It has been quite some time since I’ve checked in here. And what a time it has been! Life has been a constant challenge over these past few months, with chronic physical ailments and difficult personal situations getting in the way of all that is good and fun in the world. I am hopeful that we are now on a better path, and I can finally get back to what I love: enjoying time with my family, and creating new designs.
In the midst of all this mayhem, I have released two new designs, and Knit Picks has released a sweater I designed exclusively for them. So there is much catching up to do! In this post, I want to highlight a design I released just this week, one that has been percolating in my mind for a long while, and I’m so happy to share it with the world!
Meet Dragonflies in Amber.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: I love the look of hand-dyed yarn in the hank, but I never know what to do with it in terms of designing. So I promised myself I would create a pretty design that features luscious, hand-dyed fingering weight wool in two different colorways. I wanted the overall silhouette to be simple, in order to show off the wool and the stranded design at the yoke. And so the idea for Dragonflies in Amber was born.
I know that dragonflies hold a special meaning for many people, and they do for me as well: I love watching them dart back and forth over the local pond in late spring and summer. They have a kind of magical quality to them, in their shimmery wings and their lightning movements. I wanted to create a yoke design with a large but intricate dragonfly motif – something ornate, and almost lacy, like their delicate wings. I spent quite a bit of time looking at tattoo designs, of all things, and played around with the chart until I was pleased with the dragonfly itself.
Then I had to work out what to do with all that space in between each dragonfly, not to mention the decreasing necessary for nice-fitting yoke! I finally settled on a broken line pattern running parallel with the dragonfly tail, and I carefully worked in the decreases so that the lines would match up above and below the body.
Now I was finally at the point where I could choose my yarn! I knew I wanted to play with the idea of dragonflies trapped in amber, so I needed to find the perfect warm honey color, and another deep color for the yoke. I also wanted to make sure that the hand-dyed colors were not too wild, and would be readily available to knitters. So I decided to go with Dream in Color Yarns Smooshy in Gold Experience colorway for the main color – it has subtle variation like a kettle dye, and the perfect amount of warm amber, yellow, and pumpkin. I chose SweetGeorgia Yarns Tough Love Sock in Cauldron colorway for the yoke design – another subtle dye with blacks and greys and just enough variation to add interest without losing the pattern. At the time of writing, both of these yarns are available at many quality LYS’s and online at Webs, so they should be easy enough to find!
Once I had the beautiful wool in hand, the sweater came together relatively easily. I kept the design simple, with just a touch of the contrast color at the hem, cuffs, and neckline.
I shaped the waist and added short rows below the yoke for a better fit. Working out the yoke was tricky, for two reasons. First, the chart is very large, so the repeats are few and far between. Second, I wanted the dragonfly to be centered in the front yoke of every size, and that is not something one figures out easily. With a bit of tweaking, I got it!
I asked for test knitters for this design at the end of July, and I was lucky to have a great response with so many wonderful knitters offering to test my pattern! Their assistance was invaluable, and after several months of hard work, we were ready to release!
I am hoping knitters will enjoy Dragonflies in Amber and will put their beautiful hand-dyed hanks of sock yarn to great use with this pattern! Head over to the Ravelry pattern page and click on “projects” to see some of the amazing color combinations my testers have chosen. They are all incredibly beautiful!
Stay tuned for more information on my other releases, the Caerleon Mantelet and Fingerless Mitts, and the Knit Picks exclusive Fort Rock pullover. I’m also working on a few more designs for the new year!