July 19, 2014
by Emma
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A Different Kind of Stash

Thanks to horrible/wonderful enabler Emily Ringelman I discovered the wonders of Girl Charlee, online fabric paradise for the print lover on a budget–hey, that’s me! In preparation for my upcoming descent into poverty, I snagged some fabric now so I can keep on sewing. I have a super modest fabric stash, most of which is leftover pieces from old projects….so this is really my first official fabric haul!

dresses

I grabbed both of these knits to make as-yet-undetermined dresses. Thinking Lady Skater for one and not sure on the other–any suggestions?

tops

That adorable (and now sold out) fox knit is destined to become a Briar! I’m liking the cropped version but we shall see. The multi is crepe de chine which I’ve never used. I think it would be suitable for blouse, maybe something tunic-y? Suggestions also welcome there! (And if my fabric + pattern matching skills are completely off base, do speak up experienced sewists. I WILL thank you!)

fabric4

And lastly, some cotton lawn for a Hollyburn! I’ll have to line it though since the fabric is a little sheer.

First of all though, I need to finish my damn dress for the Outfit Along! I only have to sew in the zipper, hem and finish up the armholes but I’ve been dragging ass on it since I don’t like doing zippers. If I make decent progress on my deadline knit for this weekend I’ve told myself I WILL finish the dress. Not allowed to play with new fabric until I do!

July 14, 2014
by Emma
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Adventures in Wonderland

IMG_5376smAll photos in this post by Lindsey Topham unless stated otherwise

I’ve once again teamed up with Gynx Yarns to bring you an amazing accessory collaboration! Meet Advice From a Caterpillar, my contribution to Laura’s Alice in Wonderland themed kit she is debuting at SSK this month.

Laura contacted me asking if I could whip up a one or two skein accessory design to fit her planned theme and of course I had to say yes. She is always a joy to work with–not only is the yarn beautiful, but she trusts me as a designer and lets my imagination run wild. Laura dyed up three exclusive Wonderland inspired colorways just for the kits (my shawl uses ‘Wonderland’) and asked Little Skein in the Big Wool to contribute a matching project bag. Take a look!

kit collagePhotos by Gynx Yarns – yarn colors from L to R are Wonderland, Cheshire Cat & Caterpillar

I happen to have one of those project bags myself (advance perks y’all!) and the construction is FABULOUS. Really sturdy and the fabric is adorable.

In case you couldn’t guess it from the name, my shawlette drew inspiration from the Caterpillar. I have to admit, I am a bigger fan of Through the Looking Glass but I wanted to go with the original book for this one. I was imagining the cables as wriggly caterpillars at first, then I realized the cables’ transition to ribbing and back again was an apt metaphor for metamorphosis. Caterpillar to butterfly, Alice to Big and Little Versions of Herself, and so on. Pretend you’re an art student and fill in with your long-reaching explanation of choice.

blog collageAs luck would have it, this turned out to be the most perfect photoshoot yet! Lighting, location, styling–everything was on point to create a magical mood.

If you’re not attending SSK, look for kits/preorders to appear in the Gynx Etsy Shop around July 22nd. I’ll make an announcement when the pattern is available for individual sale. Til then, beware of the Jabberwocky, eh?

June 26, 2014
by Emma
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Long Overdue

Some of the best things take forever. Over a year later…I finally finished my Sugar Maple!

photo 2SO. GOOD! The pattern is by Carina Spencer and is genius in its simplicity. I obviously don’t have much free time to knit other designer’s patterns anymore so I really relish it when I do. It’s a vacation, but I learn a ton at the same time studying how they write and format their patterns, seeing how different we brain things, etc. The yarn is a double gradient maki of Play at Life Fiber Arts Scrumpet in the Silky Cocoon colorway. First of all, having only two ends to weave in=amazing. Oh I’m sorry–I should have said first of all, DAT GRADIENT!

