November 26, 2014

New pattern: Jonathan!

It’s time for another pattern and the beginning of yet another new trio!  Jonathan (ravelry link) is a 2-color brioche scarf (written especially for brioche beginners!), very gender neutral…

Jonathan Jonathan

…and it can be made extra big and/or extra colorful if you want…

Jonathan

…and there are HIDDEN GOATS!!

Jonathan

Goooaaattttsss.  Goatsgoatsgoatsgoatsgoats.  Three different goaty goat heads!

Jonathan Jonathan

(There are non-goat cables also.)

Jonathan

I recommend wearing it while visiting your local goat friends.

Jonathan

There’s a little guy with little horns and a beard, a longer-faced guy with long, twisty horns, and a four-horned dude with small bottom horns and curving top horns.  I made a goaty mosaic just for fun, to show the different goat styles.  These goat cable patterns were adapted from an awesome original non-brioche goat cable design by Cyn, available for free on her Half-Assed Knit Blog.  Many thanks to Cyn!

goat cables!

This is the first pattern in a new trio – the leethal Dark Trio (on ravelry here).  It will be 3 different gender-neutral accessories, each with some kind of hidden evil!  First, you get evil hidden goats in Jonathan, and then Warren and Andrew will come within the next couple months!  (All will have not-so-evil options, and the evil will be subtle, kind of; don’t expect like a big 666 across your forehead or anything like that!)

Dark Trio image

So, more about Jonathan!  You can choose how wide you want your piece by picking your yarn weight accordingly – worsted weight will make a nice standard, wide-ish scarf (around 8-9 inches).  The navy+grey sample is in aran weight (Berroco Remix).  Use a bulky weight for an extra wide wrap-style item, like my bulky sample, which is in Cascade Eco+ held double for the main color, with lots of different bulky yarns used for the changing contrasting colors (it’s about 13.5 inches wide).

Jonathan

I made a swatch in sport weight (Brown Sheep Lanaloft), with the non-goat cable pattern, and it ended up about 7.5 inches / 19 cm wide, a decent scarf width, if you like your scarves more narrow.  So choose your weight as you like!  Anything goes!  I mean, anything goats?  Sorry.

Sport weight swatch of part of my upcoming brioche pattern!

Then once you choose your yarn and start knitting, you can pick from the three different goat patterns, plus the non-goat pattern, which can all be used in any order.  The navy+grey sample has goat #1, goat #2, goat #3, then a wee bit of the non-goat pattern at the top until the yarn ran out.  The bulky sample just has goat #2 on the end, then the non-goat cable pattern for the whole rest of the piece, until the main color yarn ran out.

Jonathan Jonathan

There are very detailed instructions for how to do 2-color brioche, so if you’ve never done brioche before, even if you don’t know anything about it at all, you’re all set.  The pattern breaks everything down for you, and there are photos to help.  (I will quote one of my test knitters: First time with brioche, and I’m loving it! When I first saw it I thought, “there is no way I’m going to be able to do that” but it is reading fine, and the pics help too, and I’m really enjoying the knit :) it’s almost relaxing!)

Jonathan Jonathan

And then there are photo tutorials for the cables as well; the cables in brioche are basically the same as normal cables with a cable needle, you just work the stitches in the brioche stitch pattern.  The cable patterns are all written and charted, so you can use whichever is easier for you.

Jonathan

Of course, you can get different looks depending on the kind of yarn you use – brioche is naturally squishy, but my navy+grey sample actually has minimal squishiness because of the nylon/cotton/acrylic/silk/linen fiber blend.  Still looks nice, just not so springy.  The bulky sample is super squishy, both because of the fiber content (mostly all wool) and the bulky weight worked at a tight gauge.

Jonathan

Check out the scarves made by my fabulous test knitters – they used a variety of different weights and yarn types.  Thanks test knitters, you are the best!!

Jonathan

If you have a metalhead loved one in your life, or just someone who loves goats, or scarves, you still have time to knit some goats before Christmas!  And speaking of the holiday season, since everyone has sales on the brain right now, through the end of Thanksgiving weekend (until the end of the day on Monday, December 1st) you can get 25% off this pattern with the coupon code holidaybrioche (on my site or on ravelry).  This discount is only good for the individual pattern (the trio price is still the best deal, if you’re going to want other evil patterns!).

