Hi, how you doing? How’s the weather where you are? Weather isn’t just a topic for small talk here, maple syrup season is big business and when we don’t have enough snow (we don’t) the trees don’t make as much sap. And when we don’t get the cold nights and warm days (we aren’t, it was 62F overnight) the sap doesn’t rise and fall the way it needs to for sugaring. In short the weather is seriously bipolar and while it doesn’t affect me personally, I can feel it in the community.
It’s also the opposite problem from the one we had back in 2013 when I was trying to arrange a photo shoot in the Sugarbush of Sterling for the Saccharum vest. These photos? With the model shivering and the snow in the background:
They were taken the second week in April. The sap had barely begun to run, and when it finally warmed up it went too fast. I can tell you, the sugar makers of New England are not pleased with this climate change thing.
Ok, but all that was depressing enough, lets have a peak at my vest in progress to cheer us all up:
You can barely tell, but I’m done with the tree branch chart. From here on the back is simple 2×2 ribbing which creates the canopy of the trees. I’m also ready to divide for the fronts, so I’m hoping from here it’ll be smooth sailing. Maybe I’ll have a finished vest by the end of the KAL (which is 4/8, not 4/1 – phew)
I also want to show off my button hole modification. Instead of toggles or multiple buttons I decided I wanted one big button for closure. So instead of using the leaf eyelets as they are I modified one leaf:
Instead of a pair of YOs I worked a double yo paired with a k3tog on the row before. Then I just knit the two loops of the double YO to keep the stitch count the same. I still don’t know which of my singleton buttons I’ll be featuring. I’ll let future-Becky decide that.
I’m launching another book knit-along next month! March will feature the vest from the same chapter, Saccharum.
This vest includes leafy trim on the front edges, simple waist shaping, a deep V neck, and most of all: the trees
This vest is worked up in Imperial Yarns Columbia base. It’s a lovely, single farm yarn with plenty of bounce and spring to make cables pop.
If you’re looking at substitutes I recommend another bouncy wool in a heavy worsted or aran weight. March is still cold, after all. So this vest is meant to be knit up thick and warm!
Please consider joining in the KAL over on Ravelry where I’m happy to talk about vest modifications, yarn substitutes, and there will be some prizes too!
If you’re in the area Calley and I will be signing copies of Cast Iron, Cast On at Yarn (the knitting store in Montpelier) this saturday! Stop by between 2-4pm to see all the sample garments, browse through the book in person, and even buy some yarn. I love this store, and they carry quite a few of the wonderful US spun and dyed yarns that I featured in my designs.
We even have a facebook event, so you know it’s a real thing!
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I love this sweater so, so much. I’m giving it a post of its own! This is my blueberry sweater (on ravelry for more photos). The pattern is Bluegold, the January sweater from Cast Iron, Cast On. This pattern was inspired by the coziness of winter and the pretty latticework on fancy blueberry pie*. This is not the only book sample which I knit in my own size. But for some reason it’s totally my favorite.
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve loved this book sample to pieces. I wore it almost constantly while pregnant. A cardigan is probably the best maternity sweater out there. The fabric has pilled a bit, but the superwash DK yarn from Periwinkle Sheep is brilliantly strong as well as holding those deep, saturated colors so perfectly. The biggest tragedy was the hole in the shoulder – pretty sure we have one of my cats to thank for that.
So before giving this sweater a photo shoot of its own I wanted to patch that up. I was thinking about the duplicate stitch darning I’ve seen tutorials for. But since this hole is in the knit/purl pattern I just didn’t have the mental energy to figure out how that would work. Instead I made up a system as I went. I started by putting in a framework:
Then I wrapped the yarn around that first strand – so that the working yarn is like a coiled spring that runs through the live stitches at the bottom and around the first rung.
The next set of coils went around the second rung and through the tops of the first coils. The final row goes through the live stitches at the top and the coils of the row below. It’s a patchwork job. But this coiled yarn maintains the stretchiness of the lattice work pattern in way that a traditional darning job wouldn’t. And (while being hard to describe) was easy to accomplish.
And then I took some new photos
So soft, so lovely!
And that patch job? It doesn’t look half bad either!
*Note that the recipe in this chapter ended up being a blueberry jam cobbler – no lattice pastry required. Sometimes the recipes evolved beyond the inspiration of the pattern. That’s the organic nature of our book writing process.
I have a January book KAL coming up and I’m hoping you’ll join in! January is a cold month (duh) and since it comes after all that gift-knitting in December it’s also an excellent time to start a new project just for yourself. May I suggest the Bluegold cardi from my book?
Bluegold is knit up in Periwinkle Sheep’s Merino DK yarn. This is a scrumptious high-twist merino. The plies of the yarn make it the hardest wearing super-wash yarn I’ve knit with. I lived in the book sample of this sweater for two winters after it was finished and it still looks really good. Even better? Karin is offering kits on sale for the whole month of January! Head over to her Etsy shop and you can pick up yarn in one of three colors for 15% off:
Check out the Ravelry page for Bluegold to figure out how many skeins you need for your size. Or check the book, unless you’re still waiting for Amazon to deliver it ;-)
The KAL will start January 1st and run (officially) through Feb 15th. But of course I’ll be around the Ravelry group long, long after that for anyone who has questions later on! I’ll be posting prizes and ways to enter next week. So please join in!
The November KALs are going nicely, lots of folks from the Peace Fleece group are knitting Cervus, but Oleracea has a knitter too. If you still want to join, two weeks is plenty of time to knit a hat. And we have prizes! You could win yarn, or caramel!
It’s also time to start thinking about December’s knit-along. The chapter this month allows for some indulgence. If it isn’t enjoyable then it is hard to maintain knitting and eating locally! In the spirit of the holidays we have a little gift bag which is itself a gift, Cannella:
These bags are knit with Vermont dyer Ball and Skein’s shiny silk yarn and adorned with beads in festive patterns.