1I was unsure on how this style would look on me at first, since I prefer fitted clothing and this has a bit of a swingy A-line shape. Of course, no need to worry as it’s flattering and wearable! My only changes were to work it at a slightly different gauge (laziness) and I knit regular 1×1 ribbing for the edges instead of twisted ribbing (not reading properly, then laziness.)

Summer of 2014 is officially on, popping and stylish!

June 23, 2014
by Emma
1 Comment

A Whole New World

I have a very exciting announcement to make. In about a month, I’ll be leaving my job so I can focus on designing!

Ok, I’m not exactly jumping off a financial bridge sans bungee cord. I’ll still be working for Webs in a different, part-time capacity–enabling me to pay bills and all that good stuff. But there will be plenty of free time in my schedule which means more designing, more time on social media and definitely more time on here, which is something I’ve been severely neglecting. (Ahem. Sorry about that.)

In preparation I rearranged my bedroom. Meet my new bedroom-slash-studio!

photo 6I have no before pictures which is probably a good thing, because it was a lot messier before. But for reference–my bed was positioned where the rug is now, pushed up against the right side which you can’t see in this photo since it’s around a slight corner. I also had a bunny guest for an extended period of time whose luxurious daytime enclosure took up most of the space where my bed now lives. It may not look like much but I have my desk, my sewing machine and my yarn & fabric stashes, all of which used to live downstairs. And that floor space, with the cutest Ikea rug to boot! I’ve been sprawling out on it to sew (more on that in another post) and it is glorious. It functions beautifully as a backdrop for photos, which my Instagram feed will attest to.

In the spirit of new beginnings, I’m thinking of hosting a KAL in the near future. Something casual (with prizes of course), so if you are interested or have any thoughts on the matter head on over to my Ravelry group and answer a quick poll about KALs, won’t you?

xoxo

April 13, 2014
by Emma
1 Comment

Spring Cleaning

Some people clean in the spring. I don’t because let’s be honest, I hate cleaning no matter what the season. My dream is to be rich enough to afford a house husband who can stay home and do all the cooking and cleaning so I don’t have to. (But without the actually being married part because right now in my life I don’t believe in marriage. House lifetime partner?) Though I don’t break out the vacuum when nice weather hits, I’m not immune to that tantalizing rush of Change and New Beginnings that flows through the air–I find it more seductive than the other time of year when people love to plan Big Changes, aka January 1st. What new things have I been testing out then?

As of a few hours ago…plants!

succulentsMaybe it’s a tad pathetic that I’m proud of my ability to pick out plants at Home Depot and put them all in a pot together but look Ma, plants! I am not Green Thumb Girl. I am more like apathetic, I will have a garden if you do all the work just so I can get fresh vegetables Girl. Plants are a mystical confusing world that has never really interested me, though I can agree that they are pretty. Plus these ones thrive on neglect, according to the internet, which is perfect for me! I would have kids if kids also thrived on neglect! (Just kidding. That is why I have cats though.) I have to admit, I’ve been looking at pictures of succulents in cutely shaped planters after bringing home these babies and I am not against getting more. Waiting to make sure I don’t kill the test batch first though!

I’m also halfway through my April Challenges! I meant to post about this on April 1st and here we are…13 days later… As I’m sure you’ve guessed, health and fitness challenges are my jam if I’m going to do any kind of personal challenge at all. See: Whole 30, Rugged Maniac, and so on. I felt like I was coasting and wanted to set myself a few challenges to push myself a little this month and hopefully ingrain some new habits. They aren’t a very hard investment which is good since I am pretty busy in general right now and didn’t want to feel overwhelmed.

