Category Archives: Knit

#BlackerGiveAway

The Give Away of DeConstruction

BlackerGiveAway

That’s right, my first GiveAway – sponsored by:

blacker-yarns-logo

Do you want to knit DeConstructed Cowl? Do you want to use the very same colors I had for the original? Well then, ENTER TO WIN!

What you will win:
4 skeins of Blacker Elegance DK: Spice, Nutmeg, Silver, and Pewter
4 skeins of Blacker Swan over-dyed Falklands Merino DK: Summer Sea, Whitegrass, Hawkweed, and Diddle Dee
Free Ravelry Download Code for DeConstructed Cowl.

The Throw Down:
On Thursday, January 15th, 2015 I will be drawing a name out of a hat.
You can enter multiple times and here’s how:

1) I’ve started a Discussion Thread in my Knack of the Knit Ravelry Group. Join the group and comment on the thread.

Please note: You must join group to enter.

2) Magic Link DeConstructed Cowl to another Ravelry thread and mention “#BlackerGiveAway”.

Please note: You must “Magic Link” the pattern to enter.

3) RePost the Instagram Photo announcing this very GiveAway from amandaadavidson on instagram. Tag the photo with #BlackerGiveAway and @amandaadavidson.

Please note: You must have both of these tags to enter.

4) Share my Facebook post which announces the #BlackerGiveAway: KnitKnackAAD Facebook

Please note: You must share the post directly from the KnitKnackAAD page to enter. If you link from this blog post, you MUST tag KnitKnackAAD Facebook page for me to see it! I can’t track who shares this post from WordPress. 

All entries MUST be submit by 12am CST Wednesday, January 14th.

I envision many a message over the next week, so take caution when trying to contact me about technicalities!

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DeConstructing Blacker

The end of Fall has been incredibly fast-paced as I’m sure you all would agree! Before we start, I advise you all to read through to the end of this post to catch some exciting news items. And now, I wish I’d had the time to share this story sooner, but alas:

The Tale of DeConstruction

Intro

First and foremost, I want to thank my wonderful friends of Ravelry for making my newest pattern such a success. For my second knit pattern, I felt like a novelist does about a second book … PRESSURE! As a young woman still trying to find her way, I was so thrilled with the spread of Staggered Cowl; I couldn’t ever imagine matching that. Even worse, I feared I would be … a one-hit-wonder.

It was the concept of Staggered Cowl that brought Blacker Yarns into my world. It was fate that Sonja of Blacker Yarns, based in the UK, actually grew up in the town which I currently reside. Sonja contacted me about possibly collaborating and we instantly clicked.

blacker-yarns-logoBlacker Yarns is a brand of The Natural Fibre Company, a wool mill specializing in adding value to fleece supplied by local farmers and turning it into high-quality knitting yarn. They believe in a sustainable system that supports the unique breeds, UK farmers, and the bright future of all yarn crafts.

The first thing that really struck me is when Sonja told me – they know all the sheep from which their wool comes. I ask you – how is that not awesome?! Blacker Yarns sent me a gorgeous glimpse of samples and I was in love. I’ve always been enamored of heathered neutrals, strong pops of color, and real wool from my familial roots of the British Isles. Blacker Yarns instantly proved to be a company able to provide all of these qualities and they could not be more pleasant to work with.

BlackerSkeins_both

Feeling the pressure of from my first pattern and wanting to release something special before Christmas, I was waiting for inspiration to strike. One day, while accessorizing for a family event, I was trying desperately to mix a favored printed scarf and a cowl I had knit. I just couldn’t make it work, so I went with my hand knit item (of course). While socializing, I started noticing the multitude of printed scarves and realized just how unique they can be. My personal stash has been accumulated from lands afar and years a plenty. My struggles from earlier that day were still with me while this light bulb flashed and suddenly, I had my new pattern.

