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New blog series :: All about the process!

For awhile now, I have been wanting to broaden my blog to something more than announcements about new pattern releases. I think I may have found that NEW thing!!  I am going to take you through my designing journey, specifically for my newest journey in designing a garment for a collection I hope to release this fall / winter.

Well, this first began when I received a copy of the book, Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book. As soon as I saw this new publication, I KNEW I needed to get my hands on it!  I have had the second version of this book (published in 2002) for as long as I’ve been knitting – over 12 years!  It has been such an amazing resource for me, especially when I was first beginning to design my own knitwear.  I learned different cast on and bind off techniques, as well as how to measure my gauge swatch, and use it to calculate yardage in garment design…just to name a few! It is really the ultimate guidebook to knitting!

Upon opening the book, I noticed that a lot of the core information was the same.  But how much they have added has made this book even more valuable to me!  I immediately turned to the section called “Designing Sweaters” on page 203.  This has been an area of my design portfolio that I feel is lacking, and I have been wanting to take my knit design to the next level. I have designed and published a few garments (Midnight Madness, To The Flame, Starlight Adventure, Primono), but they were all created using unusual modular techniques that were pure experiments for me. I would love to design garments using more traditional techniques, but keeping them interesting and fun at the same time! I can’t even tell you how many books I have in my library about sweater design…..Ok, it’s like 5…but that feels like a lot!  For some reason, it was all feeling a bit overwhelming to me: taking an idea, a thought, a sketch, and turning it into a sweater that is simple yet engaging to knit, and something you never want to take off.  This book has it all in one place!!

The first step of my journey: Finding the yarn and sketching out my ideas. Using the yarn I’ve shown in the photo above and below, I want to design a new sweater to be part of a new collection. Because of the climate where I live, I chose this single-ply fingering weight base to create a lightweight sweater or cardigan that I can wear year-round.  Shown below are Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles in colors Concrete (I have 3 skeins total which will compose the main body of the sweater), and one skein each of a Potluck color (which are one of a kind color ways that may not be repeated again), Kimono, and Pucker.

The Concrete color way is absolutely perfect for this collection (I will tell you more about that later), and I planned the rest of the sweater around this color way.  I love the bits of purple and blue in there!! You can see a little peek at my sketch that I’m working on.  At this point, I’m still unsure if I want to create a cardigan or a pullover, but I know that I want it to be worked from the top down, with one-color brioche chevron stripes along the yoke, alternating the brighter colored single skeins.  If I go with a cardigan, I think I will stick with a simple raglan shaping, and if I go with a pullover, I will go with a more circular yoke design.  If you look at the sketches, you can see a bit more of the rest of the collection I’m putting together!  I’m starting with the sweater, because it’s the most difficult and time-consuming of the pieces.

Here is a closer look at my sketch, and a bit of the information covered in this section of Vogue Knitting!!  This was my original sketch for a cardigan with raglan style shaping for the arms and shoulders.  I may end up going this route because I wear cardigans way more than pullovers.  I live in Southern Texas, and I feel like I’m always putting on and taking off layers!

I am still in the very beginning stages of this design, and want to bring you along with me every step of the way.  I will be learning so much, and I hope that you will learn something too!  Next step will be winding up the yarn and casting on a swatch or two.  I am thinking that I will swatch for both versions, to see which I like the best.  Look for a new post after I have completed the swatches, and maybe you can help me make a final decision!! 

Thank you so much for following along with me!!  Please feel free to comment with any questions, and feel free to let me know if you have a preference between cardigans and pullovers!

 

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New pattern release :: Coffee at the Grand!

Introducing my newest brioche pattern, Coffee at the Grand!  This new knitting pattern is available on both Ravelry and in my online shop here at knitgraffiti.com!  Follow the links there to check out the pattern and see loads more photos.  I am offering an introductory discount as well: use coupon code COFFEE at checkout to receive 15% off the pattern through tonight at midnight CT.

