Courant Baby Blanket

Last winter, Kristin F. and I challenged ourselves to develop some designs that would showcase the beauty of hand-painted yarns – rather than getting lost in the colours or, worse, fighting them. The results were released this June at TNNA Columbus.

My pattern, the Courant Baby Blanket, is intended to highlight those sudden colour changes one finds in a variegate:

Shibui-Courant-1

Knit with two colours – a solid and a variegate – in a chevron garter stitch pattern I made up while swatching with the yarn.  The stitch pattern is as simple as it gets, there’s no stranding or intarsia.  Rather, each colour is worked in two row increments, then held at one side while the other color is ‘working’.  Quite frankly, I’m a little too lazy to take on a stranded colourwork baby blanket…

Shibui-Courant-2

The result is a striking baby blanket design that is fun and super easy to knit (perfect for summer travel!) and simply stunning once blocked (the drape and gloss of the suggested yarn, Staccato, is delicious).

Shibui-Courant-3

Lastly, the design includes an optional lace border (for those who like their eyelets) and two sizes. Knit with 6 skeins of Staccato (approx. 575 yards of each colour), it’s also a quick last-minute gift for that baby shower you forgot about ;)

For more information about the pattern, please see the Shibui Knits website or check it out on ravelry!  And while you’re at it, be sure to admire Kristin F.’s design, the Road Rage Scarf, another great pattern for implementing those beautiful variegates that tend to pool in traditional patterns.

Brain… melt

I was going to blog about everything I’ve been promising to blog about, honestly, but after spending the past hour and a half fixing up the blog stylesheet so it would match the Rose City Knits website (which, incidentally, have you seen?), I’m not feeling too coherent.  And I’m not even done fixing it (gah :P)

My blogging habits are a work in progress, unfortunately.

Until I get some solid (post) writing time, I leave you with two sneak peaks:

My Courant Baby Blanket, designed for Shibui Knits (see even better photos herenote to self: post pattern on ravelry!  ack). I even made up the stitch pattern one evening while playing with some Staccato they’d given to me for experimentation.  My original idea was to find an attractive way of combining a solid color and a hand-painted colorway without it becoming overwhelming or garish.  Apparently, that was a success.

Then, two, what might be the next Rose City Knits pattern (maybe, there’s another two in the pipeline, and it’s all about which sample+pattern gets finished first!):

First person to guess what those squares will be is going to officially be Very Clever.  Incidentally, yarn is from Tactile Fiber Studio in the color “Dogwood”.  Not that will help you guess in any way :)

Until next time (which shall hopefully be quite soon), I hope you’re enjoying your summer!

Putting It In Reverse

Here is the last of my designs from Shibui Texture (though Kristin has one stunner left!) and it has a special place in my heart because I designed the stitch pattern – a reversible cabled rib – specifically for this piece…

Orford, Shibui Texture

Orford, a modern scarf with traditional roots.

I love the concept of traditional fisherman’s scarves, with their narrow necks (for easy layering), flared ‘bodies’ (for easier tucking and tying), and creative use of texture. To me, they are as inherent to fisherman’s knits as Guernseys. The design has the same classic shaping and sizing of a fisherman’s scarf of yore… with some updates.  Instead of traditional knit and purl stitch patterns, I wanted to create the illusion of water rippling.

Orford, Shibui Texture

After spending several hours sketching and swatching, I’m quite pleased with the result.  If you like it as well, please add it to your queue (or fave it!) on Ravelry.  To learn more about the upcoming publication, Shibui Texture, see the Shibui Knits website.

In my next post I am determined to recap the class I took with Nancy Bush (!) on triangular lace shawls from Estonia.  Super-exciting.  Until then, I hope you’re having better weather than we are right now!

Cowl me*

Scarves are great, but sometimes you need the practicality of  a well-fitted cowl.  No fuss, no muss, and no ends to get tangled or caught in doors (don’t ask).  So, when Lindsay (as seen below) asked me to ponder the possibilities of a 2-skein pattern using Merino Alpaca, I immediately thought of a cabled cowl.  Cowl for the reasons above.  Cabled because Merino Alpaca creates the most divine ‘ropey’** cables I’ve seen.

Obviously, it had to be patterned (cables!), but it also had to be both architectural and flexible – not an easy task.  After some extensive brainstorming, I decided to fallback on my love of rib-to-cable-to-rib patterns.  The transition between 4×4 and 2×2 ribbing and back gives fabric natural places to fold comfortably and drape, while ensuring elasticity.  The end result was Astoria, a cowl worthy of the Oregon Coast and the next pattern preview from the upcoming booklet Shibui Texture:

Astoria from Shibui TextureAstoria, from Shibui Texture

To keep things interesting, though, I decided to stagger the transitions from the two ribs, giving the final design a little more visual oomph.  The staggered transitions also mean knitters won’t have to knit 2×2 rib forever, which is something I’m sure knitters will appreciate :)

All in all, I’m pleased with the design, which is important.  Hopefully, you like it, too.  If so, please feel free to fave it on ravelry or even add it to your queue!  Until the next Texture preview, keep it cowl*.

*Sorry, couldn’t resist.

**No, that’s probably not a word recognized by the Oxford English Dictionary.

Point of pride

The next pattern preview we have for Shibui Texture is my Alsea vest.  Knit with Shibui Knits Staccato on size 6 (4mm) needles, it has a luscious drape.  The cable pattern on the body keeps the loose fabric from sagging and provides visual interest.  I’m proud of this pattern most of all because I designed the body’s stitch pattern:

And all-over cable design with dropped stitches to keep it from getting bulky.  The end result is a rippling fabric that handles beautifully…

The design itself was inspired by Japanese fisherman’s vests, which the final result bears little resemblance to.  But the cropped body and double-breast do reference mensware slightly.

