Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book Preview - Briquette

You may be familiar with one of my very first patterns, Tweedy Scholar Scarf.  I named it after a fellow with a beard who had a very academic look about him.  I later learned he was not a university professor, but a former boxer, so maybe it would have been more appropriate to call it the Tweedy Fighter.  For completely unrelated reasons, though, I'm updating the scarf for my upcoming book with a new look and a new name.  

Photo © Kathy Cadigan 2012

I'm calling it Briquette and in its new format it will still be free through December 31, 2012.  Starting January 1, though, it will be $6 so download it now.  The pattern is easy to memorize and to customize and would make a lovely gift for men or women.  

Photo © Kathy Cadigan 2012

Briquette is worked in Hazel Knits DK Lively, which is a very bouncy DK weight sock yarn.  Its tightly twisted three-ply structure creates gorgeous stitch definition, and the merino nylon fiber content makes it soft and durable.  The color is Equinox and I believe it speaks for itself, as is true of all Hazel Knits colors.  

Photo © Kathy Cadigan 2012

Our location for this photo shoot was downtown Seattle, so we had quite a few passersby curious about what we were up to.  The human who was accompanying this lovely dog insisted that he would make a much better model than any of the fellows I had on hand.  We all decided that we wouldn't be offended considering he was extremely beautiful.  We couldn't say no to the offer to include him in a photo, though I decided against letting him wear any of the garments.  

Photo © Kathy Cadigan 2012

I chose this design as a preview for my upcoming book because it's a solid representation of what the book is about - practical, distinguished designs that men will want to knit and wear.  All of the patterns are elegantly functional with thoughtful knitterly details.  

The book will be available for pre-order starting in early January.  Subscribe to my mailing list to make sure you get updates.  

Finished Measurements
Length: 82 in/208 cm
Width: 5.75 in/14.4 cm

440 yd/402 m DK weight yarn
Shown in Hazel Knits DK Lively (90% Merino, 10% Nylon); color Equinox; 2 skeins

22 sts/28 rows = 4 in/10 cm in Boxes Stitch Pattern

Needles & Notions
*Needle sizes are recommendations only.  Always use needle size necessary to obtain gauge.
US #8/5 mm needle
tapestry needle

cast on, knit, purl, knit through the back loop, purl through the back loop, bind off, follow written or charted stitch pattern instructions

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tzouhalem Spinners & Weavers Guild

I've had some great opportunities to meet local creative types here on the island since I moved here, and I've been looking forward to attending a meeting of the Tzouhalem Spinners and Weavers Guild in Duncan, just north of Cowichan Bay.  Today I got my chance, and I can say that I definitely plan to join up and go again soon.  Today's meeting included a presentation by Natalie Bannister, an English teacher who spent 2 years in Bhutan.  She brought with her a stunning array of woven fabrics, belts, and even a basket that she referred to as "Bhutanese Tupperware."

The most fun part of the afternoon was watching Natalie encase a volunteer in full Bhutanese dress so we could see how it was done. All of the fabrics were stunning and I loved hearing the weavers discuss technique.  I had no idea what they were talking about, but they were clearly impressed.

And the finished product:

All of the members extended a warm welcome to me, and I even got to see Megan Goodacre's latest sweater, Cultivar in person because her mom was there wearing it!  It's a beautiful cardigan with some surprising and lovely details.  

Have you had any exciting guests come through your local fiber guild?  What stunning things have they brought along?

I want to remind you all too that my Eple Knit Along is still going!  It's on until December 31 and if you participate you could win a free pattern and a skein of Hazel Knits Artisan Sock!  See the Ravelry forum for more details.

Eple Socks

Thursday, November 22, 2012

20% Off Sale!

Save 20% on all Andrea Rangel Knits independently published pattern downloads and ebooks!

Sale is Thursday, November 22 through Monday, November 26.  

Get your holiday gift knitting going or pick up that pattern you've been wanting to knit for yourself.  

Visit the Patterns page on my website or my Ravelry store for qualifying designs.

