A Shawl Of A New Shape

A Shawl Of A New Shape

Since going home to NYC for Vogue Knitting Live in January and then again in April to visit friends and celebrate my birthday, well, I have had my inspiration by architecture reignited. It got me thinking about my crochet design work and it inspired me to present a collection of Shawls Of A New Shape for 2018.

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Say Hello To Free Pattern Mondays!

Say Hello To Free Pattern Mondays!

We all know Mondays can lag and drag ... so why not make sure to start the week right? My gift to you and help spread the fiber love. So Check back to the Free Patterns Section every Monday morning to start your week with a fresh new pattern to create and make the week FIBER FABULOUS!

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Get Ready For Summer With The Summer Vest Kit!

I am so excited about this next Kit Shop exclusive collaboration that I can hardly find words. This is really a tale of two Stephanie's and a creative dream.

You know how sometimes you meet people and it is instant connection, inspiration and creativity abound? Well i have been fortunate enough to have that happen a few times and it is such magic. Then when you get to bring some of those relationships together for a collaboration - well then it is purely spectacular! This is one of those magical moments.

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Stephanie of Triple Knot Studio has been my crafty friend for a few years now. We met on Instagram and a long lasting friendship quickly formed. It is funny how that can happen and I love it. We have had the chance to hang out many times when she came to Stitch Up Chicago and it is so much fun when we get together. So when she had an idea to design a Summer Vest lightweight cover up I was so excited and all about it!

Bring in yarn dyer extraordinaire and Stephanie number TOO....

So when Stephanie and I were thinking about what yarn would make for a fun Summer Vest I immediately thought of another Stephanie, the brilliant Stephanie behind Asylum Fibers. I met Stephanie when I went to Vogue Knit Live in NYC and it was an INSTANT connection. I was in love with her wit, her humor and her creativity. She came to my big birthday celebration in NYC last month and I KNEW I wanted to collaborate with her. I HAD TO MAKE IT HAPPEN! And we DID!

Stephanie creates Asylum Fiber colorways that make me want to make all the things. So I knew it was perfect for the Summer Vest collaboration and the tale of two Stephanies in an email thread was born.

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Once we got going it all came together so fast and I loved working with Stephanie of Triple Knot Studio on her first garment design. Bringing her idea to life was challenging and fun and all the things you want it to be when taking on a project like this. On a personal note, it was one of the most rewarding projects I have ever been part of.

There were late nights. Long emails. Tears. So. Many. Tears. Working with Stephanie, such a good friend, on her first garment design really was an experience I will cherish forever.  It is what this blog is about - feeding into the creativity of others. And to have the chance to help feed into the creativity of someone I care so deeply about was a gift in and of itself. OK... back to this AMAZING VEST.....

The Summer Vest is the perfect accessory to your summer wardrobe. It is ideal for over a swimsuit or to dress up a tank top for a night out. This one item will be all you need to pack for vacation to hit all the notes. It works up super fast and has a great pattern stitch for beginners.

In the Limited Edition Kit you get all you need to make this vest: The pattern, stitch-work chart, custom hand dyed fiber from Asylum Fibers, hook and a special handmade project bag. Or you can get the pattern and make one in the color of your choice from Asylum Fibers

We are so excited to feature this collaboration in the Stitch & Hustle Kit Shop!!! Can't wait to see all your summer vests!

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A Crochet Sweater Pattern Worthy of the Drama of Mary Shelley!

The best thing about launching the Stitch & Hustle Kit Shop is that I get to work with and be inspired by so many makers and designers every day. It is the awesome circle of creative energy that feeds and drives more creativity. It's the good stuff.

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One gal who constantly inspires me and who has just dropped the latest Stitch & Hustle Exclusive design is Katie of The Queen Stitch. Oh yes, we have featured her many times because she is in fact... um... AWESOMENESS. I knew I wanted to add a sweater to our collective and Katie came up with a masterpiece. The Mary Shelley Sweater.

Read on and she will tell you all about it and you can get the exclusive pattern here.


The inspiration for the Mary Shelley sweater came from the streets of New York City, literally. The silhouette of this sweater came from a piece of graffiti in the LES by Bradley Theodore called "Pineapple Heads".

