Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My Gift-A-Long Picks

I don't often buy other designer's patterns, because I just don't get that much time to focus on non-designer knitting - though I hoard them freely in my Ravelry faves in hopes that someday, I'll have the chance. When I do, I generally focus on patterns that I think will teach me something new - a new stitch pattern I've never seen before, a technique I don't have experience with - or else just something that I really want to own and know I will enjoy making (things like detailed lace shawls, while I love them when they're finished, tend to wear on my patience.) I thought it'd be fun to show you the handful of patterns I let myself splurge on this year (as well as a few that are hovering in my faves and may go home with me by the end of the sale.) All of these patterns are 25% off until Friday with the code "giftalong2015"!

Three-Way Stop by Brittany Wilson. Cool decreases that I've never experienced the likes of? Yes please!

Māia Tee by Francoise Denoy. Sprung for this one just because it's cute as heck and looks fun to make. 

Rainchaser by Jenny F. Can't wait to dig my needles into that weird stitch pattern!

Waverleaf by Faye Kennington. I need to learn that sweet faux-braid technique like, yesterday.

And here are a few of my very-nearly-almost-might-buy-but-am-definitely-saving-for-later-if-not picks:

Everyday Shawl by Jenny F. It's gray and it's ombre and I loooove it. 

Easy Cardigan by Meiju K-P. I feel like that name doesn't do justice to this fantastically weird and beautiful sweater.

Scorpion Flower by Annina Päivärinta. This is so me it hurts.

So far I've held off on all of these just because I know how rare it is for me to actually take on a large non-design project like a shawl or sweater. But.....want. 

In any case, I hope you'll check out the Gift-A-Long and find some lil treats of your own. Knit on, troops!

Indie Designer Gift-a-long is back!!

...and I'm a little slow with the blogging, so if you want to take advantage of **sooooper schweeeet deeeealls** you're going to want to get on it in the next couple days.

Here's what you need to know:

- Gift-a-long (or GAL) is a big giant knit-a-long that has been happening annually just before the holiday season, to help facilitate gift-knitting and promote independently published designs. There are games, prizes, progress and FO threads and photos to peruse, and tons of other gift knitters to cheer you on. (And yes, it's totally fine to make gifts for yourself. No judgies.)

- This week (ending Friday) all the participating designers have arranged for a smattering of their self-published designs to be discounted by 25% with the code "giftalong2015". (You don't have to participate in the GAL festivities to use the code, though of course, we encourage it!)

- ALL self-published, paid patterns by participating designers are eligible for the GAL activities, so if you miss the sale or want to use one of the non-discounted patterns, that's A-Okay!

- I, obviously-since-I'm-posting-this, am a participating designer!

Here are the relevant links

My designer page (Until Friday, you can click the "Giftalong" bundle to see the discounted patterns.)

- The Gift-a-long group (Come join in the fun! Wheee!)

- The participating designers thread (see what patterns are eligible for GALing, and see what else is on sale!) 

- Some of the prizes available to participants (

I've already done my annual buying-a-bunch-of-patterns-I'll-never-get-around-to-making-but-I-love-them shopping and I'll share some of my picks later today. But for now, please do drop in!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Knit it Black is here!!

Knit It Black is finally here! I've gone on and on about the purpose of this project in previous posts (short version: Wearin' dah black, helpin' dah puuurppies) and you can read about it in detail on the Kickstarter page for the project. For now I'll let the pictures do the talking ;-) Links to each pattern are below the photos, and you can see the whole collection on Ravelry here. All photos are by Vivian Aubrey, who is a darned good sport and barely blinked an eye when I told her "um, hey, I want you to shoot a bunch of black on black for me and yet somehow still not overexpose my pasty-ass face." That there's skills, ladies and gents. 

Char, a simple-but-shapely sweater in Madelinetosh Tosh DK. Features a flattering ass-flap, which is a phrase I never thought I'd say. 

