Posts Tagged ‘summer’

30
Mar

New Pattern! Elevé Pullover in Knitscene Summer 2015

Written by Sarah. Posted in design, FO, knits, KYC Presents, sweater

My newest pattern is here! I’m so excited to show you the Elevé Pullover.

eleve knitscene summer 2015

This lightweight, cropped sweater is all about geometrics. Elevé features stranded colorwork, intarsia, and saddle shoulders. It’s knit flat with Rowan Wool Cotton. This is kind of my take on a modern Cosby sweater. The shape and colors bring a fresh look to that iconic design. And, of course, there are triangles.

eleve pullover knitscene summer 2015

I imagine wearing this with high-waisted shorts but how cute would it look over a maxi dress? I’m really psyched about this top. It feels very true to my style.

eleve pullover

You can get the pattern in Knitscene’s Summer 2015 issue which hits news stands April 13th! You can pre-order it today. Or, if you just can’t wait, you can purchase the digital edition right now! This issue is full of great patterns including a Southwestern-inspired collection and featured designer Allyson Dykhuizen (the brilliant mind behind Holla Knits)!

Don’t forget to add Elevé to your queue on Ravelry!

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27
May

Meet Kettle Yarn Co!

Written by Sarah. Posted in knits, photos, yarn

Have you picked up Pom Pom Quarterly’s summer issue yet? I’ve been so pleased with the response to Creamsicle. But I have to give credit where credit is due. Linda’s fantastic yarn really took the design over the top. I can’t stop raving about the color and delicious softness. Which is why I asked her to do a little interview!

Aside from having yummy yarns and gorgeous colorways, Linda is very serious about being environmentally friendly. She recently began dyeing full time and I’m so glad that she’s been able to take that step! Linda was kind enough to share the process and philosophy behind her company Kettle Yarn Co.

kettle yarn co wimbledonWimbledon in Creamsicle colorways Melon Balls and Sherbert

How did you begin dyeing yarn?

My journey into yarn is a somewhat personal one that I haven’t discussed much publicly.

My yarn dyeing adventures started a few years ago during a period of illness. I was a practicing artist at the time and found that preparing canvases was just too much for me so I started knitting so that I could continue to create while conserving energy.  Dyeing my own yarn was a logical melding of the two disciplines!

After over a year’s worth of poking and prodding by medical professionals and my health deteriorating to the point where I could barely get up a small flight of stairs, I learned my illness was largely due to severe fragrance allergies. Kettle Yarn Co. was started in the hopes that one day I’d be able to have a bit more control over my working environment and lessen my exposure to the perfume chemicals that were currently damaging my lungs in the open plan office environment at the university where I worked.

I have been very fortunate. I have left the university and am now not only able to work from home a good portion of the week but am doing a job I truly love and am passionate about. My health has improved exponentially and I feel that I’ve finally found my creative niche!

kettle yarn co dying

left: Wimbledon Sport – SW Merino – Blue Pictsies in the dye pot
right: clear water remaining after dyeing process is complete

One of your goals is to be eco-friendly. How do you make your yarns a little “greener?” 

My partner is an Environmental Project Manager and I’ve been lucky enough to get a lot of free help and advice on how to make my processes as low impact as possible.

I have chosen to use a local dye supplier and the most toxic thing I use in my process is regular household vinegar! I try to ensure that I use up all dyes in the pot when dyeing. I’ve even developed a line of OOAK (one of a kind) yarns – TWIST 100% British Bluefaced Leicester fingering – that helps me to use up every last particle so nothing gets wasted or ends up back in the water table.

islington kettle yarn coIslington colorways

All my yarn blends are chosen to ensure animal welfare and humane wool production. Any Merino I use is Peruvian to ensure that absolutely no mulesing is done to the sheep and many of my blends use 100% British Bluefaced Leicester. It is very important to me to support the British Wool Industry and help to maintain traditional breeds.

I always joke that British Bluefaced Leicester is the Holy Grail of wool blends as the fleece combines three of  the most highly prized qualities for handcrafting:
1.  a softness comparable to Merino wool – delicate enough for the most sensitive skin;
2.  a long staple fibre, making yarn hard wearing, long lasting and extremely low pilling;
3.  the fleece is formed of crimped fibres, creating a natural lustre and elastic bounce.

This gives the yarn a gentle sheen, which reflects light to enhance stitch work and colour while also giving the blend elasticity, warmth and a luxurious drape. Purchased from the British Wool Marketing Board, we only use supersorted 100% British Bluefaced Leicester fleece. ‘Supersorting’ is when the fibre is picked through (cleaned of any unwanted bits!)  twice as much as normal wools are handled and then is examined again before being combed and sent for processing at the spinning mill. This ensures that only the very softest BFL is used for Kettle Yarn Co. blends.

creamsicle cardigan

What’s next for you and Kettle Yarn Co?

