Sunday, August 31, 2008

Pattern Minded; or, Since When do I Like Beads on Clothes?

Quick post:
Sometimes (ok, often) I have total duh moments.
That happened today whilst knittin-upon my new obsession, Tareja.
Originally I imagined adding pretty matte-gold-coloured bead details along certain rows.
I even figured I could hold a piece of thread along with the yarn itself, and then slip the wee beads onto this, à la this neato tut.
And so I did, realizing in the process that I don't even wear clothes with beads on them in the first place. Why add them to my knitting? So I did about five, and here you see what it looks like.
Now at least I can say that I know how to add beads to knitting. That tut is really quite good.
Off to watch some Mythbusters!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Wanett Clyde
Blog: Knitology
Rav ID: Nettie
Some great designs: Nettie's Rav Designer Page
Etsy Shop: EbonyButterfly

This designer caught my attention right away* - not only does she have great (and very straightforward!) pattern-writting skills, and an entertaining blog (people in photos always make me laugh, smile, or green with knit-envy!), she also have a fantastic Etsy shop. (I love this little clutch - very much my style!)

Felicity - on blog
You know a pattern (and designer) are good when you're so attached that you spend sweet knit-time and create more than one.
This is definitely the case with me and the lovely Felicity. I've actually done three. I've pictured the latest, here in its stripey glory.
(and yes, there's probably a fourth and fifth in the future).

Designers who create wonderfully wearable pieces are always on my list of favourites. Wanett is definitely one of these: the simplicity of the design belies its ability to transform your noggin from plain to stylish in one refined swoop (perhaps a stripey green and white one is less refined - my choice, of course! I think Wanett's original deep purple hat is gorgeous. Ooo, deep purple... I think that'll be my number four Felicity!)

*I asterisk here because I wanted to give you a tidbit into my pattern and designer searching activities. Usually I scan the newly added patterns on Rav's Patterns page, but I've also taken to snooping through my friend's recent activities (usually a good indicator of high quality!)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Standing on a Stump

I'm not usually one for revealing stuffs about myself, but you'll have to bear with me, as hours of scanning family photographs (both figuratively with mine eyes and literally with a scanner) have left me feeling a tad reflective.
Here you see me, as an obnoxiously-wee one, standing on a stump in front of my grandfather's farmhouse.
His farm was always a great place to explore (exploration, of course, being modus operandi for curious little ones).
He was quite an inventor, and made very many things himself.
My dad is the same way (see example here), and it appears that the trait has been passed through the genes to me (though I'd put my vote in for nurture, rather than nature). Not that I'm an inventor! I wouldn't dare dream. But the "making" impulse is one of the connections that I never saw until I was far away from it.
My "making" has always been of a different sort than my patrilineal predecessors. I don't believe they ever made anything that was wearable. Mostly stuck to the usable, drivable and function-able.
As I may have mentioned before, I learned to knit (almost) entirely from books. The one exception was the day I decided to learn, and asked my mom to teach me to cast on and knit. She learned from her aunt, who learned in school, as she was a professional knitter and seamstress back in the day in Portugal. (So, I knit Continental, not English).
So, that's my knitting-lineage.
While I don't imagine that I'd make a fantabulous teacher, I do hope that someday I can expand upon that little link there and give the happiness of a new craft and pastime to someone else.
I've never traced back my family tree, and have never really been too interested in doing so (mostly, I suppose, because I can't. I'm a first-gen Canadian, and anything that came before me is likely lost to the proverbial mists of time on scant scraps of paper in some puny village on the Acores or under a grand pile of mouldy banker's boxes on the mainland).
I think I'd rather place importance on a tree that was based on skill rather than birth.
A mertitocrical-tree! How very Napoleonic of me.
So there's me, standing on a stump in my childhood happy place.
Blonde and everything (where the hell did that come from?!)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Hilary
Blog: The Yarniad
Rav ID: theyarniad

What I love about The Yarniad:
After I first saw her perfect version of the Arisaig wrap-top on Rav many moons ago, I had to visit her site - I couldn't help but become a regular reader! Her blog always has interesting and well-written content. Key words that I think of when I see her knits and designs are inspirational and elegant.
A stunning example of this is the lovely Anthropologie-inspired knit she's currently working on for the Ravelympics. Check it out - so amazing!

