Some small finished objects

Although I’m almost always working away on my own designs, sometimes I work on other things. In fact it’s nice to have a bit of easy no-pressure knitting/crochet for those days when my brain has totally evaporated after work.

One of my goals this year is to use up my stash of dishcloth cotton. I haven’t been knitting with it because it hurts my hands, but I have found that making crochet cloths doesn’t seem to bother me in the same way. It’s great to have in my bag when I’m on the go and I don’t have time or space to deal with a more complicated project. I’ve managed to get quite a few done in March:

crochet dish cloths

This month I’ve already got a completed project! I made a Jayne hat, as requested by my husband. Although there are many (many many) patterns on Ravelry, I went with the Cunning Jayne Hat by Renee Peterson. I had already bought Estelle Chunky yarn, so that helped make the choice, but then I was sold when I read her analysis of the hat. The worst part of this for me was making the stockinette earflaps, but then they had to match the original!

Jayne hat for Ron

I’ve got enough yarn left over for another go, which is good because although this fits, it’s a bit snug on Ron. I think I’ll take this one over and make a slightly bigger one for him. That should take care of most of this yarn. I don’t usually knit with bulky yarn, so I imagine it feels a little out of place in the stash ;)

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Let the yarn shine

Sometimes I like to come up with something fancy and complicated. Other times I like making a simple knit that shows off the yarn. When I was swatching for Impressionist Stripes, I was going for something simple that would let the beautiful colours of this gradient set play together (Sweet Paprika Yarns Elora in Wind in the Willows).

Impressionist Stripes cowl by Natalie Servant

What I wanted was an effect like I’ve seen in Impressionist paintings, where the colours are together and mixed, and almost look like something else. After some experimentation I settled on a relatively simple 4 row pattern based on seed stitch, but with slipped stitches as well. Only one colour is used at a time, and the pattern is easily memorized.

So far so good. I was happy to note that while one side was almost wavy, the other side was striped. Perfect! It’s attractive on both sides.

This fantastic yarn was dyed by Sweet Paprika and I snapped it up at last year’s Toronto Knitters’ Frolic. What makes it special is that it is from a limited batch sourced from Canadian Rambouillet-cross fleeces and spun at a Canadian mill.

Impressionist Stripes by Natalie Servant

I recruited some test knitters & my friend Yvonne (of Yvieknits Yarn) knit up a sample using her mini-skeins:

Impressionist Stripes by Natalie Servant using Yvieknits Yarns mini-skeins

Later on I was going through the stash and I realized that I had the perfect set of colours in Knit Picks Palette to make a *larger* version. I used almost all of each of the balls to make this longer version that can be wrapped cosily:

Impressionist Stripes by Natalie Servant

Or it can be doubled and used scarf-style:

Impressionist Stripes by Natalie Servant

Thanks so much to my lovely friends Rosanne and Janet for helping out with the photo shoot.

Impressionist Stripes is now up on Ravelry for $2

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January is for…

I’m not sure what January is for. A lot of people fill it up with organization and resolutions, but I haven’t had the mental space for that. This year it’s been about catching up, relaxing, tidying, and trying to keep the daily household tasks moving in the right direction.

I just finished up a large amount of secret knitting, so I gave myself a break. I finally knit my daughter another Top-Down Shoulder Warmer (by Laura Chau). Almost a year ago I made her first one in the smallest size in black. The hardest part was picking up all of the stitches. I needed a bright and sunny afternoon!

Shrug the first:

Top-Down Shoulder Warmer

This time around my daughter still wanted a neutral colour, but it was cream. Hooray! Picking up the stitches was an absolute breeze this time around. I went up to the fourth size. It’s a bit big on her at the moment, but she’s growing super quick. I bought her boots for this winter and (this blew my mind a little bit) I had to check that they fit me and that I liked them too in case she grew out of them. I wear a size 10!

Anyway, back to the shrug, my daughter is thrilled with the finished object and given her enthusiasm for just about all of her knits, she’s totally knit-worthy.

Top-Down Shoulder Warmer by Laura Chau

Also in January I’ve managed to finish up a bit of long-dormant spinning. It was Hello Yarn fiber, but that’s all I remember. I don’t remember how long the singles have been there, but I frequently looked at them and thought about finishing this up. I was a little nervous when I started, as the colours were matching up almost perfectly. What if it changed? How would it look knit up? In the end, there are nice little overlaps of colours changing throughout the skein. I think it’ll look fabulous.

handspun from fiber dyed by Hello Yarn

What’s up for February? I’m getting my design mojo back and I’ve got a couple of things close to completion. Perhaps I’ll find a way to spin more than one skein of yarn a year.

 

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Happy New Year!

