=) 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

Conundrum! Friday, May 23 2008 

Decisions, decisions here at Chez Skrillaknits…

ETA: I’m just APPLYING, btw. The picture below is from a Stitches convention. I was pretty darn stoked to be standing with those ladies!

I’m thoroughly liminal these days. Not my favorite state of being but par for the quarterlife course, I’m told. The only things keeping me grounded are a) my very cute but messy bachelorette pad, still a little gem of a sublet, b) Webs, my yarn alma mater, my home nest in the Valley, c) my therapist! and d) last but not least, a certain level-headed hat wearing hottie.

Looks good, no?

Norah, Me, Margery

Thanks for all the weaving love! I officially have a new favorite comment. I’m thinking of coming up with some sort of formal “thing” for the No Dud Duds in 2008 idea. Sort of loose, like Project Spectrum. I’ve been wearing the crap out of that simple grey stole I made and it really has me thinking differently about what I’m knitting. I like to read a lot of dorky fashion self-help books like What Not to Wear, etc. because I am a real klutz at dressing myself and I also like to learn about proportions of other bodies (I’ve been training for this design position all my life, I’m telling you ;)

Anyhow, the same way Color Me Beautiful forced me to rethink and ultimately edit my closet and yarn stash, I’m hoping to knit judiciously in the future. Jenna would probably point out my lax commitment to this initiative so far as she practically begged me not to rescue this disheveled $2.00 bin ball for a Bandwagon Cowl.
CR

P.S. Guess who was at Webs today? None other than Adrian, Jess and Jared. Practically the knitting A-Team!

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

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

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!!

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

“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!

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