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Posts Tagged ‘Issara’

This past TNNA was my 2nd Columbus and probably 5th (6th?) TNNA overall.  Every show is a little different, but always exhausting, rewarding and energizing all at the same time. This year was different for me in that it’s my first show with a new distributor, Deep South Fibers. I also was walking the floor with a different purpose: shopping for yarns for my book projects.

Right after the show, I went straight to hot & humid Houston, Tx to visit my family as a Father’s Day present to my dad. So, my update on TNNA is a bit delayed and overdue. So, here it is…

Booth & the Show Floor

I brought many of my samples for DSF to display at the booth and spent some time working the booth and chatting with various LYSOs and yarn shop representatives.  I was also able to spend some time with fellow DSF designers both at the booth and post show hours during dinner and some social bar/knitting time at one of the hotel lobbies.

Below are some photo highlights. The rest of my photos are in my Flickr album.

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Above: My areas in the DSF booth. Top: I was right next to Designs by Romi, whose shawls hung to the right of my Issara coat and Weekend Shawl. Bottom: Table with my hats, some other accessories and my “posse” buttons.

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Left: Ysolda Teague and Stefanie Japel at Ysolda’s photo booth.  Both of them are also fellow DSF designers. Ysolda generously gifted me a copy of her wonderful book, Little Red in the City. I haven’t really had a chance to look through it in detail, but it looks really wonderful. I’ll have to spend some time examining it and giving it a proper review later.  Right: The beautiful Kristi Porter signing “More Knitting in the Sun.” The hat on the table just happens to be my design contribution to the book, “Eloise.”

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Left: With friend and writing mentor Cat Bordhi at the Visionaries booth. Right: Stefanie Japel (with whom I had great fun being roomies!) and I visiting my talented friend and fellow Visionary Debby Accuardi at the Pico Accuardi booth. (I’m wearing Elizabeth Zimmermann in the photo.)

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Above: Why yes, that is the great Barbara Walker! She was there for 1 day and I introduced myself to her again (I first met and chatted with her at Sock Summit 2009) and showed her my “Barbara G. Walker” hat that she so graciously allowed me to honor her by naming it after her. She was so humble and said to me “I am so honored that you named it after me. I’ve never had a pattern named after me before.”  Seriously, Ms. Walker? Believe me, it is I who feels blessed and honored! The sample I’m holding up is the one worked in Tactile Fiber Arts Tencel-Merino.

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Left: Super fun and lovely lady was a fan of my hats and tried on most of them! She’s from Amitie + Passion in Quebec, Canada (address: 4 rue Jacques-Cartier, Sallaberry-de-Valleyfield, QC J6P 4T4). She’s wearing “Septima Clark” and I’m wearing “Eleanor Roosevelt.” Right: Janet from The Salty Sheep in NC, trying on “ Issara.”

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Left: Holy Cow! My first magazine cover! I can’t wait until Knitscene’s Fall 2011 issue hits the newsstands! The design on the cover is Lepidoptera. Right: Sarah Bible of Ravelry looking super fabulous with her very important WIP.

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Left: I finally “officially” met Norah Gaughan at the Berroco Yarn Bar (fun, right!?) Pictured are Stefanie, me, Norah Gaughan and Amanda Keep. Right: Teva Durham, who I credit to really encouraging me to write a book last year, signing her new book, Loop d Loop Lace.

Designers’ Dinner & Social Time

Part of TNNA is networking and socializing with your friends in the industry, old and new. The networking included dinner, lunches, ice cream/coffee and knitting in one of the hotel bar/lobbies everyday. One of the events, a Designers’ dinner organized by Marly Bird, was the highlight. Marly went all out in finding us a lovely venue for over 60 designers and getting some wonderful sponsors who contributed some gift bags that made us feel like A-list rock start Hollywood celebs.  To thank my fans and blog readers (and really, I can’t keep all this stuff), I’m giving away most of the things in my goody bag, including a Namaste bag! I’ll post the details in my next blog post.

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Having a great laugh at the Designer’s dinner: Woolly Wormhead, Andi Smith (KnitBrit),  Miriam Felton and Ann Kingstone.

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At the Designers’ dinner with (left) Miriam Felton and (right) Kimberly Reynolds, aka somebunnyslove.

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Left: I dined with some friends that I’m always delighted to see, Kate Oates, Stefanie Japel, Robyn Chachula and Simona Merchant-Dest. Right: I was absolutely delighted to have finally met Woolly Wormhead, who is an absolute delight and a fellow DSF designer. I was also very happy to meet Carol Feller and Ann Kingstone, who traveled from Ireland and the UK, respectively. We had some great laughs over drinks and dinner over some silly things, like the different UK and American terminologies.

