Posts Tagged ‘designing’

What a stunningly beautiful February day. The sun is shining like crazy and there is snow piled high on tree branches and fence rails. The birds even look happy. They flit about with joy and a spring in their step.

Just 2 more days until Valentines day and the anticipated arrival of our newest little family member. We are just so excited.

I’ve spent the last few weeks on custom work for a few of my customers.

Becky was looking for a luxury baby gift with a difference. We decided on a hand spun Angora and silk handknit baby shrug and matching hat. I call it Whisper. I searched through some of my vintage pattern books and online at vintage knitting site. Inspired by some of the vintage looks and a piece that I did a few years ago I came up with Whisper. The yarn is an amazing mixture of Angora fiber and Silk. They are so different in texture and appearance but come together to make a truly one-of-a-kind yarn with the best of both worlds. The fabric is fluffy and soft with a gorgeous halo but also has the added strength and unmistakable shine of the silk, not to mention the crispy feel that crunches like footsteps on very cold snow. It is tied at the neckline with a delicate pure silk ribbon. The hat is loosely based on a beret style hat from an old SRK pattern that I have loved over the years. It is the sweetest little cardigan and hat set in Marble. I looked for the pattern for days and days and I just couldn’t find it anywhere. Finally a wonderful friend on Ravelry sent me a scanned copy of it and saved the day. I promise we didn’t infringe on any copyrights as I really do own this one, just can’t seem to remember where I put it. The lace edging and the rose are hand crocheted from some very fine 100% handspun silk.

I knit a pair of casual socks for Carolyn. They were to have a casual look and go with her jeans. I am thrilled to report that she was very happy with the resulting socks.

Richard wanted the Turn a Square hat by Jared Flood (one of my own personal favorite designers). This project was a treat to knit and I was finished the first one in just a few days so we decided to knit another one with the colours reversed and it turns out that 2 of these hats can be knit with 2 x 50 gram balls but don’t do any extra rows as I only had about 1 yard left over.

Jamie asked me to spin some camel and silk yarn for her to knit a jacket for her brand new grandson in size 2. Congratulations Jamie and family!

I finally finished the Nube Garter Stitch socks and the Alpacalicious slippers with the leather soles and they have already been gifted.

Love one another

Winter Weather

It’s often cold in Southern Ontario, Canada in winter and it does snow here but this winter has been a winter to remember. We’ve had lots of days with record breaking low temperature and snowfalls, an ice storm with power outages to tell the grandchildren about and enough snow days to keep the kids really happy. Even though we spent our life savings on propane just to stay warm, and I didn’t really enjoy having my gall bladder removed, I really have enjoyed this winter overall. It’s so pretty to look outside at all that snow.  We’ve been feeding the birds and they’re just such a joy to watch and to get to know, especially exciting are the multitude of Cardinals we’ve welcomed in the last 2 years. As a knitter I didn’t have to feel guilty to just hunker down and knit and spin to my heart’s content. Nobody was going anywhere and it was nice and cosy warm in my home studio.

The Designs

I do have a few designs on the drawing board. The adult size “Top Down Hoodie” and another summer top called Wheat Fields as well as a couple of vests. “Frank’s Vest” is going to be a favorite, not to mention a few smaller things like the shrug I am doing for a customer, some socks that I am spinning and knitting for myself and the baby hat I just designed for my soon to be grandson :-))) Getting these written out and polished are a challenge for me because they involve a lot of thinking and computer time and, well, I’d rather be knitting…. so they get put on the back burner. I really need to give myself a big pat on the back for keeping track of all of my spinning and knitting project on Ravelry. At least, this way, I won’t forget – where’s my knitting at? I’ve had lots of custom work this winter too. I’ll post about that in February when I get them all photographed and shipped, or check out my progress on Ravelry.  The New Baby

One of the most exciting thing about this winter is the anticipation of the birth of our newest family member. As you can imagine this is always the most important and fun time to cast on and just be creative. I found this sweater and pants pattern at Drops Designs and improvise a hat to go with it. It was pure pleasure to knit this in Malabrigo Sock a luxurious pure merino wool yarn dyed to perfection. This yarn is a superwash (machine washable) which is very important for socks and new babies!

