Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cable Luxe Tunic Update!

Originally uploaded by wzrdreams
So this is were I was yesterday. Then I ripped back about 6 inches and eliminated the last round of increases. I also added 1 purl stitch before that last cable at the edge so the spacing would match the ther purl sections. As of this morning I am past this point again. I love knitting this thing! It's not boring and not hard to keep track of the cable rows. Because I am knitting the pieces flat from the yoke my rapid progress is very visible. If I had knit this in the round (as many of the other people in the KAL are doing) I know my progress would appear more slow. Normally I love in the round construction, but this time I am glad I'm not monkeying with the pattern (too much). I have about 6 more inches to go on the back piece before I start on the front or sleeves.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Gifted Just in Time!

Pattern: Koolhaas Hat
by Jared Flood
Interweave Knits Holiday 2007
Yarn: Cascade 220
Needles: Clover Bamboo Sz 6 & 8 16" circular

I finally got a chance to give the Koolhaas to the Boy and just in time! We got our first real snow storm today at about 10:30 am. BTW, is a TERRIBLE source for weather news. This morning they had me convinced that it would be partially cloudy with a chance of evening rain with snow TOMORROW. Hah! I guess I'll believe anything when I'm under caffeinated. Luckily I wore rain appropriate boots. And it did "rain" a bit this evening. If by rain you mean the snow was melting as it was falling. The good thing is that (fingers crossed) it will all be melted away by tomorrow. That's what I'm hoping anyway. I have a hair appointment tomorrow and a bunch of christmas shopping to do, all of which will not be helped by patches of black ice. You hear me G? NO BLACK ICE PLEASE.

Oh! Almost forgot.... I made some videos last night of my 2nd Koolhaas to show how I cable without the needle. 
I think I do it differently than what most people do and it's hard to describe and pictures only show so much. 
I'm not able to embed here right now for some reason, so if you need to know, follow these links: 1/1 RPC, 1/1 LPC 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Koolhaas Hat

Koolhaas Hat 1
Originally uploaded by mikehodge47
A WIP when this picture was taken, this hat is DONE and the next one is on the needles. I guess I liked knitting it after all. This one is for the boy, the current one is for ME.

The key to enjoying this pattern is knowing how to cable without a needle. From what I gleaned from all the helpful Ravelrs, I think I have a somewhat unusual way of cabling without a needle. I don't let any stitches dangle in mid-air off a needle. If I can get the boy to help before I finish the current one I'll try to take pictures to show how I accomplish this.

Pattern is Koolhaas (IK) by Jared Flood.
Yarn is Cascade 220, both hats. This one is a medium heather grey, and mine is a deep heather blue tinged with teal.
Needles: sz 6 & 8

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Taj Mahal Hotel

Taj Mahal Hotel
Originally uploaded by wzrdreams
The Taj Hotel is just down the block from the Sea Palace hotel where I stayed in Mumbai in February 2007. The Sea Palace was far more modest than the glorious Taj. At the time, I was mildly jealous of the Taj guests. I bet they had more toilet paper and no cats hanging out of the ceiling. I thought that if I ever get a chance to go back to Bombay, I'd like to stay at the Taj.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Luxe Cable Progress

CLT Yoke Front
Originally uploaded by wzrdreams
Well there it is! Picking up the stitches wasn't as annoying as I thought it would be. All the angst was wasted on procrastination. Once my stitches were picked up an a satisfying manner it was another hour of idle tv watching and the yoke was done!

Picture of the back seam is here.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Originally uploaded by wzrdreams
Yup, I like the second version better (on the right).
My plan was to graft the CB seam together, but that turned out to be confusing and beyond my skills, so I cast off the end and used the tail at the beginning to graft the provisional CO live stitches to the bound off edge. It's neat enough and the seam isn't bulky or ugly. Why didn't I take a picture of that? Oh well.... later.

