Welcome, I’m glad you could all join us for this week’s meeting. Who’d like to share first?
Hi, I’m Sarah. I have Startitis.
Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the fact that I read two issues of Molly Makes and the new Martha Stewart Living while I was off on Wednesday. I want to do everything. I want to renovate an old house and start a garden and build furniture. I just want to make stuff.
I’m so frustrated because I haven’t had any FOs to share in such a long time. I’m working on everything at once so nothing’s done. I’m just wanting to do it all, I’m exploding with inspiration, I’m running in every direction.
Some of this craft mania is due to the fact the weather is changing. I want to be sewing some summer pieces. I want to get rid of everything in my closet and start fresh which adds this urgency to it. I still don’t know what the heck I’m doing when it comes to sewing. I started working on the Wiksten Tova top. It’s kind of a mess but I really don’t want to get into that. I’m making something.
I’m still working on that Grettir sweater for Jon. There’s a lot of stockinette. ‘Nuff said. I have plans to make something for my grandma’s birthday. (And thanks for all of your helpful suggestions!) I still don’t know what it will be. I think I’ll end up working around my stash because I just did some spring cleaning and the amount of yarn I have should be illegal.
And if you follow me on instagram, you know that I’ve picked up my Zelda cross stitch again. It was hidden away for a few months. (Okay, I forgot that I was working on it.) This project has been going forever but I’m actually quite pleased with how far it’s come. I think it’s actually nearing the home stretch. And every time I look at it, I get excited because goddamnit it looks like the real thing! It’s funny, although this has been incredibly tedious and time consuming and I hope I never try this again, I always enjoy coming back to this project. Something about the simplicity of it after doing an intense knit is really satisfying. It’s intricate, I won’t pretend it’s easy but it’s methodical to the point that it’s meditative. And, like I said, look at the result.
So I have a bit of Startitis. I just can’t commit to any one thing. Maybe once I finish something I’ll feel relieved. Maybe I’ll finally be able to figure out what’s next. But until then, I’m just going to keep stitching away.
Because it’s all about the process isn’t it?
I promised last week that I’d share more of that sneak peek I posted. I hope you enjoyed the WIP photos! Suspense is over!
When I was dreaming up something special to make for Jon’s brother and soon-to-be sister-in-law in honor of their upcoming nuptials, I had lots of Judaical themes in mind. I really loved making a piece of art for my friend’s wedding last summer and I wanted to do something like it again. (What can I say, I want to make things for every occasion!) While I originally wanted to do some sort of phrase in Hebrew, I thought that a hamsa would make a really beautiful wall hanging and a perfect gift to give at their Moroccan-style henna bridal shower.
The hamsa is a hand symbol that is meant to protect against the evil eye. It’s popular in Middle Eastern cultures and I love that, since it’s so old, it spans across different religions. Jon’s family is from Israel so the hamsas can be found in just about every room of his parent’s house and now my own apartment. I really liked the idea of giving a gift that was kind of a good luck charm, a symbol to help protect their new life together. Traditionally, hamsas appear with an eye in the palm but I also added the heart. I’m not a superstitious person but I’m pretty sure that love is the key to keeping away any bad energy!
I sketched out a few different hamsa designs before deciding on this one. I wanted something a little modern and simple yet true to the roots of Jewish art. The woven gold parts remind me of the artwork at the temple that my family’s been members of for fifty years. (It’s kind of an earthy, 70s folk arty looking place.) I picked up a fat quarter of some pink fabric from Purl Soho. It was a nice change working on something that isn’t white or beige!
I was also really inspired by this Nepali embroidery tutorial. I was dying to incorporate painting with the embroidery. Adding fabric paint really accentuates the three dimensionality of the stitches and adds even more layers there. It was a fun experiment that I definitely want to try again!
Of course, I also included a lot of chain stitching. Really, it’s my favorite embroidery stitch. It’s just so perfect! I also found that using chain stitch to outline the satin stitching worked best. I’d read that using split stitch would do it but it really wasn’t as big and defined as chain stitch. See, chain stitch is the best.
