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As of this writing, I am currently sitting in my hotel room after a long but fruitful weekend teaching at Stitches East. Throughout the weekend, several students and colleagues have mentioned that they saw a Craftsy promotion with me in it. What is it you ask? I am the designer/ instructor for Craftsy’s December Knit-along!! I was so excited when they asked me to design and lead the KAL and am even more excited that I can now let the cat of the bag! Here’s the link to the details for you to sign up.

KAL page snippet2

Because it’s a mystery knit-along (KAL), I can tell or show you exactly. However, I can give you some hints and teasers! The yarn I used is Lorna’s Laces Honor in color “manzanita.” Craftsy is offering the KAL  kit in 3 different color options: manzanita, blackberry and waistcoat. You can’t go wrong with any of the colors, because the folks over at Lorna’s Laces make beautiful yarns in beautiful colors.

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The Craftsy Mystery Knitalong Workshop is a step-by-step web-based tutorial with in-depth written instructions and close-up photos that guide you through the pattern. Below are photos of my set-up for taking tutorial photos and an example of one of the tutorial photos.  The workshop will also have the a handy printed pattern you can print out and take with you on-the-go.

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crochetCO- step3 move yarn back- graphic

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As usual, Stitches West this year was great fun. I always enjoy the excitement of the show, the camaraderie of knitters, my wonderful students and friends. And I really have to say that the XRX/ Stitches staff does an excellent job putting together a show of such mass proportions! I taught 3 classes: Kitchener Like A Pro (grafting in pattern off the needles), The Right Fit (your body shape and finding/adapting knitting patterns appropriate for it) and DIY (Design it Yourself): Shawls and Stoles (tons of shawl shapes and how to achieve it). Kitchener Like a Pro and DIY Shawls & Stoles were sold out very early on in registration and I had only 3-4 spots left in The Right Fit, but by the time all the classes started, all my classes were sold out (I capped all classes at 25 students). THANK YOU STUDENTS!

"Kitchener like a pro" class at Stitches West

Students from my “Kitchener Like A Pro” class working hard and showing off their successfully grafted ribbing and cable swatches in pattern.

Mera, Revisited

Cal was in my “The Right Fit” class. She is showing off the “Mera, Revisited” pattern she made after taking a class on that pattern the year before at Stitches.

Stitches West 2013; Flame pattern

“Flame” is a crescent-shaped shawlette worked in a really cool reversible edging pattern and it was on display at the Windy Valley Muskox booth, where they sold out of about 50 patterns of Flame within the 1st hour of the 2nd market day!

Stitches West 2013

Anzula had “Fantome Hat” and “Fantome Cowl” both on display and selling as a kit with their Sebastian (merino/seacell) yarn. They also sold some soft launch test products of my gift tags.

Stitches West 2013

And my friends at Bijou Basin Ranch, had the “Mera Shrug” on display in their booth. That was one of my favorite projects because the yarn was Bijou Bliss, a yak/cormo blend.

Some of the other fun things from Stitches included running into Christina and Debbie from Alamitos Bay Yarn Co. on my flight, meeting 3 generations of knitters during the Student Banquet, petting all the pretty yarns, button-shopping, hanging out with my friends, old and new, and just being able to be part of it all. Oh and let’s not forget my first encounter with an Inu-knit (aka Lily Chin in costume)!

Stitches West 2013 Stitches West 2013 Lily Chin as an Inu-knitStitches West 2013

A note regarding my website

Folks, I also want to let you know that my website is going through a major facelift and some construction woes. You can still navigate and purchase from it, but I cannot list new stuff on it. So, for the time being, you will see a new tab at the top of this blog, “~~PATTERN & PRODUCT INFORMATION~~” That’s where I’m putting and listing all my new stuff. Thanks!!

**For up to the minute updates and news, follow me @AnneKuoLukito on Twitter and CraftyDiversions on Instagram or “Like” my Crafty Diversions page on Facebook!**

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As I try to balance getting ready for Stitches West, like teaching and getting products and samples to vendors, trying to finish the collection for Manos del Uruguay yarns, a recent health scare and other normal life things, I find that my brain won’t stop! It seems like that’s always the case…when I’m super busy, my brain always seem to go into overdrive and come up with lots of creative thoughts and ideas, ideas for which I don’t have time to develop when I’m super busy. One of the many reasons for the inspiration is all the lovely colors, yarns and other products that I find and see at TNNA.

