Archive for February, 2013

28
Feb

Famous Knits: Shameless

Written by Sarah. Posted in famous knits

We are deep into Season 3 of Showtime’s Shameless (not to be confused with the long-running BBC original) and I couldn’t be more pleased. So much drama going on there now! It’s getting pretty gritty. When January rolled around and Shamless was back on the air, I was a happy kid! Nothing like getting cozy with a beer and enjoying some new TV. This show might be my favorite thing on television. It’s hilariously outrageous but really hits you with a serious case of the feels. I’m surprised people aren’t talking about it more.

The cast is fantastic. Emmy Rossum is definitely in my top three celebrity’s I’d like to be friends with (right after Jennifer Lawrence and Amanda Seyfried, as I’ve outlined before). I love each character more than the last. (This is a total secret but sometimes, when I’m having a rough day, I ask myself ‘What would Fiona do?’ and then go kick ass.) I’m definitely on Team Gallagher.

shameless

But let’s talk about the man we all love to hate: Frank Gallagher.

Of course, me being me, when I saw that slouchy, dirty hat that is Frank’s signature accessory, I immediately wanted to make one. It’s so funny. Such a perfect piece for the character. I love the way he wears it.

shameless frank

I was so surprised by how amazingly well William H Macy could toe the line between hilarious and despicable. He’s great. Like I said, the show’s really got it!

Are you watching Shameless? Are you excited about this season? Do you want a Frank hat?

ps. Did you know that Allison Janney played Sheila in the pilot?! I love Allison Janney but I don’t think the show would be the same without Joan Cusack. She’s priceless.

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26
Feb

Sheep Humor

Written by Sarah. Posted in kollabora, life, that gif post

It’s already turning out to be a rough week. I’ve spent a few too many nights building Ikea furniture. (I really can’t stop myself when I go to Ikea.) Anyway, since there’s not much to report on my knitting front (still working on that damn faire isle sweater), let’s just have a laugh.

If you haven’t seen this video of goats yelling like humans, do so now. God I love goats. If you liked that, you’ll love this:

Okay, I promise there will be actual posts about actual things this week. Stay tuned. I’m going to go drink some tea.

ps. Check it out, I was featured in Kollabora’s Meet the Maker profile!

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21
Feb

The Un-Knitting Machine

Written by Sarah. Posted in art, design, DIY, knits, life, yarn

Now, I know what you’re thinking. An un-knitting machine is hardly the kind of thing that you should expect to see on a knitting blog. It seems a little counter productive. I, too, have felt the disappointment that is frogging a big piece of knitwear. It’s like watching your life flash before your eyes in reverse. But with a lot more swearing. And hopefully there’s alcohol to ease the pain.

But a few things caught my eye about Imogen Hedges‘ un-knitting machine, and I’ve been meaning to share it with you all for a while now. Wouldn’t the hurt of ripping out a sweater be made a lot easier by doing it painlessly and fast? And aren’t those bike pedals nifty? It looks like it’s about as fun as making the sweater itself.

Imogen Hedges from Rachel Mc Closkey on Vimeo.

What really struck a chord with me, though, is the recycling trend that I’ve seen on the rise on Ravelry. Knitters are salvaging old thrift store finds for their yarn, un-knitting them (if you will) and making brand new things with the yarn. There are some Ravelry groups dedicated to the techniques of upcycling sweaters. Some especially resourceful makers on Twitter and instagram are hand dying the yarn for an even more interesting look!

And the best part is that knitters can score a sweaters’-worth of  nice fibers like cashmere and merino for $4 thanks to their local Goodwill and a little ingenuity.

Besides the price and the thrill of the hunt, this movement is really exciting for me. We knitters are innovative. (I mean, somebody invented a bicycle that unravels sweaters, for goodness sake!) We may not always mean to but making our own clothing helps take back from the industrial cheap fashion behemoth that is so omnipresent these days. We are investing time and love into custom pieces of clothing that will receive proper care and be worn for years. But why not take it a step further? Green DIY conjures up images of sock puppets and toilet paper tube Christmas wreaths but we can make it glamorous. We can take things that we already own (or someone else owned) and we can give new life to them. We can mend and alter our clothing instead of throwing away cash on cookie cutter closets. And we can get a sense of the work that our favorite independent dyers and spinners are doing.

My dad recently gave me one of his old wool sweaters. (It started as a request for a custom sweater since his was ruined and ended with me begging him to donate his moth-hole-ridden jumper for me to experiment with. He may have gotten the better end of the bargain.) I can’t wait to give un-knitting a try. I am ready to make brand new recycled clothes!

