Friday, January 16, 2015

I will be teaching for the first time! ♥

This is something I didn't expect...



I have always had mixed feelings regarding teaching.  I have not been asked many times whether I would teach a class... But when someone did ask me, I kept wondering to myself... 'What could I teach someone?  Everything I've learned, I've learned it from the internet...  What could I possibly know that someone hasn't already written about it?'

I am, however, the kind of person who really enjoys listening to people and learning from someone's voice and experience.  I believe that when something is written, it always sends out the same message, but when we learn from someone who has learnt something before, we can hear a few tricks here and there, and we are free to discover what their true perception about something is...

I am also the kind of knitter that believes we will never ever learn all there is to know about this art.  I still feel a beginner knitter for so many reasons... There are so many techniques I haven't tried, and I am not talking about complicated stuff... I haven't tried, for example, to steek a sweater...  And I have never learnt how to design a shawl with different lace patterns...

So whenever someone asked me if I would teach a class, I would normally answer 'No way!  There are still so many classes I need to take myself!..'

Well, life is full of surprises and in one of my latest trips, I was very kindly invited by Madtosh Crafts and Happy Knits to come to the US with my partner in crime Veera and do a series of events.  The main reason for this is that we are working on a new collaboration together (I'll post more about that in due time!!!), and they invited to feature it at their stores and host some Trunk Shows and Meet & Greets...
And, of course, the question was asked again: 'Would you teach a class?...'
I looked at Veera, who was there with me... I looked around... And without giving it much thought I said: 'Why, yes!'

So there you go, folks.  I am teaching not only 1, but 3 different classes, in 2 unknown to me cities, in a country very far away from home, in a foreign language, in just... 2 weeks.

There will also be some free events, so there's no need to sign up for a class if you don't feel like!  Veera and I will be there and we'll be showing Interpretations 2 for the first time!
Call the yarn stores to get the proper timetables for these.

So, in case you are in the area, and want to come say hi... Here are the topics I will be talking about.  I am not sure I can call these classes, I feel more comfortable calling them talks, or conversations.
Hopefully my theory is right, and I'll learn from the attendees as much as they'll learn from me.

APPROACH TO SWEATER DESIGN
Madtosh Crafts (Dallas): Wed, Feb 4th - 9 to 12 AM
Happy Knits (Portland, OR): Sat, Feb 7 - 10 AM to 1 PM

In this workshop we’ll discuss my sweater design process from start to finish.   This is a fun class for anyone thinking about designing their first sweater (for fun or for work), but also for those who are interested in knowing what goes on behind the scenes. 

We’ll talk about:
  • How to find inspiration (Pinterest, fashion designers, brands).
  • Following trends and adjusting them to what knitters want to knit. 
  •  Important measurements to consider when designing (shoulder span, full bust, sleeve circumference, hip measurement, etc).  Tables of measurements and their meaning. 
  • What is ease (garments don’t always need to be the same size as the table of measurements!). 
  • Making notes for knitters on how to customize their garments (e.g. sleeve length, body length). 
  • Overview of different sweater constructions and how to choose the one that best suits your idea. 
  • What makes a design unique (small little details that make a design stand from others). 
  • Discussing some samples and their construction techniques.
  • Basic concepts on grading patterns to different sizes. 
  • Using spreadsheets to grade a very basic pattern (converting it to different sizes instructions).


DON'T BE AFRAID OF SHORT ROWS!
Madtosh Crafts (Dallas): Tue, Feb 3rd - 1.30 to 4.30 PM
Happy Knits (Portland, OR): Fri, Feb 6th - 3 to 6 PM

This is a fun class for anyone who’s been intimidated by this awesome way of shaping your knits, and also for those who want to better understand how to use them. We’ll discuss:
What are short rows and why do we want them in our knitting?
Different techniques for you to try: wrap and turn, German short rows, Japanese short rows, etc.
How to use wrap and turn effectively to customize your sweaters by adding:
  • bust darts
  • shoulder shaping
  • curved hems
  • collars that fold….
  • seamless top-down sleeves Circularly shaped sweaters that use short-rows as basic construction technique (Opposite Pole, Ecuador, Make a Wish, Meridien). 


