Wednesday, April 12, 2017

MAKE MY WARDROBE: Phinney Ridge Cardigan

Me and Shannon Cook show off our newly-made Phinney Ridge Cardigans

My friend Shannon Cook and I are getting each other motivated to build our handmade wardrobes by having a casual sew along/knit along. The plan is to examine our wardrobes and figure out what’s missing, then make those pieces. Our focus will be on pieces that can complement the clothes we’ve already got (particularly our handmade stuff like those special hand knit sweaters!) so we can make some great outfits. We figure that the two of us will probably make the same sorts of things, though not always the same patterns and not always at the same pace. You all are welcome to join us! Just post on social media using the tags #makemywardrobe and #makemywardrobe2017! We’ll be blogging and sharing lots more in the coming weeks. 

With spring approaching, we’re going to start with some layering basics that can go with our hand knits. First up is Phinney Ridge by Straight Stitch Designs. It’s a basic buttoned cardigan with deep cuffs and a nice wide hem band. I’ll wear this under my hand knit wool cardigans on chilly days and evenings and as a light sweater on warmer spring days. I’ve been using long sleeved Merino tee shirts for this purpose, but I want a piece that’s more of a mid-layer that I can easily shed in the middle of the day. I like that it isn’t so tight that I’ll get it sweaty immediately while biking (tmi, sorry!), but that it’s fitted enough to work under a bigger sweater. I made mine out of some gray Merino jersey that was a gift from a friend. (Thanks, Jessie!) 

I sewed the smallest size (I've got a 31" bust, 26" waist, and 36" hip) without any alterations. (Shannon was smart & did a FBA for hers - read about her Phinney Ridge here.) I think it fits pretty well as a casual mid-layer, which is what I was going for, and I've been wearing it a whole lot since I made it. As you can see, the upper arms are pretty baggy, and the shoulder fit could be better. It's also much more snug around the hips than the rest of it, which is okay, but it does pull a bit when closed. I'm a complete baby beginner when it comes to fitting sewn projects, but I think I may try a small bust adjustment out the next time I sew a top. Phinney Ridge was designed for a B cup (such helpful info!) and I'm an A cup, so that could account for the less-than perfect shoulder fit. I'd love any tips on what could be done to improve the fit of the sleeves as well. I'm thinking they're a bit too long for me (though I completely love the deep doubled cuff, which you can see a bit better in other photos), there's too much fabric in the upper arm, and I think the armhole may be a bit deeper than I want. I wouldn't want it much smaller though because I don't want a completely fitted cardigan. Thoughts?

This will definitely go with a lot of outfits for me. I dress in layers because I'm often cold, but if I get excited, I get hot really quickly, so I need to have a lot of options for warmth in one outfit. I like that this can be worn over a tank (the Merino jersey is so smooth and comfortable), and that it also fits really well under a knit cardigan, vest, or just a big shawl. I definitely like it better unbuttoned. Here are a few outfits I'll wear it with:

Top Left: Halyard Cardigan with RTW jeans & self-drafted tank
Top Right: Camber Vest & Ume Shawl with RTW jeans & self-drafted tank
Bottom Left: self-drafted tank & Colette Mabel skirt
Bottom Right: Squam Confidential Shawl with self-drafted tank & Colette Mabel skirt

This was a really easy and fun project for me with a lot of great details like interfaced bands and deep cuffs and hem. The fit isn't perfect, but I know it's going to be a staple in my wardrobe anyway. Thanks to Shannon for taking all these photos and to Kimberly at Straight Stitch for sharing a Phinney Ridge coupon code! If you want to sew a Phinney Ridge, you can still get 20% off with the code WARDROBE20. Shannon and I would love to see your makes, so be sure to tag your photos #makemywardrobe and #makemywardrobe2017! And be sure to check out Shannon's post about her Phinney Ridge here.

Happy making!


Monday, March 6, 2017

Swatch a Week Roundup: 2

Have you been following my Swatch a Week project on Instagram? It's been great fun making all these swatches and I think it's time for another round-up. For a refresher about what the project is all about check out my first swatch round-up. I'm not going to be listing all of the swatches since I feel like that would be a bit of overload, but here are a few.


