It’s National Crochet Month! So I’m crocheting my first garment!
I spied this pattern for the Sparkle Slipon at work and it just screamed VEGAS. Now, I’ve never once in my life been interested in visiting Las Vegas but Jon has a business trip there in the spring so I am tagging along to get a little sun. And now I’m making this top to wear by the pool. (I’d worry about granny square tan lines but I’ve never had a tan in my life.) It’s just so glittery! Can’t you just picture it?
I’ve already gotten started. I’m using the suggested Vanna’s Glamour in Purple Topaz, Garnet, Gold, Moonstone, Jewel, and Topaz. I figure that, since it’s machine washable, it’ll work well to wear over my bathing suit and I won’t freak out if I get sunscreen on it. Arabia, the crochet queen of the Studio, gave me some help arranging the colors and gave me some advice.
It feels so weird to me being a novice in something. I’m really second-guessing myself with everything about this. Since I’ve made granny squares, I feel like I can handle this piece. It’s really just a big granny square. But working into the chain was incredibly nerve-wracking. My chain looks awful. Jill suggested I try a chinless foundation row. I’m not quite sure if that would work here since it creates a single crochet row but I really need to do more investigating there. Also, don’t even talk about gauge.
How are your foundation rows when you crochet? Have you crocheted a garment?
When I was getting ready to go to Rhinebeck, I realized that I had nothing to wear. I’d designed a bunch of sweaters in 2013 and 2014 but I didn’t have any of them! Some knitters may not know that when you design for a publication you don’t always get your samples back and, when you do, you often don’t see them for a long time. (It’s kind of a funny surprise to get a sweater you made a year ago in the mail.)
I found out that I might be able to get Ilsa back in time to wear for the big event so I was pretty excited to show her off. But I got an email that basically said, “Vickie Howell would like to wear your cardigan for an episode of Knitting Daily TV that’s shooting just before Rhinebeck. Sorry that we can’t give it back!” And I was like, “If Vickie Howell would like to wear my design on TV, I will find a hat to wear to Rhinebeck.” This is not something that happens to a girl every day!
And she really did! The Ilsa Cardigan is featured in Episode 1402 “Thick of It” and Vickie looks great in it! It was styled so well. I love the way the bunched sleeves make it look over-sized and casual. It’s a really fun piece and I’m honored to be part of her show! Check out the trailer:
I haven’t seen the episode yet. Vickie Howell’s show for Interweave airs on your local PBS station! If you don’t get that channel or you’re too cool or cable, you can get a DVD of the complete season here. I’m going to get one for my mom so she can be proud of me forever.
Have you seen this episode of Knitting Daily TV? Were you like, “I wonder where I can find the pattern for that gorgeous cardigan”?
The votes are in! It was a tight race but you guys decided that I should learn to crochet granny squares. And, boy, have I!
I pulled out some stash yarn and experimenting with basic granny square patterns. Quickly, I realized that I really didn’t know how to crochet at all. Whenever I ran into something I didn’t know how to do (double crochet? triple crochet??), I’d check YouTube and figure it out. (I tend to use Lion Brand’s videos. It’s important to use a quality source that you can trust when you’re learning online.) It was remarkably easy to learn. I can’t believe it took me so long to try it.
I didn’t have much leftover yarns that matched each other but I ended up making around 20 granny squares in a week. They’re ADDICTIVE. Who knows what I’m going to do with all of these mismatched granny squares (I said, “I’ll make a bunting!” a hundred times. I do not need more than one granny square bunting.) There are lots of free patterns that I’ve been trying out and I’ve been getting so much inspiration from this Pinterest board. I couldn’t stop. The different shapes really excite me, circles inside of hexagons, flowers inside squares. Each one feels kind of magical. I’m really obsessed with this sunburst pattern. I’ve made so many of them.
