KDTV & Rhinebeck Bound!

So this year for the first time ever I get to go to Rhinebeck. I’m very excited. I’ve heard tell and seen pictures for years, but this year all the circumstances came together just so to make it feasible.

  • Crazy cheap round trip flight? Check!
  • Fabulous designer friend Mindy Wilkes had openings in the house she’s renting? Check!
  • Husband works from home and can handle the boys’ schedules? Check!

And because it turned out to be so very inexpensive I could justify going on a trip that was just to meet up with people and not necessarily a trade show or a teaching gig. But then… Knitting Daily TV came-a-calling! I am doing two episodes of Knitting Daily TV before I go to Rhinebeck. Travel plans had to be rearranged, life had to be finagled, but it will all be worth it. Because I will be on TV. Knitting. On TV. I am super excited and also worried that I will come off as a complete dunderhead. Well that and some sort of Madame Maxine considering that I think I might be close to a foot taller than the hostess! And why does Knitting Daily TV want little ole me? Because as I’ve been telling you I have a book coming out. And now the amazon page even has a picture of the cover!! You can even pre-order Warm Days, Cool Knits already! I will be demonstrating techniques on two of the book projects on the shows.

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 8.44.31 AM I’m excited to say that finally this fall I will have a good handful of knitting patterns being released. We are even doing a photoshoot with a group of designs in the delicious new Aspen base from Baah Yarn. It’s merino-cashmere-silk. As if merino-cashmere-nylon wasn’t luxurious enough! IMG_2868 To celebrate all these crazy goings-on I am having a BOGO sale on all of my self-published patterns. Anything in the PicnicKnits store is buy one get one free. It’s the perfect time to pick out something to knit for yourself and maybe to knit for a friend. Ok, a really good friend, because you can’t knit for just anyone! Use the code woohop to take advantage of the BOGO deal! Why woohop? Because the new predictive text on the iPhone is ridiculous and that’s our new exclamation of excitement. And Kim and Kristin and I are super excited to be going to our first Rhinebeck. Woohop!

The Perfectly Colorful Shawl by Cate Carter-Evans

This post is part of the Fall Shawl Together , a collaborative project featuring great shawl-related content from designers, bloggers, and podcasters. We’re featuring a new post each week, now – December. You can check out all the posts on the Fall Shawl Together Project Page and show us what you’re working on by tagging your shawl projects!  #shawltogether

Shawls are my favorite thing to knit because they provide a unique showcase for color.  However, picking colors can be intimidating, and color theory is a massive and complex topic.

In this tutorial, I’m going to share some simple tools and exercises to simplify the process of color selection, and help you end up with a very wearable shawl.

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Step 1: Pick your “happy color.” 

Almost all knitters are color-sensitive people. When you knit, you spend hours staring at a color, and this can impact your mood – hence the advice from Denny (via the Yarn Harlot) to not knit too much grey in the winter because it’s hard on the soul.

In this moment, there is at least one color that makes you really happy. Take a minute and identify this color. Whether it’s driven by a fleeting mood or a life-long passion, whether it looks good on you or not, just take a minute to figure out what it is. For this exercise, this is your foundation color.

 

Step 2: Decide how many colors you’ll use together.

If you’re working from a pattern, you’ll have at least one main color, and anywhere from one to dozens of contrast colors.

If you’re designing your own pattern or modifying a pattern, you’re blissfully on your own.

 

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Step 3: Make a Color Palette

Named for the flat surface on which painters mix their pigments, a color palette can be digital or physical.

Your palette can be as simple as a piece of paper with blobs of crayon or colored pencil, subtle as watercolors precisely blended to your desired shades, or as precise as tiny balls of yarn stapled to a piece of cardboard. If you want to make a digital palette, ColourLovers is fantastic and free.

All you need to make your color palette is a space for your foundation color, plus spaces for each of the additional colors you want to work with.

 

Exercise: Make at least three impromptu palettes, intuitively picking colors that go with your foundation color. If you’re having trouble, try searching for the name of your foundation color or search for “color wheel” on Pinterest.

