Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 wrap up

It's fun seeing this past year's designs all at once, in one place.  

Jeanette Laura Elizabeth





Quite a motivation for 2014 – planning (and knitting) is already underway.  Happy New Year!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Trying something new

I decided to set my own design work aside for these last few weeks in December, needing some last minute and thoughtful gifts.  Hats – quick – seemed just right.

I know nothing about hats.  I don't wear them and therefore don't understand their fit and form – a perfect opportunity to try out the patterns of another designer whose work I follow, Amy Christoffers of Savory Knitting

It's nice to let someone else do the thinking for a change and I think I'll defer to Amy for all things hats from this day forward.  I've been having a grand time with Lazy Jacks Hat (2 finished above) and Cider Press Set (currently on the needles), all worked in Madelinetosh Vintage wool – another first for me.  I'll finish all 4 in plenty of time for our gift giving dinner.

Happy holidays!

Friday, December 13, 2013


Yesterday I launched this lovely, leafy, wrap – spawned unexpectedly from some swatching experiments and sparked further by Shibui Knits rich merino alpaca wool.  I'll definitely use that again.

I named this piece for my first friend, Corinne, who was lovely too.  You'll find the pattern here.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Rockin' a moto sweater named Elsie

Well, maybe I'm not rockin', but if you ask me, Elsie the sweater sure does!

I finally got this moto design out of my head and onto my needles.  The resulting knit is quick – aran weight wool, the fabric dense and weighty – all garter stitch, and the zippers substantial and prominent – adding a bit of sparkle.  Yum.

Pattern writing is wrapping up now and I plan to launch tomorrow.  Just couldn't resist posting this peek – I'm loving this moto!

Friday, November 15, 2013

30 Days of Indy Project

The 30 Days of Indy Project has been organized by In The Loop yarn shop of Plainville Mass to celebrate independent knitwear designers.  On each of the 30 days of November, proprietor Cheryl blogs about a selected designer – and happily, my day is tomorrow, November 16th.

To coincide with the event, on my day, I'll offer my Alice pattern for sale through ravelry at 50% off its regular price (use discount code 30dayproject).  I'm pleased to participate, and hope you'll visit!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A little hug

Named for my best pal's mum, I launched Charlotte yesterday – a sweet and simple wrap, perfect for tv knitting and, once done, perhaps wearing on romantic evenings. I can imagine that.

It's a little hug.  The same little hug I'm sending to my pal and her family, on their first holiday season without her.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Partners and pairings

I'm working 2 designs at once these days. One on the needles, and the other, at this moment, on paper.  Not something I usually do. The over-sized cowl/wrap (on the needles) is taking very little attention – perfect for tv knitting at the end of the day – while the other, a zippered cardigan, is taking a whole lot, as I'm working the math and drawing.  All together an ideal pairing I'd say, much like my partner Douglas and me.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Olive is purple

or technically crocus – #115 of Quince's color wheel.

Olive Clough begot Olive Ziegler – aunt and cousin of my grandmother Mildred, who later married Harold – brother of Olive Welch.  Olive must have been a popular name back then.  Olive is also a double-breasted cardigan in chunky wool, worn so well by Juliet.

You'll find my Olive pattern for sale on ravelry, craftsy, also linked from my website, here.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Alice, resurrected

Alice, what a beautiful name.  I was pleased to find her among my ancestors in our family tree – Alice May Welch, sister of my grandfather Harold, and of Marjorie.  I do love to bring these people, my family members, to life again in this way.

I've had this color-block design in the wings for a few months – since it was graciously declined by the publication to which I had submitted.  By that time I had already worked up the prototype to ensure that, if accepted, any related deadlines would be less stressful, and her styling would be just as I imagined.  Recently with autumn in the air (at least in my locale) she came to mind and yesterday I posted the pattern to ravelry.  I'm so happy to see my ravelry friends giving her thumbs up.  Things have a way of working out... as they should?  Yes, I think so. 

