new pattern: rue du tage

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Last week I released another new pattern: Rue du Tage. I’ve been working on this one for quite awhile, and teased it on Instagram over the summer. I finished the scarf in November and have been weraing it nearly nonstop ever since; it is my favorite kind of properly-bundled-up scarf, worked in the round so it’s doubly thick, and long enough to wrap around your neck with both ends tucked into your jacket. This kind of scarf can cover the bottom half of your face if you wear it right, and it holds up against the cold wind.

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I had an immense amount of fun both designing and knitting this scarf. It’s worked up in La Bien Aimée Mondim, a yarny collaboration between La Bien Aimée in Paris and Retrosaria Roma Pomar in Lisbon. Mondim is made for Rosa Pomar from Portuguese wool, and this hand-dyed incarnation is then dyed by La Bien Aimée in Paris. I used three colors for this design, but you could easily use more if you wished, which would make this a great leftovers project.

The Mondim is a sturdier wool than your typical hand-dyed merino – admittedly less soft, which will mean some knitters might not want to use it for a scarf, but for me it’s soft enough to wear it next to my skin (especially if it’s cold out). I found the yarn worked very nicely for colorwork, and I definitely had trouble putting the project down once I got going on a motif. Of course you could substitute other fingering weight yarns as well, especially if you have more than a few kicking around your stash (like I do).

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The fact that the yarn is a collaboration between La Bien Aimée and Rosa Pomar is what led to the name for this design. I was a bit stuck on the name for awhile, but while browsing a street map of LBA’s neighborhood in Paris I spotted a street called Rue du Tage. A quick search confirmed my suspicions: this street is named for the Tagus river which runs through Spain and Portugal, with the river’s mouth in Lisbon. It’s a funny coincidence, to have a street around the corner from La Bien Aimée named for the river that Retrosaria Rosa Pomar sits within walking distance of. And so Rue du Tage it was.

Thanks to La Bien Aimée for generously providing yarn support for this design. And I hope you all like it as much as I do! You can find the details about yardage, needles, and all the rest on the Ravelry pattern page.

new pattern: oak hollow

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I think it’s been a long time since I’ve written a dedicated blog post for a new pattern, but now that I’m publishing new designs less often (I think 2019 will be an 8-pattern year compared to last year’s 24), it feels easier to sit down to write about a new design. I’m very pleased to introduce you to a pattern that’s been a long time in the making: meet Oak Hollow.

Some of you may be familiar with the fact that I’m quite interested in non-superwash hand-dyed yarn. Of course there’s a lot of superwash hand-dyed yarn in my stash as well, but as dyers have increasingly been experimenting with non-superwash bases, I’ve been increasingly excited about it. So in June 2018, when Canadian dyer Lichen and Lace announced a new base made with non-superwash Canadian wool, I knew I wanted to try some (Lichen and Lace is located in New Brunswick and I was living in Montreal at the time, so while they weren’t exactly “local,” they were only one province to the east). So I ordered myself three skeins of Rustic Heather Sport.

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Being very fond of grey, I ended up with only one skein that was actually dyed – that gorgeous yellow to the left, Pollen. The two greys (Charcoal and Birch) are undyed colors. Yellow has never featured hugely in my wardrobe or my design work, but I thought this combination was absolutely gorgeous, and last summer I was already charting up an idea for a pair of fingerless mitts. I was incredibly busy with other patterns last fall, though, and didn’t get around to starting these in time for them to be a fall release. And there was no question to me that they should be a fall release. So they got put on the back burner for awhile.

When it came time to pack our suitcases for the move to Trondheim last May/June, I knew I’d have to be selective about what projects and yarn to pack (the majority of our stuff came separately and we will finally be reunited with it later this month when we move into our new place, and I am SO glad!). Not knowing how long I’d be away from the majority of my stash, I made sure to pack these skeins in the suitcases so that this pattern could happen this year.

