Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Nothing Like A Fresh Cake

I've wound a lot of skeins of yarn in my day, and I get some pretty lopsided, mangy looking messes coming off my swift. More often than not, I find myself untangling yarn that wound too loose and fell into the gears of the winder, or weaving errant ends out of the swift because they've somehow found their way over and under a whole skein and if I try to wind it, they just get tighter and tighter. I can spend an hour untangling a ball of yarn that just didn't agree with the winder or the swift—beautiful yarns that are silky and resilient and wonderfully lofty (you wouldn't think so, the way they behave!). They are as stubborn as I am, so it becomes a battle of patience and time. And you can't let the yarn win.

...becomes this
Yarn is beautiful knit up, but I might venture to say it is prettiest in a cake. When you wind yarn the right way, it forms a perfectly squat, cylindrical little cake that is neither too tight or too loose, and absolutely beautiful in its perfection.This can be especially true with multicolored yarns. Sometimes you buy a multicolored yarn that looks beautiful in the hank, then you wind it and it looks even more beautiful in the skein, then when you knit it something goes... wrong. The colors don't line up the way you thought, or they pool together in clumps, or they don't mix as well in the knitting as they did in the skein. I bought yarn that was pink, spring green and light brown that looked absolutely beautiful in the skein, but when I looked up projects on ravelry, I saw socks that had been knit with it and they looked like the stuff that comes out of a baby, and I don't need to tell you which end of the baby (it's both ends).

Not this kind of cake. Though I sometimes wish it were.

So yarn might be at its best in a cake. It still has all the potential for being absolutely anything, and it still looks good. If you liked the color when you bought it, well, it hasn't changed much yet for you to feel differently about it. And a cake of yarn is anything. It's a hat, gloves, scarf, sweater—it hasn't committed to anything yet. It's still just a spark, and there's nothing better than that really. It can't disappoint and it can't be a let down—it's just not possible yet—but it can be everything good you can think of. That's pretty amazing. What is even more amazing is if you start knitting with it and it doesn't turn out like you thought it would, well, you can rip it out and start over. Although, it's never again that perfect cake. You can't wind it back exactly the way it was when it came fresh off the winder.
Like this. 

That's a perfect little cake of yarn, if you weren't sure what a cake of yarn was. It used to be in a big long hank, then it turned into that.
Incidentally, I've already started two different hats with it, neither of which pleased me, and so I ripped them out. I've decided I need to design a hat, but I've never really designed a hat before, not beyond a very basic, ribbing-on-the-bottom-stockinette-in-the-body hat. Like a real design, with design features, maybe a cable? I tried something initially and The Doo told me it looked like something they put on patients who are getting tests on their brain. So of course I had to rip it out.
I'm having one of those weeks where I think I can't design anything and I look at all the young designers on ravelry and get depressed at how great they are, and how seemingly quickly they got where they are, and I wonder why I bothered learning something so late, with no art background and no innate understanding of design or clothing structure. I feel like I can never catch up, and maybe I don't really have anything to offer.
And then I look at my perfectly squat little cake, and feel just a teeny bit better.


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Monday, January 30, 2012

knittingwithfloss.com is now flossieknits.com!

I've just transferred my blog over for the sake of consistency, so now everything is flossieKNITS, whether it's facebook, ravelry, blogger or twitter. My blog will still be called Knitting with Floss, but expect more features on the webpage flossieKNITS.com in the future, like free and paid pattern downloads, a handy-dandy About page, and a photo album of all my projects (all courtesy of my tech-saavy brother, Ralph). I figure since there aren't that many of you reading this (yet, hopefully), you probably won't get lost in the Interwoods.
See you soon!

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Crochet Dude Wants To Go All The Way

Have a great Saturday!

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Wearable Meals

It's not exactly my taste (pun fully intended), but it is brilliantly done.

© Ashley Gerst
Scarf meals, or meal scarves, done by Ashley Gerst (pineapplesauce knits on etsy).

That would be my problem—I'd try to eat it (© Ashley Gerst)
If you'd like to buy a delicious scarf, check out her store!

Yummy crafting!

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Hack a Knitting Machine!

