Seriously Warm Ears!

You may have noticed a theme in my designing – I am obsessed with being warm! I suspect that comes from living in Maine, where the wind and temperature can combine to make you seriously miserable. This new design – Family Whirlwind Hat – gets top ratings for keeping ears warm. The secret is the double layer brim to add both coziness and wind blocking. Another advantage of this feature is that it makes it possible to use the warmest wool possible for the exterior – no matter how rustic – and then knit the brim lining in a softer, next to the skin type of wool, or even cotton for the extra sensitive.

I wanted this to be a pattern to be used over and over – knit a warm hat for everyone in the family with the 5 sizes included. My son, Joe, was my photographer again on this design and got adorable photos despite the kids having to be bundled up in heavy winter coats on the hot Summer day of the photo shoot.

But the weather has changed! Right as I released this pattern our temperatures plummeted from above average for November to below average – down to the teens at night. Today I grabbed the adult sample hat for my morning walk and it really did the job!

Do you know someone that wants warm ears? You can check out more about Family Whirlwind Hat, and see some more photos, here or in my Ravelry Store.

Knit East Atlantic Fiber Festival

The beautiful Algonquin Hotel in St Andrews

October 20th through the 22nd I was able to spend in  New Brunswick, Canada at “Knit East”. This is a semi-annual event put on by Cricket Cove (yarn stores in Canada) that draws fiber enthusiasts from all over Canada to the the Algonquin Hotel in the beautiful and charming town of “St Andrews by the Sea”. This is a must see destination if you ever visit Atlantic Canada! And the weather could not have been more perfect! Blue skies, warm breezes, gorgeous Fall foliage – and of course the sparkling sea!

The Yarn Harlot gives a great class!

I was attending as a student and was lucky enough to get into one of Stephanie Pearl McPhee’s classes. You may know her as “The Yarn Harlot”. She writes one of the most popular blogs in Canada – about knitting!  The class was a lecture class called “Knit Smart” and was three hours of hints, tips, and best practices from one who knows. Stephanie is seriously smart, and seriously funny! The three hours just flew by! I would highly recommend this class if she is teaching in your neighborhood any time.

I’m wearing my Camp Cardigan in the Briggs and Little marketplace booth with Heather McFadyen

Most exciting for me was the Saturday night fashion show. Briggs and Little had asked if they could enter my “Camp Cardigan” in the show and I was excited to see it get some recognition! Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos during the show. I did wear my own Camp Cardigan sweater that I recently finished knitting up in “Regal” for a lighter weight version and was able to show it off in the Briggs and Little booth at the marketplace.

Camp Cardigan

 

I don’t come out with a sweater pattern all that often, so it feels especially exciting to announce the release of my newest design: Camp Cardigan! This is the perfect Maine woods sweater!  Briggs and Little Heritage – one of my favorite earthy, aran weight wools was perfect for knitting this design meant for outdoor wear. You could also use Briggs and Little Regal (a worsted weight) with one size larger needles- or what ever size you need to get the same gauge, and make a lighter weight version. And with the seven sizes included in the pattern, this sweater looks good on women large and small.

Does the motif I’ve used here look familiar? It is an original motif that I came up with first for my design Cam’s Camping Socks. In that case I used it vertically. I also used it in my Hunting Season Hat design – horizontally like it is here in the cardigan. I love this mix of garter stitch, 1/1 cables and ribbing. It not only looks wonderful, but it is a lot of fun to knit! And I have several more design ideas I plan to use it for in the future. Mittens? An outdoor vest? A raglan pullover? I plan to outfit myself nicely (and warmly) for enjoying my life in Maine!

You can read all about this design HERE, or in my Ravelry or Etsy Stores.

The End to a Fun KAL

Knitwise Design’s Summer KAL on Ravelry has come to a close and it was really fun! There were 11 participants, including myself. (That’s one of my projects in the photo – “Earbuds” in Valley Yarn’s Berkshire Bulky.)  We filled 11 pages with conversation and were inspired by everyone’s finished projects – 19 total – including a sweater! There were three winners for the random free pattern drawings, and Dottie Turner (deturner on Ravelry), from Marshall Texas, won the grand prize drawing! She has chosen her Milla Mia Naturally Soft Cotton yarn package in a lovely “Sweet Pea” color to make a baby blanket for her great grandson. dottie was also the most prolific knitter in the KAL finishing 7 projects – including that sweater!

This was a great way to get to know other knitters from around the globe – I just love Ravelry for that! Through Ravelry I feel like I have a real community of friends – even though we have never met in person (yet – I have hopes!) The KAL was a way to gather together a virtual knitting circle and watch the progress of everyone’s projects, and to get to know each other a little better. I will definitely do this again!

 

Don’t Fear the Charts!

I am having fun in my KAL in the Fans of Knitwise Design group on Ravelry. We are knitting any Knitwise Design patterns we choose. I just finished knitting myself yet another Earbuds. I love this pattern! It is the quickest pattern ever and perfect for gifts. But it is also very practical and I wear mine all the time – even on windy Summer days here on the Maine coast. I had a bit of this beautiful Periwinkle color Berkshire Bulky (from Valley Yarns, aka WEBS) and decided it would be perfect. I love how well the pattern shows in this yarn!

While I did include line-by-line written out directions in this pattern, it is much quicker and easier to work from the chart. For that reason I have decided to use this design as the project for my “Conquer Your Fear of Knitting Charts” class that I will be teaching on September 8 at the Maine Fiber College. (You can see a description of it if you scroll down the page HERE.) If you are one of those knitters that is just getting introduced to knitting charts, or have been nervous about working from them, I suggest you check out my class. And if you are already a pro at chart reading there are many, many more wonderful fiber classes being taught at Fiber College this year. Everything from painting silk scarves to double knitting, spinning techniques, quilting, and even woodworking! Treat yourself to looking at their offerings HERE.

