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Queen For A Day Cowl

Who doesn’t dream of being royal on occasion? The fancy chauffeured car, the adoring fans, a designer wardrobe, the power and prestige, never having to do laundry again, the vault stuffed to the gills with priceless gems? When we played “queen for a day” as children we didn’t understand the responsibilities that come with being royal and were far more concerned with the bling and trappings.

As an adult, I wouldn’t want a public life and have my family be under constant scrutiny on a global scale, but who doesn’t think they’d look a little better if they were wearing a tiara while washing the car or grocery shopping? I was given a tiara for my 18th birthday by a friend and I’d reach for it now and again when powering through a difficult paper, college essays, or a task I needed to slog my way through. I had that tiara for years and it’s amazing how a crown can improve your mood!

I’d like to introduce the Queen For A Day Cowl, a Fair Isle cowl knit in the round from the bottom up, inspired by all of us who need a little bling in our lives. Knitted bling? Whoever heard of such a thing? This is the perfect way to not only have your crown, but to embrace your inner queen and rule your day like the benevolent leader you are!

Worked in two colors of Queen City Yarns Wesley Heights hand dyed superwash worsted, the tonal solid plays off the speckled yarn nicely, creating depth and charm. Knitting up on US 5 and US 7 circular needles, the bands of royal crowns flank a bold, geometric pattern. It’d be simple to add or remove repeats in the midsection if you want a longer or shorter cowl, or add additional bands of crowns. Topped off with easy garter edging, this is my new favorite design – there’s something cheeky and whimsical about it that I love!

Long live the queen!

Download the Queen For A Day Cowl here.

 

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Blending In

You know I love bringing you fiber and crafty-related articles, dear readers. I came across this one recently and it gives “blending into your environment” a whole new meaning! My favorite is the man knitting and blending into his seat cushion at the end. Spectacular! Original article found here.


Custom Hand-Knit Sweaters Blend Subjects into Urban Environments

KATE SIERZPUTOWSKI

Over the last four years, photographer Joseph Ford has collaborated with friend and knitter Nina Dodd to create a project that blends models into their environments rather than having them stand out. Each subject wears a custom hand-knit sweater by Dodd that transforms their torso, partially camouflaging their body into a highly textured wall, striped running track, or for one pooch—the leaves of dense shrub.

The series, Knitted Camouflage, also features a collaboration with French street artist Monsieur Chat who painted one of his trademark cats on the wall of a derelict factory for the photographer. You can take a peek behind the scenes of Ford’s photographic projects on his Facebook and Instagram.

Winter Games 2018 Cowl

No matter where you find yourself on the globe, the Olympic Games are magical. People from everywhere and anywhere come together, celebrate hard work, sportsmanship, true dedication, and patriotism. We root for our countrymen, the underdogs, the singular brave representative from a country, and for a moment forget about the bad things happening in the world and focus on the Games and unification. Personally, I enjoy the summer and winter games equally, but with this bone-chilling cold snap we find ourselves in this winter, I’m looking forward to hunkering down under a blanket with my family, and cheering the winter athletes on as they skate, ski, ride, and slide their way to victory.

While I look forward to the Olympics every 2 years with excitement, I anticipate casting on for my Knitting Olympics project and think about it very carefully months in advance. Due to some controversy a few years back, we’re not technically supposed to call it the Knitting Olympics, so Ravelympics, Winter Games Knitting – whatever tickles your fancy – is upon us. What is the Knitting Olympics, you ask? This is a time to choose a project that you feel might be a smidge over your skill level, a project that you know will take some time (we’re not talking about a garter scarf), or a technique you’ve been itching to try. We cast on when the Olympic cauldron is lit at the official start of the Games on February 9th, and bind off by the time the cauldron is extinguished on February 25th, at the official ending of the Games. It should be challenging, perhaps even something you’re a bit nervous about casting on for, and the perfect companion as you watch the events. There are dozens of forums on Ravelry to join, with some that award virtual medals, some focusing on a certain technique, or some where all are working on the same project.

In honor of the Games taking place in Pyeongchang, South Korea this year, I’ve teamed up with Hazel Knits – an American company featured way back in my first book Knit Local: Celebrating America’s Homegrown Yarns, to bring you a free pattern perfect for your Winter Games knitting. A Fair Isle cowl worked in the round from the bottom up with corrugated ribbing edges, whimsical sheep motifs as a nod to early American shepherds, traditional stranded colorwork motifs, striping, and an apropos palette, this cowl was designed for both those comfortable with Fair Isle knitting and those ready to take the leap and try it out for the first time. Knitting up on US 6 circular needles, this cowl has a 24″ circumference and a 12″ height, making it my favorite size for a cowl that is not only beautiful, but will keep you warm in these chilly months. I love Hazel Knits yarn and their washable worsted weight Cadence has perfect stitch definition for this kind of knitting.

