Rhinebeck this year felt a lot like Black Friday shopping. I’ve never gone Black Friday shopping but I imagine getting a Cabbage Patch Kid the day after Thanksgiving 1987 was a lot like trying to get into the Miss Babs booth Saturday morning at the NY Sheep and Wool Festival. Lisa said that she crawled on her hands and knees into the booth to secure three skeins of worsted-weight yarn. (That’s why I love her.) (Babs herself was there being just lovely. She told me in hushed tones that it was ok to squish all the yarn, pick a color, and buy it online.)
Let’s start with the bad news, this is the yarn I didn’t buy.
We all have different strategies for fiber festivals but this is mine: I do a lap before I buy anything. In fact, sometimes I do many laps. Now, there are exceptions to this rule, sure. If it’s the last skein in that base I love or I can’t get it online or I just feel like it’s THE ONE, snatch it up. But this way is the best for me to prevent impulse-buying. At the end of the day, if I still hear the yarn calling out to me or I can’t get it out of my head, I’ll go back for it.
I walked away from a lot of yarn but that’s not to say that none of this was gorgeous. I wanted it all. But my budget (and overflowing stash) keeps me from getting everything. Part two of my strategy is to take a photo and write it down so that I can buy it later online when I either have a project or the money.
I went with a list this time but, let me tell you, it was very overwhelming to make big decisions in this atmosphere so I didn’t end up checking anything off of my list. The big ticket item was yarn for Benton. I’d love to make one for NaKniSweMo but I’m not sure what colors I want. I wear a lot of blue so I’m trying to stay away from navy. I was thinking a clay red, forest green, or maybe gold? In the end, there were so many fibers and so many color choices that were so perfect for this sweater (plus so much yarn substitution and price math), I just couldn’t choose. So I have a list of possible choices that I’m going to compare when I have my wits about me.
Here’s what I did buy. And looking at it now, I feel kind of silly because it’s really all the same. But, like I said, I have lots of yarn that are buzzing around my brain. And, spoiler alert, I did get some Christmas gifts that will have to remain a secret.
I’ve got too much sock yarn but Into the Whirled is just so yummy. All of these are the Manchester Sock base which is merino/nylon/cashmere. It’s so soft. I’m addicted to sock yarn.
When we arrived at the house Friday night, I put on some hand knit socks to get cozy with a cider (as you do at the start of a Rhinebeck weekend). I can’t tell you how sad Jon was that he hadn’t packed any knit socks. This boy loves cuddling up in handmade socks and it just really tickles me. His appreciation for socks makes me want to make him a billion (he only has two pair, that’s not right!) and it feels like a pretty valid excuse to add to my sock yarn stash. So when I was browsing the racks at ITW, I decided not to go with something pretty and purple. I picked out Wanderlust because I thought it was really masculine.
I was also totally drooling over their new semi-solids like this peacock colorway, Qualinesti. I’ve got plenty of self-striping and variegated yarns and I just feel like they limit me to making slip stitch or plain socks. I can only cable with semi-solids and solids! It’s just a thing.
So I said that that was enough sock yarn. I was just going to make some soft, amazing socks for my boyfriend…But then I went back to ITW with Panda and she convinced me that buying this skein of Cherry Bomb because it matched my nail polish was a totally legit reason. (Nail polish is Essie “In Stitches” because it’s also totally legit to buy nail polish just because it’s named after knitting. Knitting-themed nail polish, nail polish-themed yarn…This is getting a little meta.) It’s a little tough to photograph. In real life, it’s a little more on the mauve side.
I did end up getting something that’s been on my list. Ever since I saw Dana’s earrings at VKL in January, I’ve coveted a pair of Jennie the Potter earrings. It was really tough deciding which ones to get but I really love these!
So there you have it. I came, I saw, I bought yarn.
What did you get at Rhinebeck?
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!
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?
