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Thanks to all of y’all you played and showed interest in the contest and in my patterns. I entered each entry into a spreadsheet and then used the PsychicScience random number generator to first generate 10 random numbers for Cocoon and then 2 random numbers for Lillian.

The numbers that came up for Cocoon were 37, 42, 63, 19, 57, 62, 6, 77, 23 and 34. The numbers for Lillian were 45 and 72.  So who won and how?

Cocoon Winners:

6 – Ellen Margulies – Facebook
19 – HeySweetGeorgia – Twitter
23 – Tallpolishgirl – Blog comment
34 – Awkwardgirl – Ravelry
37 – Knitterotica – Twitter
42 – Lydia Tilus – Facebook
57 – Kklemann – Blog comment
62 – InJuneau – Ravelry
63 – MyaLMG – Ravelry
77 – tapmouse – Twitter

Lillian Winners:

45 – Indigomuse – Twitter
72 – Heather Hodgins Lam – Facebook

Congrats to the winners! If you won, you should be getting your download link soon! Sorry to those that did not win. Perhaps you’ll get lucky next time!

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eDSC01979 logo Happy Labor Day!  To celebrate, I’m going to give away 10 free copies (and maybe a couple more if I find some particularly clever posts) of my new pattern, Cocoon. Read on for details.

The initial concept for Cocoon came about about 2 years ago, when my stepmom requested a stole in some dark blue colors. So, I set forth to design a stole for her and I hand-painted a cashmere/merino yarn in some dark blues. In the end, I loved the stole and the design, but I felt that the hand-painted colors really did not show off the details very well. I also wanted to alter the design a bit and really incorporate more transitions and patterns in the stole to truly embody the idea of a the life of an insect (such as a butterfly) from cocoon to full metamorphosis.

IMG_3952 IMG_3939 cocoon prototype

Above: The original Cocoon I created for my stepmom. As you can see, the variegated colors, albeit tonal, do not really do the lace patterns justice.

After percolating in my mind, nearly 2 years later, several several revisions, the official public version was unveiled at The National Needlearts Association trade show this past June in Columbus, OH. Cocoon was showcased at the Mountain Meadow Wool booth. Photos from the show below:

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Cocoon is not a difficult lace project for beginners and it is still quite interesting for more experienced lace knitters. The cocoon pod pattern in the body created by dropping stitches, which is both exciting and fun, and the pattern in the body and the border is relatively easy to memorize. The ends of the stole is flanked by a pattern that I intentionally created to resemble wings of insects, while at the same time look like a floral motif.

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As I mentioned at the top of the post, I will be giving away at least 10 Cocoon patterns (PDF file). Here are the many ways in which you can get a chance to get your free copy of Cocoon:

  1. Retweet my announcement on Twitter. (I’m @AnneKuoLukito on Twitter.)
  2. Post a comment below.
  3. Post about Cocoon or the giveaway on your blog (link this post so I can track your post).
  4. Post a comment on the Cocoon pattern page on Ravelry.
  5. Post a comment on my fan page on Facebook.

Each of the actions above will entitle you to an entry. Contest closes at 9pm PST on Tuesday, at which time, I will list everyone’s username(s) in a spreadsheet and then use a random number generator to select the winners. For example, if you retweeted and posted a comment, you will get 2 entries. Winners will be announced in via Twitter and in a blog post on Wednesday. Good Luck and Thanks for Playing!

EDITED TO ADD (9/7/10):  Since it was freezing last night here in SoCal, and I’m feeling generous, I’m also going to throw in 2 free copies of one of my most popular patterns, Lillian (Ravelry listing for you Ravelers). You’ll be eligible to win Lillian if you post about either patterns on Twitter (make sure you mention @AnneKuoLukito so I get alerted and add your entry) or make a comment on the Crafty Diversions Facebook fan page.

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Whitey Coyote was trying to snuggle up to Cocoon and the yarn when I was working on it. When I wouldn't let her rub on it, she decided to thwart my process by being cute and snuggling in my lap.

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Shop Knitting Patterns Now!Have you received your latest issue of Interweave Knits yet? Guess who has a pattern in it? If you haven’t, go order yours today! (And if you go through the link below, I get a small cut of your purchase as an affliliate.)