And to top it all off, now I can add to my stash (on the DL) when I’m away from the yarn store. And that’s a gift in and of itself.

Have you ever un-knit a sweater? What are your tips?

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19
Feb

FO: Great Divide Shawl

Written by Sarah. Posted in accesories, blocking, FO, knits, lace, life, photos, shawl, technique

Wow! I had such a productive long weekend! While most of it felt relaxing (because I was knitting), I got so much done (mostly in the knitting department…I also made cookies). One of the things that I finished was my Great Divide shawl. And I’m in love.

great divide

Like I’ve mentioned before, I’m not really into wearing shawls. That is definitely going to change. It’s exactly what I need for chilly spring days. (Speaking of, it was way more than chilly while taking these photos. Oh my god was I freezing. Can you tell?) I’m psyched that I had these colors in my stash. I’m one happy camper.

I’ve recently discovered that I totally love blocking. I used to really hate it (I might’ve mentioned it here). In an effort to change my ways, I’ve had a tub for blocking for a while now and I bought some proper wool soap (though I’ve used Doctor Bronner’s – which my aunt Sherry said she used to use on embroideries, thanks for the tip! – the past couple of times since my wool wash was packed away and I’ve enjoyed the results!). I guess having some space in the new apartment to lay out the pieces without being totally in the way is encouraging. The blocking kit my mom got me helps too, though I’ve had that for a long time, too.

great divide 2

 

Although this wasn’t lace per se, this piece really needed a good blocking and everything opened up beautifully! I’m totally learning the merits of blocking my knits and I don’t hesitate to do it any longer!

I’m very excited about this shawl! It looks like I’m still growing as a knitter! Knitting shawls and blocking things! What a change! Maybe I’ve been replaced with an alien or a robot? I like cleaning the kitchen now, too. I’m definitely sick, guys.

Brb, going to check WebMD.

How do you feel about blocking? What’s something you made that surprised you?

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15
Feb

WIP: Great Divide Test Knit

Written by Sarah. Posted in accesories, knits, shawl, WIP, yarn

Like so many other things (mainly cookies and potato chips), I have no self control when it comes to knitting. Which is why, when Michele was asking for volunteers to test knit her first pattern, my answer was something like “Oh me, me, me! Please pick me!” even though I promised myself I’d get back to my other WIPs. I’d seen the early stages of the Great Divide Shawl on instagram and immediately fell in love. I’ve written before about how I don’t like shawl and I don’t want to knit them. This one changed my mind.

What caught my eye was the awesome neon yellow she used. Neons paired with neutrals are my favorite. Stripes dominate my wardrobe so the design was great. I loved the stitch pattern that is pretty but not terribly lacey and delicate looking like most other shawls. This fell solidly into my minimalist style.

I don’t think it’s proper to share a test knit before it’s finished but Michele has already posted the pattern for it on Ravelry. So I think I’m in the clear here! Besides, I’m sure you can all forgive me because it’s just too much fun to not post photos!

great divide wip

Immediately after Michele sent me the pattern, I started panicking. I wasn’t even sure if I had any yarn to use and I certainly wouldn’t have time to swing by my LYS. So I worried. As soon as I could, I tore apart my stash looking for the appropriate yarn.

As it turns out, I had some bright pink (Espadrilles)and purple-grey (Calligraphy) Madeline Tosh Sport that was once destined to become a lattice tank top. I’d started the top when the weather was warm but totally doubted my color choices. By then it was too late. I’d decided what I thought in the store was white was a weird pinkish-purple but this was after I’d completed about 8″ of stockinette of the body. I ripped out what I’d started, half hoping that no one would notice how purple it is and half thanking my stars that I actually had two skeins that were even the same base.

great divid wip 2

I love how it looks. Much better than it did as a top! I’m actually really glad that I pulled this yarn out of my stash. The superwash merino and the color will be perfect if spring ever rolls around. I love something light that I can throw over a cardigan without looking fussy. I still have a ways to go with the pattern but it’s simple and quick to knit but with an intuitive, clever design. I’m already up to make another!

How do you feel about shawls? Do you like lacey or understated?

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13
Feb

Fashion Week Knits

Written by Sarah. Posted in DIY, famous knits, knits, new york city, style, summer

It’s Fashion Week here in New York. Or it was? I’m not sure, I don’t keep up with these things. (Oh, I just checked. It’s still happening. Cool.) I don’t like to think that I follow trends (unless they’re neon. Or knitwear. Or NEON KNITWEAR!) but I do like to take a peek at what’s going down the runway because I was obsessed with season one of Project Runway. (Austin Scarlett is designing wedding dresses. Yes. But does anybody know what Jay McCarroll is up to these days?)

