Thursday, November 20, 2014

GAL : Interviewing Kerri Knits!

Today as part of the Gift a Long, I am interviewing Kerri of Kerri Knits. 
Kerri is a new-to-me designer, which is one of the things I love about the Giftalong, it helps us to get out of our comfort zones and discover new designers with gorgeous designs!
 
I am particularly fond of Kerri's Dewdrop Hat and Mitts, so lovely!
 
  

What got you started in designing, and publishing those designs?

I guess I should start out with a little background on myself - I learned to knit my freshman year of college after deciding I had to figure out how to make cables. I've been knitting - and cabling - ever since! I started publishing patterns after I graduated in 2012 with a BFA in Fashion Design, so it was a natural step for me to branch out into designing hand knits. I always have design ideas floating around in my head - you should see the margins of my notebooks at work! Not all of my ideas get brought into real life - there's simply not enough time.

What really got me hooked on writing patterns was the math & grading involved in hand knit design. While I love my job as a Technical Designer in the fashion industry, my pattern writing provides an entirely different challenge and creative outlet. At work, we have software programs that help with pattern drafting and grading, and we worry a lot about how well a design will translate in mass production. At home, I love to break out the spreadsheets and work out (by hand!) how to make a design flattering and proportional across a wide range of sizes. It's so great to sketch out a design, have your finished product turn out like the sketch, and provide the directions to other knitters so they can make one too. There's really nothing that beats someone knitting up one of your designs! Ok, maybe one thing - having someone knit your design and write about how proud they are of their finished project & that they love the fit!

Photo by Interweave Knits


Your Swivel Pullover published in Interweave Knits is gorgeous and it looks like it is very popular - what was the experience of being part of this publication like?



I have been so thrilled with the response to my Swivel Pullover. I submitted on a whim after finding the call for submissions on the Interweave website, and was so excited to have my first ever submission accepted! The people at Interweave were wonderful to work with and were always happy to answer any questions I had. The best part has been seeing other people knit my design, and seeing that it is so flattering on a variety of body shapes and sizes. There are now over 100 projects on Ravelry, I can barely believe it! I would love to see one of these sweaters "in the wild". That would certainly make my day!

Do you have a favourite pattern?

The pattern I'm most proud of so far is definitely my Swivel Pullover - it was actually the first time I wrote a sweater pattern! Because of that, It will always hold a special place in my heart. My favorite pattern to knit lately has been my Wheatly Socks - a knit/purl textured sock that just has a really classic look. I've knit three pairs already, and I'm definitely planning on making more - maybe one or two pairs in neutrals, plus another in a bright color.

What is your favourite yarn to knit with?

Oh - that's a tough one. While I love hand dyed yarns, it's more the color that draws me in rather than the yarn base itself. Some of my favorite dyers are The Woolen Rabbit, Unwind Yarn Company, Briar Rose Fibers, and Wandering Wool. Each dyer has such a unique color sense that just keeps getting me to come back for more! As for actual yarn - as in, the knitting experience - I've been having so much fun exploring Anne Hanson's Bare Naked Wools line of yarns. Every yarn I've tried so far has been wonderful to work with, but I think my favorite has to be Breakfast Blend DK. It's a luscious wool/alpaca blend that's delightfully soft and warm. I've made several projects with this yarn, including a sample of my Earl Grey Mitts. Even though Anne keeps releasing great new yarns, this is one I keep coming back to over and over.

Have you participated in the Giftalong before and why did you join in this year?

This is my first year participating in the Giftalong! I found out about the GAL too late last year, and after seeing such a great response from designers and knitters, I knew I had to join. It's great chatting with everyone and meeting new designers. And have you taken a peek through the FO thread? It's so inspirational seeing all of these finished knits in such a short time.

Are you knitting anything in the GAL? tell us about it! 

