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Monday, September 9, 2013

My daughter's sweater and Martin Storey

I thought I would write it almost right away after the last post, but... I hope I am forgiven.
So, here is the story. A few months before the last TNNA my daughter has decided to make a sweater  for her fiancĂ©. She is a good knitter and made many projects, but only one simple sweater, as I recall. After looking at men's sweaters on Ravelry, they chose this design by Rowan designer Martin Storey called Moorhouse. Martin is a very big name in knitting world and has way over thousand designs for men, women, and children.
This is a model wearing Martin Storey's sample.

I always admired my daughter for not being afraid to do very ambitious projects learning in the process how to do it. Just look at these cables and a collar! It is challenging even for a very experience knitter. And the back looks the same in terms of cables.

They chose and bought the yarn and got the book with the pattern. There were charts, which she copied, made bigger, and studied. The only thing I suggested is to knit this sweater in the round up to the armholes. You know me, the one who tries to knit everything seamlessly :) 
She successfully made all pieces and I gave her a quick lesson on 3-needle bind off and how to seam. I told her not to attempt sewing in the collar without my help, but she wanted to finish it and did it. It turned out great. I am so proud of her! 
Here is the photo of the sweater she made:

The sweater that my daughter made. The model is her fiancĂ©.  

Isn't it great? She did a terrific job in my opinion. So, I had this photo on my iPhone while I was at TNNA.

One of the nights a group of us was sitting at the bar and I learned that Martin Storey, who is a British designer and lives in London, is in fact at the next table. He does not come very often to TNNA, so it is not a usual thing to see him there. His new book just came out and he was there to promote it. 
I thought if I take a picture with him and send it to my daughter she would be thrilled. But how do I ask him to take a picture with him? I did not want to embarrass myself by just walking up to him while he was relaxing with friends after a long day. 

While I was contemplating how should I do it, one of my friends, Marly Bird, was called by a person sitting with Martin for a business chat. On a way there, I stopped Marly and told her about my plan and asked her to ask Martin through that woman, if it is ok for me to bother him.

It turned out that I was silly to worry. Martin is a very nice man and was very approachable.  
When I came for a quick photo, he wanted to see the photo of the sweater that my daughter made. He asked what was her name and said that I should tell her that she did a very good job. 

So, we chatted a little more with him and my co-author and a friend Simona, who joined me as I was going to see Martin. He asked what do we do and we shared with him that we design knitwear and just had our The Art of Seamless Knitting freshly published. He asked us to see the book. 
So, we showed him the copy that Simona happened to have with her at the bar. It seems that Martin genuinely liked our designs and took time to look at the whole book. It was so incredibly gratifying to get such high marks from a well-known designer. 

All in all, I can say that this happened to be not only a nice surprise for my daughter, but a wonderful and memorable thing for me. 

Martin Storey and me.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A quick TNNA recap

As many of you know, every 6 months I go to our trade show called TNNA. Every time I pack I am thinking to myself that I am not sure if I really need to go there. And it never fails: I have the best time at the show with my friends, always make new connections that  lead to something very exciting, learn about  new yarns, books, companies, new magazine issues, etc.
I get such an energy charge and inspiration from being there just for four days that it lasts another 6 months. So, yes, I do need to go to TNNA.

This time it was even more special. My co-author and dear friend, Simona Merchant-Dest, and I had a book signing event at the Interweave booth. We always have great time together, but this was something else.

Almost all our projects were with us at the show. 



There were only 3 mannequins  but they had very cute skirts.


We had almost all our projects with us and we had so many people coming and telling us how much they loved the book and how excited they were about the topics covered in it. The book signing was allotted for an hour,  but we were done in less than half an hour. All 50 books were given away and signed. I can't tell you how gratifying this is for us to see such wonderful reaction to our book.

What can be better than hearing that after two years of working on this book people do love it. Yay!! That was the reason we did it! We wanted to share what we know about seamless knitting and cover some topics in depth that were never discussed in print before.


We were so busy with many business meetings that honestly we had almost no time to walk the show and see many new yarns and new products. Mostly we were looking at yarns that will suit our future projects. So, I can't really tell you much about what new products are coming to the stores near you, but one thing is for certain that you will see them soon. So, go and check with your local yarn shop. They brought a lot of stuff back.

Once a year my other good friend, Marly Bird, puts on a huge Designer's Dinner for us. It became a traditional event that everybody is waiting for. I am telling you, to make this happen it is like to arrange a wedding. So much work is going into setting it up and preparing all those fun activities, it is unbelievable! Among other things, Marly approaches different companies for donations that reflect their new line of products and we all get a bag full of goodies. Thank you, Marly and all the donors. Here are some of the things we got in that bag:

Namaste's Jemma Pouch, Lion Brand Yarns' tape measure, Pony needles,  and Kniteerella's tags.




Wrapture by Eucalan
On Saturday night it was a Craftsy.com gathering at one of the restaurants. It was great to see all the teachers and staff of Craftsy there.    

Simona,  Linda Permann, and my head :)


The show was open until 6 pm most of the days. After that people went to dinner with friends or colleagues where business continued on unexpected levels. You got to know people more in a fun and relaxed environment. And it continued at the big bar of Hyatt. 

It will be a long list to name everyone we talked to. Just to name a few:  Josh Bennett, Ellen Gormley, Drew Emborsky, Ysolda Teague, Rebecca Velasquez, Stephen West, Dora Ohrenstein. This is just a tiny fraction of that list.

