Mama Knows And That Ain't No Lie!

Ok... I have to force myself not to use all caps for this entire post because I am so excited I want to yell and jump and dance and make sure everyone knows it. I MEAN THIS WAS SO MUCH FUN! for real... I have had the time of my life collaborating with Sarah and Mama Knows Luxury. She knows fun too by the way!

I had seen all of these big chunky merino projects over the last year. Blankets and knits and hand knitting and arm knitting. It was all exciting and curious and totally overwhelming. I wanted to try but those big projects didn't seem to call me by name. I had a feeling I would start with a bang then see them over in that endless pile of all my other "in progress" projects. I wanted to do something different to try this stuff out. This stuff I talk about is big bulky huge balls of merino wool. I reached out to Sarah with my crazy idea for bright colors and home decor with a twist. I am so glad she was on board for this because I have had SO MUCH FUN!

Ok... let me sidebar a minute:

If you read my post about Brand Partnerships, then you know how important partnering with the RIGHT brands is for success. Partnering with Mama Knows Luxury was more than Right, it was perfect.  Originally, we had agreed to have this collaboration post for Easter. I had a big fun Easter spread planned. And then my sweet Sadie got sick. So we moved the project to be for Mother's Day. Then my Sadie suddenly died. And my world fell apart. I didn't want to create. I wasn't feeling inspired. I hardly wanted to make anything. I tried. I took out the project bag so many times trying to force myself to feel creative but all I felt was sad missing my Sadie.

A big Box Of Fun waiting for me

I emailed Sarah feeling terrible. I had never missed these deadlines or not delivered on a collaboration. I was so excited she wanted to work with me I was worried I would ruin the relationship missing all these deadlines. But then Sarah emailed me back. She said "Take your time and get yourself right". She got it. My head space wasn't there. And because I partnered with the RIGHT brand and the RIGHT small business owner in Sarah, the stress was lifted in an instant. I had the freedom to take the time I needed without added stress.

Then it happened. Time passed and I found myself reaching for these big fluffy chunky merino balls. In fact, they helped bring me back. Like magic balls of yarn. So thank you Sarah for being who you are and to all of YOU reading this.. partner with the RIGHT Brands because it makes all the difference.

OK... now back to this AMAZING project.

At first I just wanted to squeeze all of the yarn. I admit, once I got going there was some play time before getting down to business and it was awesome. I knit it. I crocheted it. My husband threw the big yarn gum balls (as he called them) at me. It was just FUN.

My initial idea was inspired by my favorite placemats but that didn't quite work out. Making them square was sort of boxy and didn't have the look or feel I had envisioned. But the yarn was so fun to play with that it was not long before I had a new plan. I switched to round placemats and then it hit me... barstool pads AND placemats. GENIUS!

Then...I decided... hand crochet. I WANT TO HAND CROCHET. 

Ok if you have never tried hand crochet then let me tell you: IT IS SO MUCH FUN!!!!! This is the perfect project for it because you can make each Barstool Pad with a single ball. Which, by hand crochet, I kid you not... 15 minutes. 30 if you are having fun and undo it only to remake it again! Think about it... a brilliant fun handmade home accent you can MAKE in 15 minutes. YES!

I decided to make my first set LSU Colors... because... GAUX TIGERS! They are great for mini playroom stools and big barstools too. You can make them in any team colors for your game day accents.

As I was making these magnificent fun barstool pads I had a brilliant idea. My FAVORITE coffee house is a super chill place in Peoria called Zion Coffee Bar (more on them later but if you follow me on social media you know it is my joint). so I asked them if they would let me come in and add a pop of color and BAM!!!!  How amazing is this?


Now for Phase II: The tables. My friend has the perfect North Carolina home with such beautiful decor. But what she is missing is a pop of color. So I sent her a set of these beauties and will you look how much fun they bring to your summer tables!

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This whole experience, even with the challenge I faced personally losing my Sadie, was incredibly perfect. Sarah is the real deal. A woman with a passion for people who make things. It is what this blog is about . She made the project beyond my dreams awesome. I Love how the pads came out. I loved learning hand crochet. I loved playing with this big chunky merino. I love the whole shebang. If you have been wanting to try big merino but afraid of the big projects, this kit is for you.  A perfect start and introduction to Big Stitch Merino.

