New Pattern: Garland

It’s that time of the year – patterns are popping out of the ground left, right and center. And one of them’s mine…

Pompom Cover

To find this on the cover of Pom Pom Quarterly (a magazine whose style I’ve adored from the first issue and wanted to contribute to ever since) was such a nice surprise when I looked in to Ravelry after a long (and a little frustrating) day at work.

Garland  Main

I love layering several skirts or dresses and tops with different lengths – and in winter, you just need that one extra layer made of the lightest, feathery yarn; wide and short enough to let all layers swing freely and simple in shape and stitch pattern so as not to overwhelm the outfit. That’s Garland!

A boxy, oversized sweater with long, ribbed drop sleeves. Mostly plain stockinette, the body is the perfect canvas to show off beautiful mohair lace yarns, with just a little delicate lace garland above the ribbed hem and around the armscyes.
The wide neckline is framed by a slightly funneled, folded ribbed collar.

Garland DetailJess from sofTrope died this beautiful, light green colourway (called ghazal) on a base of silk and kid mohair (Kidsilk Lace). It was a huge treat to knit with, so soft and silky. As a statement about the awesomeness of this yarn, just let me say this: I enjoyed knitting with it, even though I had to work on the sample during a spell of sweltering heat…

You can get this and 9 other beautiful, romantic patterns more as well as a whole load of articles and tutorials in the Winter issue of Pom Pom Quarterly, which you can order here (in print + digital for £ 9.50).

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All pictures courtesy of Pom Pom Quarterly.

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New Pattern: Sneachda Tam

Autumn Storm

Autumn Storm (Photo credit: Claus Tom)

For the last two days the first big autumn storm has been sweeping across the land and ended the illusion of summer we had in my little part of the world. Now it’s really time to get wooly sweaters, gloves and mittens, scarves and hats out of summer storage – and a great excuse to cast on new accessory projects in cozy, soft luxury yarns. Because, you know, winter’s right around the corner…

So I’m happy to announce that my “Sneachda Tam” pattern has been released just in time by the great team of SweetGeorgia Yarns.

Picture courtesy of SweetGeorgia Yarns

Picture courtesy of SweetGeorgia Yarns

It features a deceptively simple textured pattern forming into a snowflake-like* shape on the crown. Your Sneachda Tam will be crisp and perky when knit with a springy sock yarn or smooth and slouchy in a soft luxury blend. To knit this tam, you’ll need just one skein of Tough Love Sock or CashLuxe Fine and a set of 2.5 mm DPNs (or circulars, if you do magic loop).

* If you were intrigued by the name, Sneachda is Scottish Gaelic for “snow”.

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SGY CashLuxe Fine in Terra Firma

I had a little talk with Felicia Lo, mastermind behind and founder of SGY, in which I answered her questions about my knitting preferences, my inspiration for this design and my designing process in general:

What is your preferred type of yarn to work with?
Regarding yarn, I’m a boring conservative. I prefer smooth texture, solid or semisolid colourways, medium weights, natural fibers. Those are, in my eyes, the most versatile — you can turn them into everything your imagination can come up with.

What is your knitting style? Continental or English or both?
I knit continental. I’d love to be able to do both (so handy for colourwork knitting), but my attempts so far have been less than successful. You know the feeling of suddenly having only thumbs on your hand? That’s me trying to knit English style…

How did you learn to knit?
It started when I was little with garter stitch rectangles. And stayed there for quite a while. Though my mother was a great knitter, she was no knitting teacher! But I returned to knitting time and again after long periods of abstinence, and finally got hooked for good when I discovered all that wealth of patterns, knowledge, teachers and communities of knitters on the internet.

Sneachda Tam

Boy, did I want to keep this hat!

Do you practise any other fibre crafts?
You bet! I’m a fiberholic (though knitting has been taking first place for quite a while now). I do a little crochet, own a small weaving loom and a spinning wheel as well as a few drop spindles. For a few years I’ve been recreating historic textiles with ancient techniques such as tablet-weaving and needle binding from handspun yarns I dyed with plants I gathered or grew myself. Point me in the general direction of a fiber related craft and I’ll go for it!

Are you drawn to any particular textures or attributes of knitted fabric?
I like the versatility — the fascination that with the same yarn and needles you can create such a wealth of different textures and styles, and I love to combine those in a design.

What is the best piece of knitting advice you have ever been given?
I really can’t tell. I’ve learned so much over the years — and I’ve benefitted from all of it. So maybe the best piece of knitting advice I could give you is: Never stop learning. Always try out something new. Be ever on the lookout for a better technique, a different construction method, a new way of doing something that you’ve done hundreds of times before. You might discover a hidden treasure…

What tip(s) would you give to an aspiring designer?
Just do it! Read patterns by many designers to learn about pattern structure and writing style and find your own preferences. Join a designer community (the Ravelry groups for designers and budding designers offer invaluable advice, for example). Submit your ideas to publications — even if you end up self-publishing, I find that immensely useful to help structure my thoughts and ideas on a particular design and give it a good hard look regarding feasibility.