Yarn: Blue Sky Fibers Woolstok Worsted
Where I got it: Picked it up from a free yarn bin at Squam Art Retreat last year
Needles I used: US 6/4 mm
Blocked Gauge I got: 20 sts/30 rows = 4"/10 cm
What it's like: 100% worsted weight wool yarn that got two gently-twisted worsted spun plies. The color I got (Golden Meadow) is so vibrant and one of my favourite types of yellow/green. It's wooly, light, heathered, and soft, though not gooey soft like Merino. It seems like it would be hard-wearing and one that wooly wool lovers will adore.
What I might design with it: This swatch screams sweater to me. I think I'd love a relaxed-fitting pullover without much texture to let the heathered color do the talking.
Where you can get some: Check this list to see if your LYS stocks it or grab some online at Webs.


Yarn: A Verb for Keeping Warm Pioneer
Where I got it: Bought it at Verb while traveling in the States over Christmas
Needles I used: US 5/3.75 mm
Blocked Gauge I got: 19 sts/32 rows = 4"/10 cm
What it's like: 100% worsted weight organic wool yarn grown and milled in California. It's got a rustic, woolen spun feel and I encountered wonderful little bits of vegetable material as I was knitting, reminding me of the sheep this wool came from! (It was grown by Sally Fox and if you're not familiar with her, I encourage you to learn more about her farm!) It's buttery and lanolin-rich making a spongy, squishy, delightful wooly fabric. It definitely pills, but I just shave those right off, so it doesn't bother me.
What I might design with it: I knit a pair of Wild Feather Mitts out of this skein (from issue 2 of Making, an incredible little zine!), and I could really go for a cardigan from this stuff. I think it would be perfect for winter hikes. Quick note on my Wild Feather Mitts - they pilled a lot after a few weeks of wearing them. However, after I shaved them, they haven't been pilling since, so it seems like they got all their pilling done at once.
Where you can get some: The Verb for Keeping Warm website and brick & mortar shop both carry the yarn. It's a very magical place and I'm so delighted that I got to visit in person!


A post shared by Andrea Rangel (@andrearknits) on

Yarn: Amano Ayni
Where I got it: Sent to me by Amano to try out for possible future designs
Needles I used: US 3/3.25 mm
Blocked Gauge I got: 24 sts/37 rows = 4"/10 cm
What it's like: 3-ply sport weight baby alpaca (80%)/silk (20%) blend. This is one of those exceptionally soft yarns that drapes beautifully. It's loftier than I expected, and my stitches were clean and even though alpaca and silk don't have much bounce. It's got the slightest bit of a halo.
What I might design with it: After making this swatch, I designed a cowl and a hat with it. They're both coming through Amano yarns, so keep an eye out for them! I think I'll stick with accessories for this one because the drape really shines in lace and Stockinette, though knit up in garter stitch (particularly with the yarn held double), it's got an incredible level of soft squishiness.
Where you can get some: There are a bunch of online sources listed for this one on Ravelry, but check your LYS too. Amano is distributed by Berroco, so if your LYS carries Berroco, they may carry Amano yarns too.

A post shared by Andrea Rangel (@andrearknits) on

Yarn: Bumblebirch Vernacular 2016
Where I got it: Bought it at Knit Fit Seattle last year
Needles I used: US 3/3.25 mm
Blocked Gauge I got: 26 sts/42 rows = 4"/10 cm
What it's like: 3-ply fingering weigh Cormo/Merino blend wool. It's got a rustic tweedy thing going on and the fabric is so spongy and bouncy. As expected with that blend, it's super soft, though it seems like garments and accessories in this fabric would be right at home on the farm or on a hike.
What I might design with it: I just have the one skein and it's a very limited yarn, so I think I'll probably knit up a pair of Blueberry Paws Mitts to make the most of this precious skein.
Where you can get some: Since this was such a special, limited edition yarn, it's almost all sold out. You can still get the natural white color on the Bumblebirch website.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Cowichan Themed Sweater

I've been thinking about and planning this Cowichan-themed sweater for years. In 2013 I did some sample knitting for Sylvia Olsen (author of Working with Wool and Knitting Stories among many other books), and in return, she spun me a sweater quantity of yarn. It was so special, though, that I was too nervous to knit with it! I tried a sweater out and had gauge problems, so I set it aside. But last fall, my friend Kirsten suggested we do a little Cowichan-themed KAL so she could knit herself a Jane Richmond West Coast Cardigan and I could finally knit a sweater with this yarn.