In addition to ravelry, you'll find my Alice pattern for sale on craftsy, also linked from my website, here.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Paper toys 2013

It's August and time to focus on my paper toys and Hoss family Christmas gift giving assignments.  Ellie and Mark celebrated their 55th(!) wedding anniversary this summer,  and as soon as I opened the party invitation I knew I'd found the theme for this year's Christmas Pick announcement.

A walk through Bloomingdales a few weeks ago spawned lots of ideas for a knitted gift.  I picked one and am running with it – will be posting about it by next week for sure.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Marie and some color (self?) analysis

Marie is launched - hooray hooray! and I can't wait for the weather to chill a bit so I can slip her on and prance around.  I fell in love with Shibui Knits' Baby Alpaca DK when I encountered it at my local yarn store and knew right away that I wanted to feel its luxurious-ness wrapped around my neck.

It was the Ash color of this Alpaca DK  like sparkly silver that I was especially drawn to, and that I paired with Quince Lark's Chanterelle.  Of same color value, they spoke to each other, and to me!  But together do they have enough to say to the world?  Hmmm. Early feedback from trusted sources gently suggests that I may not be as adventurous with my colors as I had imagined.  Duly noted.  But ever aiming to translate potential setback into opportunity (no, really :) I decided to do some color analysis. This required some beefing up of my photoshop skills and turned out to be unexpectedly fun.

Following are 12 alternative color pairings using approximate Quince offerings (close enough to get the idea).

Dogwood Clay Pomegranate Sorbet
Crocus River Delft Birds Egg
Snap Pea Parsley Honey Crow

While I still love my initial color selection for Marie, I may choose to spice things up for the next time.  Tell me, which one would you choose?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Lacy Lena is launched

As promised.  So happy.

You'll find my Lena pattern for sale on ravelry and on craftsy, with additional information available here.  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Trials, persistance and the process

The sample for my latest lacy Lena design is now complete and work has commenced on pattern writing.  That was my focus yesterday and will be for today as well.  I should finish today. This phase has definite merit, and I'm grateful to say that I enjoy it as much as the knitting – well, almost as much.  There's nothing I like to do more than knit. 

Writing about the process has a welcomed way of shoring, while wrapping, things up. It's the point at which I smooth out the tangles of the trials encountered along the way.  Despite best planning, it's just impossible to forecast all that will come up and often necessary to engage the needles, being prepared for some rips and retakes.  This happened twice during Lena.

The first instance was about the direction of the shaping – the increases and decreases.  My usual inclination is to face slants inward for decreases and outward for increases.  I know there are no rules for this, it's just what I usually do. I had several inches underway when I realized how my usual conflicted with the nature of its double wing lace. The slants were fighting with each other – not pretty – so ripping and restarting ensued.  In my remake I worked the shaping with the lace, echoing the slant direction at the point each occurs. Opting for consistency with the lace turned out much better.

The second instance I handled differently, pausing for a prototype. Worked in the round I decided to separate the front and back bodice with a 2 stitch border of reverse stockinette and apply shaping inside of these on each side.  Again, consistent with the stitch pattern of the lace it provided a separation without calling undue attention to itself.  Then once it split at the armhole and was worked flat, each side would have 1 of the reverse stockinette stitches along with an added selvage. As I got closer to the split point I found myself second guessing this solution.  How would it look? I wanted invisible seams.. Not keen on more ripping, I put Lena aside and cast on a second piece as a prototype to test.  About an hour later I proved its success and carried on. Removing my doubts, this time was well spent for sure.

So now back to pattern writing.  Lena's launch is scheduled for next week, following Juliet's photo session.  Can't wait!

Monday, July 1, 2013

July is Lena

I've got my July design nicely underway, named Lena for my great grandfather's cousin. (It's this family line – the brother of my great, great, grandfather who traveled with him from Switzerland in the late 1800's – that eventually marries into my husband's family long before I do, but that's a story for a future knitted piece that I'll get to pretty soon.  Sadly I am running out of family names and will eventually resort to assigning design namesakes to those of us who are still living, though this may well please my pals. Family tree research sure has been fun!)

The design for Lena was spawned initially from my search for a lace.  I ran across the Double Wing pattern in one of Barbara Walker's books.  It's easily memorized (a requirement) with short repeats and I loved that there was both an open version

and a closed one.

