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.
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
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.
Susanna IC has built her reputation on beautifully-designed shawls, and has had patterns published in many leading knitting magazines, including Twist Collective and Wool People. She designed the stunning Vernice Shawl for our Fall Collection: in the first of a series, she shares her inspiration and design process for us in a mini-interview.
How did you choose the kind of project you designed?
I wanted to create a smaller, one skein shawl with some fun textures throughout; something that would be quick to knit but still interesting to work on, a perfect gift project. Of course, this being a Knitcircus project, the design also had to play well with beautiful gradient yarns.
What was the biggest challenge of designing this project?
The inspiration for Vernice came from the brilliant colors of the skein, which reminded me of the changing seasons, and the design progressed easily from there. I wanted to work with interestingly textured lace stitches that would reflect the colors and textures of autumn foliage. The biggest challenge came while trying to decide which color to start with.
What was your favorite part of the process?
While the more difficult decision had to do with which color to work with first, the red or the blue, the color progression was also my favorite part of the design process. In the end, I decided to start with the blues to reflect the color of clear sunny sky and to finish with the reds that look much like autumn leaves.
Your favorite thing about the finished piece?
I am very happy with the way the textured stitches interact with each other, creating interesting shapes throughout the lace border. I also like how versatile the size of this crescent is: it can be worn around the shoulders as a traditional shawl, yet at the same time the elongated shape makes it possible to wear open like a long scarf.
After a very busy holiday yarn season, we all took a week off to enjoy the holidays with family and friends.
With Christmas and Hannukkah so close, it was a whirlwind, with matzo ball soup and candles at my parents’ then our family’s traditional homemade Swedish Meatball Christmas Eve dinner here. Every year, we make up a new 12 Days of Christmas song to reflect the events of the year, so this one included “nine baseball players,” “three weeks of clouds,” and “A Sasha under the tree.”
After The Best Christmas Ever(tm), with brunch at our place and dinner at Mom and Dad’s, we took a whirlwind trip to Michigan to check out Mike’s dad’s tree, 12 feet tall with more than a thousand ornaments. Little Buddy found the pickle.
Then two days and two cakes of celebrating Li’l Buddy’s birthday. German Chocolate cake is a family tradition, and it’s an old-fashioned one, with egg separating both for the cake and the frosting. But man, is it worth the time. The kids who came over for a sleepover (just a few this year) got homemade chocolate cupcakes with ganache.
And then it was New Year’s Eve, and frankly, my dears, we were partied out. I snuggled up in our new flannel sheets with a laptop and Dr. Who (season 3, David Tennant, now my favorite Doctor) while Lil Buddy hung out with friends and MIke and Belle puzzled the evening away.
If you’re puzzlers, I highly recommend this particular one, the Fairytale Fantasia. I have never seen a more intricate, detailed picture, though its complexity isn’t for the faint of puzzle-heart.
And now it’s 2015! Today we’re back to work in the Lair for one big day before the weekend, doing exciting end-of-2014-things like inventory and taxes. But we’ve got a new year of yarn creating and knitting!
Knit this Year
I took a few luxurious moments to revisit my favorite projects on Ravelry, and though my knitting time is limited these days, a girl can dream! Here’s what I’m hoping to work up this year:
Moyen Age; this is my dream sweater to knit for myself this year. I just find this delicate design by Hada Knits captivating, and it looks good on all of the Ravelers who’ve posted photos.
Knotted Pine, by Alicia Plummer; love these cables, with just enough texture and changes to keep it interesting.
My mom loves the Manly Scarf in progress Mike, so she requested a version for herself using the 100% cashmere Trapeze yarn I dyed for her for Christmas. A (Wo)manly scarf! This pattern uses a classic texture pattern for a timeless effect and it’s perfect car or waiting room knitting.
Olga Buraya-Kefelian’s patterns always intrigue me, and I’d love to try the unusual stitch in her Moko-Moko cowl.
Of course, Susie Anderson is on the list, with her 50-Row Shawl I’ve been itching to try. A worsted-weight shawl would be so comfy in the winter.