If you prefer something to keep yourself or a loved one warm consider the cozy and dressy capelet, Lavandula:
It’s a simple crescent shawl with feminine ruffles at the bottom, supportive icord along the top edge, and a romantic hood. The sample is knit from Sunday Knits angora blend yarn.
I hope you’ll stop by the December KAL thread and let me know what you’re thinking about knitting for next month!
I’m psyched to announce that my book: Cast Iron, Cast On: cooking and knitting through the seasons is available on Amazon now! If you just want the ebook I recommend Ravelry – and it’s available there too!
Makers are just that: inspired to make things, whatever they may be! Calley Hastings (co-owner of Fat Toad Farm, a goat dairy specializing in goat milk caramel) and Becky Herrick (knitwear designer) both live in Vermont, where they create fantastic handmade items from the local bounty. Be it local wool or local milk, stylish wearables or delicious edibles, this talented duo will show you how to cook and create through all the seasons of the year.
Both authors find equal satisfaction in baking or knitting a housewarming gift. When a loved one needs comfort they might knit a hat, or show up with a loaf of homemade bread. Let Becky and Calley guide you through a year of their patterns and recipes.
The book includes 16 patterns and more than 20 recipes all organized around our seasonal theme and all featuring some of our favorite yarns and ingredients. I hope you’ll check it out, ask your LYS to carry it, and your local library to pick up a copy!
If you’re on Ravelry please pop over to my November Knit Along, or the mirror one in the Peace Fleece group! Our November prizes have been announced and (I may be biased) but I think they’re pretty awesome! There’s yarn, more yarn, Fat Toad Farm caramel sauce, and some of my indie patterns too!
I’m really excited about this part of having a new book: the knitting part! (Yes, I know, I haven’t done a full book post here yet. I’m waiting for it to be available to buy online. Don’t worry, it’s coming.)
My new book (Cast Iron, Cast On – in case you haven’t checked out all the designs on Ravelry yet) is a type of almanac. Each chapter is a month and each month’s content includes a recipe and a pattern or two. The recipes and the patterns are all inspired by the seasons, local ingredients, and American made or dyed yarns.
So it seems perfectly logical to have monthly knit-alongs! We’ll be starting in November with the Cervus sweater and Oleracea hat:
Please consider joining me over on Ravelry for conversation, knitterly support, and prizes! If you’re knitting Cervus you can also pop into the Peace Fleece Lovers group where they’ll be hosting a parallel Cervus KAL.
You will need to pick up a copy of my book (keep watching here, I will post when the ebook is available). In the mean time everything you need to start swatching and preparing is up on ravelry’s pattern pages.
The wonderful folks at Peace Fleece are offering 20% off their worsted weight yarn to support our knit along, the link to the sale page is in both groups.
I hope you’ll join us, I’m looking forward to seeing all your book projects! And if neither of these designs is speaking to you right now, there will be another knit along in December, so watch this space!
I had a very important post that I meant to write up last Friday. It was also kinda time sensitive. But then Windsor was home sick and had a dentist appointment and and and…
I was at Rhinebeck with my new book last weekend.
I hope if you were there too you were able to come see me. And a huge thanks to everyone who did. The wonderful knitters who showed up excited to see my book and meet me help me to remember why I do all this work. I would create these things for myself anyway. But being able to share them with you makes the hard work of writing out patterns worthwhile.
You may ask what else I did at Rhinebeck, but I had a case of camnesia so I don’t have much to show. It was a quick down-and-back trip, I was only there for Saturday, and I was in the booth for half of it.
I did get to the Ravelry meet up, but I completely missed the Peace Fleece meetup… I saw some of the barns in their entirety but I missed all the animals (those barns were crowded Saturday afternoon!) I did but some lovely yarn, of course:
The green is 100% targhee from Blue Moon Fiber Arts, The dark reddish purple is Periwinkle Sheep’s merino aran in the “any port in a storm” colorway (YUM). The multi is a fingering weight yarn from Gale’s Art with yummy nubs that are actually colors that match the yarn itself (otherwise I hate nubs and generally avoid them…) Also pictures are my newest project bag and a pair of Jennie the Potter earrings.
For those of you who couldn’t make the festival Cooperative Press will be adding the ebook to Ravelry as soon as Shannon is back in the office, or at least someplace with decent Internet…
Then I drove home. And it was a pretty pretty snowstorm that greeted me:
I’m thrilled to announce that my book will be published later this month!*
Cast Iron, Cast On: cooking and knitting through the seasons is a collaboration between myself and Calley Hastings of Fat Toad Farm. It’s a unique format- the book is arranged as a monthly almanac with seasonally appropriate patterns (by me) and recipes (by Calley) for every month of the year.
We’re expecting to have the first print copies available at Rhinebeck. If you’re there please stop by the Cooperative Press booth on Saturday to see the book and the book samples! I will also be helping out in the booth for part of the day so if you see me too – say HI!
If you won’t be at Rhinebeck keep an eye here, on my newsletter, or on Ravelry. I’ll be flooding the airwaves once it’s available! Ebooks and physical books should be available later this month. Links to websites where you can buy the physical copy will be up as soon as I have them. Better yet – ask your local yarn store to order directly from Cooperative Press!
Starting in November I will be hosting knit-alongs for the patterns from each month. There will be prizes, chatting, pattern assistance (when needed), and delicious recipes to follow as well. Drop on by my Ravelry group for more details about the first one which starts in a little more than 3 weeks – plenty of time to get your yarn all lined up!
*If you’ve been watching the patterns pop up on Ravelry, you knew this was coming!