It’s finally here. Let this be a disclaimer that I’m ridiculously excited about how this sweater turned out. I’ve spent so much time on it that I’ve gotten something of a Stockholm Syndrome towards it. I’m in love with it and I’m so proud and I just want to wear it all of the time. So now I’m going to talk about my deep love for this sweater which is totally weird and I apologize if it’s incoherent. Just look at the pretty pictures (thanks for taking them, as always, Jon!).
In case you’re just tuning in now, I’ll tell you a little bit about this sweater. I was really drawn to this pattern when I first saw it in Debbie Bliss magazine last summer. I don’t know why but I really felt like I wanted to challenge myself with some intense, detailed, and tiny fair isle. (Knit on size 3s, I must’ve been drunk when I used the word “challenge.”) And I knew it would be a great addition to my wardrobe. I was obsessed with doing a neutral/neon fair isle. This would be the one.
When I started knitting this, I had a whole week off of work (hurrication). I spent about 8 hours a day in front of the Netflix knitting, so the first sleeve was finished in three days. I guess that’s when the cabin fever started to set in. Everything near us had power but there really wasn’t much we wanted or needed to do. The park was closed so we just had to take walks around the block until we felt uncomfortable and ran back inside to hide on the couch. It was a weird week. But I got a huge chunk of this sweater finished and if I hadn’t, I probably would have been too discouraged to press on.
I made a lot of other things since I cast on in the end of October. A few Christmas presents, a few birthday presents, two new patterns. I even finished a second sock. I moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn. I wrote a lot here. I think pacing myself with other projects kept me coming back to this guy.
Towards the end was when things got rough. There were a lot of ends to weave in. A LOT. There was a lot of seaming to be done (because, as I’ve mentioned a million times, it’s knit flat). And then, just as I was coming to the home stretch of being able to wear this damn sweater, I remembered that I had to tackle the embroidery. And I just really wanted to wear the freaking thing.
I finished a few days before our trip to Chicago. I could not be happier with how the blocking turned out. I know I’d expressed my nervousness regarding the fit before. Everything was super tight and small and weird when I was knitting but the blocking made all of the pieces fit perfectly and the colorwork sits so neatly. BLOCKING IS MAGIC, GUYS. The sweater is designed as a 3/4 sleeve that is a bit cropped. I knit it cropped but it lengthened during blocking which I’m pleased with. I’m not a big fan of 3/4 sleeves so I made them a bit longer and, again, blocking put them right into place.
Let me take a minute to talk about this yarn. (Are you tired of me obsessing over every detail on this sweater?) I’m devastated that St Denis has been discontinued. The Boreale yarn is probably my favorite thing I’ve ever worked with. It’s soft and delicate and every colorway is gorgeous. It’s warm but it’s not itchy and it has a great drape without being limp or droopy. But this is it. Whatever yarn is left over is going to sit in my stash, probably for the rest of my life, waiting for the PERFECT project that will never come because I will never think anything is perfect enough for it. You know that feeling? Until then, I will be scouring the internet, hoarding all of the St Denis yarn I can find. (Drop me a line if you have any leads or would like to tell me about a magical company that is rebooting the brand or if you’d like to just pour one out with me.)
Long story short, I’m very much a process knitter so long, drawn-out knits are not my thing. I’m constantly on the look out for new patterns and always planning the next project. I’ve knit plenty of sweaters and I can’t pick a favorite because they all mean something different to me. But this sweater is something special. I feel like I really conquered it. I don’t think I was ever afraid of the challenge, I was excited by it. It was kind of like the scene in Kill Bill when Uma Thurman has to battle the Crazy 88 and she knows that she has to do it and she kicks everyone’s ass but it’s totally exhausting and she’s bleeding and everything at the end of it all. Finishing this sweater gave me an immense feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. It’s kind of the War and Peace of sweaters.
