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.

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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!

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

UGH. Friday, Sep 28 2007 

FIRST of all, thank you so much for the lovely comments on the Gallery Jacket! Sheffield has arrived and it is quite beautiful. I can’t wait to see how the pattern works out for people. The garment has been cat-nap tested and approved:




Unfortunately my next sweater project wasn’t as successful. In fact, I have a sweater disaster on my hands. The squeamish should avert their eyes, and maybe not read any further.


This is my Minimalist Cardigan, knit with the ridiculously hard to photograph Terra in Madder. This sweater should have been done weeks ago. I loved knitting the easy pieces, I didn’t even mind the moss stitch since I knit Continental. After all that twisted ribbing for the Gallery Jacket, allover moss stitch was like a vacation! I’d heard that moss stitch is a pain to seam so I’d decided to back stitch a lot of them. It’s bulky, yes, but it’s quick and I just wanted to wear this thing. I made a small mistake sewing the sleeve in and while I was undoing my seams I…may have used scissors. I know, I know, I should have slowly unpicked it but come on! I was already rushing…and drinking…and tired.

Can you guess what happens next? I snipped my knitting. And this isn’t yarn you would want to steek. It is partially alpaca, partially silk, very slippery. I tried to patch my holes and build them up with crochet. This worked reasonably well and stayed the slippage, but as expected it had a much different texture than the knitting–thick, inflexible and of course, right up front. I started to seam this but it was sort of hopeless. There is no way to make it look neat at this point. I’m all out of yarn. The only solution I can think of is to remove the sleeves, rip out the sleeve caps and some of the sleeve and then re-knit the caps with whatever yarn is available.

To be honest, this wouldn’t be terrible. A lot of the finished sweaters have sleeves that are the same length as the body–it yields a sort of boxy, square shape. Shortening the sleeves would circumvent that, right? Right? I MEANT to do that…yeah…that’s the ticket

Congrats to Melissa who expertly, patiently, soberly finished a Minimalist Cardigan last weekend. We were both in our element knitting at a brewfest in Greenfield [thanks again for the excellent pictures, Melissa!]:





Speaking of old SNL, I recently “discovered” the music of Loudon Wainwright watching the Season 1 DVDs. This isn’t from SNL, but it’s a pretty excellent song. Enjoy!

CR