It’s 2017, and I’m sure I meant to blog last month, but December got away from me. I was working right up to the 23rd, leaving town on the 24th for a family visit, and knitting away on a deadline project. Although I didn’t blog, I managed to keep my sanity and get all the presents wrapped in time, so I’m calling it a win.

Looking back over my work in 2016, I got a bit more done than I had thought: I had 14 new designs published. That includes 3 published by 3rd parties, including Azulejos in Twist Collective:

Azulejos by Natalie Servant, Spring/Summer 2016 Twist Collective, picture (c) Fanny Lafontaine-Jacob

(c) Fanny Lafontaine-Jacob

Reckon and Reading Between the Lines came out as part of the Indigodragonfly Smart-Ass Knitters/World Domination club & they’ll be available to the world at large this coming April.

Reckon by Natalie ServantReading Between the Lines by Natalie Servnat

 

And here are all of my self-published patterns of the year:2016 designs from Natalie Servant

It helps that I did much of the swatching & design for some of the projects in the previous year. I don’t quite know what 2017 holds for me, but I know I’ll be knitting. I’m already working on a some ideas for my annual Tour de France KAL in July. I’ve also got an idea for a set of related designs, but I haven’t even begun sketching them yet. I also have a few patterns in the works that got left behind last year, so I’ll finish them up soon.

Something new I’ll be doing is crochet. I’ve tried to learn a few times, but what really did the trick for me was taking a class at my local yarn store. My friend Anja’s been teaching there for years, but finally the stars aligned and I was able to make time to take the course. After just over a month I’ve made a few pot holders, a granny square, and I’ve tackled a couple of random patterns from the internet. I’m a beginner, but I’m finally feeling like I understand the basics. This is what I tackled on New Year’s Eve:

Learning to crochet

What are you going to knit/learn/do this year?

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Indie Design GAL – last day for the discount!

As promised yesterday, here are my last picks from among the many many patterns eligible for the 25% off sale on Ravelry today (code giftalong2016). In some cases it was the texture that caught my eye, while in others it was the colours or the shape. If you don’t find something here that you love & must have, there are always the other thousands to go through yourself (on Ravelry (in a searchable bundle) or Pinterest).

It’s been fun to imagine that I’ve got the time to knit whatever I want. Perhaps I’ll finish up my current round of deadline knitting in time to participate in the KAL. Remember, you’ve got until the end of the year to knit any paid pattern from any of the 300+ participating designers to participate. Head on over to the Indie Design GAL Ravelry group to see what’s going on.

Here are the last few picks:

Vodograi by Natalie Pelykh

Vodograi by Pelykh Natalie

The Knitbots baby blanket by Vikki Bird

The Knitbots baby blanket by Vikki Bird

Winter Sunset by Gabrielle Danskknit

Winter Sunset by Gabrielle Danskknit

Snowflake Bracelet and Necklace Set by Natalie Kononova (crochet)Snowflake Bracelet and Necklace Set by Natalie Kononova (crochet)

Guillemins by Anneh Fletcher

Guillemins by Anneh Fletcher

Mullioned Cowl by Katy H. Carroll

Mullioned Cowl by Katy H. Carroll

Henrietta Silverdale by Teresa Morey

Henrietta Silverdale by Teresa Morey

Ranka by Emmy Petersson

Ranka by Emmy Petersson

Con Brio by Bonnie Sennott

Con Brio by Bonnie Sennott

Short Circuit by Jo Torr

Short Circuit by Jo Torr

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Indie Design Gift Along – more great patterns

Last week I told you that it was the start of the Indie Design Gift Along. I’d hoped to have a few more posts featuring patterns before the sale ended, but I got hit with a nasty sinus cold. I’ll pack the rest of my favourites into one post today & one post tomorrow.

Remember, these patterns are all 25% off with the coupon “giftalong2016″ until end of day Nov. 30 (Eastern).

I’ll start it off with some stunning sweaters:

Dancing Dragons Coat by Heike Campbell

Dancing Dragons

Sand Snake by Paige ReisenfeldSand Snake by Paige Reisenfeld

The Frost Fairy by Anna Rauf

The Frost Fairy by Anna Rauf

Tracery by Kathleen Sperling

Tracery by Kathleen Sperling

Courtyard Tiles Afghan by Julie Yeager (crochet)Courtyard Tiles Afghan by Julie Yeager

Endless Roses Christmas Stocking by Denise BalvanzEndless Roses Christmas Stocking by Denise Balvanz

Elan Hat by Triona Murphy

Elan Hat by Triona Murphy

Lakeview Hat by Danielle ChalsonLakeview Hat by Danielle Chalson

Mendia Hat by Ambah O’BrienMendia Hat by Ambah O’Brien

Wengwings by Kirsten McTeer, for my penguin-loving boy:

Wengwings by Kirsten McTeer

I’ll be back tomorrow morning with a final set of patterns in the amazing sale.