Jonathan

And I’ll leave you with this guy’s face.  Happy holidays, knitters!

Filed under: knitting,pattern Trios — leethal @ 8:19 am

November 13, 2014

Gift-a-Long!

It’s that time, knitters!  The 2014 Gift-a-Long (or GAL) has just begun!!  The GAL includes a massive sale (293 designers, 3822 patterns total) through Nov 21st, and knit-a-longs (/crochet-a-longs) through the end of the year, with TONS of opportunities to win prizes!  There are 1866 pattern prizes that will be given away to winners throughout the GAL, which you can win by participating in the group, posting your works in progress, playing the games, etc.  (If you like the numbers, check out the stats page, with a giant infographic about the participating designers and stuff.)

GAL 2014 pattern collage

I have 20 accessory patterns in the sale – you can see them all here.  There is a mix of older and newer, some less popular patterns that I love and think can make great gift knits, and some popular old favorites.  The sale is 25% off all the patterns (that’s all 3822 of them!) with the coupon code giftalong2014.

Wobble Bass Junction Wizzö Barry in yellow

Rumours long loop stripy cowl ten 10 yard cuffs! Krewe cowl

ALL patterns by me (and all participating designers) are eligible to knit for the GAL, including patterns from outside publications (like my designs for Knitscene, Twist Collective, Holla Knits, etc), and ALL paid (not free) patterns are eligible for prizes.  So if you already have one (or more) of my patterns that you haven’t gotten around to making yet, this can be a push to get to it – knit it now, post it in the GAL group, and hopefully you’ll win a prize!  The only rule is that you can’t have already cast on before now – GAL things don’t need to be finished before the end date, but they do need to be started after the start date (Nov 13th).

So, check out the GAL ravelry group for all the details, KALs, games, and other fun stuff!  And now, part of being a participating designer is promoting each other, so we each got connected up randomly with another designer to interview (and more to tweet about, pin on pinterest, etc, so my social media will be all GAL-ified for the next few weeks!).  I was hooked up with Katherine Rollins, designer of some beautiful accessories featuring lots of colorwork and fun ruffles.

Gathered Dusk Path of the Peacock

Interview!

What’s the first thing you ever knit?
A: Do you mean finished? The first thing I remember trying to knit was a Kaffe Fassett design from the book, “Glorious Knits.” I was a teenager pretty new to knitting and I hate to say that I worked one multicolored repeat but never finished the jacket! The first finished projects happened late in high school and college. I knit huge traditional Icelandic Lopi sweaters for almost everyone in our family!

What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever knit (or, one of your favorites, if you can’t choose 1 absolute favorite!)?
A. When I finally learned sock knitting in 2007, I got hooked. I love socks!

Is there a knitting technique that you haven’t tried yet that you are really wanting to explore?
A. I haven’t tried Mosaic knitting but I am intrigued.

Is there a technique you’ve recently tried for the first time and LOVED?
A. Lace! I need to explore it more.

What’s your favorite yarn you’ve ever used?
A. Okay this is a hard question. I haven’t explored near enough yarn to answer fully. My taste runs to luxury yarns but my wallet doesn’t always follow! I loved using Kashmir by The Woolen Rabbit. But I have enjoyed knitting with Knit Picks Capra and Capretta yarns. I have a Wollmeise skein and a Madelinetosh skein in my petting box. I need to use them but haven’t decided on a pattern.

Is there any local yarn in your part of the world (North Carolina) that you love and recommend that people check out?
A. There is a really fun cotton yarn made one state over in Virginia, Wolles Yarn Creations. The yarn has long color changes. I knit a Holden Shawlette from it and I hope to design a shawlette for it one day.  The other local yarn that has come on the scene recently is Silver Spun from Feel Good Yarn Company. It is an intriguing combination of cotton, silver, and lycra. I want to design some sporty socks with it.

What’s the one thing you wish you were knitting right now?
A. That changes from moment to moment! I would like to be knitting right now either a shawl or a blanket of my own design. Coming up with the right design, now that is the trick!

Evening Tide Ruffled Ascot

Thanks for the interview, Katherine!  (Click the photos to go to the pattern pages!)