Since I leave everything until the last minute, I didn’t have a frame when it came time to photograph the piece. You’ll have to forgive any wrinkles, etc. I can assure you, though, it looks really stunning on the wall!
What’s your favorite embroidery stitch? Have you incorporated paint into your embroideries? Do you have any hamsas hanging on your walls?
ps. Have you entered The Crash giveaway yet?
Tags: chain stitch, diamond, embroidery, evil eye, fabric paint, frame, gift, hamsa, handmade, handmade gift, hanging, Jewish, middle eastern, moroccan, nepali, satin stitch, split stitch, symbol, tapestry, wall, wedding, woven
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!
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!
Remember when I was making a cool Zelda cross stitch as a belated Christmas present for my cousin who is a really awesome? Surprise! It’s still not finished! Surprise again! I’m the worst.
I don’t have much to say since it’s really more of the same but I did feel like this poor thing deserved an update. I’ve been sharing photos on instagram between pics of the Williamsburg Bridge (get used to those!). I won’t pretend like I’ve been slaving away at this piece. I’ve actually had it packed away since we moved but I’ve been between knitting projects so I thought I’d give it some time while I waited for some yarn to arrive.
As torturous and mind melting as it can be, I have become a little addicted to cross stitching. I decided to skip right to the good parts with this session and start working on the title letters. Of course, they actually ended up being wonky. Somewhere along the line I miscounted or maybe I stitched a few too many in a place where they shouldn’t have been? In the end, I had to squeeze the E in a little. It looks noticeable here but it won’t once the shadow is added (I really hope). The shadow makes everything really pop and look like magic.
When I put this down last, I was starting to have a panic attack that I’d run out of room at the top. I obviously had no idea what I was doing when I started this thing. Now I’m not so worried or maybe I’m just so fed up with this insanity that I just don’t care.
I have some deadlines coming up so I have a feeling this is as far as this sad excuse for embroidery will get for another few months. I’d like to keep working at it and I can at least mindlessly fill in the pink background while I’m watching Mad Men. I have the Lon Lon Ranch song stuck in my head right now. I’d really love to finish this thing because then I can brag about it forever.
Has a project every driven you crazy? Do you think cross stitch is fun or tedious? Will this ever be finished?
It’s finally here. Let this be a disclaimer that I’m ridiculously excited about how this sweater turned out. I’ve spent so much time on it that I’ve gotten something of a Stockholm Syndrome towards it. I’m in love with it and I’m so proud and I just want to wear it all of the time. So now I’m going to talk about my deep love for this sweater which is totally weird and I apologize if it’s incoherent. Just look at the pretty pictures (thanks for taking them, as always, Jon!).
In case you’re just tuning in now, I’ll tell you a little bit about this sweater. I was really drawn to this pattern when I first saw it in Debbie Bliss magazine last summer. I don’t know why but I really felt like I wanted to challenge myself with some intense, detailed, and tiny fair isle. (Knit on size 3s, I must’ve been drunk when I used the word “challenge.”) And I knew it would be a great addition to my wardrobe. I was obsessed with doing a neutral/neon fair isle. This would be the one.
When I started knitting this, I had a whole week off of work (hurrication). I spent about 8 hours a day in front of the Netflix knitting, so the first sleeve was finished in three days. I guess that’s when the cabin fever started to set in. Everything near us had power but there really wasn’t much we wanted or needed to do. The park was closed so we just had to take walks around the block until we felt uncomfortable and ran back inside to hide on the couch. It was a weird week. But I got a huge chunk of this sweater finished and if I hadn’t, I probably would have been too discouraged to press on.
I made a lot of other things since I cast on in the end of October. A few Christmas presents, a few birthday presents, two new patterns. I even finished a second sock. I moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn. I wrote a lot here. I think pacing myself with other projects kept me coming back to this guy.
