Thursday, December 22, 2016

2016, Year of the Dumpster Fire, Wrap-up

I don't think I'm alone in saying "Good riddance, 2016, screw you and never call me again." While some lovely things happened this year- we went on a Caribbean cruise, went to three lovely weddings, got pregnant- a number of truly horrific things also happened, like my house flooding, the horror and terror that is the Giant Evil Cheetoh (aka Trump), and the death of Alan Rickman. One amazing thing that came from the terrible is the overwhelming support I received after our house flooded. Knitters are the kindest, most generous people on the planet, and I can't say thank you enough for every person who bought a pattern, re-tweeted about my pattern sale, offered to send me yarn, or just sent a kind message on Ravelry. It really helped restore my faith in humanity.

I'm hopeful for 2017. We should be able to move into our house at the beginning-ish of January, then we'll have the terrifying (but wonderful?) experience of having a baby sometime around mid-March. That should keep us occupied for a good, long time.

Knitting-wise, 2016 was ok. I went through a terrible publication-acceptance drought for the first half of the year. Nothing- and I mean nothing- that I submitted was accepted for a full six months. I tried to have a positive attitude and use the time to recharge my creativity, knit some things just for me, and generally chill out about needing to always be the best. Once I got a grip, I started having things accepted again. It was a good mental break, but not necessarily one I'd like to repeat.

I started the year with a pattern in a Knit Picks collection, then published a blanket pattern in the Knit Picks IDP program. I went on a few-month break, then had a pattern in the Spring/Summer issue of Twist Collective (one of my goal publications!). After that, I had two (!!) designs in the Knitscene special issue this year- a scarf and a baby blanket. For my birthday, I published a cute nautical bag. Then I had a hat pattern in Knitscene Fall. I did some more work with Knit Picks, publishing a free cowl pattern in a new yarn, then a sweater pattern in another of of their collections, then a pillow pattern in ANOTHER one of their collections (I love working with Knit Picks, can you tell?). Two self-published sweaters, one for me and one for my husband; several more Knit Picks designs- a free hat pattern, then a three-piece bathroom set. Most recently, a self-published sweater and a pair of mitts, and a cardigan pattern in the December issue of I Like Knitting. I will likely get a cowl pattern published yet this year, but I think that's the last one for 2016.

Altogether, that's six self-publications, eight designs with Knit Picks, one with Twist, three with Knitscene, and one with I Like Knitting. Nineteen designs in all. I think that number would be higher, except that the flood really knocked me on my butt (unsurprisingly) and shelved a number of self-publications, and caused me to stop submitting designs to publications entirely. I have a few magazine things in the works for 2017, but I've again stopped submitting designs because the sample/pattern due dates are starting to overlap with MY due date, and that's just not going to work. We'll see what 2017 brings, design-wise.

If you've made it to the end of this post, how about a treat? As a Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus gift to you, and to say goodbye to 2016 and hello to the hopefully much, much better 2017 (I don't have terribly high hopes with an actual moron running the show, but we'll see), use coupon code DumpsterFire to get 40% off all of my self-published patterns on Ravelry, from December 23rd until January 1st. Good riddance 2016, best of luck 2017.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

June Cashmere // Beeswax Mitts

Over the Thanksgiving holiday break, I really wanted a quick, small knit (the Star Wars sweater is at an unwieldy intarsia part and all of my design work is at the "big decision time" part), so I used a skein of June Cashmere DK in Mulberry to make a pair of Beeswax Mitts. I've been moderately obsessed with this pattern since it was released (along with what feels like most of the rest of the knitting world), but I don't often have DK on hand, and I'm almost always short on non-design knitting time. The stars aligned over Thanksgiving and now I have either a beautiful little luxury Christmas gift or a new pair of mitts for me. Not sure which yet.

The June Cashmere is lovely. It's quite soft, as you'd expect from a 100% cashmere yarn. Love the color selection- great jewel tones + neutrals. Perfect for colorwork projects, perhaps? The skein is half size (50 grams, 150 yards), so that's definitely something to keep in mind if you plan to knit with it. I used nearly all of the skein (40 grams) to make these (short-ish) mitts. I don't think I would have had enough to do mittens. 

