It's finally feeling like Autumn here in Brooklyn, so it's the perfect time to talk about some of my latest patterns featured in a new book titled "The Knitted Hat Book", from Interweave Press.

With 20 fresh new hat designs from a long list of great designers, this book has a little something for everyone. Let me tell you about my own designs featured in the book:

The Duality Watch Cap

This striped unisex hat was designed using two strands of Berroco's Ultra Alpaca Fine yarn held together to create an interesting marled texture effect. I like to wear this hat kind of slouchy, but it looks equally cool with the brim folded up. The fabric is fairly dense, making this a great hardwearing winter piece. I made one as a Christmas gift for my brother-in-law who lives in Chicago, and he loved it. This hat actually inspired my Dolo Mitts pattern and coordinates perfectly.

Here I'm wearing one of my favorite outfits this fall, Escher Cardigan, Duality Watch Cap, and Dolo Mitts. I somehow compelled my dear friend and sometimes photographer Erika Rose to get on the other side of the camera for the picture above. She strongly resists that sort of thing but I think she looks super cool in my Frolic Hat!

Frolic Paper Bag Hat

This interesting hat features an exaggerated drawstring closure at the top, making the gathers into a textural design feature. In the book, they photographed it as a hat to wear with a ponytail, which is actually not something I considered when I created this design, but it works. I love this hat as a lightweight transitional accessory that is comfortable to wear inside as a fashion piece, or outside when it's not quite so cold yet. This pattern is pretty easy, and I would recommend it for beginners or as an enjoyable quick project for any skill level. I used Quince & Co. Finch yarn which has a super crisp look, perfect for this design.

Blossom Appliquéd Hat

This show stopping hat is a vintage inspired piece that prominently features a beautiful 3D flowering vine motif. The hat is worked in bulky yarn, making it a super fast knit. The decorative elements are knitted separately, and sewn onto the hat at the end. While you could theoretically work the floral vine elements in a different color, I love how a monotone palette really accentuates the rich textures, and keeps this piece elegantly timeless. I chose The Plucky Knitter Bulky yarn for this design, and it's absolutely divine.

The book features several other hats that I adore. My friend, Annie Rowden, has a couple super-wearable designs in the book, Locality and Squall, that are definitely worth checking out. I also loved Robin Ulrich's Revolve hat design, featured on the cover.

Heres a link with my affiliate code attached. I hope you will pick up a copy! Any of the projects in this book would make a great handmade holiday gift, and though it's hard to believe, it's just about that time again!

Oct 23, 2016

The New York State Sheep and Wool Festival (nicknamed 'Rhinebeck' because of the location) is without a doubt the most inspiring event that I attend every year. This year, I had the pleasure of attending with four fellow designer friends, Melynda Bernardi (French Press Knits), Beatrice Perron Dahlen (Thread & Ladle), Annie Rowden (byannieclaire), and Andrea Mowery (Drearaeknits) with her adorable little sidekick -- pictured from right to left.

We shared an Airbnb house near the festival, and snapped this pic right before heading out. Everyone is wearing one of their own designs, and they were all so lovely!

I had a truly wonderful time walking around with these ladies and meeting people that previously I had only known from the Internet. We also spent a great deal of time sitting and knitting, which was really fun too. We swapped stories about our adventures in knitwear design and our lives on opposite corners of the country. It was really interesting to get a glimpse into their worlds. Though we all share the same profession, the way everyone works is so individual. I felt like it gave me a little perspective so I can appreciate my own situation in a different light. I often fear that having kids might compromise my knitwear design career and it's really held me back from starting a family, but seeing all these women thrive while caring for their small children encouraged me. I can see that it's very difficult, but not impossible. I was so inspired by these amazing women making it happen!

Though you might expect that my favorite part of Rhinebeck is the fabulous yarn shopping, you'd be wrong. No, what I really love is the people watching, or more specifically, the sweater watching. It's so fun to see all those proud knitters strut their stuff. One of the highlights for me was when I ran into Shanna (Foxedknits) wearing my Reine Cardigan design from Brooklyn Tweed Wool People Vol. 3. She did such a beautiful job—it really made my day! I practically tackled her when she walked by so I could get this picture.

