Posts Tagged ‘knit pattern’

Big, Bigger, Biggest

Friday, January 13th, 2017
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I realized that my last two substantive projects (sweaters, that is) were both knit in teeny, tiny yarn. Usually I’m a fan of a gauge that is smallish, but it just takes too darn long. And my hands ache by the time I’m seaming.

I went back to an old fave, Rowan Big Wool. About 10 years ago, I knit a sweater in this yarn and I remembered that feeling of being able to finish not one, but two sleeves in an evening. It’s BIG. In a good way. Less than 2 stitches to 1 inch on size 17-19 needles. It’s like knitting with two broomsticks! But for a small project like a hat, a cowl, a scarf, even a vest, you’ll get that superhero feeling of making a garment in no time at all. Big Wool is 100% merino wool, tightly plied, so it’s not fuzzy. A generous 100-gram ball gives the knitter plenty of bang for not a lot of bucks. Even more enticing, when you buy 5 skeins of Big Wool, we’ll give you the Rowan Archive Collection Big Wool book FREE! Lots of great patterns that use this lovely stuff to its best advantage are in this treasure trove.

Rowan Big Wool and Amy's plans for a quick knit on the WEBS Blog, read more at blog.yarn.com

Because I love the feeling of being wrapped up in a blanket, I might make the Pioneer Cape, a really smart shoulder covering that will stay in place, unlike a shawl or a scarf. The color palette is muted but expansive, giving you just the range you’d like for a conspicuous yarn like this. Now go, knit like the wind!

First Watch Pea Coat – new design and a giveaway!

Monday, January 9th, 2017
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Marie Greene, from Olive Knits has just released a new design knit in our Valley Yarns Berkshire. Her First Watch Pea Coat is a lovely modern take on the classic pea coat, with subtle, crisp details that make this sweater a classic piece that you will wear for years. We asked Marie to share the story of this design.

First Watch Pea Coat from Olive Knits, read about the design journey of this knit, and enter to win the yarn and pattern on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Design Insights:

For me, knitwear design usually always begins with a structure or a place – a bridge, a coastline, an outdoor marketplace. I am always open to inspiration in unexpected places, and more often than not it’s the littlest things that kick off an idea.

My philosophy is simple: I want my designs to be timeless and wearable, but equally important – I want them to be portable. I’m a knitter on the go, and I design with this in mind. I knit during meetings, at the beach, when I travel, when I’m visiting friends – I am never without a project. Some projects travel well and some don’t, but I find that the more portable a project is, the easier it is to finish. (And the sooner I finish, the sooner I can wear it, right?)

First Watch was inspired by my home near the Oregon Coast – a place where the ocean breezes can cut right through several layers (even when you think you’ve bundled up enough).  I’ve always loved the minimal style of a pea coat; it’s a perfect example of form and function, and this one – knit with Valley Yarns Berkshire at a relatively dense gauge makes for a toasty fabric that holds its own on a cold day. The yarn blocks beautifully and provides clear stitch definition for ribbing and details. The result is a sturdy, totally wearable piece that you’ll find yourself reaching for again and again throughout the cold season. Best of all, it’s a quick, seamless knit with the button band worked right along as you go.

Designed for sizes 32-52 with a little ease for layering, First Watch is a versatile piece that you’ll love so much you’ll wear it every time the temperature drops.

First Watch Pea Coat from Olive Knits, read about the design journey of this knit, and enter to win the yarn and pattern on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

 

I have to agree with Marie, I love it, and  I just have to decide what color of Berkshire I’m going to use. For more info on Marie or her Olive Knits designs please follow her on Ravelry or Instagram.

THANKS TO EVERYONE THAT PARTICIPATED! This Giveaway is now closed.

Now for the Giveaway! Tell us what color of Berkshire you’d like to use and where you heard/saw about this giveaway in the comments and you’ll be entered to win a copy of the pattern and a full sweater quantity of Berkshire to knit your own First Watch! The giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada, and closes at 11:59pm EST Sunday, January 15th.

Please use a valid email address when creating your comment account, anonymous comments prevent us from contacting you if you are the winner. The winner will be chosen using a random number generator,  the comment with that number will be the winner.  If the winner has not responded to requests after 1 week a new winner will be chosen using the same method.

