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Sep
20

Bundled up!

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trans_cowlhatBAM – another pattern release today! It feels so good to put the finishing touches on my various works in progress. See? I have been actually working on stuff, not just getting married and sittin’ around gestating!

So, I designed this when I was engaged and thinking about our “honeymoon baby,” should my new husband and I be so lucky. I chose to use a Herculean “love knot” and the “sheaf of wheat” motif because they represent love and fertility. Now, you don’t have to be trying for a baby to enjoy this pattern, but you could say it worked! Baby Owen was born almost exactly 40 weeks from our wedding day.

This hat fits loosely and could be considered a “slouch” hat. I wore it religiously last winter, even during a bitingly cold trip to Chicago for Vogue Knitting Live, and I just loved it. I hope you do, too!

** Bonus matching cowl instructions included! **

Click here to see/purchase on Ravelry! 

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Sep
18

Pattern Release: ANNABELLE

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AnnabelleWoo hoo!! I don’t know how I’ve been so productive lately, but it’s been working out for me. :) I swear, having a baby makes you appreciate and use every “spare” second you have to do things you don’t get to do otherwise. Like work on designs!

I am so excited to have completed some magazine submissions but cannot tell you about those now.  What I can talk about is my newest pattern release, called “Annabelle” after sweet Annabelle Humbracht. She was the “parallel pregnancy” baby, as her mommy, Alice, called it! I may have mentioned before that Annabelle and Owen are the same age on a cellular level, even if they were born a couple of weeks apart.

Anyway, I have a thing for ikat prints and tried my hand at interpreting them in knitwear. I’m very pleased with how it turned out!

The pattern is written for sizes 6-months, 12-months, and 18-months and includes both the cardigan sweater and the matching hat. You use a chart and stranded colorwork to achieve the ikat look. The color combinations are pretty fun to play with, so I hope to see FOs from people with new, exciting color schemes!
OwenCLICK HERE to see it on Ravelry and

CLICK HERE to see more photos on my Facebook page

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Aug
01

Mindless knitting: Ariel

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Ariel_inprogTwo posts ago, I promised to report more about a project I’d been working on with some Elsebeth Lavold Silky Flamme Wool from my stash. I consider it a “mindless” project because you only have to think/do anything different every 12th row.

As you can see in the photo, the thick-and-thin yarn doesn’t really look that great. The cables are inconsistent and I like a tighter, neater look. But hey, maybe you like the loosey-goosey look! Whatever floats your boat, I guess.

Here’s the pattern!

Ariel (so named because the cables remind me of a mermaid’s tail, swimming and swishing down the scarf)

US 9 needles, worsted weight yarn (I used 4 skeins Elsebeth Lavold Silky Flamme)

Pattern Notes:

  • Keep in mind that row 1 is a wrong side row, hence “reverse stockinette” is knit and “stockinette” is purl.
  • C10B = place 5 sts on cable needle, hold to back, knit 5 sts from left needle, knit 5 from cable needle
  • C10F = place 5 sts on cable needle, hold to front, knit 5 sts from left needle, knit 5 from cable needle

CO 36 sts
Seed stitch 2″
Rows 1-11: Beginning with WS, seed stitch 6 sts, reverse stockinette 2 sts, stockinette stitch 20 sts, reverse stockinette 2 sts, seed stitch 6 sts
Row 12 (RS): Seed stitch 6 sts, reverse stockinette 2 sts, C10B, C10F, reverse stockinette 2 sts, seed stitch 6 sts
Repeat last 12 rows until scarf is desired length OR your yarn is going to run out soon. Leave enough for 3-4 more inches.
Repeat rows 1-11 one more time. Do not repeat cable.
Seed stitch 2″
Bind off. Sew in ends. 

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Jul
31

Reverse engineering

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hatIn my quest to find the right hat pattern for my husband, one he will actually wear and that won’t totally bore me, I’ve knit up a few samples here and there. Ironically, the most promising pattern is the one for which I keep forgetting the stitch pattern. I’ve now reverse engineered it twice and, by golly, I’m going to record it for good AND finish the hat! My friend (and fellow new mommy), Alice, has asked for it, as well, so here goes!