SWEATERS THAT FIT (YOU!)
Madtosh Crafts (Dallas): Mon, Feb 2nd - 9 to 12 AM
Happy Knits (Portland, OR): Sunday, Feb 8th - 3 to 6 PM

In this friendly workshop, we’ll talk about how to choose a sweater that will make you really happy after spending so much time knitting it. We’ll discuss:
How to choose the best shapes for your body.
How to take measurements of your body and choose the right size of the pattern you want knit.
How to customize a sweater to your own body according to your:
  • Waist length
  • Arm circumference
  • Bust measurement
  • Hip measurement How to add:
  • Bust darts
  • Waist shaping
  • Curved hems
  • Length to the back so that it doesn’t ride up 
How to choose the proper length for you.
How to choose the right yarn for a project.
A quick look at some of my samples and their sizes, shapes, lengths and styles.



In the meantime, I keep swatching and learning the few tricks I still needed to learn about short rows... ;)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A January Love Story


http://www.sundarayarn.com/products/romeo

As you know, I have a hard time writing on the blog... I am not the most fluent when writing longer things...  I feel more confident with little captions, and therefore I am always more drawn to let out my news on the social media...
But, from time to time, something starts growing in me and I feel compelled to write a little bit more about it... Sometimes a caption is not enough to tell a whole story.

I have had the honor to meet thousands of beautiful talented people on Ravelry... And of course, as more people got to know my work, I met a lot of dyers and other designers who I ended up working with.  Some of these people, however, really liked what I did before my designs were popular... and one of them was Sundara.  For some reason we fell in love with each other's work from the very beginning.  
I must say the first time she commissioned some work for her, I was in total shock!  I couldn't believe she considered me good enough for the job, and she put my design on a Luxury Yarn Club, together with two of my all time favorite designers. 

Getting Sundara's parcels... It was always exciting.  Why?  Because we talked about the color she wanted to make, but she would never send me a photo of the finished yarn.  Her parcels were always stopped by the customs office in my country, so I had to spend a couple of hours trying to get them out, filling forms and waiting in line... It only added to the excitement!  And when they finally gave me her parcels, I would always leave the customs warehouse, sit on a fence and open them slowly... They were always MAGICAL!

Her last parcel (containing the yarn I used for today's design) was sent to an apartment while I was staying in New York last year... And of course, it was not delivered in time!  Since our flight ended up being delayed, we stalked the USPS truck all around the Upper East Side, until we finally found it on a doorstep.

Una foto publicada por Joji (@jojilocat) el



The little box contained two skeins of her Fingering Silky Cashmere in the Romeo colorway, and her note said: Try to make something with just 1 skein, as this is a very special yarn!...

http://www.sundarayarn.com/products/romeo

As I wound the skein into a little ball, I remembered all the collaborations we had made together... They are not that many, but they were all really meaningful for both of us.  We always invest a lot in each of these, and they always came in very special moments of our lives, either good times or hard ones.  As I reflected on the colorway's name (Romeo), I thought of ours as a love story, and I decided a wanted to design something that spoke about it.

http://www.sundarayarn.com/products/romeo

I didn't have many yards, so I needed to make something meaningful, but small...  The yarn's qualities were enough to make it special: being 65% white cashmere/35% silk, it was by far, the most luxurious yarn I had ever knit with... It didn't need much stitch action to glow...
I thought of the revesible cable to represent our work stories enwtining and growing together, and a flared body to show off the fabric's softness and sheen.  With a slight wing shaping, it reminded me of Juliet's wings on the movie... one of the most romantic ones I've seen.


This brings up the story of another friend, one of the best ones I've had the honor of meeting, Jenica.  She's been the sweetest friend to me since my early Ravelry's days, and many times she's borrowed me her talent to write texts for the introductions of my patterns.  When I told her what I was working on, she decided to write some poems for this design... She has a true talent!  Sometimes it is difficult to include everything we write with the pattern, so here it goes just some of her magical words.  Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

http://www.sundarayarn.com/products/romeo




Curious about Romeo and Juliet's time together, we thought up this design…



Fortunately, you don’t have to be an emotionally unstable Romeo to appreciate the unique characteristics of this shawl. Its construction is not complicated and due to its side-to-side assembly you won't have to manage hundreds of stitches at once, making this one a good beginning cable and short row project. For those more experienced knitters there is just enough romance and action going on to keep the plot interesting.



Although a sacrifice was made on Romeo's behalf, you won't have to surrender too much of your time to complete this adventure. The reversible cables are a character in this story that will require your attention, keeping your interest like any good productive relationship. The gentle drifts of stockinette in between will be your solace to help keep the knitting sailing at a good pace with an occasional wrap and flip for some short row shaping.



Choosing a marvelous yarn will be your only important decision.  A romantic look and feel calls for a delicate yarn, one that is sumptuous. Since you will only need to commit to one skein, I encourage you to go ultra luxurious, in a perfectly complimentary colorway that makes the love in your eyes shine like a beacon.



