New Pattern Release! Shortie Edition

Tailgate has been released into the world…

Tailgate is an experiment in sock construction. These shortie-socks are worked from the cuff down and feature unique heel and gusset construction designed to highlight self-striping yarn.

This unique construction results in very roomy gussets that may not accommodate all feet (if you have a high instep, you might love these socks). Instructions are included to modify the gussets to fit your feet.

This pattern includes optional arch shaping and a star-toe. The pattern has been tech edited and test knit. Instructions are included for 5 circumferences, and foot length is customizable. The instructions are written only and are needle-neutral so you can use your preferred needle style and method of working small circumference in the round.

You can download Tailgate with a 20% discount (no coupon code required) until Monday May 13th, 2019. You can find the pattern here.

Are You A Patternfish User?

Sadly, Patternfish has announced that they’ll be closing down at the end of May. If you have patterns in your Patternfish library, you should download them onto your computer or cloud storage service before the end of June. After that, they’ll be gone for good. If Patternfish was your preferred platform for purchasing patterns, you can still find hundreds of thousands of patterns (including mine!) on Ravelry and Loveknitting. I’m also in the process of making my patterns available in the Kindle store on Amazon, and I’ll let you know when that’s set up and ready to go!

Happy Knitting!

New Pattern Alert: Chrysalis Edition

Chrysalis has been released into the world…

I love this stitch pattern because it's reminiscent of small cocoons, and cocoons are symbols of change, growth, rebirth, and springtime!  Hence the pattern name, Chrysalis.

This pattern is delicate, pretty, texturally interesting, and like most of my favourite stitch patterns, it's easier than it looks. 

It’s really just several rows of stockinette stitch with an occasional row of knitting trickery thrown in to keep it interesting. The pattern includes links to video tutorials demonstrating the pattern stitch, and the cast-on method used in the pattern.

Instructions are included for 5 circumferences and foot length is customizable.  The stitch pattern is both written and charted (and also has a link to a video tutorial), and the pattern is needle-neutral to accommodate your preferred style for working small circumference in the round. 

You can download Chrysalis with a 20% discount until Monday April 15th, 2019, no coupon code required. The discount will be automagically applied at checkout. You can find Chrysalis here. 

Spring has arrived, and Easter is just around the corner, so to celebrate Speckled Eggs is 20% off until Monday April 22, 2019 (no coupon code required) and I’ve added 3 spring/Easter-themed printable sock wrappers to the pattern. You don’t have to use them for socks, they’re also great for wrapping washcloths, mitts, slippers, and other small knitted gifts. You can find the pattern here.

New Pattern Alert: Hat & Cowl Set!

Instant Gratification Cowl & Hat have been released into the world…

Previously available exclusively in the book "Knits In A Day", Instant Gratification Cowl is now available for download together with Instant Gratification Hat. This is a quick, gratifying knit that makes a great last minute gift or a well-deserved indulgence for yourself. This thick, squishy fabric feels so soft and warm against the skin.

The cowl and hat each use 1 skein of bulky weight yarn. A simple two row repeat makes this a great beginner project, an ideal last minute knit or a quick stash buster for more experienced knitters. This is a very quick knit, the sample took me about an hour to make on 10mm (US 6) needles.  Since making the sample in 2016, I've made several of these as teacher gifts, holiday gifts, for myself and even to keep the dogs' ears warm on very cold days.

You can download Instant Gratification Cowl & Hat with a 50% discount until Monday March 4th, 2019, when you purchase any other pattern from my Ravelry store. Simply put both patterns in your cart and the discount will be applied automatically at checkout. You can find Instant Gratification Cowl & Hat here.

A Fun Knitting Game

I posted this knitting game on social media earlier this week and it was so much fun! Give yourself 1 point for each thing you have NOT done. I’ll post a photo of my results below the photo of the game!

Give yourself 1 point for each thing you have   NOT   done.

Give yourself 1 point for each thing you have NOT done.

I got 4 points. Here are the 4 things I have not done:

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What was your score?

Hand Care For Knitters

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*Disclaimer - I am not a healthcare professional.  This post is not intended to replace medical advice.  This is my own personal experience and experiences that have been shared with me by others.  If you have a knitting related injury/strain/pain you should seek the advice of a qualified medical professional.

Now that Giftmas is less than 2 months away, and so many of us are racing against a gift knitting deadline, this is your annual reminder to take care of your hands this Giftmas knitting season!  For many of us, this is our busy season as we knit as much as possible finish all the gifts as before the clock strikes midnight on the 24th.  

