Rhinebeck 2016 ROLL CALL!

YEAH! (Did I say that loud enough?)
It's almost the 3rd weekend in October... which means it is time for another New York State Sheep and Wool Festival (otherwise known as Rhinebeck!)

I've got two new designs launching in its honor....
Spirit Shawl, inspired by Synthesis MKAL, in Spirit Trail Fiberworks Birte
(Jen will have lots to choose from in her booth, Building A, #3&4!)
I'm having a 48 hour FLASH SALE for Spirit Shawl!!!
Purchase Spirit Shawl and get another Nelkin Designs single pattern at no cost!
Use the code RHINEBECK2016ORBUST (ends midnight EST 10/13)
Jill Draper Makes Stuff is launching a collection called Rural Renewal... and I have beaded mitts in it!
My kits will be at the Spinning Room in Building A, booth 25 for the 4th year running... I am bringing my whole line, along with a new Ornament kit! Star of Butin (I'll tell you more about this kit and get it in my Etsy shop next week, it is time to start thinking about the holidays!!)
I've got a fun schedule planned for Rhinebeck, please do come find me!

10:30 - 12- Helping out at the Spinning Room- Booth 25, Building A

12 - 1(ish)- Ravelry Meet-Up- on "the hill"! My hope is that we can all find each other and catch up! Wear your Nelkin Designs if you have made one to wear to Rhinebeck... we can take photos!!!

6 - 9- PARTY and OPEN STUDIO at Jill Draper Makes Stuff new space! (click link for more info and to RSVP) There will be TONS of Empire for Artichoke French and Middlefield for Medio Cowl... I'm happy to help you choose colors : )!

11:00 - 11:45- CORPUS Dance Theater Performs Les MoutonsI kinda have to go see this.... a human sheep performance? Or something?
Location TBA

And then I am going to SHOP for yarn and kiss the sheep!


Cowltober and the versatile ALL-Ways Cowl!

It is time for our second annual Cowltober! (That is where we make Cowls in October.)

I have over 20 cowl designs on Ravelry, and I think a KAL is in order.... Cowls are perfect as the weather starts to change AND they make great presents, so this can help you get a jump on holiday gift knitting! Plus cowls are the perfect thing when you only have 1 skein of special yarn and aren't quite sure what to do with it!

I've released two cowls in the last month, one Medio Cowl, has become a new favorite, I can't wait for the weather to cool down more so I can wear it!
The other is ALL-Ways Cowl, which started out as a little beaded something I designed for the Lola's Choice September kit (if you don't know what Lola's Choice is go here).
The club version had beads (natch), and was knit with 100 yards of Mrs. Crosby Suitcase, a fingering weight merino blend that is slinky and lovely (and let itself well to a little cowl). As I bound it off I realized that if I changed the cast on number (and took out the beads) that the pattern could be knit in a variety of yarns and sizes and be versatile and spectacular.... so that is what I did!

I've released a second version of the pattern that is written as a formula, you work a gauge swatch, count your sts per inch, and then decide how big you want your cowl, do a teeny tiny bit of math, and then cast on! So fun! I love empowering you to be the designer and think about what will work well with YOUR YARN and YOUR WARDROBE! (Note: if you are a member of Lola's Choice you are automatically going to receive this version, no need to purchase it!)

I have knit 4 more ALL-Ways Cowls already!
(one of them got lost at an airport, but that is another story!)

This one I knit in Blackler Yarns Aran I got in Edinburgh... details here!
This one I knit some Hedgehog Fibres DK I got in Ireland... details here!

And this I made with a skein of Dragonfly Fibers in Firecracker, I went Rogue and made it super long and narrow, and gave it three decrease lines instead of two... more info here.

And I have for a 5th one to cast on for some Rhinebeck knitting....! I just have to decide what size I want to make!
So, I hope you are up for a COWLTOBER KAL! You can read more details about it here... and see all the awesome prizes I have collected for you.


Video Tutorial: Lifted Increases

Time for a new technique: Lifted Increases, LLinc and LRinc!

I've started using these increases on some of my designs and realized I didn't have a tutorial for them.... my patterns that use these increases explain how to work them in detail, but sometimes a video is worth ten thousand words!

I'm pretty sure one of you is going to ask me what the difference is between these increases than m1R and m1L that I use most of the time. The answer is that these increases use less yarn from the previous row to make. When you work a m1R or m1L you are lifted up the bar in between the sts on the previous row and then twisting it to create a new stitch (if you didn't it would make a hole, like a yarnover). Sometimes you are working at a gauge that doesn't allow for "extra" yarn to be pulled out of the row below... when you do this you can end up with row distortion or a tightening up that looks less than bueno. (That is a technical term....)

I found this on my Vindur sweater when I was doing the neckline increases on the left side... using the m1R and m1L didn't look horrible but it wasn't mimicking the k2tog and ssk on the Right neckline. This is because there wasn't enough slack in the yarn in the row below to work them smoothly.

