: Meet Kirsten Kapur

anne wrote this at around evening time:

Hi guys!  It’s Laura again.

A couple of weeks ago I introduced you guys to Rich Esnor.  What an inspiration, huh?   That Designer Spotlight Post really got me thinking about how I was personally inspired to become a knitter.  Or even more so, how I continually find ways to become inspired.  Undoubtedly, it led to another Designer Spotlight Blogpost.   This woman truly doesn’t NEED any introduction.  She’s legit.  We all know and love her designs.  She’s got a massive following.  And on top of that – she’s adorable.

Introducing Kirsten Kapur!

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 As a transitioning beginning knitter, I think the majority of us will agree that we don’t pick a pattern based on the designer’s name.  We pick a pattern based on what interests us about it.  (And/or what we think is achievable as we’re still learning new skills and techniques.)

With Ravelry at our fingertips, we can easily reach information-overload instantly; and as a new knitter – I wasn’t familiar with all of the great designers that were breaking ground.  I also tend to follow the beat of my own drum, so I veered towards patterns that looked exciting, challenging, and doable.  If I was going to be a knitter; if I was going to invest the time that we all know it takes to make a garment that we’re over-the-moon happy with, I was going to pick something fantabulous.

I didn’t realize that the first sweater I was ever going to attempt (and successfully finish) was actually a Kirsten Kapur pattern – Que Sera Sera offered in Knitty’s Spring+Summer 2010 Edition.   The decision to make this sweater was completely organic.  I taught myself how to knit.  I was shy to ask questions at yarn shops (for fear I sounded like a newb).  So, I researched and drew a lot of my information from blogs (such as Anne’s) and Ravelry.  I didn’t do KALs; I didn’t follow trends.  It was all happenstance that I found Knitty.com.  I saw well-written instructions, and failed to pay attention to the designer’s name.  <face palm> I was so excited!  I was simply jumping head first into my first hand-knit sweater!  That was ALL I cared about.

I actually didn’t even realize it until last night when I was researching for this post.  (That makes me a horrible person, right?  … Le sigh…) The Que Sera Sera sweater was designed by Kirsten Kapur!?!

Sometimes, I’m just a lil bit “special.”  In my defense, I knit that sweater and was so doggone impressed/disgusted with myself once it was completed.  I made a sweater that had visible flaws because of my lack of experience.  I mean, I really thought I was going to knit a cute sweater and look so cool in it.  (I know now – it’s never that easy.)  But at the time, that was extremely unsettling to me.  So, I stewed over that without even recognizing the designer that gave me the inspiration to knit my first sweater!

Pinsandstrings Autumn Leaves on Ravelry

Pinsandstrings Autumn Leaves on Ravelry

Kirsten Kapur’s patterns have surpassed their namesake.  They are staples in knitting.  Period.  I would bet a good portion of my next paycheck on the fact that probably 80.677%  (I rounded up) of Anne’s readers have knitted at LEAST one Kirsten Kapur pattern.  Those statistics are madly impressive.  And I rounded up even…

Kirsten Kapur's original Knitty Release of Que Sera Sera

Kirsten Kapur’s original Knitty Release of Que Sera Sera

And then we have my disaster of a Que Sera Sera…

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My first sweater – Que Sera Sera by Kirsten Kapur (Yes, that’s me being an over-achiever. I attempted a modified neckline/shawl collar)

One of the many things I learned?  Crappy yarn will ALWAYS behave like crappy yarn.  That’s why we knit with lovely yarn.  Best lesson I ever learned.  ;-)

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Que Sera Sera by Kirsten Kapur

I know.  I know.  It doesn’t look that bad.  I’m kinda talking it up to look atrocious.  This sweater was my first attempt at seaming.  I never blocked the sleeves prior to joining them to the body of the garment.  (I never blocked any aspect of this sweater.  What was blocking?!)  The button band was really distorted once I finished it and I figured if I modified it to make a shawl collar – it would look cleaner.  Trust me when I say it does.  But it doesn’t lay properly.  None of it does.  That’s the fault of the yarn.  I know this, by now.  As far as fit is concerned – that’s where I’m most impressed with my skills, or lack thereof.  The make-shift mannequin is my size and it fits her rather nicely.  By now, I’d probably add in some waist-shaping but it’s a comfy sweater and honestly, (if I’m going to be honest…)  There’s really no reason why this sweater can’t come out of its cubby-hole and be worn as a knock-around while I’m at home, knitting, and sipping on coffee.  It’s a totally functional garment.  It just… well, let’s face it – I have standards now!!  :)

So, this is where I start to feel the effects of deja vu.  Things are coming around full circle.  I’m writing my second Designer Spotlight Post on the famous Knitspot Blog and I’m highlighting Kirsten Kapur, who designed the very first sweater that I ever knitted.  And here we have Abingdon – a beautiful play on color that Kirsten Kapur designed specifically with Bare Naked Wools yarn in mind.

