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Archive for February, 2013

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

More previews today. Scarves of the light and airy sort. How we love soft neutrals and that ineffable bird’s egg color.

Above is Grasshopper, a drapey piece that can be folded and wrapped as a cowl or unbuttoned and worn as a scarf. In Tern/Driftwood and designed by Annie Gullion. And this picture because we’re always so serious.

Below is Reixa, designed by Lily May Lewis. Worked in Chickadee, colors Chanterelle and Bird’s Egg. An open stitch, a modern kind of lace. Light as a feather is this piece.

And, finally, for today, we show you Isleif, a Fair Isle piece in Finch/Twig, Carrie’s Yellow, and Bird’s Egg.

A mood shot:


Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

And today it’s raining. So gray the sky, the street, the roofs, the pidgeons squeezed together in the eves. And so gray what remains of the snow. We love gray in all its subtle and quiet manifestations. And so do you, it seems. We sell lots of Frost and Storm, and oh so many of the heathers, Iceland, Kumlien’s Gull, Kittywake, and Sabine.

So of course, we have grays in our otherwise color-saturated scarf collection. Above is Elisa Contolini’s scarf in Lark/Storm. A simple welted stitch pattern worked in a rectangle. All you need is a tie at the ends to make the scarf something out of the ordinary.

Below is Karalee Harding’s traditional shawl in Chickadee, colors Kumlien’s Gull and Pea Coat. The border is a simple slip stitch pattern, the perfect balance to simple stockinette stitch. You can’t see it in this photo, but the center back is a wide column of garter stitch, bordered by the eyelet increases. Just enough detail to keep the knitting interesting.

Finally (for today), is a glimpse of Melanie Berg’s Iszara’s shawl, with stop-and-start stripes and worked in (love) garter stitch. Worked in in Finch/Kittywake and Carrie’s Yellow.

A quick note: We had submissions from around the world. Amazing. Elisa lives in Italy and Melanie in Germany. Learn more about this year’s scarf designers in our lookbook, launching Tuesday.



Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Eyelets in Tern, color Columbine. Dani Berg’s A Little Romance. So drapey. So pretty. This is preview #4.

Rosey dots. Ien Sie’s Netty in Chickadee/Clay and Iceland. #5.

And a little shoulder warmer in color Pomegranate. Finch is great for knit/purl textures. Pops them right out. Gill’s Rock, #6, designed by Paula Emons-Fuessle.

Finally, some people can’t resist knitting with a rosey pink Chickadee while they wait to take their turn to model a little cowl.



Monday, February 25th, 2013

Something about the color of red pears. Earthy, rich, warm, spicey, patina-ed, their color is a good place to begin a preview of our scarf/shawl/cowl collection for 2013–launching next Tuesday. Color seems a good way to organize this daily preview of seventeen (yes, seventeen!) scarves. Coming your way. Below are three pieces whose colors are as inviting as those painterly russet pears above.

First, see how pretty Frank’s Plum is in Danielle Chalson’s densely cabled cowl (below).

How spicey is Gingerbread married with the ripply texture of Kim Haesemeyer’s long, wrappy scarf (below).

And how showy our pretty Peacock, as it waves back and forth in Susan Anderson’s Ebb Cowl.

More tomorrow. Fourteen to go!


Friday, February 22nd, 2013

In my mailbox this morning was a note from Carol Feller letting me know that she’s soon to release her Stolen Stitches Spring ’13 collection. Included in it is a wonderful openwork tank in Sparrow, color Blue Spruce. Never ever too soon to think about knitting in Sparrow. To see this pretty tank in tadasana (standing pose), check Carol’s blog. (Photo by Joseph Feller.)

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Hi Heidi,

How long have you been knitting?

My mother taught my sisters and me to knit when we were very young, maybe around 5 years old.

What was your first design? What prompted it?

A sleeping bag for my Oookpik.   I feared he might get cold, and since he had no arms or legs, a jacket was out of the question.  The sleeping bag featured color blocking in red and black (prompted by running out of red yarn part way), a stuffed pillow, and an “unusual” body shape.

Beyond that, it’s a little harder to pinpoint, as it sort of depends on your definition of “design”.  I knit off and on throughout my teens and twenties, when knitting wasn’t popular.  I was making sweaters for myself and my friends and rarely used a pattern, so I suppose those were my first designs (for humans). In the mid 90’s, I found myself in Australia over Christmas and discovered a shop that carried every color imaginable of Jo Sharp DK wool, which compelled me to design a multi-colored cardigan for my sister.  I sent her a Christmas gift consisting of a box of yarn and a very basic handwritten pattern.  This was the first pattern I wrote for someone other than myself to execute.  Not only did she make it, but it actually worked out really well! No doubt it helped that she’s a very patient and skilled knitter.

Around 2004, I discovered a whole new world of knitting resources online and realized that my local yarn shops were carrying some really great stuff.  This led to my knitting a lot of things from published patterns in addition to continuing to create my own, and for my sister as well.  About four years ago, I started posting my projects on Ravelry (I know, me and everyone else!), including a summer top I had designed. I was asked by others if I would publish the pattern.  So I did. That was Buttercup, and it was the first pattern I ever shared publicly. There was admittedly some trial and error involved, but very soon I was astonished and excited to see people I didn’t know making my design by following my instructions!  I still enjoy that so much and am incredibly grateful to the creators of Ravelry for the opportunities it has afforded me.

