24
Sep

FO: Hamsa Embroidery

Written by Sarah. Posted in apartment, art, DIY, embroidery, gift, life, photos

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.

hamsa embroidery

 

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!

hamsa embroidery 2

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!

hamsa embroidery 3

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?

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18
Sep

Pumpkin Spice Yarn

Written by Sarah. Posted in DIY, food, holiday, knits, life, photos, Rhinebeck, want, yarn

Once the weather gets the slightest bit of chill in it, I am craving pumpkin. Pumpkin soup, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin pie. From September 1st to December 1st, I am annually on a mission to ingest as much pumpkin as possible.

Maybe this season we can wrap ourselves in pumpkin-colored sweaters, too! Here are some spicy, warm, and sweet yarns in your favorite flavor!

PUMPKIN

 

1. Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Embers
2. Juniper Moon Farm Yearling in Butternut
3. Quince and Co Puffin in Nasturtium
4. Luna Grey Fiber Arts Orion in Pumpkin
5. Jill Draper Makes Stuff Mohonk in Rust

I’d love a big cowl or maybe a pair of mittens in pumpkin. But a wooly pair of socks sound nice too! There’s just too much pumpkin and not enough time.

What’s your favorite pumpkin treat for the fall?

ps. The winners of the #kollabsockalong were announced yesterday! Congratulations and thank you to everyone who participated!

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16
Sep

The Crash Sweater

Written by Sarah. Posted in design, DIY, famous knits, knits, KYC Presents, life, photos

It’s here! I just wanted to stop by to remind you that the Holla Knits F/W 2013 collection is out TODAY.

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the crash holla knits

I haven’t shared any photos of the second sample which is knit with Unplanned Peacock Studio yarn. The shoulder details are knit in the same colorway as the rest of the sweater (but in the bulky weight) so you can see everything in monotone! Check it out!

the crash peacock

the crash peacock 2

You can purchase a PDF of the pattern right here!

And I hope you’re not tired of seeing The Crash because I’ll be hosting a Blog Tour Stop (with giveaways!) on Friday. Stay tuned!

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13
Sep

Guess the WIP: Embroidery Edition!

Written by Sarah. Posted in art, design, DIY, embroidery, gift, instagram, life, photos

Shall we play a game? There was another piece I finished recently that I kept pretty hush hush.

Here are a few shots!

embroidery hamsa

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!

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09
Sep

FO: #kollabsockalong

Written by Sarah. Posted in FO, knit-a-long, knits, kollabora, life, socks

You’ll have to excuse my few days of absence. Last week was one of those weeks where all you want to do is hide from life on the couch with a big cup of tea and some really good knitting, when you want to give hugs to everyone you know. When you’re feeling pain and sorrow, nothing can snap you out of it like a good sock. Of course, those rough weeks are also the ones that keep you too busy to sleep let alone get some stitching in.  The end of summer has been hectic for my family and I was hoping that it would begin to settle down after Labor Day weekend. I was wrong, I’ll leave it at that.

I still feel dizzy with all of the work that I left unfinished over the past few days, there’s just so much to catch up on, and of course, there are plenty of deadlines looming. But I’m excited to say that I’ll be filling up my month with lots of great projects. It’s going to be a heck of a ride and as much as I stress, I love the feeling of importance that comes from one too many commitments.

Anyway, where did we leave off?

sockalong

I finished the first sock just before the holiday weekend and immediately cast on for the second. I had so much time in the car and having a drink that by the end of Labor Day weekend, I’d already turned the heel and was working my way towards the foot. It all happened so fast. It was like an inverse second sock syndrome. The second sock just kind of happened like magic.

I finally turned to my knitting Friday night, just exhausted and drained, and was so happily surprised that I had just a few more inches to go before my sock was complete.

Together, they are so soft and comfy. These are definitely my new favorite sock and I look forward to purchasing more yarn from Jill to make a second pair. Maybe those will be gifted. Maybe.

#kollabsockalong

Knitting, my friend’s mother (a fellow knitter) told me in college, is something that control freaks love to do. We love being able to preside over every inch, manage the perfect fit, and obsess over tiny stitches. Sometimes when life becomes that blur, when things happen that we can’t change, when we are thrown those proverbial curveballs, it is huge therapy just to sit down with needles, to make something as perfect as we need them to be, and to feel that peace that comes with completing a pair of socks.

Did you finish your socks? Don’t forget to post photos! Judging starts tomorrow!