And standby... because there is more to come from me and Mama Knows Luxury.

Manos Del Uruguay Milo & The Naples Shrug

Ok ... so I could hardly contain my excitement when I was told Manos Del Uruguay would be sending me their new Milo fiber to try and review ... and what colors would I like. Um... ALL OF THEM? Can that be an option?

No but seriously, even though the palette of this fiber is more muted than the vibrant colors I typically work with I wanted them all.  They are so fabulous and so enticing it was hard to choose.

As I looked at the colors I had this instant image from the Florida beaches on a full moonlit night. I selected to make an ombre item that would be like the shoreline beach up to the dark sky.

The colors I chose were:
Natural
Potosi
Lisboa
Indigo
Manchester  

Can you see it? Beach to night sky? Ah - PERFECT!

When the yarn arrived I was ecstatic about my choices once I saw how truly perfect they worked together. It was exactly the blend I envisioned.

Now, the yarn states that it is "fingering weight" but in truth it is closer to sport weight. Ish. You know how it goes... no strands are ever quite exactly the same. Either way - it was definitely thinner and lighter than my normal chunky yarn vibe. I worked up a couple of swatches and I knew a shrug would be perfect. I pulled out an old motif and got ready to put a new twist on it.

The Milo works up so quickly and so smoothly. It has an interesting texture because of the linen blend but it is not stiff with that starch-like feeling so many other linen blends that I've used have.

I could not be more please with this yarn and am already starting another project with it! because yes.. it is THAT GOOD! I want to make so many things with it. 

Thank you so much to Fairmont Fibers & Manos Del Uruguay for sending me this yarn to try. I am definitely a new fan.

You can get the Naples Shrug pattern here to make your own.

Webs Yarn has Milo in stock and also if you buy a certain amount you get their club discount. I love their customer service - here is the link. (nope - not an affiliate link - I just like shopping with them).

 

 

Disclosure: Fairmont Fibers & Manos Del Uruguay sent me this yarn free of charge for the purpose of this review and collaboration. Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review are my own.

The Aalto Basket & Me

Ah Betta Knit. If you follow me on social media you know I'm such a fan of their product and company. I mean I just love their squishy yarn and friendly service! So when they wanted to send me a kit to review & host a giveaway as part of March Maker Madness I was beyond stoked.

Now when the Aalto Basket Kit arrived I was a little taken aback. I mean it is designed by crochet design ICON Molla Mills AND is calling for tapestry crochet! TAPESTRY CROCHET??? A little intimidating but also, "I don't KNOW tapestry crochet" I thought loudly. A quick google and video and I was good to go - and realized I did in fact know Tapestry Crochet just not what it was called. Ok now I'm definitely in!

The Kit comes with their Fettuccine yarn, which was also new to me. At first was thinking, this is quite wide and strange and, well, yes reminds me of Fettuccine - now I'm hungry. Anyway... I had to fight the natural urge to want to keep flattening the yarn but once I got over that my swatch worked up quickly and I really liked the texture. I also like that it is 100% cotton. It works up super easy. Like I said, it takes a minute or two to get used to for sure but by the time the base of the basket was done I was well on my way.

The pattern instructions are easy to follow and they come with an awesome chart to know exactly which color should be worked where. Even a Tapestry Crochet newbie like me had no problem sorting out the pattern to follow along.  My basket was done in no time once I got the rhythm of tapestry and comfortable carrying the extra yarn across.

Truly - this kit is a great afternoon project!

I absolutely LOVE how the finished basket came out. I added an extra finishing row to the top just to suit my own style and added my branding tag as well. Now I'm hooked (pun intended) and expect you will see lots more tapestry crochet baskets from me in the future. 

If you've wanted to try tapestry crochet or already a pro at it, I think you will love this kit. You can grab one here and use code 144XBK for 20% off and, as part of March Maker Madness, you can enter below to WIN an Aalto Basket Kit!!!

