Monday, December 20, 2010

The Design That Ate My Fall

Here are just a few of the swatches of my very first intensely cabled design. I worked on this project while at Rhinebeck, in Itaca, in Toronto, and at various events in Boston. I worked and ripped and worked some more. Finally, the finished product, modeled outside the Mutter Museum in Philly:

The other day I got the awesome photos from the Sanguine Gryphon:

It's called Ambergris, named after a chapter of my favorite novel, Moby Dick. I created it for the Sanguine Grphyon's winter line of patterns. I wanted to use traditional fisherman's sweater cables and construction, with a decidedly whale-based theme (whale tail cables up the front, rope and chain cables, and even little harpoon-like ribbing up the sides) and a fitted, flattering shape for women.

It's worked in Free Range, a DK-weight organic wool that is FABULOUS, and is sized from 34" to 54" busts. The sample is modeled by two people who each have a 32" bust, so it's modeled with about 2" of positive ease in the photos above. You can purchase the pattern here. It's a really fun knit, and made me feel super accomplished.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gimme gimme gimme, I need, I need

Am I the only one who feels like everyone needs something from me as the holidays approach? That every company is going for some final little push before vacation? If you're sort of a freelancer like I am, that's a whole lot of little demands.

My weekend was full of editing and knitting work, but all from the comfort of my couch.

Add Christmas tree and Yule Log. It's just about manageable.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Button Coil How-To

The Button Coil: I've gotten a lot of questions about this one, and I've seen a lot of eyes glaze over as I demonstrate it at trunk shows. This post is a step-by-step explanation of the cowl/scarf/coil. With buttons. Here's the original, which was worked in Dream in Color Classy Worsted in Good Luck Jade. It takes about 2 skeins, and was knit on US size 8 needles.

The Button Coil is knit as a long, cabled strip. The cable does not look the same on both sides, but it is visually interesting on both sides (see the fourth photo below for a good look at the reverse side). I believe this is an important characteristic for a casually worn accessory like this, because who wants to think about how to style this thing? Pull it on and KNOW it looks good!

I recently completed a second Button Coil. This one is worked in Sundara DK Silky Cashmere, which creates a very different drape from the original version. I went down to US size 7 needles for this version, and I used two skeins.

If you look closely to the left of the cables, you can see the buttonholes that are worked in the ribbed edging.

Once you've knit your long strip, it's time for the best part: choosing buttons. I was fortunate to have my Button Coil with me at Rhinebeck, where I found the purple glass "eyeball" buttons below at the Shipyard Point Glassworks booth. They didn't have 12 buttons of this type on hand at the show, but it was very easy to custom order them! They arrived a few weeks later. Perfect.

(Note that there are actually 15 buttons below. I have no idea how I determined that I needed 15 buttons rather than 12, but now I have three extras for a future project.)

Line up the buttons across from the buttonholes as indicated in the pattern. Mark the points at which to sew the buttons, and sew them on.

When the buttons are attached, you are ready to button. With the button edge on top (as shown below) and the buttonhole edge on the bottom, coil the strip around, matching the first buttonhole with the first button you encounter. Note: This is how to wrap the coil as tightly as possible. It can be wrapped more loosely, more sparsely, or not at all. Also note how nice the reverse side of the cable looks. Super!

Continue to coil and button, matching the buttonholes with the buttons.

You can get up to three wraps!

And the final product!

This piece has a more luxurious feel to it than the original, thanks to the ultra soft yarn and exquisite buttons, which make little clicky glass sounds as they touch. Wear with your army surplus jacket, your black wool coat, or your grey hoodie and yellow striped t-shirt.

The pattern is available as an individual download for $5 here, and is also included in the Craft Work Knit book and ebook. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

No. Sleep. Til Brooklyn!!!

