Archive for July, 2012
The time has finally come! I’ve had a hard time keeping up but the second short is finished! A lot of really wonderful knitters were involved in the finished short and I wanted to say here a huge thank you to all of you. It is so awesome to talk to people that love to knit and I find it so amazing that are willing to lend a hand on that basis alone.
My goal in this series is to really get knitters to meet, in a sense, the people behind their yarns, patterns, shops, etc. But I admit, my ulterior motive was to meet the people who’s work I’ve always admired and this was certainly true in this case. I’ve been a big fan of Ysolda’s since I started knitting and finally having a chat with her was just great. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Of course, big thanks to Jon for physically being there to make this short happen and to Andrew for the fab theme. Also to Ysolda’s assistant Sarah for setting us up! Enjoy!
I got a sewing machine and I’m already up to no good! I’m about halfway through the Sewing in a Straight Line One Hour Skirt. I saw the video for it a while ago and it ignited this desire to sew. It looks so damn easy! Just like pin two rectangles of fabric together and put in an elastic band and you’re solid. Easy. I can do that.
Here are some reasons why I can’t do that:
I completely misjudged the width of the fabric that I needed. I cut it about half the size that the pattern required. That was wrong. I realized this was wrong after I’d sewn them together. Guhhh. Luckily, I bought an extra yard of fabric that I used but it meant that the pieces were an inch and a half shorter than what the pattern called for. That’s ok, though, I tell myself. I’m very short, I can spare an inch of skirt.
I also don’t have anywhere to cut fabric. This is my cutting mat/ironing board. You’re right, it’s just a flattened cardboard box on my bedroom floor.
Cutting straight lines using shears without a yardstick is impossible. I should’ve bought that rotary cutter. Uneven edges when sewing two (theoretically) identical pieces of fabric together means that you are not sewing two identical pieces of fabric together and therefore the seams are all higgilty piggilty which here means they look like crap.
Finally, I realized I’ve always been intimidated by sewing not because it required investing in a piece of machinery that is rather large and costly (compared to most knitting needles) or the finality of an incorrect measurement when it comes to cutting fabric but because it involves lots of sharp objects. I was stuck twice with pins and that is two times too many, my friends. (I also bought pins with gigantic neon plastic flowers at the ends so that in the nightmarish event that one were to find itself on the floor, it could be easily identified and prevent injuries to the foot.) Furthermore, I am afraid of getting my hand sewn into the machine because that happened to my grandmother once which resulted in a call the fire department. She had to explain to the firemen how to take the machine apart while her hand was stuck in it which I have always imagined to be a gruesome scene.
Actually, really finally, I don’t like ironing and I’ve discovered that sewing requires a lot of it. I try to never wear clothes that need ironing and, luckily, I can dress casually for work which means that my wardrobe is much more ready-to-wear than most working professionals. It’s not just that I don’t like ironing (I mean, how could you not love it?), I truly believe that I am a sub-par ironer. No matter how much I press or play with the little temperature dial or fill the thing up with water, nothing ever seems to lose the wrinkles. (One day when I’m a grown up, maybe I’ll learn how to do it properly.) After you sew anything, you have to press it.
In fact, sewing might be only about 30% sitting at the machine while I’ve discovered it is 70% cutting not-straight lines, pinning fabric without drawing blood, and ironing things that were just sewn. On a cardboard box on my bedroom floor.
This is a terrible, grainy photo of the skirt. I’ve cropped it because I look insane and also like a sewing machine exploded all around me. I haven’t finished the hem because I gave up around 11pm.
Despite all of this, sewing has not defeated me. And, although my seams would lead you to believe that I was drunk (side note: drunk sewing sounds TREACHEROUS), I chose a black fabric with a pattern and black thread so that no one will ever know. So I’ve got at least one thing right. And, it is certainly not perfect but I’m proud that what I’m working on mildly resembles a piece of clothing. Although I’ve already spent about three hours on it (trust me, the pattern is not a misnomer, it’s all me), I feel like I’m at least learning how to iron.
What do you think? Have you ever had a new craft disaster? Also, anyone have tips? I can trade for knitting tips!
When I posted about the Ishbel shawls, I was worried I would have to wing it! But the response that I got was overwhelming! I reached out to a lot of knitters on Ravelry and so many people were happy to be involved. I’ve gotten really supportive comments. You guys are the best! It’s really fun seeing my videos come together but when I feel that others want to be a part of it, it is even more meaningful. Thank you all!
Aside from editing up a storm and cooking some yummy stuff, I’ve been working non-stop on my Maxfield Cardigan. As predicted, I am obsessed with it. I am lucky I’ve left the house to go to work.
At first I was very nervous. I thought the stripes were too subtle especially with the variegation of the hand dyed MC. But the more I work on it and the more I see it in the sunlight, the more in love I become! The Malabrigo is softer than I could have dreamed. It’s really going to be wonderful to wear.
