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.

 

A Malabrigo Headband for March

With dog, cropped

Winding Trail Headband is my newest design – released just in time for a windy March in Maine! Even with the snow and cold you can feel Spring in the air. All my adult children are active outdoor types, and headbands fit the bill for keeping their ears protected from the wind. My son, Joe, served as photographer for this design with his lovely Katie as his model. You can see more of his close-up photos on the pattern page, but I just love this photo of Katie playing in the snow with the dog and wanted to feature it here. It sums up how I imagined this headband being worn when I designed it. But I admit, I’ve been wearing mine around in the house! In the soft, cozy Malabrigo Merino Worsted it just feels so good!

You can find out more about this design HERE or on Ravelry.

Valentine’s Promotion!

My Young at Heart Hat Pattern is the perfect Valentine’s gift – either the knitted up hat, or the pattern for a valentine that knits! I recently re-knit the pattern myself, choosing colors that highlighted the design better than the originals did. My son, Joe, got some great photos of his girlfriend modeling the finished hat. So I decided to offer a 15% off sale on this pattern to celebrate! The sale is taking place only at my Ravelry Store – HERE . Use the coupon code heart though the end of day (Eastern US time) February 14, 2017. Happy Valentine’s Day!

140X200 purple heart hat

I Love the Geometry of Knitting!

Garter Geometry Hat #1I actually have a lot of trouble with spacial relationships, so it is surprising to me that I keep being fascinated with knitting geometric forms. (Fun With Triangles Hat and Baby Triangles Hat involved this geometry also.) Here is my newest design that required quite a bit of spacial thinking (and re-thinking when I got it backwards!) Garter Geometry Hat plays with diamonds and two different ways of forming triangles between them. I had the image in my mind of how I wanted the central decrease diamonds to just fit right into a field of garter stitch – as if they had been inserted. Easier imagined than done! And I wanted it straight forward to knit – no intarsia, no sewing, no stranding, and not a million ends to weave in. A tall order! Be prepared for some scrutiny from your knitting friends!

 

Garter Geometry Hat unmodeledTwo different Berroco Ultra Alpaca greens were in my stash and a trip to Webs while visiting in Massachusetts provided the perfect blue to complement them. I think Ultra Alpaca knit up in garter stitch has got to be one of my favorite knitted fabrics ever! But this hat would look great in any standard worsted weight yarn – Cascade 220, Wool of the Andes etc.

Knitting this hat really is fun – though it is not a beginner’s project. The skill level is considered “experienced” due to the techniques used, but everything is clearly explained in the pattern directions, and I think an adventurous intermediate knitter would enjoy knitting this.

Check out the details HERE or on Ravery.

 

Reversibility With a Flair!

Cable and Flare Scarf

My newest design, “Cable and Flare Scarf”,  incorporates little cables that are identical on the front and the back of the scarf. In fact, the whole scarf is perfectly reversible! A very simple 2 stitch lace separates the cables that unwind into graceful flares at each end. The pattern is easily memorized and makes for some very satisfying knitting when you need a project that doesn’t require a lot of attention, yet isn’t boring. I knit most of this scarf either in the car (in the passenger’s seat of course!) or during my weekly knitting group meetings.

One of the best things that happened with this project is that I found a wonderful local photographer willing to work with me on making the best possible photos of my designs. Melissa Newcomb captured the spirit of the design in the photo above – and still was able to show the reversibility aspect and the detail of the cables and lace. Photographing knitting takes special considerations. I am so excited to work with Melissa again! In fact, we’ve already done a photo shoot for an upcoming sweater design. More on that in 2017!

See more about “Cable and Flare Scarf” HERE, or on Ravelry