Archive for December, 2013
This year has come and gone so quickly. I can hardly believe everything that I accomplished and the new projects on the horizon. I went back and looked at the goals I had outlined for this year while I was taking a break last week. I just wanted to make a lot of stuff. I certainly did that (though not enough, NEVER enough). My mantra back in January was that 2013 would be my year. I was going to kick ass and take names, etc. I certainly think that I succeeded.
First of all, I’ve been working harder than ever to make this blog what you see. I certainly have lots of help and support and I need it but the time and effort has paid off. I have had so much fun this year hearing from readers and making my bonds with other knitters even stronger. I love being able to reach right to you all and I can’t wait for more!
I have a lot of lovely FOs this year. I think 2013 was about tying up loose ends (sometimes literally) in order to make new beginnings.
Most importantly, though, I really got started designing. Some wonderful editors and curators believed in my work and took a gamble on me. Designing is probably one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever taken on. I’m really enjoying it, though, and I look forward to more! Last year I wore the Maxfield cardigan when I met my knitting crush Amy Christoffers at Rhinebeck and one year later, I greeted her while wearing my first published sweater. I don’t think I’ll ever be in the same league as Amy, it would be silly to compare myself, but it felt really cool. That kind of sums up what a crazy time I’ve had over the past twelve months.
And, of course, there are so many cool projects on the horizon. A lot more designing is happening! Am I doing this? I think I’m doing this, yes. Plenty of projects are happening that I can actually share with you right now and I have some cool ideas for keeping things fun and interesting in the new year. I don’t like to make resolutions but I do plan on making 2014 a killer year with BIG THINGS happening. (I’ll leave it cryptic, I’d hate to jinx myself.)
Thank you all, lovelies, for sticking with me through this fun year. I hope that you’ll stay on for the ride. 2014 is going to be fun. Happy New Year! I wish I could be popping a bottle with you all.
ps. 2012 in FOs
I’m really loving this Winter Blues hat by Brook Taylor. New York is a rough place to be in the winter and this kind of sums up how I’m feeling these days. Also, I might have lost my favorite hat at a holiday party last night? I’m not sure. I guess it would be handy to have more than one hat around, just in case.
>> Madelinetosh yarns were featured in some Calvin Klein knits! So cool! You know I will always be a die hard Madtosh fan.
>> Clara Parkes’ advice on sweater longevity appeared in Esquire of all places! Softer sweaters wear out faster, but we knitters know all about that! Sometimes enduring the itch is worth it.
>> This has nothing to do with knitting but it made me laugh so hard I almost peed my pants. Even after watching three times.
>> I’m really intrigued by Ysolda’s new choose-your-own adventure mystery KAL. I’ve never participated in a mystery knit-a-long before (I don’t like surprises, I am no fun) but this concept really makes me want to join in. Hmmmm!
Surprise, surprise, I have a ton of holiday gifts that are not finished so I’ll be stepping away a bit next week. Hope you don’t miss me too much! I’ll be back with a bunch of fun stuff. I’m finally getting started on some fun projects and I can’t wait to tell you all about them!
Any gifts left to knit? What are your holiday plans?
Have you finished all of your holiday knitting? Of course not. It’s ok, we’re all in the same boat. As if I didn’t like to spend countless hours hand making gifts, I also really love a gift that looks beautiful. Jon’s family isn’t really into gift wrapping but I really can’t bear to give a gift without at least some nice paper. I think I drive him crazy but it makes me feel like an old-fashioned, thoughtful gift giver.
Generally speaking, I bargain hunt for gift wrap at TJ Maxx. But I really can’t say no to a pretty knitted paper. Maybe it’s a cruel fake out, wrapping up your store-bought gifts in this paper that screams “I’m a hint! Psych!” but I love these knitted gift options that wrap your gifts in their own little “sweaters.”
How do you gift your hand knits? Do you fuss over gift wrap?
Last week I shared one of my favorite gifts to make, the hot chocolate mug. I take gift giving very seriously but I have a limited budget so DIY food gifts are my go-to. When it comes to giving food, you can’t lose and if you’re willing to put in a little bit of time, you’ll save a few dollars.
I’m sure there are still a few of us scrambling for last-minute gifts (as we decide those sweaters will be given Christmas 2014) so here are a few options for DIY food gifts.
A good rule of thumb is that anything in a mason jar makes a good gift.
What mason jar gifts do you give?
Check it out! This week Holla Knits is promoting my sweater pattern, The Crash. That means that you can pick up a copy for $3! That’s 50% off! As we are showing The Crash a little love, keep your eye on the Holla Knits blog for inspiration, styling suggestions, and more! Allyson will be sharing her outfits with The Crash later this week.
Monday, I kicked off the sale with this post about dressing The Crash up and down. This piece is a little intimidating but, deep down, it’s really fun to play around with. Since it’s very fashion forward, it can make everyday jeans and boots look pretty fierce. Here’s a peek at my favorite outfit.
How will you dress your FO of The Crash?
As we count down the days to Christmas, I have been talking a lot about gifting. Today I’d like to offer the chance for one of you to get a little gift. You deserve it, don’t you? Interweave Press would like to give a copy of Op-Art Socks by Stephanie van der Linden to one lucky reader!
