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Pink Brutus Knits Blog

On 2016

My final pattern released in 2016 was the Arrowhead Stole (a contribution and cover girl for Interweave Press, F+W Media collection, Garter Stitch Revival).

It's a nice pattern to close the year with... simple and lovely... a piece that reminds me of summer's eventual return... a true warm weather stole knit in a crunchy, cool yarn.  In fact, it's a taste of my recent transformation as a designer.  I'm getting down to the bare bones of where I want to go with knitwear, how I want to approach design, and what feels appropriate for seasonal pieces.  Things I once would have thought nothing of years past (like Icelandic wool sweaters for spring) utterly repel me.  However, like any other period of growth/change, I become rigid in a new way of thinking and then soften again with newfound knowledge. But this is all looking ahead rather than back - back into 2016 - *the year of "persevere" when in reality, it ended up being the year of "hold-on-for-dear-life" 

Looking back, 3 things stand out - first, the year went by so quickly, too quickly, months and seasons tumbled over each other at such a rapid pace I could hardly keep up.  Second, from start to finish, people were divided.  Race issues, gender issues, political issues... every time I turned around.  It forced me off social media for the most part and aided in my already steady retreat inward.  Lastly, 2016 was a big year of change for our family.  Mae's Trichotillomania spiked, causing strife and periods of melancholy.  Alizah chipped away at her chrysalis to expose a glimpse at the gorgeous creature forming within (that girl is a force).  And we made huge strides toward our goals on the homefront, adding ducks, chickens, and fruit trees to our little plot of earth, along with the start of our gardens. 

In the end though, I knew '16 would be a tough one for this monkey girl (navigating a monkey year) and so I avoided conflict, stayed steady, and wore a lucky amulet every day.  Hubs, on the other hand, was destined for good fortune.  We couldn't see the path, but as always, time cleared the way for us and the path was revealed.  I was grateful for his promotions and ability to leap over adversity like a gazelle... it gave our family stability and balance.

There seems to be a general "good riddance" attitude toward 2016.  Even though I felt mostly under water for the past 365 days, I don't feel that beaming optimism for the new year.  I feel older.  I feel rooted.  I feel rushed.  I am, however, looking forward to breaking the spell of introversion that I sank deeply into.  I also look forward to getting my feet out of the mud and getting back into design with a new, fresh perspective.  Mostly, I look forward to making it to the other side with my family intact and my little homestead growing.  **At this point, I feel like anyone who really knows me, knows about my New Year's Mantras... this post still resonates with me as I was saying farewell to 2014 - here is a small excerpt:  

 I don't make resolutions, as some of you already know, but I do set a mantra for myself.  2014 was simply "stay steady" and 2013's "be brave". I haven't quite settled on one for 2015 yet, but the past two years have served me well and have been years of personal and professional growth, and unexpected adventures.  Truly, I want to continue on in this way - staying steady, being brave, and pushing those two tasks further than I ever thought possible... and I wish that for all of you, too.  #pushitfurther

But, I was on a high when 2014 closed.  2016 hardened me.  And since I've been setting a word, phrase, or general idea to lean on for years, out of necessity and creation, I notice that this year, the not-even-day-old-year of 2017, social media is all a buzz with everyone's "word for the year" and I'm realizing quickly that the mantra I set for myself weeks ago is going to be far more difficult for me to lean into than I could have imagined.

2017.  Open, Flex.

And yet, I'm leaning back into the feeling I felt most of 2016 (hide and lock doors!).  I wish I could talk to 2014/2015 Courtney.  I bet she would have excellent advice for me right now.

Horus Shawl {guided knitting pattern}

I've mentioned in the past that I approach knit design in two, but really three ways.  I say three because sometimes I design for a purpose - like a submission - and I'm guided by editors and mood boards rather than my own vision.  It's actually really inspiring to design in this way because it pushes me to think beyond my own parameters... but that's another post altogether!

My two main approaches are to design something I want to knit / design something I want to wear.  One almost outweighs the other and in the case of Horus, this was something I designed to wear, but keeping the stitches simple and manageable was important for me here.  Being bound to my notes or computer drives me crazy! I happily knit, going this way and that, starting sections and re-starting sections, until I managed to meander my way to the last stitch.  When I sat down and began writing the instructions, I realized very quickly that I just didn't feel like it!  I had knit Horus intuitively with an easy flow, but all of that easiness was thrown out the window when it came to putting it on paper.  I had written some knitting recipes a long, long time ago and offered them as free patterns... and I thought it was time to bring that loose recipe style back.  However, I can't really just throw out some basic instructions and expect the majority to wing it, so I'm calling this a guided tour.

