Always room for improvement!

Last month I was working with my smart smart tech editor Kate Atherley on a new summer sweater that uses the Novus construction. She asked why the schematic didn't have a measurement from the shoulder to the hem, and I was like, I don't know? It should! That is a super helpful measurement to have!
 This is Caragh, not the sweater Kate and I were working on, the black line indicates the measurement that was missing!

In the Novus Construction, the length from the shoulder to the hem (E) is just the side length (C) plus half the sleeve width (F). If you understand the construction you could figure that out on your own... but why should you when I can just plug it in!
Why is this helpful?
Let's say you have "girls"... you girls are going to pull up the fabric from the top part of the side seam and the armhole depth (half the sleeve width) making the sweater shorter. So, just determining length from the side seam isn't going to tell you how the sweater length is going to fit YOU. If you also measure from the shoulder you can take these two measurements and adjust for your body so the sweater is long enough!
You can really see an example of that in this photo... we are all wearing Caragh, and you can see that the sweater is shorter on Vicki, Helene and Demerse. If they wanted to  adjust for that in a future Caragh, they can add a bit more length to the side seam and the sleeve width after casting on for the front and back (the sleeves don't need more width).

Or, what if you want a deeper than "average" armhole? You can adjust for that with the width of the sleeve, but having that measurement in the pattern is going to make the adjustment easier to make!

I am sending out updates for Pacificus, Vindur, Gola, and Caragh that include this measurement... fitting these 4 pullovers to your body will be even easier now that a new measurement has been added to the schematic!

Please feel free to ask questions, either in this blog post, or in my Ravelry group, I'm happy to help you make sure the modifications you are making work for you!

And in case you didn't know...
It is Sweater Month in the 1st Quarter KAL in my Ravelry group which means between now and Feb 28th at 12p, EST ALL my sweater patterns are BOGO! Don't miss out, I don't have pattern sales often!!!

Oh, and because a few of you might be wondering? That super secret sweater I mentioned at the top of the post? It is a collaboration with another company and should be out the first week of March!


Nicaragua... an emergency get-a-way!

A few weeks ago we freaked out and decided we needed to go warm up down south... and then the girl signed up for a month long TEFL program in Nicaragua and we figured we should take her!

Since I got asked a lot about where we went on this excursion I thought a photo heavy blog post was in order. A little background about this trip, my husband and I traveled to Costa Rica alot in our 20's, it was our "thing".... I was learning Spanish and fell in love with everything about the country. We went back in 2010 for a family vacation and were a little overwhelmed by how touristy it had gotten... ZIP LINES EVERYWHERE. Not that it isn't a fabulous country to visit, but it wasn't what I had fallen in love with anymore. I've been hearing that Nicaragua is a lot like Costa Rica used to be, super friendly people, easy to get around, not super expensive, and a very similar topography (they are right next to each other!). One thing I loved is that not a lot of the locals speak English so I got to practice my horrific Spanish... by the end of the trip we were actually having some real conversations, not just the necessary travel talk.

Here's our days in photos:
Day 1:
Laguna de Apoyo
A pristine, blue, and thermally vented lagoon contained inside the crater of the Apoyo Volcano... we stayed right on the shore, this was the PERFECT way to start our adventure! Inner tubes, kayaks, rum drinks and knitting... (in that order!)
A view of the entire lagoon
A spiky tropical tree that begged you to just try and hug it!
Day 2:
Volcano Masaya

Oh, we just drove up and looked INSIDE the crater of an ACTIVE VOLCANO. Literally... you are only allowed to be at the crater for 5 minutes as it is spewing nasty gases, and frankly 5 minutes was all I needed... pretty amazing.  
Here's a statue we loved at the side of a shed in a town along the way that day,
I don't know anything else about it... sorry!

Day 3:

Days 4 and 5:
Zopango Island
(this was our treat, who doesn't want to stay on a private island in Lake Nicaragua?)
Can you spy the great blue heron in this photo?

The island was all about birds, hammocks, swimming, hammocks, yummy tropical food, hammocks, mosquitos, hammocks... it is amazing I got any knitting done at all, those hammocks kept me super busy! (Also, they made me want to try macrame again!)

