woolfolk winners

I want to thank all of you for complimenting so generously on my Woolfolk Collection and I can’t even express my delight over your excitement about the pieces in this collection! I am so happy to know that every person is drawn to at least several and sees that the garments as well as accessories are timeless and ageless. In other words, anyone who chooses to can wear and love them! Sorry it took me a while to get back to this,  I had to break away last minute as I made an impromptu trip to New York city for Vogue Knitting Live event. Which was my first time ever attending it and a first visit to NYC in over 5 years!

But I will stop torturing you by prolonged talking of my experience and please join me in congratulating Erica and Jessica, who each won some Woolfolk Får and Tynd to try and the entire set of Woolfolk Collection FW 2014/15 printed patterns! YAY!!! Congratulations, ladies!

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Let’s start this year with luxury! Isn’t that a good New Year’s resolution, especially if you are all about new yarns and new adventures and other things new! Even though this yarn and collection were launched late last year, I feel like right now is the time I can look back and reflect on this whole process and development of how it came to be.

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Around May last year, Kristin Ford, who I have worked with previously, shared her ideas for a new venture and quite unique fiber that she has discovered and that noone in the North America was offering to hand knitters. I was thinking we were already quite spoiled here with a wondrous fibers available in yarn form, so this was very intriguing. I think the moment I have touched the skein, my words faltered in trying to describe the feeling. It was just undecipherable “Ahhhh!” and “Mmmm” followed by questions in my head – How?? How?? How is this just a merino!? I have knit with fair share of merino yarns before and they have been very soft but nothing felt like this. I don’t think cashmere yarns I have knit were often even this soft before wash. To learn the why’s and how’s of this amazing fiber Ultimate Merino® please head over to the WOOLFOLK’s website to read and watch a beautiful video about Patagonia region and the efforts for the grassland regeneration. To add more, each company that is part of this project is paying back the farmers to continue helping them to continue maintaining sustainability and quality of the fleece. So when you pay for it, you contribute to that as well!

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Now as for the yarn, Clara Parkes of Knitter’s Review was among the very first people to touch and graciously review the yarn and you can read her detailed description of experiencing Får here.
Woolfolk yarns currently come in 2 different weights – FÅR is a Worsted weight, chain-like construction and TYND is a fingering weight is a nice 2 ply twist.

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When approaching ideas for designs in these yarns, I tried to go a different route than I usually pick when designing olgajazzy patterns. The quality and luxury of the yarn itself was dictating or even demanding the minimally textured, classic, yet clean and conservative modern knits approach. With well-thought out details through medium of construction to keep any knitter’s brain occupied, but not requiring every bit of concentration, so knitting itself is enjoyable. You and your Woolfolk yarn need some quality time to truly appreciate the tactile enjoyment of working with this yarn. And with a great knit result that can be worn on any occasion when you wish to wrap yourself in a cloud.

(Click each image or design’s name above it to see more images of them).

KNUS

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FLET

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BYGGE

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Small details and accents that draw the eye, but are not distracting from the fiber of the yarn and overall look of your knit.  These knits have no time, no age, they are the kind of knits most of us want to wear or do wear every day, Woolfolk just adds that doze of scrumptiousness.

KNOP

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SKYGGE

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As I was editing through my process I have found it quite satisfying. The yarns  and the collection read very Scandinavian-style to me just like the founder’s ancestral roots  and make me proud to have created something absolutely new to me. And reminded myself why I collaborate on projects like that, to make me step out of my comfort zone and learn something more about myself as a designer. As the moment we stop pushing ourselves and trying, creativity tends to stagnate.

RIBBE

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FURE

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VINKLER

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I want to thank everyone who has already knit many many sweaters and accessories and wrote about this collection,  I am truly humbled that you love it so!
I want to thank Kristin for creating such a unique opportunity and for her unique vision and my brilliant friend and Ori Ami Knits co-author, Vanessa Yap-Einbund, who did an amazing job on the collection’s photography as well as Woolfolk‘s  (and mine!) websites.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! And in celebration of it – the luxury giveaway!

I am giving away the entire (8) printed  patterns WOOLFOLK COLLECTION FW 2014 as well as a skein of Woolfolk Får and a skein of Woolfolk Tynd to 2 lucky winners!

Please leave a comment below until end of Tuesday, January 6th (which is going to be my Xmas eve) and I will draw the winner the following day!

Good Luck and Happy Knitting!!!

 

Be Merry!!!

Wishing you all a Wonderful and Joyful Holiday Season! I really wish we had a white Christmas in the forecast, I miss the snow! But a Christmas in wool is the best kind of Christmas! And yes, 2015 is a year of a sheep/goat! Sounds like the best year yet to be in the knitting industry!

