Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Freebie .... thought you'd enjoy seeing

Here's a design I just uploaded to my Ravelry pattern store:

The pattern is on as a free download .... and should be available soon through Shokay's Design Circle ... this sample is knit in Shokay's gorgeous Yak/Bamboo blend called "Orient" ...

Check out this and my other patterns (some free, some for sale) on Ravelry!

Happy knittin'
Mary C. Gildersleeve
By Hand, With Heart -- hand-knit designs

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Another KP IDP ....

Wow!  Looking back at my records, it's been almost TWO MONTHS since I've had a design up on Knit Picks ... you all must have been wondering!  Well, all is well .... I was in the midst of working on some big projects for a couple of books that will be published this next year as well as working on projects to donate for a charity fund-raiser next weekend.

That all said, I have a new pattern up in KP's IDP -- Fun Felted Saddlebag.  This is a quick knit in bulky yarn on #10s, knit in the round for the body and then switching to flat knitting for the slip-stitch flap.  The strap is knit right in and I even designed a mini-bag that coordinates (and hooks to the strap to avoid losing it!)  Here are some pictures to whet your knitting-appetite:  

 I'm using mine as a knitting bag!  A place for everything and everything in its place!
Please check out this and my other designs on Knit Picks or directly from my Ravelry Shop!

 Happy knittin'
Mary C. Gildersleeve
By Hand, With Heart -- hand-knit designs

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Review: Worldwide History of Dress

Throughout many posts on this blog, as well as whenever ANYONE asks my opinion, I will say that my favorite kind of knitting is "ethnic" or "folk" knitting.  I love the traditional styles, colors and shapes of these classic designs.  Using modern yarns, with the spectrum of available colors and fibers, allows for a very nice ability to design traditional knits with a modern twist!

Where do I get ideas for designs? 

Well, I've got all the books in Interweave Press's "folk knitting" series:
as well as many others about specific country's/ethnic group's knitting styles:  Fair Isle, Aran, Andean, etc and inspirational titles such as Cut My Cote and The Folkwear Book of Ethnic Clothing.  And these are all great for getting the creative juices flowing or for learning traditional techniques and special stitch manipulation, but sometimes I just needed more ... more color ... more detail ... more something.

And the answer came yesterday.  I just got a book (thanks to birthday gift money and Amazon credits) that far surpasses any of these books for sheer inspiration and education in all things worn to adorn.  The Worldwide History of Dress by Patricia Anawalt is a huge volume (600+ pages) with drool-inducing pictures of traditional and modern wear for just about every culture in the world. The book sections are split out geographically:
  1. Middle East
  2. Europe
  3. Central Asis
  4. East Asia
  5. South Asia
  6. Southeast Asia
  7. Oceania
  8. North America
  9. South America
  10. Africa

Published by quality book publishers, Thames & Hudson, the book has over 1000 illustrations (with about 900 in full color) with the details necessary to really see what is being worn, how it's being worn and the text tells us why it's being worn (religious, climate, spiritual and traditional).  Anawalt, the founding director of the Center for the Study of Regional Dress at the Fowler Museum (on UCLA's campus), includes information such as dimensions of the garments as well as details on other adornments -- jewelry, hair styles, etc. 

Talk about inspirational:  the color-combinations, the shapes, the design elements ... it's just hard to imagine all this packed in this one, albeit huge, book. 

The only problem: it's too fat and heavy to read in bed!  So, clear the table, warm the teapot and I'll be busy the rest of the afternoon.

Happy knittin'
Mary C. Gildersleeve
By Hand, With Heart -- hand-knit designs

Monday, October 04, 2010

Fall, Fiber and Fun ... a winning combination

Fall is (finally) in the air ... and this weekend proved the benefit of Fall weather.  Under glorious blue skies and low-70s, Maggie and I spent the weekend out at Montpelier and the Fall Fiber Festival of Virginia.  I was there to demonstrate knitting (with Maggie knitting away by my side) on both days (on the second we were treated to wonderful mountain music from a hammered dulcimer). 

We also took time to make the rounds of the amazing vendors:  raw wool, carded roving, hand-dyed yarns, weavings, knitted items, hooked rugs, etc!  What a chance to buy bits and pieces, chat with the vendors and drool over the more expensive (at $70/skein for cashmere, that's about all I could do!).  The colors of the yarns ... commercially and hand-dyed ... was almost (note, ALMOST!) overwhelming.  Glorious fibers and creative dye-lots ... wow.
There were folks demonstrating drop-spindling, wheel-spinning, weaving, knitting, rug braiding and all manner of other fiber-related talents.  These are some of the nicest folks I'll ever meet all in one place.  In addition to swapping stories and tips, I was able to chat with a few potential clients for my knitting-design services -- a win-win for both the small producer and the designer!

On our way out on Sunday, I picked up a sweatshirt to remember this glorious fiber-filled weekend and got Maggie a needle-felting kit to try out that cool craft. 

Oh, and we got the guys a large bag of so-fresh-kettle-popcorn, it was still warm!  A sweet ending, no? 

Happy knittin'
Mary C. Gildersleeve
By Hand, With Heart -- hand-knit designs