I’m not very good at crochet yet. I don’t know which hook to use with which weight yarn the way that I would with knitting needles. I’m not terribly fast since (yet). There are some other things that make me feel like I won’t be giving up knitting any time soon. But in the end, I’m loving the finished product. I’m definitely going to make a lot more granny squares. And, seriously, I love that new-craft feeling. I keep holding granny hexagons up in Jon’s face and yelling, “I did that! Look!” That feeling never gets old.
Will you learn to make granny squares? Have you tried them? Did you think they were easy?
This week is all about skill building and I’ve got a new way for you to do it!
I’ve taught so many people to knit over the past eleven years, I’ve lost count. Sometimes an old high school friend will tell me about a wonky scarf or their first hat that I helped them make and I can’t quite remember doing it. It really makes me happy, though, that those memories are so vivid for them. Teaching someone else to knit is a joy. (I don’t get gooey that often so you better believe I mean it!) And I don’t know any knitter that has not jumped at the chance to teach someone else.
So in that spirit, I want to share Yarndevu with you! Yarndevu is a new site that’s launching very soon in the New York area that’s all about skill-sharing in person. You can use it to learn or teach someone how to knit or crochet and the whole idea behind it is getting together, face-to-face. I love the online craft community (I mean, duh) but it’s really magical when we get together in person and, let’s face it, there’s no better way to learn. It’s hands-on and you can get immediate answers.
Yarndevu is great for anyone that’s googling “How to Knit” (Did you know “How to Crochet” and “How to Knit” were both in Google’s top 5 “How To” searches for 2014?) but it’s also fantastic for people that are looking to graduate to the next step in their craft education. I love the idea of pairing someone very experienced with a newbie! If you’re like me and you want to master a new aspect of the craft (I want to learn brioche this year), or you’re stuck where you are, it’s a great resource as well! Maybe you’re confused about how to turn a heel or you need help reading a colorwork chart. Or you’re a certain knitter that is interested in granny squares but maybe doesn’t know where to start. You can use Yarndevu to find someone that will help to guide you over a coffee.
I’m pretty excited about the launch! I’m really excited to see what I can learn and also teach using this new tool. But most importantly, I am looking forward to using Yarndevu to meet other crafters. You can sign up today and you’ll snag an invite to the launch party later this month. So, what do you want to learn?
ps. Don’t forget to vote for what I should learn next!
Tags: crochet lessons nyc, how to crochet, how to knit, knitting, knitting circle, knitting lessons nyc, learn to crochet, learn to knit, learn to knit nyc, meet up, nyc, skill sharing, teach knitting, Yarndevu
While you might be under the impression that I am a Master Knitter (TM) that knows everything there is to know about everything, that is not the case. In actuality, I don’t know that much about anything but I can give you really good directions to the pedestrian crossing of the Williamsburg bridge (stay on South 6th for three blocks and turn left at Bedford) and I have a fairly extensive knowledge of Mad Men story arcs. I know a thing or two about knitting as well. But there is still more to learn!
New year, new skill, right? I’m torn between two things that I really want to learn but I’m having trouble deciding which to tackle first. I’ve sworn I’d learn to crochet for the past two years. Maybe 2015 is actually going to be the time that I make my first granny square. I’ve also been dreaming of making a brioche scarf for a long time but I’ve been way to scared to try it.
So I need your help! Voting ends Friday 11:59pm EST! Help me pick!
Tags: brioche, brioche cowl, brioche stitch, granny square, how to knit brioche stitch, learn, learn how to knit, learn to crochet, learn to knit, meet me at mikes, Purl Bee, skill builder, technique, two color brioche, vote
Happy Knit Year, everyone! Hope you had a lovely one. Jon and I have a tradition of cooking ourselves a fancy dinner at home and watching the ball drop. I like doing that so much! It feels like a real treat and we don’t have to feel like we’re being lame since we’re staying in. (I love staying in. If you’ve seen me in the past 6 months, you are very lucky.)
Anyway, Pantone announced the color of the year last month. It’s always exciting for me because I’m a nerd for color. I wasn’t very excited about last year‘s color since I don’t really like bright purples. But this year’s color, Marsala, I just love. It’s like the color of my favorite lipstick, a really deep red-brown that’s a little vintage and very easy to wear.