Toromorrow I catch the bus to NYC, get a haircut and a dye job at Astor Place Hairstylist (my hairstylist from 1995 to 1999), talk at Knitty City, go out for drinks with anyone who's up for it, and crash at a hostel in Brooklyn! In the NYC area? Come see me!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Get your Albers Shawl for $44.40

So I was just browsing the Web, looking at yarn colors and fibers for some new designs, and noticed that Purl Soho has Jade Sapphire Lacey Lamb, the yarn I used for the Albers Shawl, on sale for $11.10 a ball. One ball in each of four colors and you'll have hours and hours and HOURS AND HOURS of knitting entertainment, and someday a finished object that people will want to buy right off you.

I feel like I just found a great yard sale or something.

Check it out.

The pattern is here. That's a total of $49.40. Just sayin.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Weaverknits is not a lifestyle

Today at work, post-5 hours sleep: Realized I was wearing skinny jeans, old boots, a huge Russian sailor's jersey from a military surplus store in Helsinki, and a faded black hoodie covered with cat hair. Why? Why? Called into all-staff meeting.

Later realized sailor jersey was on backwards and Cyrillic tag had been protruding from front of neck.

Had a fabulous trip to Philly and realized that this is basically the only photo I took.

More on Philly after a good. night's. sleep.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Some Scarves for You!

Lookit! I just got my copy of the new book, Simple Hip Knit Scarves, and I have two designs inside. Look, that's one of them rolled up on the green background (love this photo). Both are simple, stripey things, perfect to knit for gifts or for yourself. Stormy Weather, below, took me all of 2 days to knit. It has a bumpy, reversible stripe pattern and fringe, and it's super long! I love that.

The second design is Bryant Park, more of a kerchief than a scarf, meant to be looped or tied as an accent piece... however, wrapped several times, this would be very warm with a winter coat. The stripes on the bias use a slipped-stitch pattern, so you only use one yarn in a given row and, though it's knit on small (US 4) needles, it move along quickly. The pattern is both written and charted.

Enjoy! I got my samples back and am wearing them all the time!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Good news all around!

Ripped from the headlines... TORONTO!

I was there for a week, and had a trunk show at Lettuce Knit, where you can now find my book if you missed me!

And, in pants news, this just in from Amy:

pants is still in process. I have however acquired one pair. They are supposed to be 3/4-length, but I can wear them ankle-length. The length might be a bit awkward/too short for flat footwear but look good with heals or tucked into boots. The waist-to-hip ratio is absolutely perfect!! They are ralph lauren. Although very un-cheap, they are not, not, not the pair by the same brand that also fit me like a magic glove but cost $998!! I really need to find an outlet.

In other efforts to cover my legs, I guess I will buy more skirts. I've also gotten excited about a pair of those cute woolen shorts! For jeans I'm planning to dredge the racks of Forever 21 (where my one pair of current jeans are from). Bloggers should know that this joe's jeans brand (especially the 'honey/booty fit', apparently that's what it's called!) has been suggested not only by a blog responder, but also two store clerks, and a random shopper, so we must be onto something! I will check it out, though jeans run $150-$200 and i really need to be more frugal after my one indulgence...


More on Toronto soon. Meanwhile, if you're in the Boston area, what are YOU doing this week? I'll be talking at the Stoneham Knitter's Guild tomorrow night, and will be having a trunk show at Yarns in the Farms this Saturday, November 13. Why don't you come to one or both?

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Perhaps some of you, my readers, have insight about pants. Below is a conversation with my friend Amy. We need help.


My dear stylist, what does one would wear for pants these days? I am just waking up from my FoggyBottom coma and I need help dressing myself. I have no pants.

Yesterday I spent 4 hours going to 2 malls (this is the way one shops in Atlanta). I was armed with macys and bloomingdale and loft gift cards, hoping to find 3 pairs of casual-nice pants to wear for normal social activities and maybe another pair of teaching/conference pants. I wondered around like a zombie finding tons of beadazzled jeans, black dress pants, and polyester bell-bottoms. I came home empty-handed, remain virtually pant-less, and unsure how to proceed except to avoid social activity.

