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

Dalawa

Anzula is one of my desert island yarns. Although I’m not sure I could pick just one base. So many delicious bases. And then of course the people. The Anzula people are some of my most favorite industry people. Even when they show up at TNNA with new people, the new people are just as awesome! I do not know how they do this.

So when Stitch Sprouts decided to do collections for three of the Anzula bases I wanted a design in ALL of them. Sadly, I was also working on a million other things so I only ended up with designs in two. So sad. The Squishy Collection features five designs from super cool Stitch Sprouts designers including this one of mine… Dalawa.

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Dalawa is a cowl with cable lace patterning, working in the round with deep ribbing. Around the top of the cowl there is an i-cord drawstring for two, count ‘em two reasons. Reason the first is to really cinch up the cowl on a very blustery day. Because sometimes you need some extra chill insurance.

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And the second reason is to turn Dalawa into a sweet little slouchy hat. Just pull the drawstring in all the way, tie a little bow and bam! You’re rocking a hat! The Squishy base is a fingering weight merino/cashmere/nylon yarn that is ridiculously soft for next to the skin wear. And the nice twist on the yarn means that cables and lace pop with the perfect stitch definition.

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Dalawa is available on Ravelry individually for $6.00 USD or as part of the Stitch Sprouts Squishy Pamphlet for only $18.00. And check back tomorrow when I blog about Kahel – which is my design in the For Better Or Worsted Collection.

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Needles: Size 4 needles (3.5 mm)

Yarn: Anzula Squishy, 80% merino, 20% cashmere, 10% nylon, 375 yards to 115g, 1 skein

Gauge: 22 stitches and 28 rows = 4 inches in blocked lace cable pattern

Size: 21-3/4″ in circumference and 11″ tall after blocking

Dalawa is available on Ravelry individually for $6.00 USD

TNNA Phoenix Recap

The weekend before last was the Phoenix TNNA. Now I don’t know why, but the 2 hour time difference seems to have sucked the life out of me. Maybe it’s because Phoenix also sucked every last bit of moisture out of my body. I can’t imagine what the dryness is like in the summer when it’s actually hot. I swear I drank a gallon of water every day and I still was constantly parched.

But now I’m home, and not napping every day and slightly recovered. I have a nagging cough from the show crud I caught, but I’m trying to get back to work and keep the boys on task and send them out of town… see? There goes that eye twitch again. I’m tired of being so busy. I need to figure out how to schedule my life so I can fool myself into thinking I’m not swamped lol!

Anyhow, show recap. That’s why we are here. So Phoenix is like a strange plateau completely surrounded by mountains. And we were up at the buttcrack of dawn on Friday to start set-up!

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All Friday morning we did booth set-up.
The tutu of doom deposited glitter all over everything in sight!

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But my little corner of the Stitch Sprouts world turned out pretty nice!

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Then Heather and I sold Stitch Sprouts fabulous new class kits at Sample It!

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And it was fashion show time! My Lareina was featured on the runway.
And run they did. Those were the fastest walking models I had ever seen.
The audience was yelling at them to slow down.

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Lareina even got a nice big button to wear in the booth!

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I got to see a Vittorio in the wild! That always makes me happy!

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And I got to see the Interweave spring catalog. Featuring my Junius
shawl design from my upcoming book on the cover. I felt kind of like a rockstar!
And yes you can pre-order my book Warm Days, Cool Knits!

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I decided that all my future trade show outfits will feature tights from We Love Colors. So comfy and I felt so cute!

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My shawl skirt was quite the conversation starter!
It turned out to be a gorgeous way to showcase some of my older shawl designs.

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And then excitement! We were evacuated from the convention center when the show was nearly done! Fortunately all was well and none of the yarn was harmed in any way!

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And just like that another TNNA was over. Fortunately in the course of this one I got to spend some time with a new friend, Jen Lucas, and we will definitely be hanging out in Columbus! And then the booth was kaput and the crate was ready to go.

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And there was much rejoicing.

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Tips 4 Designers – Trade Show Etiquette

Are you thinking about attending your first TNNA trade show this year in Columbus? I’ve been going for a while and now I exhibit at the shows – you can see my little corner of the Stitch Sprouts world on the right below. But when I first went I had no idea what to expect!

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Today on the Stitch Sprouts blog I’m talking about Trade Show Etiquette. If you are going to an industry trade show such as the TNNA show in late May you don’t want to be that designer. You know that one. The one that the other companies and designers talk about and use as a cautionary tale.  So read up on my etiquette tips over at the Stitch Sprouts blog and check out all of my Tips For Designers.

Lareina

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Lareina is finally live! I swear life has been conspiring against me – but I am getting things back under control. Lareina is the 2nd of the Perfectly Placed shawls – Loradee was the first. Perfectly Placed is a collection of striped shawls in Yellowstone – an 80/20 wool/silk by Stitch Sprouts. Yellowstone is a sport-weight yarn with a generous 285 yards per skein. And it’s buttery soft!

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Lareina begins with a lovely lace border – and then you pick up stitches to work the Latvian braid. Once you work the braid and the body set-up the body is a simple 6 row repeat. And it goes fast, because your rows get shorter and shorter. I love that kind of fast!

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The wool/silk blend makes for a really sumptuous next to the skin soft wrap that works in any season. The slip stitch patterning mimics a lovely plaid and the creamsicle colors make this a dreamy project. What colors of Yellowstone would you work this shawl up in?

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Lareina is available on Ravelry individually for $6.00 USD or as part of the Perfectly Placed collection for only $11.95. Two more Perfectly Placed shawls are coming soon to use up all the Yellowstone colors!

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Needles: Size 7 needles (4.5 mm)

Yarn: Stitch Sprouts Yellowstone in Natural and Forest Fire – 285 yards to 100g

Gauge: 18 stitches and 26 rows = 4 inches in blocked slip stitch pattern

Size: 50″ wide and 24″ deep after blocking

Lareina is available on Ravelry individually for $6.00 USD
or as part of the Perfectly Placed e-book for $11.95 USD