Wednesday

Artistic Differences Blog Tour & Giveaway!


Today we are delighted to be a stop on the blog tour for Talitha Kuomi's brand new publication, Artistic Differences. This pattern collection has been created in collaboration with Classic Elite Yarn. Inspired by her musical experiences, each of the ten patterns in the collection is designed to be styled in two different ways~ acoustic vs. electric, take your pick!

We first met Talitha years ago when she very kindly reviewed a book of ours for the talented Jaala over at Knit Circus, and it is an honor to return the favor by being a part of the launch of this stunning collection!

Talitha has been kind enough to answer our questions about her creative process, musical tastes, and design style. Enjoy!!

 Forte

What inspired you to create this collection?
When CEY and I first started talking about collaborating, they said that I could pick any theme. Anything at all. I knew almost immediately that I wanted to do something related to the local music scene and indie musicians. For awhile it was me and the guys in my band playing stage to stage in the Greater Boston area. I loved those times and I’d seen very little to no patterns knit with indie music in mind. It seemed like a space waiting for me to fill it.

Osci

I love how you have imagined each design in two ways… how did you develop this concept? Did it complicate or simplify the design process for you?
Music is so many things. It’s rock, blues, gospel, country, folk, alternative, rap…it was difficult to think about capturing the essence of what music means to me in just one collection. Doesn’t help that I do find it hard to nail down the details of any pattern I’m designing. My head gets cluttered up with what something would look like with 3/4 sleeves, or more colors, or in a different length. The idea of each pattern with different modifications simplified things, because the variations come easy to me. Narrowing it down to only two variations (actually I cheated and gave a third mod possibility for each pattern in the book) was a bit harder, but worked.

Silve

How long have you been a musician? How are songwriting and pattern writing similar and different?
Aren’t we all born musicians? And we believe it until the world starts pointing out our lack of talent compared to the superstars. Then we don’t say we’re musicians anymore. I played the violin when I was young, then the piano. I sang at church and in the chorus at school through college. Then I did some solo acoustic sets and sang with my band as a grown-up.
I have this strong need to make things. Whether that be music or knitwear, poetry or bulletin board collages. I feel better, think clearer and sleep better when I create. I think that’s why I’d say I’m a musician and a knitwear designer: my head spins with ideas that long to be set free. Always has.
You’ll laugh here, but the real difference to me between pattern writing and songwriting is math. There is rhythm and balance and volume (which is measured in numbers), but thankfully no math in songwriting. That’s the biggest difference. The way it works for me, they have a lot of similarities. Both express strong emotions or memories (I know that’s not true for all designers, but it is for me), are cathartic, and the next person to sing that song or knit that sweater will do it a little bit differently, so they’re both extremely personal.

Tensity

Were there musical inspirations for this collection? What did you listen to while designing it?
I started with the music of the local indie scene, which means everything from metal to jazz, hip-hop to retro. I did find, though, that I returned to certain discs over and over again while I worked on these designs. Certain music does get my head into certain grooves and kept the flow going. Here are the albums I had on repeat:
Derek Webb ‘Ctrl’
Amber Hunter ‘Freedom Steps’
Rob Thomas ‘Something To Be’
David Wilcox ‘The Very Best Of David Wilcox’
Hayley Sabella ‘King Solomon’
David Cook ‘David Cook’
Lori McKenna ‘Numbered Doors’
Matthew Mayfield ‘Banquet For Ghosts’
It’s all pretty mellow, which isn’t always my taste, but it was this time around.

If you were an instrument, what instrument would you be?
I hope I’d be a double bass. A little awkward, an effort to bring with you out and about, but with a rich, haunting sound so that once you’ve heard its place in music, it is hard to get it out of your head. That’s not necessarily what you’d think meeting me in real life, but that’s what I’d like you to think.

Setto

What was the most challenging part of writing this collection? The most rewarding part?
The most challenging thing and the most rewarding part are the same. Simplicity. I love the presence of complicated designs. Like a cabled cardi that has eight separate charts and looks ever so impressive when worn, but there’s not enough space in my life to knit stuff like that right now. My knitting has to be portable so I can bring it along to waiting rooms and school meetings. I have to be able to work it while simultaneously my kids are interrupting my thoughts and the phone is ringing and I’m not sure what’s for dinner yet and someone’s boo-boo needs a kiss and a big hug. I have to enjoy the process because I don’t get to the end of something that made me crazy to knit and then suddenly love it. Ever. It seemed most honest to design things I’d actually like to knit. So, I wanted to take my original ideas and really shave them down to their core. That took the most time and the most work, and it’s the something that I’m the most horribly happy with the result of.

