15
May

Michelle Collar Make-a-long!

Written by Sarah. Posted in accesories, DIY, FO, knit-a-long, knits, kollabora, KYC Presents

I feel like a broken record but this week I’m getting started on two knit-a-longs! And today I want to invite you all to join me!

I’ve been going crazy over accessories recently. I’m usually a sweater girl, it must be the weather. I whipped up a pattern for a cute little collar for spring. Collars are big this season and this one is the perfect piece to add a little feminine touch to any look. It’s crazy simple to knit. The hardest part will be picking out the perfect button!

michelle collar

 

The collar is knit with Kollabora’s Like a Rolling Stone silk and baby alpaca yarn. I’m so in love! It’s super soft and delicate and the colors are great for spring. (I’d love to knit a summer top with it! Hmmm…)

Check out all of the details here including the free pattern! I’ll be updating with more instructions next Monday so there is a bit of suspense! But cast on and check back. You can find all of the supplies on Kollabora but this would make a perfect stash-busting project. Make a bunch for all of your friends!

You can join in on the fun by clicking the “Make” button on the project page. I’d love to see what you make!

How will you customize your collar? Embroidery? Buttons? Ribbons? I’d love to hear about it!

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15
Apr

Craftsy Giveaway

Written by Sarah. Posted in DIY, giveaway

Missing the weekend already? I think I have something that might sweeten this Monday. How about a giveaway from Craftsy!?

logo-LearnItMakeIt

 

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.

Browser Platform

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!

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04
Apr

Summer Knitting

Written by Sarah. Posted in DIY, embroidery, instagram, knits, kollabora, life, sewing, summer

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?

PS. I had the pleasure of interviewing the lovely Threadpanda for Kollabora’s DIY BFF. Check it out here!

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20
Mar

Fair Isle Almost FO

Written by Sarah. Posted in DIY, embroidery, FO, knits, sweater, technique

It’s been a long road but my fair isle sweater is pretty much finished. It feels like I’ve been working on this thing my whole life (since I started it while I was on my hurrication back in October), a lot of other pieces have been finished since I cast this thing on but it’s done.

Since I haven’t been able to take photos of the FO, I wanted to talk about the finishing of the garment and some of the cool details. One of the elements that really drew me in to this pattern were the embroidered parts on the front and back. I’ve never embroidered on a piece of knitting but I do like to do both things separately. The colorwork alone was full of little details but this part made it even more unique.

embroidered

 

The purple/grey flowers and pink hearts (which are up near the neckline) are knit by intarsia which is why the pieces are worked flat. (At least the front and back. I wish I’d worked the sleeves in the round but that’s life.) Then embroidery is added over them to make it pop. It was pretty fun. My French knots always throw me for a loop when I’m rusty but I finally got them to work.

It is mainly from exhaustion that my embroidery is messy. I really wanted this sweater to be finished and I was on the home stretch. (When I just had to seam and work the neckband I realized OH GOD I also had to do all of the embroidery details which added about four more hours of work.) I can be a perfectionist when the mood strikes me. I’m usually really particular about my knitting but I actually liked the folksy imperfections in the embroidery. It kind of has a home made Christmas sweater feeling which balances well with the anal colorwork sections. (All in all, I probably ripped out and re-knit about 7-10″ of colorwork in different parts of the sweater.) The pattern suggests a lot more embroidery. I did less because I’m a minimalist (read: I’m so over working on this sweater).

I can’t wait to show you more of this sweater. It’s definitely going to be my favorite thing to wear from now on.

Have you embroidered knitting?

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13
Mar

FO: Fluted Cowl

Written by Sarah. Posted in DIY, FO, gift, knits

I don’t often knit for other people. That probably sounds selfish but every sweater pattern I like, I want to wear. I’ve also found it tough to make sure things fit for someone who isn’t standing in front of me. Mostly, I like to wear the things that I put time into. I should really break that habit since I’m a process knitter. I could really be working on anything for anybody and be happy. But I mainly knit for myself.