I really meant for this to be an in-depth post that included instructions and fun links and pictures and what-not. But I am exhausted. Drop. dead. exhausted.
Not only that, but I'm also embarrassed to admit I don't quite understand how this hacked knitting machine works, because a machine, when opened, has a complete, tiny universe inside that functions on a microscopic level through energy fields, magic and wishes made on unicorn horns. I mean, am I right? I'm right. They scrape the magic out of the bone marrow and that's why there are no more unicorns and that's why the world is fresh out of magic.
See? I'm tired y'all.
This guy Andrew Salomone is a mechanical genius who figured out how to hook up a knitting machine to a computer in order to create custom, photo-realistic knitwear. Seriously. Unicorns.
He made this "identity preserving" balaclava with his hacked knitting machine, and it creeps me the hell out, but is awesome nonetheless.
© Andrew Salomone
Andrew is a pretty amazing artist outside of his hacked knitwear, creating Tina Fey portraits out of nerds, an embroidered sweater with all of Amy Winehouse's tattoos, and a portrait of Bill Cosby made out of jello cups. But my favorites, of course, are his machine knits.
© Andrew Salomone
That would be a lot of work if you were handknitting. Thank god there's a HACKED KNITTING MACHINE TO DO IT FOR YOU.
If you'd like to learn how to tame a unicorn, steal it's horn, and hack a knitting machine, here's a helpful video.

Happy Hacking!

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Crafting Quickie #2: Knit the Sky!

My recent Olek post was reblogged by Katonah Yarn Company, located only an hour upstate from me (yay, I have a reader!) and I couldn't be more thrilled. A new yarn store I have to visit, huzzah! Ahh NY, I do love you. Although... they said I was a guest post from 'across the pond,' which I only just noticed. At first, I thought that meant they were in the UK (I got really excited that I had a UK reader—remember when I thought I didn't?), but then I saw that they were indeed in NY, so I guess they think I'm in the UK. This is the second time this week someone thought I was in the UK. Bloody hell!
Anyway, I saw something on their site that I first saw a while back, but I don't think I ever spread the information here. It's the perfect Crafting Quickie, if I do say so myself.

Meet the Sky Scarf!

©Katonah Yarn
The Sky Scarf is a genius design thought up by Lea Redmond at Leafcutter Designs. I think it might be my favorite idea for a beginner project as you are only knitting one row per day (although, if you get obsessed like me that won't be enough).
Basically, the idea is that you knit the sky. You look up, take note of the color, and knit two rows in the color of the sky. The next day, you do the same thing—pick whichever color matches the sky, and knit with it. And so on and so on, until you have a scarf. 
Instructions for the scarf can be found here, but definitely check out Leafcutter Designs as Lea is doing amazing things with Conceptual Knitting. To see some sky scarves in action, check out the Conceptual Knitting Flickr group. It's fun when you learn where people live in relation to their sky scarves.
Katonah Yarn Company has teamed up with Lea to offer kits to make your sky knitting even easier; you can buy them here. I'm going to buy a kit when I visit Katonah in the very-near future.

So... was it good for you?


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Happy Birthday Mozart!

It's your 256th birthday! Thank you for making my days sound better. Way better.

© Sothe2462 on Flickr
Click through to see more famous composer pigs (knit with Anna Hrachovec's mochimochi pig pattern)
Happy Knitting!

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Stitch Red and Jimmy Beans Wool

I love Jimmy Beans Wool. If you're a knitter, you should too. It is truly, honestly my absolute favorite knitting store, ever. I could go on and on about their insanely amazing customer service, or their Willy Wonkian-selection of yarns, or their incredibly interactive, user-friendly, highly navigable website, but I won't. You'd never get to the end of this blog post if I did.
Suffice it to say, I've never actually set foot in their store. I've worked in an actual yarn store, and their store is still my favorite store in the entire world. I dream about one day going to Reno just so I can visit and meet all the people I feel like I know already (I don't need Vegas if I got yarn!).
So I am all too happy to dedicate this post to an amazing cause that Laura Zander, owner of JBW, started to fight heart disease.

It's called Stitch Red and it aims to "inform women of the dangers of heart disease, encourage them to lower their risk factors and help them stay heart healthy." Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States.

The project is joined by many great names in the knitting industry: Interweave Knits (another personal favorite), which is generously donating 5% of the profits from these patterns to The Heart Truth,  a National Awareness Campaign for Women About Heart Disease; Berroco, which has designated a shade of red in their yarns as a Stitch Red product; Namaste, which has designated a nifty red accessories pouch for the cause; Artyarns, which has turned one of their most beautiful shades of crimson into a Stitch Red color; and there are many more—too many for me to list, really. Jimmy Beans has gathered up over a dozen partners. You can find them here, with their Stitch Red contributions here. All partners will be donating 5% of the profits from their designated Stitch Red products to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.

