American Wool Series

Monday, September 29, 2014

Music Monday: Cover Edition

"I Think We're Alone Now" by Tiffany and Tommy James & the Shondells. 

I love the Tiffany version of this song since it reminds me of my childhood (performing in malls, what) and the Shondells version has some kick ass tambourine playing that I really enjoy.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Music Monday

"Killer Queen" by Queen. The last few days I've woken up with this song stuck in my head and this is my attempt to exorcise it (not that it isn't fabulous).

Thursday, September 18, 2014

WIP: Russet Owl Sweater

It's true. I did it. I started another cardigan. Last weekend I went on a mini Twin Peaks road trip with my friends Monica and Andi that also brought us to Tolt Yarn and Wool (no TP affiliation). Imagine my delight when I remembered that they were getting their Quince and Co shipment that very weekend! I fell in love with Owl Tweet in the Russet color and decided that, yep, I needed a sweater out of it. 10 skeins later and a good sized swatch and I'm plugging away on a CustomFit cardigan. The yarn is so beautifully nubby and tweedy that I wanted a super simple cardigan with some squishy garter stitch edges to show off the texture. Owl Tweet is a 50/50 wool alpaca blend and it's a dream to knit. It has a very different feel to Berroco Ultra Alpaca - rather than being drapey and soft it's lofty and soft so that the sweater will feel light and warm. If you've ever knit with woolen spun yarns like Brooklyn Tweed Shelter you can imagine the lightness I'm talking about and it's going to be a gloriously warm, soft, and light cardigan for this Fall and Winter.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Music Monday

"Fun" by Sly & the Family Stone.

Thanks for the earworm, Nicole!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Blog Hop

My friend, Amy, of Quixotic Pixels asked me to participate in a blog hop last week and I jumped at the chance! Amy is a busy mother of two and she's always creating things - from sewing to knitting to jewelry-making, I'm always impressed with the amount of crafting she fits into her busy schedule. 

The blog hop has four main questions, so let's get to it, shall we?

What am I working on? 

This is probably going to be the longest part of this post! 
I cut out an Emery Dress last weekend and am waiting for a good block of time to start the sewing! All of my pieces are marked and ready to go, I just have to pick up some black fabric for the collar and lining the skirt. I'm using a chambray from and since the fabric is really lightweight I want to line the skirt to make it feel more substantial. 
 This is the first of four knitting projects I have on the needles. The pattern is Pretty (me) by Nadia Cretin-Lechenne from the ebook Emmitouflage(s). I'm using Neighborhood Fiber Co. Studio Sport in the Del Rey color.
 This project is Sylkie by the Shetland Trader in some Imperial Stock Ranch Columbia. The color is Cactus Blossom. When this grows up it'll be a cowl for snuggling up in during the cold, rainy season.
 A pair of Simple Skyp Socks in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock December Ribbon Candy color. This picture is deceptive, I'm actually through the heel turn of the second sock.
Finally, I've barely even cast on the Love & Happiness cowl by Amy Christoffers of Savory Knitting. It's a heavily cabled cowl and I'm using the Plucky Knitter Primo! Worsted in Bleedin' Armadillo Groom Cake (I purchased this yarn at a craft/garage sale and it's a club colorway).

How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

 Hmm. I can't say that my work is hugely different from other work out there. My sewing is heavily influenced by sewing bloggers that I read and my knitting tends to be inspired by yarn I want to use or patterns that speak to me. I have a few designs on Ravelry and they tend to be simple items. In general, the items that I design are influenced by my yarn choice and tend to be a marriage of easy knitting (good for social knitting) and simple texture.
(Photo by Amy of Quixotic Pixels)

This is my design, Pillsbury, knit in Dream in Color Classy. It's a free pattern on Ravelry.

Why do I write/create what I do? 

 The urge to create things is strong in my family - my grandmother did all manner of crafts and my mom sewed all the time when I was a kid - so it runs in the family, I guess. My mom urged me and my sister to do all kinds of crafts growing up so I learned to sew when I was twelve, did embroidery and cross-stitch, and finally hit upon knitting in my late twenties. I find crafting of all kinds to be good for my well-being and a good way to make useful things for my family and friends. I knit when I'm happy, I console myself with knitting when I'm sad, and I use knitting as a way to stay in touch with friends at our weekly meet-ups.

How does my writing/creative process work?

In choosing patterns to sew I usually look at sewing blogs for inspiration. I'll also look at my wardrobe to see what clothing hole needs to be filled and then go from there. 
Choosing a pattern to knit can be as easy as looking at my queue on Ravelry and deciding what to make next, or, digging through my stash and finding a yarn that speaks to me. The second option is way more fun, by the way. I'll then swatch if the project is a sweater and go from there or cast on right away and get to knitting my new project.

This feels odd to write, but most of my designs are fueled by knitting ennui. Sometimes I just don't want to be married to a pattern or don't have the head space for following someone's directions. I'll dig through my stash, think of the kind of item I want to knit and what kind of design attributes I want it to have (see above, a marriage of simple but interesting) and get cracking. I've learned to take notes from the get-go and to annotate changes as I make them rather than try and knit an item to the finish before writing anything down. Once an item is done I'll sit down at the computer and write a rough draft pattern from my notes and then find a test knitter (usually my friend, Monica). Once the pattern is tested and I get feedback about the pattern I'll make any necessary changes and then wrangle another friend to take pictures for me. The final step is to format the pattern and the pictures and get the whole shebang uploaded to the Ravelry pattern shop. The whole process has to move along at a pretty nice clip or else I get bored and patterns languish (like a shawl that has been sitting around for two years).

I guess that'll do! Thanks for stopping by on the blog hop! I've passed the torch to Stariel of Stariel Knits and Andi of My Sister's Knitter. Watch for their blog posts next Monday! A big thanks to Amy for asking me to participate in my first ever blog hop.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

WIP: Sylkie

Say hello to Sylkie! I started this cowl quite a while ago but put it down for sample knitting projects and other, more exciting knits. The cowl is knit lengthwise in a slip-stitch cable pattern on a reverse stockinette background and seamed together at the end. I'm using Imperial Stock Ranch Columbia in Cactus Blossom which is a lovely vivid pink with slight purple undertones. This cowl doesn't quite qualify as a commute knitting project since I seem to have issues memorizing the proper slipping and cabling rows. I'm in love with the color and can't wait to wash it and cozy up with it this Fall and Winter.