My current work in progress:

1. Hats!
2. Myriad stealth projects.

Afghan Progress

This past Thursday the last square pattern was released in the Rowan Martin Storey Afghan KAL.

I’m very pleased that I managed to keep up with the squares as they were released, though sometimes to the detriment of my “main” work-in-progress.

Squares050816 240x189 Afghan Progress

There are 6 squares each of 8 designs, for a total of 48 squares and as of right now, I just have 4 more of the last square pattern to kit. Then comes the edging.

A couple of weeks ago we got the diagram of which square goes where, so I’ve started some sewing up.

Seaming050816 240x161 Afghan Progress

Loki is gonna supervise.

Loki050816 179x240 Afghan Progress

Monochrome May

Happy May Day!

First things first, the winner of my review copy of Wee Garter Stitch: Must-Have Knits for Modern Babies & Toddlers by Vickie Howell is Mary Beth Cavert, who has been emailed. Thanks to everyone who left a comment to be entered in the drawing. I have more review books coming so the book giveaways will continue!

I’ve spent the last few months working on projects that have been all about color. So it’s time for something completely different:

WIP050116 240x157 Monochrome May

This is the start of Alice Starmore’s Kinsale, a design from her 1992 book Fishermen’s Sweaters. I knit Kinsale once before, a good 10 years ago. This time I am using this yarn:

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Purchased from The Loopy Ewe, it’s natural colored organic cotton. I’m using a U.S. size 3 needle. The yarn is lovely and soft and the sweater is going to be very soft and comfy when done. My only issue is that the yarn is rather splitty. It’s comprised of 4 plies and you have to take care to grab all four plies when inserting the needle tip. Other than that, it is lovely to knit.

In Loki news, I bought him his own little kitty sofa:

Loki050116 240x170 Monochrome May

I follow Beth Stern on Instagram, and noted that she got this for her kitties. I figured what’s good enough for Beth & Howard Stern’s kitties is good enough for Loki! I found it on Amazon, but it is also available from Doctors Foster & Smith.

Wee Garter Stitch

Here is another cute book!

Cover042416 204x240 Wee Garter Stitch

This is Wee Garter Stitch: Must-Have Knits for Modern Babies & Toddlers by Vickie Howell, a collection of 28 patterns for babies and toddlers that all feature garter stitch and that are all adorable!

The name Vickie Howell is probably familiar to you. Her bio:

Vickie Howell is a knit, crochet, and craft designer/evangelist with a penchant for DIY culture and social media marketing. Vickie is most well known as the former host and creative consultant of DIY Network & HGTV’s Knitty Gritty, her bestselling craft books, and her accessible, inclusive approach to nurturing the creative community via print, video, and social media. She’s the International Spokesperson & Creativity Guide for the largest North American yarn company, Yarnspirations, Yarn Arts Ambassador for Clover Needlearts, Inc, and she knits with viewers nationwide as the host and co-executive producer of PBS’ Knitting Daily TV with Vickie Howell. She lives in Austin, TX.

This new book is due out in May, and the projects are already shown on Ravelry, here. There’s a little bit of everything: sweaters, footwear, hats, blankets, a dress and a pair of pants, among other things. Some of my favorites:

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Best Dress(ed) is a sweet sportweight colorwork dress. It’s worked from the top down in one piece.

Garland042416 203x240 Wee Garter Stitch

Paper Chain Garland: how clever is this? And easy too! A beginner knitter could use this to practice technique using odds and ends and end up with a cute nursery decoration.

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Snow Leopard Sweetie Bonnet: it doesn’t get much cuter than this! It’s knit in worsted weight yarn and the leopard spots are embroidered on afterwards.

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Horseplay Zebra Mat: this is so clever! A “zebra-skin” rug knit from bulky weight chenille incorporates short rows to make the stripes more realistic.

Each project is cuter than the next. icon smile Wee Garter Stitch

The book also includes a very nice how-to section with large clear photos of techniques.

And with my review copy, they enclosed a set of Clover bamboo size 5 knitting needles, a size used for many of the projects in the book.

Needles042516 199x240 Wee Garter Stitch

Since I don’t have any little ones to knit for, I’ll offer my copy and the needles to one of you. Who’d like this adorable book?

To be entered in the drawing for  Wee Garter Stitch: Must-Have Knits for Modern Babies & Toddlers by Vickie Howell, leave a comment on this blog post by Sunday, May 1, at which time a comment will be chosen at random.

Martin Storey Afghan KAL

I  did finish my squares for the 6th square pattern before the 7th square pattern was released, so I am still caught up.

