Sunday, January 30, 2011

Easter knitting .... a fun set of nested baskets

... that are "green", too!
I just finished writing the handcrafts column for the Spring issue 2001 of mater et magistra, an issue with lots of editorial space dedicated to celebrating Easter.  And what better way to celebrate than to make a set of nested basket knitted using a re-purposed sheet?

If you don't want to wait for the Spring issue (altho, if you are Catholic and have kids -- even if you DON'T homeschool them -- you probably WANT to subscribe) ... this pattern is available for immediate download from my Ravelry store
($4.00 for the pattern which includes tips on working with fabric "yarn" and other info).
Enjoy the journey
Mary C. Gildersleeve
By Hand, With Heart -- hand-knit designs

Monday, January 24, 2011

Birds in Flight ... a cowl ... a headband ... a classic!


Birds in Flight cowl/headband knit in Spring Gate Farm's Lace-Fingering Weight Cashmere .... available for instant download for $5.00.  This 27-stitch lace pattern is easy to memorize ... making the knitting a joy to do, especially since the yarn is 2-ply 100% cashmere ...

When only the best will do .... CASHMERE!

Enjoy the journey
Mary C. Gildersleeve
By Hand, With Heart -- hand-knit designs

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Latest Design: I "heart" Austria .... a vest and matching cap

I "heart" Austria vest and cap is a labor of love: ten years ago, we were blessed to move to a small village an hour south of Vienna, Austria.  My husband was earning a Masters degree and we lived in the shadow of an ancient Carthusian monastery, homeschooling our (then) four children.  We were only able to stay two years but Austria got into our hearts, and remains there to this day.

We took home a lifetime of memories and our yougest son, born during our sojourn in Niederoesterich.  Now, almost eight years later, I have finally created a design worthy of our memories.

I Heart Austria ... a vest reminiscent of the Austrian knitting -- garter stitch insulation with cable panels of lots of diamonds.  The knit-in pockets and simple collar are pure Austrian.  The cuffed watch cap will keep you warm even in on the Austrian slopes ... the turn-up cuff recreates the six diamond variations with a 3x3rib underneath to hold the cap close to the head and also increase insulation.  The vest is sized for Sm, Med, Large, 1X and 2X; the cap is a one-size fits most adults.

Knit in a washable all wool ... this design is classic with a twist!

Enjoy ... you can purchase this pattern for immediate download from my Ravelry store (even if you're not a Ravelry member ... altho I don't know why you wouldn't be) for $5.00.  You can check out my other designs if you just go ahead and join Ravelry (it's free and a treasure-trove of all things knitterly or even crocheterly)

Enjoy the journey
Mary C. Gildersleeve
By Hand, With Heart -- hand-knit designs

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Blue Ridge Sunset: Simple elegance that's practical too ...

 Blue Ridge Sunset Hat and Scarf ... a bit of colorwork, the softness of cashmere, an elegant design ...

Enjoy the journey
Mary C. Gildersleeve
By Hand, With Heart -- hand-knit designs

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Browsing Amazon's upcoming knitting titles ...

I came across this one that is ready for pre-order and scheduled to be published in April/May.

More Knitting in the Sun: 24 Patterns to Knit for Kids, edited by Kristi Porter. The designs are all knit in summer-type yarns (cottons, linen, etc) for kids to wear in the summer-time. So the knitting is summer-able and so is the wearing.

Don't you love this cover .... don't you love the sweater in the middle?

That would be mine! Cool, huh?

I knew the book would be coming out this spring from Wiley but that's all I'd heard. Browsing Amazon's knitting books (ALWAYS looking for more to add to my library) ... I came across this. Was I thrilled!  I also like the other designs on the cover and can't wait to see the whole book ...

I'll be posting more details as the book nears publication, but so far this is all I can share!

Enjoy the journey
Mary C. Gildersleeve
By Hand, With Heart -- hand-knit designs

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Knitting around the world .... see what happens when ...

... a bunch of knitters get together to celebrate Cardigan, Wales' 900th birthday.  Isn't it wonderful?  200 knitters came together to make this wonderful visual history of Cardigan that measures 10ft x 3ft.  Even the school children got involved. 

I love this quote from the article:

We have used cable stitch throughout and the many threads twisted together become strong, representing our community.

Gotta love knitting!

Enjoy the journey
Mary C. Gildersleeve
By Hand, With Heart -- hand-knit designs

Friday, January 07, 2011

Review: Debbie Bliss' Design It, Knit It: Babies ....

