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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Beehive Wool Trunk Show


My trunk show has been traveling around the US since the fall and I'm thrilled that the first Canadian stop is at my local yarn shop, Beehive Wool Shop! The trunk show includes 17 samples of my most popular designs and will be at Beehive through January 26. 

If you're local to Victoria or plan to be in the area this weekend, please come by the shop on Saturday, January 17 between noon and 3:30 - I'd love to meet you and answer all your questions about my designs. 

See you there!


Beehive Wool Shop
1700 Douglas Street 
Victoria, BC V8W 2G7
250-385-2727 





Saturday, January 3, 2015

Birthday Sale 2015!



I don't have sales very often, but this one is a tradition! Get 32% off all independently-published Andrea Rangel Knits patterns all day today, January 3, 2015.


This sale only works on Ravelry, but you don't need a Ravelry account. The sale will run from midnight to 11:59pm (Pacific time.)

Use the code BIRTHDAY2015 at checkout to get the discount on as many patterns as you'd like. Be sure to stock up because this is the best deal you'll get all year!

Get the patterns on Ravelry

Thanks so much to all of you for your support. I'm grateful to you every day!

A quick note to EU knitters: It looks like the promotion isn't currently working for you all due to complications from the new VAT rules. I integrated all of my indie designs with LoveKnitting to be sure I could continue to sell to you, but I've discovered that promotions aren't supported with them yet. I'll work on a fix today and update this space with more info if I have it. You can also check this thread on my Ravelry group. I'm sorry. You all are important to me and hopefully I can figure out a work-around!

UPDATE: There's nothing that Ravelry or LoveKnitting can do today, but here's my solution: 
EU Knitters, send me an email (andrea@andreaknits.com) if you want to participate in the sale letting me know which pattern(s) you'd like. I'll invoice you for the amount and once I have payment, I'll gift you the pattern(s) on Ravelry. Sorry it's so complicated! 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Maurits in Brooklyn Tweed Wool People 8

Photo © Copyright Brooklyn Tweed/Jared Flood
Maurits is a new cowl design that's part of Brooklyn Tweed's latest collection, Wool People 8. It's worked in Loft, a yarn I know well and completely adore. Another recent color work pattern, Dutch, also employs this stunning stuff, and looking at both patterns together, I can really see that I was designing and knitting them at around the same time. 

Photo © Copyright Brooklyn Tweed/Jared Flood
The Brooklyn Tweed team encouraged me to work the cowl up in two lengths with two very different color combinations. The longer version shown in green and white (Button Jar and Fossil) is beautifully high-contrast, showing off the color work in crisp, clear stitches. This look is bold and makes a statement with color, which is right up my alley - I want to show off my impressive knits!

I'm so glad they asked me to work up another version in more subtle autumn hues, though. The shorter cowl in Pumpernickel and Homemade Jam reminds me of Turkish rugs. The effect is a softer feel that invites a closer look. 


Photo © Copyright Brooklyn Tweed/Jared Flood
Both cowls are made up of three equal sections, separated by clean stripes. I'd love to see a project that maintains a background color while working a gradation of contrast colors, a different one for each of the three sections. 


Photo © Copyright Brooklyn Tweed/Jared Flood
Because the cowl is worked entirely in the round (no wrong side!) and the stitch pattern is made up of fairly small repeats, this could be a good choice for knitters just dipping their toes into the color work world. Aside from color work, the only other special skills you'll need are working a provisional cast on and grafting using Kitchener stitch. Instructions for both are included in the pattern. 

You can get the pattern on the Brooklyn Tweed website and on Ravlery. Check out the Look Book to see the rest of the designs in Wool People 8!


