Saturday, July 30, 2011

Where Have I Been? (part 1)

Lots of travel and lots of knitting has been going on !

I have had a few patterns published: Picasso Cardigan in Creative Knitting; Vintage Paris Sweater, also in Creative; Elise girls’ dress; and Le Marais Vest in Yarn magazine. See them here. I was also thrilled to have an article published in the Summer 2011 issue of Interweave Knits. It's called "The Slowest Knitter in History" and it's based on one of my earlier blog posts.
In April I attended CampKIP, a knitting retreat held at Cedar Creek in the St-Louis MO area. It was fabulous! Lots of time for lounging around, enjoying the sunshine, and knitting. There were raffles and games, wine tasting, beer tasting, S’mores around a campfire, and so much more. There were a few classes, such as spinning, carding, and yoga (thanks, Rachel!) but mostly just relaxing time. For many of us who lead hectic lives with jobs, kids, husbands and pets to look after, it was a huge treat to have time for ourselves. Quite a few knitting podcasters were there, so it was also a chance to meet these folks in person. Jackie did a fabulous job!

I worked on this hat while there, my own design. It's for my darling granddaughter. She is in Australia, where it's winter now, so she needed warm hats!

Next time I will talk about my trip to London in May, to see the Chelsea Flower Show, among other things, and my trip to Australia in June.
(to be continued)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Story of a Sweater – Water Lilies

It all started with winning a raffle. My LYS (KnitCulture) was having an open house, customer appreciation event, and at the event I won a raffle prize. It was 2 balls of Classic Elite Firefly yarn, in a pale pink, along with a pattern booklet. Firefly is a warm-weather yarn made of rayon and linen. It has a lovely texture and a pretty luster.

I loved the yarn, but the color was too pale for my complexion. So I put it aside, with some vague thoughts of dyeing it one day.

A few months later, another great LYS (Unwind) was having their anniversary party, and amazingly enough, I won another raffle. (I know! What are the odds?) And it was Firefly again! This time 2 balls of yellow-lime-green and 2 of soft blue. Once again: lime green – great color, but not for me. (Heck, I have green paint on my walls – I’m not anti-green! It just doesn’t look good on me!)

So, for those keeping score, I now owned 2 balls of pink, 2 of blue and 2 of green. And only the blue looked good next to my face. But I really wanted to knit with this yarn.

The solution came to me – STRIPES! Not just any stripes, but the kind designed to flatter: wider at the yoke, skinny ones in the middle. I could place the most flattering color near my face. Add some interesting colored welts at the lower borders, and I-cords used to drape the hem into soft folds. The design helps to camouflage an imperfect tummy area. (Now you're looking at my tummy, aren't you?)

I chose an easy top-down tunic shape, fresh and cool for the summer. It is knit in the round, with some uncomplicated texture stitches to show off the glow of the Firefly yarn. After swatching a few ideas, I settled on 2 rows of seed stitch, 2 rows of stockinette stitch. Easy-peasy! It gave me the kind of “crunchy” look I was searching for. The stitches are simple enough to keep this an easy knit.

I had started knitting it for myself and was really enjoying the yarn when I had the brainstorm to contact Classic Elite Yarns to see if they’d be interested in using it. Well – they were!
I finished knitting the sweater, wrote up the pattern and sent them both off to CEY. The rest, as they say, is history.

The pattern is being featured on the CEY website and their Web-Letter this week, and is on Ravelry too. See:
If you like the sweater, feel free to choose your own favorite colors.

By the way, I think it would be great in one solid color too. I look forward to seeing many versions of this on Ravelry (my id on Rav is Goodstuff).

The model wears it well, too, don't you think?
I almost forgot to add: I named it Water Lilies because the pastel colors reminded me of Monet’s paintings of water lilies. These pictures are among my favorites. And a few years ago I had the opportunity to visit Monet’s gardens at Giverny and see them in person. Gorgeous!

Here is one of the Monet paintings, as well as a photo of the actual garden.