WIP Wednesday, 5/29/13: Miss Holloway

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Yesterday was my birthday.  I turned 101 years old.  To celebrate my natal date, I decided to spend the rest of the week working on my home knitting project, Miss Holloway.  I have another 20″ of skirt to go and another ten skeins to knit up.  This just barely covered my waist last week, and now I’m almost past my FUPA.  when I complete this, I hope to have a more flattering image than this hatchet-faced photo.  

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Cold Sheep WIP Smackdown, 5/24-27

For the past few weeks I’ve been working on two projects.  Miss Holloway, the sweater dress, is my home WIP that I knit while I’m watching Doctor Who, and the Sangria Shrug is what I knit when I’m on the bus and subway.  ImageThis weekend, I decided to try and polish off this particular WIP, since I’m pretty close to completing it.  Sadly, I ran out of yarn before I got to the collar and bottom band.  Provided the extra two skeins arrive next week (like they’re supposed to, grumble grumble), this should be bound off and ready to wear by next weekend.  I hope I hope I hope. 

 

My Sangria Shrug is knit from Katie Canavan’s Julep Jacket.  I’m working with six skeins of Classic Elite Verde Woodlands in Red Grape that had been marinating in my stash for almost a year.  I knit this in a 40″ size (so I could wear it over blouses).  Modifications: shorter length; crochet cast-on for the hem (and will be knitting that in a smaller needle size).  

 

The Julep Jacket was the pattern that inspired me to subscribe to the summer Holla Knits collection.  I worked with this particular yarn because I love Woodland and wanted something I could throw on when the office was chilly.  This burgundy color pops up a lot in my wardrobe and I thought it would play nicely with others.  A few days after I cast on, I found this photo:

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…which is an interesting coincidence.  Carla will be playing Boston in July…would it be awkward if we showed up wearing the same shrug? 

WIP Weds, 5/22/13: Miss Holloway’s Dress

ImageMiss Holloway’s Dress

Designed by Sarah Wilson

Knit with Reynolds Fifth Avenue

Size XS (see notes)

I’m a big fan of the up-and-coming singer/songwriter Carla Morrison, but writing about her style feels reductive and a little insulting when you consider all the awesome things she’s done.  She’s released two albums of beautiful and poignant music, she’s collaborated with some badass female musicians, and she’s politically active for gay rights and suffrage in her home country, Mexico.  That said, I love her personal style — she looks classy and adorable in her uniform of tunics, leggings, and ballet flats. 

 

When I saw the Miss Holloway pattern, the flat knitting scared me off, until I read some of the modifications on Ravelry.  The coral-colored silk/wool I acquired at a destash party made me think of Carla’s dress from the “Una Salida” video, and off I went to swatch and cast on. 

 

Because I’m working with heavier yarn, I’m knitting the XS size, and I cast on fewer stitches for the back.  So far I’ve made the yoke, joined for knitting in the round, worked the waist decreases, and done two cable pattern repeats.  This is my mindless ‘Doctor Who’ knitting, and I’m hoping it will be complete within the next week or two. 

Chelsea and Nicole’s Excellent Adventure: DIY Yarn Crawl 2013

My birthday is a depressing time of year for a raft of reasons.  One of the big ones is that it usually takes place over Memorial Day weekend, which means that no one is around to hang out with me.  My friend Nicole, a cockeyed optimist if there ever was one, pointed out that having a birthday in the spring reminded her of hope.  With that in mind, we made plans for a yarn crawl to celebrate my natal date.

I brought home a sheep.

ImageI don’t think my landlords had expected Wooly Wills here to pop out of Nicole’s hatchback when I came back on Sunday afternoon.  Much to my relief, though, they’re cool with my new pet!  Wills will keep the lawn trimmed to a good length, and my landlords get free compost for their tomato plants.

In all seriousness, we hit four stores and I got some great swag.

We drove up the coast of Cape Ann to our first stop, Coveted Yarns in Gloucester.

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This looks like a cute little storefront, right?  Think of this place as the crafter’s equivalent of the TARDIS – bigger on the inside, and full of retro charm.

Image(Sadly, David Tennant was not waiting for us inside.  Allons-y!)

Coveted stocked so many kinds of yarn, from cheap and cheerful bin-ends of Lambs Pride to the most squishably soft luxury cashmere.  Even better, much of the yarn was on sale!  Of course I gravitated towards the Frog Tree Bamboo Sock yarn, which was a teeny tiny little bit spendy.  (Oops.)  When I got to the cash register, I noticed that they carried my favorite heart-shaped stitch markers.  Don’t mind if I do.