And don't forget - on Friday I'll be drawing a random name from my mailing list to win a free pattern, so subscribe soon.

Happy Thanksgiving & happy knitting!

I've drawn a winner!  Congratulations Polly!  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Book (is coming)

For about a year I've been working on patterns for this book, and now it is getting very close to the finish line.  As usual, I took on the project in part because it was a challenge - make a book full of patterns that men will want to knit for themselves.  Or, if they're so unfortunate that they haven't yet learned how to knit, they'll beg their knitter friends to knit these designs for them.  That was my goal, and when I finally publish the book this coming January, I'll find out if I succeeded.   Perhaps naming all mankind as my target audience is a little bit ambitious, but I like to be bold.

Just to give a little taste, here are a couple of pictures from the photo shoot we did a few weeks ago in Seattle.  I spent a day scouting for locations downtown so we could find the perfect spot, and it reminded my why I love Seattle.  The city is stunning, especially in the fall.  

This was the first shoot that I've directed myself and I have to give a huge thank you to my excellent models, and my incredible photographer, Kathy Cadigan.

serious conferring on background and pose
© Jon Keto

This is me directing the photo shoot.  And again, I talk with my hands.
Photo © Kathy Cadigan

And here's the mysterious and beautiful folded view of two of the designs:

Yarn support for this collection was provided in part by delicious Brooklyn Tweed.
That's Shelter there.
Photo © Kathy Cadigan

If you want to make sure you learn about book updates and other Andrea Rangel Knits news subscribe to my mailing list.  This Friday (Nov. 23, the day after Thanksgiving) I'm going to pick a random name from the list and give away a free pattern so sign up soon for your chance to win!  

What men's knits are you working on?  And fellas, what kind of patterns do you wish there were more of?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Elements of Hand Knitting Design

I was really fortunate to teach a class at the inaugural Knit Fit a few weeks ago.  You may remember this stack of swatches that I posted a few months ago in preparation for the class.

Well, I made a whole lot more swatches after I photographed that stack, and we had a lot of fun touching and squishing and measuring and stretching and staring at them.  The class was about how to design with a strong focus on fabric creation and combining fiber, yarn construction, stitch pattern, and color to achieve the desired results.   

My favorite part of the class was watching students as they observed and compared swatches.  The longer we were at it, the more closely they looked, and when the first student started pulling apart the end of the yarn to check the number of plies it had, I knew I was doing my job.  

This activity was a team effort in which groups of students had to identify the yarn, fiber content, construction, and gauge of the swatches.  It was challenging, but I loved watching them work together and combine their fiber-y knowledge.  When I was planning this game, I pictured a sort of rowdy, loud room in which students were running around and stealing each other's swatches.  But, my students were much more civil and secretive!  There were prizes for the fastest team, so voices were kept low to keep the other teams out of it.  

Aside from exercising their powers of observation, students also planned a design for a scarf and got a head start on it in class.  I feel very grateful to have had such a strong, insightful, and thoughtful group.  Thanks, knitters!  Please let us know if you have progress to report on the design we planned in class or any others.  I'd love to see what you're working on!

If you took classes at Knit Fit, what were they?  Share what you learned and what you hope for next year!

I also have to give another shout out to Hannah and Sasa, the Knit Fit organizers.  They did an amazing job keeping the whole event humming.  

I'm currently accepting testers for several patterns that will be in an upcoming book.  If you're interested in testing, please head over to the Free Pattern Testers forum on Ravelry to take a look.

Color Work Sweater (Dude knitters, I'm looking at you - if you actually accomplished that feat, this sweater will be a piece of cake.)

Color Work Hat

Zipped Cardigan

Textured Socks

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Last night I was working hard to finalize the layout for a men's color work cardigan when I was surprised by the latest issue of Twist Collective going live.  I found this out by seeing a photo of my mittens, Scribe, pop up on my Ravelry page.  It's a funny feeling when you see something you spent so much time with appear fully formed before your eyes, especially when you finished that work months and months ago.  It's a strange sort of deja vu in which the memory has been intensely enhanced by the skills of stylist, model, and photographer.  Thank you Twist Collective Team for showing my mittens in such a lovely light.

