Monday, June 4, 2012

Knitscene Accessories 2012: Sea Legs Scarf

I was lucky enough to have TWO designs published in Knitscene Accessories 2012. Yesterday I talked about the Doe River Mittens and today I get to debut the Sea Legs Scarf (Rav it).

I've had this scarf in mind for a very long time and I'm so very glad it found a home in this issue. It fit right in with their Fisherman's theme and the yarn and color were absolutely perfect for this design.
Photo courtesy of Knitscene

It's intended to be extra long to wrap around your neck multiple times and still have some length to drape down your body. Think of it as a nice alpaca hug.

Here's a little snippet from my original submission that explains how the cables move through the scarf:

The design is fully charted and it’s such a wonderfully simple pattern that will hold your interest but is classically comfortable at the same time.

Photo courtesy of Knitscene

The knitty gritty:
Size 8" wide and 92" long
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Melange (100% baby alpaca; 110 yd [100 m]/50 g):
• #809 toasted almond, 8 skeins
Gauge: 34 sts and 30 rows = 4" in chart patt
• Size 5 (3.75 mm) needles
• Cable needle (cn)
• Yarn needle

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Knitscene Accessories 2012: Doe River Mittens

I'm learning to love the long cycles of print publications. There's so much time between when you complete the sample and when the design finally makes its debut into the world that you kind of forget that it even existed...and then you get to fall in love with it all over again once it's released!

That's definitely the case with the Doe River Mittens (Rav it).  Knit in the buttery soft Knit Picks Andean Treasure, these mittens combine twisted stitches, ribbing, cables, bobbles, and reverse stockinette in a smart and sophisticated mitten.
Photo courtesy of Knitscene
Knit from the top down using circular needles & Magic Loop, the tip of the mitten starts out with twisted stitch rib and then moves into an offset cable and bobble detail for the body of the mitten and then moves back into twisted rib for the cuff.  A faceted bead is sewn into the center of each 4-bobble cluster for a fancy touch.
Photo courtesy of Knitscene
The palm of the mitten is all worked in twisted rib, with the thumbs finished off in reverse stockinette.

The knitty gritty:
Size: 8½" hand circumference and 9" tall
Yarn: Knit Picks Andean Treasure (100% baby alpaca; 110 yd [101 m]/50 g): fog heather, 2 balls
Gauge: 34 sts and 31 rnds = 4" in k1tbl, p1 rib
• Size 3 (3.25 mm) needles (see Notes)
• Markers (m)
• Cable needle (cn)
• Yarn needle
• Waste yarn
• Six 4 mm clear or light silver faceted beads
• Bead needle
• Thread

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Keeping your cool when spotting a knitting celebrity

For the most part, nothing knitterly happens in my town. And if it does, I know about it. So, it was quite unexpected last week when I happened to bump into a knitting celebrity all the way up here in seemingly-middle-of-nowhere Alaska.

Picture this:  I'm sitting at my desk last Thursday completely exhausted from working 15 hour days and I'm barely able to keep my eyes open.  My coworkers' voices blaring from my handheld radio kept me company as I half listened to the train being loaded at the rear of the Depot.  All of a sudden I hear over the radio, "Ticket office to Stationmaster: Will you please make an announcement for an Anne Kuo. We have her passport at the ticket window. It was found in the parking lot."

Hmmm...Anne Kuo....Anne Kuo....Anne Kuo....My sleepy mind was ticking through its contents as quickly as it could and then it dawned on me why this name sounded familiar. Now fully awake, I got up from my desk and walked down the hallway to the ticket office to investigate, just as the stationmaster was making the announcement for the holder of the lost passport.  I mean, it really couldn't be who I thought it was, could it?

I'm standing there in the ticket office looking out at a lobby full of people when I see a woman recognize her name being called over the loud speaker.  Holy crow, it's Anne Kuo Lukito, of Crafty Diversions fame!  I recognized her right away from the many online photos of herself modeling her amazing designs.

I snatched the passport out of the hand of my staff member and headed out the door, not wanting to miss the opportunity to say hello.  I was so excited that I found that I was having to force myself to swallow the goofy grin I had on my face so that I could avoid looking like I had just escaped from the looney bin.  I was also having a hard time breathing just like the first time I met Harrison Ford. I never said I was going to be cool about this.

As I handed the passport to her, I asked Anne what I already knew:  "Are you THE Anne Kuo, aka Crafty Diversions?"

