11.19.2017

Brioche Topper and A Giveaway!

Anybody ready for some gift knitting? I know I am! I've been saving this pattern for you.... it's quite a fun and fast one!

Brioche Topper
I worked Brioche Topper in Freia Fibers Freia Ombré Worsted... what is SUPER fun about this design is that you get the appearance of two colors by working from the inside and outside of the ball... but really, you are just working with one gradient ball of yarn! Tricksy, right?

I discovered this technique when playing with the yarn in Brioche Booster, and realized I could translate it into a hat, which is great for learning brioche in the round. What I LOVE about Brioche in the Round, is that there are only 2 rnds to work, and once you have the pattern established you are good to go! Of course, I made a tutorial for you if you haven't worked Brioche in the Round before....


You've probably also seen some photos of me lately wearing a slightly different version of Brioche Topper, my new winter hat!
I pretty much wear my hair in a messy bun or ponytail ALOT of the time, so I needed to leave a hole at the top! I've included instructions for how I did this in the pattern... and put notes up about this version on its project page.

To celebrate releasing Brioche Topper I have a skein of Freia Fibers Freia Ombré Worsted in Flare!  WHO WANTS IT?
Just leave a comment below letting me know how your gift knitting is going. Don't forget to leave a way to get in touch with you... I'll keep comments open through November 25th  and announce the next winner in a giveaway on November 26th! It's time to get into the holiday spirit with y'all!

11.15.2017

Knit Ithaca 2017 RECAP!

This weekend was the first annual Knit Ithaca.... and WOW! What a blast! I can't tell you how amazing it was to not travel for the weekend and have the knitters come to me! I think I am onto something here!

This is going to be one of those blog posts that is heavy in photos and light in words because I think you'll see that everyone's smiling faces say it all!

Kate Atherley joined us as our guest teacher for Saturday's classes.... on Sunday I made her go to nature : )!
Kate just released a new Mitten book and in celebration she designed The Wine Trail Mitts (pattern on Ravelry!)
I designed a scarf for the retreat, inspired by Taughannock Falls, which we hiked to on Sunday!
I have hardly any photos from Friday and Saturday as we were all so busy talking and knitting.
This is Susan casting on Taughannock.

Some of us did take a walk to Cascadilla on Saturday after lunch and before the afternoon class!
Here is Vicki's Cascadilla at Cascadilla!
And Marsha's Cascadilla at Cascadilla!
Susan designed and knit an AMAZING sweater honoring Taughannock Falls!
Saturday night we had a HUGE KNIT NIGHT and local knitters joined us... it was super fun and busy and I didn't get one photo as I was too busy catching up with everyone... WHOOPS!

On Sunday we were treated to a tour by Experience the Fingerlakes, we loaded onto a giant bus and headed out to some of my favorite spots!

Taughannock Falls... my favorite place on earth!








Hedda quickly became our mascot, and when she wasn't helping Rita, she got lots of snugs from us, don't worry!
Melissa at Fingerlakes Cider House educated us on permaculture, Kite and String Cider and more!
Then we were fed really well while we tasted ciders! Smart, right?



Then we tasted goat cheese from Lively Run Goat Farm
And visited their goats!
Finally we ended at Sheldrake Winery, with a wine and cheese pairing that was quite superb!
Then it was back to the hotel for a farewell dinner, a hysterical fashion show (no photos from this... what happens at the Knit Ithaca fashion show stays at the Knit Ithaca Fashion show!), and a final knit night!
One thing about Knit Ithaca? The husbands had about as much fun as we did....!
Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou sweet knitters for joining me on this epic event! I hope to make it an annual one!

Oh, and the best way to hear about future events is to sign up for my mailing list.....

10.15.2017

Video Recap: Knit Ireland October 2017!

I'm am just back from an AMAZING adventure to Ireland with 28 of the world's most wonderful people (this includes Ann Marie our tour guide, and Sam, our fearless bus driver!)

I posted lots of photos on Instagram and Facebook during the trip, and decided that instead of going through and individually posting more I would make a wee video for you all that encapsulates our adventure. I tried to make sure that everyone was represented at some point along the way!



