Design Inspiration Revealed: Susanna IC’s Vernice Shawl

KnitCircus_July2015_ConnieWardPhotography-115 (1)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.

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  1. 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.

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  1. 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.

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  1. 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.

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  1. 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.

Here’s where you’ll find the:

Vernice Pattern

Vernice Kit

Knitcircus Fall Collection

You can find all of Susanna’s designs on Ravelry, join her Ravelry Group and check out her website, Artqualia.com!

Ready for Fall Knitting!

Hi, Knitters,

My knitting mojo is back. It’s finally September!!! That means it’s real knitting season, even if it’s 90 degrees outside right now.

Monet
Monet

Of course, we’re all really excited about the new Impressionist Yarns, which is a new technique we’ve been developing this summer to unveil this fall! One of my Assistant Dyers, Erin, told me about a dyeing technique she had tried on fabric; we tried it on yarn, then ended up using a completely different approach to get a similar effect. The final product is a gradient with pops of exciting colors throughout. It’s exciting to knit because you never know what color the next stitch will be!

So I grabbed one of our first prototypes and started knitting up a scarf; I thought that Seed Stitch would be a fun way to make a reversible fabric with the Impressionist yarn.

Renoir Scarf
Renoir Scarf

This became the Renoir Scarf we released along with the new colors last week. It’s an easy free, reversible pattern to make the most of this or any of your favorite DK-weight yarn. This one that I kntted was in the shop for about two days, then my 92-year-old grandma came for a visit. She admired the scarf, so I gave it to her! My grandma loves color, so I knew it would be a perfect fit.

the lovely Emily
the lovely Emily

Here’s the Renoir Scarf modeled by our other Assistant Dyer, Emily! Both of our Assistant Dyers are in the Textile Design program at the UW and plan to complete their studies at the Fashion Institute of Design in New York. We’re very proud of them; watch out, fashion industry!

Cassatt
Cassatt

Each of the Impressionist yarns is unique, but they all follow a general gradient pattern. This soft colorway was named for one of my favorite Impressionists, Mary Cassatt. Her paintings of intimate moments between mothers and daughters were pretty groundbreaking at the time.

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I knew we had a kind of quiet, recover-from-the-first-week-of-school weekend planned, so I took a Gauguin colorway to make another scarf. I’ve never been so excited about Seed Stitch! I feel like I could keep on knitting these scarves until the kids head off to college!IMG_4080[1]

Progress so far….

As it turned out, Lil Buddy has been down with a fever all weekend and I spilled hot coffee on my leg, creating a pretty exciting swollen, red knee, so I’ve gotten a little more down time to knit than we anticipated. He seems to have more energy today, so that’s a relief. Moral of the story: always have your knitting ready!

Hope you’re all having a good weekend and staying cool,

Jaala

Yarn Con Yarn! And last chance for Early Spring Yarns

Hi, Knitters,

We’re skeining, dyeing, labeling and packing as fast as we can to get ready for Yarn Con in Chicago this weekend! Belle will be accompanying me and we’re really looking forward to the sweet organizers and meeting/seeing Chicago knitters.

YARN CON COLORS

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The Yarn Con people had a great idea and they asked a number of indie dyers to collaborate on a fun project before the show; custom Yarn Con colorways!  The yarns will be sold at the show as a way to help sustain the event, which has been getting bigger and better every year! (You certainly can’t beat free event parking in Chicago).

We got a little excited and I may have actually designed three colorways, including a whole new dyeing technique I’ve never tried before! The yarn above is a brand-new Speckle colorway inspired by the current Yarn Con logo colors. Everyone in the Lair loved it, and I couldn’t resist naming it Put Me in the Zoo, after the beloved children’s book.

The Speckle technique was so much fun, I’ve designed a number of colorways which will debut this Friday at 10:00 cst as part of the new Late Spring Yarn collection! DSC_0023smaller

More Yarn Con Colors: I designed a gradient using the deep red and pale blue from the Yarn Con logo. These are two colors I’ve always wanted to work with, so it was a lot of fun.

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Then we have a handpaint focusing on the deep red. This is a cousin to the popular Ruby Slippers colorway from the Wizard of Oz collection. DSC_0017 smaller

Yarn con has lots of great vendors, like Sun Valley, Fleur de Fiber, Sophie’s Toes and lots more, plus classes from the lovely likes of Andi Smith, Jen Lucas and more, so if you’re in the Chicagoland area, I hope you’ll stop by and say hi!

LATE SPRING YARN COLLECTION

The new collection will be up in the web store this Friday at 10:00 am, which means we have to say goodbye to some of our favorite Spring yarns until next year!

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If you’ve been thinking about a Robin’s Nest….DSC_0454

or maybe The Can Can Can….

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…or a New Day, order it in the next 24 hours or they’ll be gone!

The good news is, more Spring favorites and new colors including Speckle skeins and gradients will be available as part of the Late Spring Collection!

Happy knitting,

Jaala

Over the Rainbow for New Gradient Stripes!

Hi, Knitters,

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I couldn’t wait to tell you that we’re ready to offer four more colors, and  now the Harry-Potter-Inspired House Socks collection is complete!

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Introducing: Brave at Heart. I  Proud crimson stripes with magnificent gold. Whether you’re fighting evil or standing up for your friends, you’ll go roaring through these socks in no time at all! Along with Wit and Learning, Just and Loyal and Cunning Folk, Brave at Heart celebrates the different strengths of magic and muggle folk alike.

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You can tell I’m a geek at heart! The next striping sock set is The Shire: Beautiful, springlike colors evoke the gardens of a peaceful land. Colors slowly change from pale to ripe peach to pale and ivy green.

