It’s Sheep Week! So let’s talk about some sheep, shall we? Even non-knitters are vaguely familiar with the Merino breed of sheep so I’d like to introduce you to the Bluefaced Leicester. If you haven’t encountered the BFL yet, give some of their fiber a try! BFL yarn has recently become one of my favorite to work with and it’s been gaining popularity among spinners, dyers, and knitters over the past few years.
This British longwool breed has no wool on its neck or long face. It’s a relatively new breed of sheep, developed in the early 20th century. BFL is known for being tougher and less elastic than merino while still being rather soft. Its soft drape makes it a wonderful fiber for shawls while its hard-wearing wool makes it a great option for socks.
Have you knit with BFL yarn? What did you like about it? Do you have a favorite sheep breed?
ps. Don’t forget that The Crash is on sale for $3 all week!
Taking a break from our regularly scheduled Sheep Week programming, I just wanted to give you a heads up! The Crash is on sale all week! You can download a copy for $3 for a limited time only! Amazing, right? And don’t forget to check out the Holla Knits blog where I will be guest blogging about this big-shouldered beauty!
More Sheep Week tomorrow! See you then!
It’s currently Shark Week out in the television universe. Of course, we might not have our own network but I am envisioning seven days dedicated to our wooly friends that make yarn happen. That’s right, here it is Sheep Week! This week’s posts will be dedicated to sheep, lambs, ewes, etc etc.
I figured I’d kick off Sheep Week with a few lamb-inspired patterns!
What are your favorite sheep sweaters? Are you looking forward to Sheep Week!?
It’s already August. Crazy right? Let’s look at some fun stuff.
Polish artist NeSpoon is doing some lace-bombing that you can see above. Her “public jewelry” includes lace imprints and stenciled doilies. I’m really loving that lace-turned-spider web. It looks fantastic! I’ve actually always thought of spiders as little craftspeople since their webs are so beautiful.
>> Jezebel shows us how filmmakers use cardigans to make their leading ladies frumpy. Pretty hilarious. Cardigans are my favorite.
>> Staying on the movie theme, here’s a slideshow of knitwear in our dystopian future. Why is it that knitwear lends itself so well to that grungy cyber warrior look?
>> Here’s a great tutorial for making yarn bras out of old tights! It’s pretty brilliant though mine probably all have holes in the toes.
>> Or maybe you’d prefer your yarn to come from a VHS? Remember the Nickelodeon VHS tapes were orange? That would make an awesome one!
>> Can someone find me a print of this?
I’m hoping to jump-start myself on a few projects this weekend. And there might be spray paint involved. What’re you making?
ps. Don’t forget to enter to win a copy of New American Knits!
I’ve been holding out on you! Last month, I got my hands on an advanced copy of New American Knits. I can’t tell you how hard it was to keep that under wraps because the book is fantastic! I’ve been waiting for its release for a long long time! But here it is in the flesh!
I’m so excited for Amy Christoffers on the release of this book! The collection of patterns is absolutely gorgeous and so true to her style. She is so talented and it’s lovely to finally see her work collected here.
I’ve definitely got my eye on a few of the patterns. I actually can’t believe I didn’t already cast on one of these sweaters already. I must be very busy but I have dreams of completing one of these for my Rhinebeck sweater! Too hard to choose! All of Amy’s patterns are so wearable. They’re really classic and stylish, straightforward yet stunning. And, of course, I can see all of the patterns in this book becoming everyday staples in my wardrobe.
The lovely people at Interweave/F+W Media have been nice enough to put a copy of this book in one lucky readers’ hands! Just leave a comment below and I’ll draw a winner on Monday, August 4th. (Sorry, winning copies can only be shipped within the US.) I’m so excited to share this book with you guys!
Which pattern would you love to get on your needles?
Grettir is finally coming together. There wasn’t much to show you during the long haul of stockinette but now something interesting has happened. And, alas, now it’s basically over.
I’m quite pleased with the look of the yoke. It was a pretty simple colorwork pattern for me. Everything was straightforward there. Stranded colorwork really is my favorite thing. I imagine that if I were a dragon, instead of a cave full of golden treasures, I’d be sleeping on a big pile of fingering-weight colorwork sweaters.
