Thursday, July 28, 2011


Thanks to a Google + mishap which deleted most of my older photos from my posts, 

I'll be moving my blog over to a new provider... stay tuned for details!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Wool People, Vol. I

The cat's out of the bag!  I've been bursting at the seams to blog about the exciting opportunity to work with Jared Flood's company Brooklyn Tweed and his yarn, SHELTER.  Months ago, Jared contacted me via e-mail to see if I would be interested in such a thing.  To see if I would be INTERESTED?!?!  Before I could regain my composure, I did a snoopy dance of excitement, ran up to yell the good news to my husband (so confused, poor thing) and ran back down to sit in front of my laptop to reply.  It took all of my willpower to write something that didn't make me sound like a:

1.  Stalker
2.  Desperate-o
3.  Drooling idiot.

As things progressed and I started to think about what I would design, my thoughts shot all over the place.  Immediately, I thought cables.  This yarn just screams cables.  And then I thought, it would have to be an accessory, a cowl or tam of some sort.  Then, it was a jacket - tweed calls for a jacket, right?  Right?!  I was slowly losing it, and losing a lot of sleep.

Then, I started to inquire and learned about some of the other knitters who would be taking part in this project.  I don't think I have ever felt so insecure in my life.  I kept thinking that the company I would be in would surely dwarf any attempt at a design I could conjure up.

I sketched and swatched and slowly I realized I had to approach this design in a totally different way.  I had been used to being inspired by a yarn, or something I had seen on someone on the street.  I would just go and grab a yarn from my stash, and swatch away.  With SHELTER, I was not only representing myself and my thoughts on knitwear, but a company - Brooklyn Tweed.  I wanted not only my aesthetic to come through, but also what the company has always stood for, and what the yarn represented.  I suppose some artists would think that would be a compromise of their creative integrity.  For me, it was a way to focus my creative energy and conversely create outside of my usual box.  My boundaries and horizons had to shift.

So I made a list of what I thought were the similarities between Brooklyn Tweed and me.  This is what I came up with:

1.  Wearable
2.  Complimentary to a variety of sizes and figures
3.  Unintimidating to knit
4.  Fun to knit.

Voila, the Perry Cardigan was born. 

Since I had immediately thought of cables, I wanted to do something more unexpected, so I went with lace.  

 And since I immediately thought of something thick, dense and substantial, I wanted to make sure it was light and airy - again, something unexpected for this yarn.

I really love this cardigan.  It's nothing earth-shattering design-wise, but I think it's something that will turn into a favorite - the one you grab to run errands, meet friends on the weekend, or keep in your office to fight off that chill.

I hope you like it, and I hope you enjoy knitting it should you choose to.  I think I'll have to make one for myself in Sweatshirt - a great SHELTER gray.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dabbling with color

I love using socks, baby sweaters and gifts as a way to knit with color I otherwise wouldn't use.  Yes, I love neutrals.  Yes, I'm made fun of by most of the people I know.  So when the occasional bright color(s) catches my eye (and literally falls off the shelf into my hands), the unending commentary from my buddies at Knitty City start swirling about.  "Wow, what are YOU going to use that for?"  "You're finally branching out!"  "It's about time - give up those grays!"  Most of the time, I don't have the heart to tell them it's for someone other than myself.  But here it goes:  those two skeins of Plaid Blanket I bought?  It was for a baby sweater.

My friend had a baby boy a few months ago, so I thought an Autumn sweater in Madelinetosh's Plaid Blanket colorway was appropriate.  The seemingly random colors in Plaid Blanket remind me of autumn leaves and come together perfectly.  I loved watching the colors go by as I knit away.  If you're madelinetosh-o-philes like myself, I just whispered the colors to myself as they slid over my fingers: glazed pecan, lettuce leaf, nebula, tern.  At least those are the colorways I saw combined in this beautiful yarn.

I followed the Gramps Cardigan pattern by Kate Oates.  It's a great little pattern with a wide size range.  But, in my humble opinion, the colors in the yarn really makes the little sweater sing. 

And maybe I was inspired by the color of my spinning wheel, but I just had to start spinning some red wool.  Bright red. 

I bought some Louet Corriedale Wool Top, and have been falling more and more in love with this red with every treadle.

Please don't tell anyone I said that.  I'll never hear the end of it.