Thursday, July 29, 2010

Etsy Craft Night

As many of you probably already know, every Monday Etsy hosts a craft night broadcast live in their Virtual Lab.  They of course are streaming live from DUMBO (a neighborhood in Brooklyn- Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass- which it literally is).  So a perk of living in Brooklyn, is I finally had the time to go.  And now my picture is on their website!

Cupcake Craft Night
See it on their page here

I'm on the right, blocking Claire, and that's her boyfriend in the green shirt.  Claire is awesome.  I not-met her at the WWKIP Day Event (I was so busy running around that I didn't get to meet anyone there) but then actually met her at La Casita's 6 month anniversary party.  She's interning at SoHo Publishing (ahem Vogue, Sixth & Spring- ring a bell?), writing a blog about her city adventures and is dorming where I stayed when I did my internship with the NYCDOE so we had lots to talk about that night.  We've been saying we were going to go to a Craft Night for weeks but couldn't get it arranged due to other commitments but it finally worked out.

The theme for the night was "cupcakes" because the night was hosted by Cupcakes Take the Cake, a blog about, well, cupcakes.  I only had time for one craft because I had another commitment after (of course, right?) so we made felted cupcake pins.  Here's mine:

They're made using store-bought felt and pieces of roving.  Then you fit your felt base around a bottle cap or jar lid.  I had to use a jar lid because I made that candle a little tooooooo big I think :o)

Soooo now I'm in love with needle felting.  What a great way to use up small bits of roving or loosely spun wool!  Good to keep in mind when I eventually attempt my drop spindle and the products don't come out as expected.

So if you're ever in the area, I highly recommend heading over to Washington St to check out a Craft Night...or to just stand in the creative center of the Etsy world.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I've Been Working on the Knitting

So I've mentioned a couple times that I have some knitting jobs.  Since I'm working for these people, I might as well give them a shout out.

My first hired knitting position is for Wai (pronounced like "weigh") Fashions.  Cindy designed these chunky ponchos that can be worn in 3 ways:  a poncho, a circle scarf, or a snood.  Basically what I do for her is knit the cable panel pieces.  No finishing, no binding off, that's it.  Someone else weaves in all the ends, seams it, and adds the ribbed collar.

My second job was recommended to me by the wonderful ladies at the Village Knitter.  Courtney had gone in looking for knitters because her normal knitter will be away for much of the summer.  Courtney makes dresses out of knit tops with fabric skirts and adds some beaded pizazz.    She sells online and in local shops on Long Island.  She had the great idea to do dress designing parties:  she brings samples of the yarns, fabrics, beads, pendant to the hostesses house and all the women get to create their own dresses.  They each get measured and a piece made to fit them.

I figure if I want to make money, I should give my ladies a shout out!  That being said, I'm still working on designing and creating for my own Etsy shop.  So keep an eye out for that announcement too :o)


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Book Review: Scrumptious Toppers

Recently I was scheduled to meet with a designer I'm knitting for.  We meet close to Lion Brand Studio so I figured I had to perfect excuse to subway myself down to see Debby Ware that same night.  I had to be in the area anyway, it's free, and there's AC; so why not right?*

Debby is such a sweet, friendly, bubbly lady.  She reminds me of a Virginian Version of Mrs. Weasley from the Harry Potter books.  She was interesting to watch, conversational and I really really liked her.  I just wish I could say the same for Scrumptious Toppers for Tots and Toddlers.

Scrumptious Toppers for Tots & Toddlers: 30 Hats and Caps from Debby Ware

The hats in this book are outrageous and over the top.  Looking for a way to use up that novelty yarn that you can't even give away?  Buy this book!  Every piece has at least one of the following:  novelty yarns, bobbles, I-cords, French knots, pom poms...  Whoa.  Just whoa.

Debby said she designs for babies because they can't say no (as long as their mommy doesn't mind).  That right there should tell you something.

