make. wear. love. west: pescadero

I want to help you create practical, beautiful things that you actually love to wear. The crazy happy sweater face grin you get when you complete a sweater you want to wear all the time? Literally one of the best things in the world. Until now, the focus of my efforts has been to help every knitter get a tailored, fitted sweater that gets worn immediately, and often.

There’s good reason for this! A well-fitting tailored garment feels amazing. It’s one of the most basic, classic things you can make with your hands. But it’s not the be-all, end-all of clothing.

It’s time to talk about the raglan.

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The name “raglan” comes from the the mid-18th century. When the Lord Raglan lost an arm in the Crimean war, his tailor made a simplified shirt construction to allow him better freedom of movement. This expanded range of movement (vs. a set-in sleeve) made raglans the darling of American sportswear – think baseball jerseys!

Compared to a tailored set-in sleeve, a raglan top has more fabric in the armholes and shoulder, so you can swing a bat or racquet, even when the shirt is made out of a woven fabric. Raglans are sporty and comfortable — you’ve probably got a bunch of them. Personally, I love a good raglan and wear them all the time.

And yet, many knitters have tried to make a raglan they loved, and failed. Why is that?

I think there are a couple of reasons. In my opinion, the first is that the most popular kind of raglan sweater right now is a top-down, seamless construction. This raglan is usually shaped using matched increases every other row until the full bust width is reached. Here’s one I made for myself several years ago:

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This way of forming the raglan is really limiting. You can’t adjust the sleeves and body independently, even though bodies vary a lot! That means this style of raglan works really really well for a very specific bust/shoulder/armhole combination, and it doesn’t work at all well for others.

Contrast that with a seamed raglan, where the sleeves and body are knitted separately, allows for different shaping rates on the different pieces. As long as the row counts match, you can change how often you decrease to match your body better. And this works for lots of different shoulder/armhole/bust combinations. Just as importantly, the seams provide added structure when the sweater needs it.

Here’s an example of a raglan of this type that I knit for myself close to 15 years ago. I still wear it regularly:

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Honestly, I wear a lot of raglans regularly. So when I was designing my own sweater of the make. wear. love. retreat: west coast collection, and thinking about what I wear on the beach, I knew it had to be a raglan.

Presenting, Pescadero:

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Pescadero is a bottom-up, in-pieces raglan with compound shaping.

The raglan shaping changes from armhole up to shoulder – sometimes it’s steeper, sometimes it’s shallower — to better match the body. It’s worked with back waist shaping only, to give it a relaxed, but not boxy, feel. The front has a small, allover lace pattern, and I just love the way it worked out.

It’s the single best sweatshirt-y sweater I’ve ever had, and I’ve knit myself a lot of sweaters.


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It’s made out of Indigodragonfly Wingenhooven, a lustrous fingering-weight blend of superwash merino, yak, and silk. I worked it up at 7.5 stitches to the inch, and the fabric is beyond amazing. It’s soft, has an incredible soft sheen, and has lovely drape thanks to the silk.

…which brings me to the number two reason that many knitters haven’t been happy with their raglans: The fabric.

Hand-knit fabric just isn’t like store-bought fabric.

It has structure, a mind of its own, and doesn’t conform well to the body. The heavier the yarn, and the more tightly it’s knit (which is necessary for well-wearing sweaters), the less any sweater is going to move with you and be comfortable.

With a properly-fitting set-in construction, this doesn’t matter. The garment anchors itself to your body well and your movement exercises the basic stretch that even hand-knit fabric has. No problems.

But with a raglan sweater, which by design isn’t anchored in the same way, it’s a different story. Heavy, stiff, hand-knit can feel uncomfortable, bunch, and otherwise keep you from the sweater of your dreams.

Working Pescadero in a drapey fingering weight yarn gave me a sweater fabric that breathes and moves with me. It’s a little scrunchy, a little fluid, and moves with me well.

So there you have it. My first raglan design, and a sweater that I love to wear – and that shows the best of what this construction can be. You can purchase it by buy now“>clicking here, or by downloading it in my Ravelry store, for $7.00.

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I’ll talk in later posts about how to choose a size and modify a raglan pattern. Until then, happy knitting! I look forward to seeing lots of great sporty sweaters in the future.

make. wear. love. west coast: the retreat designs

Each year, I create a design mini-collection for our fall retreat in Maine. Some of my favorite sweaters come from these little collections, and so when we decided to run our first west coast retreat, my brain immediately went to sweaters.