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20
Aug

Famous Knits: The Shining

Written by Sarah. Posted in famous knits, knits, life, movies

Today I want to talk about my FAVORITE pop culture knit of all time. That’s right, this is a big one! I honestly have never wanted to write about it because I’ve always dreamed of making one of my own but I know that it will be a while before I’ve got the chance. So, without further ado, Danny’s Apollo 11 sweater!

shining apollo

The Shining is definitely one of my favorite films. It scares the crap out of me and I love watching it on a snowy day. Kubrick is amazing, Nicholson is fantastic. Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown, that crazy brown/red/orange carpet, and the titles that just say the word TUESDAY but still make me scream every time I see them. I really don’t need to go into all of the things that make this film so great and so terrifying and I certainly wouldn’t be the one to do it with any eloquence.

Remember when Tavi Gevinson wore it on the Colbert Report?

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I’ve always been in love with the sweater Danny wears in the film. It’s really cute and childish. It’s very late 70s which I like a lot. I love that it’s very in your face. Danny could have worn any sweater in any color or pattern but this bold graphic with words really catches the eye. It’s an interesting choice and I really have no idea why Kubrick and costume designer Milena Canonero went with it. (I have a feeling it’s not from the book but I haven’t read it so I guess I haven’t done my homework here!) But either way, I really like it. (Did you know some conspiracy theorists believe that the Apollo 11 sweater is a wink to Kubrick faking the space landing for the government? Yeah, I don’t even.)

(Somewhat-related story: I made a set of Grady twins dolls as a final project for a Horror Genre class I took in college. No idea where they ended up and  I have no photos of them. But they were fun to make. When you go to art school you get to take classes where you just watch scary movies and you’re graded on knitting dolls inspired by the films! Moral of the story is: I paid how much for college?)

One day I will make an Apollo sweater of my own and I will wear it always. Until then, I’ll be having nightmares about the ash falling off of Wendy’s cigarette.

photos via The Overlook Hotel

ps. Don’t forget to cast on your socks for the KAL!

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30
Jul

This is Still Happening

Written by Sarah. Posted in DIY, embroidery, famous knits, gift, life

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.

zelda cross stitch

 

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.

zelda cross stitch 2

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!

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16
Jul

Boys, Boys, Boys

Written by Sarah. Posted in knits, life, yarn

Did you see the new men’s collection from Brooklyn Tweed? Every time a BT collection is released, there’s certainly a lot of oohing and ahhing. But this one really got us into a frenzy. There was a lot of discussion around the blogosphere about men’s knits and it was really exciting!

Aside from swooning over the models and debates about whether sweater-wearing boys look better with beards or clean-shaven (I think my vote is with beards), there was a ton of talk about menswear, shape, taste, and knitwear design. Men’s silhouettes make for a very different canvas. I love how the BT Men collection plays with classic menswear themes (elbow patches, shawl collars, shoulder details).

Redford BT Men

There was a lot of excitement about new menswear patterns. Aside from a few books dedicated to the subject and some new Rowan patterns and a smattering of older Brooklyn Tweed selections, there just isn’t enough out there in terms of patterns for men. Even male designers are designing for women. Obviously this is because of the demand. I think we can all agree that it wouldn’t be profitable to design more menswear patterns than women’s. So there’s a bit of a drought there. I think that a lot of the menswear patterns I’ve encountered are not classic enough that I’d want to make them. They’re weird and experimental which is cool but (stereotype here) not something that a lot of guys want to wear. And there’s nothing like a dude in a simple raglan sweater.

We all want to see more patterns like these and we want to design more patterns like these but it’s just not really there right now. I’m not sure what would change that…I guess more men who want to knit for themselves? Maybe that’s just the way things are, that women own a greater variety of clothing. But I’d like to see more menswear. I just really love boys in sweaters!

Timberline BT Men

Anyway, I wanted to talk about my favorite piece from the collection which is the Timberline sweater (above). It’s crazy gorgeous. And, if you’re a long time reader you’d know, it is almost exactly what I was looking for to make Jon a Don Draper cardigan. Oh yes! Finally a cream-colored, shawl-collared cabled sweater for him! Every time a new collection comes out with cabled menswear pieces, I’m looking for something that is close to the sweater from season 5’s finale. Now I’ve found it! It’s more modern and intricate and a bit bulkier but I think it’s exactly Jon’s taste. My search can finally end!

Exeter BT Men

That being said, the Timberline sweater reminds me of Michelle Wang’s Exeter from BT’s Spring Thaw collection. (I actually thought for a moment about making Jon that sweater since it seemed big enough. I’m glad I didn’t do it because I probably would’ve been really disappointed.) Obviously, Timberline is different from Exeter. Timberline fits a man’s frame well, the cabling is different while Exeter is double breasted with a folded cuff.

