I am behind on most everything blog related–reading, posting, taking pics for, all of it. I am pausing my behindedness for a moment for a self-serving public service announcement!
I am not sure how knitters managed before ravelry. I have found it to be such an amazingly useful tool and, by dint of keeping better track of my projects and stash, it’s prompted me to be a better knitter. I didn’t know a thing about yardage before, for instance. Selecting patterns meant going to a LYS or craft chain and sorting through binders and pamphlets. Not to mention all the talented and experienced makers on the forums who are happy to answer all manner of questions.
Another plus for ravelry is that it’s made it much more possible for independent designers, spinners and dyers to make a go of it. There’s a ton of ways to get the word out about your products on rav. The current indy designer Gift-A-Long (GAL) is one example. Another is by offering patterns free or at a discount when they are initially released to garner interest. Another way, that I stumbled across for the first time today, is to offer free patterns in exchange for comments, favorites, forum comments and blog posts. What better way to spread the word?
So without further ado, I will admit here and now that this blog post is entirely driven by the promise of two free patterns. That said, I wouldn’t blog about (or want) the patterns if I didn’t really like them. I chose these two patterns to blog about because they both contain techniques or design elements that are new to me or a little different than typical. There’s lots of basic patterns out there and, even though I’m not a “free” knitter, I’m to the point where I can wing some things and have it turn out great. When I choose to spend money on a pattern, I look for ones that go a little beyond what I could do on my own. I look for patterns with a lot of detail and sophisticated design elements. These both look like they fit that description.
First, I’ve been thinking it’s time for me to try Fair Isle/stranded colorwork. By all accounts, it’s not that hard, and it would open up a ton of possibilities for future projects. I’ve been drawn to owls lately and so this Ms. Billey’s Owl Beret caught my eye.
I like it because the owls are super cute and look nicely proportioned. Also, the diagonal design bands above and below are a little different than I’ve seen before, but simple enough that they’re not overpowering. Also, I like the slouchy/beret look but the ribbing still looks like it is snug enough to make the hat wearable. It’s made in worsted weight yarn, so won’t take forever and a day to finish (*cough* color dipped hat *cough*). In all, it looks like a great pattern!
My second choice is also a hat–Brenda.I chose this one because I’ve never done medallions or smocking, and I think it would be fun to try. Also, a few of the design elements just make me happy. First, the crown decreases are nice and pretty, which is something I look for in a good hat pattern. Second, check out the rolled brim/cable detail! I haven’t seen anything like that before, and I think it looks very sleek and professional. I also like the way the same cable is mirrored at the crown. There are just so many nice details, and I think that’s the secret to making handknits really stand out.
This designer, jesseknits, has a ton of other designs to pick from. In particular, there are several really lovely shawl patterns. She’s running her promotion all day today only, so scoot over and see her stuff! She’s offering one free pattern for leaving a comment, one for posting about her designs in the forums, and two for blogging.
ETA: This promo actually ended at noon MST, not midnight as I thought. So, even though it’s over, it’s still worth checking her patterns out!