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Butterfly Wings

Noriko HoComment

What's this??  Two posts in a row? Who is this behind the keyboard?!  ;op  Well, I just couldn't talk about one pattern release, and then ignore the other, could I?  And, as always, here's hoping that I try to keep this blog more up to date because then I could write about more than just pattern releases.  

Without further ado, here is Butterfly Wings!  This fun shawl uses two colors of a heavy fingering weight yarn (pictured here it's knit up with Seattle Sky Dyeworks Mismated), and despite it's lots of fun texture, is 90% knits and purls.  There are also small amounts of increases, a few picked up sts, and one new technique to help create that fun bi-colored texture!  The technique is actually pretty darn easy, and allows you to create this look while only knitting with one color at a time!  

Mmmm... squoooshy texture!  (the quality of photo is not as good, as I was taking this one indoors... but it helps to see the texture up close!)

The fun shape actually offers versatility in wearing the shawl, in addition to lending itself to actually curving over your shoulders and staying (like a good shawl!).  I love wearing shawls slightly askew, and the nice this about this one is that when you do that, it almost looks like a large triangular shawl.  However, if you wore it straight across, you'd get something that almost resembles a poncho instead!  

Currently, Butterfly Wings is an exclusive pattern for The Nifty Knitter.  They will be selling kits on their website, shortly.  If you would like to be on a waitlist for it, contact them directly!  I know he's trying to get them in ASAP.  :oD  

I'll be posting Butterfly Wings as a indivudual, paid Ravelry pattern download on 8/22/2017.  Stay tuned, as there may be some fun surprises to be found then.  ;o)

Rosencrantz (and Guildenstern)!

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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

A New Month, a New Pattern!

Noriko HoComment

There's been a definite slowdown on my ability to get to writing on my blog, and began to realize that I was dreading coming back to write anything because it had been so long.  Then the longer time passes, and the more guilt I'd feel.  Gotta just rip off that bandaid!!  Here I am again!  :o)  

Earlier this month, I had another pattern release with Stranded Magazine, a lovely little online knitting magazine that is filled has a lot of insightful articles, recipes, and (of course) knitting patterns.  

Matira was inspired by nautical fashion (and maybe just a smidge from Sailor Moon...) and has bottom-up construction, with simple garter st detailing.  It is best sized at zero ease exactly.  There is a decent amount of shaping in this pattern, so here are a few ideas for choosing sizes if your measurements do not match.

If you are needing a smaller waist, instead of adding more shaping, I'd actually suggest choosing the size for your waist measurement and having a bit of negative ease in the bust.  For anyone wanting less shaping through the waist, try removing every other decrease and increase through the hip to bust sections, but still knit the zero ease for full bust size.  

In other news, I'm still slogging away on my new version of Paulette (a version that will accommodate fingering weight skeins that are closer to 420yds/100g vs 438yds/100g).  You may have seen some of those pics fly by on my Instagram feed, but it's b/c I just can't get enough of it!  Mechita is gorgeous yarn, and the Anniversario and Water Green colorways go so well together, it's like magic.  I really should pick up some of my languishing other projects/designs... but I just can't stop!  Luckily, I'm on the last section now, so I'll be forced to move on to a new project after that.  ;op

Time Flies

Noriko HoComment

So many things have happened in the past two months, and I can't believe that I haven't had a moment to update the blog about them!  It has been fairly busy, busy enough that I haven't had the energy to always knit in the evenings!  I always know that I've been working a bit too hard if I don't feel like knitting.  :o(  

However, I won't lie, it turns out that I can't NOT be crafty during my time away from work.  ;op  I have started the above crocheted blanket that I've decided to call Neutral Neon.  A few years back, when neon was first coming back into vogue, I bought a large amount of Plymouth Encore to make a blanket with.  I didn't have a definite plan, but knew I wanted to do a statement blanket with it.  I originally bought four colors:  dark grey, light grey, neon pink, and neon yellow.

At this point in time, I am hesitant to add the neon yellow in... but I can't decide because I clearly originally wanted to use it.  If I decide to use it, the yellow would alternate with the neon pink.  Maybe I should go with my current gut feeling and use just the three.  For the time being, it just "feels right."  

