Saturday, May 21, 2016

Oh, Canada!

My newest design, the Butchart Gardens Shawl, was inspired by a beautiful Canadian yarn and a world-famous Canadian garden. When I travel, my favorite thing to do after visiting local yarn shops is to tour local public gardens.  I fondly remember Butchart Gardens near Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC as having the most spectacular colorful flower borders.  And so, it was only natural that Butchart Gardens came to mind when I was trying to think of a name for the spectacular flower bordered shawl that I just finished making.

The shawl is knit in Handmaiden Fine Yarns' Sea Silk, a fingering weight yarn that I just started carrying in my online store. The yarn has gorgeous drape and is a joy to work with.

As I was finishing this shawl, news erupted of the terrible wildfires near Ft. McMurray. I was moved by the pictures on TV, and the idea came to me that perhaps my Canadian inspired shawl can help me do something to help Canada. I will be donating a portion of the proceeds from pattern sales to the Canadian Red Cross. I am also starting a knit along for this shawl in my Ravelry group, hoping that we can get a large group going and make a healthy donation.

Interestingly, and just by chance, the name of the
colorway that I used for my prototype is Phoenix.
Let us hope that is prophetic, and a sign that Ft. McMurray will soon rise from the ashes.

This link will take you to the Ravelry pattern page.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

They Call Me the Great Pretender

Here is one of my favorite scarf patterns, The Pretender.  I designed this pattern in 2014, and I never got around to bragging (err, I mean blogging) about it.  In truth, while I love to show and tell my work, I am never quite comfortable with the shameless self-promotion of the blogosphere. However, such is the world we live in.  If I don't tell you about it, you will never know what a lovely little pattern it is. 

I called this pattern "The Pretender" because it pretends to be a cable pattern, but no cable needle was used.  On close inspection, you will see that the pattern is completely reversible, with cables on both the right and wrong sides.  What is even more amazing, that this pattern can metamorphose and pretend to be a delicate flowery lace stitch instead of cables with just a little blocking. Once you learn how to manipulate the stitches, the pattern is relatively simple and knits up quickly.  My original sample scarf (the grayish green picture below) was knit up in a DK weight on size 6 needles, but hey guys, it's a scarf.  It is easily adaptable to different weight yarns and gauges.  The top picture was knit in 3 Irish Girls Glenhaven sock in the very beautiful Floribunda colorway.  You can find the pattern here in my Ravelry store.

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Abracadabra, my newest design! 

I must have been channeling the late Severus Snape as I was knitting, because this pattern seemed to come about by magic and the resulting scarf has some bewitching characteristics. 

My original concept was to knit a cowl based on cast on / cast off cords. Even though I was making a cowl, I decided to knit it flat because that way it could be nearly all knit stitch, quick and easy.  I knit the blue and pink sample above, casting on just enough stitches for a cowl length.  As I was about to sew it together, I saw that I could slip the ends through the cords to create a self-tying pocket scarf. Voila!   I was enchanted by the look of the crossing cords and the way the bottom row of cords almost look like fringe.  By luck or by magic, the gradient yarn I used (Universal Yarn's Poems) worked up beautifully, beginning and ending with the lovely magenta shade on the outside edges.

While I love the way the ascot length prototype turned out, I decided to knit a longer version of this idea as well. For my second sample, I used Universal's Classic Shades Sequins Lite, a slightly lighter weight yarn. In addition to the change of length, I knit 6 cords instead of 5 just because I had enough yarn and I could see that the color repeat would be more balanced if I did so.   

I don't think I could be more pleased with a design. I have written it up for both the short and long versions, giving instructions for both the gauges I used.  While I love the stripes achieved by the gradient yarns, I think this would also look lovely in a wide variety of medium weight yarns and I hope to see some customer projects and variations on Ravelry!