Here are some strategies to help you make sure that you and your hands survive December.  There's also a cool infographic at the bottom of this post that demonstrates some helpful stretching techniques:  

  • Take a break: Knitting is meditative, I get it!  When I’m in the zone I can contentedly knit along for hours on end, which usually results in a sore hand and wrist the next day.  Remember to mindfully take breaks, walk away and find something else to do.  Sometimes I knit by the inch (as in I will knit a certain number of inches then take a break), sometimes I knit with a time limit (as in I will change tasks in one hour, or after this episode or podcast).

  • Stretch:  Stretching helps.  I find stretching to be especially effective when I do it in the evening or at bedtime since everything seems to seize up while I sleep.  

  • Warm water: Having a shower, a bath or even just washing some dishes in warm water seems to to help the pain and stiffness quite a bit.  

  • Wear a Brace: I hate this one, but it helps.  I have a brace for my right hand that restricts the range of motion and essentially forces me to rest.  It's a bitch to knit in, so I don't knit when I wear it, but that's probably the point.

  • Medication: I occasionally take anti-inflammatory medication to help with the discomfort.  Not very often though as I do not want to become dependent on them.  

Here are some things that other knitters have told me work for them:

  • Change your knitting style: I'm not bi-stitchual.  I only knit one way - I call it modified English style - the yarn is in my right hand, but instead of throwing it over the needle, I flick it with my index finger.  I have tried to switch to continental, but it doesn't work for me.  I'm set in my ways.  I envy knitters who can alternate easily between English and Continental.  If you try this, be careful about doing it in the middle of a project as your tension may change and so might your gauge.  

  • Change Crafts:  If you are multi-craftual, you can give your hands and wrists a break by focusing on your other crafts for a while.  Crocheting, sewing, writing, drawing, needlepoint, cross-stitch, spinning, dyeing...the fibre community is full of so many talented, multi-craftual people - we really are an amazing bunch of creative talents!

  • Avoidance: If there is a specific part of knitting that triggers your pain, avoid it.  Certain needles antagonize my pain.  I love to knit socks on 9 inch circular needles, but will have wrist pain for days afterwards.  If you have a trigger, try to avoid it.  

Do you have any tips or tricks for keeping your hands pain-free while you knit?  Let us know! 

New Pattern Alert!

Lenity has been released into the world...

I love words; I’m a logophile. One of my favourite words (I have many) is lenity. Lenity is derived from latin. It’s a noun and is defined as ‘gentleness; kindness’. I love that it’s a noun; instead of describing something or someone as expressing gentleness or kindness, it is gentleness and kindness. It somehow sounds more permanent and tangible when it’s a noun. 

I also love knitting fabric that is on a bias, like this stitch pattern. It plays well with solid, tonal, variegated, and patterned yarns. The stitch pattern is much easier than it looks. There is a little bit of trickery in Round 16, but it’s literally just moving a marker and yet it makes the entire stitch pattern flow seamlessly along as you knit. 

Lenity is worked from the cuff down and cable pattern on the bias on the front & back of the leg, and top of the foot. This sock features an afterthought star heel with optional gussets, and a star toe. 

Lenity is available with a $1 discount until Monday August 13th, 2018 (no coupon code required).  You can find it here.  

New Pattern Alert! Meraki Edition

Meraki has been released into the world...

Meraki is one of my favourite words (is it weird to have favourite words?). Meraki is Greek, originally derived from the Turkish word merak and means “to do something with passion, with absolute devotion, with undivided attention; to put something of yourself into whatever you’re doing."  I think this is one of the most beautiful words in the world and perfectly describes the joy I feel when I create something from nothing like this new sock design. 

The goal is to hang onto that feeling of meraki and carry it with us throughout the rest of our day as we we go about our every day business of tasks and errands.  Meraki is contagious and if we can insert a little bit of that feeling in everything we do, we can infect the world with joy.  The world can use more joy.  I hope you knit this sock with meraki and feel joy with every stitch, joy that you can hang on to for the rest of your day. 

Meraki is worked from the toe up and features a delicate cable pattern on the top of the foot.  After a Fleegle-style heel, the stitch pattern continues on the front of the leg to the ribbed cuff.  Instructions are included for 4 circumferences and the foot length is customizable.  The pattern stitch is both written and charted, and the pattern includes a schematic. 

You can download Meraki with a 20% discount (no coupon code required) until Monday July 30th.  You can find the pattern here. 

Ask Me Anything: Gauge Swatch Edition

Why Swatch?

While it’s tempting to skip the swatch (and every knitter does at least once), knitting groups and clubs are full of cautionary tales that knitters pass along to each other as a warning of the perils of skipping the gauge swatch: the sweater that was 2 sizes too big, the shawl they couldn’t finish because they ran out of yarn…

Swatching is important if you want the finished piece to be the size stated in the pattern and also to make sure that you have enough yarn to complete the project.  

What Is Gauge?

