Saturday, June 18, 2016

Deepening Twilight and the Lattice of Trees against a night sky

I grew up in the North, where twilight is slow and steady and in the summer it lasts for hours. I love that moment in the dusk when the branches of the trees become almost indistinguishable from the sky. An ever darkening lattice that become less and less the separate living tree they were in the light and more a pattern that stretches across the dome of advancing night. It seems like a magical time when all things are one, united by their inability to breach the depth of the retreating sunlight.

When I got this yarn to design with the color immediately reminded me of that moment, the dusky mauve purple with it's halo from the baby Llama yarn was just perfect to illustrate that gentle and subtle transition from day to night. I knew that I wanted to somehow illustrate the look of the branches over the semicircular dome of the sky. But I also wanted something more than just a half circle shawl, I needed something geometric to set off the semi circle shape, something unusual and unique.

I adore knitting shawls from a provisional cast on outwards, I find that even the simplest of patterns becomes something magical when you mirror it on itself along one line of stitches. It also means that you can work the pattern in the round, which (for me) is a bit of a carte blanche for working with some lovely intricate patterning on every round. For this shawl the rectangular section is cast on with a provisional cast on, and the shawl is worked in the round from the center out. The rectangular section has the center area which has patterning on every round and a border of brocade lace to separate it from the sides.The side sections are worked on either end with increases every round directly beside the rectangular section. This creates the half circle dome I was wanting and the patterning on these side areas seems to emanate out from the center.

The border is a knit on border which repeats the brocade border combined with a simple garter stitch triangle to really emphasize the unique shape.

You can find this pattern on Ravelry and soon (shhh.....) perhaps a new website of my very own.

Do you love the finished product and want to own it on a Totebag? or maybe a coffee mug? You can check out this pattern on my Society6 store right here. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

When you can't find what you want; design it!

 About a year ago I was looking for a spring/summer cardigan to knit, not necessarily only for spring or summer either, I find that I wear my warm and cozy wool sweaters in my cold 100+ year old house but as soon as I leave to the grocery store, or a friends house (who has this crazy "insulation" stuff everyone is so hip on) I get way too warm. So I like lighter sweaters for the winter as well for layering pieces. I had the yarn, some Louisa Harding Merletto that I had purchased for another project that ended up getting the 'rip', and now to find the pattern I wanted to knit!

There were a few, but none that were lighter choices in my size that struck my fancy. And really it came down to sizing choices, I am a voluptuous and gorgeous 3X with curves and Mama stretch marks. I have a nice comfy belly and broad shoulders, and it can be truly discouraging to find a stylish pattern in the larger sizes. Or if they are sized large they tend to be a boring box pullover that hides my goddess beauty in yards of fabric.

After a few hours of frustrating searching and unfortunately a few self derogatory comments (hey they happen) I realized that truly I needed to write the pattern I was so desperately looking for. It may be a lofty dream but I would love to reclaim the knitting pattern industry sizing issue one pattern at a time and what better project to start with than this?

I knew I wanted to use this beautiful geometric lace pattern on the back, it was just so striking and was going to create a 'wow' moment when the wearer turned around. It seemed like a plain front was in order to really set off  the surprise of the back, and then some texture on the sleeves to match the hem and collar. The shoulders got a bit of a special treatment with an extended lace section that places the lace 2 inches past the shoulder seam onto the front of the garment. Giving the front a sneak peek of the lace work you are about to be amazed by on the back of the work.

This garment is worked from the bottom up, the lace pattern does need shaping at the armhole areas and you will need to know how to work shaping in lace without a totally charted decrease. The sleeves have cap shaping and are set in for a streamlined and fitted look. The front is designed to have a 3-4" opening which you can play around with when choosing what size to knit.

Because this cardigan is worked with 3 different patterns that are also worked on differing needle sizes it is a seamed garment, this also gives the finished piece a stability that it would not normally have in this yarn. It is a giant pain and yet REALLY IMPORTANT to swatch each pattern and then wetblock them if you are going to knit this garment. The Lace back opens up considerably when blocked and having the blocked sample helps you not to overknit the length on the Back. Also some of my testers used wool instead of a cotton blend and they had a significant increases in yardage used. Wool tends to have more rows per inch than cotton so there are more rows worth of knitting in a wool version which means more yardage.

