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Posts from the ‘knitbits’ Category

Whirlwind June…

June has been exactly like a summer storm. A bit scary, very unpredictable, fast-moving, and at times refreshing and beautiful. It has been an exhausting but inspiring month…

Norah and I spent the first half of the month consumed by TNNA! If you weren’t following our updates on Twitter you can see a wonderful recap thanks to the Hello TNNA wonder team (aka Team Rav!). This was a really cool addition to the show, and an excellent way for knitters at home to get a sense of what will be hot in the upcoming year. This was definitely the most busy, exciting TNNA I’ve attended, and I think it is thanks to all the NEW! We were of course very happy to unveil our Fall/Winter 2010 collection but it was also really fun to participate in new programs like the TIPS [Trends, Ideas and Products] info sessions and to see some first time exhibitors, especially Ysolda who set up a booth that made it feel like you had fallen into her Flickr stream! So fun! Norah and I visited often (see if you can find us…).

The minute we got back we had a photo shoot to think about! It was pure madness for a couple of days there. Deliriously tired, we knit the last few items frantically. This is me, on “vacation” (NOTE SUN PRECAUTIONS! WEAR SPF, EVERYBODY!!):

Even after several crippling beach knitting marathons, I still didn’t manage to finish before the day of the shoot! You can read the whole story here, I participated in the 2 Week Sweater Challenge that Kate at Twist Collective, who was also on deadline, dreamt up. For all the crazy stress, we ending up having a fantastic and easy photo shoot at one of our favorite Providence boutiques, Heir Antiques, which shares a space with Calico. We simply love owner/curator/raconteur Tyler’s aesthetic and he couldn’t be sweeter, which helps to make it a fun day rather than a draining one. Here is a sneak peek at Aidez, the sweater that was nearly in peril!

Have you made it this far?! This long post should give you some sense of how insane this month has been, and if you’re still reading, it is probably safe to say you’re genuinely curious about the goings-on of a design team! If SO, I highly recommend you get yourself a copy of Shannon Okey’s amazing new book The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design. It includes all the stuff I have learned along the way, a lot of new things I want to work on. Honestly, just reading it reminded me how very complex this (admittedly super fun) job can be! Inspiring in so many ways.

Okay! Over and out, see you in July!

Cirilia

Biff and Baffin, at the height of fashion!

Did you see today’s free pattern? Biff is based on Baffin, a baby pattern from Booklet #292 DK Baby.

I was completely tickled to see this video from the NY Times. This booklet is for the fashion forward baby, yo!

CR

Be a Sock STAR!

sockstar

Find more information and an entry form in KnitBits #300! Dig into your stash or head to your LYS for these eligible yarns: Berroco Sox, Berroco Sox Metallic, Comfort Sock and Ultra Alpaca Fine and start sketching, swatching, SCHEMING!

I’m busily preparing to head to Sock Summit 2009 where you can visit the Berroco booth (#418) to learn more about our sock yarn offerings or get inspired for your own sock yarn designs. I’m not much of a sock knitter but I am over the moon for sock YARNS for a lot of reasons. It’s affordable (so much yardage for so little money!), it’s not overly delicate, the colors and the cool striping effects are right up my alley and the finer weight makes a really wearable fabric. It’s also highly stashable!

Why do you love sock yarn? Let me know in the comments!

CR

Berroco Behind the Scenes

Working in the world of knitwear design means that your calendar is more than a little screwy. Deadlines and lead times require you to be mentally “out of season” pretty much all the time. I’ve modeled heavy alpaca sweaters in July, knit angora in August and sketched summery tanks in September. Perhaps the craziest part is photographing catalogs and pattern booklets for spring in the middle of New England autumn which is COLD! You’ve got to think warm thoughts! 