Drawing on my own knowledge of the Monterey Peninsula, which is both soaked in sunshine and often quite cool, I decided to create a collection of sweaters that would make great beach-wear.


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(From left to right: Spanish Bay, Sunset Drive, Pescadero.)

The actual release of these patterns will span two days, since Pescadero is a little different than what you’ve seen from me before! So for today, I’m going to start off with the two designs that are built directly into CustomFit: Spanish Bay and Sunset Drive.

Spanish Bay

Ask any knitter what sweater she prefers to wear in warm-again-cold-again weather, and a cardigan will top the list. And there’s lots of truth to those preferences!

Cardigans are easy to take on and off, forgiving in terms of fit, and flattering to all.

And I’ve personally always loved the slightly thicker, cotton store-bought cardigans that I wore on the beach, growing up. Spanish Bay is a nod to that nostalgia.

It’s made in Rowan’s Purelife Revive, which seems to have taken the place of the old Summer Tweed in their yarn line-up. I love this yarn. (For that matter, in terms of summer yarns in general? Rowan’s seriously got it going on.) It’s a lovely, heathered tweedy yarn made out of recycled cotton, silk, and viscose, so you get all of the nuance of color as from a traditional tweed… …but it’s smoother on the hands, less grabby when you knit with it, and all around a pleasure. I knit this sample in a week, and it wasn’t even a chore.

Spanish Bay is built right into CustomFit, so to get your very own, all you need to is fall in love with a yarn – we’ll craft the pattern numbers directly from your gauge. Want a little more detail? Check out Spanish Bay’s pattern page here, or on Ravelry.


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Sunset Drive

Contrary to popular opinion, pullovers make great warm-weather sweaters too! Though it’s absolutely helpful to knit them out of a lighter weight yarn. I’ve stayed away from fingering-weight designs, since I started pursuing a career in the fiber arts – the sad truth is that fingering patterns just don’t sell as well. But many of my pre-design-days sweaters are fingering and I love them all fiercely. Lucky for me (and hopefully you too), designing for CustomFit frees me up design-wise, in this way. As long as the design will look great in other weights as well, I can give fingering sweaters some time in the spotlight! And that’s good, because they deserve it.

You’ll never wear a hand-knit as comfortable as a fingering-weight sweater.

They’re light, they’re comfortable, and their fabric tends to be much, much closer to the kinds of fabric you can find in the store than that which we typically make with our hands. This means that the sweater will move against your body, and feel, more like a store-bought fabric. Except better, because now it fits you perfectly too! With this design, I went the tiniest bit funkier with my stitch patterning. I chose a shaping-on-the-back-only crew neck silhouette, with a super-wide lace panel on the (straight) front. I then added a lace panel on the roll-em-up sleeves, but only to a little bit above the elbow, giving some shape and style to this more relaxed silhouette. I love the result, and I hope you do too.

Thanks to a plethora of sock knitters in recent years, there are some stunning fingering-weight hand-dyes out there. I chose Anzula Squishy, in the Yarnover Truck-exclusive colorway “Minty Unicorn” (this sweater was for Lauren, after all, whose love of mint is well-documented). The tiny arrowhead lace pattern on this sweater is a snap to work, and looks great in Anzula’s wonderful colors.

Sunset Drive is also built right into CustomFit, so whether you’ll come along with me and knit fingering sweaters or not, it can still become your next favorite garment. (Did I mention Anzula also makes one of my favorite worsted-weight MCN blends?) For more detail as always, see either the Sunset Drive page here on my site, or within Ravelry.


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Pescadero

The final sweater in this collection, Pescadero, isn’t built into CustomFit yet. And there’s good reason for that — it’s very different than other sweaters you’ve seen me design so far. So I’ll be back later this week with more detail about Pescadero’s release, and a little bit behind why I created the sweater this way. Until then, have a close-up!

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The next summer sweater KAL is on its way, so get your needles ready – it’s time for warmer-weather knits!

(One final note: Jackie and Amy will be traveling to the TNNA summer show this weekend, so if you’re there, stop by booth #1215 to say hi!)

KWL Sweater Profile: The Pullover

A sweater you’ve made yourself that also happens to be spectacular clothing is knitting nirvana.

