Jun 19, 2018

When I was a young girl growing up in Oklahoma, my parents loved to take me and my brother on road trips to New Mexico to visit Santa Fe or Taos. This was a marvelous contrast from my ordinary suburban life — seeing a different culture, pueblo pottery and Navajo rug weaving, and most importantly a glimpse of the New Mexico art scene. This is when I first became aware of Georia O'Keeffe, and first had an inkling that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up.

The Okeeffe Shawl from my new book, Homage, honors this amazing woman and her influence on my life. Georgia O'Keeffe (1897-1986) has been called the “Mother of American Modernism", and is famous for her paintings of enlarged flowers and New Mexico landscapes, and her radical feminist views (for the time). But to me, she was an inspiring pioneer, blazing a path for little girls with big dreams like me.

This project definitely took some twists and turns. I started out with a completely different design actually. It was still a shawl, but it featured some rather intense geometric lacework. I was having some trouble settling into the design, and put off starting it for an absurd period of time. I procrastinated to the point where I would have to push back my book's publish date if I waited any longer. Mainly, I was struggling to find the right yarn in the colors I wanted, and was resisting compromise.

Around that same time I had the pleasure of meeting Alice O'Reilly, the amazingly talented dyer of Backyard Fiberworks. I took a look at her yarn line, and discovered that it included some fabulous gradient kits and colors that I had not previously seen before. This sparked an idea for me—I asked Alice if she would be interested in collaborating on a palette for one of her kits that I could use for my new shawl design. We began texting back and forth, and in no time I had this beautiful yarn in my hands.

The design changed quite a bit in the process, and in the end it reminded me of the rolling hills in an O'Keeffe painting. Alice suggested that we expand the concept into a limited edition line of O'Keeffe inspired yarn kits for the book launch party.

The palette for the sample pictured is called Pedernal after Gorgia O'Keeffe's painting by the same name.

This shawl was so much fun to knit! There is something about it that just begs you to keep going. I could hardly believe how fast I got to the end. I used a special technique called the Icelandic Bind-Off, which makes a beautiful, super-stretchy edge for garter stitch. It's pretty easy to do (instructions), but I made a video to fully demonstrate the technique, and linked to it in the pattern pdf.


The pattern is part of my book, Homage (Knit Darling Book 2), but I'm also selling it individually here on my website and on Ravelry for $6.00. It's finally perfect shawl knitting weather, so I hope you'll pick up a copy!

I had pretty low expectations when I released my Cabled Dad Hat knitting pattern in 2014, but for four years it has remained one of my most popular designs. To date, I've sent over 10,000 copies to people all over the world—I can hardly believe it! It's been an inspiring, and humbling ride.

Today, I'm adding another twist to this adventure (cable joke, anyone?). I'm thrilled to announce the release of a coordinating pattern: the Cabled Dad Mittens. The pattern includes instructions to knit three unisex styles: classic mittens, fingerless mitts, and convertible gloves—choose your own adventure! The three styles are also at three skill levels; fingerless mitts easiest; mittens slightly harder; and convertible gloves the hardest because there are so many parts. See more info and pics on the pattern's page here.

It has been amazing to watch the Cabled Dad Hat projects proliferate on Ravelry over the past few years. I love looking to see what people are doing with my pattern, especially when they modify it into something a little different. Every once in a while, I stumble upon someone who has created a complete spin-off—a matching scarf, a mini hat for their daughter's doll, or something like that. This is one of my favorite things to find! To see that one of my ideas was a source of inspiration for someone else who designed something original makes me so proud!

My Cabled Dad Mitten design was created in that same spirit. I wanted to make a coordinating pattern that would be super accessible (hence three styles in three sizes). My hope is that someone will buy this pattern because they want to make one style for themselves, a different style for their boyfriend, and maybe yet another set for a gift.

