Category: knitting

Twist Collective Spring 2016

Zellige by Brandy Velten

Here in Toronto, April began with more snowfall than we had in the months of December and January combined. But this week, we have finally seen the snow melt and the temperatures begin to rise. Is that you, spring? (Please, please be spring.) And if the arrival of spring-like weather (finally!) wasn’t exciting enough, this week also saw the arrival of Twist Collective‘s spring 2016 collection, which means I can finally share my latest design, Zellige.

Zellige by Brandy Velten

Zellige features a stranded circular yoke that was originally inspired by the beautiful floral motifs found in many henna designs. I originally had designed the colorwork for a hat last summer, but when I saw that Twist Collective was looking for middle eastern-inspired designs for their spring collection, the cap I was working on became a tiny yoke prototype for my submission. I have never designed a circular yoke sweater before, so it was a bit of a challenge getting this design together. Any sane person who looks at my notebook pages where I worked (and reworked… and reworked, again) the numbers for all the different sizes would probably run quickly in the opposite direction (I felt that way myself a few times trying to get the math to work out). But the challenge also made this pattern very rewarding when it finally came together (and for that I send a HUGE thanks to the tech editors at Twist).

Needless to say, I am beyond thrilled to be included in this beautiful selection of designs. Here are just a few of my favorites from the collection.

Anyolite by Quenna Lee Anyolite by Quenna Lee
 

To me, Anyolite by Quenna Lee is the perfect knit tee. With a pinch of lace, a touch of texture, and polished turned hems, I am in love. My favorite part? The ingenious textured panels on the sides which narrow as you work up the body. I am always a sucker for hidden details like that. Also, the construction of this seamless tee seems very unique and I always love exploring new ways of working knitted items.

Bosquet by Emily Ross

Bosquet by Emily Ross comes in two fabulous flavors, and I love them both. But I am particularly smitten with the pink, four-panel version. There’s just something about a lace wrap that screams, “Spring is here!” and Bosquet perfectly captures that feeling. Plus, with two versions, you can knit one as a gift and keep one for yourself – you’ll be a fabulous friend and look fabulous at the same time.

Cedri by Elizabeth Mak Cedri by Elizabeth Mak
 

First of all, you must check out the photography for the Feeling Fresh pattern series because it is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Second, while you are there, check out Cedri by Elizabeth Mak, which is just a fabulously fun cropped lace tee. When I close my eyes, I imagine myself wearing this tee while spending the afternoon searching for shells on the beach (I really could use a vacation…). I just love the wide lace panels of chevron lace – simple but bold. Just the perfect tee to pair with shorts and sunglasses to stylishly escape any day of the week.

What are your favorite designs in the new issue of Twist?

Pattern release: Feyre shawl

Feyre shawl by Brandy Velten Feyre shawl by Brandy Velten
 

For many, spring signals the start of shawl season, and while we still have temperatures in 30’s here in Canada (Fahrenheit, of course – you can take the girl out of the US but you can’t take Fahrenheit out of the girl), I’m so so so ready for spring. So to celebrate it’s arrival, I’m releasing the pattern for my Feyre shawl, which is now available on Ravelry.

Feyre is named for the main protagonist in Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses series. It is a take on the Beauty and the Beast story interworven with fairy lore – what’s not to love? Feyre is a tough girl with a soft side, dreaming of one day being a painter, when she is taken away to the Spring Court of the Fae, where love and adventure ensues. So it seems perfect to celebrate her with a bright, colorful striped shawl with a lace border that reminds me of spring blossoms.

Feyre shawl by Brandy Velten

I knit Feyre in some delicious Knitted Wit fingering single yarn I picked up when I was visiting Portland in January. I’ve made it a habit to pick up some yarn my local dyers whenever I visit a new place, and the beautiful, bold colors in the Knitted Wit yarns just called out to me. You know I can’t resist a speckle-dyed yarn, but I tried to go a little out of my comfort zone when choosing a coordinating color and went with a golden-hued shade of green. I can’t wait to get another chance to work with this beautiful yarn again.

Feyre shawl by Brandy Velten Feyre shawl by Brandy Velten

Hope you are enjoying some beautiful weather in your neck of the woods. What are you looking forward to casting on this spring?

Third time’s the charm

DSC_0048

Sometimes, it just takes time and a few missed shots to figure out what exactly yarn needs to become. And these poor skeins have been through their fair share. But they are being good sports (although, technically, they are fingering weight. Har. Har. Har.)

I originally intended for this trio to become an intarsia-striped wrap, but the physical item wasn’t quite materializing the way I had originally intended. There were little details I just couldn’t quite wrangle to fully reproduce the wrap as I had intended. So it sadly got frogged and set aside until I could work out the kinks in the design.

