Category Archives: Knit Picks Designers

An exercise in Stash Management

It's no secret that I have a ridiculous stash. I've been fighting the dreaded SABLE (Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy) for some time now, and the only weapon I have is youth! But, barring medical advances that would have me able to knit productively till about 120 years old, I need to do something about my stash. What really spurred me on was the stash swap party we had last week. I had to go through my stash and get rid of stuff, and I was also determined to bring home less than I brought. But, I have to say that dumping out a comforter-bags' worth of stash all over my dining table was a bit of an eye-opener!

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Let the madness – and sweaters – begin!

Well, I'm still not totally through figuring out what craziness is in store for me this year, but I know that it's going to involve a lot of sweaters. I really need to use up a good size chunk of my stash this year (for the sake of sanity), and sweaters are a darn good way to do that. But my first sweater is decidedly not a stash sweater. Over the holidays, my husband and I found ourselves shuffling among the crowds at the mall a little more frequently than we'd have liked. But one upside of that is that my husband got to see a lot of the mannequins decked out in their nice fancy sweaters. We kept passing by one window that had a lighly textured Aran type sweater in a creamy oatmeal color, and over time it really grew on him. Until finally, the question was asked - "can you make one for me?" WELL OF COURSE! WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY SO SOONER! I GET TO GET MORE YARN!!!(and also - he doesn't want me to buy one, but make one. Double score!)

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A flower of a different color

Wow, the response to the Viola Afghan was much bigger than I expected! Some of you have been asking about washable yarn substitutions for it, and I've been working on that for a few days to get the colors right. One benefit to our good ol' workhorse Wool of the Andes is that, since it's really a 'staple' yarn, we can have an enormous breadth of color. That makes it so versatile for designing - but not machine washable! Finding a suitable substitute for Viola has proved to be quite a challenge. The palette of Swish has waxed and waned to a balanced, tight family, and Brava is too new to have the expanded color range that it likely will see in the future. The best option came in the wide range of purples in Shine. So, along with washability, Viola has had a drastic hue shift in this version! Since the yardage on Shine is a little less than that of Wool of the Andes, you'll need a little more of each color, and each substituted color is used in place of the original in every instance. So, here is a Shine-y, purple Viola!

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Resolutions

Earlier in the year, I wrote a post outlining my crazy goals for 2011. Well, 2011 is over - how did I do? First of all - the total! I wanted to hit 100 knitted projects, plus 11 sewn projects to make a total of 111 in 2011. Did I make it? Boy howdy, I sure did! 100 knitted projects, from cast on to bind off, finished in 2011. To me, that's really the biggest achievement, considering how much else I've been working on. But, what were they? Well, here you go! (see them all after the jump!)

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Voila – Viola!

Occasionally as a designer, the opportunity arises to really explore the art of knitting. When I was in college, knitting was another artform to me, much like the metals, encaustic and foam core board I was used to playing with. I liked that it was an additive, structural process. As I was studying modern art, I started seeing all mediums in a different way; there's so much more possibility in any medium than can be expressed in its intended use. This, to me, was as true for oil paints as it was for yarn. One concept I often explored in my art was the balance of hard/soft. That old theme was reinvigorated when I started to really think about the linear, almost mechanical process of knitting with something so soft and changeable as yarn. Pondering artists like Chuck Close, Warhol and Kandinsky, I thought, what if they were knitters? What would they do with yarn? And so I started to play.

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Life’s little luxuries

There is really something wonderfully indulgent about luxury fibers. Not only do you get to knit with them, but then you can wear the item! The only problem is, sometimes you really want to take that luxury yarn for a test drive before deciding that it is exactly what you want for a sweater. With that in mind, we created a kit of simple, one-ball patterns that lets you try out four of our most luxurious yarns, without the commitment of a large project! The Luxe Accessories Set includes one ball each of Aloft, Capra, City Tweed and Andean Treasure in coordinating Soft or Jewel colors.

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The spirit of giving

If you're reading this, you can safely count yourself among the comfortably fortunate. Access to the internet, heat, warm clothing and a family with whom to gather this holiday season are things we might all easily take for granted. But not everyone is so lucky. Although need has no season, the season of sharing and giving seems to highlight the contrast between those who have and those who have not. It's this season that reinvigorates my commitment to charitable causes. When I found out about the Mittens for Akkol drive by The Motherless Child Foundation, I knew that I'd found a cause that would truly make a difference. This group of volunteers is spearheaded by parents who adopted children from the orphanage in Akkol, Kazakhstan, but couldn't bear to leave the other children behind. It all started with a Ravelry post in the Charity Knitting board requesting socks. Since I'd knit a bunch of kids' socks earlier this year, I figured a few more wouldn't be a problem. But as I read on about the charity, and especially about the recipients of these socks, it struck me just how much a simple thing like warm socks can make a huge difference in the life of someone halfway around the world. So I started knitting.

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Wintery Freebie Friday

So, for those of you in the US, did you go out shopping for Black Friday deals this morning? Or are you like me and spending your day lazing around, recovering from Thanksgiving?  I'm actually going to be working on holiday gifts - in fact, we have two free patterns by our own Melissa that are a lot of fun & perfect quick gifts to work on this weekend! First we have a trio of Snowmen!

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Playing with Color… and Math!

Ever since we introduced Chroma, I've been enjoying its versatility for patterns. The subtle color changes turn simple stranded knitting into complicated-looking colorwork, and even plain stockinette into works of art. So how about some stripes? One of my favorite things in Astronomy class in college was examining emission and absorption spectra of various elements and then looking for them in stars. Not only was the science fascinating, but it was beautiful as well. When we were tossing around ideas for a new sweater in Chroma, my thoughts turned immediately to those lovely spectra. Obviously there would be quite a problem working a full spectrum line-by-line into a sweater. There's just too many rows, and the colors wouldn't line up with their correct nanometer values! Not to mention it would need to look nice in colors other than just the bright spectral rainbow. So, I decided that the Fibbonacci sequence would deliver the perfect result. And the Chromatic Pullover is the end product!

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Give your holiday knitting a Finishing Touch

Now that winter is nipping at our heels and the holiday knitting season is in full swing, it's about time to think about quick, warm knits. What better than fingerless mitts? They're versatile, quick to knit, and make great gifts. If that sounds like a good idea to you, why not try the Finishing Touches Fingerless Mitts Kit? This set comes with the patterns and enough yarn for five pair of coordinating fingerless mitts. Each of the five pair is a little different...

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