Graphic Knits Prize Winner!

The winner of the Graphic Knits Book is

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 12.24.51 PM

Merry! Merry, wahoomerryf on Ravelry, you are the winner! I will be sending you my copy of Graphic Knits along with…surprise! your 3 Yellowstone color picks!

Merry said she would use Snow, Eagle Peak, and Forest Fire for her Woodstar Mitts. With this yarn you should be able to make both the hat and the mitts!

Please send me your mailing address to

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Brioche Chic – An Interview

I love brioche knitting and have recently started teaching this topic at events and yarn shops. This interesting stitch is supremely squishy and luxurious, plus it makes playing with color even more fun! I am delighted to review and participate in Mercedes’ blog tour for the her first book, Brioche Chic.

Brioche Chic - jacket art

I LOVE this book. First, it breaks brioche down into very simple steps – much like how I teach it. And second, it doesn’t bombard you with unneeded information. Those who have taken my class can attest for my dislike of frivolous-information-bombardment.

Mercedes’ writing is clear, concise, and easy to understand and her patterns are beautiful and modern.

My favorite project from the book is the Deep-V Pullover.

Brioche Chic - Chevron Deep-V Pullover beauty shotI love the innovative construction and the flattering look of the finished piece. Along with more beautiful women’s sweater patterns, Brioche Chic also includes accessories and several hansom manly designs. Check out all the patterns on Ravelry.

Today I have an interview with the author, the fabulous Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark!

HZ: When did you start designing? and when did you fall in love with brioche?

MTC: I started designing almost as soon as I understood knitting basics (altering patterns, trial and error on made-up projects), but didn’t begin publishing until I owned a yarn shop, around 2004. I designed patterns for the shop and started submitting some designs to magazines. Eventually I realized that designing was what made me happiest, so in the last couple of years I began to design and teach knitting full time.

HZ: What do you find most challenging about design?

MTC: The most challenging part for me is always the writing, trying to make sure that my ideas are clear and that they make the most sense to someone knitting the project for the first time. Tech editors are priceless for making sure that this is a reality! They go through my words (and my math) to make sure that the final instructions are as clear and concise as possible, even with tricky constructions.

HZ: Which pattern in your book is your favorite and why?

Brioche Chic - Reversible Infinity Scarf beauty shot

MTC: I love the Reversible Infinity Scarf. It’s the type of accessory I wear ALL the time, and I can’t wait to knit one for myself (I need more time in a day!). I also love that it’s a great intro to two-color brioche, so I can’t wait to see my students’ projects for this design!

HZ: If you could lunch with any knitwear designer, past or present, who would it be and why?

MTC: Elizabeth Zimmermann. Besides having an enormously unconventional mind for knitting, I think she would be a hilarious conversationalist, judging from her written work. The “Opinionated Knitter” indeed!

HZ: Many knitters find brioche tricky to wrap their brains around. What words or tips would you give a beginner?

MTC: Go slowly, and give your hands (and brain) time to adjust to the unusual stitches and constructions. As with trying many new things, there is an inevitable “awkward stage” where things feel clunky as you get used to them, but soon your fingers will find their rhythm, and the stitches begin to make more sense and fall into place. Use sharp needles, several markers, and smooth, non-fuzzy yarn to give yourself a clear view of the stitches.

HZ: Any more books in the works?

MTC: Not yet! I feel like life is still catching up from the frenzy of the last one. I am designing some individual patterns and working on new teaching materials (for brioche and other subjects). But, of course, as soon as I get a good book brainstorm I’ll be in touch with my publisher in a heartbeat!

Thanks, Mercedes, for stopping by the blog today. Tomorrow, the Brioche Chic tour continues at Little Acorn Creations.

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Graphic Knits: KAL + Giveaway!

I rarely get to knit for myself, so when presented with the opportunity for this KAL, I took it!

Graphic Knits - jacket art

Graphic Knits
By Alexis Winslow
Interweave/F+W; $24.99

Graphic Knits is the first book by designer, Alexis Winslow. I love Alexis’ patterns, and was excited to hear that she was writing a book.

Graphic Knits contains 20 beautiful patterns ranging from small accessories like fingerless mitts and mittens, to many beautiful sweaters. My favorite in the book is the Orly Cardigan— simply stunning.