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In the end, it still took some time, and some trial and error. Some patterns just do. The first mitt I started working up I probably got three quarters of the way through before I realized/accepted that it was actually just way too small. I set it aside, went up a needle size, and started again. This time I knit the pair, which fit much better with one exception – after finishing, blocking, and wearing the mitts for a week or two, I realized I wasn’t happy with the thumb gusset, which was still too small. So I frogged the finished mitts back to the place where the new thumb gusset would begin – which felt very close to the beginning – and knit them back up. But the effort was worth it! The new thumb gusset was a much better fit, and I’m so happy I took the time to get this one right, rather than rushing through it, even though that meant the pattern didn’t come out until November 1. Maybe it still feels like autumn where you are, or maybe you’re still waiting for the autumn weather to show up, but in Norway? Winter is setting in. We’ve had our first snow of the season today in Trondheim, and I know the Oslo area had the same this weekend. It’s beautiful, but it’s been nice to hang on to autumn a little bit through this design.

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I’ve been blown away by the enthusiastic response to this design and I can only say thank you. It’s been so much fun to watch projects popping up on Ravelry and Instagram already. If you’d like to make your own mitts, Oak Hollow is knit with three colors of sport weight yarn at a gauge of 28 stitches per 4″/10 cm (at that gauge a fingering weight would probably also work for these mitts, particularly if it’s woolen spun), and the pattern is written for two sizes. I think it would be relatively easy to work in two colors instead if you didn’t want to bother with the very small amount needed of the third color. Overall, these mitts don’t use a lot of yarn and would be great for leftovers. You can find all the details on the Ravelry pattern page.

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peak fall

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I think Trondheim finally hit peak fall color in the past week (yes, I know, I am still talking about autumn, but I just can’t get over how long and slow it is here!). But on Tuesday a serious windstorm blew through and knocked down quite a few of the leaves. I have a few snaps from the weekend and the past few days, though, that show some of the beautiful golden color I’ve been surrounded by lately. Luckily, there are still a few leaves still hanging on even after the windstorm, though these photos are all from beforehand.

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I’ve also finished a few knitting projects lately. Both the No Frills I mentioned in my last post, as well as the Featherweight Cardigan you can see in this one, and I also finished up a new design. We got to take some pattern photos last weekend, pre-windstorm, and it was nice to take advantage of the fall colors both on the trees and blanketing the ground. These mitts are for a pattern that will be called Oak Hollow, about which more soon.

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If it’s fall in your part of the world, I hope you’re getting the chance to soak up some color. The autumn gold that’s ubiquitous in Norway always makes me feel like I’m in Lothlorien (especially if it’s a birch grove), and I love it so much.

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looking back at 2018

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I’ve been taking some time to look back, as one is wont to do at this time of year. Yesterday was the winter solstice, which means this year has almost drawn to a close. 2018 has been quite a year. I released a lot of patterns this year. I knew I had done more work than usual, and kicking it up a notch in the first full calendar year after finishing my master’s degree was the plan, but still, when I sat down to count out how many new designs I actually released, I was stunned to realize there were twenty-four of them. 24 new patterns in 2018! Fifteen of those came in the form of three collections. I am absolutely astonished at my own productivity. Of course, there are some things that helped make this achievable – working with third parties always makes the work less for me, and tied to that is the fact that the work for some of this year’s releases was actually done in 2017 (or in the case of Fog & Frost, even earlier). Sample knitters also knit a few of these samples. These are all things I’m grateful for as someone designing and writing knitting patterns. But here’s a look at my 24 patterns of 2018 (a list with links will follow in case something piques your interest):

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From left to right –
Row 1: Frost FlowersLyngenAlice Mittens
Row 2: Mountain HumPolar NightNorth Wind
Row 3: West WindCloud PineAdrian
Row 4: OpalDortheaTurlough
Row 5: DrumlinWeekend Walking MittsCaithness
Row 6: Tremblant ToqueLe Massif ScarfSutton Slippers
Row 7: Stoneham PonchoBromont MittsBrave at Heart
Row 8: Just and LoyalWit Beyond MeasureGreat Ambition

The collections are definitely all highlights – Fog & Frost, the Chalet Collection for Espace Tricot, and Lion, Badger, Eagle, Snake. The reception for the latter two in particular has been incredible, and I don’t know how to say thank you in a way that actually conveys my gratitude. But thank you.

