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!

Pattern Release: Ariel

Ariel pullover by Brandy Velten

Hooray! The pattern for my Ariel pullover is now available on Ravelry!

Ariel pullover by Brandy Velten Photo Sep 26, 11 57 13 AM

I am nearly bursting with excitement to get this design released. I’ve had such a great response for this sweater and now, finally, I can share it with all of you! (It really took a lot of will during the test knitting phase not to release the pattern as soon as my tester’s amazing finished items started appearing on Ravelry… but I’ll show off more of those later this week.)

This design was born from my frustration finding a suitable pattern for this beautiful colorway of Madelinetosh tosh merino light. I wasn’t happy with anything I tried. The yarn just seemed lost in the design. Until I stumbled upon smocking stitch – it worked up beautifully in the variegated colors without being overwhelmed by it. It became a perfect match, resulting in a sweater I wear all. the. time. (I’m not fibbing here, it’s at least once a week.)

The sweater is knit seamlessly from the bottom up. The body features the smocking motif (which is no where near as complicated to knit as it looks) which reminded me a bit of fish scales, but on a more romantic, feminine level. So, of course, almost immediately my over-active imagination thought of Ariel the Little Mermaid. The pullover is intended to be worn with slight positive ease (I’m wearing mine with about 2 inches of ease at the bust) and there isn’t any shaping through the body, but the smocking stitch works to flatter the body in all the right places.

Photo Sep 26, 12 05 16 PM Photo Sep 26, 11 58 15 AM

This pattern is also my first to use seamless set in sleeves. The sleeves are worked from the top down using short rows to shape the sleeve cap. I have to say, I don’t think I will ever work set in sleeves in another way again. I absolutely love this method because it works so well to produce a great-fitting sleeve, and once you get the hang of things, it seems to just whiz by.

It’s definitely sweater knitting (and wearing) weather around these parts, so what are you waiting for? To celebrate Ariel’s release, I am offering 15% off the pattern on Ravelry until Sunday (Oct. 25th) at midnight (Toronto time). 

And, I need to send a giant thank you to my amazing test knitters! You all really helped this project come together perfectly, dedicating your time (and patience) to knitting up some very beautiful sweaters of your own. Thank you!

Pattern giveaway – Ariel pullover

Ariel pullover giveaway - Brandy Velten

Some (fun) business to take care of today! The pattern for my Ariel pullover will go live next Tuesday and I’m pretty darn excited about it. So excited that I am giving away three copies of the pattern to three lucky knitters! You can enter here on the blog, on Instagram, or on my Facebook page – three super fun ways to win your very own copy of Ariel!

To enter here on the blog, it’s easy! Simply comment below with the color(s) you would knit  your Ariel pullover in and your Ravelry ID. I will draw a winner from all the entries here on the blog on Tuesday morning when the pattern goes live.

In other news, I finally got around to setting up a newsletter (thank you to everyone who has already signed up!). You can easily subscribe over on the sidebar or by filling out this simple form. The newsletter is the best way to stay up to date on new pattern releases and other fun happenings over at Brandy Velten Designs. Plus, subscribers will receive very special, newsletter specific coupon codes. And as a thank you for signing up, you will automatically receive a coupon for 10% off any pattern in the Ravelry shop.

Lots of fun, exciting things happen as I continue to grow! I hope you all have a great weekend and good luck if you enter the giveaways!

Thanksgiving 2015

I hope everyone in Canada had a lovely long Thanksgiving weekend. To me, it’s still a little weird to have Thanksgiving in early October, but Andy and I try to make the best of it.

We had a great weekend. On Friday, we spent the day at the ballpark, watching as our Texas Rangers won in extra innings against the Toronto Bluejays (sorry Bluejays fans, I know you guys want it really badly, but you guys are just going to have to lose today so the Rangers can advance). It was so much fun, even if Andy and I were the only happy ones to leave the stadium that afternoon. The rest of the weekend was filled with beautiful blue skies, puppy walks, and even a little Thanksgiving dinner for two. It was a really nice break from work – the last one until Christmas.

Photo Oct 09, 5 48 42 PMPhoto Oct 09, 12 37 25 PMPhoto Oct 09, 5 37 48 PMPhoto Oct 11, 5 42 33 PM Photo Oct 11, 5 42 38 PM

Time, where’d it go?

Photo Oct 06, 6 48 54 PM Photo Oct 06, 6 52 26 PM Photo Oct 06, 6 58 37 PM

This week…

Knitting: Slow progress is being made on both projects on my needles, but row by row they are growing. They’ve both reached a size that makes them difficult to lug around with me on the subway, which means they only get worked on during the evenings at home. Unfortunately, work has kept me away, so evening knit time is not as abundant as I would like. Combine that with the deadlines looming for some design submissions (and lots of swatching, sketching, and scheming…) and it means that very little time has been available for me to work on finishing up these two sweaters. But they will get there. Eventually.