Of course, she said she was and I told her that I was also a knitter/designer.  She asked me my name and I told her Allison Haas, but I blog/design under the name Alaskan Purl. She said she had heard of my name (be still my heart) and then we exchanged pleasantries and she was on her way to board the train.

And thus began my morning of completely geeking out over the fact that I had just met Anne Kuo Lukito in the WPYR Depot lobby. My coworkers were probably sick of hearing about it by the time the day was over.  But I couldn't help bragging. Nothing like this ever happens to me.

About five minutes after I talked to her, I felt my pocket vibrate and so I pulled out my phone to find a nice little shout out from Anne on Twitter!

How cool is that?!

I think what most struck me about my chance encounter was just how random it was. I mean, of all the thousands of people in town that day, it was Anne whose passport somehow slipped out of her grasp as she walked through the Depot parking lot. Then a kind person found it and turned it into our ticket office. And then I happened to hear the radio call, out of the many dozens that happen throughout the morning, when I'm actually quite bad about having it turned up loud enough for me to hear anything at all.  And then I was the one who got to deliver the lost passport to her.

I guess the universe just knew that I needed a pick-me-up. Who knew that a lost passport could bring so much joy? Well done, universe.  Well done.

Twist Collective Spring: Asti

I can't believe it's been nearly two months since Asti was released in the Spring Twist Collective and I haven't given it a proper post. Things have been more than a little out of balance and I sadly have not had time to pick up my needles in many many weeks. Working 15 hour days leaves room for little else.

But enough complaining! On to the good stuff...

Worked from the toe up, Asti incorporates many elements of spring in the design.  The simple rib in the toe leads to cables snaking up the foot, just like roots of a plant. Then moving up the ankle, the roots grow into stems that move off to the edges of the ankle and bloom into bobbles arranged as flowers.  Meanwhile, the remainder of the front of the sock is finished off on a background of seed stitch.
A lovely mirror image
A perfect side view 
A close-up of the bobble bloom detail...add a bead in the middle for a fancy alternative!
The back view - A simple 2x2 rib to play against the ornate front

The knitty gritty:

Finished measurements:Foot circumference: 7 ½ (8)" / 19
(20.5) cm, unstretched
Leg length: 6" / 15 cm to top of heel
Shown in size 7 ½" / 19 cm
2 (3) skeins O-Wool Classic 2-ply
(198 yds / 181 m per 1 ¾ oz / 50 g skein; 100% Certified Organic Merino) in #2113 Robin’s Egg
Needles & Notions:
Size 1 US / 2.25 mm circular needle, 32" / 80 cm long
Cable needle, stitch markers, tapestry needle
34 sts and 56 rnds = 4" / 10 cm in
Stockinette stitch
Construction Notes: Socks worked from the toe up with a gusset-and-flap heels. The stitch patterns are mirrored on the two socks. Stitch patterns are presented in both Charts and row-by-row instructions.

Click here to purchase via Twist Collective's site...happy knitting!

Monday, April 30, 2012


So, I'm so behind the times that I've neglected to mention my new design out in the Spring Twist Collective a couple weeks ago.  Asti is a sock design that incorporates many elements of spring....seed stitch, root-like cables, and blossoms!  (Rav it here.)

I'll be back soon to give it a proper blog post!  But until then, feel free to go give it some love on Ravelry.  ;)  Let's see if we can make it the most favorited sock design in this edition!

Photo courtesy of Twist Collective

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Unraveling Affection

Yes, I know. It's been a while.

You see, about two months ago I got a promotion at work, which I am super excited about.  With any new job, one would expect a steep learning curve during the transition period.  However, my situation has been complicated by the fact that I, with a seemingly sane and clear mind, said that I would perform both my old job and my new job for the next 7 months, so as to have as minimal impact as possible on our summer operations.

While all that seems like a valiant thing to do in support of my employer, it's made a complete disaster of my personal life. Working 12-14 hour days has taken its toll on me and the evidence is obvious with one look in my house.  Piles of dishes, dirty laundry, rotten food in the fridge.  Just one day off since March 1 and I spent that day sleeping.

So, needless to say, knitting has also been sadly moved to the back burner.  I can't even carry a conversation when I get home from work, let alone read a chart or write up a pattern.  Luckily I have no upcoming deadlines and I made the very wise decision this winter/spring to not submit to any upcoming publications so that I could work on my own designs at my own pace.

