Monday, September 15, 2014

Patternum Novum :: Cassini Cardigan

About a million years ago (or at least it feels like it), I created three pieces for my featured designer spot in Knitscene's Summer 2013 issue. One of them was the Saturn Cardigan which was at the time and has remained one of my favorite designs.


I started it in San Francisco International Airport waiting for our flight to South Africa in September 2012 and, by the time we boarded, had finished the first two raised stripes. Ten hours and three movies later, we were in South Korea and I was separating the sleeves from the body. By the time we were on safari some days later I was working on the sleeves, and I finally added the button bands in Stellenbosch wine country. Lots of memories are knit into this cardigan, including my touching experience with a young guard at the embassy (I talk about it at the end of this post)...and I personally think it's cute, too.

Which is why I'm thrilled to say that it is now available as an individual download, with updated pattern instructions, a broader range of sizes, fresh tech editing, and a brand new name.


Cassini Cardigan - $5 via Ravelry (no account required)
 

The specs...

Finished Measurements: Finished bust: 30 (32.75, 35.75, 40.25, 43.75, 48.25, 52.25, 56.25, 60.25)”/ 76 (83, 91, 102, 111, 122.5, 132.5, 143, 153) cm
Length from back neck to hem: 20.5 (20.5, 21.75, 22.5, 23.25, 23.25, 23.75, 24, 24.25)”/ 52 (52, 55, 57, 59, 59, 60.5, 61, 61.5) cm
Sample shown in size 32.75” / 83 cm with 1.25”/ 3 cm of negative ease in the bust.

Yarn: MC: Shibui Knits Sock (100% Merino; 191 yds / 175 m per 50 g); 5 (5, 5, 6, 7, 7, 8, 8, 9) skeins in #2003 Ash
Or, 800 (875, 955, 1075, 1170, 1290, 1395, 1505, 1610) yds/ 730 (800, 875, 985, 1070, 1180, 1275, 1375, 1470) m of a fingering weight yarn
CC: Shibui Knits Sock; 1 skein in #0340 Kiwi
Or, 25 (30, 35, 35, 40, 45, 50, 50, 55) yds/ 25 (25, 30, 30, 35, 40, 45, 45, 50) m of a fingering weight yarn similar to MC

Needles: US 4 (3.5 mm) circular needle, 29-60” / 73-150 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: 22 stitches & 29 rows = 4"/ 10 cm in Garter Stitch

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

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Faux Taxidermy Knits :: A Review + Giveaway

Hey there! Today I'm excited to share a very fun book with you. "Faux Taxidermy?!" you might be saying. "That sounds creepy!!" you might be saying. But bear with me...these are some clever and adorable knits.


When I first saw the cover of Louise Walker's Faux Taxidermy Knits, I'll be honest -- the fox stole on the cover reminded me a whole lot of a design by my pal Tiny Owl Knits. But upon closer inspection, I realized that not only were the designs completely different, but these two designers have aesthetics all their own. Absolutely no ripoffs here.

So, Faux Taxidermy Knits. This book is a riot and each design had me smiling. The pieces in the book are definitely modeled after, well, dead animals, but what's so not-creepy is that they're so cute! They're all knitted in such a way that they don't look like dead animals. They look like happy animals thrilled to be accessorizing your outfit or decorating your home.

The book is split into two sections: Wearables (hats, stoles, slippers, and the like) and Habitat (mounted animal heads, a door stop, pheasants to hang in your kitchen, that kind of thing), and each design is more charming than the last. Here are a few of my favorites:

Raccoon Hat (I dare you not to smile when you see this)...

Photography © F&W Media International Ltd

Wolf Headdress (this is really beautiful, IMO)...

Photography © F&W Media International Ltd

Moose Head (seriously. adorable.)...

Photography © F&W Media International Ltd

and Bear Coasters (LOVE)...

