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Hello Station Wagon Blanket!

Mon 10 Oct 2016 02:10pm

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I’ve got an easy-peasy super fun project in Mason-Dixon Knitting’s Field Guide No. 1: Stripes.
You got it – stripes – Stripes are what I always knit before I knew how to do stranded knitting. You might say stripes drove me to stranded knitting, because I eventually got tired of knitting them and branched out. I enjoyed knitting many many projects featuring stripes though and I’ve come back around to them. There are so very many variations you can do, endless joy and experimentation  with color, proportion and texture.

When I was little my grandparents lived across the Sound at a place in the woods called Harper. It was dreamy land, a little cordwood house tucked in the wilds (you can see a picture of it on my Pinterest). Of course their car was a Woody. Kids and dogs would pile in the back and we’d bounce down to the beach and spend the day. On our return, with hair full of sand, salty skin smeared with seaweed, we’d bundle in the back swathed in colorful camp blankets that lived in the car – pure comfort and shimmering stripes.

When Kay and Ann asked me to design a blanket, I thought of those endless beachy days and those blankets. I wanted the making of the blanket to be as carefree as the memories. I’d just fallen in love with stripes all over again after working on my new book (yes!) Geo Knits. Squishy 3-D garter stitch stripes are my current favorite, I love the wrong-side-is-as pretty-as-the-right-side aspect. I made a decision for the strips to be joined from the wrong side, making Station Wagon Blanket even more reversible – now each side has a “wrong side” element. Choosing the colors and experimenting with the stripe patterns was really fun, I hope you like them. There’s lots of room for your own color choices and flourishes for a custom Station Wagon Blanket.

Mason-Dixon Knitting Field Guides are just my thing. I love a sweet little book, like a cozy blanket they bring comfort and a feeling of security. Honesty. I’m going to collect them all.

Field Guide No. 1 has other really great projects you’ll want to make too.

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Left: Breton Cowl, Antonia Shankland  Right: Squad Mitts, Ann Weaver

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First I Swatch

Tue 06 Sep 2016 03:09pm


For Vogue Knitting Magazine‘s Fall 2016 special issue, I was asked to make a hat, which to my delight made it onto the cover. So what was my design process? The first thing I did when I got my assigned yarn, Rowan Felted Tweed, was to begin swatching. I started with a favorite peerie pattern to get the juices flowing, knitting in the round, just as I’d make a hat, but smaller, with only enough stitches to fit on a 16in/40cm circular needle. Next I worked a border pattern, tried another peerie with couple of colors that looked great together in the ball, but not when used as pattern color and background color (hidden in this picture). Then I kind of hit the wall. I decided to just try knitting all the colors I had using a favorite “diamonds” or “peaks” pattern which is usually found framing border patterns. It is often knit using ombre tones of a single color from dark to light or visa versa. I used them in my Valenzi Cardigan… You can see on my swatch above I didn’t do the ombre until after I knit the border pattern and then I used it with warm colors. I decided I liked the last bit of the swatch, but would think about denim colors, because I really really liked them, and felt cheery when I was using them.

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While I was swatching I was thinking about the shape of the hat. I knew I wanted a pointed hat, because I love pointed hats. I considered a traditional fisherman’s ‘kep’ or cap, from Fair Isle, the island. These have a plain lining and folded brim much like a Scandinavian dubbelmossa. There are two examples above, the gorgeous one on the left from the Shetland Museum collection is folded up the way a fisherman would wear it. On the right you can see a kep before the lining is pushed inside. This one is in the Shetland Textile Museum. As much as I love these traditional keps, knitting one is a tremendous commitment and I wanted a hat that was quick to knit and more accessible for those who might be new to stranded knitting.

YellSkipperKep_ShetlandMuseum YellFisherKep_ShetlandMuseum

Which put me in mind of the kind of pointed hat I’d knit before, and then later discovered similar ones in the Shetland Museum, two fisherman’s hats from the island of Yell. Above are replicas knit in the 1940s of hats from the 1880s, the caption explains that the bright red one was the captain’s.

So I started another swatch, using the peeries on the regular fisherman’s hat above right, the dark blue one, and practiced colors again.

I’ve got a few pointed hats in my repertoire…so I knew the style from Yell would be a little too long and require too much attention to keep the pattern in order while decreasing, but I liked the curve of the point, though I wanted it to narrow faster. By this time I pretty much knew what I wanted. I had two large swatches for gauge, only a little math to do and I was ready to go!

