Dec 27, 2018

Knitting Pattern for Brie's Cowl

Brie's Cowl
I love brioche stitch. Here is my new pattern for Brioche stitch in two colors cowl in bulky weight yarn. The pictured sample uses one skein of Feather Grey (875) and Dusty Blue (246) of Cascade 128 Superwash yarn.

The pattern is available in my Ravelry store or you can purchase it by clicking on this button:


Brie's Cowl
Thank you for supporting and visiting.

Dec 26, 2018

Knitting Pattern for Najin, the Northern White Rhino

Najin
During September and October, we had another toy mystery KAL.
The mystery KAl is finished and the complete pattern for Najin, the northern white rhino is available to purchase now in my Ravelry store, or by clicking on this button:


Najin
Thank you for visiting.

Dec 23, 2018

Interview with a Designer: Knit Equals Joy Designs (CarolEHerman)

 Another interview with a participating GAL designer Knit Equals Joy Designs  (CarolEHerman).

I have to admit, I have been in love with this Autumn Spice Pumpkin for some time, so it was wonderful to learn more about the designer behind this particular pattern.

photo Knit Equals Joy Designs


1. What inspires you to design? 

In truth, I am always looking for design inspiration!  I love to see color, texture, and pattern everywhere.  In particular, though, several times a year I spend time alone at the Oregon Coast.  The beach and the ocean provide so many interesting, unusual, or beautiful textures and colors.  A seashell may supply the inspiration for a knit stitch.  The time alone also allows design ideas that have been percolating in my subconscious to surface and become more concrete designs. 


2. If you could knit/ crochet one thing - anything in the world what would that be? 

I absolutely love Kaffe Fassett’s designs.  I swoon over his use of color, pattern, and design in his Foolish Virgins Scarf, and that would be the one thing I would love to knit.


3. Describe your ideal day as a designer, what would you do and what would you prefer not to do? 

This ideal day is built in a theoretical life in which I would be a full-time designer…

I would start the day with a cup of coffee and browsing through IG and Facebook, looking at what folks are currently liking in the knit world.  As thoughts occurred related to my own design aesthetic and process, I would make notes and sketches for future designs.

I would next spend time knitting prototypes for designs currently in process and swatches for ideas next in line. 

Next would be writing time.  I envision a couple of hours set aside for sitting down to write pattern text, working on garment grading, and creating charts and schematics.  This time would also be spent submitting designs to various publications.

Finally, with the afternoon cup of coffee, I would update social media and interact with knitting friends.  This would be the time to answer any questions by test knitters or customers, as well.

I love working out the math and engineering aspects of design.  I’ve also always loved writing.  There’s nothing I would prefer not to do – but I do wish I were a faster knitter!


photo Knit Equals Joy Designs




4. How do you start a project, with yarn, pattern, idea or what? 

Well, this is a tough one!  But I would say that most often, it’s the yarn itself that tells me what it wants to be.  My first design, the Hood River Cowl, came directly from some beautiful local natural wool/silk yarn I found at the Hood River Fiber Festival in 2013.  This year, the Bridgetown Cowl was designed directly in response to some gorgeous Zen Yarn Garden Artwalk Series yarn.  I wanted to use a stitch that would show off that beautiful variegated yarn to best advantage.


5. What inspires you to pick up needles and start on the project? 

Often it’s a deadline that inspires me to get started on the project; for instance, I had a Christmas design idea and Christmas was just six weeks away (i.e., Whimsy Tree).

photo by Knit Equals Joy Designs

6. What do you enjoy the most about the designing and what you dislike the most? 

I really love almost everything about designing.  Not only do I love the design process, I love the people that I have met through design.  I have met amazingly creative knitters, designers, and even other media designers, whom I now consider friends.  I love seeing how knitters interpret my designs and make them their own.  At this time in my life, I dislike that I don’t have enough time to really implement all the ideas…but someday I will retire, and then there will be time!


photo Knit Equals Joy Designs


7. Are there any particular techniques you find challenging or impossible to work with?  

I have found that I don’t like to design anything that is not fun to knit.  This means I may have an idea that I think is great, but then I start swatching it and find I don’t enjoy knitting it, so that’s the end of that idea.  I really don’t like short rows, so that’s the only technique I can think of that I’ve consciously avoided.