Let me tell you, it was not easy finding yarns that matched this year’s color! I’m not sure if it’s because dyers aren’t into an earthy color like this or that this is a very unique shade of red. Anyway, let me share what I found!
1. Madeline Tosh Pure Silk Lace in Byzantine
2. Sweet Georgia BFL Sock in Terra Firma
3. Blue Sky Alpacas Bulky in Claret
4. Lion Brand Superwash Merino Cashmere in Wine
5. Purl Soho Worsted Twist in Mixed Berry
Will you be wearing Marsala this year? What’s your favorite earth-toned yarn?
Tags: 2015, Blue Sky Alpacas, bulky yarn, color of the year, lace yarn, lion brand, madeline tosh, marsala, new year, Pantone, purl soho, red, red yarn, sock yarn, superwash merino cashmere, Sweet Georgia, worsted yarn
I hate year in review posts!!! Nostalgia is my biggest weakness and anytime I look at photographs that are older than six months, I feel incredibly sentimental and even sometimes melancholy for hours on end. (I can’t be the only one, can I?) The end of the year always feels like a tough time for me because of this constant recapping (song of the year, biggest news stories, etc) and this one is has me feeling even more wistful because of some big changes that have happened.
In spite of that, it’s essential to take inventory. I love seeing how much I was able to do in twelve months and I like thinking, “that was this year? It feels like I made that forever ago!” I always feel like I didn’t make as many things as I wanted and while that’s true of 2014, I have accomplished bigger things.
First of all, I had four original designs published this year in Knitscene and Pom Pom Quarterly. That was really exciting because I’d worked for a good part of 2013 on some of the things that I was finally able to reveal this year! While I have a hard time thinking of myself as a designer (there are so many amazing designers so much more worthy of that title than I am!), it’s amazing to have my patterns included in some of my favorite publications. Secondly, this year I started a new job working for Lion Brand Yarn Company! It’s been a big change but I couldn’t be happier. I’ll be sharing a little more of what I’m doing there in the New Year but, for the most part, things will stay the same around here.
So there are other pieces that I didn’t blog about. I’m kinda realizing that now. Oops! I guess 2015 will start with a bit more recapping. Between the big projects this year there were a a bunch of small ones like hats and mitts, some little gifts here and there. They felt like cheating but they were a nice way to relax from marathoning sweaters. But, alas, they slipped through the cracks and my camera broke so expect to see lots of accessories in the new year!
Well that’s my year. I guess I’m not feeling as nostalgic as I thought I would be. I’m mainly excited for what’s next!
Are you looking forward to next year? Do you feel like you accomplished everything you set out to do this year? Does New Year’s Eve make you super nostalgic?
Hello, there! Did you miss me? Did you even notice that I’ve been gone? Guys, this season has gotten out of hand. I won’t bore you with the details but I have good excuses. I’m lagging seriously behind on everything (I haven’t finished Christmas shopping yet, oops!). I’ve been letting just about everything go. Keep reminding myself that it’s ok to resume life after the holidays.
Anyway, let’s talk about socks. That usually makes things better.
Let’s hop in our TARDISes and take a trip back to Rhinebeck, shall we? When I’m off on a trip and I have nothing on my needles, I dive into my stash and cast on some socks. The Simple Skyp Socks were on my queue. I was really looking forward to doing some car knitting on the way up to Rhinebeck. (Knitting in the car is just the best, right? You could drag me just about anywhere, I won’t complain as long as I have my needles.) The drive upstate at that time of year as the sun sets is always gorgeous and wonderful!
These are made from Holiday Yarns FlockSock yarn in Artemis that I got last year in a Yarnbox. (Jon got me a subscription for my birthday.) It was a great treat and I loved getting sock yarn.
This pattern is just great. I’ve never fallen so hard for a sock pattern! It’s very straightforward which I like. It was a perfect pattern for the car and then the house, something I could work on while playing Cards Against Humanity over a cider or after a long day at the fairgrounds.
