Last Day of the Gift-A-Long Sale!

Today is the last day of the gift-a-long sale but not the last day of the gift-a-long. It’s just getting started. There are knitalongs and crochetalongs and all sorts of other fun going on. There are designer interviews on blogs – including mine with the awesome Kris Carlson this week. You can still get 25% off my bundle until midnight EST.

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Here’s some important links that will help you keep on gifting along long after today passes:

The Indie Design Gift-A-Long group on Ravelry is the home for all things gift-a-long. There you can find all the knit along and crochet along threads and participating designers. Did you know you can use any paid pattern from my store or any other gift-a-long designer to enter the knitalongs? Ayup. So even after the sale is over you can pick one of our patterns and still enter for prizes!

This important thread in that group is rules and eligibility requirements. Weave in those ends and win some prizes people!

And you can still peruse all the gift-a-long sale patterns on the Pinterest Gift-A-Long boards.

So head on over to the group and make sure you get in on all the goodness that is running until the end of the year! You have weeks people!!!

OPP – Other People’s Patterns

I want to knit other people’s patterns. I really do. I see so many lovely things and I swoon and I think how simple it would be to grab yarn and needles and just knit. Without thinking, without designing, without doing complicated math and excel spreadsheets to make sure we can size it for everyone and everybody.

But knit design is how I make my living so I must resist the siren call of OPP – aka other people’s patterns. Yes, I do think I’m clever. Thanks for asking!

But this morning I went for a walk and it was 39 degrees y’all. Thirty-nine. As in less than 40. And not anywhere near the high 50’s low 60’s one might expect on a chilly November morning here in sunny Florida. And my head was cold! My hoodie was of no help whatsoever. None!

So instead of checking things off my to-do list I got sidetracked by this nifty pinterest board – 2014 Giftalong Hats & Heads! All kinds of gorgeous hats for the giftalong that I could choose from. I could print, grab some yarn from my stash and just go and be happy. Right? Right?!?!?

And y’all if I do – I’m thinking it might really be a hat like this one, Themisto by Tori Gurbisz. Because this is gorgeous and I don’t have to figure it out!

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So go check out this stunner of a hat and Tori’s other lovely patterns. And don’t forget the 2014 Giftalong sale only runs until Friday at midnight EST. So check out my 20 shawl bundle to make sure there is a pretty you need from me!

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The Fantabulous Kris Carlson

For the 2014 Gift-A-Long we got random assignments of folks to interview and to promote on social media. Most of the folks assigned to me for twitter and pinterest and the like I didn’t know, but it was neat to see new-to-me designs. But for the interview I hit the jackpot.

Not only did I get someone with a lovely catalog of designs, it is someone I know personally and know is super awesome. Lucky me! Sooooo have you met Kris?

 

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Kris is a gifted designer participating in the 2014 giftalong – check out her bundle of patterns. I’m also gonna sneak in some pictures of her giftalong patterns into this interview – click on the pic to go to the Rav page and use the code giftalong2014 for the 25% discount up until midnight EST this Friday, November 21st.

 

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But without further adieu, let’s hear from the fabulous lady in question…

 

How long have you been knitting? Who taught ya?

I taught myself how to knit from a book during the summer of 2002. I had hopes of making a Harry Potter scarf for my son to wear to the movies when it was scheduled to be released later that year. I had the flaws of most muggles back then. Thinking it would be quick, easy and cheap. Oh, how wrong I was. Did I complete the scarf. Yes. My son was 7 at the time and was happy to wear this precious gift his mommy made him. I on the other hand, I didn’t fall in love with the knitting bug until I was pregnant with my daughter 2 years later. Make those little hats, booties and a blanket really captured my interest of turning string into a tangle, usable piece of love.

 

What got you started designing?

I started designing when I couldn’t find what I was looking for. I had a vision of what I wanted and decided that it really only took a little bit of measuring and math to get the finished object I wanted.

 

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What is your favorite thing to design?

I love working with color, so stranded colorwork has a special place in my heart.

 

Knit design thing you’re most proud of?

