For the Second Annual Blog Hop, we landed on the Bobble Stitch. A fun stitch that can be used in so many ways to add texture and design elements that are both fun to make and fun to wear.Read More
Unless you have been living under a rock, you are probably one of the over 31 million people who has seen Louis Boria's Brooklyn Boy Knits 60 second documentary. It is fantastic and what it is doing for the fiber community is even more fantastic.
While I was in NYC last week for a variety of events, fiber meetings and activities, I was fortunate enough to sit down with Louis and chat about all that inspires him and all that has happened in the whirlwind last 3 months.
What is incredibly striking about Louis is his humility and his passion for growing the fiber arts community for the next generation. Having been given the gift of loving creativity being introduced to fiber arts by his grandmother, who was a crocheter, it wasn't long before he found himself following his own fiber path in knitting.
Now, with his newfound instant fiber fame, he is continuing to spread the love for fiber arts by launching programs to teach young kids to knit.
Faced with such instant fame what would you do? Think about it. How would you use such instant viral fiber fame? Louis is using it to develop not only the next chapter for his brand, but next generation of fiber enthusiasts by teaming up with a New York City Public School and Lion Brand to create a fiber arts program. Talk about ambition and spreading fiber love!
It was my honor and so incredibly inspiring to co-host and event and spend the day with him at String Thing Studio yarn shop in Brooklyn. Seeing him talk about and share his passion for knitting is remarkable. It reminds me a lot of the vibe we have at Stitch Up Chicago and that joy only fiber arts can bring when it connects people. Here are a few snaps from our event and scroll down to be inspired and watch our whole interview. It will set your passion on fire. I promise!!!!
This post is a bit of a scrapbook entry and homage to an amazing week. A bit of a humble and deeply grateful "I cannot believe that happened" and a bit of wow... I AM DOING THIS! For the 5 Minute recap version, watch this Episode on my YouTube Channel here.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a proud New Yorker. Born and bred. NYC to the core. I remember when Times Square was where you went to get a fake ID and hope you didn't get caught, not where you went to get a picture with Elmo! My city and I have both been through a lot of changes over the years. So this trip was extra special. This is the first time, since leaving New York that I was going home on my terms. Not for a contract, or a show, or a job. I was going home for my passion - yarn.
Sure I had been back many times over the years since I left in 2002, but that was for work in my former job or social visits. Something about this trip, going for MY FIBER JOURNEY was so special. That my fiber love and work has brought me home, well it is something I am having a hard time describing in words so I hope I am explaining it well as I get a little choked up just typing this.
I had wanted to go to Vogue Knitting Live in New York for a few years now. Previously I didn't go because I was only a crocheter and couldn't knit so I was so super intimidated and also my career and small business wasn't in a place to go to a yarn party in NYC for a weekend. Until now. So as I was planning to head home for Vogue Knitting Live (VKL), I decided to head to town a few days early to see friends, check out the NYC yarn scene and take it all in.
It just so happened that Lion Brand Yarn, who I have had the incredible honor of working with, was hosting a blogger bash the same week of VKL so many of my fellow blogger friends were going to be in town as well. Bonus! So we teamed up to take on Knit Night at Club Cumming hosted by Josh Bennett (yes, I fan-girled a bit). It was a pre- VKL extravaganza of knitters and yarn and awesome and so much fun.
We staked our claim to some road cases for the DJ over by the coat check area and made ourselves what we dubbed Hookerville. Oh yeah - a corner of hookers at Knit Night at Club Cumming in NYC. It was a blast. What a great way to get this trip started!
Since we were all in town we decided to host a Sip & Stitch to bring our online community together offline for a little yarn fun at the Flatiron Hall. I encourage you to read Stephanie's incredible documentary style recap of her trip here and Alexi of Two Of Wands here. It was an incredible honor to spend time with them and host our event. Connecting through stitching is something so special. Since I live in a very rural area and am a total introvert it was awesome to have this opportunity to connect offline with so many of our community. I was kind of blown away by how many came out for this get together and it gave me all the warm fuzzies. I got to meet people I truly felt like I already had known for years.
On our way back to the Airbnb Jess had us stop and we just took in the architecture and the Flatiron Building lit up. It was one of those special moments and the perfect way to end the evening. I was also so excited that I was not the only who loved and am inspired by architecture. You will be hearing more about the Flatiron soon. I promise. Anyways...
Side note - as I am writing this post and looking at all of our fabulous photos I am realizing...I had worn my new Mammoth Poncho that was hot off the hook in so many of the pics - because yes I pretty much lived in it lol. I really do love it. Back to the trip...