A few of these patterns were published in books, and it is always exciting to see my name and my work in print. Opal and Dorthea were published in the Norwegian book Ruter og Lus: Retrostrikk fra Salhus Trikotagefabrikk (which I wrote about here) and I still can’t quite believe the museum wanted me of all people to be involved with that project. And then Caithness was published in Kate Davies’s new compilation of hat patterns, Milarrochy Heids, and it means a great deal to me to be included in those pages and to call Kate a colleague and a friend.

I also returned to teaching this year, giving a few classes at Espace Tricot and teaching a full weekend of workshops at Twist Festival in Saint-André-Avellin, Québec. I spent eight months of this year working at Espace Tricot as well, getting to know local knitters and making friends and generally becoming a part of the wonderful fiber community in and around Montréal and Québec, so being invited to teach at Twist was a highlight. All the classes I gave were colorwork related, and it brings me so much joy to share my love and knowledge of colorwork with other knitters.

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From top to bottom: teaching my Traditional Mittens workshop, being interviewed by Transistor Media (you can listen here), and hanging out with buds in the Knitting It Up Yarns booth (first two photos by Sébastien Lavallée for Twist Festival, third photo courtesy of Annie of Knitting It Up)

While I’ve been invited to teach at a few retreats and events in 2019, I’m not anticipating very much teaching in the coming year, I’m sorry to say. The reason for that is that I’m likely looking at another big move next summer (which can make event planning difficult-to-impossible), but more on that at a later date.

Plenty of other things have happened this year – I read 30 books, I learned a new craft, I traveled to some new and exciting places as well as some old and familiar ones. I feel I have so much to be grateful for right now. Given the year I’ve had, I’m taking it easy for the last few weeks of the year, and I’m looking forward to spending the Christmas holiday with family and friends. I am especially grateful to you, my readers, followers, customers. You all are a massive part of the wonderful year 2018 has been on a professional level, and I can’t say thank you enough. My birthday falls on the first of the new year, and some of you may remember I held a birthday sale on patterns last year – keep an eye out, because I plan to do the same this coming year. It’s such a nice way to say thank you for the year just gone by.

Whatever the end of 2018 holds for you – travel, festive celebrations, time for quiet reflection – I hope you enjoy it. And I’ll see you in the new year.

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l’hiver est arrivé

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Montreal has already had two snowstorms this month, so winter has definitely arrived in this corner of the world. It feels early here, and even though I love winter I admittedly love it less in this city than I did in Norway, so there is a small sigh along with winter’s arrival. Nonetheless, I will aim to make the best of it. December is nearly upon us (tomorrow!), so we’re entering the season of twinkling lights and joy and love and that is something to celebrate.

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I do love the transformational power of fresh snow, and will go out of my way to seek it out in this city of millions. (I’m very grateful for parks.)

At any rate, I wanted to pop in to tell you about a couple of exciting things that happened in the month of November. The first is that I was finally able to unveil a pattern I’ve been very excited about since I first knit it last December – I have a hat design in the new book from Kate DaviesMilarrochy Heids.

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My hat (or heid, a Scots word for “head”) is called Caithness, and it uses five shades of Kate’s lovely yarn Milarrochy Tweed. Unlike most of Kate’s books, which are full of her own lovely designs, Milarrochy Heids features 15 hat patterns from 13 designers, all worked up in Milarrochy Tweed, a fingering weight blend of 70% wool and 30% mohair in a palette of 15 shades. I actually purchased the initial pack of 12 shades that was available when the yarn was introduced, and that is what I used to knit my Caithness. The yarn comes in 25 g balls, and the pack had one ball of each color, so it was absolutely perfect for colorwork. I had first planned to self-publish this design, but then Kate asked about including it in a book of hat patterns she was planning at the time and I was over the moon. And so here we are!

Some of you will know I’ve been a huge fan of Kate’s for a very long time, and I’ve followed her forays into yarn production (and ready-to-wear) with great enthusiasm. It means a great deal to me to be included in this book alongside so many other wonderfully creative designers. I highly encourage you to go check out the other patterns here on Ravelry – it’s hard to pick a favorite but I might have to make myself a Tarradale at some point.

