Friday

Book Review~ Everyday Lace by Heather Zoppetti


This week I am pleased to bring you a review of Heather Zoppetti's new book, Everyday Lace. I first met Heather a few years ago at TNNA, the yarn industry's trade show for retailers, manufacturers, publishers and designers. From the time I met her, I have been deeply impressed by Heather's artistry, passion and aesthetic. Heather and were also able to visit together "after hours" last winter at the filming of Knitting Daily season 13. I have been eagerly waiting since then to see her new book and I was not disappointed!

all photos courtesy of Interweave

Why Lace?
Heather has a wonderful intuitive sense of how to employ the unique qualities of handknit lace. Whether for drape, texture, accent, or structure, Heather inserts the perfect stitch pattern for each design's silhouette and form. 


What to Love
I love that this book is organized into three categories: Warm, Transitional, and Cold. As a Colorado girl, I love the variety of seasonal knits, and the way Heather has created a truly year-round collection of knits. I am not a "foul-weather" knitter- I love making and wearing handknits year-round; my favorite part of Everyday Lace is that the patterns are exactly that- perfect for every day of the year!

Another side note: the book was photographed at the Loveland Feed and Grain, which is located in historic downtown Loveland, just blocks from my neighborhood, so I especially enjoyed the great photography in this collection!


What to Knit
With five accessories, two pairs of socks, and 11 garments including cardigans, pullovers, and vests, Everyday Lace offers up a wonderfully curated collection of handknits perfect for a variety of fibers, styles, and skill levels. 

Vital Stats
Everyday Lace
By Heather Zoppetti
Interweave/F+W; $24.99
bit.ly/1kjdY6J
142 pages
18 projects

To learn more about Heather and her work, please visit her website here:

A review copy of this book was provided to me by Interweave/F+W




Tuesday

Spinzilla~ The Godzilla of Fiber

by Joanna

I was recently honored to be a guest blogger at the Spin-Off blog. The topic of my post? Spinzilla! Are you in? I have been hoarding curating a collection of fiber all year to prepare for this year's competition. I will be blogging all about it in October, and sharing lots of spinning photos on my Instagram, find me as joannajohnson if you want to join in the fun!

photo courtesy of Fancy Tiger Crafts

In the meantime, you can head over to the Spin-Off blog to read about my Spinzilla adventures last year with Team Fancy Tiger. I wonder... will they return for a second win and retain the Golden Niddy Noddy? I can't wait to find out!

Wednesday

Christopher Robin Pullover

Inspiration
A. A Milne’s witty and tenderly crafted stories have become a part of our family treasury of favorite stories. The various animal characters, with their distinct personalities, quirks, and foibles, are both endearing and unforgettable. As we watch our children grow up, as we hear from our readers who have created the knitted and sewn storybook characters from our books, and as I reflect on the magic of the world of Winnie-the-Pooh, I see how the real life of a children’s book plays out in the imagination of the child. It is in the fertile mind of a little boy that a homely collection of odd stuffed animals becomes a world of fun, adventure, challenge, and delight.
Pattern Overview
Inspired by the beloved Winnie-the-Pooh stories, the Christopher Robin pullover is a sweater created from very simple shapes and techniques. Inspired by the stylish play clothes of the 1940′s, this square neck pullover is the perfect no-fuss three-season sweater for outdoor play. Worked in Amy Butler’s beautiful Belle Organic Aran, which is a soft blend of 50% organic cotton and 50% organic wool, it is an all-natural fiber that is a pleasure to knit with and easy to care for. The sweater is created from just two pieces- a front and a back- and seamed together with a simple single crochet stitch. If you are a beginning knitter and have never made anything more complicated than a scarf, this would be a wonderful first sweater for you to try. The back of the sweater is a simple T shape, and the front is exactly the same as the back except for the square cutaway neckline.
Thoughts On Gauge
Knitting a swatch (a small sample of knitting, about six inches square) is an essential part of creating a successful garment. Using the suggested yarn and needle size is a good start to obtaining the correct gauge, but if you tend to knit looser or tighter than the suggested gauge, you will need to adjust your needle size accordingly. For this pattern, you should be getting 19 stitches over four inches using stockinette stitch on size 7 needles. If you are getting less than 19 stitches, your knitting is loose, and you need to switch to a smaller needle like a 6 or a 5. If you are getting more than 19 stitches, your knitting is tight, and you need to switch to a larger needle like an 8 or a 9. It is worth it to take the time to get this right before you start so the finished sweater will fit properly.
Size
To fit a child size 2 [4, 6] years old. Sweater is shown in a size 4 on our son when he was 3.
Finished chest circumference 25 [27, 29] inches.
Yarn
Amy Butler Belle Organic Aran, distributed by Westminster Fibers; 50% organic wool, 50% organic cotton; shown in Robin’s Egg #209, 5 [6, 7] skeins.
Needles
US size 7 circular or double-pointed needles, or size to obtain correct gauge.
Crochet hook size F.
Notions
Stitch markers, tapestry or bent-tip needle, stitch holder or waste yarn.
Gauge
19 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette stitch on suggested needle size.
Be sure to take time to check your gauge for a proper fit.
Knitting Skills Needed
To create this sweater you only need to know a few basic knitting stitches and techniques:
Knit
Purl
Bind On
Cast Off
Single-Crochet