I chose Magpie Fibers Domestic Worsted yarn to knit this design. This yarn line has a really wearable palette, which is always a consideration for me, but it's also a really great work-horse yarn, perfect for these mittens. It's 100% domestic Merino wool, soft yet sturdy, and has incredible stitch definition. I chose smaller size 5 US (3.75mm) needles to produce a dense fabric that will keep your hands very warm.


I hope you'll pick up your own copy of this super fun mitten pattern! Let me know what you think in the comments below.



Dec 16, 2017

Can an ordinary knitting project possibly be considered conceptual art? Well, maybe—meet the Hilla Hat from Homage: Knit Darling Book 2.

Time for some art history, yay! All the patterns from my new book, Homage, honor a different pioneering female artist from history. This design honors Hilla Becher (1934-2015), conceptual artist and photographer. The Hilla Hat design reflects Becher's most famous works—a series of gelatin silver printed photographs depicting industrial architecture arranged into a grid. Becher's work has influenced generations of photographers, and has impacted Minimalism and Conceptual Art since the 1970's.

Almost like collage, Becher arranged her photographs depicting similar objects to create motifs of repeating structures. The arrangements make her otherwise straightforward photos quite visually interesting. However, as a conceptual artist, Becher's work is rife with meaning and should not be considered merely decorative. Becher's presentation of her work pits objectivity against subjectivity, depicting a pattern of sequential experiences that is connected in a network.

Though her message was more about the human experience and the evolving/decaying characteristics of nature, I rather liked this idea as it relates to a knitting pattern, repeated endlessly with slight variations, and also more specifically as it relates to the process of creating knitted fabric that is composed of a single strand of yarn. Also, in the broader context of my book, which is all about gratitude for my predecessors and my followers, I love the idea that I am forever connected to the knitters who make my designs through our shared experience of creating the same object.

On a less conceptual level, this adorable hat is my new favorite accessory! I've already knitted it 3 times, and I might go for a fourth soon. The hat features an easy geometric Fair Isle motif and a wide brim that can be folded up for extra warmth, or left down for a slouchy look. The pattern is part of my book, Homage, but I'm also offering it as an individual pdf.

If you want to learn more about Hilla Becher, check out the links below:

https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/95

http://www.artnet.com/artists/bernd-and-hilla-becher/

http://www.tate.org.uk/research/publications/tate-papers/01/photographic-comportment-of-bernd-and-hilla-becher

Did all this talk of conceptual art inspire your inner critic? I'd love to hear what you think in the comments below.

Nov 16, 2017

Meet the Stay Woke Mitts. This design was my contribution to Join Hands, an ebook collaboration with seven other designer friends of mine to benefit the ACLU and the SPLC.

All proceeds from the ebook will be split evenly between the two charities. So far we've raised over $2K! I can hardly believe it. Check out Emma Welford's Instagram where she is also auctioning Leigh Miller's sample for her “Love More" mittens from the ebook, as an additional part of this fundraiser.

I was inspired to design these mittens after some very upsetting political events that happened earlier this year. I was especially dismayed by the travel ban which put some close friends of mine in a heartbreaking position. Rather than feeling helpless, I decided to take action using my only super power, knitwear design!

Complacency is the enemy of progress; the words and symbols knitted into these mitts serve as reminders of this profound message. The phrase “stay woke" has become a rally cry for the social justice-minded, and particularly for matters of racial injustice. We must keep our eyes open, and stay focused on the issues that are important. The pyramid symbol depicted on the mitts is called the “all-seeing eye of providence", and in this context also represents the importance of maintaining awareness —seeing the hidden, being aware of the whole story. This symbol has been associated with the United States seal since 1776, and connects this modern message to the core issues this country has been wrestling with since it was formed. Meditate on this message as you knit these mitts, and let them inspire you to make a difference.

Nov 11, 2017

Homage has launched! It's hard to describe the feeling of launching a book. It's part excitement, part relief, part anxiety that someone is going to discover some egregious error that I somehow overlooked despite round after round of exhaustive editing, but mostly, I'm just plain proud. I'm proud of all my books, but this one is something special.