I'm going to try my shopping spree again the next time I'm in a northeastern city. But, I'm feeling lost and thought I'd ask your trusted insight first: What does one wear these days? Where does one shop for pants? If I were a paper doll, what would you clip onto my legs? What's on your legs? How about the legs of other women who look good?

Whenever this activity tempts you, if you might find it fascinating, let me know!! Amy

Dear Amy,

Oh lord, pants. I have been thinking about your message for days, alternately laughing and sighing. I have very little to offer you for advice, having found my pant niche about a year ago. I either wear very cheap skinny jeans from the Macy's Junior's department (they're about $30 a pair and made to fit my adolescent boy-type figure) or woman's Dickies classic work pants. I own one extremely expensive pair of wide-leg black wool pants that I wear for all occasions for which skinny jeans or Dickies are not appropriate.

However, aside from the extremely expensive pants, these are probably not the most flattering options for your curvy, shortish body.

Would you mind if I post your dilemma on my blog? I think others will have suggestions, and, even if they don't, will be amused by and identify with the struggle for pants.

your stylist, lost in the world of pants,

Looking through my photostream, it seems that I am always wearing the same pair of Dickies, to be honest. Those of you who have met me know this to be true.

That last one is from Rhinebeck, in my Vert & Horiz sweater, with Kara Gott Warner, editor for DRG publications and Creative Knitting. Check out our shared sense of eyewear and haircut style!

The point is, though, these Dickies have gone from work pants to all-occasion pants.

What do YOU do for pants???

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I'll be home when I'm sleeping

Was at Rhinebeck (Gale was there taking photos, she's so cool... and I got to be in the photo with the "Rhineck" sign! Note that in the photo above I'm posing with my sample at the Sanguine Gryphon booth, which was mobbed), was home for 3.5 days, put in a 30-hour week at the job, drove to Ithaca (you can see a bit about that on my flickr site), had adventures...

Look how cute Chris was modeling his Grundy during Rhinebeck.

Driving home from Ithaca on Monday I realized I was overtired when the Bob Seger song Roll Me Away came on the radio and I just started crying. Bob Seger + overtired Ann = emotions totally out of proportion to the situation at hand. I'm tearing up now thinking about that bit about the young hawk flying... more posting later. Sleep now.

Can't hardly wait.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I love Seattle THIS ..... MUCH!!!

A warning: At the moment I am writing from a fog of sleep deprivation. Somehow, over the past seven days, I have managed to complete a 46-hour freelance editing job, in addition to working 30 hours at my regular job and being in Seattle for 3 of them doing knitting book-related things. So that's where I'm at. But I want to update all of you before I crash, wake up to watch Project Runway, crash again, wake up tomorrow morning, and head down to Rhinebeck. That's right, I'll be there, and I'll have books with me for anyone who's interested!

Don't expect to see me at the big shindigs, though. I need some serious recovery time. If you want to be sure to meet up, just email me your contact info and I'll text you! I don't want to miss out on meeting anyone, but I know that large groups will be just the thing to push me over the edge I'm walking right now.

So. Seattle. I love you guys. The Seattle Knitters' Guild was an unbelievably warm, engaged, and talented group of knitters. Perhaps they will publish some photos from my talk (I wasn't very good about taking photos. Really).

I did some other yarn store touring, too. Churchmouse Yarns & Teas on Bainbridge Island (one of the only photos I took while in Seattle is that one at the top of the post, out the ferry window as he sun came out) was beautiful but pricey. I did purchase their Turkish Bed Socks pattern and some perfect Koigu for a pair, though. However, the Blackbird Bakery next door was my favorite stop. And I'm picky when it comes to bakeries. This one was a winner.

Of course I have to endorse the really amazing shop where my friend Hannah works, The Fiber Gallery. What. A. Selection. Wow. They now carry my book! Look, here it is! You can go purchase it in person! (Speaking of, there are a few small, local places that will be carrying my book, and I am thrilled. More on that later).

