Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Structure of Shawls DVD and Creative Pin-Loom Designs Video

Since it's Thursday, I thought I would write a Throw Back Thursday post. Exactly one year ago today, I was in Loveland, CO filming a dvd and video at the Interweave/ F+W Media headquarters. Here are some behind the scenes look of the filming studio.
Studio 
This is the filming studio, which is located across the street from the Interweave/ F+W Media office.

Set 
Downstairs is where the set is located. When I arrived on the first day, Anne Merrow (Video Content Producer) was there to meet me and help me set up. It makes the filming go a lot smoother when everything is organized and in order according to my video outline.The trays are set up to easily swap out my knitted swatches and shawl samples as is needed for each segment.

Me on the set. 
After a night to rest up, I arrived bright and early at the studio to have my makeup done.The makeup artist had fun with me and gave me fake lashes. Here I am, fully made up, on the set. Can you tell I am 6 months pregnant? My big baby belly is behind the table. I think it's funny that this pregnancy is forever immortalized digitally on a dvd.

The producer and film crew were so nice and easy to work with. I felt very comfortable and we all had fun during the shoot. Just so you know, everything is unscripted so I am not reading off the teleprompter. Anne Merrow was my focus point and I pretended I was teaching her. Since it's digital, I can just pause and start over if I fumbled or needed to explain something further. The only hiccup we had was towards the end when the camera above me broke. It was during a break so we didn't know what happened. They quickly improvised using another camera and we were able wrap up the shoot.

Structure of Shawls 
The bulk of the day was spent filming The Structure of Shawls. The dvd starts with the basics of shawl construction and I walk you through all the steps and techniques you may encounter when knitting a shawl. The shawl showcased on the cover of the dvd is my Colfax Shawl

Creative Pin-Loom Designs 
The remaining studio time was spent filming Creative Pin-Loom Designs. I teach you to warp and weave on a Zoom Loom, which works on those vintage 4 x 4 pin looms like a Weavette or Weave-it. I also teach you several ways to seam or join your squares. This is meant to be a short video (47 min), but I could of went on and on about these pin looms.

I hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes look of how these videos are filmed. It has been so lovely getting messages from knitters and weavers who have purchased and watched my videos. I feel so passionate about what I do so I think it's wonderful that I can share my knowledge with all of you whether it's at in person classes or via online videos.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Quince & Co Scarves, etc 4: Pathway

Pathway Scarf (Quince & Co photo) 
 Photo from Quince & Co.

I have long admired Quince & Co.'s style and aesthetics. Their yarns, patterns and photography have always appealed to me. So I consider it a high honor to have one of my designs included in this year's scarves collection, Scarves, etc 4. This year, the collection has 13 scarves from 13 designers. I can't even imagine how they were able to narrow down 13 designs from hundreds of submissions. The collection is not just rectangular scarves, but also includes cowls and shawls in a variety of shapes with interesting stitch patterns, color work, and construction techniques. Pam Allen did an amazing job of picking the color palette for this collection. As an added bonus, Quince & Co. decided to make this collection into a printed book. You can still get a virtual copy of individual patterns or the collection, but if you love paper and hold-in-your-hand pattern books, you can pre-order Scarves, Etc. 4, The Book.
Quince Lark
My scarf design is called Pathway and it is knit with Lark in the color Poppy. Lark is a smooth, round, wool yarn, designed to showcase all manner of stitch patterns. This is not a typical design style for me. I usually love designing with lace patterns and I like symmetrical designs. But this time I decided to challenge myself and break out of my comfort zone. Pathway has a asymmetrical design of cables and classic knit/purl patterns. I am really quite pleased with the results. It's a 10 row repeat that is easy to knit and you can knit it as long or as short as you want.
Pathway Sub
 When I received the yarn to knit the sample, I further refined and tweaked the stitch patterns. If you look closely, you can see that the swatch is a little different than the final scarf. I tightened up the spaces between the stitch patterns and changed the diagonal section. I think all designers obsess over every little detail and is always trying to make the final design look better.
 Pathway Scarf (Quince & Co photo)
Photo from Quince & Co.

Another thing worthy of mentioning here is how I blocked the scarf. I like blocking with wires because wires make it easy to achieve straight lines. In the pattern, I added a garter stitch in the beginning and at the end of the scarf. The garter stitch will make little bumps that will make it easy for you to see where to put your wires through. I block pretty hard and Lark still held the cable and stitch definition perfectly when I took it off the blocking board. The result is a warm, squishy and cozy scarf with a multi-textured pattern that is a unisex design. You can see it on Ravelry and look at the different colors other knitters have used for the scarf. Be sure to favorite it or add it to your queue.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Monsoon Shawl Workshop at Trillium Yarns

Trillium Yarns 
On Sunday, I taught my Monsoon Shawl Workshop at Trillium Yarns in Morristown NJ. As you walk down the street, you can't help but notice the pretty storefront. Step inside and you will see that Beverly has stocked her store with a beautiful selection of yarns. It was exciting to see what yarns and what colors my students chose for their shawls. Everyone chose a different color and they all looked great. The Monsoon Shawl is one of those patterns that works with many colorways. Basically, I don't think you can choose a wrong color.

