Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Meet Elizabeth

Today I want to introduce you to one the wonderful people I've gotten to work with at Cooperative Press.  
Elizabeth Green Musselman is one of the most talented, sweet, generous, and all around kick-ass women I've had the pleasure of meeting.  She is a pattern designer, a graphic designer, and an editor, and in her previous life she was a history teacher at a small liberal arts college.  She blogs and podcasts at Dark Matter Knits.

I first met her after I had turned the materials for Hat Couture.  What I handed in was text and photos.  What she created is a gorgeous book!  I actually cried with joy when I got my first look at the layout.  The fonts, the borders, the layout on the page - it was all her.  

In her own words, "The most fun aspect of designing knitting books to me is thinking about how to translate the designer's vision for their knitwear into graphic design language."
And now she's written her own book Kung Fu Knits.

This clever book is part comic book and part pattern book, and all fantastic!  It's also a love letter to her son who is the inspiration and the star of the book.  
In Kung Fu Knits she has taken up the challenge of creating knits that boys will actually want to wear.  As she points out in the introduction, boys tend to run hot, like to be comfortable, and can be very picky about style.  
I do believe she hit the nail squarely on the head with these fun, comfortable, and way cool patterns.  I'm seriously considering knitting this Gi Jacket for Sam who also practises Kung Fu.  
After three plus years at Cooperative Press, Elizabeth is now branching out on her own.  She recently started a business with Anne Podlesak of Wooly Wonka Fibers (and frequent contributor to Cooperative Press books) called Stitch Definition.  They offer photography, graphic design, and editing services to independent designers, dyers, and others in the fiber industry. They officially launching in May at TNNA, but have already started taking clients on a case-by-case basis.

Thank-you Elizabeth and I wish you only the best of luck in your new venture!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Actually, It IS the End of the World, Let's Knit.

Next up on the Cooperative Press tour of things to love, is Doomsday Knits edited by Alex Tinsley. 


To quote Alex from the introduction:

The year is 3015. The polar ice caps have melted and the deserts expanded, leaving the Earth a seared, crusty Hell. Meanwhile, nuclear fallout has blocked out the sun, plunging the world into a new ice age (yes, at the same time). The question on your mind?

What should I knit?

Doomsday Knits is a riotous collection of garments and accessories inspired by the post-apocalyptic genre of film, literature, and fashion. These cutting-edge fashion pieces are just as at-home in your closet today as they will be in the dystopian wastelands of tomorrow.

This is a really fun group book with a wild assortment truly creative, imaginative, and downright wacky patterns.


Fennec by Sharon Fuller is a beautiful cropped sweater that is also perfect for our modern world.


Grom-Mitts by Brenda K. B. Anderson are edgy and cool.

Ringmaster by Rhiannon McCulloch shows a softer, somewhat more romantic dystopian future. 

Lunar Progression is my contribution to this book. It's a scarf with a built in lunar calender (because everyone needs one of those, right?)  Look here for my earlier blog post all about this pattern. 

And check out Dull Roar (Alex's blog) with links to a whole bunch of behind the scenes posts from other designers. 

One of the things I really like about knitting is its broad appeal.  Classy, elegant, sophisticated?  Yup, plenty of that!  Sweet, adorable, cherubic?  Absolutely!  Silly, crazy, over the top?  Oh yeah, we've got that too! Whatever your mood or need you'll be able to knit something to suit. So in the immortal words of William Shakespeare, "Get thee to a yarn shop" (or something like that.)

Also get thee to the Cooperative Press website and sign up for prizes!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Hats of Cooperative Press (part 2)

As promised the tour of hats continues!  There really are a dizzying array of great hat patterns available from Cooperative Press

First up today is Stitching in the Stacks edited by Sarah Barbour. 

Knitting and books; a match made in heaven.  (I have patterns in this book but they're not hats.)

The Dewey Decimal Hat by Brenda K. B. Anderson.
California Revival Knits by Stephannie Tallent is a glorious book full of intricate patterns inspired by architectural elements from the California Revival movement.  
Stairsteps Tam features glorious colorwork!

