design process · DIY wardrobe · free pattern · handknitting · knitting · knitting pattern · one skein wonder · pattern

Lace Beret, A Free Knitting Pattern

Happy Friday, Knitters!

Red Heart Yarns is offering my lovely lace beret design as a free pattern download! It’s sized for adult Small and Medium: 20 (22)” head circumference.

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The skill level on this pretty beret is intermediate because the stitch counts change on certain rows when working the lace, so keep that in mind if you try out the pattern. The beret uses Red Heart’s With Love yarn, which is a plump and soft 100% acrylic yarn. Since it’s not wool, this could be a summertime or winter hat.

Check it out on Ravelry for more details.

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Thanks for visiting me today. I hope you are having fun making whatever you are making! Leave me a comment to tell me about it.

Yours In Stitches,

Sara

chitchat · colorwork · handknitting · knitting · knitting pattern · pattern

Fox & Fleur: A Knitting Pattern for All Ages

Hi Knitters!

Today I’m sharing a sweet design for foxy folk of all ages. Fox & Fleur is a stranded colorwork hat available to knit in 6 sizes: newborn, baby, toddler/child, adult small (teen), adult medium, adult large.

I designed the original cap as a baby shower gift for a friend’s baby girl on the way. Foxes and woodland creatures were the mommy’s nursery theme, so I ran with that and added a feminine touch with the tiny flower border (fleurs!) that runs above and below the fox faces.

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Mommy & Baby Twinsies!

I had this design test-knit by some awesome folks on Ravelry, and they helped to refine and enhance the pattern, so I know you’ll have a great experience. The pattern contains complete written instructions, a full colorwork chart, and tips for knitting the stranded colorwork.

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Use any aran-weight, smooth worsted yarn that comes in a good range of colors.

 

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It works for all ages, foxes are such a fun motif and so hot right now!

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Check out the Ravelry projects page to see how the hat knit up for others!

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I hope it makes you smile as you knit it and as you wear it. Whenever my daughter and I wear ours, we always get extra smiles from the people we meet. 🙂

Buy now on Ravelry

Buy now on Etsy

Buy now on Craftsy

Thanks for visiting me today!

In Stitches,

Sara

 

design process · free pattern · handknitting · knitting · knitting pattern

My First Aran Sweater

Hi Knitters!

Last summer while sipping coffee at a play date, a dear friend of mine asked me a question. “Do you think you could knit an Aran sweater?”

How that little question changed my life as a designer and as a knitter!

I hesitated as I thought. “I don’t know.” I said. “I…think I could…”

The unspoken end of that sentence was “if I were good enough” or “if I weren’t too scared to try” or “if I could see it through” but as she waited for a reply, I skipped past  my automatic self-doubt and thought, “maybe I could.”

Maybe I could!

I had never attempted an Aran, had knit cables just a handful of times, and had never worked with more than one cable pattern at a time.

Our mommy conversations moved on, but I was still thinking about Arans.

Later as we packed our kiddos up in their car seats, I brought up the Aran sweater again. I found out that she especially loved Arans because she had lived in Ireland. She had loved it there and wished to bring home one of the amazing Aran sweaters she had seen, but never bought one because they were quite expensive.

I said, “Well, I’ve always wanted to make one, maybe I could do it as a design challenge for myself…it would probably take me a long time, but if I got through it and made one, would you like to have it?” She was very excited and said she would pay me, of course.

She is a rare gem who values handmade, and is willing to pay for it. I was grateful but declined the offer because if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my creative life, it’s that payment = pressure. And pursuing creative passions under pressure can cramp the creativity and kill the passion. She kindly kept insisting, so we left it undecided.

Weeks went by.

I had Arans on my mind and worked to clear my plate of other projects, ordered some cream-colored yarn, and began doing research in earnest.

I used Alice Starmore’s Aran Knitting, borrowed from my local library, as my tutor and started working on the design.

