Eclectic Closet Litblog, Book Reviews & Knitting Designs

A litblog dedicated to book reviews/recommendations, as well as literary and publishing news. Now enhanced with knitting designs.

Patterns for literary lovers

December7

I find literature a great inspiration when designing.  In fact, I’ve designed several pieces based on works of fiction: Sargaço Shawl, Whitman Cowl, Taming of the Fox, and Stacks Socks.

Here are my picks of some other #giftalong2016 designs inspired by works of fiction.

 

Eyre by Renée Kies

Eyre by Renée Kies

 

Shirley Keeldar shawl by Elizabeth Felgate

Shirley Keeldar shawl by Elizabeth Felgate

 

Georgiana Newbury by Teresa Morey

Georgiana Newbury by Teresa Morey

 

Petit Prince and Little Star by Aurélie Colas

Petit Prince and Little Star by Aurélie Colas

 

The Tale of Little Rabbit by Olga Beckmann

The Tale of Little Rabbit by Olga Beckmann

 

Persuasion by Christal LK Designs

Persuasion by Christal LK Designs

 

 

Ranganathan's Mitts by Sharon Fuller

Ranganathan’s Mitts by Sharon Fuller

 

Scheherazade's Tale by Nim Teasdale

Scheherazade’s Tale by Nim Teasdale

 

The Yellow-Gartered Dude Abides by Elizabeth Green Musselman

The Yellow-Gartered Dude Abides by Elizabeth Green Musselman

 

What is the Gift-A-Long? The GAL is a big knitting and crochet designer promotion with prizes and more than 5,000 people participating in a giant KAL/CAL. Come join the GAL group on Ravelry!

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Patterns to make you smile

December4

As we get further into December, there are some very grey and dreary days. Gift-A-Long has some fantastically cute and funny patterns, the perfect thing to combat an overcast day.  The challenge here was paring the list down to these selections.

 

Celtic Cabled Mandala by Tatsiana Kupryianchyk

Celtic Cabled Mandala by Tatsiana Kupryianchyk

 

 

Lady of the Lake by Lotta Groeger

Lady of the Lake by Lotta Groeger

 

My Little Slug by Selina S.

My Little Slug by Selina S.

 

 

Venn by Ella Austin

Venn by Ella Austin

 

 Woolbringer: A knitted sword by Emily Ringelman

Woolbringer: A knitted sword by Emily Ringelman

 

Zombie Knitster by Julia Swart

Zombie Knitster by Julia Swart

 

Karen by Tanja Osswald

Karen by Tanja Osswald

 

Mullioned Hat by Katy H. Carroll

Mullioned Hat by Katy H. Carroll

 

Flidais Stole by Stephannie Tallent

Flidais Stole by Stephannie Tallent

 

What is the Gift-A-Long? The GAL is a big knitting and crochet designer promotion with prizes and more than 5,000 people participating in a giant KAL/CAL. Come join the GAL group on Ravelry!

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Patterns to tame the inner geek

December2

Whether you’re a fan of Harry Potter, Doctor Who or Firefly, the Indie Gift-A-Long has something for everyone.  Here are some of my pattern picks that celebrate various fandoms.

 

Venomous Tentacula by Jennifer Dassau

Venomous Tentacula by Jennifer Dassau

 

Space Cadet Sweater Vest by Nicole Montgomery

Space Cadet Sweater Vest by Nicole Montgomery

 

Doctored by Gabriella Henry

Doctored by Gabriella Henry

 

Shoggoth by Lee Meredith

Shoggoth by Lee Meredith

 

 

 

Jayne Cupcake by Kathleen Sperling

Jayne Cupcake by Kathleen Sperling

 

The One Ring by Renée Kies

The One Ring by Renée Kies

 

Guinan by Akua Lezli Hope AkuaDesigns

Guinan by Akua Lezli Hope AkuaDesigns

 

Mithrandir by Amy van de Laar

Mithrandir by Amy van de Laar

 

 Calluna Brae by Sally Oakley

Calluna Brae by Sally Oakley

 

Omar Alien by cheezombie

Omar Alien by cheezombie

What is the Gift-A-Long? The GAL is a big knitting and crochet designer promotion with prizes and more than 5,000 people participating in a giant KAL/CAL. Come join the GAL group on Ravelry!

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Patterns for period drama lovers

November28

I love period dramas and will happily watch a marathon of Downton Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, The Miss Fisher Mysteries or The Paradise. Many of these feature fantastic knit or crochet garments and all have inspired designers with their aesthetic. Here are some of my picks for those who desire a bit of vintage style with their knitting/crochet.

