Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Western obsession

My girlfriends can tell you all about my fascination with cowboys.  We've had more than a few laughs about it over the years :).  So in keeping with my patterns' personal naming theme, I dub this, my latest knitting design (with cowboy fringe!) – Bonanza.

Dad and I used to watch this 1960's tv series on Sunday nights, before (or after?) Ed Sullivan.  Maybe this is where my western obsession began.  Is it an accident I married a Hoss?  hee hee, a topic for my therapist..

Creating the fringe, a new-to-me technique, turned out to be very fun and easy.  Fabulous testers are working now to proof the numbers and text of my pattern, that I plan to launch mid-January.  It will be my first for 2015 – a nice start for the brand new year.  Yee-ha!

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Super cute, no?  (The sweater too.)  Juliet and I had a fun day yesterday over breakfast, picture-taking, then lunch!  I got to spend lots of quality time with my favorite girl who, by the way, is recently engaged to the wonderful James!  Smiles all around.

Recalling art school days, and drawing 101, Crosshatch seemed a fitting name for this piece with its variegated yarn criss-crossing vertical ribs.  Testers are finishing up as I prepare to launch this pattern over the weekend.  I'll link from here when I do, but I just couldn't resist the early posting.  I get so excited.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Paper toys 2014

Christmas in September! at least for me, as I put aside my knitting and orchestrate annual gift giving assignments and their paper toys for special delivery to my 16 brothers and sisters-in-law.

We lost our brother Bill this year – our marathon runner.  All the Hoss men are athletes and by now most have settled into golf for sport.  Bill remained a runner to the end, competing in 66 marathons during his lifetime.  He, and we, are particularly proud of his 1981 Boston Marathon – finishing first place for his age group in a time of 2 hours, 34 minutes, and 15 seconds.

This one's for you Bill.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Estelle's Envy

Lillian Hildegarde, my great aunt, was born in 1898 the oldest daughter in my grandmother's family.  I knew she had polio as a child, that she had walked with a cane since then.

I knew she was the keeper of our family tree.  I spent one preteen summer with our royal typewriter re-keying her name lists onto new clean sheets.  I still have these pages.  I'm their keeper now.

Unlike most young women of her day she went to college. Single, independent, she lived alone in an apartment on Park Drive. Through family albums I learned more about her work at MIT.  She was a librarian. I saw her smiling back from photographs taken at her retirement party.

But it wasn't until much later that I discovered she was a writer a writer of steamy novels never published, about life, love, romance, and heartbreak. She wrote her chapters in Scribble-in Books little blank hardbound journals.  I have the one with pages numbered from 626 to 778.  I wish had more more.

As sweater tribute to my novelist, I plucked the fitting family-inspired name of my latest design from one of her characters a young woman named Estelle.  

Introducing Estelle's Envy – a slim pullover with alpaca collar abundance.

Pattern writing and testing are underway EPD (estimated publish date) 9/15/2014.

Monday, July 21, 2014


I'm having a great summer of knitting.  Let's Dance and Beach Weekend are published and my most recent, Innamorata, is nicely underway.  

This design is named for a Dean Martin song circa 1955 (almost before my time).  Marlene was a fan and if I close my eyes I can hear it playing from the stereo in our living room. 

Innamorata, Italian for "in love" and I've also seen translations as "sweetheart" and "soul mate" all of which I find fitting for this simple, delicate, and thoroughly romantic summer tee.

I hope you'll agree.  

Monday, June 30, 2014

Goings on

Let's Dance was published on June 23rd – hooray! – after another delightful experience with a great group of test knitters (thank you!).  This design is a first for me – top-down – and mastering that turned out to be a great experience too.  So much so that currently in test is Beach Weekend (below), that I spun off from this one.

Beach Weekend, named for a favorite pastime and because it's where much of its knitting happened, reused the Tilting Blocks lace, but this time I placed it on the sleeves, that are elbow length. The neckline is deeper, and the bodice is shaped instead of a-line.  My hoped-for publish date is July 21st and so far so good.  Test knitters seem to be having fun.  Me too :).   

Busy days at Deb Hoss Knits enterprise :).

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Let's Dance

Test knitting is underway for Let's Dance, a top-down tee worked in a fun checkerboard lace.

