manosdeluruguay

Playing with Color: Eucalipto

Imagine my surprise and delight when I was browsing Instagram earlier this week and came across this with no warning:

Yahoo! Kitterly's enthusiasm for this design, and their fun color combinations, inspired me to create another installment of the Playing with Color series.

Like the Gilt Sweater, Eucalipto mixes two colors of laceweight yarns to create a gradient effect. You can always travel back to the Gilt Playing with Color post to see those color combos as a jumping off point, and to read my original points about how to best choose colors for this type of project. TLDR for those of you not interested in reading that older post: Easy approach is choosing 2 color similar to each other, hard mode is choosing 2 different colors & seeing if they will blend.

Here are a few easy mode palettes in Manos del Uruguay Lace:

L2349 Gelsey & L2439 Yokai

L2349 Gelsey & L2439 Yokai

L2183 Gloriana & L2121 Dryad

L2183 Gloriana & L2121 Dryad

Getting a little spicier:

L2196 Okiku & L2605 Tennin

L2196 Okiku & L2605 Tennin

L2590 Natural & L2040 Puck

L2590 Natural & L2040 Puck

Supa dupa spicy!

L2552 Yosei & L7088 Enenra

L2552 Yosei & L7088 Enenra

L2354 Dolia & L9622 Nixie

L2354 Dolia & L9622 Nixie

There you have it! I hope these color palettes inspire you to pick out a fresh and exciting color combo for your very own Eucalipto. I look forward to seeing them!

Inside My Manos Spring 2016 Collection

I still suffer from impostor syndrome--I think most creative types do. Thus, it's extra gratifying and reassuring when I get approached to design for someone (vs the other way around.) I was thrilled to bits when Fairmount Fibers, the US distributor of Manos del Uruguay yarns, asked me to be the featured designer for their Spring 2016 pattern collection. I've worked with them before and they are lovely people to do business with--and the yarn's pretty darn nice too!

Lisa said, "Our focus continues to be on items for women that are accessible in both senses:  to wear and to knit." I really love and appreciate that sentiment because that's what I strive for as both a knitter and a designer. While I do design on those intense, gotta-have-that-thing urges, I dislike pieces that are boring to knit even when they do produce stunning results. I am both a process and a product designer, of varying degrees depending on the individual design. I get bored knitting and grading the same construction or styles of garments, which is probably why my portfolio is so...diverse? Fragmented?

I strove to channel those urges into a collection that explored various textures and construction methods while unifying everything under a central color palette. I didn't have a set mood in my head at the time, but upon viewing my proposal Lisa described them as 'streamlined and elegant,' which I think dovetails nicely with the aesthetic of Manos yarns. When working for a yarn company, my designs should still 'look like me' (since they obviously like my work), but my goal is also to showcase the yarns to their full range and not force them to be something they aren't.

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Coronilla is a top-down tee worked in Serena, which I've worked with before and just adore. The floaty, A-line shape of the body makes this shirt versatile for being dressed up or down. Interestingly enough, the lace yoke pattern is a bit of a happy accident, a rearranging of the traditional Oriel lace pattern. I'm not at the point in my talent (or confidence) that I can create an original lace pattern from scratch!

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Jazmin is a striped two-color cowl, also worked in Serena. Are stripes passé? I don't mind if they are! I think stripes will always be appealing even if they aren't outrageously popular--there's something so responsive about the neat geometric lines and it's such a fun, easy way to play with multiple colors. Here, graduated stripes of varying thicknesses help transition between the two colors. Serena comes in multicolors too, and I think a multi + solid combination would be great here.

I love knitting cowls as a tube in the round with the ends grafted together. Partially because it's enjoyable to knit (no wrong side rows!) and partially because the execution is so crisp and clean.

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Pitanga is a long, open front vest worked in Silk Blend. I wanted a sleek layering piece with muted texture. Cables are traditionally flanked by purl stitches so they 'pop', but here I played with laying them on stockinette fabric so the cables gently carve in and out of the surface. I could see this over a pretty printed sleeveless blouse or a dress with a waist detail you want to show off.

Oh, and the back of the neck? I DIE.

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Yasss! So clean! This piece is worked in one piece from the bottom up with the cabled section incorporated into the body. Once the shoulder area shaping starts, the cabled bands are set aside and worked separately before being seamed onto the back of the neck. I love this detail!

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Azucena is a cabled/textured/fringed asymmetrical shawl worked in Fino. It's worked sideways from tip to tip, starting smaller and then increasing to get larger. The shape looks something like this:

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It's kind of a hybrid between a shawl, a wrap and a scarf, so I think you could style it as a combo of all three! I was really inspired by some of the more unusual shawl shapes I've been seeing from designers like Hunter Hammersen and Courtney Spainhower. And you know, fringe. The fringe is created from dropped stitches at the end so that's right--no attaching a million pieces of fringe after the fact with a crochet hook!

It's my favorite piece from the collection and I can't wait to have one of my very own.

Lastly, Eucalipto is a cardigan/shrug hybrid knit with Manos Lace held double. I call it a hybrid because it looks like a nice, normal open front cardigan from the front. Turn around and it's got a cropped back, like a shrug:

I had already designed the Gilt Sweater at this point in time and clearly was still feeling the laceweight held doubled, colorshift ombre thing. Unlike Gilt, which uses two similar colors to create a seamless transition, Eucalipto has a marled effect in the transition zone due to using two totally different shades. Same technique, different results!

