Archive for April, 2014
In June, my grandmother will turn 90. She’s a really fantastic lady who’s taught me so much, a real maven of the DIY world in her own right. And she’s a hoot and a half and a real tough lady to boot. I’m starting to feel that urge I’ve felt so many times: I want to knit a gift for her.
It wouldn’t be the first time. I want to make things for everyone, we all do. I want to shower people that I love with hats and mittens and cowls. I want my stitches to do what my words can’t: explain in detail how much I love them, how much I appreciate them, how, even though I don’t always know what to say and sometimes I’m forgetful, that I couldn’t imagine life without them. Sometimes I almost feel like I have an endless list of people that I want to knit for, promises I make to myself for years down the road to complete even something simple. There are too many stitches and just not enough time. But I think on the occasion of her 90th birthday, my grandma deserves a little something woolly.
I know there will never be enough time to make something adequate. I’ll be stressed out, I can see it already. Of course, my mind immediately goes to sweaters. I mean, this is a big birthday. But I really know that that might be pushing it. I’d like to at least have a fighting chance.
So I’m starting to think of other knitted things. Perhaps a scarf or a shawl? It’s so hard to decide. Nothing seems like enough. I’ve made socks before so I’d like to go bigger. But deep down, I’m dying to make a really nice, simple cardigan. Maybe one of you good readers will have the heart to talk me out of that.
What do you suggest? What have you made for someone important to you?
Lots of links today! But first something a bit more serious.
Yesterday was Fashion Revolution Day marking one year since the disaster at Rana Plaza. I pledged to buy less and make more. It’s been challenging. Before I buy anything wearable, I put a lot of time and thought into it and I have a great appreciation for the few pieces that I’ve purchased. I’ve been working to educate myself, to research and shop with reliable brands, and to spend more on products that will last longer or with companies that will be transparent. I wish I had time to make even more but my focus has turned to building a wearable wardrobe that I really love as well as learning new techniques that will help me create a variety of pieces. Everlane is collecting donations for The Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund and will match the first $10k. While not everyone can afford to donate money and not all of us have the time to make every piece of clothing that we wear, I encourage every maker to speak out on this issue.
>> I was already planning on watching FX’s television adaptation of Fargo since it stars Martin Freeman. But throw in a yarn-bombed bus by Olek and I am 110% there.
>> Everyone is talking about Nicki Minja’s “make-under” but I’m looking at this knit dress! I love the color of the form-fitting gown she wore to The Other Woman premiere. And you KNOW that I love formal knitwear. Does anybody know which designer this dress is from?
>> Karen at Fringe Association shared a great tip for knitting in the round with interchangeable needles. It is definitely something I’ll be trying out since I have one set of interchangeable needles and more simultaneous projects going on than I’d care to admit. You have no idea how difficult life was when I’d misplaced my size 7s!
>> Did you know that there is a Wikipedia page for the “Sweater Curse”? Now you do.
Don’t forget to enter to win a pattern from the Holla Knits Spring/Summer 14 collection! Contest ends on Wednesday!
photo via @Fashion_rev
Tags: diy, fashion industry, fashion revolution, formal knitwear, fringe association, Holla Knits, interchangable needles, knit dress, make do and mend, nicki minaj, Olek, rana plaza, sweater curse, yarn bomb
I’m pretty psyched to be a part of the Holla Knits Blog Tour because I’ve been eyeing these patterns every since the preview! I’ve probably shared with you all before that I never used to be into lightweight knits. I’ll knit on a sweater whenever I damn well please! But I’ve seen so many adorable knits for spring, I’ve definitely come around. And this collection has really got me dreaming.
I’m really loving the textures and lace in this collection. It feels very vintage beachy to me. Is that a real aesthetic? I just invented it.
Do you love these designs? Today I’m giving away a free copy of one of the Holla Knits S/S 14 patterns. Just leave a comment below before next Wednesday in order to enter to win a pattern of your choice from the collection.
Which is your favorite?
Tags: allyson dykhuizen, collection, design, Holla Knits, holla knits s/s 2014, jennette cross, knit, kristen singer, pattern giveaway, rusty baker, spring, spring/summer, summer knit, teresa gregorio
I’m back! I didn’t mean to take a break. Life just really got in the way. I guess the Blood Moon is really throwing me for a loop because April has been crazy! Thanks for hanging around.
If you use that calculator, the one that adds how much time you’ve spent watching your favorite TV shows, you’ll know that if you’ve watched every episode of Seasons 1-14 of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (as I have), you’ve watched TV for 13 days, 8 hours, and 8 minutes. If you add in all of the re-runs, the episodes caught after school or the daytime ones I’d play when I worked at the student lounge, the countless weekend marathons, I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up watching every episode twice (three times at least for the episode where Martin Short plays a psychic, the story arc where Olivia goes undercover with eco terrorists, and when Alexandra Cabot gets shot). While I will gladly admit that the show is full of cheap thrills, melodrama, and, unfortunately, as of late, a little tasteless, I’ll still always have a big place in my heart for this show. The “dun dun” will always be a pavlovian bell to me.
