Thursday, February 13, 2020

Inspired Interiors from The World Knits Collection

Available on my website here 
and on Ravelry here

Inspired Interiors is Number 14 of the World Knits Collection

So I'll be honest with you all. This is probably my favorite pattern from The World Knits Collection. I have been interested in interior decoration for my entire adult life and I was always trying to figure out a way I could add knitting to my interiors. Finally in the early 90's I thought about mimicking needlepoint pillows with knitted Fair Isle patterning. If I knit the fabric tight enough and designed the right Fair Isle Chart, the resulting fabric could then be embellished with duplicate stitch to look like needlepoint. 

Once I started thinking about pillows, I couldn't stop dreaming up shapes that could be knit. There are 5 different styles of pillows in this collection. First of all, and most simple, is a square pillow in two sizes -- 14 and 20". The instructions are given for in the round knitting with a steek. Once you are done with the tube, you will cut the steek stitches down the middle. Using a very long circular needle (or perhaps 2), stitches are picked up all the way around the pillow and a mitered border is added.

The second square pillow is shown all the way to the left (red, black, gold and purple). This pillow is worked in the round and shaping is done with double decreases at four corners. The stitches are reduced and at the same time, a pattern forms. I knit this pillow and I still have it on my couch as you can see in the photo at the end of this post (second from the left). 

The next pillow design is a round pillow. It is a very large piece of circular knitting. To design this pillow, I thought about a traditional Fair Isle Tam and developed charts that had motifs that would look like they came out of a middle eastern bazaar. Four of my sample knitters made this design and you can see how Prabha - who grew up in India - added a traditional elephant motif to her pillow. 

The last pillow design is a bolster. Swanky interior magazines often feature bolsters on couches so why not a knit one? To design this one, I looked to my Moroccan Fedora pattern. I lengthened the body and then worked the decrease like on the Fedora pattern. To close the bolster, a second circular hat top is made. The bolster is stuffed and the round piece is sewed to finish it. You can see the bolster in the photo above on the right.  

For all the pillows, you will only need to knit the pillow front. Directions are given to use a piece of fabric as the backing. The fabric is hemmed and then hand sewn to the edge of the pillow. 

I've gone on to make lots of knitted pillows that I use in my house. Below you can see my sofa in our library full of knitted pillows made over the years. Maybe you will try to knit one or more for your home too? What do you think?

Available on my website here 

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Wild Wooly Headgear from The World Knits Collection

Available on my website here 
on Ravelry here

Number 13 in the World Knits Collection - Wild Wooly Headgear

The Wild Wooly Headgear PDF Pattern features five different hat designs in varying degrees of difficulty. They are sized for kids and adults. Hats are a great knitting project because they are relatively quick to make. I have always found them a good vehicle to experiment with different motifs and color combinations. All of these hats are made on circular needles.

This collection features (from easiest to most difficult)
• Flat cap with pom poms and no shaping (shown at far right) -- 3 sizes
• Four pointed cap made by seaming at top bind off (shown at far left) -- 4 sizes
• A classic stocking cap a la Dr. Seuss. This version has a fun pleated edge made with ribs. (bottom right) -- 3 sizes
• Wide border skull cap with two color stripes and spiral crown shaping (shown at top) -- 3 sizes
• Peruvian inspired four cornered hat (shown at bottom left) -- 2 sizes

The pattern includes a bunch of different rib/edge treatments to experiment with. There are lots of extra charts so that you can combine your favorites. 

The Peruvian Four Cornered Hat was inspired by hats that were made between the 7th and 9th centuries in the Andes. I had seen these hats in museums. In 1990 there was show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art which featured almost 100 Four Cornered Andean hats from the collection of Arthur Bullowa (catalog available here). You can see more photos on The Met's website here.  Here are some photos from The Met's website. 

Aren't these hats gorgeous and fun at the same time? These antique Andean hats were not knit but were knotted or looped. Some had pile. They featured geometric shapes and many animals. It's amazing that they survived to be collected. Many were buried in tombs. You can learn more about them on The Met's website here and see over 80 other photos of hats like these. 

My Peruvian Four Corned Hat was knit in the round in two colors in a round. The extra colors were added in duplicate stitch after knitting was completed. The 4 corner pieces are worked directly off the live stitches at each corner - almost like a thumb on a glove. After all the corners are knit, the stitches are put back on double pointed needles and a decrease chart is followed to make the stitches disappear. 

This whole collection offers five different hat styles and endless ideas for combining the charts and different stitches together. I can't wait to see what you do with it. 