At one point in my life, I thought I wanted to be a portrait artist—there are even a few of my older works still out there, and I occasionally get orders for prints. I went to art school and studied painting and pottery (which inspired my last book), and incidentally I also minored in art history. I wasn't really trying for a minor, since I already had a dual focus in my studio arts studies, but I just kept signing up for those art history classes! I remember at the time, not really loving all the reading that was required for those classes, but I also saw the value in exposing myself to as much art as possible. I have always loved looking at art.

Homage features five new patterns, each drawing inspiration from an influential female artist—Agnes Martin, Maya Angelou, Otti Berger, Hilla Becher, and Georgia O'keeffe. These women had different paths through their artistic careers, but they all offer something that has seeped into my aesthetic vocabulary. I'm so proud to share this collection with the world, because like a Maya Angelou poem, it reveals my insides to the world in the best way I know how, through yarn.

Now that Homage has launched, it's time to announce the winners of my pre-order promotion! Congratulations to Jamie, Kelly, and Esther who all won yarn to knit one of the sweaters from this new collection. Thanks to all you wonderful folks who pre-ordered the book. I actually sold out of my stock in the first 24 hours after the launch, which was quite unexpected! I still have more yarn to give away, so I'm planning another giveaway at the end of the month (more on that very soon).

The launch party at String Thing Studio was tons of fun! Despite the Nor'easter raging outside, plenty of people showed up to celebrate. Thanks to everyone who braved that torrential rain—you folks are some real badass die-hards! I have an extensive trunk show still going on at String Thing Studio until November 30. I hope you'll come by to check out the show, and pick up your copy of Homage.

Nov 6, 2017

Every time I go to the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival, I leave with a full heart and sense of overwhelming gratitude. Spending time with other designers, meeting passionate enthusiastic knitters, petting the sheep, and talking with farmers and producers—all reminds me that I'm part of a big wonderful community. Every year feels like a warm fuzzy reunion, but this year seemed especially good, and just at the moment when I was starting to wonder why I'm doing this crazy job.

[Cue the violin music]

Leading up to the festival, I had been working day and night putting the finishing touches on Homage, Knit Darling Book 2. I had a hard deadline to get my final files to the printer—the same day I was leaving town for Rhinebeck—and the same day I was set to start taking pre-orders.

For weeks I had been working 16+ hour days, squeezing every spare minute trying to make this book perfect. I sent my final files just after 1am the night before my deadline. The next morning I got up at 6:30, sent out an email announcement and started taking preorders. I also had to go work at my day job. I was already late for work, and hadn't even started packing for Rhinebeck. Then, almost immediately after sending the big announcement to my rather large mailing list, something broke on my website. This sent me into total freak-out mode and my poor web-programmer (aka husband) had to scramble to figure it out. I have nightmares that go something like that.

And then suddenly, so perfectly, everything was resolved. I somehow packed my bag in like, 2 seconds (more on that later), Brian fixed my website, and I was on my way to work. Pre-orders were coming in, and I remembered why I do this—it's for you guys!

That afternoon, I met up with my knitwear designer friend, Dianna Walla, and boarded a train to Rhinebeck where we met our other knitwear designer friend Beatrice Perron Dahlen. Then we drove to the most perfect beautiful house that we had rented for the weekend. We poured some wine, and Bea made us a delicious dinner. And the next morning we woke up and knitted with our coffee in the sunshine. Perfection.

The next day at the festival, I was absolutely giddy. I met some seriously amazing people, and I think I said some coherent things to them.

[ Pictured above: Beatrice Perron Dahlen, Dianna Walla, Karen Templer, Jessica Forbes, Ysolda Teague, Emily Greene, The Sundance Kid, and Megan Williams]

I also met some seriously amazing yarn!

