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Winner + Designer Spotlight: Wooly Wormhead

Wooly Wormhead Interview
Congratulations to caffeine72, our winner for this month's blog giveaway. We will get in touch with you shortly to arrange delivery of your prize! 

For our final blog post of 2016, we are pleased to share this interview with Woolly Wormhead, whom we've been a fan of for quite some time. We have donated a few prizes to her Muratura KAL that is happening now through December 31 (click here for more info), and last week she shared a technique tutorial with us - click here if you missed it


When did you learn to knit/crochet? - or - How did you get started designing?

My mum taught me to knit when I was 3, and I started making clothes for my dolls. You could say I started designing when I was about 7 or 8 or maybe even younger, as I clearly remember making up patterns by myself for my toys, and finding inventive ways to achieve things. I made my first jumper for myself when I was 9, and from there continued making garments for myself every year.

What is your design process typically like? 

Varied, but always organic! I'm not very good at having everything planned out on paper beforehand, with several trusty swatches. I can do it, but I always need to refine on the needles. And often that means ripping out and adjusting. I will chart out stitch patterns and know how the design will be graded before I cast on, but it's never a done deal; the design is never finished until everything is polished, and that's usually done on the needles. It's not uncommon for me to reknit a Hat 3 times to get the fine details just right.

What is your absolute favorite Knitter's Pride product, the one you would HAVE to have if you were stranded on a desert island?

My Karbonz short tip interchangeables - they're my go-to needles, each and every time. I'm also developing quite a thing for the Zing short tip interchangeables, too!


What tips do you have for knitters who plan on gifting their KAL hat to that knit-worthy person on their list? 

Sizing is really important - one size does not fit all! That said, you can pretty much guarantee that if the Hat you knit doesn't quite fit or suit the person you originally had in mind, it will fit and suit someone ;)

I have a super handy guide on my website to measuring for Hats, and gives you an idea of average head sizes. They are just that though, average. Some Hats and stitch patterns are much more forgiving about size (lacey slouchy Hats for instance) but others are not - cables and other heavily structured patterns need more precision. It's always worth remembering that a knitted fabric will stretch widthways, but what it gains there it loses in length.

There's also a useful guide on my website for choosing the right Hat style to suit difference face shapes and hairstyles - some people might be surprised to hear that there is a Hat to suit everyone!

Muratura hat designed by Woolly Wormhead
What is your favorite cast-on method for hats? Other projects? 

That would depend on the brim with vertical Hats... the alternate cable cast-on where a rib is needed, a cable cast-on if the edge pattern really doesn't matter or needs something giving but strong, and a crochet provisional cast-on as a main cast on as a decorative finish, especially on garter stitch. I've recently been introduced to the Chinese waitress cast-on and am keen to experiment with it more, and see how it works in the round (i.e. can I join it invisibly?)

Other projects? What are 'other projects'?! ;-)


Woolly Wormhead is a Hat Architect. With an instinctive flair for unusual construction and a passion for innovation, Woolly Wormhead is a designer whose patterns are trusted and celebrated by knitters all over the world. As a designer, Woolly is driven by a need to create and develop her understanding of 3D form. Communicating her ideas and sharing her specialised knowledge with her audiences is key to Woolly’s success as a designer. Woolly's high quality pattern writing ensures perfect results, teaches new skills and encourages us all to become Hat architects. Visit www.woollywormhead.com for further details.


Tutorial: How to Knit Brioche Into The Row Below

Today we have a special bonus blog post from Woolly Wormhead, who shares a tutorial for knitting brioche into the row below. It's great for those of you participating in the Muratura KAL, which we are sponsoring. Be sure to check out the Woolly Wormhead blog for details on the KAL (plus a coupon code for your pattern purchase!), and also don't forget to enter our blog giveaway for December, found here.

Knitting into the row below is a variation of Brioche knitting, and creates a wonderfully textured
stitch pattern on what is a garter stitch ground. It is used in my Muratura and Rainbow Warrior
patterns, and it isn't as yarn thirsty as other brioche stitches (knitting into the row below doesn't use as much yarn as creating a yarnover).

The usual abbreviation for knitting into the row below is 'K1b'. This stitch is usually worked on
alternate stitches, and is offset on RS rows to create the pattern.

