Design Inspiration Revealed: Kirsten Kapur

Kirsten Kapur has built a successful business with her knitwear designs, Through the Loops. She has had patterns published in many knitting magazines and contributed to books The Joy of Sox, Brave New Knits, Knitting it Old School, Knit Local, My Grandmother’s Knitting, Craft Activism and Weekend Hats.

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Kirsten’s lovely textured Frozen Lake Shawl in the Knitcircus Fall Collection uses unusual shaping and a slip-stitch color pattern.

1)      How did you choose the kind of project you designed?

I have been obsessed with Knitcircus’s gradient colors since I first laid eyes on them. They lend themselves beautifully to shawls. So when Jaala approached me to create a design for the collection a shawl was the first thing that came to mind. I had seen a similar stitch pattern in a museum I visited in Denmark last April, and when the yarn arrived for the design I immediately set to work swatching versions of the stitch pattern to see what worked best. 

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2)      What was the biggest challenge of designing this project?

Getting anything else done. I had so much fun knitting this one that I pretty much neglected all of my other responsibilities. 

3)      What was your favorite part of the process?

Watching each color emerge from the gradient. I loved seeing the different color combinations as the gradient mixed with the solid colored yarn

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reverse side
4)      Your favorite thing about the finished piece?

I actually like the back of this design as much as the front. The stitch pattern looks different on the reverse, but just as interesting, so I think of the shawl as reversible. It was unexpected, but as the piece started to grow I kept stopping to admire the back as well as the front. I think this is due to the use of reverse stockinette on the right side rows.

–Kirsten Kapur

Links:

Through the Loops Designs

Frozen Lake Shawl on Ravelry

Frozen Lake Kit in the Knitcircus Store

Design Inspiration Revealed: Wendy D. Johnson’s Maple Leaves Gradient Cowl

Designer Wendy D. Johnson is a multitalented sock-knitting guru, the author of Wendy Knits Lace, Socks from the Toe Up, Toe Up Socks for Every Body and Wendy Knits.

Fall patternsShe designed the amazing Maple Leaves Gradient Cowl for our Fall Collection, which graced the cover!

1)      How did you choose the kind of project you designed?

Lately I have been all about colorwork cowls. Being a woman of “a certain age” a stranded colorwork sweater is just too warm for me to even consider wearing, but I love knitting stranded colorwork. Cowls are the perfect solution, because they are incredibly handy and versatile in the winter. I like them better than a scarf for outdoor wear because they stay put better, and they are easily popped on indoors if the room is a little chilly.

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2)      What was the biggest challenge of designing this project?

My biggest challenge was charting the large leaf motif so that it actually looked like a maple leaf!

3)      What was your favorite part of the process?

I love, love, love knitting colorwork with a gradient and a semi-solid because it makes the finished piece look far more complex than it really is. Watching the pattern emerge as I knit is always my favorite part of knitting colorwork, and it is why I can knit it so quickly: I’m so eager to see the design come to life that I knit faster!

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4)      Your favorite thing about the finished piece?

I love how perfectly suited the yarn is to the design. The finished cowl has an almost velvet look to it because of the depth of color in the yarn.

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Here’s a snippet of one of the charts that reveals my dark secret: I chart all my colorwork designs using an Excel spreadsheet and a dingbat font! I never sketch with pencil and paper first, I always start with a blank spreadsheet!

–Wendy D. Johnson

Links:

Wendy’s website Wendy Knits

Maple Leaves Gradient Cowl pattern on Ravelry.

Maple Leaves Gradient Cowl Kit on the Knitcircus website.

Big Shop Update and Sale Tomorrow at 10:00 CDT

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We’re photographing and listing things like crazy for our first annual Spring Sale and huge shop update! Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it to YarnOver this weekend, so all of the yarn is going up in the shop instead! (But the lovely Amy Detjen will be there, so please say hi if you see her!)

We’ve got sale skeins of kettle dyes, handpaints, Matching Socks Sets, and gradients of all sizes! Watch for the shop update on the Knitcircus webpage tomorrow at 10:00 am!

Happy knitting,

Jaala

Come What May, by Susan B. Anderson

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Hi, Knitters,

I’m so lucky to have Susan B. Anderson as a friend (and almost a neighbor!). She is one of the most talented designers you’ll ever find, and one of the sweetest people. If you’ve ever gotten to take a class with her or meet at a knitting event, you’ll know that she’s just as lovely and down-to-earth in person as she is on her blog.

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photo: susan b anderson

We’ve been working on a project together for a while, and I’m happy to be able to announce that Susan has written a pattern exclusively for us, using a skein of Knitcircus Opulence fingering in Come What May to create an elegant shawl with a silvery beaded edge.