Pattern Specs:

MATERIALS 
Fingering weight wool yarn in the following approximate amounts: 
545 (655) yards of Color 1 (C1) 
440 (575) yards of Color 2 (C2)

Brooklyn Tweed Loft (100% American Targhee-Columbia wool; 275 yards/50g): 
2 (3) skeins each of C1 & C2

Version I: 
Photographed in colors Homemade Jam (C1) & Pumpernickel (C2)

Version II: 
Photographed in colors Fossil (C1) & Button Jar (C2)

GAUGE 
23 stitches & 36 rounds = 4” in stockinette stitch with Size A needle, after blocking 
23 stitches & 26 rounds = 4” in charted colorwork pattern with Size B needle, after blocking

NEEDLES 
Size A (for Striped Sections): 
One 16” circular needle in size needed to obtain gauge listed 
Suggested Size: US 3¾ mm (US 5)

Size B (for Charted Colorwork Sections): 
One 16” circular needle two sizes larger than Size A needle 
Suggested Size: 4½ mm (US 7)

FINISHED DIMENSIONS 
17½” wide; Version I: 45¼” long, Version II: 59” long

Measurements taken from relaxed fabric after blocking

SKILL LEVEL 

3 of 5

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Knit Fit! & Stash Roundup


Photos Copyright Kathy Cadigan, 2014

As you can see from the pictures above, Knit Fit! 2014 was full of woolly goodness and knitterly education. I presented a new class this year, The Fine Art of Yarn Substitution, and it was a really fun class to teach. I got to talk about yarn and fibre for hours! And there was math! Yes, I was in dorky knitter's heaven.  Thanks so much to all of you who signed up for my classes. I'm already looking forward to next year! Props to the organizers at Knit Fit! for making this year's event better than ever.

(And special thanks to photographer Kathy Cadigan for taking the Yarn class and capturing it in these great photos!)



I also got to hang out in the Hazel Knits booth on Sunday morning and, as always, I adored their saturated colors and beautiful presentation, not to mention some exciting and unusual things like giant wheels of DK Lively!



Heading south to Portland, I got to attend the third annual TRIFECTA small business retreat with freelance writer Jessie Kwak (also, my copy editor and product copy writer) and artist Nalisha Rangel. It seems like every year the retreat is more productive and I always get filled up with creativity and motivation. (If you're curious about TRIFECTA, you can read more about it here.) This year we rode our bikes around Portland, I learned to sew, and Nalisha re-branded her company! 


To finish up a fantastic trip, I traveled to Stash Local in Corvallis for a trunk show and a lace class using Flow, a crescent-shaped shawl with a lace edging. It was my first time in the shop and I loved their selection and bright aesthetic. The trunk show will be in the shop for several more weeks, so if you missed my visit, you can still go pet and try on the samples.




Fall is such a great time to be a knitter and I hope you're all enjoying it wherever you are!

PS. You may have seen my new design out in Brooklyn Tweed Wool People 8 today! More on that soon, but for now you can get it and the rest of the collection on the Brooklyn Tweed website and on Ravelry.


Friday, November 7, 2014

Traveling South


It's becoming a tradition for me to go south to Seattle every November for Knit Fit! I'm really looking forward to it and I hope to see you there! (PS. If you come to the event by bicycle, come find me and I'll give you a coupon for a free pattern download because #bikelove!)

This year is extra special though, because I'll also be heading even further south to Portland and Corvallis. First I get to attend my annual Trifecta Business Retreat and then I'll be bringing my current trunk show to Stash Local in Corvallis and teaching a lace class using my very popular shawl, Flow. Spots for the class are limited, so be sure to sign up soon!

Happy fall and happy knitting, everyone!


Friday, October 24, 2014

Dutch Cardigan


If you were following this blog over the summer, you may have already seen this sweater.  I wore it daily while biking around the Netherlands and it was just the thing.


It's got all sorts of details that make it one of those sweaters that I know I'll wear for years.  It's got an oversized fit for the body, making it extremely comfortable, but waist and shoulder shaping, slender sleeves, and a wide scooped neckline create a flattering look.  After the front steek is reinforced and cut open, a turned hem encases the steek edges for a neat and durable band.  Using snaps instead of buttons leaves the front of the band clean and neat.  (I also love that I can pull the snaps open with one hand while riding!)  The sleeves are extra long, so you can turn up the cuffs to get them out of your way, or turn them down for extra warmth or for wrist coverage when you reach for your handlebars.