One bit of craic (fun in Irish) we had was "borrowing" Sam's marmot when we went to the Aran Islands... he left with only a wee bandana and came back with a full on wooly wardrobe!



Thank you again wonderful knitters for making adventuring with a a possibility!!!! I can't wait until next time!

10.11.2017

Rhinebeck Roll Call 2017!

It is time for one of my favorite events of the year! New York State Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck NY! Are you going to be there????


I've got some fun plans for the weekend and I'm hoping you can join me!!!!!

Friday
I am honored to have a booth at Indie Untangled this year! 
When: Friday October 20th from 5 - 8
Where: The Best Western Plus, 503 Washington Ave., Kingston, N.Y. Click here for directions.

I've been restocking kits (and working on some new ones) and will have those along with a rack of my sweaters to try on! You don't need tickets for this event, but you do need to RSVP.
Go here for more information.

I'll be at booth 23 and can't wait to meet you!

Saturday
12 - 1(ish)- Ravelry Meet-Up- on "the hill"! (Right behind the 2x2 petting zoo) When you get to the meet up area head up the hill to the benches. I'll be up there! Wear your Nelkin Designs if you have made one to wear to Rhinebeck... I'll have presents for the first 25 people I see wearing one of my designs!!!

6 - 9- PARTY and OPEN STUDIO with Jill Draper Makes Stuff! (click link for more info) There will be TONS of yarn there and I'm happy to help you choose yarn for a Novus Sweater, or other special project!

Sunday
10:30 am- ARTICHOKE FRENCH BRUNCH PARTY! (new this year!)
I've discovered that the best time to get Artichoke French is first thing in the morning on Sunday! The line is short and it makes an excellent breakfast! Get there before 10:30 to get yours and then meet us at the picnic tables right across from there to all have brunch together!

Here's a map of the fairgrounds with the Artichoke French Brunch and Ravelry meet-up marked on it:

Any questions? I'm happy to help!!!! Leave a comment below if we are going to see you there (and what you'll be wearing!) I have a new sweater on the needles, and there is a small chance it might actually be done in time!

9.04.2017

Knit Stars Travel Tips!

By now you have probably heard I am one of the Instructors in Knit Stars 2.0, an online knitting summit, in October 2017!

Checkout these Travel Tips from a few Knit Stars 2.0 instructors...
(Tip: my little travel trick is at the end... )



Filming is over, my handouts are with the tech editor and I am SO excited to share my explorations into lace around the world with you! I built a small stitch dictionary with stitches inspired by Shetland, Estonia and Japan which I share in my seminar.

If you haven't signed up for Knit Stars yet, now is the time!
There is going to be one more enrollment window starting this Friday Sept 8th and you don't want to miss out!


8.02.2017

Contexta Afghan Available for ALL!

I cannot believe it has been a year since I released Knitting Texture with Craftsy! Well, it has been, so that means I can release Contexta as an individual pattern!

This version of Contexta has a little edition... the world's easiest Octagon with no texture at all!
I added this as a friend of mine needed Contexta to be as easy as it possibly could be! At last report she is addicted to making the mitered squares for it and hasn't started any Octagons.

The Contexta Friendship SWAP we had last Fall was AMAZING... out of the SWAP 23 new blankets were created (or are in process!), AND a Contexta Octagon Expansion Pack was born with 7 new Octagon designs in it. All proceeds from the Expansion Pack are being donated to cancer research, and I'm proud to say that we've already donated $625! Awesome! (You can read more about the project here.)

Contexta was originally designed and knit in Cloudborn Superwash Merino Twist, which was fabulous to knit with, but I always wanted to see Contexta knit in a non-superwash hand-dyed yarn. Luckily my buddy Jill's Mom, Gail, decided she needed to knit a Contexta in Jill's yarn, Windham. Want to see? Isn't it STUNNING?

Windham is a worsted weight, non superwash wool that is locally sourced, milled and dyed. Y'all this is yarn you can feel good about!

Jill and her mom are so thrilled with Contexta that Jill decided to make kits for it!
(Also she is offering a discount on Windham if you want to choose your own colors).
Just use the code BlanketFort at Checkout!

