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!

BLUSH Tuesday, Feb 5 2008 

Blushing for many, many reasons these days. This first story is…almost too embarrassing to tell, but it’s kind of too funny to not tell. As you know, Super Tuesday is upon us! I called Town Hall to double check my polling location and that Independents can vote in the Massachusetts primary. Turns out, I am enrolled as a Q. Q stands for American Independent, a branch of the Constitution Party. SOMEHOW, when I registered to vote I chose this party instead of Unenrolled. Unenrolled sounded like a slacker party, like the show!

For the past 3+ years, I’ve been an accidental registered American Independent. My political views couldn’t really be more OPPOSITE of theirs (very conservative!). With Hillary and Barack in a statistical dead heat and everyone I know supporting Barack I was really looking forward to casting my vote for a viable, female candidate but I effed up and that won’t happen. If she loses Amherst, I’m going to feel irrationally guilty!!

Onto happier news–Gudrun, aka the Shetland Trader asked me to model one of her fabulous hat patterns. Meet the Bousta Beret! Here are a few outtakes from my little photoshoots. The paparazzi shot:

Bousta Beret

Some light reading:

Bousta Beret

Like I said, I’ve been away from the blog, focusing on knitting, designing and schoolwork. In that order. Some MORE good knittish things have happened recently but I sort of feel like keeping them secret for now! Another reason I’m blushing is that I’ve been given the You Make My Day blog award from Gudrun, Cosmicpluto (didn’t even know she read my blog, eek!) Sknitty and Brokeknits and Elin. ETA: Also, Reckless Glue and Miss Scarlett! Thanks, ladies, I echo the sentiment! Here are ten additional favorites:

1. Ysolda for her Scottish photoshoots and for being an inspiring designer.

2. Emily at Inside a Black Apple for all around cuteness and amazing artwork (which I often wear)!

3. Melissa at Knitting School Dropout for being adorable and having the most covetable FOs around.

4. Kate at Zeitgeist Yarns for being my birthday twin (one of many September 20th babies that I know) and for making it academic—I can’t help but envy her textile design grad studies…

5. Tied for funniest, sharpest ladies I know in real life, Huelo (whose blog has apparently run away from the Internet) and Chloe.

6. Jared at Brooklyn Tweed, of course, for his handspun and garter love. Loved listening to him on the Webs podcast this week!
7. Jenna at Cinemaknits who I pester all the time about not blogging anymore. She picks such great, obscure project and I love her color sense. I might have to start bribing her with Manchego and wine…

8. Adrian at Hello Yarn for the cutest dog name in the world (Shambles!) and her awesome knits, especially the ones for men (modeled by an oft-bearded Irishman!)

9. I have a confession to make about Pamela at Flint Knits and Megan at the Knitting Philistine…I confused them for a long time, they were both grad students with similar haircuts, glasses, equally awesome knitting…I finally got it straight and…this post continues to be embarrassing.

10. Jenny at Wikstenmade for making me want to move to Kansas City just so we can hang out, sew and speak in Jerri Blank quotes exclusively.

Speaking of sewing, I started a Denyse Schmidt foundation pieced scarf, here are my pre-cut bindles of fabric, which I find ridiculously cute:

Bindles

So far it’s been really easy but my sewing machines hate me and started making terrible grinding sounds late at night, so I took a break. Might be because I’m using that gold top-stitching thread, the kind used on jeans, it’s so golden and pretty.

This doesn’t count as an FO, but I had to show it off! This was a store sample from Classic Elite, I can’t find the pattern info anywhere but it is color #1229 of discontinued Skye Tweed. It is a little Flashdance and I luff it:

Skye Tweed

Color is much more accurate here:

Skye Tweed

Over and out,

Skrills

P.S. Don’t forget to vote!!

“You’re so beautiful… Thursday, Dec 6 2007 

you could be a part-time model, but you’d probably have to keep your day job…”

This is my theme song. It kills me when he says “spend part of your time modeling, and part of your time with me,” I would love to eat a kebab and take it slow with Gemaine, why does everyone prefer Brett, Gemaine is clearly the better man here!!

Anyhow, back to part time modeling! The latest Lexie photoshoot was really fun! She has given her site a makeover, it’s lovely! As always the new bags aren’t just in new prints, there are lots of cool new details. My favorite print is Pacifica, don’t know if it’s the colors I love or the fact that it was photographed with chocolates and a vanilla milkshake! There is also something very O’Keefe about the print, I love it. If you’re going to do floral, that’s my kind of floral.

My wardrobe for the day was…my wardrobe! Here it is resting on the radiator, which got rid of wrinkles and made outdoor shots a little easier.

Wardrobe on radiator

Lexie graciously provided a giant down parka which was so ANTM (btw, SO sad about Heather leaving last week). The location was an absolutely beautiful converted mill building. I’ve spent a lot of time in buildings like this–I earned my A.A. at Middlesex Community College which has a campus in Lowell, MA, a beautiful mill town and the home of Jack Keroauc (fun Skrilla fact: I used to write a column for the Lowell Sun and JK got his start writing for the sport’s pages there). I don’t know much about architecture but I love the feel of converted textile buildings. Plenty of exposed hardware that looks cold and heavy juxtaposed with worn brick and scuffed up hardwood flooring, plus tall, sectioned pane windows that let in tons of light and offer views of the rushing sparkling rivers that are always nearby. I love it!