I hope you like this pattern as much as I do, I have worn it so many times and in additional to being comfortable and getting great comments from others it truly makes me feel beautiful! You can purchase this pattern on Ravelry

If you knit this or any of my patterns I would love to see pictures! You can share finished pictures with me on Facebook, my Ravelry Forum or on Instagram by tagging @meghanjoneslnmp or using #littlenutmegproductions and #meghanjoneslnmp

Do you love this Lace pattern and want to own it on more than just the Cardigan? Checkout the Glassberry section of the Society 6 store for mugs, pillows, iphone cases and more!

Friday, May 6, 2016

A quick knit, someone, anyone, can you get me a quick knit!

 As I sit here writing this there is a tiny terrorist toddler beside me jumping on the guest futon, the downstairs has flooded thanks to a brilliant husband enacted plumbing "quick fix" and the lawn is over 8 inches tall because the mower is trapped behind the latest building project in the garage. I have exactly 5, wait 8, okay probably more like 10 projects on the go and a giant backlog and that's before we thought we could build a greenhouse, and a play structure, do dance recitals, spring concerts, campout and piano recitals. My point is that life is busy, right? It seems like it zips past us so quickly, the most surprising example being that our oldest is 9 (?!?!?!) which baffles and delights me daily.


Sometimes when I am feeling overwhelmed I retreat into a small project, I dismiss all the other things I have on the go and find something really quick to work on. Usually it is a gift for a friend, or a baby outfit of some sort, it needs to have just the right amount of interesting and fast. My daughters love to receive knitted items and the smallest and most coveted one is a headband. I have designed a few headbands but I think my favorite is this one; Polos Headband was originally released in Knitscene Accessories in 2014.

At the time the call for submissions was for knits inspired by history, or historical characters and places. I have always been a fan of Greek Mythology and rather liked Hera the queen of the Gods. She was steadfast, the goddess of marriage and family she never had dalliances with humans or anyone (or thing, it's mythology, we need a proviso) outside of her marriage. Originally I had come across an image of this bust of Hera and really liked her Diadem, it was actually a symbol of her power and fidelity and was included in many sculptures of her. I wanted to try to emulate the feeling of this Diadem in my proposal with a combination of cables and lace where the stitch patterns shape the headband, not increases or decreases.

The headband is worked from end to end, it begins and ends with 1x1 ribbing, transitions into a subtle cable pattern behind the ears and a delicate lace pattern for over the crown of the head. The finished piece only uses about 20 grams of sock weight yarn and is perfect for those bits of leftover yarn from socks and shawls. Actually it would look great if you changed color between the ribbing, cables and then lace and back again.. hmm... someone try it and share it on Facebook with me okay?

Please take note of the button, that almost perfectly matches the yarn. It is a vintage button I had in my stash from who knows where, and when the time came to find the right fastener for this yarn the button magically appeared at the top of the pile. It gives me this silent and deep feeling of satisfaction when I look at it, like perhaps if I can find a button to perfectly match yarn then I can do just about anything, (or at least keep telling myself I can).

If you knit a project with this pattern I would LOVE to see it, please tag me on Instagram with @meghanjoneslnmp or use the hashtags #littlenutmegproductions and #meghanjoneslnmp. You can also share photos on my Facebook page, or to my Ravelry Group, Happy Knitting!! xo Meghan

You can find this pattern on Ravelry here

Friday, April 15, 2016

Sivia: Pathways and Connections

It would be easy to just say that I took a class and designed this shawl, Ta Da!

It would be accurate too, but it would also leave out so much of the story, all the connections that seem to pop up when you follow your passion and the path grows before you. I did design this shawl in a class that I took last year, it was an incredible class with the lovely and talented Sivia Harding, a design class on how to work a shawl sideways. This type of shawl is so lovely to work, it effectively works the sideways edging at the same time as the rest of the work so there is no tedious knit on edging at the end of the project flipping back and forth on a small section of stitches. And because it is worked sideways beginning at the narrow end it is easy to estimate when you are halfway done and begin decreasing. This makes for a really enjoyable knit during which you don't have to stress yardage amounts.

