Click, Clack

It’s been a month filled with travel for the staff at Knit Purl. For my own vacation, I was fortunate to join my mom on a train between California and Colorado. While Oleya’s trip to France got her thinking about knitting projects, my trip got me thinking about the knitting process.

Train travel, like knitting, is not for the impatient. Our trip would have taken less than 3 hours by plane, less than 20 in a car. Instead, we spent 33 hours in transit. They were some of the most relaxing hours of my whole year. As the train swayed soothingly, I found that all I wanted to do was gaze out the window. In a car, I feel more conscious of the vehicles around me and the strip of asphalt beneath us than of any scenery beyond. A train window, on the other hand, frames pure landscape.

We watched conifer-covered mountains soften into Nevada desertstudded with puddles from recent showers and festooned with rainbows. The light grew pink and orange and dimmed. I knit a couple hundred stitches and went to bed, not wanting to miss more sights in the morning. The train rocked reassuringly all night.

Our second day started in Utah, austere and golden. Gradually, as if to complement the sagebrush, shades of red appeared in the hillsides. The train waltzed with the Colorado River for a few hours. A doe watched us from the shallows as her fawn nursed. We ascended into the Rocky Mountains, every turn treating us to a vista that felt like a secret.

Slow and a bit old-fashioned, but meditative, satisfying, and with potential for great beauty. Train travel is not the only thing I could describe this way. When I knit, I often admonish myself for wanting to watch my fingers form each stitch. It would be so much more efficient, I reason, to watch something else while I knit.

But maybe the goal doesn't need to be cramming a maximum number of activities into a minimum amount of time. Maybe I can remember that transportation doesn't need to be something to endure, a project doesn't need to be something to distract myself from. Maybe I can accept that I feel most grounded, most connected when I allow myself time to engage with each step of a process, when I let myself enjoy watching each stitch, each mile, go by.

August 26, 2015 by Keli Hansen

Airline Security Tips for Knitters

One of my most favorite things about knitting is its portability. I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have knitting to get me through delayed flights, transatlantic destinations, and long lines. In addition to thinking about what to knit on the plane, I also love to plan small projects for when I get to my destination. Like many others, I often pack many more projects than I will realistically need for the duration of the trip.

The reality is that many knitters are worried about their knitting needles getting confiscated before flying. Personally, I haven’t ever had a problem with taking my metal circular needles on domestic flights, even my entire case of Addi Interchangeable Needles.

Here are some tips for flying with your knitting.

The TSA says: “In general, knitting needles and hooks are permitted in carry-on luggage. Scissors with blades under four inches are allowed.” I highly recommend the Snip-its scissors. They have blades smaller than the recommended length, and they also fold up for easy storage.

Although your knitting needles shouldn’t be confiscated when flying domestically, these particular rules are subject to the interpretation of the particular TSA agent you encounter. If the TSA agent feels your materials are unsafe, there is a chance they will take them.

There is also a chance you be able to take the needles through security, but depending on what airline you choose, you may or may not be allowed to knit on the plane, or during takeoffs and landings.

It’s important to remember that the final decision rests with TSA on whether to allow any items on the plane. If you are concerned about losing a valuable set of needles, leave them at home, and either bring a substitute pair or plan to pick some up at your destination.

Another thing to keep in mind is that international airports and airlines can have different rules about knitting needles. Even if you were able to fly out of the country with your knitting needles, doesn’t mean you will be allowed to use them on your return trip. Please check the websites of the airport and airline you are using for their list of prohibited items.

Have you ever had an encounter when flying with your knitting? Share your story with us in the comments!

Useful links:
http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/prohibited-items#4
http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/tools/3203561/1-25

August 19, 2015 by Oleya Pearsall

Finding Inspiration in France

Around this time last year, I had just returned from a six-week trip to France with my mom. My mom is a college professor, and we took part in a study abroad program through her school. We took a course in conversational French together, and spent time practicing French, exploring, and generally being out of our comfort zones.

Never one to go anywhere without my knitting, I brought lots of knitting projects to work on during the trip. I planned to complete three projects during my vacation. My ambitions were a bit grand, as I think I only finished one project. Even though I wanted to knit and had plenty of time to do it, most of the time I found myself just looking around and taking in the unfamiliar surroundings. Everything was new and inspiring! For many reasons, being in Paris was like looking at the world through new eyes.

