Exciting New Things…

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Some pretty exciting things have been transpiring in my knitting/designing life lately. I apologize for not being more consistent in my writing. I am making it a priority to keep the blog updated more regularly.

I am currently working 3 days a week for Shibui Knits on the design team, designing, engineering, writing patterns, knitting samples, etc. Can you say “dream come true”??? I love everything about it and especially the amazing, creative people I work with. What a team!

Since a lot of what I am currently working on won’t be released for several months, (I’m currently working on designs for Spring/Summer 2015) I can’t give you a lot of detail on current creations, but there are a lot of other things I CAN share.

There are new yarns and new exciting patterns coming out soon and I will elaborate more on them in the near future. If you’re able to make it to TNNA in early May, be sure to stop by the Shibui Knits booth. Our new yarn will knock your socks off!

In the process of creating new designs, I’m also honing my knitting skills and learning new techniques. My plan is to share these discoveries with you as they occur. One of the many things I love about knitting is I will never know every technique. I want to learn more about English Tailored shoulders, so I just started knitting Cocoknits’ Lulu sweater, using Shibui Knits yarn of course. I’ll go in to more detail in a future post, when I’m further along.

I guess I just wanted to give you a quick update and let you know I haven’t forgotten about you. I’ve just been a bit busy living my dream. I was able to spend a very restful week in Maui in March to celebrate my 50th birthday. I’ll leave you with a glimpse of my time there.

Happy knitting to you and I’ll be back soon!!
Shellie

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Living My Dream

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Knitting for me is like breathing. It’s something I have to do everyday. No exceptions.

When I embarked on this journey of mine a few short years ago, I had no idea, not in my wildest dreams I would be where I am today. I had no idea I would actually be doing on a daily basis, what I am so passionate about, and that I would be getting paid to do it. For me that is the icing on the cake.

When I started this journey, when I had a glimmer of an idea to become a designer, another little glimmer shot through me. That glimmer, that little idea was “wouldn’t it be cool to work for a really awesome yarn company and design for them?” I guess I just put that idea out there and let it go for a while. I mean, really? What are the chances of that happening? Most of the yarn companies I was aware of at the time weren’t anywhere near me geographically. It just didn’t seem like a possibility to me.

Well, as my Mom has always told me “never say never”. I know Mom, I DID become a bookkeeper :-)

As it turns out, THE COOLEST YARN COMPANY is right in my backyard, so to speak.

It all started while hanging out at my favorite LYS – Knit Purl – (check out their beautiful new website. It rocks!) They needed some bookkeeping help, so I started “filling in”. Well, about a year and a half later, I’ve handed over the bookkeeping duties and am now working three days a week with the design team for Shibui Knits. If you weren’t aware, Knit Purl and Shibui Knits are sister companies.

That’s right. I get paid to knit, design, engineer, sketch, swatch, calculate, collaborate, rip out and swatch again, dream, turn those dreams into reality, write patterns, and knit and knit and knit. I get to knit and create with the best yarn on the planet. I also get to work with some of the most creative and genuinely caring people I have ever had the honor to know. I feel like I have come home. And it’s true when they say “Home is where the heart is.”

I am truly living my dream. I am one of the extremely blessed people that realized my passion in life and was able to find a way to enjoy it every day.

Dare to dream. Have the courage. Take a leap of faith. It doesn’t cost you anything. It may not seem remotely possible at the time, but you never know. If you truly love something, spend time with it. Nurture it. Encourage the dream to grow. You might just surprise yourself and one day find yourself living smack dab in the middle of that dream.

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As always,
Happy Knitting!
Shellie

Pebble ~ Pure Luxury

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Shibui Knits launched their new line of yarn this week and it is pure luxury. It is currently my favorite yarn. With a 48% silk, 36% wool and 16% cashmere content, it is a dream to knit with. It’s a beautiful lace weight yarn that knits up like a dream single, or when used double, has great body. I was fortunate to be able to design a couple pieces for the launch. The Cliff Sweater was done using a single strand, and the matching hat was done using two strands held together.

Cliff Sweater:

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You can see in these gorgeous photos the bloom, or softness of this yarn. Please don’t let the light weight of this yarn intimidate you. I know a lot of knitters shy away from lace weight. This yarn is pure bliss to knit with and you will literally want to sleep in any garment you knit with it. It’s so soft and light and drapes beautifully against your skin.

Cliff Hat , a free pattern on Ravelry.

There are three other super cool patterns released with the launch.

Peak Hat and Peak Scarf designed by Susan Lawrence, and Ridge, designed by Lidia Tsymbal.

As always, I have several projects on the needles right now, and funny thing, they are all being knit with Shibui Knits yarns. I started a Pebble color block, short sleeve crew neck sweater last night. I think this is going to be one of my favorite little sweaters to wear. May have to make it in a couple different color combinations.

Do yourself a huge favor and get your hands on some Pebble. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Until next time, Happy Knitting!!