The photographer is/was fantastic to work with. We’ve worked together on three or four Lexie shoots now and it’s always relaxing and fun–no barked orders, no impossible contortions (for ME at least!) just very thoughtful snapping. And unprofessional goofing off:

Flowers, for me?!

Lexie wisely chose this shot instead. I love this one, I wish I always looked that placid when communing with a laptop…

CR Laptop

Which I should actually be doing right now. I had a data disaster yesterday and I need to rectify the situation. Before I go, another finished object, the Girl Power shawl, details on Ravelry. This was nothing but fun and started a serious Spunky Eclectic addiction. Thank you again for spinning it, Jenna!

Girl Power Shawl

The FO parade will continue. Sorry to drag it out, but it’s really fun to give each item it’s own post. It’s also hard to coordinate good sun + me being showered/presentable. Heh. TMI?

CR

Undoing, thy name is: Thursday, Nov 15 2007 


And it had to arrive the week I have a major, must get an A paper in which I have to “engage” readings from the following big guns: Antonio Gramsci, Kenneth Burke, J.L. Austin, Jurgen Habermas, Erving Goffman, Raymond Willimas and John Searle. No biggie, right? Ain’t nothing but a 20th century language theorist’s paaaaaaartaaaay…all I have to say is, where my ladies at?

I did some hand modeling last week, for Edie Eckman’s next book. I kind of have man-hands, so I found this amusing. They aren’t going to get any prettier if I keep beating up on them with this crazy game. Eric has already requested a knitted wristband for padding! Oof. I can’t help the addiction, they’re the songs of my youth–from the 80s (Guns and Roses, Foghat, Dead Kennedy’s) to the mid 90s (Weezer, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against the Machine)…I’m such a Nintendo sucker, and I’m already coveting a DS Lite with the brain-builder vocabulary/memory/hand-eye coordination improving games! Wow. I’m a geek.

CR

Post monster! Friday, Nov 2 2007 

I don’t know what has gotten into me, posting three times in one week. Maybe I’m inspired by the NaBloPoMo participants? Or maybe it’s that there are some exciting things happening. First one: Lexie is looking for ladies (actually, I’m sure dudes are welcome too, I just like alliteration!). She really means it when she says “All ages, ethnicities, shapes, and sizes are encouraged to submit an entry,” this is the woman who lets/loves for me come to photo shoots with chipped black nail polish and whatever Van’s slip-ons I’m wearing that day. You can probably tell from her bags but Lexie’s aesthetic is one of kind, and now you can be a part of it!

When I mentioned Norah Gaughan’s exclusive to Webs (for the next two weeks at least) Lotus Cardigan, I did NOT give it it’s due. Here is a better picture (still pretty bad though, photographing catalog paper is difficult and I struggle with digital photography in general):


It was knit by Andra Asars, a woman I’m proud to call my adopted yarn mentor. She is brilliant at what she does, including whipping out perfect, custom-sized garments like this one in about two weeks. Here is us at Stitches watching the Red Sox, fanciest fans ever! We look like a demure Betty and Veronica, no?

A sample garment of hers went missing at Stitches…if anyone has a friend who “whips up” a size 42″ red Chantal in a record amount of time…please let me know. It is sad to lose garments this way, and it happens way more than it should. You’d think fellow knitters would understand how many hours go into sample garments.

CR

P.S. If you’re watching the Office and you squeal at the amazingness of the Finer Things Club and your boyfriend immediately suggests “You should make a Ravelry group for it!” you MIGHT be addicted to Ravelry.

OMG, ya’ll! Tuesday, Oct 30 2007 

The first Gallery Jacket! Is it vain if I say that I think it’s freaking adorable? Julie is right, you can style it a million ways…it was difficult to pick one way to show it in the catalog to be honest.

I haven’t been the best blogger lately…I’ve been consumed with school stuff but somehow, after chatting with Lisa Shroyer at Stitches East, I thought it’d be a good idea to submit a few designs to Knitscene. I was all flattered and big headed for a few minutes but then I saw that it was more of an open call…heh…oh well, it was wicked fun to play designer for a week, it was just like playing with Fashion Plates! I suck at sketching so I did a little collage work. I’m in love with some of the swatches, here is a peek:


Speaking of secret designs, I can reveal the secret from an old post. Norah Gaughan designed a pattern, Lotus that was knit to fit my exact measurements (acoustic guitar-like: long neck, long torso, flared bottom/hip region, also monkey arms)! It was knit in Jasper, velvety soft Jasper in a deep wine red colorway that had stripes of charcoal of beige. I love it!!

