Skrilla Knits

Knitting has long been considered antiquated, something for grandmas and whipped little housewives. That just isn't true. Knitting is one of those minute to learn, lifetime to master deals, and I'm in it for the long haul.


5 Things+then some (a F.O., even!)

I was tagged by Into the Fray quite awhile ago! I haven't forgotten, I've just been busy. These 5 things might not fall into the 'weird' category, but they are frivolous little factoids about me that the average Skrilla dabbler might not come across.

1. I have always had a love affair with magazines. I used to think that I wanted to be a magazine journalist and pursued this for about 2.5 years in college. I made a zine in high school called Wit's Ashtray under the pen name Rebel Without Applause. A highlight was when a local (this was in Germany) hardcore band mentioned it at a show of theirs while I was in the audience. Now I just cut my mags up and use them for design inspiration. Here are some pages from my notebook that is full of these clippings:

2. I have a serious salt problem. I often joke that I want a salt lick, like a deer. Eric is always begging me to go easy, and he's right. It's in my blood (no blood pressure pun intended), my Nana loves her salty Italian cold cuts and Dirty Martinis. For me it's salt and vinegar chips, French Fries (with mayo no less, what's up heart disease??) and popcorn. I get by with nutritional yeast sometimes.

3. I am fastidious about school/office supplies and anything related to them. This is slightly OCD, but I can't bear smudges, crinkled edges, sudden pen color switches. I once wrote and performed a song (spontaneously) that sums up the level of crazy this involves--it's called 'Tape Lamination' and it is sung to the tune of the Bee Gee's 'More than a Woman'. Crazy, I know, but when I spill coffee on my notebooks I just WIPE it off!

4. I actually hate shopping. I am very sad that my beloved local Trader Joes is getting more and more crowded. It used to remind me of the old mini-market exhibit at the Boston Children's Museum. I am in love with Internet shopping because it allows me to A. not drive, B. comparison shop until I'm blue in the face without getting the eye from store owners, C. support friends with stores and fellow crafters, D. act like Veruca Salt and get basically anything I want in the world. I know that sounds terrible, and fear not, I support local merchants as often as I can but places like Ex Libris Anonymous and the like make me very happy. Also, like all humans, I love getting mail.

5. I can't believe I'm going to turn 25 this year. I still feel like a little girl.

Time for a mini book review! I've gushed about Built by Wendy enough, and I sorta feel like it's already old news in Blogland. And a quick Google search just turned up a far better review for this book than I would've written.

I'll just add that I find the clear pictures very helpful for a new sewer like myself. They are probably embarrassingly simplistic but I think the assumption that a verbal description is sufficient is a major failing of most sewing books.

The photography is gorgeous, spare, tres chic and all that. I have been batting around the idea of writing a paper on the Anthropologie aesthetic that seems to authoritatively dominate anything geared towards young crafty types with cultural capital to spare. The A-word has been uttered by stylists at several of the photoshoots I've done and it seems to be heavily ripped off in the catalog world in general. There is also the influence it has with crafters--I wonder what the numbers are for people like me, who get the catalog and pore over it (sometimes going as far as interpreting the designs) but can rarely afford to buy any of it. I'd like to get to the bottom of its appeal.

This is my favorite project in the whole book. I still die laughing everytime I see a granny cart because it reminds me of Grumperina's saga about her granny cart breaking and no one in Cambridge helping her. I can't for the life of me find the post on her blog, but it was super, super horrible/funny.

I finished some socks for a friend who recently turned 31 and will be starting to write his dissertation soon. He claims that he loves tweed but doesn't wear it because he doesn't want to be a 'professorial cliche'. I figure this way no one has to know. I knit them toe-up because I was wary about my yarn, but each sock took less than a ball of Regia 6-ply tweed. I knit it them on size 3 Susan Bates. I'd started them on 2s but that was nearly cardboard. These were supposed to have an 'embossed' (read: purl stitches) monogram but it looked crap so I skipped it. It was also supposed to have a 'princess foot' (read: reverse stockinette sole) as a joke (as in, he is a delicate flower) but it looked odd and I skipped that too. Yawnsville, but still, a finished object(s).