Towards the end was when things got rough. There were a lot of ends to weave in. A LOT. There was a lot of seaming to be done (because, as I’ve mentioned a million times, it’s knit flat). And then, just as I was coming to the home stretch of being able to wear this damn sweater, I remembered that I had to tackle the embroidery. And I just really wanted to wear the freaking thing.
I finished a few days before our trip to Chicago. I could not be happier with how the blocking turned out. I know I’d expressed my nervousness regarding the fit before. Everything was super tight and small and weird when I was knitting but the blocking made all of the pieces fit perfectly and the colorwork sits so neatly. BLOCKING IS MAGIC, GUYS. The sweater is designed as a 3/4 sleeve that is a bit cropped. I knit it cropped but it lengthened during blocking which I’m pleased with. I’m not a big fan of 3/4 sleeves so I made them a bit longer and, again, blocking put them right into place.
Let me take a minute to talk about this yarn. (Are you tired of me obsessing over every detail on this sweater?) I’m devastated that St Denis has been discontinued. The Boreale yarn is probably my favorite thing I’ve ever worked with. It’s soft and delicate and every colorway is gorgeous. It’s warm but it’s not itchy and it has a great drape without being limp or droopy. But this is it. Whatever yarn is left over is going to sit in my stash, probably for the rest of my life, waiting for the PERFECT project that will never come because I will never think anything is perfect enough for it. You know that feeling? Until then, I will be scouring the internet, hoarding all of the St Denis yarn I can find. (Drop me a line if you have any leads or would like to tell me about a magical company that is rebooting the brand or if you’d like to just pour one out with me.)
Long story short, I’m very much a process knitter so long, drawn-out knits are not my thing. I’m constantly on the look out for new patterns and always planning the next project. I’ve knit plenty of sweaters and I can’t pick a favorite because they all mean something different to me. But this sweater is something special. I feel like I really conquered it. I don’t think I was ever afraid of the challenge, I was excited by it. It was kind of like the scene in Kill Bill when Uma Thurman has to battle the Crazy 88 and she knows that she has to do it and she kicks everyone’s ass but it’s totally exhausting and she’s bleeding and everything at the end of it all. Finishing this sweater gave me an immense feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. It’s kind of the War and Peace of sweaters.
I’m also finding that with every piece that I knit, I see my evolution. And I don’t necessarily mean in skill level (although I’m constantly trying to choose patterns that challenge and teach me). Every piece that I make is more and more of me – better fit and colors, pieces that fit into my personal style better. I’m figuring out what my style is as a knitter and which patterns and yarns speak to me.
And that’s what it’s all about, right?
What’s the biggest knitting challenge you’ve given yourself? Do you find yourself evolving as a knitter?
ps. There’s still plenty of time to get in on the Craftsy giveaway. Check it out!
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?
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.
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.
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?
If you follow me on instagram, you may have noticed I’ve been nerding out a bit recently. You may have also been afraid I’d traded in my knitting needles for Aida canvas but, don’t worry, it’s just a passing phase.
I spent all of December working on an ambitious cross stitch project. That’s right. I was gift-crafting and it got out of hand. And I learned my lesson. Because I didn’t finish said gift. (And I didn’t finish a couple of other gifts either since I’d spent so much time on this one.)
Anyway, I was keeping the project off of the blog on the off chance that its recipient is a reader (doubt it, but, you know, better safe than sorry!) but since the project remains incomplete, I had to show him something to prove that I hadn’t forgotten to bring a gift.
My cousin John is an avid gamer. I have fond memories of watching him play through the entirety of Ocarina of Time while I cheered him on and he made sarcastic comments. He got me my first N64 game for Christmas years ago. We hang out a lot still and he and Jon (boyfriend Jon, I know they have the same name) have become close friends since they both work in the same field (three guesses as to which). Last year, I got him this awesome poster. (The year before that, I made him homemade ketchup. He likes hamburgers.)
Since John has a history of giving cool gifts and because he took me to the Symphony of the Goddesses concert after Thanksgiving (Guys, it’s a live orchestra playing Zelda music. That is some higher-level nerdom), I thought making him a really neat 8-bit cross stitch would be perfect. And I knew he’d love it.