... is definitely getting added to my rather eclectic (and large!) knitting book library.  Definitely!

I love designing for babies ... some of my best-loved, most successful designs are those for babies:

 Exquisite Edgar and Elegant Eliza dolls -- really easy for little hands to hold (and since they're made of washable cotton-blend, they can be wet-loved to death and still wash up well)
 Hearts a Poppin' blanket -- a beautiful blanket with just a bit of lace (so it works nicely for the boys!)
 Me and My Doll -- Irish Sweaters -- matching sweaters for little girls and their 18" dolls
 Patrick: An Irish Lad's Jacket -- want to try an Irish sweater ... this one is down-sized to knit quickly and warm the hearts of all the boys
Jillian's Jacket and Blanket Set -- easy enough for a beginner, this set is all garter!
So I was thrilled to find out that my public library had finally gotten a copy of Debbie Bliss' new baby book.  Today, I picked up Design It, Knit It: Babies from the library and have already ordered my own copy from Amazon.  Yep, it's that good. 

First, a disclaimer: I LOVE Debbie Bliss style -- classic, clean, gorgeous colorways.  Her books are well done and sincere ... it really sounds like she knows what she's writing about (not always true with the plethora of knitting books currently available).  Further, she always has a nice variety of designs -- sweaters, hats, blankets, leggings.  But additionally, her Design It, Knit It books (her first, Design It, Knit It, has been well-used around here!) share her thought processes when she's designing -- and designing for babies is quite different than designing for kids or adults.  As she quickly explains (the first sentence in the first paragraph):  "Babies are basically tube-shaped ..." points out the difference from the get-go.  Babies need comfortable ... non-fussy ... easy-on/easy-off styles that adults don't.  Babies need to have diapers included in measurements as well as chubby legs!

Bliss covers it all in this volume:
  • sizes and shapes
  • soft and gentle is necessary
  • color
  • small and perfect (for preemies and newborns)
  • rough and tumble (once they're toddlers)
  • specialty dressings
  • embellishments
  • accessories -- heads, hands and toes
She then caps her book with a chapter "design workbook" which suggests options for different necklines and styles, samples of knitters' graph paper (after all sts don't usually equal rows ... thus graphing on square paper doesn't really work, does it?), charts for alphabets and intarsia work. 

This really is a book worth adding to your library -- whether you have babies in the house ... due any day ... or just love to design for these wee ones.  Bliss does it again!

Enjoy the journey
Mary C. Gildersleeve
By Hand, With Heart -- hand-knit designs

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The one problem with knitting ....

... early on in my knitting journey (I've been knitting for over 40 years!), I vowed that I would never start the next project until the current one was done.  Boy, is this tough ... I often start thinking about my next project about three-quarters of the way thru the current one so that after about 90% of a project, I'm ready to move on!

This is not a good thing.  I get frustrated and want to just finish the darn thing.  I know I could put it aside ... but then I know I'd NEVER finish it.  So, I plug away.

This is all to say that I'm just about done with my vest (and will post the pattern soon) ... and ready to get started on my cashmere headband for Spring Gate ... here's the chart I've created to begin ...

who knows what it will look like when I'm done (it definitely won't be green and white .. altho I LOVE green!)

I'll keep you posted ....
Enjoy the journey
Mary C. Gildersleeve
By Hand, With Heart -- hand-knit designs

Monday, January 03, 2011

New Year's Resolution: to post more on here!

So, 2011 is on its third day and I have a resolution to post more on this lovely knitting blog!  The upside is I was so busy knitting the last few days that I haven't had TIME to post ... but that begs the question of posting more a bit doesn't it?

On my knitting needles:  finishing a vest (originally planned to be a cardigan, but the yarn told me to stop already!) and planning my next Spring Gate Farm cashmere project -- a two-color headband. 

On my reading table:  re-reading for the umpteenth time Maggie Righetti's classic, Sweater Design in Plain English.  This really is a must-read for anyone wanting to make sweaters that truly fit.  It's a bit dated (she doesn't even mention blogs or Ravelry or much internet-y stuff) but well-worth the read.  St. Martin's Press is coming out with a "second edition" in April 2011 -- I'm trying to get a review copy (and maybe a copy or two to giveaway) so I can see just what they've added (some 100 pages to the original count)!  Will keep you posted.

Happy 2011 and may all your knitting time be frutiful ... may you felt when you want to (and not by accident) ... and may you show thru your love of knitting just how cool and fun it is!
Enjoy the journey!
Mary C. Gildersleeve
By Hand, With Heart -- hand-knit designs