Initially I thought they might look cool paired, but after swatching I found the open version more appealing so I stuck with it. 

At this writing, Lena's bodice will be shaped, as per my usual, and with a wide scoop neck.  Her sleeves will be slightly longer than those for recently published Marjorie.  I like this silhouette, and lately like playing with raglan sleeves so I stuck with these design elements too.  I'm working the sample with Quince chickadee, also my usual, but in the new-to-me petal color that I've found to be unexpectedly fantastic –

at first glance almost colorless in its pale-ness, but while working it has become nicely saturated.  It feels quite rich to me by now, and a favorite. 

Also note, I'm tweeting!, turned on to twitter by Juliet who found, to my delight, that fellow tweeters were mentioning my designs.  For those of you who tweet too, you'll find me there as @DebHossKnits.  I hope you'll follow me as I post regular updates about my knitting progress, and maybe a bit more.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Marvelous Marjorie

I can never forecast which design will be popular and which will not.  I hold my breath, hit publish, and see what comes.  And though I love them all, some clearly do better than others.

Happily, it's now apparent that my June offering – Marjorie – launched yesterday, is a hit with my fellow knitters on ravelry!  What a thrill.  I'm not even trying to wipe the smile off of my face. Thank you knit pals!

You'll find the pattern for marvelous Marjorie on ravelry and now on craftsy too, with additional information available here

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Going with the flow

Mary jacket
Last month I was delightfully surprised to find my Mary design included in the Patternfish Newsletter.  The resulting increase in blog traffic and pattern sales following that post was dizzying! and made me realize the value of this outreach. And so it's been with renewed motivation that I've spent the month of May designing and preparing submissions to online and print publications in the hopes of making an appearance one day in their pages.

I have no illusions about the likelihood of acceptance.  I understand that it's a bit of a lottery driven by many factors I can't predict or control. Its risks are few – some weeks of invisibility maybe as I put my self-publishing aside, and the potential of a bruised ego if/when my submissions are rejected – while its ultimate benefit, if designs are accepted, is great.  What I didn't anticipate however, were the benefits of the process.

I'm on the mailing lists of Interweave Knits and Twist Collective and receive notice when submissions for future issues are being accepted.  Mood boards are included highlighting required styling themes. As luck would have it, notices for winter 2013 and spring 2014 issues came in at the same time of my Patternfish epiphany, so I was more than willing to see how I could fit.

One of the themes for Knitscene spring 2014 (a production of Interweave Knits) was Black and White.  I'd been working with color blocks lately so it seemed a go.  My favorite yarn supplier, Quince&Co, didn't have a white that was white enough, so I went on an online search and discovered a bright white in a wool I'd not used before, Cascade 220 sport, in my favored gauge.  I found a supplier in a local store, Gather Here, that I had been meaning to visit for a while.  It turned out to be quite a treat and I've been back a few times since.  I suggested this same bright white for my Twist Collective winter 2013 submission, a match to its icy winter photo collage style sheet. 

Candy Box was one of the requested themes for Interweave Knits spring 2014, aiming at feminine colors and lace.  I felt that this too would work for me.  In a blog interview I'd come across recently, Pam Allen mentioned Susanna Lewis’s Knitting Lace as a book every knitter should own, and now I do.  It's this book I mined for my candy box lace, along with the previously untried Quince color of Dogwood, a luminous pink I now swoon for, and that is now on my needles for my next project as well.

So with all submissions made by their respective deadlines I'm back to my own design stream, armed with new wool, new colors, new lace, a new store, and 3 new fleshed out designs that I'll publish myself if the responses come in as "thank you, but no."  It's all good.  I'm going with the flow.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Ruth, you rascal :)

Great aunt Ruth married pastor Albert, my grandmother's brother.  Word is that pastor Albert enjoyed watching his rascal bride Ruth vacuum au naturel. Makes me wonder how that word ever got out (hee hee!) – but oh how my mum enjoyed this story.  I like to think that with her house finally cleaned Ruth might have slipped on this rascally tee to go out on the town.

Thinking of you dear Ruth – with a loving grin.