Anyway, the other ‘draw’ of this pattern is that it can be knit with as few as 3 skeins of Staccato (if you’re svelt like Jenny, the model) or 6 skeins, if you’re more Reubenesque like myself :)

All in all, I’m quite pleased with the design and am thinking about making one for myself… As soon as I finish the other vest I have on the needles.

To learn more about this pattern (or the booklet itself!), visit the Shibui Knits website or check it out on ravelry.

*Fun fact for non-Oregonians, Alsea is a river port.  The name ‘Alsea’ actually is derived from ‘Alsi’, the name of the Native American tribe that lived there.

Great reveals

We have two revelations tonight.  One, the winner of my silly “Have you seen this flower?” contest; and, two, the first sneak peek into a booklet I’ve been working on with Shibui for six months now.  But, first…  Congratulations to…

TAMI!!!

You are the winner of a couple of super-cool knitting-themed treats I found at the San Fransisco Japantown Kinokuniya :)  Send me your mailing address [fyberduck(at)gmail(dot)com] and I’ll pop them into the mail with all haste ^_^

Thank you, everyone, who commented or mailed me.  It’s nice to know you appreciate the quirkiness here!

Next, we have a design that I am inordinately proud of, Bandon:

Back view

The concept of the booklet, Textures, is taken from traditional fisherman’s sweaters like Ganseys/ Guernseys and Arans.  Bandon, my baby, was inspired by Gansey patterns from Northern England.

And, while the stitch patterns may be entirely traditional, the silhouette and construction is thoroughly modern.

Front view

The design starts with the bottom hem and is worked first vertical, then on the bias, and finally ends horizontal.  The body is then picked up from the peplum and is constructed as a standard ribbed raglan.  A square sailor’s collar & rope cable finish off the details, making it one seriously eye-catching piece.  In fact, I believe there was a fight over which model got to wear it at the photoshoot.

The drape and shaping of the peplum draw the eyes to the hips and waist, emphasizing curves delightfully.  And by using traditional Gansey textured stitch patterns, the peplum has visual interest without being bulky.  All in all, it’s flattering as hell to wear and I won’t deny it.

I am just pleased as punch with how this came out and am seriously considering knitting one for myself.  Very seriously.

But that’s only the first of four patterns I designed for the booklet, three of which I even designed the stitch patterns for!  I can’t wait to show them to you, but I have to be good and stick to the preview schedule.  So, with that, I’ll leave you with one more tidbit of good news…

I just received the final pattern template for my new indie pattern line and will be able to start formating patterns very, very soon!   Talk about too much good news at once :)

Trumps

I was going to  blog, really, I was.  But then WordPress ate my post and I had to make dinner and fold, like, five million t-shirts and I’m just tired.  So, instead, I bring you a photo-journal of things that have been happening ’round here.

First and foremost, I finished and blocked the Green Mystery:

Which I knit to test the Purple Mystery pattern.  Then I bought yarn for a large Beige Mystery (sounds so exciting, eh?) and a couple other surprises:

Then Shibui released another pattern I wrote.  See Ondula:

Ondula (scarf)

See Ondula drape:

Ondula (scarf)

Now, see Ondula hang artfully next to a streetlight:

Ondula (scarf)

Lastly, see one weary blogger (last week was soooo long) go to bed early.  Toods.

Cover girl

Not me, obviously.  But my Shadow vest from the last post is officially the cover photo for Shibui Heichi; which, incidentally, arrived on our doorstep today…

Lindsay looks great, amirite?  Of course, it’s kind of unfair how good she looks on a daily basis, but what can you do.  Anyway.  Today (okaaay, yesterday) was the scheduled preview of the third Heichi pattern, Vortex, a hat I made up (quite literally) on the fly.

Honest to goodness, I cast on eight stitches and just went for it.  Everyone liked it so much, it was included in the book…

I knit the green one, which wasn’t modeled (…sad…), but at least makes a token appearance in the table of contents:

Actually, the green (in ‘Lichen’) hat was sent to the photoshoot, but the photos we ended up picking were a sample run-through we did with Lindsay one day during lunch.  See what I mean about her?  It ain’t fair.  At least she’s really cool about been suckered into modeling things left and right (see below).

Anyway.  Since the booklet has been finished so far ahead of schedule (like, whoa), you should expect to see more Heichi photos turning up in the next week or so.  But, don’t worry, I have some other awesome non-Heichi projects that should float some boats, liiike…

This.  The pattern with no name (remember the purple mystery?).   But that’ll have to wait until next time.  Because now I must away.

Eye candy

Eugh. Been out sick with the stomach flu for the past two days. Started feeling titchy on Friday night and then got hit hard on Monday. Bleh. In lieu of a real post, here’s some pretty. Shadow, from Shibui Heichi, by yours truly.

Booklet will be available in mid-January. And now I’m going to go and sip some ginger ale and maybe lie down.

Lazing

image

Okay, not really.  Knitting away on two commissions and another sample using the Purple Mystery pattern.  And, yes, incidentally, the Purple Mystery pattern will be available soon.  It goes to the tech editor tomorrow.

Would explain more, but have to go and get an early dinner (before an early movie).  Above is one commission and the second Purple Mystery (only this time it’s green). 

Gtg.  Pasta time!