What the HK is on Viki's Needles?

The last few months I've definitely gotten my knit on. So many projects have come off my needles (I've already knit 10 socks so far this year)! 

This is not usual for me. I knit a lot but I'm not the person who takes their knitting everywhere with them. I don't even knit in front of other people. I'm starting to think maybe I've been isolated at home this winter more than usual (it has been extremely cold this winter and I hate the cold). At least I've got my knitting to keep me company. And a nice pot of tea.

It probably also helps that I've joined a super fun sock pattern club and I've developed a serious crush on Cadence.

Let me show you what I've knit since the last time I posted an update.

My last finished knit for 2014 was probably one of my favourites for the whole year.  I knit this Lodgepole Cowl by Sara Gresbach in Cadence in Lipstick 1984 and Frost

I adore these two colours together and never would have thought to combine them myself. The inspiration came from my Nike shoes. So now I have a cute matching cowl/shoe set to walk the neighbourhood in when Spring finally arrives. 

My first project for 2015 was another cowl in Cadence. This one is the Swingtime Cowl designed by our own Wendee Shulsen. Mine is knit in White Winged Dove, Smolder and Smudge. I think it is a very sophisticated combination. I can see wearing it with a nice black, dressy wool coat. There are some Swingtime kits available in the HK online store (this colour combination is currently out of stock).

As I mentioned above, I've joined a sock pattern club that is keeping me knitting. Claire Ellen's sock club includes patterns inspired by locations in the Lord of the Rings.

The most recent patterns I've finished are December's Cozy on Caradhras in Artisan Sock in Silhouette.

Followed by January's The Long Dark of Moria in Artisan Sock in Smolder.

And my most recent cast on is February's The Falls of Rauros in Artisan Sock in club colour By the Seashore.

Each pattern is so different from the last - cables, knit-purl patterns and twisted rib - and inspired. And the best part ... each of these patterns would qualify for the current Hazel Knits Ravelry KAL featuring patterns by Claire Ellen and Heidi Nick (you know, if I wasn't the one hosting the KAL and could qualify - but you totally would qualify).

Speaking of the current KAL, I used it as motivation to finish my second Tree People sock by Heidi Nick. This pattern was our May/June mystery KAL from last year and I knit mine in Artisan Sock in the club colour Coleus. This is a beautiful sock that taught me an important lesson. Always cast on the second sock as soon as the first is finished or I risk getting distracted by something shiny. The second sock was finished during a very enjoyable week of knitting and I felt shame for having let it sit so long (staring at me every day in my office).

Do you know what is very popular this year? Boot toppers. Sock legs that stick out the top of high boots so that you don't have to have a lot of bulk in your boot. Well, this is a trend I could get behind so I quickly cast on and finished a pair of Ballymeade Boot Toppers by Robin Ulrich in Cadence (told you I had a crush) in Ruby Love.

They add a wonderful pop of colour to a normally dark outfit. And just a touch of extra warmth against the wind. 

Hmmm ... I wonder what I should knit with Cadence next? Any suggestions?


Say hello to February 2015's Featured Color of the Month - Icicle!

Icicle is a soft, yet bright turquoise blue. This color will be 10% off the regular price throughout the month of February.

And because I know this question will inevitably be posed, here is a quick snapshot of Icicle and Cirrus together.
Cirrus (smaller picture) is more blue in hue and more textured, whereas Cirrus is more turquoise and dyed in a tonal solid manner.


Famous Frocks! Winner!

Thanks to everyone who left a comment. You all sound so talented with your wide assortment of crafts. I am more than a little jealous.

I am primarily a knitter. I'd say it is my only serious craft. I can crochet. I have embroidered some ornaments over the last couple of years. And I have a sewing machine (I should get it out of the box one of these days). I would love to be able to spin. 

The winner of the beautiful Famous Frocks is Jessica. Jessica, I will be in touch shortly through Ravelry to get your information. 

Thanks again to Dolin O'Shea for taking the time to answer my questions and to Chronicle Books for providing the prize. 


Famous Frocks: Contest!

