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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18
Jun

Great Knitscape

Written by Sarah. Posted in design, DIY, famous knits, knits, movies, Uncategorized

How perfect is it that this video came out over Father’s Day weekend? My dad is a biker and a big fan of Steve McQueen so I’m obsessed with this animation by Ruth Herring and the Baker-bunch. The scene, re-creating the climactic moment of the film, was made in honor of the 50th anniversary of the film’s release. The bike chase scene was allegedly added to the film in order to appease Steve McQueen when when he refused to swap costumes with James Garner (you can read more about it in the video’s description).

Knitted stop motion animation is something that I’ve always wanted to try and what better way to do it than paying homage a classic cinematic moment. (As an aside, stop motion is the most tedious thing I’ve ever attempted. Big props to anyone who’s successfully animated anything without jumping off of a building!) I really love the great little set including plastic soldiers and  great fair isle German signs.

I forgot how awesome Steve McQueen’s sweatshirt is in the film! (Another something I’d love to make for myself.) I highly recommend you check out this video! And, as I was preaching last week, make sure you like and subscribe to the K1P1 youtube channel!

And while we’re on the subject, Eddie Izzard on The Great Escape. Back to the cooler!

ps. Dad, I can’t knit you a motorcycle right now. I know you were thinking it!

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13
Jun

I WANT MY KNIT TV!

Written by Sarah. Posted in Uncategorized

Pour yourself a drink. This is a long one. Apologies in advance.

Most Saturday afternoons when Jon and I are visiting his parents, his dad will settle in front of the TV with a cold beer and flip the channels. Almost always he lands on the fishing channel and that’s what we watch all afternoon while Jon fixes something with someone’s iPhone and I click away with my needles. Jon’s dad loves to fish. He wakes up early on Sunday mornings and returns home with something to grill for lunch.

Most Saturday mornings when Jon and I are visiting my parents, my dad will settle in front of the TV with a coffee and flip the channels. Almost always he lands on the History Channel and that’s what we watch all afternoon while Jon fixes their printer and I click away with my needles. My dad loves history. He takes time off of work to drive to historic sites in other states and has room full of books he’s read about the Founding Fathers.

I love knitting. And when I curl up on the couch with my work, I like to watch TV. That’s no secret. I’ve gone through seasons of Mad Men, Big Love, Doctor Who (to mention a few) in the name of my knitting.

So when a friend sent me a picture of this ad in the subway, I was delighted.

knitting wars pbs

 

Until I realized that it was just a joke. Thirteen has a series of ads that poke fun of contemporary television. “The fact you thought this was a real show says a lot about the state of TV. Support quality programming.” I see where they’re coming from. I’m kinda snobby. I don’t know how many iterations of Duck Dynasty or Long Island Medium the world needs. Those aren’t things I’m into. I wasn’t offended that PBS was making fun of knitting (though it’s such an over-used stereotype that old ladies knit, it’s not even that funny), I was mad that there wasn’t a show for me to watch.

There’s a channel for my dad full of shows about the American Revolution (spoiler alert: we won). There is a whole network dedicated to fishing which (no offense, fisherpeople) is kind of notoriously boring (or is that a stereotype just like the old ladies knitting? If so, sorry again.). Guys (and pretty ladies) fish in the ocean, in the Great Lakes, in the carribean. They talk about fish and boats and gear. But really, it’s a lot of fishing which is great if you’re into fish porn. I could see how a guy like Jon’s dad could get into that channel. I said aloud, after hour four of Saltwater Adventures, “I wish I could watch a knitting channel all day.”

So I want my Knit TV!

Where’s my channel? The DIY Network is entirely made of home improvement shows since Knitty Gritty’s end in 2007. The same can be said for HGTV. Martha Stewart’s show was cancelled last year and she’s not just a little lady with needles. Even if I were to be less specific craft-centric, the Food Network has been bastardized by reality and competition shows. Good Eats and Boy Meets Grill and Julia fucking Child have been relegated to the Cooking Channel where actual cooking instruction happens.