Stitch Guide
Quaker Ridging Stitch Pattern
Pattern as worked back and forth
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: Knit
Row 4: Purl
Row 5: Knit
Row 6: Knit
Row 7: Knit
Row 8: Purl
Row 9: Knit
Row 10: Purl
Row 11: Knit
Row 12: Knit
Row 13: Purl
Row 14: Knit
Abbreviation Chart
k knit
Pp purl
CO cast on
BO bind off
st stitch
sc single crochet
Pattern Instructions
Sweater Back
Cast On 54 [60, 66] stitches.
Work 14 row Quaker Ridging pattern a total of 4 [5, 6] times.
Increase for sleeves:
Knit across all stitches. Do not turn work. Cast on 40 [45, 50] stitches. 94, [105, 116] stitches.
Next row: Turn and purl across all stitches. Do not turn work. Cast on 40 [45, 50] stitches. 134 [150, 166] stitches
Work rows 3-14 of Quaker Ridging pattern. * (repeat to star for front of sweater)
For size 2 only: Work rows 1-14 of Quaker Ridging pattern once. Work rows 1-7 of Quaker Ridging pattern once. Bind off all stitches.
For size 4 only: Work rows 1-14 of Quaker Ridging pattern once. Work rows 1-11 of Quaker Ridging pattern once. Bind off all stitches.
For size 6 only: Work rows 1-14 of Quaker Ridging pattern twice. Knit one row. Bind off all stitches.
Sweater Front
Work exactly the same as the back of the sweater up until the star *.
Continue for front:
Work rows 1 and 2 of the Quaker Ridging pattern.
Create neckline:
Knit 58 [65, 72] stitches, bind off 18 [20, 22] stitches, knit 58 [65, 72] stitches and place on a holder.
For size 2 only: Working on 58 stitches, work rows 4-14 of Quaker Ridging pattern once. Work rows 1-7 of Quaker Ridging pattern once. Bind off all stitches.
For size 4 only: Working on 65 stitches, work rows 4-14 of Quaker Ridging pattern once. Work rows 1-11 of Quaker Ridging pattern once. Bind off all stitches.
For size 6 only: Working on 72 stitches, work rows 4-14 of Quaker Ridging pattern twice. Knit one row. Bind off all stitches.
For second sleeve, place stitches from holder onto needles, and start working with the wrong side facing.
For size 2 only: Working on 58 stitches, work rows 4-14 of Quaker Ridging pattern once. Work rows 1-7 of Quaker Ridging pattern once. Bind off all stitches.
For size 4 only: Working on 65 stitches, work rows 4-14 of Quaker Ridging pattern once. Work rows 1-11 of Quaker Ridging pattern once. Bind off all stitches.
For size 6 only: Working on 72 stitches, work rows 4-14 of Quaker Riding pattern twice. Knit one row. Bind off all stitches.
Finishing
Place sweater front and back wrong sides together.
Using crochet hook, seam the front of the sweater to the back of the sweater using a single crochet stitch, starting from the top of the cuff to the top of the shoulder, then working from the bottom of the cuff to the underarm then down the side to the waist. Work a single crochet trim around the neckline, sleeve cuff, and bottom edge of sweater to finish the edges.
Weave in ends carefully and trim.
Lightly block using a damp linen towel and a light steam iron.

