Knitting Architecture Winner

Thanks for all the wonderful comments on my last post. I see that a lot of you are in the same boat as I am. Knitting takes up the majority of my time but I carve out time to read everyday and I would love to learn to spin but I'm not sure where the time to do that would come from.

The randomly selected winner of our giveaway was Catherine (ravname: eastbayknitter). Congratulations, Catherine! I'll be in touch soon and we'll get that copy of Knitting Architecture on its way to you.

Thanks again to Kirsten Kapur of Through the Loops for the her wonderful interview answers.

These giveaways are so much fun. I have a couple more in the works for the next couple months so keep checking back.

Next time I'll show you some of my recently completed projects and my final colour selection for the I Make Mittens Mystery Mitten KAL by Rosehiver that will be starting on Ravelry on October 1st. That KAL promises to be very exciting, but I keep changing my mind on which colours to use. Decision time!


Designer Interview, Pattern Discount and Book Giveaway

We are thrilled at Hazel Knits HQ that our DK Lively yarn was included in the recently published book, Knitting Architecture(Interweave/F+W Media; $24.95).  The book is a collection of 20 designs curated by Tanis Gray that celebrate architectural themes. The collection includes gorgeous patterns for sweaters, shawls, mittens and so many other things.  The book is available in paperback and ebook versions and if you read to the end of this post you can find out how you could win a paperback copy of your very own.

Photo by Joe Hancock

Naturally, our favourite pattern is the Persian Shawl by Kirsten Kapur of Through the Loops, which she knit in DK Lively in Wheatberry and Jay Blue. The pattern features the arches, columns and recesses abundant in Persian architecture. 

Photo by Joe Hancock

Photo by Joe Hancock

Today I have the pleasure of posting an interview I conducted recently with the lovely and talented Kirsten Kapur. 

Viki: Let's start with the basics. When did you learn to knit and who taught you?

Kirsten: I don't actually remember learning to knit, so I must have learned when I was very young. I was lucky enough to grow up in a family where being creative was a part of everyone's daily life. My mother was a skilled seamstress, quilter, knitter, flower arranger, and gardener. My father shared my mother's love of gardening and was a very active hybridizer specializing in Rhododendrons. He loved woodworking and built everything from furniture, to the gazebo in our back yard. My sisters and I each got married on that gazebo. He had a passion for photography that began when he was very young, at the age of ten he built his first dark room. In my family the message was if you have an idea, learn the skills necessary to create it. I am proud that this tradition of being creative has carried on to the next generation and that all three of my children are very creative.

Viki: Do you take your knitting with you everywhere you go or do you only knit in private?

Kirsten: I take my knitting EVERYWHERE - I often knit on the subway, have knit at soccer matches, school concerts (I worked on my Thorpe design while watching my son's orchestra perform the Messiah), at the now defunct but legendary CBGB's while I watched my kids' rock band perform, in the hospital as my son recovered from surgery on his badly broken leg (designed Curatio there), in line at the bank, while in traffic jams, and just about anywhere else I can get away with pulling my knitting out.

Viki: Do you do other crafts/hobbies?

Kirsten: I grew up sewing and made most of my own clothes through my teens and twenties. I still sew from time to time but not nearly as much, I crochet, spin, draw, occasionally paint, and through my blog have learned to love photography. When my kids were younger I was an avid gardener. Now that I live in NYC I don't have a garden, but hope to again someday.

Viki: You have a wide variety of patterns (I've knit Sikkim, Acer, four mystery socks and most recently Turtle Pond). Do you have a favourite thing to design? Socks? Shawls? Sweaters?

Sikkim in Artisan Sock in Violeta, Nekkid and a Limited Edition red

Kirsten: I like variety, so I tend to design a lot of different types of patterns. I'm very interested in texture and color. I love playing with how textures and patterns combine, as well as how combining colors, and pairing color with pattern impacts a design.

Viki: Do you focus on one design at a time or do you have many designs in the works?

Kirsten: It depends on deadlines, both self imposed for my independent design work, and those that I have for yarn companies and books. Typically though I have several things going at once in various stages of completion.

Viki: Besides your own designs do you have time to knit for pleasure? Do you knit other designers' designs?

Kirsten: As much as I'd like to, I seldom knit other designers patterns. I simply don't have the time to. When I do it's usually a very quick project like Laura Nelkin's Mudra Cuff or one of Anna Hrachovec's Mochimochis.

Viki: Your pattern, Persian Shawl, in the book Knitting Architecture, isn't your first pattern influenced by architecture. I knit your 2012 mystery sock, Kelmscott, which was influenced by Art Deco architecture. Do you find a lot of inspiration in architecture? What else inspires?

Kirsten: For Knitting Architecture designers were asked to look to Architecture for inspiration, so for that project it was very intentional. In my own independent work I find inspiration in many different places. I live in NYC and am surrounded by amazing buildings all the time so Architecture definitely influences me, but I also find inspiration at museums (I just went to the new exhibit "Interwoven Globe" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art which has stirred up a lot of new ideas), in the people I pass on the street, in movies, and in nature. Sometimes inspiration is as simple as a yarn that just cries out to me to be a certain type of pattern, or a combination of colors that lead to an idea. Other times I pour over stitch dictionaries to find inspiration. Perhaps it is my ADD nature, but I can't say I have any one source of inspiration.

Viki: I've knit nearly all of your mystery socks (2008, 2009, 2010, 2012). Do you enjoy watching as your pattern unfolds in so many colours and yarns at the same time? Are you surprised by the success of these mysteries? Will there be other mystery socks in the future?