Here is one more picture for you.
With Rebecca Velasquez, Ellen Gormley, Simona, and Laurinda Reddig

After I came back home, I had to spend some time to sort things out, to send emails, and just get some sleep. 

It was a very productive TNNA despite the tone of this post. Some very attractive deals were cemented and I am looking forward to work toward the set goals. 

Simona and I both got some teaching invitations and we are open to more of that kind of work. We are promoting our book by teaching workshops at different venues, doing book signings, and offering a trunk show of the book projects. 

I also have a very interesting story to tell you, so please come back to read the next post. 


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Art of Seamless Knitting is making rounds


We are so happy to report that our book is doing great. On Amazon it is on the list of 10 best selling books in knitting. Many sites are doing very positive reviews. People are telling us that they already have some projects on their needles. 

Here is one of the reviews we are proud to share:

 Merchant-Dest, Simona & Faina Goberstein. The Art of Seamless Knitting. Interweave: F+W. 2013. 183p. illus. index. ISBN 9781596687882. pap. $26.95.
FIBER CRAFTS - 
Ask a group of knitters to name their least favorite part of knitting a garment, and many will say seaming. This aversion has led to an abundance of patterns—especially for sweaters—that don’t involve seaming. In this guide, experienced knitwear designers Merchant-Dest and Goberstein explore the whys behind seamless knitting, describe the various shapes of seamless garments and accessories, and educate knitters on best practices for seamless knitting. For the truly seam-averse, there’s even a section about adapting flat-knitting patterns for seamless knitting in the round. Eleven patterns—most for sweaters—are included. 
VERDICT  Rarely do knitting books contain both gorgeous patterns and authoritative information on technique; this title is a notable exception. The background information about seamless knitting is useful, and the patterns are beautiful.


Monday, June 17, 2013

The Finer Edge


Another wonderful and useful book by a well-known crochet designer Kristin Omdahl.



It is a combination of a dictionary of special edgings and beautiful designs where these edgings are applied.  Any crocheter who wants to polish some skills or looking for ideas will be very pleased with Kristin's innovative techniques. It is a reference book that you can treasure.
Please read to the very end and you will see that there is a surprise waiting for you.

Sunday, June 16, 2013




Laura Zander, founder of Jimmy Beans Wool has gathered up 30 superstar designers from around the world to awe and inspire in the book Knit Red.  This book is part of the stitch red campaign, a partnership between Jimmy Beans Wool and many other companies in the fiber arts industry, compiled to help raise awareness of heart disease in women. Read full review...

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Art of Seamless Knitting

This is a quick post of introduction of our book.
After 2 years of hard work and anticipation, we have a book!



Simona Merchant-Dest and I are very proud and happy with the results. It is now available online and in stores. So, check it out and let us know if it is in any way is helpful for you or you just got it so you can make these beautiful patterns:)

Here is from Interweave website:
Go beyond the basics! Learn how to convert flat patterns to circular techniques with 12 classic, beautiful projects suitable for all ages.

With The Art of Seamless Knitting, take your knowledge of top-down, bottom-up, and seamless knitting to a higher level by adapting lace, cable, and color patterns to circular knitting and shaping techniques. The book delves deep, showing different modes of construction and stitch pattern adaptations for seamless (or nearly-seamless) knits while also offering a sophisticated collection of elegant and timeless designs that knit up quickly, give a custom fit, and do not require sewing.

The Art of Seamless Knitting is the go-to hands-on reference book that will be a staple in any knitter's library.



I will write a more detailed inside look into this book later.
Both Simona and I are available for book signings and workshops. Please contact us directly. We are also on Facebook and Twitter.




Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Welted Peerie Shawl

Honestly, I do not know how did I let this go for so long. I mean: not posting here. So much happened and now it is a long line of posts waiting to show up. I am going to start at the end of this line.
This week you will see the new Spring 2013 issue of Knit.Wear magazine on the news stands everywhere. My design Welted Peerie Shawl is on page 98. I love the photos made by Interweave Press. 


Description Inspired by vast meadows of Russia this shawl combines geometric triangular shapes and Orenburg shawl lace technique. It is worked from a neck down with a common increasing technique that creates a triangular shape. Simple eyelet stripes gradually increase the width and give a way to a Little Berry pattern. A traditional Orenburg shawl border is knit separately and sewn to finish this gentle shawl.

Finished Size 52” [132cm] wide and 21” [51cm] tall at center point after blocking

Yarn Anzula Cloud (80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon; 575 yd [525m]/100 g): seaside 1 skein.

Needles Size 3 (3.25 mm) 32” circular (cir). Adjust needle size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge.

I designed this shawl on my needles. This means that the normal process of designing that includes calculating, charting, thinking through ahead of times was bypassed. The only thing I knew is the technique I wanted to use: Russian Orenburg lace. The yarn was so beautiful and soft and I knew that it is going to be very pretty, although the weight of it is not what is normally used for such shawl. 
I tried a few stitch patterns, but settled for a simple, somewhat geometric design. The more I progressed the more sure I was that I made a good choice. The yarn was changing its color very gently and was not at all interfering with the stitch pattern. The border is made separately and sewn to the edge of the shawl. 
I am going to make me another one, so I can have it. Usually, I do not get my samples back.  Before I sent the shawl to the magazine, I took some photos of my model wearing it. She loved it. You can see it in her eyes.