Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Blog!

The Westknits blog has moved to my brand new website!

I will keep this blog open in case you want to read back to the beginnings though.

This year has been full of new projects and experiences and I'm very excited for all the new projects and events ahead! Thank you for following my adventures and I'll see you over on the new site!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

First Days in Amsterdam

I'm starting to get my bearings in this new city and I bought a bike today, which will help a great deal. I've discovered a big and beautiful park, Vondelpark, which has hosted two consecutive mornings of knitting. I cast on for another Daybreak yesterday morning and today I'm halfway through the stripes.

I chose The Sanguine Gryphon Bugga! as it's one of my new favorite yarns. This Daybreak (my 8th I think?) is a gift for someone, but it has me thinking about another version for myself. I have sweaters on the mind though so I'll try to whip up a couple sweater patterns for this Fall and Winter. We'll see how I persevere with those larger design projects. There will plenty of new and exciting accessories in the mean time.

I've been taking advantage of the much appreciated chilly weather! I was surprised by the gray morning clouds, coming from the sweltering midwest heat, but it's been perfect for breaking out the handknits!

I even had to retreat indoors from knitting outside this morning because my hands got too cold!

Today, I had a couple little photo shoots. You'll see the results for a new pattern called Clockwork next month, but I snapped some touristy photos I can show you of another version of the Boneyard Shawl.

I wear bandanas a lot during the summer, so this wool Boneyard bandit made with Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light will be a great little transitional piece into the cooler months ahead.

The flat I'm staying at for the moment has a cat, which I found sniffing at my suitcase full of knits and yarn, so I'm keeping my eye on him.

I'm not used to having pets around, but I plan not to underestimate Figaro the Cat.

There are also many dogs in my new knitting park, but the one that caught my eye was a puppy in a shop window. I wish he was for sale.

I still have some settling in to do, but Amsterdam is great so far!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Farewell Urbana

Today, I spent one last day in Urbana, visiting friends and saying goodbye. Living in Urbana has been such a wonderful experience and I've developed many valuable friendships there, which make it hard to leave. Tomorrow, I head to Amsterdam with a lot of anticipation and nervous excitement. I'm ready for the change and it's comforting to have some great friends waiting for me across the pond.

Speaking of new adventures, I went through a final proof of Westknits Book One today with my friend and project manager, Sarah. Just some polishing left to do before it goes to print! I am so eager to share this collection of patterns with everyone, especially in the new book format thanks to my amazing graphic designer, Lori Herber. In addition to this first book, there will be a new website and blog coming soon as well! Lots to look forward to this Fall!

I'll leave you all with a photo of my friends, Nick and Nibia, at the train terminal to Chicago where there was a giant American flag conveniently hanging in the lobby.

You'll be seeing a lot more of Nick and Nibia in Westknits Book One! Friends/dancers make the best models for knitwear. :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pogona & Flamboyan

Apologies for the lack of blog posts, but that just means I was knitting too much to type! I think I'm channeling all the nervous excitement about my move to Amsterdam into knitting, knitting, and more knitting. This Fall and Winter will be full of new Westknits designs. Until Fall arrives, you can catch some updates/teasers for Westknits Book One on my ravelry group here.

Earlier this month I released 1 of the 8 patterns in Westknits Book One, Pogona, on Ravelry. It's a new shawl that has an arched shape, which is excellent for draping across your shoulders.

The fabric gathers beautifully when worn like a scarf, my preferred style.

The other 7 patterns will all come out at the same time in a couple months. You can wait until September/October to get Pogona in the booklet or if you can't wait, here is a link to purchase the individual pdf file.


A couple days ago, I released another shawl pattern, Flamboyan.

I had the pleasure of knitting with The Sanguine Gryphon Skinny Bugga!, a gorgeous merino/cashmere/nylon blend. The Sanguine Gryphon's colorways are out of this world and you will definitely be seeing some more designs featuring their yarns in the future!

I used Oak Timberworm (dark brown) with The Herald (rusty orange-brown). Oak Timberworm is one of my favorite colorways ever and if you haven't experienced The Sanguine Gryphon yet, you are missing out! I literally could not put my knitting down, which resulted in a 2-day shawl. Over 800 yds in 2 days. I was shocked. It was all a blur, but I was in heaven the whole time and now I get to wear my Flamboyan in the cool air conditioning.


If you haven't found me on twitter yet, I am there as westknits. I've been a good regular tweeter, but there will be more blog posts this year as well!

Monday, June 14, 2010

East Coast Tour Recap

I wanted to take the time to share photos from my East Coast Trip from the end of May to beginning of June.

I started out in Philadelphia to hang out at Craig's shop, Loop. It was beautiful and inspiring to say the least and my first time in Philly. They were even nice enough to roll out the red carpet for me.

