28
Jul

New American Knits Giveaway!

Written by Sarah. Posted in giveaway

I’ve been holding out on you! Last month, I got my hands on an advanced copy of New American Knits. I can’t tell you how hard it was to keep that under wraps because the book is fantastic! I’ve been waiting for its release for a long long time! But here it is in the flesh!

new american knits

I’m so excited for Amy Christoffers on the release of this book! The collection of patterns is absolutely gorgeous and so true to her style. She is so talented and it’s lovely to finally see her work collected here.

new american knits benton

I’ve definitely got my eye on a few of the patterns. I actually can’t believe I didn’t already cast on one of these sweaters already. I must be very busy but I have dreams of completing one of these for my Rhinebeck sweater! Too hard to choose! All of Amy’s patterns are so wearable. They’re really classic and stylish, straightforward yet stunning. And, of course, I can see all of the patterns in this book becoming everyday staples in my wardrobe.

new american knits

The lovely people at Interweave/F+W Media have been nice enough to put a copy of this book in one lucky readers’ hands! Just leave a comment below and I’ll draw a winner on Monday, August 4th. (Sorry, winning copies can only be shipped within the US.) I’m so excited to share this book with you guys!

Which pattern would you love to get on your needles?

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24
Jul

Grettir WIP

Written by Sarah. Posted in knits, sweater, WIP

grettir wip 2

Grettir is finally coming together. There wasn’t much to show you during the long haul of stockinette but now something interesting has happened. And, alas, now it’s basically over.

I’m quite pleased with the look of the yoke. It was a pretty simple colorwork pattern for me. Everything was straightforward there. Stranded colorwork really is my favorite thing. I imagine that if I were a dragon, instead of a cave full of golden treasures, I’d be sleeping on a big pile of fingering-weight colorwork sweaters.

grettir yoke

I recently looked back on the beginnings of this sweater and thought, “God, I’m such an asshole!” Can you believe I started this thing back in March? It’s July and it’s still not finished. I really have no excuse for this taking so long. Though, I suppose, the beauty of knitting for myself (and by that I mean knitting something that isn’t on a work deadline because clearly this sweater is not for me) is that it doesn’t have to be finished with any haste. But, still. It’s a little ridiculous that a worsted-weight sweater that is mainly single color stockinette has taken me months and months.*

I think this sweater is kind of telling of my mental state this summer. I’m really all over the place. I want to sew tank tops and eat ice cream and read comic books. I’ve allowed myself to become undisciplined after a year of hard deadlines and workaholism which was a big mistake! Give me and inch, etc etc.

grettir wip

All of that over-analysis aside, Grettir is almost finished. I have to graft the underarms to the sleeves which I just have had zero motivation to do. There’s a lot of waste yarn still hanging around the cast ons of this sweater. And he could use a nice blocking. It fits Jon well and he’s really pleased with it. I think it suits his style perfectly.

But, of couse, it was 90 degrees today so I have absolutely no desire to be finishing a sweater right now.

Do you ever get lazy with knitting? What keeps you on track on personal projects?

*Okay, stockinette stitch for miles is a good excuse for taking a long time. It just NEVER ENDS.

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11
Jul

Further Reading 7/11/14

Written by Sarah. Posted in further reading

my so-called handmade lifeOud Tank via My So-Called Handmade Life

This is the first Oud Tank that I’ve seen on Ravelry! This one is by Michelle and it looks absolutely beautiful on her! And it was in the Community Eye Candy on Tuesday. That’s right, she was on the front page of Ravelry! It’s so exciting to see something I designed being made by somebody else. Here is Michelle’s post with the completed Oud!

>> A few Massachusetts sheep escaped and took a nap in the street.

>> A superhero who’s power is knitting.

>> I’ll always throw shade at those penguin sweaters (People are still sending me the articles about it and the story is how old???) but I am going to be very sad when this story about baby birds in hand-knit nests gets old for me.

>> A guide to NYC craft stores. There are definitely a few missing but there were some shops on here I wasn’t familiar with. Good place to start if you’re visiting the city!

