Thursday, November 20, 2014

Interview with Cheryl Chow

With the 2014 Indie Designer Gift-A-Long going on right now I had an opportunity to interview a fellow designer this year! Let me introduce Cheryl Chow!

There is still time to purchase some of Cheryl's patterns for 25% off using the code giftalong2014 (through November 21st). Check out here bundle here.


Cheryl, I'm so excited to have you on the blog! Allow me to ask you the age old question every knitter receives: how did you get started knitting?
My mom taught me to crochet first and then to knit when I was around 11 years old. Knitting was very difficult for me as I made my stitches very tight, my hands sweat with trying to get the needles to work, and I ended up in tears more than once  I'm very surprised I continued on with the craft.

Well it's very lucky for us you did! Are you a multi-crafter? What other crafts do you enjoy?
Yes, so many fun crafts and so little time to enjoy them all. I currently quilt, spin, and crochet. I used to do cross stitch as well but gave all those supplies away a few years ago.  

At what point did you get started in designing knitwear?
I joined a charity group called Heavenly Angels In Need and they were looking for knit and crochet baby patterns that their group could make and donate to hospitals and families. I thought "I can do that" and designed a couple of simple baby blankets. It was so much fun (and an ego boost) to see other people knit up the blankets and post about them on Ravelry. In 2013 I decided that I would try designing a cardigan and was really happy with how well Firkant turned out. 


Do you have a "regular" job as well? How do you find balance between the two?
I have a part time job with a quilt book distributor. The hours aren't consistent so finding time to do both is not too difficult. Setting goals and a schedule for my knitting projects/designs helps a lot too.

Have you had a project that went so wrong you had to scrap it?
Yes, sadly. I started Kaiso Linen Tee, wrote up the pattern and had a few testers work through it. I had so many negative comments about it that I gave up. I love the design and have plans to rework it and release it eventually.

Do you have a favorite design? 
I think Matomoko is my best design yet. The cable and lace patterning worked really well together and I like the neckline. I think it was just meant to be as it came together quite easily.

What is your favorite yarn and needles?
Hiya Hiya needles are my favourite. I have an interchangeable set and am very sad if all the size tips or cords are in use and I have to choose a different needle. As for yarn, I can't say I have a single go to yarn. I love all the different indie dyed yarns and tend to go for the fingering/sport weights in natural fibers.


Do you have any knitting tools that you couldn't live without?
My row counter. My husband bought it for me for Christmas and it is amazing. 

Do you do much gift knitting? Why or why not?
Not much. Since I've started designing I don't have much time. I do knit/crochet small items for my kids occasionally.

What was the most well received gift you ever gave? What was the least well received?
I made a Hillswick Lumber cardigan for my mom and she loved it. It was an ambitious project but I knew she would appreciate it. Least well received was Burr (Chocolate Yummm) for my MIL. She said she didn't like it and returned it to me. Sad, but lesson learned, she only gets store bought things from now on. 


Thank you so much for taking the time to share about yourself with us! 



Friday, October 31, 2014

Abate Again

I'll admit that I'm not a huge fan of Halloween. We didn't really make a big deal out of it when I was a kid. After I moved to Ohio we happened to live in a neighborhood that doesn't get a lot of kids. Additionally, Akron does their trick-or-treat night on a night other than Halloween which had me fairly well confused for about 4 years. 

Now that I have a son, I will use just about any excuse to make something for him. For this reason, I decided the Abate pattern was the perfect sweater to use for a gnome costume!


There wasn't too much involved. We had the boots and pants, Mary (ever the gracious and giving friend!) knit and felted the amazing hat, and I just cut out a few felt circles to stitch to his sweater. There was a beard too but he didn't like wearing it (and you really have to pick your battles with a 2 year old). 

I love that the Abate pattern is such a quick knit. It took a total of 2 weeks with me working on about a thousand other things for work and The Book at the same time. I used less than two skeins of Stonehedge Shepherd's Wool Worsted. Last year's Abate was knit in a size 2 and this year a size 4! I did shorten the length by about a half inch and the sleeves by about an inch. I still need to add the drawstring. Maybe tonight...

Pattern: Abate by Alicia Plummer
Yarn: Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd's Wool Worsted
Needles: US 8
Began: October 10
Completed: October 24



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Christmas Sweater 2014

Last week we met up with my friend Marianne to take our yearly family photo. I managed to finish D's Christmas Sweater just in time (like, that morning). While he won't wear it again "officially" until Christmas, I like him to be able to wear in for the photo as that's what I use for Christmas cards. 

Photo copyright Marianne Barta
This year's sweater (you can see the first two sweaters here) is knit in a sport weight alpaca. The color work  is relatively simple with only a couple rows that use 3 colors. I'm super excited about this design and think he looks just so handsome in it :) The pattern is off with the tech editor and will be available soon!

There's also still time to enter the Eucalan giveaway!

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Eucalan Wash and Giveaway

A couple weekends ago, when the weather was pretty warm, I decided it was a good day to wash the woolens. One of the wonderful things about being a knitter is the amount of sweaters and other wooly goodies. The worst part is wash day. But these days I have a little helper (messer-uper as well?). 


We filled up my brand new soak basin (which was gifted to me by the wonderful Meg) and added some Eucalan. I've been using Eucalan since I first learned to knit. As a new knitter I had tried a few different brands of wool wash at the beginning by Eucalan is now my go-to.


One special wooly that needed a (desperate) wash was the Rainbow Blankie that I made for D. This sock yarn blanket stays in my car most of the time in case we need something cozy or to keep little legs warm. That being said, it had cheerios and other crunchy things stuck to it so a good wash was definitely in order. 