PineApple Heads by Bradley Theodore

 It seemed out there, dramatic, playful and fun - all things The Queen Stitch brand is built on, and pursues! I am always inspired by textures and shapes around me, and I love a challenge. I wanted to see if I could turn this piece of street art into wearable art (you can be the judge of that).

The sweater couldn't have happened without the support of Stitch & Hustle and them providing me with the awesome Wool and the Gang Feeling Good Yarn.

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The design features a high Victorian neckline, and is created using primarily shell stitch - hence the name "Mary Shelley" (though lit snobs will tell me she was technically of the Gothic era - I hope you'll all give me creative license to utilize the shell pun!)

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This sweater design challenges conventions with it's vertical stitching to create reach-out-and-touch-it texture. I hope you love it!

Get Ready For Spring With These Fun Projects!

Man depending on where you live you could be like me and just wishing Spring would in fact Spring already. At 3:15 Pm today, April 15th, my phone alerts me to "Light Snow Starting Soon" from my weather app. I mean come on already! I love winter cozy season, and it pays my bills. I love to play in the snow and go snowboarding (though I may not be great at it). But even with all my winter loving vibes I am ready for Spring to SPRING!

So I am playing Spring in my mind and rounded up some fun free Spring Patterns from fellow bloggers to get us ready and in the mood because I hope that any day now the clouds will part and the temps will rise and Spring will be here. So cozy up and lets dream of spring.

The Cotton Club!

While it is true, I am a cozy vibe, snowboard loving, scarf making kind of gal, anyone who knows me knows I am truly an ocean loving Pisces to the core. Nothing gets to me like the fresh waves and salt air. When I lived in Australia, there wasn't a single day that went without a dip in the South Pacific, of course it helped that I lived and worked a short walk from the beach. With this in mind, it was probably only a matter of time before my two passions (yarn and ocean) collided.

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About two years ago, while on location in Florida for a shoot, I got the idea to make myself some lightweight cotton garments to wear. But while on location with super long shooting days, and still prepping for the Chicago One Of A Kind Show... well let's just say such an undertaking would have to wait.

Last year, while in Miami for several weeks, the idea reignited and so the journey began. Over the last year I have experimented with various fibers and cotton was always the winner for this idea. Like the commercial says, it is the "fabric of our lives" after all. I began my process of swatching and sketching and found the old ideas I had tucked away coming to life again. In the process, I quickly fell in love with a few specific cottons that lent themselves in both color and texture to my vision.

Thus my first Summer Cottons Collection was born.

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Within a few weeks I had edited it down to a variety of looks I would want in my own closet. I drew inspiration from the many coastal places I have been and created pieces that spark a memory from each place they are named for.

I have put my heart into my first Summer Cottons Collection. This collection features garments made from some of the softest cottons and breathable for those summer days. Garments I enjoy both making and wearing. And I hope they are garments many others will enjoy both making and wearing.

The collection is made up of 20 new designs for makers to enjoy and be inspired by and a handful of made to order garments available here. And you can try the Inwood Summer Beach Top free pattern here.

For a deeper look at the fibers, read on to learn about the materials. (disclosure: the following contains affiliate links where I may get credit or commissions but these are not sponsored posts and opinions are my own).

Wool And The Gang Shiny Happy Cotton
Ok... this is by far the most superior cotton of all the fibers I have used and tried gearing up for this collection. Yes, I work with WATG often, no they did not pay me to say that. My order receipts can be proof enough how much this material factors into my designs and offerings. Why is it so special? First of all, it is just a wee bit thicker than most other cottons on the market. It has that few added strands that makes a difference in how it holds structure of my stitches. And still, it does not sacrifice drape effect for being a wee bit thicker which is awesome because when designing with lightweight fibers drape matters!  Last, I do not know what their color process is but this cotton has a sheen like none other. It truly is Shiny Happy Cotton and I love it! And because WATG is awesome, you get 15% off with code WATG144S through 6/9/17!

