Chiagu Blog

New Pattern Announcement: Pixel!

Posted on August 10, 2012 | 0 Comments

Today I'm ecstatic to tell you that I have a new design out and it's in Twist Collective! Please meet Pixel, my new trapper hat and mittens pattern done in stranded colorwork. I've been on a total colorwork kick lately and this set is one of my absolute favorites so far!

Not only is it super exciting to have a pattern accepted into Twist, but this little baby made the cover. Such an honor! Here's the beautiful cover photo:

Lovely, isn't it? The amazing Carrie Bostick Hoge was the photographer for this section of the magazine, and she did a simply beautiful job.

Want to hear more about the pattern? Read on after the jump!

This pattern actually started its life as a completely different mitten-and-hat idea, inspired by some Spanish tile I had seen and wanted to translate into stranded colorwork. After many unahppy swatches, I gave up on translating that idea into reality and instead switched to my current obsession, which is playing with traditional patterns by blowing them way up and leaving them pixelated. I worked out this blown up argyle and decided to keep playing with traditional elements by combining them in unusual ways.

I came up with the mittens first, as they're one of my favorite items to design. Here's a picture I took of them before mailing them out:

As you can see from the picture, there are actually two colorwork patterns here, the offset argyle that makes up the hand and the checkerboard that is the cuff and thumb. While finishing those thumbs I got really obsessed with the elongated checkerboard and may have started a new design featuring that . . . but that's a post for another day.

Continuing the theme of playfully mixing up tradition, I added red accents that evoke super traditional netherlands-style colorwork, but I did it in an unusual fashion: a crochet edge and some duplicate stitch. I love that the red accents make the mittens playful and cheeky rather than serious (or even boring).

The mittens came together in no time and while I did end up knitting 3 of them (my stranding sucked on the first one and was simply not photography-worthy) they were a dream to work out. The hat, on the other hand . . . not so much.

Initially I had thought to do mittens and a scarf, but decided that this graphic pattern would be too overwhelming to wear both at the same time. So a hat seemed like the obvious choice, but what kind of hat? I didn't want anything too traditional but I also wanted to make something I would wear (because Twist does return the samples to the designers when they're done with them!) and I don't look good in many hats . . . and I also wanted the hat to be "interesting," not just a plain skullcap shape.

After going through the above process I thought I would maybe do a chullo-style hat, but I wasn't totally convinced. And what's worse, I didn't think it was unusual/original enough with the colorwork. I wanted something more fun and funky!

What I usually do in these situations is browse higher-fashion sites to see what the big designers are doing. In this case, I went to net-a-porter and looked at non-knitted hats and stumbled on a trapper hat. I never wear the real thing because I think they're too bulky for my already-huge head, but in a thin knitted fabric? That had promise, and I had never seen it done before in colorwork!

It took a lot of trial and error to figure out a simple construction that I could easily explain in words, but I'm very happy with the end result. I'm particularly proud of the fact that the argyle repeats so smoothly even as you start decreasing the crown! It's one of my pet peeves when the top of a hat doesn't look as good as the main section, so I knew I was going to work extra-hard to make that section work out well in this pattern.

And the best thing about the hat? It fits great!

But don't worry, I've included "normal people" head sizes in the pattern, too. The sample is the 21" size to fit my 22.5" head, but the pattern also has sizes for 17" and 19" finished hats, which will fit teens and regular-sized adults too. And the colorwork is pixel-perfect on those sizes too!

To purchase the pattern, click here to go to the Twist site where you can check out with PayPal or a credit card. The pattern includes the mittens (in 3 sizes) and the hat (also in 3 sizes), and is priced at $6.00.

So, do you like the Pixel set? Please let me know in the comments!

PS - In case you want to favorite or queue it on Ravelry, here's a link directly to the pattern page!



Posted in knitting, knitting patterns

Settling in and a new pattern is coming

Posted on June 25, 2012 | 0 Comments

As of a week ago, I'm all moved into my new place! Here's what my room looked like before the movers brought the furniture in:

As you can see it's pretty big (it's about the size of my entire old studio apartment!) and gets good light, although the view leaves a lot to be desired:

Yep, my window looks straight onto the Brooklyn Bridge. And as a bonus, it's under heavy construction right now. This wouldn't be that bad except for the fact that most of the construction is done at night, which means that around 9:30pm every night I start hearing CLANG CLANG CLANG as the workers load their stuff into the pickup to start the evening's work. Needless to say earplugs have quickly been procured and put to use.

