Archive for April, 2013
Thought I’d do a little spring cleaning this weekend and go through my notions bag. I keep my notions bag, as I do most of my WIPs, knocking around under the coffee table. Usually there’s a bunch of crap spilling out of it onto the floor or a pile of magazines. One day I will get it all together and my knitting life will be beautiful and tidy.
Until then, at least it’s all in one bag…
This brought the perfect opportunity to share with you what I do have in my dandy little notions bag. Here’s a little inventory of the rag tag band that helps me do the dirty work:
-2 tape measures
-a yarn cutter that looks like a ninja star that I once wore on a ribbon as a necklace in high school (what a loser!)
-teeny tiny scissors on a keychain
-a bunch of yarn labels because I hoard them and promise to paste them into a notebook one day and then usually I just throw them out
-toy button eyes
-regular old buttons
-an exacto knife?
-tags for knitted gifts
-a bunch of tapestry needles I can never find because they’re alway at the bottom of the bag
-stitch markers and little containers for them
-a paper clip I used as a stitch marker once when I couldn’t find those stitch markers
-an impromptu cardboard pom pom maker
-a bunch of scrap yarn that I use as stitch holders but refuse to throw out in case I need stitch holders because I hate cutting good yarn for scraps
-an old school stitch counter that I probably haven’t used in years and was actually surprised to find
-a gauge ruler/needle size thingy
-3 wrist support gloves (fourth is MIA.) not sure where I got the second pair though
And finally my nifty notions bag which my awesome Aunt Sherry got me (actually, she got me a bunch of the notions pictured above!). It’s got this crazy collage thing going on with clippings from probably a billion magazines and such.
The first notion bag I ever bought was a pencil case with rainbow hearts on it. I paid for it in the cafe at Barnes and Noble in high school because that’s where I did a lot of hanging out. Good times! Before that I was using a make up bag my mom got with some kind of Clinique gift set.
Anyway, that’s a lot of talk about notions. Where do you keep your notions? What’s a must for your notions bag? What am I missing!? And where did that damn tapestry needle go?!
ps. Thanks, everyone for entering the Craftsy giveaway! So great to hear what everyone is interested in learning about! I’ll be emailing winners soon with the info soon so check your emails!
When I saw Isabell Kraemer’s Poolside top, I was bummed that the pattern hadn’t been released. It was one of those pieces that I instantly wanted to make. So I told her so and Isabell asked me if I’d like to test knit it. I love sneak peeks and previews so I was really excited to get in on the action ahead of time.
I wasn’t going to post a WIP for this project but since the pattern’s been released, I wanted to take some quick photos to show off how beautiful it is. As you probably saw before, I’m using the Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Dyed Cotton. I’m loving it. I got a lot of work done on it on my trip to Chicago. A few hours of plane knitting put a good dent in the project.
The lace part of the body was so much fun to work on. I was worried about how it would hold up using the cotton yarn but I’m so pleased with how it turned out. I’m sure blocking will really make it smooth. I’m almost finished with the sleeves so I will have more updates for you soon!
What are your thoughts on cotton lace?
ps. Just a few days left to enter the Craftsy giveaway!
I just starting to watch Doctor Who recently. I know it’s hard to believe that someone nerdy enough to totally rock these pants (if she had $85 to spend on leggings, that is) isn’t already a Whovian. But it’s true. But I’m catching up, guys! So please indulge me as I talk about fish fingers and custard as if they were something brand new.
But, seriously, guys. I know those of you that like Doctor Who will always be willing to talk about it. Same goes for knitting. So this is a double whammy because we’re going to talk about Doctor Who and knitting. Right now.
Let’s talk about little Amelia Pond wearing the best cardigan slash rain boot ensemble ever. I always get super excited when I see a really great piece of knitwear on screen. This was certainly no exception. I love the lace details. Love them! And the cream ribbing paired with the too-short sleeves make it look like a great ’60s or ’70s hand-me-down. Aw, poor Amelia Pond!
I’m about to go out and buy some yarn for this cardi! I checked on Ravelry but I could only find one Amy Pond sweater that was a pullover. Adding this to my nerdy knits queue (which is a thing that I actually have) right now. Somebody get me some red wellies!
I’m so excited to start my own journey with the Doctor. I’m a little late to the game but I’m certainly already obsessed.
Anybody else coveting this red sweater?
ps. Don’t forget to enter the Craftsy giveaway if you haven’t already!
pps. Somewhat unrelated but: a clip from the film Jon and I shot (was that two years ago, now? Time flies!) was featured on Eater last week!
