Tag Archives: fair isle

Big Winner!

It’s drawing day!

A bunch of you guys responded to the Creative Color Giveaway, and the consensus is… you like all the patterns.33010I couldn’t agree more .

This is an absolutely gorgeous collection, and I want to work up every single pattern.   (Unfortunately, I have unreasonable constraints on my time like “work” and “sleep.”)

I’m so happy to have a pattern included among these beautiful projects.  It’s not as flashy as some, but I really do love how the Bitterlake Cardigan turned out.52092220_2 copy
Anyway, you’re all waiting with baited breath to see who’s the big winner this time!

And, drumroll please!

After a highly technical selection process that involved asking my husband for a number between 1 and 12 , the winner is:

Cherish!

So, congratulations, Cherish!  I’ll be sending you an email to get your mailing address so I can get this package sent out right away. (Keep an eye out on your spam folder, just in case.)

If you weren’t the lucky one today, you should still get your hands on a copy of this collection- it’s really magnificent.  And, it’s available here!

Pattern: Bitterlake Cardigan

I’ve got a new pattern!

And I’m so happy with this one.  (Sure, I’m happy with all of my patterns, otherwise I wouldn’t  publish them, but still.)  I’m so proud of how it turned out!

My pattern is in Knit Pick’s new collection, Creative Color: 2016 Fair Isle Collection.33010This collection is so pretty- I can’t stand it.

Happily Sweater by Katy Banks

33010106Summer Wanes Cowl and Hat by Heather Storta

33010114And in among all the gorgeous patters, I’d like to introduce you to my sweater, the Bitterlake Cardigan!52092220_23 copyIt’s a zip-up cardigan, knit back and forth in a single piece (no seaming!), with a little bit of shaping at the sides for a nice fit.  But the best part (so excited about this bit!) is the Fair Isle button band/neckband/hem combo.  It’s worked in the round using 5 colors (4 shades of brown, and a contrasting saffron orange), then backed  with a facing to cover all the floats for a really professional finish.52092220_12 copyI love how the designs on the bands match up, and I love the practicality of a zippered cardigan.52092220_2 copyHead on over to Knit Picks if you want a copy of this collection!  It’s so good!

OR! If you want to try your luck, comment below with your favorite pattern for a chance to win your very own copy of Creative Color!  

Blackout!

This Sunday we were attacked by the biggest wind storm I’ve seen since I moved here 5 years ago- maybe ever (which is saying something, coming from Illinois, where gales of wind rip across the state, since there’s nothing taller than a stalk of corn to stop them).  Trees were torn up, power lines were downed, they even had to close the 520 bridge because the waves on Lake Washington were so big, they were splashing up onto the bridge and causing dangerous conditions.

Our neighborhood lost power at about 2:00 in the afternoon.  And we didn’t get it back until the middle of the night- almost 12 hours later.

We didn’t feel safe driving anywhere, since the roads were littered with debris, and we didn’t want to leave the house, in case something went wrong (our house is surrounded by very big, very old trees- charming in sunny weather, scary in a wind storm).  So, we stayed in and watched the neighbor’s 3-story-tall pine trees whip back and forth like blades of grass.  It was kind of terrifying, but also really cool.

So, what did we do for 12 hours of powerlessness?

We played cards, listened to the music on our phones (until the batteries got too low), read books, and (of course) knit.

I continued working on a sweater design that I had already started (you’ll see it soon, but not today).  But, if I’d had time to plan my blackout knitting, I probably would have picked out patterns like these:

I would start with something super fiddly and technical.  After all, with no TV to distract me, I could really throw myself into a pattern like this gorgeous (and futzy) Fair Isle hat.

Electric Snow Fair Isle Hat by Don Godec4127721009_cc9c8f6a81_z[1]Then, when the sun started to go down, I would switch over to a pattern that used super bulky yarn.  With lowered visibility, big yarn is a must, and this hat’s simple design would be perfect for knitting in the dark.  Have you ever tried to knit by candlelight?  It’s not easy.  Trust me.

The Vermonter by Abi Gregoriovermonter2_medium2[1]

And, of course, no power means no heat (at least in my house).  So I would need as many blankets as possible!  This garter-stitch one would be perfect- squishy and warm!

Buncha Squares Blanket by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne2188346768_0ffdfd92b9_z[1]

Luckily our power’s back on now and we’re all back to normal (though it still feels luxurious every time I can open the fridge without worrying about the food spoiling).  But next time, I’ll be prepared!

Have you ever had a blackout in your neighborhood?  What did you do to keep yourself busy?

Inspiration: Bates Motel

I’ve been churning through several feet of stockinette over the last couple weeks, and you know what that means: binge-watching Netflix.