Today's book review is a little different from our usual review. I'm not featuring a knitting book but a sewing book - the beautiful Famous Frocks: The Little Black Dress by friend of Hazel Knits, Dolin Bliss O'Shea (published by Chronicle Books with photography by Daniel Castro).

I know many of you are bi-craftual or even multi-craftual (smartypants!) so if you are a sewer, interested in sewing or just love vintage clothing you should check this book out. Dolin looks at 10 influential Little Black Dresses (LBD) and reinterprets them to come up with 20 garments that would look at home in most wardrobes.

I'm not a sewer myself (yet!) so have a look at this short video summary of the book for more details or visit Dolin's website, www.lulubliss.com

Dolin is also a knitwear designer, so be sure to check out her patterns on Ravelry. She has some very cute scarves!

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Dolin and here's what she had to say: 

HK - Let's start with the basics, in addition to your new book Famous Frocks: The Little Black Dress, you have also published several knitting patterns. When did you learn to sew and knit and who taught you?

DO - I grew up watching my mom sew, knit and crochet. For some reason, I only learned how to crochet from her. I learned to sew, right after high school, when I went away to college to study fashion design. There were many late nights and a lot of tears that first year at my sewing machine. In my early 20's I taught myself how to knit from a 1940's home economics book (with very few pictures). I collect vintage craft books, so I have taught myself all sorts of sewing, knitting and crochet techniques from them. I didn't knit much until my 30's, when found out I had been knitting incorrectly all those years, I was twisting my stitches and didn't even know it. When I finally started making my knit stitches correctly, boy that was an eye-opener, it became so much easier and enjoyable.

HK - Famous Frocks is a wonderful look back at vintage designs. Did your love of vintage clothing come from a love of old movies? Is there an era of clothing that you love in particular?

DO - I have always felt I was born in the wrong era, the 1970's, which isn't my favorite era for clothing or movies. I have always been drawn to clothing and movies from the 1920's through to the 1960's. If I had to pick one era it would be the 1920's, the beautiful clothing so reflected what was happening in that era. Women were freed from corsets and got the right to vote... I would have done the Charleston in my little flapper dress too.

HK - The Little Black dress is a staple for so many wardrobes, I currently have five in my own, what is it that you think draws people to the LBD?

DO - I feel people are drawn to first the timelessness of the LBD, if you pick one with classic style lines, it won't go out of style for a very long time. Also the versatility of the LBD is a huge draw, you can dress it down with a cardigan and ballet flats or dress it up with some statement jewelry and fabulous heels. The LBD is really a blank slate and gives you permission to have fun with accent pieces and accessories.

HK - The book was obviously a huge undertaking, besides your own designs do you have the time to knit or sew for pleasure? Do you knit or sew other designers' designs or mostly work on your own creations?

DO- Oh my, there is so little time and so very many things I want to make! I think every person who makes things runs into this conundrum. I do like to try other designers designs out, more so with knitting and crochet patterns. With sewing, I find that I end up making a lot of fit adjustments for my body type, that it is sometimes easier to start out with my own pattern. But with so many great independently designed sewing patterns out there, I just can't resist certain patterns and have to sew one up for myself. Most of my pleasure knitting/crocheting is done if I am watching tv, so I tend to gravitate towards more simple designs. Since I deal with so much math in my day job as a technical designer/pattern maker, I don't want to think a whole lot when I have time to knit. Sadly, I don't think I will ever be an intricate lace knitter or have the patience to make a lovely Aran sweater.

HK - With this book out in the world, what's next?

DO - I would love to write another book eventually, but for now my consulting work as a technical designer and pattern maker is keeping me very busy.

Thanks, Dolin!

If you would like the chance to win a copy of Famous Frocks, please leave a comment on this post before midnight Pacific on Monday, December 15, 2014 telling me either how many Little Black Dresses are in your closet or whether you are multi-craftual and with which crafts. I will randomly select one winner from the comments.

Please be sure to include information so that I can contact you if you win - an email address or Ravelry name, please. 

Comments are moderated - it may take a while for your comment to appear. 