Even though I didn’t get much knitting done during my trip, I found that there was plenty of knitting inspiration to be found for later use. I found a lot of inspiration in the form of architecture and art all around Paris. After taking a wrong turn in the 19th district, I found a building covered in graffiti.

I just loved the bright, bold colors on the neutral-colored building. I imagined the building’s colors being used for a colorwork knitting design, like in Brooklyn Tweed’s Tapestry cardiganI would use Brooklyn Tweed Loft in Woodsmoke as the base color, with Sap, Tartan, Thistle, and Almanac as the contrast colors. The color combination is a bit crazy and wild, but I think all the colors would work well to pull me out of my comfort zone, just like how I felt when I was there.

During the trip, one of my friends took me to La Defense, a business district just outside Paris. I expected to see a lot of buildings and offices, but I certainly didn’t expect to find so many modern art sculptures—they have over 60! Being an avid stripe knitter, I was instantly taken by this striped sculpture. Created by artist Robert Moretti, Le Moretti is over 100 feet high and is made of 672 colored fiberglass tubes.

The arrangement and varied mix of colors reminded me of the Churchmouse Koigu Linen Stitch Scarf pattern. I love how this scarf pattern can bring just about any arrangement of colors together.

For one like this pictured, I might try using Spincycle Dyed in the Wool in Shades of Earth, Ruination, and July July!

Every time I visit Paris, I always enjoy looking at the Louvre’s stunning architecture. It really appeals to my undying love for geometry and glass. I’ve photographed it many times.

Wondering how I would translate this beautiful structure to a knitting pattern, on Ravelry I happened upon a pattern called Louvre that features the geometric architecture in a beautiful textured pullover.

 

© von Hinterm Stein

Brooklyn Tweed Shelter is one of the recommended yarns, and I would choose Sweatshirt, a heathered steel gray. It’s light enough to show off the details, and gray goes with just about anything in my wardrobe.

It’s incredible how many ways there are to find inspiration for knitting on your next vacation. So the next time you travel, or even explore a new neighborhood, see what unusual sources of inspiration you can find. How have you been inspired by your travels lately?

August 12, 2015 by Oleya Pearsall

New Shibui Colors!

Anyone familiar with Shibui knows how wonderful their expansive color palette is. It’s like choosing from a box of crayons—there are just so many color options! Get ready for even more variety.

Shibui just released four gorgeous new colors in Baby Alpaca, Cima, Maai, Silk Cloud, and Staccato. They are: Imperial, Cove, Tango, and Brownstone. The four colors are all great additions to the palette, and also work well with existing colors for exciting mixing opportunities.

There is a lot to love about Shibui, but one of my favorite things is the color consistency throughout their different yarn bases. It’s quite enjoyable to experiment with color and texture to create a unique yarn blend. There are so many options with the new colors that I couldn’t help but put together a few project ideas for fall.

Raspberry, Velvet, and Imperial in Silk Cloud

Imperial is a brilliant plum/orchid. It brings a nice pop of color to a project and brightens up the more muted colors in the Shibui palette.

Imperial pairs well with many in the purple and pink color families, like Velvet, Bordeaux, and Raspberry. It also makes a nice contrast with Ash and Mineral, which take on beautiful purple casts when paired with it.

Silk Cloud and Cima for Mix no. 20 cowl, shown in Imperial, Velvet, and Mineral

Project Idea: Try the Shibui Mix No. 20 cowl, using Imperial as the bright pop of color, and Velvet and Mineral as the supporting colors in the stripes.

 

Fjord, Cove, and Pool in Silk Cloud

Cove is a dazzling jewel-toned teal. In the Shibui blue-green family, it easily nestles in between Fjord (left), and Pool (right). Bridging the gap between these colors, it would work well in a project with some tonal contrast, using either Fjord to darken it down or Pool to brighten it up.

The rich tones in Cove work well with neutrals. Combining it with a dark contrasting color like Tar, or lighter neutrals like Ash and Ivory, will add depth and intrigue to any project.

Maai in Cove and Tar for the Tempo Cowl

Project Idea: Try the Tempo cowl with Tar and Cove in Shibui Maai. The two colors have just the right amount of contrast and depth to bring out the playful spotted check pattern in the fluffy Maai yarn.

 

Tango, Trail, and Grounds in Silk Cloud

Tango is the color that red-loving Shibui fans have been waiting for (myself included)! It’s a true blue red that’s cooler than Brick and less purple than Bordeaux. I would call it a cherry red. Use Tango anywhere you want a vibrant streak of color. Pair it with Ash, Ivory, or Tar for bold contrast, or mix it with other colors in the red-orange family for subtle tonal variation.

