Friday, 20 October 2017

Ravelry Designer's Challenge, August/September Voting

Shwmae a chroseo! 

It's a short post today, but hello all the same, and welcome to my third successful attempt at completing the Ravelry Designer's Challenge!

A top-down view of a stranded colourwork hat.  The background colour is a blue gradient, and the forground mandala pattern is a navy blue.
I suspect (and hope!) many readers remember my Winter Mandala Tam.  Well, even though it didn't turn out quite the way I had wanted, it is still in the running for the Designer's Challenge Voting!

As always with the designer's challenge, the entries are all absolutely gorgeous.   So, I'd very much encourage people to go check out the entries in the Ravelry Thread, and cast their vote. There's some gorgeous stuff there!  Voting runs until November 2nd, so you've got just under two weeks.  You will need to be a Ravelry member to cast your vote, but, sign up is free (all you need is an e-mail).

Thanks for taking a look, and stay tuned for the results!

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

WIP Wednesday: Spiralling Star Mittens for Barter!

**This post contains affiliate links.  Any link marked with an * will give me a reward or commission if you purchase something using that link.**

Prynhawn da! (Good afternoon!) And welcome to this week's WIP Wednesday!

And yes, it's now afternoon by the time I got around to writing this, but, it's still Wednesday, so that counts, right?

A textured mitten in progress on circular needles.  The yarn is fingering weight, and grey with specks of other colours. The yarn and mitten are in a purple ceramic yarn bowl, along with a small wooden ruler.This weeks WIP is something I started just yesterday -- a pair of Spiralling Star Mittens.  They're actually to barter with one of my friends who does video work.  The deal is, I make him mittens, he helps with the filming and setup for my upcoming Youtube channel.  (I'm finding I really do need a camera-person to make sure my hands stay in frame while I'm filming tutorials!)

So I've got the mittens in my new yarn bowl that I got from Patina Studios at the Woodstock Fleece Festival (there is a post forthcoming about my adventures there), 

Yarn is an *80/20 BFL/Nylon blend in the colourway "Work Jeans" from Crooked Kitchen Yarn's *Etsy Store.   This yarn is lovely!  I have a particular weakness for BFL/Nylon blends, since they wear so well, and this yarn, so far, is keeping with that promise!  My friend is the one who picked the colourway (since they're for him, he does, of course, get veto power).  
Two cats on either side of a a yarn bow with knitting in it.
The cat on the left is Jessie, the cat on the right is Tika.

And it also seems that this particular yarn (or maybe it's the yarn bowl) is cat-approved, as well!  While I was trying to take a photo, this happened first!  Our two cats were quite content there!  They did of course, refuse to look at the camera despite my attempts (because they're cats and enjoy being contrary, I think!)  But, no mittens (or yarn) was harmed; they're usually pretty good yarn cats.  They've only ever really made a tangle of my skeins once. Though they do sometimes hunt skeins of yarn, if the yarn isn't put away.  But they don't untangle it, just hunt it. 

Well, that's it for today in this corner of the internet! Stay tuned for more WIP's (and hopefully even a few FO's soon!)

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

WIP Wednesday: More on the Geometric Mittens

Hello again, and welcome to another installment of WIP Wednesday!

It's a short update this time around.  Things were quiet over the weekend, since I went up to my aunt's cottage for Thanksgiving.  But, I did get some knitting time then, plus more time since I got back -- I also took them to Knit Night -- so here's an update on the Geometric Mittens!

A mitten on the needles.  The cuff is stranded colourwork and ribbing, while the back of the hand shows an intarsia geometric diamond.
As you can see, they're coming along pretty well for a prototype, though they will definitely need to be blocked when I'm done.  For some reason the second diamond has something weird going on with the tension at one edge -- I'll have to play around with it and see what's going on there.


I'm actually relatively happy with how these are turning out.  I'm pretty close to where I'll have to start decreasing for the top of the mitten (I'm wondering if I can fit a third diamond repeat between the decreases for a larger size, so I'll have to experiment a little and do some math).  Once I finish this mitten, I'm planning to take these needles and do the ribbing to finish off the third Spiralling Star Fingerless Mitten I've been working on. Well, yes, I could just buy new needles, but I'm trying to actually finish things, not just leave WIP's live on the needles!

That's it for this week's post (it is a shorter post folks, since I wasn't knitting as much)!  Thanks for tuning in and I'll be back next week with more WIPs!

P.S.  I will be going to Woodstock Fleece Festival, since the Toronto Knitter's Guild has chartered a bus!  If you're interested in catching a ride with the guild, there are still seats available.  And, if you're planning to drive there, then hopefully I'll see some familiar faces at the festival this weekend!

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

WIP Wednesday: Geometric Mittens and Intarsia in the Round

**This post contains affiliate links.  Any link marked with an * will give me a reward or commission if you purchase something using that link.**

Welcome back to another installment of WIP Wednesday!

This time around, it's a long-neglected project, partially because it took me forever to actually figure out how to do what I wanted to do!

Theses are the tentatively-titled Geometric Mittens, and so far, I'm pretty happy with how they're coming along!
The cuff of a mitten done in green and white colourwork.  The knitting is on top of both yarn balls resting in a yarn bowl.  The front of the work is facing, and you can see a set of live stitches in the contast colour where the intarsia has begun.

I actually started these almost a year ago, as part of the Ravelry Designer's Challenge, but I put them on hold.  Between other commitments at the time, and figuring out the best way to do (and write down) the technique idea I had in my head, they didn't get very far at the time.

While the ribbing is stranded colourwork, the main motif will be done as a type of intarsia in the round (and yes, these mittens will have a full tutorial!).  It's taken a lot of experimentation to find a technique that did what I wanted it to do, but, so far, so good!  I've just started the intarsia section, so here's hoping it does work out the way I think it should!

The yarn for these comes from two different sources.  The green (MC) is Briggs and Little Durasport.  It's rougher on the skin then most merino sock yarns, but it wears like iron.   The CC is handspun from Fibersden Studio, which I got last year at the Haliburton Studio Tour!  According to my notes, it's a merino/nylon blend.