Some great designs:
Trina: a classy bottom-up raglan with dramatic snaps (not buttons!). I love the design details, especially the steeking (of which I am still afraid) and the wonderfully clean diagrams accompanying the hemming explanation.
Neckwarmer Kercheif:
A perfect wee project for that bitty bit of yarn you've got leftover.
Appealing on several different levels, this is an uber-inspirational knit. I must admit that the wonderful name is so fabulous that I wish I was science-smart enough to be familiar with such terms! (safire / sapphire? Brilliant!)
As for the design itself, I love its timelessness and (here's that word again) elegance of this 3/4 length sleeved cardi. I can see it being worn with a T and jeans, and equally lovely when dressed up with a skirt/dress. The deep neckline and ribbing are very flattering.

These aren't all of her original designs - I've decided to just whet your whistle.

Hooray for indie designers!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Corona Deuxième: Or; How I Learn to Keep Notes

Pattern: Corona
Yarn: about 3.5 balls of Cascade 220
Needles: My beloved Boye interchangeables (methinks it's 5mm... whichever are the light pink ones)

Changed from first Corona: had to make the sleeves a bit wider at the bottom (this'll be reflected in the pattern).

Having already knit this sweater once, I'm able to directly compare the effects of expensive vs. economical yarn choices.

Both the Cascade 220 and the original Dream in Color "Classy" yarn were nice to work with. Neither had any knots in any of the hanks, the plies stayed together nicely (although if agitated, the Cascade would split a very small bit), the stitch/cable definition is perfect and the yardage count per hank is awesome-o.
Where the Dream in Color zooms ahead of the Cascade is in the beautiful colour and texture. Soooo very smooshy and inviting. If you've got the cash and you want a sweater to dive into, then this would be the way to go.
The Cascade 220 was exactly half the price of the Dream in Color, and this you can tell by its rougher texture (though not itchy! I wouldn't buy it if it were) and overall less elegant feel.
I've worn the Dream in Color Corona a few times, and can happily report pilling has not been an issue. I've only put on the Cascade Corona for the photos, and I fear that pilling may be imminent. When I was buying the yarn the cashier actually asked me if I was planning on felting a bag because "This yarn is really great for that!"
Ah well, I may or may not have a trick up my sleeve. I've heard through the grapevine that liquid glycerin, mixed with some water for a knit-soaking, will solve the pilling problem. I have as of yet to get my hands on the elusive liquid, but I'll definitely get back to you if it actually works.
These photos were taken pre-blocking, so the hood edge looks a bit floppy and rolly. It's easily fixed. (What can I say - I was excited that the day dawned bright and sunny!)
As for the pattern - since I've now completed this one, I have the info required to write up other sizes. Me and the maths are not the best of buds, so I'll have to be very nice to it and see if it'll cooperate with me and produce accurate numbers for all. The plan is to have it written up and ready to go by the end of the month.

unfortunately, I've tried to paste it here, but it just won't work with me.
Please see it here on Rav.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Indie Designer Day

This is the first in an ongoing, weekly "featurette" wherein I'll profile a favourite indie designer and why they're great. There's an incredible abundance of creativity and talent on these interwebs, and I've discovered a lot of it by happy accident. I'd like to give some knit-love to these people, and share with any and all who read this here bloggy.

