Amirisu Issue 14 - Hello Again, It's 'Gneiss' To Be Back.

Hello! It has been over a year since my last blog post and a lot has changed during that time. However, I am feeling indecisive about where to start so I thought just jumping in with a pattern post would get me over that hump.

Normally, I like to blog about a pattern just when it has been released but to celebrate the re-release of Gneiss, I thought I would start here. Gneiss, was originally a part of amiriu’s collection for Issue 14, their autumn issue last year. As I eagerly await the return of the sweater I wanted to share the inspiration behind this pattern.

Photos from Pinterest.

Photos from Pinterest.

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Like most magazine submissions, I start with their mood board. I quickly see what captures my attention and begin thinking of ideas from there. Issue 14’s theme had a lot of geometric shapes and colour blocking images that I was drawn to. After being attracted to the colour block sweater, pictured above, it reminded me of a previous design that I already had in the works.

I will admit and let you know that I had drawn up Gneiss much earlier than this proposal. The first sketch was similar, in terms of its shape and construction. However, I had intended it to be worked in two solid colours and with the right side of stocking stitch visible on the lower half. It was first submitted to a different company and was not accepted. It sat in the back of my mind for a few months until amirisu’s autumn submission call. I had reservations, of course, thinking maybe since this was not accepted the first time, it might be denied again. Maybe I was the only one who liked this design? However, I had to put those negative thoughts aside. I chose to believe that this still was a strong design and it just needed to find a home.

Original sketches for amirisu.

Original sketches for amirisu.

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I will not go into too much detail about the first version since with time and some new inspiration, this second version is much better. I knew I wanted to keep this sweater two colours. However, it was the photo of pink paired with the marble texture that made me rethink the types of yarn used for this project. I decided to suggest hand dyed yarn. I love working with semi-solid colours but I pushed myself outside of my own comfort zone and suggested a speckled yarn as the second colour. I personally prefer the impact of reverse stocking stitch when working with variegated yarns. I thought the combination of texture and colour mimics the look of marble. I then decided to changed to bottom of the sweater to reverse stocking stitch.

Original swatches for amirisu.

Original swatches for amirisu.

I had not worked with speckled yarn in the past so there was none in my stash to sample with. However, I am glad amirisu was also able to invision what I was proposing. They said “yes” and suggested working with La Bien Aimée. I was happy to finally try their Merino DK for the first time. I was immediatly head over heels for the colour Ash when it arrived. It took me a little longer to warm up to Pom Pom since it was unlike anything I had used before. However, once I got into the bottom half of the sweater, I was very happy with amirisu’s decision.

La Bien Aimée's Merino DK in Pom Pom.

La Bien Aimée's Merino DK in Pom Pom.

La Bien Aimée's Merino DK in Ash.

La Bien Aimée's Merino DK in Ash.

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Here are some in-progress photos of Gneiss. Gneiss begins as a top-down raglan. Once the arms are put on hold, the front and back and are then separated and worked flat. This allows the triangle shape on the back to be worked as intarsia. The sides must be seamed together but then the sleeves are finished off in the round.

Right side of sweater.

Right side of sweater.

Inside of sweater.

Inside of sweater.

Now finally, a few shots from the photoshoot. I have loved seeing the unique colour combinations other knitters have come up with. If you would like to see some ideas, take a look at the projects page. Right now, Gneiss will be 30% off in my Ravelry shop till the end of October.

Photography by amirisu.

Photography by amirisu.

Original sketch for amirisu.

Original sketch for amirisu.

Photography by amirisu.

Photography by amirisu.

From Coast to Coast // The Seafarer Collection with Hinterland

Last October I had the opportunity to fly out to Vancouver and attend Knit City, a weekend knitting conference and marketplace. I wasn't teaching or selling, so this trip was purely to attend the event for myself and finally meet designers, yarn dyers and shop owners that I had been admiring from afar. Plus, this was a perfect excuse to visit Vancouver for the first time. I had only been to the West Coast once before and that was to attend Vogue Knitting Live in Seattle, nearly five years ago. VKL was my first knitting conference experience. It was overwhelming and very energizing at the same time. After a weekend of classes and talking to other very supportive knitters, it was here, where I decided to make a real commitment to publish my own designs. A few months later, my first design, Take Heart, with published in Pom Pom Quarterly.  

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My trip to Vancouver reminded me of that first experience in Seattle, fully immersed in the knitting community of a new city. I've had the chance to work at many other knitting festivals, such as Unravel and Edinburg Yarn Festival in the UK and Knit East in New Brunswick, but when I'm not working these types of event, I feel very much like a kid in a candy shop. Being surrounded by gorgeous fibre and knowledgeable knitters gives me the opportunity to discover new yarns and gather inspiration and energy for new projects.

Part of my Knit City haul.

Part of my Knit City haul.

