Friday, January 28, 2011

Indie Designer Revisited

It was way back in August 2008 when I began writing Indie Designer Profiles. Since then, many of the up-and-coming designers have up-and-gone on to do many wonderful things.
I thought it would be cool to see just what all these talented people have been up to.
So, here is the first in what will be a monthly series, Indie Designers Revisited.

PhotobucketDesigner: Hilary
Blog: The Yarniad
Rav ID: theyarniad
Some Great Designs: theyarniad's Rav Designer Page
Original Indie Designer Post: August 22, 2008

The first designer to be revisited is the amazing Hilary Smith Callis.

I've been a fan of hers for years, and have been so happy and excited to see the progression of her design career.

From self-publishing a number of stylish garments (for free!, see picture above of Safire) to the great success of her Citron (pictured below) featured in Knitty Winter 2009 to four (and counting!) Knit Picks Independent Designer patterns, this prolific designer has given me an awful lot to talk about and admire!Photobucket

I'd also like to point out the patterns she's completed in conjunction with Tess Designer Yarn, as well as her comfy cozy contribution, Koukla, in the August 2010 publication Brave New Knits.

And somehow, she's still found time to self-publish more patterns.

Yarniad's style has been consistently wearable and fashionable, with basic pieces that always have interesting construction and a timeless quality.

I'm a devoted fan! And I can't wait to see what beautiful things (most likely some baby patterns?) she creates next.
Thanks for the inspiration!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Envisioned Visage in Red and Green

So I got me some new glasses.

See here, in happy, perfect red:
New Glasses - on blog

and here, in tortise shell green:

...cue sad, sad violin music...

The unfortunate situation a myopic lady finds herself in is thus:
1) she can't see without her glasses, and
2) she has to take off her glasses to try on new frames to see what they look like, and thus
3) she can't really see what her face looks like with those particular frames

And herein lies the issue.
I thought the red frames looked good. I was on the hunt for something red and in a cat's eye shape, and gosh dern it, that red was the best red for my colouring. I also thought they looked good. I really did.
But, as soon as I picked them up, proper lenses placed and ready to go, even a quick glance in the mirror made me see that I'd fallen victim to the "unfortunate situation" outlined above.

My critique is based on the shape, in that it's too bloody big.
See this post here and this post here for what the old frames look like.

What do you think?

I'm giving it a few more days, just to get used to them.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Christina Harris
Blog: Doodles in string
Rav ID: Doodle
Some Great Designs: Doodle's Rav Designer Page

Finding out a bit about an artist (as designers are! Artists of functionality) is illuminating, and adds a certain depth and layers of appreciation to their work.

Doodle, this week's designer, has written this as part of her Rav bio:

"First I went to art school. Then landscape architecture school. Now I make parks and playgrounds."

Seems to me that something of her background comes out in her knits!
Take the pictured Shadow, for example. It has great structure, simple shapes with points of visual interest and originality in the button closure, collar and stitch detailing. I'm enamoured by the loops; I think the next time I make a garment that needs closures, it'll be loops, not button holes!

Something of the playful appears in Doodle's 1/4 lb. Cowl. The cable and button details are lovely, but I particularly like the added "twist" - that is, the cowl wraps twice around your neck before you fasten it. Extra warms, and a little stylish flair (as I'm sure the extra bulk of cowl can be fancifully manipulated to peek attractively out from the top of your coat!).

And with yet another garment type, Doodle brings us the colourful Seeds. This hat has artistry (with the right amount of colourwork for interest, brightening up a possibly otherwise monochrome winter landscape!) and it also has functionality (see the extra lining around the bring - gotta keep those ears warm!)

Looking forward to seeing more of Doodle's designs!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Hannah Poon
Blog: That other knitting blog
Etsy Shop: Mousewife Knits and Yarnables
Rav ID: mousewife
Some Great Designs: mousewife's Rav Designer Page

This week I get to discuss a very talented knitter, designer, spinner and weaver - and I'm lucky enough to know this lady in real life!

The designs of mousewife are delicate, wearable and feminine.
Take the pictured 1989 sweater. A simple shape and texture combine to create a design that dances on your body. This is positive ease done right! The key-hole details on the shoulders keep this piece playful and make it a wonderful and unique new design.

(image © Knit Picks)

For another great example, check out Lady Knittley's fabulous Fingerless Flying Gloves. This design is a lovely, sweet little option for warming your chilly hands, as well as being a fantastic way to utilize those two cute buttons you have in your collection. The fastening detail at the wrist is a clever marriage of designing with form and function in mind.

And, to whet your appetite:
Debuting in the Spring will be a new collaborative project between mousewife and myself. We've been planning, knitting and working away for months, and can't wait to share with you our new designs!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ohhhh, Bleach; Or, What I did to my Hair

There's something else, slightly embarrassing, that I got up to over the holidays...

Yeah... that's a picture of me, quietly, frantically, hoping that the bleach will sort out the sad thing I did to my hair.

So, without giving all the gory details, I thought that I'd be able to apply a beautiful blue shade right over top of this bleach job you see below.


This photo actually looks pretty cool, and I was a bit enamoured with the sunset-effect it gave.
But, I can be stubborn, and applied the blue anyway.
So, yes. It turned green.

I bleached it, and have resolved to

1) never get my hair bleached at a salon. They're the ones who were supposed to bring it right back to a blonde so that I could apply the blue. Instead, they made it that pretty sunset you see above.
2) never try blue again.