I haven't lined up anything specifically yet as I'm working on a few design projects at the moment, but I'm really thinking I need to make myself some mittens. We just got our first big snow & cold front here in Ohio, and I really want to add a few new pairs to my accessory rotation! I think the Fallow Mittens by Melissa Schaschwary might be the perfect project!

What is coming up for you next?


I am hoping to get back to submitting to publications! I held off on submissions for a good year due to work obligations - I didn't want to commit to anything I wasn't 100% sure I could follow through on. However, that time has meant that I've been able to really focus in on my self published patterns! I'll be coming out with a new sock design within the next week, and I'll have a few accessory pattern releases in December and January. In addition to keeping up the steady flow of accessory patterns I've been creating lately, I'm looking forward to getting back to making sweaters! I have several sweater ideas that I'm really excited about - so start looking for those in 2015!

http://www.ravelry.com/bundles/4855

Check out her blog at kerriknits.tumblr.com

She is also on Ravelry, Twitter and Instagram as kerriknits! And dont forget to check out Kerri's bundle on Ravelry, these patterns are discounted until midnight 21 November (EST)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

GAL planning

Now that the Giftalong has started, its time for me to plan my projects.

The Giftalong runs until the end of the year with finished photos being posted in the thread by the 31st of December. Which gives me about 6.5weeks.

The theme of the GIFT along is gifts, but mine will be mostly for myself. Because that's how I knit!

My first project is actually a gift, and an overdue one if I am totally honest. A hat for a friends' mum who is undergoing chemo at the moment. I will be knitting her a Lavender hat in the softest delicious wool - WOOLganics.



Then I'm going to cast on a Picabeau.
I'm not a big shawl knitter, but I love garter stitch and in the Winter, just finished, I felt the need for more scarfy type things I could wear with all the black clothing I wear. So it will be knit up in this gorgeous Little Plum Yarn, in Intensity. My dream colour.


Then if I'm still feeling the love, I'm either going to cast on another Lavender for me in this Red Riding Hood Cherie DK yarn (merino and silk) yum, in Everlong


or (and?) a Phi shawl for me, in these gorgeous Spinning a Yarn Silk Merinos



So there you go, my next 6 weeks or so of knitting, how far will I get? Well as I'm still swatching for that very first one, I'm not sure, but its good to have plans! It also shows me exactly why I have stash!

Are you joining in? What will you be knitting?

Remember all of my paid patterns are also eligible, and I have some lovely discounted ones until the 21st - seen here!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Giftalong 2014 - Quick Start Guide

You may be aware, that the 2014 Giftalong is underway on Ravelry.



I've been hearing from a few people that its a tad overwhelming, and well yes it is. There are SO many designers participating and lots of threads to look at. I'm going to attempt to give you a quick guide to the things you REALLY need to know.

There are lots of ways to find designers that are taking part - depending on what you want to knit. You could check out the Pinterest boards, which are grouped by category of item (ie kids, hats, socks etc)

You can also go to the Participating designer thread and have a wander through if you are feeling like browsing. Each designer has a bundle set up of their DISCOUNTED designs, but ALL paid designs by these designers are eligible for the KALS and the prizes! You can search the thread by designer name too if you wish.

To get discounts - use the code giftalong2014 in your cart. It will work midnight 21 November 2014 (US-est)


Once you have decided what to knit (and you have until the end of the year to finish, so pick a few things!) you can find the appropriate thread in the GAL group - there is one for each of the categories (kids, hats, sweaters etc). Just pop in and post what you will be knitting and you will be added to the list.
I encourage you to add these threads to your watchlist and to post in them often. There will be LOTS of prizes being given randomly. And of course, post a photo when you finish your knits and then you could win a prize for that too! There are so many amazing prizes!

I think that's the most important. Find the patterns you want and cast on. There will be some more threads coming soon of games and competitions if you are interested and the more you hang out in the GAL group the more you will see how things are working!

