Intellectual Property for Indies

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Good morning, all!

A quick post to share today: my podcast on intellectual property issues for independent designers/yarnies/crafters with Marie Segares of the Creative Yarn Entrepeneur is now live and available for listening!

It was a great pleasure in the past to be interviewed by Marie as part of her Underground Crafter blog series.  Marie has just begun this recent podcast venture, which is specifically geared toward the owners of indie yarn craft businesses who are looking to generate ideas for launching, managing, and evolving those businesses, and I was thrilled to collaborate with her on this most recent episode.

We spend the episode chatting about general intellectual property issues that might arise in the yarn business, from how to read (and negotiate) your design contract, to what copyright issues you should be aware of and how to generally adopt an intellectual property mindset to the benefit of your business!

I hope that you enjoy our chat and learn from it as well – the Creative Yarn Entrepeneur is a wonderful series chock full of education and it’s an essential new resource to have in our industry!

xoxo Danielle

holla knits fall/winter 2014 collection

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Updated on 9/25/14: The contest has closed and congratulations to Gussek – you’re the winner of the pattern giveaway! I’ll be emailing you so you can choose the pattern of your choice from the recent collection – happy knitting!
Danielle

Hello, everyone! I’ve got a special treat for you today: a peek at the Holla Knits Fall/Winter 2014 Collection and an interview with the founder/editor of Holla Knits, Allyson Dykhuizen!

Holla Knits is a website dedicated to bringing knitters and crocheters fresh, modern designs that you won’t find anywhere else. Each year, Allyson curates multiple collections centered around themes like the seasons, accessories, and home accents. Released this month, the Fall/Winter 2014 Collection features six unique garments from Allyson and five other talented designers.

One of my very favorite things about Holla Knits is that Allyson always shows a design in two different yarns/colorways (often using independent dyers as well as established commercial companies) and also photographs the designs on a variety of body types. This approach makes it that much easier to envision each design in a different light – brilliant! Here’s just one example from the current collection: the Geo Delight sweater by Teresa Gregorio. The first two photos below showcase this cardigan on one model, with a lace and color work surprise on the back, in Knit Picks’ yarn:

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But Allyson also showcases the same design on another model in yarn from Mountain Colors, giving you plenty of inspiration as you plan your own version:

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So without further ado, let’s get down to that interview that I promised you!

Makewise Designs: In general, what was your inspiration for this collection? An image? A location? A memory?

Allyson Dykhuizen: The Fall/Winter Collection inspirations are always the easiest ones to put together because fall is the best time to be a knitter! We start getting ready for fall when it’s still 90 degrees. This collection came together around unusual construction techniques more than anything, which is something I love as a knitter.

MWD: What is the message/feeling that you’re hoping to convey with this season’s collection?

AD: Comfy cozy knits with big visual impact. These are all sweaters you can wrap yourself in but not that you’ll be able to hide in. They’re all very bold and fun, and so cozy you’ll reach for them again and again.

MWD: Tell us about some of the more unusual techniques/details featured in the collection. To me, Holla Knits always includes garments with a real twist – something you won’t find anywhere else. Which garment(s) best reflect that?

AD: I think there are 3 real knockouts in this collection! Cape Vertigo by Leah Coccari-Swift (shown below in yarns from Knit Picks and Berrocco, respectively) is a big stranded cape knit in the round and steeked. I love capes because they make it ok to wear a blanket around outside. And the stranded colorwork repeat is super unique. I really love everything about this cape!

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AD: Another standout is Axial Cardigan by Kirsten Singer (shown below in Knit Picks and Rowan yarns, respectively), which starts at the center back and works out in a big cable chart in the round. Which is a hell of a way to start a cardigan! I love that it’s a cozy cardigan in the front and a super cable extravaganza in the back.

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AD: The third is Windowpane Sweater by Boadicea Bonnerts (shown below in Dye for Wool and Knit Picks yarns, respectively). It’s an ease-y pullover with big block windowpanes throughout created with stripes and vertical crocheted details. It’s knit from the bottom up, and there is short row bust and elbow shaping, tons of wrap and turns! It’s crazy. I had so much fun knitting the sweater and I can’t wait to wear it all the time this fall.

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MWD: For a beginning knitter or someone new to Holla Knits, which design from this collection would you recommend that they start with?