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The response to Milarrochy Heids has been phenomenal, and team KDD have unexpectedly already sold out of hard copies of the book in the pre-order period. More copies are on the way, but in the meantime, many local yarn stores will be receiving copies from the first print run, so if you didn’t pre-order but you’d like a copy before Christmas, I’d suggest checking with local stores, or those that ship orders! I should also mention that the KDD shop has put together yarn kits for every pattern in the book – you can find the yarn kit for Caithness here, and the others are all listed in the “yarn” section of Kate’s shop. Note that the yarn kits are the yarn only – you still need the book (or e-book) for the patterns.

I’ve been wearing my Caithness all autumn long and while Milarrochy Tweed is a relatively fine yarn, it’s a surprisingly warm hat, probably in part thanks to the mohair in it. It’s been such a joy to finally share it with you all.

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The other exciting bit of information is that I was featured as a guest on the “Knitters of the World” segment of the Fruity Knitting video podcast in their most recent episode (66: Uradale Yarns & Taatit Rugs). If you’re not familiar with Fruity Knitting, it’s an incredibly well-produced video podcast on YouTube, featuring heaps of fascinating interviews and information. Andrea and Andrew are wonderful hosts and I always learn something watching their show. Being a guest on this segment means I got to talk about a few of my favorite pieces I’ve knit, and in my case, it’s a mix of my own designs (like my Ebba, which I’m holding up in the screenshot above) as well as things I’ve knit from other people’s patterns. It was a treat to be included! You can check out the show notes for the episode here to get a sense of everything this episode included, and you can watch the full episode here (my segment starts around the 41:00 mark, but I do encourage you to watch the whole thing!).

I hope you’re all doing well as we move into the busy tail end of the year. Remember to breathe deeply, and to take a moment for yourself now and then.

lyngen, or, my new favorite sweater

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I don’t think I wrote about Lyngen on the blog earlier this year. This is a pullover I designed for issue 5 of Making magazine (the COLOR issue), which came out this past spring. Making is a beautiful print publication and I was very happy to be included in such a bright and inspiring issue (I highly encourage you to head over to Ravelry to check out the other patterns in the issue). You can still get the pattern for Lyngen in that issue, but I’ve also just published it as an individual pattern on Ravelry, and it felt like a good time to share a little bit about it with you all.

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This was one of those designs that took a really long, meandering path to the final result. When Carrie first reached out about designing a pattern for this issue, I came up with two main colorwork sweater ideas, both of which were round yokes. One idea was inspired by the super colorful Hungarian embroidery from Kalocsa – the idea featured bands of motifs in different bright colors on a white background, and I think we were initially going to go with that idea. But then Birkin came out, and I emailed Carrie with a photo and said, “Is this too similar?” (Side note: this probably happens more often than most knitters realize, especially with regard to yoke designs. I’ve gotten two emails myself from other designer pals along similar lines after releasing some of my other yokes. Great minds, etc.) Even though we though it wasn’t too similar, Carrie ended up deciding that my other idea would be a better fit for the issue. That idea featured a very similar chart to the one that ended up on the yoke of Lyngen, though I made some changes once we finalized the color palette. My proposal was a very me sort of palette – greys, with minty shades of turquoise and teal. Predictable. Carrie already had a project for the issue lined up in similar colors, though, so she proposed an alternate colorway, in four shades of Quince & Co. Finch: Maple, Petal, Clay, and Malbec. We continued waffling about color placement until finally deciding that Maple should be the main color of the body. Once we got there, I tweaked the yoke chart a little bit and decided to add small bands of colorwork to the bottom of the body and sleeves of the sweater as well.

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After all was said and done, I realized two things: firstly, that I loved this sweater. Secondly, the motifs made up of lots of single stitches in this particular color combination brought to mind the flowering heather I’d come to associate with early autumn in northern Norway. This gave the sweater its name; “lyng” is the Norwegian word for heather, and the mountains to the east of Tromsø are known as the Lyngen Alps. I’ve written before about how working with third parties such as magazines often means getting out of my color comfort zone and using colors or color combinations I wouldn’t normally have chosen for myself, and that often leads to designs that are really satisfying and refreshing for me. I had no idea I would fall in love with Quince’s Maple colorway in particular. I had no idea that I would fall in love with this sweater.