 

Step 4: Make it Wearable

I love the process of knitting, but I also like to get a solid return on my investment of time – and that means being able to wear the heck out my finished object.

For shawls in particular (since you’re highly unlikely to wear them without other clothes), you’ll want to identify which items in your closet you plan to wear them with. If you add colors to your shawl design that go best with the garments you wear most, you’ll have a much easier time coordinating your shawl with your garments, and you’re more likely to wear it frequently.

The majority of the time, I wear shawls with a winter coat or with a sweater. With the exception of a very funky vintage mustard yellow coat, all my sweaters and coats are neutrals. The neutral color I wear most is grey, and you’ll notice I use grey a lot in my shawls designs.

 

Exercise:

1. Look at the clothes you wear most and make a list of the colors that appear most often. These are your go-to colors.

2. Take special note of the neutral color you wear most(e.g. black, dark grey, light grey, white, tan, brown, or navy). This is your key neutral.

If you’ve having trouble finding your key neutral, take a look at your shoes. The shoes we wear most are usually neutral colors.

 

Log Cabin Shawl by Cate Carter-Evans

 

Step 5: Color Strategies

If you’re planning a two-color project, start with combining your foundation color with your key neutral. The beauty of neutral colors is that they look good on nearly everyone, and they’ll let your foundation color shine.

If you’re planning a three-color project, start with your foundation color + your key neutral + one of your go-to colors.

If you don’t like your results or you’re planning a project with more than three colors, your next step is to identify the hue closest to your foundation color.

Hues are like twelve giant signposts in an infinite wilderness of color variation. They’re the most basic answer to the question “what color is it?”. The twelve hues are: Red, Red-Orange, Orange, Yellow-Orange, Yellow, Yellow-Green, Green, Blue-Green, Blue, Blue-Violet, Violet, and Red-Violet.

Also identify how your foundation color differs from its parent hue (if at all). Hues only contain pure color, no white, black, grey, or brown mixed in. Your foundation color may be a pure hue (like primary red), or it could be a tint (red + white), a shade (red + black), or a tone (red + grey).

With this information, you can now use a color wheel to see the relationships between your foundation color and all the other colors. There are a number of relationships on the wheel that are traditional considered harmonious. Because everyone perceives color differently, it’s important to remember that there are no right or wrong colors – only the colors that look right to you.

Combinations I especially love are analogous colors (e.g. blue-violet, violet, and red violet), gradients of a single color from pastel to super saturated, and combining a hue with its tint, shade, and tone.

Wishing you happy color selection, and happy knitting!

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Cate Carter-Evans is the Proprietress of Infinite Twist, a hand-spun and hand-dyed yarn company based in Shanghai, China. Cate blogs about knitting and life in China , designs knitting kits and sends out a free knitting pattern every month via the Infinite Twist newsletter.You can find Cate on Instagram, Twitter, and Ravelry as infinitetwist.

 

 

 

Sexy Knitter Tool Tins

Every knitter needs tools. You’ve got your basic tools like needles and yarn and then you have all the extras. The tape measures,  the tapestry needles, the scissors, the stitch markers, the crochet hooks (for fixing mistakes), the cable needles, and the stitch holders. Well, those aren’t so much extra as they are essentials. With that set of tools at your disposal you can do almost anything with your knitting, including complete finishing.

And we all know that knitting is the best hobby ever because it is oh so portable. But to be truly portable you really need to carry that little set of essential tools around with you. Except sometimes they aren’t so little. Throwing all that stuff into your purse or knitting bag isn’t really the easiest thing to do when you’re running out the door.

Enter the Tool Tins from The Sexy Knitter.

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Recognize that shape? It’s Altoid tin shaped. Super small, durable, and will stay tightly closed. (These are altoid tin size & shape, but not old used altoid tins, they are brand new and clean! Which means that sadly your tools will not smell minty fresh!)

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And dude, look at all the stuff! You get every single thing I listed above: tape measure, scissors, stitch holder, cable needle, a double-ended crochet hook (2 hook sizes), 5 freaking adorable stitch markers, and 3 tapestry needles held securely on a magnet attached to the lid.