Lantern Moon's Stitch Red Clutch (© Jimmy Beans Wool)
As if that weren't enough, Stitch Red has teamed up with the biggest, hottest knitters in the design world to produce the Knit Red Book, a coffee table book with 30 patterns for red garments and accessories, all of which have been generously donated by the designers, who share tips on how to stay heart healthy as well as their personal experiences with the disease.
© Jimmy Beans Wool
The list of designers is insane: Jared Flood, Debbie Bliss, Stephen West, Ysolda Teague, Iris Shreier, Debbie Stoller, Ann Norling, Debbie Newton, Trisha Malcolm, Cecily G. MacDonald, Deborah Norville, Martin Storey, Melissa Morgan Oakes, Diane Soucy, Amy Swenson, Daniela Johannsenova, Andrea Jurgrau, Maia Landra, Barry Klein, Sarah Hatton, Kristen Ashbaugh-Helmrich, Kim Hargreaves, Kit Hutchin, Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton, Jeanne Giles, Tanis Gray, Kieran Foley, Norah Gaughan, and the list is growing. 
As if that weren't enough. 
You can find out more about the designers here.
The book will be available in June of this year, and I will be sure to post an update as soon as it is available. You can find out more information about Stitch Red here
And please, if you can, like Stitch Red on Facebook, follow them on Blogger, Twitter, and Ravelry, and spread the word.
In the meantime,

Happy, healthy hearts!


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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Out and About in NYC!

Yesterday The Doo and I took a break from our otherwise busy and oft-Serendipity style (as in the 2001 John Cusack romantic comedy) lives to take a lunch date in the city. If you haven't seen that movie—good for you! It was awful! But it was all about two people just barely running into each other. Despite the fact that we live together, The Doo and I have the misfortune of suffering from exactly that.
We barely see each other! It's astounding, truly. Busy, busy bees. He's got his comedy hive and I have my knitting-air cargo-craft blogging hive. Did you know that was my hive? It is. It's a crazy hive.

Don't ask me why we match
As you can see, I wore my Clapotis scarf (which I call my Clapo-me, because I'm lame), which kept me surprisingly warm despite how light and airy it is. God bless that Sea Silk.
We went to Cafe Sabarsky, located inside the Neue Galerie on the Upper East Side. I love small, intimate museums much better than big museums—they're less crowded, more personal, and there are usually no big, loud school groups. I like my art with a side of silence.
We first discovered the cafe and museum upon trying to visit the Guggenheim only to find it closed. We are the King and Queen of Happy Mistaken Discoveries.
The Neue Galerie is focused on German and Austrian art and design, so of course I love it. From Bauhaus to your house, ammaright? It's a matter of course that the Sabarsky serve Viennese food.

The first time we went to the Sabarsky, they were all out of Bavarian pretzels. It was really uncalled for. I was extremely disappointed. I would not be a good (1/4) German if I didn't get a Bavarian pretzel at a Viennese cafe. My Papa done taught me well.
So this time, I got my pretzel and sausage.

If you've never had a real Bavarian pretzel, I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry for you. They are unbelievably delicious. That beautiful, crackly, caramel-colored exterior is wafer thin and tastes salty and butter soaked. The inside is a whoooooole other story. The inside, which you might assume to be leaden and thick like most NY pretzels, is actually as light, moist and airy as a croissant.
There is nothing more delicious than a real Bavarian pretzel. Nothing. Don't fight me on this.
And those are pork and milk-fed veal sausages. Also, yum.
The Doo decided on a smoked trout and horseradish with creme fraiche crepe, no less delicious than my lunch (minus the pretzel). (See above for: NothingIsMoreDeliciousThanMyPretzel)

And between the two of us we split a salad...                              (The Doo had a cucumber soda)

...and some apple strudel, mit schlag.

Do yourself a favor. Visit the Sabarsky.

