Wednesday, September 24, 2014

new pattern - Rita Hayworth cropped sweater

Named after the incredible Margarita Carmen Cansino (Rita Hayworth was her Hollywood-friendly name), dancer, actress, bombshell. A 1940s-inspired fitted sweater with some updates-- wide boatneck, deep V in back, cropped length, half sleeves, pure sass.

The ribbed waist ensures a snug and flattering fit, whether you wear it over a flowy blouse, or all by itself, you daring minx you.

Fits with a bit of negative ease. Shown is size M (to fit 36" but I'm more like a 38").  The strap makes sure it stays where it is supposed to, along with looking pretty neat. Knit with Ewe So Sporty, my go-to washable merino yarn.

I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do!

36" size on a 36" mannequin


Monday, September 22, 2014

Steeking Cape Vertigo and Holla Knits Giveaway!

Steeking! It scares the *&!$ out of most knitters. The mere thought of cutting a knitting project sends shivers down the spines of even the boldest, bad-assiest crafters among us.

Cape Vertigo is my first pattern to utilize steeking, and I was a bit nervous about this (understatement of the year), having only ever steeked a tiny sample before this. "Why," you might ask, "would you want to incorporate such a nerve-wracking process into your pattern?" 

Well, that's a great question. 

Firstly, it allows the piece to be worked in the round, which makes stranded colorwork practically a breeze. When you can bring both colors along for the ride on the inside of the fabric, it makes for a much simpler and cleaner process AND finished product. 

Secondly, steeking is... not that bad! Really! It's all in the preparation, and if you've prepped your steek properly and securely, it works out beautifully.

Finally, it's EXCITING. It's like the knitting equivalent of skydiving. You just have to take the plunge! 


Because I knit my cape in the luscious Berroco Flicker,  a gorgeous baby alpaca blend with a bit of sparkle, I wanted to make sure its unique, smooth chain-ply texture didn't try to break free and unravel. Steeking is most often done with 100% wool, the fuzzier the better, to bind to itself and hold the steek in place. Wool like this is sometimes referred to as "sticky"... and Flicker is very smooth. Because of this, the pattern walks you through a double-reinforced process to make sure everything stays where it is supposed to.

The gray crochet chain adds stability for the sewn reinforcement

A crochet chain is the first step, looping through each stitch of each row all the way up the steek line. Then, with a sharp needle and strong thread, we sew a careful running stitch and back-stitch along the line, making sure to pierce EACH stitch and strand of each row. 

Then... we pick up some sharp scissors, take a deep breath (and/or swig of liquid courage), and cut, carefully carefully, so as not to snip our reinforced edges.


It works! It's secure and strong and ready for the next step of the process.

The end... for now

Knit Picks is giving away some of their excellent Wool of the Andes Tweed (seen below in Allyson's gorgeous dark brown and blue Cape Vertigo). To enter this Subscriber Exclusive Giveaway, subscribe if you haven't already and head over to the HK blog for details!

The Holla Knits blog tour continues! Check out all these amazing designers, yarn companies, and crafters extraordinaire:

Sept 8: Launch
Sept 9: The Sweatshop of Love - pattern giveaway, SEG: 6 skeins KP WotA Tweed in Brass Heather
Sept 10: Klever Knits - pattern and skein of Rowan Kid Classic giveaway, SEG: 6 skeins KP City Tweed Aran in Jacquard
Sept 11: Berroco - review and pattern giveaway
Sept 12: Canary Knits - pattern giveaway, SEG: 1 500 yard skein of Mountain Colors 4/8’s Wool in Harmony Ice

Sept 15: Mountain Colors Facebook Page - SEG: Mountain Colors Perspectives Twizzle in Blue/Turq
Sept 16: Life on Laffer - review and pattern giveaway
Sept 17: Knits in Class - SEG: 1 skein of Knit in Class
Sept 18: Makewise Designs - review and pattern giveaway
Sept 19: Anzula - SEG all the Anzula yarn needed for the vest

Sept 22: Ruby Submarine - SEG: 3 skeins KP WofA Tweed in Thirst Heather
Sept 23: BoKnits - SEG: 8 skeins KP Swish DK in Indigo Heather
Sept 24: Under the Red Umbrella - review and pattern giveaway
Sept 25: DoogKnits - review and pattern giveaway
Sept 26: Cosmos and Cashmere - review and pattern giveaway

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Double Deco Knit Along!