She only loved the espresso at the Grand Hotel, and frequently spent her evenings there, drinking coffee in her favorite cocktail dress :: An elegant rectangular stole with chevron stripes, tweedy texture, and pom tassels, inspired by early 20th century fashion. All knit using a combination of one-color, two-color, and three-color brioche.

This stole was completely inspired by the amazing ladies of Lattes and Llamas, and their love for coffee. The colors of the yarn we chose together for this design remind me of the beauty found in the film, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, created by one of my favorite film-makers, Wes Anderson. I picture a lady of leisure wearing this stole around her shoulders over her favorite cocktail dress for an evening of Coffee at the Grand. If you’re curious or have any other questions about this pattern, head on over to Ravelry to see all of my notes!

Yarn used in Coffee at the Grand: Interlude by Lattes and Llamas in colors Palpatine, In Omnia Paratus, and Little Princess.

This was a very exciting collaboration with Lattes and Llamas, two dyers that I’ve been following since before I started designing knitwear!  They are actually one of the main reasons I got into knitting….like obsessively!  I came across their Geek-A-Long, and thought it was just hilarious.  I tried double knitting and thought that was pretty cool. So when they approached me to create a design using one of their new yarn bases, I jumped right in!  Interlude yarn is just gorgeous, a blend of Cashmere, Silk, and Bluefaced Leicester.  It was begging to become something luxurious and decadent.  I had been researching different brioche knitting textures recently, and was wanting to try three-color brioche!  So we chose these three colors together: Palpatine, In Omnia Paratus, and Little Princess, to work with.  I will admit, they are a bit out of my normal comfort zone.  But as soon as I started working with them, I was delighted with the result!

If you are wondering how to choose your own colors for the stole, choose three colors of different tones for the best result: one light, one medium, and one dark! If you are wondering if your yarn will work, take a black and white photo of the yarn and compare! I highly recommend choosing three solid, semi-solid, or tonal colors for this shawl. Three-color brioche creates a gorgeous texture, but could be lost with a variegated or speckled yarn.

And finally, the icing on the cake: the Pom Tassels.  Something was missing to me after I blocked out the stole.  It needed a little pizazz to really finish it off.  But I wanted to do something a little different than just a normal tassel.  I scoured the interwebs for something interesting, and came across these fun Pom Tassels!!  If you want to add them to your project, I have included a 2-page photo tutorial in the pattern on how exactly I made mine.  I used a mixture of yarns, and did some fun experiments.  And luckily there is enough leftover yarn to create them!

All of the different stitch patterns used create an entirely reversible fabric!!  This last photo shows the Contrast Side, which looks equally interesting.

I hope you enjoy my newest pattern!!  This was so fun to create, and is even more fun to wear.  Now I need a date night so I can wear it out in public….or not!  Who says I can’t wear it to the grocery store, eh?  😉

Thank you so much for following along in my journey, and feel free to leave comments with any questions! xx Lesley.

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New pattern release :: Stellaire shawl!

Stellaire shawl is now available on Ravelry and knitgraffiti.com!!  I am so excited to finally release this pattern, and am offering an introductory discount: receive 20% off using coupon code STELLA both on Ravelry and knitgraffiti.com!  This offer will go through Monday, December 18, 2017, just in time to grab some amazing kits by La Bien Aimée (LBA)!! They will be posting 2 different kits on Monday evening, one in the exact color ways you see here, and one in a more romantic color palette.  I will send out a reminder via Instagram and my blog when they go live!

Yes, La Bien Aimée yarns are some of my favorites. I have designed with them before, if you remember my High Rise shawl, as well as my Parlour shawl.  I’m actually wearing my High Rise shawl around my shoulders right now!  Aimée has created some beautiful fade kits, and I knew I wanted to design a simple, easy-to-wear brioche lace shawl using her Stella fade paired with her Magellan fade.  Her Interstellar color way is one of my absolute favorites!