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The combination of Bare Naked Wools and Kirsten Kapur’s aesthetic are beautifully executed in Abingdon; a stunning shawl that loves the idea of playing with gradients and colors.  It’s breath taking, isn’t it?  Undoubtedly, I find myself Ravelry stalking all of the people that have made the Abingdon already.  All of the versions that knitters have created are truly inspirational.  Kirsten’s version is made out of our Bare Naked Wools Stone Soup DK .  She used Slate and Marble for the color ways.

A huge digital hug goes out to you this morning, Kirsten!  Thank you so very much for being the designer that just “got me”.  You understood what I needed and you were there when I needed it.  You offered a foundation that led me to build confidence in my knitting skills and that is a great feeling.  I know I’m not alone.

Happy Knitting! L

faithful and frozen

anne wrote this in the early evening:

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i am being SUCH a good knitter, not getting distracted by new upstart projects that pop into my head at 11:37 pm.

it’s taking a hurculean effort, what with all the new yarn arrivals testing me daily, but i’m managing to keep my head; it really helps that to fondly the yarn to the point of weakening, i’d have to get dressed in coat, hat, scarf, and boots, find my keys, and then cross over to the office on a treacherously icy path in frigid wind.

but i’d do it if i were bored enough . . .

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that, however, has not been an issue—it’s been such an exciting week of being on the go, in fact, that i haven’t even been at my desk long enough to blog (sorry!).

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for some reason, however, i got all this knitting done—i’ve finished the front of my cam cable sweater and have started the back piece. obviously, i am really enjoying the knitting.

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(i’ve got even more done now, as i had an hour or so over coffee to add some rows.)

i’m super excited to finally have a garment to wear in our kent DK yarn. while i’ve knit with all of them quite a lot by now, i actually i have surprisingly few things to wear because everything i knit becomes a shop sample.

this one though, is all mine (as well as the next couple; i should have some BNWs to wear out and about!). and  it’s pulling together so nicely.

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i even got the front pinned to the form and the fit looks like it will be right for my purpose. with no defined shoulder line, a raglan sweater like this can fit across a couple of sizes—i want it to be a bit loose and casual, so on me it will have about four or five inches of ease, once it’s blocked (sigh, i could only hope to fill it out as prettily as my mannequin does).

my dress form is a size or two larger than i am (industry standard fit size), so the sweater fits nicely in a more body-concious way that shows off one’s curves; i like them both! since it knits up so fast, i may even make one for myself in the smaller size, with maybe one or two inches of ease, to wear with nice slacks and skirts when i teach.

hehe, barb was NOT laughing the other night when she saw my progress; she even said that as much as she made fun of all my swatching, it was looking like my sweater would be done before hers. i’m not gloating (yet); anything could go wrong . . .

i’m sure that a little friendly competition was all she needed to get her back piece off the needles and start her seaming.

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speaking of wednesday and knit night, we had the most fun and productive day in the middle of our week, over at bare naked wools boutique.

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the staff from natural stitches yarn shop in pittsburgh cam for a field trip to take an all-day sweater fitness class (for some reason, darling yvonne is not in either of the two photos i have—drat). they arrived around 10 am and we got to work; it was a really great class. the morning half was full of information, talking about and touching fabrics and yarns, swatching (of course) discussing all the material factors that go into a successful sweater, etc.

then we used the afternoon to take measurements, talk about the important principals of sweater fit and various sweater constructions, work out how the measurements relate to the pattern, and then choose sizing. we ended by going over some ways to make adjustments as needed.

in between we had a lovely lunch and afterward, they stayed for knit night! barb was in seventh heaven, with a full house to talk to, haha. we all agreed that knit night is a lot more fun with more people. in fact we all had so much fun that none of us took many photos.

we are definitely doing this again. and you’re invited—seriously, any time you and a small group of friends want to plan an outing like this, just give us a ring or write an email telling us what you have in mind. we can seat five to eight people for a small group class.

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in other knitting news, i also finished my mass transit cap, yay. just in time; it’s been really cold here and i can use a warm hat.

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the good news is that i love the way it looks and feels AND it fits pretty well around my head; it could be a little smaller, but it’s alright.

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a view of the back and the top shaping.

the bad news is

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i made it a bit too long, darn it. stupidly, i knew i was doing it too; i just wanted “to be sure”.
HA, as if having a teeny tiny head for fifty-five whole years made me a rookie at it. dummy me.

i can fold it over and that looks pretty cute

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for a while—but it doesn’t stay that way and it feels a little heavier than it ought to (because there’s nothing to hold it up!). i think i’d like it a lot better if i took out the top shaping and reduced the depth by at least an inch, maybe two.

but since it could also be just a leeetle bit smaller, i might just knit another one and find someone who will fit into this one (and who doesn’t mind being my hat twin).

good thing i’m a patient person. NOT.

