Once the weather gets the slightest bit of chill in it, I am craving pumpkin. Pumpkin soup, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin pie. From September 1st to December 1st, I am annually on a mission to ingest as much pumpkin as possible.
Maybe this season we can wrap ourselves in pumpkin-colored sweaters, too! Here are some spicy, warm, and sweet yarns in your favorite flavor!
I’d love a big cowl or maybe a pair of mittens in pumpkin. But a wooly pair of socks sound nice too! There’s just too much pumpkin and not enough time.
What’s your favorite pumpkin treat for the fall?
ps. The winners of the #kollabsockalong were announced yesterday! Congratulations and thank you to everyone who participated!
It’s here! I just wanted to stop by to remind you that the Holla Knits F/W 2013 collection is out TODAY.
I haven’t shared any photos of the second sample which is knit with Unplanned Peacock Studio yarn. The shoulder details are knit in the same colorway as the rest of the sweater (but in the bulky weight) so you can see everything in monotone! Check it out!
You can purchase a PDF of the pattern right here!
And I hope you’re not tired of seeing The Crash because I’ll be hosting a Blog Tour Stop (with giveaways!) on Friday. Stay tuned!
Shall we play a game? There was another piece I finished recently that I kept pretty hush hush.
Here are a few shots!
It’s pretty easy to narrow down what’s going on with embroidery. But the piece is very special and of my own design. I really love photographing embroidery. Something about the way it stands up off of the fabric really fascinates me. I can’t explain it. Do you know what I mean? I think I feel the same way about cables.
I can’t wait to show you more but you’ll have to wait until next week!
Don’t forget! Holla Knits Fall/Winter 2013 collection comes out Monday!
I’m really excited today, guys. After lots of hard work and waiting and recently some rough times, I can finally share something cool with you! Today I can reveal to you my pattern for the Holla Knits Fall/Winter collection!
There she is!
The pattern is called The Crash and it’s probably the most challenging thing I’ve ever designed. Allyson’s funky style and the bold looks of past Holla Knits collections really inspired me to go crazy and design something really daring. It’s a cool look that can be punky or dressed down but it’s wearable. I had fun mixing masculine lines with vintage textures.
Right now I’m totally teasing you because the collection does not come out until Monday. I just couldn’t keep it to myself anymore. Make sure that you STAY TUNED! I’ll have all of the details on 9/16! In the mean time, hop on the Holla Knits blog to see the other designs from the collection!
Which HK pattern is your favorite?
The summer is winding down. It’s gone by so quickly! The past few months have been all about craft experimentation for me. It’s been really exciting getting outside of my comfort zone and buying lots of new craft supplies. (Let’s be honest, buying craft supplies is the best part of learning a new craft!) I’ve done some embroidering, a little cross stitch, stuck my toes deeper into the water of design, and even played around with my neglected sewing machine. I just added another craft to my repertoire and I can’t stop thinking about it.
Aunt Sherry made me this adorable little needle felted lamb for my birthday. (Remember the alpaca she made?) Isn’t he sweet?
And as part of my birthday present, she taught me how to needle felt! I wasn’t sure I’d be into it but I can totally see why she’s taken it up as her newest hobby. Needle felting is right up my alley. You basically stab at pieces of wool and then they get turned magically into little animals! (There’s a little more to it than that but that’s the gist.) My first needle felted project is this little cow guy from Purple Moose Felting.
I have a lot of work to do on my technique but I’ve been thinking about lots of other needle felted projects ever since. Best of all, I had a really lovely day hanging out with Aunt Sherry and my mom learning something new (and eating barbecue. We at barbecue)! It reminded me of when I was a kid and she’d teach me how to make origami Christmas ornaments even though I was super impatient. Although I’ve probably gotten less patient with age.
What are your favorite needle felt projects? Any tips for novices?
I wasn’t expecting much when I heard about Jenji Kohan’s new show for Netflix Orange is the New Black. I loved Weeds (up until season 4, at least) but the premise of Orange seemed a little too similar (white ladies + drugs = surprise!). The posters also seemed a little too sit com-y and the trailer made me scared that it might be uncomfortably racist. But Jon loved Weeds, and we have a really hard time agreeing on what to watch. So we decided to give the first episode a try to see if we liked it.
We watched the whole first season in 24 hours. And in the same weekend, Jon had finished the first three chapters of Kerman’s memoir.
Since then, I can’t stop thinking about the show. I’m so excited to have a good excuse to write about it here.
Inspired by Piper Kerman’s memoir of the same name, OITNB would have you believe it is about artisenal-soap-making Park Slope blonde Piper Chapman. She is sent to prison for smuggling drug money during an ‘adventurous, post-college, lesbian’ phase. But the story is much more than the fish-out-of-water it’s billed to be. It takes a lot of time to really explore all of the characters with incredible empathy.
