Saturday, July 30, 2016

Playing with colors

My latest pattern, Night Market, is a collaboration with Miss Babs to use some of her fabulous gradient sets in a new shawl pattern. I thought it would be fun to show you the process I used when I was trying to decide on colors. I needed a 6-skein gradient, a whole skein that extended the gradient, and a contrasting color. I don't have fancy graphic software, but you can do a lot with good ole Paint.

The first thing is to get photos of the yarns you are considering into Paint. You can open the program and paste right into it or you can download photos and then edit them in Paint. From Miss Babs' website I was able to just right click on the pictures and them copy them into Paint. They will always land in the upper left corner but you can move them over as long as you do it right away while they are still 'selected'.

I already had a sketch of the shawl drawn up. So next I used the 'Paste from' feature to bring that in. (Click the arrow below 'paste' to see this option.)

Then you use the color picker (looks like a medicine dropper) to pick each color up and the fill with color option (pouring paint can) to place each color in the sketch. You may have to play around with the best spot to pick the color up on the photo.

Because I want to use a light color for the CC, I changed the background so that the edge would show up. You can do ctrl+A to select your whole sketch and move it up to get the photos out of the way once you are happy with it.

These are my sketches for the new gradient sets Miss Babs came up with for this shawl -

and this is the sketch from when I was choosing colors for the prototype -

and this is what the actual shawl looks like -

It's a bit of work to go through this process, but it sure beats deciding halfway through your project that you aren't happy with the colors!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Quick gift!

Several years ago I knit up a bunch of modified Lizard Ridge Dishcloths in Noro scraps to make felted coasters for my knitting friends.

I've had a few requests for more complete directions so I decided to polish up my notes and put a free download up on Ravelry. They make such nice, useful gifts and are so much fun! I'm adding a little photo tutorial here on the trimming process.

This is what your unfelted 'square' will look like -

and here it is after felting. Looks a little rough around the edges :)

This is easiest with a rotary cutter. I'm sure it could be done with very sharp scissors, but I think you'd want to mark your cutting lines first somehow - maybe with masking tape.

I started with one of the wavy edges and laid my ruler so that I would cut the minimum while still getting a clean edge. It helps if you have your work squared up with the grid on your mat and refer to the lines when placing your ruler.

Then I turned it 90° and cleaned up the next edge, making sure that the second cut was perpendicular to the first.

Turn again, align the ruler, cut.

After the last cut, you will have this -

Mine wasn't quite a perfect square, but the quarter inch difference I had is not noticeable once you cut it into 4 pieces.

Make the first cut so that it goes down the middle of your square:

Make the second and third cuts so they cut the two rectangles in half:

Four coasters!

Stack them up and tie a pretty bow around them -

The perfect hostess gift!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

February releases

Don't the colors of the samples for this month's releases look great together?

Woodwork was released last week - it's a 'substantial' scarf according to Knit of the Day :)

Glace Bay was released today and you can catch it on sale if you hurry! 

Ingonish is coming soon! Here's a sneak peek -

I also rolled out a new Volume Discount this month. If you spend $25 or more in my Ravelry pattern shop at once, you'll get 25% off of your entire purchase! 

It's feeling a bit more like winter around here this evening - we even had some flurries :)  I'm still hoping for at least one good snowfall before the season is over! Happy knitting!

Monday, January 19, 2015


I have a big bin of tosh merino light leftovers. It is FULL. I've made a few things in the past to try to use some of them up, but it just seems to stay full to overflowing. Last May I decided to use one of my favorite stitch patterns and hold two strands together to make a throw, thinking that I might finally put a dent in the supply. I had a vague plan. I divided my leftovers into two groups - colors and non-colors. I would do a sort of rainbow progression through the colors and a shade progression through the neutrals. But still when it's time to add another color, I kind of randomly pick from the correct bunch, making sure the new goes with the old. I carried it around all summer on our trip and worked on it occasionally, but design work always took precedence so progress has been slow. It only measures about 16" long now.

Anyway, it's too simple to do a pattern for, but it looks really nice and I thought I would share what I'm doing and see if anyone else with a leftover problem wanted to join me. I'll start a thread in my Ravelry group if anyone wants to play along. I'm calling it Copacetic because it is "completely satisfactory" :) The doubled tml makes such a lovely fabric and this stitch looks good on both sides. I actually found it first in a stitch dictionary as 'sand stitch' which is the reverse side. There was a note that the other side is also attractive and called it 'dot stitch'.

Here's the general plan -


adjective, Slang.
1.  fine; completely satisfactory; OK.

Divide your leftovers into two sets. I am using fingering weight but you could do it with any weight.Swatch in the dot stitch pattern to get your stitches per inch and then decided how wide you want your FO to be to determine the cast on. It can be odd or even, no special multiple needed. I am making a throw, so mine is going to be large and take LOTS of yarn (I hope!) but you could do a baby blanket, a wrap, a scarf, even a poncho with a couple of seams. I am knitting mine lengthwise because the rows would be dishearteningly long widthwise, but it can be done either way.

