Sluggin’ out Tuesday, Jun 24 2008 

It’s been very, very weird here in Western, Mass. The past three days have been filled with rain and thunder, unnaturally dark days with little tenuous bits of sunshine. It’s like ‘The Happening’, which I happened to love, but I’m pretty sure 60% of my love for it is a desire to be contrary and a girl crush on Zooey Deschanel (anyone want to go see this with me? Anyone?).

I’ve been doing a lot of knitting of course, mostly for the store. Knitting for the store like mad is a bit of an addiction, I’m afraid. We’re compensated in store credit which feels like Monopoly money, and though I really, really don’t need the yarn, I just can’t pass it up!

My latest contribution also marks a bit of a milestone for me–I finally figured out how to make a PDF and put up a pattern page here on the blog. I made a cozy scarf with Cuzco, a scrumdiddliumptious new Berroco yarn, 50/50 wool/alpaca with a nice bouncy twist. I’m totally digging Crotona, but it might just be the outfit in general, she reminds me of these fashionable sheep, still clinging to the ‘dark leg’ trend. I can see why, it’s a classic trend, if there is such a thing.

You can find the pattern for the Brûlée Scarf on my new pattern page!

Brulee Scarf

Also there is a link to a pattern I did for J. Knits that I think I forgot to blog about! I’m calling it the Downtown Clutch and it will also appear in an upcoming book from Storey Publishing. The yarn is called Charming and well, it is! I actually can’t describe the feel of knitting with it, but it is good. The last time I was this flummoxed by a yarn (Socks that Rock in this post) I started talking about it’s mouthfeel, so yeah. You’ll just have to see for yourself. There is already an adorable finished Downtown Clutch over at Ravelry, I simply love her mods. I am certainly planning to embellish mine similarly, hopefully before fall!

Downtown Clutch

Time to make the donuts,

CR

“It’s about making yarn by hand.” Wednesday, Jan 16 2008 

So, remember those Calvin Klein ads from the early 90s? The ones that looked like they were set in a basement and all creepy? Well, that’s my bathroom. Behold, a makeshift dye lab, made of a tension bar and a bucket! This is a Louet Hand Dyed Sock Kit, it will eventually be a pair of socks and then it will live at Webs. It’s like a mash-up of girlie colors and animal print. I followed the directions to the letter and they didn’t say to unwind the skanks (skein-hanks) so I left them wound and ended up with lots of white spaces! I thought I’d saturated them pretty well, burrowing the squeeze bottle nozzle into the skein, but apparently not. Oh well, I tend to like a lot of white in my sock yarn.

Louet Sock Kit

This is what it looks like wound up:

Louet Sock Yarn

I started plying the Spunky Eclectic BFL in Monkey Farts. It has a really pretty translucent quality, very pale milk chocolate brown and vanilla pudding yellow, okay, now I feel like Homer Simpson. It was very easy to draft, and since I don’t have plans for it I experimented with TPI and different drafting techniques (from the fold, semi-woolen spun, etc.) and now I’m plying it in a very haphazard manner, seeing what happens when I treadle really quickly and barely support the yarns (a tightly wound Koigu-ish effect) or when I treadle slowly and let the twist into the singles slowly (a calmer, softer effect, with a bit of a barber-pole effect).

After consulting this I know that I’ve been stripping and pre-drafting and plying two identical (in theory, they don’t match up because I’m still pretty uneven) bobbins together which should yield a somewhat self-striping yarn. It’s fun learning on my own, but I can already tell I’m going to get lots of bad habits this way. It’s also a problem that I don’t really know the technical side of what I’m doing. For instance, ratios? No idea.

Monkey Farts

Secret knitting continues!

Knitscene Project

Speaking of dying, Gail/Kangaroo Dyer was the guest on Ready, Set, Knit this week! It was a great interview. She is great about inviting people to come dye with her but I’ve never been tempted, I just don’t think dying is for me. All I could think of during the process was A. I’m screwing this up and it will be ugly and a waste of Louet, B. this is messy, C. this is wasteful (all the water, the microwaving and the Saran Wrap/plastic bags)! Also, there are sooOOooo many already dyed yarns that I love. Fiesta Baby Boom in Plum Pudding (I don’t even like pink!), Pigeonroof’s Nightshade and this sushi colorway from Keegan Lane Yarns, and so on and so on…
CR

