Tuesday, September 28, 2010

roll call!

i've been so busy with the shameless self-promotion (sprinkled with a healthy dose of pos-mens) that several FO's and WIP updates have gone unposted.  this is gonna be a long one, so you might want to grab a sandwich and a comfortable seat.  first off, here's a photo of the completed rebecca danger monster i was working on a while ago with my tour de fleece handspun - i think it turned out pretty cute! 
big green monster

pattern:  iris the gourmet monster

fiber: mixed-breed wool fiber, hand-dyed and -spun by me

needle size: US #4

also on the FO front is a cabled beret i was test-knitting for rotten cupcakes, and it turned out beautifully.  julie is a former chicagoan who has recently relocated to california; we met through ravelry and our original plan was to have a hat-knitting partnership so she could keep up with supply and demand in her ravelry shop.  the move, of course, created a shift in priorities and circumstance, but now we have the opportunity to team up once more - this time, we will be trading various knitting-related services, be it test knitting, graphic design, or charting a pattern.  this is our first such trade - she is knitting my honeycomb fingerless gloves, and i am knitting the daisy cutter slouchy beret.
ay, 'tis blocking

if you're wondering where a name like 'daisy cutter' comes from, allow me to direct you over to the half acre beer company, a local brewery that makes some most delicious beer.  i myself am not into pale ales and the like - i'm more of a porter and stout girl - but the daisy cutter is now the exception to that rule for me - like all of their beers, it is super delicious!  

other particulars regarding this project - the yarn i used is, of course, malabrigo.  is there anything better to knit a warm hat with?

i believe i am also remiss in posting FO photos of the long-since-completed samurai socks. i'm quite pleased with how they turned out - i knit them for my dad's birthday earlier this month, and he likes them, too - i have a feeling they will be gracing his feet on christmas morning. 

yarn:  2 skeins lorna's laces shepherd sock (note:  they recently have changed the way their sock yarn is sold; i used the old 220-yard skeins)

pattern:  samurai socks from Knitted Socks East and West: 30 Designs Inspired by Japanese Stitch Patterns

the only other FO i have to report on can't be posted yet - not till the design is published (sometime in the next 18 or so months!).  it feels good to be done with all of my contractual obligations, however, and i'm very pleased with how everything has turned out. 

progress shot - end of august
progress shot - today!
i keep meaning to post progress photos of my tea leaves cardi - i took off for the sleeves about a week and a half ago, and have been slowly chipping away at 13 inches of stockinette - it's proven to be the perfect project when i come home from work, exhausted from being 100% booked with no break.  when your brain can't think and you can't get off the couch, but still want to do something, a boring stockinette project is the perfect remedy.  

sneaky socks!
i am using the fabulous new superwash malabrigo yarn rios in cumparsita - i know that this particular pattern calls for dk-weight yarn (well, that's another discussion entirely, but i won't go there today!), but this yarn is just begging to be a sweater, and i thought the subtle variegation would be perfect for this pattern.  it's also proving to be a fairly good yarn to sub in - i'm quite close to the gauge.  this is why i love top-down sweaters - you can sub in yarns fairly easily and make adjustments as you go. 


there was a lot of heel turning going on in the last week - first, on my skinny bugga! heliotropes, and then on my toe-up sneaky argyle socks.  i'm hoping to finish the argyle socks in the next week - it's time to get some projects off the needles.  there's so many things i'd like to start, but with as many WIPs as i currently have going, i can't allow myself to give in to startitis! 

in that spirit, i have resurrected a few neglected projects - first off, the yoked vest i started waaaay back at the beginning of july.  july!  i think i went a good month and a half without touching this thing, except to move it into a corner...which, in my book, really doesn't count.  it's a really easy, fast-knitting pattern and should have been done by the end of august, at the latest, but instead it was forsaken and left to languish.  i never officially put it into hibernation (official status would, of course, mean that it was marked as such in my ravelry notebook), but for all intents and purposes, this project was sleeping quite soundly.  

another project i began in july and then ignored for two months would be my final tour de fleece spinning project - some hand-dyed australian wool (i assume of mixed breeds, since it doesn't specify on the label) that was gifted to me by my landlord and fiber guru.  it was spinning up beautifully, and i really have no idea why i lost my mojo, halfway through the first single.  since abandoning this project, and spinning in general, i have glanced in the direction of my wheel many times, thinking 'i really need to finish that,' then putting it off for another day.  the lessons i supposedly learned during the tour de fleece - namely, how much you can accomplish if you just spin a little bit every day - apparently didn't actually sink in.  every time i glanced longingly at my wheel, i told myself i didn't have enough time to sit down and spin. 