I’ve made a few mods in this first sleeve. I began with the 1×1 rib on size 2 needles instead of size 3. I’ll be honest, I did it because I wanted to cast on and I didn’t have any size 3s or time to swing by my LYS. But I rationalized this decision because I’ve been wearing my Pomme de Pin a lot recently and the sleeves are way too long and a little too wide for my taste as well. I think the smaller needles will make the cuff a little more secure. Since I was working on smaller needles, I added 3 rows of ribbing just for good measure.
The other modification I made (which you can’t see in this photo) after completing the increases, I decided to continue with the chevron pattern in the MC only. The pattern has you continue with the CC chevrons (making 6 sets total) but I wanted to make sure that the last set of chevrons didn’t look less pointy as I continue with stockinette stitch. I believe the sleeve length is 18″ where Amy suggests 19″ but, like I said, I was erring on the side of caution. Also, I’m very short.
This next picture is just because I’m obsessed with a nice shallow depth of field:
It could use some better exposure, though.
I think I’m off to a good start. I am loving the yarn and, of course, the pattern is fantastic. I think I’ll have this cardigan done in no time.
Have you cast on your Maxfield yet???
First of all, thank you for all of the wonderful feedback on the first short! I’m a little overwhelmed by how well it was received and I am just so pleased that people are enjoying it! I got a lot of great comments over at the Roman Hills Ravelry group that are so exciting. So many of their fans are happy to meet the ladies behind the yarn and that’s exactly what I’d intended to do!
On the technical side of things (because I did go to film school and I’m breaking every one of my rules here), I only hope that the shorts will get better and better! I’m finding that we are running and gunning in noisy places more often than I’d like! That being said, I’m still happy with how everything’s going and it’s so cool meeting other knitters through my work.
I’ve been working on the second interview for the series and I couldn’t be more excited to announce that it features Ysolda Teague! Ysolda has been one of my favorite designers since I really got into knitting back in high school. Her Snow White sweater was the first sweater I ever knit. (But, as I told her, I used Lamb’s Pride Worsted which was so itchy and hot I only ever wore it once! I didn’t have a clue back then!) Ysolda’s work is so awesome and so extensive and I think can’t tell you how cool it was to meet with her.
She was just a lovely person and very enthusiastic about what she does. I was so lucky to catch her while she was in New York before she jetted off to TNNA! So I’ve been in the cutting room (which is not an actual place…I’ll just be sitting in front of the computer in my bedroom) all weekend.
On that note, I need your help! I’m looking for photos of completed Ishbel shawls to use in the video. I need as many as I can get and so far I’ve only got three. If you’d like your shawl to be featured in the interview, leave a comment or email me or tweet me or send me a message on Ravelry. You know what to do!
Amy Christoffers has come out with a new pattern, everyone! As if you hadn’t heard! It’s called Maxfield and my jaw hit the ground as soon as I saw it. Seriously. Amy, I am not worthy.
Immediately, I started planning. I had so many ideas. First off, I told myself that I wasn’t allowed to use Madeline Tosh. I’m sorry, MT. It’s not you, it’s me. I just think I need to try other yarns.
I was sneaking peeks at the Ravelry yarn pages for Lorna’s Laces at work. I did some intense Google-ing. I took screen shots of every yarn that was a possibility so I could pair it with different colorways and see which worked best. I distrusted every photograph I saw on Webs and Jimmy Beans and cross-referenced them with stash pictures on Ravelry. And then I distrusted those.
Basically, I was like some crazy yarn psychopath for about 48 hours. I finally settled on two colorways of Lorna’s Laces Honor (which is what Amy’s pattern calls for) and then I couldn’t find them anywhere! I looked for a long time but no one was selling Honor in a colorway I’d set my heart on. But then I started thinking about some other possibilities.
You see, my basic inspiration is a southwestern-style Dude-esque cardigan. (Side note: Is there a name for that style of cardigan that’s brown and white and has, like, Native American patterns on it or moose?) I really wanted a neutral or beige with, like, a desert sunset for the chevrons.
This is what I found:
I worked with Malabrigo Silky Merino a few years ago and I thought it was so luxurious. I think it will work well with the pattern and the color is perfect! I’m using Acorn for the MC and the CC is Viena. I love the purple and orange. I hope it looks just like an old poncho! My only worry is that since it’s 50% silk it might be a little shiny. (Honor is a merino/alpaca blend which sounds fantastically soft.)
I’m so excited to cast on. I just can’t stop looking at the pattern and at Amy’s pictures. Are you casting on a Maxfield cardigan of your own? What are you waiting for?
Is it too hot to think about socks? Do some of us ever stop thinking about socks? How about remembering a colder time when I started these socks?
Well, I had really terrible second sock syndrome. I just feel awful about it because I love this yarn and the cable pattern is really fun. I don’t know exactly what distracted me after I made the first sock (which I was working on at VKL!) But I was obviously distracted.
I finally had a chance to finish them before Memorial Day. I’m so pleased with how they turned out. I think they look even cooler than the ones I wanted from Toast.
Standing on my fire escape over the weekend, modeling these socks, I was sweating bullets. What warm cozies! I can’t wait to wear them in the snow!
Have you recently overcome second sock syndrome? How do you get through it?