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And I’m sorry, have you seen the pretty lids? This month’s super exclusive special is me! Four of my designs gracing the top of these must-haves! Normal retail price is $25 each, but if you buy a 4-pack it’s only $80. Do you know 3 knitters you need to buy presents for? I know I do!

But there are a ton of lovely designs available, although I’m kind of partial to that alpaca schnoz! So if you would like to buy one of those you can use the coupon code FRIENDSOFCORRINA and get 20% off of any purchase from her shop of $25 or more. This coupon is only good now through October 17th, 2014.

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And I just gotta say I adore these little scissors. I’ve used mini scissors before and sometimes you feel like you are trying to run up a down escalator with the duller ones. These are nice and sharp and even cut linen yarns easily. Also they kind of look like cute little birds when you take the point protector off!

Psst! Think you have a gorgeous photo or idea for a tool tin cover? Submit it to the Sexy Knitter via Etsy and if your photo is chosen to be on a tin you get that tin for FREE! Because Sarah is awesome like that.

Road Tripping!

I think I have become a road trip junkie. I blame my good friend Kim and her evil collection of Mini Coopers. Last month Kim took her convertible mini and drove me up to Thomasville, Georgia and Tallahassee, Florida.

Thomasville is an amazing little town in south Georgia. They have wonderful shops and restaurants and of course a fabulous brand new yarn shop – The Fuzzy Goat! This shop was love at first sight. It has wonderful yarns and such a great vibe to it. If I was going to open a yarn store this lovely place would be very inspiring!

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Next up we headed over to Tallahassee where her daughter attends college. We visited Yarn Therapy – another sweet shop! The owner there Marianne was just as nice as can be and we chatted about meeting up in Rhinebeck. And in small world news her former employee now works for Interweave and we ended up talking on the phone this week about my upcoming appearance on Knitting Daily TV. This shop was also full of beautiful yarns and super friendly people.

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And then this past weekend Kim broke out her “big” Mini Cooper (actually her husband’s) and drove Kristin and I all the way down to Sarasota Florida to visit A Good  Yarn. We shopped, and hung out for hours at the first Saturday of the month spin-in. No I don’t spin lol. Bad things happen when I spin. But Kim and Kristin did some spinning, and I got to knit and hang out with some truly fabulous and welcoming folks. Sarasota is a 4-hour drive but we will so be going back there!

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You know I don’t buy a whole lot of yarn anymore because I’m always knitting on deadline projects, but I can always find some notions I’m needing for design work. I think I need to investigate all the yarn stores within a semi-reasonable driving distance! If you know of any must-see shops anywhere close to Jacksonville, Florida you let me know, ok?

*All pics came from the stores’ Facebook or websites – because I was a dunderhead and forgot to take any pics on either trip!

Loradee

Loradee has been a long time coming. I feel like I say that all the time now. This design actually premiered at the TNNA fashion show in Indianapolis this past spring. But then I brought it home, ripped it out completely and reworked it because I decided the short-rows were not quite right. But now, now they are just perfect I think! IMG_6658 Loradee is worked up in three different colors of Stitch Sprouts Yellowstone, an absolutely sumptuous blend of silk & wool in lovely muted colors. This is not my first design using Yellowstone, and it certainly won’t be my last. There is also a gorgeous sweater in my upcoming book – I am kind of in love with this yarn. And Loradee is the first of a series of four striped shawls in the Yellowstone base. One design from the Perfectly Placed collection will be released each month until the end of the year. Loradee is striped and short-rowed shawl worked on the bias. It’s asymmetrical shape makes the stripes and multi-colored wedges sing. It’s worked from tip to long edge, but because of the short-row shaping there are very few rows where you have to work full length rows – even when it is at it’s longest point. IMG_6644The top edging is a beautiful braid of all three colors and the bottom edging is a simple scalloped repeat in the silver grey. IMG_6656 Loradee is provided with written instructions only. The scalloped edging is too simple for a chart really, and once you get the hang of the short-row sections they are easy breezy. So pick your own 3 favorite colors of Yellowstone and get to knitting! IMG_6648 Needles: Size 8 needles (5.0 mm) Yarn: Yellowstone by Stitch Sprouts, 285 to 100g, 3 skeins – 1 each of Caldera, Old Faithful, and Ulysses. Gauge: 16 stitches and 20 rows = 4 inches in blocked garter pattern Size: 54″ wide and 27″ deep after blocking Loradee is available on Ravelry individually for $6.00 USD and for $11.95 USD as part of the Perfectly Placed shawl collection  perfectly