Quick Knits for the Holidays

It's become a bit of a tradition here at HK HQ to put together an annual list of quick one skein projects that might help a knitter out if they were looking for ideas to finish their holiday knitting.

One of the quickest projects (at least for me) is a great hat, especially one knit in a worsted weight like Cadence.

Cory Ellen Boberg's cute Pip hat (shown in Braeburn in Cadence) would certainly knit up very quickly.

As would Katherine Leek's cozy Summit Hat (shown in Ruby Love in Tempo; Cadence would be a perfect substitute).

Boots are all the rage right now. How about a pair of jazzy boot toppers like Jennifer Chase Rappaport's Leaves Boot Cuff (shown in Portobello in Lively DK) to finish off the look?

Is someone always complaining about cold hands? I recently released a fun new mitten pattern, Pebblewood (shown in Hawkeye in Cadence) that would warm those digits right up.

Perhaps you want to steal the show at the party. Any recipient would be blown away to receive a silky shawl like Jen Lucas' Any Way You Want It (shown in Fresh Cut in Divine).

 Or Melissa J. Goodale's dreamy Parterre (shown in Cirrus in Entice).

Personally, I always round out my holiday knitting with something new to add to my tree. This year I knit up two of Tin Can Knits' Fancy Balls (shown in Artisan Sock in Euphorbia, Nickel and Red Carpet; Ruby Love would be a great substitute). I knit both of these in an afternoon!

Of course, if someone on your list is a knitter themselves, maybe the experience of using one of your favourite Hazel Knit yarns would be the best gift of all. Gift cards are available on the Hazel Knits website

And, don't worry,  there is nothing wrong with hinting that you'd like one yourself.


What the HK is on Viki's Needles?

After a slow summer of knitting, I think I've finally got my knitting mojo back and the result is an awesome assortment of finished objects. I've got some beauties to share with you today.

I recently bought myself a new winter coat, so what was a girl to do? Why knit herself a hat, of course. And if that hat fits into categories of the KAL she was hosting, well that just makes good sense. The result, a gorgeous Gather Hat by Tin Can Knits knit in Cadence in Iris. Unfortunately, it's already had a lot of wear and it's only early November. 

I also subscribed to a new sock club from Claire Ellen. I now have a year's worth of Lord of the Rings themed socks ahead of me to knit. I started with the October pattern and am very pleased with my The Sign of the Prancing Pony socks. I knit mine in Artisan Sock in Sandalwood. A very pony colour, I think.

I had so much fun with my October socks that I immediately cast on the November socks as soon as they became available. I've already finished the first of my Weathertop Socks. I chose to knit this pair in Artisan Sock in Pine Forest so that I could double dip with the current Hazel Knits KAL I'm hosting on Ravelry - WIPS/Gifts/Greens. And don't worry, I've already cast on the second sock so that it will be ready to go as soon I finish up a couple of gift knits.

And finally, this last project I consider a real accomplishment. A completed adult sweater that I actually wear! This is my Lady Sunnyside by Tanis Lavallee in Cadence in Twilight. Just don't tell anyone I still haven't found any buttons for it yet. 

I hope you've enjoyed seeing my projects as much as I've enjoyed knitting and wearing them.

Keep on knitting!


Swing Time cowl

Now here's something new - we made a little pattern for our upcoming Knit Fit event. It's super easy and it's free!

Say hello to Swing Time.

This super easy cowl uses less than 360 yards of a worsted weight yarn - we of course used Cadence.

Expertly knit for us by Jenny of Rocketboy Knits, I expect this will get some use after our event - I love it.

Our sample uses Quill, Lichen and Silhouette. There are so many combinations you could use - Aquarius with Laguna and Beachglass. Or what about Indigo with Arroyo and Frost? A Seattle Seahawks combo with Collegiate, Hawkeye and Nekkid? Which will you choose?

You can wear Swing Time in a double wrap like shown above. Or you can wear it long for a stripey accessory.

In the interest of publishing this pattern in tandem with our newsletter, you can download the pattern first here. There is a listing on Ravelry and soon we will upload the PDF.

We will be taking some Swing Time kits to Knit Fit. If we have extras, we will list them on the website around November 11th.