Archives for category: In Progress

Though the garden is sprouting and Spring has arrived, work for Fall is well underway here in the studio.

I often think of swatches as post-it notes. They help me visualize a larger group of work and remind me of design details or color combinations in a more tangible way than sketches alone can.

Happy Monday to all — hope you had a wonderful weekend! Time to turn our hands to our work…

I’ve been relishing the indoor lifestyle these past few days and finding some quality time for designing. As we start thinking about winter I’ve been inspired by pure, white wool knits for the home.  It’s an added bonus when the project you’re working on can keep you warm at the same time.

I never tire of bulking up my own personal stash of blankets and throws, especially with thick wool that features the architecture of your stitch patterns so beautifully.  It’s a pleasure to watch stitch columns move, shift and twist with a round, bulky wool for curling up under.

I’ve also begun work on another circular shawl.  Center-out lace circles are one of my favorite things to knit — they seem to grow effortlessly and offer the perfect balance between mindless, relaxing knitting and more engaging lace patterning (that is, when you have free rounds of stockinette to scatter about). Whenever I’m approaching critical mass with too many high-maintenance projects, I always feel the urge to lose myself in a big circle of lace.

I’m working with Shelter on size 9′s and giving my new set of Addi Clicks a test-drive. Pleasure overload! Fossil, shown here, is a heathered white that reminds me of rustic cream-colored aran cardigans and downy lace shawls.

This weekend I’m headed up to Harrisville for a few workshops and meetings at the mill.  I’m excited to enter the next phase with the mill and explore some new ideas.  I’m hoping to catch a decent dose of the waning Fall colors as they cling to their trees on the ride up.  If the winds continue to howl as fiercely as they have been here today in the city though, I doubt there will be any leaves left!

The organization of yarn inevitably meant the organization of projects (major bonus), which meant that I’ve been stricken by that wonderful feeling of falling-in-love-all-over-again (or what I like to call Knitter’s Christmas). When a project that we once fell out-of-love with comes rushing back into our lives and we see it with fresh eyes as we once did. One previously stalled project of mine gave me the familiar rush and has been welcomed back onto the regular roster of nightly knitting with open arms.

Corriedale Cloud

My thick-and-thin handspun corriedale lace blanket dates back to circa Spring of 2008, as best as I can tell, and is just the type of project I’ve been craving lately. It’s already large enough that I can use it as a lap blanket as I work. I consider this a major plus.

I originally put this project aside because I ran out of yarn and didn’t feel up to spinning more right away… which in turn meant that this fluffy cloud of handspun got inadvertantly buried and has been lying dormant ever since.

White Corriedale

The construction is almost identical to the Bridgewater Shawlfrom Made in Brooklyn, and in fact when I was starting work on the book I still had this piece knocking around in my head. Aside from the obvious difference in materials and a simpler knitted-on edging, there is virtually no difference between how the two pieces are constructed. Which is yet another example of my favorite part about lace — the same piece can be completely different with decidedly different materials. Each more delicious than the other! 

White Corriedale

So, yes — I’ve fallen for it again, which leads me to my next admission: I’ve been having a love session with my Spinning wheel this week. I went back to spin up the remaining Corriedale fiber so I could finish my blanket… but when the yarn came off the wheel and was ready to knit, I didn’t feel like stopping. So I consulted my humble fiber stash and just kept spinning.

Romney Bobbin

And I’ve been spinning all week! It feels fresh and relaxing and is the perfect activity for sitting next to the window and enjoying the wonderful sunlight (after endless days of monsoon rain) that reminds me Spring is almost here.

I’ve spent the last few days spinning up a some beautiful, smokey Romney that a friend had given me last Summer. The wool is a perfect warm-grey heather and light as a feather while being very warm (my favorite combo.)

Rom-Rom-Romney

I’ve spun up about 300 yards of dk-weight 2-ply, lightly plied and can barely wait for it to dry so I can get it on my needles and start making fabric. In a few days I’ll be leaving for a … wait for it… VACATION (I can hardly believe it myself) and I think this handspun will be my treat for mindless vacation knitting.

Rom-Rom-Romney

As for the lace blanket — I’m closing in on her. I have a little less than half the edging to finish, although I’m worried I might run out of yarn (again) just before the end.

Closing In

But you know what? I’m happy to spin more right now… just in case.

