New Pattern: Purvi

Purvi translates to “from the east” and is also the name of a popular Hindustani raga in Indian classical music. Purvi is sung during dusk – just when the sun goes down and the breeze from the east brings the temperature down a notch – the time when Purvi shawl can keep your shoulders warm and add to the beauty of the evening.

 

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Purvi is knit from the top down, starting with a garter stitch tab. The body of the shawl features a pretty leaf lace pattern which seamlessly evolves into a bigger leaf pattern. Charts and written instructions are provided for the lace stitch patterns. Adventurous knitters can optionally place beads on the pointy edges.

The sample is knit using Malabrigo Sock in Lettuce colorway. The shawl can be made using lace yarn, but the gauge and finished size will vary.
Purvi is available at a promotional price of $3 until May 10, after which it will be listed at its full price of $5.

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Ravelry Pattern: Purvi
Yarn Suggested: Malabrigo Sock
Needle Size: US #10 6 mm for the body

And the set is complete!

After I made the pretty, little sweater and was still left with a good half ball of yarn, I decided to make a hat to go with the sweater. I wanted one which would go with the sweater – with similar cables. Luckily, I found just the right pattern: Cable Baby Hat. I tried looking for a pattern with earflaps, but when my search didn’t turn up a good one (with cables similar to the one in Sunnyside cardigan), I gave up and settled for this one. I could have used a plain, earflap hat pattern and added this cable myself, but that wouldn’t be mindless knitting, would it?

The hat was a quick and easy knit. I liked how the designer blended in the decreases with the cables. By the look of it, I feel the hat is too long, but that should be okay. Long hats can be worn with folded brims, short ones are a problem.

Like the sweater, the hat is warm and soft. Cables are much better on the hat, but still not sharp enough for my liking. That cute little pom-pom is husband’s contribution. He is the resident pom-pom expert.

Next came the booties. I didn’t bother searching for a pattern for booties with cables, because I knew what pattern I would follow. I have made Ruth’s Perfect Baby Booties atleast a dozen times now and they have never failed me.

They are seamed, which I can live with, but what I love about these booties are they stay on little baby feet. I made 3-4 pairs for my own baby and never once have I seen the booties slide down.

I did think of incorporating cables into the booties, but dropped the idea as I was aiming for mindless knitting.

With the booties done, the set is now complete.

My hands are itching to cast on for a baby blanket, but my mind likes to remind them that there is no way I can knit up a baby blanket in two month’s time. Not with all the things going around right now.

New Pattern: Felber

Just in time before the spring arrives, here is another pattern release from my side. Felber is a circular yoke sweater with asymmetric cable on the yoke. The name Felber means bent, twisted to indicate the suppleness and I find it apt for the cables used in this sweater. It is worked top-down in the round, so no pesky seams to stitch up.

I used a new yarn (new to me) Jill Drape Makes Stuff Hudson – Made in USA. The yarn is soft and yummy and oh the colors are so rich and vibrant. I requested for a brown color which will suit a boy’s sweater. Jill picked out this one and I must say, I couldn’t have picked anything better. The yarn is so well plied, the cables just pop.

Felber is available at a promotional price of $3 until Mar 10, after which it will be listed at its full price of $5.

Ravelry Pattern: Felber by Anjali M.
Yarn SuggestedJill Draper Makes Stuff; Hudson – Made in USA
Needle Size: US #6 4 mm for the body

New Pattern: Warrior Sweater

Every boy goes through a phase where he admires soldiers and warriors and aspires to be one. My son is in one such phase and naturally, he requested me to make a chest armor for him. I play with yarn, not metal, so I convinced him to settle for a “sweater chest armor”.

The dense, textured body of the sweater protects your little one from cold and wind. Sleeves are plain stockinette and the elbow patch using the same textured stitch adds a bit of style and interest. The sweater is worked from the top down, using raglan sleeves. Body and sleeves are worked in the round. The texture stitch is a easy to memorize and knit. The aran weight yarn makes the sweater cozy and quick to knit.

Warrior Sweater is available at a promotional price of $3 until Feb 10, after which it will be listed at its full price of $5.

Ravelry Pattern: Warrior Sweater by Anjali M.
Yarn Suggested: Cascade Eco+
Needle Size: US #9 5.5 mm for the body

A new year and some changes

A very happy new year to you all. Hope the new year brings happiness and cratfty goodness.

You all must have heard about the new EU VAT law. Even though I don’t reside in any EU member state, this affects me as my patterns are available for sale for EU customers. Without going into details, I need to pay VAT for the patterns purchased by EU customers. I can either take care of this myself (yeah, right) or have someone else take care of this for me. And I went with the latter.

If you are not in any EU member state, nothing changes for you. If you are, then please read on.

Patterns

All my patterns are still available on Ravelry, but if you are in EU member state and if you try to buy my pattern on Ravelry, you will be redirected to LoveKnitting.com, which will add on the VAT to the pattern price and show you the final price. They then deduct the VAT and give me the actual pattern price. They will also handle the transferring of VAT to the local government. This glue between Ravelry and LoveKnitting should work seamlessly, i.e. pattern which you purchased after being redirected to LoveKnitting, should show up in your Ravelry library.