A really proud moment was seeing the acceptance letter from Twist Collective. I sent a design on a whim. I really wasn’t expecting to get in. It was at that moment that I knew I had to up my game. Make a go of it, strive to put out what I loved in hopes that others loved it too.

 

What is your quest?

The Holy Grail for me is to finally make it to Rhinebeck. (fingers-crossed for 2015)

 

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What is your favorite, bury me in a bathtub full of it yarn?

Oh bring on the Qiviut and Cashmere… but really to be honest, one of my favorite yarns is Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool. I don’t know if it’s just been the combination of patterns with yarn, but I’ve loved working with it and have cherished the projects made with it.

 

Favorite fiber animal?

Alpaca. Love it.

 

What is your go-to knitting viewing? (TV or Movie, current or all-time fave)

Where to even begin? I love both TV and Movie and think they all have there place in my knitting world. If I need to concentrate on a design, then I put on some classic movies: Princes Bride, Labyrinth, Dark Crystal, The Stand or my fave, The NeverEnding Story. If it’s TV stuff, then I usually find myself binge watching shows like Fringe, Haven and IT Crowd…and how can you not fit in some Knitting Podcast like The Knit Girllls and The Fat Squirrel Speaks.

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What is your opinion on dangly stitch markers?

My go to stitch marker are jump rings because you can get bag of 200 for a couple of bucks, because if you’re like me you’re loosing them. All. The. Time. I do like a few fancier stitch markers to mark the beginning, but in general I think they weigh too much and tangle with the fabric.

 

Continental or thrower? Cable needle or let your cable stitches fly free?

I’m a thrower. I also choose to go cable needle free…especially after loosing so many of them. I remember fondly a road trip in Florida with my parents. Back and forth across the state and me working on my Fulmar sweater. It was sport weight yarn worked up on a US size 2 needle. Yeah, good-bye cable needle!

 

If you were suddenly filthy stinking rich, where would you pick up and move to?

Besides opening my own stash store…umm, I mean Yarn Store ;) Travel. Travel. And more Travel. My husband and I are huge castle fans. To go exploring the castles of the world would be fantastic.

 

Best knitting needles ever?

Signature needles are pretty awesome. I was a little disappointed that they don’t offer the fixed needles anymore. Addies Lace needles are runner ups and my every day, pick up what ever I can is ChiaoGoo.

 

What do you do on a stormy day when you have nowhere to be and no must-dos?

Those are Pajama Days! I try to spin on days like that. It puts me into a very comfy zen-like-zone.

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See? I told you she was awesome. So head on over to Ravelry and check out Kris’s bundle of wonderful designs for this year’s giftalong and don’t forget you can use any of her paid patterns to enter the knit-a-longs for chances at super prizes (some of which yours truly contributed!). Keep on stitching gift-a-longers!

Washi Madness

I have a problem. A washi problem. It started out innocently enough. I was in Staples getting some supplies for my arc notebook and some Staedtler pens, and I saw the tapes. I’ve heard about them of course. But these were on clearance so I picked up 4 of them.

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I thought a solid would be nice, a few simple patterns I could still write on, and then a fancy one for edging papers. I put them in my little batman bowl with my extra arc disks and used them a couple of times. But then things got out of hand. In the last week or so this happened…

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Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. In my defense a lot of this was on clearance at Staples. The dispenser I found at Jo-Ann’s and ended up paying only $8 for it instead of $25 (I had a really good coupon) – it rotates AND has little tape cutting edges. And Office Depot now has this massive display with all kinds of cute tapes like the bees or the robots or the bicycles.

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So far I think my favorite tape is the flame tape. It’s perfect for those super important tasks and easy to write on with Sharpie fine point markers. So yes, I have a washi problem. But on the bright side the dispenser is now full and I refuse to buy anymore. And there will be no more dispensers. I think. Maybe.

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But you know what? All these little brightly colored to-do reminders and fancy planner pages seem to be helping. I’ve gotten more done this week than I have in ages. Does washi madness = genius? Maybe so!

