Miss Ives

Reblog from All Knit & No Sheep, a blog by Elizabeth Helmich at Counting Sheep Studio

I had a completely different idea for this shawl, but when I got the colors Kim dyed up I completely switched gears. In a good way, I think.

The design inspiration came while watching one of my favorite shows, Penny Dreadful. It’s a horror/drama show that airs on Showtime, a lot on the dark side, with a great storyline.

Never having designed a circular shawl, I needed some help. I found inspiration in my friend Alison’s book, Wrapped in Comfort. She is a pro on this method! Once I had looked at a couple of the patterns it was easier to grasp exactly how this works.

Basically, instead of having increases on every other row traditionally for most shawl shapes, you have many increase over only a few rows, which are spaced at regular intervals. There are many different ways to approach this.

I chose to work the increases in rows there were either before or after the lace sections, for ease of knitting. That way you can just focus on the lace pattern in those areas. After all, I want this to be a fun knit that doesn’t make you think too hard! (That’s my job.)

I knew I wanted a knitted on border at the end – I really love this method. It gives the shawl such a nice edge, lets you add some pretty details and in this case provided the opportunity for the gorgeous contrasting color to shine. This border idea came from a stitch dictionary but I did change it up a bit to work for my shawl. It is only 8 rows, which are easy to memorize as you go.

When finished, I thought it needed something else. Eventually I decided on a small collar, in the same pattern as the border. Of course you could leave it off, but I do think it adds a little something special.

For a more dramatic look, you can flip it up and close it in the front with little hook/eye closures. Or leave it down and it is still lovely.

I do hope you enjoy & I look forward to seeing different versions / colors! Now until July 10th, I am offering this pattern 50% off on Ravelry. You may view it in my shop here.

Wishing you a wonderful Holiday weekend for those of you in the States, Happy Independence Day!

Dreadful

Repost from All Knit & No Sheep – Blog by Elizabeth Helmich at Counting Sheep Studio

This is a new design collaboration, I have the pleasure of working with the lovely Kim from KimDyesYarn. Go give her shop a look right here.

Here are some shots of what I’m cooking up.

This gorgeous yarn is a 100% superwash merino fingering weight wool, plied with a wonderful hand and excellent stitch definition. It has been a joy to watch progress.

A semi-circular shawl, worked top down, alternating between a gorgeous lace pattern and a twisted stitch ‘buds’ pattern of my own creation, it has been so much fun!

Coming in home – on the knitted on border now, it is slow going but so worth it for the wonderful look you can achieve.

Be on the lookout for the finished product coming soon!

It’s been a great few weeks. There was Mother’s Day, in which we all went out and about to some studios in Asheville’s River Arts District. The best part was seeing Jonas Gerard painting live. He is such an incredible guy, living his truth.

This was the one we watched him paint, I love it!

Then there was my Birthday, which for me usually means a week of fun seeing friends & whatnot. My actual day was great, I got to have some Indian food downtown at Mela (best in town).

We stayed too long after the lunch rush.

We putzed around the Tobacco Barn for a bit and I found a couple of treasures.

YEE HAW!!

My good friend even gave me some chocolate from the best chocolate shop on the planet.

Pretty terrific! Have a wonderful day all. Check back with me soon for good things happening.

Namaste, Elizabeth

Reems Creek

Repost from All Knit & No Sheep – Blog by Elizabeth Helmich at Counting Sheep Studio

This shawl had its beginning last summer. I was super busy with work, raising kiddos, and life in general and I had this one skein of variegated sock yarn. I played around with lots of different stitch patterns, and nothing looked good.

Finally, I realized 2 things. What tends to look good on these types of yarn are 1) very simple patterns (you need to give up on any and all thoughts of doing something complex, because it is completely lost) 2) large scale patterns, that still tend to the easy side. It is easier to see things on a larger scale, they don’t get lost as much.

So I created my Reems Creek shawl, after a long in-between hiatus.

The yarn was from a company called Fearless Fibers, it is a 100% superwash merino fingering weight yarn. Alas, they are no more, but I am sure you would have no trouble finding a comparable yarn.

This was the first time I ever tried to wear a shawl ‘bandit style’ as I like to call it. I have to say I think I will get a lot more use out of them wearing this way, more like wearing a fun scarf.

But THEN. I wanted you to be able to see the stitches more clearly. So I busted out some of this pretty laceweight yarn I had from a project I did for Willow Yarns, called Stream. This is a 70/30 combo of merino/silk in a 2 ply yarn. Very pretty and easy to work with!