I like that this yarn is responsibly sourced in Kyrgyzstan and is transparent about where it's processed. Ever since I saw this John Oliver segment about sweatshops I've been trying hard to know where my clothes (and clothes-making materials) come from. The more free time I have, the better I feel about it, because more free time = more time to make my own clothes. Since we had to move into this apartment after the house flooded, I've sewn one single garment. There is simply nowhere to sew, and no place to store sewing stuff. I hate that. I've made a bunch of knitted stuff, so at least that's something, but I hate not being able to sew. I just want to move back into my house, please. 

Anyway. Back to the yarn. The yarn is made up of many, many tiny plies, which means that it does split easily. Once it splits, it's a bit hard to make the stitch look pretty again, so it's best to try hard to not split the yarn. I find that paying slightly more attention and using sharper needle tips helps me not split stitches, but I know other knitters swear by blunt tips. As always, you do you. 

Full disclosure: I was given this skein of June Cashmere in exchange for a review. I bought the mitts pattern because it's important to support indie designers like myself.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Finished: Marylebone Cardigan

I love this sweater. I debated knitting it or not, because it's bulky weight and I don't get to wear sweaters nearly as often as I'd like, but I decided to do it and I'm glad I did.

The pattern is Marylebone by Bristol Ivy. I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Bulky in Seaglass, a nice blue-green. I really like this yarn- I've used it for a few sweaters over the years. It's a teensy bit scratchy where it touches my skin, like at the back of my neck, but honestly I find most wools at least a little scratchy.

I knitted this sweater with no modifications, because I find that Brisol Ivy patterns (at least the ones I've made) are not really modify-able. It ended up a bit long- pretty much covers my butt- but I think that's ok, since I mostly made this cardigan to take on my Christmas trip to the Dakotas, where the temperature will likely be about -20 F and I will freeze to death unless I'm covered in wool. Also, the longer length means I can use it as a jacket here in Baton Rouge.

Parts of this pattern are pure genius. The back decreases are inside the antler cable. The back cable splits at the top, turns a corner, becomes the saddle, then merges with the front cable and becomes the sleeve cable. Who thinks of these things?? Knitting short-row cables was a wild ride, let me tell you. More details here on Ravelry.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Finished: Mielie Vest

I finished my Mielie Vest! Ravelry details here.

This was a lovely quick palate-cleansing sort of knit after the turmoil of my recent life. Also all of my recent magazine samples have been sport weight or thinner yarn (the last one was a DK linen/cotton that really hurt my hands), and sort of tricky to knit, so what I really needed was some super soft wool, size 9 needles, and stockinette. It was excellent. (I admit to getting just a little bored right at the end, but who doesn't with a project?)

Fits perfectly. I ordered these from Pacific Trimming and I love them. I pretty much just followed the directions on this knit. I did modify the pockets slightly after reading other people's notes on Ravelry. As written, the pocket doesn't extend all the way to the button band, and you seam it to the body fabric. A) that's silly, and b) it would result in a pocket that's not quite big enough. There is almost nothing worse than too-small pockets. So I did what a lot of other people have done and just worked the pocket from the side (eliminated the purl "faux seam", didn't want to interrupt my stockinette flow) to the edge where the button band would be. Then it was easy to just pick up stitches through both the pocket and the body fabric for the button band. Note: there is a LOT of picking up stitches to do throughout this knit. I got sick of it. I don't really like to pick up stitches.

The vest weighs 353 grams, which means I used about 3.5 skeins of the Malabrigo. I had a tiny little ball of yarn left over- 10 grams. I'd say that's cutting it pretty close. I had the original sweater that I frogged and talked about in this post (which must have only taken 2.5 skeins- doesn't seem like enough but ok) plus one random skein of this yarn. The random skein was clearly not the same dye lot, so I used it for the pockets and the collar only. In hindsight I should have alternated it into the body fabric, but I didn't actually think I'd need it, so it was sort of an "oops I need more yarn oh look I have this skein!" sort of thing, and also I don't think anyone will notice except me.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Nazareth Yarns // Spicule Hat

 I recently received a skein of a new-to-me yarn: Kraemer Yarns Naturally Nazareth. It's a worsted-weight merino blend, and I'd compare it to a good, solid workhorse yarn like Cascade 220. I got the Breeze colorway, which is entirely un-descriptive of the pretty purple-red heather, but hey, they get to name their yarns whatever they want. I really love the color. It's probably the best heather I've ever seen in person. Terrific color. I do love reddish purples.

