Archive for March, 2009

Chart Me: Fancy Stitches

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

creativeknitting-curvycabledscarf1The Curvy Cabled Scarf (left) designed by Suzanne Atkinson for Creative Knitting magazine has an interestingly undulating shape. Knit with bulky weight yarn, it features a gorgeous triple braided cable design. This scarf is a brilliant use of the kind of inter-woven cables that always make me think Celtic. When I first started knitting I made gazillions of scarves. Using a little pocket guide to knitting, which has lately gone missing, I practiced stitches and experimented with different yarns. Recently I picked up A Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara G. Walker and The Complete Encyclopedia of Stitchery by Mildred  Graves Ryan. Both books are incredibly inspiring works for any knitter, but especially for knitwear designers. Check out The Walker Treasury Project which is an online compendium of her stitches. I love BW’s Frost Flowers lace and the Wheat Ear cable patterns. Amazing stuff.

Knitting Socks

Monday, March 30th, 2009

spilljaneknits-owlsocksAs if my recent indulgence in boucle isn’t enough, I’m also gearing up for my first sock class this weekend. I’ll be taking the class at The Little Knittery. I’m all hyped on the idea of sock knitting, and am starting to study up on it to get a sense of what all the excitement is about. I found Spillyjane Knits and fell in love with her fun Owlsocks (left). She blogs about her adventures designing them, and has a FREE sock pattern online. Fellow Canadian, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot, announced her Sock Summit which will be held August 6-9 in Portland. The list of teachers reads like a stellar Who’s Who’s of the sock knitting world. It includes sock guru Charlene Schurch, the author of the wildly popular book, Sensational Knitted Socks. The Panopticon, Franklin Habit, blogs about making a pair of Schurch’s socks here.

Knitting With Boucle

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

pehuen-arauchaniaIt’s true, I’m cheating on Mr. Greenjeans. I found some deeply discounted pretty mixed berry colored cotton boucle and I lost self control. The yarn is called Pehuen, which although it is a name of a beautiful tree doesn’t sound very appealing in English. I’m into the kettle dyed yarns from South America. Araucania gives us handcrafted yarns from Chile like Pehuen (left). Boucle is a bit hard to knit, mostly because the construction makes them less springy while knitting, but I like the curly textured results. Turns out that Bernat’s Soft Boucle is the most used of this type of yarn by Ravelry members. Here’s a super cute way to use boucle: Norberta by Kate Kuckro. By the way, I’m trying the Pehuen out on the Textured Circle Shrug designed by Stefanie Japel.

Subverting Gender With Yarn

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

nathanvincentNot only do men knit, they also crochet. On the recent yarn episode of Martha Stewart’s TV show, they featured the work of artist Nathan Vincent. He’s a sculptor who uses the non-traditional sculpting process of crochet to draw attention to the challenges of defining gender. Vincent makes social commentary by creating things that are considered to be masculine, like the lawnmower (above), using what is socially accepted as a feminine craft. The Crochet Dude, Drew Emborsky, on the other hand, uses crochet in the traditional manner. While sculptor Lauren Porter is noted for having created one of the ultimate testosterone symbols, a Ferrari, out of yarn. Whatever your gender, check out the Crochet Liberation Front.

Sock Yarn Fixation

Friday, March 27th, 2009

chicagoshakespearetheatreI’m finally going to learn to knit socks. I’ve never taken a knitting class, but have decided to try it out next month. We’ll be making a simple cuff-down cotton stretch sock using Cascade Fixation. As I was checking out Cascade’s website to figure out what color socks to make, I found that the yarn company had donated 140 skeins of Fixation to the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre to make the elaborate costumes for their staging of The Tempest (left). Other not-so-typical uses of sock yarn? I love Langsingerland’s super colorful Sock Yarn Blanket. That’s a whole lot of stitches! Also, check out her other blog, Little Blue Clipper Designs for some nice sock patterns. The Summer Sox Child’s Cardi, a FREE pattern from Classic Elite, is pretty. There’s also a pattern for Toddler Socks using the same Summer Sox yarn. Naomi is knitting socks using sock yarn from Berroco. She blogs at Ink, Yarn & Beer.

 

 

Read more about more traditional uses of sock yarn here.

