Category: design

Cables and pockets

Photo Jun 29, 6 03 39 PM Photo Jun 29, 6 00 00 PM
 

First of all – Happy Canada day to all my Canadian readers out there!

Secondly, go, go, go enter to win a free copy of my Mont Royal Socks pattern over at Emily’s blog!

And last, but not least, it’s finished! This past weekend I put the finishing touches on my cable cardigan and gave it one final block. And since then, I’ve been proudly wearing it to fend off the cool days we’ve had here lately. It’s just what I wanted – a light-weight sweater that is easy to toss on top of a tank as I dash out the door.

The only thing that’s catching me up right now is a name. I’m really horrible at coming up with names for designs. Andy’s great at these sort of things, but he’s being absolutely no help to me with this cardigan. There’s got to be a more creative name out there than Cable Cardigan. Help me! What catchy name does this sweater scream to you?

Photo Jun 29, 5 55 00 PM Photo Jun 29, 5 59 46 PM

Designing this cardigan really taught me a lot: how to evenly space body shaping on a project worked flat, how to work pockets seamlessly with the body, how to calculate the rate of neck shaping on a v-neck, and how calculate the sleeve cap size for set-in sleeves. The sleeves were probably the absolute hardest part, but these articles from Knitty helped me with understanding the underlying principles, and more importantly, the math.

It has still been a giant headache grading the sleeve cap for other sizes, but I think I finally have all the grading tackled and I’ve begun writing up the first draft of the pattern.

Photo Jun 29, 6 01 05 PM  Photo Jun 29, 6 03 56 PM
 

I think this will be the first pattern I seek out a tech editor before test knitting. There is just so many things going on at the same time in the pattern (like waist shaping + pockets), that I want to make sure the pattern is as clear and easy to follow as possible, especially since it is my first major garment pattern. If you have suggestions for affordable tech editors that are great with newbie pattern writers like myself, I am on the hunt and definitely welcome any and all suggestions.

I’m really excited to accomplish this goal. Now I’m looking forward to sharing it with my fellow knitters. Soon…

Linking up with KCCO and yarn along.

Mont Royal Socks

DSC_0143 DSC_0108
 

I’m so excited to announce that the pattern for my Mont Royal socks is now available! You can purchase the pattern on Ravelry or here on the blog.

DSC_0139 I had a great time designing these socks. They are inspired by my trip to Montreal and a wonderful, Quebec-based dyer I discovered while I was there, Riverside Studio. (Seriously check out Kathryn’s yarns. I can’t say enough good things about them and have loved working with her merino sock yarn for this design.)

These socks are perfect for people who enjoy working lace on smaller projects. They feature an addicting leaf motif running along the top of the foot and front of the leg with an accenting lace motif along the back of the leg. Really, I will jump at any almost any chance to incorporate leafy lace motifs into a project. They are one of my favorite types of lace to work because they are so beautiful, but are actually quite a simple lace motif to work.

DSC_0138 DSC_0176
 

I want to send a big giant “thank you” to my two lovely test knitters: Steph and Emily. They both made the test knitting process so easy and fun. I love watching a project grow off someone else’s needles! (Check out their blogs for some “in-progress” posts.) And for some even more exciting news, Emily will be hosting a giveaway for a copy of the pattern next week, so be sure to head over there and enter!

Progress feels good

Photo Jun 25, 8 40 09 AM

Since last week, I’ve made good progress on my cardigan design. Last week I finished up the body and got it blocked. And last night I finished the first sleeve. (It took me three tries to get the sleeve perfect, so it gosh darn better fit into the armsceye like a glove. Don’t fail me now, math).

Photo Jun 25, 8 38 33 AM

I’m quite enamored with this sweater. I generally have fond feelings of almost everything I knit, because making a sweater/hat/pair of socks/blanket/whatever appear from a pile of yarn just makes us knitters pretty awesome people in my book. But this sweater is born not just from a pile of yarn, but also from an idea in my head. Having a tangible, physical object come from a thought is kind of blowing my mind.

