Wednesday, August 8, 2012

New Website!

Hello Knitters!  This will be my last post from this blog.  Why?  Well, because I finally created a website!  Certainly took me long enough.  But using Weebly was super easy, and in a few hours I had it all done.  Please take a look,  You can see all my available patterns by category plus a sparkling new blog.  So far the new format is much more user friendly and allows me to add in photos with just a few clicks and no grumbling.  Happy Knitting!

Friday, July 20, 2012

New Pattern: Graciella Shawl

Hello from stormy North Carolina!  All sorts of house shaking thunder but (as of yet) no rain.  Luckily there was some beautiful morning light and I was able to take some photos of my new pattern, Graciella Shawl.

Graciella is a small crescent shawl with an Estonian lace border and a Stockinette stitch body worked in short rows.  It uses 350 yards laceweight yarn.

50" wide and 10" long at the center

ability to read a chart
sl1, k2tog, psso
5-st nupp


Also, today I had a funny conversation in the post office.  In the Designers group we've been having a lively conversation about how to explain our job to non-crafting people.  A lot of us get comments from people about knitting being a 'dead art'.  We're not all dead yet!  Today I was in the post office mailing off some design submissions.  The postal worker asked what was in the envelope, which caught me off guard because they usually just ask if there is anything perishable or flammable.  I answered papers and yarn.  Her face brightened and she exclaimed "Knitting!!  Now that's a dead art!"  I assured her that there are plenty of knitters left in the world.  Let's keep those traditions alive!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Zoey Star Beret redux

One of my go-to hats is my Zoey Star Beret.  I designed it several years ago and since then it has been one of my favorites.  I don't know if it is the design, neutral color, or warmth that always draws me in, but it seems that whenever I'm in a rush I grab it and run out the door.

Over the years I have learned a lot about designing, layout, and now (thanks to Craftsy!) photography.  I strive to put out the best patterns to my ability.  I have started using a new software for my pattern layouts in an attempt to make them more user friendly and make it easier for me to add photos.  Being one of my first few patterns, Zoey Star uses my original layout and rather crummy charting software.  I decided it was time to start the overhaul on my old patterns and this one is the first to get a makeover.  I even ventured into the forest this morning, in 90 degrees plus humidity and endured a dozen mosquito bites (silly me, no bug spray) to shoot some improved photos.  I look like I'm nice and cozy in my wool coat and hat, right?  Well I was beyond cozy, but nobody else needs to know that besides you and me, dear Knitters.

So, in addition to a new layout I have added a new size as well.  Zoey Star Beret now has instructions for a 20" and 22" brim circumference.

If you are interested, here is the Ravelry link.  $3 

In the near future I hope to be bringing you improved versions of several of my old patterns.  Until then, Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Glamorous Life of a Designer

The Glamorous Life of a Designer... or maybe I should call this post The Not So Glamorous Life of a Designer.  I had a funny moment today that I thought I would share.  I'm sure we all have visions of our 'dream jobs' and think how fun and fulfilling they must be.  Any sort of creative job would fit in that category.  Being a knitwear designer, I'm sure my friends and family have visions of me sitting in my design studio knitting away happily for days on end while my faithful assistant does the boring work of answering emails, organizing and grading patterns.  But I'm sure any designer will tell you that is not at all the case.  While I am lucky enough to have my own studio (spare bedroom with all my crafty junk shoved into it), I hardly spend any time in there and my assistant likes to goof off (see below) and is not so good at typing since he doesn't have thumbs.  He is a good foot warmer and alarm system, so he gets points for that.  He never lets me yarn wander away.  

Designing is done sporadically between all my other jobs.  While I don't have a full-time job away from home, like many other designers do, I am a full-time maid, laundress, dog walker and executive chef.  Today I had a very designer-y moment of having a design accepted for publication, and my moment of triumph is being celebrated by doing laundry.  Laundry will be followed shortly by vacuuming, typing and figuring out how to make a frittata for dinner.  Hopefully more design moments will be interspersed throughout day.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Knitscene Fall 2012 preview

Guess what?  The preview is up for Knitscene Fall 2012!  I have a pattern in this issue, Nocturnal Pullover.  It is a boatneck sweater with a lace owl motif.

 Creating the owl motif was great fun.  I started by finding a photo of an owl that I liked, then imported the image into Photoshop.  I added a grid on top, sizing the grid to approximately how many stitches across I wanted the motif to be.  Then I outlined the owl with yarn overs.  The complicated part was adding in the decreases to accompany the yarn overs.  It took a few tries before I could get it all to work out right.  Then I remembered that knit stitches are not square, so to keep my owl from being ridiculously long, I subtracted a few of the rows.  He looks a bit squat in the chart, but knits up to be a nicely proportioned little guy.

I am really excited to get my copy of this issue, so many lovely patterns and beautiful styling and photography.  I'm really drooling over the Terra Linda Cardigan by Rosemary Hill.  Here lace designs are always gorgeous, and this looks like a perfect fall sweater for me!  Fall where are you?!

Look for Knitscene Fall 2012 on newsstands July 10th!

New Pattern: Djoser Shawl

I am happy to announce that I have just published a new pattern, Djoser Shawl.  Djoser is a crescent shaped shawl worked from the bottom up with a two-color lace and bobble border and Stockinette stitch body worked in short rows.  While working on this design, I became an armchair Egyptologist watching documentaries on the pyramids of Egypt. Inspiration for the name came from Djoser, the first pharaoh of Egypt to build a pyramid. With a lace pattern shaped like little pyramids and yarn as blue as the Nile, I couldn’t resist using his name for this shawl.

58” wide and 14” long at center

Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light (100% merino; 420yds/384 m per 100 g skein); MC: baltic, 1 skein; CC: mare, 1 skein.
Approximate yardage needed:
MC: 400 yards CC: 200 yards

US #6/4 mm 32” circular needle
US #5/ 3.75mm 32” circular needle
Adjust needle size to get correct gauge.

Tapestry needle to weave in ends
23 stitch markers

19 sts and 34 rows = 4” in Stockinette stitch on smaller

ability to read a chart
long tail cast on
sl 1, k2tog, psso


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hello from North Carolina & Pattern in the Works

Sending you my warmest greetings from North Carolina, dear Knitters.  Far more than 'warmest', I would have to say hot and sticky with humidity!  This will be my first summer in the southern states and so far I find the humidity a bit oppressing.  But I am quite thrilled with my new (rented) home.  I am in a relatively rural area surrounded by small farms.  When I go out to the nearest shopping center I pass horses, cows, and fields of corn.  If only there were sheep!  But they might sweat to death in this heat. 

I've spent most of my time unpacking my house, yet managed to find some sanity-saving time to work up a new design.  It is a crescent shaped shawl worked in two colors of fingering weight yarn.  The border is a combination of lace and bobbles and the main body is Stockinette Stitch worked in short rows.  Here are a couple pictures of it blocking.  I am working on typing up the pattern and hoping to have it ready soon for test knitting.  If you are interested in test knitting come join my Ravelry group, Azalea & Rosebud Knits, I will post the call for testers there soon. 

Until then, dear Knitters, stay cool in the summer heat and Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

For the Love of Counterpane

Before I begin, what exactly is a counterpane?  I'm sure at least one of you is wondering.  Historically speaking, it is a blanket worked in blocks either from fabric (as in quilting) or knitted/crocheted and sewn together.  But lately in the knitting world 'counterpane' has referred to the construction of a knitted piece when it is worked from the center outwards (and sometimes outer edge to the center).  If you type 'counterpane' into the search field in the Patterns section of Ravelry you will come up with some lovely sweaters and blankets with lacy motifs that are worked from the center outwards.  While working on some new designs, I came to realize that counterpane constructions are sort of my 'thing'.  I love designing with them, and thus far my counterpane designs have been my most successful.  See Camellia Shrug from Knitscene, self published Aster Vest, and now my newly published Sakura Tee in Interweave Knits.  (Sorry I can't seem to put the photos next to each other.  I don't know how to fix the HTML :(   )

My love affair with counterpane constructions began with the second sweater I ever made, The Starburst Sweater by Kristin Omdahl.  Back then it was a pattern available on Knit Picks and I loved the flower motif on the back.  I knit it up in a slightly obnoxious pink color and ended up with a very warm and cozy sweater that I loved.  (As a side note, there are lots of things wrong with how I knit up this sweater, namely twisting my stitches and not checking my gauge.  Not a fault at all with the pattern, totally a problem with me!)

It wasn't until years later and after making lots of hats from the top down that I learned to love the center-outwards construction and wondered how that could translate into clothing.  I think it was while I was looking at a pretty circular lace shawl in A Gathering of Lace that it really hit me that a lace vest with a circular medallion would be pretty awesome.  After that it didn't take long for me to conceptualize the design for my Aster Vest.  I thought it was a pretty design, but I had no idea it would become my best seller or get so many positive comments.  It was modeled in a fiber-arts fashion show (mostly because we needed a few more outfits) and much to my surprise the audience gasped when the model turned around the showed off the back.

As pretty as counterpane (or as I usually call them 'medallion') constructions are, they bring up a set of problems on their own.  How does one deal with the multi-directional knitting? How do you make a square or circle conform to the human body?  When making larger sizes, how do you compensate for the longer length as well as width since people get much wider before they get longer?  It takes some creative shaping and designing and involves lots of math when it comes to making mutliple sizes.  But I think it is worth the effort when you end up with a unique design.  I will have more counterpane designs for you in the future, but just wanted to share my thoughts with you on the subject.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Saying Goodbye to Friends

Tonight I have to say goodbye to two friends.  Such is the way of military life.  People seem to come and go so quickly, you start to get to know them then it is time to say goodbye when they move on to a new post.  Pretty soon I'll be the one moving on, this time to North Carolina.  I'm hoping to find some fiber loving friends there and hopefully settle down for a couple of years.  One of the best parts of being a knitwear designer is that I can design anywhere in the world.  Hopefully all this travelling will mean I am exposed to new sources of inspiration.

On another note, I've already seen the beginnings of two Sakura Tee.  Can't wait to see some finished projects!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Interweave Knits Summer 2012

Greetings again, knitters.  Now for the happy news of the day.  I am proud to announce that I have two patterns in the new issue of Interweave Knits.  They are Endira Necklace and Sakura Tee.  You can see the preview for the entire issue of Interweave Knits Summer 2012 here.  So many lovely patterns in this issue, I can't wait to get my copy.

Photos are courtesy of Interweave, except for the close up photo of the necklace.  This is my own image, I added it to show the close up detail of the necklace.

Endira Necklace:  Designing a knitted necklace was a challenge.  With the exception of knitted wire and beads, I haven't found too many knitted necklaces that I thought were fashionable and wearable.  While pondering what I could design, I happened to see a collar style necklace on the pages of Lucky magazine.  I felt like it was sheer serendipity that I saw it and grabbed some graph paper and started designing the lace pattern.  Interweave sent me a lovely linen laceweight yarn in a sage green that completely complimented the silver beads.

Sakura Tee:  I love lace and I love designing with a counterpane construction.  Maybe you can say that counterpane is my 'thing'.  Sakura is an adventure in multi-directional knitting.  The front is begun in the center of the flower motif and worked outwards.  Increases are worked in four corners to make a square.  Each side of the square is separated and each side continued on in Stockinette stitch.  The yokes are worked in an eyelet mesh and the edges are worked in a simple k2, p2 rib.  I used Cascade Pima Silk and it knitted up like a dream.  I only had one previous experience with cotton, and it gave me tremendous amounts of wrist pain and numbness is my fingers.  This yarn was the complete opposite.  It glided around my needles (not too slippery, not too stiff) and had the most wonderful sheen and drape.  I would love to work with this yarn again.  Sakura Tee is meant to be worn with a couple inches of positive ease, to make a comfy but chic tee to wear in hot weather.

The evil "C" word: Copyright

"Copyright"- no other word, when mentioned on Ravelry, can bring such vitriol and heated arguments.  Usually I skip over those discussions that argue what copyright covers and what is actually means.  It can all be confusing, as some people think that copyright, licensing, and trademark are all the same thing and finding clear and decisive information is difficult.  Today on Twitter I stumbled across a tweet linking to this free e-book by Knitting Daily on copyright.  It provides clear information and explanations for knitters, designers and yarn store owners.  I think you have to be a member of Knitting Daily to see it, but it is worth signing up if you aren't already a member.  You can find out (in plain English) what exactly you are allowed to do with a pattern and it's accompanying photos.

More exciting news later on today.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Morrison Cardigan available for sale from Interweave

My Morrison Cardigan, originally published in Knitscene Fall 2011, is now available as an individual pattern pdf download from the Interweave Store.  It is a drape front cardigan worked in a textured stripe with a solid lace yoke.  This is one of my favorite designs, and I am dreaming of the day when I will have time to knit one for myself in a squooshy alpaca yarn.

Pattern available here for $5.50

Monday, April 23, 2012

Stitches South

I'm back from Stitches South and had a fabulous time.  I will start off by saying that I was bad and didn't take a single photo.  I was too busy having fun!  I started off by wandering around the marketplace for a couple hours and managed to spend all my yarn money on gorgeous yarns by independent yarn dyers.  Among them were Madelinetosh, Miss Babs, Neighborhood Fiber Company, and Dragonfly Fibers.  I try to buy indie dyed yarns in person because photos just don't do justice to the vibrant color variations.  While I can't show you my yarns in person, here is a photo of my colorful purchase.  I can't wait to finish my current freelance projects and start designing with these yarns.

My most favorite purchase was from the Fiesta Yarns booth, and it wasn't even yarn!  It was a lavender scented lotion bar made by Milk and Honey.  Here is their awesome website.  I think I see more lotion bars and handmade soap in my future.

I took two classes and both were awesome.  First was Designing a Triangle Shawl with Brooke Nico.  She presented us with a very clear presentation on how triangle shawls are shaped and how to work in additional lace repeats as the shawl gets bigger.  Then we were on our own and got to design our own triangle lace shawl.  On Sunday I took The Entrelac Shift with Gwen Bortner.  The focus of the class was how to incorporate other stitch patterns with entrelac and have a smooth transition.  Gwen provided excellent physical samples and lots of humorous stories while we were working.  Overall the classes were great and I would love to go back next year!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Out in the Garden & Stitches South

Lots of super secret knitting going on around here, which unfortunately I can't share for awhile.  But what I can share is a few pictures from my garden.  It was my New Year's resolution this year to rid myself of my very black thumb and learn how to grow my own vegetables.  The first round failed miserably, but the second round is still going strong.  So far I have been enjoying homegrown lettuce, radishes, beets, chives and parsley.  In February I was grumbling about how slow my plants were growing, so my husband humored me and bought me some lettuce seedlings.  We have eaten most of that lettuce, and much to my surprise after picking off all the  leaves more lettuce is growing back!  I was happily shocked when I saw the new leaves sprout.  Well, I guess it is the plant that keeps on giving.  I went out this morning after the rain stopped to give my plants their daily inspection.  I had a furry little helper too, who was keeping an eye on the mail man.

I will be moving in a few months, and hopefully my new home will have a patio or some sort of space for my container garden.  I'm hoping to even have enough room for some vines- maybe cucumber, zucchini or pumpkin.  Or maybe all three?  Whenever my husband wants to go to Home Depot or Lowe's I always wander into the nursery and daydream in front of all the seed packets.  Speaking or seeds, (or I guess writing of seeds) I have a special picture of my favorite plant.  This is a cherry tomato plant that I grew from seeds and it has sprouted its first batch of tomatoes.  It might sound funny to anyone who grew up in the country, but being a city girl I have a certain pride when I put the bowl of salad on the dinner table and say "Hey, I GREW all the stuff in this bowl!"

On another note, Stitches South is this weekend in Atlanta and I get to go!  So happy!  This will be my first year going to any sort of knitting convention.  I'm going alone, so I am a little nervous.  I don't get to interact with other crafters here in Georgia, so it will be a welcome relief to see some handknits and knitting needles. I'm taking two classes, Design Your Own Triangle Shawl and The Entrelac Shift: Combining Fabrics for Maximum Effect.  I've spent a lot of time trying to learn both of those subjects on my own and didn't get too far, so I can't wait to take these classes.  Of course I am also excited about buying more yarn.  I'm hoping to find some Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light.  I have a few designs in mind that I think would pair perfectly with the sheen and drape of that singles yarn.

Well, hopefully my next post will be a summary of the goings on at Stitches.  See you then!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

New Pattern: Olexa Vest

Happy Spring!  I am proud to announce that I am releasing a new pattern, Olexa Vest.  The Olexa Vest is a fitted striped vest with bias striped pockets and broken rib trim. The body is worked flat in one piece from the bottom up. The pockets are knit on the bias and sewn on. The flattering deep v neckline is accented with a shaped rib trim. This vest is meant to be worn with little or no positive ease in the bustline.

For more information, see the Ravelry pattern page.

Chest: 31.25 (34.5, 38, 41.5)[44.75, 48, 51.55]”
Length: 20.75 (21, 22, 22.75)[23.25, 24, 24.75]”

Worsted weight wool yarn.
Color A: 200 (220, 250, 280)[300, 340, 380] yards
Color B: 250 (280, 320, 360)[400, 440, 490] yards

US #6/4 mm 16” and 32” circular needles
Adjust needle size to get correct gauge.

19 sts and 27 rows = 4” in Stockinette Stripe

working in the round
long tail CO
cable CO
three needle BO
mattress stitch
RLI (right lifted increase)
LLI (left lifted increase)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

FO: Mariposa Turquesa

I have finished knitting my Mariposa Shawl, this time using Knit Picks Aloft in a gorgeous shade of turquoise named Kenai.  This luscious mohair/silk blend is incredibly soft, lightweight and warm.  The beads are a mix called 'Blue Iris' and are shades of blue, purple, turquoise, green and bronze.  Worked in three sections of feather and fan stitch, this shawl has a nice shape that drapes easily over the shoulders and stays put.  No having to fuss with a shawl pin.  The beaded picot bind off takes awhile, but totally worth the effort.

Monday, April 2, 2012

I Am Not Superwoman

This is my little doggie in the photo, but might as well have been me all weekend.  Didn't want to get out of bed, being rolled up in the sheets all day seemed like the nicest place to be.  We all make big plans for ourselves that, inevitably, never work out.  There are only so many hours in the day, and a person only has so much energy.  This weekend that was me, burned out.  I did practically nothing crafty all weekend,  not even cooking.  I spent most of Saturday asleep due to a headache and most of Sunday watching movies.  I saw The Hunger Games in the theater then In Time as a Netflix rental.  And you know what?  It felt ok to not really *do* anything.  Sometimes we just need a break to recharge.  By Sunday night a new design had popped into my head and I attempted to chart it out.  It has a few glitches to be worked out, but I was happy to have the wheels turning in my head again.  Now I'm ready to hit the road running again, starting with a very-tedious-but-worth-the-effort beaded picot bind off for a shawl.  Happy Crafting this week!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Retro Style Dress, A Sewing Project

As I have mentioned before (and you can see in my profile), I love fashion.  Especially the beautiful clothes from the 1940's and 50's.  Women just looked so elegant and chic even during wartime.  I gaze longingly at the vintage inspired clothes in the Anthropologie catalog and online at ModCloth and ShopRuche.  Though beautiful, their prices don't exactly fit into my clothing budget.  For the last few years I have bought most of my clothes at Forever 21, but sadly I am slowly realizing that I am getting too old to shop there.  Their dresses are ridiculously short on me and completely not age appropriate.  Yes, I'm only 28, but still I need to have a certain amount of modesty for my own self respect!

