Category Archives: Review

Of vintage hats, interviews, and voyages

There is so much going on around the studio this week! We are knee deep in planning the 2016 Gift-A-Long, I have sent lots of new patterns to the tech editor, the New England Fiber Festival is next weekend, and I need to take final photos for a number of designs, and for a photo tutorial. But somehow amongst it all I managed to release the first pattern in the Vintage Hat series:

Tasselated Cloche

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I am so in love with this hat – I wear it around the house, and outside now that cooler weather is here. There is a reason that the cloche was the most popular hat shape in the twenties and later – It looks good on every face shape, and flatters everyone who puts it on. Turn up the brim in the front, or in the back, or on the side – each way gives a different look, all of them flattering, framing the face in different ways. And who doesn’t love a tassel?!

Next up, I was thrilled to be the designer interview in the fall 2016 Malabrigo Yarn Newsetter! I really enjoyed talking to them about designing with their gorgeous yarns, and about The Malabrigo Junkies group on Ravelry, where I have been a mod for the last 8 years.

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OK, now on to the fun stuff! One of my very favorite things about having this space is the my ability to use it to talk about some of my very talented friends and fellow designers. Today I want to talk about my friend Talitha Kuomi, who definitely fits the category of very talented.

I love the way Talitha approaches knitting and design, as she approaches so much in her life, as art. Everything she does is filled with creativity. Design is only one of her arts, she is also a songwriter, musician, poet, photographer, and, as anyone who follows her on Instagram can see, art permeates everything that she does.

Not long ago she released a fabulous book, The Voyages of Vivian, made in partnership with Mrs. Crosby’s Yarns. It is so much fun, and so beautiful to look at, that I hardly know where to start talking about it, or what I like best about it!

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The idea is so wonderful and engaging – The book contains a series of letters from Mrs. Crosby to her childhood friend Vivian. These letters encourage Vivian t0 travel the world, visit enticing places, and have adventures, following the clues, a scavenger hunt of sorts, that Mrs. Crosby has put into her letters. If that weren’t fun enough each location we visit as we travel alongside Vivian is accompanied by one of Talitha’s beautiful designs. It’s part knitting pattern collection, part mystery, part travelog with gorgeous photos from exotic locales, and is completely engaging! It’s fun to read, fun to figure out the clues, and fun to armchair travel alongside Vivian. Plus Talitha’s included designs are really fun to knit, and very, very wearable.

It’s hard for me to choose my favorites, as they are all beautiful in Talitha’s unique style. I love all of them, but if I have to choose, my favorites would be:

traverse:

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talithajauntexcursion:

talithaexcursioncrossing:

talithacrossingand trek:

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See what I mean about wearable?

These stand out to me, but honestly all 8 of the patterns included in this charming eBook are very wearable. And the book is great fun to read.

I hope I have piqued your interest in Talitha and her fabulous designs. You can find her on her web site, on Ravelry, and on Instagram – all are worth investigating!

That’s all for today! We’re busy carving pumpkins and watching scary movies to get in the mood for Halloween. It’s looking autumnal out, and there is the proverbial chill in the air, so there’s lots of tea, and the occasional cookie. Later we’ll decorate the porch, and prepare for the hordes coming tomorrow evening. Until next time keep knitting!

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Competition vs Community plus a great giveaway!

I do a lot of teaching and mentoring of newer designers, something I enjoy a lot and get great satisfaction from doing. I really love watching new designers grow and push themselves to be the best that they can be, and I love sharing with them resources and skills that result in creativity, professional quality, and ultimately satisfaction for them as they translate the ideas in their heads to their needles, their patterns, and ultimately to sales.

But as our field gets more and more full, and the choices presented to knitters and crocheters gets greater and greater, I get a lot of questions about competition. “How do I make my patterns stand out?” is relatively easy to answer – make them the best that they can be, with professional looking photographs, clear and accurate instructions, and most of all create beautiful original designs. But sometimes I get questions from designers that want to support their fellow designers, but are afraid that if they support them by talking to their followers about them that they will lose sales that would have come to them had they not pointed their followers to these other designers. These questions always make me sad, as I don’t see my fellow designers as competition, but rather as community which, by my definition, is the antithesis of competition. To me it’s a source for inspiration and support, and there is no better learning tool that knitting (or at least reading) other designer’s patterns. I only compete with myself, continuously pushing myself to be the best I can be, and I celebrate my friends and students successes right along side my own. Just because someone loves and buys a fellow designers patterns doesn’t mean that they also won’t love and purchase my patterns.

This field is full and the choices vast but so are the customers, and just because we design the same things (be it shawls, cowls, hats, sweaters or whatever) doesn’t mean that our customers are choosing one or the other or choosing one designer and rejecting the other. This mind set can lead to unhappiness, and a loss of community which, if you read my blog regularly you know I value highly in the process of creativity. There is room for us all in the marvelous big pie of knit and crochet design, and we can all have a slice even when sharing the other slices with our peers. I find it impossible to not get excited about other designers work, and when I get excited I want to share that excitement!

So in this blog post I am not talking about my designs but about one of my fellow designers work that I am really excited about.

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One of my fellow designers, the wonderful and very talented Ambah O’Brien has recently released the most gorgeous collection of shawls and wraps inspired by the songs that the Aboriginal peoples of Australia used to map their land, called The Songlines Collection. I get so little time to knit from other designers patterns these days, but I will definitely be making a few from this collection and I can’t wait to knit them and to wear them!

This collection is full of interesting construction and shapes, and the patterns are full of my favorite kind of knitting – meditative enough to knit while talking or watching something , but complex enough to hold my interesting from the first stitch to the last.

A few of my favorites are:

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songlines_wrap_lace_7_brighter_medium2Carinya Wrap

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Alinta Wrap

Oh how I love these two – stripes, texture, color –  totally swoonworthy! I want them both so much that I can’t decide which to make first. So many possible color combinations! And a unique and interesting construction that I am really excited to knit.

And Palana Shawl:

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Look at that interesting construction! I am a sucker for stripes, but also for a unique construction. I love finding different ways to put things together, and this pattern just draws me in. I need to make this shawl!

And those are only 3 of the 5 gorgeous patterns in this collection! And here’s the best part: Ambah has generously given me a copy of this eBook to give away to one lucky reader of my blog and/or newsletter! On October 9th I will randomly choose one winner from all the entries to win a copy of The Songlines Collection eBook. Here’s how you can enter to to be that lucky winner:

1 – If you already subscribe to my newsletter you don’t have to do anything – you are already entered! Every current subscriber to my newsletter gets one entry just for being a subscriber!

2 – Not already a subscriber? You can subscribe to my newsletter by going here, and after you confirm your subscription you will be automatically entered to win.

3 – Not interested in my newsletter, but still want a chance to win? Leave a comment on this post below, and be sure to include either your email address or your Ravelry username in your comment, so that I can get in touch with you if you win. If I don’t have a way to get in touch with you I can’t count your comment as an entry, so be sure to include contact info!

Easy peasy! I’ll randomly select the winner on October 9, 2015 so you have 8 days to enter before I choose a winner. If you win, I’ll be in touch; if you don’t win watch my social media on the 9th and 10th, and I’ll let you know where the next stop on the Ambah O’Brien Songlines Collection eBook giveaway blog tour is, so you can try again to win a copy of this beautiful eBook!

Now, I’m off to look at color combos to start knitting my Alinta Wrap. Or maybe the Carinya Wrap….Decisions, decisions, but such yummy ones!

Happy knitting!

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