Design Seeds

A truly inspirational site that I am currently using for a few projects. This graphic designer found a great way to play with color and photography. There was not one page on this site that I didn’t find helpful and inspirational. Many thanks to her for providing an ongoing supply of beautiful color palettes!


A Chevron Tunic Three Ways

DateNightWhiteJeans

With my gold wedge sandals and white jeans

DressyWithPumps

Dressed up with a pencil skirt and pumps

CasualwithCapris

My typical summer outfit – capris and flat sandals . And my knitting bag, of course!

I finished this tunic a few weeks ago, and plan to wear it with everything and everywhere. The yarn is the softest bamboo, and as you can see, the tunic is super comfortable and versatile! This is a rare instance in which I actually knit the project out of the yarn the pattern called for, and I am very happy I did.


My Personal Blank Canvas

Jeans

I’m always surprised when people compliment me on putting together cool outfits. Thank you very much for the compliments friends, they are appreciated, but I feel, undeserved. I’ve loved fashion since I was 10 or 11. My dad bought me Teen magazine for a long road trip, and I devoured it cover to cover multiple times on the road, and promptly subscribed when I got home so I would never miss another issue. I still love fashion magazines, subscribe to way more than I should, and read them regularly.

However, I don’t consider myself a very fashion-y sort of person. The only times I go shopping are with my dear friend C, which is more to spend time with her than because I’m really dying to go shopping, or when I absolutely need something. I’m not particularly trendy either, and am not one of those people who keeps catalogs of outfits. My main problem is time, and honestly, I am much more interested in the process of creating clothes than I am in being known for how I dress.

I tend to think of my clothes as a blank canvas to show off my knitwear. The two most important things to me are fit and practicality. Of course I like to look good, but I also need to be comfortable because I’m constantly working, and during the school year, running around for the kids. I thought I’d share are the building blocks I use, which of course, are there just to show off the stuff I’m truly proud of…aka, my handmade pieces! :)

Shirts

I have a drawer filled with basic crew- or V-neck long-sleeved tshirts. I buy them cheap at Target, but I would advise trying them on at different stores to figure out which store makes a cut that you find flattering on yourself, and then buying them in multiple colors. I color-coordinate them with scarves, cowls, and shawls, or I wear a neutral color underneath my alpaca poncho in the winter.

Tank

WhiteTee

I don’t think you can ever have too many tank tops or short-sleeve tshirts. You can layer them under cardigans or wear them alone with jeans or shorts and of course, whatever handmade accessories you feel like showing off. I also wear tank tops under looser knit sweaters, as I feel a tank top gives a cleaner look than something with sleeves. Black, white and gray are the musts – other than that, it’s open season on your favorite colors! I buy my favorites at Victoria’s Secret, but again, look around and find the ones you feel best flatter you.

Shoes

Shoes. Oh, where to start?! Aside from my knitwear, there is nothing else I love more. In the summer, I live in sandals and flipflops because they are so versatile. Unless you’re going black tie, you can wear a nice dress and scarf, and sandals, and still look dressy enough to go out for an evening, but still wear them all day and be comfortable. For the cooler weather, you can’t beat comfortable boots. I wear the high ones over leggings, or with skirts, and the shorter ones with everything else. One caveat about boots – I advise trying them on before buying. I buy alot of things online just to save time, but my favorite, and longest-lasting, pairs of boots are the ones I took the time to try on and buy in-store. Unfortunately, boots are not something you can “cheat” – if they don’t fit perfectly, you’ll never wear them.

And last, but definitely not least, jeans and leggings! Aside from the hot months, when I’m forced to swap my jeans for shorts and dresses, I rarely wear anything else. I buy good-quality black leggings at WhiteHouseBlackMarket, and I buy my jeans wherever I can find a pair that I feel truly flatters me. Jeans are the other item I advise trying on. There are so many different cuts, and the only thing that really matters is how you feel and look when you put them on. I don’t pay attention to the size, as I am happy to wear a larger size than normal if I feel a pair flatters me. I also don’t care about brand. I do care about price, so I am not a proponent of the $250 dollar pair of jeans, but other than that, it’s all about fit and color. I like a good dark wash, but switch it up with white and colored pairs. The basics are your favorite blue wash, black, and white, but from there, it’s all about personal preference.

If you have favorite ways of showing off your crochet and knit pieces, please share! I’m always open to trying something new!


Links to Inspire

Simply beautiful!

Cool DIY project that involves fiber, if not yarn!

Just for fun – and also a great idea for playing with colors if you’re feeling stuck!

