Saturday, October 3, 2015

My First Book!

I am so very excited to announce the arrival of my first book- Month by Month Dishcloths!

Mixed Media Resources/Soho Publishing

 I am equally embarrassed to confess that it was published last August(2014), and that it has taken me this long to post its arrival on my blog, and on Ravelry ...


 These are 2 of my favorites.  I think they would make a great wedding shower gift, or great wedding favors!

But, happily, the delay is not because I have a  been world class procrastinator, but more because I have been so busy with other book and magazine projects.


When I was approached with the request to design a  booklet of 24 crocheted dishcloths,  I was  both thrilled- and surprised.  Up until  to that point in my design career, I had mostly submitted complex and difficult patterns- usually knit with relatively fine needles.


 Designing with bulkier yarn, and in crochet was a new venture for me, and I am delighted to say it was wonderful.  I loved the instant gratification of a small project, and the relaxing process of working a simpler design.

It was quite a shock to walk into my local Joann Fabric and Craft  store and see my booklet on the shelves! I was also really excited to see that it is now for sale on a number of great yarn and craft websites.


It is such relief to have had the time today to blog about this book! Next post,  I hope to catch up to some of the other fun projects that have kept me away from the computer: )
And I would like to express my most sincere gratitude to Trisha Malcolm, Alexandra Joinnides and Vanessa Putt, for giving me this opportunity, and for being understanding when I kept calling asking for "just a little more time, please"... and to Jack Deutsch whose great photos made the simple, sublime.


But, of course, I am  most grateful for the readers who have made it down to the end of this post. Yes, it is now fall, and my last post was in February.  Thank you!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sweater Weather or 3 things to make on a cold evening....

Snow days and knitting projects are a perfect combination! This has a been the perfect winter to hunker down where it is warm and dry, and to make serious headway on a variety of projects.

The KNIT. Sweater above is a sweater I designed and knit for the incomparable VOGUE Knitting Live Show which was held in NYC in January, and will be in Pasadena, Ca. soon. It is a simple knit and a snuggly sweater.  The pattern is available for FREE on the Vogue Knitting website. This is the link- KNIT.SWEATER.  Let me know if you make one- I love pictures.  I have already seen some wonderfully creative variations, including one on Ravelry by Peg Starbuck.

And, if the idea of a knitting a big winter sweater seems daunting, then I have another great option for the timid or time challenged!
 I was also asked to design mini sweaters for a garland to raise awareness for SAVE THE CHILDREN.  December 2014 was designated as "Make the World Better with a Sweater" month, and December 12th was "Sweater" day.  The pattern for these addicting little sweaters is also free on the VK website! I have been amazed by the cute sweaters I have seen on Ravelry pages.  I have a feeling that there will be a number of homes decorated with knit garlands next year!

Finally, if you are not motivated to make a big sweater, or  even many little sweaters,  a phone sweater may be your perfect option! This pattern is also part of the Save the Children Campaign, and once again, the pattern is free.
 I was very happy to have been asked to be part of something so exciting.  I have been so busy recently with so many projects, that I have been unable to post as regularly as I would like.  In fact, when I looked at the designs I planned to write about, I came across these patterns and decided to post these instead. 
These cold winter nights are made for relaxing projects, and hopefully someone will enjoy making one of these!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Not really work...

 I am really  delighted to share these pictures of  the  Open Front Cardigan sweater I designed and knit for the Early Fall 2014 issue of Vogue Knitting Magazine.

VOGUE Knitting Early Fall 2014, photo by Paul Amato for
  I think this often, but I really mean it this time when I say that I want to make this sweater for myself. And, the great styling makes it look so refined.   I love this picture.
 The cardigan  was easier  to make than it looks, mostly stockinette with some simple eyelet rows. 

VOGUE Knitting Early Fall 2014, photo by Paul Amato for
 The lace inset is not difficult at all- just a little bit more concentration required  : )
I opted for a folded over hem, as it is one of my favorite finishes, and gives weight to the light weight cardigan.  Again- simple- just a few extra stockinette rows, and a "purl on the right side " turning row. The soft color of the Manos del Uruguay Serena yarn  is sublime .
The sweater and some other lovely pieces can be found in the Early Fall issue of Vogue Knitting 2014.