In other news, I had a pattern release in the Portland, OR metro area.  Frogger is a design I worked in conjunction with Pearl Fiber Arts and Fierce Fibers.  The mitt design is a slim fitting, flip top mitten pattern.  The yarn base is Lithe, and the colorway is a special edition colorway called "Cloudy with a Chance of Rainbows."  I loved working with this base, soft and luxurious, yet felt like it would hold up well over time.  

While I took a short break away from self publication designs (there are a few more things in the works that are super secret; can't wait to reveal them!), I am back to it!  Watch out here for test knit opportunities!  <3!  With this much time taken off, I've got waaaayy too many ideas, I just hope I have time to knit them up!!  

Pattern Releases: Maclure, Nabesna, and Kaiyo!

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Hello!  And with that month-long of silence, I bring you... three new patterns!  :oD  All done in collaboration with some fun people!  

First up is Maclure!  Maclure is a part of Stranded Magazine's Cold Weather 2016 issue!  This ski bonnet is knit from the top down, and includes details like a folded over brim featuring a contrasting color!  I love it in the natural colors here, but I think it would also look amazing done up in bright neons!  The yarn used here was Imperial Yarn Columbia.  

Next up is Nabesna.  Nabesna is also a part of Stranded Magazine's Cold Weather issue (this online magazine is one to watch out for, a bit more information about them at the end of this blog post!).  The fun part of this cute little muff here is the thrums!  While muffs are super cute and cozy always, I just imagined how much cuter and squishier it would be if it were thrummed!  If you've never done thrums before, I'd highly recommend trying it, it's actually quite easy and a lot of fun. 

Those extra fiber-y bits inside keep your hands toasty, while the optional strap makes sure that you won't lose your muff while you're just hanging out.  :o)  Again, the natural colors makes this a great knit suitable for all coordinating clothes colors, but my brain wonders... what would this look like in black or dark brown and a rainbow of thrums sprinkling about?  :oD  The yarn used for this pattern is Bartlett Yarns 2-ply, and the thrums were using the same company's roving.

The last pattern release is Kaiyo, a combination poncho and cowl.  This pattern was designed for Yarnbox's Classic Box December 2016.  The yarn is a luscious merino, alpaca, milk blend by Feederbrook Farms called Milk and Honey.  It is available in the Yarnbox, as well as in my Ravelry downloads.  Enjoy!

A quick note here about Stranded Magazine.  Stranded was formed by Andi Satterlund, Erin Birnel, and Monica Kirby.  The magazine first released earlier this year (2016) and now has three issues live.  The patterns in the issues are only available in the magazine for 1 year, then the rights revert back to the designer and can be individually downloaded.  

I have to say that I've found each issue to be well curated so far, and I've loved the feature articles included (only available with the full magazine purchase)!  In addition to the knit patterns, you can find a feature on a variant craft, and a recipe.  It's been awhile since I've had a magazine that I was eager to see each issue release, but Stranded has currently filled that spot.  :o)

(Oh, and yes, that is me modeling the patterns found in the issue!  It was a lot of fun to not only have some patterns included, but also be more involved by modeling for them!  In addition, I think it inspired one of my best hair colors to date.)  ;o)  

Let's Cowl-Along!!

Noriko HoComment

I've posted about this on my Ravelry group page, but I would like to talk more about it here!  First, let's get all the repetition done!  (This is a copy/paste of my Ravelry thread.)


"Fall is my favorite time of year, and I want to celebrate it with a fun Cowl-Along! I’ve come close to deciding that a good cowl is one of my favorite accessories. For some reason, there’s more gratification knitting one up than a scarf, I’m not worrying about what to do with the loose ends like a shawl, and I can continue wearing it at work when I’m very cold (unlike a hat).

With that, here are the rules of this Cowl-Along.
1) The pattern must be one of my cowls (Chocolate Chip CowlCunegondeAviaryMarisol CowlHideaway CowlBohemian Cowl (Knitted), or Bohemian Cowl (Crocheted).
2) Any picture of a WIP or FO in this thread put up between today (October 24th) and the end of Thanksgiving weekend (Sunday, November 27th) will qualify for a chance to win a prize! (However, they must be new projects started, at the earliest, today.) 
3) The grand prize will be chosen from pictures found within this thread that also have corresponding project pages linked to my pattern. So, please, post your pics (and if you can, hyperlink them) in here! I won’t know to search otherwise. ;o)

Important Dates:
Start: October 24th
End: November 27th
Early Prize Drawing: October 27th (b/c it’s my birthday!)

