fall/winter 2013: acorn teeth

Wrapping up my posts on Paper Tiger Fall/Winter 13, we’ve got Acorn Teeth! I’m sure these mitts look familiar to some of you, since the first version of this pattern was released about a year ago. The original pattern featured a large 70-stitch-wide chart for the whole mitt and only came in one size, so I decided to overhaul it for the collection. I simplified the chart, which is now just a 12-stitch repeat, added two more sizes as some knitters had fit issues, and the pattern’s been fully tech edited for the first time.

The original samples were knit with a Hungarian yarn, Barka, and the specific line has been discontinued (which makes me very sad, because my brown/grey pair has held up better than anything I’ve ever knit, and they’ve seen a lot of wear. That yarn was fantastic). I chose Zitron Lifestyle to work up the new sample, which reflects the chart changes in the pattern. This yarn’s pretty similar to the Barka yarn I originally worked with, though there are differences in fiber content. Zitron Lifestyle is a superwash merino, billed as a sport weight (though it could mass for a fingering weight), knit at a dense gauge here for extra warmth and stability.

In hindsight, I wish I’d picked two contrasting colors that weren’t quite so close in color, but these mitts were a hit at Knit Fit, so I guess it doesn’t take away from the design too much! One of my favorite things about Acorn Teeth is that it uses three colors (although never more than two per round), and the finished knits look so different depending on your color choice. It’s a world of opportunity.

If you plan to substitute yarn, I’d recommend a smooth yarn over a rougher wool that might grab more because of the dense gauge. Also because of the dense gauge, swatching’s especially important here. Not sure what to do with your swatch? If you don’t want to unravel it, I’ve found that swatches for socks and mittens worked in the round make pretty fantastic cup cozies, which’ll save you needing a cardboard sleeve for your take-away coffee.

If you bought the first version of Acorn Teeth on Ravelry, you should have received a notification that a new version was available for you to download (if not, please let me know!). If you’re new to this pattern, the PDF version is available along with a full list of details including yarn and needle requirements on the Ravelry page for Acorn Teeth.

fall/winter 2013: elskling


I may be a little biased, but I love the backstory for Elskling. Elskling means “darling” in Norwegian, and it’s based on the sweater I designed and knit for my winter wedding. Our winters in Seattle may be mild, but I knew I was going to need some outdoor cover with my sleeveless dress in February.


(Photo by the incredibly talented Jenny Jimenez, and my muff bouquet was made using Tiny Owl Knits’ tiny violet hand puff pattern.)

As a result, this design works very well in formal situations. The prototype in the photo above has a brooch closure, but I’ve found that this cardigan transitions very well into a more casual everyday piece, and so I’ve included instructions for optional buttonholes in the pattern for a more standard button closure.


Elskling is worked from the bottom up, and like everything else in the collection, it’s entirely seamless. I made a few changes to the design going from prototype to pattern, and one of the changes I’m happiest with is the way the lace rib motif from the sleeve is carried through the ribbed cuff, so that the motif truly runs the length of the arm from wrist to neck. The stitches for the small shawl collar are picked up from the edge of the body.


The wool I used for the prototype certainly kept me warm on my wedding day, but it wasn’t the softest stuff to have next to bare skin. This was on my mind as I searched for the right yarn for this pattern. On my trip to Skacel to check out yarn, I fell in love with Schoppel-wolle Alpaka Queen, and even though the color range is more limited than other yarns (all the colorways are natural shades), I knew it was the yarn for Elskling. Alpaka Queen may be the softest yarn I’ve ever worked with. It was truly a treat. I went with a lighter shade of grey for the pattern sample, because it really highlights the texture of the lace rib nicely. (If you’re looking for a wider range of colors, I think Schoppel’s IN Silk would be a nice substitute.)

Kathleen (my model) and I really enjoyed this shoot, too. We were in the most beautiful wooded sheep pasture I’ve ever seen, and Kathleen even got to feed the sheep! Cheviots are a little bit wary of strangers, but food breaks down all kinds of barriers. I think this breed is one of the most statuesque I’ve ever seen. So pretty! Huge thanks to Janya, who let us work in the pasture and hang out with her sheep.


For a full list of details including yarn and needle requirements, and to purchase the pattern, visit the Ravelry page for Elskling. I can’t wait to see everyone’s different versions!

fall/winter 2013: moon pulls

The ideas that came together to form Moon Pulls have been bouncing around in my head since the beginning of this year. On a quick trip to Iceland just after Christmas, I picked up some Lopi in a few beautiful colors. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to make with those skeins of yarn, but I knew they’d become a sweater. A few weeks later, after I was back in Seattle, Cirlia and I were doing the Kenzie photoshoot for Skacel (you can check that out here). One of the patterns Cirlia designed for the mini-collection was the beautiful Cedar Leaf Scarf (rav link), which has these lovely long garter stitch ends. The vibrant orange Cirilia had chosen really highlighted the texture, and I became pretty fixated on garter stitch after that, and visions of long garter stitch sleeve cuffs began dancing in my head.

