Posted in knit equals joy, Knit Equals Joy Designs, knitters, knitting, knitting swaps, Spa Cloth

It’s Time for Another Summer Spa Swap!

It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.  ~ Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy-Tacy and Tib

Yes! Hurray! It’s time for another summer spa swap in the Knit Equals Joy Ravelry Group! In fact, this is our third annual summer swap – Summer Spa Swap III – Les Jardins. Our swaps are a great way to connect with other knitters – chatting, making and sending a small gift, receiving a fun package in the mail that another knitter made for you with care…come on over and sign up! Read more about this swap below.

Our wonderful swap organizer extraordinaire, jenb69, wrote this lovely piece about summer:

Summer. That one word can conjure up so many memories. When I think of summer, I think freedom (s.c.h.o.o.l is now a dirty word). Bare feet. Shady trees. Watermelon. Watermelon covered faces. Big floppy hats. Grills and backyard barbecues. Lazy days in the garden. Roses. Heat, humidity and thunderstorms and little boys with dirty feet and fishing poles.

I think I would love to live in Mayberry.

And she says this about the swap:

Regardless of where we live though, summer is the perfect opportunity to find some selfish time. This mini swap is all about sending your secret swap partner a mini “pampering kit”. This year we will use the summer garden as our inspiration. Your package will include a hand knit or crocheted wash cloth (maybe you have some extra special cotton or linen in your stash?) that has a Les Jardins (garden) theme or is inspired by the garden, a pretty and preferably a handcrafted bar of soap and one other fun little item that you think your swap partner would like (perhaps a pretty bookmark, some bath salts or a special lip balm….be as creative here as you like) (Max Value = $10.00).

 

Sign-ups end June 9th.

Mailing deadline is July 7th.

Part of the joy of the swap is in chatting with the other swap participants, and we post our thanks and photos as soon as we can after we’ve received our swap packages. It’s how we roll in Knit Equals Joy.

That’s it! I hope you will check it out and come sign up. If you’re not yet a member of the group, please join. If you haven’t posted in the group yet, please introduce yourself and let the group know how you found the swap.

You can read about some of our other swaps here.

See you there!

Posted in Color, Knit Equals Joy Designs, knitters, knitting, knitting patterns, test knitters

Color Bliss Sweater

Greetings, dear knitters and creative friends!  It has been a while since I’ve posted, and that’s because I’ve been working madly on the Color Bliss Sweater design.

Color Bliss is a seamless, top-down yoked sweater. Color is its defining design element: beautiful, happy, joyful color. The pattern is written for 8 colors, but any number of colors may be used. The colors in this first version were inspired by a ready-to-wear sweater I bought for my son when he was in high school – I just loved these colors in this order.

I’m now making a second Color Bliss, using a palette of greens, purples and blues.  I’m loving this palette and can’t wait to finish this one!

The pattern is written for ten sizes, for chest measurements of 36-54 inches. It has been tech edited and is now being test-knit. We are testing through the end of April in my Ravelry group, and it’s a bit like a knit-a-long. I am looking for a few more testers; let me know if you are interested.

Check out #colorblisssweater on Instagram to see the great sweaters that the amazing testers are knitting and to check out their gorgeous palettes!

Posted in knitters, knitting, Knitting Giveaway

Winner!

A huge thank you to those who shared their knitting stories a few weeks ago. Your stories – and the connections they represent – are inspiring and I believe they enrich us all. Thank you!

The stories coincided with a giveaway for a skein of the amazing Malabrigo Arroyo yarn. This is truly one of my favorite yarns to work with. I can always rely on it to work up beautifully. And Malabrigo has an amazing way with color. Congratulations to our winner, stairwayheaven! She chose this lovely colorway, Archangel.

archangel

Thank you everyone for playing along with this giveaway. Any time that you want to share your knitting story with me, I would love to hear it. And stay tuned here (and in the Ravelry Knit Equals Joy group) for upcoming giveaways!

Keep on creating!

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Posted in knitters, knitting, knitting swaps, Ravelry, Spa Cloth

Wuv, Tru Wuv: The Second Annual Valentine’s Day Mini Swap is in the Books!!!

The Knits Equals Joy Ravelry group has just wrapped our second annual Wuv, Tru Wuv Mini Swap. We had a wonderful time, and beautifully crafted items winged across the States and even to and from Canada and England.

