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

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

Is nice!! Sunday, Dec 16 2007 

So, the poor, poor Blood Orange Cardigan/Minimalist Cardigan has been resurrected from the dead! It took hours of careful, careful repair work. Actually, it was more like repair surgery. I learned a valuable lesson–when ripping out seams to re-set a shoulder, don’t use scissors, use a seam-ripper. Duh.

Blood Orange Cardigan

All I could while repairing it was think about how beautifully ironic it would be if it turned out to be a dud. I wasn’t convinced at first but I’ve been wearing it all day and I officially love it. It’s comfortable and the yarn–I am head over heels in love with Terra. It’s the perfect blend of fibers (60 merino/20 alpaca/20 silk): it isn’t itchy at ALL, it’s soft, has really perfect body and it drapes and shines like nobody’s business. The texture is all lumpy and inconsistent in a good way and the color…I wish my photography skills were better, it’s honestly jewel like. When I roughed up ends to spit splice I noticed that that core was pure bright white–it’s almost like the outside was airbrushed with the color. I don’t know how this would be done but it makes the yarn glow. This particular color (Madder) has all the shades found in a blood orange, hence the nickname.

Blood Orange Cardigan

We got a ton of snow on Thursday and it’s beautiful!

Blood Orange Cardigan

Speaking of beautiful…check out Adriana’s Gallery Jacket!! I love this version because it’s in an awesome Valley Yarn (Colrain, shiny!) and she knit it with long sleeves which is what I had originally planned. Didn’t get it done in time, but now we know, it works and it looks awesome!

This is Marion, she works at Webs and wears a LOT of fabulous sweaters. She is a reckless knitter, and I love it, a lot of her sweaters are improvised patterns and when I asked her what yarns she used for this Kaffe Fassett Poppies vest she just shrugged and laughed. I love it.

Marion's Poppies

While I’m doling out shout-outs, look at Chloe’s adorable Foliage hat, complete with a hilarious tale of DIY circulars. I gave her a big bag of yarns that were just festering in my stash and the girl is whipping out FOs left and right! Awesome.

Oh…remember when I submitted designs to Knitscene? Well, one was accepted! I’m over the moon, of course, especially because Lisa picked my favorite submission of the bunch. I’m actually starting to feel comfortable calling myself a designer…

CR

P.S. Yes, my last title is a Griswold gem, I love the entire Vacation series, probably because I love dad humor. Puns, accidental slapstick, overt foolhardy enthusiasm, all of it.

“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

Pun time. Tuesday, Dec 4 2007 

I swear to Jeebus I wasn’t being clever when I took these. I really need a Gorilla. I won’t let the chimp I live with take FO pictures because he has an uncanny ability to capture ridiculously awful faces.

So this is the Tilted Duster! I did the best I could getting pictures of her. You’ll note that it is a bit snug. Andra, can you believe it, I’m TOO BOOBALICIOUS FOR MY DUSTER!! No, not really, I knew it would be too small. I knit the size 32″ assuming it’d stretch a little over time (I’m a 34″ usually). I could have wet blocked it to facilitate this but I just steamed it and I’m liking how it looks open, so I’m fine with the size it is.

Tilted Duster

Whoa, sun!

Tilted Duster

Tilted Duster

My mods were minor, I added garter stitch to the bottom to prevent curling and to the collar to sort of’ ‘ground’ that little design element. I happen to love when ribbing is juxtaposed with garter welts, a la Forecast, I think it works here.

Tilted Duster

I purposely knit the collar a little longer because I like it folded over. I stupidly forgot to knit the buttonholes on the other side of the collar, I might add Velcro or snaps or something.

I searched everywhere for buttons and finally found some winners at Jo-Ann’s. I think these are new JHBs, they are thin, light and they match the little strand of yellow heathering that runs throughout this Peruvia colorway 7183 Abusar, which everyone insists is gray, but is actually a nice steel blue. I love the Peruvia! It’s light, easy to knit and soft enough for me to wear the tightish sleeves on my bare skin with no problems. I didn’t encounter any shedding issues, and I’m really fussy about that. I knit it on a US8 and it looks beautiful, especially after the steam treatment.

Tilted Duster

I can’t think of anything else I want to mention. I’m wearing it now and it is very comfturbulhs! AND, it completely invalidates everything I said in my last post about hating to wear my handknits. I spent a lot of time finishing this sweater and I think it shows. I wore it to teach in today and no one asked if I had knit it (my students know I knit and even saw me working on this particular sweater during their presentations). One day and I’m already eating my words, sheesh!

As always, bigger pictures at Flickr and more details at Ravelry!

