Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Picot! Picot! And Sale! Sale!

We interrupt this irregularly (erratically, even) scheduled broadcast to say that the final pattern of August is out! Meet the Picot! Picot! Cowl:

(modeled by the ever lovely Casey, last seen wearing the Earl Grey Mitts!)

This pattern's genesis came about almost seven months ago, during a coffee date with a friend. After having done the picot edging on the Bristol's Cowl, I was talking about how, once you've done a picot, you suddenly want to put it on everything. Well, the lightbulb went off, and this cowl is the result! It utilizes the typical picot edging, true, but it's also got picots incorporated throughout the whole body of the cowl. So much fun!

(thank goodness for Wharf St. in downtown Portland. It's one of the best locations for a photoshoot ever!)

This cowl also utilizes SuriPaco's gorgeous Katahdin Collection yarn, a 60/40 blend of domestic suri alpaca and domestic merino. Coming in at a lushly spun aran weight, this stuff is fantastic to work with! I can't wait for cooler temperatures so I can snuggle down deep in it.

The other cool thing about this cowl is that it heralds a sale on my self-published patterns on Ravelry. My 26th birthday is on Sunday, and I decided to celebrate my last week of being 25 by having a 25% off sale. Go forth and use the coupon code "birthday"!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Week in Fiber Heaven

Skipping back in the order of things, I definitely need to recap my week at Medomak Camp's New England Fiber Arts Retreat. The problem is, I'm having a hard time putting it into words, other than one: bliss. A week in the beautiful Maine countryside, with some of my favorite people in the world as bunkmates and some of the coolest students I could ask for, talking fiber 24/7, eating amazing food, swimming in a gorgeous lake--I can't think of anything better.

(naturally dyed sample skeins)

I taught classes in dyeing and knitting with silk hankies, the Bristol's Cowl pattern from Quince & Co., and drop spindling, and did one-on-one lessons in wheel-spinning.



(the class and results of dyeing silk hankies)

I went on field trips to Hope Spinnery, Nanne Kennedy's Seacolors farm, and Katharine Cobey's studio.

(the teachers hanging out outside Hope Spinnery; Daniel is knitting a hat from Rachel's handspun; Rachel is stripping the plants in the garden to see if they'd work for dye; Dana is embroidering on some adorable vintage fabric; and I'm stripping milkweed to spin the fibers from the stem. All dorks.)

I played lots of Scrabble. I sat on the porch in the rocking chairs and knitted and chatted.

(the ever-shifting arrangement of the rocking chairs)

I laid out and air-dried on the dock by the lake. I had more than a few gin and tonics. I spent half an hour laying back on a wooden platform at midnight, watching the lightning storm play out overhead.
But mostly, I just let go and had fun. It was a week of sheer bliss with new friends and old, and I cannot wait for next summer to roll around so I can do it all over again!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Edie Shawl

Oh, to hell with chronological order--I want to talk about my design with Quince and Co. that came out today!


The Edie Shawl (and here's a Rav link)is a top-down triangular shawl, started on a small number of stitches and gradually increased at the center spine and edges. It utilizes the bounce and stitch definition and gorgeous, saturated colors of Chickadee--even if that saturated color is pink in this case! (Although my momma says it's raspberry. My momma's always right.)


It was a fun challenge for me! I started it right after I designed the Lida Shawl, and wanted to move in a completely different direction: ribbing instead of stockinette, panel instead of allover pattern, and lifted bar increases rather than yarn-overs. To say it was an interesting process was an understatement!


Even with all that change and shift in direction, I am definitely happy with the finished product. I'm even more happy with Carrie's amazing photography for Quince. I am beyond pleased to have the opportunity to work with such an awesome company. Here's to many future projects!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tour de Fleece

Oh man oh man, do I have blog backlog to take care of! That's one of the big problems with working freelance; all the interesting things happen at once. It's either feast or famine! So this week, I will attempt to wrap up:
a--the Tour de Fleece
b--my amazing and wonderful week teaching at the Medomak Fiber Arts Retreat
and c--the privilege and honor of my men's vest design, Delius, appearing in the Fall Twist Collective
(and maybe d--, where there's a chance I have another design coming out this week. Who knows!)

To keep things chronological and preserve my sanity, I'll start with the Tour de Fleece. My plan was to get through three separate projects, but for some reason the first project ended up taking 19 of the 20 days of the Tour. I guess spinning cobweb-weight 100% tussah silk will do that. . .

This isn't even the halfway point. Sigh.

This project was a real test in perseverance for me--I knew I wanted the final product, but goodness, getting to that point was a slog! The sense of accomplishment when it was finally plied and off the bobbin, though, was pretty amazing.

the finished product!

When I finally got it off the bobbin and counted, the realization started to hit me as to why it was taking so long. The final estimate is around 2,000 yds/6 ounces of silk. Whew.

The best part? I get to knit it now! Here's the very squishy, very ripply, very weird-looking beginning of Herbert Niebling's Lyra (rav link).


Wish me luck for the remaining 150 rows. . .