AD: Probably mine! Velma by Allyson Dykhuizen (shown below in Knit Picks and Knits in Class yarns, respectively) is probably the most tame sweater in the collection, which is funny because my design is usually the most out there! This one has lots of Holla Knit-worthy elements, like unusual construction and creative texture placement, but in a very wearable package. It starts from working a center panel, then stitches are picked up on either side and the body is finished by knitting vertically. Fun right?

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MWD: Do you have a favorite design from the collection, and why?

AD: I really love them all! Every time I put a collection together I really fall in love with every design while I’m tech editing and knitting them. My favorite FO is probably Cape Vertigo because it’s so unique and there really is nothing else like it out there. My favorite process knit is probably Windowpane Sweater because it had so many fun knitting techniques so it really kept me on my toes as a knitter, and I love that.

MWD: I LOVE the Beech Street Vest by Andrea Sanchez (shown below in Anzula and Knit Picks yarns, respectively) – it’s brilliant and totally wearable, not to mention reversible! What are some of the skills that a knitter needs who wants to attempt this project?

AD: Oh I love it, too. You don’t see many brioche garments, and this one is an absolute standout. I think this is a very doable project for a beginner knitter with some youtube skills. This was my first foray into brioche knitting and it took me a couple practice swatches to get the hang of it. I also had to practice tubular bind off and cast on because trying to do it on the vest. And I found those how to videos on youtube as well! So as long as you’ve got the patience to be able to search the internet for stuff you don’t understand, dig in! It’s a very rewarding knit.

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MWD: Thank you, Allyson!

And now, the best news of all – you can win an electronic copy of any one of the patterns featured above! Just leave a comment on this post by midnight, Eastern time on Wednesday, September 24th, and I’ll select a winner randomly from the comments. (So be sure to leave your email address!)

What else can I say – get out there and celebrate the season with this gorgeous collection of new knitting!
xoxo Danielle

PS: Be sure to follow along with the Holla Knits blog tour to learn all about each of these lovely designs (and enter for more chances to win along the way) – the tour schedule is below:

Sept 8: Launch
Sept 9: The Sweatshop of Love
Sept 10: Klever Knits
Sept 11: Berroco
Sept 12: Canary Knits
Sept 15: Mountain Colors Facebook Page
Sept 16: Life on Laffer
Sept 17: Knits in Class
Sept 18: Makewise Designs
Sept 19: Anzula

Sept 22: Ruby Submarine
Sept 23: BoKnits
Sept 24: Under the Red Umbrella
Sept 25: DoogKnits
Sept 26: Cosmos and Cashmere

stomping grounds pullover, take two

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Hi all,

Just a quick note to let you know that my Stomping Grounds Pullover, originally designed for Knit Picks’ City Tweed 2013 Collection, is now also available for purchase here at Makewise Designs!

(images courtesy of Knit Picks)

To learn more about the pattern and/or to purchase it, you can either click here or head on over to the Ravelry page here.

To learn more about the design when it was originally released last year, you can check out my blog post here.

And of course, the pattern will always be available through Knit Picks’ website as well!

Enjoy!
xoxo Danielle

for grace

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Remember that post I did a couple of months back about a new sweater design for one of my beautiful new nieces? Well, the pattern isn’t quite ready for release yet (there’s still the small matter of sizing it and getting it edited…oops!), but at least I have some photographs ready to share!

Here is the wee cardi I designed for Grace, shown in a 6-9 month size:

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Knit in the delicious merino/cashmere Madelinetosh Pashmina blend, this little garment is a traditional yoke-shaped sweater, knit in one piece from the bottom up.

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The bodice is knit in daisy stitch, which gives the cardigan a classic texture that is warm and also lies beautifully flat.

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The yoke and sleeves are knit in regular stockinette stitch and edged in garter stitch for simplicity and to show off the variegation of the chosen yarn. As you can see from the picture directly above, the sweater features a nice wide neck for comfort and is generously sized with positive ease to accommodate lots of growing (and hopefully, lots of wear)!

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The buttonband is also garter stitch, and the cardigan is finished with three sweet buttons that allow the sweater to close at the top while keeping the bottom open for maximum movement. The matching buttons were procured after another successful excursion to the local Joann’s Fabrics with my button partner-in-crime, my mom.