There are some patterns I do like, though.  The Birthday Cupcake Cap (no Ravelry link available) is probably my favorite out of the book.  I do plan on knitting one of these for Autumn for her first birthday (no, she's not even born yet...).  The hat has a banded brim (seemingly a favorite of Debby's judging by this book) and then a sparkly novelty yarn top making it look like a cupcake. On top is a candle standing straight up.  Along those birthday line is the Crystal Party Hat.  It's like knit birthday hats they can't destroy in 5 seconds!  The Feathers & Fringe Fedora could work too (though it doesn't really look like a fedora to me).

The Baby Beastie Beanie is pretty cute.  The top of the hat is knit split into two points to look like bunny ears.  A face is embroidered on and some color coordinated novelty yarn is used for the tips of the ear points.  Though they're bunnies so I'm not really sure what's going on with that name.

The Halloween Hat is cute.  It's your typical pumpkin/jack-o-lantern hat, but I love the way she designed the pumpkin ridges on it.  And it helps that the baby model looks like one of my favorite babies from the daycare I used to work at.  I bought yarn for this at the Gotham Moving Sale.

I don't know that I'd actually put this on a kid, but I think the Black and White and Red All Over is funky awesome looking.  Maybe if Lady Gaga had a kid he/she would wear it.

WTF MOMENT:  The Baby Chick Cap.  No words.  See for yourself. I dare you to put that on your child.  ::Ahem:: why does this one have a Ravelry page and the actual good patterns don't??  I don't get it.

Not included in the book was an adorable hat only available as a kit on Debby's website:  the Cherry Swirl Hat (Ravelry).  I loved this one.  You bet I want to make it for little baby Autumn.  Look at how cute those cherries are! I think I would knit the top flat though.  I don't think Autumn's Mommy would care so much for the funky style.

One thing I enjoyed about Debby's presentation was that she shared with us her dead end projects and how they lead to her "keepers."  One dead end lead her to the Fizzle Ruffle Beanie.  The dead end was a beret that fits and adult head in the same yellow yarn.  Only there was knit ruffles covering the hat.  At the end of these ruffles was that same reddish eyelash yarn.  As a had, no!  But I point out to Debby that it would make a perfect skirt for a little girl.  So you heard it here- when she makes that pattern, mhm, I gave her that idea!

Another thing I (as well as the others in attendance) enjoyed was that Debby's pieces were poorly or not at all finished.  Strings hanging, ends not woven in, and no attempt at hiding sewing/embroidery stitches.  Thank you Debby for not trying to be perfect!  Debby doesn't send her pieces off to professional finishers.  She doesn't try to make her pieces immaculate.  In her opinion, the pieces are for kids and kids aren't going to notice/care about what the inside of their hat looks like.

To see some pictures of the event,check out the blog post on Lion Brand Studio's Blog.  You can see a bit of my hair in one picture, or just check out some images of Debby's hats.  The ruffle hat I was talking about is the one on the projector screen with the caption "!!??!!??!".  Debby's also holding the hat,  It's also in someone's hand at the display table, and the cupcake hat is on the middle prop.

Overall, I don't think I'd recommend this book to others.  That being said, you really have to have a preference for dressing your children in outrageous clothing to like these patterns.  Maybe it's my age, but I just don't see Autumn wearing most of these things.  Her mommy just isn't into that style.  Maybe that will change when she arrives, but at least then I'm prepared.

*Just as Debbie was about to start her presentation, the designer texted me:  none of the other knitters could make it so she was cancelling.  This was the main cause of the horrible mood mentioned in the Knitty review post.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Holy Yarn Sale!

I was very sad to hear on Thursday afternoon that Gotham Fine Yarn will be closing :o(  The owner is moving overseas and is closing up shop.  Sad that one of my favorite LYSs is closing, but the good news is...

Everything is 40% off!