8. What is on your needles now?

I’m currently working on a GAL project, the Adult Modular Cardigan by Loraine Birchall.  I also have an upcoming cabled poncho design for which I’m finishing up the pattern sample.


9. Do you work on multiple projects at the same time or single projects?

 I have multiple projects on the needles right now (three hats, the poncho, and the GAL sweater), but that’s because sometimes a current design in process gets interrupted by something that takes on more urgency and needs to be finished sooner.  The danger is that when I get back to the older projects (those three hats), I’ll forget exactly what I wanted to do next!




Where to find Knit Equals Joy Design:

Knit Equals Joy Designs on Ravelry

Knit Equals Joy Designs Ravelry Group

Knit Equals Joy Designs on Facebook

Knit Equals Joy Design on Instagram

Knit Equals Joy Designs on Pinterest

Knit Equals Joy Designs Blog

Dec 22, 2018

Interview with a Designer: Artefacts Crochet Design (Artefacts)

Here is another interview with a fellow participating designer, this time it's crochet designer Artefacts Crochet Design (Artefacts).

I have learned how to crochet as a little girl, but I have never understood the patterns. I just crochet on rare occasions, but I admire the beauty that crochet can create. 


photo by Artefacts

1. What inspires you to design? 
The need to create something new or different is what inspires me to design. I have no need of all the things I make, but I have to have a reason to make things, and designing patterns that other people might benefit from gives me that reason.

2. If you could knit/ crochet one thing - anything in the world what would that be? 

 For me, the ultimate thing to crochet would be an enormous sculptural object that could be strung between trees or rocks, like a giant web or cocoon. But that would take a long time and much more dedication than I have!

3. Describe your ideal day as a designer, what would you do and what would you prefer not to do? 

I think I’m like most designers in that the making is the most enjoyable part of my designing day. The creative challenge is what drives me, even if that means I have to ‘frog’ parts of my work. Writing up the pattern can be a tedious job, but it is also satisfying in its own way because once it is finished, it is a thing of beauty in and of itself, especially if there are no errors! Then there’s the self-promotion and bookkeeping which are a long way down the list of my designing day.


4. How do you start a project, with yarn, pattern, idea or what? 

If I am making up a design for myself, I start with an idea. If I am designing for the company I design for, they send me the yarn and a photo of the type of project they want as inspiration, and that launches me into the designing process. I find it helps when I am given some limitations or suggestions, because if I’m left to make my own decision on what to make, the choice of possibilities is so huge that I’m overwhelmed by it.

5. What inspires you to pick up needles and start on the project? 

Getting the yarn is what inspires me to pick up my hook and create. The desire to try a different type of yarn and a new project always draws me into that creative vortex.

6. What do you enjoy the most about the designing and what you dislike the most? 

 I most enjoy starting a new project, and I least enjoy grading garments – that is why I haven’t made many fitted garment designs…

7. Are there any particular techniques you find challenging or impossible to work with? 

I love new techniques. I get bored quickly, so trying something new and different is exciting, and coming up with something new and different myself is even more exciting. Then I like to work out how I can use those techniques in future projects.

8. What is on your needles now? 

The project on my hook at the moment is a cactus/succulent garden for the company I work for. I am really pleased with the design of one of the cactuses because I have not seen anything like it when I have made a search. I also have a highly-textured motif throw (that I will publish under my own name) on the backburner at the moment.

9. Do you work on multiple projects at the same time or single project? 

 I always work on a single project, generally because I have a deadline to work towards, but I do think and plan for future projects at the same time.


Where to Find Artefacts Crochet Design:



Dec 17, 2018

Interview with a Designer: Alison Makin (KnitsandWords)

I love to learn things about fellow designers, their approach to designing process and what inspires them.
As always it was my pleasure to interview another participating GAL designer. Here is the interview with  Alison Makin  (KnitsandWords)

I have to admit, I am not a sock knitter, but I would love to try her Flexuous sock pattern.

photo by Alison


1. What inspires you to design? 

Quite simply, I love to create. Being able to take yarn and needles and turn it into something useful is wonderful. 

I learnt to knit as an adult while sitting in a textile design studio, so I was surrounded by creativity. I was spending hours there most days and the studio artist offered to teach me to knit, amongst other things. I never looked back. Knitting basic items soon became knitting more complicated things, I took on test knitting and editing and then I decided I wanted to create my own designs- so I did.


