=) Monday, Jun 30 2008 

I’m so happy right now! I’m spending a ridiculously nice day indoors, on the computer, taking care of all manner of adult-y chores. I’ve been obsessively checking Knitscene.com for the Fall 2008 preview. I’m thrilled to say it’s finally up!!

Why am I so thrilled? I’m profiled in their One Cool Knitter column (past Cool Knitters: Eunny Jang, Wendy Bernard…I’m more than a little flattered), AND I have a design appearing in this issue! I can finally share with you a project I finished ages ago. Meet Matryoshka!

Matroyshka Stole

This was my original submission sketch, which I sort of love. I can’t sketch bodies yet, which is something I have to fix post haste. In the mean time, I quite like collage:

Matroyshka Stole

And congrats to my friend Gudrun as well!
CR

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

Webs Wednesday, May 28 2008 

ETA: A title, for one–did you know that a definition of “web” is “a fabric, especially a fabric in the process of being woven”? Now I can say I’ve got a web on the loom and a UFO on the needles! I also forgot to include a totally cool weaving sample that Leslie-Ann (carpeyarnum wove for the store), details below!

SO, I <3 weaving! I wear this thing ALL the TIME. And this whole simple woven wrap thing is making the rounds in Blogland. Laura generously and wisely offers up the sort of info you need to make a nice stole of your own. My interest in rigid heddle weaving started with Kirsten and Mary’s beautiful pieces, with some help from the Rigid Heddle Looms group on Ravelry.

Paparazzi

I finished a second piece, a simple scarf in Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool. It’s a gift and I’m not sure I love how it came out. Using my favorite Willy-Nilly methodology, I bought three skeins and definitely anticipated having to purchase a fourth. Sure, I could have done the warp and weft calculations but when you’re following the Willy-Nilly method…there’s something so gratifying about NOT being fastidious with this, I feel like it sort of flies in the face of a well-established “weaverly” persona.

Leslie-Ann, a co-worker at Webs, is teaching a rigid-heddle class this summer and it’s filling up like crazy. she weaves and/or designs a lot of the samples you see in the catalog and ads. She wove a sample for the class that is hanging in the store and it ROCKS. It’s just plain ole’ plain weave but check it out, it’s so PLAID!

Plaid Scarf

She used the gorgeous to begin with Misti Alpaca Handpaint Sock yarn, one skein of color #10. I’ve seen the sample sock we have an I hate to say, it doesn’t come close to how cool this scarf is. I think this yarn was made to be woven, especially at this width. Since I’m a total weaving copy-cat, you can bet you’ll be seeing a version of this project here. Thanks, Flip Loom early adopters!

My camera just doesn’t do red, so this picture is sorta useless. Note the crispness of the fabric–I think I beat a little too enthusiastically and it ended up a little stiff, even post blocking. The silk really dominates here, and it’s almost a little rough, much rougher than any knit-up piece I’ve ever felt in the Silky Wool. Not the soft drape-y wonder that is 2/14 Alpaca Silk. It’s fantastic to rediscover yarns this way, I have to say.

Red Red Scarf

Well, I’ve got to get back to my breakfast and Firefly…I’m finally watching it and it’s AWESOME!

CR

Kool Thing Sunday, May 11 2008 

Did you know that Kim Gordon lives in Northampton? I had a spotting the other day between Haymarket and Masonic Street Laundry, it always tickles the crap out of me to see her or Thurston Moore just hanging around town.

I have a lot of kool things to show you. The first is a store sample, the Petal Tank knit in Terra by the Fibre Company. Good Lord, I love this yarn. It is so unspeakably pretty. This color is Cochineal, it looks like pink lemonade. It has all the rustic beauty of tweedy wool with the luster and softness of alpaca and silk. I wax rhapsodic about it more here. I will definitely be making one of these for myself.

