Announcing the Cormac Knit Along!

Cormac KAL

I'm so excited to announce that I'm hosting my first knit along!

The fall issue of Knitscene is  out on newsstands now and in it, my Cormac Sweater. I'm super pleased with how this design turned out, and now that I have my own Ravelry Group - I thought it would be a good candidate for a knit along.  

Like the design? Join us - you end up with a finished sweater and could win a fabulous prize pack! 

How It Works

  1. Join the Knit Along Thread on Ravelry.  (Don't have a Ravelry account? It's free to join!)
  2. Start knitting the Cormac Sweater from the Fall 2015 Issue of Knitscene magazine sometime between August 15 and October 15 (or start early! NBD)..
  3. Have fun and share what you're knitting! Comment in the Ravelry thread and share photos on social media with the hashtag #CormacKAL
  4. Anyone with a FO (Finished Object) or (WIP) in the thread as of October 15, 2015 (midnight EST), is eligible to win prizes!

The cast-on part doesn't officially start until August 15, but before then I'll be posting about choosing a size and yarn substitutions to help you get ready. 

You can also bookmark the official knit along page, where I'll be aggregating all the knit along stuff. 

I hope you'll join in!

Photos Courtesy of Knitscene/Harper Point

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Introducing the Cormac Sweater

Cormac Sweater by Leah B. Thibault, KnitScene Fall 2015
Cormac Sweater by Leah B. Thibault for Knitscene Fall 2015
Cormac Sweater by Leah B. Thibault for Knitscene Fall 2015
Cormac Sweater by Leah B. Thibault for Knitscene Fall 2015
Cormac Sweater by Leah B. Thibault for Knitscene Fall 2015

More often than not, I'm a "come up with a design idea and try to find the right yarn" kind of designer, but in the case of the Cormac Sweater in the new Fall Knitscene? Completely the other way around. 

Knitscene had put out a call for submissions back in October for items featuring chainette-style yarn. Something, I'll admit to never having used before, but my curiosity piqued, I went down to my Local Yarn Store  and picked up a skein of Shibui Maai. They had a sample of it knitted up at the shop, a super cushy garter stitch scarf. But when I got the yarn home and began knitting with it, cushy didn't feel right to me. It was so springy and light, that I wanted to push it even further in that direction, the yarn screamed out "make me lace!" And so I did. 

A simple 4 stitch/4 row lace pattern was quickly decided upon and knit up on larger than usual (for me, anyway) needles. All air and lace and drape, but like eiderdown, the loftiness and halo of Maai fill in the gaps, meaning Cormac is a sweater that is both lacey and warmer than you'd think.

I wanted the fabric to be center stage, but also knew that the drapiness of the fabric could make fancy shaping a bit of a bear, so a boxy construction, with drop-shoulder sleeves made the most sense.  It seemed like something one of those impossibly chic girls would wear for a morning at the cafe, hair in a messy bun, oversized latte with foam art and a paperback novel near at hand. Easy to pull on and as comfortable as a sweatshirt, but a whole lot prettier. 

Because of the minimal shaping and the larger needles and the simple lace, Cormac is also a pretty quick knit. If I had to make one change, I'll probably make the sleeve cuffs a bit snugger and/or the sleeve a tad bit shorter, but when I had seamed the whole thing together and hung it on my mannequin, I thought - yes, that is just what I wanted it to be. 

Cormac, along with a number of other gorgeous designs like Annie Watt's Oddity Scarf, Nadya Stalling's Couturier Jacket and Courtney Spainhower's Caldwell Pullover, are available in the Fall 2015 issue of Knitscene, currently available digitally, and on newsstands on July 14th. In the meantime you can queue or favorite it up on Ravelry.

Do you have a favorite design in this issue? Have you ever worked with chainette yarn? Does your yarn ever get demanding with you like the Maai was with me? 

You can see some of my previous Knitscene designs here or on Ravelry

All Photos: Courtesy of Knitscene/Harper Point Photography

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A Sweater for the Fella

Coming soon to a newsstand near you, the Malaga Pullover in Knitscene - Winter 2014.

Malaga is my first sweater design for men, and I'm pretty proud of the way this one turned out. Inspired by a rather stylish co-worker of mine, Malaga is a simple, wearable raglan that shifts in both color and texture, but is easy to knit the whole way through. The instructions for this bottom-up raglan are written so there's a minimal amount of purling (ribbing and short rows only) - so it's a quick knit too - plenty of time to whip one out before the holidays and it's available in sizes 37¾ (39½, 43¼, 47, 50¾, 54½)" chest circumference (shown in size 39½").

