Saturday, April 19, 2014

Review & Giveaway :: Knitted Accessories with Koigu & Short Row Slip Stitch

Since I've been completely worthless at posting lately, I thought I'd pop in with a long overdue book review and giveaway. It's been ages since I've done one of these. And today I'll double up to give you not one, but two chances to win a great new book from Annie's. :)

The first book on the agenda is A Playful Palette of 10 Knitted Accessories by the talented and prolific designer, Tabetha Hedrick. (She and I are in a couple of Knit Picks collections together, as well as Free Spirit Shawls. Cool!) This book is made up of (you guessed it) 10 accessories, all of which use between one and four skeins of Koigu sock yarn (the gorgeous KPM and KPPM). And she's focused the collection on accessories that are appropriate to knit while traveling -- small projects that can be completed in a short amount of time and won't take up very much space in your travel bag. All of the projects are named after airports and look like fun instant gratification knits that you'll probably actually wear. Below are a few of my faves.

The Bethel Scarf. This project takes just 1 skein, and Tabetha claims it to be such a fast knit that she completed hers during a 2.5 hour flight! Bethel is long and lacey with the added bonus of diagrams for various ways of tying it.

Below is the less slouchy option for the the Garden City Hat. This is another one-skeiner and, though I can't say I'm a huge fan of this particular colorway, I think this hat is extremely cute. I'd probably choose a yarn more on the semi-solid side, but that's just me.

What project is better for traveling than socks?! The Nantucket Socks take 2 skeins for either the shorter or the longer version (shown below are the shorter). I love these. And I want some now.

Finally, we have the Hilo Scarflette, which takes 3 skeins of MC and 1 skein of CC. The MC is held double throughout and is worked in Fisherman's Rib with the semi-circle shape created with short rows. I originally thought the cool edging was made up of about a million bobbles, but it ends up it's a Picot BO done on a ruffle. Sounds much easier. :)

As always, the instructions look very clear and all techniques are helpfully spelled right out. The book is nice and lightweight, too, in keeping with the travel theme. You can find out more about this book on the Annie's website, and also on Amazon here.

But wait, we're not done yet!

The next book I want to talk about is a technique book: Learn Short Row Slip Stitch, by Nancy Nehring. Now I will be honest with you. When I heard "short row slip stitch", I thought we were talking about knitting and signed up for a review copy of the book right away. But I missed one crucial piece of information: this is crochet short row-ing...not knit. And I know very little about crochet. But I do know a lot about learning new techniques and following directions so, though I can't really speak to the technical aspects of this book, I can tell you how well I think I'd be able to learn from it. And I think that would be pretty well.

The introduction is great and includes very clear instructions for how to do crochet slip stitch ribbing (which looks exactly like knit ribbing!) and how to do a crochet short row. Little mini-patterns are included for practice swatches, and the author gives notes like "If your fabric does not stretch at least two times, then you are probably using the wrong loop", which I would find pretty handy. The stitch guide and diagrams on the back page are awesome, and I'm really tempted to get out a crochet hook and try to do one of these projects myself. Another nice thing about this book is that all 7 projects included are designed to help you master this technique. They are all basically rectangles that use short rows for shaping. So, really, just larger versions of the swatches. But, as we know, you can do a whole lot with short rows. For example...

Check out these cute little Flanders Poppies...

And the very neat striping pattern achieved in the Wedge Cowl...

Then the Four Seasons Top, rated more advanced, but it still seems to be pretty simple in construction. This is adorable!

 And I love the Cozy Vest. Can you believe that's not knitted? Totally fooled me.

You can check out the book on the Annie's website or on Amazon.

OR, for a chance to win your own copy of one of these books, leave a comment here telling me which one you're more interested in. (Hopefully there are a few crocheters among you!) You have until 11:59pm Pacific time this coming Friday (the 25th), and I'll draw a winner for each book on Saturday morning.

Thanks for playing, and happy Easter to everyone!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Happenings : Knit Culture Studio/ LA Yarn Crawl

So what's everyone doing this weekend? If you're in Southern California you probably already know this is going on, but just in case....did you know that April 3-6 is the big LA Yarn Crawl? Don't you want to go??  I sure do!