of course, i finished the first single in a matter of a few days, probably spending a paltry 2-3 hours to do so.  go figure. 

finally, before this novella comes to a close, i'll post this progress shot of the peak's island hood - i'm nearly halfway through (i may run out of the main color, but considering i just want to be warm as i tromp across the chicago river in the wind and snow, i really don't care if i have to switch back to the contrast color and have an asymmetrical thing going on).  this is some yarn that was gifted to me - not the softest of yarns, but i think it will be warm and wear well without pilling.  which is quite alright with me!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


at long last, the wait is over (never mind if i was the only one waiting with baited breath!) - the sanguine gryphon's fall collection of patterns is out today, and with it, my newest sock pattern. 

i present to you the heliotrope mid-calf stockings - fancy socks to be worn for any occasion.  slightly old-fashioned, slightly modern, and fun to knit! innocence and mayhem at once*....

Fanciful mid-calf stockings begin with a ruffled, ribbed cuff and an eyelet row to secure top of stockings with a ribbon.  An ornate cabled pattern at the top of the sock is followed by a twisted-rib panel on the front, with cabled "clocks" on either side and stockinette stitch worked on the back. This top-down sock begins with an intricate cable chart and morphs into an elegant, easy-to-memorize pattern that has enough to keep an advanced knitted interested while not being terribly fussy.  

Finished Sizes
7 (8, 9)”/18 (20, 23) cm foot circumference, unstretched

The Sanguine Gryphon ‘Eidos’, 4 oz/390 yd, 100% superwash merino wool (1) hank, shown in Polimarchus

US 2/2.75 mm dpns, or size needed to attain gauge

32 sts and 40 rows = 4”/10 cm in stockinette stitch.

be sure to check out some of the other super-cool patterns - i've got my eye fixed on tirtoff and terzetto especially, although the entire collection is pretty great eye candy.

*yes, that would be a seinfeld quote.  from now on, i think i will approach my pattern/design descriptions as though i am writing for the j. peterman catalog.

Friday, September 17, 2010

such a tease

extreme close-up?
i've been on pins and needles the past couple days, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the sanguine gryphon's fall collection!  my contribution is the first to come out of the (non-self-published designs) i've been working on all year, and i couldn't be more excited.

on wednesday, the new fall colors were announced.  some photos of my project from the shoot arrived in my in-box at the beginning of the week, and it appears as though the collection will be debuting somewhere in the neighborhood of the 22nd. 

meanwhile, there is much speculation surrounding this teaser photo gryphon posted in the ravelry forum - is the project behind her back, or on the box in the background?

it's like a mind puzzle, an awesome mind puzzle!

Monday, September 13, 2010

looking forward to...

a random assortment of things that recently came out, or are soon to be published, that i want to get my grubby paws on!

1.  superchunk's new album, majesty shredding,  out sept. 14, 2010.  it's been too long, and i'd all but given up. will be getting this one tomorrow for sure, come hell or high water!

2.  brave new knits by julie turjoman, out aug. 31, 2010.  there's been some buzz amongst my knitting buddies about this book, and i've seen some teaser photos that are enticing - but i think the interview with julie turjoman in shannon okey's book is what piqued my curiosity the most!

3.  knit.sock.love. by cookie a - seemingly will never be published, her website still says it's to be published in the spring of 2010.  amazon says it will be out on dec. 15, and i sure hope that's true so it can be in my christmas stocking!! 

4.  entree to entrelac by gwen bortner - out aug. 17, 2010.   i confess, i've never attempted entrelac.  i've been wanting to make some entrelac socks for a while now, but for some reason this is one knitting technique that still intimidates me.  i'm hoping this book not only demystifies entrelac for me, but also inspires and motivates me to get outside of my knitting comfort zone and try something new!

5.  the big book of knitted monsters by rebecca danger - out jan. 17, 2011.  i'm a huge rebecca danger fan (is it that obvious?  or is it just the sincerest form of flattery?), and even though i probably have several of these patterns already, i'm super excited to get this book.  for starters, i dyed some of the yarn that she used while was still at lorna's.  but more importantly, i will be several steps closer to amassing an army of monsters to have at my disposal.  cue the evil laughter.

