Thanks Tal!

What fun we've had with Talitha Kuomi and her designs. And her blogging friends have had a lot to say about her fabulous new book, Artistic Differences! She will be with us in New York for VK Live this weekend - very exciting - but also exciting is that we are giving a way a copy of her book, and enough yarn for a project! Just leave a comment here, and we'll draw the lucky winner next week.

In the meantime, we leave you with more yarny inspiration.
Trume Socks from Artistic Differences

From Folly Cove

When we began thinking about our Viewpoints collaborations, Julia Farwell-Clay came to mind. I have long admired her designs and she is local to our CEY offices - a regular visitor to our factory outlet store. One day, while she was innocently browsing for yarn, I cornered her and asked if she would be interested in doing a collection with CEY and what her concept for such a collection would be. I heard back from her just a few days later and was blown away by the depth and breadth of her inspiration and design ideas. We immediately started talking yarn and deadlines and photography and neither of us has looked back!

Julia’s idea centered around Illustrator Virginia Lee Burton, best known for her children’s books.
books by Virginia Lee Burton
Virginia Lee Burton taught an informal design course to her neighbors in Gloucester Massachusetts in the late 1930s that, over time, grew into a design guild producing beautiful block printed fabrics. Known as the The Folly Cove Designers, their popularity grew and the group remained active until 1970, the year after Virginia Lee Burton’s death. 

Their artwork and incredible block prints are so beautiful and varied, Julia had enough design ideas for several books. We narrowed down the focus and Julia got busy knitting. The Arts and Crafts feel of the Folly Cove Designers blends well with Julia's signature style. The results are timeless, yet have a modern vibe. 
Butterflies, blocked printed fabric by Elizabeth Iarrobino a member of The Folly Cove Designers
Iarrobino Vest and Cowl in Fresco by Julia Farwell-Clay, inspired by Butterflies fabric above
In addition to the Iarrobino cowl and vest, From Folly Cove contains nine more outstanding designs, including a dress, a skirt, and jackets and coats. All designs are available now at your LYS, online as individual pdfs, and as a downloadable ebook. 

Artistic Differences

Early in 2014, those of us at Classic Elite Yarns began talking about a different way to work with independent designers. We hadn't quite figured out what that "different way" would be when Talitha Kuomi approached us, asking if we had thought about working one-on-one with an indie designer. The time was right to jump in and figure out the details, and Tal's vision of Artistic Differences* was born!

You may be familiar with Talitha's work through The Fiber Factor's first season. You can read more about Talitha here. Tal has also contributed many designs to CEY pattern books and I love her creative style - her ability to make a simple garment or accessory unique and different, by just adding small details.

Squishesse in Chalet, Cedar in Firefly and Lana in Color by Kristin (all available on Ravelry)
Her concept for Artistic Differences, taking one design and altering the details to make it fit your style, inspired by her two muses - an edgy rock 'n rock chick, and a more dreamy bohemian, hippy girl - seemed a perfect way to showcase her creativity and design aesthetic. Below are just a few of my favorites from the ten projects in Artistic Differences, each shown two ways.

Forte is a pullover knit in Blackthorn, with a unique drop stitch V-neck. The Boho version (left) has a higher V, and is shown worn with a wide beaded belt. The drop-stitch V-neck on the Rocker version is much deeper (right). Both are standard fit - a couple of inches of ease - but would have even another look if worn more oversized.

Forte pullover in Blackthorn
I am in love with the Tensity bag! The only reason I haven't cast on yet is that I can't decide which color of Wynter to use. 

Tensity bag in Wynter)
Both versions are knit exactly the same. The difference is in the hardware, which is available as a kit from JUL Designs. Choose from a classic shoulder bag or a backpack-type shoulder sling bag. The cabled outer layer and the lining are knit in one piece for a bag with more stability than most knitted bags. Tal suggests the option of knitting the lining in a contrasting color.

Terva pullover in Magnolia
The lacey Terva pullover is shown oversized (Rocker version - left) or in a more fitted silhouette (Boho version - right) Both are shown hip length but could easily be knit to tunic length

What I love about Artistic Differences is that by showing more than one way to knit and wear a sweater or accessory, it gives the knitter even more ideas for options in making each project perfectly suited to her own particular style.

* The entire collection and individual patterns will be available January 1, 2015!

A New Way of Thinking

Knitters today have more pattern choices than ever before! A quick look at Ravelry shows the ever-expanding variety of designs and designers. 

In CEY’s monthly pattern anthologies, we aim to showcase our yarns at their best, and each collection is a compilation of many designers, styles and perspectives. We strive to show a balanced collection each month with something for everyone – accessories and garments; trendy pieces and more classic styles; projects for beginners as well as experienced knitters.

But we also imagined a new and different way to present pattern support: 


What if we created a more in-depth and focused way to work with designers? By giving a talented indie designer the freedom to tell a story with a themed collection of their designs, we could present their favorite CEY yarns in a different light. And that's how VIEWPOINTS was born. It represents an open collaboration between the indie designer and the experience and resources at CEY. No restrictions, no seasonal deadlines. Just the designer's imagination brought to life and sent out into the knitting world.

The first two collections in this on-going series will be available January 1, 2015, and we couldn't be more excited!

Artistic Differences pattern book, by Talitha Kuomi
Talitha was inspired by her musical and performing background to create ARTISTIC DIFFERENCES. She imagined one design altered to be knit and styled two unique ways - a bohemian acoustic style and an edgier rock n roll look.

 Setto, a cabled pullover in Inca Alpaca, is shown as a high hip length on the Boho girl.