It's knit sideways in one piece from front edge to front edge, with the sleeves added after using the short row sleeve cap method for top down sleeves. The drape of Lace is perfect for those waterfall fronts and adds some nice elegance to the piece.

Huge thanks to Fairmount Fibers for trusting me to design the core of their Spring 2016 collection and a million infinity thanks to my amazing sample knitters Joni, Alison and Chaitanya. None of this would have been possible without you, because I would have died from exhaustion trying to knit it all myself!

Neon Neutral Triangle Club

The tweet that started it all. Over a year and many yards of neon yarn later, Sarah, Teresa and I are pleased to present Neon Neutral Triangle Club to you all!

Our awesome logo created by Kirsten Hipsky!

Our awesome logo created by Kirsten Hipsky!

The theme is pretty straightforward: neons, neutrals and triangles. We each designed one accessory and one garment based on our interpretation of the theme, and enlisted some killer yarn companies to support them. Because let's face it: when you are doing a collection about neon, you need some NEON.

My accessory design is Triangle Inception and it features some fancy-pantsy yarn from Rain City Knits.

Photos by  Lindsey Topham

Photos by Lindsey Topham

I wanted to showcase a bright variegated colorway since I feel like those types of yarns are often neglected. They're definitely harder to design for and knit with, but they're beautiful too! I met Krista at TNNA in 2014 so she was fresh on my mind when I was thinking of neon yarn options. I love supporting indie dyers!

You can tell these photos were taken awhile ago because my hair is totally different now!

You can tell these photos were taken awhile ago because my hair is totally different now!

It's a really simple triangle shawl with a garter stitch body and knit-and-purl triangle border. The white spokes are formed by slip-stitch surface crochet after the shawl is complete, and it's easy to get the hang of even if you aren't a crocheter! Plus the RainCityKnits Super Sock MCN base is lush and very pettable.

Acute-ly Preppy is my garment design and ohmygod I'm SO HAPPY that we managed to get a jumping shot during this photoshoot!

I've worked with the folks at Fairmount Fibers before (the US distributors of Manos del Uruguay yarns) and they are just fabulous, so I was really happy when they agreed to support this venture. Maxima is a great squishy single-ply merino that has punchy neon colors, making it a no-brainer choice.

I will warn you--this is a labor of love, product knitter type sweater. It's knit flat in pieces and seamed, which a lot of people already dislike, but that means the front panel has both right side AND wrong side colorwork going on. I personally didn't find it bad at all, though since I designed it I'm clearly crazy and my opinion can't be trusted. Essentially, the front panel is stranded so you're carrying your colors across both RS and WS rows, but it's set within a larger piece intarsia-style. You knit across the front to the beginning of the panel, twist the yarns around each other when working intarsia, strand both accent colors across the panel, and then twist around a separate ball of the MC to finish working the other side of the front.

Since the front is so complicated, there's no shaping and everything else is straightforward. The back neck is shaped the same as the front for a cute V-neck back. So if you wear a bright tank underneath, you'll have a little neon surprise back there!

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I also want to thank two special people that contributed. First is my friend Elisabeth who graciously lent me some of her handmade triangle-themed jewelry (see above) for the photoshoot as the perfect accent. You can see her work at metal & rocks. The other person is Kirsten Hipsky, who created our ebook layout for us and did a fantastic design job. If you buy a copy you'll see what I mean!

Neon Neutral Triangle Club is available on Ravelry as a full 6-pattern ebook for $24, or you can purchase the patterns individually.

Welcome Spring (and Galicia!)

Back in January Manos del Uruguay released their spring line of patterns. I contributed Galicia, a lightweight pullover, but it just felt wrong to taunt you with warm-weather goodness while still embroiled in the depths of winter! Well, the snow is (mostly) melted 'round these parts and I feel like it's finally time to turn our knitting attentions to greener pastures.

galiciaDressmaker's photos by Fairmount Fibers Ltd

Galicia is knit in Serena, a really nice alpaca and cotton blend which is smooth, drapey, and just perfect for lighterweight garments. I decided to try out a new construction method that I've knit before on personal garments but not designed in until now. You start by working the upper back flat from the neck down to the armholes, then those stitches are set aside and the front shoulders are picked up from your cast on edge so you can work the chest from the neckline down to the armholes. From there, the halves are joined and the body is worked downwards in the round. Stitches for the sleeves are picked up to work a short row sleeve cap before continuing knitting them downwards in the round. In a nutshell: seamless, knit flat AND in the round, and lots of fun!

Just like the Holla Back Tank (how I've come full circle!), the back steals the show here with a lace panel and garter stitch upper back section. The front has a slight A-line shape thanks to evenly placed increases, to keep the fit breezy and relaxing. Here you can see a close-up shot of the front in the official pattern photos, and a casual one of me that shows how it looks on a person.

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I think it would look great in Natural paired with denim or patterned shorts, or maybe Green Tea--one of my favorite Serena shades! A short sleeved or sleeveless version would also be killer for the intrepid modders among us. Any which way they turn out, I can't wait to see more versions popping up.