A few recommendations for knitting up your own -

Be sure to make it with the recommended positive ease.  The sleeves and shoulders are designed to fit based on the idea that you'll make your cardigan with 12-14" of positive ease.  If you make it smaller, your sleeves are likely to be too small and too short. Mine has about 13" of positive ease.


Swatch both plain stockinette and color work to see if you need to use a larger needle for the color work sections.  I usually go up three sizes for color work!  (I used sizes US #2 and US #5 for my sample.)


Use a smooth yarn in a similar color and lighter weight than your main yarn to reinforce your steek before cutting.  Using a lighter yarn helps prevent rippling along the cut edge.  If you're new to steeking, you can get some great practice by reinforcing and cutting your swatch before going for the real thing.


If you choose Brooklyn Tweed Loft like I did, you may want to seam the sleeves in using a smoother, stronger yarn.  Loft is a very special yarn and makes a tough, long-lasting fabric, but it can break easily until it's knit up, which can lead to seaming frustration.
You can find the pattern on Ravelry and on my website

Here are the Specs:

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS 
Bust Circumference, including Facing: 43 (47.75, 51.75, 56.5, 60.5, 65, 69, 73.75) in/109 (121.5, 131.5, 143.5, 153.5, 165, 175.5, 187.5) cm

Intended to be worn with +12-14 in/30.5-35.5 cm of ease at bust for oversized fit; shown in size 43 in/109 cm with +13 in/33 cm of ease on model.

YARN 
Fingering weight yarn in three colors (yarn amounts are approximate): 
Color A (Main Color): 949 (1054, 1142, 1247, 1335, 1434, 1522, 1627) yd/868 (964, 1044, 1140, 1221, 1311, 1392, 1488) m 
Color B: 702 (780, 845, 923, 988, 1061, 1126, 1204) yd/642, 713, 773, 844, 903, 970, 1030, 1101) m 
Color C: 204 (248, 269, 294, 315, 338, 359, 384) yd/187 (227, 246, 269, 288, 309, 328, 351) m

Shown in Brooklyn Tweed Loft (100% Targhee-Columbia Wool; 275 yd/251 m per 50 g skein)

Color A: 03 Old World; 4 (4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6) skeins 
Color B: 27 Woodsmoke; 3 (3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5) skeins 
Color C: 17 Embers 1 (1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2) skeins

GAUGE 
Gauge measurement should be taken after blocking. 
24 sts/30 rows = 4 in/10 cm in Stockinette stitch using Gauge Needle (Needle A)

NEEDLES & NOTIONS
Needle Sizes are recommendations only. Always use needle size necessary to obtain gauge.

Needle A (Gauge Needle): US #3/3.25 mm 40 in/100 cm circular needle 
Needle B: US #5/3.75 mm 40 in/100 cm circular needle 
Needle C: US #3/3.25 mm needle; use preferred small-circumference circular knitting method (set double pointed needles, long circular for magic loop method, or two circular needles) 
Needle D: US #5/3.75 mm needle; use preferred small-circumference circular knitting method (set double pointed needles, long circular for magic loop method, or two circular needles)

size 1.75 mm crochet hook 
stitch markers 
tapestry needle 
stitch holders or waste yarn 
contrasting color waste yarn 
strong, light fingering weight yarn for reinforcing steek 
nine .5 in/1 cm snaps 
needle and thread

SKILLS 
color work in the round, shaping, steeking, seaming

Technical Editing: Heather Zoppetti 
Copy Editing: Jessie Kwak

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Knitter's Pride Needle Review


Knitter's Pride Nova Cubics Interchangeable Set

I’ve owned a whole lot of knitting needles over the years, and I’ve definitely had an evolution in my needle preferences.  From my initial love of straight wooden needles, I’ve progressed so that now I almost exclusively use metal needles, and most of the time those are from one of my interchangeable needles sets.  I’ve used Addi Clicks, both the standard and the short lace tips, as well as Knit Picks and Hiya Hiya’s.  I’m always interested to try new tools, so I was excited for the opportunity to knit with and review a variety of metal Knitter’s Pride Nova needles.  Full disclosure - the needles in this review were sent to me free of charge.  Since I really only use circular needles, I’ll be reviewing a 16” circular fixed needle with square tips, an interchangeable set with square tips, and a few interchangeable needles with standard round tips.  I made swatches or small projects with each of these needles, though I’ve only had them for a couple of months, so my experience is based on an initial reaction rather than long-term use.