I’m also finding that with every piece that I knit, I see my evolution. And I don’t necessarily mean in skill level (although I’m constantly trying to choose patterns that challenge and teach me). Every piece that I make is more and more of me – better fit and colors, pieces that fit into my personal style better. I’m figuring out what my style is as a knitter and which patterns and yarns speak to me.
And that’s what it’s all about, right?
What’s the biggest knitting challenge you’ve given yourself? Do you find yourself evolving as a knitter?
ps. There’s still plenty of time to get in on the Craftsy giveaway. Check it out!
It’s Fashion Week here in New York. Or it was? I’m not sure, I don’t keep up with these things. (Oh, I just checked. It’s still happening. Cool.) I don’t like to think that I follow trends (unless they’re neon. Or knitwear. Or NEON KNITWEAR!) but I do like to take a peek at what’s going down the runway because I was obsessed with season one of Project Runway. (Austin Scarlett is designing wedding dresses. Yes. But does anybody know what Jay McCarroll is up to these days?)
Now, it’s Spring/Summer time so that’s not the easiest for us knitters. Some of us (I won’t name names) like to put down our needles when then weather gets warm, abandoning our wool work for a bit of sewing. I understand. But I’ll make a goddamn sweater by the pool if I want to!
Luckily, there are a lot of spring trends going on that translate perfectly into knits and here are a few:
First is a clean-cut top with a color I really love. Carolina Herrera’s ready to wear line has some great summery looks. I love this coral-colored knit. It reminds me of the adorable Abuelita crocheted top from Pom Pom Quarterly.
Marc Jacobs has a really cool black and white thing going on in the Spring/Summer collection. I love the mod feeling. Vogue Knitting has a great selection of dramatic, 60’s-inspired black and white tops in their Spring/Summer issue for a similar look.
I’m a huge fan of Kate Spade. I am really just obsessed. And this season’s collection keeps with the “Live Colorfully” motto. There are a lot of brights and sparkles and it looks like bows are going to be big. A few of the Kate Spade pieces have great little collars. I’m really glad this is happening right now. I’m a big fan of this adorable Peter Pan collar by Rachele the Nearsighted Owl. Perfect for adding a little something extra to any outfit.
Which collections have caught your eye? Are you inspired by any of the summer trends?
Tags: carolina herrera, collar, fashion week, inspiration, kate spade, knit, knit tank top, knitsperation, marc jacobs, peter pan, pom pom, rachele the nearsighted owl, spring, summer, tank top, vogue knitting
Happy New Year, everyone! How did you ring in the new year? We ate tacos and drank champagne in the couch, while overdosing on Law and Order: SVU. Sometimes I’m embarrassed by how much of an old lady I am but I love it.
Did you know that this year’s Pantone color is Emerald? Expect to see lots of emerald accessories! If you’re looking to add a little more of this year’s color to your wardrobe, check out these emerald yarns!
I don’t really own any emerald (not since I played Aunt Em in a high school performance of Wizard of Oz) but I think I might cast on some emerald mittens. Maybe a hat? I’m certainly overdue for both. Knitting accessories is the perfect way to add a little bit of trendiness to your wardrobe without going overboard.
Will you be knitting with emerald this year? What’s your favorite emerald colorway?
This was a huge year for Knit York City. I am so excited to be here and move forward and I love sharing my work and my life with you guys. It’s not only been awesome to get feedback and help with my questions, but I feel like putting my energy into this blog has inspired me to spend more time making things. Looking back at all of the pieces I made this year, I think this might be my most productive year yet. It’s certainly been my most adventurous and I have all of you to thank for that!
I knit a lot of socks this year. All of the socks I made this year were my own design which is pretty awesome!
I taught myself how to sew. It got off to a rough start but I managed to make a skirt and an adorable little kimono.
I also practiced my long-forgotten embroidery skills on a wedding present for one of my best friends and a tie for Jon to wear.