China Fashion Week Knits

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

chinafashionweekOh yes, there are still shows previewing Fall fashions going on in major cities around the world. Currently, it’s Fashion Week in Beijing. (It was NY Fashion Week this week on The Real Housewives of NYC, meow, but I digress.) The Chinese opened with a wild showing of work from design students competing for the Hempel Award. Check out this gallery of the fashions. The theme of the event was “simple,” and if this stuff was simple,  I can only just imagine what is coming up in the next few days. Not too much knitwear so far, but the festivities are just getting started. I’m not sure who is the designer of this cozy creation (left) but if that is as soft and warm as it looks in the photo, it seems like a great way to spend those cold winter knits. Also not sure if the number is part of the design, but I’d say that ball is optional. I do love the matching slippers. None of it looks hard to knit, just get out those Speed Stix.I must admit that it gives me the same vibe as The Snuggie—that blanket with sleeves that is so popular, or at least, so popular to lampoon. My fave has been the rant and SnugWOW send up on Real Time With Bill Mahrer.

 

 

Missed sknitter’s coverage of other Fashion Weeks? Check out posts on New York, Milan and of course,  Paris.

Knitting Men In America

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

knittingmeninamerica1Yes, men knit. Kyle Kunnecke has been doing research for an upcoming book about Men Who Knit in America. He had a survey up online and over a thousand people responded. Kunnecke’s still  looking for guy knitters to get involved in the project, so if that’s you (or you know one) please contact him. See Kunnecke’s current blog here, his older one, KyleKnits is here. I found Kyle through his friend Janice Rosema, a gifted knitter, designer, and blogger. By the way, the 2009 Men’s East Coast Knitting Retreat is coming up on May 14 – 17 in Upstate New York. Also, check out Micah’s Reality Tour. You gotta love a guy who blogs baking, fly fishing and knitting.

More Vintage Knits

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

ivarosevintageIt is fascinating to go browsing through vintage knitwear fashions. I’ve bought a few old pattern books, but have yet to knit from the. Iva Rose sells great reproductions of vintage knitting books, like this Lux book from 1938 (left). What’s great about this site is that you can review the finished objects rather than the cover only. (Do a search on “knitting” at the site to find the books.)  Vintage Purls, Free Vintage Knitting, and A Good Yarn all offer FREE patterns. The Spring Issue of PopKnits has an interesting article by Cindy Moore on Rewriting Vintage Patterns. I love the Joan Crawford sweater designed by Theodora Goes Wild that is featured in PopKnits. The forum at the Vintage Fashion Guild has  a lively discussion and some good images. Not all knitting, but still lots of really fun eye-candy.

 

Want to keep reading about Vintage Knits? Go here and here for some other sknitter posts.

Martha Does Knitting

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

marthastewart-craftsOn today’s Martha Stewart TV Show, the subject is yarn. Over the years, team Martha has shown us how-to do many types of crafts, occasionally touching on knit and crochet projects. It seems like there is a push towards promoting the Martha crafting magic with the upcoming book Encyclopedia of Crafts, her A-Z reference guide. The current issue of MSLiving previews the book and introduces the key people in the Martha Crafts Dept. Silke Stoddard is the knitting/yarn chief apparently. The Craft Dept. has recently added a new blog. And the Martha website is featuring a Craft of the Day. Here’s one: Create a Knitting Basket out of an old sweater, for example. It remains to be seen how serious the knitting gets at Martha, but I for one will be watching to see. I’m one of those fans who thinks that Martha’s got some truly amazing creative people on staff who are committed to producing very beautiful work.

Knit A Chair

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

yuvee-knittedchairProduct Designer and knitter, Yuvee, has started a movement to cover up those millions of cheap plastic chairs that can be found pretty much everywhere across the globe. There’s a FREE pattern that requires Sirdar Bigga, at The Knitted Chairs. Yuvee has a call out for more knitted chairs with a deadline of April 20th. That means that there will be other versions coming! Talitha has already created a cabled cover that is cool. Chatrine designed a beautiful knitted cover to make over an old wing chair. Check out Ruth Cross’ HandKnitted Nursing Chair (scroll down page). Yarn Dreams is covering an IKEA chair with the Sweet and Lowdown Chair pattern designed by Veronik Avery  for Interweave Knits. She blogs about it here. And although I don’t crochet, I love Thumbelyna: The Craft of Crochet blog. On it she features this amazingly beautiful chair. More? There is actually A Chair A Day blog. None of the chairs featured there really need to be covered up. Well, maybe need a nice cushion.