Designer Spotlight #6: Chrissy Gardiner, Knittinmom

She ‘Hearts’ Self-Publishing

Since our Brave New Knits interview, Chrissy Gardiner (AKA “Knittinmom” in the blogosphere) has delved further into self-publishing, which has been, in her words, “the best experience!”

Her focus has shifted from individual patterns to books. She is busily working on her next book, for which her newest idea is to set up a pattern club which she dubbed a “CSK” (for Community Supported Knitting, a phrase coined by her husband when she described the similarities between her concept and a farm CSA).

Community Supported Knitting

Starting in August, each month for the next year the pattern club CSK group will get a pre-released pattern from the upcoming book. As part of the club, she is also doing raffles and goodie bags – and those 150 goodie bag slots sold out in a mere 3 weeks! More information about the project is available at

Chrissy has also shifted to a lot more digital delivery of patterns and her book; in fact, she released an e-book version of Toe-Up! on Ravelry a few months ago. Also in the works are her plans to offer online classes.

For Brave New Knits, Chrissy created a new design in the genre for which she is perhaps best known, and her fans will have no trouble recognizing it! Worked in one of Sundara Yarn’s fabulous semi-solid colors, a peek at this project is here:

Although Chrissy insists there have been no major changes to her design sensibility, her style continues to mature. “I’m a lot less afraid of experimenting, and I have a much broader base of experience to work from. Every year that I design brings me new challenges and discoveries – it’s great fun!”

While she still blogs regularly,  “… it just doesn’t quite have the same appeal that it did when I started my blog nearly 5 years ago.” She spends lots of time on Ravelry, but like many of us she has discovered that “… getting away from the computer and taking a break from technology is very refreshing.”

Like many busy designers, Chrissy has days when she finds that she’s not knitting at all due to all the time she spends surfing or formatting, and when that happens, she knows it’s time to refocus on the yarn and needles.

Designer Spotlight #5: Ann Hanson, Knitspot

Ask Anne Hanson of Knitspot how her life has been over the last year, and she will tell you, “Things are pretty much the same, but MORE.” 
2010 has seen her travel schedule get a jump-start; she is in ever-increasing demand as a teacher of lace knitting, sock knitting, and more. In fact, she recently returned from Knit Nation in London, and found that one of the best things about her expanded travel schedule is that, “… it’s been a lot of fun to get out there and meet so many readers and customers, as well as those who are new to me. i love teaching and talking about knitting, after all!”
The main downside to all this globe-trotting is that it takes a toll on how much Anne is able to get done at home. As a source of inspiration, however, it can’t be surpassed; she uses her travels to keep things fresh.
Secure in her place among that elite group of knitting bloggers who writes posts several times a week (nearly every other day most of the time!), Anne keeps a unifying focus on knitting and the design process, “… with a bit of gardening, cooking, and general life thrown in. And of course, travel! Everyone loves to see photos from the places I visit.”
She reads all of her readers’ comments (although she can’t respond as often as she used to), and still loves blogging and the interaction it affords her. It stimulates her both intellectually and artistically because, ” … having a forum to explore questions with is wonderful…”
An active participant on since its inception, Anne’s Knitspot fan group there is flourishing – closing in on 3,000 members, in fact! It’s  a great resource for Knitspot pattern users and a fun place to come visit (everyone is welcome!).
At the end of August, Anne’s lovely lace project for Brave New Knits will make its debut. A sneak peek is below! And that gorgeous yarn is Opulence, a luxurious 50/50 blend of silk and merino wool from The Woolen Rabbit.
Anne’s husband, David, is the talented photographer behind the beautiful images that show Anne’s creations on her blog and patterns. As he has increased his involvement with the Knitspot business, he has created a presence for them on Facebook and Twitter, and started making little films that he posts on their youTube channel. According to Anne, “… he brings a delightfully fresh viewpoint to what we can offer….  He also travels with me once in a while and is a big hit with festival-goers and event participants.”
Never content to rest on her laurels, Anne continually looks for fresh ways to reach her audience and present knit design in a new light.