And speaking of glorious colorwork, take a look at Extreme Double-Knitting by Alasdair Post-Quinn.  He takes double-knitting to new heights.
Falling Blocks Hat.  Wow, wow, wow!

Cascadia by Amanda Milne and Fiona McLean has rich patterns for the whole family inspired by the lush Pacific Northwest. 

The cables on Tidal Flats mimic the ripples in the mud.

How about something for the kids?   

Seriously, how cute is the Jack and Clara Wintry Ensemble by Peggy Bumgardner?  From Fresh Designs: Kids.
And as long as we're talking about kids, Head to Toe by Katya Frankel is devoted entirely to quick knits for the small people in your life.  

Simonside features an unusual cable pattern. 

Hitch edited by Stephannie Tallent is a really fun book chock full of patterns inspired by Alfred Hitchcock movies. 

Souvenir of a Killing by Kristen Hanley Cardozo, can't you feel the vertigo?  (I told you there was a dizzying array of hats.)

Knit Edge Magazine has also featured some lovely hats over the last several years. 

Signal Flare by Patricia Martin from issue 1. 

Thanks for sticking with me all the way to the end.  I hope you'll take a little time to look at all the other great stuff Cooperative Press has to offer and don't forget...

There are prizes too!  

Sign up for the Cooperative Press mailing list and you'll be entered to win $100 cash or $50 CP store credit. 

Want more incentive to play along?  Write something about a Cooperative Press book or author, tag it #shareCPlove, and then tell them about it here and you could win $200!  There's no limit to the number of entries you can make.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Sharing the Cooperative Press Love for Hats (part 1)

In honor of the once in a lifetime (well I hope not) convergence of The Style Crone's Hat Attack #19 and Spy Girl's 52 Pick-me-up: Hat Trick I'm going to take you on a tour of all the wonderful hat patterns to be found from Cooperative Press.

Here's Cooperative Press' only other book devoted entirely to hats, Fresh Designs: Hats.

This book is part of the Cooperative Press' Fresh Designs Series which showcases new designers.  My Geometry pattern was included in the Shawls book and was one of my very first design acceptances. 

Tundra by Julia Calagiovanni.  How cute is this entretac design with ear flaps?

Bargello Knits by Patty Nance is an innovative colorwork book chock full of gorgeous designs.

The Cable Swirl Hat is beautiful example of innovative hat design.

Beyond Knit and Purl by Kate Atherley is a great book for beginners who are looking for easy but not boring projects.

Zig Zag Fair Isle Tam is great colorwork project for a beginner.

Knit Accessories, another book by Kate Atherley, contain all the basics for quick knits for yourself or to give as gifts.

Such a great Basic Slouchy hat to wear every day! 

What Would Madame Defarge Knit? and What Else Would Madame Defarge Knit? edited by Heather Ordover are fun literary inspired books.

The Ancient Mariner Watch Cap by Dianne Read-Jacksonis an elegant basic cap that would be perfect for the guy in your life.

Speaking of men, Fresh Designs: Men has a couple of great hats too. 

The Rhythm Maker's Hat by Erica Jackofsky features a lovely texture and square shaping. 

Next up are two of Cooperative Press' most creative books.

Doomsday Knits: Projects for the Apocalypse and After edited by Alexandra Tinsley features fashion forward and sometimes outright whacky designs inspired by Post-Apocalyptic movies and books.  Stay tuned later this month for a post devoted entirely to this book including my Lunar Progression Scarf.

I Was a Teenage Mutant by Alex Tinsley features absolutely fantastic construction.   
Needles and Artifice by The Ladies of Mischief includes a steamy tale of intrigue, passion, and dirigibles along with some truly masterful Steampunk designs.

The Take Flight Bonnet by Jen Schripsema does a great job of combining soft Victorian femininity with an edgy punk vibe. 

Stay tuned later this week for part 2!

Don't forget there are prizes too!  