The best part of this process was taking my pattern book to a copy shop and having them chop the spine, drill holes and spiral bind it for me so it will lay flat! I can't take credit for this (a Webs customer came in with all of her books sporting this treatment once) but that doesn't stop me from feeling WICKED CLEVER whenever I look at it.

Still with me? Here are some randoms, Eric wearing a LOT of handknits at Mass MOCA (it was great, you have to go and see the Notion Nanny):

Just a few more sew-y pictures including my ham (hee hee!):

Some more fabric:

A few more 1.99 patterns:

And my current WIP, for the store. This is Valley Yarn's new sock yarn Franklin in Mountain Spring, dyed by Gail the Kangaroo Dyer. Very pretty and knits sort of like Lorna's Laces. It's hanging out with my new textbooks right now. I should quit blogging and attend to both...

Have a great week and sorry for the sporadic and massive posting habit I've gotten into =)


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Wow--so the whole world wants me to be a sewist. At least that's the pep talk I'm giving myself.

As I've said in my recent post, my yarn diet has mutated into a sewing notion, fabric buying monster. It's ugly, but awesomely fun. The notions live here:

And the fabric lives in these:

At the helm is wonderful Wendy Mullin and her book Sew U. I'm treating it as an old fashioned 'home correspondence course' and working my way through the book. I'm still in the 'getting all my gear' phase but soon I'll be tearing into my 15 yard bolt of muslin (one of the items on the gear list) to test out my new and fantastic retro looking machine. Did I mention that while trolling Wendy's past collections I've come across amazing 'models' like Amy Sedaris, David Cross and Amy Pohler? Well, I have, and this is proof that I'm chosen the perfect mentor.

Anyhow, I've been making a pest of myself at my local Jo-Anns (they did not appreciate it when I giggled after asking where I could find a dressmaker's ham) and I purchased one of Wendy's Built by You patterns. Later on, as I inspected my receipt, I realized that it was only 1.99!!! This had to be a mistake. I returned, learned that it wasn't and promptly got almost all of them, for less than 1/2 the price of just ONE at full price!

I am sending some to my favorite knitwear designer Stefanie, who is also feeling a bit of bobbin lust, a thank you gift of sorts. I needed to hear advice from an academic who is having a hardcore affair with crafts and she was just the lady to ask. Thanks again, Glampyre =) Oh, and in a show of solidarity at being photographed for knitterly purposes:

"I have to take like 50 photos and then go back through and throw out the badhair ones and the fatface ones, and all of the crazyeye ones…it’s so hard. I hate it."

The latest Webs catalog is hitting mailboxes soon. The sweaters are awesome again, especially Kirsten Hipsky--I don't understand why her fingers aren't bloody bones by now. Sorry, too gruesome? She manages to whip up sweater after sweater, all of them ingeniously constructed and truly unique in some way. In between amazing top-down gansey creations she creates gorgeous, gorgeous lace as if bewitched. I'm serious. She is one to watch people (though sadly, blogless).

I'll refrain from harping about my lazy eye and...Rubenesque face...and more questionable expressions. Let's just say I'm thrilled to be wearing such stunning, eye-catching sweaters. Heh.

Back to Built by Wendy--I'm reading my favorite magazine and I come across a piece on Kansas City. I saw a girl who looked familiar--Jenny Gordy, who entered the Sew U contest and is apparently another awesome Kansan designer/crafter/blogger. Inspiring? Yes.

That is all! I'm off to Mass MOCA free day! And it's snowing, finally!





