In response to the popularity of my adult-sized Goat Herder Pullover, I’ve reworked the design in fingering weight yarn for baby and toddler sizes, and named it Junior Goat Herder Pullover.

Like the adult version, the body is worked in rounds from the hem to the armholes where wide ribs give way to a chevron pattern worked with twisted stitches (no cable needle necessary!). The upper back and front are worked separately in rows to the shoulders. Stitches are picked up around the armholes, the sleeve caps are shaped with short-rows, then the rest of the sleeves are worked in rounds down to the cuffs. There are no seams to sew!

The pattern is written for four sizes: About 17 1/2 (21, 24, 27)” (44.5 [53.5, 61, 68.5] cm) chest circumference to fit 3-6 (6-9, 9-12, 12-24) months.

I used Emma’s Yarns Practically Perfect Sock yarn (80% superwash Merino, 20% nylon; 400 yards (365 meters)/100 g) in the color Beach Please on size U.S. 2 (2.75 mm) needles at a gauge of 8 stitches and 10.5 rows/rounds per inch.

Use the code JUNIOR to receive 20% off the purchase price of the Junior Goat Herder Pullover on Ravelry through midnight Tuesday, September 17.

Join Norah Gaughan, Elizabeth Johnston, and me next April at my Knit For Fun Retreat in Savannah, Georgia!

We’ll stay at The DeSoto, which overlooks Madison Square in the heart of Savannah’s Historic District.

Check-in for the retreat will begin Thursday, April 23, followed by a welcome dinner. Classes will be offered Friday and Saturday, and the retreat will conclude with a farewell breakfast Sunday, April 26. As a departure from the normal Knit For Fun Retreat schedule, you’ll have more time in the evenings to explore the historic district, including a night to eat at one of the local restaurants.

As with all Knit for Fun Retreats, you’ll get one three-hour class with each of three first-class teachers, as well as lots of fun and surprises!

Norah will teach Knitting Two-Sided Cables; Twisted Stitches; Knitting With Linen; and Knitting A Patterned Yoke.

Elizabeth will teach Shetland Lace Tips and Tricks; Steeking; Fair Isle Cuffs, Ribs, and Trims; and Shetland Lace Shawls.

I’ll teach Intro to Sweater Design; Fixing Knitting Mistakes; Custom Socks At Any Gauge; and A Skirt For All Seasons.

Registration opens at 10:00am MST today!

Click here for details and to register.

 

 

Designed for my Fall 2019 Knit For Fun Retreat in Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada, The Mont Tremblant Cowl features cables and directional decreases in a diagonal pattern that makes me think of ski and snowboard trails in the snow.

The relatively simple pattern repeats over18 stitches and 6 rounds. The yarn, a delightful DK-weight blend of 90% superwash merino and 10% silk was specially dyed by Canadian dyer Julie Asselin in a colorway inspired by the blue water of Lac Tremblant and named Knit For Fun.

Both charted and written instructions are provided.

Use the code TREMBLANT to receive 20% off the Ravelry purchase price of Mont Tremblant Cowl between now and midnight Mountain Standard Time on Friday, August 30, 2019.

This summer I had the opportunity to visit Kraemer Yarns mill in the small town of Nazareth, Pennsylvania.  There, they accept bales of fleece, card it into roving, and spin it onto huge cones of beautiful yarn. After experiencing the heat and high noise levels first hand, I have enormous respect for mill workers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The yarn that’s sold in the on-site store is only a fraction of what Kraemer Textiles produces. The bulk of their business is custom spinning yarn for industry, including apparel, carpet, home furnishings, industrial, and craft. Perhaps the most notable of these is the yarn they produced for the unforgettable hats and sweaters that Ralph Lauren designed for the athletes in the 2014 Winter Olympics!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last spring when I taught at Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop and Fiber Emporium in Port Townsend, Washington, I picked up some handpainted unbrushed mohair by Colinton Australia.The yarn is 80% fine mohair and 20% silk. Each 50-gram skein has 250 yards (229 meters). Although it feels a bit rough in the skein, it blooms beautifully when washed.

