Sunday, August 30, 2009


I just released a new shawl pattern today called Herbivore!


There are some other beautiful versions already knit up and ready to see on Ravelry

Herbivore is a shawl named after the plant-like structures within the fabric. Increases at each edge and at three other locations create the unique shape, while twisted stitches branch out from those increases.
This pattern uses about 430 yds of a fingering weight yarn and would look great in solid as well as variegated and semi-solid yarns.

The three sets of increases in the fabric allow the piece to be worn several different ways.

I have a couple other patterns to share in the next few days as well!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

blog posts about daybreak

There has been great reception to the new Daybreak shawl pattern. I really appreciate receiving all the comments and seeing the gorgeous versions on Ravelry.

Stefanie Japel wrote a wonderful post on her blog about knitting Daybreak. She noted some wonderful tips and tricks. There's also an amazing Barry Manilow video on that post with his song appropriately called Daybreak as well.

A couple nice people over at KnitPicks started working on Daybreak as well so there's some more Daybreak talk on Nina's Blog.

I got a little westknits "fan club" started with my friend Patricia (questionable) on Ravelry to serve as a place to talk and ask questions about current patterns. There will be some new patterns, that I'm very excited about, coming this Fall.

I also started an etsy shop called westknits woolies at The shop has several accessories that I designed, some of them are projects that I'm not going to work on anymore and other items are prototypes for designs or actual samples from my designs.

I am looking forward to my move back down to Urbana on Tuesday. I'm going down there for the day tomorrow so I can try to find a job. I am not knitting at full force as Fall approaches with rehearsals and a couple classes starting. So, I have to pick and choose what I really want to work on. I was commissioned to knit a cabled hat for a small clothing company and I devoted yesterday to that project. I got to work with Karabella's Donegal Cashmere Tweed and think it made a beautifully rustic hat.

Friday, August 7, 2009

daybreak pattern

The Daybreak shawl pattern is now available!

The link below can be used to purchase this pattern for $6.00.

Daybreak is a semicircular shawl, featuring clear graphic stripes that echo a rising sun. The generous wingspan allows the fabric to drape comfortably around your shoulders and neck. There is plenty of room to play with color in the three sections of this arched shawl.

The shawl is written up in three sizes from a small kerchief version to a larger shawl to wrap around your shoulders or neck. I used US size 4 needles with fingering weight yarn.

The pattern has been test knit by wonderful knitters. Their versions along with mine can all be seen over on Ravelry

I had a great time working on this pattern and knitting with Schoppel Wolle Zauberball on the large shawl

and Malabrigo Sock on the small and medium shawl.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

to urbana again

I just got back to the Chicago area from Minnesota, but now I'm off again. It's time to go back to Urbana for five days. I am starting dance rehearsals for the Aquifer Project with Jennifer Monson. I also get to spend some quality time with Chris and enlist him to help me with Daybreak photography. Speaking of, Terhi (mustaavillaa on ravelry) just finished test knitting a drop dead gorgeous shawl.

Yesterday, on my trip back to Chicago, I had the whole back seat to myself. I filled it with a knitting workshop of course.

That's two little bags full of new yarn (and the new Interweave!) from The Yarnery in St. Paul along with a backpack full of the yarn and projects I brought for the long weekend (I am always more than well equipped). The knitting in my lap is the beginning of a new design that I am very excited about and will hopefully get to share more within the next few months or so.

That, my friends, is some felted tweed waiting to become yet another westknits design.

Tonight, I cast on for Connie Chang Chinchio's new Farmer's Market Cardigan from Interweave Fall '09. I decided to use my Marr Haven Mule Spun Worsted in Medium Gray for a modified version of this cardigan. It's going to be the perfect comfort knitting project. I will work on it as one of my projects while in Urbana.

The last time I was in Urbana, about a month ago, I bought a couple pieces of pottery the serve as homes for lucky balls of yarn.