Mt. Hood Snow Cap

So, I considered doing a quick round up of some of my favorite designs/designers here for the end of this post, but then I thought, there are so many, I won’t know when to stop!  So instead, I’m going to keep it local – here are my neighbor designers here in Oregon:

Star Athena (I love so many of Star’s designs – a few favorites are the Pendleton CowlMt. Hood Snow Cap {pictured above – I have plans to make this for myself and embroider snow on Mt Hood with thick white wool}, Galanthus, Interval, and Lebowski); Shannon Squire (tons of beautiful designs, including Mosaic Mason Jar Cozies which could be an excellent gift knit {pictured below}, and I really love the Tytonidae Cowl and the Mesh Leaf Cowl); Larissa Brown (lots of fabulous designs – I especially love Lichen, Layer Cake Blanket, and Cane Sugar Mitts); Marnie MacLean (so many fantastic sweaters, really gorgeous shawls – a couple favorites are Foothills Shawl and Estival – and she has some beautiful crochet patterns as well!); Michele Bernstein (I want Thrumbelina on my feet right now!); Birch Hollow Cottage (adorable kid stuff and toys); Carol E. Herman (love the Topiary Fingerless Mitts); Galzanne Knits (some really nice cowls and hats); and Sheila O’Keefe (the Snowflake Coaster is such a perfect gift knit!).

Mosaic Mason Jar Cozy

If you want in on the fun, go join the group, check out the designer list (you can browse through the designer names quickly here, but check out the thread for photos so you can discover new designers!) and buy all the patterns you want during the sale period right now!  But remember, you can knit not-on-sale patterns for the GAL, and posting in the group can win you awesome prizes!  Yay!  Happy knitting!!

Filed under: gifts,hats,knit-a-longs,knitting,lots of links,portland stuff — leethal @ 5:00 pm

November 4, 2014

New pattern: Tionne! (my first sweater pattern!!)

Tionne sweater! Tionne sweater!

I’ve done it!  After 7 years of designing knit accessories, I’ve upped my game and released my first garment pattern!  (Find Tionne on ravelry here, or on my website here.)  It’s a stripy asymmetrical pullover sweater, which can be worn in any direction!

Tionne sweater!

Aaand, it’s for any weight yarn, custom sized to your body, by measuring your gauge, taking measurements of yourself, and filling out a worksheet to find all your custom pattern numbers.   (If this part scares you – it’s 2 pages of easy-to-calculate math, all adding/subtracting/multiplying/dividing; if you have a calculator app, and you go through it slowly and carefully, you’ll be fine!  It’s super important to get accurate numbers, so you can’t just wing it… but you can do it, I believe in you!)

Tionne sweater! Tionne sweater!

Tionne features a stretchy, garter stitch, solid color cowl neck on one side, which can be flipped around to be the waist instead, making the striped, wider side into a huge cowl neck, with a fitted waist:

Tionne sweater!

The striped side has an eyelet pattern, so that you can use the eyelet holes to scrunch it up with ribbon, or even sew some buttons on and use the eyelets as buttonholes, so the stripy neck can be styled in different ways.  (Or it can simply fold down around the shoulders, like in the top photo.)

Tionne sweater! Tionne sweater!

The sample is in Hikoo Kenzie worsted weight yarn (on the lighter side of worsted) – I am completely IN LOVE with this yarn!!  It’s a blend of New Zealand Merino, nylon, angora, alpaca, and silk noils.  It is soft but durable, tweedy, with a subtle halo and I just want a pile of it in every color to use it to knit all the things!  (Seriously.  Love it.)

Tionne sweater!

Here’s what this wacky sweater looks like flat:

Tionne sweater

Oh and there’s a short sleeved variation included as well!  My first prototype was a short sleeved one; some changes were made to the pattern after I made this one, but you get the idea.  It’s in bulky yarn (knit loosely), which I don’t really recommend for a short sleeved one – it works, but it’s a bit cumbersome for something with no arm coverage.

short sleeved Tionne short sleeved Tionne

This is a variety of bulky yarns, for some stash-busting action.  The awesome pink and orange neons are Space Cadet Elara, as is the grey in the middle – the leftovers from my giant Mikkey cowl.  The beige is Berroco Blackstone Tweed Chunky, the dark blue is a random handspun I had in my stash, the neon green is leftovers of the handspun used to make this Unbroken hat, and the grey at the bottom is some leftover Austermann Natura from my Maurice cowl.

short sleeved Tionne

For a better example of the short sleeve variation, Sarah – The Sexy Knitter – test knit this version and took awesome photos!  Here is her fabulous many-colored short sleeved Tionne:

Sarah's Tionne

And now, some details about construction…

I kind of love grafting - it's easy, and it's like magic! How do you feel about grafting?

