Guest Post: Sarah from Knit York City

I’ve talked about Sarah of Knit York City before—if you’re not already following her blog and subscribed to her YouTube channel, in which she chats with various wonderful people in the knitting industry, well, you are seriously missing out, my friends. Today Sarah’s sharing a bit about her background in film making, as well as debuting a new segment and quasi-outtake from her recent interview with Anna Hrachovec from Mochimochi Land.


Hello Pandas! In case we haven’t met, I’m Sarah. I make videos about knitting.

I promised myself that I wouldn’t write a guest post about me; I wanted to share what I’m about with you lovely readers. But I would like to share with you how this relatively new project started.

During the end of our time in film school, my boyfriend and I made a documentary about his favorite food: The Hamburger. (There’s a sweater.) It was crazy fun and involved eating some of the best hamburgers in New York City. And meeting some of our idols that make this great American food their life’s work. After the film’s premiere at the NYC Food Film Festival (where foodie audiences were served burgers and beer while watching the flick), I decided that I wanted to do something similar but it had to involve my favorite thing (which is knitting, duh, guys, keep up) geared towards audiences of knitters. I wanted to give knitters an opportunity to meet these industry insiders that we so admire face to face (well, over the internet) when their names have so long conjured up images of patterns and colorways. It’s allowed me to sit down with some really awesome designers, dyers, and artists, and I love hearing about what drives their work.

I recently released the latest interview which featured Anna Hrachovec from Mochimochi Land. I’ve been a big fan of her work for a long time and you should be too! Her designs are so clever and adorable. And she lives in New York.

Today I’d like to share with you more from Anna’s interview. It’s part of a brand new feature that I’ve been thinking up called Skein of Thought. These are shorter than the interviews, kind of the bits that didn’t make it into the first cut that I couldn’t stand not to share with you. This first one is all about the stop motion gifs that Anna shares on her blog. They’re so awesome and mesmerizing. I’m just fascinated by them.

Take a look!

Thanks to Anna, once again, for meeting with me! And thanks to Jon, Ashley, and Andrew for making the series possible! If you enjoyed the video, please like it on Youtube and subscribe so that you don’t miss any of the future interviews!

And, most importantly, thanks to Amy for letting me take over her blog today (especially with a little shameless self-promotion involved.)

Which knitters would you like to see in an interview?

Guest Post: Stefanie of Handmade by Stefanie

Today marks the half-way mark through NaBloPoMo and I’m going strong! Mostly thanks to the efforts of some of my bloggy friends and their guest posts. This week in particular has been full of guest posts and today is another one! I’m not actually that lazy, I just let people choose general dates for their posts and this is how it played out. You’ll be stuck with me for the next few days at least!

Today’s guest post comes from Stefanie at Handmade by Stefanie. She has a slew of great ideas for gift crafting, for knitters and crocheters alike! Be sure to check out her new pattern, Lettuce Lattice, as well.


The Mad Dash for Holiday Crafts!

If you’re like me, you have the best of intentions to start your holiday gift knitting, crocheting or shopping early. Unfortunately, life often has other plans, be it a year-long case of startitis, a much-needed indulgence in selfish knitting, or just a hectic work schedule and social life. Thankfully, there are a host of easy-to-make patterns to whip up quickly as the holiday countdown begins. This year, I’m excited to put my new-found crochet skills to work, since I’ve now reached the point in my skills where I can crochet just as quickly as I knit! Below are plenty of projects for crafters of all persuasions. Let the countdown begin!

Toys
What do you get the person who has everything? For me, the answer is often a cute little stuffie in their favorite color! My go-to patterns which can be made in 1-2 days’ time include several Rebecca Danger patterns (Maddox the Mischievous Monster, Chubby Chirps, and Penelope the Empathetic Monster all top my list), Stacey Trock’s crocheted Amigurumi Blue Bird, and my own design, Button Bunnies.


Not sure if your recipient will like a toy? Make them a Sweet Little Owlet keychain – you know they’ll put it to good use!

Small Accessories
Hats, cowls and wristwarmers are gifts that are always appreciated. No need to do any fancy stitchery – usually the simplest pattern is the one that gets the most comments (go figure!). Veera Välimäki’s Little Things hat knits up quickly, even though the pattern calls for fingering-weight yarn – plus, it’s available as a free Ravelry download!

Breean Miller’s Indigo Swan Cowl uses bulky-weight yarn to knit a cowl that is as beautiful as it is warm. Crocheters of all skill levels will love the way Shireen Nadir’s The Mushin Cowl looks when crocheted with a hand-dyed yarn (you only need to know single crochet and double crochet to complete this easy project).