Photography © F&W Media International Ltd

In addition to the pretty photos, each pattern includes charts or line-by-line instructions, clear diagrams for assembly, dimensions -- everything you'd need. Though I haven't made any of them (yet!), the patterns seem extremely thorough, which is nice for unconventionally constructed pieces such as these. And there's a thorough technique section in the back diagramming any knitting maneuvers one might not be familiar with, as well as a write-up on measuring gauge. Fantastic!

All in all: I love this book. LOVE IT. The designs are quirky and fun, and it's beautiful to look at while you're planning which project you're going to make next.

You can check out more about Faux Taxidermy Knits, here and see more lovely knitting book offerings on the Stitch Craft Create books page.

OR, if you'd like to win your very own copy of Faux Taxidermy Knits, leave me a comment here telling me a) which type of knitted animal you'd be most likely to wear and b) a place to contact you (RavID, email address, etc.). You have until 11:59pm Pacific time next Tuesday, 16 September, and I'll draw a winner on Wednesday morning.

And be sure to check out the Blog Hop Schedule - there have been and will be several more looks inside Faux Taxidermy Knits and chances to win in the next couple of weeks.

Good luck, and happy knitting!

http://ideas.stitchcraftcreate.co.uk/faux-taxidermy-knits-blog-hop/




Friday, September 5, 2014

An Interview with Robin Hunter

Hi there, and happy September! I hope everyone's month is off to a good start.

I'll be back with more soon (including a giveaway, woo hoo!), but wanted to pop by and let you know that an interview I did with Robin Hunter has just gone live. If you're curious about my business plan (spoiler: I don't have one, eek!) and how I handle criticism as a professional designer, you can check it out right here.

Happy Friday!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Patternum Novum: Auri

Back at TNNA in May, I had the opportunity to chat with the lovely Mira (another California gal) of Baah! Yarns and she told me about her new yarn, Aspen, a loooovely blend of merino, silk, and cashmere. I jumped at the opportunity to design with it and grabbed three colors that seemed fated to be together - Sirena, Sky, and Misty - and this breezy wrap is what came of it. Introducing: Auri.


Auri Wrap - $5 via Ravelry (no account required)
  


Auri is an asymmetrical crescent-like wrap named for the Ionic Greek word for breeze, whose super-simple stripe pattern creates a beautiful gradient that, in these colors, reminds me of ocean mist in the early morning. (Though I do think you could use some contrasty colors and it would look pretty amazing.) After experimenting for quite a bit, I think I've finally nailed down the increase rate for creating the ideal crescent from the top-down -- I combine that with some easy short rows in Auri to create a crescent wrap that has enough depth in the center without being a million miles across at the top. In garter stitch, this wrap is nice and soothing, but the stripes and increase sequence will keep things from getting boring.


The specs...

Finished Measurements: 79”/ 200.5 cm along top edge; 18”/ 45.5 cm height at thickest part of center

Yarn: Baah! Aspen (75% Merino, 15% Silk, 10% Cashmere; 330 yds/ 302 m per 100g); 1 skein each of Sirena (A), Sky (B), and Misty (C)
Or, 3 colors of a fingering or sport weight yarn: 230 yds/ 210 m of A, 300 yds/ 274 m of B, and 320 yds/ 292 m of C (850 yds/ 777 m total)

Needles: US 6 (4 mm) circular needle, at least 32”/ 80 cm long, or size needed to obtain gauge
Gauge: 19 stitches & 44 rows = 4"/ 10 cm in Garter Stitch

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

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Patternum Novum :: Aeris

A new day, a new pattern...my first collaboration with The Plucky Knitter is up on Ravelry and I couldn't be more excited. Meet Aeris:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/aeris

Aeris (Latin for of copper) is a slightly asymmetrical triangular wrap knit in textured and eyelet-y stitch patterns with Plucky's ultra-luxurious Bello Worsted yarn. I love how the yarn takes the stitch patterns...