I have two UK trade shows coming up in July and am in a yarn dyeing frenzy for the next month in preparation. I am so excited about them both as will have my very own solo both for the first time! Unwind is the first, which takes place July 12th and 13th in the beautiful seaside town of Brighton and Fibre East is at the end of the month July 26th and 27th in Bedfordshire.

I am working on a few new blends to release for the shows and they will be available in August in the shop! So exciting.

Thanks for sharing with us, Linda! So many amazing insights into the knitty gritty (excuse the pun) of yarn dyeing. If you’re in the neighborhood, you should definitely check out the Kettle Yarn Co booth at those upcoming festivals! Luckily for the rest of us, Kettle Yarn Co is available through Etsy. And Linda has put together Creamsicle kits in Sherbert and Melon Balls, just add an issue of Pom Pom Quarterly and needles!

Have you knit with Kettle Yarn Co before? How important is it that your yarn be eco friendly?

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06
May

Creamsicle in Pom Pom Quarterly

Written by Sarah. Posted in cardigan, design, FO, knits, KYC Presents, pattern, yarn

creamsicle cardigan

After all of the complaints about startitis last week, I am super excited about what I have to share today! The preview for Pom Pom Quarterly’s summer issue came out on Friday so you can finally get a peek at my first design for their magazine.

Creamsicle is a summery sweater, slightly cropped with half sleeves and a bobble front. You know I love bobbles. I’m always pleased when I can put my personality and style into a piece of knitwear and this vintage-inspired, whimsical top is exactly that.

creamsicle_4_medium2

The sweater is knit with Kettle Yarn Co’s gorgeous Wimbledon yarn which is the most delectable superwash merino I’ve ever laid my hands on. Working with it is a dream and it’s super soft and silky which is perfect for a light sweater like this. Linda is a really fantastic dyer. The colors were beyond anything I could have imagined. I’m obsessed with how the peach and melon work together.

And, of course, I’m just completely over the moon with how amazing the photos are. The ladies at Pom Pom always impress. They really know how to style things perfectly.

creamsicle cardigan 2

The summer issue of Pom Pom Quarterly is available for pre-order right now in both print and digital forms! I definitely think you should pick up a copy and not just for the purposes of shameless self-promotion. All of the patterns in this issue are going into my queue. Speaking of, you can add Creamsicle to your queue and add it to your favorites on Ravelry. Best of all, Kettle Yarn Co has already opened a pre-order for Wimbledon kits so you can have your yarn on hand when the magazine comes out later this month. Did I mention how amazing this yarn is?

Will you be knitting a Creamsicle? Do you love bobbles or do you love bobbles?

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25
Jun

A Manifesto on the CSA

Written by Sarah. Posted in CSA, food, summer

It’s summer so it’s more than officially CSA season, guys! I’m obsessed with my CSA and I love hearing about new people joining up with ones in their neighborhoods so I just want to preach about it today. I like to relate everything back to knitting but I think that people who make things care about where things come from and in this case, we’re talking about food. Everybody cares about where food comes from. Otherwise there wouldn’t be a Food Network.

CSA means community supported agriculture. It’s a form of a food co-op (that’s how I present it to people without getting into the long explanation) but it’s not like a grocery store. Members of the CSA buy a share in a local farm before the season, an investment that allows the farmer to have some capital before there is produce to sell. Once the food is harvested it’s divided amongst the members evenly (or however the division is agreed upon) and you get a great return on your investment. There are CSAs for everything you might want to eat: vegetables, fruits, meat, milk, eggs, yogurt, maple syrup, honey. (There’s even a yarn CSA!)

csa strawberries

Long story short, it’s a great and impressively cheap way to get huge amounts local, fresh, organic produce to your home. I’ll be completely transparent: Jon and I pay about $40/week from May to Thanksgiving for pick ups every two weeks of veggies, fruit, and a whole chicken. And it’s a LOT of food. (Imagine spending $40/week in a New York City Whole Foods. You’d starve.)

I’m always bragging about my membership to anyone that will listen. Eating local and organic are trendy and I think a lot of people think I’m snobby or elitist or whatever (I live in Brooklyn so, surprise! those stereotypes are true and I’m ok with it) because I want to put things into my body that aren’t poison. I hate thinking of it in terms of what’s en vogue and what’s not. We should all want those things and we should all want them for as little money as possible. Foodies come in all shapes and sizes, you’d be surprised!