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At first, I puzzled over the hundreds of different cable patterns I found in stitch dictionaries and on Pinterest. How would I choose? What look was I going for? I studied many Aran sweaters, and decided I liked the strong look of a wide center panel. After a couple of false starts and struggling to swatch tricky but beautiful cables, I realized something important for all design and maybe for my life: I didn’t have to make it so difficult for it be beautiful.

Now on the lookout for simple cables, I landed on three that I had passed by in my earlier searches. I liked them and they were easy, so I adjusted two of them to mirror one another, and sequenced them to create seven panels across the front and back of the sweater.

Here is the chart I created in Excel for a single repeat of the front/back body.

Miss Clare’s Aran Sweater: single repeat of back and front body pieces (excluding neck shaping)

Chart Keys

If you look closely at the chart, you’ll see that the entire sweater is made up of knits, purls, 6-cross cables and 8-cross cables. It’s the strategic placement of the cables to create the central horn cable, the plaits, and the twists that gives intricacy to the entire sweater.

I was tickled pink by the fact that the cables coordinated with one another in 4-row and 8-row repeats. This also simplified the puzzle of remembering which cables to work on which row. Once I had my sea legs, the cables told me what to do next. Well, they didn’t start talking or anything, but I could just look and see what should happen next.

That said, I did mis-cross a cable early on, but I caught the mistake before too many rows got away from me, and was able to fix it.

Setting out on uncharted waters…with my trusty knitting chart and Little Sweater Girl nearby!

I worked on this project for about 6 weeks finishing in mid-November. Once the knitting was done, those separate sweater pieces sat on my dining room table for nearly a week.

Because I was scared.

Totally cowed.

Terrified is not too strong a word.

of Finishing.

In the past, I felt triumph and heartbreak at completing the knitting and virtually ruining the finished product because of sloppy seaming.

But as before when the designing got hard, I was spurred into action by thinking of my friend and her excitement over the sweater. I just had to get over it and make it for her.

Finally plucked up my courage and committed the sweater pieces to the laundry tub for a wash.
View of the sweater in process, being blocked and sewn together.
Thar she blows! My First Aran design and knit.
Proud designer selfie.
My lovely friend, Miss Clare, wearing the sweater for holiday, 2016.

What a great experience it turned out to be. What a confidence-building adventure. What a reward to see my friend wearing and loving her sweater that she told me reminds her of one of the happiest times in her life. Thank you for asking, Miss Clare.

So when’s the last time you thought, “maybe I could…

If you think maybe you could, you should!

For the love of trying, and learning, and making your dreams come true however big or small they may be, you should.

In Stitches,

Sara


p.s. If you would like to use my charts to make an Aran, leave me a comment and I can share some more details like a chart for neck shaping and my sleeve pattern. You should also check out the Alice Starmore book, Aran Knitting.

business · design process · free pattern · handknitting · knitting · knitting pattern · pattern · tutorial

Red Heart Yarns: Fantastic Ripple Scarf

Hi Knitting Friends,

My needles were clicking fast back in January, and now I can share this fun freelance knitting pattern I designed for Red Heart Yarns: the Fantastic Ripple Scarf!

photo credit: redheart.com

 

photo credit: redheart.com

The scarf is a single repeat of traditional Old Shale lace, edged with garter stitch, and the coolest thing about it is that Marly Bird will actually teach you how to knit the lace in a video tutorial she did for Red Heart!

I hope you enjoy this free knitting pattern!

Yours in Stitches,

Sara

chitchat · creativity · design process · handknitting · knitting · knitting pattern · pattern

Introducing Annalie

Hello Knitters,

Meet Annalie, a fun pattern for a rectangular shawl or classic scarf. Annalie combines the vintage sweetness of eyelet lace ribs with clean, modern style.

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Annalie is a PDF knitting pattern download  containing full written instructions, knitting charts, and schematic available for $6.00 USD.

