Monday, March 31, 2008

Look At What I Got!

Hey everyone! Thanks for the great feedback on my last post. It was an idea that kind of just developed as I wrote it. Anyway, since I was so serious last post, I decided to lighten things up a bit with some good ol' fashion yarn pr0n.

Last week as I was browsing my usual blogs, I fell upon Susie's blog and found out she was having a destash sale. At first, I fought the urge, saying, "I don't really need this stuff. Besides, I just wrote the post about yarn being much like designer hand bags and wouldn't that make me look like a hypocrite?" After a day of thinking about it, however, I felt that my purpose in writting the essay was not about scolding the knitting, or for that matter the crafting community, but more of an observation of how we knitters and consumers on a whole react to certain stimuli. It was then I decided, "Ah, what da hell!" and contacted Susie via e-mail to find out if she had sold the items that I coveted. Lo and behold, she hadn't and I placed an order IMMEDIATELY!!!! Two days later, I got this in the mail:

Some lovely Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Bittersweet and equally as beutiful Classic Elite Follies in some colorway I'm not sure of. Aren't they gorgeous?

As for the sock yarn, it has already been made into a ball and therefore needs a project assigned to it. Any suggestions? As for the Classic Elite, I looked on Ravelry and found out that the yarn unfortunately has been discontinued. I really don't know why. The reason being is first, the yarn is soft (a good mix of alpaca, wool and some synthetic material). Second, it is springy (which is due to the multiple plies and favorable twist). Third, I like the soothing quality of the color, which is rather odd seeing that I usually go for blood reds and deep purples. It is begging to become some type of cabled sweater (I have 18 70 yard skeins of this stuff). Maybe a cardigan? An aran? My own design? We'll have to wait and see.

Further into the box, I also stumbled upon this splendor:

What I had failed to mention in the beginning of this post is that Susie is the lovely proprietress of Perchance to Knit (also available at the Loopy Ewe). Personally hand dyed by Susie, the colors are right up my ally. BRIGHT, OBNOXIOUS, AND IN YOUR FACE!!! I LOVE IT!!! I have to admit, however that this skein was not apart of the original deal. Let's just say that Susie and I had some difficulty with making the sale (not any fault of her's, just my lack of understanding of how PayPal works). This glorious skein of sock yarn was placed in the package as a peace offering for the trouble. How freakin' cool is that?! Again, I'm not sure what this skein will be when it grows up. Maybe some plain Jane stocking stitch socks? Only time will tell.

That's all for now. I haven't posted any WIP's lately, but I do not want to overwhelm you guys (seeing that there are a lot for some reason). Therefore the pictures will be posted sporadically throughout the course of this week. Hope you like them.

Take care!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Yarn and Designer Hand Bags

Lately I've been thinking about yarn, consumerism, and desinger hand bags. This may seem odd to many knitters, seeing that knitting is seen as something being very "punk" in that it's totally non-consumerist and against being a clone of some big, evil corporation only concerned with taking your money as well as your individuality. However, in my opinion, kntting as of late has in many ways taken on traits of classic American consumerism.

My first set of evidence can be found in the types of yarns we use. Hand dyed yarns are very popular for their uniqueness and charming variations in every single skein. It is for this reason many knitters want to buy these materials to knit with. The desire to be unique and seen as an individual is strong in the knitting community, while consumerism works best when everyone buys and wears the same things. But on the flipside of that coin, isn't that need somewhat of a commonality between knitters, and therefore is some form of consumerism at hand? In other words, can't marketers use this "need" to push their products as the thing you need to acheive that individuality?

Second, look at the amount of yarn we all have. I believe in living simply, yet my stash is taking over my bedroom as you read this! Frankly, I don't need to knit like I need to eat or drink water everyday. But I do knit because I enjoy it. Still my need to live simply is overwhelmed by my obsession with buying and collecting yarn. I swear to you that lately I've been enjoying going on Ravelry, fantasizing about new projects, and cruising site after site of online yarn sellers MORE than the actually knitting that I'm doing right now. It seems sad, but I think buying yarn is just so gratifying. We're so starved for real mail (because we use e-mail so much) that whenever a chance to receive a package in the mail comes up, we jump right at it. And lets face it, sometimes your fantasies (whether knitting related or otherwise) tend to be a lot more interesting than reality.

