Dublin

Welcome to Dublin – the penultimate pattern in Travel Knits for the Family, and a city in Ireland.

TKFTF 28 web

The pattern is for a versatile cardigan to throw in your bag to keep you warm when those travel days get cold. It features a leaf lace pattern than flows from the shoulders down the sleeves and is integrated into the ribbing at the cuffs. The same ribbing and leaf lace pattern is repeated at the bottom of the body as well.

TKFTF 30 web

It’s designed with generous ease and no shaping to make it easy to layer on over anything. That being said, the body is a blank canvas to add shaping if you’d like to modify it.

TKFTF 31 web

The pattern is worked from the top down, seamlessly, beginning with the lace shoulders. After the shoulders are worked, the back is worked to the underarm, followed by each front. Then the body is joined and worked to the bottom. The lace pattern is continued down the sleeves as they are worked from the top down, with short-row sleeve caps. The collar is worked, followed finally by the button bands. The lace pattern is provided as both charted and written instructions.

TKFTF 33 web

For this pattern I was so lucky to get my hands on Travelknitter’s new DK weight Blue Faced Leicester yarn. This yarn was a dream to work with, and of course the colour is outstanding, as are all the Travelknitter colourways (really, every single one). You can check them out at the Travelknitter online shop when it’s open and stocked. But if you’re lucky enough to be heading to Woollinn Dublin this weekend, you can grab the yarn and the book at the Travelknitter booth. Larissa will have a limited number of Travel Knits for the Family books for purchase at her booth, and I believe you’ll also be able to check out a second sample of the Dublin cardigan there as well.

I wish I was going to be in Dublin for the festival this weekend as well (though that would mean missing the launch party at The Loop here in Calgary, so maybe not). We visited Dublin for a quick weekend trip at the end of the summer of 2016. We strolled around St. Stephen’s Green, learning about the Easter Uprising. We visited the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology, as well as The Old Library and the Book of Kells at Trinity College. We took the best bus tour I’d ever been on – the driver provided the commentary, which was equal parts hilarious and educational, all while winding us through the narrow streets of Dublin. We finished off the weekend with a pub lunch along the river Liffey while listening to Irish folk tunes while it drizzled outside, which was perfection. Our main regret for that trip was that we didn’t get to see any of the rest of Ireland – so we’ll have to go back!

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(PS. I included the photo where Atticus is hanging his head to show that traveling with kids isn’t always a party. They were both really cranky that day, which happens. It can make it really hard to enjoy, but it’s rarely what we remember from a trip.)

For more information about Travel Knits for the Family, get all the detailsĀ here.

Powder Day Sneak Peek!!!

I’m so darned excited to be putting together my very first collection of patterns, and can’t wait to tell everyone about it.

As you can tell by the name, the Powder Day collection is inspired by those epic days of deep, fresh snow. You know, when a couple very lucky people are the first ones to the top of the hill after a big dump, and they get to make fresh tracks. If those skiers are going for extra cheesy, they can make tracks that look just like this…

figure eights inspiration

I wanted to mimic those figure-eight lines in the snow with a cool cable pattern, so I did. Then I fell in love with the cable and wanted to put it on everything. So I did! Fingerless mitts, a hat, full mitts, and a sweater.

It’s tricky to photograph something with a snow and ski theme when you’re limited to being in the city in October. But that’s what we tried to do this morning. I enlisted the help of 4 beautiful ski buddies, those very same ladies I used to ski with before we all had kids*. We gathered up some vintage skis, hot coffee and warm knits and headed down to an old barn in the middle of the city. I was hoping to pull off an apres ski feel, a bunch of friends hanging out at the lodge and warming up after a great day on the hill.

I will be releasing the patterns one-by-one over the next few months and will eventually group them all together in an e-book when they’re all out. For now, here’s a look at what’s to come.

Group Shot

* We called ourselves BOS back then – Bitches On Skis.

Introducing Kensington Tweed

It’s new pattern time folks! Here we have the lovely Jennifer (my sister) modeling the Kensington Tweed, knit up in Knit Picks City Tweed DK and Knit Picks Palette.

In the O

Kensington Tweed is a double-breasted jacket with a classic look. It can be worn to the office with a blouse and dress pants, or dressed-down with a pair of jeans and boots. This is the kind of piece that will be a closet staple.

Under the tree

The jacket is knit from the bottom up with set-in sleeves that are knit in the round from the bottom up and sewn in later. The piece is finished off with an applied I-cord edging around the body, neck and cuffs. The pattern includes a photo tutorial for the I-cord edging.

