Monday, November 9, 2015

Introducing the Lumi Capelet

Today I released my newest pattern, the Lumi Capelet.

Lumi is a quick to knit design that is perfect to wear when you need something around your shoulders to keep you a bit warmer in the fall weather.  You can purchase the pattern and see more information about it on Ravelry.

Lumi is a greatly revised version of the curly cowl I wrote about last year.  Although the texture of the fabric never worked out as a cowl, a wide garter border and capelet construction makes a beautiful around the shoulders wrap.  

Monday, July 27, 2015

Podcasts for Designers

This weekend at the Knit and Crochet Show, I got to meet Marly Bird from The Yarn Thing podcast.  She is one of my favorite podcasters because of her positive and curious nature with her guests.  It turns out she's just as wonderful in person!

I've been listening to podcasts to learn more about being a designer and here are a few of my favorite:

The Yarn Thing Podcast by Marly Bird-- Marly interviews a different designer or other players in the yarn industry every Tuesday and Thursday.  The conversation often drifts to professional aspects of the work, not just the things a consumer would want to know.  I really appreciate Marly for "keeping it real" and showing what hard work the designer business can be and what problems can occur.

The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show by Marie Segares-- Marie's show is for all people trying to get started in the yarn industry.  Each episode is packed with great ideas and information about a different aspect of the business.  She recently completed a series just for self published designers.

Explore Your Enthusiasm by Tara Swiger-- Tara also sells classes and other kinds of support to creatives of all types who want to make money from their passions.  Her shows are short but usually have some great advice tucked in.  You'll find that she always lets you know what classes or workshops she has coming up for a fee, but there's plenty in her podcasts to get you thinking about your work as a business. by Pam Allen and Hannah Fettig-- This podcast is no longer going, but the back episodes are worth listening to because the two hosts often talk about working in the yarn industry in between really great information about gauge, yarn, etc.

Saturday, July 25, 2015


I'm in San Diego this week at The Knit and Crochet show.  I barely finished my latest shawl design in time to have it be part of the informal fashion show at last night's Yarn Tasting event.  Here's a sneak peek at the finished design.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Working the Charts on the Vefr Shawl

My first few designs used the charting style I learned from Mirriam Felton in her Craftsy class for lace shawl design.  For a triangular shawl, it incorporates the center and edge stitches into the chart and indicates a repeat for the two sides of the shawl.  I've found it's confusing for many people so more recently I've been using a format for triangular shawls in which the center and side stitches are only in the written directions and the chart is only the side panel.

Recently, I had an email conversation with someone who was having trouble with the Vefr charts.  I made this video to help the knitter to read the existing charts.  Here it is for others who might find it useful as well.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Shawl That Would Not be Designed

I talked about the interesting construction technique that I am trying to incorporate into a shawl in another post.  I've had a slow month knitting because of many trips and other obligations, but I'm hoping to get more knitting time soon.  However, I've had two setbacks recently.  One is when I started to knit the body of the shawl and found I had miscalculated the number of stitches that I needed.  I spent about an hour working out where exactly the missing stitches should go and revising the first set of charts.

But now that I am into those charts by several rows, I'm finding a part of the design that really bugs me.

Two yarnovers that I put between each of the point in the border don't really blend properly with the rest of the yarnovers that outline the points.  (Interestingly, they are also the cause of my miscount in stitches from the border to the body of the shawl.)  If they were gone, then the outline would blend almost seamlessly from one point to the next.  I didn't notice this on my swatch, possibly because the yarn was lighter and possibly because I didn't work up the body of the shawl in the swatch other than a row or two to cast off.  It is one of those examples of something that looks right on the charts, however, because of the way the yarnovers interact with other knit stitches and the decreases, it looks wrong in real yarn.

My best choice for making a sample that looks right is to frog the whole thing and start over.  The change affects even the amount of stitches in the cast on, so I really would have to start from scratch.  I could keep going and revise the final pattern for the test knitters only, but then I wouldn't have a good sample to photograph.

It's a painful thought, but I have worked with the philosophy with my handwork lately that it's better to stop and fix things when they are wrong rather than assume they will work out later.  The latter seems to leave me with projects that I don't enjoy and won't use.  This shawl has been in process since September when I first tried to use part of the design and found it didn't work out as I expected.

While I'm at it, I may even change yarns.  The color of this one hasn't thrilled me as much as I hoped.  Of course, that would mean more swatching....