Dandelion Days cowl; big surprise, I love the combination of cables and lace in this compelling cowl.
In fingering, I’m going to try the Ici Paris Beret for my mom; she loves Paris, and I’ve been curious about the Eiffel Tower Stitch for years.
I want the Zag-Edged Scarf for myself; the combo of garter stitch and a nice edging looks like a sure winner for the actual knitting time I have, which is usually while playing Big Bang Clue or watching Modern Family with our own family.
Et Frais would make a perfect use for our gradient yarns in the 25g balls. That texture looks super fun.
One of our local yarn shops, which has been around since my brother and I would walk to the drugstore to purchase candy bars for twenty-six cents, has a new, improved home! (We would literally walk right y it then, when I had not idea how important knitting and yarn would be in my life).
The Knitting Tree, run by the sweet and fabulous Jackie, is just a block away from its old space on Monroe Street, but now boasts a spacious, modern place. Not only is there room for lots more gorgeous yarn, but you can actually hang out and knit!
I recently read The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern; I don’t read fiction that often, because I know it’s so exciting I’ll want to do nothing else. This dreamllike, steampunk-ish story had me spellbound and I really enjoyed it. The premise of two magicians bound together in a lifelong contest I found extremely original, and ahistorical Victorian London where magic can be learned by anyone and women can be entrepreneurs and nobody bats an eye is a very pleasant place to visit. I’m so excited that the group The Ravelry Book Club is doing this book for October! Can’t wait to hear what other people think about this story. Please join in if you’d like…
Moulin Rouge, with its swirling dancers, romance, Ewan MacGregor and Nicole Kidman, and modern soundtrack, is one of my favorite movies. I designed several yarns based on it last year (like The Can Can Can, inspired by the Moulin Rouge dancers’ petticoats). I’ve been a huge fan of director Baz Luhrmann’s over-the-top musical vision since my mom and I watched Strictly Ballroom many times together on our VHS…
The “Sparkling Diamond,” featured Moulin Rouge dancer Satine, falls in love despite herself, and the colors in the Satine colorway were inspired by a rooftop song with pink moon and blue Eiffel Tower against the backdrop of a Paris twilight.
Now, the Satine gradient, kit and shawl pattern are available to everyone! Diamond lace is a girl’s best friend…
Not exactly a Paris nightclub, but then our model (a yoga teacher) is definitely healthier than poor Satine, and luckier in love!
The Satine lace is trickier than some of the lace patterns I use, but only because it takes a number of rows to create the diamond patterns. There are no strange or difficult stitches, and it’s still only worked every right side row, so if you keep the chart nearby, it should be just fine.
Knit.wear has changed to Knit.Purl and gotten a pretty new makeover! I liked Knit.Wear already, a specialty twice-yearly publication with a fun, modern twist on the classics Interweave is so well-known for. I was happy to see that the sensibility and the articles, etc are not different, only the cover and some of the graphic design.
I really liked the article on the design student with a featured knitting/sewing combo fashion show and was thrilled to discover that the lovely Stephannie Tallent has her own Aran Cables and Lace video class with Interveave! Congratulations, Stephannie!
Another director I love, this one mostly televison: Joss Whedon. Of course, Buffy rocks, but I’m an even bigger Firefly fan. I was skeptical about the concept of space and cowboy together, but Captain Mal and his ragtag crew drew me in until they became some of my most favorite tv characters of all time.
Just for fun, I’m bringing back two of my favorite Firefly-inspired kettle dyes for the month of October. The first: Captain Tightpants.
Loyal, courageous and resourceful, former battle captain Malcolm Reynolds held his crew together, doing whatever it took to keep flying another day. It’s not terrible to think of Nathan Fillion in leather pants as you’re knitting, either.
The Firefly crew circles the outer edges of the ‘Verse, always on the edge of The Black. Here’s a yarn interpretation of the vastness of space. You can order both The Black and Captain Tightpants in either Greatest of Ease or Opulence yarn.