This was pretty easy for the first photoshoot of our spring collection. For Booklet #282 Latitude, we set up shop at a seaside hotel in Galilee, Rhode Island. Brisk October air was indeed whipping around us, but a steady diet of fried clam cakes and great nautical scenery made it feel like we were enjoying a particularly late summer vacation. Have a look: 

Be sure to subscribe to KnitBits for plenty more inside info about the Spring/Summer 2009 collection. We’ll be posting pictures, pattern information, audio slideshows and as always, free patterns galore. I have a few more behind the scenes videos to share here as well so stay tuned! 

CR

Sparkling spangles!

For this week’s KnitBits holiday greeting, I whipped up some festive holiday orbs! These yarn balls are so evocative, they simultaneously remind me of evergreens, presents, snowballs, ornaments…all things sparkly and bright! They were very easy to make, if you made Morty or don’t own a ballwinder, you can totally handle these holiday spheres. 

 

yarn-ball2

Start with a round object (Norah notes that crumpled up newspaper is a greener alternative to Styrofoam balls) and wrap as you normally would to form a yarn ball, turning every few wraps to ensure a nice round shape. Turn in small increments for a neat ball or turn at sharp angles for the randomized look featured here. 

I used a selection of Berroco Yarns: Ultra Alpaca, Pure Merino, Palace, Peruvia and Peruvia Quick, Inca Gold and Lumina. I started each ball with two shades of green. The next layer is the ornament layer–I chose jewel tones and bright primaries inspired by the traditional nose magnifying glass orbs. I finished each yarn ball with a few turns of shiny gold Lumina. Tuck each end into the layers so the yarn stays put. 

yarn-tree1

That’s it! To create a treescape stick a knitting needle through a shoebox and spear three yarn balls onto the needle, shish kabob style. Create mini spheres and thread them onto a strong plied yarn (like Ultra Alpaca) to create a colorful garland for your real tree. Attach a paper clip to hang them from the tree or simply display them in a glass vase or shallow bowl. Instant pretty! 

CR

new videos

Cirilia recorded some helpful videos for this week’s Knitbits.  All three relate to the free pattern, Rosebud (a lovely cardigan designed by Tonia Barry) but might be quite helpful if you need help picking up sts, have fear of bobbles or if you forget to put in buttonholes some day.

hints for picking up stitches

an after thought buttonloop

making a 4 stitch bobble

Gifting

Pretty much the moment I started at Berroco we’ve been talking about GIFTS. It started way back in September with tiny holiday sweaters and gift sets you could make on a budget. There was a bit of a debate over the propriety of verbing a noun (I maintain that it is okay in the case of ‘gifting’ and Dictionary.com agrees). This week we’ve decided to give our KnitBits subscribers a gift–a chance to win one of four baskets specially selected by members of the Berroco design team. No worries if you’re not already a subscriber, you can enter until 12 p.m. PST on December 15th (your entry will also sign you up for the KnitBits newsletter). 

 

 

Our baskets are totally idiosyncratic, though mine was a little conservative to begin with. It contained the yarn to knit Crotona in a watery blue shade of Cuzco since that is what I have been knitting for myself in between holiday gift knitting. After I saw the masterpiece Donna had whipped up, I knew I had to step up my game. 

I finally settled on a basket stuffed to the gills with two skeins of every color of Ultra Alpaca Fine. I threw in lots of Clover bamboo DPNs and Booklet #275 which is full of basic sock patterns. The idea was that you could knit socks for yourself or your friends all year long but I immediately came up with a billion other uses for the yarn. I think it would be perfect for crewel, the wool embroidery that is making a comeback. It would also totally rock on the rigid heddle loom–the high yardage (I just typed ‘yarnage’ by mistake, tee hee) and the nylon content are perfect for weaving with. 

 

If you can believe it, Elin, a Swedish blogger living in Melbourne is knitting a STRIPED CARDIGAN with it. This makes her a high priestess of patience IMHO and check it out, she’s not cutting any corners. My new year’s knitting resolution is to take a page from Elin’s book (blog) and knit simply but well. 

