Thursday, December 01, 2016

Stitch Journal: Highlights of Weeks 46-48

With all the busyness of November—new pattern releases, the Indie Design Gift-a-Long, Thanksgiving—I've fallen a bit behind with my weekly Stitch Journal posts. Sorry about that! Of course, I've continued to stitch every day, and post on Instagram. But the blog suffered a little. 

So rather than post a long string of photos, I thought today I'd share a few highlights of the past weeks. Overall, November was visually quieter than October, with more subtle, less saturated colors. One little tree (not sure what kind) held onto its lemon-yellow leaves for longer than all the others, so over several days I stitched a golden circle of French knots.

Day 319
Stitch Journal,'Day 319

Day 320
Stitch Journal, Day 320

The dense wildflowers at the eastern edge of the yard—where all summer the groundhogs feasted on the leaves of the Joe Pye weed—are now dry stalks of a marvelous brick-red color. They're especially beautiful in sharp morning light. That color went into the journal as well, along with greys and browns for squirrels and birch bark.

Day 324
Stitch Journal, Day 324

Day 328
Stitch Journal, Day 328

And then, there's the bittersweet: brights bits of red and orange among the bramble at the far western side of the yard, where the woods begin. For the bittersweet, I stitched red crosses and orange French knots over several days.

Day 325
Stitch Journal, Day 325

Day 327
Stitch Journal, Day 327

Faded leaves, frost on the fields: pale colors dominated in the last week of November.

Day 331
Stitch Journal, Day 331

And now, here we are at the final month of the year and of the project: today I began stitching the December piece, white French knots for droplets of water sparkling on bare branches.

Day 336
Stitch Journal, Day 336

Morning, December 1, 2016

If you are enjoying my Stitch Journal project, I hope you'll consider making a purchase from my Etsy Shop to help support it. Funds are needed for stretchers, professional photography, and a website to serve as home for this project and my other artwork.

If you don't wish to make a purchase but just want to support the project, you can do that, too. Thank you!


Monday, November 28, 2016

Singing Beach KAL

Singing Beach KAL detail

We're having a knitalong for Singing Beach!

Dates: December 3 - 31
Where: Ravelry - sign up here
Prizes: To be announced soon!

To celebrate, the Singing Beach sale has been extended through December 3. Use the coupon code SCALLOPS to save 25%.

Whether you want to make this lovely cowl for yourself or as a gift, I hope you'll join us.

Happy knitting!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

New Pattern: Singing Beach Cowl

Singing Beach_6

I'm pleased to share a new pattern today: Singing Beach, a pretty garter stitch-and-lace cowl. 

Singing Beach_4

With its scalloped edges and garter stitch lace, Singing Beach brings to mind seashells, waves, and shifting sands—memories of sunny days at the beach. It's discounted 25% in my Ravelry store through November 30 with the coupon code SCALLOPS.

Singing Beach_2

The cowl is named after a popular beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, where the sand "sings" or "squeaks" when walked upon. Years ago when my sisters and I were young and shared an apartment in Boston, we had some great times taking the train up to Singing Beach on summer weekends.

It's knit in the round with just one skein of fingering weight or sock yarn. It works especially well with semi-solid, hand-dyed yarns like Watercolors II from Periwinkle Sheep (shown here in the Rhinebeck 2016 colorway).

Singing Beach can be styled many different ways. It's a quick knit, making it a great choice for holiday gift knitting. And there are no charts to follow—the stitch patterns are written out. 

Singing Beach_3

Singing Beach_7

Singing Beach was tech edited by Jenny Sennott, who always does such a great job of checking all the little details for accuracy.

I hope you love this design as much as I do! Thank you very much for reading.

Detail, Singing Beach Cowl

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Indie Design Gift-a-Long

The 2016 Indie Gift-a-Long is almost here! This gigantic knit- and crochet-a-long is one of the most highly anticipated annual events on Ravelry, and this year it's going to be bigger and better than ever.

What's it all about? First, there's a sale: from 8 pm EST on Tuesday, November 22 through midnight on Wednesday, November 30, you can save 25% on patterns by more than 300 independent designers.

