CO Monday: a pair of design projects, and a bonus FO sweater

I have been disciplined lately, and have hardly cast on anything!  Woo.  But, I do have two new design projects share. One is for Classic Elite, which means I can’t tell you much; the other is an indie design project with splufty yarn from New Zealand, and I can tell you alllll about that one.  Also, I have gift project to tell you all about, because I cast on and finished in two short weeks.

First off, the least informative project: a shawl design in Alpaca Sox.  I can show you a closeup of the yarn:

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… but I can’t say much else.  The finished design and pattern will be available sometime in mid-2015.

Second, I have some sumptuous new yarn all the way from New Zealand. Outlaw Yarn’s Bohemia Sport is 45% Polwarth, 45% Alpaca and 10% Possum fibre.  It comes in 15 keen colors (or colours, as the NZers say), including two that I’ve seen in person:

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Here’s what they have to say about Bohemia Sport:

The Polwarth provides excellent stitch definition, stitch memory and sheen, the Alpaca gives a silky drape and the Possum content is perfectly balanced to bring a subtle marl and soft halo to the knitted yarn. Possum has similar qualities to mink. The fibres are hollow, light, non-itchy, extremely warm and (unlike angora) Possum is pill resistant. Alpaca is an extraordinarily fine fibre with microscopic air pockets creating unique thermal properties. Its durable, non-flammable and non-itchy containing no lanolin with a smooth cell structure.

I’m designed a mobius-based cowl with Bohemia Sport.  Think garter stitch with some slipped stitches. The mobius will transition into a flared tubular cowl so it will lie nicely around the shoulders while still being snuggly around the neck.  Here’s a sneak peek of that:

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Last but not least, I made a sweater in just two weeks!  Ok, it was a Julian-sized sweater, and it was bulky yarn on size 10 needles … but still!  I bought three skeins of Wynter in Crimson, and two skeins of MountainTop Blackthorn (one each of Seal and Beaver Grey).  (Oh, I also got myself some #10 Signatures, so now my set is complete!) I ended up needing a fourth skein of Wynter, but that is only because I changed my mind about how much striping I wanted to do.

Here’s my youngest boy, Julian, who commissioned the sweater and collaborated on stripe placement:

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He asked for a red sweater, I asked if I could add some stripes.  Halfway through we agreed that stripes on just one arm would be cool!

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I used Ann Budd’s Top-Down Sweaters book as guidance — I added some short rows to shape the neck, and altered some lengths to suit my actual child.  (Fab book by the way! Super useful.  Saved me much math.)

I love how the sweater came out, and especially how much Julian loves it!  I think he’s worn it every day since I finished it.

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FO Friday: Wave Goodbye to Socks

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Project: Wave Goodbye to Socks

Pattern: Johnson’s Wave

Designer: Claire Ellen

Available: FREE on Ravelry

Yarn: Claudia Hand-Painted in “Antique Jeans”

This is the fifth and final pair of socks commissioned by my mom — I was glad to deliver them to her!  I’ve made a LOT of socks over the years, but I haven’t made enough for me lately.  Some of my first pairs are slowly giving up the ghost — worn beyond repair.  Le sigh. Time to make more socks for me! :)

Johnson’s Wave is an excellent sock pattern — high marks!

FO Friday: Willamette Locket

I made something crochet! And I liked it!

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Project: Willamette Locket

Pattern: Over the Willamette

Designer: Jenn Wolfe Kaiser

Available: $4.50 on Ravelry

Yarn: A Hundred Ravens Llyr

Ever since I saw a sample Willamette in Kate’s booth, I’ve been dying to make one.  I’m happy to report that the pattern was do-able even by a rather inexperienced crocheter like myself.  It helpfully includes full written instructions to go with the crochet charts (or are they graphs?), so if I was in doubt about something, I could easily double-check that I was on the right track.

As usual, Llyr is a delight. Smooth and pliable, and blocks like a dream.

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Indie GAL Interview: Allison LoCicero of frecklesandpurls

As part of the Indie GAL of 2014, I have been talking to Allison LoCicero (aka frecklesandpurls) about her experiences as a knitter and designer.  She is a relatively new designer, which means all five of her patterns are part of the GAL sale! (The sale ends this Friday at midnight EST, hint hint.)

I’ve had one of her patterns queued for a long time, so I took advantage of the GAL sale to buy myself a copy of Pesto:

It seems like it would be perfect for just about any single skein of tonal-ish sock yarn … something I have a habit of acquiring.  It also seems like a pattern I could use with some handspun — it would look good in just about any weight yarn, and the sideways construction means I can just knit until half my yarn is gone.

Allison was kind enough to answer a few nosy questions from me …

What got you started designing?  Was it intentional, or did it “just happen”?