I knew that I wanted to stick with geometric rather than organic forms (like animals), but I wanted to think about silhouette again to be sure I was making something that would fit into my wardrobe. So I did a few sketches and got some really great feedback on Instagram (thanks!) and decided to go with cropped oversized and drop shoulders, sort of a mix of the ones shown on the left and right below.

Sketching is a big challenge for me, so I often use my Fashionary notebook for garment design.

I did a spreadsheet and had a solid plan before casting on, but I also made a few changes during knitting. The first was because my initial idea of how much ease I'd need for my sleeve was a bit off. The fabric is pretty bulky, so with the slender sleeves I originally envisioned, I had a hard time bending at the elbow. I'm a big proponent of clothes a person can move in, so that wouldn't work for me. Adding a bit more ease solved the problem, though. 

The second thing that didn't initially work out was the collar. The first one was just too tiny. I didn't want a huge collar, but I did want one that would actually fold over, so I ripped and re-knit it.

Lots of zippers to choose from

I finished the knitting a couple months ago, but I had some trouble sourcing the right zipper. The first one I bought didn't actually separate at the bottom - important for a cardigan! And my usual online stores either didn't have quite what I was looking for, or charged $25 for shipping to Canada. In the end, Caitlin French over in Vancouver offered to grab a couple options from her neighbourhood fancy fabric store & send them to me! (The knitting community is really the best.) I got the perfect zipper - black with big silver teeth and sewed it in by hand. And my sweater is finally finished!

My hand-sewn zipper was basted, then sewn down with smaller stitches, then whip stitched to the inside selvedge stitch.

I'm so thrilled with the result! It's cozy and warm and fits exactly as I'd hoped. The short row shoulder shaping and relatively slender sleeves make it flattering even though it's oversized and it's a great top layer for the middle of winter.

I have to admit, I've found myself wishing it had pockets. Like most humans, I love pockets, but I left them off because the sweater is so cropped. In order to put my hands in pockets on this sweater I'd have to bend my elbows at a 90 degree angle. But now that I've worn it for a while, it may just be fine to have bent elbows and warm hands. That's the bomber jacket look anyway, right?

I do plan to publish this as a pattern eventually. It's important that I find a yarn that's commercially available, and maybe I'll put pockets in the finished pattern. I also expect that I'll make a few more Cowichan-inspired designs in different silhouettes because I love this one, but I want all the other shapes too!

Here's to 2017 as the year of finishing old works in progress. I hope you get some finishing done too!

P.S. Karen over at Fringe Association is talking about working up another Cowichan-inspired sweater. Check it out!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Swatch-a-week Project

I make knitting patterns for a living, so I have a lot of yarn. A good amount of it is set aside for particular projects, but I also have an ever-growing collection of single skeins that I want to try out with the idea that I could design with them someday. But as much as I love the idea of playing with new yarn, it turns out that it's hard to squeeze play into my pretty packed work schedule. So instead I've decided to just make it a part of my weekly routine with the swatch-a-week project. If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen my swatches so far, but I wanted to do a little round-up to talk about some of the yarns that I've tried and what I think of it all.

How the project works:
Each week I choose a yarn and make a big swatch with it. I measure and photograph it pre-blocking and post-blocking, and then take a short video of the fabric to share how it behaves at the gauge I knit it at.  (I didn't think to take videos of the first few swatches - sorry!) I also write down my needle size and gauge on the label and tie the label to my swatch so I have a starting-point if I decide I want to design with that yarn.

