Thursday, October 11, 2012

One down and one to go

I finally got some decent photos of my Graceful Trio Jacket. I love this sweater and will wear it all the time no matter how I look in it. It's the perfect jeans companion.

I'll do a lesson learned on this sweater soon, as well as on my Ravel!@#$%^ Pullover and the Hiro Cardigan which is almost done. Here's a picture of the back. I'm working on the button bands - stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Won't be long

I'm eight-and-a-half months pregnant with my Hiro. Won't be long now...

Friday, October 5, 2012

If at first you don't succeed...

Back to my Hiro Cardigan. You may remember that I bought 500 balls of yarn (hyperbolic, but close) in my attempt to create a smoothly transitioning gradient. I love how the cuff of the sleeve looks with the subtle color change and want to replicate this look throughout the yoke.

No other knitter has taken the gradient approach and given how difficult it has been for me to find the just-right yarn, I can see why. Maybe I should have used Cascade 220 or another line that offers a gazillion colors; Knit Picks Palette also comes to mind, but it's not worsted weight. Anyway, after deciding that the light pink didn't work, I added lavender to the mix, which looked great on paper - or screen as the case may be.

But when I swatched, the lavender looked dull - or at least that's what Tom said. He usually never ventures an opinion about my projects, but he took one look at the swatch and announced it was just not right. It's a little hard to tell in this crappy picture, but he was right. The purple is much less saturated than its companions. SIGH. Back to the drawing board. Again.

I spent hours online looking for an alpaca/wool blend in the perfect medium pink. Nothing even close. So I went back to the Berroco website and examined the Vintage color palette. I know from experience that Vintage is as soft as Ultra Alpaca and about the same weight, so I figured what did I have to lose? There was only one color possibility: Blush. 

The yarn came in yesterday and I went to work. Ladies and gentlemen (are there really any dudes reading this?), we finally have a winner. The new hue fits in well, offers the same intensity, and blends nicely from a fiber/weight perspective, too.

With the color palette finally settled, I'm racing to the yoke. I've finished the body and will be done with both sleeves in the next day or two. Then I'll link it all together, knit a few inches in the solid burgundy color, and finally begin the colorwork. My Hiro is definitely in the running to become my favorite sweater of all time, assuming it fits well. Let's hope.

I've come a long way, baby! Remember my first swatches? Whew, are these ugly! Perseverance is really the mother of invention.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I Love Yarn Day Kicks off Facebook Photo Contest to Win a Year of Yarn—365 skeins in all!

Thousands of yarn lovers around the country to share their fiber passion and fashion October 12, 2012

Gastonia, North Carolina, October 1, 2012— Whether you knit, crochet, craft, spin, weave or just adore fiber, the second Friday in October is the national day to declare your LOVE for yarn. This day is all about spreading that good feeling people have about yarn and yarn-related crafts. Knit it, crochet it, spin it, weave it, wear it, post it, tweet it, carry it, share it, give it, or bomb it!

“The idea for this celebration started last year,” says Mary Colucci, Executive Director of the Craft Yarn Council, an industry nonprofit association. “Response to the web site and the Facebook page was amazing. Thousands of yarn enthusiasts posted their plans.”

New this year: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram photo contest

This year, I Love Yarn Day is expanding its social media outreach with a “Show Your Love of Yarn” photo contest on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The contest is open to anyone in the United States who loves yarn—crocheters, knitters, spinners, weavers, and general yarn crafters—and photos should depict the entrant’s passion for yarn. The official page for the contest on Facebook:

Photos should be original, of entrant’s own creation, and can be of an existing photo or one someone has taken specifically for the competition. Photos might depict an entrant’s yarn stash, a yarn bombing the entrant has done, or be some other creative expression of one’s love of yarn.  All contest entries will be viewable on the I Love Yarn Day photo contest page on Facebook, and people can vote on their favorite once a day, at:

The contest will also accept photo entries via Twitter and Instagram from anyone who tweets a photo, or uploads an Instagram photo, and uses hashtag #YarnDayContest in the caption.

The Grand Prize winner will be selected from the top ten photos with the most number of votes to  receive a year’s worth of yarn—365 skeins in all, one for every day of the year, from Grand Prize sponsors Bernat, Patons and Caron Yarns; Lion Brand Yarn; and Red Heart Yarns. The ten photos that receive the most votes on Facebook will be awarded runners-up prizes of an I Love Yarn Day tote bag containing the following prizes from contest sponsors (retail value over $300):

--All American Crafts: a copy of Knit ‘N Style, Knit 1•2•3 and Crochet 1•2•3, plus a free subscription to the magazine of the winner’s choice

-- Annie’s: a copy of Creative Knitting Magazine and Crochet Magazine

--Boye: knit and crochet accessories

-- Clover Needlecraft: a Knit Mate Accessory Kit and 29” Circular Knitting Needle

--Creative Partners: a knit and crochet book by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss

--Future US: a copy of Crochet Today Magazine

--Interweave: a copy of Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet and Knitscene magazines; plus Knitting Daily TV Series 900 DVDs

--Leisure Arts:  a Knook Beginner Kit

--Soho Publishing: one copy each of Vogue Knitting Anniversary Issue, Knit Simple, Debbie Bliss magazine, Noro magazine; plus a set of Knit Notes--books for recording projects

--TMA: a dozen skeins of yarn for each runners-up

The deadline for submissions is 11:59 p.m. EST on Oct. 15, 2012 (three days after the official I Love Yarn Day on Oct. 12), with voting open to the public until 11:59 p.m. EST on Oct. 22, 2012.