Over the weekend at Knit City, I found myself coming back to one booth in particular. Skeins of a delicious alpaca and wool blend were spread across the table. This is where I met Hanahlie, the hands and heart behind Hinterland, a Canadian based yarn company. I immediately fell in love with their yarn, Range, an aran weight blend of alpaca and Rambouillet which is grown and spun in British Columbia. I also met designer, Lindsey Inouye, also known as Standard Knits. She was helping Hanahlie with her booth that weekend and also promoting some of her own designs knit with Hinterland yarn. I brought her pattern Bowen and enough of Range in Cloud to make it. Pictured above is a portion of my haul from that weekend - books by Vancouver designers Caitlin ffrench and Sylvia McFadden, a Bowen pattern and skeins of Cloud. 

Bowen Sweater progress.

Bowen Sweater progress.

Off to Rhinebeck.

Off to Rhinebeck.

Once I was home from Vancouver, I quickly knit up a Bowen sweater for myself with the Hinterland yarn I had brought back. Within two weeks I had it finished, just in time to fly off to Rhinebeck, a wool and sheep festival in upstate New York. In fact, I don't think the sweater was fully dry when I boarded the plane. Oh well. Even though I lived in my Bowen sweater all winter, the yarn still manages to look fairly new but has that cozy feeling of being well worn. 

I had exchanged a copy of my book, Take Heart, with Hanahlie for some skeins of Range while I was at Knit City. This winter, Hanahlie had contacted me to say she was knitting my Chester Basin mittens from the book and asked if I would be interested in designing with Hinterland yarn. I naturally jumped at the chance and thus began our collaboration between East Coast and West Coast. 

Maple and Snow. 

Maple and Snow. 

Bedwell original swatch. 

Bedwell original swatch. 

Bedwell, my hat and mitten set were the first pieces to be designed. I wanted to find another fun but simple-to-knit texture like the Chester Basin set. Hanahlie sent out a skein of Maple and Snow in her aran weight yarn, Range. The hat and mittens are a combination of knits, purls and twisted slipped-stitches. It creates a great bumpy texture on the outside with an overall dense and cozy feeling, perfect for winter accessories. Bedwell can be completed with just two skeins of Range with plenty of yarn leftover to add a pompom if desired.

A Mountain of Range. 

A Mountain of Range. 

Next we started discussing sweaters. These two projects were a combination of what Hanahlie and I both like in a sweater, something slightly over sized and with pockets. Hanahlie also mentioned that she really liked Herringbone Stitch, so I incorporated that texture into one sweater. For the other one,  I added a small section of Intarsia onto the sleeves since I had been playing with that colour work technique recently. This time, Hanahlie sent out a mountain of yarn and I got started on my third and fourth sweater designs.  

The first was Kinsac, a cozy v-neck sweater, worked in pieces from the bottom up with dropped shoulders. I used Ash for the main colour and Snow for the contrasting sleeves. The colour work detail on the sleeves was worked using Intarsia to create a tidy and smooth surface on the inside. There are small pockets on the front but those could be easily ignored if you prefer a sweater without. My cat, Fergus and I are both huge fans of alpaca blends. It must be because of the soft finished pieces it creates. Every time I turned around I'd find him using my alpaca shawls and sweaters as a pillow if I left them around. Here he is, caught in the act, when I had the sweater out to dry. I inadvertently had created a perfect Fergus-sized, alpaca lined hammock, so I can't blame him for choosing to nap there. Thankfully, they are both grey. 

Kinsac original swatch.

Kinsac original swatch.

Caught in the act. 

Caught in the act. 

My final sweater for this collection was Pinehaven, a boat-neck pullover in the colour Honey, with pockets and Herringbone sleeves. I believe this was my most challenging sweater to date. It took me several attempts to finally get my inset pockets to work and be nearly invisible from the outside. This sweater has traveled with many kilometres with me, just like Barbicel. I brought it to work on while I was in Helsinki this summer, then to Portugal for a few weeks when I was on my way back home. Finishing touches, such as sewing in ends and blocking, were done here in Nova Scotia, before being sent back out West to where the yarn had originated. That was over 28,000 kilometres of traveling with this yarn in my project bag. 

In-progress, in Portugal. 

In-progress, in Portugal. 

It's now time to introduce you to the final shots of Bedwell, Kinsac and Pinehaven. I love Hanahlie's idea of naming the collection, Seafarer since it can incorporate both of our lives being close to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The names Kinsac and Pinehaven were chosen from names of areas I grew up around in Beaver Bank, Nova Scotia. Bedwell is the name of the waterway in the background where some of these photos were taken on Pender Island, BC. Thank you to Hanahlie for collaborating and for all the incredible yarn. Also thank you to Celeb Bayers for the beautiful shots on Pender Island and to my patient tech-editor Jemima Bicknell

If you're in the Vancouver area, you'll be able to find Hinterland at this year's Knit City, Sept 30 & Oct 1. Stop by to say hi to Hanahlie and see the designs in person. These patterns will be available through Ravelry

Bedwell Mittens, photography by Celeb Bayers.

