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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Taking a deep breath

After being on a blog tour and doing the Power Point for our book signing at Barnes & Noble in addition to many other things like a full time job, I am taking a deep breath and try to enjoy this moment. No, I did not stop working. I continue my knitting, of course. I am just taking a deep breath. There is so much to see when I am looking back at the year behind me. I am very thankful for everything that happened. And now I am looking forward and try to relax.
I had the time to finish my latest small pattern, the Neck Dresser. I took the picture of Monique wearing it and here she is.
On the background is the needlepoint that my mom made when I was little.

My original Neck dresser was this one.

I am also working on a design that will be published in Kara Gott Warner's book. I am more than half done. So, no rush there.
I do not think I mentioned that Claudia's Hand Painted Yarns is going to have patterns published on their website. I love her yarns. During this summer I made something for her. I think it will be published soon.
Tomorrow I am going to San Francisco. There is one thing that is different from my normal trip there. I am going by myself. You do not get it? I am driving..., so I cannot knit in the car!! That is 3 hours of no knitting. I hope I survive this.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Day 16: The Grand Finale with Simona Merchant-Dest

The last day of the blog tour. I am talking to Simona Merchant-Dest. She is one of my favorite designers. I love her style: elegant and classy even when she is making a hat. Simona's designs are published in Vogue Knitting, Interweave Crochet, Knit 1, Knit Simple, Knitter's Magazine. She contributed to books Vogue Knitting on the GO series and Anova Books: Stitch Style: Socks. Simona also designs for a yarn company Mission Falls. If you look through her designs, you will see that she is equally great in designing for knitting and crocheting. When Simona was talking to me, I had a chance to ask her about her future plans. It seams that we will see her beautiful designs in many places.
Since this is our last stop on the blog tour, I want to use the opportunity to thank all 16 incredibly talented designers for taking their time from their very busy schedules to help us to introduce our book to the knitting world. I hope you all had as much fun as I did going from blog to blog and seeing such different design styles. There is much to learn from each one of them. I wish them all great success in their work and I hope that you, my readers, will follow these designers and enjoy their new patterns.
As I was working on these interviews for the blog tour, I came up with some ideas for my next posts. I hope you will check with me once in a while to see what I am up to. Both Dawn and I have some publications of our designs coming in books and magazines. I will keep you posted on that.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Day 15: A book review by Joanne Seiff

I do not even know where to start talking about Joanne Seiff of the Yarn Spinner. This summer I was in Nashville and met with Joanne for cup of coffee. I have not met her before. I knew her blog and knew about her upcoming book Fiber Gathering published by Wiley. I cannot wait to read this book. Yes, I mean read. Joanne is a superb writer and a good researcher. I am sure I will learn a lot from her book. She told me that she has been a spinner since her childhood and she still finds it relaxing and fascinating. Joanne is also a designer, so there will be projects designed by her and some other designers in her book. While working on this book, she was offered another contract for a second book. So, she is very busy right now and I am very grateful that Joanne took time to write a book review about Casual, Elegant Knits.
Thank you, Joanne. Do you want to know more about Joanne? You can look at her website and you would know what I am talking about. Here is what written about Joanne on the website of The Association of Knitwear Designers:
Joanne Seiff is a freelance writer, knitwear designer, educator, and fiber artist. Her writing about fiber arts and knitting designs have appeared in Interweave Knits, Spin-Off, Belle Armoire, and Wild Fibers magazines, in the KnitLit books, the Knit Picks Catalog, and online on Her handspun yarn is sold at The Berea College Gallery in Kentucky and is available, along with self-published patterns, on her website. This year, Seiff’s fiber art won an award at the 2006 Celebration of the Arts show at The Kentucky Museum and two of her pieces appeared in a juried exhibition at the Kiana Malekzadeh Gallery in New York City.
I want to wish Joanne all the best in her work and thank her for the book review.

Well, today is day 15 on our tour. That means tomorrow is the last day. We are visiting with another fabulous designer Simona Merchant-Dest. I hope you are still with us.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day 14: Visiting with Kristi Porter

We are talking with Kristi Porter of the Domestic Sphere today. Kristi wanted to hear from both Dawn and me about our collaboration on the book. What roles did we play? How did we influenced each other? There were many other questions along the way. I thought Kristi's questions were very insightful. I would think it is because Kristi Porter is a designer and the author herself. Many of Kristi's designs are published by You also can see her designs in her books. Kristi has a few such as Knitting for Dogs and Knitting Patterns for Dummies. She contributed her patterns for other publications such as More Big Girl Knits and No Sheep For You.
Like Kristi mentioned in her post, she has another book in the works called Knitting In The Sun. Both Dawn and I are privileged to be part of this book. I cannot wait to see the final result.
I want to thank Kristi for being a part of our blog tour. It was great visiting with her.
Our next stop is with Joanne Seiff. I hope you are caught up with us. We are moving fast.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Day 13: Techniques and finishing

Visiting with Jennifer Tallapaneni of PieKnits is very stimulating. She is full of energy and innovative ideas. Do you know anyone who is making pies? Well, I do not mean baking pies. I mean...knitting them.

