Knits gifts now available

A teal and gray striped hat and mitts on a stone board lay on a bamboo mat. An evergreen bough sits to the left.
Icy Stripes Hat and Mitts. Photo courtesy of Interweave.

I’m excited to have both a pattern and a technique article (my first article!) in this year’s Interweave Knits: Gifts edition. The Icy Stripes Hat and Mitts pattern was inspired by two skeins of vintage Germantown worsted yarn that I found in a thrift shop. (If you don’t know the story behind the original Germantown yarns, you can read more in a Kelbourne Woolens’ blog post.) What better project for such a classic yarn than a classic striped hat and fingerless mitts! This hat and mitts are knitted in Blue Sky Fibers Woolstok Worsted, a deliciously soft and squishy 100% wool yarn.

The accompanying article covers two methods of knitting jogless one-row stripes in the round using helical knitting knitting techniques. You can purchase the individual pattern of the Icy Stripes Hat and Mitts or a digital edition of the magazine on the Interweave website.

Speaking of techniques, I’m planning a few technique posts here on the blog – on topics like how to memorize a cable pattern or how to choose colors for Fair Isle knitting. Stay tuned – and let me know what you’d like to see!

Processing…
Success! You’re on the list.


Thoughts on Inclusion in the Knitting Community

There have been multiple conversations happening recently around inclusion in the knitting world, and I wanted to write my thoughts about these conversations in one place. It’s probably overdue, but it’s given me a chance to really think through all of the issues that are being discussed.

My core values as a business are sustainability, community, and integrity, and I want to talk about what those mean to me.

Sustainability

I have been concerned about environmental impact for a long time. Before starting this business I worked as an environmental engineer, and my concern about fast fashion is one of the reasons I started making many of my own clothes.

As a designer sustainability to me means, first and foremost, designing for longevity. I want you to knit a garment that will last, and that is modern and fresh but still timeless enough not to be cast aside when the next trend comes along. It also means using natural, low impact materials as much as possible. It does not mean following a certain design aesthetic. I also love to knit with yarns that are local to me and have knit myself two sweaters using only yarns available from a local farm. I am an active member of the Piedmont Fibershed, which seeks to support an equitable, local fiber economy in my region. I am exploring ways to use more local fibers in my designs while allowing for a yarn selection that is locally available to the knitter.

It’s true that sustainable materials can cost more because they reflect the true cost of manufacturing and fair labor standards. However, I do design patterns using yarns at a variety of price points that I feel are going to stand up well. I always give full yardage information and yarn content and characteristics in my patterns, and my test knitters use a range of yarns in their projects. I also give yardage information so that you don’t end up buying significantly more yarn than you need for the project, another way of making knitting more sustainable – just keep in mind that yardage requirements are estimates and may vary depending on the yarn chosen and how you knit.

Community

I unequivocally believe in a community where everyone is welcome. While I have been in engaged in anti-racist learning and action personally over the past several years, as a white woman whose sole employee is me, and who doesn’t yet have a large audience or platform, it’s tempting to sit back and dream about what I can do once my business grows. But the thing is, I already support small, local and independent businesses whenever I can. And I can do more to support independent BIPOC-owned businesses. I am currently auditing where I spend my dollars and looking for ways to align my spending with my values. And I can look for collaborations that support those businesses and makers too. I also am committed to giving a percentage of my income back to the community, and I’m making it a priority to shift my support to organizations that are run by the communities they serve.

Size Inclusivity

All of my independently published garment designs are sized to fit at least a 30-60 inch bust measurement, and I am continually working on improving my sizing. If you’d like to help with that please participate in my test knits! I will commit to working with you on any issues that arise so that you come away with a garment that you’re happy with.

Accessibilty

To tell you the truth, this is an area I am still learning about. I am looking into making my patterns, as well as my website and social media, more accessible. I do work hard to write my patterns clearly and succinctly so they are easy to follow for as many knitters as possible. I offer directions in both charted and written form where it is useful, and going forward I plan to include symbols as well as colors in my colorwork charts so they are easier to read and can be printed in black and white. Since Ravelry’s new design has made it inaccessible to many, I am working on making more of my knitting patterns available on Etsy, in both print and digital format, and most of my independently published patterns are already available on the LoveCrafts website. You can find links to those sources on my front page.