Well I made this cowl and it wasn’t for me.

fluted cowl

A few weeks ago, Jon’s grandmother saw a hat that I made (pattern coming soon!) and she just loved it. She was asking me a bunch of questions about it. She also asked me to give her a recipe for cookies that I’d baked and I was just so flattered that Jon’s grandmother who makes that delicious Israeli coffee meringue cake was asking me for a recipe, I just about died. After she left, Jon turned to me and said, “You should really knit something for my grandma. She’d really like it. Her birthday’s coming up. I can buy the yarn.”

To which I replied, OKAY. (I mean, he’s such a good boychick, am I right?!)

fluted cowl 2

I had a few ideas in mind but I needed something that was simple and quick since I had about a week to make the whole thing. I decided on the Purl Bee Fluted Cowl which is freaking gorgeous. (I love the drama of the sample on their site!) And I used Purl Soho’s new Supersoft Merino which is the squooshiest, softest, most delicious yarn ever. (You can probably tell that since the photos where I’m modeling it it just looks like a big blob of yarn porn. It’s fantastic.) This is the second thing I’ve knit with the peacock colorway. It’s fantastic.

fluted cowl 3

It took me a long time to get used to the stitch pattern but it’s simple. It’s hard to tell where you left off just by looking at it. I think most of my trouble came knitting on size 17 needles. (And then I went back to knitting my colorwork sweater on size 3s and, boy, were my hands confused! It’s like after you ride a bike for a really long time and then try walking but your legs still want to pedal.) I decided to cast on 128 stitches for a shorter cowl since I didn’t have time to make the longer version. Shorter seemed more practical, too. I was terrified I’d twist the stitches when I joined in the round. But I didn’t! I really love how both sides are different but work together. I really want to make one for myself. It’s so soft and warm!

Happy birthday to Jon’s grandmother! I hope she wears the cowl in good health (as my grandpa would say).

Do you like to knit for other people or yourself? Have you tried out the Super Soft Merino?

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08
Mar

Throwback FO: I Knit the Band

Written by Sarah. Posted in DIY, FO, gift, knits, music, photos

Good morning, lovelies! Today we are kicking it old school and you get a special treat: we’re going to talk about me in high school. I’ve wanted to write about this for a while but it’s always felt overly sentimental (and there are some photos of me wearing large amounts of eyeliner that I was afraid to share) but it’s time! Happy Friday!

Throughout my high school career, I saw OK Go live somewhere between six and ten times. Always accompanied by my best lady Ashley! Our love affair with their music began just before the treadmills and paisley happened. We were those giggly fangirls who’s parents dropped them off in front of some bar in Hoboken, standing at the very front through all of the opening acts to secure a good spot for dancing. You probably hated us but you were those girls at some point, too. Admit it.

okgo
OK Go has always been really awesome and creative. They would do intricately choreographed dances at the end of their shows. Their music videos have become more and more experimental and wild over the years and they’ve always encouraged the same unbridled creativity from their fans. Last summer they “hosted” a summer camp where they asked fans to submit whatever projects they were working on, all mediums and subjects. Before that, though, back when I was going to their shows on school nights, they used to request fun gifts from fans.

They’d put out a message a few hours before the show like Bring us a hoola hoop! or Tonight we want socks! or something crazy and after the show, people would present their offerings to the guys. I never got into that but I was always jealous of my friends from Livejournal (Livejournal! This post is getting embarrassing!) who got to spend a little extra time chatting with the guys.

So I decided that I would bring them a gift that they’d love that was totally me. Something that could show them that they were really my favorite band of all time. So I knit them scarves.

okgo scarves

Yup! That’s me at age sixteen sweating like a sinner in church, partially from two hours of dancing but also, probably, from nervousness!

I charted their logo myself. (Creating colorwork charts was kind of a hobby for me then.) They were placed awkwardly at one end of each scarf. I made them all from Lamb’s Pride worsted yarn mainly because I had some stashed at the time. It’s definitely not what I’d choose for a scarf now since it’s so itchy but what can I say? The colors were lovely and it was within my slim budget and I didn’t really know anything about wool versus alpaca versus unicorns. I had a lot of fun mixing crazy colors to match their whole paisley thing. (Damian wore bright red pants.) And I really loved crazy colors back then, too.

