Friday, February 5, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day! Kiruto Baby Jacket



Ah February, the month of Amore, 2 years ago we were expecting our own February Baby and Valentine's Day was just that much sweeter for it. Right now our little guy is going to be turning 2 and it seems like that is just about the time when everyone else's babies become a little more.. appealing (more babies! more babies!)... especially the adorable model for this photo shoot. Aisling is modeling the Valentine's day version of the Kiruto Baby Jacket, a sweater designed especially for her and her special Mom.



Aisling is Baby number 5, wow right?! I mean we are 3 kids into this life together and it already seems overwhelming at times, 5 is like this amazing mountain of kidlet love that appears pretty magical from the outside. This last baby (have to cross through to appease Murphey's law) was pretty special, a teeny tiny love muffin of a girl who is quite simply just a precious chilled-out baby dearest.

Now I knew that I needed to create something new and simple for Aisling and her Mama, both Mom and Dad are really into Japanese culture and I personally love Japanese quilts and quilted clothing. I also love smocked stitches, I think they create such an interesting fabric that really changes the structure and drape of the knitted item. The final fabric seems warmer and cozier, it really does feel like it is quilted!

The Kiruto baby Jacket is a simple dolman style jacket, knit from the bottom up in 3 colors. Worked evenly to the armholes, stitches are cast on for the sleeves and the cuffs are worked with 3 slipped stitches for a thicker rounded edge. The stitches for the back sleeves are picked up from the cast on for the front sleeves reducing seaming. The tops of  the sleeves are grafted using kitchener's stitch for less inner irritating seams on sweet baby skin. When the main body is finished the i-cord is worked around the edges using the darkest color, a small loop is created at the top left neck opening and both ties are worked at the top right neck opening.


For this design to work out well row gauge is just as important as stitch gauge, the striping sequence is based on a repeat of the pattern in rows. This means that if your row gauge is significantly larger or smaller you will want to make sure to add or remove pattern repeats to match the schematic for an appropriate size.

This pattern also comes with a step by step smocking stitch picture tutorial, some of the testers who helped me perfect this pattern had trouble with the stitch pattern and so I worked up a 14 step worksheet to help. This comes with the pattern and will help with any difficulties you may have regarding this unusual stitch pattern.

Kiruto is worked in a Ella Rae Chunky Superwash, and works up really really quickly! I bet if you started today you could finish in time for Valentine's Day this year! Less than 2 weeks? perhaps you could! Check it out on Ravelry today and get your knitting needles clicking for your own Sweet Love Muffin Baby!


This little sweater can be unisex as well, check out the original sample made for Aisling in 3 shades of Blue.This sample worked in Cascade 220 Aran Superwash in colors 1999 Majolica Blue, 1992 Deep Jungle, and 849 Dark Aqua, these colors are not noted in the pattern.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Kitto, the swatch yarn that grew itself into a cowl OR the final fate of an epic yarn



Several years ago, before we were even pregnant with our third child who was born in 2014, there was a call for submissions that inspired me, something along the lines of geometric, modern, splashes of color. I headed over to my amazing Local Yarn Shop Paradise Fibers and took a look around, for something… special, colorful and unique. Cestari stood out like a beacon in the night, amazing loft, unique colors, a dry hand similar to silk despite it being 100% wool, and a quick knit Aran weight. It was one of the first yarns to come out in the bright neon yellow that was to become so popular and I just had to have it!

Long story short my proposal was not successful, I had other opportunities brewing and the remaining yarn was stuffed into the ever overflowing “swatch stash” to await a future fate.


My long forgotten Cestari was pulled out again when I was searching for a yarn to knit my sister in law a scarf. I am blessed with incredibly talented women in my family, my mom is a quilter, my sister is studying at Cambridge, and my sister in law is a fantastic photographer. She even took pity on me when I whined about all the samples I needed to photograph and did a shoot for me, including the modeled shots of this cowl (modeled by my brother, thanks again Kev!) So in exchange for the photos a scarf was ordered and amidst all the stash diving the Cestari jumped out of the bin, it turned out not to be her cup of tea but I didn’t have the heart to dismiss it to the bowels of the bin again. It stayed out on my studio table silently guilting me for having such awesome yarn and never doing anything with it.

