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Posts Tagged ‘Twist Collective’

Time has just quickly flown by this summer and I have so much to share!

HAIKU, aka the #LessThan2WeekSweater

Shortly after a fun and successful trip to TNNA, I decided to once again partner with my friends at Anzula to show at Sock Summit 2011. And why wouldn’t I? I love Anzula’s products and yarns — that’s why I have worked may of my Liberation hats in Anzula Squishy (superwash merino, cashmere, nylon) and in Anzula Sebastian (superwash merino, seacell).

For this second Sock Summit, I designed a very nicely fitted tank top out of a new yarn – Anzula Haiku. I named this pattern Haiku as well. With the timing, I really had to get this pattern written, designed, knitted, photographed and published within 2 weeks! (Yes, I know I’m not exactly sane in this respect — my friends remind me of this almost everyday.)  The result is a sexy fitted pattern written in 12 sizes with 8 separate bust fitting options for bust sizes C to GG (I used UK sizing references)!!  If you do the math, that’s 96 different fitting options!!  This is actually a top that will fit me and my 32G breasts! It’s a top that I’ve been wanting to design and write for some time. I have future plans to write additional garments in this style as well, because I really feel that having well-fitting garments is very important, and I want us to be able to knit garments that really fit our bodies.

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I brought  Haiku, individual  Liberation  patterns and limited print editions of my Liberation e-book to Sock Summit and for sale at the Anzula booth.  Several patterns, including  Haiku, sold out by the second day.  All and all, it was a great show.

Gino’s Restaurant & Pico Accuardi

One of the many events I attended in Portland while at Sock Summit was one of Pico Accuardi Dyeworks‘ fabulous sock club luncheon held at my good friend and fellow Visionary’s restaurant, Gino’s. I was a guest and featured designer and shared my Septima Clark pattern with the club. The company and food were spectacular. I ate until I couldn’t eat anymore.

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Being Deb’s friend and hanging out with her also meant that this city girl had other opportunities to eat at Gino’s and visit her farmhouse on Mt. Hood.

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Left: Playing with baby bunnies at Deb’s farm; Right: Her naughty goats that like to steal chicken and rabbit feed.

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Above: I also attended a cocktail party at the Pico Accuardi dye studio, where I was able to have a mini trunk show with the Liberation collection and my Weekend Shawl.

Sock Summit Flash Mob, Sock Hop & Fabulousness

There were many events at Sock Summit, including a flash mob dance. I recorded a rehearsal at the Opening Night reception, a spontaneous dance at the 1980s themed sock hop, and the “official” dance.

Above: Video of the official flash mob. For the other videos, go to my CraftyDiversions YouTube channel.

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One of the events was the Foot to Fleece challenge, in which teams spun freshly shorn fleece (in the grease) and attempted to knit a sock. I didn’t participate in any teams, but I was the official cheerleader for the Pico Accuardi Dyeworks‘ Spin U team. Above (clockwise from top left): Sheep being shorn; sheep pen; the PAD Spin U team; Shannon Okey took a photo of me in my cheerleading outfit when I went to visit the Cooperative Press booth.

My favorite event was the 80’s-themed Sock hop! If y’all know me, you know that my favorite genre of music is 80s alternative and new wave. Bands like Depeche Mode, OMD, New Order, The Cure, The Smiths, Nine Inch Nails, Jane’s Addiction, Pet Shop Boys, Information Society and Erasure rock my world. So you can imagine my excitement for this sock hop. My friends and I decided to dress up in costume for it. The irony is that except for the big hair (c’mon, I’m from Texas!) and bright red lipstick (of course my parents didn’t know), I really didn’t dress too 80s during that time. Sure, I had my share of hideous outfits, but I refused to succumb to the trendy fashions of the time (aka I was not that cool) and never even owned a set of rubber bracelets, nor did I wear large crosses (I did wear an ankh though).