 

 

 

Disclosure: Betta Knit sent me this kit free of charge for the purpose of this review & collaboration. Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review content are completely my own.

Stitch Up Chicago - Yeah That Was AWESOMESAUCE!

It has been a week since Stitch Up Chicago, and I am still feeling a full heart and incredible gratitude from the sheer awesomeness of the event. I am so honored to have teamed up with fellow yarnie Ali Ford of Ford Explorer Knits to bring this idea to life. It started as a chat then a text, an idea to build from our online community and create an offline connection and meet up in person. But it turned into so much more. Stitch Up Chicago gave us two days of makers and awesome people coming together to laugh, learn, inspire, and connect with each other. So much goodness.

We kicked things off Friday afternoon with a little sip & stitch at Nina, an incredible yarn shop in Chicago. Nina served up awesome yummy tea and snacks and even more yummy yarns. You can bet we will be visting Nina and her awesome shop again.

Ali and I ducked out of Nina's a bit early to head to the Virgin Hotel Chicago to set up for the Friday Night We Are Knitters Party. And what a party it was. Snacks, bevies and knitting good fun. The party was 'officially' from 4-7 but I know one table closed the place down and a few of us may have knitted into the wee morning hours.

So many wonderful highlights from that perfect evening. Teaching new stitches to knit. Teaching new knitters how to knit. Laughing so much my side hurt. Yummy snacks. It was all amazing. See some of the awesome social media shares here

A quick sleep and then it was time for Saturday Brunch Workshop with Betta Knit. This brunch was particularly special because Betta Knit is new in the US and it was great to introduce this yummy yarn to so many. Amazing eats, amazing yarn and amazing people made for a perfect Stitch Up Chicago Day Two.

It would be near impossible to pull a single moment from Stitch Up Chicago as a favorite. The truth is, from beginning to end it was sheer perfection. While Ali and I were planning everything seemed to fall right into place and we just knew this was meant to be.

A special shout out to our presenting Sponsor, The Yarn Mamas and supporting sponsor Globe In and to all of our sponsors because we could not have done this without them. We will be sharing more about our amazing sponsors over the next few weeks. Everyone loved the swag bags filled with awesome gifts and even if you didn't attend Stitch Up Chicago, you can enjoy some sweet discounts from our sponsors here.

Reflecting on last week, all I can really say is Thank you. THANK YOU ALI for teaming up with me and turning our idea to meet up into something so much more. I am truly grateful for your friendship and to be on your team. I love ya girl! THANK YOU to our sponsors. THANK YOU Virgin Hotels Chicago. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO ATTENDED for making the first Stitch Up event more than I could have dreamed.

We are already hard at work planning Stitch Up Chicago Too for late Fall. Don't miss out. Get the insider updates when we announce by signing up for Stitch & Hustle News here.

And if you want us to help you host a Stitch Up in your city, let us know here

Say Hello To The Augustine Throw

I was so excited when We Are Knitters wanted to collaborate on a blanket pattern. I mean just the thought of all that chunky squishy wool made my heart pitter patter with cozy vibes. I retreated to my cozy corner with this big basket of squishy and started creating.

First I had to decide to Knit or to crochet? It was not an easy choice.

 

I have wanted to knit a throw for quite a while as my knitting skills keep expanding. I see so many wonderful inspiring designs on instagram that give me so many ideas. So it was a tough decision. But this blue they sent reminded me so much of the rich tropical ocean like when I was in St. Thomas, that it inspired me to do an open crochet variation of "shells" throw. It inspired me to create something I imagined I would use while on the beach bungalow deck when I was there not too long ago.

Truly making this blanket brought me back to those wonderful breezy nights and ocean waves crashing behind the bungalow.

The yarn worked up so well for this pattern, no frogging involved! It just flowed which is another sign it was meant to be a crochet blanket. I could not be more thrilled with the final outcome.

You can get the free pattern here.

And you can enter below to win all the yarn to make your own! Yup - that is right: We Are Knitters will send you all the yarn you need to make this blanket in the color of your choice. Enter below.

Disclosure: we are knitters sent me this yarn free of charge for the purpose of this pattern collaboration and giveaway. Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review and design are completely my own.