Needles are *2.5mm HiyaHiya circulars, which are working out well for this pattern.  For mittens it's always a trick to figure out how to best handle the thumb gusset, I find. While my personal preference so far has to put all the thumb gusset stitches on one double-pointed needle, it's always a bit fiddly for the first few rounds, plus, you then have to rearrange the stitches when you've finished the thumb.  With the circulars and magic loop, plus some *locking stitch markers to mark the thumb, it seems to actually be easier to do them this way!

I'm hoping to finish at least one of these up so I can free up my needles for another project (I'm trying to not take the easy route and just buy even more knitting needles!), so these are still going to take a while to finish up.  Plus, I know I'll want to do a complete photo tutorial (and hopefully video tutorial) as well.  With all that said, I'm not sure when this pattern will actually be ready for testing.  But, it's an ongoing project, and one I'm enjoying, so wish me luck!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

October Featured Pattern and Mini-KAL: Mitered Drawstring Project Bag

The September 2017 Featured Pattern is here: The Mitered Drawstring Project Bag is 50% off at $2.50 CAD for the month of September!  
A drawstring bag made primarily of joined mitered squares. The top has eyelets with a twisted cord threaded through them, and a skein of yarn is partially out of the open bag.]
Photography: Stephanie Wallace
 "Buy Now"
You can buy the pattern through Ravelry or Etsy, the discount is available on both platforms.  The discount should be applied automatically on Ravelry, and be visible on Etsy.   As always, let me know if something doesn't work!

Now as usual, onto the Mini-KAL!

For the month of October, any finished Mitered Drawstring Project Bag has a chance to win a pattern from any of my self-published patterns!  To enter on the blog, simply post a link to your completed Mitered Drawstring Project Bags in the comments of this post by October 31, 2017.  Please note that the bag(s) don't have to have been started in October, just finished in October!

You can also win by posting to the giveaway on Facebook, and in my Ravelry Group, giving 3 chances to win in total!*

I always look forward to seeing your Finished Objects! Please post them to various social media with #SarahDawnsDesigns, and/or to my Ravelry Group if you're on Ravelry.  That way, I can see the awesome that you folks make!

*One entry per person for each project per platform (three entries total for each completed project). Winners will be drawn at random using random number generation. Winners must have a valid e-mail address to receive the patterns. Participants may enter the same project on more then one platform, but may only enter each project once per platform.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

WIP Wednesday: Progress on the Sterling Cables Birthday Sweater

Once again, welcome back to WIP Wednesday!

 So, this Wednesday post is more on the Sterling Cables Sweater.  Pattern is from Bernat, (so it's not one of my own designs), and it's their Sterling Cables Sweater.

A peice of knitting laying flat, still live on a circular needle.  The are decreases visible to shape the underarms. There's a large central cable motif and two smaller cables on either side.  The knitting is done in a tonal yarn that varies between emerald green and almost black.
I've been knitting away on this (it's now officially another belated birthday gift, but my giftee is ok with that), and have gotten to the underarms, and past the underarm shaping on the back.

It's a good thing I chose to do this in pieces, even though I hate seaming.  Toronto's been having a heat wave over the last few days, and I don't think I could have stood to have an entire sweater on my lap -- this is bad enough!  I am, however, going to knit the sleeves in the round, since it's always has seemed odd to me to seam sleeves (and I realize that I just wrote a bit of a tongue-twister there!)

Anyway, it's only a few more inches to the shoulder, now, and I'm going to use TechKnitter's show-row stepped shoulder trick rather simply casting off stitches at the edge of each shoulder, as the pattern says.  It will make a neater seam, and I'll leave the stitches live so I can 3-needle bind off them to the front.  Hopefully, I can even get to the shoulder shaping tonight, if I'm productive.

If you want to see where I was on the sweater last week (and my admittedly less-then-flattering thoughts on the pattern), check out my previous post.  As for the sweater itself, well, progress is slow, but the sweater is definitely growing!

And that's it for this time around on WIP Wed.  I doubt I'll get this done for Friday, but the heat is supposed to dissipate tonight, so maybe I'll be more in love with my knitting tomorrow!

Monday, 25 September 2017

New Knitting Needles -- my thoughts on Knitter's Pride Needles:

**This post contains affiliate links.  Any link marked with an * will give me a reward or commission if you purchase something using that link.**

Well, so I got some new knitting needles.  That, in and of itself, is not an oddity.  But the fact that I was at a different yarn store, and thusly ended up with a different brand of needle, well, that's the novelty.

I hadn't been to Romni Wools in ages, partially because they used to have a step up to the front of their shop.  Well, I found out at the Toronto Knitter's Guild meeting that they now have a StopGap ramp, so, over I went!  It worked out almost perfectly (I did have a moment of awkwardness with their door), but otherwise, yeah, the StopGap ramp did exactly what it's supposed to do! (P.S.  I also found out that The Toronto Knitter's Guild Discount applies to needles at Romni Wools, too!)

A sock in green yarn on a pair of double-pointed needles.  The sock and yarn are in a wooden yarn bowl, and there is a progress keeper with a rose charm showing in the work.Anyway, I picked up some double-pointed needles while there, but, of course, they were a different brand the ones I'm used to getting.  I've never tried the Knitters Pride needles before, and I'm fascinated by the results of my experiment, so, here goes!

The first set of needles was a pair of 2.25mm Nova Platinas, and I put them to work in the Bricks Birthday Socks.  I prefer dpns over magic loop for sock knitting, so I was glad to make the switch.  (If you're curious, I talked about the yarn bowl in the photo in my last post, and you can find the Rose Progress Keeper I'm using *here.)

The shaft of a metal dpn held against a green background.  Text on the dpn reads US 1 2.25 mmFirst, wow, the KP Platinas are much longer then my usual HiyaHiya needles, and I like it!  I'm also surprised and impressed that the needles have the size, and the name of the store, imprinted on the side.  The text on these needles is also much easier to read then the teeny-tiny text on the HiyaHiya dpns (and my newer HiyaHiya dpns don't have the size written on them at all).  Two points strongly in their favour there!
The shaft of a metal dpn held against a green background.  Text on the dpn reads Romni Wools They also seem a tiny bit sharper at the tip then my HiyaHiya's do -- I've put a tiny hole through the callus on my index finger!  And, the Regia Sock yarn isn't splitting nearly as much with the Platinas, either.  So, another point for the Platinas as well.

