Friday, July 29, 2016

More than just plain weave with the Zoom Loom.

I just love the simplicity and beauty of plain weave, but recently I wanted to try some patterns on the Zoom Loom. I chose the Houndstooth Check Pattern from the book, 100 Pin Loom Squares by Florencia Campos Correa.
For the first layer, you warp with one color and then your second color. This part was a bit confusing as it is hard to see which pins to wrap the yarn around.

After that, it's just weaving back and forth with each color. Once I finished my first one, it was easy to make another one. It always takes the longest to a make a first of anything.

As you can see, I just kept going with different color combinations. I can't wait to try out more colors.
If you are interested in learning to weave on a pin loom, take a look at my video, Creative Pin-Loom Designs. This is a great video for pin loom beginners, or anyone who needs a refresher on this fun little loom.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Swatching In The Round and Blocking Your Swatch

For knitting projects that are knitted in the round, it really does make sense to knit your gauge swatch in the round. We all tend to knit or purl with different tensions. If you make a swatch knitted flat and a swatch knitted in the round, you will see that there will be a big difference in gauge. Instead of knitting a giant tube, I have learned neat technique of an easier way to swatch in the round.

First you will need either double-pointed needles or circulars. I am using these snazzy looking Knitter's Pride MarblZ. You want needles that have no ends.

Cast on desired amount of stitches.

So instead of turning your work for the next row slide all of the stitches to the other end of the needle, just like making an I-cord. Since I am using dpn's, there was no need to slide my stitches. Bring the yarn around the back of the work and work across with right side facing.

You continue knitting only on the right side of your swatch. The working yarn is carried across the back. Now when you are done, bind off. Don't worry, if your yarn strands are not loose enough. You can cut the strands in the middle to get your knitted swatch to lay flat. 
 Soak your swatch in wool wash. Roll your swatch in a towel to absorb the excess water. I like to pin down my swatches while they dry. Here I am using Knit Blockers on a Lace Blocking Mat from Knitter's Pride. The Knit Blockers are real time savers and I like how quickly I can get straight lines with them.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Coming Soon with Knitter's Pride!

I am collaborating with Knitter's Pride for a Spring Knit-Along. The details will be announced soon over on the Knitter's Pride blog ( Stay tuned for more details, there will be some great prizes up for grabs!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Structure of Shawls DVD and Creative Pin-Loom Designs Video

Since it's Thursday, I thought I would write a Throw Back Thursday post. Exactly one year ago today, I was in Loveland, CO filming a dvd and video at the Interweave/ F+W Media headquarters. Here are some behind the scenes look of the filming studio.
This is the filming studio, which is located across the street from the Interweave/ F+W Media office.

Downstairs is where the set is located. When I arrived on the first day, Anne Merrow (Video Content Producer) was there to meet me and help me set up. It makes the filming go a lot smoother when everything is organized and in order according to my video outline.The trays are set up to easily swap out my knitted swatches and shawl samples as is needed for each segment.

Me on the set. 
After a night to rest up, I arrived bright and early at the studio to have my makeup done.The makeup artist had fun with me and gave me fake lashes. Here I am, fully made up, on the set. Can you tell I am 6 months pregnant? My big baby belly is behind the table. I think it's funny that this pregnancy is forever immortalized digitally on a dvd.

The producer and film crew were so nice and easy to work with. I felt very comfortable and we all had fun during the shoot. Just so you know, everything is unscripted so I am not reading off the teleprompter. Anne Merrow was my focus point and I pretended I was teaching her. Since it's digital, I can just pause and start over if I fumbled or needed to explain something further. The only hiccup we had was towards the end when the camera above me broke. It was during a break so we didn't know what happened. They quickly improvised using another camera and we were able wrap up the shoot.

Structure of Shawls 
The bulk of the day was spent filming The Structure of Shawls. The dvd starts with the basics of shawl construction and I walk you through all the steps and techniques you may encounter when knitting a shawl. The shawl showcased on the cover of the dvd is my Colfax Shawl

Creative Pin-Loom Designs 
The remaining studio time was spent filming Creative Pin-Loom Designs. I teach you to warp and weave on a Zoom Loom, which works on those vintage 4 x 4 pin looms like a Weavette or Weave-it. I also teach you several ways to seam or join your squares. This is meant to be a short video (47 min), but I could of went on and on about these pin looms.

I hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes look of how these videos are filmed. It has been so lovely getting messages from knitters and weavers who have purchased and watched my videos. I feel so passionate about what I do so I think it's wonderful that I can share my knowledge with all of you whether it's at in person classes or via online videos.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Quince & Co Scarves, etc 4: Pathway

Pathway Scarf (Quince & Co photo) 
 Photo from Quince & Co.

