Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Valley Snow

 Ya'll should get excited because this pattern is amazing and has wonderful memories that inspired it! Valley Snow is a traditional triangle shape that highlights three different sections of the same lace pattern. 

Let me tell you a the inspiration behind my new shawl pattern. There's an urban legend where I grew up in Sacramento Valley that it only snows once every 10 years. In my 28 years of living there I believe it snowed twice. What did happen every year is the dropping of the almond blossoms which cover the ground like snow. Valley Snow was inspired by the slow drop of petals from the almond trees; the only snow that valley ever really saw. 

For the collaboration I reached out to From Me to Yarn with the inspiration photos below and explained what I was looking for in colors and what shape/patterns I would be using to evoke the feelings and nature of falling petals. 

I was looking for the soft colors of the petals and then slowly getting darker as the shawl gets larger and more lace is added to each section. This color change would represent more and more petals falling through out the season. This is what Jessie sent to me and it was perfect! 

With these colors and the inspiration of falling petals I started working on my design! This was one of the first times that I started with a full drawn picture of the shawl will look like and represent. Usually I'm a bit more freeform with my designing. The end result looks so amazing and accurate than what I imagined! 

Valley Snow uses a fingering weight yarn with approx 900 yards total. If you want the same colors I used Jessie has a kit in her shop with a free shipping code! If a kit isn't in your budget or you already have yarn in stash than any fingering weight would work, though probably not a self striping. I think that a solid or a tonal color would look amazing and really show off the lace transition. 

Monday, May 16, 2022

70s Couch Socks

Yes, I really did name a project the 70s Couch Socks, but come on! Look at the colors! Can't you just see a 70s couch with a crochet blanket thrown over the back and arm covers...I'll wait while you imagine. 

This sock yarn came in a pack that was gifted to me by a friend/previous co-worker who purchased the yarn in Switzerland. She is no a fan of orange, so any yarn with orange came to me! Yay! My sister is going to be so happy with some new socks in her future. 

The yarn is a basic wool/nylon blend from the brand Stabile by Bernetta Wolle. I reminds me of Regia and other German brands of sock yarn, definitely on the hardier side of the scale. Which is perfect for my sister because she seems to wear through socks quicker than anyone I know! 

As with other European sock brands this ball came with a small spool of thinner thread so you can reinforce the areas that wear through quickly. I don't need to reinforce at the traditional spots (the heel) but more along the ball of the foot and into the toes. 

Using the spool along with the regular yarn together resulted in a pretty marled section is the sock that is slightly thicker than the surrounding areas. I'm actually kind of nerdy excited about seeing if these wear better than the other pairs without the reinforcement thread. I'll keep you updated! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Little Bits

Another pattern, another blog post! I have a new shawl coming out and it uses mosaic knitting! Not sure what mosaic is? Check out my previous blog post here and get a little background. 

Little Bits is my newest shawl pattern! Little Bits uses an asymmetric triangle shaping and mosaic stitches to create a simple stitch pattern that highlights and play with color! 

I used a light main color and then a gradient set (well, part of a gradient set. I kind of deconstructed the sit and picked what I want.) There is 800 yards of the main and 160 yards (30 grams) of contrast for the large size, the small size is 400 yards of the main and 100 yards (20 grams) of contrast. 

I think this would be a great project to use your leftovers if you don't have a gradient in stash! I used a merino cashmere base but whatever base you are comfortable wearing around your neck is perfect for your shawl! Can't wait to see your version! -- Sierra 

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Mosaic Knitting, High Contrast - Low Contrast, Why?

Have you knit mosaic style knitting before? Mosaic knitting is a form of color work knitting that only requires you to work with one color at a time. This technique utilizes slip stitches to make the picture/pattern you want to show. 

Mosaic can be an amazing way to show off motifs or play with color but how do you really make it shine? Contrast. Contrast is how you make mosaic knitting shine and really show off the colors you're working with. 

Above are two swatches that show basic mosaic stitches. Just a slip one, knit one technique. Below you will be able to see them in black and white and show how different the contrasts are between the color choices. 

Can you believe the difference?! You can use your camera settings on your cellphone and see your swatches in black and white. Using black and white photography shows the color values of the yarn and how high and/or low the contrast of your colors are. The top swatch is the green and cream combo, the bottom swatch is the black and red. The cream/green is high contrast and the black/red is low contrast. 