As Romeo looks down on his love one last time I imagine him sweetly wrapping her up in a shawl to keep her warm during her final slumber. As he puts his arms around her and kisses her one last time we reflect on those relationships in our lives that we should take more time to honor.



Romeo and Juliet were together for three days before their time together ended. How long will your romance last?



http://www.sundarayarn.com/products/romeo

We hope you like our new story together...

~Joji, Jenica and Sundara

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Very delayed recap: Unwind Brighton!!

I finally have some time to write here about Unwind Brighton!  It might be a long post, but I don't want to forget what a fantastic time July was because of this Festival, so I'd better make it as long as it deserves.



Let's begin by saying that this was a Knitting and Fiber event held in Brighton (south coast of England) during the weekend of July 12-13th.
Well, for starters, all the comments I'll make will be written from an attendee perspective, since I did not work while I was there.  I had never been in a event of this kind, or taken any classes of any sort, so I decided to treat myself and come to England for my first time.  I believed I needed to know why people loved these events so much... After all I work full time in the knitting industry now, and I needed to do some research, right? ;)

Well, even though just before leaving life seemed to be conspiring against my departure (I swear, so many things happened at home, like being without electricity and water for a week!), once I was on the plane, it all started to work out perfectly.
I had planned a project to travel with me.  I had started it 2 weeks before leaving, which would have been enough to finish the upper half of the sweater, and just bring with me the "mindless" part of the knitting...

Japan Sleeves, working with Tosh Merino Light in colorways "Astrid Gray" and "Dirty Panther"
However, this is how far I had gotten by the time I had to jump on the plane.  I was certain I was not going to be able to do all the knitting and note-taking required to design-as-you-go on the plane.  But amazingly, the couple next to me were adorable, they just shut their eyes as soon as they got on, and I could enjoy countless hours of uninterrupted knitting...  In fact, I think I had never been so focused in work!  Needless to say, the travelling project didn't get any attention during my weekend in the UK, and it was finished 2 weeks later during yet another trip... But that's another story.

I arrived very happily awaited by my friend and hostess Julie (a.k.a. evieandlily on Ravelry),and we took an afternoon to relax and knit before driving to Brighton.  I always say this, but I am really blessed to have so many friends around the world.  And the weather was splendid!


On the way to Brighton, we picked up Veera, and we were all set for a long drive full of stories and laughter.  We arrived late at night to our accommodation, a super chic apartment we found via airbnb, in a very trendy and playful street in the North Laine of Brighton.  We met our other roommate Sarah who made us laugh at her enthusiasm all weekend!

So Friday arrived.  I had considered jumping on the Brighton wheel and sitting on the beach knitting all morning... But the weather had not contemplated my plans and it was cloudy and overcast.
It probably made it a magical morning all the same.  Just being there, standing on that beach, contemplating the sea... Thinking how far I had travelled the day before, and yet it always felt like Brighton was so close to home.  I am sure we all feel this way, the world has become so small.
I looked down, I couldn't believe it was really all the way across the ocean from my family.  My friends were there, the language was not unfamiliar... And then I see this little pebbles below my feet.  Yes, I was away from home indeed!  (we don't have pebble beaches here)


After visiting the incredible Royal Pavilion, we went for Lunch, and it was quite a shock because... Well, people started arriving! 

I met a group of amazing women, including Ysolda, probably my all time knitting idol.  I have knit only a bunch of her patterns (although probably more than from any other designer), but what I admire the most is her way of transmitting an idea and standing up for what she does.  -This is where my English fails me... I know I can communicate very well in English, but I lack the creativity I have when writing in my mother tongue.  I wish I could express this better!- I strongly believe that Ysolda's work has changed the way knitters perceive a knitwear designer's work during the last few (or not so few!) years.  I think her example and hard work has inspired lot of admiration and I know for a fact she was the first designer I kept looking at, wondering what new projects she was going to come up with.  I do remember waiting for the next issue of a magazine, or a book to come out, but Ysolda was the first independent designer I remember admiring.
I know she has inspired a lot of knitters like myself to work hard to become designers...
It was a very big table, and it was a very busy weekend.  I wish I could have said this to her! (Though I have a feeling she's been told this lots of times)

Sarah and Julie (my roommates), lovely Tiina from Titityy, Ragga, Bex, Bristol Ivy, Ysolda, that little head behind me is Veera, but in my defense she said she knew she was not in the photo, Ce from The Uncommon Thread, and Emma, one of Unwind's organizers.
As you can see, it was a table full of awesomeness, and I got to meet the über-adorable Bristol Ivy, who looks super cool, and is even cooler.  I just loved that I had time to hang out with her so much!