So what does that mean?  Oh I just doubled my stash.  Take a look at some of my new acquisitions:

Yarn Stash
Here's the whole stash.
Big pile, huh?  Maybe I went a big overboard...

Mirasol Miski
10 skeins of Mirasol Miski for $55.
What a steal!  I'm hoping to make my first sweater with this.  Does anyone have any suggestions?

String Theory Caper Sock
2 skeins different pinks String Theory Caper Sock
God, I love this yarn.  How could I not buy it.  When I left, there were still two skeins of a mustardy color there.  I may have to go back for them.

Ella Ra Classic
2 skeins Ella Rae Classic
These are for another Weekend Hat for one of The Boy's co-workers.

Artyarns Silk Rhapsody Glitter
Artyarns Silk Rhapsody Glitter
One of my no-designated-project purchases.  But Silk Rhapsody for just about half off?  SOLD!  I think there's a pattern in Reversible Knits that will work for it.

Jojoland Cashmere
2 skeins Jojoland Cashmere
CASHMERE!  Two skeins for just about $30.  Another don't-know-what-I'm-gonna-do-with-you projects, but I'm thinking a nice scarf and fingerless gloves or maybe a cowl.  Something I can wear close to my face to cuddle with in the cold NYC winters.

Artyarns Cottonspring and Malabrigo Worsted
4 skeins Malabrigo Worsted and 4 skeins Artyarns Cottonspring
These will be used to make a nice cuddly winter blanket for Autumn.  Not sure of a pattern yet, but probably something simple or my own design.

Ella Rae Classic Superwash
Ella Rae Classic Superwash
I'm going to use these to make the Halloween Hat from Debby Ware's Scrumptious Toppers book (review coming tomorrow) for Autumn.

And then there was this.  For a wee $23 I bought...

Louet Drop Spindle Kit

...a Louet Drop Spindle Kit.  The kit comes with the spindle, half a pound of roving and instructions.  I'm sure I'll need more than what they included in this box (I'm very open to suggestions:  books, DVDs, websites, teachers, where to buy fleece here...) but I'm sure it's enough to get me started.  The rovings are sooo soft.  I haven't tried it yet because I've been trying to get all my work knitting done first, as well as a baby hat pattern I'm writing (more on these coming soon also!).

If you are in the NYC area, I highly suggest stopping by.  Kat is running the store until the end of the month.  When Rebecca gets back early in August, she's going to start packing for her move overseas so get there quick!  Also, with yarn being 40%, do you really expect it to be there much longer?  Hurry up and get there!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Knitty Review

So last Thursday the new issue of Knitty came out. It took me all day, but I was finally able to check out the patterns without the site crashing.  Usually I love whatever Knitty puts out, but this issue was a bit of a let down for me.  It may have been the utterly horrible mood I was in on Thursday but I don't now that my opinion on some of these pieces will change as I go through some of the ones that stuck out for me now.

Having curly frizz-prone hair, I totally agree with the introduction to this non-cowl.  I've not made a cowl yet, but that does tend to be a concern about them.  I may have to make this with some of my Noro (just wait for that post).

I wasn't thrilled when I first looked at the pictures of this cardigan.  It's a little too old for my tastes.  But after looking at all of the pictures and reading the description, I thought it might be something nice to make out of Lion Brand's Nature's Choice Organic Cotton (ahem on sale this month at their studio in the city).  It does look so comfy and loungy and potentially something I can get away wearing during teaching if I make it in the right colors.  It may just be the perfect garment to make out of the cotton (which is so flippin soft).

I love the yarn they used for this pattern.  I think the construction method is interesting and unique.  I'm not the type to use shawl pins too much and they really seem like the only option for a closure for this sweater so I don't know that I'd make this one.  The only other option I can think of is an awesome oversized button.  That could be pretty funky looking.