Shellie

Mixin’ It Up

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Since I started designing, I haven’t knitted many pieces designed by other designers. However, I saw a sample of Julie Weisenberger’s (of Cocoknits fame) Lindsay coat while taking a finishing class from her. Phenomenal class, by the way. I instantly knew I was going to have to make one (or two) for myself. The pattern was recently released and I have started mine. The original version was knit in Habu Textiles Shosenshi, Tsumugi Silk and Fine Kid Mohair held together. The version I saw was done in Shibui Knits Merino Alpaca and Silk Cloud, I believe. I decided my version would be done out of Shibui Knits Cima, 70% Superbaby Alpaca and 30% Fine Merino Wool, Silk Cloud, 60% Kid Mohair and 40% Silk, and Staccato, 70% Superwash Merino and 30% Silk. I’ve chosen Abyss (Cima) and the new gorgeous color Tar (Silk Cloud and Staccato). The second one (yes, I’m planning the second one :-) will be done in Ivory and Ash.

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I have one sleeve done and about half of the second one.

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I love the stitch pattern. It’s an 8 row slip stitch pattern which is really easy but fun and keeps your interest. The ribbing and edgings are done in seed stitch.

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The combination of these three yarns held together is pure buttery softness. I will be spending a lot of time in these coats. I’ll post finished project photos later.

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And so my obsession with Shibui Knits continues.
My other new favorite yarn, Pebble, will be released mid September, along with a couple of my latest designs. I’ll share that with you when I can.
Happy Knitting!

Shellie

Knitter’s Heaven

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Knitter’s Heaven. Yep, that’s where I’m living right now. If you had told me two years ago when I had the idea to start designing that I would be doing what I’m doing right now, I wouldn’t have believed you. Dreams really do come true. And when it happens because of a deep unwavering passion, well, amazing is the word that comes to mind. Amazing for sure.

I’m currently working on a couple of new designs for Shibui Knits. I’m working with the new line of yarn they will be launching next Fall. I can’t give you much information at this time, but just know they have outdone themselves again. This is truly a luxury yarn you will want to get your hands on. And I mean that literally. It is pure joy to knit with and when it’s washed and blocked, it blooms into an incredible buttery softness you definitely want to have next to your skin. I would like to knit a cocoon out of it and crawl right in :-).

I’m working on a couple of stranded colorwork designs and it’s perfect for this. I can’t wait to be able to show you. It also mixes beautifully with many of the other Shibui Knits yarns and I’m looking forward to doing some experimenting.

I was talking with my grandmother this morning, the one that taught me to knit, and she said, “I don’t think you’re going to get bored with this (knitting).” I told her I’m pretty sure I won’t. :-) I’ve dabbled in a lot of other arts and crafts over the years and I guess I did get a bit bored with them. The thing I love about knitting (besides the fact that it feeds my soul and it’s a necessity like breathing) is that I will never know every technique, there is always a new idea for a new design and incredible yarn companies like Shibui Knits bring us amazing new yarns to create with.

Yep, I’m in knitter’s heaven and I plan to stay here. It’s a pretty amazing place to be.

Happy knitting to you,
Shellie

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I Love Shibui Knits

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Well it has been a pretty exciting week for me. My first design for Shibui Knits was released this week, along with five other beautiful designs created by Kristin Ford, Daniela Nii, Lidia Tsymbal and Annelena Mattison. Shibui Mix S/S 13
Along with the new design collection, they also released new colors for their existing yarn lines. Really beautiful. I’m working with four of the new colors right now (of course).
Click here to see the new colors added to the color palette. New Shibui colors
Here are some photos of my design:

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As always, being on the cutting edge as they are, Shibui is constantly working on new designs, new colors and new yarns. I’m hoping to get my hands on something new this week to play with.

I’ve been working on a couple of fun new accessory designs. I’m working them in two different yarns, one of which is Shibui Knits Cima, which I’ve gushed about in previous posts. It’s the darker version in this photo and I’ve used four of the new colors.

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That’s the latest update for you. As always, there’s lots of knitting and ideas flowing around here.

Happy knitting,
Shellie

I Love Color

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Wow. Time has really gotten away from me. It’s been two months since I’ve written. There has been a lot of things getting me sidetracked from my blog and my designing. The holidays and my year-end work for my bookkeeping business to name the main reasons. But things are getting back to normal and I’m consciously putting more focus on my knitwear business. I’ve decided I need to start scheduling blocks of time during the week to work on pattern writing, etc. Leaving it for “when I have time” isn’t working and I have a lot to get done.

Back to the theme of this post. I love color. One of my favorite knitting techniques is Faire Isle, or stranded colorwork. I’ve done quite a bit of it. A few years ago I took a class at Knit Purl from a talented knitter and designer named Ruth Sorensen. At the time, I was holding one strand of yarn in either hand when doing Faire Isle. It was a bit cumbersome for me and very slow. And I wasn’t getting a consistent tension. During the class, as she was teaching, Ruth was continually knitting. She was really fast and wasn’t even looking at what she was doing. Right then and there I decided I was going to teach myself to do that. I noticed she held both strands of yarn in her left hand and was knitting continental style. That was the first thing I had to learn. As with any new technique, it was quite awkward, but I stuck with it and now I only knit continental and I’m really fast working with two strands. The other reason why I like this technique is because you can get a really nice even tension. I’m going to try to make a little video showing the process, but for now I have a few photos. The key to keeping the two yarns separated enough in order to make it really easy to pick up the one you need, is to wrap both yarns together around your little finger for tension and then put your middle finger between the two yarns from top to bottom, then lay the two yarns over the top of your index finger. You’ll also notice I keep my fingers very close to my needles. That also make knitting much faster.

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Here are some photos of some of the Faire Isle I’ve done.

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And the Duck sweater

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And the cowls the girls in my class made. They rock!

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That’s it for now.

Happy knitting,
Shellie