Photo Jun 25, 8 38 54 AMI designed this sweater with only myself in mind. I wanted an interesting cable detail down the back (check). I wanted pockets to carry around my keys at work (check). And I wanted it to be fitted, but easily slide over another top (the math tells me this should be a check). I think I will grade the pattern for multiple sizes and take a crack at writing up the pattern. I want to get into garment design and this is good practice. I am a little overwhelmed with the idea of writing up the pattern because I fear no one will understand the pattern. But that’s a problem for Future Brandy – for now I will just enjoy finishing up the sweater and adding it to my wardrobe. Because, look, I made this!

 

The sad tale of my sweater

Photo Jun 17, 10 28 16 AM Photo Jun 17, 9 33 08 AM
 

I’ve had a bit of a set back. I’d been working on designing a pullover for weeks and I was pretty darn excited about the whole thing. It looked great… in my head. After spending lots of time working out grading the pattern for multiple sizes (and pulling out lots of hair getting the math to work) and making the charts, I started knitting up the pattern in my size. I finished the body of the sweater on Saturday and blocked it.

But I went to bed that night with this little dark spot in my mind. This spot was telling me that the patterning on the front of the sweater just wasn’t obvious enough. It was too short in length along the torso and wasn’t standing out in the yarn I had chosen. I decided I would sleep on it and decide in the morning how to proceed. But when that doubt creeps in, it’s hard to get rid of, and really, I had already decided before my head even hit the pillow that this design just wasn’t working out. The item before me wasn’t matching the picture in my mind.

I think I know what needs to be done to fix it. But I need different yarn and to redo the math, so this design is on hold for now. On the bright side, the body fit quite well, so it wasn’t the sizing that was off. And that gives me enough confidence to try again with something else.

So, this week…

Knitting: I having been meaning to make a everyday, grey v-neck cardigan to add to my wardrobe for a while now. I’m taking this chance to design my own. And if I’m successful, it may become my first real garment design. So far, I’ve finished the ribbing and the pocket linings. Did I mention it has pockets worked seamlessly with the body of the sweater. It’s a great design feature I first found in Andi Satterlund’s Armande, and I love it.

Reading: I need to renew my library card for the year, so I’m currently shut out of the library website and can’t renew my checkout on Crown of Midnight. So for now, I’m back to reading Shadowscale. But honestly, my reading time has just plummeted since I’ve begun designing knitting patterns. There’s just not enough time in the day and I hate that my reading time is what got co-opted into pattern writing. I’m trying to work on it.

Linking up with yarn along and KCCO.

 

Not enough knitting time

Photo Jun 10, 8 40 32 AM

 

This week…

Knitting: For the past few weeks, I have been on such a knitting kick – really inspired to get some more knitting designs released. But I have so much actual work I need to do to collect the data I need to finish my Ph.D. in the next year. All this silly work stuff is much less fun than knitting and is really starting to eat into my crafty time. It doesn’t help that my knitting motivations are so high and my work motivations are much, much lower. But I’ve gotten things done (it helps when you have an hour commute to work each way). I finished adapting my Mont Royal sock motif into a pair of fingerless mittens, which are blocking today. (I love love love leafy lace motifs, and I may be especially biased towards this one, so I’m totally milking it for all it’s worth with the beautiful yarn I got from Riverside Studios.) They will have a matching hat soon I hope, if I can find some time to swatch for gauge on a slightly larger needle.

I also, restarted my poor sweater. I got all the way up to the armholes, but didn’t like how it was fitting (what did I think would happen with 2″ positive ease?!). So now we’re back at the bottom with a bit more fit calculated into the pattern. This thing is going to happen…someday.

Reading: I’m about half way through Crown of Midnight, the second book in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I am enjoying this series, but I’m also kind of glad they are just library books because they aren’t turning out to be a series I would keep long term. But the characters are interesting, the magic and mythology are intriguing, and the action keeps my attention. So they are getting the job done.

