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”.

DSCN0876

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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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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New pattern – Marching Band Gloves

Hey everyone!

I’m so excited: Tomorrow issue 18 of Knit Now Magazine will hit the newsstands – with one of my patterns in it! It’s been so great to see one of my designs, professionally photographed and styled. Almost like someone else made it…

Now I’m a grown-up designer 🙂

So, without further ado, here are the pictures:

Marching Band Hero Shot

© Practical Publishing / Dan Walmsley

These smart and stylish gloves are perfect for the military trend we’re still seeing on the high street this season. They feature a turned hem and knitted “froggings” (if that’s what they’re called) and are a perfect way to showcase your favourite buttons. The sample gloves were knit with a deliciously soft and silky yarn from Manos del Uruguay and are a real treat to wear (and knit). I know, because I knitted them.

Marching Band Close-up

© Practical Publishing / Dan Walmsley

What I like most about them is that they are so very versatile, depending on your choice of yarn and color. Knit in grey or black, with matching froggings and black or silver buttons they convey a sophisticated and elegant style. But an eye-popping color will make a great contrast with the severe, military look. You could go wild and knit the little crossbars in many contrasting colors or use several different styles of buttons for a bright, fun look to get you through the gray days of winter and early spring.

The magazine is available from 7th February 2013 in the UK and can be ordered from their webstore. There’s no digital version of it for now, but I’ll make a download available  in a few months, once the exclusivity period runs out.