I like that it is a 2-color pattern using a slip stitch technique. It’s super easy to memorize (my own previously mentioned memory troubles aside), and the fabric has a nice, dense, sponge-y feeling and bounces back very well. I also forgot what yarn I was using and there was no ball band in my project bag (I know, I’m useless!) so I’ll re-do it with a second kind and see if I get the same effect. Pretty sure it’s 100% wool, though. Maaaaybe a mix with rayon, but I don’t think so. (Edited to add: I found the yarn! It’s Sublime Cashmerino Silk DK) Since the original source for the stitch is gone, I’ll call it “dimples”.

detail

*** Keep in mind, this pattern is only for the stitch/texture and not for the hat itself. :) ***

Dimples (a 2-color slip stitch pattern):

Cast on even # of sts

In the round:

MC (blue in sample); CC (gold in sample)
Round 1: knit MC
Round 2: purl MC
Round 3: *k1 CC, sl1 wyib MC purlwise, repeat from * to end
Round 4: *p1 CC, sl1 wyib MC purlwise, repeat from * to end
Round 5: knit MC
Round 6: purl MC
Round 7: *sl1 wyib MC purlwise, k1 CC, repeat from * to end
Round 8: *sl1 wyib MC purlwise, p1 CC, repeat from * to end

Flat:

Row 1 (RS): knit MC
Row 2: knit MC
Row 3: *k1 CC, sl1 MC, repeat from * to end
Row 4: *sl1 wyif MC purlwise, k1 CC, repeat from * to end
Row 5: knit MC
Row 6: knit MC
Row 7: *sl1 MC, k1 CC, repeat from * to end
Row 8: *k1 CC, sl1 wyif MC purlwise, repeat from * to end

Enjoy!

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Jul
13

Settling in

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It has been quite a while since I posted, but I have good reasons, I swear!

Owen Paul Scalzo, my sweet baby boy, was born on April 26, 2013 at 4:07pm. He weighed in at 8lbs. 13oz. and stole our hearts! This pic is from the hospital, so he’s definitely got that newborn look going on. Still SO kissable, though! Then, one month later, on May 24, 2013, we moved into our brand new house! And then my car busted, so I had to buy a car super quick. Ya know…like ya do. So, yes, I’ve been a little distracted.

Owen is now almost 3 months old and our home is almost 2 months lived-in. I’m starting to get the hang of this new life! I won’t lie…newborns are TOUGH. I’m happy to report that he is now sleeping with enough consistency that I can predict fairly well when I can do things outside the realm of childcare…like knitting!

Well, hold your horses there, Kate. House first. Right. Having tackled the most important rooms (family room, kitchen, master bed/bath, nursery), I am now working on my studio! That’s right! I’m able to use one of the bedrooms as a studio! I’m very excited to re-organize my yarn, supplies, magazines, books, and FO’s in this brand new, clean space! What a change from the corner of the family room!

Keeping on the knitting/crafting topics, though, I do have a few projects to work on when Owen is asleep or when I’m able to escape to a stitch-n-bitch. I’m painting the letters of Owen’s name to be hung in his room, I’m going to be slicing our old memory foam mattress into three pieces and then stack them in Owen’s room so I can have somewhere to sleep when we start to transfer him from the bassinet in our room to his own crib, and I have a lovely scarf that I designed to be simple to remember while I have baby brain going on. Do you ever have that yarn in your stash that you love but can’t seem to find the right project? Well, this beautiful ivory Silky Flamme was lovely in the skein but it just wasn’t working with any of my swatches. Sadly, that’s not a great endorsement for the yarn but I’m glad that I’m going to be using it up and it will no longer be staring at me with puppy dog eyes. Cuz yarn can totally do that.