The lace was my starting point for this piece, attractive for its simplicity and even texture that doesn't skew the resulting knit fabric.  It seemed to dance across the surface – hence its name.  (It's also named, in keeping with family lore association, for where my parents first met – at a dance, held in a Boston area hotel, the 1950's equivalent of match.com, bringing together 2 people whose paths may not have otherwise crossed, unless you believe in fate...)

Publication for Let's Dance is planned for June 23rd.  Meanwhile we're having fun with knit testing, and Juliet's wearing it all over town, happily.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New Ravelry Group

Regretful blog silence for the past few weeks as I've turned my writing attention to posting in my newly formed ravelry group of same name – Deb Hoss Knits (banner above).  I think you have to be signed on to Ravelry to participate.  If you are, you'll find it here.  It's been thrilling to have fellow knitters join me.  I'm very grateful.  Some have offered to test knit upcoming designs too, prior to release – another exciting venture resulting from my new found community.

My latest design, May Replay, is an updated version of May, an earlier piece, this time worked in the round, with slightly longer sleeves, and a variation in cables. 4 gracious knitters are currently testing and giving welcomed feedback along their way.  I'm aiming for a May 15 launch, though putting NO stress on my testers.  I left my day job a few years ago to get away from that kind of stress and just won't allow it to resurface in my favorite pastime :).

Here's a peek at May Replay modeled by the fabulous Juliet.

Both sweet, no?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Oh Johnny Lee

One of the many things I like about my knitting enterprise (the design work, website, and blog) is how its "branding" evolves.  Over the past 3 years I've changed my website format a few times, which has spawned like changes to my business cards, the pattern font and layout, etc., and each time I'm tempted to go back and change all of my prior patterns (38 published at this writing) to match the new look – but I resist.  (Truthfully it's an ongoing internal dialog.  I can be that kind of perfectionist.)  Such would be crazy work, I tell myself, and would get in the way of my knitting. 

The latest in this evolution involves the naming of my designs.  Up until now I've used my family tree as source, beginning with my mum – Marlene.  By now I'm running out of family names, and since I expect to never stop this work :), I need another plan.

I read recently a blog post by knitwear designer Bristol Ivy (Where the Red-Winged Blackbird Flies) where she recites a Shaker spiritual, "by turning, turning, we come 'round right."  She's a wonderful writer and I found this passage particularly poetic.  I've thought of it a lot since and as often happens, I notice, when timing is right ideas come together.  From this I've decided to name my pieces lyrically while keeping their basis in my history and family story.  It feels right, and consistent, hopefully opening up a whole world of naming possibilities – though currently I'm thinking only of the next.

Oh Johnny Lee – mum's first crush, as written in her teenage diary that I found and secretly read as a scoundrel child, then broadcast to the family, as we laughed and laughed. Mum laughed too, though I never saw that diary again.  I don't think she'd mind me using the memory.

Launch of Oh Johnny Lee forthcoming.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

At last

Today I left my down coat in the closet and went out in Elsie, unzipped, just like this.

Oh happy spring – at last.

Friday, January 31, 2014

When one thought leads to another

I regret blog silence for the past several weeks, January's been a busy knitting month.  Submissions to hoped for publications, and my routine monthly self-published piece have taken all attention.  And as I await word about the former, for now a word about the latter – Emily, my January offering.

Dear Emily has certainly taken many forms along the way.  The fact of her being a vest is the only vestige (smile) of her original self.  She started as an idea for garter stitch, in the manner of Mary and Elsie.  I am smitten with the silent shaping that this stitch allows. I made garter swatches in Quince's owl, then chickadee, and finally settled on lark as my desired thickness for this chilly weather piece.  Then, with deadlines looming, she took a back seat to submission planning that had me scouring my idea stash.  By the time I returned to her, rib stitches had seduced me and she was transformed. I do like when this happens, when one thought leads to another. My husband Peter re-collages his artwork, my writer pal Bev erases, cuts and pastes, and I reknit. Emily got shorter, a bit slimmer, and shaping stitches were reconsidered.  And although I thought about making her work as she was, I knew I was on the right track when the decision to start over with new-found knowledge was a relief rather than a burden.

I'm wrapping up pattern writing now, checking my math, and will be taking pictures over the weekend.  (Thank you Pete for this preview!)  With luck my January offering will launch by February 3rd.  Close enough :).