Glam Knits on the real me: Deep U-neck Tunic

Sweater from Glam Knits..and new skirt!

Olive and Me

This sweater is from my book Glam Knits. It really suits my style right now, just easy going, not clingy, but does have some side-shaping so it’s not baggy either.

This is an easy one to wear…goes with pants or skirts, over a tank (like here) or long sleeves.

The yarn Artyarns Silk Mohair is precious, though, so this one’s not for taking the recycling back!

I made the skirt myself from the pattern in Betz White‘s book “Sewing Green.” EASY!

A little history: Sometimes when you write a book, the knits take on a look when in the book that makes it hard for people to see what they look like on real people. When I designed the knits for this book, I was under the impression that we’d have plus sized models, and so many (most?) of the knits are sized to fit me (about a 12 – 14 in women’s clothing) and occasionally I post a pic of me wearing one. If you click on either of the pics above, you’ll go to the Flickr set.

Here’s the photo from the book:
Glam Knits: Deep U-Neck Tunic Dress

Pretty, but definitely looks different in real life!

PS: Here’s the book on Amazon, you can get a used one for $2.45!

Book Review: Knitter’s Guide to Hand-dyed & Variegated Yarn

Lorna Miser's book

The Knitter’s Guide to Hand-Dyed and Variegated Yarn: Techniques and Projects for Handpainted and Multicolored Yarn (Knitters Guide to)

I’m really attracted to variegated yarns, so have a lot of them in my stash. I’m also a crockpot dyer myself (nothing fancy, just stuff for me and my kids, the occasional Etsy sale, etc.) So this book’s title really grabbed me, and I was so excited to be asked to review it.

In fact, here’s a sweater that I knit this winter using a variegated yarn:
Variegated sweater
(Click on the pic for more info)

I love my sweater the way it is, but after reading Lorna’s book, if I knit this again today I’d probably do it a little bit differently.

I’ve had the book for a few weeks and because of various other deadlines just sat down a few days ago to give it a good read. I think it’s great! I’ve learned a lot in reading it, and even got out some variegated yarn that I’ve been saving.

Variegated yarn to swatch

I used the book to help classify it (it’s a “calm” colorway with one long color repeat of about half the skein and then a couple of short blips on the other half.) Then, I swatched it to check out the pooling, and then did a swatch using 3 of Lorna’s recommended stitch patterns.

my original swatch

It’s SO interesting to see how the different stitch patterns move the color around.

three stitch patterns swatched

original swatch and new swatch

As a knitting pattern designer myself, I’m looking at the patterns in the book as examples of how these stitch patterns would look worked up in large garments. The garment photos here are really helpful in trying to choose stitch patterns for my yarns.

After spending some time with this book, I had a couple of questions for Lorna, which she graciously took the time to answer:

When you first conceptualized the book, did you plan to include the garment patterns, or did you originally plan it as a pure reference book?

Ever since I dyed my first yarn in the late 80′s I’ve looked for ways to show them off best. Educating knitters on what to do with HD yarns was important when I owned Lorna’s Laces. I wanted everyone to buy more yarn! Now I have combined years of experience and designing to teach knitters not just WHAT to make but to truly understand those gorgeous yarns.

When I thought about the book, I never intended it to be another pattern book. There are many, many patterns shown in HD yarns. What knitters need is to understand WHY those patterns are so pretty and how to recreate the look, learn what to expect from the colors and plan ahead. If you like to design with HD yarns, the book will give you more tools for successful designs. But even if you always knit from patterns, you will have new information about choosing colorways and stitch patterns that work well together, or adding “hidden” matching solids to prevent pooling. There are so many simple things you can do to reign in those colors!

You are really a pioneer in what we now call the “Indie Dyer” community, and grew a fantastic business out of that. Do you have any advice for today’s indie dyers? Or for managing a business and family at the same time? (I’ve got two little girls that I stay home with while I run my business, and I’m particularly interested in the mom / businesswoman balance.)

I raised 3 kids and Lorna’s Laces at the same time from the late 80′s to 2003. LL was a child that grew from infancy in my kitchen (stained countertops!) to full adulthood by the time I sold it. I had set goals for it and reached them. Being an entrepreneur means working far more that 40 hours a week.

I balanced it by having the business on my home property and often working late after the kids were asleep. The upside is that I could flex my schedule and drive kids to games or activities. My daughter Grace is now 23, in the Navy and still knits. She is a hardcore fiber snob which she blames on being raised on LL yarn. lol

Free two-needle hat pattern

Mazie

This one’s for the commenter who asked for the pattern for my little 2-needle hats. It’s so easy, I’ll just post it here:

Gauge: aprox 4.5 sts / inch and 6 rows / inch on US 7 needle in stockinette
Needle: one pair US4 and one pair US7 straight needles
Yarn: KnitPicks Capra in color Platinum
Notion: darning needle

Pattern:
Using US4 needle and worsted weight yarn
Cast on 60(80, 100) stitches and work in k2p2 ribbing for 9(11, 13) rows.