When picking yarn for your mosaic piece this black and white camera function can easily show you which combo is best for your pattern. 

You definitely don't have to follow any sort of rule when picking your mosaic yarns. If you prefer a lower contrast combo that is 100% okay! My new shawl sample is definitely on the lower end of contrast vs high, it's what I prefer, and your knitting should be about you! 

Along with contrast in yarns you can also difficulty levels for mosaic knitting. The swatches all featured above are simple slips and knits without difficult patterns or charts to follow. The swatch below was knitted from a mosaic chart and is slightly more complicated previous swatches shown. 

Can you even believe that the bottom swatch only uses one color per row! Mosaic is a fun and different technique than other color works but still leads to really cool results. 

I hope this overview of mosaic makes you more confident to give those patterns a try! All Knit Up patterns that include mosaic are Monticello and Little Bits, take a look at these lovely shawls and give them a try! 

Happy Knitting -- Sierra 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Why Do You Need to Block?

Don't you love the feeling of finishing the pattern, binding off, and weaving in the ends?!? Ahhh, done! But wait, not really. Blocking is an important step to finishing your knits it helps even out your stitches, clean your fabric, and set your ends in. 

To show you the importance of blocking and why you want to do it see the two swatches below:) 

This first swatch shows my sample for Thirty, Flirty and Thriving. A stockinette base with purl bumps used to pick up and knit a ruffle. The top ruffle is knit with a 100% Superwash merino and the bottom ruffle is a mohair silk blend. Each part of this swatch needs to be blocked. The garter ends curl, the top ruffle won't lay any kinda flat and the bottom one could definitely use some help. 

This second swatch has been wet blocked and laid flat to dry. This is my preferred method blocking, I feel that it gives me the best overall effect and look for my knitting. The swatch now has straight edges and no curling along the garter. Each ruffle now lays flat (as flat as a ruffle can) and you can see the right side. What a major difference! Do you usually block your knits or are you about to start? 

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Thirty, Flirty and Thriving

I'm turning 30 soon! This is a big milestone, leaving my twenties and moving on to the next decade and I'm pretty dang content. A lot of people have a bit of a freak out when they reach a milestone like this but I'm so happy! Each year seems to get better and better and I'm totally content where I am in life. It's a nice realization. 

In celebration of my birthday I came up with the cutest, flirtiest, celebratory shawl. Not only to celebrate birthdays but emerging from 2 years of COVID restrictions, we all need a party shawl! Thirty, Flirty and Thriving is what will put you in the party mood and bring so much joy to your knitting time. 

Thirty, Flirty and Thriving is a top down triangle shawl that features a garter tab cast-on and simple triangle shaping. This easy to memorize pattern is mainly stockinette stitch with garter bumps interspersed, these garter bumps turn into the base for your ruffle! The ruffles in the sample were knit with mohair but could also be knit with a regular fingering weight or alpaca/silk if mohair isn't your thing. 

The first photo below has examples of both a regular merino fingering weight for a ruffle (top ruffle) and a mohair/silk blend for a ruffle (bottom ruffle) so that you can see which style is your preference. 

This shawl was wonderful to knit with a variegated yarn because it kept the simple body interesting with the changing colors and then the glorious texture of mohair/silk blend made for happy fingers! 

I also think that a tweed base fingering weight as the body and then a contrast color the same as the tweed neps would be so pretty and more subtle that the original version. Thirty, Flirty and Thriving could also be knit in a heavier weight yarn but there would have to be some yardage adjustments. Enjoy your new party shawl! -- Sierra 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Combining Colors for Shawl Knitting

Does pairing colors confuse you? Do you love other knitters multi-yarned shawls but every time you knit a multi colored shawl or try to knit one you just don't love your color combos? You definitely aren't the only one! 

So, let's have a little lesson about colors and how I combine them! 

I've arranged 4 sample color sets to talk about and they are each ones that I have purchased and pulled together from my stash. 

