Trunk Show @ Penelope Craft

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting Joji Locatelli. Joji is the knitting designer who’s pattern I used to make my Neon sweater. Her designs are clever, fun to make, fit perfectly and are beautiful as well! Joji was in the area visiting family and came to Penelope Craft to have a trunk show.

She had with her her latest designs and also those from Veera Välimäki.  The two of them joined forces to create a group of patterns, self published as “Interpretations“.  We got to see the samples and even try them on, which was really nice of her to let us do.  Joji was so friendly and I really enjoyed meeting her. I think she’d be a fun person to hang out with and talk knitting.

I couldn’t resist buying a couple of printed patterns that she had on hand.  I bought “Laneway” and “See You There”, one from each designer.

I also couldn’t resist some of Malia’s new Madelinetosh shipment. I know I KNOW! I don’t need it! But just look at it! How could I resist?

(Sorry for the lousy photos. It’s so dark and stormy today – no good light.)
The Jade and Firewood colors go so nicely together.  I think I will use them to make a shorter version of “Laneway”, with shorter sleeves too.

After hanging out for a while, four of us left and walked down the street to a Mexican restaurant and drank margaritas and ate nachos. What a great way to end the afternoon! I came home to dinner ready and Olympics on the tv. Of course, after drinking margaritas I didn’t dare try to cast on that lace shawl again. Instead I went to bed early.

This morning I was awake at 7am and decided to get up and turn on the tv to the Olympics, make some coffee and cast on the shawl.  This pattern starts at the bottom edge so you have the longest part to do first.  It gets smaller as you go along and work up.  So far so good now!  Here’s a photo.  Again, terrible light.  It really is a very bright orange, not so red as here.  It goes well with the orange everywhere on the tv while watching the ice skating! Hup Holland!


First FO of 2013

Today I finished the pink version of Mandy’s Heart.  Here are some photos of the seams.  I’m really happy with how the pattern stitches match up in the seams.  This version is made with O-Wool, 50% wool, 50% cotton.  It does feel much different from the 100% wool version.

Here’s a photo of the sleeve being sewn in, first at the beginning of the seam, then later towards the top where the sleeve bind offs begin.

I like to sew in sleeves starting at the bottom, working up to the top of the sleeve.  Then I start again at the bottom and sew up the other side, meeting at the top.  I find it easier to sew in the same direction as the knitting.

Here’s the finished sleeve seam.

The next job for me and this sweater pattern is to organize a photo shoot with my models.  It’s going to be interesting trying to line up their time, my time, and the weather.  I’m hoping that next Saturday the planets will align and I can get photos taken.

I’m really thrilled that this is all on schedule.  I plan to release the pattern on February 14.  My test knitters are working steadily.  The pattern layout is coming along too, after fighting with software and finally settling on a format I can work with, looks nice and I think will be very user friendly.  Exciting stuff!

Stay tuned for more info on the matching socks.  I’m half finished with the first sock already.  I do have to be careful of my shoulder though.  After yesterday’s massage, complete with elbow in the shoulder work, my back is pretty sore.  I’m only doing some sewing today and very very little knitting.  Stupid shoulder.


I am busy working on the pink O-Wool Balance version of Mandy’s Heart sweater.  This is the back.  I wasn’t going to post so much of the pattern online until February, but here I am showing you the main fabric.  If anyone wants to design another sweater using this kind of fabric, well, you won’t be the first and I’m probably not the first either!  You can only put knits and purls together in so many ways and I’m sure I’m not the first to knit them in this arrangement.

It’s times like this that I wish I was a faster knitter.  My friend Nancy told me that I really need to learn continental style knitting (I’m an English knitter, or a “thrower”) not only because it’s faster but also because it would probably be less strain on my shoulder.  When my shoulder starts to hurt these days, I immediately stop knitting.  And when I say stop, I mean stop for a few hours, not just a few minutes.

You can tell that this Balance fabric is much different from the Vintage fabric I showed a week ago.  It’s not nearly as bouncy or stretchy.  The 50% cotton has a big impact on the fabric.  It knits up to gauge immediately.  Washing the gauge and laying it out to dry makes the stitches look more regular but doesn’t change the overall size or shape.

I’m really hoping to get the back finished in the next few days and move on to the front.  The front is a lot more interesting to knit because of the cable section.  I’m looking forward to that!

By the way, I’ve started my own group on Ravelry here, in case you want to follow the progress of this sweater, and more sweaters to come (soon).

Sneak Preview

These past few months I’ve been busy designing and knitting.  I haven’t shown you anything of this effort because, well, because I just wasn’t ready for the world to see what I was working on.  What if it was a flop?  What if I decided that instead of self-publishing I would try to get it published in a magazine?  Today I can finally give you a sneak preview of the sweater and pattern that will be coming soon.  And to ask for help.