1. Knit up to the stitch that has the K1b instruction. On a piece of knitting worked flat, the 1st row is usually *K1, K1b; rpt; the 2nd & 4th rows are knit across. The 3rd row would then be *K1b, K1; rpt. When working in the round, the 2nd & 4th rounds would be purl across.
2. Insert your needle into the stitch below the one on the left hand needle, as shown.


3. Bring your yarn around and perform a knit stitch.


4. This is the completed knit stitch, with the worked stitch still on the left hand needle – here you can see clearly how you have knit through both loops together.


5. Then slip the worked stitch off the needle, and done! It's much simpler than it first seems.


Copyright Woolly Wormhead © 2016. Used With Permission; All rights reserved.

Website: http://woollywormhead.com
Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/woolly-wormheads-hats

Five Quick Gift Knits, a KAL & a Giveaway!

With Christmas coming up and the hubbub of the holiday season, sometimes all you’re looking for is a short yet satisfying project either for yourself or for a quick gift.

Here are our top 5 free one-skein-or-less patterns to knit that will keep you warm from head to toe.

The Barley Hat by Tin Can Knits is a classic, and fits just about everyone! With infant and adult sizes, you could whip these up for the whole family.
The Handbrake Cowl and Scarf pattern by Dan and Kay Jones, is an easy textured knit that can be easily adjusted for whatever yarn you choose.

The Pedestrian Crossing Cowl by Keegan Lane Designs is a fun buttoned cowl that would look great in a solid color or variegated yarn.

Warmest Mitts by Knitting Pretty would look good on anyone, and they knit up in a flash - they’re also great for knitting through your stash!

Who doesn’t need a pair of house slippers or ankle socks? Footies by Quirky Bird Knits is the ideal pattern to use up some stash yarn while getting a little gift off the needles at the same time.


It's a Woolly Wormhead KAL!

We're pleased to sponsor a KAL for Woolly Wormhead's final hat design of 2016, Muratura! This hat is knit sideways and uses a variation of the brioche stitch. Moreover, it knits up quickly, making it a great last-minute gift project for the holidays.


Click here for details on how to join the Muratura KAL for your chance to win 2 great prizes from Knitter's Pride - there is also a coupon code towards your pattern purchase!

Giveaway
While you’re knitting up these last minute gifts, why not treat yourself to a little luxury with Knitter’s Pride Royale needles?

Our Royale needles have colored wooden shafts (unique to each size) and sharp metal tips, perfect for all types of knitting. Choose from single point, double point and fixed circular needle, as well as Interchangeable and DPN set. Each set comes in a Parisian-themed zipper case, so you can daydream about being on a cafe patio in Paris with a hot cappuccino and your favorite knitting
project.

Comment on this blog post to enter our giveaway for a Knitter’s Pride Royale Single Pointed Needle Set - be sure to also include your Ravelry ID or email address so that we can contact you if you are our lucky winner. Come back to the blog on Friday, December 23 to see who won!



Winner + Free Crochet Mitts Pattern

Congratulations to Raveler mmmgood304, who won this month's giveaway for a Chunky Mesh Wrist Warmers kit! We'll be in touch with you shortly to arrange for the delivery of your prize.

Our previous blog post featured a free pattern to knit a quick pair of mitts using our Jumbo Birch needles and two skeins of Briggs & Little Super Yarn, and we promised a freebie for our fans who crochet in this week's blog post. These simple mitts are very easy to customize for a variety of hand sizes and stitch up ultra-quickly using just 1 skein of Briggs & Little Super Yarn and a Jumbo Birch crochet hook.

Enjoy!

Quick Crochet Wrist Warmers

by Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter

Supplies:
Gauge: 5 sts and 4 rows = 4 inches in single crochet, blocked

Finished Dimensions: 7" circumference, 7" length (allow approx. 1" negative ease; see instructions below for how to customize your fit)

About this pattern: A bulky weight yarn is worked with a larger hook size to product a mesh-like single crochet fabric. What makes this yarn special is the story: Briggs & Little is Canada's oldest woolen mill and produces premium yarns spun from 100% domestic wool, and is milled, carded, dyed, and spun at their factory in York Mills, New Brunswick, Canada.

The finished mitts will be very stretchy, so be sure to knit the size that is approximately an inch smaller than your desired hand circumference. Don't be alarmed by the size and shape of your project while it is being knit - the magic is in the blocking!