I have long admired Quince & Co.'s style and aesthetics. Their yarns, patterns and photography have always appealed to me. So I consider it a high honor to have one of my designs included in this year's scarves collection, Scarves, etc 4. This year, the collection has 13 scarves from 13 designers. I can't even imagine how they were able to narrow down 13 designs from hundreds of submissions. The collection is not just rectangular scarves, but also includes cowls and shawls in a variety of shapes with interesting stitch patterns, color work, and construction techniques. Pam Allen did an amazing job of picking the color palette for this collection. As an added bonus, Quince & Co. decided to make this collection into a printed book. You can still get a virtual copy of individual patterns or the collection, but if you love paper and hold-in-your-hand pattern books, you can pre-order Scarves, Etc. 4, The Book.
Quince Lark
My scarf design is called Pathway and it is knit with Lark in the color Poppy. Lark is a smooth, round, wool yarn, designed to showcase all manner of stitch patterns. This is not a typical design style for me. I usually love designing with lace patterns and I like symmetrical designs. But this time I decided to challenge myself and break out of my comfort zone. Pathway has a asymmetrical design of cables and classic knit/purl patterns. I am really quite pleased with the results. It's a 10 row repeat that is easy to knit and you can knit it as long or as short as you want.
Pathway Sub
 When I received the yarn to knit the sample, I further refined and tweaked the stitch patterns. If you look closely, you can see that the swatch is a little different than the final scarf. I tightened up the spaces between the stitch patterns and changed the diagonal section. I think all designers obsess over every little detail and is always trying to make the final design look better.
 Pathway Scarf (Quince & Co photo)
Photo from Quince & Co.

Another thing worthy of mentioning here is how I blocked the scarf. I like blocking with wires because wires make it easy to achieve straight lines. In the pattern, I added a garter stitch in the beginning and at the end of the scarf. The garter stitch will make little bumps that will make it easy for you to see where to put your wires through. I block pretty hard and Lark still held the cable and stitch definition perfectly when I took it off the blocking board. The result is a warm, squishy and cozy scarf with a multi-textured pattern that is a unisex design. You can see it on Ravelry and look at the different colors other knitters have used for the scarf. Be sure to favorite it or add it to your queue.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Monsoon Shawl Workshop at Trillium Yarns

Trillium Yarns 
On Sunday, I taught my Monsoon Shawl Workshop at Trillium Yarns in Morristown NJ. As you walk down the street, you can't help but notice the pretty storefront. Step inside and you will see that Beverly has stocked her store with a beautiful selection of yarns. It was exciting to see what yarns and what colors my students chose for their shawls. Everyone chose a different color and they all looked great. The Monsoon Shawl is one of those patterns that works with many colorways. Basically, I don't think you can choose a wrong color.

Look at all these knitters working hard on their Monsoon Shawls. For my class, I provided written instructions for the knitters that may not be use to reading from a chart. The magazine only provides the charts for the pattern. To my delight, many of them decided to challenge themselves and work from the chart instead of the written instructions.

I am so proud of these ladies.They worked really hard to learn all the techniques and stitches involved to make the Monsoon Shawl. Hopefully, I taught them some new things that they have never tried, but I definitely know that they are now all ready to tackle that shawl. You can't tell from this picture, but there is one special lady in the back that started her shawl before coming to class and was almost done by the end of class. I hope all my students put up pictures of their finished shawls on Ravelry so I can admire them.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

A Collaboration Project Between Anzula and Stitch Sprouts

A bunch of us, Stitch Sprout Designers, have been secretly working on a collaboration project between Anzula and Stitch Sprouts. And now it's finally time to reveal the project. Stitch Sprouts has released 3 pattern booklets that feature 3 of Anzula's most popular yarn lines: For Better or Worsted, Squishy and Cricket. These pattern booklets are now available to order in print for wholesale through Stitch Sprouts. And they are also available via Ravelry, and the Ravelry in-store program! Each booklet features 5 beautiful patterns for just $18 (suggested retail).

You can read more about it from Stitch Sprouts blog post about the booklets, and also from Anzula's blog post.

I was very excited to be one of the designers contributing to the booklets.
For the Squishy Booklet, I designed the Ginto Shawl using 2 skeins of Squishy in the colorway Saffron. It features a Faroese-style center panel for the spine of the shawl and lace rib for the body of the shawl, ending with a picot bind off. Although it is a large shawl, it can be easily sized down or up. The modification is noted in the Notes section of the pattern.

For the For Better or Worsted Booklet, I designed the Tekstur Hat and Tekstur Cowl. Each project takes 1 skein of yarn. Perfect for beginning knitters looking for something other than the knit stitch. It's simple but has an interesting stitch pattern which creates a beautiful textured knit fabric.
Untitled-1 copy 
Untitled-2 copy