New pattern: Petites Feuilles cardigan

I’m a bit late to the party here, since my latest design, Petites Feuilles cardigan, went live a little while ago.

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I knew I wanted to do a spring-themed cardigan with some leaf motifs (“petites feuilles” means “little leaves” in French). Then when Mellifera Yarn‘s beautiful merino dk showed up in my mailbox (Mel came up with the gorgeous “Lawn” colorway when I asked whether if she could come up with a fresh, crisp light green colorway), I felt really inspired and went to work.

And boy this one turned out to be quite a bit of work! But I’m thrilled with the result. My test-knitters were so great in helping me work out kinks [Thanks guys!]

One of the cool things about this cardi (I think) is that the leaf motif is the right side up (stem towards the bottom) AND the body is knit top-down (which I think is a pleasant and practical construction for long-sleeve sweaters). There are quite a few leaf-themed garments that are knit top-down but all of them seem to have the leaf pointing down. Also, I wanted a garter stitch background for those leaves, not reverse stockinette, because I think garter stitch is just more fun to knit and super squishy. Finally, I wanted the leaf motif to be embossed, not flat.

Well, with all of these pre-requisites, it turns out that I had to come up with my own design for the leaf motif, which involved a LOT of trial and error. I also thought I should offer charts in addition to written instructions for this pattern, and there was a bit of a [ahem] learning curve there too!

So, in summary, I pushed myself with this one, and I’m excited about the result. In addition to the cool way it’s constructed, there are also cute details (elbow patches, optional pockets…) that make it a super fun knit.

I am planning on coming up with 3 more designs based on the leaf theme, so it will be a mini-collection if you will! Stay tuned for more leaf-y knits very soon!

Name that shrug contest!

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EDIT: Thank you everyone for your suggestions! I have selected MISS DAISY to be the name of this new pattern, after a suggestion I got on my Facebook page. Congratulations to the winner!

Ta-da!! Look what just fell off my needles. Do you want to help me find a name for it?
If I select your suggestion, you win a copy of this pattern AND any other one of my patterns!!

Here’s how to participate: either follow this blog, “Like” my Facebook page, join my group on Ravelry, or follow me on Instagram, and leave me your suggestion in any of these places.
If I select your idea, you win a copy of this pattern AND any other one of my patterns!!

Contest closes on Friday, Feb.7th.

(Please allow until the end of the month for this pattern to be written up, edited and tested)

New Year Resolution #1: Selfish Knitting

So. New Year resolutions. Yea or Nay? (I almost wrote “yay”, ha)

I have a few resolutions floating in my head, nothing set in stone. Perhaps writing them down here will make them more likely to happen!

One thing I want to do this year, for my own sanity really, is to carve out some time for “selfish knitting.” My definition of this would include knitting more things for myself of course (rather than just for my children or for gift-giving). But also, and this is trickier for me to do: not always knitting with a potential design in mind, or heavily modifying an existing design that falls short of what I want.

Rather, the idea would to just knit recreationally sometimes, mindlessly really, from a great pattern that someone else has completely worked out. Trying to get back the feeling of meditation that you can get from the act of knitting, knitting in the round, stitch after stitch to create a sea of stockinette, or chanting the instructions to yourself as you work a lace repeat.

So: here’s my first Selfish Knit of the year, which I did as part of a Knitalong on Ravelry– A first for me! That was fun!!

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Pattern: Sprig by Alana Dakos, a “preview” from the upcoming Botanical Knits 2 collection

Yarn: Cascade 220 Heathers in Birch Heather

Time to knit: about 3 weeks, but I knit most of it in 10 days.

My mods: I started with the smallest size for the neckline because I wanted to make sure that it wouldn’t gape. Then I increased until I got the raglan stitch counts for the second size, and added the number of underarm stitches of the third size. So I ended somewhere between size 2 and 3 for the bust and sleeves. My detailed mods are visible on my Ravelry page.

What I thought about the pattern: A really neat and clever design, surprisingly straightforward and pretty fast to knit. I loved working the neckline, I will definitely use this idea of working “attaching as you knit” in the future. I liked the little finishing touches, which make the sweater look really polished. I do think it fits well but I had to mix-n-match the stitch counts to achieve this. On the other hand I am not getting the boatneck effect, but honestly, even though it looks lovely on the model with nothing underneath, I wouldn’t love it as much with a bra-strap or t-shirt peeking-out of it.