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Above: The 3 photos above show the tons of people (mostly designers at this location, but also yarnies and publishers) hanging out nightly at the hotel lobby & bar. It was a ginormous knitting circle! Some of the other wonderful people with whom I enjoyed chatting included Laura NelkinKristen TendykeMercedes Tarasovich-Clark (Pie Bird Designs/ Kitchen Sink Dyeworks), Bonne Marie Burns (Chic Knits), Shannon Okey (Knitgrrl), Rosemary Hill (Designs by Romi), Anne HansonAnnie Modesitt, Benjamin Levisay (Knitting Universe/ XRX/ Stitches Events), Joanna Johnson, Mary-Heather Cogar, Alisha Goes Around, Sabrina Famellos (Anzula Luxury Yarns),  Mary Beth Temple, Sarah Stanfield, Michelle Miller (Fickleknits), Amy Polcyn, and Grace Akhrem. For the first time, in person, I also met Heather Dixon (Army of Knitters), Petite Purls‘ Allegra and Brandy,  Jaala Spiro of KnitCircus, Sarah Wilson, Anna Dalvi, Deb Robson (I got a copy of her fabulous new book “The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook” – I’ll need to make time to review that one as well!).

Whew! I’ve never made that many links before, and still, I know that there are many others that I forgot to list, and even more folks that I wished that I had more time to chat with. Please forgive me if you are one of those folks.

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I know I promised this post a while back, but better late than never, right? Here are some ideas and tips for customizing your Issara.

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Blocking:

Issara is rather bulky and heavy, which can make blocking challenging, especially with the pleat. Before wet blocking, I suggest basting the pleat closed and in place with a high contrast waste yarn. Then, to shorten your blocking time by several days, I would put it in your washer on spin cycle. Do not actually run it through the washing machine. Once your machine has done all the work of sucking off the excess water, you can block the coat as you would normally do.

I was a bit impatient when blocking the sample, especially for the stubborn pleat, which remained damp when other parts of the coat had dried. This is due to the thickness of the multiple layers. Thus, I sped up the process in the pesky areas with a hairdryer. You can also face a fan towards your garment, which will shorten the overall time considerably.

After the coat had dried both naturally and with the help of my handy hairdryer, I fine-tuned blocking some of the other elements, such as the pleat and the edging, with my steam iron. When you steam-block with an iron, make sure that you are not touching your garment with the iron, especially if your yarn contains synthetic fabrics. You don’t want to melt your yarn! Instead, hover above your garment by about 0.5″ to 1″.

Adding More Waist Details:

If you would like to add a more substantial and visual waistline than the single purl ridge, then I’d suggest omitting the purl ridge and instead, work in about 4-5 rows (or more, if desired) of seed stitch right after the folding of the pleat. You can also do a reverse Stockinette stitch band, though I think doing the seed stitch will be more unifying design-wise with the rest of the garment.

If you’d like to add a belt that’s 1.5″/ 4cm wide, CO 5 sts. Row 1: Sl1, [k1, p1] twice. Repeat Row 1 until desired length and BO. Then, for the belt loops, I’d crochet 3 or 4 chains that are a little longer than the width of the belt and attach the loops right above or over the waist ridge. Don’t forget that you’ll need to allot extra yarn for this.

Shortening the Coat:

If you’re a bit short, or would just like a shorter coat, the best way is to reduce the number of Stockinette stitch rows between the skirt shaping. The gauge works out to 4.5 rows per 1″/ 2.5cm. Thus, if you’d like your coat to be 2″/ 5cm shorter, then I would omit 8 or 10 St. st rows in the skirt. I would disperse throughout the skirt to maintain the gradual A-line shape.

If I had more ample assets in the hip area as well, I’d probably work the omissions closer to the top of the skirt. This way, I’m shorting the skirt, but also do so in a way that gives my hips more room. For example, if I was working size 39 3/4, instead of working the Decrease row every 10 rows in the 6th and 7th repeat, I’d work the Decrease row every 6 rows.

Making it a Jacket:

I you are in a warmer climate or just prefer a jacket over a coat, you can omit the pleat and make it a shorter, hip-length jacket. The following instructions will get you a jacket that measures about 5.25″/ 13.5cm below the waistline of Issara, which would give you a length of 17.25 (17.5, 18.25, 18.75, 19.25, 20.25, 20.5) from shoulder to hem. Of course, you should modify it further as desired to accommodate your needs and preferences.