Flapper Cloche by Megan Nodecker

Flapper Cloche by Megan Nodecker

 

Pride and Prejudice Mittens by Christelle Nihoul

Pride and Prejudice Mittens by Christelle Nihoul

 

Sanguinaria yarn bag by Naomi Parkhurst

Sanguinaria yarn bag by Naomi Parkhurst

 

Paris 1925 by Marie Greene

Paris 1925 by Marie Greene

 

Parisian Delight by Andrea Rangel

Parisian Delight by Andrea Rangel

 

Ninetta Neckwarmer by Nina Machlin Dayton

Ninetta Neckwarmer by Nina Machlin Dayton

 

 

 

In Case of Draughts by Hunter Hammersen

In Case of Draughts by Hunter Hammersen

 

Nola Cloche by Hilary Smith Callis

Nola Cloche by Hilary Smith Callis

 

Bellocq by Marnie MacLean

Bellocq by Marnie MacLean

 

Lady Sybil's Crescent by Michele DuNaier

Lady Sybil’s Crescent by Michele DuNaier

 

What is the Gift-A-Long? The GAL is a big knitting and crochet designer promotion with prizes and more than 5,000 people participating in a giant KAL/CAL. Come join the GAL group on Ravelry!

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Saying Thanks

November26

Black Friday Cyber Monday sale at Eclectic Closet Knitwear 20% off

The worlds converged – Gift-A-Long2016 and Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday are all happening at once this year. Want to find the best deal on my designs? All the details on my sale, which coupon to use and links to the designs are here.

Thank you for all your support of my designs and small business.

Indie Designer Gift-a-long sale collage

Patterns that make me wish I liked knitting stranded colourwork designs

November26

I adore the look of stranded colourwork pieces but not the process of knitting them.  Stranded colourwork and intarsia aren’t my “happy place” knitting-wise.  However, there are so many stunning designs in the Gift-A-Long that I had to share. Here are the ones currently making my heart sing – now I just need to find someone to knit them for me!

 

Deco Dots by Virginia Sattler-Reimer

Deco Dots by Virginia Sattler-Reimer

 

Persian Dreams by Jenise Hope

Persian Dreams by Jenise Hope

 

Fancy Hen by Ella Austin

Fancy Hen by Ella Austin

 

Fox Crossing by Simone Kereit

Fox Crossing by Simone Kereit

 

The Woodcarving by Aurélie Colas

The Woodcarving by Aurélie Colas

 

Shawinigan Scarf by Natalie Servant

Shawinigan Scarf by Natalie Servant

 

Maurits by Andrea Rangel

Maurits by Andrea Rangel

 

Reykjavik by Carol Sunday

Reykjavik by Carol Sunday

 

Locksley by Emily Ringelman

Locksley by Emily Ringelman

 

Burghal Hat by Cheryl Chow

Burghal Hat by Cheryl Chow

 

Short Circuit by Jo Torr

Short Circuit by Jo Torr

 

Höstlöv by Anita Grahn

Höstlöv by Anita Grahn

 

What is the Gift-A-Long? The GAL is a big knitting and crochet designer promotion with prizes and more than 5,000 people participating in a giant KAL/CAL. Come join the GAL group on Ravelry!

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Patterns to make you wish you crocheted

November24

I don’t know how to do much more than a single crochet chain but I can appreciate the beauty of a great crochet design.  To kick off the Indie Designer Gift-A-Long blog post series, I decided to share my top picks from the Gift-A-Long crochet designers.

 Amigurumi Nativity Scene by Justyna Kacprzak

Amigurumi Nativity Scene by Justyna Kacprzak

 

Inca Blocks Wrap by Beth Graham

Inca Blocks Wrap by Beth Graham

 

 Dancing Owl by Tatsiana Kupryianchyk

Dancing Owl by Tatsiana Kupryianchyk

 

Rippling Arctic by Elena Fedotova

Rippling Arctic by Elena Fedotova

 

Gathering Leaves by Lily Go

Gathering Leaves by Lily Go

 

Winterlaced Hat and Cowl by Yuliya Tkacheva

Winterlaced Hat and Cowl by Yuliya Tkacheva

 

Hardware Heaven by Sarah jane Jackson

Hardware Heaven by Sarah jane Jackson

Threaded Colors Chevron by BabyLove Brand

Threaded Colors Chevron by BabyLove Brand

Lace Labyrinth Scarf by 10 Hours or Less

Lace Labyrinth Scarf by 10 Hours or Less

 

Lona by Julie Blagojevich

Lona by Julie Blagojevich

 

 Robijn by Susanne Visch

Robijn by Susanne Visch

 

Cowl Neck Sweater by Natalia Kononova

Cowl Neck Sweater by Natalia Kononova

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Indie Designer Giftalong

November22

The 2016 Indie Designer Gift-A-Long has begun and the forums are buzzing. I have selected 20 of my designs that are 25% off from today until November 30 at 11:59 pm with coupon code giftalong2016. The collage below is the one I developed to promote my bundle of sale patterns.