The current Summer 2010 issue features the Empyrean Tunic. It’s a design that I had originally submitted for the Spring 2010 issue (in which Rose Window Beret appears). Since people always seem to be curious to see how an idea turned into reality, below is a snapshot of my submission.

My submission swatch was worked with a sandalwood-colored 50% tussah silk and 50% wool yarn that I got a while back from a sale that a machine knitting shop was having. I still have lots of that yarn, which I think would be perfect for Empyrean. I should knit another sample since I won’t ever see the one I made for the magazine in my possession ever again. ::sigh::

The garment is worked in one piece in a raglan-construction from the top-down. Don’t worry if the neckline seems overly wide at first! It will all work itself out in the end. I promise! The neckline is tightened up with an i-cord edging, which really would not work with other garments unless it’s something airy and light like this.  I intentionally did not reduce stitches at the bottom hem and sleeve ends so that they would flare out a little — I think it just makes it seem more interesting and more fluid.

I did spot Empyrean on display at TNNA (needlearts trade show) in January 2010 at the Interweave Press booth, and of course I was stupidly giddy. The scarf that I'm wearing is Remy. (www.craftydiversions.com/patterns/remy.htm)



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New Ads

I’ve been wanting to put some one Ravlery ads for my patterns and design for some time, but I just haven’t gotten around to it until now.  I created 2:

Ravelry approved the ads sooner than I had anticipated, so I was not able to get Pfeiffer Falls and Lillian up before the ads ran.  It was only a 2-3 day gap, so it’s not bad at all.   At least I made my goal of getting them out before Sock Summit.

New Shopping Cart

The benefit of insomnia is that I stay up to do stuff like editing photos, patterns, website and other stuff that I sometimes procrastinate on.  Last night This morning (until about 3:00am), I was trying to get my version of Pfeiffer Falls up on my site. I decided to go with e-junkie ast the host and delivery system. So far, things seem to be easy and in working order.

For now, I’ve decided that I think I’ll allow site visitors the option to purchase using either the Ravelry shopping system, or from this site via e-junkie.  I think choices are good – I was just worried that same less savvy person would get confused and the pages would get too cluttered.

Most patterns will have both options eventually. However, there will be a few that I can only sell on my website due to contractual obligations and limitations with certain publishers.  For example, I can only sell Pfeiffer Falls on my own site and not through any 3rd-party websites, including Ravelry.

New Pattern Listing & Price

I was kind of grappling with pricing Pfeiffer Falls – whether to sell it at the same price that Interweave is selling it for, or to sell it at $5.75, which is $0.25 more.  After polling some good knitterly friends, I decided to keep my pricing at $5.75 for several reasons.

First of all, the one Interweave sells is the magazine version and still has the same good quality for which they are known. (I signed a semi-exclusive contract for them to sell the pattern in their store, so I still get some royalties for any pattern sales through them.)

My version of Pfeiffer Falls has all the “bells and whistles” that can be included in self-publishing, but can be somewhat excessive in traditional publishing due to understandable space issues.  The extra pages and extra information is also why I’m pricing it at $5.75 instead of $5.50 – I do offer hardcopy patterns for people (including selling them wholesale), so there’s also a cost associated with printing 6 pages with a photo on just about each page.

The extras that I include in my self-published Crafty Diversions version of the pattern:

  • U.S. Standard and International metric measurements and calculations
  • Written out instructions for the pattern chart, for those who are not chart-inclined, or prefer text.
  • 6 photos of the project worked in different yarns, including the Optional Ruffles version.
  • A special chart to make grafting in pattern much, much easier.
  • Live embedded hyperlinks – all you have to do is to click on the logos, the email address and any underlined linked text to get to the website.

And of course, I made sure that this was tech edited.

1:51 pm Edited to Add: Early Bird discount! Help me try out the new cart and the coupon discount option.  Buy within the next 72 hours and get $0.50 off pattern. Code: PFKAL2


Actual Pattern Sample. Click for enlarged view

Actual Pattern Sample. Click for enlarged view

Another New Pattern Release

I’m also pretty much done with Lillian, which I hope to post for sale on Ravelry by the end of the day.  I just want to double check it since I rearranged some of the formatting and added an extra page to the pattern so that it’s more roomy and easier to read.

