norichan knits!

collaboration

Rosencrantz (and Guildenstern)!

Noriko HoComment

I have been busy busy this past month, working on the finishing touches of not just one, but two secret patterns (will post a second blog post about the other not so secret anymore project shortly)!  :oD  This past "weekend" (May 17-21) marks the 12th annual LYS Tour of the North Puget Sound!  The theme of this year's event was "Stitch Two Together" and I had a lot of fun working on the pattern for The Fiber Gallery!  

Meet Rosencrantz!  Boat neck, fast knit, split hem... and all of it could be knit up within just a few days, easily!  The only techniques needed are:  knits, purls, picking up sts, and seaming.  Yes, seamed.  You could easily switch this to knitted in the round, if desired, but the seaming does allow you to play around with the depth of the underarm and neckline a lot more, in addition, the seamed sides means you can line up your stripes much easier (no jog on one side!).

Some actual details:  Rosencrantz uses three different colors of a sport weight yarn.  The suggested yarn is United (55% Wool, 45% Cotton; 251 yards / 50 grams).  I love this super fun gradient effect here, and, just like many of my other knits, this top is more complicated appearing than it actually is knit.  :oD  This top is definitely first garment worthy, for anyone feeling intimidated with knitting a top.  

Pictured here, Rosencrantz is worn with roughly 2" of negative ease across the full bust (meaning, the shirt is a smaller circumference around than my bust is by about 2").  I am recommending choosing a size of Rosencrantz that is somewhere between negative 2" (like how I'm wearing it) and positive 2" (where the shirt is a larger circumference at the bust than your fullest part of the bust).  If you are interested in seeing what that would look like, take a look at the following picture!

Cory is wearing her Guildenstern with 2" of positive ease.  You can see how that also changes how the sleeveless appearance, and creates a bit of a cap sleeve.  If you decide to knit up a Rosencrantz with positive ease, you will also get those cute cap sleeves as well!  (or check out my awesome friend's Rosencrantz done with 2" of positive ease, and a cool beachy ombre effect!!)

Cory and I had *so much fun* designing these sweet tees; our own variations on the same theme.  We were very pleased that the year we decided to do a collaboration the theme was "Stitch Two Together".  It was very appropriate and fitting (as are the names: great friends and great goofs those Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are!)... so much so that we may have hammed it up a bit for the photo shoot!  Here are some of my favorite outtakes below! 

I like to call this one "What's that?!"

I like to call this one "What's that?!"

"Quit monkeying around"

"Quit monkeying around"

"Deep contemplations"

"Deep contemplations"

"We could be rock stars"

"We could be rock stars"

"And that's all folks!" ;op

"And that's all folks!" ;op

Please leave a comment with your favorite caption below!  ;oD

2015 in Patterns

Noriko HoComment

This year was a big one for me.  This was the year I really decided to buckle down and get serious about designing patterns.  So, despite working full time and then later two part time jobs, I still found the time to design on the side.  Sometimes I was definitely overwhelmed with deadlines, responsibilities, and whatnot, but I can honestly say that I can't see it any other way now.  I love designing, and plan on continuing.  :o)

My last pattern had been Consummate V's, which is a free pattern I put out for my birthday in October 2013.  My New Year's resolution of 2014 was that I was going to put out at least 1 pattern a season (4 patterns total) over the course of 2014.  I figured it was a very minimal goal, with lots of room for growth.  When it hit around October 2014, and I hadn't put out a single pattern, I really sat down to think.  That's when I decided that I would get serious and have the same goal of at least 4 patterns, but hoping more for about 6 patterns to come out in 2015.  

While January came and went, February started me off with a bang!  That Fall when I was pondering how I'd let so much time slip by, I stumbled upon an all call from Quince and Co for their Scarves, Etc collection.  I was SO SURPRISED when they loved my Aviary pattern.  It was such an honor to be able to design with their yarns as my first pattern of 2015.  :oD

My next pattern was Rivoletto Mitts in March.  The idea for them came from years previous, when I had entered and won a mitts design contest with A Verb for Keeping Warm.  I never managed to write up that exact pattern, but I made a few minor changes to the basic pattern idea, and came up with Rivoletto.  I am actually even more pleased with Rivoletto than I was with the original mitts.  I suppose it was good to wait those additional years of experience!

In April came Candide, my simple hat pattern that maybe seems a bit more complex than it really is.  Knit out of one of my favorite yarns, Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, and Cascade Heritage, Candide was a lot of fun to work up.  What was more rewarding was when one of my testers told me that her teenage daughter had commandeered her hat and requested more.  I think that is one of the best compliments I'd ever gotten!  

