Soothing Summer Knitting

Front View

Front View

3/4 view - so you can see the sleeves better

3/4 view – so you can see the sleeves better

The last month and a half has been so crazy and hectic for me that I wanted a soothing, relaxing project that didn’t require a whole lot of pattern memorization and brainpower from me. I also wanted a super cool, neutral, versatile summer top to wear with everything all summer. (Summer starts early in LA – it’s already been about 100 every day this week!) This pattern fit the bill on all counts, and I may even make another one with some different yarn!


Swants

I’ve been giving very careful thought to my next projects. Inspired by Stephen West, and my recent fun at Stitches with him, I decided to try my hand at swants. Harem-style pants are really fashionable right now, and I realized out of all the garments I’ve made, I’ve never knit any bottoms.

If you are interested in making your own, Stephen gave an excellent tutorial on his blog.

He also, just for fun, did a Youtube video of dancing in them.

There are many reasons to make swants, but the best one I can think of is putting a sweater you’re sick of to different use. There are lots of tutorials for doing it, and I would suggest doing a quick search on Youtube to watch a video if you have a hard time following the blog tutorials.

Yes, I saved the best for last. Steven and Stephen.

The two who can pull off everything, including swants!

So….you all don’t really believe me, do you??? April Fool’s! :)


Photo Evidence

A very happy weekend to all of you! As promised, a few photos from my previous happy weekend at Stitches West. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoy sharing them!

 

A view of the huge, vast event!

A view of the huge, vast event!

Dragon Scarf by Mary Scott Huff

Dragons by Mary Scott Huff at the Abstract Fiber booth

Yes, I saved the best for last. Steven and Stephen.

Yes, I saved the best for last. Steven Be and Stephen West, both of whom are incredibly fun and gracious.

 


My Stitches West 2015 Highlights

As mentioned previously, I went to Stitches West this past weekend. All weekend long, my friends and I were commenting how fun and relaxing it is to spend time with “our people”, and that is the best description I can think of for how much fun I had over the weekend. It is the first time I’ve ever had the chance to attend a Stitches event, and I thought I’d share my highlights from it, in case any of you wonder whether or not it’s worth the money.

  • First, yes, it’s worth the money because it only costs $2o (or less, if you find a coupon) to get into the marketplace for the whole weekend! There are lots of familiar yarn companies, but also lots of indie people to explore. I’ve heard complaints that there are too many big names, but my thought on that is that if you have a particular company you really love, it’s a treat to be able to explore their full line of yarns and colors. Typically, yarn stores pick and choose which bases of yarn to carry, and then colors from within those. If you really want to see the full range, this is the place to do it!
  • Yoth (Yarn On the House) seemed to be the most popular booth in the entire place. Every time we passed by, they were selling out entire shelves of yarn, and the next morning, a new stock magically appeared. I had not heard of this company prior to the weekend, so it was a great discovery!
  • Being the color fanatic that I am, I was thrilled to see lots of gradient kits on sale in various booths. I don’t know if this is necessarily a trend, but I’m glad to see they’re still popular. Playing around with mixtures of colors is half the fun for me, and to walk past booths with lots of color-coordinated kits hanging on a wall is a visual rush. Neighborhood Fiber Company and Abstract Fiber were my favorite stops for these kits because of their extra-rich, saturated colors.
  • As far as designers go, is there any better a pair than Steven Be and Stephen West? “Dynamic Duo” is such a well-suited title for them. In a future post, I will share the photo I took with them, but suffice it to say, they make an entrance and there’s no mistaken identities with them! However, aside from their inclination to dress to be noticed, they have equally fun personalities and are the most pleasant people I’ve ever had the pleasure of asking for autographs. I was very honored they complimented one of my designs, and I will keep the photo forever.
  • Apple Tree Knits wins my award for prettiest yarn cakes. I had to revisit their booth a number of times before I could pick which cake of yarn I wanted because the truth is, I wanted them all! It’s on my list to learn how to dye and wind yarn into a cake to look like these!

Haute Couture

Most of us can’t afford haute couture, but the skill and attention to detail is something any crafter will appreciate. I can only hope that one day I will have developed an equal skill with knit and crochet. Enjoy!


Color Fields with Yarn

I am honored for a second year to be designing a pattern for Unwind for LA’s 2015 Yarn Crawl. This is one of my favorite yarn and fiber related events, and it is exciting to be asked to design a piece that is guaranteed to be seen by people from all over. Of course, there are specs to the project – I don’t get to simply choose whatever colors and yarn I feel like. It is up to my boss to decide which yarns she would like to promote during the event, and I have to work a design around the colors and yardage I’m given. Of course, this is the difference between working as a fine artist and working as a designer.

I have to admit that the colors she gave me – purple and yellow – did not speak to me at first. Despite the fact they are complementary colors, I didn’t feel inspired to put them together. When up against creative block, I’m always grateful for all the hardworking fine artists out there, both past and present, who produce work purely from inspiration. As I browsed through books and magazines looking for inspiration, I realized that Piet Mondrian’s colorblocking and other color field artists were the perfect jumping off point. I can’t wait to show you the results, but until then, I hope you enjoy browsing through the art that inspired my latest project!


Grace Coddington

Over the holidays, I read Grace Coddington’s memoirs. In case you are not familiar with who she is, allow me to give you what you need to know for the purposes of this post: she is Vogue’s creative director, which basically means that much of the imagery you see in Vogue is directly related to her. In her book, she recounts her growing up years in Wales and how she entered the world of fashion, as well as her working relationship with Anna Wintour. I read the book out of curiosity, but I found myself relating to her much more than I expected. She talks in great detail about how she grew up feeling extremely shy, and how, even today, she still struggles to deal with crowds or having to speak in front of people. She says there is nowhere that makes her happier than being at home with her cats and she has no desire to be running to glittery parties and fashion events.

My daughter struggles a great deal with being shy and doesn’t like to be in front of people. Both myself and my husband have always been “backstage people” too. In fact, this seems to be a common trait with lots of creative people. It is unfortunate that most of the time, kids are constantly being told they need to overcome their shyness, and that society seems to expect everyone to want the spotlight. The truth is, everyone is born with their own personality, and while we do have  to work on our weaknesses so that we can succeed, we shouldn’t ever be trying to change ourselves into something we’re not. It is OK to be shy, and in my opinion, a good thing to learn to be happy without needing to be in the spotlight.

For this reason, I try very hard to respect my daughter’s feelings. I don’t push her to be the star of school plays or choir, etc., and I try to be careful to not even imply that she should want the solo parts when she’s just simply happier not being on a stage at all. The funny thing is, I’ve never heard a complaint from her about having to stand in front of her class to deliver a book report or similar things, so I am confident that her shy personality is not to her detriment. It is too bad that in general, society seems to condemn quieter personalities, because the truth is, some of us shy people are way stronger than anyone thinks.

I admire Grace Coddington very much for being at the top of her game, but especially for not trying to change herself into someone else while she was getting there. What a great message for all artists and creative people out there! Celebrate your creativity, put in the hard work, and you just never know where you’ll end up – even if you’re painfully shy!


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