But when Maya at Springtree Road put up an update a while back, I snapped up some of her gorgeous sock yarns in a very pale dusty lavender, dark charcoal grey, and a bright deep fuchsia with a Color Affection shawl in mind.  I figured, hey, it's all garter stitch. Exactly what I need for a "me" project, since I haven't had any just-for-fun knitting in a really long time.  What could possibly be easier than that?

Turns out a lot of things.  Even garter stitch is a little too much for my fried brain right now.  I've had to start this effing thing over 4 times now.  This most recent time I actually thought that I had finally gotten it right.  All my stitch counts were correct after each row and things seemed to be progressing swimmingly.  I was envisioning myself wearing my new shawl maybe by the 4th of, possibly Halloween...hmmmm, definitely by Christmas.

But something kept nagging at me all along that my edges were way too tight.  But I kept ignoring that little itch in my brain until I realized that, yes, the edges were way too tight and I couldn't in good conscience let myself continue this way and feel good about it.

But instead of ripping it out immediately like I usually do, I carried it around in my bag for a few days, thinking that maybe I just needed to let it rest.  Because we all know there's nothing worse than that feeling you get after you frog something and then you realize that you really didn't need to after all.  Am I right?

Somehow, I guess I was hoping that the knitting gods would cure my knitting of its terminal disease.

But this afternoon I realized that the handwriting was on the wall and I just needed to pull the plug. So, even though I was in the office and should have been doing the bazillion things on my to do list, I pulled the sickly project out of my bag and put it out of its misery.

And afterwards, I felt so much better.  Who knew that a fresh start would feel so good?

Casting on again tonight for the fifth time.  Going to try keep the edges super loose. At least I know I'm not the only one with this problem.  The Yarn Harlot had to frog her Color Affection for this very same reason. I'm in very good company indeed.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Have you been to Craftsy yet?

I'll have to admit, I haven't been able to spend as much time poking around Craftsy as I would like, but from what I've seen, it seems to be a pretty cool place. And any site that offers a free chocolate making class is totally worth its weight in yarn.

Craftsy is now offering patterns for sale and so I decided to test the waters and upload just one pattern, to see if it would all be worth it.  I decided to upload Alluvia, since it's been my most popular pattern to date and I figured there might be an audience for it.

Was I ever surprised...Craftsy is selling Alluvia like CRAZY.  As in, I've sold more in the last week on Craftsy than I have the last year on Ravelry.

And look!  Alluvia has made the top 20 trending pattern today!  (Coming in at lucky #13.)

Screen shot...proof of my newfound fame. Ha!

And seriously, check out the Craftsy link to these completely adorable baby booties:  Crocodile Stitch Booties.  How freaking sweet are those?! I might have to pick up my crochet hook again for those...and I just so happen to have some extra Noro hanging around.  Hmmmm....

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Jayne Cobb Hat

Last summer I got an email from Liz, who works for another tour company in town. She was organizing the annual silent auction for the local chapter of ATIA, the Alaska Travel Industry Association and wanted to know if I wanted to donate something to the silent auction, namely to design a hat for the highest bidder.  Being in the stressful middle of the summer, my knee-jerk reaction was, "Hell no!", but Liz admitted that it was a wholly selfish request she had made of me since she wanted a new hat and would make sure to be the highest bidder.

This development presented me with a much more palatable proposition. You see, in my eyes, Liz is pretty stylish and the thought of designing a hat for her seemed really attractive.  My mind was already swirling with ideas and I was excited to also eventually turn this into another design that I could release to the masses.

So, I agreed to do it and then immediately put it out of my mind.  Then came the day after the auction and my curiosity was getting the best of me so I inquired how much my design-a-hat donation had gone for....I can't actually remember how much (I think $80?), but what immediately caught my attention was that the highest bidder was....someone named Adam. Say what?!

I'm not sure how it happened that Liz was not the highest bidder, but I now had to design a hat for someone I didn't know...and was a little worried about it. I mean, what if they made outrageous demands of me and made me knit them a really long stocking cap that would take forever (lord knows, I didn't have the time for that) or a really complicated whoosie-whatsie style that I didn't know anything about?  My mind was again swirling, but not in a good way.