Available on my website here 

Monday, February 10, 2020

Lamb Cuteness

Ever since I got a newer phone a couple summers ago I haven't been picking up my DSLR camera too often. It's big and bulky and isn't in my pocket. When I've been at the barn lately, I've only had my phone with me. Although it takes decent photos, I knew it wasn't doing justice to the cuteness of the lambs. I dug out my DSLR and then spent days looking for the lens that takes nice close-ups of the lambs. I finally found it. That's what happens when you have an Open House at your place! I put things away in safe places and then can't find them when I need them. I'm still looking for my extra battery - do not have any idea where that is. Maybe I will find it one day. 

At any rate, here are some nice photos of the lambs. It is amazing how fast they grow and change in their looks. The first ones were born just before New Year's Eve and lambing has been slower than normal. This morning there were 4 born. We are up to almost 70 which is much less than we normally have at the beginning of February. So many of the ewes are not quite a year old yet and they may not lamb this year or they may lamb as late as April.

We've had an unexpected snowstorm today. We were supposed to get an inch and now there is at least five. Makes it all look pretty. It is supposed to be very cold this week. 

Have a good week everyone and enjoy the lamb photos. As always, if you want to use these photos as screen savers or to paint a picture - that is fine with me. 

Look how huge this one is. It is a single (I can tell by the blue number on its side) and most likely a boy. 

If you haven't followed along during lambing season, you are probably wondering about the painted numbers and the stripes on the lambs and ewes. The number is the order the lamb was born in. Both the mamas and babies get the same number. If she had twins, the number is green; if she had singles, the number is blue. 

The stripe down the back gives the 2 week period the lamb was born. First 2 weeks it was blue. Second 2 weeks it was green. Now we are onto purple. 

The paint we use is a spray paint that washes out. Normally it fades away with the weather. By April, there is barely any colors on the sheep. 

This little lamb is not nearly as scared of me as some of the others. When I am taking photos, I always find it calmly staring at me. It is part Suffolk - I can tell because of the speckles on its face and legs. We have a cross-bred ram that has some Suffolk in him so some of the ewes have this speckling. 

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Vivaciously Vibrant Vests from The World Knits Collection

Available on my website here
and on Ravelry here

Number 12 in The World Knits Collection are the Vivaciously Vibrant Vests.

The cut of the vest is simple - with squared armholes and very little shaping - except for the v-neckline. There are several different colorful textural stitches that can be combined in stripes with Fair Isle Charts.  

If you aren't afraid of steeking, there are directions as to how to work the pattern in the round. 

Sizing is written for 8 sizes from 22" (baby) to 50". I made a couple of these vests for my nieces when they were little. It's a perfect choice for kids who don't like to be encumbered with bulky clothing. 

Here's a photo we took of a woman in one of the vests. I love the Frieda Kahlo vibe. I wish it was in color to really show the patternwork but this is what I've got. 

Available on my website here

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Whimsical Tea Cozies from The World Knits Collection

Available on my website here
and on Ravelry here

It's the weekend! Here we are at Number 11 of the World Knits Collection. It's my pattern for Tea Cozies, French Press Coffee Cozies, and more. 

Old fashioned as they may be knitted tea cozies can be a real conversation starter. Bring a pot of tea to a table dressed in a knitted cozy and see what your guests say. This tea cozy pattern comes in many sizes to fit many teapots.

Also included in the pattern is a French Press Coffee Cozy in the three common sizes of Bodum pots. 

There is also a knitted trivet that can be used as a pot holder or a trivet to protect your table from the heat of the teapot. 

And because I was dressing up kitchen objects, there is also a pattern to cover a square tea tin. 

As with all the World Knits Collection patterns, there are lots of charts so that you can customize your project to fit your own decor. My favorite chart is the Sunflower Tea Cozy shown on the right. The top of the cozy is a flower with leaves on the main part of the cozy. Bobbles decorate the ridges. 
Available on my website here
and on Ravelry here

Friday, February 07, 2020

Warm Wooly Wraps from The World Knits Collection

We are up to Number 10 in the World Knits Collection. Introducing Warm Wooly Wraps. Also available on Ravelry here

I love this pattern. It features scarves knit in the round which back in the 1990's was totally not a thing. I was and have always been a circular knitter. I have never been afraid to cut my knitting into pieces and sew it back together. I come from a sewing background so probably that is why I have no fear. 

Back then in the 90's, not many knitters cut their knitting. Today, I'm seeing it all over the place - including Kaffe Fassett's Coin Scarf and Stranded Blanket over on Mason-Dixon Knitting. Oh yay - Kaffe has finally got into knitting in the round Fair Isle patterning (or Stranded Knitting as it seems to be called these days). And there are lots of knitters steeking and cutting. Hallelujah. 

I have always thought about MY knitting as making fabric. Sometimes it has texture and cables, sometimes it is ripply garter stitch and sometimes it is flat and colorful. When I went to University for textiles, I learned about counting stitches and rows (courses and wales in textile speak) in t-shirt fabric and counting threads both vertically and horizontally (warp and weft) in a woven fabric while looking under a microscope. 