I approached them nervously after one of their shows and pulled out each of the scarves I’d made. I must’ve seemed crazy but they were so sweet. Andy put his on even though he was totally sweaty from the show. Dan even introduced me to his fiancee who thanked me since he really needed a scarf. Damian reminded me that it was bad luck to knit for your boyfriend (a rule I’ve broken about a million times since but I’m glad he was looking out for me). It was pretty exhilarating.

Best of all, someone on livejournal (livejournal, again) spotted a photo of Tim rocking his pink and black scarf in a Boston paper and sent me the article where he gave a shout out the fan who knit it for him. It was awesome to know that they were actually wearing  them.

OKGOSCARF

Regardless of the knitwear, I still love OK Go. Since that show, I haven’t talked to them. We used to be able to hang around and get a hug or a photo after they performed but they’re not playing those little venues anymore. Ashley and I go to their shows every time they’re in New York. We’re always dancing and singing and flailing around in the front row like we’re fifteen and we don’t care if you’re judging us. I forget everything about being a grown up and trying to act cool and I just let excitement take over. I can’t wait to hear what they’re working on now and I love seeing their fresh ideas. I’ll never not be a fan.

Thanks for being awesome, boys!

Have you ever knit for someone you admire? Do you like reminiscing about old FOs? Is OKGo not the most fun ever?

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01
Mar

A Pattern by KYC: Fingerless Heart Mitts

Written by Sarah. Posted in accesories, design, DIY, FO, gloves, knits, kollabora, KYC Presents, yarn

When Kollabora asked me to create a project using their yarn, you can imagine how excited I was. First of all, I’ve been creating my own accessories for a few years and I was ready to share with the rest of the knitting world.

Second, I got to dive into a giant box full of yarn and pick whatever colors I wanted. (I warned them ahead of time, this was a dangerous move.)

Well, here it is!

MITTS

 

The mitts are knit in the round with Kollabora’s Alpaca au Natural and Nora’s Pantry yarns. The yarn is super soft and yummy. (The alpacas are raised in cold temperatures in the Andes!) I love the colors of the Nora’s Pantry yarns and, you know me, I can’t say no to an undyed alpaca! Making this was a lot of fun!

Coming up with a beginner/intermediate pattern was actually a bit of a challenge for me. I didn’t want to make something so simple that it had been done before or so easy that it was boring. But I definitely didn’t want to over complicate it. I realized that it’s difficult for me to gauge what is easy and what is “hard” (or, let’s say ‘advanced’) after so many years of knitting. When it comes to knitting, I am fearless; it’s just combinations of one stitch and it’s mirror, if you will. But newer knitters can easily be intimidated and patterns can quickly begin to look like complex calculus formulas.

Colorwork was something that I wanted to do when I first started knitting. So I thought that it would be a fun project. Also, it involves knitting in the round which is my favorite thing to do!

The pattern is available for free on Kollabora! You can even buy all of the supplies you need through their shop. I’d love to see your fingerless mitts!

Have you worked with the Kollabora yarns yet? What do you think?

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21
Feb

The Un-Knitting Machine

Written by Sarah. Posted in art, design, DIY, knits, life, yarn

Now, I know what you’re thinking. An un-knitting machine is hardly the kind of thing that you should expect to see on a knitting blog. It seems a little counter productive. I, too, have felt the disappointment that is frogging a big piece of knitwear. It’s like watching your life flash before your eyes in reverse. But with a lot more swearing. And hopefully there’s alcohol to ease the pain.

But a few things caught my eye about Imogen Hedges‘ un-knitting machine, and I’ve been meaning to share it with you all for a while now. Wouldn’t the hurt of ripping out a sweater be made a lot easier by doing it painlessly and fast? And aren’t those bike pedals nifty? It looks like it’s about as fun as making the sweater itself.

Imogen Hedges from Rachel Mc Closkey on Vimeo.

What really struck a chord with me, though, is the recycling trend that I’ve seen on the rise on Ravelry. Knitters are salvaging old thrift store finds for their yarn, un-knitting them (if you will) and making brand new things with the yarn. There are some Ravelry groups dedicated to the techniques of upcycling sweaters. Some especially resourceful makers on Twitter and instagram are hand dying the yarn for an even more interesting look!