Mitts (Make 2):
Ch 9 and work single crochet in 8 sts, beginning with second ch from hook.

Single crochet all rows until piece measures 6 inches from start. For your final row worked once you have achieved your intended length, slip stitch in final stitch, snip your yarn end leaving several inches for seaming, and pull through to secure yarn end.

How to get a custom fit: If you would like to create mitts with a larger or smaller circumference, you can add or subtract rows here - just be sure to take into account the notes above regarding negative ease and gauge when blocked.


With wool needle or tapestry needle, seam five inches of cast on and bound off edge together; leave the next 1.5 inches unseamed for thumb; tack the opposite edge together for top of mitt.


Wash your mitts in your favorite wool wash and lay flat to dry on Knitter's Pride Blocking Mats. To achieve stated dimensions and neat edges, use Knitter's Pride Knit Blockers as directed in our previous blog post, found here.


Wear & enjoy!

Giveaway + Free Pattern: Chunky Mesh Wrist Warmers

The holiday countdown has begun! We don't want to scare you, but if there are still a lot of names on your "knitworthy" list this year, consider this: there are only 6 Fridays until Christmas and Hanukkah. Now is the time for chunky quick knits!

Today, we share a simple pattern to make with our Jumbo Birch needles and two skeins of Briggs & Little Super Yarn. You can whip these up in just one evening of knitting, and the pattern is very easy to customize for a variety of hand sizes. For our friends to crochet, we will be sharing a free crochet pattern later this month right here on our blog.

Enjoy!


Chunky Mesh Wrist Warmers

by Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter

Supplies:
Gauge: 3.5 sts and 8 rows = 4 inches in pattern stitch, blocked

Finished Dimensions: 7" circumference, 7" length
(allow approx. 1" negative ease; see instructions below for how to customize your fit)

About this pattern: Yarn is held doubled throughout. What makes this yarn special is the story: Briggs & Little is Canada's oldest woolen mill and produces premium yarns spun from 100% domestic wool, and is milled, carded, dyed, and spun at their factory in York Mills, New Brunswick, Canada.

The finished mitts will be very stretchy, so be sure to knit the size that is approximately an inch smaller than your desired hand circumference. Don't be alarmed by the size and shape of your project while it is being knit - the magic is in the blocking!

Mitts (Make 2):
With yarn held double, cast on 6 stitches.

Begin knitting flat in seed stitch as follows:

Row 1 (RS): *k1, p1, rep from * to end.
Row 2 (WS): *p1, k1, rep from * to end.

Repeat these two rows of seed stitch til piece measures 7 inches from cast on.

How to get a custom fit: for a smaller hand circumference, work fewer rows here; for a larger hand circumference, work more rows. If you are achieving the stated gauge, each two-row repeat will add or subtract and inch from your intended circumference.

Once you have achieved your intended length, bind off all stitches in pattern.

With wool needle or tapestry needle, seam five inches of cast on and bound off edge together; leave the next 1.5 inches unseamed for thumb; tack the opposite edge together for top of mitt.


Wash your mitts in your favorite wool wash and lay flat to dry on Knitter's Pride Blocking Mats . To achieve stated dimensions (you will need to stretch your mitts lengthwise a bit to get the 7" length) and neat edges, use Knitter's Pride Knit Blockers like so:


Wear & enjoy!

Giveaway

We're giving one lucky reader a chance to win the Chunky Mesh Wrist Warmers Project Kit pictured below! To enter, leave a comment on this post telling us about your holiday gift knitting (or other crafting) plans! Be sure to also mention your Ravelry ID or email address so that we can contact you if you win.

We will announce our lucky winner on our next blog post on Friday, November 25. Good luck!

Winner + Creative Sock Construction Round-Up

First off, we'd like to announce the winner for this month's blog giveaway - congratulations to Kathryn M., you have won this month's prize! We will get in touch with you to coordinate the delivery of your prize. Thanks to everyone who entered this month's contest.

Socktober may almost be over, but of course you can knit socks year-round. We've spotted some really interesting ways of constructing socks over on Ravelry, and wanted to share some of these exciting techniques with our blog readers this month. If you have tried any of them, we'd love to hear what you think of the results in the comments!