TNNA sample yarns & products. TNNA sample yarns & products.

TNNA sample yarns & products. TNNA sample yarns & products.

Clockwise from top left: (1) amazingly deep rich colors of fingering weight yarn handdyed by Baah Yarn; (2) I love the versatility of Berroco Ultra Alpaca and got a sample of the Ultra Alpaca Fino, along with a couple skeins of Flicker to swatch and experiement with; (3) a fantastic new line of yarns from Erika Knight featuring British wools. I’m super-excited and inspired by Fur and can’t wait to play with all these yarns; (4) I love HiyaHiya sharp stainless needles! I already have a set of their interchangables but I bought a 2 more sets, since a designer can never have too many needles!

TNNA sample yarns & products.

I mentioned earlier and on Twitter that Anzula would be selling kits of my new pattern set, Fantome Hat and Cowl at a retailer-only event at TNNA. If you’re going to Stitches West, Anzula will be selling the kits to the general knitting public, as well as several of my patterns like Haiku and hats from the Liberation collection.

Brave knitting is grafting live stitches off the needles. #knitting Teaching materials.

Above left is a photo of Project 5 for the Manos Collection. I made a mistake in my spreadsheet and ended up cutting out 5-6″ of my knitting, which was faster than ripping out everything. After correcting it, I reattached the border by grafting the edging back to the body of the garment. I guess it was a good refresher for the “Kitchener Like  A Pro” class I’ll be teaching at Stitches West! The right photo is a peek at the handouts for another one of my Stitches classes.

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Flame 3140

target=”_blank”>Flame is a shallow crescent shawl that has an attractive reversible lace motif. It’s worked in one piece without any picking up for the edge.

A while back, I stumbled upon an interesting but a little too fussy looking stitch pattern in one of my Japanese stitch dictionaries. While I didn’t love the fussiness, I loved the basic bones of the stitch pattern. So, I started playing around with the stitch pattern and manipulating it on the computer. One of the manipulations resulted in a beautifully textured pattern that’s also reversible, perfect for a shawl.  (Several of the other manipulations inspired a few designs that are still under wraps.)
I was a little stuck in deciding a name for this shawl, which I had worked using Windy Valley Musk Ox Luxury Blend (45% qiviut, 45% merino, 10% silk; 1oz, 218yds); Color: 2016-Autumn Crimson. A week after finishing the shawl, I went on an Alaskan cruise and I realized how much the stitch patterning resembles a whale’s fluke. Destiny led me to name this after one of the humpback whales that I saw. She is named “Flame” by the locals and naturalists in and around Juneau. I think it’s an apt name for the fiery color and spirit of this shawl.

Flame was initially debuted only to retailers (yarn shops) for wholesale orders at TNNA this past June. It has since been in storage and got a little wrinkled. Re-blocking it was the perfect excuse to use the bottle of Eucalan Wrapture wool wash send to me by my friend and designer of the scent Kristin Omdahl. At first I was a little scared of the jasmine scent since many jasmine-scented and floral-scented products are overly scented with synthetic fragrances that smell quite chemical to me. I had nothing to be afraid of. Jasmine essential oil gives Wrapture a nice romantic floral scent while the lanolin in it conditions your knits and other delicates washed with it.

I’m now releasing Flame to all of you and our knitting community. It’s available for purchase as a PDF download on Ravelry and on my website.  Do you want a chance to win a copy of Flame and a sample of Wrapture as well? I’m trying out Rafflecopter and running the giveaway through it. You can enter as many times as allowed; the more you share, the more entries you can earn! Winners will be chosen at random.

 Flame 3086 logo Flame 3064 logo

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flame giveaway

CLICK TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY. Giveaway starts Nov. 19 and ends midnight EST Nov. 30.

**For up to the minute updates and news, follow me @AnneKuoLukito on Twitter or “Like” my Crafty Diversions page on Facebook!**

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Recently, a new digital knitting magazine debuted: Skein Theory. The person, creator and editor behind this and the fairly new   The Sock Report is Janel Laidman, author of The Enchanted Sole and The Eclectic Sole. I am honored to be in this new magazine with 6 designs! Van Alen is a coordinated set of a hat, lined cowl and mittens, featuring a color work design inspired by the Chrysler Building in NYC. Dash is a coordinated set of a beret, cowl and fingerless mitts; the design plays with the simplicity and texture of knits and purls. If you’d like to win a copy of this premier issue, please read on!

vanalen dash composite

Above photos are copyright of SkeinTheory.com and Rustling Leaf Press.

