The Red Fox and Gown At Wet Coast Wools

 

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This is too cool not to share with you. My designs are on display at Wet Coast Wools in Vancouver, BC, as part of the local designers’ display for June. Thank you to the lovely Glenda for including The Red Fox and Gown. Also, if you’ve noticed the bright yarn, my sister Krista has her Rain City Knits yarn on display too! I love the theme and I’m so glad to be part of this.

L to R: Rain City Knits yarn skeins, Morgan Hat, Red Fox Fingerless Gloves, Cloud Cowl and Foxy Business Hat.

If you’re in Vancouver, stop by Wet Coast Wools for a visit. I joined the weekly Thursday summer sweater KAL yesterday from 1-3pm. The ladies are a riot! Cheers for letting me crash the party.

x Rena

Stitch Markers: Kitties in Clay

Meow!

Meow!

I couldn’t resist the polymer clay again. At your suggestion, I made some kitty cat stitch markers! I love them. My actual cats, Ben and Kiki, are intrigued by the figures made from clay. I think they must smell delicious.

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Like the puppy stitch markers I showed you yesterday, I’m really happy with the result. I learned from my internet sleuthing that the key to a surface free of fingerprints is using rubbing alcohol to wipe them down. The rubbing alcohol dissolves the surface and leaves it smooth. Hooray! That solves my biggest pet peeve about clay.

A trio of felines.

A trio of felines. The stitch markers kind of look like halos.

Ha ha, I said pet peeve! Get it? Ok, I’ll stop with the bad jokes. Although I clearly have been exploring the domesticated animal kingdom so far. I think I’ll try bunnies next. And down the road, mini food. Because it’s also ridiculously cute.

Here’s the obligatory tail shot…

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Has this blog gone to the cats and the dogs?*

x Rena

* I did say I’d quit with the bad jokes…oops.

Stitch Markers: Fun With Polymer Clay

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What can they be?

Yesterday, I was unable to resist the siren call of polymer clay. I know, weird. What’s polymer clay? It’s that fun adult plasticine, or modeling clay, that sets once you bake it in the oven. I got myself some of the stuff the other day, along with some inexpensive modeling tools and jewelry findings. What was I up to?

No, not earrings to bejewel myself with. Or knick knacks. Lately, I’ve had a hankering for colourful, fun stitch markers! I found myself fascinated with them.

I have to say, I’m lucky to have some fun stitch markers already, but with designing, there’s multiple projects on the go simultaneously, and you guessed it… a lack of stitch markers!

So I made several experiments, since I am not familiar with working with polymer clay. I brought out my best pre-school memories of working with clay. And I baked stuff. Finally, I came up with something that worked… puppy stitch markers! I made four of them for now. Although six would be nice! I do have more colours to play with, after all.

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Puppy stitch markers!

But I focused, putting my attention deficit inclinations to the side for now. I was mighty pleased with myself. I admired their tails, too.

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The butt end of the stitch marker.

And then my next favourite part, their mouths as little ‘o’s of surprise.

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So I now have a new set of stitch markers. I somehow doubt I will stop at one set… there’s a whole animal kingdom and more to explore.

What do you think?

x Rena

Sneak Peek: Neon Glow Cable Fingerless Gloves

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I have another sneak peek for you behind the scenes this month. There’s been lots of sneak peeks lately! Check out my new Neon Glow cable fingerless gloves sample. This is a sample knit up for TNNA, the knitting tradeshow that happens 3 times a year in the US. I’m not going, but the glove is. Really, this glove is a collaboration with Rain City Knits, my favourite indie dyer, and lovely local wool supplier Pollika, who provided the yarn bases. If you’re in Columbus, Ohio this weekend, check Pollika out at their TNNA booth!

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Highlighter Yellow by Rain City Knits

As you’ve probably noticed, this glove is bright. Not just yellow bright, but Highlighter Yellow bright. The colourway is one of the excellent neon yarn colours offered by Rain City Knits. Neon is enjoying a revival in fashion, and here’s a chance to play with neon colour with your accessories. The yarn is a light DK made from Blue Faced Leicester wool in superwash. The yarn is dreamy!il_570xN.466154330_879x

Just because I can’t resist, here’s another of Rain City Knit’s new neon colourways… Glowstick Party! I have to say, it is fabulous.

I bet you’d like a bit of info on the gloves, too. As you can see (on the back at least), they have paired cables on both front and back. The gloves will be available in two sizes, s/m and m/l. I am currently writing up the pattern and I will send the pattern off for tech editing and testing over the summer. And then there’s the small matter of a proper photo shoot too. The gloves should be released by fall, perhaps earlier if you folks want to knit fall accessories during August. 🙂 Just let me know.

What do you think?

x Rena

Design Update: Hatching Ideas

As eggs come in different sizes and shapes, so do design ideas.

As eggs come in different sizes and shapes, so do design ideas.

