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Archive for the ‘knitting’ Category

I am so over the moon to make this announcement:

I have my first pattern for sale on Ravelry!

Honeycomb Shawlette

The pattern is the Honeycomb Shawlette. I cast this on during my student teaching when I just wanted a project to meditate over. It needed to be simple to memorize but require my rapt focus. It needed to be small and smash into my purse without complaint. It needed to be absolutely beautiful. After a year, almost 2 years, on the needles I finally finished it. I wear it everywhere. It is lofty, soft, squishy and exactly what I wanted. I get tons of compliments on it everywhere I go. I have to thank Barbara, a customer at one of the shops I rep at. She went absolutely ga-ga for it. Her enthusiasm and support really pushed me over the edge to write out and code up the pattern and make it available to the public. And here it is! The first of many Knest Designs!

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Joanna, modeling the amorphous garment "right side up"

On Thursday I was at Sister Arts Studio in Chicago to kick off a the Cardi Shawl Knit (and crochet) A Long. I first knit this garment (designed by Stitch Diva) last September. After raving about it to Donna at SASI over the pone and e-mail, I knew I just had to drop in wearing it. Just as I suspected, when she saw it in person, Donna decided that we must do this project as a Knit-A-Long.

The whole thing is knit up as one looooong rectangle, knit along the long edge instead of the short. The magic is in the 3 needle bind off. The resulting garment can be worn right side up, upside down, belted, pinned, open, even backwards!  Of all my garment projects, this is my most frequently worn item.

Please Note: photos never do this garment justice, though Donna and Joanna made a valiant effort! She is wearing the XS, which is generously sized enough to be tried on by significantly larger women. Customers who normally knit a size L or even XL are knitting this project in M.

To prepare for the Kick Off event, I knit up a small army of swatches. It was amazing how much there is to think about when planning a garment yarn choice. I admit, I usually don’t spend as much time on this step as I should. That will certainly change now! The key word you’re going to hear over and over with this project is “Drape”. This is not a densely knit wool sweater, it is an exciting foray into the sensuous world of slinky knits. Today I will cover the protein fibers I swatched up.

"Upside Down" and shawl pinned, my personal favorite way to wear this!

The most luscious choice by far was definitely the Lhasa Wilderness by Bijou Basin. It is a 75% yak, 25% bamboo DREAM of a yarn. I was in love before, but after this swatch, I am really dying to knit this garment again with this yarn. The swatch was unbelievably light and soft, but with spectacular drape and a barely-there sheen. The stitch definition was clear. This fiber combination is both breathable, hypo-allergenic, and warm. Considering this project would need just a hair over 4 skeins for the generously sized XS, this is a great “Bang For Your Buck” yak project.

If the Yak/Bamboo is just not in the budget, the new Llama Luxury from South West Trading Company is a spectacular substitute. It comes in a subtle palette of neutrals. The llama fiber is remarkably light, yet insulating (think alpaca). It drapes wonderfully, but has enough stitch memory to keep from looking saggy. The swatch had a slight halo, making it look oh-so-inviting to squish!  Soft and lovely next to the skin, you would need 7 skeins to make the XS.

Wearing it backwards; feels crazy, and yet it totally works!

The most popular choice at Knit Night was the Yin/Yang combination from SWTC. These are sister yarns, each 60%wool, 20% bamboo, 20% silk. Yang also has a iridescent mini-sequins held on by a silk thread. With these yarns you can knit most of the garment in the plain Yin, and then throw in some Yang on the ribbing and drop-stitch rows. It adds some extra sparkle and interest. The yarn itself has great stitch memory and knit up to a rather dense, bouncy swatch compared to the rest. The bamboo and silk contribute enough drape to keep the project hanging as it should.

Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion of Swatched With Love; Cellulose Strikes Back!

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Tea and Swatches

In preparation for a very exciting night this Thursday at Sister Arts Studio, in Chicago, I have been a’swatchin’!

You may remember, last fall I knit the Stitch Diva Endless Cardi Shawl. It was a delightfully simple yet satisfying project. I wore the resulting, um, cardi? shawl? wrap?…garment to knit night. It was a smash hit and I got knitters’ handshakes from every direction. Well, We decided that it needed to be a Knit-A-Long.

I knit my original garment using stash yarn, not yarn I sell. However, several of the yarns that I carry would be stellar subs for this project. The garment demands a drape and sheen to be successful. I have been swatching and sampling from my rep kits to help customers pick their favorite yarns for their projects.