I always love putting together a collage of the swap packages that were exchanged. These gifts were knit, crocheted and stitched. I myself was the very fortunate recipient of a gorgeous scissors case that was stitched, embroidered and appliqued. It will be treasured!

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We have several more swaps planned for this year. A swap is a terrific way to jump on in to the Ravelry group and get to know other knitters. We chat, we check in; often Jen (our swap organizer exceptionale) or I will ask questions to facilitate conversation or to find out details like pink or red and coffee or tea?

Here’s what’s coming up for the rest of the year:
Spring/Easter Swap (this could be a mug/mug rug swap…)
Summer Spa Swap
Autumn/Halloween Swap
Mini Advent Swap – This swap will require 5 presents total. One for each of the Sundays during Advent and one for Christmas Day. Only one of the days will require a handcrafted item although you are welcome to craft as many of them as you wish.

I hope you will think about joining our next swap. They’re terrific!

Check out the group here: Knit Equals Joy.

Get the new free -for-a-limited-time Missy’s Spa Cloth pattern here.  jens

xoxo
Carol
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Posted in giveaway, knitters, knitting, Knitting Giveaway

Our Knitting Stories: How Did You Learn to Knit? (Giveaway Completed)

A simple question led to stories – and memories. The question is this: How did you learn to knit? I asked it in my Ravelry group, and got permission to share some of the stories here. Many of us learned from a grandmother, mother, or auntie. Often we learned as youngsters, forgot about knitting for many years, and then rediscovered our skills as adults. These are a few of the stories. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do. And be sure to read on to the end of the post to read about a giveaway. [Added February 11: we now have a giveaway winner, so further comments will not be eligible to win.]


The Stories

By GrandmaBuck:

When I was a wee little girl we lived just about a block from my paternal grandparents. Grandpa was the greatest and we had so much fun gardening with him and baking pies. Never had a pie as good as his ever. Grandma however had already raised 7 children and my dad was next to the youngest. My brother and I were his youngest and born when he was 38 and 40.  All that to say grandma was pretty old at the time we were little but whenever mom had business to take care of we would stay with grandma and grandpa. Whenever Grandpa was not at home Grandma would give Tom and me a ball of butcher”s twine and either a crochet hook or a pair of knitting needles. she would sit us down in front of her rocker and get us started on chaining or casting on just in time for SEARCH FOR TOMORROW to come on the radio. You could not talk when the show was on, period. She had a look that would turn you to ice. During commercials however she would compliment, correct or give further instructions. She had several soaps she listened to and I learned to knit and crochet at my grandma’s knee while listening to her programs. I know I knew how to knit with good tension by the time I was six because I taught my First grade teacher to knit. It has been on and off over my life but I still think of grandma when I am knitting and those easy times of childhood.

By WillowandTwist:

My mum was an excellent knitter and she taught me to knit when I was about 8 years old…I was one of those funny little kids who was always making things! I didn’t realise how much patience she had until I think about it now! I remember when I was about 13 years old making a tank-top as part of my school uniform, the yarn would have scratched the shell off a tortoise! Needless to say my tension was all over the place and it ended up a little on the wide side!!! Oh and did I say a bit short. I was in a rush to finish it…laughin… But I wore it with pride.

By kimmery:

Well—my Grandma Aeline was a knitter/crocheter, needle pointer and tatter and I never saw her just sit without a needlework project in her hands. When I was a little girl and my family would go to spend the weekend with my grandparents, as we would pull up towards their house (parked in the back) we would see her white hair in the window where she always sat-and we would always say, “Grandma is knitting her fool head off”. 🙂

I am 55 years old now and I can remember that like it was yesterday. When I was in junior high, she suffered a stroke after open heart surgery-and while she recovered enough to continue working on her needlework, she was sadly never able to really teach me to tat, which was what I longed to learn to do. Knitting was not an interest of mine at the time. I spent most of my early adult years immersed in cross-stitch but when my daughter (who had learned to knit) became pregnant with Grandbaby #1, she gave me a set of knitting lessons at a LYS–and just like that I became a knitter and have never looked back!

I just found a picture of my sister and I at Westport Washington with my Grandma with the beautiful white hair! Oh, and I am pretty sure we are wearing hand knit sweaters by her in this photo. (1966)

photo credit: kimmery

By cascott:

My first knitting experience was in 4-H. We knit slippers and I had the hardest time binding off, so that ended my knitting at that time. About 8 years ago a friend started knitting dishcloths and got me interested. I knit a lot of dishcloths until DH told me to find something else to knit as the drawer was full! (now my friends and family know just to ask for a dishcloth when they need a new one) I then found a club that mailed yarn and a pattern that had different techniques each month and I haven’t stopped knitting!

