Sunday, December 23, 2012

Baby Surprise Surprise

My husband, Michael, put my Handspun Surprise on Edward (my younger son) to take him to get some emergency groceries this morning.

[Emergency groceries = eggs, bananas, eggnog. Clearly, the eggnog.]

When they returned, Michael sent Edward running into the bedroom to wake me up. It was, as always, the cutest thing.

He's wearing the Baby Surprise Jacket (a classic Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern for those of you who are new to the pattern) over his footsie pajamas. So, I got out of bed and chased him around with the camera.

I knit this particular jacket for Adrian (my older son) a few years ago out of some icelandic wool that I washed/dyed/carded/spun. Clearly, I was still pregnant at the time, because no woman with an infant would have had time for that. I used a store-bought, off-white worsted-weight wool as a contrasting color. (Michael couldn't be bothered to button up every little button I sewed on the sweater. O, the humanity.)

You almost can see, as Edward darts across the house (I need my high-end sports camera to catch this kid in action), where the shoulder seams meet the front. If you haven't tried this "magical" pattern before, it's way worth it.

Well, hello there, Edward. Merry Christmas.

- Katie Rose

Friday, December 14, 2012

Studio Tools

My family and I relocated from Durham to Chapel Hill (10 miles that feels like 1000). More on that later, but for now I wanted to share a serendipity that occurred when I was unpacking my studio:

My husband is still outfitting his workshop, and so I permitted him to store two saws on the floor of my studio. I just unpacked my spinning wheel and drum carder and set them on the floor to break down the boxes.

When I returned to the room, the sun poured through the window, illuminating the table saw and mitre saw, and my tools as well. It seemed such a nice meeting of old-fashioned and modern. Of two different ways of working with your hands.

On another note: Much love and sadness and condolences for the families who lost children and other loved ones in Connecticut today.

- Katie Rose

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Photographing Knits

Hello readers!

I received a message via about photographing knits. With the writer's permission, I'm reposting the message here:

i read your article about photographing knits on your blog and wanted to ask you a question.
i am thinking of starting a blog soon and want to take better pictures of my work. problem is i have never really liked posing for photographs and don't wish to subject others to the same, hence no camera.
i was wondering if my phone would work? it has a 5 MP camera with resolution of 2592x1944 pixels.
Thank you
The knitter poses a few important questions. I'll rephrase them here so I can answer them all.

(1) First, she talks about a common concern that many knitters share--modeling their own knits on the internet. For a variety of reasons, folks just don't want images of themselves online. 

(2) Second, this would-be blogger doesn't own a fancy camera, which might pose a challenge as well.

(3) Third, she would like to know how to use the phone on her camera to take good pictures for her blog. 

Okay! We can handle all of these challenges. Let's get to it.

(1) Modeling Knits

I totally understand that you might not want to model your own knits on the internet. I can also understand that you might not want to ask other people to model them for you. So what do you do?

Here are some ideas:

  • My favorite: Buy a dress-form in your size. A dress-form is a great thing for a knitter to have anyways, not just for modeling knits. You can use it for blocking, for construction, for measuring, etc. etc. But you can also use it to display your knits when you want to photograph them. Find a vintage one at a thrift shop or buy a new one from a sewing shop (but these can be pricey).
  • Ask your friends to model, even if you think they might say no--you'll be surprised! Some people love having their pictures taken. My little sister modeled my knits for me when I was pregnant. She loved doing it! I was completely surprised because she's not a knitter and wasn't a part of the knit-blog community in any way--but she was happy to help me out. Here she is modeling my Liliane sweater coat, for example. 

(2) What Kind of Camera?

I wrote an earlier post in which I discussed the best type of camera for taking pictures of knits. If you want to learn more about the technical aspects of cameras and photographing knits, hop over to that post.

(3) Using the Cell Phone Camera

These days, cell phones come with great cameras. Here are a couple ideas to keep in mind when taking pictures using your cell phone camera.

  • Angles are your friend. Shoot your knits up-close and at steep angles to maximize your cell phone camera's lens. Below is a photograph of Chopin that I took at a steep angle to show you what I'm talking about. 

  • Use a filter app. Instagram is my favorite--it's an app that allows you to apply fun filters to your photographs to enhance images. Plain-Jane photographs can become super-fun when taken with Instagram. Below one I just took of my son wearing a hat I knit for him. I used Instagram to blur the background and to enhance the contrast of the photo. Instagram also added the black border.