When I began at the yarn company, I was shocked that knitters generally knit back and forth and sewed their sweaters together. Back then, many yarn stores offered finishing services and a large number of knitters didn't even sew their sweaters together - they paid the yarn store to do it for them. Most knitters didn't want to cut their knitting. They were plain terrified. I had to stay away from developing any kind of pattern that did that because no one would make it and we wouldn't sell any yarn or patterns. After all, we had to stay in business. 

Knitters got a little more adventuresome while making projects from the World Knits Collection. I could see that some were ready to cut their knitting. 

This pattern features scarves and wraps or afghans knit in the round (or back and forth if you must). Some are made in a tube and then cut to lay flat (see four pieces laying on chairs). Some are turned on their side and knit in a very large circle either in the round or back and forth. Fair Isle patterning can be added or not. There are textural stitches included too. 

On a leap of faith, the Warm Wooly Knits pattern introduced a technique for cutting the steek stitches and after unknitting the steek stitches. This creates a fringe at both ends of the scarf, wrap or afghan. The steek yarn is then tied in an overhand knot to create a fringe. That was really revolutionary back then. I have gone on to use that technique in many scarves and afghans. 

This afghan is from my book Kristin Knits published by Storey in 2006.

This scarf is also from Kristin Knits.

This cardigan is in Color By Kristin (Soho, 2009). The body is knit in the round with a steek for the bottom edge. The front opening is made like a giant "afterthought thumb" where half of the stitches are worked on scrap yarn. After the steek is cut and fringed back to make the bottom fringed edge of the cardigan, the scrap "afterthought thumb" yarn is ripped out and live stitches are worked in garter stitch to finish the opening. The sleeves get sewn into the cast on and cast off edge. Clever, huh? 

When you begin to think of your knitting as a piece of fabric, it begins to form a different kind of art. The scarves and wraps in the Warm Wooly Knits PDF Pattern offer an opportunity for the knitter to introduce beautiful patterns to a flat surface. And then wrap themselves up in the color and pattern. 

You can order Warm Wooly Wraps on my website here.
Also available on Ravelry here

Thursday, February 06, 2020

More Lambs + My Mushroom Cap from the Moroccan Fedora PDF Download

Yesterday I wrote about my fiasco knitting project - the Mushroom Cap from The Moroccan Fedora Pattern where I didn't measure gauge and ended up with a huge hat. I showed you how I took off the offending section and how I knit a rib down to save my hat. 

Last night I added some embroidery to pull the colors together. Here's what it looks like now. In this photo you can see the French knots on the gold diamonds, the running stitch on the teal diagonals and the whip stitch I added to the pink reverse stockinette stitch. 

Pattern available on my website here or on Ravelry here

Here is the top of the hat - chartreuse French knots in the center, gold crosses on the pink diamonds and maroon running stitch on the pink lines radiating around the center.

We are up to 60 new lambs. Here are some photos I took at the barn the other day. 

This mama is a bit old. She's staying in a pen longer than normal so her lambs get a better start. 

Look how big this guy is. He was one of the first lambs born. 

These twins are toddling after their mama, I love those spindly legs. 

Brilliant Bags from The World Knits Collection

Available on my website here

Number 9 of The World Knits Collection - Brilliant Bags

This is the beginning entry into Year 3 in the World Knits Collection. Brilliant Bags is a collection of 6 different Fair Isle bags - mostly all knit in the round. I thought it would be fun to have knitted bags for carrying knitting needles and more. 

Let's begin with the classic drawstring shape. My inspiration for this project was the Moroccan Fedora pattern. I stumbled upon the Pillbox shape cap (similar to a Moroccan Fez) and loved how it knit up quickly without much of a chance to get bored. What if I turned it upside down and added an eyelet round to make the hat shape turn into a drawstring bag? So that's what I did. There are 3 sizes of the round drawstring bag with the smallest version perfect for toting circular needles. The largest bag is a backpack and you can see it at the center of the photo. Two versions of the middle size bag are shown on the red chair on the left. 

Here's a drawstring bag I made several years ago for my circular needles. It is the smallest round bag called a Circular Needle Bag.  I drew a Fair Isle Chart for the main part of the bag and knit it in red and purple. 

You can see more photos of this bag at the end of this post. 

Continuing with the knitting needle carry bag, I worked up a long thin bag perfect for straight needles. You can see that bag on the right chair. Notice the pearl buttons and the fringe that the knitter added for fun. 

Years ago, my sister Jenn gave me a handmade cotton bag that was the perfect size for the small amount of cosmetics I use every day. It's hard to believe but I still use that bag -- every day! It has been packed in my carry on bag for my entire adult life. It hangs on a hook in the kitchen holding a mirror, some eyeshadow and mascara. I pull it off the hook and use it every day. Every time it shows up at my mom's house, she and my sisters cannot believe that I still use it. "Don't you think you should throw that thing away?" they say. I have become very attached to its threadbare qualities. Once in a while it gets mended and I have no intention of giving it up. Here it is in all its tattered glory. 