Prizes: 
Grand Prize: 1 Chuck Kit including: A hardcopy and e-copy of my newest pattern Chuck, enough yarn to make a pair of Chucks in Tell Tale Yarn Company Tidal Twinkle in the limited edition Toasted Pumpkin colorway, a stitch marker hand made by Ohmayzee, and two buttons; as well as your choice of 1 of my self published patterns. 

Other Prizes:

  • Early Prize Drawing: your choice of 1 of my self published patterns. To be eligible, please post a picture of either your WIP, FO, or even just the yarn and what pattern you plan on doing by the end of October 27th!
  • FOs Drawing: a copy of my entire Candide Knits Collection (CandideCunegondeMaggieMartinPangloss, plus one mystery new pattern!
  • WIPs Drawing: your choice of 1 of my self published patterns!

Fine print: all drawings will be chosen by random number generator based on qualifications. FO Drawing will only be chosen between pictures of FOs. WIPs will include any picture of WIPs, regardless of whether you finish by the deadline or not! Yes, you can enter multiple times with the same project, as long as there’s notable progress with each WIP shot! Grand Prize will be selected between my favorite pictures, WIP or FO, so be creative!"


Photo credit knitscene/Harper Point Photography

I will personally be doing an adjusted version of my Chocolate Chip Cowl!  I have enough yarn to do 2 more full length cowls, but I'm also going to be working one up that's roughly half the length to be a bit more snuggly around the neck!  That's the one I'll be starting up tonight.  

This is what happens when I pay attention to something other than the cat, when she wants attention... no ability to take pics of my cowl yarn and she chews the tag off.  ;op  Well, that's my current color scheme for my cowl!  

Which cowl do you want to knit on?  Any stash yarn for it, or will you go shopping for new yarn??  :o)

Inspirations, Make-up, Slow-Fashion "October", and WIPs

Noriko HoComment

I haven't had time to blog lately.  It's just been crazy busy here, what between two part time jobs, vending at my first fiber festival ever, fostering a dog, finding that sweetie a good home, etc etc etc... however, I just realized that despite all that, I still make room to keep designing.  I'd love to be able to push some of that into blogging, as I do always realize I miss it once I get back to it.  With that, I have come up with some "regular" topic posts to keep me pushing.  Each topic have variable amounts of lengths, so when I'm super busy, I can still post a quick little something.  

Those topics will likely change through time, but for now they are (if you haven't already guessed from the title of this post...):  Inspirations, Make-Up, Slow-Fashion "October" (I'll be writing about this in my own time, but the idea stems from the original Slow Fashion October), and WIPs.  

Today's piece will be inspiration.  What and why Chuck?  Oh, and btw, here's Chuck!  My latest design!!  My friend and talented indie dyer, Arianne from Tell Tale Yarn Co, shared a booth at Fiber Fusion last weekend.  It ended up being a blast!  I met a lot of people, got to browse through some fiber fun, and even met a therapeutic llama (who kissed me!).  For the fest, we teamed up and came up with these adorable kits.  

I used both her Windswept Worsted and Tidal Twinkle DK to come up with a fun convertible pattern.  My thought process for this pattern started with the nagging thought that if I decide to buy coffee to-go (and forgot my to-go mug at home), I end up with yet another paper sleeve that I need to recycle.  I have some friends who make and remember their reuseable knit ones, but I'm (sadly) not that person.  However, in the fall, I always toss a pair of mitts into my purse b/c my hands commonly get cold.  With that, it hit me that if I just made a pair of mitts that would double as a coffee warmer, then my problem is solved!

When Arianne's limited edition colorway, Toasted Pumpkin, came out... I was immediately into thoughts of the infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte (of which I still need to try), and knew it was the perfect color to use for this endeavor.  The almost immediate other thought I had was of Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin.  So, I knew I was incorporating chevrons somewhere into my design.  ;o)  Once the two thoughts merged, I actually immediately went to work and it was like magic.  Chuck is available as a ravelry download now!  

And watch out for more posts about these new topics!  I am very excited to get back to blogging!  :o)

Rainy Days in Seattle

Noriko HoComment

Second summer here in Seattle (though, just barely over a year of living here), and I'm still weirded out by how cool it still is and that it can still be routinely raining.  Today is one of those gray days.  The temperature is comfortable, not cold, but still cool.  Back in Austin, it's already up into the 90s, and in some ways I miss that.  While it's not fun days on end, like it typically is there, the warmth and sun out do remind you that it really is summer.  