This is exciting! I'm leading a KAL for one of my favorite recent patterns, Double Deco. 

Starting Wednesday October 1st you can knit along with us, learning tips and tricks along the way... and in the end you'll have your very own gorgeous wrap.

Head over to the Ewe Ewe blog to find out how to join in. There's a coupon for 25% off the pattern price!

Once you've got your materials, join us on the Ewe Ewe blog and/or the Double Deco KAL forum on Ravelry!

Here are the colors of Ewe So Sporty I'll be using for the new version of the shawl. What do you think? If you're having trouble choosing colors, check out my color combinations blog post!


Monday, September 8, 2014

cape vertigo - new pattern!

Picture this: You're all dressed up to go enjoy some evening fall festivities. There's a slight chill in the air... what do you throw on over your stylish duds? A winter coat just doesn't quite seem fancy enough.

If you're me, it's a cape. Meet Cape Vertigo, my latest design from the Fall/Winter 2014 issue of Holla Knits!

Cozy and luxurious, it sits around your shoulders with a soft shaped folding collar. This simple stranded colorwork pattern is a joy to knit -- worked in the round and then steeked before the collar stitches are picked up. If you've never steeked before, never fear! This is a great first steeking project and will walk you through the process with visual references.

The stranded colorwork creates a strong fabric with clean lines that remains light and soft. It's an easy-to-memorize pattern repeat and surprisingly fast to knit. This flew off my needles in record time for such a large cozy piece.

My light tan and blue version of the cape was knit up in the divine Berrocco Flicker, an alpaca blend with a tiny bit of metallic sparkle. Allyson's beautiful dark brown/blue tweedy version of the cape was knit in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Tweed.

I love how this pattern turned out in both yarns! This one is so fun to knit, I want to make as many color combinations as possible. I'm thinking a neon pink/gray version is in my future.

Cape Vertigo on Ravelry


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Quick Fancy Headbands - new pattern

I'm so happy these are finally available as a pattern-- lots of folks asked about them when I sold them at craft fairs.

it's a headband party and you're invited!

Deceptively simple and QUICK as heck, with yarn ends used as braided ties-- these are the ultimate last-minute-crochet gift.

two head(bands) are better than one

The pattern includes photo directions for the beginning crocheter, making this a simple, pleasurable hooking experience.

tassels are fun

Endless border and color combinations! Also, they make cute bracelets and bookmarks.

gifts for all your lovely peeps

Quick Fancy Headbands crochet pattern PDF

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

New crochet pattern! Patches the Elephant

Do these curtains make my ears look big?

Patches is here! I made this squishy, huggable pillow-toy for Ewe Ewe Yarns in their excellent superwash Wooly Worsted.

This happy creature is about a foot long, a nice large size for playing or snuggling at nap time. Patches only has two legs-- but really, how many legs do you need when you're a pillow?

The better to hear you with, my dear

I chose colors that were sunny and bright and unisex (at least in my opinion! I was never one for the pink-or-blue dichotomy). The pattern involves minimal finishing: the belly-ful body is join-as-you-go, stuffed with plenty of cushy stuffing, quick embroidered eyes and sew the ears on-- done. 

It's times like these when I wish I had a handy kid-model for scale. We'll have to settle for this shot of me being a goof.

Do the Pachyderm Rock

Patches the Elephant crochet pattern PDF


Monday, June 2, 2014

Hot Time knitting and crochet

Let's face it, the weather affects what you want to work on, right? Here in Chicago it is a humid 83 Fahrenheit and I am avoiding the presence of my woollier, warmer yarns for the time being.

So, what to do? My answer is usually: Cotton or small or quick or all of the above.

Melt Slouch Hat

Realistic Crochet Octopus

crochet headband party!

Some random tips for making yarn-crafting bearable during the warmer months:
  • Drink more water! (basically my solution for everything)
  • Put your project and/or yarn into a bag so they don't get fuzzies all over you
  • invest in a spray bottle from the Dollar Store or something, mist yourself like an orchid when you get hot
  • stick to smooth fibers like cotton, linen, hemp, bamboo, viscose 

I'm getting ready to make a few pairs of cotton socks. Keepin' it cool and small.

Has summer crafting season reached you yet? Got any more tips? Because you know we're not just gonna stop just because it's hot!