I’m proud to say that today welcomes a woefully overdue makeover to Brooklyn Tweed Proper. I’ve been slowly but surely redesigning my website with hopes of finishing it up by the first of the month. I may have missed my mark by a day or two, but I’m happy to show you my new duds at the new fangled www.brooklyntweed.net!

Re-Design

Click the image above for a peek.

Most notably, my travel schedule is now available all in one place for easy viewing, and easy locating! I have all my scheduled workshops through the end of the year listed presently and will be listing 2010 dates shortly. Additionally, the design section of the site has all my patterns in one place for ease in looking up pattern specifics or for purchasing where applicable.

I’ve gone for a clean, light look with hopes that things are easy to find and the space is nice on your eyes. I hope you like it! As for the blog — my blogger site is linked directly from the main site at the moment. I intend on a more seamless (har, har) integration in the future, but I think we shouldn’t change too much too fast, for fear of overstimulation or disorientation!

As for the knitting. Well. It’s cable season.

A Cabler's Life For Me

I’ve been spending a good portion of my days on airplanes or in hotels and therefore have filled my life with small (portable) cable projects in some of my favorite yarns. Projects that don’t require carrying anything other than a good sturdy circular needle and the knitting that’s hanging off of it. Leave the cable needles and papers at home. That’s my kind of travel!

I even squeezed in a little time for some… wait for it… handspinning. I know. I can hear you gasping from across The Expanse. It’s been awhile! It felt wonderful hearing that comforting whirrrr of the wheel and letting the fiber flow.

Alpaca Merino

This is a skein of 70% alpaca, 30% blue faced leicester wool spun rather lazily into a bulky, textural single. I’m new to alpaca spinning so this was a fun experiment. I intentionally fulled the yarn a bit during washing and love the finished texture. Who knows what this skein will become one day… for now I’m happy petting it on my way out the door.

AND. I finished something. (Audible Gasp #2) It’s nice to know that when life is spiraling, we can at least finish a little luxuries for ourselves here and there, isn’t it? This scarf has been 3 years in the making and will get a post of its own… but here’s a sneak preview:

A Fall Present To Myself

I’m off to Texas tomorrow and then jetting on to the West Coast (home!) to get a little reminder of how great Fall in the Pacific NW is. That and, oh did I mention, I’m an uncle now?! Prepare yourself for the Wool Onslaught, little one! (You have no idea what you’ve been born into….)

I’m back from a wonderful and restful vacation — it’s amazing what a little time off will do for your energy. It’s also amazing what the ocean air can do for you when you have nothing to do but knit in front of the sea for 6 days. Dreamy!

I came home to the new issue of The Knitter — in which is featured an interview that Meg Swansen and I conducted with the wonderful ladies of The Knitter while in the UK. If you don’t know this magazine, it’s a great one – a bit hard to come by in the US, but getting easier, so I hear. The article features a few sneak peeks at some of my upcoming designs which will be out next month.

Knitter Article

And you know I can’t take a trip with acquiring a few woolly souvenirs, despite trying desperately to pack light, and keep it that way! Behind the scenes here I run what I like to think of as a Sweater Rescue Program – searching thrift stores and flea markets for beautiful woolen cast-offs that have been slightly damaged, dirtied, or just plain overlooked. I like to take them in, mend them with matching scrap yarn, clean them up and give them new life. I do this rather often, which explains my large collection of machine knit sweaters (on top of all those hand-knit ones), which some people find puzzling. I say: Good Knitwear is Good Knitwear, right!?

That said, I found a real BEAUTY in Portland at my favorite thrifting locale: “The Bins” (aka Buying-Sweaters-By-Weight-For-Change). This here is a vintage shetland pullover with great details and wonderful wool. It has plenty of small moth-holes and a few little stains that can be easily taken out with a good hand-washing. And since I seem to have somehow acquired every possible shade of Shetland Grey in existence all under one roof, I figured I’d be able to find a pretty good match for this one.

Sweater Rescue Continues!

Mending commences this week!

In vacation-knitting news, I got some work done on new designs, but mostly zoned out with my stockinette project for the baby … enjoying these beautiful shades of gold and soaking up the sounds of the ocean. I love knitting by the sea just after dusk and into evening – stockinette is nice cause you don’t really need to look at your knitting, at least not that much.