There’s a lot to like about all of these needles.  First are the needle points.  They have a wonderful taper and are sharper than my Addi Clicks, but not quite as sharp as Addi Lace or Hiya Hiya tips, making them great for most projects.  I always love pointy tips, so if you like wooden needles or other blunter tips, these might be pointier than you like.  I also appreciated the smooth finish.  My stitches glided along without me really noticing, which tells me that the finish isn’t too slippery or too sticky.  Adding to that smoothness was the catch-free join between the needles and the tips.  



My only real complaint has to do with the joining mechanism for the interchangeables.  They connect using a long screw and are tightened with a small tool - you may have seen this method on Knit Picks needles too.  Even after using the tightening tool quite aggressively, both the square and round-tipped interchangeables always seemed to come un-screwed.  The thread is quite long, so they didn’t seem in any danger of actually coming apart, but it was irritating to constantly be trying to screw the needles back together.  I noticed the problem a lot more using the round tips than the square ones.

UPDATE: I got a response from Knitter's Pride that the needles should not come unscrewed and that I may have gotten some defective tips.  I tried a few other tips, and sure enough, with most of the tips, both the round and square ones stayed in place with magic loop, back-and-forth knitting, and standard circular knitting.  While it was a bummer that several of the ones I tried were problematic, it's nice to know they have a good replacement policy: If you happen to get tips that won't stay in, Knitter's Pride will replace them free.


Overall, these needles are a great addition to a knitter’s tool chest.  I think I’d recommend the square rather than the round tips for simply because they seem to stay together a bit better, and I recommend the fixed circulars without reservation.

Here are my notes for each needle type:


16” FIXED CIRCULAR SQUARE TIPS, Size US #2/2.75 mm


Pros
Lovely, sharp tips
Smooth, comfortable finish
Smooth join between needle and cord

Cons 
None

Notes
I think I’ll get a lot of use out of these for hats and cowls.  I didn’t particularly notice the square tips feeling different than what I’m used to, but I also didn’t notice any hand cramping, which I often get when using the shorter tips that are necessary for 16” needles.

Bottom Line
I would recommend these to any knitter.


ROUND INTERCHANGEABLE NEEDLES


For the review I used the US #4/3.5 mm tip with a 32” cord and tried both my favorite small-circumference knitting method - magic loop -  and regular circular knitting.

Pros
Lovely, sharp tips
Smooth, comfortable finish
Smooth join between needle and cord
While it seemed a little stiff to me before I started working, the cord actually worked perfectly well for magic loop.  

Cons
Even after tightening with the included tool, the tips seemed to come slightly unscrewed every round.  It didn’t mess up my work, but it did slow me down.

Notes
The unscrewing issue won’t stop me from using these, but it may have me reaching for the square tips first.

Bottom Line
I wouldn’t recommend these since the square ones seem to stay attached better.
UPDATE: I can go ahead and recommend these since they have a good policy on replacing problematic needles.


SQUARE INTERCHANGEABLE NEEDLES


For the review I used US #8/5 mm tip with a 32” cord.  I tried both magic loop and regular circular knitting with this cord.

Pros
Lovely, sharp tips
Smooth, comfortable finish
Smooth join between needle and cord
Cord was flexible enough for magic loop method
The square tips seemed to come unscrewed much less frequently.

Cons
Every now and again, I did notice the tips starting to come undone.

Notes
I was curious how the larger square tips would feel, and while it’s definitely more noticeable than with the US #2/2.75 mm one, it didn’t seem like a vastly different knitting experience.  They felt slightly more substantial and easier to grip than my usual round tips.

Bottom Line
I would recommend these with the caveat that the tips did occasionally start to come unscrewed.



Have you ever used Knitter's Pride needles?  What are your favorite needle brands and styles?



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