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Above Photos: 1. Party Banner; 2. Deb Accuardi, Me and Marisol Sanchez decked out a la Desperately Seeking Susan; 3. Me and Deb in our hideous but fabulous outfits. I even wore lots of blue eyeshadow; 4. Teri Sabah; 5. Crowd dancing; 6. & 7. Two ladies totally knew every single move to Thriller and led a group of people in the Thriller dance; 8. crowd dancing; 9. It got really hot, so I just had to get my hair into a side ponytail!; 10. Left to Right: Deb Accuardi, me, Teri Saba, Joely, Stevanie Pico, Misty, Marisol Sanchez.

Despite the fact that Portland and the Pacific Northwest apparently hate me and the allergy misery hell, I had a great time. (My allergies went into overdrive and went haywire by the end of Day 4 — Even though I take allergra on a daily basis and have been on immunotherapy for over a year, I’m still quite sensitive to allergens. I am very allergic to much of the flora in the region, like Alder, Birch and Cedar.)

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Above: Left – I finally was able to meet Franklin Habit in real life! He’s a doll! Right – Met Sharon Fletcher of Stitch Jones.

I was able to visit with some friends and meet some in real life for the first time. A few folks I was able to visit with Marly Bird, Jaala Spiro, Shannon Okey , Stephanie Tallent, Caro Sheridan, Stitchy McYarnpants, Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark, Carl and Eileen Koop, Erica Owens…I’m sure there are many more folks I missed and I hope they’ll forgive me for having a brain fart right now. I was also quite flattered and humbled when fans of my work and designs wanted to meet me.  Two people absolutely fabulous and talented people that that I was ridiculously ecstatic to finally meet in real life were Sivia Harding and Franklin Habit.

Post-Summit in PDX

After helping Anzula break down their booth on Sunday, Deb (who also has a fabulous podcast, At the Kitchen Table) and I headed for another fabulous dinner at Gino’s with Cat Bordhi and some fellow Visionaries, many of whom I also had not met in real life. We were celebrating the birth of Judy Becker‘s upcoming book, Beyond Toes: Knitting Adventures with Judy’s Magic Cast-On. Dinner was great, but the company was more wonderful. It’s always nice to be able to share experiences, thoughts and ideas with a group of creative, intelligent, like-minded people.

I spent a few more days in the PDX area, albeit a bit miserable due to my horrid allergies. I could not breathe or sleep well. The allergies dashed my short-lived fantasy of buying a small farm or a cute house gorgeous Oregon.  I stayed with Deb and her husband at their farmhouse on Mt. Hood. The beauty of the surroundings and a great hostess made my stay much less miserable. I spent the rest of my stay helping Deb with her 2012 Knitter’s Datebook (coming soon!!) and teaching her the basics of InDesign and Illustrator.

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Above: We went to the top of Mt. Hood, where there were still lots of snow. Deb’s dog obviously loved the snow, and we ended the day with drinks at the Timberline lodge: great view, great drinks, great company….ahh…

Unfortunately, it’s back to reality for me and I’m still playing catch-up. In the past month, I’ve had lots of pattern releases, but I haven’t really been able to post or blog about those. I just recovered from a major chest infection (in the end, I could not fend off the ill-effects of the allergies from Oregon) and am trying to get a project done for Vogue Knitting Live in LA.

I’ll be posting more details about some exciting news later, but here are some of them in a quick nutshell:

  • Roseling was published in Twist Collective Fall.
  • The Fall issue of Knitscene, for which I got the cover, finally hit the newsstands! My patterns Lepidoptera is the cover garment, and inside, I also have a sassy beret, Whittier Hat.
  • On Sept 15, I will be appearing and speaking on a BlogHer panel on Craft + Money at the BlogHer Handmade/ Creative Connection conference. 
  • I will be debuting 2 new designs for at Vogue Knitting Live in Los Angeles on Sept 23-25! The garments will be shown exclusively at the Knit Culture booth. Knit Culture will be posting about the designs on their blog and I will be discussing it and revealing sneak peaks on my Facebook page and on Twitter.

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I know I promised this post a while back, but better late than never, right? Here are some ideas and tips for customizing your Issara.