I got them from Kelli who lives in the area with her husband. Her husband is the one who made them, but she makes awesome stitch markers as well. She is lumlumtree on etsy.

Today, I rode my bike for a few hours, venturing through the forest preserve on my way to Three Bags Full in Northbrook, IL. I love going there 1) because it's an amazing shop with tons of gorgeous yarn and helpful friendly people and 2) because I get my exercise for the day at more than 20 miles for a round trip through the woods.

I went there today to drop off a Botanic Hat I made for the shop along with several patterns for them to sell.

I used Berroco Ultra Alpaca (gray) combined with Noro Yuzen.

After my ride through the woods to Three Bags Full, I hit the streets with my bike for an 8 mile round trip to Montoya Fiber Studio in Evanston to drop off another hat.

This one I did in Berroco Ultra Alpaca as well (brown) paired with Wisdom Yarns Poems. I wasn't a huge fan of knitting with the Wisdom yarn, but it's an inexpensive self-striping yarn option and it resulted in a beautiful finished object, I think.

I much prefer biking to these yarn shop destinations because I knit a lot and that means sitting down for extended periods of time. Why spend more time sitting in a car when you can get good exercise? That is unless you live 30 miles aways from a shop. Also, riding through the forest preserve makes it a lot easier.

If you know of any shops like your local yarn store that would like to carry my patterns, then let me know. I'm excited about the Botanic Hat because it's simple, fun to play with color combinations, for both men and women, and it makes a good gift. I can't believe how many of them I've made (at least 10). Plus, I have 2 more planned, one for Loopy Yarns and another for myself, to serve as my winter hat with a folded brim.

I have a lot of knitting related business on my plate with getting patterns into a few shops, putting the final touches on Daybreak, designing/writing new patterns, and throwing in some personal comfort knitting as well. Not to say that my design work isn't personal and comforting, but I am more particular and timely with my design projects.

I made a strong effort to pack a light yarn supply for the next five days.

Believe me, that's a light load. I had to neglect several skeins that wanted to come too.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

paddleboat knitting

I'll start off by sharing a couple recent events. I went to the Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Festival in Crystal Lake, IL to help with the Klose Knit booth a few Saturdays ago.

I am glad that the Midwest Fiber Festival was my first because it is small compared to other large festivals I've read and heard about. I was still overwhelmed by the amount of yarn in one place. I ended up with a skein of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight in the Pond Scum colorway. That skein of yarn is destined for something wonderful. I don't what yet, but something wonderful still. I also got a few different skeins from Briar Rose Fibers and a sweater's worth of rusty orange/red yarn from the Brooks Farm booth. Overall, it was a successful day for Klose Knit and my yarn stash.

I went to a festival (sadly not a fiber festival though) in Chinatown (Chicago) a couple weeks ago with my friend Lauren and if you've ever thought about knitting with a goat, it doesn't work.

Yes, there was a petting zoo in the streets of Chinatown and yes, goats really do like to eat everything in sight.

I spent a long weekend with my Aunt and Uncle in at their vacation home in Minnesota and I'm getting tons of knitting done. I caught a ride with my friend, Patricia (questionable on ravelry) who was conveniently staying in the same town as my relatives this weekend. I hung out with some of Patricia's family for dinner where there was a new kitty to play/knit with.

That's another Daybreak shawl (rav link) in Malabrigo Sock, colorways Primavera and Eggplant.

At my Aunt and Uncle's place, I golfed for the first time. Well, I did five holes before our cart started to get a little sluggish, but it was fun. I swung some impressive lucky shots interspersed with complete misses and lost balls in the woods. My score for the five holes was 50 points or shots or whatever you say.

I loved taking the paddle boat out on the small lake/big pond. Paddleboats are perfect because I can cruise on top of the water, paddling with my feet while my hands knit in the sun's excellent source of light.

That's me working on a Botanic Hat for Three Bags Full. I cranked out two of those hats in a night and a day.