I Love Yarn Day Special Events 

In addition the Facebook photo contest happening all month, thousands of yarn lovers will be sharing their fiber passion and fashion this Oct. 12, 2012 in their hometowns around the country.

National retailers A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts, Michaels and Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores will be participating in I Love Yarn Day on their websites and in social media. In additional, many local yarn stores around the country will be hosting their own events.

Last year on I Love Yarn Day, Girl Scout Cadette Troop #6141 in LaMesa, Calif., celebrated the day by making “teenie beenie” for preemies at their local hospital. Ben Franklin Crafts and Frames in Redmond, Wash., invited customers to the I Love Yarn NIGHT. The store stayed opened until midnight and customers yarn bombed the store.

Other people posted to the I Love Yarn day website that they honored the day last year by:

  • Taking their yarn to work 
  • Giving away 500 knitted and crocheted heart pins with a tag that said: knit it, crochet it, spin it, WEAR IT
  • Yarn bombing their front yard
  • Teaching someone to crochet
  • Getting together for a pizza party and knitting before going back to work.

The idea for I Love Yarn Day started with a group of people (yarn enthusiasts of course) who were sitting around a table one day and mused: “What if all of us, and all of the people we know, agree to post, blog, tweet and show off yarns in some way on the same day? Imagine the impact this demonstration would have, virally and otherwise.”

Are you planning an I Love Yarn Day event? We’d love to hear from you! E-mail with information on your plans for Oct. 12.

Additional Resources
Twitter: @ILoveYarnDay
Hashtags: #ILoveYarnDay; Contest entry hashtag: #YarnDayContest

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Do I really need to swatch?

On the Ravelry Knitting at Large board, a participant asks the most-asked knitting question ever: do I really need to swatch? The admittedly novice knitter hates wasting her time making little squares that are good for absolutely nothing.

I understand her pain and countless knitters over the centuries have shared her sentiment. But I have to disagree. Those little squares make the difference between a sweater that fits and one that doesn't.

Webs, the world's favorite yarn store, yesterday posted a photograph that paints a thousand words. Using exactly the same yarn, stitch count, and needle size, two women knitted swatches - and got completely different gauges. If their cardigan pattern calls for a gauge of 4.5 inches, they'd both be wrong! And end up with sweaters that don't fit.

So yes, Virginia, if you want to make a sweater that matches a pattern, you must swatch. You will indeed end up with a bunch of little squares, but when you're done, you can turn them into Christmas ornaments. Here's an Interweave pattern that shows how.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Delicious Danish

Lourien writes:
Hi Julie,
Some months ago I discovered your website Knitting at Large. That was a great moment in my (knitting) life! After years and years of “crying” and being in low spirit, I finally found some good patterns for my xx(x)l size! So thanks for all your pioneer work, your sense of humor etc. :-)  
So my first reason to write you this mail is to thank you, my second one is to ask you what you think about the patterns of Annette Danielsen (Denmark), especially these from Strik i stor stil. I like these patterns very much. It’s a modern style and the colorwork is different. The problem is that these patterns are written in Danish - there’s just one in English on Ravelry.  
By mail, Annette Danielsen told me that it’s too expensive for her to get the book translated in English  As most of her other books, Strik i stor stil will be available in German. Probably in spring 2013.  
Nevertheless I ordered her book, the Danish version. I will first try “kringlen.” So with the explanation of the pattern in English as well with the help of some internet knitting translation sites, I hope I can manage it! Perhaps there are some Danish plus size ladies in the Knitting at Large group who can help if there’s a problem?
Wish you all the best and as autumn and winter are approaching: a warm and happy 2012-2013 knitting season! 
My goodness! A thousand thanks to Lourien for bringing to our attention this beautiful book which is called Knit in Great Style in English. I bet you will be thrilled with the designs like I am  - and all modeled by ample women, too. The patterns, which come in sizes up to 52 inches, give you the option of straight sides, A-line shaping, or waist shaping. This is the approach I took in my Carnation Vest pattern, and it's great to see another designer provide these options for larger women who have more variable figures.

The Slideben is my favorite because I know from experience that large collars help balance my mighty derriere and frame my face nicely, too. I would love to make this cardigan and I know I'd wear it all the time, too.

I'm loathe to try circle sweaters because of my belly, but there are some ample gals out there who would look splendid in the remarkable Kringlen. Look at the innovative colorwork on the back of the sweater! I've never seen anything like it. This is the one design that has been translated into English.

Can you say Saturday sweater? That's what I'd be wearing every weekend if I owned this dolman pullover. Annette calls it Kimono, which is an apt name given the fit.

It's rare to find a knitwear design that you haven't seen in some other form somewhere else. Knitting is by it's very nature derivative. Designers routinely take a cable from this and lace from that and make a new pattern. But Annette broke the mold with this creation. I love it, and no, I do not think it would make you look fat -  it would make you look beautiful. I have no idea how to pronounce the pattern name, nor what it means, but this design is called Først den ene vej.

I'm showing you four patterns from the book, but there are seven more, too. Annette offers a flip book that you should definitely check out if your like these sweaters.

As Lourien reports, the book will be available in German next year. If I can get the book (still working on how to actually buy this), I'm going to take Lourien's challenge, buy this book, and see if I can figure it out. With all the translation software out there, along with that great knitting translation site Lourien mentioned, this must be doable. Or maybe if enough of us buy Annette's book, she'll consider translating future designs into English. I am certain we'd buy them if she did.