Pin Ups: My Favourite Things on Pinterest This Week

And the winner of the Pattern Writing for Knit Designers Giveaway is……. Jane! Jane wrote:

“Before I actually wrote patterns, I never would have thought I would need a book to do it (after all, I’m a pretty competent knitter, a decent writer, and I’ve read enough patterns to know a good one from a bad one), but 3 patterns in, I know far less about pattern writing than I knew before I ever attempted one of my own ;) This book would be the perfect “cheat sheet” so I can spend less time making pattern writing mistakes, and more time dreaming up new patterns!”

Congratulations Jane!!

I’m clearly loving all the festive, holiday-themed items blowing up on Pinterest lately:

Pin Ups: 4 Hot Holiday Drinks |

No matter what sort of hot beverages you like, I bet something on this post will be just right for you- Hot Chocolate with Cinnamon and Orange Liqueur, Easy Gingerbread Latte, Dulce de Leche Ho Chocolate, and Easy Chai Latte. I’ll have one of each, please.

Pin Ups: Pinecone cookies |

These pinecone cookies are so awesome, and while the DIY does look like it takes a bit of time, they don’t look too unhealthy- they are at least high in fiber!  I totally want to make these.

Pin Ups: Felt Fox Ornament |

How cute is this DIY felt fox ornament?! It could also be used as a seasonal gift topper.  THe link contains templates for all the shapes you need to make your very own.

Pin Ups: Pesto Bread Wreath |

This pesto bread wreath is high impact and so tasty. pesto bread in any shape would be tasty, but like this it has a real wow factor. The page is in German, but if you right click, you can translate into English easy-peasy.

Pin Ups: DIY Star garland |

I’m sort of in love with this DIY star garland- I want to make it, put it up in my home, and probably never take it down because it’s so lovely.  Now I want a star-shaped punch like the one in the tutorial!

Pattern Writing for Knit Designers: Review and Giveaway!

Pattern Writing for Knit Designers

Thinking about pattern designing? Or have you already started designing, but don’t have it all figured out yet? Pattern Writing for Knit Designers  is an absolute must read if you want to take your patterns to the next level. This book is not going to explain how to grade patterns (grading patterns means figuring out all the math to create multiple sizes for the pattern), so let’s get that part out of the way right off the bat. But there is still a lot of detail that goes into creating a pattern beyond just the sizing, and this book covers ALL of that, including formatting and layout, copyright, selling online, a basic pattern template, and a really great resources section on where to find more detail and instructions (like links to all the submission guidelines for the major knitting magazines, 11 resources for lots of help with pattern grading), and great tips throughout for every single aspect of creating a pattern.

You should know right away that this book is truly an incredible resource. Unless you are a full time professional knitwear designer who has been in the game for years and years; if you design or want to design, you need this book. This is a game changer.  I particularly enjoyed the section on creating a style sheet, to help make pattern writing easier and more consistent for yourself, and the appendix is a rich resource for further detailed reading on all the subjects she addresses, although there is already so much in the book, other than the pattern grading I bet you’ll feel that you have plenty of valuable information to start with.

The format is well laid out and easy to read, with a fun repeating feature of little boxes with bonus tips that pop up throughout the book, entitled “Things you can do to make knitters LOVE you” which is like the extra credit round of pattern awesomeness to include.  There are even little pop quiz sections to talk about how to improve knitting  instructions: it gives you a section of a pattern, and then you have to think about how you would improve it. I didn’t always figure out the answer!

Here’s a sample page from inside, from the photography section:

Patterns 1

There is a very clear decision that this book is about making patterns as friendly as possible for beginner knitters, and if you follow Kate on Twitter, then you’ll notice that the book is very true to her sly tweeting style. The book can be a little intimidating- do you really have to do ALL these things to make a really great pattern? But even if you only took a handful of suggestions from this book, your patterns will be improved.  I’m not sure I’d do everything listed (I hate patterns that are so many pages I’m razing a small forest just to print it out) but there are takeaway gems for every level of designer in here.

So- you’re wondering where you can get this book, right? Of course you are! It’s available right now by digital download here, and print copies will be released in the new year. You could also win a copy, right here!

There is only one copy to win, and to enter, please leave a comment here or on the KB Facebook page  letting me know why you think you really, really need this book. Comments close midnight tomorrow (Thursday, December 11th (EST)), and the winner will be announced on Friday. Good luck!

December: Meet the Sponsors!

Whew, December is crazy, isn’t it?! Last week I had a big push to get the holiday gift guide for knitters up, so I held off on doing the meet the sponsors post until this week.  We have some new stuff happening here, so let’s check it out!  And maybe if you have been busy shopping for others, you might deserve a little treat for yourself- check out the awesome stuff below.

Name: Zenitude Fibre Arts

Zenitude Collage|

What She is All About: Lise  has amazing hand dyed roving, rulags, self striping and variegated yarns, as well as thrummed slipper and socks kits. Plus she has an alpaca farm, so there is lots of cozy alpaca fiber in the mix!

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: Merino Tencel roving in a beautifully subtle grey to blue to turquoise gradient, A rich looking Charcoal and Gold thrummed mitten kit (pattern included), and some awesome and inspiring self striping sock yarn in Raye in the colourway Find Your Purpose!

