Independent Designer Feature: Avana by Annie Rowden

Yesterday was glorious. As soon as I got home from the office, I ran around the house and opened every window I could. Of course, this also required I wrestle with the storm windows and make sure all the screens were down as not to loose our sweet but not-very-bright cat, Peggy. It was well worth it, though - the air smelled lovely, and the warm breeze inside was amazing.

Avana by Annie Rowden

I always look forward to spring. Like autumn, it provides ample layering opportunities and even more chances to wear a variety of handknits.

Avana by Annie Rowden

Avana, a shrug/wrap by Annie Rowden, is the perfect layering piece for this time of year. Designed with Savannah, one of my favorite Fibre Co yarns for garments with its season-spanning protein/cellulose blend, the garment melds the best of two worlds: the light extra layer of a shawl or wrap paired with the wearability of a cardigan. 

Avana by Annie Rowden

Originally published as an exclusive pattern for Stitches West in conjunction with the designer and YARN in Eureka, CA, Avana is now available for download here

Yarn : 4 skeins Savannah DK by The Fibre Company; Sage.
Needles : US 10.5 [6.5mm] 24” circular; US 8 [5mm] 24” circular, set of DPNs; or sizes needed to obtain gauge.
A spare needle slightly smaller than largest circular for picking up provisionally cast on stitches
Gauge : 16.75 sts and 24 rows = 4”/10cm in St st on larger needles, after blocking.
Notions : Stitch marker, tapestry needle.

All images © Krista Blevin Photography

Tips + Tricks: Garter Tab Cast On

The Garter Tab Cast-On: You may wonder why shawls begin with this odd little bit of knitting. It’s fussy, it’s tricky, it’s annoying. It makes NO SENSE. Yes. All these things are true. But the Garter Tab Cast-On is an important element to a well made shawl, even if you aren’t a stickler for doing things properly. 

WHY DO IT? This Cast-On creates a beautiful seamless edge to your garter stitch border and eliminates the need for seaming at the base of your shawl. It will transform your knitting from looking “homemade” to “handmade,” and once you get the hang of it, you’ll want to incorporate it into all of your shawls.

STEP ONE: Using either DPNs or your shawl needles, CO 3 sts using the long-tail cast on. You may want to place a removable stitch marker in each CO loop to show where you'll be picking up stitches in the final step.

Many Garter Tab directions have you work this step as a provisional cast-on, but we have found that since this little tab is so small, you don't actually see the cast-on edge, and it is much simpler to work a long-tail cast on, rather than go through the fuss of provisionally casting on the 3 stitches.

STEP TWO: Rows 1-6: K all sts. This step is easy-peasy - just knit 6 rows. Once complete, you will have a long, thin piece of garter stitch - a "tab", if you will.

STEP THREE: Row 7: K3, p/u and k 1 st in each of 3 purl ridges along garter edge, p/u and k 3 sts in CO - 9 sts. 

This is where things get a little funky. For Row 7, you're actually working around the edge of the tab, converting it from a vertical piece of knitting, to the horizontal base of your shawl. First, you will knit 3 as if you're knitting a normal row. Then, rotate the piece 90 degrees, and put your needle into first purl bump at the edge of the tab, wrap your yarn around the needle, and pull through to create a knit stitch. Repeat this step for the other 2 bumps so you have 6 stitches on your needle. Next, turn the work again and pick up an knit 1 stitch in each of your original 3 cast on stitches, removing the markers (if you placed them) as you go. Once complete, you will have 9 stitches on your needle, and your garter tab cast on is complete!

Looking for more Tips + Tricks? Visit our page here.

Finished Knit: Courtney's Burren Pullover

Graphic Knits by Aexis Winslow is a collection of 20 garments that feature modern colorwork - stranded, stripes, color blocking, and slipped stitches - in bold motifs and geometric patterning.

When pouring through the book, I was immediately intrigued by Burren, a yoke pullover with short rows that creates an asymmetrically striped yoke. 

The short row striped are really striking, and fun to knit. It's one of the most fun and interesting top down yokes we've come across!

This pullover uses three NEW colors of Tundra which were released this winter - diablo beach, pinkberry, and silver fox, as well as using petrel, and old favorite. I am a 39" bust and knit the second size.

I made two alterations to the pattern: 
First was to knit it about an inch longer than the pattern called for so that it was not a cropped sweater. (Being short already, I didn't need to add too much length to get it to fit like a traditional pullover.) 
Second, I adjusted the neck width. After knitting the entire thing, from the top down, it fell off my shoulders more than I wanted. I pulled out the cast on at the neck, and picked out the ribbing, placing the first row back onto the needles. I then worked one round, decreasing the number of stitches by 1/3, then re-knit the ribbing and bound off.  