It was such a gift that our trips overlapped and I got to spend time with my fellow bloggers. We often speak a language all our own and being part of a group of gals who so inspire me is just so special. I have to say that some of my favorite moments from the trip were those late nights back at the airbnb with the gals.
Another pretty amazing part of this trip was getting to spend time with Brandi of PurlBKnit. She is such a source of constant inspiration for me and her vibe is infectious with joy and light. She was being featured on an Etsy segment for NBC and invited me to join her.
Etsy HQ is so full of light and color and inspiration and creativity. Being there to support her was a real treat and they didn't mind my natural inclination to goof off a bit and bring the laughs.
As if this wasn't already yarn awesome overload I had to remember, I had only been in town 2 days! Things were just getting started!!!! I took some time to visit some old dear friends and have a mini glam sesh of pampering. I cannot even tell you how much fun that was. These are friends I have known for 20 years! People who have been there for the good the bad and all the many stages of life in between. Such a special and important part of the trip and also a great way to regroup in the midst of all the yarn happenings.
I hit up Knitty City for a quick shopping minute (more on that later) and then if was off for dinner with Kristy Glass and the fiber fam. Kristy pulled a few of her knitty fiber friends together for a super yummy dinner at Max Brennar Chocolate.
Now I have to pause for minute and tell you that when I got the invitation I had to check twice. I am a new knitter and still knew as a blogger and designer. Could this invitation really be for me? These gals really want to get to know me? I was humbled. Overwhelmed. Grateful. Blown away. All the feelings. In fact this face Kristy made when I said something outrageous was pretty much the same face I made when I was invited.
Max Brennar was pretty awesome and the gals at dinner were the real deal. All the yummy fiber feels being in the company of gals who get it. As an outsider most of my life this feeling of "family" was so special and I will never forget it. It made me not even mind that they forgot to bring us our chocolate pizza.
Full hearts. Full bellies. Full fiber feels. We then hightailed it ove rthe the mYak launch party for the Michele Wang capsule collection. Michele Wang is the real deal and her designs always inspire me and blow me away. This was super cool because we got a chance to learn more about mYak Fibers, hear Paola Vanzo (co-owner of mYak) talk about their new NYC space and the history of the fibers and what the company is working towards and to hear Michele talk about her design process. I was taking as many mental notes as possible while celebrating this beautiful collection.
I have photos of me talking with Michele Wang and you can literally see on my face I am hanging on her every word. I don't mind admitting that I was both a fan and a student in that moment. It is so incredible to work in an industry where the designers and people who inspire us (me) are not only real but available and welcoming. Knitting is truly the only place I know that is like that. I have yet to encounter someone who has inspired me or who is super successful who has not taken the time to share, encourage and empower my own journey. Michele is just another example of the awesomeness knitwear designers represent.
And I digress. Back to the trip...
And if you can believe it, the VKL Pre-Game festivities were still going so Kristy & I hightailed it uptown to the Love Knitting blogger party. Though we arrived late, I could tell the festivities were still in full swing and we joined right in. I loved how the entire space was decorated in British Themes and meeting the Love Knitting & Love Crochet team was so awesome.
I got to meet several bloggers I had not known as well as hang with my gals. One blogger I got to meet who really made an impression is Wilma Westenberg. She came all the way from Netherlands and is such a doll. Her NYC recap is also really fabulous and you can check it out here. And that is what is so special about these events. It goes way beyond the cool swag and free stuff (though we all know that is super awesome and fun), but it is about really making those connections with fellow fiber folk. Love Knitting party and team was pretty fantastic and since I have only recently started working with them, I was very humbled when they invited me to their party... And I got to learn about their new yarn programs! Winning!
This was truly the most perfect way to cap off all of the VKL Week Pre-Game Festivities.
I was incredibly inspired by every minute. In fact - wait until you see the new collection coming later this year inspired by this trip and my NYC roots! But I barely had a minute to rest up because Vogue Knitting Live started in just a few hours!
Stay tuned... Part 2 coming soon
One of my favorite parts of Vogue Knitting Live NYC 2018 was that they had a London Kaye Yarn Bombing Workshop. I was excited because I knew this would be a highly interactive and extremely fun way to learn more about London but also some tips and techniques to achieve my own Yarn Bombing aspirations.
The day started off with a bang. The elevator at the hotel broke and that gave me a 32 flight climb and descend. OYE! I was worried I would be late to class (and I was) but all in good fun and plus cardio for the day for the win right?