Unfortunately I did not finish my own Rhinebeck sweater in time, but I didn't stress about it much because I have plenty of others to wear! In the picture above, I'm wearing the Tiber Cardigan from my Speckle and Stone collection. This is one of my all time favorites, so I was very glad to show it off a little. That unfinished sweater is nearly done now, so maybe it will make an appearance next year.

Here's a picture of my favorite goat I met at the festival. Sometimes when I need my bangs trimmed, I feel like this guy.

At first glance my Arno Pullover may look rather ordinary, but it is actually a very special design that truly deserves a closer look.

What makes this sweater so special is it's innovative construction. The set-in style sleeve cap and shoulder are worked simultaneously, seamlessly, and from the top-down. In other words, absolutely no sewing or grafting is required!! It's practically fail-proof and comes out beautifully every time.

I always loved the look of a set-in sleeve cap, so I challenged myself to devise a new way to knit this style that requires no sewing whatsoever. The math was a bit of a marvel, but I eventually figured it out and used the construction for the first time for the Rook Pullover in my book Graphic Knits (which I blogged about here).

To help you wrap your head around this unique construction, I drew a little illustration to show how the modular pieces all come together:

1. The back shoulder piece is worked from neck to mid-shoulder area.
2. Front shoulder pieces added to back piece; neck edge shaped.
3. Stitches for sleeve caps are picked-up; all pieces joined in the round.
4. Series of increases shape sleeve cap and shoulders.
5.-6. Stitches divided for body and sleeves; worked from top-down for easy length adjustments.

Here's a work-in-progress picture at the end of step 4 to give you a sense of how nicely the shoulders come together, even before blocking:

(warning: knitwear designer rant in 3, 2, 1...)

I have never designed a sweater with set-in sleeves and flat pieced construction. To me, the success of that kind of construction seems to rely too much on the knitter's hand-sewing skills, which can vary widely. We're all knitters here, but very few of us have the skills of a tailor.

That is why I find it a little confounding when I read a knitting pattern that is so clearly and perfectly written right up to the very last sentence: “block and sew pieces together." Ha! Really? Way to leave us in the lurch! Why do designers assume that a majority of knitters possess the skills necessary to perfectly set-in a fitted sleeve to a bodice with no additional guidance, while they so carefully specify details like SSK vs. K2tog decreases to shape the very same areas that are being sewn? Even as an expert seamstress, it took me years to master seaming on knits because the two skills are actually very different.

This is one of the main reasons why I always look for ways to take sewing out of the equation in my knitting patterns. I'm something of a knitting purist in that way. One of the most important goals in my independent design work is to create patterns with the clearest instructions possible to ensure a high success rate for my knitters' projects. If I can't clearly explain a technique, I simply won't include it in my design.

(end rant)

After I designed Rook and then later Brewster, both with this new shoulder construction, and both featuring Fair Isle colorwork patterning, I received numerous requests to create another design with plainer styling. With this in mind, Arno was at the top of my list to include in my Speckle & Stone collection.

To add extra interest to this design, I included a color block section around the shoulders highlighting the garment's unusual construction. I also used two strands of contrasting yarn held together, creating an interesting marled texture effect that coordinates nicely with the rest of my Speckle & Stone collection. Here's my original concept sketch:

The novel way that this design comes together makes this pattern so much fun to knit. I hate giving away a good ending, but it's probably no surprise—when you finish knitting this pattern you're simply done. No pinning, no sewing, just weave in the ends and voila!

The sweater fits beautifully, and I can hardly wait to see pictures of everyone's projects on Ravelry. The pattern is available as an individual pdf ($6), or in the Speckle & Stone ebook or printed book ($15; $20). I think if I make another, I will make it either blush/cream or black/gray. What colors would you use? Do you like the marled texture, or would you knit it plain with solid colors of yarn? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

The marvelous Mezzo cardigan is the most fun-to-wear piece from my new collection, Speckle and Stone. Every time I put it on I feel a little bit fabulous, partly because it's a compliment-generating head-turner, but also because it's so cozy and comfortable that I feel like I'm getting away with something.

The back view is really the highlight of this design. Notice the subtle raglan shaping on the back of the shoulders—a wonderful little detail that helps keep this billowy garment from slipping off the shoulders.

