PicnicKnits at TNNA!

Tomorrow morning at o’dark-thirty I fly out to Columbus, Ohio.  I will be in booth #447 at TNNA, showing off a bunch of my self-published samples and ALL of the samples from my new Interweave book Warm Days, Cool Knits.

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So if you or your LYSO is attending TNNA, please tell them to stop by. I will have free sample patterns for yarn shops, and I’m setting up a fun (temporary) tattoo station!

I’m exhibiting with my wholesaler Stitch Sprouts, who handles all of my paper wholesale orders. But I also participate fully in the Ravelry In-Store Sales Program. So there are lots of options for your local yarnstore.

We can even talk about me coming to teach, or sending my patterns to your shop in trunk shows, as well as the possibilities for custom designs and/or knit-a-longs for your shop!

Really hoping to see you or your local yarnstore owner there!

Mysterious Knitting

I’ve been wanting to do another Mystery Knit-A-Long for a good long time and finally we are gonna do it! I’m obsessed with all things beach so I decided to do a beach themed mystery shawl knit-a-long. But first I needed the perfect beach themed yarn.

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Dirty Water Dyeworks makes amazingly beautiful yarns. Like when she said yes to going in with me on this knit-a-long I had a really hard time choosing which of her beautiful yarn bases to work with. And then once I chose the Lillian base, a squishy 100% super wash merino, I had to pick colors – and there are a ton of gorgeous colors to choose from!

I started with the blue which is called Beach Bum. That is what I want to be when I grow up. For serious! The plan after I get the boys through school is to figure out a way to live within walking distance of the beach. That way I can knit there whenever I want without a 40 minute drive!

And then Stephanie helped me choose the perfect yarn to go with it – the Wheat colorway – which has lovely tones that remind me of the different colors of sand when it is wet and dry. Stephanie also put together some other fabulous color combinations, but you can pick any two lovely colors you want! And if you put “MysteryKAL” in the notes to seller field when you order she will take 10% off!

March Sky / Moon Shadow

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Lavender / Purple Potion

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Pumice / From the Bog

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Wheat / Gooseberry

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Piglet / Cocoa

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Mountain Mist / Fairy Dust

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So get your yarn and your size 6 needles ready to go – the very first clue will come out on Thursday, June 11th. You can pre-order the pattern now for a discounted price. The price will steadily increase until it reaches the normal $6 price point when the first clue goes live.

The pre-order sheet provides information on all the supplies you need for the knit-a-long, plus a gauge swatch so you can warm up those needles! This knit-a-long is perfect for what I call adventurous beginners – you know all the basics and aren’t afraid to learn a few new stitches. And any stitches that are a bit out of the ordinary will be supported with tutorials right here on the blog!

So head on over to Ravelry and get your pre-order on, and then visit us in the PicnicKnits Group to join in on the knit-a-long fun!

Other People’s Patterns

I’m trying to blog more, I really am. I even made a list of possible topics and categories for days of the weeks for inspiration and so I can stay on task. But life disagrees. Life and deadline knitting and all the other things have been crazy busy but I’m hanging in there!

Thursday’s blog topic is OPP – Other People’s Patterns. I know, I know, it’s a stupid play on words, but it never ceases to amuse me. I am at heart a 12 year old boy. Also I live with all menfolk (even the dog!!!) so my sense of humor is definitely skewed!

I have a sock pattern out in the new Knitscene Accessories – the Sabrina Socks.

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And while perusing the online preview I realized there were a ton of cute things in the issue that I liked. So I present to you the very first blog post in the OPP category – and here are some of my favorites!

Megi Burci has a whole collection of awesome shawls in this issue – and my favorite is the Sarcasm Shawl.

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The Grace Clutch by Julie Grantz LeFrancois is nothing short of fabulous. And I love the tattoos on the model!

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And finally the Wallis Shawl by Ágnes Kutas-Keresztes. Such a lovely combination of lace patterns.

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And if you want a sneak peek of my book patterns, the Mayella Shawl from Warm Days, Cool Knits is also excerpted in this new issue of Accessories – it’s a double me issue!

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Lakyn

Sometimes what you need is comfort knitting. Something rhythmic and intuitive. Something that falls easily under the fingers with a yarn that’s ridiculously soft and easy on the hands. Seriously you guys I could knit with this stuff all day. Ok, sometimes I do. Sometimes all I do is knit. But that’s another story. This story is about Lakyn.