DSC_0053

But the poor balled up skeins kept calling to me from my “yarn warzone” pile of items that shall someday, somehow be finished. So I picked them back up intending to go at it with a slightly different idea. This time using short rows are large lace panels to produce the asymmetry. And yet again, the little things just weren’t right. Sometimes, things just look better as an abstract thought than as an actual physical object. And it can be so infuriating when you hit a wall where your technical ability limits your capability to actually transform your concept to an item. I suppose it comes with the territory of trying to design your own patterns. But that doesn’t make it much less frustrating. Perhaps acknowledging my limitations is the first step towards working to correct them, but it sure doesn’t seem to make my poor pile of “you’ll figure this out… someday” items/ideas/hopes/dreams decline at any substantial rate.

DSC_0065

So, here’s to hoping the third time is the charm. It may not be entirely what I intended, but I think working through the process has actually forced me to better define my exact desire sfor the item. I wanted smooshy, mindless garter stitch. I wanted a bold pop of contrast color. I wanted asymmetry. I hope and pray think I’ve finally worked out a way to get (most of) what I want and still feel satisfied with the design process rather than feeling confined by it.

And I really, down in my bones, just needed a comforting knit to come home to at the end of the day. And this is really hitting the spot right now. It feels… right. 

Puaka shawlette

DSC_0061 DSC_0060
 

I have been meaning to blog this project for the longest time, but life keeps on getting in my way. Lately, that seems to be happening to me more often than not… but let’s get on to the fun knitting stuff.

I knit the Puaka shawlette for my mother-in-law for Christmas using a skein of Madelinetosh tosh merino light (colorway Cousteau) that I had been hoarding in my stash for over a year. It had come to the point where I would open up the bin with the skein of yarn, squish it to my face, and just put it away again. I had been saving it for something special for so long, but it needed to be loved outside the skein. And the Puaka shawlette was the perfect one-skein project to highlight and enjoy it.

DSC_0055 DSC_0046
 

The pattern was straight forward and easy to follow. I especially love the textural stitch used on the body of the shawl – it is an easy stitch to work that produces a really beautiful result that almost looks like cables. The lace border is also very beautiful, but did require my attention to avoid errors (I’m not entirely convinced I avoided them all together, but it all worked out in the end, so it’s all good by me).

DSC_0052

Overall, Puaka is a beautiful little shawl with just a hint of a romantic touch. And it worked up relatively quickly, which is always appreciated around the holidays, when hand knit gifts can begin to feel a bit overwhelming. And you can learn more about Francoise, the designer of the Puaka shawlette, in my Designer Spotlight feature.

Speaking of overwhelming, it feels like it’s been ages since I shared any knitting here, but by no means have my needles been idle. I have actually been working recently to finish up several knitting projects with strict deadlines for some third-party publishers. I can’t share any more details quite yet, but there are lots of exciting things lined up for this year that I can’t wait for you all to see (check back in March for more details on the first of these patterns). While these secret projects have eaten up most of my knitting time recently, I also do hope to have a few new shawl designs of my own self-published on Ravelry in the next few months. It’s going to be an exciting year of change and growth – I’m really looking forward to all the new adventures.

Playing catch up

 

Photo Dec 02, 10 15 00 AM

Some times, my brain is hijacked by good intentions and I am left wondering what I have gotten myself into. That is the case with this year’s Christmas knitting decisions. After originally telling myself there would be few, if any, knitted Christmas gifts this year, I went ahead and decided about two weeks ago to completely throw that out the window and knit up about four different items that needed to make it to Texas from Toronto in time for Christmas. Yes, well intended, but practically speaking, very, very stupid. Oh well. I’m in too deep now, so there’s no turning back.

Photo Dec 02, 10 11 59 AM

The silver lining of this self-imposed situation is that I am enthusiastically enjoying the knitting each of the projects I’ve chosen. I have really cruised through the Puaka shawlette by amazingly talented Frenchie over at Aroha Knits. The body of the shawl was so much fun to knit that I sped through it. Now I am carefully working my way through the lace border with just a few more rows to go before this beauty will be off my needles.

 

 

Photo Dec 02, 10 11 09 AM I am also chugging away on my Amethyst Flicker by Jennie for the 2015 GAL KAL after a little hiccup at the start. I originally started it in an amazing pink color only to realize (after actually bothering to read the pattern) that I wasn’t going to have enough yarn. Whoops. So I started over (in an ah-maz-ing shade of purple) and am now almost half way through. I really, really want to keep this goodie for myself, but it might become a gift if I get desperate enough with the whole timing thing.

