Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hey there, Slick


One more hat for February, eh? This one's a touch manlier than usual, but it looks nice on the ladies too. 

This is Trav's Blue Steel. He's aiming it the wrong way though.

I was going for sort of a classic-sailor-beanie vibe, with a touch of sophistication, perhaps. It's got just enough cabling to keep it interesting without being too overwhelming or requiring constant vigilance, and lots of nice crisp twisted stitches! As written it has a short, skull-cap fit, reminiscent of a vintage sailor’s beanie, but it's easy to add extra length to the ribbing if you prefer a longer hat or are getting a shorter row gauge than called for.


Trav’s been wearing this around with a big black peacoat and a black cashmere scarf and it’s so “European Sailor Classic”-ish I could swoon a little. But with a jacket, beard, and axe, it can totally do lumberjack-hot too.


You can find Slick on Ravelry here (check out my testers' projects once they're linked up- you'll be surprised how well some of the colorways worked with the cabling!) 

 Or you can... 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Hats on Parade


 This morning, Liz asked me how many hats I had, and it occurred to me that I hadn't done a proper count in awhile. So I gathered up the troops for a rolecall. 

I don't know what's up with my wide angle filter, being all soft-focus-y :-/


Not pictured: Any hats that may or may not be in Doomsday Knits; any hats that are currently misplaced (Snowhemian and Varia at the very least... I'm sure they're hiding around here somewhere, probably together. The original Maelstrom is gone forever so I guess it doesn't count anymore.) Also, only hats made out of yarn counted. Not that I have a lot of non-yarn hats around. 


Here are the totals: 
 -98 hats, all told (damn you Varia and Snowhemian, you could've made an even 100!) 
 -42 hats in Malabrigo
-40 design samples that I'm not supposed to be wearing 
-13 handspun hats 
-13 hats that live in my craft fair box and are theoretically "for sale" 
-10 hats in Madelinetosh 
-9 hats that need to be photographed and/or published 
-5 kid's hats (all in the craft fair box) 
-1 knit by Travis (on my head) 
-1 store-bought by me (gasp!)
-1 hand-me-down store-bought hat from my mother 
-1 store-bought chullo I found on a dumpster in college and which may or may not have been handknit in South America



 I think maybe it's time to do some selling or donating. The thing is, a lot of the ones that are not a design sample (which I have to keep for trunk shows) or worn regularly are...well...kinda shitty and old. I wouldn't really want to pass them on to anyone. But they've been with me so long, it feels mean to frog them (plus the last thing I need is more yarn, especially unappealingly dusty and kinky yarn.)



 Probably wouldn't hurt to put the "craft fair" ones up on etsy, seeing as I never do any craft fairs anymore. Hmmm... 

Crap, I have to put all these back now, huh?

Thursday, February 21, 2013



 An approachable and wearable creature, Bivouac has just enough intrigue to keep it interesting but is simple enough to show off those tricksy variegated yarns and maybe get a little tv-watching done while you're at it.


The end result is slouchy and comfy and pretty darn cute! The yarn is Madelinetosh Vintage in Earl Grey- any yarn that makes me think of tea is a-okay by me!

(And here's an example of how not to hold a hat you're trying to photograph from the back.)

 Want a swirly mountain on your head? Here's Bivouac on Ravelry or you can....


Monday, February 18, 2013


(Can't stop now! On a pattern release roll!) Please allow me to introduce you to this scrappy 'lil number:


 It's written for four yarns (Tosh DK, Schulana Lambswool, Schulana Angora Fashion, and Noro Silk Garden) but you can use more or less, and mix and match any combination of DK/light-worsted-weight-ish yarns. The goal is to mix color, texture, and (to a lesser extent) gauge to get, as one tester called it, kind of a "patchwork hat." Sooo good for using up scraps!


 And of course, don't forget the all-4-yarns pompom!



(Those mitts are coming soon! The scarf is Sharona ;-) ) 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The 8th Pattern Photography Sin

Awhile ago I made a big ole list of common mistakes that new (and sometimes not so new) designers make when photographing their patterns. I hope you'll me allow to hop back on that soapbox for just a moment, because I've noticed a scourge so unsightly, so divinely unprofessional, that I think it warrants an addition to the list. And that scourge is censorship.

No, not actual censorship of, say, nudity (Ravelry guidelines require it to some extent, though Mr. Naked Hat Gentleman seems to have figured out the system.)