Finally a week before our trip to Edmonton and my scheduled photo shoot I thought… what the heck.. I could knit something with that in a week. It might not get published but at least I would be warm up north right? Away I knit, the design morphing out of what I had to work with, after I used up the remainders of my yellow and coral skeins I thought, maybe this needs another color? 3 days before our scheduled departure I was off to the yarn shop again.


The Cestari was nowhere to be found. !!!. But now I had to have more, there was a design brewing, I had thought about a third color and that needed to be investigated without delay. What if I only used 2 colors and wondered for the rest of my life if it would have been better with 3? I asked. My lovely LYS owner said “Oh! Yes we have loads of that”, I must have looked dubious because she quickly followed with “we moved it downstairs because we didn’t have a pattern to feature and it wasn’t selling”… excellent.

I came home with another skein of yellow and an additional skein of grey, perfect, I was finished the day before we left.


Kitto ended up being the warmest loftiest cowl ever and we even used it at the Palomino Sunset photoshoot to keep one of our terrific models from freezing to death between pictures on the windy prairie. Here we are, warm in our woolies!


Worked in the round from the bottom up it uses 90% of each color and has very simple patterning. Stacked decreases create points on the cast on edge and staggered eyelets are worked for a slightly lacey allover pattern. The finished product is about 55” around which is perfect to wear in a single layer infinity scarf or doubled up as a massive cowl. Basic skills for this pattern are working in the round, yarnover increases, sk2p decreases, knit and purl stitches. The lace pattern for the bottom border is charted but simple, and the lace pattern for the grey insert is written. This cowl also makes use of k2tog bind off that creates a stretchy edge so you can wrap it twice without a tight edge to deal with.



Monday, November 30, 2015

Palomino Sunset





I have been so excited about releasing this pattern I don't even know if I can begin to tell you! I guess I will have to try because I am releasing Palomino Sunset this week and it is my favorite design to date. This design began way back in June when I helped plan the Knitters for Critters fundraiser here in Spokane Washington, a fundraiser supporting Spokanimal our local animal shelter and hosted by Paradise Fibers.

One of the yarn companies that helped to sponsor our fundraiser was Ancient Arts yarn, they have a multitude of great yarn and some of it is organized into colors that are inspired by Shelter animals. The Woof Collection and Meow Collection are lines that come in either DK or Fingering weight and a percentage of every sale is donated to either the Best Friends Animal Society (USA) or the Meow Foundation (Canada). They have such an incredible range of colors it was hard to choose just one to spoil my yarn diet with, but somehow I managed and came home with two lovely skeins of Fingering weight in Prairie Flower.


Now I am a Canadian citizen, I may live in Spokane but I was born and raised in Edmonton Alberta and got my BFA at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary Alberta. So it was a serendipitous affair when I found out that Ancient Arts is not just from Alberta but they are based in Calgary.. seemed like a good match to me! The Prairie Flower color was just so reminiscent of dusk on the Prairie it really took me back to quiet dark rides across the plains while my Dad drove us out to the lake for summer vacation. I love the dramatic color transitions of the yarn from aqua to warm brown, deep mauve and a touch of gold, and wanted to design a shawl that really let the yarn sing while still being something more than garter stitch.

Palomino Sunset is worked with long floats and decreases to create a lovely heart motif that splays out on each side of the shawl. The shawl is divided into three sections with double increases on each outer edge and single increase on either side of the center garter stitch panel. This makes a wide rounded crescent shape that hugs the shoulders, perfect  if you were maybe a little nostalgic for a childhood home and needed something warm and soothing to remind you of simpler times. The shawl is worked from the top down and the border is added sideways with a smaller version of the heart motif.


