Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Flash Sale for Mother's Day; a New Design is coming; Test Knit is Open


I'm offering all my patterns at 50% off until May 15, with the code MOM. Shop here: 
Every pattern is included and there's no limit to how many times you can use it. Tell your friends :-)  




A new test knit is starting, and there are still spaces open. This is the Plum Sorbet Shawl.

Seeking testers to test the pattern and create a lovely shawlette or shawl using a solid or semi-solid yarn. A gradient would look great as well. You may use fingering or sport weight yarn.
See more pics and details here.

This crescent shaped shawl has a great shape that’s easy to wear, as it stays on without a shawl pin; it can work as a scarf and be draped in many different ways.
It’s designed to use one skein (about 400 yds/385 m) of a solid, semi-solid or gradient yarn for the shawlette size, or 2 skeins for the larger size.

Beginning with a center neck cast on, the shawl features 2 columns of yarn-over increases, plus increases at the edges. The first section is in garter stitch, so the knitter will see fast progress. The pretty lace edging ends in a narrow ruffled edge to complete the graceful feminine look.

Click here if you're interested!

If you can’t test right now and would like to know when pattern is released or to be advised of future tests, just let me know.

Newsletter subscribers will hear about the pattern release first, and will get special introductory pricing (maybe even free!), so do please sign up for the monthly newsletter in the top right of this blog post. Don't miss out :-)

Testers who complete on time will get the final version of the pattern, plus an additional free pattern from my Ravelry Store, as a thank-you .

See you next time!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Another Giveaway, Book Review, Balls and Skeins.

The winner of the drawing is KnittyLucia. Thanks for playing!
Today we’re reviewing the book Knitting Short Rows - Techniques for Great Shapes and Angles”

The book starts off with defining short rows and it gives detailed instructions, diagrams, and helpful notes for each of 5 methods.
I thought I was pretty smart, knowing two methods of short rows, but the book showed me three new ones!  The methods are:  the Wrap and Turn method, the Yarnover method, German short rows, Japanese short rows, and the Twin Stitch method.
The book very helpfully describes what are short rows, and when to use them. 
Here is a short quote: “Short rows are exactly that: partial rows in the knitting that create curves, soft angles, and depth.”
When to use short rows: “Short Rows can make a sweater fit your three-dimensional shape or achieve a non-traditional shawl’s interesting form. In garments, short rows can be used instead of binding off stitches for shoulder or ham shaping, or to add volume and length to part of the sweater.”

There are excellent diagrams to illustrate each method, and there are special considerations and helpful notes, for example, what to do with the wraps for the wrap and turn method.
From there, we come to the patterns.  Yay – the fun part!
I liked the Earlappe Hat

It is knit sideways with a spiral look to it, and really pretty shaping. Although it is shown in a solid, I think it would be really striking in a color changing yarn such as Noro. 

The Angel Wings Shawlette has a unique shape with three expanding arcs in it. It looks like a very graceful and easy to wear shape that drapes nicely.

The Slices Shawl (below, in purple) has a series of triangle slices.  I like this shape very much – so original and interesting to work.   



The Welter Hat uses short rows to give it additional slouch. Very cute. 

The Curve Wrap Cardi looks warm and cozy with its shawl collar.  

Next we have the Hemisect Mitts. Short rows are used to handle striking 2-color sections – I think it's so appealing, young and fresh..   

The Trichotomy Shawl has gorgeous wedges of solid and Stripes. It's so pretty – another one I’d love to knit.   


My favorite sweater in the book - the one that's featured on the cover - is the Buttonside Sweater. Short rows are used to create a curved hem and are also used to shape the sleeve caps. It has interesting saddle shoulder detail as well. 

I really enjoyed this book. It was so interesting to see the different ways that short rows can be used. I have only used short rows a few times, and this book inspires me to use them in new and different ways, to create all kinds of effects that you could not get any other way.   
This book would make a great addition to your knitting Library.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from F+W Media.