Petal Tank

Petal Tank

Also, I wove something! It’s a very simple, gray scarf that I’m calling the Mithril Stole, yeah, I’m a big dork. I used Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk and a bit of Rowan Kidsilk Haze Night, woven on a Schacht Rigid Heddle Flip Loom, 25″ with a 10-dent reed. Someone said it was very Banana Republic and I think that fits. I had a fun time weaving it, I love being a total beginner again. I can’t see myself getting really into the technical side of weaving (at least any more than I have to to wind warps and get a nice finished project), it’s the same way I feel about spinning. I’m very product driven at the wheel and the loom, not so for knitting. I’m still hoping this will be the year of boring, wearable, expertly executed classics. Call it No Dud Duds in ’08!

Ghost Stole

Ghost Stole

Me at the loom

I’ve also started a Shetland Triangle with some Sundara Yarn Silky Merino Aran in Ruby Port. This was Autumn’s Seasons Club offering. I love it! I was in Autumn and Spring this round; I’ve signed up for Winter for the next round. Good stuff.

Shetland Triangle in progress

Shetland Triangle Back

CR

Nantucket Island Tank Sizing Friday, May 2 2008 

Thank you so much for the lovely comments on the Nantucket Tank! I hope to have it back at Webs soon as a store sample, stop in and see it if you get a chance. There are some sizing questions that have cropped up and I want to address them here. I’ve been told that Classic Elite can field questions as well.

Nantucket Tank

The size range published in the pattern is as follows:

Finished measurements: 30.5/Extra Small (32/Small, 34.25/Medium, 35.5/Large, 37.75/Extra Large)”.

The gauge listed in both versions is 20 stitches and 28 rounds=4 inches in stockinette stitch. The cast-on numbers indicate “CO 186 (194, 206, 214, 226).” At a gauge of 5 stitches to the inch, the bottom of the tank should measure right around: 37.25 (38.75, 41.25, 42.75, 45.25)”. The tank is meant to have a loose A-line shape.

You then complete a series of decreases and end up with 170 (178, 190, 198, 210) stitches–85 (90, 94, 98, 104) on your needle for the front and 85 (90, 94, 98, 104) stitches on a holder for the back. This is pretty much where I determined the finished bust measurement and the final sizes. It should ideally hit the widest part of the bust.

The sloped dotted line in the schematic indicates a bit of short row shaping. I did this to gently slope the angle of the armholes before starting each “cup” (for lack of a better word) side. Better to hide a bra with, my dear!

According to the gauge and the number of stitches you have, the circumference here should measure about 34 (36, 38, 40, 42)”, I was planning about 2 inches of ease for a loose and breezy summer top.

I’m not really sure why the tech editors at Classic Elite would list the finished measurements they did. As for the bust measurements they list in the schematic (these numbers were NOT numbers I submitted), there are two: 13.5 (14.25, 15.25, 15.75, 16.75)” for the back and 17 (17.75, 19, 19.75, 21)” for the front. That adds up to the bust measurements they list in the finished measurements: 30.5/Extra Small (32/Small, 34.25/Medium, 35.5/Large, 37.75/Extra Large)”. The only thing I can think of is that they measured the back right at the bound-off edge which is preceded by a series of fairly drastic decreases (done to pull in the very loose bell of fabric and minimize gaping).

The garment is knit in the round from the bottom up and the beauty of that is that you can try it on as you’re knitting! Please feel free to do this, just slip some stitches to scrap yarn or a spare needle and carefully sidle into the tank. You can add length, or determine whether or not you need the decreases I’ve listed in the back–I think omitting or altering the decreases in the back could extend the size range by a lot. Experiment, and ask me if you run into any other issues!

Phew! I feel like Sandi Wiseheart!

CR

Nantucket Island Tank! Tuesday, Apr 15 2008 

Nantucket Tank

Published and distributed by Classic Elite Yarns, available in their free webletter, Issue 36!

I can’t tell you how excited I was when a design I submitted was accepted for this newsletter. I love Classic Elite Yarns, I love that it’s based in Lowell (I earned my A.A. in Lowell and love New England mill towns). The designs have always been solid but I’m especially thrilled that Pam Allen was recently named the creative director. To know that my design passed muster at C.E. is just huge for me.