Lillian is another pattern that I designed in coordination with SWTC to highlight their wonderful Tranquility yarn. I’ll do a separate post about this pattern once I’ve listed it and created a site page for it.

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Carmen is finally available! I just released the third of five patterns that I’m working on in collaboration with Southwest Trading Company.

Trunk Shows On The Road

Carmen and her sisters Audra, Pacifica, and Lillian were on display at the SWTC booth at the TNNA (a needlearts) trade show in Columbus about 1 month ago. Currently, they are all on tour with SWTC. They will be visiting other trade, fashion and trunk shows with the SWTC team. (I staggered the releases, and Lillian will be next in line.)

The yarn I used for Carmen is Tranquility in a juicy orange color. I am a sucker for good reds and oranges. As I attested in my post about Audra, this yarn really stands up to some abuses.

Inspiration & Unique Details

Carmen continues my exploration into textures, simple lines, and unconventional knits. Also, Carmen is my first raglan-style sweater. I wanted something that had all those elements, plus some fun, so I designed Carmen to be knit in ONE seamless piece from the crown to the bolero’s edge. Then to tie everything together, stitches are picked up for a complementary textured border.

Until Carmen, I’ve always stayed away from raglan styles because overly buxom women like myself really have a hard time with such shapes. In most top-down raglan construction, one has to increase until the bust is the appropriate width. The problem with buxom women is that by the time you increase enough for the bust, we end up with “batwing” sleeves. To solve this problem for Carmen, extra stitches are cast on at the underarms to add to the bust measurement. The result is a comfortable fit with a good drape.

The sample was knitted by my good friend Kristie Naranjo, who also sample knits for Cookie A. and Chrissy Gardiner.

Carmen is a relatively simple but interesting knit and is available in eight (8) different sizes! If you don’t like cropped cardigans or boleros, you’ll be able to modify the pattern easily into a full-length cardigan simply by lengthening the body.

Refining A Pattern

I didn’t experience the type of problems with the finished sample of Carmen as I had with Audra. However, I wasn’t completely happy with the ease allowance I wrote in for the hood. I wanted the hood to have more ease than it does in the sample, but it wasn’t so much as a flaw (like Audra’s neckline) — it was more of a refinement and I didn’t feel the need to reknit the sample.

Though, prior to sending the pattern off to Michael del Vechio, of Kitting with Balls fame, to be ripped to shreds to tech edit, I changed some of the proprotions of the hood to allow a little more ease. Yes indeed, the tech editing process really redlined my copy, but I expected it. Besides, I really not the type to cry over constructive criticism. Michael and I have very different writing styles and I really wanted to have someone with such a different style to edit my work as a means for me to think outside of my box and grow as a designer. His style is American magazine style: concise and prose, like what you may see in Interweave Knits or Vogue Knitting.

A snapshot excerpt form the pattern

A snapshot excerpt from the Carmen pattern. Click for enlarged view.

I like to put little bullets in my patterns (see photo above), which has been largely favored by my knitter-consumers, test knitters and sample knitters I polled, but a definite no-no in publishing. In the end, I did incorporate some of his suggested language (and of course the errors that he found), but I still kept much of my general writing/formatting style.

$6.25

(On a side note, I just joined Twitter a few days ago and my current following is dismal. I haven’t quite figured out how to get more Twitter exposure yet and am still trying to get acclimated to the culture. So if you are on there, please follow me @AnneKuoLuktio so that I don’t feel like a total loser. 🙂 Thanks!)

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Please excuse my delay in posting about Yehliu — I’ve been a very busy bee working on some designs for SWTC and the upcoming TNNA trade show next week.

Yehliu book2 thumbI my previous posts about Knitting in the Sun, I mentioned that designers were asked to submit names of sunny places for our garments to keep with the book’s theme.  My lacy cables-and-lace kimono cardigan design just begged to be named Yehliu (phonetically pronounced YAY-lou). The texture and patterning of the cardigan reminds me of the divets and textures in some of the rock formations in the geological wonders at Yehliu Park.

The sketch and original swatch that I submitted differedyehliu a little from the final garment, because my swatch used a DK yarn, and in the end, Kristi and I went with Lorna’s Laces Lion and Lamb, a worsted weight yarn. At the time, we really couldn’t find a nice DK yarn that really would give the garment the sheen and drape that we wanted. The garment is knit from cuff to center at the bodice, seamed, and then stitches are picked up for the lower portion of the cardigan.  The silky yarn gives is great drape, while the looser fit just screams luscious comfort.