I got my sample back from the magazine in April, around the time the issue was released. But I didn’t have a ton of time to wear it before Montreal was getting too warm for knitwear. So when we headed to Norway for a week or two in September, I brought it along, knowing it would get some wear. It was the only sweater I brought and I lived in it. And then we came home and I have just continued living in it. (If you’ve seen my latest YouTube video on colorwork books you may have noticed I’m wearing it there too.) A fingering weight yoke is such a perfect everyday kind of sweater – it’s easy to wear indoors without overheating, but it layers up very well for going out in colder weather.

One of the things I love about knitting is that there are always ways for knitting to surprise me. It’s such a joy to fall in love with a piece that you didn’t expect to. I’m considering knitting up a second version of this sweater for myself, perhaps in Rauma Finull this time – but for now, I will continue to wear this one to death.

Have you ever had a knitting project surprise you that way?

new collection: fog & frost

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Some projects take longer than others to come to fruition, and over the past several years my self-publishing has definitely fallen by the wayside. When I started my master’s degree in 2015, I had limited time to work on new designs, and as I started working with Quince & Co. around the same time, the majority of my designing time went to those patterns, or patterns for other third parties. Consequently I’ve had this collection on the back burner for years, visiting the patterns and working on them here and there, whenever I had a spare moment. So I’m positively thrilled to finally share Fog & Frost with the world: five new patterns inspired by the Norwegian landscape.

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The inspiration for this collection is actually quite easy for me to pinpoint: in the summer of 2014 I spent two months in Oslo, and my friend Camilla and I went on a road trip over to the western part of the country, known as Vestlandet. The drive is a beautiful one, and the landscape once you reach that part of the country is gorgeous as well, and I took many, many photos. The photo above was taken somewhere near Flåm, and I love the deep, moody hues. The same goes for the following photo, taken in Hallingdal on the drive back:

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It has the bonus of reminding me of the Snoqualmie Valley in western Washington state, where Tolt Yarn and Wool is located.

The photos from this trip planted the seed of the idea for this collection. Most of the pieces existed in some form or another, even if only as design ideas/sketches/swatches, before that trip. The photos and the idea for a collection became the motivation to finish some of those back burner designs.

The collection features two pullovers with colorwork yokes, a hat, a pair each of fingerless mitts and full mittens, and a lightweight cowl. The palette was deliberately chosen to evoke the feeling the inspiration photos gave me. I thought I’d share a little bit about each piece here on the blog, because I love the way the pieces in this collection show that ideas sometimes morph by the time they’re finished pieces, and that while our original plans for ideas don’t always pan out, taking them in new directions can lead to really cool results.

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Mountain Hum began its life as a submission to Pom Pom Quarterly. Designers who submit to third party publications or collections always end up with more ideas that don’t get picked than ideas that do, and it’s satisfying to find a new home for some of those ideas. This was originally a sub for the spring 2015 issue of Pom Pom, which was issue 12. The mood for that issue was inspired by Scandinavian minimalism, and while this sweater didn’t get picked, my Swedish Pancakes mitts did make it into that issue. When I first sketched this design, I imagined it in the Quince & Co. Finch, and the motif was simpler.

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The design inspiration was consequently slightly more obvious, as well! By 2015 I’d realized that a yoke like this would look gorgeous in the color-shifting Spincyle Yarns Dyed in the Wool, and I opted to pair it with YOTH Little Brother, a fingering-weight merino/cashmere/nylon blend. I decided to modify the chart at this fingering-weight gauge, in order to avoid super long floats between each petal motif. I love where this sweater ended up and it seems like you all do too, because this has been the resounding favorite of the collection since I started sharing teasers on Instagram.