Mad Hatter Tuesday, Jan 8 2008 

Oof, I’m sorry, I said I’d tell you more about design endeavors “tomorrow…” on December 31st. Well, I’ve been busy! I’m working on lots of design submissions, my Knitscene project and two new designs that will appear in a follow-up to the gorgeous Sensual Knits from Sterling/Hollan. It just keeps mushrooming, it’s very, very good way to start the new year.
So, you know I like to knit and model hats, but I have a lot of them so I’m always happy to knit for hat wearing friends, especially friends with beards! Speaking of BEARDS, how excited am I? The beards in late night (Dave, Conan) are just fantastic. Up with beards!! This is a Turned-Brim hat from Quietish, knit for a UMass friend. We both have love for redheads, Harry Potter, and Wii. We’ve both been resident assistants at UMass, study in the communication department and are irritated by our non-voting peers.
Turned-Brim Hat
Pictures came out sort of dark so I went for sepia! It’s actually green and brown, deets on Ravelry. Turned out a bit too long, so the turned-under hem became a turned-up brim. Oh well! Next up is a Cap Karma for this willing hat-wearer.
Turned-Brim Hat
Also exciting…my Spiffy Knits Burrow fiber is all spun up, plied and ready to be knit! I was kind of obsessed with the single and how much it resembled a favorite Noro Kureyon colorway in the new sock yarn weight.
The Burrow singles
I wasn’t sure how I liked it after plying, but I think I do!
The Burrow plied
The Burrow close-up
The Burrow plied
My plan is to make a Maltese Fisherman’s Hat (from EZ’s Knitter’s Almanac, best 8 dollars you’ll ever spend) a la Knitting School Dropout, who I’m lucky enough to know in real life. Don’t all my friends look so cute in hats?? If you haven’t had enough, check out these two new hats from hat queen Ysolda Teague.
I might be sort of silent this month, I have a lot of knitting to do. I’m working at Webs about three days a week and working on some school projects, etc. Stitches West is right around the corner, this will be the best ever, I’m sure of it. West is always my favorite and this year I’ll be on the West coast hanging out/working hard with some favorite knitting pals (as well as the huge, ridiculous Webs caravan, so fun)–I sort of can’t wait.

CR

P.S./Note to Self: Drops Spring/Summer 2008 is awesome!! I love the poetically named: FA-023, O-280, OO-68, R-492, R-495, SA-035, SA-040, Z-312. No links, just go look!

“You watch too much TV,” Sunday, Dec 30 2007 

said a friend of mine. I took offense at first but then I realized that I do watch a lot of TV. Mostly on DVD and mostly while I’m knitting, which isn’t that rare. Chloe summed it up pretty well: “I realized one of my favorite things to do is to sit in bed and knit and watch movies. Its’ like the ultimate experience. I’m sixty.” And Adrian points out that TV shows on DVDs are the perfect companion to knitting.

I don’t know what it is about my taste but everything I love is canceled really quickly, often after one or two seasons. This year I fell in love with the haunting Carnivale, Jenna’s recommendation. Wow, I just had an idea–I should start a letter writing campaign to get Jenna blogging again! It never worked for my favorite shows but it’s worth a shot =) Besides being an insanely well acted, creeptastic show, Carnivale was a work of art. Everything from the opening title sequence to the set dressing was incredibly rendered Depression-era beauty…dusty, simple lines, tons of hardscrabble eye candy.

I just finished watching My-So-Called-Life, newly released in a charming boxed set (fun trivia: Winnie Holzman, the MSCL writer/creator/producer/guest star was the mugged/duped therapist in the season finale of Curb!) Watching MSCL a decade + after I first watched it was a trip–I kept thinking of people I wanted to send it to. I’m always nostaligic for the media and aesthetic of the early 90s.

I was pretty young in the early 90s but I was a pretty ferocious pop culture consumer with every corpuscle of my being and Nirvana + co., Angela Chase and the riot grrl movement all had a profound effect on me. But yes, it’s written to be painfully accurate, even more so than it’s comic counterpart Freaks and Geeks, which didn’t have the added layer of the midlife crisis adults storyline.

In knitting news I have a lot of little scraps. I didn’t get all of my Christmas Felted Clogs done, so I have to finish those. I took a few afghan squares for a store project. I knit a little iPod sweater (Susan Bates knit gauge has almost the same dimensions as the regular iPod, tres helpful if you own a Nano and are knitting for a friend):

iPod Sweater

Started a February baby jacket in STR mediumweight, Pink Granite, no gull lace:

Pink Zebra Sweater

Plied my Spunky sock yarn:

Nightflower Sock Yarn

Also, a hat and my Knitscene project which I can’t really show (because it’s a secret, and red, really hard to photograph). It’s all pretty tame here at chez Skrilla! I think I’m a little bummed that I don’t have 4 more sweaters to post! I’m designing a lot at the moment, I’ll write about that tomorrow.

Over and out,

CR

P.S. Am I an obnoxious fan-girl or what? I squeed when I read Norah’s response to my half-joke of volunteering my name for a Berroco pattern. I badger everyone I know at Berroco about how my weird name would fit right into there pattern archive. Hey, it would make all the hassle of growing up with a weird name worth it!

!!! Wednesday, Nov 21 2007 

So I’ve decided to try and streamline my Internet life, and making the switch to WordPress seemed like a good idea. Can’t tell you why yet, still exploring, but so far so good!