Friday was a parade of knitting celebrities, and I felt like such a fan girl all the time... I met so many designers, dyers, and all kinds of makers of the knitting industry!  I was so so excited that I had completely forgotten that I was jet-lagged, and suddenly crashed in the sofa before getting ready for dinner...  I was lucky to have my roommates, who took care of me as if I was a teenager with 2 mothers.

I was invited to a Designer/teacher meet-up the night before the festival actually began, (even though I was not supposed to be there! It was only for people working!) and I totally freaked out.  I arrived to this restaurant, which took me ages to find, hidden among the mysterious and playful South Lanes, and was directed to the upper floor.  As I climbed up the stairs, I started spotting Ravelry celebrities all around: Added to the same stars I had met at lunch, Carol Feller was there, Amy from Madelinetosh!, Felicia from Sweetgeorgia, the sweet ladies from L'OisiveThé, Susie Myers, Karie Westermann!  I am probably forgetting so many people that I really loved meeting... And I felt like such an intruder.  The shy person took over, and I sat quietly at the end of a table, to sip wine with my recently acquired friend Tiina.  I thought so many things during those moments... I wondered whether I belonged in that dinner, everyone else seemed to know each other so well... and they looked so comfortable talking about their life and work.  I was coming from so far away, my country was so different! (For starters, don't freak out, but everyone would have given me a hug and a kiss in Argentina, even if they had never met me before)...
I wanted to meet people but I kept thinking whether I should just say hi and sit next to them, or shake hands (which we never do at home)?  Probably as soon as the glass of wine kicked in, I was able to speak to the lovely lady sitting right in front of me, discovering she was no less than Sharry, the creator of Buttonalia.  Amazing woman, she told me the story of her life, moving around the globe and how she came to create such special little treasures.

I only have phone pics of that dinner... This is me, totally freaking out in the corner. :D
After a while, I took courage and went to meet a few people I really wanted to say hi to and I shook hands with all of them.  I wonder if that was as awkward to them as it was to me, trying to restrain myself from kissing everyone (you MUST know I am very latina!)...
It was an amazing evening...  Just the perfect prelude for what about to come on Saturday.

On Saturday, the marketplace opened early, and we were all allowed into the Brighton Dome, a magnificent venue!
Oh my goodness... Just imagine.  Just imagine!  You know how crazy I am about yarn, right?  You've seen me take luscious pictures of skeins of wool, silk in every color... I adore independent dyers, I live for them!  Just imagine this little girl in a massive candy store!
I forgot to change the lens in my camera (stupid!), so my photos were very artistic, but not really descriptive...  Good luck the phone is quite good at replacing the big old camera sometimes... ;)


I won't bother you with the details of who I found there, but there were many favorites, and I discovered many new ones too!  Just check out this amazing list.  I got lots of beautiful skeins and inspiration for new patterns to work (after I am done with the things I needed to finish even BEFORE coming here!).

As always, one of the best parts was to hang out with my loved ones.  I met one of the knitters I admire the most in Ravelry, my dear Anne... And also my dear Vera who I had already met in February.  I think we made a beautiful bunch, the 3 of us.  We just couldn't stop crying!  I bet people could tell we were long time friends...

I was upset at first that this photo was out of focus, but then I really liked the way our skin looks perfect with the blur ;)
And, one of the happiest times was spent also with Ce and Veera, when we did a small meet and greet to show everyone our samples from our collection Interpretations, in The Uncommon Thread's booth.  LOTS of people came over to see the garments, and I felt really overwhelmed.  It was a good thing Veera was by my side.  I feel much more confident when she's around!

There was a theme going on with our patterned tops, apparently...
The afternoon had even more good stuff: I took the Color Theory class with Amy Hendrix, creator of Madelinetosh yarns!!


Oh yes, so totally worth it!
I have long time felt that my color choices are, well... Too comfortable.  I have my favorite palette, and I always tend to choose the same stuff.  Why? I thought that it was because I was afraid of color... Because I wasn't brave enough to try something different and that I was missing stuff!
Well, Amy's class was an introduction to color, which was amazing for someone like me who had never studied this before... I learnt how to combine colors, how to pair them up... and also how to choose colors that are good for me.  And guess what? I was not too mistaken ;)
So now I feel more confident, and I will try a different palette if I feel like, but I know I'll stick to my grays and blues and purples.  Apparently, I choose them cause they're good for me!
It was an amazing, amazing class, and Amy was a warm and stellar teacher.  I had a total fan girl moment at the end of the class and we took a photo of all of us together.