#1: Sideways Socks
While socks knit sideways have been around for quite some time, we are seeing some interesting new patterns which use this technique! Variegated and self-striping yarns look especially great with this approach. Here are some interesting patterns to try: Skew by Lana Holden, Verizontal by General Hogbuffer, Vanishing Point by Jeny Staiman, or the Alamogordo Socks by Lisa Jacobs (shown below).



#2: Start-in-the-Middle Socks
This intriguing pattern by Carissa Brown begins at the heel and is worked outward for there - another great option for hand-dyed and variegated yarns.


#3: Fish Lips Kiss Heel
This popular method simplifies short row shaping and can used for both toe-up and top-down socks. We've heard many knitters rave about how easy it is to memorize.



#4:  OMG Heel & OMG Spacious Heel
This clever construction from podcaster Megan Williams includes instructions for using this heel in both toe-up and top-down socks. OMG stands for One-needle Mock Gusset for toe-up and One-needle Mini Guesset for top down!


#5: Pyramid Heel
This paid-for pattern from Interweave combines a Pyramid heel construction in toe-up socks with a striking stranded colorwork design & includes a video tutorial with the pattern.



#6: Toe-Up Tab
This free tutorial by Mary Spanos uses a similar approach to the garter tab cast-on which is used for many shawl patterns.

We're also pleased to give knitters one more option when choosing needles for their next sock project: in addition to DPNs and circular needles for magic looping, we now offer small circumference 9" needles in our Dreamz and Nova Platina lines! 


Is there a new sock knitting technique you use that isn't listed here? Let us know in the comments!

2016 Gift Set Reveal: Melodies of Life

We're pleased to introduce this year's limited edition gift set, which is arriving at a Knitter's Pride retailer near you this month! Melodies of Life celebrates the festive season with a theme that will be music to your ears!
The Melodies of Life Gift Set

Each limited edition set includes:

  • Nine pairs of vibrant color-coded Zing needles in US 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10.5, and 11 (3.5, 3.75, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0, 5.5, 6.0, 6.5 & 8.0mm) that carry laser-marked sizes. 
  •  Four color coded cables: one 24"(60cm - green), two 32" (80cm - orange), and one 40" (100cm - red). 
  •  An assortment of knitting accessories: set of cord connectors, wool needles, and stitch holders, all packed in a coordinated monogrammed fabric pouch. 
  •  Two pair french wire earrings made from our famous colored wood (more on that below!).
Everything is beautifully packaged in a box that is perfect for gifting. The Melodies of Life gift set is sure to top every knitter's wish list this holiday season! 

Here's a closer look at the accessories contained in the set: 

We're also offering our fans a sneak peek into a new endeavor we'll be launching in 2017: Knitter's Pride will be expanding into the field of fashion jewelry that is designed with the enchanting colors of our wood under a new brand name called TEEKRI. Each gift set contains two pairs of earrings that have been crafted at our factory and made from our famous colored wood! This special bonus is our way of saying "thank you" to our awesome band of knitters who have always supported and encouraged Knitter's Pride to continue developing our products.

October Giveaway

This month, we're offering our readers a chance to win one of our new hand-printed fabric bags, perfect for keeping your projects organized this fall! This Radiance full-fabric double-zipper bag features two separate compartments, keeping for everything organized while on-the-go. You can use it for accessories, crafting tools, small projects, or even for storing non-yarn items if you wish!

To be entered in our giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling us which product from our new 2016 collection you would most want to try - click here to see them all! Don't forget to also tell us your ravelry ID or email address so that we can contact you if you win.

We will randomly select a winner to announce on our next blog blog on Friday, October 28. Good luck!

Winner + Think Small

First off, congratulations to emilygum, this month’s blog winner! We will contact you via Ravelry to arrange for the delivery of your prize, your choice of Jumbo Birch knitting needles or crochet hook.

We’ve had a lot of customers ask us when 9” fixed circular needles would be added to the Knitter’s Pride lineup - if this is something that you’ve been anxiously awaiting, you are in luck! We’ve added 9” circumference needles to our Dreamz and Nova Platina lines in a variety of sizes, and they should be arriving at an LYS near you this fall (click here to see what else is new for this fall!). 

Many knitters prefer to use 9” fixed circular needles to knit projects such as sleeves, socks, preemie hats and doll clothes, but did you know that they are also excellent for swatching in the round?