(The eagle-eyed among you will also notice that the buttons and buttonband are technically switched or “backwards” for a girl’s garment. I intentionally made this switch to accommodate Grace’s right-handed parents who will be dressing her while she wears 6-9 month clothing :) The pattern will feature instructions for both options, of course!)

I loved working on this design, not least because it gave me a chance to experiment with yoked sweaters for the first time. I’ve got the next yoked sweater design underway for my second gorgeous new niece, and I’ll be certain to share more about that process as well as the pattern releases for both!

Happy Knitting! (And a happy holiday weekend!)
xoxo Danielle

bee stitch cardigan

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It may still feel like Summer and look like Summer outside (and the calendar technically says it’s still Summer), but intrepid knitters are already on the lookout for their Autumn knitting projects. That’s where the Autumn issue of Interweave Knits comes in, and I was thrilled to have my Bee Stitch Cardigan included in its pages!

I can still clearly recall my inspiration for this one: a cozy, simple sweater that’s big on texture. At first glance, the Bee Stitch Cardigan might not appear especially textured, but wait until you get closer:

The sleeves are worked in a traditional, close-fitting rib to give a more modern fit to the sweater, while the body is worked in bee stitch (hence the name of the cardigan…) Bee stitch is a type of brioche knitting, in which you knit into the row below on the right side of the work to create a dense, lushly textured fabric.

For ease of knitting and comfort in wearing, the cardigan is knit in one piece from the top down and features raglan shaping and buttonholes worked into the body. There is no waist shaping, so the body of the cardigan is sized to easily allow you to wear your favorite shirt underneath as shown in the pictures here. (And the traditional crew neck shaping also helps show off that shirt, too). The body is edged in I-cord for additional texture, and I even created a faux sort of “seam” on the sides of the body as a fun detail.

The sample shown in these pictures was knit with Swans Island Organic Washable DK yarn, which I can not rave about enough. This is a FABULOUS yarn, and you will not regret choosing it for any project! It’s a 100% merino yarn made using an Eco-wash process, which renders it washable in a gentle fashion. It feels like butter as you knit with it, and the resulting fabric is both lofty and cushy at the same time. (Just FYI: this particular cardigan requires more yarn than usual, as the brioche-style knitting and ribbed sleeves consume more yarn than standard knit/purl textures.) The color depicted here is a lovely green-blue-teal appropriately named “verdigris.” I could, however, easily see this cardigan knit up in a timeless camel or off-white colorway to become a three-season wardrobe staple.

I hope you enjoy this latest design! It’s always a privilege and a pleasure to work with the folks at Interweave, and this time was no exception. If you’re picking up this latest issue, I’d also highly recommend Ashley Rao’s Ropemaker Pullover (a gorgeous study in cables and pockets) and Ramona Gaynor’s colorful Redfern Cardigan, shown on this issue’s cover!

Happy Autumn Knitting!
xoxo Danielle

PS: All images appear courtesy of, and with thanks to, Interweave Knits.
PPS: Did I mention that, of course, I found five buttons that matched this yarn perfectly at Tender Buttons in NYC? As usual, they’re the best!

summer saturday

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When life hands you two gleaming quarts of sour cherries from Orbaker’s Fruit Farm in Williamson, New York….you should definitely make cherry jam!

It was a team effort chez Chalson this morning, with Andrew manning the cherry pitter and me manning the knife (maybe not the most intelligent division of labor in retrospect), but we’ve got a haul of half-pints as reward for our work. Now all we need is some warm baguette for devouring with the jam.

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Happy Saturday!

xoxo Danielle

testing, 1…2…3…

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Is this thing on? tap tap tap

Sorry about the blogging silence, folks! But never fear, I’ve got fun knitting to show from the past few weeks to make up for it! In the meantime, I hope that everyone has been enjoying these early summer days and that there is plenty of sunshine and warmth in your forecast to make up for what seemed like a never-ending winter. Keep your fingers crossed for my first foray into vegetable gardening: a cherry-tomato-plant-for-idiots growing on my patio.

So, anyway..…the fun knitting! It was inspired by wonderful recent events: I’ve got two brand new nieces! (They are each gorgeous and adorable and perfect and unique. I’m not biased.)

