Friday, August 30, 2013

Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2013 - Beekeeper's Slouch and Everstar Scarf

I have two more patterns out this month in the 2013 issue of Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts!
The Beekeeper'sSlouch is a worsted-weigh hat with a honeycomb cabled brim that is knit flat, then joined with three buttons. The top of the hat is picked up and worked vertically in stockinette stitch.

The Everstar Scarf features a variety of six-stranded cable charts to keep the knitting interesting from start to finish. It is also worked in a heavy worsted weight wool yarn. This was originally named the Many Paths scarf (though I love the name Everstar), and I imagined it being an appropriate gift for someone with whom you have walked many paths over the years.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My Mountain Hat Design Contest - Spiral Path Beret, Shine On Beanie, and Embarrassingly Easy Hat

To celebrate the North American release of their My Mountain line of yarns,  Schachenmayr is having a design contest. Contestants are invited to design a hat using one of the big, rugged, out-door inspired My Mountain yarns. The company was gracious enough to send me yarn to make two different hats to enter in the contest.

Spiral Path
There seems to be a spiral path going around my mountain, on which I come to the same issues again and again, but at a different level. Sharing, caring for myself, setting goals, and grappling with the expectations of others are all vistas from different sides of my mountain, but they mean different things at the elevation of a child, teenager, young wife, and now as a mother.

Another thing I keep happily returning to is purple, like the pretty purple shade of Boston (70% acrylic, 30% wool, 12 sts/4" on 8.0 mm needles) used for this slouchy beret featuring a spiral lace pattern.

Shine On
One of my mountains is sleep. I am seeing far too much of the stars these days; first late at night, and then again before dawn the next morning. While I miss getting enough sleep, I do enjoy getting to see so much of the stars, like the one on the front of the Shine On beanie.

This hat is knit in Bravo Big  (100% acrylic, 8 sts/4" on 10.0 mm needles) in a deep, indigo blue and has an intarsia star worked in a neon yellow shade of Lumio. The "shine" around the star is worked with the reflective thread untwisted from a strand of Lumio.
Embarrassingly Easy Hat
The skein of Lumio was so generously sized that I had more than enough left over from the Shine On hat to make this quick little hat for my daughter. This has is, as the name suggests, embarrassingly easy to knit. In fact, I finished most of this hat early one morning in the short time before the kids woke up.
I love a good, complicated knitting pattern, but when the climb up my own particular mountain gets particularly tough, I'm a sucker for a super-simple knit. This hat is composed of a long rectangle that is folded in half, then sewn down the sides. Braided tassels are sewn to the top corners for a little extra swing.

Patterns for all three hats are coming soon!

August Update

Summer is zipping by here and the unseasonably cool and non-sticky weather here in Ontario over the past few weeks has meant plenty of comfortable and pleasant knitting time.

So what have I been up to? I've had two patterns published recently, both in The Unofficial Harry Potter Knits, a special magazine from Interweave Press. It has already hit the newsstands in some areas, and is already available for digital download in the U.S. Unfortunately, it is not available for sale outside of the US due to copyright complications. Nevertheless, I am thrilled to have been a part of this issue.

My Severus Pullover was inspired by what Professor Severus Snape might wear if it became necessary for him to wear Muggle clothes. You can read more about this pattern here.
My second pattern included in this magazine is the Dumbledore's Warm Socks pattern, inspired by the scene in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Bloomsbury, 1997) in which Dumbledore laments that he has once again received books for Christmas, when what he really wanted was a pair of warm, woollen socks. You can read more about this pattern here.

While knitting up Dumbledore's Warm Socks, my three-year old daughter looked carefully at my work in progress, then announced "Mommy, you are making socks." I told her that yes, I was making socks.
"Are they for you?" she asked.
"No, these socks are for Dumbledore," I replied. She thought about this for a minute, then her eyes went wide with delight.
"Dumbledore is coming to our house!" she said, excitedly. I had a hard time breaking it to her that no, Dumbledore was not coming to our house, but that I was going to mail the socks to "Dumbledore" far away.

 This month, I've been working away on a sweater for an online magazine, which I can't talk about too much just yet. I'll post this small teaser photo and just say that yes, the yarn is every bit as soft and smooshy and delicious as it looks in the photo.

 I've also been having fun catching up on The Fibre Factor while I knit. I've just finished watching all the videos for Challenge 2, in which the designers must use colorwork on a big, boxy sweater, and am seriously impressed with the creativity, skill, and speed of all the competitors. I love watching them describe their design process and am feeling seriously inspired by all the stories, photos and places that the designers used as their own inspiration.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Unofficial Harry Potter Knits - Severus Pullover and Dumbledore's Warm Socks

I am really excited about getting to be a part of The Unofficial Harry Potter Knits issue from Interweave this summer. I've been a fan of Harry since the first movie came out, and worked my way through the books starting when my son was old enough to read chapter books.


My Severus Pullover is inspired by what Professor Severus Snape might wear if it became necessary for him to wear Muggle clothes, such as for a covert mission for The Order of the Phoenix. Since he often had to wear poor-fitting clothes as a child, the adult Snape owns only a small number of garments that are excellently fitted and of top quality.
The Severus pullover features a central column of off-set cables reminiscent of flickering flames, flanked by narrow, serpentine cables. The sleeves feature the same serpentine cable, which travels the length of the sleeve and forms a saddle shoulder. Snape is often described as sweeping “bat-like” through Hogwarts in his wizard’s robes, so the sleeves of the Severus pullover are minimally tapered, as Snape does not care for restrictive sleeves.


My second project included in this magazine are Dumbledore's Warm Socks. Dumbledore’s Warm socks are designed especially for spending long hours in ancient, drafty castles. They are worked primarily in a specked rib pattern, whose heavy texture promises warm feet. Near the top of the sock, the initials “A P W B D” - for Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore - are worked across the front of the sock in contrast colour using duplicate stitch on a back-ground of stockinette-stitch squares fitted neatly into the specked rib pattern.
In "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," Dumbledore laments that he has once again received books for Christmas when what he longed for was a pair of thick, woollen socks. He never again mentions this desire in any of the books.

This is thanks to a conversation between Harry and Mrs. Weasley the summer after second year. After a day of buying school supplies in Diagon Alley, Harry has dinner with the Weasley family at The Leaky Cauldron. Conversation turned to Harry's recent release of Dobby the elf via the gift of a sock. They begin talking about the value of a good pair of socks and Harry casually mentions what Dumbledore told him in front of the Mirror of Erised. Mrs. Weasley, overcome with gratitude to Harry, who, with the assistance of Dumbledore, has recently saved Ginny in the Chamber of Secrets, vows to include Dumbledore in her Christmas knitting and to keep him well supplied with woollen socks every year.