Trume

We are excited to be featuring the Trume pattern on this stop of the blog tour. Just for today, Wednesday, January 7, this pattern will be on sale for 10% off. No code is needed.

Also, one lucky commenter will win a free copy of this pattern. 
To enter: Leave a comment, including your ravelry name, website, or email address, and tell us which pattern in Talitha's collection is your favorite!
Comments will close one week from today, January 14. Thanks!

*all photos credit courtesy of Classic Elite Yarns
*a review copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher

Tuesday

Book Review~ Sockupied


Four years ago I walked into Interweave's offices in Loveland, Colorado, to interview for a job. It was for the role as an assistant editor on a groundbreaking new eMag, Sockupied. The interactive eMag was in its infancy, and it was quite a thrill to work alongside the editor, Anne Merrow, developing ideas for reviews, articles, interactive features and yarn concepts. 

Edited by Anne Merrow
Interweave/F+W; $24.99

 photo courtesy of Interweave
Frost Feather Stockings by Deborah Newton

What is truly unique about this book is that it is a direct inverse of what is the general pattern in publishing today. While many books are being converted to digital formats, it is rare to see a digital product convert to a traditional printed book. With a strong design aesthetic, incredible patterns and the inclusion of the industry's top sock designers, Sockupied hits it out of the park with this unique digital-to-print transformation. 

  photo courtesy of Interweave
Oak + Acorn Socks by Spillyjane

I admit I might be personally biased in my love for this book- the personal connections are strong- reviewing submissions, ordering yarns, following up with designers, seeing the finished designs as they arrive in the office- you can't *not* feel connected to the patterns.

  photo courtesy of Interweave
Speed Bump Socks by Deb Barnhill

That being said, the sock knitter in me is completely taken by the strength of the twenty patterns in this collection. Each pattern has a unique quality that draws me in- an unusual technique, use of color, stitch pattern, or "a-ha!" design element.

  photo courtesy of Interweave
Our Paths Cross Socks by Lorilee Beltman

My absolute favorite pattern in the book is Our Paths Cross by Lorilee Beltman. The designer uses an interesting vertical stranding technique to create a wandering diagonal pattern that hints heavily at argyle. I remember being intrigued by this submission as it came into the office, and cannot wait to get started on a pair of my own.


My socks will be very similar to Lorilee's original design- using a simple gray as the background color and contrasting colors of bright teal and sunny yellow.

To see all of the patterns from Sockupied visit the source page here on Ravelry. Which pair do you want to cast on first?

A review copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher.

Wednesday

Green Gables Knits Instagram Gallery~ Anne's Sweater

by Joanna

Time for another Green Gables Knits Instagram Gallery post! This is the third Anne's Sweater I have knit. (1st one- for the book, 2nd one- for me, 3rd one- for my mom's birthday!) I used the yarn as called for in the pattern, Brown Sheep Company Lanaloft Sport, in the colorway Buoyant Blue. I worked the sweater in a size 42" from a one-pound cone of yarn, and was pleased to see that I only needed one more skein to finish the sweater.


Confession- this was supposed to be mom's birthday present last fall, then her Christmas present. Alas, the sweater sat in a small laundry basket in my studio all summer, sad and sleeveless. I determined to finish it for her THIS fall for her birthday, and was able to deliver it to her in person. It fit her perfectly!


In other Anne's Sweater news... I just cast on a 4th Anne's Sweater for our teenage daughter. I am knitting it as a part of Little Skein in the Big Wool's #annealong. (Click here to read about this awesome knit along!)

My goal when I designed Anne's Sweater was to create an easy and wearable cardigan that I would make for me, my mom, or my daughter, and that we would all love and enjoy. So far I have had success with two of three generations... I will keep you posted on how this one works out for Laurel!

Tuesday

Freddie's Blanket- perfectly suited for a custom nursery!

by Joanna

It is always fun to see what people decide to make from the knitting patterns in our storybooks. This recent version of Freddie's Blanket really caught my attention!

When I teach the Freddie's Blanket knitting class, I enjoy sharing with my students about color and what a versatile pattern it is. It is such a great stitch for creating a custom color story to match home decor, especially, as in this case, for a new baby's nursery.


Evieandlily on Ravelry recently finished this adorable version of Freddie's Blanket, including the custom pom pom garland for an extra bit of pizzaz. When I saw the blanket next to the photos of the nursery (gray and yellow! zebra! Boston Terrier! polka dots and elephants!) I swooned a bit. Then I quickly emailed Julie to see if she would be willing to let me share her photos with you and she was very sweet to oblige! I just love seeing a wee one welcomed into the world with such care and affection. It's why we do what we do here at Slate Falls Press!

Happy Stitching, everyone!