Friday, May 1, 2015

Introducing Mayil

I released my newest pattern today called Mayil, which is a Indian name meaning full of grace like a peacock.  I use a Prism yarn that has subtle shading that reminded me of the iridescence of a peacock's feathers.  You can find the pattern for sale on Ravelry and on Craftsy.

Mayil is worked as a series of flowing lace patterns with a gently scalloped edging. This top-down shawl starts with a few stitches and is shaped by columns of yarnovers along the center spine and edges. Worked in a lightly variegated yarn that adds depth to the pattern, Mayil can be worn wrapped around the neck or draped over the shoulders.
This pattern consists primarily of charts with detailed written instructions to assist the knitter in using the charts. It does not include line by line written instructions. Mayil a triangular shawl that is worked from the top down with two symmetrical sides separated by a center spine. It consists of charts in which each chart row is worked twice, once for each side of the center spine.
Skills needed to complete this pattern include reading charts, forming left and right leaning decreases, forming double decreases, and making yarnovers. Test knitters report that it is an easy, fun, and quick to knit pattern.
This shawl is easy to modify by increasing or decreasing the number of times Charts B, C, and/or D are worked. If you wish to increase the overall size of the shawl and make one or more of the three main lace pattern areas larger, you can repeat all rows of Chart B, C, and/or D additional times. You can decrease the size of the shawl by reducing the number of times Charts B and/or C are worked or by omitting Chart D. Remember that changes in the number of times the charts are worked will change the amount of yarn used and the overall stitch count.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Interesting Construction Technique

My newest shawl has a border inspired by a construction technique I found in Wrapped in Lace by Margaret Stove.  In her Rosebud and Filmy Fern shawls, she starts from the bottom of the shawl and creates points using short rows before continuing the body of the shawl.

I had to swatch a bit of her pattern to understand how it was constructed.

There are two techniques.  In one, you make a long strip of garter stitch and then knit down so many stitches and start completing short rows in a lace pattern to fill the triangle.  In the other, you knit a bit of garter, fill it with short rows, then cast on additional stitches and fill it with short rows, until you have a long string of points.

I decided the first would be the best for my pattern, but I wanted smaller "wing" points and a larger center point that would work up into a back panel.  So I charted out what I wanted and made a rather large swatch.

I'm pleased with the results.  It's such a fun technique and not really that difficult once you get the hang of it, though it is rather nerve wracking turning a laceweight yarn project back and forth for the short rows.  Someday I will have to learn to knit backwards.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

It's the process...

Designing a shawl is a many step process.  I'm going to be speaking at my local knitting guild in the fall about how I've been learning to be a designer and so I've been thinking a lot about the steps.

Not all the photos come out exactly as I expect.
Mayil is my most recent shawl and it started out as being the "wings" (the two triangular sides) of a center panel shawl that I spent weeks working on, and ended up shelving because it wasn't coming out the way that I wanted.  The center panel and the wings, just didn't work together when I started knitting it so I decided to let it go for a while.

But then I got some yarn for my birthday which I thought would look great with the wing pattern, so I pulled it out, revised it some more and Mayil was born.

It took about four weeks for me to get it knitted in between all my family and part time work responsibilities. Then another week or two to write up the pattern and get pictures taken.  And then I sent it to a tech editor who was swamped and took a couple of weeks to get to finding my typos.

Small errors, but I'm glad to have a second pair of eyes to look at it all!

Now it's being test knit by the amazing volunteers on Ravelry who have until the end of April to finish.  The final step will be to release the pattern on Ravelry.  And wait.  Wondering.  Will anyone buy it?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tierra Shawl Joins the Independent Designer Program at Knit Picks

I'm very pleased to say that my Tierra Shawl, which was made with Knit Picks Diadem Fingering Yarn, is now part of the Knit Picks Independent Designer Program.  You can view the pattern here on the Knit Picks website.

Diadem yarn is one of my favorites, and this is the second shawl I've designed using it.  It is a silk and alpaca blend so it is amazingly soft and has almost an inner glow to it.  I have two more colors in my stash waiting for the right shawl design.

Friday, January 9, 2015

First Pattern for Sale: The Tierra Shawl

I'd like to introduce my friend Rebecca, who graciously agreed to model the Tierra Shawl for me.

The Tierra Shawl is a bottom up shawl with a ruffled border followed by gently bending flower buds.

Short rows create the crescent shape and the top border is made up of smaller bobbles that echo the flowers.

And you can buy it now on Ravelry!