If you're not feeling super confident about working in pattern for the Right and Left sides after the fully written center, you can simply work the body in St st and the border in Garter st!  Take on what you feel comfortable with and simplify the stitches how ever you'd like.

Ready?


HORUS SHAWL

Notes Worked from the top down for center section, then working each side separately using short rows to create wings.  Ears of Grass Lace will not repeat fully between each point of moving markers, simply continue in pattern.

Yarn DK (#3 Light); Shown: Rowan, Felted Tweed (50% Merino Wool, 25% Alpaca, 25% Viscose; 191 yds/50g): Color 157 Camel about 7-8 balls. - However, yarn isn't particularly important for this pattern.  A lighter weight will produce a smaller shawl and a heavier weight will produce a larger shawl.

Needles US6 (4mm) 21" cir for working a large number of sts; Gauge 5.5 sts & 7.5 rows = 1" St st worked flat.

Notions Waste yarn or spare needle, removable marker, yarn needle.

Stitches

Ears of Grass Lace (worked over 15 sts)

Rows 1, 3 (WS): Purl

Row2 (RS): *Ssk, k4, yo, k3, yo, k4, k2tog; rep from *

Row 4: *Ssk, k5, yo, k1, yo, k5, k2tog; rep from *

Rows 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19: *P7, k1, p7; rep from *

Row 6: *Ssk, k3, yo, k2, p1, k2, yo, k3, k2tog; rep from *

Row 8: *Ssk, k4, yo, k1, p1, k1, yo, k4, k2tog; rep from *

Row 10: *Ssk, k2, yo, k3, p1, k3, yo, k2, k2tog; rep from *

Row 12: *Ssk, k3, yo, k2, p1, k2, yo, k3, k2tog; rep from *

Row 14: *Ssk, k1, yo, k4, p1, k4, yo, k1, k2tog; rep from *

Row 16: *Ssk, k2, yo, k3, p1, k3, yo, k2, k2tog; rep from *

Row 18: *Ssk, yo, k5, p1, k5, yo, k2tog; rep from *

Row 20: *Ssk, k1, yo, k4, p1, k4, yo, k1, k2tog; rep from *

Rep Rows 1-20

Garter Ladder Lace

Row 1 (RS): *Ssk, k1, [yo] 2 times, k1, k2tog; rep from *

Row 2: *K2, knit into the first yo, purl into the second yo, knit 2; rep from *

Rep Rows 1 & 2

PATTERN

CO 5 sts.  KNit even 12 rows, rotate work clockwise, pick up and knit 5 sts along garter edge between bumps, rotate work clockwise, pick up and knit 5 sts along CO edge - 15 sts.  Alternatively, use a provisional CO and knit last 5 sts from CO edge.

Row 1 (WS) K5, sl1pwise wyf, k1, sl1pwise wyf (this is the center stitch - mark with a removable marker), k1, sl1pwise wyf, k5.

Row 2 (RS) K6, yo, knit to center st, yo, k1, yo, knit to last 6 sts, yo, k6 - 4 sts inc'd.

Row 3: K5, sl1pwise wyf, knit to center st, sl1pwise wyf, knit to last 6 sts, sl1pwise wyf, k5.

Rep Rows 2 & 3, 6 more times - 43 sts.

Begin Ears of Grass Lace (EGL)

Row 1 (RS) K6, yo, pm, work EGL patt (starting on Row 2 of patt - See Stitches) working 1 repeat, pm, yo, k1, yo, pm, work EGL patt (Row 2) working 1 repeat, pm, yo, k6 - 4 sts inc'd.

Row 2 (WS) K5, sl1pwise wyf, knit to marker, slm, work in lace patt to marker, slm, knit to center st, sl1pise wyf, knit to marker, slm, work in EGL patt to marker, slm, knit to last 6 sts, sl1pwise wyf, k5.

Row 3: K6, yo, knit to marker, slm work in EGL patt to marker, slm, knit to center st, yo, k1, yo, knit to marker, slm, work in EGL patt to marker, slm, knit to last 6 sts, yo, k6 - 4 sts inc'd; 51 sts.

Rep Rows 2 & 3, 13 more times, then rep Row 2 once more removing markers as you come to them.  Rep Row 1 - 103 sts.

Rep last 31 rows, 3 more times (283 sts), then rep Row 2 once more as follows: work as established to center st, purl into f&b of center st, work as est to end - 1 st inc'd.