While out on the water knitting, there were tons of sunfish so I fashioned a "fishing pole" out of a pop can tab attached to a long strand of Berroco Ultra Alpaca. I used bits of colorful wool for bait and the fish were biting at it a lot, but I couldn't get a hold of one. The next day, I attached that Ultra Alpaca to the handle of a plastic bucket and submerged it in the water. Then, I threw some bread crumbs out and pulled up on the bucket as the fish went for the bait. I caught four fish thanks to my crafty contraption.

I visited The Yarnery in St. Paul, MN. It's my favorite shop in the twin cities area. The shop is in a cozy house like Klose Knit, with yarn organized by weight in different rooms. They have an amazing selection of yarn with lots of books, magazines, and knit samples. I ended up with a little bag full of yarn for more new shawl designs.

Speaking of shawls, Daybreak is almost ready.

I just have to block the one I finished this weekend and take better photos of all three sizes for the pattern. I'm aiming to release the pattern later this week. In the meantime, you can admire gussie's and sketchbook's gorgeous shawls that they test knit for me. I have a few more equally amazing test knitters working on this shawl which means there will be more to admire soon.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

malabrigo sock and new rowan booklet

I got a couple new colorways (Primavera and Aguas) of Malabrigo Sock yesterday at Nina.

I'm making progress on Carmen from Malabrigo Book 1. It's their chunky yarn in the Charrua colorway. The pullover knit up quickly as it is chunky on size US 15s and the shaping/construction is very minimal. I'm making it as a sample for Malabrigo.

In exchange for knitting this pullover, I received 6 skeins of a new test yarn, Malabrigo Superwash worsted in the Archangel colorway.

I absolutely love this yarn and I think it's even softer than Malabrigo's regular worsted! The colors are a little vibrant and pink/purpley for me so I'm trying to find someone else who wants to trade their Malbrigo Superwash Worsted in more subdued colors.

I also got Rowan's new booklet, The Lima Collection.

There are four men's patterns in it. I also like one of the women's patterns that I could modify to work for me. However, my favorite is the brown cardigan.

I think I might modify the collar and just make it a V neck. Anyway, I won't use Lima because that would cost too many hundreds of dollars, but I'll be looking for a yarn substitute. I definitely love the Lima yarn and plan to use it for a smaller project, just not a men's cabled cardigan.

I also like the blue cabled sweater in the booklet.

I wrote up a new pattern called Daybreak and it is currently being test knit by several wonderful knitters.

The pattern should be available in a couple weeks or so.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

botanic hat pattern now available

I finally have my Botanic Hat pattern available for purchase!

Yarn Suggested: Merino Worsted by Malabrigo Yarn
-1 skein MC (less than half a skein is used)
-1 skein CC (less than half a skein is used)
Needles: US 6 & 7 (circular or DPNs depending on personal preference for knitting in the round)

The Botanic Hat pattern can be purchased for $6.00 through paypal.

It's been a long time since I first started working on this hat design and after knitting several versions, I'm really proud of the finished pattern.

Thanks to Todd Gocken (chiknitterguy on ravelry) for tech editing and formatting this pattern!

Also, thanks Peter aka yarndude for test knitting an awesome hat!

The hat is a reversible ribbed beanie with an added option to make a folded brim for extra warmth. I knit it up in a variety of worsted weight yarns and I can't wait to see what other color combinations and textures you all play with.

Make sure to post your finished hats for everyone to see over on ravelry!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

milkweed shawl

Before I left for Urbana over the weekend I purchased and printed Laura Chau's newest pattern, Milkweed Shawl. I started knitting it in a cotton yarn, but only had 4 of the 5 balls with me so I couldn't finish it this past weekend. I'll finish it soon, but in the meantime I picked up a skein of Jade Sapphire Mongolian Cashmere 2-ply to knit the same kerchief.