If you’re a fan of knitting seamless projects in the round, it’s best to also knit your initial swatch in the round as well, instead of knitting a swatch flat as many of us do. This is because purling on the wrong side can affect your flat swatch gauge differently than if you were to knit your stockinette swatch in the round, because you would only be working a knit stitch on the right side.


The above swatch project uses our 9” Nova Platina fixed circular needles and a skein of Kraemer Jane yarn


Everything fits neatly in our new Amber fabric and vinyl zipper pouch, which is perfect for small projects such as this. The Amber bag shown here is part of our new line of hand-printed fabric bags for fall. This zipper pouch keeps your project safe while on-the-go, and it’s easy to see what’s inside because of the clear vinyl side! 



Click here to see the variety of shapes, sizes, styles and prints which will be arriving at an LYS near you this fall. 

Giveaway + Think Big!

September is here, and with cool temperatures just around the corner, it's time to plan your next project. Not only are chunky knits and crochet projects in style this season, they're also fast and fun to make - and easier than ever with our new Jumbo Birch needles and crochet hooks.


New to our line this season, our Jumbo Birch needles are available in:
  • 14" Single Pointed Needles in US 36 (20.0 mm), US 50 (25.0 mm), 30.0 mm and 35.0 mm sizes.
  • 8" Double Pointed Needles in US 36 (20.0 mm) and US 50 (25.0 mm) sizes.
  • 32", 40" and 47" Fixed Circular Needles in US 36 (20.0 mm), US 50 (25.0 mm), 30.0 mm and 35.0 mm sizes.
Also new this season are Jumbo Birch single ended crochet hooks in 20.0 mm, 25.0 mm, 30.0 mm and 35.0 mm sizes! 
Jumbo Birch Crochet Hook with one of our new hand printed fabric canvas project bags.

We've picked out some great free knit & crochet patterns from Ravelry to inspire you to start - and maybe even finish! - something new this weekend.

Knitting Pattern Inspiration


From L-R: The Gathering by Kalurah Hudson, Eleventh Hour Scarf from Purl Soho, and Dark Woods by Caitlin ffrench.


From L-R: Endless Cables Chunky Knit Throw by Jessica Reeves Potasz, Billowy Ocean Wave Rug by Stacy Tavassoli, and Chunky Garter Blanket by Mari Chiba.

Crochet Pattern Inspiration



From L-R: Instant Decor Pillows by Janette Higgins, Chunky Yarn Outdoor Rug by Stacey Williams, and Le Pouffe by Julie Philip.


From L-R: Jumbo Triple Luxe Cowl by Stephanie Jessica Lau, Cobweb Scarf by Jennifer Hansen, and The Crocheted Canadian by Karen Clements.

Giveaway Time! 
Leave a comment telling us your favorite big stitch knit or crochet pattern for your chance to win your choice of Jumbo Birch knitting needles or crochet hook! Be sure to also mention your Ravelry ID or email address so that we can contact you if you win and provide a list of items to choose from.

We'll randomly select a winning comment to announce on our next blog post on Friday, September 23. Good luck!  

Winner + Getting the Crochet Results You Want

Yarn crafters know that the quickest path to a successful project is the right tools. With the Knitter’s Pride range of crochet hooks, there’s the right hook to meet the needs of any project you have in mind. Let’s take a look at the variety of materials and styles available.


Crochet Hook Style and Materials


Crochet hooks can be made of almost any material; the tinier sizes tend to be steel, with acrylic, aluminum, bamboo and wood being the most common choices for standard and larger sizes. The two major styles of crochet hooks are inline and tapered, illustrated in the photo below:
From L-R: Waves, Bamboo and Dreamz hooks.
The hook on the far left shows the inline style: the hook profile remains within the overall diameter of the entire tool, while the two hooks on the right show the tapered style, where the hook widens into the labeled hook size from a slender neck. The inline style also has a distinctly flat neck where the tapered style is always cylindrical. Style is a matter of individual preference, although some beginning crocheters find it easier to maintain uniform tension in their loops with an inline hook.


Knitter's Pride has hooks in both styles: Symfonie Dreamz offers inline style hooks for both the single ended and Tunisian styles; the Basix Birch and Jumbo Birch lines offer inline style single ended hooks, and Dreamz offers tapered style hooks for both the single ended and Tunisian styles, and Waves offer tapered single ended hooks which are color-coded by size.


