Lenny

I knit this sweet little Lenny by Heidi Atwood-Reeves a while back as part of Ravelry’s Indie Design Gift-A-Long (you can still join in and knit holiday gifts using patterns by eligible designers — if you join one of the KALs, there will also be tons of prizes to be won at the end of the year).

I waited and waited for better weather so that I could take a modeled photo that would do this little top justice, but alas it’s just not in the cards. So blurry yet sassy photos it is:

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This is such a fast and pleasant knit, and I think the result is great. I love the modern t-shirt shape paired with a bold lace pattern in the front. It’s also a very practical garment, which adds a layer of warmth when hanging out indoors in the winter, but I could see it working just as well for a beach day. Add long sleeves, make it longer for a tunic/dress and pair it with leggings… tons of possibilities.

About the designer: I’ve been following Heidi Atwood Reeves on Instagram for a while now and I enjoy seeing her design process so much. I’m very envious of her pretty sketches and gorgeous swatches. I feel like such a disorganized slob in comparison! And her sense of color and style is just lovely. So I wanted to do a little Q&A with her. Thanks, Heidi, for giving such thoughtful answers!

Click on image to go to Heidi’s Ravelry store

·         Tell us a bit about yourself…

I live in the Washington DC metro area with my daughter and my husband. When I’m not designing I am either at my day job or spending time with my little family. I love living where I do – there are lots of great yarn stores and plenty of worthy coffee shops to knit in (not that the latter happens often, but when it does, it is pure bliss). Knitting has been my creative outlet since I first took up the needles ten years ago. Very few days pass without me sneaking in at least a couple of rows.

·         How and why did you become a knitting designer?

I’ve always had an interest in craft. Starting when I was very young, my mother made a point of immersing my siblings and me in arts and crafts.  I still remember sitting at the kitchen table and printing with potato stamps and spending a Saturday afternoon making dolls from wooden spoons. Eventually my interest led me to earn an MFA in bookbinding and letterpress printing, which is when I discovered my love of fiber. A few years out of school, I found myself working in finance as a new mom, with little time or space to pursue bookbinding and printing at all. I had, however, been knitting clothes for my little girl without patterns. It was an incredibly satisfying process, so I decided I was going to learn about knitwear design. The more I read, the more I knew that it was something I needed to be doing. It was also great because I quickly learned that all the time I spent working with spreadsheets and formulas at my job would be incredibly useful for designing.

·         What is the most rewarding thing about being a knitting designer? What is the most frustrating part? What have you discovered along the way?

Almost without exception, I do all of my grading and pattern writing before I knit up a sample, so it always amazes me when these seemingly abstract numbers knit up into exactly the thing I imagined. I also love seeing others knit and enjoy my patterns.

One of my biggest frustrations is finding the time to work on all the designs I have planned. I keep a little schedule of planned pattern released dates that goes out several months, and it can be frustrating when I know I’m not going to meet the deadline I had planned for myself. It’s something I need to learn to let go of, especially while designing is not my full time job.

·         Can you describe your design style?

I love designing for children, and particularly for my daughter. I love vintage-inspired children’s fashion, so many of my designs are very classic shapes.

I’m also a knitter who loves to learn new techniques, and that carries over into my designs. Many of my patterns incorporate one or two interesting technique, or a construction that is a little less typical than the top-down raglan.

·         Which one of your designs are you the most proud of and why? What is your most under-appreciated design?

I’m pretty proud of my most recent design, Spruce Island (which, coincidentally, is one I don’t think has gotten the love it deserves.) It is my 9th published pattern and the one where I feel that I have really come into my own as a pattern writer. Plus, it features an unusual top down construction and some interesting details. For me, it hits all the marks.

·         What can we expect to see from you design-wise in 2015?

I’m already working on the first batch of 2015 patterns. I have a couple of girl’s cardigans planned for release early next year. Both draw on vintage children’s wear for inspiration. I also have plans for more designs for adults, and some accessories too. Mostly, I am excited to see how I develop as a designer over the next year!

When yarn and pattern click

malabrigo

Some yarns are so pretty, you just have to have them. You don’t think much about what you’ll make with them. That’s what happened with my Malabrigo Worsted in Alpine Pearl. It was so pretty as a skein, so I just bought it. But when I used it a few years ago to make a Trendy Shawl I ended up feeling that it wasn’t the best use for it. Knit up in garter stitch, it seemed a bit muddled or messy to me. Not to mention, the yarn was too bulky for a shawl and I barely wore it. So my shawl got frogged and my beautiful Alpine Pearl lay dormant in my stash.