Um. I may have...purchased another sewing machine? It seemed like a really good deal at the time...which was 4 a.m. I've had a raging case of bronchitis, and I'm not getting a whole lot of oxygen to the old brain. It still seems like a good deal to me 24 hours after the purchase, it has a metal frame and button hole function which are really the only two things I wanted that my awesome Hello Kitty machine doesn't have (also a Janome). I will work up the courage to get my 1940s Singer up and day. Ambika over at the Fray is also working up the sewing nerve.

My knit from the stash vow has actually morphed into a glut of sewing purchases. I should really just stop going to Emily's blog so often, it always ends in monetary bloodshed, this time on a formidible (for me) Reprodepot haul and a nice selection of cheap New Look Simplicity Patterns to supplement the Sew U and Vogue Sewing I got for Christmas. I've read a lot of the Sew U book and I'm really digging the way it's written. Very reassuring.

A lot of cute freebies in the package! Maybe because I'm sort of their neighbor? They're based in Easthampton in Eastworks, same building at Lexie Barnes. I've been dying to make an order since I walked by their mini-warehouse during the photoshoot, drooling.

Details on all of this on my Flickr page.

This one is yet to arrive, and there is a mini-saga surrounding it:

I went on a cloth-y vision quest to score this beauty. After seeing an amazingly cute 21 wale corduroy Robert Kaufman print crop up on several Northwest blogs, I went on a copycat rampage hunting for it. A British site was selling it for double it's ordinary price, and I didn't feel up for paying that in addition to international shipping rates. I found some on JCaroline, but I really just wanted this plummy colorway.

I started to write a pleady email to Mariko begging for a one-time Super Buzzy "special" order then it occurred to me to just call the Fabric Depot where all these ladies bought the fabric. It isn't listed on their website but after many calls back and forth, they found it for me and are sending me yardage in my #1 color choice! They were short staffed because of the huge storm they're dealing with but they were great. I know first hand how hard it is to deal with a crazed crafter on a hunt and they were awesome. I'll be using it to make this very cute dress.

Anyhow. Clearly, I can't wait to get sewing. Next post, I promise to knock your SOCKS off (wink) with a couple of very clever things...


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So. The world is conspiring against me and my habit. I got a clever, but irritating email from Knit Picks offering me a plethora of ways to organize my stash. I have it pretty under control but I've been making an effort to photograph it all so I have a inventory that allows me to "look" at my yarn without digging it out of its various hiding places. After reading these posts from Dena and Veronique I realized that my stash is a monster. This was affirmed when I started uploading to Flickr and had to upgrade to a Pro account to fit all the pictures. Here are the grand totals for my tags (I'm new at Flickr, and for those who are also: those are the labels I put on each picture)--be aware that there are some overlaps and exceptions! I've included WIPs, some of the yarn was tagged with 'sweater' and 'cardigan' because I haven't decided yet.

Sweater: 50
Cardigan: 39
Coat: 3
Jacket (really, this should just be lumped with the Cardigan category):9
Tank: 16
Vest: 6 (meaning I'd wear a shirt underneath, in true 'sweatervest' fashion)
Socks: 43 (pairs)
Lace: 15
Shawl: 12
Scarf: 21
Wrap: 7
Hat: 16
Gloves: 6
Handwarmers: 4
Bag: 7
Toy: 3
Pillow: 1
Random: 60+ balls of varying sizes

The only stomach turning parts of this exercise? Realizing that I don't have any crappy yarn. I've edited all of it out and now I'm left with a huge stash that I don't want to give up. Sigh. Also, I hardly ever finish the socks I start but I find sock yarn to be the most collectible thing in the world--cheap, colorful, fun...gotta stop!

What does this mean? Sign me up for Knit From Your Stash 2007. It seems like everyone has a long list of clauses that allow them to enage in stash enhancement but I'm really interested in reducing my stash so I've kept mine to a minimum:

-if I'm running out of a project yarn.
-if it's already in my hold bag or on order as of 1/10/2007 (I just edited my hold bag at work, and I have two orders out for small bits of yarn).
-if I'm out of state and happen to find something really cool that will commemorate a trip (I'm hoping to travel much more this year, and then there is Stitches West...)

