Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pretty sweater!

I have to allow myself a quick brag before I go off to visit one of my favorite dog friends. Here we have the completed sweater I made for my grandmother-in-law, following a pattern from Tahki Stacy Charles and using the tweed yarn Shannon, which unfortunately seems to have been discontinued, since I can't find it in the online shop. So pretty, though, isn't it? It's fun to follow a pattern for once, as opposed to the trial-and-error method of designing my own! (Though if I knit this sweater again, I think I'd alter the pattern to where I'd knit the sleeves in the round and the body in one piece so I wouldn't have to sew so many seams.)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Has the holiday season begun?

I sincerely hope so - and my sales are starting to reflect it. After a couple of practically dead months, they're finally picking up again. I'm actually feeling the stress of trying to actualize all my ideas for this fall and winter. That is definitely a good thing! It's amazing how a few sales can really take the sting out of being unemployed.
As for today's achievements - one pattern sale (catnip toys) and three listings: a new pair of men's gloves, a pattern for men's and women's gloves, and a men's beanie. I'm really working on stocking up on knits for men, because I've detected a real lack in that area. From my experience, men like handmade stuff just as much as women do, and it's a fun challenge for me as a woman to design and make guy-friendly items.
Speaking of, I'm thrilled about knitting a sweater for my husband using a pattern I found in The Ohio Knitting Mills Knitting Book. It's based off a 1952 dolman sweater produced at OKM. Since I have so much to do beforehand, it'll probably turn out to be a Hanukkah sweater, but oh well!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The now-infamous Meat Dress: my two cents

I don't generally keep up with celebrities or with the media in general. Lady Gaga is my exception. I adore her - she's creative, talented, driven, and totally self-made. She's also MY AGE, basically - 24. For somebody so young to achieve such renown and success is just incredible; even if you don't like her, I think you have to respect that. So that's where I'm coming from.

So PETA and other animal rights groups are up in arms about Lady Gaga's VMA outfit, which, in case you haven't heard, was made almost entirely of raw meat. As an avid animal-rights supporter myself, not to mention a vegetarian, I can kind of see why; much as I admire her guts (no pun intended), I look at that dress and I kind of want to throw up. Raw meat - ick! But I'm kind of puzzled about why these groups are so angry. This is the pop star who wore a suit made out of Kermit the Frog puppets as commentary on the fur industry - she's obviously not ignorant to animal suffering. And you could just as easily say that with the Meat Dress, she's making a similar statement.

It's made national news that Lady Gaga appeared wearing tons of animal flesh. But why? More celebrities than you could count wear fur, not to mention leather, and nobody cares. Somehow, it's okay if the flesh has been treated beyond recognition into a form that's palatable.

The same goes for "normal" people. Most of us eat meat and wear skin every single day. We get dolled up with cosmetics that were tested on animals. We take medications developed through animal testing, and we barely give it a second thought, except to feel guilty on occasion. I think one of the great dilemmas of our advanced age is the question "is it worth it?" Is all the suffering we inflict on animals (and one another) worth it?

So whatever Gaga "meant" to say with her fashion statement, I'm hoping some of us will come away with this thought: that if what we do is so horrifying, then maybe we shouldn't do it.

Monday, September 13, 2010


It's been bugging me for a while that my shop doesn't cater to other knitters and crocheters, and after taking a really long time to get around to it, I'm finally starting to offer some of my patterns in PDF format in my Etsy shop. So far I have one crochet pattern for cat toys and two knitting patterns - one for my men's beanie, another for my three-point capelet. I'm also playing with the idea of offering pattern kits, which would make awesome holiday gifts. I'm really fired-up about that idea, so they may be appearing soon!
And speaking of taking a really long time to do things - I've finally gotten over my irrational fear of designing fingerless gloves, so now I have an excellent pattern for gloves for both men and women. Just thinking about it gives me an ego boost! The white pair are my prototype, which I'm keeping; the navy and orange pair, modeled here by my supportive husband, are in my shop.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Another bear in South Africa, plus a new hat

Here's a bear I knit on my trip to New York a year ago - now in the hands of its child! I especially liked that one, because I knit up its "sweater" in colors that reminded me of the cornfields in Indiana, where I went to college. It's nice sometimes to see how interconnectedness plays out. :)
And, of course, here's the newest addition to my line of men's winter hats: burnt orange with navy Fair Isle design. I'll probably make a reversed version with orange on a navy background, for the guys who find orange too bright!

Goldilocks and the Three (Pairs of) Socks

That would be who I'm feeling like just now. I'm finishing my third pair of socks that were originally meant for Etsy, but none of the pairs have come out *quite* to my satisfaction. I'm not particularly bothered by this, since I get to keep and wear my own cast-offs - they're perfectly wearable, but I don't want to put any socks in my shop until they're PERFECT.
The first design, with the black stripes and blue and purple (yarn: Sockotta), came out way too big - but they'll work for layering over other socks. The second pair, with the yellow, orange and purple stripes (yarn: Regia Cotton), was a bit of an accident (I got careless and increased to far fewer stitches than I'd intended), but a happy one, since it fit me nice and snug. However, I realized after the instep increases that the socks weren't long enough, so I stuck in some extra rows before the heel. Really just a cosmetic flaw that only a knitter would notice - but I wasn't going to sell them like that! The black and red pair (yarn: Patons Kroy) were a lot of fun to make, but I knit more tightly than usual on them so they're a little too snug for me to feel comfortable selling (though comfortable enough for me to wear myself!). So now I'm thinking I'll add a few more stitches to the nice-and-snug pattern to compensate for my overly tight knitting, and we'll see what happens then.