2. If you could knit one thing - anything in the world what would that be?
 

I actually purchased a kit earlier this year for a colourwork vest- it was a gift to myself on my 40th birthday. It is something I haven’t attempted before and I really want to do something to challenge myself in a different direction. Besides, steeks sound scary so I need to do them so I can prove to myself I can. 

photo by Alison

3. Describe your ideal day as a designer, what would you do and what would you prefer not to do? 

My ideal day as a designer... I actually sat down one day and typed this up, so I could reflect on it occasionally. I have no idea where that is now, so I’ll start again.

I would wake early and take our dog (Tess) for a walk, come home, cook breakfast and get ready for the day. Check in briefly with email and Ravelry (I usually have a test running there). Do any tech editing work for the day so that is done early while my brain is fresh. Take a break to do a bit of knitting and have lunch. After lunch I would do some pattern writing and more knitting. Do social media check-ins, etc and be finished for the day. More knitting after dinner, though.

Photographs are probably my least favourite part of the whole process and I know that is an area I need to spend more time on.

4. How do you start a project, with yarn, pattern, idea or what? 


I usually start with a stitch pattern and then think about how I can modify it so that it works for multiple sock sizes. Because I really have a thing for symmetry, I generally have to chart a slightly different stitch pattern for every size. This means I don’t go too much further until I work out how to modify it for every size as my goal is maintain the essence of the design across all sizes. After that I have to work out how all of the elements will flow- that means choosing ribbing and heel patterns that allow the pattern to transition smoothly. The next part is choosing the yarn that I think will work best with stitch pattern. I usually write the pattern before I start knitting so I can make notes on the pattern as I go, but I have been a bit lax with that lately and it does make me feel less organised.


I do start with the yarn occasionally, but that is pretty rare. I generally take that approach if I am working with a dyer and they have a specific colourway in mind.


Once I designed with a person in mind. She’s Got a Way was designed for my Mother in Law on our way home from her funeral and was named for one of the songs we played at the service.


photo by Alison


5. What inspires you to pick up needles and start on the project? 


I want to see how the design comes together, to make sure that the vision in my head and on paper will actually work.


6. What do you enjoy the most about the designing and what you dislike the most? 


The part I enjoy most is seeing other people knit my designs! That someone has spent so many hours of their time working on my design and is so proud that they want to share it with everyone makes me happy. 

My dislike is probably the nerves when I release a new pattern and I worry that no one is going to like it. 





Not yet, but when I learnt to knit I wasn’t told anything was difficult- “It’s all just knits and purls”. My first project was a cowl (that I had to graft), my second project was a full-length coat and I was knitting socks within a few months of learning to knit. 

That doesn’t mean I have done everything I want to, but I also know that I can find the instructions and learn. I used to be absolutely terrified of cables (goodness knows why, I just had this idea in my head), but found lace easy. I knew someone else who loved cables but was scared by lace. That was when I realised that I could learn anything I wanted.

photo by Alison

8. What is on your needles now? 


Two sock designs (one is in white, so it stays at home), and two GAL projects. One of those is El Unico, a shawl pattern, and the other is Flattery Bay, a sleeveless tank. Oh, and I also have a sweater that just needs the collar finished... and I’m positive that I have a couple of shawls stuffed in bags somewhere. And a sock project for my husband. And I just remembered the colourwork socks for me. Maybe I should stop thinking about the extra projects.


9. Do you work on multiple projects at the same time or single project? 


Always lots. I think you worked that out from my previous answer! I like to have different things to work on for different moods and places. Sometimes a project isn’t at a point where I can easily take it places with me, but I need something in my bag for those moments of waiting. For instance, I have spent lots of time in waiting rooms over the last couple of weeks and I really needed something small I could work on easily and put down at a moment’s notice.

photo by Alison


Where to find Alison Makin:


Ravelry Group: Alison Makin Design

Alison (Knits and Words) on Instagram

Dec 13, 2018

Interview with a Designer: Ranee Mueller (Arabian Knits)

Another week, another interview:

 It was my pleasure to interview Ranee Mueller (Arabian Knits). Ranee is another participating designer in this year Gift-a-long.

