Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Shepherdess

Just my humble opinion, but there is nary a more darling baby sweater ensemble than Julia Farwell-Clay's Welcome to the Flock. Julia's bevy of baby sheep grazing in a grass of green hand-dyed yarn is topped of with a matching top-knot beanie. If you have a baby in your life, you must make this duo for your little one.


Now meet the new Shepherdess in town, the latest offering from Julia Farwell-Clay. As she writes, the Shepherdess is, "An adult sweater with a whimsical heart. Thank you to the knitters who loved knitting my baby sweater pattern Welcome to the Flock enough to also ask for a grown-up version for themselves. And what knitter doesn’t love sheep just a little too much?" True THAT.


Julia's adorable round-yoked cardi, which is designed for worsted yarn, comes in sizes up to 58.5 inches (thank you, Julia). The Shepherdess is knitted flat from side to side, but you could easily knit it in the round and steek it. Fit wise, it is similar to the Hiro Cardigan so many of us have already made.


I particularly like that Julia knit the body of the sweater in stockinette, but garter stitched the little lambs. Love those little fleeces!


The Shepherdess is available for purchase on Ravelry. If you're a plus-sized wool lover like I am, this one is for you.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Tremendous Tempest


Hello, old friends. I'm writing today about Tempest, a lovely new book by Canadian designer, Holli Yeoh. Her creations feature the always stunning Sweet Georgia Yarns - honestly, I have never  seen a Sweet Georgia Yarn color I didn't like. If you're not familiar with Holli and Sweet Georgia, I'm happy to introduce you.

I got to know Holli while designing and building her website earlier this year.  Holli is an incredibly talented designer who is as comfortable creating women's cardigans as baby blankets. Vogue Knitting regularly publishes her innovative twists on the classics. Check out Holli's Ravelry pages to learn more.

As its websites states, Felicia Lo's Sweet Georgia Yarn hand-dyes "knitting yarns and spinning fibres in stunningly saturated colours." Supreme understatement! On steroids! Sweet Georgia Yarns simply sing. I could dig around for a more spectacular way to say it, but in this case, a picture truly speaks a thousands words.



Tempest offers 11 patterns - four sweaters, two wraps, four cowls, one hat and a matching pair of gloves. Holli's patterns are uniformly gorgeous, but the best news for us: all of the sweaters have at least a 60-inch finished bust measurement. Thank you, Holli!

My favorite sweater: Eventide, a lightweight pullover that alternates "bands of sheer and opaque chevrons create contrast and texture in this boxy pullover. Set-in sleeves and seams provide structure for a refined fit. Knit in fine merino and silk, this pullover has a sophisticated air while the easy silhouette makes it equally comfortable in a more casual setting." Holli designed Eventide in Sweet Georgia Merino Silk Fine and Silk Mist.


Another design I really love from Tempest is Haven, a veritable crayon box of a wrap. Holli's description says it all: "This simple project features an ombré fabric created by working with two strands of yarn held together throughout. You work colour changes by first knitting with two strands of the same colour, followed by a strand each of the old colour and a new colour, followed by two strands of the new colour; repeat!" The poncho, which is worked as a large rectangle, includes buttonholes in one of the ribbed selvedges. Fold fold your beautiful triangle in half, button it, and go. Haven uses Sweet Georgia's CashLuxe Fine, a merino, silk, and nylon blend.



To see more of Tempest or to purchase the book, visit the Tempest website.

And to win a free copy of the book, leave a comment here and I'll choose someone at random for the giveaway!




Tempest defines my life as well. It has been one hell of a year.  I appreciate the many prayers and kind words. During my time away, I've been knitting away. I will share my projects and lessons learned in the days to come.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Flyover of New Knitting Books - For the Home and More

Come fly with me, come fly, come fly away! Let's do a flyover of recent knitting books.



Sue Culligan
Want to knit robots, gizmos, video games, cassettes, cosmic, or atomic energy? Check out this fun book with a variety of projects designed for your inner geek. My favorite: this cute rocket baby mobile, perfect for your future physicist. 


You know how you flip through the latest Pottery Barn catalog and think, "Jeez - that's beautiful. I could make that." Well, this book gives you sophisticated, modern accessories for your abode. My favorite: this cable-covered ottoman. Gorgeous.



