Surreal, in two flavors

Squam was every bit as magical as I had imagined.


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It was so glorious, everything felt a little surreal. We breathed deep, and sank into peace, quiet, and the presence of fellow makers. My students were amazing, and the whole weekend was such a lovely island in time.

And then it was back to a totally different extreme. Life got surreal in its frenzy, with the last day of school and all that comes with prepping for a big move and oh my god the movers canceled and let’s hire more and did you get the teacher’s notes and when’s the closing again? and have to pack and have to pack and have to pack and WHERE’S THAT YARN I NEED THAT YARN and oh man the car just died and hey look, another home-all-day-day let’s go to the museum!


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(The boys say hi.)

And there’s a little something else going on, too.

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And through it all, because I don’t want to kill anyone, there’s been knitting.

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So that’s what’s happening here. How about in your neck of the woods?

CustomFit and Design: Recipes

Partially- and fully-finished sweaters are piling up, yarn is crammed into and onto every available surface, and people coming into my office generally back out again, slowly and making eye contact the whole way.

(Translation: We’re nearing photoshoot time for the next book. Want some sneak peeks?)


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But before I dive back into my wool and head out to Natural Stitches and the Three Rivers knitting guild, I wanted to take a few minutes and talk about CustomFit recipes, which I think win the (dubious) award for being the single most confusing thing about CustomFit.

For those of you who haven’t had time to play around with the sweater generator yet, right now CustomFit offers you two basic ways to get a sweater. I’ve created six simple designs, which I think of as “Classics”. These are a few of the most beloved sweater shapes in fashion:

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For these designs, the only choice you need to make is which of our “fits” you’d like the sweater to be. Easy-peasy.

The other way to create a sweater is to step through our custom sweater wizard:

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(Here’s a one-page image of all of the options that are in the custom sweater wizard. You can mix and match however you like.)

These choices give you a ton of options – they essentially let you decide what you want to wear, and then create a pattern for your perfect sweater from scratch.

But many knitters don’t want to create a sweater in their head – they want to create a specific design they’ve seen in a photo.

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(Let’s use Tucci as an example.)

Right now, CustomFit produces what I’ve come to think of as “sweater blanks”. A sweater pattern that will produce a perfectly-fitting garment, in your gauge… …but a fairly “clean slate” one.

Design takes a particular “sweater blank” and adds what I like to think of as “bling” – stitch patterns, putting this together with that, etc. A crew-neck cardigan with long, tapered sleeves becomes Tucci with the addition of the stripe sequence, blanket stitch, and collar:

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CustomFit Recipes are short sets of instructions that help you use CustomFit to get a sweater that looks like a design.

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To continue the example: For Tucci, pictured above, the recipe tells you:

  • Which choices to make in the custom sweater wizard to get that “sweater blank”,
  • The stripe pattern, and where to place it,
  • Collar instructions, and
  • Instructions for the blanket stitch trim.

Make sense?

I’ve now released recipes for most of my self-published designs. You can find them all here, in my Ravelry store. (A dedicated recipe page here on this site is in the works, too.) They’re inexpensive, because you will still need to purchase a CustomFit pattern to get complete instructions. But they’re not free, because I want to make a clear statement that the design part of designing is a valuable thing to do, and I want the other designers who are releasing CustomFit recipes to be able to feel good about charging for them.

(Yes, you caught that right! Other people are also working on CustomFit recipes – so exciting! Once they are out in the world, we’ll be sure to tell you all about them and we’ll have a prominent page on the CustomFit site itself, listing them all.)

Pattern purchase choices break down like this:

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or

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I hope this post clears up some of the confusion? If not, please ask any questions you have in the comments and I’ll definitely clarify. Thanks for reading, and see you on the flip side of PA!

–Amy

Incoming

Happy New Year to you and yours! I’m really excited about 2014. 2013 was such a tumultuous year for our family, one of such massive change. Through it all, I managed to knit rather a lot of sweaters. And now after a lovely few weeks focusing on family and soaking up the time with my kids, we’re all ready to get back to “normal life”.

Of course, I’m sure there are changes lurking in the coming months, too, but for the moment it feels great to just pause, know the shape of the next few months, and dive into a wonderful, woolly pile of work. I love the New Year holiday every year for this reason: Somehow, I always start the year in a place of optimism, hope, and a readiness to dive in.