  • My first challenge is a Green Smoothie Challenge! I am pushing myself to drink 3-4 green smoothies a week. Currently I am on a kick of spinach, mango and pineapple smoothies but I have also done spinach and various berries. I have yet to branch out into other greens instead of spinach, though I did make one avocado, pineapple and coconut milk smoothie which still counts as green in my book. Once I found some good green smoothie tips and got my proportions all sorted out, this challenge came easy! No more swamp water concoctions for me.
  • My second challenge is a Hula Hooping Challenge! One of my friends posted this hooping challenge to Facebook and I really liked it, but I can’t commit to 30 minutes of hooping every day. Especially on days where I have a circus or pole class after work, by the time I get home I’m wiped out already! Instead I told myself I simply need to hoop every day this month, no matter what the time span. I haven’t hooped in a long time so just getting in the groove regularly is really helpful, even if I’m only managing to do it for 10 minutes! Unfortunately…I already technically failed this one since I missed a day last weekend. :( Completely forgot about it. One mistake doesn’t mean giving up and I’m soldiering on to finish it with a 99.9% success rate.
  • The final challenge is a Squat Challenge! This one was not planned originally, but a fitness group on Ravelry I’m a member of is doing a group squat challenge for April and I couldn’t resist joining in. When the month is out, I’ll have completed 2,035 squats–yowza! I am mostly doing them with just bodyweight, but if I happen to be in the gym doing squats on the same day as challenge squats are assigned, my back squats count towards the day’s challenge total I decided. Mostly because if I do a bunch of squats in the gym I am not re-doing them all again at home later.

Other new things: took an aerial rope workshop yesterday; just started watching Mad Men; changed the background on my phone. (Scintillating, I know.)

What’s new in your life?

March 28, 2014
by Emma
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Friday Night Music Videos: Birthday Madness Edition

Friday night is extra-special this week because…

I turn 26 on Sunday!!

So this is my birthday WEEKEND as far as I’m concerned. I fully intend to spend it knitting my little fingers off since that’s what I do almost every weekend. Also I am getting a birthday biscuit breakfast which incidentally, is the same thing I had for my birthday breakfast last year, except that birthday was in Seattle! Do you sense a theme? I really love biscuits, man. You can’t age out of that.

I’m also giving a gift to you! Saturday and Sunday (3/29-3/30) use the code 26BIRFDAY on Ravelry to get 26% off one of my eligible self-published patterns (aka Striated, Brooklyn Bridge Mitts or Elektrocute. Short list, sowwy.)

Tonight I’m jamming out to my latest earworm courtesy of Arctic Monkeys. This is exactly the type of band I would have listened to in high school, I was way into the ‘garage rock revival’ trend of the early 2000s that consisted mostly of bands with ‘The’ in their name. IE The Strokes, The Hives, The Vines, The White Stripes, and so on. Of course, in my advanced age I haven’t bothered to keep up with new music and as such, this is the first Arctic Monkeys song I’ve actually heard. It’s pretty awesome.

P.S. I finally made a Ravelry group that’s ALL ABOUT MEEEE. Check it out!

March 17, 2014
by Emma
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Birthday Hats

Sometimes, even when you’re crazy busy (like “I probably shouldn’t sleep for the next month” kind of busy)…you can manage to make something for people you love.

I hinted at it on Instagram with this picture, but I made each of my parents hats for their birthdays this year. It’s been a few years since they got anything handknit (selfish knitter for life, yo!) and I figured it was time once more. My mom’s was at the end of February, so she already got her version of my Tamborim pattern because she admired mine at Christmas so much. Hers is sans pom-pom and the length is slightly shorter. My dad’s birthday is today–hopefully you get your hat in the mail before you see this blog post, Papa!–and for him I decided to improvise.

papahatcollagePlease ignore my terrible lighting and bad self-photography skills.

I used the brim construction from my Free Cecily Hat, but worked it for longer so he has a nice thick brim to cover his ears when walking, hiking or cross-country skiing. The body of the hat is an oversized garter rib pattern that I “made up” but probably already exists: Knit all sts on Rounds 1 & 2, *k2p2* on Rounds 3 & 4. I winged the crown decreases and tried to keep the ribbing intact as it narrowed. Yarn is Dream in Color Classy, possibly in Cloud Jungle–I had it in my stash without the label.

I’m really pleased with the end result! Sometimes it’s nice to create without writing everything down with plans to publish it, and I like knowing that my papa now has a one-of-a-kind creation.