What else…I’m knitting some simple winter accessories, the cold has finally arrived and they’re very much needed, I play the same game the Harlot mentions here. The most exciting is the shawl I’ve started with Jenna’s handspun:


I’m calling this the Girl Power shawl because Spunky Eclectic dyed the fiber, Jenna spun the yarn and I’m knitting it up, using a Spunky Eclectic pattern. The cirrrrrrrcle of yaarrrrn…

Poor Jenna was at my house for the final Red Sox World Series game…she is a Yankees fan and…we…may have bickered. The lovable underdog days are officially over, so I was kind of at a disadvantage, but I refuse to believe that Yankee fans outnumber the citizenry of Red Sox nation, which is much larger than just Massachusetts! Jenna ate some of my overcooked and bitter broccoli rabe and I felt slightly vindicated.

This song is currently stuck in my head and I don’t mind at all…

CR

Gallery Jacket! Sunday, Sep 9 2007 

Phew, I can post a finished object! The new Valley Yarns catalog is in the store which means it’s also making its way to everyone on the mailing list. In it you’ll find the sweater I mentioned in my (woefully pictureless) last post. This is something I designed and knit for Valley Yarns Sheffield, a gorgeous new yarn with amazing colors that feel new for Valley Yarns–deep teal, espresso brown, etc. This is the Gallery Jacket, named for Arts Night Out, a Northampton institution that I have sadly never participated in (Mexifest ladies, maybe on the 14th?)

Tell me, what is wrong with this picture? Why should you never trust the “I’m just fixing my hair pose”?


Because the great Maggie Righetti says you shouldn’t, in Chapter 1 of “Knitting In Plain English” titled: You Can Always Tell What’s Wrong With a Garment By The Way a Model is Posed, or Slender Five-Foot-Ten Inch Models Look Good in Anything. See for yourself!

The “problem” in this case is the sleeve. I intended this to be a long sleeved sweater (full-disclosure, I was trying to recreate this sweater, purchased at a Marshall’s, no discernible designer) with a modified drop shoulder. I couldn’t knit the twisted ribbing fast enough and was on a somewhat scary deadline for a relatively slow knitter. The twisted ribbing takes FOREVER, but I really think it was worth it in the end.


Back to the point, I decided to pick up stitches and knit down in the round, so that no matter where I was when I ran out of time, I’d a least have a sleeve! I got about 2.5 inches done on both and tried the thing on. Somehow I forgot that the beauty of a drop shoulder is that it forms the top of your sleeve! It looked just fine with the stubby sleeves, in fact, many people thought it would’ve lost cuteness had I continued knitting.


The Sheffield is quite warm so it was actually nice to have a mostly bare arm. I’ve tweaked the pattern and incorporated some decreases to take care of the pooching (technical term?) that occurs under the arm in these pictures. I think that would’ve been weighted down with a longer sleeve, but here it’s a bit obvious. A short row cap sleeve would’ve been nice, but I still have my training wheels on when it comes to designing!

One last note–this was modeled WET–I blocked it about 10 hours after I finished it and in a humid July, the water barely budged. When the sweater dried it looked a lot less saggy under the arm area, I promise. It’ll be in the store and again, the pattern was revised after knitting. I’ll have to test knit a second version when more Sheffield arrives because I really want one of these in my wardrobe.

CR

P.S. The shawl pin in the catalog pictures and the design inspiration picture is the same, made by Moving Mud. I think I might purposely design sweaters that require these, they’re beautiful!

P.P.S. More credits, the most important: these pictures are the product of Penny and David Michalak, a local couple who between them have too many design related talents to list!

Tap tap… Thursday, Sep 6 2007 

Is this thing on?

I disappeared! And I didn’t even know it but the last post I made (on August 13th) was my 100th post, at least at this blog address. Cool.

I’ve been busy with moving and grad school has started up again so I’ve been consumed with those two things. I’ve been having almost constant agita since moving–the yarn is just out of control and there is very little closet space so while it’s a much bigger apartment than the last, the yarn has nowhere to GO. I’ve had to invest in a set of vacuum space bags. I thought about posting pictures, but the hard squished bricks of yarn are too sad, I could almost be accused of yarn abuse!

If there is anything that makes me feel like I have too much yarn it’s calculating the amount I spend on STORAGE for the yarn. I could knit a cashmere afghan with what I’ve spent on plastic storage bins, no joke. And those vacuum bags aren’t cheap either. I read on Ravelry that you shouldn’t actually vacuum out the air because it could permanently compress the fibers.

Anyhow, I am knitting and hope to be able to post a picture of my Minimalist cardigan soon which I am close to finishing. It’s looking like it will be an adorable wearable sweater and I already have two orders for them. I don’t think I’ll mind because it’s such a straightforward pattern, really quick and easy knitting. I’ll probably be knitting a second for myself as well!

My modeling has been truly exciting recently–in the next Webs catalog you’ll see me modeling a garment I designed and knit in what I think is the nicest Valley Yarn yet, Sheffield, a merino/silk/angora blend. I’m actually pretty pleased with this sweater and hope it finds some fans. It was really fun to work on the entire page of the catalog, from the copy to the garment to the modeling it was all DIY!

The next job on deck is seriously fantastic but top secret for now! All I’ll say is that I had to give my measurements to a very cool lady today…

I’ll be back with pictures!

CR

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.