Naturally, I have a lot of travel coming up. Want to find me? I’ll be here over the next couple of months:

  • Jan 9-14: Winter TNNA show in lovely San Diego (which I will probably not see even a little bit of, so don’t get too jealous!)
  • Jan 16-20: Vogue Knitting Live, NYC
  • Jan 31-Feb 2:The Studio Knitting Retreat
  • Feb 19-24: STITCHES West – we’ll have a CustomFit booth in the marketplace!
  • Feb 28 – March 2: Classes TBA at Windy Knitty in Chicago
  • March 13 – 16: Vogue Knitting Live, Seattle
  • March 23: Stitch House, Dorchester
  • March 31: Iron Horse, Natick
  • April 10-13: STITCHES South – I’m the keynote speaker and will teach all weekend. Hope to see you!
  • April 30 – May 4: TNNA Summer show in Indianapolis
  • May 16-18: AR Fiber Festival
  • June 5-8: Squam!!!

And if you’re going to be any of these places, I’d love to see you. The next book is full-steam-ahead right now, too. Which is exciting in its own chaotic, inspiring, messy way.

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(Ever wonder what a book looks like, mid-way through? There you go!)

Normally, this would make for a pretty crazy couple of months and you’d see me again in May…

…but I’m going to try to avoid a repeat of last fall and spend more time doing things that recharge my batteries and my creativity. I expect more knitting, more time soaking up great conversations with friends, and more time here on the blog. I’ve missed you all.

One of the by-products of this is that I’m likely to change my pattern releases to be more collection-based rather than one at a time. I think there’s something exciting about the promise of a group of sweaters, and I’m excited to share the first set with you. I think it makes sense to do the same thing with CustomFit Recipe releases. For future sweater collections, there will be an option for a “Recipe collection” at the same time.

In addition, lots of prople have asked about recipes for my previously-published patterns. I’m in the process of creating those now, and will be releasing them in in collections of five pattern “recipes” each.

There will be three sets:

  • Collection 1: Adelina, Ayana, Beacon Hill, Nantasket (both options), Newtowne.
  • Collection 2: Aislinn, Arm Candy, Caulfield (both options), Petrea, Seamair.
  • Collection 3: Alight, Alta, Sebasco, Trimmings (both options), Wintry Mix.
  • The Sebasco Collection will also be available as a recipe collection.

The first is ready for you, and I’m excited to share it!

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Please note that this collection is for CustomFit recipes ONLY. You will not get complete pattern instructions, and when you knit the sweaters an additional CustomFit pattern purchase will be required. On the up-side, the recipes give you instructions for creating these sweaters in your gauge, for your body, with no math required.

I hope you like the idea! You can find the e-book in my Ravelry store, and I can’t wait to share a whole new year of sweaters with you.

It happened again.

Yarn exploded all over my teeny little office. I pored over samples, sketched for hours, dreamed of color and texture and fabric.

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And very soon, my needles will be flying faster than ever.

In other words: I started another book.

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(I’m headed off to the fantabulous Knitter’s Review Retreat this weekend, where I’m very honored to be one of the teachers. Jackie and I will also be helping people with measurements and accounts for CustomFit at the marketplace; if you’re coming, bring a swatch or three and your questions!)

So many sweaters! So many winners!

Thank you all for your very kind email messages and comments on my last post. I appreciate every one. Today, we have happier news–first, the winners of the online release giveaways! Always very exciting.

  • The Draper cardigan goes to Carol, who said “My must have is at least elbow length or 3/4 length sleeves (or long sleeves that can be squished up) in a really great yarn. I want it to fit great, thus the interest in the book and not have to continually feel like I need to pull it into place where it should be on my body! I think this sounds like Draper Cardigan—after I’ve done my homework in the Craftsy class!”.
  • The Classic Pullover goes to TK, who said: “I tend to favor cardigans with buttons, so I guess buttons are the must-have for my favorite sweaters. Of the sweaters above, my favorite is the Classic Pullover.”
  • Finally, Andie’s Cardigan goes to Bridie, who said “My must have is it needs to look good layered – cardigan’s are great for that but also the neckline on any of them often determines whether it will look good layered… I would love the yarn for Andie’s cardigan.”

Congratulations, everyone! And I hope everyone is enjoying the stops on the blog tour as much as I am. It’s so wonderful to see the way different aspects of the book, and different projects, pull at different people.

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Next: I am honored to have two designs included in the latest issue of the wonderful Twist Collective. I’ll do full posts on each of them, but here are some quick peeks. First, Cayley:

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This is a super-sweet cardigan, perfect for spring with longer sleeves and an open stitch pattern. I found the little vintage buttons in a lovely yarn shop while traveling last year, aren’t they great?

And I also designed Lilium:

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Lilium is exactly the kind of thing I throw on all of the time and I’m constantly searching the stores for. Easy, classic, wearable–and the cables and lace keep it interesting to knit, too. I’m looking forward to showing you sketch-to-release posts for them both!