Each of the 10 projects is shown twice giving the knitter ideas to customize for their own particular style.

  For a different look, the Setto pullover is shown cropped on our rocker chick.

FROM FOLLY COVE, by Julia Farwell-Clay
From Folly Cove pattern book, by Julia Farwell-Clay
Julia's FOLLY COVE collection was inspired by block prints created by a mid 20th century design guild founded by artist Virginia Lee Burton on the north shore of Massachusetts. 
Iarrobino Vest in Fresco 
The arts and craft feel of the The Folly Cove Designers blends well with Julia's signature style resulting in fresh, modern designs with a vintage feel.
Lanesville pullover in Liberty Wool Light
As with all our monthly books, the two new VIEWPOINTS collections are available many ways: visit your Local Yarn Store to purchase a printed book (it includes a code to also download an eBook version); purchase the eBook online; or buy individual PDF patterns. 

A more in-depth preview of each VIEWPOINTS collection is coming soon - stay tuned!

CEY & Indie Designers

Do you receive the CEY weekly Web-Letter? If so, you know this week we’re featuring independent designers who have self-published patterns that feature our yarns. If not, you can view our independent designer feature here and sign up for the Web-Letter here.

CEY’s partnership with indie designers goes beyond our Web-Letter features. Our monthly pattern books include a mix of indie designs and those from our in-house designers (both of them). A few of us contribute to the books but can only find time to design during nights and weekends, so we follow the same process as the indie designers, except we hand-deliver our submissions.

Talitha Kuomi
Cathy Payson
Julia Farwell-Clay

Tonia recently blogged about the long process every design in our collection goes through before we publish the final pattern. For indie designers, it starts with a design call from Susan. After the submission deadline, Susan selects the pieces that fit with our theme and we send yarn (and a deadline) to the designers we’re going to publish.

Alison Stewart-Guinee
Laura Zukaite
Therese Chenoweth

The designers themselves usually knit the pieces, although I have also met people who enlist the knitting help of their friends and family to make sure their pieces are knit in time for our photoshoots.

Apple Cider
Deborah Helmke
Therese Chenoweth
Jill Wright

We are proud to support independent designers and showcase their talents. The varied design perspectives they add to our in our pattern books ensures there are patterns for every skill level and type of knitter.

Cooking With Yarn

Knitting/crocheting patterns have a lot in common with recipes. They both tell you how to create a wonderful product with your own two hands. But both have downfalls if you don’t prepare properly. And we’ve all been there.

First piece of advice? Read the pattern/recipe. So many people don’t do this and end up in trouble. Run out of eggs in the middle of your cooking? Don’t have the proper tools (don’t know what the proper tools look like)? Do you have to stop to figure out how to do something (tempering eggs anyone?) All this can affect your dish and your project. Isn’t it better to read through before you start so you can have all the tools you need at hand and know how to use them?

Works in cooking, works in knitting. Read the pattern through before you pick up needles. You’ll find out what kind of needles you need (circulars, dpns), what your gauge needs to be, what the pattern is, and give yourself an opportunity to learn the pattern if unfamiliar (brioche? what’s brioche?) Look at the sizing and determine what size you want to make, then circle or highlight that size as you read through the pattern. Read it like a book. If you take the time to read it through, there won’t be any surprises as you knit and you’ll have a great FO at the end. And maybe some cookies to munch as you knit.

What’s on your needles?

Guest Post: Talitha Kuomi on Sydney

Today's post is from Talitha Kuomi, a Massachusetts-based designer that CEY has had the good fortune of working with for the last few years. Her most recent design for CEY is Sydney, knit in brand new Tiverton Tweed.

To learn more about Tal, visit her website, view her designs on Ravelry and read more about Tal's design process in this post on the CEY blog. 

Tweed, to me, is a chameleon. It makes me think of snooker halls (think American pool halls), potatoes fresh from the field and the smell of coal hanging heavy in the misty air. That’s odd, right? But the year I lived in the riverside town of Drogheda, Ireland was full of all of these. Tweed is a staple there. I wore a tweed coat, I knit in tweed flecked wools, and I passed countless tweed caps on my daily walk to town.

When CEY created Tiverton Tweed, I was excited to work with it. My heart holds so many different memories of tweed, I wanted to design something that could be different things to different people, too. Instead of starting by sketching this time, I wrote scribbled down phrases and adjectives trying to capture the overriding feeling of safety and comfort that tweed was to me the year I was so far from things that were familiar and dear to me. Written lines about ‘keeping the raw chill in the air at bay’ and ‘staving off the deep ache of homesickness’ became this textured scarf/cowl called Sydney.

 A slight modification is to wrap the scarf around your neck one and a half times. Use a shawl pin to secure one end to the center of the scarf, while tucking the other end inside the loop.

Adding a simple I-cord opens up other possibilities. With the ends lain flat, and overlapped by a few inches, and tied together it’s a cowl. With the ends pulled to the front and allowed to hang, you get a funky, flower-like bloom.

With the ends smoothed flat, dramatic little flares are created that add interest and texture to the cowl. I like it with the flares worn asymmetrically in front.

 With the flares slid around to the center back, they become a surprise. From the front it still looks like a regular double wrapped cowl.

I’m sure there are more ways for Sydney to be worn. I saw knitters last weekend at a local fiber fest wearing their scarves in so many clever ways. These are just the ones that came to my mind, along with the warm memories that the tweed stirs in my heart.

Peace, Tal

Love what you see? Stay tuned! Talitha has been busy designing a collection in collaboration with CEY that will debut in January. We can't wait share more as Tal's book nears publication.