Reviews: June 2010 Archives
My summertime staple is skirts. I love them. You look fancier than shorts but used the same effort to get dressed. If your man wants to take you to a nice place to eat, you are already dressed for it (Psst, just change your shoes, flops are not as sexy as heels). They look great with tank tops, tees, hoodies, bathing suits, denim jackets, etc. You cannot go wrong with a great skirt in warm weather. Favorite Things Cute Skirt pattern is in my top 5: Got to pattern to look fabulous! With 3 options + to customize your skirt, you can please yourself and everyone else. I made the panel skirt but you can also make a gored and flouncy skirt. Change it up with panels of different fabrics, be it complimentary fabrics or matchy-matchy. It is the most fun to wear fun fabrics and a skirt is a low-key way to pull it off. My skirt is made from green, paint by number birds. It doesn't get more fun than that, but I often wear it with a grey tank top to tone it down. Or I could pair it with a green tee for a monochrome look that is bright, yet pulled together. I will warn you that there are days, where safe is thrown out the window and I pair my skirt with a bright yellow top and fuchsia flats and feel amazing.
Now for the nitty gritty: This pattern was not the most fun to cut out but
it sewed up quickly. The pattern was well written and easy to follow. The
sizing was dead on and the elastic is in just the right place. Not having it go all the way around your waist ensures a smooth look in the front (no muffin top) while having a secure fit. I never feel uncomfortable in this skirt. That is to say, I am not always adjusting it, pulling it up or down, smoothing it or worrying about the fit. It always looks good and feels good on.
I didn't like all the hand sewing they recommended so I only hand sewed the waist band. I machine stitched the hem. I made no other modifications.
I was wearing my skirt about 3 hours after starting, which includes cutting (you might want to allow for 4-5 if you are making the gored or flouncy skirt). I have washed it and worn it several times and it holds up well. I plan on making more. I definitely want to try my hand at the gored skirt. It sounds like fun.
Quilting cotton is a great fabric to use for your Cute Skirt but not the only option. A Cute Skirt in seersucker would look super beachy and casual; perfect for a picnic lunch, watching fireworks or a lobster bake. Try cutting it on the bias for a great chevron pattern.
Thinking of this skirt in linen reminds me of Italy. Perfect for hot weather and light breezes, the color coupled with the weave will give this skirt a European feel that will take you from museum to cocktails on the terrace.
You can also add a great trim to the bottom hem like the j.caroline ribbons. The idea didn't even pop into my head till I was cruising the site looking for great fabrics to pair with this pattern. As soon as I saw them, my eyes lit up.
Lantern Moon Palm Wood Needles shall be from this point forward be called Turbo Moon. These are smooth, slick and great for speed knitting. Wait; let me back up to my first impression. Gorgeous. These needles are art in themselves. The grain and color of the wood plus the style of the needle makes for a very stylish needle. I felt very posh just knitting with them.
Now for the knitting. They were fast; I mean fast. I first tried them with S. Charles Sahara yarn but the needles were too slick for this yarn (Viscose, Bamboo and Linen). My loops kept sliding off and I felt unwieldy. I had a few balls of some bulky mohair, so I cast on with it and felt back in my element. This yarn has always been a little difficult for me since it seemed so slow and snaggy. Not with my Turbo Moon's. The yarn seemed to flow from one needle to the next. Even tricky stitches, like SSK, were cake with this combo.
I highly recommend these needles because they are so great for difficult yarns like novelty yarns, mohair, angora and thicker wools. The needles felt soft but solid in my hands. I felt no fatigue after a little over an hour of knitting and no aches (I often get aches from hard woods and some metals). The weight was good but even better was the tips. The Lantern Moon tips were not so sharp to split the yarn but not so dull to make picking up loops frustrating. In fact, I thought the tips so perfect that I completely forgot about them altogether until now.
I say buy for 2 reasons 1) they are super fast, smooth and comfy b) they are so beautiful that even if you never use them, they will make an excellent center piece.