It's a perfect fit! Click here for more information about Alexis Winslow and her fantastic patterns and artwork! - CK

KW Style It: Fable Cardigan

The Fable Cardigan is a true wardrobe staple of mine. I find it to be pretty versatile in terms of styling options and it is perfect for seasonal transitions, so when I wore it to the office for the 70th time this winter, I knew it would be perfect for a style post. 


The Fable Cardigan is designed to be a layering piece, so it is perfect for throwing over comfortable clothes when out and about. The feminine shirt is balanced by comfortable broken-in jeans, and the sneakers and large tote are weekend musts. 


While Fable is great for weekend wear, it is also a lovely layering piece for the Office when you want to take a step away from a blazer. Fable will look great paired with a fit-and-flare dress, cute flats, and work necessities such as a notebook, good fountain pen, and classic briefcase.


 Worn over a shift dress and printed leggings with chelsea boots, a cute tote, and gold jewelry when out for dinner + drinks, Fable is a great outer layer if you don't want to lug a large coat around with you.


To view all of our Polyvore sets, visit our profile here.
You can also check out our Style sets on Pinterest here.

Do you have a Kelbourne Woolens pattern you would love to see in our Style It feature? Let us know in the comments below!

Independent Designer Feature: Scorpion Bowl by Thea Colman

Last summer, while we were at Squam, we had the opportunity to hang out a bit with Thea Colman, the hilarious designer behind Baby Cocktails. At the marketplace she picked up a skein of Canopy Worsted in tanager, a bright, tropical blue. 

After some brainstorming with Courtney (We're always up to talk shop, especially when delicious drinks are involved), the idea for the Tiki Collection was born!

scorpion bowl pom 1.JPG

From Thea:
"It was this yarn, in this color that made me think tropical beach.

And once I started thinking Scorpion Bowl, the hat idea dictated the whole Tiki concept. I wanted to play with depth and texture, mix in vibrant colors and happy details -- take the lushness and the color of Polynesia and bringing it to winter accessories, right?

So, Scorpion Bowl features this gorgeous tealy blue shade - worked up into a distinct, deeply textured lace edging and crown detail - with a happy pom, and a stretch of lovely stockinette."

scorpion bowl 1 side.JPG

• Yarn: 1 skein of Fibre Company Canopy, (50/30/20% baby alpaca/merino/viscose, 200 yds per skein)  Shown in Tanager.
• Needles: US#6/4.5mm 16” circular needle, or size to get gauge. DPNs for crown shaping.  
• Notions: Darning needle, stitch holder, pom pom maker or cardboard 
• Size: Depth: 8.25” Width: 19” in stockinette, 17.25 in twisted rib.  Rib stretches when worn.    
• Gauge: 5.5 sts/7  rnds” per 1” in twisted rib, 5 sts/7 rnds per 1” in stockinette. Each lace repeat opens up to just under 2.25” wide. Based on final blocked fabric.

Scorpion Bowl is available as a part of the full Tiki Collecion on Ravelry here, or individually here. - KGO

All images © Thea Colman

Vermont Designers Retreat at Seyon Lodge

Last weekend, Courtney and I had the amazing opportunity to travel to rural Groton, VT, to the Seyon Lodge State Park to attend a weekend designers retreat. 

Since it was on our way (and really, I would have insisted we visit, even if it wasn't), we started the weekend visiting Green Mountain Spinnery, an amazing mill based in Putney, VT. The Spinnery booth at Rhinebeck is my #1 go-to stop when we arrive at the show, and I have more sweater quantities of New Mexico Organic and Maine Organic than a reasonable knitting lifetime allows. 

We took a tour of the Spinnery and got to witness the making of some of their fabulous yarn from fleece to skein. 

Word has it there are still a few spots open in their 2015 Sugar Season Retreat on March 20-22 featuring Lorilee Beltman, so if you've If you've never been to the Spinnery, the retreat would be an amazing opportunity to go!

After our stop at the Spinnery, we went up to the lodge and spent the weekend hanging out, meeting designers we knew via social media (but not yet in person), and admiring the frigid - yet - beautiful winter landscape. 

Courtney even participated in her first Winter Sport!

Such a rare treat to be able to spend the weekend talking shop, relaxing, knitting. Thanks to everyone who came, Becky for doing so much of the organizing, Lori for organizing Yoga, Gudrun and Mary Jane for letting us borrow their snowshoes, and Lars and Simone for instigating a hilarious game of CAH!

See you next year! - KGO