While I can’t speak to how accurate the show is, it is certainly moving. And it has to be commended for a diverse range of characters and fantastically off-beat female actors. I’ve never seen an ensemble drama spend so much time developing characters that were all so complex and real. It’s refreshing to see so many talented female actors carrying a series and I certainly hope it’s the first of many like it. Long story short, Jenji is my new hero.
I don’t want to get into any spoilers here so I’ll stick to the topic at hand: crafts. Having limited resources, these women are very creative. DIY isn’t just for recreation but is often a necessity of prison life. According to Kerman’s book (which I look forward to reading in full), crochet became the craft of choice for many of her fellow inmates. The show has done a great job portraying this from bedspreads, pillows, scarves, and hats, to rec rooms full of women hooking away while others play cards and Scrabble.
Badass prison chef/mother hen Red even wears her glasses on i-cord croakies. Ahem!
I did a little bit of Google-ing about prison knitting. (Apparently crochet hooks are considered less dangerous so it’s more common amongst inmates.) I came across a program in Maryland that has gotten a lot of press called Knitting Behind Bars. They teach knitting to male inmates as a form of recreational therapy. I think it’s amazing that these crafts can bring some catharsis and rehabilitation to them! (Does anyone have information on more programs like these?)
Have you been watching Orange is the New Black? Are you already looking forward to the next season? Does anybody want to talk about the show with me? I can probably go on for hours!
ps. Tomorrow is the drawing for the Metropolitan Knits giveaway! It’s not too late to enter!
So I just finished two big projects that I’ve been working intensively on for the past two and a half months! I can’t really talk details but stay tuned! It’s been a long two months. I’ve really obsessed over these pieces like nothing before so meeting my deadlines feels like I’ve really accomplished something big. (Go me!)
I have nothing on the needles right now. While I thought I’d feel sad saying that, I actually feel good. I feel like I’m reorganizing myself, figuring out the priorities going forward. It feels good!
Of course, I can’t sit still so I’m working on some other projects. The cross stitch, specifically. And, since I don’t have knitting projects distracting me, I’ve been able to get a big chunk of it finished. It’s hard to tell but for me, it looks like it’s on it’s way to being a real completed thing.
For some reason, I got really carried away on the rocks at the bottom. I was avoiding them for a while. I moved on the letters because those are much more glamorous. But when I got into the insanity of the bottom, it was hypnotic. I’m probably going cross eyed and slightly insane from it all but I’d love to have this thing done before Christmas.
That being said, I have no idea how I thought I’d be able to finish this in one month. I’m an idiot.
I feel kind of guilty working on a project that isn’t knitting but I think I deserve a break every now and then. Knitting will always be my number one.
What projects do you work on when you’re not knitting?
ps. Have you entered the Metropolitan Knits giveaway? There’s still time!
How perfect is it that this video came out over Father’s Day weekend? My dad is a biker and a big fan of Steve McQueen so I’m obsessed with this animation by Ruth Herring and the Baker-bunch. The scene, re-creating the climactic moment of the film, was made in honor of the 50th anniversary of the film’s release. The bike chase scene was allegedly added to the film in order to appease Steve McQueen when when he refused to swap costumes with James Garner (you can read more about it in the video’s description).
Knitted stop motion animation is something that I’ve always wanted to try and what better way to do it than paying homage a classic cinematic moment. (As an aside, stop motion is the most tedious thing I’ve ever attempted. Big props to anyone who’s successfully animated anything without jumping off of a building!) I really love the great little set including plastic soldiers and great fair isle German signs.
I forgot how awesome Steve McQueen’s sweatshirt is in the film! (Another something I’d love to make for myself.) I highly recommend you check out this video! And, as I was preaching last week, make sure you like and subscribe to the K1P1 youtube channel!
And while we’re on the subject, Eddie Izzard on The Great Escape. Back to the cooler!
ps. Dad, I can’t knit you a motorcycle right now. I know you were thinking it!
So much going on! I hardly have time to write. Summer is here and everything is happening. I feel like I haven’t sat still in weeks but there’s lots of fun stuff going on that I will be able to tell you about in the future. Until then, there are some cool things that I’m ready to report. So listen up!
I recently had the honor of appearing as a guest on Kollabora’s new web series Nora Meets the Maker. The series is great, featuring lots of different crafters and cool projects. I’m really excited for more episodes to come out! My episode features a cool i-cord headband that I designed. It’s a really cute and simple project with tons of options for embellishment. I hope I have time to make a few more of them, actually, because I really feel like the possibilities are endless.
It was tons of fun shooting with Nora and the rest of the ladies at Kollabora. They are always such a treat to work with! The green screen concept is so great to play around with. It’s very silly in a public access TV show kind of awesome. I’m awkward as all goddamn but you can see my Poolside top in action! Nora cracks me up.
Check out the free pattern for the Libby headband on Kollabora and take a look at the other episodes!
Are you following me on Kollabora yet? Let’s be friends!
