Wardrobe Architect

Posted on | January 29, 2014 | No Comments

The Wardrobe Architect

One of my goals this year is to make more of my own clothing. While I’m quite covered in the sweater area, my sewing has taken the back seat for the last 12 years. While attending FIT, I loved sewing. I made all sorts of things from leggings to tailored jackets complete with leopard lining.

This year, I am going to try and get back to my sewing roots by following along with The Coletterie to put together a wardrobe that suits me and hopefully will be partially handmade. It’s funny, even though I work in the fashion industry, I hate going shopping for myself. I guess part of it is due to the fact that I know what things cost. I know all the little secrets behind the scenes. I also know that not all companies are interested in a workers welfare. Unfortunately, because of the way the supply chain works, not even the retailers actually know where their clothing comes from all of the time. Fast fashion is all about price and the more we buy, the less they care.

I have been known to walk into a store, grab a big handful of clothes, and then walk out empty handed. Sometimes it’s because the fit is dreadful. But more often than not, I can’t bring myself to pay for things that are so poorly made. And with designer clothing being well out of my budget, this doesn’t leave me with too many options.

For me, this journey will be about perfecting my style in a conscious way, only purchasing things I really need. If I can’t make as much as I would like (which will most likely be the case), Buffalo Exchange will fill in the gaps. Buying second hand reduces the guilt factor for me, and while it doesn’t solve the problem 100%, it allows me to at least purchase higher quality designer clothing for a much more affordable price.

The first project I will be tackling for the year is Albion, a unisex duffle coat. Coats are a particularly sore subject for me. They are never warm enough, cost too much considering the quality, and I usually swim in them. I hope to hit up Mood at lunch over the next day or two for some fabric shopping. My plan is to find a nice teal colored wool and a fun contrasting lining fabric.

If you’d like to know more about the Wardrobe Architect, you can check it out on the Colette blog. Even if you don’t sew, the questionnaires may help lead you to pare down your wardrobe, eliminate impulse purchases, and help build a style of your very own, irregardless of trends.

A Couture Knitting Weekend in NYC

Posted on | January 19, 2014 | No Comments

IMG_1189Last weekend I spent most of my time in the most amazing class at Vogue Knitting Live, The Basic Techniques of Couture Knitting with Catherine Lowe. It’s not a secret that I am a very technical minded knitter, so for me, this class was truly a mind blowing experience.

Catherine has developed a special set of techniques that solve and perfect many knitting dilemmas. No detail is too small to her expert eye, even the humble slip knot has been reworked to her exact specifications.IMG_1165

We learned a tremendous amount about blocking, swatching, selvages, buttonholes, joining seams, picking up stitches, and two cast-ons; tubular and a modified long-tail. These may sound like simple topics, but when you dig deeper and really examine knitting structure, these techniques sometimes verge on the academic.

While some of the techniques we learned are not necessarily for every day use, Catherine explained why she felt it was necessary for them to exist. In garment construction, the dressmaker has many techniques to choose from. For example, a seam can be finished with pinking shears, a ser ger, A French seam, or binding. However, for knitting, there aren’t many finishing choices available. Creating these special techniques has now given knitters finishing options that can elevate your knitted garments to a whole other level.

The technique pictured in this post is a binding technique of sorts. In the machine knitting world, we would call this tubular jersey, but I’m not really sure what it would be called in the hand knit world. Obviously, if this were to be worked on a project, it would continue all the way around the piece edge that needed to be bound. Also pictured in this swatch (tiny contrast line in upper left hand corner) demonstrated Catherine’s joinery technique. Instead of working seams with a mattress stitch, she actually joins the two edges together with knitting.

I have owned Catherine’s journals for many years now, but until I had taken this class, I never fully realized each technique’s full potential. I am excited to start incorporating these techniques into my personal knitting projects, and enjoying the results applying this knowledge will bring to my craft.

If you’d like to know more about Catherine and her yarns, check out her website: catherine-lowe.com. At the time of writing this post, her website seemed to be down. It’s certainly worth coming back at a later time to check it out.

A time for renewal

Posted on | January 14, 2014 | No Comments

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It’s been awhile, but I’m back! Sometimes keeping this little old blog going is more than I can handle in my busy schedule. There is so much I want to say, but there never seems to be enough time to say it. I haven’t even had the time to say it in 140 characters either. Such a sad state of affairs over here!

My full time job has been keeping me rather busy over the last few months. By the time I get home, I’m too exhausted to do much else except to prepare dinner. My creative endeavors have been suffering quite a bit and it’s starting to really affect me. Creating is what I do, and if I’m not making things, I get a little down.

So this year, I am making a concerted effort to create something every day. No matter how busy or crazy the day has been, I will strive to carve out at least a few minutes of my day, everyday, to enjoy what I love. It’s not so much a resolution, but a solution to brighten up a busy day spent in front of a computer screen and under fluorescent lights.