On Saturday night we went to the Pompom party, in a very cool pub near the beach.  Awesome times!  We hang out with friends, visited the pier at night and saw people dancing on the streets.  It was a long great day!

Sunday was more relaxed... And that's when I completely left the camera at the apartment... It looked like all the highlights of the event had already happened, so I took the opportunity to finally sit down and knit (and eat!) while talking to Anne and Vera.  I was getting ready for the FIFA World Cup finals, which took place that night, and which we sadly lost (although the whole country was very proud that Argentina took the second place!).

The whole feeling about the festival was that it was fabulous... We kept meeting people everywhere saying 'can you believe this? or that?'.  Everything was close there, just a few steps away from wherever you might be.  So we could be having lunch and someone said: 'Have you seen this or that yarn? or needles? or patterns?'... You could just get off your seat, run back to the Marketplace and get it... And that's what happened to me (too many times to admit!).  What a fantastic weekend it was, oh God!  I'd give anything to be able to do this again!

Right after the game, Veera and I took the last train to London.  
We spent the most amazing couple of days there.  Visiting museums, walking bridges, drinking coffee and wine and making plans for the future (hint!)...  We were too busy to bring the camera around, so we only took snapshots with the phone, but really cool ones ;)




So, I just checked the clock and I've been writing this post for the last 2.5 hours... I'd love to tell even more (cause honestly, there's so much to tell!), but my boys will be here any minute and they will want tea and cookies...

Hope you enjoyed the recap, and stay tuned for  more news... For starters, the travelling sweater is finished (and it's SO AMAZING!), full of travelling memories, and will be published in a couple of weeks...  And many more exciting things to come!

Have a great week!
~Joji

Monday, June 02, 2014

Out and about

Travelling has been a very important subject this year for us...!!  For many years, while my boys were growing up and we were finishing up the remodelling on our house, travelling was not an option for us.  Especially having small children made it almost impossible to plan even a weekend out.

But the kids are grown now, which means not only that they can come along with us on a family trip, but also, that their mum can leave them for a few days with daddy (although my heart was broken, I must admit!).

So last week, I took my own mum to New York City, on what we called a "girls' trip".  We travelled from Buenos Aires with our best friend Ale, and while we were there, we met other dear Ravelry friends too.

New York City just enlightens me.  That's all I can say about it!  




It was not my first time in the city, and certainly not the last one!  Everything about the life in this city makes me just... different.  I want to take in everything I see in with a big breath... If only I could keep all that inspiration in my brain forever...

Carol, me (naughty Carol!), the Statue of Liberty and Mum

And, there was quite a bit of yarn involved in this trip too!
As I have written before, Argentina is not a country with very steady economics.  Our currency fluctuates up and down all the time, which leads to change in the markets, and in different policies like currency exchange and trade.  Since January 2014, our country decided that each citizen can only get 2 parcels in the post per year.  This is no matter the content/value of what you get.  You cannot go to the customs and pay taxes for the rest, you can just get 2 parcels, and that's it.  

So! Just imagine what that means to someone who can't buy working materials locally...  
Yes, there was a lot of yarn involved, and I might have ordered 2 years of knitting's worth of materials, just in case...  My head is about to explode with all the beautiful things I brought home.  Some I can show, and some others are for more discrete projects...  But I'd rather show it all slowly, as the new designs start to come off the needles.  I forced myself to try out new brands and new dyers, and I was so pleasantly surprised.  So much talent!  I tell you, I am super super inspired!



There's quite a bit of travelling planned for the rest of the year too... Which keeps me occupied when I take a break from knitting...  So I might see you if you are going to be coming to Unwind Brighton.
I wasn't going to come at first... But after Dani (the organizer) revealed all the awesome classes and the vendors in the marketplace, I was feeling too tempted... (my pal Veera is going to be teaching a shawl class there, you must check it out!)

But I think the reason that made me go for it, was friendship.  There are many Ravelry friends who are going to be there, so this is another opportunity to make the world smaller and get to meet them in person.  One of the people I've been wanting to meet for many many years, but still haven't had a chance to, is my dear Anne (Anneleterme).  We have been writing to each other almost since Ravelry exists, always dreaming about the day we'll finally meet.  

I have more to tell about this festival, since I designed a pattern that's going to be featured in the programme all attendees are going to receive... But I'll save that for another blog post. ;)

Have a great week!!

~Joji


Tuesday, May 06, 2014

It's May!