My biggest worry about switching needles was that there would be a noticeable tension difference where I made the switch. But the answer seems to be that no, that's not a concern, so I'm quite happy with that!

 So, overall, I quite like the Knitter's Pride Platina Needles, and if I need another set, I'll definitely look into these again.

Now, onto the second set of needles I got!

The second set of needles was also my very first set of square needles, and I have to say, I thought it would be more different to work with them!

I put them to work in my version of the Beekeeper's Quilt by Tiny Owl Knits.  I started the blanket ages ago, as part of Eat.Sleep.Knit's *Booster Club challenge, which is still continuing this year!  (You don't have to finish the entire blanket for the challenge, you only have to do 15 hexagons for this year, so if you're interested, I suggest you check it out -- it's a great way to use up yarn scraps!)

The yarn I'm working with for this hexagon is a thinner yarn, it's leftovers from a *MadelineTosh Unicorn Tail I got for another project, in the colour "Cousteau" (I really like this colour!).  I wanted to test these with a fingering-weight yarn, since that's most of what's going to be on these needles, so that's what I pulled out. 

Honestly, I expected more of difference when working with the cubics needles.  There really wasn't too much of a difference in the knitting!  I didn't have to alter my grip or change anything in my knitting process.   It does, however, seem that my stocking stitch is coming out a little crisper on the cubics, so there's a point in their favour as well!

End conclusion:  both of these are needles that I'm happy I bought, and I'll probably slowly add both of these brands to my ever-growing stash of needles. 



Thursday, 21 September 2017

Toronto Knitter's Guild: 2017-2018 Membership thanks to my Awesome Patrons!

Well, it's official!  I picked up my TKG (Toronto Knitter's Guild) Membership at the meeting yesterday (September 20, 2017). 

Image of the 2017-2018 Toronto Knitter's Guild Membership.  It has the TKG website (www.torontoknittersguild.ca) across the top of the card.  TThe centre of the card has the TKG Logo.  The bottom of the card has a Name and Signature Space.  Name reads: Sarah Dawn Adams.  Signature has been blacked out.
And, I couldn't have done so without the help of my Patrons!  Those who follow me on Patreon know that this was my first goal, which, with the awesomeness of my patrons, has been fulfilled! And, over on Patreon, I promised to show off my membership when I picked it up, so here it is!

It's nothing too fancy in terms of the actual card.  The back of the card has the various guild meeting dates and some contact info.  But, this little card does so much for Toronto and GTA area knitters!  It gets you into all the guild meetings (guests pay $10 at the door), and discounts at a bunch of GTA yarn stores!  In addition, through the guild you'll often connect with a whole bunch of other awesome groups, including the TTC Knit-Along, Knitted Knockers, and more!

I'm really looking forward to the guild year, and the September meeting was -so- much fun (there was a lot of laughter at some of the more. . . interesting. . .  fashion choices to come from the Fall/Winter 2017-2018 runways)!  There's more interesting things to come, and, as always in April 2018, there will be the Toronto Knitter's Frolic once again.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

WIP Wednesday: Sterling Cables Birthday Sweater

**This post contains affiliate links.  Any link marked with an * will give me a reward or commission if you purchase something using that link.**

Hello, and welcome back to WIP Wednesday

I'm heavily into the Birthday knitting at the moment, it seems.  This time around, the pattern I'm working on for my roommate's birthday (which is, as always, looking suspiciously like it's going to be a belated birthday gift) is a pattern by request, so it's not one of my own designs. It's the Sterling Cables Sweater by Bernat, and it's an . . . interesting pattern.  And don't worry, my roommate knows what she's getting.   She picked the pattern and the yarn, so there's no risk of ruining the surprise.  It's also my entry into the *Eat.Sleep.Knit Third Quarter Rhinebeck Sweater KAL, so I've really got an incentive to try and finish this up.

A woman wearing a cabled aran-style sweater.  There is a central cable panel, and smaller cables on each side of the panel. There are also cable twists running up the sleeves.
Photo courtesy of yarnspirations.com
Anyway, my roommate originally chose the pattern because it's gorgeous, and it is!  Just look at those cables!  But it's definitely a pattern with a few, well, lets just call them 'quirks.'

First, it's clearly written to save as much space as possible in a print pamphlet.  While I haven't yet seen the dreaded "at the same time"
 instruction, a lot of the instruction is inferred.  For example, the pattern gives you the shaping increases and decreases, but tells you to just 'keep cont of pat', that is, keep the continuity of the cable patterns intact while you do the shaping.  It's not necessarily difficult knitting, but it requires you to have the knowledge and make the judgement call about how, exactly, to continue the pattern and where, exactly to put the shaping.  It's not difficult for me to figure out, as someone who has several sweaters completed, but it's not something I'd suggest if you're not comfortable modding and playing with patterns.   Also because of the clear space constraint, the main cable pattern is written out over a page break!  So I'm constantly flipping back and forth between pages.   Surprisingly, it is charted as well, with all the cable motifs charted on the last page.  But the Chart A is printed in one orientation, while charts B and C are printed in another orientation, on the same page, so that all the charts are, in fact on one page.  There's absolutely no way I'm going to try and read a complex cable chart sideways, and it's a pain to flip the orientation of the PDF pattern on my tablet every single time I change motifs.   So I'm stuck with the written instruction for the cables, which is split over two different pages.  Not the smartest pattern design.

Second quirk is the shoulder shaping. The shoulder shaping is done primarily by binding off stitches at the top of each shoulder.  That's fine in and of itself, but it makes if very difficult to convert to in-the-round knitting (which would be far and above my preference).  and, because of the stepped shoulder shaping, it's going to be a pain-in-the-behind to seam.  There are a few mods that will help the seaming be easier, but again, that requires you to be comfortable modding a pattern.

That said, it's working out to be absolutely gorgeous, and the actual knitting isn't difficult, so long as you're comfortable with cables!  I do strongly suggest a cable needle; I've found that since there are a few 7-stitch cables in the pattern, they're just too bulky to be done without a cable needle, at least for me.