I was inspired to design Mezzo shortly after releasing my Escher Cardigan. Escher has a similar silhouette, but a much more complicated design worked in fingering weight yarn, which means it took FOREVER to make. I wanted to take another stab at a garment like Escher, but this time make it more of a quick gratification project—and it sure was! While the Escher sample took a few months to make, the Mezzo cardigan only took 4 DAYS to knit. I know! I was pretty surprised too.

Mezzo might seem gigantic, but because it's worked in two pieces, the knitting is totally manageable. The cardigan has a seam that runs down the center of the back, and another seam from the cuffs to the lower hem. I absolutely loved this special construction, and wanted to highlight it with big bold blocks of color. All the blocks perfectly align from front to back, and over the shoulders, which makes my little designer heart sing. All this comes together to make Mezzo a really dynamic piece. It was so much fun picking out colors!

I love how much the sample reminds me of this little bowl I made around the same point in time. I wasn't trying to make a coordinating bowl to go with my sweater, but I guess I was just in a blue/cream/earthy/speckly kind of mood. You never know how inspiration will strike!

3 of the 5 designs from my Speckle and Stone collection feature a marled texture that comes from holding two strands of contrasting yarn together. The Mezzo cardigan was the first I designed with that texture and it really helped set the mood for the remaining pieces. Since the dimensions of this garment were going to be pretty big, I wanted to use a larger gauge, but I was afraid a chunky yarn would weigh the garment down too much.

I had been experimenting with this marled effect and noticed how pretty and flat my loose-gauge swatches became after blocking. The two strands end up lying next to each other, making a thin but relatively dense fabric that knits up at almost a chunky yarn gauge, but without all the bulk. The resulting fabric also has incredible drape, which was something I was looking for. I decided one of the strands should be fingering, and the other should be DK, because the combination landed me at the perfect gauge and fabric weight.

Of course there's no reason you couldn't substitute a single strand of worsted weight yarn if you achieved the same gauge. The fabric would probably behave a little differently, but the garment would look pretty much the same.

My darling mother has already put this design in her knitting queue, but instead of a contrasting strand of cream, she is going to use a metallic yarn. I think this is a very clever idea, and I can hardly wait to see how it turns out. I also think this design would look stunning worked in a gradient yarn like one of the Freia Ombré yarns.

Speaking of yarn, if you decide to knit this cardigan, you will very likely have some leftover bits and bobs. Not to worry, I've got you covered, because my Brenta Hat, was designed to use up the leftover yarn from Mezzo. I'm planning another blog post about that pattern soon, so stay tuned.

I've been wearing my Mezzo Cardigan every opportunity I get. I hope you'll check out the pattern and knit one for yourself as well. I'd really love to hear what you think about Mezzo in the comments below. Would you change up the colors? Have a question about sizing? How do you feel about open front cardigans?

The dazzling Tiber Cardigan is one of the coolest looking, and definitely most challenging designs from my new collection, Speckle and Stone. It's also the most important piece because it helped set the tone and created focus for the entire project.

The idea started more than a year ago when I created my Chrysler Cardigan, and if you check out that design you can definitely see some similarities in the silhouette and yoke-style shoulder construction. Figuring out that shoulder construction was not easy, so I was really excited to put my hard work to use again. Here's my original sketch for Tiber. It turned out pretty well, I think!

One of the hurdles to beginning any new design is picking the yarn. I had a particularly difficult time picking colors for this design. Below are a few options I considered before settling on black and linen gray—the most sophisticated option and probably the most obvious in retrospect if you consider my inspiration (more on that below).

I began working on Tiber last May, just before my big 10-year wedding anniversary trip to Italy. We planned to make our way from Rome to Milan by train over the course of 9 days—very romantic, so naturally I thought I needed something entertaining to fill all the hours of downtime.

I don't know why I thought I would be bored on the train. News flash: Italy is breathtakingly beautiful! Also, I got pretty swept up in the whole romance thing. All I wanted to do on the train was look out of the window, sigh, and think of sappy things to say to my sweet wonderful husband. I did a little knitting but didn't make much progress until the return flight, where I proceeded to knit for about 7 hours straight…. and still only completed about 6" of the body.

This sweater felt like it took forever. I normally budget about 4-6 weeks to complete a typical sweater (I also have a full time day job to work around), but this sweater took about 4 months. To put that in perspective, the rest of the collection (4 more pieces) took just 2 months for me to complete.