That is what Jennifer is doing for fun. When it comes to serious designing she is fabulous. She is published in Interweave Knits, Knitter's Magazine, and she has her own line of patterns called pieKnits. If you are a Raveler, you can find her and see all her designs here. One of Jennifer's designs that was published in IK is Celtic Tote.
I am sure you will find it interesting to brows through her website. Have fun!
Jennifer was curious about some of the techniques we used in the book. I was so happy to talk about this. Dawn and I both are very particular about knitting techniques and finishing. It is our belief that you can knit your garment in a plain Stockinette stitch, but take care of all the techniques and correct finishing, and you got yourself a well-made piece of clothing.
There are more things to say. Maybe after the blog tour is over, I will start posting more on techniques. You can start reading now the beginning of this series at pieKnits.

Our next stop will be at Kristi Porter's The Domestic Sphere. Dawn and I both are going to be there.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Day 12: Conversation with Donna Druchunas

Dawn and I are talking with Donna Druchunas of the Sheep to Shawl today. She is the author of many books and a great designer with many adventures in the knitting world. Here are some of her books: Arctic Lace and The Knitted Rug. Donna co-authored her newly published book Skein for Skein with two other authors. I am looking forward to seeing what she came up with there. Donna is very active in her knitting career. She just spent a summer in Lithuania. We already see some of her notes from that period. I am sure it will be more. Just let her settle a little. Since Donna just came back from Europe, she saw in our book some of the designs that are reminding her of people she met there. Some of her questions to us are reflecting that. We are talking about our backgrounds and men's wear. I was so interested to hear what Donna plans to do next. What do you know, she has another book coming soon called Ethnic Knitting Exploration: Lithuania, Iceland, and Ireland. Go read our conversation with Donna and see you tomorrow at Jennifer Tallapaneni of the Pie Knits.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Day 11: Making the Little Flirt Skirt for a larger size

Ahh, nice and relaxing Sunday morning. Dawn and I are in CA with Liz Moreno. We are talking about some techniques that were used in the book, differences in our knitting styles, men's projects, and how to use our skirt pattern and knit it for a size larger than described in the pattern.
Both the Tailored Skirt and the Little Flirt Skirt can be flattering for many body types. We could write these patterns for 7 and 6 sizes respectively, but there are more sizes in the range. We are talking with Liz how the pattern can be modified for the size you need.
I know Liz for more than four years now. She used to be a part of one of my favorite yarn shops in Menlo Park, CA. Liz always impressed me with the wealth of knowledge in knitting. If you need to know about the yarns, books, patterns, techniques... you name it... go and ask Liz. She is an incredible knitter and a patient teacher. Liz is also a designer. Her patterns are free on her website.
If you look her up in Ravelry, you will see how popular her Sunshine String Bag is. I hope to see more of her designs. She is always up to something. Thank you, Liz for hosting us.

Tomorrow you are coming with us (I hope:) ) to see Donna Druchunas. I am sure you know about Donna's work.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Day 10: Felting tips with Dawn and Terry Ross

I am so late with this post. We just came back from our Barnes&Noble book signing. It was a lot of fun. I will do a separate post with pictures about it after the tour is over.
Our stop on the tour is at Terry Ross of Terry Ross Designs. Terry is a queen of felting and socks. She has beautiful and very usable designs. You actually can have so much fun knitting her patterns. It will never be boring. Just take a look at her catalog . I am sure you have seen, and maybe even knitted, Terry's patterns before. She also has a book called Twelve Bags Fulled. That bag on the cover is to die for! It is just a brilliant design.
Terry and Dawn are designing for the same yarn company Crystal Palace Yarns and to read their exchange of ideas about felting is fascinating.

Tomorrow we will be with Liz Moreno of ADKD
We will talk about sizing the skirt for a larger size among other topics.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Day 9: We are in beautiful Finland with Tikru

