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

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

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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