Backroad Hats updated, now with set discount!

Just over a year ago, Interweave Knits published my Backroad Hats pattern in their Gifts special issue. It’s a good gift pattern, if I do say so: the stitch pattern is very stretchy (so the hat fits a lot of sizes and has some wiggle room for gauge) and works well with variegated colourways and the tonal variations of hand dyes; the hat takes about 126 yds/115m of worsted to Aran weight yarn and is a quick project. (The grey sample is in Malabrigo Merino Worsted, and the variegated sample is in Widdershin Woolworks Targhee Worsted, now only available through Mooncat Fiber in Taos, NM.) I’d always intended this hat to be available as part of a set, and now it is.  Continue reading

Brightsides

A while back, my friend and sometime model announced that she was expecting. She’s a pretty special woman, and so I made her a pretty special baby blanket. She loves grey, and stripes, and especially stripes done in greys. I added a pop of bright green to set off the border.

thecusserknits.com | Brightsides corner with periwinkle

It was a pleasing thing, this blanket, so, with her permission, I wrote up the pattern. I called it Brightsides. Continue reading

Icelandic for tea cozy

For a knitter, I sure have chosen a strange place to live. Most of the time, it’s hot, and when it’s not hot, it’s just sort of cool. Light weight sweaters are handy from late October ’til April, but those lovely heavy sweaters, the cozy cabled and stranded beauties that would be so perfect up north? Yeah, not so practical here. But finally, finally, I’ve come up with a way to have a lopapeysa of my own that will see regular use. Indeed, it will get used every single day. Continue reading

Designer Interview: Susan Andrews, aka Design Tonic

As the year — and the Indie Design Gift-A-Long — draw to a close, I’d like to treat you to an interview with a participating designer. Susan Andrews’ collection of designs is carefully curated: each one shows attention to detail and a love of geometry and colour, as well as a great sense of style. In my interview with Susan, I found out why this is.

All photos © Meridith Shepherd, except for Reunited, which is © Susan Andrews. Click each photo to go to that design’s pattern page.

Tommy Cowl detail
Tommy Cowl detail

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Too good to miss

You know that sinking feeling you get when you think you’ve done something quite well and then you find out that actually, you messed up in a pretty big way? Yeah, that’s me right now. You see, as part of the Gift-A-Long that I posted about, I helped to put together the Pinterest boards of sale patterns. I came up with a system. I was pleased with that system. I thought it worked quite well. I may even have been a bit too pleased, because as it turns out, I missed the entire sale pattern bundle of designer Monika Sirna. And that’s a shame, because Monika’s designs are much too good to pass over. (Click each photo to go to its pattern page.)

Tiger Lily shawl
Tiger Lily Shawl*

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Sometimes, you’ve gotta call in the pros

So I’ve been doing this designing gig for a few years now, and as I learn and improve, the look of my patterns has evolved. The photos have gotten better (much better), the language has tightened up (somewhat — I’m still a chatty wee monkey, and prefer to err on the side of too much technical information rather than too little), and my pattern layout has changed in increments as I learn more about the trade and about what works for knitters. Lately, I’ve been feeling kind of stuck, though. I knew the look of my patterns was kind of ‘meh’, but didn’t know how to fix it. Then — and I can’t believe it took me this long — I realized that just as I needed a pro photographer if I wanted professional quality photos, if I wanted professional-looking graphic design, perhaps I should turn to a graphic designer.*

Enter Jill Zielinski, aka Knitterella. Jill has done some of my favourite logos in knitting — The Plucky Knitter, Joji Locatelli, the new SpillyJane Knits logo — let’s just say I like her style. (Click on the Jill Zielinski link above to see her work.) I emailed her; she quoted me a fair price; we got to work.** At least, she got to work. I just collected pictures of what I like and don’t like in graphic design (which is how I finally joined Pinterest), and sent her vague instructions like, “reflecting my punk background but not too f#@k-you-spiky, ’cause that’s not really my niche, you know?” Yeah. So helpful. From all of that, with a little back-and-forth and a bit of tweaking, Jill came up with this:

EElliott-LOGO cropped Continue reading

Hybrid Vigour: Continuing Adventures in Socks

Some of you may remember the Great Handspun Sock Blowout of this past winter, in which my two pairs of handspun socks developed a cascade of failure points, resisting all attempts to save them from an untimely demise. At the time, I decided to rethink how I was spinning sock yarn, and relegated the yarn already spun to other projects. The one exception — a cabled Romney yarn — repaid my trust by becoming a sturdy (if somewhat fuzzy) pair of warm, comfortable, and durable socks. (So far. Knock on wood. With fingers crossed.)

These are exactly as cozy as they look.
These are exactly as cozy as they look.

(If you’re interested, the pattern is Kalajoki by Tiina Seppälä. It’s top-down, which I don’t normally do, but I fell in love with the waves down the leg and the rather ingenious anatomical toe.) Continue reading