20170218_152111Hello, hello! This week I have a few announcements I wanted to highlight:

  1. I’m having a 30% off sale in my Ravelry shop – if you haven’t already, grab your patterns because the sale ends Wednesday at midnight, CST! (Just add the pattern to your cart for the discount to apply.)
  2. I’m compiling a group of knitters that would get free access to my patterns before the release date. If you love to knit my patterns, love being the first to knit something, and have an active Ravelry page, sign up and I’ll be in touch soon! (That lovely jumble of orange above will probably be ready to knit soon!)
  3. If you are a fan of my Youtube channel or any of my videos, take this quick survey and let me know what you like to see. Thanks!
  4. If you’re not a knitter and you’re just hanging out here because you love my designs, I have great news! I listed a few of my samples in my etsy shop so if you’re interested, you can grab them for yourself or a loved on. I’m going to begin doing this regularly throughout the year.

Size: Finished Waist Size 25 (28, 31, 35, 39, 43, 46)”
Shown in size 28”

Gauge: 20 sts and 32 rows = 4” 10 cm in St st after wet blocking

Materials
Yarn: Lion Brand LB Collection Crepe Twist (88% Wool, 12% Nylon; 112 yards 102 meters/50 grams): 125 Toast, (5 (6, 6, 7, 7, 8, 8) balls.
Needles: US size 7 (4.5 mm): 24” circular
Notions: Markers; stitch holders; tapestry needle; elastic 1” width measuring 2” less than the waist measurement – 23 (26, 29, 33, 37, 41, 44)”

I remember very well when I decided I wanted to design knitwear. It was close to the holidays so I was gifted quite a few design books, and I was so excited and grateful. I delved right into Stitch ‘N Bitch Superstar Knitting – and by delving I mean that I skipped straight to the second half of the book, which was all about design. And stopped cold.

Once upon a time, you may have hated knitting gauge swatches. But that was before you decided to try your hand at design. Because as a designer, you are going to learn to love to swatch – or you’d better hang up your designer’s hat right now.

I’m not going to lie. Swatching was my least favorite part of knitting, and I regularly skipped it. And, you know, I was (usually) okay if my project came out the wrong size – after all, I love the act of knitting rather than the finished product. So I could still design and not swatch, right?

I skipped ahead to the next section, which it turns out, as author Debbie Stoller says, “is the math-y part of the pattern design process and will requires truckloads of patience and precision.” Oh yeah, and you need the gauge swatch for it, too.

I took a deep breath in and out, nodded to myself a bit, slowly closed the book, and placed all my newly acquired design books on the bookshelf where they sat for nearly a year. Which is exactly how long it took for me to appreciate swatching.

So I’m not sure if you’re a designer, an aspiring designer, or if you’re just a knitter who loves to skip over that pesky gauge swatch section on the pattern, but I thought I would write a bit about how amazing swatching is because sometimes it gets a bum rap.

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(And psst – if you’re kind of confused about this whole gauge swatching thing, I made a video you can check out here. I give you the official way to swatch and the lazy way to swatch aka my way.)

  1. It’s so fast. I know you’re excited to get started on your project, but your gauge swatch will be knit and done in no time. You can do it.
    Image result for gauge swatching meme

  2. You’re knitting a super small sample, which saves you a ton of time in the long run. You know either to avoid continuing what you’re doing because it would be a disaster (thanks, gauge swatch!) or you know that you’re on the right track. There’s no wondering if something is going to fit or work out the way it does in your head.
    Image result for gauge swatching meme

  3. If you want to substitute yarn (which I do almost all the time) or if you want to know if you can knit that project on a different size needle (aka do you REALLY need to run out to the store for the next size down?), knit yourself a swatch to know for sure. Don’t just wing it. 
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  4. If you are designing or even making a few modifications, your gauge swatch is an excellent way to estimate exactly how much yarn you’ll need – and that way you’ll know if you have enough yarn in your stash. Unless you like those frantic last minute runs to the yarn store!
    Image result for gauge swatching meme

  5. If you’re not totally sold on a design or a stitch pattern (or even some yarns!), do you really want to start knitting the pattern up only to realize it isn’t going to work out for you? I don’t think so.
    Image result for i've made a huge mistake

You may not be totally convinced just yet, and you may need to think over the concept an entire year like I did before you jump on board the swatching train, but in case you’re a convert like me, leave me your favorite reasons below to gauge swatch!

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I am so excited to squeeze in one more post and introduce you to the Zona Sweater!!

It’s not technically new – if you’ve been in my Ravelry shop or poking around my website, you’ll probably recognize it. But what is new is the fit and the sizes!

I mentioned a few months ago in my facebook group that I was expanding a lot of my garments for larger sizes. This is the first upgrade, and I couldn’t resist making a few tweaks to the design as well.

Head on over to Ravelry for all the info! If you love the pattern, grab it now. It’s 50% off until January 6th!

Size
S (M, L, XL, 2X, 3X, 4X)
Finished Measurements
29 (34, 38, 41, 46, 50, 53) in / 74 (86, 97, 104, 117, 127, 135) cm, after blocking to fit 33 (38, 42, 45, 50, 54, 57)” / 84 (97, 114, 127, 137, 145) cm

Negative Ease = 4” / 10cm

Materials
Malabrigo Worsted Yarn, 100% wool, 100g / 210 yd, Color Rich Chocolate, 2 (2, 3, 3, 4, 5, 5) skeins

US 10 / 6.0mm circular needles, 32in / 80cm
US 10 / 6.0mm double pointed or cable needle
US 9 / 5.5mm, 32in / 80cm
(or size needed to obtain gauge)

Gauge
With US 10 needles, 16 sts x 24 rows = 4 x 4 in / 10 x 10 cm in St st

Here are a few facts I know about stranded/fair isle colorwork: It’s really pretty, it’s not as hard or as intimidating as it looks, and I’m not an expert so I’m going to give you some of my tips, but I’m also going to link to people who know a lot more than I do!