I’ve been so busy over the past month yet I’ve done so much knitting! But I haven’t had any time to write about it. Really strange! I really need to do some catching up, though. So let’s start with what I’m working on right now.
As soon as I saw the pattern for the Cap Sleeve Lattice Top on the Purl Bee, I was obsessed. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I was right in the middle of a pair of socks but I decided that I’d put them aside and run down to Purl Soho and buy some Madeline Tosh. I mean, there are only so many months that I can wear this thing and summer’s halfway over! And the pattern was written for MadTosh. How could I say no? I was leaving for a weekend trip to western Maryland so it would be easy road trip knitting. (Jon and I had never gone one a road trip before! It was very exciting and we saw a lot of cows and also a lot of signs about Jesus. Also, there are NO PARKING signs on the shoulders of I-78 in Pennsylvania. Who is parking there that they needed to go through so much trouble?)
Also, I generally hate summer knitwear. I like so few designs with short sleeves. I just think that they look awkward or I think, “Oh that would be really cute with long sleeves like a normal sweater!” Listen, I need cardigans and sweaters in the summer. It’s cold in restaurants and offices. And I don’t feel ashamed that I like having these things all year round and I don’t feel obligated to cast on tee shirts and the like just because the temperature is up. (Wow, am I a grouchy knitter or what?) This one, though, I think it’s really elegant and beautiful. Maybe I’m about to be converted!
Here’s what happened. I knit about five inches of the first side over the eight hours we were in the car. And I was pretty pleased with it although I would have liked something a little more challenging than stockinette. Then I got home and I started looking on Ravelry and I found diannabolical’s project page. I really like her style and I loved how her lattice top turned out. I really appreciate that it seems to fit her well. I think that some of the ones I’ve seen are sitting a little low and I’d like the lattice to start above where my bra ends. I also like shirts that are long so I don’t feel like they’re riding up all of the time. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves. But diannabolical knit hers in the round and then put half on waste yarn and worked the top one half at a time, adjusting amount of bound off stitches.
Well, why didn’t I think to knit it in the round! I remembered thinking to myself how I wished it was knit in the round when I cast on but I was rushing around about the trip and didn’t bother putting my mind into the math. So I had that dilemma that I’m so often faced with: frog eight hours of work or finish the top and deal with the unsatisfactory construction forever. I agonized over it for about five minutes and then was reminded that I’ve been known to rip things out no matter how far along they are. So I did.
I cast on again, this time with 215 stitches (size medium calls for 109 stitches per side so I figured 218 total and subtracted 2 stitches which would be lost in seaming the two sides together. I went with 3 stitches in the end to keep the ribbing pattern consistent) and began again in the round. Of course, now I’m only about maybe eight inches into the body but I’m going to have something I’m very happy with. I often cut corners and deal with imperfections so I’m giving myself a big pat on the back for going back and doing things the right way.
Like I said, it’s not terribly exciting right now since it’s about a million rows of stockinette. But I push forward.
I am using Madeline Tosh Sport in Calligraphy for the body. The top lattice will be in Espadrilles because I’m really into this neon trend that’s going on this summer. Not that I’ll ever stop wearing neon when it goes out of fashion and not that I wasn’t wearing it in high school before it was cool (Disclaimer: I’m not cool nor was I ever).
Honestly, I’m really second-guessing my color choices. I feel like the pale pink of the Calligraphy is really nice but I’m not sure how it’s going to play with the neon pink up top. I keep trusting my gut, though, because it seemed like a really good choice when I bought it and I’d thought a lot about putting the neon up top and a neutral in the body for a while. I think I just get nervous especially when I have nothing else to focus on since I’m just doing rows and rows and rows of stockinette stitch.
I’ve got more WIPs on my needles right now and I’ll show them off soon! How do you feel about summer knitting? Or have you given it up for the sewing machine?
Tags: adjust pattern, calligraphy, cap sleeve lattice top, dianabolical, espadrilles, knit in round, knit shirt, knit tank top, madeline tosh, Madtosh, merino, Purl Bee, purl soho, Sport, summer knitting, tank top, yarn
Sunday Jon’s parents threw a big 4th of July party (although, technically it was Canada Day). They have a huge BBQ every summer and there’s lots of drinks and swimming.
This year I made two berry tarts which are currently my favorite things to bake because they’re simple and easy but they taste delicious and look impressive. And I’d like to share the recipe with you!
yield 8″ pie
Graham cracker crust adapted from this Martha Stewart recipe
10 graham crackers
1/4 c sugar
1/4 t salt
6 T butter, melted
In a food processor, pulse together graham crackers with sugar and salt. Mix in melted butter and press into a pie pan. Bake for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Allow to cool completely.
8oz mascarpone cream
1/4 c sugar
1c heavy cream
Stir together mascarpone with sugar and heavy cream. Pour into cooled crust. Top with berries and allow to set in the refrigerator for an hour before serving.
Next time I plan to use a rectangular tart pan. I’d love to make big berry stripes! I was so serious about the circles of raspberries and blueberries that I almost had my tweezers out! I hope I made Martha proud!