And that's my advice on photographing knits for today. I'm sure I'll think of more. If you have other questions, feel free to message me on Ravelry and I'll answer your questions here. 

- Katie Rose

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pets Love Knitting

The life of a Knitty Professor wouldn't be complete without pets. I've recently acquired two new friends. And they both love knitting!

Like any good kitty, Leo (our Siberian Forest Cat) can't resist playing with a ball of yarn:

And Cooper (our minitaure poodle) just likes to snuggle up to some warm and cozy knitting:

Of course, it is hard to get any actual knitting done with two energetic pets... who happen to be hyper just around the time I usually sit down to knit in the evening. But the cuteness is worth it.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

DIY Neon Bracelet

These DIY bracelets have been all over Pinterest, and I decided to make one to complete my CCCC conference wardrobe.

I used this tutorial, which worked well once I figured it out. Since I'm obsessed with all things neon this spring, I took Katie's suggestion and purchased this ultra-cheap masonry twine and some chain from the hardware store. A great source for craft supplies!

It turned out pretyy good overall, although the twine is a bit slippery to work with, and it ended up a bit too big.

Next, I'm going to try knitting with it.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Knitting News

Katie and I are in St. Louis at a conference, but these two items came up on my Facebook news feed today and I thought I'd share.

1) Get Spun--a spinning/knitting exhibit at the Ridge House Museum, near my home town of Chatham, Ontario. I'm sorry I'll miss this!

2) In other news, male congressmen are being inundated with handknit vaginas and uteruses (uteri?). You can join the Snatchel Project to make your own contributions. The ideas is that if they have their own, they will keep their hands (and rules) off of ours.

Find knitting patterns here.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Exciting News Here in Knitty Professor Land

I got an email on Thursday from Jordynn. The subject line said "Guess what?"

And this was all there was in the message:

Congratulations JJ! He's such a nice--and lucky--guy.

(Her nail polish matches the cowl in her most recent post.)

--Katie Rose

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

This used to be a cashmere sweater... or two

Here's another recycling project. I used two old cashmere sweaters that had holes, fit issues, etc.

I made them into yarn, using the same method as used for the scarf I posted last month:

1) Lay out your sweater flat.
2) Cut off the body underneath the armpits, and make yarn using the same technique as my t-shirt yarn.
3) Cut off the arms, and make yarn out of those in the same way, cutting horizontally across the arms much like the t-shirt tube.
4) For the remainder of the sweater, cut in a spiral, creating one long strip of fabric, starting at the outside edges and going around the neck.
5) Wind "swarn" into balls.

Two sweaters yielded nine balls of swarn. (Four for sleeves, two larger ones for each body, two for the yokes, and one from the turtleneck of the yellow sweater.)

Then, I cast on approximately 300 stitches on a 17" circular needle, joined in the round, and knitted. I started with a small gray ball, and then just alternated yellow and gray as I went along. Then I cast off. Easy.

Voila! A smooshy cowl.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday WIP

The pattern is Graystone... Loving it so far!

Only I think I'm going to make it into a short-sleeved dress instead of a long sleeved sweater... we'll see how it goes.

I'm using some Cascade 220 from my stash. I've been attempting not to buy new yarn. Aside from a Ravelry trade, I think I'm yarn purchase free in 2012. Recycling doesn't count.

More info on my Ravelry page.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, March 2, 2012

Someone save me from myself

I have mocked knitblog posts about cats for years. They're a cliche. Plus nobody cares about your cat (even though you care very much).

But I keep caving. Maybe when Orville is no longer a kitten (and no longer does crazy schtuff) I'll be able to control myself.

Here's the deal.

I was spinning some of this luscious roving into some thick yummy yarn to knit yet another cowl with. So I decided to do a little photo shoot with the roving, the singles, and the final plied product.

Here's the beginning of said photo shoot:

And then, Orrie jumps up on the table and grabs the roving (not the yarn, the roving):

And totally makes off with it before I can take another shot of my still-life-with-yarn.

STINK pot. I have to keep all of my fiber arts work under a blanket on a table. He inevitably ends up sleeping right in the middle, like a nest. But at least he's not chewing holes through my yarn and shredding my roving.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fairway & Fuzz-Ball Patterns Now Available

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've released all of the patterns from Knitting Like a Professor for individual sale.

