Posts Tagged ‘sweater’

07
Aug

Sneak Peek: Holla Knits Fall Design!

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

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!

holla knits sweaterphoto via Holla Knits

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?

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23
Jul

Sometimes I Make Mistakes

Written by Sarah. Posted in cardigan, knits, WIP, yarn

Sometimes. Not often. But every once in a while, I screw up. I’m just kidding. If you know anything about me, you’d know that I’m kind of a disaster but I don’t like to focus on my faults and, when it comes to knitting, I’m pretty good at making a stumble look like a dance. Usually, I don’t screw up in a big way so I can gloss over it. Nobody has to know. But sometimes I just get myself into a mess and I make mistakes.

Coming off of a knitting high of some recent knit-related ass kicking, I dove right into the BT Men’s lookbook, ready for a new challenge. Like I said, I was immediately itching to make a Timberline for Jon before the release day was over, I’d ordered a box full of Shelter. Since the sweater was for Jon, I asked him to help me pick out a color. I want to make sure he wears this damn thing. He liked the color of the Slade cardigan so I ordered Cast Iron. (I really thought he’d want a cream colored cardigan but he wasn’t excited about that anymore. Boys, always changing their minds!)

The yarn came in two days! I never order just one skein and swatch until I like the yarn and then get the rest later. I am all about instant gratification. I want to swatch for a maximum of 15 minutes and then I want to GET KNITTING. I can’t wait. I am not patient. Knitting is not for the patient! So I ordered 15 skeins.

I started getting into the pattern. It’s 24 pages long (a full page of construction notes, three pages of charts, two pages of cast on instructions, etc). To say the very least, it’s intimidating. I’m not sure why but looking over the charts made me feel dizzy and tired and then laugh maniacally.

But I’m very confident. I can knit anything. I’ve never doubted myself when it comes to following a pattern. I’ve certainly ripped out and messed up before but I can’t remember the last time I looked at a pattern and thought, “I can’t do this.” So I dove right in.

Timberline swatch

I swatched a little bit and I started working up the sleeve and then my worst fears came true. Two things happened: I screwed up some of the cables and I hated the color. I was prepared to frog the piece. It’s not like I haven’t ripped out two days of work before. (We’ve all been there, right?)

So I decided I’d go back and do a bigger swatch to really get a good feeling of the cables. I was really breaking a sweat doing these cables. It was certainly a knitting work out. But the whole time I was looking at the piece thinking that I just wasn’t happy. I know this feeling. I can’t knit a whole sweater with this feeling. The yarn was just too dark to show off the details. It was nice but it wasn’t stunning. I don’t want to put in days and days of work and not get stunning as a result. I won’t even be motivated to finish it.

Last week I decided to exchange the yarn. I’m impatient so it’s super frustrating to have to wait even longer to begin but I think it’s for the best. I’m going to go with Long Johns. I think it would be a better color way, still masculine but bright enough for the cables to really shine. I think it’s the right thing to do.

I made a mistake. Luckily, it’s easy to fix but it’s still a bummer that I have to wait longer before I can get started on this sweater. It’s probably for the best. I have a few projects with loose ends that need tying up (pun intended) before I jump into a big commitment. And, besides, maybe next time I’ll be more careful before I jump in, do more research and really get a feel for the yarn before making a big purchase. And, as always, I need to trust my gut. Jon really liked the dark grey but I knew deep down that it wouldn’t be what I wanted. I’ve got to trust myself!

Do you like to admit your knitting mistakes?

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16
Jul

Boys, Boys, Boys

Written by Sarah. Posted in knits, life, yarn

Did you see the new men’s collection from Brooklyn Tweed? Every time a BT collection is released, there’s certainly a lot of oohing and ahhing. But this one really got us into a frenzy. There was a lot of discussion around the blogosphere about men’s knits and it was really exciting!

Aside from swooning over the models and debates about whether sweater-wearing boys look better with beards or clean-shaven (I think my vote is with beards), there was a ton of talk about menswear, shape, taste, and knitwear design. Men’s silhouettes make for a very different canvas. I love how the BT Men collection plays with classic menswear themes (elbow patches, shawl collars, shoulder details).

