I’ve been knitting like a fiend this fall, much of it eventually to be published. But in between deadlines, I managed to finish an intarsia vest that has been rattling around my brain for a while. It felt liberating to knit more and think less, though it did take a night of Excel charting to execute. The grey is Rowan’s British Sheep Breeds, (rescued, after years, from an unfinished Owls sweater) and the stripes are The Fibre Company’s Tundra in Glacier, Boreal, and Aurora. I love the contrast of textures. I finished just in time to wear it to the NY Sheep and Wool Festival this past weekend, sewing the buttons on a damp garment in the car driving up the night before.
It’s been a long while since I’ve made it to Rhinebeck. Seven years, actually, which I remember vividly, because I had gotten the tattoo of birds on my left arm the day before. It burned all day, came uncovered during the night, and stuck to the motel sheets while I was sleeping. (With the perspective of time’s passage, I regret the motel some; the tattoo, not at all; and the attempt to use a diva cup for the first time that weekend, wildly).
This year, I roadtripped up and spent the weekend with my Kelbourne Woolens colleagues and the Fancy Tiger ladies in a gorgeous old farmhouse by a creek. There was a firepit outside and a fireplace in, a dock with canoes, a big old farmhouse sink and a screened-in porch overlooking the landscape. We had meetups and dinners with a veritable crowd of my knitting-industry favorites. A weekend of dream existence, in short.
It was incredible how many people were there. There was just so much to take in, I know I didn’t see everything. I came home with a few skeins of yarn, mugs for myself and Nik, and, best of all, a giant soft alpaca hat, pictured here with the vest.
Last winter, I knit myself a sweater. Or, it started out that way. By the time I was halfway through, the sweater had become a sample and the pattern had become a concept to launch a collection. I spent the next three months knitting seven more. On average, each sweater took about 10 days to knit, a lightning pace I could only accomplish when my good friend and fellow knitter, Andrea, took on some sleeve knitting. Yesterday, the very first copies of the book were delivered from the printer!
Tundra: Elements is based on the theme of Edward Packer’s Choose-Your-Own-Advenure book series. The basic concept template for each sweater is a bottom-up raglan, which is reconfigured into a new sweater by its “elements,” namely the colors and necklines.
Had I kept them all for myself, I would have a whole winter wardrobe this year! Instead, I have this gorgeous book, and my very own ISBN. I’m pleased with the trade off. I did the styling, and I got to work with so many talented people here in the Philadelphia area. Leah, my co-worker, did the exceptional graphic design and stinking cute illustrations, Su-Shan, owner of Starshine Salon in Manayunk, did hair and makeup, Alyssa Campitelli was my model extraordinaire, Amanda Stevenson was the photographer, and we shot the pictures at North Bowl in Northern Liberties. You can see all the designs here, and you can buy your very own hard copy at your local yarn shop, here on Amazon, and the downloadable ebook will be available on Ravelry in the next couple days.
If you’re interested in making one for yourself, Kelbourne Woolens and The Fibre Company will be hosting a knit-along challenge with prizes you can win to be announced on their blog on October 1st. I can’t wait to see where your sweater adventures take you!
As summer is more decidedly nearing its close, and my home feels more decidedly settled (though not done, never done), my projects are more decidedly detailed, as well. I never really stop knitting or crocheting, even in the summer, but being able to settle in on the couch under a blanket with a cup of tea just feels right. I’m excitedly waiting for my sweater collection patterns to make their way from the printer, but in the meantime, I’m working on some exciting future projects, and I have a new crocheted cowl pattern on Ravelry for free download.
Lottie is made from five skeins of Terra in three colors, black locust bark, yarrow and madder. The stitch pattern is a simple double crochet, which makes it a great project for my 90 minutes of daily train commute. I love complicated designs sometimes, but always find myself drawn to simple repetitive motions, the closest I can get to something like meditation. The yarn is just gorgeous, and you can really see the depth of shade and the silk noils that make The Fibre Company yarns exceptional.
If you haven’t started a project with a foundation-less double crochet before, this is a fantastic piece to try it on. It’s both easier to visualize the full size of a piece, it’s stretchier and it’s far easier to work into than a twisty, uncooperative chain. Here’s a video tutorial I found online, if you’d like a visual demonstration. The first iteration of this cowl was a piece I made for myself out of leftover yarn. I wore it all winter, double looped against the chill, single looped in the warmth inside.
I have taken down the blinds, hung all the curtains, put art on the wall, gave the bathroom a micro-makeover. I have things to show you, but not quite yet.
So here’s my dog:
And in the background, my lady friend, integral to this delay. With the end of summer comes my birthday, and with my birthday this year came a sublimely wonderful gift.
I am now the owner of a very fancy camera. I knew my pictures could look better, but I’m just astonished at how much of a difference it makes. Prior to this, I’d been using my phone, which works really well for many things and is a technological privilege that I feel really lucky to have. But in comparison, here’s part of my living room looking into the bathroom taken with my phone. It’s been edited for brightness and saturation:
It’s sharper, clearer, the light is better, much less noise. It looks like I cleaned. Which I clearly didn’t. You can see my dog-rumpled, messy couch. I spent the morning taking all sorts of comparison shots, and at one point, I may have yelled, “It’s better than seeing with my eyes!” Allegedly. It’s unconfirmed.
I have so much to learn about this thing, and I Can’t. Wait.
28, you’re the best so far.