So, I got a call from Adam not long after to discuss the hat.  He told me he wanted the hat from the tv show Firefly, which I had never heard of.  He told me I would recognize it if I saw it and that I should Google "Jayne Cobb Hat". That did absolutely nothing to clarify, but I now knew the task at hand.  Pretty easy-peasy Stockinette in the round....even in my stupefied burned-out-from-the-summer state, I felt like I could crank this out pretty quickly.

But...I had to find just the right yarn and then just the right colors, which proved to much harder than I thought. I scoured Rav and found about a bajillion versions of this hat, which helped immensely in finding the right combination. I settled on Lamb's Pride Bulky and put in my order.

The yarn arrived just before my trip home to Ohio in October, so I was able to work a few rounds before I left.  And then I figured I would wait until I returned to finish it, which I estimated would take no longer than a weekend.  But then November arrived...and then December...and then January, and still the hat sat there unfinished.  I got a call from Adam in late January asking if I was almost finished and I felt so sheepish (why, yes, pun intended) when I told him that it was still not done.

I'm not sure what is taking me so long...oh wait, yes I do.  The yarn and needles are killing my hands, the colors are not my favorite, and that Stockinette in the round that sounded to wonderful during the summer was now boring me to pieces. Add all those things together and you've got the recipe for months of procrastination.

So, cue Saturday February 11, 2012.  Today is the day I have decided that the WIPs that have been weighing on my brain have got to be finished so that I can move on to other things.  Especially WIPs that only have a small amount left to do, like this hat.

I'm almost finished with the crown decreases and should have the earflaps and pompom finished tomorrow. And I can call this biotch finished! Yeah!

Up next on my WIPs-who-will-be-finished-or-else list is the Pineapple Lace piece that really should have been finished a year ago. I'm completely embarrassed that it's still not finished. But not for long!  It's going down

But first....earflaps.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

And the winner is...

I almost forgot what day it was....and then I remembered just before falling asleep that it was time to draw for the giveaway!

And the winner of 3 hanks of Blue Sky Alpacas Melange and the copy of Interweave Knits Winter is....

#21 MicheleLB! aka PDXKnitterati!

Thanks to all for was so nice to read all of the wonderful comments from all of you.  I didn't get into designing for recognition or fame, but it certainly is good for the ol' ego to get all of these nice compliments the last few days. ;) I'll have plenty more giveaways, announcements and overall fun stuff happening over the next few months, so keep your eyes peeled!  

Saturday, February 4, 2012

{giveaway} A couple months late...

...but I'm including a GIVEAWAY so all should be forgiven, right?

So, I had my first print design and I'm super excited about it...even though I am dreadfully behind in posting. Procrastination and I have become intimately acquainted over the last few months....oh, who am I kidding? We've been BFFs for a really long time.

With this design, I wanted to create something simple, rustic, but with a bit of a twist.  Simplicity comes with the cables and 2x2 rib and the twist comes in with the cables unraveling in a diagonal fashion as the mitten body moves into the cuff.

I was so happy when Interweave chose to use the yarn I used in my swatch (Blue Sky Alpacas Melange), because I felt it really contributed to the feel of the design. While I used an amazing mustard yellow for my swatch, I was absolutely thrilled when I was sent a deep red for the sample. Be still my heart.

Look at name in print.

Okay, so to celebrate my first print design, I'm giving away a copy of Interweave Knits Winter and enough Blue Sky Alpacas Melange to make a pair of your own Offset Cable Mittens!

Just leave a comment on this post by 8 PM Alaska Time on Wednesday February 8th and I'll draw a comment at random to find the lucky winner!  If you're looking for something to comment about, just tell me what YOU have procrastinated on lately. My list is too long to mention. :)

ETA:  Comments are closed. Thanks to all for entering!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It's the new year...a few days late.

I feel like my new year started today. Yes, I realize it's the 11th day of the year. But I've been working on secret deadline knitting for over two months now (three separate projects) and I carried one particularly intense and stressful deadline into the new year with me. But I sent it off to its destination yesterday morning and I awoke this morning finally letting out a sigh of relief that was a long time coming.

It's a funny predicament I find myself in. I'm incredibly grateful that my work has been accepted to well-known and well-liked publications. It's very exciting to me that someone wants to publish my designs. But with it comes a lot of inner obsessive perfectionist comes out with a vengeance and I put everything else in my life aside and put all my focus on the design.  Couple this with a stressful and time-consuming day job and you've got a recipe for a burned out, bitchy, unfocused, and downright cranky knitter. That was me most of November, all of December and most definitely the first few days of January.

