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!