The best part of this yarn, in my opinion, is that it's entirely US made. The sheep live in the US, and they spin the yarn in Pennsylvania. As someone who cares about where her clothes come from, this is important. As sewers and knitters, it's easy to feel all high and mighty because we know where these jeans came from (I made them in my sewing room), but it's easy to overlook the materials- I admit that I have no idea where the denim came from. That bothers me a little bit, because who's to say that the denim wasn't made in a sweatshop overseas, which is the exact thing I'm trying to avoid by sewing my own jeans? No one, that's right. If you're also concerned about these things, well then here you go. A wool that's grown and processed in this country, comes in pretty colors and good yardage, and knits up well. Done, and done.

I decided to make this yarn into a hat, for reasons that I'm still not clear on. Possibly I will give this as a Christmas gift. Or I'll add it to my hat collection. Don't know. I just wanted to knit something fairly quick after the dumpster fire of a week it's been for this country and for human rights. And I like twisted stitches.

I picked Hunter Hammerson's Spicule pattern. It's a great pattern because you actually get three different hat patterns in one, PLUS patterns for miniature (Christmas ornament) sized versions of each hat. AND she gives you a chart of three different gauge/cast-on combos for each hat, so there are tons and tons of options for sizing. A bargain for sure.

I made the Frazil version. If you like twisted knit stitches, and luckily I do, this is the hat for you. The cables are twisted as well which is totally neat. If you do want to make a hat from this pattern, I'd highly, highly recommend learning to cable without a cable needle if you don't already know how to do that. I think I would have been terribly annoyed if I had to use a cable needle while knitting.

Anyway. The yarn. The longer I knitted with this yarn, the more I liked it. At first I thought maybe it wouldn't be soft enough for next-to-skin wear, but somehow it seemed to soften up as I was knitting. It's a good solid yarn- like what I would want to knit a sweater for my husband. A perfectly wooly wool. And the color! I can't get over the perfect heather. I do love a good heather.

Full disclosure: I received this yarn for free in exchange for a review. I bought the pattern because it's so important to support indie designers.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Gift-A-Long 2016

It's that time of year again- the Gift-A-Long 2016 is about to start. In case you didn't participate last year, it's basically a giant enabling session on Ravelry that starts with a week-long 25% off sale and morphs into a virtual knitting party where everyone tries to get one million things knitted before Christmas. I think that last year 300 designers participated, and I suspect that this year it's more, but I'm not sure. Each designer has between 5 and 20 patterns on sale during the sale week (November 22nd to 30th). Here are mine:

Use coupon code giftalong2016 to get 25% off these patterns Nov 22nd to 30th. 

I'm planning to pick up a few patterns during the sale. I definitely want to make these amazing earmuffs that I honestly can't believe haven't been made a few hundred times. I've got some leftover Malabrigo, and I just ordered some purple-y roving from the Knit Picks Cyber Monday sale to use as the thrums... earmuffs for everyone!

photo borrowed from Faye Kennington

Once the Gift-A-Long actually starts all of the sale patterns will be browesable on Pinterest, so I'll likely find a few more patterns that I must make. 

If you've been thinking about making any of those 20 patterns of mine, now's a good time! Happy gifting!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

New Patterns Out Lately

I've published a few things lately and though it would be easier to just lump them together in one post.

I've got two self-publications, and one with a digital magazine. Magazine first!

This is the Arctic Cardigan from the December Issue of I Like Knitting, an online-only magazine.

It's an open-front cardigan with pockets, drop sleeves, and a big cozy shawl collar. It's knitted in Cascade 220 Superwash Aran, which I LOVED working with. So squishy, great stitch definition. love. 

Next: Fionn Mitts. This was my dipping-my-toe-back-into-designing pattern after getting my head back on straight from the flood. I used a new Knit Picks yarn, Wonderfluff. If I could knit my life out of Wonderfluff, I would. It's like knitting with baby kittens wrapped up in cashmere blankets on a bed of clouds. 

The Fionn Mitts are an easy pair of long fingerless mitts with a knot stitch pattern on the backs. The mitts are shaped through the wrists for a close fit, and they have a thumb gusset. While Wonderfluff is considered a bulky weight yarn, it works at a lot of different gauges, so I recommend a worsted, aran, or bulky for this pattern, depending on how YOU knit. Anything that knits to gauge is fine. I know some of my testers used Malabrigo Worsted and it was perfect. 