However, these rainy days in the PNW aren't all gloom and doom.  I do feel like the knitting spirit is maybe not stronger here, but definitely more often found.  The weather probably has a lot to do with it, as it's cooler and milder here most of the year around.  The idea of "seasonal knitters" are fewer between.  

In addition, I am loving all the tea I can have out here without feeling like I'm being silly.  Today has been a good day for green tea.  And, yes, I have both a Chococat mug and a cat shaped mug.  ;op

These recent days have been filled with secret deadline knitting, and somehow my coffee table just exploded with knitting related things!  Does anyone else's living space look like this?  

Indie Dyers

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One of my favorite things about knitting is all of the different varieties of yarns out there.  I love a good work horse yarn (among my favorites in this category is Stonehedge Shepherd's Wool, so soft and comes in many colors!), but I also adore all that can be found in the indie dyers realm.  It becomes so interesting to see how different dyers can take a similar (or sometimes even the exact same) base, and then what colors they apply to it, what technique they're using to dye, variegated, solids, semi-solids, etc etc to create such different yarns.  

I've been designing or even just playing around with different indie dyers recently, and here are some of the projects I've been working on:

Here's a sneak peek to my next pattern release!  The hat (will be called Maggie) and cowl (Cunegonde) are both done with a yarn called Pendragyn DK by DragynKnyts.  The yarn is soft, and has a nice drape to it, especially for a 100% merino!  The hat is a direct match to Cunegonde, and I only used one skein for BOTH the cowl and hat (smaller sized cowl and M hat).  

There's a major chance that I'll be purchasing another skein of this, potentially in the exact same color (Libation) because someone (not a knitter) has already begged me to make her one of the hats.  I'm not arguing with having a reason to buy more of this yarn... ;op

This lovely sparkly DK is Tidal Twinkle, a heavier DK hand dyed by Tell Tale Yarn Co.  This is destined to become another hat design of mine, and I have to say, I'm quite taken with this yarn.  It is a bigger contrast that one might think to the Pendragyn, given that they are both DK and primarily merino.  However, this DK is a heavier DK than the Pendragyn, and it appears to have a higher ply count, which leads to a rounder yarn with more spring.  For a yarn that has such a delicate look (sparkles!), it holds up really well!  I know because I've ripped out my project four times already (hey, a designer just has to know when a pattern isn't going right...), and it's still looking really good!  :o)  All in all, this is a really awesomely soft yet still robust yarn with a bit of subtle glam.  Highly recommend!

Up next is something I've already talked about on the blog.  The Stitchjones Neon Collaboration that I'm doing with Cory of Indie.Knits and Ariel of Stariel Knits!  You're getting a tiny sneak peek of how that's going along.  :o)  The first of the collection, Torrance Mitts, has already come out, and the other patterns are zipping along; you'll hear more about these in the nearish future!  This indie dyer is known for "taking color to eleven," so we knew we were going in the right direction when we asked her to be our Neon Challenge dyer!  

The yarn used for this challenge is called Merino Sock, and I found it to be a very hardy, heavier sock weight.  I used US2 needles for my mitts (both patterns), and found the fabric to be firm.  I know a lot of people would use much smaller needles for their socks (I typically use a US1.5), but I might actually suggest US2s for socks with this yarn, even.  I can tell the high twist of this yarn will help with the long life of your items.  :o)  

If you can even remotely ignore that darling husky who rode the bus with me that particular morning, the yarn in this picture is Forage dyed by Bumblebirch.  This is a 100% merino worsted weight yarn.  It is very soft, and I think is going to make the most perfect Marion (by Andi Satterlund) ever.  I'm about 1/2way done with the cardi, and I'm pretty thrilled with it.  The only thing I've adjusted is the gauge, so far.  I found myself in the awkward place of being between sizes, and my st gauge was a bit tighter naturally, so I went with it.  It's turning out pretty much perfect because of that!  (Note:  this pattern relies heavily on row count.  My row gauge was actually spot on, but with tighter st gauge.  I'm doing the larger of the sizes I was between, and it's been working out well!).  