My Ruth is a cap-sleeved tee covered in scroll lace with back waistband ribbing to accentuate the curves. 

You'll find this pattern now published and available from my ravelry shop, and also linked from here.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Glorious grape

Oh I love my work – my play? Absolutely.

Ruth.  Pattern writing is underway.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Lyrical Lillian

Great aunt Hilda's birth certificate shows her name as Lillian Hildagard, though no one ever called her that.  I'm not sure why.  She was a lovely lady, hiding her lovely, lyrical name from the world – but not for long.

Here's Juliet modeling Lillian – a shapely, color-block, garter trimmed pullover, with bracelet length sleeves and a circular shawl collar.

For a closer look, you'll find this published pattern available from my ravelry shop, and also linked from here

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Harbinger of spring

With luck I'll nab Juliet to model for the pattern launch, but for now, here's a peek at Lillian. Isn't she sweet?  Spring – at last!

Pattern writing is underway.  Lillian will be published and available on Ravelry soon.  Stay tuned.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Something in the wind

I usually start each day checking in with the blogs I follow, written by a bunch of compadres I've never met but with whom I feel kinship and find knit design motivation. In today's review I came across not 1 but 2! posts talking about lately failed, or stuck, design attempts. These were particularly meaningful to me since this is where I've been for the last 3 weeks! Alas – though my misery enjoys this company for sure.

My past 3 designs – Jeanette, Laura, and Elizabeth – have been labors of love. Ideas flowed, pieces worked up just as I imagined, and I couldn't wait to get to work each day. Hooray! Then came Lillian, my latest lady friend, whose first iteration was deemed by Juliet to be mall-like, i.e. looks like mass production, so ah, no.. A few days later, continuing my search for inspiration, came growing exasperation and probably too much complaining. "You know mum," Juliet said, "I think it's okay to be confused." I'll assume she learned that from me since I'm the mum, right? But ya, turns out she's the wise one and I needed the reminder. I decided to organize my idea binder – images collected over the past 30 years from magazines, catalogs, anywhere, that contained any design feature that ever caught my eye; there are hundreds. It proved to be a helpful exercise as repeating themes emerged, and once again I felt off and running. So now, after significant knitting already done I find myself – too late – stuck on colors. Lillian will use 2, and I'm undergoing serious second guessing about my original plan. I've got other options in my yarn stash. Could it be that none of them work well together? I placed an order for an alternative for one, got excited about it, then received a sweet, but disappointing out-of-stock email, asking me to reselect or wait several weeks. Ugh. I chose another and am now awaiting its arrival, feeling a bit pessimistic I'll admit, but we'll see. Then came last night's beautiful Project Runway winner serving as further motivation for me to shake things up.

So, something in the wind, or just the nature of the beast?  Probably bit of both as seasons change, but noteworthy is that Mary gave me comparable angst last year just about this same time. She's one of my favorites now. I'll try to remember this as I grapple – or more likely, I'll just wait for Juliet to remind me.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

In like a lion

March 7th and true to form in Boston where it's snowing a blizzard, March marches in like a lion. 

But that's okay.  This weather gives me a few more weeks to wear Elizabeth – my latest cozy knitted piece. 

Published pattern is now available from my ravelry shop, and also linked from here.  Next up, thinking spring.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Revise, reuse

During our last design brainstorm session Juliet suggested using my Grand Loop Jane Cowl as a collar – same wool, color, texture, dimensions – but attached instead.  hmmm..

So I did.

And I'm glad.  Turned out fun, huh?

Pattern writing is eagerly underway.  Elizabeth will be published and available soon, on Ravelry.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Lovely Laura

Namesake of a distant paternal cousin (with a special wink to a current day pal) is lovely Laura worn by lovely Juliet.  Another delightful collaboration between us has resulted in this sweet design – making me quite ready to rename my enterprise Deb and Juliet Hoss Knits, but how fun is that! 

It takes 2 images to show the fullness of this piece – simple in the front and lacy in the back – with garter trimming wrapping it all together.  A fitting valentine for my girl.

You'll find this pattern for sale on Ravelry, or link here for pattern details on my site.