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See the Ravelry pattern listing or use the buy now button to buy the pattern. You do not need to be a Ravelry member to use the buy now button.

Here’s a little story about Annalie’s origin.

In another lifetime before I was a knitter, I was a corporate executive assistant and went on a week-long business trip to Luxembourg. If you’ve never been to Luxembourg, it is a country that seems to be right out of a fairy tale complete with castles, cobblestones, and a Duke who lives in center city!

While there I drank the best coffee of my life, tasted my first amuse-bouche on a wide-bowled china spoon (fancy), my first sea scallop (mmmmm), and my first cuttlefish (bleeeeeehhhh) at formal business dinners. I pretended to be a cosmopolitan bomb-diggity twenty-two year old abroad. I also became desperately homesick for my then-boyfriend, now-husband back home in Illinois and felt totally out of place among the throng of cool young professionals working in global finance.

It was early November, and all the Luxembourgers (that’s what they are really called) seemed to be wearing scarves mysteriously wrapped around their necks with the ends tucked in. Over their coats, over their clothes, there was always a scarf. They seemed so stylish in that layered, unmistakably European way of wearing an understated outfit finished off with a beautiful scarf. The choice of scarf added personality and varied from sheer floral silk to cozy wool knit to woven plaid cashmere and everything in between. My scarves had only ever been an afterthought, a long, skinny thing tossed around the neck of my winter coat with the ends flapping in the wind like Snoopy.

snoopy-scarfThese scarves were nothing like that.

Back home, my boyfriend asked me to marry him, I decided to leave corporate life behind, and I began to experiment with wearing wider scarves and wraps coiled around my neck in different ways. If you’ve never seen this amazing video about wrapping scarves, check it out, I guarantee you’ll be digging out your scarves to play. I learned that wearing a scarf is practical, it’s so warm and adds polish to a basic outfit. It’s seasonless, you simply change the fabric or texture as the seasons change. It’s expressive of your taste, your mood since you can wear any sort of fabric, color, texture, or print, and it’s just a lot of fun!

That was about 10 years ago, and my love of the husband, scarves, wraps, and shawls has only grown with time. I hope you enjoy making Annalie because you’re sure to look beautiful wearing her.

Happy scarfing!

art · business · creativity · crochet · doodle · doodling · illustration · knitting · watercolor · yarntoons

Introducing Yarntoons!

Hey Yarnies!

I am really excited to share my new line of fiber art illustrations: YARNTOONS by Sara Kay! Creating Yarntoons is a new passion of mine.

What’s a Yarntoon? It’s a lighthearted artwork doodle that celebrates our love of yarn and yarn-tastic pursuits. I’ve been creating them using permanent ink, a brush of watercolor, and a splash of wit!

If you like them, you can buy my Yarntoons products and downloadable artwork from my Etsy shop to print on anything you please to celebrate your love of yarn, YARNTOON-style!

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Crochet by Sara Kay

 

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K-N-I-T by Sara Kay
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Knit Fast, Die Warm by Sara Kay

 

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Swatch Out! by Sara Kay
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One More Row by Sara Kay
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Balls to the Wall by Sara Kay

Pssst! Don’t forget to check out the coffee mug department at Society 6:

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I love yarn puns, sheep puns, wool puns, puns about balls, irreverent plays on words, and have many more in the works if I could just stop smudging my artworks right before finishing [true story. yes, more than once].

Thanks for visiting and stay tuned for fresh Yarntoons, coming soon!

In Stitches,

Sara

discount · flash sale · knitting · pattern · Uncategorized

Spring Fling! Coupon Code: SPRINGFLING

Hey Yarnies,

To celebrate the coming weekend and beat this chilly, gray Spring cold snap, I’m offering 50% off any pattern and every pattern in my Ravelry shop.

Coupon Code: SPRINGFLING

Hope you have some fun and celebrate SPRINGFLING with me!

 

♥ Sara ♥