Sign up for the Cooperative Press mailing list and you'll be entered to win $100 cash or $50 CP store credit. 

Want more incentive to play along?  Write something about a Cooperative Press book or author, tag it #shareCPlove, and then tell them about it here and you could win $200!  There's no limit to the number of entries you can make.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Cooperative Press is Spreading the Love

I don't know how many authors can say this, but I really do love my publisher!  Cooperative Press, run by the incomparable Shannon Okey has been wonderful to work with.  In keeping with the "cooperative" part of their name, I'm participating in the Valentine's Promo.  Over the course of the next two weeks I'll be blogging and tweeting about an assortment of wonderful books from Cooperative Press.  Be sure to look for the tag  #shareCPlove here and on twitter  and other social media to read more from me and other authors.

In addition to learning about all the cool books Cooperative Press has to offer, sign up for the Cooperative Press mailing list and you'll be entered to win $100 cash or $50 CP store credit. 

Want more incentive to play along?  Write something about a Cooperative Press book or author, tag it #shareCPlove, and then tell them about it here and you could win $200!  There's no limit to the number of entries you can make.

The fine print:
* For all prizes won, you must be on the CP mailing list at the time winners are selected.
* Any type of link will count for submission, on any form of social media, so long as it is publicly accessible. For example, if you write a review on Goodreads, link directly to it (like so: But if you write on a Twitter account that is not public, the link won't count.

Some possible ideas: Amazon reviews, Goodreads reviews, Pinterest pins of patterns from CP books, Facebook posts, Tumblr posts, Instagram posts or regrams.
* All entries must be submitted before February 14th.
Good luck and thanks for all the love! ♥

 To kick things off, click here for a behind the scenes look at my book, Hat Couture.  And if the mood strikes you, I'd adore it if you'd give a review on Amazon!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

One of a kind Hollywood Glam and Mass Produced Throw Aways.

My primary reason for visiting the Museum of Fine Art in Boston was to see the Hollywood Glamour exhibit.  Here is fashion at its peak.  Every object has been meticulously designed and executed to create a spectacle.  These are not simply clothes, they are events.  They create entire stories of their own.


Stunning silk velvet gown with silver embellishments designed by Gilbert Adrian for Greta Garbo in the movie Inspiration.

Here she is in the dress doing that dreamy, far away look she was so well known for. 

And just for fun, the hat I named for her. 

This amazing embroidered outfit was designed by the incomparable Edith Head for Betty Hutton in The Perils of Pauline.

Swoon!  Oh how this must have just floated across the floor.  This silk and fur gown was designed by Travis Banton for Marlene Dietrich in Desire.


One last hat picture.  Marlene knit top hat. 


Oh and THESE SHOES!  These are Mae West's 8.5" platform shoes!  The top part is leather and the base is wood covered in silver paint.  Just the silver toes and heels would have shown at the hem of her gowns.  Apparently she wore them all the time, on screen and off.

Later in the day Dad and I found ourselves completely fascinated by the Bright Matter exhibit by Shinique Smith.  In stark contrast to the lavish Hollywood costumes that were painstakingly made, one of a kind pieces, lovingly preserved and valued over the years, her work is made from throw away objects.  The everyday items that we use and toss. 


There were vibrant, exciting mixed media pieces

No Key, No Question 

I particularly like how she uses what is substantially garbage to create objects of such lightness and beauty. 


Inner Clock

The most fascinating pieces for me were her Bales.   

These totem-like pieces are made entirely of clothing and bits of fabric.  I found the sheer mass of everyday STUFF bundled up in this way to be utterly fascinating.  I felt that these pieces really spoke to who we are as a society and the value (or lack of value) that we give to the objects that we surround ourselves with.  I'm not sure if she meant her work to be a cometary on fast fashion and waste in our society but it definitely go me thinking in that direction.  

I was particularly fascinated by the items I could identify, such as this Paul Frank patterned fleece sleeper that probably was sold at Target. 

I definitely walked away from this exhibit with a renewed determination to buy as much as possible second hand.  Art is wonderful but waste is not.