And finally, mainstream ideas are entering the knitting industry. Case and point, many yarn companies like Lorna's Laces and Rowan are launching "green" yarn lines for public consumption this year. Now I've been living "green" since Noah was a boy, and there is nothing new under the sun. "Green" is just a new and more hip term for "recycling and living within one's means" something that has been going on for centuries and has recently became in vogue. What I argue is are these yarns necessarily more eco-friendly than other non-organic ones? They may be cultivated from completely organically grown sheep or cotton fields but aren't the finished products shipped in huge, gas guzzling trucks from yarn store to yarn store? And why are they usually more expensive than their conventional counterparts? Is it because the procedures in making the product aren't commonly used and therefore not as cost effective as say, acrylic? Or is it another marketing ploy, disguised as something beneficial to the environment, but really is just another means in which markerters use to separate you from your hard earned cash?

Here's where the designer hand bags come in. Many rich people and celebrities have the leisure and money to shop for days on end. Hand bags (as well as shoes) seem to be the downfall of many women. On average a designer hand bag can run you anywhere from $200 to $5000 or more each. And every season, women across the world clamor and squabble over the latest hand bag.

The reason these bags are so expensive is principally the amount of craftmanship that goes into one. The materials also play a factor, as many high priced designer bags are made out of leather, suede, and other exotic skins like crocodile and snake. Third, you are essentially paying for a trusted brand. That's why you will NEVER see a Louis Vuitton or a Coach bag sold at a WalMart. The clientele for such accessories simply aren't at WalMart. Furthermore, the companies that represent these brands would not want to tarnish it by selling their wares at discount stores anyway.

So the point I'm trying to make is that aren't hand dyed yarns much like designer hand bags? Both are seen as very unique, well made, hand crafted, exclusive and are more expensive than their more frugal, yet just as functional counterparts.

I means lets think about it. Red Heart yarn could work just as fine as Cascade 220 or Sundara Yarns in making an afghan for a baby or as sweater for yourself. However, Red Heart sucks, Cascade 220 is a good value but is not as luxurious as Sundara or for that matter, the venerable Wollmeise yarn.

It's the same with designer bags. Most women carry a bag filled with crap (chapstick, work related items, gum, one of your kids toys, food, etc.) that they feel they need close by. Though a plastic bag would work just fine, it is not very appealing. Buying a mid-priced bag from say Target or even Macy's would be nice but what you really want is the latest Fendi or Burberry bag to carry your most serviceable items as well as garner some compliments from your co-workers and closest friends.

In the end, knitters are much like their non-knitting consumerist counterparts. Yet we hide behind the notion that we are being "punk" or "anti-authoritarian" when it comes to big companies. I mean, don't get me wrong. A hand dyed yarn can't be massed produced like a Abercrombie sweater or Steve Madden boots but the fact that almost every knitter on Ravelry has at least 1 skein of Socks that Rock in their stash makes me think twice about how much we value the "punk" attributes in the knitting community.

Finally, I leave you with this note. In my opinion, yarn is much like money. They are both dangerous in that no matter how much of it you have, you always want more of it. To state it plainly, in the great words of the late great New York Rapper The Notorious BIG, "Mo Money, Mo Problems."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Last year I wrote the Primavera pattern and published it on this here blog. After all the "ohhs" and "ahhs" from you guys, I put it up as a link on my sidebar. A couple of weeks ago I realized that this link was broken. Therefore here is the pattern, re-published on this blog, so that whoever would like to make it can. Pictures of the finished garment can be found by clicking the "primavera" link above. If anyone wishes to see more clear, close up shots of the garment, let me know and I'll do a re-shoot of it.