Separate for Right & Left sides

K6, yo, k136, place remaining sts onto spare needles or waste yarn, continue over Left side only. 

Left side

Short Row 1 (WS) Sl1pwise wyf, knit to last 9 sts, turn; (RS) Sl1pwise wyb, knit to end.

Short Row 2 (WS) Sl1pwise wyf, knit to 9 sts before gap, turn; (RS) Sl1pwise wyb, knit to end.

Rep Short Row 2, 12 more times.

Next row (WS) BO 15, knit to last 6 sts, sl1pwise wyf, k5 - 127 sts.

Next row: K6, yo, knit to end - 1 st inc'd.

Next row: K1, purl to last 6 sts, sl1pwise wyf, k5.

Begin Floating Wings short rows along live stitch edge using Chart A and continuing edge sts as est.  Each RS short row increases by 3 sts.

Now, as you can see, this chart is short and has a red box around a small section for the pattern repeat.  This is where I cut you loose a bit.  You will continue on in pattern while increasing along the edge sts with a yo, and knitting 2 sts from the live stitch edge.  I've written the chart out so that the first stitch is slipped each WS row, and the two sts worked from live stitch edge are worked in St st throughout.  You will work a total of 13 Floating Wings lines (6 +1 full repeat as charted), then work even 4 rows in St st, increasing as est and ending on a WS row.  Need some guidance working in pattern?  Some help below!

When working in pattern, you'll notice that the RS rows start the floating wing patt on the Left side.  In the far left image, I've marked the center st of the floating wing from the previous repeat.  The left purl bump will be 6 sts to the right (as illustrated in the center image).  After the left purl bump, k11, then p1, k1, p1(as illustrated in the right image) - this is the foundation of the next row of floating wing patt. 

Begin Garter Ladder Lace (GLL) - These are not going to be full repeats of the pattern since they are still short row sections.  Simply work in pattern each row, increasing 3 sts every RS row.

Row 1 (RS) K6, yo, work Row 1 GLL patt to end, k2 sts from live edge, turn.

Row 2 (WS) Sl1pwise wyf, work Row 2 GLL patt to last 5 sts, sl1pwise wyf, k5.

Rep Rows 1 & 2, 7 more times.

Next Row: *BO to double yo, chain 2; rep from * and BO to end.  Break yarn.

Right side

Rejoin yarn with RS facing, sl1pwise wyf, knit to last 6 sts, yo, k6 - 1 st inc'd.

Next Row (WS) K5, sl1pwise wyf, knit to end.

Short Row 1 (RS) Sl1pwise wyb, knit to last 9 sts, turn; (WS) Sl1pwise wyf, knit to end.

Short Row 2 (WS) Sl1pwise wyf, knit to 9 sts before gap, turn; (RS) Sl1pwise wyb, knit to end.

Rep Row 2, 12 more times.

Next Row (RS) BO 15, knit to last 6 sts, yo, k6 - 1 st inc'd.

Next Row (WS) K5, sl1pwise wyf, purl to last st, k1.

Next Row: Knit to last 6 sts, yo, sl1pwise wyb, k5 - 1 st inc'd.

Begin Floating Wings short rows along live stitch edge using Chart B and continuing edge sts as est.  Each RS short row increases by 3 sts.

 You will work a total of 13 Floating Wings lines (6 +1 full repeat as charted) then work even 4 rows in St st, increasing as est and ending on a RS row. 

This time, when working in pattern, you'll notice that the WS rows start the floating wing patt on the Reft side.  In the far left image, I've marked the center st of the floating wing from the WS row.  The left purl bump is 12 sts to the right of the end of this row (as illustrated in the image on the left), but I was working all of the 2 extra stitches from the live edge in St st, so there is no purl bump 11 sts to the left of the left purl bump.  The following WS row, I will add a purl bump (as illustrated in the center image).  Now, there is purl bump 11 sts to the left of the p1, k1, p1 (as illustrated in the right image). 

Begin Garter Ladder Lace (GLL) - These are not going to be full repeats of the pattern since they are still short row sections.  Simply work in pattern each row, increasing 3 sts every RS row.

Row 1 (RS) Work Row 1 GLL patt last 6 sts, yo, k6 - 1 st inc'd.

Row 2 (WS) K5, sl1pwise wyf, work Row 2 GLL patt to end.

Rep Rows 1 & 2, 7 more times.

Next Row: *BO to double yo, chain 2; rep from * and BO to end.  Break yarn.