Looking to destash? Elizabeth Trantham’s free Colorful Stripey Fingerless Mitts pattern crochets up quickly using whatever yarns you happen to have on hand. I’m also partial to the Purl Bee’s Colorblock Handwarmers, a free knitting pattern on the Purl Soho blog.

Baby
It seems like everyone I know is expecting a baby in 2013! I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my pre-ordered copy of Rebecca Danger’s Knit a Monster Nursery, which came out just last week. To tide me over, I’ve been working on a quick-knitting baby blanket with one of my favorite yarns, Malabrigo Rios. I just released the pattern, Lettuce Lattice, earlier this week, in fact! This project took just over a month to complete – for a baby blanket, I think that’s relatively quick! It’s pictured with Mr. Nubbins, an easy-to-make toy pattern knit with Malabrigo Rios.

Household
This year, my-go to stocking stuffer (provided I don’t run out of knitting hours, of course!) will be some fancy tea wrapped in a Tea Toter, a free pattern by Julie Tarsha. Coasters, potholders, or place mats are also can’t-miss: there are tons of free patterns to knit or crochet in designs ranging from simple (the Grit Stitch Placemat and Coaster Set by Cult of Crochet) to complex (Heather Zoppetti’s double-knit TPHPE coasters) and even silly (such as the Gobble Coaster and Walk on the Beach Coaster—both crochet patterns are designed by Amber Jones).

Have you started your holiday crafting? Are you crafting gifts this year?

Sweaterday: Stonecutter’s Cardigan

As anyone who’s ever knit an adult garment knows, the middle part is not really worth sharing. And yet, here’s a post about just that.

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As of this morning, I’m halfway through the waist increases and a handful of inches away from separating for the arms.

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I really love the granite stitch side panels, in which all of the shaping occurs, and how it nicely offsets the cables. The cables are still really fun and addictive to knit.

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So that’s my progress on my Stonecutter’s Cardigan! I plan to make some more headway this afternoon, as it’s snowing outside and my cat has taken over my lap and there’s really nothing better than knitting for days like these.

gnittinK

Oh friends. Today, I had a breakthrough. Though technically it could have partly happened yesterday. I was sitting at knitting group last night and noticed that the gal next to me was knitting right to left (as opposed to left to right), and I blurted out “you’re knitting backwards!”

I’d heard of this backwards knitting phenomenon, but it wasn’t until last night that I realized that if you can knit backwards, you don’t have to purl.

Maybe you don’t have the aversion to purling that I do, but this, my friends, this is revolutionary. Not having to purl? GENIUS. I’m so thrilled. Even better, I had the opportunity to test it out today while I was in a very long (though very productive, both in terms of knitting output and business conducted) meeting.

It worked like a dream. Or it would have if the project I’d been working on had been more stockinette stitch, but whatever, I figured it out, I did it, I will never have to purl again! Okay so maybe I’ll just have to purl less. This is still a win in my book.

For anyone interested in trying out this technique yourself, check out this video by The Knit Witch.

Haruni and Fashion

About a week or so ago, I finished my Haruni!

Haruni

I loved the way this came out, though I’m not in love with the pattern itself. I believe I discussed this before, but the “choose your own adventure” approach to knitting is both liberating and frustrating. However, I do greatly appreciate that Emily Ross provided a hint as to how to knit this using any amount of yarn. My skein of Fresh from the Cauldron MCN Fingering only had about 365 yards, and I used 95% of the skein to get a good sized shawlette.

Haruni

And as much as I love the little crocheted loops on the edge of the shawlette, blocking out this shawl was such a headache. I have to admit my part in that headache, as I brilliantly thought to block it out before I went to work on Friday morning. Anyone with sense in their head knows that half an hour before you have to leave for work is not the time to start trying to block a shawl. As I have never claimed to be one of those folk, you can see where this is going. I also didn’t have enough pins to do all of the shawl at one time. Nonetheless, it turned out well and the lace portions really opened up and I was able to block and define all of those bloody crochet loops.

In other crafty news, last night was the grand opening of Mama Said Sew, Fort Collins newest fabric supply store.

Inside Mama Said Sew

The store has been open for a couple of weeks, and I stopped in last weekend while I was cycling about Old Town, but for their celebration, they put on a fashion show. A few local designers were featured, having used fabrics that seem to all be available at the show, and everything they showed was absolutely amazing. There was a green halter dress that is going to haunt my dreams for a while. I really need to get better at sewing.

Mama Said Sew Grand Opening

Angela, the owner, already has an amazing selection of fabrics, including Amy Butler and Michael Miller, and when I spoke with her last Sunday, she mentioned that what she had in stock was only 25% of what she hoped to have total.