The class and London were amazing. She gave us a brief overview of her background and it was super fun to learn so much more about her. I had no idea she was on Amazing Race. HOW DID I MISS THIS FACTOID???? She also talked about how her art, crochet, started and I loved her organic journey. I won't act as her biographer but I highly recommend you get to know her story if you get a chance.
Then we got our hands dirty and by dirty I mean it was PLAY TIME!!!! We not only yarn bombed a chair together but London brought a lot of her scraps from previous yarn bombs for us to play with and create something new. It was magical.
Working with London was super fun and inspiring. It really forced me to get out of my comfort zone and I think that was what I liked best about the workshop. As primarily a garment designer, math and dimensions and measurements are a huge part of what I do. Shapes and sizing and all the detail are essential. I love it. It drives me and makes me work to do better and improve. But that was a challenge when I want to yarn bomb because I am always too hung up on precise stitch work and detail to every millimeter.
London's workshop really taught me how to throw caution to the wind and just make art. Not that my fashion and garment designs aren't art but this is different and really pushed my thinking and approach. It is more about the overall art. The joy of adding yarn and color and texture or a message.
Truly the class turned out to be more than I hoped and I am so glad I signed up for it. It pushed me to get out of my comfort zone of charts and schematics and graph paper and into the world of free form and who knows what will happen if I skip stitch (OH MY GOSH DID I JUST SAY THAT?!) and the beauty of not knowing what stitch may be next.
I also found out London is launching new Yarn Bomb kits with Lion Brand Yarn!!! That is so exciting because now you too can try it out and start to think outside the box. Or even better why not come Yarn Bomb with London & Me! Yup...
To celebrate her new Kit Launch with Lion Brand Yarn, London is coming to host a Yarn Bomb Party at Stitch Up Chicago!!!! So yes - you too can come and get outside the box and learn some fun tricks to bring fiber art to the world and join us as we yarn bomb in Chicago. Register Here.
And check out all of London Kaye's new Kits with Lion Brand here!!
Welcome to the Great Granny Blog Hop of 2017.
First and foremost I would like to thank each of these incredible fellow bloggers for being part of this hoopla. I cannot tell you my excitement to be hosting a blog hop with these inspiring gals! And next I want to give a HUGE thank you and shout out to Lion Brand Yarn for sponsoring this granny extravaganza. Not only did they provide each of us with the yarn we needed for our creations but they are sponsoring the HUGE giveaway for you to win. What can you win you ask? You can win ALL YOU NEED TO MAKE ALL 6 PROJECTS! WHAT?!?!? This is what I am saying!!!
THANK YOU LION BRAND!!!
Ok so let’s get into the who what where of it all. Well first let me tell you that participating we have:
Now what exactly IS the Great Granny Blog Hop of 2017? Well… it is an exploration into that classic granny stitch. I admit, I was late to the Granny Square. I had already been making hats and scarves and such when a customer requested a traditional granny style blanket for a baby gift. I was a bit intimidated at first because it is an icon. The Granny Blanket is something you pass down for generations. And to be honest, I had never made one. So I did a quick google search and was so shocked by the simplicity of it. I started playing with the yarn and just loved the granny instantly. Now, I do my granny a little differently than most, I know. But it works for me. I use the more traditional method for my patterns though.
Anyway - the customer loved her blanket so much she ordered another full size for a wedding gift! Meanwhile, I had started to fall in love with the Granny. I started experimenting with different ways to incorporate the Granny theme into other designs beyond the basic square. This led me to the Ella Hood Scarf (free pattern here) and my Wonderland Shrug. I started to love the good ol’ Granny in a whole new (less intimidating way). So then I got the idea to team up with some of the amazing fellow bloggers who inspire me for the Great Granny Blog Hop (see what we did there) of 2017! Each of us has created an incredible fun pattern with a new twist on the Granny.
It is such an incredible thing to be able to take something classic and timeless as the art of crochet itself and give it a new spin with our own personality. I am honored to have teamed up with these gals for this project. So check each blog out and enter below to win all you need to make ALL SIX GRANNY PROJECTS from Lion Brand.
For my project I wanted to take a new twist on the classic poncho. I had already fallen in love with Lion Brand 24/7 Cotton from my Summer Cottons Collection and new it would be perfect for a fall themed poncho. It is also a great weight fiber for transitional weather so I knew it screamed Fall Cozy and would be ideal for this project. And it comes in FAB Fall Colors!
