The 2017 Knitting Challenge

I’ve decided 2017 will be THE year.

The year for more…
knitting
reading
organizing
learning
stashbusting
writing
dreaming big
…and designing big.

Yes, I know this declaration is nothing new to read. January is when we’re all thinking about how to make this year better than the last. But this year I’m feeling really motivated. (Maybe a 30th birthday at the end of the year has something to do with it.)

I know exactly what makes me happy, what makes me feel refreshed, and what I want to work towards. I want more of the good stuff! And for me, that’s THIS. Knitting, writing, envying other knitter’s projects, and learning new techniques.

And that brings me to the 2017 Knitting Challenge.

I love lists, and one of the last things I did in 2016 before the holidays was make my 2017 Knitting Challenge list. So this year will be all about crossing off each line and having fun along the way.

What’s in my 2017 Knitting Challenge? I’m so glad you asked.

I’ve picked a variety of techniques, methods and experiences to fine tune my knitting skills and challenge me as a designer. They won’t all be complicated, but they’ll all be fun to try out. I’ll choose a new one each month and will be blogging along the way. So hopefully by the end of the year I can say that I’m better at my craft. Or that at least I tried 🙂

2017 Knitting Challenge List

  • Brioche
  • Steeking
  • Welting
  • Fair Isle
  • Double-Sided Color Knitting
  • 2-at-a-Time Socks
  • Duplicate Stitch
  • Latvian Braid
  • Arm Knitting (new addition, see below…)
    Completed February 2017! Check out the post here >
  • Participate in a Knit-A-Long (KAL)
  • Use My Knitting Loom
  • Adapt a Pattern
  • Make My Own Version of Something I See in a Magazine, Movie, TV, Etc.

So stay tuned, join me in your own knitting challenge, and wish me luck!

P.S. Have a technique you’d like to see me try? Leave a comment below! I’ll try to work it in as a bonus #13.

UPDATE: My boyfriend reminded me about the project we were supposed to do together – arm knitting a macro blanket. How could I forget that? So arm knitting is now included, too!

January 2017

What to Knit: The Fall Edition

Autumn is my time. It’s the excitement of seeing the leaves change, feeling the crisp air return after a long, hot summer, and seeing so many great new things to knit on magazine and book shelves.

I recently went to the bookstore to flip through some of the latest issues of my favorite knitting magazines, and came home with the Fall/Winter 2015 issue of knit.purl and the Fall 2015 edition of Vogue Knitting.

magazines

 But as soon as I opened knit.purl and saw designer Amanda Bell’s Skinny Pop Pullover, I knew that was the sweater with which I wanted to welcome the coming cold weather. It has a classic feel, just enough detail to keep it interesting, long lines so I don’t have to extend the length for my torso, and just a pop (or, “skinny pop”) of beautiful fall color that will keep it (fingers crossed) a staple in my wardrobe for years to come. I ordered the yarn this morning, so as soon as it arrives, expect my needles to be busy knitting away.

poppullover

In the meantime, what am I keeping busy with? Stash busting!

I just recently finished a cotton sweater for in-between seasons that used up some yarn that I bought (cough, cough) five years ago. I love the drop shoulder and visible seaming in Patty Lyons’ #01 Scoop-Neck Pullover.

magentapullover1     magentapullover2

And now for something that takes less focus when following the pattern but has perhaps even more impact, I’m working on Color Affection by Veera Välimäki. Sometimes you need a pattern palette cleanse after making a sweater, right?

ColorAffection

So here’s to fall knitting and finishing more projects rather than just buying new stashes of yarn!

Follow my projects on Ravelry

A Visit to My Local Alpaca Farm (And Baby Hats!)

A dream of mine is to quit my job and WWOOF for a year on a working fiber farm. Whether or not I would (or could) actually make that happen is still up in the air. So when I discovered there was a working alpaca farm only about an hour away from me and that they gave tours, I immediately made a reservation.

Southern Estate Alpacas in Adairsville, Ga., is a small family farm in the hills of Northwest Georgia. They mostly raise and breed champion alpacas, but they’re beginning to make their own 100% alpaca yarn. They’re passionate about what they do and want to educate the public about the industry. But most importantly, they offer visitors some quality time with their award-winning alpacas.

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Alpacas really are friendly. And no, they don’t spit as much as people lead you to believe they do.
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Feeding time!
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Freshly sheared, just a couple weeks before my visit.

After talking with the owner, I’ve made some baby hats for their on-site store! All are brand-new patterns, and I’ll be writing up the pattern instructions in the next few weeks to sell online.

Until then, here’s a peek at what they look like!

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Have you visited your local fiber farm? Look them up online and see if they give tours! It’s a great experience to talk with the breeders, learn about the process, and know which alpaca/sheep/goat you can thank (by name!) for your skein of yarn.

And don’t forget to invite me to go with you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to Knit: The Summer Edition

Like a lot knitters, I feel most inspired to hit the needles when fall and winter roll around. I love flipping through magazine pages to see lofty sweaters and sitting on the sofa knitting something nice and woolly.

