100 Sweaters

In Los Angeles, it’s generally about 100 degrees (at least!) until at least the end of September. Sweater weather doesn’t start until mid-to-end of October, and sometimes later. But, depending how fast you work, now can be the perfect time to start a sweater project because by the time you finish weaving in ends and blocking it, you will be able to actually wear it.

I came across this post with 100 sweaters, and it spoke to the designer in me. But even if you’re not a designer, you will find this helpful if you’re not sure what kind of sweater you’re in the mood to make. You have 100 options here for different silhouettes, sleeve styles and necklines, so you can either choose what you like to help you decide what sort of pattern to buy, or if you’re designing your own, you have helpful visuals to help you decide which combo of necklines, sleeves and stitch patterns would make your perfect sweater. And this will exponentially help narrow down a Ravelry search, which will yield you 115,394 choices if you just type “sweater” into the pattern search.

Have fun, and happy making!

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Rearrange

via Daily Prompt: Rearrange

marbling with paint
An experimentation with paint swirls/marbling

I’m in the process of finishing up several major projects, and am in the mood to rearrange and start new things. I want my studio back in order, and fresh inspiration. Because of my Etsy shop, and because of this mood to rearrange, I have been taking time out to do some reading and surf blogs and Youtube with no particular goal in mind. I don’t do this very often, but when I do, I always find things that strike my fancy. I hope you enjoy browsing this list as much as I enjoyed putting it together!

  1. If you just feel like playing with paint and color, this is a great place to start. I did this with my kids for art, and the above photo is from this – I’d love to actually play around more and do a whole painting. However, it does take some experimenting as the colors will get muddy very easily.
  2. If you need a place to go and feel the vibe and soak up inspiration, may I present this little quilt shop which is now on my list of places I’d like to go.
  3. For the photographers among you, check out these mountain goat photos. They are black and white, but these photos are full of texture and line.
  4. I’m a Continental knitter, but I have a friend who knits with this flick technique, and I could sit and watch her knit for hours. I’d love to learn and make it look as beautiful as she does.
  5. This is gorgeous – feast your eyes.
  6. These shower puffs are perfect – better than what you buy at the store, and I’m thinking they would be quick to make and be such great little gifts to have on hand for the holidays.
  7. Along the DIY gift giving theme, here are more beautiful ideas.
  8. Travellers, this looks like such a burst of color and inspiration! Count me in.
  9. As I’ve mentioned before, I think it’s so important to learn to style, because when you put the time in to make things by hand, you want to be able to enjoy it for a long time to come. Great ideas here!
  10. This book may not be easy to come by in the US yet, but I want!

 

KnitCliks

I love the story behind this site, as collecting knitwear ideas from random sources is something I’ve constantly done on my own. I love that there is a site to go to where it’s all in one place! These two friends also happen to be knitwear designers, and so their site is nicely curated to include helpful information as well as inspiration. Enjoy!

Another Rabbit Hole

While browsing a bookstore last night (a favorite way of mine to take my mind off my worries), I came across a book that featured this site. I didn’t end up buying the book, but just the name ColourLovers told me it’s a site made just for the likes of me. I’m afraid it’s even more of a rabbit hole for me than Pinterest. Have fun!

Perfect Storm Week

Last week was the perfect storm of everything going on. I booked as many classes at Vogue Knitting Live Pasadena as I could (more on that later), worked extra hours at the shop, and in the midst of it all, threw a birthday party for my daughter because turning 10 requires special recognition. I seriously considered making things easier on myself – skipping Vogue Knitting Live for example. But sometimes life creates the perfect storm, and the only way to proceed is through it. I didn’t get much sleep, as you might imagine, but when life is suddenly full of the things you love most, it is worth it to persevere!

Vogue Knitting Live Pasadena Teepee - yes, it's all knit
Vogue Knitting Live Pasadena Teepee – yes, it’s all knit

I will post more on Vogue Knitting Live soon, but suffice it to say for now that I am very glad I made the effort to be there. The teachers are so incredibly knowledgeable and thorough, and it’s not every day you get to study with a master of the trade. It is definitely an opportunity that should not be wasted, and as at the last Vogue Knitting Live classes I attended in Century City a few years ago, I came away with so much inspiration and new things to practice and incorporate into my design work. As anyone who reads this blog with regularity knows, I live to learn. I was very happy to hear Franklin Habit talking about the things he studies – it’s good to know that even when you’re at the top of your game, there is still learning to look forward to!

A happy birthday girl with the remains of her pinata. Double digits from here on out!
A happy birthday girl with the remains of her pinata. Double digits from here on out!
I know you want to ask - did I decorate this cake? No, I did not - but I have a really great friend who kindly stayed at my house til 1 am helping me. I owe her!
I know you want to ask – did I decorate this cake? No, I did not – but I have a really great friend who kindly stayed at my house til 1 am helping me. I owe her!