What really makes this pattern work though, is the yarn selection - shown here in Harrisville Designs Shetland. The bottom half is knit holding two strands of the same color fingering weight yarn held together, and swapping one strand for a contrast color and marled effect for the sleeves and yoke. Harrisvile has a ton of wonderful earthy and saturated colors to choose from, and Brooklyn Tweed's Loft would be another beautiful option for folks in the US. I'd recommend picking a dark and a light version of the same color family (i.e. a forest/pale green combo, or light blue/navy) for a similar effect.

While Malaga is the only men's pattern in the issue, there are a ton of other great designs in there. I'm particularly fond of Kiyomi Burgin's Tongshan Sweater and the Haubergeon Sweater by Featured Designer Emma Welford.

To purchase the Malaga pattern, visit your local yarn or book store for the latest Knitscene issue, or purchase a print or digital copy via Interweave.

Want some more men's sweater inspiration? Check out my Pinterest Board!

All Photos © Knitscene/Harper Point

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Giveaway Winner

The Random Number Generator picked 4, so our winner is micicuta!


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Introducing the Knitscene Featured Designer Collection!!

So on Tuesday, something very exciting happened for me. A national magazine hit the newstands with my name on the cover (spelled right and everything)!! Way back in March I got a email from Lisa Shroyer, the Knitscene editor, asking if I would be interested in doing a collection as their featured designer for the Winter issue.

Would I?! And in the Winter issue none the less?? I think I thought about it for a minute before I said yes, yes and yes!

After about a week, I sent Lisa a packet of about six design proposals ranging from the simple to the complex and included four sweaters and two accessories, plus one more accessory I had submitted to magazine through the regular process. (Some of the "rejects" will likely show up as designs in the future too). We edited it down to three items, which I though was doable in the approximately 8-week knitting period.

Some yarn was ordered and fortunately some of it matched my swatching yarn, so I was able to get a head start on the math. As soon as my first yarn arrived, I start knitting like a crazy person. (Fortunately no repetitive stress injuries were obtained in the process of making this collection.) In end, we ended up with three designs that I'm very proud of.

Willamette Coat


The Willamette Coat (they named it after my alma mater) is my personal favorite in the collection. It's an idea that's been banging around in my head for over a year, and I was glad to finally get it out into reality. The big feature hear is the asymmetrically buttoned front with the dramatic cable panel and the matching cabled cuffs. I think the sample might have been a bit small on the model, because it can button (for example, dress form it's a size 35" sample on a 33" bust), but I'd recommend a minimum of 2" positive ease.

The sample was knit in Berroco Vintage Chunky an acrylic/wool blend that is probably my favorite machine-washable yarn ever. It comes in a bunch of great colors, is fairly inexpensive, and doesn't feel plastic-y at all (though the ends are a bit harder to weave in). I'm actually on my third project with this yarn now, that's how much I like it. If you're looking to sub, I'd recommend any bulky weight wool that shows cables well.

Toulouse Pullover


The Toulouse Pullover has been the big hit on Ravelry so far. Knitscene did some lovely boho-chic styling on this one, that I think has really attracted people to it. Which is funny as I considered it a much more 50s-style garment in my head when I was making it, but that just shows the versatility and timelessness of the bow-neck I suppose.

This item is probably the easiest knit in the whole collection. After you knit the collar/ties back and forth the rest is a super simple raglan with no body shaping. Again, I'm not sure on the model's size, but for comparison it's a size 34 3/4" on a 33" dress form in the center photo.

The yarn for this sample is Classic Elite's Mountain Top Vista, an organic worsted weight wool. It's got a nice hint of halo, surprisingly drapey, and is definitely sheepy. In the projects that are already (!) popping up on Ravelry a lot of people are subbing in Berrocco's Ultra Alpaca, which would be a really good choice too. Anything with a bit of drape and halo.

Marketa Mitts


This is the only design in the collection I named myself, and like the mag says, they were inspired by Mareketa Iglova's character in once. They're your basic fingerless mitts, knit in reverse stockinette with a tulip-esque insert panel that's a combo of a bunch of sts.

This sample was knit in Shibui Baby Alpaca DK - a super dreamy yarn to knit with, though I'm not sure I'd call it a DK (these were knit on size 2/ 2.75 needles). The could easily be done in a fingering weight, and something with less halo would show off the stitch pattern a bit more clearly.

Where can I get these?

Right now the magazine is on newstands, or can be purchased as a digital magazine.  There are several other lovely patterns in there, as well as a 2-page profile on me.

If you want to favorite or queue these up, here are the links for the Willamette Coat, Toulouse Pullover, and Marketa Mitts.

A Giveaway!