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Blocking:

Issara is rather bulky and heavy, which can make blocking challenging, especially with the pleat. Before wet blocking, I suggest basting the pleat closed and in place with a high contrast waste yarn. Then, to shorten your blocking time by several days, I would put it in your washer on spin cycle. Do not actually run it through the washing machine. Once your machine has done all the work of sucking off the excess water, you can block the coat as you would normally do.

I was a bit impatient when blocking the sample, especially for the stubborn pleat, which remained damp when other parts of the coat had dried. This is due to the thickness of the multiple layers. Thus, I sped up the process in the pesky areas with a hairdryer. You can also face a fan towards your garment, which will shorten the overall time considerably.

After the coat had dried both naturally and with the help of my handy hairdryer, I fine-tuned blocking some of the other elements, such as the pleat and the edging, with my steam iron. When you steam-block with an iron, make sure that you are not touching your garment with the iron, especially if your yarn contains synthetic fabrics. You don’t want to melt your yarn! Instead, hover above your garment by about 0.5″ to 1″.

Adding More Waist Details:

If you would like to add a more substantial and visual waistline than the single purl ridge, then I’d suggest omitting the purl ridge and instead, work in about 4-5 rows (or more, if desired) of seed stitch right after the folding of the pleat. You can also do a reverse Stockinette stitch band, though I think doing the seed stitch will be more unifying design-wise with the rest of the garment.

If you’d like to add a belt that’s 1.5″/ 4cm wide, CO 5 sts. Row 1: Sl1, [k1, p1] twice. Repeat Row 1 until desired length and BO. Then, for the belt loops, I’d crochet 3 or 4 chains that are a little longer than the width of the belt and attach the loops right above or over the waist ridge. Don’t forget that you’ll need to allot extra yarn for this.

Shortening the Coat:

If you’re a bit short, or would just like a shorter coat, the best way is to reduce the number of Stockinette stitch rows between the skirt shaping. The gauge works out to 4.5 rows per 1″/ 2.5cm. Thus, if you’d like your coat to be 2″/ 5cm shorter, then I would omit 8 or 10 St. st rows in the skirt. I would disperse throughout the skirt to maintain the gradual A-line shape.

If I had more ample assets in the hip area as well, I’d probably work the omissions closer to the top of the skirt. This way, I’m shorting the skirt, but also do so in a way that gives my hips more room. For example, if I was working size 39 3/4, instead of working the Decrease row every 10 rows in the 6th and 7th repeat, I’d work the Decrease row every 6 rows.

Making it a Jacket:

I you are in a warmer climate or just prefer a jacket over a coat, you can omit the pleat and make it a shorter, hip-length jacket. The following instructions will get you a jacket that measures about 5.25″/ 13.5cm below the waistline of Issara, which would give you a length of 17.25 (17.5, 18.25, 18.75, 19.25, 20.25, 20.5) from shoulder to hem. Of course, you should modify it further as desired to accommodate your needs and preferences.

CO 125 (133, 137, 149, 153, 161, 169)
Set up  1 (WS): Sl1, [p1, k1] to last st, p1.
Set up 2 (RS): Sl1, [k1, p1] to last st, k1.
Rep Set up rows 1 and 2 again.
Using removable markers, place marker after the first and last 31 (33, 34, 37, 38, 40, 42) sts.
Row 1 (WS): Sl1, [p1, k1] twice, purl to last 4 sts, [k1, p1] twice.
Row 2 (RS): Sl1, [k1, p1] twice, knit to last 4 sts, [p1, k1] twice.
Rep Row 1.
Dec Row: Sl1, [k1, p1] twice, knit until 2 sts before marker, ssk, sm, k2tog, knit until 2 sts before next marker, ssk, sm, k2tog, knit to last 4 sts, [p1, k1] twice.
Work as established, working Dec Row every 6 rows 3 more times. – 109 (117, 121, 133, 137, 145, 153) sts.
Next (Waist Ridge, WS): Sl1, [p1, k1] twice, knit to last 4 sts, [k1, p1] twice.
Next: Rep previous row.
Work Bodice and the rest of the of Issara as instructed in the pattern.