Am I wrong? I have railed against blue before - if it had turned the colour intended, it would have been a lovely blue.
But, I've been bitten, and am now chroma-shy.

Don't tell me I'm the only mug who's dyed their hair green...

Monday, January 10, 2011

FO Archives 2010

In an attempt to speed the front-page download time, here I present the FO Gallery of 2010

Completed 2010
Click on picture and title - some include links to original pattern

Bacchus Socks

MidWinter Wanderer

Zen Linen
Milk Maiden
White Horse Hill
Amie Mitts

I Don't Like That!; Or, I Know What I Like When I See It

PhotobucketAnd indeed, I think many, many people operate, whether you'll admit it or not, under the stubborn assertion that you know what you like when you see it, and that's that, merci beaucoup!

I was something of a fussy eater as a child. I'm not sure how I'm still living today, since I'm almost entirely certain that nothing green, or of the vegetal variety, ever passed my lips til I was in my early 20s. I kid you not. Well, maybe some sour apple Fun Dip, or Pixy Sticks... or maybe even a Tic Tac. I do recall quite enjoying mint chocolate chip ice cream...

Ok, ramble-interruptus!

On to my point:

I have a list, which I will share with you, of things I've refrained from knitting or designing. Things that I know I'll look bad in, things I know are difficult to do right, things that just don't feel to be my style, and things that just rub me the wrong way. Things I know I don't like.
Or at least, so goes my stubborn assertion.

These things are indeed wonderful things! There's nothing wrong with them.

But, in the spirit of
a) being a grown up
b) expanding my design experience
c) try it and you might like it!

I thought it might be a bit of fun to set myself a challenge: Design what you Disdain.

Ok, here be the (by no means exhaustive) list:

-picot edging
-open cardis (generally of the one-button variety)
-bulky gauged knits
-knit bottoms (skirts, short, pants, and especially undies!)
-knit jewellery/hair accessories
-anything with positive ease

Over the year, I'm hoping to return, on and off, to this theme. The Design What You Disdain series will kick off quite soon. I'll share with you the various trials and troubles, vexations and wretchednesses, suffering, swearing and the such. And hopefully there'll be some happystuffs to fit in, too.

But for now, I invite ya'll to share: what do you avoid knitting? Are there certain garment features, styles, gauges, colours that you defer? Disdain? Detest?
Anyone want to join me, and design/knit something you would not otherwise?

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Knit-mas Round Up


Yes, it is indeed a tad late for this, but here be a photo mosaic of my Christmas.
Above you see:
-Christmas Cat
-Christmas Dog
-Christmas Gift (given to all my knit ladies)
-Christmas at Home
-Christmas Morning Me
-and a very Merry Christmas card

And as for my continued knit adventures, I just might make the lovely hank seen here into a cowl.

Stay tuned on that!

Friday, January 07, 2011

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Elizabeth Helmich
Blog: All Knit and No Sleep
Rav ID: CountingSheep
Some Great Designs: CountingSheep's Rav Designer Page

Let's start out 2011 with some historical beauty!

Pictured here you see CountingSheep's Innsmouth Bodice, which I feel is a fantastic representative of this designer's style. Sweet details and rich texture are found throughout her creative work.

Another favourite is the Lady Vonn skirt. Delicate, dancing lace and cables decorate this knit-in-one-piece garment. Versatile and graceful, this design would look equally lovely dressed up or down.

So many different garment types! CountingSheep demonstrates her skill at hat design as well in her Green Man Beret. I love the twining cables of roots and leaves that meander their way up this pretty topper. A great reminder of Spring.

She has many more patterns, so please check out her designs by following the links above.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Testing Ops, Again!

Aimee Mitts - on blog

Pattern: Aime Mitts
Yarn: Mini Mochi, two skeins
Needles: 2.5 mm dpns
Gauge: 8 sts and 10 rows = 1" on 2.5 mm needles in stockinette
Sizes: one size
Aimee Mitts - on blog
Due date: February 15

Original pattern seen here, and just tweaked to add neato cable on the back of the hand.

What will happen is I'll send you a pdf of the pattern. Unfortunately, I can't offer yarn support, but the Mini Mochi yarn is not prohibitively expensive.
Note: I'm down with you subbing in different yarn, but I'm keen on you getting the same gauge as called for in the pattern.

The timeline for this knit is approximately one month. It's not due back until February 15.
I finished knitting this pattern over the course of about 2 weeks, so I'm hoping the February 15 due date is manageable (incidentally, please let me know if you think this is not the case. I've never test-knit for someone, and am still on the learning curve!)

If you're interested in testing Aime, just email me at canarysanctuary at yahoo dot com. Let me know:
1) an email address where I can send the pdf to you
2) your Rav ID (if applicable!)

What do you get in return?
Well, you get first crack at this pattern, which will be offered for sale upon publication. You'll get the finished, cleaned up and pre-tested pattern sent to you upon publication, as well.

Thanks in advance to all you knitters! I couldn't do this without you and your knit-time generosity.

Aimee Mitts - on blog

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Merry Knit-mas!

PhotobucketI had me a great holiday season.
I hope ya'll had the goodtimes too.

While not as much designing went down as I was hoping (but rather much more noshing than expected!) I thought I would share with you some of what I did do.

First, here's a collection of fantabulous gifts which were gifted to me from a wonderful friend.

How awesome are these buttons?

And, a hank of handspun from the very same lady!
Have any favourite handspun patterns? It's got to be something that'll do this hank justice.


More to come, very soon!