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Cloud Peak KAL + Designer Spotlight: Simone Kereit of OwlCat Designs

Fall is just around the corner, and we're celebrating summer's last hurrah with a fun KAL featuring a new design by Simone Kereit of OwlCat Designs! We've asked Simone to share a guest post with our readers - read on for more info about this KAL, a special coupon code just for Knitter's Pride fans, and a chance to win the special prize, too!

Hello there, my lovely knitting friends! 
I am Simone Kereit, but you may know me better as OwlCat Designs, and we’ll be doing a fun KAL together! And before anything else, I want to thank Knitters Pride for sponsoring this event and letting me take over their blog as well as providing a number of cool prizes to participants, but more on that later!
But before we get into any more details, let me introduce myself a little, in case you don’t know that much about me:
My name is Simone and I was born in Switzerland where I learned to knit when I was around 5 or 6 years old. My mom always had a project going, so the concept was with me from a really young age. And then of course, we all learned to knit in school, though I am sure my brother would not remember how if I asked him these days! When I started to knit, there were not a lot of patterns, especially for kids or teenagers, and so I learned to knit socks by asking my Mom how to do it, and knitting a sweater by picking out yarn which at the time would have convenient notes on the label about how many balls of yarn it might take for a size 38 etc. You would then take the yarn home and swatch the stitch you wanted to use and then doing all the math off of the swatch. As you can imagine, there was  a bit of a learning curve and not all my projects turned out fabulous right from the start. I distinctly remember one where I decided to put a band of colorwork into the bottom third on the front and since this was the first time I worked a stranded design and was teaching myself by making ALL the mistakes, the band was a whole lot tighter than the rest of the sweater. So smartly, when I knit the back, I made sure to make it extra loose, which ended up making a big ol’ pouch than hung below my butt! I still wore the sweater, I had made it after all, but luckily it was a really warm number and there wasn’t all that much occasion to wear it except in the woods!
When I moved to the US in 1999, I was surprised to learn that not everyone was knitting the way I was taught and publishing designs was almost the logical conclusion.
I really love to knit and so I enjoy a variety of techniques and items, from shawls over smaller accessories (like the Mitts we will be knitting together) to sweaters and cardigans. I design things that I would like to wear (and I often do, though sometimes I have to wait for the shawl or sweater to make their way back to me after travelling in trunk shows to shops around the country) and so the things I am inspired to design change. I have many more ideas than hours or energy in my hands to knit, so I have to structure and plan, but I do like to leave a bit of room for the unexpected, if I can. I find having the freedom to design something on the spur of the moment just because I had this amazing idea really helps my creativity and my happiness. 

I love wooden tools, knitting needles included and have more needles than I care to admit. I probably have the entire size range of Knitter’s Pride Dreamz Interchangeable needles twice over, because they give me so much flexibility and because I always seem to need needles in the same sizes and end up adding another set of tips. I love that the wooden tips now come as Natural, because sometimes you just need a light colored needle to be able to really see your stitches. When I knit small circular things I prefer using DPNs, but I do quickly go over how to adapt your longer (40” /100 cm) circulars to knit these mitts using magic loop. 