It sort of “just happened!” I wrote my first pattern (my Entrelac Scarf pattern) back in 2006. This was before Ravelry (in the dark ages of knitting…) and I was teaching myself Entrelac and looking for a simple scarf pattern online. I could really only find one and it was so unclear and filled with mistakes that I thought to myself “I can write a better pattern than this!” so I did just that and offered it for free on my blog in case someone else was interested in it! It was downloaded a LOT more than I expected! And then when Ravelry came along, someone added it to the pattern database in the very beginning and its popularity grew from there. Once I got on Ravelry (I was still waiting in line for an invite while my pattern was already inside partying it up with everyone!), I moved the pattern from my blog and made it a free Ravelry download. Fast-forward about three years and my husband and I were moving to Mississippi for his job. I had been a medical librarian for years and liked it but didn’t love it. I knew I wanted to see if I could crack into the knitwear design industry and this was my opportunity to do it. I read and studied everything I could get my hands on about design and took classes offered by knitting greats like Stefanie Japel and Shannon Okey and finally got the confidence to release my first paid pattern (Flower Market Shawl) in October of 2011! It was thankfully well-received so that helped me breathe a sigh of relief! But I still didn’t release another pattern for two years! Ack! It was hard for me to put my work out there and hope that people liked it enough to actually buy it! But my confidence as a designer is growing! And the list of designs in my head is really growing so I’m designing more regularly now and loving every minute of it!
Of your patterns, which are you most proud of?  Why?
I will probably say my Flower Market Shawl because, like I mentioned, it was my first paid pattern and a TON of work and love went into making it as perfect as possible and releasing it into the world was kinda scary. I’m so happy to see that it’s still one of my most popular patterns. I wear my own Flower Market Shawl a lot! It’s a very special knit to me. Like my “first born” or something! ;)
Any upcoming publications you’d like to promote?
Not at the moment! I have three self-published shawls in various stages of design that I hope to have ready in the coming months. I’m going to slow things down a little over the holidays and do some holiday knitting and enjoy time with my family and friends and will really ramp back up with those in January!
What’s on the needles? 
At this moment I only have ONE project actively on my needles (which is super rare for me!). It’s a gift for a friend’s daughter (pattern is Bláithín (junior) by Kate Davies). But I’ve just wound up a ball of Vesper Sock Yarn in the colorway “Twinkle Lights” to make myself some fun stripey Christmas socks (just plain vanilla ones). I’m also waiting for yarn to arrive for two Christmas gifts and one shawl design so I know that all of those will be cast on in the coming days! Then I will be back to my usual mess of WIPs! Having only one active WIP makes my itchy!

Indie Gift-A-Long: Sale Starts Tomorrow!

Banner Ad GÇô GAL14 General2

What is the Indie Gift-A-Long, you ask?

Well, it has two parts …

The first part is a sale on Ravelry.  The sale begins tomorrow (Nov 13th) and runs for just one week.  Almost 300 designers have put their best “gift” patterns on sale — 3822 patterns, at latest count. For the period of the sale, you can buy as many of those patterns as you like, all at 25% discount, using the code giftalong2014. My sale patterns include Mighty Mini, Hornburg, and lots of lace shawls.

rachel henry GAL collage

 

The second part of the GAL is the KAL/CAL  …  join the Indie Design Gift-A-Long group on Ravelry now!  Seriously, you should do it.  All participating designers donated a minimum of five patterns as prizes, and most of us donated something else too, including YARN. Oh, yeah.  The list of prizes is truly drool-worthy (details on eligibility).  There are fun little games daily. Daily, I say!  And, all the added fun of crafting together with other people.

Cool info-graphic on the Indie GAL of 2014:

CO Monday: Colubrida and Through the Woods

I cast on two new projects this week.

The first is part of an impromptu KAL with my regular knit group — Kate showed me the pattern for Colubrida, and I admired it and thought about making it too, and then one thing led to another and now a bunch of us bought yarn at NEFF to make snake wraps!

I’m using two skeins of Stonehedge Fiber Mills Worsted in “berries”:

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I’ve also started a “Through the Woods” hood with the yarn gifted to me by Skacel last year, after the end of The Fiber Factor competition:

NEFF 2014

NEFF 2014 has come and gone! This year just confirmed my feeling that NEFF is my personal favorite fiber festival. Working the booth for A Hundred Ravens is a pleasure — Kate is a great boss, and it’s easy to sell her gorgeous yarn :). I love talking with customers and helping them find projects and yarn to make them … or yarn, and something to make out of it.

Here’s a quick peek of the booth, in case you missed out on NEFF …

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Of course I “ran away from home” and did a little shopping too. Here’s my loot for the weekend:

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I have projects for everything, except the fiber of course. (That has to turn into yarn before I can decide what to do with it.)  My not-fiber purchase is a beautiful wood yarn bowl from Dan Tracy Designs:

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fiber — 8 oz of  pencil roving from Reflections of Roclans and two 4-oz braids of 75/25 BFL/Tussah roving from Play at Life:

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Shepherd’s Wool in “berries” to make a Colubrida Wrap:

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Good Karma Farm’s 60/40 Wool/Alpaca blend in Crabby Apple and Artichoke to make the world’s biggest Leftie:

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Starry Night Minis and dark grey Iachos from A Hundred Ravens to make a Crazy Stripes Tee:

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the periwinkle sheep merion aran in Black Walnut to make an Oak Trail hat:

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naturally-dyed DK from Heron Crossing Farm in Tansy/Indigo and Calendula/Indigo to make a Pen & Ink cowl:

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a stray skein of already-wound Aesir in Starry Night will become an Into Gold hat, eventually (the pattern isn’t quite available yet):

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Longmeadow Farm’s worsted-weight merino in a chocolate rainbow colorway to make Etchings:

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Last but not least, more Iachos in a custom colorway, dyed by yours truly after a long night of winding minis, destined to be When The Flowers Bloom:

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