Watching: Bob’s Burgers is entertaining me right now. And I can do a pretty decent Linda voice, which amuses me. I’m really looking forward to the new season of Orange is the New Black this weekend – good tv for marathon knitting sessions.

Linking up with KCCO and yarn along.

Third time’s the charm…

Photo Jun 05, 8 42 00 AM

 

I will conquer this sweater. I am the master of the yarn and the needles. They will not better me. They are inanimate objects. I have a brain and opposable thumbs and I will be the victor of this struggle.

A while ago, I got the idea of a sweater into my head and thought to myself, “Someday, maybe you will be brave enough to design your own sweater pattern and share it’s awesomeness with the world.” So I sketched it quickly on my iPad and set it aside for a bit. But I couldn’t get the idea out of my brain. It was a pesky little idea worm that had wedged its way in there and I just found myself continually thinking about how I really just wanted to knit it …now.

The only problem is that I have never actually knit a sweater from scratch. I’ve modified patterns to better fit me or change the colorwork, but I’ve always had a starting place that someone else had figured out for me. And I knew it had a pretty good chance of working out fairly well. I like that sort of security. I had this fear that I would take the leap into starting from scratch, but that I would just end up sitting in a pile of yarn with my knitting needles thinking, “Okay, so how do I actually start this thing…” Also, the idea of figuring out how to grade a sweater pattern to fit different sizes was eye-twitch inducing (but let’s not go there now because my brain doesn’t want to think about maths on a Friday).

But let me tell you something I’ve learned through this whole “learning to knit” thing, the internet is full of amazing. It is full of beautiful, smart, generous people who have gone through the scariness, figured it out, and are sharing their knowledge with the rest of us (FOR FREE!). (Don’t worry, I’ll share more about these super smarty-pants people and their wonderful knowledge soon, I promise.) So armed with some knowledge, a wee bit more confidence, and my own insanity, I went out, bought some yarn, and just decided to figure this thing out.

So far, I feel like I’ve spent equal proportions of time spent figuring out all the math (and then re-calculating it or second-guessing myself, changing things, and then realizing I had things correct at the start), knitting, and ripping out to starting over. I’m on my third try now. First, I didn’t like the rate of waist decreasing. Then I cast on the completely wrong size. And then I realized that the stitch design I had originally planned to use wasn’t giving me the effect I wanted, so I had to change the chart design and stitch pattern a wee bit. I’m feeling a little more optimistic on this try. So far, the sweater may have won a few battles, but I’m in it for the long haul. I will outlast this stubborn project, and it will have no choice but to give in to me and become a beautiful sweater (whether it wants to or not).

Giveaway and test knit

Thank you to everyone who showed so much love and support for my Blossom set release! In return, I’ve got lots of fun stuff to share today.

First, let’s start with free stuff. To celebrate my first pattern release, Tahnée at Woollen Wilderness is holding a giveaway of my Blossom Cap pattern this week. All you have to do is visit her blog and leave a comment – so easy! Right now there’s only 6 entries, so you have a pretty good shot at winning. Good luck.

Next, I’m on the hunt for some sock and lace loving test knitters.  My first sock design is completed and now I just need a few people to test out the pattern before it is released.

Photo May 27, 10 45 10 AM

I’m trying out holding my test knitting on Ravelry, so test knitters can share their experiences, post pattern errors, or ask for help and it’ll all be in one single spot. I’ve created a Ravelry group for my designs where test knitting opportunities will be posted and if you are interested in test knitting for my sock design, you can find more information (than you ever thought you wanted to know) here.

Linking up with KCCO.

Blossom cap and cowl

DSC_0019 DSC_0030
 

My first knitting patterns have been released! You can find them either on Ravelry or in the Pattern shop here on my blog. The Blossom cap and cowl are a matching set of light-weight accessories that together use that special single skein of fingering weight yarn you have in the stash.