Tutorial & FAQ:

In case you are not aware, I try to post tutorials/FAQ pages for many of my patterns, especially those that require some special, unusual or more intermediate techniques. Click here for an index of all the tutorials on this site. Click here for the Issara tutorial/FAQ. If you have a question that’s not addressed in the tutorial, you can post your question in the comments or go to my Ravelry group.

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After a few failed submissions, I finally made it into Twist Collective, and I couldn’t be happier! Yes folks, I had tried to submit to Twist 2-3 times prior, but unfortunately, it wasn’t in the cards for me at the time.

I finally achieved my goal with Issara, which was published recently in the Fall 2010 issue. What made this even more exciting for me is the fact that Issara is the cover for my particular storyline, Roxham Farm. I was already a fan of Twist Collective and of the artistry and designs in each issue. Now that I’ve experienced a small taste of what it’s like to be a designer in Twist, especially with the multiple layers of review that goes into each pattern, I am even more impressed.

Named after a good friend’s daughter (a Laotian name), Issara is a snuggly coat worked in bulky yarn with simple lines. The WOW factor lies within the back pleat and the oversized reversible cable collar that can be worn up, down, or somewhere in between.

The Idea & Design Process

Usually, when I design, I like to incorporate a feature element and/or versatility.  And since I’ve been on a reversible cables kick lately, I really wanted a garment with a dramatic reversible collar. Thus, Issara was conceived. While I had a clear idea of what I wanted, some of the key elements in the concept required some tweaking and experimentation during the actual pattern-writing and design process.

Collar

In order for the collar to lay nicely on the shoulders when worn down, it needed to flare a little – I really didn’t want a straight funnel collar. To make a nice flare, I knew that I would have to work increases into the actual cable pattern instead of bunching it all into the beginning or set up section of the collar. I experimented with a few types of increases into the cable pattern. Lifted increases won over other types of increases because it met 3 main criteria: (1) increases had to be as invisible as possible, (2) they had to compliment and work with the stitch pattern, and (3) they had to look good on both sides.

Waistline

Initially, I had intended the waistline to be a true empire waist. However, as I was working with it, I realized that the weight of the yarn in the skirt of the coat (especially with the pleat) may pull the waistline in a less than desirable way if I raised it to a true empire.  So, I change the plan a little and worked the waistline roughly about 1.5″ above a natural waistline so that there is still an elongated silhouette, but without having to carry the extra weight if it was set much higher.

p2-1 Issara sketch

Issara sketch

Pleat

Because the coat is worked in a bulky yarn, Twist editor Kate Gilbert and I had some concerns that the pleat might be a little too thick and cumbersome in the back with all the layers. I really wanted to keep the pleat because I think it gives a nice balance to the dramatic and slightly flared collar; thus, I was determined to make it work. I experimented a little and I figured out a way to thin out some of the bulk in the pleat folding process: I bound off every other stitch in the center panel of each side of the pleat 2 rows prior the pleat fold. The photos below show the differences (click to enlarge) between a regular pleat fold and my thinned out version.

Issara Swatch1 - front Issara Swatch3 - back

Close-Ups

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Photos above, clockwise from top left (click photos to enlarge): (1) work-in-progress shot of the skirt shaping; (2) the finished pleat from the private side (WS); (3) collar detail from the public side (RS); (4) collar detail from the private side (WS); (5) waist line and back pleat; (6) back view of coat with collar worn down

Overall, I found the sample a relatively fast knit. Seriously. I’m not just saying that because I’m the designer or as a fast knitter. It goes much faster than one anticipates because it’s worked in a bulky yarn. The slowest part of it, IMO, was the blocking, which took forever and a day to dry.  Next post: Tips/notes on modifications, blocking, etc.

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August is going to be an interesting month for me. First the good stuff:  In August, the Fall issues of  Twist Collective and Knitcircus will be published. I have a garment in each of those ‘zines and am very excited to see the final layout and photos of my garments. I will also be devoting much of August solely on a very large secret project that I’m cooking up.