Then I taught an Albers Square log cabin knitting workshop (which was really fun; I'll be teaching it again at Knitting Etc. in Ithaca in two weeks) and had a trunk show at Little Knits, which is this incredibly luscious, colorful place... more tempting in person than online, if that's possible. My new in-person friend Vanessa took a few photos of the show and one of us... look, she looks lovely wearing a Transverse Cardigan, and I'm looking stylish but a little peaked, I think. (Okay, but look at all that roving behind us. That's just the roving. There is Madelinetosh yarn tucked into every nook of this place... just go to the Little Knits site, see the colors they have, and imagine them all there right in front of you. And if you're there, they also carry my book, so pick one up along with all your yarn).

Speaking of, I can't believe I wrote all that. It's time for a nap. I hope to see many of you this weekend! I'll be the tired-looking one with the big glasses, most likely wearing my Vert & Horiz, with husband in tow wearing his Grundy and probably a knit accessory as well and carrying a bag of books.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Automobile Trauma and Seattle Trip

Seeing that I'll be in Seattle from next Tuesday through Sunday, I decided to get into work as quickly as possible on Friday to try to accomplish as much as I could before leaving. So I took the car to cut my commute time in half.

And the car died.

In the left turn lane, in an intersection, on a very busy avenue, during rush hour. With my hazards on, while enduring honking and screaming and verbal abuse, I attempted to call AAA, Chris, and work, all the while screaming back at passing cars that NO I CANNOT MOVE MY CAR DON'T YOU THINK I WOULD IF I COULD, MY CAR IS DEAD. Twenty thoroughly traumatic minutes later, minutes that included a truck sideswiping my car while verbally abusing me, a cop arrived and helped diffuse some of the verbal abuse, followed by a heavyset grumpy man (whom I considered a superhero) from Boston Public Works, who used a tremendous truck to pull my poor Volvo from the intersection, followed by the tow truck.

After that experience, the $618 repair bill didn't cause me the slightest bit of stress. It was actually a relief to know that I now have a car in perfect working order that I can drive to Rhinebeck (yes, I'll have books with me), and then to Ithaca the next weekend for a trunk show at Knitting Etc.

But Tuesday I leave for Seattle! I'll be talking to the Knitter's Guild on Wednesday evening (Oct. 6... the blurb about my talk says, "Punk Rock, Bread, and Classic Design with a Twist," which I LOVE) about my experiences designing and self-publishing (and, of course, have all sorts of knits to try on and books to purchase), and then I'll have my books and garments at Little Knits for a trunk show and workshops on Thursday and Saturday. So if you're in the Seattle area, stop by! You can read more details here.

Saturday was my first trunk show, at Windsor Button... above are a few shots of the display. Thanks to everyone who came by! It was so much fun!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Hello everyone!

I now have an official website, thanks to my friend and former contractor cubicle-neighbor Josh.

Here it is.

And another thing: Andrea, who knit the majority of the Albers Shawl, has this really lovely interview with me and a GIVEAWAY for a copy of the ebook on her site, so check it out here!

So much going on; I'll be posting most days this week with more updates! Yay!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

MORE new designs! And info!

Hello everyone! My all-new website is THIS CLOSE to being up, hard copies of the book are on their way to me and should arrive tomorrow, and the nice folks at Ravelry are going to assemble the individual patterns there into an ebook. I was hoping to get everything all set tonight, but, frankly, I'm tired. So check it.

So here's more new! I did a design for the Sanguine Gryphon's fall Steampunk line of patterns. Here it is, the Possum Belly Hobo, a zippered jacket with tall asymmetrical collar, lots of buttons, and RIVETS. The pattern also includes full instructions and schematics for both man's and woman's versions, because this is a fitted piece and men and women have different proportions. It's knit in QED, which is 100% BFL worsted AMAZING.

So, not as cool in terms of styling, but here are a few photos of me wearing the woman's version that show the details. The color of this one is Imad Ul-Din.

