Naming Contest!

I am excited to let you all know that I’m going to be releasing a new pattern soon! It will be the first in a three-pattern collection centered around a cable motif. The first pattern will be for a throw that’s worked up in gorgeous super-bulky Cascade Magnum. The other two will be pillow covers made with Cascade 220 Superwash. I’m so thrilled with how the first sample came out and am excited to be working on the others.

Here’s my problem: I have absolutely no idea what to name the patterns or the collection. I sat in front of the computer last night for an hour and still came up with nothing but ridiculousness. Seriously, I had convinced myself to name the collection Charles Cable III – with the throw being called Chuck and the pillows Chaz and Charlie. I really need some help.

Here’s my solution: I’m going get someone else to do the naming.

Here’s what you need to do: If you’re a Ravelry member, head on over to the contest thread, read the details, respond to the post with your awesome suggestions. If you’re not a Ravelry member and would like to participate, you can do so by responding to this post.

Here’s what I’m looking for: 4 names – one for the whole collection, one for the throw, one each for the pillow covers.

Here’s what you’ll get: I’ll be picking 2 winners – 1 for the best set of names, 1 randomly chosen from all the entries. Both winners will receive the entire collection when it is released.

And now for some details to get your creative juices flowing:

The colourway for the throw is called Birch, and the colourway for the pillows is called Pacific.

Here’s a picture of the throw:


So hit me with your best suggestions! Can’t wait to see what you all come up with!

GIVEAWAY – Featured Independent Designer – Janelle Martin

Today’s featured independent designer is Janelle Martin of Eclectic Closet.

Janelle Martin

I asked Janelle my Five Questions, and here is how she answered:

1)     Tell us a little about yourself.

I’ve been a knitter for more than 30 years and I love it more each year.  I’ve been teaching and designing a number of years and this past August I taught outside of Ontario for the first time, at Lancaster Yarn Shop in Lancaster County, PA and at Cast On! Cast Off! in St. John’s, NL. 

I was awarded the 2011-2012 Sally Melville Award (KW Knitters’ Guild), awarded (by members’ votes) to “the knitter who has most inspired its members.”  What makes it such a special award is that Sally was such an inspiration to me when I was a young knitter.  She was one of the cofounders of our local knitter’s guild, a guild filled with a number of innovative knitting designers such as Sally and Debbie New.  This past spring I was honoured to receive the Amy Hallman Snyder Textile, Fibre and Quilting Arts Award at the 26th Annual Arts Awards Waterloo Region.

Audrey II

2)     How did you start designing?

I started designing just to see if I could do it.  A number of people had suggested that I should design but I had never really thought of myself as creative.  I took painting and drawing courses in high school and university but felt I didn’t have a message or esthetic I wanted to share in those mediums.  I was always drawn to collage work and I think, for me, designing knits is closest to this process.  I start with my “blank canvas” by choosing the shape of the piece I want and then I combine stitch patterns to create the texture upon that canvas.

Vieux Carre

3)     How would you describe your design style?

The exciting part for me is creating organic designs.  I like there to be continuous lines in my work, for the stitch patterns to grow out of each other.  Often this means I have to create transition charts to move from one stitch pattern into the other.  My complex lace designs, such as Cartouche Shawl or Flower Bell Stole, often have five or six charts to handle these transitions, but the result is worth it.

I’m most drawn to lace and cables, but especially Japanese stitch patterns for lace.  I own a large collection of stitch dictionaries and spend a lot of time contemplating ways to combine different stitch patterns.  I then work up stitch charts to combine the various elements and then swatch to see how they work on the needles.

Sinuosity Shawl

4)     What is your favourite pattern of your own design?

Each new design that I release becomes a favourite at the time, but I do have a few personal favourites.  I keep coming back to the stitch patterns most recently used in the Cartouche Stole and I have two other designs in the works that utilize elements from the stole.  Obviously I’m not done with these stitch patterns yet!

For personal wear at the moment I’d have to pick the Fossetta Cowl (how can you beat the cuddly warmth of Yak?) and New Tech Cowl.

Cartouche Stole

5)      Are you doing any gift knitting this year?