(No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Only comments on this blog post count as an entry. Entries must include a preferred color of Valley Yarns Berkshire and the platform where the entrant learned about the giveaway. The winner will be announced here on the WEBS Blog on Monday, January 16th.)

Mind Over Matter

Friday, December 16th, 2016
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I’ve been unsettled lately. The universe seems to be sending me (and lots of people I know) signs that we need to simplify, focus, cultivate warmth and compassion. Of course, I turn to knitting, as it is one of the crafts I can count on to engage my mind without leaving much room for thinking about what seems to be a bleak next few months. A yarn I’ve been loving is West Yorkshire Spinners Illustrious, a serious wooly wool that isn’t scratchy or fuzzy. West Yorkshire Spinners are based in England (of course!) and source their wool locally, processing it in a very traditional way on state of the art equipment. It’s the best of both worlds or handmade craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology. The result is a tightly spun DK-weight yarn in 12 delicious colors to use as you’d like. Stranding, cables, textures, open-work; Illustrious can do it all.

West Yorkshire Spinners Illustrious yarn and pattern collection. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

West Yorkshire Spinners commissioned designer Emma Wright to come up with a series of garments, accessories, and wearables to showcase Illustrious, and her 11 patterns reflect the design process from start to finish. I’ve been eyeing a fantastic colorwork cardigan called Hermione so I can use as many of those 12 colors as possible.

What kind of knitting takes you to a happier place? Let us know in the comments.

New Designs for Valley Yarns Northfield!

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
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With the last days of summer fast approaching and school starting again it’s time to begin thinking about knits for the cooler weather. Our two newest designs feature Valley Yarns Northfield, my favorite yarn! Not only does the blend of Merino, Baby Alpaca and Silk create an incredibly soft and bouncy yarn with a gorgeous sheen, but it’s also incredibly affordable!

The Irena Pullover from Valley Yarns. Learn more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Fiona’s latest design for Valley Yarns is the Irena Pullover with stunningly simple cable and eyelet  details at the neck, hem and on the sleeves.

The First Frost Hat from Valley Yarns. Learn more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

And Carol’s whimsical First Frost Hat may just be the perfect first lace project!

With a full range of rich colors of Northfield to choose from your biggest decision may not be which project to cast on for first, but which color to use!

The Shenandoah Valley Shawl

Friday, July 22nd, 2016
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I love a good wrap. A nice wide shawl that I can snuggle into like a great knitted hug is a real comfort, but I don’t necessarily want to look like I’m wearing a blanket. The new Shenandoah Valley Shawl designed by Katharine Malcolm is that perfect shawl! Knit in our Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk it is gauzy and ephemeral but amazingly warm and cozy.

The Shenandoah Valley Shawl from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn, the designer, and where you can get your copy of the pattern on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

The silk give the yarn strength and shine, while the alpaca give it that surprising warmth and a soft fuzzy halo. With a decreasing pattern of cables forming a mountain shaped border at each end and a gentle striping effect of stockinette and yarn overs, reminiscent of the rivers and streams, you get to see the best of the Shenandoah Valley in this shawl, the gorgeous Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains as well as the James and Potomac rivers. And with the bonus of the incredible yardage of the 2/14 Alpaca Silk being offered on cones you will only have 2 tails to weave in at the ends of this project!

Katharine talked to us about herself and how this design came to be.

When did you learn to knit? 

I taught myself how to knit before I was ten years old, a long time ago. The first article I can remember knitting was a woolen turtleneck, shaped, full fashioned sweater with mock cables on the front and the back. I was 12 at the time. In my college years, everyone knit in class. I knit my model train loving fiance a pair of socks with an original train on the side, but never thought of it as designing. The same was true as I knit for my sons and nephews, including whole animal families of hand puppets. It wasn’t until I became a TKGA Master Hand Knitter that I realized that what I had been doing for years was designing. I have been knitting my own designs ever since.

What prompted you to start designing?

I tend to find a design that I want to create in knitting and as I proceed, my ideas grow. That was the case with the Shenandoah Valley Shawl. It started as a project to work on a train trip and as I knit, I did not want it to be the same throughout, so I created the triangles. As I worked the shawl that you see I realized, looking out the window that the color matched the Blue Ridge Mountains. From another window I can see the Appalachian range and the Shawl fit in perfectly. Many of my designs evolve as I knit.