Now, it’s Spring/Summer time so that’s not the easiest for us knitters. Some of us (I won’t name names) like to put down our needles when then weather gets warm, abandoning our wool work for a bit of sewing. I understand. But I’ll make a goddamn sweater by the pool if I want to!

Luckily, there are a lot of spring trends going on that translate perfectly into knits and here are a few:

Web

First is a clean-cut top with a color I really love. Carolina Herrera’s ready to wear line has some great summery looks. I love this coral-colored knit. It reminds me of the adorable Abuelita crocheted top from Pom Pom Quarterly.

Marc Jacobs has a really cool black and white thing going on in the Spring/Summer collection. I love the mod feeling. Vogue Knitting has a great selection of dramatic, 60’s-inspired black and white tops in their Spring/Summer issue for a similar look.

I’m a huge fan of Kate Spade. I am really just obsessed. And this season’s collection keeps with the “Live Colorfully” motto. There are a lot of brights and sparkles and it looks like bows are going to be big. A few of the Kate Spade pieces have great little collars. I’m really glad this is happening right now. I’m a big fan of this adorable Peter Pan collar by Rachele the Nearsighted Owl. Perfect for adding a little something extra to any outfit.

Which collections have caught your eye? Are you inspired by any of the summer trends?

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11
Feb

FO: Linen Stitch Sock and Variegated Yarns

Written by Sarah. Posted in design, DIY, FO, knits, life, photos, socks, yarn

As I mentioned earlier, I put my crafting away to get moving done. Knitting is my number one distraction. When I’m working on a project, I can sit for hours watching season after season of Law and Order: SVU, ignoring the rest of the world. Laundry, editing, even friends are all ignored when I’m knitting. I’m sure you can relate. I was really afraid that my craft addiction would keep me from my strict packing schedule. So I put my needles in a box and taped it up so I had no choice but to get the worst of the move over with. It was tough and my fingers felt like they were itching to work. I couldn’t sit still in front of the TV when we were taking breaks. I was going cold turkey from knitting.

After we got into the new place, I promised myself that I’d keep my WIPs out of sight so I could focus on unpacking and getting back to normal. And I was pleasantly surprised by how long I was able to stop myself from thinking about stitching. I got a lot done around the house, I baked cookies, and then I became strangely obsessed with cleaning the kitchen (the building is brand new so I want EVERYTHING TO STAY SHINEY AND CLEAN FOREVER PLEASE.) I finally dragged out a sock who never got a buddy from my stash when the weekend rolled around so I’d have something to knit during the Super Bowl. (My faire isle sweater needed to be blocked before I could move forward and I didn’t think that that was a project that should be tackled with boxes all over the place. We also didn’t have a floor lamp for the living room yet so it was too dark to do any cross stitching. So I decided to go with the hibernating project.)

linen stitch sock

I realized upon completing this second sock, that I’d never written about the first sock here. I’d posted a few photos on instagram when I made it back in June but other than that, it’s story has not been told. I can’t believe I left the pair unfinished for so long! (But I did start Maxfield right after I completed the first sock. That might explain it!)

The yarn is Lorna’s Laces Solemate which I picked up in a Soakbox at Vogue Knitting Live (2011). This was an early Soakbox so it only had yarn, a small Heel lotion, and a travel-sized Soak wash packet. (I love the new ones with nail polish! I love nail polish, guys.) I have to admit, the Outlast climate-control technology in the Solemate yarn (I still have no idea how it works but it sounds really magical) was what really sold me. I love it when there’s “technology” in things that are otherwise not technological. (I also know that everything involves technology. You know what I mean.)

linen stitch detail

Here’s the thing: I don’t really like variegated yarns. (Omg, Am I racist against multicolored yarns? I love all yarns. Except cotton. I am a little racist against cotton yarns. Sorry! Just being honest.) I mean, I like hand-dyed yarns and their variations within but I don’t buy yarns with lots of different colors (unless I really like them). I think it has to do with my minimalist style. Also, purple is not one of my favorite colors. But I bought this anyway because it sounded cool and I was at Vogue Knitting for the first time and I kind of assumed this would go into my stash for a long long time.