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/aeris

and I love how this fun shape allows the wrap to be worn by wrapping just one long end around you instead of two. (Less dangling.) And when you add stripes? Hoo boy, it's even better.

http://www.thepluckyknitter.com/blog/
© The Plucky Knitter

http://www.thepluckyknitter.com/blog/
© The Plucky Knitter

Aeris will be available as part of exclusive kits that will go live on The Plucky Knitter blog tomorrow, Sunday, August 10th, at 6pm EDT -- so mark your calendars! Sarah will be offering two and three skein kits (the three skein-ers make a larger shawl like hers) with her Bello Worsted, Cozy, and Scholar yarn bases, as well as some stunning stripe sets (which you can see right now on the Plucky Knitter blog).


You can find out more about Aeris - sizing, yardage, specifications - on Ravelry right here.

And don't forget to click over to the Plucky Knitter blog tomorrow at 6pm Eastern time!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Patternum Novum: Poua Pullover

Just today, Knit Picks released a brand new collection for Fall (is it almost fall already?!), called Burnished. Burnished is all about exploring the colors and textures of fall, with interesting colorwork, cables, and shapes. My own contribution is Poua, a simple, polka-dotted, raglan-yoked pullover that immediately became a favorite of mine. (And my sample for which I wore this Christmas, even though I probably shouldn't have.)


Poua features a very simple fair isle pattern that creates fun polka dots against a neutral background. The body and sleeves are worked from the bottom up in the round, the body with subtle waist shaping. They are then joined at the raglan yoke and continued in the round until bind offs and decreases worked flat shape the crew neck. The collar ribbing is picked up after the yoke is complete.


Poua is meant to be worn with some positive ease, but it would be quite cute worn with a more fitted look as well. (Actually, that's how I myself wore it. I'll get some modeled shots when I'm not sporting a large pregnant belly and an extra 30 pounds.)


The specs...

Sizes: 28.75 (32, 37, 40.5, 43.75, 48.75, 52.25, 57.25, 60.75, 64)” finished bust measurement ; meant to be worn with 0-2" of ease.

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted Weight (100% Peruvian Highland Wool; 110 yards/50g): MC Seraphim 25974, 6 (7, 8, 9, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 13) balls; CC Bittersweet Heather 24652, 2 (2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3) balls

Needles:
US 6 (4mm) 24-60” circular needles (length needed depends on size made), 16-20” circular needles (for collar), and DPNs, or two 24” circular needles for two circulars technique, or one 32” or longer circular needle for Magic Loop Technique, or size to obtain gauge

Gauge: 19 stitches and 24 rows = 4" in Stockinette Stitch
You can check out more about the Poua Pullover and the Burnished Collection on the Knit Picks' website here and on Ravelry here.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Patternum Novum :: Hawkes

Last Friday, Kelbourne Woolens announced the release of the newest Fibre Company yarn, Knightsbridge, a blend of baby llama, wool, and silk in 14 gorgeous, rich, heathered, wonderful, omgilovethem colors. And to go with the yarn, they also released a 15-pattern collection inspired by menswear and the English countryside. (You should see the mood board. It was instant inspiration.) I am thrilled and honored to say that one of my own designs was included amongst those fifteen. Here is Hawkes:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/hawkes
© Kelbourne Woolens + Amanda Stevenson Lupke  


Hawkes is an easy-to-wear pullover with long sleeves and lots of ease through the body. Rather than being colorblocked, it's "pattern-blocked", with Stockinette at the top (where all the shaping takes place) and heavily textured on the bottom with a simple ribbing pattern.

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/hawkes
© Kelbourne Woolens + Amanda Stevenson Lupke 

I designed Hawkes to be knit from the top down, starting with the back and with the fronts picked up from the shoulders and joined at the bottom of the crew neck. The sleeves are picked up from around the armholes and shaped with short rows -- this way I could do top-down construction and keep the flattering set-in sleeves I had in mind. If you've never done a short-row sleeve cap before -- never fear! It's much easier than it seems and gives, in my opinion, a great result.

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/hawkes
© Kelbourne Woolens + Amanda Stevenson Lupke

I encourage you to check out the whole collection on Ravelry or the Kelbourne Woolens website. And if you can get your hands on some of that gorgeous Knightsbridge, do it!