I recently looked back on the beginnings of this sweater and thought, “God, I’m such an asshole!” Can you believe I started this thing back in March? It’s July and it’s still not finished. I really have no excuse for this taking so long. Though, I suppose, the beauty of knitting for myself (and by that I mean knitting something that isn’t on a work deadline because clearly this sweater is not for me) is that it doesn’t have to be finished with any haste. But, still. It’s a little ridiculous that a worsted-weight sweater that is mainly single color stockinette has taken me months and months.*
I think this sweater is kind of telling of my mental state this summer. I’m really all over the place. I want to sew tank tops and eat ice cream and read comic books. I’ve allowed myself to become undisciplined after a year of hard deadlines and workaholism which was a big mistake! Give me and inch, etc etc.
All of that over-analysis aside, Grettir is almost finished. I have to graft the underarms to the sleeves which I just have had zero motivation to do. There’s a lot of waste yarn still hanging around the cast ons of this sweater. And he could use a nice blocking. It fits Jon well and he’s really pleased with it. I think it suits his style perfectly.
But, of couse, it was 90 degrees today so I have absolutely no desire to be finishing a sweater right now.
Do you ever get lazy with knitting? What keeps you on track on personal projects?
*Okay, stockinette stitch for miles is a good excuse for taking a long time. It just NEVER ENDS.
This is the first Oud Tank that I’ve seen on Ravelry! This one is by Michelle and it looks absolutely beautiful on her! And it was in the Community Eye Candy on Tuesday. That’s right, she was on the front page of Ravelry! It’s so exciting to see something I designed being made by somebody else. Here is Michelle’s post with the completed Oud!
>> A few Massachusetts sheep escaped and took a nap in the street.
>> A superhero who’s power is knitting.
>> I’ll always throw shade at those penguin sweaters (People are still sending me the articles about it and the story is how old???) but I am going to be very sad when this story about baby birds in hand-knit nests gets old for me.
>> A guide to NYC craft stores. There are definitely a few missing but there were some shops on here I wasn’t familiar with. Good place to start if you’re visiting the city!
>> The Saint Laurent Spring 15 menswear collection includes a granny square cape.
>> Stainless steel yarn is being used in this cool project to control electronics. We’re talking more than gloves that work on your iPhone.
Phew! A lot to share this week! Hope you are all making up a storm this weekend. I’m going to be working on my second Wiksten tank!
It’s been a month since my trip to the left coast but I’ve got one last piece to share! Towards the end of the trip, I was looking for things to do in the San Jose area because I had plans to check out the Computer History Museum (which is awesome) in Mountain View with Jon. I really hadn’t planned on visiting San Jose at all so I hadn’t looked into any site to see there. But I was pleasantly surprised when I found the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.
It’s very small, more of a gallery than museum in my opinion, but the Museum of Quilts and Textiles has so many amazing pieces. It totally inspired me. I’ve never really been excited about quilting. Don’t get me wrong, I own some gorgeous hand-made quilts and I appreciate the art. But I’ve never felt like I wanted to put one together myself. The quilts at this museum really made me think about quilting in a new way. We’re not talking about Star and Double Wedding Ring quilts here.
The exhibit started with some quilts by Ros Cross. Her most famous quilt (Pancakes, Butter, and Syrup Quilt with Bacon Rug) is part a private collection so I didn’t see it. But the other quilts were so cool. A lot of playing with lines and shapes, all very untraditional. This one was my favorite, lines of colored stitches with long threads are all that’s quilted here. It’s like a mixture of quilting and embroidery just really simply done by stitching a few rows next to one another.
There was a gallery of small quilts inspired by California. My favorites were photorealistic. I could hardly believe they were made of fabric. I had my nose practically up against them, trying to take in all of the tiny details.
“Postcard from Home” by Lin Schiffner
Many of the quilts in the main gallery were part of the Quilt National competition. I wasn’t able to photograph them but you can see some of them here. All of the quilts on display were amazing and none of them were traditional. I was blown away by the way the quilts were being put together, the details and the transformation that these artists put these materials through. And, of course, there were some amazing themes being tackled in these pieces including over-medication, green energy, and carbon footprints.
Since quilting has never really been my thing, I was surprised that I’d wanted to visit the museum (especially considering parking in San Jose almost left me in tears, but we don’t need to get into that). I’m so glad that I did, though. Quilts are pretty exciting!
Do you quilt? Have you visited the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles?
On 364 days of the year, I would never be caught dead wearing an American flag t-shirt or rocking stars-and-stripes nail art. I wouldn’t say that I’m not proud to be an American but I wouldn’t go singing about how I’m free, yadda yadda. To me, America is like an embarrassing parent. It’s great and it doesn’t give me a hard time about my curfew but sometimes I wish it would wear something different when we go to the mall. (Can you go lead the free world away from me and my friends? I’m trying to get Europe to notice me!) To put it simply, I am not an American of the AMURICA variety.
