Last Call, Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet Books Retiring Soon

Oh man, this is a bit tough, but it has to be done.  All three of the Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet books are almost gone.  I have just a tiny handful of each left.  Once those are gone, they’re gone.  I won’t be printing more.

kcc1 coverYou may still be able to find them on amazon for a little while (looks like they a few copies of each at the moment).  And of course you may well be able to find used copies out in the world.  But I won’t have any more to send out to shops or individuals.

kcc2 coverAnd of course the electronic versions will remain available for the time being.  But I know a lot of you are like me and prefer to have the real book to hold and have on the shelf.  So if you’ve been meaning to grab one, this might be the time.

kcc3 coverI confess I’ll be sad to see them go.  They were my first big project, and I’ll always have a soft spot for them (and for everyone who was brave enough to buy the patterns with the crazy names from the weird girl who decided to quit grad school and write knitting books instead of getting a real job).  But I suspect it’s better to let everyone know and give you one last chance to grab them than to have them quietly disappear.

More of a good thing

Back in February I went on a little stroll down memory lane about the first of the Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet books.  It was sort of awesome to go back and spend some time with it, and so I thought I’d make some time to talk about the other two books in that series too.  I’ll start with Volume II today, and we’ll chat about Volume III later in the year.

Just like last time, I’ve gone ahead and put both the paper book and the electronic book on sale for 25% off and made the individual patterns available on ravelry (normally it’s only the whole book that’s available).  You don’t need a code or anything, the prices are already changed.  They’ll be that way through the end of the month, and then they’ll go back to normal and the individual patterns will flit back away.

kcc2 coverI’m going to let you in on a little secret.  The only thing I regret about this whole series of books is that I wasn’t brave enough to put ‘Volume I’ in the title of the first book.  I knew from the very beginning that I wanted there to be three books, but some very wise and reasonable people told me calling something Volume I was risky (what if you didn’t do a Volume II?), so I left it off.  But before the first one was even back from the printer, I was hard at work on Volume II.

erasmia pulchellaThe first volume had used botanical prints to inspire the patterns.  For this one, I worked with drawings of butterflies.

metopsilus porcellus sockTracking down the source materials for these books was always a huge part of the process.  The source materials are all old enough to be public domain, so you can generally find reasonable scans of them online, but I wanted to have the originals.

lycaena virgauraea shawlPart of that was so I could make high quality scans of the images to include in the books (you can see lovely large versions of the prints that inspired each pattern on the patterns’ ravelry pages, they’re worth spending some time with).

vanessa antiopa sockBut part of it was because they are just beautiful objects and I wanted to have the chance to examine them up close.  They’re all tinted by hand, and you can often see significant differences in color and shading between different copies of the original books.  I love the individuality , and it reminds me of the variation from one skein of hand dyed yarn to the next.

danima banksiae mittI still have a plan to pick three of my favorites from each book, get them framed in matching frames, and hang them up together.  If I ever manage an office whose walls aren’t covered in bookcases, I think I’ll have to do it.

lycaena virgaureae sockThey’d serve as a good reminder to trust myself and know that if I think something is going to be a set, well then I can go right ahead and name the first book accordingly!

delias eucharis hat

Delias eucharis Knit Along

I’ll be having knit alongs for each of the pattern pairs in The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet, Volume II. This month we’re starting the two patterns inspired by the Delias eucharis print.

5To start, we’ve got some delicious cabled socks (I loved them so much they had to go on the cover).

5_de_sock_bAnd if you’re not feeling the sock vibe, this hat is equally enchanting.

5_de_hat_a

These are both made with yarns from the always charming Plucky Knitter, and yes I do happen to have a beautiful skein of her yarn to give away to a lucky winner at the end of the KAL.

If you’d like to join in, swing on by the ravelry thread and get knitting.  This is pretty laid back for a knit along (too many rules make my head hurt).  The general idea is cast on any time now…knit…post a picture showing your finished project by the end of November (each installment of the KAL runs for two months, so you’ve got plenty of time).  And, if you want to chat (pick yarns, ask questions, show off progress pics, whatever), I’d love it.  We’re a friendly bunch!

We’ll be doing a new installment of the knit along every month (and each one will run for two months), and we’ll work our way through the book in order.  The knit along for the Polyommatus corydon patterns is still going strong, and you’re welcome to join that still.

As each pair of patterns comes up for the knit along, the individual patterns will become available to purchase (so if you love one of the patterns but don’t want the whole book, there’s a way for you to get it).  Look for these two patterns later this week.  I hope you’ll join us!

Polyommatus corydon Knit Along

I’ll be having knit alongs for each of the pattern pairs in The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet, Volume II.  This month we’re starting the two patterns inspired by the Polyommatus corydon print (as always, you can click on the print to see it bigger, these prints really are marvelous).

string theory copySo of course we have socks…ruffly frilly amazing socks.

332_KCC2 copyAnd just to counter out all that girlishness, a slightly more subdued hat.

283_KCC2 copyIf you’d like to join in, swing on by the ravelry thread and get knitting.  This is pretty laid back for a knit along (too many rules make my head hurt).  The general idea is cast on any time now…knit…post a picture showing your finished project by the end of October (each installment of the KAL runs for two months, so you’ve got plenty of time).  And, if you want to chat (pick yarns, ask questions, show off progress pics, whatever), I’d love it.  We’re a friendly bunch!

We’ll be doing a new installment of the knit along every month (and each one will run for two months), and we’ll work our way through the book in order.  The knit along for the Polyommatus argiolus patterns is still going strong, and you’re welcome to join that still.

As each pair of patterns comes up for the knit along, the individual patterns will become available to purchase (so if you love one of the patterns but don’t want the whole book, there’s a way for you to get it).  Look for these two patterns later this week.  I hope you’ll join us!

Polyommatus argiolus Knit Along

I’ll be having knit alongs for each of the pattern pairs in The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet, Volume II.  This month we’re starting the two patterns inspired by the Polyommatus argiolus print (you can click on the print to see it bigger, it really is quite lovely).

That’s these charming socks.

And these clever mitts (they’re so much fun to put together, you really should give them a go).

If you’d like to join in, swing on by the ravelry thread and get knitting.  This is pretty laid back for a knit along (too many rules make my head hurt).  The general idea is cast on any time now…knit…post a picture showing your finished project by the end of September (each installment of the KAL runs for two months, so you’ve got plenty of time).  And, if you want to chat (pick yarns, ask questions, show off progress pics, whatever), I’d love it.  We’re a friendly bunch!

We’ll be doing a new installment of the knit along every month (and each one will run for two months), and we’ll work our way through the book in order.  The knit along for the Lycaena virgaureae patterns is still going strong, and you’re welcome to join that still.

As each pair of patterns comes up for the knit along, the individual patterns will become available to purchase (so if you love one of the patterns but don’t want the whole book, there’s a way for you to get it).  Look for these two patterns later this week.  I hope you’ll join us!

Lycaena virgaureae Knit Along

I’ll be having knit alongs for each of the pattern pairs in The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet, Volume II.  This month we’re starting the two patterns inspired by the Lycaena virgaureae print (you can click on the print to see it bigger, it really is quite lovely).

That’s these delicate orange socks.

And this delicious orange shawl.

If you’d like to join in, swing on by the ravelry thread and get knitting.  This is pretty laid back for a knit along (too many rules make my head hurt).  The general idea is cast on any time now…knit…post a picture showing your finished project by the end of August (each installment of the KAL runs for two months, so you’ve got plenty of time).  And, if you want to chat (pick yarns, ask questions, show off progress pics, whatever), I’d love it.  We’re a friendly bunch!

We’ll be doing a new installment of the knit along every month (and each one will run for two months), and we’ll work our way through the book in order.  The knit along for the Vanessa antiopa patterns is still going strong, and you’re welcome to join that still.

As each pair of patterns comes up for the knit along, the individual patterns will become available to purchase (so if you love one of the patterns but don’t want the whole book, there’s a way for you to get it).  Look for these two patterns later this week.  I hope you’ll join us!

Double-Sided Buttons

It’s not often you get to take out your pliers for your knitting.  That’s a shame.  I like my pliers, and I want to use them more often.  I found a way to sneak them into Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet, Volume II as part of the Vanessa antiopa Cowl.  (That pattern is part of the knit along that’s going on now, so if you want to get your pliers out too, feel free to join us.)

I used my pliers to make double-sided buttons.  You can see here how I used three of them to hold the cowl together.

This is actually a really nifty technique to have up your sleeve.  You know how some bits of knitting (especially shawls and cowls) sometimes cry out for a way to hold them in place?  But maybe you don’t want to commit to anything so permanent as a sewn on button?  Well this is a great way to handle it.  Double-sided buttons let you hold your fabric together wherever you’d like with no commitment (and no sewing on of buttons…a task I always find unreasonably daunting).

The instructions are in the book and in in the individual pattern, but it’s handy enough that I wanted to share it here too.  I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking.

Supplies.

Grab your ring.

Twist it open.

Load your buttons.

Twist it closed.

All done!

Try making a set of these to hold together your favorite bit of knitting.  It works with a series of small buttons like these, or you could try it with one larger button as a statement piece.  If the backside of your knitting won’t show, you could even do one large, flashy button for the outside, and a smaller one (remember, at least one of the buttons has to be able to fit through the fabric) on the inside.

If you find yourself making double-sided buttons, I’d love to see them in the knit along thread for this project!

Vanessa antiopa Knit Along

I’ll be having knit alongs for each of the pattern pairs in The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet, Volume II.  We’re starting this month with the two patterns inspired by the Vanessa antiopa print (you can click on the print to see it bigger, it really is quite lovely).

That’s these charming yellow socks:

And this amazingly versatile purple cowl.

If you’d like to join in, swing on by the ravelry thread and get knitting.  This is pretty laid back for a knit along (too many rules make my head hurt).  The general idea is cast on any time now…knit…post a picture showing your finished project by the end of July (each installment of the KAL runs for two months, so you’ve got plenty of time).  And, if you want to chat (pick yarns, ask questions, show off progress pics, whatever), I’d love it.  We’re a friendly bunch!

Best of all, the charming folks at Lorna’s Laces are sponsoring this installment.  I used their yarns for these projects (Solemate for the socks and Lion & Lamb for the cowl) and couldn’t love it more.  They’re providing a prize for the winner (randomly drawn from among the finishers).  I can’t tell you just what yet, because I get to visit with them at TNNA and pick something out (which should be great fun).  I’m confident it will be amazing though!

We’ll be doing a new installment of the knit along every month (and each one will run for two months), and we’ll work our way through the book in order.  As each pair of patterns comes up for the knit along, the individual patterns will become available to purchase (so if you love one of the patterns but don’t want the whole book, there’s a way for you to get it).  I hope you’ll join us!

Swatch…Bare Naked

I’ve been a fan of Anne’s work for just about as long as I’ve been knitting. She has an aesthetic and style that really stands out, and it’s always easy to spot one of her designs! So when I heard she’d turned her talent to making yarns, I was excited to try them. I had great fun swatching four of the yarns up (click any of the pictures for bigger versions).

Anne’s new yarns, and my new book, seemed to offer a perfect opportunity for me to talk a bit about a subject of interest to most knitters, yarn substitutions! I’ve started over on Anne’s blog with a bit of discussion about yarn substitution in general. I’ll continue here with a few examples of what to do if the yarn you want to use requires you to do a bit of pattern tweaking to work out right.

So let’s say you’ve fallen desperately in love with a yarn (it happens) and also with a pattern (yup, that happens too), but you just can’t quite get the yarn and the pattern to play nicely together as written. What can you do? The answer, my friends, is math. Now bear with me, this is very easy math, and I’m going to make it easier by giving examples.

Let’s start with the Smerinthus ocellatus Socks.

In the book, this is knit with Achilles by Barking Dog Yarns (bottom). Here, I swatched with Anne’s Stone Soup Fingering (top).

The pattern calls for a gauge of 8 stitches per inch, but at that gauge, the Stone Soup Fingering doesn’t give a dense enough fabric to make sturdy socks. Socks really need to be tightly knit to hold up and feel comfortable. If I were making socks with this yarn, I’d likely want a gauge of closer to 9.5 stitches per inch. So what does that mean for the sizing?

Luckily, it’s easy to tweak the sizing of this sock! Let’s start with the numbers. As written, you cast on 56 [64, 72, 80] stitches, and that fits a foot of 7.5 [8.5, 9.5, 10.5] inches at 8 stitches per inch. If you’re shifting to 9.5 stitches per inch, you need to divide the stitch count by the gauge, then multiply by 1.1 to account for a bit of negative ease. So let’s do one example:

stitch count / new gauge * 1.1 = new size

72 stitches / 9.5 stitches per inch * 1.1 = 8.3 inches

If you go through the same calculation for other sizes, you’ll find that using the pattern exactly as written, but at a gauge of 9.5 stitches per inch, the sock will fit a foot of 6.5 [7.4, 8.3, 9.2] inches. And if you want a slightly bigger sock, you’ll see that the stitch pattern is 8 stitches wide, and it would be pretty simple to cast on 88 (or even 96!) stitches and make the sock bigger. You’ll have to do a little bit of tweaking when it comes to the heel and toe, but the patterns shows the method, and it would be pretty easy if you were used to sock math (not the thing to do for your first sock ever, but not really all that hard either).

So you can absolutely use a slightly thinner yarn, as long as you’re willing to cast on a few more stitches!

Let’s look at a similar example with the Delias eucharis Hat.

In the book, this is knit with Primo Worsted by The Plucky Knitter (bottom).  Here, I swatched with Anne’s Romney DK (top).

 

The pattern calls for a gauge of 12 stitches over 2 inches in the ribbing at the hat’s brim. At that gauge, the Romney DK was a bit more open than I want for the hat. It’s lovely, but not quite dense enough to be as warm or provide the structure the hat was meant to have. I like it better at 14 stitches per inch for this pattern.

Once again, it’s really easy to adjust the pattern to fit your needs. It’s the same calculation as for the sock. The hat pattern as written calls for a cast on of 108 [120, 132, 144] stitches, and that fits a head of 19 [21, 23, 25] inches at a gauge of 12 stitches per 2 inches. If you’re shifting to 14 stitches per 2 inches, you’ll divide the stitch count by the gauge (14 stitches per 2 inches is 7 stitches per inch), then multiply by 1.1 to give a bit of negative ease. One more example:

stitch count / new gauge * 1.1 = new size

132 stitches / 7 stitches per inch * 1.1 = 20.8 inches

If you go through the same calculation for other sizes, you’ll find that using the pattern exactly as written, but at a gauge of 14 stitches per 2 inches, the hat will fit a head of 17 [18.9, 20.8, 22.7] inches. Just as with the sock, it’s easy to make even bigger sizes if you need to (I have a big head, I understand that sometimes it’s what you need). Just cast on 156 stitches and follow the directions as written. The only thing that will change is the number of stitches left at the end of your final round of decreases, and that’s not going to cause any problems.

So if you’ve got a yarn you love and a pattern you’ve just got to make, don’t let a slightly thinner or thicker yarn throw you off. Just do a bit of math (and it’s easy math, I promise) and there’s a very good chance you can have the piece you’re dreaming of!

Easier than Expected

Well, that went even better than expected.  The postman took all those packages (I harbored doubts…I imagined him taking one a day for the next few years or something equally dreadful).  But no, they all went!  I’ll be putting out more packages today and Friday, and then they’ll all be shipped!

And, because someone will come say ‘but I didn’t know!’ on Saturday and I’ll feel terribly guilty, here is the very last reminder.  Preorders end tomorrow.  Tomorrow morning.  As soon as I set the last package on the porch and have a cup of tea, I’ll come up here and turn them off.  That means if you want a discount plus a free pattern when you order, today is the last day to do it.  Go forth, click, get a good deal!