Where the yarn comes from:
Most of the yarn I use was given to me by the yarn company. Sometimes yarn shops will give me yarn and sometimes I do buy it. I only accept yarn I'm intrigued by, so if it seems like my reviews are super positive, it's possible I'm unconsciously biased because the yarn was given to me and I want to be nice to the yarn co, or it could be that I just know what I like in the first place.


Yarn: Noro Kureyon (left)
Where I got it: YarnCanada.ca sent it to me.
Needles I used: US 7/4.5 mm
Gauge I got: 16 sts/27 rows = 4"/10 cm
What it's like: This is a 100% wool worsted weight yarn that feel like a singles, but it's got two plies in there. It's very wooly in the best way and it has a dry, slightly toothy feel. I love a good crunchy wool yarn, so I'm definitely into it, though if you only like super-soft yarns, this one might not be for you. It floats more than drapes once it's knit up. And watching the colours change is so, so addictive. I really didn't want to bind off my swatch because I wanted to see that neon green knit up!
What I might design with it: I'd love leg warmers with it, but I know I'm a bigger fan of leg warmers that most people, so I think I'm more likely to do a hat. I'm really tempted to try colorwork with it, but I'd need just the right contrast colour to make it work. It isn't super soft, so I probably wouldn't do a cowl out of it, but thick mittens could be great.
Where you can get some: If you're in Canada, YarnCanada has a great selection of colours. It's also available at Webs and a whole lot of local yarn shops.

A video posted by Andrea Rangel (@andrearknits) on

Yarn: Spincycle Yarns Debauchery (top, second from the left)
Where I got it: Spincycle gave it to me at TNNA.
Needles I used: US 0/2 mm
Gauge I got: 38 sts/62 rows = 4"/10 cm
What it's like: Debauchery is a 100% BFL plied lace weight. It's light and floaty and wooly. I think I need to knit this up in a lace stitch pattern to truly see its potential because, while I liked it in the Stockinette, my swatch seemed a little sloppy. (I'm not great at knitting at such a tiny gauge.) The fabric is soft and exhibits one of my favourite combos of characteristics - delicate but rustic. 
What I might design with it: This would make a stunning lace shawl. I'm thinking a pi shawl or a huge rectangular wrap that would take a year to knit. Or this could be a gorgeous lightweight shrug or cardigan to wear with fancy dresses.
Where you can get some: Check out the Spincycle website.

Yarn: Amano Puyu (bottom right)
Where I got it: Amano Yarns sent it from Peru.
What it's like: This one is pretty unique and made with some modern technology. It's a super bulky silk/alpaca blend that's made by forcing alpaca into a silk cage with air pressure. It's shockingly soft with a very noticeable halo, and it's really light for silk/alpaca thanks to the construction method. The big stitches melt into each other thanks to the alpaca halo.
Needles I used: US 13/9 mm
Gauge I got: 10.5 sts/16 rows =4"/10 cm
What I might design with it: Because it's so incredibly soft, I want to wear this directly next to my skin - I'm thinking neck wear. I'd love to make it into a cowl or a big shawl. I think I'll avoid very interesting stitch patterns because the halo would probably just obscure anything more complicated than Stockinette or garter. Then again, I think I'd love the subtle cables I could create with this. That would be so incredibly lush!
Where you can get some: Try your local yarn shop or Webs.

A video posted by Andrea Rangel (@andrearknits) on

Yarn: Quince & Co. Sparrow (bottom, second from the left)
Where I got it: I bought it from Beehive Wool Shop in Victoria.
Needles I used: US 3/3 mm
Gauge I got: 25 sts/37 rows = 4"/10 cm
What it's like: Sparrow is a 100% Linen fingering weight yarn. It's smooth with a bit of crunchiness while knitting, and it feels surprisingly cool to knit with (like temperature). Plant fibre yarns that don't have any elasticity are often hard on the hands, but I was comfortable knitting with it. The fabric just drapes for days. It definitely softened up a lot with washing.
What I might design with it: I'd love to have a generous summer wrap, camisole, or dressy cardigan and I really want to try this out in a few different lace patterns.
Where you can get some: Quince & Co. website