Weave in all ends and block well.

Pattern drudgery & a sneak peek!

It probably seems like I've fallen off, but there is much happening; the untold, secret life of design.  I decided to work up a small collection of patterns and self-publish - my goal was to have all pieces ready to roll out at the end of August, but mid-August seems to have come upon us and I'm still knitting one sample and finishing three patterns.  Sigh.  Such is life when life is being lived.  However, I'm excited to share these little darlings and so I've included some sneaky peeks at one of them here.

Knit in Zealana Air Lace using just 3 balls and large needles, this is a quickie.  

The #realtimesweaterproject sweater on the other hand is not a quickie.  And yes, it's going to be included in this collection also! If I can ever get it finished.  I'm on to the sleeves - and mostly done with the first one ta-boot, but you know... sleeves. Even though there is still much to do to get these patterns out, I'm already mulling over what I want to be knitting next.  Why not?  No matter how tedious a knit, as soon as its on the blocking mat I despair.  I'm a full-blown introvert and without busy hands and a busy mind, I might have to talk to people and we can't have that.

pattern release catch-up!

It's almost stupid to say (or think, or feel), but sometimes getting back into the world where my feet are planted and I can feel gravity pull is an enrichment.  Online life is big; sometimes too big.  Living without sharing the living has a catch, because I love looking back to remember the smells and feelings of days past... and so I seek balance in this as I do with all things.

I took a few months off from submitting design work because, again, I needed to feel gravity pulling me.  I needed to slow down and really feel it.  I'm one that can't have idle hands, so it was a challenge - but also because I knew how much potential income I was letting go of.  BUT, you see, that time off filled me up.  I'm ready to start moving again and reacquaint myself with a manageable pace. 

During my brief retreat, a few really lovely patterns were released.  First, my Cruz shawl in Interweave Knits Summer.

Next, I was so fortunate to have a design included in Berroco Portfolio Vol 2 - the Hoehne Vest.  I love this & Berroco is hosting a KAL, but they're asking for knitters to vote for the piece that will be worked!  HERE is a link to voting (closes Jul 19th)

Finally, I managed to have two hats in the new Interweave book, The Knitted Hat Book. The first is a simple lace beanie with a latvian braid band (Thistle Lace Beret); the other a delicate lace kerchief hat worked in a scrumptious silk (Sunshine Lace Kerchief).

There are still a few patterns queued up for release, but my next post will be completely knitting-free and full of obnoxious photos from our summer trip.  You've been warned ;)

Dorchester Pullover

Interweave Knits SPRING 2016 issue.  This pullover was such a departure from my usual design style/aesthetic, but I loved the process and the end product.  I'm not really one for knitting modular-style garments; it makes me think of the 90's vests worked up in variegated yarns and pieced together mitered squares... you know what I'm talking about.  However, we modern knitters have been knitting modular garments and accessories that are far from those "classics"!  I started with nailing down a shape to focus on as my small modular piece that would be my building block.  I wasn't too keen on the idea of a simple scallop, so I just threw in some simple stockinette triangles.  Bam. A new layer of texture and dimension was born.

The real departure for me though was the construction.  This pullover is actually SEAMED.  I know, shocking. The front panel of modular scallops is worked in once piece, then the body is worked flat in once piece from the bottom up, and the sleeves are worked in the round from the cuff up before continuing flat for the raglan shaping.  I wrote the pattern with a slipped stitch selvedge on the body and raglan sections and had initially included seaming instructions for the crochet join.  Somehow these instructions didn't make the final cut in editing.  Sigh.

So, why the crochet join?  It's fast.  It's sturdy.  It allows stretch and flexibility.  If you've never worked up a crochet join or if the word "crochet" makes your knitterly bones shudder, here is a link to a great tutorial.  The instructions for the crochet join are the very last post in the article, so scroll on down.  

Now, the sweater sample for the magazine is obviously worked in a single color - however, the way the piece is constructed leaves a lot of room for color creativity.  The first and easiest way to add a pop of color is to knit the modular pieces in one color and the remaining pieces in another.  What about using an ombre yarn for the modular pieces?  I doodled a little Dorchester Pullover and considered a 3 color version.  If you were so inclined to knit this sweater, and to use this 3 color concept, this is how it would be done:

First, use color A (in the sketch I used a gold color) for the modular pieces.  Then, use color B (peachy color) to cast on and knit the bottom hem of the sweater, and the cuffs of the sleeves.  Change to color C (poppy color) to knit the body and raglan sections of sweater and the sleeves.  Finally, after seaming, pick up and knit the neckline using color B (peachy color).