Happy Holidays!

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Elements winner

Congratulations to Jen! She is the winner of printed copy of ELEMENTS book from my previous post. YAYYY!

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Happy Knitting!!!

 

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Almost a year ago, Carrie Bostick Hoge of Madder asked me to join an exciting project that she has been thinking of along with some of the other wonderful designers called ELEMENTS. When I joined in, FIRE was among remaining elements and although I do wear and love an obscene amount of grey in my wardrobe, orange is my favorite color. I am just very particular about the shade of it, I like it on the red side more than yellow as that is the orange that looks best to me. And at that time I had just discovered that Quince & Co came out with a stunning new shade called Poppy and this cardigan was destined to be in that color and I have picked Quince & Co Lark, I lovely worsted weight 100% American wool. Which joined in harmoniously with the other ELEMENT yarns already lined up with the other designers.

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I have worked previously with Carrie as you might have recognize her signature and style of photography from my “Circles+ Dots“collection that I have created a while back. True to her vision, she has created a wonderful story and a dreamy visual to show off the knitwear at it’s best, including my Fire Cardigan.

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The stitch pattern for Fire cardigan took some time to develop as I wanted a stitch pattern that would translate not just through color but possibly texture. And in the end the textured meandering pattern of this oversized cardigan was created to correlate with the element of fire. It reminds me of the tongues of flame, licking at the air on that last summer campfire as cooler weather sets in. Being a cousin to the stitch from my Moko-Moko Cowl design it has the unusual modular process of building the knit fabric which creates the intricate surface design, juxtaposing positive and negative spaces of knits. Culminating when the stitches are dropped at the very end, revealing the true texture of the cardigan. The uninterrupted mold of stitches continues to form neckline shaping while keeping ribbed edges intact.

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Drop sleeve construction and positive ease allow this boxy cardigan to drape loosely over the body, allowing for layering as well as fitting in a way that creates slightly raised front hems without requiring extra shaping.

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ELEMENTS is currently available for purchase in a variety of options:

Limited Print Edition + eBook Package

eBook Only

All of the patterns are available as single pattern pdfs as well.

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Today I am also excited to be giving away a copy of the limited print book edition of ELEMENTS.

The rules are simple, for the next 5 days just remember to leave me a comment on this blog post. The entries will close by the end of the day on Friday, December 12.

Good luck and Happy Knitting!

 

ONPA WINNERS

Congratulations to Awana, Suzanne, S.E., Ada and Kathy for they are the winners of ONPA shawl or stole pattern!

Thank you everyone for participating! I promise there are more giveaways in the near future as well!

ONPA knitalong has now kicked off, but some are still at the yarn picking stage. Stay tuned for a new post on how to pick the right colors for you!

Here I leave you with the image of my Onpa Shawl knitting in progress in Grellow colors in Brooklyn Tweed LOFT in Soot and Hayloft and my tea in NPR mug. I love that their address 1111 is very similar to the actual patterning happening in the shawl. When things just couldn’t have gotten more relevant than they already are! Hope you can join me this winter for the Knitalong!

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ONPA

It feels like forever. I have been working and waiting to publish these designs for a while now.  Meeting all the deadlines I’ve committed to, preparing, re-organizing. Waiting for that perfect moment.  One may wonder why it takes me this long to “birth” pattern designs into the world, but I feel the further I work with knitwear design, more I strive to perfection. And end up spending more time concentrating on quality of my patterns, editing and testing them and then editing again. And all of those things take time.
I have been exploring combining colors for ombré / gradient effects before via use of solid yarns. If previously, in Aranami, I used a modular technique worked up into a design, for these new designs I have been wanting to try another technique I’ve worked with before! Would some of you recall my Trace vest from Wool People 3? Similar, but not the same. And that’s why it’s new. But first I will start at the beginning of this story.

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Rewind back to Summer of 2013, when we just moved back to DC area from Japan and dear friend Emily invited us to the friends and family day at new NPR – National Public Radio – headquarters in Washington, DC. Besides the privilege of visiting and touring this new building, it was a fun experience on its own – seeing the studios, people at work at news station, the Tiny Desk and enjoying stellar views of DC. It was great to see one of nation’s respected news channels from the inside and a spectacular view of the newsroom floor from the bridge.