What I would do differently next time: I wouldn’t use Cascade 220, which is one of the yarns that is suggested, the resulting fabric is a bit too stiff, lacking drape. I was hoping it would grow a bit during blocking but it did not budge at all, which is a good thing in general! The alternate yarn suggested is 50% alpaca, so the drape would be better, though I’d worry that the gorgeous neckline details might get lost in the alpaca fuzzies.

I think I might also skip the waist shaping altogether, it’s a bit snug-fitting at the moment (leftover pregnancy weight notwithstanding) and possibly make longer sleeves, though that might mess up with the balance of the design.

Défi 13: Entrechat

Ah les jolies petites choses toutes roses des petites filles… J’espère que mon fils me pardonnera quand il sera plus grand de lui avoir mis des trucs de fille sur le dos pour les besoins de la cause… Ceci dit… Il est pas mignonne??

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Je voulais essayer une nouvelle construction (enfin nouvelle pour moi!) et tricoter le corps de ce boléro d’une pièce en relevant les mailles des raglans pour former les pans du devant. Et je voulais aussi utiliser une bordure au point mousse verticalement pour former l’encolure parce que je trouve que ça change un peu. Pour bien marquer le mouvement, j’ai placé une bande contenant un joli point texturé — facile cette fois!! le point de vannerie utilisé dans mon Latte Baby Coat serait joli aussi, mais je voulais quelque chose vraiment simple pour les tricoteuses moins expérimentées.

Enfin, un petit effet volanté dans le dos, et zou! Tricoté en deux temps trois mouvements avec même pas un écheveau de Malabrigo Merino Worsted (pour la taille 12-18 mois). Le pattern est écrit et 8 tailles seront disponibles, du 0-3mois au 5-6 ans. Je l’envoie illico chez mon “tech editor” pour contrôle… Donc je pense qu’il sera publié (en Anglais pour le moment… promis la traduction de mes patterns c’est pour bientôt) pour la nouvelle année!

Pour voir les autres défis (thème du mois: techniques jamais utilisées en tricot et couture) c’est par ici!!

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The Défi’13 challenge is a monthly knitting or sewing project in the French blogosphere. The challenge’s theme this month was “new techniques in knitting and sewing”, so I thought I would introduce my latest prototype, whose construction is a bit different — I also used a new stitch in it, which I think is so neat (and VERY easy which never hurts!) ; the pattern will include 8 sizes and should be published around the New Year!

I hope you like it :)

Chouette!

Sometimes it feels nice to take a break from this whole pattern-writing/designing thing because it involves a lot of work and can be frustrating at times. There are times where I really miss straightforward knitting, just following a pattern that someone else worked out.

So while I was working on Storytime Scholar, I decided to knit this adorable little number that I kept seeing everywhere on Ravelry. Total no-brainer, the owl is absolutely adorable and the whole thing took less than 2 hours to knit up. Plus Axel needed a new hat anyway.

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After going to the park to give it a test-run, it became obvious that the hat was a bit short for Axel and that it was not going to stay on his head, so I quickly whipped up a seed stitch scarf that I sewed on to the back half rim of the hat… This time we have a winner!

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He wears this everyday and I think it’s the cutest thing ever (random people in the street seem to think so, too). The pattern is available on Ravelry here, and if you still have last-minute Christmas presents to make, this is a good bet!

Defi13: Latte Baby Coat

Voici mon petit dernier, chaud et moelleux comme un petit caramel! J’ai pensé qu’il s’inscrivait bien dans le thème du Défi13 de ce mois-ci ;)

Le patron est presque prêt et sera est maintenant disponible ici sur Ravelry (en Anglais seulement pour l’instant)!!!

Pour voir plein de belles choses au goût de caramel et chocolat, c’est par ici!

The Défi’13 challenge is a monthly knitting or sewing project in the French blogosphere. The challenge’s theme this month was “Caramel and Chocolate”, so I thought I would introduce my latest pattern, which is now available here on Ravelry!!

I hope you like it :)