Hello dear readers,

Wow, what a beautiful month April was... It was hard to say goodbye to it and welcome May... But here we are!
I became one year older in April, which I don't really like... So, to feel a bit better about it, I saved a few releases for this time.  Two of them, you already saw: Inner Peace and Worsted Boxy.  But the most special one, came on April 22nd, with the release of Brooklyn Tweed's latest Collection: Wool People 7.

On the cover: Devlan Pullover by Bristol Ivy

My design for this collection is called Seacoast, and it is a beautifully simple yoked pullover.
It was my first time working with them, and I can't tell you my feelings when I finally saw it, brilliantly styled by Brooklyn Tweed, on this stunning model:

The model just makes me want to cry.  She's so beautiful.  Look at her hair...

This flattering beauty relies on clean lines and a flirtatious open neckline for arresting elegance. Worked from the top down, the circular yoke begins with a slipped-stitch rib that gradually introduces the new stitches. A few short rows beneath the yoke raise the back, and gentle waist shaping creates a classic, feminine effect.  You can read more about it on Ravelry's pattern page.

The sample was made using Shelter in the colorway Fossil (Oh, the most perfect creamy tweed), and I was amazed at how light this yarn was... Just under 7 skeins (350 grams) for a full sized sweater.  Impressive!




In the meantime, I've been staying busy knitting, knitting, knitting...
One of the projects I've just finished, I'm calling it the Grandpa Cardigan, until I find a better name for it.  Actually, I am not even sure if it looks like a Grandpa style cardigan at all.  This is the image I had of this style:


But when I swatched, I realized I didn't have enough yarn to make it so roomy, so I modified it a bit...

The yarn I am working with comes from Germany.  It's WalkCollection's BFL DK, and the colorway is called "French Lilac".  I only had 5 skeins of this.  It is 100% superwash BFL wool, and the skeins are 100g / 246 yd.


I received this yarn back in January, when I was at the summer house, and I immediately wanted to work with it... But for some reason, in my head, I just couldn't find the perfect project for it.  The dilemma was that my designs tend to have too many feminine details (like lace inserts, funny shaping, buttons, ruffles, bobbles, fringes...) and paired with this ultra-feminine color... It almost seemed like too much.  I adored the color, and really wanted to make it work... But all my ideas, when I pictured them in this color... they looked like a sweater made for a princess.  And, well, that's not really my style.
I must say I thought A LONG time about what kind of design would be perfect for this yarn.  It is such a beautiful hard-wearing base, that I wanted it to be a garment that could be worn for a long time.  And then I realized that the best was to go to the basics, that's when the grandpa style cardigan hit me, and it totally made sense.

I began to picture a basic cabled cardigan, paired with jeans, a basic T-shirt or a denim shirt... Yes.  This was the perfect concept for this base and color!

So, I don't have any "good pictures" of the work in progress, but I did post a lot of them in Facebook and Instagram, if you do follow me there.

Don't worry!  It has a button-band and a small shawl collar... The ties were just for trying it on ;)

I worked it from the top-down, completely seamlessly.  It was fun, and quite an accomplishment! But now I have to transform this into a multi-sized pattern, and it is taking a long time... It's hard to give instructions on how to place the cables correctly when you are increasing for the neckline and for the armhole shaping... Looks like I'll have to spread the directions into sets, for the different sizes.  That's OK, I don't really mind doing so... But some parts will only be charted out, or else the pattern will be 40 pages long ;)
It is funny, because it is quite a simple design!  But in order to be precise with the cable placement, and not to let things for the knitters to figure out, lots and lots of words are required.

The sleeves are set-in sleeves, and they are worked from the top down too.  I picked up stitches around the armhole opening, and worked a sleeve cap using short rows.  Here again, the cable placement for each size is easy but different, so more charts are needed.

What I learn from it?  A new technique!  I worked a TUBULAR BIND OFF for all the ribbing bands (bottom hem, cuffs and front bands).  If you haven't tried it yet, you have to do it.  It's amazing!  I watched this video by Very Pink, and after a couple of stitches I was ready to do it on my own, with out help.  The finishing is just... perfect, since I felt that this cardi needed polished finishing details in order to look Grandpa-style, but neat.

So! This baby is finished, and I won't show you the final pictures until the pattern release...  which is probably going to be during a more season-appropriate time... Maybe with a winter time collection? ;)

Have a great week!
~Joji 


Monday, April 21, 2014

Inner Peace


http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/inner-peace

I think there's only one thing I don't like about my work, and it's that it can be lonely at times... I don't have any colleagues who live nearby that I can talk with about work...

So when my favorite dyers offer to work on a collaboration, I must confess I have butterflies in my stomach with happiness, cause it means we'll get to work together for a long time, and it's a promise of a successful pairing.