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Finally, of course I’ve been knitting too. Want a peek?

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It’s almost ready!

Trips, and blog tours, and heartbreak

This post was meant to go live yesterday, but I just couldn’t make myself hit “Publish”. Yesterday’s terrible, terrible events left me too heartsick, too helpless, and ultimately in no place to share any details about my trip to NYC or the wonderful things supporting the book. My heart and well-wishes are with the victims and their families. Our family was, by chance, traveling back home yesterday, but Patriot’s Day and the marathon are typically yearly fixtures for me, as they are for many Bostonians. We’re reeling.

I’m still not in a great place, frankly–there is going to be a lot of hugging and knitting around here today–but I can’t wait to post any longer, because there is blog tour going on for the book and I hope that some of you can follow along.

I kicked it off yesterday at Rock and Purl by doing a guest post. I was excited to do so, because I admire the clean lines of Ruth’s designs and follow her work eagerly. Today, Julia Trice reviews the book on her blog. Each stop on the blog tour includes a giveaway, so please follow along (and perhaps find a great blog you may have missed before!) and share your thoughts and great sweater plans. Here’s the full list:

Monday, April 15: Rock and Purl
Tuesday, April 16: Mind of Winter
Wednesday, April 17: Mary Jane Mucklestone
Thursday, April 18: Moth Heaven
Friday, April 19: Baby Cocktails
Saturday, April 20: Knitting At Large
Sunday, April 21: ADD Knitter
Monday, April 22: Savory Knitting
Tuesday, April 23: Carole Knits

Hope to see you all around the tour in the coming week and a half. And here’s a bit of a peek at some of my NYC accomplishments, to liven up this sober morning:

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May you and yours be well today. Thank you for reading.

La Grande Pomme

I’m leaving today for a fabulous weekend in the Big Apple, full of lectures and book signings and classes and amazing food. Won’t you join me at one of the events?

  • Tonight, April 11, Lion Brand Yarn Studio. Lecture, sample show, and book signing. 6-8pm, and sign up for this free event here!
  • Tomorrow, April 12, Knitty City. Meet and greet, sample show, book signing. 4-6pm. Stop by, I’d love to see you!
  • Saturday, April 13, Big Apple Knitters’ Guild. Lecture, sample show, and book signing. Meeting is from 12:15 – 3:15 and I’ll be speaking starting at around 1pm. I’ll have books available there for purchase at a discounted price of $19.95, so please join us!
  • Sunday, April 14, Knit to Flatter Master Class at Lion Brand Yarn Studio. There are only 2 spots left, so hop on this chance to get a whole day exploring sweater nirvana.

Can’t wait to see some of you there! I’m bringing, as usual, a ridiculous amount of knitting. Some new:

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And some that just needs making up:

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Tune in tomorrow for another Fashion Friday, and I’m looking forward to showing you some fun pictures and lots of knitting progress when I return!

Book release parties – and more giveaways!

First things first: Click on through and read to the end for a completely fabulous set of giveaways to make the book’s release even more festive!

And now: The Knit to Flatter release party here in Boston was so much fun, at least for me! It looked like everyone else was having a great time, too–and it was humbling and amazing to see so many of you. (I know we topped 100!)

We had a bunch of little stations for people to try, including a photo booth:

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Some luscious yarny giveaways:

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The sweaters, all available for touching and trying on:

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A personal measurement station with little measuring tapes and cards to write on (doesn’t seem right to share a picture of that!) And, of course, the books.

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I gave a little talk, and signed a bunch of copies. I wish I’d had the brains to remember to take a photo of all of the lovely faces smiling back at me, but please know that you all made me feel super lucky and super wonderful. Thank you so much!

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Of course, I have more giveaways up my sleeve. We have to have some fun online, too!

Three generous yarn companies have donated a sweaters’ worth of yarn to be given away, along with a copy of the book and a special “Amy Herzog Designs” project bag:

Sweater 1: Draper Vest or Cardigan.

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The lovely folks at Lorna’s Laces are donating a sweater’s worth of Sportmate in the color of your choice for either the vest or the cardigan.

Sweater 2: Andie’s Cardigan.

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Swans Island Yarn are donating a sweater’s worth of their lovely Worsted in the color of your choice to make this beautiful little coat.

Sweater 3: Classic Pullover.

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Last but not least, Bijou Basin Ranch is donating a sweater’s worth of Bijou Spun Bijou Bliss, again in the color of your choice, for this classic cabled pullover.