Now I have to pick up the garter yoke stitches. I'm not especially looking forward to it. I've tried a few times already with unsatisfactory results.... but it's the weekend so I'm going to dedicate some quiet attention to it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Current WIP

I am so so so very happy about the results of the election!
But so is everyone and there is knitterly stuff to talk about so I'll skip it.
First, some obligatory Rhinebeck pics. I mostly took pictures of the animals because my hands were otherwise occupied in the yarn barns:

happy sheep
pretty trees
Nishanna, Shannon, Me, and Laura

It was mad fun. I wish it had lasted longer. We'd been planning that trip since our knitting group started meeting last December. I didn't go crazy with the purchases... I made it out of there with 1000 yards of Mohair, 3 skeins of fingering weight merino, 1.5 oz of roving (BUT I DON'T SPIN!!), a leather handle, a bag of Maple cotton candy and $15 worth of goat cheese. We went to the Ravelry party afterwards & met up with some of our other Brooklyn friends, made some knew acquaintances and ate Bob cupcakes. I also stalked a version of my current WIP....

My Current Wip:

I'm working on the Cable Luxe Tunic from Lion Brand. This is the yoke. I knit 19 repeats which gave me 45" unblocked, 53" blocked. Ripped back 2 repeats to get to the necessary 47" (size M). BUT - as much as this looks like the pattern picture, it bothers me that it doesn't look like the cable used on the yoke of the maxi version. This version has a right/left. The maxi version is more symmetrical. This bothers me more than it should and I'm contemplating starting over again. Gggrrrrrr! If I do start over, I could start with a provisional cast on and graft the center back seams together.... knitting buddy Eve's suggestion. What would you do?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Quick and Catch Up

I can't believe Rhinebeck is tomorrow! I also can't believe I haven't blogged in a while since I've been quite knitterly lately. I'll blame it on my lack of decent pictures. In any case, I hope to have a whole lot of sheep and wooly goodness to share the next time I post so I'd better cover a least some of what September was all about.

I knit some socks for the BF's birthday. Started on Labor day when my college roommate and her BF were in town. This is trekking XXL. I think it was actually the first skein of sock yarn I ever bought, and it's definitely the most masculine. I slipped a pair of vintage cuff links (found at the Brooklyn Flea) into each toe and sewed up a quick little silk gift bag to deliver it all in. Sadly, this is the only picture I have.

I spent a few weekends making variations of spinach quiche. My favorite was this one with mushrooms, ham, mozzarella, cheddar and a sweet potato frie crust. Yuuummmy. I am now on a cheese diet that I will gleefully break at Rhinebeck if there is any tasty goat cheese.

I took off of work on my birthday and met the BF up at the Guggenheim. We saw the Bourgeois exhibit. (I think her art falls into the art as therapy variety.) Then we headed over to central park and relaxed until the sun started to disappear. We could see leaves here and there had turned brown and where falling. I started a new sweater..... Stephanie Japel's Spicy Fitted V Neck (more on that later when I get decent pictures.)

And then there was Stitch in Pitch. My BF came along and took this wonderful photo of me and some of my knitting group. From Left to Right: Me, Shannon, and Laura. I'm tinking back stitches on the SFVNECK because the pattern requires patience and understanding. Laura waswearing her lovely Arwen cardigan and Shan was making headway on her February Lady sweater. We stuck it out through an hour of rain before heading home. The BF stayed and watched the Mets win in the ninth inning.
These girls and I along with a few fabulous others in our knittin group will all be up at Rhinebeck tomorrow. I hope I spot some of my favorite bloggers there. If you spot me, do say hello. I think I'll be wearing this:

Possible with a green Foliage beret and a grey cardigan that is not Linden.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I <3 Burdastyle

I just got to go to an open studio/party at the Burdastyle office! The purpose for the party was to celebrate the site reaching the 100,000 member mark. in case you haven't heard of it, is a website that produces open source (=copyright free) sewing patterns and functions as am online sewing community. 

The founders Nora and Benedikta are very sweet and enthusiastic! They are basically running this site with a very small staff and a lot of creative energy so the open studio was an opportunity for them to meet some local members and talk about the site and our crafting habits, wants and needs. They even convinced me to talk on camera a bit... terrifying, huh? One of my favorite parts about the open studio was being able to look at all their samples up close to see the finishing techniques and feel the fabrics they used. I also got to see some of the new design ideas for the upcoming months... exciting stuff. 