With Sundara Yarn, this is especially true. I have yet to find a color of hers that I don't think is inspiring.  In a certain way, I think our styles are very similar, so her yarn and my designs go very well together.  For this latest collaboration, we chose the color, we discussed all the little design details, and we even chose photographs together.  It was indeed, quite a change from the solitary work.

For this design, I used her Fingering Silky Merino base, in the colorway "Snow Clouds", the most delicate pearly gray.
(Actually, this was the last skein of yarn I could bring into the country using the mail.  From now on, no parcels are allowed into Argentina.  They will all be stopped at customs and probably held there without notice... That is not making my job any easier!)

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/inner-peace


This single skein fingering project will enlighten your day and lift your spirits!
This shawl is worked from side-to-side using a mesmerizing yarn that subtly reflects light as it moves. As usual, the design was produced from that light deep down inside that drives all of our emotions. It came at a time of inner reflection and thus, I’ve named it Inner Peace.
Peace is an energy that comes from within, it is being in control of your inner monster when it makes you feel greedy, selfish, angry or spiteful. It is taking a step back and doing what you can do to make YOURSELF better and no longer expecting others to make it happen for you.
Like our knitting, peace is something we have to work at, to fashion with all our might. It is a magic you have to make time for every day and something that will make your world all the more easy to bear.
Work on this shawl and imagine your personal inner peace, what does it look like to you and what can you do today to change our world for the better.
Peace starts with you, own it!


http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/inner-peace

You can find more information on the pattern here.

Working with Sundara is a big pleasure, and I can say that the projects we've worked together are among the happiest ones I've published.  Here you can see some more of our team work:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/autumn-blush
October 2012: Autumn Blush
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/imagine-when
March 2013: Imagine When
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/make-a-wish
September 2013: Make a Wish
Hope this inspires you...

Happy Easter!
~Joji

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Worsted weight Boxy

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/worsted-boxy

A few weeks ago, I started experimenting with Malabrigo Rios, because I wanted to make a worsted weight version of one of my most popular patterns: Boxy.
Lots of people liked this pattern, but many knitters told me that they were afraid of that much knitting...  So after a couple of years after I released the original version, I decided it was time to give it a go at the modified one.
What I remembered very well about Boxy was that it was crucial for the yarn to drape, otherwise it's just a big sweater, and not as flattering...  I needed a yarn that could be blocked and stretched to a very loose gauge, and possibly, that wouldn't shrink back to it's original state afterwards.
Rios is a 100% Superwash merino yarn with a very soft twist, and I thought it would be perfect for it.  It's available in a great variety of colors, it's quite inexpensive, and most importantly: I can buy it locally, which is very unusual.
The colorway I chose is called "Niebla", which means fog.  It's a soft mix of grays, beige, yellow and even a tiny bit of purple, which create a very neutral looking hue, but more complex than most neutral toned yarns.



 I made the whole prototype in less than a week.  It was so much fun to make, as my Mom and I were working the back and front at the same time (1 piece each), and we were racing each other.  It really is a very quick project, and the testers also were done in a very short time.

So gladly, the pattern was published very soon, so this can be your next transition weather staple (it is for me! only I am transitioning into winter)...


http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/worsted-boxy

You can find it on Ravelry now!  And if you have already purchased the original one through Rav, you can get this new one 50% off (no coupon code needed, you just put it in the cart and the discount will be automatic).

Hope you like some instant gratification knitting for a change ;)

~Joji

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Non work-related WIPs

I was cleaning the house today, trying to tidy up a bit... so I started organizing my knitting bags too.  There were lots of bags with yarn that needed to be arranged, and knitting projects lying around the house in different rooms.

As I was putting everything away, and leaving out only those bags which hold knitting projects, I suddenly realized I had 4 WIPs (works in progress), which is somewhat unusual for me... But the most unusual thing is that 3 of these are not related to work.
Why not related to work?  Well, cause even though I am not using any patterns for these, I have no deadlines and no intention of turning these projects into patterns.  These projects are just for the fun of knitting...

Since this blog is mostly about my knitting patterns, I think it's a good change to show these little projects, even if there's nothing too exciting about them!

I started Fedde's Vest when I was travelling in Europe.
I was visiting Gent with my friend Vera (Maanel), and she took me to a cute Phildar shop, where they sold mostly ready-made garments.  But at the back of the shop, they kept a stock of Phildar's yarns!  I must admit I wasn't crazy about most of them, but then I found these beautiful balls of Laine Coton, in the most perfect "Boy" colors.  I just knew I had to make something for my baby godson Fedde...