To get the discount, use the coupon code giftalong2016 (there's no limit to the number of times you can use it). This year, I have 20 one-skein designs—ideal for gifts—in the sale.

The Gift-a-Long continues through December 31, with games, prizes, and other fun. There will be eight different KALs and CALs to join, with patterns, yarn, project bags, stitch markers, books, and more given away. All in all, it's a great way to get a head start on your holiday crafting! Get all the details and sign up here.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Open Road Pattern Spotlight: Allons Mitts and Camerado Cowl

Today's post is all about the two matching accessories in my Open Road collection—Allons and Camerado.

Allons Mitts_1_72

The Allons mitts are a feminine yet practical cool-weather accessory featuring the same pretty stitch pattern as the Journeyer pullover.  Since Journeyer and Camerado are symmetrical, I thought it would be fun to add a touch of asymmetry to the collection. So I placed the stitch pattern in Allons off center.

Allons Mitts_8_72

Ribbing on the palm and sides ensures a comfortable fit. And with instructions for two sizes, you should be able to make Allons for almost anyone. They're worked in the round on double-pointed needles, from the bottom up, beginning and ending with rolled stockinette.

Allons Mitts_4_72

These mitts are knit in DK weight yarn at a fairly firm gauge, for warmth. I used Acadia from the Fibre Company, a slubby blend of merino, silk, and alpaca. When I swatched with Acadia, I felt it would really shine in an uncomplicated design. So I chose to keep the design clean and simple and allow the beauty of the yarn to take center stage.

Allons Mitts_6_72

The same smocked lace stitch appears along the sides of the matching cowl, Camerado. For this design, I felt a smooth fingering weight yarn with good stitch definition would be best. I used Quince & Co.'s Finch in Kumlien's Gull for the blue cowl (three skeins) and Egret for the cream cowl (five skeins).

Camerado Cream_72_2

Camerado Both_72

The pattern provides instructions for two widths and lengths. The cream cowl is quite wide and long (13.25 inches/34 cm wide by 68 inches/173 cm in circumference). It's designed to be extra warm and cozy for those cold days ahead! But if that's more knitting than you're up for, no worries—the blue cowl is just 8.5 inches/22 cm wide by 54 inches/137 cm in circumference and knits up very quickly.

Camerado Cream_72_4

Camerado Blue_3_72

Camerado is worked flat (back and forth) from a provisional cast on. When you're finished, you join the beginning and ending edges with a three-needle bind-off. Complete instructions for these techniques are provided in the pattern. And for all three designs in Open Road, stitch patterns are given in both charts and written, line-by-line form. So whichever format you prefer, you're covered.

Camerado Cream_72_1

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Stitch Journal, Week 45

This week I've been so glad to have my Stitch Journal to focus on. I was feeling a lot of anxiety before the election, and afterwards . . .  well, even more anxiety, along with shock, disbelief, grief, and even fear. It's helped a lot to sit down each morning and simply observe nature and stitch for a while.

In the past week, I've stitched dark red-browns, for changing maple leaves; white for frost on the fields and for chickadees; green for lush grass after rain; golden brown for oak leaves that are always the last to fall; dark brown for tree trunks in morning light.

The morning after the election (Day 314 of this project), I thought at first I would stitch something disruptive and shocking, maybe a dark wedge. But then I thought, no—no negativity. I chose white thread instead—the color worn by the suffragists who fought for women's right to vote. For the past couple of mornings, I've stitched white French knots in a dense circle expanding outward. It's my way of holding on to hope at a moment when it would be so easy to succumb to despair.

To quote Robert Frost: "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."

Day 309
Stitch Journal, Day 309

Day 310
Stitch Journal, Day 310

Day 311
Stitch Journal, Day 311

Day 312
Stitch Journal, Day 312

Day 313
Stitch Journal, Day 313

Day 314
Stitch Journal, Day 314

Day 315
Stitch Journal, Day 315

If you are enjoying my Stitch Journal project, I hope you'll consider making a purchase from my Etsy Shop to help support it. Funds are needed for stretchers, professional photography, and a website to serve as home for this project and my other artwork.

If you don't wish to make a purchase but just want to support the project, you can do that, too. Thank you!


