4.22.2015

Back with a winner!

What a week!  I've landed back home after another whirlwind of fun and work!

I had a great 36 hour speed vacation with my dear friends, which you can peeks of on Instagram.... it included a Mini Cooper convertible, avocado toast, wine, Japanese fabric shopping, bento, walks on the beach, more food, and of course knitting!
Then I headed over to Pasadena to teach at Vogue Knitting Live.... once again I got so busy whilst teaching that I forgot to take many photos.... but my energetic cowl class on the first morning did take one of the best selfie's ever with me, so I guess that counts for something!
My students and I all learned a ton and had a wonderful time together! Vogue Knitting really does put on a fabulous show, and I highly suggest you attend one in the future... maybe in NYC in 2016?

I noticed last night that Christina from Ravelry featured Krystalline's Ribband on their community eye candy... and I've fallen in love with it!  Now I want to knit another with variegated yarn....  Have you seen it?
I've got a lot on my needles right now... the next two projects for the M Club are almost done, I've got new kits in the works for TNNA at the end of May AND 2 new sweater designs that I'm plugging away at in between everything else. I am really hoping to get some sewing done this weekend if I can get a few more things crossed off the list! (I'm actually kinda sorta hoping for a rainy weekend, cause if it's sunny I'll be out in the garden instead of at the sewing machine!)

Time for some winner's from last week's Meta Mystery KAL giveaway.  Congrats to Sandyluvsyorkies and LifesLover get in touch to claim your prize... there is just enough time to get it to you in time to cast on next Tuesday the 28th!!!

4.13.2015

An on the Road Again Meta MKAL GIVEAWAY!

Hello!

I'm heading out to California today... I've got two days planned of relaxation/creativity/shopping/hiking/eating/philosophizing with a dear friend and then I'm headed to Vogue Knitting Live in Pasadena where I will be teaching a full schedule of some of my favorite classes.

Besides teaching I'll be signing Knockout Knits at the Yarnover Truck Booth (#323) on Saturday from 12:30-1:00. On Sunday I'll be on a panel about the Design Process with Susan Anderson, Barry Klein, Sally Melville and Amy Herzog from 12:15 - 1:00.

Y'all might have figured out by now that I love to run giveaway's on my blog while I am away... it makes me feel less guilty for going out of town!

This giveaway is a good one.... while working on color Meta Mystery KAL for The M Club, Melanie from Black Trillium sent me two colors to decide between. I chose Copper Roof (as it reminded me of the roofs we saw in Innsbruck last summer), and I was left with this gorgeous skein of Silken Lace in my stash.
I asked Melanie if I could use it for a giveaway for those of you hoping to knit a Meta Mystery Kal with Silken Lace, and she said yes! I even went bead stash diving and found the perfect matte black AB beads to go with it!

Alrighty time for the giveaway details... 
I've got TWO 100gram balls of Silken Lace to giveaway with beads to match for Meta Mystery KAL. The first clue comes out April 28th... the winners will get their yarn and beads in plenty of time to cast on.

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below by 11am (EST) on April 20th (the morning I get home), don't forget to leave a way to get in touch with you! I will randomly choose the winners later that day and announce them in my Ravelry group and on Facebook.

I'd love to hear what your favorite things about Mystery Knit-A-Long's are... and if you are a Mystery KAL virgin, that's great, just let me know why you are thinking of joining in!

4.09.2015

How do you SSK?

I've taught 5 Craftsy classes... and there are "some" knitters who have them all!  A few of them have noticed that I work my SSK's two different ways and have been asking why. I explained quickly but I felt you all deserved a detailed explanation....

First off, what is an SSK? (if you aren't a knitter, you probably shouldn't keep reading)
An SSK is a knit decrease that takes 2 knit stitches and makes them one. It is worked by slipping 2 stitches one at a time to the right hand needle and then working them together. This decrease leans to the left.

The goal of an SSK is to mirror a K2tog (knit 2 together) which is a single decrease that leans to the right.

When I first learned to SSK I was taught to slip the first stitch on my left hand needle knitwise, then the second stitch the same way and work them together:
 But compare this to a K2tog.... they are similar, but not quite perfectly mirrored.
One day (many years ago) at knit group someone mentioned that she slips her second stitch purlwise as so:

See how much more that mirrors a K2tog? Am I a geek or what?
Now when I SSK I slip the first stitch knitwise, and the second stitch purlwise and then work them together.

You can work your SSK's either way I show above, but I would say that when knitting a project you should choose one way and stick with it! Grab some needles and try it out... see what I mean?

So, how do you SSK? 

4.03.2015

Choosing Yarn for Knitting with Beads

If you are working with beads that are placed on stitches (with a crochet hook), you don’t need to worry as much about your yarn’s fiber content and structure but if you are working with prestrung beads (like in Meta Mystery KAL and many other of my designs), please read this information closely!

Since sliding beads down your yarn causes friction and can abrade fibers, it’s important to choose a yarn that is strong and can handle this action. You don't want to spend hours knitting on your project to find out that it looks worn before you even get to  wear it!

Yarn with multiple plies and a tight twist will stand up to the friction well. As much as I love single ply yarns like Madeline Tosh Light, or Manos Fino, I tend to stay away from them if I am working with pre-strung beads as I know the yarn's surface will quickly degrade from the bead friction.

Find a yarn with a high merino wool or cotton content, and perhaps even some nylon. I shy away from yarns with more than 5–10 percent silk or cashmere, as those fragile fibers degrade easily.

Some of you might notice that the yarn I worked with for Meta Mystery KAL, Black Trillium Fibre Studio Silken Lace, is 85% Superwash Merino and 15% Mulberry Silk. Typically most commercial yarns use tussah silk, which has lovely sheen and great drape, but is not incredibly strong. Tussah silk fibers break very easily causing a halo or pilling along your fabric's surface. Mulberry silk is much stronger and that combined with the tight twist of Silken Lace make it a great choice. How did I discover that?  I did this test on it:
The Yarn Versus Bead Test
Do you have a yarn in your stash that you’d love to use for a project, but you aren’t sure that it will hold up to beads sliding along it? Take a strand of the yarn you are considering, string on a few beads, and tie it around your wrist. Wear it like this for a few days, and you will quickly know if the yarn can withstand the friction of the beads sliding along it!

Whenever I design a pattern (or release a Mystery Knit-A-Long) I choose a yarn that is appropriate for the project, I also list other yarns that will work as well. If you aren't sure what yarn to use this is a great jumping off point for choosing a yarn.

Of course, you can always ask in my Ravelry group if you aren't sure the yarn you have on hand is a good choice, or ask below, I'm happy to help!