>> The Saint Laurent Spring 15 menswear collection includes a granny square cape.

>> Stainless steel yarn is being used in this cool project to control electronics. We’re talking more than gloves that work on your iPhone.

Phew! A lot to share this week! Hope you are all making up a storm this weekend. I’m going to be working on my second Wiksten tank!

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08
Jul

San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles

Written by Sarah. Posted in travel

It’s been a month since my trip to the left coast but I’ve got one last piece to share! Towards the end of the trip, I was looking for things to do in the San Jose area because I had plans to check out the Computer History Museum (which is awesome) in Mountain View with Jon. I really hadn’t planned on visiting San Jose at all so I hadn’t looked into any site to see there. But I was pleasantly surprised when I found the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.

It’s very small, more of a gallery than museum in my opinion, but the Museum of Quilts and Textiles has so many amazing pieces. It totally inspired me. I’ve never really been excited about quilting. Don’t get me wrong, I own some gorgeous hand-made quilts and I appreciate the art. But I’ve never felt like I wanted to put one together myself. The quilts at this museum really made me think about quilting in a new way. We’re not talking about Star and Double Wedding Ring quilts here.

martha wolfeDeath Ride”  by Martha Wolfe

The exhibit started with some quilts by Ros Cross. Her most famous quilt (Pancakes, Butter, and Syrup Quilt with Bacon Rug) is part a private collection so I didn’t see it. But the other quilts were so cool. A lot of playing with lines and shapes, all very untraditional. This one was my favorite, lines of colored stitches with long threads are all that’s quilted here. It’s like a mixture of quilting and embroidery just really simply done by stitching a few rows next to one another. 

ross cross

There was a gallery of small quilts inspired by California. My favorites were photorealistic. I could hardly believe they were made of fabric. I had my nose practically up against them, trying to take in all of the tiny details.

lin schiffner“Postcard from Home” by Lin Schiffner 

Many of the quilts in the main gallery were part of the Quilt National competition. I wasn’t able to photograph them but you can see some of them here. All of the quilts on display were amazing and none of them were traditional. I was blown away by the way the quilts were being put together, the details and the transformation that these artists put these materials through. And, of course, there were some amazing themes being tackled in these pieces including over-medication, green energy, and carbon footprints.

quilt museum

Since quilting has never really been my thing, I was surprised that I’d wanted to visit the museum (especially considering parking in San Jose almost left me in tears, but we don’t need to get into that). I’m so glad that I did, though. Quilts are pretty exciting!

Do you quilt? Have you visited the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles?

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03
Jul

American Yarns

Written by Sarah. Posted in holiday, want, yarn

On 364 days of the year, I would never be caught dead wearing an American flag t-shirt or rocking stars-and-stripes nail art. I wouldn’t say that I’m not proud to be an American but I wouldn’t go singing about how I’m free, yadda yadda. To me, America is like an embarrassing parent. It’s great and it doesn’t give me a hard time about my curfew but sometimes I wish it would wear something different when we go to the mall. (Can you go lead the free world away from me and my friends? I’m trying to get Europe to notice me!) To put it simply, I am not an American of the AMURICA variety.

All of that aside, I love Independence Day. I love grilling, I love drinking domestic beers, I love the Founding Fathers (sorry those assholes are always dragging you guys into everything). I want to get drunk and watch 1776 on full volume.

Since tomorrow is AMERICA’S BIRTHDAY, I thought it would only be appropriate to share some yarns that are Made in America. There are lots of amazing yarns coming from around the globe but there is an excitement for me in buying locally and supporting America’s textile renaissance.

Here are some yarns hailing from California to the New York Island.

american

 

1. A Verb for Keeping Warm Floating in Transitional Fury
2. Quince & Co. Puffin in River
3. Jill Draver Makes Stuff Mohonk in Bing Cherry
4. Imperial Yarn Columbia 2-ply in Natural
5. Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Almanac

In the spirit of the holiday, I am reminded of the American colonists who eschewed British fabrics and produced their own homespun to boycott unjust taxes. Those are our very own forefathers of American DIY!

