Archive for January, 2014
Boot warmers are a big thing this winter, huh? I could probably use a pair since New York is basically some sort of frozen tundra Hunger Games arena where everyone on the J train is a mutt that wants to kill you. I really like the Salander warmers by Nadia Crétin-Léchenne. Looks like something I could keep on my needles for emergency knitting situations. Are you wearing boot warmers?
>> I love this red star sweater on Taylor Swift. It looks like such a fun and comfy piece to knit. Related: How do we feel about “distressed” knits? I feel like an old lady but the unraveling at the bottom of the sweater gives me a heart attack. Why would you do that to a perfectly good sweater!?!?
>> When Karen tweeted this Craigslist post of 17.2 lbs of stash up for grabs after a bitter break up, I practically died of laughter. All I can say is, if Jon ever breaks up with me and tries to sell my stash on CL, jokes on him because he’ll be finding yarn in unexpected places for YEARS. (Also, the epilogue.)
>> A woman was killed when her scarf got tangled in an escalator. So, be careful out there.
>> The lead singer of Bastille wore this really cool half-sweater/half-sweatshirt on the SNL performance. Where is this from, guys? Someone please tell me. (I’ll be honest, I don’t know how I feel about this song. It reminds me of the closing credits to a Disney movie.)
>> Presented without comment: A sweater that was knit entirely with 11-years-worth of human hair.
What are you doing this weekend? Will you be knitting during the Super Bowl? I’m just here for the wings.
There are a lot of great menswear collections popping up this month. I’m heavily inspired by menswear. I definitely have tomboy style. I love the colors and textures and simple silhouettes. Men can look so handsome in just a simple crew neck sweater, I want to borrow from that minimalism when it comes to my own design.
Anyway, I was browsing the Valentino Fall 2014 Collection (which you can view in full here) and one piece really caught my eye. Of course, there were a ton of great knits under big wool jackets, most of which were very basic: heather grey sweaters, some with stripes and buttons, and a couple with Icelandic yokes. Like I said, boys look stylish in anything. But this piece was certainly my favorite.
So this sweater has really awesome colors but look closely. It’s a reverse fair isle. As in, take your favorite colorwork sweater and turn it inside out. My first thought is that I’m crazy about this concept because I love seeing the “behind the scenes” of knitwear, the knitty gritty seams and button bands and whatnot. Something about the thought process. But I also really love how bold the color work becomes. Instead of delicate dots and careful zig zags and whatnot, there are big, bright shapes.
Immediately when I saw this sweater, my brain travelled right to this cardigan, the Reverse Fair Isle Coat by Cheryl Murray which was featured in Vogue Knitting Fall 2012. (My mind palace is filled with back issues of knitting magazines, I swear!) I loved the coat when I picked up the magazine back then and for the same reasons I love this sweater.
Now, obviously reverse fair isle isn’t something unique to this year’s fashion. I actually saw an adorable chunky cardigan at The Gap last winter that was pink and white reverse fair isle that I was a little obsessed with. But I’m really excited about this technique as a new way to look at knitting. If you do want to emulate the runway, though, deconstruction is big right now. While I can’t see myself distressing things that I made by hand, this is a really fun way to be on trend.
What do you think? Would you knit colorwork just to show the wrong side? Are you intrigued?
Now that I’ve had some time to collect my thoughts on last weekend’s adventure at Vogue Knitting Live, I am ready to share! I had a really great time but I always do when I have a good excuse to indulge in the knitting world.
I took a few great classes. Lily Chin’s Set-in Sleeve class really made me re-think the way I design them and I feel a lot more confident than before. You can’t scare me, set-in sleeves! I had an absolutely amazing time at Kate Atherley‘s Heels and Toes class which evolved from just talking about a variety of heel flap techniques to trouble shooting socks. In the end, we all went home with advice on how to make the most perfect socks. If you have the opportunity to take a class with Ms. Atherly, DO IT. It was so fun and I can’t wait to put everything she taught me into practice!
I also went to a fun lecture about trends with Lindsey from Kollabora. The Crash is totally on trend, guys! There are lots of other fun things I think I’ll play around with this year like chunky knits and whites. And Jared Flood’s panel on male knitters was great. During the Q&A, a teenage guy thanked everyone on the panel for inspiring him to knit and do it in public. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. You know I wanted to give him a hug.