The Holiday Bear Project

A little known fact about me is that I used to be the Prop Master for Sesame Street Live World Tour. It was beyond amazing traveling the world building and maintaining props. It was also incredibly fun to explore supplies and techniques all over the world. I must say I found some amazing finds in little known corners of the world.

The experience kept my creative juices flowing in full effect. Building giant toys and painting and basically playing super-sized arts and crafts all day was a dream job.

So when I was recently commissioned to create the accessories for the Winter Wonderland at the Javits Center in NYC I was both humbled and thrilled. I mean it was perfect bringing my current creative world full circle back to my supersized prop creating past.

Let's do it!  I selected Lion Brand Wool Ease thick & Quick yarn for two main reasons: it works up great and is chunky enough to be both cozy looking and proportional for the garments I was making. It also came in the perfect shade of blue and fisherman ivory for the Winter Wonderland scene.

 

Now for the patterns. The key character is a 8 ft tall winter bear. The bear's head has a circumference of 58". I am about 61" tall so that is a reference point for you for size: he has a BIG head. The scarf needed to be 16 FEET long, with fringe and wide enough to be proportional. The client was very clear about the look they wanted: Cozy, winter and hip. I had two patterns that i just knew could easily be modified for this giant bear perfectly. I also chose to both crochet AND knit for a nice texture variety. The bear should be fashionable after all.

For the Hat I chose to knit for the texture and modified my Birmingham Hat pattern to be super sized. I used Premier Yarns size 19 15mm 47" circular needles. I love how these feel in my hands and normally use them for my Harbour Cowl but they worked perfectly for this giant hat too. Since my normal cast on for this hat is 40 and fits an average 21" head I just tripled the cast on. Then I knit... and knit.. and knit some more. Then I kept knitting. Eventually I had to start decreasing and create the peak. I altered my decrease from the pattern to be more beanie than slouchy and knew the pom pom weight would add slouch. I made 4 pom poms using the Clover Giant Pom Pom maker and then tied them together.

For the scarf I chose an to do an oversized variation of my Roma Traveller Scarf. Then I added fringe. Lots and lots of fringe. The scarf itself ended up being 14' long and with fringe hit just over 16 feet. The fringe needed to proportional in bulk and length. It always comes back to math lol.

I chose to go back and forth between knitting the hat and crocheting the scarf to give my hands a break and also keep the project lively and interesting. I could not be more pleased with the result and the client loved it. I took a minute to have some fun with the giant scarf before shipping it off to New York city and you can see the complete Winter Wonderland scene below.

Three Great DIY Projects For Holiday Gifts

My love for handmade is endless. Especially when it comes to gifting. Something about taking time to think about someone, and then put a bit of love into each stitch or hammer swing or paint stroke. It makes the project so special and the giving so magical. Receiving handmade is pretty special too. I mean just knowing someone thought about me enough to take TIME to CREATE something just for me is a little bit of magic.

In that spirit, here are three fun and fabulous projects from three AMAZING artsians you can make. You still have time to make some handmade magic for your holiday gifting.

First up: The Crochet Clock by ChiWei of @1dogwoof.
Ok um excuse me a minute while I literally drool at both the beauty and genius of this project. When Chi Wei initially shared this project on Instagram I was speechless. It is both simplistic and intricate. It never occurred to me to crochet a clock. But why not? I mean really... WHY NOT?

What I love most is the simplicity. In the making and in the design. Ideal for someone with a new home or that friend who loves classic style.

Next Up: The Lovely Star Stitch Pouches by Stephanie of @allaboutami
Stephanie constantly inspires me. What I truly love about these pouches is their simplicity in design. A sewing project that doesn't scare me is rare because sewing is not my strong suit. Stephanie takes you through this step by step and you can whip this up in a flash.

And if you are like me, and sewing is not on your top of fave things to do, you can make just a crochet version and it is still lovely. It can be a make up pouch, notions pouch, beach pouch... uses are endless. A great gift for anyone really.

And Last but not least... This simply fantastic Shave Case from Drew Emborsky, AKA The Crochet Dude.
  Now, let me first say WELCOME BACK to Drew who took a crochet hiatus. It is no secret he helped me get my start of taking my passion for yarn to the next level and I am forever grateful.