The project is, essentially, 6 rows of seed stitch on the ends with a center panel of two 10-stitch cables flanked by two outer columns of seed. So, basically, you only need to remember what you’re doing when you get to a cable row, which is every twelfth row. My only complaint, though, still has to do with the yarn. Even this simple project can’t save it and I believe that is because the subtle thick-and-thin quality makes the cables look wonky. Thick-and-thin yarns, to me, are difficult to apply. So I’ll finish this scarf and it’ll be lovely, but I won’t be recommending that others use this yarn. I’ll put up better instructions and a few pics in the next post. :)

Until then, here are my favorite two guys in the whole world!

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Mar
22

If the coat fits….ROCK it!

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Ok, I’m dying over how cute Noelle is. This is my precious little niece, who is 6 years old. Back when she was a baby, I made Wendy Bernard’s Girlfriend’s Swing Coat in a 2T size. Well, she ended up not wearing it, partially because I made a 2T for a baby and it’s kinda hard to remember it’s there by the time she can fit into it.

Last night, we tried it on her and it FIT! The cropped style on Noelle is precious and she is rocking that thing to kindergarten this morning. LOVES.

The coat will be featured, alongside two other items I’ve knitted, in my Knitting Guild‘s fashion show next month. This time, they are highlighting children’s knits, which are my favorite by far. I will be 8-months pregnant, though, so I hope I’ll be able to go to the meeting. If so, I’ll take lots of pics because this should be ADORABLE.  

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Mar
07

Receiving blankets :)

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See what I did there? Ha! So, I’m usually the one giving away baby knits but THIS time is different. See…I’m pregnant with my first child, little Owen Paul Scalzo, due 4/29/13. Yay!!!! (super happy dance)

It explains why I haven’t exactly been an active participant on this blog/website thing for a while. I have been designing, but getting projects finished, written, and edited while also prepping for baby AND buying our first house has been a bit of a challenge.  It’s a good thing I have such wonderful knitters (and a crocheter) in my life! Behold the handmade bounty of my baby shower!!

The baby hat is my 6-year-old niece’s very first project, made on a Knifty Knitter. I don’t recall the patterns for the green and white blankets, but the blue one can be found here on Ravelry!

Who’s got four thumbs, a big ole belly, and is one lucky mama? THIS GAL!

Baby hat, made by my niece, Noelle (6 yrs old). Reluctantly modeled by Buddy.

Green blanket, made by my sister, Lynn

Blue lace blanket, made by my friend, Alice. Alice is, by the way, due to deliver her first child (a girl!) within just 3-4 days of my due date!

White crochet blanket, made by my friend, Mindy

 

 

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Nov
14

Second time around: Vogue Knitting LIVE

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Beautiful mohair sweater from the Gala fashion show

For those of us who spend the bulk of our time in our homes, it can often be difficult to gain inspiration. I have a vast reservoir of tidbits in my imagination that, with time and opportunity, will rise to the top and eventually blend into something pretty cool. There are times, though, when that reservoir feels like it’s drying up and I need to bust out and breathe some new air.

I was incredibly fortunate, therefore, that I was scheduled to leave the sunny San Diego shores and attend Vogue Knitting Live’s most recent event in Chicago! I attended fashion shows and lectures, and also took a few design courses from Kristen Rengren, Shannon Okey, Debbie Stoller, and Josh Bennett. Simply amazing. I can usually knit through classes and get the gist by listening leisurely, but I was furiously scribbling notes for three days (between visits to the Marketplace, of course). I didn’t even touch one of the projects I brought with me.

Cabled sweater at VKL fashion show

I wish I could just upload and share some of the design worksheets I received during the classes but I’m pretty sure they’re proprietary and it would be unprofessional (and just plain rude) to distribute the meat of their content without providing monetary compensation/permission. I can, however, offer some advice given via panel discussions and classes that you might fund helpful and thus avoid feeling as if I’m cheating anyone:

1) Never knit a gauge swatch drunk (or heavily buzzed). Yeah, I already figured that out. If boozin’, my needles go back in the bag. But, really, it does change your gauge and your project will not be what you expected. If you’re already past the swatch stage and working on your project, the risk of gauge inconsistencies and mistakes is not worth it. I know, I know, “you’re no fun”.

