Sunday, November 10, 2013

COLOR ME PLAID

Did you notice? Plaid is big this season! Especially in fashion accessories.

In knitting, there are several methods to create plaid fabric. You can combine horizontal and vertical stripes which will involve doing some duplicate stitch embroidery or using bobbins to carry your vertical colors. Or you can got at it "fair isle" style, and carry several alternating colors across each row.

And then there is the mosaic technique. A lesser known way to create multicolor knits where you never, ever use more than one color per row. Now, how does that sound to all of you afraid of colorwork?

Here are a couple of plaid mosaic design examples.
http://knitonecrochettoo.shptron.com/p/2050-block-party-scarf-digital/patterns_kettle-tweed?pp=30

The Block Party is an "eternity" scarf (shaped as a continuous ring) that uses both my Kettle Tweed in the multicolor, and Elfin Tweed in the solid. A perfect first time mosaic project. I am showing it here next to other designer plaids :)

For the more ambitious, try the Sunset Plaid cardigan. Worked in a Meadow Silk solid color, matched with a multicolor wool. 

The mosaic technique is achieved but knitting with whatever color you are using for the row, and slipping any stitches you want to keep with the other color. It creates a fairly dense fabric since it compresses the rows, so it is a good idea to use needles slightly larger than you would normally choose for your yarn weight. Barbara Walker includes several mosaic stitches (shown in charts) in many of her stitch collection books.

Mosaic is one of my favorites and I love the challenge of designing new charts using this technique. Have you tried mosaic before?


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Anthropologie or me?

I subscribe to the daily Anthropologie email and the featured sweater in today's edition reminded me of my Mockingbird Pullover pattern. As you can see, it is not identical, but with similarities. Mine is worked in Seda Rustica, a lofty and soft blend of 70% silk and 30% baby llama. Yummy :)

So I ask you, where does the inspiration come from? Were both the designer of their version and I influenced by the same social elements? Ideas often just pop up in my head out of seamingly nowhere, but surely the subconcious is at work...

Do you find ready-wear sweaters and try to match a pattern for you to make? Do you have a favorite store or designer that inspires your knitting?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Classic Color, Classic Style

The first steps in designing a yarn from scratch is deciding what fiber content it will be and what weight and type of spin/twist/plies. Once we put our request in with the mill, they create a sample based on those perimeters. When it's ready, they send us a few skeins to try, often in natural color.

That was the scenario for our Cria Lace a lace weight blend of fine alpaca and tencel. So, not wanting to wait until all the colors were developed, dyed and delivered, I promptly began designing the very first garment with the natural color sample. And voila, the Olivetti Cardi!

Here are a few photos showcasing this design in today's Fashion Inspiration mood board.


Although Cria Lace is lightweight, I held 2 strands together to give me a gauge of around 5.5 stitches per inch. It turns this one yarn into two different ones, and at over 500 yards per hanks, a smart knitting choice! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Traveling Stitches...

When I travel I always pack way more yarn that I could realistically use on my trip...just in case. I would not ever want to run out and stress over not having ANY projects!

Last week, I visited my parents in Mandeville, Quebec for a couple of days and came packed to the gills. Actually brought enough yarn for 3 projects, and I managed to complete one.


In honor of where I was, I named this shawl, what else, "Mandeville." It uses one hank each of 2 colors of Crock-O-Dye (65% superwash wool/20% nylon/15% silk).

The lower edging is worked first side-to-side in color 224 Neon Nights (check out how the colors striped naturally!). Most of the upper section is worked using color 734 Plum Black filling in using short rows.

We are inviting a limited number of knitters to "test knit" this project before I launch the pattern. A test knitter is a knitter who will knit their own sample, using their own yarn, and let us know of any pattern issues so we can correct before officially offering the pattern for sale. They get a free copy of the pattern (the original, and any final corrected version), and get to be the first select ones to work on it before anyone else. I will also offer a free copy of any of my patterns (your choice) once your test knit is complete, as long as you have met all the requirements. You can read about it here (note that this is a time sensitive project, so depending on when you are reading this blog post, the open participation may be closed).

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Nightime Knitting Creation

How often do you lay in bed at night thinking about knitting? If you are a bit like me, the answer is "a lot!"

After a while, there is no point in fighting it, so I just turn on the old iPad and start putting ideas together. I came up with this new Fashion Inspiration board last night, around 1 a.m.

I can just see those pants (plaid is big this season) with the Winter Butterflies pullover. And those shoes! Too cute :)

The Brae Tweed yarn used is the loftiest and softest, totally the opposite of what tweed yarns often feel like. So it's a pleasure to knit with and to wear---both important features :)

The design uses raglan shaping, with a wide neck band. It's a bit like a baby circular yoke. No shaping intrudes in the pattern stitch panels, so you don't have to worry about keeping the pattern going while making decreases, which sometimes gives some knitters trouble. Because of that, it is a good choice if you want to try your hand at your first sweater with a bit of lace.

Monday, October 21, 2013

FALL FASHION INSPIRATION

Just got back from a weekend in Rhinebeck and the NY Sheep and Wool festival. I saw lots of people wearing knit and crochet fashion. So many colors, so many fibers, a feast and overindulgence of inspiration!

I saw some cute, well put together outfits, with a sweater at the center of it all. This prompted me to create a mood board built around one of my new fall design: Twin Peaks Cardi, pattern 2056.
You can see more photos of this sweater on Ravelry (and order a digital copy there, too).


The yarn used is super soft Seda Rustica, a blend of rustic silk and baby llama. I designed 11 rich colors to select from. Check those out here. It is worked from the bottom up in one piece with no side seams. The traveling ribs form a triangle on each side and continue under the arms. The instructions are given as charts.

Do you like to work from charts, or do they confuse you?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

One of my designs in Knitter's Magazine!

It doesn't matter how many years I've been doing this (30+) and how many times I've had designs in print, it's always exciting to see! Kind of like handing over one of your babies and seeing it again after being pampered, powdered and dressed for the camera.

When you work with publications, you turn in your finished design months ahead of it reappearing in print, and sometimes by then you forget how it looks. So I was pleasantly surprised to receive these beautiful photos. They do showcase well the stitch pattern, worked in Cozette, a buttery soft yarn new to Knit One, Crochet Too for spring.

The Seafoam Shells shawl pattern can be found in Knitter's Magazine issue K110, on pages 72-73, and is available now. You can see more in this issue here.

I worked the shell edging first, side to side. I then picked up stitches along the straight edge and worked a few rows on all the stitches. To begin filling in the upper section, I started working short rows, adding more and more working stitches each side until all stitches are worked across each row. The trick to make the upper edge curve in a little, and help the shawl stay better on your shoulders, is to bind off the stitches firmly at the top edge.

The main pattern stitch was originally a solid stitch without any yarn overs. I tweaked it to include the yarn overs and give it a more openwork lacy feel. Both lace patterns, for the edging and the main section, are given in chart format.

Although I have not been good about posting regularly, just know that it is all the KNITTING I am doing that is keeping me away from the keyboard. My deadline to finish the fall/winter collection is fast approaching, and all shall be revealed soon :)

Hélène