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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09
Aug

Bow Down: Olek’s Biggest Yarnbomb Yet

Written by Sarah. Posted in art, famous knits, instagram, photos

Back in June, I stumbled on an exciting Olek yarnbomb in my own neighborhood! I’m obviously a big fan of her work and I’d always dreamed of happening upon some of it but I hadn’t expected to see anything so close to home since she’s always bouncing around the globe. But here it was! And there she was, walking down the street, wearing a crocheted skirt and embellished bag. I thought about running after her but I totally chickened out. Regrets, guys, regrets.

olek

I took a few photos (including the one above which I’ve been using as a background on my phone). I was pretty psyched that I was up close and personal with one of her pieces.

But I am SO envious of everyone that’s gotten to see Olek’s newest creation: this yarnbombed train!

olek train

The train is located in Lodz, Poland. I can hardly imagine how many hours and yards were involved in this insane piece of art. It’s fantastic. I have no words, just so much respect!

olek train 2

Olek is quoted as saying “If the natural progression is to make bigger better pieces, what should I make next? Can someone give me a plane? Or should I go to the moon?” It reminds me of the Pendragon magicians (I was obsessed with becoming a magician in elementary school) who once disappeared a space shuttle (I was also obsessed with becoming an astronaut). Yarnbombed space shuttle, please!

What should Olek bomb next?

train photos via HuffPost

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29
Apr

What’s in Your Notion Bag?

Written by Sarah. Posted in knits, life, photos

Thought I’d do a little spring cleaning this weekend and go through my notions bag. I keep my notions bag, as I do most of my WIPs, knocking around under the coffee table. Usually there’s a bunch of crap spilling out of it onto the floor or a pile of magazines. One day I will get it all together and my knitting life will be beautiful and tidy.

Until then, at least it’s all in one bag…

This brought the perfect opportunity to share with you what I do have in my dandy little  notions bag. Here’s a little inventory of the rag tag band that helps me do the dirty work:

notions bag

-2 tape measures
-stitch holders
-a yarn cutter that looks like a ninja star that I once wore on a ribbon as a necklace in high school (what a loser!)
-teeny tiny scissors on a keychain
-yarn “bras”
-a bunch of yarn labels because I hoard them and promise to paste them into a notebook one day and then usually I just throw them out
-toy button eyes
-regular old buttons
-an exacto knife?
-tags for knitted gifts
-a bunch of tapestry needles I can never find because they’re alway at the bottom of the bag
-stitch markers and little containers for them
-a paper clip I used as a stitch marker once when I couldn’t find those stitch markers
-an impromptu cardboard pom pom maker
-bobby pins?
-a bunch of scrap yarn that I use as stitch holders but refuse to throw out in case I need stitch holders because I hate cutting good yarn for scraps
-cable needles
-an old school stitch counter that I probably haven’t used in years and was actually surprised to find
-a gauge ruler/needle size thingy
-3 wrist support gloves (fourth is MIA.) not sure where I got the second pair though

And finally my nifty notions bag which my awesome Aunt Sherry got me (actually, she got me a bunch of the notions pictured above!). It’s got this crazy collage thing going on with clippings from probably a billion magazines and such.

The first notion bag I ever bought was a pencil case with rainbow hearts on it. I paid for it in the cafe at Barnes and Noble in high school because that’s where I did a lot of hanging out. Good times! Before that I was using a make up bag my mom got with some kind of Clinique gift set.

Anyway, that’s a lot of talk about notions. Where do you keep your notions? What’s a must for your notions bag? What am I missing!? And where did that damn tapestry needle go?!

ps. Thanks, everyone for entering the Craftsy giveaway! So great to hear what everyone is interested in learning about! I’ll be emailing winners soon with the info soon so check your emails!

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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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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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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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11
Feb

FO: Linen Stitch Sock and Variegated Yarns

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

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

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

linen stitch sock

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

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

linen stitch detail

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

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

linen stitch sock 2

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

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

linen stitch sock 3

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

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

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

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01
Feb

Project 365 2013

Written by Sarah. Posted in instagram, photos, project 365, Uncategorized

I am proud to share that I’ve taken at least one photo every day this year (so far)! I never thought I’d keep up with a photo-a-day project but it looks like I’ve managed to do it so far.

january

 

Now, I won’t pretend that instagram is the highest form of art. And I must admit that, since I really don’t want to miss a day, most of my photos are stupid and terrible slash pictures of my shoes. I’m ok with all of that. I thought that the challenge would force me to look at the world with a photograhic eye instead of just walking to work with my head down, grumbling about inclimate weather. I haven’t quite mastered that part of the project but I’m getting there.

While the photos aren’t always going to be spectacular, I’m doing two things that are really important to me. First, I’m keeping a photo diary. I hope that next year I can look back and remember, “Oh that was the 80’s computer elevator that was in that building we wanted to live in but we found a better apartment!” (I’m very nostalgic.) Second, since I don’t always have something to take a beautiful picture of, I’m taking a lot more WIP shots. They don’t have fantastic lighting or a dramatic depth of field but it’s nice to get feedback and I have this narcissistic idea that people like to see my progress. (Everyone that has a Twitter is a bit of a narcissist.)

Anyway, I’m enjoying this project. It’s nice to have a record of my life that isn’t as big a commitment as keeping a diary (besides, my diaries have always been embarrassing). Maybe I’ll even learn how to take better photos (of my food, because, well, you’ve seen the photos.)

Are you doing a 365 photo challenge this year? Are you following me on instagram?

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18
Jan

Vogue Knitting Live! NY 2013

Written by Sarah. Posted in knits, new york city, photos

Not much to write about today since I’m antsy to get to Vogue Knitting Live! I have been SO busy, that VKL completely snuck up on me. I almost wish I had more time to enjoy it. Last year was my first VKL. I had a really awesome time, although I was overwhelmed! I’ve decided to pace myself this year. I’m only taking one, all-day class. I have a (vague, negotiable) budget that I want to stick to so that I don’t buy too much yarn (there’s no such thing as too much yarn).

vogue knitting live

Since I haven’t loaded up on classes and stash-building, I want to focus on meeting other knitters. Of course, I plan on learning in Connie Chang Chinchio’s sweater design class. But I really want to spend my time meeting up with friends and getting to know other knitters, bloggers, podcasters, dyers, designers, all of you! You know that’s what I’m all about!

I’ll see you all at VKL! I’d love to meet you so please say hello! (I’ll be wearing an Amy Christoffers design, duh!) I have all of these really cool business cards with my logo and I want to give them away! Let’s hang out!

Stay tuned! I’ll report back with details from this year’s Vogue Knitting Live!

Are you going to Vogue Knitting Live? What classes are you taking? Did you decide on what you’re wearing?

ps. You have until noon to enter the Kollabora giveaway! Tell your friends!

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