I can’t tell you what made me pull it out and design this pattern with this yarn I felt so iffy about. It was a long time ago. But I promised myself I’d design a pair of socks that showcased the different colors in the yarn.

linen stitch sock 2

Here’s the other thing: when it comes to knitting socks, I refuse to knit cabled/lacework socks with variegated yarn. Makes me dizzy and I really want to show off the stitch pattern. That stuff gets lost with yarns that aren’t solid colors. I guess that’s why I don’t like variegated yarns as much because it means that I either knit a plain sock that looks cool because it’s variegated but is boring to knit or do a variegated/solid stripe which would involve some forethought because I’d have to buy a solid yarn to go with it. Not so good for my fast and loose stash-busting sock-knitting style. So that’s why, when I’m enhancing my stash, I try to stay away from those variegated yarns. (I’ve written ‘variegated’ a lot in this post.)

Long story short (too late) I made these. I used the linen stitch for the first time. I like that it is still elastic but looks totally unique. It really lends itself to the variations in the yarn. (In fact, a lot of people have mistaken my instagram photos for the Broken Seed Stitch Sock which is actually knit with a solid and variegated yarn since this colorway has white in it. You can tell by the toes that it’s one skein but I like the illusion that it might be two!) The pattern is toe up (because I refuse to believe that ankle down socks are a thing, there’s another thing I don’t like!), knit on size 1s with a slip stitch heel. Slip stitch heels are not my favorite and I think they’re kind of baffling but I wanted to break my short-row heel habit. It also has the perfect look with the linen stitch and actually kind of mimics it, too. I like that part!

linen stitch sock 3

I’m really pleased with how these turned out. I love that they took a skein of yarn I was otherwise stumped by and turned them into something unique that looks a little complex, too. Maybe I don’t dislike variegated yarns after all! We’re all kind of like variegated yarns deep down inside, aren’t we?

I love designing sock patterns. I recently realized that I’ve improvised more of my own sock designs than I’ve made from patterns. I’m always looking for new projects so I’m tempted to turn some of my sock designs into proper patterns.

What do you think? And how do you feel about variegated yarns?

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08
Feb

Guest Post at the Kollabora Blog: Upcycling

Written by Sarah. Posted in kollabora

kollabora upcycling

 

In case you haven’t seen it yet, my first guest post for Kollabora was published on Wednesday. I’m so excited to see it up there! It’s about upcycling! Check it out!

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07
Feb

Box of Chocolates

Written by Sarah. Posted in gift, holiday, knits, want, yarn

Listen, Valentine’s Day is coming up. I know a lot of people that hate the holiday. A lot of single friends don’t like to be reminded of that fact. A lot of partnered friends don’t want to spend time and money on gifts and dinners for a made up holiday. I get it. I hear you. My anniversary with Jon happens to fall on V-day. (Our first Valentine’s Day together, he bought me a bag of Haribo Gold Bears which was my favorite food on a tip from my best friend. I thought it was very romantic.) So I like the holiday.

But I’m sure that we V-day haters and celebraters can all agree on one thing: Chocolate is awesome. You don’t need a special someone to enjoy chocolate. (One year, a boy I was seeing bought me a Hershey bar for Valentine’s Day. Not a box of chocolate or a flower. Just a BAR OF CHOCOLATE. Like from a vending machine or something. It was pretty awkward. But, chocolate, right?)

Anyway, here are some chocolate colored yarns to binge on instead of eating your feelings:

chocolate

1. Lorna’s Laces Sportmate in Chocolate
2. Dream in Color Classy in Chocolate Night
3. Kollabora Alpaca Au Natural in Chocolate
4. Handmaiden Fine in Chocolate

Seriously, though, if you’re not into St. Valentine’s Day, look on the bright side: soon chocolate and Necco hearts will be on sale! And it’s Restaurant week!

How do you feel like Valentine’s day? Would you prefer chocolates or chocolate-colored yarns?

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05
Feb

Jo Hamilton Stop Motion

Written by Sarah. Posted in art

What a week! I’m finished with the move and we’re living in Brooklyn! There’s so much to do. I put down all of my crafts for a week while we finished packing and began unpacking. It made me a little anxious! I was super reluctant to pack up my cross stitch. I finally cast on a sock over the weekend because I just couldn’t take it any longer!

That said, I haven’t really got photos of any WIPs since progress came to a halt. But I do want to share some cool fiber art.

It was so cool to see Jo Hamilton‘s artwork up close and personal at Vogue Knitting Live. I love seeing yarn made into something that isn’t clothing. It’s so unexpected. I am so fascinated by her intricate pieces. So many layers. Check out the stop motion of this piece!

‘Arthur Animated’ by Jo Hamilton Art from Jo Hamilton Art on Vimeo.

Who are your favorite fiber artists? Have you made any fiber art pieces?

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