Photo © Jane Heller 
These mittens started with the idea that I wanted really warm mittens for winter, especially if there's snowy weather.  I love the concept of lined wool mittens because a liner adds an extra pocket of air between the hands and the outside where even more warm air can get trapped and keep you toasty.  The double layer and dense gauge means that these are water and wind resistant too.  

Photo © Jane Heller 

The mittens are constructed by using a provisional cast and working the liner mitt first.  Before working the outer mitten from the provisional cast on stitches, the liner is turned inside out because, as I found out through trial and error, at this dense gauge it's a lot more comfortable to have the purl side next to the fingers.  When I was trying on earlier versions, it seemed like I could feel the decreases at the top of the hand with the knit side in, which bugged me.  This way, it's all smooth.  

It's not super obvious in the photos, but these mittens also include a cord to hang them around your neck when they're not being worn.  I'm terrible about losing just one mitten and this was my solution.  It also allows me to take them off to do a task without having to figure out where to put them down. 

Photo © Jane Heller
As a teenager I owned those very boots: 10-eye oxblood Docs.  Sometimes I still think about them and miss them, so to see them so perfectly styled with my mittens warms the punk rock part of my heart.  

Photo © Jane Heller

Both mittens are worked the same in worsted weight wool so you don't have to worry about which is which, and the knitting goes quickly even with the lovely color work.

I encourage you to check out the rest of this issue of Twist Collective - it really is a stunner.  

You can see these mittens in the magazine and on Ravelry.  I can't wait to see the color combinations knitters come up with.

Photo © Jane Heller

Monday, November 12, 2012

Working With Wool

I'm finally back from Seattle and just starting to head back into the usual swing of things.  Knit Fit was a really incredible experience and I'm already looking forward to next year.  The whole event was kicked off with a talk, slide show, and display of sweaters brought to us by Sylvia Olsen, author of Working With Wool: A Coast Salish Legacy and the Cowichan Sweater, among many other books.  Thank you Sasa and Hannah for bringing us such an excellent speaker!

I was especially honored to be asked to introduce Sylvia.  And as you can see, I was pretty excited, and I talk with my hands.

In the first row, Cirilia Rose and Ann Weaver were sitting next to me as enraptured as I was.  I adore a room full of knitters and sweaters!  I was seriously in love with Ann's sweater, The Line, as well.  It's from her latest book, White Whale Volume 2.  The photos don't do justice to the vibrant shades of yellow and yellow-green by Dragonfly Fibers.  Kits for the sweater are even available, and I feel a serious need to get me one.

Sylvia talked about the history of Coast Salish knitters and the people who have worn the beautiful sweaters they made.  She finished her presentation by discussing the current trends, including Cowichan knitting in the media.  Of course it was great fun to hear her talk about The Big Lebowski.

It was the perfect start to a fantastic weekend.  Thanks again, Sylvia, Hannah, and Sasa!  My next entry will be about my class at Knit Fit.  

What was your favorite part of Knit Fit?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

True Grain

I've been having an amazing and overwhelming experience here in Seattle for Knit Fit.  The event was so seamlessly organized - I have to give a huge shout-out to Sasa and Hannah who put the whole thing together.  I also got the chance to do a photo shoot with three wonderful models (thanks Joe, Joseph, and Jon!) and the very talented photographer, Kathy Cadigan.  Once I'm home and can get my photos uploaded, I'll share lots more about the event and the upcoming book with you, but for now, I give you pictures of food.

In case I haven't already convinced you to come visit me up north, here are a few images of the bakery that brought us here, True Grain Bread.  The bicycles are outside, but the delicious-ness is inside.

You can get locally-made jam.  

And freshly-milled flour and oatmeal and granola.

And of course, amazing bread and pastries.  

And now I'm hungry.

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