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The other sweater actually also began its life as a Pom Pom submission, although it evolved significantly more than Mountain Hum. Polar Night was originally imagined as a single-color yoked pullover with metallic embroidery on the yoke! The submission was for the autumn 2015 issue, and as it turns out, that ended up being one of my all-time favorite issues of Pom Pom (and it still is). So it worked out in the end!

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While I still like the embroidery idea, I decided to scrap that and come up with a colorwork motif instead – and once I started playing around with charts, the ideas continued to morph and change, as they do. I considered a lot of different yarns for this one as well, swatching different options before finally landing on Magpie Fibers Domestic Worsted, which I brought home from Rhinebeck last fall. I played with shaping on this sweater, too – while the body doesn’t feature any waist shaping, I decided to combine raglan shaping with circular yoke shaping for the yoke of the sweater.

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The pattern that spent the longest time on the back burner was West Wind, which features two versions of mittens with traveling twisted stitchs (fingerless and a full mitten). I wrote this pattern back in early 2014, knit and photographed samples, had it tech edited and basically ready to release, and then decided I needed to tweak the position of the thumb placement (and on top of that the dyer of the original yarn I used stopped dyeing). I put it on the back burner, where it stayed for awhile. Once I had the idea for the collection in 2015, I decided this pattern would be a good fit, and since they were worked up in DK weight yarn, YOTH Big Sister was a perfect fit.

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I decided a hat that featured the same motifs as West Wind would be nice, so I came up with an alternating all-over pattern using the motif. Since this is a hat covered in twisted rib, essentially, I wanted to use a springy yarn with really good memory, so I opted to go for non-superwash for this pattern (in my experience, superwash rib tends to stretch out over time and not bounce back very well). Quince & Co. Chickadee was my top choice for that, and I’m so pleased with how it turned out. I love that it coordinates with the mitts/mittens without being a perfect match.

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The last pattern in the collection was partly an excuse to play with crochet. I took a crocheted motifs workshop with the Shibaguyz at Knit Fit (sadly now defunct) in Seattle several years ago, and I fell in love with modular motifs after that. North Wind combines three different hexagonal/six-pointed motifs (two of each) with a scarf knitted on the bais, so that a long lightweight loop is formed when you join the pieces. I worked it up in two colors of Schoppel-Wolle IN Silk, but there’s a ton of creative potential with the motifs – you could work each one in a different color, or use multiple colors per motif, or even make a completely monochromatic version using one color for both the knitting and the crochet. I think many of us who are primarily knitters have dabbled in crochet and have expressed our desire to bring more crochet into our lives. So I hope that this helps with that, and I hope it means there’s more crochet on the horizon for me!

I had fun shooting these photos, which felt like a unique challenge. This collection was in progress when I moved to Norway in 2015, and given the inspiration, I had definitely planned on shooting the pieces there before third-party work kept pushing this collection to the side. By the time we left Norway, I’d yet to finish (or even start) all of the pieces and so it was pretty clear that I wouldn’t be able to shoot in Norway after all. I was pretty committed to the original inspiration photos, though, and eventually I realized that I could have photo backdrops printed – and so that is what I did.

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My hope is that the incorporation of the backdrops helps give the photos the feeling that I get from seeing the original inspiration photos – it’s definitely not an attempt to make it look like I’m “in” Norway, but rather a way to bring a mood to the collection photos, one that’s more interesting than simply seeing the pieces in front of a blank wall. I’ve had a lot of fun bringing all the pieces of this collection together over the past couple of months, and I am incredibly grateful to my tech editor, my test knitters, and my friends and colleagues who’ve provided feedback and help along the way.

I’ll wrap up with just a couple more photos from that road trip back in 2014. Thanks for reading, and I hope you like this new collection!

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Me in Voss, 2014

new pattern: alice mittens

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This new mitten design is called the Alice Mittens, and I’m going to tell you about them in a minute, but first I have to tell you a little bit about their namesake.