Redford BT Men

There was a lot of excitement about new menswear patterns. Aside from a few books dedicated to the subject and some new Rowan patterns and a smattering of older Brooklyn Tweed selections, there just isn’t enough out there in terms of patterns for men. Even male designers are designing for women. Obviously this is because of the demand. I think we can all agree that it wouldn’t be profitable to design more menswear patterns than women’s. So there’s a bit of a drought there. I think that a lot of the menswear patterns I’ve encountered are not classic enough that I’d want to make them. They’re weird and experimental which is cool but (stereotype here) not something that a lot of guys want to wear. And there’s nothing like a dude in a simple raglan sweater.

We all want to see more patterns like these and we want to design more patterns like these but it’s just not really there right now. I’m not sure what would change that…I guess more men who want to knit for themselves? Maybe that’s just the way things are, that women own a greater variety of clothing. But I’d like to see more menswear. I just really love boys in sweaters!

Timberline BT Men

Anyway, I wanted to talk about my favorite piece from the collection which is the Timberline sweater (above). It’s crazy gorgeous. And, if you’re a long time reader you’d know, it is almost exactly what I was looking for to make Jon a Don Draper cardigan. Oh yes! Finally a cream-colored, shawl-collared cabled sweater for him! Every time a new collection comes out with cabled menswear pieces, I’m looking for something that is close to the sweater from season 5’s finale. Now I’ve found it! It’s more modern and intricate and a bit bulkier but I think it’s exactly Jon’s taste. My search can finally end!

Exeter BT Men

That being said, the Timberline sweater reminds me of Michelle Wang’s Exeter from BT’s Spring Thaw collection. (I actually thought for a moment about making Jon that sweater since it seemed big enough. I’m glad I didn’t do it because I probably would’ve been really disappointed.) Obviously, Timberline is different from Exeter. Timberline fits a man’s frame well, the cabling is different while Exeter is double breasted with a folded cuff.

I really like seeing both sweaters side by side. And I’m really tempted to make myself an Exeter to match Jon’s soon-to-be Timberline but I am generally against intentional matching. I’m not sure it’s a good idea since we always end up dressing similarly (“Oh, we’re both wearing striped t-shirts today? Cool.”) since I like to wear menswear-inspired outfits (read: most days I wear boys’ t-shirts with jeans because getting dressed is hard). And I need another cardigan like I need another ten pounds.

But I can dream…

Do you love menswear knits? Do you think more designers will be inspired to produce these patterns? Do you think Jon and I can wear matching sweaters and still be cool?

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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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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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13
May

Mother-Daughter Knit-a-long!

Written by Sarah. Posted in cardigan, holiday, knit-a-long, knits, sweater, WIP, yarn

You may have read about it on the twitter already but I have a cool announcement today! In honor of yesterday being Mother’s Day, I am working on a mother-daughter knit a long.

My mom taught me how to knit when I was in fourth grade (and then again when I wanted to get back into it when I was in high school). She is a great knitter. She made me so many things growing up and I’ve always been inspired by the way she picks up her needles to shoot off gifts for just about everyone that’s expecting. I come from a family of crafty women and I owe this blog and everything I’m doing now to their awesomeness.

So we’re knitting together! My mom requested that we knit the Stonecutters cardigan. Being a fan of Amy Christoffers must run in the family! I’m also very excited to knit one of Amy’s patterns for this because she’s a mom, too! I’m going to knit with Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Wool Socks. My mom will cast on Berroco Brookstone Tweed in Marsh. It was awesome fun texting with my mom, debating over yarn choice and chatting on the phone about colors. We’ll have two matching garments that represent ourselves. It’s going to be really fun!

mothersdaykal

 

I am lucky to have such an amazing mother who has taught me so many things. Although she sometimes drive me crazy, she always makes me laugh. She always seems to have that random button or recipe that I need and I’m always learning from her.  I’ve always been in awe of how hilarious an creative she is. She is my number one fan and I can’t thank her enough for all of her support. I’m so excited to be part of her first KAL!

I’ll be updating here about my and my mom’s progress on our cardigans!