This perfect sized bag was the inspiration for the square bag with the pointed flap shown in 2 versions on the right and left chairs. It too would work for carrying circular needles. 

Lastly, I designed a small pouch that can also be worn as a necklace. In it, you can keep $, coins, a credit card, or a cellphone. Granted - this pattern was designed before everyone had their own cellphone. A perfect thing to be worn at a needlework convention, wouldn't you say? 

Here are some close-ups and descriptions of my Circular Needle Bag. Here is a close-up of the duplicate stitch and French knot embroidery that I added to the red and purple Fair Isle Pattern. 

This is the cast on edge of the bag featuring bobbles and an eyelet round for the drawstrings.

This is the bottom of the bag. I added some embroidery here too. 

The Brilliant Bags PDF Download is now available 

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

True Confessions of a Former Knitwear Designer

I haven't knit in a very long time. My knitting needles in their zippered bag have sat next to my chair in our library/tv room for several years unused. I don't think I have knit anything since 2014 when I finished this Easy Aran for Kids

I was done with it. Done. Totally done. Complete. Nothing else to say. No desire to make anything on knitting needles. I have crocheted a few afghans. I have embroidered and sewed. I have made ceramics. I have written a couple books on crafting for interiors. But knitting - No - I haven't done that in years. That's my true confession. 

Two weeks ago, I relaunched my World Knits Collection in PDF Downloadable Format. I have been thinking about doing this for literally years and years. When CEY went OOB, I thought I might have an opportunity to purchase the rights to my patterns. I loved these patterns with all my heart. I loved how they made knitters think and design on their own. I loved seeing what they made and hearing what fun they had. This all was before social media and the internet and Ravelry. What if I got these patterns out there again? Would anyone like them? Would they catch on? With some luck, I got my rights back and in January, I had the patterns  scanned. I formatted them in Indesign into PDF documents that you can buy to knit yourself

Since I'm hoping to sell these patterns that have been buried in people's closets and libraries for years, I thought I had better break out my knitting needles. I desperately need a new hat so I began with the Moroccan Fedora pattern. Years ago, I had made myself one of these and I loved it. 

I grabbed some circular needles and cast on. I knit a solid section of rib and stockinette and then moved onto the Fair Isle colorwork. I didn't measure any gauge - I just got to it and knit and knit and knit. It felt pretty good to be experimenting again with the colors and the patterning and the shaping. 

I was whipping along and the over a few days I finished the hat. Off the needles it came and i went to try it on. OMG - it was a disaster. The base of the hat was so large that the hat fell down completely over my face. I wish I had a photo but it was dark and I didn't take one. I couldn't stop laughing to and at myself. There goes those hours - gone! Oh well. 

The next day I got out my needle gauge. I had used size 6 needles and my gauge was totally off. I had thought while I was knitting it seemed a bit loose but I just powered on. The thing was like a giant sack. 

I am not usually one to be defeated when it comes to my knitting. The next day, I decided to do a little hat surgery. I wish I had a video set up for this next part because it is really fun to do. I will try to explain it here. 

I turned the hat inside out. Using a circular needle, I picked up the loops on the reverse stockinette stitch round. Below, you can see that. 

Then I pulled on the tail of the maroon yarn tightly. You can see that thread making the  gathering of the stitches on the needles below. 

Next, I cut the maroon yarn and pulled it out of the stitches. Below you can see the pink stitches that are still on the needle and the maroon piece pulling away from the hat. 

I kept going all the way around the hat. Cutting and ripping, cutting and ripping. 

Soon my hat was in 2 pieces. Here is the top part still attached to the needles.

Here you can see the two pieces. The bottom part of the hat measured 28" around - large enough to fit a child! Way too big for my head!

I slipped the stitches to 2 circular needles and tried the hat on. It looked like I could save it. The next day, I went to buy some circular needles in the right size - 3's and 4's. 

I determined that I only needed a little bit of a rib on this hat to make it wearable. I worked a 2 color Corrugated Rib down from the pink stripe. I finished with a couple rounds of purl in chartreuse. Here it is. 

Here's what the top looks like. I am going to add some embroidery to it and then I am going to wear this hat the rest of the winter. 

Stay tuned for the finished project. We'll see how it goes. 

The Moroccan Fedora Hat Pattern is available on my website here and on Ravelry here. Don't do what I did - measure your gauge. 

Inspired Interiors from The World Knits Collection

Available on my website here   and on Ravelry here Inspired Interiors is Number 14 of the World Knits Collection .  So I'...