On the woman's version, the rivets accent the body darts that shape the waist. Don't fear rivets! A rivet gun costs about $15, and you may just be inspired by other things you find in the hardware store. Note: Yes, this is the sweater Chris was grinding.

I didn't knit the man's sweater, Andrea did. Thanks, Andrea! Because I have no idea what I was thinking when I made a submission that involved two adult jackets knit in pieces with two completely different sets of calculations! Go me! Here's a back view; the rivets on the man's version are set in straight lines.

Here's the asymmetrical front! The color here is Tagmata. You have got to see these colors in person. They are to die for. And the twist of the yarn, oh, the twist. If anyone wants to buy me a present, I really enjoy Book Lungs, yup, I'm likin' it.

The jacket body is knit in one piece to the armholes, at which point the fronts and back are worked separately. The sleeves are worked in the round and joined to the body after the shoulders are seamed. I would rate this pattern "intermediate" because it does involve shaping, seaming, and assembly, but a lot of the knitting is simple back and forth, so go for it!

I loved the Sanguine Gryphon yarns and vision so much that I'm working on another design for their winter line, which is BOOK based!

One final note: I did not sufficiently thank Emily in my previous post for knitting the Death Race sweater. When I saw Death Race, the movie, on TV, I had already knit TWO of the other version of the pattern, called Le Mans and coming in the next post, one for the baby downstairs and one for the book, and just didn't have time or desire to make another. Thanks, Emily... your intarsia and finishing ROCKS!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Death Race and Albers Cowl

The next two designs from Craft Work Knit are:

Death Race: A baby jacket inspired by that jacket Jason Statham wears in the movie of the same name. It's knit in pieces, includes very simple intarsia, and is sized from 3 to 24 months.

Here Leo, our new downstairs neighbor who's just 3 months old, models it. The fact that Leo's parents were expecting was what got me thinking about designing stuff for babies!

He's a little sleepy in that second photo. As his dad said, "The star is fading."

Next, the Albers Cowl, modeled by my lovely mother:

It's the first in a series of patterns that were inspired by Josef Albers' Portrait of a Square paintings. I worked hard to get the proportions just like those of Albers' paintings. The cowl is created by knitting three squares and seaming them together.

This is all about going crazy with the color choices (and using up fingering weight yarn leftovers)!

It's coming soon. Any day now...

Saturday, September 18, 2010


It starts with a whisper...

Behold, the first pattern in Craft Work Knit, the Go Dutch! mittens I started so long ago, made even more relevant by the Netherlands' performance in the 2010 World Cup! I just happened to be watching this match live in a pub in Rotterdam this summer. GO DUTCH!

These mittens are knit in the round, using stranded knitting that, for a few rows, involves three colors. I like the graphic effect of the traditional braid at the cuffs and the more modern arrow pattern (which I chose to indicate speed and momentum!).

Where can I get this book and pattern? you may ask. My website will be live in the next week and books will be available for order! Ebooks and individual patterns will be available for download soon after. For now, just... get excited. I have 11 projects to show you and will post one every day or two until it's all out there!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Brave New Knits trunk show Saturday!

If anyone's in the Boston area, I'll be part of a trunk show for the book Brave New Knits this Saturday, September 11, from 12-3 at Windsor Button. Come see all the samples, try them on, talk to Julie, me, and probably some other Boston-area designers, and the vast selection of yarn at Windsor Button.

Now that the book samples are done, I found the time to knit some socks! They're my adaptation of Nancy Bush's Hiiumaa Mismatched Mates, striped in such a way as to use remnants of two skeins of sock yarn. They're a gift and are out the door this afternoon... I owe a lot of people a lot of things for helping me with the book!

Did you know: In addition to being a graphic designer, my Lil Sis creates crocheted accessories and garments without patterns? I'm working with her to write down some of her notes so that maybe others can make them, too. I mean, look at this!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

new new new

Brave New Knits is out. I'll post the far more sedate photos from the book later.

And check this out, too. New new new.