After the Sabarsky, we went for a walk along Lexington Avenue, where we discovered the most glass bottle sodas I have ever seen in my entire life. And I grew up in a house where the entire top shelf of the fridge was stocked with glass bottle sodas. Still is. I kid you not.
I went home to get proof
I don't lie. And that's only been reduced recently, now that there are no kids in the house. It used to be rolling hills of coke, far as the eye could see.
Anyway, this place had way more cokes than my parents have, and the cokes hailed from all over the world.
Chelles, France perhaps?
There were so many kinds of glass bottle cokes. And a lot of them had stickers on them to tell you where they came from.
Did I mention that we are the King and Queen of Happy Mistaken Discoveries?

The coke bottles belong to the Lexington Candy Shop, located on the corner of Lexington Avenue and 83rd street in Manhattan. It's a luncheonette that was established in 1925, and according to the website, "Our display includes Coca Cola toy trains and trucks, as well as unusual bottles and cans.  The bottles are generally from U.S. regional celebrations and sporting events, while the international cans and bottles show the global side of Coca Cola.  Our display is constantly growing through our own acquisitions as well as 'gifts and donations' from our customers and visitors." 
They also have a vintage 1940 Hamilton Beach milkshake mixer, coffee urns from 1948, a soda fountain from 1948, and decor lovingly managed to maintain vintage authenticity.
We loved it. And we never even stepped inside.

 Although you can be damn sure that's where we're going for our next luncheon date. I really should have taken more coke pictures. It was a corner diner, so there were 3 full windows of cokes.
After that, I got a haircut. See that rat's nest of hair? No more!

I apologize for the lack of crafting in this post. But it's a late-in-the-day, borderline weekend post, so that's ok, right?

Happy living!

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Crafting Quickie #1: Doily Lights!

I'm starting to realize that my blog posts are either fairly long, or short and sweet. Like, Hey here's this thing I like, wanna like it too? Ok bye.
So I'm starting the Crafting Quickie series in the hope of identifying such posts so that my reader will know exactly what he/she is in for when he/she clicks over. I imagine these Crafting Quickies will happen mostly around lunchtime because, you know, afternoon delight and all.
And yes, I said reader, because I'm convinced there is only one of you.
A tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing blah blah blah.
In my recent internet trolling, I came across this lovely woman's blog in which she talks about upcycling doilies to use as light covers. Her name is Shannon South and she's a designer who specializes in using recycled materials "to create beautiful, long-lasting, well-made products that positively impact the environment and the people who use and make them." Her line, reMade USA, is in pursuit of that dream.
Well, I honestly can't think of a better use for doilies. Honestly. I can't. Because doilies, seriously? I don't have much use for them otherwise. But these light covers really are beautiful. 
© Shannon South

© Shannon South
I do love what it does to the ceiling.
© Shannon South
To see more of Shannon's work, click here.
To read about the doily covers and see Shannon's blog, click here

Was it good for you?

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Olek is back!

As if she ever went away!
If you're an avid reader of knittingwithfloss (which none of you are), then you may remember the last time I referenced crochet master Olek when she covered a piano in rapid-fire crochet.
Olek is the Johnny Appleseed of crochet, I'm convinced of it. She's traversing this planet and dropping crochet seeds everywhere she goes, carpeting all open surfaces with neon, multi-colored treble crochets. In fact, rumor has it Olek has already covered her entire apartment in crochet (more on this later). 
© Olek
Regardless, Olek is spreading the gospel of crochet across the globe. As she says on her website, "Hour after hour my madness becomes crochet. Life and art are inseparable. The movies I watch while crocheting influence my work, and my work dictates the films I select. I crochet everything that enters my space. Sometimes it's a text message, a medical report, found objects."
I have to say it. When I first read that statement, I immediately thought of a video The Doo made a while back that still cracks me up:
I don't know if it's the "hour after hour my madness becomes crochet" bit, but I'm sure someone could film her in black and white furiously crocheting with her narrative playing and it would be Bergman genius.
Anyway, the point of this post was to spread the word that Olek has a new show opening at Tony's Gallery in the UK. Go Olek! Craft on with your fibery self!
The show opens today, if I have any readers in the UK (I have no readers in the UK) and is called (wait for it)...

