12
Sep

Holla Knits F/W Preview by KYC!

Written by Sarah. Posted in design, DIY, FO, knits, KYC Presents, photos, press, sweater

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!

the crash

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?

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07
Aug

Sneak Peek: Holla Knits Fall Design!

Written by Sarah. Posted in design, knits, KYC Presents, style, sweater

Things have picked up so much over the past few months! I can’t even explain how crazy it’s been and, frankly, I’ve had a hard time keeping up with it all! It’s all been worth it, though. And I can finally begin to reveal what I’ve been working on so feverishly!

holla knits sweaterphoto via Holla Knits

I designed a sweater!

Monday morning, Allyson posted a few preview pics of my design for the Holla Knits Fall/Winter 2013 collection! I won’t get into any spoilers here but I will say that I am very proud of this design and I really look forward to seeing other people make and wear it! Writing this pattern was probably one of the most difficult things I’ve done in a long long time and I loved challenging myself.

It’s an odd sensation knowing that the sneak peeks are out. I’ve thought about this sweater for so many hours of my life, it’s crazy to think that people are checking it out for the first time. Maybe working on this has unraveled my brain a little. Probably.

See more  photos of my design along with sneak peeks of the rest of the Fall collection over at the HK blog! What do you think? Are you itching for more?

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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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13
May

Mother-Daughter Knit-a-long!

Written by Sarah. Posted in cardigan, holiday, knit-a-long, knits, sweater, WIP, yarn

You may have read about it on the twitter already but I have a cool announcement today! In honor of yesterday being Mother’s Day, I am working on a mother-daughter knit a long.

My mom taught me how to knit when I was in fourth grade (and then again when I wanted to get back into it when I was in high school). She is a great knitter. She made me so many things growing up and I’ve always been inspired by the way she picks up her needles to shoot off gifts for just about everyone that’s expecting. I come from a family of crafty women and I owe this blog and everything I’m doing now to their awesomeness.

So we’re knitting together! My mom requested that we knit the Stonecutters cardigan. Being a fan of Amy Christoffers must run in the family! I’m also very excited to knit one of Amy’s patterns for this because she’s a mom, too! I’m going to knit with Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Wool Socks. My mom will cast on Berroco Brookstone Tweed in Marsh. It was awesome fun texting with my mom, debating over yarn choice and chatting on the phone about colors. We’ll have two matching garments that represent ourselves. It’s going to be really fun!

mothersdaykal

 

I am lucky to have such an amazing mother who has taught me so many things. Although she sometimes drive me crazy, she always makes me laugh. She always seems to have that random button or recipe that I need and I’m always learning from her.  I’ve always been in awe of how hilarious an creative she is. She is my number one fan and I can’t thank her enough for all of her support. I’m so excited to be part of her first KAL!

I’ll be updating here about my and my mom’s progress on our cardigans!

Have you ever knit with an important lady in your life?

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03
May

Blocking Cotton

Written by Sarah. Posted in blocking, knits, lace, sweater, technique, WIP

I will admit that blocking has only recently become my favorite thing ever. I used to really hate it. I’ve mentioned that once or twice before. But it’s the best. THE BEST. When I finished knitting up the Poolside top, I was really excited to block it. The lace definitely needed a little relaxing and I was hoping that the stitches would lay a little bit neater.

Here’s the thing. I’m still not the biggest fan of cotton yarn. It was fun to try out a top in this fiber and the Blue Sky Alpacas really does cotton justice. It made me re-think the way that I feel about cotton. That being said, the stitches are VERY defined. It’s a nice, crisp look but it also highlights wonky parts were weaved in and where new skeins were joined. And basically if my tension varied at all, you could tell. So this guy needed a blocking.

Here’s a before shot. Don’t mind the dramatic shadows…

blocking cotton

 

It’s all pinned down but you can kind of see what I mean about the stitches being defined in the left sleeve. It’s not really meshing and smooshing together the way that wool does, the stitches just kind of sit next to each other telling all of the other stitches to bugger off.

Anyway, when I went to block this, I wanted to make sure I was doing everything properly. I think I’ve only made dishtowels out of cotton yarn and those really don’t need to be blocked. That just sounds silly. Anyway anyway, I turned to this helpful guide from Knitty. Remember, kids: Different fibers need to be treated differently! You can’t just dunk everything into a basin of warm water and Soak.

Cotton needs to be steamed. This is how I did it since my iron is a piece of crap and I don’t have a steamer.

blocking cotton 2

I took an old pillowcase and soaked it in the sink. I wrung it out a little and placed it over my sweater which was laid out on a blocking mat. (I pinned it down since I wanted the lace to stretch out a bit. Whether you pin your blocking is up to you and the way you want the fabric of your sweater to turn out. Think about that!)  Then I ironed it out and removed the pillowcase.

Another pro tip: Ask someone else to take a photo of you ironing. It’s really hard and probably dangerous to photograph and iron simultaneously.

blocking cotton 3

Ta da! That’s it! There’s what it looked like immediately after ironing. I tried it on after it dried for 24 hours. Cotton is tough. It doesn’t want to stretch out the way other natural fibers might but the neckline did kind of lose its shape. The lace, though, looks really beautiful in this color and fiber.

I’m really pleased with how it turned out and it’s always fun to try some new blocking techniques! More photos of the FO coming soon!

Have you ever blocked cotton yarn? Any tips?

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24
Apr

WIP: Poolside Test Knit

Written by Sarah. Posted in knits, sweater, WIP

When I saw Isabell Kraemer’s Poolside top, I was bummed that the pattern hadn’t been released. It was one of those pieces that I instantly wanted to make. So I told her so and Isabell asked me if I’d like to test knit it. I love sneak peeks and previews so I was really excited to get in on the action ahead of time.

poolside test
I wasn’t going to post a WIP for this project but since the pattern’s been released, I wanted to take some quick photos to show off how beautiful it is. As you probably saw before, I’m using the Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Dyed Cotton. I’m loving it. I got a lot of work done on it on my trip to Chicago. A few hours of plane knitting put a good dent in the project.

poolside test 2

The lace part of the body was so much fun to work on. I was worried about how it would hold up using the cotton yarn but I’m so pleased with how it turned out. I’m sure blocking will really make it smooth. I’m almost finished with the sleeves so I will have more updates for you soon!

What are your thoughts on cotton lace?

ps. Just a few days left to enter the Craftsy giveaway!

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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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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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15
Mar

This is the Worst Part

Written by Sarah. Posted in faire isle, knits, sweater, technique, WIP

For today’s post. I’d like to take a moment of silence in honor of all of the knitters out there that we’ve lost to our most tragic epidemic in the community: Weaving in ends.

weaving

It’s happened to all of us at one point. Sometimes weaving in ends, you feel like you should just throw in the towel, call it quits, give up. If you know a knitter at risk, don’t be afraid to help.

Now I have to get back to weaving.

ps. I’m heading to Chicago next week! Any places I have to visit?

pps. Check out my fingerless mitts featured in this trend guide!

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