I love the Bazaar Girls and all they do to support their town and community. I therefore figured that least I could do is design a sweater to help them sell the yarn. Apparently, they are the only shop that sells this fabulous yarn in the United States and there aren’t many patterns that specify it.

I’ve knitted a couple of swatches and have decided that I like the one that gets 5.5 stitches/inch best. I’m now going to refer to The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters for the template for a top-down set-in sleeve cardigan. At this point I thinking something light and airy.

If all goes well, I’ll have the completed sweater and pattern available for sale when I return to Port Townsend next March!

It seems as though it’s been a particularly hot summer this year. However, I got a 12-day break when my husband and I visited friends and family on the Olympic Penninsula of Washington state. I’m not one to take a lot of photos (I don’t like experiencing a vacation through the lens of a camera), but I did manage to get a few representative shots.

We spent a week in rental house on a hill outside of Sequim. The view from the front porch was spectacular when we arrived. Unfortunately, the clouds settled in and many of our subsequent “views” were revealed only on posted signs throughout Olympic National Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We spent several days exploring the Hoh Rain Forest where the trees loomed large and moss covered most every surface. With all the vegetation and low clouds, it was serenely peaceful and surreal. I highly recommend hiking a rainforest during a gentle rain. But keep your eyes open and be on the lookout for bears. We spotted a mother and cub just yards off the trail!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like a lot of the northern hemisphere, we’ve had our share of hot weather this summer.

With temps holding well above 90 F (33 C) into the evenings, it’s been hard for me to accomplish much of anything. My forearm sticks to my desk when I use my computer mouse, and more importantly, yarn doesn’t flow between my sweaty fingers when I knit. We don’t have air conditioning and the multiple fans running throughout the house don’t seem to help much.

Please share any tips you have for dealing with the heat!

In celebration of my niece’s baby (the first grandchild on my side of the family), I designed what I believe is my first knitted baby blanket. I named it Walker Baby Blanket, in honor of my side of the family. My hope is that this soft and squishy blanket will keep her little nugget warm and cozy in a stroller, car seat, or crib.

The blanket begins with a circular cast-on in the center, and then progresses outward in four sections of ever-widening stripes of moss stitch bounded by eyelet increases. It’s edged with garter-stitch stripes and finished with a decorative Channel Island bind-off.

 

This practical blanket is knitted out of machine-washable Knit One Crochet Too DungarEASE (60% cotton, 40% acrylic; 250 yards [228 meters]/100 grams) in Sand (gray), Chambray (blue), Cactus (green), and Buttercup (yellow) on size 8 (5 mm) needles for a gauge of 18 stitches per 4″ (10 cm).

To encourage the new parents to use the blanket, I added a fun “wear it out” tag that I purchased from Four Purls knit shop in Winter Haven, Florida, last fall.

Use the code BABY to get 20% off the purchase price of this pattern on Ravelry between now and midnight on Friday, July 26.

As many of you know, I’m somewhat obsessed with knitted skirts. There are currently 11 of them hanging in my closet, knitted from fingering, sport, DK, and worsted yarns. So far, I’ve uploaded patterns for six designs (Lacy Pleats, Putting On The Pleats, Putting On The Worsted Pleats, Take-Two Skirt, Tavia, Traveling Pleats, and Velvety Pleats) on Ravelry. There seems to be no end to the stitch patterns and yarns I want to try, which brings me to the topic of this post.

When I was teaching at a retreat hosted by The Bazaar Girls yarn shop in Port Townsend, Washington, this past March, I purchased a gradient kit from Schmutzerella Yarns. Talented owner and dyer Nancy Torrence has managed to dye gradients that circumvent the entire color wheel. A bit of a self-proclaimed geek, Nancy also has colors and gradients based on characters in Harry Potter and the board game Clue.