More after the jump!

Read More→

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Aug
13

Ridiculous Side Projects (RSP): Waffle Iron Cozy

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Various camping implements next to my "toasty" waffle iron.

My mother once cross-stitched and framed a quote for me when I was a kid. It said, “Creative Minds are Seldom Tidy.” I loved it because it was pretty and my mom made it for me. I didn’t quite get the whole “your room is a disaster but you’re a little eccentric, so I’ll let it slide for now” thing. Creative minds, I think, owe part of their mess to all the random projects they are juggling at once. In my home now, there is an unfinished shoe design (complete with a Barbie doll who sacrificed her leg to the cause), a few knitting projects, a trash/recycling concept that is now half-finished and cluttering up the kitchen, skull reproductions and silicone casts of the interior of the skulls, a bell pepper trapped in a chunk of acrylic (don’t ask), you name it…there are so many things to make and do and they become this little graveyard in your living space…until, that is, you see them through and put them to use.

I’ve decided to try harder to see more of my ridiculous side projects (RSP), through. I think it would help clear out all the closets in my mind and my home. Sounds like a good recurring post here, too! So, without further ado…my first RSP: The Waffle Iron Cozy. It’s ridiculous because I’m sure there are other ways I could protect this thing, but knitting is way more fun. And it’s a side project because it is almost totally unnecessary while keeping me from checking items off my to-do list. My poor husband.

Waffle iron

So, anyway. Evan and I go camping from time to time with our friends. We registered for some new equipment for our wedding and received all kinds of fun toys! I especially enjoy anything having to do with food, so the marshmallow forks and sausage cookers and burger thingies are my favorite. The waffle iron, which you hold over a fire, is cast iron and requires some upkeep (ie. greasing) to prevent rusting. But that makes it hard to store, so I wanted to knit a cozy for it! It is entirely possible that the very idea is ill-fated. Maybe the cotton will absorb too much and the iron will just rust anyway, or even quicker. Who knows! I could probably look up stuff like that but I kinda like learning the hard way. Nothing like good, solid life experience as your teacher.

Now, this isn’t exactly a pattern, since I just winged it and I seriously doubt you need to know how to make a cozy for the waffle iron I happened to receive. My patterns are a lot more clear and thoughtfully laid out (see “heartypants” for a sample), but I only have so much room here. I’m not a fan of finishing and seaming, so this is also kind of a glimpse into my particular “finish while you work” style. If you’re curious, this is what I did:

Putting a sweater on my waffle iron

1) Make two flat circles. If you haven’t done this, it’s pretty easy. Using dpns of a recommended size for your yarn, CO 3 sts and purl across. Next row, kfb all sts. Purl next row. Kfb all sts once more. Then one more purl row. Join in the round and continue your increases by doing (kfb, k1) across all sts. Knit the next round plain. You’re now alternating increase rounds with plain stockinette rounds. So, the following round, being an increase round, will be (kfb, k2) across all sts. Every increase round from this point on just adds 1 st to the repeat. In effect, (kfb, k3), (kfb, k4), (kfb, k5) etc. – I needed to stop when the diameter of my circle came to 8″ across and left the sts live on a circular. Repeat for second circle.

2) Make small tab at the top for the hinge. There is a small hinge at the top of the waffle iron, so I casted on 16 sts (8sts = width of hinge) and worked those 16sts in the round until the work measured about 1.5 inches.

3) Attach tab to first circle. Splitting the 16 sts onto 2 dpns, I used the kitchener stitch to attach 8 sts to 8 live sts on one of the circles. I made sure that the right side of the circle was facing the same direction as the right side of the tab.

4) Seam the sides almost halfway. I continued to use the kitchener stitch, but used the live stitches from my second flat circle when the 8 sts from the tab ran out. I stopped just short of halfway around the circle so there would be room for the handle when everything was finished. Then I switched to binding off the remaining sts for the second circle, leaving the first circle sts still live on a circular needle.

All done!