You can get this pattern for half price- just $2- until November 22nd. No coupon code needed.

Lastly, the Maurepas Sweater. I call this my flood sweater because I was working on it when the house flooded, and I saved it from ruin by simply moving my WIP box up higher before we had to evacuate.

I knitted the sample in Cascade Longwood, an aran-weight wool that's made up of lots of plies so it looks like it has a tighter twist. Maurepas is knitted from the bottom up in pieces, with a slightly longer back than front. The front and back are seamed, and stitches are picked up around the armholes for top-down drop-shoulder sleeves. The body has an all-over cable pattern where the cables get longer the closer you get to the top. The sleeves have a little cable panel right at the top. I made my sample to have be off-the-shoulder, but there are instructions for a "normal" neckline included as well, if the 80s aren't your thing.

This one is 40% off until November 22nd with coupon code Maurepas.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Knit Picks Cyber Monday Sale!!

Eeeeee, it's getting to be that time of year- cyber Monday sales on yarn and fabric! Knit Picks always has a really good sale, and the best (worst) part is that it lasts like a week, so once you place your initial order you can really think about everything you didn't buy the first time, and you can place your second (third) order(s) before the sale is over. In 2013, I admit to placing three different orders, two of which showed up in the mail on the same day. I was slightly embarrassed about that, but not enough to not do it again. :)

The sale starts Monday, November 14th at 6 am PST, so 8 am my time. I made a shopping list already, even though we don't know what, specifically, will be on sale. It's just so that I don't panic and either buy everything or nothing, both of which I've done before.

I'd love to make the Channel Cardigan in WofA Tweed in Brass Heather, or, if City Tweed is 50% off, I might go with that instead. So pretty. Maybe, if I knit fast, I can finish this one while it's still "winter" here in Louisiana.

I'm also thinking I'd like to make a baby blanket version of Umaro in a machine-washable yarn like Brava Bulky, maybe in Seraphim or Tranquil? Since the baby's room doesn't have things like walls yet, I haven't painted or bought anything, so my baby color palette is wide open. We're thinking of going with a nature theme for the nursery, and I think this blue-green would work well. 

I've got a bunch of other stuff on my shopping list, too, but those are the two big ones. I'm so excited! Because just what I need is a big box of yarn that I a) have no place to store in my tiny temporary apartment, and b) won't have time to knit once the baby is born, but I don't really care. It's been a YEAR and if doing a little yarn shopping will help make me feel better about life, then I'm all for it. I'd highly recommend checking out that sale! 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Getting things knitted

The flood totally messed with my design-submission schedule, so after completing those five designs I was under contract for, I've got a couple self-pubs in progress but that's it- no other magazine designs in progress. I'm using this opportunity to knit a couple things I've been wanting to, but haven't had time for. I figure that now, before the baby's born, this is the time to knit the octopus sweater, even though I won't be able to wear it this year, right?

Number one on my self-indulgent knit list was Marylebone by Bristol Ivy. I started knitting about two weeks ago and holy moly is it quick. I want to have this done so I can wear it at Christmas in the Dakotas, where it actually is cold and I might legitimately freeze to death. I've got the body and one sleeve done. Should be able to finish in a week or two. I do love bulky weight yarn and size 10 needles.

This is probably the cleverest, most interesting construction I've ever seen. The above photo is the saddle of the sleeve, traveling down the sleeve. The cables of the back and front merge to form the saddle. It's wild. I felt like a straight up magician knitting those cable turns. 

Along with Marylebone I'm working on the Star Wars Christmas sweater from my previous post. I switch off between the two based on my feelings. Colorwork and cables have pretty different mindsets. Both are coming along really well, I have to say, and I'm pleased that we'll each have a new sweater for our Christmas trip.

Before Christmas, I also really want to make Kevin's hat from Home Alone. I've had yarn for it for like a year, and it didn't get ruined in the flood- score.

To sum up.
Goals before the baby is born (or really, before Christmas):
Finish Marylebone
Finish the Fair Isle Star Wars Christmas sweater
Knit Octopus sweater
Knit the Home Alone Christmas hat

Let's do this!! I am nothing if not eternally optimistic.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Star Wars Christmas Sweater

Someone please tell me what I was thinking.