Everyday Lace

Everyday Lace is the fabulous debut knitting title by Heather Zoppetti. I say debut because the crazy woman is already working on her second book. Let’s be honest, it’s very difficult to review a book when it’s written by your best friend, but here we go!

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I’ve known about this book for a very, very long time. I saw the proposal sketches and swatches for this book when she pitched it to Interweave. I’ve seen pictures of probably every single design in progress. We’ve done late night texting sessions as she burned the midnight oil finishing projects. So I know it was a labor of love. So I figure the best way to review it is just to tell you what I love best. And also to encourage you to take a look at this book even if you are a lace beginner. Heather has an amazing companion dvd from Interweave that will help you get started on your lace knitting adventures.

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Hands-down, the Conestoga Tunic is my favorite pattern in the book. I love the open lacework and shoulders, and I’m obsessed with layering pieces lately. Also the linen yarn would give it lots of wearability here down South.

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My second favorite is the Kirkwood Vest. Again with the layering pieces, of course! This is perfect for those in between weather days, and the silky merino yarn is one of my all time favorites.

The book contains a lot of sidebars and helpful information that will help out even experienced lace knitters. And it gives dedicated shawl knitters a new way to apply their lace knitting mastery to beautiful garments and non-shawl accessories!

And now for the Scavenger Hunt! Hopefully you’ve been following along, but if not head over there and you can get the details and the other stops! So for today’s hunting we have two questions.

Heather asks: Are the Swatara Socks worked toe-up or cuff-down? Everyday_Lace_-_Swatara_Socks_beauty_shot_medium2

@Joe Hancock

And I ask: What is the most popular pattern in my Seven Sonnets collection?

So collect your answers for fabulous prizes – tomorrow’s scavenger hunt stop is Rohn Strong.

Sarasota Shrug

This isn’t what you were expecting, were you? I’ve shown you sneak peeks of other designs (which I promise are coming) but this one kind of snuck out of nowhere. The Sarasota Shrug has a long and storied history, but suffice to say it is now available to you!

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This is a counterpane shrug, which means the back is worked in the round as a giant lace piece and then you attach sleeves and ribbing. If you are familiar with working shawls or lace in the round this will be a piece of cake. And because you know me and my love of shawls this felt comfortable and easy to me as well.

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This is worked up in a Yak/Bamboo blend from Bijou Basin – their Bijou Spun. The fibers combine for a soft and luxurious fabric, but it does have unusual drape, so blocking a swatch is your friend and a real necessity in this case. Heather over at Stitch Sprouts did an awesome blog post about swatching and how to make sure your swatches aren’t dirty rotten liars!

The Sarasota Shrug is worked completely in the round so you will need appropriate circulars and/or dpns. I’m a magic loop girl myself so I used 40″ circulars for the sleeves and worked them that way!

Needles: Size 5 needles (3.75 mm)

Yarn: Bijou Spun by Bijou Basin Lhasa Wilderness, 75% Yak, 25% Bamboo, 180 yards to 56g, Teal, 2 (3, 3, 4, 5, 5) skeins.

Gauge: 16 stitches and 22 rows = 4 inches in blocked counterpane lace pattern

To Fit Bust: 32-34 (36-38, 40-42, 44-46, 48-50, 52-54)”/81.5-86.5 (91.5-96.5, 101.5-106.5, 112-117, 122-127, 132-162.5) cm

The Sarasota Shrug is available on Ravelry for $6.00 USD

Make Your Own E-Book!

Despite all evidence to the contrary, I am still alive. Between book stuff, and life stuff, and my brother getting married stuff, and driving across the country stuff it’s been a whirlwind. I cannot believe it’s already most of the way through July. We are finishing up our family vacation, but the boys have less than a month until they are back in school. It’s insane.