I could not be more pleased how it turned out. I added a couple of strategically placed buttons and suddenly had much more than a poncho. It is a shirt! A cape. A Shawl. And yes, A Fab Fall Poncho. I gave it as a gift to my good friendand co-host of Stitch Up Chicago, Ali of Ford Explorer Knits on our recent knit day. She loves it too! So get the free pattern here and enter below to win all you need to make one for yourself! (eligible in USA & Canada only)
While it is true, I am a cozy vibe, snowboard loving, scarf making kind of gal, anyone who knows me knows I am truly an ocean loving Pisces to the core. Nothing gets to me like the fresh waves and salt air. When I lived in Australia, there wasn't a single day that went without a dip in the South Pacific, of course it helped that I lived and worked a short walk from the beach. With this in mind, it was probably only a matter of time before my two passions (yarn and ocean) collided.
About two years ago, while on location in Florida for a shoot, I got the idea to make myself some lightweight cotton garments to wear. But while on location with super long shooting days, and still prepping for the Chicago One Of A Kind Show... well let's just say such an undertaking would have to wait.
Last year, while in Miami for several weeks, the idea reignited and so the journey began. Over the last year I have experimented with various fibers and cotton was always the winner for this idea. Like the commercial says, it is the "fabric of our lives" after all. I began my process of swatching and sketching and found the old ideas I had tucked away coming to life again. In the process, I quickly fell in love with a few specific cottons that lent themselves in both color and texture to my vision.
Thus my first Summer Cottons Collection was born.
Within a few weeks I had edited it down to a variety of looks I would want in my own closet. I drew inspiration from the many coastal places I have been and created pieces that spark a memory from each place they are named for.
I have put my heart into my first Summer Cottons Collection. This collection features garments made from some of the softest cottons and breathable for those summer days. Garments I enjoy both making and wearing. And I hope they are garments many others will enjoy both making and wearing.
The collection is made up of 20 new designs for makers to enjoy and be inspired by and a handful of made to order garments available here. And you can try the Inwood Summer Beach Top free pattern here.
For a deeper look at the fibers, read on to learn about the materials. (disclosure: the following contains affiliate links where I may get credit or commissions but these are not sponsored posts and opinions are my own).
Wool And The Gang Shiny Happy Cotton
Ok... this is by far the most superior cotton of all the fibers I have used and tried gearing up for this collection. Yes, I work with WATG often, no they did not pay me to say that. My order receipts can be proof enough how much this material factors into my designs and offerings. Why is it so special? First of all, it is just a wee bit thicker than most other cottons on the market. It has that few added strands that makes a difference in how it holds structure of my stitches. And still, it does not sacrifice drape effect for being a wee bit thicker which is awesome because when designing with lightweight fibers drape matters! Last, I do not know what their color process is but this cotton has a sheen like none other. It truly is Shiny Happy Cotton and I love it! And because WATG is awesome, you get 15% off with code WATG144S through 6/9/17!
Betta Knit Pima Cotton
I discovered Betta Knit last winter when I collaborated with them on the Stella Jumper design and fell in love with their chunky wool. I was thrilled to discover they are offering Pima Cotton for summer. This cotton is great for those drapey and lacey designs. It holds the stitch structure well for a finer fabric. This is technically a category 3 DK yarn but in truth it works up like a sport weight and I just love it. I designed my Megan's Bay Shrug specifically for the way this fiber drapes. And... Betta Knit is giving you 20% off with code 144XBK through June 30, 2017 WOOT WOOT!
Lion Brand Yarn 24/7 Cotton
Lion Brand continues to deliver for affordable yarn options. The 24/7 Cotton is mercerized adding a sparkle and sheen even after multiple washings. Trust me, I tested this claim out and it passed the test! This fiber is interesting because it is a little bit "rope-like" for lack of a better term. It was interesting to work up and I quickly fell in love. It is perfect for my Saratoga Shrug design! I loved it so much I reached out to Lion Brand and we teamed up to collaborate on a design specifically for this collection and this yarn. More coming on that very soon!
Universal Yarn Cotton Supreme
The name says it all. It truly is Cotton Supreme. One of my favorite things about this fiber beyond the awesome texture is all the colors they offer. You can get so many blends and without much effort in yarn change, your garments will have style and color all their own. This is a heavier weight cotton, definitely more category 4 worsted. And yes still gives you the soft drape of the finer fibers. It is ideal for garments like my Manchester Tunic where you can let the yarn do the color work for you!
Debbie Bliss Cotton
I discovered Debbie Bliss Cotton well into this project. In fact, most patterns were already out for testing when I came across this gem. I discovered it while checking out a new Local Yarn Shop Wool & Company that opened about 15 minutes from my home. (More on them in a future post). This fiber is delicious! In colors and in texture, I was delightfully surprised. It says it is DK, but more of a sport weight for sure. You can order from them here and they provide free shipping in the US!