Silk Cloud Rust and Baby Alpaca Tango for the Mix No. 6 hat

Project Idea: Try the Mix No. 6 hat with Baby Alpaca Tango and Silk Cloud Rust. The red-orange Silk Cloud held together with the red Baby Alpaca creates a lush, cozy autumnal hat.

 



Brownstone, Brass, and Flaxen in Silk Cloud

Brownstone is a warm caramel color that glows with excitement. In the Shibui gold/brown color family, it’s more brown than Brass and more saturated than Flaxen, and makes an excellent partner for Grounds. This is a bold, vivid neutral that plays well with both warm and cool colors. If I had to describe this color, I’d call it “Electric Camel.”

Silk Cloud in Rust, Brownstone, Grounds, and Flaxen for the Gradient Cowl

Project Idea: Try a Gradient Cowl with Flaxen, Brownstone, Rust, and Grounds in Silk Cloud. The golden-brown gradient cowl slowly transitions from pale wheat to dark chocolatey brown. This color combination is reminiscent of leaves changing color and hot apple cider, perfect for fall.
We hope you have enjoyed this look at the new colors from Shibui Knits! Do you have a favorite new color? Which colors are you thinking about mixing together? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!
August 05, 2015 by Oleya Pearsall
Tags: Yarns

How to Resize Your Iced Tee

If you are interested in knitting the Iced Tee, but want to change the sizing, this guide will walk you through the process step by step. After learning how to resize the Iced Tee, you’ll have the basic skills you need to resize many different patterns!

Before getting into resizing, let’s talk about garment fit. How do you know what size is best for you? When I make a fitted pattern, I usually start by taking a look at the pattern’s finished bust measurement. Keeping that number in mind, I compare the pattern’s finished bust measurement to my actual bust measurement.

A lot of the time, garment patterns will contain information on how much ease is desired, especially on a modeled version. Ease is the difference between the garment’s measurement and your bust measurement. If the pattern’s measurement is larger than your bust, then that is called positive ease. If the pattern’s measurement is smaller than your bust, that is called negative ease. If the two measurements are the same, then you have no ease.

As the Iced Tee doesn’t contain any ease information, it’s up to you to decide how much ease you want, if any. When I’m not sure how much ease to include in a garment, I often look in my closet for inspiration. Measure your favorite top, and use this measurement as a reference for how you want your Iced Tee to fit.

There are two basic ways to change the size of a pattern. One way is to change the gauge, and another way is to change the stitch count. Since changing the gauge is the easiest way to change the size, we’ll begin with that method.

How does changing the gauge of a pattern change the size? Essentially, a tighter gauge will make the garment smaller, and a looser gauge will make the garment larger. Even minor differences in gauge will affect the finished size, so it’s a good reason to make a gauge swatch before you start the project.

Let’s take a look at the pattern’s gauge. The gauge is 26 stitches over 4 inches, or 6.5 stitches to the inch. It’s important that you have the correct gauge if you want to make the pattern in the size as written. For example, let’s say your gauge is 28 stitches over 4 inches, or 7 stitches to the inch. While a half stitch difference may not seem like a big deal, that half stitch gauge difference adds up to a lot when making a garment.

At the written gauge, 6.5 stitches to the inch will create a garment that has a bust measurement of 39.5”. At 7 stitches per inch, the garment will have a bust measurement of 36.5”. As you can see, that half stitch makes a big difference in the finished size! (Another good reason to make gauge swatches, right?)

If you’d like to use gauge to change the size of the pattern, first decide what you’d like the finished bust measurement to be. Then divide the number of stitches to cast on by the bust measurement. The resulting number will give you the stitch gauge you need to aim for.

For example, my bust measurement is 35”, and I want zero ease in my top. So I’d divide the cast on number (256 stitches) by my bust measurement, 35”. 256/35 = 7.31. So I’d want my gauge to be about 7.3 stitches per inch to get a top that measures 35”.

To change pattern size based on gauge, use this formula:
Cast-On Number ÷ Bust Measurement = Gauge

If you are on gauge, and don’t want to change the gauge of the fabric, you can make the pattern larger by casting on more stitches. (If you’d like to make the pattern smaller, I’d recommend changing the gauge instead of the stitch count, so that you won’t have to modify the Ice Cube lace pattern.)

