Quick post from the sky!

Disclaimer! I wrote this post on the plane right before vacation.. And then lost wifi for a week (which was not a bad thing). Stay tuned for part 2, and a spinning update!

IMG_0533.JPGTwo weeks ago, my husband asked me how I felt about taking a random vacation. We haven’t had one in quite a while, and it’s been a tough year emotionally. So, he picked it, planned it, and didn’t tell me until we were in the airport! All I knew was it would be warm and sunny..and that’s all I needed to know!

And right now, we are headed to Puerto Rico!!!!

I have to admit…and I know we all go through these times…my knitting mojo was on a break. I just started a new job (same organization but bigger job) which has been awesome and draining. My knitting-in-the-car time turned into catch-up-on-email time. I don’t know about you, but knitting does this zen-like relaxing thing for me and I’ve missed it!

So I grabbed my Arabella sweater for the trip. If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll know I’m a serious airplane knitter. I have finished the back of the sweater, and now I’m on the front. It is a great knit, but with fine yarn and size 4 needles, I kinda got in a rut. But I’m back. Even this time on the plane has been so nice and grounding, and in a few hours I will be sitting at the beach…getting all my mojo back!

I wanted to do a progress pic…but my connection just got wonky. I’ll add it to Instagram…and I can pretty much promise some more awesome Instagram shots throughout the week!

Spin and knit on!

Meet the Seattle Sweater..My First Pattern in Knitty!!

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This is crazy. And awesome. Beyond exciting. I am in the Knitty Deep Fall Issue

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This is a blog post I’ve been holding on to ever since I got the email from Knitty saying my sweater pattern was accepted..and I can’t really believe I’m writing it.

I learned to knit when I lived in Japan..about 15 years ago. My resources were limited, and I had some really inspiring books, but there were just “things” I didn’t get. Then I found Knitty, and at the turn of each new season I would wait for the new issue, skim through the patterns, and plan my next project. Not until this spring did I ever think I would be behind one of those patterns.

In March, I went to the Vogue Knitting Live workshop and took a class from Josh Bennett. I had to bring a design concept to the class (that was an “oh, crap” moment, since I thought I was going to learn how to do that), with a swatch (Yoinks!) I knew I wanted something unusual and something that would be fun to knit..each section had to be a little different.

I started knitting it out…and it was like magic. You know how sometimes the ideas in our heads don’t always pan out the way we think they will in real life? This one kept getting better and better. I fell in love with the sweater.

Then I entered one of the most difficult seasons of my life..the last month of my time with my mom before she passed away from cancer. She saw the design completed..she was so excited that I had gone to a “Vogue” event. She knew I was submitting it, she and was excited for me.

Sometimes life gets too heavy..even to move your dreams forward. I didn’t have the mental capacity to convert the design to a written pattern in time for the June 1st deadline. I let it go..and decided to wait for another time so I could focus on family and returning to work after Mom passed.

In a moment..that changed. The Knitty editors extended the deadline by two weeks, and I knew that was my chance. I buried myself in the final stages and got the design to Knitty by the new deadline.

So, this is a double joy for me..knowing it was something I shared with her that she would celebrate with me now. I’m a little teary as I write this..but this one’s for you, Mom! I know you get it. 🙂

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Arabella Update (and a pro tip!)

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I wish I could show you a better progress pic of my Arabella Sweater but I can’t because I am camping and didn’t pack it all. I’ve finished the back piece and it is truly lovely..and a very enjoyable knit.
So here I am, in a tent again..enjoying the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and today is pouring with rain. Which is totally good..a nice relaxing day in the tent, even for Oliver.

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So, while this is a great knit, there’s also some serious row tracking going on. I thought I would use that opportunity to share with you one of my favorite digital tools: Stitchminder.

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It’s an iPhone app that has saved me tons of scrap paper and probably some sanity. In fact, because I travel so much it helps me stay on track on a project without too much hassle. A guy on a plane asked me one time what I was using because he had accidentally thrown away his girlfriend’s notes on a project, and he thought if he gifted her the app he might get out if the doghouse!!
Here’s how I used the example photo above.
The top row represents the 35 row garter ridge repeat.
The next row represents the 6 row cable repeat.
The 3rd row represents the amount of decrease rows completed.
The 4th row represents the row count for the decrease pattern.

Game changing stitch tracker, I tell ya! What are different ways you keep track of your stitches?

Spin and knit on!

My First Pattern Release! The Alki Beach Sweater

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Bam!  There it is!  Okay, this is actually my second pattern release, but the first is top secret until it’s (squee!) published in the beginning of September.  Stay tuned for MASSIVE excitement then.

In the meantime, here’s my Alki Beach sweater, modeled by my awesome sister Katie.  I loved designing this sweater.  It’s made for the transitional season–or for those of you who live in warmer climates.  A linen/cotton blend..what more you you ask for?  How about an  unexpected element to the design when you turn around?  IMG_6096

The pattern is available on Ravelry. There’s more pix there, but the best ones are the outtakes from the photo shoot.  Ready for some fun? IMG_6093

 

 

A true “little sister/big sister moment!”  We’re both totally guessing at how to set up the shot while my patient and talented husband took the pix.

 

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Then there’s the “Can I steal your hat?” pic which was clearly not Katie’s favorite idea. She’s a trooper, but in all fairness, she did get a custom made original sweater out of the deal.

