Sunday, September 14, 2014

Volteado: In Color

All photos courtesy of Tanis Lavallee / Tanis Fiber Arts

If you're planning to knit Volteado, I bet you're excited to pick your colors--that's half the fun, isn't it? Imagining all the possible combinations and how they'll look together. Deciding and then changing your mind, and then changing it again until you finally settle on the perfect color combo.

Or maybe not. Maybe choosing colors stresses you out. So much room for error. What if your chosen colors don't work well together--there's not enough contrast or one makes the other look washed out? Too much pressure!

The yarn used in my sample socks comes from Tanis Fiber Arts. Tanis has some of the most gorgeous and unique colorways I've seen, and I can't seem to stop myself from placing a couple orders each year--even though I have to pay for shipping from Canada! It's totally worth it.

No one knows these colors better than Tanis herself, so I asked her if she could suggest some color combos for Volteado, for the color-averse among us. Here are a few of her ideas:

Oh, I love this one. I ogle Lucky Penny every time I'm on her site, trying to decide what I would do with it. I already have a skein of Gold. I might have to just go ahead and grab Lucky Penny and make myself a second pair of socks.

So bright! So fruity! Lemongrass looks fresh and clean, and Grape would be a gorgeous complement.

Another one I LOVE! I also have a skein of Iris. I'd love to see how it would work in these socks.

A more muted palette, I love this combo of blues. This might work for a masculine take on the sock, too (the larger size could work for a gentleman whose feet aren't exceptionally big; you might also try playing with the gauge to make a larger size.).

And for fun, here are two combos I considered when planning my socks:

 Very autumnal and cozy looking.

And in contrast, very bright and spring-y!

Tanis also pointed out that Charcoal, Chris Grey, Natural and Sand are neutrals, so they work with pretty much every color--if you're just dipping your toe into color mixing, you might choose one of these for your contrast color, to make the decision a little less intimidating. You just have to narrow down your main color from this beautiful selection:

(That's just the ones I could fit in a screenshot!)

Incidentally, Tanis also said some very sweet things about the Volteado socks. Isn't that nice? I love fiber people.

I hope this look at color jump starts your planning process for Volteado. Be sure to visit Tanis' site to see all the colors she offers (she also has two other fingering weight yarns that would work for these socks: sparkly Cosmic Blue Label and Purple Label with cashmere!).

And if you are planning to knit a pair, would you be interested in a KAL? I'm consider hosting one in the MediaPeruana Designs group--maybe I could even rustle up a few prizes! But I want to gauge interest before I commit, so if you're interested in KALing, leave a comment here, or visit the Volteado pattern thread, and tell me you'd like to do a KAL!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Pattern Debut: Volteado


What did I tell you about autumn, huh? Season of knitting, season of NEW PATTERNS. Yep, another one.  Introducing Volteado!

I'm excited to share that you'll find this one in the Knitty Deep Fall issue! So you know what that means--it's FREE!

These socks used two skeins of Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label fingering weight. The sample is knit in Plum and Sunset.

Purple is my color, lately. And this is one beautiful purple.

They're knit cuff down, and available in two sizes: 8" and 9" foot circumference. The sample socks are the smaller size--they fit my size 7.5 foot quite nicely!

The color repeats are short, which results in short, stacked floats that are extra thick and warm, particularly on the soles. Cuffs, toes and short row heels are done in a solid color to contrast.

Now that the pattern is live, I can stop protecting my sample pair and start wearing them!

Stay tuned, my previously exclusive Pumpkin Butter sock design goes live Monday--more colorwork socks!--bringing my September pattern release total up to 4!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pattern Debut: Abrigado

Autumn is the season for knitting--and for new patterns! I certainly do have a lot of them for you this month. Here's the latest, Abrigado.

Abrigado is a textured throw knit in bulky weight yarn, and it's part of Knit Picks' new Creature Comforts collection. This collection features 8 cozy knits for your home that you'll want to snuggle up with when the weather turns.