Oh, Olek. Be still my heart.
Apparently she has crocheted whole rooms with crocheted objects in them, as well as covering the floors and walls in crochet. She has also crocheted her trademark messages into the work, examples of which can be seen in the first photo up top. She uses a lot of text messages she has received and many of them are dirty, which she feels is exemplary of the sexism inherent in the world today.
Oh, Olek. Be still my heart.
Later this year, Olek will be featured in the Smithsonian American Art Museum exhibition 40 under 40, in which she will be displaying her crocheted studio apartment... and I assume that means her entire apartment is covered in crochet. My first thought goes to the bathroom, and what must be happening there, but I guess I'll have to wait until the exhibit opens later this year to find out.
Here's some random Olek...
I love what she did here....
© Olek
....and this truly terrifies me
© Olek
Whatever she's doing, I love it. She's elevating crafters everywhere. 
I'll leave you with this image of a London taxi cab that ran into Olek. You don't run into Olek and walk away uncrocheted.

© Tony's Gallery
Happy (existentialist) crocheting!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Vogue Knitting Live 2012 #3: Mochimochi!

Well, because I posted the earlier link for VK crochet amigurumi zodiac patterns, I figured now is as good a time as any to post the wonderful mochimochi display Anna Hrachovec made for VKL 2012.
It was HUGE. A gigantic snowball fight that looped around on two tables. In case you can't read it, the sign on the lower righthand side of the picture says "NAUGHTY ADOLESCENT GNOMES MAKE A PG-13 STATEMENT." I think you should be able to make out the statement.
I for some reason become too excited to do anything but gape at things and squeal to myself like a little pig, so I rely on The Doo to be photographer. I have him to thank for all these pictures.
It was Snowmen vs. Gnomes, and it was amazesnowballs. 
There were all these little details, I could have stood there for an hour if not for the siren song of yarn calling me from stand after stand.
These gnomes got knocked out
I was really astonished by the depth of her imagination and her ability to sculpt it into reality. This was my absolute favorite scene. 
I can feel the effort those little, black twig arms are making to push that snowball

These next two images aren't mine, but I had to include them because they are really incredible.

Eat it Gnomey. EAT IT!! (pictures © Anna Hrachovec)
The tables have turned! (pictures © Anna Hrachovec)
I love how she made the fire. And I really, really love the snowman choking the gnome out on a snowball. Very up my alley. 
I especially love that it's amigurumi without the crocheting—while I'm fairly proficient in crocheting, the knit option is a blessing. And all of Anna's work is knit!

© Anna Hrachovec
I was given her book Knitting Mochimochi as a gift a while back, and it really is a great introduction to the craft. I especially love the fat little grouchy couch.

She's really become a master at this tiny art.

She also sells kits if you don't want to commit to a large project, with yarn and stuffing included. I recommend the tiny burger
I kind of want to make it just so I can tell people I'm on a diet, then when it's time to eat, I can say I brought my own food and pull it out of my pocket. Yeah, I want to be that girl.

You can follow Anna's work here—she's currently working on some tiny sushi!

Happy tiny crafting!

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Gong Hei Fatt Choi!

I almost forgot - Happy Chinese New Year!
If you'd like to make your own Chinese zodiac animal, Vogue Knitting has a free crochet pattern waiting to be downloaded. All the animals are made from the same body (except for the snake); the only difference is in the features. Enjoy!

© Vogue Knitting

And remember, this year should be extra-prosperous as it's the year of the Dragon—the only mythical animal on the zodiac.

Happy Crocheting!

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Sweaters... for Chickens!

Yeah, you heard me. Sweaters for chickens. Apparently, hens produces a certain number of eggs and after about a year, they moult all of their feathers. The feathers grow back, but it takes anywhere from 3-6 weeks. It's during this period of time that egg producers usually send their birds to slaughter because they are no longer producing eggs, but still need to be fed.
Enter Jo Eglen, the woman behind Little Hen Rescue in the UK. She takes in chickens during the moulting period and houses and feeds them until they regrow their feathers. The hens never produce the same number of eggs—it reduces year on year—but they are still productive, bald or not.
So... chicken sweaters! I love it!
© Jo Eglen
It's unclear why the chickens lose their feathers; it might be stress, or they may just be shedding them. Whatever the reason, chicken sweater = adorable.

If you'd like to knit your own chicken sweater, click through for the pattern. I think Jo is full-up on sweaters for right now, but you can sign up to be included on the next email blast. I think a chicken sweater is a pretty great first project, all things considered.

Chicken sweaters!

Do you think I could turn that into a thing? Like, instead of "Aww, shucks," start saying, "Aww, chicken sweaters."