Bedwell Mittens, photography by Celeb Bayers.

Bedwell Set, photography by Celeb Bayers.

Bedwell Set, photography by Celeb Bayers.

Kinsac, photography by Celeb Bayers.

Kinsac, photography by Celeb Bayers.

Kinsac, photography by Celeb Bayers.

Kinsac, photography by Celeb Bayers.

Pinehaven, photography by Celeb Bayers.

Pinehaven, photography by Celeb Bayers.

Pinehaven, photography by Celeb Bayers.

Pinehaven, photography by Celeb Bayers.

Pinehaven, photography by Celeb Bayers.

Pinehaven, photography by Celeb Bayers.

Pinehaven, photography by Celeb Bayers.

Pinehaven, photography by Celeb Bayers.

Kinsac, photography by Celeb Bayers.

Kinsac, photography by Celeb Bayers.

Phōs

September is always an exciting month for me because it feels like the beginning of a new year. First, it's my birthday month. Turning one year older naturally makes me reflect on the previous year and gets me thinking about what I'd like to accomplish next. Also it feels like the knitting season really kicks into high gear with anticipation to make the most out of the upcoming winter months. 

Last week I turned twenty-seven and a few days later was thrilled to announce my first pattern published with amirisu! So far I've published designs through Pom Pom and also self-published through my own Ravelry shop. I'm really excited to be reaching a new audience and new knitters with amirisu. This also marks my first pattern to be translated into another language. Each issue of amirisu is published in English and Japanese. 

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With each new submission, I take my time looking over their moodboard and requirements. Then I tend to pull the photos I fixate on. It could be because of the colour, pattern or something in the image that draws my attention. With amirisu's moodboard, I narrowed it down to these three photos and then started to sketch and swatch. I was particularly drawn to the bold geometric pattern on the left. However, I wanted a more complicated design rather than just copying the diamond shapes with colour. Working with green was this issue's theme but I knew I wanted to do colourwork when I started to get inspired by the geometric shapes. I fell in love with the neutrals paired with the dark natural greens in the photo above. From the top left photo, I especially loved how the light changed as it filtered in through the leaves. I knew I wanted to create layers of colour by mixing the two yarns together to create light, medium and dark sections.

Sometimes I have a vision of what I want to create before playing around with a sample on my needles. Other times, it's just the opposite. As I knit and unravel, the idea of what I want as an accessory starts to form. For this design I really had to spend lots of time sampling to get the right effect of blending the two colours together. Below you'll see my finished swatch and sketches I sent off to amirisu to be considered for their issue. 

For yarn, we decided on Audouin and Boreal in Chickadee by Quince & Co. This was the second time I was able to work with Chickadee. It is one of my favourites to use for colourwork projects. I had the pleasure to use it for my scarf, Selsey, published in Pom Pom's Autumn Issue 10. A massive thank-you goes out to Loop, for yarn support and supplying the Chickadee. I was lucky enough to pull the skeins off the shelf and get started right away when the final colour decision was made. I've been fortune to have the support of the shop behind me as I work on my designs. I'm a little sad I can't be on the shop floor when this new issue of amirisu arrives at Loop! 

So let me finally introduce you to Phōs! Phōs is an ancient Greek word for light. I thought it would be appropriate since part of my inspiration came from the images of light filtering through the plant leaves. Phōs is a lightweight hat which plays with combining knits and purls to create the colourwork pattern. I can't wait to get my hands on this issue. I feel the amirisu team has done a beautiful job and I can't be more pleased. I'm also excited to be featured alongside other contributors I admire and a few new ones I'm glad to discover. Phōs is also available as a single pattern through amirisu's Ravelry shop

Photo credit: amirisu

Photo credit: amirisu

Photo credit: amirisu

Photo credit: amirisu

Photo credit: amirisu

Photo credit: amirisu

Photo credit: amirisu

Photo credit: amirisu

Photo credit: amirisu

Photo credit: amirisu

Green Forest Gang Members

At the beginning of this year I made a resolution to start self-publishing my own designs. I'm excited to announce that I have followed through with this goal and will continue to add to my collection on Ravelry this summer. I have also started to expand on this idea by working on an addition to select patterns. I am now offering knitting kits! 

My collection of Green Forest Gang members are know available as kits. Each one provides enough yarn for one pair along with the pattern. Cricket Cove is now carrying my knitting kits at their locations across New Brunswick. They make a perfect gift for a knitter or if you're a traverler passing through.  Support a Maritime business and designer!

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You can choose from foxes, wolves, bunnies, bears and deer. If you're not in the area, don't worry. You can find them through my Etsy Shop