There is always a method behind my madness, I promise I don't throw new techniques at you just for my own amusement!


Photo Recap: Knit Iceland September 2016

I'm back from taking my first knitting tour to Iceland... and without hesitation I can say THAT WAS FUN!!! If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram I was posting photos and videos from my phone during the trip, but this post will give you a little more detail about what we saw and did!

You'll quickly see that in 6 days we did ALOT, that it was cold, and that I want to go again and again and again! Every day had a wool focused activity but we also got to see and learn a great deal about Iceland's culture, geology, and history. This is just an overview, I took over a 1,000 photos, and life is too short to process them all!

Day 1: Arrival in Reykjavik...
I dub this... the day of the zombies! We took an overnight flight and then had a tour of Reykjavik while we waited for hotel rooms to be ready. We saw the Hallgrímskirkja Church, visited the Iceland Handknitter's Association, found coffee and more!

Önd our fearless leader at the Perlan on Öskjuhlíð hill
Welcome dinner at the harbor.... I wish you could see the view we had, it was amazing!
Day 2: The Golden Circle and Pingborg
What a day.... we learned a ton about Iceland's geology while visiting Thingvellir (a rift where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet),
Gulfoss (you know I love a waterfall)
Lunch at a geothermal hydroponic tomato farm... first we learned about hydroponic farming in Iceland and then we ate REALLY yummy tomato soup and bread!
We ended with a visit to Pinborg a wool cooperative with a gorgeous array of yarn and handmade items... I got a kit of naturally dyed lopi to go with some Plutolopi I got there a few years ago!
Day 3: Istex Factory, Alafoss Factory Store, the Icelandic Museum and the Northern Lights
A visit to the Istex Factory where we learned about the wool industry in Iceland and got to see how raw fleece is turned into yarn, lopi style. This is the only wool mill in Iceland.

Afterwards we went to the Alafoss outlet where everyone shopped for yarn (I have no photos from this as I was helping everyone spend their money....) There was also a quick photoshoot (see below) and then a visit to the National Museum of Iceland. Then we took a break because..... that night we went out searching for the Northern Lights! We had a 50% chance of finding them... and guess what?
We found them... the camera actually picked them up much better than the naked eye.
Next time I need to take my tripod, it was hard to hold the camera still enough!
Day 4: The Saga Trails and dyeing workshop with Gudrun
This day we drove out to the Hvalfjordur (Whale Fjord) along the drive our tour guide, Gudrun recapped some Icelandic Sagas while we drank up the scenery and knitted (the best kind of book on tape ever!)
We stopped at Barnafoss on our way... there was literally a waterfall coming out the side of the riverbank, it was breathtaking...
Then we stopped at a Deildartunguhver Europe's most powerful thermal spring where 180 l/sec of 100°C hot water is gushing out of the ground... it was hot, and smelly like sulfur, and addictive to watch!
Then after a lovely lunch it was time to learn about natural dyeing with Icelandic plants from Gudrun Bjarnadottir. Gudrun is an expert in her field and was clearly passionate about her work.... we learned alot from her and I think we all wish we could have spent the whole day soaking up her knowledge!
And then we fell in love with her yarn. This is all Eiband (Laceweight Lopi) that she has dyed. You can see her work in her Etsy shop. I got a skein of lovely green (shown above)
And I'm going to use it to knit myself a lopi sweater just like this! That is my favorite elongated stitch that I use in ALOT of my designs... in fact the first section of my book is devoted to it! I think I'll use the body from Stopover and then figure out the yoke.
Finally, even though we were tired, we stopped at a sheep farm which ended up being AMAZING! We hadn't learned yet about Icelandic sheep farming (an essential part of the Icelandic wool chain)... the farms owners were passionate, funny, and informative.
Day 5: Exploring Reykjavik!
This was our day off... I didn't actually get that many photos, as I was walking and knitting and eating lamb hot dogs. We did start our day at a rehearsal of the Icelandic Philharmonic at the Harpa... that made me feel quite cultured!
Working on my "maybe" Rhinebeck sweater (we'll see if I can get it done!)
Day 6: Blue Lagoon and Home... (insert sad face here)

The Blue Lagoon (a mineral rich man-made lagoon which is fed by the water output of a nearby geothermal power plant)

Me... being the 12 year old I actually am... we have silica mud masks on, the perfect way to end out trip!

What made this trip super special? THE PEOPLE!
I know I missed a few of you... next time I need to have a checklist to make sure no one gets missed in the shots! A huge thankyou to Mary and Mary from Edventures who helped make this dream trip a reality for us all!

You might have heard a rumor about (or seen a photo of) a new sweater...
It's off for a final tech edit now, and will be released next week. I've had a SLEW of test knitters working on it, so you'll get to see it with lots of different mods, on many different shaped bodies, and in many different yarns! Can't wait to share Vindur with you!

(PSA.... there are just a few spots left in March's Knit Iceland trip, the landscape will be different as there will be snow in March, and I expect it to be phenomenal!)