You can buy the Earbuds pattern on Ravlery.

 

Knitting as Espionage

I just came across this article and found it fascinating.The article was written by Nancy Zarrelli in Atlasobscura.com, and the photo above is from that article.  Did you know that during World War II knitters served as spies, encrypting information about the enemy into their knitting, using knits and purls and dropped stitches as code?  The resistance would hire old ladies to sit and knit at train stations to track the logistics of the enemy trains. At some points in time there were actually bans on written knitting patterns in case they contained coded messages. And of course just sitting and knitting was a good way to be inconspicuous while you observed what was going on around you – and reported it!

Of course a knitting pattern really is written in code that has to be deciphered in order to unlock the information required to knit the item, but how easy to add a little extra information! There was a link in the article to a fascinating collection of posts from Gannetdesigns.com about encoding meaning in your knitting. What a great idea! Instead of information on enemy trains, you could use code to make a personalized wedding shawl with the date of the wedding encrypted in the lace pattern, or the name of a baby in their crib blanket. Such a fun way to design! Of course you would have to clue in the recipient to the significance because it is, after all, a code.

I encourage you to read the full article, which can be found HERE.

A Knitwise Design KAL for the Summer! Join in!

Exciting news! LoveKnitting.com is offering a great grand prize for my KAL this summer! The KAL will start on June 3rd and end on August 13th. ANY of my Knitwise Design patterns are eligible to be knit in the KAL and I will have a special code for 20% off the pattern price for those who wish to buy a new pattern for the KAL.

For the grand prize at the end of the KAL LoveKnitting.com has generously offered a 5 ball pack of their Naturally Soft Cotton yarn – with the opportunity for the winner to choose their own colors! There will also be random drawings during the KAL for free Knitwise Design patterns.

This is a great way to have a fun time chatting and sharing our project progress with other Knitwise Design knitters during the traditionally slower knitting season. Though as for that, I was a teacher for a while, and summer always seems to me like the very best time to get knitting projects accomplished!

The KAL will be happening over in my Fans of Knitwise Design Ravelry group. So please come on over to join us – and invite a friend too! Let the summer knitting (and weather) be fine this year!

 

 

A Knitting Cage for My Studio!

 

My cozy knitting corner in my tiny studio.

I am thrilled with the most recent addition to my studio! Did you ever hear of a knitting cage? I hadn’t either until yesterday when my husband and I struck up a conversation with a lovely older gentleman at the table next to us in a restaurant. When I mentioned I was a knitter and designer he promptly gave us directions to his house and told us to stop by after our meal, he had something to give me. (Oh how I love living in the friendly state of Maine!)

We took a short drive up to his beautiful hilltop home and he presented me with what he called a “knitting cage”. He had made one of these for his wife back in the day, and all her knitting friends had requested one. He made a dozen and still many years later had just one left he’d been saving. I feel honored he decided I was the one to receive it! And it is just perfect in my tiny studio! It fits right next to my knitting chair where there wasn’t enough space for a table. It gives me a spot to set things down, and it holds the ball of yarn safely in the cage so it doesn’t roll around on the floor while using it. What a great invention! Now I know why all the knitters wanted one! He says he won’t be making any more, but I just thought his fine idea should be shared and celebrated!

Artist Profile

I am very excited to have been accepted to teach a class in September at this year’s Fiber College of Maine! This event is one of the most popular fiber arts educational events of the year. Held at the Searsport Shores Ocean Park and Campground, Searsport, Maine it is the largest Fiber Arts education gathering on the East Coast. Classes on everything fiber: knitting, crocheting, weaving, spinning, fiber preparation, rug hooking, quilting, lace making, wood working and more. You can check out their excellent website to explore all their offerings and logistical details for this year.

One of their traditions is to profile some of their instructors on their blog and I have been lucky enough to be featured first! They sent me a thoughtful set of interview questions and I must admit it was a bit like sitting for an essay exam to answer them all! But I am very happy with the final profile. Check it out HERE.

The class I will be teaching is called “Conquer Your Fear of Knitting Charts”. I am amazed at how many knitters are intimidated by working from charts. In today’s knitting world charts are almost the given for many types of knitting including stranded color work, cabled patterns, and certainly lace. Hopefully this class will give participants the skills and confidence to knit from charted patterns.

Remember, if you are intrigued by the offerings at Fiber College this year, don’t wait too long to sign up. This is a popular event! Registration is open now. See you there!

Flash Sale for Pi Day!

March 14th is Pi Day! 3.14 – get it? It is also Einsteins’ birthday just to make it better for math geeks! I love the mathematical aspects of knitting! I guess that is why designing and writing knitting patterns is such a passion of mine! I have actually designed three different hat patterns that are obviously based on geometry – though sadly not on pi (I’ll have to design something based on circles someday). So how about a flash sale? 30% off any of my three geometrical hat patterns: Fun With Triangles Hat, Baby Triangles Hat, and Garter Geometry Hat in my Ravelry Store only. Use coupon code: pi to get the discount. In consideration of other time zones this promotion will run from 3pm Monday, March 13, through noon on Wednesday March 15th, 2017 – times being Eastern US time zone.

What a fun way to celebrate Pi Day! Start a geometric knitting project! Of course baking an actual pie would be good too.