Friday, 24 April 2015

mild chaos

i've been pretty quiet on here lately, with the obvious exception of pattern announcements. i'm afraid it will continue being quiet for the next couple of weeks at least, as i hunker down with prep work for the trunk show and yarn launch at tara davis studio boutique. i am very, very excited, and also mildly terrified for my first ever trunk show. and then in the immediate week following the trunk show, i have two pretty important applications to submit. so i will probably continue being a bit quiet. but it's all good!

costae is a quick and satisfying knit i designed for my gradient cakes and ecoprint blanks. it will be released before the show, promise!

the trunk show is happening on may 7-9 and is coinciding with the exchange shop hop, so it's the perfect excuse to wander around the exchange and grab some last minute mother's day gifts! i'll be at tara's all day on thursday and probably saturday as well, and realistically you'll probably see me there friday evening after work. drop by and say hi!  

and now, i leave you with yarn porn. i'm photographing every skein, cake, blank, and braid as i go (it helps having the documentation, and also helps me keep track of what's popular once items sell, since "logwood" or "indigo" on my spreadsheets doesn't really tell me much about the specific depth of shade). you can check out more yarn porn on my ravelry yarn pages.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

úlfur hat & cuffs

i'm releasing not one, but two patterns this time! they are companions pieces, or litter mates, if you will. meet the úlfur hat and cuffs, a pair of patterns almost a year in the making simply because i kept getting sidetracked.

úlfur is the icelandic word for wolf, and also happens to be the name of my ukulele, which i bought in reykjavik. wolves are and have always been my favourite animal, and when i saw northbound knitting's metallurgy colourway on the merino fingering singles base, i couldn't get over how much it looks like wolf fur. add in the soft halo of shibui knits' silk cloud in caffeine and you end up with the most beautiful fabric that has a comforting weight to it. not heavy, per se, just present.

the designs incorporate short rows (of course) and a chevron seed stitch for a nice bit of texture. i knit up a sample of the hat last summer and got it test knit at the time by odessa and lindsay, but then just kept getting sidetracked from working out the accompanying handshoes. when i did finally get around to them, they flew off my needles in no time, leaving me to wonder just why i took so long to get around to them. the handshoes are knit flat and then seamed up the side, leaving a hole for the thumb. easy peasy lemon squeezy!

these yarns are just so luscious. i love lisa's single ply, and while i normally hate working with mohair (it's just itchy and annoying), shibui knits makes it feel like you're knitting with a cloud. of course, this cloud doesn't take kindly to ripping back, so while the patterns aren't super complicated, they do require enough focus that you don't have to fight with mohair sticking to itself for dear life.

you can also flip the cuffs upside-down so the short rows are at your fingers. a li'l extra edge.
if you're not so into the mixing yarns bit, you can go simple with a lovely handdyed fingering weight like tanis fiber arts' purple label cashmere sock. i used one of tanis's ooak colourways, fjord (also strangely appropriate for iceland), but any of her blue, blue cosmic, purple, or red label yarns would work wonderfully! and you just need one skein to knit both projects (plus an extra pair of mitts, or a few hexipuffs).

i'm still ridiculously pleased with the decreases on this particular design.

the úlfur hat and cuffs are both part of the when nature fought back collection, which is coming along quite nicely lately i must say. six patterns released in the past three weeks! considering i gave myself the goal of releasing a minimum of twelve patterns in 2015, i'd say i'm at a pretty good place right now.

thanks to odessa and lindsay for test knitting for me, and to my beautiful friend madison for modelling! madi also happens to be an independent filmmaker (she's too talented), so if you're interested, go check out her production company, prairie kid productions!

Monday, 13 April 2015

birthday giftees

it's my birthday tomorrow and i'll cry if i want to! but instead of crying, or maybe along with crying (who knows what will happen), i'm offering 25% off any pattern in my store until the end of the week (april 18th at 11:59pm CST) with the code BIRTH25! consider it an extended birthday gift from me to you, to thank you for your support on this ridiculous and fascinating journey i'm on. creature comforts is a freebie, so obviously it doesn't really count, but the other options are:

double scoop

prairie fire

welcome to the wonderground

deer heart
thanks again for all your encouragement and support! if we are birthday twins, happiest of births! if we are not, happy unbirthday! 


Sunday, 12 April 2015

deconstruction kerchief

i've been a busy bee with designing lately as i try to get everything ready for the trunk show. i wanted to create a design that was especially made for the show and yarn launch. meet deconstruction, a fabulous little kerchief for showing off your favourite eco-printed, gradient, speckled, or semi-solid yarns.

deconstruction began as an experiment in natural dyeing and eco-printing. what would happen if i dyed and eco-printed a pre-knit sock blank, unravelled it, and knit it into something new? what could i design that would show off the sprinkling of colours from leaves and bark and petals and compost?

i had dreamed up a design while meditating, and decided it would be perfect for showcasing whatever the deconstructed eco-prints wanted to do. a simple stockinette diamond begins at one corner, increases to its widest point, then decreases back down to the other corner. stitches are picked up along the edges and become a herringbone border, and the eco-printed yarn returns for a boot loop bind off. i used a skein of my sock yarn for the herringbone, and one of carson's buttons holds the kerchief in place with a loop on the opposite corner.