This stitch pattern breaks up the dramatic color shifts and has such a large motif that it speaks through the loud yarn. This pattern works really well with any heavily variegated yarn and since the second skein begins with three rows of the main body remaining you could use two different skeins with great effect.

We recently traveled back to Edmonton to visit with family and friends for the first time in many years and I just knew that this shawl had to come along for the ride. My lovely and talented Sister in Law Chelsea Jones of Vitality Images was the driving creative force behind the photoshoot and  found this amazing location to shoot the shawl in. Her lovely friend Caroline was the perfect model (thanks again Caroline! you are as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside) and I think you will agree that Palomino Sunset looks perfectly at home in the midst of the waving prairie grass.


I was particularly thrilled that we took the photos by this run down shack as it really triggered a favorite childhood memory for me of a late night drive out to the lake. It was mostly dark out and my sister and I were looking out the windows at the scenery. When we saw a tumble down shack (which is very common on the prairie) I decided to have a little fun and told her that it was actually a 'ghost shack'. My colorful yarn explained that when a person died on the prairie they were not buried, instead their families would erect a building over top of the body for the spirit to live in. I must have been convincing because I remember it very clearly and she was fairly unnerved, so Ali, I apologize!


Maybe you have some fond memories of the prairie, maybe not, but I hope you enjoy this pattern as much as I enjoyed knitting and designing it.

Since this pattern is going live on Cyber Monday I am having a sale, Buy 1 Get 1 free ALL WEEK! Check out all my patterns here on Ravelry and choose two for the price of one

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Besom: A Color Tutorial


I have a new pattern just published with Twist Collective, Besom is my first design with Twist and I couldn't be more pleased with the result!

A worsted weight cardigan that is simple and striking, Besom lets the colors do the talking by creating dynamic movement in the otherwise static design. The edges are faced and seamed for a clean and finished look and the pattern has a wide range of sizing; 34 (39 ½, 43, 46 ½, 50, 55 ½, 59, 62 ½)” / 86.5 (100.5, 109, 118, 127, 141, 150, 159) cm bust circumference. The cardigan is worked in the round and steeked (which means worked with extra stitches, sewn and then cut open) and the button bands are picked up and added at the end. This means that all the colorwork is created in the round and there are no wrong side rows within the patterning areas.

What I really wanted to achieve with this design was a color gradation that was simple and fun, which emphasized the pattern and inspired the knitter to try something new. I wanted to design a stranded pattern that was great for a knitter who is new to Fair Isle. The type of design where you perhaps don't need a chart after the first round of dots and it is easy to spot a mistake if you make one.

The colors for this garment are what really make it special.  Besom takes advantage of the wild new neon pink that has recently become available and uses it center stage as the main star of the pattern. Of course not everyone is into neon pink so why not change it up? set a course for color and let's talk about what might also look great in this design.

What makes the color work for this garment is the movement from the darkest color/shade on the outside edges to the lightest color/shade on the inside edges. This means that for the same 'look' as the original you should start with an outside color that is vastly darker in shade, meaning that if you squint your eyes the color is basically removed and one looks darker than the other. This combined with a main color that is similar in shade to the lightest pattern shade gives the pattern it's signature look. When you squint your eyes at the lightest color it should be close to the main background color, they can blend or almost blend together in front of your eyes.

Squinting your eyes reduces the amount of color information your eyes can receive and improves your perception of light and dark. This is called the color value, you can also use a transparent red color value finder such as this one.


Blues Scale: Dale Garn Freestyle colors from bottom to top: 5755, 5436, 6015, 0184, Background: 0004

Above you can see the colors present in the original sample, the dark purple moves into a more gray dull purple, into a muted pink and finally into the bright pink, the background of this garment is the dove grey heather. But what if you like blues better? And what about that neon green? The second colorway idea The Blues Scale moves from the darkest blue, though two lighter blue shades into the neon green. If you squint your eyes at these two suggestions you can see that the bottom shades are pretty close in shade (meaning that they appear almost the same with squinted eyes) the second to top shade on the blue scale is slightly lighter than the pink scale but the neons sit at about the same intensity.