In addition to meeting the Burdastyle staff, it was a good opportunity for me to meet and mingle with other members and indie craft types. One girl looked very familiar to me and I soon realized that it was lalalayla, whose projects I was admiring just yesterday.  Not so coincidentally, Burdastyle is in the same building in Brooklyn as Etsy so a lot of the Etsy staff was there. I met Anda and her adorable baby Sidonie (of dress and skirt fame!). Quite a few people there had garments named after them which was amusing.

Anyway, I had a lovely time and I got just the motivation I need to finish my 3 (yes, 3) Burdastyle WIPs so I can post pictures and be a more involved member of the online sewing community. Hopefully I'll be able to post something successful soon.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Fall Knitting Ideas

I don't know about y'all, but I love me some Marc Jacobs.
Here's a pretty sweater from his Fall 2008 Ready to Wear collection.

Let's  have a closer look.... 
You know, Marc really is a genius, but I think I could come up with that sweater too...
Oh look, here is that honeycomb stitch pattern
Now, to find a suitable sweater pattern to hack... This could work
All one would have to do is eliminate the cables, add the honeycomb stitch pattern all over and change the collar & hem to have ribbing.
Here's another MJ sweater I like. Chunky & raglan, yum!  
I could really see myself making this one. I'm a sucker for chunky fast knits. 
Here's the pattern I'd hack for it.
*All the pics that are NOT Marc Jacobs are all from 

Thursday, August 21, 2008

She knits too!

Original Ann's new sweater
Originally uploaded by _rebekka
This gorgeous sweater was designed and knit by a very talented photographer in Iceland. You may have seen her amazing photos on flickr.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Paul Poiret Pattern Puzzle

Last summer the Costume Institute exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art featured an amazing collection of clothing by Paul Poiret.

I didn't know much about Poiret prior to seeing that exhibit and since I'm not very eloquent and this isn't an essay for credit I'll just say it was awesome and beautiful and I loved it. The illustrations and the colors and the silhouettes where amazing. The show made me want to go home and paint with my watercolors and drape myself in yards of silk charmeuse.

My favorite part of the exhibit was this wrap dress, which has stuck in my mind ever since. I think it is because I had a "one-peice pattern" project when I was a fashion student. My dress was similar in some ways... it was a wrap with a simple front closure and pleating across the waist, but Poiret's dress is far and away better than mine.... (giggle) I think I used a plaid!

At the exhibit, this dress was displayed behind a fancy shmancy screen and there was a hologram projection that showed how the piece was draped in 3-D. Very cool. Someday I might drape it for fits and giggles, but in the meantime my antsy left brain has been thinking about what the pattern should look like and I have come up with this:

There is a back and a front torso sloper in gray. The red lines represent slashing and spreading to close out the darts. The blue lines are my Poiret style lines. The dashed line across the back waist is meant to be cut and the lower back portion gathered (or pleated, I forget now - how sad) to create a bit of a bustle. The real thing was unlined silk so it had a very bohemian drape.

Now, Poiret didn't draft a pattern, he draped it... and voila, it was fabulous!.... but I like puzzles and if you didn't get a chance to see the exhibit's super cool hologram I think the flat pattern explains it pretty well.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Friday Night Knits

I rushed home on Friday to finish up my first Ravelympics project. 

Pattern: Twinkle Shopping Tunic
Yarn: 4 Skeins Lion Brand Thick & Quick; Color: Plum
Needles: Sz 17 Circulars
Team Hopelessly Over Committed, Event WIP Wrestling

I modified the Gauge to fit my yarn. After swatching and some damn math, I used a stitch multiplier of 1.25. That ended up meaning that I could follow the largest size as given in the VK Holiday 2005 version of this sweater. The VK pattern says to knit the first 4 rows in garter, which I did and I like because it doesn't curl at the bottom and you almost can't see it. I also omitted the pockets since I have enough bulk around the tummy (working on that). Other than that, I followed the directions as written in the book. 