As part of the Yarn Crawl festivities, I've teamed up with Knit Culture Studio on a couple of fun things. Number one is a trunk show in their space that will run the entire month of April. If you stop by as part of the yarn crawl, please say hello to my samples for me! And if you can't make it this weekend, you have until the end of the month to go try on Glacerie, Mielie, Rioja, and others. The really cool thing about this is that my trunk show isn't alone! Some of my knitting buddies are represented as well, including Irish Girlie Knits, Leethal Knits, and Fresh Stitches. You can read more about it all on Knit Culture's blog.

Number two is pretty exciting to me. A new shawl, EXCLUSIVE to Knit Culture during the length of my trunk show. The Itineris pattern will be available there starting this weekend and I believe you get a yarn discount if you purchase it. It takes two skeins of Anzula Cloud and is very fun to make (if I do say so myself).  (Itineris will be available as a Ravelry download in May.)

I wish I could be there myself, so please let me know if you end up taking part in any of the Yarn Crawl LA festivities!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Patternum Novum: Aeon

Back in December, I drove over to my not-quite-local-but-used-to-be-so-close-enough Yarn Shop, Nine Rubies, to hang out with the knitters doing a KAL with my Mielie Vest, answer questions, talk about sizing, etc. And I ended up going home with 5 fabulous gorgeous skeins of Baah!'s worsted weight superwash merino yarn, Shasta. Of course, I wanted to cast on with it immediately -- right when I got my hands on it, I had visions of a sister vest to Mielie. Another big collar, pockets, easy shape, but this time with different patterning and draping fronts that were meant to be worn open, rather than fastened. Of course, designing always takes more time than you want it to, especially when there are pesky deadlines and commitments and such, so I'm pleased to finally be able to show you the results of that yarn and vision. Meet Aeon:

Aeon Vest - $5.50 via Ravelry (no account required)

Like it's sister vest, Aeon is knit from the top down, (mostly) in one piece. But Aeon starts with the collar and is separated into fronts and a back with some fun maneuvering, so you don't have to pick it up and knit it later.

There is subtle waist shaping at the sides, and deep, textured, twisted ribbing embellishing the collar and the open fronts. The back and fronts are split below the waist to make room for pockets, and the linings are picked up from the inside of the vest once everything is complete.  (So, if you don't want pockets, you can just knit everything in one piece to the hem.) The only seaming involved is fastening down those pocket linings, which makes this a pretty quick knit. For a garment, I mean. The twisted ribbing does take a little getting used to, but it's not at all complicated and I think it suits the semi-solid nature of this amaaaaaazing yarn perfectly.

The specs...

Size: Finished bust: 29 (32.5, 37, 41.5, 45.5, 49.5, 53, 57.5, 61)'' / 73.5 (82.5, 94, 105.5, 115.5, 125.5, 134.5, 146, 155) cm
Finished length from back neck to hem (excluding collar): 22 (22.5, 23.25, 24, 24.25, 24.25, 25, 25.5, 25.75)” / 56 (57, 59, 61, 61.5, 61.5, 63.5, 65, 65.5) cm
Finished back width: 11.5 (12.5, 14, 14.75, 14.75, 15, 15.25, 15.5, 15.75)”/ 29 (32, 35.5, 37.5, 37.5, 38, 38.5, 39.5, 40) cm
The sample is shown in size 32.5”/ 82.5 cm (bust) with no ease through the back. The fronts of this vest overlap quite a bit and are meant to be worn open, so, if in doubt choose the size with the back width measurement (i.e. a bit more than the length between bra straps) closest to your own.

Yarn: Baah! Shasta (100% Superwash Merino; 200 yds / 183 m per 100g); 4 (5, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 8, 8) skeins in London Blue
Or, 755 (850, 960, 1060, 1165, 1265, 1370, 1470, 1570) yds / 690 (775, 880, 970, 1065, 1155, 1255, 1345, 1435) m of a worsted weight yarn

Needles: US 6 (4 mm) circular needle, 24-60" / 60-150 cm long (depending on size made), or size needed to obtain gauge, and same size needles preferred for working a small circumference in the round (e.g. circular needle long enough for Magic Loop, dpns)

Gauge: 19 sts & 25 rows = 4" / 10 cm in Stockinette Stitch; 22 sts & 28 rows = 4”/ 10 cm in Twisted Ribbing

For more information about Aeon, you can check it out on Ravelry here. And, as always, please come chat about Aeon and share any in-progress or FO photos you might have in my Ravelry group!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Patternum Novum: Anthi

Have you seen, have you seen?  The new Knitty has gone live!  I am extremely pleased (and honored) to say that, over five years after Knitty included my very first published design (wow, those bangs...good times), I'm back in Knitty again.  Meet Anthi:

Anthi (which is a Greek woman's name that also means flowers) is a warmer-weather top knit in Anzula Cloud at a loose gauge. It features subtle waist shaping, some positive ease, and some vintage-inspired neck ties at the top of a little keyhole opening.

