Thursday, December 15, 2011

A New Start

Hello all!

It has been a little while since my last post but I can finally announce to you my very exciting, very big news! I have taken a new position as the Creative Director at Premier Yarns, located in Concord, North Carolina. My new job has a lot of work associated with it, but so far it's been a big learning experience and quite a lot of fun. I get to make color cards, think about yarn additions, and work on the current Premier line to try and turn it into something unique, different, and interesting to those of you who shop at big box stores.

Premier mostly sells acrylic, so when I got the job I was a little worried about my nearly purist natural-fiber-only attitude. I worried that I wouldn't feel good about selling the product - and I wouldn't want to falsely represent myself by getting behind a product I didn't like. But after some investigation, I've discovered that not all acrylic is created equally, and I am learning to really appreciate the level of quality in the acrylic product coming out of Premier.

In my 'spare' time, I've been busy moving into my new apartment here in Concord. It's my first long-term-for-sure space, and I am excited to make it home. My moving plans took a little longer than hoped for to get worked out, but I should see all my other things (the things that wouldn't fit in my initial car drive) arriving within the next few weeks. In the meantime, I am gathering up all sorts of inspiration on Pinterest and putting together 'themes' for each room. Don't worry, I have plans to post them here with 'before' and mood boards, and then later (when the rooms feel more like how I want) with after pictures! It could take awhile to move through all the different areas of this very small space, but it will be a fun journey.

I look forward to blogging more and telling you about everything I'm doing! I just wanted to give you all an update.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Moving on Up

Hello all!

I know that it has been a very long time since I have been able to talk to you. I still can't tell you too much about the job change (I know that this will happen sometime later in the week or next week early), but I can tell you that I have moved to Concord, North Carolina! I have moved into a little apartment and over the week to keep us both busy (you know, outside of work and all), I will be showing you little DIY's and update plans that I am doing around the house. I am building this whole apartment on a very tight month-to-month budget, but I do want it to be very lovely and kind of a beginner builder dream home. I hope many of you are staying tuned and will be interested. The first room I'll be tackling is the bathroom! Pictures later this afternoon of it's current appearance.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Calm Before the Dawn

I have a lot going on right now that I can't wait to tell you all about -- but you'll have to wait until the middle of next week or a bit longer. In the meantime, I have been working on some posts to share. Hang tight and I'll have something new for you soon!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Wear Color


This might be one of my new favorite blogs! Wear Color (as you can see, I've added it to my blog roll) is a Tumblr blog that shows various people wearing colorful fashion! Sometimes it's just a splash of color, sometimes it's a whole outfit that is colorful, but either way, it is always an excellent choice. I am a massive proponent of wearing colorful items year-round, and I hope that this blog will continue to provide excellent inspiration for that! I also love that it becomes a one-stop-shop for fashion inspiration that otherwise you'd have to read many, many blogs to see!





Saturday, November 5, 2011

People Worth Pinning - Kristen Hanley Cardozo

photo courtesy of Kristen, pattern featured is Audrey Totter, The Bad Girl

I have known Kristen Hanley Cardozo both personally and professionally since around 2007, when I joined Ravelry and was an administrator for a group we had in common (The Malabrigo Junkies). Kristen is a knitting pattern designer who seems to blend this sense of 1920's ease with bold color and organic, lightweight detail. When I started looking for designers for the first year of the Malabrigo Freelance Pattern Project, Kristen was one of my top choices. She truly turned out some gorgeous work (have you seen Understory?) So of course, when she joined Pinterest, I had to add her to my list of people to follow!

I love that she pins all sorts of whimsical, natural, inspirational and colorful things! Kristen seems to really have a love for the delicacy of nature, and she pins a lot of photography, but also garment and clothing design that captures that floating, lightweight feeling. In addition, she has a great sense of humor that sometimes borders on the slightly dark, slightly Victorian - it's fun to see all of the creepy little things she finds.

A quote from Kristen about her style:
"The majority of my style is influenced by three main interests: history, nature, and color. My taste in clothing tends toward autumnal colors, fitted silhouettes, and a smorgasbord approach to styles past. The palette I'd choose for my home is brighter. I have a strong fascination with nature and designs inspired by elements found in nature, as well as updated versions of stylistic elements in old fashioned furniture. As a city dweller, I also enjoy those elements of nature that survive in an urban environment. There tends to be real discomfort with nature that lives easily with humans, so adaptable plants and animals tend to get labeled as pests or weeds. However, there is real beauty and interest to be found in urbanized wildlife, and I think some of my favorite visual elements are those that celebrate the mundane and marginalized."

Friday, November 4, 2011

Folded

I have finally photographed my Folded sweater. It's been finished for awhile but I just couldn't seem to find the time to wear it and take pictures of it simultaneously. I finally managed this morning. Having my mom play photographer means that sometimes the shoot goes from being in front of a blank wall to being all over the house, but it can be fun to switch it up!




