Design Diary: Episode One -- A Big Announcement and Some Fall Knitting Progress

Where did the summer go? I feel like I got home from Squam about ten minutes ago, and yet, the inarguable signs of late summer are all around me: evenings are cooling down, my birthday was last week, the height of horse show season is wrapping up, the kids go back to school frighteningly soon, and if I haven't yet convinced you that knitting cabled sweaters is a totally normal year-round activity (I'm still working on it!), if you want to be actually wearing a new sweater in early fall of 2018, now is the time to get it on those needles. Finally, right?

I'm working on a number of new projects for fall, including two new sweaters that will come out in September and October, and some collaborations with some of my favorite yarnmakers that I am super excited about. I am also working on some new content here and on my social media channels that I'm hoping will let you all in to a little more of my design process, how I think about yarn, and how I approach garment design. There'll be some technique tips along the way, but it'll mostly be a little more concept-level and a little less "how to work a tubular cast on" (although if you need help with that, let me know! I'm happy to help). 

The first of those projects is my new YouTube video series, Design Diary. In the first episode, I talk a bit more about the sweaters I'm working on for this fall and the yarns I'm using, and about a brand new yarn that I'm really, really excited to use for another new sweater project. This is a new and very much exploratory medium for me, so let me know what you'd like to see and hear from me in this format! I'd love to hear from you (in the comments below, in the comments on the video on youtube, by e-mail, instagram, raven scroll, owl post, etc.) about what you're most interested in as I get this new project rolling.

Happy knitting!

Independent Fabrication: Volume 2 at Rhinebeck!

It's the most wonderful time of the year, friends -- fiber festival season! It's the week of the New York Sheep and Wool Festival at Rhinebeck, and I'm frantically finishing a properly down-to-the-wire "Rhinebeck Sweater," tying up loose ends at work, and getting ready to make the planes-trains-and-automobiles journey from Northern California to the Hudson Valley. Though the forecast is looking distressingly and unseasonably warm, I can't wait for fall foliage, new and exciting yarns, and seeing old friends I only catch once or twice a year.

Rhinebeck is always special -- as Clara Parkes put it, it's a kind of "homecoming" for the yarn world. My favorite part of the weekend is getting a chance to see new yarns, and to meet the amazing people who make them, and to see knitters wearing the things they've made that make them happiest. If you haven't seen Kristy Glass's great "Tell Me About Your Rhinebeck Sweater" video from last year, it's worth a watch -- it's an incredibly charming collection of knitters talking about the things they made and wore to Rhinebeck (Emily and I show up at around minute 20, and Nora Gaughan makes an amazing appearance at round minute 53).

This is a particularly special Rhinebeck year for me, since my dear friends at Cornwall Yarn Shop/Hudson Valley Fibers and Battenkill Fibers, who designed and spun some of the yarns from my new book, have invited me to do a trunk show at their booth! I'll be at the Battenkill booth -- Building 27A, Booth 14 -- from 2-4 pm on Saturday, October 21. I'll have all of the samples from Independent Fabrication, Volume 2, print copies of the book and codes for digital downloads, as well as a selection of my print and digital patterns. We'll also have Moodna, one of the Hudson Valley Fibers yarns I used in the book, and some brand new colors of Hudson, their gorgeous Corriedale/Alpaca blend that I used for the Tangled Up in Gray pullover from the Fall 2017 issue of Interweave Knits.

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I met many of the producers whose yarns I used in the book at Rhinebeck in 2015 and 2016, and many of them are back this year. If you'll be there this weekend, I can't commend them to you enough, and I hope you'll take a moment to stop by and see some of these wonderful yarns for yourself. Here's where to find them:

  • Bare Naked Wools' Chebris Worsted, used in the String Lake Cowl: at the Indie Untangled trunk show (5-8pm Friday at the Best Western in Kingston), and at the Bare Naked Wools pop-up shop (2-7pm Sunday at the Marriott in Kingston)
  • Jill Draper Makes Stuff'sMohonk, used in the Cloudveil Dome Hat: at Jill's Open Studio party (6-9 pm Saturday in Kingston; details at Jilldraper.com)
  • Hudson Valley Fibers' Moodna, used in the Phelps Lake Mitts: Building 27A, Booth 14
  • Elemental Affects' Civility Worsted, used in the Teewinot Hat and Volume 1's Kingston Beanie: Carolina Homespun, Building 39, Booths 14-17
  • Sincere Sheep's Cormo Worsted, used in the Buck Mountain Hat and Mitts, Volume 1's Yountville Slouch, and the Silverado Trail pullover: Carolina Homespun, Building 39, Booths 14-17
  • Brooks Farm's Trio, used in the Mount Woodring Cowl: Building A, Booths 33-35
  • White Barn Farm's Heaven Aran, used in the Taggart Lake Mitts: Building 39, Booth 18

If you'll be at Rhinebeck this weekend, I'd love to see you, either at our trunk show or elsewhere. Can't make it Saturday? Send me an e-mail, Ravelry message, or instagram DM and we'll find each other. Have a great week -- and keep your fingers crossed for cool weather!

 

Introducing...Summer Wraps 2017!

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It's been a busy few weeks around here, so I am so excited to finally introduce you to our newest mini-collection, Summer Wraps 2017: Knits for Long Days & Cool Nights. The three-pattern collection drops next week (Tuesday, June 13!), and features three accessory patterns for those just-a-bit-chilly spring and summer evenings, worked in bold colors and high-impact textures. Each features something a little bit different—from slipped stitches, to an intriguing cable-and-lace combination, to cascading waves of seed stitch—that I hope will keep these as engaging to knit as they are exciting to wear. The patterns feature yarns from some of my favorite partners, Quince & Co., YOTH Yarns, and Neighborhood Fiber Company. I'll be sharing more about each of them on the blog after the collection launches. As you may have seen on Instagram, I've more or less been living in these since we finished photographing the samples, and I hope you'll love the way they add a pop—or a zing, depending on your color preferences—of color and texture to your warm-season wardrobe.

Summer Wraps 2017 will be available as a three-pattern eBook, as well as as individual patterns, and, as always, will be available both on Ravelry and in our web store. If you sign up for our newsletter or follow me on Instagram, you just might see some special promotional pricing on both the eBook and the individual patterns, just for our nearest and dearest.

Summer Wraps 2017 features the following three patterns, each named for some of my favorite Northern California beach towns, where, let's face it, you always need a knitted...something:

  •  Tiburon, a slipped-stitch cowl that works up in one skein of Quince & Co.'s gorgeous hand-dyed DK, Phoebe. The stitch pattern is a variation on the one you see in Montelena, but here it's worked in a slightly different pattern, and is worked on the bias. The cowl is knit flat and the ends are joined using a three-needle bind off.
  • Point Reyes, a textured gradient cowl featuring Neighborhood Fiber Company's hand-dyed Studio DK gradients. Waves of seed stitch wind their way around this simple, meditative cowl, which is worked in a light-weight yarn which allows it to be dramatic in size without being overwhelming in warmth. If gradients aren't your thing, this could look great in any combination of five (or fewer) colors, or look incredibly grown-up and chic in a single-color version. After the pattern launches, we'll talk more about picking a color scheme.
  • Half Moon Bay, the show-stopper of the collection, is a cable-and-lace rectangular shawl in YOTH's Big Sister, a DK-weight Merino-Cashmere-Nylon blend. The lace and cable pattern is dramatic but easy to memorize, as it's an eight-row repeat with cables no larger than 2x2. Equally appropriate with jeans and a white tee shirt on the docks as it is with a little black dress on date night, this one is a standout, with texture at a scale that reads from well across the room.

I am so excited to share these patterns with you! Over the next few weeks, we'll be talking more on the blog about each pattern, from how they came to be to the fabulous yarns they're worked in to some ideas on how to incorporate them into your wardrobe. I can't wait to see how they keep many of you warm, stylish, and appropriately wooly on many a summer evening to come.