The Iced Tee stitch count is based on a multiple of four, so to make a larger size, you will want to cast on an additional multiple of four stitches. Half of the new stitches will be added to the back section, and half of the new stitches will be added to the front, one quarter on each side the front lace panel.

Let’s say we want to increase the size from a 39.5” to a 42”. Remember, the new stitch count has to be a multiple of four. At the recommended gauge, 16 more stitches will add about 2.5 inches around, which will make the top 42”.

After casting on the 16 additional stitches, you can follow the pattern as written until round nine.  Starting with round nine, we will change the directions slightly to incorporate the extra stitches.

Here is round 9 as written: K12, ICL 9 times, k8, pm, k to end.

  • On round 9, you’ll start by knitting one quarter of the new stitches, or 4 stitches, since ¼ of 16 is 4. It’s helpful to mark this section of the fabric with a stitch marker. That way you’ll have a visual cue that this section is a plain stockinette section with no patterning.
  • Then you’ll begin to follow the round 9 directions. Knit the 12 stitches as written, knit the Ice Cube Lace repeat nine times, knit 8, and place marker as indicated in pattern.
  • Knit another quarter of your new stitches, or 4 stitches, and place a side marker.
  • Finally, knit across the back stitches, which is the “knit to end” direction at the end of round 9. You’ll have eight extra stitches in the back section.

You can follow the pattern as written by this point until you get to the division of the front and back.

So that means for every patterned row, you’d do something like this: Knit new number of stitches (the first ¼ of stitches added), follow the pattern as written until you get to the first marker, slip marker, knit new number of stitches (the second ¼ of stitches added), slip marker, knit to end of round.

When you get to the division of the front and back, you’ll want to make sure to divide the top in half evenly, since you’ll have extra stitches in the fabric. Splitting the middle of each side panel will ensure the top is properly divided. You can use the beginning of round marker and side marker as a visual cue on where to split the top.

That’s really all there is to it! If you have any more questions about sizing the Iced Tee top, please email us at info@knit-purl.com, or give us a call at (866) 656-5648. Happy knitting!

July 29, 2015 by Oleya Pearsall
Tags: Kits Patterns

Year of the Goat

You might be aware that it’s the Year of the Sheep, according to the Chinese Zodiac. Since the character for sheep and goat are the same, it also means it’s the Year of the Goat. As knitters, it’s easy to just focus on sheep, but goats deserve a little attention, too.

Goats lend their fiber to two luxurious blends of yarn we carry and love a lot here at Knit Purl—mohair and cashmere.

You might have some of these fibers in your stash, but how much do you know about their history? Do you know what projects are they best suited for? What does an fiber-producing goat even look like?

We did some research on fiber goats, and created this informative infographic. It turns out that there are quite a few interesting things to learn about our friend the goat.

First, let’s explore mohair. You might recognize the presence of mohair in a yarn due to its fuzzy halo (like in Shibui’s Silk Cloud yarn). Mohair fiber comes exclusively from a breed of goat called Angora, which is not to be confused with the angora yarn that comes from rabbits.

Angora goats are named after the capital of Turkey, Ankara, which is where the breed originated. The word mohair comes from the Arabic word mukhayyar meaning “choice.” Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Angora goats have a fascinating story. Since originating in Turkey, they have been imported to South Africa, Australia, and North America. Within North America, they now live primarily in the Southwest, especially Texas, which is the largest producer of mohair in the United States. While the U.S. is the largest North American producer, South Africa is the largest producer of mohair in the world.


Image source: Wikipedia/Erica Peterson https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angora_goat#/media/File:Quebec_angora_goat.jpg

This is what an Angora goat looks like. As you can see, Angora goats have a unmistakeable curly fleece, which is shorn twice a year. Originally bred in white, Angora goats were bred in color beginning in the late 1990’s. Now Angora goat fleece comes in shades of white, black, red, grey, and brown!

What qualities does mohair have? Mohair is well-known for being soft, shiny, and warm. It keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Mohair’s micron count (a way of measuring the fineness of fiber) is on the lower end on the micron scale, measuring between 20 and 30 microns. The lower the number, the finer and softer the fiber.

Mohair has scales just like wool, but they’re not fully developed, so it doesn’t hold together quite like wool. On its own, mohair yarn tends to be slippery and stretchy, so it’s frequently blended with other fibers like wool, alpaca, and silk.