Yarn: Hello Yarn Sock in Candied Peel
Malabrigo Sock in Ravelry Red


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Woolily We Go Along


(The neat Wovember header above comes from the Wovember website.)
I am so excited to tell you about this awesome thing I read today. Have any of you already heard of Wovember? It's a movement, a month, an idea, started by some very fantastic knitters who are well-known for their love of all things properly wooly. Jump over to the website and check out all the fantastic happenings.

Basically, the idea behind Wovember came from seeing a whole bunch of non-woolen items branded as 'wool'. They might be part wool, but were less than half, and maybe some of them weren't wool at all. You know, you've seen a sweater in a magazine - thick, luxurious cables - titled something like, "Wooly Warm Jumper', only to read the fiber contents and see 100% Polyester next to them. How is it possible that we, as knitters, can let something as sacred as wool slowly become a useless word? We can't! Wovember is a chance to show off our love of wool, sign a petition to change the requirements for claiming something is 'wool-like or woolen', and win prizes!

What are you working on right now that is wooly? I went through recently and pulled out 5 projects to work on in the next few months. And all of them are wool! You can see my list in the sidebar to the right - I went ahead and added all the projects on Ravelry. I might not get them done during Wovember, but I sure would like to work on them and share the wooly goodness with everyone around me.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Anthropological Findings


All items on Anthropologie.com, image mosaic made on Polyvore

Anyone who knows me well is aware of my guilty pleasure, Anthropologie. Although owned by the same company that owns the churned-out-hipster-mess that is Urban Outfitters, I like to magically ignore this fact by just never shopping at UO and pretending they're totally different companies. Ignorance is false bliss right? Something like that.

When the new Anthropologie came to my door I couldn't wait to thumb through it, sure that each page would be full of eye candy - I was totally right but I also spotted so many awesome knits! I pulled a few of my favorites - what do you guys think? Worthy of admiration and useful for knit-spiration too, right?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Totally Ridiculous

Do you ever open a package of fiber (or maybe clothing, etc.) in the mail and have an urge to take totally ridiculous pictures with it? I do. This series is made slightly creepier by the fact that my cropping gets CLOSER as you move forward. Happy Halloween to you and to me! (Fiber is Hello Yarn Buckland, and yes, that is enough to make a whole sweater!)

Friday, October 28, 2011

People Worth Pinning - Helen Terry

I am very quick to follow people back on Pinterest. If you add me I often want to see what kinds of things you like, and usually end up following at least one board (or sometimes all of them). It's neat to see how many different people with different styles can all like the same things. So I thought I might start a little feature here on the blog showcasing interesting individuals. I don't necessarily know all these people personally, but I truly admire the sense of style I get from their pins! I can only hope that people feel the same way when they look at my own mash up of boards. If this is a feature you like, please let me know, and I'll try and make one every week!

This week's person worth following is Helen Terry. She has an excellent assortment of boards inspired by texture and a love of the monochromatic palette. I love the way that she seems to find dozens of natural looking items for home and hearth. Sometimes I wish I could dress this way but I think I would go crazy from lack of color, so it's good to admire from afar!

A quote from Helen about her style:
"I love colour too and I promise that there are some bright(er) colours in my home and wardrobe! But I love the way that the tiniest amount of colour has such an impact against a neutral background. I live in Eastern England and the landscape here is subtle, not dramatic - farmland, woodland, marshes, estuaries and the North Sea.  Muted colours and soft edges.  Plus I've always liked to pick up stones and shells - preferably the kind that have been worn and broken to reveal interesting marks, shapes and textures.  In general I like things that look as though they have a history or remind me - in abstract ways - of the landscape or these objects I pick up." 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Charlotte Taylor S/S Video

I saw this this morning on Seesaw and had to grab a few screenshots of the video - so gorgeous! I am currently loving Charlotte Taylor, but I do feel that for such simple construction (even if the prints are all designed for each collection, it isn't as if they're hand-screened) they're overpriced. If nothing else, they make for lovely eye candy and inspiration.



Saturday, October 22, 2011

It's Pictures Like These...

....that make little girls want to have horses every birthday from 5 to 14. Myself included. After seeing many real-life horses, I know most of them don't look like this, but there is still some sort of little-girl magic in these Pinterest-sourced pictures.



Friday, October 21, 2011

Letterheady

Thanks to a well-timed pin by Lolly, I discovered this gorgeous website - Letterheady - this afternoon, and spent nearly half an hour browsing the fantastic letterheads. There are so many, I could have explored even longer, but I pulled a few of my favorites. Whenever I have the money, I would really like to have a custom letterhead. It just says 'professional' to me. And I do enjoy letterwriting, so it would be nice to bring that back as a business tradition. It is so blah sometimes to send emails!