My Wisp is (NOW) going along swimmingly. I will confess a secret: I have made this once before and hated it. I just didn't understand the pattern. I read it over and over and it just didn't make any sense. As much as I wanted to blame the designer ("Ugh- can't she just make it simple! I must drink wine") I knew in my heart of hearts that it was reader error. So I wanted to try it again. I knew I needed support so I would not get to row 15 and throw it down and stomp up and down swearing my undying vengeance upon it. I smite thee! So I decided I would throw it into the KAL poll and see what happened. The rest is current history and happily it worked out because I cleaver knitter, codename: Cape Maui, joined our KAL. She unlocked the pattern for me and though I feel like a dunce for not seeing something so simple, I know I never would have seen it without someone else pointing it out to me. My husband has told me that often enough.
Pshaw, I say. This is different.
Now I am easily on the third repeat and there is no stopping me. I love it. LOVE IT. And the yarn. It was an excellent choice. While noticeably less fuzzy than mohair, it is unbelievably soft and shows the stitch pattern in a new way. I just want to cuddle in it. The Cashsoft feels good in the ball but awesome knitted up. The color, tricky to photograph, is perfect. So bold but the red is classic. I highly recommend knitting wisp it bright colors because it is so delicate and transparent. The lace pattern and a bright color are the winning combo.
I can't wait to see and hear about the other knitter's KAL progress. Post your pictures or Ravelry links on our Facebook page.
If knitting and witty, thoughtful writing were in a Hollywood relationship, their super annoying gossip television couple name (think Bennifer and Brangelina) would be Knitty. This is a perfect introduction to Knitty.com. It is the best of knitting without rehab, dropped stitches (well, not really. Check out their super star Clapotis) and empty coffee pots (check out their forum: the coffeeshop).
Knitty.com is a free online magazine featuring knitting based articles, fun knitting products and patterns. But is it really so much more. In every issue, roughly published 3 times a year (Winter, Spring+Summer, and Fall) are features, patterns, KnittySpin, Covet Central, Stuff to win, letters from the editors and advertising. All this in just one edition! The features, AKA the words-stuffs part of the magazine, usually include Cool Stuff: where you can find the coolest of the cool in products for knitters and crocheters. This can encompass bags, tools, books, patterns or even audio books. This is my first read when the new edition comes out and not just because it is at the top. I look forward to drooling over all the pretty that these editors have gotten to try out before the public. Often you will find solutions to problems that you didn't even consider before, just sort of lived with. Take for example the Ninja Knitting bag. I am constantly attacked by Ninjas whilst knitting but I figured it was part of the lifestyle. Now I can be prepared.
I know for a fact that Patterns is everyone first stop when Knitty hits the presses because page loading is often slow going for about 1-2 weeks after launch. While sometimes sock heavy, Knitty's patterns are never boring. Known for toeing the line, thinking outside the box or just plain fun, you will always find something to love for yourself, your wacky sister and conservative aunt. And don't forget the kids. When in need of a kid friendly project, Knitty patterns are my go-to. Each pattern is rated for difficulty, which is such a blessing. With confidence, I refer beginners of all kinds to Knitty.com to find a first pattern or a new pattern. By checking out the rating, everyone can be sure the pattern is at their level before they invest in yarn. Knitty also sticks to their standard list of abbreviation so once familiar you can tackle every pattern without learning another short-term for knit 2 together. Each pattern is also full of wonderful and descriptive pictures that are infinitely helpful when setting out on a new pattern. Plus, should you find yourself in a difficult situation, you can always depend on the good coffee drinkers in the coffeeshop, Knitty's forum.
The coffeeshop is full of helpful moderators (to keep the peace) and contributors (such as yourself). You can post comments, questions, pictures or just the latest thought in your head. If in need of help, an answer or word of encourage minutes is usually minutes away. I have never posted a question without someone replying within the hour but most times much sooner. It is a fun place to post your finished objects (FO), complain or boast about your loved one (DH), post a yarn sale, check out some new tips, find a LYS on your vacation or just hang with the other newbies or experienced knitters. Many a lunch break has been whiled away at the coffeeshop.
What may be the best feature of Knitty.com is that you can be in Knitty. Whether you want to advertise, write, have your product review or (BEST OF ALL) design a pattern for Knitty, all you must do is contact them. No agents or red tape to break through. There are rules for submission, to make it easier for them to help you, but it is so simple. Like all good things in the knitting world, it is just a bunch of knitters helping knitters. Just the thought that you could be a one design away from being published in one of the most read knitting magazines is so exciting. It is every knitter's goal.