I really love the design of her cowl Rabi photo bellow:

photo by Ranee 

     1.  What inspires you to design? 

          My design inspiration is at its heart my ethnic heritage and background. My parents are from Saudi Arabia, I was born and raised in the United States, and my designs are much like me in that sense. They are American/Western, but formed on Middle Eastern genetics and culture. So, the art and architecture of the Middle East can often be found mimicked in my work. Likewise, weather patterns are interesting to me, and I have done a series of accessory patterns themed on the Trade Winds found in the Middle East and North Africa. Trade Winds Collection: Texture

     2. If you could knit/ crochet one thing - anything in the world what would that be? 
      
          Ever? Or just a dream project? If it was ever, it would probably be cowls. If it were a dream project, I think a lace wedding veil for each of my four daughters. One day, I hope, they will want something like that from me. I would work with them and incorporate the traditional designs of their heritage, both Saudi and German (their father is predominately German, with a bit of English and French, and then a little of everything else), in the knitting. 
photo by Ranee

      3. Describe your ideal day as a designer, what would you do and what would you prefer not to do? 
      
          My ideal designer day begins with coffee or tea in one of my collection of knitting themed mugs. If we are talking truly ideal, it would be set on either the Adriatic coast (I recently visited Croatia and fell deeply in love), or the southern Mediterranean coast. I would be outdoors, knitting in sunshine, by the water, with my notes and a laptop or iPad so I could check in with other knitters on Ravelry and IG. I love to cook, so I wouldn’t mind breaks for food shopping and cooking, but if I had a day entirely devoted to design, I would definitely skip cleaning! 

       4. How do you start a project, with yarn, pattern, idea or what


        It depends on many things. Often I have a theme or title already in my head. Sometimes I see a pattern in nature, or on a comforter or even a shower curtain that sets me off designing. Recently, however, I purchased a few skeins of what I can only describe as a cloud in yarn form. It gave me the idea to make a soft, fluffy, thick cowl, using cables, which are some of my favorite things to knit. A cloud for one’s neck. However, I realized that clouds were so much not a part of my Arab culture and language, and I didn’t remember the Arabic word for cloud. We used it so rarely. I had to call my father and ask him what the word was! (It’s sah’aab, by the way).

5. What inspires you to pick up needles and start on the project? 

 
 Often an immediate need. We have eight children, and someone will need socks or mittens or gloves or a hat or a scarf or ankle warmers (we have ballerinas) or something like that. Designs, however, often tell me which direction they need to go. I really dislike stuffing dolls, but when I went to design a pattern inspired by the name of a child we lost, no matter how many ideas I brainstormed, I came back to a topsy-turvy, lovey doll. I struggled with that design, but in the end, it was exactly what it should have been, and permitted me to remember that child along with my other children who have patterns named after them. Rayan


photo by Ranee



     6. What do you enjoy the most about the designing and what you dislike the most? 

  I love the creative process of coming up with design elements and ideas and knitting them up to see how they work together. I hate writing the “romance” text describing the design. It always seems a little precious to me.

7. Are there any particular techniques you find challenging or impossible to work with? 

  Intarsia! I have still never done it. Also steeking, but that is just plain fear. I need to conquer that. Other than that, I really can do just about anything I want in knitting, though some things take more time and concentration than others.



     8. What is on your needles now?
    
          Actively? I have a pair of socks from the GAL almost finished. My designs get put on the backburner each year so I can focus on the GAL and take a little vacation from the work of designing. I have lots of projects that I have set aside for the moment, including a design for a set of hat and mittens that interprets the Eye of God Nebula with color and short rows. Lots of swatches are waiting for my attention, too.


photo by Ranee
     
     9. Do you work on multiple projects at the same time or single project?
   
         I get more finished when I work on one project at a time, but like any other knitter, I am often distracted by a new idea or pattern. However, I try to limit what I am actively working on to three, or four at the most. Usually, that includes something small or simple that I can knit while talking to people or out in public, something larger or more complicated that I work on at home, and something of another designer’s work that I knit on my weekends.


photo by Ranee

Where to find Ranee Mueller:



Dec 12, 2018

Knitting Pattern for T-Bone's Bookmark

Cat Silhouette Bookmark
Apparently this is one of my most popular patterns on Ravelry in my store. Link to the pattern is here:

Cat Silhouette Bookmark

Few weeks ago I received a message from a fellow knitter, asking if I would consider to create a dog's bookmark version. I have to admit, I like requests like this. It is an interesting element of designing the challenge to come up with something. The dog's bookmark was more difficult to create since there are so many various breeds of dogs and their shapes are so different.  I decided to use our dog as a model.