I look forward to seeing all of the Dorchesters that have yet to be imagined!

X

Feel Good Yarn Co Designer of the month

Because life seems crazy right now, and I'm easing into a new, generally slower, and more thoughtful pace, I haven't found a moment to speak about a lovely new project that I was so honored to be a part of this year.  In case you haven't heard, Feel Good Yarn Co is taking on 2016 with a Designer of the Month program.  Each month will feature an interview with a designer, then follow it up with a pattern by said designer written specifically for SilverSpun yarn.

When Laurie first reached out to me about designing a pattern with one of her lovely yarns, I was pretty pumped to say the least.  I had written a review of the SilverSpun sock yarn a while back and was looking forward to another opportunity to not only get my hands on that stuff again, but to push the limits of the yarn further than I had before.  It was no surprise that the sample flew off the needles at a record pace - and now, I'm at the cusp of being able to share it with you.

Laurie has posted a brief designer interview (find it HERE) and tomorrow, the pattern will be available for purchase on Ravelry, and to FGYCo subscribers.  I'm so happy to be a part of her Designer of the Month program this year, but my joy is partly eclipsed by my excitement to see what is to come.  I've seen the designer line-up and.... it's going to be amazing.

Imperial Yarn Kit | Deb Newton KAL

If you've been following along on Instagram, you've seen me post the Chain Stitch Slouchy Hat (KIT, PATTERN).  I really enjoyed knitting up this pattern - and the yarn is perfectly light, soft, and warm.  The Deb Newton KAL will continue through the month of January so there's still time to join!! Check out my review HERE, and I hope to see your KAL contribution soon!

the ends and beginnings

Year's end is always chaotic despite our desperation to hold onto and savor each and every quiet, sweet, and joyful moment.  This past holiday, my oldest was with her dad on Christmas morning, and Mae couldn't be held back from her gifts by things like Daddy being present!  By the time he made it down the stairs, nearly every package was stripped bare.  I want to dig in my heels and stop time.  How many more years will she leave notes like this for her favorite guy?  How much more magic is lingering in the world for her?

It's the burden of growing older for both of us.

Welcoming the new year means another mantra and I've known what it was going to be for weeks.  December was especially hard for me on the work front, and mustering motivation to buckle down... HA!  It was non-existent.   I've always had a strong work ethic - I felt like the lack of motivation (or maybe even downright disinterest) was a sign that my creative energy was jammed up and I needed a break.  I didn't let my eyes fall on an email or pattern.  I cleaned - man, I cleaned a lot.  I spent time with the girls.  I spent time with myself.  However, I can't live with my head in the sand.  Today was the first Monday of the year and I set the new mantra into action.  

"Practice diligence as if it is an art form."

Diligence is as broad as any of my other mantras, yet it seems slippery.  I will have to come at it from different angles.

Wishing everyone luck and love in 2016 xo

Family-Friendly Tour!

The task of self-promotion was a daunting one and so the mere concept of approaching anyone for this itty-bitty tour of mine had my stomach in knots.  It's a funny thing considering I'd formed some sort of connection with each of these lovely women in various forms over the past few years.  The introduction of blogging and social media has brought "us" together in surprising ways that I'm  grateful for.  I've said before that I'm better on the page and the online domain has made it possible for me to share more or less about who I really am when face-to-face interactions often cause me to become an observer rather than a participant.

The women I approached were ones that truly embodied the spirit I had envisioned when I started out on this journey.  They are passionate mothers and craftswomen that wear their knits and value utilitarian pieces for their families.  I was honored that each and every one of them was willing to take the time to be a part of this tour.

These ladies will introduce readers to the book in their own way on each of their blogs, then direct folks to Instagram for a chance to win a signed copy of the book using hashtag #FFKGiveaway.

I invite you to follow along and visit every stop for a chance to win each day:

Tuesday, Dec 8

Andrea Mowry - dreareneeknits (IG) - Deadline for entries: Fri, Dec 18 @ 11:59pm EST

Wednesday, Dec 9

Julie Letowski  - homesweethomestead (IG) - Deadline for entries: Wed, Dec 16 @ 11:59pm EST

Thursday, Dec 10

Annie Claire - byannieclaire (IG) - Deadline for entries: Thur, Dec 17 @ 11:59pm EST

Friday, Dec 11

Lori Graham  - loritimesfive (IG) - Deadline for entries: Tues, Dec 15 @ 11:59pm EST

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