Day 6 until home:
Las Penitas just west of Leon
(we landed here for 4 nights... nothing like really getting into a Pacific beach town, right)
I will go out on a limb and say that this town made us feel a wee bit middle aged, I'm glad we weren't there on weekend nights as the disco went until 2am on Wed eve (our last night there) and I was a little bit grumpy in the morning. I think I like my beach towns a little less "fun" : )! The girl, though, is there for a month and she'll certainly have fun when she isn't in class!
Birding in the mangroves along Juan Venado Island Natural Reserve (this photo was taken before the great mosquito attack)
Little Blue Heron
Yellow Crowned Night Heron (or Martinet?)
Boat Billed Heron (or Spoon Billed? I am not a "good" birder!)
Gliding down the river with a flock of herons at the prow!
Obviously, a dyer is going to be getting this photo for a future yarn : )!
One thing I don't have any photos of (they weren't allowed) was our trip to the Museo de Arte Fundacion Ortiz-Gurdian which we read had the best collection of contemporary art in Latin America. WOW... totally blown away by the pieces in this museum. It went on for 5 buildings, there work from artists I had heard of before, and also many I had never seen. I really fell for some of the pieces by Nicaraguan artists, particularly the pottery. I wish I had taken out my notebook and written down names, but there was something so freeing about just experiencing the museum in the moment and not recording it for the future... do you know what I mean? Clearly, I need to go back, which isn't a bad thing! But I did get a photo for you of our Tostones con Queso (fried green plantains)... we ate these with ceviche almost every day.... ME GUSTA!
I did get a ton of knitting done on this trip too, including another Baby Novus for my cousin who is due any day!
The pattern is almost done being tested and is off to the copy editor now... can't wait to share this little cutie with you! Hopefully next week!

We planned this trip in 10 days... and I already know where I want to go in Nicaragua when we freak out next winter....


Knit Shawls 14 Ways: Exploring Shape and Design

Have you heard about my new Craftsy Class, Knit Shawls 14 Ways: Exploring Shape and Design ?


This class was an absolute joy to work on! I do a deep dive into how increases and decreases form a variety of shawl shapes! Starting with 4 basic shapes (Squares, Circles, Crescents and Triangles) I show you how to create multitude of shawls. The class contains an extensive handout that contains powerful formulas that will help you understand the fundamentals needed to construct shawls completely from scratch. These are the tools I started with when I first learned to design, and you’ll see that once you grasp them, the sky is the limit!

The handout provided in the class has four distinct shawl shapes. I explain the concept, provide a formula for that shape, show an example using that formula, and finally give you a pattern for making that shape shawl. You’ll see that the patterns are written in a very generic style; you’ll decide what stitch pattern and increases or decreases you’ll be using.

While designing the class we realized that a really cool way to show you how the shapes are created would be to take a color shifting (sometimes called gradient) yarn and use the same yarn in a few different geometries....

So here is Cloudborn Alpaca Sport Color Change in Bird's Nest shown in 3 different shapes:

All three of these shawls start with the lightest color and work towards the darkest... I used the templates for the center out square, bottom up triangle, and basic boomerang.

I ended up LOVING the boomerang version, and wore it for a bunch of the class filming, it is SUPER easy to wear!
I keep getting asked about it, so I've decided to publish the pattern for those that are interested! It is probably the simplest pattern I have ever written : )!

Basic Boomerang demonstrates how easy it is to take the concepts in my class and make a wearable shawl! I've written it up so you can use any yarn at any gauge and work your shawl until you are happy with its size! Plus this is a great shawl for a brand new knitter... so if you have one in your life tell them about it!

A pile of links for you:

Cloudborn Alpaca Sport Color Change (if you want to make a shawl similar to mine)
Knit Shawls 14 Ways: Exploring Shape and Design
All of my other Craftsy classes


Video Tutorial: Garter Kitchener Stitch

I have a few patterns that use Kitchener Stitch on Garter Stitch fabric (knit every row) and it was time to make a video for you! Years ago I made an easy tutorial on Kitchener Stitch on Stockinette Stitch fabric, as you watch this you'll see the only difference is that in Garter Kitchener you are doing the same thing on both the front and back needles! Super easy!

Here are a few of my patterns that use this technique:

As promised in the video here is the secret for Garter Lurra!
When working Garter Lurra you'll notice that the first two stitches are in Stockinette Stitch as you are slipping them on WS rows to create an I-Cord Edging. Those two stitches are worked with "regular" Kitchener and then you switch over to Garter Kitchener for the remain:
First Set Up like this:
1.  Go into 1st st on FRONT needle as if to PURL, pull yarn up and leave st ON needle.2.  Go into 1st st on BACK needle as if to KNIT, pull yarn up and leave st ON needle.
like this:
1.  Go into 1st st on FRONT needle as if to KNIT, pull yarn up and drop st OFF needle.
2.  Go into next st on FRONT needle as if to PURL, pull yarn up and leave st ON needle.
3.  Go into 1st st on BACK needle as if to PURL, pull yarn up and drop st OFF needle.
4.  Go into next st on BACK needle as if to KNIT, pull yarn up and leave st ON needle. 
Repeat Steps 1-4 once more.
Then Graft for Garter Kitchener like this:
1.  Go into 1st st on FRONT needle as if to KNIT, pull yarn up and drop st OFF needle.
2.  Go into next st on FRONT needle as if to PURL, pull yarn up and leave st ON needle.
3.  Go into 1st st on BACK needle as if to KNIT, pull yarn up and drop st OFF needle.
4.  Go into next st on BACK needle as if to PURL, pull yarn up and leave st ON needle.
Repeat Steps 1-4 until all your stitches are grafted together!