Indie Designer Gift-a-long sale collage

Join today! There are thousands of prizes to be won, lots of chatting in the GAL threads and holiday knitting/crocheting to be completed.

From the Ravelry Group:
What is Gift-A-Long? It’s a multi-designer promotion to help you kick your holiday gift-making into high gear!

The Indie Design Gift-A-Long is a 6 week long KAL/CAL of holiday gifts made from patterns designed by a rather extensive list of independent designers. From November 22, 2016 at 8:00 pm US EST to December 31, 2016 at midnight US EST there will be fun games, contests, and 8 KAL/CALs that will help you get your holiday knitting done with companionship and fun! From November 22, 2016 at 8:00 pm US EST to November 30th at 11:59pm US EST tons of indie designers will be discounting between 5 – 20 of their patterns 25% for this event.

You can find a list of the 335 participating designers, with photos, here. For easy searching on Ravelry, view the bundles here.

Once you’ve got your Gift-A-Long patterns, we encourage you to join a relevant KAL/CAL! (For instance, if it is a cowl, please join the cowl KAL/CAL.) To join, simply write a post in the KAL/CAL thread you want to join, including the pattern name you will be knitting and a link to your project page. KAL/CAL participants are eligible for lots of lovely prizes but you’ve got to post to win!

KAL/CALs will run from November 22, 2016 at 8:00 pm US EST to December 31, 2016 at midnight US EST, plenty of time to knock out all your holiday knitting and crocheting. We have tons of prizes and great conversation, plus a lot of other fun, so pull up a chair and join us!

80skeins collated all the stats and created the amazing infographic below. The organizers have put a lot of effort into this event, I think we’re going to blow last year out of the water.

giftalong 2016 infographic

 

 

 

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The Secret Way of Patterns

September20

This is both a happy and sad story but I’m hoping that readers can help this story have an exceptional ending.

Miriam wearing The Secret Way of Patterns

Miriam wearing The Secret Way of Patterns

My niece Miriam (7 years old) wants to be a fashion designer (and the Prime Minister of Canada but that’s another story). She spends a great deal of time drawing outfits and has had very distinct opinions on fashion style for several years. I thought it would be a great activity for us to start designing knitting patterns together and Miriam agreed.

Early in 2016 we went out to a local coffee house to discuss what Miriam wanted for her cowl. She made some initial sketches and we went through one of my Japanese stitch pattern books together, with Miriam marking down the number of the patterns she liked for about 20 pages before she got overwhelmed. She then narrowed the selection to 5 or 6 patterns after which we discussed how she’d like the cowl knit.

Of course, she had clear ideas about the direction the knitting should be done (along the length), the length of the cowl, how the patterns should go together (in bands) and the way the patterns should be repeated. She quickly narrowed down the smaller patterns to go between the larger motif but it took a bit of work before she finally managed to get it down to a final selection.

I swatched the patterns and that resulted in more fine-tuning and a change in how the smaller motifs were ordered between the larger one. After another swatch, Miriam was satisfied and I was ready to begin knitting on her cowl.

Miriam's sketch for her cowl

Miriam’s sketch for her cowl

Miriam wanted her cowl knit in a cream colour, with large blue buttons so she could wear it multiple ways. The result is the shorter sample which she is modeling in the photos. I knit this over the summer and part of it was done while in Haliburton (Ontario). My friends and I had rented a cottage there while they attended Indigodragonfly’s Stained Fingers Dye Camp. Kim McBrien Evans saw the piece and asked what I was working on and I told her the story behind the pattern. Kim got very excited and wanted to support Miriam in her design work and offered yarn support for the adult version of the cowl, which she is wearing in the photo of her and Miriam.

It was decided that the design would be “launched” at the Knitter’s Fair (held each September by the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitters’ Guild) in the Indigodragonfly booth. I was really excited because that meant I could take Miriam to the show and she could see her design on display, meet Kim and get inspired for our next design collaboration by looking at all the yarn.