So, my goal for the new year is balance. Balance in knitting, balance in work, and balance in life. How about you?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Eve

....It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Someone around these parts might be very excited for the holiday weekend. I don't usually feel as in the holiday spirit as I do this year...not sure what's gotten in to me, but I like it.

I absolutely love the palpable excitement, anticipation, and, well, for lack of a better word, magic of the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving. We always get out at noon (I mean, really, not much work would get done in the afternoon anyway, so it's good we're turned loose early) and then it's a flurry of activity as I run around town getting last minute things.

There's a very specific kind of panic that sets in in Skagway right before the holidays because our one main grocery store closes down for Thanksgiving and the day after. And for some reason, faced with eating the things that are already in my kitchen for two whole days with no way of buying anything else, I kind of freak out and go to the grocery store with no list in mind, but just the need to make sure that I have everything I could possibly want while they are closed.

This is what happened to me today. I did all of my Thanksgiving dinner shopping yesterday and I truly had all I needed and more (there is, after all, just the two of us and I could realistically feed about 20).  So, in theory, I really had no reason to stop by the store when I got off work.  

But I did...and this is what I walked out with:

Because you never know when you're gonna need a pomegranate, right?  I did actually need the cranberry sauce, because I had forgotten it yesterday, but the other stuff just somehow magically landed in my cart. Hmmmm....guess I was hungry for junk food.

And now I am happily ensconced at my kitchen table getting a head start on some pattern writing that is due soon, eating a yummy cheese sandwich on a fresh baked roll from the local bakery, watching a funny movie and drinking some coffee nog.  Lovely! (Just wish I hadn't eaten those jalapeno Combos...hello, indigestion.)

I am so thankful for so many things this year...and I've never been more thankful for a long weekend of knitting while curled up on the couch by the fire, watching the snow fall.  

I'm working on secret deadline knitting this weekend....what are you all working on? Whatever it is, I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Random thoughts on a blustery morning...

I'm really really having trouble concentrating at work this, really.  It would be easier if I wasn't doing something so fantastically boring. (No, data entry is not what I'd call a good time.) 

I think my lack of concentration can be blamed on a combination of things: 

1. It's a 4-day weekend coming up and I can't wait to knit my way through it. I have a to-do list a mile long, but knitting takes precedence over all on a long weekend. (And, no, that's not really any different from a regular weekend.)

2. There is no one in the office right now. Everyone is either gone on vacation or working remotely. We have a year-round staff of about 17 and there are only 5 of us in the building right now. It's too damn quiet! I miss my boss singing Chaka Khan in the hallways.

3. I'm a week and a half away from leaving for a month: work conference in Vegas, visit with a dear old friend in Montana, and then Christmas in Ohio.  Too much travel excitement to think straight!

4. I have three secret knitting projects I'm working on for upcoming projects and they all have the same deadline that is swiftly approaching...yikes. I can't rest until they are blocked and on their way!

5. Thanksgiving Eve is one of my favorite nights of the year. No lie. I've always loved the anticipation of a holiday more than the holiday itself. And apparently, because I'm so looking forward to Wednesday night, the time between now and then will move at the speed of slugs.

6. And as if being stuck in my office wasn't torture enough this week, we've been plunged into a deep freeze and it's super blustery, snowy, and so damn cold that I don't want to leave the couch, let alone the house.  Perfect knitting weather but, then again, what isn't

I've been trying super hard to combat this sudden onset of ADD, but I've come to realize that I'm defenseless. Today I remembered that I had a bag of yarn in my office that I had not taken home yet from my trip to Juneau in early I proceeded to take each and every skein out of the bag and admire/pet/drool over each one.  So much yarny goodness!  
Don't mind me....I'm just doing all I can to avoid doing actual work.
Thankfully, my days have been repeatedly brightened this week (and every week) by frequent texts from my sister. She knows if she doesn't send me pics/videos of my nieces and nephew daily that I will bug the shit out of her until she does. I've got her trained pretty well. ;) Some days my sanity is literally saved by these little nuggets of cuteness.

This is one of the gems that came in yesterday. Seriously. I can't handle the cuteness some days.

She really knows how to get me through my day. How can you not smile at that?! Consider my sanity least for today.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Stitch and Bitch, Skagway style

For awhile now I've wondered what it would be like to have a knitting community in my immediate vicinity.  For so long I've been a solitary knitter and I prefer that, for the most part. Knitting is intensely personal for me: a time to really be still with my thoughts while I mull over every topic under the sun, from what I'm going to eat for dinner to what my life's purpose is (deep, I know).

