Friday, September 30, 2011

Let the pattern pimpfest begin!

It would be no surprise to anyone really, to hear that I seem to have misplaced my blogging mojo. I suspect the cleaning fairy took it. I wish she'd bring it back, I'd much rather write a blog post than dust the architraves.

I suspect she took it because I've been flat out with pattern development of late (between you and me, just a little bit too nutso flat out) and she took it to punish me for my lack of dusting around the house. She's not one of those nice fairies, this chickadee. She tends to hold grudges if certain household chores aren't done.  I thought she was supposed to do them if I don't but my cleaning fairy is a bit of a stubborn little beast and thinks it's her job to actually punish me.

I still haven't dusted the architraves, but I am going to attempt to regain my blog mojo. And what better way than a pattern pimpfest, because seriously with all this pattern development going on, there are quite a few patterns that have yet to be blogged..... it's a little embarrassing really. So where to start?

How about since we're doing a bit of blog Spring-cleaning, we start with a pattern for Spring.

My most recent pattern release is Jane.

I love Jane.  I love her simplicity. I love her clean lines. I love how easy and quick she is to knit. I love that she took under 200g to knit a size 6. aha.

The construction of Jane is quite unusual. I call her a raglan hybrid. I can honestly say I've never seen a pattern constructed in the same manner as this. That of course, doesn't mean there isn't one out there, though. It's big wide pattern world out there!

I knew when I was knitting the prototype exactly the sort of look I wanted but it took me a few tries to capture it exactly. I knit and ripped, and knit and ripped, each time trying something slightly different until I got it just right.

For me as a designer, *cough cough* (yes, I do find that funny!)  the tinkering is an important process. I like to play around with different elements of construction, I always have. I think I always will, because it can make the simplest look totally new and different.

And I think in the case of Jane, that's what works so well for this pattern. It's a simple style, but the construction process makes it an interesting knit. The combination of simplicity and newness, always works in my opinion.

So the all important specs on Jane:

She's sized from 12months to 12 years, so a 19 to 30" chest range.  I did consider grading this in smaller sizes, but I'm not so sure about open cardies on wee little ones.  A bit too easy for them to shrug off?

It's written for 8ply/dk weight yarn that knits up at a tension of 22 stitches and 28 rows in stocking stitch on 4mm needles.  The best yarn for Jane is one that has a lovely drape, a lighter DK weight or even a superwash works well.

The yarn I knit Lily's in is The Sanguine Gryphon FreeRange. This is a gorgeous organic yarn from the US which both drapes and wears beautifully. Unfortunately, it is being discontinued.

As with all my patterns, it is completely seamless.  The most difficult technique required is picking up stitches.

You can wear the cardie as is, open or thread a ribbon through the eyelets to secure it.

Like all my patterns it's available for purchase through my Ravelry store.  You don't need to be a member to pop over and purchase there.

At $6 for the pattern, I'm sure this is a pattern you will return to again and again for quick Spring knits.
I know I will.

I enjoyed this pattern development so much, I'm actually working on a pattern for adult sizes, a Lady Jane or Mrs Jane.  I am very very close to being finished and hopefully will be done on it by the end of the weekend. So all going well, pics next week.

for $6AUD.

So what do you think?

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Pippi Longstocking

I love a good literary dress-up day, no dress-up excites me more than one that is book themed. So I was pretty stoked to hear that Lily's school would be having a dress-up day to celebrate Book Week, and the children were encouraged to come dressed as their favourite book character.

I was even more pleased that Lily didn't choose a fairy character or one of the many princesses that have been Disneyified. No, she chose a classic book character. Pippi Longstocking.

Pippi Longstocking is one of our absolute favourite books to read. Our copy of Pippi Longstocking is the version that contains illustrations by Lauren Child. While the stories are still the same crazy and hilarious adventures, Pippi takes on a whole new look with Lauren Child's influence.  Gone is the patched dress and daggy hat. While the iconic striped socks are retained, our Pippi has a preference for floral dresses.

With this in mind we set about creating the perfect Pippi.

And I think we got it pretty right!

I love this Pippi outfit!  It's so much fun and has lots of impact for not a lot of effort.

When I took Lily to school so many people thought we must have got up so early to get this all done. nope. Easiest hairstyle I've done all year.

All you need is 6 pipe cleaners, (or chenille sticks as I think they're called now), 4 elastic bands, 2 ribbons and a can of red hair spray.

Tie hair in two low pigtails. Stick three pipe cleaners in each pigtail and using each pipe cleaner as the basis for each section, plait the pigtails. Tie them up. Spray head liberally with red hair spray (remember to cover face and clothes). Let dry and tie on some green ribbons.

The thing with the red hair spray is to make sure the can says water soluble. Don't be conned into purchasing the stuff from the $2 Shop either, not a good idea. We got ours from the Pharmacy, it's made by Zo and washed out super easy. No scalp staining either. Before I washed it out, I tested it by running a wet cotton bud down Lily's part and it came off so easily.

Add some extra freckles with a eye liner pencil.

Slip into a floral frock, pull on some stripey knee high socks and buckle up your school shoes; and Pippi is done!

If you're feeling extra adventurous find a toy monkey (Mr Nielson) and your favourite hobby horse, and trot on off to school!

She soooo loved being Pippi, so much so that she wore the outfit to bed complete with pigtails still in (we covered her pillow with a towel).... and all the next day too!!!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

zigging along

Literally, that's what it seems like I've been constantly doing of late; zigging one way and zagging the other with barely enough time to stop and breathe.

Why the madness?

Possibly because of a little case of over-extending myself with new patterns and testing.

As I type this, I have four patterns currently in testing, another two ready to go into testing and a quite a few more in various stages of productivity.  That's not to mention the ones that are desperately waiting to be cast on. I'm trying really hard to resist the urge to begin something new, because I know there's already too much going on.

Unfortunately though, that's often how I work best though. Grab an idea completely immerse myself in it and run with it is what seems to work for me.

I know, I know, I can take notes and draw sketches... but it's just not the same. And you know, there's nothing worse than when you've done that and have an awesome design sitting there on paper awaiting transformation... and then you see something similar pop up on Ravelry.


So anyway, in all this craziness I have released a couple of patterns of recent.

You might remember some pics of this little dude in his beanie from a few months ago.

My he still looks like a baby here! Not so now. When did that happen?

This is the ziggy beanie. A beanie for newborns to large adults.  You can knit one for everyone in the family pretty much. A fun seamless knit perfect for dk/8ply weight yarn.

The pattern also includes instructions for knitting a beanie to your exact sizing to get the perfect individual fit.

You can purchase this pattern individually or as part of the zig-zag e-book. A wee little book with five ziggity patterns in it. I'll tell you some more about the other one that has been released maybe tomorrow. I've been meaning to blog about its design process for sooo long it's not funny!!!

For more details just visit my Ravelry pattern store .
Pssst: you don't need to be a member of Rav either to visit the store now ;) cool hey!