Tell me a little about your process—where do your ideas come from? Pictures/Stitches/swatching/ color?  Other?

I generally begin with a shape or an idea of how I want the lines of a garment to come together.  These ideas are generated from a variety of sources, often from clothes I see people wearing or in photos. But sometimes the ideas come from things around me that are completely unrelated to clothing.  Then I think of the best way to construct that shape or create those lines through knitting.  I don’t personally like a lot of decoration on the clothes I wear, so this tends to be reflected in my designs as well.

I do my best to translate it all as clearly as possible into a set of instructions across a range of sizes, in hopes that knitters will have a positive knitting experience as well as a stylish and properly-fitting garment in the end.  And while I often approach the construction in an unusual way, I don’t typically use overly complicated techniques as I believe you can do a lot with the basics.

What do you wish you had time to knit?

Where do I begin?

Typical day re:knitting?

I knit a little bit most days, and I always take at least 2 projects with me when I travel.  (In case one doesn’t inspire me the way I thought it would, I need to have backup!) I think about new designs almost constantly. While I knit, I am usually thinking about my next designs.

What’s your favorite thing you ever made?

I’m afraid I can’t pick just one. Snowbird has certainly been worn the most, and I’ve received many compliments on it from complete strangers, which is so nice.  I wear Rocky Road and Goose a lot as well, and I adore my Agnes’s (by Melissa LeBarre), Warriston (by Kate Davies), Kaari (by Norah Gaughan), my Shellseekers, both Tea with Jam and Bread sweaters, and Pipit. It just occurred to me that I have made 2 versions of several of these (and of the ones I haven’t, I have plans to), so that must be a true indication of how much I like them!

Favorite thing to make?

It may be evident from the previous answer that I love long cardigans and simple pullovers, to wear – and therefore also to make. I have learned that what I enjoy most is making things I believe are likely to be used, whether by me or someone else.

Most important thing you ever learned from a project?

If I am having doubts about how my knitting is looking, sizewise or otherwise, or if I have made a mistake that I know will bug me forever, I go back and correct it.  Even if it takes several hours, it’s a tiny price to pay in consideration of the overall investment in time and yarn. Note that I did not learn this overnight or from one project alone!

Words of wisdom for new knitters or any knitter, really.

When knitting a garment, review all of the measurements (not only the bust / chest size) provided in the pattern and compare them to the measurements of items of clothing you own and like the fit of.  Understand and accept the differences, or be prepared to make adjustments so you will be happy to wear the finished garment.  Also, rather than “blindly” following the instructions, look at your work regularly to get a feel for how the instructions are translating into your knitting.  I think this really helps build the understanding and confidence required to make modifications and just generally enriches the creative process.

Oh, and don’t let your knitting make you mad or sad.  It’s just knitting, after all.  That said, it’s perfectly fine if it makes you really happy and excited.

What knitting notion can’t you live without?

A measuring tape.

Favorite needles?

I use Addi Turbos almost exclusively. I also really like Addi Natura (bamboo) needles, especially for knitting with non-wool yarns.

Favorite antidote to knitting? What do you like to do when you’re NOT knitting?

I love the outdoors.  My favorite outdoor pastimes include Nordic skiing and gardening.  On the other end of the spectrum – but equally energizing – are visits to big cities to explore what they have to offer with respect to fashion, food, art and science.  The ingenuity behind these never fails to inspire me!

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Normally, I’d start a discussion of a new sweater with a picture of the entire piece. But, in this case, I’m so taken with Thunderbolt‘s pretty shoulder and sleeve shaping that I had to shout it out first and foremost. The little paired decreases arranged in a neat vertical line for all the world to see (not hidden under the arm) are a great example of the power of knitterly detail. Here are stitches used to create structure. In good hands, they become sweetly decorative, too. I love it.

Another thing I find appealing is the tidy use of garter stitch: It edges the hem, cuffs, center front and neck edges, and two garter ridges further define the strong line where the colors meet.

This simple/inventive sweater is the brainchild of Heidi Kirrmaier. Read an interview with her in the following post.

One more thing. Well, two.

First, imagine other color pairings. Here, Thunderbolt is worked in Lark in Carrie’s Yellow and Storm. But what about Bird’s Egg and Driftwood? Clay and Petal? Frost and Egret for a light, barely there version? So many colors (41), so many choices.

Second. Styling. Always something to ponder. What will work with a given piece? Show it to advantage, create a mood, make the whole thing sing? We found this skirt tucked away in one of our costume bins. It, too, is color blocked. We think it works. Do you?

Friday, February 15th, 2013

In October, we called for scarves. In December we picked seventeen for our annual scarf collection. (We meant to do twelve, but had a failure of self discipline). By late January, the scarves were in. In February, we started to tech edit the pieces. And yesterday, we photographed them. Carrie took over 1800 photos in six hours. Quite the day. Soon we’ll have peeks for you. Today, just a shot of a quiet grouping of props.



Monday, February 11th, 2013

until the sun comes out. With Sparrow.

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

I mean. Do I need to say more? See the lookbook here and, if you love, order here.

And this time, dear friends, you can order the book and get all five patterns, OR you can order patterns individually.