Archive for January, 2010

Yarn Stores And Me

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Is it me, or are yarn stores kinda weird places to be? Maybe I’m too aware of the fact that they are small retail businesses, and not really little retreats for knitters. I know that there are people who have created genuinely warm friendships with certain LYS owners after being good frequent customers. I just get the feeling of fake cheeriness so often from many LYS owners. They’ll engage for a sentence or two with me, see I’m on the sale rack or only have one thing in my hand, and stop the patter (and usually the smile). This happens not just because they get busy with another customer. I go into this one store that greets me like a friend one time, then they stare blankly at me like I’m from another planet the next. Maybe I’m expecting too much from them? Maybe I really just need to drop $200 before I’m actually welcome? The photo (above) is of the beautiful, but sadly, discontinued soft Angora blend called Roma by Jaeger. Pretty palette, no?

Free Rowan Patterns

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

I haven’t knit any Rowan patterns. I’ve certainly drooled over their books, but they are expensive. Plus the designs many times look too complicated for my knitting skills. I may be obsessed with knitting, but I’m still pretty much an intermediate knitter. Anyways, I love the styling in the Rowan photography. A lot of over-the-top art direction that evokes whole exotic worlds populated by sylphs in pretty sweaters. Here’s today’s good news: you can get a whole bunch of Rowan patterns FREE, and unlike in the past on the Rowan site, they download easily! For example, Hush, a simple pullover with eyelet lace (above) designed by Sarah Hatton. By the way, MoonCalf blogs about Hatton leaving Rowan, and muses about what’s next for this talented designer.

Felted Rocks and Flowers

Friday, January 29th, 2010 you seen the work of South African textile artist Ronel Jordaan? She creates an amazing range of indoor and outdoor home accessories in handy dyed felted wool. Her clustered pebble bath mat and rock cushion ottomans are really fun. The pierced leaf throw and the delicate ivy curtain are so pretty. I’m really drawn to the succulent cushion (above). All of her products are made by hand in small quantities by South African women artisans and are all eco-friendly. I first noticed her work via the yarn company, Be Sweet. Her website indicates that she plans on expanding her range to include apparel. That should be interesting, and no doubt, gorgeous.

Knitting Duo

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Who are these people? It’s Michaela Drapes and Shannon Robertson (above), the talented designers behind the men’s knitwear collection, Kindling & Tinder. Their very fashion forward line of luxe knits is really amazing. You can see more here. Buy their patterns on Ravelry (their name on Rav: kindlingandtinder). Drapes and Robertson are also the duo behind the hysterical, yet completely informative, high fashion and hand knitting blog called Yarneteria. You may recall me talking about some of their Fauxdarte experiments. They blog things like this and this and this on a regular basis, much to my edification and complete amusement. Love these designers!

"Where DIY Meets WTF"

Monday, January 25th, 2010

What a great tagline, what a great site: April Winchell’s lampoon of the handmade marketplace,, spotlights some of the more unfortunate ideas in arts and crafts, including knitted stuff. Exhibit A: the “Bowel” Scarf entry (above). Check out the hats and needlework posts. How about this Regretsy post incorporating an image of the infamous crochet birthing doll? It’s a very very funny site. By the way, I’ve got my own love/hate relationship going with the whole idea of Read more about it here and here.

Debbie Stoller's Yarn

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

stitchnationMaybe some of you have already seen this in your local Joann store? Debbie Stoller of Stitch n’ Bitch fame has joined with Red Heart (Coats & Clark) to create a new yarn called Stitch Nation. The product line launched with Full o’ Sheep (100% wool), Alpaca Love (an alpaca/wool blend) and Bamboo Ewe (a bamboo/wool blend) each with approximately 177-ish yards and all in the price range of $4.99. Sounds like good value for the money. I haven’t touched the yarn yet, but my concern  is the color palette, which looks kinda too bright overall on my monitor. That’s one thing you’ve got to hand to the Paton’s cheap-o yarns, as well as Vanna’s Choice—the colors are nice. Anyways, worth a look, and now Stoller has posted FREE patterns using the Stitch Nation yarns. Blogger Classy People House got an advance press kit and reviews Full o’ Sheep here.

Yarn, A Movie

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

yarn-raybanSunglasses manufacturer RayBan commissioned Never Hide Films to create a short film that is part of a viral ad campaign to promote their products. The result is Yarn a short featuring a gigantic red ball of yarn that rolls its way through the streets of San Francisco. The whole thing has a macho spin with several handsome Ray Ban wearing guys involved in  the action (which is not knitting). I certainly hope that no Malabrigo was harmed in the making of that film.

Bad Luna Crochet

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

bellalunashawl-lionbrandyarnco1Since I’m on a ruffle rant again, let me throw this one into the fire also: the Bella Luna Shawl (left) designed by Nicky Epstein that appears in the Winter/Spring Lion Brand catalog. When Epstein goes wrong, it is never ever boring. I can see why LB published the pattern, the materials list likely reads: “buy out the entire bin of Vanna’s Choice #099 Linen at your local Joann or Michaels…” The problem here is that this shawl just overwhelms the body—no matter what your figure type. By the way, the catalog does feature the new LB yarn called Amazing (scroll down). Being a Noro lover, I’m wondering about this LB product because it has a similar look, but is a wool/acrylic blend and significantly cheaper. Want more ranting about weird crochet ruffles? Go here.

Celebrity Knitter

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

christinahenricks-joiesweaterYou’ve got to love actress Christina Hendricks: she’s super talented, loves to knit and tells the press often, and of course, has that non-stop curvy body. She is like Jessica Rabbit come to life. Sunday night the beautiful redhead rocked the red carpet at the Golden Globes wearing the trend that seemed to dominate it—ruffles. Hate those ruffles, especially the ones that look like bed skirts, right? Hendricks’ dress was designed by the fierce Christian Siriano of Project Runway fame, who should not have put our star knitter in peach. I wonder whether or not Hendricks actually likes ruffles, and if she’s knit this crazy Berroco design yet.

That’s Christina (left) in a luscious Joie cardi demonstrating how to wear a sweater, photographed by Brian Bowen Smith.

Amazing Designer Giveaway

Monday, January 18th, 2010

karenclementsschmidt-magnumvestwrapDesigner Karen Clements Schmidt (kclem on Ravelry) is closing her lovely Chicago LYS, Knit 1. Instead of it being a sad occasion, and having the inevitable massive fire sale of her stock, Clements Schmidt has decided to have some fun as she transitions from one phase of her life to the next. By purchasing one of her amazing patterns, like the Magnum Reversible Vest/Wrap (above), you’ll be eligible to win a $500 package of high-end goodies from the Knit 1 inventory. There are over 60 packages, and names will be selected randomly during a party at Knit 1 on Valentine’s Day (2/14/10). Every time you buy one of these $10 patterns, you’re entered to win. Buy 5 patterns, get one free! Purchases can be made from the Knit 1 website or via Ravelry .

(Thanks to Trish Woodson for the scoop. Knit 1 has been been her special haven.)