Tuesday

Teaching the Timber Mittens at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

by Joanna

I recently had the pleasure of teaching a Buff Knitting class at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. This was done as a part of their Stitches in Time Series. If you are local to the area and interested in fiber arts, I encourage you to look into this great series. Earlier this summer I took a class on natural dyeing and it was incredible! The teaching space is beautiful, the instructors were a wealth of knowledge, all materials were included, and at $25 per class you simply can't go wrong!


Here you see the materials table for my knitting class. I first became interested in Buff Knitting about three years ago. While visiting family on the east coast, my mother and sister and I started looking through an old issue of Adirondack Life magazine that had an in-depth article on this unique regional technique. After some time of reading, research and swatching, I was asked to write an article for Knitting Traditions magazine about Buff Knitting in the Adirondack High Peaks Country. 


The Fort Collins Museum reached out to Interweave this winter to set up a historic knitting class for their stitches series, which is how I was invited to teach. After working with a variety of yarns, needles, and stitches, I developed my interpretation of the Buff Mitten into the sample you see above, called the Timber Mitten. In this pattern, I combine a respect for the traditional natural or "buff" colored wooly mitten, along with a more modern stitching style that requires working with just one strand of yarn at a time. The Timber Mitten pattern is now available for sale in my Ravlery shop in case you are interested in trying your hand at it. The pattern includes written instructions, a colorwork chart and an instructional video on working the loop stitch.

To create a buff mitten, you knit a loopy stitch mitten and then cut the loops. The cut loops are then "shagged" to create a thick and warm carpet like mitten, which was perfect for the loggers and teamsters of the north country to wear while working long hours outdoors in the winter. I am looking forward to wearing my mittens this winter on my long walks around the lake!


Monday

52 Timeless Toys to Knit, book review and giveaway!


Today I am pleased to share a new book review with you, 52 Timeless Toys to Knit by Chris de Longpre. You may be familiar with Chris's design work through her business, Knitting at Knoon. I first met Chris at TNNA several years ago, and was really impressed by her classic patterns for children and families. (Her book, Timeless Knits for Kids, is a "must have" pattern book for boys and girls of all ages.)


Chris's newest book, (which is beautifully self-published, by the way), contains dozens of patterns for beautiful knitted toys. My favorite part of this collection is that the toys are all categorized by their habitat, which makes it also a great learning book for children, too. You can knit a crocodile from Down Under, an armadillo from the Southwest, a zebra from the Serengeti, and a clown fish from the Reef. My children love studying nature and animals, and I can say with certainty that this book has not left out any child's favorite animal! To view all of the patterns in the book, you can visit the Ravelry pattern page here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/52-timeless-toys-to-knit/patterns


A fun little side note for me is that Chris very graciously asked me to blurb this book for her, which I was honored to do. My first job in the publishing business as working as an intern, helping the marketing manager acquire blurbs for a series of paperbacks. Never would I have imagined at that time that I would one day be writing a blurb of my own!

Onto the GIVEAWAY!

Now, the fun part! Chris has generously offered to give a copy of her newest book to one lucky winner. To enter, simply comment on this post and include the name of your favorite animal along with your website, blog, Ravelry name, or email address so we can contact you. 

Comments are now closed, thank you!

Tuesday

Literary Knits on Knitting Daily with Vickie Howell!


The Literary Knits episode is sure to inspire those of you who love knitting and lit like I do! The episode features Green Gables Knits, Jane Austen Knits, Literary Knits, and a book review roundup of more bookish knits! Visit here to learn more about the episode, and here to learn more about the entire season!


This past February I flew from my home studio in Colorado to Ohio to tape a segment for season 13 of Knitting Daily with Vickie Howell. This was a great experience for me- Vickie is an incredible host, and I met a wonderful group of guests. 

Here are a few behind the scenes shots from my time at the studio.

live feed in Green room

my workspace backstage

my favorite corner of the set

The new season is starting to air across the country… check your local PBS listings to find the new season. Our local station in Denver hasn't started airing the new season yet, but I will be sure to post when it does this coming fall!!

Wednesday

by Joanna


Earlier this month I received some absolutely gorgeous gradient hand-dyed sock yarn from the very talented Jaala Sprio over at Knitcircus. The photo does not do it justice- it is just stunning. I have been knitting socks for about 10 years, and very avidly of late. I think I knit myself seven pairs of socks this winter alone.

So… I have decided to try my hand at designed a few sock patterns. I have this yarn to work with, plus some beautiful hand dyed yarn from a Colorado indie dyer I recently met, so stay tuned. Socks are coming, hopefully in time for fall knitting!