The sweater is worked partly flat, partly in the round, using short rows combined with increases & decreases, provisional cast-ons, and grafting, to make for a totally modular construction, with no picked up stitches or sewn seams.  The six sections are all connected as you knit, with 4 seams to graft with kitchener stitch at the end (only 2 for the short sleeved variation), making it completely seamless.

Section 1 – sideways garter stitch – is connected seamlessly to section 2 using my sideways edge cast-on technique (simple short rows + increases as you knit, to avoid picked up stitches and make a smooth join):

Tionne sweater

Here’s a detail shot of where sections 3, 4, and 5 all come together, with a grafted bit there in the middle:

Tionne sweater

The sleeves are knit in opposite directions, but the cuffs are identical, so they will fit comfortably, with exactly the same number of garter stitch rows around.  The first sleeve is worked flat, side to side (starting with Judy’s magic cast-on to work outwards in both directions, ending by grafting it together), and the second sleeve is worked in the round down to the cuff, then uses what I call a sideways-edge bind-off technique to work the cuff sideways around (grafting it closed).  The second cuff is worked with a stockinette stripe in the middle, to match that detail on the first cuff:

Tionne sweater

There is a very simple slip-stitch faux-seam where the colors switch, to deal with stripe jogging, for the parts worked in the round:

Tionne sweater

The pattern includes a detailed schematic, a diagram showing how to measure yourself, 16 process photos showing how the piece is constructed (on their own pages, so you don’t need to print them if you don’t want to), photo tutorials for the crochet provisional cast-on and Judy’s magic cast-on, and step-by-step instructions for grafting the different sections (some in stockinette, some in garter).

Tionne sweater!

Want to know the backstory of my design process?  I had no plans to design a sweater anytime soon, at the beginning of this year, but then in March I took a trip to my local Japanese bookstore.  One book caught my attention instantly, because of the piece on the back cover (below, left), and when I started flipping through it, there were several more eye-catching items that looks fascinating to me…

Japanese knitting book Japanese knitting book

And then I reached this page, below.  I think I audibly gasped when I saw that page.  That sweater shape, I became obsessed immediately.  I bought the book, to take the inspiration home with me, and I couldn’t stop thinking about that sweater shape.  I loved the cabled design in the book, but the basic shape of it, that’s what I couldn’t stop thinking about…

I spent days thinking about how it was made with all straight lines, no shaping really, and because of this, even though I had zero experience with garment design, and I had only even ever knit ONE real sweater before, I thought I could maybe, possibly, use that shape concept as a jumping off point to come up with a sweater design of my own.  With the parts coming out in different directions like that, the shape seemed a perfect fit for the techniques I’ve developed over the years, which modularly connect knitted sections worked in different directions.

Japanese knitting book

And the other aspect that made me obsessed with the idea was how the shape looked like it could be flipped upside down – the sweater in the book wasn’t meant to be, but if the two sides were both wide enough to fit around the waist, then it seemed like it could work that way!  And if the two wide sides were different, like one worked sideways, and the other worked around, one with negative ease, and the other without, different lengths, etc, then you’d end up with two completely different sweater styles when wearing it the two different ways.

So days were spent obsessively thinking about this, working it out in my head, how the parts would all work, and I had to try it out somehow!  So I dug through my craft stash and found parts of old reclaimed sweaters, cut them to size, and sewed them together into the shape I had in my head.  It was a seriously wonky piece, but I wanted to see if it would even work at all, and also see how the proportions should be and stuff.  And it worked!

original proto-prototype of Tionne sweater

So I used what I learned from that, and wrote it all out into a knitting pattern, while it was fresh in my head.  While trying on the proto-prototype and examining it, I realized that if the sleeve parts were left off, it could still work.  So I decided to use some bulky yarn and big needles, and try out the pattern with a short sleeved variation, quickly – I needed to test it out while it was fresh, and my obsession hadn’t worn off.  I dug through my stash and grabbed all the bulky yarns that would work together, using neutrals for the main colors and brights for the contrasting.  And I knit my prototype!  And it worked!  The pattern needed some adjusting here and there, but overall, it worked.

