Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Pattern Novum :: Irida, new and improved

Last June, I was pleased as punch to have a shawl design included in the first issue of Ply Magazine. Since then, I've received several inquiries regarding if and when the design's pattern would be available as an individual download. Well, I'm happy to say that, as of today, it is -- and with some upgrades, too!

Irida - $5 via Ravelry (no account required)

The original Irida pattern (the rainbow flavor) came in just one size and was designed specifically for a skein of beautiful, one-of-a-kind ombré handspun yarn. It's a top-down triangle with a simple lacey chevron pattern that's great for beginning knitters - even those who have never made a shawl before. The new and improved Irida not only includes updated pattern instructions and photos, but also an option for a larger size, which I knit up with almost exactly one skein of the commercially available Kauni 8/2 Effektgarn (the one with the purples and pinks).

But any sport or fingering weight yarn will do, really. This pattern is highly customizable, and instructions have been given throughout the pattern to adapt it to your yarn. Also, if you don't have enough of an ombré yarn on hand, you can always use multiple colors of a similar-weight yarn -- I've added notes in the pattern for how to do that as well.

The specs...

Sizes: Small [Large]

Finished Measurements: Length of top, straight edge: 48”/ 122 cm [60”/ 152 cm] Height at center: 22”/ 56 cm [26”/ 66 cm]

Yarn: 450 yds/ 412 m [575 yds/ 526 m] of a sport weight yarn; shown in ombré handspun [Kauni 8/2 E ffektgarn (100% Wool, 656 yds/ 600 m per 150g) in color EYY]

Needles: US 6 (4 mm) circular needle, at least 24”/ 60 cm long, or size needed to obtain gauge

Gauge: 19 sts & 31 rows [16 sts & 27 rows] = 4”/ 10 cm in St st 19 sts & 34 rows [16 sts & 30 rows] = 4”/ 10 cm in Chevron Lace

A chart is provided in the pattern for the lace pattern as well as written instructions.

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

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Patternum Novum: Ultravioleta

Today, I'm very excited to announce that I have a pattern out. But it's not just any pattern. It's an extra-special pattern that's available only through the brand-spanking-new, limited edition, super fun shawl kits from Tanis Fiber Arts.

The pattern itself is Ultravioleta, an airy, feminine shawlette completely inspired by the gorgeous colorway (called Luxe) that Tanis dyed up just for these kits. These blues and purples could not be more perfect...

Each kit contains a copy of the pattern (which will be exclusively available in the kits until December), a skein of the yarn (TFA's Cosmic Blue Label Fingering Weight, by the way...it sparkles!), an extremely cute drawstring project bag by ZigZag Stitches, and some extra treats.

I encourage you to check out the kits on the Tanis Fiber Arts blog, and if you're curious about what exactly the pattern entails, you can see more details on Ravelry, here.

Monday, May 12, 2014

TNNA Recap 2014

Two weekends ago, the National Needlearts Association (TNNA) summer show was held in Indianapolis. For the uninitiated, these shows involve a giant convention center, lots of yarn companies, pattern designers, knitting notion vendors, and the like exhibiting their wares, and yarn shops from across the country/world coming to place their orders for the season. This was my fourth show, and my third time exhibiting with my wholesale, print-copy distributor, Deep South Fibers

Now, exhibiting is a lot of work. There's the whole booth-design and setup thing, and then there's the manning the booth for 7 hours a day trying to talk up my designs. (Which comes about as naturally to me as cutting off my own arm.) But it is also a LOT of FUN. Many of us in the knitting industry don't have an office we all report to, or a water cooler we can gather around when issues arise that affect all of us. We rarely see each other, but many of us have formed relationships over the internet. So these shows are an opportunity to get together, talk shop, talk life, network, and be a little social as well.

This year, I had the added bonus of a booth-helper. My wonderful friend, Brenda, who moved away from California about a year and a half ago (*sniffle*) met me in Indy to help with the booth. This was great (thank you, Brenda!), and I miss her terribly.

I feel like I've been really lucky in terms of TNNA booth-mates, and this year was no exception. I got to share with Lydia and Meghan from the UK-based knitting magazine, Pom Pom Quarterly, which I encourage you to check out immediately if you haven't already. It is a beautiful, clever, perfectly curated (does that word make sense in reference to a magazine?) magazine that is a perfect reflection of the beautiful, clever ladies behind it. (Needless to say, I subscribed right when I got home.)

Here are some images from the weekend...

My side of the booth. Couldn't leave out the Citron bunting!

The Pom Pom side (with Brenda holding down the fort during a lull in activity).

 The wall of Big Bad Wool (pretty!)