Take your knitting to the great outdoors - or bring the great outdoors to your knitting! This book offers lots of cute little craftsy projects, knitting and otherwise. My favorite: the Flying Fox which keeps drafts from sneaking under your door.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Sweater Chest

Welcome to my treasure chest. I may not have gold and jewels, but I do have sweaters. Lots of them and I made every one. My heart sings just looking at this picture. Goodness, how I love to knit.




Monday, June 2, 2014

Socks that Fit KAL begins!

We want to make socks that fit - really fit. So we’re starting the Socks that Fit KAL (or CAL, whatever you want to do). We’re focusing on difficult-to-fit feet, ankles, and calves, but anyone who wants to knit socks is welcome to join us.


Here are the rules:
  1. There are no rules.
  2. Make any sock pattern you want.
  3. Use any yarn you want.
  4. Knit, crochet, whatever - it’s up to you.
  5. Share your experience, strength, and hope with the rest of us.
  6. Have fun.
  7. We begin on June 1, 2014, but please come and go as you please.
I'm not sure what I'm going to make yet, but I'm certain the pattern will come from Big Foot Knits by Andi Smith. This great book REALLY explains how to make socks for large feet.

I wear a 9.5 shoe with a C width. My friend Dottie measured my feet and declared I had thinner ankles that usual, but I sometimes have issues with the calf width on commercially made socks - socks without ribbing aren't wide enough for me. And since second grade I have hated knee socks. I never owned even a single pair of knee socks that stayed remotely close to my knees.

I'm going to be moving to a new apartment in July and have been cleaning out my stash in preparation. This weekend, I found three skeins of sock yarn I didn't even know I had! I also bought two skeins of Malabrigo Sock for this KAL. We'll see which yarn wins out in the end.


If you're interested in making socks that fit, or are a sock expert who wouldn't mind sharing tips and tricks, please come join the Socks the Fit KAL. We'd love to have you.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Up, Down, All-Around

Wendy Bernard gave me hope. I first discovered her in 2008 when she published her first book, Custom Knits. Her patterns were beautiful, but I loved her philosophy even more: knitters needed to make the modifications necessary to make sweaters that really fit. This made complete sense to me, especially since there wasn't a pattern in the world that fit my shall we say, unusual, form. Wendy Bernard set me off on a journey of knitting discovery (that sounds a little nauseating, but it's true).


Wendy is now back in print with Up, Down, All-Around, a stitch dictionary of pattern motifs that can be knit from any direction. Why is this important? Because you can take any motif and knit it top down, bottom up, or in the round. For every motif, she provides:

  • A large, crisp photo of the knitted motif 
  • Written directions for knitting flat
  • A chart for knitting flat
  • Written direction for knitting in the round
  • A chart for knitting in the round
She offers a tool box of knitting possibilities, giving you you the ability to swap out stitch patterns, cables, and lace in any garment regardless of how it is constructed. Take that plain-Jane pullover that you know fits well and make it again, this time with a cable or a fancy hem. Or swap out the cable in your favorite sock pattern with one of Wendy's. 

The book offers 11 patterns. The sweater and vest unfortunately only go up to size 50, but the hats, cowls, and mitts will work for anyone of any size. She will be doing a tutorial on how to use the dictionary to design your own custom cowl; if you're brand new to design, this would be a great place to start. To learn more, check out Wendy's blog at www.knitandtonic.net

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Socks the Fit KAL

After two dozen cardigans, I can honestly say that I've mastered the art of sweater knitting. There's always something to learn and tweak and try, and I will forever call myself a sweater knitter. But it's high time to learn how to make socks that fit. I mean really fit. Not kinda sorta. But really.

Beautiful Leyburn Socks knitted by EverythingOldEm

So I'm starting a new knitalong on the Knitting at Large Rav board called, appropriate enough, Socks that Fit KAL. The rules are simple:
  • Knit whatever sock pattern you want
  • Use whatever yarn you want
  • Start around June 1 or whenever you want
  • Just make it fit
I'll be blogging about what I learn regarding knitting socks for ample bodies and I hope the plenitude of sock knitters will chime in with knowledge, tips, suggestions, and warnings. Guidance about yarn and patterns are also heartily and gratefully requested.

To join, just go to the Socks the Fit KAL topic and start yakking. Get your yarn, your patterns, your needles, and get going! It's been a while since we've done a KAL and this sounds like the perfect summer project to me.