 

 

And since this is a blog entry about gifts and the holidays I may as well share my stance on it–it’s the knitter’s way, no? I have done exactly one Christmas where everyone got a handknit gift and it was a very harried December. This year I took the Buy Handmade pledge and have had a fabulous time visiting Etsy and places like Craftland. Now that the crafting pressure is off I’m more motivated than ever to knit for friends and family! I’m loving Closely Knit by Hannah Fettig and Knit One, Embellish Too by Cosette Cornelius-Bates.

Good luck to all us gift knitters! Remember to rest! 

CR

Staycation, all I ever wanted…

This week’s KnitBits, due out on Friday, is the second in a series of themed entries called the Recession Collection. Last week’s issue was a collection of 50 projects you can knit for under 50 dollars–a LOT less than 50 dollars in most cases.

 

Not a subscriber? KnitBits is a weekly newsletter that brings you free patterns and stories about the wide world of knitting. Browse our archives and if you like what you see, subscribe

 

The theme of this week’s issue is staycations–the sort of holiday you take when you can’t afford to jump on a plane headed for luxurious locales. Our feeling is that knitters know how to make the best out of a weekend on a couch. You can read our “travelogues” below but you’ll have to look for KnitBits #267 to see what Norah and Margery whipped up over the weekend. 


Favorite escapist movie:

 

N: Much Ado about Nothing with Kenneth Brannagh. I laughed, I cried, ……I sang!

 

M: Off the top of my head, month by month: Bell Book & Candle in December, Giant in January, All About Eve in February, Rebel Without a Cause in March, Vertigo in April, Splendor in the Grass in May, Rear Window in June, Dirty Dancing in July, A Walk on the Moon in August, Breakfast at Tiffany’s in September, The Body Snatchers in October,  La Strada in November.

 

C: Right now, Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette.” 

 

Favorite libation or wintery beverage:

 

N: Hot cocoa with a star anise pod thrown in.

 

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M: Just a nice glass of Chianti.

 

C: Pumpkin beer–bottled dessert!

 

A guilty pleasure snack or comfort food recipe:

 

N: Chocolate and honey toasted on good bread.

 

M: Tarmasalata (Greek caviar spread) on a tuscan cracker.

 

C: Grilled cheese made with Cotswold cheddar–a double Gloucester cheese with chives.

 

 

Who or what surrounds you on the couch?

 

N: Lena and Jake, some tapestry needles (fallen behind the cushions) and big comfy pillows.

 

M: Memories of my dear cat Fred.

 


 

C: A laptop playing episodes of the British comedy “Peep Show.” 

 

How do you unwind and shut out the world at the end of the work week?

 

N: I like to plant myself on the couch and watch long marathons of TV – like the Gilmore Girls or Project Runway.

 

M: We take Max, Olivia and Noah [Ed: Margery's son, daughter-in-law and beloved grandson] to our favorite Indian restaurant and we have a Bombay Sapphire Martini while Noah drinks a mango lassi and we all munch on pappadam. MMMMM!

 

C: Yoga and some difficult cooking–at least two hours in the kitchen! Last weekend it was matzo ball soup and the weekend before that was bourbon bread pudding. Okay, now my stomach is growling…

 


What does the knitting glitterati do behind close doors when they’re knitting for themselves and themselves alone?

 

N: When I’m really fried – garter stitch.

 

M: My new love is my sewing machine, so that is were I go to update my wardrobe.  When it is yarn I am craving in my hands, I crochet and felt, hats, bags and other vessels.

 

C: Like Margery, I’ve been ‘cheating’ on my needles…I spin or weave! It’s a good way to get a little instant fiber gratification without having to think about shaping or fit or gauge…as long as I’m touching yarn, I’m happy! And like Norah, I always love garter stitch. 

 

 

I hope you’ll join us–answer any of the questions you like, either in the comments or at your blog. 

 

Happy knitting,

 

CR

 

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