5) Attach tab to second circle. I stopped binding the second circle off when there were 8 sts left. The second set of 8 sts from the tab remained, as well, so I kitchenered the tab to this second circle.

6) Work button band. With the remaining live stitches, I worked them back and forth in 2×2 rib, decreasing about 4 sts on each side every other row. Once 8 rows had been worked, I quit doing decreases and bound off 2 sts 4 times, evenly spaced, as my buttonholes. I added 2 sts in the same locations on the next row to complete the button hole. I worked 2 more plain 2×2 rib rows, then bound off.

7) Sew ends and buttons. Self-explanatory. :) I was happy to have found buttons of the right size in my stash. They came from a garage sale and their packaging looks like they’re from the 70s or 80s.

So there you have it! A waffle iron cozy to keep my iron well maintained and my other implements from getting greasy. Yet another ridiculous side project to keep me from the ones I’m supposed to be doing. :) But this time, it won’t be cluttering up my space or my mind for years to come!

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Aug
09

Get with the program!

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Ladies of the guild, gathering before a meeting

Hello there! After many long months, I have returned from the land of matrimony and honeymoons and am now ready to re-enter society! I would like to ease myself back into this by sharing a bit of the benefits of guild membership.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a member of the San Diego North Coast Knitters Guild and it is surprising to me how few under-50 individuals are a part of the group.  It really is a wonderful resource for knitters, young and old, and hopefully we can keep the next generation interested enough to pick up the reigns in the future. They have a library, philanthropic events, workshops, classes, trips, you name it! They also provide fantastic programs during their monthly meetings. The last two I’ve been able to attend featured Lisa Cruse of Ambrosia Cottage and Anna Walden, clinical psychologist and designer extraordinaire.

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One of Lisa Cruse's delightful creations

Lisa Cruse is a fiber artist who specializes in fulling, felting, and embellishing, especially for hats. Back in June, she was kind enough to fly out from Connecticut to talk to us about her work and the things you can do to spice up ordinary projects. She has a wonderful command of color and is endlessly creative.

Piles of her work sat on the tables, available for us to sift through for inspiration. It was great! As a person who almost never wears hats, I wasn’t really “shopping” for my own projects, but for the embellishment ideas she offered. I wish I could offer more specifics of her talk, but I didn’t take notes. The best advice I remembered, though, was to play and to have fun and see what comes out of it. Even an icord, artfully placed, can make something boring into something special. I may just have to learn how to needle felt now!

Another Lisa Cruse hat!

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So, this week, I attended the Anna Walden program, “Getting Into Shape.” She is one of the program chairs of the guild AND a designer in her own right. There were a few things I took away from her presentation and I hope to talk to her more in person:

1) Design work is an exercise of “visual yoga”. Be mindful and you will see things in your surroundings that inspire you. Be flexible and you will open your mind to new possibilities. Be strong by arming yourself with new techniques and skills. It’s so true. Go to a museum or people watch at a busy restaurant. Take pictures of things that look interesting to you. There is so much inspiration in your everyday life!

Anna holding up some of her beautiful miter work.

2) Don’t reinvent the wheel. You can use the schematics of existing patterns, even sewing patterns, to create the foundation for your garment. I am DEFINITELY going to use this piece of advice. Half the battle is trying to be creative completely on your own and nobody needs to do that. The groundwork has already been laid. It is the pavement you walk upon.

3) All design is about creating a canvas out of a simple shape and then putting your stamp on that shape. She presented slides of designs that are all, say, a rectangle. But they are each distinct designs. You don’t have to get too complicated to create something unique and beautiful. You just alter that rectangle with things like stitch patterns, sleeves, pocket placement, color variations, embellishments, etc. That is where your influence resides.

I did have to leave early, so I’m sad to have missed anymore insights after my departure. But programs like these are invigorating and inspiring. If you have a guild or club like this in your area, I highly recommend joining and participating. It is worth more than the dues you pay. If one doesn’t exist, or yours is lacking, I hold up my own guild as a wonderful template. Check out their website sometime. Perhaps you are the missing ingredient for their success! Good luck!

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