By torunnb:

I learned to knit when I was 4. My maternal grandmother taught me. I still have the ball of blue cotton yarn that we used. I have kept it as a treasure. My mom could knit, but she didn’t enjoy it much. She was an educated seamstress and she really liked to embroider. My maternal grandmother sewed and she always crocheted.

By Asteride:

My grandmother taught me to knit. She was really a knitting designer, she could realize whatever she wanted. Intrigued by techniques and very talented. I was just fascinated by all the things she was able to create. In my closet there is still a nice kimono jacket that she created for me.


I’ve loved reading each of these stories. I can just picture sitting at grandma’s knee listening to soaps on the radio, or a scratchy handknit tank top made by a 13-year-old and worn with pride. I can picture a white-haired grandma “knitting her fool head off,” a drawer full of handknit dishcloths, a treasured ball of cotton kept by a four-year-old who proudly learned to knit, and a lovely kimono made many years ago by a talented grandmother.

These, and all the others that have been posted our Ravelry group, are a gift. It’s so intriguing to hear the ways in which our craft is passed on from each generation to the next. And so often it is taught with love and joy. What’s your knitting story? How did you learn to knit? I’d love to hear about it.

I also love giveaways, so we’ll combine these two things. Leave a comment with your “How I Learned to Knit” story below, and I’ll choose a winner in about a week for a lovely skein of Malabrigo Arroyo in the Arco Iris colorway (similar to this one).  [Added February 11, in case you missed it above, the giveaway is now closed].

In fact, we are also having a giveaway in the Ravelry group. Post your story there, as well, for another chance to win.  There will be two winners – one there and one here. The instructions for the Ravelry group giveaway are at the top of that page…just look for the picture of the Malabrigo! Follow the link!

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Posted in knit equals joy, knitters, knitting, knitting swaps, Ravelry

Valentine’s Day Swap! Sign Up Now!

January 4th is the last day to sign up for our Wuv, Tru Wuv Mini Swap in the Knits Equals Joy Ravelry group!  Knitters, we would love to have you come join us!

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This is a really great way to get to know other knitters, and we always have a lovely time. In this mini-swap you will send one small knit, crocheted, sewn or stitched gift, a card and a small treat ($5.00 max) to your secret swap partner. You won’t find out who your secret swap partner is until you receive your package in the mail. Come join the fun: sign up here now!!!

More lovelies from last year’s swap:

melissa-from-jen-2

Debby from Becky2

Melanies bag (2)

Come join us – you know you want to!  😉

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Posted in knit equals joy, knitters, knitting, knitting swaps, Ravelry

Wuv, Tru Wuv, The Second Annual Valentine’s Day Mini Swap

Dear Knitters,

I am so excited that we’re going to have another Wuv, Tru Wuv Mini Swap in my Ravelry Group! You can read all about the 2016 Valentine’s Day Mini Swap here.

And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva…

Princess Bride Priest

…from The Princess Bride


Janie from Carla (2)The rules for this swap are easy:

  1. You must be a member of the Knit Equals Joy group on Ravelry.
  2. You will send one small knit, crocheted, sewn or stitched gift, a card and a small treat ($5.00 max) to your secret swap partner.
  3. Sign-ups end January 4th and partners will be assigned by January 5th.
  4. Our mailing deadline is January 25th (if you have an international swap partner, we encourage you to mail a few days earlier).
  5. You must participate in the swap discussion at least once a week.
  6. When you receive your package, you must post your thanks as soon as possible and post a photo as quickly as you can.
  7. You must stitch your project with love.  🙂

Sign-ups are here.  Don’t miss out: Sign up before January 4th!

Heather from Torunn (2)

Jen from Janie2

All of 2016’s wonderful Wuv, Tru Wuv swap gifts:

Wuv Tru Wuv Collage

Wanna be a knit equals joy swapper? Come on over to the group and join us!

knit equals joy

Posted in knitters, knitting, knitting resources

Advice for a New Knitter

There are two new knitters in my family, my sister and my cousin’s daughter-in-law. My cousin asked me last week if I had any advice for her DIL, which led to my thinking about this post.

If you are new to knitting, there are some things you can do that will help you to continue to love knitting and will help you move from that very beginning awkwardness where you feel you’re all fingers to being able to create all those lovely and beautiful things that you will be able to make!