A peice of knitting laying flat, still live on a circular needle.  There's a large central cable motif and two smaller cables on either side.  The knitting is done in a tonal yarn that varies between emerald green and almost black. Alright now. Since this supposed to be more then just a pattern review, lets show you folks where I'm at!  I'm currently working my way up the back of the sweater, and am just before the cast-offs for the armholes.   I've given in to the pattern and decided that yes, I will have to seam it, even though I'm not looking forward to it. But, working it in pieces helps keep it from being too bulky on the needles -- it's rather heavy as it is, so I think the full sweater on circulars would be uncomfortably heavy.

The progress keeper in the centre is exactly that -- it marks my progress each day!  I've found that sometimes, when I'm sticking to one project for a deadline, it's hard to keep my motivation, since it's hard to see my progress. Each day, I set the progress keeper to my first row.  So I can always see that I've done some work.  It really helps with motivation, especially on bigger projects.

Needles are my Hiya  Hiya 4.5 mm needles, with the *24-inch cord, I believe.

Yarn is the now-discontinued Dream in Color Groovy, in "Emerald Darkness."  It's a bulky-weight 100% Superwash Merino. Luckily, Dream in Colour has replaced Groovy with Mammoth, which is very similar, and is currently (as of Sept 20, 2017), on sale at *Eat.Sleep.Knit!

That's about it for this WIP Wed. It was a longer post, with my feedback on the pattern, so thanks for your patience!  The TLDR (too long, didn't read!) version is that it's not a horrible pattern, it's just an awkwardly written one.  If you're comfortable knowing how to keep pattern continuity while shaping, and knowing what decreases/increases to use when they're not specified, then you shouldn't have too much trouble, though I would suggest re-writing the cable chart to a single page!  The result, so far, has been worth the aggravation.

Until next Wednesday, folks!

Friday, 15 September 2017

FO Friday: Winter Mandala Tam

Well, the first Winter Mandala Tam Prototype is done!

A top-down view of a stranded colourwork hat.  The background colour is a blue gradient, and the forground mandala pattern is a navy blue.
Yes, it's definitely only a prototype.  Those who follow my Patreon behind-the-scenes know that this hat. . . well, there's a tale.

Long story short, this hat had to be frogged back from where you last saw it, right back to the brim, because of a pretty spectacular math error on my part.

That, on it's own, would have been bad enough, but the CC yarn, the navy blue, tangled and stuck horribly.  I actually ended up having to cut my yarn in a few places, and there was much crying involved.  It was not a fun night.

And, after all that, (and and a dash of rum to quell the tears), well, the hat still didn't turn out right.  It's not horrible, but my tension wasn't right over the colourwork section.  I really should have gone up to 2.5 or even 2.75 mm needles for the colourwork -- so even with blocking, the tam isn't a proper tam, more like a weirdly shaped beanie (I'll spare you the embarrassing pictures).  That said, I've redone the math, and I'm hoping to finish a second (and better!) version of this before the end of the Ravelry Designer's Challenge.  I should have more then enough yarn to do so, though if I'll have enough time is in question!

It is done, though, and it is a functional proof of concept, which is exciting, since this is the first tam I've designed!

I'm still not sure exactly what I'm going to do with this version, though. It's not worth unraveling, because the CC yarn sticks so badly, and it is a functional, if slightly strange-looking, hat.  Plus, I still love the colours!  So, I've put it away in my drawer of hats for now -- maybe it will grow on me?

Well, regardless of my ambivalence, that's it for this Friday's progress.  Check back for more FO Fridays and previews of patterns, and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

WIP Wednesday: Bricks Socks

**This post contains affiliate links.  Any link marked with an * will give me a reward or commission if you purchase something using that link.** 

Well, so far, WIP Wednesday is going well!

This week's installment is something I just cast on this morning, so there's not much to see yet.  The pattern has the working title of 'Masonry Socks' or 'Bricks Socks' -- I prefer the first one, but it seems like the second title is the one that's stuck in all my notes, so, that's what I'm going with here for now!

These are a belated Birthday Gift (like most knitters, I tend to fall behind in my gift-giving, embarrassingly!) and I'm hoping they won't take me too long to knit up.  The pattern's already gone through one iteration, so there shouldn't be (hopefully!) any really big surprises on sizing or tension this time around.

A cuff down sock on a circular needle. It is knit partway through the cuff in 2 by 2 ribbing.  The yarn is dark green, and needles, sock, and yarn, are resting in a wooden yarn bowl.Yarn is Schachenmayr Regia, in the wonderfully named colourway "1994". This yarn was actually a lucky find -- a bunch of friends and I had gone to a theatre prop sale. There was a community theatre near us that was selling off a lot of their old props to clear some space, and it was a treasure trove of random things.  One of the things I found was a basket full of all sorts of yarn, and in that basket were two 50g balls of the Regia Sock Yarn!  So it was a wonderful frugal find.

Needles are HiyaHiya 2.25 mm circulars.  They're the same ones I had the Winter Mandala Hat on, (that hat's now off the needles, so stay tuned!) and, yes, I still forgot to check the cord length.  From the way the cord is while I'm magic-looping the socks, though, I'm almost sure they're the *24 inch cord.

The yarn bowl was an Etsy find from the wonderful Wayne of *NaturalKnotWood in Winnipeg!  It's maple and walnut, and is surprisingly quite light!  I've carried it in the bottom of my knitting bag to events without any trouble and, I've got a couple more of his bowls in my Etsy favorites, I fully admit!

I'm hoping I can finish up these socks relatively quickly -- they're already belated to their gift-ee.  So, wish me luck, and until next time!

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

WIP Wednesday: Winter Mandala Sneak Peek

**This post contains affiliate links.  Any link marked with an * will give me a reward or commission if you purchase something using that link.** 

Welcome back to another installment of WIP Wedensday!

For this week, I've been focusing on a new pattern prototype, one inspired by the Ravelry Designer's Challenge August/September theme: my Winter Mandala Hat!  Those who have already read my Patreon Behind-the-Scenes post for this week will note that, annoyingly,  I'm not that much further ahead then when I posted yesterday.

A tam being knit from the brim inwards.  The top of the tam is a colourwork pattern.
Part of the reason for the name is the yarn I used for the Main Colour -- The Blue Brick Yarns Killarney Sock in "Iceberg".  It's an absolutely gorgeous colour, and it definitely lives up to it's name!  As you can see from the link above, it cycles right to a white at the other end of the yarn.  I'm not sure I'll get that far, but I think it will work out all the same.
The CC is a ball of navy blue stash that I've had in my stash for what feels like forever. It's acrylic or an acrylic blend, but I'm comfortable with the mixing of the fibers (though it does mean I'll have to block it differently then I usually would)!