The 2 types of gauges most commonly referred to in knitting are:

  • working gauge - the gauge you calculate while the project is on the needles

  • blocked gauge or pattern gauge - the gauge you calculate after you wash and dry the project

Most patterns will state gauge after blocking so you will have to knit a gauge swatch then wash it and dry it as you plan to wash and dry the finished project (or as per the directions on the yarn tag) to get an accurate measurement.

Gauge is the measurement of how many stitches per inch/centimetre and how many rows per inch/centimetre the designer got when knitting a certain stitch pattern with a certain sized needle.  In order to achieve the same size project as the pattern, you need to match the designer's gauge.  This means you knit small sample squares, wash them, and measure them until you find the right combination of needles and yarn that give you the gauge in the pattern.  There is no right or wrong gauge.

For example, gauge for a sock pattern might be 8 stitches and 12 rows per 1 inch/2.5 centimetres using 2.25mm (US 1) needles in stockinette stitch after blocking.  That is the designer’s gauge.  The gauge s/he got knitting the sample socks for this pattern.  Your gauge when working the same pattern stitch with the same size needles and yarn may be different. And that’s ok.  

What If You Don’t Get Gauge?

Using our example, if you have fewer than 8 stitches per inch, you need to re-swatch with a smaller needle size.  If you have more than 8 sts per inch, you need to re-swatch with a larger needle size.  Click here to download a worksheet to help you keep track if you need to make multiple gauge swatches.

What If You Can’t Get Both Stitch Gauge And Row Gauge With The Same Size Needle?

As a rule, stitch gauge is more important than row gauge.  If you can only match one, always go for stitch gauge.  You can compensate for row gauge by working more or fewer rows, but it’s much trickier (and requires a lot more math) to compensate for stitch gauge.

Always Swatch As You Intend To Knit

Gauge is a finicky and elusive beast.  Everything affects gauge.  Your gauge can change from wooden to metal needles, from straight needles to DPNs, from cotton yarn to wool yarn.  You probably have a different gauge when working flat than you do when working in the round. This is why you need to swatch using the needles and yarn that you intend to use for the project, in the knitting style you will be using for the project.  Using socks as an example, socks are worked in the round, therefore, your gauge swatch needs to be worked in the round.

If your sock will be knit using DPNs, your gauge swatch will need to be worked with DPNs.  Ditto for Magic Loop.  Ditto for 2 circular needles.

If the designer gives gauge in multiple stitch patterns, you need to swatch in all the stitch patterns.  Just because you match gauge in stockinette stitch, doesn’t mean you’ll also match gauge in a lace or cable pattern.  

Swatching In The Round

Knitting in the round is different than knitting flat because there are no wrong side rows, so you need to work your gauge swatch without wrong side rows.  However to make swatching quick, and consume as little yarn as possible, there is an easy way to work a gauge swatch in the round but flat.  Click here to see a video where I demonstrate swatching in the round.

Measuring A Gauge Swatch

Here are some tips for measuring your gauge swatch:

  • If the pattern provides gauge for both inches and centimetres, use one or the other, but never both.  And use your preferred standard of measurement consistently throughout the pattern (as in, don’t measure your gauge swatch in inches then follow the pattern instructions for centimetres)

  • Measure stitches and rows away from the edge of the swatch as your edge stitches may have a slightly different gauge than your centre stitches  

  • Be sure all the stitches you are counting are on the same row (this is why it may be more precise to use a hard ruler instead of a measuring tape)

  • When counting stockinette stitches, I count the right leg of each ‘v’ stitch as 1 stitch

  • When counting garter stitch rows, each garter ridge is equal to 2 rows

  • When counting garter stitches, each ‘frown’ shaped bump is 1 stitch (you can count either the ‘frown’ or the ‘smiles’ but don’t count both)

  • Don’t stretch the swatch to measure the stitches unless the pattern says that gauge is measured while stretched  

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Measuring stitch gauge in stockinette stitch

Measuring stitch gauge in stockinette stitch

Measuring row gauge in stockinette stitch

Measuring row gauge in stockinette stitch

New Pattern(s) Alert!

Westney & Meandering are now available for download on Ravelry. 

Previously available exclusively in the book, Artful ArchesWestney & Meandering are both available in my Ravelry store as of today. 

It’s amazing what a few strategically placed slipped stitches can do when they’re combined with variegated yarn.  Slipped stitches have a magical way of showing off the colour variegations without getting lost or competing with the yarn. 

Slipped stitches and variegated yarn are a knitterly symphony; on their own they’re each lovely, but together they both become even more beautiful. 

I think most of us have at least one gorgeous skein of variegated yarn in our stash that needs just the right pattern to do it justice, and both of these patterns were designed with that special skein in mind.

You can download Westney and/or Meandering with a 20% discount (no coupon code required, the discount will appear automagically at checkout) until Monday July 2nd, 2018.