deconstruction is the latest design in the when nature fought back collection, and i'll have a pick-and-choose kit option available at the trunk show with ecoprint blanks, mini skeins of sock, and buttons from salvaged earth designs.

you'll be able to buy the sock blanks in their initial eco-printed state, so that you can look at the original prints before knitting or weaving or crocheting them into something else. the sock blanks can be caked up (my personal preference, because i love the look of a cake) or you can knit right from them. one end kind of "locks" and the other unravels easily, so just make sure to pull a couple of rows out of each end to determine which one you should be working from. after the show, i'll have the blanks available in my etsy store, along with the other yarns and fibres. i'm changing my fibre base supplier, so there may be a bit of a delay for the online stock. i'm also looking into the idea of getting a knitting machine to knit up the blanks for me so i can use whatever yarns i like (knitting my own blanks by hand is out of the question because a) i have a bajillion other things i need to do and b) i have a bajillion other things i want to do, which is the more important reason, and if i rely on knitting the sock blanks by hand i will end up never dyeing sock blanks again). once i grab a knitting machine, i can use any base i like and print blanks when i have remnants on hand, be they compost, garden leftovers, or findings. 

big thanks to katie (@kdschewe) for being the world's fastest test knitter, and to the gorgeous monique for modelling and then joining me for post-photo drinks!

Thursday, 2 April 2015

welcome to the wonderground

welcome to the wonderground is now available for download from my ravelry store! it's also the latest design from the when nature fought back collection. i'm on a roll this week!

a bit of a tale about the journey of this design: earlier in the winter, after i'd decided i was going to work through my stash and stop buying yarn that wasn't for dyeing, wolseley wool got in a shipment of madelinetosh tosh merino light. i was already in love with this yarn thanks to double scoop, and the colours they got in were a perfect mix of neutrals/pastels and obnoxiously bright. i grabbed three sets of coordinating two full skeins and a unicorn tail with the intention of designing shawls - what shawls, i had no clue, but i knew i'd figure it out eventually. clearly i have great impulse control.

the original welcome to the wonderground was this bright one, knit with mandala, cosmic wonderdust, and bound off with a bright edge of edison bulb. i loved it! it reminded me of carnivals and ferris wheels and, as i often described cosmic wonderdust, "like a unicorn barfed." 

when it came to publication though, especially given my upcoming trunk show and the very un-unicorn-barf aesthetic of when nature fought back, and the fact that i wanted to take advantage of the constrasting bind off to make kits involving mini skeins, i realized i needed another sample that still made sense for the idea of the design while in a more subdued palette.

insert welcome to the wonderground, the alice in wonderland version. this was another trio from my madtosh yarn binge, and when i looked at it again, i realized that it was perfect for what i needed. it reminds me of alice's mad tea party, a dreamier yet still just as manic wonderground. the colours suited when nature fought back (not to mention my own wardrobe) much more, but i could still feel that wonderground was an appropriate name for the design. 

so there you have it, two completely different looks with the very same pattern. ah, the magic of knitting. you can download the pattern by itself here

i will have kits prepared with my own yarn available at the trunk show on may 7-9, and depending on how much sells at the show, will have kits available online either shortly or a bit later after that. 

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

deer heart

happy april, lovers! right after the release of creature comfortsdeer heart is the next design from when nature fought back, and is available now for download from ravelry.

back in the early winter, my dear friend meaggy contacted me to ask about getting a large cozy shawl knit for an xmas gift. i was more than happy to take on the project, and we agreed to a cut on my normal commission rate in exchange for me creating and releasing a knitting pattern from her shawl. deer heart is the result of that arrangement, named as a play on words because the lace pattern reminded me of deer antlers and the pattern makes me think of meaggy. 

meaggy's original. it's deceptively small-looking when folded nicely, but it's about four inches tall too.
meaggy's original used cascade eco + in a beautiful heathered forest green. she was looking for a large triangular shawl, lacy but chunky as well. i buried my nose in my stitch dictionary and found a design that i loved - what else but a complicated, double-sided lace pattern. it took three rip backs and several agonizing attempts at writing a sensible chart before i finally figured out how to write a chart for a triangular shawl that is also double-sided (hint: you need to make two separate triangles and mirror your design on each triangle to accommodate for the 4-stitch increase rows). ridiculous, yes, and a major design headache, but i am so happy with the final result and that i learned so many skills in the process of it.

i knit this sample in my own alpaca bulky, mordanted with alum and dyed in a bath of winter-weathered birch bark from my parents' log pile. the pattern is available on its own right now, and contains both charted and written instructions, because i love you all so much. i have several kits prepped for the trunk show, so be sure to pop by to grab one before they're gone! i'll be dyeing up more after the trunk show, you may just need to wait a little while.

it's a satisfying knit and actually very fast, but the lace pattern is more complicated. definitely not social knitting. but the bulky weight means that you can get a large finished shawl quickly! thanks very much to my wonderful test knitters, lindsay and janet.

and thanks again to the adorable ashtyn for modelling!