New (FREE) Pattern: Morning Glory Sweater Coat

One of the photos taken as inspiration from our garden
One of the photos taken as inspiration from our garden
Original Sketch
Original Sketch
From the TNNA fashion show runway
From the TNNA fashion show runway

Greetings everyone! It has been a long time since I posted. I will fill you in on my month of July in another post, but while I was preoccupied, good things have been happening. You have already seen a little preview of my latest pattern from the TNNA fashion show runway, but I am really happy to tell you that Brown Sheep Co now has the pattern up on their website as a free download.

I really hope you will like it. I am particularly proud of this pattern because it was difficult to write (due to the custom color charts) and to be perfectly honest, there were points in the process I was ready to give up on it all together. I am glad I persisted with it, because as you can see from the photo and sketch, it had a clear path from original inspiration to sketch to final pattern and finished garment. As my fellow designers can probably attest, it is very rewarding when this happens. More frequently than I’d like to admit, I think I have a gorgeous idea in my head, and then when I start the writing and knitting, things don’t work out the way I expect.

With this garment, I had a clear concept from start to finish. I was sitting in my garden one day sketching, and it was at just the right time of day when the morning glories were fully open. I snapped some photos (see above) and instantly pictured a bright statement sweater coat with colorwork based on the flowers. I drew all the color charts by hand, based off of my photographs, and the sweater took shape from there.

If you would like to pick your own colors for this project, Google Images will give you an array to choose from. Based on my Google search, I was surprised to find that the colors of my flowers are unusual – apparently morning glories are more often in the blue/purple family.  It is knit in Brown Sheep’s Lanaloft, so you will have plenty of yarn colors to choose from to fulfill your own vision, and I encourage you to have fun picking your colors.

Please share photos with me if you choose to make this, and I hope you find it as rewarding to knit as I did to design. I also want to say a big thank you to Brown Sheep for working with me. They had not worked with me before this, and had not met me until the TNNA show, so I am very grateful they were willing to feature my pattern and take a chance on someone new. Plus, if you haven’t worked with their yarn before, you definitely should! Happy knitting!

TNNA Spring Show Highlights

Shot of my designs hanging in the Colinton Australia booth at TNNA.
My designs hanging in the Colinton Australia booth at TNNA.

If  you’re wondering where I’ve been (since it’s been awhile since I’ve posted), the answer is back and forth across the country – the TNNA Spring Tradeshow in Washington, DC to be exact. As I mentioned in a previous post, I had four designs in the fashion show, so this trip was a big deal for me.

As you might imagine, it was incredibly exciting to see my designs walk the runway, but it was also an incredible amount of work beforehand. However, the fashion show is only an hour or so out of a 5-day trip, so I also wanted to share my other personal highlights from the tradeshow.

Morning Glory Sweater Coat - my new design with Brown Sheep Company
Morning Glory Sweater Coat – my new design with Brown Sheep Company
Sheba - my newest design with Colinton Australia - on the fashion show runway
Sheba – my newest design with Colinton Australia – on the fashion show runway

Obviously, I have to start with the fashion show. As a designer, it’s very rewarding after many months of work to see it all being modeled and walking down the runway. My three designs with Colinton Australia were in the show along with a brand new design with Brown Sheep Company. This is a sneak peek of my new design, which will soon be up on Brown Sheep’s website. I did my best to take photos of everything at the show, but the truth is that TNNA’s photographer did a much better job, so I encourage you to check out my Facebook page to see better shots of my designs on the runway (as shared from the TNNA official page). If you visit TNNA’s page, you can see photos of every design in the entire show. Many thanks to Colinton Australia and also Brown Sheep Company for entering my work!

The Colinton Australia booth, with owner Brandyn and her daughter Maegan
The Colinton Australia booth, with owner Brandyn and her daughter Maegan

Which brings me to my next highlight – working with Colinton Australia at their booth. I spent the majority of my time with them – setting up, manning the booth after the show opened to help tell people about the yarn, answer questions, etc. This was a huge learning curve for me, since I am a designer, not a vendor, but it is always helpful to have another viewpoint of your own industry. Running a yarn company takes as much diligence and dedication as being a designer or a yarn shop owner. They came all the way from Australia, so it was great to meet the people I had previously only talked to on the phone. I thank them for the opportunity to learn.

If you aren't familiar with Jill's work, I encourage you to check her out!
If you aren’t familiar with Jill’s work, I encourage you to check her out!

I am always happy to meet fellow designers, and I had the privilege of meeting Jill Wolcott this trip. If you are not familiar with Jill’s work, you will want to look her up. She is an extremely experienced knitter, and in addition, taught at FIDM in San Francisco. She is very knowledgeable about garment construction and writes detailed, concise patterns. She teaches at shows, maintains online classes, and was a dedicated volunteer at the TNNA Fashion Show. She was gracious enough to give me feedback about my work and to share her thoughts on the industry and designing, and I can’t recommend her enough. If you would like to build your knitting skills, particularly in making clothes, you will not be sorry to take a class with her.

My new "friend" - taken at the Little Gidding Farms booth. Lovely yarn, and lovelier people!
My new “friend” – taken at the Little Gidding Farms booth. Lovely yarn, and lovely people!

Awhile back, I noticed someone by the name of LGFSuris followed me on social media. LGF stands for Little Gidding Farms and the name caught my fancy, so when I noticed they had a booth at TNNA, I had to introduce myself. Take it from me, their alpaca is as soft and lovely as you could wish alpaca yarn to be, and they were as lovely as their yarn. They even graciously took my photo more than once when it didn’t turn out the first time. Their name, by the way, is a reference to a T.S. Eliot poem.

I am very happy to tell you that my final highlight will be ongoing, and a great opportunity for all of you. Colinton Australia and I will be partnering on kits, starting with my Unfurled shawl. Their colorist put together a number of palettes, and you will be able to order kits that include your choice of palette, plus the pattern for an excellent price. Save your yarn money, because it will be a great deal from a company that NEVER puts their luxury fiber on sale! I may also do a KAL at the same time, just to make it more fun for all of us. More details coming soon in another post!