I’d love to collect a better list. What are your favorite American-made yarns?

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01
Jul

Another Scout

Written by Sarah. Posted in sewing, shirt, summer

The spring was a tough time for my knitting. I’ve always claimed to be an all-seasons knitter but sewing projects have increased exponentially for me over the last two months. But it’s such a good sign. When the seasons change, I can’t help but want to build my wardrobe. Who doesn’t want to add a summer top or dress when the weather warms up? But I’ve spent so much time here talking about my goals of making more instead of buying, I really wanted to stay true to that. So the more I wanted new clothes, the more I’ve set about making them!

After finishing my first two tops, I thought that I was ready for a challenge. I think I dove in a little too deep, trying a Wiksten Tova top with some fabric that I wasn’t so attached to. I’m not sure if it was my lack of patience or my novice skills but it started getting ugly pretty quickly. I decided to scrap it and go back to basics.

yellow scout 2

While I urge new knitters to go immediately out of their comfort zones, I couldn’t follow my own advice on sewing. I know knitting is something I could do blindfolded with my hands tied behind my back (try me) so it’s easy for me to say, “Just try a sweater if that interests you! It’s easy!” but there’s just two stitches. You don’t have to know much to get started knitting your heart out. Sewing, I’ve found, has a lot more specifics. There are many secrets I’ve yet to uncover. So I really wanted to get comfortable with the things that I’d already tried before I started adding on.

I’d bought this yellow and white fabric a while ago in an online sale. It’s some kind of cotton blend that has this dimple texture all over it. Luckily, both fabrics are the same just different colors. So it seemed right to pair them together. I’ve seen so many cute variations on simple pieces that are just a contrasting sleeve or bias tape. Little details really make something different so this shirt doesn’t really resemble my first Scout too heavily.

yellow scout 3

One of the things that I was really trying to master here was the set in sleeve. I won’t say it was done perfectly but it seemed to go much easier and I built so much confidence. The first sleeve was set in excellently and I was so excited. I was wearing my one-sleeved shirt all over the apartment, just feeling proud and admiring my work in the mirror. That’s when I realized I’d done it inside out. Got some more practice, so there’s a silver lining.

I also wanted to up the challenge since the top is relatively simple so I did French seams everywhere but where I set in the sleeve. I do not have the mojo for that just yet. And I really made myself do things right. If it wasn’t perfect, I unpicked and re-stitched. I started this top right after finishing the first season of The Great British Sewing Bee so I was kind of imagining May and Patrick going over my work. I would hate to disappoint them.

yellow scout

I like this top. I’m definitely going to be one of those crazy sewists with 500 Scout tees in her wardrobe. It’s just so breezy to make and it’s great to wear. I know my wardrobe and, while I’d love to make hundreds of different sundresses, my uniform (for work especially) is jeans with a cute tee.

I’m really hoping to make another scout in a knit. I find the shape of the shirt a little boxy and I think a nice medium or light weight knit would be more flattering. I’ve never worked with knits before but I’m told it’s not as challenging as everyone makes it sound. So I’m sure that will go terribly.

Don’t worry, I’m still knitting up a storm! But I’m so pleased to be building my own wardrobe! (I actually stopped myself from buying a cheap shirt the other day. I took a photo so I can try to reproduce it on my own. It felt great to have that power and to say no to something that wasn’t sustainable.)

Do you get bit the sewing bug sometimes? How many Scout tees have you sewn?

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24
Jun

A Verb for Keeping Warm

Written by Sarah. Posted in knits, lys, travel, yarn

While I visited a lot of museums, my first stop when I go to a new city is the LYS. It makes me feel like I’m part of the community, like I could picture myself living there a little bit. Every store I’ve visited is different and really shows what the area is all about but at the same time it’s very familiar. There is no better home away from home for me than a LYS.