Well, I hope you enjoyed learning about Knitty.com. I recommend you check out the archives and the coffeeshop, especially. Knitty is so much more than its latest issue. I am sure you will love it as much as I do.
*the picture is Kate, the kitten with britches. One of my faves!
I hope that you all enjoyed your Memorial Day weekend as much as I did. I lazed about Chef Bubba's pool while he barbecued, of course! I did bring the potato salad. As I rested, I thought that it was nice to be right once in a while. I know this because it doesn't happen that often. I have been trying for a couple of years to introduce the Martelli ergonomic rotary cutters into our product line-up. I have been using a "Martelli" for at least 5 years. If you cut fabric often, this rotary cutter is a heaven-sent tool for your hands. Kathy, in our purchasing dept., says that she can cut 25 layers of fabric at one time. I don't usually try to cut that many layers. The rotary cutter comes in 2 sizes- 45mm and 60mm. It is also designed for right handers and left handers. I call this rotary cutter the "Cadillac" of rotary cutters. Quilt Home reviewed rotary cutters in their magazine last year. They did not give the Martelli the review it deserves. Every quilter and sewer has a tool they love. This is my all-time, cannot live without this rotary cutter.
I was introduced to this fine tool and the Martelli family at a Sewing Expo event in Atlanta. My sister had come to visit me and we decided to go to the show. After meeting the Martelli family, I soon left half my bank account with them. They demonstrated all of their products and I bought everyone of them. They put on quite a show with their products. I have never regretted my purchases. I can truly say I use my Martelli everyday. If you want to preserve your hands for your tennis playing and still sew, the Martelli is the way to go. As a special treat, we are having a notions sale starting today. Try the Martelli and let me know how you like it.
In a video recently Victoria talked about precuts and how they are such a time saver if you want a quick start to a project. You can view Victoria's video at Youtube.com. Well, the August issure of American Patchwork and Quilting magazine has finally agreed with Victoria. A large part of this issue is devoted to quilts designed around precuts. So check out the August issue for some great ideas. They also have great interviews with Alice Kennedy of Timeless Treasures and Me and My Sister Designs from Moda Fabrics.
Summer is a great time to slow down a little bit and enjoy the sun! I am also planning my Christmas projects. Feel the chill in July! This is the perfect time to start those big projects so you will have everything done by November so you can enjoy the holiday parties, Start planning now!
The focus of today's article will be an initiation into your Ravelry Notebook (my favorite part). Your Notebook Projects page is where you can store and view all your projects: current, finished, hibernating, and frogged. Project details include an area for notes to record any modifications you have made, pros and cons and progress reports. You can upload pictures for added detail. The ability to record and track your yarn, how much you have used, where you bought it and color is enormously helpful. Needles size used, a progress bar, pattern and yarn ratings are also included in project details. When other Ravelers like you pattern you can marvel over how many hearts and lifesavers (Signifies how many people have found your project helpful) your project racks up!
Your Notebook is also a great place to record your Stash. This is excellent for when you at work (during your lunch hour, of course!) and wander over to your favorite yarn store and fall for a pattern. "What yarn do I have to make this? Do I have enough? Or do I need more?" are questions easily answered through your Ravelry Notebook. You can also offer up your yarn for trade or sale.
The Notebook houses your Queue, where you can keep track of all the patterns you want to make in the future. This makes for an easy transition to your Projects Page when you finally cast-on. This page is easily reorganized for seasonal changes and yarn purchases.
Your Favorites page is a place to find inspiration, peace and eye candy. I love this page and visit often.
The Friends page is much like the social networking you are familiar. You can talk to your friends, check out their projects, get advice and raid their stash. You never know when you will need a knitting buddy.
Well, as much I want to go on & on & on about Ravelry, I think we have covered enough to get your excited to join. You no longer have to wait for an invite (I waited over a month for the beta version). We will cover more awesomeness in coming posts but sign up and check it out for yourself. It will make you want to knit or review your love of it. Only knitters could give something so awesome to knitters (and crocheters!) Thank you Ravelry!