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Lakyn is a sideways shawlette worked up in Stitch Sprouts Yellowstone. It is part of the Perfectly Placed striped shawl collection. The stripes on this one are worked in Bison (Brown) & Eagle Peak (Green) and the end result reminds me of mint chocolate chip ice cream. Mmmm…. ice cream. See? Comfort knitting. It reminds you of ice cream! 

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The diagonal patterning in between the stripes is worked with elongated slip stitches. Because it’s slip stitch work, only one color is worked at a time – a striking result without any fiddly stranded knitting. The eyelet and ribbed border is added last by picking up stitches.

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Lakyn is perfectly unisex, with a triangular shape that makes it ideal for a variety of wearing possibilities.

Needles: Size 7 needles (4.5 mm)

Yarn: Stitch Sprouts Yellowstone, 285 yards to 100 grams, sport weight, 80% Wool, 20% Silk

Gauge: 24 stitches and 24 rows = 4 inches in blocked slip stitch stripe pattern.

Size: 60″ wide and 22″ deep.

Lakyn is available on Ravelry individually for $6.00 USD

Or as part of the Perfectly Placed e-book for $11.95 USD

What’s in a pattern?

So what do you get when you buy a PicnicKnits pattern? Most of my customers buy my patterns online. So what you get is a PDF that you can either use on your tablet or computer (or phone!). You can also print that PDF and carry it around in your knitting bag. I’m in the process of updating all of my PDFs to my new layout, so I will show you what a current pattern looks like.

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  1. Pictures and Description – this gives you an idea of what the pattern will look like when finished. However, it’s difficult to include enough pictures to show every angle, so it’s good to head over to Ravelry and check out all the details.
  2. Skill Level – This is really subjective. I consider the vast majority of my projects to be advanced beginner projects. Because when it comes down to it knitting is pretty basic – you knit, you purl. And the rest of it is just combining or working those stitches in different ways. If something is marked Intermediate in my design world it means there are more complicated stitch patterns to keep track of.
  3. Supplies – Everything you need to complete this project. Except for scissors. You don’t always need scissors but for some reason that is not commonly listed on knitting patterns. Maybe because you can break so many yarns, I don’t know. Now I feel like I should add scissors (if desired)!!
  4. Sizes & Gauge – For my shawls and such this isn’t as important. But if you want something to fit, you have to get gauge. Or you have to know enough about knitting to make the pattern adjustments necessary to make your gauge work for your body. And if you can do that you ain’t no beginner! But seriously, swatching is your friend. As is blocking the swatch if applicable. Needle sizes are a suggestion, not a rule. Gauge trumps needle size every time.
  5. Abbreviations – This tells you all the abbreviations and stitches that will be used in a pattern. For example in the Clairmore Cowlette there is an abbreviation there for kyok – which means knit, yarnover, and knit again in the same stitch. So if you are not familiar with something you can look it up online to get clarification.
  6. Notes – This tells you if there are any unusual construction techniques, or other special things you need to know about this project. Again for the Clairmore Cowlette it tells you that your row gauge is way more important than your stitch gauge. This is unusual and important. Because if your row gauge is too tight the cowlette won’t fit over your head. Pay attention to the notes.

The rest of the pages of the pattern are the actual pattern instructions. Depending on what sort of pattern it is there will be written or charted instructions. In some cases there are both. On Ravelry the pattern page will always tell you what type of instructions are provided for any given pattern.

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But what if you want a pre-printed paper pattern? Well to get that you need to talk to your local yarn store! My patterns are available through Stitch Sprouts for wholesale to your local store. Just tell them you want to see my patterns in their store. Also Ravelry is a great resource for help on PicnicKnits or any patterns! I have a group on Ravelry where you can ask questions or search for help on patterns. I’d love to see you over there!

Clairmore Cowlette

So the blog is kind of broken. Again. I keep messing things up. I’m hoping to log a few hours today to get things back the way they should be, but we will see what life thinks of that plan.

In other news I have a brand new pattern release – the Clairmore Cowlette.

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Clairmore is a cowl and a shawlette – it’s a cowlette. It gives you the lovely drape of a small shawlette to protect you from chilly days, with the practicality of a cowl that isn’t going anywhere – no shawl pins needed. Perfect for that luxurious one skein of DK yarn, like the delicious merino/ > cashmere/ nylon blend of Anzula Cricket.