I was looking to knit a goodbye gift for a friend, and needed something practical, a useful item that wouldn’t be too high-maintenance but still would feel luxurious. I thought about my Alpine Pearl and searched Ravelry to see what others had made with it. I came across a beautiful project on Ravelry, which highlighted the variegation of the yarn perfectly, without  the elegant design being obscured by the color changes. A match made in heaven!

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Pattern: A river runs through Mitt by Aimee Pelletier

Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted (Alpine Pearl colorway)

Time to Knit: a couple of days per mitten

My mods: no mods!

What I thought about the pattern: Great. Well written, good layout, easy yet interesting to knit. Thanks to this pattern, I learned how to cable without a cable needle finally! I love it!

What I would do differently next time: nothing! This is a great go-to pattern for gifts. Very nice.

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)

Hand-knit-downs

The other day I was sorting through baby clothes (this is a big part of my life nowadays!) and I came across this lovely little cardigan that I had painstakingly made for A while I was pregnant with him. Here’s a photo of him at 4 months wearing it:

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Baby A

It’s a pattern called “Korrigan” by a fantastically talented French designer (her line of yarns is also gorgeous). I remember that, even in a 6-month size, it seemed to take forever using fingering weight yarn (I used madelinetosh merino light in the Candlewick colorway).

I was really proud of the result, it looked really precious and beautiful, and had that special heirloom quality.

Z now wears this little cardi often, and seeing her in it brings back so many memories of her brother as a tiny baby. I love that these sweet hand-knits that I poured a lot of love into are being worn by my second baby as well 🙂

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Baby Z

Retro back-to-school baby shirt

Back from some lovely R&R in Italy and France… Axel is starting daycare part-time this week and I thought this little shirt I made had a bit of a back-to-school feel to it.

As you can see I’m a bit fixated on the blue chambray and red gingham combo 😉

I’ve bought KAM snaps in many different colors as well as the special tool you need to install them and boy do I love those things! No more tedious buttonhole sewing for me! They add a very cute touch to children clothing I think, and they make dressing a wriggly toddler much easier!

Boardwalk Cardigan

Feeling all summery and nautical-like…

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I wanted to make something cute that Axel could wear on the beach in Normandy this summer, since it can get a bit windy there. I made the sleeves elbow-length so that he could play in the sand. I’m really happy with the way the double-breasted shawl-collar turned out. Very captain-like, no?

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I’m planning to write up a pattern for this but I’m feeling extreeeemely lazy about it at the moment. I think I’d rather knit something new than spend hours on Excel!!!

Trico’13: Baby Ribbed Jacket

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Quoi, c’est bien une veste, non? Bon, taille naissance, d’accord. Et même pas pour moi, c’est une petite commande (oui, encore!) Malgré tout, avec le charmant temps de rentrée qu’on se tape ici, je crois que je suis en plein dans le thème de ce mois-ci!

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ribbedjacketfull

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ribbedjacketfolded

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ribbedjacketCUbutton

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Modèle: Debbie Bliss Baby Ribbed Jacket, gratuit ici.

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Laine: Rowan Cashsoft 4 ply (tricotée en double)

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Pour voir les créations des copines: Trico13

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The Trico13 theme of this month was knitting a back-to-school jacket, and this is my version… Not really back-to-school, since it’s newborn-sized, but I think it sorta fits the bill! This is another order from a friend.

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Pattern: Debbie Bliss Baby Ribbed Jacket, available for free here.

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Yarn: Rowan Cashsoft 4 ply (two strands held together)

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To see all of the participants’ creations: Trico13

I’m baaaack!

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Je sais, j’étais aux abonnés absents, et il va falloir que je voie un peu tout ce que j’ai loupé sur vos blogs à toutes (n’oublions pas le Trico’13 que j’ai honteusement zappé ce mois ci — hum.)

Je suis donc de retour à Washington, où il fait une chaleur de bête et une humidité assez insupportable… Rendez-moi ma Normandiiiiiie!

Et là je vous montre mon projet de l’été, ça n’a pas l’air comme ça mais c’était pas mal de boulot (en fait, surtout la doublure, entièrement faite à la main – pas de machine à coudre!). Ce paletot est une commande de ma mamang, qui avait bien aimé celui que j’avais fait pour ma cousine l’année dernière.