When I found out that my nieces would be born around the same time, give or take, I thought it would be fun to create a sweater design for each of them with a unifying theme, but then with very different design details. My first thought was: make them both sweaters with circular yokes! I don’t know why this was my first idea, but it was and that’s what I went with.

One of the sweaters came together in my mind more quickly, as I envisioned a classically sweet little cardigan, so I started with that idea. I swatched a bunch of different yarns, and I’m so glad I did. As you’ll see, this early fiddling stage made a big difference.

Knowing that I wanted to make roughly a 6-9 month size in each sweater (which would put them into fall-winter wear/usage), I initially thought that an all-wool DK- or worsted-weight yarn would be great. Below, my first attempt in Madelinetosh Tosh DK (100% merino) in the “Molly Ringwald” colorway on size US 7 needles. I find that the roundness of this yarn definitely makes it knit up more like a worsted:

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As you’ll see, I was experimenting with a traditional daisy stitch, whose texture I knew would pop in an all-wool yarn. And while the texture did indeed pop (and I liked the color), I ended up feeling as though the texture wasn’t delicate/small enough for what I had envisioned. Perhaps this gauge would work better on a larger child’s sweater, but not here.

So I changed course, and dove into my stash again, this time coming up with my favorite Madelinetosh Pashmina, the sport-weight blend of merino, cashmere, and silk in the Rose colorway on size US 5 needles:

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Almost immediately, I knew this was a better choice. The daisy stitch still pops from the background, thanks to the wool content, but the cashmere and silk lend the overall fabric more drape and softness. The smaller gauge also means that the texture is a bit more delicate. I just love this dusty purply-pink shade, too. Here’s a side-by-side comparison between the two yarns to give you a better idea of their different effects:

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Interesting, right? I’m convinced that you can actually see the difference in drape just from this picture (although maybe I’ve been staring at it too long). Not to mention the impact of the gauge. This is why swatching is critical! It can really take you by surprise.

Just to be sure that I was satisfied with the pashmina choice, I decided to try one last yarn in approximately the same gauge, but with a different fiber content. Enter stage left: my third swatch in Madelinetosh Tosh Sport in the colorway “Porcelain,” a barely-there pink. (Yes, there’s a theme to the yarns. It’s all Madelinetosh. This is barely the tip of the stash iceberg…) I don’t remember the needle size, but it was comparable to my pashmina swatch. Again, it was a worthwhile exercise:

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While I achieved the delicacy that I wanted in the pattern, the texture was stiffened again thanks to the 100% merino in the Tosh Sport. So even with a smaller gauge, the all-wool yarn really wasn’t giving me the fabric/feel I had envisioned. Not to mention, the Porcelain colorway, while beautiful, was not at all the right choice for this project: too neutral.

Here are all three swatches side by side:

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Not the best picture, admittedly, but hopefully it still communicates the message: no matter how many years you’ve been knitting or how many projects you’ve made, be sure to swatch out your ideas to make sure they’re the right fit with the yarn!

Next time: the sweater design that came out of all of this experimenting, in all of its wee cuteness.
xoxo Danielle

“mad” for may, again!

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It’s May again! Does that finally mean no more winter (although it does seem to mean buckets of rain)? fingers crossed

So just like last year, I’m having a sale to celebrate the annual Madelinetosh May party over on Ravelry! You know how much I love Madelinetosh yarns, as I have a bunch of designs that feature the beautiful stuff, including:

Augusta

Zuni

Avian

Shipshape

and Sugarplums

Use the coupon code MadMay in my Ravelry Pattern Store and get 20% off any of my self-published patterns through Thursday, the 15th, at midnight EDT!

Happy Knitting!
xoxo Danielle

friday freebie: reversible baby hat pattern!

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TGIF, folks! And to celebrate the impending weekend, how about a quick free pattern that I whipped up recently?

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Perfect for that variegated skein of sock yarn that we all have in our stashes, this hat is quick, simple, and reversible thanks to its ribbed brim and garter stitch texture. I used less than one skein of a favorite fingering-weight yarn, Koigu KPPPM because I love its color saturation, woolliness, and tight twist, but any warm and stretchy sock yarn will work well.

