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“Sublimity” from The Book of Cowls. Photo courtesy of Sivia Harding.

I met Sivia Harding in person for the first time at Sock Summit 2011. First of all, I was a very pleasantly surprised (ok, a little giddy) when she said she knew of me, but even more pleasantly surprised that she was so nice. As I’ve gotten to know her as a friend and fellow Visionary Author, my opinion of her has not changed. She is that nice. And talented.

This talented lady has a new ebook, The Book of Cowls. It’s currently available as a subscription purchase. It’s a collection of seven cowls for all seasons with matching cuffs, which she will update over the course of four seasons. They all feature her unique and beautiful aesthetic and of course, I’m sure you’ll surely see her signature with lace and beads in the designs. The debut design for this collection is Sublimity, a shaped cowl reminiscent of medieval days, utilizing a fetching assortment of simple techniques and stitches: ribbing, cables, twisted stitches, lace, and beads.

“Sublimity” from The Book of Cowls. Photo courtesy of Sivia Harding.

I can’t wait to see the rest of the designs for The Book of Cowls!

**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 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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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. 

IMGP0837

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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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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Happy Thanksgiving to all my real life, knitting and crafting friends out there! If you are not American and don’t celebrate this holiday, I wish you a wonderful weekend and thank you for your support!  To celebrate this holiday and my gratitude, I’m having a sale on my site and in my Ravelry shop. All PDF patterns and ebooks are 25% off through midnight PST on Monday, Nov. 28, 2011. To get the discount, enter the code “GOBBLEGOBBLE” (not case sensitive) upon checkout. The sale includes all my patterns, including my two most popular patterns (Pfeiffer Falls and Weekend Shawl), all the hats from the Liberation collection (incl. the ebook), and my newest patterns (Friday Harbor & Anacortes and Lakedale). Stock up on accessory patterns for all your holiday knitting!

ThanksgivingSale2011 Ad

This has been a difficult year for me, but I’m a glass half-full kind of gal and have lots to be thankful for. I have wonderful friends, I love being a knitwear designer, I love working from home and have a great family. While my health has not been the best and my body has been through lots of stress, I’m still very thankful that I’m relatively healthy. One thing I’ve been stressed about is that all the health and other personal setbacks have  negatively impacted my productivity and work quite significantly. However, my wonderful friends, knitters and fans out there have been fantastic cheerleaders, and I feel quite lucky to be in an industry made up of such warm and generous people and friends!

Wishing y’all a wonderful, fun, safe and delicious Thanksgiving,

Anne

P.S. Come back and check the blog again soon. Coming up: Book tour, review and giveaway of Woolly Wormhead‘s new book, Bambeanies!

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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Just because it’s Friday! Get $1 off any of the following patterns: Pfeiffer Falls, Haiku, Remy, Anacortes, Friday Harbor and Lakedale.

You don’t have to enter any codes. The discount is automatically taken when you shop from Crafty Diversions or from my Ravelry store. The sale will end on Halloween, Oct 31, 2011.

Have a safe and wonderful weekend!

xo,

Anne

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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