But what hook do you choose for which project? Again, personal preference is always going to be the primary determination, but there are some guidelines to keep in mind.


Small-Diameter Crochet Hooks


The small mm diameter steel hooks are traditionally used for fine projects using crochet cotton like bedspreads, doilies and filet crochet. They are also fantastic tools for adding beads to either crochet or knitting projects as you can actually put the bead on the hooks and add it to a specific stitch, rather than pre-stringing them and sliding them up your yarn. Here’s a video that demonstrates this technique. They are also handy for all kinds of household repairs that involve threading something through a tiny opening!


Letter-Sized Crochet Hooks


Wooden crochet hooks, like the Basix and the Symfonie Dreamz are warm in the hand and somewhat flexible. Our popular Waves line offers a tapered aluminum hook on a soft-grip handle, color-coded for individual sizes. Our standard Aluminum hooks offer the soft-grip only in black, but the hooks in silver- or gold-tone, as well as traditional individual rigid Tunisian single-ended crochet hooks.
Waves Crochet Hooks


Interchangeable Crochet Hooks with Cords


Whether you’re new to crochet or a veteran, you will find the Knitter’s Pride Symfonie Dreamz Interchangeable Crochet Hook set a versatile addition to your yarn tools. Color-coded by size just like the Dreamz Interchangeable Knitting Needle Set, our Crochet Hook set includes our flexible cables which screw into a ferrule at the bottom of each hook, converting them into adjustable-length Tunisian (or afghan) crochet hooks. Our Bamboo line also offers individual interchangeable hooks that will fit any of our cords, too.


Traditionally, Tunisian crochet is worked on a long crochet hook, rather like a single knitting needle with a hook on one end. By replacing a fixed-length rigid tool with an adjustable-length flexible cable, the Knitter's Pride Dreamz Interchangeable Crochet Hook set eliminates the limitations of project width that were determined by the length of the crochet hook. Rather than seaming together panels of a specific width, the crocheter can make a project as wide as her longest cable.
The combination of a regular-sized crochet hook with the flexible cable is easier on the Tunisian crocheter’s hands and wrists, as the cable holds the weight of the project, just as circular knitting needles take the weight off knitters’ wrists. In addition, inventive crocheters have created techniques that take advantage of the flexible cable. Jennifer Hansen of Stitch Diva, for example, has introduced a way to work Tunisian crochet in the round, based on the Magic Loop knitting technique, that utilizes the Dreamz Interchangeable Crochet hook and cable combination. You can find her Craftsy tutorials for this technique here.


There's one more use for our Dreamz Interchangeable crochet hooks that is worthy of note: it is the perfect tool for one of the most-hated knitting tasks: picking up stitches! While most of us have finagled a way to use circular knitting needles to draw those loops of yarn through a bound-off edge to put a collar on a sweater, for example, it isn’t easy. But it can be with the right hook and cable combination. Drawing those loops through the knitted fabric is so much easier with a crochet hook, and you can keep on sliding them down the cable until you reach your proper stitch count.  


Unscrew the hook and the cap end from the cable, then screw on your knitting needle tips, and you’re ready to knit your collar with much less frustration!


Whether you’re a crocheter, a Tunisian crocheter or a knitter, our crochet hooks and accessories have what you need to make your projects perfect. You can find all of our crochet options here, under the Crochet menu. Happy hooking!

Winner

Congratulations to Raveler Jamestull, you've won this month's blog giveaway! We will get in touch with you shortly to arrange for the delivery of your prize, a set of Knitter's Pride Knit Blockers. Thanks to everyone who entered this month's contest!

Giveaway + Designer Spotlight: Susanna IC

August is a great time of year to give lace knitting a try! Our previous blog posts focused on lace knitting tools & techniques and blocking your finished project, and today we are excited to spotlight a fabulous knitwear designer who is known for stunning lace designs (and more): Susanna IC. 

After nine years in Europe, Susanna IC now lives deep in the heart of Texas with her husband, two sons, one guinea pig and countless balls of yarn. Besides a background in fashion design, she has a Master’s degree in art history and a Bachelors’s in studio arts, all of which continue to inspire her knitting. Her designs have appeared in numerous online and print publications, such as Interweave Knits, Jane Austen Knits, Twist Collective, Brooklyn Tweed’s Wool People, and Knitty. You can view all of Susanna's designs here on Ravelry and keep up with her latest creations on her blog at artqualia.com.