And the best part is that knitters can score a sweaters’-worth of  nice fibers like cashmere and merino for $4 thanks to their local Goodwill and a little ingenuity.

Besides the price and the thrill of the hunt, this movement is really exciting for me. We knitters are innovative. (I mean, somebody invented a bicycle that unravels sweaters, for goodness sake!) We may not always mean to but making our own clothing helps take back from the industrial cheap fashion behemoth that is so omnipresent these days. We are investing time and love into custom pieces of clothing that will receive proper care and be worn for years. But why not take it a step further? Green DIY conjures up images of sock puppets and toilet paper tube Christmas wreaths but we can make it glamorous. We can take things that we already own (or someone else owned) and we can give new life to them. We can mend and alter our clothing instead of throwing away cash on cookie cutter closets. And we can get a sense of the work that our favorite independent dyers and spinners are doing.

My dad recently gave me one of his old wool sweaters. (It started as a request for a custom sweater since his was ruined and ended with me begging him to donate his moth-hole-ridden jumper for me to experiment with. He may have gotten the better end of the bargain.) I can’t wait to give un-knitting a try. I am ready to make brand new recycled clothes!

And to top it all off, now I can add to my stash (on the DL) when I’m away from the yarn store. And that’s a gift in and of itself.

Have you ever un-knit a sweater? What are your tips?

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13
Feb

Fashion Week Knits

Written by Sarah. Posted in DIY, famous knits, knits, new york city, style, summer

It’s Fashion Week here in New York. Or it was? I’m not sure, I don’t keep up with these things. (Oh, I just checked. It’s still happening. Cool.) I don’t like to think that I follow trends (unless they’re neon. Or knitwear. Or NEON KNITWEAR!) but I do like to take a peek at what’s going down the runway because I was obsessed with season one of Project Runway. (Austin Scarlett is designing wedding dresses. Yes. But does anybody know what Jay McCarroll is up to these days?)

Now, it’s Spring/Summer time so that’s not the easiest for us knitters. Some of us (I won’t name names) like to put down our needles when then weather gets warm, abandoning our wool work for a bit of sewing. I understand. But I’ll make a goddamn sweater by the pool if I want to!

Luckily, there are a lot of spring trends going on that translate perfectly into knits and here are a few:

Web

First is a clean-cut top with a color I really love. Carolina Herrera’s ready to wear line has some great summery looks. I love this coral-colored knit. It reminds me of the adorable Abuelita crocheted top from Pom Pom Quarterly.

Marc Jacobs has a really cool black and white thing going on in the Spring/Summer collection. I love the mod feeling. Vogue Knitting has a great selection of dramatic, 60’s-inspired black and white tops in their Spring/Summer issue for a similar look.

I’m a huge fan of Kate Spade. I am really just obsessed. And this season’s collection keeps with the “Live Colorfully” motto. There are a lot of brights and sparkles and it looks like bows are going to be big. A few of the Kate Spade pieces have great little collars. I’m really glad this is happening right now. I’m a big fan of this adorable Peter Pan collar by Rachele the Nearsighted Owl. Perfect for adding a little something extra to any outfit.

Which collections have caught your eye? Are you inspired by any of the summer trends?

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11
Feb

FO: Linen Stitch Sock and Variegated Yarns

Written by Sarah. Posted in design, DIY, FO, knits, life, photos, socks, yarn

As I mentioned earlier, I put my crafting away to get moving done. Knitting is my number one distraction. When I’m working on a project, I can sit for hours watching season after season of Law and Order: SVU, ignoring the rest of the world. Laundry, editing, even friends are all ignored when I’m knitting. I’m sure you can relate. I was really afraid that my craft addiction would keep me from my strict packing schedule. So I put my needles in a box and taped it up so I had no choice but to get the worst of the move over with. It was tough and my fingers felt like they were itching to work. I couldn’t sit still in front of the TV when we were taking breaks. I was going cold turkey from knitting.