I also made a few sweaters this year. I certainly didn’t make one every month but I am quite pleased with the ones that I finished. I really fell for Amy Christoffers’ new patters and I made one of them for a KAL. And I got to meet her this year!
And, of course, what somehow became my most notable knit of the year: The Hamburger Sweater. I love the reaction I’ve gotten from this knit.
On top of everything else, I started a video web series (don’t forget to subscribe!) and I’ve had so much fun meeting so many awesome people. I can only thank my friends again (and again!) for helping make them possible. There will certainly be more episodes in the new year and hopefully I can fulfill my resolution to edit them faster! (It’s been tough with everything else going on so I’m calling in the reinforcements!) Get excited for that stuff.
I can’t believe how much I’ve accomplished this year. I am so proud of myself. And knowing what projects are in the works for the new year, I couldn’t be happier. While I don’t want to set any specific goals for what I make next year, I do want to make more! I will be happy if I keep working hard at it all, keep my fingers busy typing away and shooting videos and clicking needles. I bet that there will be twice as much to talk about by the end of 2013.
What did you make this year? Did you make a lot of sweaters? What are your goals for the new year?
Tags: Amy Christoffers, baby kimono, brooklyn tweed, Cascade Eco Duo, crux socks, design, embroidery, gift, goals, hamburger sweater, hand knit, learn to sew, loft yarn, Maxfield, new years resolution, Pomme de Pin, raglan, sock pattern, sweater, there's no place like home, triangle socks, wedding
How was your holiday? I hope you got some time off even if you weren’t celebrating. Jon and I cooked Christmas dinner for my mom’s family. It was overwhelming but it turned out great. It felt so wonderful to take the pressure off of my grandma who has made us many many Christmas dinners and deserves to have some time off from all of the fussing. Besides,who else can cook a better Christmas ham than a couple of New York Jews?
December has been a really wild month and I’m excited to see what is in store for next year. I don’t think I’ve ever said that before! (I actually feel nervous and sad around the end of the year most of the time. I think I get a little bit too nostalgic. This year, I’m looking ahead and excited by what’s on the horizon!) I’ve been very good about taking photos, as I promised.
The month is certainly not over yet but here are a few of the pictures I’ve taken in December.
A lot happened this month. And there are plenty more photos on instagram where you can see all of the crazy projects I’ve been working on. I can’t wait to reveal them all!
Did you have a busy holiday? Are you excited for next year? Do you have any knitting goals lined up?
Last night I was putting all of my laundry away and I started wondering about storing my hand knits. I may not have mentioned it here but you may have guessed that I live in a tiny Manhattan apartment (location, location, location, right?) which means that storage space is hard to come by. Now, I won’t pretend that the closets in this place are tiny. I have to admit that they are larger than the regulation New York City closet size so all is not lost. (We also have overhead storage which is where my stash lives.Which is great because there’s plenty of room for it to grow but not so great because I’d rather go to my LYS than climb a ladder to sort through yarns I might have.)
Somehow Jon has more clothes hanging in the closet than I do. Maybe because he has a more extensive work wardrobe and I wear comfy sweatshirts seven days a week (though I like to pretend I only wear them at work). As I was shoving my gigantic fisherman sweater onto my half of the shelf, I wondered to myself, What the crap am I going to do when I make more clothing?!
Knitted clothing is bulky. My Maxfield cardigan is at least two if not three times thicker than the cabled Polo sweater I bought in a pinch at TJ Maxx. So what do I do with all of it? I just fold them up as neatly as I can, maybe roll them into a ball, and I scrunch them into the little pile on the shelf, usually wedging them between the ones that I don’t really wear but can’t bear to part with and the ceiling of the closet. Or I hang them off of the chair that’s in front of the sewing machine. It’s not really a good system because it’s not a system.