It’s finally here. Let this be a disclaimer that I’m ridiculously excited about how this sweater turned out. I’ve spent so much time on it that I’ve gotten something of a Stockholm Syndrome towards it. I’m in love with it and I’m so proud and I just want to wear it all of the time. So now I’m going to talk about my deep love for this sweater which is totally weird and I apologize if it’s incoherent. Just look at the pretty pictures (thanks for taking them, as always, Jon!).
In case you’re just tuning in now, I’ll tell you a little bit about this sweater. I was really drawn to this pattern when I first saw it in Debbie Bliss magazine last summer. I don’t know why but I really felt like I wanted to challenge myself with some intense, detailed, and tiny fair isle. (Knit on size 3s, I must’ve been drunk when I used the word “challenge.”) And I knew it would be a great addition to my wardrobe. I was obsessed with doing a neutral/neon fair isle. This would be the one.
When I started knitting this, I had a whole week off of work (hurrication). I spent about 8 hours a day in front of the Netflix knitting, so the first sleeve was finished in three days. I guess that’s when the cabin fever started to set in. Everything near us had power but there really wasn’t much we wanted or needed to do. The park was closed so we just had to take walks around the block until we felt uncomfortable and ran back inside to hide on the couch. It was a weird week. But I got a huge chunk of this sweater finished and if I hadn’t, I probably would have been too discouraged to press on.
I made a lot of other things since I cast on in the end of October. A few Christmas presents, a few birthday presents, two new patterns. I even finished a second sock. I moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn. I wrote a lot here. I think pacing myself with other projects kept me coming back to this guy.
Towards the end was when things got rough. There were a lot of ends to weave in. A LOT. There was a lot of seaming to be done (because, as I’ve mentioned a million times, it’s knit flat). And then, just as I was coming to the home stretch of being able to wear this damn sweater, I remembered that I had to tackle the embroidery. And I just really wanted to wear the freaking thing.
I finished a few days before our trip to Chicago. I could not be happier with how the blocking turned out. I know I’d expressed my nervousness regarding the fit before. Everything was super tight and small and weird when I was knitting but the blocking made all of the pieces fit perfectly and the colorwork sits so neatly. BLOCKING IS MAGIC, GUYS. The sweater is designed as a 3/4 sleeve that is a bit cropped. I knit it cropped but it lengthened during blocking which I’m pleased with. I’m not a big fan of 3/4 sleeves so I made them a bit longer and, again, blocking put them right into place.
Let me take a minute to talk about this yarn. (Are you tired of me obsessing over every detail on this sweater?) I’m devastated that St Denis has been discontinued. The Boreale yarn is probably my favorite thing I’ve ever worked with. It’s soft and delicate and every colorway is gorgeous. It’s warm but it’s not itchy and it has a great drape without being limp or droopy. But this is it. Whatever yarn is left over is going to sit in my stash, probably for the rest of my life, waiting for the PERFECT project that will never come because I will never think anything is perfect enough for it. You know that feeling? Until then, I will be scouring the internet, hoarding all of the St Denis yarn I can find. (Drop me a line if you have any leads or would like to tell me about a magical company that is rebooting the brand or if you’d like to just pour one out with me.)
Long story short, I’m very much a process knitter so long, drawn-out knits are not my thing. I’m constantly on the look out for new patterns and always planning the next project. I’ve knit plenty of sweaters and I can’t pick a favorite because they all mean something different to me. But this sweater is something special. I feel like I really conquered it. I don’t think I was ever afraid of the challenge, I was excited by it. It was kind of like the scene in Kill Bill when Uma Thurman has to battle the Crazy 88 and she knows that she has to do it and she kicks everyone’s ass but it’s totally exhausting and she’s bleeding and everything at the end of it all. Finishing this sweater gave me an immense feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. It’s kind of the War and Peace of sweaters.
I’m also finding that with every piece that I knit, I see my evolution. And I don’t necessarily mean in skill level (although I’m constantly trying to choose patterns that challenge and teach me). Every piece that I make is more and more of me – better fit and colors, pieces that fit into my personal style better. I’m figuring out what my style is as a knitter and which patterns and yarns speak to me.
And that’s what it’s all about, right?
What’s the biggest knitting challenge you’ve given yourself? Do you find yourself evolving as a knitter?
ps. There’s still plenty of time to get in on the Craftsy giveaway. Check it out!
It’s been a pretty rough week and I think we all could use a laugh.
