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Looking for Test Knitters

Looking for Test Knitters

Creating a pattern is a many step process.  I’ve recently been playing with the project management tool Trello and setting up a master list of all the steps it takes to get a pattern from concept to publication.  I created 17 items that need to be to be completed for test knitting alone!

This post is step 7 or so: announcing the test knit on my blog.  So, on that note, I would like to show you the Vedru Shawl.

Vedru is a classic top down crescent shawl design perfect for using a special collection of mini-skeins.  There are no complex stitches or purling in this lovely, peaceful garter stitch lace knit. The design works well with solid yarns, tonal yarns, or yarns with subtle variegation.  The pattern includes directions for two sizes with six or eight stripes.  All directions are written.

If you are interested in participating, please visit my Ravelry group, Heddi Craft Designs, and sign up in the test thread.

Comfort Knitting

Comfort Knitting

Like many knitters, I often have several projects going on at once.  I always have a dishcloth going that I keep in my car for emergency knitting.  I usually have a sock project that I take with me on trips.  I have whatever I’m currently designing in another project bag.  I usually have some project (often a garment) that was designed by someone else that I’m working on.  And I often have some comfort knitting.

basket of knittingWhat is comfort knitting?  For me, it’s a project that is easy but pleasant in pattern, soothing to work because it’s simple enough that I don’t have to think, and the end result is going to be enjoyable.  Right now, that project is the Hue Shift Afghan from Knit Picks.  I’m calling mine the Love Still Wins Afghan.  In the end it will be 100 mitered squares in all the combinations of ten rainbow hues.  Once you do the initial cast on count to establish a square, the rest comes pretty easily.  The alternating colors and ever shorter rows make each square quite satisfying to finish.

What is your comfort knitting?

Free Simple Mug Rug Pattern Released This Week

Free Simple Mug Rug Pattern Released This Week

This week, I released a free pattern for a very simple mug rug— a square coaster to go under your tea or coffee mug.  This pattern was designed for beginning knitters as a first project to learn the knit and purl stitch and make a useful object at the same time, but it’s also a great quick knit for more experienced knitters for gifts or craft fairs.

And it goes great with my Coffee Cup Cozy pattern!

I hope  you enjoy this free pattern!

Slip stitch knitting

Slip stitch knitting

I’ve been enjoying experimenting with slip stitch knitting, which I find a very approachable and relaxing way to do colorwork.

I first read about slip stitch knitting in A Treasury of Knitting Patterns and A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns.  Many of the patterns are mosaic knitting which forms a pattern of knit stitches on the outside of the garment and all the slipped stitches are on the back of the work.  My first real exposure to actually trying slip stitch colorwork was in a workshop by Patty Lyons at the 2015 Knit and Crochet show.

Many slipped stitched patterns, like the common linen stitch, use a single slipped stitch with the yarn in front to make a textured fabric.  This fabric is fairly inelastic and dense.  Although this sample is in a solid yarn, linen stitch does some amazing things to break up variegated yarn.

Mosaic knitting and some other slipped stitch patterns use slipped stitches to somewhat emulate the look of fair isle knitting, where all the yarn floats across the slipped stitches are on the back of the work, so all you see is the knits.

My favorite slipped stitch patterns are those that use the yarn floats on the front of the work as a design element.  I love the way those yarn floats are raised slightly from the rest of the knitting and how you can stagger them to create an effect, like in this swatch from my free pattern, the Aurora Cowl.

My current favorite resource for slipped stitch knitting is The Art of Slip Stitch Knitting.  This book explores several different styles of slip stitch knitting and has projects to go with each one.  It’s part designer’s guide to using the stitches, part stitch dictionary, and part pattern book.

(Note: Links to Amazon are affiliate links, I’ll get a few cents if you purchase through those links.)

Introducing the Aurora Cowl

Introducing the Aurora Cowl

The Aurora Cowl was published today in the free online magazine Knotions.  Aurora is a luxuriously soft cowl made with Malabrigo Mora, a 100% silk fingering weight yarn.  It’s also a surprisingly simply knit. An easy to follow slipped stitch pattern in a color changing yarn across a solid background creates the impression of of arcs of color reminiscent of the Northern Lights.

Slip stitch patterns are one of the simplest forms of colorwork to learn because in each row or round, the knitter only works with one color of yarn.  As you can see, though, you can create surprisingly complex patterns.  Both written and charted instructions are available for the Aurora Cowl.  This pattern is great for combining a solid yarn with a fast or slow color changing yarn.

The sample uses two skeins of Malabrigo Yarn Mora, one each in Black and Zarzamora.

Caught My Eye: Indie shawl designs from the GAL

Caught My Eye: Indie shawl designs from the GAL

I’ve been thinking about starting a new series here of some designs that have caught my eye as a browse Ravelry or pick up new (and old) magazines.  These are designs that I might never knit, so I’m not sure I can say I’m “stalking” them as many knitters describe this window shopping experience, but they have elements that I find interesting or attractive.

For my first installment, I want to share some of the shawl patterns by other designers that caught my eye in the Indie Design Gift-a-Long.  These are patterns by new to me designers.

Dreamcatcher is a bias knit shawl by Ewelina Murach which caught my eye because of the diagonal lines of yarn overs, almost rays, coming from one corner of the shawl.  I love how there is some lace texture at the end of each ray that really comes into focus when the shawl is wrapped around the model’s neck!