I don't mean to scare you if you're thinking of knitting this. I definitely could have gone faster, but truthfully I wasn't very worried about how much time this project would take. This is definitely one of the luxuries of self publishing. I knew I wanted to release the collection sometime in the fall, but you know, it was only May, or only June, or only July. No big deal. I gave myself the whole summer to complete the sample, and I took my sweet time.

Of course with all that colorwork, it wasn't exactly a surprise that Tiber would take a while to complete, which is why I chose a fun easy-to-memorize pattern. I originally dreamt up the patterning as a motif to decorate a vase I was designing for my pottery class.

The vase never came into existence, but nonetheless pottery ideas and sweater ideas started mixing with inspiration images of abstracted geometric motifs on pueblo pottery and the magnificently decorated Italian duomos I was researching for my big trip. The result was my Tiber Cardigan. Don't you just love the meandering path of creativity?

I could not be more proud of this design! It was a pretty big challenge to figure it out, but worth all the effort because it might be the prettiest thing I've ever made. Every time I look at that tapering motif on the back of the shoulders, my heart sings! I don't even care how cheesy that sounds; just look at that thing.

I love hearing from you so if you like this design, please let me know in the comments below. What colors would you pick for your Tiber? Are you afraid to try steeking? What, YES?! Well, you probably haven't seen my brand new steeking tutorial video then. Stay tuned because I have a great post planned on that later...

For more information about this design, visit the pattern page here.

Nov 17, 2015

I'm absolutely thrilled to announce the release of Speckle and Stone, my independently-published knitting pattern collection featuring 5 all-new designs. It also happens to be my birthday, so it's going to be a very fun day!

I'm offering the collection for sale as individual pattern pdfs ($6), an ebook ($15), and a beautifully printed softcover book ($20).

I am planning a series of blog posts over the next couple of weeks to discuss each of the designs, plus a blog tour with some of my favorite bloggers, and podcasters, but in the meantime, here are a few pictures (click the links for more info).

Arno Pullover

Mezzo Cardigan

Tiber Cardigan

Dolo Mitts

Brenta Hat

I decided to create this collection independently, which is to say I deliberately did not seek out a publisher. I've had generally positive experiences working with publishers large and small alike, but I wanted to see if I could pull it off on my own. I wanted complete creative control from start to finish.

Working with a big publisher is great in many ways, of course. When I wrote Graphic Knits with Interweave Press I was truly able to focus on design because they took care of absolutely everything else. All I had to do was produce a draft of the written intructions, and the finished samples. They did the photography, layout, editing, promotion, and distribution. What a luxury! They are real pros and it turned out beautifully. I still love that book, and wouldn't have done anything differently.

The downside is that it took more than 2 years. By the end of the first year, I just really wanted to focus on something new, but I had a whole year left in the process! That's when I first started to dream about doing a small self-published collection.

About six months after the release of Graphic Knits, I found myself ready to take on a new creative challenge. So I signed up for a pottery class with my good friend, Erika.

This was not my first time making pots. I actually studied pottery in art school, many years ago. I had a dual-focus on painting and pottery—man, those were some amazing years! I never could pick a favorite, but after graduation I didn't have access to a pottery studio anymore so painting and graphic design kind of took over organically. I missed the pottery studio sorely though.

I was a little nervous returning to the pottery studio after so many years. To cope with this anxious feeling I started doing some research. I dug out my old pottery textbooks, opened up my sketchpad and started working on concepts for my new pots. The sketches of pots and bowls started mingling with sketches of sweaters and hats, and before I knew it I had developed a dozen new knitwear designs—Speckle and Stone was born.

I didn't realize how much my knitwear designs resembled the pots I created until well after the fact. Of course it's obvious now, but the origin of creative work always seems much clearer in retrospect.

I have talked about the influence of pueblo pottery in my design aesthetic before, so I probably shouldn't have been surprised to realize the correlation this time around.

The pottery class ended, and I turned my focus to the collection. I truly relished having complete creative control. I edited the collection to just five pieces that I wanted to make and wear most. I ordered yarn in colors that would fit into my own wardrobe. I knitted the samples at a pace that seemed natural to me. I ran the photo shoot the way I wanted, and made sure I got all the pictures I needed using models that eat doughnuts and pizza sometimes (me and my friend Katie). I even designed the layout of the book, the diagrams, and the charts. I completely own this thing!

