Archive for the ‘designing’ Category

Gentle(wo)men, start your TV’s

Monday, July 9th, 2007

See this here messenger bag? I’ll be knitting it on Knitty Gritty. The episode I taped last December will air on HGTV on July 16, 7:00am ET/PT.

This time next week I’ll be cringing in front of the TV. All you East Coasters will have already seen it. I don’t know how it works for those in the middle of the US (do you have electricity? ). Us West Coasters will have 15 more minutes before it starts.

You’ve been warned.


Saturday, June 30th, 2007

This here sock has been taking up all my spare knitting time for the past month. It’s my entry for the Hill Country Yarns Sock Pattern Contest. Meet Brancusi.

I had been all coy about showing it in progress, but now that it’s been submitted, I’m all for showing it off. I won’t know until August 31st if it was selected as a winner. I’m pretty darn proud of it. It took three sock sketches to arrive at the final pattern combination.

I graphed it out on June 2, the day we arrived back from Paris and started knitting it then. It’s been full-steam ahead since then, stealing 20 minutes at breakfast before work, a round or two between meetings and before-bed toiling. I’m at the heel flap of the second sock, so that should be finished within a week or so.

Inspired by Brancusi’s “Endless Column” these socks serve as support and compliment to one of the world’s greatest pieces of art: you. A densely knit, top-down sock with a hemmed stockinette cuff, a geometric twisted stitches and traveling cable pattern, an eye of partridge heel flap and anatomically-correct toes.

While they could be knit with a finer yarn, the thick Instant Gratification yarn and small needles pay tribute to the solidity of materials explored in Brancusi’s work, resulting in a long-lasting, hard-wearing, handsome, sturdy sock. The yarn tag calls for US4-6, but I needed 64 stitches for the pattern and didn’t want a baggy sock. That’s right, some DK-weight knit on US2/3.0mm!

Special thanks to the following inspiration peeps:

  • To Cat Bordhi, for demystifying sock knitting with two circulars.
  • To Rachael “Yarn-a-go-go” Herron, for helping me grow and stretch my mind as a designer.
  • To Sile, of Knit One One for hosting and getting my butt into Rachael’s class.
  • To Eunny Jang, for sharing the joys of traveling stitches in her Bayerische socks (now I gotta finish mine!)
  • To Stephanie “Yarn Harlot” Pearl-McPhee, for showing me my first eye of partridge heel and hemmed stockinette cuff
  • To Vogue Knitting Magazine’s Stitchionary Volume 2, for feeding my cable habit.

Does this make me look ripped?

Monday, February 12th, 2007

I’m finally wearing this weekend’s cashmere purchase, and I’m in heaven. I never knew goats could feel so lovely! It’s warm. It’s light. It’s soft. It’s dreamy. And I only paid $62 (after discount and gift certificate) for it. Cheaper than 3.5 balls of sock yarn!

Do you want to see a picture? Go here. I’ve got the chocolate one, two pictures down, only I don’t look like the lonely, pouty, skinny boy sitting on the wooden walkway. He’s probably starving… since he spent all his lunch money on the sweater.

Now, here’s my conundrum. In looking over the construction, this machine-knit baby was made like we make sweaters. The pieces are seamed together and you can easily see the selvage. This means, one could easily rip it out and re-use the yarn. The 100% cashmere worsted-weight yarn. I could buy a large or extra-large for $150. A lot of money, yes, but cheaper than buying the yarn from Jilly Knitwear or any LYS. Then, I’d design my own sweater. Or make baby objects. Or knit who knows what.

Waste of money? Fashion sacrilege? Saavy shopper? Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grow my stash with couture yarn chosen by a friend? What would you do?

Phat Thread (yarn) and Threadless

Monday, December 11th, 2006

A big, huge THANK YOU to Scout. (Wish her Good Luck on her KG shoot tomorrow afternoon!) The yarn she made for me arrived today… well, it arrived at my desk. I think it came late Friday or over the weekend, but since work wasn’t open, I didn’t get it until this morning. I’ve already posted her photo and will post my own when I get it balled up. There were a few other new things in her package: one notion, one car decoration and some smelly samples that I look forward to using.

However, a less tangible new thing, and something that will take up infinitely more time in my life is I’ve known about this crowd-sourcing, online t-shirt design community and even considered buying pieces. However, there was a story on NPR this morning, then an email from the VP of Marketing, so I decided to poke around and create an account.