Eventually, I realized that my nebulous Lopi sweater idea and my desire for garter stitch sleeve cuffs could result in a happy marriage. While I love a super traditional lopapeysa, I knew I wanted to do something a little different with these colors, particularly the bold glacier blue. I landed on a cozy sweatshirt-style fit, and knowing that not everyone loves Lopi right next to their skin, I decided to line the sleeve cuffs and the collar with facings in Schoppel-wolle Cashmere Queen – it’s hard to argue with a cashmere-merino-silk blend.

Moon Pulls is named after a song by the Icelandic band Múm, mostly because I just like the phrase, but I also enjoy the play on words/jeu-de-mots that happens for French speakers, where mon pull means “my pullover.”

Moon Pulls is written for eight different sizes, and a list of yarn requirements and other pertinent info can be found on the Ravelry page here.

fall/winter 2013: nikoline

Next up in my series of posts about the F/W pieces is Nikoline!

These socks feel particularly old-fashioned to me, and that’s probably the result of reading a lot of Annemor Sundbø. The other main source of inspiration for these socks was a young Norwegian photographer named Nikoline L.R. (her work is absolutely stunning; view her flickr page here). I first heard about her through flickr, and I’ve followed her stream for several years. She takes a lot of self portraits, and there’s one in particular where you can see a pair of white and blue socks peeking out over the tops of her boots. I’ve got no idea what those socks look like below the cuff, but they made me want a pair of white and blue socks of my own, and so the pattern is named for the photographer whose photo I was inspired by.

I opted to take the ubiquitous Selbu rose, the Norwegian star everyone recognizes, and cut it in half. The motif is mirrored, so that when the socks are lined up properly, the point where they meet creates a full Selbu rose. The dotted “lice pattern,” as its known, below the top motif is very traditional as well. I decided not to carry it over to the foot, because I didn’t want to add too much bulk, and handknit socks are already thicker than their commercial counterparts. When you’ve got shoes on, no one’s the wiser about your un-embellished feet! The lack of stranded colorwork on the foot also makes this pattern easier to convert for toe-up sock knitters, as it’s written top-down.

Shooting these socks was easily one of my favorite parts of the photoshoot, too. The gorgeous model is my sister-in-law, Gretchen, who grew up with ponies and was thrilled to work with a Norwegian Fjord horse. And River the Fjord horse made a beautiful co-model as well! I owe a huge debt of gratitude to her owner Shelley, for helping out and letting us work with River.

For a full list of details including yarn and needle requirements, and to purchase the pattern, visit the Ravelry page for Nikoline.

fall/winter 2013: inkling

It’s been a race to the finish, but Paper Tiger Fall/Winter 2013 is essentially done, and the first pattern has been released! You can see all five patterns in the lookbook, which is viewable here. The patterns will be released via Ravelry over the course of the week and I should have some hard copies on hand this weekend at Knit Fit! I’m incredibly proud of this collection and I’m thrilled to finally share it with you.

I’ll be writing a little bit about each pattern in the collection as it’s released, so this evening I thought I’d start with the first one: Inkling.

The end of summer and beginning of autumn always makes me feel the anticipation of going back to school I had as a student, even though I haven’t been a student for years. I’m still a lover of new books, fresh notebooks, and any knitted garb with an academic bent (and I still read books about phonology in my spare time). This cowl is a nod to my huge soft spot for academia, my years in grad school, and I must admit, it’s also a nod to a few of my favorite fantasy authors and academics, both in name and appearance. I wanted to give the old school scarf idea a more modern treatment, so Inkling is a seamless infinity cowl, long enough to wrap twice around your neck when you need some cozy warmth, but not too long to wear down in one loop. I’ve been trying not to wear the sample too much, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t want to take the thing off! It’s simple and cozy and goes with everything, and the color possibilities are endless. Wear your nerd pride with some Hogwarts house colors, or go for muted neutrals and pastels to soften it up. I want to knit about a dozen in different color combinations.

The pattern is simple; it starts with a provisional cast on and the cowl is knit in the round. When it’s long enough, the ends are grafted together so it’s completely seamless with no wrong side. For a full list of details including yarn and needle requirements, and to purchase the pattern, visit the Ravelry page for Inkling.