Thursday, April 10, 2014

midweek making: Zoe sweater

About time Zoe got a new sweater, isn't it?

"Mine? Me!! "  She noticed when I started to sew on the buttons --and stayed right on top of me till they were all attached. These perfect buttons, had to get them at Vogue Knitting Live, even though I surely have a dozen in the old button tin that would work.

The sweater is Playful Stripes by Alana Dakos, I intentionally made it larger than needed, to last a while. But it came out even bigger than that. Yarn is mostly Dale Falk.

Accessories? All Zoe. She insisted on grabbing my red Thorpe* hat & her coordinating sippy cup. Girl's got style.

A test drive at the park. Extra floppy big sleeves? Did not slow her down.
Those picot sleeves and hem are what made me knit this--that and using all the stripey colors. And seeing a couple other versions at knit night....

Tulle and handknits. Can never go wrong.
* Funny story about my Thorpe, and meeting Kirsten Kapur, the designer (now my friend & crafty collaborator, too) on this old post from December 2007, scroll down to the end.

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Saturday, April 05, 2014

next saturday in washington dc..and more...

I'll be at  The Knitting Loft in Washington DC teaching a Photography for Knitters class next weekend, April 12th noon-3:30. It feels like a great time to take out the camera and enjoy the world. Come join me, if you're in the VA/MD/DC area. There are a few seats left !
I'm picturing (yes of course that is how I think of things--pictures)  a festive spring day in our nations capital--who isn't ready for that? Also,  it's the 2nd weekend of the Metro DC Yarn Crawl. You could crawl earlier, acquire fun new yarn to shoot, then join us at this shop on Capitol Hill.
It has been a lonnnng winter here--I am really ready to get into some color--on the trees, in the skeins,wherever. What about you?
Fortunately, all my knitting projects right now have some color going on. Like this. It's a cardigan in Berroco Peruvia Pimienta I'm knitting for my friend and neighbor Sarah. She's an amazing artist & sewer, but doesn't knit .  She suggested we swap a sweater for a bespoke dress. Oh yes! I suspect she's going to be sorry, since she chose a pattern and yarn , snip-snap. I'm not nearly so decisive--we were both so ennervated by me choosing a pattern as a starting place for what I want, that we had to put aside choosing fabric for another outing.We chose this one, if you're curious.

And my Monster Cowl's  another colorful one   If you follow me on Instagram (I'm @galezucker there, my real non-sheep name) you may have seen this cheery bit of knitting. If you haven't knit any chevrons, I urge you to get something zig zagging underway. It's actually  hard to stop. I'm knitting it with these Shepherd's Wool skeins, lots of yardage, so no need to set limits -I may have to do a hat and mitts too. But maybe different striping sequence, so it's not too matchy matchy. Fashion note: I don't think you can be too chevronny, but you can be too matchy-matchy. 

Geez I am chatty today.  Just a couple more things, sort of random:
•  Look at the beautiful cowl  being raffled on Small Things blog. And enter (or, don't....because then my odds are better at winning...did I say that outloud?)

• I hate to think about the end  of summer, but a heads up that Fiber College, Sept 3-7th this year, has the Gees Bend Quilters coming to teach and talk and demonstrate. It's a mind bending cultural and craftual mix. Fiber College is always a mindbending craftual experience, so this year should really blow the hinges off the joint--if it had hinges I mean.. It is a very special place (my reveiws here and here) and most importantly--the classes listed are starting to sell out already. Consider yourself warned.

• I'm going to TNNA, I just committed.  Indiana!  I'll be  a free agent- not teaching, or booksigning or even with a booth,...just meeting and brainstorming....and I 'm taking appointments if you want to do a small photo shoot there for your patterns or sweaters or yarn or other business.  If you'll be there and want to meet about some other collaboration..I'm all ears. Give me a shout.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

welcome to camp kitschy knits video

So thrilled I can finally share this one. Hit it!

From a hoot of a photoshoot for Camp Kitschy Knits, a business that sells handknit, 100% wool brand new sweaters from vintage patterns, mostly Mary Maxims. The sweaters are the handwork of Fair Trade Knitters in South America.

I'd like to go on record as first handknit sweater stop-action video with an original soundtrack of banjouke and concertina.
Where's my Oscar??!!!

When the client shipped me the garments for the photo shoot, I was expecting heavy rustic sweaters, but she sources lofty, super squishy soft wool yarn--they're so wonderful. And so funky. Cowichan! Curling! Archery! Scuba diving! Pheasants! Square dancing!