A surprise pattern came out in June with my Gehry Wrap, a pattern I did for Unique Sheep's yarn club.  While the 100% lace weight silk creates a gorgeous drape and a very elegant shawl, I can also see it in other fibers as well.  The rights have been given back to me, and now Gehry Shawl is now available for download in my pattern store on Ravelry.  :o)

In July came a pattern that is near and dear to my heart.  Paulette came out as a collaboration with Thoroughly Thwacked.  Her Vixen yarn was a dream to work with, and the final shawl came out even better than my initial sketches.  :oD  It was a fun experiment to work hand in hand with an indie dyer, and I can say for certain that there will be more designs with Thoroughly Thwacked yarns, as well as other indie dyers in the future!

Viola and Cesario came out in September as a set of hats that will become a part of my Twelfth Knits collection.  Over the next year I will be adding more patterns to the Twelfth Knits collection, I hope you enjoy seeing it grow.  As I tend to sometimes be a bit corny, I will say that I'm planning on having these pieces be mostly cabled work as I feel the cables symbolize the twisted roads that some of the characters' paths took them.  Yikes, maybe that was too corny, even for me!  ;o)  

My favorite month is October for many reasons:  birthday month, typically some of the best weather during the year, and this year was even more exciting with the publication of Around the Block Legwarmers in the darling collection Charmed:  Whimsical Knitted Accessories.  After seeing the full collection, I couldn't believe that I was included in this collection!  So many cute patterns in the booklet, and I still am waiting for some free time to knit up a few of them.  :o)

I talked with DragynKnyts about using some of her yarns to design with, as I have been loving her semi-solids.  Her variegates are also lovely, but there's something very special with the way her semi-solids come out.  I proposed the idea of Cunegonde, and she jumped on board with it.  This cowl is interesting because it comes in two sizes, and done in either PendragynDK or Wyvern worsted.  Due to the double sized skeins, even the longer cowl lengths can be done with a single skein.  This cowl is the second piece to my Candide Collection that, similar to the characters of Candide, will be comprised of patterns that look more complex than they truly are.

This month has been crazy busy with gift knitting and trying to get a ton of designs all together ready for testing.  Despite that, I couldn't get Hipstamatic out of my head.  I absolutely had to get this free pattern together and so I put everything on hold in order to get the samples together and the pattern written up.  In the end, I couldn't stop knitting them, and I have knit up four so far, and every time I see more chunky/bulky weight yarn I just want to knit up another.  My next one is definitely going to have a pompom!  :oD

My goal was 4-6 patterns, and I managed to get seven self published patterns and three more publications with Quince & Co, Unique Sheep, and Knit Picks!  I have some more big plans for 2016, and I will give a little hint:  2016 is going to be the year that I start dabbling into garments.  ;o)  Stay tuned for some test knits to happen soon...

Styling Brights

Noriko HoComment

A while back, I posted a mini-interview with StitchJones and the amazing Neon Collaboration that Cory from Indie.Knits, Ariel of Stariel Knits, and I are doing.  All three of us were kids in the 90s, when neon was seen everywhere.  Anyone who was a kid in the 90s remembers Lisa Frank and all the bright dayglo clothing, accessories, and toys.  Well, neon has come back, and I couldn't be more thrilled.  :oD  

However, how does one wear neon without going overboard?  Is there an overboard?  From what we've discussed, we definitely have different ideas about this.  Here are a few of my thoughts.

Some people would probably say this outfit has too much brightness going on.  I think that this outfit works because the intensity of the two bright items differ, and the fact that they are contrasting colors allows this to work.  I actually love this combo so much, and bought these two items for the purpose of wearing together.  ;op

In this case, I felt that these bright red pants were so "in your face," that I decided I couldn't wear another bright on top, as well.  However, a statement top in neutral colors goes well, as it gives extra visual interest to go with the brights.  Another option, if you wanted to have less attention on the pants, would be to wear an oversized black, tan, or navy sweater.

This is the first outfit I'm showing that most people would likely feel more inclined to wear, if they were a bit more timid about wearing bright colors.  The outfit screamed 90s to me when I first saw these pieces in stores this year.  I couldn't not get them for nostalgia sake, and I love it.  However, the bright is toned down a ton with the jean skirt neutral, and the sweater (which is similar in color to the brighter tank, but definitely darker hued).  