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The next: Autumn Forest. This was September’s popular color of the month, now translated into Gradient Stripes.  We could never match Mother Nature’s paintbrush, but this is our homage to it. Autumn Forest begins with a cheerful leaf green, before striping to warm chestnut brown, then passing through a brilliant orange to a golden yellow.

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Finally: Over the Rainbow. Rainbow stripes! Yellow, orange, red, hot pink, purple, blue, and finally green stripe with each other. Whoo!!!!

I’m having so much fun creating these new colors and knitting up socks of my own! I can’t wait to see what you all do with them. 🙂

Happy weekend,

Jaala

Handpaint Classes in the Lair

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It’s so much fun dyeing things up in the Lair we wanted to share it with you! If you’re near Madison, Wisconsin (or might be passing through), please join the party and leave with yarn in your own gorgeous color choices! Both classes taught by Knitcircus dyer Jaala Spiro.

When: Saturday, May 17th

Where: The Knitcircus Dyeing Studio (otherwise known as the Evil Lair) on Madison’s near West side. Please note: the Lair is in my home, so is not guaranteed accessible. Please let us know if you have mobility challenges and we will do our best to accommodate.

CLASS SCHEDULE

Handpainted Skeins

10:00-12:00

Use professional acid dyes to create your own saturated colors! A quick background on choosing harmonious colors, then you paint your own skeins. Each person will have two undyed skeins to paint.

Cost: $35

Class limit: 8 people

Food-Based Dyes

1:30-3:30

Learn to use Kool-Aid and food coloring for permanent colors you can create in a home kitchen! Each participant will create a kettle-dyed “handpaint” with Kool-Aid and and true handpaint with food coloring. 

Cost: $35

Class limit: 8 people

TO REGISTER: please email jaala@knitcircus.com with the subject line DYEING CLASS. Please include your name, preferred class and Paypal email, or let us know if you prefer to pay by check. The first 8 respondents will be registered for each class. Please also indicate which yarn weight (fingering, DK, worsted or chunky) you would like for your 2 skeins per class. We will let you know the location and answer any questions you may have.

If you have a small group (no less than 6 or more than 10) and would like to book the dyeing studio, please shoot us an email and we’ll arrange a private class!

New Knitting Year and Last Sale Day

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Happy New Year, wonderful knitters! It’s very cold and snowing beautiful, glittery flakes today. I hope everyone is feeling good as they roll out of bed for the first day of 2014. I’m so excited that this year will bring more Ravellenics with the Winter Games, and new chances for me to meet some of you at events like Yarn Con, Stitches Midwest, Yarnover, TNNA and the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool festival.

Unexpectedly, both kids were asked to sleepovers last night, so Mike and I got to have a date! Since fish tacos are one of my favorite things in the world, we had a non-fancy but delicious dinner at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, then headed off of the snowy, slippery streets for a cozy double feature at home. The first feature: We’re the Millers, which we thought was a truly funny movie. And I may have made noises of glee when I saw Ron Swanson and Alexis pop up about halfway through.

Happy Birthday, Lil Buddy!

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It’s always such a whirlwind around here at the holidays; Lil Buddy’s birthday is right in the mix. I can’t believe our little guy is so big and independent, now. We still remember this big-eyed and big-cheeked little baby

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and now I just send him onto the ski slopes with a cell phone and say I’ll call when it’s time to head home!

I talk about Lil Buddy and sports a lot, but he’s also got a generous heart. It was his friendship with Buddy D that brought our third child into our house, and he stuck with it even when he had to share a room and all of his toys and kids were rude and insulting. Buddy D is no longer with us, and he suffered much from the loss of the friend he considered his brother. When there’s a baby bunny to save, Lil Buddy is there with a shoe box full of cotton, and when there’s a big dinner to make, he’s ready to chop vegetables. When we learned how many homeless kids live in Wisconsin, his response? “Let’s adopt one of those children.”

Happy birthday, my boy.

2013 in Yarn

2013 was a big one for Knitcircus Yarns; with the help of my dad and DH Extraordinaire Mike, the Lair grew to twice its size and now has all kinds of customized equipment to be able to make more yarns faster and better. The double winder below, created by my dad, is one of the most beautiful sights to me.

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This year,  I really found my passion with the Matching Socks and gradient yarns, and I consider myself vastly lucky every day to experiment with color and create yarns for my wonderful knitters. A heartfelt Thank You to everyone who purchased yarn this year and supported our cottage industry.Image

Last Sale Day

Speaking of yarns, I’m hard at work developing kettle-dyes to accompany each of my repeatable gradient colorways, so am letting go of all of the kettle dyes and handpaints that don’t fit the menu.Today is the very last day of the Kettle Dyes and Handpaints Sale, so if you’d like luxury hand-dyed yarns for just $15 each, today’s the day!

Yarn Clubs Update

If you’re in one of the Clubs, thanks for your patience! Much of December was consumed by a Huge, Secret Wholesale Project (soon to be not secret). All of the yarns and treats for the second Gradient Club packages are ready and the last batch will be in the mail tomorrow, so if you haven’t gotten your package yet, you surely will soon.

I’m now working on the third Matching Socks Club packages, so if you signed up for just one of those, or two, and want more, or haven’t tried it yet and would like to, you can just purchase the one-month package and the next ones will fly your way! I’m very excited about this colorway; I’ve been stretching my boundaries and experimenting with more colors within each gradient, and I hope you’ll like the results.

So a happy, happy New Year to all of you. Stay safe, stay warm and enjoy whichever project is on your needles. 🙂

Jaala