Friday, October 22, 2010

Home Decor

Though I see myself as a sweater knitter, I occasionally dip into home decor items.

I love to decorate. I'm not great at it, but I'm learning. I read books and blogs about it and I used to watch a lot of HGTV and TLC shows on homes (when I had cable).

Knitting is a great opportunity for decorators because you can create something to your exact texture and color desires.

Things at my apartment are getting shaken up and I'm going to need to get some new furniture. I am also making myself a rug.

Rugs are so expensive. I went to Michael's and bought $50 of on-sale yarn in several shades of brown and tan and I am crocheting a thick area rug that would probably cost over $100 in a store. In fact, I'm going to have leftover yarn, so all in all this rug will cost around $18!

I am also looking forward to making some throw pillows and possibly hanging an afghan up on the wall (done in the same browns, but adding in a deep red color, which is probably my favorite color. I found a pattern that is a knit map of the world. I think that would look amazing.

While looking at home patterns on Ravelery, I started getting ideas about making bath mats too.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Adding more UFOs

When I went through my on-the-needles projects it didn't seem like too many, so of course yesterday when I was trying to relax I did not pick up any of those to work on, but cast on two new projects from my Ravelry queue (there are 163 items on my queue currently).

I will add pictures once i dig out my camera, but I started a new cardigan for myself and the sweater vest for my Dad using the pattern Tempest from Knitty for my cardigan (although plain, without stripes) and the new Humphrey pattern from Knitty for my Dad's.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Colors and Creativity

I've noticed something odd.

One of the great things about knitting things for yourself is that you are in control of everything about the project. You can lengthen the sleeves of a sweater, or add short rows to make it fit a bust better, and you can decide what color you want.

So why is it that I keep on knitting things in the same color as in the picture that goes with the pattern?

Lace Panel Cardigan
by Connie Chang Chinchio in Sensual Knits

Beauty and the Beads
by Joan McGowan-Michael at

Beauty and the Beads?

owls by Kate Davies
(This one is just so perfect in gray and I love gray, so I'm not surprised I kept this color)

Ariane by Jean Moss
Again, for this design the color is a part of the overall aesthetic. It had to be navy.

But why the two pink projects? I don't look good in pink, I don't particularly like pink!

I noticed this tendency when I went looking for a project to make with my two skeins of lace weight Malibrigo in a color called "Butter."

After pouring over patterns, I concluded with one that is a lace cardigan in yellow!

I'm starting to think that I'm not as creative as I always assumed. I guess the color that you see something in goes deep into your brain and it can be hard to picture it another way. Thank goodness for Ravelry where I can see all the different versions and colors of a pattern that people have done.

Gift Knitting

I am a selfish knitter.

It has taken me ten years of knitting to be willing to admit that and not feel guilty about it.

I am what is known as a product knitter. I somewhat enjoy the process of knitting, but mainly I do it because I spend the whole time I am knitting something fantasizing about wearing or using the finished product. This has caused me to learn all kinds of techniques to be a very fast knitter because I want to race through, finish it, and move on to the next awesome project in my queue (and I work on five or six things at once).

I knit for the creative control, the ability to pick my own colors and modify patterns to suit my taste and my figure.

There are exceptions, though. I do occasionally make gifts for people. I rarely do it when they ask for it, because then it's just feels like a heavy obligation on me and I don't enjoy the knitting. Usually when I make gifts for people it is because I am inspired and I think of something that person would really like.

The one exception to that is when my brother asked me for a sweater. I was so pleased, since he doesn't usually take any notice of my knitting and tends to look down on all my hobbies and interests as boring. I proudly knitted him a sweater in fingering weight, partial cashmere yarn. I am so proud of the result:
Cable Sweater
Of course, when I gave it to him, he asked if I could make another one in another color! No way, I said.

Sweaters really are my favorite thing to knit. Here are the two other gift sweaters that I've made:
Both of those I designed using Ann Budd's sweater book.

Besides the occasional hat, the only other gift I have knit is my best friend's wedding veil. I am tremendously proud of this one, it is my greatest knitting accomplishment. When she got engaged, I asked her if I could make her veil. It was very important to me that I not let her down in her decision to trust me with that task and to create something that didn't look like the thick, chunky knitted veils out there. I think I accomplished that:

Ten years of knitting and those are the only gifts I've made!

Now the time has come for me to knit another gift. I realized that I have never knit my Dad anything except a scarf back when I first learned to knit that is atrocious. And that's weird because my Dad actually wears lots of knits. He gets a new Lands End sweater every birthday and he wears sweater vests too.

I decided that I should knit him a sweater vest and I have been failing at doing so ever since. A year ago for his birthday I had one ready and then it turned out to be way too small for him (he doesn't live nearby, so I can't test it out as I go). I started another one and it just was looking all off. I got discouraged and stopped.

