Hi foxes! Wow, this giveaway is real hit, I’m happy to report. From Bangalore to Bonn, Manchester to Madrid, Las Vegas and so many more, patterns from The Red Fox and Gown are finding good homes. I very much appreciate the notes and comments sent to me via Ravelry. Although I couldn’t reply to everyone, believe me that I’m ridiculously pleased to hear from you and that I appreciate the time taken out of your busy days to write. I’m glad that knitting can unite people like this! Thank you, as always, for your interest and support! It means a lot to me.
As a new designer, I’m usually working on my own, so it is very exciting and helpful to get feedback from you. Notes, Ravelry pm’s, comments on pattern pages, favouriting and queuing patterns gives me information about which way to go with my designs. I always have loads of ideas and it’s interesting to see what is a hit with you. So please, keep the feedback coming and I would also love to see finished objects up on Ravelry on the pattern pages.
This is the last large scale giveaway that I will conduct. But don’t worry, there will be lots of fun still to be had. There will be the occasional promotion. But at the end of the day I also need to cover costs and earn an income so pattern purchases are always welcome!
Thank you all again! Also, if you like this blog, please follow the blog and/or Twitter (on the sidebar to the right) for more news and events.
PS – The giveaway is still on until midnight PST. See my previous post for details.
Just as the title promises, I’m having a flash anniversary sale to celebrate 1 year of The Red Fox and Gown! Yes, it’s true! It’s hard to believe that I’ve been designing for… well, it’s probably a couple of years now but a year before I actually started up The Red Fox and Gown.
So, here’s the offer:
Choose 1 pattern from the current catalogue of The Red Fox and Gown for your free download. The offer is valid for a very limited time through 20 May, 4pm Pacific time to 22 May 23.59pm. Celebrate with knitting and spread the word! Use the code ‘anniversary’ at checkout to receive 1 free pattern of your choice.
All I ask is that if you can, please post finished items up on Ravelry on the pattern pages for all to see!
Every knitter has their opinions on what makes the best knitting needles for their projects. I’d like to share a review of the needles I like to use. As you can see from the lead photograph, I’m partial to bamboo and wood double pointed needles.
But before I get too ahead of myself, for the benefit of those relatively new to knitting, let me provide a bit of context. Knitting needles come in a variety of forms, including straight, circular and double pointed, and materials, such as steel, aluminum, wood, bamboo and plastic.
When you think of knitting needles, usually a pair of straight knitting needles come to mind. These are used to knit back and forth. I think that straight needles are not as popular as they once were, because of circular knitting needles.
Circular knitting needles are two needles connected by a piece of plastic, used to knit items in the round like hats or pullovers. Increasingly, people use circular needles to work back and forth, just as you would traditional straight needles. The advantage of circular needles, though, is that you can put a lot more stitches on a circular needle cord than you can on a straight needle. The circular needles, being smaller, tend to also be more portable.
Before circular needles appeared on the scene, there were double pointed needles, also used to knit in the round. Knitters still used double pointed, especially for small items knit in the round such as socks and sleeves. They require a bit of dexterity to use, but it’s really easier than it looks.
I’ve learned that I like different knitting needle materials for different kind of projects. When working large projects in the round, I like metal tipped circular needles, particularly Addi Turbos. They provide little resistance while knitting, which is good when you’ve got a big project that you’re trying to finish in a hurry. I find using metal tipped circulars a lot easier on my wrists than bamboo, which provide more resistance.
However, when it comes to working on projects using double pointed needles, it becomes a bit more complicated. For fine gauge projects like socks, I like the wood or bamboo needles which provide more grip and makes the project less slippery. I usually use either Clover Takumi bamboo or Brittany wood double pointed needles. But for bulkier projects, I like metal double pointed needles, especially my lovely needles by Signature Needle Arts.
The next thing is finding a place for all these knitting needles to live. There’s a whole art to finding knitting storage. I sewed myself a needle roll to hold all of them. Ravelry has a cool feature where you can keep an inventory of all your needles, which I find quite helpful.
There’s also sets of interchangeable circular needles that come in an array of sizes where you pick the knitting needle tips to cord length. Surprisingly, I haven’t ever purchased such a set myself but I can see where it would be useful and also a cost savings overall. Although I tend to have several projects on the go at once and I usually need more than one of a certain size. Like I said, it’s complicated. If you buy a set of interchangeable needles, I recommend that you will have tried out a variety of material types for your needles to know that you’ll like what you purchase.
Do you have a favourite set of knitting needles?
Guess what I’ve got? A
buffet sample pack of Rain City Knits DK and several full size skeins for my designing and knitting pleasure! I am thrilled to bits. So much so that I decided to wear my skein of Steel Grey before turning it into a ball.
I am in love with the Rain City Knits DK. I totally recommend picking up a fabulous, colourful Babycakes sampler featuring 8 colours to play with. The colours are gorgeous and vivid. Each ball is 25g / 61 yds per skein in superwash merino. Colours included are Vermillion, Hot Pink, Bright Orange, Lemon Yellow, Heliotrope Purple, Kelly Green, Rain Drop Blue and Royal Blue.
Aside from the gorgeous signature colours from Rain City Knits, the DK yarn is delightfully soft and has a great spring to it. If you knit, you’ll know what I mean.
I am planning on using my Babycakes, along with Steel Grey, to design a garment. That’s all I’m telling you right now. I am already having lots of fun working with the yarn, turning it into balls from skein form.
Did I mention that the DK is sooo soft? I might’ve… One tip about making balls from yarn that I have for you is not to pull too tightly when hand winding. You don’t want to remove the spring of the yarn in your hand wound ball.
I have started knitting up my Steel Grey and it has a lovely variegated look, which pleases me, as shown here under natural sunlight. I am alternating skeins as I knit, as I recommend with any variegated or kettle dyed yarn. Truly this yarn is a delight to work with and I recommend that you pick some up from Rain City Knits to try out on your latest project.
I’m happy to share that my latest pattern Granville is available for purchase on Ravelry and soon also on Etsy. Granville features a ribbed brim edge and diagonal lace which slides closed with your favourite ribbon. So, when you untie the ribbon, Granville changes from a slouchy hat to a cowl.
Special thanks go to my tech editor Katherine Vaughan who checks over my patterns and my Ravelry test knitters who did a great job. And thank you also to photographers Krista (of Rain City Knits) and Vasso who got some great pictures of Granville in action.
I hope you’ll try Granville out!
My sketchbook is my brain… well, almost. With each design I create, I usually have a series of pages on how that design evolved. Often there are measurements and numbers, as in my photos for the Edinburgh Mittens and skirt. But there are always illustrations of the design, with variations here and there.
Take for example a simple pullover. There’s so many questions that need to be answered in the sketch. How long is it? Where do the sleeves ends? What kind of neckline? And most importantly, where do I see this sitting on the body? So, most of the designs I have usually are based on simple croquis drawings to show how the garment fits and hangs on the body.
Now wait a second. What’s a croquis, you might be asking? A croquis is basically a quick illustration, typically a line drawing, of a real human figure. Usually these illustrations are made in a couple minutes, tops. Often enough, the same croquis outline is used to show a range of variations of the outfit or a series of outfits. You can even draw a croquis custom to your body or a model’s body to reflect the proportions of the garment.
Once I’ve done a few runs at the croquis, I usually have a series of other sketches where I’m working out details, like finding the right collar shape for a pullover garment.
So how do you make a croquis to use as your base for illustration? Yes, you can find them already made online if you want to skip this step altogether. But there are many benefits to making your own croquis. You can find your starting point by using either an existing photo showing your body or even a photograph of a figure from a fashion magazine.
Here’s a list of supplies that you need to make your own croquis and fashion drawings:
- photograph / fashion photograph
- tracing paper
- black ink pen
- coloured markers (I like Copic)
Place a sheet of tracing paper over the illustration and using your pen or pencil, trace the outline of the figure. It doesn’t need to be perfect, just a reasonable approximation. Draw a line across at the shoulders, bust, waist, hips, knees and ankles. You’re already starting to see some of the body proportions. Connect on the side the distance between the shoulder and waist, and then waist and hip, creating boxes like the shown croquis. Then, measure the the head height on a piece of paper, and use this to measure the total length of the figure, which should be around 7 heads high. You can also draw a vertical line through the core of the body, showing the midpoint. There’s a very handy video tutorial that’s about 10 minutes showing you in detail how to do this here.
Taking a second piece of tracing paper, trace the outline of the figure as your base. You can add as many notations from the base croquis that you’d like. For instance, you can show the waist line or centre line. Then start drawing your garment over the figure, taking care to accurately show where your garment begins and ends and how you would like it to hang. Again, this isn’t a a perfect drawing, rather a quick drawing to help you design your garment.
Then comes my favourite part, adding colour to the illustration, which really brings the drawing to life as you can see here. My pullover design (coming out very soon) shows the colour blocking, sleeve length and more. It’s really a handy reference for me.
When I use my illustration combined with the Craft Yarn Council’s body standards sizing charts, things start really happening. I can then begin to consider actual measurements in relation to my drawing. Basically, knitwear design comes down to a lot of measurements, which brings me to Excel, which really is a whole other post about knitwear pattern grading to make different sizes. I’ll save that for another time!
Are you going to make some of your own drawings now?
If you’re not already a Facebook fan, please join us for the shenanigans on The Red Fox and Gown Page. I have a special promotion running for the month of May for Facebook fans who like our page.
The deal is 15% off all of my designs on Ravelry for the month of May… but you need to check the page out to get the details about how to get the discount.
Do check out the full catalogue of The Red Fox and Gown designs here.