By Kelly A. Chichester

Gauge: 6 stitches x 7 rows = 1 inch in stockinette

Needles: Size 4 US, Size 5 US (Both straight needles)

Notions: Crochet Hook, Waste Yarn, Tapestry Needle, Stitch Markers, Cable Needle (Optional)

Yarn: 6, (6, 7) balls of Cascade Yarns Pima Tencel (109 yards, 50% Cotton, 50% Tencel) in Color # 4084

Sizes: 34 (36, 38) inches around bust

Foliage Lace Pattern (Worked over 20 stitches)
Taken from Vogue Knitting Stitchionary, Volume One

Row 1 (RS): *K5, p2tog, k2, yo, k5, yo, k2, p2tog, k2; rep from * to end
Row 2 and all WS rows: Purl
Row 3: *K4, p2tog, k2, yo, k1, yo, k2, p2tog, k7; rep from * to end
Row 5: *K3, p2tog, k2, yo, k3, yo, k2, p2tog, k6; rep from * to end
Row 7: *K2, p2tog, k2, yo, k5, yo, k2, p2tog, k5; rep from * to end
Row 9: *K7, p2tog, k2, yo, k1, yo, k2, p2tog, k4; rep from * to end
Row 11: *K6, p2tog, k2, yo, k3, yo, k2, p2tog, k3; rep from * to end
Row 12: Purl
Rep rows 1-12

Cable Pattern (Worked over 20 stitches)
Row 1 (RS): P3, K6, P2, K6, P3
Row 2 (WS): K3, P6, K2, P6, K3
Rep Rows 1 & 2 till the 10th row
Row 11: P3, Slip first 3 stitches on cable needle to the back, knit next 3 stitches, then knit 3 held stitches, P2, Slip first 3 stitches on cable needle to the front, knit next 3 stitches, then knit 3 held stitches, P3
Row 12: Row 2
Rep Rows 1 -12



1. Using Size 4 US needle, CO 102 (108, 114)
2. Knit 3 x 3 rib for 2 inches
3. Change to Size US 5 needle and knit 1 (3, 4) stitches then start row 1 of lace pattern to the end (Place markers if you wish to separate the selvage from the lace pattern and the repeats within the lace pattern. Makes things easier to remember and you can catch mistakes quicker).
4. There will be 1 (3, 4) stitches at the end of each row for selvage. Once you do the 5 rep of the lace pattern, just knit (or purl if on a WS row) these last stitches.
5. Knit the lace pattern in this fashion till piece measures 13 (13.5, 14) inches, ending on a WS row.


1. Row 1: (RS) BO 6 stitches, knit till stitch marker for beginning of second rep of lace pattern, do 3 reps of lace pattern (depends on what row you were on when you started the decreases for the armhole), slip marker, knit last 21 (28, 34) stitches
2. Row 2: (WS) BO 6 stitches, purl till stitch marker, do 3 reps of lace pattern, slip marker, purl to end. 90 (96, 102) total stitches remain.
3. Row 3: (RS) Slip 1 stitch, SSK, knit to stitch marker, do 3 reps of lace pattern, slip marker, knit to last 3 stitches, K2tog, K1
4. Row 4: (WS) Purl till stitch marker, do 3 reps of lace pattern, slip marker, purl to end.
5. Repeat Rows 3 & 4 till 78 (84, 90) total stitches remain
6. Continue stockinette on armhole stitches, maintaining lace pattern in middle of back, till piece measures 20 (20, 21.5) ending on WS row


1. (RS) K20 (21, 22), BO 38 (42, 46), K20 (21, 22)
2. Place 20 (21, 22) stitches on right side of neck on waste yarn to work on later.

a. (Left side of Neck Back):
i. (WS) Slip first stitch, Purl till end
ii. (RS) Slip first stitch, SSK, knit to end
iii. Rep these two rows till 16 (18, 20) stitches remain.
iv. Continue to knit till whole piece measures 21 (21, 22.5) inches in length
v. BO remaining stitches

b. (Right Side of Neck Back):
i. Row 1: (WS) Place held 20 (21, 22). Starting at neck, attach new yarn and purl back to armhole
ii. Row 2: (RS) Slip 1, knit to last 3 stitches, K2tog, K1
iii. Row 3: (WS) Slip 1, purl to end
iv. Rep Rows 2 and 3 till 16 (18, 20) stitches remain.
v. Continue to knit till whole piece measures 21 (21, 22.5) inches in length.
vi. BO remaining stitches