I designed this throw with speed in mind--knit with thick yarn and large needles, the blanket features a textured chevron-style pattern that will hold your interest, but isn't as fussy or time consuming as cables or lace. The chevrons mix with slipped stitch columns, and the whole thing is set off by a simple garter stitch border. You'll have it done in no time!

The Creature Comforts collection is currently on sale as part of Knit Picks' book sale, so it's only $8.99--that's a steal! Or buy the individual pattern for just $4.99. If you're not quite ready to buy, show it some love over on Ravelry!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Pattern Debut: Narcisos

Socks are often thought of as the quintessential "any season" knit, but I'm going to put in a vote for fingerless mitts. Wear them as the weather turns cool or when it fails to warm up quickly enough, wear them when your office is over-air conditioned or under-heated, dressy or cozy, bulky or airy--they work in all seasons and situations, and it's essential to have a few pairs in your handknit collection.

Introducing Narcisos--a light, airy pair of fingerless mitts just in time for fall's first chill (or equally lovely for spring, as seen in these photos!). As the air turns cool, keep your hands warm with these delicate mitts. Simple stockinette adorned with lace, top and bottom, for an airy feel, and knit in fingering weight wool for warmth against the early season chill.

Narcisos calls for a single skein of beautiful Forbidden Woolery Fortitude--Leann updated her shop this week and has some absolutely gorgeous skeins of this yarn available right now! It's a soft but sturdy fingering weight yarn, 100% superwash merino wool, with a generous 435 yards per skein. I'd grab a skein of Gillyweed if I were you!

A quick knit to welcome the fall season, and available in my Ravelry shop for just $3.99! And while you're over on Ravelry, check out the new group for Forbidden Woolery!


Size: 1 size, to fit hand circumference approximately 7.5” / 19cm

Gauge: 32 stitches and 36 rows = 4” / 10cm

Yarn: Forbidden Woolery Fortitude (100% superwash merino wool, 435 yards/100g), 1 skein; shown in Heather.

Needles: Set of 4 US sz 2 / 2.75mm double point needles, or size needed to obtain gauge.

Stitch markers
Scrap needle or stitch holder
Yarn needle

Mitts are knit in the round. Lace portions are charted; chart reading required.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Sampler: Early Fall Knitting

Boy it's been a while since I've done one of these!

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that, by my definition, September is the start of FALL, the very best season of the year. Fall is, of course, a great time for knitting anything and everything. But maybe you're overwhelmed by your options and don't know where to start. Or you're having trouble prioritizing. Or you're just not feeling inspired by your queue.

Fear not! I am here to help. Without further ado, Ten Spectacular--and FREE--Fall Knitting Projects:

 Photo courtesy of Emily Ringelman / Knitty

 Delaware is for Cables by Emily Ringelman. So cable-y. Great with a rustic yarn. Quick to knit in aran weight. And I'm in favor of building a varied hat wardrobe for fall, as you'll see.

 Photo courtesy of Andi Satterlund

 Lace Shrug, by Andi Satterlund. Perhaps a bit spring-y, but cold shoulders are a risk any time, and lace is perfect for a subtle early fall chill.

 Photo courtesy of Megan Wright

Rhapsody in Lace and Ruffles, by Megan Wright. A heavier shawl in DK weight, perfect for when the weather finally turns COLD.

 Photo courtesy of Jessa Kalani

Rikke hat, by Sarah Young. Lovely garter squishiness!

 Photo courtesy of Tin Can Knits

Clayoquot Toque, from Tin Can Knits. A free hat pattern to match the cardigan in the new Road Trip collection! Great introduction to stranded knitting.

 Photo courtesy of Tin Can Knits

Another freebie from Tin Can Knits, Barley, a squishy hat featuring a simple stockinette and garter combo and sized from Baby to Adult.