Men at Work panel (Wish we could’ve been closer!)
There was shopping. That’s what you really want to hear about, right? I think that I was pretty good this time around. I actually stuck to a list for once so that’s exciting. I snagged some Esopus by Jill Draper Makes Stuff that I will maybe eventually use for a Follow Your Arrow shawl (I’ll get around to it). I love seeing Jill at VKL! I can’t leave her booth empty handed.
I also picked up this beautiful skein from Neighborhood Fiber. I was really drooling over their color ways last year at Vogue. I love how saturated they are, like, really bold. This skein happened to match my manicure. I’m not sure if the photo does it justice. It’s a fawny brown with a plum/wine? Really gorgeous. I think it will become a hat. Why not?
And I finally got to feed my craving for earrings with this pair by Cara Romano. They’re so cool! And I like the bright pink. I think it’ll be really fun to wear with an outfit of neutrals. (They’re being modeled by a skein of Rowan since I change earrings for another month.)
Of course, the highlight of VKL for me is getting together with all of my friends! I got to brunch with my New York ladies, Kristen, Kim, Maria, and Dana. Everyone was knitting except for me since I’d JUST finished Faro. Felt like such a loser, I was super jealous! I had a beer with Alanna which was a blast. I got to hang out with Lisa and Rachel and we talked about more secret plans(!!!). There were certainly others I wished I’d been able to hang out with but maybe next time around! Just being around knitters makes me happy. It was a great weekend.
So what do you think? Did I buy enough yarns? Were you there? What classes did you take?
I know I promised Jon a Timberline (about, what, four months ago? Six months ago?!) but this sweater is so handsome and simple. I want to make one now! My dad’s been asking for a sweater (to replace a moth-eaten one that I had noting to do with in the first place but he sees an opportunity and he runs with it). Perhaps this will one day be the one. He would look great in it. Who am I kidding? I’ve got way too much other stuff to knit! One day! I love you! I’ll never let go!
>> Basically ever since I met the lovely lady behind Mokuyobi Threads, I’ve been coveting this tee. I need to buy it, right?
>> Photographer Christopher Payne gives us a look at the US textile industry, a memory of what it used to be. The photographs are absolutely gorgeous and I think the concept is fascinating. It’s such a shame that so much of our textiles are made overseas. Really just baffling when you think about how just a generation ago the American garment industry was thriving.
>> Speaking of America’s textile industry, check out this fundraiser for Ohio Knitting Mills. They are raising money through indiegogo to make this mill fully operational. Really cool!
>> Dolce & Gabbana’s Fall 2014 collection has a lot of knitted faux-chain mail (for lack of a better explanation) going on. It looks super warm but I hope this does not become a trend. Either way, they’re pretty cool pieces, especially the ones with the beading. You know what, I change my mind. New York has been so goddamn cold, I think I would like to wear one of those.
I’m so sick of this cold weather. I love sweaters like crazy but I’ve had enough. I’ve forgotten what summer feels like! Can’t take a break from my needles or I will surely freeze to death this weekend.
What are you knitting on this weekend?
So, first off, Vogue Knitting Live was a success! I had a great time catching up with a bunch of people and learning a ton and, oh, right, shopping. I haven’t had the energy to put together all of my thoughts and photos yet but I promise it’ll come soon! Wonderful seeing all of you there and to those I missed, I hope you had a fab time, too!
I guess 2014 is going to be a big year because I’ve seemed to start off with an adventurous spirit. A couple weeks ago I was hanging out around the neighborhood with Ashley and Kelly after a movie date and some beer. And they just kind of convinced me to spontaneously get my ears pierced. I’ve been talking about it for years now but I’m a scaredy cat. (I had them pierced once before and it was terrible and painful.) So I just went ahead and did it.
Now that that’s happened, I’ve been shopping for every earring under the sun because I can! So I put together a few that caught my eye that you might like, too. I do it all for you, not for selfish reasons at all!
I’ll be buying all of these now, thank you. Is it redundant to wear sweater earrings with your sweaters? (Yo, dawg, I heard you liked sweaters so we put sweaters on your sweaters!) I THINK NOT.