 

If you are a knitter, this is a pretty easy pattern–great for car knitting, movies, or just chilling with friends. The design is kind to every body shape, and the drape of the linen and cotton just rocks. Get the pattern here!IMG_6099

Thanks for sharing my excitement with me..more to come soon, but in the meantime..

Spin and knit on!

Channel Cardigan: Done!

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This might be my favorite knit of all time. Seriously. The knitting was an endurance race, not a sprint, but that’s totally ok! I shared with you a few posts back about knitting by my mom’s bedside before she passed away, and as I thought..this is like a cozy hug reminding me of some beautiful moments.

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The fit is amazing and I loved working with Shelter yarn. The yarn is a bit fragile to work with..if you pull it at all it breaks..but it does splice back together beautifully, which makes for fewer ends to weave in.

One of the tough things was finding a complimentary colored yarn to do the seaming. Once I found it the seams looked great..especially since the sewing yarn doesn’t really show..but a close match is still important.

I loved the pattern. Very engaging..and I didn’t feel the need (or distraction) to start another project. I think I finally got to the “ready to be done” stage when I was doing the collar.

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I wore it to work today (I know, it’s June..) and was told it looked like an Anthroplogie sweater, but with a custom fit. Sweet compliment!

If you like a detailed project for a sweater that will be a heirloom type garment, this is a great pattern for you. Here’s the link on Ravelry.

Enjoy! Spin and knit on!

Next on the Needles…

It’s a bit ambitious, I’ll admit it..but I’m starting this:

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It’s the channel cardigan which is one of Jared Flood’s designs. I’m pretty stoked about it since I haven’t knit with Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter yarn yet, and I do love the rustic look.

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My latest “on the road again” pic..this time from a train heading down to Portland. Makes for very scenic knitting. I’m using the colorway “embers,” which is gorgeous. The yarn is very nice, beautiful tweed colors. However, it is a very fragile yarn..a quick tug and it breaks. I won’t use it for seaming, that’s for sure. (It does felt and splice back together well though 🙂 )

Have you done any Brooklyn Tweed patterns? Let me know your thoughts…I’ll be working on this one for a while! And when I get back home..an update on the amazing fleece I have been washing!

Spin on!

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Aisance Cardigan

20140317-140021.jpgSo much to update on the blog! I have stories from Vogue Knitting Live (it was awesome..) but today needs to be a FO day, because I think Mondays need that. 🙂

I had two cross country flights in in the span of 8 days which meant tons of knitting time that looked like this:

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20140317-140352.jpgbut I ended up with this:

20140317-140450.jpgAnd I love it! It was blocked and dried in time to wear to day 2 of Vogue Knitting Live and tons of people asked about the pattern. Here’s the scoop and why I liked it. Link to pattern: Aisance Pattern and I used cascade 220 heathers, which I really like in terms of affordable and wearable yarn. Not much pilling and the drape is great on a size 8 needle.

The design was awesome because you knit the ribbed collar along with the top down raglan, so it was interesting and I had about four ends to weave in when I was done. The long part in the front is short row shaping and the sleeves were simple and fast..and by then I was ready to be done.

Really enjoyable knit, but I gotta say..one of the most fun and practical cardigans that I have made! Definitely one of the longest cardis, that’s for sure!

What’s on your needles? Anything that’s a marathon project like this one?

Knit and spin on!

Confessions of a first time swatcher..

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A few days ago I posted about going to Vogue Knitting Live this coming weekend (yeah!!!!), and I am excited to have prepared the first two parts of what I need for the class I am taking on sweater design.

The first was sketching the design. Check. Not a masterpiece, but an ok concept sketch. Second was doing a swatch. I am not joking when I say I have never swatched. Ever. That’s dumb, I know. But for the class I knew it would be necessary.

My yarn arrived the other day:

20140310-190109.jpg I knew I needed to go for it. I cast on for about six inches so I could test the plaid pattern. Within a few minutes I was so glad I did. I intended on the purple being the horizontal stripes and the green bring vertical. However, the purple all but disappeared into the grey as a horizontal stripe. I started over and did the green as the horizontal. In the picture at the top the purple is actually way more vibrant looking than in real life. So, I ordered another skein, one shade more intense. (I wish the camera was more accurate so you could see the shade I am actually dealing with.) Even my husband said it was a shame the purple got lost. But the photo shows what my intent is, so that’s good!

And I know my gauge. The pattern is reverse stockinette, and it’s cool how the purple doesn’t show on the stockinette side. My gauge was loose, compared to what the yarn skein said. Mine = 16 per 4″ and the label said 18 per 4″.

Final learning is that the hand sewn vertical stripes add a bit of tightness in the length of the swatch. Again, good to know before designing!

Almost ready for Saturday! I want to re-sketch the design and do my second swatch with the new purple.

But in between I have one more business trip, so I will have done serious plane knitting on my Aisance Cardi.

More soon! Spin and Knit on!

WIP Wednesday

20140305-163113.jpg I love this cardigan..called Aisance from Quince and Co. And I am so excited to be going to Vogue Knitting Live in a week and a half that I decided I needed a highly motivating WIP to get me through the next few days. I’m also traveling for work for the next week so I have tons of airport and flying time. Not worth the Jetlag..but hey, at least I will be productive with my travel time!

I’m a little bit farther than this photo shows:

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Wonder if I will be closed to finished by the 15th…any bets?

What’s your current favorite WIP?

Spin and Knit On!