A year ago this week, my family lost my beloved grandmother Alice, who was one of the kindest, sweetest human beings on the planet. It was neither sudden nor surprising – she had been living with cancer in addition to other health problems for a long time – and it was some small relief to know that she was no longer suffering, but none of that knowledge makes it any easier to deal with when the day you know is coming finally arrives. I was in Norway, and it was a sunny Friday afternoon when I got the tearful call from my folks. My husband had left just that morning for a work trip, and while I had mentally prepared myself for the possibility of getting that call during the few weeks he’d be away traveling, I hadn’t expected it to happen the day he left. The apartment felt very, very quiet, and I felt very alone. I remember going down the hill to the florist that day to buy some yellow tulips, which I brought back home and put in a vase, and then I sat down and tried to figure out what on earth to do with myself. (The answer was: knit and listen to Harry Potter audiobooks, my two ultimate comforts. I did a lot of that in the weeks that followed.)

This is all background information for the new pattern that I’m sharing with you today. Grandma always adored any of the stranded colorwork mitts and mittens I knit for myself or others – they might have been her favorite thing of all the things I knit. She expressed more than once her desire to have a pair of her own, but I didn’t get around to actually knitting her a pair of mittens until her last few months of life, and perhaps when I look back that’s how I know that I could tell her time was coming – I knew if I was ever going to knit mittens for her, it needed to happen right then. She did receive them before she died, but I don’t know if she ever even got to wear them. But on some level, that doesn’t actually matter – she loved them so much regardless, and they hung on the wall of her hospice room where she could admire them all the time.

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When I started working on a new mitten design a few months ago, using one of my favorite yarns (Buachaille by Kate Davies) and a favorite motif, too (you might recognize the flower on these mittens as being the same one used in Ebba‘s colorwork), it didn’t take me long to realize that these should be called the Alice Mittens. Grandma would have absolutely adored these mittens, and I only wish I could show them to her now.

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Losing my grandmother to cancer is not a unique story. I’m sure many (if not most) of you reading this have had your lives touched by cancer in some way or another. I feel incredibly fortunate that my grandmother had access to the incredible care and medication that she did for as long as she needed it, something which I have never taken for granted since I am incredibly fortunate that my mother, who was diagnosed with lung cancer twenty years ago (when I was but ten years old), is still living and healthy today. Cancer research is a cause near and dear to the hearts of my family. My mother has walked in the local Relay for Life, a fundraising event for the American Cancer Society, nearly ever year for the past two decades, as a way to give back to an organization that helped our family get through both  the emotional and the financial challenges of dealing with cancer. When I was a teenager, I used to walk with my mother, but that becomes harder when we live hundreds or thousands of miles apart. So this year, in memory of my grandmother Alice, I’m going to help her raise money for the ACS by donating 50% of the proceeds from the first week of sales of the Alice Mittens to my mother’s fundraiser. That means 50% of the money made through the end of Sunday, April 8 will go directly to her Relay for Life fundraiser page, which goes to the American Cancer Society. You can purchase the Alice Mittens (as well as find all of the practical info) here on Ravelry.

If you have no need of mittens, I’d encourage you to donate directly to the cancer organizations in your area. If you don’t have the funds to spare, there are always other ways to help. My mother volunteers at the hospital where her cancer surgery was performed, and as she knits too she cranks out chemo caps like nobody’s business.

I also want to give a special shout-out to Eli of Skeindeer Knits, who was part of the inspiration for these mittens in more ways than one. Eli is hosting a year-long stranded mitten/mitt knitalong this year, called the Year Long Mitt-Along, and that definitely jumpstarted my mitten chart exploration. Eli also recently lost her grandmother (which she shared on her podcast), and has designed a beautiful pair of stranded mitts in her honor – I believe that pattern will be ready very soon, so keep an eye out on her Instagram page for the Farmor mitts, because she’ll definitely announce the release there once it’s ready.

Thanks for letting me get a little bit personal here today, and I hope you like the mittens as much as I do.

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new pattern: frost flowers

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I’ve got a new pattern out today: meet Frost Flowers! I thought I’d tell you a little bit about how this design came to be.