CO 125 (133, 137, 149, 153, 161, 169)
Set up  1 (WS): Sl1, [p1, k1] to last st, p1.
Set up 2 (RS): Sl1, [k1, p1] to last st, k1.
Rep Set up rows 1 and 2 again.
Using removable markers, place marker after the first and last 31 (33, 34, 37, 38, 40, 42) sts.
Row 1 (WS): Sl1, [p1, k1] twice, purl to last 4 sts, [k1, p1] twice.
Row 2 (RS): Sl1, [k1, p1] twice, knit to last 4 sts, [p1, k1] twice.
Rep Row 1.
Dec Row: Sl1, [k1, p1] twice, knit until 2 sts before marker, ssk, sm, k2tog, knit until 2 sts before next marker, ssk, sm, k2tog, knit to last 4 sts, [p1, k1] twice.
Work as established, working Dec Row every 6 rows 3 more times. – 109 (117, 121, 133, 137, 145, 153) sts.
Next (Waist Ridge, WS): Sl1, [p1, k1] twice, knit to last 4 sts, [k1, p1] twice.
Next: Rep previous row.
Work Bodice and the rest of the of Issara as instructed in the pattern.

Tutorial & FAQ:

In case you are not aware, I try to post tutorials/FAQ pages for many of my patterns, especially those that require some special, unusual or more intermediate techniques. Click here for an index of all the tutorials on this site. Click here for the Issara tutorial/FAQ. If you have a question that’s not addressed in the tutorial, you can post your question in the comments or go to my Ravelry group.

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After a few failed submissions, I finally made it into Twist Collective, and I couldn’t be happier! Yes folks, I had tried to submit to Twist 2-3 times prior, but unfortunately, it wasn’t in the cards for me at the time.

I finally achieved my goal with Issara, which was published recently in the Fall 2010 issue. What made this even more exciting for me is the fact that Issara is the cover for my particular storyline, Roxham Farm. I was already a fan of Twist Collective and of the artistry and designs in each issue. Now that I’ve experienced a small taste of what it’s like to be a designer in Twist, especially with the multiple layers of review that goes into each pattern, I am even more impressed.

Named after a good friend’s daughter (a Laotian name), Issara is a snuggly coat worked in bulky yarn with simple lines. The WOW factor lies within the back pleat and the oversized reversible cable collar that can be worn up, down, or somewhere in between.

The Idea & Design Process

Usually, when I design, I like to incorporate a feature element and/or versatility.  And since I’ve been on a reversible cables kick lately, I really wanted a garment with a dramatic reversible collar. Thus, Issara was conceived. While I had a clear idea of what I wanted, some of the key elements in the concept required some tweaking and experimentation during the actual pattern-writing and design process.

Collar

In order for the collar to lay nicely on the shoulders when worn down, it needed to flare a little – I really didn’t want a straight funnel collar. To make a nice flare, I knew that I would have to work increases into the actual cable pattern instead of bunching it all into the beginning or set up section of the collar. I experimented with a few types of increases into the cable pattern. Lifted increases won over other types of increases because it met 3 main criteria: (1) increases had to be as invisible as possible, (2) they had to compliment and work with the stitch pattern, and (3) they had to look good on both sides.

Waistline

Initially, I had intended the waistline to be a true empire waist. However, as I was working with it, I realized that the weight of the yarn in the skirt of the coat (especially with the pleat) may pull the waistline in a less than desirable way if I raised it to a true empire.  So, I change the plan a little and worked the waistline roughly about 1.5″ above a natural waistline so that there is still an elongated silhouette, but without having to carry the extra weight if it was set much higher.

p2-1 Issara sketch

Issara sketch

Pleat

Because the coat is worked in a bulky yarn, Twist editor Kate Gilbert and I had some concerns that the pleat might be a little too thick and cumbersome in the back with all the layers. I really wanted to keep the pleat because I think it gives a nice balance to the dramatic and slightly flared collar; thus, I was determined to make it work. I experimented a little and I figured out a way to thin out some of the bulk in the pleat folding process: I bound off every other stitch in the center panel of each side of the pleat 2 rows prior the pleat fold. The photos below show the differences (click to enlarge) between a regular pleat fold and my thinned out version.

Issara Swatch1 - front Issara Swatch3 - back

Close-Ups

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Photos above, clockwise from top left (click photos to enlarge): (1) work-in-progress shot of the skirt shaping; (2) the finished pleat from the private side (WS); (3) collar detail from the public side (RS); (4) collar detail from the private side (WS); (5) waist line and back pleat; (6) back view of coat with collar worn down

Overall, I found the sample a relatively fast knit. Seriously. I’m not just saying that because I’m the designer or as a fast knitter. It goes much faster than one anticipates because it’s worked in a bulky yarn. The slowest part of it, IMO, was the blocking, which took forever and a day to dry.  Next post: Tips/notes on modifications, blocking, etc.

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