The needles are HiyaHiya 2.25 mm circulars. I honestly don't remember if they're the *24 inch or *36 inch cord -- I'm pretty sure they're the 24 inch cord, but I don't want to pull them out to check!  Right now, I'm using the traveling loop method of working the hat, as the brim decreases.  It's not quite small enough (yet) to magic loop this, so the traveling loop works well.  Plus, it's still too many stitches right now for dpns. (Also, any time I don't have to go hunting for enough dpns is a win in my book!)

This has actually been an adventure to design. The chart is one of the biggest charts I've done to date; and I actually screwed up my math when I was first designing.  I had originally planned for a 6-wedge hat.  Each colourwork repeat was a wedge in the top of the hat, and it would repeat 6 times.  Well, somewhere along the line, I made a mistake, and it's actually a 7-wedge hat!   It's still working out just fine, though, so mistake in math quickly turned into 'but I like it that way!'

And I know I have reason to be happy with it - I was knitting it while waiting for an appointment today, and 4 different people commented on how gorgeous it was!   So I hope the finished object will be worthy.  I'm trying to finish it for a Friday event (can't go into details yet on said event, but it should be fun), so hopefully this will be finished up soon!

Friday, 1 September 2017

September Featured Pattern and Mini-KAL: Snowdrop Lace Cowl

The September 2017 Featured Pattern is here: The Snowdrop Lace Cowl is 50% off at $2.75 CAD for the month of September! 

A woman holding a bulky-weight knitted cowl over her nose and mouth. The cowl has a lace and cable pattern
Photography: Stephanie Wallace
 http://www.ravelry.com/redeem/sarah-dawn-designs?sale=89625

You can buy the pattern through Ravelry or Etsy, the discount is available on both platforms.  The discount should be applied automatically on Ravelry, and be visible on Etsy.   As always, let me know if something doesn't work!


Now, onto the Mini-KAL!

For the month of September, any finished Snowdrop Lace Cowl has a chance to win a pattern from any of my self-published patterns!  To enter on the blog, simply post a link to your completed Snowdrop Lace Cowl(s) in the comments of this post by September 30, 2017.  Please note that the Cowl doesn't have to have been started in September, just finished in September!

You can also win by posting to the giveaway on Facebook, and in my Ravelry Group, giving 3 chances to win in total!*

I always look forward to seeing your Finished Objects! Please post them to various social media with #SarahDawnsDesigns, and/or to my Ravelry Group if you're on Ravelry.  That way, I can see the awesome that you folks make!

*One entry per person for each project per platform (three entries total for each completed project). Winners will be drawn at random using random number generation. Winners must have a valid e-mail address to receive the patterns. Participants may enter the same project on more then one platform, but may only enter each project once per platform.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Lace Leaf Market Bag Test Knit

Hello, and here's my newest test-knit call, this one for my (tentatively named) Lace Leaf Market Bag!

A mesh market bag with a half-open drawstring top.

This is a worsted/aran weight market bag with a drawstring closure, though it could easily be knit with other weights of yarn, as well. The sample is knit up in FibraNatural Good Earth in "Custard".

If people are interested, sign ups are here on the Ravelry Thread!  You will have to be a Ravelry.com member to view and post to the thread, but sign up is free, and Ravelry is very awesome resource!

Also, if you want to be notified on Ravelry about new test knits, you can PM me on Ravelry to sign up in my test-knitter's thread.  I'll also post test-knit calls here, to my other social media platforms (Facebook, G+, Patreon), and, I'll send out test-knit calls to those on my mailing list (e-mail sign up link), so hopefully, anyone who's interested will see my test-knit calls.


Well, that's it for this short update.  On the test-knitting front, my Entrelac Mitts pattern is in the draft process now, so look for a test-knit call for those coming up soon, too!

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

WIP Wednesday: Persian Dreams KAL

**This post contains affiliate links.  Any link marked with an * will give me a reward or commission if you purchase something using that link.** 

Well, for this installment of WIP Wednesday, I'm going back to a neglected project.

 I've been neglecting my *Persian Dreams KAL blanket for way, way too long. I've (still) only got two hexagons done.  Pattern is the absolutely gorgeous Persian Dreams pattern, by Jenise Hope, and the KAL is being run by the good folks at *EatSleepKnit.


A single fair-isle hexagon, on a pair of circular needles.
Two multi-coloured fair-isle knit hexagons, knit from the centre out. The stitches are still live and on various scrap yarn But, I'm taking some time away from a third Snowdrop Cowl (it looks just the same as the last one right now, but in green instead of red), to work on another hexagon of the of the blanket.  That brings me to 3 of 24 hexes, with lots to do before the end of the year!  I'm not sure if I can pull it off, but I can try, right?


Yarn is a*Manos del Uruguay's Fino, in a variety of colours.  Colours so far for the Hexagon in progress are "Gaslamp" (Yellow), "Pocketwatch" (Red-Orange),  "Wardian Case" (Green), "Peacock Plume" (Teal), and "Mourning" (Navy Blue), with the background being "Ivory Letter Opener."

The edges of each hex are left live, and held on scrap yarn.  The whole thing is supposed to be Kitchener-stitched together when done. It's a good thing I don't mind Kitchener stitch, but I will completely admit that the thought of that does daunt me! (Plus, weaving in all the ends promises to be a week's worth of work in itself! Eeek!)

All that said, the pattern is actually really awesome. The only thing that's not immediately clear about this pattern so far is how to do the border.  Some of the hexes have  a a knitted-on border on some sides (depending on where in the blanket that hex will go.) That part's fine and makes sense. But I'll admit to being a bit confused as to how, exactly, to sew up the border.  The hexes are grafted together, but the border is sewn.  I'm hoping and assuming it will make more sense once I actually get to that point.

I'm doing my version in a whole bunch of matching, purpose-bought colours, but it's occurred to me this would also make an amazing stash-busting blanket, and be a great way to use up those sock yarn scraps that most knitters seem to have!

Anyway, that's this weeks WIP, and I hope you enjoyed! 