1. With Size 4 US needles, CO 102 (108, 114)
2. Do 3 x 3 rib for 2 inches
3. Change to Size 5 US needles and knit 1 (3, 4) stitches then start 2 reps of row 1 of lace pattern, pm, do row 1 of cable pattern, pm, do 2 more reps of lace pattern, knit last 1 (3, 4) stitches at end of row
4. (WS) Purl 1 (3, 4) stitches then start 2 reps of row 2 of lace pattern, pm, do row 2 of cable pattern, pm, do 2 more reps of row 2 of lace pattern, purl last 1 (3, 4) stitches
5. Continue in this fashion, following cable and lace stitch patterns, until piece measures 13 (13.5, 14) inches ending on WS row

Neck (Left Side):

1. Row 1: (RS) BO 6 stitches, K28 (30, 32), BO 34 (36, 38), knit to end
2. Place stitches on right side of neck on waste yarn to be held of work later
3. Row 2: (WS) BO 6 stitches, P28 (30, 32)
4. Row 3: (RS) Slip 1, SSK, knit to last 3 stitches, K2tog, K1
5. Row 4: (WS) Purl
6. Rep rows 3 and 4 till 16 (18, 20) stitches remain
7. Continue to knit in Stockinette till armhole measures 8 (8, 8.5) inches
8. BO remaining stitches

Neck (Right Side):

1. Remove held stitches from waste yarn back on to needles.
2. Attach new yarn at neck and purl back to armhole.
3. Row 1: (RS) Slip 1, K2tog, knit till last 3 stitches, SSK, K1
4. Row 2: (WS) Purl
5. Rep rows 1 and 2 till 16 (18, 20) stitches remain
6. Continue to knit in Stockinette till armhole measures 8 (8, 8.5) inches
7. BO remaining stitches


1. Weave in Ends
2. Sew pieces together
3. Iron garment to block it (if using wool, just immerse in water and lay flat to dry)
4. Wear and Enjoy!

So what do you think?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

If You Don't Know Yet...

New Knitty is out everyone! Go and see. Lots to read and many patterns to choose from. I may do a review later. We'll have to wait and see.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Nothing Much

Hi everyone. I don't have much to say today so I thought some good ol' yarn pr0n was in order.

First things first. I got this yarn the first week I moved into my new home. I bought it online from Purl, a yarn store in chic Soho in downtown Manhattan (or New York City for those who don't know). When I first started knitting 4 years ago (wow has it been that long?) I went on a yarn crawl to every single yarn store in New York City that I could find. Purl was definitely on the list and let me tell you it was great. Even though the store is no bigger than a walk in closet, the yarns are gorgeous and the staff were friendly to me. Still the prices were way out of my price range so I didn't really get anything that day. However, I still cruise the site from time to time for some deals for some great yarns. I came across such a deal 3 weeks ago.

From left to right I got a skein of Rowan Big Wool for my boyfriend (he wants to make a scarf for me but based on his work load, I don't think he'll be getting to that project till next winter). The yellow skein is 1 of 3 of Cascade Quattro. I got the Fitted Knits book by Stephanie Japel last year and really wanted to make this vest. We'll have to wait and see for that one (seeing that I have so many projects in queue right now). The last ball is new from Jade Sapphire called Lacey Lamb. 800+ yards of gorgeous lace weight yarn. I bought it at full price but at about $19 a ball, I'm not complaining. This will obviously be a shawl for me. Which, shawl pattern, I haven't decided yet.

Last week, I got some yarn from Webs. They gave me free shipping to compensate for the situation that took place with my last order from them. I also ordered something bigger but that's on back order and when it comes in, I shall reveal it to you all. I purchased all Valley Yarns. This was their hand dyed sock yarn called Franklin and it is GORGEOUS! I love just looking at it and petting it and stroking it and caressing it (in other words, I REALLY like it).

I also got some much needed Eucalan and some yarn for felting. Again, Valley Yarns, but one called Northhampton. It reminds me of Cascade 220 but better. 247 yards, tons of cool colors, and $4.99 a ball are some facts I like about this yarn. Like Cascade 220 it's not so soft for next to skin wear (I'm pretty sensitive to wool) but it is perfect for thicker sweaters, toys, blankets, and of course, felting.

And I had to save the best for last. I finally got some stuff from the Loopy Ewe. I have never ordered from them before but heard so many wonderful things about the place. I couldn't resist this Chewy Spaghetti skein. The colors are like cheerful camoflauge. I love it.