Change to US 7 needle and work 18(20, 32) rows in stockinette stitch (knitting on right-side rows, purling on wrong-side rows.)

Begin crown decreases:

Row 1 (RS:) (knit 8, knit 2 together through the back loop) repeat ( ) to end.
Row 2 and all even rows: purl
Row 3: (knit 7, knit 2 together through the back loop) repeat ( ) to end.
Row 5: (knit 6, knit 2 together through the back loop) repeat ( ) to end.
Row 7: (knit 5, knit 2 together through the back loop) repeat ( ) to end.
Row 9: (knit 4, knit 2 together through the back loop) repeat ( ) to end.
Row 11: (knit 3, knit 2 together through the back loop) repeat ( ) to end.
Row 13: (knit 2, knit 2 together through the back loop) repeat ( ) to end.
Row 15: (knit 1, knit 2 together through the back loop) repeat ( ) to end.
Row 17: (knit 2 together through the back loop) repeat ( ) to end.

Cut yarn, leaving a tail about 12″ long. Using a darning needle, pull the yarn tail through the sts remaining on the needle. Use tail to seam hat.

Weave in ends.

Mazie

If you want to make bigger or smaller hats, just change the cast-on number to any multiple of four, so that the ribbing works out.

I also used cast-on numbers that were multiples of 10, so that my rate of decrease would always work out.

Note: On the hat that I made for myself, I deviated bit from the decrease schedule above, so mine is a bit more pointy. I only worked 26 rows in stockinette, then started decreasing in sections of 20 sts (knit 18, k2togtbl) and then on about row 36 started decreasing every 5 sts.

Filming a new class…on a new platform!

Class scarf

This week I’m prepping to teach an online class…but this time, it’s on someone else’s platform. I was contacted a few weeks ago by the people at Sympoz about teaching a class on their site.

So, I’m working up several little beginner projects like this scarf. It’s not blocked yet, so the lace is curly / swirly. Pretty, I think.
Class scarf

The yarn is Knitpicks Swish Worsted in “Big Sky.”

It’s been really fun to work with Sympoz on the class, from creating content to talking about marketing. I’m really looking forward to seeing how they do the filming, and then finally seeing the edited videos and how the class is set up. It should be a great learning experience for me!

The class is going to be a “how to knit” class, which isn’t something that I’ve taught on my own class site before. The projects are going to take the knitter through casting on, knitting, purling, increasing, decreasing, crossing stitches, and binding off. There will also be bonus material like discussions about gauge and drape, how to do buttonholes, and even more stuff.

We start filming on the 7th of February…I’ll let you know when the class is ready!

The Makerie (and 3 little hats)

The Makerie

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ve heard me talking a lot about teaching two classes at The Makerie this summer. The Makerie is a creative retreat held in Colorado. This is the first year of the retreat, and my first time teaching at an event like this, so I’m not really sure what to expect, but I’m really excited!

Have you ever been to a creative retreat? It really sounds a lot like summer camp for adults. It’s just a time to be free from the daily drama and just let go and create. There are classes on yoga, painting, shoemaking, fabric printing, and lots of other things. You can take a little of this and a little of that during the day, and then it sounds like the evenings are free to enjoy the grounds, meet other people, work on class stuff if you want to, and just socialize and be crafty. Be sure to check out the actual Makerie website (link above) to get a better idea.

The classes that I’m teaching are about garment shaping (how to take your own measurements and then use them to shape any pattern) and embellishment (adding colorful accents to your knits.)

I’m doing a little embellishment demo at the Fancy Tiger party on Feb 4th, and have knit these three plain little hats to use in the demo. I’m going to use yarn, felt, tulle, etc., to make them fancy! And, to go along with my current Momy & Me obsession, one fits Olive, one fits Mazie, and one fits me!
plain little hats

plain little hats

Actually, they look plain, but they’re actually the squishy, soft merino-cashmere Capra from Knitpicks, in the platinum colorway. These are two-needle hats, so they’re knit flat and then seamed (great beginner project!!) I did them that way (flat, rather than in the round) because I’m also filming my beginner knitting class later that week (Feb 7 -9) with Sympoz.com, and I think I may sneak them in as part of the class.

Nothing like double-duty knit samples!!

You know what!?…my sister and her husband have just had a precious little baby girl named Violet (Dec 13!) so I think they may need a Mommy & Daddy & Me set of matching hats, too!