We decided  the best way to show them off was a glamping trip.  We borrowed an Airstream, gathered some models and friends, laid on the bright red lipstick,  amped up the retro makeup, made a campfire--and froze our butts off! It was a freakishly cold day, but you can see we had fun, anyway.
 Enjoy. And, give a like the Camp Kitschy Knits facebook page, wontcha?

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Friday, February 21, 2014

dear heidi k, regarding my shellseeker...

I may owe you an apology. I've messed with your wonderful design. But I adore my Shellseeker.
It took me 3 tries to get it right. 
V1 finished last winter: too tight.   A double whammy of weight gain and gauge swatch fibbing. But you gotta love a top down pattern- I kept the sleeves and upper yoke, which just about fit, and ripped back to mid-bust . I re-knit down on larger needles.
That was V2, done last spring:   bad pooling over my stomach and hips. Like,  if I'd wanted to emphasize my width, I'd have left the kangaroo pocket and knit it in stripes, as the designer intended, right?. Still a little snug on hips. Also, the bottom ribbing kept flipping up.  RRRIIIPP out it came, back up to the bust, again.

One of the charms of the design is the front has side seam decreases with matching increases about 1/3 way across the front from each side, adding a nice line and structure but not actually adding stitches.

 V3 completed in December I skipped every other side decrease,  adding swing to the front. (Thanks to Kirsten Kapur and Mary Lou Egan for talking me down from the ledge of skipping all the decreases, I would have added like 8-9 " of swing instead of half that, and been on to V4.)
More V3 detail: I traded off skeins of the yarn, Malabrigo Rios in Pearl Ten so the pooling is less annoying, changed the hem to seed stitch, and exaggerated the split hem lengths, for added tush coverage. Let's see what else: no pocket in front, and a few rows of reverse stockinette in handspun along the neck and sleeves, which remains my fave detail on this .
Finally , about the loose fit:  by the time I finished the sweater in December, I'd lost weight -so it's got a truly sweateshirty fit (ahem no complaints) . 
As is obvious by my super unmatchy  shirt, pants and scarf,  this is the time of winter when I totally, and I mean totally,  give up on style.  Throwing this sweater on over whatever is Just The Thing.
Ok, leaving you with one more style thought:
My nephew and I have excellent taste in pants. Instagrammed at the zoo in DC, last weekend, in the snow/rain/slush.
PS There's still room in a Photo for Knitters class I'm teaching on March 22nd at WEBS. Join me. It is a fab day trip, and when we're done shooting photos--umm, we're at Webs. Join me in escaping cabin fever!

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Sunday, February 09, 2014

and on we go...

I am sparing you a long, gushy, name-droppy* review of VogueKnitting Live in NY.   It was a joy to teach at it -and it was a joy to be an attendee. Amazing teachers, fun marketplace, and my fave: exhibits  in the lobbies of artists who work with yarn & fiber, including my friend Ruth Marshall
Meanwhile, me? I'm here & there, knitting.

exhibit a: the week ahead
phonecam shot of Shepherds Wool, click to see colors, ready to go!
Skeins with names that take me to another season. To make a Monster Cowl. Because new neckwear is so welcome in February.  I'm teaching & attending at Inspire, a photogapher's conference this week. My hope is for  a) lots of knitting time while I listen and b) get inspired.  I will likely be the lone knitter (or maybe the lone knitter-in-public).

exhibit b: this weekend
more phonecam : handspun and some yarn I impulse bought at Madison Wool
A new Kremlin. I misplaced my go-to winter hat. Bad timing, as it is a Hat-Required Month.  I recall putting this  fave hat somewhere about a week ago,  thinking "this isn't where I usually keep my hat but I can remember it here".... Um, no.  Although I whipped out my last Kremlin in 2012 with no problem, I am oddly confused by the pattern this time.

exhibit c1: gift knitting sent in January

 Valdai!  Before I sent it off to my sister, my neighbor Peg posed quickly.  Keep in mind it was less then 10 F (thats for Fahrenheit but it may as well be for Freakin') so no dawdling for Fancy Fotos.  As for the shawl, oh this was a fun one, and oh this Cirrus yarn is delicious to work with, 2 strands together. I used every last inch of the 4 skeins, shortening one of the ends. Sylishly assymetrical that way.  (Do not blame the pattern, blame me for not swatching, I am sure my gauge was looser than called for). My sister Marla loves it, I love being appreciated....

exhibit c2: when handknits are appreciated cont'd

Another gift, the hat for  bro-in-law LaMar. yes, that Lamar). Yes my sister Marla is married to LaMar, we call them LaMarLa. He endeared himself to me forever-even before this text- by reciting & reviewing every hat I've ever knit him, leading up to this gift.  He asked for something lighterweight, soft, with some slouch, and not too loudly colored because he wants to wear it at work.  I have to admit I struggled letting go of this one. It's Hissu, one of the charming  hats by this Finnish designer.   Road to China Light and stripes in handspun (thanks Archiknist) . More Road to China hats, definitely on the to-do list.