So as soon as I finished the cowl and wove in all the ends I threw it on  (I don't look like a cow in it! JOY!) grabbed my camera and headed for the fire escape for some natural light and a self styled photo shoot. 

Everyone's a critic.

Then, I realized I was late for my date so I threw on a dress, inconveniently forgot a sweater and jumped on the N to Coney Island. My next Ravelympics project came with me, but more on that another time.

I met up with the Boy at Nathan's were my newest favorite guilty pleasure is the Lobster Sandwich. Seriously,  since they started listing the calories of everything it is incredibly easy to make the "healthy" choice. Besides, when was the last time I had a $6 lobster sandwich? Yum.
So while we were downing our extra large Killians (so much for healthy) we were pleasantly surprised by fireworks! I had no idea they are doing fireworks this year. It thought that all the development talk might have put an end to it and I haven't heard anything otherwise. The boy and I will definitely have to come back again before the end of the month for more. Next we played a round of Shoot-the-Star and then headed over to the Wonder Wheel (no pics - oops).

Should your future need divining. She's waiting by the Wonder Wheel. 
Incidentally, it's the Wonder Wheel's 88th birthday this year. 
Another Ravelympics project - my 2nd Spring Forward Sock. Team Hopelessly-Over- Committed, for Event Wip Wrestling. YES, I always carry 2 projects with me at all times. Variety is the spice of life.

And lastly, what's thrilling, costs a dollar, and "don't GITMO better" ??

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Help me! I don't know what to do!

I am nothing if I am not indecisive. It's a flaw of mine.
I bought a bunch of colors for the Confectionary tank and this is my swatch. 

In case anyone who might be reading this hasn't already seen it on my Ravelry page,  the yarn is Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in Stone, Lake, Turquoise, Violet, & Plum. I love that the colors are analogous, cool, and have a sort of ombre thing going on, but I do not dig the stone (light grey) next to the plum. It's too abrupt. I thought I'd add a cool pink to the palette to bridge the tonal gap. I added Blossom and to my project stash and I thought/think it looks pretty good. I decided to simply insert the Blossom between the Stone and the Plum and knit this pretty baby up.  

I cast on (while watching Bikini or Bust - how appropriate) and knit a bunch of repeats. Then I decide that I don't like the Blossom after all. The tone isn't deep enough to please my eye... and the added pink next to the purple is looking a little saccharine. (If Cactus and Lime had only looked better I would have taken the tank in the green/blue/purple direction.) 

I ripped out several repeats and decided to re-think my color pattern. I REALLY dig my swatch.... except for the Stone on Plum action. I decided to focus on what I liked about my swatch... the ombre-like order of the colors... and I've decided to have the colors vibrate back and forth between the Stone & the Plum. I'll use Stone for the trim  which will help to minimizing the effect of the purples. Great, I love it. 

I knit one half a repeat.... then I realize that I started with Lake... and I want the bottom color to be Stone. 
I also realize that this tank CURLS at the hem as stockinette only does (duh, Grace) and even though the project pics Show this, I don't like it. 

Incidentally,  I am very critical.... that might also be a flaw. 

So do I frog completely and start over with Stone? 
If so, should I knit a few rounds in Garter to make a firm bottom trim?
Do I proceed as is and pick up and knit a Stone border after the front and back are sewn together? Should it be garter? Or perhaps a short ribbed band?

I am paralyzed by indecision.

And since I can't decide if I should rip or knit, I switched to my neglected Bella Blouse.... which had previously caught me in the indecision trap... and I bravely cast on for the body in the round. I think I am in desperate need for some simple cotton stockinette for a bit. I'll have to blog about that later though.... I only have sufficient light/time in the morning for pics.

Monday, July 7, 2008

At home steam setting

This past spring I took a textile painting class at FIT. I didn't get a chance to steam my last project because I painted it on the last day of class, so when I had a chance (read: needed a break from knitting my Mesh/Rib Pullover) I steamed it at home in my kitchen. This is much more involved than it would have been in class, primarily because our kind TA did all the work for us. 

Taken in class while painting.