I don't know if it's just the hot weather lately, but I'm loving the short sleeves on this cardi.  Makes it great for wearing during subbing when it's warm out and I want to wear a tank style top but of course not show the shoulders (oh my not a shoulder!).  Chunky+Cables is very in for the fall- I'd love to make this in a rich burnt orange with some browns and reds thrown in.  Sigh, if I had the money/time for more yarn....

Now I'm not a big fan of vests in general.  This one's not so bad, but I really flipped over how the back is different from the front!  I just may have to give sweater vests a try just because of that!

Trout River
Meh.  That was how I felt looking at this pattern.  I don't really see a need for detachable sleeves, or a desperate need for legwarmers while wearing a short sleeved sweater.  The body of the sweater reminds me of a medieval tunic.  I do love the small incorporation of the handspun yarn- also a great way to use some art yarn too.

This is not a pattern for me, and I'm not even going to discuss that here.  My first thought about this page was "What am I supposed to be looking at?"  I hate the picture they chose to be the first you see.  The picture in no way features the project.  Rather, the focus is of the model's face.  You can barely see the collar around her coat.  This was a poor choice and for some reason made me very upset Thursday night (again, I was in a horrible mood).

I love this pattern!  This the one I would make and actually wear.  I really love the colors in the brown/green one too.  In fact, a lady in my knitting group today was working on it in an awesome Noro yarn and it looked fabulous.  This one is being added to the queue.  In fact, I may do it with the String Theory Caper Sock I have from Autumn's baby blanket that was frogged.

These are adorable!  I love knit jewelry.  And I definitely have plenty of beads to embellish them with.  I just might have to stop by Lion Brand soon for some of this yarn too.

Mad for Plaid
I'm no sock knitter (yet at least), but these are pretty awesome.  I love plaid and I especially love that they don't match perfectly.  No SSS haha.

So out of all the patterns, only one has made it to my queue.  I spoke with another knitter at the knitting group this afternoon and she had similar feelings as I did about this issue.  I think they are trying too hard to be different and avante garde with some of these patterns.  Yes, Knitty is known for being non-traditional, but now it feels forced.  I'm just feeling disappointed in this issue.  And no, my opinions have not changed now days later with me in a better mood.

What did you guys think?

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Wow, now I remember why I rarely blogged when I was working at the daycare...

I would have thought that with the semester of grad school ending, I'd have so much free time.  Boy, was I wrong.  Between state testing, reading assessments, pregnancy woes, and family deaths, I had a lot of subbing to do through the last two and a half months of public school.  I'm definitely not complaining, but I sure wasn't expecting that much work.

Because I work so far from the apartment (1hr15min to get to work, at least 1hr30min to get home), I felt like I had no time to get things done.  My room- now the biggest disaster ever.  I've been working on cleaning it though.  Same with my desk.  But in all that craziness of subbing, a lot of other stuff has been going on in my life too.

Knowing unemployment is coming sucks.  It's like there's a deadline on your income.  So yes, now I have no job (you'd think I'd have so much free time...ha! I wish).  Correction- I have no "traditional" job.  Thanks to the wonders of Ravelry, I am now an Independent Contract Knitter (or at least that's what they said on my contract).  Either way, I'm being paid to knit.  It's something that will carry through the summer so at least I'll be making some money.  Basically, I'm knitting these super chunky (size 15 needles) pieces that will be components of the final project.  I get paid per piece I make which gives anyone the freedom to do as many or few as they like/can each week.  Since this is all I've got for income, I've been very exclusively working on these...until I ran out of pieces to make and the designer can't meet with me until Friday.  There's my drawback of the job.  I have to see if she'll be willing to give me yarn for a loooooot of pieces so I don't have to harass her as often to do a switch.*