Above Left: Snippet of one of the projects on the needles. You can see my draft pattern in the background. Right: Part of the main body of the 2nd project and a tiny sliver of a contrasting element. C’mon, did you really think I’d reveal the secret and actually show you details? This is all the hints I can give. Y’all will just have to be patient and wait for a few more days until the publications’ release.

And now, something not so exciting, but hopefully will be very good in the long run…I plan to start an elimination diet on Aug. 1. I’ve contemplated doing the diet for a while now, but I always came up with some sort of excuse and lacked the motivation. Given my lifelong problem with allergies, which seemed to have worsened in the last 2-3 years, I definitely need to do it now.

IMGP2242 For over 6 months, I’ve been undergoing Allergen immunotherapy. And while I’ve seen some minor improvements already, the process is slow, time-consuming, frustrating and not to mention, costly (insurance covers most, but those copays add up). The treatments involves me getting weekly injections of custom-formulated serums of chemical and environmental allergens. My allergist generally starts patients on a tiny, tiny injection (we’re talking about like 1 drop) serum that’s diluted to 1:5000 (1 part serum to 5000 parts saline). Whereas the majority of people tolerate that very well, I was so sensitive that I experienced an anaphylactic reaction to that first injection and the Doc had to administer epinephrine as a result. So, she had to take me waaaay down and started me on a 1:50,000 serum. I am finally on the 1:5000 serum that “normal” people tend to start on.

Anyway, even with the immunotherapy, the highest allowed prescription for Allegra (other allergy drugs like Claritin & Zyrtec do nothing for me), inhalers, Advair (low-dose steroid), lots of $$ spent on super expensive mattress covers & filters and regular sinus rinses, I still get random eczema, hives, and other allergy-related reactions and breakouts that require me to supplement with OTC drugs like Benadryl and Sudafed.

Whatever the cost, difficulty or inconvenience, I don’t want to ever go back to this:

I’m really tired of it all, especially since my allergies aren’t that controlled on top of all the medications I’m taking. I suspect that there are foods contributing to some of these other issues, whether I’m just sensitive or even truly allergic to them. I already know that I’m sensitive or allergic to sulfites, preservatives, citrus and some melons. While the process will be very hard as I’ll have to give up things I love to eat, I think (I hope) that in the end, I will be much happier, more energetic, sleep better and just be much healthier.  I am scheduled to have some food allergy testing done in December, and while food allergy testing can help, the tests can also register false positives and false negatives. With me playing my own food detective, I can probably pinpoint some of the other culprits and help my Doc to formulate a better diagnosis for me.

I actually suspect an allergy to cherries, one of my favorite summertime indulgences.

So with the Doc’s approval and my desire to have a better daily life, hopefully free of daily headaches, more energy, more sleep, better breathing and no more itching, I’ve committed myself to start the diet starting August 1.  After doing more research and reading, it appears that given my ultra-sensitivity to so many things, I will need to eliminate lots of foods that other people on elimination diets can eat, which is a bit of a dismay. 😦 Because of some of my known and tested allergies, I need to eliminate foods that are commonly associated with those allergies.  I’ll have to cut out all fruits, some of my favorite veggies and all grains (even rice or quinoa!) during the elimination period; it’s the only way that I can really test to see if I am sensitive or allergic to some of those foods.

The plan: Make my diet public to hopefully help me maintain the motivation. I’ll do a 3 week elimination period and only test low-suspect foods like broccoli, carrots, bananas and rice first. All other foods will be eliminated for 1 month before I start challenging and re-introducing them, slowly and one by one. I’ll be keeping a food diary of everything I eat (or rather, don’t eat!) and my reactions and how I feel everyday and before/after each meal.

Saying goodbye: It’s so hard to say goodbye to some of my favorite foods, and it’ll also be hard to see all the food-related post my foodie friends make on Twitter and Facebook. In “prepping” for this upcoming very restrictive diet, I downed lots of swiss cheese and a quart of ice cream in the span of 3 days. The rest of this week will be filled with indulgent meals of pasta, sweets, chocolate, breads, tofu and sushi.

Goodbye, my friends, I hope I get to see you again. I know that I may not taste some of you for a very long time, if ever again…

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