Now to my title.  I came across this quote by J.M. Barrie- of Peter Pan fame. "Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else."
Put any thread and implement(needle, hook, embroidery needle, tatting shuttle...) in front of me, and there is not much else I would rather do. 
 But, lately the days have been rolling into each other as I have been fortunate enough to have been given a number of contracts.
 I have been staring at a post-it with "UPDATE THIS BLOG" for ages.  Long enough that I have sweaters from the Fall 2014 issue of Vogue Knitting to add to this post!

VOGUE Knitting Fall 2014, photo by Paul Amato for   
This is another favorite of mine.  I have wanted to make a blouse-like sweater for a while.  I love folkloric pieces, and the raglan shaping and inset openwork helps mimic the peasants tops that were my inspiration.  The inset is not tricky and the embroidery is very basic- straight stitches, knots and lazy daisy stitches.

VOGUE Knitting Fall 2014, photo by Paul Amato for
I have a second sweater in the same issue.  This, chosen by my editor right from the runway design was designed to showcase Rowan Tumble yarn, a wonderful chunky wool to work with.  The sweater has the cozy feel of a grandfather cardigan, and works up so quickly.  That is a pleasure, too.

VOGUE Knitting Fall 2014, photo by Paul Amato for  
Both sweaters are in this current issue of Vogue Knitting.
 Yes, I have to admit, the back log of other pieces, and the fear that another issue would be coming out soon compelled me to post today. 
 And, if you have had the patience to read down this far,  hopefully you won't mind if I show you one more picture....

@Sixth and Spring Books

 The mittens are from a wonderful book,  60 Quick Luxury Knits.

  I love the Cascade Venezia yarn .  It is a perfect blend of wool and silk.  And the colors are scrumptious!
 On the other hand, even though it is keeping me so very busy,  there isn't much that I would rather be doing!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

My Very First Cover!

And here it is...
© Vogue Knitting Crochet 2014, photo by Rose Callahan

I am so excited.  My dress is on the cover of the current  Vogue Knitting Crochet 2014 Special Collector's Issue.   It is a lush crochet tank dress made with absolutely scrumptious Koigu  Premium Merino yarn- a beautiful hand dyed merino of exquisite feel and texture. The magazine went on sale in bookstores and news stands on May 7th.

© Vogue Knitting Crochet 2014, photo by Rose Callahan
 Although the dress may look complicated it is  a simple tank dress with appliqued motifs.  I enjoyed making the motifs so much, I became a little over zealous and made too many! Crochet is perfect technique to use to achieve organic and dimensional forms, and it is so rewarding to see them develop as you work.

 The 3 dimensional flower trend is everywhere on the runways from J Crew  to Chanel.

J CREW Collection Flower Shell

Chanel Resort 2015
Definitely a little unusual, but fun and feminine at the same time.

I am also proud of another garment I have in the same issue, Garment # 6, the Tunic Length Shell.

© Vogue Knitting Crochet 2014, photo by Rose Callahan

 This is a simple filet/ double crochet piece.  Not hard to make, but surprisingly  required a little more concentration than the tank dress did.  The yarn, Jade Sylph is a perfect warm weather blend of cashmere and linen, soft and durable.  I call this my "Downton" sweater, because I watched and re-watched episodes this winter as I designed, wrote the pattern and crocheted this sweater. 

 I received an extraordinary e-mail from the editor of VK,  Trisha Malcolm, letting me know that my dress had been chosen for the cover. She was so charming and kind, and I really appreciate that she took the time to inform me personally.  Naturally , it made my day!

I consider myself very fortunate to be able to work with such talented people.  The photographs are amazing, and the editors are all so helpful and knowledgeable.  This was really an honor.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Vogue Knitting Spring/ Summer 2014

I was very happy to receive my copy of Vogue Knitting Spring/ Summer 2014.  Although knitting for the summer seems counter-intuitive, I love to make warm weather garments. No sleeves, quick and easy!  And, I seem to have more time in the summer to unwind with a simple project.

VOGUE Knitting Spring/Summer 2014, photo by Paul Amato
I designed this tunic and knit it from the scrumptious Lorna's Laces Pearl yarn.  I think it would be gorgeous over white linen, or as an on -trend color block beach coverup.
VOGUE Knitting Spring/Summer 2014, photo by Paul Amato

It is a great primer for different  lace techniques and simple intarsia. The tabard style will flatter many different figures.  There is so little finishing that it is a quick and easy knit.

