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!"

August 22, 2014

Hey Y'all, It's Almost Fall!

It's hot!!  Sooo hot that I just want to stay in the house with a fan on me and the air conditioning running and do nothing but knit!

But the crazy knitting lady thing is ... what I want to knit is pretty much as far from reasonable for the season as you can get.  I want to knit cold weather stuff.  You know, knit it now so I will have it then because it IS almost Fall and with any luck we will actually begin to see some cooler weather up here in the Georgia foothills before November hits. Somewhere, though, beyond the Mason Dixon line maybe, the weather is beginning to turn toward the correct temperatures for the Fall season, and to help you lucky folks along with your knitting, these new color ways in 100% pure Peruvian worsted wool have arrived in the Etsy shop.  Yes, yes, they are in colors that will make your crafty heart sing!

Each hank is of Flock 195 is 195 yards (178 m) @ 3.6 oz. (102 g).  They are kettle-dyed, four hanks at a time, so the dye lot is the same, even though there is a bit of a patterning difference from one hank to another.

And to jazz up your cold weather wardrobe, I also have a new pattern: the Whitby Place Hat & Cowl that will be coming your way next week in my Etsy shop, Ravelry, and Craftsy so be on the look out for the post about it next week!

P.S. If you sign up for my newsletter, you can get my August Etsy coupon codes that are for subscribers only:

August 07, 2014

In the Tunnel

I feel like I can't get anything finished.  I'm in the tunnel and not close enough to see evens a smidge of light.  I am flat out frustrated. I have two sweaters, a pair of socks, a shawl, two blankets, and who knows what else hiding in the closet on a pair of needles right now and nothing seems to be getting to that point where I can see the possibility of a final cast off.   I'm beginning to think that someone is ripping back my work every night.  The projects are progressing just that slowly.

Sweater test knit for Knit Picks 2014 Spring collection

Jekyll & Hyde socks in Cedar Hill Farm Co. Pop Star

It's probably because I have literally lived in my kitchen since the middle of May.  Every day I am putting up one, two, or five different vegetables.  All 75 tomato plants are in full swing right now and I am lugging about 50 lbs. a day of tomatoes into the kitchen to be cored, chopped, smashed, boiled, sieved, and simmered into tomato sauce and tomato soup and tomato juice.  I don't even really like tomatoes, to be honest, so I hope the hubby will be thrilled to death with all of this tomato soup, okra and tomatoes, and tomato juice once winter rolls around.  I thought I was sick of green beans when I hit the 83rd quart mark.  These tomatoes have green beans beaten, hands down!

It's also hot pepper time, so some of those are drying to be ground down for the instant death pepper flake combo that Honey likes and some are getting pickled and some are turning into hot pepper jelly.  I don't know what the environmental factor was this year, but the jalepenos have suddenly become so hot that the exude enough capsaicin to light my hands on fire when I pick them! Those cute little bell peppers are Cajun Bell peppers, and they are muy picante, let me tell you!  There are also some poblanos and cayenne peppers in there for fun.

I did have one neat little excursion today, speaking of canning things.  I went with some neighbors to the cannery in Eastanolle, Georgia to can some tomato juice.  In this self-serve cannery, we quartered, boiled down, and sieved tomatoes (with the coolest machine I have ever seen!).  Then we put the resulting tomato juice into 123 short-quart cans (24 oz), ran them through the steamer, put them through the lid machine, and stacked them into the massive steel basket for the conveyor crane to pick up and deposit in the water bath.  It took all morning because we had to wait for the employees to repair a mechanical function with the lid sealer, but it was a fun experience and I am sure that I will be back up there in about a week to can peas.  I am seriously considering making up a gazillion quarts of vegetable soup and taking it up there to can, but we'll just see how things play out.

And that's where I am.  Knitting in circles and slaving away in the kitchen and the garden.  I can't wait until we till the garden under next week and I can start again with the root veggies for fall.  At least then I'm guaranteed a solid 6 weeks of serious knitting time.


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