I've agreed to knit my husband a Fair Isle Star Wars Christmas sweater, with no pattern. He wants X-wings, Stormtroopers, lightsabers, and the Death Star. Must look like a tacky Christmas sweater. I'm not totally sure what I was doing when I agreed to this- I can't even drink because I'm pregnant, so we can't blame the wine.

Weird judgement aside, I think it will be pretty cool. I normally HATE bottom-up sweaters where you knit body and sleeves, then join them, but that's what I'm doing in this case. I thought about it a lot and it seemed like the best way. I'm doing a circular-yoke pullover, in keeping with the classic Fair Isle theme. I started with a sleeve because I didn't feel like swatching, and a sleeve is basically a big swatch. I'm getting 5 sts/inch, which is a nice, quick gauge, but it doesn't allow for too much detail in the motifs. I wish I could have gotten just a bit more detail in the Stormtroopers, but honestly, they look like what they are, he likes them, moving on.

Pretty desperately needs a blocking.

The body is going to be slightly trickier than the sleeves. He wants a big panel over the chest that has a fight scene with the Death Star and various space ships. There's no way to do it except with intarsia. I'm thinking that I'm going to work in the round up to the panel, split the body into front and back, cast on an extra stitch at each side for seaming, then work back and forth in intarsia. Once the panels are done, I'll seam them together, continue in the round for an inch or so, pretending the seams never happened, then join body and sleeves for the yoke. The yoke will have rebel alliance symbols along with classic Fair Isle motifs.

I'm using Cascade 220 for the main color and the light blue. The white, two grays, red, and green (for lightsabers) are Knit Picks WotA Worsted. I'm planning to duplicate stitch the lightsaber blades in afterwards because I might be nuts, but I'm not crazy. Didn't want to do any three-color rounds. I tried that with the Stormtroopers, but my gauge went all over the place, each round took for-e-ver, and it looked pretty terrible. Ripped it back and did the whole helmet in white, then duplicate stitched the gray over the top. So much faster, so much better.

Stay tuned for progress.

Saturday, October 29, 2016


I made some new pillow covers for our couch. I don't know why this isn't a thing that's occurred to me before; new pillow covers are generally pretty quick and are a great way to bring some holiday cheer into the house. I've already got plans for fall and Christmas pillows.

I hand-appliqued some clamshells to the left one. That was not super quick, but I like how it turned out. I used mostly quilting fabrics I had in my stash (most of my quilting fabrics survived the flood- some had rust spots from the pins that were holding them to their storage boards, and some had dye damage from other fabrics, but for the most part, things were saved due to a timely washing) and a couple fat quarters I got at Joann's. The black polka dot fabric is an Etsy purchase, along with the fantastic skeletons on the right pillow. If you look really closely, a few skeletons have bowties. So cute. That pillow was really easy. Just cut two squares, sewed some orange piping around the edge, done. Insta-Halloween.

This section of the couch is less Halloween but definitely still Fall. I'm so proud of that fox. It's a paper piecing pattern I found on Craftsy. I think it was probably a bit ambitious for my first paper piecing project, but why do something if you're not going to jump in all the way, right? He's nowhere near perfect but I love him just the same. I also made that red plaid blanket out of 2 1/2 yards of fleece from Joann's, with black flannel binding around the edge. Fairly quick and easy, really cheap because the fleece was on sale for $2.50 a yard, and it perfectly plays into the red plaid thing I want to get going for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I don't know why but Kevin McCallister's house from Home Alone is speaking to me this holiday season. I want everything to be red plaid.  

My jack-o-lantern wishes you a happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

FO: Halloween Socks!

I actually finished a pair of socks! That makes an embarrassing two pairs for 2016. I think that I knitted 8 pairs in 2015, so I'm not sure what I'm doing this year, but hey, at least I have Halloween socks now. They look a bit worn because I actually got to wear them the other day- cold front, yay!

Super simple cuff-down, plain stockinette, heel flap. I used Knit Picks Stroll in Pumpkin (how appropriate) and Black, alternating stripes every five rounds. Ribbing, heel flap, and toe in Black. I used like three quarters of the skein of Black and probably less than half of the Pumpkin.

I currently have no socks on the needles. After the flood, when I lost so much of my yarn and crafting supplies, a knitter from my new knit group gave me this yarn that she dyed. (She doesn't have an etsy store, which is one of the biggest shames I've ever heard, but I'm trying to convince her.)

