Friday, January 30, 2009

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Frida
Blog: The Things I Love to Do
Rav ID: Frida
Some Great Designs: Frida's Rav Projects Page

I'm in the mood for fair isle, and these lovely sweaters by Frida have put me there.

I've only pictured one here, but you can also check out her work with a cardigan she knit for her sister,
a very cool sweater with fold-over neck and buttoned sleeves,
a pair of sweet vests for little girls,
a pullover with a star motif, and
a neutrally-coloured all-over pattern vest.
I love the simplicity of the vests' construction, the clarity of the fair isle motifs, the colour combinations and above all, I think I love them because I can feel how fun they would be to knit. How comfortable they would be to wear. And how creative one could get with patterning and additional design elements to add particular twists or flair if desired.
I've always (as long as I've been a knitter, because apparently there was no "me" or time before this) admired fair isle yoked tops. My downfall is that many of them appear to be garments I couldn't wear (as in, I'd look stifled and very stumpy and hobbit-esque in them). Frida's creations appear to be different, and they've been knits occupying a space in my ever-expanding "to knit" list since I came across them months ago. It may be the winter settling in to me, but I think the next yarn shop I step into will be able to off-load some worsted-weight in a couple of lovely colours!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Noro Bird

Noro Yarn - -on blogPhotobucket

Now I think I know why I like this Noro colourway so much.
I think I may have also discovered their genius secret to chromatic symphonics.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tareja Morph

Unhappy as I was with the original Tareja, I decided that scissors needed to be enlisted in a repurposing of this poor knit-gone-wrong.
So, from failed top to questionable cowl.
Photobucket Questionable simply because of the points, making me feel, yet again, just a bit court jester-y.
I flirted with the idea of frogging the whole thing, but silk being what it is, and lace being what it is, my patience could not stands the thought of it and I settled for this.
At least if I'm feeling iffy about the points, they're easily tucked into the coat.

Following a week of starts and stops knit-wise, I can only hope that the next seven days are more inspired, and I have flocks of stuffs to show & tell shortly.

Song of the week:
I'm So Tired - a personal favourite by the Beatles.

Song of next week?
Perhaps this song, which is possibly one of the best Beatles covers I've ever heard.

Happy knitting!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Carrie Strine
Blog: Carrie Strine's Hand-Me-Downs
Esty Shop: Carrie Strine's Hand-Me-Downs
Esty Shop the Second: Carrie Strine's Hand-Me-Downs Yarn
Rav ID: handmedowns
Some Great Designs: handmedown's Rav Designer Page

Warmth and comfort seem to emanate from Carrie Strine's knits. Beautifully designed garments and whimsies and two wonderfully stocked etsy shops leave one in no doubt of her creativity!

Pictured here is one of her more recent additions to the knit-world, Miss Alice. It's so textural and enticing!

Another show of her use of texture is the Veronique Cowl. Take a look at the projects page - the things that can be accomplished with a scalloped lace design and yarn!

Diversely talented, Carrie also has lovely examples of colourwork - take these Meredith fingerless gloves for example.

A sweet example of one of her wee whimsies is this pear pattern. I think I need a bowl-full of these. A perfect use for very special yarn remnants, methinks.

And now for something a little different!
Carrie, this week's designer, has obliged me with a couple q and a's - and she's also set up a giveaway on her blog! Surf on over to her site (Carrie Strine's Hand-Me-Downs) and enter to win. Inter-blog blogging, I love it!

Where do you get your inspiration?

A: The process is really what inspires me. Designing is all about solving a problem for me, and I think this has to do with my art background. I don’t just wake up and think “Viola, this is what I will make today!”. It’s more like wow, I’ve done a million swatches with this yarn so far what’s working and what’s not, and where would I want this on my body? Then I just slowly narrow it down into something that I would actually wear.

What sites/mags/books would you recommend for people interested in design?:

A: Selvedge is a fabulous magazine for anyone interested in textiles of any kind
I really like and I think it would be a great place for someone to get some of their designs out there.
European versions or Vogue are usually really great to look at too for ideas and trends.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mood Knitting

For those of us who have a considerable amount of WIPs, here is a handy page of justification - should you need it.