I snuck a photo with Shannon's design, Emery, which is part of the brand new issue of Pom Pom.

The Sexy Knitter, Sarah, and a baby!  (Not hers...he belongs to Kate of Tot Toppers, and was by far the most popular resident of Deep South Fibers booth city.)

Lucinda of Mont Tricot looking lovely in Lilas.

Dinner and prom-dress-spotting with Brenda and Amy.

Melynda of French Press Knits and Sarah of Fiber Story. I'd met Sarah on the first day through Melynda and Jill (of Knitterella) -- they all hail from Michigan -- and didn't realize until the last day that we were sharing a wall! (By the way, Fiber Story is another one to check out -- those are some really gorgeous hand dyed yarns. Sarah is not only an incredibly nice person, but an amazing dyer as well.) 

Trying on Vintage Bullion from Pom Pom (I want this).

And Lydia giving the thumbs up to my Spots Cowl

The giant dinosaur in the Wool Buddy booth...just because.

With Teresa of Canary Knits, super-talented designer, long-time blog-friend and birthday-twin.
Booth mates!

The whole Deep South Fibers gang. Bottom row, sitting (left to right) = Jill of Knitterella, Lydia and Meghan of Pom Pom, Meri of Amirisu, and me. Top, standing (left to right) = Jamie of Deep South Fibers, Toby Roxane Barna, Melynda of French Press Knits, Lori Versaci, Susan of Deep South Fibers, Olga Buraya-Kefelian, Kate of Tot Toppers, and Baby E.

Pregnant ladies! (with Triona Murphy and Melynda)  Oh, have I mentioned that I'm pregnant? :)  Due in late October and we don't know the gender yet, but should find out in a couple of weeks.

In celebration of my latest WIP, Canary Knits Teresa made and brought this freaking adorable little baby top. And yes, that is a hand made felt owl that fits perfectly inside the pocket. Not only is this perhaps the cutest thing I have ever seen in my life, but I was so touched by this gift that I can't stop tearing up every time I think of it. Thank you, Teresa!

If you're interested, there are some more great recaps of the weekend at Canary Knits, Brenda, Julie Turjoman (oooh, and stay tuned for more about Julie and her new book, Knits that Breathe!), and Knitterella.

And, the last item of business: Instagram. After getting several "talkings-to" at TNNA by various friends,  I've finally revisited my long-neglected Instagram account. I have trouble keeping up with more than one form of social media at a time, see, but Instagram just feels so friendly. Anyway, I've actually been posting there and would love to be friends! You can find me here, as xilary.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Patternum Novum: Itineris

About a month ago, I posted about a new shawl I was releasing exclusively through Knit Culture Studio for Yarn Crawl LA. Well, I'm pleased to say that the time has now come for Itineris to be released into the wild...

Itineris Shawl - $5 via Ravelry (no account required)

Itineris is a triangular garter stitch shawl with a simple but striking stripe pattern. This is hardly a new concept, but what makes Itineris different is its unique construction. The shawl starts out as one single stitch that grows and turns to form interesting intersections and angles. I knit most of the grey and bright pink one while on Christmas vacation and found it to be great, soothing project that I could work on even while chatting with my in-laws or getting my son to stop messing with the ornaments and lights.

The specs...

Finished Measurements: 66”/ 167.5 cm along top edge; 24”/ 61 cm height at center

Yarn: 700 yds/ 640 m of fingering weight yarn: 445 yds/ 407 m of MC and 255 yds/ 233 m of CC
Shown in Anzula Cloud (80% Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon; 575 yds/ 526 m per 114g) in Mulberry (light pink MC) and Charcoal (grey CC) and Anzula Cloud in Charcoal (grey MC) and Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light (100% Merino; 420 yds/ 384 m per 100g) in Torchere (bright pink CC)

Needles: US 6 (4 mm) circular needle, at least 24”/ 60 cm long, or size needed to obtain gauge

Gauge: 22 stitches & 34 rows = 4"/ 10 cm in Garter Stitch

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

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Knitted Accessories with Koigu & Short Row Slip Stitch :: The Winners!

The random number generator has spoken (twice!) and we have two winners today....

First up, the winner of A Playful Palette of 10 Knitted Accessories is.....

Linda! Congratulations! I will send you a Ravelry message shortly.

And, now for Learn Short Row Slip Stitch...

Lari D, it's yours!

Lari, I don't have contact info for you (forgot to ask!), so if you could please shoot me an email at xilary [at] gmail [dot] com and let me know your mailing address, that would be great. Or leave a comment on this post letting me know your email address or Ravelry ID.  If I don't hear from you by the end of next weekend, I'll need to draw another winner.

Thank you, everyone, for playing and have a great weekend!

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!