Pitch, your classic boxy sweater. Easy to make, easy to wear - boxy sweaters have been all over lately but it can be tricky to find one with just the right amount of ease to make you look casual but not shapeless (particularly when you have a small frame that doesn't exactly assert itself under loose layers.) This was my attempt to solve that dilemma for myself, and I'm pretty darn happy with the result!

Messier51, a hyper-textural cowl named after a whirlpool galaxy by one of our amazing Kickstarter donors. Pog was an amazingly good sport about modeling it! The cowl mixes Malabrigo Twist and Rasta in a simple-to-execute stitch pattern to create a great nubbly look.

Melanist! I never get tired of brioche/1x1 rib juxtaposition, and I love the idea of full-on sleeves to help ease the transition to-and-from t-shirt weather (which, for me, lasts for about a week around the end of July. I'm a chilly creature.)

Seal. The basic ribbed hat perfected. Though simple, this hat has become my absolute go-to. I've worn it almost every day since the weather got chillier - it's just the right thickness and tightness to keep cozy and the color (Malabrigo's Pearl Ten in Mecha) goes with just about everything (well, everything I own,, gray, brown.) Fun fact: "Seal" is apparently the actual name for the brownish-blackish color that Pog is, one of my favorites. You know, like this.

Sambuca Noir, named by another rad Kickstarter donor! This is one of those delightful patterns that looks a lot more complicated than it is, thanks to after-the-fact smocking. The Madelinetosh ASAP is intoxicating- this is the first time I've used it and I've already hoarded several more skeins. 

^^ Not a black dog, but we wanted to make him feel included anyway.

Another huge thank you to the donors who made this collection possible, the folks who donated prizes, and to Vivian for letting me rope her into this. And thank you to those of you who have bought or will buy all or part of the collection: a portion of every sale goes to animal rescue charities that specialize in black pets or other less-often-adopted pet categories (senior, special needs, bully breeds, etc.) Being able to support those efforts in some small way makes me so very happy!

Review and Giveaway: Carol Feller's Short Row Knits

So, short rows are basically magic.

....and, as I remember thinking as a newbie knitter, they can seem about as impossible as magic. Not so much the technique itself (I tend to be pretty fearless about that kind of thing- just string, ya know?) but figuring out how to add them to a design and make them do what I wanted was absolutely boggling. I remember asking for advice in the old livejournal "knitting" community, about how to calculate short rows to make a set of costume devil-horns curve properly (I don't recall getting a satisfying answer, but I DO recall being made fun of in the "knitting_snark" community- geeez guys! ;-P Man, remember the livejournal knitting scene? Way back before Ravelry? Good times. But I digress...)

Enter: the book I wish I'd had then. Carol Feller's Short Row Knits!

You may know Carol from her awesome Craftsy class on the same subject, which was responsible for introducing me to short-row set-in sleeves (which I've only used once so far, but I know I'll be back for more.) This book is a thorough exploration of the whole world of short rows- starting with four methods described in detail, along with recommendations for which method is best for which applications. I'd tried three of them before - wrap and turn, Japanese, and yarn-over. I hadn't tried German, though, and Carol claims it's the most invisible method for short rows in garter stitch... something that has stymied me before. So I thought I'd give it a whirl...

Not bad! Admittedly it looks a bit odd in the picture because I didn't center the short-rows... I'm a sloppy swatcher, I'm afraid. But there are no weirdly prominent bumps on either side of the garter stitch, and the few I did in the stockinette look pretty good too.

After discussing each method, Carol walks you through all the common uses for short rows- creating shaped shawls, adding darts and other "make this sweater fit better" features, turning heels, and making cool 3-D shapes like balls. She also gives you tips for designing with short rows - sketching the curve you want out on knitters graph paper, for example, to help you decide where to place them- and for modifying existing designs. All around, a great a thorough introduction to a very useful technique!

The projects themselves are lovely- Carol's sweaters are always to die for! The fact that they're educational to boot is really just a bonus.