I am hooked. I could spend hours trolling this webby/nerd/hipster zeitgeist. The kids these days. In my infinite spare time, I imagine trying my hand at a design or two. I haven’t seen much knitting imagery, and God knows we’re what’s happening, right?

What could make Threadless better? They’re having a $10/shirt sale right now. Seriously. It’s on until Thursday at 11am CST. Get your (cheap) inexpensive holiday shopping on!

It’s a wrap!

Friday, December 1st, 2006

I’ve been home for twenty-four hours and I’m still glowing from my Knitty Gritty trip to SoCal. Pardon the hyperbole, but I could never have imagined it would be so freakin’ great! Speaking of great, superwoman, working mom, and gracious host Vickie Howell not only shot two shows over a twelve-hour work day, she found time to write it up on her blog (with a lovely prom photo of us!).

But, let’s start with Sonya, pictured here. I couldn’t choose just one adjective to describe her. Our emails and phone calls as we arranged for me to be on the show were pleasant enough, but meeting her in person exceeded all expectations. She made me feel like a star, when it’s really her and and Vickie and the crew who deserve the spotlight. Thank you, Sonya for welcoming, rehearsing, cheerleading, writing, encouraging, smiling, laughing, and making it all happen!

And a huge round of applause and buckets of gratitude to (pardon the misspellings) Calsie, Kenyetta, Andri, Dave, Joy, Alexandra (wardrobe?), Jim (sound?), Suzy, Stephanie, Kelly, Gordon. I never caught the names of the three cameramen, the lighting guy or the other fellows wandering around, but they were lovely!

I was nervous, fearing I’d talk to too quickly, forget a “golden nugget” of knitting wisdom, or knit less-than gracefully. I was a little tired, too. I also stayed up to 1:30 the night before rushing to knit up my last step-out.

Originally, I had done a detail of the bag, but because it was the last step-out before the “hero” finished project, it was confusing to just have two inches of knitting. It would look better as an almost finished bag or twenty inches. I spent over an hour before cameras rolled grafting my newly-knit bottom of the bag to the detail. Despite the stress, the shoot went flawlessly and we were done long before lunch! Not bad for Day 2 of the shooting, eh?

Other highlights include the fabulous Knitsters who spent their morning knitting up my project. Although they had never met, they got along famously and I wish I got to sit back with them on that uncomfortable couch and knit with them! Thank you, David, Kristen and Aaron—I want to see your finished bags!

I got to meet some other guests, including Art Yarns’ Iris Schreier (who was the only show shot on Day 1), John Brinegar of Yarn Ball Boogie (who shot after me). During lunch, who should arrive (and dine in the parking lot with us) but Ms. Amy Singer, who we all know and love from! She taped this morning, another one of Sonya’s charges.

But, the biggest surprise of my time there was the short, bald man with a really big lens who wandered in while I was rehearsing. I asked Sonya if I could stop to go say hello to him, as I recognized him immediately. I mentioned him yesterday as John’s imported (from Chicago) entourage, but you’ll have to go to my flickr page to see him named. I don’t want to contribute to any knitting blogger gossip/drama/scandal, but he flew out to meet John for the first time in person!

We cackled and giggled together while John was rehearsing and shooting. He’s a sweetheart who I’ve admired from afar and, after only a few short hours, would consider it an honor to be his friend. Color me touched that he gave me his email address with a little drawing of his fluffy friend.

Our recent comments on each others’ blogs prove that you shouldn’t lurk. Be brave and write people if you like what you read! Speaking of which, I’ll email you back, Stephanie (you were much more productive in your non-NaNoWriMo-ness than me), Scout (I Sonya big time!) and J.P. (She’s terribly fun, professional and a-freakin-dorable… and she has great red suade platform heels).

It’s late now. To quote the show, “Knit on!” Nighty-night.

Grady’s Great Toque

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

Here’s a hat that’s a year overdue. Last Fall, my work sent me to Poland to work on a Habitat for Humanity project in Gdansk. While there, I churned out some simple head coverings for two of the women working for the local affiliate, a manly birthday cap and one for a special Cana(r)dian friend.

Grady, a coworker and my roommate there, wanted a hat of his own. I didn’t want to just make any old thing for him, but I didn’t know what I did want. While browsing through Elsebeth Lavold’s Viking Patterns for Knitting in search of cables for the Durrow-inspired hoodie I’m making Betsy, I saw something I wanted to try on. The charts in the book are amazing, while the overall patterns themselves aren’t necessarily things I’d want to make.