I've grown in my craft for the most part by myself, with no one around to tell me that I'm doing something wrong, or that I'm doing something right. I kind of vaguely knew that there were others here in Skagway who knit, but it was never anyone who I felt like I would or could hang out with.  So my stitch and bitch nights consisted of me, myself and I. And I really started to wonder what it would be like to not have to bitch to myself.

So, to solve my problem of having no one to stitch and bitch with, I've been casually pushing my friends to learn how to knit.  A couple weeks ago, a lady in town offered a beginning knitting class and I oh-so-discreetly texted my friend Sarah and told her about it.  Sarah has been on the receiving end of some of my handiwork, so I knew she was at least semi-interested in knittery things.  I was so excited when she decided to go!

She learned the basics in the class and then came shopping in my stash last week for a suitable yarn for her first project (she chose a gorgeous blue alpaca blend yarn, by the way...a girl after my own heart). We then had our first stitch and bitch the following night at a local bar. 

We numbered only three but I'm encouraged that we'll have another very soon and hopefully our numbers will grow. It was surprisingly nice to knit in the presence of others...and I felt only a little bit self-conscious (mostly because of the curious looks we were getting from fellow barflies), but I'm hoping that will wear off in time. And I'm hoping that I can encourage even more of my friends to pick up sticks! Yeah!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Winter IK 2011 Preview

Be still my knitting heart.

I have been obsessively going to Interweave's website to see when the Winter IK preview photos would be uploaded.

I guess maybe I haven't checked in a day or so, but this morning I went to see if anything new had been put up has!

My Offset Cable Mittens are included in this very first print publication!

Here's are some links you should follow right now!

Winter IK 2011 Projects Preview
Offset Cable Mittens - Extra Photos 

I'll give these mittens a proper post soon, but I just had to shout this from the rooftops as soon as I could. You understand, right? Right.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Twist Collective Winter - Swansea...New Design!

Okay, so the Winter 2011 edition of Twist Collective has been out a little over 24 hours now and I'm still not coming down from the high I got from leafing through the virtual pages.  What an amazing collection!  A couple of my favorites are Yukimi by Maureen Hefti and Bellevue by Robin Melanson.  But my jaw literally dropped when I saw Voluta by Rachel Erin. One word: Stunning.  But you really can't go wrong with any of the designs in this edition. I might choose to knit them all if I had the chance!  You definitely have to appreciate the amazing talent that goes into creating these unique gems.

Considering the caliber of talent in this issue, I'm so honored and excited to have a design included!  

Photo by Jamie Dixon...Courtesy of Twist Collective
Swansea is a hat/mitten combo that combines twisted stitches and nupps, two of my hugest obsessions right now.  I liked the idea of the twisted stitch rib coming from different directions and then interlacing, ending in a cute little bobbly's my original vision in the submission swatch, knit in KP Wool of the Andes.
Taking that idea and adding in some Quince & Co Lark in a vibrant green and you get the finished product below! While the stitch pattern covers the back of the hand, the palm and thumb are worked in the simple but lovely reverse stockinette.

Photo by Jamie Dixon...Courtesy of Twist Collective
 Now, my original submission was just for mittens, but Kate asked me if I could come up with a complementary hat.  An idea had been already bouncing around in my brain, so I naturally said I would and the resulting topper turned out just as I had pictured.
Photo by Jamie Dixon...Courtesy of Twist Collective
Although I had envisioned these designs knit up in a heathered yarn (when DON'T I envision something in a heather?!), I thought the solid effect turned out great and was a perfect fit for their Bright Spots feature.  

Photo by Jamie Dixon...Courtesy of Twist Collective
Let's get down to details, shall we?