I was so enamored with the Sweet (fingering weight; 75% superwash merino, 25% nylon) gradient kit named Professor Plum’s Demise (six 20-gram/92-yard mini skeins that shift from purple to black) that I decided to knit yet another skirt, based on my basic Putting On The Pleats pattern (but I made the waistband only 1 1/2″ wide instead of 2″ as stated in the pattern). I used size U.S. 2 needles for a gauge of about 7.5 stitches/inch.

 

To ensure that I’d have enough yarn, I purchased two packs of the gradients (184 yards total of each shade) plus a 100-gram skein of basic black (colorway Nox) for the waistband and upper portion of the skirt.

Somewhere before the beginning of the pleats, when I had at least 7 grams of Nox remaining, I switched to the mini skeins, beginning with the darkest shade and grading to the pure purple. To soften the color transitions, I alternated one round each of the darkest mini skein with Nox until I had used up about one-third (about 60 yards/12 grams) of the darkest mini-skein color. Then I worked the mini skein alone for another one-third of the yardage (12 grams), then alternated one round each of that color with the next darkest shade until I finished the first mini-skein color. I continued in this manner, alternating one-third (about 12 grams) with the previous color, one-third (about 12 grams) alone, then one-third (about 12 grams) with the next color, ending with pure purple.

The result is a beautiful skirt with a subtle gradation from darkest at the waist to lightest at the hem. To ensure that the “pleats” stretched out fully, I used blocking wires to stretch the width aggressively when I wet-blocked the finished skirt.

If you’d like to knit a skirt for yourself, use the code SKIRT! to get 20% off the Ravelry price of Lacy Pleats, Putting On The Pleats, Putting On The Worsted Pleats, Take-Two Skirt, Traveling Pleats, and Velvety Pleats between now and midnight Friday July 12.

If you haven’t done so already, I urge you to listen to Fiber Nation, an in-depth podcast that goes beyond knitting. Sponsored by Interweave and hosted by my personal friend Allison Korleski, this professionally produced podcast is different from any other I’ve listened to. The podcast uses a storytelling format rather than a straight-up interview, and each episode is an intriguing visit with someone who is doing interesting and inspiring things in the fiber universe.

So far, there have been three roughly half-hour episodes. Here’s a recap:

Not What I Expected (March 20, 2019) 

From the khamak embroidery of Afghanistan to Mayan rug hookers in Guatemala, learn how women are changing their lives with creativity, courage, and old t-shirts. Publisher Linda Ligon (she was the founder of Interweave Press) takes us around the world with Thrums Books, and reflects on how the best intentions can sometimes backfire.

I first met Linda in 1989 when I took a job as an editorial assistant for Handwoven Magazine. She is one of the most amazing women I know and I credit her with launching my career as an editor, and later knitwear designer.

Country Life (April 12, 2019)

Say you start knitting, and get into yarn. Maybe you start spinning, and get obsessed with fiber. This is how an obsession with sheep might begin. Spin Off magazine editor Kate Larson just happens to have her own flock of sheep. In this episode, Kate walks us through animal husbandry, harvesting fiber, and the hard choices that sometimes come with ranching.

I’ve met Kate while on the teaching circuit. Sadly, I’ve never taken a class from this most engaging woman, but I’ve heard lots of good things and am even more impressed after listening to this podcast.

From Russia With Love (May 22, 2019)

Hand-drawn knitting charts are not normally the target of armed robbery. When you are starting a business in 1990’s Russia, however, anything goes. In this episode, you’ll meet Galina Khmeleva and hear a dual story: one about a 300-year-old knitting tradition, and another about the remarkable woman who helped preserve it.

I met Galina when she was working on her Gossamer Webs book back in the 1990s. I’ve spend many a delightful evening with her at various knitting events–that woman can tell a story! I also had the good fortune of having her teach for my 2016 Knit For Fun Retreat in Estes Park, Colorado.

I hope these words have piqued your interest. Go to Fiber Nation to listen to these and hopefully many, many more podcasts. Better yet, click here to subscribe to Fiber Nation on iTunes (click on “Listen on Apple Podcasts”, then click on “Subscribe” at the left of the page, under the Fiber Nation logo.