6.  knitting mochimochi by anna hrachovec - out june 29, 2010.  i am super remiss in buying this! one of my favorite things i've ever made is one of anna hrachovec's patterns (the stackable cats), so i am really excited to check this book out and make some cute knitted amigurumis! 

7.  grinderman's new record, 2, also out sept. 14, 2010 - i'm a much bigger bad seeds fan than i am of this other nick cave project, but honestly, anything that guy touches turns to gold, and he's only getting better with age.  so this record will most likely be worth picking up, even if it takes me a while to get around to it.  i'm sooo lazy about buying music these days!

8.   modern top-down knitting by kristina mcgowan, out oct. 1, 2010 - i love top-down knits (no seaming!) and i think barbara g. walker is the bomb, so i have high hopes for this book!

9. modern knits, vintage style by kari cornell and jennifer simonson, out oct. 10, 2010 - i'm a sucker for vintage stuff. i have a whole stack of vintage knitting pamphlets and books, which someday i will adapt and knit for myself - til then, i'll let other people do that task for me!  i'm not super-wowed by the image they chose for the cover, which brings me to the next point...

10.  Vintage Modern Knits: Contemporary Designs Using Classic Techniques by kate gagnon osborn and courtney kelley, out. feb 22, 2011.  if i were to judge #9 & #10 by their respective covers, i think this one would win.  however, it looks like there's a lot of modernized vintage-style knit books coming out, and i'll just have to wait til i can head to my lys and page through them all before i decide to plunk down my hard-earned cash!

11.  Stitch 'N' Bitch Advanced by debbie stoller, out nov. 1, 2010 - i have all of her books, though i can't say i've knitted many of the patterns.  the instructions, however, have helped me out of many a jam, and i love debbie stoller - Bust magazine is the best!  so i will most likely be picking this up out of sheer admiration and devotion - if there's some cool patterns or helpful hints, that's just the icing on the cake!

12.  around the world in knitted socks by stephanie van der linden, out sept. 14, 2010 - i really, REALLY need to make friends with colorwork socks, because these are beautiful, and i want to put them on my feet.  now.  notes to self:  will have to try going up 2 needle sizes, or knitting inside-out.  yes.  colorwork socks, i will vanquish you!

13.  knitted wild animals by sarah keen, out oct. 12, 2010 - despite the fact that i already have a zillion animal pattern books, and usually just make up my own, this looks irresistible and i will still need to have it in my library!

14.  knitting america by susam m. strawn and melanie falick, out may 15, 2011.  i love reading about the history of knitting, and i have to say, once more judging a book by its cover, this looks to be awesome.  i love the images they're found, and it sounds like this book will be full of such photos, along with a detailed and well-researched historical context for them.  sign me up!

meanwhile, i don't want to be a hater, but i just can't get behind the whole vampire thing, and it really makes me roll my eyes when i come across things like Vampire Knits: Projects to Keep You Knitting from Twilight to Dawn.  really?  i can just imagine that meeting - several people in suits sitting around the conference table, talking about how they should get in on this whole vampire craze before people move on to the next logical mythical creature (which, if you're wondering, is a chupacabra, and how the hell do you knit anything for them, much less trap one and get it to stand still long enough to get it on them?).

also not a fan or some of the terrible puns in soon-to-be-published book titles -  a knitting wrapsody? hattitude? all wound up? is it too late to change the title to something that is a little less cheesy? because even if the patterns contained therein are the coolest ever (which honestly, looks to be the case in a few of these instances), i just can't bring myself to own a book with such a groan-inducing pun.  that may say more about me than anything else....regardless, i am clearly not their target demographic.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


even though i work weekends forevermore (hooray for the service industry), i was able to drop by the renegade craft fair on my way home last night.  i allowed myself to spend any tips i made the day of however i wanted to, and was fortunate to have a very busy and profitable day.  what better way to pay it forward than to support other independent artists and crafters?

left: deep sea sock!  right: barn owl BFL
as always, there was almost too much to take in - a lot of great inspiration - and even some yarn!  i ended up buying some ridiculously squishy merino/silk sock yarn AND some handpainted BFL roving from rhinofluff, a vendor from austin, tx.  (as though my startitis weren't bad enough!)  i was immediately drawn to the beautiful turquoisey blue of the sock yarn - the subtle variegation of 'deep sea' will make some beautiful socks - or perhaps a triangle scarf! - for me.  and the roving is right up my alley, what with the neutral colors and BFL-y goodness - but the color name, 'barn owl', totally pushed me over the edge. me want.