 Photo courtesy of Nancy Green / Knitty

Thisbe by Nancy Green. Love this cable and lace combo, and you can ALWAYS use more handknit socks.

Photo courtesy of Raveler verabee
Wurm by Katharina Nopp. Another squishy hat, and looks like a good candidate for handspun!

Photo courtesy of Purl Soho

Bandana Cowl by Purl Soho. A quick, cozy knit in bulky weight.

Dungarees cowl, by yours truly. The openwork is straightforward, but the lateral braids are a challenge--try something new!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sock Yarn Scarves--winner!

We had a great response to the Sock Yarn Scarves giveaway--135 comments! No one can resist the siren call of free yarn, I suppose. ;)

So, our lucky winner is Commenter #38:
And that is a Ms. Cindy Smith! Cindy, I hope you remember to check the blog this week and see that you're our big winner! Shoot me an email ( with your mailing address, and I'll get your prize out ASAP.

Thanks to everyone who entered for your thoughtful comments about this collection and the individual patterns! And a special thanks to all the new blog visitors--I hope you'll continue to visit in the coming weeks, as I have 3 more new patterns debuting in September, as well as some additional giveaways planned!

In the meantime, here's an adorable behind-the-scenes video Knit Picks put together of the Sock Yarn Scarves photo shoot--enjoy!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Ollie's Story

(As I said when JJ was born, if you like hearing baby birth stories, read on; if you prefer to think storks drop little pink and blue bundles off to expectant parents around the world, just scroll down to the bottom, where I remind you to enter the Sock Yarn Scarves giveaway!)

Oliver Martin made his unexpected arrival on Friday, August 1, and the whole thing played out much like JJ's birth: I went in for my 39 week prenatal visit, my blood pressure was high so I was sent to the hospital for monitoring. Ultimately, my bp stabilized, but it turned out that I was having mild contractions, and the baby was not responding well to them--his heart rate was dropping and not recovering quickly enough. So, lucky me, I was bound for another csection.

This all happened around 3pm. The doctor first told me the procedure would be done around 7pm, but as the afternoon went on, the baby was not behaving as they hoped, and it turned into "How fast can your husband get here?" CP was, of course, at home with JJ, waiting for my sister to arrive to babysit.

Finally CP arrived and things got underway around 4pm. Oliver made his appearance at 4:39pm, weighing just 5lbs 11oz (anything under 5.5lbs is considered low birthweight, so he wasn't officially low, but definitely small for his age). They measured him at 18", but we've since been to the pediatrician where he's been 19 3/4", so clearly someone made a mistake somewhere along the way.

We finally made it to recovery and were attempting the tricky task of breastfeeding while still mostly numb from surgery when a doctor arrived to explain that Ollie had very low blood sugar and would need to be taken to the NICU. She thought they could get it back up quickly and his stay would be relatively short. So off he went, and I didn't see him again until the next morning, when I was finally allowed out of bed.

Unfortunately, getting his blood sugar up was no easy task. He had an IV for glucose, was being fed formula (and later pumped milk), at one point had a feeding tube--which he kept pulling out--and they even tried putting a line in through his little belly button, but it took nearly a week for his blood sugar to rise and then remain stable without interventions. I was discharged on Tuesday morning, so I spent the next few days living at the hospital, eating crap from the cafeteria and snack machines,  pumping milk behind a curtain, and missing my little JJ back at home. It was by no means enjoyable, but compared to the long stays of other NICU babies, I'm sure it was a piece of cake.

We were finally able to bring Ollie home on August 8, a week after he was born. We've settled in and are all working to adjust to life with a newborn. Fortunately, CP has 4 weeks of paternity leave, which will hopefully make my transition to full time mom of 2 kids under age 2 a little easier!

My knitting time is certainly at a premium right now, but fortunately I can enjoy other knitting-related things, like podcasts, blogging, and giving away yarn! Don't forget to check out the Sock Yarn Scarves giveaway--you have 1 more week to leave a comment on that post and be entered to win!