 

Gift-A-Long 2014

Last year they held this marvelous event called the giftalong. There were knitting pattern sales, and knitalongs and crochetalongs, and prizes, and all manner of good stuff. This year they have stepped up their game and I’m in it!

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I have 20 shawls available for 25% off with the coupon code giftalong2014 – and there are 292 other designers participating! There are shawls and socks and sweaters and scarves and even things that don’t begin with the letter S!

There is a fabulous way to browse ALL the patterns available in the 2014 Giftalong – if you head over to Pinterest you can see all the Giftalong boards and peruse the pretties to your heart’s content.

One of the neat things about the gift along is if you cast-on anytime after 8pm EST last night with one of my paid patterns, you can enter for prizes in the KAL. Same holds true for all of the Giftalong designers. It’s a great way to get a headstart on your holiday knitting, even if you only knit for yourself!

 

For Shawl Together

A little bit down the road you will be seeing the design process for a new design that I’m working up for the Shawl Together. It will be released in December as a kit from Infinite Twist and then later in my shop. But until then you will have to be content with some sneak peeks.

When I decided to work with Cate of Infinite Twist she sent me some swatching yarn. And I got to pick two of these loverly colors to work with for my design. Let me tell you it was a super, super hard choice. So many pretties. And I love the depth in her colors.

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But finally I settled on these beauties – Dune and Badlands. I love the way they play off each other and I want a whole sweater in the Badlands color – I’m just saying!

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I’m so excited to show y’all what I’m doing with these yarns. As usual it’s my new most favorite thing ever. And all her little mini cakes make for some pretty nifty office decorations if I do say so myself!

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There are weekly blog posts and such you won’t want to miss over at the Infinite Twist site for Shawl Together!

Fall Shawl Style

This post is part of the Fall Shawl Together, a collaborative featuring great shawl-related content from designers, bloggers, and podcasters. We’re featuring a new 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

In my part of the world, fall is the perfect time of year to wear shawls. It’s not always cold enough to wear a sweater or a coat, but sometimes you still need something to take that edge off. And if you’ve been knitting for any length of time you’ve probably been encouraged (ahem… coerced, peer pressured, persuaded) into knitting a shawl. If not, remind me to tell you about them sometime– they’re super fun to knit, usually involve interesting construction, fun patterns and sometimes some color play.

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But if you’re anything like me, figuring out how to wear shawls can be tricky. If you flip through the latest fashion magazine or your favorite Pinterest inspiration boards you won’t likely see anyone wearing a shawl. A cowl or scarf? Perhaps. But that doesn’t always translate. You’ve invested all this time knitting something beautiful but you want it to actually look beautiful when you put it together with an outfit. To help, I’ve compiled 6 great shawl looks and some bonus tips to make your hand knit shawls part of your fall style.

Look 1: Wear a shawl like a shrug

Kristine is shown here wearing her Caritas shawl. It’s a semi circular shawl that can be worn in many ways, but I think it looks especially nice worn as a shrug with the ends tied behind. I also love how the pinks tones in the shawl highlight the pops of pink in Kristine’s top, socks & earrings. It really brings the outfit together.

2-KristineTip: Choose a shawl in a similar color family as your favorite accessories to tie your outfit together.

Find Kristine on Instagram as kdlb & Yarnings Podcast

Look 2: Kerchief style with ends tucked

This is my personal favorite way of wearing shawls. It’s usually referred to as kerchief or bandana style. I love that it’s quick and doesn’t take much adjusting throughout the day. I put the point of a triangular shawl (or the widest part of a crescent shaped shawl) in front and tuck the ends underneath. I usually secure the ends with a shawl pin, clip or sometimes a stitch marker (in a pinch).

3- Jen Gray ShawlTip: Wear clothes and a shawl that are all neutral and then add splash of color with your shoes or jewelry.

4- Jen Gray Pink ShawlTip: If you wear a lot of plain colors (especially for tops), consider choosing yarn(s) for a shawl project that are bright and saturated. Even if you rarely wear a color like hot pink, adding it (especially in combination with other colors you’re more comfortable with) can be a great way to expand your horizons without stepping too far outside your comfort zone.

