2015 Knitting in Review

Inspired by Karie and Jen, a little look back at my year in knitting! All of my patterns are available in my Ravelry shop.

This year, TWENTY THREE of my designs were published, and there are more that will be revealed next year! Holy moly. No wonder I’m tired – if I ever complain about not being productive enough, kick me will ya?

This was the first year I’ve really done a lot of projects with yarn companies, and even a magazine. At the beginning of the year I decided it was high time I pushed a little harder with third party submissions, and I think it paid off quite nicely. I’ve had a lovely time working with Mari and Stef at Stitchcraft Marketing to hook up with yarn companies looking for patterns.

With Harrisville Designs, I released the Westley Cardigan (keep an eye out for a KAL in the new year – once gift knitting is all done!) and a trio of accessory patterns for their new TURBINE bulky: Corrugated Rib Hat, Purl Dot Mittens, and Waving Rib Scarf.

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With Feel Good Yarn Company, I designed their first 3 sweaters! Bellwood and Ayden are worked in SilverSpun Sport, and Claremont in SilverSpun Sock (check out this one from Wendy Knits!). Yarn kits are available at a discount!

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More patterns from companies I haven’t worked with before! Cobbled Wrap and Scarf with Solitude Wool, Odyssey Cowl with Bijou Basin Ranch and Motley Hat and Mitts with Louet North America!

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A little bit of magazine work: Rail Yard (free on Knitty!) and one that I haven’t shown here before and just came out, an Infinity Scarf in the new Fall/Winter 2015 Noro Magazine.

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On the self-publishing side, I did my very first Knitalong! There were prizes and everything. I worked up a Just Enough Ruffles Light in a fun Mountain Colours gradient set.

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And although it took me a little longer than I anticipated, I also released a collection of wrap sweaters (and a cowl) this fall, titled Edgewood.

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That isn’t quite everything, but it’s enough! My patterns are all available in my Ravelry shop. I already have 6 deadline projects lined up for the next few months, so 2016 is shaping up to be pretty busy!

Are you done your holiday knitting? I sort of am, with one project currently on the needles for a post-holidays gift (not too fussed about the deadline). Plus I have a lot of knitting that I’d like to accomplish on holiday vacation – I always think I can warp time to knit ALL THE THINGS even if it’s just a few days!

Thank you all so much for reading, visiting and knitting my patterns! I am so grateful for all your support. Happy (and Knitterly) Holidays and New Year!

KAL tutorial: Blocking Just Enough Ruffles

We’ve come to the end of the knitalong! Thanks to Stitchcraft Marketing and Knitter’s Pride for the awesome prizes, and to all the knitters who joined in on Ravelry! Scroll down to the bottom for a BONUS ROUND PRIZE!

Today I’ve got another photo tutorial for you – on blocking your finished Just Enough Ruffles or Just Enough Ruffles Light!

I know blocking can sound intimidating, particularly for newer knitters, but it’s really not hard – and it makes SUCH a huge difference in the quality of your finished piece! It really is like magic, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. For many projects, a simple soak and lay flat to dry is all you need. The soak allows the fibers to relax and bloom, and you can shape the damp piece so it dries the way you want.

First, weave in your ends. I like this article from Knitty! For scarves and reversible items, you’ll want to follow the stitches as closely as possible so they’re nice and neat. I clip the ends at this point, but depending on the project you might want to leave them a little longer to trim after it’s dry.

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Gather up your blocking stuff – a bowl (or sink), some Eucalan or other wool wash, blocking mats (or a towel) and some pins, if needed.

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Tepid water is usually recommended, but sometimes I break rank and use warm water. As long as it’s not like, scalding hot, you’ll be ok! Add some wool wash and get the knitting in there. Wool resists absorbing water, so you’ll need to hold it under until it gets wet and sinks. Leave it for at least 10 minutes or so to relax.

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Carefully dump out the water and gather up the piece as best you can in your hands. Press it to release the majority of the water, but don’t twist or wring it. Then to get even more water out, lay it out on a towel (it can be haphazard, but should be in a single layer), roll it up and walk on it! No shoes, please.

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Once you’ve gotten most of the water out, lay your piece on some blocking mats (these are from Knitter’s Pride) or a towel.

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Knitter’s Pride sent me some of their Knit Blockers to try out, and they are awesome. Each large handle has 8 pins in it so you don’t have to go stabbing yourself repeatedly while pinning (or is that just me…) plus they’re great for getting straight lines.

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But do be careful, as they’re quite sharp! I used several Knit Blockers along the top edge to help it lay flat. If you wanted to stretch the edge to make it longer, the pins would be great to help hold it in place as it dries. For this project, I didn’t need to stretch it out as it relaxed quite nicely in the soak.

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Next, onto the important part – the ruffle! Start at one end – see how it’s all messy and all over the place? We can fix that!

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First I like to spread out the fabric a little at a time, so I can see the length and smooth out the bottom edge there.

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Then use your fingers to shape the ruffle into even-ish folds, like crimping pie crust!

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It certainly doesn’t need to be perfect – the ruffle will change and move when you wear it anyway, but we’re just trying to encourage it to lie straight at the bottom edge. On the left side of the photo is the un-shaped ruffle, with the shaped ruffle on the right!