Designer: Kai Mistry
Blog: Yarn Mistrys
Rav ID: koolkitten11
Some great designs: Kai's Rav Designer Page


What I love about Kai:
I've been reading Kai's blog for about a year now, (regularly including drool-worthy photos of handspun and, more recently, adorable puppies!) and was very excited when I first heard she'd been published in the online UK-based knit mag, The Inside Loop. In it's second issue, they featured two of her patterns, Apple Blossom, a lovely, floaty crocheted wrap, and Cockleshell, a pretty knit tank with crocheted-trim detail.
In the Inside Loop's third issue (set to go live on August 20), she will have more patterns published. I'm anxious to see the new ones!
Her first "for sale" pattern was the lovely Lotus Lace socks.
It seems that she and I share a bit of a love of the tiny-gauged!

A visit to Kai's blog never fails to cheer me up and mellow me out. I love her beautiful and sophisticated colour palette - the photos are always so lovely and textural.
Kudos to you, indie designer!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Garment Construction Blues

Sometimes you be-bop through life without realizing that you're falling into deeply entrenched habits.
I was recently de-be-bopped by the actual garment construction that is the Arisaig wrap-top.
I've loved this pattern ever since I saw it on the cover of Knitty, lo those three years ago. With my anxious little hands clacking them needles away, it came as a shock to my knitting-system that this is going to be made in *gasp* pieces! Back, 2 fronts, and sleeves. Gracious.
Not top-down? Not minimal seaming? And I didn't even mod out these extra steps!
I ran (almost) blindly into this knit, without fore-thought (which never, ever consists of swatching...)
Modding certainly is being done. Not sure I can knit-exist without it. Making the body longer, and sleeves shorter. Also, I'm certainly not making "my size" on this pattern. Mine should be a medium, but instead I maketh the XS. I fear the stretchiness of cotton.
I'm also "modding" it, in the sense that my "extra design elements" (read: lace mistakes) have already cropped up with reliably regularity. Suspiciously, these mistakes persistently coincide with Adam Savage being on my t.v.

It remains to be seen how I feel about oh-so-pale baby pink. This yarn was a "grab-and-stuff" purchase from the Needle Emporium tent sale in July. Colour, which is normally at the top of my importance-list, took a back seat to "DUDE! Eight balls of Rowan 4 ply - all the same dye lot! yes, please."

As you may have noticed, this is yet another in a long line of procrasti-knits. My tres sketchy schedule for getting things done is not working. Perhaps the lack of solid reprecussions has created a slacker in me. Methinks this is the case. I need late-assignment percentile deductions to get my ass in gear.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

So Naughty I Am


Pattern: Roxo
Yarn: almost exactly 4 balls of Lang Merino Superwash

Super fast knit. Needed something creatively mind-numbing. Stitches twisting galore. Many odd mistakes masquerading as cables.
Why speak like headline news?

Seriously: this one was a bizarre explosion of knitting fury. Not sure what exactly possessed me to whip up a poncho - a purple one no less - but here it be.
(And don't think I'm not hemming and hawing over the colour. Stray from my most recent addiction to the lovely green?!)
I've always been iffy on the poncho. I'm not sure if it screams "little girl", "hippy" or "eccentric fashionista". I'd like to think I exude choice number three there.

The yarn is beauuuutiful. Indeed. Once again, I find myself recommending a yarn. Not as much as others (because this one does feel more mass-produced and less uniquely lovely) but it does feel wonderfully soft. The colour is quite deep and rich as well, which I believe is part of my aforementioned "iffiness" about this. I'm very much used to yarn with subtle variance in colour, instead of a very saturated and uniform hue.

This is the closest I've come so far to crazy, organic, free form cableing. And that's something I've been wanting to do for quite a while.
Some time back there was this article in either Interweave Knits or Knitscene talking about artistic cables, and this one knitter in particular had her gorgeous green sweater on. Excitedly, I checked to see where the pattern was, but alas, it was a unique creation.
(She had really short bleached hair... can't find a pic online).
Ever since then I've had that floating around in me noggin'.
Oh yeah, and the name?
Roxo is purple in Portuguese. Just thought it looked/sounded really cool.