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That picture is the first time the six of us have been in one room since I was 19. In case you missed my birthday sale, I am now 42. That’s 23 years. My sister, me, my dad, brother, step-mom, and baby sister. By the way, if you’re wondering I have the best step-mom in the history of the world. Ever. And she’s also an amazing Grandma. Just ask my boys!

We are currently finishing up our trip in Louisiana – with just a couple days left. We are planning a short visit to New Orleans – I’ve never been!  It’s been fun, but I’ll be honest and tell you – I cannot wait to sleep in my own bed and use my own shower. Heck, I’m even looking forward to using my own kitchen and washing machine!

You may have missed my birthday sale this go-around – I wasn’t great about promoting it on the road. So we have a little special for today and tomorrow – make your own e-book!

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Have you ever looked at my e-books and thought they would be perfect if you could just swap out one pattern, or two, or the whole shebang? Well today is your day. You can pick any seven patterns you want from my shop and put them in your cart. Add the coupon code “mine” and you get the whole mess for e-book price – $21.95!

I haven’t been blogging much recently, but I am gonna get back to it. You can also find me on instagram or twitter as picnicknits – for mini updates on what’s going on. As well as gratuitous pictures of my handsome boys. See?

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Indy!

First off the site is a mess! I know! I had to move servers and some things got very wonky and I’ve been so swamped I haven’t had time to fix all the things.

Second, I know it’s been forever. Working on all these book projects is hard y’all. And I’ve had some crazy setbacks. And then every night like clockwork my family expects to be fed – what is up with that?

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In other news I’m leaving for Indiana on Thursday. I am going to be gone for nearly 2 weeks. First off it’s the Small Knits Symposium in Bloomington, Indiana. Then it’s Corrina and Heather’s excellent adventure in Indiana – basically we have about 3 days of in between time and what’s the use in me flying home and we will be working like fiends finishing up getting ready for TNNA. So yeah. Then it’s TNNA in Indianapolis where I will be exhibiting in booth 762.

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I have some beautiful new designs to release, but I still have to do all the extra stuff – having them tech edited, getting photographs, etc. Maybe I’ll take my camera to TNNA and try to snag some models! I do have some gorgeous designer friends you know!

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Hopefully while I’m in Indiana I will be able to release one or two of my new designs. I’ve got some gorgeous things I’m finishing up for the TNNA fashion show, so if you or your LYS owner will be there, tell them to keep a look out!

To celebrate being in Indy, I’m having an “indy” sale. Everything in my store is Buy One Get One Free – that includes e-books and individual patterns. The code of course is “indy” and if you have any suggestions for fabulous restaurants or places that Heather and I might visit during our short in between time let me know. We are hoping to hit lots of local yarn stores, but other than that we will be knitting and TNNA prepping!

So use the code “indy” for Buy One Get One Free (BOGO!) in my store and wish me safe travels!

 

Maribelle

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When it comes to ombre yarns like Twisted Fiber Arts, asymmetrical is the way to go, and the pretty Maribelle is done just that way! This shape makes the most of the beautiful color shifts without looking like giant stripes. The cables and eyelet lace pattern in this shawl give the wearer the best of both worlds – cozy and airy at the same time. The gorgeous colors in the Twisted Fiber Arts yarn deserve to be put on display, and this lovely wrap is a showpiece.

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Maribelle is worked asymmetrically from tip to side with the bottom edging knit simultaneously. The final edging is applied to bind-off the live stitches. This shawl can be made larger by working more repeats of the body section. Just make sure to start the applied edging on the appropriate row.

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I know it’s been too few and far between around here. The book work has has me hopping! I’m so excited about my first book, but it’s odd to be so far removed from self-publishing my patterns like I’m so used to!

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Needles: Size 8 needles (5.0 mm)

Yarn: Twisted Fiber Arts Tasty Evolutions (80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon; 530 yd [485 m]/4.9 ounces [140g]): haunting, 1 skein

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

Size: Approximately 56″ wide and 24″ deep after blocking

Maribelle is available on Ravelry for $6.00 USD