Give us a glimpse into your design process, where/how do you find inspiration?

When I was working towards the Masters Program for The Knitting Guild Association, I decided that since I lived on an alpaca farm, that I would create the yarn for the project. As a result, it was not only an original design for the vest and the long coat, but they were both knit from a one of a kind yarn.

What did you love about the Valley Yarn you worked with?

I loved the feel of the Alpaca/Silk. The silk adds a sheen to the alpaca and I loved working in color. I have been knitting with my hand spun, but none of the alpacas come in Whipple Blue!

The Shenandoah Valley Shawl from Valley Yarns. Learn more about the yarn, the designer, and where you can get your copy of the pattern on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

With a gorgeous combination of lace and cables, this light and airy yet scrumptiously warm shawl could be the perfect accessory, and with almost 30 colors of 2/14 Alpaca Silk to choose from you’re sure to find one that’s perfect for you. Download your copy of the pattern now and cast on!

 

Best In Class

Friday, July 15th, 2016
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Every June, I am honored to celebrate another class of graduates from the WEBS Expert Knitter Certification Program. We just had our graduation and 9 new designers have been launched into the knitting universe! Our very swanky ceremony was held at a very nice hotel/conference center nearby for the first time ever–because we’ve outgrown our former celebration venue otherwise known as “the back classroom.” Want to see some eye candy?

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Our graduates this year are, from left to right, Lorraine McGough, Sara Gibbons, Liz Frosch-Dratfield, Andy Tarr, Alexis Price, Lindsey Lindequist, Susan Baron, Donna Smith, and missing from the photo is graduate Cindy Romaniak. Each created a masterpiece of design and construction using the skills learned in the 16 required classes that make up the WEKP, as we call it.

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

This year’s sweaters ran the gamut of texture and construction. Susan Baron made an absolutely perfect coat in Madelinetosh Chunky; the detail was incredible. From the complicated math she used to figure out how to end a cable at the shoulder seam, to the ingenious use of a sport-weight yarn as a facing for the heavier front panel of the jacket, Susan made a garment that any professional designer would be proud to call their own. And, she got the stamp of approval from the designer herself when Amy Hendrix, the co-owner of Madelinetosh, saw Susan’s Capstone at her appearance at WEBS and loved it.

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Alexis Price made a lovely cabled pullover, keeping it traditional in her yarn and color choice, but making it her own with shaping and textural details. You can see the pride she takes in her Aran sweater (as well she should!).

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Cindy Romaniak’s complex paneled design contains a number of elements completely unique to her design sensibility. Her use of several different stitch patterns, unique Empire shaping, directional knitting, and eye-catching colorwork made this garment stand out.

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Sara Gibbons created an exquisite saddle-shoulder lace-and-cable sweater with 3/4 sleeves and knit it in a heathery green that beautifully complements her coloring. Sara was the most independent of our designers, needing only to consult her mentor Kirsten Hipsky for a few final questions about her finishing. Sara’s design was inspired by a sweater of her mother’s and she really nailed the essence of that earlier sweater.

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Lindsey Lindequist achieved the impossible – she finished her Capstone sweater while caring for a 2-year-old and a newborn. My hat is off to her! Her 2-color cable and sweet “Tree of Live” design on her front pockets (pockets! yes!) add standout elements to a reverse-stockinette background. Congrats, Lindsey!

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Lorraine McGough’s “Butterfly Sweater” (as she and I both called it) reflects her sunny personality as well as her perseverance. She knit the front as one piece and then steeked it (in order to preserve the unity of her butterfly eyelet stitch pattern), and knit intarsia butterflies around the shoulders and hem. Her sunny yellow color choice and bright bursts of color were exactly what she planned.

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Donna Smith made a designer’s dream sweater: she used stitch patterning to shape the back design of her cabled rib cardigan. The placement of her buttons emphasized the vintage look of her swing design and the blue color she chose added the perfect final touch.

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Andy Tarr had a tough year but still managed to pull off one of the most beautiful sweaters we’ve seen–and the complexity involved in her yarn and design made her dedication to her project even tougher. Andy hand-dyed Valley Yarns Huntington in shades of lavender and purple to achieve a gradient pattern, and she knitted a contrasting lace overlay as the front panel of her cardigan. It can be worn either buttoned on both sides as a fitted cardi, or open, as a draped open piece. Either way she wears it, the craftsmanship is evident in every detail.