So, yeah, PBS, I can see what you mean. And I see what you’re trying to do with Create TV (a channel that a lot of us probably don’t get with whatever cable we have). But I’m not asking for something that’s dry and awkward, Bob Ross style. Why can’t we have an exciting network with cool shows? The fact that Project Runway has gotten 10+ seasons goes to show that people like things being made and it can be done in a glossy, sell-able way.

What about a yarn and fabric-centric travel show? Anthony Bourdain has made a career out of eating around the globe. Why not knitting around the globe? How about competition shows like Craft Wars? (As an aside, I can’t complete this post without saying that I LOVE CRAFT WARS! Please tell me they’re bringing it back for a second season!) There’s a cupcake competition show on Food Network that’s had multiple seasons, I’m sure we can do better. There are home improvement shows about upcycling a la This Old House, why not something fashion-oriented or just plain design-savvy? And if we want to take the reality show route, instead of Cake Boss, how about a LYS show? Ravelry has 2 million members, there’s an audience for this stuff. I’ve got plenty of ideas, DIY Network, so feel free to hit me up. (In this 2009 blog post by Vickie Howell blames the absence of craft television on sponsorship. Home improvement shows are buoyed by the giant home improvement stores. I’m sure she knows more about the subject than I do but I can’t believe there aren’t stores and products – outside of yarn companies – that couldn’t advertise to such a great market.)

Until then, I’m happy to say that we crafters are taking the internet by storm. If there’s one place that we can have whatever we want, it’s online. With the rise of craft YouTube channels (shameless self promotion here), our audience is getting what they want. Shows like Nora Meets the Maker sheds light on different makers and projects while being fun and trendy and The Fiber Factor is giving that competition excitement to budding designers. And I must mention that there are a myriad of video (and traditional) podcasters sharing tons of content. We might be doing them on shoestring (read: zero dollars) budgets but they’re out there!

In conclusion, maybe cable is over. Maybe, if I can’t get the shows that I’d really love to watch, my subscription will end. Of course, there’s plenty of non-craft shows that I love but online accessibility (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc) is making television obsolete. So maybe we should just wait for these big networks to die out and then we can take over for craft video world domination. A girl can dream. Until then, it’s important to support those shows that we love so much by clicking the like button, sharing with our friends, commenting, and subscribing. (Please don’t take this as a plea for subscriptions for my own channel which has been coming back to life after a long winter! I mean every kind of content that you like from any maker!) It’s important that people know they’re being appreciated so they keep putting in their hard work. And, you never know, online popularity leads to shows on those networks I just sentenced to death. I’d love for any of these crafters to break out into the mainstream!

What craft shows do you like? What would you love to see on tv? What are you watching online? Say it with me: I WANT MY KNIT TV!

ps. Happy Father’s Day to Jon’s dad and my own!(?)

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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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06
Jun

Fabric Stash

Written by Sarah. Posted in sewing

Remember that time that I bought a sewing machine and tried to teach myself to sew? That was almost a year ago! I’ve really slacked off since my first two sewing projects. Like, I started sewing a tank top but then the weather turned cold and I had no motivation to finish it. I’ve promised myself that I will this summer, though! Since I’m not very experienced, I’m not afraid too tackle simple summer clothes like tank tops and dresses so sewing will be a seasonal thing for me, for now.

Although I haven’t touched my machine in a few months, I have been dreaming about stitching a few things. Especially since my big spiel about how I want to add more hand made pieces to my wardrobe due to my general distaste for the current state of the garment industry. There have been multiple occasions over the past few weeks when I’ve thought about buying a tee or a dress and I’ve assured myself that I could just make one instead and then put my wallet away. (Keeping myself from impulse purchases is a victory in and of itself!)

While I’m still learning to sew, I’ve decided that I should really only be making with cheaper fabrics. I treated myself to some Liberty fabric last summer for the yet-to-be-finished Wikstein tank top. But, as I work towards making more difficult garments, I don’t want to waste money in case something goes awry (as is often the case).