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Laine: Rowan Felted Tweed, coloris cocoa

Laine: Rowan Felted Tweed, coloris cocoa

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Doublure: Liberty of London Tana Lawn "Cars"

Doublure: Liberty of London Tana Lawn "Cars"

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Le modèle, par Joji Locatelli, est disponible ici pour celles que ça interesse…

J’ai toujours un peu de mal à me séparer de toutes ces petites choses… J’espère que ça plaira au petit Charlie! Son papa était très content des bodies que je lui avais envoyés apparemment… pour ce qui est de l’interessé, c’est moins sûr 😉

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Charlie gromp-gromp

Charlie gromp-gromp

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I’m back in DC and I need to catch up and see what you guys have been up to! Here’s a project I worked on this summer. It was an order from my mom, who liked the little coat I made for my cousin last year and wanted something similar to give to baby Charlie… The pattern is by Joji Locatelli, and is available here (minus the lining).

While Charlie’s daddy was very happy with the little onesies I made for him, I’m not sure Charlie himself was too thrilled 😉 Hopefully this little coat will be more popular!!

Buttercup top

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Pour celles qui se rappellent, le tourteau du Trico’13 dernier (voir un peu plus bas) avait vu le jour à la suite d’une catastrophe tricotesque…dont le souvenir m’est encore pénible… Well, je ne me suis pas laissée abattre, et j’ai récidivé!! Même modèle (trouvé ici sur Ravelry), même laine et tout! Sauf que là je l’ai tricoté en taille XS – si, si je vous jure!

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J’ai fait plein de bidouilles par là-dessus (diminutions sous la poitrine et à la taille, modification des manches, de l’encolure, du bas etc…) Comme ma laine était assez épaisse, j’ai voulu faire quelque chose de plus près du corps – le modèle original est beaucoup plus “tunique trapèze.” J’ai eu un gros problème au niveau du haut du dos qui baillait beaucoup, pas vraiment rattrappable, donc j’y ai placé une vilaine cicatrice pince… bon avec les cheveux lâchés on dira que ça va!

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Sorry but no make-up = no head ;)

Sorry but no make-up = no head 😉

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I love Yoel's idea for the side panels on the hips

I love Yoel's idea for the side panels on the hips

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Gathers under the bust, and neckline detail

Gathers under the bust, and neckline detail

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The Frankendart!

The Frankendart!

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Here is my second attempt at Buttercup, which I had previously attempted in a Medium size (using the wrong yarn, and ending up with a huuuge mess if you remember). So this time around, (still stubbornly using the same yarn) I simply did an XS and made a whole lot of mods to compensate for the gauge discrepancy and the drape of the fabric. So my version is not A-line like the original, it’s much more fitted. Which works better on me I think. I also used Yoel’s lace panels for the hip shaping.

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All my mods made up for the gauge problems, except that I ended up with extra fabric on the upper back, so I just made an ugly dart (which hopefully will be hidden when I wear my hair down).

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Overall, I have no idea why I was so bent on knitting this, I mean it’s cute but I’m pretty sure I should refrain from knitting more summer tops. Don’t they end up stretching out whatever you do?

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For a special boy I know

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Voici deux petites choses pour Dil, le neveu de Gabe, qui, à trois ans et demi, a déjà un style très funky (pas trop le genre à porter du Liberty)

J’espère que ça lui ira, vu que je ne l’ai pas vu depuis bien longtemps! Donc zou, une petite chemisette (il a usé la dernière que je lui ai faite jusqu’à la corde!), et un petit bermuda long. En plissant un peu les yeux ils vont super bien ensemble 😉

J’ai choisi des tissus plein de bestioles amusantes et des boutons-numéros pour apprendre à compter, comme ça c’est plus rigolo pour lui!

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octoshirt

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CUcollar

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pantsfront

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pantsback1

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CUpocket1

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I just made these two things for Dil (Gabe’s nephew) whose style is already quite bold, even though he is only 3 years and a half.

I hope they fit, as I haven’t seen him in a while. I decided to make him another button-down shirt (the last one I made for him was worn to death), and below-the-knee shorts. If you squint a bit, they even sort of go together!

The fun critters and some numbered buttons ought to grab his interest for about 3 seconds and a half =)