The last one is by Frank Loyd Wright! It's full stationary. I do so love stationary!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Patternity Tights

Wow! I saw these elsewhere first, but after I clicked over to the Patternity site, these are now on the top of my wants list for fall/winter. They're gorgeous. Each pair is beautifully packaged, too. In black and white, they'd go with almost anything and are the perfect present for pattern mixers. At $60 a pair, they're a little bit of a splurge, but they look very high quality.








New Paintings

I finished some painting work today. Neither of these is really framed or anything yet, but you can kind of get a feel from them from these pictures. The first is about 28" x 15" and the second is much larger, like 28"x 42" or 50". Not entirely sure on these sizes, just guesstimating. Both are acrylic on canvas.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Great Knits from Closet Visit

I spoke in my last post about Closet Visit - a blog I'm currently a little obsessed with reading. So you'll have to excuse me (or adore me, either way it works) for picking out a few awesome knits seen there:

Interview: Beatrice Valenzuela

Interview: Sunshine C. Fox

Interview: Lauren Soloff

Interview: Sunny Walker

There were so many fascinating clothing selections, I could do about a million of these in different themes. It'd probably be more productive for you to go see for yourself, though!

No Magic in Fashion

I have been in a little bit of a style rut. I keep making things, and of course, wearing things, but I haven't had the money to buy things, and realized very recently that my clothing has slowly migrated from clothing that I've found magical and inspiring to clothing that is practical and just 'okay.' I really feel that clothing... while it's primarily physical and surface and material, is also an expression of self that reaches down a lot deeper into what you do. If you're a knitter, you might get this feeling when you see tiny, useless buttons on the edge of a mitten, or a purely decorative picot hem, or a very intricate cable. These things speak to us - they say, 'make me, use me, wear me'. All clothing speaks to me in this way, and I have been ignoring it's siren call in favor of saving money.

So how do you do it, save money but still feel enchanted with your clothes? Do you thrift? Do you save for a special piece? Do you make yourself enchanting things out of fabric or yarns, or drape yourself in jewelry, or re-mix what you own? I'm going to be experimenting a lot with my style in the next month or so, as fall changes over to winter and I have more clothing to experiment with. I am giving up on Project 333 - too much limitation, I feel, just doesn't let me be as expressive as I'd like. I've been pinning things on Pinterest - maybe I should make a few of them?

Oh, and this blog - for inspiration - have any of you read 'Closet Visit'? I completely owe this new clothing verve to it's author, Jeana Sohn, who has suddenly reminded me that I love clothes. I love them. I truly, truly do.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Inspira, Infinite

I have some handspun FO's to show off for once! I have been knitting quite a bit, but most of it isn't finished quite yet or needs to be blocked, or isn't really worth showing. I'm sure you all know the feeling. But I spun a lot during Tour de Fleece and some before, so there was plenty of handspun to play with. Both of these are Hello Yarn handspuns, which is, honestly, all I really spin anymore. It's not that I don't appreciate other dyers, I just have stocked up a bit of HY and I am on a no-buy for awhile, so I've been stash diving. As usual, details about yarn, yardage, and etc. can be found below the pictures and on Ravelry. 
Yarn: Hello Yarn targhee handspun, Malabrigo Arroyo

The first is a cowl, or, more specifically, the Inspira cowl. After seeing Adrian's amazing Shelter and handspun example, I knew I had to make one of these. I have been wanting an over-the-shoulder cowl for awhile to extend some of my thinner t-shirts into fall, and the best part is that it looks just as good simply draped as it does over my shoulders. My sister loves it so much she has decided she wants one for Christmas, which is a huge relief to my pocketbook, because she had previously stated that she preferred to have a year without knitted gifts. 

Yarn: HY shetland handspun 'Bustle'

The second FO is a cowl, of sorts, or rather, an infinity scarf. This is pretty much the simplest thing to knit ever. You knit a scarf that is roughly 4' long, graft or sew the ends together, and then style it however you please to create something loose and draped. It is warm and especially fantastic with a cardigan, a loose sweatshirt, or a fitted sweater. 

I'm hoping I'll get lots of wear out of these two pieces as we head into fall. It was a lot of fun to do this photoshoot because it was also a photoshoot with my sister as a model for a Malabrigo Blog post and pattern by Linda Permann. She designed a cardigan for the company to show at Stitches Midwest 2011's fashion show

Monday, September 12, 2011

Dreaming of.... Santorini

I have wished that I could visit Santorini for a very long time. I like to tell myself that someday I might go there on a honeymoon, or at least a romantic vacation, but either of those is probably a long way off, so for now, or until I can save up enough money to go myself, I tend just to look at pictures and sigh. At least for a few moments, I'm somewhere relaxing and lovely.