But when looking at the latest pattern magazine or collection, it can be really hard to separate the aspirational (I want to be in that place, wearing that sweater!) from the practical (what will I wear with that?). Navigating our (often emotional, or sub-conscious) reactions to a pattern photo and helping knitters create garments that slip seamlessly into their daily life was my primary motivation for writing Knit Wear Love.

The book is centered around 8 “meta-patterns”: Pullover, Cardigan, Vest, Cowl, Wrap, Tunic, Tank, Bolero. Once the silhouette is identified, you can focus on making a sweater that’s truly your style – not in the fashion magazine way, but in the “what do I actually like to wear” way.

Each meta-pattern is written for three gauges, with two different style options (each of which work with all of the gauges) – so you can choose your own yarn, your own style, and get a sweater you really want to wear. I showed three very different samples for each silhouette in the book, to start to excite your imagination.

This is the inaugural post in a series of in-depth looks at each meta-pattern. For each, I’ll share the three samples and styles, talk a little bit about the silhouette itself and what materials can make it shine (or definitely will not work), and do a candid shot of how I’d personally style the sweater.

To start us off:

The Pullover.


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For me personally, pullovers are the quintessential sweater. They’re warm, they’re incredibly versatile… …and I feel like for many knitters, they’re pretty intimidating to knit. I’d like to help change that.

The KWL Pullovers

I wanted to start the book off by showing three radically different interpretations of the same meta-pattern:

  • A clean and even a little preppy pullover – the classic style seemed a good fit;
  • An edgier, brighter garment – modern geometric color patterning and an asymmetrical neckline fit the bill;
  • A softer interpretation – I had a ruffled romantic shirt in college, and built the design around that neck detail.

And yes – all of these pullovers were made from the same pattern. But you could, of course go further – love the texture of the classic, but live in a warm climate? I think it would look great in a fingering-weight wool cotton blend. Like the look of the neckline and lace of the romantic version, but hate the ruffle? Leave it off and make the piece more modern in an aran-weight wool. We’re working the modern pullover we’re making for our hand-crafted garment exchange in a super-crisp silk.

Or depart from these samples even more, while keeping the numbers the same – imagine how the v-neck pullover (sans ruffle) would look in a crunchy fingering-weight linen, or the crew-neck pullover in something soft and fuzzy. It’s all up to you.

Pullover Tips & Tricks

Whatever pullover you’re making, I have just a few tips to ensure yours will be a huge success:

  • Make your first pullover a layering piece. The pullover-as-shirt is really tempting, but also the riskiest sort of sweater. If you’re new to pullovers, try a more relaxed layering piece instead. You’re less likely to notice small fit issues (and even if you do notice them, they’ll be less troublesome!).
  • Get up close & personal with your swatch. Your swatch is your chance to tell how that sweater is going to wear in real-life. Play around with it, stick it in a pocket for a few days. Bring it into your closet and use it to select specific pieces you’ll wear with the pullover.
  • Sanity-check the details. Do you like the neckline, or want to drop it? Is the sleeve length something you wear all the time, or does it tend to drive you batty? Details like necklines and sleeves are easy to change… once you figure out that you should.

Amy’s Fave

I have to say, pullovers are my favorite sweaters. I find them to be great layering pieces, and less fussy to wear than cardigans – no button bands to fuss with, no bits of the sweater flapping around with the breeze. Out of the three samples I made for the book, the modern is by far the best match to my own personal style.

I pair it with clothing differently, since my own style is a little more casual and sporty than we wanted for the book. Today, I wore it with a simple jean skirt, some chunky jewelry, and a pair of Converse:

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How about you – what are your feelings on pullovers? Do you have a favorite? If so, what’s it made from?

As always, happy knitting!

MWL Fall 2015 – Registration Closed!

 

 

 

Update: Registration is now closed. We’re happy to add you to the wait list! Folks always drop out at the last minute, and there’s a good chance we’ll be able to take you closer to the date. If you’d like to be on the wait list, please email hello@makewearlove.com.

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Happy Monday, everyone, and thanks for reading! We hope your week is full of relaxing times and lovely yarn.

We’re pleased to say that registration for the make. wear. love retreat: fall 2015 is now open.

Please click here to register. You’ll go to a Google form you can use to register. The information we’d like is pretty straightforward – contact info, class preferences, and a little bit about your knitting skills. (Want another glance at the class descriptions? Here’s the brochure!)

The only major change from prior years is the materials fee section, if you’re taking one of the dyeing classes. But don’t worry, all the information you need is in the registration form!