That being said, I have accomplished some other knitting.  Since a friend is preggers and baby Autumn is due early October, she has been my focus for knitting these days.  First, I've made her a cute blanket based off the Big Bad Baby Blanket from Stitch 'N Bitch (the original).  I actually started this project on our Florida trip back in April using Caper Sock by String Theory purchased at Gotham Fine Yarn.  Somehow we messed up my order because as I was knitting double stranded, I realized I only had enough yarn to do half the blanket.  FROG.  I started it again single stranded, reworking the stitch counts to still get a good size with a more appropriate gauge, but it just didn't have the same feel that I loved about it double stranded.  FROG (not technically, the knit fabric is still sitting needleless in a bag with the yarn waiting to be ripped out and then relaxed).  So I was at Dad's house looking for my old acrylic to donate to the Guild (more to come on this) when I rediscovered all this wonderful yarn I'd bought at a destash almost a year ago.  In it I had some wonderful Cascade Sierra Quatro in a colorway that stranded pink, light pink, periwinkle and lime green together.  I reworked the stitch count again to get the size I wanted (extra large) and made and finished this blanket.  Well, ends aren't woven in yet, but close enough.  Boyfriend kept asking me why I was trying to make such a big blanket- I wanted something Autumn could use outside in the summer (80%cotton, 20%wool).  This time next year she'll be about 8ish months so she'll be sitting up and maybe crawling a little.  A large blanket that they can just throw on the grass and let her play on will be perfect for her.  Friend has seen this while it was being worked on, but not the finished product yet.

While I was finding my yarn at Dad's, I also found a bunch of Cascade 220 in bright blue, purple, and 2 skeins of a brightish pink.  Perfect for baby girl stuff!  I decided I wanted to design a blanket for Autumn and have my idea all drawn out until I realized- Friend may not really want a big blanket that has to be handwashed.  I haven't seen her in a few weeks so I'm holding off working on this for now until I can ask her about it.  If she decides no, I'm so using some of that yarn to make myself a Wicked Sweater seeing as how I've still never knit myself (or anyone else) a sweater.

But wait!  We're not done with Autumn's knits (can you say spoiled already??).  I've been working on a test knit for someone on Ravelry.  It's a summer dress made to look like a slice of watermelon...sorta.  I mean, she's not gonna be wearing a triangle shaped dress or anything.  It litterally just follows the colors of watermelon- dark green, light green, white and pink make up the chest part while the whole skirt is red.  I love this pattern except that the sizing is way off.  I'm working on the 6-9 month size for her (because of course that will be how old Autumn will be when she can wear it next year) but it's large enough to fit an 18 month to a small 2 year old.  She's very frustrated needless to say, but I'm trying to help her get the sizing right because it's just too cute of a pattern.  I might make two- finish this oversized one and give it to a friend who's daughter is just about to turn 2 (she has no baby fat that kid) and make another one for Autumn.  I will have to buy more red yarn, but I have enough of all the other colors leftover for Autumn's dress.

As for the Guild, we've had so much going on!  We have a website ( designed my moi.  Ok so it's not really the greatest yet but I'm still learning how to do a lot of stuff and now I'm self-teaching because my web design class is over.  Also, I haven't been able to work on it because my at-home Dreamweaver trial has ended and I certainly don't have the $400 to buy it.  I do have a very old version on my computer I never installed (thank you free software from undergrad) and Pace has it on their computers but I just haven't had time to head to campus to work on it more.  We also have a Facebook fan page and a Twitter account.  We held our WWKIP Day event which was a major success!  We signed up about 55 new members that day and have since signed up more.  I'm organizing a Stitch n Pitch at the Brooklyn Cyclones for people which rocks.  So we've had a lot going on.

I'll have more for you soon, but I think this post is long enough right now :o).  I'm off to read some blogs.  I haven't had time for this since before Easter so I have a lot of catching up to do.  Expect random belated comments on your blogs now haha!

*If anyone is in the NYC area and would like to partake, last I spoke to her, Designer is still looking for more knitters.  Store are requesting her pieces like crazy for the fall and they want to get production up as fast as possible.  Her requirements are you must be able to and willing to commute into NYC (she will not ship back and forth) and have cabling experience (but no worries they're pretty simple cables).


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