CraftyPod Rocks!

Oh CraftyPod, How I Love You!

Notice anything different about this blog lately? If you have not yet taken an online class with Sister Diane of CraftyPod fame, I urge you to run, don’t walk, to her website and sign up right this second!!!

I recently completed her three-part online Craft Blog Tune-Up class, at the suggestion of Kim (another craft goddess whose work is awesome and inspiring).

Have You Looked Under The Hood Lately? Or, Why Your Blog Needs THIS Tune-Up

Craft Blog Tune-up made me rethink my entire blogging philosophy, from its most ephemeral qualities (high-value vs. low value topics) to the most nuts-and-bolts aspects (photo size, amount of white space vs. text).

Sister Diane is among the most generous and all-round wise craft-blogging-and-ebook-publishing gurus I’ve ever “met,” and it’s not difficult to describe what makes her classes so very, very worthwhile:

1) Meaty information: There’s nothing superficial about the class lessons. Sister Diane gives amazing value to the class content in terms of the students’ investment, and then she goes above-and-beyond by making herself available in class chats and forums to answer additional questions;

2) Visual inspiration: Between her incredibly astute understanding of the uses of photography (and the gorgeous quality of the photos themselves) and her thoughtful video lessons that alternate with text/photo lessons, Diane has nailed the most difficult aspects of craft blogging. She makes her lessons such a visual feast in and of themselves that students want to run straight back to their own sites and start making improvements;

3) Long-Term Results: You probably go in thinking you’ve already made your blog as good as it can be, yet you have the nagging feeling that you’ve missed something. You finish the class lessons feeling completely fired up to make a million changes, but confident that even taking one baby step at a time will make a noticeable difference.  By the time you’ve incorporated all the suggestions that are applicable to your own personal craft blog, you might not recognize it from its original format, but it’s still YOU – but a new and improved you that reaches your audience in equally new and improved ways!

Designer Spotlight #4: Ann Weaver, Weaverknits

No Dust Grows on a Rolling Skein
Catching up with Ann Weaver (and her blog, Weaverknits) more than a year post-BNK-interview, it came as no surprise to learn that she is still doing at least ten things seemingly all at once. How she keeps all those balls (of yarn) in the air simultaneously is a mystery to me, except for her occasional hint that she gets about four hours of sleep a night. Yet somehow, she does it all, and she does it all WELL.
Although she loved her year-long stint as a commercial baker, she gave it up (but not, she maintains, because of the overnight and early morning shifts) when the bakery folded.
Landing soon afterwards at a publishing and editing company, she quickly became the “staff jack-of-all trades,” contracted indefinitely to work her way through everything from “…editing and proofreading educational book and web content one day, performing quality assurance checks on websites the next day, cold-solving math tests for coursebooks the next.” 
See what I mean? She does do it all.
For Brave New Knits, Ann created a fabulously colorful project that gives a tongue-in-cheek nod back to the punk rock scene. Its close fit,  slip stitch pinstripes and prominent buttons combine to lend this design an insouciant flair.
In the interim since we last spoke, Ann has produced designs for Interweave Knits, Knitscene, several published and upcoming books, and is currently working on additional projects for yarn companies, books,  AND her “… very own first self-published collection of 10 utilitarian patterns, tentatively titled Craft Work Knit, which will be available in digital and hard-copy format by the beginning of October 2010.”
As much as she has enjoyed working in different formats and with different companies and publications, she wanted to “… make something that was ALL ME, with everything made from yarns I chose independently, photographed the way I wanted, laid out the way I wanted, in my favorite colors, modeled by my friends and family.  No compromises.”
Coupled with her other activities, Ann’s independent pattern collection has been an enormous undertaking, particularly because it contains four fully-sized sweater designs, two of which are offered in two distinct variations each.
She clearly thrives on this kind of intensity. With characteristic enthusiasm, she says, “The content is all coming together and I love it.  I don’t care if it sells more than 20 copies… it is going to be AWESOMETOWN.”
I’m thrilled to announce that Ann will be joining me at Windsor Button in Boston on Saturday, September 11th from 12 noon to 3 pm for a Brave New Knits signing and trunk show (where you can see her fabulous project in person!). 