So, there we go.  That's been the majority of what I've been knitting on lately.  All indie dyed yarns, three of them 100% merino, the other still 80% merino, and yet all of them are knitting up differently, and all of them have their own unique look to them.  <3 that so much!  :oD

Pattern Release: Torrance!

Noriko HoComment

It's been a busy time here, and I'm super excited to announce Torrance has been officially released on Ravelry today!!  These mitts are special for me, for a number of reasons.  If you guys recall, I teamed up with two fantastic designers (Cory of Indie.Knits and Ariel of Stariel Knits) and a great indie dyer (Stitch Jones who takes color to eleven) to do a Neon Challenge!  

I felt honored to be included in the design challenge, and I was super excited about this particular one.  Neon sends me back to the early 90s when Lisa Frank was everywhere, and shows like Saved By the Bell had neon colored doodads floating across the screen during their theme song.  I have a soft spot for neon, and since it has crept back into the limelight for another short moment in time, I am taking full advantage of it!  :oD  

Ariel, Cory, and I have put together a collection of neon colored accessories that will be found as a collection on Ravelry.  You will be able to buy each pattern individually, or you can purchase the entire collection at a discount.  The collection begins with Torrance, and then we will release additional patterns over the course of the next month and half until all four patterns are out!  

When I first started, I was positive I was going to make fingerless mitts.  As I kept attempting different designs, I suddenly became inspired by the movie Bring it On and I've started calling my portion of the collection "Spirit Fingers."  ;op  Thus, the name of these mitts are Torrance, after Kirsten Dunst's character in the movie.  

Every pattern in the collection is knit with a special color designed for us by StitchJones and uses her Merino Sock (100% superwash merino; 410yds/100g).  Torrance does not use quite a full skein, and so I have a special pattern coming out in May to wrap up this collection that can be used to finish up the entire skein.  

I've seen some sneak peeks of the other patterns in this collection, and I'm very excited!  Stay tuned for more soon... 

Pattern Release: Heliconia!

Noriko HoComment

Here's another secret knitting project!  Heliconia is an oversized, lacy kimono style cardigan, that can be found in the Summer 2016 issue of Knitscene!  

It is knit in two pieces, then seamed together, and finished off with an i-cord bind off to give it a really put together look.  Heliconia is knit in Meadow (merino/llama/silk/linen blend), which was a lovely blend for this project.  Because it is such an oversized piece, there are only two sizes.  The measurements are measured flat across one side (instead of traditional bust circumference).  To choose a size, have someone measure you across while you have your arms outstretched, as that is roughly where garment will end up lying from side to side.  It has arm holes, but no actual sleeves.  

Heliconia also features a deep V in the back.  Optionally, you can sew ribbons to the top of the V at the back to help keep the shoulders from slipping, if you would like.  :o)

If you would like to find your copy of Knitscene Summer 2016, see below for some options:

- If you are local to Seattle, Fiber Gallery has their copies in already!  You can call to reserve one for yourself.  

- To purchase directly from Interweave:  http://www.interweavestore.com/knitscene-magazine-summber-2016-print-edition

Knit.Wear is back!

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And I'm in it!!  :oD  I've had to keep this one a secret for a good amount of time now... and it was SO HARD!  This is technically the first sweater I ever designed (with the magazine timeline, I actually designed and knit the sample two months before I even started Mayu!!), and I'm super in love with it!  Introducing my Douillet Sweater (cozy sweater)!

The sweater uses the ultra lovely Woolfolk Sno, a fingering weight merino (seriously the softest merino I've ever touched) that is two different color plies.  The marled effect is created simply by using the yarn.  It was knit up in three of their colors, but the dark green/black and navy/black colors are somewhat similar, so it's a subtle difference.  You could go more dramatic or more subtle, as shown.  

Douillet was inspired by the idea that cozy/comfy sweaters don't have to be shapeless.  The sweater is meant to be worn with positive ease, but has loooots of shaping in it!  The sleeves are a slightly closer fit than the rest of the sweater because the yarn is so soft and squishy that I couldn't help but have it hug the arms a little.  

A top down raglan, Douillet is also an easy knit that lets the yarn do the talking.  It is definitely tv or knit night knitting worthy.  In addition, the other knits in this welcome back issue of knit.wear are pretty amazing.  I can't wait to get my copy and start knitting on some of them!!  :oD  

If you're interested in getting a copy, here are a few options:

Locally, The Fiber Gallery has already received our copies!  Call in and have us hold you a copy!!  