I also picked up a skein of Perchance to Knit. This lady's stuff is PHENOMENAL. I love her color sense. So bright, in your face and beautiful. Many hand dyers use very muted and soft colors, which are nice but not really my thing. Perchance to Knit yarn is bold and I really enjoy it.

Oh yeah, I do have a FO to show.

I actually finished this baby blanket when the NY Giants won the Super Bowl back in February. I really liked how it came out. However, I tried wet blocking it and I haven't found a way for it to lay completely flat without having creases throughout the blanket. Plus, many people have mentioned that it is too small for a baby. I have to agree, but damn it, isn't it the thought that counts? Either way, I had fun doing it and next time around, will make sure it is large enough for a baby to use longer than his first month of life.


I wanted to express to you guys some sadness. Last post I wanted to start a discussion about crochet vs. knitting, but I only got 3 comments about it. Still, I want to thank everyone that did participate (including Marly of the Yarn Thing podcast) and encourage the rest of you guys to continue the discussion. I'm really interested in what you all have to say about the matter.

Anyway, that's all for now. For those of you in the United States, don't forget to change your time up by 1 hour. I was kind of sad when I realized that we had to loose an hour today, but if loosing an hour means Spring will come sooner, I'm all for it! As always, happy knitting!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Some Knitting, Some Crochet, Some Remodeling

Hey everyone! I missed you all this past month. I have been checking in with your blogs (at least the ones I know of) from time to time but moving is really a challenge. Still, owning a home is like the American dream, and I'm happy to be living it!

Yesterday was fun. We installed our counter top, sink, faucet, and cabinets. I never done anything like this before but my boyfriend knew roughly what we needed to do. After 12 hours of work and 3 trips to Lowes, our makeshift kitchen now looks like this:

Pretty cool, huh? I know it's not the nicest looking kitchen, but it's functional for now.

And even though we've been living out of boxes for a month now, I have still found time to knit some things.

This new project is the Felted Clogs by Fiber Trends. Clog #1 for Nathan is complete with clog #2 on the needles. I used 2 different colored balls of Cascade 220 (even though I had two skeins of each color, I was too lazy to roll those skeins up into balls). I'm going for a varigated/heathered look. Thankfully, these are just house shoes and my boyfriend does not care that much about how they look.

Anyway, so here's an update on that lacy scarf I showed you a couple weeks ago.

The scarf is about half way done, I think. I only say this because when I began I had a baseball sized ball of yarn. Now I have about a golf ball size of yarn left. The project is easy and I have been taking it with me to work. But seeing that this is a spring scarf, and Spring doesn't seem to be coming anytime soon, I'll have a lot of time to finish this up before then.

Crochet vs. Knitting

Many of you who read this blog most likely also listen to the plethora of knitting podcasts now available for download on iTunes or other parts of the Interweb. One of my favorites is the Yarn Thing podcast by Marly. If you haven't listened to this podcast, please do, it's fun and even plays regular pop music you would hear on commercial radio. On Episode 27: Men at Work, Marly talks to a crochet designer named Peter Franzi of Even though I enjoyed listening to the podcast, I felt that at some parts of the interview, there was some bashing of knitters, knitting and the manner in which the needlecraft industry in America has been treating crocheters lately. I understood because both Marly and Peter are avid crocheters. And they are correct when they say many of the crochet publications do not showcase modern designs for modern crocheters. But I still felt that there was some negative energy towards knitting that was uncalled for.

Now, I'm a knitter, but I do like some crocheted things. And as far as I'm concerned, I don't need to make my hobby a political issue or have it reintergrated into mainstream American culture in order to feel excepted or valued as something worthwhile. What I'm trying to say is I felt that this episode was trying to bring up the value of crochet by dissing knitting as a whole. And I don't think that is right. I'm not saying that crochet is not long overdue it's props. There are some lovely crochet items that I wish I could make but do not have the time or inclination to learn how. However, can't we just knit and crochet without making it a political issue or controversial subject matter? Who cares if the majority of American's believe knitting is still for grannies or crochet is always done with ugly scratchy 70's acrylic. You live your life the way you want to and I shall do the same.

That's all this time folks. I would love to hear from you about this crochet vs. knitting discussion. Do you think one is better than the other? Do you think crochet should be given as much attention as knitting receives from the needlecraft industry? Does it really matter? Let me know.