*reserving the right to do a long name droppy post soon....

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Monday, January 06, 2014

gravity of color: lulu cowl

Happy 2014! Instead of  waiting for the  "start as you mean to go on" thing , I got a jump on my resolutions- if you insist on calling them that- in December.  Like, finishing projects.  It has been a march down FO Boulevard, a road that keeps on going.  My other intentions are to put things away as I use them, and keep the kitchen table clear. * Oh yeah , and keep moving** . And do more yoga.  .
One of the finished:  my sister Lulu's cowl, gifted to her last month.A a field trip to the New Britain Museum of American Art, to see the Maruice Sendak exhibit  gave us a chance to shoot it.
Also, gave us this perfect backdrop, an installation entitled The Gravity of Color made entirely of paper and plastic cups , by Lisa Hoke. It's breathtaking in person, so unexpected. I wouldn't normally choose an intensely colored and textured background but we both felt it the minute we saw it.
This cowl is my own design--to the extent that I can say that --I mean,  it's basically granny square stripes in the round, with big picot edges. Lulu dropped by the day I was blocking the last Big Ass Granny blanket and  wanted something granny too, but to wear around her neck at work. Further, she wanted it to be very colorful, in her colors,  to make a conservative blue jacket she'd just bought more handcrafty and artsy/funky looking.
Specific enough?  Anyhoo, she loves it.   And I love when someone loves what I make for them, don't you?  It came out about 6 1/2 " wide (including the edging) and about 72" in circumference. Lulu is even shorter than I am--she's a bit over 5 feet-- if that gives you  some perspective for the photo on top.
I used mostly worsted weight yarns, partial skeins: Cascade 220, Cascade Eco wool,  Brown Sheep Lambs Pride,  Berroco Ultra Alpaca , Berroco Peruvia and  some Aruacania that I seem to never ever ever ever run out of. And finally some handspun that Rebecca Hatcher gave me in a yarn swap.  All told it weighs about 600 grams, which is (I think , I'm a little sketchy at this) is about 1000-1100 yards.
It totally does the job of de-preppifying the blue jacket. Goal met.
Next I hope I'll be show you my finished Shellseeker. I have been wearing it so much that it already looks like a legacy sweater,. You would think a  professional photographer would have someone to help her get a decent sweater shot, wouldn't you? 

Meanwhile will I see you at Vogue Knititng live in NYC on the 17th or 18th? My Friday morning class is getting pretty full (if not full up) but the noon lecture, which is a fun one hour romp through  tips & tricks to your photos, is still open ( unlimited in size).
...and now the footnotes>>>>>>>>>
*keeping my kitchen table clear sounds like a metaphor but I mean it literally. It is in the dead center of the first floor of our house, in an open space, and everyone including me drops stuff on it as they pass by. Drives me nuts.
** Fitbit. My little friend/tyrant.  Recommended.

I am going to start replying to comments in the comments--after all these years, a little change for the new year!

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

and meanwhile

...I'm still knitting. Sort of, kind of. I'd forgotten how hanging out with a 23 month old can really eat into your knitting time. (stop laughing at me,  all you moms of young kids).
That, up there, is the Valdai shawl I'm knitting from Berroco Cirrus held double.  Loving every stitch of it, and loving the yarn too.  Totally clever pattern, with an unusual construction. The silliest thing is: this could easily be a knit  in a weekend.  Specifically, I could easily knit it in a weekend. Yet I am entering week 2 to finish it.  Moreover, I'm guilty of making  gifts and gifting them before I'd even taken any photo of them.  
Clearly I am off my game.

 I've got plans to get the shawl and an as-yet-unstarted hat done this week and properly documented.  If you're thinking about a last-minute gift knit, or a project for this holiday week, and if I were you, I'd be looking at Kay's Biggie Cowls. Some seriously sizable style, and an entertaining knit, too. Not just plain old rib on big needles, nuh-uh. win-win-win.

While all the knitting wasn't getting done, I'm pleased to report I found time to choreograph (Bob Fosse just spun in his grave..two..three..four) ) a mini flash mob during my mom's 80th birthday party last weekend.
this was near the start of it
we got everyone in and up
We like funny hats and boas. I mean, who doesn't?
 We actually pulled it off. What a hoot. Without a shred of dignity. But, y'know, dignity is overrated.

Happy solstice, to all--and merry xmas if you are celebrating this week! I'll be back with more giveaways in a couple days.

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