Muted Scale: Dale Garn Freestyle colors from bottom to top: 2671, 2621, 4202, 0020, Background: 0017
Electric Scale: Dale Garn Freestyle colors from bottom to top: 0184, 0144, 0130, 0120, Background: 0083

Now these two color ideas are opposites, the first one is all muted browns and pinks on a background of white. As you can see the darkest color is definitely dark and very obvious and the lightest color blends in seamlessly with the background. This palette will give you a much more defined outer edge and a much subtler inner 2 rows of dots. In the original sample the inner 2 rows are the bright pink, and even though they are about the same shade as the background they are much more intense in color saturation. In this Muted color scale the lightest color is barely different than the background and will make those lines of patterning less visible.

The use of the gently gradating color in this garment and attention to the shades and intensity of the lightest and darkest create the depth and movement in the piece. 

The Electric Neon color scale to the right is the complete opposite of the original sample. It has such a dark background color and bright intense neons that the dot colors sit on top of the background. This is a fun colorway idea no mistaking that, but it will give a very different effect than the other color scales. You can see on the Muted color scale that the shades are far more integrated while on the Electric color scale they are very defined and sit forward to the eye. A Besom Cardigan created with the Electric color scale will not have the depth or movement that the original has. All the colors of all the dots will sit within the same depth of field for the eyes and will seem to 'float' above the darker background.



Pinks Scale: Dale Garn Freestyle colors from bottom to top: 4826, 4617, 4613, 2205, Background: a 2621, b 4845
Blue Scale: Dale Garn Freestyle colors from bottom to top: 8045, 6135, 6015, 7014, Background: a 2621, b 5755


While we are talking about depth of field let's take a look at how we can reverse the depth of field in the cardigan pattern. The top two scales above both have a color gradation that works within the original parameters of the design. The bottom colors are much darker than the background and the lightest color is similar in shade to the background. But what happens when the darken the background? The lightest colors become much lighter and are the focal point, whereas the darkest colors blend in much better with the background and are less obvious. This reverses the movement of the colors, instead of anchoring at the bottom and moving into the top the colors will anchor at the top and move into the bottom. You can manipulate this to change what areas of your body the garment will put focus on.

If you want to draw attention away from your waist but still work the patterning put your highest contrasting dots on your hips, if you want to draw attention away from your hips put the highest contrast on your waist. 




Grey Scale:  colors from bottom to top: 0090, 0083, 0007, 0004, Background: 3309, 4613. 4845, 4018

What about reversing the colors and neutrals? Work the dotted design with a transitioning palette of neutrals from black to grey and use a solid color for the background.The uppermost examples of this have the highest contrast at the outer patterning just like the sample. The lower left example has the highest contrast at the top which is opposite to the original. The lower right example uses a mid-ground red which has contrast with both the lightest and darkest shades on the grey scale. This will create visual contrast on both the edges and the inner rings while still having movement within the choices.


If you want to draw attention away from your waist and your hips skip the lower patterning completely and just work patterning on the bottoms of the sleeves and the yoke. Place your highest color contrast on the inner rings to place emphasis on the bust and forearms which slims the waist and hips. Or to draw attention to the face and neck place the highest contrast color closest to the edge of the garment which will naturally attract the eye there. 

I hope this post has inspired you to get creative with your color choices, and knit up a Besom Cardigan for yourself. Below you will find information on where to get the pattern and yarn for this project. 

                                                                                                             -Meghan Jones



All the yarn referred to in this post is Dale Garn Freestyle, the yarn that was used for the sample. Below is the full color card of Dale Garn Freestyle, and you can purchase this yarn from Mango Moon and Dale Yarn here. Below is the complete color card for Dale Yarns. 


You can purchase this pattern from Twist Collective here. 


Want to learn more about color theory? Check out my Color Theory for Knitters Post here for a basic introduction to color theory and how you can harness the power of the color wheel for knitting. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Carmadine


 New pattern release! Carmadine is an adorable raglan cardigan knit with it's own blooming bed of flowers and sweet asymmetrical shawl collar.