I had finished most of the shows I had been working on, so I had to find a new show to watch.  Preferably one with sweaters.  Lots of sweaters.

Enter: Bates Motel.  A show from A&E, it’s a sort-of prequel/reboot/bizarro version of Psycho (the Hitchcock movie).  It’s actually really good, or at least I enjoyed it.  Lots of twists and turns and intrigue (and murder… and drugs… and taxidermy).

It’s based in modern-day, but the costumes have a very fifties-feel.  Which, for Norman Bates, means sweaters.

Bates-Motel-season-2[1]Lots of sweaters.

5423d7f957094809d841b0040b7755ad[1]Norman’s sweater game is on point.

13-emma-and-norman-study-the-manga[1]Even though he is a (maybe) insane murderer, and definitely creepy weirdo, I kind of want to copy his sweater action.

Want to make yourself a Norman Bates sweater, too? Try one of these vintage-y Fair Isle creations:

Fair Isle V-necked Jumper by Shetland Museum Textile Archives

8245318946_605ef2271e_z[1]Ovaltinie by Patricia Roberts

My_homemade_sweaters_037_medium2[1]South Atlantic by Rita C Taylor_SMM3462_cover_medium2[1](And, don’t forget to enter your name for a free copy of Twist & Tweed!)

Inspiration: Inspector Jack Robinson

Have you guys watched Miss FIsher’s Murder Mysteries yet?  If you haven’t, go watch it now.  I’ll wait.  For real.  Go watch it.  The first two seasons are available on Netflix, and you 100% need to watch them. Do it.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is a show about Phryne Fisher, a lady detective living in Melbourne, Australia in the 1920s.  She is a “thoroughly modern woman” (read: she carries a golden gun, fights for what she believes is right, and entertains a series of “gentlemen callers”).  With her faithful sidekick Dot, and the help of the charming Detective Inspector, Jack Robinson, Miss Fisher kicks butt and takes names, taking down dozens of Melbourne’s worst murderers.  And she does it all with a smile on her face and a sassy quip on her tongue.

And, her outfits.

Capture 3Oh God, her outfits.Capture 4I mean, honestly.Capture 5Just look at them.

Capture 6So gorgeous.

But, while Miss Fisher loves her fur, silk and feathers, she doesn’t wear a lot of knitting.   So, I haven’t been able to bring her up on the blog.  Until, that is, a friend of mine pointed out a  beautifully knitted vest in Season 2, Episode 11 “Dead Air”  (Thanks, Jenny!)

In this episode, Detective Inspector Jack Robinson goes undercover to find a serial arsonist who’s targeting local radio stations.  He “lets his hair down,” which in his case means a tweed jacket and fair-isle vest instead of his usual three-piece suit.

Capture 2They even oblige us with a close-up of his fantastic sweater.  (I suppose they’re really showing a close-up of some evidence, but we can pretend.)CaptureI’m usually against knit vests, but this one might have me changing my mind.  I might even make one for myself (or my husband, though I don’t think he’d wear it).  Let’s look at some Jack Robinson-inspired patterns.

Vaila Slipover by Ann Feitelson

This one’s super classic, and based on a pattern from the 1910s.  I always enjoy historical accuracy in my knitwear.  (Yes, I know that makes me a dork.  I am OK with that.)

 

4894284696_f6c85cef52_z[1]Abbey Mill Farm Vest by Anne Podlesak

I love the color scheme on this one- rich browns, cinnamon reds and sage-y greens.  So pretty!

Front_medium[1]Luke’s Diced Vest by Mary Jane Mucklestone

But this one might be my favorite.  I like the buttons, and the use of three different fair-isle patterns across the front and back.  The styling-not so much.  Why would you wear a knit vest with a T-shirt and jeans?  Come on.

 

lukesvest_z_500_small_best_fit[1]Now, go get your fair isle yarn and turn on Miss Fisher.  I’m not even joking.  Do it.  You’ll thank me.

Mmm… Beer

My husband is a big beer enthusiast, and I am, too (although I’m a little less knowledgeable than he is).  We love visiting Seattle’s awesome microbreweries, and he even makes his own (really delicious) beer from scratch.

He knows all about the official styles of beer, varieties of hops and IBUs.  He reads brewing magazines and learns about the different techniques that are used to make each beer special.

I like pretty labels.

I know, I know, stereotypical girl, right?  But, sometimes I can’t help it.  Take, for example, Red Hook Brewery’s winter ale, Winter Hook.

RH-winterhook-6-pack-icon1I don’t even like winter ales, and I still want to buy a six-pack.