For now I’ve got to just keep knitting. Just keep knitting. Please tell me your knitting lists are in a similar state of distress…

blogsig

 

Linking up with KCCO and yarn along.

Karou pattern release

Karou pullover by Brandy Velten DSC_0870
 

It seems quite appropriate to usher in December with a sweater pattern release. Ask and I shall deliver! The pattern for my Karou pullover is now available on Ravelry. And during this introductory week, I’ll give you a teeny bit more incentive by offering 15% off the pattern until midnight on Sunday (Dec. 6th).

DSC_0872 DSC_0919
 

Knit seamlessly from the bottom up, the highlight of Karou is the colorblocked sleeves and front featuring a simple eyelet lace. There are practically endless color combinations to knit this sweater in. You could knit a different one for each day of the week, if it struck your fancy. And you just might after you check out the beautiful sweaters knit by my testers for some amazing color inspiration. It is going to be so fun seeing other knitter’s take on this design as the Ravelry project pages pop up.

My own Karou gets a lot of wear. I find myself reaching for it at least once a week. It’s so easy to toss on with a pair of jeans and add a little bit of color to my day (and boy, oh, boy did today really need some color here in Toronto). Maybe once I get through my giganto-pile of Christmas knitting, I’ll treat myself to another Karou. Maybe in purple (imagine that). Or bright pink! I’ll figure that out later…

blogsig

Indie designer gift-a-long 2015

 

DSC_0022

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – the indie designer gift-a-long! This year 335 indie designers are taking part in the GAL, including me!

So, what the heck is the indie designer GAL? Well, first of all, it’s a great community based effort to accomplish your holiday knitting. You will enjoy 25% off select patterns that have been independently published by numerous designers on Ravelry (you can find my pattern selection here) between now and the end of the day on November 27th just by using the coupon code giftalong2015. With that selection of discounted patterns, you’d basically have to go out of your way not to find an amazing pattern (or two, or three, or ten) that would make an amazing gift. Or, if you are like me, you can cross off some patterns off your wish list and treat yourself to some amazing indie designs – I promise I won’t tell anyone.

Apart from some great deals, there is also one ginormous knit/crochet-a-long taking place until the end of December. All patterns from participating designers are eligible for the KAL/CAL and all paid patterns qualify for one of the numerous available prizes. You can sign up for all the fun in the GAL Ravelry forum.

I’ve already started on one of my planned GAL projects, the Gilded Flicker shawl by the talented Jennie of A Handmade Life.

DSC_0023

My shawl will be less gilded and more ruby as I’m knitting it up in a beautifully bright pink. I’m already having such fun working up this pattern, with it’s unique shaping and beautiful lacy details on a garter stitch background. It’s got a little bit of everything to keep knitting fun without being overly complicated. I plan on keeping this shawl as a little gift for myself. But I do have some gift knitting to finish up, including the beautiful Puaka shawl by Frankie of Aroha Knits.

The GAL is sure to be a blast, so come join the fun!

11/11

Happy Veteran’s Day to the all of you in the U.S., happy Remembrance Day to those of you in Canada, and happy Armistice Day in the U.K.!

It’s also sorta kinda maybe my birthday today, too. It’ll be the last birthday of my 20’s. That’s just a little bit scary while still being exciting.

Photo Nov 10, 4 46 13 PM

It has been so long since I’ve done a weekly update. Things have been busy at work as I prepare for two presentations at an upcoming conference, but there still has been lots and lots of knitting going on. Some of it is a tad bit of a secret (which, if you know any knitwear designers is a very exciting term because while it means I can’t share anything with you right now, it means fun stuff is coming up in the near future), but there’s plenty which I can share, too.

Photo Nov 10, 4 40 36 PM Photo Nov 10, 4 42 23 PM
I have just one more sleeve to go on one sweater design. It would be finished already if I didn’t hate knitting sleeves just so much. But I have plans this weekend to just sit down and power through during a marathon session of either Home Fires or Indian Summer (or maybe both, because why not?). I’m excited to get the sweater finished because, to be frank, I just really want to wear it. It has such nice little details that I just know it’ll be a go-to in my wardrobe.

I’m also chugging away on the body of a new cardigan. I have completely fallen in love with SweetGeorgia‘s Tough Love Sock yarn. It is such a pleasure to knit with and produces some very beautiful, and durable, garments. I’m a wee bit obsessed with the mini bobble stitch, which is not only fun to knit, but just fun to look at. So this is my own funky, fun take on the standard striped cardigan – with wee bobbles.

As for reading, most of it has been scientific papers (yuck!) as I work up a manuscript and those aforementioned presentations (it helps if you know what you are talking about when you speak to a room full of scientists). But in my downtime I’ve been grabbing a few pages of Heir of Midnight, the third novel in the Throne of Glass series.