I really like seeing both sweaters side by side. And I’m really tempted to make myself an Exeter to match Jon’s soon-to-be Timberline but I am generally against intentional matching. I’m not sure it’s a good idea since we always end up dressing similarly (“Oh, we’re both wearing striped t-shirts today? Cool.”) since I like to wear menswear-inspired outfits (read: most days I wear boys’ t-shirts with jeans because getting dressed is hard). And I need another cardigan like I need another ten pounds.

But I can dream…

Do you love menswear knits? Do you think more designers will be inspired to produce these patterns? Do you think Jon and I can wear matching sweaters and still be cool?

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09
Jul

Famous Knits: Julia Gillard

Written by Sarah. Posted in famous knits, knits, life

Remember how Kate Middleton was looking for knitting tips when she picked up her new hobby? Perhaps she can look down under for some advice! Australia’s MP Julia Gillard is an avid knitter who is reportedly making a little stuffed kangaroo for the royal baby that’s due any day now!

Gillard, the first female Prime Minister, was photographed for The Australian Women’s Weekly with needles in her hands, surrounded by yarn! She says that she likes to knit for babies since she doesn’t have much time to complete big projects. It’s hard enough for me to squeeze in a few hours of stitching after work, I can’t imagine doing the same while running a country!

julia gillard

 

I’ve read some criticism of the spread, some speculate that the photographs were meant to draw in female voters while others go so far as to blame them for the results of last month’s election. There seems to be a lot of opinions on this and it makes me sad that there is controversy here. I won’t pretend that I’m up on Australian politics (I read her Wikipedia page) so I can’t say whether or not I could support Gillard (I mean, there’s definitely points for knitting. I’d be lying if I said that didn’t sway me). But I think it’s absolutely great that she is knitting and that she is open about that.

You have to be kind of a badass lady to help found Emily’s List Australia, lead the Labor Party and become the first female Prime Minister while being an unmarried, childless atheist. Showing that she is a yarnsmith makes her even more courageous. Because a lot of people saw those photos and balked at the idea of a woman knitting baby sweaters being their Prime Minister. The domestic arts have such a stigma, it’s really frustrating. Why should knitting be anything less than fishing or playing football or drinking beer? I doubt there would be so much criticism if she said she liked to take time off and play a few rounds of golf. Maybe the photos did cost her the election but I’m glad she wasn’t afraid to be herself or challenge stereotypes about women in so many ways.

Women can lean in and wear pant suits and run the world. But I think it’s important that while doing these things, we aren’t ashamed or afraid of being women. So we knit and we sew and we cook? In the western world, those things are considered feminine and things that are feminine are silly and undervalued and down-right disrespected. It’s time the world saw that some ass kicking and being a lady goes hand in hand.

Enjoy that stuffed animal, royal baby! It’s truly a special gift!

Would you do a knitting photo shoot if you were running for office? But seriously, what would you knit for the royal baby?

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03
Jul

Let’s Talk About A Close Shave

Written by Sarah. Posted in famous knits, knits, life, movies, tv

If you were raised on British television as a certain blogger was, then you were surely familiar with the antics of Wallace and Gromit before Nick Park’s feature film Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Maybe you didn’t have HBO but you wanted HBO because you wanted to watch Clueless because you LOVE Clueless even though you’ve never seen it before. So instead you tuned in to channel thriteen to catch broadcasts of BBC shows like Keeping up Appearances.

After hanging out with my Aunt Sherry last weekend and then watching 2008’s A Matter of Loaf and Death last night (as grown ups do, right?), I was reminded of the many times I visited her and asked to watch The Wrong Trousers with me after making me a blueberry soda. But while the toy train chase scene will always be one of the top ten moments in film history (don’t even, it won an Oscar!), the real best when it comes to W&G is A Close Shave.

Oh, Gromit! Oh, lawn gnome! Oh, PBS fundraiser marathons!

wallace and gromit

Now, if you are a knitter (or just a regular human being) and you have not seen this short film, you need to correct this situation and do so immediately. Gather up your children or your neighbors children or just a pet (it really makes no difference to me) and watch it.

gromit knitting

Here are a few reasons that A Close Shave is amazing: It stars a sheep named Shaun who is adorable. In fact, it stars many sheep. It stars a dog that knits. He knits, guys! It’s a thrilling mystery that revolves almost entirely around yarn! And it’s stop motion animation. If you don’t love stop motion animation, you might as well hate Christmas or ice cream or blowing bubbles and listening to toddlers giggle. Stop motion animation is magical and require patience beyond any reasonable imagination and that is why you should love it.

I demand that you watch this movie! While you’re at it, you ought to be brushing up on Creature Comforts, too. What are you waiting for?

ps. Enjoy your 4th of July! I’m taking the rest of the week off to make friendship bracelets and eat guacamole but I’ll be back next week!

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