I'm talking about censorship of your FACE.


Why, why, why would you do this to your picture?? The focal point of your pattern photo should be your beautiful knits. As soon as you add a big, bold, geometric shape, you've shifted the focus, and to something ugly and brash and unpleasant, no less. Human beings naturally look for faces wherever they go- that's why we see a man in the moon and attribute facial expressions to things like houses and cars. When you intentionally take a face away from where it should be, it becomes jarring and unnerving. That's why tv-heads are so creepy (which is exactly what the artists want them to be, because, societal statement, blah blah, conceptual, meaning, blah, feelings, etc.)

On top of completely ruining the aesthetics and kind of creeping people out, censoring the face says one of the following:

 A) This is the only picture and the model was making a stupid face but I'm too lazy to reshoot it. (Solution: RESHOOT IT. And take a tontonTON of photos whenever you're shooting something so it will never happen again.)

B) I modeled this, and my self-esteem is so low that I can't bear to let people see photographs of me. (Solution: D-:  That's really sad and you should work on that, but in the meantime, get another model, position yourself so your face isn't visible in the photo, or crop it out if you're not modeling a hat. Just don't *censor* it.)

C) I don't really understand how internet stranger danger works, and still believe that putting a photograph of myself online will result in an instant murder-stalker tracking me down. 
(Solution: That's probably not going to happen. Don't go posting your address, phone number, and SSN or anything, but you're more likely to meet a nice potential murder-stalker at the grocery store than through a photograph you posted on Ravelry.)

 Even worse?


This says all of the above plus "I am probably using MS Paint" and "I somehow have no awareness of how creepy this is." It's really, really, really creepy. REALLY CREEPY. OMG.

So... come on, ladies and dudes. REVEAL YOURSELVES!


^^^ also creepy

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Fooler A Faker

"You're a fooler, a faker, a little heartbreaker..."


 Just a little somethin'-somethin' for Valentine's day!


This hat is a brioche-free version of my Heartbreaker pattern that imitates the look with a strategic gauge change/double stranding (or as I like to call it, brifauxche.)


Get it? Fooler, a faker, a little heartbreaker?? RIGHT? CAUSE IT'S A FAKE HEARTBREAKER. (I don't know why my Val-day patterns are always so focused on the downside of love, but you gotta admit, the name worked out pretty darn well.)

And yeah, I know the green one looks like an olive. It's 'cause ❤ olive you </groan> 


Anyway, you can check this lil' ditty out on Ravelry, here, or:

(And just so you know, the folks on my mailing list got this one for $2.14 (Valentine's, see?) If you want to be in on such snazzy discounts in the future, sign up over in the side bar---->

I only send out newsletters when there's a new pattern to announce, and I will never share your info or anything shady like that.)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Lutine Cap

A new hat!

  Lutine Cap

Lutine Cap

 A bobbly, slight-elven creature, this hat is knit with scrumptious Baah! La Jolla yarn, held double for speed and warmth. If you've not experienced Baah! before, you're in for a treat. The colors are SO, SO, SO rich! My camera could barely contain these blues.

  Lutine Cap

Lutine Cap 

The split brim can be left down (not shown, but similar to Rooty) or sewn up and worn to the front, back, or side. 

 You can check it out on Rav here, or...

 PS, in case you were wondering, this is what it looks like when I'm being moody and high-contrast in a used record shop:

  Lutine Cap
*Deep inner turmoil*
*Only the Smiths understand me*
*And only on vinyl*

Thursday, February 7, 2013


I was sorting through my backlog of half-finished projects when I came upon the ole "Someday later maybe" folder- a lonely place, full of good intentions and poor executions. I thought it might be fun to take a tour of some of these sad never-was-es (and in most cases, never-will-bes... though a few might get a take-two someday.)

Strappy Mitts 
Some sort of weird bondage-gear/snowbunny mashup, I actually wore these for quite awhile, as the angora blend was pretty cozy. 

 Why they didn't get published: Bad photos, half-formed notes, and a general lack of enthusiasm about the design on my part.

I actually like this one, and will probably spruce it up and remake it. 

Why it didn't get published: I wasn't happy with the photos, and with a few details, and then the notes got lost... I can't even tell you what yarn that is, now.

Gator Gaiter 
A variegated Malabrigo neckwarmer with a neat slipped stitch pattern and a very satisfying name.