In Which I Wax Philosophical As Summer Speeds By…

One minute you’re waiting impatiently at Baggage Claim at the airport for your daughter to step off the plane and begin her summer vacation. While you wait, you fantasize about all the fun things you’ll do together: a couple of day hikes, floating leisurely around in the criminally underused backyard swimming pool, a little shopping, cooking her favorite meals together.

Next thing you know, she’s back at college for her sophomore year. Unbelievable though it seems to me, Rachel is already back at school. She arrived about ten days before the start of classes because she is an orientation advisor for incoming freshman.

Within hours of her arrival on campus, we were Skyping. She wanted to show us her new room in a 2-bedroom on-campus apartment, which she will share with 3 other young women; the bedrooms are doubles. The kid knows how to decorate, that’s for sure, and at lightning speed. Posters up on the walls, desk set up, bed made. Don’t know how long it will stay that way, but at least she’s getting off to a great start.

 It’s much nicer than her dorm room last year (which was smaller than her bedroom at home, and had to accommodate two people instead of one), and this year’s roommate is an improvement over last year’s as well from what I can tell.

She looks pretty happy, wouldn’t you say? (I’ll have to do a “Before and After” shot once classes have actually started, and this one is definitely the Before!)

Summer has gone by incredibly fast for us. I feel like I missed out on most of it because even when my daughter was home, I was often back east helping out with my parents during their recent health crises. So although it’s only mid-August, I have the nagging feeling that summer is already over. Adding to that sensation is our recent weather; northern California has had an unseasonably mild summer… and my usually prolific vegetable garden is showing a definite failure to thrive as a result!

I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of days when the temperatures went above 90 degrees so far. And where I live, just east of San Francisco, our summers are usually termed “semi-arid,” that is to say very dry and hot, hot, hot. At least we still have September and October to come, and those are months when we often have warmer days. So there’s hope.

Our family vacation was all too short, but we’re lucky that we even had the time and the resources to take one.

 The fact that we went in the off-season to a part of the world that is reportedly lovely during the winter, but during the summer months not so much, coupled with the fact that I succumbed to a long-ish bout of what I will politely term “intestinal distress,” does not take away from the fact that we were able to relax together as a family for the first time in many months.

And now it’s over… yet September always seems like the beginning of the year to me rather than a month that is technically closing in on the end – 4th quarter and all. All those years we spend in school do something to our hard wiring, I’m convinced. When I see “September” on the calendar, I start making fresh plans and starting exciting new projects… I invariably go out and buy myself a little notebook with a pretty cover, and a shiny new Pilot rolling ball fine point pen (dark blue or black ink, please), just because. Just because it’s September, and I can’t resist. Who’s to say what will fill that little notebook, or what brilliant words I might write with that new pen with its crisply flowing ink? Life is just redolent of Possibilities in September.

In Office Max the other day, I dallied for way too long by the school supplies – all those fabulous notebooks, folders, and pens! – even though I had gone there in search of more mundane office supplies. School supplies have gotten so much more interesting and attractive since I was in school!

Hoards of kids and their parents were squabbling over which looseleaf binder to buy (our schools open next week, for those of you back east where Labor Day weekend marks the official end of summer break), which mechanical pencil and calculator, and seeing them made me deeply nostalgic and envious – I loved shopping for school supplies with Rachel, and now those days are over.

Parents’ Weekend at her college is a month and a half away, but I’m already looking forward to it!