Anthi takes just two or three skeins of the Cloud (depending on size) and knits up pretty quickly, with its loose-ish gauge and short, cap sleeves.

To see all of Anthi's specifics and more photos, you can check her out on Knitty or on Ravelry, here.

P.S. If you wanted a Citron Kit but missed out before I donated them to the charity marketplace, you're in luck!  There were a couple of them left over (both Orange), and they're back in my Etsy shop.  And if you buy one, I will donate all proceeds to the charity the original marketplace was held for, Tiny Hands International.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Citron Kits - Last Chance!

I'm sorry things have been so quiet over here lately. There have been several things going on behind the scenes (both knitting-related and not) that I'm not at liberty to discuss right now, but it sadly means that the blogging groove I got into last fall has come to an abrupt halt. But there are tons of things I want to tell you about (including a VERY late post about our home renovations!!)...I just need to take a little time to get there.

And for now, I wanted to check in and let you know that on Thursday, I will be donating my remaining Citron Kits (amongst other things) to a big charity marketplace thingy. So, if you really really wanted one and haven't had a chance to snag it yet, now's your chance! :)  There are four flavors left, including...



Orange (with contrast tabs)

and Blood Orange

Also note that I have several yarn colors still in stock (red, yellow, green, pink -- everything I originally offered except for the teal) if you'd like to request something specific.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week, and I'll be back again here soon!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Patternum Novum: Starshower

So I know I just posted about this, like, two days ago. And I know that in that post I said that Starshower would only be available at the Anzula booth at Stitches West this weekend and that I wouldn't be releasing it into the wild for a little while after that. And I know that I just had another pattern release less than a week ago. But, as it ends up, Anzula has completely sold out of Starshower patterns, and so many people have asked about it, that I got a text message from them saying, "Hilary! You have to release it NOW!" And who am I to say no?

Starshower - $5 via Ravelry (no account required)

As described in my last post, Starshower is another of the cowl-shawl hybrids that I can't get enough of right now -- shaped like a shawl, but worked in the round -- and is large enough to wear as a capelet as well. The pretty Open Star Stitch pattern that encircles the piece nicely complements Anzula's just-sparkly-enough yarn, Nebula, and if you're not one for sparkle, any single skein of pretty fingering weight/sock yarn will do.

The specs...

Finished measurements: 22”/ 56 cm circumference at top opening; 17.5”/ 44.5 cm height at center

Yarn: Anzula Nebula 84% Merino, 16% Nylon (Polyamide); 400 yds/ 366 m per 115g; 1 skein in Sexy; Or 400 yds/ 366m of a fingering weight yarn

Needles: US 6 (4 mm) circular needle, 16-24”/ 40-60 cm long

Gauge: 19 sts & 32 rows = 4”/ 10 cm in Garter Stitch; 18 sts & 27 rows = 4”/ 10 cm in Open Star Stitch

For more information on Starshower, you can check it out on Ravelry here.  And if you'd like to knit along with others and/or share photos, come join the Starshower discussion in my Ravelry group, The Yarniad's Symposium.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Starshower - A Sneak Peak

As I mentioned earlier this week, I'm a little bit obsessed right now with shawls knit in the round as cowls. Or cowls knit as shawls. Or whatever you want to call it. Because once I got that idea in my head, I just couldn't let it go.

Starshower is knit with a single skein of Anzula's just-sparkly-enough Nebula yarn in their new colorway, Sexy, and is constructed, again, like a shawl. Top down, starts with a garter tab CO, with regular increases worked until it is joined to work in the round. This cowl features the pretty Open Star Stitch pattern -- each band looks like a sprinkling of stars...

and it is large enough to wear as a capelet, if you so choose.

Starshower will be making its debut at the Anzula booth at the Stitches West marketplace this weekend -- stop by to pick up a copy of the pattern, along with your choice of pretty, pretty yarn, and to see the sample in person!

And if you happen to see me loitering in the booth, please say hello!