Why it didn't get published: This blurry monstrosity is the best photo I have of it. I have no idea where it is, now. Maybe I sold it? Yeah, this was an early one, I didn't exactly have my workflow down yet.

Here is a recent one, affectionately named the "Buttscrunch hat" on my computer (the working names are not often the final names, but even so, I think that's telling.) It looks like a perfectly mild-mannered hat from the front... 

Why it didn't get published: 

 .... and it looks like some sort of vagina-dentata, vertically-mouthed-alien, malformed anus from the back. I was experimenting with putting decreases in different sorts of places and, well... those are not good places. I made a second version with more standard decreases:

But honestly? It was boring. And the pictures weren't that interesting, and I just wasn't into it without something cool going on in decrease town.

Billie Sue 
I love this pattern actually, and it will get published, just as soon as I reknit it, 'cause... 

Why it didn't get published: I chose to knit this out of a Malabrigo test yarn over two years ago and it's still not on the market (and as far as I know, there are no plans to make it so.) It would literally take me less than a day just to reknit the thing, but I haven't yet. I am a little bit nervous that I have lost the notes. 

Jellyfish Love 
This one is a real tragedy, because the charts for it were (are) awesome. 

Why it didn't get published: The brim looks like shit, the tension is bad (needs a higher stitch count, which means tweaking the charts), and the whole darn thing is too short.

This one was actually available for awhile, and I do rather like the weird pictures. 

Why it was un-published: I realized (or rather, a knitter realized) that if you didn't have the exact stitch AND row gauge, you'd end up with a very wonky shape. I've been meaning, for ages, to rework it and see if I can't make it work anyway (because it's very hard to match someone else's stich AND row gauge- when one changes, so does the other.) This is why we test knit things! (I wasn't very good about that when I was first starting out, I'm afraid.)

I don't think I have to explain this one. It's a ridonkulous stocking cap made of handspun scraps that is way too small for a human head. I do want to knit another ridonkulous stocking cap someday, but...better than this. 

And there you have 'em... all the failures I have photos of. I'm sorry, little projects. We can't all be rock stars. Or, "barely-competent."

Monday, February 4, 2013

❤ Love From London- MFPP Collection ❤

Time to admit it- America is great and all, but my heart belongs to London. Consider this my London-y Valentine ❤ (And yes, we'll be hitting the heart character pretty hard today.)



This collection (part of the Malabrigo Freelance Pattern Project) includes all you need to be lookin' cozy and cute this Valentine's day, from head to ankles. It also features my VERY FIRST EVER PUBLISHED GARMENT PATTERN OMG. It has had the holy heck tech edited out of it but I am still a little nervous- this is my first real graded pattern 0.o

  Northern Line

I love how it turned out, though, and with the stripes and boat neck it is particularly flattering for us breastally-challenged gals. I think "sweaters for the breastally challenged" might end up being my garment niche. Work with what you (don't) got, I always say.

  Northern Line

 Anyway, let's do a walk-through, shall we? Click the name or pics to check it out on Ravelry. 

 First up, Northern Line, the aforementioned sweater:

  Northern Line
 Boat neck, stripes, contrast hems, picots! Easy top-down raglan shaping and a bit of nip-in at the waist. Ever so slightly saucy, I'd say.

  Northern Line

  Hallo, Love! 

 Wear your heart on your hat ;-) Stripes, slipped stitch decreases (my new favorite effect), and just a little duplicate stitch.

  Borough Market Mitts 

 True to their name, these babies kept my paws cozy in the freezing drizzle at Borough Market (which is also where these photos were shot. Do I look cold in the pictures? BECAUSE I WAS. VERY.) The finger-side-cuff can fold back for dexterity or forward to keep 'em warm, it's very useful. Plus, little tiny hearts! 'Cuz Valentines!!

  Bermondsey Shawlette

 This might be the sweetheart of the collection- I absolutely love this shawl (and it looks divine with my new red coat!) Stripes, slipped stitches, scallops, picots!

  Zebra Crossing 

 I knew right away what I'd name these guys, hehe ("Zebra crossings" are pretty much just British crosswalks...sometimes they have some zig-zag lines. Way funner name, if you ask me.) The pompoms and sassy contrast back "seam" make me very happy.

  Here's a link to the whole collection! All 5 pdfs for $16, whattadeal ;-)


(Also, if you're interested, there is an absolutely obscene number of project photos on my flickr account. In case you want a few more angles, haha.)

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