Finished measurements:
Mitten circumference: 7 ¾ (8 ½)" / 19.5 (21.5) cm
Length: 9 ½ (10 ½)" / 24 (26.5) cm
Shown in size 7 ¾" / 19.5 cm

Head circumference: 18 ½ (19 ¾, 21, 22 ¼)" / 47 (50, 53.5, 56.5) cm
Hat height: 8 (8 ½, 9, 9 ½)" / 20.5 (21.5, 23, 24) cm
Shown in size 18 ½" / 47 cm
Intended to be worn with 2" / 5 cm of negative ease.
3 skeins Quince & Co. Lark (134 yds / 123 m per 1 ¾ oz / 50 g hank; 100% American Wool ) in Parsley
Two skeins of yarn will make either the hat or the pair of mittens.
Needles & Notions:
Size 5 US / 3.75 mm needles in style preferred for small circumference knitting in the round and 16" / 40 cm circular needle.
Two stitch markers, tapestry needle, waste yarn
26 sts and 34 rows = 4" / 10 cm in p3, k1 tbl ribbing in the round
24 sts and 34 rows = 4" / 10 cm in Stockinette stitch in the round
Construction Notes: The mittens are worked from cuff to tip, and the hat is worked from the bottom up. The twisted rib and bobble patterns are presented in both charts and row-by-row instructions.

To purchase Swansea, please follow this link to the Twist Collective website.  Thanks very much for your interest!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Alluvia of a different color

When Alluvia was released last year, I really had no idea how it would do. It had been rejected from a couple print publications but it finally found a home in the Knit Picks IDP.  Once released, it earned its advance back pretty quickly and sales were fairly brisk. And then it was included in a Knit Picks email newsletter as the featured pattern and...well...things just completely exploded after that.

I've been so encouraged by the response to this design and it's been so fun to see new projects pop up on Ravelry and on other blogs. I especially love seeing what color combinations people come up with. I'm a color whore when it comes to knitting so some of the color selections that people have used have really made my heart squeal.

There have been a couple of the bags completed in the last few days that have really caught my attention... check out this Alluvia bag that Talitha Kuomi created.  Isn't it so effing lovely?!  She used KP Wool of the Andes as the original pattern calls for, but instead of having each ruffle be a different color, she just striped the yarn any which way she wanted as she worked through the ruffles and I positively love the effect.  She also didn't felt it and instead of i-cord she added a really cool belt as the strap, all of which contributed to a really unique Alluvia.  Love it!

As I was browsing through Rav this morning, I also saw this Alluvia from pansylane.  How cool is that?  She used KP Palette instead of Wool of the Andes and the result is a perfectly beautiful and lighter weight Alluvia.  I love how she styled her FO pictures as well.

Hmmm....I might have to order some Palette today and try that out for myself.  But Palette comes in so many lovely colors, I wouldn't even know where to begin.  And let's be honest...I have more than enough on my knitting plate right now.

Have you created an Alluvia that hasn't been posted on Ravelry yet?  If so, head on over there right now - HURRY! -  and upload some photos...I'd love to see them!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

It's good to be home... I was driving down the street today after running errands (the usual post office-grocery store-coffee shop triangle), it hit me how truly glad I was to be back home in Skagway.  Although I was only gone about a month, I realized it had been much longer than that since I had really looked at my surroundings and enjoyed what I saw.

It was a rough summer. Nothing truly awful happened to me, for which I am very grateful. But it was very intense and stressful and my job ate up way more of my personal time than it ever has. This not only made me very cranky and not very fun to be around, but also robbed me of my ability to be a good friend and girlfriend.  I don't want this to ever happen again. I don't like who I was this summer.

So, to quickly catch you up from all that has been happening over the last few months:  the summer sucked and then it was over. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

So, needless to say, it was with great excitement that I headed out of town for a few weeks to shake off the negativity that seemed to be clinging to me for dear life.

First off, I spent a week in Juneau attending a conference for work.  It's only a 100-mile ferry ride down the canal, but it's worlds away in terms of things to do, places to go, etc.

One of my first stops was Seaside Yarns, a new yarn shop in Juneau and what I now consider to be my LYS (since there isn't one in Skagway).  The owner, Melissa, and I have been Rav/blog friends for awhile and I was so very excited to finally get to visit her new store.

She had already adopted her winter hours and wasn't going to be officially open during the time I was in Juneau, but she told me to call her and we'd pick a time and I could come in to see the shop even though it was closed....UMMMMM, WHAT?!   My own private yarn store shopping experience?  Yes please.

You're not going to believe this, but I forgot my camera when I visited the store. I know, I know. So I have no pictures of the awesome space and my time there.  But you can imagine that it was glorious. I made about 50 rounds of the store, just looking at everything. It's not very often that I get to see yarns in person, so it was a treat just to check out the different brands that I only ever see on the computer screen.

