Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sallah Cowl

It's been a busy couple weeks for designs recently, and I'm still catching my breath.  But I wanted to talk a little bit about my design in last week's Knitty, the Sallah Cowl!

(all photos are copyright Bristol Ivy and star the lovely Dana, who was kind enough to do an early morning photoshoot with me on my birthday in August!)

Sallah was designed with a couple key features in mind: I wanted it to be a one skein project, and I wanted it to use variegated yarn.  I knew (from personal experience!) that single skeins of hand-dyed variegated sock yarn are incredibly tempting in yarn stores, but (also from personal experience) they can sit around for a while, waiting for the perfect project that will utilize their gorgeous colors without creating a muddy mess.  Combine those needs with an amazing stitch pattern that a German visitor to my local LYS showed me, and I knew I had a good combination! My super wonderful mom knit the original sample for me, and did an absolutely marvelous job.  Thanks, mom!

(we shot these behind the big barn at Gilsland Farms, one of the local Audobon locations, and one of my favorite places for a shoot.  It's also where I shot Telemetry and my own photos for Winnowing!)

Sallah is knit on the bias, which also helps move the variegation around even further and aids in preventing pooling.  However, this has led to a few questions from knitters, so I thought I'd go over a couple points here.

The first concerns the measurement point after completing the increases and starting the body.  The pattern indicates to measure along the left edge, but with a fabric made of ribbing and an odd shape, where exactly is that? Here's a quick diagram to help illustrate.

The bottom point is your cast on, and the top point is your bind off.  You're aiming for a parallelogram! (Thanks, mom and 6th grade geometry!) Keep in mind, too, that you'll measure that left edge unstretched--this comes into play with the question below.  Another note is that row gauge is pretty critical to this project (as all measurements are based on it), so make sure you're keeping careful note.

This second question concerns the cowl length before seaming; the final measurements are 22" in circumference, but you will start the decreases at 17" in length along the left edge (what we were talking about above!), creating a finished product 17" in circumference.  So where do those extra five inches come from?

Well, ribbing is stretchy.  And Sallah is knit on the bias.  When you combine those two things, you will add both length and height during the blocking process, when you'll stretch the whole project out to match the pattern dimensions.  Just give it a try--trust me!

Lastly, Sallah is almost completely customizable to whatever length you'd like! There are a couple bits of math to keep in mind, and it's necessary to have a scale for this part.
Step 1: weigh your ball of yarn before starting.
Step 2: weigh your ball of yarn after performing the increases.  Note this amount--you will need the same for your decreases.
Step 3: calculate an amount for your I-cord edging.  We reserved about 20g for the I-cord on the original cowl, for a 22" circumference, so proceed accordingly.
Step 4: Add the amount of yarn used for your increases together with the amount needed for your I-cord.  You can now knit on the body of the cowl until this amount of yarn remains! It may involved some complicated algebra to make sure that the changing circumference and the changing I-cord amounts meet up (algebra was 8th grade for me), but it shouldn't be too bad.

I hope this helps with your Sallah experience; it's been so much fun for me to see all the projects popping up on Ravelry so far.  I can't wait to see more!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Bits and Pieces

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you the Bristol edition of Reader's Digest?
  • Did you see that the Kit Camisole is now available for sale on Ravelry? It is!
  • Did you see that the Tideline Cowl from Cecily's wonderful book, Landing, is now available for sale individually on Ravelry? Well, it is, too!
  • Did you see I'm teaching my wet felted vessels class at the Portland Fiber Gallery next weekend? I am!
  • Have I yet talked about KnitEast 2013, where I'll be teaching my shawl design class, my picots, pleats and welts class, and my Bristol's Cowl, among such unbelievable company as Ann Budd, Mary Jane Mucklestone, and the Yarn Harlot? I can't wait for September!
  • Did I mention that I finished the first lingering deadline project last week, and officially ran out of yarn on my second deadline project last night, so I can knit whatever I want until more yarn arrives? I did!
  • Did I mention my big brother is moving cross country on Monday? He is*! 
What exciting things are happening in your life these days?

*(Knitters of the world, he has with him a black and blue marled beanie that I knit for him a few Christmases ago.  If you see that hat on that guy as he makes his way across the country, be nice to him and steer him to whatever awesome donut or beer place is nearby.  I'll appreciate it more than I can say.)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Belated Anouk

I was having a wee gander over the last few blog posts here on the blog, and I realized that I'd never done a formal introduction for my latest published pattern, Anouk!