Because of the difficultly in translating a character-based language with sounds not used by English-speakers, Yehliou is another variation of the romanized spelling. So, if you want to search for information in addition to the links I’ve provided, check the different spellings.yehliu swatch

Yehliu is one of the many famous and beautiful destination sites in Taiwan.  It is located north of Taipei, along the northern coast, and very close to Yangminshan National Park (where I once got a nasty “bite” from a caterpillar), and located withing the Guanyinshan National Scenic Area. (btw, “shan” is mountain).

Yehliu is geological phenomenon – there are many gorgeous and unusual rock formations created by Mother Nature.  One of the most famous formation is known as the Queen’s Head, with reference to it’s resemblance to Nefertiti.  My dad has photos of the Queen’s Head from the 70’s and her profile was much more pronounced and apparent.  Over the decades, wind has whittled down her silhouette.  It’s nature, but I wonder how many more years, the Queen’s Head will have before her neck snaps off.   I should try to find my dad’s photos for comparison.

If you want to see Nefertiti’s bust in person, do it soon! Geologists estimate that she many only survive for another 20 years. Even then, since Taiwan sits on a volcanic bed and on some fault lines, any earthquake coud also cause her neck to snap.  Some of the nearby attractions include Taipei, the hot springs at Yangminshan, Tamshui Fisherman’s Wharf, and many others!

Below are more fantastic photos of these natural wonders. Many of the formations have been dubbed with names like Tofu Rock, Candle Rock or Boob Rock,   I personally don’t have any good digital photos of Yehliu, since when I went 5 years ago, I had a really crappy camera, and the weather situation was not conducive to great photos. The photos below are from URLs that I grabbed from photos that I found. In all cases, I linked the photo to the photographer’s Flickr page so that due credit can be recognized.

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I have hinted that I have many things going on this summer and many patterns to release.  One of them is this sleek and fun shrug, Orinoco. I’ve already posted a pattern page and have already listed it on Ravelry. So far, I have received very positive comments and feedback on the design.

In particular,  I received a warm and fuzzy phone call from Tricia of Frog Tree Yarns when she received the display copies of the pattern and the sample garment that I sent.  She really gave me the best compliment and said that she really loves the shrug and how the pattern is written and organized.  ::blush with giant goofy grin::  Orinoco will be showing at their booth at TNNA in Columbus, and the icing on this cake is that Frog Tree will be carrying and selling my pattern to your LYSs! So, if you like my stuff, help this starving artist out by telling your LYS that you want to see my stuff in their shops.  🙂

Orinoco features Frog Tree’s new yarn Meriboo, a super blend of merino and bamboo fibers, has a really nice feel and sheen to it. My sample knitter loved it so much, that I think she’ll be enhancing her stash with some very soon. Handicraft Café does carry several colors of Meriboo and other Frog Tree yarns, though Meriboo hasn’t been listed on the site yet.  If you are a savvy and socially conscious consumer,  you’ll definitely want to support Frog Tree not just for their quality and well-priced yarns, but also because it is a not-for-profit company that works with local communities and cooperatives in South America, and that all their products are fair trade.

At first, I was a little stumped regarding naming this pattern. But then as I looked at the large cabled texture on my swatch and my sketches, I was reminded of some giant boulders that I touched and climbed.  This pattern is named for a hike along the bottom of a dry Orinoco River, one of the 100s of memories I have from a 2 week trek and camp into the Venezuelan Amazon. (When I get a chance later this summer, I will dig out and scan some of my photos from my trip and post about the trip.)

The shrug is a relatively quick knit, simple enough not to drive you batty, but with enough interest so that you don’t get bored.  I really like options and versatility in a pattern, so I wrote this one up to give you options.  It’s like one of those choose-your-own-adventure novels you read as a kid: You can make the shrug with or without a border, make it with 2 different border patterns, and make it either long sleeved or with a 3/4 sleeve.  And, as with all my patterns, they are well-tested and edited, and meticulously laid out in a pleasing and easy-to-read style.

I will have 4 other designs to reveal over the next month.  They are all designed with SWTC yarn in mind.  Below are a couple of teasers of two of the projects.

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