If you are interested in joining this KAL, we will be kicking it off at Sister Arts Studio on Thursday at 6:30.

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No photos yet. My entire living room is buried in fiber goodness. My much-talked about Karabella Sales Kit is in! And at nearly 50 pounds, this is one mother of a kit! I have spent the last day and a half just barely getting this thing into order for appointments. Patterns alone merited 10 solid hours of re-filing. So Much Cashmere! So Much Glory!
If you are in Wisconsin or Illinois and are even remotely interested in fashion forward luxury knitting, book your appointment right away!

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Juniper, my first rabbit in her holiday outfit.

It’s been a retail-tastic week here at the Knest. Unfortunately, my financial situation prevents me from buying many gifts this year. I have a budget of $50 for my 6 immediate family members, my boyfriend’s 4 family members, my boyfriend, and then a few very special friends who have really been there for me during these rough times. I totaled it all out and at $3.57, there isn’t much out there that meets my exacting standards for a good gift. It’s a real bummer, because I love x-mas shopping.

Fortuitously, my grandmother has a great deal of gift-shopping anxiety. This year I get to do her x-mas shopping! It’s not quite the same as doing my own, but I am getting my fix. I also have been helping my mother out with her shopping, so I’m feeling pretty good about all this. I know it sounds materialistic, but a x-mas season without lists and trips to the shopping centers just falls a little flat for me. I’m still hand-crafting all my gifts with love and care, so don’t get your knickers in a knot. There is something about going out and just happening upon a great idea and being done with it that does feel a little magical.

At the moment, Grandma and I are iced into our house. We were going to go out to run errands (winterize her car, groceries, finish up her x-mas shopping)  but the garage door seems to have frozen shut. It is 1 measly degree out there, so being home isn’t so terrible. We’re hoping that the sun will hit the door and coax it into working. If not, it’s tea, x-mas knitting, and bunnies for the day.

These photos are from last holiday season. The rabbit, Juniper, my very first pet and forever angel, passed away shortly after I took these photos. Isn’t she beautiful?

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Nameless Mitts

I need your help. I’m working away towards my goal of putting together a collection of patterns, and also my goal of getting my holiday knitting done. I have knitted these mitts/fingerless gloves/hand cozies/whatever you like to call them. They were a special request from my darling lil sister. While the knitting is done and the pattern-writing is underway, I need help deciding what to call them. Please help me out by voting and leaving comments!

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I hope everyone has had a lovely holiday weekend. I know I did.

Sneak Peak

I used the holiday as an excuse to turn “office time” into “knitting time”. I think that is fair, as we are now into full gift-knitting-panic time. I also used the time to contemplate the growth of Knest, Inc. I have known since my early knitting days, that eventually I want to work as a designer (I know, who doesn’t!). In the knitting industry, much like so many professions, nobody takes you too seriously until you have something published. It’s like a Masters’ Thesis. So, for 2010 my goal is to start working towards a book of knitting patterns. I have dozens of original designs knitted up, but very few in written/test knitted pattern form. I plan get at least a few up here on the website and on Ravelry in the next few months. More information to follow.

I don’t know how often my family or other giftees check the blog, so unfortunately, I can not post full photos of what I’m working on right now. After the holidays I will be posting patterns for all sorts of quick knits and gifts. It will be stash-busting-tastic!

Grandma's First Swatch!

With all the clicking that’s been coming from my needles this week, Grandma decided to try her hand with the pointy sticks. I brought out my teaching needles and balls of scrap yarn, and got her started. As an 80 year old, she picked up on the fundamentals just as quickly as my usual students (2nd graders). That is amazing! She’s toiled away for a few days and is getting much more comfortable with the process. I left town for a sales call yesterday and when I came back she said the magic words. “Hey, this is kind of fun!” Yep, she might just be a Knitter. I took a not so close look at her swatch and noticed it was more than a tad askew. I had cast on 15 sts for her to start off with. After perhaps, 10-20 rows, she now had 78 sts on the needles. Now, this is of course a perfectly normal beginner problem, and miraculously, there were no dropped stitches to be seen (Yay!). I pointed out to her that ideally, you should have the same number of stitches in every row for right now. “Oh really? I had no idea… this is not normal?” Grandma quipped at me, and began to pout a little. “No, Grandma, this is perfectly normal. You’re doing great,” I responded. And we sat to knit some more.

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