A month or so after we moved to Montreal, I went to an in-store Julie Asselin event hosted by Espace Tricot (where, incidentally, I am now working two days a week). Julie is a yarn dyer located a few hours outside of Montreal, and she’s also one of the sweetest humans on the planet. Espace Tricot carries several of Julie’s yarn bases, but she’d brought along a few bases to sell that the store doesn’t normally carry, one of which was her Nurtured: a lofty but smooth woolen spun yarn in a worsted weight, unusual for an indie dyer. I’d first heard about this yarn when Tolt Yarn and Wool started carrying it while I lived in Seattle, but this was the first time I’d really taken a close look at it.

Most indie dyers purchase undyed yarn in ready-made bases, which is part of why so many of the bases are so very similar. Julie, on the other hand, has her bases spun for her, and Nurtured is even more unique since she dyes it in the wool. So in the case of Nurtured, she sources the wool from the US, dyes the unspun wool itself, and then sends the dyed wool to Green Mountain Spinnery in Vermont to have it spun into yarn. She outlines this process in a series of blog posts, which are excellent – you can see them in part 1part 2, and part 3.

Flash back to the event at Espace Tricot – I was perched quite close to the Nurtured on the table as Julie talked about her yarns and answered questions, and I definitely found myself drawn toward one color in particular: the icy light blue color called Through the Looking Glass. When viewed up close, this is a gently heathered shade, with bits that are icy blue and bits that are almost light grey/natural and a few little blips here and there of a more saturated, darker blue.

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A skein came home with me and once I had it, the idea for the overall palette took hold. I procured two more skeins of Nurtured, one in a heathered grey (Fer à Cheval) and one in a natural, undyed white (Natural), and started charting my colorwork ideas. It’s no surprise that I gravitated toward this combo, because it encapsulates winter to me – I even knit up my personal pair of Hearth Slippers in a similar combination.

I loved working with this yarn and I’m sure I’ll use it again in the future. I’m also looking forward to trying more of Julie’s yarns (I love her sock yarn, Nomade, which I used to knit my Amalia socks last year). Frost Flowers went live on Ravelry today, and you can check out the pattern page right here. It feels good to have a new Paper Tiger pattern to share – I didn’t do very much self-publishing while I was working on my degree in Norway, since most of the time I had for designing went to my third-party work. I’m excited to start publishing more Paper Tiger patterns again this year, and I’m looking forward to sharing what I’ve been working on with you all.

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oslo strikkefestival 2017: saltstraumen

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It’s ended up being a busy summer and I’m a little behind on sharing new work, but I have an exciting pattern to share today! I was fortunate to be asked again this year to contribute a pattern to the magazine for the Oslo Knitting Festival, and I was so happy to say yes. This year I designed a hat called Saltstraumen, and it’s a little bit of a love letter to northern Norway.

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Saltstraumen is a maelstrom located in the county of Nordland (and I actually got to visit it last fall during our road trip around Nordland, blogged here). It’s a spectacular place with one of the strongest tidal currents in the world, where the water rushing through the bottleneck during the changing of tides creates whirlpools and white water dancing in circles. I adapted a cable motif from Norah Gaughan’s excellent Knitted Cable Sourcebook to mimic the swirling of the water across this hat, which is knit in beautiful indigo-dyed yarn from Lofoten Wool. Lofoten Wool, as you may remember from my Norwegian Wool post on the company, is also located in Nordland, and water obviously plays a huge role in the lives of the people throughout the Lofoten archipelago. I love the deep connection between the motif inspired by water, the deep blue of the indigo dye, and the wool from Røst, one of the islands of Lofoten furthest from the mainland – it’s not every day so many elements come together in a design like that.

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Saltstraumen is knit up in Lofoten Wool’s Røst Collection 2-ply (look for “2 trådet” in their online shop) in the Brådjupt colorway. If substituting yarn, a woolen-spun sport weight would be ideal. The pattern is available in the Oslo Knitting Festival Magazine, alongside a pattern by Julie Knits In Paris (pictured above along with the Saltstraumen hat) and one by Anna Maltz. I believe the magazine is print-only, not digital, but if you have questions about that I’d suggest getting in touch with the festival organizers or perhaps asking in the new Ravelry group for the festival.

As a side note, I’m planning to make my pattern for last year’s magazine, the Rosenhoff mittens, available for individual purchase this fall. I’ll be sure to let you know when they’re available!