This means that you can get Fairway as an individual pattern. Fairway is a cabled cardigan worked from the top down in raglan fashion.

This cozy pattern can be worked in any worsted-weight yarn. I used some hand-dyed yarn for this one.

The cables-and-bobbles integrate nicely into the raglan increases.

You can buy the pattern on Ravelry for $6.00


You can also get your hands on Fuzz-Ball, baby bootees that have caused more than one stranger to stop me in the mall and ask where they can buy them.

Fuzz-Ball only costs $3.00.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Yarnbombing Comes to My Town

Yarn artists have brightened up dreary February days with colorful work all over my town, on sculptures, benches, and trees.

The artist in charge actually got permission from the town to do this for one month.

This may tell you something about the town I live in.

Or you can watch this video.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Manava & Many-Worlds Patterns Now available

I'm enabling the patterns from my eBook, Knitting Like a Professor, for individual sale. I've had lots of requests for this, and I've finally gotten around to it. I'll feature the patterns over the next few days.

The first is Manava, a baby cardigan knit top-down in the round using raglan styling. Add colorful buttons and you have an adorable sweater for a new baby.

Read more on Ravelry.

Manava costs $5.00.


The second pattern now available for individual purchase is the Many-Worlds Cable Blanket, a reversible cable blanket that is super-cozy and gorgeous to display.

Read more on Ravelry.

This one is made of Cascade Pastaza, but any aran-weight yarn will do.

Many-Worlds costs $4.00.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

So much Cashmere…what to do

I've been trolling for cashmere at local thrift shops and a my own pre-babies wardrobe. I've come up with some great pieces. Here are a couple:

Doesn't that fabric look scrumptious?

I'm working on various projects to convert this fabric into someone serviceable. I'll post project ideas and pictures soon, but I'd also welcome suggestions to other web sites that have cashmere-upcycle projects.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What's the Ruckus?

You can imagine the noise I heard that created this mess in the middle of the night:

My poor roving.

Here's the culprit:

Orville Pryal. Born 10/1/2011-ish. Moved in 1/1/2012-ish.

I promise not to post more pictures of my cat. That's such a knitblog cliche.

--Katie Rose

Friday, February 24, 2012

FO: Half-Handspun Cowl

I finished this cowl made of half store-bought yarn and half hand-spun. [See project on Ravelry.]

I gifted the cowl to my friend who has just retired from UNC Law where I teach. This is basically her favorite, and arguably only, color. The day I gave it to her, she was wearing a sweater the exact same shade. It was weird.

Also, for those who don't know, this is sometimes called "Carolina Blue." We lay claim to a wide range of shades, from this greenish blue to a more French blue to sky blue.

Here's some proof:


Notice the greenish blue of the 1980s, a different shade from the sky blue of the 1990s and today. Also, we like to win national championships. (It's almost March!).

Okay, back to business. Here's the cowl again:

I'm really glad I added the handspun in there to give it loft. The Stellina yarn just doesn't have any, despite being 50% wool.

Monday, February 20, 2012

WIP: Half-Handspun Cowl

I'm taking some of this roving…

And spinning it into this yarn…

And knitting a cowl with it. I'm also using some yarn from my stash, alternating rows. I'm not sure if I hate it or not. Pictures when it's done, and then we can vote.

Yes, I said I'm spinning. Again. Finally.

Between the kitten, the two-year-old, and the 10-month-old, I'm not sure if the wheel will survive the ravages of curiosity.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Yarn at Union Square

UPDATE: For those of you interested, the sheep/yarn are from Catskill Merino Sheep Farm, whose website you can access here.

This past weekend, Adrian and I went up to NYC to visit my younger sister and her family. On Saturday, we took a walk through the market at Union Square, and I found this booth:

And they had this yarn:

Doesn't that look yummy? I didn't buy any, because my stash is overflowing, but it was great to see those colors on that dreary-weather day.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Knitting for Change (Sort of)

The World Wildlife Federation is encouraging Canadians to turn down the heat and put on a sweater on February 9th. The effort is meant to combat climate change and raise awareness. I love the knitting imagery they are using in the ads. Why not get on board (even if you aren't in Canada)?