i also ran into some pals of mine who make amazing posters here in chicago, which was fortuitous for many reason:  a) it was nice to say 'hi' and catch up.  b)  i could give them their baby gift (left:  a giant squirrel pillow knit with lorna's shepherd worsted in a custom color dubbed "anna's eyeballs,"  pattern is ysolda teague's nathaniel.)  c)  i could finally snag the snow leopard print i've been coveting for the last year!

diana's snow leopard print!
i met jay and diana during my days at lorna's, and have been fortunate to get to know them a little better in the last few years as we dog/cat/house-sat for them when they were traveling the world, selling their posters and such.  diana was even nice enough to create the awesome 'handmade by stefanie' banners which grace this blog, my etsy shop, and all of my patterns (and all for the price of some home-made cupcakes!)  i was excited for them both when i heard they were expecting, and excited for me, because a baby on the way gives me an excuse to knit even more cute things...not that i need one.

at any rate, if you weren't able to make it to renegade this year, you can find posters, fine art prints and more at diana's etsy shop - and while you're at it, check out the bird machine, which houses all of jay's rad posters and other handprinted items.

my final purchase at renegade this year is from a mystery vendor - i neglected to grab their business card, and there is no tag or means of attribution anywhere that i can find - so whoever made this necklace, i love it! and i wish i could link to your website or etsy shop, but unfortunately, i got distracted and have no idea who you are.  if anyone's wandering around renegade today and notices someone who is selling necklaces that look like this, please give me a shout so i can amend this post to give a link!

Friday, September 10, 2010

aliens are landing at nina!

it's true, the invasion begins this afternoon, just in time for the renegade craft fair this weekend!  so since you'll already be in the neighborhood, go ahead and drop by nina's to see what's new (alien hand puppets alien hand puppets alien hand puppets) and squish some yarn! 

and now for the back story:  (or, why is a thirty-year-old woman so obsessed with alien hand puppets?)

last fall i was making lots of little finger puppets using leftover bits of sock yarn for a group show i did with my friends at beans and bagels.  at some point, i was skype-ing with my nephew, who always wants to see what toys i've been making, so i started showing him the finger puppets.  he picked out a favorite, and i filed it away for future reference. 

fast-forward to late spring, when i needed a quick-knitting something to send to said nephew, who was graduating kindergarten.  and thus, the alien hand puppet was born!  you know the rest, if you've been reading my blog since then, in which case, you're probably sick to death of hearing about these alien hand puppets. 

at any rate, on a total lark, i thought it would be fun to make a kit that includes enough hand-dyed yarn to knit the puppet, plus the safety eyes, felt, and embroidery yarn to give it a face.  i only dyed enough yarn to make six kits total, and four will be for sale (for $12) at nina (1655 w. division street, just steps away from the division blue line station), starting this weekend!  the other two are being squirrelled away for a rainy day (or my etsy shop).

non-knitters who want me to knit them an alien hand puppet of their own, feel free to comment here or contact me in the method you see fit (but be warned, i don't know morse code or sign language, and can't interpret smoke signals very well).

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

So many pattern updates!

an on-going task on my to-do list has been to update all of my existing patterns available for purchase - making them look snazzier, more streamlined and easier to follow.  this may include updating photos, adding fancy-pants charts in addition to written instructions, or just making the layout a little nicer.

here's what i've updated so far:

1.  peppermint lattice socks ($6 USD) - these were originally designed for a Canadian breast cancer fund-raising charity site that has since gone the way of the buffalo, and the rights reverted back to me.  i have updated this pattern for clarity and added better photos.  this pattern is a fun way to destash those single skeins of sock yarn you may have lying about!


2. honeycomb fingerless gloves ($6 USD) - i love these fingerless gloves because they are such a fast knit, and i'm a sucker for cables.  i've added a chart in addition to the written instructions, something i've always wanted to do, but only now have had the means to do so (i finally invested in charting software - huzzah!)

3.  alien invaders hand puppets ($6 USD) - i collapsed these into one pattern (instead of having a child-size one and an adult-sized one separately).  there are not only instructions for both sizes, but to make either alien face as you see fit. 

4.  senor stripey ($5 USD) - this has been edited for clarity, with my thanks to my friend ellen for helping me muddle through transcribing what's in my brain into instructions that make sense to someone other than myself!

whew!  that's a lot of updates - and there are more to come!