Sounds easy enough. Take one of the badass title screens from an early 8-bit Zelda game, slap a grid over it and get to it, right? WRONG. God was I wrong. Besides the fact that I don’t really know anything about proper counted cross stitch, this pattern is GIGANTIC and involves something like 10 colors! And this shit is tedious! And that’s coming from someone who knits entire faire isle sweaters with five colors on size 3 needles for laughs. I DO NOT have the patience for cross stitch.
(By the way, when I was planning out my Christmas Craft Domination Tour of 2012, Jon thought I was being a little over ambitious, that I might regret piling on the crafts. And while I hoped to be Tom Hanks in this scene in A League of Their Own, I ended up getting hit in the face with all of the incomplete gifts.)
Long story short, I banged this thing out for a month. I worked on it every moment I could short of bringing it to work and slaving over it during my lunch hour. Then some work popped up and I had to put it aside up until the weekend before Christmas. Short story even shorter, it didn’t get finished. Not even nearly a little bit close to done. And I ran out of both black and dark grey embroidery thread and I bought them both from two separate stores across town. What was I thinking? Recipe for disaster.
While I’ve got a ton of stuff in the works, I will NOT give up on this project. I really love how cool it looks and I would love to see what it looks like when it’s finished. I don’t regret it and I am so excited to make something really awesome for John. I know I can get it done but I just need a little time off, I think. Stay tuned. This is not the last you’ve seen of this WIP. You can’t defeat me, cross stitch!
Now if only I could play the Song of Time and give myself a few more months before Christmas 2012…
Did you finish all of you ambitious plans for Christmas gifting? What are some cool nerdy things you’ve made? Any cross stitch tips? Anyone know where I can buy some Anchor floss?
This was a huge year for Knit York City. I am so excited to be here and move forward and I love sharing my work and my life with you guys. It’s not only been awesome to get feedback and help with my questions, but I feel like putting my energy into this blog has inspired me to spend more time making things. Looking back at all of the pieces I made this year, I think this might be my most productive year yet. It’s certainly been my most adventurous and I have all of you to thank for that!
I knit a lot of socks this year. All of the socks I made this year were my own design which is pretty awesome!
I taught myself how to sew. It got off to a rough start but I managed to make a skirt and an adorable little kimono.
I also practiced my long-forgotten embroidery skills on a wedding present for one of my best friends and a tie for Jon to wear.
I also made a few sweaters this year. I certainly didn’t make one every month but I am quite pleased with the ones that I finished. I really fell for Amy Christoffers’ new patters and I made one of them for a KAL. And I got to meet her this year!
And, of course, what somehow became my most notable knit of the year: The Hamburger Sweater. I love the reaction I’ve gotten from this knit.
On top of everything else, I started a video web series (don’t forget to subscribe!) and I’ve had so much fun meeting so many awesome people. I can only thank my friends again (and again!) for helping make them possible. There will certainly be more episodes in the new year and hopefully I can fulfill my resolution to edit them faster! (It’s been tough with everything else going on so I’m calling in the reinforcements!) Get excited for that stuff.
I can’t believe how much I’ve accomplished this year. I am so proud of myself. And knowing what projects are in the works for the new year, I couldn’t be happier. While I don’t want to set any specific goals for what I make next year, I do want to make more! I will be happy if I keep working hard at it all, keep my fingers busy typing away and shooting videos and clicking needles. I bet that there will be twice as much to talk about by the end of 2013.
What did you make this year? Did you make a lot of sweaters? What are your goals for the new year?
Tags: Amy Christoffers, baby kimono, brooklyn tweed, Cascade Eco Duo, crux socks, design, embroidery, gift, goals, hamburger sweater, hand knit, learn to sew, loft yarn, Maxfield, new years resolution, Pomme de Pin, raglan, sock pattern, sweater, there's no place like home, triangle socks, wedding