In case you can’t see it very well in the picture, the packaging is covered completely with Fair-Isle designs.  See?

winterhook-30[1]I’m sure it’s all done by computer, but the attention to detail is fantastic!  There aren’t any half stitches or other weird mistakes.  (The little skier is even done to look like a sewed-on applique!)  Someone on their design team is a knitter.

So, let’s raise a glass to knitting (or at least knitted designs) being used out in the wild!  It’s a trend I really like, and one that makes me smile a little more when I’m walking through the grocery store.

Where else have you seen knitting used in advertising?

Pattern: Christmas Scallops Stocking

I love Christmas. I love the family, I love the gifts, I love the food, and I love the decorations. But, I’m not super-traditional when it comes to decking my halls. Red and green are a little passé, and Rudolph (and his red nose) are old hat. I’m a fan of sparkly tinsel and multicolor blinking lights.

This stocking is just what I look for in a Christmas decoration. It’s festive, but not boring. Traditional…ish. I’ve picked a deep winey red and a pale seafoam green to my delightfully chubby stocking. Experiment with the colors to make one perfect for every member of your family!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Christmas Scallops Stocking is a simple, fast knit that you can work up in a weekend. It is knit from the top down, in the round, at a largish gauge. A few easy rows of Fair Isle creates the decorative colorwork at cuff and toe. The heel is formed by a simple series of short rows in an easily memorized pattern.  You’ll have plenty of time to finish these stockings before Santa arrives on Christmas Eve.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGet the pattern for free here:

Christmas Scallops Stocking

Pattern: Phoenix Pouch

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA perfect pouch to put things in, decorated with Professor Dumbledore’s familiar, Fawkes the phoenix. This little drawstring pouch is of a size to house a deck of cards, a small camera, or a handful of Bernie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans. Originally designed for a Harry Potter-themed gift exchange, the Phoenix Pouch would be well received by Potterheads, or anyone else who loves a good fiery bird.

Knit from the top down, the construction of the Phoenix Pouch is very simple. A row of eyelets allow the addition of a drawstring. The suggested I-cord drawstring may be substituted for a ribbon, if you so choose. The Phoenix is created through Fair Isle knitting following the included chart.

Get the pattern here for free!

Phoenix Pouch

Inspiration: Ponies!!

I don’t know how I missed these adorable little guys when they made the rounds last winter, but I just found them again.  How adorable are they?  Teeny tiny Shetland ponies wearing teeny tiny Shetland wool sweaters (or I suppose “jumpers,” since they’re in the UK).  They totally made my day.  Here’s more information about them, if you’re interested. (And, who am I kidding?  Of course you’re interested.)

shetland-ponies-cardigans-1

 

Want sweaters to match the ponies?  Try one of these gorgeous fair isle creations:

Lissuin, by Ann Kingstone

lissuin

Dogwood Blossoms Sweater, by Kerin Dimeler-Laurence

dogwood_purple_medium

Bea Fair Isle Pullover, by Sharon Slarke

bea fair isle

Inspiration: Bob’s Burgers

So, Netflix pretty much thinks I’m a family consisting of:

1. A 60 year old woman (documentaries-Jiro Dreams of Sushi is fantastic)

2. A guy in his 20s (sci-fi movies-anything Star Trekrelated is great)

3. A 17 year old girl (romantic period dramas-Um, Pride and Prejudice?  Obviously.)

4. A middle-aged man (procedural cop dramas-Any show that has “Law and Order” in the title is good by me.  Also, I just discovered there is a “Law and Order: UK.” I think I know what I’m doing this weekend.)

5. A 12 year old boy (cartoons-It’s kind of embarrassing, but Adventure Time is actually really good.)

My “Recommended” queue is always a little multiple-personality-ish.

One show that appeals to the most of my personalities is a really hilarious cartoon called “Bob’s Burgers.”  I think it airs on Fox, but I’m not sure.  Anyway, the second season just showed up on Netflix about a month ago, and I couldn’t recommend it more.  It’s a family-sitcom-type cartoon (like the Simpsons when they were good), about a family that runs a burger joint.  They get into shenanigans, and are generally hilarious.  It’s a really smart show, with really great writing.

But the most important part about “Bob’s Burgers” is the character of Mr. Frond (the kids’ guidance councilor) is a knitter!  Here he’s making a pink scarf.  (He even has a yarn bowl!)

Mr Frond 1

He runs into Linda (the kids’ mom) at the art store, buying yarn:

Mr Frond 3

And best of all, he has this fantastic sweater:

Mr Frond 2

Be like Mr. Frond and make yourself an awesome sweater.  You could use this pattern, a really simple stockinet turtleneck sweater.  You could then add on the words with a duplicate stitch or a really careful fair isle.

Knittaz 4 Life!