Yarn: YOTH Father (top right)
Where I got it: I bought it at Knit Fit in Seattle.
Needles I used: US 7/4.5 mm
Gauge I got: 16 sts/24 rows = 4"/10 cm
What it's like: Father is a 100% Rambouillet, plied worsted weight. It's a really middle-of-the-road yarn in that it's very soft, but also wooly. It's got a lot of bounce, but it's also pretty buttery. It doesn't have a ton of drape, but it does have a lovely weight to it. The colour is really matte with a subtle semi-solid thing. It's on the heavier 
What I might design with it: I actually had a plan for this particular yarn and bought a sweater quantity of it so I could make myself a Valley Trail Pullover. (My contrast colour is Blue Raspberry.) I didn't follow my usual swatch-a-week procedure with this one in that I made a sleeve-as-swatch for an actual project rather than just a rectangular swatch, but I feel okay about bending the rules a bit. I have no doubt this is going to be a very wearable sweater, but I'd also love this in a big, 2-color crescent-shaped shawl that I'd wear wrapped like a mega-scarf.
Where you can get some: YOTH website

Yarn: Brooklyn Tweed Arbor (top middle)
Where I got it: Brooklyn Tweed sent it.
Needles I used: US 4/3.5 mm
Gauge I got: 21.5 sts/36 rows = 4"/10 cm
What it's like: Arbor is Brooklyn Tweed's latest yarn and it's really different from the rest of their line. It's a worsted spun, smooth, plied DK Targhee wool. It's a super clean, matte yarn that felt effortless to knit with. The fabric was surprisingly dry and light and even though the construction is so different from other BT yarns, it actually fits right in with them. Like the rest of the line, Arbor is grown and manufactured in the US.
What I might design with it: I feel like this one could be anything. I've seen it knit up in cables and the stitch definition is stunning. I think this would make a perfect mid-weight sweater and a gorgeous lace wrap. It leans more toward elegant than rustic, so I'm not going to let go of my Loft and Shelter (since you know I love the rustic), but so far I'm a big fan of this new addition.
Where you can get some: Brooklyn Tweed website

A video posted by Andrea Rangel (@andrearknits) on

Yarn: Fibre Company Arranmore (bottom middle)
Where I got it: Kelbourne Woolens sent it.
Needles I used: US 7/4.5 mm
Gauge I got: 16.5 sts/29 rows = 4"/10 cm
What it's like: Arranmore is a tweedy aran weight Merino/silk/cashmere blend with a ton of gorgeous texture. Like the other Fibre Co. yarns, it's got amazing colour depth and richness and as you would expect from the fibre content, it's incredibly soft. My husband saw the skein and said it was the coolest yarn he'd ever seen. My skein was the colour Cronan.
What I might design with it: An oversized cable-y sweater would be amazing! I'd also love a good winter hat, and even though the yarn itself is so textured, it's calling to me to add more texture - knit/purl patterns, cables - anything with a bit of a 3-D feel.
Where you can get some: Try your LYS or Webs.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Rugged Knits Pattern Highlight: Cedar Bough

Cedar Bough is the last of my pattern highlights for Rugged Knits! I had a concept for this shawl long before I actually designed it and this is one of those that required a huge amount of swatching to figure out exactly how I wanted to achieve those geometric lines. In the end I settled on twisted stitches that are slipped on the wrong side, and the result is exactly what I hoped for. This is one of the pieces that I'm wearing the most from this collection. It's got a generous wingspan and looks great worn scarf-style, which is my favourite way to show off my shawls.

- This shallow triangle shawl is worked side-to-side using increases and decreases to create the shape.

- The lace edging is worked at the same time as the body of the shawl.
- A clean I-cord edging is applied to the top after completing the rest of the shawl for a neat finish.
- The twisted slip stitch pattern creates a dense, hard-wearing fabric.

- The shawl has a generous 71 in/180.5 cm wingspan, so it can be wrapped around a bunch or draped for elegant warmth.