My credit card may have chosen that moment to fake a heart attack. It revived itself long enough to allow me to buy some fabric to make a skirt, I just have to actually make the thing now.

The store is amazing, Angela and her staff are wonderfully sweet and helpful (I’ve only met Susan, who also showcased some designs last night, but I’m making assumptions about the rest based on my experiences so far), and hopefully soon they’re going to have sewing classes, which I desperately need. If you happen to find yourself in Fort Collins and need some snazzy fabric or sweet ribbons (they had this awesome knitting-instruction ribbon; I haven’t bought any yet, but I will soon), you should definitely check them out.

A debut.

You all know that I knit socks, right? Like, a lot of socks. More socks than anyone living in Florida ever needed to knit. Yeah, that was me.

Well all that crazy sock knitting has paid off in the form of my first published-in-print design: the Wasabi Peas Socks published in the Spring 2010 issue of Interweave Knits.


All images from InterweaveKnits.com

OF COURSE, my first printed design would be socks. Never mind the fact that when I first began to knit, I naively believed that I would never knit socks. WHY KNIT SOCKS?! You can buy them so easily. Sweaters I can understand because sometimes sweater yarn can be cheaper than a full sweater, but socks?

This from the girl who currently has about 3 pairs in various stages of what I like to call “progress.”

I have been trying in various forms to knit these socks for ages. I loved the stitch pattern, a simple trinity stitch, and when it came into my mind that it should be on a biasing diagonal, well, it just had to be done. Having the idea and making it work are often two very disparate things. Figuring out how to slant the stitches, how to work in the gussets, how to treat the top of the foot, these are things that probably would have kept me up at night if my cat hadn’t cornered that job market for herself.

Turns out, all I need is a deadline and I can Make Things Work. The stitches slant thanks to the paired M1 and k2tog/ssk stitches, and the gusset worked out to be absolutely no gusset whatsoever. I can’t give away all my secrets, though, so you’ll just have to peep the pattern yourself to see what I did there. I wanted the pattern slant to end on the side of the foot, not in a point on the top of the foot, but I do really like the way this turned out (and I think I know how I could have made it slant correctly, but eh).

As for modifying it to fit your own feet, I think it’s a fairly easy process. I’d suggest maintaining the original stitch count for the trinity stitch column and adding stitches to the stockinette portions (being mindful to adjust your heel flap and heel turn accordingly). Those of you with higher arches could knit the heel flap as directed and then purl one less stitch together in the side clusters of the non-gusset (…this probably only makes sense if you have the pattern in front of you). And since the stitch pattern ends towards the middle of a US size 8 foot, you can make it longer or shorter so easily.

I hope that some of you give the socks a whirl and let me know what you think!

Feats of strength?

Last weekend was not such a great weekend for me. It wasn’t terribly awful, either, but it was marked by a persistent headache that only went away late on Sunday when I gave up and went back to bed for a nap, as well as personal troubles and an unwillingness to deal with the world. So I did what any woman with two sticks and some pretty yarn does. I knit.

Apparently I knit a lot. I finished my Swallowtail Shawl in two days. Cast on Friday night after the Olympics’ opening ceremonies and finished before 6 pm Sunday evening.

Swallowtail Shawl

Now, having a headache and knitting a lace pattern may seem counterintuitive. However, the beauty of Evelyn Clark’s design lies in it’s simplicity. A simple 6-stitch lace pattern forms the main body of the shawl, two Lily of the Valley borders give the shawl stability and the opportunity to add pretty beads (or nupps, if you prefer to actually follow instructions), and then a simple lace edging opens the whole thing up and adds those glorious lacy points that we all love.

Swallowtail Shawl

I was worried that the beads might be add weight or make the shawl cumbersome or clanky but the Lily of the Valley pattern spreads out the beads and allows them to simply sparkle and shine without distracting too much from the rest of the shawl. Although, good luck in achieving that, thanks to the punk rock neon pink and yellow set against the lavender, charcoal, and black of Fresh from the Cauldron’s one of a kind Maleficent colorway, on her MCN lace.

Swallowtail Shawl

The overall size is a bit smaller than I’d expected. This may be due in part to the yarn, the MCN Lace is a little heavier than most lace weights, or may just be that I had different expectations. I’d estimate that the long edge is 40″ long and the height down the center stitch is 18″-20″. It’s the perfect size for a bandit-style scarf, much like my Ishbel. I’ve worn it a few days now, especially since we’ve got colder weather and constant snow (but nothing too bad like the East Coast had a couple of weeks ago).

I’ve started working on my Bandelier socks for my other Ravelympics project. Because I goofed and bought sport weight yarn, I’ve had to make a few adjustments, such as the needle size, length of leg, and the depth of the short-row heel. But it seems to be working out so far!