My friend Jawann is a comedian (come to his show!) and he’s always sharing great sketches. My favorite one so far is the video below. This series by comedian Veronica Osorio will teach you how to make super useful things like salt shakers for sugar and pants for plants.
It’s hilarious. It’s clearly poking fun at crafting but I don’t take anything seriously. And if you’re taking crafting too seriously, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG. Besides, we’ve all seen some pretty ugly and useless DIYs on Pinterest at some point. As she says, “Crafting is making brand new things that already exist just for fun!”
Anyway, if you’re a returning reader to this blog, this will make you laugh because it made me laugh and sometimes, I hear, I make you guys laugh. I certainly make myself laugh so this is right up my/your alley.
As always, hang in there and happy knitting!
Missing the weekend already? I think I have something that might sweeten this Monday. How about a giveaway from Craftsy!?
I’ve been slowly collecting all of the sewing classes on Craftsy so that I’m prepared to really learn this summer! Craftsy is a great place to take a variety of DIY video courses and workshops and the best part is that they’re all online. I’m always looking for ways to expand my knitting knowledge and Craftsy has a great selection of classes. You can watch them whenever you want, however many times you please! And you don’t have to worry about classes being overbooked or sold out. It’s all on your own terms.
The wonderful people at Craftsy have been nice enough to share a few classes to give to you lovely readers! I am so excited to be able to give away one class to FIVE people! Thanks, Craftsy!
So here’s what you have to do to win. Just go to Craftsy and check out their classes. Cooking, knitting, jewelry – they have it all. Leave a comment here telling me which class you’d like to take. (I’m looking forward to taking the sewing with knits class, myself.) At 12pm EST on April 29th, I’ll pick five winners through random number generator so make sure that you leave your email address in the comments so I know how to get in touch with you if you’re a winner! It’s that simple!
Which Craftsy class do you have your eye on?
ps. Check out this little interview with me on UrbanCraftMag!
I’m not really one for celebrity gossip. I love some Jennifer Lawrence but I don’t buy into the tabloids. I don’t really care about who’s dating who. When it comes to the Royals, I’m generally not interested. But when my amazingly talented friend Kelly posted this article about Kate Middleton’s new hobby, I was giddy! The Duchess of Cambridge has taken up knitting while waiting for the next Royal to arrive. Obviously she and I are automatic best friends now. I wonder what adorable little things she is making for the baby. Now, lots of celebrities knit but I thought that it was really sweet that Kate said she could use some tips for improvement. I wish I could go give her a lesson over tea and biscuits!
In honor of Kate’s new hobby, I put together a few yarns that were born in the UK.
And how could this collection be complete without the Knit Your Own Royal Wedding book by Fiona Goble?!
I wonder if we can send Kate some knitting advice. My favorite thing to tell beginners is this: There are only two stitches. Once you know them both you can make ANYTHING so there’s no reason to be intimidated!
What’s your advice for new knitters? Are you listening, Kate? We’re here to help!
ps. Check out Francesca’s test knit of my Olivia pattern. I love the color she chose!
Last month I got the urge to design a hat pattern. I don’t know what came over me but I wanted to work something up and go for it. I had grand dreams of writing up my sock patterns and sizing them and releasing them properly, too. (That didn’t happen but never say never.) I immediately went out and bought yarn and I worked on for a weekend, basically non-stop. And although that doesn’t sound like enough time to spend on a new design, I was pleased with the result. Francesca was nice enough to give it a whirl and here it is!
This is my first hat pattern! It’s a chunky, whimsical design with a folded brim and bobbles. I hear that chunky knit hats are going to be a big deal next winter. The Purl Soho Super Soft Merino comes in colors that are perfect for spring, too, or for cheering up a dreary winter. Pom poms are optional but I made one from some stashed Tosh Merino.
I’ve actually been nervous to release this. That anxious voice in the back of my head thinks that everyone will hate it (it almost feels like something a kid would wear but my old roommate said that I dress like Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine) or no one will want to sit next to me in the cafeteria. That being said, I’ve been tired of knitting my own patterns and not putting them out there for others. Just like my hand warmer pattern (and another upcoming project for Kollabora!), it’s a fun challenge taking the barely legible doodles and notes that are good enough for me and refining them so that others can follow them and not think that I’m crazy.
Other than that, I’ve been wearing this hat since I made it and I really love it. It is pretty much made of happiness.
You can purchase the Olivia Hat pattern here on Ravelry. I’d love to hear what you think about it and see your version.