Friday, 25 August 2017

FO Friday and The Canadian Knitter's Podcast Canada KAL: Slipped Stitch Socks!

 I'm proud to present my first finished entry for The Canadian Knitter's Podcast Canada KAL!

A pair of socks knit in a gradient yarn.  One sock is a brown-tan-yellow ombre, while the other sock is a yellow-green-blue ombre.

They're my Slipped Stitch Gradient Socks, and they've featured here on the blog a few times now.

I'm glad to have them done, even if they did come out drastically different.  I was originally thinking they'd just be fraternal socks.  But they're so different, that now I'm thinking I'll make a second pair, so I have two matching pairs to sell in my Etsy Shop.

Yarn is The Blue Brick's Killarney Sock, in "Kim's Barn".  And despite the fact that the socks came out so differently, it is a gorgeous gradient!

And, now that these are off the needles, I can put those needles to work on other projects, so, win-win!

I'm not preciously sure when this pattern will go live for testing, since I'm somewhat behind in my pattern drafting.  I'm hoping for mid to late September at this point.  So, as usual, stay tuned here for more information!

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

WIP Wednesday, Snowdrop Lace Cowl

**This post contains affiliate links.  Any link marked with an * will give me a reward or commission if you purchase something using that link.** 

Welcome to the next installment of WIP Wednesday!

A cowl knit in bulky bright red wool  It's scrunched up on a set of circular needles.This time around, here's a look at another Snowdrop Cowl I'm knitting up.  This one will eventually be for sale in my Etsy shop when I finish it.   I know, it's scrunched up and ugly right now, but you can blame part of that on the needles I'm using.   Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my old Aero needles, but the cords on them don't unkink well (at all really), so the knitting ends up rather wonky.  (Is 'wonky' a technical term?) 
 The yarn is Blue Sky Fibers Bulky in the colour "Lava." It's a gorgeous yarn to work with, but it's definitely Super Bulky. It's like knitting with rope!  That's not a bad thing though, so long as you're using big enough needles. These are 6mm needles, and they're probably the smallest I would go with this yarn (even the 6mms are a tight knit).

The only thing I can say that's not awesome about this yarn is that is sheds:  I was picking little red fuzzies off my shirt all last night!  It's 50% wool, 50% alpaca, but it's a lightly spun single.  It's almost like working with pencil roving!  So the fuzz and shedding is somewhat to be expected. This will definitely be a hand-wash only item when I finish it!

The *Feather Stitch marker is another part of my Etsy haul from *EfficientSense's Etsy Store, and since it's a locking lobster clasp, there's no problems using it with the bulky yarn or 6mm needles!

Stay tuned for next week's WIP Wed, and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

WIP Wednesday: Convolution Hat, Take Two

**This post contains affiliate links.  Any link marked with an * will give me a reward or commission if you purchase something using that link.** 

I started work on the Convolution Hat last December, and . . . well, lets just say that it needed a second try.  While I love how the pattern's working out, what you can't tell from the previous photo is that it didn't turn out quite right.

I tried fixing the flaring of the ribbing by hemming my prototype, which kind of worked.  But not enough that I was happy with it, so, it was clearly a time for as second prototype:


A worsted-weight hat knit in red yarn with spiralling cables and a flared ribbed brim.

I'm just working along the beginning of the crown decreases.  Even though I altered the ribbing, it's still flaring, but I think this time it will work better hemmed.  And, if not, I'll alter the ribbing again and try again with a third prototype! (Third time's the charm, if it comes to it!)


The yarn is *Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash, in "Rose", and I'm not sure if the colour is still available or not.   The needles are my inherited Aero needles, with their thick circular cord (I love the Aero needles, but the cords on the Aero circulars are always a pain-in-the-behind).  And you can find the *rose stitch marker I'm using in *EfficientSense's Etsy Store. (and, as always, I have to say that I absolutely love her stitch markers.)

I originally planned to have this up for testing a while ago, but the ribbing is definitely refusing to cooperate.  If this prototype does what I want, I'm hoping to have it up for testing in September/October, so, stay tuned here!

My intent is to make WIP Wed a weekly feature here on the blog, so, stay tuned for more posts about what's on my needles and what I'm working on. Wish me luck, and thanks for tuning in!

Monday, 14 August 2017

Patreon Update: New Goals, New Rewards!

Well, here's an update to my Patreon Page!

Two updates, really, but they're related enough I figure they can be a single blog post.

Update Number One:

I've adjusted my rewards around, and I now have a new $10 reward tier! If you follow me on Patreon or other social media, you'll be seeing the details of this soon, if you haven't already.
A yellow box wrapped with silver ribbon and tied with a bow.

The simple version is: my $10 Pattern Muses get a say in some of patterns I'll be releasing. It's a 6 month production cycle, and I just posted the first poll (for a Jan 2018 release).  The next poll (for an April 2018 release) will go up in October 2017.

In addition, I might solicit more feedback, depending on the type and style of the pattern I end up working on.  And finally, the pattern will be free to the Pattern Muses, until the next pattern in the cycle is released.


Update Number Two:

I've posted a new goal -- I'd love to be able to have a Coworking Membership.

A notebook, pen and cup of coffee on a desk. As I think I've mentioned on the blog before, I work from home, which is great, until it's not.  It's hard to focus on work when I know the bathtub needs to be cleaned, or if my roommate is home or others are over. I don't have a private work space (I work in our living room/kitchen), so it can be a challenge to get things done if there's other stuff going on. Plus, despite my best efforts, the cats do get into my work.   It's not a problem for me, but it is a problem if I'm trying to keep cat hair off a sample knit.

Plus, I got the chance to try out a co-working space on International Co-working day (yes, that exists), and I loved it.  I got a lot done, far more then I thought I would (though I was overly optimistic about how much knitting I'd have to bring with me, but isn't that always the way?  Better to have too much knitting then not enough!)

Also, the co-working membership gets me access to health insurance (very important!), networking and advertising opportunities, teaching space, and more.  It'll be amazing, if I can make it work!

So, I figured, it deserved a goal on Patreon.

As always, thoughts, feedback, and comments are all welcome -- I'm still new to Patreon, so letting me know what you'd like to see (or not like to see) would be amazingly helpful!

Until next time!