The Nantucket Tank is a simple design but it knit up very quickly and the yarn was an absolute joy to knit. I hope I have time to whip up one for myself before the summer is over! My track record on knitting summer knits I can actually use is not great. Here is a version of my “blurb” for the pattern and some additional pics, including a closeup of the cable used on the edge. I love how blue these pictures came out, it must have been the A.M. light. I do NOT love how grainy they are. Sorry =/

“Like most knitters, I enjoy a good, snowy winter. Being a native New Englander I get to enjoy many bitterly cold days and I do it without complaining–it justifies my love for wool. When it finally does warm up I’m faced with the question–what to knit? Knitting with cotton and bamboo presents unique challenges and limitations, but I’m learning that these are alchemical properties for an emerging designer! Knitting a swatch of Classic Elite Cotton Bamboo confirmed all my suspicions–this yarn was cool and SLINKY! It draped beautiful and seemed cool to the touch, exactly the sort of thing I want to slip on as the mercury rises.

I started to think of stitch patterns that would make sense and lace naturally came to mind. This year has been a real “cable moment” for me–almost everything I’ve made or been attracted to has had one. Bamboo and cotton aren’t the sort of fibers that call out for cables, in fact they can be difficult to work (I used a bamboo double pointed needle as a cable needle to cut down on it’s slippery tendency). I wanted to give it a go anyway and the result is something quite nautical–it reminds me of rope or the lines left behind in the sand after waves recede. It is flat and almost imperceptible but it makes an interesting edge and adds dimension to the smooth fabric.

I had to borrow from Nantucket Island to name this top. Both make it slightly easier to put away the wool for another New England summer.”

Nantucket Tank

Hope everyone is enjoying the slow New England thaw…

CR

P.S. Cecily Glowik at Classic Elite (love her Four Seasons Vine Vest) filled me in on the Skye Tweed Sweater mystery (at the bottom of the entry). It is one of her designs and it was taken off the Classic Elite website when Skye Tweed was discontinued. I say we petition her for a new version, I barely took mine off this winter!

Ambivalence Thursday, Mar 20 2008 

Hi everyone–thank you so, so much for all your comments on my last post. I’m doing okay, just trying to figure a lot of things out. I’m torn between finishing graduate school (which I sort of loathe) and devoting myself to the fiberous life I clearly love. It’s so easy for me to easy for me to be totally consumed by design, knitting, spinning, weaving, etc. Not true of Foucault, quantitative reasoning and literature reviews. I’ve never quit a thing in my life (probably a bad thing, right?) so this it’s difficult for me to even think about leaving this goal behind. Anyhow. It’s rough being in your mid-twenties. When I was younger I always thought that 25 meant a convertible and braces. I thought shiny metal braces were really, really cool, like tooth jewelry.

I have been knitting, Currer, which I mentioned in the Stash and Burn episode (46!) and a secret design project (I’m answering to a very, very prestigious boss). Also whipped up a Rockefeller Cardigan for the store. I actually have to get to the store right now, so I’ll just leave you with a few pictures, there are more details on Ravelry and more to come–this pattern was a trial to get through, but I think it was worth it in the end.

Oh, I’ve been spinning too! I’m also pricing out rigid heddle looms and getting more and more into crochet. Do I even need to bother with a pro and con list…?
Half and Half

Half and Half

Half and Half

Half and Half

My reward for knitting this beast. It was worth it =)

CR

High in the sky apple pie hopes… Sunday, Jan 20 2008 

Spring yarns are trickling in at the store and they are super tempting! I have so much cotton, linen, hemp, etc. in my stash, I’m forcing myself to NOT gorge on anything from Berroco or Classic Elite, specifically the highly tempting Seduce and Soft Linen. Trying to ignore the totally adorable patterns from Norah Gaughan and Pam Allen. To quash these cravings and celebrate the fact that I think this is the year I’ve finally accepted that I’m a fledgling designer (long time readers will know that there has been much internal consternation surrounding that self-appointed title), I’m working up a little pattern that will take just a few skeins of these gorgeous new yarns and hopefully be a cute mid-season accessory. I wasn’t allowed to buy the yarn on Saturday because it is just that new (not in the Webs system) but hopefully by next weekend because it’ll be a quick knit, and I want to wear it!