Luckily for me, I know how to sew.  My mom used to sew most of my clothes as a kid, so I learned the basics of sewing pretty early in my childhood.  Then getting a degree in fashion design forced me to sew as well (oh, the nightmare of all those muslin samples!).  I am signed up to receive all the sales flyers and coupons from Joann's, so I keep my eyes peeled for when patterns go on sale for $.99 or $1.99 and then stock up.  A couple of the pattern companies even have 'retro' pattern sections.  Even in the regular dress sections there are plenty of dresses that could be considered vintage inspired.  In fact, today Simplicity and Butterick are on sale and I'm going to head over to Joann's and get more patterns.

The sewing project I want to share with you today is McCall's pattern M6503.  Please excuse the scarf and t-shirt on my dress form, she has lots of pins stuck in her that like to snag on my knitting.  I used view A with the sleeves from View B.  It is an empire waisted dress with a surplice bodice, fold back collar with a ruffle trim and gathered skirt.  I used a floral print fabric in bright aqua with pink flowers.  I love calico, just about everything I sew comes from the quilting section.  It's been that way since I was a kid, some habits are just too hard to break!  I had a heck of a time sewing this dress.  It wasn't hard really, it just wasn't working out for me.  Especially the ruffle, sandwiching it between the dress and facing was proving more than a bit difficult for my little brain.  I felt like I spent more time ripping out seams than actually sewing them, but I was quite pleased with the end result.  It even has a knee length skirt so I don't have to constantly be pulling at it to make sure all the appropriate parts are covered.  I had to make a few adjustments to the sizing.  I am a size larger on bottom than on top, so I had to let out the waist seam a bit.  Also the surplice kept flopping open so I hand sewed it shut.

Last week I had a 25% total purchase coupon and stocked up on lots of fabric, enough to make my summer wardrobe.  Dresses in the summer are an easy choice for me; I love not having to think about coordinating anything, just throw on a dress and go.  Hopefully more sewing projects will be soon to follow.

Lastly, I am currently working on a new knitting pattern.  This one is a striped vest with bias pockets.  I'm hoping to release it in the next week or two, so stay tuned.  Here is a sneak peek!

Monday, March 26, 2012

New Pattern: Glenrowan Hat

 Today I am publishing Glenrowan Hat, a beanie worked in a two tone garter stripe and cable pattern.  The band is worked flat in a garter stripe with the short ends sewn together.  Stitches are picked up around the long edge and worked in the round for the body of the hat.  Glenrowan is a unisex pattern sized from baby to adult large to fit the whole family.
baby (toddler, child, adult S, adult M, adult L)
Circumference: 16.25 (17.75, 19.5, 21, 22.75, 24.25)”
Length: 6.5 (7, 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5)”
Knit Picks Wool of the Andes (100% wool; 110 yds/101 m per 50 g ball); Color A: Baltic Heather, 1 (2, 2, 2, 2, 2) balls; Color B: Midnight Heather 1 ball.  
Yarn requirements for each color: 
baby: color A 100 yds color B 50 yds 
toddler: color A 120 yds color B 60 yds 
child: color A 140 yds color B 70 yds 
adult S: color A 160 yds color B 80 yds 
adult M: color A 180 yds color B 90 yds 
adult L: color A 200 yds color B 100 yds
ability to read a chart 
working in the round 
basic knowledge of cables 
picking up stitches 
US #5/3.75 mm straight needles
US #6/4 mm set of dpn and 16”circular needle


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Two Bad Knitting Habits: Take Charge of Your Knitting!