Thursday, 3 August 2017

August Featured Pattern: Spiralling Star Fingerless Mitts

Well, here's the continuation of my featured patterns!

What does being a featured pattern mean?  Well, each time I feature a pattern, it will be half-off for that month!  It's a chance to bring forward patterns that might not get as much attention, or show off something that is super-popular.  

The featured patterns will be chosen from my self-published patterns, and if there's something you're just desperate to see be featured, drop me a line with a compelling reason!  I can't guarantee that I'll feature all requested patterns, but I'll definitely take a look!

For the month of August, my half-price featured pattern is my Spiralling Star Fingerless Mitts Pattern.
Someone wearing a pair of fingerless mittens. The mittens are knit in a dark green fingering-yarn and use a textured star stitch over the body of the mitten.
Photography: Stephanie Wallace

  http://www.ravelry.com/redeem/sarah-dawn-designs?sale=89625

You can buy the pattern through Ravelry or Etsy, the discount is available on both platforms.  The discount should be applied automatically on Ravelry, or already be visible on Etsy.   As always, let me know if something doesn't work!

And, for the month of August, any finished objects using the Spiralling Star Fingerless Mittens linked in the comments of this blog post, have a chance to win a pattern from any of my self-published patterns!  To enter on the blog, simply post a link to your completed Spiralling Star Fingerless Mittens in the comments of this post by Aug 31, 2017.  Please note that the Mittens don't have to have been started in August, just finished in August.

You can also win by posting to the giveaway on Facebook, and in my Ravelry Group, giving 3 chances to win in total!*

I always look forward to seeing your Finished Objects! Please post them to various social media with #SarahDawnsDesigns, and/or to my Ravelry Group if you're on Ravelry.  That way, I can see the awesome that you folks make!

*One entry per person per platform (three entries total). Winners will be drawn at random using random number generation. Winners must have a valid e-mail address to receive the patterns. Participants may enter the same project on more then one platform, but may only enter each project once per platform.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

I'm on Patreon!

A few of you have probably seen the "become a patron" button on the blog sidebar, or noticed that there's now a Pages Tab called "Patreon Sponsors"

Because, yep, I'm now on Patreon!

Patreon Logo

Ok, wait, what is Patreon?

Patreon is a simple way for my followers and fans to contribute to my work creating patterns, knitwear, and teaching content, by pledging their support once a month! And, you'll get great rewards in return. There's a list of (hopefully awesome) rewards; from your name and website mentioned in credits on my blog, sneak peeks of my work, access to a live-chat with me, up to free patterns from my collections! (Oh, and if you think of an awesome reward I'm not offering that you think I could, let me know!)

So why should anyone become my patron?

Ok.  I'll be honest and say that money is a consideration.  But it's not the primary one.  The primary reason is because this is a way for me to give away exclusive awesome content to people who are really willing to work with me on this amazing fiber stuff!   And, Patreon will help fund the resources what I do do for free within that community community, stuff like free patterns, and an upcoming Youtube Channel full of free tutorials! (More on that later!)

Also, as a business tool, Patreon allows for stability in funding.  Most small artists, myself included, don't have the luxury of being able to court any kind of larger investors or big financial backing to cover our expenses, so expenses vary wildly month-to-month.  And, I will say, it's hard to focus on knitting when I'm worried I won't be able to make rent.  Patreon is a form of stable crowdfunding that takes way those fears, and lets me focus on making awesome things.

But, that said, please don't feel like you're obligated to become a patron.  If you're not comfortable doing so, I completely understand.  Not everyone has the money; or is comfortable with crowdfunding, or any number of other reasons; why you might not become a patron.  Please, don't worry about it.

And, if you're looking for other ways to support my work (for which you are awesome, and thank you!) you can buy my patterns, purchase classes from me, follow me on Social Media,  or, use my affiliate links to purchase something -- I'll get a varying commission if you do.   Even knitting up a project and posting it to Ravelry, or tagging it with #SarahDawnsDesigns on Facebook or Instagram is a help!

Well, as always, any questions, comments, concerns or thoughts, feel free to leave them in the comments below, or send me a quick e-mail.

Thanks for reading, folks!

Monday, 31 July 2017

Last Day: Can-Con Sock Along at The Purple Purl!

**This post contains affiliate links.  Any link marked with an * will give me a reward or commission if you purchase something using that link.** 

Well, as usual for me, my knitting goals were a bit too ambitious.

I was knitting up these socks for The Purple Purl's Can-Con Sock Along.  But, deadline is today (July 31, 2017), and, alas, I haven't even finished knitting one sock.   
A gradient sock running from brown at the cuffs to yellow along the heel.  The foot is incomplete and still live on the needle.  There are slipped stitches spiralling along the leg of the sock and the top of the foot.
WIP as of July 31, 2017
 I am, however, further along then I was the last time I talked about these, at least now the gradient colour change is clearly visible! 
[Image Description: The leg of a sock being worked on circular needles. There's a spiralling slipped-stitch cable going around the work.]
WIP as of July 11, 2017

I do have to say, The Blue Brick yarns have wonderful gradients, and I really want to design a shawl in this yarn to see how the colours play out that way!

For this sock, I'm actually working from a single ball, so I'm curious how this is going to turn out too, since the colour changes won't be identical for each sock.  They'll be a fraternal pair, rather then an identical pair, of socks. 

And,  you can see, I've gotten a new set of stitch markers since then too:

 A close up near the live stitches of the sock.  A silver stitch marker in the shape of a feather is locked into the knitting by a lobster clasp.
The previous marker I was using was a closed stitch marker you slipped along the needles, and it drove me batty, since the loop of it was wide enough I'd keep accidentally knitting it into my work!  So when I got these locking stitch markers from *Efficient Sense, well, that package definitely qualified as happy mail!  Her *Silver Feather Stitch Markers are light enough to not drag down my knitting, but big enough that I can't accidentally knit past them!  (No, seriously, if you're looking for locking stitch markers, her shop is amazing!)

Anyway,  even though I didn't finish these for the Sock-Along, I am going to try and finish them for the end of August.  So, stay tuned to this space for more on this pattern!


Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Pattern Release: Spiralling Star Fingerless Mittens!