Can you tell I’m still loopy from a weekend of excitement at VKL? What’s your favorite knitted jewelry?
I’m still feeling all dreamy over the Oud tank. I just love how it’s styled! Seriously, pick up a copy of Knitscene. I’ve been so crazy trying to get Faro off the needles (it’s such a quick knit!) to wear to Vogue Knitting Live this weekend, I haven’t had time for much of anything else. (Also, I may have gotten sucked into reading Gone Girl. The book has completely taken over my life this week. I haven’t finished yet but I’m pretty close so save your spoilers!)
>> CBS lists the five best knitting stores in NYC. I have a hard time choosing my favorite LYS in the city. I get asked that a lot. My answer: whichever one is closest! (Purl Soho, which I consider to be the most well known, got snubbed. Interesting!)
>> If you aren’t spending all of you money at VKL this weekend, don’t forget that Mochimochi Land is offering 20% off PDF patterns! Anna’s patterns are so crazy cute. If you haven’t knit one yet, you should!
>> Saw The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug two weeks ago. More on that soon, actually. But, hello! Look at these knitted Hobbit characters! I would totally knit a Gandalf.
>> What do we think about this hand-knit merino (shorts!) onesie from Sibling? I’m surprisingly ok with it but really that model could pull anything off.
>> This is a video about a party for sheep. You’re welcome.
So, who am I going to be seeing at VKL this weekend? I’m already there. Who knows what I’m wearing since Faro is still not finished. Come say hey, though! Like I always say, I’m really shy so, really, come say hi. Happy knitting!
So I’ve completely lost track of things. I just have to get that out there because I keep kicking myself and I think you all have sympathetic ears. I gave myself some time off for the holidays and I just haven’t been able to get all of my plates spinning again. What a mess. I have just a pile of 2013 stuff still going on in my brain and none of it is complete. One thing at a time, though, right?
Anyway, let’s talk about stuff that is finished so I can feel a little bit accomplished, shall we? These are the only two knitted holiday gifts that I gave this year. I am pleased to announce that they were both completed on schedule. (Which doesn’t mean that they had time for proper pictures. What can you do?)
When I received three skeins of this purple Candy Skein sock yarn in a Yarnbox (Jon got me a subscription for my birthday, more on that sometime soon!), I immediately started working on a pair of socks. I figured they’d be socks that I would gift since I’m not so fond of purple and I had about 1200 yards of it. Regardless of the color, I loved working with the yarn and the dyeing looked fabulous.
Jon’s grandmother lost her husband just a few months ago and when Jon asked me to make her something extra special this year, I really wanted to do my best. Socks aren’t much when it comes to mending a broken heart but I do find that there is something to them as a gift as opposed to other pieces of knitwear. They say, I really want you to be warm and comfortable. They’re simple and often unseen so they are very personal. For her, I knit the Froot Loop socks. The cables had been calling out to me for a long time.
Of course, you can never just knit a holiday gift for one person. I knew I should knit socks for my own grandmother because she is an amazing woman who is a total badass. You hear about a lot of grandmas that are tough as nails, mine would put them to shame. I searched all over Ravelry for a pair of socks with celtic-looking cables. (This year I thought it would be best to stick to a pattern instead of improvising as I often do with socks.) She received a pair of Oden socks. I kinda wish I’d gone with green so you could really get the Irish feeling from them but purple was happening. Maybe next year, Grammy.
I think I’ve gifted socks more than any other knit. I just really love them. I’ve said it a billion times: They’re quick and portable and kind of mindless but still interesting because there’s lots to play with (color work, cables, lace, etc). And they’re just so special. I am lucky to have a wonderful grandmother who checks the seams on my sewing and recites old sayings and never takes no for an answer. Who always had jello pudding waiting for me in those fancy dishes and watched interior decorating shows with me when I was a kid. And now I am doubly blessed to have Jon’s grandmother in my life, who rattles off intricate recipes from memory for me to recreate (if I can find a pen before I forget whether she said teaspoon or tablespoon). Socks alone can’t let these two know how special they are to me.
What do you make for the women you look up to?
ps. Who’s going to be at Vogue Knitting Live this weekend? I’m working desperately to finish Faro in time on top of everything else. I think it’s possible. These events always stress me out (I’ll say it every time) but I’m really looking forward to this year’s show.