© Joe Hancock

You all know how much I’m into fingerless mitts…I even make them out of socks…so it’s no surprise that I decided to make the Woodstar Mitts for this KAL.


© Joe Hancock

Using my Yellowstone yarn, and slightly more muted colors (Reese Creek, Eagle Peak, and Old Faithful), I cast on using size 3.75mm needles, one size up since I’m a tight knitter.

Knitting goes fast, and these mitts are awesome. I love their short ribbed beginning and end, although I’ve changed mine to twisted rib. (I’m pretty much incapable of knitting a pattern without making changes.)

My favorite detail? The formation of a little motif on the thumb gusset. How cute is that?


The “seam” stitch becomes the gusset and hides the beginning of round jog quite efficiently.

I have only to finish my thumb ribbing before this mitt is finished. After which I will promptly cast on for the second!

Want to see more KAL projects from Graphic Knits? Check out these future posts!

Want to WIN my copy of Graphic Knits? Leave a comment below with what 3 colors of Yellowstone yarn you would use to knit your own pair of Woodstar Mitts! I’ll pick a winner next week – so be sure to comment before midnight on Friday the 10th!

Let’s knit together! I’m hosting a KAL for the Woodstar Mitts in my Ravelry group. Stop on over and let’s have fun picking out colors and working up these great fingerless mitts together!

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On Tour

This is, of course, a little late, but I’m on tour for Everyday Lace! Stop by any of these events to see me, get your book signed, and see some of the projects in the book.

New events are being scheduled all the time so be sure to check out my events page regularly.

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Journey of a Book

Today I thought I would share with you the entire book process. Everyday Lace has been in the works for two long years! When I first announced that I was writing a book, people asked when it would be out; when I said two years, they were surprised and confused as to why it takes so long.

The process is a long journey, but it’s well worth the wait. –At least I think so, and I hope you do too! The following post is my experience, which may or may not be typical.

The proposal
Before I got started on a formal proposal I sent a query letter to the acquisitions editor at Interweave.

Why did I pick Interweave? Two reasons. One, because I do a lot of work for their print magazines and have developed a pretty good relationship with them. Two, because they make beautiful books. I knew that I wouldn’t have to worry about the photography, layout, book design, or paper quality. They make superior, best-selling titles and I hoped my book would be one of them.

A query letter is like a mini proposal. I stated my idea, gave my thoughts on possible projects, and included a mood board of my past designs that fit the concept. My query letter was received favorably, and I was told to go ahead with a formal proposal.

The formal proposal is much longer. I swatched and sketched fifteen projects, wrote a sample introduction chapter, and detailed my proposed table of contents. This alone took some time, and was just a little bit stressful. Having never planned an entire collection before, preparing this many projects at once was overwhelming.

Here are a few of the proposal sketches:

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My proposal was accepted. Notes were given and the contract was signed.

Choosing Yarn
Picking yarn for twenty projects is HARD.


First, I developed an overall pallet and mood. Then I had to find yarn to match both the project and the pallet. Yarn weight, color, blend, hand, texture, all had to be considered. Yarn for a project would be set, but then colors had to be switched around because yarn for a different project didn’t have the color I wanted, and on, and on. There was much grumbling and rearranging. Spreadsheets became my best organizational friends.

Finally, I had all the yarn and projects picked out. Yarn was ordered and began arriving at my house. My husband was already starting to become wary of the process at this point. So. Much. Yarn.

The knitting phase took place over the next nine months. Twenty projects…in nine months. So much knitting. So much writing.

The key to not going insane was organization. I had everything separated by project. I had spreadsheets calculating what needed to be done by what time. Without these things I think I would have easily become overwhelmed with the project.

During that time I also decided to start a business, have major surgery, and design several things for magazines. Needless to say, things were a bit stressful in the Zoppetti house.

I considered having sample knitters help me. But something in me (a problem with releasing control) drove me to knit all the projects myself. The hardest obstacle, discipline. The deadline seamed so very far away. Forcing myself to complete things at intermediate deadlines was really the only way all the projects were completed in time.