Integrity

I chose to go into business for myself because I wanted my work to align with my life and my values, and to truly reflect who I am in the world. All of this is a work in progress, and I’m not claiming to do any of it perfectly. I do commit to continuing to work toward the kind of fiber community I want to see, and to be accountable in my work.

Processing…
Success! You’re on the list.

Backshore Pullover

My newest design, the Backshore Pullover, is now available in the Fall 2019 issue of Knitscene magazine. This design was inspired by a family trip to the Great Lakes region, near where I grew up. The Great Lakes are dotted with lighthouses, and the colorwork motifs of the sweater were inspired by photographs of the Fresnel lens, which was utilized in many lighthouses around the world.

Backshore features a classic yoke contruction, knit from the bottom up in the round. Sleeves are knit in the round and joined to the body at the yoke. It’s sized from 36 1/2 – 51 3/4 inches and is knit in Rauma Garn Tumi, a lovely and soft sport weight blend of wool and alpaca. More details can be found on the Ravelry page.

ETA: I posted a couple of pics of me modeling the sample size, and I thought it would be a good idea to post them here. I was hoping to get some better photos first – I snapped these quickly before sending the sample off – but here goes. This is the 36 1/2″ size, and I have a 38″ full bust, so the fit is a bit less slouchy on me.


A Bit of Visible Mending and Thoughts on Designing

Mended sweater with elbow patch

It’s that time of year when I’m been working on a few bits of mending – darning socks, fixing unraveling mitten cuffs, all the things that need repair after a winter of wear. I posted about this on Instagram awhile back but wanted to give a bit more detail on this particular mending project, and since it’s Fashion Revolution Week it seemed apropos.

This photo shows the hole in one of the sweater elbows.

I’ve had this sweater of my husband’s sitting in my mending pile since last spring, and I finally decided to get to it. It needed elbow patches and I decided I would knit some to sew on. My local yarn shop carries this Regia 4-ply Festival Color sock yarn, so I swung by and picked out a color that would coordinate with the sweater. Using US 0 (2mm) needles, I cast on 30 sts and knit two rectangles about 4 1/2 inches long. I then bound off and sewed the new patches on. Voilà!

If you’re looking for more sweater mending ideas, I highly recommend Tom of Holland’s blog. I also have a Pinterest board with visible mending inspiration. And of course Katrina Rodabaugh’s book Mending Matters is a good reference too.

I’ve been relatively quiet so far this year on the design front. I’ve been spending a lot of time reflecting on last year’s designs and where I want to go next as a designer. Sustainability and intentionality are core to what I do, and the best way to have a sustainable wardrobe is to wear quality garments and keep them around for a long time. So I want to design garments that are truly wearable, and whatever your price point for yarn, will be items that you want to keep around and take care of. Which for me right now means taking my time with the design process. I am hoping to design more sweaters and garments this year, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I’m doing a lot of swatching; here is a sneak peak of something I’ve been playing around with.

Photo shows a knitted swatch with a textured pattern in light gray yarn.
I’ve been playing around with texture lately.

What are the most wearable knit pieces in your wardrobe?

Processing…
Success! You’re on the list.

Introducing the Helical Cowl

Helical Cowl

My newest pattern is now available on Ravelry. It was inspired by a technique for knitting a heel-less sock that first appeared in the 1938 edition of Mary Thomas’ Knitting Book. It involves knitting a staggered 3×3 rib, such that the fabric biases to form a helical structure. While knitting up my new socks it occurred to me that this would also be a great technique for a cowl – it would stretch to fit over the head but then twist up for a cozy close fit around the neck. And so the Helical Cowl was born. Unstretched, the cowl measures about 17″, but it stretches to around 28″, so one size can really fit nearly anybody! Being a ribbed structure, the cowl is also completely reversible, and is perfect for tucking in your bag or pocket for those chilly spring or fall mornings!

See? It fits almost anybody!