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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Hitch! – Blogtour

Comments are now closed – thanks everyone for participating! Winners will be chosen with help of a random number generator and announced tomorrow.

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Hitch: Patterns Inspired by the Films of Alfred Hitchcock

Welcome everyone to the latest blogtour stop here at reWOLLuzza!

This is a very, very special occasion for me, so I’d like to celebrate with a special giveaway – we’ll get to that later, you’ll have to read a little, first.

Why is it a special occasion?

Because this book was – for me – the start of everything. I’d been happily knitting for quite a long while, altering designs or designing small pieces for myself and never thinking about publishing any of it. Why would I? And how should I go about it? And anyways, who should be interested in something I designed? Or – the horror! – even be willing to pay money for it?

And then I stumbled across this call for submissions to a book of patterns inspired by Hitchcock. When I read the description, I simply knew I had to try my luck. Stephannie Tallent, who masterminded this piece of awesomeness, had such a great concept: Everything in a range of black, white and grey, with an occasional splash of dramatic red, everything inspired by the aesthetic of the Hitchcock movies.

And I had just the perfect design, already in my head like it had been waiting just for this opportunity. A pair of gloves in red and black, inspired by the “new look” of the early 50’s. So I wrote up the first design proposal ever (it was bad… but I may still share it later in my debriefing series), sent it off and resigned myself to not hearing anything about it ever again.

Rio Gloves in Drachenwolle Merino extrafine: Short cuff version

As you can see, I was wrong. I got accepted. I was jumping around, whooping, and scaring the cats for a few minutes. And then I freaked out because, you know, now I really, really had to do it. And so I did…

… organize yarn support for the first time
… multisize a pattern for the first time
… follow someone elses pattern template for the first time
… write up instructions that anyone besides me should be able to follow for the first time
… start a blog for the first time

Now, almost two years later, I’m soooo glad I did respond to that call for submissions. It made me realize, that I love writing knitting patterns, that submitting proposals isn’t scary at all and it helped me get over the flood of rejections that followed after that. I’ve learned a bunch of new skills – many of those through the generous (and awesome!) designers in the Designers Ravelry Group – from different knitting techniques over language skills (although writing a blog post in English still seems to take forever) to Excel calculations.

Thanks, Stephannie – you started this!

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And now – the giveaway! (Yeah, I know you’ve been waiting for this while I got maudlin up there.)

What’s to be won?
First, there’s the chance to get a PDF copy of Hitch!
Second, because this is my special occasion pattern, I’ll throw in a skein of Drachenwolle yarn: 320 m of semisolid burgundy bliss in 100% extrafine merino for a second lucky winner!

How to win?
Leave a comment and let me know which pattern you plan on knitting first. You can view them all here. For an additional chance, tweet about this giveaway and leave an additional comment about it here (just so I don’t miss it…).

Comments are open for one week, so you’ve got plenty of time to decide…

And if you don’t win… you can order Hitch! as a PDF or PDF+Print package here. You’ll be glad you did! And maybe you’ll join us at the Hitch Ravelry Group for a KAL or just to chat about your favourite Hitchcock movie…
And at Drachenwolle, you’ll find a veritable dragon’s hoard of wooly treasures – enter at your own peril!

And the blogtour continues…
9/28/2013: Sunset Cat Designs
10/5/2013: Knitting Kninja
10/7/2013: Herrlichkeiten
10/8/2013: Knit and Travel
10/9/2013: Knit & Knag Designs
10/10/2013: Wooly Wonka Fibers
10/11/2013: Verdant Gryphon
10/15/2013: Impeccable Knits: Shifting Stitches
10/16/2013: Rewolluzza (X marks the spot!)
10/21/2013: Knitwear Designs by Carolyn Noyes
10/22/2013: Peacefully Knitting
10/23/2013: Dark Matter Knits
10/24/2013: Turnknit: Dani Berg Designs
10/25/2013: SweetGeorgia Yarns
10/28/2013: Ramblings
10/28/2013: doviejay knits
10/29/2013: Triona Designs
10/30/2013: Tactile Fiber Arts
11/4/2013: A Knitter’s Life
11/5/2013: Catchloops
11/6/2013: Yarn On The House
11/12/2013: Hazel Knits
11/13/2013: Knitcircus
11/19/2013: indigodragonfly
11/9/2013: Fyberspates
11/25/2013: knittingkirigami
11/22013: A B-ewe-tiful Design