I’ve decided to release this design a bit early so you can order your Hazel Knits Cadence (100% superwash merino wool) in Poppy, Nekkid, and Jay Blue, and have time to take my Craftsy Fair Isle Fundamentals class beforehand if you need a comprehensive course in getting started with proper techniques. Hazel Knits has kits available for the cowl here at a special price until January 16th and you’ll have them before the Games start. Once you’ve got your confidence boosted in stranded colorwork knitting, you can wind your yarn, print your pattern, grab your snacks, watch the Opening Ceremonies, and cast on!

I look forward to cheering on Team USA with my fellow knitters and hope you enjoy knitting this patriotic cowl. I’d love to see your cowls on Instagram, so be sure to tag me at @tanisknits so I can see your progress. GO USA! GO WORLD!

Download the free Winter Games 2018 Cowl here.

Tapetis Cowl

Tapestries are a great source of inspiration for me. I look at them and marvel how so many have stood the test of time, many of them looking like they were taken off the loom yesterday. The vibrant colors, the intricate scenes they depict, the sheer scale, and the amount of time they must have taken to create make them a unique medium. Our friends at Wikipedia tell us, “Tapestry is a form of textile art, traditionally woven on a vertical loom. Tapestry is weft-faced weaving, in which all the warp threads are hidden in the completed work, unlike cloth-weaving where both the warp and the weft threads may be visible. In tapestry weaving, weft yarns are typically discontinuous; the artisan interlaces each coloured weft back and forth in its own small pattern area. It is a plain weft-faced weave having weft threads of different colours worked over portions of the warp to form the design.”

As a kid, my mom and dad brought me home a coloring book with details from the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries from one of their travels. I loved that coloring book and it took me years to color it all in because it was special to me. This was before coloring books were trendy, so I suppose I was ahead of my time! That coloring book ignited my love of tapestries and unicorns.

I met Aimee from Little Fox Yarn this past autumn at the Shenandoah Fiber Festival. We look forward to the festival each year (especially the apple cobbler) and have attended for years. Her colors shone and I was drawn to her booth immediately. With a true eye for color and training as an interior decorator, everything in her booth was lovely and could easily be mixed and matched. It was almost impossible to choose just a few colors, but I left her booth with yarn in my hands and a smile on my face. I had Fair Isle plans.

Inspired by old tapestries, I’d like to introduce the Tapetis Cowl, a Fair Isle cowl that uses just 3 hanks of Little Fox’s Vulpine DK, a delightful blend of merino, nylon, and cashmere. This luxury cowl is a great combination of corrugated ribbing sandwiching a fun-to-knit Fair Isle pattern working up on US 7 circular needles. The 3 colors are used in equal amounts, using almost the entire skein, but it’d be super simple to add or take away length depending on what you like. This yarn was amazing to knit with, I loved the colors, and couldn’t wait to get it around my neck! I love a cozy color work cowl!

Gossamer, Demelza, Vardo

Fired Pumpkin, Chasing Blue Skies, Loganberry

Gossamer, Hey Peacock!, Deep Water

Falling Leaves, Smudge, Mulberry

With so many gorgeous combinations to chose from, Little Fox Yarn has come up with 3 alternate combos in addition to the original as a kit for the Tapetis Cowl! I love the idea of giving this kit to a fellow knitter for the holidays, since so often we knit and knit for everyone else and forget about ourselves. This is another cowl that has gone into my daily rotation and I find myself snuggling into it throughout the day.

Download the Tapetis Cowl pattern here and check out the stunning kits from Little Fox here.

Plum Dandi Knits & Giveaway!

UPDATE 12/11/17: Congratulations to winner Bridget! Check your email!

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I was excited to get my hands on a copy of Plum Dandi Knits – Simple Designs for Luxury Yarns by Alicia Plummer and Melissa Schaschwary (Interweave Press, $24.99, 2017). A collaborative effort between two designer friends (AliciaPlum and Dandiliongrl = Plum Dandi), this book contains 23 projects ideal for luxury yarns. I love the idea of making a book with your best fiber friend!

If you’re like me, you tend to hoard the luxury fibers. Buying them is a treat, but sometimes I’m not sure what to do with them. Is that hat worthy of cashmere? Do I deserve that silk blend shawl? I am always happy to use fancy yarns for gift knitting, but I get stuck in the cycle of waiting for the exact right project to come along to knit for myself. Personal knitting is a rarity, so I very much liked the idea of this book.

High Cliff

Ramsey

Beautifully photographed outside, I love the contrast of the soft knits in nature. These are simple designs to live your life in and I appreciated the natural environment. With leg warmers, cowls, socks, shawls, hats, multiple sweaters, a blanket, and a headband, I enjoyed that there were a lot of smaller, non-fussy projects that could be worked up quickly with a variety of techniques represented. Check out all the patterns here.

Langlade

Sawyer

I’m a fan of both Alicia and Melissa, having worked with Melissa for a project in Modern Baby Knits. This is a lovely collection and I have my eye on Sawyer, Langlade, and Exeter for a few last-minute knitting gifts for the holidays. I can picture this book combined with a hank of luxury fiber making a wonderful gift for any knitter this holiday season!