I’ve started off the year on a good foot and it seems that my knitting mojo has finally returned. I picked up some Brooklyn Tweed Loft when I visited Loop in Philadelphia last September for the Stasis Pullover. It’s a meditative project that has reminded me once again why I love knitting so much.

There hasn’t been much designing in the works however. I completed a small project for Knitscene, but haven’t had large enough chunks in my schedule to commit to much else. I know it’s about making time, but I think I’ll settle for creating for myself for a little while. Right now, it just seems like designing would add too much to my already full plate, and I can accept that. If I’m not enjoying it, then there isn’t much of a point.

So this year I vow to knit, sew, craft, and cook more. Here’s to a year of making!

Countdown to Rhinebeck!

Posted on | October 15, 2013 | No Comments

DSCN0546 It’s that time again! Time for Rhinebeck!

I’m busy making last minute preparations, charging up the camera, and packing way too many knitting projects! This year, I’m taking my first Rhinebeck class on natural dyeing. I’ve always been interested in learning more about natural dyeing and having the chance to take a full day intensive class is pretty awesome!

I will also be signing copies of Metropolitan Knits in the Merritt Bookstore area in Building B on Saturday and Sunday from 10:30am – 11:30am. If you’ll be at the festival, come by, check out the book, and say hi! And if you happen to be wearing a project you made from the book, or from any of my patterns, please come by to show it off! I love seeing your beautiful finished projects.

 

Metropolitan Knits: New Dates Added

Posted on | September 29, 2013 | No Comments

I just finished up the first leg of my book tour this past weekend in Chatham, NJ at The Stitching Bee. What a wonderful group of ladies! In fact, everywhere I have been on tour has been a pleasure. The tour has given me a reason to go to new places and explore yarn shops that wouldn’t normally be on my beaten path. It has been so nice getting to know the employees and owners at each shop a little better. Meeting their loyal, yarn loving customers has also been wonderful. Over the next few months, I hope to meet even more of you! I hope you will stop by to see me at one of the events below! (Rhinebeck anyone?)

My next signing won’t be until November 2nd, but my samples will be on display at Knitty City for most of October. I just dropped the samples off on my way home and they should be out for display over the next few days. This also means they will be available for the 5th Annual NYC Yarn Crawl happening on October 5th and 6th. If you missed me at Knitty City last week, I hope you will pop by to see the samples in person! In November, I’ll be visiting Pins and Needles in Princeton, NJ and then my samples will be on view for a trunk show at Webs (!) a few weeks before I head up to Massachusetts for a signing.

Trunk Show: October 1 – 31

Knitty City
208 West 79th Street
NY, NY 10024
 

Book Signings:

Saturday October 19th and Sunday October 20th 10:30 am – 11:30am both days

New York State Sheep and Wool Festival
Building B (Merritt Bookstore Author’s area)
The Duchess County Fairgrounds
6550 Spring Brook Ave
Rhinebeck, NY 12572
 

Saturday, November 2nd 1pm

Pins and Needles
8 Chambers Street
Princeton, NJ
 

Sunday, December 1st 2:00pm – 4pm

WEBS
75 Service Center Rd
Northampton, MA 01060

 

The Rhinebeck Sweater: Mulberry Street

Posted on | September 25, 2013 | 1 Comment

This project has been a tough one to keep under wraps, but I’m so excited to be able to finally share this with you!

I was honored to be contacted by Ysolda to design a sweater for her newest project, The Rhinebeck Sweater almost 2 years ago. Even though I was in full book knitting mode, I knew this was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.

Preparing for and attending the Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck is one of those special trips that I look forward to all year long. It’s a time to take a trip upstate, get lost in the beautiful scenery and changing leaves, pet some sheep, and purchase some fantastic yarn and goodies. It’s also a time to relax and catch up with good friends. Rhinebeck is also the perfect time to show off a new sweater.

rhinebeck sweater-102

 

Mulberry Street started off as a little textured swatch. Just a simple knit and purl texture pattern that reminds me of a waffle stitch or less involved shaker rib. I was experimenting with combining two yarns together, a worsted weight wool and a hand dyed lace weight yarn. When worked together, they made an interesting marled fabric that complimented the texture stitch well.

For the actual sweater, I wanted it to be unfussy, interesting to knit, and be fun to wear. I also wanted it to be warm. There is nothing that spoils the triumph of finishing your Rhinebeck sweater the night before the festival than having to wear a jacket because your sweater isn’t quite warm enough (I like fine hand knits, what can I say!)

The warmth was provided with a mix of yarns from The Verdant Gryphon. The main yarn is Mondegreen, a luxurious mix of Blue Faced Leicester wool, baby camel, and silk. The contrasting lace weight yarn is Mithril, a superfine merino. Both of these yarns combine beautifully and were a pleasure to work with.