AAD_BlackerYarnsProject_ConceptSonja saw this come through the channels with the hastened sketch to the left. This was also when I learned that it is very difficult to draw a braid. Even worse … a braid IN a braid – totally blew my mind. I went fractal. I had to let it go, LET IT GO – this is where my niece tells me “No, no-no-no-no-no, no. No singing.” Who can say that anymore without singing?! Anyway – after I sent this drawing, I believe Sonja was frightful of the relationship she had just instigated … luckily she didn’t hear the singing.

My first step, and those who know me will attest, I needed to pick colors. True to form, I wanted a solid base of neutrals accompanied by pops of color. The original structure was for a grey set and a brown set, because we all learned from our mothers – one must never mix black with brown. Blacker Elegance was the perfect line for the neutral foundation. The color pops would filter in as your daily outfit dictated, but what to choose for sampling? For my signature, bright selection, Blacker Swan Over-Dyed Falkland Merino shined brightly as this line has a wide range of saturated hues from which it was difficult to make a selection! Also, this yarn is scrumptiously soft.

rainbow

It was a blast knitting, frogging, mathemitizing, button-holing, finalizing, playing, photographing, AND THEN writing this pattern. Those who worked with the Staggered Cowl chart have witnessed a true merge of my graphic skills, pattern oriented thought process, and color love. I am happy to report that you will not be let down with this new set of stitch patterns. I worked hard with the DeConstructed Cowl pattern to achieve a strong written and chart pattern. The charts were especially fun to play with and YES, you will discover some new symbols.

A_teal

I cannot thank Blacker Yarns enough for sharing their incredible yarns with me. Blacker Elegance truly hit the spot for the perfect natural, heathered neutrals I find myself always craving. The blend of alpaca and wool is truly gorgeous and I can promise I will be knitting a cardigan with Nutmeg in the [very] near future!

B_Hangers

Also, I re-discovered my love for blue in Blacker Swan Falkland Merino‘s Summer Sea. I thought the Whitegrass was singing true to my more recent cravings, but the Summer Sea is simply electric.

C_Floral

I hope you all enjoy DeConstructed Cowl as the fun and functional shape-shifter of the knitting world and as a fun journey into an array of stitch patterns. I also hope you take the time to introduce yourself to this great yarn company. I guarantee you will not be disappointed!

Please also be aware, DeConstructed cowl is officially Cat Approved (you cannot stage this).

CatApproved

A huge & heartfelt THANK YOU to Sonja and Blacker Yarns for this great opportunity, I can’t wait to work with you more in the future. Hint, hint something light & fresh for Spring.

“What more could she have to say?” one might ask. Lucky you – those who made it to the very end of this, my longest post to date. There are:

Some EXCITING Things To Come

My friend and gifted crocheter, Beth Strauss, and I will be collaborating on DeConstructed :: CROCHET. Watch for this pattern [hopefully] by January’s end.

Even sooner! Blacker Yarns and I will be hosting a Blacker GiveAway :: The GiveAway of DeConstruction on Instagram in early January. If you loved the very colors I used and MUST have them, start following amandaadavidson (mind the second “a” in the middle!).

And lastly – where will she find the time?! – a very near & dear friend and I will be launching a very social, very delicious, very wooly Podcast in [what?] JANUARY. Watch out for SSK (Sip, Sip, Knit) where we talk yarn, life, patterns, OKCupid-Catastrophes, and best BLOODY MARYs of Chicago.

SSK

No, really, someone please tell me where to find the time. I’m so excited for January that I might not sleep in December.

Final note: to those of you who have downloaded DeConstructed Cowl, there will be an update catching a few typos and a minor correction to the Chevron chart by the end of the week. If anyone else has caught anything, please let me know!

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Share the Knit [and crochet … and more]

I’ve been working hard and long to bring some fun designs to my favorite group of people – my fellow DIY-ers.

ALL

All of these designs are near and dear to my heart. I’ve got something for knitters, a little something for crocheters, and two of my three GiftTags work for any kind of handmade item! With a checklist of washing instructions on the back, you just can’t go wrong! Make sure to grab them on Etsy in time for the holidays.