Have you ever been to Finland? This is my first time (and it is a virtual one for now). I am talking with an amazing designer Tikru of Made By Myself.
Two of her designs were published in the last issue of Vogue Knitting. She gave us a tour of Finland first. It made me wanting to go there even more. What a beautiful country! I lived in Russia before, so we were practically neighbors :), but I did not have chance to travel at that time. Now, I live in America and love to travel. There is so much to see. Scandinavia is on the top of my list for the next trip to Europe. Tikru lives so far away from us, that she did not have a chance to see our book yet. Her interview with me was directed to getting to know about the book. She asked me questions like:"Tell me why your book is different from other books and why would I be interested to buy it?" We had a good chat. I hope I convinced her that our book is worth having in a knitter's library. I would love to continue our conversation. I see that Tikru is a wonderful knitter. I bet she has some different techniques under her belt. I am always learning.
Tikru's website is telling about her artistic talents. It is beautiful. You can see many of her patterns there. Some are free, some are for sale. I am looking forward to many more of her designs in the near future.
Tomorrow Dawn is talking to Terry Ross of Terry Ross Designs about her felting projects in the book. It will be very interesting.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Day 8: Design Talk With Marnie

Dawn and I are with Marnie MacLean today. Either you are a designer or not, you probably want to know what goes into design process. How people come up with ideas and why do they want to publish their designs, not just knit from someone's pattern? What difficulties one has while designing knitwear? What goes first: yarn or sketch, color or shape? There are millions of questions that I can ask a designer. Today, Marnie is asking us about our work together and how the book came about. You can read our answers here.
I have to tell you that Marnie herself is a very interesting designer. Her designs are very feminine. Take a look at the lovely Deciduous Cami and you will see what I mean. You can see Marnie's patterns in books such as Boho Baby Knits and Museum of Kitschy Stitches: A Gallery of Notorious Knits.
Marnie has a great number of very well done and very helpful tutorials for knitters, spinners, and designers. I bookmarked her website and go there often. Marnie is so generous with her time. Thank you, Marnie for that and for hosting us today.
There are 16 very talented designers who participate on this tour. Do not miss the opportunity to visit their websites to find out more about them, admire their collection of patterns, and find out where they are publishing their designs.
Tomorrow we are going to be in Finland with Mari Muinonen (Tikru), another talented designer. I am looking forward to it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Day 7: Who did win that book?

I was so anxious about this. I really wanted to know who will win the copy of our book on Susan Lawrence's blog I Knit As Fast As I can. It was such a fun idea. She showed some photos from the book and people asked questions. There were 86 responses and Dawn chose (it was hard to do, she said) a few to answer. The big winner is....Cayli. Here is Cayli wearing Dawn's design from the last issue of Interweave Knits. I do not know, if she has realized that it was the same designer who talked to her. This hat is so cute. And now Susan. Did you see her lacy shawls? I love Susan's work. She has a great blog, if you do not know it yet. I feel lucky to see our book on her blog. Thank you, Susan, very much. I was happy to read so many good comments on the patterns from the book. It feels good to know that knitters are looking forward to knit our designs.
Next stop is the blog of Marnie MacLean. You will love to roam around her blog. So much to read.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Day 6: Brioche talk

Dawn and I stopped by this morning at Marie Grace Smith of Marie Grace Designs.
The more you look around her blog, the more lovely and gentle designs pop out. I also adore her kids (her wonderful models:)). I can see where her inspiration comes from... Her patterns can be purchased online and she has all kinds of useful things there. Here is one- a tutorial on blocking with photos and explanations. Dawn and I had a wonderful time with Marie Grace and we want to say thank you, Marie Grace for your hospitality.
What did we talk about? There was some conversation about our design process and we got into one of my favorite topics: brioche stitches. I love brioche family of stitches and love to have an excuse for telling someone about them. You might enjoy to hear about these unique stitch patterns this time on the Marie Grace's blog. I have more to say about them, so stay tuned. There will be more.

I will talk to you tomorrow. We have a different and exciting day on the Susan Lawrence's blog.
You might remember about the contest she did? Well, tomorrow she is giving away the copy of our book. Who gets it? I cannot wait to find out.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Day 5: Visiting at PhysicsKnits

My apologies for the late post. I am busy visiting with the amazing Connie Chang Chinchio of Physicsknits. If you for some reason do not remember her name, I assure you that you know her designs. Remember her Riding to Avalon hoodie from the last Knitscene? This is just one of her many beautiful designs you see everywhere you turn.
Connie was asking me about two of my designs in the book Vintage Hat and the Funnel-Neck Top. I do not want to repeat my answers here, so please read it on Connie's blog. We also talked about how Dawn and I worked together on this book. How did we manage the whole process and who did what. It is so interesting for me to go back in time and see what we did as almost an outsider. As you work on something, you are not evaluating the way you do it. You just do it. As I said before, when you start working with a person for the first time, you do not know what to expect . It was our first project together of such volume. Well, to our huge satisfaction, it turned out to be a wonderful thing that we both enjoyed.
You can read more on Physicsknits. I wanted to hear all about Connie's plans and I asked her some questions as well. She is a very productive designer with a great imagination and taste that is combined with the perfect knitting skills. Thank you, Connie, for having me over. It was wonderful.
Tomorrow is another stop on a blog tour. It will be with Marie Grace Smith of MarieGraceDesigns. Do not miss it.
One more thing. I just made a video on a Decorative Cast-On that you can follow as you cast-on for the Vintage Hat. Give me some feed back, please. Oh, it is on the right side on my blog. You will find it.
Talk to you tomorrow.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Day 4: Skirts part II with Amy Polcyn