Speaking of homes away from home, I was just about ready to move in when I got to A Verb for Keeping Warm. I’d always wanted to go after seeing photos by other bloggers and it was so exciting to finally be able to make the trip. I decided to dedicate a day of my adventure to Oakland so that I’d have a good amount of time to spend at Verb. It was way more than what I’d expected!

avfkw

Verb is just a lovely shop with a great selection of the higher-end delicious yarns we all love. The fabric selection is something else. There were so many bolts that caught my eye, everything from organic, natural-dyed cottons to Japanese Nani Iro prints. There were a lot of things that wanted to go home with me. Verb recently released their first sewing pattern so I had to pick up a copy of that.

avfkw2

Sarah gave me a little tour of the shop. Verb specializes in natural dyeing. They sell dyes (which I was VERY tempted to buy but have promised myself that I will not take up dyeing. I can’t have another hobby!) as well as their own line of natural-dyed yarns. I’m absolutely obsessed with these yarns and spent a long time petting them. Sarah explained that the fleeces come from a nearby organic cotton farm which is fertilized by sheep. The mill is also located within 90 miles of the shop and everything is dyed in house. I don’t think it can get more local than that.

avfkw3

I wish I could’ve taken one of the natural dyeing classes while I was in town. Luckily, Verb’s owner Kristine Vejar is busy finishing up a book about the subject. Those of us who are not lucky enough to be in the Bay Area for lessons will soon be able to learn at home!

This bold red “Transitional Fury” really stood out to me so, I had to have it.

avfkw5

My favorite thing about the shop is the garden. Not only is there a beautiful and sunny place to take your needles, there is a little garden of plants that can be used in natural dyeing. It really made me want to make better use of my window garden. Maybe a project for next summer? I got to meet Verb’s very own angora rabbit, Marcel. He was the sweetest! So soft and happy. He’s sheered four times a year and the angora yarn quickly sells out every season.

avfkw4

I’ve certainly seen my share of LYSs. This one is definitely one of my favorites. I love it when a store not only is beautiful and friendly but has a really solid identity. Verb is really dedicated to being a great resource for all crafters and you can tell just by spending a few minutes in there. I’d love to take another visit (maybe when I can afford to bring more souvenirs home) and attend one of the classes there!

Have you been to A Verb for Keeping Warm? Do you want to learn more about natural dyeing?

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20
Jun

Further Reading 6/20/14

Written by Sarah. Posted in further reading

stephen west

I’ve never knit any of Stephen West’s patterns. Honestly, I’m not really into shawls, guys. I’m very open about this. I love his style and his crazy photos. What he’s doing is very exciting in the knitting world and that deserves respect! But I’m loving this new pattern, Dotted Rays, especially since it can be made with lots of different weights and in a few sizes. This has jumped into my queue. I’m totally looking forward to making my first Stephen West shawl!

>> Back on my soap box about why people aren’t concerned about where their clothes come from anymore. Here’s a little analysis from Jezebel about a recent article on the subject. Some good points in there.

>> This music video is so cool. It’s made of stop-motion panels that are embroidered!!!

>> I really hope these gigantic pom pom outfits from Sibling’s SS15 collection become a thing. POM POMS FOR EVERYONE.

>> I’ve been in a bit of a rut recently. I’m having some trouble getting motivated mixed with a lack of inspiration. I don’t know what’s causing it, I’d call it a lack of focus. Anyway, Jon suggested I watch some movies because that usually gets me back in creating mode. Watching the OK Go music video for their new song “The Writing’s on the Wall” a few times has certainly helped. They’ve done it again and it’s got my gears going. Hope it’s just what I needed!

>> Barack Obama proclaimed Wednesday National Day of Making!

I’ve got a lot of stuff on my needles and I think it’s time to sort them all out. I’m hoping to put things in order this weekend. It would be nice to finish one or two of them! What are you working on?