I'm thinking that this yarn is up next, using this pattern- I'd like to have a new pair of socks for our Christmas trip to the Midwest. You know I'll need them. It's so nice to have a to-go sock project for all the time we spend in the doctor's office waiting room these days. It feels like my ob is always running late, so I can usually get a good portion of a sock done while we sit there. And if I don't get the socks done before Christmas I can knit them on the plane. Socks (or, I suppose, mittens) are the best for plane knitting because there's less of a chance of elbowing your next-door-neighbor. I've totally done that before and people tend to not appreciate it- weird.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


This was my Saturday. So fun.

It's been about six weeks since my house flooded. I have never had a more insane part of life, including when we moved from California to Delaware. Every single day is spent running out to the house to demolish something else, replacing things that were lost, meeting with the contractor/plumber/framer/mold remediator/FEMA people, filing paperwork for the car/house/rental assistance/insurance/whatever, trying to get the apartment into livable shape, trying to find things that it turns out were actually lost, etc. It's exhausting, physically and mentally. On top of that, I'm pregnant, so it's been extra exhausting for me.

When the house flooded, I was under contract for five different magazine designs. I honestly wasn't sure I'd be able to complete any of them, but today I'm mailing off samples number 3 and 4. Number 5 is still with the sample knitter, and it's coming along splendidly, so I'm proud of myself for managing to pull this off. I have no idea how I did it. I doubt I could do it again. I'm sure it could have been done better. But it's done.

Therefore, a reward. I've been thinking about a maternity wardrobe for the fall/winter. Mostly, I don't want to buy a bunch of maternity clothes when a) we don't have a lot of disposable income, because everything is going towards replacing everything we lost in the flood (PSA: get insurance coverage for your "stuff," not just your house. 100% worth it, can't tell you how much I wish we'd had that coverage.), b) I have no storage space in this dinky temporary apartment, and c) I'm honestly not sure I want more than one kid, so I don't want a bunch of clothes that I wear for only like 4 months then never need again. I think I've come up with a decent solution: "toppers." I'm thinking that if I can get away with my normal jeans (using this trick and this trick), plus a few super basic maternity tees and tanks (in solids and stripes, maybe a simple print or two), I can jazz everything up with what I'm calling "toppers." Cardigans, blazers, vests, anything that opens in the front and can be worn that way without looking stupid- that's what I'm going for.

Photo copyright Hillary Smith Callis

I decided that because I finished most of my contract work, and because things are finally starting to feel calmer around here, and because dang it I deserve it, I cast on Hillary Smith Callis's Mielie Vest the other night. Totally fits my planned pregnancy wardrobe, PLUS I'm re-purposing a bunch of Malabrigo Worsted from a sweater I designed in, I think, 2010. The sweater was saved from the flood because it was in a big ziplock. I don't know why, but I'm glad my past self did that. I wore the sweater only once because I realized after it was done that I had done decreases for the waist, but had forgotten to increase back up for the bust. It was not comfy. (I was new to designing, so I'm not that upset with my past self.) That sweater design ultimately became Gillywater. And now, the yarn is going to be a vest. Life is a full circle and all that.

It's been the biggest mental relief to knit something from someone else's pattern, in a decently large (18 sts/4") gauge. I am SO HAPPY while making this. Everything lately has been my designs, in sport weight. So tired of that. I admit that I didn't soak the yarn after unraveling the sweater. I was impatient. I don't care. It's fine. After everything that's happened, I'm allowed to be the boss of the yarn, and if that means that I don't want to soak out the kinks then dang it I'm not going to. I'm in control of something, at least.

Friday, September 2, 2016

September Keeping Home Collection

Every month Knit Picks released a free three-piece "Keeping Home" collection for either the kitchen or bathroom, and September is my month!

all photos courtesy of Knit Picks

My collection is the Bit of Whimsy bath set, a three-piece set made up of a hand towel, a washcloth, and a washing mitt.

The hand towel features a fun, sort of unusual bubble-looking stitch pattern at the ends. You could use one color for all three rows of bubbles, or three different colors, or a pop of color in the middle like the sample.

The washcloth very helpfully reminds you to "wash" in intarsia! This is a great project to practice intarsia if a) you've never done it before, or b) you're not too familiar with it and want to try it on a small scale.