For the design of the sweater, I took a break from my obsession with seams and went with a seamless construction. With the thicker, textured fabric, I felt seaming would be unnecessary and working in the round for most of the way would speed up the process slightly. I also love working a decorative raglan “seam” at the armholes whenever the pattern allows.

rhinebeck sweater-105

 

While the texture stitch, yarn, and raglan details all come together to create a nice sweater design, I wanted a little more from my perfect Rhinebeck sweater. Enter the back cut out detail.

rhinebeck sweater-103

 

 

I really love a nicely placed back detail! I found a special dress with a cut out back for the photoshoot, which provided a little bit of air conditioning for the cool crisp morning. However, on a normal day, I would wear my nice collared button down shirt underneath (which just happens to match the lace yarn color perfectly). I could also layer with a comfy t-shirt as well.

For more details about The Rhinebeck Sweater, Mulberry Street size and yarn info, and how to place a pre-order, check out the look book on Ysolda’s site here.

Catching Up

Posted on | September 5, 2013 | 4 Comments

Screen shot 2013-09-09 at 9.24.29 PMOver Labor Day weekend, I finally had some time to catch up and relax a little bit. Surprisingly, it included very little knitting. I seem to have caught the sewing bug again and am working on Rooibos from Colette Patterns. So far, I’ve constructed my muslin test garment and made a few adjustments to the paper pattern. Basically, making a muslin is the sewing equivalent of a gauge swatch. Without a muslin, you can never be quite sure if your garment will really fit or not. While you can always pinch out a little extra room once you’ve cut the final fabric (if you’re lucky and you didn’t cut the pattern too small!), for the best fit, a muslin is the way to go.

It’s funny how much I am enjoying the pattern fitting process. When I first began sewing way back in middle school, the only objective was to finish my project as quickly as I could in one night so I could wear it to school the next day. When I was studying at FIT, I learned the value of doing things at a slower pace. However I never learned much in the way of fitting techniques and I absolutely hated flat pattern class.

I’ve taken a few sewing classes on Craftsy.com recently. One of the classes I’ve taken specifically deals with fitting a garment and how to handle adjustments to the pattern. Its been so much fun going through the lessons to learn what is really going on with the fit of my garment and how to easily correct any trouble areas. I wish craftsy would have existed while I was still in college! It would have made the fitting process for our fashion show a bit less painful!

Anywho, all of my sewing exploits aside, I just came back from a really fun book signing in Bethlehem, PA at The Knitters Edge. It’s a great shop in a cute town. If you’re ever in the area, I highly suggest checking it out! My next signing will be September 19th at my LYS in New York, Knitty City. I’m really excited to have the chance to share my work with fellow New York knitters and see what they have to say! Maybe I’ll even have a new dress by then to wear for the occasion!

 

Another Book Tour Date Added: Bethlehem, PA

Posted on | August 20, 2013 | 1 Comment

Just confirmed another date this morning in Bethlehem, PA!

Saturday, September 7th 11am

A Knitters Edge
601 W. Broad St.
Bethlehem, PA 18018
 
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Thursday, September 19th 6:30pm – 8pm

Knitty City
209 W. 79th Street
New York, NY

Friday, September 20th 7pm – 8:30pm

Woolbearers
90 High Street
Mt. Holly, NJ

Saturday, September 21st 1pm

Loop
1914 South Street
Philadelphia, PA

Saturday, September 28th 1pm

The Stitching Bee
240a Main Street
Chatham, NJ

Upcoming Events: Metropolitan Knits

Posted on | August 18, 2013 | 1 Comment

The weather has been so beautiful in New York City these past few weeks, definitely much better than the near record temperatures we had in July! The smell of Fall is in the air and sweater weather is right around the corner. I haven’t done much knitting lately, but the cooler temperatures are certainly inspiring me to pick back up the needles.

As the days creep closer to September, I have a few book signing events to announce for Metropolitan Knits! I hope that you will come out and see me and all the sweaters from the book at one of these fine shops.

Thursday, September 19th 6:30pm – 8pm

Knitty City
209 W. 79th Street
New York, NY

Friday, September 20th 7pm – 8:30pm

Woolbearers
90 High Street
Mt. Holly, NJ

Saturday, September 21st 1pm

Loop
1914 South Street
Philadelphia, PA

Saturday, September 28th 1pm

The Stitching Bee
240a Main Street
Chatham, NJ

 

Next Stop: A Good Yarn in Sarasota, Florida

Posted on | June 20, 2013 | No Comments

L1010077I’m headed out on a long deserved vacation next week. The sun and sand is definitely what the doctor ordered!

However, there will be a little bit of work going on while I am down south. I will be at A Good Yarn from 1-4pm on Saturday, June 29th for a trunk show and book signing. I can’t wait! Hope to see you (or your lucky southern friends) next week!

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