If, unlike me, you have a limited amount of yarn, you will need to figure out how large of an item you can make so you know how many stitches to cast on. The best way I know to do this is to knit a swatch (don't cut your yarn because you'll probably need it!), steam block it, measure it, weigh it to determine the yards you used. Calculate the yardage you used per square inch. Then you can determine the square inches you can get out of the yardage you have. This is something we can work on in the thread on Ravelry if anyone needs help.

Dot stitch: RS rows are knit, WS rows are k1, p1 across, offsetting the knits and purls from the previous WS row (another name for it is Broken Seed Stitch - you can see why!)

Using your border color(s) doubled, cast on using the long-tail cast on. (I cast on 240 for my throw using US7s/4.5mm). If you want to use the same color for all your borders, set it aside!

Knit the first border to the width you want in garter stitch, ending after a WS row. Note: my garter gauge and dot stitch gauge were the same. If yours are not, you may want to use different needle sizes!

Begin dot stitch -
Switch to the first color/s you want to use (doubled) and begin with a RS (all knit) row.
Work in dot stitch until your wrap/throw/scarf is the length you want, swapping out colors as needed/desired. I am usually only swapping out one color at a time since I'm uisng leftovers. When you get to the other end, knit a matching garter border, starting on a RS row. I like to use the stretchy lace bind-off with garter, but do not use larger needles or work it loosely! The stretch is built in! It can be worked on the RS or WS.

Stretchy lace bind-off:
Slip one stitch purl-wise with yarn in back, [k1, insert left needle into fronts of the two stitches you just worked and knit them together] repeat instructions in brackets until one stitch remains. Cut yarn and pull tail through last stitch.

I haven't gotten to this point yet, but for the side borders I plan to pick up stitches along each side in my border color and knit on garter edges. It looks like my pick up ratio is going to be 4 stitches in every 5 rows. This may vary with your individual gauge, but we can do the math in the thread if anyone needs help.

Naturally I am thinking of cool ways to handle the colors now that I am well into it! Some ideas -
1. Use a gradient for one group and a single color or similar colors for the other 
2. Use lights for one group and darks for the other
3. Instead of using doubled yarn, use heavier yarn and stripe in your leftovers.

My throw may take years to complete, but it's nice to always have it around in case I need some pretty mindless knitting or am between other projects.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Let's start 2015 off right....

... with a big KAL! I have a collection of 3 patterns scheduled for release next week called 'in winter'.
The KAL is going on here and runs through March 20 - the last day of winter/first day of spring.

The patterns are for a shawl, a jumper, and a pullover -

I'm SO pleased with how this all came together and I'm really excited about it :)

Friday, January 2, 2015

Looking Back/Looking Ahead

2014 in review

  • I knit 7 hats, 13 cowls, 21 garments, 5 pairs of mitts, and 8 wraps for a total of 54 items. A tad more than one FO per week! 
  • I released 33 patterns which increased my catalog by 65%!

Goals for 2015
I really only have one - BALANCE
2014 was my first full year of working at this business full-time. I felt like I really needed to push myself to turn a hobby business into a real source of income for my family. My husband retired in 2014 and it was the perfect time for me to shift into high gear and produce. In 2015 I want to try to be more efficient, work smarter, take some of the pressure off of myself. I neglected myself to some extent and I need to make time for exercise and relaxation. I still plan to work full-time, just not ALL the time :)  I'm not complaining, I really enjoyed it, but I think another year or two like last year would just burn me out and I really don't want that. I love what I'm doing and hope to keep doing it for awhile yet!

Plans for January - I have 3 patterns in the works that I hope to release together mid-month and host a KAL for in my Ravelry group. There's a jumper -

a pullover -

and a wrap (still in progress) -

stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mixing it up!

Instead of my usual birthday give-away, this year I decided to do one for Christmas instead! We got some great pictures on the beach last night that I can't show you because it's a MYSTERY! :D

Here's the pattern page photo and description - more details here.

A Christmas present from me to you! This is such a busy time of year for those of us celebrating the holidays and we usually end up neglecting ourselves while decorating, cooking, and shopping for everyone else. Starting on December 18, I challenge you to take an hour or so of time for yourself each day! The pattern will be updated daily for a week and will finish up on Christmas Eve. After Christmas all the individual pdfs will be replaced with a single pdf. It’s free until December 18 (EST) when the first bit goes out. In the meantime, you can download the planning sheet which includes gauge, materials, and abbreviations.
What is it? A huge cozy cowl/sort-of-poncho with an interesting construction that can be worn in several ways. Nothing difficult - just knitting, purling, decreasing, and simple short rows (no picking up wraps). Everything is fully explained so you can just sit in your favorite spot with your favorite beverage and enjoy a little time for yourself.
This is a mystery but it isn’t a KAL; there are no rules to follow, no prizes to win, nothing to stress about, just relaxing knitting and a warm present for you! I hope that seeing the end result will be like opening a gift so I won’t post a photo until after Christmas. There is a thread in my group where you can ask questions.
Merry Christmas everyone!