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One of the great little tricks that I used to make this hat has to do with the brim, and is courtesy of the Tech Knitter. By knitting a few rows in the round on larger needles, then switching to your intended needles to work the ribbing, you get a super-stretchy and rolled edge to your brim that is very durable and not at all binding on the head. This is a brilliant and easy tip that has wide applicability to any edging (think sleeve and neck cuffs)!

Because the body of the hat is worked in garter stitch in the round, you will get a faux seam along the line where you begin a new round, but if you’re like me, that’s nothing to worry about. Just full disclosure, really!

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And to keep the knitting speedy, the crown decreases are concentrated in the very last rounds at the top of the hat to create a gathered effect. Easy and comfy for baby!

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The instructions, including the sizing, gauge, and materials are all below. Enjoy!
xoxo Danielle

Reversible Garter-Stitch Baby Hat

To fit: Infant
Finished Head Circumference: approximately 14.75″ [37.5 cm], unstretched
Note: Hat is designed to be worn with anywhere from no ease (for a loose fit) up to a couple of inches of negative ease (for a snug fit)

Materials:
130 yards of fingering-weight yarn; shown in Koigu KPPPM (100% merino; 175 yd/160 m per 50 g/1.75 oz), colorway P470X: one skein.
US 3 [3.25mm] needles: 16″ circular needle and double-pointed needles (DPNs), or size needed to obtain gauge
US 5 [3.75mm] needles: 16″ circular needle (note: these extra needles are only for the rolled brim technique. You may omit these needles if you skip this step.)
One marker
Tapestry needle

Gauge
26 sts and 56 rows = 4″ [10 cm] in garter stitch, blocked

Instructions
Brim
With larger needles, CO 96 sts. Join in the round, being careful not to twist CO.
Knit three rounds.
Note: The above rounds are optional. If you’d just like to start the brim with ribbing, then CO 96 sts loosely with the smaller circular needle and proceed with the ribbing as described below.

Switching to smaller circular needle, work ribbing as follows:
Rnd 1: *k2, p2; rep from * to end of round.
Rep Rnd 1 until ribbing measures approximately 3/4″ [2 cm].

Body
Work garter stitch as follows:
Rnd 1: knit.
Rnd 2: purl.
Rep last 2 rounds until hat measures approximately 6″ [15.25 cm] from CO edge, ending with Rnd 2.

Crown
Note: switch to DPNs when there are too few stitches to fit comfortably on the circular needle.
Work decreases as follows:
Dec Rnd 1: *k2, k2tog; rep from * to end of round. 72 sts.
Next rnd: purl.
Dec Rnd 2: *k1, k2tog; rep from * to end of round. 48 sts.
Next rnd: purl.
Dec Rnd 3: *k2tog; rep from * to end of round. 24 sts.
Dec Rnd 4: *p2tog; rep from * to end of round. 12 sts.
Dec Rnd 5: Rep Dec Rnd 3. 6 sts.

Finishing
Break yarn with 6″ [15.25 cm] tail, and using tapestry needle, pull tail tightly through remaining 6 sts and send tail through center top of crown. Weave in loose ends and block, if desired.

Note: All instructions and pictures are © 2014 Danielle Chalson.  Please do not use either without my permission.  Thank you!

cookie jar, take two

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Remember those Biscotti Bites I told you about last time? Well, it didn’t take us long to gobble up the first batch and make up the second batch with a delicious spin…..

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Behold the lime-and-white-chocolate variation! They are so so so so so so so delicious, it should be illegal.

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Before I had even baked this batch, I had already noticed how much “sunnier” this version was. By that, I mean that this flavor combination is lighter and brighter and generally more suited for a summer dessert (not to mention sweeter than the darker version).

As you can see, the white chocolate doesn’t interrupt the yellow-tinged batter the way the dark chocolate did in the original combination. Not that that’s a bad thing – don’t get me wrong. I covet chocolate in all of its forms. And yes, I dipped their bottoms in white chocolate, too ;)

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Similarly, the lime flavor is less dominant than the orange flavor was. Again – not a bad thing – but an altogether wonderful substitution.

Just look at that texture……

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The fact that both of these flavor combos work so well tells me that this is just a GREAT cookie recipe that’s versatile enough to hold up to many more creative substitutions. So if I didn’t convince you last time to try them, I hope I have now!
xoxo Danielle

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