I am of course a participating designer, so all of my paid patterns are eligible for prizes. And I have a bundle of my discounted patterns too!


I shall be back again soon with what I will be knitting, and some featured Designers too! :D Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

New Pattern: Tallulah

I'm so pleased to introduce you to Tallulah!


Knit with a DK/8ply weight yarn, I designed this cardigan to be slightly cropped and fitted which makes a great accompaniment to any outfit a young girl might put together.

I used contiguous construction on this one, as it allows the lace panel sleeves to start from the very top of the shoulder. Its not a difficult construction - just trust the instructions!


The lace sleeves are really simple, its not a difficult lace (remember, I am NOT a lace knitter, so it has to be simple for me!) but it adds such a pretty touch to the cardigan, and it keeps the knitting fun too!


The pattern is written with a long sleeve option too (check out the Ravelry projects to see my testers versions!). It is sized from Newborn (15" chest) to 10years (28" chest) and uses a rather minimal amount of yarn!

I hope you like it as much as I do! If you pop over to Ravelry, you can buy it with an introductory discount too! :D

Friday, November 7, 2014

Share all the things Friday

Well another week down! There isn't a whole lot of knitting going on here, and NO designing, but I'm ok with that for now!

This week was a really 'Spring in Wellington' week. Weather ranged from sunny and beautiful to hailing a lot! If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen these already.



 The kids had a ball, my daughter in particular, who doesn't actually feel the cold!




 Meet Mini-Olaf!
And we couldn't believe it when we got up the next morning and it was still there! It had rained all night but the hail-man had survived!  It made for a great mid-week entertainment.

I'm currently reading 'It started with Paris' by Cathy Kelly at the moment, and I am really enjoying it. There are lots of characters and story lines going on, but they all entwine so nicely, its still easy enough to follow them all.

And speaking of books, I finally purchased 'Ting Ting'  written by none other than the lovely blogger Kristie! It arrived via Book Depository today and I will read it ASAP!

Wishing you a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wednesday Wip

It has grown rather a bit since last week and I am still really enjoying adding to my Memory blanket!


Its currently 7 squares across and I think I'm going to need 12 for the width of my daughter's bed. And probably 100 long... it could take me a while. I just went down to my stash and raided a few more balls of yarn too. I need more colours!!!

I knew from seeing other peoples WIPs of this blanket that I would get addicted once I got started, so I'm pleased I waited. Of course I haven't yet taken photos of my other FOs, but they are done (still minus a zipper....)

This is helping my knitting mojo though!  How is yours?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday WIPs

It's Wednesday again and my goal this week was to cast on a new cardigan for me. .... but I got distracted....

I've been planning to knit this blanket since I first saw it, and I organised my yarn, and then I waited until I finished a few things. And finish them I did, so it was time to cast on.


And then I knit quite a bit over the long weekend.....



And I basically haven't knit anything else since.

Not bad for 48hours or so of knitting. I am planning the colours about 5 at a time, so a little planned, a little random.

And I'm really enjoying knitting it. This one is for my daughter and my son is begging me to pick his one up again too. I've promised they will both be done by next winter, which gives me about 7 months till it gets cold here in Wellington!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Share all the Things.... Sunday

I'm not sure Libby of Truly Myrtle realised how popular her Share All the Things posts would be, and that as a blogger, so many of us would say - oh yes, me too! Once again I'm following her lead of sharing all the things, I'm just a couple of days late!

I had my first week in school full time this week, my class starts next week, so I had a week of planning and organising, as well as some relieving and School Visits for those starting. I also got to go on a farm trip with the junior school.


A total bonus about working at my Children's school! It was a great week and I'm ready to go for Tuesday! Monday happens to be a public holiday here. 