I was enamored with this version at well, isn’t it amazing how a different color and weight of yarn can give such a different look?

Not intentional, but both shawls came out exactly the same size. Of course you could knit looser (at a larger gauge) or add more repeats if you would like a larger shawl. Personally, I like a shawl you can finish in a pretty short amount of time!

The patterns are all simple lace, once you have done the first couple of repeats it is easy to ‘see’ the pattern and follow along.

My inspiration for the name is a creek up in Weaverville, NC that I used to live beside many years ago, before I was married. I lived at the end of this 8 mile long road in a very old log cabin that had no air conditioning. I was up in the loft, up a spiral staircase.

After work I would often come home and sit by this stream, daydreaming while watching the ripples of the water cascade down. This pattern is my ode to spring, and fun knitting that will keep you entertained but still allow you time to dream.

You can purchase the pattern on my website here. Or if you would like to see it over on Ravelry, you can over here.

At this time, both sample shawls are also for sale over in my Etsy shop.

Have a beautiful day!

Moon Hooch – give these guys a listen – when else have you seen someone play a sax with a traffic cone on the end of it?

Long Story…

Repost from All Knit & No Sheep – Blog by Elizabeth Helmich at Counting Sheep Studio

Don’t you just hate it when people say that when you ask them something? Yeah, me too. If you’ve got a few hours, come have some tea with me and I’ll tell you alllll about it.

Mountains + Spring – Perfection

The neighbors Dogwood tree. It grew this way because there was a large bush underneath at one point. Now it looks like a huge Bonsai.

Still trying to learn how to get into the grooze with the new addition. In good news, she is modeling for me all the little bitty baby things I’ve made, and I have listed a bunch over in my Etsy shop if you’re interested.

Dillo Baby Sweater

Little Lamb Hat

There has been progress on new projects, one of which came from the question ‘what do YOU want to knit?’ asked by my husband. I kind of came to a stand still on that one. It’s been such a long & crazy ride up to giving birth and the first few weeks with my new daughter that I have definitely not been in ‘the Zone’ for quite some time.

Madeline Tosh Leaves Cardigan progress. Oh how I love this yarn.

That is all I have time for right now. Be well and tell your story, don’t leave out any of the details.

Optional

Reblog from Counting Sheep Studio – All Knit & No Sheep Blog by Elizabeth Helmich

Hey there!

It’s been a few weeks, and I’ve been busy. Look! I made this.

Isn’t she FANTASTIC?!?! Yes, she is. Thanks. Her name is Faora Rose, and we are thrilled that she is finally here.

Needless to say this has been a few weeks of days running into nights into days, but I am very happy & delirious and quite content.

In the precursor to her arrival, I was knitting like a fiend on various small projects, mostly for her. Here is one I love, that I also got to use some tiny bits & bobs of yarn I had laying around (imagine that!).

I was also thrilled to find I had the perfect buttons stowed away for this one.

On the OTHER end of the spectrum, I made her this little Rockabilly cardi with a fun skully fair isle, that I just love.

You will have to suffer through more photos when I actually stick her IN these sweaters. I hope you can handle it.

In other news, I am thrilled it is SPRING – Hooray! I have been a bit lax in chasing flowers, though I hope to remedy that soon as I walk more & more.

Some flowering branches and a gloomy sky.

I managed to pick back up a ‘grown-up’ project from the WAY back of July last year. I had this little skein of Fearless Fibers sock yarn (said many a designer) and wanted to make a single shawl skein. I started off simply enough, and after much pondering, decided to keep the next level simple as well.

Here is where I am now.

I am having fun with this. Of course the variegated yarn always is a challenge to design with, a lot of times I find either a) simple or b) larger patterns show it off better. Trying to do complex lace generally doesn’t work.

I hope you are enjoying your current season, drop me a line and tell me what you are working on! Be well.

Oakenshield

Repost from All Knit & No Sheep Blog by Elizabeth Helmich at Counting Sheep Studio

This hat was a labor of love.

I really wanted to make a dwarven-inspired hat for David, we are both huge fans of the Lord of the Rings, and have also enjoyed the newer Hobbit trilogy.

My first instinct was to use cables to capture the designs I wanted, but realized that most cables are very swirly by nature, more of an elvish look than the more angular dwarven style.

Sometimes you simply have to go back to the drawing board multiple times to get the look you want. For the men’s version, I used Dubai Knits MCN Sock, which is nice & springy as to be expected, with the added softness of cashmere = super yummy.