I think it's doable.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Knitting for the Super Bowl and the Naptown Knitters

Super Bowl organizers have created a program called "Super Scarves" to provide scarves to volunteers in order to keep them warm. They initially wanted 8,000 scarves, but received over 13,000, sent in from all over the world.
I think the most inspiring part of the story is that a prison knitting program created in Indianapolis called "Naptown Knitters" got in on the fun. Prisoners were taught to knit and started knitting up scarves as fast as they could. A convicted murderer had this to say: "Here's a group of a guys sitting around knitting, something we normally don't have inside prison. No tension, everybody just sitting back and laughing. And knitting."

Apparently, some of the men "forgot where they were" for a couple of hours. I did a little Google sleuthing and found this quote inside one of the many articles on the Naptown Knitters: "One of the knitters even compared the story of his life to his knitting. Omitting mistakes in making your first scarf, he said, is like going off track a few times; and, with the support and encouragement of others, you will get back on track and life will look better and better." I can't tell you how many times I've said this to people about knitting. 
If I didn't think I'd get shanked with a US size 8, I'd love to rehabilitate prisoners with knitting (I kid, I kid). 
To read more about the Super Scarves program, click through the link! Pin It

FiberPhiladelphia 2012

The Doo has been asking me for a few weeks what I want to do for my upcoming birthday, and I haven't been able to give him an answer. He offered Sleep No More, which I want to see but somehow am not in the mood for, then I thought a symphony would be nice, but now I think I've made up my mind.
copyright FiberPhiladelphia
A friend of mine just earburned me on facebook regarding the upcoming FiberPhiladelphia art and fiber festival, and I'm sold. As if I needed further proof that the planet is going fiber-crazy, this festival sets out to shine a light on the explosion of artists using textiles within their work. The keynote speaker, Elissa Auther, will open the festival with a lecture on how "The 21st century has witnessed a tremendous increase in the visibility of fiber in art, a rise related to the broader currency of craft within the context of DIY and artisan movements, among other social, political, and cultural forces."
It's not just Baader-Meinhof. I'm seeing it everywhere because it is everywhere. It seems I started knitting right when knitting and fiber-related, DIY projects were hitting an upswing. I'm finally riding a zeitgeist!
The festival is running from March through April, so I'm going to have to look through the exhibition schedule with a fine-tooth comb in order to figure out when is best to go. I'm already picking things that I would really love to see. I live in NY; I can take day trips, right?
The first thing that caught my eye, which I will share with you here, is the work of Melissa Maddoni Haims. Melissa is a Philly artist who likes to work with recycled and reclaimed fibers to create crocheted and knitted sculptural works. She has a piece called Heaven, which is showing in the festival and looks like something I could stand under for hours.
Heaven, copyright Melissa Maddonni Haims and Haimshouse
She writes: "As you enter into this alternate cosmos, convoluted, cloud-like sculptures, stuffed with recycled fibers, hang from the ceiling. In this version of heaven, many of the sculptures are formed and named for those who have passed from this world to the next, including the artist’s mother, the catalyst for this project. Others have been commissioned to memorialize loved ones. These sculptures are organic and unconventional, not at all the predetermined forms associated and derived from faded stitchery pattern-books. Here we have rambling rows curling around into sensuous newness."
Melissa is also a yarn bomber, which doesn't surprise me at all.
Click here to see more of her fantastic fiber work—she also knit and crocheted a Hell!
I'm going to continue looking through the festival offerings as time permits and keep posting here. Maybe the process of sifting through everything will help me make a decision about when is best to go, and hopefully it will help others too. It looks like a pretty packed schedule!

Happy crafting!

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Vogue Knitting Live 2012 #2: The Stash

I did what we all do. I took a predetermined amount of money out of the bank, put it in my wallet, and thought, This is is. This is all that I will spend.
I did this, knowing full well that the amount of money that I committed to VKL was well under what I would reasonably spend, especially given the fact that I already knew I was going to spend 3/4 of it on 7 skeins of beautiful, undyed alpaca in order to make a sweater for my mother. Which would leave me enough for possibly one skein of yarn for myself. One skein? Seriously... who was I kidding? I love when we perform tiny little tomfooleries against our own brains... and do it like we're actually going to get away with it. Silly little primate!
I wound up spending a lot more money than I should have. A lot. Enough that I probably shouldn't buy any more yarn for the rest of the year. But rather than fall down the rabbit hole of money spent (too much!), I'd much rather take pictures of the yarn I did buy.