I told Philly it was really unnecessary, but apparently they insist on treating all visiting knitters like royalty. :)

I taught a couple classes over the weekend and got to chat with knitters and some friends from Ravelry. I'm always inspired by the people and yarns I encounter on shop visits and this trip was no exception. I started swatching for a new design on the train ride up to Chicago from Urbana with my friend Sarah. I knit with Imperial Stock Ranch's bulky lopi yarn and ended up with a big wrap after one day.

That's the finished Lopi wrap soaking in my hotel bathtub. It's just a sketch/prototype, but it led to another idea when I found the perfect yarn in Craig's shop. You'll be seeing the final result (much different than the bath photo) later this Fall!

I made my way over to New York on the train and stayed with a couple friends in Brooklyn during the week. I enjoyed a couple free days to knit in Central Park, visit the Museum of Natural History, and experience the city with good friends. One highlight was digging through the order of Madelinetosh that arrived at Knitty City the day I taught my class. You just can't beat seeing all of Amy's gorgeous colorways in person!

I stayed with my friend Sean the following weekend in Boston where I met a nice Herbivore accompanied by a knitter at Stitch House Dorchester.

The next day was filled with more inspiration at Seed Stitch Fine Yarn in Salem, MA..

Here's a shot from Sean Riley of all the shawls laid out for my top down shawl workshop. I'm glad I still get to see and pet them all, even in summertime.

Courtney's shop is fantastic and there was a beautiful sample of the Boneyard Shawl knit up in Rowan Denim. I had to get 6 skeins from her to make my own. I started a Boneyard Shawl Summer KAL over on Ravelry too. I love my new cotton version, which will be perfect for cooler summer evenings.

I especially love how the Rowan Denim shrinks a bit and fades when you wash/dry it. It's surprisingly soft and light as well!

I finished the shawl at the tail end of my Boston adventure and snapped the photos at my last stop in Brunswick, ME.

Brunswick is one of the cutest towns I've been to and I was shocked by how generous and friendly everyone in the town was, definitely a much slower pace than New York. So, it was a perfect last stop before heading home.

I arrived early Wednesday morning on the bus and spent the day at Ellen's shop, Purl Diva. Purl Diva reminded me of home because the shop is in a beautifully converted house just like my LYS at home. I enjoyed meeting a whole bunch of knitters for the afternoon workshop

and an order of Madelinetosh came in just in time for all of us to admire the new Pashmina in addition to the sock and dk weights.

I walked away with a few skeins of Madtosh dk in the Stovepipe colorway, which became the prototype for another new design. Madelinetosh seemed to follow me around everywhere along the East Coast. If you ever need someone to sing the praises of Madelinetosh yarns, I would be more than happy to!

I had a fantastic trip, but was certainly thankful to be back home for a week before TNNA. I just flew back from TNNA in Columbus, OH and will share my experience along with several photos soon! In the meantime, here are a couple previews of my marvelous TNNA adventure!

Admiring Bijou Basin with Sarah and Gudrun

Tea Party in Ysolda's booth!

Ravelry Ice Cream Social

Monday, May 17, 2010

Westknits Photoshoot

The first Westknits collection is well underway. With almost all the samples completed, I was happy to have a photoshoot today with some friends. I photographed about 5 or 6 of the new designs and figured I'd share what we were up to. You won't get a full reveal until late summer/early fall, but here are some sneak peak photos from the shoot.

My East Coast tour starts this weekend in Philadelphia. All the details are in my last blog post here. I can't wait to chat and knit with tons of new knitters!

Friday, April 30, 2010

East Coast Tour and NEW design previews!

I'm excited to share my upcoming travel dates to the East Coast during May/June!

Philadelphia Loop May 21-23
I will be at Craig's shop all weekend with my trunk show and classes on Saturday and Sunday.
More details here.

New York City Knitty City May 25-26
Evening class 6-8pm on May 25, trunk show all day with designer talk/sit 'n knit on May 26, 6-8pm.
More details here.

New York City Purl Soho May 27
Trunk show all day, class from 7:15-9:15pm. More details to come.

Salem, MA Seed Stitch Fine Yarn
May 29
Trunk Show all day and class from 2-4pm.
More details here.

Dorchester, MA Stitch House Dorchester May 28
Trunk Show all day and class. More details to come.

Brunswick, ME Purl Diva June 2
Class from 12-2pm and trunk show from 5-8pm
More details here.

I am looking forward to this trip and would appreciate meeting you if you're in any of these areas! Also, I have a few free days
between Boston and Brunswick and will be looking for things to do. I was thinking about taking a little break from the tour to visit the area around Portland, ME. Any other suggestions whether it's in the Boston area, Brunswick or anywhere in between?

Now, I would be happy to finally share with you some sneak peaks at new design prototypes!

And that's just a little taste.