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Liz Frosch-Dratfield had a rough year as well–and almost decided to wait to finish her sweater. However, with some persuasion, she decided to forge ahead (since I knew she’d been planning her Capstone design for over a year!) and her finished design is absolutely exquisite. Knit in Valley Yarns Northfield in purple and heathery green, she used a leaf motif throughout. The ties in front, the hemline, and the sleeves showed off hand-crafted leaves, and the lace patterning echoed the leaves, climbing like vines up the front and back panels of her cardigan. The final result is a flattering and eye-catching work of art.

I’m so proud of this year’s grads. Huge thank yous go to our Capstone mentors: Stephanie Gibbs, Cyndi Shepard, Erin Holman, Ping Wood, Kirsten Hipsky, and Sara Delaney. A thank you as well to Kris Potasky of KP&Co Designs, who hand-made lovely, lovely matching bracelets as our gift to the graduates. And a final thanks to Kathy and Steve Elkins, who started the WEBS Expert Knitter Certification Program in 2008. It’s grown to almost 100 folks at present, and 34 have graduated since 2009. I hope you find inspiration in these designs.

Sequoyah Shawl

Thursday, June 16th, 2016
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Valley Yarns Charlemont is a fantastic yarn for transitional garments, like the Sequoyah Shawl by Mary Joy Gumayagay.

The Sequoia Shawl from Valley Yarns at yarn.com. More at blog.yarn.com

 

This generous half circle shawl is worked from the neck down and features bands of stockinette and modified Roman Stripe textured stitches divided by raised garter ridges. Easy increases help to keep the circular shape resulting in a shawl that rests beautifully on the shoulders.

We asked Mary Joy to tell us a bit about herself and her work.

When did you learn to knit?
I learned to knit in 2003, when an injury forced me to stop climbing for a few months. To pass the time I decided to try something crafty.

What prompted you to start designing?
I fell into designing accidentally, when I had a ball of worsted yarn and an urge to make something unique. Pre-Ravelry, it was a challenge to find patterns for a specific weight, or yardage, or project. So I looked through one of Barbara Walker’s Treasury of Knitting Patterns books, found something I liked, and made a leaf lace worsted weight scarf. A fellow knitblogger named Liesel asked me for the directions, and I ended up self-publishing my very first pattern, Liesel.

Give us a glimpse into your design process, where/how do you find inspiration?
I am inspired by experiences, which translate into color and texture, then by necessity, which translate into structure. If a stitch pattern and color are lovely together, I think of what sort of object the combination would be most appropriate as. Lately my inspiration has been the specific physical features––color, texture, shape—of the rock climbing areas I’ve visited, and I am translating that into a series of hat patterns. The Destination Series currently has three: Antalya, St. Leger, and Siurana.

Tell us one of your favorite knit/fiber stories.
I don’t have specific stories… But I’ve met a few climbers who are also knitters; that’s a specific sub-group.

Tell us about the Valley Yarn you worked with?
I worked with Valley Yarns Charlemont, a lovely yarn with enough silk to create a subtle sheen and drape. I particularly adore the jewel tones, but there are enough neutrals to satisfy every knitter.

The Sequoia Shawl from Valley Yarns at yarn.com. More at blog.yarn.comCharlemont has fantastic drape and shine from the silk, strength and durability from the Polyamide, and the merino keeps it soft and warm. Wrap up this Fall in a beautiful shawl, after spending a bit of your Summer knitting with a yarn that you’ll truly enjoy! Have you worked with Charlemont in the past?

Can I Like Plant Fibers?

Friday, April 8th, 2016
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The jury is still out, but I found two yarns whispering to me from their hidey-holes in the store that might sway me to the non-protein-fiber dark side.

In what has to be the most interesting confluence of fibers that I’ve encountered, Nettle Grove, from Plymouth Yarn Company, is a mix of 45% cotton, 28% linen, 12% nettle fiber (you read that right), and 15% silk. This tonal sport-weight yarn actually feels so soft and swingy, and has a beautiful sheen. It doesn’t have any of the inelasticity that I’ve grown accustomed to feeling in fabric knit in cotton or linen. It must be the nettle. In doing some internet research, I discovered that stinging nettle has been used for centuries to make luxurious cloth, especially in the British Isles. It’s closely related to flax and hemp, and once washed and finished, results in a soft, drapey fabric. Nettle Grove comes in 8 variegated colorways, and my favorite, hands-down, is a gorgeous orange called Sunrise. It looks like a creamsicle, and I’d make this swingy tank top with it in about 2 days.