So I decided to do some browsing on JoAnn Fabric’s online sale section. I had a few extra dollars kicking around and the weather was just starting to warm up. Why not treat myself to the foundations of a fabric stash?

fabric

I’m still really learning about sewing. I’m like beyond a beginner class but I don’t know any lingo or fancy stuff. Not a girl, not yet a woman. I feel like an absolute idiot when it comes to buying fabric but (true to form) I’m just diving in without asking too many questions and I’ll fake it ’til I make it. Like, here’s a good question (that I actually did ask before I spent cash!), how much fabric do you buy to stash? I know I can buy one skein of sock yarn and throw it in my stash or maybe two skeins of worsted weight yarn to make a hat or something. How much fabric should I buy when I don’t have a project in mind? (The answer I crowdsourced was 2-4 yards depending on the width whatever that means – I know what that means, just kidding, kind of. I’ll report back when I have more information.)

I bought four yards of a green seersucker which I think would make an adorable sun dress. Not sure if I’m ready to tackle such a big project or if that’s way too much to get but I bought it. I also bought two or three yards of this yellow cotton fabric that I thought was plain but it actually has a stripey texture to it? I’m thinking a simple t-shirt or tank top with that. Maybe this Mathilde top? It looks intimidating but that’s how I roll! Finally, I bought this really pretty crepe(???)/silky (God, I have no idea what I’m talking about here) pink fabric and, surprise! it has little flowers cut into it. I thought it was printed with a pattern. Guys, dye cut means that there are holes cut in it. Online fabric shopping is just as hard as online yarn shopping. No worries because I don’t think I’m ready to work with slippery fabrics yet, anyway. There’s still time for me to find a pattern that involves sheer fabric with little decorative holes.

Every time I put my toe into the swimming pool of sewing, I’m afraid that sharks will bite me. I totally understand how newbies are so nervous when it comes to knitting. I’m not sure which one seems more complicated (I like to think knitting but mainly because I want to know that I’ve mastered something really difficult!) but there is certainly a lot to learn about both.

What are your tips for buying fabric? Am I doing this right? Do you sew all year long?

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03
Jun

Dreaming of Pouches

Written by Sarah. Posted in want

I’ve been seeing a lot of great little pouches out there in the world. I really want to buy them all and keep them but I don’t know what I’d do with them! Remember all of that junk in my notions bag? (Just as an FYI I’ve already typed the word “notion” so many times that it sounds weird in my head.) I love the crazy collage bag that I use to store all of my stitch markers and cable needles. It feels durable and it’s the perfect size.  While I was in Chicago, I bought a little drawstring project bag (it’s got little embroidered sheep on it!) in the hopes of keeping myself organized.

If I were ever to retire my notion bag or invest in new project bags, I’d probably sew new ones for myself. Of course, I’m an advocate for handmade everything. I see pouches and all I can think of is organizing everything in my life into little decorative bags and mason jars. That would be wonderful. So I’ve been gathering inspiration for bags and here are my three favorites!

bag

1. Bookhou Triangle Pouch
2. Saturday Zippered Pouch in Cubic
3. Marimekko Media Make-up Bag

Do you keep lots of bags for your knitting stuff? What do you look for in a project bag?

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30
May

Kollabora: I-Cord Everything

Written by Sarah. Posted in accesories, knits, kollabora, technique

I’ve been trying to come up with some fast and fun knitting patterns that are light on the pattern side and heavier on the personal creativity end. Stuff that you can really customize without worrying too much about doing big adjustments. Something that I’ve been doing a little bit of experimenting with are i-cords. They’re quick and easy to knit but I feel like they can be used so many other ways than for drawstrings.

queen

Taking some inspiration from Janelle Monae, I started out with an i-cord bow tie. And I didn’t stop there.

Check out the endless i-cord possibilities (completely with tutorials) in this guest post for Kollabora!

28
May

Tiny Sheep

Written by Sarah. Posted in design, kollabora, life, summer, want

How was your long weekend? I basically did nothing but knit and switch between Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica while drinking beer and eating bacon jam. I actually feel guilty about how awesome it was. But I can’t show you much of what I’m working on because (!!!) it’s a design for Holla Knits’ Fall/Winter collection! Isn’t that awesome? You’re all going to love it.

Between long stretches of knitting, I gave myself a break to check instgram (I have an addiction) and play a game that I’ve become totally obsessed with called Tiny Sheep. I decided to just come out and write about it here because I like to remind you that I am still a 15-year-old girl on the inside and I’m especially shameless when knitting is involved even in the slightest.

tiny sheep

Tiny Sheep is an iPhone game (also available for Android) in which players run a sheep farm. It’s time-based so things grow and work while you’re away from the game. It’s a lot like those other annoying games that I was crazy about for a week and then completely abandoned. (I’m looking at you, Farmville. Guys, I played Farmville for a while. It was not the coolest thing I’ve ever done.)

But this time I can be a shepherd on my phone with pink sheep. Pink sheep!

I’m fertilizing grass and sheering sheep and spinning their wool into sweaters and Ugg boots (yeah, I don’t know). It’s pretty addictive. I’m pretty sure that this free app was developed entirely for my own amusement. Like a game of my dream life if my dream life were a game. I’ve never been interested in playing a game where I virtually knit things. I’m not really big into gaming in general because it takes my hands away from knitting. (I do love to watch other people play while I knit, though. Seriously. And when I do game, I get carried away.) But I like that this is a game of management and a lot of patience instead of marathon playing. And I like to dream about being a shepherd even if I have to be one on my coffee breaks at work.

Did I mention there are pink sheep?

ps. The final set of instructions for the Michelle Collar are up on Kollabora! If you were waiting for the whole thing, feel free to cast on now! What are you waiting for?

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23
May

Rogerio Degaki

Written by Sarah. Posted in art

When Charline sent me the work of Sao Paolo artist Rogerio Degaki, I was impressed. Colorwork is definitely my favorite part of knitting. And I love knitting presented in the context of art because it has such strong symbolism and connotations.

rogerio degakiCold Water

And then I realized that they’re paintings! And then my brain exploded. The level of detail in each “stitch” (if you will) is unbelievable. And you can even see shadows peeking out between the stitches as if it were an actual piece of knitwear.

rogerio degaki 3Untitled

I think knitting can be tedious but painting knitted stitches is a whole other level. I’d much rather knit something like this than paint it.

rogerio degaki 2Jacquard beige emerald

The idea of studying a piece of knitted fabric is so cool. Really looking at the way that light and shadow falls over each stitch. It’s absolutely incredible. I’ve looked at a lot of knitting but I don’t think I’d be able to draw stitches with such fine detail.

What do you think? Did you know it was a painting at first glance?

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20
May

Famous Knits: Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

Written by Sarah. Posted in famous knits, movies

You caught me guys. This column is really just an excuse to talk about my favorite movies and television shows. I admit it. But I think you’ll allow it once again since Pee Wee’s Big Adventure is one of the best films ever made. I have a degree in Film and Video so I think I’m more than qualified to be handing out such judgements (speaking of film school, imagine four years of me reciting the lines “I’VE BEEN READY SINCE FIRST CALL. ROLL!” whenever someone asked if we were ready for a take).

Seriously, I can watch this movie over and over again and it still makes me cry with laughter. I couldn’t tell you my favorite line or scene but I know basically every word of the script. (Apologies to anyone who’s had to watch it with me.) Okay, maybe the part where the pancakes say, “Can I have the Mr. T cereal?” is my favorite. Or, “Yes, that’s me. I am Chuck.” And I challenge you to offer a more important moment in cinematic history than the Tequila dance.

But today I’m here to talk to you about a piece of knitwear. Because I haven’t forgotten that there’s a point to this. Let’s talk about this disguise Pee Wee puts on to fool the law. (THE LAW!) This crazy house coat/jacket thing is AMAZING. Rendered in seafoam green mohair (I can only imagine), with a big moss stitch pattern and even bigger bobbles and that Peter Pan collar. I love it.

pee wee's big adventure 2

 

Why don’t you take a picture? It’ll last longer! Not sure I’d add this to my fangirl knits list because it’s pretty hideous and I mean that in the best way possible. I am a big fan, though. So is that cop. Big ups to costume designer Aggie Guerard Rodgers for this fantastic piece.

pee wee's big adventure

Do you love Pee Wee’s Big Adventure? I know you are, but what am I?

ps. Don’t forget to check out my Michelle collar KAL!

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