Combo #1: A variegated yarn with a pulling pop

The yarn featured below is a variegated yarn which plays more green/highlighter yellow. I paired it with a purply/pink yarn that pulls the same color from the variegated. I picked the purple to highlight because in the actual skein it is the color that shows the least and I personally wanted it to pop. The idea in mind for this set is a pair of shorty socks that has some stripes of the contrast color and a contras color heel .

Comb #2: Colors in the same palette 

The second way that I like to pair colors is different colors that are in the same family. The below color combo is a fall colored variegated and speckled yarn that has pink, orange, yellow, a bit of brown, and an overall fall feel. With this fall feel in mind I paired a deep burnt orange color as the contrast. The orange is highlighted but doesn't stand out quite as much as the contrast above. This shawl combo gives an overall warm palette and fall vibe to me!

Combo #3: Same colors different bases

Not every knitter wants their accessories to pop. Some people like it a bit more subtle, the combo below definitely fits that description. Instead of picking a color combo that is contrasted this combo uses the same color palette but on different bases. The main yarn is a traditional fingering weight blend of merino and nylon and the contrast is a mohair silk blend. Dyed in the same color palette the knitter would have a shawl that plays more with the different textures of the yarns vs different colors as shown in the two combo above. 

Combo #4: Pulling a color from a less highly variegated yarn

The last combo is a variegated similar to the first combo but the color palette more subtle. This combo seems more like a picture to me. I can visualize a flower in a field with the combination of green, pink, and gold. The gold is used the least amount in the skein so that is the color that I picked to be the highlight. I purchased a contrast that would pull the least seen color of the variegated yarn and now the gold specks will pop when knitted up. 

I hope you enjoyed this little color show and it gave you some ideas on how to combine colors for future projects. If you're lucky enough to live near or be able to visit a local yarn shop I guarantee that a worker would love to help you find amazing color combos! There is a video version of this blog available here on my Instagram account. Can't wait to see your color combos! 

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Testing for All Knit Up Designs

 What does it take to be a tester for All Knit Up Designs? 

1. Time 

        Usually my tests are about 3-4-5 weeks depending on the size of the project. I require knitters to check in on the Ravelry thread once a week so that I can see that the test is being completed or if they are having any problems. 

2. Yarn

        At this point in my designing career I don't have the resources (yet) to provide yarn support for            testers. I absolutely do not require hand dyed and/or expensive yarn. A yarn that fits the gauge require is usually my only ask. Sometimes we can even adjust this though! I love to see what knitters come up with from my patterns so some of my shawls (usually designed in fingering weight) have been tested in sport or dk weight. 

3. Ravelry Account

        This one isn't set in stone but I do like to have the majority of testers have a project page that they can connect to the pattern when it releases. Each project page must have the stars, difficulty, and overall ratings filled out. Why these requirements? This shows other knitters that people have knit the projects and enjoyed them along with giving them an idea of the difficulty of the design and the overall enjoyment of the project. 

4. Pictures

        I do require pictures for my test knitting but you do not have to model them. I know, for myself, I don't love having my face in all my photos and splashed all over the internet so just a picture of your knit with good lighting is my only requirement. 

5. Social Media

        Starting in summer of 2021 I do require an Instagram account and one FO post of the project. If this is super difficult for a tester I wave this requirement. You don't have to have a huge following or any significant amount of photos but I am trying to allow more people so see my designs and be able to show off your gorgeous work on my account! 

6. Some Attention to Detail

        I knit every single one of my designs before they go into testing, but I'm human, and I make mistakes so if something isn't working post in the Ravelry testing thread and let me know! I try to check the threads every 24 hours to get to questions asap but this way there is a record of peoples questions and the solutions that have come from them. 

That's it peeps! 6 different (simple) requirements to being a test knitter for All Knit Up Designs! I know that it can be intimidating to start testing or be interested but unsure so I hope this helps assuage some of your fears. If you are interested in test knitting for me please send me a message here or join the Ravelry group and keep an eye out for new test threads! 


Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Handmade 5Cs in the Wild!

I visited the most lovely yarn and book shop in the St. Johns area of Portland and while I was walking to the shop I noticed Handmade 5Cs in the window! I actually gave a little scream when I saw it as this is the first time I've seen a copy that wasn't sent to my house!