I was quite excited at the opportunity to submit designs for Skein Theory and sent in my sketches. I wish I could say that things went smoothly thereafter, but they didn’t. First of all, there was a delay in getting some of the yarn and I barely got them all before I had to leave for Columbus, OH for the summer TNNA trade show. The yarns used for Van Alen was Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light (loved the colors!) and Three Fates Yarns MCN. Secondly, when I submitted my designs, I had only planned on a hat for Van Alen,  and submitted coordinated accessory options for Dash, but I was asked if I could come up with a 3-item coordinated set for Van Alen as well, so I ended up with way more work than I had planned. Lastly, I had a major design issues when working both the Van Alen hat and the Dash beret.

SkeinTheory Fall2012 sub

My submissions for Dash Beret, Gloves and cowl, and Van Alen hat.

There wasn’t too much of a real issue with Dash Beret, but I did knit the beret twice….I just wasn’t happy with the resulting proportions. Mathematically, the way I designed the beret increases worked out, and it was a similar proportion to other berets I’ve designed. However, after I blocked the beret, it still didn’t seem right. So, I started over and reworked the math and the entire beret to a more visually pleasing proportion. 

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The biggest problem I had was with the Van Alen Hat. I swatched. I had a swatch with an early prototype (left), I re-swatched for my submission, and I swatched twice after I received the yummy Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light (one of the swatches show below left). I blocked and measured, counted, re-measured, re-counted, but still, MY SWATCHES LIED!!

Do you know what happens when your swatches lie? I mean, it’s not really a big deal for things like scarves and cowls, but it can make a huge difference when you’re working on garments in which fit will be an issue, like hats, sweaters and gloves.

ST swatch1

In the case of the Van Alen Hat, I ended up with a hat large enough for a panda bear or a giant. My friend has been making fun of me and this little hiccup and said that I should turn the hat into an iguana hammock or a watermelon cozy. Hmph!

Needless to say, I had no choice but to rework my math and re-knit an entirely new hat, all under a really tight deadline. And y’all get the benefit of laughing with me on my design woes! The lesson here, my friends, is that swatching is very important and sometimes swatches do lie, especially with colorwork, so make sure you really make sure you swatch. In the case of a hat, you might want to block and check your gauge before you do too much of it. That was something I didn’t do here. I just wrote off the seemingly large hat based on the fact that I was originally knitting the Large size, was being a bit lazy (due to time constraints) and a little over-confident. This is the first time something like this has happened to me. Believe me, I hope it will be the last.

VanAlen fail2 VanAlen fail3

In the end, things worked out. Below are the finished photos of the projects from Skein Theory. The cowl is worked in one piece and is lined with the brighter color for a nice finished look. If you would like to win a digital copy of the entire premier issue of Skein Theory, Janel and her staff have generously provided me the opportunity to do that on this blog. To win, just comment and tell me what your favorite pattern is from this issue. It’s okay, I won’t be offended if you choose someone else’s design. 😉 My favorite is my Van Alen set, particularly the hat and the cowl, and Petiole by Miriam Pike. I’ll pick a winner randomly on Oct. 23.

**For up to the minute updates and news, follow me @AnneKuoLukito on Twitter or “Like” my Crafty Diversions page on Facebook!**

Get you Knit On. 25% off sale

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I haven’t had a chance to touch my knitting, other than organizing some of it, for weeks. I’ve been organizing, tossing things and cleaning like a mad woman to get our house for sale. Right now, I also have family visiting…my dad and stepmom are here helping me buy a home in the meantime with plans to move in together so that I can help care for him and stepmom as they age. I’m very lucky that my family is able to help me out like this so that my transition back to singledom is easier. I also have a cousin visiting here from Australia for the first time. So, it’s been a non-stop process for the last 4 weeks. I really can’t wait until this process is over so that I can resume working again. I have some major upcoming knitting-related projects that I must focus on, such as a project for Knit Culture’s Studio Club and something for a yarn company.

Another benefit of my dad’s visit: homegrown and home-dried persimmons and the yummiest and sweetest pommelos you’ll ever have.