I decided this was a good time to test out a few samples that the lovely people over at Eucalan had sent for me to try. I had already used the lavender scented one a while back. That's generally the kind I buy so I grabbed it to give a sweater a quick wash. This time I tried the grapefruit. I was surprised at how light this scent actually is and how much I really liked it (enough that when I bought a new bottle last week that's what I got!).


If you've never tried Eucalan washes, now is your chance! They are offering to send one lucky blog reader a Eucalan Gift Pack! This is a great prize and a good way to try out some scents you may not have used before. To enter for your chance to win, leave a comment below by November 1st and I'll choose a winner using the Random Number Generator. This is open to US and Canadian residents only, but don't worry my international friends, there will be more giveaways!  Please be sure to leave your Ravelry name (or email if you don't have Ravlery) so I can get in touch with the winner!  Do you have a go-to wash?  Tell me your favorite! 


The giveaway is now closed. Melosa is the winner!!

Thank you for entering!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Holla Knits Fall/Winter 2014 Blog Tour

I'm back today with a giveaway of the Beech Street Vest pattern from the Fall 2014 issue of Holla Knits!



This is the original sample that I knit for Holla Knits. For this amazing piece I had the ultimate pleasure of using Azula's For Better or Worsted. I am not kidding when I say this is my all time favorite worsted weight yarn. All. Time. It's an 80/10/10 (Merino/cashmere/nylon) blend that is lustrous, smooth, and feels amazing to work with. 

I'll admit, there is a lot of yarn involved in this project. For the smallest size (32" bust) I used about 1500 yards of yarn (between two colors). The brioche takes a minute to get going, but it's amazing in the end. 


This is the second sample knit by Allyson using Knit Picks Wool of the Andes. I love the green with the gray!


I am giving away a copy of the pattern to one lucky commenter! Just leave a comment here and I will randomly choose a winner on September 22nd. I'd love it even more if you help spread the word about this pattern. So if you share on Instagram, Facebook, or tweet about this pattern giveaway, come back and leave a comment telling me and you'll earn extra entries into the giveaway. 


Follow the rest of the blog tour:

Sept 8: Launch
Sept 9: The Sweatshop of Love – pattern giveaway, SEG: 6 skeins KP WotA Tweed in Brass Heather
Sept 10: Klever Knits – pattern and skein of Rowan Kid Classic giveaway, SEG: 6 skeins KP City Tweed Aran in Jacquard
Sept 11: Berroco – review and pattern giveaway
Sept 12: Canary Knits – pattern giveaway, SEG: 1 500 yard skein of Mountain Colors 4/8’s Wool in Harmony Ice
Sept 15: Mountain Colors Facebook Page – SEG: Mountain Colors Perspectives Twizzle in Blue/Turq
Sept 16: Life on Laffer – review and pattern giveaway
Sept 17: Knits in Class – SEG: 1 skein of Knit in Class
Sept 18: Makewise Designs – review and pattern giveaway
Sept 19: Anzula – SEG all the Anzula yarn needed for the Beech Street Vest
Sept 22: Ruby Submarine – SEG: 3 skeins KP WofA Tweed in Thirst Heather
Sept 23: BoKnits – SEG: 8 skeins KP Swish DK in Indigo Heather
Sept 24: Under the Red Umbrella – review and pattern giveaway
Sept 25: DoogKnits – review and pattern giveaway
Sept 26: Cosmos and Cashmere – review and pattern giveaway

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Firefly July KAL with Prizes!

I know my Firefly July sweater has been out for a couple weeks but I am turning it into an official knit along.


Dani from Sunshine Yarns (the amazing yarn company that was used for the design) offered a few prizes and who would say no to yarn? So here we go!

The KAL will run from now until October 31st. Everyone who'd like to participate must cast on and share some sort of photo with us in the thread on Ravlery. Let' be real honest, we love the casting on part but sometimes life can get in the way of knitting. You don't have to finish this pattern to participate just get started (at least!).

Barley (Merino Sport), Avocado, and Mandarin

All who participate  (cast on, share photo in thread, and create project page) will be entered to win a skein of either Ultraluxe Light or Merino Sport. Winners will be chosen randomly from those who post in the thread so be sure you don't miss that part.

The first three finishers will still win their choice of one pattern from my Ravelry store and be entered to win one of the skeins as well! 

There are so many ways to win! Come check out the thread for more info or to join in.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Why Toddlers Don't Knit

Besides the fact that most toddlers don't have strong fine motor control, there is one other reason why toddlers don't knit. Now, don't get me wrong, after spending his entire life before he could walk connected to me, and now acting as my shadow, my now 2 year old (how did that happen?!) is a yarn lover.

He's been to yarn shops where he walks around saying "Yarn. Yarn ball. Mama yarn." He picks up skeins and gently rubs them on his face saying, "Awww." If one of my projects is laying on the couch he will very helpfully carry it to me (with the yarn ball trailing behind). Recently he's even been caught knitting.

video

According to the weekly emails I get from What to Expect, toddlers are controlled by their emotions (duh). This is perhaps their knitting downfall. I recently received back my Beech Street Vest sample from Allyson. When samples come home it's like an old friend returning. Of course I put it on to model for my mother who was visiting. In talking about my vest, I managed to ignore my child for 30 whole seconds. He calmly walked up to me, stuck his finger in the vest and pulled.


Baby brain means when you're overcome you act like a banshee. A quiet, unsuspecting banshee in this case. Can you imagine what an actual knitting toddler would do if they dropped a stitch?

I think it's fixable, but still.

By the way, I'm on Facebook now. So pop over, join up and say hi!