Mood Knitting

Part the first -

"I feel uninspired..."
so I pick up a mindless knit which will give me a guaranteed beautiful object in the end.

so I cast on for a knit that will be for the pleasure of knitting. Knit for knit's sake.

Part the second -

"I feel a flurry of creativity..."
so I forge boldly into unknown waters and create a knit from my head.

so I sketch and sketch and think and ponder until I suppose I know what I want to do, and then take on that challenge, man!

Part the third -

"I feel social..."
so I dive into the stash for the "unimportant" knit that will see me through an evening knitting with company.

so I dive into the stash for a flashy, fancy-pants knit that will hook all those around me, and pass the knitting-bug on.

Part the fourth -

"I feel in love..."
so I take the aforementioned love (which of course is yarn, duh) and cast on for the beauty of the yarn.

so I whip out those gorgeous needles and grab the best yarn to complement that lovely shade of wood. (yes, wood is a shade. Because I said so.)

Part the fifth -

"I feel academic..."
so I boldly go where my knits have never gone before and take on that untried technique!

so I grab some long-neglected, good ol' sturdy yarn to teach others the craft.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

LYS Happy Times

It's only just occurred to me that I've never introduced you to my LYS.

I always have happy times when I make a visit to Ancaster, a town very close to my own city. I went there earlier this week for some pick-me-up and joyful stash enhancement.
First I stopped at the The Quilt Rack, because I love me my shiny, colourful fabric with which to make stuffs. Here you see a sampling of the store's loveliness.

Then I headed on down the street to one of my happiest places, The Needle Emporium. I've been visiting this excitingly-jam-packed emporium of goodness for as long as I've been a knitter. The site of a wall filled with colour like this sends me on endorphin highs unequaled by any other luxurious revelry in life.
That there's a wall of Cascade. I think I'd called it treasure.
Above you see another one of the walls-of-elation at the Emporium, and below you see one of the gems I plundered (read: purchased and proceeded to fondle gleefully). It's Noro Silk Garden Lite, in colourway 2027. It's going to become another Lady E.
Joy to the LYS! I can always be assured of finding a good yarn and friendly people there. I hope your LYS provides equal happiness.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Inna
Rav ID: Yantarik
Some Great Designs: Yantarik's Rav Projects Page

As I've mentioned previously, I loooove (with five entire "o"'s) when I come across a designer whose project page is filled with personally designed knits. And in Yantarik's case, crochet as well!

Since her work is so consistently wonderful, pretty and invitingly wearable, it was quite a decision as to which of her pieces I'd picture in this post. The winner is, as you can see, her Frosted Apple Tunic, which has been sitting in my Rav favourites for over a year. I love the shape, the belt, the cowl, the cute little sleeves, the overall simplicity and (rather unusual for me) the combination of two different yarn colours. She's used this design element to great effect in this knit.

Drawing her inspiration from fashion - which I love! - the Pineapple Tunic a la Escada Dress is a beautiful example of what crochet can be. The colour is absolutely amazing; the lace works perfectly for a pretty summer dress.

And another one of my favourites? Her Victoria's Secret Top. This knit is a construction-brain teaser. The central lace star motif is gorgeously paired with a simple shape and solid yarn colour and looks truly elegant. Once again, I love the little cap-sleeves!

I've only listed a few of her brilliant garments here, so make sure to check out her Rav projects page.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Jar Yarn

Picture Post!
What to do with leftover yarns? You use those leftover Mason Jars and make your yarn collection multitask as decoration. Although, it is pertinent to note that I do not have an insect problem in my apartment, and so can, without fear, allow my yarn to roam free in this manner.
There's a few things missing from this pic - firstly my tea (and I don't usually knit without it). Also, my pjs (which is my knitting uniform). Finally my boyfriend, who was kind enough to take the photo, and is long-suffering and consistently indulgent to my knitting whims. You know how they make those jokes about sports widows? Methinks he might be a knit widower.