If you aren't local and your LYS doesn't carry Interweave magazines, here are the direct links to order an ecopy or physical copy!

http://www.interweavestore.com/knitwear-springsummer-2016-digital-edition

http://www.interweavestore.com/knitwear-springsummer-2016

All photos were taken with permission by Harper Point Photography.

Challenges

Noriko HoComment

Working a lot, traveling, finding myself with more deadlines (most of them self placed pattern writing deadlines), etc has started to wear on me.  So, I've found ways to create small challenges for myself to keep me motivated and staying positive.  :o)  Here are a few of the challenges that I have recently started.  

We can start with the pretty challenge!  At this year's Madrona Fiber Fest, I purchased this roving.  It's super soft and so cool with the alpaca staying it's super dark color and silk becoming ultra intense in color!  :oD  I decided to drop spindle this fiber so I can really enjoy it.  Because of the fiber content, I decided to spin from the fold (a technique I haven't tried in probably... 8 years!).  I haven't gotten past that yellow tail you see there, but I'm enjoying it so far!  

Next is the StitchJones Neon Design Challenge that I've blogged about in the past!  I've figured out what I want to do, and I'm already 1/3 the way done!  Can't show the design just yet, so you'll just have to trust that I'm really liking the results.  

Oh and speaking of challenges... capturing that neon green is definitely a challenge!!  That color above is not quite right... but I couldn't get the camera to get it just right.  :op  

The last challenge for the day is one that's actually really hard for me.  It's downsizing my stuff.  I have given myself an attainable feeling challenge of removing five items from my life each day I have off.  That can be something like a book that I haven't tried to reread in years, a piece of clothing I am not excited to wear anymore, a tote bag I got for free but never use b/c I have better quality ones, or even a piece of junk mail that I should have recycled when it came in, but instead it went into a pile of "to be sorted."  I am even counting a wrapper that I left on the coffee table instead of throwing out day of because it's still getting something that is cluttering my life, and getting it out.  

This last challenge is hard for me because I will always find a reason that something is useful, sentimental, or "needed."  However, with each move, I find myself in a smaller apartment, smaller closet, less storage space, etc.  I need to be able to free myself of the things that I am not using so that I can actually get to the things I do want to use!  I'm actually remarkably pleased with my results so far, and plan on continuing.  One day, then it'll turn into having just what I need and then only removing things that are wasteful that have come in, like recycling ads.  :o)  

Testers: Mayu

Noriko HoComment

Hello!!  I am finally ready for another test phase!  I am almost done grading this pattern, and am sending it to my tech editor.  The testing phase will begin once I get the pattern back from her.  :o)  

Pertinent information:

Yarn:  Debbie Bliss Paloma Tweed; for the 39" bust 8 skeins of the white was used, and 3 of the tan.

Needles:  US 15 and 13 in 24" circulars and DPNs.  Or size to get gauge.

Gauge:  11sts x 16rows = 4" x 4"

Rough sizes predicted:  30" (33", 36", 39")[42", 45", 48"]  still grading, depends on feasibility of raglan shaping with these sizes.  I hope to be able to do all of these!

This is a top-down raglan style sweater that is roughly tunic, or just shy of tunic length.  I am wearing the 39" bust with about 2-3" of positive ease.  Even with the positive ease, there is some shaping to help keep the style flattering!  I, personally, wanted an oversized, comfy sweater, but I think this sweater would look great anywhere between -2 to +2 ease!  

I am looking for 1-2 testers per size.  The test will be run here!  :o)  Yarn substitutions are not a problem, as long as you can get gauge!  

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...

Hipstamatic

Noriko HoComment

Here's a new pattern for you guys!  It's been knit up in Madelinetosh Home, and it's perfect for quick knitting.  :o)  I was able to knit up the slouchy hat in just a single evening hanging out with my knit night peeps, and the beanie style is even quicker!  If you're needing some last minute gifts, this free pattern would be perfect!  

More details:

The hat is super simple, so a beginner knitter would be able to work up one of these, but it also makes great tv or social knitting for those more experienced knitters.  

Materials needed:  1 skein of Madelinetosh Home, US 11 - 16" circular needle and US 11 set of DPNs, stitch marker, and tapestry needle (for weaving in ends).  