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While exploring around the building and its new, minimal and fresh hallways, my eye caught upon a certain wall decor simply depicting the sound waves.  My friend told me, that her work a lot of times consists of staring at those “waves” on her computer day in and day out. So seeing that sound wave graphic incorporated into interior design felt like a great idea. The subtle changes of grey into white and going back to grey which triggered my thought of using similar pattern in trying to depict ombré, color gradient in knitwear and in this case by using colorwork technique.

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Colorwork can be both – intimidating and frustrating, beautiful and rewarding! I do not consider myself a colorwork connoisseur, but I have turned to it multiple times to reach the desired effect in a knit garment or accessory. And every time it was worth all the efforts and patience. With every project my confidence grew and my skills have been getting more  practice. I have discovered better ways for me of working it and making little discoveries and tips that might help other knitters with their process. I admire designers who are almost exclusively create and design with colorwork and fair isle. They are truly an inspiration to me. One has to have a good eye, taste and knowledge for harmonious color pairings to turn tiny intricate patterning into wonderful garments.

Back when I was working on Trace I’ve been fantasizing to use that similar effect for something else, a different graphic, a different clothing item. So when I had begun my stitch pattern development I have been reverting to the similar color distribution and usage. I’ve had begun by obsessively swatching and trying to find the best possible way to work in more colors. I have knit a shawl prototype with 5 different colors, however the colors I used were not close enough in palette even though they were in the same color family. Their contrast was quite stark and to me it didn’t feel right for what I was trying to achieve. Unfortunately, not all ideas can translate and work out in a different stitch pattern. Now, months later, I know how I might have solved that issue but it would have given me a bit different design than I had originally planned. Thus I have abandoned the idea and decided to go a bit simpler route and work with 2 colors only.

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I have picked an already trusted Brooklyn Tweed LOFT yarn, knowing how reliable and perfect it has been behaving in my hands while doing colorwork. Squishy and lofty, just like a marshmallow, all while having enough “grab” to maintain even floats. Easy to spit-splice and colorwork that will lay flat and even that when done properly would look great on the reverse side.

Other biggest excitement in my process while working on this design was picking color. For triangular version – Onpa Shawl – I’ve chosen a slightly muted burgundy that is called “Homemade Jam” and paired it together with the heathery “Sweatshirt” grey. And for rectangular version – Onpa Stole – I went with the beautifully saturated blue “Almanac” and winteriest color of grey “Snowbound”.

I knew the moment I cast on for the triangular version that I must make the rectangular version available as well.

So what’s the difference,

Onpa Shawl is a triangular version

USD 7.00

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Onpa Shawl is worked flat top down and uses techniques like provisional cast on and working colorwork flat. Meaning that you not only knit, but also purl while maintain color pattern. I am a Continental knitter (the combination kind) and many years ago I’ve taught myself how to knit English style, just so I can use stranded method and work with both hands carrying a color while doing colorwork. But because I am mainly Continental style, I have discovered that use of this nifty little tool – Yarn guide – helped me speed up my process while producing even floats. Mind you, that it does take some time getting used to, but I’ve heard amazing things from Continental knitter friend of mine who works her colorwork in the round now at incredible speed and she helped me in producing of the stole.

Onpa Stole is a rectangular version

USD 7.00

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And that brings me to Onpa Stole. This design has more potential from wearing point and offers more customization options . Because the way this pattern is worked and built, you can make it not just as a stole – you can work less row repeats and turn it into a scarf which would be just as graphic. You can play around with the number of the repeats, work double width, but reverse the orientation to create a beautiful throw or a blanket. You can cast on less stitches and omit the steek and turn it into a cowl. So versatile!

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One of the goals for these shawls was also to discover a better way for trapping my floats in a neater way, I am so glad that I have succeeded and more. The floats trapped in both of these designs in such a way that renders them both reversible, while creating slight patterning of their own. I am especially happy with how the colors look in reverse gradient on the back side of the shawl and I have included all those tips in the pattern.

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Even now I realize that the possibilities are quite infinite for either of these. Imagine using ombré  yarn as a contrasting color all the way through. Or use 3 or 4 or 5 solid colors in a color progression but only use them in a contrasting placement in the pattern. I am currently knitting another Onpa Shawl for me using colors of Brooklyn Tweed LOFT in “Soot” and “Hayloft”, those who know me are aware of my love for all things grellow and I am quite excited as I have chosen to reverse the color placements and made lighter color as a contrast this time. Can’t wait to show you!

I will write more about these designs in the upcoming weeks as I am hoping you will join me in this Winter’s ONPA Knit-A-Long hosted here and in my olgajazzy design group on Ravelry.

GIVEAWAY

5 lucky knitters will be gifted with a copy of either Onpa Shawl or Onpa Stole digital pattern.