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Look at all these knitters working hard on their Monsoon Shawls. For my class, I provided written instructions for the knitters that may not be use to reading from a chart. The magazine only provides the charts for the pattern. To my delight, many of them decided to challenge themselves and work from the chart instead of the written instructions.

 
I am so proud of these ladies.They worked really hard to learn all the techniques and stitches involved to make the Monsoon Shawl. Hopefully, I taught them some new things that they have never tried, but I definitely know that they are now all ready to tackle that shawl. You can't tell from this picture, but there is one special lady in the back that started her shawl before coming to class and was almost done by the end of class. I hope all my students put up pictures of their finished shawls on Ravelry so I can admire them.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

A Collaboration Project Between Anzula and Stitch Sprouts

A bunch of us, Stitch Sprout Designers, have been secretly working on a collaboration project between Anzula and Stitch Sprouts. And now it's finally time to reveal the project. Stitch Sprouts has released 3 pattern booklets that feature 3 of Anzula's most popular yarn lines: For Better or Worsted, Squishy and Cricket. These pattern booklets are now available to order in print for wholesale through Stitch Sprouts. And they are also available via Ravelry, and the Ravelry in-store program! Each booklet features 5 beautiful patterns for just $18 (suggested retail).

You can read more about it from Stitch Sprouts blog post about the booklets, and also from Anzula's blog post.

I was very excited to be one of the designers contributing to the booklets.
For the Squishy Booklet, I designed the Ginto Shawl using 2 skeins of Squishy in the colorway Saffron. It features a Faroese-style center panel for the spine of the shawl and lace rib for the body of the shawl, ending with a picot bind off. Although it is a large shawl, it can be easily sized down or up. The modification is noted in the Notes section of the pattern.
Collage 

For the For Better or Worsted Booklet, I designed the Tekstur Hat and Tekstur Cowl. Each project takes 1 skein of yarn. Perfect for beginning knitters looking for something other than the knit stitch. It's simple but has an interesting stitch pattern which creates a beautiful textured knit fabric.
Untitled-1 copy 
Untitled-2 copy

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

First Day of Fall Pattern Sale

Today is the first day of Fall and you can really feel it in the air. As I walked my little one to school this morning, we discussed all the exciting Fall events that will be happening around town. This year, she started elementary school and we will be walking to school every day. Hand knits will definitely be needed as the days get colder.
IEBeret01cr
 Last year, I designed this Iced Eucalyptus Beret for the September Craftsy Mystery Knit-Along. Today, I am releasing the pattern in my Ravelry Store. Starting today, Sept 23, 2014 until Oct 31, 2014, receive $1 off the pattern. No coupon codes are needed. The discount will be automatically deducted in your shopping cart when you check out. 

If you want to purchase a kit that includes the yarn (color of your choice) and the pattern, you can purchase the Iced Eucalyptus Beret Kit from Craftsy.com. 
IEBeret04
 This stunning, elegant beret is the perfect addition to your Fall wardrobe. With a touch of cabling, a bit of lace, and a folded hemmed brim, this beret will keep you comfortable and classy in the Fall, Winter and Spring.

Friday, February 14, 2014

How To: Zoom Loom Cross Stitch Coasters

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I made a few of these woven coasters with the Zoom Loom a while ago and I thought it would be fun to show you how I made them. When you weave a square with the Zoom Loom, you will notice that the woven fabric looks like a grid pattern. I thought it would be neat to cross stitch a design on it. After a few trial and errors, I got the results I wanted. I found that using a thinner yarn for the cross stitching looked way better than if I used the same weight I wove with. When I tried it with worsted weight, the cross stitching was bulky and not as clean looking.

I have seen pin loom coasters on the internet and often they just consist of 1 woven square. A coaster that is double sided is much more absorbent in my opinion. Also I like to hide the wrong side of the my cross stitching inside to give it a much cleaner look. That way, your coaster is reversible and you can also cross stitch on both sides if you like.

THE MATERIALS
- A Zoom Loom (Your local yarn stores may carry them or you can find them online. I got mine from The Woolery.)
- 2 skeins of Worsted Weight Wool, each a different color. (I used Cascade 220.)
- 1 skein of Fingering Weight Wool, in a contrasting color. (I used what I had from my stash.)
- 1 tapestry/yarn needle
- Crochet hook size US F/3.75mm

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 Following the instructions for the Zoom Loom, weave 2 squares with 1 color.

