That Way Madness Lies

 Posted by at 8:25 pm
Oct 202015

OK the Ravelry problem has been fixed – you can buy patterns through this website and Ravelry as usual again.  FINALLY all the computer glitches seem to have been resolved (hopefully I didn’t just jinx myself).

To celebrate that, I’m going to run a promotion between now and the end of the month.  My best-selling Halloween design – Dem Bones – isn’t the Pattern of the month for October this year.  That honour goes to A Clowder of Cat Sweaters (there is a Halloween-themed pattern in there, if you look).  So, in order that people can still get their skeleton fix, I’m offering Dem Bones free with the purchase of any other pattern for the rest of October.

So if you think about it, really hard, you could get the Pattern of the Month and Dem Bones for $3.00!


Oct 192015

“When sorrows come, they come not single spies
But in battalions.”

The computer problem is in a fair way to being sorted out.  Everything was saved, nothing was lost, and now work can begin in earnest towards getting the stocking pattern “out there” before Boxing Day.

Now, though, I have a Ravelry problem.  If anyone should try to buy my patterns there, or indeed through my website here (which takes you to Ravelry for payment), there is an error message saying that my pattern store is not active.  It’s active.  So active.  It runs marathons for feck sake!  But until this is sorted out – you can buy my patterns through Craftsy or Patternfish.

And yes, it really did snow today.  Hardened Upstate New Yorkers struggled to lift an eyebrow – I am still a newcomer and raised both.

Working Hard or Hardly Working?

 Posted by at 8:53 pm
Oct 122015

I know that my site has tumbleweeds blowing through it and looks sadly neglected.

HOWEVER, this paltry state of affairs has galvanised me into a decision about my poor posting record – and I’m of the mind that I really do need to post more so that people don’t think I’ve fallen off the face of the earth and stop buying my designs through fears of no pattern support, LOL.

So – I have been working, but not a lot on the design front and even less on the design front that I can share.

I do have a design more or less ready to go that I have been getting a lot of emails and private messages about – the Personalised Christmas Stocking.

I was my aim to have this out by the first week of October – I know how knitters like to get a head start on the Christmas knitting.  However, I have been having terrible computer issues.  Right now my priority is getting all of my files off safely, then fixing the thing so it stops crashing constantly.  Yes, most things are backed up, but not everything, and especially not in the last year which was a bit of a whirlwind of activity for me.  Things were allowed to fall by the wayside, like renewing the storage program I use and getting my car inspected (but that’s a different story).

Be assured, though, that I am working on things and stuff and other vague terms.  I will have the stocking pattern available asap, I promise.

Blog Hop: Four Questions

 Posted by at 2:29 pm
Jul 142014

Nothing like a bit of motivated blogging!  It’s been an embarrassingly long time, so I thought that an enforced post was in order to ease myself back in.  (Now in my defense I have been rather preoccupied with buying our first home, and moving into our first home, and doing work in our first home – but excuses, excuses).

I was nominated by Richelle from Shipwreck Dandy to answer a few questions about what I do – so without further ado:


What am I working on?
Attentive people might have noticed that I haven’t published much recently, and this is because I am working on a collection right now, instead of releasing individual patterns.  I don’t want to say too much about it – but it is a collection of patterns for children, and I mean that in an all-embracing way.  The patterns will be sized for newborns up to young adults, with some preemie sizes too (can’t forget where I came from – I was a 28-weeker), with lots of technique variety, different constructions, and something for every knitter.


How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Admittedly, I make a concerted effort not to look at my contemporaries’ work – I don’t want to be influenced or accused of plagiarism, even if it’s done unconsciously.  Historically, however, I have noticed that certain designers or companies will use the same pattern template over and over again, inserting a different stitch pattern or motif as appropriate.  I strive to use as many different techniques as I can – and that can be seen in my upcoming pattern collection.  Top-down, bottom-up, seamless, pieced, raglan, set-in sleeves, contiguous sleeves, yoked, flat, etc.  I want my patterns to be as diverse as possible so that a particular knitter who prefers to knit a garment in a particular way can stay in their comfort zone, and then be nudged ever so slightly towards something new to them.

Also, tired of seeing patterns sized for S, M, L – I try to offer as wide a size range as I can.  My record so far is a pattern graded for 16 sizes from a 30” to 60” chest.


Why do I create what I do?
Because I can’t *not* design knitwear, basically.  I’ve been knitting since I was 5 – so 32 years now.  The two of us were grafted together like a hybrid rose and have grown around each other, intertwined, and fused.  Aside from my parents, probably, knitting has been the longest constant in my life – predating any friendships, or even my love of reading.  Designing knitwear is a way of taking my love of knitting to another level – when I have a new piece published, or win a prize, or have people share pictures of the projects they have made with my patterns, or have crazy people at Rhinebeck recognize my work and ask for pictures (LOL)… well that just touches my heart and makes me happy in a way that nothing else can.


How does my creative process work?
I have a file of ideas and I jot down potential designs and add stitch charts or pictures.  These are kind of in reserve, though – I only really go to the file if I’m having a dry spell.  This happens, you can’t expect to be brimming with ideas day in day out, all the time.  Well, it happens to me.