The rules are simple – leave me a comment here at the bottom of this blog post and please follow me (unless you already do) on Facebook and Instagram

I will draw winners on Thursday morning October 30, EST.

Happy knitting and Good luck!

 

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Bubbling up

The whole time while living in Japan I’ve been admiring the abundance of modern architecture that spread throughout the entire Kanagawa prefecture and specifically Tokyo. So when Meri of Amirisu asked me to design a garment for their architectural issue my ideas immediately floated towards my favorite building in Tokyo – Prada building in Aoyama that was designed by Herzog & de Meuron agency in 2001-2002. The unusual structure in itself is the most fascinating thing about it, but for me it is the surface that is covered in convex and concave windows that in a pattern form the random bubbly impression. The thick glass structure captures the light in the most amazing ways, depending on the time of day you are witnessing it. So during most of my day trips to Tokyo if I ever was in the neighborhood, I would visit the building and say hello and snap a photo or two just to admire it once again.
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And as you can see here the building looks so different during the night hours and you can even spot the different colored cells from the inside that allow the company to decorate yet be visible on the outside.
pradayellowblockAlas, delegating can be hard at times when there is a lot at work simultaneously. Unfortunately, I was too late with my cardigan to make the deadline of the architectural issue. So Abuku cardigan (from Japanese meaning “bubble”) was published in the newest woodland issue of Amirisu. Abuku cardigan certainly started as a design from the ways of thinking up of numerous ways possible to translate the impression of bubbles into knitwear.

I have worked with a similar stitch patterning before while developing my Cowry hat design, only this time I took it further! The Bubbly panels are worked separately and grafted together on the back neck to create a seamless, uninterrupted look of the texture and later attached to the fronts and neckline of the cardigan. But what makes this cardigan different and remarkable is that the “bubbles” slightly diminish in size as we progress towards the neckline. Which gives a nice shaping details without sacrificing the overall texture while being reversible in case you chose to flip the collar down.

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The cardigan, worked in Quince&Co Chickadee yarn, used a brand new construction for me – it is worked in one piece till underarms, then the 3/4 length sleeves are worked in the round till underarm as well. The yoke is then shaped simultaneously in 1 piece in a set-in sleeve look, which leaves us only with 2 shoulder seams and 2 underarm seams to take care of. Knowing how much some prefer to avoid seaming at all costs, this design doesn’t eliminate it, but cuts it down significantly. Walnut – a yarn store in the heart of Kyoto and the brainchild of the same Amirisu duo is currently hosting Abuku cardigan Knit-A-Long and you are welcome to join with us to make this light cardigan which would suit these transitional temperatures for a great layering look.

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So why Amirisu and what is Amirisu? Amirisu in translation from Japanese means “squirrel” hence the appearance of it in the logo. They are a bilingual Japanese and English knitting magazine which started as a webzine and now has slowly but surely has expanded into a printed magazine as well! 6 of the patterns from woodland issue including Abuku cardigan are also printed inside the paper magazine accompanied by inspiring interviews,  the distinct style photography and articles. And starting next issue ALL of the patterns are going to be available inside the printed issue as well as continue being available in digital form.
Amirisu is breaking all the rules to knitting pattern style known in Japan. If you are familiar with the ways most Japanese patterns are written, you know that it is a chart and a schematic with numbers on them, which is quite easy to follow and read once you grasp the concept, it is really quite brilliant! But there are several drawbacks – such as those patterns are most definitely ever available in one size only and as much as we might have wished we are not one-size-fit-all people, so a knitter purchasing the pattern is most likely in need of changing and re-calculating and tailoring that pattern to make it fit properly. And ladies of Amirisu are bringing a new era to Japanese knitting world by offering written patterns in several sizes for those who wish to make them without needing to go extra math miles to figure it out on their own.  Don’t get me wrong, the current style of pattern writing in Japan certainly has its benefits and works for many people, but it is also great to see the initiative that is striving to improve and bring the needs of each knitter into modern times with this new format. And now you can subscribe to Amirisu as well!

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 some photography ©Amirisu and Kimiko Kaburagi

Extra Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to Anita Jamieson and Jacqueline – ladies you each have won a skein of Blue Sky Alpacas Extra and a copy of Tokyo Tower Bandana pattern! I will send you emails shortly for some contact details.
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Thank you ALL so much for playing along and participating, I loved hearing from all of you about your favorite landmarks! Funny how architecture in different aspects plays such an important and memorable part in our lives. It made me think that I hope I get to travel more to new exciting places of the world to see at least some more of those landmarks you all mentioned!
Happy Knitting!