Designer Spotlight #3: Angela Hahn, Knititude

Angela’s blog, Knititude, was one of the first I discovered when I chanced upon the knitting blogosphere. Living in Italy with her family at the time, and recounting her internationally-flavored knitting exploits from the charming town she called home, it was a vicarious thrill to see Angela knitting at Lake Como and on her family’s weekend excursions to one picturesque Italian village after another.
With her commitment to sharing the details of her inspirations, modifications, and final results, Angela’s blog also offered her unique perspective on her designs: it seemed almost as if her readers could see inside her head as she developed each new pattern.
Her project for Brave New Knits is as versatile as they come, offering a combination of interesting texture along with simple shaping. The fantastic semisolid yarn used in Angela’s project is from Canadian company Handmaiden, and is a lush blend of silk and wool. Here’s a sneak preview:
As she tells it, the function of her blog has changed over the ensuing years: “When I started blogging, I was trying to build up a readership so I could start selling knitting patterns; finding (or creating) a market for my knitwear designs was always the main motivation behind my blog.  Having said that, a blog definitely creates a life of its own, and mine has become a nice way to interact with knitters and other designers.” Although she posts with less frequency now, she continues to make the effort to write about the inspirations and processes behind her designs.  
Returning to live in the US in the last year, Angela admits that “real life” has intruded on her best intentions. “… the transition has taken up a lot of my time.  As a result I have had to decide whether I prefer to spend my time designing, blogging, or knitting, and honestly, designing takes priority over blogging.” Which is not to say we don’t hear from her with regularity even now.
With her keen eye for the stitch, texture, and design qualities that will result in a popular project, Angela’s patterns continue to appear regularly in national knitting publications such as Interweave Knits and Vogue Knitting, as well as online in Twist Collective. An additional feather in her (beautifully knitted) cap is that her designs were chosen for the covers of Vogue Knitting Fall 2009 (the Vine and Leaf Beret):
 and Interweave Knits Fall 2010 (the Inversion Gansey):
Like many active designers, Angela has discovered that Ravelry has evolved into one of the best resources for knitwear designers,  “…. especially now that they have recently updated their pattern search tools.  [It] has made it easy for knitters to find patterns using an incredible number of search terms, and has also made it easy for knitters to find their favorite designers– just about every designer I know is on Ravelry.” And fortunately for those of us who follow her knitwear design trajectory, Angela is among them.

Baby Love

Although none of my friends are having babies anymore, at least their own kids are. It’s so nice to have an excuse to knock out an adorable baby knit! This sweet little sweater, based on a free pattern from Jimmy Beans Wool, is called the Presto Chango (by Valerie Wallis) and took one week to work up. Seriously, it almost took me longer to choose the buttons than to knit it. These oak leaf and acorn buttons were a trial run, but ultimately determined to detract from the center lace panel.

My friend’s daughter-in-law was gratifyingly appreciative when she unwrapped it at her baby shower last weekend, making me even more glad that I had made the effort. My friend, Suzy (the mother-in-law), is an amazing knitter herself – an absolute perfectionist who has never met a technique or fiber she couldn’t turn into something gorgeous. These vintage mother-of-pearl buttons were the winners:

I don’t know the mother-to-be very well, so I almost did it more for Suzy because I knew she would appreciate it and make sure that it is cared for properly. That’s something we all hope for when we labor over hand-knits; there’s no joy in seeing it worn some months later by the baby’s toy teddy bear because it shrank in the wash, right? I try to include a label from one skein of the yarn (and in this case, the project required only two skeins of Elann’s Peruvian Collection Highland Wool in color #1004: Pumpkin. Now that’s what I call a cost-efficient project!). 

Designer Spotlight #2: The Yarniad

Designer Spotlight #2: Hilary Smith Callis, The Yarniad

San Francisco resident Hilary Smith Callis was an easy choice for inclusion in Brave New Knits. Although at the time she did not consider herself a full-fledged designer, the foundation had been established and was just waiting to blossom.

Hilary writes an entertaining blog that shares all the fibery details of her knitting experiments, successes, and even the occasional frogged project. That blog “voice” is endearingly modest and just a little bit goofy in a highly entertaining way. Her knitting evolved quickly from covering the patterns of other designers to working up her own ideas from sketch to swatch to finished sweater. Since first discovering her blog, it has been a pleasure to follow her progression from basic knitter to accomplished designer.

Simple But Stunning

Hilary’s eye for simple but stunning details is unerring; she creates designs that manage to be both user-friendly and style-conscious. The project she designed for Brave New Knits is a perfect example of the wearable simplicity she strives for. Although the finished garment is as sophisticated as it is practical (love those pockets!), making it would not be beyond the skill set of a new knitter.