Betta Knit Pima Cotton
I discovered Betta Knit last winter when I collaborated with them on the Stella Jumper design and fell in love with their chunky wool. I was thrilled to discover they are offering Pima Cotton for summer. This cotton is great for those drapey and lacey designs. It holds the stitch structure well for a finer fabric. This is technically a category 3 DK yarn but in truth it works up like a sport weight and I just love it. I designed my Megan's Bay Shrug specifically for the way this fiber drapes. And... Betta Knit is giving you 20% off with code 144XBK through June 30, 2017 WOOT WOOT!

Lion Brand Yarn 24/7 Cotton
Lion Brand continues to deliver for affordable yarn options. The 24/7 Cotton is mercerized adding a sparkle and sheen even after multiple washings. Trust me, I tested this claim out and it passed the test! This fiber is interesting because it is a little bit "rope-like" for lack of a better term. It was interesting to work up and I quickly fell in love. It is perfect for my Saratoga Shrug design! I loved it so much I reached out to Lion Brand and we teamed up to collaborate on a design specifically for this collection and this yarn. More coming on that very soon!

Universal Yarn Cotton Supreme
The name says it all. It truly is Cotton Supreme. One of my favorite things about this fiber beyond the awesome texture is all the colors they offer. You can get so many blends and without much effort in yarn change, your garments will have style and color all their own. This is a heavier weight cotton, definitely more category 4 worsted. And yes still gives you the soft drape of the finer fibers. It is ideal for garments like my Manchester Tunic where you can let the yarn do the color work for you!

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Debbie Bliss Cotton
I discovered Debbie Bliss Cotton well into this project. In fact, most patterns were already out for testing when I came across this gem. I discovered it while checking out a new Local Yarn Shop Wool & Company that opened about 15 minutes from my home. (More on them in a future post). This fiber is delicious! In colors and in texture, I was delightfully surprised. It says it is DK, but more of a sport weight for sure. You can order from them here and they provide free shipping in the US!

I know there are endless other cottons out there and have tried many. But these are the ones that inspired and are featured in this collection and I encourage you to try them out. Do you have a favorite cotton you want us to know about? Share in the comments below. And tag #stitchandhustle on social media so we can see your summer cotton projects. Happy summer and see you in the Cotton Club!

And to celebrate.... I am giving away the whole collection of designs. Yep - ALL 20 PATTERNS could be yours! Enter below

March Maker Madness

March is a big month around here. Happy Birthday to Stitch & Hustle who officially turns 1 on the 17th. My birthday is the 13th. The 8th is when we celebrate the adoption of our rescue dog Sadie and there's something else I'm forgetting ... Oh yeah March Madness for college basketball. (ok that last one may be less of a big deal lol)

But still, with all that I decided to celebrate with March MAKER Madness.

Think of it as a thank you to everyone for really welcoming this blog and this crazy idea I had that we CAN support each other and help build each other up while still striving to be our very best version of ourselves and our businesses. That we CAN have both community AND competition! You all have welcomed me and this blog incredibly.

So then; For the WHOLE month we will have insanely awesome giveaways of insanely awesome prizes. Free patterns released. Special Social Media Series will help you up your game. And more! Truly... So much MAKER awesome!  It all starts below with a fun giveaway.

In addition to being my social media besties, Shannon & Jason (the dynamic duo known as Shibaguyz) are my design and pattern writing heroes. They just get it! I got to spend some time with them when they were in Chicago last summer teaching classes at Stitches Midwest and cannot wait to see them again this year. They have signed a copy of their book Crochet Geometry for one lucky community member.

As a new knitter, I am having a blast discovering new needles and tools and knitter treats. One unexpected delight was Knitter's Pride. Not only have I fallen in love with their knitting needles, but I was thrilled to discover they have crochet hooks as well. WHAT? Yup! So you win their complete dreamz hook set with all the hooks you need to make your new designs. You will also get a bag full of yarn to get started. A variety of fibers to create awesomeness. And last but not least... a Maker's mug from Uncle Jesse's Etsy Shop to keep the fuel running while you get your maker vibe on. Now that is a way to kick off March Madness. So don't miss out - enter below.

And again - THANK YOU for being part of this awesome community and supporting Stitch & Hustle. This blog is for you!!!

xoxo
Michele

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!