Today I have something really exciting to share with you! I can finally show you a bit of what I was working on in 2013! My first design for Knitscene magazine is out now in the Spring 2014 issue.
The Oud Tank is a sleeveless top with lace collar and underarm panels. I had so much fun challenging myself with this construction. And I think the simplicity of the front and back contrasted with a bit of lace is very much my style. I hope to see lots of different color combinations. Seeing it in black and white really gives you room to let your imaginations run wild!
Yesterday, I got my copy of the magazine in the mail and it was really exciting. I put a lot of love and thought and anxiety (do I do anything without anxiety being involved?) into this design and then I finished it and moved on to the next project. But here it is now! All of that effort and waiting has become a tangible thing!
There are a ton of other great patterns in this issue so you should pick up a copy. What do you think? Will you be knitting Oud?
It’s a new year so it’s time for a new Pantone color. Last year was all about Emerald but 2014 is for Radiant Orchid. Lots of gem tones going on recently! Great for bold sweaters or bright accessories.
I found some yummy purple yarns for you!
What orchid knits will you be making this year?
Happy New Year, everybody! I hope you all forgot your old acquaintances and drank tons of champagne.
While I’ve made lots of goals and plans for this year, I’m going to be a little selfish this month. I was totally floored by the amount of work I completed in 2013. Most of that work I haven’t been able to share with you guys yet but, trust me, I was busy! The last time I finished a knit that was purely for my own enjoyment and wear was back in the spring (remember the Poolside test knit?). I spent the second half of the year just designing my little heart out and I loved it. So making something just for me feels like a guilty pleasure but every once in a while, I need to indulge! (I also bought myself a pair of new boots. All of my shoes have holes in them so when I say “every once in a while” you know that I mean RARELY. It’s time!)
I have really been dying to get Faro on my needles for a few good months now but I was halfway through a big (secret) project when it came out. Then I had to work on design swatches. Then the holidays happened. Now Faro is happening. It’s jumped the queue, in front of all of the sweaters and socks I’ve been promising to knit for Jon (and, not to mention, in front of some real work I should be doing) but I don’t care. It’s happening.
Choosing a color is always a difficult task for me. I love wearing blues but when I knit, I try to stay away from navy and turquoise so I can change up my wardrobe. Anyway, I went looking through my Pinterest board to see what kind of sweaters were living in my hopes and dreams to get some inspiration. I found a few photos of apricot cabled sweaters so I figured that was the way to go.
I decided to go with Quince and Co’s Osprey in Apricot. It’s just the right color and a fabulous yarn to work with. It’s soft yet sturdy and chunky but light. And it’s working up so quickly.
Since casting on, I had a few issues. It’s really embarrassing that I was mis-reading the chart. Then I worked about four inches before I realized that the under arm increases were supposed to be worked into the chart pattern. Then after knitting up the arm I realized that, though I thought the half sleeve would work since I’m short, I really wanted a 3/4 sleeve. I did a lot of ripping but I never felt discouraged and I am SO happy that I didn’t just let some of the mistakes slide as I usually might. Note to self: Go back and do things right!
And even after all of my mistakes, I feel like this sweater is coming together insanely fast!
This pattern is really fun because it’s worked from sleeve to sleeve. So what you’re seeing above is a sleeve on the left, the back is up top and the front is where I’m working on the bottom. Then they’re going to be rejoined after the neck opening and the other sleeve will be worked. After seaming, ribbing will be added to the bottom to lengthen the garment. It’s so ingenious. I’ve never seen another pattern execute that construction as elegantly as Amy has here.
Now, as usual, I’m paranoid that it’s too small. Maybe I should just start knitting a size up so I stop freaking myself out. Also as usual, I’m assuring myself that blocking will help. Besides, I already ripped out the first sleeve about fifteen times so if I have to re-knit the sweater, I probably won’t even notice at this point. Just kidding. Blocking will fix it. I don’t mind if it’s a little cropped since I plan to mainly wear this over a button down. I plan outfits for my WIPs way in advance, don’t you?
What are you knitting for yourself these days? Do you knit mostly for you or for others? Have you knit a sweater sleeve to sleeve?