The detail shown below, with its neat textural juxtaposition (Whoa! An ‘x’ in two consecutive words! God, I love the English language!) of stockinette and reverse stockinette, the clean finished edge, and an unfussy, classic button choice, is just a tiny preview of the knitterly goodness to come.

In the year since we first met to work on her interview, Hilary’s knitting life has changed in major ways. “Back then, I think I was looking at designing more as a hobby and a way to express myself; now I’m definitely taking it more seriously as a ‘career’, even if that career is just part time.”

Soon after our interview, Hilary released a few free patterns on her blog. The enthusiastic reception these received was the tip of the iceberg, because “… when [the] Citron [shawlette] was published in Knitty [in the Winter 2009 issue], things really took off.” Hilary credits Knitty and its readers for the fact that her “… blog readership has grown about 1000% (!) and I’ve started being contacted by indie dyers to collaborate on designs.”

Collaborative Creativity

It is this kind of collaborative creativity that really resonates with the designer, whose inspirations seem to come at her from all directions, marinating in her imagination until she “sees” a precise image of what the design should be.

At the beginning of 2010, Hilary had three sweater designs accepted into Knit Picks’ Independent Designers Program. This additional exposure gave her designs an even wider online audience. In fact, she is convinced that “… because I design exclusively “for the internet”, almost everything I do is in some way influenced by the online knitting community.” And that conviction made her a perfect fit for Brave New Knits.

Even Ravelry has gotten in on the act of anointing Hilary as an up-and-coming designer to watch. Within just a few days of putting up a new pattern for sale  (the Lilas Cardigan, below), responses were overwhelmingly positive, and it had made the “New and Popular” list that is a regular feature on Ravelry. Thanks, Hilary, for letting me “borrow” this image of your lovely design to share with readers.

With more designs in the works for Knit Picks, more collaborations in progress, and other design proposals pending, her main problem is “… not having enough time to get everything in my head out on paper [and] yarn.”

Designer Spotlight #1: Grumperina

Designer Spotlight #1

Meeting Kathy Veeza, better known in the knitting blogosphere as Grumperina, was an incredible thrill.

And with that introduction, this post kicks off my Designer Spotlight series, airing twice a week (or thereabouts) until I have shined the light on each designer who kindly agreed to participate in the making of Brave New Knits. With the book’s release just a few weeks away – and I get shivers down my spine just writing that! – I thought it was high time to check in with each designer beyond our regular communications, and find out what each one has been up to since we originally did his or her interview for the book.

For someone as brilliant and talented as she is, Kathy is also down-to-earth and sweetly modest about her gigantic talents. And she’s an absolute perfectionist, too. Perfectionism is a quality that can be hard to take in people who are already more gifted than seems quite fair, but in Kathy it just comes across as design integrity. In her day job as a research scientist she’d never settle for less than perfection, so it makes sense that her knitwear designs manifest the same scrupulous attention to detail.


Since we met over a year ago, Kathy’s knitting has taken a dynamic turn. I like to think that the beautiful saturated color of her BNK project yarn had something to do with this when she says, “… my knitting has shifted from texture and lace to color!  I find that nowadays, more than before, I’m likely to use bright and cheerful yarns, and see what I can make with them.” This tiny peek at Kathy’s project for Brave New Knits demonstrates both her way with lace AND her newfound love of bright colors:

The single skein of Fingering Silky Merino (50% silk, 50% merino wool) yarn required for her project was generously donated by Sundara Yarn.

With the creation of several adorable baby garments during the past year, Kathy now finds that “… it’s hard to keep away from saturated greens, purples, and blues when knitting for little ones.”

An Embarrassment of Fiber Riches 

Another factor accountable for the shift in her focus is “… the ever-growing yarn industry in which companies large and small continually entice us with their new wares.” I think we can all agree on that! When I consider the yarns that were available 20-odd years ago when I first learned to knit, compared to what is now available in yarn shops and on the internet, the quantum leap forward is astounding.