short sleeved Tionne

Okay so that point is when I knew I had taken this obsessive inspiration to the point where it needed to go before I could let myself get back to my regularly scheduled work – for about a week (maybe 2?), I’d basically let myself put everything else on hold while I followed that process through to having a complete pattern draft.  Now that the pattern was designed, I could plan ahead, and let it sit for awhile; I could come back to the pattern draft later and know what I was talking about.  (If you’re like me, you might sometimes jot down or sketch ideas that strike in a moment of excited inspiration, then go back to them several months later and have NO idea what you were talking about.  So, if I’m really into an idea, I make sure I write down coherent thoughts/plans/diagrams/etc so I can follow them later.  Writing out the entire pattern is ideal for my future self!)

Tionne color decisions

So, planning ahead.  I thought hard about how I wanted my official sample to be – I decided on worsted weight, and after swatching a square with some that I had on hand, I landed on the Kenzie.  I ended up spending an entire month deciding on colors (such a hard decision!) – I even photoshopped a bunch of my top color combos into a sketch of the design (or what I sort of thought it would look like, since I hadn’t actually knit it yet), to help me decide.  Final color choices ended up being Malbec and Boysenberry (that’s top center in the grid above).  I got the bag of yarn around mid-May; by this time of the year, I was unable to even think about the sweater design, while my focus was on Adventure Knitting and other design responsibilities, so the yarn sat there for quite awhile…

I can't wait to finish up my in-progress design samples so I can cast this on!

Until I was finally able to cast on in early September!  I revived the pattern, refreshed my memory on the whole concept, and started knitting!  I made this sweater as quickly as I possibly could (since I’d originally wanted to release the pattern in early fall, but it was already too late for that, sadly), getting the pattern all perfected as I knit it, finishing it by the end of the month.

Officially back to work on my first sweater design! Had to put it on hold for months for adventure knitting; I finally cast on the sample last night!

And it was awesome!  And I was so happy!  So then I had it test knit throughout October, by some fabulous test knitters – see their projects on ravelry! – and that was my first sweater design process!  Bam!

Tionne sweater!

Oh so then throughout the year, since I had this plan to release my first garment pattern, I did lots of brainstorming about other future garment ideas… and I came up with two more ideas that I’m super excited about!  So, Tionne is the first pattern my in leethal Full Body Trio (on my site here).  Lopes and Chilli will come next year; this will be a spread out trio, many months between each pattern release.

Tionne sweater! Tionne sweater!

The future two designs will both be versatile, wearable in different ways, like Tionne is.  If all goes according to plan, neither will be a pullover sweater like Tionne, they will both be other kinds of garments.  I’m hoping that if you like Tionne, and you like my general design style, you can be confident that you’ll like at least one of the future patterns, hopefully both!!

Tionne sweater!

Something else I love about this pattern: it’s almost entirely garter stitch worked flat and stockinette worked around, so very little purling – only 2 of the 6 sections involve purling, the other 4 are entirely knit.  And there is no shaping, it’s all just straight lines.  So, even though there are weird construction techniques used, all the long rows of plain knitting make this an excellent multi-task knit!  Once you get each section set up and know what you’re doing across/around the rows, it’s easy to knit mindlessly while focusing your attention elsewhere.  I knit a chunk of the middle section in a movie theater, while watching Snowpiercer!  (I’d never knit in a theater before, it was VERY exciting.  I think I might have even mentioned that already on the blog, but it was so exciting I had to tell you again, hah!)

Tionne sweater! Tionne sweater!

I really hope a bunch of you get inspired to make a Tionne in really different kinds of yarns.  The Kenzie works excellently, so I highly recommend it if you want a sweater that looks like mine… but if you have a different kind of vision, go for it!  I think it could look rad in a lightweight yarn worked super loosely, for a transparent kind of look – like the looks of this sweater, or this sweater, or this sweater.  If you do end up making any kind of Tionne, be sure to post your project on ravelry so we can all see it!

Tionne sweater!

That’s Tionne!  It’s weird, but I love weird!  I hope you do too!

Filed under: clothing,knitting,pattern Trios — leethal @ 5:57 pm
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