But beyond that, he is still the original badass for Why Didn't I Think Of That designs that are awesome. This Shave Case is awesome for the fellas but could easily be a make up brush case for the ladies too. It could be so many things and is not scary to make.  It looks like you slaved for days when really you can whip this baby up in an afternoon. So pick your fave color combo and get to it!

So there you have it. The countdown to the holidays is on but there is still time to hand make some awesome gifts of love.

Discovering New Yarn with Betta Knit

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Who doesn't love getting happy mail? Now, let's be real. Boxes of yarn arrive here on the regular. But when new yarn company Betta Knit wanted to send me samples to check out for the blog, I mean... heck yeah. You don't have to ask me twice! And get this... they want to give YOU some too! What? Read on!

OK.. so the box is pretty and I will say - their logo and branding is right up my alley. Made the unboxing super bright and fun. Diving right in I was immediately mesmerized by the Cool Wool in the Dip Dyed version. The color is both vibrant and still faded in some magical way. I work with hand dyed yarn often so seeing this kind of color in this chunkiest of wool made my heart smile.

I was going to make a cardi shrug, which I have been on a roll with lately. But as usual, the yarn spoke to me and said "just play with me". So I did. I tried knitting it. I tried crocheting it. I tried a shawl. I tried a scarf. Frogged each one. Yup. This yarn is so scrumptious that I really did not mind this design process one bit. And I have to say the yarn held up REALLY well.  It didn't fray or fall apart or get all tattered through the process. Even when one time I pulled it apart I lost the end and had to play find the end in a pile of yarn ramen. You know that game right?

In the end... 8th time was the charm and I came up with a super fun pullover sweater we will call Stella. This jumper works up so quickly it is great for beginners and the most experienced crocheter alike. Every level can make this sweater I tell you. I wanted to create something both cozy and breathable so as not to suffocate my skin in all of this cozy wool. I also created a postive ease on this pattern because who wants to have their top ride up on them when it is cold? Not me! I will definitely be living in this top this winter! Get the pattern here or keep reading :-)

And, I had so much fun working with this yarn! I am both sad and overjoyed about finishing my project. I guess I will just have to get some more. :-)

I also had a chance to play with this new thing they call Blow Yarn. Um.. excuse me wonderful cozy squishy awesome yarn but where have yo been all my life?

Now, my only word of caution here is that this yarn does not like being frogged. Nope. Not at all. I definitely found that while I was playing with it that it meshed with itself as I pulled out stitches. So KNOW the pattern before you get going. For real.

It is a blend mostly of Alpaca with a touch of Polyamide & Merino mixed in. I was able to modify one of my favorite hat patterns to create what very well may be my new favorite hat. Yup - I will be rocking this Nepal Beanie all season. Definitely worth checking out the Blow Yarn. Just don't frog your work lol.

I also got to play with their Superwash merino and um.. hello... we all know how I love me some superwash Merino! Well their is definitely some of the yummiest ever. I haven't decided what to make with I Love My Jeans yet. A bit thin I may double it up and make some cool coasters. In fact... yes I will. So expect a free pattern for that pretty soon.

In the mean time.. check out Betta Knit. You can use code 144XBK and get yourself 20% off your purchase of yummy yarn. What? Yup. And that's not all... You can WIN EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO MAKE THE STELLA JUMPER!!!! Worthy of all caps right? Enter below.

Thank you Betta Knit for sending me so many treats to try out.

 

Disclosure: Betta Knit sent me this yarn free of charge for the purpose of this review & pattern collaboration. Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review are completely my own.

Tone on Tone and The Chapen Shrug

I love hand dyed or hand-painted yarns. I have been a fan for years. The colors and tonal shades are just magical. I also love Lion Brand Wool Ease series - it is a staple in my arsenal of yarn. So when I heard that Lion Brand was coming out with a line of Wool Ease Tonal, based on hand dyed coloring, I have to admit that I was both excited and skeptical.