This little sweater all started with a few balls of red Debbie Bliss Cashmerino that I just could not pass by. The bright red just seemed to celebrate the beginning of spring and the longer days of tiny sprouts poking up through the ground opening their leaves to the burgeoning sunlight. It is ironic that a sweater designed for the spring is finally ready to leave my studio in the half light of a November morning, when the partially bare trees shake in the chill of a stormy sky. But it also seems appropriate for this garden lover to release a tiny bed of flowers in the beginning of the winter, what better way to get through the dark months than with bright red cashmere flowers?


This cardigan is worked from the bottom up, flat, and then joined at the underarms to work the raglan yoke. The flower pattern is worked along the bottom edge with corresponding bobble blooms on the bottom sleeves. The sample is a 3-6 month size modeled by the adorable Emarie and I am assured that a mid photo shoot nap time indicates she was infinitely cozy.

You can find this pattern on Ravelry 



Friday, October 23, 2015

Zebra Confetti


 I think I am pretty comfortable admitting that I have a thing for patterns on the bias, or more specifically the magic of finding a pattern that I can manipulate to be knit on the bias. And fiber craft worked on the bias has a little bit of magic added to it, okay maybe a better way to say it is that there is a little bit more magic since I generally think that taking any kind of string and making it into a material is pretty magical to begin with. Working on the bias creates such drape, the fabric (knitted or otherwise) just flutters, it slinks, slithers and mostly behaves in a far more sultry fashion than other fabrics.

My other favorite part of working on the bias is that it is a perfect platform for stripes, interesting stripes, stripes for the sake of illustrating texture and construction that inform the eye of the why and how of the scarf. This scarf, aptly named Zebra Confetti, is worked with two skeins of Madelinetosh Pashmina, on the bias with a cables and lace pattern in wide stripes of each color.

The stitch pattern is subtle enough not to compete with the flecks of color in the spatter dyes Cosmic Wonderdust color way( c'mon who doesn't want something knit out of yarn with a name like that?), and the Dirty Panther Grey is the perfect contrast color. There is minimal working in of ends as well, the colors are carried up the sides with a curling border that disguises the carried wraps. 

This pattern is easily customized, there are notes in the pattern that indicate how to increase the width for more of a shawl or wrap. There are also tips on how to work with the two colors untangled and when to weigh your yarn so you can begin decreases at the correct point. 


Thanks so much to my awesomesauce brother Kevin who helped model this scarf, as you can see it is truly a unisex design. And another thanks to my very talented and clever sister in law Chelsea of Vitality Images. If you live in the Edmonton Area and need photos you really need her to do them, check out her website here. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Weekender

Oh don't you love those simple weekend projects, you know the ones that just skip along and are finished by Sunday evening, ready to wear Monday morning? I know I love them, and don't knit nearly enough of them.

Weekender is an  adorable headband is worked in Noema from Lousia Harding, a worsted weight cotton blend it has a multitude of tweedy colors flickering in and out of the yarn. The headband is worked back and forth flat from the tails to the center front and is grafted together for a seamless fit. The lace pattern is charted and written and has patterning on the RS and the WS for part of the chart.


This pattern is infinitely adjustable by working more or less repeats of the pattern and would work wonderfully in a smaller gauge yarn with more repeats for length.


FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
 46.5 (49)” long, to fit 20 (22)” head circumference, adjustable.

MATERIALS
Louisa Harding Noema [75% Cotton, 20% Acrylic, 5% Nylon (Polyamide); 131 yds /50g]; color #15 mojito, 1 ball

1 set US #6/4mm straight needles OR 1 set US #6/4mm 24 inch circular needle

Tapestry needle, stitch holder or waste yarn.

GAUGE
22 sts/26 rows = 4” over charted pattern, gauge is not crucial for this pattern.

PATTERN NOTES
This headband is worked back and forth from the tail to the center head in two pieces that are grafted together. The beginning chart has patterning on both sides of the work. The chevron lace section is easily adjustable for any heads size.