Monday, November 23, 2015

Indie Gift-A-Long project: Paper Snowflake!

(photo credit and copyright, Amy van de Laar)

It seems very fitting to be writing about knitting a snowflake hat on a night when people in mostly snow-less Seattle are having a bit of freak-out about the possibility of snow overnight. It is very likely that the only snow that will happen is right here in my living room in the form of this impossibly cute and clever hat. First things first - the pattern is Paper Snowflake, by Amy van de Laar of Baroque Purls, and you can get your own copy here. Even better, this pattern is part of Baroque Purls's bundle for the Indie Gift-A-Long 2015, so you can get a 25% discount on it using the coupon code giftalong2015 on Ravelry until 11:59 US EST 11/27. (this coming Friday).

I first fell in love with this pattern about this time last year, when it came out.  It's part of an e-book available on Ravelry called Paper Hats, all based on fun things many of us grew up doing by folding and cutting paper - crowns, PLANES!, hearts, boats, and my favorite, snowflakes. Here at RocketBoy Knits Mission Control, there is a serious ongoing multigenerational obsession with origami, paper planes, and paper snowflakes, so clearly this was a match made in heaven. What a fantastic idea for a series of patterns. Truly, I wish I'd thought of it myself, but am even happier that Amy got there first. The pattern is extremely well written and clear, and completely addictive! Since I started this pattern yesterday I have hardly been able to put it down. I can't remember the last time I said, "Oh...just one more row, and then I will..." so often with one project.

But all of that is just swooning. Why do I like this pattern so much? Apart from the ingenuity and beauty of the design, the pattern is written to cover 5 different sizes from baby to Adult Large. There are 3 size-specific graphs to cover all sizes for both the main part of the hat and the decrease sections AND fully written out directions for those who do not care for graphs. Also, the pattern layout allows the knitter to only print the pages relevant to the size they wish to knit. Best of all, the instructions for how to do the tiny cables that outline the snowflake without ever touching a cable needle are fantastic. I've mostly done this with slightly different technique, but am now a convert to the way Amy recommends doing the cables. As with any new technique, if you've never tried it before a bit of practice on some scrap yarn never hurts. But if you have done this before, I urge you to try it according to the instructions in the pattern.

I'll have a photo of my project tomorrow, and a quick interview with Amy very soon. In the meantime, happy knitting and hope you're having fun with the Gift-A-Long!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ending 2015 with a bang... (not with a whimper)

Well ok, during those last couple of weeks before Knit Fit a person with very sharp hearing might have occasionally heard a little bit of whimpering coming from my direction...but only a little.

First of all, I have to say a HUGE thank you to all the wonderful knitters who stopped into my booth at Knit Fit! The conversations were wonderful, and the amount of positive feedback I got was truly priceless. I think we all like to be told we are headed in the right direction every once in a while, whatever the endeavour may be. During the many years I worked in LYS's, I deeply valued the chance to hear what a wide range of knitters loved and hated. Last weekend reminded me how much I have missed that. Now that I'm figuring out how to take my show on the road, I'm hoping to arrange some trunk shows at LYS's in the Northwest. Stay tuned for details...

Now that Knit Fit is over, I'm focusing on the Indie Gift-A-Long on Ravelry. If you haven't heard of it, you should really go check it out! Until 11:59 US EST on 11/27 there are more than 300 independent designers offering a selection of their patterns for sale at a 25% discount using the coupon code giftalong2015. But the fun isn't over when the coupon code expires - there are KAL's and CAL's grouped around pattern categories to help you stay on top of your holiday gift knitting and prizes of all sorts to be won. The easiest way to get all the information is to go to the Indie Gift-A-Long group here. There are pages for the list of participating designers, the AMAZING pinterest boards that the team has set up by pattern category, and much more. Personally, I'll be knitting and reviewing Paper Snowflakes by Amy van de Laar/Baroque Purls, and Hogmanay by Jen Lucas. Short interviews with each of them are coming too. Getting to know such talented designers better is definitely one of my favorite aspects of the Indie GAL. So go forth, treat yourself to some new patterns while getting your gifts made, and have fun. If you have to travel for the holiday this week, I wish you no transportation complications and lots of knitting time along the way!