T-Bone and the bookmark
The pattern is available now and you can purchase the pattern in my Ravelry store, or by clicking on this button:




T-Bone and his Bookmark

Dec 7, 2018

Interview with a designer: Beverly S. (Yarnintercept)

Another week another interesting interview:

This time I was lucky enough to interview  Beverly S. (Yarnintercept).   She is another participating designer in the Indie Gift-a-long.
I personally am intrigued by her pattern for the Dark Passage Socks, picture bellow:

photo by Beverly S.

1.What inspires you to design? 



I find inspiration in lots of places. architecture, friends and family members, movies, the yarn itself, or stitch dictionaries. Sometimes I just want to explore what I can do with a certain kind of stitch. 


2.If you could knit/ crochet one thing - anything in the world what would that be? 



If time and my own lack of fortitude weren't a factor, I'd make a blanket with the world map on it or flags of the world. There's a flags blanket on Ravelry that I'm fascinated by. (I have a thing for Geography!) 




3.Describe your ideal day as a designer, what would you do and what would you prefer not to do? 



First, coffee! Then l would browse through stitch pattern books and do a few small swatches of a stitch pattern or stranded design - or I'd just cast on and start knitting. Swatching isn't my favorite thing...so I might get two or three rows in and decide I know what I'm doing! Creating charts for colorwork or cabled designs is fun. Grading sizes is not so much fun. 




4.How do you start a project, with yarn, pattern, idea or what? 



It depends. Sometimes a yarn decides it needs to be made into something, now. With my Wednesday Night pattern, I knew the yarn had to be a shallow, asymmetrical shawl.  Other times, I have an idea of how to use a stitch or combo of stitches and start playing around - In Reverse (the mitts came first) started with the stitch pattern and then I got wrapped up in the technique of knitting top down - that is, from the fingerless end to the wrist cuff. And sometimes, I am inspired and want to represent that inspiration - my Dark Passage socks were inspired by the movie of the same name, but then took off from there. It was my most technically challenging design - a two color cast on, two color cables, and a deceptively easy looking sole design that took a lot of time, and math, to get just right. 


photo by Beverly S.

5.What inspires you to pick up needles and start on the project? 



The need to create. To turn a "ball of string" (as my husband calls it) into something beautiful. 


6.What do you enjoy the most about the designing and what you dislike the most? 



I love when a pattern just happens effortlessly. Sometimes it comes off the needles with no problem and minimal reworking. I hate when I have to fight the stitches, the yarn, or my own stubbornness to make a design work. I dislike how much time it takes me to get a design out there. I'm not prolific because I have a full-time job as a math teacher, and sometimes, I just procrastinate. I currently have a design in the testing phase now that was photographed over a year ago. All I needed to do was finish typing up the pattern! 


7.Are there any particular techniques you find challenging or impossible to work with? 



I've never tried steeking or brioche. I'm also not a fan of intarsia. I've knit it out of necessity, but I'd never design something using intarsia as I find it way too fiddly. 


8.What is on your needles now? 



So.many.things. For the gift along, I'm currently knitting Claire Slade's  Midnights Owl and crocheting Rachy Newin's  Heart of a Rockstar Cowl. I also finished YOUR pattern, Cecile! Besides the two current projects, I have a mitten design that needs finishing, a sweater vest, a few pairs of fingerless gloves, socks, a shawl or two, a cowl design with just the ribbing done....I could go on and on. 


9.Do you work on multiple projects at the same time or single project?



Do people really knit one thing at a time? It boggles the mind! I am most definitely a multiple projects knitter. I am easily distracted by new yarn, a new pattern, a new stitch and I always have to cast on RIGHT.NOW. 