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Vogue Knitting is hosting a Knit-Along for my cover hat. Find out all the details on their Vogue Knitting Live Group page.

I’m casting on today! In RED. Because I’m the captain of the ship!!!!

If you’ll be attending Vogue Knitting Live in Minneapolis there will be a meet up of KAL participants on Sunday November 6. Wear your hat!!! I’ll be teaching the weekend and hosting a “Shetlandia” evening along with Gudrun Johnston and June Hemmons Hiatt.
Hope to see you there!


Find my other pointy hats! Fair Isle Sampler Hat on the left and two colorways of Elfin Peak.

Interested in making a real Fair Isle Fisherman’s Kep? Join the Facebook Group “The Fair Isle Fisherman’s Kep Page”. You have to request to join. Once in, you’ll find loads of inspiration from the many pictures of keps posted and also learn how to order a pattern designed by Anne Sinclair which is being sold to support the “George Waterston Memorial Centre and Museum”, on Fair Isle. Buying a pattern also helps the island Post Office.  Dottie Widmark of the Net Loft in Cordova Alaska, received permission for my class to use this pattern as part of The Cordova Gansey Project. We had a wonderful time making up our own versions of this fisher-folk hat. Make sure you read Dottie’s blog about the Gansey amazing journey that continues.

Jamieson & Smith has a pattern for a lined Fair Isle Fisherman’s Cap.

Handknitting With Meg Swansen includes a pattern for a dubbelmossa.


Vogue Knitting Cover – Fall 2016 – It’s My Hat!

Thu 01 Sep 2016 03:09pm


To say I’m thrilled is an understatement! Way back in February I was making swatches for this hat.

I’ve been living life lately instead of documenting it – but stay tuned and I’ll share my process – how I came up with this design, called on Ravelry #07 Fair Isle Hat.

Here’s a hint: I swatched!!!


Squam Round-up!

Wed 08 Jun 2016 12:06pm


I feel so lucky I was able to teach at Squam again this year. It was every wonderful thing that had I remembered and looked forward to. Relaxing and stimulating at the same time. It’s a time to hang out with colleagues I often get to see only in passing at other events. There’s a buzzing energy from many many makers. I made new friends – teachers, vendors and students alike! Squam is really what you make it, what you want it to be and what you need it to be at the moment. During the opening ceremony Elizabeth, the vital force behind Squam, encouraged us to honor our “yes” – do what we really want to do, and if that means lounging on the dock all day and skipping class fine, no worries.


Squam takes place at Deephaven Rockywood Camps on beautiful pristine Squam Lake in New Hampshire. Tempting as the dock is, and we had PERFECT weather, I love to teach and was eager to get to class each day. You can see the beautiful work my students produced.


Mucklestone Class Mitts

I tailored the class so participants could assemble a “Squam Edition” mitt, with motifs of flora and fauna found around the idyllic setting, but charmingly everyone wanted to make the tried and true “class mitt”. I love that!


The cabin I shared with other fiber friends was rustic and wonderful. I come from a long line of “rusticators” who believe when you go away from the city you should stay in a shack with no electricity. We did have electricity and running water hot and cold, but the cabin was old New England Camp style. There were cut out silhouettes of fish that had been caught over the years with length, weight, bait used and the date. 1933 was the earliest I spotted.
At night we had a fire, roasted marshmallows and made smores!


Even cloudy mornings were lovely!
It was wonderful being in the woods again. I felt well enough to hike Rattlesnake Mt. with Gudrun Johnston …though not at my regular speed and I needed a nap afterward!


I worked on a “secret not so secret” Plöulopi sweater and a new pair of my Maritime Mitts for the KAL going on now.

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First Prize revealed today!!!!
Congratulations Sue (aka breadwoman on Ravelry) ! You posted the first Finished Object! You get to choose any one of my pattern’s offered for sale in my Ravelry shop.

Join the Maritime Knit KAL! June 1- August 1.
Going forward every Wednesday through July 27 we’ll draw one lucky winner from those of you who sign up. Winners will get their choice of a pattern from my Ravelry shop for free.

A grand prize – my book Fair Isle Style – will be awarded by random drawing from the FO posted by August 1st, the final day of the KAL.
Sign-ups are ongoing, to sign up and find out all the deets go to the Maritime Mitts KAL: Info Only thread in my Ravelry group.

I’ll have some silly surprise prizes too so stay in touch!