I liked the pattern so much, I immediately cast on two more pair! Remember how I mentioned that Jon loves handknit socks? This pattern is so masculine and looks just delicious in Into the Whirled’s Manchester Sock in Qualinesti. Now he and I have matching socks and he’s worn his so much they’re pilling like crazy. I also made a pair in Into the Whirled’s Bukavu Sock (that’s a BFL/nylon yarn which should wear really well!) in Crow for my dad. Didn’t have time to snap a photo of his socks before he got them for Hanukkah but they look great.
I guess I ought to take a break from socks for a little while but I think this pattern has become my go to for gifts!
What’s your favorite sock pattern?
I don’t think an ad has ever spoken to me as much as that one.
Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! It was such a busy one for me. Hope you all ate your weight in a variety of pies.
First things first, if you’re looking for Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals on your favorite patterns, notions, and yarns, Marly Bird is putting together a fairly comprehensive list of knit and crochet deals. I must add Jill Draper’s First Snowfall pattern is available for FREE with code anythingbutblack on Ravelry.
>> I actually remember buying this knitting book at my LYS when I was in high school. I was in love with Rowan yarns but couldn’t afford any. I loved this denim-inspired book. Who knew Eddie Redmayne was lurking in there?
>> Mocking Jay Part 1 is here! I’m obsessed with the marketing behind the movies (and the books, of course). These “District Voices” videos are awesome. You might recognize the District 8 representatives (my favorite district, obviously) as the hosts of Threadbanger.
>> Therapy alpacas!!!
>> I love this marled Tory Burch short sleeved sweater. Definitely forsee making a knock off for spring!
>> Very excited that Zady is selling a sweater made and sourced entirely in the US! The wool is from Imperial Stock Ranch which makes this extra exciting. The video is gorgeous. Never get tired of that sheep-to-sweater process!
>> This 7Up ad features Magda Sayeg and her gorgeous yarnbombs!
What are you knitting up this holiday weekend?
Tags: 7up, alpaca, black friday, cyber monday, deals, delivery.com, district 8, fiber art, hunger games, imperial stock ranch, katniss cowl, knitting sale, magda sayeg, marly bird, mockingjay, sale, therapy, threadbanger, yarn sale, yarnbomb, zady
The holidays are hardly here and things area already crazy, am I right? I promise to stick with you guys through it all. Let’s not decide to make hats for everyone in our family this year, deal? Deal.
I always like to put together a gift guide around this time of year. I usually hold onto it longer but with the big sales coming up, you ought to be prepared. As I say every year, there’s no yarn in my gift guides. Yarn is a pretty safe bet (I recommend a luxurious, hand-dyed sock yarn) but it’s been done. Get that knitter in your life something else and they’ll really think you were paying attention when they were ranting about their notions bag. If you impress a knitter come holiday time, they might consider going through some excruciating Christmas knitting for you next year!
1. Knit and Let Knit Tote by Fringe Association
2. Pewter Knit Pendant by Furls Crochet
3. Pouch by Mary Buttons
4. Corozo grommet buttons from Fringe Association
5. Sheepish Notebook by Jill Draper Makes Stuff
6. Moving Mud glass stitch markers from Purl Soho
7. Stitched Away nail decals from Jamberry Nails
8. Oval knit stitch earrings by Jennie the Potter
Don’t forget, knitters love handmade gifts! When in doubt, shop local. You can’t miss!
Knitters, what’s on your wish list this year?
Tags: buttons, earrings, fringe association, furls, furls crochet, gift, gift guide, glass, jamberry, jennie the potter, jill draper makes stuff, journal, knitters gift guide, knitting bag, knitting earrings, knitting gifts, knitting jewelry, mary buttons, moving mud, nail art, nail decals, nails, notebook, notions, pendant, pouch, project bag, purl soho, sheep, stitch markers, tote, tote bag, wishlist, yarn jewelry