After knitting, there was still a book to write! Writing patterns, tutorials, sidebars, this all happened quickly, writing is much faster than knitting. Once I finished, I handed everything over to my editor, the incomparable Ann Budd. At that point, I didn’t know what to do with myself. Without a book to work on, my days felt strangely empty and without purpose. So, I sent a proposal for a second…

Editing, Photos, and Layout
Over the course of the second year, I was consulted on edits to patterns and text. I got to approve all changes at every stage. First, everything was in Word documents, then I was able to look over everything again in final layout with photos.

Some designers choose not to go through the traditional publishing route because they don’t want to relinquish control over these things. Honestly, I was glad to pass it on to experts. I knew the folks at Interweave would do a great job, and they didn’t disappoint. Also, by having other people do these things for me, I was able to concentrate on my next book!

Finished Book
Today, my book can be found in yarn and book stores around the globe. It’s available on InterweaveAmazon, and at other major retailers and probably at your favorite local yarn store!

The whole process was an enjoyable journey and one that I was eager to take again. My second book will be released about this same time next year!

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Final Prize

The final stop on the tour had to be cancelled due to technical difficulties. That means, all stops have been posted! Make sure to send your questions and answers to hzoppetti AT gmail DOT com by Friday to be eligible for the fabulous prizes!

The final prize is a sampler pack of yarns used in Everyday Lace! This includes one skein each of the following + signed book.

  • Regia Silk
  • Quince & Co Sparrow
  • Madelinetosh Pashmina
  • Swans Island Organic Worsted
  • Imperial Yarn Tracie Too
  • Manos del Uruguay Serena



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More Prizes!

I announced two prizes the other day, here are two more!

How do you win? Turn in your hunt questions and answers by Friday the 19th to be entered in the drawing. E-mail them to hzoppetti AT gmail DOT com.

Pack 3: Engleside Kit – 4 skeins of Renew Wool + signed book. 4 skeins makes the smallest size of this sweater. This yarn is fabulous, but alas, discontinued. If you don’t want to make sweater, I’m sure you will find another great use for it!


Pack 4: Hat Pack – 2 skeins of yarn + signed book. One skein each of Crabapple Pizzazz and Stitch Sprouts Yellowstone. These yarns will be perfect to make each of the hats in the book.


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Scavenger Hunt Prizes!

Are you playing along in the Everyday Lace Scavenger Hunt? It’s not too late!

Here are the first two prize packs…more to come!

Pack 1: Sock pack – two skeins of sock yarn + a signed book. The sock yarns included are Baah LaJolla in a vibrant purple and Crabapple Pizzazz in sparkly green. With these, you can make both pairs of socks in the book.

sockPrizes Pack 2: Cover pack – a skein of the yarn used in the cover sweater + signed book. One skein is enough to make the first two sizes! If you don’t want to make the sweater, or need more yarn, you can still enjoy using this Findley for shawls, scarves, and other lacy creations.


Tune in later for more prize pack details!

How do you win? Turn in your hunt questions and answers by Friday the 19th to be entered in the drawing. E-mail them to hzoppetti AT gmail DOT com.

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Smitts – a tutorial

Today I was at the grocery when the girl1 bagging said she loved my “gloves”. Then I told her how they are made…from socks. Her eyes lit up and she vowed to go home after her shift and make a bunch of them from mismatched socks.


So, I thought perhaps others might be interested in a tutorial; it’s quite easy.

First, what are smitts? Smitts are fingerless mitts made from socks. I fabricated the word in light of swants2.  I wear them for two three reasons. 1) They keep my arms and wrists warm, 2) they protect my kt tape3 edges from rolling, and 3) they only cost $1 and take 2 minutes to make.

Without further ado…

IMG_7284Materials: scissors and ankle socks.

IMG_7276Step 2: Cut the toe open.

IMG_7279 IMG_7281

Step 3: Cut the heel open.

IMG_7278 IMG_7282

Step 4: Insert arm.

IMG_7283You can further adjust the opening for the thumb. If you don’t want a lot of fabric gathered between thumb and hand, trim more.

For longer smitts, you can use a knee-high, however, you won’t get the nice hemmed top like for an ankle sock.

1She was quite a hip girl, and so I took this as a compliment.
2Smitts are way cooler than swants.
3I tape my wrists to prevent my tendonitis from flaring up during long knitting sessions.
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Socks from Everyday Lace

Do you like knitting socks? Socks are the perfect traveling project. Stick them in a project bag and you’re ready to knit anywhere. Socks are also a great way to try new things, like lace, because they give you a smaller canvas to work with.