2010 Mystery Sock in Artisan Sock in the club colour Sugar

Kirsten: I love doing mystery KAL's because of the way they allow me to watch so many interpretations of my designs evolve all at once. Some knitters follow the patterns exactly but use a yarn or color(s) that would never have occurred to me, other knitters modify the patterns to suit their own tastes, knitting preferences, abilities, or needs. It is exciting and very rewarding for me to see all of the projects evolve in this way. There will definitely be more mystery KAL's. For the past couple of years my schedule has been to do a Mystery Sock in January and a Mystery Shawl in June. I may add to that and do 4 mystery KAL's a year, but do not have specific plans for that yet.

Thanks so much to Kirsten for her wonderful and detailed answers. It was a real peek into her life and process. And it was so much fun for me to look back at my own Through the Loops finished objects. I can't wait for the next Mystery sock.

As a special treat, Kirsten has offered a discount of 30% off to our readers on her independent patterns. To receive the discount visit Kirsten's Ravelry Store, add an item to the cart, click on "apply coupon code", enter the code HZKTTL30 and click "apply". The coupon will be valid until September 30, 2013.

We can't thank Kirsten enough for her generosity.

You can find more of Kirsten's patterns on her Ravelry page or her own website and follow her designing adventures on her blog. And don't forget to join Kirsten's group on Ravelry, where she hosts her mystery KALs.

In addition, we also have one copy of the book Knitting Architecture available to giveaway. If you would like to be entered to win, please leave a comment on this post before midnight Pacific Time, Wednesday, September 25, 2013, and tell me what other crafts or hobbies compete with knitting for your time. One winner will be selected at random from all the entries to win a copy of Knitting Architecture.

Please be sure to include information so that I can contact you if you win - email address or ravname, please.  Comments are moderated and may take a while to appear. 


Fair warning!!

Our October yarn club sign-ups will close on September 20, 2013. Giddyup on over to the website (or click on the picture below) and reserve your spot now!


What the HK is on Your Needles? Vol. 33

I love to check out other projects knit by other knitters in Hazel Knits yarn. It's such a great source for inspiration and ideas.

So let's have a peek at what some of you have been knitting recently. 

First up is this beautiful Roses are Red shawl knit by ravname: knittitude in Artisan Sock in the club colour Sapphire. Truth be told, the little Tardis sitting in this photo may have been the first thing that caught my attention. Who knew that Sapphire was the perfect Tardis blue?

Our Hazel Knits group on Ravelry recently completed its July/August knitalong which focused on patterns with the theme Fauna. Taylor (ravname: nightmorning) knit this fabulous pair of Water for Elephants socks in Artisan Sock in Indigo and Silhouette.

The she turned around and used the leftovers to knit another stunning pair (without the elephants) in Silhouette and Indigo.  Smartypants! I can't decide which pair I like best.

Siobhan (ravname: FLgirlinFI) knit this delightful pair of Welted Fingerless Gloves in DK Lively in Pacific. Buttons can make or break a project and these ones definitely make it. Love!

Salina (ravname: SalinaKnits) knit a charming pair of Sheri's Posies Socks in Artisan Sock in Saffron. I love bright and cheerful socks!

How about these for a fun pair of socks? Mireille (ravname: MireilleGiroux) made this super fun pair of Love Socks in Artisan Sock in Splish Splash, Nekkid and Ruby Love.

Ravname: lauramv used Bronze Age in Artisan Sock to knit this gorgeous Light and Up shawl. Looks perfect for Fall.

And Abby (ravname: AbbyKnitz) knit a lovely Catkin shawl using Portobello and Pink Purl in Artisan Sock. I love the smudges in the pink section. It really does look like eraser smudges. Abby hosts the Knit Knit Cafe Podcast which I'm listening to as I put together this post.

Finally, Tricia (ravname: triciagriffin) finished this yummy pair of Sidewinder socks in Entice in the colour Sandalwood as part of the Fauna KAL. I'm tempted to break out my Sandalwood soon. These turned out great!

Thanks to everyone for allowing me to share their projects.

I've now cast on three projects for the current Cables and Traveling Stitches KAL on Ravelry. Will I get them all finished? Turn in next time for an update!




A new beginning. 

A new calendar (mine goes from September to September). 

I treated myself to a box of new pens and a bunch of new notebooks. 

I'm getting my hair done tomorrow.

Oh, and did I mention the kids went back to school this week and I finally have more than ten minutes to myself? Well, there's that too.

So what to do with all my time? Well, more blogging obviously. I've gotten a little behind on that. But the best thing about September is that it marks the start of a new knitalong on Ravelry. The September/October KAL is focusing on any pattern (sock, shawl, sweater, whatever) that features cables or traveling stitches. You can find more information about the KAL and join in on Ravelry. The more the merrier. 

I didn't have much time to knit over the summer, so I'm planning to make up for it now and I've chosen several patterns I'm hoping to finish during the KAL.

The first step was to wind up three balls of Artisan Sock. I chose an orangey Rogue, the club colour By the Seashore and the club colour Land of Sweets. They look interesting together, but they each have a unique destiny.

I've chosen two socks patterns for this KAL. One with traveling stitches and one with a more traditional cable pattern.

First, I cast on Business Casual in Land of Sweets. This is my third time knitting this pattern. I love those diamonds and the way those little stitches keep traveling around. I find the pattern easy to remember so it should be a quick knit.

The second pair I cast on was BFF socks in By the Seashore.  This one looks simple but actually takes more concentration on my part since I need to keep track of the rows. I can never remember what row I'm on and don't want to do the cable row too soon.

I haven't cast on the orangey Rogue yet, but I'm thinking it wants to be a Sunnyside baby cardigan. I've knit this pattern before too and it would be so bright and cheerful in that colour and perfect for a new baby. I just wish I knew one.

The KAL just started so there is plenty of time to pick a pattern, wind some yarn and join in. We'd love to have you.