Fall has also fully soaked into my being, as you can see by my yarn choices for something big, drapey, cozy, and for me-me-me. These four skeins of beauty (all four are Tough Love Sock by SweetGeorgia) are traveling with me daily as my go-to commute knit. Can’t really share much more than that… yet.

Reading: If very little knitting is getting done, you can bet that even less reading is happening. I’m still making my way through Heir of Midnight, which has been exciting and fun and everything a good YA fantasy should be, but I just find myself falling into bed and snoring away with very few pages passing me by.

Basically, I just need way more time. Slow down, time. Let me catch up!

Linking up with yarn along and KCCO.

Test knit: Karou pullover

Karou pullover by Brandy Velten FullSizeRender_3

Get all the test knitting details here.

Meet Karou. I’m so happy she’s finished and ready to be introduced to the world (the online world at least, because I have to admit I’ve worn her out a couple times already with great pride). This design was born out of the realization that all my pullover ideas seemed to focused around fingering weight yarn. And it’s not just my designs, either, I have a tendency to knit up a lot of fingering weight sweaters. I hadn’t truly realized that I was stuck in the zone of teeny yarn until I was going through my knits this summer. Almost every sweater I had knit recently was with fingering yarn… and then I realized I had a problem.

I needed to get myself out of the “fingering zone,” and so I picked out some delicious DK weight yarn and started jotting down ideas for a comfortable and casual sweater with just a bit of fun and spunkiness. Once the pullover was finished and I was searching for a name, I realized that all those descriptors basically summed up one of my favorite literary heroines, so Karou it was.

Karou pullover by Brandy Velten

Karou is the main protagonist in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor. She’s one cool chick, with magically azure hair, a biting sense of humor, a playful nature, and just a bit of mysterious vibe. But through the course of the series, she also reveals herself to be a courageous, selfless, compassionate, and loyal, warrior and leader. I kind of really dig her.

Karou pullover by Brandy Velten DSC_0882
 

And I dig this pullover, too. (I swear, that bright blue colorblock of lace is really just a coincidence that proves Karou is the right name for this design). It is knit seamlessly from the bottom up to the underarm, when the front and back are worked flat. The front features a bright, bold colorblock of eyelet lace that continues down into the sleeves. The set-in sleeves are knit from the top down using my new favorite technique of using short rows to shape the sleeve cape. With no body shaping and a couple inches of positive ease, the sweater is definitely casual and cozy. It has become my go-to top to toss over a tee for a bit of extra warmth on these cooler autumn mornings.

I’m currently looking for test knitters for this design before it is released to the public. If you are interested in adding a Karou of your own to your wardrobe, check out all the details over at my Ravelry group.

 

Take a peek: Knitscene, Winter 2015

Julie, over at Knitted Bliss, does such great and thoughtful reviews of recent knitting publications. She inspired me to try my own hand at wrangling up my favorite designs and sharing what I love about them, especially now that I find myself paying more and more attention to the details that make unique and beautiful knitting designs.

So my first go will be the latest issue of Knitscene – Winter, 2015. Overall, at first glance at this issue, I was a little underwhelmed. I’m going to chalk that up to a difference in personal style, but I felt some of the designs just were not that fashion-forward or innovative. It seemed a little boring for a winter issue when knits should be center stage. But, that being said, there were some stand-outs that I particularly loved.

Yorkville wrap - Knitscene, Winter 2015 Yorkville wrap - Knitscene, Winter 2015

Design: Yorkville Wrap by Sachiko Burgin

What I love about it: This wrap looks so amazingly cozy and incredibly stylish. I love it’s unique v-shaped design with beautiful lace edging, and I love how they styled it the photo shoot. Sachiko is a Toronto knit-wear designer (who happens to work at one of our awesome yarn shops) and this wrap is named for a pretty swanky part of town. I can perfectly image walking around Yorkville on a sunny winter afternoon (do we have those in Toronto?) with some tall boots, sunglasses, a stylish hat and fitting right in. But I would also wear this wrap just about everywhere, and would look pretty darn good, too. I also love that this design would look pretty spectacular in just about any type of yarn: tweed for a bit of a rustic, cabin & campfire feel, variegated for a bit of fun, or a real bright neon for a statement accessory.

Anything else?: I wish I had thought of this clever wrap shape! I hope it takes off and we see lots more.

