Interview with Rachael!

Rachael, known as Telfordswife on Ravelry, is one of my go to testers and one of my all around favorite internet friends. She knits exclusively in non animal fiber due to severe allergies and she has the most beautiful finished projects. Her Juxtaposition Shrug is a stunning neutral wardrobe foundation! She was kind enough to offer some thoughts and answers to questions I had about knitting with non wool yarn and I wanted to share it with all of you. xoxo

What fibers are you allergic to?

All animal fibers are problematic for me, and that includes silk (it comes from silk worm cocoons).  Silk is actually the worst for me, I get raised welts.  

What fibers can you work with? What about natural fibers like, silk, linen, and cotton?

I can work with plant-based and man made fibers.  Acrylic, nylon, cotton, linen, rayon, etc . 

Do you have a favorite yarn weight or dyer?

I am a sucker for worsted weight yarn.  The instant gratification is such a boost.  

I'm the kind of person who will find one dish from a restaurant that I love, and rarely deviate from it, so I do stick with brands I know.  I really like the options that Lion Brand has for non-animal fibers, and the quality is good for the price.   I eespecially love the Heartland line, which has a lot of depth to the color and washes up beautifully.  I can think of at least ten things I have knit from it.

Are you able to find all the weights in types of yarn you can work with? 

I struggle to find sock yarn that is well priced and not wool.  You can find yarn that isn't that weight, but it tends to become brittle very quickly and you get holes.  I have some no-wool sock yarn which is 7% PBT, a spandex like material.  I'm excited to give that the try, but I have two more sweaters to go if I want to make my goal of doing 12 this year.   Oh, and lace weight yarn is hard because blocking acryilc stuff is tricky anyway, but also, what's available to me always looks a little cheap, in my opinion. 

Have you heard of the milk protein yarn? 

I have worked with the milk protein yarn. I made my daughter a sweater dress with it a few years ago, and it is lovely to work with.  I don't remember the brand.  Banana tree bark fibers are really fun, too.  

What’s your favorite FO? 

Right now, I am living in my Armande Sweater.  It's made from the Lion Brand Heartland, and I goofed up the gage, so it is oversized instead of fitted like the pattern is written, but it's so cozy that I don't care.  It works, it just requires a different styling.   Other than that, I made each of my kids and my nephew a Flax sweater, also from that yarn, each in a different color, and i'm really proud of that.  We're going to get pictures out in the fall leaves soon. 

Do you have big box store yarn recommendations? 

Lion Brand Heartland is pretty accessible in fabric stores, and it surprises people when they learn that it's acrylic.  Bernat Satin is also decent, and I am always pleasantly surprised by the worsted weight Caron Simply Soft, though I didn't like the quality of their lighter weight acrylic.  None of those will have that awful squeaky feeling you get from some cheaper acrylics.   What I wish more would get are things like Cascade Ultra Pima, nice mercerized cotton, not dishcloth type cotton. 

If you're going to order online, The Tatamy Tweed yarns are really nice.  It's a cotton acrylic blend.  You can get them in a DK weight or Worsted, While the Heartland Yarn is great for drapey, cozy stuff, the Tatamy yarn is good for things that are more structured- cables look amazing in it.  It's another acrylic blend that looks like wool because of the depth and subtle variegation in color.   From Knit Picks, the Shine is a really nice cotton/modal blend and drapes like a dream.

Do you have a favorite fiber, or fiber mix, or does that change depending on the project?

Price is usually a determining factor, but I try to meet in the middle when it comes to price and feel of the yarn. Because Heartland isn't ideal for structured knits, I'm hoping that the simply soft will work well, but if not, I'll switch to using the Tatamy.  I'd rather get something I can touch in the store, but I'm comfortable with how that has turned out for other projects that I feel okay about ordering online.

Behind the Design

Have you ever wondered about where my designs come from? How they get from my brain to my needles to you, and if there were any stops along the way? Well, that's what this Behind the Design feature spotlights! With words and images it will give Patrons an intimate look at my designs.

Bobble Paw Shawl - Whats up with the bear?

Juxtaposition - Transitional garments and why they mean so much to me.

Etta - A 5 color sweater that doesn't look like a random patchwork....can it be done? 

Weathervane - Inspired by yarn, and music.

Did you know that every design has colors, sketches, words, feelings, images, and even occasionally quotes and memes associated with it beyond what you can find highlighted on mood board Mondays? I can't wait to show you everything Behind the Design!

Sign up to be a Patron here!



Flasback Friday: Fog

to Fog.png

In last week's podcast, I referenced my first ever shawl design. Fog: A Shawl Recipe was written as a labor of love and an attempt to create a pattern that enabled a knitter who was struggling with migraine fog to be successful in a project. It also incorporates (or enables?) those single skein impulse purchases we all buy and then are left wondering what we're going to do with it.

Another goal I had was to help knitters realize that THEY are the ones in control of the design. I may write the pattern but ultimately, the knitter has the power to make changes and trust their gut. So the shawl produced a format that's more of a recipe than a strict row by row pattern. You work certain sections until you get bored or run out of yarn, then you switch to the next section. Nothing is set in stone and it's all up to the imagination of the creator. 

This format has created a glorious and beautiful FO compilation. The look and feel between projects varies dramatically based on the knitters and their personal visions. I love each and every one of them! 

 I hope you cast on your very own Fog soon! Be sure to tag me in your progress pictures or drop me an email so I can cheer you on.  

{moodboard monday} Etta

Let Etta put you in a mood. 

The mood for brownies and coffee, after a morning of outside chores. 

The mood for a fall farmers market; returning home, arms laden with autumn bounty.