While it may seem like the price has gone up, that is not the case. As a designer, I am still getting the pattern price that I have set on Ravelry. The “add-on” is the VAT which is deducted by LoveKnitting.

Ebooks

Kudos to Ravelry and LoveKnitting to get this working before the new year rolled in, but there are still some things to iron out. Ravelry ebooks are not directly supported in LoveKnitting, so EU customers will not be able to buy ebooks from Ravelry. If you would like to buy, please contact me and we can work something out. I hope this is temporary and the wonderful teams can get this working soon.

Promotion

Any promotion I might have on Ravelry will be limited to Ravelry. I cannot make this work for LoveKnitting. Apologies for this. I hope this too is resolved so that I can have a sale for my EU customers also.

So, yeah, not a great way to start the new year, but here we are. I continue to be amazed by Casey and his team. They worked through the holidays to make this happen for us. Where would we be without Ravelry? Seriously.

Interview with Kristen Fanning (and a giveaway)

I am back with another interview as part of Gift-Along 2014. And this time, we have Kristen Fanning aka texotexere on Ravelry to share her designs and thoughts with us. She designs under the label ‘Knits Who Say Needle’.

 

What inspired you to become a designer?

I was working at my university during a summer break and didn’t have a lot to do, so I ended up knitting a lot of hats. After the first dozen or so, I was having a hard time finding free patterns that I wanted to knit and I made so many hats that summer that buying that many patterns would have put a serious dent in my budget. So I started to design my own patterns, and eventually decided to publish them.

What aspect/phase of knit design do you enjoy the most? And which one do you enjoy the least?

I like the planning phase the best. I can spend hours playing with charts and choosing the best yarn/gauge.

My least favorite part is photographing the finished piece. No one in my immediate family is photogenic, and we would all rather be behind the camera than in front of it.

Do you find time to knit from other designers’ patterns? Who are your favorite designers?

Lately, I usually only use other people’s patterns for toys. I make them when I need a break. Lately, I’ve been on a Stacey Trock kick. I’ve used her owl pattern about half a dozen times. Of course, I couldn’t resist modifying it and ended up making them all a different Peter Pan character.

Which patterns in your store can be made as quick holiday gifts?

All of my accessory patterns are pretty quick knits and most use less than 200 g of yarn. Fairy Glen and Blackberry Leaves are both the result of last year’s Christmas panic knitting. I did did both in less than 2 weeks.

What gifts are you making/knitting for this holiday season?

Right now I’m making some thrummed mittens for my brother and sister-in-law. Other gifts depend on whom I get requests from.

To celebrate the Gift-A-Long, Krsiten would like to offer you the opportunity to win one of her patterns. To enter, have a look through Kristen’s designs and leave a comment about your favorite design of hers. Giveaway ends 5 PM IST Friday, November 28. A random winner will be chosen from the comments.

Photo credit: All photos are copyright “Knits Who Say Needle” and used with permission.

Interview and Giveaway!

Update: This giveaway is now closed. “resident robin” is our winner. Congratulations! Barbara will be contacting the winner soon.

As part of Gift-Along 2014, I am very excited to interview my first featured designer Barbara aka browneyedbabs on Ravelry.

  • What inspired you to become a designer?
    I had learned to knit as a child but didn’t start knitting properly till I was in my mid twenties and people I loved started having babies. I had hardly any spare money so I would make up my own patterns for things to try and recreate products I loved but couldn’t afford – not always successfully! Eventually, I got good enough that I decided to start writing down my patterns and it all went from there.

 

  • What aspect/phase of knit design do you enjoy the most? And which one do you enjoy the least?
    My favourite thing is seeing other people enjoying my patterns, I still get a little thrill when I see someone add photos of their finished toys to Ravelry. The worst bit for me is laying out the pattern and taking the photos. It takes a surprisingly long time to make a pattern fit neatly onto the pages and look pretty.

 

  • Do you find time to knit from other designers’ patterns? Who are your favorite designers?
    I don’t get a lot of time to knit other people’s patterns, that’s one of the best things about the giftalong. Like last year, I’m taking a couple of months off from designing to enjoy knitting without having to think. I’ve just cast on the Keikomi cowl with some special yarn and I’m really enjoying it. I also really love patterns by Hilary Smith Callis I made myself one of her Starshower cowls recently as a reward for getting some patterns designed by the magazine deadlines.

 

  • Which patterns in your store can be made as quick holiday gifts?
    My quickest toy is Katie Kitty Puppet, it’s a simple knit and if you’re really in a hurry you can skip the finishing and gift it with glue on googly eyes and felt shapes for a child to decorate it with. Dreamy Owl is another quick pattern and is great for babies.

  • What gifts are you making/knitting for this holiday season?
    This year I’m making cowls, slippers and hats. Some for me and some for friends and family. I’ve got to keep them secret though so that there is a surprise on Christmas morning!

Thank you so much Barbara for taking time to answer these questions. I hope you had as much fun with this interview as I did.