Squares042416 240x155 Wee Garter Stitch

For the 7th square, I’m not using the pattern provided. I decided to do something different. All will be revealed in the fullness of time!

Loki

Here is Loki right after he completed a full-on Thunder Kitty run!

Loki042416 240x143 Wee Garter Stitch

And in one of his favorite places:

LokionLap042416 240x198 Wee Garter Stitch

Again:

LokionLap042416a 186x240 Wee Garter Stitch

Stained Glass Cowl and Other Things

Loki thank you for the birthday wishes and he is delighted that so many of you have downloaded the Catnip Mouse pattern (free through the end of April with the code LOKI). He would also like all the kitties out there to know how much he loves his new Cat Ball. He highly recommends this: two paws up.

Stained Glass Cowl

In other news, my Stained Glass Cowl is done!

OutsideCowl042016 240x235 Stained Glass Cowl and Other Things

I knit this from 2 colorways of Wollmeise Pure: Schwarz and Tiefer See, and used two skeins of each color. Actual yardage: 1000 yards Schwarz and 800 yards Tiefer See. The resulting cowl is just under 80″ in circumference and approximately 9″ deep. The inside is worked in a simpler pattern than the outside.

InsideCowl042016 240x210 Stained Glass Cowl and Other Things

The pattern is now available for sale in my Ravelry shop, and for a limited time, it is $3.00. It will go back up to the regular price of $5.00 at the end of the month.

OutsideCowlLong042016 240x65 Stained Glass Cowl and Other Things

You could knit one that is half the circumference and there are many many color combinations you could use. I think it would be lovely in a pink variegated with a brown solid. Or how about a gradient set with black? Or black and white? The possibilities are almost endless.

InsideCowlLong042016 240x63 Stained Glass Cowl and Other Things

Books, Books, Books

The winner of my review copy of Highland Knits, Knitwear Inspired by the Outlander Series by Interweave is Melanie J., who has been emailed.

And, I have another book to review:

Cover042016 182x240 Stained Glass Cowl and Other Things

This is The Beginner’s Guide to Writing Knitting Patterns by Kate Atherley, new this month from Interweave. Not a book of patterns, but a book to teach you how to write patterns. Note only is Kate a knitting designer, but she is Knitty’s technical editor, so I firmly believe that she knows what she is talking about when it comes to writing good patterns.

I’ve been told by many who knit them that my patterns are well-written and easy to follow. I firmly believe that this is because I spent a number of years working as a technical writer, documenting complex software systems. I think there is no better preparation for writing knitting patterns — you don’t leave out a step in a user guide for an online acquisition system without disastrous consequences!

So I was pleased to read in the introduction of this book that before becoming a knit-design professional, Kate spent 15 years in the technology industry as a tech writer, documentation specialist, and marketing communications expert.

I feel vindicated.

This book covers pretty much everything you need to know and think about when writing patterns: what needs to be included in a pattern, sizing, schematics, charts, abbreviations, etc. It’s a lot to cover in 300 pages, but after reading through it, I think that anyone who has created an original knitted item and has copious notes could take the advice in this book and turn those notes into a clear pattern that others can follow.

Throughout the book there are snippets of information and advice from other knitting designers, and there are also many callouts from knitters Kate has interviewed titled “Don’t Just Take It From Me” — these are knitting pattern likes and dislikes from real knitters. One of my favorites was from a knitter who said not to describe your pattern as beautiful or exquisite — let her be the judge of that! But seriously, there is a lot of great information in those little callouts — knitters’ pet peeves and things they like to see and things they wish designers would include in patterns.

I’ll tell you right now — I’m keeping this book. While I pride myself on being a good pattern writer, there is always room for improvement, and this book will be a great resource to use for future pattern writing.

If you are a designer or a designer wannabe, you need this book!

Loki Sez:

Loki042016 240x177 Stained Glass Cowl and Other Things

I lead such a tough life!

Happy Birthday Loki!

Yesterday was Loki’s fifth birthday! In celebration, Loki would like you to have a free copy of my Nose-Up Catnip Mouse. Enter the code LOKI at check-out to get the pattern free of charge. The code is good through the end of the month.

I got Loki a cat ball for his birthday and he loves it!

Loki041716 217x240 Happy Birthday Loki!

Book Giveaway

The winner of my copy of Brooke Nico’s More Lovely Knitted Lace is Gail, who has bene emailed.

Squares

I haven’t reported on the Martin Storey Afghan KAL lately. Here are the first 6 squares (there are 8 total).

Squares041716 240x141 Happy Birthday Loki!