Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hello 2014!



Social media is inundated with New Year’s resolutions today.  But instead of the typical resolutions, I’d like to take a minute to provide a New Year’s Eco Chic Knits preview! Hopefully the following information will help budget your yarn stash without giving away too much!

I’m excited to grow into garments and have at least 4 planned for 2014: 1 skirt, 1 tank, and 2 vests. The garments will feature structured lines and proportional design elements. For instance, for cables the designs will be sized proportionally to the different graded sizes so as to accentuate curves and maintain balance. I will also be publishing a number of accessories. Nature continues to inspire the accessories, but plan to see shawls and other accessories as well as cowls and scarves.

As for yarn brands, look for returns to Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Cotton, Worsted, and Multi Cotton, Galler Yarn’s Inca Eco, and Americo Originals. Due to the plethora of recommendations in the eco yarn thread, I’m looking forward to expanding the yarn brands I use. There is a treasure trove of eco yarn resources for the finding. I’m excited about working with new companies and hopefully indie producers as well.

Spring/ Summer designs will feature linen and cotton in finger, lace, sport, and DK weight. Inspired by oceanic breezes, my first design for spring will be a skirt in Americo Original’s Linen Tanguis with accents of Quince and Co’s Sparrow. Look for a structured tank featuring cables in a sport or DK weight organic cotton. Lace is a technique well matched to the seasons, so I hope to include several accessories highlighting lace designs, which may be enhanced with beads.

Fall/ Winter designs will feature organic cotton in DK, worsted, and aran weights. Inspired by trees, bushes, mountains, valleys, and hiking with Puddles, the accessory designs will feature simple stitches matched with unique construction and complex designs with beads, cables, and bobbles matched with simple construction. One of the aforementioned vests will feature S. Charles Collezione’ Nepal – 100% organic cotton. Another vest will feature Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Cotton.

I’m dedicating time submitting designs to 3rd party publications and hope you will soon find Eco Chic Knits in multiple venues.  Since the 2013 Indie Design Gift-A-Long was so energetically received, the wheels are already churning for a 2014 event.  I’m also seeking out eco indie dyers to do collaborations with, but this may run over into 2015.

After a long look forward, it’s great to get a chance to glance in the rear view for a second.  In closing this preview, I’m pleased to recap Eco Chic Knit’s 2013 releases:
From Right to Left:
Lake Breeze Tank - Eco Chic Knit’s debut garment design!
Drifter Cowl
Cleopatra Scarf - first 3rd party publication!
City Girl Cowl  - also available in the In The City ebook
Northern City Girl Cowl  - also available in the In The City ebook
Evergreen Sprig Cowl - also available in the Evergreen Sprig Collection ebook
Evergreen Sprig Headband - also available in the Evergreen Sprig Collection ebook
Evergreen Sprig Scarf - also available in the Evergreen Sprig Collection ebook
Geometry in Motion Cowl

Thank you all for your patronage and support!!
Happy Knitting!
Lindsay

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Designer Interview Series #3: Sonya Newstead



Happy Boxing Day!  Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Indie Designs Giftalong Designer, Sonya.  So let’s unravel Sonya’s GAL experience and love of lace while we get to know her a little better.  
Good'ay Sonya!


Which has been your most popular GAL design/s?
My most popular design so far is Radler.
Available on Ravelry for NZ$7.00


What has been the most exciting part of the GAL for you?
I loved watching everything unfold through the planning stages! The GAL itself has been fun to watch (and be part of), but it was amazing seeing everyone coming together on such an amazing effort. I may also have acquired a few new patterns in the process of watching everything happen too…

Will you have any new designs out in the GAL period? (before December 31)
I released Doublet, a baby/child singlet at the beginning of December.
Available on Ravelry for NZ$7.00


Have you every knit with eco yarns? If so, what pattern? Please provide a quick review on the yarn, too!
All my patterns have used local NZ yarns, but the only really eco one so far is Doublet, which uses SkeinzHeritage Organic Merino.  It is beautifully soft and bouncy, and I will definitely be using it again. The colour range isn’t huge at present, but I like what is available. I also have two designs in the works using possum yarns. That is a slightly different approach to being environmentally friendly, but it is meaningful to me (as well as being gorgeous yarn).

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
At the moment I take inspiration from all over - my published shawls all started from thinking about different ways to create the shapes I wanted. Doublet came about because I had an idea of what I wanted in a baby singlet and couldn’t find the right thing anywhere. The design I’m currently working on started off with a stitch pattern I liked, and I have a few design ideas from places I’ve been, and books I enjoy reading. Anything goes, really.

In closing, with a website titled “String Herder,” it is clear why Sonya loves to design lace shawls!
 