Okay, that's not so minimum...time for me to get knitting!

Oh, and hello to all the new commenters! I promise, most posts aren't as photoshooty as the last one.


P.S. ETA: I just placed an order at Namemaker for two different kinds of custom labels. This will hopefully be incentive to finish, finish, finish!




Hi, Happy New Year! I just installed Photoshop which should help me to be a better blogger in two specific ways--I would like to venture out of the apartment for more of the photos I take, and I'd like to update more frequently so that I don't have to make these massive photo-heavy posts every two weeks. I've been "busy" but in a very scattered way, but I promise that 2007 will (hopefully) see a more focused Skrilla...

Eric and I went to Salvie's in Spencer, MA and I cleaned up quite nicely. I wasn't expecting to find anything, but I found some irresistible basics. Too 'boring to photograph': a black merino cardigan with 3/4 length sleeves, a tight and tagless black cashmere (?) sweater with some holes that make it look very cool and deconstructed, and a big wooly saddle shouldered sack the color of pea soup. Also, a cashmere/silk/wool (79% cashmere!) cardigan, with huge already mended holes in the elbows, which I patched!

Clearly, I'm quite happy with the result. I wanted to go with fuschia or lime green but Eric talked me into a nice neutral brown. It's some brand of alpaca knit in seed stitch. If anyone would like specific directions, let me know. This was quick and I feel like it's a whole new, much cooler sweater now.

Since I pretty much only shop Salvie's and sale racks, I've started to splurge on good shoes. This is kind of justifiable because I have a tarsal coalition that I don't "treat" in any other way, but it can be quite painful when I'm standing or walking for a long period of time. Anyhow, I suddenly get the fuss! I tried the felt ones at first and couldn't get a good fit, but these are amazing! I saw Kate wearing these at Webs and instantly realized that the strap would keep me from falling out and twisting my (already bad) ankle. She also made me realized that they're the perfect way to show off handknit socks. Now, to knit them...heh.

Occupying both the small improvements/thrift store score category is my Ganomey with an (improvised) flower pin. If you want details, I can give 'em but I'm actually planning to make a lot of these and then post about my 'technique'. Also featured: my 100% lambswool scarf, woven in Scotland, a whopping $1.50!! Look at that sky! That's my favorite, pastel sky and black black trees. Nikki McClure does a lot of that:

Earlier today I saw beautiful tree that looks like a woman in a backward yoga bend:

What next? Knitting? Clothes? I suppose this 1/2 an Enid is both:

In other news, I hacked up an old sweater, felted it and covered a little lumbar support pillow with it. The rest of it will become a new apron for Stitches West in February. Maybe this year the temps in Cali won't be freakishly cold again. We rented a convertible and it was miserable! P.S. Why haven't I been privvy to the amazing Nigella before today?? I mean, I knew of her but I was sort of over all the celeb-chefness...she is so so cool. I should've known, two favorite bloggers are always raving about her.

Another clothes/knit combo, a Calorimetry in Alchemy Lonestar in my new favorite color and an amazing wool/cashmere jacket that I scored for under 10 bucks.

I suspect it was homemade from a Vogue Pattern, a lot of the seams are lumpy and look at this label:

Another score, a little boy's school blazer:

Uh, I've been watching a lot of America's Next Top Model reruns...Eric just said "ohhh, are you in the Strokes??" Yeah, so I'm practicing poses because I was more than a little stiff at my last faux-toe shoot. I seem to be stuck with the hands-jammed-in-pockets approach.

And my last ridiculously lucky find, a grey J.Crew all-wool sweater with lonnnng PUFFED SLEEVES (what's up, Anne Shirley?) and a cute keyhole closure in the back.

Lesson for the day--one ladies trash is another's treasure =)


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