Now for the giveaway information. If you post a comment on this blog entry stating which pattern is your favorite, you will be entered into a giveaway to win your own copy of this book, plus 2 skeins of beautiful Vanitas yarn from Outlaw Yarns. There’s a beautiful purple and a soft gray, perfect for your next 2-color project, such as the Perpendicular Scarf. 

Be sure to give a Ravelry ID, or an email address -- or even your Instagram handle will do -- so that if you win, I have a way to contact you! Don't forget!  Drawing will be on April 7.


Interesting Information!

I came across this great article on the different ways that yarn is sold or “put up”. I learned something new! There are more than just balls and skeins. Who knew?

Project Bags!

I have to show my latest bag, for sale in my Etsy shop. It features a retro print called “Home Economics with ladies in dresses and heels and aprons doing some cooking and baking. I think it’s just too cute.

That's all for today! See you all next time.

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter to stay informed of future giveaways, knitting tips, test knits, and pattern news.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Book Review and Giveaway - Garter Stitch Revival

*** We have a winner! It's handmadebysue @ravelry. Sue, please contact me to claim your prize! ***

This is a review of the book, Garter Stitch Revival (Interweave/F+W; $24.99 [CAN $30.99]; February, 2017). Focused on the first stitch that new knitters learn, Garter Stitch Revival presents 20 patterns that focus on the qualities of this versatile stitch. From accessories to garments, each pattern highlights garter stitch in a unique way. It’s a great book for the newer knitter looking to broaden their horizons.

This book celebrates the beauty and sophistication of this simple stitch. The book divides patterns into three categories, patterns that feature garter stitch as a detail, patterns where garter stitch is in a supporting role, and those with garter stitch all over.

It can be noted that most of these patterns use a solid or semi-solid yarn. I have found that a variegated yarn can look kind of muddy when garter stitch is used, as the different tones mix together and the beauty of each color is lost. Garter stitch has a characteristic of lying flat, which makes it perfect for hems, edgings, and cuffs of garments.

Here are some of the patterns that caught my eye.
1. Be TrueFingerless Mitts. These use DK weight yarn and are very attractive. Just note that this pattern uses a chart, not written instructions, although it is quite a simple straightforward pattern.

2. Seashell DolmanTee.  This also uses a DK weight yarn. I find that the dolman sleeve style creates too much bulk under the arms and can look a little awkward.

Having said that, it has a simple flat construction that is perfect for beginners. 

3. Argyle Diamond socks. These use garter stitch enclosed in diamond shapes, mimicking the classic argyle sock. This pattern is also charted only. 

4.  The Flapper Cloche.  Knit in worsted weight, it has an ingenious construction and really is cute. 

5. Just Peachy Cardigan. This one is in a bulky weight and uses garter stitch trim for the hem and the cuffs. 

6.  Boardwalk Brioche Cowl  This design uses garter stitch and brioche in a two color pattern. It has a very pretty rolled edge.

7. CottonCandy Mosaic Yoke Cardi.   This is a really pretty sweater. I hate to nitpick but the neckline is too wide – it looks like the sweater might slip off the shoulders. The pretty yoke colorwork makes this a really attractive sweater. It looks like maybe the sweater is simply too big for the skinny model. I'm sure it can be adjusted to fit properly or just worked in an appropriate size. 

8. Coney Island Shawl.   This pretty shawl uses mesh stripes and garter stripes in an asymmetrical shape and features a lace edge. 

9. Santa Monica Cardigan.  This sweater is done in fingering weight, and is a long comfy sweater. Be aware that the garter stitch does have a tendency to stretch and sag, so the sweater might get longer as you wear it! It is very flowing and graceful and uses a rolled edge collar.  

10. The Festival Halter Top.  This one uses short rows to create a really pretty curved him.  It is done in Aran weight cotton, and because it's garter stitch, again it might have a tendency to stretch out. However in the pictures it is nicely form fitting and very attractive.

