April 2010 Archives

Happy Easter, Happy Spring!

From my house to yours, a very Happy Easter.  And if Easter isn't your bag this weekend, we wish you a glorious spring weekend instead!

Knitting for Work

In the last three weeks, my work life has changed rather significantly.  Different hours, different colleagues, different dress code.  For the time being, my crafty time is more constrained than it has been for quite some time, so I find myself really thinking hard about what I want to do with it.  

I do like to knit for wardrobe, but my current work lifestyle is not one that accomodates big slouchy sweaters or garments that are too "out there".  I find myself mostly in dress slacks, dress shirts and layering pieces like jackets and vests.  There's room for sweaters, but the types I think work best are those in very fine gauges and simple patterns with fitted shaping.  There seems to be two places that look to work best when it comes for knitwear:

1) Layering pieces like vests that help give dress shirts a bit more interest and help add a little bit more structure or make blouses that are a little bit sheer a bit more work appropriate.
2) Accent scarves that can be used to bring in a little color and provide a little hint of personal creativity without screaming "Yo! Look at me!  I like to knit"*

Thrown into this mix, I have to consider another factor, one that's been vexing me for almost a year now: I think I'm sensitive, and not in a good way, to wool.  I'm still experimenting with this, but it does seem that when I knit with wool, the eczema on my hands is more likely to flare up.  When I wear wool sweaters, my back seems to get worse.  When I wear wool socks, it seems like my legs and feet get more irriated and itchy.  I'm currently experimenting with eliminating wool from my wardrobe diet,  While it doesn't eliminate my problems, it certainly seems to reduce them.  So not only am I changing the types of garments that I am likely to knit, I'm also going to be changing up their fiber composition.  Fortunately, this is a good time to be looking at wool alternatives.  There are many fabulous cotton, silk, bamboo, linen yarns as well as many blends that really look delightful.

So I've been looking for patterns that meet my new wardrobe needs, are knit at finer gauge, and look good knit out of non-wooly yarn.  THe first place I decided to start looking was at ChicKnits, since I know Bonne Marie has been actively interested in developing patterns that "go to work".  With summer and lighter weight dress around the corner, I decided to start with Nicole -- a little vest that has a lot of visual and knitting interest, can layer well, and also can be knit in DK weight cotton.  

In the spirit of both work appropriate and compatible with a wide variety of under pinnings, I chose Rowan's Purelife Organic DK Cotton in a taupe-y shade (whose name escapes me at the moment).  The yarn is dyed with natural color dyes and  has subtle variations that add depth without being too pronounced about it.  I swatched it up on the suggetested size needles (Addi Turbo 3.75 mm "lace" style) -- I always take it as a good sign for a project when I get gauge on the first try.

I'm actually going up to a slightly larger size than I would normally knit for myself to accomodate both an "under layer" as well as a bra with more solid structure (which seems to have become one of the most necessary parts of my wardobe post-child)... and also because a number of Nicoles on Ravelry look a little too close fitting for a somewhat conservative work environment.  So far, as I knit on the project, the size has the right "feel" -- hopefully that will continue to be the way it is as I go on.

*Not that there is *anything* at all wrong as being identified as a knitter.... it's just that in a professional setting, I'd like to be remembered for my business acumen or personal enthusiasm for a particular project instead of just as "that woman wearing the wild scarf".  

Pictures from Ann Arbor

P.SThose of you who aren't interested in pictures of my kid might want to head away now.  I promise, pretty much all that is going to be in this post is Z.  For those of you who like knitting combined with children, I will say that all the pictures also feature a hand knit hat.  But mostly this is about Z enjoying a kite flying afternoon with her father.

20100411_ZWithKiteString.jpg20100411_ZinHat.jpg20100411_ZWithDaddy.jpgLast year she was almost afraid of the kite.  This year, she wasn't happy until she got to fly it herself.  She had so much fun with Daddy and Grandpa while doing this, and she was so excited when she got to hold onto the string reel all by herself.  She watched John intently when he adjusted the kite to try to get it to do different things.  She spent the weekend telling us that she wanted to fly the kite. She loved the process of figuring out how the reel worked and took it so seriously when she got to hold it her self.    Watch out world!  Here comes another engineer.

P.S. to no one in particular, the jean jacket is from BabyGap --and is a size 4-5 for a little girl.  More proof that the toddler will not be with us much longer. I'm such a sucker for little jean jackets. This child/jacket combination got more than a few positive comments.  I can't help but feel that every now and again I do okay with her wardrobe. 

In the Cloud

20100418_WordCloudWordle.jpgWhat's the old phrase... good artists borrow, great artists steal...

Consider this Word Cloud idea well and duly stolen from Norma, and created using a tool called Wordle.  I think it's pulling this mostly from my current RSS feed, but I like how "WORK" is in the center, flanked by "WEAVING" and "KNIT" -- that pretty much sums it up for me at the moment.  It also amuses me how dominant the words "LIKE" and "ONE" and "LITTLE" are -- clearly I have some favorite verbs, pronouns and adjectives. 

Nicole continues, as does the color gamp blanket.  My Skew socks are stalled, due to my desire to keep my hands off wool for a bit as I try to sort out some of my skin sensitivities, but I do want to get them finished up.  I feel as if time is accelerating for me right now.  Every time I turn around it seems like a week has gone by and I've got very little crafty to show for it.  I think about my projects a lot, but I haven't had an easy time figuring out how to integrate my hobbies into the rhythm of my new schedule yet. 

Nicole Progress


I carved out a little more time to work on Nicole this weekend.  I really do like the design, but right now my head space is occupied by so many things, I've found it hard to focus and center on a knitting project.  I think I also had this mild fear of running out of yarn, but that fear is more or less allayed now and I'm on to the part where I am thinking if I want to modify the pattern a little bit to center one of the motifs on the shoulder straps.

One thing that has surprised me about this project is how much I've enjoyed working with the cotton, Rowan Purelife Organic Cotton DK.  It's not elastic, it does want to split a little bit,  but it is soft and overall I'm very pleased with how even I have been able to make my stitches.   I thought it also might be awkward with some of the pattern stitches, but that hasn't really been the case, either. 

By the end of Sunday, I had most of the back complete, but instead of pushing on (while I think about the potential changes) I went down into my stash to take a census of the non-wooly yarns.  Not surprisingly, they are few and far between, but I did find a few 100% silks that I have in enough quantity that they have now become inspiration fodder for some summer scarves. 


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