I've also got one signed copy of the magazine, along with a skein of Shibui Baby Alpaca DK in Artichoke (like the sample) to make your own pair of Marketa Mitts to give away. If you're interested, simply leave a comment below and I'll use a random number generator to pick a winner on Tuesday.

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Introducing: Westwood


Now that I completed my squealing with excitement over being physically published, I thought I'd share some of the details and design inspiration behind the Westwood Blouse.

I was initially attracted the Knitscene call for submission when I came across the "southern comfort" prompt. My brain started thinking of hanging moss and Gone with the Wind and I ended up looking at a bunch of photos of corset covers, which, along with a tank I had from Banana Republic,  served as the starting point for the design.

I was specifically drawn to the blousey shape and sometimes embellished necklines.  I ended up choosing this very simple openwork (two-sided lace) pattern and starting thinking about construction.

VIvien Swatch Scan

This top couldn't be easier to knit. It's knit in the round to the armholes and then split at the armhole to work the lace and then seamed at the shoulders into a boatneck. Even if you've never knit lace before, the stitch pattern  is an easy two-row/ four-stitch repeat that gives a lot of visual bang, for a small amount of complexity buck.

The swatches above where done in Quince & Co's Lark, but the final design was done in Kollage Yarns Riveting Sport, a recycled denim yarn. I'm always a bit wary about recycled yarn, but I found this to be lovely to work with. It's not splitty and very light.


I will note that the yarn is machine washable/dryable, but my gauge information was based on a swatch/sample that was hand washed and blocked flat, so if you have plans to machine wash/dry your final garment, do so with your swatch and adjust needle size as necessary.

The magazine is currently on newstands or is available as a digital download from the Interweave store. Eventually the pattern will be available as a stand-alone download in the Interweave store (presumably after the magazine is off shelves).

You can also queue it up on Ravelry.

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The Postman Cometh

I had all these plans for writing a long post of reflection on my Lenten vegetarian experience, and then the mail came. IMGP5289

Look, it's the summer edition of Knitscene.


With a two page spread of my design!


My name in print!

This hasn't happened since I got a byline as an intern for an article on August Wilson's play cycle in the Jan/Feb 2007 edition of the Goodman Theatre's OnStage Magazine (So totally different).


And there it is again!

I was pretty much doing a little happy dance all night long!

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Maine Maple Sunday 2012

I feel like I had a whirlwind of a weekend: we had friends over for dinner Friday night, I spent Saturday running errands, and Sunday we took our annual Maine Maple Sunday trip, which I followed up with an up-close viewing of the Hunger Games with some of my knitting buddies.

One of the things I love about Maine is it's seasonality, there's a time for syrup, and a time for apples, a time for shrimp, and a time for blueberries.

So in spite of the unseasonably warm weather we'd had the previous week, Maine Maple Sunday stayed true to form and was cold (and rainy!), but it didn't dampen our spirits as we drove to Sebago for a pancake breakfast and some sugar shack tours. (Though a bad map did cause some frustration).

We picked up a pint of syrup and a bag of maple candies, but the variety of maple products is always fun to see.

I'm thinking I need to make a batch of my maple walnut granola soon - do you have any favorite maple syrup recipes? Or do you save it for pancakes and waffles only?


P.S.: Check out this preview from the upcoming Knitscene summer issue - it hits newsstands April 17th, but if you live in Portland be warned, I'm so excited about my first print publication that I may buy all the copies. ;)

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Spilt Milk & Cookies

Sock Gauge Fail I may have been named one of Knitscene's "8 Designers to Watch in 2012," but it doesn't mean that I'm not capable of a spectacular knitting fail every now and again.

[See that shameless little plug I did there? Wasn't sure how to work that in. ;)]

Take for example exhibit A up there. I've always prided myself on even gauge, but both of those socks up there are same yarn, same pattern, and yes, the same needles. Unlike my pal Aimee, my tools aren't to blame it was all me. It's like an inch shorter at the foot and the cuff.

Le sigh...

I plan to knit a third sock and see which one it matches up to (fortunately I have enough yarn), but I needed a little break first (especially since I suffered that sock defeat and a Superbowl loss on the same evening).

[SOCK UPDATE ADDENDUM: I recounted the rows on both socks and it seems that my ability to count and not gauge was the issue. On sock one I did a cable feature every 7th row and on sock two I did it every 6th - shorting myself by several rows]

Cookie Monster Cardi

For something completely different, I started this muted Taos cardigan. The official color name is "blue note," but I have dubbed it Cookie Monster blue. I started it last night at knitting and since it not secret knitting, I'll be sharing my progress as I go along (and check one solid-colored cardigan off my knit-a-lution).

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