Field Notes cardigan - Knitscene, Winter 2015 Field Notes cardigan - Knitscene, Winter 2015

Design: Field Notes Cardigan by Jenn Emerson

What I love about it: This is one smart cardigan. With polished set-in sleeves and a shawl collar, I especially love how it calls back to the beautiful knitwear of the 1950’s, which is entirely encapsulated by the name of the cardigan. But this design isn’t stuck in the past, with  extra long sleeves and body, it also has a modern touch. I really think this classic design has the potential for becoming a staple in anyone’s wardrobe, worn season after season.

Anything else?: I’m just a little puzzled by the asymmetry of the body. I like the idea of an asymmetry that calls to mind a double-breasted sweater, however I’m not sure it comes through fully in this design. To me, with the styling of the sweater, it kind of just looks like your cardigan is crooked, which is really what I was convinced of when I first saw the photos. For me, I think this sweater looks best worn open.

Deep Woods touque - Knitscene, Winter 2015

Design: Deep Woods Toque by Kiyomi Burgin

What I love about it: I think this is my absolute favorite design in the issue, and I think it may all come down to the amazing color combination. I like bright things and unexpected color combinations, and the accent of bright peach against the deep brown and emerald green is perfect to me. I would make this hat exactly like it is. And I really love the simple stranded design of the bare trees around the circumference of the cap. With the double-wrapped, extra tall ribbing I also know this hat would actually keep my ears warm during a blustery winter day. You better love knitting up ribbing if you are going to tackle this one (and I do!).

Anything else?: Get this hat on my head right now!

That’s all for me. So, what were some of your favorite designs from this issue?

Hello, beautiful…

image

image

This week…

Knitting: I find myself with a pile of beautiful, squishy yarn that shall, one day soon, become a beautiful, squishy sweater. My not so mini-obsession with splatter-dyed yarn continues, climbing to new heights. I’m working on a cozy, sweatshirt inspired design with vertical pockets, instead of a kangaroo pouch, and maybe some playful heart-shaped elbow patches. And this yarn is guranteed to ensure it won’t end up as another usual, grey sweatshirt. I’m really looking forward to cuddling up in this fun, bright, happy sweater when the dark days of winter (and writing my Ph.D. dissertation) arrival all too soon.

I’ve also been working away on a colorwork design that has been kicking around my head for a bit, but right now it’s in its more boring stage, so pictures of that will come a wee bit later when it’s more than just a stockinette rectangle.

All the knitting is keeping me distracted while I wait back to hear from several design submissions, very, very impatiently, I might add. That, and I may be procrastinating just a bit on starting work on writing up my latest manuscript for work. (I’m at that stage where I just stare at the blank page on the screen… just waiting for something decent to pour out to get me started. That first sentence is always the hardest, isn’t it?)

Reading: I’ve moved on to the next novel in the Throne of Glass series, Heir of Midnight. I’m happily comfortable in the world Sarah J. Maas has built and I am looking forward to following these characters through their journey. I may not be in love with the series, but it’s good enough to keep me trapped there for a bit longer.

Watching: Fall TV season is here! I’m looking forward to the new Muppets show, the Heroes reboot, the final season of Downton Abbey, and the return of my guilty pleasure, Scandal. I kind of watch a bit of TV…

Andy and I also saw several movies at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, but that’s a blog entry all on its own.

For now, I’ll just leave you with a little sneaky peeky at a sweater that I finished last weekend, just to get your curiosity peaked.

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Linking up with KCCO and yarn along.

Pattern Release: Lace & Stripes Cowl

Lace and Stripes Cowl by Brandy Velten

Lace and Stripes Cowl on Ravelry

I hope everyone had a great long weekend. It really doesn’t feel like fall is upon us today in Toronto, but I have a sneaking feeling it will be here before I know it. My mind has been lost in fall for awhile now – dreaming of wearing snuggly sweaters and cozy cowls. I’ve really been loving the big, oversized cowls that I’ve seen popping up on Ravelry. They just seem so perfect to snuggle into while still looking chic and stylish.

Photo Sep 01, 6 50 41 PM Photo Sep 01, 6 23 37 PM

So today I’m tossing my own design into the mix with the release of my Lace and Stripes Cowl on Ravelry. Knit with fingering weight yarn, it is great for transitioning into fall without being too bulky. And it is also pretty perfect for using up those left over bits of sock yarn – mix lots of them up to produce a fun and funky cowl, or keep it cool and classy with two contrasting colors.

I’m also offering a special introductory sale – purchase the pattern before midnight EST, Sunday, Sept. 13th and you’ll save 20%! So now you have no excuse to not get started on some fall knitting.