Thursday

Picture Book Illustration: Animal Characters, Eric's new Craftsy Class


We are delighted to announce Eric's brand new Craftsy Class: Picture Book Illustration: Animal Characters! Eric was busy at work in his studio all summer getting his samples and coursework prepared for this new class, and we are so excited to finally be able to share the news with you!


Here is the description of the class from Craftsy:

"Join illustrator Eric Johnson and master the art of animal character design from start to finish! Learn how to conceptualize and develop an endearing, realistic character using thumbnail sketches, and add expressive human characteristics with Eric's expert tips. Create a captivating visual narrative as you explore a variety of poses, props and settings, and refine perspective, scale and balance for a lifelike composition. From the celebrated ink-and-watercolor style of Randolph Caldecott to a layered approach that incorporates colored pencils, you'll learn how to bring your work to life with charm and whimsy."



We hope this piques your interest! One more thing... we are offering you a special rate of 50% off so you can purchase the class for just $19.99. Click the link below to take advantage of this special offer for our readers!



Wednesday

Book Review and Giveaway~ Kung Fu Knits by Elizabeth Green Musselman



If you are at all familiar with our work here at Slate Falls Press, you know we are huge fans of "two in one" combination knitting books. Therefore, we were really pleased to have been asked to host a giveaway for Elizabeth Green Musselman's new book, Kung Fu Knits. As a mom of two boys, 10 and six years old, this is right up our alley! Knitting + comics + martial arts = superfun imaginative knits!

Kung Fu Knits includes six knitting patterns with full-color photos, clear instructions and schematics along with an awesome illustrated comic story kids are sure to enjoy. I am sure my boys will want a set of nunchucks and throwing stars after seeing this! We love how perfectly the story, drawings, photos, and patterns unite together in this playful book!



Vital Stats:
71 pages
Available as a paperback, digital download, or both
Individual patterns will be available next fall
Publisher: Cooperative Press

Pricing:
Digital download: $9.95
Paperback: $15.95 (comes with the digital download if purchased through Cooperative Press)

Where available:
Currently available on the Cooperative Press website (http://cooperativepress.com) and on Ravelry (as digital download only: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/kung-fu-knits/patterns)

Awesome video trailer:



Pattern Sale!
Elizabeth is offering a coupon code on my other patterns to your readers/viewers. From now until the end of November, the coupon codekfklaunch will take 15% off all of my self-published patterns (http://www.ravelry.com/stores/dark-matter-knits


Be sure to visit the rest of the reviews on Elizabeth's blog tour!
22 September | Mixed Martial Arts & Crafts blog | http://www.mixedmartialartsandcrafts.com
24 September | Fibretown podcast | http://fibretown.blogspot.com
28 September | Must Stash podcast | http://muststashpodcast.com
29 September | Through the Back Loops blog | http://throughthebackloops.wordpress.com
2 October | Through the Looking Glass blog | http://noirbettie.com/blog/
5 October | The Knitgirllls podcast | http://theknitgirllls.com
10 October | Makewise Designs blog | http://makewisedesigns.com
15 October | Sunset Cat Designs blog | http://www.sunsetcat.com/blog/
17 October | Joeli's Kitchen podcast | http://www.joeliskitchen.com/the-podcast/
22 October | Slate Falls Press blog | http://www.slatefallspressbooks.com
3 November | Wattsolak blog | http://wattsolak.com

Comments are now closed. Congrats to rosyretro for winning!
Book Giveaway!
To enter the giveaway for a digital copy of Kung Fu Knits, please leave a comment on this post and tell us your Ravelry username and the name of your favorite comic book hero! Giveaway entries will close on October 30 at midnight MT.
Thanks!


Monday

Announcing Knitting Kits for May Platypus!

by Joanna
https://www.etsy.com/shop/slatefallsknits?section_id=12530532&ref=shopsection_leftnav_4

We are pleased to announce our brand-new knitting kits! Today we are featuring our kit for May Platypus, the adorable doll from our book Freddie's Blanket


 Each kit contains the required yarn for your very own May Platypus doll: Brown Sheep Company Serendipity Tweed in three colors. Also included are the notions: 100% wool felt eyes, embroidery thread, and ribbon, along with a stationery set of four blank cards featuring a beautiful illustration from the book.


Additionally, the digital pattern PDF for May will be delivered to customers via email. Our favorite part? Everything comes in this winsome Goodnight Moon knitting bunny project bag. We love these bags! They are based on Jeni's pattern, and are the perfect size for small to medium sized projects: toys, socks, kids garments, shawls, and accessories!


Visit the kit section of our Etsy store here to view our new kits! We will be featuring our new kits on the blog here throughout the week. Happy Stitching!