TAGS

These designs are modern typographic plays combined with hand illustration. Everything is printed with my good friends at HD Design & Print right here in Chicago. They run old school on a gorgeous offset press, but with a twist of inventive design.

This is just the start. Think big with me – these designs are screaming project bags, notebooks, and surely a coffee mug!

EtsyListing_Lace_Full_ALT

This was a happy accident. I was knitting with one of my favorite groups and I thought my friend put on a parody – I honestly heard “I’m all about that Lace.” I then got looks of confusion followed by looks of amazement.

EtsyListing_SSK_Full

This is definitely a favorite because it combines two of my favorite activities. SSK [Sip, Sip, knit] – increase the fun. This card is perfect to send to a friend who hosted your last boozy knit night. I’m seeing this foil stamped gold for the cover of a grid-lined notebook.

SingleCard_ChainGang_EtsyListing_ALT

Of course, I had to have a little something for my crocheting friends. There are three fun designs for you, including the very cool “It’s not knit, IT’S CROCHET” GiftTags.

Come out and support the shop so we can start making more fun things to promote our pride and love of crafting! Contact me on Etsy for any special quantities, sets, or designs!

 

 

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Staggered

top

So excited to release my first pattern on Ravelry. ravelry

MOMwrappedI originally knit this pattern as a birthday present for Mom. It became a problem when I always wanted to steal it from her.

 

While working a shift at Knitche one day, I witnessed the arrival of Blue Sky Alpaca Extra. My first reaction was to wrap the hank of yarn around my neck and cuddle up. I decided this was the perfect yarn to re-knit my cabled cowl.

 

I’ve been pouring over the chart for this design for quite some time, trying to bring in my graphic knowledge to help make it more user friendly. I’m excited to get feedback on this to make the pattern even better.

modeled

To get help, I’m releasing this temporarily as a free pattern. Please help out!

Update: A hearty THANK YOU to the 1400 Ravelers who downloaded my pattern in the last 24 hours! I’ve been so excited to see such warm response to my first published design. Now that I have a great pool of testers, I will be charging a small fee for downloads. I look forward to your feedback and can’t wait to see the projects start popping up!

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Va Va Voom

Vs_narrowThis last year, I’ve been fortunate enough to be on an intensive knitting binge … and I still just cannot stop. Lately I have been knitting garment after garment. My most recent accomplishment is my Violette Seater.

As soon as I saw the pattern for Sombra in the Summer 2014 issue of PomPom Quarterly, I knew I must knit it. I set out to find a great lace weight yarn to use – it was a whole new world as I hadn’t really knit with such a light weight yarn before.

I decided on The Fibre Company Meadow because I highly admired the color and fiber blends. I love yarns with depth to them!

This was a very fun pattern to knit and goes very quickly. The color is achieved simply by adding in strands of yarn. The lightest section (the background) is just one strand while the darkest section is three strands thick using all colors.

Side_by_Side

This has turned out to be one of my favorite knit items – I love the fit AND I love the color layout. As soon as the temperatures cooperate, I’ll be wearing this quite often!

BOTHFont_ModeledFor more of my notes, check out my Ravelry Project page for Violette. ravelry

 

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Pondering Process: The Herringbone

It’s been a rough week for me here in Chiberia (Chicago’s Polar Vortex). I came down with the flu Monday – out of no where – and it’s thrown off the week. Hence, I’m going keep it simple and talk about process. One of the joys of doing it yourself is altering, adding to, or subtracting from existing patterns. DIY patterns should also be seen as ideas to build upon. Today, I share a process told through the story of Purl Soho’s Big Herringbone Cowl.

HowIGotThere

This gorgeous pattern debuted during the time I worked at Purl Soho and it was immediately an international craze. For the yarn world, that’s big. Being a graphic designer, I challenge myself to add my own special flair. Or, as they tell me at Knitche – a way to make my life more difficult …

Here we go!