Check out these gorgeous choices:
I anticipate that some of you might ask about care for a non-superwash blanket.... but here's the thing, I wouldn't put my Contexta knit in Cloudborn  in the washing machine and dryer. When it is time to clean it I'll soak it in the bathtub, spin it out in the washing machine and then lay it out to dry. This can be done on my deck on a sheet on a warm/dry day.... or on a sheet on my guest room bed on a wet day. The trick is to really spin out the extra moisture in the washing machine, and then to flip it once or twice (and change the sheet underneath if it is really damp) as it dried. Machine washing and drying anything causes extra wear and tear and I want my blanket to last for as long as possible!

Finally, entirely by accident this is my first blog post in over 2 months... whoops! I'm determined to start blogging more,  I've promised to journal my travels to Shetland and France (which is a few blog posts) and I've got a lot more to share too!

5.10.2017

Hring Scarf and a New Beaded Cast On!

The next Lola's Choice kit shipped last week... I have been so excited for it to land in people's mailbox! Hring Scarf incorporates a the Bird's Eye stitch (a traditional Shetland Lace) which I have been obsessed with all spring....
The stitch makes a fabulous lacy scarf, but it isn’t the easiest to work… so I made two options for this scarf! You can work the Hring Stitch and be a bit challenged, or you can go easy on yourself and work the eyelet stitch. It is totally up to you!

I used IndigoDragonFly's Alternative Flax (aka Linen Silk) in Peony, a color Kim developed for Hring... it is the perfect spring summer scarf yarn, and I know I'll be packing mine for our adventures this summer!

You might have noticed I developed a new beaded lace cast on for Hring as I adore the way the beads help the scarf lay at each end!



If you want to sign up for Lola's Choice (my mini kit club that ships bi-monthly), that is easy to do... just go here and read all about it!

Hring is also available as a single pattern, but if you want a Hring kit you need to e-mail me, I don't have alot left and if you sign up for Lola's Choice the first kit you will receive is in July!

4.27.2017

Finishing Options for Creatrix: Beaded Picot and Lace Bind Off!

YEAH! If you are reading this post it must mean you are almost ready to bind off your Creatrix MKAL! (Spoiler Alert: If you read/watch ahead you will see bits of Creatrix, so if you want to keep the mystery going don't watch these just yet!)

First Off, you'll see in the pattern that I give you 2 options for binding off Creatrix, a Beaded Picot Bind Off, and a Beaded Lace Bind Off!

Watch this video to learn more about them:



Here's a video tutorial for the Beaded Picot Bind Off (done with Size 6 beads):



Here's a video tutorial for the Beaded Lace Bind Off (done with Size 6 beads):


Remember... you can work either of these bind off's without beads, just skip the placing bead step.

Thankyou again and again for playing with me on this! I hope you enjoyed yourself and learned a ton!

4.20.2017

Video Tutorial: Short Rows (German and Wrap & Turn)

Every so often a design of mine demands short rows.... I write the detailed instructions into my patterns but sometimes a little extra help is necessary to understand the maneuvers. So, here are quick videos for the two types of short rows I use the most!

First off, what is a short row? 
A short row is a partial row of knitting that allows you to shape your knit fabric by adding more (or less) rows to your work.

German Short Rows (sometimes called Yarn Over Short Rows)
I use German Short Rows when I am working stockinette stitch as I find that they hide themselves beautifully in the fabric.



Wrap and Turn Short Rows
I use w&t (wrap and turn) short rows when I am working garter stitch as you don't need to pick up the wrap because it gets hidden in the garter ridges.



These are only two of many different ways of working Short Rows. There are also Japanese Short Rows, Shadow Wraps, and more.

Want to learn more about Short Rows? Carol Feller has an EXCELLENT short free class on Craftsy, a longer more indepth class, and a STUNNING book all about Short Rows. I suggest checking them out if you want to expand your short row knowledge further!

4.11.2017

Knit Ireland! with Laura Nelkin April 2018!

April 21st - 30th, 2018
SOLD OUT! Please sign up for my mailing list if you want to hear about future trips!