To be entered to win, please leave a comment describing a must-have for any sweater you consider a “favorite”, along with the sweater you’d like. I’ll draw one winner at random for each of the sweaters one week from today on Monday, April 15.

Which, coincidentally, is the day I start off the Knit to Flatter blog tour, over at Rock and Purl. Lots of fun stuff coming up!

Best week ever!

I am humbled, and honored, and totally floored by the book’s wonderful reception so far. Truly. That you like the book, and take the time to tell me so, means so very very much to me. Thank you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

There’s been some press on the book and my Craftsy class this week, and I thought you might like to know about it. So here, have some links!

  • First, the wonderful folks over at Knitty featured the book at the top of their “Cool Stuff” list for the current issue. Swoon! But what’s even better, Jillian liked the book so much she set up a pretty fantastic I-Love-This-Book-I-Know-You-Will-Too Giveaway over at the Knitty blog. Leave a comment there, and you are entered in a chance to win the book and yarn (in the winner’s choice of color) to knit the Dorica Hoodie from the book. (Which is, I should add, one of my very favorite samples.)
  • I’ve done a podcast with the phenomenal hosts of Stash and Burn. I was so flattered that they thought of me, and I had such a great time talking to Nicole. I really hope you’ll give the episode a listen and enjoy it, too! There’s a copy of the book up for grabs; to enter, leave a comment in the Ravelry group thread about your best sweater success or worst sweater failure. And thanks, Nicole, for a truly great time.
  • The lovely Rebecca has shared a great review of Knit to Flatter, both the book and the Craftsy class, and check it out! She’s even starting her own 365 project. Double-swoon!
  • The Snappy Stitches podcast also reviewed the Craftsy class–her podcast was new to me, so I not only appreciated her kind words, but also I have a new show to listen to now. Nice!
  • Finally, I’ll be appearing on a Planet Purl live event this coming Monday, April 8, at 8pm Eastern. Should be tons of fun–hope you can join me there!

…and I’m sure that I’m forgetting something, but that’s how it goes.

What am I doing these days, you ask? Oh, just preparing for the book release event on Saturday. Like you do.

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Can’t wait, and hope to see some of you there!

But since it hardly seems fair that the Boston crowd gets all the fun, pop back here tomorrow for the start of a very fun blog series, and Saturday for some online sweater giveaways to match the ones we’re doing at Porter Square Books. Later this month, a blog tour for the book that makes me feel overwhelmed and excited and nervous, all at the same time.

It’s a whirlwind, this week! But I like it.

Out in the world

Well, my little bookis finally out in the world, and I couldn’t be happier. It seems like it’s been such a very long time since I first talked to someone about my idea, at a spare table at Rhinebeck two and a half years ago.

I’m so thrilled that those who have received the book already seem to like it, and can’t wait to share the joy of that perfect sweater with many more knitters. This has been such an exciting, exciting day.

I did a total guilty pleasure thing and had my sample knitter extraordinaire knit up a few of the book sweaters for me, with the mods I need. I can’t wait to share them with you over the next few weeks (and look for me wearing one at the release party this weekend, naturally). And, of course I have a plethora of book signing and workshop events over the next couple of months. This seemed like an appropriate time to share them with you!

But first: I so very much enjoyed reading all of your comments about your favorite sweaters. It reminded me, again, that our love for these sweaters is universal. That knitting ties together warmth, family, good times and bad times, cringe-worthy moments and special memories we can’t let go, all into this lovely looped fabric. Our craft touches us, and makes our lives richer. Our sweaters are much, much more than simple clothing. Thank you so much for sharing your sweaters, and through them your lives, with us.

Our lucky winner is Alejandra, who wrote:

My favorite sweater is a store bought grey pullover, with a hood. The color is so easy to wear, and the shape tapers just right, showing off that I do have a waist. And it is so comfy!

I’m excited to send her a copy of Knit to Flatter and yarn for the Dorica Hoodie. Alejandra, please check your email address and get in touch about your address. Congrats!

The rest of the week will be filled with more giveaways, but I wanted to take a moment to give a quick list of all of the various book signings and workshops I have coming up over the next month or so. There are a lot! And you can always find a complete list here on my classes and events page. But for the moment:

And of course, I have a few online tricks up my sleeve and some super-exciting things planned for later in the year, if these events don’t align with your location or availability. Fun times ahead, for sure!

…And I am now simultaneously feeling like I need a bit of a lie-down, and that I can’t wait to see all of you in person, and chat about how great sweaters can be. Thank you so much for all of your lovely support in bringing Knit to Flatter into the world. It means so much to me to know that you’re out there.