Now, for some heart-stopping cuteness. In November (my month of knitting a million sweaters) I hinted at some unphotographed FOs, two tiny dog sweaters I made for a (very talented) friend’s adorable pomapoo. Shara snapped some pics and left them for me in the comments but I want everyone to meet the very dapper Diego!
Diego

And his new little sister Sadie, wearing the elfish green hoodie I originally made for Diego!

Sadie

That face!!

Sadie

I used the very adaptable Basic Hound Hoodie (Ravelry link but you can Google it for a free PDF). The first beige hoodie was knit with about half a skein of Tahki Soho Tweed which is a very nice yarn, soft and quick knitting. The green hoodie took half a skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca. In the store the Cascade 220 is right next to the Ultra Al and…it makes the Ultra Al look really good. For about 1 dollar more you get a vastly more luxurious yarn in totally unique, complex colors. I’m not knocking Cascade 220 (or it’s awesome rival yarn Northampton) but if you haven’t used Ultra Al, I implore you, buy a skein, knit some little gloves or a hat (or both). You’ll fall for it.

More handspun…I need to start knitting it before I have yet another stash to manage. This is what I’m calling Wheat Sheaves, spun from 4 ounces of Spunky Eclectic BFL in Monkey Farts, most hilarious color name ever. I’m actually kind of happy with the pictures I got of this one, so lots more at Flickr.

Wheat Sheaves

I’ve also been practicing my photo skills on the Sundara Season’s Club shipment (this is Tickled Pink, the spring selection):

Tickled Pink

It’s been interesting, I chose Autumn and Spring, my favorite seasons in real life but I’m thinking I should have stuck with my CMB season, Winter. Those skeins have been deep reds or weird combos of green and charcoal or magenta and black. I live for weird colors! I sold and traded my silk lace weight because I’m just not that masochistic. If I ever really get into hardcore lace knitting it’ll be with something sticky.

What else? Oh yes, I had some exciting scores at Target the other day, got a creme brulee set for 5 dollars!! Steve, owner of Webs and wisecracker overheard me telling a coworker and shouted, “you know why it was 5 bucks, because no one makes creme brulee at home!!” I beg to differ, I made it immediately and had a very delicious breakfast the next morning!

Creme Brulee

Won’t be making a habit of it though. They include a “low-cal” version but it’s probably not worth the dairy. Besides a momentary freak-out about the butane torch (visions of explosions, probably the REAL reason no one makes them at home) I had success. I also made paneer (Fresh Cheese in Bittman) the other day, which was very fun. I’m having a streak of food luck, what should I make next??

CR

Whiskeytown! Thursday, Jan 17 2008 

To paraphrase Martha, good things. Very, very good. Cap Karma only took one ball of Queensland Kathmandu Aran Tweed (currently on sale for $4.29, $4.29 people!! OMG, Brett, please don’t be offended that I knit you a 5 dollar hat). The yarn is so incredibly soft and tweedy I found it hard to put down. And hey, cables are FUN, I forgot.

Cap Karma

Close-up:

Cap Karma closeup

And out in the world, shopping for bulk nuts for Whiskey Cookies!

Cap Karma

They looked so pale and plain we thought it’d be a good idea to add some Demerara sugar on top! They came out of the oven looking kind of disappointing, like flat, pale pancakes. How did they taste?

Whiskey Cookies

Delicious!! They were so breakfast-y with a hint of banana from the whiskey (does anyone else think whiskey tastes like banana), we decided to add a maple syrup swirl to the last batch. There are…only a couple left. Highly recommended cookie, I’ve never had such luck with baking in my life. The texture is…NOT unlike the soft squishy cables of the Cap Karma.

Ah, full circle…

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!

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