On the bench

I would like to say thank you to Anne Marie Hart for the technical editing of this pattern and to all of my wonderful testers for checking to make sure it does what it says it will. Also, a big thanks to my sister Jennifer for being a great model and making the photoshoot a fun morning – I wish we lived closer so you could always be my model (and, you know, because I love you).

On 11th st

As always, the pattern is available for purchase in my Ravelry shop. It is priced at $5.99 but will be 35% off until midnight MST October 13th. Get it while it’s hot!

What a Mis-Steek!

Okay, this happened a few weeks ago but I’ve been unable to talk about it until now. The sweater in question has been sitting in a basket in a corner since I threw it there and stormed off. I think I have cooled down enough and my head is fully level again so it is time to revisit the disaster that was my first foray into steeking.

Steeking is a technique used when knitting stranded colour-work in the round. Since it can be difficult to purl while knitting with two colours, many knitters prefer to work in the round when doing stranded colour work. But, working in the round means you are making a tube when sometimes you’d rather have a flat piece. In the case of my sweater, I wanted to make a cardigan so I needed it to be flat. In order to turn this tube into a flat piece you do something very scary… you cut your knitting right down the middle! Oh the horrors!

Before you cut your work you reinforce the column of stitches on either side of where you are about to cut. This is where the people are a little divided, and where I guess I didn’t do enough research. In theory, if you use a true Shetland wool (which is traditional for this style of knitting) then the catchy wool can grab onto itself and not unravel when cut, even if you don’t reinforce it. Other kinds of grabby wool will be fine with a crocheted reinforcement, the crochet chain running down either side of the steek “hugs” the yarn and holds everything in place after it is cut. Other wools that are more slippery, like merinos and superwash, really need to be reinforced by a couple of lines of sewing machine stitching running down either side of the steek.

I went wrong was in thinking that my project would be okay with a crochet reinforcement. It was not okay. I also should have taken the time to test it out on my swatch before taking the scissors to my sweater, but I did not. This disaster was avoidable, which makes it all that much more horrific. I’m going to chalk these mistakes up to lessons learned and move on.

Since this was for a pattern I was designing, and I had planned on adding a little picture tutorial on steeking (yes, I appreciate the ridiculousness of that), I have thorough photo documentation of the disaster as it unfolded. Warning: the following pictures portray unwanted unraveling, viewer discretion is advised.

First you crochet a chain through the column of stitches to one side of the steek.
Then do the same to the column on the other side of the steek.
Then you cut down the steek column between the two reinforced columns. Remember, you spent countless hours knitting the piece up to this point.
And then, if you’re yarn is too slippery, it will pull out of its crochet “hug” and unravel when you try to pick up stitches for the button band.

So the moral of the story is, always machine reinforce your steeks or you could end up with unwanted unraveling. I think I have a solution to the problem so stay tuned for updates on the steeking saga.

Everyday Hoodie

Okay, I couldn’t wait any longer, it’s time to release the Everyday Hoodie. Although the Boot Cuffs were my first published pattern, I actually wrote this pattern first (it just took a LOT longer to get right). I’m not sure exactly when I started it, but it was sometime in late spring. Then I had to write it up from memory and reverse engineering since I wasn’t very good about keeping notes as I went. Then I had to do the grading (figuring out the pattern for multiple sizes), followed by knitting a second one in another size just to make sure it was okay. Then I had others test it, followed by having a technical editor go through it with a fine-tooth comb to be sure I didn’t make any errors. Since this was my first pattern, and not a simple one at that, the whole process took a lot longer than it should have. Hopefully future sweater patterns will go much more quickly since I have some experience now.

This pattern came from a desire for a simple, top-down hoodie with clean lines for easy toddler wear. In order to keep the fabric sleek, ribbing, garter and seed stitch have given way to hemmed edges. To keep the look of a basic hoodie this pattern features a zipper closure and front pockets. The optional ribbon draw-string is not particularly functional, it just gives the sweater a little extra personality. The fingering weight yarn makes it a nice, light, versatile sweater to throw on for extra warmth.

I’d like to give a big Thank You to: Jodi and Ian for letting their adorable baby pose for some pictures; Ryan Barr for the wonderful photography; Pat Bostwick (aka “Mom”) for brainstorming and testing; Eleanor Dixon for technical editing; and C for helping me every step of the way.