Find Jen on Instagram as BostonJen1

Look 3: Kerchief style with ends exposed

This look is similar to the last, though notice how Coralie has tied her shawl with most of the body of the shawl in front, but with the ends woven through and tied. I think this really makes the most of this shawl’s colors and textures. I also love that, set over a very neutral outfit, the addition of the peach adds some warm color up near Coralie’s face.

Tip: A shawl, especially with more than one color, adds a little something extra to an otherwise monochromatic outfit.

5- CoralieFind Coralie on Instagram as Cool_cocotte

Look 4: Shawl meets Scarf

6- EmiliaEmilia is wearing her Lintilla. I love how you can see the beautiful curve of the shawl in the front but the ruffled, long edges also look beautiful as they stream down her torso. The red in the scarf brings a bright pop of red close to her face and ties in the colors in her outfit nicely. The overall effect is similar to a scarf, but as we knitters know- knitting a shawl, even a narrow one is just that much more interesting than knitting a scarf! So go with what works for you.

Find Emilia on Instagram as Emilcarv1963

Tip: Look through your closet to see what colors you wear most. Choose yarn for a shawl based on what colors you’re drawn too and are likely to easily mix and match with multiples things already in your closet.

Look 5: The Sideways Shawl

7- Stacie SidewaysWearing your shawl with the majority of the fabric draped to one side is a beautiful look. Stacie looks lovely with her Tan House Brook shawl over an otherwise simple dress. You can tuck the ends of the shawl under and pin them to keep them out of sight.

Find Stacie on Instagram as muststashsheep & the Must Stash Video Podcast

8- Jen SidewaysAs an alternative, you could wrap or tie the ends of the shawl around on the opposite shoulder to add a little visual interest on both sides while maintaining and asymmetrical look.

Tip: Use a shawl pin to hold the shawl in place and to replace the need for jewelry (or to add a little extra bling to your outfit).

Look 6: Go Traditional

9-LornaWhile there are lots of ways to wear shawls, let’s not discount the traditional, shoulder-wrap look. It’s classic for a reason, and with stunning yarn and pattern combinations it won’t look anything like the ads and patterns you’ve seen in your grandmother’s magazines! What an easy way to dress up a simple outfit and make it something memorable (while also keeping you snug and warm)!

Find Lorna on Instagram as winky52

I hope these tips give you some new ideas and inspiration for incorporating your handmade shawls into your everyday style this season! Please come share how you wear shawls by posting on Instagram with #fallshawlstyle.

Jennifer Lassonde is knitter and designer. She hosts the Down Cellar Studio Podcast where she shares her love of knitting and other crafty pursuits (like sewing, scrapbooking and photography). Check out Jen’s blog for knitting, photography and family fun related articles.

 

Artsy Break Time!

So I’m cleaning the entire house today for a couple of reasons. Reason number one is that it is super, super overdue. Reason number two (the real reason) is that my older son is having friends over tomorrow to work on a religion project and I don’t want to embarrass him!

But I needed a break. Baseboards and vacuuming and it’s nearly time to scrub the toilets!

I’ve been trying to do non-knitting things to help relieve stress – because once knitting becomes your job and everything is on a deadline it’s not nearly as relaxing, and also I am trying to do other motions with my hands to help relieve the repetitive physical stress that comes from knitting constantly.

Today I made myself a new little arc notebook for my drawings and doodles. I’m finding that I really like working with paper that isn’t white or cream or off white or well you know… So I had picked up this handy dandy notebook at my favorite local art store and I promptly ripped its guts out!

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And then I used my fiskars paper trimmer to take off the edgings, and cut the pieces in half. This notebook had 5.5 x 8.5 inch pages. Once trimmed and cut in half they were the perfect size to put into my mini arc. I set up my arc punch and punched holes for the mini size – I had to experiment a bit.

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And now I have a perfect purse sized doodle book to carry around with me. And the “toned tan” paper looks lovely with all of my Sakura Micron pens and my Sakura Gelly Roll pen in white. I might even pick up some more gelly rolls for more fun colors.