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it was so cold in my office today that i wore a long knitted wrap, the new hat (even though it’s big),  and my favorite fingerless mitts that my friend susie knit me long into the morning. and it was still only 62 degrees up here after the heat had been on for hours.

i looked ridiculous, but i couldn’t think of any better solutions. some day, spring will come, i just know it .  . .

in the meantime, we have a couple of exciting events to look froward to in just the next few days.

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lillian has been hard at work labeling the new better breakfast yarn so that we can begin rolling it out onto the website on monday. she’s working as fast as she can, but says it’s awfully distracting

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mmmm. david named this new shade mocha.

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today she learned about the term, “yarn ho”. i think she’s got the concept down.

but don’t try to help her out—she becomes uncharacteristically crazy.

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i think this is her honey badger approach to appreciating better breakfast.

next saturday, we are hosting an open house for valentine’s day—a little event for kids and parents to come in and discover knitting. we’ll have half hour knitted bracelet lessons, spinning demonstrations, and a photo booth.

and the week after that we’ll be meeting up for a knit night at deli ohio in downtown canton.

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come have a sandwich or salad fro late lunch or supper and join us for some knitting. there will be room for a few smaller spinning wheels as well; those are bound to draw some attention!

that’s all i have for now; i need to go off and ponder a solution to my hat. but laura will bring us another designer spotlight tomorrow and i’ll be back on sunday or monday with a sweater update for sure. have a great weekend!

groundhog day

anne wrote this mid-afternoon:

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hehe, you know that movie, right? where the guy keeps waking up to the same day over and over? when i looked over the photos i have for today’s post, i sorta felt like i’d be doing that to you. and then i realized that it actually is groundhog day. oops—sorry for the coincidence.

so yes, again today we woke up to snow. actually we woke up to snow yesterday and went to sleep with snow and woke up with it again today and now it’s—c’mon, take guess—snowing. and very cold.

except for the fact that it makes running a bit hazardous, i don’t mind all that much. i can switch to the stationary bike when it gets likes this. there’s something kind of very nice about snuggling in to enjoy winter’s indoor offerings. i had a VERY productive knitting weekend.

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i got the buttons sewn onto david’s new natty cap—doesn’t that kent DK make a beautiful finished fabric, now that it’s clean and dry and all smoothed out? i just love it—makes me want to knit a sweater in this pattern (next thing onto the needles i think!). that’s what blocking will give you—more ideas.

i just have to decide which yarn, but i’m pretty sure it’s going to be better breakfast DK, which is due in today or tomorrow i believe (i know that standing right near the door won’t make it arrive any faster, but it’s all i can do not to station myself there anyway.). i’m thinking muesli or porridge; not sure . . . daybreak could be a contender too.

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i am making so much quick progress on my cam cable pullover (also in kent DK, this time the kelp shade) that i’m going to have to decide very soon what my next sweater project will be. i’m almost to the underarm bind off on the front piece now. it’s going so fast, i can hardly believe it’s me knitting it—yeah, you can just nickname me barb for now. (ok, barb, stop that laughing).

actually, barb is going to be test knitting this sweater soon as well—as soon as i write up the pattern for it. she admitted to be a little surprised when she felt the fabric the other night; she had it in her head (even though she has a good supply of the stuff at home) that this yarn was scratchy and heavy. but it’s not; it’s actually very light and airy—and soft. no, not like cashmere soft; more like linen soft—the kind that takes you by surprise. soft in a sturdy way.

i’m also going to have to come up with a name for this sweater. i’m playing around with a title using the word “shreddy” in some way. or  or we do like keeping it plain and simple, as in cam cable pullover?

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early saturday morning, i got back to work on that UFO i told you about—a hat i’d started in october based on my mass transit cowl design. i was clipping right alone, wondering what the heck had kept me from finishing up this super fast and fun project. i wondered about the size, suspecting it might be too big,  but kept going; it wasn’t long enough at first to really tell if it would fit (or so i told myself).

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finally, in the cold light of yesterday morning while waiting for the coffee to perk,  i admitted that it really WAS too big and i should cut my losses, rip back now, and reknit while there was so little to lose. i’m trying to be THAT knitter more often and less the other, who pushes ahead anyway and then ends up having to knit a second garment that actually fits.

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and really, in no time i had breezed through the brim and begun the color work over again—i was astonished at how quickly and unconsciously the rounds went by.

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i finally had to stop so i could get out to a tea event at the yoga studio where i take classes. since it was snowing like crazy, i was reluctant to both leave my fun knitting project and go out in the storm, but i did. i’m trying not to be such a hermit.