Nicole behaved herself and bought a few skeins of Debbie Bliss for a whopping 25% off.  How frequently does D-Bliss go on sale?  Not frequently enough!

From there, we rode down the coast to Cranberry Fiber Arts in Hamilton.  Even though the door was unlocked and a Katharine Hepburn-esque lady was entertaining some friends, the store had yet to open for business and we were subsequently shooed out.  Since we were both a little cranky, we went to the strip mall next door to goose our blood sugar and slake our need for caffeine.

I’d remembered from the 2011 North Shore Yarn Crawl that Cranberry had a great discount bin, and true to form there were four skeins of St. Denis wool in a lovely cobalt blue.  However, I smelled some powerful yarn fumes coming from the next room, where I learned that Classic Elite Wool Bam Boo was selling for half off.  I snagged a bag of aqua yarn with which to make the Nachfalter Tee from the Summer 2013 Holla Knits.  (Had I realized that I had more in the bank than I thought, I would have purchased the St. Denis to make a shrug.  Live and learn, my friends.)

The legendary Yarns in the Farms was a stone’s throw from Cranberry, so we hopped on Route 93 and made that our next destination.  They didn’t open until 1pm, which gave us the chance to enjoy some sweet frozen goodness at the ice cream stand across the way.  (Nicole loved her refreshing raspberry sorbet.  I liked my Cake Batter fine, but wasn’t expecting it to be so vanilla.)  The benches at the ice cream stand faced the door to Yarns, which made us feel like we were staking the place out.

The Yarns staff opened the store a few minutes later than we expected, but its fairy tale-like atmosphere made the wait worth it.  If Ysolda or Stephanie Dosen ran a yarn store, I’m pretty sure it would look a lot like this.  The inside had a great, rustic look to it, with a fresco painted behind the counter and carved furniture.  Though they made yarn their focus, the embroidered carpetbags and Fair Trade necklaces they sold made my heart go pitter-patter.  Eventually I settled on four skeins of superhero red Seedling from Classic Elite in a color that had been discontinued.  I’d like to make the Sundial Tee from this season’s Knitscene with it, but I didn’t realize until I got home that I have far fewer yards than I would like for the project.  (I have two other skeins at home, same color and dyelot.)  The store stocked quite a few skeins, so here’s hoping there won’t be a rush and I can mail order two more skeins.

After a delicious and nutritious lunch at the new Life Alive location in Salem, we made our way to Seed Stitch, one of my favorite yarn stores ever.  I felt a little shopped out at this point – I’d contemplated a skein of Spud & Chloe Sweater in navy, but decided instead to pet the skeins and content myself with my epic haul.

I’m working on two projects right now and I’m really excited to start knitting with these skeins.  I was also really happy to spend some time with a dear friend.  Same time next year, Nicole?

Playing catch-up: Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, Day 7

One year from now, when the 5th Knitting & Crochet Blog Week rolls around, where do you hope your crafting will have taken you to? What new skills, projects and experiences do you hope you might have conquered or tried?

Guys…can I admit something? I am deathly afraid of colorwork.  Okay, not all colorwork — I made a pair of Fair Isle mittens last year that weren’t as traumatizing as I had initially feared.  At this point in my life, I can live happily knowing that I will never steek, but I know that my crippling fear of intarsia is interfering with my knitting life.

Kind of.

I’ve always wanted to own an Elsa Schiaparelli-inspired bow knot sweater, but the few patterns I’ve found have involved intarsia.  My skills at intarsia are not what they should be.  Despite my best efforts at twisting the plies together, I still end up with holes in my garments.  Also, I am really terrible at seaming, and since intarsia patterns have to be knit in pieces…well, you get the idea.  By this time next year, I’d like to be better at intarsia.

Reading that last paragraph, it also occurs to me that getting better at seaming might not be a horrible idea.  I frequently roll my eyes at Amy Herzog’s devotion to sewing sweaters in pieces, which doesn’t allow for knitters to try on their sweaters and make sure they fit and, yes, flatter, but figuring out how to piece a sweater together and sew it well wouldn’t be a horrible skill to perfect.

Additionally, my pal Nicole and I had a grand time at a beginning embroidery class hosted by Gather Here.  I’d love to add some embroidered accoutrements to my handknits as well.

I have so much to learn in the next 365 days, don’t I?