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photo:ryan berg for knitcircus

Susan tells the story of its inspiration best herself (from her blog):

As I sat with my friend, Jaala Spiro, having tea, pastries and knitting in my living room one morning she surprised me with several cakes of her lovely KnitCircus yarns. One of these cakes was the spectacular gradient called Come What May. There is just something about the rosy shade of pink moving into the sweet kiss of blush and ending with the lightest shade of gray.
The yarn cake was thrilling to hold in my hands and it was inspiring. I quickly cast on and knit the sweetest little lacey shawl that is not only simple and wearable but is a really fun knit to boot. The sections of the shawl keep you entertained while the gradient yarn motivates you to keep going to get to the next color.
The shawl is a semi-circular shape with stockinette, simple lace and eyelet sections that end with a beautiful eyelet ruffle. The shawl is finished with an elegant bind-off with silver-lined beads. The beads are always optional but they add so much to the look and feel of the finished shawl. The entire project is a pleasure to knit.
The yarn colorway is the single inspiration for the shawl so the name of the design has to be Come What May. The colorway, luxury yarn base, shawl design and beads are the perfect match.
Enjoy!
Susan

We’re just thrilled with the way the design came out, and are offering Come What May kits so you can make a shawl just like Susan’s, either with or without beads.

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photo: ryan berg for knitcircus

You can also find Susan’s beautifully-written pattern on Ravelry if you’d like to work from your stash.

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photo: susan b anderson

The shawl shows off the soft color changes of the gradient so nicely;  I created Come What May last February when I was so tired of bare trees and snow and just longed for the colors of spring. And Susan is holding a giveaway on her blog; comment and you could win a Come What May kit of your very own ( just through this afternoon, so hurry!)

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photo: ryan berg for knitcircus

Whether you just got a fresh pile of snow like we did or are already harvesting your rhubarb, I wish you all of the loveliness of spring,

Jaala

Balinese Cardi and Snowshoeing

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Guess what, talented designer Elizabeth Green Musselman just released her Balinese Cardi pattern, making ingenious use of our gradient and kettle-dyed yarns!BalineseCardi_main1 (2)

We’re so thrilled about her design. Using the gradients on the sleeves and yoke makes a lovely  and unusual garment, especially with the handkerchief hems and gorgeous lace inserts. And, if you purchase the Balinese Cardi pattern on Ravelry, you’ll get a special secret code for free shipping on the Balinese Cardi kit in the Knitcircus store.

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Check out that sleeve detail; wow! This is truly a flattering design for all figures, and Elizabeth wrote it for bust sizes 32-54″, so everyone can cast one on.

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Making Tracks

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A bit ago, Buppa, Li’l Buddy and a couple of his pals and I went up north for a weekend ski getaway. It was delightful, rustic and just enough adventure for all of us.

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We got to see near-frozen waterfalls, hike along the otherworldly frozen landscape of Lake Superior shore,

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and for me, try snowshoeing for the first time.IMG_1963

I’m not usually a sporty girl, but hiking through snow-covered woods is about my speed. My DH, being the lovely man that he is, gifted me a set of snowshoes, so now I can do it on our home turf! As soon as it’s above 0 degrees F,  I can’t wait to try…

Have a great weekend, and stay warm,

Jaala

WIP Wednesday, Rainbow Cowl and Knit-In

WIP Wednesday!

In the Lair, we love yarn, and sometimes even get a chance to knit. 🙂 Here’s what the Lair denizens are up to now.

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Jaala is working on a prototype for a simple 50g hat pattern in our Mermaid Lagoon colorway; almost done! Just the crown decreases left…

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Shari is working on arm-length hand warmers

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…and a Ribbed Ruffle Scarf.

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Chris is working on a Pogona by Stephen West, in a ball of Misti Alpaca Tonos.

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She also has a pair of socks in Freia Ombre Fingering (75% wool, 25% nylon) in Moab.

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She’s also working on another pair of socks in KFI Luxury Collection Indulgence Cashmere in 607. She thinks it looks like the Fourth Doctor Who’s scarf.

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Ryan is working on a hat & experimenting with a ball of our gradient stripe sock colorway Brew Crew. We’re very interested to see how the stripes knit up in hat form!

Rainbow Cowl, ho!

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Amy Detjen is just on fire writing patterns for us! I don’t know how we lucked out having her as a friend. We did the photoshoot for her simple brioche rainbow cowl today. Assistant Dyer Erin’s bright, warm personality made the cowl look fantastic and like she was just hanging out on a beautiful day. In reality, it was zero F with a freezing wind sweeping over the landscape and we had a getaway car running with the heat on in the parking lot. DSC_0948

We’ll be officially releasing this one on Friday and the people at the Knit-In will get a chance to see it in person and maybe win a kit!

Knit In

I’m excited, it’s the first time Knitcircus Yarns has been a vendor at the Knit In and they’ve moved to the Alliant Energy Center. The Knitter’s Guild is moving up in the world! Please come see us if you’re local,  check out Amy’s new pattern and just say hi. We’d love to see you. Marketplace hours are Saturday and Sunday 8:30-5:00. It does cost $15 to register for the event same day, $20 if you’re a non-member, so I’d suggest coming early and making sure to catch some of the special events. We’ll have plenty of sale things to make it worth your while, too…