To make a long story short (too late), SVU has always been my go-to TV knitting show. When I was in school, we had a lot of classes dedicated to just watching films (and discussing them, obviously). I did a lot of knitting in dark, cramped movie theaters. For education. It didn’t stop there, though. I’m still a binge-watcher but I feel less guilt about spending the day on the couch since I can make a sock during a marathon. I’ve never met a knitter that didn’t feel productive during a three season sprint.
I started watching SVU from the beginning in college when it was streaming on Netflix. I would sit cross-legged at my desk in a big chair with a big bag of yarn beside me and knit and knit and knit. Sometimes, when things got stressful, I’d skip class and sit with the window open and a mug of coffee, having my own personal Law and Order: SVU marathon. I’d crank out hats and scarves and so many fingerless gloves. Sometimes I’d sell things to my friends, other times I would offer a certain piece to someone and end up keeping it for myself. I made a lot of movies when I was in school, I travelled quite a bit. I stayed up late and worked long hours and I ate more sterno-tray baked ziti than I’d care to admit. But some of my fondest memories are sitting in the comfy chair in my pink bedroom in my first apartment, knitting with Detectives Benson and Stabler.
Now it seems like it might be over. It doesn’t look like the show will be renewed. Perhaps it’s for the best. I didn’t finish this last season because it didn’t feel like the SVU I loved that was empowering and thoughtful. It’s certainly grown clumsier and even outlandish to me over the past few seasons. I could give you all of my complicated feelings about the recent years of the show but I’m not really trying to review here. There have definitely shows that went downhill that were worse off for staying on as long as they did (did you guys watch that last episode of Dexter? Christ.) but this feels different. Maybe it’s a sentimental thing but there’s always been a kind of comforting feeling knowing that there would always be SVU. It always seemed like I could work on my needles and click “Next Episode” for all eternity.
What is your favorite show to watch while you knit? Do you mix things up or do you have an old stand by?
Just before the holidays, I went out for fancy drinks with some friends. I had a great time and then something happened that happens to many New Yorkers. I left my hat in the back of a cab. Or maybe I left it on my stool at the bar. Or perhaps it’s floating around in the place where Tina rolled under the bed in my favorite episode of the Twilight Zone also known as the place where adventurous socks disappear to.
Now that wouldn’t be so terrible since that’s how life goes except for the fact that I had been wearing my Olivia sample every day of the season and now I’d lost something I designed and knit myself. I’d never lost something that I knit before, not that I can remember at least. I still have FOs that I made back in high school that don’t fit properly and itch like the dickens but I can’t bear to part with them. I searched all around and came up with nothing. I felt like a real schmuck.
I figured that one day I’d replace it. Maybe in the mean time I’d make something different just to switch things up. Until then, I had some other hats buried in the closet that would be good enough.
But then I got a great surprise. In the mail one day was my hat! Well, not my hat. Even better than that! My mom had knit me a brand new one! It was so perfect, even better than mine. I was so happy, I’ve been wearing it ever since (and being super careful about it). Of course, I always appreciate getting something handmade but it feels really exciting and special that my mom made something for me that I designed. And she’s a pretty great sample knitter to boot!
I definitely don’t knit for my mom enough. She knits for everybody. I really admire how much work she puts into a toy that’s going to a coworker’s baby. Knowing that she stressed over perfecting each stitch for me warms my heart as much as my head! I think she deserves a special knit, too.
This has been a long time in the making but I have a really exciting announcement today! After months of work, I’m ready to introduce to you to Bridge and Tunnel Yarns!
Inspired by the subways of New York City, this yarn is spun from 100% American angora rat fur. Angora rats are incredibly friendly and clean. They are terribly smart! I think they’re going to be the next big thing in knitting. Super soft and durable, our first base is a lofty fingering weight perfect for socks and shawls.
When I first met some happy angora rats and pet their luxurious fur, I was captivated by the idea of making yarn! I’ve partnered with Moonflower Ranch, a sustainable angora rat farm located in western Pennsylvania, as well as the 100-year-old, family-owned Quickspring Mills in New Hampshire.
Hayleigh, owner of Moonflower Ranch, has told me all about the tradition of rat shearing. This almost-forgotten domestic art is gaining a new following with the homesteader movement. While the numbers of angora rat shearers and spinners has grown, it’s always been a very homemade operation. It’s never been done on a scale like this but the yarns will still be more “small batch” as we grow.
In case you haven’t caught on already, April Fools! That’s actually Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud Lace Yarn. I wouldn’t really ask you to knit with rat fur.
I mean, would you?