This project has “me" written all over it, and I couldn't be more proud to share it with you all now. I have a fun series of blog posts planned to talk about each piece, so stay tuned for that. I also have a great blog tour lined up with giveaways, interviews and reviews. See below for dates.

I'm absolutely dying to know what you think! Send me some good vibes on my birthday, and let me know if you have a favorite design in the comments section below :)


11/23- Berroco Blog (kit giveaway!)

11/25- The Knit Girllls video podcast (book review at 51:00 mark)

11/26- Stockinette Zombies video podcast (book review at 50:00 mark)

11/30- Allyson Dykhuizen Sweatshop of Love (special discount!)

12/02- Melissa Wehrle Neo Knits

12/06- Beatrice Perron Dahlen Thread & Ladle

12/09- Alex Tinsley Dull Roar

Holy smokes, I can hardly believe it's November already! It's been pretty quiet here on the Knit Darling blog because I've had an extremely busy summer and fall. I have a ton I want to write about for this upcoming knitting season, so let me catch up on what I've been doing in the recent warm weather months . Since May, I went on a wonderful trip to Italy, traveled to Cape Cod with my family, went to Rhinebeck for the Sheep and Wool Festival, visited friends in Portland, Maine, and even made it upstate for a few small weekend trips. Whew! Just typing all that out was a little exhausting.

I also began working in the pottery studio again after a very, very long break, which really feels good. Diving back in to this new/old medium has inspired me in some wonderful and unexpected ways... more on that very soon!

I also worked on a few new patterns for some upcoming publications, and if you keep up with my blog, you of course know about my Yarn Box collaboration designs, The Zea Hat and Mitts.

But what's kept me most busy is something really exciting-- the development of a new self-published knitwear collection. The process has been pretty much all-consuming, which is bad news for my blog, but when you see the new pieces I hope you'll forgive me for my egregious blogging delinquency!

Here is a tiny sneak peek—you'll have to wait a couple more weeks to see the real deal.

The collection is really starting to come together, so I've decided to release the patterns on my birthday, November 17. The collection features 5 new designs that I plan to release as an ebook and also as individual pattern PDFs. I might also release a limited edition of printed booklets, but it remains to be seen if that will pan out because I've had trouble nailing down a printer. This is all pretty new to me, so I'm a little unsure if there is even any interest in a printed book among all you tech-savy modern knitters. If you have an opinion, please let me know in the comments below :)

That's all for now. I just wanted to let you know about the exciting new things to come—stay tuned!

I have two fun new patterns up for sale in the shop today, the fabulous Zea Hat and Zea MItts. I created these designs in collaboration with Yarn Box, an interesting subscription service who sends their members a different kind of yarn every month. For each box that they put together, they commission an exclusive pattern from designers like myself.

Yarn Box paired me with a wonderful yarn company, Verdant Gryphon, who contributed their gorgeous Bugga! yarn. Bugga! (70% Merino, 20% Cashmere, 10% Nylon) is an absolute delight to knit with and the colors are particularly gorgeous. You should definitely check out their page, and have some fun reading through their color names. This color is called "Saturday Night". Some of my other favorites include, "The Downcast Donkey", "Speeding Through the Ruins" and "A Wistful Moment." It's clear that their having fun over there, and I like that.

When I first saw the yarn, the beautiful depth in color and soft sheen, I knew it would be a great compliment to this new hat design I had been kicking around. Here's my initial sketch:

Since the Yarn Box shipment would contain way more yarn than what is required for one hat, I also designed a matching set of fingerless mitts.

Both designs feature a fun popcorn stitch texture. The popcorn is made by working into the same stitch repeatedly to dramatically increase then immediately decreasing before moving to the next stitch. Of course instructions are detailed in the pattern, but in an effort to pull out all the stops, I also made a video to better illustrate the technique.

You can go to my Zea Hat page or Zea MItts page to see more information about each of the designs.

I'm absolutely in love with these new accessories, and I know I'll be wearing them all winter. I would love to hear what you think about them in the comments below. What color would you knit yours with?

I was absolutely delighted to see that my Chrysler Cardigan design is featured on the cover of the new Interweave Knits Summer 2015 magazine. It was a real challenge to design, but I could not be more proud of the result.