I’ve also got all of these things that I made when I was a novice that I don’t want to get rid of. There is a bright turquoise Ysolda Teague Snow White sweater that I knit with 100% wool Lamb’s Pride worsted in a sad pile at the bottom of the closet. It’s a big itchy, ribbed mess but I can’t frog it. (PS I can’t believe those awful photos of that are still on my Ravelry. I’m so embarrassed!) It was my first sweater!
So that leads me to this post. How do you store your knits? Do you keep them in the closet or in a special drawer? How many hand knit sweaters are in your wardorbe? Do you have any pieces that you just can’t get rid of? Any tips for the spatially deprived?
It’s almost the end of the year and I’m still discovering things that I made in 2011 that were never photographed. This one was a quick knit but I feel like I should have them all up here. That’s the point right? Better late than never, eh?
Last winter, Jon was begging me for a hat that would cover his ears. Mainly because he didn’t think that his boss and coworkers at his grown up job would appreciate the irony of wearing a Communist hat to work at one of the largest privately owned companies in the country. So we looked for something that would suit him and I ended up making this cashmere longshoreman hat.
I guess the idea orginially came out of Steve Zissou as Jon’s a die hard Bill Murray fan.
But it may have something to do with his other hero in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
It really came to fruition after seeing what might be my favorite episode of Bored to Death (RIP) “Two Large Pearls and a Bar of Gold” in which my mom’s favorite actor and long-time crush Rene Auberjonois asks “Why are you dressed like longshoremen?”
So I made him a guard outfit hat. The New York hat (and scarf) pattern worked up great in Jade Sapphire cashmere 4-ply. Any chance I get to knit with cashmere, I take, obviously. You’d be crazy not to.
After wearing it for a season and a half, it’s grown a little bit which is frustrating but it still fits well and keeps him toasty. He loves it but I think he just wants to be Ted Danson.
Do you find that cashmere grows a lot? How yummy are cashmere hats? Why are you dressed like longshoremen?
I wasn’t going to write about Sherlock because I feel like I came late to the party. I finally got around to watching Sherlock over my hurrication but I’m a little bit hooked and I’m currently re-watching both seasons to keep myself distracted from the fact that the next series is not coming out anytime soon. I feel like I’ve tweeted about the show plenty and I’ve been teased by Jon every day since I saw “A Study in Pink” (he calls Moriarty “Mariachi”) so that I think maybe I should take it down a notch with the nerdiness.
But, it’s Christmas. And Christmas means sweaters. And John Watson knows about Christmas sweaters. So this is happening.
And, besides, The Hobbit is about to come out so Mr. Freeman is absolutely relevant right now.
While looking for screen caps of the ridiculously awesome Christmas sweater that Martin Freeman rocks in “A Scandal in Belgravia” I discovered that there is an entire John Watson sweater fandom. Which includes this recipe for a John Watson Earl Grey sweater cupcake. Why not?
It seems the Watson sweater is more beloved than the Sherlock popped-collar jacket. Perhaps I’m not the only one that instinctively thinks “The Richenbach Fall” is pronounced the “Rhinebeck” fall (which is when you jump off a building into a pile of wool, duh). (It probably has nothing to do with that.)
I think Watson’s go-to fisherman sweater is my favorite of his jumpers. You can never go wrong with an oatmeal cabled sweater. Never.
If you’re looking for the ultimate fangirl knit, Trudi Brown has a basic free pattern for the iconic sweater on Ravelry which includes a kind of really adorable drawing of Watson knitting his own jumper and some cool details about knitting and the military.
How do you feel about Sherlock? Are you a Watson sweater fangirl? Will I ever shut up about this show? Do you see how I made it about knitting so I could write about it? Do you want to talk about The Hobbit or Star Trek instead? Would that be better? Is my nerd showing?
Tags: BBC, christmas, cupcake, famous knits, Fisherman Sweater, John Watson, knit, Martin Freeman, Moriarty, nerd, pattern, ravelry, recipe, Scandal in Belgravia, Sherlock, sweater, Watson sweater fandom