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18
Jun

A Bit of the Bay Area

Written by Sarah. Posted in travel, Uncategorized

I’ve been getting settled since returning from my trip to the Bay Area at the beginning of the month. Jon and I spent five days in Cupertino so I took a few day trips to the cities nearby. I just went through all of my photos and I’m missing California already! The stereotypes about Silicon Valley are pretty true. I won’t say any of that is a bad thing (think lots of parking for electric vehicles and Google has their own branded bikes for employees), it’s just kind of wild that it’s all real but it makes for a lovely place. There was plenty to do in San Francisco (they call it “the city” which is confusing because I live in “the city” and by that I mean THE city) and Oakland. I loved the vibe there.

Think of this as my little cliff notes travel guide to the Bay Area.

golden gate

After dining at In-N-Out (sorry, West Coast, Shake Shack will always be my favorite), we met up with one of my best friends at the Golden Gate Bridge. We saw an old fort and ate clam chowder in sourdough bowls. We got to visit the Painted Ladies and pretend we were in Full House. In San Francisco, I met up with Sonya at Tartine, chatted about east coast/west coast travel and ate a crazy delicious fruit tart.

california

I ended up wandering into Fabric Outlet by chance on my way to my car. I must have craft store radar in my brain! It was a great store with so much to choose from. I picked up a few yards of fabric all for under $20.

My trip to Oakland was really fun. It’s filled with such quirky places to visit. I stopped at a swap meet off the freeway that was full of bizarre treasures and Spice Girl Barbies. I wandered through the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, pawing through the old photos and sewing patterns. I spent a long time drooling over everything at A Verb for Keeping Warm (more on that later this week).

oakland museum of california

I stopped in at the Oakland Museum of California. It really was one of the best museums I’ve ever visited. There I listened to records, found some fantastic art, and learned about the history of the state.

In San Jose, I saw mummies at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. I may have mentioned that I’m an ancient Egypt enthusiast. What a funky museum! It seemed like the pet project of an eccentric rich Egyptologist, like that wore safari hats or turbans everywhere. The collection was pretty cool and included a bunch of actual mummies. As another visitor, probably around six, put it, “Spooky!” I took this photo because the motif on this case looks very familiar.

rosicrucian

Jon wanted to see the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. We got to see one of the Google self-driving cars in the museum and on the freeway. Very cool collection of gigantic old computers. I have no idea what anything in there did. We finished our trip with a stop at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Fransisco. I’d really wanted to see this exhibit of the Szyk Haggadah. My grandfather collected haggadot and I’ve been helping my dad add to them. This book was staggeringly gorgeous in person.

I feel like there was so much more to do. I drove A LOT. I think in one week I did more driving than I did all of last year. Crazy, right? I also parallel parked an SUV about ten times, pumped my own gas all by myself for the first time, and sang at the top of my lungs driving 75mph with the windows rolled down. I can’t wait to go back.

What’s your favorite part of the Bay Area? Have you been? What did I miss that is really a must see?

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13
Jun

Further Reading 6/12/14

Written by Sarah. Posted in further reading

Happy Friday the 13th!

Nintendo announced a new Yoshi game coming out next year. Yoshi’s Wooly World will feature a “crocheted” Yoshi in a yarn world. Think Kirby’s Epic Yarn. I don’t really play video games (doesn’t leave enough time for knitting) but this one looks just adorable.

>> Holy craaaap. Have you been seeing the sneak peeks from Maria Dora’s upcoming collections? Her name might sound familiar because she only designed THIS AMAZING THING (among others). I’m swooning over every piece. Really cool.

>> I sewed my first dart last weekend. Here’s a handy video on how to do it!

>> Some fun pieces of needlework from the Jezebel community. There are some great Ghostbusters pieces. Be careful, a couple pieces are NSFW!

>> Prince Charles, the patron of Campaign for Wool, will be demonstrating the benefits of wool’s natural flame-retardancy by setting cheap, synthetic fibers ablaze. The wool industry has of course been suffering since man-made fibers tend to be so inexpensive to produce but the Campaign for Wool is trying to get people interested in wool garments and housewares once again.

>> Brooklyn Tweed gave a shout out to Sphinx on Twitter last week! I was a little overwhelmed. Thanks to everybody that pointed it out!

What are you making for your dads this weekend? It’s Father’s Day!

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