This definitely was emotional for me to see my work not only on the cover but in a yarn shop! Just, WOW, what a big accomplishment. The shop was so lovely and actually let me sign the copies that they had out so if you're at Weird Sisters take a look and pick up a copy of the book with my signature! 

The shop is beautiful and quirky with lots of yarn and fun books. I purchased a new Japanese Lace stitch dictionary and I can't wait to dive into it. The shop, as I said above, is located in the Saint Johns region of Portland which was so quaint with lots of fun little shops. Definitely a day trip if you're in the area!  

Thursday, March 31, 2022

A Re-Knit

I have to be honest, I've knit very few of my patterns a second time. Yep, usually once is enough to hold my interest and then I'm ready for the next adventure with brand new yarn. Each time I start a design I'm never 100% sure that it's going to work... I mean, I have the basic idea (and a terrible sketch) but other than that it's a bit of guesswork and luck. I very much enjoy the exploration and excitement of a design idea working out. 

Even with my aversion to knitting things twice I did decide that the single skein of gorgeous yarn that I purchased from The Lamb and Kid needed to be made into a Bump Along cowl. And oh, my, word, this yarn is amazingly soft! The base is a merino/cashmere blend called Elmer Fingering and I think I want my whole winter wardrobe made from this, it is divine! But alas, only one skein was in my budget so I've just knit myself a luxury cowl. 

The reason I picked Bump Along is I really love the dimensions of this pattern and it is so easy to memorize! I wanted to have a single skein project that was easy to knit while my mom and I were traveling and attending Stitches West. I love showing how versatile Bump Along is in a solid version along with the original striped version

The final fabric is squishy yet lofty from the ply of the yarn. Which do you prefer, the striped version or the solid version? 

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Intarsia Tutorial

Hi All Knit Up Designs Fan! 

I have a couple of designs out that use intarsia (Color Pop Beanie and Liberty Tides) and I thought I would provide a simple tutorial for the knitters who haven't knit intarsia before or need a refresher. First, lets discuss intarsia. 

Intarsia is a color work technique that consists of interlocking two colors together when you are changing colors within one row. Different from faire isle where the knitter uses two or more colors across the whole row, intarsia in done in smaller sections and colors are not worked all the way across. Take a look at the photos below for the intarsia sections. 

This is the Color Pop Beanie and it has an intarsia insert. The knitter doesn't carry the contrast color across the whole row, only over a small section of stitches. 

For Liberty Tides, the cable is intarsia. The edging is knit at the same time as the shawl and the knitter interlocks the main color and contrast color together at the edge. 

Intarsia can be very simple or very different depending on how many sections of intarsia are in the piece. Usually each colors section has its own bobbin of yarn that the knitter uses. Neither of these pattern is a different intarsia pattern, Color Pop was my first intarsia project ever and Liberty Tides my second. 

Below is the simple photo tutorial on how to interlock your colors together for intarsia! 

Start of interlock section (Knit to the interlock)

Cross the contrast yarn on top of the main color yarn. (White over Blue)

Cross the main color over the contrast color one more time (Blue over White, so the colors are 'interlocked') and then proceed to knit across with main color.

Backside of the intarsia piece and interlocked section

There you are! A simple photo tutorial on how to interlock the yarns together for intarsia. Essentially the yarns are wrapped around each other so there isn't a gap between the two different sides of the piece. Incorrectly wrapped intarsia will have a whole between the two sides. Both of my designs use an intarsia edging, not intarsia in the middle of a piece and I included this video to the pattern as well, this is not my video but linked form YouTube. 

Can't wait to see your first intarsia project! Happy Knitting! 


Thursday, March 24, 2022

Libery Tides Shawl

Okay, I told you I was enamored with intarsia and I used this technique in another design! Liberty Tides is my newest shawl design that features intarsia, variegated yarn, and cables! 

My newest shawl design takes variegated yarn (sometimes hard to find patterns for) and transforms them into the perfect base for your shawl and contrast cable!

Liberty Tides uses two skeins of fingering weight for the main color, I used a variegated yarn so that I could use a tonal/contrast color to highlight the variegated yarn. The contrast color used about 10 grams of yarn so a mini skein or leftover should be plenty. The shaping is my favorite asymmetric triangle shape that is perfect for wrapping around the neck a few times. 