The washing mitt it pretty much a big mitten with no thumb. A loop-stitch pad is sewn onto the palm side of the mitten and will get that soap nice and sudsy. Lots of uses for this thing- wash your baby, your car, the dog, yourself, whatever. I bet kids would get a kick out of using it in the bath.

All three pieces are knitted with Knit Picks Shine Sport. You could also use Comfy Sport if you aren't into shiny yarns- not that Shine is too shiny, but if it's not your thing it's not your thing.

Friday, August 26, 2016


It's possible you've heard this already, whether from Twitter, or Ravelry, or somewhere else random: my house has been flooded, and we lost not everything, but a lot. Really a lot. This is likely the worst national disaster since Sandy. It's a war zone down here.
This was our carport/deck:

Here's my story.
Sunday, August 14th, we woke up at 4:50 am by someone pounding on our door. This was, naturally, alarming; middle-of-the-night disturbances are never good news. Our neighbor across the street was at the door to warn us that water was coming up the street, fast. There was at least a foot of water in the street already at this point. The neighbor said follow me, we're going to a friend's house in a safe area, we've got 15 minutes. I had a remarkably clear head, so I grabbed a duffel bag, stuffed some clothes, my laptop, cat food, and water bottles into it; moved as much as I could up higher (like my wedding dress, some knitting that was on the floors of the craft room and living room, some books from lower shelves to higher); grabbed the cat carrier and the cat; and most importantly, put the "important documents" box (passports, insurance paper work, tax returns) into the truck. While I was doing that, my husband was shoving as much as he could into the attic. He had the wherewithal to unplug expensive electronics, and he moved our tv up onto the speakers, which was clutch, because it would have been underwater had he not done that.

We left our house at 5:15 am, and we barely made it out of the neighborhood. Luckily we have a truck, because I don't think our car would have cleared the rapidly rising water in the street. We followed our neighbor (who we hadn't actually spoken to before this; weird how disaster brings neighbors together) to his friend's house, where we mostly just huddled, terrified, until 7:30 am, when my husband couldn't take it anymore and drove back to our house. He waded into our neighborhood (already a terrible sign) and found that our house had 10 inches of water in it already. I cried.

At that point we knew that everything had changed. Cell service was down (and would remain down for several days), but I had my computer, so I emailed my boss who I knew had space in his house, and we took our few meager possessions and our terrified cat and went to their house.

Kevin really wanted to get to the house to see a) how much water was there, and b) if we could save anything else. This *is* South Louisiana, so we borrowed a friend's boat and drove to our neighborhood. It was a nightmare. Traffic was backed up everywhere, water was rising across roads and bridges, emergency vehicles were out in force, helicopters were zooming back and forth rescuing people, Cajuns with their jacked up trucks were hauling boats down every road... it was chaos. We managed to get about a mile from our house before we had to start boating. I will never, for the rest of my life, forget what it was like to boat down a street that I drive down every day. We couldn't get too far into our neighborhood before we hit a dry street- it was such a weird thing, so be in water so deep the oars didn't touch the street, then to turn a corner and have to pull the boat up onto someone's lawn. We ended up rescuing an older couple who hadn't made it out in time, and we tried to take a man to his house to get his dog, but we couldn't boat far enough. Finally we had to give up and boat back to our starting point, which was good timing, because the water was rising in that intersection and we didn't have much time to get the truck out before the streets flooded there, too.

We got in our truck and managed to find a different way in around the back ways. We were still at least 4 blocks from our house, but we had given the boat back. In a fit of stupidity, we waded into our house. The water was chest deep in parts, smelled awful, was murky and full of debris, but we did it. We shouldn't have, and I knew that at the time, but it's done. We got into our house and I lost it. You can't imagine what your house looks like full of water until you actually see it. My beloved things were floating everywhere; all of my carefully sourced, refinished, painted furniture was underwater, yarn was floating in the living room, my shoes floated out the door when we opened it, and while we were in the house, the fridge tipped over. It was awful. We had two kayaks in the backyard; we floated them into the house and loaded them up with wedding photos, mementos, things that are expensive, and I honestly don't even remember what else. I did not have a grip.

We got back out of the house and pushed the kayak back to the truck. A boat picked me up just down the "street" from my house, and thank goodness, because it is really, really hard to wade through water that deep.