Exeter

Fennimer

Let’s give a copy of this book away, shall we? Answer the below trivia question in the comments correctly for a chance to win! Open to US residents only.

What are the 8 countries that produce the most cashmere?

A winner will be chosen at random on Monday, December 11th.

 

 

Part of Your World Cowl

The first time I saw Disney’s The Little Mermaid, I sat in the theater in complete awe. The second the opening credits started rolling I was hooked. The bright colors, the music, the story, the fluidity of the animation. When it came out on VHS, my childhood friend Ashley and I would walk back and forth to each other’s houses to watch it. Her house had a huge TV and a seemingly endless bowl of M&Ms and she and I along with her older sister would belt out the tunes along with the tape. It remains to this day my favorite Disney film and one of my random party tricks is being able to quote the entire movie.

This film inspired me to set my path, or at least set it as much as an 8 year-old could at that part of my life. I knew I wanted to go to school for animation, I knew I wanted to attend RISD, and I knew I wanted to animate for Disney Studios. While part of that dream came true (and I still harbor dreams about working for Pixar), my path twisted and turned until I ended up exactly where I’m supposed to be. My love of animation still burns brightly, and it’s a joy to watch animated features with my son.

I’ve been wanting to design something inspired by The Little Mermaid for quite some time. I wanted it to be elegant, colorful, and something both my 8 year-old self and my 30-something self would get grabby hands over and want to wear. I knew it needed to be squishy, soft, and put a smile on my face every time I went to wrap it around my neck, a wearable ode to one of my favorite films of all time.

Introducing the Part of Your World Cowl, a Fair Isle extravaganza (it’s me, of COURSE it would be Fair Isle!) named after the famous song where Ariel sings about wanting to become human, using only 2 balls of yarn. The gentle gradient of Freia Handpaints new Ombré Fingering Shawl Ball in 100% cruelty-free merino in Aurora, a mix of greens and blues, combined with Whisper, a very subtle neutral palette, brings to mind the sea and the beach. With shells, mermaids, fish, ocean waves, starfish, and sand dollars, if this doesn’t get you in the mood to either hit the beach or watch The Little Mermaid, I don’t know what will!

Knitting up on US 3s for the garter edging and US 4s for the Fair Isle work, this cowl knits up large enough to engulf your neck or wear like a fitted poncho. I’ve been wearing it in the mornings for a few weeks and it keeps me warm and snugly while talking with the other parents about our Disney memories from way back when. I find myself digging through the pile of knits in the front closet for it every day! It’s my new favorite for certain.

Another exciting announcement about this cowl is that I’ve teamed up with Freia Handpaints and Webs to make kits available to all!!! I’m very excited about this partnership as I’ve been a customer and fan of both Webs and Freia for years! The Part of Your World Cowl is available through their online store here, as well as kits for the popular Ziggy Stardust here, and Nakia here. Please remember that while you shop and knit like a crazy person for all the loved ones in your life for the holiday season, it doesn’t hurt to get yourself a treat, too!

Download the Part of Your World Cowl here, or find the kit here.

Thankful & Baby Rainbow Hat

I have a lot to be thankful for… The two sweet babies I get to guide through the world, a loving husband, wonderful parents, fantastic friends, clothes on my back, food in my belly, air in my lungs, roof over my head, a fiber stash any yarn snob would love, getting to do a job that I adore and am continually inspired by, and of course you, dear readers.

As a small token of my gratitude, I’d like to present you with the Baby Rainbow Hat. A free pattern for kids, this easy Fair Isle hat is perfect for stash busting, a gradient kit, or to use as an excuse to buy yourself some nice fiber to knit with. With a brim of twisted ribbing, this hat is knit in the round from the bottom up and takes the knitter through the full spectrum! Due to the stretchy nature of the brim and small children having rather large heads, this hat will fit almost any child.

Using leftover bits from my Magically Delicious Hat design, The Lemonade Shop’s Sparkle DK is the absolute perfect yarn for this kind of hat. What kid doesn’t love a sparkly rainbow (or what adult, if we’re being honest)? This soft and glittery superwash is one of my favorite DK weight yarns to knit with, and the fact that it’s dyed by my BFF Heather makes this hat even more special. I have enough yarn leftover to make an adult version of this hat, so perhaps in the new year when things calm down a bit I’ll get on that.

Knitting up on US 4 circular needles, the stranded color work repeat is small, making this hat super-duper easy to make slightly larger or slightly smaller by adding or taking away repeats. Because it’s designed to have a bit of a slouch, you can get away without having to tweak the decreases unless you wish to do so. With just a handful of yards needed in each of the colors, you finally have a use for all those bits and bobs of leftover DK you’ve been squirreling away.

Thank you to all who read my blog, purchase and knit my patterns, read my books, watch me on Knitting Daily repeats, take my classes both in person or on Craftsy, attend retreats where I teach, ask for a photo together, email me pictures of their FOs, or just drop me a friendly note saying hello. You make this job awesome and I’m honored to knit alongside you all.

Download the free Baby Rainbow Hat here.

Happy Thanksgiving!

xoxo