                                                                       Wednesday Night
photo by Beverly S.
Where to find Beverly S. (Yarnintercept):

Beverly S. on Ravelry

Beverly S. in Twiter


Dec 2, 2018

Knitting Pattern for 12th Hour Cowl

12th Hour Cowl
This superfast cowl is a perfect last minute handmade gift, for almost everyone on your knitting list.
Worked in super bulky yarn, it takes about two hours to from start to finish.

The pattern is available to purchase in my Ravelry store or by clicking on this link:



If you buy this pattern during December 2018, the profits will be donated to our local charity. More details on the pattern page. The finished samples were donated to our local library for the annual giving tree.

Thank you for visiting.

Dec 1, 2018

Knitting Pattern for Wine-derful Time Snowman Cozies

photo by I Like Knitting
A note from I Like Knitting Magazine: If you are dreaming of white Christmas, not to worry! If the white runs out, drink the red! These adorable snowmen make the perfect last-minute gift - Especially  if you're bringing wine to a holiday party and want to treat the host".
The pattern for these adorable snowman cozies is available on I like Knitting website and was published in the December Issue.

If you would like to subscribe, link is here:
I Like Knitting

Nov 30, 2018

Interview with a designer: Nailya Plaskey (Nailya)

In 2014 I did an interview with another designer and I loved that part of the Gift-a-long as it gave me an opportunity to learn something about another designers, their inspirations, and design process.  I wanted to revisit the idea this year and I have few designer interviews as my blog posts line up for this year Gift-a-long. Enjoy, and happy knitting.

Here is the first designer interview:

Nailya Plaskey (Nailya) is a fellow designer participating in the Gift-a-long 2018.
I am happy that she was willing to participate and answer my questions.
I personally love the Big Stitch Beanie, photo bellow:

photo by Nailya



1. What inspires you to design? 

I love the challenge of interpreting different images into a language of stitches. I feel powerful when knitting or crocheting, there's nothing I can't do or learn how to do when it comes to yarn. I want other people to feel the same when they knit or crochet from my patterns.

2. If you could knit/ crochet one thing - anything in the world what would that be? 

I would knit or crochet something for a movie production.

photo by Nailya


3. Describe your ideal day as a designer, what would you do and what would you prefer not to do? 

I would take a class in the morning, either on design or a new to me technique. Then I would spend the afternoon at a fiber festival spending time with old friends and meeting new people. In the evening I would be adding more rows to the exciting design I am working on. 

4. How do you start a project, with yarn, pattern, idea or what? 

I can work many ways. Either the yarn would be practically telling me what it wants to be, and I will start offering it different stitch patterns for consideration. Or I will have this image in my mind that I will think about if it will translate well to colorwork or textured stitches or cables or lace. Or it would be one of my three kids wanting a new hat with a pompom, and I would want for it to be truly new and unique and not like anyone else's hat.

photo by Nailya


5. What inspires you to pick up needles and start on the project? 

I think they call this condition castonitis :).

6. What do you enjoy the most about the designing and what you dislike the most?  

My favorite part of designing is when other people can recognize my idea. They: "Yes, I can see that!" Me: "Great! i wasn't the only one!". My least favorite part of designing is the amount of promotion a small indie designer has to do for more people to see his/her pattern. I am not very salesy, and marketing is hard for me.
photo by Nailya


7. Are there any particular techniques you find challenging or impossible to work with? 

My challenge right now is grading garments for multiple sizes but I plan to tackle it next year!

8. What is on your needles now? 

A second mitten for my daughter who lost one of a pair. A scrappy cardigan. Half a sock. 2 blankets. A shawl. I might be forgetting something.
photo by Nailya


9. Do you work on multiple projects at the same time or single project?

I have never committed to a single project. I do both knitting and crochet, so switching between them helps keep my hands healthy. I try to keep my focus on a main project, but others pop in queue depending on circumstances, like when I need something portable or something simple for working on when watching TV.

10. Is there is something else that you would like to share with the readers? 
I am 38. I am married, and have 3 kids I homeschool. Traveling is something I love doing, and before I settled down in the US I have visited and lived in about 20 different countries. I also like hiking, gardening, and baking. Tea and dark chocolate are my favorite treats. 
photo by Nailya
Where to find Nailya Plaskey:

Nailya Plaskey on Ravelry

Nailya Plaskey on Facebook

Nailya Plaskey on Pinterest

Nailya Plaskey on Instagram

Nailya Plaskey on Loveknitting