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Cut a few yards of the fingering weight yarn and thread it through your tapestry/yarn needle.
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Cross stitch your design. On my coasters, I chose to cross stitch a heart. I suggest using some graph paper and coloring in squares to map out your design beforehand. Each thread (horizontal and vertical) of the woven fabric represents a square of cross stitch. 
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To join your woven squares, take your finished cross stitched square (right side facing you) and put it on top of the second woven square. Be sure to match up your loops on the squares. Using your crochet hook and second color of worsted weight yarn, pull a loop of yarn through both loops of the squares. 
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Chain 1, then SC (single crochet) into the next loops of the 2 squares.
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Chain 2.
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SC (single crochet) into the next loops.
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Another SC (single crochet) into the next loops.
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Continue around the squares to join them together. So the pattern for the edging is: *2 sc, ch 2; rep from * until the end. Finish with a sl st into the first sc. Cut yarn and weave in your ends.

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The final finishing touch is to use a iron to steam the coaster. Or you can soak and dry it. Just like wet blocking in knitting and crochet, it helps even out the woven fabric and the fibers fluff up. It really makes a big difference in the final results. Since it's just a coaster, I like to use the iron to steam it.

I hope you give this a try. Have fun!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Book Review and Giveaway: Topsy- Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys

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I am not sure who was more excited when a copy of  Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys by Susan B Anderson arrived on my doorstep, me or my 5 year old daughter. My daughter and I are both big fans of Susan's books. When I attended TNNA in June, I got to see and touch the actual samples from the book during Susan's book signings. I knew that my daughter would go crazy over the toys from the book. 
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The cover is one of her favorite parts of the book. When you pull the tab, you can see that the toy changes into another toy. The knitted projects in the whole book are reversible. You get two toys in one. There are a total of 12 projects with beautiful photos of the projects. Plus, it has photo tutorials of any special techniques you may need to know or special details that may need further visual aids.

After flipping through the book, she had me write down a list of all the toys she wanted me to knit for her. Her picks: Happy Mouse, Egg to Penguin, Chrysalis to Monarch, Flower Fairy in a Tulip, Snowman & Tree, Top-Down Seamless Petticoat Dolls. She wanted me to knit the Happy Mouse first and it has to be in pink.  

The following review is her opinion of every single project in this book. 5 year olds are pretty honest and very opinionated. It's always so funny to hear their initial reaction to something.
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"I want a Happy Mouse because she is so cute. I only want Happy and not Sad because it's just too sad. I don't want the mouse to cry boohoo. Can you make me a Happy Mouse first and I want it in pink."

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"I like the Penguin because it is super super cute! I have always love penguins even when I was a little baby. You can flip this into an egg and egg begins with the letter E."

Egg to Alligator, "I don't like the crocodile so much. It's for boys and it's too crocodile-ly."

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"I love that the butterfly can turn into a cocoon. And then it can fly around like a real butterfly."

Pigs in a Blanket, "The piggies are so cute rolling around in a blanket. And then it is inside a tent."

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"Pull it down and there is a fairy. Pop it up and it's a flower. My two favorite things are fairies and flowers."
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"The Bunny & Lamb is so cute and cuddly. I don't like the blue and gray one. I only like the pink one."
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"I love the Snowman & Tree! I can flip the snowman into a Christmas Tree. I like Christmas because Santa brings you gifts."

The Fox & the Hen, "I only like the chicken a little bit. I don't want to turn the chicken into a fox because the fox scares me."

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"I like this because I like dogs. The door is not open, but if you flip it, the dog is asleep inside. He is always sleepy."

Squirrel & Hedgehog, "The squirrel is kinda cute. It loves acorns. I don't like the Hedgehog because if you touch it, you will scream and bleed. Too spikey!"
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"I like these dolls. You can dance around with it. It flips over and you get a different one with yellow hair. I love it so much and it's super cute."

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This morning I surprised her with the Happy Mouse that she wanted. She squealed with  glee. I apparently got the smile just right on mouse. She is very detailed oriented like me and had specified the smile that she wanted. I aim to please. :-)

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This was easy to knit and everything was knit seamlessly. The photo tutorials were clear and very helpful. I can't wait to make the other projects on my daughter's list.

The Giveaway!
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The very generous people at Artisan Books has offered to give one of you lucky readers a copy of the book. Please leave me a comment telling me which one is your favorite project from the book. The winner will be picked by a random number generator. Last day to comment is Oct 13, 2013. Be sure to leave a way for me to contact you, either Ravelry name, blog link, or email address.