First up, Mom's yarn. I should probably preface this by saying that I've worked with this yarn before. When I went on the Hampton Yarn Hop last summer, one of the last places we visited was the Long Island Livestock Company. It was there that I met a llama!

I bought a worsted weight 92% alpaca, 8% wool blend in a deep, heathery black that I used to make this sweater:

It's called Francis Revisited and it's available free on Ravelry.
And it's my new favorite sweater. 

Of course, the second my mom saw it she decided she had to have one for herself. I can't blame her, really.
She wanted the same color as mine, but unfortunately by the time I got to VKL, there wasn't enough left. There was, however, this rich, dark camel.
I'm sure she won't be disappointed 
I can't wait to start working with the Long Island Livestock yarn again. It's some seriously beautiful stuff. I  thought I was going to run out of the heathery black when I was making my sweater, and I contacted them to send me another skein. Despite the fact that it was months later, they were able to match my yarn with an entirely different yarn. That's service! You can (should) click through the picture to Like them on Facebook.
My next purchase was, of course, perceived as a a necessity. Upon further inspection (when I got on the train and went through everything, tiny bag by tiny bag, then again when I got home and could lay them all out on my bed, then again after I put them back in my shopping bag so I could take them out a week later and look at them as one whole purchase one more time. Yeah.), I was able to confirm that the purchase was, indeed, a necessity.
I know there are lots of indie dyers out there. A cursory search on Google, or better yet, etsy, will show you that's true. And I know there are lots of NYC stores currently carrying indie dyers, and those stores get a big hurrah from me for doing so.
But can I ask how it is that I haven't yet seen Creatively Dyed Yarns in any stores?? How are shopowners missing this yarn?
Creatively Dyed Yarn is the brainchild of Dianne Lutz, who hails from Trinidad and Tobago but now lives in South Carolina. Dianne calls upon her roots to inspire her colorways, and I've truly never seen anything like her yarn - my personal favorite is that middle skein, which has so many different colors working together. All 3 skeins are incredibly vibrant and beautiful—no camera could do them justice—although you can see I tried. If you're a fan of rich, vibrant colors, be sure to check out her site.

My next purchase was driven by my current obsession with alpacas and alpaca farms. This yarn is so silky smooth in the skein, and the colors are so rich, I already have a set of colorwork handwarmers in mind. It comes from Furnace Mountain Alpacas in Lovettsville, Virginia. The yarn is a sportweight and is incredibly lofty and soft. I can't wait to work with it.

And finally, the motherlode purchase. You have to ignore this picture. It's not a good picture. But you can't completely blame me. It's not entirely my fault. Frankly,  I'm of the belief that nothing but the human eye possesses the capacity to process this color properly. Through a lens it looks black, greyish black, raven black, or not-quite-blue, but it is none of those things. In fact, I'm fairly certain that each person that looks at this yarn must see a slightly different color, because when I saw it I said, aloud, "Oh it's like a really deep, dark evergreen. Like a forest at night," and The Doo said, "No it's not. It's like a midnight black." I think the color is called Midnight Blue, so there you have it. I'm afraid to even say how much it cost. Let's just say The Doo bought one skein and I bought one skein, so that I wouldn't have to feel so crazy just buying two skeins, and even then it still felt indecent. I shouldn't be spending money like this on yarn when people are starving, but The Doo just keep telling me "You deserve it." 
The picture I took really doesn't do it any justice. The below image was slurped from a fellow ravelry user, and I think she did a better job than I. 
copyright trishfitz
The yarn is called Kitten, it's a 65% Cashmere, 35% Silk blend, and it is all milky silky goodness. It is like petting a kitten, and I could easily sit and pet it all day long without ever knitting it into anything.  I'm really in love with it. Maybe if I stick googly eyes on it, I won't ever have to knit anything from it and can just sit in my house petting it all day long. It would also be nice to wear as a wig, pretending it's my real hair. Is it weird that I sincerely think these things?
It comes from Tess' Designer Yarns in Portland, Maine, and it wasn't the only beautiful yarn she had, but I had to purchase it because I couldn't stop petting it. Even now, as I type, I can't stop petting it. It's a little ridiculous.
Well, those were the yarns. I hope you aren't taking out your calculators to figure out how much I spent, because that would be lame on your part and unfortunate for me. Just trust me when I say it was too much.
Methinks VKL Post # 2 will involve some delightful amigurumi, so stay tuned...

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