When did you learn to knit/crochet?

My grandmother was a great knitter; she taught me how to crochet when I was five and she wanted to teach me how to knit as well, but she was left-handed, and I just could not figure out how to mirror her movements and make the stitches with my right hand. Fast forward to when my older son was six months old and I had a little extra time on my hands while he was sleeping. I thought that making adorable baby sweaters would be fun, so I decided to give knitting one more try. I picked up a how-to knit book and instantly fell in love.

How did you get started designing?


My first swatch was the back of my first baby sweater, which in a way was my first knitted design as well. Learning to knit alone from a book, I did not even realize that there were detailed knitting patterns to follow, so I just sort of made it all up as I went along. I have a background in fashion design and I’ve sewn all my life, so the designing part of knitting came naturally. Few years later, after I added some of my original projects to Ravelry, people asked about them and I wrote a few of them up as patterns. Next, I’ve sent out design submissions to several publications and they were accepted and everything just took off from there.

Pyropa shawl pattern, from Knitty First Fall 2016.
What are your favorite projects to design?

Looking at the majority of my designs I guess you would say that I live for shawls. Well, that’s true, I absolutely adore creating shawls of all sorts, but I really love all kinds of knitting - lace and cables and texture, accessories and garments, simple and complex. I absolutely love the moment of inspiration, which can come from anywhere - nature, books, movies, yarn color, etc. After that, watching the vision come to life on the needles is exhilarating and blocking lace is always a wonderful surprise. I even like the math of knit design. I guess I really do love the entire process, including ripping and reknitting.


What is your absolute favorite Knitter's Pride product, the one you would HAVE to have if you were stranded on a desert island?

I learned to knit on straight needles and for several years I did not use anything else because I did not realize how limiting the straight needles were. It was only after I decided to try colorwork in the round that I discovered interchangeable circular needles. I purchased the full set of the original nickel plated needles and I’ve never looked back. The needles are durable and very smooth with tapered tips that are perfect for intricate lace as well as cables and texture. I love how versatile and fast they are, and I use them for all types of yarn. Over the years, I’ve added many extra tips to my collection in the sizes I use most often because I usually have several design projects on the needles and I don’t want to wait for the correct needle size to free up.

Mina shawl, available on Ravelry

Many knitters might be intimidated by the thought of knitting lace. How would you convince someone to give it a try? 

I think that knitting lace is like any other knitting and anyone can do it; it’s really just knit and purl stitches combined with a few decreases and increases, which create interesting patterns depending on how they are placed. That said, any new technique can take some time to master and, as the saying goes, a little practice goes a long way. The first lace shawl I’ve ever made took me a while because I had to concentrate on every stitch; however, that same shawl would be a quick project now.


To get started, you’d want to choose a simple lace pattern with a short repeat, about ten to twelve stitches, so that the stitch sequence can be easily memorized. Look for a pattern with resting rows; this means that the right side patterned rows are separated by purled wrong side rows. If you’d rather not jump directly into a project, a small swatch of a few pattern repeats can help you learn the stitches and the sequence in which they are combined. Also, knitting lace does not necessarily mean lace weight yarn, so if you find lace weight yarns too fiddly to start with, you can use a fingering or sport weight yarn instead.

Rhodora shawl, from Twist Collective Spring/Summer 2016
What are some of your foolproof tips for success with lace projects?

When reading lace charts for the first few times, it can be helpful to color code the stitch symbols so that you can easily identify all those similar-looking symbols. Removable highlighter tape or sticky note placed on the chart can be great help in keeping track of the row you’re currently working on, and placing stitch markers on the needles to separate the pattern repeats will help you keep the stitch count correct. These are just a few ideas that helped me when I started knitting lace. Give it a try and in no time you will be creating masterpieces.

Belarra shawl, from Twist Collective Spring/Summer 2014



Giveaway
This month, one lucky blog reader will win a set of Knitter's Pride Knit Blockers! To enter, leave a comment on this blog post sharing the name of your favorite Susanna IC pattern (click here to view them all on Ravelry). Be sure to also include your Ravelry ID or email address so that we can contact you if you win.

We will randomly select the winning comment to announce here on the Knitter's Pride blog on Friday, August 26. Good luck!