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.



FIRST of all, thank you so much for the lovely comments on the Gallery Jacket! Sheffield has arrived and it is quite beautiful. I can't wait to see how the pattern works out for people. The garment has been cat-nap tested and approved:

Unfortunately my next sweater project wasn't as successful. In fact, I have a sweater disaster on my hands. The squeamish should avert their eyes, and maybe not read any further.

This is my Minimalist Cardigan, knit with the ridiculously hard to photograph Terra in Madder. This sweater should have been done weeks ago. I loved knitting the easy pieces, I didn't even mind the moss stitch since I knit Continental. After all that twisted ribbing for the Gallery Jacket, allover moss stitch was like a vacation! I'd heard that moss stitch is a pain to seam so I'd decided to back stitch a lot of them. It's bulky, yes, but it's quick and I just wanted to wear this thing. I made a small mistake sewing the sleeve in and while I was undoing my seams I...may have used scissors. I know, I know, I should have slowly unpicked it but come on! I was already rushing...and drinking...and tired.

Can you guess what happens next? I snipped my knitting. And this isn't yarn you would want to steek. It is partially alpaca, partially silk, very slippery. I tried to patch my holes and build them up with crochet. This worked reasonably well and stayed the slippage, but as expected it had a much different texture than the knitting--thick, inflexible and of course, right up front. I started to seam this but it was sort of hopeless. There is no way to make it look neat at this point. I'm all out of yarn. The only solution I can think of is to remove the sleeves, rip out the sleeve caps and some of the sleeve and then re-knit the caps with whatever yarn is available.

To be honest, this wouldn't be terrible. A lot of the finished sweaters have sleeves that are the same length as the body--it yields a sort of boxy, square shape. Shortening the sleeves would circumvent that, right? Right? I MEANT to do that...yeah...that's the ticket...

Congrats to Melissa who expertly, patiently, soberly finished a Minimalist Cardigan last weekend. We were both in our element knitting at a brewfest in Greenfield [thanks again for the excellent pictures, Melissa!]:

Speaking of old SNL, I recently "discovered" the music of Loudon Wainwright watching the Season 1 DVDs. This isn't from SNL, but it's a pretty excellent song. Enjoy!


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Gallery Jacket!

Phew, I can post a finished object! The new Valley Yarns catalog is in the store which means it's also making its way to everyone on the mailing list. In it you'll find the sweater I mentioned in my (woefully pictureless) last post. This is something I designed and knit for Valley Yarns Sheffield, a gorgeous new yarn with amazing colors that feel new for Valley Yarns--deep teal, espresso brown, etc. This is the Gallery Jacket, named for Arts Night Out, a Northampton institution that I have sadly never participated in (Mexifest ladies, maybe on the 14th?)

Tell me, what is wrong with this picture? Why should you never trust the "I'm just fixing my hair pose"?

Because the great Maggie Righetti says you shouldn't, in Chapter 1 of "Knitting In Plain English" titled: You Can Always Tell What's Wrong With a Garment By The Way a Model is Posed, or Slender Five-Foot-Ten Inch Models Look Good in Anything. See for yourself!

The "problem" in this case is the sleeve. I intended this to be a long sleeved sweater (full-disclosure, I was trying to recreate this sweater, purchased at a Marshall's, no discernible designer) with a modified drop shoulder. I couldn't knit the twisted ribbing fast enough and was on a somewhat scary deadline for a relatively slow knitter. The twisted ribbing takes FOREVER, but I really think it was worth it in the end.

Back to the point, I decided to pick up stitches and knit down in the round, so that no matter where I was when I ran out of time, I'd a least have a sleeve! I got about 2.5 inches done on both and tried the thing on. Somehow I forgot that the beauty of a drop shoulder is that it forms the top of your sleeve! It looked just fine with the stubby sleeves, in fact, many people thought it would've lost cuteness had I continued knitting.

The Sheffield is quite warm so it was actually nice to have a mostly bare arm. I've tweaked the pattern and incorporated some decreases to take care of the pooching (technical term?) that occurs under the arm in these pictures. I think that would've been weighted down with a longer sleeve, but here it's a bit obvious. A short row cap sleeve would've been nice, but I still have my training wheels on when it comes to designing!

One last note--this was modeled WET--I blocked it about 10 hours after I finished it and in a humid July, the water barely budged. When the sweater dried it looked a lot less saggy under the arm area, I promise. It'll be in the store and again, the pattern was revised after knitting. I'll have to test knit a second version when more Sheffield arrives because I really want one of these in my wardrobe.


P.S. The shawl pin in the catalog pictures and the design inspiration picture is the same, made by Moving Mud. I think I might purposely design sweaters that require these, they're beautiful!

P.P.S. More credits, the most important: these pictures are the product of Penny and David Michalak, a local couple who between them have too many design related talents to list!

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Tap tap...

Is this thing on?

I disappeared! And I didn't even know it but the last post I made (on August 13th) was my 100th post, at least at this blog address. Cool.

I've been busy with moving and grad school has started up again so I've been consumed with those two things. I've been having almost constant agita since moving--the yarn is just out of control and there is very little closet space so while it's a much bigger apartment than the last, the yarn has nowhere to GO. I've had to invest in a set of vacuum space bags. I thought about posting pictures, but the hard squished bricks of yarn are too sad, I could almost be accused of yarn abuse!

If there is anything that makes me feel like I have too much yarn it's calculating the amount I spend on STORAGE for the yarn. I could knit a cashmere afghan with what I've spent on plastic storage bins, no joke. And those vacuum bags aren't cheap either. I read on Ravelry that you shouldn't actually vacuum out the air because it could permanently compress the fibers.

Anyhow, I am knitting and hope to be able to post a picture of my Minimalist cardigan soon which I am close to finishing. It's looking like it will be an adorable wearable sweater and I already have two orders for them. I don't think I'll mind because it's such a straightforward pattern, really quick and easy knitting. I'll probably be knitting a second for myself as well!

My modeling has been truly exciting recently--in the next Webs catalog you'll see me modeling a garment I designed and knit in what I think is the nicest Valley Yarn yet, Sheffield, a merino/silk/angora blend. I'm actually pretty pleased with this sweater and hope it finds some fans. It was really fun to work on the entire page of the catalog, from the copy to the garment to the modeling it was all DIY!

The next job on deck is seriously fantastic but top secret for now! All I'll say is that I had to give my measurements to a very cool lady today...

I'll be back with pictures!


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