(all photos by Carrie Bostick Hoge!)

Anouk has to be one of the quickest page-to-screen patterns I've ever produced;  I just found my original concept email to Pam at Quince, and from that date to publication was less than a month.  A month! Crazy! But sometimes when you've got the design itch, it has to happen!

The idea for Anouk came about from a simple "what if?" question; what if the chevron patterns that everyone knows and loves were turned slightly askew? All the versions I had seen were symmetrical and lovely, but I wanted to see what might happen to the fabric were the decreases pulled off-center.  Anouk is the result! It's a one skein project using Quince's gorgeous fluffy Osprey, one of my favorite yarns ever, in the gorgeous Gingerbread colorway.  I am rarely without a huge scarf, shawl, or cowl around my neck this time of year, and I can't wait to snuggle down in this one!
As an aside, can we discuss how much I want the shirt the model wore for this shoot? I've been stalking it and the rest of the Pendleton Portland collection for both my own wardrobe and design inspiration.  I think it fits wonderfully with Anouk's aesthetic!

A huge thanks to everyone who shared their own stories of the knitting wandering eye after the last blog post; it was so great to hear that I'm not alone. :) I'm closing in on the end of both deadline sweaters, so a bit of frivolous knitting is in sight!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

What I would be doing if I weren't me

Friends, I am sad to say that ennui has set in.  I am hip deep in two deadline projects, and all I want to do is knit handspun socks, tiny baby hats, and every single thing that isn't one of the two currently on the needles.  I am sure this is a temporary glitch, but I thought it might help to share some of my current obsessions with you in hopes that my recovery will be quicker in coming.  Because these sweaters won't knit themselves!

So what's catching my attention at the moment? The Alfalfa Hat by Kate Gagnon Osborn and the Crooked Little Baby Bonnet by Melissa LaBarre.  I have quite a few pregnant friends and I am itching to make tiny hats for all of them.  (Not to mention the tiny sweaters. . .) The Stockard Cardi by Cecily Glowik MacDonald, the Clarity Cardigan by Gretchen Ronnevik, High Country by Carol Sunday, and Toulouse by Leah Thibault.  Swing knitting.  Oversized cables.  Marling.  The Fair Isle hat in Loft leftovers I've had planned for a month.  Spinning scrappies from Funky Carolina and Into the Whirled for the most colorful pair of socks ever.  Setting up another project on the loom.  And. . . and. . . and. . .

So you see, I have a terminal case of the wandering fiber eye.  But if you'll excuse me, I'll be over here staring balefully at this sweater.  Send good thoughts.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

An October in Images

Kinnearing the Yarn Harlot at Webs.

The crew waits in line for the first day of Rhinebeck to open. . .

along with lots and lots of other people!

Lovely yarn in the sunshine.

A llama with an unfortunate haircut.

A Shetland lamb.

A Romney ram.

A ride over to Peak's Island.

Sunset starting in Casco Bay.



Wishing you an equally wonderful fall!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Rhinebeck Ready

Last time I went to Rhinebeck back in 2010, I decided two weeks beforehand that I wanted a Rhinebeck sweater.  A custom-designed, all-over cabled, handspun Rhinebeck sweater.  Yes, I am well aware of the crazy.  I managed it, but I swore to myself--never again.

So this year I planned ahead.  The Ursa Sweater I've been working on all year? Rhinebeck sweater.  I started early, I gave myself lots of leeway, it would be no sweat, right? I finished it back in September with plenty of time to spare.

It's knit from handspun, carded from bits and pieces of everything that I had in my stash.  There's alpaca, merino, BFL, cashmere, and angora, and I spun it as an Aran-weight 3-ply.  I made a bunch of mods to the pattern (narrowing the sleeves, changing the buttonband, changing the decrease style, twisting the rib, toggles instead of buttons) and I love this sweater absolutely to bits.  It is warm and soft and cozy and I'm planning to wear the crap out of it.

So hey, I thought, I'm good to go! I can get started on knitting my Rare Breed Sheep Heid! The last time at Rhinebeck, we saw a knitting group that all had matching hats, which made it wonderfully easy for them to find each other in the crowd.  My knitting group decided that we would all have matching Sheep Heids for this year, and me being me, I wanted to use the rare wools I had played with in Deb Robson's class at SOAR last year.  All in all, I used Soay, American Karakul, Black Welsh Mountain, Manx Loaghtan, Shetland, North Ronaldsay, and two colors of paco-vicuna.