I picked Quince and Co. Tern, a fingering weight silk/wool blend with a tight twist and a bunch of plies. Not only is the stitch definition amazingly crisp, but the silk adds a tiny bit of shine that makes the surface design pop even more.

- To get the full effect, choose a tightly-twisted plied yarn with a bit of something shiny in it like silk, cotton, or even mohair if you want a little halo.
- A good, sturdy hand dyed sock yarn could be lovely if you want a bit of a watercolour effect.
- Sincere Sheep Agleam could be a lovey choice - it's a Tencel/Merino blend.

This one is all about the surface design. It isn't exactly a detail, more the main event, but I love those geometric lines.

Because the fabric is so dense, this takes a bit more yarn and time than you might think looking at the photos, but it's worth it in the end!

Be sure to use the hashtags #RuggedKnits#CedarBoughShawl, and #AndreaRangelKnits when you post pics of your Cedar Bough shawl!


Finished Measurements

71” (180.5 cm) wide and 243⁄4” (63 cm) long

1215 yd (1111 m) fingering weight (#1 Super Fine).

Shown here: Quince & Co. Tern (75% American wool, 25% silk; 221 yd 202 m/50 g): color #404 Seaweed, 6 skeins.


Size U.S. 5 (3.75 mm): 32” (80 cm) long circular (cir). 
Size U.S. 4 (3.5 mm) pair of double-pointed (dpn) for I-cord edging. 
Adjust needle size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge.

Markers (m); tapestry needle; blocking wires.


28 sts and 35 rows = 4” (10 cm) over Twisted Sts patt (Charts 1–8) using larger needles, blocked.

See it on Ravelry

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Rugged Knits Pattern Highlight: Bright River

Bright River is one of those sweaters that can really easily be dressed up or down. I wore it with jeans over a Merino base layer last week, but I think it would be perfect with a skirt for a Christmas party. It's so incredibly soft and shimmery, and it's perfectly warm. I wanted a pullover that was elegant, but cozy, and I think this fits the bill perfectly.

- It's worked bottom-up seamlessly. The little sleeves are worked and then joined with the yoke for raglan shaping. After completing the yoke, stitches are picked up for that gorgeous, draping cowl.

- The cowl is shaped using progressively larger needle sizes.
- Waist shaping and an engaging Cartridge Belt Rib stitch pattern create a flattering fit.

- This sweater hugs curves and it's designed to be worn with zero-2 inches of negative ease. Pick a size that's smaller than what you'd usually go with.

The yarn I used is so glorious and I was so delighted to get to work with it. It's Fibre Co. Terra, a singles blend of wool, alpaca, and silk, and it has these gorgeous little silk nubs that are in different colours and add texture, beauty, and the sweetest glow to the fabric. This yarn is so unique that any substitution is likely to look really different, but it can, of course, be done.

- Pick a worsted weight yarn with wool to help keep its shape, but including something shiny and slippery in there would be lovely too. 
- I'd love to see this in something very different like Quince and Co. Owl, a tweedy alpaca/wool blend.
- As I'm sitting here wearing a lush sweater in Malabrigo Worsted, I have to recommend that one too. It's an extremely soft and squishy singles Merino that I think would be lovely.

The super soft cowl neck is really divine to wear.

I recommend choosing a yarn with at least some wool in it. The stitch pattern can be helpful in adding a little resilience, but the sweater is seamless, so it can use a little help from a bouncy fibre too.

Be sure to use the hashtags #RuggedKnits#BrightRiverSweater, and #AndreaRangelKnits when you post pics of your Wrapup Hoodie projects!


Finished Measurements

271⁄4 (311⁄4, 351⁄4, 391⁄4, 421⁄2, 461⁄2)” (69 79.5, 89.5, 99.5, 108, 118) cm bust circumference and 253⁄4 (261⁄2, 27, 273⁄4, 283⁄4, 291⁄4)” (65.5 67.5, 68.5, 70.5, 73, 74.5 cm) long.

Shown in size 311⁄4” (79.5) cm. 
Intended to be worn with 0–2” (0–5 cm) of negative ease.