Wondering what to make with mohair? The fiber is a good match for projects that benefit from a  nice amount of drape. It makes warm, soft, and light fabrics for shawls and wraps. Yarns with mohair also look elegant in lace patterns with loops and wraps.

Want to give mohair a try for your next project? Try Silk Cloud, which is a 60% kid mohair/40% silk blend from Shibui, with a dazzling array of colors and beautiful halo.

If you’re looking for a woolier option, some other choices are Twirl’s Twirling Petals and Isager Irish’s Tweed. Both contain mohair blended with wool and other fibers, and are worth exploring!

 

Cashmere is another fiber that comes from goats. Unlike mohair, which is from a specific breed of goats, cashmere fiber can come from any goat, including but not limited to the Cashmere breed. Cashmere specifically refers to the soft, downy fiber found on the undercoat of a goat, which Angora goats do not have. You might recognize the presence of cashmere in a yarn due to its softness and hand.

The name cashmere comes from the word Kashmir, a valley between the Himalaya mountain range, and the Pir Panjal mountain range. This is where the production and trade of cashmere originated, perhaps as far back as the Mongolian empire. Currently, most cashmere is currently produced in Northern China, which produces somewhere between ½ and ⅔ of the world’s cashmere.


Image source: Wikipedia/Charles Esson https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cashmere_goat#/media/File:Old_O102_cropped_small.jpg

This is what a Cashmere goat looks like. Cashmere goats produce a double fleece. Underneath the outer coat, made up of guard hairs, is a soft, downy undercoat, which is harvested for cashmere. Every spring, the goats naturally shed their coats. The fiber often undergoes a dehairing process which combs out the finer down fibers from the coarse.

Cashmere is renowned for its softness, but it has other pleasing qualities, like warmth, strength, and lightness. Its micron count is on the low end of the scale, and usually ranges between 14-19. That explains its extreme softness!

Now, what to make with cashmere? It’s a fantastic yarn in sweaters, shawls, scarves. It’s perfect for items that go next to the skin, and project that you want to keep you warm. Since cashmere can be delicate, it’s best for things that will not get too much wear or abrasion.

If you’re looking for a new cashmere yarn to try, Pepperberry Knits offers a pure cashmere yarn in lace, DK, and bulky weights. For equally luxe blended options, try yarns like The Fibre Company’s Road to China Lace, Shibui Knits’ Pebble, Madelinetosh Pashmina, and Sunday Knits’ Eden.

July 22, 2015 by Oleya Pearsall

New Brooklyn Tweed Color Ideas

Today, Brooklyn Tweed released five new colors in both the Shelter and Loft palettes. This exciting news opens up a whole new range of design possibilities and color combination ideas. The new colors easily nestle in with the existing ones, yet stand on their own beautifully.

Curious to see how these colors would work in a design, I searched Knit Purl’s pattern inventory for ideas. I wanted to find something that used multiple colors, but wouldn’t be too warm for the summer. I settled on the Vector Wrap, a rectangular garter stitch wrap knit on the bias. It’s a perfect project for playing with color, and the pattern is easily memorized—perfect for taking with you on a summer trip.

Using the new colors as my starting point, I came up with a few different color combinations for the Vector Wrap.

For this red and purple combination, I chose Cinnabar, Long Johns, Homemade Jam, Thistle, and Plume. I love the brightness the Cinnabar brings to this combination, and the red to purple gradient is so pretty. This would make a very eye-catching Vector Wrap!

For this earthy yellow-green combination, I chose Bale, Hayloft, Fauna, Artifact, and Meteorite. Bale is pale yellow with subtle flecks of orange and brown, and I love how it looks with the golds, greens, and browns in the color palette. This is probably one of my favorite gradients.

For this blue and purple combination, I chose Tartan, Almanac, Old World, Plume, and Soot. Tartan is definitely one of my favorite new colors. It’s such a deep, vibrant teal, and it looks great with all the blues and purples in the palette. It’s a nice pop of color in this otherwise dark color combination.

For this blue and grey combination, I chose Sweatshirt, Faded Quilt, Flannel, Almanac, and Old World. I liked the idea of a subtle blue and grey gradient Vector Wrap that would go well with jeans. The new color Flannel fits right in with the grey/blue color spectrum.