Find Sonya around the world in Rangiora, New Zealand or locally on-line at the following places:
Ravelry: orbfa
Ravelry Designer’s page: Sonya Newstead

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Designer Interview Series: #2 Jennifer Thompson

Jennifer Thompson, the cycling knitwear designer, was kind enough to hop off her bike for a "hi" shot.  Jennifer (fern1knits - Ravelry) is a designer partaking in the Indie Designs Gift-a-long on Ravelry.
Jennifer stopped to say "hi" before cycling off to her favorite Idaho wilderness haunts

So put the pedal to the cycling metal and rev up to 2nd gear while we learn all about Jennifer.  I shall do my best not to fall flat on my face while keeping up with this speedster.  
Jennifer got up to speed much faster than I did
She's fashioning her Botanical Doubleknit Caplet design
Available for $5.00 on Ravelry




1. If you could only knit/crochet one item type of item, what would it be?
Sweaters. I’m someone who always feels cold and one of the great comforts about knitting is being able to knit for myself cozy sweaters to bundle up in when I might be otherwise freezing. Right now, in fact, it is -6F/-21C where I live, and I am wearing multiple handknit sweaters. I honestly cannot imagine the possibility of having too many wool sweaters. I also tend to enjoy working on larger projects that take up to a month to finish, as they feel more satisfying to me.

Hmm, it wouldn't perchance be your SUPER cozy design - Oblique Motion - would it?
Available for $7.00 on Ravelry
 
2. Which of your patterns make for really great gift knitting?
My Skullsmittens seem to be fairly popular for gift knitting. I always like to look at the photos and read the comments from people who knit my patterns, and I have noticed that a lot of people make the skull mittens as gifts.
Available for $6.00 on Ravelry
Pattern includes both variations - this one and one above in Q3.

3. Which has been your most popular GAL design/s?
Probably the Skull Mittens.
Available for $6.00 on Ravelry
Pattern includes both variations - this one and one above in Q2.
4. What has been the most exciting part of the GAL for you?
I feel really lucky to have been a part of the GAL this year. It has been a great opportunity to collaborate with other indie designers, as well as finding out about so many amazing designs that I hadn’t seen before. During the sale period, I bought quite a few patterns and I’m hoping to knit them for my holiday gifts this year.

5. Will you have any new designs out in the GAL period? (before December 31)
Unfortunately no. I’m working on several designs that I’m really excited about, but the timeline just didn’t work out to release during the GAL.

Since you don’t have any preview pictures, I’m gonna highlight two of my favorite Jennifer Thompson designs – Oleander and Dreaming.


Available for $4.99 on Ravelry
6. Have you every knit with eco yarns (organic, sustainable, socially responsible, or alternative fiber)? If so, what pattern (including links)? Please provide a quick review on the yarn, too!
If not, do you have any questions about eco fibers you’d like me to answer in the course of the blog?
I have not but I would love to learn more about your yarn!

Since you asked, sourcing eco yarn has been made infinitely more accessible with Ravelry’s advanced search option.  Just scroll down the sidebar to the very bottom and click “organic.”  Be sure to also click “No” under the discontinued option a few bars above or the results will populate with yarns no longer available.



Organic is highlighted in green on the left here. 
You can also sort by "Vegetable fiber" - 2 lines below "Organic"

Also in the Eco Chic Knits Group I’ve started a thread “eco yarns” for a list of yarns that are organic, natural, socially responsible, sustainable, fair trade, and/ or animal-fiber free.  Other members have added yarns that are available in their markets too.  I’m working on a project to have a page tab with yarns companies listed sorted by “how they are eco,” but I’m still in the development stage.

7.Do you find any influences from you international education or cycling passion appearing in your designs?
In some of my future design releases, absolutely. I’m actually planning a series of cycling related accessories specifically for the cyclist who rides in the cold weather. Over the years, I’ve knit various accessories (mittens, gloves, balaclavas, hats, etc.) for myself as well as other cold weather riders, and have found that some designs work much better than others. For example, hats with ear flaps that can fit under a helmet. Or “glittens” to keep your hands warm while still allowing you to use your hand brakes. Of course, function will only be a part of it… since I tend to lean towards colorwork knitting, they will all have cycling specific colorwork designs.

Glittens?? Now that something worth checking out in the future - they are either fingerless or fingered gloves on the inside with a mitt like flap that you can pull over your fingers for extra warmth.

Thanks for interviewing Jennifer!  Bye for now :-)

Jennifer is headed off now, but you can still find her on-line at the following places:
Ravelry: username - fern1knits, designer shop Jennifer Thompson
Website/ blog:
www.fernknits.com
Goodreads: fern1knits