I knew I wanted to create a new shawl design that would be very approachable to brioche newbies who maybe wanted to venture beyond even two-color brioche.  So I designed this shawl to start with two-color garter stitch, which creates an amazing texture, and the perfect canvas for blending yarns.  Not only does this pattern fade from light to dark colors, it is also a pattern fade – fading from two-color garter stitch slowly to two-color brioche lace. It’s a great way to dip your toe into brioche lace, if you’re wanting to give it a try!

This shawl is a very generous size, and uses 4 skeins of fingering / sock weight yarn.  I used LBA’s Merino Singles, which are just so delightful.  There are so many possibilities with this shawl, you can fade the exact way that I wrote the pattern, or you can create a stash-buster version and use my color-blending technique to fade in more colors!  Or don’t even fade at all, it will look so beautiful!!  I chose 4 colors that were very close to each other, so that the color blending was subtle.  But color with a higher contrast will still work!

Be sure to read more details about the construction and how to choose your colors on the pattern page, here!

Closeup of the texture of this shawl.

This sample is now on its way to La Bien Aimée in Paris, and I will be knitting myself a new sample in bright colors, pinks and oranges!!  I cannot wait to start, this is such a soothing knit.  It’s perfect for knitting around the holidays while you’re spending time with family and friends, and want to be working on something that doesn’t require too much attention.

If you’re still feeling a bit nervous to dive into brioche lace, my Craftsy class, Modern Brioche Lace, is available at a fantastic price right now!!  And you can always get the class at 50% off if you follow the link from the Classes and Events page my website.

Thank you for following along, and happy briocheing, friends!!

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Craftsy class :: Modern Brioche Lace

Oh boy, am I excited to announce that my first Craftsy class is now LIVE!!! I have been developing this new class, Modern Brioche Lace, since June, and it has been SO much fun! It is actually on SALE right now for $19.99, so hurry to grab it at such a great price!

You might be wondering, what in the world is Craftsy?! Well, it is so many things, but first and foremost, it is an online forum for some of the most amazing classes you will find anywhere on the World Wide Web!!  Talented instructors who are experts in their field have developed classes in areas from knitting to crochet, sewing to photography, cooking, and even baking!  While I was there filming back in October, I got to meet Joshua of Man About Cake!  It’s a very cool show that Craftsy runs, I mean, how cool are his cakes?!

So, what is my class all about? I really wanted to create a class where anyone could come, sit down and relax, and learn how to create beautiful brioche lace…all in a no-pressure environment: the comfort of your own home!!  I have been obsessed with brioche lace for a long time, and it is all I want to knit and design.  But I know it can be an intimidating technique, especially for those who have never knit brioche before.  This is certainly not a beginning brioche class, but there are so many resources out there to learn.

www.briochestitch.com <- This is a great starting point for all you brioche beginners.  Nancy Marchant was my teacher, via her wonderful book, Knitting Fresh Brioche. She also has a few Craftsy classes: Explorations in Brioche Knitting, and Brioche Knitting: Exploring Color and Texture. The first class especially is a great one for learning the basics.

I also have some great patterns that could help teach you the basics!  My Sonnen shawl pattern is very good for beginners! If you want to start with a smaller accessory, the first pattern that I ever published, Pink Graffiti hat, is great if you want to start out with one-color brioche in the round.  This is a good transition to two-color brioche, without having to keep track of two different colored yarns.

All of that said, if you are familiar with two-color brioche, and you also feel comfortable with traditional lace knitting (yarn overs and other simple decreases), then you are TOTALLY ready for this class!!

Not only do I teach 5 of the most commonly used brioche increases and decreases, I also designed a new two-color brioche lace shawl specifically for the class!  The Provençal shawl pattern comes free with the class, and I will even be knitting it with you in the last half of the class!  It is a great pattern for brioche lace beginners, and I hope it inspires you to jump feet first into this wonderful technique!!

Seen here is the neutral gray version of Provençal that I knit during the filming of this class!

Here is a little teaser trailer for your viewing pleasure.

Please feel free to comment with any questions! And I hope you enjoy my class!  Thank you for following along.

Disclosure: All links to Craftsy classes other than my own are affiliate links.