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I actually find this very satisfying work. The trickiest part is sitting on the floor to do it!

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Not bad, eh? Once you’ve got your piece all laid out the way you like, leave it to dry. If it’s very humid or you need it to dry fast, try aiming a fan on it or using a dehumidifier in the room!

Here’s my finished JERL! Doesn’t that ruffle look awesome now?

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Pattern: Just Enough Ruffles Light, available on Ravelry
Yarn: Mountain Colors Perspectives Twizzle, Reds/Pinks
Needles: US 4 / 3.5mm circular

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Time for one last BONUS giveaway! I have a set of Knitter’s Pride Nova Cubics Platina Deluxe interchangeable needle set to send to a lucky winner!

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Comment on this post with a link to your Ravelry KPChauKAL project page or IG post to enter!

Closes a midnight Sunday August 23, 2015, and I’ll post the winner on Monday.

Thanks again to everyone who participated for making my first KAL foray a success!

KAL Tutorial: Infinite Long-Tail CO

It’s kickoff day for the Neckwear Knit-a-Long with Knitter’s Pride!

Here’s the awesome plan!

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Join the fun by sharing your photos in the Knitter’s Pride Ravelry Group and on Instagram using the hashtag: #kpchauKAL

PRIZES!
Prize #1 Buy a pattern
Purchase any neckwear pattern using the coupon code neckwearKAL15 by July 31 and you’ll be entered to win a Nova Platina Deluxe Needle Set!

Prize #2 Post to Instagram
Post a photo on Instagram of your KAL progress using #KPchauKAL and you’ll be entered to win a Marblz Fixed Circular knitting needle. We’ll choose a winner on Friday, July 31.

Prize #3 Start a project page on Ravelry
Start a project page and use the tag KPchauKAL and you’ll be entered to win a Marblz Fixed Circular needle. We’ll choose a winner on Friday, August 14th.

Prize #4 Finish Your Project
Post a photo of your finished project by August 21, 2015 in the Ravelry KAL thread and you’ll be entered to win a Eucalan Gift Pack.

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I’ll be knitting Just Enough Ruffles Light in this gorgeous Mountain Colors yarn gradient set, and I have a few tutorials to help you out as you knit.

If you’re not knitting this particular pattern and have an issue, feel free to post questions here on the blog or in the Ravelry thread – there are lots of helpful knitters there who just might help you out a little faster than I can!

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Today we’ll be covering a really valuable method of working the Long-Tail Cast-on – an Infinite Long-tail cast-on! Lots of people love the traditional long-tail CO (myself included) but it can be a bit of bear to figure out how long of a tail to pull out of the ball, especially when working a CO of several hundred stitches. Working from both ends of a ball is a great solution – you never have to estimate how long of a tail and come up short (or way too long).

You’ll need a center pull ball of yarn – don’t worry, if you don’t have a ball winder, you can always wind a center pull ball by hand! If you’re using two different skeins of yarn, you can also use one tail from each ball. You can even use two different colours for a contrasting edge if you’re feeling fancy!

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Pull out the ends of the ball (in this case it’s one from the inside, one from the outside) and hold them together to make a slipknot.

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I usually count this doubled slipknot as the first cast-on stitch, though you can also choose to take it off the needle at the end of the first row of knitting, if you’re making something delicate where the doubled yarn will be apparent.

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Put the doubled slipknot on your needles and tighten it up – I’m using the US 4 / 3.5mm tip and longest cord from my Knitter’s Pride Nova Platina set.

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There are lots of long-tail cast-on videos out there I’m sure, so I’m just going to go through a little quickly! The two ends of the ball will now become your two tails. If you want to knit your project from the center of the ball, make sure that the strand coming from the *outside* of the ball is over your thumb. Create a ‘slingshot’ with the two tails.

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Bring your needle up through the thumb loop from the outside…

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Up and over the inside index finger loop…

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And draw through the center of the thumb loop.

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Take your thumb out of the loop and use it to snug up the stitch. You don’t want to tighten too much when you cast on, because it can produce a rigid, inflexible edge.

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Sometimes the yarn can get a bit tangled when working this cast-on over a large number of stitches, or in very twisty yarn. Don’t worry too much about it, just let go of the tails every once in awhile to allow the twist to equalize itself.

You could also use this method of pulling from both ends of the ball to do a number of other types of long-tail cast-ons, like the German Twisted Cast-on or the Austrian Long-tail Cast-on.

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I like to place markers in as I go, every 25 or 50 stitches depending on how many I need in total. Just slip the stitch marker onto the right needle and keep casting on!

When you’re finished, cut the strand of yarn that was over your thumb – in this case, it’s the strand on the right of the photo above. Leave a few inches of tail for weaving in.

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And that’s it! You can cast on 40, 100, 200+ stitches with this Infinite Long-Tail Cast-on and never have to worry about running out of yarn!

Don’t forget to use the Ravelry coupon code neckwearKAL15 for 25% all my neckwear patterns before July 31 to be entered to win an awesome interchangeable needle set!

See you in the Knit-a-long thread :)