Leggings Needing One More Leg

The leggings are in need of one more leg, which should be quick work for car knitting that will be happening in the next few days (passenger, not driver…. although I’ve been known to try. Keep that one quiet.)

Stick around in the next week or so for some big announcements and blatant eye-candy. Until next time!

Swatching does a funny thing to your productivity – you know you’re knitting a ton but feel like you have very little output. I really enjoy swatching, though — it’s the best way to really get to know a yarn, and I find that design ideas almost always reveal and shape themselves in a major way during that period. To me, the material makes a design, so swatching is a bit of a brainstorming session. Or maybe like a first date.

I’ve been doing a lot of swatching these past couple of weeks.

Hap Swatching

The Tweed Baby Blanket got me really hungry for a true Hap Shawl knitting experience with traditional yarns – so when I pulled out my burgeoning Shetland Stash and started pairing color groups, I really got into it. Shetland, with it’s unbeatable palette, lets me indulge my love of tonal color relationships. That, and my fixation on natural sheep colors and their endless combinations.

Shetland Browns

There are also mitten designs being worked on – lots of colorowork around here. I just can’t ever seem to shake that bug.

And a very special arrival came this week from Portland…

Shibui Kits

A gorgeous treasure trove of Shibui Sock — sent as a collaboration between the folks at Shibui and my sister-in-law (they’re practically neighbors) — kits and colors chosen by the Baby Mama herself. And let me tell ya, she has great taste — I’m certainly not complaining about these choices!

Shibui Oasis
I’ve already started knitting a pair of baby leggings with the golden colorway – I hardly ever knit with real SOCK yarn – so I’m enjoying the change of scenery for these. And they’ll be machine-washable too – something I can rarely say about my knitting. Good for new babies (or new parents, rather) for sure.

Tonight I fly to the West Coast – for a little work and a little play. I have a photoshoot in Seattle over the next few days then am taking some time with my family before a quick trip to SoCal for a short but real-and-true VACATION. I’ve packed knitting that satisfies needs across the board from the simple stockinette longies to fingering weight colorwork. That’s what I call travel security.

Ooh, this is going to be a bit all-over-the-place, but there are so many little projects needing updating here that I figured I’d just cram them all in. Between baby knitting and de-stress knitting, The Piles (you know what I’m talking about) have been growing growing growing.

First, I finished my Shetland mittens and due to all this schizophrenic weather we’ve been having, they’ve gotten a lot of play in the last couple of weeks. I think they may now be officially retired for the warmer months, but hey, we could wake up (again) to hail tomorrow and biting winds. You never know these days.

Shetland Mittens

I have yet to give them a proper photoshoot or a more appropriate blog-post of their own, but they were so quietly sitting in the sunlight this morning that I figured they warranted a little show-and-tell time.

And speaking of finished projects yet-to-be-photographed-or-written-about, I’ve finished a few more little baby knits. (As an update for those who have been asking, I’m going to be an official uncle (not a father) and I’m VERY excited about it!) Below is a charming little vintage-style baby bonnet – a free pattern from Larissa at Stitch Marker – that is sweet sweet sweet. I knit this with a linen/wool blend (stashbustin’) and loved the crispness of the wavy ridges and soft-yet-sturdy quality of the fabric. The eyelets around the neck are for ribbon but I worked up a nice sturdy I-Cord instead.

More for baby

I blocked this using pins and a blocking wire (pictured) to open up the fabric. I could go on and on about how much I love blocking wires. I find I use them for all sorts of things and they just give finished garments that extra OCD punch.

The stashbusting continues in the baby knitting arena: I had one skein of super-silky SWTC Bamboo – this stuff has great yardage (the skein feels a bit like a hockey puck – so weighty and satisfying) and I thought I’d challenge the skein to a duel. Is a one skein baby sweater possible? I believe so! I’m done with the yoke and body and just have the sleeves left – according to the weight of the remaining yarn (40g!), we should be golden for a newborn-sized EZ classic.

Bamboozled

The pattern is the ever-popular and always-charming February Baby Sweater from EZ’s Knitter’s Almanac (I made one a couple years back in green).

Lastly: Remember my ‘Reward Cone’ of School Products Cashmere Merino? Well I couldn’t wait until proper reward-time came around and felt a mindless stockinette pullover was in desperate need of conjuring. So I started. And it’s making for some gooooood tactile gratification.

I Couldn't Resist

More details on many of these soon – apologies again for the random project purge session!