All of that aside, I love Independence Day. I love grilling, I love drinking domestic beers, I love the Founding Fathers (sorry those assholes are always dragging you guys into everything). I want to get drunk and watch 1776 on full volume.
Since tomorrow is AMERICA’S BIRTHDAY, I thought it would only be appropriate to share some yarns that are Made in America. There are lots of amazing yarns coming from around the globe but there is an excitement for me in buying locally and supporting America’s textile renaissance.
Here are some yarns hailing from California to the New York Island.
1. A Verb for Keeping Warm Floating in Transitional Fury
2. Quince & Co. Puffin in River
3. Jill Draver Makes Stuff Mohonk in Bing Cherry
4. Imperial Yarn Columbia 2-ply in Natural
5. Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Almanac
In the spirit of the holiday, I am reminded of the American colonists who eschewed British fabrics and produced their own homespun to boycott unjust taxes. Those are our very own forefathers of American DIY!
I’d love to collect a better list. What are your favorite American-made yarns?
The spring was a tough time for my knitting. I’ve always claimed to be an all-seasons knitter but sewing projects have increased exponentially for me over the last two months. But it’s such a good sign. When the seasons change, I can’t help but want to build my wardrobe. Who doesn’t want to add a summer top or dress when the weather warms up? But I’ve spent so much time here talking about my goals of making more instead of buying, I really wanted to stay true to that. So the more I wanted new clothes, the more I’ve set about making them!
After finishing my first two tops, I thought that I was ready for a challenge. I think I dove in a little too deep, trying a Wiksten Tova top with some fabric that I wasn’t so attached to. I’m not sure if it was my lack of patience or my novice skills but it started getting ugly pretty quickly. I decided to scrap it and go back to basics.
While I urge new knitters to go immediately out of their comfort zones, I couldn’t follow my own advice on sewing. I know knitting is something I could do blindfolded with my hands tied behind my back (try me) so it’s easy for me to say, “Just try a sweater if that interests you! It’s easy!” but there’s just two stitches. You don’t have to know much to get started knitting your heart out. Sewing, I’ve found, has a lot more specifics. There are many secrets I’ve yet to uncover. So I really wanted to get comfortable with the things that I’d already tried before I started adding on.
I’d bought this yellow and white fabric a while ago in an online sale. It’s some kind of cotton blend that has this dimple texture all over it. Luckily, both fabrics are the same just different colors. So it seemed right to pair them together. I’ve seen so many cute variations on simple pieces that are just a contrasting sleeve or bias tape. Little details really make something different so this shirt doesn’t really resemble my first Scout too heavily.
One of the things that I was really trying to master here was the set in sleeve. I won’t say it was done perfectly but it seemed to go much easier and I built so much confidence. The first sleeve was set in excellently and I was so excited. I was wearing my one-sleeved shirt all over the apartment, just feeling proud and admiring my work in the mirror. That’s when I realized I’d done it inside out. Got some more practice, so there’s a silver lining.
I also wanted to up the challenge since the top is relatively simple so I did French seams everywhere but where I set in the sleeve. I do not have the mojo for that just yet. And I really made myself do things right. If it wasn’t perfect, I unpicked and re-stitched. I started this top right after finishing the first season of The Great British Sewing Bee so I was kind of imagining May and Patrick going over my work. I would hate to disappoint them.
I like this top. I’m definitely going to be one of those crazy sewists with 500 Scout tees in her wardrobe. It’s just so breezy to make and it’s great to wear. I know my wardrobe and, while I’d love to make hundreds of different sundresses, my uniform (for work especially) is jeans with a cute tee.
I’m really hoping to make another scout in a knit. I find the shape of the shirt a little boxy and I think a nice medium or light weight knit would be more flattering. I’ve never worked with knits before but I’m told it’s not as challenging as everyone makes it sound. So I’m sure that will go terribly.
Don’t worry, I’m still knitting up a storm! But I’m so pleased to be building my own wardrobe! (I actually stopped myself from buying a cheap shirt the other day. I took a photo so I can try to reproduce it on my own. It felt great to have that power and to say no to something that wasn’t sustainable.)
Do you get bit the sewing bug sometimes? How many Scout tees have you sewn?