The factory collapse.
I wasn’t going to write about this because I don’t really know what to say. I like to keep things light hearted around here but my heart feels so heavy. I don’t like to write about things that make people sad especially on a Friday because I am a fun distraction from the work you’re supposed to be doing or the laundry you don’t feel like folding. But I can’t keep it in any longer. I don’t really know how to put it into words and I’m not sure if I’m the one who should say anything. I don’t know the history and I don’t work in the industry. But I keep seeing the numbers rise and every time I do, my heart aches.
As someone who makes clothing, even just as a hobby, maybe, especially because it’s a hobby, because for us it’s frivolous and trendy, I feel like I should say something because I know. I know what it takes to make a piece of clothing. I know that it’s not magic. I know that it’s a craft. I’m sure that I’m preaching to the choir here. But this is where my soap box is located.
Being a part of the DIY movement which is in full swing today, especially in Brooklyn, people are starting to get back to the root of it all. Where does our food come from? How is furniture made? What things can I create with my own hands instead of paying a big company? I like being part of that. Because I feel like I’m more aware of what I’m putting on/in/around my body and I can better appreciate what I have. It’s gotten me in touch with countless other women who have sat down to make things today and over the course of history. It’s reminded me of my great-grandfather who cut patterns in the garment district and my grandmother who made my kindergarden Halloween costume. It’s big.
In fact, I enjoy the thought of someone halfway around the world living a life so very different than mine making something that effects my life. That, even though we don’t speak the same language, we are connected because we both know how to make something that you wear. But I can’t come to terms with the fact that so many people are exploited and certainly a number of them are putting their lives on the line.
When I saw this photograph, I cried. (I thought about posting it here but I think it deserves a warning. But please look at it. It’s very powerful and important.) I thought to myself that I could never buy a regular piece of clothing again. That blood was on my hands. That’s incredibly dramatic and also unrealistic but seeing this photograph made me immediately sit down with tears in my eyes and write this. I’ll admit it: I’m going to buy clothing and I alone am not responsible. We have a broken system.
So what can we do?
Here’s what I plan to do. It’s four steps and they don’t seem very big but this is it.
1. Buy less, make more. I’m not going to pretend I have enough time to make everything that I want to wear. But when I do buy, it won’t just be furiously hoarding sale items into my shopping cart and crossing my fingers that they fit. I am going to make sure what I’m purchasing is something that I need and that I love. Pieces that are simple and versatile and timeless. I’ll be honest with myself: while I’d love to always be on trend, it’s just not that important to my life and the greater good. And I think that we can all agree that we’d love to have more dollars in our wallets and room in our closets. Of course, I’ll supplement my wardrobe as I always have by making pieces that I put care and thought into – garments that I’ll be sure to keep for the rest of my life.
2. Make do and mend. I have lots of cheap clothing that I bought years ago and some that I got last season. None of these $5 tees are not supposed to last long. You get what you pay for. But I’m going to stretch those items as long as I can. I’m going to fix holes and add buttons and I’ll do my hardest to make adjustments even though I’m a novice. I’ll care for these pieces as best as I can when it comes to laundry and storage and I’ll always look out for hand-me-downs and vintage pieces even if they need updating and love.
3. Speak up. I don’t just mean writing blog posts where I preach to you guys. That would be annoying. Like I said, I can’t go the rest of my life not buying clothing. Of course, I hope to be buying from companies that are small and local as much as I can afford. After the collapse, I read a lot about what I could do, where I should be shopping. A lot of new stores are on my radar and I want to share them with my friends. But one article said that garment makers fear boycotts because a drop in revenue can cause workers to lose the jobs that pay them the little money that they need to survive. But I’m not just going to use that as an excuse for lazy consumerism. I plan to get in touch with companies that I buy from and let them know how I feel. The customer is always right, right? I’m going to demand that they be transparent and ethical because I do love their clothing and I do want to buy it. I’m going to tell them that I don’t mind paying more. That they can count on me if I can count on them. I’m going to tell the companies that produce in the US or pay their workers living wages that I appreciate what they’re doing and that I want them to keep up the good work and that I’m happy to spend money with them. It sounds idealistic but maybe if enough of us do it, we can make a change.
4. Teach others. To make, of course. If you teach a man to fish, he can eat for the rest of his life. Each piece that they make on their own is one less that they have to buy and you can pat yourself on the back for that – for teaching someone how to do it for themselves and helping them understand the effort that goes into making clothes. Let’s all dedicate ourselves to starting the cycle of buying less and making more and mending what we have by showing others how good it feels to make a piece of clothing from start to finish.
These are the small things that I can afford to do. I wish they were enough but I think it’s a good start. And if I ever find myself coveting a piece of clothing I should otherwise not purchase, I’m going to take a long, hard look at that photo because I think that sometimes I need to remind myself of my priorities.
What will you do to help fix what’s broken?