It’s slow to begin with.  A design idea will come to me, and it can be from anywhere.  I don’t do anything for a while – it can take a few weeks to percolate.  I keep a notebook by the bed and in the bathroom, because ideas take shape for me sometimes while I’m sleeping, and most often while in the shower.  Sometimes I’ll forget to rinse or condition when grappling with a particular pattern problem, LOL.  At this point it is ephemeral and fluid – the end product can be very different from the first wisp of an idea that sparked it.

Then I’ll sketch a shape, and from that there are decisions to be made:  Adult or kids, male or female (or unisex), size range, season, construction, silhouette, drape, colour.  Then I’ll start to look into yarn choices.

If I have similar yarn on hand, I might do a bit of swatching – but I almost always decide on the specific yarn first and approach the relevant companies for yarn support (and they are always very generous, I have never been knocked back yet).  Once the yarn is in hand, I start swatching.  My knitting friends don’t want to hear about it – but I swatch.  A lot.  Yes, even for a scarf or a dishcloth.  I’m not OCD – it behooves me to measure very accurately as my gauge is the one that the whole design will rest on.  I don’t want to deal with the pattern support nightmare of people complaining to me that their project isn’t coming out to the dimensions they thought it would, and it’s a colossal waste of time for them.  I cover myself – know the exact gauge – row and stitch, of any and all patterns used in a piece.  And I mean the *blocked* gauge because I assume you’ll be blocking your final project.  Yes, knitters – you have to swatch.  But take comfort in the fact that I am swatching even more than you!

Once I have the gauge – those magic numbers – then work can begin in earnest.  I use Excel for my pattern grading, and can start plugging in numbers, setting formulas, and doing calculations.  I try to get the pattern extrapolated out in rough form before doing any casting on.  I will tweak and recalculate as I go – but I like to have a solid set of numbers in place as I work the sample.  I don’t carry a written pattern around with me as I knit, just the chart.

At this point I start to write the pattern up – I use Serif PagePlus for my desktop publishing, Intwined for my charting, and Gimp or MS Paint for drawing schematics.

All three work together for a while – the Excel charts with the crunched numbers, the pattern being written up, and the sample being knit.  I’ll have this head start before I put out a call for sample knitters in my Ravelry group.  Sample knitters will use yarn that they have on hand in the same gauge and knit the pattern along with me, in different sizes – and offer feedback or let me know of any problems.

Once the sample is done (and blocked!), I have to photograph it, which is the worst part for me.  Models can be hard to come by and good pictures with my mid-range camera can be elusive.  I take hundreds, hoping for some quality wheat amongst the chaff.  I use PicMonkey for re-touching and photo editing.  Once the pictures are dropped into the written pattern it is more or less complete.  I send it to a tech editor for checking, or if I’m not using a tech editor I will leave it for a few days and come back to check it – I find you need a break before any errors surface.  Luckily, since I started grading in Excel, my calculations have been error-free, but there can be typos and things that could be described more clearly.

Once a pattern is done (for self-publishing purposes, anyway), that is still not the end.  It has to be uploaded to my website as well as Ravelry, Patternfish, Etsy and Craftsy.  It has to be blogged about and promoted, tweeted about and shared on Facebook, and generally advertised as widely as it can be.

Then it settles in nicely with its brother and sister patterns, multitudes of knitters buy it, and I can retire.  I lied about the last bit.


Thanks Richelle – this was fun!


Happy Birthday Flash Sale!

 Posted by at 9:47 am
Sep 112013

It’s my birthday!  So to celebrate, all my patterns are half price today only!  No coupon necessary -the discount will be applied at the checkout.


Big Changes

 Posted by at 1:41 pm
Jun 082013

Things are slowing down for me this summer.  I got all the major deadlines out of the way by the end of May… just in time to have major surgery at the beginning of June.

GOOD surgery, though.  I finally had a breast reduction, which I have needed for years.  The recovery so far has not been easy, I won’t lie about it – but the end is in sight.  I had 6lbs total removed, which should take me from about an F cup to a B.  The pain that has plagued me every single day in my upper back, neck and shoulders, is gone.

Customer service will, understandably, be slow.  Right now you should expect a significant delay in responses to emails – although I will try to deal with urgent matters as quickly as possible.

I’m looking forward to getting back to designing and knitting again in time for sweater weather rolling around once more – with the hope now that I’ll be able to model some of my own designs in the future!


Springing Forth

 Posted by at 12:15 am
Apr 222013

It’s been all go here!  I’m trying to clear the knitting decks for an upcoming project that will need my undivided attention over the next few weeks, and then the prospect of having surgery in a month or two.  The good part about the latter is that I have big plans to spend at least a week in bed recovering with the Craftsy classes that I have signed up for but haven’t had the time to take.  The down side is that I feel like I really have to get the house spotless for what folks are telling me will be at least 6 weeks of non-activity post-op.  So from here on in there will be less knitting and more cleaning… that’s the plan anyway.

I have a couple of patterns just released, and they couldn’t be more different really.