Blog Loyalty

Kathy still considers her blog her “main method of staying in touch” with the knitting community. ” As long as I have something on the needles, I don’t find it too difficult to write a blog post once a week, which is a good pace for me.” With a demanding 9-to-5 job that competes for her time and attention, Kathy is nonetheless a prolific designer who even manages to find time to test-knit the occasional project for other designers.

The last year has also seen her experiment with other hand crafts; crochet and quilting projects have both shown up on her blog, with characteristically accomplished results. But knitting was her first craft love – her BNK interview explains how that came about – and clearly holds pride of place in her heart.

Versatile and Flattering: The Habu Goddess Tunic

Habu Goddess Tunic = Knitterly Happiness

If I look absurdly happy in the photo below, it’s for two reasons:  1) the Habu Goddess Tunic is finished, blocked, and seamed, and who wouldn’t be happy to wear a garment as comfortable as this? And 2) my husband took these photos, and he has a knack for making me laugh (one of the many reasons I married him!).

Babydoll or Blouson? You Decide!

While threading lengths of 1 mm elastic cord in two rows under the bustline of the tunic, I had an epiphany: this garment is even more versatile than I had first imagined.

I realized that for a knitter who prefers a blouson style that is full on top and gathered at the hips instead of under the bust, it would be just as simple to thread the elastic in two rows just above the 6″ border. This small modification would give the tunic an entirely different appearance and feel.

Although the gathered shoulders are completely secure and create that wonderful soft drapiness down the front, another embellishment would be to tie narrow ribbon or I-cord around the shoulder gathers, tightening them up just a bit more.

3 Simple Ways to Change the Look

Another easy modification would camouflage the elastic cord, which is virtually unnoticeable anyway due to the gathers in the knitted fabric.

Here are a few different options; 1) ribbon, as I showed in the last post about this garment, 2) long I-cord ties that wrap around the tunic and knot in front, or 3) a belt. I tried a narrow, metallic gold leather belt that immediately made the tunic feel dressed up, but a braided fabric or leather belt would also work beautifully. 

Here’s a shot of the back view; I made the center seam about 2 inches higher in back than in front, and it still goes on easily over the head. Although it’s not really obvious from the photos, there is no edging around the neck or armhole edges. The Habu Tsumugi Silk drapes so beautifully on its own that it rolls neatly to the inside and eliminates any need for that extra step.

Short or Long? Hmmm….

I made the tunic quite long, and because I am short, it is really long enough to wear as a mini-dress if I were a mini-dress wearing sort. Although I had on white jeans for the photo shoot, I would totally wear this with leggings because it hits me at mid-thigh; well past any jiggles that might make me self-conscious.

I’m actually tempted to make a shorter version that hits just at the bottom of my hips – and, yes, I’m enough of a crazed Habu fan  mortified to admit that I do have enough Habu in my stash to make a second one.

I got a lot of vacation reading done while working all the Stockinette for this tunic, and could definitely be persuaded to make another! Not that I have another vacation coming up any time soon, more’s the pity….

Cool Comfort for Hot Weather

The fine Habu Tsumugi Silk knits up with a lovely translucent quality on US Size 6 needles, so the Goddess Tunic will take me through the rest of the summer barbeques on my calendar. It is sheer enough that I felt most comfortable wearing a light cotton camisole underneath.

 If I write up the pattern, which version will you make: Wrap-front or straight? Babydoll or blouson? Hip-length or tunic? Belted, beribboned, or bare? I think I need to sit down now – the options are making me dizzy!

Habu Goddess Tunic, Part 2

Habu Goddess Tunic: Versatility is her middle name.

When we left off at the last post, the Habu Goddess Tunic’s possibilities were beginning to reveal themselves.

We saw what a bit of pinning, ruching, and draping could accomplish. Transparent became translucent. Flat became dimensional. Loose became fitted. And Blah became Wow.

And now, plain-and-simple becomes simple-but-versatile. These Habu yarns are a delight to work with, creating fabric that is light as air, yet allows itself to be molded to suit any knitterly purpose. The Goddess Tunic can be draped and seamed more than one way, as demonstrated below.