P.S. My birthday is at the end of the month and I would not say no to a hat. #jussayin

March 2, 2014
by Emma
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Happiness is…

…having a whole bag of Unjunked Peanut Butter Cups in your cupboard.

unjunked…spending lazy weekends with these two weirdos.

the duo…finally finding the perfect lipgloss formula! Laura Mercier Lip Glace, in Violet.

lipgloss…completing your first aerial fabric recital in a most spectacular fashion. Yes, I’m wearing a pink fishnet shirt. We performed to Britney, ’nuff said!

1625579_10203234742612046_784485390_n1781905_10203234643329564_941986863_n…hearing that a Heliopath KAL is about to start and being super flattered that people like your pattern enough to run a KAL!

Wait, what?

Two awesome ladies, The Unapologetic Knitter and Ghostface Knitter decided to run a KAL for my Heliopath Vest. The KAL just started this weekend, but right now the only goal is to get a swatch done so there is still time to grab your yarn and cast on. Some great prizes await all who participate…including a pattern donated by yours truly. Check out the first week’s post! I love how they are taking this KAL to Instagram as well, since I am a huge IG fan. In case you couldn’t tell by all the perfectly square photos I recycle into blog posts so I can pretend to be relevant. :P I’m cool, I swear!

February 7, 2014
by Emma
0 comments

Friday Night Music Videos – Mac Lethal Edition

I treated myself yesterday to a few new albums and one of them was Mac Lethal’s 11:11. I first heard his songs on my Atmosphere Pandora station, and finally bit the bullet and got the album since he’s just that good.

It’s no secret that I like hip hop/rap, especially of the alternative and white guy varieties. (See: Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Sage Francis, Aesop Rock, Classified…) So feel free to skip this edition if that’s not your cup of tea since this is a double dose of Mac. No actual video for either of these…he’s clearly too cool for that.

February 5, 2014
by Emma
1 Comment

Hooker’s Startitis

I am a pretty newb crocheter. My most notable project to date, a cute summery tee, is currently languishing half-done. (Oops.) I enjoy the rhythm of crochet, but my excuse is the same one for selfish knitting–I don’t have time! 98% of my knitting time is devoted to design work and at most, I manage to squeeze in a small accessory project to break up the monotony of creating beautiful things you then have to send away instead of showing off. It’s a hard life, this designing. Cue violins.

Anyways, last night I tried the crochet chain provisional cast on for the first time instead of the usual provisional cast on with waste yarn I use when knitting. LOVE it, so much easier. Unfortunately, picking up a hook made me start daydreaming about all the crochet projects I’m dying to start. What better way to spend a snow day than fantasy yarn shopping?

decodaisiesThe Holla Knits KAL* just kicked off this week and I wish I was right there with everyone working on a Deco Daisies of my very own! I love this sweet and flowery cowl, which I think would be perfect in a color changing yarn with long repeats like Knitting Fever Painted Desert. I’m thinking something pink and purple-y for the ultimate feminine neckwarmer.

fallfieldsI loved this sweater so much that I bought the issue of Interweave Crochet as soon as I saw it. Once I have time, it’s waiting for me! Of course, as a Tosh addict I couldn’t resist dreaming of Madelinetosh Tosh Sport color combinations for this. I love Heuchera but have yet to use it in any projects and would make it the main color of the Fall Fields Cardigan so it can take center stage.

sugarsparklesMy coworker and crochet design maven Sara once said that hand-dyed yarn looks great in crochet and I couldn’t agree more. I love Fable Fibers’ colorways and couldn’t pick just one! This yarn sudden death match comes down between Orchid and Lucky Penny, both in Fable Fibers Story MCN. Each would give the Sugar Sparkles Shawlette a different vibe and I can picture either color at home in my wardrobe.

I’d love to grow my crochet queue, so share your favorite patterns or designers with me!

*There are tons of cool prizes in the Holla Knits KAL, including my self-published patterns and the Pantonal pattern collection–incentive to join in if you’ve been waiting to whip up any Holla Knits patterns!