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As a reminder, we’ll be in touch in a week or so with confirmation either of attendance (in which case your $250 deposit will be due shortly thereafter) or of wait-list (in which case don’t despair, as spots definitely do tend to open up).

Happy knitting!

Amy, Jackie, & Lauren

Knitter’s Toolbox: For more than just sweaters

Hi everyone! Just a quick post today before I head off to pack the car for my weekend teaching gig. If you’re going to be in or near Kent, come on by! At the same time as the retreat registration opens on Monday, 12pm EST, I’ll be chatting with Beth Moriarty of Planet Purl about Knit Wear Love, and other things. But don’t fret if you can’t make it – the show will be on YouTube, too!

I’m so grateful for the lovely response that has greeted Knitter’s Toolbox, and thank you all for your kind messages and comments about it. I wanted to follow up on our initial post on the app with a little more detail.

It’s a well-kept secret that I knit things other than sweaters.

But I do! We live in a fairly chilly place, and have a moral objection to turning the heat up too high. So I knit indoor caps for the husband, and hand-knit socks and sweaters for the boys, and wraps and fingerless mitts to keep myself warm.

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And I knit for babies, of course. (Who doesn’t knit for babies?) Here’s the yarn that I’m going to use to make Jackie’s new baby Eleanor a summer sweater:

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…but somehow I don’t really blog about this stuff anymore. So someone could be forgiven in thinking that Knitter’s Toolbox was designed primarily for use with sweaters. Nothing could be further from the truth! (Actually, I do envision a sweater-focused version of the app in the future – something with dart and neckline calculations, sleeve cap generators, and such…)

So today, before we all head out into a glorious weekend, I want to talk a little bit about how I hope it will be useful in your knitting life – beyond sweaters.

Buttonhole spacer

Okay, you’ve got me. Mostly, buttons happen on sweaters. But they happen on all sweaters – even those adorable baby ones we churn out the second someone we know is expecting. And I don’t know anybody who truly picks up the number of stitches specified in the pattern, every time.

But occasionally, something else does come along with buttons – buttoned cowls come to mind – or buttoned mitts, or a hat. Or maybe you’re improvising something on your own!

Gauge widget

This handy little gadget is good for everything.

  • Know your gauge in your favorite sock yarn, and want to use it to make a hat? Measure your recipient’s head, subtract 10% or so, and put your gauge and the desired length into the widget. We’ll tell you your cast-on!
  • Know how many stitches your repeat needs for a lace scarf, and how wide you’d like it to be? Put your count and dimension into the widget, and we’ll give you your target gauge.
  • Are you more of a wing-it knitter, and chose your gauge and stitch count to please yourself and the patterning you’re doing on that funky pair of socks? We’ll tell you the circumference of the sock, and you can chose whose feet they’re for. :)

Shaping placer

I do, personally, tend to use this guy more for sweaters – changing a sleeve from long to short (or vice-versa), making a V-neck deeper than the one specified in the pattern, altering the shaping on a baby wrap sweater to account for an infant’s long body – but that says more about me than the calculator, I think! It can be used to help space shaping rows wherever you need to increase or decrease – be it on a shawl or shawlette, a shaped funky scarf, or for the top of a mitten.

Pickup calculator

It’s true, most button bands need you to pick up stitches along their edges. But I’m likely to find this most useful when I’m putting an edging on something else – a scarf, stole, or blanket, for example. Or if I got funky and did a log cabin blanket in differently-sized yarns. Or adding a chunky lace trim to a shrug that was knit in a floaty sport-weight. Or… well. You get the idea.

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(My weekend, in wool.)

Whatever you’re knitting, I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll see you all bright and early on Monday. Happy knitting!

make. wear. love. retreat: third annual east-coast edition

I’m so excited that the time has finally come for us to talk fall retreat. Knowing that we had lovely mid-coast Maine to look forward to definitely helped make re-entry after leaving Asilomar a little less harsh!

This will be our third annual make. wear. love. retreat in Maine, and we feel like the luckiest people in the world. We can’t wait to spend the weekend in Sebasco’s lovely surroundings again, welcoming new faces and reconnecting with old. Steeping ourselves in the best our craft has to offer.

These retreats are an oasis in time, not only for the attendees, but for us as well. It’s tough to describe the magic that happens each time as we let the rest of the world go and immerse ourselves in our people – but magic it is.