To celebrate the Gift-A-Long, Barbara would like to offer you the opportunity to win one of her patterns. To enter, have a look through Barbara’s patterns and leave a comment about your favorite design of hers. Giveaway ends midnight IST Saturday, November 22. A random winner will be chosen from the comments.

It is so hard to choose one from her lovely collection. Look how cute Duncan the Donkey is.

Photo credit: All photos are copyright brownyeyedbabs and used with permission.

New Pattern: Zeppa Shawl

I am so pleased that Zeppa Shawl is released today. This shawl has a story behind it. I got this gorgeous yarn from Helen of Bessie May yarns after looking through all the lovely colors and finally settling on these three colors. I planned to make Entropy vest with this yarn. It was accepted by Petite Purls and they wanted me to use a yarn which was more commercial and available in the US. So, this yarn was set aside for future hoping a good idea would strike soon.

After a few weeks, I thought of using this for a circular yoke sweater with argyle pattern on the yoke. Interesting yes, but very difficult to implement. I knit up a sample in my son’s size (who loved it to bits, BTW) and released it for testing. None of my testers could get the yoke to work. After multiple revisions, I gave up and concluded that this yarn didn’t want to become a sweater.

And one fine night, as I was on the verge of dozing off, a light bulb went off in my mind and thus, Zeppa was born. I am still embarrassed by the failure of the sweater, but as they say, all is well that ends well. Even though Zeppa was ready long back, I had to wait until the weather turned colder.  So, here it is, ladies and gentlemen, presenting Zeppa.

Zeppa is knit from the top-down, like typical half-circle shawls, with increases placed apart. Stockinette section is alternated with colorwork section which look like wedges using short rows. Colorwork stitch pattern is very easy since you are dealing with only one color on each row. This is a good candidate for stash busting as you can use multiple colors on a single wedge. The shawl is knit in DK weight yarn, which makes it a quick knit.

Zeppa Shawl
Yarn: Bessie May Smile

Crochet illiterate

I have had this project in my to-do queue since ages. It is the popular Inga bag (I know that is not the name of the bag, but I prefer to call it Inga which is easy to type and pronounce) which looks stunning and apparently easy to make. You make a dozen or so granny squares and stitch them up as it says in the pattern. What could be so hard in that, right?

When one of the Ravelry groups announced a Bag KAL, I thought it to be the right time to work on my Inga. I had all the right materials and I started on my very first granny square. After a bazillion attempts and much frogging and recrocheting with a generous amount of cursing, I successfully crocheted my very first granny square.

grannysquare3_medium2It turned out to be too tight (so I was told by a crochet expert, I am sure she knew what she was talking about). For my second granny square, I decided to use a bigger hook. After making the first square, you would think I would have gotten a fair bit of practice and the second would be relatively smoother. Wrong. The second attempt was an utter failure. I had only 11 “sun spokes” the first time around. And the second time miraculously had 13 of them. I needed 12, but always ended up with a number which was definitely not 12. Now, if this was a knitting project, I could have done a k2tog or a kfb to get the right stitch count, but alas crocheting is not same as knitting the last time I checked. I made so many mistakes, I had to cut the yarn at one place because I somehow managed to create a knot while crocheting. I sincerely tried for two whole days and at the end of the second day when I did not have anything looking like a granny square, I finally gave up.

I can tackle complex knitting techniques. Throw at me intarsia, fair isle, purl 3 together through the back loop and I will master it (it might take a while but I will get there), but as soon as you say crochet, my mind closes up. After this incident, I have finally come to the conclusion that my brain doesn’t have the cells required to process crochet. I cannot follow a simple pattern and neither can I read what I have crocheted. So, the verdict is out. I am crochet illiterate.

Random Tuesday

Some random updates from my boring life:

1. The Husband’s Sweater Project is still on. I am at the last few inches of the body and then I will have two sleeves to work on. I had taken this (and only this) project with me on our recent trip to Coorg. Halfway into the vacation, the needle snapped, so I was left with no knitting for the last 2 days. I am blaming it on this incident that the sweater body is still not done. (I know that is a lame excuse, but atleast I have one this time). Considering November is three two and a half months away, I need to pull up my socks and get this sweater done.

2. About the needle that snapped from #1 above? Those were 3.75mm needles. After we got back home, I searched low and high for another pair of 3.75mm needles and I swear I had them, but can’t find them anywhere. After waiting for two days for the needles to miraculously turn up, I gave up. I am now using 3.5mm needles and even though the difference is 0.25mm I have a feeling I am going to regret this later. Blocking should fix this, yes?

3. I am in a constant tug of war between reading and knitting. I know there are enough hours in the day that I can do both, but somehow it never works out. The last knitting project I got done was Texo Shawl, way back in April/May. I haven’t worked solidly on any knitting project after that. Compare that to half a dozen books I read and you will know why. [I read three back to back Flavia de Luce books, Gone Girl (an interesting read), The Giver (can’t wait to watch the movie), in case you are interested.] I am still in my reading mode and I hope I switch to knitting mode soon because …

4. I am waiting for some gorgeous yarn for my next design. A shawl again and I can’t wait to start working on it. Hope the yarn gets here soon and I can switch my knitting mode on.

So, what is up with you lately?