Sivia works with Beads a lot, she has loads of patterns with beautifully and artistically placed beads that really emphasize the pattern stitches and design. Part of the class was all about working with beads and learning where to place them and how to use them effectively. I had never really worked with beads before and hadn't ever thought I would. (Actually I was pretty adamantly anti-bead, who wanted to stop knitting to scoop up and fiddle with a teeny tiny bead and crochet hook? Who has time for that ? Who has a place in their house where they can work with beads without worry of ambush from kids or pets?) But since I took the course and (wasn't prepared to be a complete flaming jerk) I bought the beads and the crochet hook and prepared to hate it.

But you know what?

Those teeny tiny sparkly beads in my most favorite light chartreuse green with the inner rim of gold seduced me, bit by tiny bit they convinced me that the benefit of the finished look was well worth using the finicky material and tool. And truthfully after a while it became so easy, so quick to work and barely took the smallest pause in the knitting to hook a bead on that it seemed foolish I had ever doubted. I often am complimented on how fast I can knit, and my reply is always "well I practice a lot", which is the truth because most times I knit between 3-6 hours a day between waiting for dance classes, or piano lessons or watching shows with my husband. Of course it makes sense that the more you practice a task the better you are at it, and the same goes for placing the beads. The more you do it the more it becomes second nature and the work hardly seems to pause to place the beads. This shawl actually started an entire year of work that all includes beads of which this pattern is just the beginning. But more on that later.

Back to the class and the design; I knew that I wanted to get creative with the stitch patterns, and the logical choice was beginning with a Japanese Stitch Dictionary. If you are at all interested in stitch patterns and have not checked out a Japanese or Simplified Chinese Stitch dictionary you are missing out. Make it your mission to browse one because they are simply a goldmine of interesting techniques, ideas and stitches. The Sivia Shawl has a combination of symmetrical and asymmetrical stitch patterns that include lace, cables and nupps with placed beads. The shawl grows in a twisted 1x1 ribbing pattern between two vertical columns of an arrowhead lace pattern with beads placed on the top decreases and nupps in the middle. The asymmetrical cable column sandwiched between the arrowhead and the border is one that I designed completely myself based on a combination of stitches I was interested in. I like the tension between the symmetrical and asymmetrical patterning and I think it gives the design a sophistication that is unique. I altered the border from an existing border pattern I found, elongated it to fit my other patterning and added the cable in the middle of the scallop shape to mimic the cables in the asymmetrical border. The beads are placed every 6 rows so you do have 5 beadless rows in between, and the beads are optional because the design would look great without them as well.

Because the increasing takes place at the top of the shawl it changes the shape into something a little more unusual. The shawl curves upwards in the middle instead of downwards and as you can see from the photos it fits the body really nicely.

Looking back from here I think taking that class was really the beginning of a fairly significant pathway for me. I can see all the ideas and designs that have sprouted from what I was taught and exposed to that day and it is pretty amazing. Not to mention the warm, loving and supportive friendship I was given by Sivia which has continued as a strong mentorship which I appreciate deeply. For that among many other reasons I chose to name this shawl after the fabulous woman who gave me such a profound gift of learning. I hope you love knitting this design as much as I loved designing it, take a chance and try something new, who knows where it will take you.

Many many thanks to my ultra talented Sister in Law Chelsea Jones who took these photos for me, our lovely friend Calysta Adams who modeled in the freezing wind, and Rachel Romine of Paradise Fibers for always being infinitely supportive of my work.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Naiad: Re release

This morning I spent time at the park with our little Dude, one of my best friends, and her three boys roaming around in the pre-spring drizzle that IS Spokane for about 2 months of the year. It is evident that Spring is on the way, buds are beginning to swell, we are having more rain than snow and the grass is starting to get green again. It is time to think about some Spring and Summer knitting!

I know that the magazines typically put out their Spring issues practically right after Christmas, which makes sense when it takes a month or more to make the item you want to wear. But I'll be honest, those Spring issues head right to the shelf, because I need some proof that the weather is warming and there is no proof around here in January. This morning however I felt the promise of warmth and the burgeoning growth just about to break forth all around. And so it seems appropriate to talk about a design that I am rereleasing in my own independent format.