The yarn is just beautiful.  I had never tried a combination of Wool and Cotton before, and I absolutely love it!  I think I paid like 4 EUR per ball, which is not bad at all.  It has lots of tiny plies, arranged in a beautiful rounded structure.
Look at those stitches, they are so even and pretty!

I started the project while riding on the train to London, and I honestly thought (in my innocent mind), that I was going to finish this in a couple of days, which would have allowed me to leave the vest with the recipient before returning to Argentina.
Silly me, I only knitted during that train ride, and then never again during the rest of the trip!

I am working the vest on straight needles, cause I am always faster (though really, it doesn't get much slower than this), and I plan to seam the sides when I am done.
I cast on 50 st, worked in 2x2 ribbing for a few rows, and then switched to a broken rib, which was quite easy, but looked more elaborate than a garter st vest.


I already finished the front, which was made in a similar way to my Felipe pattern (a free pattern, by the way, and always works beautifully!).  Just a few rows of 2x2 ribbing, and then divided for neck opening and shoulder straps.
As you can see, the back is halfway done, so I don't know what is keeping me from finishing it...  Perhaps I have the secret dream of going back to The Netherlands to deliver it myself, and kiss him hard for days and days...  Cause really, look at those cheeks!



A few weeks ago, I received a visit from the US, so we did a lot of walking and sightseeing.  I was working on the Unwind Shawl at the time, which allowed for some mindless knitting time...  But then, all of a sudden, my project was finished!
I had plans for a new sweater design, but that required some planning ahead, and I didn't have time to do that... I needed a new project! (don't ask me why I didn't pick up Fedde's Vest at this point, cause I don't know).
So I took out a bag of yummy leftovers of Malabrigo Worsted, and I started a Cowl/Scarf whatever thingy.


I am not thinking this too much ahead, I didn't even plan how the colors are going to follow each other... And I might send this to my sister if I ever finish Fedde's Vest.  She really liked my knitted cowls, so I think she'll enjoy this one too.

I am making striped triangles using short rows, and I think I am going to add solid triangles in between.  I am not sure if it's going to look great with these colors, but I certainly LOVE this yarn, and this project just makes me happy, so I look forward to working on it a bit more.


And a few days ago, Nano, my eldest kid, was watching me as I was pinning down a finished pattern sample.  He knew I had been working on this sweater lately, so he was absolutely sure that my needles were not very "occupied" at that very moment...  And he kindly said: "Well, are you done with this one? Would you make me a sweater?  It's been a while since you last made me a sweater.  You've made me hats and scarves, but no sweater, Mum".
How could anyone say no to that?  

I think he had some ideas about a rainbow colored sweater, but I didn't have any rainbow colored yarn in my stash.... So I told him I could use some of the yarns in my stash that are not destined to become a pattern.
We spent some fun time together, going through my stash bins, and we found the yarn I was already planning to use.


I think I bought this yarn about 5 years ago.  At the time, I couldn't afford buying yarn abroad, so all I would knit with was acrylic, cotton or very coarse wool (and even coarse wool was very hard to find, and a expensive for us).  

But one day, touring around the "Yarn District" in Buenos Aires, I found that one of the yarn stores had this sale bin, with balls marked at a very affordable price (almost the same price as acrylic).  I came closer, and I discovered these balls were Filatura di Crosa Wave, which is a gorgeous wool/silk blend, extremely soft and yummy.  Honestly, I think this was the most beautiful yarn I had ever seen at the time, I just couldn't believe the people at the yarn store had no idea what they were selling!  They had probably bought some closeout lots of it... Who knows?  No one had ever sold balls like these in Buenos Aires.  

I was so excited, that I didn't even care that the colors were a bit dull.  Slowly, as we saved my pennies, my local knitting friends and I bought all the stock from this store, and I have knitted already several projects with it.  These are some of my last balls, so it was indeed a good purchase in the end.  All of it has been used for great projects.
It is an amazing yarn, it has a tweedy look, and wears extremely well... So I think it will be perfect for Nano's jumper.  


I don't know why, but I decided to make this one on circular needles.  I am starting from the bottom up, and I cast on 156 st, for a circumference of 78 cm.  What??? My boy is so big... His sweaters are already as big as the XS size in my patterns... where did the time go?  I remember when I used to make him sweaters in a couple of days...

I think I'll randomly add stripes to the upper half of the body and sleeves... In no particular order.  We'll see how it goes.  I am loving it so far, and I can't seem to be able to put it down to work on my YES work-related WIP...  Which is not such a good thing! 

Hope you are enjoying your WIPs too!

~Joji