What will we do when the weather warms up? That’s what we ask ourselves when spring starts to shine out from behind a harsh winter.
I am not a seasonal knitter. I knit all damn year. I’d knit on the beach if I went to beaches. I am certainly guilty of knitting poolside. A lot of non-knitters laugh when I buy yarn in July. It seems like prime time to cast on a cardigan to me. In fact, I feel the need to rush when I have an opportunity to wear what I’m making so there’s a little less pressure on summer knitting. But if a sweater is finished early, I can wear it to the office to fight off overzealous air conditioning. Of course, there’s nothing like the first cool breeze in October to really make my heart ache for wool socks on my needles. But I certainly don’t slow down when the mercury rises.
Now, when it comes to my other crafts, those are certainly seasonal. In colder months, I can’t bring myself to embroider when there are sweaters to be knit.
I picked up sewing last summer but once the weather turned, I began to neglect my sewing machine. I plan on doing more sewing this summer and I’d like to continue teaching myself into the fall but first I have to learn how to sew sleeves. I don’t see myself making tank tops in December.
What about you? Are you a seasonal crafter?
Let me preface this post by saying that not all of these yarns were actually produced in Chicago. What I mean by the title of this post is that I bought these skeins while I was on my trip. I might’ve gone overboard. But I like to give my money to local yarn stores even when they’re not local to me. I want to help make sure that they stick around for my sister knitters! It’s my duty. Also, I was on vacation. And my mom always says that I can buy whatever I want when I’m on vacation. She’s smart.
On my second day in Chi-town, I visited Loopy Yarns. They have a whole room for hand dyed and hand painted yarns. That’s where I spent most of my time. I was really drawn to the Miss Babs yarns. I hadn’t seen any of it in person. All of the colorways were really gorgeous and unique. As is true for my form, I decided to get a skein of sock yarn. (As I’ve said before, I like to buy sock yarn when I’m buying stash enhancements since I can usually at least get a pair of socks out of it. There’s usually enough yardage for one pair so I don’t have to splurge on multiple skeins. I feel like I can buy a tasting, if you will, of yarns. And it actually gets used instead of just living in my stash for forever.) It’s a really soft merino yarn. Once I’d picked my favorite, about three other women came in and one after the other announced, “I heard you just got some Miss Babs! I’m here for the Miss Babs!” I knew I’d made the right choice. I think I might make Jon a pair of socks with this salmon color. I know what you’re thinking but I think pink socks look awesome on men! (Exhibits A, B, and C.)
I was just going to stop at the skein of Miss Babs but in the sale section I saw this Lorna’s Laces Helen’s Lace. I had to buy it. (Also Jon said I should treat myself. He’s smart, too.) Aside from the price and it being a beautiful skein of silk and merino, Lorna’s Laces is based in Chicago so how could I not buy a Chicago yarn so close to the source? (Side note: I would have loved to have seen their studio but I’m not sure if they do any tours/visits. If I’m ever back I’ll have to explore that. Their yarns are so pretty, I’d love to just give them a high five.) I don’t really knit lacey lace things so I was hoping the yarn might inspire me. I’m thinking about making Jared Flood’s Rock Island shawl with it because that thing is gorrrrgeous and designed around this yarn.
When I visited Nina, I was having so much fun looking at all of their yarns that I almost forgot to buy something. I know that sounds silly but their shop felt more like an art gallery than a store (I mean that in the best way!) so I didn’t want to disturb any of the yarns. I was also having a post-brunch buzz (banana bread french toast is a thing, everyone, and it tastes as ridiculous as it sounds) so I was having a tough time deciding. All of their yarns are beautiful. For some reason I was really drawn to a basket of Schoppel (Skacel) merino sock yarn. I guess I have a thing for merino sock yarn. This is just a wide self-striping yarn in shades of blue and grey, nothing too crazy.
I really liked that the tag has this big red warning that says, “Stricken kann suchtig machen!” which is German for “Knitting can be addictive!” Now you tell me!
All in all, I’m really happy with my yarn purchases. I don’t buy post cards or magnets or anything (I was looking for local honey but no luck!) so these are perfect souvenirs!
What kind of souvenirs do you like to buy when you travel? (My mom’s favorite is playing cards!)
Tags: addiction, Chicago, helen's lace, honor, jared flood, knit, lace, Loopy Yarns, Lorna's Laces, merino, miss babs, Nina, rock island, schoppel, self striping, shawl, skacel, sock yarn, socks, souvenir, stash, travel, yarn