Wednesday, August 22, 2012


It's the 35th anniversary of me today. Let's all celebrate with the second pattern in the Container Ship Club, Ioanna:
Once I simplified my design idea to the point where it didn't interfere with the yarn, this cowl knit itself in only two evenings of Olympics-watching. I was initially inspired by this photo from Andrea Frank's collection of photographs, Ports and Ships:

It was serendipity that the ladies of Spincycle Yarns contacted me around the time I was thinking about this design and mentioned that they would be happy to work with me. Which is just crazy, because I've followed Spincycle Yarns since 2007, since before I had a blog or wrote down a pattern. I would never have had the courage to contact them and ask for yarn support. Working with Rachel and Kate has been an honor for me and an indication that my work and ideas are resonating with others whose work I admire.

You can purchase Ioanna for $5.

Or you can join the club and get Ioanna, Chittagong, and at least two more forthcoming patterns for $13 (price to increase with release of next pattern, which, by the way, will be a cardigan pattern. That's right, a cardigan pattern inspired by rusty tankers. Unless I decide to make a surprise design first. Which I might).

EVEN BETTER, you can purchase the very yarn I used for Ioanna from Spincycle here. Save 10% on this yarn and anything else in the shop by using the coupon code IOANNA when you check out.

I'm 35. Lately things seem to be coming together in a way they haven't before. I believe this year will be golden.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Twentieth Century Graphic

After months of hard work and anticipation, Twentieth Century Graphic, an ebook (which will also be available as a paper book soon) that I made in collaboration with KnitPicks, is published! The book is a collection of six patterns: two cardigans, one pullover, a shawl, a scarf, and a pair of mitts. Here are the photos from KnitPicks. KnitPicks did an excellent job with the photography—I requested no urban hipsters, no heavy makeup, no fields of flowers, no one wearing wellies or holding a coffee cup or looking wistfully into the distance. The models are beautiful, but they're the sort of beautiful people you see walking down the street. I'm so pleased.

Modular Mitts (based on color studies showing contrast of extension by Johannes Itten);

Saturated Shawl (based on my love of contrast of hue softened by a neutral color and my love of improvised top-down triangle shawls);

Form Follows Function (a pullover in which I challenged myself to create a silhouette and textures by using only knit and purl stitches and working modularly in different directions);

Partition (a cardigan inspired by a contrast in textures in the Bauhaus school building in Dessau);

Project Rothko (a long modular scarf based on the color scheme of one of Rothko's paintings);

And my favorite, Make It Red (the product of a discussion I had with my sister about the saying attributed to graphic designer and teacher Rob Roy Kelly: "If you can't make it good, make it big. If you can't make it big, make it red.").

Obviously, KnitPicks gave me full creative freedom in this project. When I got the opportunity, I dug through my sketches, lists (most of my ideas start as lists on scrap paper), and unpublished knit prototypes and created my six-piece submission in two days. The submission was accepted without changes, and I was allowed to choose all the yarns I wanted in the colors I wanted and produce the pieces exactly as I envisioned them. My only regret is that Gloss Fingering is not available in yellow. Ideally the Saturated Shawl would have included yellow.

Opportunities like this are rare, if nonexistent, with mainstream yarn companies and publications, which is why I'm so grateful to the staff at Knitpicks who believed in me, trusted me (!), and just let me do my thing. And I'm proud that I was able to produce a collection that's completely true to my vision that appears, so far, to be popular.  Right now I'm working on similar collections and project with some of my favorite indie dyer friends, and see this type of collaboration as the future of my work.

To wrap up this lengthy post, here are some photos of me wearing the samples:

Modular Mitts in my studio (with the Make It Red cardigan—awesome long sleeves);

Partition in my studio building;

Form Follows Function outside my apartment;

Make It Red in my studio;

And my sister in the Project Rothko prototype, which had been kicking around for about a year before I found a home for it in this collection.

What's next? CONTAINER SHIPS PATTERN 2! It's finished, and the pattern will be off to the tech editor tomorrow!

Also, since I mentioned my list-based process above, I've decided to share a recent list in each of my blog posts from now on.
The Dreadnoughts
Dutch women's field hockey uniforms
Adam PW Smith
Cephalopod Yarns—Horseshoe Crab (swatch)