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I think I might try to recreate this lovely cover design as a little doodle inside. It looks all zen and mandala-like!

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And now it’s time to scrub the toilets. I have two teenage sons. And husbands are just as bad. Say a prayer for me.

Still Sideways

When I first started designing shawls, it was for the love of a sideways shawl. I hadn’t seen anything that was quite what I had pictured in my head (even though there were a few out there) and I wanted to make my vision reality. And so I started my personal obsession with sideways with Gaenor.

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Gaenor was a huge hit, and my first taste of success. I started to see that pattern designing might be a viable stream of income. And so I did more sideways shawls…

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Renita, Lacaune, Eira, Argante,
Katara, Paris Mill, Kyveli, Cordelle,
Vittorio, Berlioz, Pettine, and Creedence.

I don’t do sideways often anymore because there are other shapes and methods to play with. Places to go and stitches to see. But when I recently got assigned the super delicious and smoothy Anzula worsted weight For Better or Worsted, I had an ace in the hole.

Years ago I found this weird little stitch pattern online – it was filled with charming little tidbits such as “a nice pattern with many uses” or “This row is repeated alternately, therefore we shall not mention it again.” Also the picture is sideways so when I tried to figure out the 36-row repeat from the the 15 rows of instructions – “The knitting can now be easily continued from illustration.” – I was a teensy bit confused.

But I figured it all out and worked up the squishiest, softest, most delicious sideways shawl to wrap yourself up in this fall and winter. It will be coming out very soon with a fab collection of Anzula patterns, so for now here is a super smoothy sneak peek! Still needs blocking and of course a proper photo shoot, but the squishy goodness cannot be denied!

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Rhinebeck Recap

Sadly I did not get to go to KDTV. I caught a nasty stomach bug and wasn’t able to fly – which was probably for the best because had I attempted it I would have probably ended up quarantined! Fortunately they got the fabulous Andi Smith (aka KnitBrit) to fill in and do a segment of her own, and Louisa Demmitt did one of my segments for me. So I won’t go unrepresented!

But by the time Friday morning rolled around the stomach bug was long gone and I decided to go ahead and fly out to Rhinebeck. My friends were very excited I could still come and I was looking forward to a fun weekend. I wasn’t disappointed.

I did not take enough pictures. At all. I wish I could back and do selfies with every single fabulous person who hugged me or stopped me in a crowd to say hello. It really was that wonderful. I was with my people.

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Me, Kim (aka ContinentalKim), Kristin in the back (aka KBelle or ComeToSilver)
began our adventure after a very, very early flight.

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And then we had real New York bagels on the way from JFK to Rhinebeck.
So freaking delicious.

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Kristin and I got to be pretty, pretty princesses!

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Heather (aka digitalnabi) was the star of  book signing row!

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I spotted my patterns for sale – see the pretty Biellese?

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I saw llamas on parade. And yes I did sing the llama song to myself
just a little bit – llama, llama, duck!!!

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I wore my pretty new Baah stole that my husband later felted. Fortunately we got pictures beforehand. Also New York weather gives me wavy hippy hair. Maybe because we were so close to Woodstock?

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And I swooned over foliage. I haven’t seen any in real life for over 10 years!

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I decided to take up spindling again – what?!?!?
And I decided I need quality supplies like this gorgeous little Bosworth.

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I bought sheepy earrings from Jennie the Potter.

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And a lot of other awesome stuff.

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This is the gorgeous old farm house we stayed in. It was lovely but also slightly creepy. Despite the creepiness I made lots of new friends and got to spend time with old and dear ones as well. I think it was Mindy Wilkes and her sister Tracy who sang the “one is silver and the other gold” friendship song. It really was like that. Great friends that I can’t wait to see again. And since all of them were from Cincinnati and I grew up there it might not be that long!

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And this is what I feel like fall should always look like with wooden fences and winding paths.

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And on the way home we went to a Doctor Who themed restaurant – the bathroom was bigger on the inside!

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And had actual fish fingers and custard. The end.