First is the Papa Bear Hoodie, a handsome and comfy sweater constructed seamlessly from the bottom up.  It has a knitted-in kangaroo pocket and a hood — both edged with an easy to learn cable motif.  I particularly love the hood — I used short rows, the Fibonacci Sequence and Kitchener stitch to get a lovely head-hugging curve that does not stick up in a point at the back and make you look like an elf.  I feel like a knitting genius (please, don’t burst my bubble!).

Eileen Casey - Papa Bear Hoodie 1
Eileen Casey - Papa Bear Hoodie 2

And then we have Loie – named after Loie Fuller, a dance artist of the Art Nouveau era who created stunning swirled effects on stage with colour and movement.

This Loie is a sophisticated and dressy silk-blend top with barely-there sleeves and an elegantly draping cowl neck.  The focal point, though, is the column of 575 glass beads (I get my beads from Cherrygon’s Beading Gallery, and recommend them), knitted into the fabric in a curling abstract Art Nouveau-inspired motif.

This piece is also worked seamlessly in the round, and uses a provisional cast on and knitted hem to keep the flow of stockinette stitch intact and the lines simple.

Eileen Casey - Loie 1
Eileen Casey - Loie 8

If you have a moment, I’d thoroughly recommend googling Loie Fuller, she was quite an icon!

Reticulate Scowl

 Posted by at 12:38 pm
Mar 282013

I’m breaking my habit of ignoring my blog to announce a new pattern up – a cross between a scarf and a cowl… which is a scowl, of course!

This scowl has a beautiful cable motif dead centre, and an unusual i-cord fringe. Because it’s knit in super bulky yarn, you can have it done in a weekend! OF COURSE it’s still scowl weather (isn’t it always??)!

Eileen Casey - Reticulate Scowl

In other news, the toddler sweater that I meantioned in the previous post has been released as part of Willow Yarns Seedlings Collection for spring. I used Cub – a really lovely, squishy easy-care cotton blend that has a hand like chenille (and you’ll need to have your smelling salts ready when you look at the price – in a good way). But really, you have to check out all the yarns on this site – right now I’m in love with the merino/silk blend. Who wouldn’t be?? I hope this new company goes from strength to strength as they are certainly great to work with.


Papa Bear Hoodie – a comfy grown up version of Baby Bear – is out of test knitting and there were no mathematical errors found across 13 sizes (yayy!). The operative word is “found” though, heehee. It should be appearing here within the next week or so, so keep an eye out if you like hoodies and especially if you need larger sizes as this is sized up to a 60″ chest.



 Posted by at 12:38 pm
Dec 132012

Wow, it’s been a long time since I posted!

My trip to Ireland was wonderful and eventful, the rest of the summer flew, the girls started school full time in September… and you’d think that would give me more time.  Well, it does, but seemingly blog posting isn’t a priority for me.

Anyway, I certainly haven’t been idle – and just yesterday I received my free copies of a new book in which I have 3 designs!

Apparently I’m up-and-coming, which is better than down-and-going for sure.

The designs that I have in there are also available as separate patterns right here on my website:

Eileen Casey - Strata Thumbnail
Eileen Casey - Little Man Vest Thumbnail
Eileen Casey - Baby Bear Hoodie Thumbnail


I have a LOT of classes going on at Joann Fabrics in New Hartford, NY – and might soon be starting to teach at Michael’s too.  Attendance is growing every month and we always have a good time – so do check out the class schedule if you live in the area!  There is also the exciting possibility of classes being held in the new studio of a local independent dyer (who happens to also be a good friend) in the new year.

I have a number of designs on the go – including companion pieces to the Baby Bear Hoodie above.  Papa Bear Hoodie is about to go into test knitting – so if anyone wants to sign up for that, please go to my Ravelry group and do so!

There should be a cute little toddler sweater pattern I designed for Universal Yarns coming out soon to showcase a new yarn of theirs called Cub – which is a really cushy, velvety, scrummy yarn that I will be buying lots of once it goes on the market!

And I also have a beady thing on the go, as well as a dangly thing, and am thinking about some shiny things.  I could be less abstruse, but there’s limited fun in that – and limited scope to submit for publication, LOL.

The Cooler Side of the Pond

 Posted by at 12:37 pm
Jul 042012

I’ve been in the US for 11 years now and I have to say that some have been better than others, LOL.  I’m pleased to say that since I moved to upstate NY and met my clique, they have been good years :-)

BUT, today I get to go home to Ireland, and I get to bring my 5 year old and 4 year old with me.  I honestly thought that this day might never come (immigrating to the US is a lengthy and expensive process, even when you are married to a citizen – and plane tickets are astronomical).

I’ll be gone for 3 weeks – of course I won’t be empty-handed.  I have 2 new designs on the go that are coming with me, and a project for the NY State Fair.  So I’m calling it a “working holiday”, LOL.

However, if you have any questions or emails for me, please remember that I’m technically away until July 26th and though I will have my laptop with me, I mightn’t get back to you in as timely a manner as usual.

Now, off to the cooler side of the pond (hallelujah)!  Going from 90 degrees F to 60 sounds great at this point!