Combine the S-cable discovery with the locally-produced yarn procured from the Hoe’s Down Festival a few weeks back, and I was off and running.

The result, a mishmash (as opposed to an original design) of basketweave brim (heck, I had never knit that stitch heretofore!) with the cables in the frost-covered-soil hues of the corriedale aran yarn. There was an ever-so-slight prickliness to the wool, so I added a liner of cashermere/merino Halfdome leftovers.

I’m not sure if it’s the handsome impact of the natural-colored yarn, the complex cables and textured brim, or the cozy liner on the inside, but I’m sad to let this hat go. That said, I couldn’t imagine a better guy to give it to. I guess he deserves one of my favorite items ever knit.

A few more photos on my page


Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006

Thanks so much for the comments! You make me want to write more… if only I were knitting something to write about! Man-on-man knitting love to:

This weekend I’ll try to get up a knitting blog links in my sidebar ’cause I want to link you fine fellows (and a few other knitters I read).

Oh, and a little note-to-self for an sock I’d like to design: inspired by Spun Magazine’s pattern (found via Whip Up—handcraft in a hectic world), I want to make a more handsome and higher-ankled male geisha sock for chilly NorCal flip-flop wearing in earth tone colorways.

MenKnit#2 has arrived

Sunday, January 8th, 2006

At long last, MenKnit’s second issue is out. Which means my felted (bike) tubular messenger bag pattern is free for all to see!Messenger Bag in action

So this is what it feels like to be published! I encourage everyone to consider submitting to future issues. We need more patterns by men out there. Thank you, Tricky and Dan!

Nice work, to everyone involved!


Monday, October 31st, 2005

Who knew submission could feel so good?

This past summer, when the men’s issue of Knitty was announced, I considered throwing my hat in the ring. Procrastination and other knitted distractions never got the sketches and swatches made into a completed item. However, my jaw droppd when I saw a very similar pattern that did get published. I still believed in my pattern, specifically, one innovative element.

Then, the good fellows at MenKnit were getting ready to publish their inaugural issue. Some hasty knitting, a flurry of emails, and a fast-approaching deadline saw the birth of my dream, save some felting. The next thing I knew, I was in Poland and Eastern Europe for three weeks, and there was no way I could felt across the ocean.

That leads us to today, the deadline for MenKnit volume 2. No rushing around this time. I sleep deeply last night, nary a worry on my mind. I tweaked, edited and finessed the pattern all weekend (words are hard!) and spent yesterday over a washing machine felting the crap out of the item. After two months of just sitting around, all loose and baggy (it’s knit on 17s), my little project has evolved into its durable, dense self.

Just the process of creating one’s own pieces and the excitement of submitting it to a publisher has been worth it. No photos until after publication (if I’m so lucky), however if you see me in person, bug me about it.

 But there’s no rest for the weary. I still have a couple of sweater designs to turn in, a sweater for myself to finish, and a pom-pom to attach then send the hat off to Prague.

first foray into freeform

Friday, October 7th, 2005

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve been on here. I’ve been out of the country for the past three weeks, but that’s not to say I didn’t get any knitting done!

Since I was travelling, I didn’t want to bring a big project (like the aran that’s begging to be finished) or something complex (another self-designed piece).

DominikaSo, I grabbed a bunch of different yarns, one set of circular needles and assumed that I’d find some downtime to whip out some hats.

Five hats later, here’s pictures of three of them and the happy recipients.

First, we have Dominika the intern:

The cream yarn was a bit small for the 13s I brought. And I was a little overzealous in my casting on. It will make a soft and warm place to tuck her hair up into during the Polish winters.


MonikaNext, there’s Monika, the H4H Gdansk staffer.  I was pleasantly surprised by the cacophonous harmony of the colors and textures. It’s a nice contrast to her hard, engineer, stern exterior.


I guess I should explain that I was working on a house for Habitat for Humanity. Construction worker/drywaller extraordinaire by day, fervent knitter by night. 


Andy's Birthday Hat (back)The last hat for today (I am awaiting photos for the other two) was made on during a train ride to Krakow, just in time for Andy’s birthday the next day. He’ll be wearing this with pride (no, not that kind) back in Syracuse. Probably my favorite of the bunch. Let’s hear it for caring multiple pieces of yarn together… it was dense. 

Who needs a pattern? I started knitting just a year ago with a hat, on the very needles I brought to Poland. It was a fitting way to end my first year.