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Indie Design Gift Along – shawls

It’s time for some knitting fun! There are over 300 designers on Ravelry participating in the Indie Design Gift Along (Indie GAL), which is all about a gigantic sale and an even more gigantic knit along.

Part 1: 25% off thousands of patterns from now through Nov. 30th all with the same code: giftalong2016.

Part 2: KAL with games and prizes from now until Dec. 31st in the Indie Design GAL group on Ravelry. While only some of my patterns are available in the Indie GAL sale, knitting & completing any of my paid patterns during the GAL counts…and the same goes for the other 300+ designers!

I’ve picked out a few interesting shawl patterns today that are part of the GAL. If you want an easy way to scope out your favourites, head on over to the Indie GAL Pinterest page. They’ve pinned all of the available patterns onto boards by the type of object being knit. Be warned: this could take  a while. Here are my shawl picks:

Estuarine by Stephannie Tallent

Estuarine

Estival by Marnie MacLean

Estival

Pink Pirate by Elena Fedotova (yes, it’s crochet)

Pink Pirate

Odalie by Toby Roxane Barna

Odalie

Mist & Spray by Simone Kereit

Mist & Spray

Rock the Kasbah by Cindy Garland

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Line Art by Jennifer Dassau

Line Art

Illumine by Nim Teasdale

Illumine

La Dame Blanche by Barbara Benson

La Dame Blanche

Maribou by Kino Knits

Maribou

 

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Cosmic Dust

Cosmic Dust is my latest new pattern with beads. It’s a completely reversible skinny triangular shawl and it takes advantage of the fact that the yarn gradually changes from one colour to another.

Cosmic Dust by Natalie Servant

This idea was inspired by this colour-changing yarn itself. I used Shirley Brian Yarns 100% 4 Ply Cotton. I wanted the yellow beads to look like they were spreading out of the yellow section and getting stuck each time the colour changed, sprinkling into the next section. They’re subtle at the beginning and gradually more & more obvious the more blue the yarn gets. They also add a wonderful weight to the shawl.

Cosmic Dust by Natalie Servant

What I’d love to do now is to try this again with a mini skein set, or a double set of colour-changing cotton and work from the outside in. Or to try this pattern in neutrals with metallic beads. So many ideas, so little time! What would you use?

Cosmic Dust is $4USD regularly, but it’s on sale for $3 until end of day Nov. 21, 2016.

 

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Beach Pebbles

Beach Pebbles is a shawl idea I’ve had in mind since a trip to PEI in the summer of 2015.

PEI

Watching the waves bring in pebbles and shells was very calming, and I loved the little V’s of water that appeared when the water went back down the beach. I knew that I wanted to use beads.

Pebbles on the beach with water

While I was in PEI I made one yarn purchase: 2 skeins of Briggs & Little Lite ‘n’ Fancy Softspun in a beachy kind of colour. It’s not the red of some of the beaches in PEI, but I still think it’s perfect. It’s a sport weight yarn, so I paired it with an assortment of largish wooden beads in a variety of sizes and colours. I cast on before a family trip and set off *without a pattern*. This was a bit of a stretch for me, because I’m usually all about symmetry and planning, but I wanted the feel of the beach.

Beach Pebbles Shawl by Natalie Servant

In my wanderings on the beach, I noted that you sometimes see pebbles and shells on their own, spaced out, and then when there is a ridge, there is a whole row of them clumped together. I wanted to emulate that, so I started off putting beads far away from each other – mostly. Then near the bottom there’s a few lines of beads. I’ve included this bead layout in the pattern.

For people who prefer a little more regularity in their knitting, I whipped up a fingering weight version with 1 skein of Wollmeise Pure. Since the pattern is increasing on the edges every row and since Wollmeise comes in 150g skeins, it works out to a nice medium size. I’ve still used a watery colour, but the silver beads give this version a completely different look. Instructions for this version are also in the pattern.

Beach Pebbles by Natalie ServantBeach Pebbles is on sale for 25% off (automatic discount) until end of day Nov. 9 ($5 USD afterwards):

 

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Dragon Cuffs

I am pleased to be able to share my newest little pattern with you. Dragon Cuffs are a quick whimsical knit. They look great, they keep you warm, and they work up quickly with a small amount of worsted weight yarn.

Dragon Cuffs by Natalie Servant

The bling comes from the small anodized aluminum scales. I picked mine up from theringlord.com. I created a range of sizes to accommodate most wrists, because why should the small people have all the fun? The unstretched circumference ranges from 6.5″ to 8.75″ (16.5 – 22cm).

Dragon Cuffs by Natalie Servant

Only the top of the cuff has the scales. The bottom is ribbed so that they’re stretchy and easy to put on and take off.

Quick! They’re on sale for $1.50 USD until the end of Friday Nov. 4 (then they’re $2 USD).

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