After we got into the new place, I promised myself that I’d keep my WIPs out of sight so I could focus on unpacking and getting back to normal. And I was pleasantly surprised by how long I was able to stop myself from thinking about stitching. I got a lot done around the house, I baked cookies, and then I became strangely obsessed with cleaning the kitchen (the building is brand new so I want EVERYTHING TO STAY SHINEY AND CLEAN FOREVER PLEASE.) I finally dragged out a sock who never got a buddy from my stash when the weekend rolled around so I’d have something to knit during the Super Bowl. (My faire isle sweater needed to be blocked before I could move forward and I didn’t think that that was a project that should be tackled with boxes all over the place. We also didn’t have a floor lamp for the living room yet so it was too dark to do any cross stitching. So I decided to go with the hibernating project.)

linen stitch sock

I realized upon completing this second sock, that I’d never written about the first sock here. I’d posted a few photos on instagram when I made it back in June but other than that, it’s story has not been told. I can’t believe I left the pair unfinished for so long! (But I did start Maxfield right after I completed the first sock. That might explain it!)

The yarn is Lorna’s Laces Solemate which I picked up in a Soakbox at Vogue Knitting Live (2011). This was an early Soakbox so it only had yarn, a small Heel lotion, and a travel-sized Soak wash packet. (I love the new ones with nail polish! I love nail polish, guys.) I have to admit, the Outlast climate-control technology in the Solemate yarn (I still have no idea how it works but it sounds really magical) was what really sold me. I love it when there’s “technology” in things that are otherwise not technological. (I also know that everything involves technology. You know what I mean.)

linen stitch detail

Here’s the thing: I don’t really like variegated yarns. (Omg, Am I racist against multicolored yarns? I love all yarns. Except cotton. I am a little racist against cotton yarns. Sorry! Just being honest.) I mean, I like hand-dyed yarns and their variations within but I don’t buy yarns with lots of different colors (unless I really like them). I think it has to do with my minimalist style. Also, purple is not one of my favorite colors. But I bought this anyway because it sounded cool and I was at Vogue Knitting for the first time and I kind of assumed this would go into my stash for a long long time.

I can’t tell you what made me pull it out and design this pattern with this yarn I felt so iffy about. It was a long time ago. But I promised myself I’d design a pair of socks that showcased the different colors in the yarn.

linen stitch sock 2

Here’s the other thing: when it comes to knitting socks, I refuse to knit cabled/lacework socks with variegated yarn. Makes me dizzy and I really want to show off the stitch pattern. That stuff gets lost with yarns that aren’t solid colors. I guess that’s why I don’t like variegated yarns as much because it means that I either knit a plain sock that looks cool because it’s variegated but is boring to knit or do a variegated/solid stripe which would involve some forethought because I’d have to buy a solid yarn to go with it. Not so good for my fast and loose stash-busting sock-knitting style. So that’s why, when I’m enhancing my stash, I try to stay away from those variegated yarns. (I’ve written ‘variegated’ a lot in this post.)

Long story short (too late) I made these. I used the linen stitch for the first time. I like that it is still elastic but looks totally unique. It really lends itself to the variations in the yarn. (In fact, a lot of people have mistaken my instagram photos for the Broken Seed Stitch Sock which is actually knit with a solid and variegated yarn since this colorway has white in it. You can tell by the toes that it’s one skein but I like the illusion that it might be two!) The pattern is toe up (because I refuse to believe that ankle down socks are a thing, there’s another thing I don’t like!), knit on size 1s with a slip stitch heel. Slip stitch heels are not my favorite and I think they’re kind of baffling but I wanted to break my short-row heel habit. It also has the perfect look with the linen stitch and actually kind of mimics it, too. I like that part!

linen stitch sock 3

I’m really pleased with how these turned out. I love that they took a skein of yarn I was otherwise stumped by and turned them into something unique that looks a little complex, too. Maybe I don’t dislike variegated yarns after all! We’re all kind of like variegated yarns deep down inside, aren’t we?

I love designing sock patterns. I recently realized that I’ve improvised more of my own sock designs than I’ve made from patterns. I’m always looking for new projects so I’m tempted to turn some of my sock designs into proper patterns.

What do you think? And how do you feel about variegated yarns?

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