Amy learns to love plant fiber yarns! Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Stacy Charles Fine Yarns Alicia is a fingering weight 100% linen yarn. I have documented my issues with linen here (stiff, hard to knit, no memory) but this one could be a game-changer, in that Stacy Charles encourages knitters to use a worsted-weight gauge for this smaller yarn. It really looks like embroidery thread, with saturated colors and a tight twist. Using a worsted gauge for Alicia will give projects an airiness that knitting to gauge ordinarily would not. The more this yarn is soaked and blocked, but softer it will become. If you’re looking for a project, the Allium Shell, designed by Joan Forgione, would really make the yarn the star. It’s a short-sleeved pullover, with a zig-zag bobble pattern that really makes the best use of the crisp stitch definition and smoothness you’ll get from this dedicated fiber.

What’ll you put on the needles when the weather heats up? Let us know in the comments!

Raising The Bar

Friday, March 11th, 2016
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In February, I worked at the WEBS booth at Stitches West, in California. So many folks wandered into our booth to see what goodies we had, and I had a blast helping them find great yarns (not hard) and walking them through patterns for projects they wanted to make. I kept hearing the same thing, which was usually a variation of “I’m not a very good knitter, I can’t make that pattern because it’s too hard, are you sure I can handle that yarn/pattern/needle size/stitch pattern?”

The first thing I ever knit was a sweater, and it remains the ugliest sweater ever, but because I started with something sort of difficult, I think I have a bit more confidence about some things in the knitting world than I might if I had just stuck with scarves or hats. I would never say I’m a fantastic knitter, but I can get a project done without much whining and I love stitch textures like cables and knit/purl combos.

The Mill River Cardigan knit in Valley Yarns Sunderland. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

In that vein, I am encouraging all knitters who have ever wanted to knit a sweater to choose our Valley Yarns pattern 668, the Mill River Cardigan. First of all, it’s knit in Sunderland, which is the softest, coziest, DK-weight baby alpaca I’ve ever felt. The lace panels on either side of the front button bands won’t weigh the sweater down, but will let air and light filter through the panels to create movement and loft. I personally think it’s a triumph of sweater design by our own Kirsten Hipsky.

It’s a classically shaped cardigan, knit in pieces and seamed at the shoulders, sides, and sleeves; you’ll pick up stitches for the two bands on each front piece and you can choose to put in buttons and buttonholes, or leave it open. Either way, you’ll get a sweater’s worth of fiber and finishing education. If you get stuck on anything, check out our website for technique videos — we’ve got a lot of help for you! Or go to your LYS, which, hopefully, is WEBS. Either way, once you finish this charming garment, you’ll be filled with a new confidence and ready for more!

What knitting challenge will you take on this year?

Another Fine Donegal I’ve Gotten Myself Into

Friday, February 26th, 2016
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vintage leaf sweater

Photo copyright Debbie Bliss

I have been loving Debbie Bliss’s Fine Donegal from afar these days, but I grabbed a skein to check out a particularly pleasing color this afternoon (it has an antiseptic number instead of a name, but if I were the Head Namer at Debbie Bliss, I would probably call it Pine Forest with New-Growth Leaves), and I fell in love with it all over again.  It’s a scrumptious blend of wool and cashmere in a sport-weight gauge of 6.5 stitches to an inch on US size 3’s, which is my sweet spot. My love was confirmed when I went wandering around on Ravelry to see what folks are making with this delicious stuff, and found The Vintage Leaf Sweater, designed by Debbie herself and found in the pattern book that supports this yarn (also called Fine Donegal). All the pictures in this book must have been taken on a really hot day because the model looks really mad. No matter; the garments drew me in and especially Ms. Vintage Leaf. Body-conscious, close-fitting at the neck, and with a hypnotic twisted-stitch lace pattern that looks like –you guessed it — leaves. It has an afterthought collar, and elbow-length sleeves that add even more class.

It’s snowing here today, and even though we had the coldest weekend ever, I’m hopeful that looking at some sweet tweedy yarn will bring a little spring to mind. Happy knitting!