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The make. wear. love. retreats are about learning, and trying new things, and having inspiring new ideas. They’re about connecting with other knitters, soaking in the beautiful sunshine and ocean breezes, and having tons of fun in the most gorgeous place on earth:

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We hope you’ll join us at the third annual make. wear. love retreat: east coast edition. We’ll congregate in mid-coast Maine on October 1 – 4, 2015, at the Sebasco Harbor Resort. For more detailed information, please click here to download the brochure.

The festivities will begin with an evening nosh-and-welcome reception on Thursday evening. The rest of your time will be a combination of full-day and shorter classes, lectures, evening events, a fantastic marketplace… …and of course, quiet downtime to knit with friends old and new.

We’re changing up the learning format a little bit this year! We know that you like both in-depth learning and time to sit an knit in gorgeous surroundings. So this fall we’re extending the schedule through Sunday evening, and offering a mix of one full-day session and three shorter classes. We’re very lucky to have four special teachers joining me to be your knitting guides for the weekend:


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(Me, Courtney Kelley and Kate Gagnon Osborn of Kelbourne Woolens, Fiona Ellis, and Kim McBrien Evans.)
 

The setting is stunning, and intimate. There will be great food, great people, and all of the best kinds of learning.

 

Excited yet? We are! Fiona, Kim, Courtney, and Kate represent an incredible powerhouse of knitting information and are wonderful teachers, all. (Not to mention the fact that they’re awesome people and fantastic to spend a weekend with.) We’ve made the curriculum engaging but not exhausting – in addition to more traditional classes, you’ll participate in lectures, evening festivities, and get an intimate, conversation-filled weekend with our wonderful instructors. You’ll get access to a carefully-curated marketplace and special retreat designs. All against a backdrop of one of the most gorgeous places on earth.

For more specifics, get the brochure! Here’s a quick timeline for registration:

  • Registration will open at 12pm Eastern on Monday, May 18. We’ll link to a google form here on the blog. At that time, you’ll need to give us basic information like your name and email, tell us which classes you’d most like to take, and tell us a little bit about your knitting skill level.
  • Attendance confirmation, class assignments, and schedule will be sent by Wednesday, May 27. A non-refundable deposit of $250 will be due at this time (we’ll send you a Paypal invoice when we send your confirmation).
  • In mid-June, we’ll finalize the remaining details of your retreat weekend. Your balance will be due on June 30.

We hope you can join us. We can’t wait to pull up a chair next to you, breathe in the ocean air, and dive into all things sweater.

A breather

Well hello there! It’s nice to see you again.

I travel a lot — mostly to events where I get to teach knitters about sweaters. (Related: I love my job.)

I enjoy the travel, and I have a pretty good system for it at this point! But somehow, the coming home part is much harder than the traveling part. When I returned from our west coast retreat last week, jet-lag from three cross-country trips in three weeks hit. It sometimes takes me a few days to figure out what time zone it is! I woke up on Saturday morning wondering where I was and how I got there.

My camera was unfortunately under-used while we were in Monterey, but the event itself was utterly magical. The setting helped, of course:

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And Asilomar itself is stunning, too – this was our main meeting hall:

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But more than the beautiful views around us, the knitters were the truly magical piece. 90 avid, curious, engaged, interested, happy knitters. We had three incredibly amazing instructors, and a perfect mix of formal and more-relaxed learning times. Magical. I have no other word for it.

I wish every day was filled with such celebration of our craft.

(Want to see more candids of the retreat experience? Check these out!.)

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And now I’m home! And I’m slowly catching up on everything I couldn’t get to during the last month while I’ve been away.

I have lots to share with you this week! More about Knitter’s Toolbox, the brochure & registration details for the fall make, wear, love retreat in Maine, and at least three new designs. I’ve also got some in-depth posts on the silhouettes I explored in Knit Wear Love on deck, and some teasers for the next book, which I’ve just started writing.

But just for the moment, let me share something non-knitting. A breather, if you will.

When we bought our first home, a condo back in Boston, we got the advice: “Purchase the ugliest house in the nicest neighborhood you can afford.” That went really well for us the first time, so when we moved last summer we did it again.

The bones of our house and yard are great… …and it was all pretty ugly when we moved in, honestly. I spent all non-working hours last summer painting the interior, and this year it was the yard’s turn. Until now, we’ve had a single (dying) tree and 50 plain green hostas. Back in March, when I thought I just couldn’t take another snow storm, I spent my whole life a little bit of time on nursery websites, ordering plants to ship after danger of last frost.