It’s important to me that I’m doing something good for my body and the environment and my community (my required volunteer work is baking a dessert from leftover fruits for a soup kitchen). I love the trust that I have in a farmer that is willing to put food directly into my hands instead of putting a big corporate label on it. I love that I can have fresh produce although I live in a huge city. I also love that I don’t have to make trips to the farmers’ market (we pick up all of the goods at a bar two blocks from our apartment) and that I am saving money because there is no middle man. Why should I not want to brag about that? And how could I stop myself from recruiting friends?

While I happen to think that it’s all too good to be true, lots of people I talk to have hang ups about joining CSAs. (Being honest again: I took a year off after the first season I did. My lifestyle wasn’t ready yet. I had roommates and a kitchen I didn’t like spending time in.) You get a lot of food so you either have to do a lot of cooking and canning or split your share with someone (this year we’re doing a half share, hence our every-other-week pick ups and it’s taken a lot of the burden off). It’s intimidating, yes. The first CSA we participated in left us drowning in plums and kale. The refrigerator we shared with a roommate was packed to the gils with leafy greens and purple beans. But I’ve learned that sometimes you have to pick around the moldy cherries and keep the good ones. Don’t worry, Mom, I’m not saying that I’m a freegan eating out of dented cans (sorry, freegans! I know that’s a harsh stereotype that isn’t true at all). I just know how to produce less garbage.

Some people don’t like that you  have to take home beets and radishes even if you don’t eat beets and radishes. But I’ve learned to eat weird vegetables that I’ve never heard of before. That’s valuable, too! I pride myself in the variety of foods that I now crave when I grew up eating hot dogs, peanut butter sandwiches, and Twizzlers. And, when all else fails, I’m more than happy to share with my family and friends. Besides, it gets them talking about the whole thing!

And, lastly, some people just don’t want to cook. This is something that I care about deeply because just a few years ago the only thing I knew how to cook were Totinos pizza rolls. I ate gummy bears for dinner with cups of coffee made light with artificially flavored creamers (and I didn’t even know how to make coffee until I was 20). I was broke and I was lucky enough to have roommates that knew how to take care of me and gigs that at least provided a disappointing pizza lunch. I hardly slept during college so I was lucky enough to not gain weight but I’m surprised I’m still alive. I wanted to eat food that was good for me but I didn’t know how to make any of it taste good nor did I take the time to do so. Fast forward a few years and I won’t say I’m Julia Child but I know how to put together a meal. I’ve taken a couple of classes to learn very basic things (knife skills, how to butcher a chicken, and how to mix cocktails because that’s important, too) and knowing those things has given me confidence. (It also doesn’t hurt to have a food documentarian boyfriend who is obsessed with molecular gastronomy but I think that I have more staple dinner recipes than he does.) That’s something that delights me. Just like making a sweater, I can make something that is good to eat.

And I feel about cooking much the way that I do about knitting: it can secretly be super simple. You don’t have to know cables or colorwork to put together a sweater that is warm and fashionable. People are still impressed that you made something that is, at it’s heart, just knit and purl stitches. It’s the same with cooking. It might look impressive because it’s wrapped in a parchment bag or roasted with herbs but the simplest techniques make delicious meals. I don’t need a fancy Michelin-starred plate. It isn’t always beautiful or complex (any vegetable roasted with olive oil is so delicious it feels like cheating) but it’s a home cooked meal.

So I say more of us should give this a try. It takes some getting used to but the amount of awesome you’ll feel when you’re sitting down to a meal you made yourself with produce that’s sustainable and organic, that didn’t break the bank, will make the craziness of offloading three pounds of peaches into a pie totally worth it.

To find a CSA near you, check out Just Food!

Have you participated in a CSA? Did you love it?

ps.Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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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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04
Apr

Summer Knitting

Written by Sarah. Posted in DIY, embroidery, instagram, knits, kollabora, life, sewing, summer

What will we do when the weather warms up? That’s what we ask ourselves when spring starts to shine out from behind a harsh winter.

I am not a seasonal knitter. I knit all damn year. I’d knit on the beach if I went to beaches. I am certainly guilty of knitting poolside. A lot of non-knitters laugh when I buy yarn in July. It seems like prime time to cast on a cardigan to me. In fact, I feel the need to rush when I have an opportunity to wear what I’m making so there’s a little less pressure on summer knitting. But if a sweater is finished early, I can wear it to the office to fight off overzealous air conditioning. Of course, there’s nothing like the first cool breeze in October to really make my heart ache for wool socks on my needles. But I certainly don’t slow down when the mercury rises.