The next day, we heard reports that the water was falling. Kevin donned waders, borrowed a boat from work, and asked me for a list of things I wanted. He made it to the house again, and said he though that the street would be driveable by the afternoon. We drove back that afternoon and were able to park a block away and kayak in. The house had only a few inches of water in it by that point, so we saved what we could. The waterline was about 3.5 feet in the house, so we saved a lot of what was above that, including a lot of my good yarn (thank goodness).

Wednesday the neighborhood was totally driveable, so we went back with a big crew. We got everything salvageable out of the house, including dishes, solid wood furniture, that kind of thing. Everything that was ruined (which was so, so much) went to the curb. There's not a lot worse that seeing most of your material possessions ruined, heaped on your muddy lawn. Want to see a heartbreaking video? This is the inside of our house, outside.

State of the house a day or two after the floods. There's less floor and kitchen now.

Since then, we've found an apartment to live in; hired a contractor; ripped out the walls, floors, kitchen, and bathrooms; consolidated our remaining things that had been scattered over four different locations; washed everything that needed washing (a shocking amount; even if things didn't get wet, they picked up a nasty smell), and now we're trying to get back to a normal life. But not really, that's not going to happen until we're back in our house. I miss the house. I know they're just things, but I miss my things. I miss my books.

So, that's my story. It's better than some stories here in Baton Rouge, worse that others. Many had water up to the roof.

Should you feel the urge to help, I've listed some charities in this thread on Ravelry that need donations. Also, I'm having a 40% off sale on my patterns until August 31st to help us raise money to replace what we lost. The structure of the house was covered under insurance, but not a single item inside. (The car was covered.) Heartbreaking, and devastating, and completely disruptive, but there's not a thing we can do besides try to return to normal. That, and make some house changes we had been wanting. Why not? The walls are already down.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Another new Knit Picks pattern

(All photos courtesy of Knit Picks.)

A couple weeks ago, Knit Picks released my new pattern that I very cleverly named the Antler Cable Pillow. It's part of the new "No Place Like Home" collection, a 15 pattern book divided into three style sections- "Farmhouse Flair", "Lodge Living", and "Southwest Style". I was thrilled to see that my pillow is actually on the cover of the book! (Along with two other pillows and two blankets, but still. Exciting.)

Here's a picture of just my design. This pillow is knitted in Wool of the Andes Superwash. Making this pillow was my first time using that yarn and I really liked it! It's quite a bit softer than normal WofA. The pattern has options for either a cabled front and stockinette back or two cabled sides. It's knitted in two pieces and seamed/grafted together at the sides and top. The pillow cover fits snugly on an 18" pillow form.

There are several patterns in this book that I'd like to knit if I get the chance. 

The Peaks Pillow below is a fun colorwork pattern that I think could be super cool in less Southwest-y colors (I'm not into Southwest style.)

Holli Yeoh's Shadow Weave Placemats are way, way cooler than Ravelry knitters are giving them credit for. Take a close look at that ombre- so cool. 

Overall another great Knit Picks collection. I really love working with them- they're so easy to work with, and the books always turn out so great! I've got a huge backlog of stuff I want to knit from Knit Picks collections. Wish I could knit in my sleep. I'd be so productive. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

New Pattern: Amelia Hat in Knitscene Fall

Two Knitscene issues in a row for me!! Terribly exciting. I love working with Knitscene- they're so easy, really professional, and always do everything on time. Unfortunately that's not always the case in the knitting world. 

My contribution to the Fall 2016 issue is the Amelia Hat. How cute is this picture?

It's part of the Singles story- a bunch of patterns knitted with single-ply yarn. This hat knits up super quickly in Blue Sky Alpacas Bulky, a super bulky alpaca/wool combo. And now that I mention it, I think the company changed from Blue Sky Alpacas to Blue Sky Fibers since I knitted this sample. Hard to keep track of everything going on in the world. 

The Amelia Hat features a super simple mock-cable twist stitch pattern, with a garter stitch brim and a great big pompom. By now you surely know about my love of pompoms. I personally look goofy in hats that don't have pompoms, so I tend to design with that in mind. 

You can get the single pattern here or download the whole (adorable) issue here. Christmas gifts anyone? This hat knits up super quick! (I say like I've got any sort of plan for Christmas, or even for the next week. I do not have Christmas gifts planned. I am not that organized.)