Many of you know I visited Ireland with my family last summer.... it turned out to be a bit of a scouting trip and I've put together a knitting adventure for us to take together! Ireland is gorgeous and full of opportunity! I can't wait to knit and learn and explore the western shore of the country with you!

Day 1: Arrive in Shannon and travel to Killarney's Lake Hotel (with a scrummy lunch stop along the way). We'll be starting our adventure retreat "style" with Carol Feller, knitting and chatting and then follow that with a fantastic group dinner. The Lake Hotel has a the ruins of a 12th century castle and overlooks Killarney Lake... we'll knit, get to know each other, and rejuvenate from our travels in comfort!
View from the dining room of The Lake Hotel!
Day 2: We'll start our day with a true Irish breakfast and then have a knitting workshop with Carol Feller, lunch and a bit 'o shopping in Killarney and then a Jaunting Car Ride in Killarney National Park!

Day 3: Group breakfast, and then head out on a Ring of Kerry tour around the stunning Iveargh Peninsula and end the day with a visit and tour of the Kerry Woollen Mills.

Day 4: Another yummy Breakfast, a quick visit to Hedgehog Fibres in Cork, and then lunch and exploring Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, and then onto Galway for a lovely group dinner in our hotel at the Harbor!
The color wall at Hedgehog!
Day 5: Craft in Connemara day (starts with Breakfast!)! Tour of Connemara with a visit to Spiddal Craft and Design Centre and a basket making workshop with Ciaran Hogan, then onto Kylemore Abbey, finally a visit to a traditional working Sheep Farm, the Glen Keen Sheep Farm. The evening is your own... we may decide to head into town and catch a traditional Irish Music session in any one of Galway’s traditional pubs or simply relax in the hotel.
Day 6:  We'll have breakfast and then head out to visit to the National Museum of Country Life (optional) and then have an afternoon workshop with the iconic Anne O'Maille and visit her knitting store in Galway.

Day 7: After Breakfast (sense a theme here?) we will flight or ferry to Inis Oírr in the Aran Islands. On the island we will be met by Una McDonagh and treated to a workshop on traditional knitting methods and Aran Island stitches at the Aras Eanna Art and Craft Centre. We'll be staying at B &B's on the island and have an opportunity to get to know our hosts and learn about island life! The day ends with a sumptuous group dinner at a local restaurant!

Day 8: First, breakfast, then we'll ferry over to Inis Mór (the largest of the Aran Islands) and have a guided tour that includes the impressive fort of Dún Aonghasa. Then we'll head for lunch at a local restaurant and visit some of the knitwear shops on the island. In the afternoon we'll take the ferry back to Inis Oírr and have a St Bridgets Cross Making workshop with Una! Another yummy dinner is scheduled for the group!

Day 9: BREAKFAST! And then we'll ferry over to Doolin where we will take a short tour of the Burren and learn about the region, we'll visit Poulnabrone Portal Tomb, Cliffs of Moher for lunch and a wee hike, and then travel through the charming village of Fanore. We will then head to Dromoland Castle for our last night together! I needed us to stay in a castle before heading home... a delicious meal is planned for our farewell dinner.
Day 10: LAST BREAKFAST, and then it is time to head to the airport for our journey's home... (insert sad face here).

The Tour includes :
  • Transfers on arrival and departure by private coach
  • Sightseeing as per itinerary in a luxury coach with an experienced driver and licensed guide and Laura Nelkin, knitting designer and teacher
  • Accommodation in rooms with private facilities for 9 Nights (single supplement  €649/extra)
  • Irish breakfast daily, 5 lunches, 4 dinners, 1 farewell dinner
  • Entrance to all museums and attractions per itinerary
  • Aran Islands Ferry Fees
Workshops/Knitting Activities Included in This Tour:
  • Dinner and knitting Workshop with Carol Feller (including a copy of Carol’s Book – Contemporary Irish Knits)
  • Knitting Workshop with Anne O’Maille
  • Knitting Workshop with Una McDonagh & Mairead Sharry
  • Saint Bridget Cross Making Workshop
  • Kerry Woollen Mills Factory Tour
  • Eye of God Willow Cross Making Workshop with Ciaran Hogan
VERY Detailed Itinerary and sign up form available, e-mail Laura for more details!