A last great option, especially if you wanted to go as bright as visually possible, is to throw it on as an accessory!  A fun accessory is small enough to not overpower anything, but definitely adds visual interest and so, so cheerful!  

BTW, that hat is going live on this blog tomorrow.  Check back in, as it will be a free pattern that knits up super quick, so if you needed a few last minute gifts, you're in luck.  I started on this final sample (this is actually my third attempt to get it just right...) on Monday, and I have three samples done, already!  This sample was done with less than one skein of Madelinetosh Home in the colorway Fluoro Rose.  Two skeins were able to make one slouchy version, one beanie style, and one color blocked beanie style hat.  

Check out what Cory has to say about wearing brights here, and Ariel's thoughts here.  

Mini Interview with StitchJones: Fibery Goodness!

Noriko HoComment

Hi All!  I am so excited to be working on a collaboration in conjunction with Cory from Indie.Knits, Ariel from Stariel Knits, and Sharon who is the mastermind behind Stitchjones (taking color to eleven since 2008)!  

I have the honor of knowing Sharon for almost as long as she's been dyeing yarn.  It is always exciting to see what inspires her and what new colors she comes up with.  When Cory, Ariel, and I started talking about doing a neon inspired design challenge, I knew that Stitchjones was definitely the dyer for us.  When asked, not only was she thrilled to work with us, but she also gave us the honor of even helping to develop our own colors!  :oD  While I love all colors, pink and green are my true loves, and when it comes to neon, I think that green may just barely edge out pink (what a shock!!) just barely.  Blame highlighters, I suppose.  ;o)

my personalized color!

Each of us have come up with a themed mini interview with Sharon, and mine was anything to do with fiber.

N:  I know that different fibers take on dyes differently.  You were suggesting we use your Merino Sock or Mersey yarns because the 100% superwash merino takes on neon well.  Can you elaborate a bit about that?  What other lines do you have that you think would be good for the colors in our set?  

S:  I was concerned about being able to rise to the challenge and deliver a true neon, and have always loved the high impact of bright acid dyes on pure superwash merino.  But that's not to discount how well Titanium merino-nylon superwash base takes dye!  It showcases intense colors beautifully.  I would say I strongly suggested a pure merino because neon is all about "pop", and that was my first choice.  

N:  What is your favorite fiber (either actual fiber or yarn fiber content) to dye, and why?  

S:  After years of experimentation with many different fibers and blends, when it comes to dyeing fiber for spinning, I like to offer my customers Bluefaced Leicester and Rambouillet combed top - these breeds of wool take my colors as nicely as merino, they're soft, and I obtain them from local suppliers.  My favorite fiber content in dyeable yarn is far and away superwash merino-nylon blend.  Besides the reflection of deep color, it seems to be the easiest for me to produce predictable, repeatable results.  

picture borrowed from the internet of a Blue Faced Leicester sheep!

picture borrowed from the internet of a Blue Faced Leicester sheep!

N:  Do you have a favorite yarn from your lineup to knit with?  What types of items would you suggest knitting with this line, and what properties about the yarn/fiber content make it a good fit for the items?  

S:  My personal favorite is Pai Mei Sock for its softness and shine.  The bamboo gives it a luxurious softness and shine reminiscent of silk but less expensive.  Shawls and tops knit in this yarn will have a lovely drape, and its easy care also makes it an excellent choice for baby knits.  

picture borrowed from Stitchjones' Pai Mei shawl

N:  When you first launched Yarnageddon, I remember how excited you were to be able to offer luxury yarns at a more reasonable cost to your club members.  What have you learned through the club, now that it has been out for a few years now?  

S:  Great question!  I've learned so much since launching my yarn club, and have made quite a few adjustments as I discover what customers are looking for in an ideal yarn club package.  What it taught me as a dyer, is that while I love the true "luxury" fibers such as silk, cashmere, alpaca et cetera, they tend to mute my colors and make production dyeing with accuracy more challenging.  While I still strive to give my club members the best value and highest quality for their investment, the experience has taught me that I can create the most beauty as a dyer with the more workhorse type of fine yarns. 

An aside from me:  Stitchjones' Yarnageddon is truly an amazing yarn club, and her luxury fibers, as well as her standard fibers are fabulous.  :o)  

Thank you, Sharon, for your insightful answers.  :o)  I am in love with my neon green in Merino Sock, and can't wait to get started on my design!!  

Read about color inspiration on Cory's blog here!

Read about dyeing and being a part of the knitting community on Ariel's blog here!