And for those thinking about getting a jump start on their fall knitting (I certainly am!), I have another combination for you. I thought the Flight Pullover would be perfect for playing with some of the new colors. Since I have fall on the brain, I chose some autumnal hues: Tallow, Bale, Wool Socks, Embers, and Pumpernickel.

I envisioned Pumpernickel being used for the body of the pullover like in the original pattern, and the other colors for the Bohus-style yoke. This color combination makes me think of leaves changing color in the Autumn. Just thinking about it makes me so excited for fall.

I hope these ideas inspire you to try some of the new Brooklyn Tweed colors, and see what new combinations you can come up with!

July 15, 2015 by Oleya Pearsall

The Lace Knitter's Tool Kit

Continuing with our Month of Lace-inspired blog features, this week’s post is all about tools.

If you've been curious about lace knitting, but not sure what you need to get started, we've put together a handy list of materials for you.

1. Lace-weight yarn: While not a strict requirement for knitting lace patterns (you can knit lace with any weight!), lace-weight yarn is commonly used for lightweight, airy pieces. Pictured in Isager Spinni, color 101.

2. Pointy lace-tip needles: The sharp, pointy tips of these needles are a must-have for performing common lace maneuvers like k2tog and ssk. Pictured: Addi Lace Circular Needles (brass).

3. Blocking wires*: After finishing a lace piece, you'll want to block it to open up the lace stitches. The thin blocking wires can be used along straight or curved edges, as they are quite flexible.

4. Brass stitch markers: These locking stitch markers look just like safety pins without the coils. They make keeping track of lace repeats easy, and their thin, unobtrusive nature works well with fine lace yarn.

5. Highlighter tape*: This removable, transparent tape is useful for keeping track of rows in a tricky lace chart.

6. Addi Turbo Rocket Needles: Similar to the brass Addi Lace Circular Needles, these needles also have sharp, pointy tips but are covered in nickel for speedier knitting.

7. T-pins*: Often used in conjunction with blocking wires, T-pins help define scallops and points in lace pieces, as well as hold the blocking wires in place. Fork blocking pins work in the same manner, and are great for creating straight edges.

*Available for purchase in-store only.

Want to learn more about knitting lace? We're offering a basic lace knitting class on Saturday, July 18, that’s a great introduction to lace knitting! Find out more details about the class on our site here.

July 08, 2015 by Oleya Pearsall

Interview with Larissa Brown, designer of the Bubbly Stole


It’s Month of Lace here at Knit Purl! All month long, we’ll be sharing our favorite lace yarns, patterns, tips, and tricks. For this year’s Month of Lace, we invited local knitwear designer Larissa Brown to design an exclusive shawl pattern for us, which we've made into a kit.

Larissa designed the Bubbly Stole, a modern colorblocked stole featuring a beautiful zig-zag lace design. Curious about her design process, we spent a few moments chatting with Larissa about knitwear design, lace knitting, and more. Read on to get to know a little more about Larissa.

 

How did you get into knitwear design?
Thanks so much for asking! I’m really excited to be working with Knit Purl and Shibui yarn, because the store and yarn company actually played a fun role in how I got into designing.

I started by knitting improvised personal projects and sharing what I did on my blog Stitch Marker in the early 2000s. Knitty.com was a fairly new magazine, and I decided to send in my idea for a bath pouf made of giant nylon yarn. “Bonbon” was my first published design. Not long after the bath pouf, I entered a scarf design contest at Knit Purl, and the “Eden Scarf” became my second published design. I was overwhelmed to see my pattern for sale in the store. My very next project was a 22-design book—a steep learning curve! Knitalong: Celebrating the Tradition of Knitting Together came out in 2008 and includes the Eden Scarf in Shibui Sock. I’ve used Shibui yarns for patterns in Knitty and in both my books.

 

What was the design process for the stole like?
When I had the opportunity to design with Twig, I drew out my old notebook, because I knew that this yarn was perfect for a project I’d been doodling for over a year. I wanted to create a big, wide stole with a lace pattern that meandered along, ending at varying lengths. Twig yarn creates a perfect fabric for summer evenings sipping cool drinks, and the idea emerged for a lace pattern that mimicked the bubbles in a champagne cocktail. After all the dreaming and drawing, it turned out to be quite a challenge to find a lace pattern that would reflect bubbles rising in a glass, and the process ended up consisting mostly of making a lot of swatches.

 

What was the most fun part about designing the stole?
The most fun part was re-watching An Affair to Remember. They drink pink champagne cocktails on their cruise.