 

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New patterns week!!!

Happy November!!  It feels like forever since I’ve written a blog post, and this one has ALL the news!!  The most exciting of which is to announce that my Ameyo shawl is now released on Ravelry and knitgraffiti.com!!  Receive a 20% discount using coupon code AMEYO through Sunday, November 5!  Offer will end at midnight Central time.

This was a very special collaboration with two beautiful Indonesian artitsts: Amelia of Papiput Yarns, and Meyo of Meyoco Illustrations. Amelia had already created these gorgeous color ways which were completely inspired by Meyoco, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them.  This is her Tough Sock base, shown in colors Peach Soda (Main Color) and Gili (Contrast Color, the blue one)…..they are basically my spirit colors.  I was so enthralled with Meyoco’s illustrations, her use of color, geometry mixed with lovely organic shapes. So I started sketching and came up with a new brioche design that I cast on as soon as I received the yarn!!

I took this photo after receiving the yarn. You can see my sketch in the background, along with one of Meyoco’s illustrations that inspired my design.

Amelia x Meyo = Ameyo.

Read more about this pattern on Ravelry, and see all the amazing projects my test knitters created!  There are so many wonderful color combinations. Also, be sure to keep your eye on Kitterly.com, they will have some very special kits with Papiput yarns, hand curated by myself and Amelia, starting tomorrow!!!

IN OTHER NEWS!!!!!!  I am also extremely excited to share with you another design that was shown this week: my Cobaltoan hat, which has been published as part of Issue 23 of Pom Pom Quarterly magazine!! The official preview has been released to Ravelry, as well as their blog, if you want to get a closer look.  Every single pattern in this Vivid Winter issue is just fabulous!!  I feel so honored to be among such beauty and talent.  Here’s a peek.

Aren’t these photos and styling just everything??  The beautiful photography was done by Laura Morsman (@lauramorsmanphotography on Instagram), and I just love the hand painted backdrops, painted by talented abstract artist Kim Whiteside (who lives in Texas like me!!). If you can get your hands on this new issue, you will not be sorry.  It will keep your needles busy all winter long, and hopefully our winters will be a bit brighter, too.

Thank you so much for reading, and for following along in my fiber journey!!  I love you all.

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New pattern release :: Autumn Vibes hat!

Feeling all the Autumn Vibes :: now available on Ravelry and knitgraffiti.com!!  Receive a 20% discount on this pattern through the end of today using coupon code VIBES at checkout.  Autumn Vibes is a color dipped hat with a textural arrow band, knit using the two-color brioche stitch. The pattern is written for two sizes: Adult Small and Large.  See the pattern pages for more details.

Remember my Summer Vibes shawl I released in July?  I was so inspired by the brioche arrows stitch pattern that I created for that design, I wanted to see what it would look like in a different application!  I loved working with YOTH yarns Best Friend for that summer shawl, and I wanted to continue working with them for this design.  Autumn hats should be totally squishy and warm, right?  Well, YOTH yarns Big Sister DK weight was an absolutely PERFECT yarn for this hat!  Seriously, it is so soft.  It is a blend of superwash merino (the softest), cashmere (wow, even softer), and a bit of nylon to give it a bit of memory.  And did I mention the colors??

Color Dipped version, shown in Large size

The pattern is written specifically for this color dipping, shown here in the Large size. I used colors Peach, Mint, and Caviar for this one. But I really wanted to see what it would look like in simply two colors!

Two Color version, shown in Small size

This sample used colors Mint and Caviar together for a neutral look. There really are endless possibilities for this pattern.  Knit it as written, or grab tons of leftover balls of DK yarn and create a super stripey version that’s the ultimate stash buster!!

Autumn Vibes modeled. Summer Vibes hanging in the background, shown in YOTH yarns Best Friend in colors Oyster and Cracked Pepper.

I like to wear my hats a little big, and this one has the perfect amount of slouch.  I truly hope you enjoy my newest pattern, and keep your eye out for another fun pattern this winter!!  (wink wink).