 

Oolong by Georgie Nicolson was another shawl that jumped out at me.  I love the cream color yarn with the highly textured stitches on the border.  It looks elegant and warm.  (It might help that one of the stitch motifs is one that I just spent the last couple of weeks knitting for an upcoming design!)

 

 

 

 

Finally, Maribou, a cabled shawl by Kino Knits, was my third pick.  This shawl has a lovely pattern of cable crossings that each end with a shaped point so that they look like feathers.  The center spine on this rectangular shawl also evokes the sense of wings.  I really enjoyed reading the backstory of the inspiration for the shawl.

 

 

 

 

All these patterns are part of the GAL and are 25% off through Nov. 30, 2016 with the giftalong2016 coupon code!

Indie Design Gift-a-Long Begins

Indie Design Gift-a-Long Begins

gifalong-main-ballFor the past several years, a group of amazing indie designers have been hosting a sale/GAL/CAL to support independent designers on Ravelry.  Over three hundred designers are participating this year and there are literally thousands of patterns to choose from, including six of mine!  All participating patterns are 25% off through Nov. 30th and then the knit/crochet-a-long runs through the end of the year.

There are several ways you can view all the patterns.  One thread in the group includes sample pictures like this one of mine for each of the designers that give you a taste of what the designer has in her shop.  indie-designer-gal-collage-500You can click on a link to get to the designer’s shop and see all the sale patterns in a bundle.

If you have Pinterest, you can look at all the available patterns through the boards that have been set up there by category (those categories are also the categories for the KAL/CAL).

There are literally hundreds of prizes for the GAL portion and even a special prize for someone who completes one project from each category.

So, go check it out for some great deals and support indie designers this holiday season!

 

Coffee Cup Cozies and Charity Knitting

Coffee Cup Cozies and Charity Knitting

cozy-beauty

Yesterday I released a new pattern for a Coffee Cup Cozy on Ravelry.  This is a pattern I designed to teach a class on beginning knitting at our new yarn shop in town– Yarn Shop Santa Cruz. It uses almost only knits and purls and is a small project that can be finished by a beginner in a short amount of time.  The class came with eight additional pages of handouts, but the pattern itself is a great one for using up scrap yarn and for charity knitting for more experienced knitters.

Charity knitting in on my mind because a local non-profit, the Homeless Garden Project, collects knitted and crocheted items each year for their holiday gift store.  For the past couple of years, I’ve been getting together with a group of moms for a couple of evenings to knit and crochet quick little items like this cozy for their store.  Many of us are one income families and so pulling out our yarn and making a few things feels like a way we can give back to the community.

The Coffee Cup Cozy is free through October 15th, so download your copy today for your charity knitting!

Introducing Roxanne

Introducing Roxanne

roxanneTo introduce my newest design to you, I first have to tell you about Roxanne Cummings, my midwife.  When my husband and I got married, we knew we wanted to have children and we also knew we wanted to have home births.  When we became pregnant with our first child in 2000, we met Kate Bowland and Roxanne Cummings, a pair of midwives who worked together as the Midwives of Santa Cruz.  Monthly appointments alternated between Kate and Roxanne and then whoever was on call would attend the birth.  For subsequent births, the midwife at the first birth tried to attend unless she was with another mother.  Roxanne was the midwife who attended our first birth and then our second and third births as well.

A home birth is a fairly intimate gathering– the mother, her partner, the midwife, her assistant, and maybe the younger siblings.  Roxanne was the perfect midwife for us.  Her energy and fire were a great complement to my husband’s solid and quite nature.  As the years went by and we went beyond our childbearing years, Roxanne always had time to talk to us if we saw her around town, she always had a memory to share with us about our birth experiences.

My pregnancies and births are a collection of moments– Roxanne curled up on cushions on the floor like a cat, murmuring encouragement for my contractions; Roxanne telling me that people are not usually planning their next birth during their current birth; Roxanne describing how your organs have to be “pretty creative” when making room for a growing baby in the uterus, Roxanne helping my older children find the baby’s heartbeat.  And so many more.

When Roxanne passed away in April, I was shocked and saddened.  She had quietly been fighting cancer, but had not shared her journey widely– she was such a public person that it made sense, because as someone said at her memorial “you couldn’t take her anywhere” without meeting someone she knew.

I sat with my grief for many days before I realized I wanted to make something to remember her by, something that would embody my memories and give me something to DO besides be with my sadness.  I had a skein of Anzula Meridian yarn in a lovely sky blue colorway called Alice that I had been saving for a special project.  I selected and modified designs to represent the life and growth and light and love that Roxanne brought to the mothers of Santa Cruz County, California.

beauty 4

Vining flowers and heart shaped leaf motifs combine with a deeply scalloped knitted on border to create a classic lace shawl which expresses both love and hope.

detail 4This pattern begins with knitting a long, rectangular lace panel. Stitches are picked up all around this rectangle and a knitted on border is added perpendicular to the existing stitches. Both written and charted directions are given and the knitter may switch between them.

This shawl can be modified in width or length. Suggestions for how to modify the pattern are given, but details are left up to the knitter. Remember that changes in the overall length or width will change the amount of yarn used and the overall stitch count.

The Roxanne shawl is available on Ravelry and Craftsy.