I enjoyed knitting this small shawl because of all the garter stitch and simple columns evolving into little diamond shapes at the end. I also really like the edging. It is not too pointy, but has some shape to it and the two far end points look like little wing tips.

I knit on US sz 4 bamboo circulars at Chris' apartment and during the whole train ride back to Chicago. The train was an hour late leaving Urbana, but that didn't bother me because I got that much more uninterrupted knitting time. I arrived at 1pm with a lot of time until my 6pm rehearsal in Chicago so I walked the short distance from Union Station to Loopy yarns to "waste" some of that time. I got a couple awesome skeins of sock yarn, Nova Sock in a rusty orangey red and Casbah Sock in shades of blue. Then I did EZ's sewn bind off on the Milkweed Shawl and worked on some fingerless mitts at the shop. There were a couple of really nice employees to hang out and knit with too.

Anyway, I am working on a lot of projects and several of my own designs as well. Getting some of my patterns out will be slow going as I am new to that process, but I am really excited about how my designs are knitting up!

Here is another picture of Laura Chau's Milkweed. I have more pictures on my ravelry project page.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

wwkip 2009

This year was my second time participating in World Wide Knit in Public Day. Last year I was at Daniela Johannsenova's event at her shop, Maschenkunst, in Cologne, Germany.
This year I took the train down to Urbana for the weekend and had a wonderful time knitting at the farmer's market for WWKIP day. We'll see where I end up next year.

Brigitte, the shop owner at Klose Knit, did a great job putting together this little event and there was a nice group of knitters that showed and several people at the farmer's market stopped to admire and ask questions which is great!

I started working on Laura Chau's (blog link) newest pattern, Milkweed (rav link), on the train this weekend and at the farmer's market. I love all the garter stitch in this shawl and the fun simple lace detail. It's fairly easy and the pattern is written out and charted clearly.

I'm knitting my version with Fiddlesticks Ecoknit Organic Cotton on US sz 8 needles. It's a worsted weight soft cotton so, it will be larger than the shawl in the pattern. I will most likely knit Milkweed again in fingering weight yarn though.

Anyway, how was everyone else's knit in public day. What did you do? Where did you knit?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

chicago with ysolda

I had a great time on Wednesday meeting Ysolda. I got to relax and knit with her and several other awesome knitters at Nina in Chicago.

I admired her sample suitcase that she brought and shared some of my knitting.

This is Ysolda's Hap Blanket pattern (rav link) that I knit up in Rowan Scottish Tweed Aran and Plymouth Homestead.

I also just finished her Cairn hat and mitts earlier this week. Here's a picture of the mitts meeting the designer. : )

Ysolda didn't have any mitts with her sample suitcase so mine get to join her during the remainder of her US trip. The Cairn fingerless mitts (rav link) were knit with Lorna's Laces Green Line dk and Colinette Cadenza in the Large size with US 5 needles.

I made the 22" size of the Cairn hat (rav link) with Queensland Kathmandu dk and Noro Cashmere Island. Those two yarns made a wonderfully squishy pair. I especially like the garter stitch at the top of the this hat.

I started working on a garter stitch foot stool with a simple pattern found on this site.

While at the shop I recognized Eliza who is ifandany (rav profile link) and met her friend Jill who is Juneberrystar on ravelry. It was so cool meeting all these people in person.

After visiting at the shop the four of us had a delicious dinner at the Earwax Cafe in Wicker Park and there were cupcakes involved. mmm.

Anyway, I'm excited to see the people I met at Nina more this summer.

I'm aiming to get out the pattern for the botanic hat (rav link) later this month. It keeps getting pushed back because I was working on a couple other designs and I still need to work out a couple more sizes for the hat, but I did just finish knitting a version with a folded ribbed brim (rav link) with Malabrigo and Plymouth Boku.

I really love the way it hugs comfortably around my head and covers the ears.

This summer is sure to be a heavy knitting season. I seem to be working with just as much wool despite these warm days.