The Chunky Everest, Amherst & Capeside Beanies- all designed for Wool Ease Tonal

I tried not to be bias when my sample box arrived from Lion Brand and not compare it directly to hand dyed fibers. And I was not disappointed. The subtleties of the tone on tone in each colorway is what makes them so special. There is a true 'natural" appearance to the color blends. And Wool - Ease? I mean come on... I just love it. Works up quick and has that chunky Wool Ease feel I love so much.

The yarn is perfect for my chunky hats and I even created a new set based on the subtleties of this yarn. The Amherst Beanie works up fast and picks up the accents of the colorway.

The combination of the yarn and getting into fall weather,  inspired me to create something new and fabulous. Something that really played with the shades of the Tonal. I created this Chapen Shrug.

The Chapen is my own fun twist on the traditional granny. It is misleading because it is not a granny at all! I created a graduated color scheme with the grey-scale Tonal shades. The yarn works up so well, and really lends itself to this kind of design.

And now you too can try this new delightful cozy yarn. Lion Brand is sponsoring the ALL You Need To Make This Giveaway. You win the yarn, the pattern, the hook, the yarn (did I say that twice? Because it's THAT GOOD)- the whole kit. Yup - how AWESOME is that?!?!  Enter below.

Can't wait to see if you win? You can buy the pattern here or in my Etsy shop here

Disclosure: Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review are my own.

One Love With Wool And The Gang

I was pretty excited when Wool And The Gang wanted to send me a Project Kit for review. And even more excited when my One Love Top Kit actually arrived.  I had a few other projects and customer orders to finish before I could start on it, so it sat in my studio for a few days. I admit, I looked at it often. The color of the Shiny Happy Cotton Land Of Oz Green in person is beyond magnificent. It's like no emerald green I've seen.

The pattern itself is easy enough to follow and with this awesome cotton it worked up pretty fast.  The pattern doesn't offer sizing but it is quite easily adjustable to suit any size with a little math. I followed the pattern to the letter for the back panel.

I tweaked the front panel pattern based on my own preferences for my body. I added an armhole slant where the lattice rows started by doing symmetrical decreases on the first two lattice rows. I also altered the last two rows of the top for more of a scoop neck than boat neck look to show off a little collar bone ;-)

I'm thrilled with how it came out and will definitely not only make more of these but likely offer them in my shop next spring for my customers. If you would like to try a Wool And The Gang Project shop here and use code WATG144 for 15% off all through March 31, 2017. 

 

Disclosure: Wool And The Gang sent me this kit free of charge for the purpose of this review. Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review are my own.

 

Hot Off The Hook: The Riley Scarf (with Giveaway)

I have been on a roll with new designs this summer. I started the summer with some travel and a road trip and have been experimenting with new fibers. So much inspiration flowing I just love it. When I got my yarn delivery from We Are Knitters, it spoke to me and I was in squishy yarn heaven. Creativity was FLOWING! One new design is the Riley Scarf. If you follow me on Instagram you have seen some of this process. It has not all been pretty but it is my favorite part of what I do: bring an idea to life.

Sometimes designs take shape in an instant and my vision springs into life right away. And when I say sometimes, I mean rarely. Most of the time, there is a bit more work involved. I have an idea and start working with yarn on the design. Simultaneously I grab some graph paper and start mapping out my stitch work. As it takes shape I go back and forth - yarn & paper and until it is just right I keep tweaking and designing. Occasionally (read: often) I will pull apart or frog the project and start over a few times. That is how we end up with what is known as Yarn Ramen.

Once I have waded my way through a pile or two or Yarn Ramen, I can usually see the garment taking shape and coming to life. I always get so excited at this stage of the process because not only am I seeing the work pay off, it is the realization of an idea that was simply in my mind only hours (or days) before. Something so magical about that.

Once the garment is complete it is time for blocking. Ah - blocking... the love hate of so many fiber artists. I will freely admit, I do not block everything. But new designs? Garments? Things I will cultivate into collections? You bet! Block party all the way. But I don't mind. Pull out the steamer (or bucket in some cases) a packet of Soak and get to it.  All that work is worth in the end. Always so worth it.

