21
Jun

FO: Poolside Sweater

Written by Sarah. Posted in FO, knits, lace, sweater, yarn

So I’m usually not so bad at getting photos of a FO. Most sweaters I finish and I immediately want to get them photographed. (Can I tell you a secret? I plan photo shoots long before my knits are finished! My neighborhood has so many spots that I can’t wait to use for backdrops.) This time I totally slacked off so I’ve had the Poolside test knit finished for a couple of months. I even wore it for my appearance on Nora Meets the Maker. But there are real legitimate photos now.

poolside

I’m actually glad that I waited to post photos. Since I’ve worn this garment a number of times since completing it, I’ve been able to get a feel for what I like and dislike. Especially since I was trying out something new by knitting with cotton. I now have a full report!

poolside 2

First off, this pattern is gorgeous. The lace is so beautiful. I still love looking at it and I get lots of compliments. Isabell Kraemer’s pattern was a breeze to knit up. It was great travel knitting even though a few times I lost track of my lace and messed up a some spots while I was trying to keep myself from having a panic attack on the plane but I can’t even tell where that happened anymore. I’d love to make another one in a different fiber just to see how it turns out.

I’m also really psyched about this color. It’s kind of purple but not really purple but also kind of grey. Not a color I’d normally choose for myself (really the only color I wear is blue and I’m trying to change that). I’m proud that I switched it up a lot with this project.

poolside 4

Now, to get onto the stuff that I’m not crazy about.

The cotton was a great challenge for me but I’m still not really sold. Sorry, cotton, I just don’t think that plant fibers are really my thing. (That being said, the Blue Sky Alpacas is probably the nicest cotton yarn I’ve felt.) I love that this garment is summery but it’s still heavy and feels like it’s slowly stretching out the more that I wear it. Also, the stitches are still super pronounced and I should definitely have followed the rules and joined new skeins at the beginnings of rows instead of right in the middle of the chest. I learned my lesson there.

I also thought that I was being smart and knit the sleeve edges in reverse stockinette stitch in the round (purling every row) instead of doing faux garter stitch in the round (alternating between knit and purl stitches) as the pattern called for. That was stupid. The reverse stockinette doesn’t look neat and flat like the bottom of the sweater, it is all rolled and bothers the crap out of me. You can really see it in the photo below. I could’ve gone back and ripped it out but I didn’t and probably never will because I tend to never look back. Call me lazy or stubborn, I will pretend it’s some kind of life philosophy.

poolside 3

All in all, I’m super happy with the garment as a comfy, loose spring piece. It’s feminine and cute but it lends itself to my anti-fussy, easy-to-wear wardrobe perfectly. Some of the fitting issues that I have with it, I think, are really in my head. Seeing photos of the garment, it looks nice and not baggy or stretched out. Does that ever happen to you?

So, what’s your verdict? Will you ever love knitting with cotton? What fiber would you use for this sweater?

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10
Jun

Nora Meets Me!

Written by Sarah. Posted in accesories, design, DIY, FO, knits, kollabora, KYC Presents, movies, press, sweater

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.

nmmlibby.jpeg

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!

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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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19
Apr

FO: Hurrication Fair Isle Sweater

Written by Sarah. Posted in embroidery, faire isle, FO, knits, life, photos, style, sweater, yarn

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!).

fair isle

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.

fair isle

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.

fair isle front

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.)

fair isle back

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!

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08
Apr

New Pattern: Olivia Hat

Written by Sarah. Posted in FO, hat, knits, life, photos

Last month I got the urge to design a hat pattern. I don’t know what came over me but I wanted to work something up and go for it. I had grand dreams of writing up my sock patterns and sizing them and releasing them properly, too. (That didn’t happen but never say never.) I immediately went out and bought yarn and I worked on for a weekend, basically non-stop. And although that doesn’t sound like enough time to spend on a new design, I was pleased with the result. Francesca was nice enough to give it a whirl and here it is!

olivia

 

This is my first hat pattern! It’s a chunky, whimsical design with a folded brim and bobbles. I hear that chunky knit hats are going to be a big deal next winter. The Purl Soho Super Soft Merino comes in colors that are perfect for spring, too, or for cheering up a dreary winter. Pom poms are optional but I made one from some stashed Tosh Merino.

olivia 2

 

I’ve actually been nervous to release this. That anxious voice in the back of my head thinks that everyone will hate it (it almost feels like something a kid would wear but my old roommate said that I dress like Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine) or no one will want to sit next to me in the cafeteria. That being said, I’ve been tired of knitting my own patterns and not putting them out there for others. Just like my hand warmer pattern (and another upcoming project for Kollabora!), it’s a fun challenge taking the barely legible doodles and notes that are good enough for me and refining them so that others can follow them and not think that I’m crazy.

Other than that, I’ve been wearing this hat since I made it and I really love it. It is pretty much made of happiness.

You can purchase the Olivia Hat pattern here on Ravelry. I’d love to hear what you think about it and see your version.

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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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19
Feb

FO: Great Divide Shawl

Written by Sarah. Posted in accesories, blocking, FO, knits, lace, life, photos, shawl, technique

Wow! I had such a productive long weekend! While most of it felt relaxing (because I was knitting), I got so much done (mostly in the knitting department…I also made cookies). One of the things that I finished was my Great Divide shawl. And I’m in love.

great divide

Like I’ve mentioned before, I’m not really into wearing shawls. That is definitely going to change. It’s exactly what I need for chilly spring days. (Speaking of, it was way more than chilly while taking these photos. Oh my god was I freezing. Can you tell?) I’m psyched that I had these colors in my stash. I’m one happy camper.

I’ve recently discovered that I totally love blocking. I used to really hate it (I might’ve mentioned it here). In an effort to change my ways, I’ve had a tub for blocking for a while now and I bought some proper wool soap (though I’ve used Doctor Bronner’s – which my aunt Sherry said she used to use on embroideries, thanks for the tip! – the past couple of times since my wool wash was packed away and I’ve enjoyed the results!). I guess having some space in the new apartment to lay out the pieces without being totally in the way is encouraging. The blocking kit my mom got me helps too, though I’ve had that for a long time, too.

great divide 2

 

Although this wasn’t lace per se, this piece really needed a good blocking and everything opened up beautifully! I’m totally learning the merits of blocking my knits and I don’t hesitate to do it any longer!

I’m very excited about this shawl! It looks like I’m still growing as a knitter! Knitting shawls and blocking things! What a change! Maybe I’ve been replaced with an alien or a robot? I like cleaning the kitchen now, too. I’m definitely sick, guys.

Brb, going to check WebMD.

How do you feel about blocking? What’s something you made that surprised you?

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