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The Clairmore Cowlette is worked flat at first and then in the round. The instructions are given in written and charted format. The lovely feather & fan variation is easy enough even for a lace beginner. Using only 250 yards of DK yarn, this is a great first step into lace and the world of shawls and cowls, but interesting enough for the advanced knitter as well.

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The back is shorter than the front, but at 9.5″ long it’s still plenty long to cover you neck and keep the chill out. The front measures about 20″ long – nice and generous to tuck into the front of your jacket.

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Needles: Size 7 needles (4.5 mm)

Yarn: Anzula Cricket, 250 yards to 114 grams, DK weight, 80% Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon

Gauge: 20 stitches and 24 rows = 4 inches in blocked stockinette stitch.

Size: 20″ neck circumference, 20″ long in front, 9.5″ long in back after blocking.

Note: Row gauge is more important than stitch gauge on this project – row gauge determines how big around the neck circumference is, so go up in needle size if necessary.

The Clairmore Cowlette is available on Ravelry individually for $6.00 USD

Monday Runday

I really love running. I run slower than a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter, but I love it. But I haven’t been doing it. I haven’t been taking very good care of myself lately, but I’m putting a stop to that nonsense. And a (re)start to my running career.

Last week I went to the doctor. With a sideways glance she deemed me an unreasonably healthy fat woman. She’s doing bloodwork to check a few things like my vitamin D, but everything else looks good. That tentative stamp of good health and one other little thing convinced me to start running again.

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Rainloverknits has put together a virtual 5K for all of us fibery folks. It’s the Woolly Trot 5K! I am super excited about this. She’s even sent out a couch to 5K training program for us all to use. If you are a rank beginner you can ease into running with this program. Trust me, if it works for me it will for anyone. This is how I started running and how I will do it again!

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This morning after I took the boys to 6:30 am workouts I headed to the bike path. It was dark. It was raining. The rain didn’t bother me but I wasn’t real happy about the dark. So I downloaded the mapmyrun app in the ole minivan and waited for the sun to start to come up!

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I did my run/walk thing through the nice quiet path. I didn’t see anyone this morning – I blame the rain – wusses! But I said hello to the cows in the pasture. And I really just felt proud of myself. For getting out there and doing it again. I always feel so good after a run – even if like today I only technically ran for 8 minutes of the total time. I have to remember that good feeling when I don’t want to lace up my running shoes the next time!


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The mapmyrun app is nifty. It uses GPS to measure your total distance, and gives you your time and your splits. Do you know what a split is? It’s your pace per mile for each mile in the run. Miles 1 and 2 I was doing walking and running. Mile 3 I just walked. So sad that I can walk faster than I can run. But hey – it’s a beginning!

Do you want to start running? Or are you already running and need some motivation? The Woolly Trot 5K fundraiser is still going – she’s reached her goal, but you can still use it to register and get swag until April 5th. The t-shirts will be awesome tech shirts and I’m a sponsor so my logo will be on your back somewhere. You know you want one! There is also a Woolly Trot 5K group on Ravelry and we are discussing training already! Come join us!

Purple Passion

So many things going on right now! It’s 12 weeks until the summer TNNA trade show. And I have projects due to everybody in the near future it feels like. And my brain keeps coming up with ideas. Which is good, but oy with the poodles already.

Purple used to be my favorite color. And I still love yarns in all shades of purple. Three of my upcoming projects are in lovely shades of purple from three of my favorite yarn companies.

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Halaine (in the background) is a short-sleeve sweater with ruffled edges and an empire waist in Hat Box from Mrs. Crosby Plays in Midnight Aubergine. Clairmore (on the left) is a cowlette – a combination cowl/shawlette in one skein of delicious Cricket MCN from Anzula in the Lenore colorway. And Farica (on the right) is an unusually constructed hat with a counterpane and reverse stockinette ridges in Yellowstone by Stitch Sprouts in the soft lavender shade of Sand Verbena.

So yeah, all purple all the time. But you don’t have to choose purple. That’s the beauty of knitting. You can choose any beautiful shade you desire. I actually have become a red and turquoise girl as of late. And in true knit design irony the colors I love the best are the colors that are the hardest to photograph.

