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Posts Tagged ‘knitalong’

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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I recently had an idea that I want to host a Knitalong in my Ravelry group. I couldn’t decide what or how to do it, so I used Ravelry’s polling feature and asked my Crafty Diversions group members to vote. The final tally at the time of the poll’s closing: 31 votes for a mystery KAL, 35 votes for a non-mystery KAL. For garment type, the top 2 choices were 21 votes for a shawl, 13 votes for a sweater.

The KAL will be free for group members and participants will have opportunities to win prizes donated by our KAL sponsors. After the KAL is over, the pattern will be available for sale in my pattern shop.

Since I always get asked by aspiring designers, friends and people who like my work how my design process works, how I come up with ideas, etc., I thought it’d be interesting to share the process with you from beginning to end…

The adventure begins!

Once the votes started leaning more heavily towards a non-mystery shawl knitalong, I started thinking about possibilities for designs. I think about shapes, size, color, theme, etc.

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My kitchen table is quite cluttered with various design tools and inspiration. Click on photo to see notes on the various items on the table in Flickr.

My brainstorming process consists of looking various sources of inspiration — home & architecture magazines, fashion magazines, old books, knitting stitch dictionaries, a scenic horizon, a tree, a  door handle, etc.  Sometimes everything swims around in my head for a little bit. Then I start doing some rough sketching my mini sketch pad (but when a sketch pad is not handy when a moment of brillance strikes,  a napkin or a scratch piece of paper will do!) to work out certain things like construction and fit details.

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Even a buffet table of delectable fruit tarts can be a source of inspiration. (I ate several of these during afternoon tea at Huntington Gardens.)

Rough sketch turns into a plan

If I have a particular idea that won’t let go of me, the only way to keep it from plaguing me all day and night is to work out the details, such as drawing up the bits and pieces on the computer, or creating and manipulating several charts. Below is an example of one of the designs I am considering for the KAL:

SummerKAL DesignProcessChart

I'm figuring out how I can alter and fit various stitch patterns (and variations thereof) together and how to create smooth transitions.

Some preplanning and working things out as I did above is a great way of identifying potential problems, especially when I’m trying to match up a stitch pattern into the stitch count or transitioning from one pattern to another.  This type of preplanning and charting is also important for me to visualize and see how the patterning will work in different sizes of a garment. For example, will I be able to use the same stitch pattern for all the sleeves in all the sizes of a garment or will I have to modify the stitch pattern for some of the sizes?

Yarn Selection: Fun and Important

One of the really fun parts of designing a project is thinking about all the yummy yarns! I go through a mental checklists of yarns that I like, fondle my stash, review my color cards, search manufacturer websites, and check Ravelry. (One of my tasks when I went to Stitches West was to look for yarn options for this project. The plethora of lovely options and my limited spare time at Stitches did not make the process easy.)

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Part of my yarn stash.

Other than looking at pretty yarn, I have to think about the resulting garment, fabric, shape and wearability. In knitting, I consider yarn weight (how thick the yarn is), fiber content (how the fibers in the yarn work for the project), drape and texture (how the stitch pattern, design and the yarn’s fiber content properties affect the garment), color (how a color might affect the design), feasibility (for example, considering whether knitters would be willing to work a coat in fingering weight yarn) and cost (while many yarn companies can provide me yarn support, it’s not really realistic to design a sweater requiring 8 balls of a $40/ball yarn. Instead, it’s probably better to design an accessory requiring only 2 balls of that luxury yarn. Thinking about the cost helps knitters with a special and relatively affordable splurge and helps the yarn company sell yarn.).

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A light fingering yarn (40% cashmere, 60% merino) yarn that I dyed a couple of years ago.