I began working on this cardigan last October on the eve of my big West Coast book tour. The editor of IK, Lisa Shroyer, reached out with a challenge: design a Cowichan style cardigan inspired by my hometown.

I'm an Oklahoman transplant to NYC, so I felt I could draw inspiration from either locale. I sent Lisa 3 design concepts and she thought my New York inspired Chrysler Cardigan idea would be the best fit. Here's my original sketch for the sweater.

The design is inspired by the ornate decorations of a gleaming architectural icon in New York City, but the story behind the cardigan is really about a hike I took on the opposite side of the country in California.

Just one week after Lisa reached out, I had my contract and a big bag of yarn. With only 6 weeks left to write the pattern and knit the sample, I was really eager to get started! I was about to embark on a month long road trip, and so excited to have a new design to keep my fingers occupied.

As you can see from my initial sketch, I planned out the design motifs pretty well before I began writing, so I naively thought the pattern would be a breeze. I also thought I would have a ton of time to knit on my book tour. I could not have been more wrong!

Of course I should have known this by now, but it turns out pattern writing is work—difficult, thought intensive, time consuming work. Knitting is something you can do on your vacation—pattern writing is something entirely different.

Finding time to work on the road turned out to be one of the biggest challenges in completing this design. Book promotion efforts took up most of my time, and the few moments left were spent planning our route for the next morning. I managed to squeeze in an hour of work here and there, but it was very slow going.

The technical aspects of this design took much, much more time than I anticipated. I became very frustrated, and even wondered if I had gotten in over my head. I spent weeks working out the math, starting over, and reworking the math.

It was that beautiful yoke that gave me all the trouble. I wanted to create a single chart that would work for every size, but would also be straightforward enough for any knitter to follow. I could easily figure it out for one size, but the math proved to be extremely difficult for a one-size-fits-all approach, because of course I also wanted to achieve a beautiful fit for everyone.

It was challenging, but I was determined. I remember it all came together in a sort of epiphany moment. I realized I might finally have a solution, furiously adjusted the figures in my spreadsheets, and jumped to my feet. Bingo! After weeks of frustrating, tedious pattern writing I could finally start knitting— just a couple weeks before my deadline, yikes!

I finally began knitting the sample as my husband drove our giant rented RV to Yosemite for a little break we planned into the middle of the book tour.

Yosemite is the most beautiful place I've ever been. It was wonderful to finally begin working in earnest on such a hard fought project in the majestic shadows of those giant granite cliffs. It was spectacular and humbling. Feeling so tiny in that monumental landscape, thinking about the millions of years it took to create those incredible formations, beholding the Milky Way in the absence of city lights, sitting around a fire all night with the person I love most in this world—all this put my teeny tiny problems into perspective.

Our trip to Yosemite was very emotional for me. It was definitely the pinnacle of our trip, but it also seemed to symbolize something more for me. Since 2012, every extra moment had been devoted to my book, especially leading up to the tour. It was a great crescendo of anxiety and sleepless nights—what if they don't accept my book proposal; what if I can't make the deadlines; what if the book doesn't sell; what if no one comes to my book signings; what if we crash the RV and fall off a cliff?!! My difficulties designing the Chrysler Cardigan seemed to accentuate my feelings of self-doubt and doom. Yosemite was my turning point.

There was one especially significant and poignant moment for me when we hiked to the top of Nevada Falls. It was a difficult hike, 8.5 miles with about 1900 feet in elevation gain (that's 2 Chrysler buildings tall). The last 300 feet or so were a real challenge for me—panting, it seemed like the air was thinning with every step up. It took hours to get up there, my legs were very tired and I knew it would take hours to get back down.

When we arrived at the top, we unpacked our peanut butter sandwiches and took in the incredible views. I sat there for a while, knitting on the hem of my Chrysler Cardigan, and felt extreme satisfaction. I looked out on the valley so, so far below and felt powerful, triumphant that it was my own two legs that brought me up there. Soaking up the sunshine and with the wind in my hair, the experience felt like a metaphor for the last 2 years of my life. Finally getting to work on my troublesome Chrysler Cardigan seemed like the most appropriate thing for me to do.

I could hardly walk for a couple of days after that hike, but I didn't regret even one step. My Chrysler Cardigan trials were no different. My experiences have made me stronger and smarter, and for that I am grateful.