Meet my new pile of luscious Magpie. I now have a sweaters quantity of Magpie's gorgeous Domestic Worsted thanks to the encouragement of Magpie owner Dami Hunter, and also due to some serious peer pressure from one of my designer idols Amy Christoffers who literally stacked most of these skeins into my arms and told me I had to. How could I argue with that?

I also picked up some Magpie Swanky Sock and Solstice on my own volition because they were just too delicious to put down.

I'm so excited about this absolutely amazing skein of Tidal Yarns I bought. I know it looks like a messy pile of gray yarn, but trust me, it's special stuff. It's rustic, and bouncy, and somehow still quite soft. I also picked up some beautiful skeins of YOTH Daughter and Best Friend. I've been hearing people rave about YOTH yarn, so I wanted to see what all the fuss is about.

I wasn't sure how I was going to get all this home from the festival because I had done such a terrible packing job in the first place, almost entirely filling my small bag with unnecessary shoes and WAY too many pants. Fortunately, I also picked up this super cool tote bag from Fringe Supply Co., which saved me from hauling this yarn home in a trash bag on the train. I just love all the cute illustrations. I already caught a gawker on the subway trying to read all the little notes.

Speaking of huge quantities of yarn—there is only 1 more day to pre-order my new book, Homage. Pre-order the book or ebook and you could win free yarn to knit your favorite design from the collection!


It's been pretty quiet around the Knit Darling blog lately, but I have an excellent reason—Knit Darling Book 2 is almost done! The book is titled Homage, and features five gorgeous new patterns inspired by Modernist art and design—each piece honoring a different pioneering female artist from history.

I am taking pre-orders now for the ebook and printed book, and have some special promos for all you early-birds! Buy your copy before November 7, 2017 (the official release date) and you can enter to win yarn for the project of your choice (3 winners will be selected). I'm also offering free shipping on the softcover book for pre-orders only.

I'm so excited to share this new project with you! Below are some pics from the book and links that have more info about each design. I also have a series of blog posts planned over the coming weeks examining each of the new designs, and some of the special techniques used in the patterns.

Above is a picture of the cover, featuring my new Otti Kimono Cardigan--one of my favorites from the collection.

Okeeffe Shawl

Angelou Cardigan

Martin Pullover

Hilla Hat

I'd like to give a special thanks to all the yarn companies who generously agreed to help me with my yarn giveaway promotion.

I have been selling my Caring Cowl pattern as a fundraiser for the American Red Cross since 2011. In that time, I have raised and donated $1,875.00! This is a stat that I very proud of—but really all the credit goes to the wonderful folks who purchased the pattern, so thank YOU!

I am delighted to announce that Laura over at knitreadpray.com is hosting a knit-along featuring my Caring Cowl pattern starting today. She will be giving away some prizes at the end including a free pattern from my Ravelry Shop. I hope you will join the fun, and knit for a good cause.

All this attention inspired me to give this old pattern a bit of a facelift. I added some fresh new photos and updated the pdf to include useful web links to video tutorials and the FAQ page. If you purchased this pattern in the past, you should have received a link to download the updated version in your email.

It was kind of weird to compare pictures of myself from now and from 2011. I definitely look a little older, but in a good way, I think! This was my third revamp of this pattern. While the original pattern worked just fine, it's important to me that I continually try to offer a better product if I have the ability to do so. I'm very proud of all my patterns, but especially this one!


It's finally feeling like Autumn here in Brooklyn, so it's the perfect time to talk about some of my latest patterns featured in a new book titled "The Knitted Hat Book", from Interweave Press.

With 20 fresh new hat designs from a long list of great designers, this book has a little something for everyone. Let me tell you about my own designs featured in the book:

The Duality Watch Cap

This striped unisex hat was designed using two strands of Berroco's Ultra Alpaca Fine yarn held together to create an interesting marled texture effect. I like to wear this hat kind of slouchy, but it looks equally cool with the brim folded up. The fabric is fairly dense, making this a great hardwearing winter piece. I made one as a Christmas gift for my brother-in-law who lives in Chicago, and he loved it. This hat actually inspired my Dolo Mitts pattern and coordinates perfectly.