ETA: There's been a few questions regarding the armchair pictured above. The chair in which I sit is this one from IKEA. It is very comfortable, fairly durable (I've had it for a few years) but not recommended for those with mobility issues/elderly/those with arthritis, etc... One has to sort of throw your weight forward to get out of it.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Sara Peterson
Blog: The Knotty Gnome Knits
Rav ID: knottygnome
Some Great Designs: knottygnome's Rav Designer Page

An indie designer with a diverse project offering, knottygnome has excellent examples of colourwork and lace in her design-portfolio.

Like a magpie, the bright and lovely colours just trigger something very pleasantly visceral in my head. Evidence these pictured mitts.
How cool are the bubbles? I'm constantly fascinated by what designers can do with a self-striping yarn. I'm sort of astonished that it's the dead of winter and there's only seven projects currently for this cute knit!

In addition to these mitts, Sara has two hats, May and December. Both with an adorable leaf detail, December incorporates it into a reverse-stockinette pattern while May sees it intertwined with a pretty, simple lace detailing.

She also has Ceres, a floaty, pretty lace shawl, which looks equally attractive in a solid as well as mulitcolour yarn. The simple design of this project allows it to be suitable for a wide range of people - I can see it being a very glam addition to a pretty evening dress or wrapped comfortably round the neck and shoulders of grandma.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A Distinct Lack of Knitting

PhotobucketThanks to everyone for your wonderful comments re: my Arisaig! I feel much better about wearing it out and about now *grins.

The loud whir of my sewing machine kept the canaries singing over the holidays.

I'm not so great when it comes to all things fabric - I like buying it, looking at it, and imagining what I could make with it if I were most patient and learned. But unfortunately I'm none o' those things, and thus am left to my own ignorant and impatient devices when me and my sewing machine play crafting.

This here is one of the number of cotton concoctions I've constructed. The strawberry image is one that I purchased an age ago on the old eBay, and the quote stamped rather crudely beneath is hails from the Oxford Etymology Dictionary.

It's now living near my front door, to happily greet me in my geekily way every time I come home.

In the photo below you see the sweet red and white backing I gave it. Due to my aforementioned lack of sewing skillz, I was not successful in creating the binding as I had envisioned, but every now and again the lovely backing fabric is visible due to wonky and definitively un-even sewing!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Cotton Reconciliation

I swore that I'd have nothing to to with the fibre - seems I may have railed too soon.
Pattern: Arisaig
Yarn: several (can't recall how many!) balls of Rowan 4-ply cotton

I did mod this pattern as is my habit. It's about 6" longer than called for in the pattern - all this is in the lower ribbing section. And of course I shortened the sleeves as well.
I'd been working away on this one for months - after I'd sewn in the sleeves I had been very displeased with my work, and thrown it aside, disdaining the work of knitting the ties required to finish it off. With all the extra time on my hands this holiday I luckily fell into an Arisaig-knitting-mood, finished it off, and am actually rather happy with it, despite my earlier misgivings. And, for any interested in knitting this - I'm not sure why, but good god the long tie turned out mondo long. Almost hilariously so. I can wrap it around my ribcage and still have some to tie the tie with. *Le sigh*
Photos were taken in a local bakery, after a lovely New Years Eve bagel eating and delicious coffee slurping. As you can see (particularly on the back) I made me a number of boo boos in the lace. I can live with it - humans are imperfect, why should my knits not be etc... etc... and any other array of excuses for laziness and a refusal to frog.
An important note re: fit.
I knit this one in the XS size - this being rather smaller than my actual size.
I just have this terrible thing against loose clothing and especially loose knits. As you can see it doesn't really wrap across my chest fully (which is what I wanted) nor does the wrap part beneath fit snug to the other side. I know you're supposed to have buttons or some other fastening method to hold it together, and I have as of yet to decide whether I should just seam it together or not. I sort of like the look of it unsewn. What thinks you?

Happy New Year all!