Again, strategic pinning and draping reveal a new way every knitter can become the Goddess. Panels that start out sheer at the shoulder cross over to form a double layer over the bust. The even bordered hem in Version #1 becomes pleasingly asymmetrical in Version #2 below.

Which Goddess are you? Which version do you prefer?

Habu Goddess Tunic

Earlier in the week, we took a look at the unassuming beginning of the Habu Goddess Tunic. Two long pieces of stockinette in Habu‘s Tsumugi Silk, bordered at each end with deep swaths of Wool Stainless Steel carried with Kusaki Zome Silk. Each length measuring 60″ long by 18″ wide when blocked, they could easily be repurposed as a pair of ephemeral scarves.

But look what happens when we begin adding definition to these simple lengths of stockinette by pinning them strategically together. Gathers at the shoulders add delicate ruching and lend a hint of modesty to the fabric’s sheerness. Flattering shapeliness and drape begin to take form. Our curiosity is aroused; how else will these two pieces of fabric come together?

Suddenly it becomes clear. The gathers and pins work together to create a classic silhouette. The deeper-toned border gives the design a bit of weight, a feeling of substance that plays nicely off of the body’s transparency.

A delicate ribbon tie under the bust provides just the right touch of embellishment to make this tunic appropriate for dinner out, or an evening at the theater. Greek tragedy, anyone?

New Project Preview: The Knitting While Reading Tunic

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

I accomplished a lot of vacation knitting in Mexico as I whiled away the hours between pitchers of margaritas and tall glasses of a frozen drink called the “Miami Vice” (a sweet concoction that seems to be a combination of daiquiri and pina colada that my daughter gleefully introduced us to. Although in the U.S. she is too young to drink *legally,* in Mexico she was “of age.”).

Remember those miles of stockinette I promised would allow you to read a book and knit simultaneously? I’m here to tell you it works. And the margaritas I consumed had nothing to do with it. Here is a first glimpse of the Habu Goddess Tunic, which is perhaps the most versatile garment I have ever created. Over the next few posts, you’ll see why!

It doesn’t look like much, draped over Grayce (my accommodating dressmaker form), and stuck full of pins. But just wait; it gets better. Much better.

Vacation Knitting Results

What Knitting Do You Pack for Vacations?

Aside from an extra bathing suit, flip flops, and a couple of outfits, there wasn’t much I needed for my family vacation in Mexico besides yarn and needles. Sure, I brought a book (Kate Morton’s The Forgotten Garden, which I loved) , but mostly I knew I’d be knitting. Wouldn’t you?

The Best-Laid Plans

I planned to concentrate on the “Knitting While Reading” project mentioned in earlier posts. But on vacation, plans are subject to change, right? Instead, I worked on a new rectangular stole design that I’m calling “Corazon” for its vibrant shade of cherry red (and because I made such great progress on it while in Mexico!). The yarn is Madeline Tosh Sock, and the color is Scarlet (boy, is it ever!).

While Corazon is technically a lace stole, its design is intentionally more solid and less open lace. Although it will have a pretty lace edging, as you work toward the center of the stole, the solid Stockinette ruched sections are spaced closer together for extra warmth around the neck. This will be a warm stole, the kind you’ll want to wrap yourself in when the wind is really howling.

I got nearly half way through while my family was doing things like this:

They had fun and so did I!

Vacations Are For Fun…

…but there’s no place like home. My knitting is off-camera for the moment, so nothing new to share there. While I’m away from the blog, thought I’d treat you to a few photos snapped in the garden just before I left.

Peaches still hard as rocks, but should be ripening by the time we return.

Santa Rosa plums on the verge; keeping my fingers crossed that I beat the squirrels and birds to them.

And of course, there’s always something lovely blooming…

Usually several somethings!

And the all-volunteer army of pansies (no such thing as “Don’t ask, don’t tell” in this garden!) establishes outposts and wins hearts and minds all summer long in every shady corner. See you in a few days!