Naiad Tank was originally designed for knit.wear Spring/Summer 2014 and is a simple tank top worked in the round from the bottom up. It has horizontal lines of garter stitches that are worked on the front and backs reaching from hem to shoulders. These lines of stitches are picked up and worked into drapey mesh wings after the tank top is complete.

Below you can see Calysta modeling this great summer piece, her fair skin looks just fabulous with the mottled gold of the tank top. The original yarn that was used was Tandem by Tahki a really interesting mix of nylon, cotton, rayon, and acrylic. Great drape, a little slinky, a little shiny and really nice variegated colors. The gauge for this project is what I would call a  worsted gauge at 19sts per inch, but the yarn is defined as an Aran. Without sleeves and in an Aran weight this is a pretty quick and simple project, with just a touch of whimsy in the mesh wing additions.

The rewritten is more spread out than the original magazine version, it is the same pattern, no actual changes to the garment at all just rewritten in my style with my letterhead.

This is not an update to the magazine version and is not available as a free download to those who have the magazine. 

You can find the pattern on Ravelry here

A huge thanks to Calysta for modeling this garment in the freezing October winds and to Chelsea Jones of Vitality Images for the great photos. If you are in the Edmonton Area and need photos you simply have to have Chelsea do them, she is the best of the best!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Simple, Special, Asymmetrical

For the past few years I have been able to travel across the state to a Fiber Festival in Tacoma, which is really such a great way to make connections and see what is going on with other Fibery loving folks. Last year we took the whole family over on a whim and had a really lovely time browsing the Marketplace and then visiting the Point Defiance Zoo. At the Market Place my oldest daughter (who has no interest in knitting whatsoever, but is a keen enabler just like her mom) found two incredible skeins of handspun handdyed worsted weight yarn from Chameleon Colorworks. 

I instantly fell in love with the colors of these skeins, one was a neon pink, bright yellowy green and a dark navy blue. Now anyone who actually reads this blog, knows my designs or knows me would at this point say, "blue? Meghan? really? surely not". And you would be quite right, if this blue was say on it's own I wouldn't give it another look, not even 100% cashmere 80% off would give me pause to take a second glance at a skein of yarn which was purely and totally this blue on it's own. Such is my life, blue is just not my soul color.   But.   Mix this particular blue with a neon pink and bright yellow green? and it is something special, a background, a foil, a vehicle with which to promote the rightful ruling color palette of the universe. (only mostly kidding). Add to that the challenge of knitting something simple and I was inspired! Simple is not technically my strength, I don't typically enjoy very simple knits as I find that I get bored easily. But with this much going on in the yarn even stockinette would be a party for the eyes, it seemed a safe bet for a great design.

The other skein was an incredible mix of olive green and deep teal with a rusty red running through. Perfect Man colors for a his and hers cowl combo, but what to design that was wild enough for me and muted enough for my Hubs? (It is worth mentioning at this point that the model in the photo is not my husband, it's my brother, he has red hair, I do not, he is tall and handsome and muscular, I am not, but I am 7 years older and I win. Just needed saying.) It was decided at our magical Canadian Thanksgiving get together last October that this cowl really looked great with his hair and so perhaps a sibling photoshoot was in order. I say magical because we somehow managed to get 2 extended families from 3 different countries together in one place at the same time AND we had turkey, AND I didn't cook any of it! .. see I told you it was magical. (P.S. he is a great cook too, but I like to think I taught him, and 7 years older, I win)

But back to the actual design, I knew I wanted to design something that was easily adjustable, could be worked in just about any yarn you could ever want to work with and really allowed even the loudest yarns to sing their song. Moss Stitch; simple elegant moss stitch was the way to go, and a welted edging that changed the texture from all over nubbly to horizontal stripes, perfect. 

Porifera is worked flat and then seamed together, it is first worked with increases to create the angled end and then finished with a rectangle. The angled side of the triangle is sewn to the bound off end of the rectangle. Nothing fussy or hard and only one seam, its simple, special and asymmetical. You can wear it anyway you like, the larger version can be doubled up into a cowl, and the smaller version sits nicely on the neck. You can adjust the size of this cowl easily and it is perfect for the wildest yarn you can think of. 

You can find this pattern on Ravelry at the link below