The bottom panel is worked using a simple knit/purl design, which changes to a different textured ‘boxes’ pattern along with a twisted stitch leaf pattern for the main body & crown. The nice thing about the twisted stitches is they are very easy to work and do not require a cable needle!

Then I was done. Finally. But….it wasn’t enough. I needed one! Found some Madelinetosh Sock in the stash, this is colorway Smokey Orchid.

I am super happy with both versions now, and I really love that you can wear these basically any time of year since they are so lightweight. Perfect for hiking!

The little patient Mia, who got to ham it up after we were done taking pics.

Oakenshield is still on sale over on Ravelry until the end of tomorrow (Valentine’s Day) – go over and grab a copy here.

By the way – I’m having a baby.

As in really, really. Soon. I’m in full-on nesting mode, and was completely possessed recently to make her a quilt.

I know I don’t talk much about my first real crafting love, sewing. Years ago I gave away most of my fabric stash to a lovely lady who I knew would give it a good home. She ended up becoming a yarn shop owner here in Asheville! Ha. She made sewn bags as well and would sell those in her shop.

Every now and then I remember my old love and have a need to put together fabric pieces. Hopefully I can finish this before the new bundle of Joy gets here.

My Mia has been bugging me for a scarf for some time, and I ended up making 2 quickie scarves for her and older Big Sis. When I did my stint for Universal Yarn, I ended up with some of this fuzzy, crazy yarn. Which I am convinced ALL kids love.

Cast on 15 stitches on large needles, switch colors every 2 rows until you get bored.

For some added sweetness, I wanted to put little hearts on the end. Found this quick & easy pattern on Ravelry and viola! Two super fun & soft scarves for my #1 Sweetie Pies.

Heart Attack! (A free pattern offered by Wool & Flour.)

Have a wonderful Heart Day!

Are we there yet?

Repost from All Knit & No Sheep – Counting Sheep Studio Blog by Elizabeth Helmich

Apparently I am having a sale. That’s what happens when you take time off from your knitting design biz and get sucked up in other Life stuff – you have 3 people point out in one night that your coupon code isn’t working. Uh…coupon code? Yes, from last year at this time. So. I decided to go with the sale again, since we are indeed again in the throws of the Winter Doldrums.

If you are interested in getting 20% off of any pattern in my shop (excluding the few I did for Willow Yarns), please visit it here on Ravelry and simply use the coupon code ‘doldrums’ for the sale. The sale runs from today until the end of Valentine’s Day. Also, thank-YOU for your support over these years. It is truly amazing to get a smack in the face reminder that I’ve been at this longer than I even realize sometimes. This business is my heart & soul and I appreciate each and every one of you, those who have actually used a pattern, and also those who give me the encouragement to continue! Bless you.

Mia says ‘go out and get a walk in!’ If you are not covered in snow right now, that is.

I feel that I have done an injustice to my Toshi toys that I made recently since I have not mentioned them. This was a little pattern of a kitty & bunny toy that were inspired by the Miyazaki anime films. Specifically, the little cat was my version of Gigi from Kiki’s Delivery Service, one I’ve been wanting to make for years.

She needed to have the sweet face with the big eyes to be just right!

Then I finished the little kitty in no time. And clearly she needed a friend (I may also have 2 daughters that were fighting over her…) so I made a friend.

I think I almost love this bunny even more (but don’t tell the kitty).

Bunny & kitty butts!

These two were a whole lot of fun, I do hope you’ll give them a shot for any playful person in your life.

Other than that, I’m working on some other stuff for you. One is a cardigan, just because. It’s been too long. I bought this gradient dyed yarn and it is just too pretty.

These little lovelies came from Hilori’s Yarn Emporium, in colorway ‘Winter is Coming.’ My Christmas present to myself.

This is my recent progress, I am still debating about how to finish the bottom. No sure if I want to do a bit of the lace bit from the yoke, or leave it at a simple rib. I think (or have read) that most women don’t want to draw extra attention to their, ahem, bottom area – so perhaps the rib is the way to go. (Personally I have zero problems with having a woman’s booty, but that is a discussion for another post…)

This was the top yoke during my Lord of the Rings marathon one day.

Now I am a little bit further and the debate on the bottom edging continues!

Time to make the dinner – be well all. Stay warm and give hugs.

A wee little happy bird in January.

Talk is Cheap ~ Chet Faker

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