Then the new Knitty came out and it has a wonderful sweater vest pattern:

I ordered the yarn for it yesterday. I am going to make my Dad this vest!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Emma Pillsbury Style

So I mentioned yesterday that my recent knitting kick started because I am seriously inspired about fashion by a character named Emma Pillsbury on a tv show called Glee.

If you haven't seen her style, check this out: Emma Pillsbury's Style That is a Google image search on her.

She wears ultra feminine clothes in bright colors. She wears pencil skirts and cardigans and lots of bows.

I've always loved clothes from 1940s through early 60s in America. It always looks so feminine and classy to me. Now I have inspiration to channel my fashion longings to.

I dress somewhat this way, but without the frilly part, no bows and not as much color. I have been a bit afraid of my own instinct with color because I've been told that I put things together that shouldn't go together. I worried also that if I wore bows and frills and ruffles that people would think I was too prissy. But I love everything about Emma and how she is and I would not mind being like her!

So, if you are a knitter and also are inspired by Emma, here are some things I've found that we can make to fill our closets (this should keep my busy for a LONG time):

The Tempest Sweater.
The pattern is striped, but I think this would be the perfect base pattern from which to make many bright, solid colored cardigans. I already had this on my queue before I saw Emma and I have yarn to make it in white, but after that I would like to do it in yellow too.


A Stitch In Time, Knitting and Crochet Patterns, 1920-1949 Vol. 1
This book has patterns for a number of blouses with bows in front that look awesome, but it costs $47 at Amazon right now and I don't want to pay that much! Apparently a second volume is coming out soon, too.

This is literally a pattern from 1935 for a two piece suit, but the top part would be plenty for an Emma look, it has a bow and puffed sleeves.

A pattern inspired by Joan Crawford, actress from the 1930s

Another shirt with a small bow

Tie-neck jumper, from a pattern published in 1947. (you'll need to scroll down the page to it)


Classic cardigan by Patons. The pattern is free, but you have to register with Patons to view it. It is a cardigan with a little bow at the neck line.

Beauty and the Beads, a beaded jacket-style cardigan

A cardigan with a lovely texture pattern on the front


Linda by Jean Moss
From the book Contemporary Classics


Harvest blouse by Asami Kawa

And then there's skirts too


Bell Curve by Kira Dulaney from Knitty


Sidewinder by Susan Dittrich on Knitty

Here's a perfect hat:

Bashful by Marlaina Bird aka Marly

Can you tell that I like lists? :)

I will keep adding knits to this post as I find them.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

UFO gathering

I had a blog for knitting several years ago, but I let it lapse. I'm starting another one. I don't know how often I'll update. Sometimes I'm really into knitting and then I go several months without wanting to do it at all.

I thought to start with that I would round up all my unfinished projects and take stock of where I am. If you are on Ravelry, you can friend me, I am CraftyCarolyn.

So, here it goes:

Le Lapin Noir by CanarySanctuary
I love argyle. I almost finished this shirt before I realized that it was too small across the chest and stranded knitting doesn't have any stretch. So I ripped back and I'm almost back to where I was.

Owls by Kate Davies
Yet another one where I finished it (this time the entire thing) only to find that it was too small. Part of this problem is my ego (I like to think I'm smaller than I am) and part of it is that I have gained about twenty pounds recently and I'm working on losing them! So, another one ripped back and started again.
That's it when finished, just without the button eyes for the little owls. Isn't it cute?

Lace Panel Cardigan by Connie Chang Chinchio
I've made this cami and cardigan twin set before in a salmon colored yarn. I loved it so much I decided to make it in more colors. Twin sets make my heart melt.

Ariane by Jean Moss
Another classic style cardigan. I've found this one tricky and I'm starting to worry that it might be, gasp, surprise, too small! So it has been sitting unfinished for a long time.

Cleopatra Wrap by Miriam L. Felton
A shawl. I love the yarn, it was a gift in an old swap and the colors are amazing. I don't wear a lot of shawls and I don't think there's really enough of the yarn, so I'm feeling discouraged about this project, but it really is almost done.

Back-to-School U-Neck Vest by Stefanie Japel
Made this with handspun and I'm running out. I'm worried that the color changes look really weird, but I'll have to finish it (probably using black yarn when I run out of handspun) and then see how it looks.

I think that's it for UFOs (unfinished objects). That's not as many as I thought it was, I feel a bit relieved.

I have a pile of yarn with plans for many more things, of course, and I can hardly resist casting on. I have a queue in Ravelry that has 137 things in it!

I also need to knit my Dad a vest because I have made my brother a sweater, but not made my Dad anything and my Dad actually wears lots of knits. I'll have to do a post later on my feelings about gift knitting.

What has started me on this new knitting kick is that I have been watching Glee and I adore Emma's wardrobe and fashion style. It involves a lot of awesome cardigans and it reminded me that I can make awesome cardigans! I'll do a post another day with some of the wonderful patterns I have found on Ravelry that are perfect for Emma Style.