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

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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

Mad About Manos

It’s crazy busy around here at the house o’ PicnicKnits. Teenage boys seem to want to play all the sports, and the amount of miles I’ve been putting on my minivan is quite ridiculous. I’ve also spent a lot of quality time in that minivan with my audiobooks knitting all the projects for everything that is going on.

One brand of yarns that I’ve been using a ton of is Manos. So many gorgeous bases with such wonderful colors. Fino is their extra fine merino/silk base with 490 yards and a really lovely hand. My Sandalo shawl was published last summer and uses one skein of Fino in the Antique Lace colorway. It’s available from Manos for $6.00.

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I used Fino again for my Mallory Hills Shawlette – which was a part of my featured designer collection in the spring issue of Knitscene.  This time I used the Velvet Pincushion colorway for a sideways shawlette. Interweave is actually offering kits for the Mallory Hill Shawlette – and if you check out the info page you can read my Knitscene interview too. Robin Shroyer made me sound really interesting!

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My most recent release with Manos is my Trufa shawl. This uses their Serena base, a fabulous alpaca/cotton blend that has 170 yards per skein. Trufa is a crescent-shaped, top-down shawl that uses 2 skeins of Serena and is also available from the Manos site for $6.00.

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I also have a gorgeous pile of Serena in my bin of book yarn to work up into a super secret book project. The Serena base is just that nice.  I love being at that point in my career where I really get to choose what yarns I work with and Manos is a yarn I will choose again and again.

Maragon

I know, I know, it’s been awhile. Writing a book is very time consuming. Writing a book, managing two teenage boys in two different schools with all the activities, and navigating the holidays is nearly impossible! But I’m doing it! This morning I’m sitting here for an oil change and realizing that I’ve driven over 5000 miles in the last couple of months. Yeah. Driving time is not knitting time. Nor is it blogging time. But sitting in the dealership waiting for my oil change is decent blogging time. Because my wrists need a break from knitting. And so finally, I am blogging about my newest design Maragon.

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Maragon was featured at Sample It at the winter TNNA in San Diego. Sample It is the crazy madhouse where all the yarnstore owners come in and have a chance to purchase samples of all sorts of knitting and stitching things. It is packed with people and all the vendors bring all sorts of amazing thing. I was super honored that Anzula trusted me to come with something pretty in their new winter colors.

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Maragon is a top-down heart-shaped shawl worked in two new delicious colors of Anzula Cloud, Prudence and Temperance. With simple increases and slip stitch patterning it makes the most of the two skeins working up into a generous shawl. The color work is worked one color at a time but delivers a lovely punch.

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The sample as worked is 72” wide and 18” deep. Additional stripes of the color work can be done to use up all of the yarn and make a more generous shawl.

Needles: Size 5 needles (3.75 mm)

Yarn: Anzula Cloud – 1 skein each of Prudence and Temperance

Gauge: 18 stitches and 24 rows = 4 inches in blocked stockinette

Size: Approximately 72″ wide and 18″ deep after blocking

Maragon is available on Ravelry for $6.00

 

Going Back To Cali

I have an unreasonable love for LL Cool J. Like I actually enjoyed seeing him in that stupid Best Buy Christmas commercial. And I watched ‘Last Holiday’ the other day mostly for him.  My teenage sons are embarrassed by it. But you’ll forgive me if I quote him as I break my radio silence, won’t you?

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Did you know you can follow me on Instagram? Where I post amazing pics like the above!

Life has been good but full of all the things. I’m working on the book, and another new huge secret project, and I’m knitting so much I’ve been buying Ben Gay and KT Tape for my aching wrists and forearms. Teenage boys keep growing – in fact my 14 year old needed new uniform pants – again – because he had 2 inches of ankle showing after Christmas break.

I’m off for my 2nd trip to California come Thursday. This time it’s San Diego. Not sure how much I will see as the TNNA trade show is always very busy, but it will be fabulous to see my designing  and yarn friends in real life and working the show will be a break from all the knit design work I’ve been doing lately. Although of course I’m bringing projects with me!

In other news I am the featured designer in the spring issue of Knitscene. This was the hugest honor and I’m really proud of the spring collection that I put together with some of my very favorite yarns. I’m gonna do a blog post for each piece but you can see the patterns by going to my Ravelry page – here. There’s also an interview with me in the magazine – it’s always fascinating to me to see how I come across to folks. So much fun and such an honor!

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Hope your holidays were wonderful and that you didn’t work as much as I did! Watch this space for blog posts on each of my Spring Knitscene designs!

Give One Get One!

Today I am in full on Christmas gear. I have on jingle bell earrings, a Christmas tee with Santa Claus, and Christmas socks that are striped red, white, and green with silver sparkle. I had to work the ice cream sales at school. It was for the children. Don’t judge me.

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Psst! Did you know you can follow me on Instagram?
 

I am feeling much more spirit, although I am sad to say I still have not put up my tree. I am planning on rectifying this tonight. I don’t care what has to happen, tonight there will be tinsel! Fortunately the man has already decorated the mantel and we’ve been sporting Christmas lights on the front of the house for weeks.

But today I have a gift for you! Did you know you can send patterns as gifts? All you need is someone’s Ravelry name OR their e-mail address. See that nifty little “send as gift” option circled in red there on the right? You click that, put their info in, put in your own Happy Holidays message and you’re good to go! Easy peasy!

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And right now if you buy a gift for someone I will give a gift to you! It won’t happen automatically, but I will be checking every hour for gift purchases, and if you give a gift I will send you a coupon for $6.00 off your next PicnicKnits purchase. Which means a single pattern is FREE! How do you like them apples?

I’m calling it the GOGO sale. Give One Get One! I will be checking every waking hour (EST) to send out the coupon codes and will catch up on overnight purchases first thing in the morning. So go! Give! Get!

I think I found it!

My Christmas spirit that is! It was simple things really. Yesterday I think I put about 200 miles on my minivan. Seriously. So many trips back and forth to both of the boys’ schools. One had cross country, one had tutoring, one needed money dropped off so they could go to the basketball game, one needed dinner and a boy scout uniform… and so it goes. And I was so very grumpy.

Some of my extra trips were because my youngest son *really* wanted to stay up at his school to help wrap presents. These presents were for a needy family. I didn’t have time to stay and help because of all the running, but he really wanted to stay. Which worked on this hard ole heart not just a little bit. I felt kind of like the grinch, my heart started to grow a couple of sizes.

And then I dropped off dinner for a friend who had surgery (she’s all good thanks for asking) and her family was so grateful. And I think that’s when my heart really grew. Because I’m sitting here stressing about deadlines and finances and what to buy the boys and that’s not what it’s all about. At all.

So I think I’m going to sit my little family down this week and talk about what we can do for others for Christmas. Because when push comes to shove we have everything we need and a lot of things we want. It’s time to give back a little more. And keep this heart the size it’s supposed to be.

And so I share with you (yes again) my most favorite Christmas song. Hope you enjoy it!