Everyday Lace has two sock patterns, Millway and Swatara.


© Joe Hancock

Millway is worked from the toe up, and Swatara from the cuff down. I wanted to include one of each as to not leave any sock knitters out of the loop. I love socks either way, but I know some knitters who have very strong opinions one way or the other!

Swatara starts with twisted rib and mirrored lace panels.

At the ankle, the side lace panel splits with half going down the sides of the foot, and half framing the flap.


I used my favorite heel, eye of the partridge, because I love how it looks speckled with this kettle dyed yarn. (You can see the in-progress Manheim sweater in the background of this pic!)


The toe is a simple wedge closed with kitchener stitch.


Millway, of course, starts at the toe. The stitch pattern is fancy, but is easier than it looks!

I’m a fan of the gusset and heel flap, so I chose to use it on these as well. Working from the foot up, I chose to go with a slip stitch heel flap.


The top of this sock ends with a pretty picot hem. Isn’t this orange lovely?

millAs you can see in the photos, I chose to use magic loop for both of these projects. I’m not sure why, maybe my dpns (my fav method) were being used on other socks… However, the patterns are written without specifying the needle type, so it doesn’t matter if you like magic loop, dpns, or even two circulars—you’ll be able to knit these however you like!


Want to win some sock yarn and a signed book (prize hint!)? Make sure you check out the Scavenger Hunt! Today’s stop is Picnic Knits!

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Secrets of Pequea

Here’s another look at a project from Everyday Lace, Pequea. This was one of my favorite projects to both design and knit.

© Joe Hancock

© Joe Hancock

Pequea is pronounced: PECK-way. Like all the projects in the book, it’s named after a place in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Also, this tank is hiding a secret. The Ravelry picture only shows it from the front, which is a mistake. The back is where the party’s at!

© Joe Hancock

© Joe Hancock

Unlike most projects, this tank came out exactly as I imagined. Here’s the original sketch.

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 4.19.41 PM

Knit from the bottom-up and in the round, this project is a breeze. It calls for Sweet Georgia Merino Silk Fine, a scrumptious blend of wool and silk, my favorite! I chose the bright and juicy Dutch colorway.

The straps flow up from the back over the shoulders and are joined to the front with kitchener stitch. The only finishing is a simple crochet border to keep the edges from rolling.

Here are some in progress photos:

IMG_4080 IMG_4197Tomorrow, the Scavenger Hunt continues on Stephannie Tallent’s Blog. Make sure you stop by and check it out!


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Behind the Scenes: Ephrata

As the cover sweater of Everyday Lace, I expect the Ephrata camisole to get a bit of attention. Here’s some behind-the-scenes photos.

I first started with a beautiful orange ball of Juniper Moon Findley that I had in my stash. I knew I was using this yarn, but in a different color. Before the yarn came, I swatched.


Once the yarn arrived in the color I picked, I got started. Isn’t this a beautiful color? One ball is enough to make the smallest two sizes of this tank.


The piece starts with a long edging that becomes the bottom of the tank. I don’t have a picture of this, but the knitting goes fast because it’s narrow. Here it is on the needles. Like most lace, in progress things look rather blob-like.


After you knit the border, you pick up stitches and knit the body in the round. At the top, you bind off back stitches to create a low back. Keep the bind-off loose or it won’t allow the lace to open during blocking. Look how wavy this loose bind-off is.

Here’s the piece pre-blocking on the mannequin.

IMG_3244And a blocking shot.


I really love blocking and often get carried away with the pins. But I think it really does make a better finished piece. This one was so good, they put it on the cover!

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 1.51.52 PM

© Joe Hancock

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 1.52.07 PM

@copy; Joe Hancock

Want to WIN a ball of this gorgeous yarn and my book? Of course you do! Make sure you check out the scavenger hunt for your chance to win!


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The Making of Kirkwood

Today I thought I would share with you a little behind the scenes peek at the Kirkwood Vest from Everyday Lace. This was one of my favorite projects to make because it’s easy, clever, and fun.


© Joe Hancock

First, I started with gorgeous yarn, Silky Merino (my favorite fiber combo) by Malabrigo. The color, Teal Feather, is the most deliciously saturated teal-blue-green.


