Tag Archives: colorwork

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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Rolling in the Waves

Strauss_RollingWavesShawlA very dear friend of mine, Beth Strauss, is very passionate about crochet. It’s how she keeps connected to her cherished great aunt who was very involved in her family’s history. When Beth came to work at Knitche in Downers Grove, she only knew how to crochet, but was soon broken down and she learned to knit. She is now well versed in both crafts, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about.

This past summer, Chicago held its annual Yarn Crawl. Knitche was about to only feature a knit pattern for the event until our beloved Beth insisted on designing a crochet pattern. Featuring one of our new favorite yarns, Quince & Co. Osprey, Beth created the Rolling Waves shawl. Rolling Waves is decked to the nines with modern striping play and a trendy handkerchief fit.

Strauss_RollingWavesShawl_pics

When it came to sharing Rolling Waves with the World, Beth came to me for a clean and clear layout. Using a breakdown of the visual pattern and hand lettering, we made her pattern sing. I was so happy to help Beth release her first pattern and can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

Make sure to download the Rolling Waves pattern on Ravelry! ravelry

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Stay Classy, Dapper Tie

Another week, another pattern!  ravelry

AADavidson_DapperTie_Title

This is one of my favorite pieces from the vault. I designed this while living in Bushwick Brooklyn, NY.

I’ve always admired a man in a clean button-down and classy tie. I wanted to create a neck piece that was hip, fun, but still reserved and, well, dapper. Using a smaller yarn and gauge helped achieve that goal. To give an interesting texture, I used a series of stitches over a 3 row repeat.

Perfect for the professional in your life. Stay classy, World.

boys

Two of my lovely Brooklyn loftmates entertained my request to photograph them wearing my creations. They chose to channel JCrew for inspiration while we played on our rooftop.

Garden2This is a simple pattern. Even though I learned to crochet in high school, I hardly ever do it! I chose to crochet this design because it gives a slightly thicker fabric and for a tie, you want a sturdy finish so it stays put.

This pattern will be free until 5pm Friday, August 28th to attract a pool of testers.

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Staggered

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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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WIP into shape

These last two weeks have been incredibly busy with freelancing and knitting. I’ve had many ideas of what to share, but I’m going to curb some of that to let you all into some of the crazy!

WIP1

My first Work-in-Progress (WIP), is my Summer KnitAlong with Knitche in Downers Grove.

stitchI’m leading this KAL with the Castle Pullover. It’s a Quince & Co pattern that I’m knitting with Shibui’s Heichi. I was inspired by another image this Spring. It was a gradient tank top with the lightest color held all the way through the gradient. I chose to re-create this effect by holding Shibui Linen in the sidewalk color through the blue and green stripe. You can see this effect more clearly in the image to the left. Below you can see me try it on as I switch to a larger needle for A-line shaping.

stitch2
ravelry

WIP2

I’ve been wanting to knit this cardigan since it came out in Rowan’s magazine 3 years ago!

photo1I had Habu Bamboo in my stash and I always envisioned using it for this cardigan. My other inspiration to finally launch me into this project was the arrival of the Quince & Co yarns at Knitche. Quince’s Sparrow fed my need for summery plant fibers. These two yarns work together very interestingly. The bamboo blooms a bit wider than the Sparrow. However, the Sparrow competes with it’s stiffness and keeps the same height for row gauge and 99% of the stitch gauge while still creating a more open fabric. I’ve so enjoyed powering through this cardigan somewhat obsessively!
ravelry

 

 

While I have many other WIPs laying around, I thought instead I would share

A Glitch from Freelancing

I’m working with a local choir to refresh their branding and help them theme an event to come this Fall. My first attempt at a Save the Date for their Roaring 20’s event was quickly turned down. I went through putting the first stab together on a whim and didn’t think it completely through. Living in the great city of Chicago and being inspired by the Art Deco travel posters of the time, I decided to create a travel poster with Chicago’s iconic Sears Tower (if you’re smart and respectful, you dare not refer to it with it’s “new” name).

Forever_Sears_lowRes

The client came back pointing out that while a beautiful image … Sears Tower is a Modern building and doesn’t exactly speak to the theme of the 1920’s. This was one of the moments I smacked my palm to my forehead and thought … duh. Though this didn’t work for them, I took the opportunity to keep the imagery and turn it into something fun which I keep in a new folder I call “Failures Turned Fun”. Enjoy!

 

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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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