This year I’m limiting myself to small gifts, leggings for my niece and a hat for my nephew.  The past few years I’ve knit a lot of Christmas gifts so I decided to give myself a break this year.  Too many years where I was still finishing knitting gifts early on Christmas morning!

Every Which way set

All photographs used by permission, copyright Janelle Martin. Top photo taken by Janelle’s dad, all others by Shawn Miller.

Thank you so much to Janelle for sharing your story with us!

To celebrate the Gift-A-Long, Janelle and I would like to offer you the opportunity to win one of her patterns. To enter, have a look through Janelle’s patterns and leave a comment below telling us which is your favourite. Leave your comment before midnight MST Thursday, November 20th and I will do a draw the next day to choose a winner. Good luck everyone!

GIVEAWAY – Featured Independent Designer: Anjali M

My first featured independent designer of the 2014 Gift-A-Long is Anjali M of Affiknity Designs. (All photos copyright Affiknity, used with permission)

Grown up HiraI asked Anjali my Five Questions, and here is how she answered.

1) Tell us a little about yourself.

I work full time as a programmer and knit and design in my free time. I live with my husband and my 6-year old son in Bangalore, India. I like to travel, read and take long walks on the beach (sad there is no beach in Bangalore). I have not yet made up my mind on what I love more: tea or coffee. I am a novice photographer and a budding baker.

2) How did you start designing?

It all started with a simple wish to make a blanket for my baby when I was pregnant. After searching high and low for a pattern, I couldn’t find any that I liked. I decided to make one up myself (I didn’t know the term designing then). I hunted down a nice stitch pattern in my stitchionary, worked out the gauge and thus was born my first ever pattern, As Sweet As Honey Baby Blanket. I enjoyed the process so much that I continued doing it.


3) How would you describe your design style?

I don’t really work towards having a distinct style, but I always keep in mind the practicality of the knitted piece and the interest of the knitter. I try to keep my designs simple, yet add one interesting element to it. To name a few: Hira has beads, Texo Pullover has cabled pocket and Dyvest has interesting cable transitions.


4) What is your favourite pattern of your own design?

It is so hard to choose! For purely sentimental reasons, I would say ‘As Sweet As Honey Baby Blanket’ as it was my first design and also it was made specially for my baby.

5) Are you doing any gift knitting this year?

Oh yes. I am so excited to see so many great patterns offered for sale and KAL. I am planning to make a hat for my son. Allotrope Hat looks interesting. I might decide to make a baby cardigan if my mood strikes.

Thank you so much Anjali for answering my questions so thoughtfully! It’s a pleasure to have been able to feature you on my blog.

To celebrate the Gift-A-Long, Anjali and I would like to offer you the opportunity to win one of her patterns. To enter, have a look through Anjali’s patterns and leave a comment below telling us which is your favourite. Leave your comment before midnight MST Wednesday, November 19th and I will do a draw the next day to choose a winner. Good luck everyone!

Longest Project Ever Giveaway

I just finished a project I started 8 (yes, EIGHT) years ago. I’m not sure exactly when I started it, but I know where I was living when I was blocking it originally, and I haven’t lived there in a very long time. I also know I got the yarn from a store that doesn’t exist anymore.wholething

The project is the Perfect Turtleneck, from Patons Design Series. It’s a chunky cabled sweater with lots of ribbing and a giant turtleneck. The cables are quite pretty, and I recall it being a very straight-forward pattern. I’ve been looking for mistakes, but apparently my knitting was better back then than I thought it was.closeup

The reason it had hibernated for so long is that when I tried seaming all the pieces together the yarn would untwist and pull apart. I got so frustrated with it that I put it away and forgot about it. I mentioned this to someone in passing recently and they suggested using a different yarn in a matching colour.

After finishing all my Christmas knitting and not knowing what to start next, I resurrected this beast and got down to business. It took 3 evenings of work, but it’s finally done. Unfortunately, I have aged 8 years and gestated 2 children since I began this sweater and it just doesn’t work for me anymore.full shot

So, if you’d like to receive this sweater for free, leave a comment telling me about your Longest Project Ever (knitting or otherwise) and I’ll do a draw on January 11th (my birthday!). The sweater is a size small (fits a 34″ bust).