I’m a sucker for cool stationery, and 100 times so for DIY, and I still believe a handwritten thank you note beats email and social media any day!

And if you prefer to apply your marbling to household items instead of paper.


In Memory of Trudy Van Stralen

Sharing Louet North America’s Facebook post from this morning. I have not heard of this lady before, but am interested, as I believe very much in honoring the work and showing respect to people who pioneered the way for those of us to come!

“It is with a heavy heart that Louet North America announces the passing of our founder and creative director, Trudy Van Stralen. Trudy battled a Rheumatological condition for over 10 years which had slowly been deteriorating until mid-June, when she quickly became too weak to battle any further.
Trudy developed a reputation in the hand dyeing community in the mid 70′s, when she began dyeing with nature’s palette (natural dyes), creating wonderful color ranges of wool fleece, mohair fiber and yarn. She sold her handspun yarns and dyed fibers from her small shop, Hilltop Wools, in the same location that Louet North America now calls home. Trudy is the author of one of the most comprehensive Natural Dye books: Indigo, Madder, Marigold, a book that is still used today as a textbook for schools and a bible for dyeing by many new dyers. In addition to her written work, Trudy taught dyeing throughout North America in the 1990’s.
Trudy’s passion for fiber arts began when she learned to knit at a young age during the post-WWII years in Holland; in the 1970’s she taught herself to spin and weave (in addition to dyeing wool and yarn). Trudy created woven garments and was a frequent contributor to Handwoven and Spin-Off Magazines in the early 1980’s. In the late 90’s, Trudy began creating hand knitted garments and patterns, returning to her roots growing up in Holland. Trudy often joked that she knit in “Dutch”. Until 2009, Trudy continued developing knitting patterns with her team of knitters and designers and also designed new yarns for Louet North America.
Trudy’s legacy continues under the direction of her son, David Van Stralen; Louet North America will continue to develop new patterns, yarns and products for the knitting, spinning, weaving and dyeing communities guided by the foundation that Trudy so carefully created during her many years in the fiber arts industry.”


Now a Proud Member of TNNA

Proud-Member-TNNA-200w

I had a special little designer moment last week, as you can see. As of July 1, I am officially a proud member of TNNA, and it feels like I reached a great milestone.

For those of you not familiar with this organization, TNNA was created to provide professional help to businesses in the yarn industry, as well as to create awareness. It provides data and statistics and hosts tradeshows, but also helps the industry create passion and interest from the public through programs such as Stitch’N’Pitch. However, TNNA is not open to the public, and since it is an organization for professionals, it requires some work to join. There are different categories for the different professionals in the business – retail, yarn companies, designers, teachers, etc. Of course, I joined as a designer, and to do so required me to obtain letters of recommendation from the yarn companies I’ve worked with. The point of these letters is to show that I am indeed working as a designer and contributing to the industry. I also had to submit a few of my published patterns.

From the day I started working at my local shop, I was naturally inclined to want to contribute because I felt privileged to be working there! It was the easiest interview I’ve ever been on, and to be quite honest, given that I was inexperienced and hadn’t been knitting all that long when I started, I was actually a little shocked at the time that I got hired. There are lots of people who work at yarn shops, of course, but in general, we’re a rare breed of retail. As a designer, my heart and soul are in my work, and whenever I publish a design, I’m hoping it is something that will inspire and excite. Inspiring patterns are part of what help keep shops up and running, as they help people focus on buying yarn that will get used for something they’re excited to make. Inspiring patterns are also what make people want to keep creating and working with yarn, and to keep learning.

I am incredibly privileged to be part of this industry, and being able to join TNNA as a professional designer is a proud moment for me. My thanks to everyone who supports me, and thanks for celebrating this little moment with me!


Elspeth McLean: Dotillism Artist

I am often very annoyed with Facebook. They constantly change things, it often feels like they are the “big man” watching your every move, and now I can’t check my private messages on the app unless I install Messenger, which I stubbornly refuse to do. I also don’t like when they arbitrarily change your privacy settings, and then you have to go back in and reset them the way you had them.

But…gripes aside, it has been a place where I can connect with family and friends and find new and interesting things. A few months ago, a friend of mine liked the Elspeth McLean’s page, and it instantly caught my eye. I have been following her ever since. A quick browse on her website will brighten anyone’s day. She does all of her work with a paintbrush, acrylic paint, and dots. I imagine she must find her work as stimulating, and at the same time soothing, as I find mine. Her site is going to me my go-to place when I need to get out of a funk. Enjoy!

And if you would like to follow me on Facebook, I promise to try to make it worth  your while too!


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