I am a sock lover so obviously I’m really excited for this book. There is a ton of colorwork and a lot of fun construction. As I’ve mentioned before, socks are a really fun place to play around with techniques and motifs and this book is kind of a living embodiment of that idea. The book also includes swatches of all of the colorwork in black and white so you can really get a good idea of what’s going on without the wild colors. So useful!
Enter to win a copy of Op-Art socks by leaving a comment below with your favorite pattern from the book. (US residents only, sorry!) I’ll pick a winner next Monday. Thanks, Interweave!
So, which pattern are you dying to get on your needles?
I spied this card on the Yarn Harlot’s gift guide and I’m just in love with it. (I also really like this one but only because I wish it said ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY.) I guess you could say there’s a bit of an anti-gift theme going on around here. I hate to seem like a downer. I really do love giving handmade gifts! This should be a safe place to complain and even laugh about the stress of holiday times.
>> I made a couple of pies for Thanksgiving which was exhausting on top of everything else. I feel like a total failure looking at this knitted pie crust. It’s so gorgeous, how could you eat it!?
>> Every knitter on the internet is looking for the Katniss Cowl. I swear I’ve never seen a more popular piece of knitwear. I wrote about the cowl before but here’s an interview with its designer Maria Dora about the unique piece that is quickly becoming iconic!
>> The big, bad sale weekend may be over but the time shop independent is NOT. Check the list (and add your own favorite). There are tons of small businesses with perfect, unique gifts for your friends!
>> I’ve watched this commercial six times. It’s still funny. If you get a package from me, watch out. Did you get the cozies?
>> If you need some knitsperation, Paper Mag has a list of their top 10 knitwear designers in the fashion industry.
Tags: apple pie, commercial, costume, fashion, fed ex, hunger games, hunger games costume, independent shop, katniss cowl, knit humor, knit joke, knit pie, knitting card, knitting humor, maria dora, PAPER MAG, pie crust, tilly flop
Holiday gifts are such a challenge for crafters. It seems like a no-brainer to make a gift but in the end it’s an expensive, time-consuming, soul-crushing experience. Sobs between sips of heavily-spiked eggnog, fingers crooked and bleeding after hours and hours of work. It’s not worth it. Sorry, family and friends. You’re all lovely people and you deserve great gifts but it’s just not possible.
My mom’s family is diverse and pretty large. I can’t afford to buy the kind of presents that they deserve for each and every one of them and I like to think that, since they are all grown adults, they buy themselves the things that they really want. I try to give everyone the same gift (so it’s equal) which presents another challenge. It’s really difficult to find something that they would all like and use or put in their homes. I refuse to give weird pieces of crap also known as “decorations” or “tchotchkies” because I don’t think I’d like to receive any. We don’t have the same taste and that’s ok, let’s just not pretend that we do.
So I like to gift them with food. Everybody likes to eat and generally everyone cooks or bakes at least enough to get by. Buying food gifts can get expensive (gift baskets, fancy chocolates, liquor) so I try to keep everything DIY. I’ll be the first person to tell you that DIY gifts do not mean free or cheap but when it comes to food, you can keep it relatively inexpensive while staying fun and thoughtful. Besides, DIY gifts are like a present for the gifter as much as they are the giftee. Making gifts is fun and rewarding even when it’s exhausting and all of your hair has fallen out.
Last year I put together these hot chocolate mugs. They were really fun and adorable and probably cost less than $5 for each mug. If you cut the marshmallows as I suggest below (using a biscuit cutter that’s just slightly smaller than the opening of the mug), you’ll be able to sip the cocoa through the marshmallow the way you would with whipped cream. It’ll be like a cloud keeping it hot and yummy. This is my favorite part.
While packaging everything up in this “I thought of you and hope you enjoy a cozy evening courtesy of me!” kind of way is lovely and gifty, the key to this present is the marshmallows. People that have never made marshmallows before think that they are witchcraft. They’ve never given any thought to where marshmallows come from (marshmallow trees?). They will be very impressed with you.
Here’s how to do it!
1. Make your marshmallows. While they’re setting up, put together the hot chocolate mix.
2. Line the mug with one of the little gift bags. Pour in hot chocolate mix to fill about 3/4 of the mug.
3. Now that the marshmallows have set, use the biscuit cutter to cut them into circles. Dust them lightly in confectioners sugar and place two or three over the hot chocolate mix. Close the bag and secure with ribbon.
4. Add a gift tag with instructions for the cocoa mix and maybe even include a recipe in case they want more.
Ta da! Merry Christmas!
Next week, I’ll be sharing a few more quick and inexpensive DIY gifts so stay tuned!
What’s your favorite DIY gift to give? How do you gift food?
* The mugs are the most expensive part of the gift. You can pick up adorable Christmas themed mugs at the dollar store or you can go all out and buy a hand-thrown piece on Etsy. Let your budget be your guide. (I used these CB2 mugs because I loved that they came with a little spoon. I believe they’ve been discontinued but here they are on ebay. $3 per mug! ) But this mug will become your relative’s new hot chocolate mug and when you see them next Christmas they will say, “Every time I drink hot chocolate in that mug I think of you!” Awww! Choose wisely.
Phew! How were your holidays? I’m still in a food coma! I can hardly believe I’m typing. Anyway, let’s start the week out with some eye candy, shall we?
One of my favorite things about her work is the adorable knits that her characters wear. The textures and details in the knitwear are fabulous. It seems like she takes any opportunity to add a piece of knitwear to her work. That is something I can definitely get behind!
Who are your favorite knitting artists?