Knitting was done, the pattern was written up and all was on track. Miriam named it “The Secret Way of Patterns.” We were going to have to do the photo shoot after the event but excitement was building for Miriam and I, as well as for my mother, Miriam’s grandmother. Other family members had seen the cowl since it was finished but Miriam hadn’t seen it. The plan was for it to be a surprise for her a day or two before the show. But this is where the story gets very sad.

Mom wearing Vieux Carré Stole

My Mom wearing Vieux Carré Stole

Three days before the Knitter’s Fair my mother passed away very suddenly due to health complications from a long term illness. None of us were expecting that and it was devastating to all of us, but especially to Miriam and her brother. It’s difficult to lose a grandmother at any age but it’s especially traumatic when you are under the age of 10. Friends scrambled together to get the sample to Kim for the show but we weren’t sure if Miriam and I would attend. Friday night I showed the cowl to Miriam and she suddenly started crying. I asked why and she said “Grandma won’t ever get to see it, how will she know I’m a designer now?” Luckily I was able to reassure her that Grandma did see it and thought it was beautiful. And in the end we attended the Knitter’s Fair together and Miriam got to meet Kim, show off her first design and feel like a designer for the first time, although it was very bittersweet. And even though we both felt very sad, we still had the photo shoot this past Saturday and Miriam did a great job.

Kim and Miriam at KW Knitter's Fair

Kim and Miriam at KW Knitter’s Fair

Now here’s where I’m hoping some of you can help make this story have an exceptional ending. My mother had asked that Learning For Humanity be listed as the charity for those wishing to make a donation in her name – she believed so much in education. My mom taught me to dream and passed on her love of crafting to both Miriam and I. She was always very supportive of my designing and was so excited that Miriam and I were designing together. In fact, the photo of my mother used for her funeral is her wearing my Vieux Carré Stole, a design I knit as a gift for her.

Miriam and I want to honour and remember my mother by supporting Learning For Humanity and inviting many others to support it as well. We’ve decided that 100% of the money from pattern sales of The Secret Way of Patterns will go to support the installation of Learning For Humanity educational systems in schools in Zambia until the end of 2016. Miriam is hoping that we could sell several thousand patterns (she’s hoping to raise enough to cover the costs of one school – I told her that we would need to sell 8,000 patterns to do that).

So our request is this – can you help us give this story an exceptional ending? You can buy the pattern here or make a direct donation (and receive a charitable receipt) here.

Miriam wearing The Secret Way of Patterns on a swing

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Palmaria Shawl, part of Northern Landscapes part 2

April28

Palmaria Shawl
Palmaria Shawl is inspired by the waved ridges of seaweed left on the rocky shores at Cape Norman, Newfoundland. Palmaria palmate, commonly known as Dulse, is a seaweed commonly found in the north east Atlantic.

Palmaria Shawl Stitch Detail

Patterns in Northern Landscapes, part two are available individually or as part of the collection. During the pre-order period, the ebook is available at a special, discounted price of $24.95. Tablet Braid Scarf, Långhus Blanket, A-Frame Huts Stole, Filigree and Shadow Stole, Peridotite Stole, Blennerville Stole, and L’Anse aux Meadows are already released, as is Northern Landscapes, part 1. The rest of the patterns will be published over several months and once all the patterns are available individually, the eBook version of the patterns will be uploaded (April 2016). At that time the price of the eBook rises to $35.95 (full retail price of patterns is $75).

If you choose to purchase individual patterns from the collection you will still be able to take advantage of the ebook pricing. Once you purchase the equivalent of $35.95 in patterns from Northern Landscapes, part two, the rest of the patterns will be automatically added to your cart/library.

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My Knitting Patterns


Audrey II



Angular Path Scarf



Cartouche Stole



Fossetta Cowl



Fossetta Hat



Sargaço Shawl



Whitman Hat



Every Which Way Cowl



Every Which Way Hat



Every Which Way Fingerless Mitts



Gothic Forest Scarf



Valencia Scarf



Branching Path Cowl



Flower Bell Stole



Whitman Cowl



New Tech Cowl



Vieux Carré Stole



Stacks Socks



Anna Perenna Shawlette



Taming of the Fox


Don't Ask Y

Cantilevering Leaves



Amplification Stole



Combs Cowl



Mindfulness Cowl



Tipsy Scarf



Gridwork Scarf
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