  I have been working on a new pattern for the last couple of days and have been thinking about my past experiences working with test knitters and emails I have received from people who have knitted my patterns.  While I have received quite a few wonderful comments and emails, I have also had a few comments (some helpful and some just rude) about sizing and gauge in my patterns.  I try my best to produce perfect patterns, but a perfect finished product depends a lot on the knitter.  I think the two most important things that will produce the perfect finished product and picking the correct size and getting the correct gauge.  But even though they are most important, I see lots of knitters just grab their needles and start knitting without taking the time to check their choices.

Gauge.  Yes, I know, gauge swatches are not fun.  You are so itching to start that beautiful sweater (or hat or socks, etc) that you just want to cast on all the stitches and get on with it.  But in the end, what do you do when your sweater comes out three sizes too big?  Or too short?  If you think about it, the couple hours of work it takes to knit up a gauge swatch is worth it to save weeks (or even months) of knitting when the end product is not wearable.  Here is my own example.  When my niece was a little baby, I decided to knit her a sweater and I chose the beautiful Helena from Knitty Summer 2008.  Now, I did knit a gauge swatch but it was very tiny and I (stupidly) only checked the stitch gauge and not the row gauge.  After going down a couple needle sizes my stitch gauge was just fine and dandy.  I happily knit the whole sweater and didn't realize until the end that it was several inches too short.  I didn't have my niece readily available so I thought maybe that is just how short and compact babies are.  Well when she put it on, it was a lovely midriff baring 3/4 sleeve cardigan.  Sigh.  If only I had take the time to really check my gauge properly I could have adjusted the length and ended up with a much better sweater.  Another problem that I have with gauge is that I knit very loosely.  I really can't help it, I have tried to knit tighter, and although I already have a death grip on my needles it just isn't going to happen.  When I knit someone else's pattern, I typical have to go down two needle sizes to get their gauge.  I have noticed that some of my testers and knitters who knit my patterns just see what needle size I use and go for it, and then send me emails and complain that it is not even humanly possible to get that gauge with that needle size.  Well, it is possible for me.  I have tried to add extra notes to my patterns (besides the obvious "adjust needle size to get gauge") to *please, please!! check your gauge because I knit loosely*.  I wish there was another way around it.  I have thought to even just write the pattern one needle size bigger, but I think it is more important to encourage knitters to take charge of their knitting and make any adjustments necessary to make their project a success.

Sizing.  Picking the right size of a pattern can be a tough decision.  I usually just pick the size (if it is a sweater) closest to my bust size without checking any of the measurements.  I hadn't really thought about it until Knitting Daily discussed ease and started the photo galleries of one size sweater on different sized bodies with different amounts of ease.  I hadn't realized just how important positive or negative ease can affect the look of a sweater.  I tend to wear sweaters with no or negative ease.  When I knit Talia from Knitty Spring 2008 I chose the size closest to my bust size, which had 1" positive ease.  I figured since it was a vest and I would wear a shirt underneath it would be fine.  Sigh.  It wasn't fine.  It was a lovely pattern but I really should have considered all the measurements before I began.  The photo is on my dress form which is basically the same size as me.  The neckline flops open, the armholes are too big, and when I wear it the whole vest just feels heavy.  Don't be shy about getting out the measuring tape and taking all the appropriate measurements.  Along with bust, the body length, neckline depth and sleeve length are all important.  Get to know how your body size is different from the 'standard' of your size.  I have long arms and big hips, and would definitely want my sweater to have sleeves that come down all the way past my wrist bones and have enough ease in the hips so I can sit down without stretching out my sweater.

So I hope this post has encouraged at least one knitter to be more aware when starting a new pattern.  We spend so much time (and money!) on our crafts, it is really worth the effort when you end up with a fantastic fit.