1.  Yarn

Choose the best yarn you can afford, even at the beginning*. There are so many beautiful yarns available now. Part of the joy of knitting is working with a yarn that is soft and squishy and/or is in a color that you love. Try to find a local yarn shop (LYS) –they can provide expertise and support, and often offer helpful knitting classes in a variety of techniques.

Find a fiber that you like.

Wool is always wonderful and is perfect for beginners. If possible, buy your first yarn in person so that you can touch it, squeeze it, hold it next to your face. (Go to a yarn shop – you will see people doing these things. It will cease to surprise you and will become commonplace.)

Do you love alpaca, silk, or cashmere? Those fibers are absolutely delectable, and, for your first project, if you can find them in a blend with wool, you will have a yarn that is a bit easier to work with (or perhaps I should just say is more predictable) than the fiber alone. And that leads me to the next bit of advice…

 2.  There are no knitting police

That’s right.  Say you read my piece of advice above but found some 100% alpaca you want to knit with. You love the yarn –  go for it!!! You will learn about how different fibers work by actually working with them. It’s a fun way to learn.

Besides, if you don’t like something, you can rip it out and start over with something new. You still have your raw materials and, while you may have spent time on that knitting, I bet that you learned something as you were knitting – about that particular yarn, stitch, or technique… Well, you get my point: the time spent knitting wasn’t wasted, even if you have to rip out your knitting.

Speaking of learning, there are also some terrific books, and that leads us to…

3.  Start building your knitting library

There are lots of great pattern books as well as books on the history of knitting and the history of different types of knitting like Estonian Lace or Fair Isle colorwork. Knitting magazines like Vogue Knitting are a great resource for inspiration, patterns, and knitting techniques.

Books I recommend:

Stitch ‘n Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook by Debbie Stoller. This is really a perfect book for a beginning knitter, as it covers all the basics, from needles and yarns to techniques. I love this book for its section on how to fix mistakes. This book quite literally saved me hours of reknitting. Before reading this book, I did not know that you don’t have to rip out rows and rows of knitting to fix a dropped stitch. Worth the price of the book right there!

The Knitter’s Book of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using, and Enjoying Yarn by Clara Parkes. This book is a fun read and will give you a good understanding of how different fibers will behave.

4.  Ravelry

Ravelry is basically a social networking site for knitters and other fiber enthusiasts. It is also a huge database of patterns, yarns and projects. Ravelry is a member-based site. It doesn’t cost anything to join, but you do have to sign up. Then you will have access to the database and can do as much or as little of the social part as you like.

While there is a ton to explore on Ravelry, as a beginning knitter I found two aspects to be extremely helpful.

Pattern database.

Pick a pattern, any pattern. Odds are that it’s on Ravelry and that someone else has made it. You can look at the Ravelry pattern page to find out helpful information like needle size, what yarn is recommended and in what quantity. This is very helpful when you are in the yarn shop and want to know how much yarn to buy.

The other thing that Ravelry does that is brilliant and helpful is to let people link their projects to the pattern page. This means that you can see what they made, what yarns and needles they used, and any comments they might have about the pattern or their finished item.

Here is a link to the Ravelry page for one of my patterns, Passport Mitts. And here you can see all the projects by other knitters: Passport Mitts Project Pages.

Try to find patterns that are well-written – and I’ll write about what a well-written pattern should include in an upcoming blog post.

Yarn database.

Say you buy a new yarn. It’s really pretty, but you’re not sure what to make with it. Ravelry’s database to the rescue again! Go to the yarn tab, enter that yarn, and it will pull up all of the projects made in that yarn. Pretty cool, huh? Yarn database.

5.  Try to knit a little bit every day, if you can

My knitting skills really increased during the Tour de Fleece years ago (takes place during the Tour de France), when we were challenged to knit half an hour each day. It will help to build muscle memory and you will lose that feeling of being all fingers.

6.  Take all advice with a grain of salt – then do what you want

Make knitting your craft. Knit the things you want to knit. Tackle things you want to when you want to, regardless of whether they seem too easy or too hard or don’t seem to fit in with what someone else has told you that you should do.

I made nothing but scarves for the first year or two that I knitted. Everyone  got scarves for Christmas. Then, when I was ready, I branched out to new patterns, techniques, and projects.

If  I had to narrow this advice down to a few soundbites, it would be this: find yarn you love, find other knitters to support you and help you with the technical stuff, knit a little every day if you can, and make what you want to make.