 

And the most challenging?
The most challenging part was discovering a perfect edge treatment. To me, a neat, pleasing edge really makes a project complete, and I have my own preferred method of slipping edge stitches in my designs. But Twig wasn’t having any of it. I tried several kinds of slip stitches until I came up with one that works with Twig’s beautiful, rustic texture.

 

Was this your first time working with Shibui Twig? How did you like working with it?
Yes, this was my first time, and I love it. The fabric is amazingly light, the lace is airy and yet the design holds its shape so that you can appreciate the geometry of the pattern. This yarn would be beautiful worked in basic patterns, too, like garter stitch. It would create a gorgeous, rough-hewn-looking stripe pattern.


What do you enjoy most about knitting and designing lace patterns?
To me, the most enjoyable part of lace knitting is the moment when you take the project off the blocking board and it comes to life in three dimensions. You can finally feel how incredibly light it is, see how it drapes and how the light filters through.


What projects are you working on at the moment?
Today, I’m working on several shawl designs that all use garter stitch in eye-catching shapes and stripes. They’re made to feature highly variegated yarn, and I’m having fun using many of the hand dyed skeins I’ve collected over the years. In fact, I just finished a prototype that mixes fingering-weight yarn with a skein of Shibui’s cloud-like Cima that I’d been hoarding in my stash.

I'm also working on my second novel. The first one, Beautiful Wreck, is a time travel story that takes place in 10th century Iceland and does feature sheep shearing and spinning. I'm currently writing a companion book that will come out...hmmm, I don't know exactly when. Find out through my e-news! :)


Where can readers find more of your designs?
My designs can all be seen at http://www.ravelry.com/designers/larissa-brown, and more about my knitting and my fiction writing can be seen at www.larissabrown.net. I also send out a newsletter about once a month with new designs, freebies and news about my writing, too. You can sign up for my news here: http://eepurl.com/Y9N4T

 

Thank you for your interview, Larissa! The Bubbly Stole is absolutely stunning.

You can find the Bubbly Stole kit on our website here.

July 01, 2015 by Oleya Pearsall
Tags: Designers

Knitting Experiments with Inkodye

When I was a child, I always looked forward to the summer. It meant long days, no homework, and my favorite thing of all, summer camp. While I was fortunate enough to attend a few different types of camps, I always enjoyed science camp the best. My favorite part about science camp? Definitely the experiments.

Even though I love the idea of experimentation, I find that I don’t experiment nearly enough with my knitting projects. I am trying to change this now, but knitting is usually an un-experimental process for me. I find a yarn I like, choose a pattern (or vice versa), and get started. Other than changes in gauge, yarn, and a few modifications here and there, I largely stick to projects that will give me predictable results.

A product called Inkodye has opened my eyes up to a whole new world of surface design and experimentation. Inkodye is a UV light-activated dye which allows you to print images on fabric. It is a innovative way to add color and pattern to your knitting without relying on traditional methods like stripes, stranding, and intarsia.

The Inkodye process is fairly simple and user-friendly. All you really need to get started is fabric, Inkodye, image-making materials, and sunlight. You can make images by using photographic inkjet paper, or a technique called shadow printing.

We used the shadow printing technique to create our swatches. For our experiment, we gathered plant materials around our yards and then placed them over swatches of Shibui Cima in Ivory. Covering parts of the swatch with opaque objects blocked out the sunlight, resulting in negative images kind of like a photogram.

The hard part about experiments is that there is usually a little room for improvement. While I had fun with the process, there are definitely a few variables that I would change next time. Next time I would try flattening the leaves/petals out so they left behind a more defined shape, and seeing if leaving the swatches out longer in the light would result in deeper, more saturated colors. I also can’t wait to experiment with photographic negatives.

There is so much more you can do with Inkodye—you can try mixing different colors of Inkodye together to get new colors, you can fold and dye your fabric in the Shibori manner, and you can draw on transparency film and make up a hand-drawn pattern repeat! There are all sorts of project ideas in the Inkodye gallery.

Experimenting with Inkodye has made me realize that there is so much to explore in the world of knitting and surface design. Even if you don’t use Inkodye this summer, there are multiple ways to experiment with your knitting that you might not have considered before. Try combining two different yarns together. Knit freestyle, without a pattern. Go outside of your usual color comfort zone. Combine several techniques in one project. You just might be surprised at what you come up with!

June 24, 2015 by Oleya Pearsall