I haven’t posted much new yarn lately…this is because I’m really not buying much (well, compared to what I usually do), but it’s also because entering it into Ravelry feels like enough. I purchased yarn for the Colette sweater in the new Interweave (I chose burgundy and grass green Whiskey). I special ordered an Autumn Rose kit. I got two Ravens:

J.Knits generously sent me a few skeins of her new spring yarns to sample. I’d never seen these yarns, but Andra reps them in New England and speaks highly of them. They are GORGEOUS, look at this Camel in Nebraska (it feels thick and luscious, yarn Haagen-Daaz):

jknitscamel

This is Charming in Iowa. The yardage and the fiber content are really excellent–300 yards of lambswool, cashmere and angora. I’m thinking ridiculously luxurious socks.

Charming

And speaking of socks I had to grab this skein of my favorite ice cream flavor from Keegan Lane Yarns (I love the realism of the chocolate ‘chips':

Mint Chip Sock Yarn

In other news, a Ladybug has landed in my apartment! Jenna and Melissa graciously rang me up past the official Webs closing time so I could take my Ladybug home. Thank you both, ladies, I know it was an annoying sale on a few levels =/ I did assemble it and find my ladybug (she’s on the right side of the…the part the looks like a phallus, I’m sorry, it does).

I’ve decided to name the wheel Lexie Sedgwick, a double homage to how I earned it and a theorist I’m fond of who writes about gender, performance, deconstruction and textiles! I didn’t know naming wheels was a “thing” but I used to name my cars, so why not the wheel?And speaking of spinning, check out my first plied yarn, this was spun and plied on the drop spindle.

First plied yarn

I totally love it, flaws and all! Those fat fuzzy slubs (and the uh, unspun bits) are right up my alley. I couldn’t believe how cool plying was, it went from overspun, kinky singles to a relatively balanced, pretty yarn. I really think that this fiber (wish Foxhill Farm had a website to link to) is what prompted me to pick up the drop spindle again. As for the wheel, it was equal parts Adrian and Jenna. Again, it makes so much sense that my next fiber endeavor is spinning, I’m the sort of knitter who is somewhat ashamedly in love with miles of stockinette–I’m in it for the fabric, and beautiful yarns speak to me more than complicated stitch patterns or ambitious construction. There, I said it. I’m a knit simpleton, with expensive tastes.

CR

Grey area. Thursday, Nov 1 2007 

So I mentioned Fashion Plates in my last post and I’ve had a few questions about long sleeves on the Gallery Jacket. It was absolutely meant to be long-sleeved! I was basically trying to recreate a favorite sweater (seen here in all it’s ribby wrappy glory) and ran out of time. Luckily, the time constraint forced me to cut corners (in a good way, IMHO) by picking up stitches around the armsyce and knitting down until they yelled “CUT! Put it on. Look pretty!” I plan to make mine long-sleeved and it will be easy for all of you to do so–just keep knitting! It might make sense to work some decrease rows past the elbow. I’ll cast on for my version soon and share those numbers with you (and Webs, so they can put it on the pattern) soon.

About “re-interpreting” sweaters…a Ravelry thread about design/pattern theft got pretty heated recently. It’s always an interesting discussion and I’ve even taught a colloquium about the contested nature of originality. We explored the possibility that it might not be possible anymore, and looked at it from a number of angles (planned communities like Celebration, FL, media mash-ups, iconography and semiotics, mimicry and homage, etc.). You can read my thoughts on this here. For non-Ravelers, I will just say that letting go of a fetishized notion of “originality” was the first step I had to take before engaging design and setting my creative output loose into the world.

The store-bought sweater uses a different rib pattern and of course, a different sleeve. Mine is practically seamless, which the store version isn’t. It also incorporates some clunky, very visible decreases that I nixed. I would never claim to have dreamed up this sweater out of thin air–it’s more like a jazz standard. Fun fact about me–I used to work at the Acton Jazz Cafe and have heard approximately 312 versions of “Stella by Starlight.” Ooh, another–I still don’t know the words! My mother used to sing professionally and my father is a jazz drummer but I am notoriously bad at learning lyrics.

The STR Sock Club accepts enrollments today. Hate to say, it was easy to resist signing up. I’ve signed up for two, yes TWO seasons of the Sundara Season’s club and I have billion skeins of STR in my stash anyway. Working as a Stitches vendor is it’s own little sock club…you get to shop the amazing booth before the attendees! Heck, Deb and Kaci will tell you that I shop the booth while they’re UNPACKING. Yes, I am annoying. I can’t help it, look at this!!

Anyhow, I’m saving my BMFA $$ for the Raven series. I’m oh-so-curious to see the BMFA non-brights, and Kaci tells me that the patterns are fantastic.

It’s deliciously grey today. Does anyone else love these damp, foggy fall days? They get no love!

CR

P.S. Whoa. I just searched my blog to see if I’ve mentioned the colloquium before. I have–look at the title. SEE-nothing is original!

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