843 (939, 1113, 1250, 1442, 1617) yd (771 858, 1017, 1143, 1318, 1478 m) Aran weight (#4 medium).

Shown here: The Fibre Company Terra (40% baby alpaca, 40% merino wool, 20% silk; 98 yd 89 m/50 g): color Olive Leaf, 9 (10, 12, 13, 15, 17) skeins


Size U.S. 7 (4.5 mm) 16” and 24” (40 and 60 cm) circular (cir) and set of 4 or 5 double- pointed (dpn). 
Size U.S. 8 (5 mm) 24” (60 cm) circular (cir). 
Size U.S. 9 (5.5 mm) 24” (60 cm) circular (cir). 
Adjust needle sizes if necessary to obtain the correct gauge.

Markers (m); stitch holders or waste yarn; tapestry needle.


20 sts and 30 rnds = 4” (10 cm) over Cartridge Belt Rib using smallest needle.

See it on Ravelry

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Indie Design Gift Along 2016

Happy Thanksgiving to all my U.S. friends! I hope your day is full of good food and loved ones. I'm going to celebrate tomorrow with family coming up to Victoria from Seattle, but for today I'm working and thinking of how grateful I am for knitters and my designer colleagues. This community is something I couldn't have dreamed up. Not only do I get to interact with kind and enthusiastic knitters who use my patterns and attend my workshops, but I'm also among professionals who value collaboration and support. I'm so thankful for the encouragement and advice that has been given to me freely since I was a brand new designer. 

That spirit of mutual support is a big bright light to me, and the Indie Design Gift Along is an amazing example of it. If you're not familiar with the GAL, it's an enormous group sale (335 designers are participating!) and online knitting party. Participating designers are offering 25% off a specially-selected group of their indie patterns for one week. The idea is that these patterns are great for gift knitting, but you might just knit yourself a gift too! The sale is on now (use the code giftalong2016 to get your discount), and goes through November 30. But it isn't just the sale that's fun! There are also a huge number of Knit Alongs happening in the group and there will be so, so many prizes.

My sale bundle includes 16 of my most popular patterns (you can see a few of them above) and you can check out the whole bundle here. I'm hoping to get a little gift knitting in myself, and to make the experience a little more relaxing, I'm planning to knit from friends' patterns rather than designing my own. Part of the goal of the GAL is to allow designers to promote each other, so here are the patterns I'm hoping to knit and gift.

© K Good Photography
I tried this hat on at the local Victoria launch party for Within, a new book from Shannon Cook and Jane Richmond, and it had just the perfect amount of slouch and texture. I may leave off the pom pom, but I feel like it'll be a really fun and fast knit. It's called Tread and it's by Shannon Cook, and lucky us, the pattern is in her GAL bundle! (Though I'll admit, I do already have the book in print. It's gorgeous. Go look!) While I haven't knit it yet, I have had a good look over the pattern and it seems really straightforward, with lots of gorgeous images, three sizes, helpful hints, and links to additional resources. I also love a good, clean layout and it really delivers!

© Stephannie Tallent

The other pattern I'd like to knit up is the Cayucos Shawl by Stephannie Tallent. I just love the texture in the body of the shawl and that cabled/lace edging looks so fun (and gorgeous!) I also had a good look at this pattern, and I was so impressed! The pattern includes instructions for three gauges (lace, DK, and worsted), a single-color and two-color versions, and the texture and lace instructions are given in charted and written instructions. The pattern has all these great extra helpful things too, like a special chart and written instructions for swatching, tips for using up whatever quantity of yarn you've got on hand, and a clear description of how the construction works. I'm thinking I'll do mine in a woolly neutral.

I hope you'll be participating in the GAL too! Here are some links to get you started:
- Gift Along Ravelry Group
- Participating Designers Thread
- My GAL bundle 

Don't forget to use the code giftalong2016 to get the 25% discount and please post in the KAL/CAL forum threads, and use the hashtag #giftalong2016 for your social media posts. 

Happy gifting!

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