So sad. :( having allergy issues w/ persimmons. Can't eat any of dad's homegrown and dried persimmons. #stupidallergies #boo Mmm. My dad brought me some of his homegrown super sweet pomelos and persimmons. #yum

I hope all the hard work on the house pays off. The market is getting better, but it’s not great. It’d be nice to get more out of the house so that I can have a nice fresh start. If my house wasn’t 2 stories and didn’t have a pool, I’d try to buy it out from the ex. I really love this house, especially since I put so much sweat into it, from designing a new master bath layout, to painting all the ceilings + walls, to my favorite — bamboo floors. However, if the plan is to have a home that is friendly and accommodating to aging seniors, then a 2-story home is certainly not the most ideal.

I don’t have pictures of my new office (converted from the ex’s very messy office, and sadly, not one I can use for long) or my craft room, but perhaps I’ll put up those pics later. From top to bottom, then left to right: house front, kitchen, kitchen nook, back of house, master bedroom, guest bedroom, front balcony, family room, dining room, living room.

house front
kitchen kitchen 2 pool
master guest1 front balcony

family room dining living

Did you spot the spinning wheel? Can you identify it? 😉

In knitting news, like I said, I haven’t done much due to the house and family consuming all of my time. However, I did manage to wind up the Sweet Georgia Superwash DK yarn that I’m using for a design for Knit Culture‘s Studio Club (awesome yarn club, subscription info here) and do some initial brainstorming and concept sketches. My initial attempt to wind the yarn ended up in a bit of yarn barf…I was trying to wind it on my knees at a cafe.

Winding yarn off my leg made yarn barf, made worse by the most awful singer at this open mic night. #myearshurt initial design concept

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Woolly Wormhead: Bambeanies

One of the many highlights of attending TNNA is that you get to see lots of yarns and products in person. And as a designer, it’s always nice to see my designer colleagues’ work in person and mutually cheer each other on. This year, I was especially looking forward to seeing and sharing laughs with my friend Woolly, with whom I really got to know at last year’s TNNA. This year, Woolly also had a booth and her booth was diagonally across the aisle from mine, so we visited each other quite a bit. It was delightful seeing this prolific hat designer’s creations and books on full display. If I were to sum up Woolly, I’d say that she a genuine, straight-forward person with a  fun and quirky personality. If you are familiar with her work, all her designs reflects that about her.

One of her books, Bambeanies: 20 quick & quirky Hats to knit for little people in your life, just tickled me into some oohs and awws, which surprised me, because I’m not really a kid person and don’t find myself liking baby and kid things.  I loved the level of cute (not too cutesy, as I find in many kid books) and uniqueness in this book. I don’t really have any little people in my life, but if I do, I’d knit Aurora (left), Nupkin (center),  and Ruskin (right).

It is well named as “quirky” and is among the first words that come to mind if I were to describe the designs in the collection. There’s a definite sense of whimsy from cover to cover. Woolly begins the book with a wonderful foundation with an outline of techniques for any knitterof any skill level. Her references to technique are detailed, easily understood and well rounded. The patterns are colorful, fantastical and original. The simple shape of a child’s head shape becomes animated by the wonderful shapes crafted in each pattern. Each is unique, yet they are not daunting; and while simple in nature, they are not at all boring. All in all I found the book to be informative, engaging and empowering for any knitter wanting to knit out of the box. And, it definitely says Woolly all over it.

Please go check out Woolly’s site, there are lots of cool, fun, smart and quirky designs for just about anyone. She also has an upcoming new project, Classic Woolly Toppers.

Want to wind a copy of Bambeanies? Woolly has graciously offered a complimentary digital version of the book for my readers. Simply leave a comment and I’ll randomly draw someone to win a copy next Friday. Simple, right?

End of Summer

Summer is quickly coming to an end. Kids are already starting school and pretty soon Fall (my favorite season) and Winter will be here. To help you get an early start on your Fall and Winter knitting, I’m having a Get Ready for Fall sale. Enter code “YayForFall” upon checkout from Crafty Diversions or from my Ravelry shop to get 15% off. All products are eligible. Sale ends Sept. 30, 2012.

YayForFall Sale ad
Also, check out the official release of Falling for You. It was originally only available as part of a knitalong. The shawl is attractive from both sides and the optional dangling leaves are fully reversible as it flutters with movement.

FallingForYou 8161 logo FallingForYou 1746 logo

FallingForYou PatternExample

**For up to the minute updates and news, follow me @AnneKuoLukito on Twitter or “Like” my Crafty Diversions page on Facebook!**

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