I am delighted to visit with Amy Polcyn of Frottez today. We are continuing the conversation about knitted skirts that we started with Cindy Moore yesterday. It seems that a skirt is one of the types of knitted projects that was not popular for a while and is making a come back. At the same time many people do have a fear of wearing a knitted skirt. There is a myth that you must have a perfect figure for that. In reality, practically everyone can do it. Like any part of your wardrobe, skirts must flatter your particular figure. Take a good look in the mirror at YOU and try to analyze what length is making the best fit for your body. Do you look best in a skirt that is a loose fit or a close fit? Do you look best in a straight skirt or in an A-shaped skirt? Once you learn what is the best for you, you will know what to look for. I will not repeat myself on the other points of our conversation with Amy. Please go to her blog to read it.
While you are there reading the interview, look around. You will see that Amy lives in Michigan and designs for yarn companies, magazines, books, and has her patterns for sale. Her designs are lovely. Some of them are for knitting, some for felting, some for crocheting. I noticed that she did a design for Knitting in The Sun by Kristi Porter. Both Dawn and I also have our designs there. So, we meet again:)
Amy Polcyn is someone to watch. She will delight us with many interesting designs in the future.
I want to thank Amy for hosting me today and invite all of you for the next stop tomorrow at Connie Chang of Physicsknits

Day 3: Exploring skirts with Cindy Moore

Today I am discussing skirts with Cindy Moore of Fitter Knitter. I love knitted skirts and always wear them. At the same time, I hear from many people that they have certain fears about wearing a knitted skirt. I am happy to give my point of view on knitted skirt and address some concerns of knitters. Actually, I am going to talk about skirts tomorrow as well, so I guess, it is "skirts, part I" with Cindy.
Cindy Moore is a picture of a talented multitasker. Just go to her website to see all the things she is doing professionally. I am in awe of her web-design skills, illustrations. I am totally jealous of how she can retouch a photo. I want to learn more about it. On top of this she is a designer, knitter, spinner, technical editor. You name it - she does it. Here is her latest project, which I think is remarkable. She makes Knitting Note Cards which are based on her rewriting and charting lace patterns from The Art of Knitting 1897. Go and visit Cindy's web pages. You will have a lot of fun.

As for me, I am going to be doing "skirts, part II" with Amy Polcyn of Frottez, another talended designer. Amy just got a job of the technical editor for a new magazine called Fons & Porter's Love of Knitting. Congratulations, Amy. See you tomorrow:)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Day 2: Visit with Carol Sulcoski

Today we are chatting with Carol Sulcoski of Go Knit In Your Hat. Maybe you remember Carol from my June 4th post when I was part of her blog tour for Knit So Fine. Carol is talking to Dawn and me about Watercolor Shawl, Lacy scarf, and some men's garments. Go there to read our stories about these projects.
Carol is always working on something . I asked her: "Is there something new written by you that we have to be on a look out?" Here is her answer:" The Knitting Socks With Handpainted Yarns will be out in December. It's a compilation of over 20 patterns specifically designed to work with handpainted yarns and giving the knitter some ideas of how to handle pooling, striping and some of the other common effects one sees with handpaints. A lot of terrific designers contributed, including Ann Budd, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, Nancy Bush, and also some newer names with some creative designs." I am so glad I asked her this question. It looks like a terrific book. I will be looking forward to it.

Well, I better go and prepare for the next interview with Cindy Moore of Fitterknitter. We will be talking about skirts. Interested? We will see you at Cindy's.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Day 1 of the blog tour for Casual, Elegant Knits

Today is the beginning of our tour. I hope you are as excited about this as I am . I always love to peek into some artist's or designer's studio and learn about their way to create, their use of different techniques, and what do they like to do with the craft.
Our host today is the wonderful Lynn Hershberger of Color Joy. Lynn lives in Lansing, MI, but you can see her in many places. She loves knitting passionately and makes sure to spread this love widely. She loves color (just look at the name of her blog!) and makes beautiful things. Lynn teaches knitting, travels to research about different styles and color techniques, designs, name it. I highly recommend to visit her shop to see the famous ZigBagZ and other designs. As you a browsing through Lynn's blog, do not forget to check this out. Are you surprised she loves music and dance also? It is also a color, after all.
Thank you Lynn for hosting us. It was a lot of fun.

Tomorrow we are going to be at Go Knit In Your Hat . Come along! Carol Sulcoski is a very interesting person and a wonderful designer. Remember her from the time I hosted her on my blog?

Until tomorrow.