The sample hats were knit up with the colorways Fluoro Rose (slouchy style) and Fog (beanie style).  The leftovers were enough to make up a color block beanie, as well!  (However, beware, as I did use up all the yarn!)

Download your free copy of Hipstamatic here!  Please post your versions on Ravelry here!  I can't wait to see them!  :oD

Download Hipstamatic.pdf

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.  

Unicorn Tail Mitts

Noriko HoComment

I'm further along with many of those projects that you saw.  The hat has one model done in worsted weight done, but I need a second prototype done in DK now.  The sweater is further along, and the mitts have one completed mitt!  After weighing and re-weighing... I am feeling pretty certain that I'll have enough of the CC to get my second mitt, but I will finish up the second mitt before confirming this.  ;o)

This mitt has been a lot more of a challenge than one might think.  I actually have tried various renditions of these mitts no less than 10 separate times.  It makes me that much happier to finally have a first draft of a pattern that I'm actually proud of.  :o)  

While I'd love to whip out the second mitt, and then put this one forward in testing, I'm really trying to get the sweater done so that I can get moving on testing for that one.  This one is likely soon after.  :o)

Current Projects

Noriko HoComment

Man, it's gotten to be busy over here.  Lots of knitting happening right now.  I've got holiday knitting in full swing, and only about five designs in progress.  I'd love to get one of my tests started up Dec 1st, so it'd be dandy to wrap at least one of them up soon!!  Unfortunately, holiday knitting has taken over a bit, as I'm celebrating Christmas early with my family over Thanksgiving.  True to my nature... I'm leaving it till the very last minute, and I've still got to finish them up.  :o/  Wish me luck, I guess!!

Well, let's start with the projects that I can actually show you.  :o)  Here's a bulky weight sweater that I'm hoping to get tested mid to late Dec for release in late January.  The yarn is Paloma Tweed by Debbie Bliss, and I'm loving the drape and squish factor here!!  It's a cable plied yarn, so it's also very lightweight for a bulky.  It's warm but doesn't make me feel like I'm dragged down by how heavy it is.  

In actuality, I'm not done with this sample.  However, I still need to work out the DK version of this hat, so it's not quite ready for testing.  :o)  It is the matching hat to Cunegonde, of which I'm currently calling Maggie.

Last thing to show, this very moment, are some fingerless mitts done up with only 3 Unicorn Tails!  They can be done with any fingering weight minis, as well.  I'm excited to say that one mitt has been completed, and I am working on the second one, so hopefully, they will also be ready for testing in the semi near future.  :o)  

In addition to these guys, I've got two more designs on the needles right now... so now the question is, spread out the testing or do it all at once??  ;op  I think I'm more likely to spread them out, actually.  It is easier for me to keep track of changes if they're done one or two, max, at a time.  Please watch out for tests on my Ravelry Forum: Norichan Knits!  :o)  

Oh, and if you're interested... the other two designs I'm currently working on will both me fingerless mitts, as well.  One in a single color of fingering weight, and one in a single color of worsted weight.  :o)

Pattern Release: Cunegonde!

Noriko HoComment

Cunegonde is up!!  Like it's namesake, this cowl is beautiful, but a nice and easy knit.  It was designed with beginner lace knitters in mind, and so the lace portion is not challenging but still fun for more experienced knitters.  

The cowl itself comes in two sizes, a small and large, and is designed for both a DK or a worsted weight yarn.  The gorgeous yarns the pattern calls for are from DragynKnyts, an indie dyer out of Portland.  The PendragynDK is 100% sw merino, and comes in large 330yd skeins!  A single skein is able to make one of the larger cowls, or a smaller cowl and matching hat.  The Wyvern (worsted weight) is also 100% sw merino, and one skein of those is a whopping 470yds!  That is enough to make a larger sized cowl, and matching hat!  The hat pattern will be out shortly.  :o)  

As this is part of my Candide Knits collection, if you were to buy Candide and Cunegonde together, an automatic discount will be applied and the two patterns together will be $7.50 (no code needed).  Prior purchases will apply.  :o)  

Extra bonus.  With the PendragynDK, you could knit a smaller sized Cunegonde, and have enough leftover to make up a Candide, as well!  The nice part is that Candide would match, but because of it's dual color it wouldn't be a perfectly matchy match sort of way, if you aren't into that sort of thing.  :oD  Enjoy!