**This post contains affiliate links.  Any link marked with an * will give me a reward or commission if you purchase something using that link.** 

Well, my Spiralling Star Fingerless Mittens pattern is now live on Ravelry and Etsy!
Someone wearing a pair of fingerless mittens.  The mittens are knit in a dark green fingering-yarn and use a textured star stitch over the body of the mitten.
Photography: Stephanie Wallace
The idea for these came from an online knit-along run by *EatSleepKnit which challenged participants to create something using the Star Stitch pattern. While swatching, I found a particular version of the Star Stitch that created a spiral effect, and these mittens were born from that!

A pair of fingerless mittens laying flat and slightly overlapping.
Photography: Stephanie Wallace
These fingerless mittens in four sizes (Adult XS to Adult L) are worked from the cuff-up in the round, with the Star Stitch pattern continuing onto the thumb gusset. The top cuff, bottom cuff, and thumb are edged with 1 by 1 ribbing. The yarn used for the sample is *MadelineTosh Eyre Light, shown in the colourway “Mill Pond”, but any fingering-weight yarn should work up fine.

To purchase the pattern, you can visit the Ravelry Download Page or my Etsy Shop Listing.

http://www.ravelry.com/purchase/sarah-dawn-designs/407557
CAD $5.50
On a brief closing note, I really want to express my huge thanks for the folks who helped me with this pattern, including all my awesome test-knitters.  For those who were unaware, there were some issues during the test knit, so again, thank you all, both for your help and your patience!

As always, I look forward to seeing what you make, and please, tag your creations on Social Media with #SarahDawnsDesigns, so I can find your awesome things! If you've got feedback, comments, or  questions about the pattern, you can comment here, send me a PM on Ravelry, or e-mail me at sarahdawnsdesigns@gmail.com. 

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Updates to my Etsy Shop -- Stretchy Knitted Bag!

Well, here's exciting news!

I've updated my Etsy shop with my first-ever knit goods! (Can you tell I'm still rather nervous?)

A knit ribbed drawstring bag, knit in pale blue yarn. There is a twisted cord drawstring at the top of the bag
$70 CAD -- Stretchy Drawstring Bag
It's a stretchy ribbed bag, perfect for storing dice, small headphones or other small objects.  It's made from 100% Peruvian Pima Cotton, and the drawstring at the top lets you tie it completely closed.  It measures 8 inches by 4.5 inches (measurements taken while flat), and has an approximate circumference of 13 inches, with a lot of stretch.

Shipping is a flat rate of CAD 15 to both US and Canada, with delivery confirmation, for any number of items purchased.

This bag was made from my Ribbed Bag of Many Things pattern.  The pattern is a free pattern, and can be downloaded from Ravelry, or by clicking here.


As always, any questions, please feel free to reach out -- you can comment below, find me on Facebook, Etsy, or e-mail me at sarahdawnsdesigns@gmail.com.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

WIP Wednesday: Sneak Peek of the Spiralling Star Fingerless Mittens

**This post contains affiliate links.  Any link marked with an * will give me a reward or commission if you purchase something using that link.** 


Well, here it is, another look at the Spiralling Star Fingerless Mitts!

An image of textured mittens.  They're half-completed on dpns, and being worn on the left hand.  The yarn is varigated green/black/blue, and there's a locking stitch marker with a silver celtic knot visible.

For those of you who've been following the test of this pattern on Ravelry, you know that there was some hiccoughs in the testing process.   For those of you who weren't following, my apologies for the delay in releasing this pattern, since it became clear my original prototype didn't work as well when I created the additional sizes.

So, I did a second (and third) sample, and it seems like I've fixed the problem! The pattern's with my Tech Editor now, so I'm hopeful to have it published before the end of the month.

Anyway, this is try number three, and my first try of these mittens with variegated yarn.   The yarn is Fleece Artist Merino Slim, and it's a colourway from the Canada Parks Collection, which was dyed up specifically for the Canada 150 celebrations.  This particular yarn was inspired by the Aurora Borealis in the Yukon Territory, and while I was originally concerned that it would look wonky, I'm actually really happy with how the colour's pooling! 

The stitch marker you can see came from Cindy of Efficient Sense, and if you're ever short for stitch markers, her *Etsy Store is like a treasure trove! Plus, she's a fellow Torontonian, so shipping was superbly fast.  If you're curious, the specific marker you can see above is from her *Celtic Knot set of stitch markers, and I'm definitely in love.

So, to close, here's my contribution to WIP Wednesday,  and I'll be writing again here soon!

Until next time!
 

Friday, 7 July 2017

Free Pattern With Newsletter Signup!

Yes, absolutely, you read that title right!

Everyone who signs up for my e-mail newsletter will now get a coupon code for a free pattern!

A gold box, wraped with silver ribbon and tied with a bow on top.
Here's how this works.

After signing up, check your e-mail inbox. You should have a welcome e-mail.  It lays out the types of things I'll send you; and, it has a coupon code.    If you didn't get the e-mail, check your spam filter.  If you still didn't get the e-mail, contact me and I'll sort things out.

That coupon code is valid on Ravelry for any of my self-published patterns!  And you don't have to be a Ravelry.com member to use the coupon code (though, if you are, the pattern you choose will be stored in your Ravelry Library).


How to sign up?  You can click this link, or, there's a signup box in the sidebar of my blog.

But wait, what about current newsletter subscribers?

Well, stay tuned to your inboxes if you're already a subscriber.  There will be a coupon code for a free pattern heading your way, as well!

As usual, let me know if you have questions, comments, concerns, or if something isn't working! 


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

E-mail Newsletter Updates and Changes

Well, I'd like to announce some updates to my E-mail Newsletter.

An image of the front page of a newspaper.  The Headline reads: Newsletter

Starting very soon, my e-mail newsletter will be monthly, coming out near the first of each month.  Each newsletter will feature that month's Featured Pattern, a round-up of new additions to my Fiber Arts Resource List, any upcoming or ongoing events I'm involved in, and any other new and interesting news I hope to share.  E-mails will still also go out for pattern releases and test-knit calls.

I'm really hoping for feedback (both good and bad) on the monthly e-mail format, so if you have any thoughts, concerns, or things you'd like to see, please let me know.  You can comment here, or you can send me an e-mail, or, you can get in contact with me on Ravelry.  Whatever works out for you!