They were all waiting for me when I got home from my travel, and I spent the weekend getting good and dirty. And now we have this:


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And I couldn’t be happier. We all need a bit of a breather now and again, right?

What did you spend your weekend doing?

Cardipalooza pattern update: Mine Hill Cardigan

Welcome from the west coast! I’m writing this from lovely Pacific Grove CA, at the make wear love: west coast retreat. I have a new sweater for you today, but before I share it, I wanted to address your questions about when/if the Knitter’s Toolbox app will be available on Android devices.

I’m thrilled so many of you are excited for the Android version – and it has definitely been our plan from the very start to make one! We’re too small a team to develop multiple products at the same time, though. And while there are apps that are available on both platforms, behind the scenes two teams were working in parallel to create identical-looking, but totally different, versions of the same thing. (Think of it this way: One is built with Legos, the other with K’nex.) Since CustomFit has also languished during app development time, we’ve got some things to do there before we dive into Android.

We are so small – taken all together, the 3 of us who do development don’t add up to a full-time person – so I can’t promise a specific timeline, but we will release the Android version as soon as we can. If anyone wants more information, I gave a lot more detail in my answers to the comments.

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And now, without further ado, the results of some of my Cardipalooza knitting and a brand-new sweater!

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The Mine Hill Cardigan was my first Cardipalooza inspiration, and I’m so excited to be wearing it this season. It’s made out of, and centered around, one of my favorite lines of yarn: the merino – cashmere – silk yarns from Spirit Trail Fiberworks. Jennifer has an incredible way with color, and this one – Chimney Swift – stands to become one of my all-time favorites. Tons of different greens, from lighter to dusky, make a fabric that looks near-solid when you step back a few feet, but gets deliciously complex the closer your are.

This blend, which is offered in weights from lace to worsted, produces everything I love in clothing. The knitted fabric has heft, drape, fluidity, and an incredible sheen. I’ve been itching to get another sweater in the Birte since I released Alta, and this one couldn’t be more my style.

You can read more about the design specifics, and create your own Mine Hill, here on CustomFit. In this post, I wanted to talk about why I love to wear this design so much.

Before I started working in fiber arts full time, I was in a full-on, fairly formal, corporate environment. I mostly wore suits, or suiting separates, and though I tried to mix things up a little here and there, I was honestly pretty limited in what I felt comfortable doing.

I wondered, because I think about clothes more than is maybe healthy, how my style would change with this next phase of my career. My best guess was that I’d stay on the dressier side of things, but up the modern, funky, unusual aspects of my wardrobe.

That’s not what has happened.

You’re maybe expecting me to say that I work in my pajamas all the time, but that’s not what has happened either! Instead, left unconstrained, my style is becoming a very solid mix of casual and sporty. I’m not a yoga pants person (unless I’m doing yoga), but I do tend toward clothes that support the odd blend of work and life that I’m living these days.

My ability to go from meeting to kid-racing to cooking dinner to knitting on the couch is paramount, and it’s important to me to feel put together. So I seek out clothes that are hard-wearing, flexible, and comfortable, while still retaining some bit of interest or polish.

Mine Hill has fit right in.

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The low-hip length is incredibly versatile – good for standing or sitting or crouching down to mess around in the garden. The pockets are patch pockets, to make them as strong as knit pockets can be. The fronts are wide enough to overlap, and the trim scrunches beautifully and softly against my neck. On a chilly evening walk, I can shawl-pin it closed.

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It goes well with all of my jeans, 3 or 4 of my skirts, and half a dozen tops of different weights. It matches my favorite sassy shoes, my workhorse boots, and those Birkenstocks I’m lusting after this summer.

It’s everything I love about spring sweaters, in one silky package.

I hope you like it too. You can make one through CustomFit, in whichever weight of Jennifer’s MCS bases you like, and get a sweater that looks just like this one – in your gauge, for your body. Mine Hill was designed to look great in any weight yarn.


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Cardipalooza goes through May 31st, so there’s still time to make your own and join the fun. (This is the second cardi I’ve finished this Cardipalooza, and I’m set to finish at least 2 more before the KAL closes.)

Enjoy your weekend, and we’ll see you on the flip side!