The entire vest is worked in one piece from the left front to the right front using a fun reversible stitch pattern.


Armholes are “afterthought” and don’t disrupt the knitting. As you can see, it’s really just one big rectangle.

IMG_2983Sorry for the terrible photos – these must have been taken in the evening.

Armholes are opened up and bands are worked. This is just like adding an afterthought heel to a sock, but without the heel…


A little garter stitch and we have the finished piece (ignore those ends sticking out).

IMG_3245With garter stitch edges and a reversible stitch pattern, the entire piece is completely reversible. Which is pretty awesome when you grab this on your way out the door—you won’t have to worry about which side is out. Pin it with a shawl pin, or leave it to drape open, this versatile piece can be worn all year.

Don’t forget to visit the blogs on the tour! So far two have been posted, Crabapple Yarns and Talitha Kuomi. Hunt for and collect those answers for your chance to win prizes!


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Scavenger Hunt Tour Schedule


Check out these prizes and directions on how to enter!

For those of you going on the Scavenger Hunt, here is the schedule in progress. There could be more popping up, so check back often!

8/19: Crabapple Yarns
8/20: Talitha Kuomi

Between here and the next official stop, I’ll be posting some behind the scenes posts here on my blog.

8/27: Stephannie Tallent
8/28: Corrina Ferguson
8/29: Rohn Strong
9/1: Donna Druchunas
9/2: Tanis Gray
9/3: Nutmeg Knitter
9/4: Tabetha Hedrick
9/5: Hunter Hammersen
9/8: Jersey Knitter
9/9: Debbi Stone
9/10: Sweet Georgia Yarns
9/11: Rock+Purl

Remember, you want to collect all the questions with your answers to be eligible to win some yarny prizes at the end!

Check out these prizes and directions on how to enter!

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Everyday Lace Scavenger Hunt

Yes, that’s right, a Scavenger Hunt!


Instead of the typical blog tour, I decided to make my tour a little more fun. On this hunt you will be traveling to various blogs and collecting fun facts about the blog and Everyday Lace.

At each stop along the way the blogger will post two questions—one about themselves, and one about Everyday Lace. Your mission will be to find the answers. You can use their blog, my blog, Ravelry, Amazon, Google…whatever to get your answers. Write them down and collect them all into a single document.

At the end of the tour (launch day, 9/11) if you turn in the complete list of questions with your answers, you will be entered into a drawing for some yarny prizes! (Who doesn’t love prizes?!?)

The first stop on the tour is Crabapple Yarns. Amanda will post her review tomorrow August 19th. Don’t miss it!

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Everyday Lace

So, I’ve been working on this big project for the last two years…and now it’s finally coming to fruition! Presenting…my first published BOOK!

Over the next few weeks I will be blogging about specific projects, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the development process. For a quick preview, you can see all the patterns on Ravelry.

You can order it now from Interweave in either print or digital formats. You can also pre-order it from Amazon.

I will be attending various book signings and trunk show events in the near future. Check out my teaching schedule for details!

Be sure to follow my page on Facebook to keep up with the latest events and signings.

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Cowls – Knit now, Wear later!

One of my favorite yarn shops, The Knitter’s Edge, has a saying “Knit now, Wear later” — I LOVE this concept!

During the summer months, it’s hard to think about knitting winter accessories. But this is really the best time for small knits; cowls, mittens, hats, and socks are all things that won’t make your lap warm.

Get those winter woolens ready for the cold. Before you know it holiday knitting time will be here. If you start gift knitting now, your holiday could be that much less stressful.

Here are two cowl projects perfect for knitting now and wearing later.

Fiammata is knit with my new yarn, Yellowstone. It’s worked from side to side and closed with 6 buttons. This construction makes it easy to adjust it for width or height. Using just one skein of super-soft Yellowstone, this is would make a great gift for your closest friends, or for yourself!


Gemello is a double-knit cowl using Road to China Light. The pattern has links to youTube videos for both a tubular cast-on and bind-off to give your cowl a professional finish.


Both of these patterns are just $6 and available now in my Ravelry store. Keep cool this summer by thinking wintery thoughts while knitting now to wear later.