There’s a lot of wrangling in design work. Often, I work backwards: when do I want this design out? Then comes the reckoning…

Designing is a fine juggling act. Or possibly a chess game, where you need to think several steps ahead and schedule things. Otherwise havoc ensues before you know it. I have been juggling and chess playing for a while now.

In designing for knitwear,I need to work several months ahead, usually 3 to 6 months being typical for bigger projects. Sometimes I’m designing an entire year ahead. This is similar to fashion design in general when things are about 6 months to a year ahead too. The reason for this is not only to meet the call for submissions to magazines and the like, but even self-publishing as I mostly do, there’s several stages to the design process.

First I need to incubate an idea. Or eight. And sketch them down in my design book. Usually I sit on the idea for a few days and revisit the sketches. Sometimes I work on fashion style illustrations to visualize what a garment will look like on an actual body. I love sketching and planning out a design.

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Gauge swatch in progress.

Next step: swatching phase. I like this because it’s quick to get results.  To really start planning a garment, I need a swatch of my gauge for the design idea in question. The swatches really vary in size. Sometimes I make multiple swatches testing out different stitches and yarn colours. After blocking, I can then get an accurate count of stitches to continue planning.

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I also use the latest in mathematics technology.

Then comes the math phase… admittedly, this is my least favourite part but I have to pay close attention. I can do this by hand for a simple design with calculator, pencil and paper, or for more complex graded designs I spend a lot of quality time in Excel making formulas. As I’ve mentioned before, I use existing standard measurements for determining garment sizing. I can spend a lot time making calculations and revisions.

Next comes the knitting phase, which can take anywhere from a few days to a few months. Partly this is due to the fact that I have various works in progress that I juggle between, usually due to scheduling practicalities further ahead. Sometimes I like to work on projects of different gauges to mix things up for my wrists. I’m always excited when I finish a sample and have a tangible result from my original design idea.

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The knitting phase mixes in with the pattern writing phases, which really begins back with the math. I take detailed notes as I knit.  I sit down at the end to write and formalize the pattern.

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Photography! There’s both excitement and nervousness when planning a photo shoot. I have to coordinate not only my schedule, but my photographer’s too. Locations need to be thought about, lighting and more. Photo editing can also eat up a good bit of time.

Next stop: the tech editor. My patterns are then sent to the tech editor to check my directions, wording and math. Usually this is a couple of weeks’ turnaround time. Occasionally I also use test knitters too, which can add on a month to six weeks.

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I also like to juggle like the ancient Egyptians did.

At last, with any necessary revisions made, the pattern is ready for general release. See how this can eat up some time? Right now I’m juggling several projects behind the scenes which are in various stages of the design process.

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Sometimes I don’t feel so patient and I just want the pattern to be ready. 🙂 But slowly and surely, the hatchling idea takes flight and a new pattern is released at last.

x Rena

New Pattern! Thryth Hat for Herdy

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This has been a fun week so far, and we’re only at Tuesday! Two sneak peeks and a pattern release to boot. Plus all sorts of fun behind the scenes too.

I would like to introduce the Thryth Hat designed by The Red Fox and Gown for Herdy, a fun British company that I mentioned in my previous post. I love Herdy! And I hope you love the new ear flap hat. I just had to include pom poms and faux thrums. The hat is made from their luxurious bulky Herdywool, which I totally recommend.

The Thryth Hat for Herdy keeps you stylish and your ears toasty during inclement weather year round on all your adventures. The hat is topped with a giant pompom and features earflaps and braids with small pompoms. The hat is available in one adult size.

Skiills Required:
Backward cast on, knit st, purl st, placing st markers, working in the round, stockinette fabric, colourwork, decreases, bind off, sewing, braiding, pompom making, weaving in ends.

Finished Dimensions:
The finished hat fits heads approximately 20” to 23” (51cm – 58.5cm) in circumference.

If you’re interested in a KAL for the new design, check out The Red Fox and Gown group on Ravelry for good times.

What do you think?

x Rena

Sneak Peek: Blythe Doll Bear Hat

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Pippa in her new bear hat.

This is a double header week of sneak peeks! Today’s sneak peek is a miniature bear hat for a doll. To be specific, the hat fits my Blythe doll, who, after a spa day where she received a sanding, make up and freckles, earned it. I think Pippa looks pretty awesome now in the garden lavender.

I made the hat from some Alessandri Filati Super Kid (70% mohair, 30% silk) in Light Blue, a perfect sort of yarn for making a bear hat. I did a little bit of reckoning and cast on. I think Pippa likes the result.

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Don’t tell Pippa, but this was also a miniature bear hat practice run to see if I liked the result. Which I’m pretty sure that I do. My dilemma now is whether to make this in people sizes, from infant to adult like the Foxy Business Hat. Which you folks seem to enjoy. So would you enjoy a bear hat too? Should I release the doll pattern too?

x Rena

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UPDATE:

The Baby Bear Hat is now available for purchase on Etsy.