I struggled to pick up my knitting much this week, I spent quite a bit of time looking at other people's though. There are lots of lovely FOs in the Boys Group KAL and one of the knitters has made a stunning rainbow striped Moera! Look at this (I will link to it, so you can click LOVE and give her a vote for the contest she has entered it in) ;)               

My own Moera is still coming along, I only have the hood to finish (and a zip to find and sew in) and WILL finish the knitting this weekend, after all I have an extra day! And I really want to get started on my new cardigan design for me!




I've just finished reading 'Leaving Time' by Jodi Picoult. It was a really wow book. A great story to start with, and then a twist that left me unable to get out of bed until it was finished. I really recommend this story.  My next problem after reading a really great book though, is what next?

Any suggestions?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Finished Office Makeover!

5 months ago, I posted that I was going to makeover our spare room/dumping space and turn it into an office for myself. I am actually incredibly surprised that it only took me 5 months, I wondered if I would ever get there.

To remind you what it looked like before.....

Purple and green walls, a really unusable desk and a room that was only used twice a year when my mum came to stay.

And now - oh I am so happy, most importantly, that is a useful space!






You'll have to excuse the stuff on desks etc, but I've been using it for the last few weeks and I LOVE working down there, so its a work space, not a show home! That cupboard in the last photo is my yarn cupboard - in part! I'm actually thrilled that my yarn only takes up the bottom 2 shelves, leaving me with more storage for other things. Its also built into the space under the stairs, replacing the horrible corner desk.

Almost all the furniture is repurporsed, only the couch is new and I bought a wee set of office drawers for $30 from trademe. The blanket box is my late Mother in Laws, the bookshelf was stolen from my corner in the lounge and the desk and chair are our old dining table, which has been sitting in the garage for a few years waiting to be given away or sold.


And the thing that excites me the most, is how useful it is. I can sit at the desk and look out and see the kids in the backyard. I can shut the door at the top of the stairs and get some work done when my husband is home. I can sneak down there and do some work whenever I like. I can spread out my stuff everywhere and its not the lounge floor. I can connect up that second screen to my laptop and work on spreadsheets and patterns so much easier. Its like a dream!  I have used that room almost every day in the last few weeks, which is probably more than it has been used combined over the last 5 years. WIN!

Here is my yarn in the cupboard - its very organised, and these boxes are full. Which means I need to knit some stuff before I buy anything else. I did get rid of a few random skeins when I sorted it, ones I knew I would never knit, which was rather gratifying.

And that is IT! 

So there you go, welcome to my office!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wednesday WIPs

My aim of focusing on one project at a time has really paid off this week - my cardigan is completely finished (photos to come soon) and my Moera has really grown!


 

That second sleeve will be finished tonight and then its the joining and the yoke, and the hood to go - it will be finished this week! I have an adult design to cast on, but I have to finish this first!


This arrived in my mailbox today too. After sorting out my yarn and my office (oh yes, photos of that coming soon too!) I decided that I really don't need any more yarn. And then I saw this for sale and I decided it didn't really count. Its a 200gm ball which is exciting too. My daughter saw it and immediately described what it will look like knit up for her. So it might not make it to my stash anyway....

 I hope you are having a lovely week - what is on your needles?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wednesday WIPS

I've been trying really hard to focus on just a couple of WIPs lately, it seems to be working and I am finally making progress! My cardigan is nearly finished. I haven't taken another photo of that, as I am hoping to show you a finished photo very soon!!!

I have also been knitting away on a Moera for my son.


It hasn't been getting my full attention yet, but once I finish the cardigan it is going to get sole attention for a wee while at least!


It is still school holidays here, which for me, always means lots of reading. I finished the Silo Trilogy by Hugh Howey (Wool, Shift, Dust) and really loved them. I whipped through The Giver yesterday by Lois Lowrey (yes the same author as Anastacia books!) and am onto the second in that series too. Holidays make up for me falling asleep every time I pick up a book in term time!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Zagging Skirt - Refreshed!

In September 2012 I released a pattern that I quite liked - but since then I've often looked at it and thought that I could improve it. That it could sit more nicely, that the instructions could be clearer.