Because then, after all that work, when I see my creation and idea come fully to realization, it is a feeling that is hard to describe. Then add to that, when people buy the pattern to make their own or when they buy the completed garment to keep cozy it only adds to the magic.  I am IN LOVE with this new Riley Scarf and I think you will love it too. And since I know I have both customers who wear my work as well as customers who make their own from my designs, I am launching the Riley with a VERY special giveaway: Enter below to win either the completed scarf or a kit to make your own. WHAT? Yup - that is right. Select your preference and enter below before the pattern or scarf are even released!

Both the pattern & scarf will be available after the contest for purchase here.

Shrug It Off With We Are Knitters

I am so incredibly excited to share this with you guys. If you follow my personal Instagram, you know I have been on a weight loss journey and am down 34 lbs so far. While this is awesome, it creates some fashion challenges. See, I have an oversized shrug from Anthropologie  that I LOVE but it is just huge now. I swim in it. It is my Go-To spring and summer item so I am having a hard time parting with it without replacement. Then I looked at it and thought... Wait! I can make that.

Right about the same time, I had just frogged my 4th version of a baby blanket pattern I was developing in partnership with We Are Knitters (don't you just love them?). I was sitting there, staring at a pile of amazing Cotton Wool and it hit me... scrap the blankie and make a shrug. I let my WAK contact know my plan and they were also excited. Because... who doesn't love a shrug? Brilliant!

It came together perfectly. And we all know that rarely happens so I just know it was meant to be. Like my friend Amy says, "sometimes the yarn just speaks to you and tells you what it wants to be". She is so right!

I wanted to create a shrug that would be both fashionable and functional. Perfect for cooler evenings, over a swimsuit or as just a cozy accessory. An all season go-to staple item for my closet. I also wanted a pattern that would work for any size or shape, because we woman come in all shapes and sizes right :-)

It has been a blast designing this and I shared some of the process and progress on Instagram. This pattern is so much fun and I could not be happier with the outcome.

And now just for our community get this: The amazing team at We Are Knitters are sponsoring a giveaway. Enter below to win EVERYTHING you need to make this Shrug yourself. Seriously! All the happiness of a shrug in a WAK Kit. YEAH!!!!

That's not all, if you don't want to wait, you can now buy the pattern here and get 20% off your Cotton Wool from We Are Knitters with code WAK144Stitches. I mean, COME ON!!! If you were looking for your amazing next summer project, this is it.

BIG THANK YOU to We Are Knitters. This has been an amazing collaboration experience. And Enter blow to win the Kit!

Taking A Trip With Super Traveller

Me & Kate in the Dragonfly Fibers booth

I attended my first Stitches Midwest event in 2013.  I had no idea what I was in for though. I arrived early the first day to check out the market place before my class. It was instant sensory overload of the most magnificent kind. Yarn, tools, supplies, more yarn and so many wonderful people. It was fabulous.

Though a bit overwhelmed, one Fiber Artist's booth stood out. I was drawn to the amazing vibrant colorways of Dragonfly Fibers. And once I started touching and felt the texture of the merino... well, thankfully I was in my element or I would have gotten strange looks I bet.

Kate Chiocchio, the artist is a wonderful woman and I knew I had to start working with her in an instant. Within a week I placed my first order and have been placing more orders since.

The items I create with Dragonfly Fibers are always well received in my shop and everyone loves the colors. They are some of my biggest sellers at the Chicago One Of A kind Show each year.

Bags Of Yarn Make Me Smile

In 2014, when I visited Kate again at Stitches Midwest to pick up my most recent order, I got the idea to design patterns for the Super Traveller which is my favorite of her offerings.  I just cannot get enough of it. It is a super wash merino bulky fiber that works up so wonderfully. The rich colors come alive with each stitch. I wanted to bring the personality of the color of the fiber to life through a collection. 

Of course, you know how it goes, add an idea to the To Do list and get back to work on other projects and eventually try to get to that idea on the list of many.

Rockin' The First of The New Roma Traveller Puff Stitch Hats

 

Then, about 8 weeks ago I got my latest shipment of Dragonfly Fibers Super Traveller and it spoke to me. The colors, the texture... So inspired, it stopped me in my tracks and I got to work on some new patterns right away. No more delay!

