The hardest part of blogging seems to be, really, having interesting things to say and pictures to show! All progress is exciting to me, but you probably don’t want to see pictures of a few more inches of purple cabled sweater every week. 🙂 I think I have some interesting progress to show in the next couple of days, though! In the meantime, please enjoy this awesome rock ballad by my friend Em McKeever. It’s all about – what else? – KNITTING! If you like it, check out her website at www.emkeev.com or her YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/emkeev!
Although I’ve been knitting for nearly 5 years now, this is a fairly new knitting blog. I’m not even certain there’s anyone reading it but me, yet. To be fair, I haven’t been publicizing it much – really, at all – until I’m sure I’ll stick with it. Regardless, I promised myself that I would focus on knitting content and establish myself as a knitting blog before I started to drag my readership (if I ever have one) into my other obsessions (like raising poultry, or baking, or gardening, if I ever get good at it).
That was before I had to spend hours on the internet searching for a new purse that would meet my exacting specifications, because the straps on my old one are ready to snap. Before my crafty friends said, yet again, “Why not sew your own and get exactly what you want?” Before I spent some idle time wandering around the internet browsing sewing patterns…first for bags…then for garments…then for practical, classically fashionable garments I might actually wear…you get the idea. I was already sorely tempted.
Then I discovered something, and all bets were off. I discovered Sewing Cake. Cake is a new pattern company designing patterns that are dedicated to being truly wearable, useful items for a busy modern woman’s (and man’s!) wardrobe. They have a classic appeal that will never go out of style. They have plenty of support in the form of blog entries, tutorials, and other tips for the beginning garment-maker. (Her first release, the Tiramisu dress, includes detailed advice on matching stripes!) And perhaps most importantly for me, these pieces are always, always designed to have POCKETS! You can read more about her inspiration and mission in the blog post introducing the company here. Sold and ready to buy? Check out her Etsy shop. There’s one pattern out and available currently, with another releasing this month, and more on the horizon!
This discovery is absolutely wonderful to me. I love cake. (I mean, the metaphorical cake she’s talking about. I also love real cake, but that’s another post). I learned to knit in order to make cake – warm sweaters, warm socks, warm handcoverings, you name it. I like colors and patterns that I can wear anywhere, over and over again, because they get a job done. Even my frosting – a wool/silk lace stole for fancy dress – is the cake of the frosting world: elegant silver color, simple geometric pattern. I like practical features, a good fit, and I’m forever lamenting skirts that don’t have pockets. There’s only one thing stopping me from racing off to buy the Tiramisu pattern and fabric to make it right this instant. It’s that I don’t have a sewing machine. I wanted to buy one about two years ago, but I couldn’t settle on one in my budget. The sewing enthusiasts I talked to all recommended going with a higher level brand than I (thought I) could afford. Then I decided that I wasn’t really sure I’d have time or space or budget for another hobby, and I’d better just wait.
Luckily, although she’s never met me and hasn’t the foggiest clue who I am, Steph of Cake Patterns came to my rescue again. A year ago she posted this blog about the very sewing machine I’d almost bought. I read the post, glumly thinking about how it would be ages until I could afford a thousand dollar machine, and how I’d probably never be a sewist. Until the end, where, unlike all the other “this machine is terrible” posts I’d ever read, she gave an alternative – the Husqvarna Viking Emerald 116! It’s only marginally more expensive than the monster, she says, and makes sewing a pleasant experience rather than a battle. That was all I needed to hear. As it turns out, Pfaff also has a reasonably affordable Hobby line that I also like the look of quite a bit. (There are quite a number of Janome enthusiasts out there too, but I found the excessive number of Janome models to be way more than I wanted to wade through. They also seem really cutesy, all pink flowers and Hello Kitty, which is just not my thing). Hopefully I’ll have a chance to check out both the Husqvarnas and the Pfaffs, although I think I’ll probably end up with a Husqvarna – there’s a local shop that sells them where I would get a free intro class with the purchase, but I can’t seem to find a decent nearby Pfaff shop with the same option. (Annoyingly, neither manufacturer’s “Dealer Locater” feature will work for me. I’ve tried multiple browsers and no luck. All I’ve got is Google, but that doesn’t get me information on dealers without a web presence.)
So the long and the short of this rambly post is that you may be seeing another craft rearing its head soon, and that if you, like me, have been looking for a reasonably priced sewing machine that’s not the monster, you have options!
You may call it a bandwagon, but I say there’s nothing like a classic. Therefore I’d like to present: WIP Wednesday!
First up is my entrelac cowl. I took a class at my LYS, Stitches with Style, in order to learn entrelac, and let me tell you, I heartily advise learning this technique from a knowledgeable teacher. Entrelac on the needles just looks wrong, even when it’s right, and the weird back-and-forthiness of it would have been challenging to puzzle out on my own from written directions.
Of course, with the help of a good teacher, like many other things in knitting, it’s quite easy once you know what you’re doing. The secret – after figuring out the weird construction – is learning to knit backwards. Otherwise, you’re turning your work every six stitches, and I think I’d go crazy. Knowing how to knit backwards is also, I’m told, a godsend when working stranded colorwork on a flat piece.
The yarn is Classic Elite Liberty Wool. Entrelac is great for showing off dramatic color-changing yarns!
Then there’s my Vivian sweater, from Twist Collective. I have one and a half sleeves knit as well as a good chunk of the back, but unfortunately the only photo I have to show you still looks like this:
Maybe next week I’ll have a new photo! I’m absolutely in love with it, seed stitch and all. It’s designed by the incomparable Ysolda Teague, and I’m using Cascade Eco+ in a stunning colorway called Purple Jewel Heather. My goal for 2013 is to knit more sweaters! I hope to never have another storebought sweater if I can help it.
Last up is just a seed of an idea, but I’m beyond thrilled about it. I don’t want to say too much at the moment, but for right now, it looks like this: