knitting blog archive: 2008

Dec 2, 2008

Don't you love to witness your finished work on the perfect model? Here's my Deco Baby sweater. I showed it to you back when I gifted it, but isn't it so much more charming on Gemma? She has finally grown into it. I am absolutely not recommending angora for baby sweaters, but in this case I wanted to make an heirloom for my BFF, Danielle.

Gemma, Danielle, and I
Gemma, Danielle and I
Don't let this blog fool you. There is a phenomenal quantity of knitting going on behind the scenes here. Since I last posted, I have knit up 15 balls of chunky wool and 3 balls of aran weight. But I find myself perplexed: should I show you the finished object and sell you a pattern so you can make it (thus preventing myself from publishing it elsewhere, say in a knitting magazine or a second book)? Or should I hold the cards close to my chest and make you wait?

I am too excited about this jacket I've just finished, and I think my giddiness just might get the better of me. It's my new personal record for completing a project; from idea to finished object in a mere 5 weeks, and wrote down the pattern to boot! Ha-HAH! I am getting better at this. There's still a bit of chicken scratch to be transcribed, but the bones are there, with stitch counts and everything. I've even reached out to find a tech editor. So no photos today, but I am working on it.

Oct 28, 2008

Have you all seen Wendy's new book yet? Custom Knits: Unleash Your Inner Designer with Top-Down and Improvisational Techniqueslink by Wendy Bernard is a thoughtfully written book of attractively tailored knitting patterns, advice and inspiration. Wendy really encourages us to experiment (like we need to be told, but...) The tips are nice.

The high points of the patterns? Sizing goes from XS to 3XL, so there are sweaters in here for every body. Designs include sleek fitted pullovers and tanks and cardigans that range from fitted to roomy, a couple sexy little vests, a dress, a skirt, a jacket and a cape with a few scarves and a hat thrown in for good measure. It will be a rare knitter who cannot find a project she loves in this book, whether for herself or a lucky giftee. If your teenager were browsing for a knitting pattern she wanted you to make, I'd bet she'd choose this book. My favorite is the Jane vest design.

I appreciated that the amount of ease for each garment is provided with the patterns (so helpful! Let's hope this sets a new standard, shall we?), and that the top-down schematics are shown (duh!) top-down. I don't think I've seen that before, but it makes a ton of sense.

The tone of Wendy's California lifestyle and locale shines through in the designs and the photography set mostly beach-and-pool-side. A tutorial on how to make your own dress dummy (which every knitter and wannabe designer who knits or sews for herself really must have) and the guide to selecting yarn called "My Reality Checklist" found on page 13 are worth the price of admission alone, and then a wealth of great classic styles you'll be knitting for years to come.

My only complaint about this book is that they did not call it Knit and Tonic! And where are the cocktails?!

Oct 2, 2008

Kitten, I have the most fabulous news! I'm headed to London next week for Twisted Threads, Knitting + Stitching show.

USA represent
USA represent!

I'm really looking forward to this expo at Alexandra Palace, which spotlights the higher forms of the stitching arts. It's always a thrill to see what other creatives are up to, and I expect the city of London itself will inspire me too.

I had suggested that I would teach some lessons there, or do a trunk show, but I'm still fine tuning my plans. I definitely have two new designs to walk on the runway: the Doppler, and Zhivago Coat, which you've only seen inside out. Every Knitting convention must feature a fashion show, no? Guests can buy tickets here. Find me on the 'programme' on October 11 and 12.

Sept 8, 2008

There is a perfect occasion for everything, and a Wonder Woman suit is no exception. Burning Man was the perfect occasion. The theme for 2008 was American dream.

I sewed a new Wonder Woman suit for myself this year, and knit a bike cozy to match.
I sewed a new Wonder Woman suit for myself this year, and knit a bike cozy to match.

My last Wonder Woman suit finally gave up the ghost after 11 years of hard wear in sometimes-trying conditions, like 115 degree heat and 20 mph dust storms, not to mention a Halloween party or two.

I tailor knit a cozy for my bicycle too, covering those ugly brand markings and adding a little local flavor a la Burning Man.

It's liberating to knit something as ridiculous as a bicycle cozy, since I can be certain nobody is going to e-mail me requesting the pattern for it! But I still took blow-by-blow photos so you could see how I did it, since I know you like that sort of thing.

...Go to the project page to see the project slide show

Aug 6, 2008

T his little sweater was knit lovingly for Baby Boots. I'm calling it Mandarin on account of its Asian styling with Nehru collar and knit I-cord frog closure. The sleeves in back are slightly inset.

A sweater for Baby Boots
A sweater for Baby Boots

I love how baby projects can be done in a week, but don't you find it's like cramming for a test to knit for a baby shower deadline? There I was stitching the frog together 30 minutes into the start of the shower and it was still an hour's drive to get there. Heh, but they LOVED it, so it was worth every stitch.

July 24, 2008

K nit a covered button! This is the little cloche hat design I've been playing around with for the last few months and its newest variation, a big button covered with knit fabric in matching yarn. Seems there's a spot of interest in the pattern since this hat has a low back which suits chemo patients nicely, so I'm working to get it out to testers this week.

Covered button cloche
Covered button cloche hat - pattern in the works!

It knits up in just a couple of hours, sideways knit with short row shaping and a little band that grows from the edge of the hat and turns up at the end with a button tab. Your choice of yarn weight will determine how low the hat goes, DK for a short hat, worsted for a longer one. Easy peasy!

June 27 2008

T hings have been a little quiet around the site, it's true. My PC has been fraught with problems courtesy of Symantec and AT&T. Most trying of these is a send mail problem going on for over a month which has hurt my ability to get patterns out to you promptly.

Cubicle sweet cubicle
Cubicle sweet cubicle

If you've ordered from me and not received your pattern, please e-mail me at once so I can complete your order. I do aim to please. :-)

Meanwhile, at le day job, things got really interesting last month when it was announced that my company (CNET Networks - home of CNET, Chow, Urban Baby, and Gamespot to name justa few) had been acquired by CBS. Wowee. Mind you, this is just after a reorganization in my department and a reduction in force that took two of my teammates. So I've been getting my arms around some big new responsibilities and it's been exciting and terrifying at the same time. All in all I am enjoying going to work more than I have in 5 years. But after nearly 11 years with the company, I still don't rank an office, so I made this little hanging for my cube to help me come to peace with that fact. It helped! Knitting really is the best therapy. But you already knew that.

MAY 27 2008

S ometimes it's what's underneath that counts. Knits are so flexible and stretchy that they often need some structure to help them keep fitted shapes as designed.

Zhivago sweater coat inside out
this is Zhivago - inside out

Case in point: this relaunched design, Zhivago. In her infancy, she was named Hepburn, a hip-length cardigan with a shawl collar and zip; you might remember seeing her here. I thought that cardi was perfectly cute, then one day I was standing on a chill train platform when the train whipped by and reminded me that 4 more balls of Montera languishing in my stash could instead be warming my ass, if only she were a little longer.

Happily this top down knit was easy to lengthen, but the weight of 400 more grams (almost a pound) caused the snug waist shaping to lose its definition. So I improvised a waistband from some quality grosgrain ribbon (AKA Petersham) and tacked it to the faux seams. Now the waist stay hugs my hourglass and adds a couture finish that really makes my new sweater coat sing. Look for more shots of this coat after I finish the zipper install.

Knitting on the next version of Doppler continues apace, with Lamb's Pride bulky, more on that soon!

APR 14 2008

I cast off this men's pullover on Ethan's birthday last month. So it's a little funny that we finally head out for a photo shoot on the hottest day we've had yet this year. Oh, how models suffer!

Ethan in my newest design - Doppler
Ethan in my newest design - Doppler

I started knitting Doppler the week before heading to Minneapolis for KnitOut 2008. The weather there was nothing short of frigid, so it just seemed right to be knitting a bulky wool pullover, now, with the breath of Spring hot on our necks in San Francisco, not so much. This sweater starts off at the saddle shoulder, with only 8 stitches, then widens into the sleeve. The graduated intarsia stripe design is worked the length of the sleeve, then the body is picked up at the saddle shoulders and worked down. I used KnitPicks Cadena for this sample and will try another bulky for the next. Here is one more photo where you can see the design a bit more clearly. Speaking of KnitPicks - turn to page 14 of your new catalog to see my L'il Red Riding Hoodie and Diva Halter knit up in their yarns. The Diva is a quick and charming knit for warm spring and summer days.

APR 7 2008

Where does the time go? The days have been flying by here at Chez Domiknitrix, with much knitting content in my life, I can't seem to find time to post about any of it!

Our first family portrait
Our first family portrait

A growing puppy (Otto!) at home is certainly one factor, but the office has been a bit frantic too. I've just survived a layoff, but others on my team were not so lucky. We're now doing just as much work with fewer people, a common refrain if you look around at the US jobs numbers. Bummer.

But in the background, I've knit a new design (for which my model hasn't yet scheduled a photo shoot) - a men's pullover you are going to love! And two new babies coming along demanded a Tomten jacket and Saartje's booties. I made a video of the Tomten garter seaming techniques, but it still needs to be edited before I post it.

FEB 26 2008

There's so much to tell you, Kitten. Yet finding a spare moment to do so is a struggle. Who's to blame? You may ask.

Our new puppy: Otto!
Here's Otto! Our new puppy. He's a standard Schnauzer.

It's all Otto's fault. I'm being held hostage by a standard Schnauzer puppy! But you can't possibly hold him accountable, since I know you just disintegrate into a squealing pile of giggles and baby talk when you see such cuteness.

Sigh. Me too, Sweetie, but if you've been watching Dog Whispererlink, you know that's exactly the wrong thing to do. Cesar's phrase "calm, assertive energy" is my new mantra, and not just when dog training.

Otto arrived home a bit ahead of schedule just before my trip to KnitOut 2008 over Presidents' Day weekend. I'd already made plans to go and witness the Olympics of knitting, the Craft Yarn Council's speed knitting trials, held in frigid Minneapolis. I enjoyed meeting these 5 women who have perfected the art of knitting damned fast. Hazel Tindall of the Shetland Islands, UK held her title by knitting 262 sts in 3 minutes, while my dear friend Miriam Tegels from Holland took second with 243 stitches. I was also inspired and charmed by Lisa Gentry (US fastest crocheter - 218 sts in the knitting contest), Wannietta Prescod (Canada's fastest - 231 sts) and Arielle Le Cuyer (France's fastest - unknown stitch count). It was a thrill to watch all 5 of them knit simultaneously; Hazel and Miriam's styles were characterized by small efficient movements, though others who were (relatively) flapping their arms and throwing their yarn still probably knit faster than anyone you know. There's a cute pic of Miriam and myself here with her Guinness certificate (118 sts in ONE minute), a title she still holds regardless of the results at the KnitOut. Miriam knit the lovely shawl you see wrapped around me. I enjoyed the blow-by-blow at kmkat's blog, so read there for more detail.

The high point of the event for me was visiting with old friends and making new ones, including the wonderful Annie Modesitt. It was a real treat to witness so many wonderful people bent on improving the art and their own skills. Ravelry has certainly improved how connected we all are, and it was so cool to recognized in public by excited fans. That made me feel like a real superstar!

FEB 15 2008

YO!See you at KnitOut 2008 in Minneapolis! I'm on my way... Look for me there, I'm very tall.


Feb 7 2008

Valentine's Day is almost upon us, with its promises of chocolates and kisses. There are many other sentiments to be expressed on this special day: BITE ME, for example.

Madeleine Albright, the first female US Secretary of State.
Valentine's project, anyone? Click the image to Buy this pattern.

Here's a cute little project you can whip up in a day or two. This pattern is now available for sale here on the site. It includes a tutorial on accomplishing the crewel-style embroidery.

No time to knit this? Buy this completed heart from my Etsy shop instead.

Jan 29 2008

If you have an opportunity to see Madeleine Albright speak and sign her new book, just go!

Madeleine Albright, the first female US Secretary of State.
Madeleine Albright, the first female US Secretary of State, author, knitter!

I was very lucky to have such a chance, and it was exciting to be in the presence of such a powerful woman.

She's a great speaker, so intelligent, witty and observant. I particularly enjoyed a remark she made which I'll misquote here: "I don't care whether you read it in Batman or the Bible, but 'With great power comes great responsibility.'" I, of course, only remember the wording of the Batman quote, but she used the words found in the Bible and I don't have one handy, hence my misquote.

I've been sinking my teeth into her new book, Memo to the President Electlinkand enjoy the premise that she's queueing up the top foreign policy concerns facing our next president, and boy they are some doozies; but I didn't have to tell you that, did I?

However, I must digress to the knitting content. While Madame Secretary was signing my copy, I bravely asked her, "Do you knit?" Her answer? “Yes, I love to knit!� She told me she likes to use self-patterning yarns and finds knitting very relaxing. How cool is that?!?

I ran and fetched her a copy of the DomiKNITrix book linkfor her so fast I broke a sweat. Madame Secretary has my book!

Jan 14 2008

Read more about this patchwork comforter that I renovated over the holiday break here at the permalink.

My mother made this patchwork comforterfor for me when I was 9 and I've renovated it to last for 29 more years
My mother made this patchwork comforter for for me when I was 9 and I've just renovated it to last for 29 more years

[NOTE: This story has moved to a page of its own. That's the plan for the site going forward: stories, articles, instruction!]

Jan 8 2008

Hey, everyone. Look what I got for Christmas! It's domiKNITrix 3.0. My man manages to outdo himself time after time, no?

No time for a blog right now, let's get this baby launched! However, there will be less blogging around here and more stories, articles and instruction. Yeah!