Friday, September 9, 2011

NYFW From Afar - Vena Cava

I wish I could go to New York Fashion Week. It's in my list of 'made its' - as in, I will have 'made it', when I can do the things on the list. Or at least some of the things on the list. (Commission a pair of Hetty Rose shoes, get a french manicure whenever I feel like it, etc. Some are small goals, others quite a bit larger.) When I get invited to NYFW, it will be a big check off my 'made it' list.

As for now, like most everyone else in the industry, I will be watching the spring fashion develop from afar, while my own personal wardrobe finds me more occupied with planning how to stay warm in below-zero temps. C'est la vie, non? So far, my favorite show is the Vena Cava collection. I love how it feels spring, but still polished and interesting. I am especially excited about the fabrics and structures of the pieces, and the suggestion that the graphic shapes we're seeing emerge in fall trends (not necessarily ones that started on the runway) are planning to stay next season. That gives me a lot of hope, as it will be 'spring' in Iowa well before we see any weather warm enough to wear a dress without a cardigan or scarf.
   

Sisicata - Fashion Friday


Sisicata is a Polish jewelry designer who makes things mostly with resin. There are many good things about resin - it's cheap to produce, it preserves things suspended in it, it's clear - and a few not-so-good things about resin, too. It's not biodegradable (at all), and if you wear a piece that is really close to your skin on a hot day you are going to sweat against it like you did wearing jellies in the fourth grade. My mom never let me buy jellies in the fourth grade, so maybe that's why I have this weird love of plastic jewelry (and, occasionally, plastic shoes....)

The juxtaposition of resin in these pieces with natural 'found' objects makes them interesting and balances them out from feeling to much like plastic. I feel like a single, well-loved resin piece would be okay, right? I love the pendant earrings especially much!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Inspired By.... Donna Wilson, Annie Larson


I am loving funky, colorful, fair isle and stripes for Fall. I will seriously be making sweaters and accessories inspired by two queens of color: Donna Wilson and Annie Larson. Annie's brand, 'All for Everyone', focuses on crazy pattern pairings that equal up to some pretty rad ensembles. I love her use of geometric shapes and more traditional patterns, like knitted lice and bicolor ribbing. I could imagine some little Latvian braids stuck in there, and plenty of pom-poms. I do love me some pom-poms.

Donna's work is a little more calm, but no less awesome. I have been swooning over these mittens since I first saw them on Pinterest - look through her online catalogue for even more knitty awesome. All in all, anything by either designer is going to be time-consuming to make, but won't it be fun to pick out colors and mix them together into a neat pattern? When I do it, I'll be sure to release the charts for you guys to play around with, too!

Monday, September 5, 2011

No-Labor Day


I've had a really lovely weekend. Knitting on my Inspira Cowl is a refreshing break from the cardigan I've almost finished, and it means that I can completely ignore the sweater I have languishing on waste yarn upstairs, begging me just to sew in the ends and graft the underarms, choosing instead to focus on a slow and steady purl bump progression of color. I've also been paging through two really excellent books. After just finishing Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin, I was ready for a little realistic reading, and have been indulging in learning a new interest - canning and preserving - and seeing someone else's viewpoint of another - a knitting book written by the fantastic Jane Brocket.

I already owned two of Jane's books - The Gentle Art of Domesticity, The Gentle Art of Quilting - both of which were excellent reads, useful informational books, and a look into the modern-day world of a well-loved crafter and photographer. Jane has a way of writing that makes you feel as if she is your friend just around the corner, and she has extended this writing from her blog to three books, the latest of which is The Gentle Art of Knitting. While I adored the first two books, I will say that the third is certainly geared more towards a beginning or casual knitter. You won't find any patterns in here that you won't be able to work out yourself. But that's not what I read her books for anyway. I read them for the feeling I get while reading them - as if the time you're reading is sunny, and calm, and you could curl up on the couch or in your favorite chair and have an afternoon to yourself.

Recently, mostly due to some of my Twitter friends' obsession, and my own obsession with Pinterest, I have developed a strong desire to pickle and preserve my own food. I relish the idea (pun intended), of filling my imaginary larder with beans, jellies, jams, spreads, chutneys and pickles, to enjoy well into the deep winter of Iowa. Something about living in Iowa especially spurs my desire to do these things - winter here recalls some deep mental connection to my great-great-grandmother, who rode in a covered wagon to Montana and lived in a sod house, quilting, knitting, and canning her way through summer to last through the cold winter. I suppose since the quilting and knitting have come my way, the food preservation desire was only a matter of time.

I picked up the book Well Preserved, by Eugenia Bone, at a local Borders' going out of business sale. I got it half-off and figured that, if nothing else, I'd cheaply discover that canning and food preservation aren't within my budget or abilities. I have only just started this book, but it seems very thorough and at least an interesting read. And it's perfect for sitting on the porch under a lightweight blanket as the air is turning towards fall.