It still needs a proper blocking and some beauty shots, but it's done! It was intriguing to play with all different breeds on this; some, like the Manx Loaghtan and the North Ronaldsay, were wonderful for colorwork.  American Karakul and this particular Shetland fleece? Not so much.  They were definitely trending more towards hair fleeces, and the stitches are very wiry (as you can see with the white stitches above).  It will be very interesting to see how it blocks!

So my Rhinebeck sweater is done, and my hat's done, with a good amount of time to spare.  The problem? 

All that extra time means I started a second Rhinebeck sweater.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ballerina Dreams

As we've discussed previously, I spent most of my life in dance studios growing up.  Even now, as my time away from dance lengthens, I am still overwhelmingly fond of all things dance and ballet (and do still toy with the idea of taking an adult ballet class in my free time, whenever that may be).  Imagine my delight last fall when I discovered the plethora of ballet and dance documentaries available streaming on Netflix! These were constant companions for about three months, and I studied the dancers' technique and lines as I knitted away on sample knits.  It was inevitable that the joining of those two art forms was imminent.  I started studying the warm up gear more intently over time, and the idea for the Galina Pullover was born.

(all photos by Carrie Bostick Hoge for Quince)
Knit from the bottom up in Quince's lovely Finch in the colorway Delft , this sweater employs an unusual construction similar to that of ballet warm ups. 

The body is knit in the round, and then split for the deep neckline.  The sleeves are then joined back in the round and knit straight up, almost like a pair of upside-down tights.  The pattern calls for 1-2" of positive ease, but I've also worn the sample with 4" of negative ease and been happy with the fit, so it's up to you!

I know the neckline seems daring, but I'd also love to see this on top of a printed camisole, or even a button-up shirt.  The possibilities are endless!

Galina can be found with Quince here and on Ravelry here.   And if you're interested in some hardcore dance documentary watching of your own, here's the list of movies I watched over and over and over! The links will take you to Netflix for your own queueing.  :)

Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance; a profile on the history of the Joffrey Ballet

Last Dance; a document of the collaboration between Pilobolus Dance Theatre and Maurice Sendak.  This has some NSFW bits, but an amazing profile on the creation of a dance piece

Ballerina; profiles of five dancers in different stages of their career with the Kirov Ballet in Moscow

The Dancer; a profile of a young Swedish dancer as she finishes her training and goes out into the professional world

And of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention Dance Academy.  This show is complete fiction and complete fluff, but I couldn't stop watching it (and made other people do so as well).  Set in a ballet school in Sydney, Australia, it's a teen soap opera that follows a group of friends through their first couple years of training.  I haven't watched the second season yet, but I'm expecting to hunker down sometime this winter and watch ALL of it at once and then not be able to talk about anything else for a month.

Monday, September 10, 2012

What's in a name?

Back in the summer of 2003, I was getting ready to go to college.  As you might remember from that time period, AOL Instant Messenger was all the rage, and I would spend hours typing away on my new computer (affectionately named Rosie the Robot) to friends, discussing what the coming years would bring for us.  I had picked AIM up a few years before under the spunky, quirky moniker of "GoddessSqueaky" (yes, go ahead and laugh), but the big change about to occur in my life called for something grander.  Something more adult.  Something . . . collegiate.

 As anyone who spent as many hours chatting in those little boxes as I did knows, your AIM name is a powerful symbol, and not to be taken lightly.  Many ideas were discussed and discarded.  My love for Allen Ginsberg suggested "angelheadedhipster" (might I remind you, before hipsters were a big thing), but that was already taken.  My love for T.S. Eliot suggested "tilhumanvoiceswakeus", but that was too long.  I toyed with song lyrics, Shakespeare quotes, random in-jokes, characters from literature, but none suited. 

Finally, given the hippie and bohemian nature of my chosen college, just a few months away, I settled on "joyousbohemian".  It fit, I was happy, it stayed.  And stayed.  And stayed.  When I signed up for Ravelry in 2007, it was the obvious choice.  Twitter this past year? Same thing.  But, as time has gone on and I understand myself more and more, and as my career in the knitting and fiber industry has developed, something began to niggle.  Why couldn't I just be me?