Here I'm wearing one of my favorite outfits this fall, Escher Cardigan, Duality Watch Cap, and Dolo Mitts. I somehow compelled my dear friend and sometimes photographer Erika Rose to get on the other side of the camera for the picture above. She strongly resists that sort of thing but I think she looks super cool in my Frolic Hat!


Frolic Paper Bag Hat

This interesting hat features an exaggerated drawstring closure at the top, making the gathers into a textural design feature. In the book, they photographed it as a hat to wear with a ponytail, which is actually not something I considered when I created this design, but it works. I love this hat as a lightweight transitional accessory that is comfortable to wear inside as a fashion piece, or outside when it's not quite so cold yet. This pattern is pretty easy, and I would recommend it for beginners or as an enjoyable quick project for any skill level. I used Quince & Co. Finch yarn which has a super crisp look, perfect for this design.


Blossom Appliquéd Hat

This show stopping hat is a vintage inspired piece that prominently features a beautiful 3D flowering vine motif. The hat is worked in bulky yarn, making it a super fast knit. The decorative elements are knitted separately, and sewn onto the hat at the end. While you could theoretically work the floral vine elements in a different color, I love how a monotone palette really accentuates the rich textures, and keeps this piece elegantly timeless. I chose The Plucky Knitter Bulky yarn for this design, and it's absolutely divine.

The book features several other hats that I adore. My friend, Annie Rowden, has a couple super-wearable designs in the book, Locality and Squall, that are definitely worth checking out. I also loved Robin Ulrich's Revolve hat design, featured on the cover.

Heres a link with my affiliate code attached. I hope you will pick up a copy! Any of the projects in this book would make a great handmade holiday gift, and though it's hard to believe, it's just about that time again!

Oct 23, 2016

The New York State Sheep and Wool Festival (nicknamed 'Rhinebeck' because of the location) is without a doubt the most inspiring event that I attend every year. This year, I had the pleasure of attending with four fellow designer friends, Melynda Bernardi (French Press Knits), Beatrice Perron Dahlen (Thread & Ladle), Annie Rowden (byannieclaire), and Andrea Mowery (Drearaeknits) with her adorable little sidekick -- pictured from right to left.

We shared an Airbnb house near the festival, and snapped this pic right before heading out. Everyone is wearing one of their own designs, and they were all so lovely!

I had a truly wonderful time walking around with these ladies and meeting people that previously I had only known from the Internet. We also spent a great deal of time sitting and knitting, which was really fun too. We swapped stories about our adventures in knitwear design and our lives on opposite corners of the country. It was really interesting to get a glimpse into their worlds. Though we all share the same profession, the way everyone works is so individual. I felt like it gave me a little perspective so I can appreciate my own situation in a different light. I often fear that having kids might compromise my knitwear design career and it's really held me back from starting a family, but seeing all these women thrive while caring for their small children encouraged me. I can see that it's very difficult, but not impossible. I was so inspired by these amazing women making it happen!

Though you might expect that my favorite part of Rhinebeck is the fabulous yarn shopping, you'd be wrong. No, what I really love is the people watching, or more specifically, the sweater watching. It's so fun to see all those proud knitters strut their stuff. One of the highlights for me was when I ran into Shanna (Foxedknits) wearing my Reine Cardigan design from Brooklyn Tweed Wool People Vol. 3. She did such a beautiful job—it really made my day! I practically tackled her when she walked by so I could get this picture.

Unfortunately I did not finish my own Rhinebeck sweater in time, but I didn't stress about it much because I have plenty of others to wear! In the picture above, I'm wearing the Tiber Cardigan from my Speckle and Stone collection. This is one of my all time favorites, so I was very glad to show it off a little. That unfinished sweater is nearly done now, so maybe it will make an appearance next year.

Here's a picture of my favorite goat I met at the festival. Sometimes when I need my bangs trimmed, I feel like this guy.