1. Color Dominance and Hand Placement. When you’re stranded knitting, you hold at least 2 colors of yarn in your hands for the entire row. Because you’re carrying both yarns and obviously only knitting with one color at a time, this creates strands or floats in the back of your work. But what you might not realize is that one color is dominant over another – and it can definitely change the outcome. The color that is carried underneath will always show up better in your knitting – so be sure and know which color you want to stand out more! Diana from Paper Tiger has an incredible post up with plenty of pictures if you want to learn more. If you prefer video form, check this out:

2. Tension Your Strands. Because holding 2 colors of yarn at once doesn’t come natural to you, you’re going to have to really watch your tension. Remember when you first struggled to learn to knit? It’ll be like that at first, but you’ll get it and then it’ll be second nature. Until you it becomes second nature though, make sure each yarn is held at the correct ease and tension, regardless of the color you’re knitting at the time. If your tension is too tight, your knitting will pucker and pull when you’re finished – I like to spread my stitches out on my right hand needle as I knit them, so they appear on the needle as they would when I bind off, and then loosely lay my next color across the back of them.

3. Anchor your strands/floats. If you’re knitting in one color for too long of a time without switching to the second color, you’re going to get a really long float in the back which can cause issue with tension – or at the very least, it can make it difficult to put on if your fingers are getting caught in the strands in your mittens, for example. Here’s a quick way to anchor your strands:

But wait, do these tips mean nothing to you? Check out this video to get started:

Let me know if you have any great tips or links to videos to add to the list!

I’ve wanted to do a round up of some of my favorite accessories for knitters for awhile, but let’s be honest, after my yarn and needles of course, all I really care about is my cup of coffee or tea that better be within an arm’s reach. If you’re the same, this list is for you – hope you enjoy some of my faves!

(Click on each one to find out more about it – and this post contains affiliate links!)

For my classy knitters:



For my preppers:


For my obsessed knitters:



The black sheep knitters:

 

The punny knitters:



And for my knitters always on the go:



Our last few Knit Alongs have been mostly garments. I know a lot of people are short on time at the holidays so I wanted to have a shorter KAL and have it focus more on learning newer techniques that you might not know.

With that in mind, I’m focusing on cozies. They’re perfect for quick knit gifts, and because they’re so fast you can give them to nearly everyone, whether it’s a teacher or a friend. My favorite gift is a mug wrapped in a cozy with some hot chocolate and candy canes inside. If you want to include a gift card, there’s even a little pocket! They’re also really great for stashbusting so you don’t have to go out and buy yarn unless you want to.

Vote on your favorite cozy and the techniques you definitely want to learn by clicking here.

In my Ravelry store, all cozies are 50% until the 8th of December, including Cozy Gifts, if you’re interested in buying a bundle. Just add one or more to your cart for the discount to automatically apply.

Finally my obsession with sweater dresses and wiggle dresses and knitting collide!

I’m so happy to introduce to you the Cozy Vintage Dress, published in the December issue of I Like Knitting.

 

It’s fitted, it’s a modified rib, it has a zipper – I’m pretty sure it’s perfect! 😉 Check out my video where I gush all about my inspiration and then explain sizes and materials:

Size: Finished Bust Size 32 (36, 40, 44, 48)” to fit bust 34 (38, 42, 46, 50)”

2” negative ease recommended.
Shown in size 36”

Materials

Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick and Quick (82% Acrylic, 10% Wool, 8% Rayon; 106 yards 97 meters/170 grams): 156 Grey Marble, 5 (5, 6, 6, 7) balls.
Needles: US size 13 (9 mm): 24” circular
Notions: Markers; stitch holders; tapestry needle; 24” #5 Brass Zipper

If you’re thinking the name of this pattern sounds a bit familiar – you’re right!

While I was knitting the Adirondack Basket Hat for the last Knit Along, I kept thinking it needed matching accessories. I haven’t come up with gloves just yet, but I am happy to report that I found time for a matching scarf!

 

Adirondack Basket Scarf

 

Just like the hat, the scarf is knit with super bulky yarn so it’s a very quick knit. The pattern is great for people just learning to cable. (And check out my video here if you’re new to cabling!)

And for the next week, until November 16th, if you buy one, you’ll get the other pattern free on ravelry! Add the hat and the scarf to your basket for the discount to apply.

Supplies
Pattern
2 skeins of Lion’s Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Yarn
US size 13 DPN needles (9.0 mm)
Stitch marker(s)
Tapestry Needle
Scissors

I was contemplating a serious problem earlier this year: how can I make a proper winter sweater with no lace, no cotton, no nothing that I tend to favor?

As I was browsing through books and most of the internet for ideas, I was struck by an amazing idea: Of course, I can make it with chevrons!

(I know, I know, what a surprise…)

But stick with me because this sweater is all about texture.

Knit with a Malabrigo’s worsted weight wool, the textured focus means slipped stitches to create a beautiful chevron wave. It means overlapped ribbing at the shoulder. I even added little buttons!

Check out my video, I chat all about it. Don’t forget to add it to your faves and queue on ravelry here.

This sweater is published in Cast On’s fall 2016 issue. You can find more information about the issue and, if you prefer, purchase a digital copy here.