CR

And the winner of NoSoNaFiSweMo is… Monday, Dec 3 2007 

Dharma! I’m going to have fun putting together a custom prize package for her, she is a fellow graduate student and used to live in Northampton. She correctly guessed the # and name of the sweaters that I would finish by my deadline (which I unscrupulously extended to include this weekend)!! Until the weather clears up and the sweaters dry, the promised runway show is on hold. You’ll have to be content with this, the remnants of the FOs:

FOremnants

Clockwise from the top these represent the Hudson Hoodie (which ended up hoodless), T-Storms, Blood Orange cardigan and the Tilted Duster. Technically I also finished Thermal…and by finished I mean chucked it into the wastebasket! That pattern is too cute to knit in such a droopy, pill-tastic yarn.

I learned a lot from this endeavor! I learned that, like Grumperina, I don’t think I’m a sweater knitter! It could be the deadline that was making it unpleasant but as I worked on these long abandoned projects I realized that I almost never wear the sweaters I’ve knit. I actually sort of hate them. There are always little flaws that bug me. I’m not a fashionista or even all that well put together but I’m insanely particular about fabrics and the way things fit. If an outfit is itching, sagging, riding up or doing anything weird it will ruin my day. Most of my hand-knit sweaters are imperfect, and I’m fine with that but I don’t know how sensible it is to keep making things I’m not going to wear.

Of course, last I checked I had enough stashed yarn to make…50 sweaters. It sounds crazy and inflated but it’s true and probably a low ball estimate as well. UGH. My plan of attack for the time being is to finish Treeline, Enid and Forecast. Then I want to emulate Siri and knit up my equally insane sock yarn stash. Socks get worn.

So do hats! Jenny and Nicole were reading my mind last week with their excellent episode on my absolute favorite thing to knit. Gudrun was as well, check out her adorable Unst. Julie at Team Knit has got me plotting a Brownie’s beanie redux! Hat love never dies around here.

Spinning is also kicking lots of ass. Jenna stopped by on Saturday with her wheel and it quickly turned into a night of spinning Q&A, chocolate munching and raspberry wine swigging (it was made by a Webs co-worker). Somehow, we ended up wearing a batt and a flyer.

Jenna wearing a flyer

I’m not as drunk as I look, I promise.

Cirilia wearing a batt

The same Cormo I spun and plied on the drop spindle was given the same treatment on the wheel:

First wheelspun

I like!

First wheelplied

I’m currently waiting for two packages from Spunky Eclectic, a lazy Kate and some assorted stuff to try (I’m especially excited about this, which I purchased in Night Flower). Hot damn, it’s fun to buy fiber. Speaking of Amy, I finished the Girl Power shawl. And two dog sweaters. Wow, it was a busy November.

Finished object runway show in the very near future,

CR

Itchy. Tuesday, Mar 20 2007 

I’ve got a raging case of the mean reds. Could be because sewing is so distracting to me that I can hardly get any real work done or leave the apartment. I’ve taken up watching The View for a number of reasons, but I’ve got to stop. It derails my day. I get up around 9 (late for someone who used to row and work a ‘regular’ job) and do some organizing/reading/craft planning. Eric makes coffee and eat cornflakes really noisily. I glower. He leaves. At 11 I’m watching the View and eating a little brunch. I started off just watching the opening ‘hot topics’ segment but now I usually watch straight through. By noon I still haven’t showered (there is a reason I’m admitting to this publicly–I NEED TO BE SHAMED!) and I don’t have to be to campus for any particular reason. This isn’t just a spring break schedule, it’s like this every week. The earliest I’m expected to be anywhere during the week is 3:30 p.m. Yeah. It’s bad.

Anyhow, the View. Rosie O’Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck have the most ferocious political arguments, I am just waiting for the day it turns physical. Rosie jokes about not liking her job as ‘gay mascot’ of the show but the fact that she discusses alternative sexualities on an almost daily basis and gets applauded for doing so blows my mind. It’s not the lesbianism that I’m necessarily impressed by it’s her voiced attraction to various celebrities regardless of gender. She endorses a carnivalesque approach towards human attraction, claiming that we’re all on a spectrum that is above all things mutable. She pulls no punches politically and it’s a thrill to see it happen on daytime television in front of audiences that I’d (perhaps unfairly) assumed to be the very opposite of forward-thinking.

Oh! And on a lighter note, her and Joy Behar talk about what it means to be a woman in comedy almost daily. I’m currently cobbling together a paper on Sarah Silverman for a conference in April so anything about the subject catches my interest these days.

So anyway…I’ve been sewing more than knitting these days. Here are some pictures, and all the details are over at Craftster:



It’s only Tuesday and it feels like my break is flying by…I’ve been buying a crapload of sock yarn lately and I swore I’d finish some very old chunky weight projects (I just typed ‘problems’ instead of ‘projects’…is that a sign?) so hopefully my next post will be…yarn-ier.

CR

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.