The mood for an evening at home; enjoying fine company, a bit of wine, and the crackling of a cheery fire.

Color Options for Etta

I don't know about you, but sometimes choosing color simply overwhelms me. No matter how awesome and amazing a design is, no matter how much it's shouting out at me to "cast on!", I'm paralyzed by color options. Hopefully, this post will aid you in color choices or inspire you to find it in bases you prefer. I've chosen yarn companies that are fairly mainstream to help you get sweater quantities as soon as humanly possible so you can start your Etta today.


The Woman Behind The Curtain

How do you solve a problem like Susan?
How do you catch a cloud a pin it dooooowwwwn?

Those lyrics to the song "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria" from the Sound of Music rolls through my head almost every time I work with Susan. She's my expert problem solver and can pin down any idea I have into reality, making it come to life.

In Episode 202 of Knitting Myself Together, you got to meet Susan. She's the person behind the scenes here at The Violet Pie. Without her doing the million tiny and not so tiny things that are involved in building a design brand that AREN'T related to actively designing, I'd be utterly lost. On top of all that, she's also actively involved in test knitting almost every single design from now through 2019! 

And yes, you read that correctly. 2019. Because of her support, I have designs planned through 2019. How amazing is that?

We regularly have video chat meetings that work around our real lives. Since we're both parents, dealing with interruptions are both skills in our respective wheelhouses. Kids make frequent appearances and when we manage to virtually meet up post bedtime, we often celebrate with wine or vodka as we crunch knitting math, punctuated with words that don't come out around little ears. I'm perpetually and forever grateful for the internet and the space it provides to support relationships. Relationships with people like Susan and it also allows me to get to know people I would have otherwise never had the opportunity to know. People like you! 

Be sure to stop by and say hi where you're the most comfortable. You can find me most easily here on the blog, Facebook, Instagram, Ravelry, or even via email! I've loved every interaction I've had with you lovely folk. I'd love to hear from you. 


Season Two Giveaway

Giveaway has now closed! Winners will be chosen soon!

We're trying something new for Season Two -- a giveaway! The prizes are pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. Grand Prize winner will receive a $25 gift card to The Nifty Knitter, who has an amazing online shop, in addition to a skein of Wollmiese in my life colors! First Prize will receive a limited run colorway skein from Tusken Knits. Pictures of the lovely prizes are below!

You have TWO chances to win! To enter, you just need to leave an honest review of Knitting Myself Together on Apple Podcasts and/or Stitcher. That's it! Be sure to follow the Rafflecopter link above so that you have the place to enter your information! By sharing your thoughts about our conversations in the podcast, you'll help other yarn lovers find us AND have a chance to win some pretty awesome prizes.

Giveaway runs 10/05/17 to 10/25/17. Winners will be contacted via email, announced over social media, and on the podcast.

Love Is There

Last week had has been a brutal past 72 hours. Incredibly stressful with quite literally no time to knit. Everything finally stopped this afternoon and the kids were begging to go to the park. I reluctantly loaded us all up and bribed myself with the idea of some quiet knitting time. 

After sitting down at the picnic table and shooing the kiddos off, I came across a rock from the #thekindnessrocksproject and it was exactly what I needed. The reminder of love and all the forms it takes. To love myself by embracing my humanity.  To take a breath. It will be okay.



Where do YOU knit?

Season 1 of Knitting Myself Together is all about knitting in public. We had some great conversations about where we knit and I want to keep the dialog going! It's been great scrolling through Instagram's #placesyoucanknit, and would love to see more, especially from my listeners, so feel free to tag me @thevioletpie. Can't wait to see where you're taking your yarn! 

Season 2 of Knitting Myself Together starts September 21st, which means you have time to catch up on Season 1 if you're behind! If you're all caught up and can't wait, consider becoming a Patreon supporter where you'll have access to my weekly videos at any level of generosity.



Are you going to Stitches Midwest this weekend? Hopefully I'll see you there! Juxtaposition is the perfect project for that impulse yarn purchase you just can't walk away from. The low yardage and versatility of the piece lets you truly indulge in that amazing yarn that will catch your eye!

The pattern drops tomorrow but to help set you up for shopping success, I thought I'd share with you the yardage requirements a day early. My sample was knit in Plucky's DK weight yarn and modeled in the Medium size. Yardage needed for sizes S (M, L, XL) is: 740 (810, 890, 970). The sizes correspond with following bust sizes: 30-35 (36-40, 41-46, 47-52) inches.



Call Me?


Three words. What three words come to mind when someone asks you to knit for them? Is it something along the lines of "oh hell no"? What about "warm and fuzzy"? Maybe "nervous, trepidation, excitement"? 

Whstever your response, would you leave me a voicemail and tell me what your three words would be? I'd love to feature you in the upcoming season of Knitting Myself Together!

Hope to hear from you soon. 


{wipw} Juxtaposition Testers

by Leeduck

by Leeduck

by Lovescolor

by Lovescolor

My lovely testers for my Juxtaposition chose a wide variety of hues and tones for their shrugs. One of my favorite things about utilizing test knitters is seeing my concepts come to life in such a contrast of colors!

I can't wait to see what color you knit Juxtaposition in when the pattern releases on Friday!

Any Way You Slice It

"Right side" by Niveknits

"Right side" by Niveknits

"Wrong Side" Niveknits

"Wrong Side" Niveknits

My new pattern that is releasing on Friday is reversible! As I was swatching and designing, I became enamored with the "wrong side" of the work but opted to model the piece with the original right side facing. Turns out, some of my testers loved the inside of the shrug just as much and opted to wear it in reverse! 

I can't wait to show you all the details of Juxtaposition, my new shrug, on Friday!