Photo May 07, 6 10 06 PM Photo May 07, 6 13 17 PM
 

The design started with the cap. I was inspired by the beautiful cherry blossoms that seem to magically appear overnight on campus each year. And for me, the warmer time of the year is the perfect time to show off some lace knitting. All of that got wrapped up together in my brain and turned into the Blossom Cap. And I just happened to have the perfect skein of pale pink yarn stashed away …sometimes hoarding yarn for the right project pays off. With a good chunk of yarn left over after the cap was finished, a matching Blossom Cowl just seemed like a perfect way to continue the design.

I’m so excited to get this design released, so I’m offering a special: if you purchase both patterns you save 25%. And I have to send out a big, ginormous thank you to my test knitters: Tahnée and Steph for helping me both patterns ready for release.

Speaking of test knitting, I’ve started a Ravelry group for my designs that I’m hoping to use as a spot to post about test knitting opportunities for upcoming patterns. If you are interested in test knitting for me (or you just want to stay up-to-date on pattern releases), please feel free to join.

Riverside Studio yarns

Photo May 21, 8 43 24 PM Photo May 21, 8 43 36 PM

Yesterday I came home to a splendid present in my mailbox – a package of yarn from Kathryn at Riverside Studios. Inside were two lovely skeins that will become the samples of the new sock pattern I am currently designing.

Here’s how the story goes:

Almost exactly a year ago, I was in Montreal for a conference. I wanted to pick up a skein of yarn while I was there, something that inspired memories of my trip and was preferably local to the area. I ended up with a beautiful leafy green skein of Kathryn’s merino single-ply fingering yarn that reminded me of the lovely afternoon spent hiking up Mont Royal the day I arrived in Montreal. Plus, Kathryn’s studio is located in Quebec and her yarns are all sourced from within Canada. I basically couldn’t get any more local if I tried.

I had saved the yarn, waiting for the perfect pattern to use it. I tried a couple patterns, but nothing stuck. Then a few weeks ago, I started working up my own design, inspired by my trip to Montreal and Kathryn’s beautiful yarn. When I had finished, I decided to take a chance and contact Kathryn to see if she would provide some sock yarn to allow me to write up the pattern for publication.

Photo May 21, 8 43 55 PM

And she said yes! My first ever collaboration with a dyer for my very own design. I’m pretty darn excited about it all. I asked for a skein of green similar to the one I had originally used to design the pattern, as well as an autumnal, golden yellow. Working with Kathryn was so easy and lovely. I would do it again in a heartbeat. She prepared the skeins for me in just a few days and she even worked to create a new corlorway for the yellow skein to be just as I requested. I’ve even been tasked with naming it. I have a couple ideas in mind… but I’m keeping them to myself for now.

I was so excited to get the yarn, that I immediately cast on the first sample pair of socks. They are working up so beautifully! I can’t wait to watch these socks and the pattern design progress.

Photo May 22, 4 00 05 PM

 

And Kathryn, if you are out there reading this, I’ve said it many times already, but thank you again! Thank you for taking a chance on a newbie designer like myself. Your trust and belief in me and my ideas are worth more than I can say.

May Mood Board

Slide1I’ve been collecting together ideas, colors, pictures, and patterns that have been inspired my knitting, and I thought it might be fun to share some of the things that have been on my mind lately.

For May, I’m totally smitten with the soft, delicate cherry blossoms that have popped (seemingly overnight) on campus. So I’ve really found myself drawn to pretty light pinks and other floral inspired hues. On my walk to the subway each morning, I pass a shop window featuring the beautiful pairing of sky blue and khaki tan, and I find myself loving that combination more and more each time I pass by. I’ve also found myself really enjoying the eyelet lace trend that seems to have popped up this spring in the knit-iverse. Spring is perfect for lace, and the eyelets bring an endless amount of possibilities for working modern looking, yet light and feminine, accessories.

You can find each of these inspirations, plus more, on my May Inspirations Pinterest board.

So, what are your spring and summer knitting inspirations this year?