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Spring 2014 Manos del Uruguay Collection

Now available, five new patterns created especially for Manos del Uruguay that celebrate the beauty and versatility of the yarn. With a variety of stylish designs, everyone will find something they want on their needles! You can see the whole collection on the Fairmount Fibers’ website.

The first pattern is Flan.

Flan Shawl

© Fairmount Fibers

Flan is a lace shawlette made with Fino, a fingering weight merino and silk blend. This makes for a warm wrap with nice drape and the luxurious touch of silk for the lightest bit of sheen. This shawl can be dressed up or down. It will be at home over a t-shirt or sweater while walking in cool evening air, or accompanying an evening dress for a night out on the town. Special thanks to my sample knitter Barb, who did an excellent job!

Ricardito is a fun cables and lace cowl that shows off the super soft Maxima to great effect.

© Fairmount Fibers

© Fairmount Fibers

The cables and lace really pop thanks to this squishy round singles yarn. The 100% merino wool will keep out the chill of both fall and winter days. Wear it long as an infinity scarf or doubled up for a fantastically cozy cowl. The creative cable design will make knitting it a fun and rewarding challenge.

Bizcocho uses two yarns to create an elegantly simple pullover with a touch of color.

© Fairmount Fibers

© Fairmount Fibers

This sweater is created with Silk Blend, a brilliant DK weight merino/silk for the body and Lace, a luxurious alpaca, silk, and cashmere for the inlaid accents. To minimize finishing, Bizcocho is knit seamlessly from the bottom up and features a round yoke construction. Once off your needles, you’ll have a gorgeous sweater ready to wear with anything.

Dulce de Leche is knitted in my favorite yarn, Serena.

© Fairmount Fibers

© Fairmount Fibers

Serena is an interesting combination of alpaca and cotton. This cap-sleeve tunic will be light and soft. Lace side panels add a touch of charm peeking out from under spring coats as well as waving in a summer breeze. It is knit in the round from the bottom up and features set-in sleeves and a swingy a-line shape that will flatter all figures.

My final pattern is Tarta, a color-blocked cardigan with contrasting collar and buttonbands.

© Fairmount Fibers

© Fairmount Fibers

Created from the same Silk Blend yarn as Bizcocho, Tarta will become your favorite go-to sweater. Simple color-work transitions between blocks of colors keeping this classic silhouette looking sophisticated no matter when you wear it. There are so many beautiful shades of Silk Blend, you can make sweaters with all your favorite color combinations!

Do any of these patterns speak to you? I love seeing my designs knitted up–be sure to share any of your finished projects with my Ravelry group!

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State Fair & Verchères

The Winter 2014 issue of Interweave Knits is now available. On first inspection you might notice the sweater on the cover is a classic henley in a beautiful rusty orange and…oh my — that is my design! Yup, my first cover!! Can you tell I’m excited?


The cover sweater is the Verchères Pullover. It is knitted in Lorna’s Laces Sportmate. This is my first time using Sportmate, and I have to say, it will not be my last! I absolutely love this yarn. It is the perfect weight and the “Outlast” (temperature regulating magic stuff) is something so cool…you have to feel it for yourself.


© Interweave Press

This boyfriend-wear inspired henley is knit in pieces from the bottom up. It features set-in sleeves for the perfect fit. Its contoured collar and small placket is flattering on all body types.


© Interweave Press

This is a sweater that you will wear all winter and well into spring — a go-to piece that you will favor for years to come.

Not to be overshadowed, the State Fair Cardigan is also in this issue!

© Interweave Press

© Interweave Press

This cardigan features Imperial Yarns’ Erin, a lofty 3-ply perfect for cables. This yarn is so squishable!


© Interweave Press

Cables run up the fronts as well as down the back. Worked in pieces and seamed, this sweater also sports set-in sleeves.


© Interweave Press

I hope you like these designs. They were both incredibly fun to design and knit. Go pick up your copy of Interweave Knits Winter 2014!

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Yes — I’m hosting a mystery KAL!


I have always wanted to do a mystery KAL, but have not had the time to plan one. What’s more fun than Halloween??? SHAWL-oween!!

Join me for my first mystery shawl knit-a-long. We will be making a shawl (obviously) using two colors of sock yarn. Grab your needles, your yarn, and get ready!

Pre-order now ($6) — the fun starts Monday, October 21st!

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