But what do I do here in the South when there’s no chance of the temperature sinking below 70 degrees between March and November? I plan, and I learn to start liking [gasp] summer knits.

I know. It seems contrary to what I love most about knitting (warm, squishy yarn!), and it’s a big adjustment, but I think it’s the only way I’ll make it through this time of year without pining for cooler days.

So here’s a look at the patterns I’ve got my eye on this June. I can’t help but laugh when I look at a lot of knit patterns tagged as “spring/summer,” because if you wore most of those patterns here in the South, you’d have heat stroke in less than 5 minutes. You won’t see any of that here. Just light, breezy knits that I can actually wear in the South. Hopefully I’ll cast on something soon or get inspired to create my own summer knit pattern!


Strathcona by Jane Richmond

Strathcona by Jane Richmond

I’m a sucker for a quick knit. And Strathcona could be just that for me. A stash-busting project, and one that could dress up a tank in summer or a long sleeve tee in the fall. I love how the ends of the scarf are solid and the mesh knit fills in the space between the two. I love all of Jane Richmond‘s patterns that I’ve made before, so I know it’d be a fun project. Plus it features bias knitting, which would be a new technique for me!


Allonge Tee by Bristol Ivy

Allonge Tee

I’ve yet to make a knitted tee, and I think I would get a lot of use out of it, especially one like this. What most appeals to me about Bristol Ivy‘s Allonge Tee is how the back and color block detail takes a simple design and turns it into something that I can’t take my eyes off of. I think the beauty of the butter yellow yarn and its varying colors has a lot to do with it, but I’m curious to see how I can make this look with some yarn I have stashed away. I can see myself wearing this to work a lot throughout the summer.


Ouverte Tee by Emily Ringelman

Ouverte Tee

I started knitting a tee like this a few seasons ago, but didn’t quite calculate the right amount of yarn I needed, so I stopped. I may pick that one up again (with different yarn) or start fresh with this Ouverte Tee by Emily Ringelman. I like the vertical chevron look of the knitting and think it would hold its shape well over time with the right yarn.


Axil by Norah Gaughan

Axil

I’ve really wanted to try one of Norah Gaughan‘s unique construction pieces (especially after her Brooklyn Tweed pattern Chainlink). And I want a nice summer tank, so this could be a good fit! Only thing I would seriously consider changing is the yarn — I don’t see myself enjoying a summer tank made of 50/50 alpaca/wool, so I’ll be on the lookout for a good substitute yarn (probably a linen or cotton mix).


So what do you think? Ready to place a bet on what I’ll cast on first?

New Free Pattern: Be Mine Valentine’s Hat

Thought the “spirit of giving” season was over? Not here at Knit Julep. I’m extending the holiday cheer into Valentine’s Day with a new FREE pattern available on Ravelry! Download >>

Be Mine Valentine's Hat
Download the Be Mine Valentine’s Hat >>

I’ve never been a big Valentine’s Day person, but I’ll take any excuse to knit up something new. The Be Mine Valentine’s Hat is one that practically designed itself once I got to knitting. Simple colorwork creates the illusion of hearts in the main body of the hat, and the colorblock/colordipped look is topped off with a fun pompom. (See? I’m sticking to my word of making more pompoms this year.)

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The Be Mine Valentine’s Hat is a super quick knit (yes, even with that colorwork) because it’s made for sturdy worsted yarn and larger needles (size 10). So there’s still time to make one (or one for you and one for a friend) before Valentine’s Day comes! It can also be modified to fit whatever yarn you have in your stash between now and Valentine’s Day. I made a second sample with variegated red yarn that was more like roving, and made a two-color pompom. And one Raveler has already made their own adaptation with smaller yarn and both pink and red colorwork hearts.

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So what are you waiting for? Cast on before the Valentine’s Day cards (like these hilarious vintage ones) start arriving!

Download the Be Mine Valentine’s Hat >>

vintage-valentine-card-sock-with-red-heart vintage-valentine-card

Decoding the Knits of ‘The Imitation Game’

“The Imitation Game” has been on my list of movies to see ever since I saw the first trailer. Period drama, based on a true story, English accents – it had all the makings of a movie I would love. What I didn’t account for is the amount of wool and tweed that would fill the screen. And when you find yourself keeping your eyes peeled from one scene to another, looking for the next great sweater vest or Fair Isle cardigan to feast your eyes on, that’s when you know you’re a knitter.

Yes, the movie was great. Yes, thinking of how this happened in real life is amazing. But seriously. Let’s talk about the wool.

This was the first sweater vest that caught my attention. Look at the layering! Look at the muted blue color! Look how it brings out Benedict Cumberbatch’s blue eyes!

Benedict Cumberbatch

The ribbing is striking. I’ve never been a big fan of ribbing, because it’s always been too repetitive and not detailed enough for my taste. But that’s exactly what makes it work here. A simple 2×1 rib gives the outfit bold texture, and the repetition hints at the whole concept of pattern in Alan Turing’s computer work.  (Don’t think I came up with that on my own, though. Costume designer Sammy Sheldon Differ said it herself.)