Name: Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe

Sweet Sheep Collage|

What She is All About: Alicia is always concocting new and delectable fragrances for the lotion bars, and she has a brand new crop of seasonal ones! She’s also created something totally new and i shaving a contest to name the new lotion bar, you should check it out and vote for your favourite.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right:  the Gingersnap lotion bar, because I’m convinced that if my hands already smelled like cookies, I’ll eat fewer cookies! Same goes for the Peppermint Mocha one, which is pretty much my favourite seasonal holiday beverage, and Snowflake smells like the crisp cool air in winter.

Name: Tanis Fiber Arts

TFA Collage|

What She is All About: Tanis offers a huge range of tonal and variegated hand dyed yarns in just about every colour you can think of and every weight, has lots of great kits and fun patterns.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right:  The unisex Bract hat has cool modern cabling; Tanis recently released a free pattern for these adorable little knitted hearts (ravelry link) which would be some perfect last minute  ornaments- and she also just launched a new palette of mini skeins (each about 35 yards) that are perfect for these hearts, or any other sort of small, quick projects you might want to knit!

Name: Barbara Prime

Fuzzy Mitten Collage|

What She is All About: Barbara creates some of the cutest knitted toy patterns you’ll ever see, and are exceptional value. All the patterns come with little add ons, like accessories or clothes for the knitted animals. She even has pattern sets for a wide variety of clothing for them!

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: There is still time to whip up a cuddly little toy for under the tree, like this super cute  Festive Reindeer,  or the big and cuddly Yeti and Sasquatch (the pattern for them also comes with the patterns for the backpack and little beret!),  or these tiny Wee Woodland Wuzzies (All 6 animals included in the pattern), which would be amazing tree ornaments, too.

Name: Knit Circus

knitcircus Collage|

What She is All About: Dyed-to-order gradients are her specialty, there is a whole range of colours, weights, and yarn bases to choose from. If you’ve been eyeing some lovely knits featuring gradients, you should check this out.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: the Calypso’s Dream Shawl kit (it’s like a sunset!), these gorgeous pink to grey gradients in ‘Come What May‘ (with 5 different base yarn options), and ‘Race to the Cookie Jar‘ gradient striping sock yarn.

Name: Andrea Sanchez

Sanchez Collage|
What She’s All About: Andrea has incredible size ranges for all her patterns, has timeless styling that often works for either gender, and her kid sweaters are amazing (and prove the size range comment- they run from baby, toddler, and kid sizes all in the same pattern).

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: Chuckery, a new winter sweater with a great geometric yoke; Sardines, a cheeky little hat (which has size ranges right up to adult), and Honeyguide, a thick and cozy scarf that is reversible and has fun pom poms at the end. because pom poms make pretty much everything fun.

Those are the December sponsors! I find it so inspiring to poke around and see all the amazing, beautiful things I find on each of their sites- they are all so talented.

Modification Monday: City Sweater

Modification Monday: City Pullover|

Original Pattern: small bygenser with raglanfelling and mitten building chart 

Knitter Extraordinaire: Marit (Ravelry ID)

Mods:  Originally used elements of a charted mitten design on a plain sweater design of her own making, and then eventually created a pattern for it!  Project page for this sweater can be found here.

What Makes This Awesome: I love it when people take a fabulous stranded design from a smaller project and blow it up bigger on a garment. This sweater is amazing- the wonderful rainbow gradient, and the stripes at the top balance it out. I love the detail of the smaller houses on the sleeve cuffs, and the pale grey and simple stockinette provides all the right balance for the details at the hem.  And the design looked so great, Marit developed a pattern inspired by her modification, as the houses were quite different than the original pattern that inspired her. I love it when a mod becomes a fantastic new design!

Modification Monday: City Pullover|

Pin Ups: My Favourite Things This Week

If you somehow missed it, check out my holiday gift guide for every knitter on your list- loads of ideas at every price point!

Pin Ups: Knit a Snowman Draft Dodger |

It might already be December, but there’s still time to knit this adorable snowman draft stopper- a free pattern, and pretty freaking cute.

Pin Ups: Leftover Turkey appetizer idea |

Already sick of turkey? You won’t be if you are snacking on these amazing turkey salad crackers. They are like an appetizer, hors d’oeuvres, and late night nosh all in one!

Pin Ups: Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies|

Although I personally might hold out for these carrot cake oatmeal cookies. There are carrots AND oats in these, so they are practically the healthiest thing imaginable, right?!

Pin Ups: Hot Chocolate recipes |

Here are 10 amazing hot chocolate recipes, which means you have no excuse to try something new with your hot chocolate- I think I’ve tried 7 of these in the past, which means I’ve got 3 new recipes that I’ve simply got to make this winter- you know, for science.  How else will I know what my favourite hot chocolate is, if I don’t try them all?  Side note- I pretty much want this image blown up as a poster and hung on my fridge.

Pin Ups: Tru Things |

I think this time of year is a little stressful for just about everyone, so perhaps this is a good reminder, on so many levels- don’t go broke competing with others on expensive gifts, don’t stress about what someone else is bringing ot the party, or wearing, or doing on their vacations. Just be you. Everything is easier when you don’t concern yourself with what everybody else is doing.