But I am looking for some test knitters, sort of. Not exactly test knitters. Let’s call them early knitters. I’m in the process of having the patterns for these beauties tech edited. Once the pattern is complete I’d love to have some early knitters work up some projects in their own favorite colors. If you’d be interested in any of the projects let me know. I can provide full pictures so you can make a decision. The pattern will be free to a small group of early knitters and all I ask in return is that you post some nice pictures and a project to Ravelry. Let me know if you’d like in!

Donny

I’ve been doing this business for awhile. There are many ups and downs to this business. One of the ups is that I have access to a lot of beautiful yarns. I’m established enough that I can request yarn support for my designs, and I don’t really buy yarn. In fact, I’m not sure when I last bought yarn. Too busy, too much work.

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Except for a few weeks back. ContinentalKim picked me up in her brand new Mini and we headed down to Four Purls in Winter Haven, Florida. Ross Farm and Gerschubie Fiber Arts were having a trunk show down there. The shop was amazing and the yarns were just wonderful.

2380293Ross Farms is real working sheep farm up in Pennsylvania that sells natural yarns from only heritage and rare breeds. I brought home some Piccadilly. I absolutely love how they have a picture of the actual sheep on the tags.  It’s going to grow up to be a cowl. Apparently cowls are my new obsession right now.

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Gerschubie Fiber Arts is a hand-dyer out of North Carolina. I totally fell in love with her Largo bulky base in the color Puppy Love. I actually brought home two skeins of it, and I knew it was destined to be a Valentine’s Day Cowl. I actually bought needles and cast-on right in the store.

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And what that yarn became is Donny. It’s a reversible cowl pattern with tons of options. You can use 1 skein of Largo – 100 yards of bulky – and you get a cozy cowl that measures 30″ around by 15″ tall.

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Or you can use two skeins and get a 60″ long reversible scarf.

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The scarf is actually 15″ wide so you can wear it as a stole.

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Or you can do like I did and seam it together for a moebius cowl.

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Which is long enough to wrap double around your neck for the squishiest, warmest cowl you ever did wear. But since it’s worked up in only 200 yards of bulky yarn it only takes a few hours to knit. Knit one for your sweetheart – or for yourself. I knit mine for me! I’ve worn it three times since I finished it – we are having a cold snap here in sunny Florida.

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Donny is available on Ravelry for only $6.00 and it includes all the instructions for all the variations of Donny. Why is it named Donny? For Donny Osmond of course. A yarn named Puppy Love makes you sing the old song…

And they called it puppy love
Oh, I guess they’ll never know
How a young heart really feels
And why I love her so

Needles: Size 13 needles (9.0 mm)

Yarn: Gerschubie Fiber Arts Largo, 100% merino, 100 yards, 1-2 skeins

Gauge: 5.25 stitches and 7 rows = 4 inches in blocked lace pattern

Size: Small Cowl is 15″ high and 30″ around,
Large Version is 60″ long/around and 15″ high/wide after blocking

Donny is available on Ravelry individually for $6.00 USD 

VALENTINE’S SPECIAL!!

Only for the weekend of February 14-15 use the code “love” to get Donny for free! 

Kahel

Anzula For Better or Worsted is the worsted weight yarn of your dreams. First off it’s an MCN blend, which just makes it better right away. And then the twist is just perfection – such a sproingy, lovely yarn. Knitting with it is heavenly.

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Kahel uses two skeins of For Better or Worsted in a rich deep orange shade called Arizona. For this design I really wanted something generous and sumptuous. Something you could really wrap yourself up in. On size 9 needles the For Better or Worsted makes a cozy fabric, and the way the fabric is worked, it has a beautiful wrong-side which makes it reversible.

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Kahel is worked from tip to tip – the increasing and decreasing is all incorporated into the patterning, and the garter lace edging is applied as the knitting is worked. The simple knit/purl pattern with eyelets looks more complicated than it is. For experienced knitters it’s great knit-night knitting – the kind that become intuitive as you go along. And for beginners to charts and lace it’s a great way to hone your chart skills.

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Kahel is available on Ravelry individually for $6.00 USD or as part of the Stitch Sprouts For Better or Worsted Pamphlet for only $18.00.

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Needles: Size 9 needles (5.5 mm)

Yarn: Anzula For Better or Worsted, 80% merino, 20% cashmere, 10% nylon, 200 yards to 115g, 1 skein

Gauge: 16 stitches and 20 rows = 4 inches in blocked body pattern

Size: 64″ wide and 24″ tall after blocking

Kahel is available on Ravelry individually for $6.00 USD