So what other woolen goodies were in the film? Feast your eyes on this…

Benedict Cumberbatch

Imitation Game

Benedict Cumberbatch and Matthew Goode

Fair Isle hiding out in the background, but stealing the scene nonetheless.

Imitation Game Cast

I imagine all of these sweater vests were made in 100% British wool, which leads me to think they’re probably a little itchy. Too bad, boys. Deal with it, because you look great in them.

But the award for best woolen ware goes to Keira Knightley. Leave it to the strong female character to wear a strong wardrobe. She made me long for a classic cardigan comeback with this blue number.

Keira Knightly

And sealed the deal when she debuted this green Fair Isle beauty. These are never colors that I would choose for a Fair Isle sweater, but my eyes were drawn to the stunning green. It popped in every scene, especially since most of the other characters wore more muted color tones. It’s a bold statement but manages to keep its classic look. And the simple detail of leaving out one repeat of the green pattern creates the illusion of an amazing waistline. It’s the little details that can make such an impact.

Keira Knightly

Look how she stands out among all those brown and grey suits!

Imitation Game Cast

Cheers to Sammy Sheldon Differ and her crew. (Can I be your assistant in your next sweater-filled film?)

UPDATE: Thanks to Ann at Mason-Dixon Knitting for sharing this post with Kay and their dedicated readers! Ann made a cowl with the beautiful pattern on Keira Knightley’s sweater. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch “The Imitation Game” on Netflix…

Cheers to 2015!

Happy New Year! I’m sorting through my stashes (and stashes) of yarn I’ve collected over the past year. Who knew you could collect so much yarn yet have so few projects to show for it? Oh well. I think it’s the endless options of patterns I could make from my stash that makes me happy to keep it. That being said though, 2015 is my year to put it to use!

My Berroco collection alone (a hint of which you’ll see below) could yield some really great projects. Hats became my thing in 2014, so I’m wondering what it will be in 2015. Will I take on another smaller accessory? I’m dying to make a striped shawl/scarf out of the tan/cream/turquoise yarns. And I think pompom garland may be my solution for those ends and odds of yarn I can’t throw away. But I also want to challenge myself to do larger projects, like another sweater or maybe even a blanket.

So here’s to 2015 and a brand new crafty start!

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Christmas Sale!

There are only 10 days until Christmas, and if you’re like me, you’re still knitting up gifts. My gift to you this season is a Christmas sale – Buy 1 pattern, Get 1 FREE – in my Ravelry shop!

Just visit my Ravelry Pattern Store, add 2 patterns to your cart, and the discount will be applied automatically.

The sale begins today, December 15, and ends December 25 at midnight, so get shopping!
20141116_190254 knitjulep2 KJ - SingleSpiralHatDetail

Sneak Peek

My hands are cold all the time. I don’t know what it is, but whether I’m typing, knitting, or driving, they just can’t stay warm. Those hand warmer packets they sell at stores are a lifesaver if I’m going to be outside for a long period of time (I even have a microwaveable set stashed away somewhere), but there has to be a better solution, right? And I can’t be the only one with this problem, so I wanted to design a new knitting pattern to help those cold-handed people out there! So where to start…

Gloves are great, but no one wants to knit all those fingers one by one. And no one’s fingers are the same length anyway. Mittens would be easier, but I always forget how much of a hassle it is when I have to take them on and off throughout the day to answer the phone and do normal tasks.

Enter fingerless mitts!

They’re fast to knit, don’t hinder your hands, and they’re WARM. Your fingers may be exposed, but trust me, having the rest of your hand and wrist covered in wool makes a huge difference.

I’m still making a few tweaks, but here’s a sneak peek at how they’re shaping up!

blog-mitts1

There’s no overall shaping needed with fingerless mitts. The ribbing on the wrist and at the top near the bind off edge provide enough shaping to stay on your hands. And this is the easiest thumb gusset you’ll ever do.

blog-mitts2Colorwork look familiar to you?

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It’s a matching set for my SVEA slouchy hat pattern! Just stockinette stitch and ribbing on each – it’s the simple colorwork that really makes the set stand out. I’ll be working on finishing up the pattern for these fingerless mitts in the coming weeks. In the meantime, keep those cold hands warm!

Casting On

Welcome to Knit Julep!

Knitting is what I love to do, and I’ve been waiting for this day to share my projects and patterns. My name is Kimberly, and I started designing some of my own knitting patterns a few years ago, but didn’t really find my groove with it until this summer. Sometimes you just have to wait for the right timing, the right inspiration, or the right season.

In this space, I hope to share what’s on my needles, which of my ten thousand unfinished projects I’m considering circling back to, my latest original designs, and what’s inspiring me in the knitting world.

Take a look around, and visit my pattern shops on Etsy and Ravelry! My patterns are made with beginner to intermediate knitters in mind. I find I’m much more likely to actually finish smaller projects that don’t require too much focus while knitting them (because let’s face it, we’re all multitasking when we’re knitting), but that really look impressive when finished. Simplicity is key to a good pattern, and to so much in life. So join me in this knitting adventure, and give a nod to handmade living!

Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify.

-Henry David Thoreau

Happy knitting!

-Kimberly