Have you ever knit with an important lady in your life?

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09
May

Steal This Knit: Janelle Monae

Written by Sarah. Posted in Steal This Knit

I love music videos. I could watch them all day. I credit this OK Go music video (by the director of the next Hunger Games movie…time flies!) with inspiring me to go to film school. Not sure how effective that was since now I’m stitching more than I’m shooting. But I still have a passion for music videos. They can be over the top or super simple. They can have cinematic plots or just be a collection of images. There’s just a ton of freedom in them.

If you’re like me and you love music videos, you’ll love the new one for Janelle Monae’s Q.U.E.E.N. featuring Erykah Badu. It features my favorite colors: black and white (I’m aware those probably don’t qualify as colors) and some stunning pieces of clothing. The song itself is fantastic and catchy. Monae is all about individuality and it feels so genuine.

I’ve always been really struck by Janelle Monae’s style. I love that she almost always rocks masculine looks like tuxedos and bow ties. I’m a bit of a tomboy when it comes to clothes so I’m glad she’s doing it well and making that look accessible for girls. (Plus her explanation that her clothing is her uniform and she’s emulating her hard-working family is amazing. Love an artist that isn’t afraid a big message!)

Watching the video, I loved the use of these striped black and white dresses. The crazy black and white background mixing with the fabric makes for a kind of brain teaser and cutting between lots of stripes and the stripes in front of a white back drop is really stunning.The way that the stripes are off set really makes these dresses so interesting to look at.

janelle monae queen 2

I’m really glad that the black and white mod look is coming back right now. It’s really bold but also easy to wear.

janelle monae queen

But, hey, those stripes look familiar. Don’t they bring to mind Julia Farwell-Clay’s Albers Pullover that everyone’s been going gaga over? Those cool stripes are perfectly on trend! The pattern featured in Interweave Summer 2013 would look spot on in black and white. I might be putting this in my queue right now…

albers

Will you be casting on an Albers in black and white? Will you be dancing to this song for the rest of the day?

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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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20
Mar

Fair Isle Almost FO

Written by Sarah. Posted in DIY, embroidery, FO, knits, sweater, technique

It’s been a long road but my fair isle sweater is pretty much finished. It feels like I’ve been working on this thing my whole life (since I started it while I was on my hurrication back in October), a lot of other pieces have been finished since I cast this thing on but it’s done.

Since I haven’t been able to take photos of the FO, I wanted to talk about the finishing of the garment and some of the cool details. One of the elements that really drew me in to this pattern were the embroidered parts on the front and back. I’ve never embroidered on a piece of knitting but I do like to do both things separately. The colorwork alone was full of little details but this part made it even more unique.

embroidered

 

The purple/grey flowers and pink hearts (which are up near the neckline) are knit by intarsia which is why the pieces are worked flat. (At least the front and back. I wish I’d worked the sleeves in the round but that’s life.) Then embroidery is added over them to make it pop. It was pretty fun. My French knots always throw me for a loop when I’m rusty but I finally got them to work.

It is mainly from exhaustion that my embroidery is messy. I really wanted this sweater to be finished and I was on the home stretch. (When I just had to seam and work the neckband I realized OH GOD I also had to do all of the embroidery details which added about four more hours of work.) I can be a perfectionist when the mood strikes me. I’m usually really particular about my knitting but I actually liked the folksy imperfections in the embroidery. It kind of has a home made Christmas sweater feeling which balances well with the anal colorwork sections. (All in all, I probably ripped out and re-knit about 7-10″ of colorwork in different parts of the sweater.) The pattern suggests a lot more embroidery. I did less because I’m a minimalist (read: I’m so over working on this sweater).

I can’t wait to show you more of this sweater. It’s definitely going to be my favorite thing to wear from now on.

Have you embroidered knitting?

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08
Feb

Guest Post at the Kollabora Blog: Upcycling

Written by Sarah. Posted in kollabora

kollabora upcycling

 

In case you haven’t seen it yet, my first guest post for Kollabora was published on Wednesday. I’m so excited to see it up there! It’s about upcycling! Check it out!

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