I know there are endless other cottons out there and have tried many. But these are the ones that inspired and are featured in this collection and I encourage you to try them out. Do you have a favorite cotton you want us to know about? Share in the comments below. And tag #stitchandhustle on social media so we can see your summer cotton projects. Happy summer and see you in the Cotton Club!
And to celebrate.... I am giving away the whole collection of designs. Yep - ALL 20 PATTERNS could be yours! Enter below
A little known fact about me is that I used to be the Prop Master for Sesame Street Live World Tour. It was beyond amazing traveling the world building and maintaining props. It was also incredibly fun to explore supplies and techniques all over the world. I must say I found some amazing finds in little known corners of the world.
The experience kept my creative juices flowing in full effect. Building giant toys and painting and basically playing super-sized arts and crafts all day was a dream job.
So when I was recently commissioned to create the accessories for the Winter Wonderland at the Javits Center in NYC I was both humbled and thrilled. I mean it was perfect bringing my current creative world full circle back to my supersized prop creating past.
Let's do it! I selected Lion Brand Wool Ease thick & Quick yarn for two main reasons: it works up great and is chunky enough to be both cozy looking and proportional for the garments I was making. It also came in the perfect shade of blue and fisherman ivory for the Winter Wonderland scene.
Now for the patterns. The key character is a 8 ft tall winter bear. The bear's head has a circumference of 58". I am about 61" tall so that is a reference point for you for size: he has a BIG head. The scarf needed to be 16 FEET long, with fringe and wide enough to be proportional. The client was very clear about the look they wanted: Cozy, winter and hip. I had two patterns that i just knew could easily be modified for this giant bear perfectly. I also chose to both crochet AND knit for a nice texture variety. The bear should be fashionable after all.
For the Hat I chose to knit for the texture and modified my Birmingham Hat pattern to be super sized. I used Premier Yarns size 19 15mm 47" circular needles. I love how these feel in my hands and normally use them for my Harbour Cowl but they worked perfectly for this giant hat too. Since my normal cast on for this hat is 40 and fits an average 21" head I just tripled the cast on. Then I knit... and knit.. and knit some more. Then I kept knitting. Eventually I had to start decreasing and create the peak. I altered my decrease from the pattern to be more beanie than slouchy and knew the pom pom weight would add slouch. I made 4 pom poms using the Clover Giant Pom Pom maker and then tied them together.
For the scarf I chose an to do an oversized variation of my Roma Traveller Scarf. Then I added fringe. Lots and lots of fringe. The scarf itself ended up being 14' long and with fringe hit just over 16 feet. The fringe needed to proportional in bulk and length. It always comes back to math lol.
I chose to go back and forth between knitting the hat and crocheting the scarf to give my hands a break and also keep the project lively and interesting. I could not be more pleased with the result and the client loved it. I took a minute to have some fun with the giant scarf before shipping it off to New York city and you can see the complete Winter Wonderland scene below.
I love hand dyed or hand-painted yarns. I have been a fan for years. The colors and tonal shades are just magical. I also love Lion Brand Wool Ease series - it is a staple in my arsenal of yarn. So when I heard that Lion Brand was coming out with a line of Wool Ease Tonal, based on hand dyed coloring, I have to admit that I was both excited and skeptical.
I tried not to be bias when my sample box arrived from Lion Brand and not compare it directly to hand dyed fibers. And I was not disappointed. The subtleties of the tone on tone in each colorway is what makes them so special. There is a true 'natural" appearance to the color blends. And Wool - Ease? I mean come on... I just love it. Works up quick and has that chunky Wool Ease feel I love so much.
The yarn is perfect for my chunky hats and I even created a new set based on the subtleties of this yarn. The Amherst Beanie works up fast and picks up the accents of the colorway.
The combination of the yarn and getting into fall weather, inspired me to create something new and fabulous. Something that really played with the shades of the Tonal. I created this Chapen Shrug.
The Chapen is my own fun twist on the traditional granny. It is misleading because it is not a granny at all! I created a graduated color scheme with the grey-scale Tonal shades. The yarn works up so well, and really lends itself to this kind of design.
And now you too can try this new delightful cozy yarn. Lion Brand is sponsoring the ALL You Need To Make This Giveaway. You win the yarn, the pattern, the hook, the yarn (did I say that twice? Because it's THAT GOOD)- the whole kit. Yup - how AWESOME is that?!?! Enter below.
Disclosure: Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review are my own.