I wish you the best and I hope that your knitting will bring you joy as you make beautiful and useful things! If you know a new knitter who would benefit from this advice, please share!

xoxo

knit equals joy


*I gleaned this piece of advice from the book Itty Bitty Hats by Susan B. Anderson when I was a very new knitter.  I think it was the best knitting advice I ever received. Susan now has her own yarn company, Barrett Wool Co., where you can find excellent yarn. I used it for my Wintry Blue PepperMitts.

Posted in Carol E. Herman Designs, knitters, knitting, Ravelry, Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: New Horizon

The challenge:

This week, we’re challenging you to think ahead and show your work in a representative photo. If you set New Year’s resolutions, give them some thought a few weeks early. If resolutions aren’t your style, show us something that you want to achieve — it could be setting a new goal, making plans, or even tackling that pile of laundry waiting by the washer. The goal is to get out of the busy “now,” and imagine your new horizon. Go!

The photo:

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I am excited about new horizons in 2017! My hope is to change all of my design monikers to knit equals joy.  This will include my designer name and my Ravelry group. The beautiful gold and blue colors you see on this page consistently and constantly call to me, so I foresee them as being front and center in my branding palette (not necessarily in my design palette, although they certainly crop up a lot!).

I enjoyed pulling together the yarns and other items for this still life. Photography continues to be a love of mine, and I look forward to improving my photography skills in 2017 by taking classes and getting in lots of practice!

Thanks for stopping by for my interpretation of this edition of the Weekly Photo Challenge: New Horizon.

knit equals joy

Posted in giftalong2016, Indie Design Gift-a-Long, knitters, knitting, knitting patterns

So I Went Pattern Shopping the Other Day…

As you know, I’ve been participating as a designer in this year’s Indie Design GAL. Previous posts, here and here. Last year during the GAL, I was madly working on getting The Wayfarer Hat ready for publishing. This year, however, there’s a bit of a lull, and I might actually be able to knit someone else’s pattern.

So…a few days ago I went pattern shopping…just in case! And here’s what I found…

Spate by Jane Richmond. I love the cables on these mitts, as well as the length of the mitts and the folded top cuff. Beautiful! It’s knit in worsted weight on size 7 and 8 needles, so it should be a quick knit. The samples are shown in Sincere Sheep Bannock, which is 100% Targhee wool.  I loooooove Targhee! It is sproingy and it’s perfect for texture!

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© Nicholas Kupiak

Skógar Mitts by Christelle Nihoul. This pattern is from the Colors of Iceland Collection. It’s shown knit here in a yarn called (Vi)Laines Précieuses, a fingering weight that is 70% Wool, 20% Silk, 10% Cashmere goat.  This length of mitt always appeals to me, and I love the button detail. This color of green has been making me swoon recently.

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© Christal LK

The Ghost Ranch Cowl by Jessie Ksanznak caught my eye by the way that it mimics woven material through the use of slipped stitches. It could be a lovely addition to my wardrobe.

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© yarnovernewyork

Julia Trice’s Yukiya Pullover has been in my Ravelry favorites for a long time. I love its fluid lines and use of color.  It’s so flattering! The yarn it is shown in here is Shalimar Yarns Paulie (60% Merino, 20% Camel, 10% Silk, 10% Cashmere). Wouldn’t that be lovely against the skin? I really, really want to find the time to make this!!!

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© mindofwinter

Next into my cart went Bogvine by Miranda Grant. Again, there is that wonderful mitt length. This yarn is Cephalopod Traveller (100% Merino DK) in the colorway Bog of Eternal Stench (!). The colorway is perfect for the mitts. And I love the way the mitts are staged…also perfect for the piece.

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© Miranda Grant

My final pattern purchase of the group was Demeter Tank by Ashwini Jambhekar. I have long admired Ashwini’s designs. This is worked in a fingering weight 100% Merino on size 2 and 3 needles. This would be a lovely addition to my work wardrobe, and those cables and eyelet leaves would be a great deal of fun to work. This is definitely in my queue!

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© Ashwini Jambhekar

So, yeah, I went shopping! Lots of hours of fun and satisfying knitting here, with beautiful results. The 17,000+ patterns that are available for the GAL can be found here. Remember, the GAL goes through the end of the year and there are lots of great prizes. Enjoy!

xoxo

knit equals joy

~all participating GAL designers have given permission for their photos to be shared on social media.