I am really excited about 2 or 3 -actually 4- yikes 5! new items and I will be posting again sooner rather than later.  I 'm delighted that all of those months of perpetual work are finally coming to fruition.  I can't wait to share more pictures!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Frozen leaves and Barbara Kingsolver

My Frozen Leaves Shawl

Although "Frozen Leaves" could easily refer to my yard right now , as anyone else living in the northeast can verify, it is also the name of a lovely shawl  pattern written by the gifted knitter, Anusla (on Ravelry).

Original Frozen Leaves Shawl by Anusla
I rarely have time to knit for pleasure, because I have been crazy busy with work knitting and designing.  So, I was delighted when all of the snow and snow days coincided with the end of all of my deadlines.  I needed a gift for someone special, and thought a scarf or shawl was a better gift than a sweater, because I didn't have her measurements.  Usually I become consumed with trying to design my own pattern, but I thought this shawl was so lovely, and frankly, I needed a mental break.   I used the modified pattern by "like2makethings", and was delighted to find this to be an extremely relaxing knit.
  I had a skein of Shaefer yarns "Audrey", in the Gloria Steinem colorway. I purchased it years ago on vacation at Patternworks in NH. The yarn is a merino/ silk blend, fingering weight, and lovely to use.  I knit the shawl on size 5 Addi Turbo 24 inch circular needles.  I rarely buy variegated yarns, and although I do like the finished shawl, I did not envision the color to be so  pastel and pink based on the unwound skein, which was far more vibrant.  Lesson learned....

AUDREY from Jimmy Beans wool

 Will she wear a shawl? I hope so. She is a very stylish women, and the shawl is decidedly feminine.  It could be tied into a scarf to wear with a coat, or thrown on over a bathing suit.  Or, thrown over her shoulders while she is reading her kindle.  Either way, I think pretty things are meant to worn, not saved, and I hope she agrees!

See, Violet is wearing a shawl!

Happily, I have been very fortunate with my recent book and magazine knitting.  I have a number of pieces about to be published in different publications.  I can't wait to show them to you- I love seeing the professional pictures.  I also have been working on an exciting "secret" project, and will post as soon as I can!
I couldn't attend Vogue Knitting Live this year, which is a premier knitting event held annually in New York City and other select locations.  The featured speaker at the gala dinner was acclaimed author Barbara Kingsolver (author of "The Poisonwood Bible"),  and I was shocked and delighted to find out that she wore a vest knitted from one of my patterns  to speak at the event. She raises sheep, and I wouldn't be surprised if  the yarn came from her  own sheep.

Barbara Kingsolver from VK Facebook
The pattern is The Cabled Colorblock Vest, shown  on page of Vogue Knitting Magazine  Fall 2013.

Cabled Colorblock Vest

I just noticed when I was trying to find a link for the vest that the preview for VK Spring Summer 2014 is  almost up! I have a vest in that issue, but will save that for another post- this one is getting so long-winded!.  I also just heard that we are due for another 5 -6 inches of snow(eek) tonight, so I am going to use my stolen moments to finish a languishing lace knit, before tomorrow's mail brings me the yarn for my next work project. Then, I am going to sit with a nice hot cup of tea, and read The Poisonwood Bible!

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Isabella Tank Top Pattern

Introducing the Isabella Tank Top Pattern....

The Isabella tank top pattern is the first  knitting pattern that I am offering for sale.  Currently it is only for sale on Ravelry, but I hope to add it for sale here soon.

"Isabella" is a fun and quick knit.  I originally designed it as a teaching piece for beginners to introduce a variety of techniques.  There is a lovely picot hem, a simple rolled collar and sweet ruffles as sleeves.  Easy to work, and very cute!

I also designed a companion top for a favorite 18 inch doll- the Isabella Tank for 18 inch dolls.

It is a great way to use up extra yarn, and makes a wonderful gift!

I have to confess, formatting and changing my pattern into a PDF was far more daunting and time consuming than knitting the top was.  As it stands now, the first page of the PDF is blank, and as hard as try, I can't seem to change it.  Any suggestions?
Happy Knitting!