My only wee complaint: I would love to see more diagrams of some of the projects, such as the shawls, that would let me visualize exactly how the short row wedges are coming together (or even just flat shots.) This book is designed to help you learn project-by-project, but it's unlikely that very many people will actually make every single item, so being able to visualize how the project comes together without actually knitting it would help readers learn the lesson from each item without actually having to knit each one. There are a ton of useful diagrams in the techniques sections of this book, though, and the garments have schematics which is helpful as well :-)

So whatdya say? You want a copy? Good news!

I've got one copy to give away to a lucky winner! Just comment on this post before the end of November and let me know your favorite way to use short-rows (or if you haven't used them at all, what use you're looking forward to!) On December 1st I'll pick a winner at random!

Disclaimer: I was provided a review copy of this book by the author and publisher. However, all opinions are my own.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Boundless now available!

Well, it was available before, but only as part of a kit ;-) Now you can buy Boundless separately!

Boundless is an easy knit with a fun seamless crown (similar to I Was A Teenage Mutant - I couldn't resist playing around with that structure a bit more. Plus I loved the idea of a "never ending" hat to go with "Infinite Twist" yarn, hehe.)

You can still buy Boundless as part of a kit as well - and if you haven't gotten your hands on some of Infinite Twist's Qinghai Handspun, I definitely recommend you do so post-haste. It is so delightful and textural!

But, if you'd prefer the pattern alone, drop by Ravelry :-)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Knit It Black Photoshoot!

Whew! The last few days have been a whirl. Vivian is here to shoot another project for Malabrigo (that I've been coordinating) so I scrambled to finish the Knit it Black knits and shoot them on the same trip. Travis was kind enough to break from his pie-baking to snap a few backstage shots on his phone: 

Sexy garage set!

Task-mistress Pog checkin' out our progress. 

So proud!

There are a few more on my Instagram, if you scroll back a little. I'm really grateful that the 90+ degree heat laid off on the day of the shoot, lemme tell ya! Pog was a real trooper, too (though I only made her hang out for a few photos.) I can't show you the final shots yet (they're not yet edited, Vivian would murder me, hehe) but when we were scrolling through the results and saw these two together, we agreed that they needed to be gif-ized:


And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my ass. You're welcome. 

If you would like to pre-order the collection at a little bit of a discount, help me help some black dogs and cats, or just support dat ass, there's another week or so left on the Knit it Black Kickstarter ;-) 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Black Goodies to Chic Up Your Crafting

As long as we're celebrating all things knittery and black, I thought I'd whip up an all-black tools & goodies post! Please join me on my indulgent fantasy-shopping journey...

Lantern Moon makes some incredibly lux ebony knitting needles, including this interchangeable set.

I've talked about The Sexy Knitter's tool tins before... well, they now come in BLACK. Ooh la la!

Did you know that Blue Moon Fiber Arts has a whole spectrum of black colorways, called the Raven Clan? Oh yes. Oh yes yes yes.

Fringe Supply Co. sells several types of gorgeous black scissors.

Want to try some weaving? Wood Creek Looms come in several stains, one a gorgeous black.

It's not always easy to get your hands on Northbound Knitting yarn, but there's a reason for that: the most gorgeous blacks and grays you've ever seen.

This adorable project bag from givemeacrown would be perfect for small projects, notions, or heck, toiletries.

At wildwoolfarm, you can "adopt" Black Jack the goat!

Beautiful shiny buttons from MellowMoonSupply!

Awesome steggo needle gauge from sevenyaks.

Gorgeous yarn bowl by MorninGloriPottery

Mmm, the ultimate knitting bag as far as I'm concerned: a soft black leather tote by sord.

Even though Knit It Black has met it's goal, I still have a few black-related blog posts and such to go up, so I'm gonna do 'em anyway! Plus, we're still working on the stretch goal, there are still some groovy prizes, and it's a good chance to snag the collection for a few bucks less than the final price ;-)

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