The idea for this sweater was born from the desire to see more bottom-up, knit flat and seamed, interesting sweater patterns on the market.  Knitting without seams, in the round, top down, is all the rage.  That’s fine, and I love those methods myself, but I don’t think it’s good for new sweater knitters to start with that method, and I also think that anything knit with heavier yarns needs seams for stability and strength.  I couldn’t find patterns I liked so I decided to design my own.  I’m absolutely thrilled with the final result and it’s all I can do to keep from showing you the entire thing in detail!  All in good time….

I’ve named this pattern Mandy’s Heart.  There is a heart cable motif running down the center front and down the center of one sleeve.  Mandy is my niece, who I *heart* very much.

Today I’m announcing that I’m looking for test knitters for this sweater.  I’m going to post this request on a couple of Ravelry forums.  I thought I would post the same request here just in case you miss it on Ravelry and are interested in participating.

A Fall and Winter classic crew-­?neck sweater with cable details and stretchy figure flattering fabric. Knit in worsted weight yarn from the bottom up, in pieces, and sewn together.

The front of the sweater has a heart cable motif running in a column down the center. The back does not include the cable column. Directions are given for a sleeve with the cable column running lengthwise through the center of the sleeve, and directions for a sleeve without the cable pattern. Both sample sweaters were knit with one sleeve in each design with the heart cable on the left sleeve.

I recommend using 100% wool or yarn with at least 50% wool for this sweater. Using a tightly spun wool yarn will show off the cables and stitch pattern to their best effect. I would not recommend using alpaca or silk as the fit will be substantially different than intended. Having said that, you are of course free to use this pattern as a basis for your own take on the design and use whatever yarn you wish!

The sweater is designed with only 1”/2.5cm of ease. This is less than the typical ease for a worsted weight sweater. Please note that the finished sweater measurements are for un-­? stretched fabric. The fabric is very stretchy and will easily accommodate curves and waistlines. My design goal was to create a sweater that hugs the body in a flattering way, even with a worsted weight yarn, and feels good to wear.

I’ve designed this sweater to be knit in pieces and sewn together. I am a firm believer in seaming a garment of this weight. Seams, especially shoulder and sleeve seams, add the strength needed to hold a sweater of this weight in the correct shape. A worsted weight sweater without shoulder or sleeve seams will very soon sag and lose its shape and look old before its time. Taking the time to make beautiful seams will give you a beautiful garment you will wear for years. Don’t be afraid of seaming! There are many fantastic resources online to help you sew invisible seams in your knitted garments. (See the Appendix at the end of the pattern.)

Requirements for test knitters:

  • You need to be comfortable knitting simple cables, making right and left leaning decreases (SSK, K2T), and knitting and purling through the back loop.  You need to be able to read basic knitting charts.
  • The sweater must be made with worsted weight yarn and you must match the gauge given (within reason).
  • The yarn used must be at least 50% wool (superwash is ok).
  • You must join the Ravelry group for the test knit and give weekly feedback on progress.
  • You must be open and willing to communicate what you like and what you don’t like about the pattern, what problems you have, and any solutions you may offer for problems others may have.
  • The sweater must be finished with all input given by 10 February 2013.  The pattern will be released to the public on 14 February.
  • You will not share the pattern with anyone outside of the test knitter pool.

What do you get in return?

  • My gratitude!
  • Recognition in the pattern notes and on Ravelry.
  • Final copy of the pattern free, PLUS the pattern for the matching socks (coming also in February), PLUS a free copy of my next sweater pattern (which is already in the works).
  • Individual support from me while knitting your sweater.  I will answer all questions within 36 hours and will provide detailed photos of my sample sweaters and knitting techniques if required.

If you are interested in being a test knitter, and you are on Ravelry, drop me a message on Ravelry, or add a comment to this post, and I’ll send you more information.  The pattern will be emailed to test knitters.  It is currently in a pdf file, without fancy formatting.  I’ve included several photos, but more photos with different models will be included in the final version of the pattern.

I am now making a second sample sweater, in the same size, using a yarn that is 50% wool and 50% cotton so you can see the difference that makes to the fit and drape of the sweater.  I’ll be knitting along with my test knitters, heading for the February deadline.

Look out for February 14 when the final version of the pattern will be available!

Butterfly Circus it is!

Christine left her suggestion on the contest blog post and I think it’s a lovely name for this sock pattern.  Butterfly Circus sounds so cheerful and fanciful.  Can you just see butterflies making their own circus?  I can.

Thank you so much Christine for your name!  I’m ordering these lovely stitch markers from Crimson Orchid which will be shipped to you.

I’m finishing up the pattern layout today, complete with the new name, and will get it up on Ravelry before the end of the weekend.  I’ll email a copy to everyone who left a comment and a name suggestion.

Thanks everyone for participating.  It’s so much fun to hear all these ideas and to open up to the world.  I’ll have to do this again….

Edit: Here’s the pattern on Ravelry.