The yarn I used was a merino/cashmere/nylon base and has the most beautiful halo (fuzzy stuff) that feels amazing on my skin. The yarn was dyed by Leading Men Fiber Arts that I picked up at a fiber festival. 

How did I pick my main colors and the contrast? I like to highlight a certain color in my variegated yarn to make it stand out. With this variegated it could have been the purple or perhaps the green but pink is one of my favorites and I knew that pink was the one for me. I had a full skein of the pink yarn and hardly used any so I'll definitely be able to make another project with it. 

Any fingering weight yarn will work (but I also had a tester knit it in DK weight and it came out amazing!) as well as any amount of yardage. This shawl can definitely be made into a shawlette if you only have a single skein of the main color that you would like to use. If you are planing to knit with one skein of main colors I think that about 6 grams of the contrast should be enough. 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Book Review: The Power of Knitting

My life is pretty well entrenched with knitting. It's my job, my passion, my friend base, so why not add it to my reading list? Honestly, I haven't read much in the last 5 years. College really burnt me out on reading but I also like/want to keep myself educated and reading is the best and least expensive way to do that. 

The first knitting theme book I read this year is The Power of Knitting: Stitching Together Our Lives in a Fractured World. I thought I would share my thoughts on the book with you so you can check it out if you'd like! So here it goes! 

I really wanted to love this book but felt it fell flat. The main theme is knitting and the authors life falling apart. At the end she discusses selling two houses and then finding herself by going on a round the world trip? What? If you have enough money to buy a plane ticket that expensive I don’t think you’re really in the dire of straits you want your readers to believe. 

The Power of Knitting ended up being hard to relate to, I do think I’ll be using her bibliography page as a stepping stone to find more books to read. I felt that she could have definitely gone more in-depth with some of the side stories and the book would have been more enjoyable. The author just kind of skimmed around topics without actually going in deeply.

She touched on quite a few interesting historical knitting topics and references but didn't really flush them out and draw me in. I definitely felt that I was interested in the topics she was discussing but now need to go and do my own research. So, I would probably give this book 3/5 stars. I'm glad a read it but honestly I think I could have taken the bibliography information and been plenty happy with that as well. 

The link posted above (for the book) is to a website that connects you to indie book shops. If you're thinking of purchasing this book to read please visit your local book shop before purchasing on Amazon. Want to discuss the book more? Head of over to Knitting Joy and chat with me! 

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

New To Me Local-ish Yarn Shop!

I've lived in Washington almost a year now (I know right!) and was able to visit the lovely yarn shop on Bainbridge Island! The Lamb and Kid is tucked away on the main street and is just brimming with color and squishy, squishy yarn. The shop was open and airy with large front windows but still full of yarn!

The Lamb and Kid has its own specially spun and dyed yarn that is in an array of luxury bases. I purchased a Merino/Cashmere blend that feels like it blooms under my touch. (I'm planning to knit a solid version of Bump Along, but more on that in another post.) 

The bases run with cashmere, merino, yak, mohair, silk, and a little bit of tweed, all of them were amazing! The shop also carried a few other dyers and lovely notions along with their own brand of products. The staff was helpful and knowledgeable about their product. I definitely recommend making a stop at the shop if you are on Bainbridge or in the area. 

Monday, February 28, 2022

Sock Set Shawlette

Have you ever worked with a sock set before? To be honest, I have a few in my stash but this is the first time that I've actually used one. I know most people encourage them for socks (duh Sierra) but honestly, some of them are just too damn pretty to just be on my feet! 

From this idea of gorgeous yarn the Sock Set Shawlette was born. A shawlette pattern that features an asymmetric shape, stripes, and an applied edging with bobbles along the edge. The shawlette is designed to use the amount of yarn you have and can be as large or small as you prefer (I think I'm going to knit one in a larger size as well! Probably two skeins for the body and 50 grams for the contrast color.) 

If you don't have any sock sets in your stash, don't worry! This shawlette was knit with 100 grams of fingering weight yarn as the main color and 20 grams of the contrast color (or leftovers!) so you can definitely take a look through your stash and pull a skein of yarn and get started! The sock set that I used was dyed by Sew Happy Jane and it was wonderful to work with and I'm so happy to be able to show it off!