I had been working with the Puff Stitch (one of my favorites) when my yarn arrived and I knew it would lend itself so well to the bulky texture of the Dragonfly Super Traveller.

I started with a new beanie. It is actually an update on an old pattern of mine that I never really loved. It worked up so quickly and so perfectly it was like magic. Now, it is my fave hat instantly!

And, that magical combination led me to design the Puff The Magic Stitch Collection. It is divinely cozy, works up so well and takes you on a trip through the rainbow of color with variations on a stitch.

So, pick a pattern, get some Dragonfly Fibers Super Traveller and you too will fall in love. They are available on Ravelry, my site and Etsy pattern shop.

 

Introducing: Savannah

This scarf was born from a mistake I made while making a basic striped  hoodie. I soon realized my "mistake" was divine design intervention and with just a few more tweaks it could be fully reversible so... voila.. the Savannah Reversible Hoodie Scarf Was Born!

It is a great pattern for beginners working with color changing techniques and texturizing garments. The pattern is easily adjusted in size as well, which is great because some people have a tiny head and some people have a not so tiny head.

You can order this in any color combo you want making it TRULY yours and one of a kind.

You can buy the pattern here to make your own

Two Worlds Collide: The Cornwall Shawl

As a designer, I find myself inspired by so many different things: the seasons, the scenery, sights on trips, other artists and designers, something in a magazine or boutique… it is endless. Sometimes it is all overwhelming in the most amazingly perfect way but sometimes reigning in those ideas can be a challenging process. When it all comes together quickly like magic and boom, instant success it is the most unexpected delight. Other times though,  it takes a while to marinate on a concept or idea and nurture it to life.

It's all a funny, fabulous and daunting process and in fact, One of the best parts of my job. I love the experimentation and design process.

I'd wanted to experiment with leather and "tougher" fibers inspired by some of the stylings in Highlander and the Hunger Games series. But I had yet to find the right leather to work with so this became a concept I was kicking around and marinating on for some time

… until...

At least year's One Of A Kind Show in Chicago my booth was next to Urban Gypsy Designs. The artisan, Christina hand paints beautiful leather purses and satchels and accessories. She also sells these fabulous cuffs that have both an industrial and sophisticated feel. I fell in love immediately with them and knew I wanted to incorporate them into a design.

As I marinated over all the ways to incorporate her leather cuffs into my work and mix it with the softness of my crochet wear I found myself not just accenting existing pieces but designing whole new ones. Then I found myself returning to my original notes and ideas from several months ago on the mixed texture pieces I wanted to do. YES!! It's all coming together! This is the process!

So I have been hard at work creating several new styles that will be ready for Fall 2015 and I am so excited about the variety of texture. Here is a sneak peek at that new collection: This is the Cornwall Shawl.

The shawl body is made using an exceptionally soft wool blend fiber. I am using a stitching technique that gives the illusion of being striped when it is actually not. It is an added dimension by design.

I have placed one of Christina's Infinity Cuffs as an accent to the piece giving it a flare of juxtaposition and style. The cuff is strategically placed to give the shawl so many different looks.

I am so thrilled with the Cornwall Shawl and  the complete collection will launch for Fall 2015 and I cannot wait to bring you these creations incorporating new textures and leather accents.

If you would like to make your own, I have made my original design available in my Etsy shop. You can buy the pattern here

Introducing The Molly Four Way Crochet Shawl

Molly Crochet Shawl
Molly Crochet Shawl

As a designer I am always challenging myself to try new things. And as a former frequent traveler I know the need of packing light and having garments that serve multiple functions. That was what inspired me to design my new Four Way Shawl. Wear it as a shawl, a scarf, a wrap or even a sarong. I pack this one item from Chicago to Miami for it's multi function awesomeness.

This one item will truly get you through every season and is fun to create. What is special is the triangle shape and the ability to make this larger or smaller with ease. I chose a soft acrylic fiber but then moved up to a bulky weight fiber for the winter collection.

The Molly shawl is available in a variety of colors here.

The pattern is available here to make your own.