1I made the infinity cowl once as a gift. My first amendment to the pattern was simple – and a common adjustment – I used a different yarn. Having worked in now three yarn stores, I can safely say that this is the most common help I give – substituting yarns! It’s really very fun. For this cowl, I used Swans Island Worsted instead of the recommended Blue Alpaca’s Worsted Sky Hand Dyes. Because the gauge of the new yarn was different, all I had to do was drop a needle size. Note: I don’t usually start this process by making an entire test piece – this was just for a quick gift.

IMG_5121

What was really stunning in this cowl was the natural, subtle color striping from the hand dyed quality of the yarn. Because I hastily gave the first cowl away, I made my own (above) in Swans Island Worsted Beetroot.

2Then I took it a step further. I wanted a small, quick cowl in this stitch that could carry into the Spring. I was able to alter the pattern simply by using the gauge of the first cowl I knit. I multiplied the number of stitches per inch by the new circumference. For a slip-on cowl, I typically use anywhere between 22-28 inches. This number becomes your cast on. Note: depending on your pattern, you might need to keep a certain number of stitches divisible by your base pattern.

3When Choosing a color palette, I personally strive for a neutral main color with a pop of a favorite color from the same brand as the main color. In this case, I had two stunning colors from this brand and weight IN my stash! I generally like to incorporate the color pop in a very small way. For this cowl, I added two very thin stripes.

and

Small_Herr  Stripes

4

Hold on to your hats, because this next part gets nuts. Another of my favorite yarns is Alchemy Yarns of Transformation‘s Kozmos. Shockingly (you’ve seen my Yarnerator), I had matching colorways IN my stash as well. If you look closely at the detail image to the right above, I knit three rows in the teal color, the first row holding the matching Alchemy yarn with the Swans Island. It’s hard to see in the green, but I knit two rows – mimicking the teal by knitting the first row with the matching Alchemy. Holding the Alchemy adds a special detail texture both in color and fiber.

modeled
5The last and final step, of course, is coercing a friend to take adorable pictures in the cowl. Usually helps to buy your model coffee.

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Alpha Ball

Being a Graphic Designer who adores typography, I was drawn to the book Knitted Letters by Catherine Hirst and Erssie Major.

As it was time to do another project for my nieces, The Alphabet Blocks seemed like the perfect choice. Since I had used Spud & Chloe Fine (one of my favorite kid-proof yarns) for their Elephants last year, I decided to keep it in the family. This project is also nice because I could build a set for them over time – one block at a time!

I personally favor typefaces that feature a “thick-thin” quality, so I opted for the Stencil charts in the back of the book. This was my first colorwork project, so bear with me!

1_A  2_D

As I blocked each square (they came out to about 4.5″) and started to assemble the block, I noticed that the regular stuffing wasn’t achieving the block shape. I took pause and consulted my local yarn community at Knitche. While the traditional block look was what I had wanted, the ball quality was fun and oh so cuddly! I chose to stick with the regular fill, but could have switched to a foam that would give it the rigid, cube shape. My Alpha Balls ended up being about 5.5″ in diameter.

6_One  5_Two

For these blocks, I did the girls’ initials, the number of the month each was born, and a picture. Because the book doesn’t include numbers, I referenced a similar typeface and charted the numbers myself. For the pictures, I designed an elephant for one block and an Aspen leaf for my niece’s namesake.

7_Elephant  8_AspenLeaf

For more pictures, see my Ravelry Post.

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Back in the Game

2013 was a big year. It was my first year freelancing full-time and I have to say, with the support of family & friends, I survived! It was intensive and I fell [cough, WAY] behind in blogging. However, I did not fall behind in crafting.

The other big news is that I moved back to my hometown of Chicago this past Fall. I’ll be sharing some fun touches I’ve put into my new space later this season, but what would be more appropriate for my first post back than sharing the finished project I teased in my last post?

Summer_Linen

Summer knitting with Habu Textiles, Linen and Metallic Thread.

Hope everyone’s warm and healthy. Happy 2014!

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