 

missing last page 34 for the Interweave Knits article on shaping sleeve caps

As always November and December are proving to be very productive months for knitting. There is just something about Thanksgiving and Christmas that makes me want to just turn out project after project so that everyone on my list gets something handknit. I’ll reserve the photos until after the gift giving has taken place so that I don’t spoil any surprises.

For those who are visiting from Interweave, looking for missing Page 34 of the article on shaping sleeve caps. click to zoom, rt click to save and hope this helps

OK a tiny sneak peak with no names

 

 

A new design in progress – I guess that would be a DIP, right?

Handspun Breed Specific Romney Wool, Hand Dyed for new pattern design Grace

Along with the Custom Fit Sweater for Amy Herzog and her team (beta testing) I’ve been working on a few custom orders and a new designs that I will call Grace after my Mom who just passed away last year at this time. Mom was my mentor, my soul mate, my best friend and the one who taught and inspired me to knit and be creative in so many way. She was also my biggest fan and alway gave me so much encouragement. Well, anyway, the new design is Grace. It will be an elegant but casual cardigan/jacket and will be spectacular for showing off hand dyed and handspun yarns. Super stylish and super easy to knit and fit, you will knit it all from the top down in one piece with no seaming or finishing. I’m including a few “sneak peak” pictures that will give you a feel for the design without giving it away. This sweater allowed me some freedom to play with my dyes, my spinning techniques and let my imagination run free. It is also part of my study in Breed Specific and Rare Breed Wools.

The wool in this garment is Romney.  The Romney breed evolved from medieval longwool types. The fibers are long, silky and strong without being prickly. A very good wool to use for durability where you need something sturdy  and not overly soft and delicate. My Romney is one of the Canturbury Prize Wool Group imported from New Zealand by Louet Sales. These wools are breed-specific fibers that are handled in such a way as to retain their unique qualities. “Working with Wadsworth Heap Ltd, a fiber supplier in New Zealand, each fleece in this line is grown with passion and great care; each is chosen with a critical eye, scoured in a modern scouring plant, and carded with pride on gentle machinery to maintain the fibre’s integrity and give spinners maximum enjoyment.” So far I have totally enjoyed working with them. If you are interested in having any of these wools custom handspun for a project please just email me. I will get them on the web site eventually, but in the mean time…  😉

One of the things I really enjoyed doing this summer was beta testing an awesome new online software for sweater design. Amy Herzog a Fit and Flatter expert and sweater designer “extraordinaire” has come up with something really new and wonderful for all knitters who want a custom fit sweater without all of the math that is usually involved in designing from scratch or even customizing the fit of a purchased pattern.

The software is called Custom Fit and its available online to a select few premier users right now but is expected to go live to the public some time in October.

Here’s what Amy says about Custom Fit:

“After the final preview group, with an estimated time of mid-October, CustomFit will go live to everyone.

CustomFit is a web application. This means that you log into our website to create custom sweater patterns. It is not software you install on your computer. Creating an account, and storing body measurements and swatches, is and always will be free. When you’re ready to knit the most fabulous sweater ever, each one is just $9.99. CustomFit has a vast amount of fit expertise built-in, so that you don’t need to think about any numbers – only style! But if you do want to adjust your own numbers, you have the option of doing so before you purchase your pattern. The first release of CustomFit produces an entirely new sweater pattern to your specifications, at a single gauge for the entire sweater. Future versions will give you more options, including modifying select existing sweater patterns. We plan to update CustomFit with great new features every few months.”

I had this lace pattern brewing in my imagination for a while and thought I’d try it out on my beta sweater. I loved adding the little birds randomly.  I will be designing a very similar sweater pattern from scratch and grading it for all women’s sizes this winter. Watch my pattern store here and on Ravelry and Craftsy.

 

Meredith has just sent me a few pictures of the sweater vest she created with the last of the Mango Merino Wool and Silk that I spun up into a yarn for her.

