August 28, 2014

Whitby Place Hat & Cowl Pattern Release

I have been mentioning in the last few posts that my newest patterns,

would become available this week just in time for Autumn and holiday knitting.  Yesterday, the pattern made its debut on Craftsy and Ravelry.  Today it makes its debut here and in the Etsy shop.  
The pattern is named for the original source of the Whitby pattern that I chose--there are actually 8 different Whitby guernsey patterns to choose from thanks to the Scottish fishermen who once resided in Whitby in the county of Yorkshire, England.

This is my lovely model Kayla.  She was kind enough to volunteer for the job, and darn if I don't think now that she is so cute that one hardly notices the hat and cowl for her smile! (Thank you, Caley, for being my model!!!!)

The pattern(s) for this collection are the product of not having enough time to knit a gansey but being desperately in love with traditional fisherman gansey patterns.  The cable is from the Scarborough gansey pattern and the pseudo-Jacob's ladder is the Whitby gansey pattern.  Together, they are the Whitby Place Hat & Cowl pattern.  

This finished cowl measures 30 inches (circumference) by 15 inches (width) and the hat measures 20 inches (circumference) by 7.5 inches (height).  There are suggestions in the pattern, which includes both written instructions and a chart, for altering the dimensions for both the hat and the cowl.

I think this is the perfect weight of cowl to wear by itself in cool weather as a bit of a wind blocker or under your coat in cold, wintry weather to keep your neck and chest warm. This is a very easy pattern to knit and, since it's done in Cedar Hill Farm Company Flock 195 (3-ply worsted weight), it's a pretty quick knit.  I knit the hat in a few hours and the cowl over the course of about 4 days. Both pieces, total, require 410 yards of worsted weight yarn. Although the pattern was written with the female wardrobe in mind, done in a neutral color or a natural wool, this pattern would also be a stunning addition to the winter wardrobe of the man in your life.

And as a side note, I've also started blogging about new items as they arrive in the shop on one of my favorite sites:  Indie Untangled.  Check it out this weekend since you have nothing better but knitting to do with your extra day of holiday weekend.  I think you will fall in love with this fab site just like I did!

August 27, 2014

The Way Patterns Used to Be

My mother passed along the NYT Shawl pattern to me from Ravelry a few days ago.  In the pattern was an hyperlink that didn't work and resulted in my having to do some digging to find the actual source article for the pattern:  Gossip About Knitting (February 25, 1883).  I tell you this, not because I want to pass the shawl pattern along to you, but because there are apparently multiple articles of this title that contain amazingly few instructions; most particularly this glove pattern that threw me for a loop as I was reading through it.

Apparently, in 1883, The New York Times had an ENTIRE WEEKLY COLUMN dedicated to knitting and such.  DEDICATED.  I can guarantee that if the Atlanta Journal & Constitution had a weekly column dedicated to knitting, I'd actually read a newspaper.  I'd be a subscriber. I'd go all out! I may even become a subscriber to the NYT just so that I can get to the articles from the 1880s.

What the heck ever happened to that kind of columnist?  Wouldn't we all love to open our local paper and find weekly columns about crafty stuff like knitting, crochet, quilting, and weaving?  What kind of awesome would that be?!

So I am thinking of taking this glove pattern from 1883 out for a spin, limited instructions and all.  I am unsure about the yarn ... instructions call for "fine silk" ... maybe a lace-weight merino for this experiment will do. Perhaps the finished gloves will come out looking something like this, though there are instructions for individual fingers to be knit.

Weldon's Practical Knitter (c. 1885)

The thing that I find most interesting about the pattern, besides the fact that you work and finish the thumb before you knit the palm of the hand, it that the whole pattern is presented in what probably worked out in its original print to be about 3 inches of space (archival copy is significantly enlarged). There's no gauge. There's no notions list.  There's no abbreviations menu.  No pictures (someone sent me a negative convo on Ravelry the other day, complaining that my free pattern didn't have enough pictures!) required by the knitterly reader to knit the pattern. Just "Here is a needle size, grab some yarn, and whip this up!"  Fabulous, right?!

I can't wait to cast on! (Who cares if I already have a zillion projects waiting for some attention, right?)

August 25, 2014

Estonian Lace AND a Fiber Festival!

As I have mentioned before, I will be teaching a couple of knitting classes and I will be a vendor at the 

in Columbus, GA from Sept. 12-14.  

I'm a little stressed and very excited about the whole deal. I'm excited because who doesn't LOVE 3 days of fiber festival with the most awesome vendors in the Southeast?!? I'm a little stressed because there's still a bit of yarn to dye, fleece to wash, card, and spin, class materials to put together, yarn labels to attach, a pattern to finish designing so that I have something current to wear on the fashion show runway (yes, I am modeling my latest pattern, which will be available on Ravelry, Craftsy, and Etsy this week--there's a whole fashion show of knitted/crocheted/spun/woven/whatever items from the vendors and class instructors on Friday the 13th and just the date alone gives me that uneasy feeling).

Okay, maybe "a little stressed" is a significant understatement.

I have been knitting up a storm over the past few days to make sure that I had the swatches for the Estonian Lace class knit up, blocked, and photographed.  I am pleased as punch about how well they turned out.

These are the lace patterns that I will be teaching in the class Estonian Lace Knitting (which is almost full so you'd better hurry if you planned to sign up and just haven't gotten around to it yet because I think there are only 2 spots left!!!).  They are all traditional Estonian lace patterns that come from three generations or so of knitters in and around Haapsalu, Estonia.  The thing that sets Estonian (Haapsalu) Lace apart from other types of lace is the nupp--sometimes referred to as a nepp or a bobble.  Those little bumps are really a series of kftb stitches or k1, yo stitches done within a single stitch on the RS row and then worked again across the WS row.  The thicker the yarn, the more impossible it is to make a nupp, which is why, I imagine, this traditional lace style is done with cobweb lace (US 00-1 needle) or 2-ply lace (US 0-2 needle) yarn and is then knit on a needle larger than what is called for by the weight of the yarn, like a US 5 or US 6 needle. The class will, of course, cover both ways to make and to finish a nupp.

I am also teaching a class called Knit Like the Russians! (also almost full so if you are planning on signing up, NOW is the time!) and this class is a shorter-duration class that will teach knitters to knit more quickly and efficiently using a continental method that I swear by.  This same method is used by Galena Khmeleva, the famous Orenburg lace knitter who, as a matter of a fact, taught me to knit using this technique.

I am expecting that the Georgia Alpaca Fiber Festival is going to be HUGE!  The vendor space for the convention center is completely sold out!  Hotel accommodations in and around Columbus are getting to be slim pickin's, and the instructor list for the classes (knitting, crocheting, dying, felting, weaving, fleece, rug making, spinning, tatting) is pretty darned fabulous! I hope you can join us.  If you do, my booth (Cedar Hill Farm Company) should be pretty easy to spot near the front of the market, as I am one of the sponsors of the event. Definitely, you should stop by and say "hey!"

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