I actually missed my deadline by 2 weeks—something I never dreamed I would do, but sometimes it just takes a little longer to do a thing right. And now, every time I look at my Chrysler design I beam with pride.

I hope you pick up a copy of the Summer 2015 issue of Interweave Knits and knit yourself a Chrysler Cardigan. And I hope you see all the care and love I poured into writing the pattern to make it an absolute delight to knit and wear.

For more information about the design, visit the pattern page here. And I'd love to hear what you think about it in the comments section below.

Apr 23, 2015

Do you ever wonder what lurks in the nightmares of a knitwear designer? The villain that haunts my dreams isn't a vampire or werewolf. No, this is a different kind of monster—silent, almost invisible, and completely harmless. It's the common clothes moth. I've battled this tiny but formidable foe, at times felt powerless, but eventually took my place atop the evolutionary ladder.

To commemorate my trials and triumphs and to perhaps help a few of my darling readers, I declare this last week in April Clothes Moth Awareness Week here at Knit Darling. Whoo hoo! So pull out all your woolens, and let's get down to business.

Why should I care about clothes moths?
Moths will eat your clothes, and that should scare you. Well probably not all your clothes, just the ones made from silk, feathers, and animal fibers (i.e. wool, alpaca, angora—all my favorites). They will also eat your yarn, which should be even more terrifying if you're a knitter.

Who is at risk for clothes moths?
Desert folk, mountain folk, city folk, and prairie folk alike—almost everyone except for sterile bubble folk are at risk for a moth infestation.

How can I protect my garments from moths?
Simple: keep them clean and store them in plastic. Personally, I love travel size Space Bags for accessories, and vinyl zippered bags for sweaters.

When the weather gets too warm for sweaters, it's time to take action. Carefully inspect any at risk items for signs of moth damage or eggs. If you suspect moths, wash or dry clean the items before storing them away. It also helps to keep your house really clean because hair and food crumbs can attract moths. Moth eggs are kind of like dry sand, and are easy to vacuum away.

How do I protect my yarn stash from moths?
Like garments, I recommend storing yarn in plastic gallon(ish) size bags. Smaller bags like this help organize your yarn collection, as well as quarantine an infestation that might have come with the yarn. Inspect every skein of yarn you buy for evidence of eggs or damage. Damaged yarn will be frayed in areas, and the eggs look kind of like cookie crumbs.

What do I do if I suspect my yarn stash has moth eggs?
A few years ago, while I was working on my book, I experienced a small moth infestation in one of my (many) decorative yarn baskets. This was especially horrifying because I had been spending every waking/non-day-job-working hour knitting samples for my book. At the time I wasn't really storing ALL my yarn in sealed containers, so I felt a little like moth eggs were covering every surface of my apartment—a moth time bomb in a decadent wooly smorgasbord. Whether or not this was actually the situation, is beside the point.

Of course I couldn't easily wash every skein of yarn, so I had to find an alternative. I did a ton of research, and learned that I needed to interrupt the moths' lifecycle. Unfortunately, Moth traps only catch adults. To really be effective I also had to kill the larvae and eggs, which can lay dormant for years. Here are some methods that I recommend:

1. The fastest, easiest solution is to bake the skeins in a warm oven—about 2 hours at 150º F. This is so low, that you don't even have to remove the yarn labels. Be warned, your house will smell like hot wool while you do this, so think twice before inviting your MIL over for lunch.

2. Similarly, if you live in the south and own a car, on a really hot day you can throw the yarn in the back seat to bake in the sun for a few hours.

3. Freeze the skeins for several days at 0º F, remove for one day, then freeze again for several days.

4. Vigorously shake and brush the skeins to destroy fragile larvae and eggs. Though, if you find larvae in your yarn, it's way too late. That yarn is pretty much garbage.

If this hasn't scared you enough, check out my Moth Facts graphic below, and share it with your friends! They will think you're really cool for doing this, trust me.

I wish these little creatures didn't scare me anymore, but they most certainly do. I literally have had nightmares about them—in the past week. Writing this post has been cathartic for me, but I also hope it will inspire you to take moth-preventing measures. There's almost nothing sadder than tossing skeins and skeins of beautiful yarn, or worse yet—a hand-knit sweater, into the garbage.

Do you have any great tips for managing these pesky creatures? Well that's just wonderful! Please share your wisdom in the comments section below.