Happily, when I wasn’t studying with the best at Vogue Knitting Live, I was at home, in my happy place outside, with the people who make me happiest. I have never seen a bird of paradise plant as huge as the one that is in our back yard. I have also never seen this particular plant bloom in the seven years we’ve lived here. Since my daughter and I both love flowers, it was a nice birthday bonus. Even though I love parties, and even love party planning around a theme, entertaining stresses me out. So many things to coordinate, so many things that have to be left until the last minute to do, will the guests have fun, will they like the food we’re serving…you name it, I worried about it.

The biggest bird of paradise plant I've ever seen - I'm sure it's as old as the house!
The biggest bird of paradise plant I’ve ever seen – I’m sure it’s as old as the house!
On such a big plant, you can really see  textures.
On such a big plant, you can really see textures.
The colors in this flower are so beautiful - I'd like to have some yarn dyed to match!
The colors in this flower are so beautiful – I’d like to have some yarn dyed to match!

 

But happily, the birthday girl and her friends were smiling and laughing the whole time (always a good sign!), and now that I’m picking the photos to share with you all, I am glad that even though I felt overbooked, I did it anyway, and I’d gladly do it again.

On a Monday evening walk with a friend - when it's dark, there's not so much color to look at, so I train my eye to notice shapes.
On a Monday evening walk with a friend – when it’s dark, there’s not so much color to look at, so I train my eye to notice shapes. Trees have incredible shapes!

Surprisingly, Monday morning, I woke up full of energy and ready to go…but then, maybe that was because I left Monday open to knit swatches of all the new things I learned over the weekend so I wouldn’t forget. You can do way more than you think when you’re doing what you love. Enjoy the photos, and thanks for sharing in my fun!

 

California Inspiration

Mountain sunset - taken while we were stuck in loads of traffic.
Mountain sunset – taken while we were stuck in loads of traffic.

I am back at work on new designs, and I realized as I was flipping through my sketchbook, how much inspiration I’ve been taking from where I live. This is certainly nothing new to artists, but many of the big name fashion designers talk about taking expensive, exotic “inspiration trips” before they work on their next collection.  I don’t believe in waiting for vacation to find inspiration, as I think it is everywhere if you look for it. And in my opinion, one of the best skills you can develop creatively is to find inspiration in your daily life and surroundings, not just when you’re travelling. If you have this skill, then you can pursue your creative passions even if you don’t have the means to travel.

I have loved life in LA practically from the minute I stepped off the plane. That isn’t to say it wasn’t hard relocating here – I was terrified the first day I woke up in our new apartment and realized I didn’t know a single soul, left behind everyone I might have been able to go to coffee with, and didn’t even know where the local grocery store was. It was hard work to get established in a new place, and almost 8 years later, I still get weary sometimes of being the “new girl”. But I did (and still do!) love the overwhelming sense of having a new world to explore. So many different cultures, a huge city to explore, all the sights and scenery that are nothing like where I moved from. And when I travel, I am always reminded when I come home of how happy I am to be here.

PalosVerdes
One of my favorite parts of the coastline. I could walk here for hours, I can’t get enough photos of it, and I will probably design multiple things with this as my inspiration!
Snowcaps
Snowcapped mountains on a beautiful 75-degree LA sunny day. Yes, this is taken from inside the car, on the freeway, as we were driving. Hard to believe it was probably only 20 degrees if you were actually standing on that mountain!

Southern California is quite a dichotomy – my favorite things are the mountains and the ocean. I realized as we were driving home the other day what a special thing it is to be able to take my kids up into the mountains to experience winter and snow, but to also be able to leave all the slush and 10 layers of clothing behind and come back to the balmy 70 degrees in Burbank to work. The day this photo was taken, it was about 75 degrees in the San Fernando Valley, and yet, there are beautiful snowcapped mountains visible from the freeway.

As for food, of course a huge city like LA has practically anything you could dream up. We have always loved alot of ethnic food, so that is not particularly new to us. But one of my favorite discoveries here has been fish tacos. I’m sure other places have them, so I don’t know why they weren’t on my radar before, but for whatever reason, they are one of my favorite LA foods.

Then there are the things that are just backwards compared to everywhere else. If you ever move to LA, don’t get rid of your umbrellas! Yes, it’s true that rain is scarce, but umbrellas are apparently multi-functional. We use them to shield ourselves from the sun when we attend our children’s softball games or other such events. I showed up to my daughter’s first softball game, and the other moms sitting there seemed shocked I didn’t bring my umbrella. But of course!

I have a design in the works based on this photo. The kelp forests are unique to CA, and I want to get my scuba license this year so I can see them in person. I have seen them from an underwater boat - they are like shimmering towers of waving leaves.
I have a design in the works based on this photo. The kelp forests are unique to CA, and I want to get my scuba license this year so I can see them in person. I have seen them from an underwater boat – they are like shimmering towers of waving leaves.

I hope you enjoy seeing my inspirations. If you have moments of feeling uninspired, take a day off to explore where you live. Keep a camera and a sketchbook with you, and consider what makes your surroundings unique. What is your favorite food, what are your favorite plants or animals, or your favorite spot to be outdoors? Usually if you take a moment to look more closely, you will notice things and your inspiration will revive itself.