Now, when it comes to my other crafts, those are certainly seasonal. In colder months, I can’t bring myself to embroider when there are sweaters to be knit.

I picked up sewing last summer but once the weather turned, I began to neglect my sewing machine. I plan on doing more sewing this summer and I’d like to continue teaching myself into the fall but first I have to learn how to sew sleeves. I don’t see myself making tank tops in December.

What about you? Are you a seasonal crafter?

PS. I had the pleasure of interviewing the lovely Threadpanda for Kollabora’s DIY BFF. Check it out here!

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13
Feb

Fashion Week Knits

Written by Sarah. Posted in DIY, famous knits, knits, new york city, style, summer

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:

Web

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?

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09
Aug

Summer in the City

Written by Sarah. Posted in food, holiday, life, movies, new york city, party, photos, summer, travel

It’s already August which means that the summer is almost over. I haven’t posted much about what I’ve been up to. I feel like I focus so much on the work I’m doing here and I would like to inject a little more personal fun stuff because why not! I’ve been looking back over my photos of all of the fun I’ve had and I sometimes have to wonder is this my life I’m living? Don’t get me wrong, there is a ton of work, heavy lifting, and anxiety (I’ve learned that going to sleep early is a necessity. Even when it means skipping out on some fun) that goes on in the day to day but I somehow manage to pack a lot of adventures in to a little bidget and less free time.

Jon’s parents threw a big July 4th bar-b-que and my family got to join us for a day of drinking and swimming. And I made a tart. It was
really wonderful having so many people that I love celebrating together.

After seeing War Horse and getting a special backstage tour from our friend Holly, we dined at Strip House and joined Ashley and Andrew to
watch the fireworks in a special private party that we threw for ourselves atop Hearst Tower. What a view!

We picked cherries. Which was delicious and adorable. We picked vegetables which was hot but so rewarding especially as city folk. We ate at Googa Mooga and we went to a lot of brunches (but not enough, never enough).

We saw a movie in the park with Andrew and Holly. I’d never done that before and I can tell you it was because of the heat and the crowds but it was so much fun!

Jon and I joined Ashley in seeing OK Go. Ashley and I have seen them about once a year since we were 14. It’s still magical. We still sing every lyric and dance like crazy. It’s amazing that we are still who we are and they are still who they are after all of this time.

This past weekend was my friend’s bachelorette party which meant lounging and drinking on the beach with my closest girl friends from way back. It’s so wonderful to see that we are all living it up and I’m so proud of us for all being successful ladies!

As our friend Alex said, quoting White Knuckles, “Nothing ever doesn’t change, but nothing changes much.” It’s been a wonderful summer.

What have you done this summer? Are you still packing in memories before it’s over?

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27
Jul

We All Scream

Written by Sarah. Posted in baking, cooking, DIY, recipe, summer

Hey there! Hope you all beat the heat! Now that it’s cooled down a bit, I can get back to blogging. In case there’s another freakishly hellish heatwave, here’s a delicious Green Tea ice cream recipe to chill us out.

I’m so excited that we now have an ice cream maker! We’ve always wanted the Kitchen Aid attachment. I think it’s one of the main reasons we bought the mixer in the first place. There is probably no feeling greater than digging into a pint of your own homemade ice cream!

Green Tea Ice Cream
adapted from Alton Brown’s vanilla ice cream recipe from “Churn Baby Churn 2”
3 cups half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
8 large egg yolks
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons matcha powder

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine half-and-half and heavy cream. Stir occassionally, bring to a simmer, and then remove from heat. Wisk egg yolks in another bowl until light in color. Gradually wisk sugar into the eggs. A little at a time, add small amounts of the cream to the eggs until a third of the cream is added. Then combine the rest of the cream. Return to the saucepan over low heat and stir. The mixture will thicken and coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and pour into a container to cool for thirty minutes before adding vanilla and matcha powder. Refrigerate this for 8 hours. Pour mixture into ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Then freeze overnight for desired texture.

It is not a short process but it is well worth your patience!

AB’s recipe is based on a rich, gourmet-style ice cream. The kind you find in those tiny $5 pints at the bodega across the street. Way more delicious than those bargain ice creams you can actually afford to enjoy.

And, if I may just take a moment to brag, I was lucky enough to meet Alton Brown at a surprise book signing a few weeks ago. I had him sign this Polaroid of us. He wanted to know where I got film these days! 🙂

Have you ever made ice cream? What’s your favorite flavor?

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