Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Invention of new patterns, that is.  At Thanksgiving, my mom asked for a cream colored cowl to wear with her blue winter coat.  I tucked this information back in my brain and went on with my Christmas knitting.  Then three days before Christmas I remembered I had promised her a cowl.  I had an idea that had been knocking around in my head since last year. 

So I got out the sketch pad, a pencil and a calculator.  I saw the cowl taking shape on the page.  Two days before Christmas, I cast on.  Even with last minute shopping, baking Oreo cupcakes and chocolate pretzels, and a candlelight church service, I sit on Christmas eve with 6 rows to go.As my kids like to say, "easy peasy lemon squeezy!"  

My goal the pattern can be written and out for testing just after the new year. 

We have a winner!

In the drawing for a pattern from Gabriella Henry, Random.org has selected comment 3 - Rachelle (Sewsable) on Ravelry as the winner.  Congratulations and Merry Christmas!  You will be contacted soon with details on how to receive you prize. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Interview and Giveaway - Gabriella Henry

I recently had the opportunity to interview designer Gabriella Henry (sweetp on Ravelry).  She has some lovely designs.  I really like her Wayside hat! You can visit her blog at Mahi and Aroha or her designer page on Ravelry here

Gabriella has graciously offered to award a pattern of the winner's choice to one of my readers.  Leave a comment telling me which of her patterns would make a great Christmas gift.  On Christmas eve, a random commenter will win his/her choice of pattern from Gabriella!

Hi Gabriella! Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you started designing?
My first design was a child’s earflap hat that was inspired by my nephew who had just been diagnosed with leukemia. It was a hat for him while undergoing chemo, but also a design that kept on giving (free on my blog but I asked people to donate to a local children’s hospital). That was almost 6yr ago now! (Happy to add my nephew has been in remission for several years and is a wonderfully healthy 11y old now).

Fast forward a couple of years, and the designing bug bit again. I started selling patterns and taking a more serious approach to designing.

Designing is a creative outlet while being at home with my kids, a great way to stretch my brain while also indulging in my favourite crafty past time!

What inspires you? Where do you get ideas for your designs?
Faultline was my first paid pattern and was inspired by my need to “do something” after the devastating earthquakes in Christchurch in 2011. 25% of sales from this pattern are donated to the Red Cross who provided support direct to families (including mine) during this time. We moved away from Christchurch a few months after the big February earthquake but I left a little piece of my heart there and Faultline was the result!

Sometimes I have a specific yarn I want to work with and a design grows from that - Wayside is my most recent release and was inspired by the colourful single skeins of Aran yarns in my stash. Sometimes a stitch pattern catches my eye (e.g Nightshade cowl). I also have several patterns that were originally designed for yarn clubs and in those cases inspiration has grown from collaborations with indie yarn dyers (Goddess shawlette).

Can you describe your design process? Do you sketch first, knit first or something else?
I’m not a very good sketcher but I do tend to do initial brain storming on paper first. I usually have a good idea in my head what I want it to look like and then usually play around with swatching and maths until I have something I’m happy with, and then go from there. I think it depends a lot on the design itself - sometimes things just ‘click’ and just about knit themselves! Other times things require more detailed planning and thought processes (e.g a cardigan idea I am considering).

Do you have favorite brands or weights of yarn with which you like to work?
I work behind the scenes at Tri’Coterie yarns which is an indie yarn business based in France. We specialize in luxury bases and gradient and selfstriping colourways so often my designs will feature a Tri’Coterie yarn or be inspired by a particular yarn or colourway we have worked on. An example would be the Kaipara shawlette which was designed specifically for gradient yarns.

Since I live in New Zealand I also like to highlight local yarn dyers and bases that my NZ customer base can easily obtain.

Which of your designs are you most proud of?
Isabelle is probably the one I most proud of - it’s not my most popular pattern but I think it has something a little different - that elusive uniqueness that can be hard to achieve when you are publishing patterns to a database with many thousands of patterns.

Can you share anything that’s in the design pipeline?
I have a new hat pattern that is currently being tested and hopefully will be ready for release before the end of the year. It grew from my need to make some man friendly Christmas gifts and is a nice quick knit in worsted weight yarn. Lately I have been exploring diagonal stitch patterns and have released a series of hat patterns that play with this idea in different ways (Sideline, Lineside and Wayside) and this hat continues that trend. (I think it is out of my system now!!!).

I also have a shawl design in the final stages of prototyping and two patterns that will appear in publications next year. 2014 is looking to be a busy and fun year!

Monday, December 9, 2013

I've been interviewed!

If you're interested in hearing a little more about me and my design work, head over to Seni's blog (InĂªs Sousa).  Be sure to comment if you're interested in winning a free pattern!  And don't forget to read about her work.  She's got some lovely designs. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

WIP Wednesday

What's on the needles today? I usually have several things in the works and today is no different.  

I'm very excited to say that I will be designing the pattern for January's mystery mitt pattern in the Fingerless Gloves Fanatics group on Ravelry.  I am waiting for some yarn to knit the prototype.  I can't say too much, but I'm really geeked about the traveling stitches in this pattern.

My back burner project is a Punto Cowl.  The pattern is by Anjali M and was the original inspiration for my Punto Mitts.  I gave away the original cowl, so now I'm knitting one for me.  I'm using it as reward knitting.  Every time I finish a Christmas gift, I knit a few rows on my cowl.  Here is my progress so far!

I am finishing a couple of test knits for Triona and for Kate

Triona is working on a pattern for fingerless mitts. I haven't taken any pictures, but I hope they will be done this evening.  Then I need the weather to brighten, so I can get some decent pictures.  Here is the swatch from my Keelback Hat that will match the mitts. 

Kate's pattern is this amazing cowl!  The pattern is so very cool.  It looks incredible in a how-did-she-do-that kind of way.  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Indie Design Gift-A-Long

Have y'all heard about the Indie Design Gift-A-Long?

The Indie Design Gift-A-Long is a knitting and crochet-along that is taking place from November 1 to December 31, 2013 in the Indie Design Gift-A-Long group on Ravelry – with participation threads for all categories of items, and hundreds of prizes donated by designers and yarnies.

From the description in the group:
Prepping for the holidays as only fiber folks can, with special deals from tons of indie designers! What is Gift-A-Long? It’s a multi-designer promotion to help you kick your holiday gift-making into high gear! Once you’ve got your Gift-A-Long patterns, we encourage you to join a relevant KAL/CAL! (For instance, if it is a hat, please join the hat KAL/CAL.) KAL/CAL participants are eligible for lots of lovely prizes (check out the Prizes thread for details) but you gotta post to win! KAL/CALs will run until December 31st, plenty of time to knock out all your holiday knitting and crocheting. On your mark…get set…. GIFT!!

All of my patterns are included in the Gift-A-Long, so if you're knitting one of them, be sure to post in the group so you are eligible for prizes!   

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Black Friday Sale

In honor of Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday, all of the patterns in my Ravelry Store (http://www.ravelry.com/designers/karen-troyer-ladmanare 25% off with promo code "BlackFriday".  Promotion runs through midnight on Monday, December 2. These patterns are eligible for the Indie Designer Giftalong. Join in for a chance to win one of over 300 prizes: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/indie-design-gift-a-long.