As I've unpacked I've been working on getting stuff organized so that I can get some of my backlog of patterns released. If all goes according to plan (I know, ha ha right?), I should have a shawl pattern ready for you this week or next. Here's a sneak peek:

I've named her Loida and she's done in Sandra Singh Laceweight which is a really lovely yarn. The pattern is beginner-appropriate lace and I've written it out in a wordy, beginner-friendly style as well as a "standard" style, so you can pick which version of the instructions you want to work with.

Knitalong, anyone?

I'm thinking about hosting a knitalong for this pattern so that anyone who wants to learn to knit lace with it will have a place to chat and ask questions and stuff. Please let me know in the comments if you'd be interested in that!

Posted in knitting, knitting patterns

Quilting my knitting . . . .

Posted on May 25, 2012 | 0 Comments

I'm guessing many of you will be completely NOT surprised to hear that I've started experimenting with combining knitting and quilting. The seamed swatch above is my proof of concept that the idea is possible, and will work . . . oh the possibilities!

What I did was use fusible interfacing on a tightly-knit swatch of Madelinetosh Merino Light, and sewed it to a regular old scrap of plain quilting cotton, the same way I would piece two pieces of cotton together. And it worked perfectly! And doesn't look messy!

Want to see the wrong side? Of course you do. Here it is:

Pretty sweet huh?

I'm hanging this test up on the wall as motivation to get some other stuff finished and off my plate so that I can dive in and play with this new idea! Here's hoping I don't start 3 more projects until I finish some things . . .


Posted in knitting, quilting

Too much going on

Posted on May 20, 2012 | 0 Comments

I just wrote and erased a whole post full of me whining and complaining about having too much to do and being behind and overwhelmed . . . and then realized that almost everything I have to do is stuff I really really want to be doing and I shouldn't be complaining!

Ever since I quit my "real job" and went out on my own I've been swamped, true, but I was swamped before and miserable for a large part of every weekday. Now I'm swamped because of my own projects and things I really want to be doing! I really shouldn't be complaining, even if I am exhausted ;o)

I think I'm starting to catch up with everything and hopefully next week you'll see some of the fruits of my labor the last few weeks . . . I will definitely have one new (free, and small!) pattern for you and hopefully a second one, too. I also am nearly finished with my first-ever quilt design (I know, I know, I'm nuts) and am about to launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for Quiltfolio . . .

And because everyone knows you can't have a blog post without a picture, here's how much I've knit on my new sweater design in the Madelinetosh Sport I showed you in the last post:

I absolutely love it. Knitting gorgeous handpainted yarn in the round with cables might be the ultimate knitting experience for me. A great reminder of why I started designing in the first place!

Posted in knitting


Posted on May 02, 2012 | 0 Comments

It's amazing how losing a week to moving has made me fall so behind on everything. As of Monday I'm done moving things back and forth and now have a storage space literally full of yarn and fabric to visit every few days (will take a picture to show you later today). I miss my stash but it's also really nice to be able to have some visual space at home! My old apartment pretty much looked like a hoarder's . . .

Right now I have a few pressing deadlines I have to meet and it's stressing me out. The first one I absolutely cannot blow is for a design that got accepted into a major knit publication (can't tell you which one yet) and is due in about a week. I need to get it done and in the mail ASAP, so absolutely all "free" time will be devoted to this project and the sewing machine will stay put away so I don't have that distraction. But I know I can't knit for that many hours without injuring my hands, so I'm also working on the club.

There are so many steps to plan and coordinate to do a club!

Today I am starting to make the Koigu Minis, once I nail down the colorway that is. I'm pretty sure I know what direction I'm going to go in after a chat with some coworkers yesterday at the quilt store (did you know that most quilters also knit? It's awesome!), but when I get to the storage space and actually pull out the skeins I might change my mind. I have to really look at the colors together in daylight to be sure they're what I want them to be!

As I was working out the logistics of the club I got to wishing that I didn't have to waste so much material to ship to each person . . . and then I remembered the biodegradable shipping envelopes that Spoonflower uses and which I'd been so impressed by on my first order:

A package of these EcoEnclosure envelopes is on its way to me (well, to the storage unit) as we speak! Knowing that the envelope will completely biodegrade even if not thrown out properly makes me feel way better about putting that many shipments in the mail.

In addition to all the above, Knitty City just told me they need more Koigu kits so I need to make a trip up there to drop some off this week . . .

But just in case I find a few free minutes, I got the new issue of Quilt Sampler to flip through:

I kind of want to make that cover quilt. BAD. If only Quiltfolio were finished already and I could add it to my to-do list, sometimes just doing that satisfies the need to start a new project! I know you all know what I mean by that ;o)

Off to crank out some secret knitting! Hope you're feeling less frazzled than I am on this Wednesday morning!

Posted in knitting, Koigu, My life

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