My name has always been something that people remark on.  It is different, and I'm not going to say that it wasn't hard when I was younger.  I recall a particularly dark period when I was five when all I wanted was to be named "Amy".  But now? Now it's me.  Now I feel like I fit my name, and my name fits me.  So, from here on in, you'll find me elsewhere on the internets as BristolIvy.  My little "Hi! My Ravelry name is. . ." button will proudly proclaim it (so come say hi at fiber festivals!), any forum comments will use it, and any silly comments on Twitter will give you even further insight into my goofball side.  It's a wrench to say goodbye to "joyousbohemian" and the history that it entails, but I'm ready to make a whole lot of new history with my name front and center.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Summer's Ending

This past Sunday, I took a trip up to the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village and its surrounding antique stores as a fieldtrip for my upcoming 27th birthday (Tuesday!).  The Shaker village is simultaneously the most peaceful and most energizing place I've ever been, and I wanted to visit to recharge and celebrate the last little bit of summer.

This trip was exactly what I needed, and a wonderful start to my birthday week.  I wanted to extend some of this celebration to you, so from tonight until Monday, September 3rd, all the patterns I have available on Ravelry are on sale! Just use the code "27for27" at checkout for 27% off, and thanks for helping me celebrate!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Power of Twitter, and a Pair of Mitts

So a couple months ago, this happened on Twitter (that's Amy and me).

Screen shot 2012-08-23 at 1.55.06 PM

Then this happened.

Screen shot 2012-08-23 at 1.56.19 PM

And then all of this happened.

Screen shot 2012-08-23 at 1.56.52 PM

So it seemed kind of surreal a couple weekends ago when I trooped up the stairs at a local pub and met up with some of the coolest designers in the knitting world today.  Once I got over the fact that I'd been admiring these people's careers since I'd started getting into the online knitting world, it was such an amazing experience to swap ideas, listen to different perspectives on publishing and the industry, and just realize that these were awesome people that were way too much fun and perfect for having a beer with.  (And would you believe it, I didn't take any pictures?)

So the week after that amazing event happened, I had another wonderful moment--a pattern of mine came out as part of the Woolen Rabbit's yarn club!


The club's theme this year was the Roaring '20s, an era that I love.  One of my favorite parts of that decade are the films that came out then.  My family are HUGE into old movies, and I spent more than a few afternoons as a teenager in the arthouse movie theatre in town, watching the classics come to life.  One of my hands-down favorites is Fritz Lang's Metropolis, a masterpiece of a dystopian future society and Art Deco scenery.  It was not a hard choice for me to use this movie as an inspiration for the club!


The Metropolis Mitts are currently available exclusively to the Woolen Rabbit club members, but will be opened up to the general public in February 2013.  If you're interested in being notified when they are generally available, please let me know! I'm so pleased with how they came out; special thanks again to my girl Casey, who modeled them and was totally up for wandering around the State Theatre building here in Portland, looking for the perfect Art Deco accents.  We were both standing on rickety chairs in an old elevator vestibule at one point, which is sadly typical for a photoshoot with me.  All in all, though, it was such a pleasure to work with Kim at the Woolen Rabbit; I've been a huge fan of her work for a very long time, and I may have done a little fangirl squeal when she said I could design for the club.   Thanks, Kim!

So what's next for me? Well, I'll be wearing a certain birthday crown in a couple days, and I'm thinking it might be time for a present for you, too!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Medomak and the New England Fiber Arts Retreat

I got back from teaching at the New England Fiber Arts Retreat on Saturday afternoon, and I'm pretty sure I left most of my heart up there.  Here's a view of the week in pictures:

the view of the walk up to the cabin I shared with three of my best friends

the four--count 'em, four--Stephen West Mystery shawls in progress at camp

working on the community weaving project

a panel from Dana's rigid heddle-woven blanket

another kind of spinning--we met lots of rather amazing spiders this week

visiting Cloud Hollow alpaca farm

Rachel's natural dyeing class--indigo as it begins to oxidize

midway through . . .

fully oxidized!

a visit to Katharine Cobey's studio

a view from the loft.  I never wanted to leave.

 see why?

fogged-in cove, gorgeous studio, knitting goddess, standard poodles--yeah, I'm happy

Rachel's yarn for the week, both handspun and naturally dyed

the varied and wonderful results of the needle felted sheep class

some of the amazing felted bowls we made on the last day

These felted bowls, one of the best classes I've ever taught, summed up the week for me.   We all had the same materials and the same time, but the finished pieces were all wildly different, and all absolutely gorgeous.  Everyone's experience at camp was completely different, but I'm pretty sure that none of us would trade it for anything.  Next year we'll be meeting up from July 28th to August 3rd.  There is nothing that will stop me from being there, and I'm already counting the days.  Hope to see you there!