And given how much my daughter likes skirts this year, I decided that it was time to reknit it and improve it.

I love how it turned out and I'm so pleased I was able to refresh this pattern! My daughter loves it too and now I have another one on my list - with no colourwork this time - just a lovely plain skirt!


And of course - its available for purchase on Ravelry. If you bought the old version, you should already have this one in your library. And if not, you can get it now with $1 off for the next week (ends 14 October NZT)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Share All The Things Friday

I'm copying Libby of Truly Myrtle and doing a random 'all the things'  post today!

  • I finally took a photo of a shawl I finished ages ago. The yarn landed in my box and I needed to knit it straight away, and I knit it quick. But it took me weeks to sew in the ends and take a photo. I don't love it to be honest, I think its the combo of yarn + pattern - both gorgeous, but perhaps not the best combined.



  • Today is my Son's 7th Birthday!! He is a very cool kid and we have been celebrating very casually for the last few days - School Holidays means we can do that!


  • For about 6 months now, we have been having our meals delivered from My Food Bag - omg it is awesome!! all the meals planned, exact ingredients (plus extra usually) delivered every Sunday night, and it makes it so easy to cook every night. I actually really enjoy cooking, but HATE planning and deciding and even supermarket shopping, most days. It seems to be expensive, but actually I spend way less money at the Supermarket this way, going once every 2 weeks instead of every 2 days. The recipes also add in way more vegetables than I would otherwise and are well balanced and really yummy! I'm definitely sticking with this!

So there you go, lots of random shares :) Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wednesday WIPs

It feels like I have been knitting this cardigan forever! Although my Ravelry projects tell me I am only just coming up to 2 months, which doesn't seem so long given the other things I have also knit in that time!
I don't have a lot of yarn left, but I'm hoping it will be enough, I will split it evenly and just knit the sleeves till I run out!
I am enjoying it, and I know it will be well worn and loved once it is finished, perhaps next Autumn/Winter. Given that today looks like this....





I am ignoring the season though as I cast on another project - this time a Moera for my son. He was pretty little and cute when I first designed it, and its time he had another one! He was 4.5yrs old here and I thought he was so grown up, he turns 7 this Friday!!

The Knitting for Boys Group on Rav have chosen my Umberto pattern for their next KAL, and that allows ANY of my patterns to be knit as part of the KAL - so I'll be joining in with this one, in this yarn.
You can join in too if you like! And whether you do or not, there is a discount code that you can use on ALL my patterns, until the end of Friday NZT - it gives you 20% off any and all of them - with the code kfbkal .

I am also WIPing my way through Shift - the second in the Silo series by Hugh Howey, it comes after Wool (which yes, I admit to picking up due to its title). They are an amazing series, I am really really loving them. And besides a few similes and references to wool, they are not at all about knitting;.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sorting and Organising!

I've had a busy week setting my office/knitting room up - its not quite there yet, but its getting closer!

It has meant a bit of whole-house decluttering and tidying while I am at it, my lounge office looks a lot different now that I have moved most of it out!

How about some sneak peeks? (Its not quite ready for the full reveal yet!) I still have all my teaching resources to sort!





Finally, I got to use the label maker my family bought me for Mother's Day!

Lately I've been seeing lots of people's destash/scrap blankets, and it made me start thinking about knitting my own. Sorting out all my stash was the perfect time for planning this. Although I also found another destash scrap blanket I started about 18 months ago.



And I found a whole box worth perfect for the Memory Blanket. I think that means I need to knit one.... which means I need to finish the first one too - One for each of my kids!


Looks like I will be working on these over the next wee while when I need some mindless knitting! I will need a bit of that for the next 3 months or so, as I have accepted a teaching job till the end of the year - starting up a new New Entrants class. I am really looking forward to it and hope that knitting won't get completely pushed aside, although I know my designing possibly will.