Knitter’s Toolbox: Now Available

Thanks to all of you, so much, for your lovely comments and questions about our preview of Knitter’s Toolbox. I’m now very very excited to share that it’s available in the iTunes App Store for just $4.99:

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I hope you’re as excited as we are! We’ll be releasing videos on how to use Knitter’s Toolbox to simplify your knitting life over the next couple of weeks, but today I thought I’d just share some quotes from the people who have had preview access to the app:

“This app simplifies everyday knitting calculations. Saves tons of time manually calculating buttonhole placement and number of stitches to pick up. The shaping calculator is my favorite. I find I often have to adjust the sleeves of sweaters I knit. The shaping calculator makes it so much faster. I enter the number of stitches I want at the wrist, the number of stitches I want at the armhole, and the number of rows in my sleeve and the app calculates the spacing of all of my sleeve increases. So much faster than using an ordinary calculator. Since it calculates both increases or decreases, it will also be amazing for calculating waist shaping. I am very happy to have this handy tool in my pocket!” –Kelly

“Great app! 4 calculators in one is crazy valuable.” –Hannah

“Such a beautiful and handy app to have at my fingertips! I love to knit and this app lets me spend more time doing just that: knitting instead of doing knitting math. The buttonhole spacer takes all my second guessing about button placement away. Perfect buttonhole placement every time. The shaping calculator lets me make sweater mods confidently on the fly and even helps me check my math on new design ideas. Also use it to calculate gauge or how many stitches to pick up for perfect edges.” –Kim

“The app is great. The buttonhole calculator is very handy! And everything works like a charm.” –Kirsten

Really, no matter what kind of project you’re working on, Knitter’s Toolbox can help.

So tell us: Which calculator will you use most often?

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Coming Soon, to an App Store near you

This weekend, I’m teaching at Vogue Knitting Live Pasadena (will I see you here?). So I’ve traded my barely-there crocuses and thinking-about-budding trees for the relatively lush Southern California landscape.

These teaching weekends are wonderful and frenetic and jam-packed. And some of the best things I’ve done have been born from spending a few hours getting personal with a couple dozen knitters. It’s especially wonderful to be able to get a sense of where knitters get hung up – their descriptions of that point where they just decided to give up, and knit something else. Or put down their knitting entirely.

As some of you may know, but many probably don’t, before I quit my day job to launch and run this small business, I worked in tech for more than 15 years.

…Actually, I should say I worked only in tech for that time, pursuing knitting as an ever-growing hobby and then side business. Because in this new phase of my life, I get to combine those passions. I still work in tech – CustomFit makes us a small tech company, even if we don’t look like one in some ways – but the blending of my passion for knitting and my understanding of what can be solved with computers is more personally rewarding than anything else I’ve done.

Into every knitter’s life, a little math must fall.

It’s a fact, even if you’re knitting a scarf or baby blanket. And even if math doesn’t make you shudder, your hobby isn’t math, it’s knitting.

As someone who has been solving problems with computers for decades, it gives me great pleasure to be able to take some of the pencil-and-paper out of that math, and help knitters spend more time knitting, and less time calculating.

Soon, in the Apple App Store**, you’ll be able to get another tool in that arsenal:

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The Knitter’s Toolbox is exactly what the picture says – an app we’ve written that contains four super-useful, general-purpose knitting calculators:

  • A buttonhole spacer, which will space a number of buttons easily over a number of stitches;
  • A multi-purpose gauge widget, which will take any two of the following, and tell you what the third must be: row/stitch gauge, row/stitch count, and length;
  • A shaping placer, which will tell you how you must space your increases or decreases to get as smooth a line of shaping as possible while keeping the number of “even” rows the same;
  • A pick-up calculator, which will tell you not only the total number of stitches to pick up along a vertical edge, but what that translates into as a ratio.

Want to see it in action? I made a short video:

Naturally, I’m crazy excited about this. I hope you will be too. Over the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing some videos on how to use Knitter’s Toolbox to make your knitting life easier, and we’ll definitely let you know when release date comes, too!

**(In the interest of transparency: Yes, for the moment the app will only be available on Apple devices. We absolutely plan to make an Android version too – it just isn’t as simple as clicking a “make it available everywhere!” button. We’ll need to rewrite the whole thing from scratch to support Android. It’s in our plans, but since we’re a one-developer shop, and CustomFit will need a little attention first, I can’t promise a specific timeline yet.)

But I felt like VKL was the perfect weekend to let you know about it, since the app grew directly out of me being able to sit with knitters, and ask them about their least favorite parts of knitting.

Happy weekend to you & yours!

–Amy