I considered several favorites yarnies and several that were new to me. While there were many that were at the top of my list, they were whittled down as I considered the following criteria: (1) I want to support a indie dyer; (2) Yarnie has to have quality yarn bases; (3) Yarnie has to have great colors; (4) KAL participants will need to be able to buy from Yarnie at least online since participants are likely quite internet savvy and are international; (5) Yarnie has to have the ability to have a variety of inventory from which to choose; (6) I was very open to working with a Yarnie that was previously unfamiliar to me

Yarn Chef Creme Brulee Fingering in Rosy Outlook (50% merino wool/ 50% silk, 650yd/5.3oz, 594m/150g)

After several emails with a few candidates, one candidate stood out and met all the criteria: Yarn Chef.  She advertised in my group last month and I could not get her yarns out of my head. Head chef Katy and I discussed her yarns, my needs and some other things. I am excited to be working with her on this project and that she will be the primary sponsor of our KAL. For the project, I will be using her Creme Brulee Fingering yarn, which is a light fingering/heavy lace at  122.87 yards per oz/ 4.33 yards per gram. Katy has already ordered extra yarn in anticipation of this KAL and will be dyeing them up as soon as she receives the yarn shipment in a couple of days.

Yarn Chef Bouillabaisse in Fern Valley (100% superwash merino, 540yd/4oz, 494m/113g)

Yarn Chef Creme Brulee Lace in Gothic Rose (50% merino wool 50% tussah silk , 620yd/2oz, 567m/60g)

I’m in as much anticipation about all this as y’all are and can’t wait to see what Katy cooks up. She will be restocking her shop soon and will also be donating a couple of prizes for KAL participants.

Add this blog to RSS feed if you haven’t already son you don’t miss my chronicles of this KAL, the design process and any other updates.

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Lately, I’ve been pretty busy with several secret projects, among a few other things. I have two huge secret projects that I can’t really talk about yet, so I’ll just tell you about the three secret projects I’ve been working on for a couple of magazines.
I’ve already completed photoshoots for 2 of the 3 magazine secret projects and have mailed them off to the editors. Call me a tease – here’s the most I can show you of those projects:

The 3rd magazine secret project is still on my needles and is due on Valentine’s day. I’ve had a few setbacks with this last project. One was a knitter error – I forgot to do a couple of increases and decided to rip out instead of fudging them. I ended up ripping out 18 rows, which I calculated was 3136 sts. Sniff sniff. The other setback was when I decided to redo part of the collar because I wanted it to have a little bit more width in the neck.

During all the secret project knitting, I’ve also been planning my Stitches West activities and things like getting things sent to the printer, pattern stapling/ stuffing and planning/organizing a door prize for the Pajama Party hosted by Kimberly (aka Somebunnyslove) Stitches West is next week and happening really fast!! I will be at the Unwind Yarn, Anzula and Bijou Basin Ranch booths a various times throughout the event. I’ll be posting updates of my schedule in the Events/Promo section of my Facebook fan page (I know I need to add one of those pages on my website as well, but until I have time to do that, Facebook will have to suffice in the time being).

My recent photo shoot also included taking photos of the Weekend Shawl (pattern release Feb. 21, 2011) in the fingering weight version. I will also be offering the pattern in a lace weight version, which my sample knitter just finished tonight.

Weekend Shawl (pattern release Feb. 21, 2011). Shown in Fingering Weight version using Sanguine Gryphon Gaia Fingering in color Sundogs.

 

One of other things I’ve been working on is brainstorming a design for a Fan Appreciation Knitalong. I posted a poll in my Ravelry group and the resulting vote is that folks want to have a non-mystery KAL with a shawl pattern.  The timing of it couldn’t be more perfect, as I will be able to get extra inspiration upon seeing all the lovely things and yarns at Stitches next week.  If you are interested in joining the KAL, just join my group!  The KAL will be FREE. After the KAL is over though, I think I will be putting up the pattern for sale for everyone else. As part of the KAL, I will be posting about and documenting everything, from my design process to the final project.  I’ve never done something like this before and am really looking forward to it.

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Above photos from Stitches West 2010 – My friend Cindi has had a big yarngasm; Some friends sharing drinks at the Hyatt lounge.

Speaking of KALs, there are some folks who are planning to start another KAL on Ravelry for Pfeiffer Falls. They are planning to start on Feb. 21. So, if you are on the the people who still have it in your queue, this is a great time to cast on! I’ll be checking in on the group to see everyone’s progress and offer help & encouragement where I can.

 

photo © Interweave Knits 2008

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