Monday, November 07, 2016

Open Road Pattern Spotlight: Journeyer Pullover


As I worked out the design for the Journeyer pullover from my Open Road collection, versatility was a priority. I only have so much time for knitting sweaters, so I prefer classic designs that can I can wear a lot of different ways—with a T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers on weekends or with a tailored shirt, skirt, and boots on workdays. 

Journeyer has gentle A-line shaping that's flattering for many figures. The pattern is written for six sizes, with bust circumferences from 33.5 inches/85 cm to 50 inches/127 cm. It's hip length, but I think a fun modification might be a cropped version 2-3 inches shorter, without any shaping. 


I also wanted the knitting to be engaging but not too complicated—so if you cast on now, you wouldn't still be knitting next spring. It's knit in worsted weight yarn (Cascade 220) at a gauge of 19 sts/29  rows over 4 inches/10 cm. The center panels on front and back are fun to knit, and once you've worked a few inches they're very intuitive: I found it easy to look at my knitting and see what would come next.  


I dislike close-fitting crew necks—I find them uncomfortable and not very flattering.  So I made Journeyer's neck shaping a little wider than a typical crewneck. The neckband is worked in a classic 1x1 ribbing that's folded over and sewn to the fabric on the wrong side. This method creates a comfortable and flexible neckband that wears well and looks beautifully polished.


Journeyer is worked in the round from the hem to the underarms. The front and back are then worked flat and joined at the shoulders. The sleeves are worked in the round, from the top down, using short rows to shape the caps. I love this method because 1) it's easy, and 2) there are no surprises. You can try on the sleeve as you knit it and thus find out very early on if the upper arm fits well—if not, you can start over with more or fewer stitches. And you can judge the length as you knit. Unlike a traditional set-in sleeve, the top-down method eliminates any uncertainty about how it's going to look or fit.

The sleeves are three-quarter length (my favorite!), but if you prefer long sleeves you can keep knitting to the length you like, working one or two more decrease rounds and starting the ribbing wherever you'd like.


Journeyer is one of three designs in my Open Road collection. Next week I'll focus on another of the Open Road designs—the Allons mitts

Friday, November 04, 2016

Stitch Journal, Weeks 43 and 44

The past couple of weeks have brought everything from snow (snow in October!) to frost to warm days that felt almost like summer. As a result, the colors of my Stitch Journal have run the gamut from white to reds, yellows, and browns. 

Lately I've begun thinking about next year. When I finish the December piece, should I begin a new stitch journal project for 2017? I enjoy my early morning stitching and feel very committed to daily embroidery. But I'm unsure what the concept would be or what form the piece(s) would take.

I'm also unsure about daily posting on social media. I have faithfully posted each day's stitching on Instagram throughout 2016 and will continue through the end of the year. I wouldn't want to let down followers who say they look forward to each day's post! But some days I feel like the time and energy and "mental awareness" consumed by social media diminishes the time and energy I have for actually doing what I love—looking at the world and quietly observing. Also, daily posting makes every day of the week feel a little bit like a workday, with a task that must be completed even on Sundays, even when I've been sick or on vacation. So that's something to think about for next year, too. 

Well, there's plenty of time to decide! Without further ado, here are the daily images from Weeks 43 and 44. 

Day 295
Stitch Journal, Day 295

Day 296
Stitch Journal, Day 296

Day 297
Stitch Journal, Day 297

Day 298
Stitch Journal, Day 298

Day 299
Stitch Journal, Day 299

Day 300
Stitch Journal, Day 300

Day 301
Stitch Journal, Day 301

Day 302
Stitch Journal, Day 302

Day 303
Stitch Journal, Day 303

Day 304
Stitch Journal, Day 304

Day 305 (October 31)
Stitch Journal, Day 305

Day 306 (November 1)
Stitch Journal, Day 306, November 1, 2016

Day 307
Stitch Journal, Day 307

Day 308
Stitch Journal, Day 308

If you are enjoying my Stitch Journal project, I hope you'll consider making a purchase from my Etsy Shop to help support it. Funds are needed for stretchers, professional photography, and a website to serve as home for this project and my other artwork.

If you don't wish to make a purchase but just want to support the project, you can do that, too. Thank you!