She’s amazing. When I spin for Meredith she doesn’t ask for yardage or WPI and I don’t have to match a gauge. She lets the yarn do the talking and doesn’t even decide what it will be until she’s had it in her hands for a while. This is creative freedom at it’s best.

Meredith has also generously sent me a testimony for our testimonials section.

Here’s what she says about the yarn and a few pictures. Thanks Meredith

” I ordered the merino wool and silk in “mango” and the baby camel and silk custom made yarns from Nancy Elizabeth Designs. Never having used hand-spun yarn, when it arrived the color and texture took my breath away. As an intuitive knitter, I let the yarn carry my thoughts and garment design and was excited by the results. For an unschooled knitter, this extraordinarily high quality yarn allowed me to a one-of-a-kind artsy original to suit my taste.”

Gaywool Colourful Merino and Silk Yarn

 

A few months ago I shared the pattern for the Hat my guys like and now here is the sweater that falls into that same category. With lots of input from DH, the eventual wearer of this pullover, I designed another sweater to match the one I knit him almost 30 years ago. Not only did the original sweater last for 30 years, but hardly a day went by that it was not called into service (except those hot summer days, of course) and it’s still all in one piece even if it is showing a little wear now.

As you can imagine, I’ve knit him a few sweaters over the years and some he wears a little and some he wears a lot. This is the one he hardly ever takes off! When the boys come in and see his newest sweater they want one too. I’m going to have lots of opportunity to knit this one in several sizes and variations and will keep you posted.

Here is the story of  spinning the yarn for Jacob from a Jacob fleece and another short post with a few more pictures. Pattern coming asap. I will have to knit it at least one more time as I want to show the body with a simple rib instead of the colour variegation.

I thought it was time to post an update to “Spinning the Spotted Fleece”.

The sweater now has a name. It will be called Jacob. I will probably do a pattern for it after I’ve knit it in another colour pattern for variety.

I’ve had quite a few orders for handspun yarns so the knitting is coming along rather slowly. I’m at the neck shaping. We tried it on and it’s within an inch of exact measurements which makes me very happy. That can definitely be worked out with washing and blocking.

Choosing a fleece with contrasting colours. This one has just black and white in what seems to be equal parts – that’s very dark brown and cream, of course

The testing and planning for this project may just be the most fun part. I have now washed, carded or combed, spun and knit swatches (or small projects) from 4 of my stashed fleeces. I’ve been working with the multi coloured fleeces this time because I wanted some colour texture in my sweater. This one is a Jacob from Great Britain. It’s for Earl. I considered my choices for working with the stark contrast of the colours in this fleece. I could do a relatively homogeneous blending for a smooth mottled look, I could keep the colour separate and ply a white with a black for a ragg look, or I could try to keep the colours separate and use them to form some kind of colour pattern. I decided on the later and choose a random colour pattern as I felt it would be closest to the true nature of the fleece as it appeared on the sheep’s back. There are lots of grey fleeces out there, why make this one look like them?  In order to keep the colours separate they had to be plyed by the Navajo method. This produces a 3 ply yarn. I made mine a worsted weight (4 Medium) about 35 yards/ ounce and about 9-10 WPI. Although I love to card or comb by hand, I do use my roving carder for larger project where I really want to get on with the task of knitting it so that is how I’ve been preparing this one for spinning. I knew I had to be careful with any stark white areas as they would pop out visually so most of the white has some degree of black mixed in. Each time I load the carder it has some of each colour. It is in the carding, to a degree, but more so in the separating and arranging of the bats for spinning that the “painting” of the colour pattern takes place. I’ve been knitting each ball as it comes from the spinning wheel so that I have a feel for how I want the next colour pattern to work out. Updates Here

Just in the nick of time. I can’t believe I just got this email and Craftsy is now offering a fantastic course on grading for pattern writting. It’s precisely what I need as it’s the complicated math and keeping track of the miriad of calculations that is boggling my mind as I work out these patterns.

I absolutely love it. Sizing Knitwear Patterns