In summary, I thought this book was a great compilation of garter stitch patterns. There were quite a few that I would love to make for myself, and I'm sure you will find some that you love as well. I would heartily recommend this book.
Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book to review.

Now for the giveaway information. If you post a comment on this blog entry stating which pattern is your favorite, and sign up for my newsletter, you will be entered into a giveaway to win your own copy of this book, plus I might just throw in a skein of beautiful yarn from my large stash
Be sure to give a Ravelry ID, or an email address -- or even your Instagram handle will do -- so that if you win I have a way to contact you! Don't forget
I will select a name in 2 weeks time, on March 6.

Pantone Color of the Year 2017

Jill Wolcott had a great post about the Color of the Year, Greenery.  She describes what is so great about this particular color (think spring leaves) and how to use it - alone or with other colors. She has provided some suggested color palettes as inspiration for your next project. It's a great read.

Tips for Knitting with Lace Weight Yarn

A while back I wrote some tips for working with lace weight yarn. Here they are, in case you need that info .... Learn from my experience!

That's all for today! See you all next time.

 P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter to stay informed of future giveaways, knitting tips, test knits, and pattern news.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The 2016 Gift-A-Long is underway!

The 2016 Gift-A-Long

This is the fourth year for the Indie Designer Gift-A-Long and I’m so excited. What is Gift-A-Long? It’s a multi-designer promotion to help you get started with your holiday knitting.

Over 300 indie designers of knit and crochet patterns, have banded together to support each other and help everyone get their holiday to-do list done while having a lot of fun and winning patterns and yarn.
In total, there are:
335 designers from 33 countries.
Lots and lots of donated physical prizes, and more coming in…(2015 had over 150)
Over 2,200 digital prizes (patterns!)

There are over 17,500 patterns to knit or crochet that will make you eligible to win one (or more) of the fabulous prizes.  Of the over 17,500 patterns, more than 5000 of them will be on SALE for 25% off!  

The sale runs from Tuesday, November 22nd at 8:00 pm US EST to Wednesday, November 30, 2016 at 11:59 pm US EST.
There will be Pinterest boards and Ravelry Bundles available to search for all the sale patterns.   

Once you get your sale pattern, check out the other patterns the designer offers.  All patterns are eligible for the KAL/CAL threads and all paid for patterns are eligible for prizes.  
Did I mention the prizes??? Tons and tons of prizes!
Check the Ravelry group for more information.

You can find all my GAL eligible patterns here: Brenda Castiel Designs and my 25% off patterns are here. The code is giftalong2016.

Have questions ? Check out the FAQs
I hope you'll join in!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Coupon Code, New Patterns

Hello !
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is just around the corner.  And I’d like to tell you what we have planned.
To mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I will be offering 25% off all of my patterns, with coupon code OCTOBER.  In addition, I'll donate an additional 25% for each pattern sold, to support
breast cancer research.

My mom died of breast cancer when she was just in her forties, and it's important to me to help cure this terrible disease.  I was just 14 when I lost her, and I often wonder what my sis and I missed out on, by not having her with us longer. My sister is a survivor of ovarian cancer, so this is to honor her as well.  

I look forward to seeing your show of support for the month of October. But you don't have to wait -- the coupon starts now. That's 25% off every pattern in my Ravelry store, and I donate a matching 25% to Cancer Research. It’s a win-win-win!  


New Patterns

Several new designs have been published lately, so here is a quick round-up:

Clement Shawl, in the latest Malabrigo Pattern Book.   

Forever Diamonds Cowl in I Like Knitting magazine

#6 Lace Trimmed Shawl in Noro Magazine   

Ainsley Shawl from Willow Yarns

Riviera Nights - Knit Picks 

If you follow me on Instagram (I'm @bcastiel) you may have seen pictures of my latest project, the Pistachio Ice Cream shawl. It uses short rows to create wedges that really show off a beautiful variegated, speckled or gradient yarn.
It's being test knit now and will be released in a couple of weeks. I'm very excited about it!

That's it for now! See you soon.