And I might have spent upwards of *cough*a couple hundred dollars*cough* on new stash yarn. I don't know what got into me....just doing my part to support the arts, I guess. ;)  I also picked up some of Melissa's A Tree Hugger's Wife hand-dyed and am designing a hat and cowl pattern to sell in her shop.  Super excited to work with her! She's so awesome.

After Juneau, I flew to Ohio for a long overdue visit with my family.  I was super pumped to meet my sister's latest little one, Halle.  She is truly a little sweetie and such a cuddler. Well, not that a 3 week old has much choice when it comes to cuddling. They're basically stuck with whoever picks them up....and I picked her up a lot.

Nothing too crazy happened while I was home, which is just the way I like it.  Light on the plans, heavy on just hanging out.

Here are some shots of my visit....and, no, you won't find any of me. I like to be firmly planted behind the camera. :)
Zillsman and his mama at the Fall Festival of Leaves
Zills shows off his obsession with wooly worms.
Sassy being...sassy.
HalleBear showing off her new shirt.
We were trying to get a good shot of all the kids but...well... this is about as good as it got.
It was equally as crazy trying to get one with GG Ginny. 
We went on a snake hunt...and found some! Just little guys though.
Sassy enjoying a beautiful fall morning on the porch.
Jackson playing with a creepy antique fox fur that we found in the closet.
I think he was sick of me taking pictures of him.
We didn't know of any good hayrides going on, so we made one for ourselves with the four-wheeler and wagon.
Heading out for a walk in the woods.
Sassy loves Bapa.
So that's what I've been up to the last couple months of non-blogging. I'm very excited to get back in the swing. And next time, I promise more knitting content!

What have you all been up to the last couple months? Fill me in!

Friday, October 28, 2011

I've been away...but I'll be back soon!

I'm currently enroute from a vacation to see my family, but I wanted to say that I will be back to blogging again soon. We have lots to catch up on! Many exciting things on the horizon for Alaskan Purl Designs and I can't wait to share them all with you.

In the meantime, here are a few pictures of 3 really cute humans who have filled my time the past couple weeks. I can't wait to see them again at Christmas!

Jackson, aka Zillsman. Poor little guy had to get his tooth pulled a few weeks ago. (He's a rough and tumble guy and he bumped his tooth in a fall about a year ago and it eventually died and then recently became infected. So he got a visit from the tooth fairy a couple years earlier than usual.)
Adelyn, aka Sassy. She's our little charmer, always with smile on her face.
Halle Elizabeth, born just a few weeks ago...she does not have a nickname yet. ;)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Knitting in bed

It's been a rough last couple weeks. Work continues to be super stressful and unrelenting. And I was on a doubly intense knitting deadline for two different upcoming secret projects that coincidentally (and unfortunately) were due on the same day.  But I can happily say that everything was successfully shipped off and submitted, which means I no longer have to stay up until 3 AM every night knitting until my contacts are so dry that my eyes gum shut. Yeah!  It's the little things...

I've gone through a bit of limbo the last few days since the big deadline where I literally had an intense negative physical reaction when I thought about knitting. Just the thought of needles and yarn made me cringe and get a little dry heave-y. I've drained all the fun out of knitting over the last couple weeks by having to set aside everything else in my life in order to get things finished in time. But now that that strange (and unfamiliar) feeling has passed, I'm ready to dig in again!

Ahhhhh, this is my view tonight:

I'm laying in bed curled up with my favorite blanket, charting out some fresh designs and playing around with some stitches.  I LOVE this stage of designing...when everything is possible and the design has the ability to take on a life of its own.

Knitting in bed isn't the most comfortable thing, but I'm willing to give up some comfort for the luxury of being cozied up with my laptop, some yarn and a movie.  I've tried a few different knitting-in-bed positions, but my favorite is on my stomach with pillows underneath my chest so that I'm propped up enough knit in front of my face. Weird, huh?  It makes my neck hurt after a while though.

Anyways...I feel a change in the air the last couple days. Have you felt it too? Maybe I feel like I've turned a corner in the summer and feel the relative calm of fall moving in. Whatever it is, I feel like exciting things are on the horizon, both knitting and otherwise.

There's this song that has been stuck in my head the last few days, which I think has only heightened my feelings of change in the near future...This is by far my favorite verse of the song:

...Come writers and critics who prophesize with your pen
Keep your eyes wide, the chance won't come again.
Don't speak too soon for the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who that it's namin'.
For the loser now will be later to win
For the times, they are a-changin'....