What kind of needles or hooks do you prefer to use? ie Metal, acrylic, or wood? Straight, circular, or DPN? Why?
No general preferences here. I’m glad there’s so many to choose from, so I can always use the best tool for the task at hand.

Snow flake? Or spider web? (Can you tell it's near Halloween?)

Snow flake? Or spider web? (Can you tell it’s near Halloween?)

Did you learn something new writing this pattern?

Oh, definitely! This is my first published tam design — I learned a lot about the different ways of spacing and calculating the decreases and how the chosen decrease technique affects the form and style of the crown.

How did you name this pattern?

The finished crown of the tam reminded me of a snowflake — but a Ravelry pattern search for designs named something with snow or snowflake turned up a whole bunch of patterns. I didn’t want to steal the name, so I turned to other languages. Since I have a particular affinity to the Celtic languages (who wouldn’t love a language that can string dozens of letters together and pronounce them ‘a’?) and found: ‘Sneachda’ (Scottish Gaelic for snow).

Where did you get the inspiration to design this pattern?
I’d been playing around with the ringlet stitch for a while — swatching and considering how and where I could use this stitch. That’s often where I start: I stumble upon a stitch pattern or find a pleasing texture and set out to design something that lets this feature shine. The ringlet stitch, I discovered, looked good combined with decreases. I didn’t feel like making a bottom up shawl out of it, so I turned to the other accessory that features lots of decreases — a tam! I swatched, I liked the look, I wrote a pattern…:-)

Did you encounter any ‘hang ups’ writing this pattern?
Luckily, no. I usually do, but this was smooth sailing all the way through.

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Thanks to SGY for providing me with this gorgeous yarn (I had a hard time letting go of it) and to Tara Rafiq who did a great test-knitting job!

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Hitch! – We have a winner!

Well, to be accurate, we have two, picked by our incorruptible judge, the random number generator (first comment with a tweet resulted in extra chance nr. 13, the second one was nr. 14…):

Number 1 - the book

Number 1 – the book

Number 2 - the yarn

Number 2 – the yarn

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The digital copy of Hitch! goes to comment number 9… drumroll please…

Caillean! 

Congratulations Caillean – now you’ll definitely get to knit the Lina Vest! Please let me know if you’d like the book sent to you via email or added to your Ravelry library.

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And the skein of Drachenwolle 100% Merino goes to a tweet…

Carina!

Congratulations! Please let me know your address so I can ship the yarn to you.

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Everyone else: Thank you so much for stopping by and for your nice comments! Check out the next blog-tour stops – there’ll be many more chances to win a copy of Hitch!
Or, if you can’t wait, you can download the digital copy via Ravelry or order the print edition + the digital copy from Cooperative Press…
Oh, and of course check out the Hitch! Ravelry group for KAL’s, tips and general Hitchcock related chatter!

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First Hitch KAL

So, Hitch! has been available for download and added to Ravelry libraries since last Friday –  and already the first KAL has started! If you’ve set your eyes on the Bodega Bay Stole or Exakta hat already, sign up in the Hitch Ravelry group, put “The Birds” in the DVD player, grab some yarn and pretzels (and maybe a glass of wine to calm your nerves) and get knitting!

Exakta Hat - Stephannie Tallent

Exakta Hat – Stephannie Tallent

No need to panic though, if you’re not ready yet – the KAL runs for two months. Aaaand there’ll be more to come, with two or three projects starting each month and running for two months.

Bodega Bay Stole - Anne Podlesak

Bodega Bay Stole – Anne Podlesak

I won’t manage to start immediately, but I definitely plan on knitting that hat! What about you, folks?

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Ravelry Roundup – Cables and Tweed!

Usually I have a little bit of time to spare during the weekends and yes, I have to plead guilty, I often spend too much of it browsing through the patterns on Ravelry. I know I’m only making my bad case of castonitis worse, but what can I say… I’m a weak knitter. And, since misery loves company: why not drag you all down with me into the mire of knitting addiction?

In my Ravelry Roundups I’ll share with you a handful of patterns I’ve collected and that

  1. may either be themed or be a collection of last week’s newly published favourites
  2. are available for download (paid or free), not in print publications – that’s because not everyone may be able to get their hands on those
  3. are written in English or have an English translation – because not everyone’s comfortable with knitting from only half understood foreign language patterns.

Those patterns are not tried and tested by me – they’re just what took my fancy this week.

This time it’ll be:

Faux Roundup

Ok, this is not a real roundup – I’ve been oooh-ing and aaaaah-ing about the new Brooklyn Tween lookbook since it’s been published. The photography is stunning and there are soooo many pretty cables! Great, now I’ve started to drool again.

Anyways, I’ve been trying to embed that lookbook here to share all that cabled, tweedy goodness with you… but I’m quite unable to do so. So I’ll just show you my 3 favourites and let you follow the link to the lookbook for more.

Stonecutter_4_medium2

This is “Stonecutter” – I love the intricate cables and the way the bottom ribbing rises up on the sides. Did I mention the cables? Look at those cables – they’re like a painting! Continue reading