Rolling the painted silk in brown craft paper. Craft paper was purchased at Duane Reade. Blank newsprint would work fine also.

The craft paper wasn't very wide so I had to use 2 pieces over lapped. It was also very curly so I had to use my handy washer weights, my 2 hands and a foot. (I'm impressed that I was able to capture this moment on camera.) I left about a foot of paper at the end (center of the roll) to fold back over the inside edge of the fabric. I was careful to smooth out the fabric as it was rolled so that there won't be any wrinkles or dye transference.

Taped up the seam and the ends. It is important that the paper is permeable to the steam, and there is nowhere for water to splash directly onto the fabric.

I used this old stock pot (that I use ONLY for dyeing) filled about 2 inches with water, and placed my steamer on top of a shallow baking tin for additional lift. Once the water started to boil I coiled my paper wrapped silk and fit it gently in the pot, and was cautious to avoid splashes. I reduced the heat to low, and let steam for 2 hours.

I put a folded kitchen towel under the lid to prevent the condensation from dripping back onto the paper which could cause water marks if water seeped through onto the silk.

I think I did get a water mark or two because in the end the kitchen towel touched a small portion of the paper... but since my painting style is watery and I used some cool salt blending techniques it is hard to notice the spot and it doesn't really look like a mistake. I learn by doing and messing up anyway!

After steaming, I washed the painting in cold water to remove the excess dye. The most important thing I learned from my first project (not shown) is that the fabric/silk must dry so that it does not touch itself. Even when the water runs clear and it looks like all the dye is out, this is very important to avoid dye transference. It was kinda tricky to rig this set up in my bathroom so that the entire piece of fabric touched nothing but the clips. Luckily, silk dries very fast.

Some lovely details.

In case anyone wonders, I was inspired by the Gustav Klimt exhibit at the Neue Gallery - the Adele Bauer-Bloch painting in particular. I think the show is over now... but if it's not, I do recommend seeing Klimt paintings in person. There is a depth of texture in his paintings that simply cannot be seen in a photograph.

I used clear wax batik and gold Jacquard gutta resist, Senelier dyes, and a whole lot of kosher salt. I'm a bit of a control freak and I usually pre-plan projects, but since this was the last day of class I decided I needed to take advantage of the lab time and exercise my right hemisphere. There are things that I like and don't like about this piece, but it was good to get it done fast because I learned a lot that I can use next time.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Favorites on Friday

I made this lovely little coverlet while in grad school and promptly forgot about it when I moved to NYC. I found it when I was putting away my winter blanket and it looks so much prettier on my bed than the poop colored wool. 

This was only my second quilt attempt, and my first success. I only did some basic square knots all over it to keep the layers together. I would love to have it professionally quilted. Any suggestions for where I could get this done the NYC area would be very much appreciated!

Stash Storage!

I got this basket at a street fair on 3rd Ave. I was told that it was made by a woman in West Africa. I love it! It's so pretty, has a lid and handles. All my favorite stash yarn is in it and it is within arms reach from my bed... good in case I have to escape in a fire, but great for yarn dreams. 

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Summer FO

Pattern: Mesh & Rib Short Sleeve Pullover 
by Teva Durham: Loop-D-Loop Vol. 2
Size: 38 (My bust is actually 39.5" so -1.5" ease)
Yarn: Silk Light by Signature Collection (discontinued)
Needles: Size 8 Addis Turbos for the body & sleeves; 
& size 6 Clover Bamboo Circulars for the neckline ribbing.

Mods: I knit the body 1 inch longer than specified in the pattern. I changed the cast on number for the front because it is my opinion that it was incorrect as written; and I used a button instead of a tie at CF.  

What I would do differently were I to do this again: shorten the depth of the keyhole and not bother to knit the body that extra inch. I'm pretty tall, but I didn't really need that inch.

I think this is my 3rd pullover type garment of the year... and I've made quite a few other accessory type things (socks, legwarmers, armwarmers, cowls, hats etc...) but I'm really excited about the bona-fied garments. Those are the ones I can actually wear around to impress people (mainly myself) with my craftiness. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

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