Linking up with KCCO and yarn along.

Take a peek: Pom Pom Quarterly, Winter 2015

The glam of the roaring ’20’s is back in this lovely issue of Pom Pom Quarterly. With an art deco vibe and gorgeous deep colors, I was immediately enamored with the romantic designs of this issue, but there were a few designs that immediately popped out to me. Here are just a few of my favorite pieces from the Winter 2015 issue:

Avalon Ballroom by Clare Lakewood - copyright PomPom Quarterly Avalon Ballroom by Clare Lakewood - copyright PomPom Quarterly

Design: Avalon Ballroom by Clare Lakewood

Why I love it: Look at this scarf. What isn’t to love about it? It features a beautiful, bold, lace motif that is completely reversible, so the scarf looks stunning from both sides. I also love it’s wonderful thickness and size, so you can wrap yourself up in stylish decadence (that’s what the 1920’s were all about, right?) and warmth. To me, this scarf really is a knock out. I would wear it out on the town (if I did that sort of thing), and I’d probably never want to take it off. Good thing it would also probably make a fantastic wrap to keep my bare shoulders warm in my sparkly little number (if I wore that sort of thing). (I might be having a little too much fun imaging wearing this piece out to a speak easy in a lovely flapper dress and a fantastic bob haircut.)

Carlu by Kiyomi Burgin - copyright PomPom Quarterly Carlu by Kiyomi Burgin - copyright PomPom Quarterly

 Design: Carlu by Kiyomi Burgin

Why I love it: I’m a sucker for stranded yoke sweaters – I just love them. And the design on this one is so beautiful in it’s simplicity. You definitely get the art deco vibe from the color work pattern, with a perfect touch of bold femininity. I also love that the design isn’t overwhelming in it’s complexity, which really makes it shine. It’s a perfect sweater for someone with less experience in stranded knitting, just waiting for that perfect pattern with just a touch of color work. And with such a beautiful sweater waiting for you on the other side, why not give it a go! I can just imagine wearing this sweater with a pair of flared slacks, a smart hat, and some stylish heels. It would be an outfit that would make Miss Phryne Fisher proud.

Design: Suffragette by Olga Buraya-Kefelian

Why I love it: Speaking of smart hats, check out this beauty! Suffragette looks stunning, featuring interesting wedges and ridges to provide beautiful shaping and details to this hat. It looks to be a fun knit that will give you a unique and sophisticated hat to wear as the temperatures drop. As someone with very short hair, caps are basically my own defense on bad hair days. This is one hat I definitely wouldn’t mind donning all day long. With such a good looking topper, no one would suspect that anything is amiss underneath.

Be sure to check out all ten of the designs featured in this issue of Pom Pom Quarterly. They all make me want to head out for some cocktails and dancing at the club. Which ones are your favorites?

Featured projects: Ariel

I got super lucky with my Ariel test knitters. They were a fun bunch of knitters and produced some really lovely finished sweaters.

Ariel pullover knitted by CrunchyMamaKnits Ariel pullover knit by CrunchyMamaKnits
 

I was pretty enamored with Aimee‘s choice of yarn right from the beginning, and the final sweater does not disappoint. Aimee knit her Ariel in a beautiful teal blue with some added sparkle. To me, the color really captured the color of the ocean and the spirit of Ariel (she loved her sparkly things, didn’t she?). I just love the shot of her Ariel in action, gazing out upon the water.

Ariel pullover knit by elkrom Ariel pullover knit by elkrom
 

Elżbieta knit her Ariel in some gorgeous Malabrigo sock. The subtle variation in the yarn is exactly what I designed Ariel to highlight, and Elżbieta’s sweater does not disappoint. Isn’t it just gorgeous? I may just have to knit myself another Ariel in this exact colorway because I love it that much. And I love Elżbieta’s styling of her photos with the fall foliage and lots of nature.

Ariel pullover knit by kayemgee Ariel pullover knit by kayemgee
 

Kath knit up another beautiful blue Ariel. Her color choice reminds me of delicate seaglass you might find wandering the beach. I love how this pullover looks delicate and feminine in this beautiful color. The silk, wool, and cashmere blend just looks so soft and drapes beautifully.

So many lovely projects and so much inspiration! It is always such fun to see how different knitters interpret a design through their yarn and color choices. It makes the test knitting process so much fun. And if you are inspired to start an Ariel of your own, you will save 15% off the pattern until midnight (Toronto time) on Sunday.

Thanks again to all of my great test knitters! I had a blast working with you and wouldn’t have had nearly the success I’ve had with this pattern release without you!