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suspecting i might get there way too early (i did; the snow only slowed me down by about two minutes), i remembered to put my sock project in my bag to knit on while staying out of the way of the setup for the event.

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and it was such a relaxed event that i actually continued knitting during the whole thing, getting quite a good way along the length of the foot. it was worth going just for that, haha. seriously though—the tea part was great, too. i meant to ask if i could take photos but kept getting sidetracked by the samples and the talk; it was fascinating.

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last night after supper, i worked on blanket club preparations until late, then knit on the sweater front for a while while listening to a book, and finally, added a few more rounds to my hat in front of the TV before bed. but i was too tired to get much further than where i left off that morning.

however, once i was back in the kitchen making coffee this morning, the pace picked up considerably and proceeded with relish. this knit is so addictive i almost hate to tell you about it, except that it is also so good.

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i’m using four shades of our stone soup DK yarn for the background, changing every four rnds. if you invest in new yarn, you’ll have enough for three or four accessory projects. if you’ve got leftover amounts of gradient yarns about, that will likely be plenty for one (i haven’t tallied the yards for each shade, but i’m guessing about fifty each for the whole hat). added to the background shades, i’ve got about two or three ounces of briar rose fourth of july in a bright variegated hand paint with several hues (don’t be shy about the colors; the more and louder, the better).

the final effect is like waves of colored blinking lights—but in a good way; i love it. you can also create a similar effect by doing the opposite; use a more subtle yarn in tonal shade in the background with either neutral dots or dots in complementary colors.

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like we did here, using the mass transit kit, putting the color yarn in the background and working couple shades of confection sport for the dots.

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anyway, SO glad i ripped back to change that size! it’s actually still got a fairly soft fit, but much closer to my head, so it will stay put better. and if it turns out still to be too loose, i could add a cashmere lining and that will definitely make it fit correctly.

this project is well over the halfway hump—i just might have it finished by the next blog. good thing too, because we’ve got a lot of winter left here and i need a good hat. hmm, maybe i should consider adding that cashmere anyway, whether i need it or not?

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as i like to do whenever the end of a project is in sight, i wound up my skein of better breakfast fingering in muesli to be ready for casting on the reversible shawl when the time comes. so far, every person who voted asked for a crescent shawl, so that kind of tells me it should be a triangle after all.

just kidding—crescent it is

Designer Spotlight: Meet Rich Ensor

anne wrote this in the early morning:

knitspot patterns and bare naked wools yarns are making connections all over the  place and laura, our social media wizard, is going to be turning the spotlight here and there on items she discovers in her travels through cyber media. the first in her series came to us a few weeks back—look for more every week or two.

Allow me to introduce Rich Ensor to you.

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Rich attended Anne’s a sock design class a couple of years ago at Fibre Space.  He designed these beautiful socks and wrote a beautiful email to Anne over the holidays:

Hi Anne!!!
I don’t know if you remember me. I took a sock design class a couple of years ago at fibre space. You were kind enough to post some pictures of my sock on your blog. Fibre space published the pattern for those socks on their site this week. It’s a bit of a story for why that took a while, but we can save that for another day.
Anyway, one of your blog readers left a comment on the ravelry entry, which reminded me that several of your readers had said they were looking forward to the pattern. I thought I’d send you the link if you wanted to share it with your readers. I didn’t want to leave a comment on your site since that feels spammy. And, no pressure here. If you don’t want to post the link, I’m not offended. I just wanted to give you the choice.
BTW, that class has had a huge impact on me. I’ve self published a handful of patterns & been featured on Knitty. I’ve found this really fun, creative outlet. I’ve met and become friends with some really great people, and it wouldn’t have happened without that class, so you have my sincere thanks. The only downside is trying to find the time to knit up the sweater quantity of bare naked wools that I recently purchased.
I hope you have a great holiday,
Rich

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Aren’t they dynamite?!  These are his Alluvial Deposits socks.  They made quite a stir; many of you asked how you could get a hold of his pattern. It just so happens that Fibre Space recently published it and you can find it here—what a thrill!

Since then, Rich has self-published a handful of patterns and has been featured in Knitty, where you can find his Neldoreth sock pattern. We’re excited to share his pattern with our readers and we encourage you all to keep an eye on him. I’ve no doubt that we can expect more great things from Rich in the future, maybe even in some bare naked wools sock weight yarns.

Rich’s personal blog is over here; he has over a dozen different sock patterns to choose from, any of which would be gorgeous in—ghillie sock and breakfast blend fingering both feel great on your feet and are very hardwearing.

You can also find Rich’s patterns on Ravelry, where he also hosts low-pressure KAL’s in his Ravelry group – “That Bald Guy Knits”!

Here are just a couple more of his beautiful creations!

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Cordon

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Crosshaven