One thing that I think absolutely rocks about the Knitter’s Pride interchangeable needles is the end caps. Do you use them much? If not, you should! Each cable comes with two of them and even though I tend to not often put something aside on the cable to use the needle tips for something else (see above and my mention of my needle collection) though they are great for that as well (just make sure to use the size tags which come with each set, for you won’t remember the size when you find your project 2 years from now and the sticky notes do fall off, trust me).
No, what I use them most often for is travel safety and sleeve stitches
Let me explain the first: When you travel on planes these days, you never know if they might take your needles. Fingers crossed, I never had an issue using my wooden Dreamz tips, but it depends on the country and the airport and you just never know. If you should be so unlucky as to have to give up your needles, simply unscrew the tips, put endcaps on and when you get to your destination, unpack the set of tips that was in your checked luggage! Sure it is sad that you couldn’t knit on your lace shawl while flying, but the stitches are safe and you get to enjoy it when you are on vacation! 
The other is sleeves: When I knit cardigans or sweaters in the round, (anything circular yoke or raglan shaped) instead of putting stitches on waste yarn, I simply knit them onto a short cable, add endcaps and voilĂ ! When it comes time to knit the sleeves (or join the sleeves to the body for bottom up designs) all you have to do is unscrew the endcaps and thread on the proper needle. No more stitches that got all tiny and are hard to pick up, no slipping this way and that. Just screw on those tips, and knit right off the end! I am probably a bit giddy, but I do love this so much, I probably have 8 sets of 16” and 20” cables just for that!
But let’s get back to designing. Often my inspiration comes from nature, I love hiking and being outside in general and anything in nature from a misty sunrise to an intricately twisted branch can just hit you and take your breath away. The Cloud Peak mitts that we are going to knit together, were inspired by those high peaks up in the mountains, the ones that often wear a cap of clouds when the wind is right. I settled on the name on our recent vacation, when driving across Wyoming towards the Big Horn mountains, the tallest peaks are in an area known as the Cloud Peak Wilderness, and from a distance, there are many smaller peaks visible as you approach across the lower country. The name seemed just perfectly fitted to the stitch pattern reminding me of mountain ranges back home with multiple peaks jutting high into the blue sky.
I hope many of you will join me as we get started, the official cast on date is August 25th, so you have 2 full weeks to shop for the perfect yarn or dig through your stash for that perfect skein. You need sport weight yarn and if you like, beads. I have tutorials that will show you all the parts that might be new to you, so if you’ve never used beads in your knitting, just follow along, it’s super easy! And all the details on materials are below. 

The socializing part of the KAL will be happening online and we even have our very own #hashtag: #CloudPeakKAL 
We will virtually knit together in my Ravelry group and on Instagram 
And on the Knitter's Pride and OwlCatDesigns Instagram profiles.  

So come over, give us a follow and say hi in my Ravelry group!


When I started designing these mitts, I wanted them to be versatile, but also something that has a few details that perhaps are new to you and where you can add a new knitting skill to your bag of tricks. I designed them to be knit in Sport Weight yarn so it would go quickly and the beads add an elegant little detail to the back of your hand! The pattern comes in a couple of sizes and I want to quickly go over how to measure your hand to find the perfect size and fit. 


As shown in the picture, measure the circumference of your palm, holding the tape measure snug. On the pattern you will find two measurements, one is the actual finished size, the other is the hand circumference it is meant to fit. Just like when you make a hat, you will want some negative ease (the actual measurement of the knitted item is smaller than the size of your hand) as knitted fabric has some stretch. This is so the mitt doesn’t fit all floppy and loose in the end but fits you ‘like a glove’.
The Cloud Peak Mitts can be knit with a regular or a long cuff, since I like mine long to tuck into a sweater or inside a jacket sleeve without cold wind getting to you. And the pattern is written in multiple sizes, so you can make one for the rest of the family too! As we go along, I have a couple of hacks and adaptations that I think would make these fun for a guy to wear as well (unless of course they are fond of beads, no tweaking necessary then).
A quick word on yarn: For this stitch pattern, a smooth plied yarn works best, and since mitts usually get a good bit of use and friction, you may want to opt for Superwash while you’re at it.
Ok so now that you know a bit more, here is what you need to get to be ready for cast on!
Pattern
Yarn
Approx. 155 (165, 180) yds / 140 (150, 165) m of sport weight yarn
Needles
US 4 (3.5mm needles) Knitter’s Pride either DPNs or 40” / 100 cm circulars needles for magic loop
Gauge
28 st and 32 rows = 4” / 10 cm in stockinette st
Finished Sizes
6 (7, 8)” / 15 (18, 20) cm palm circumference
to fit hand with palm circumference up to 7 (8, 9)” / 18 (20.5, 23) cm
Notions
Tapestry Needle
0.75mm Knitter’s Pride crochet hook or preferred tool to add beads
approx. 95 (105, 120) size 6/0 beads
5 markers (2 color A for Cloud Peak pattern panel, 2 color B for thumb gusset, and 1 marker for EoR)

For the sample I used Dragonfly Fibers Damsel in Silver Fox and less than 1 tube (20g) of size 6/0 beads in matte metallic silver grey.

Our KAL runs August 25-Sept. 22; I hope you will join me as we knit the Cloud Peak Mitts together over the next few weeks! 

August Giveaway! 

One lucky reader will win a Deluxe Royale Interchangeable Needle Set. To enter, leave a comment telling us what your favorite pattern is from Simone's back catalog! Don't forget to also mention your Ravelry ID or email address so that we can contact you if you win.

We'll randomly select one lucky winner to announce on our next blog post on Friday, August 31. Good luck!