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Monday, April 28, 2008

Summer 08 Interweave + Swallowtail

Summer Interweave

I haven't had a secret reveal in awhile, but this is a special one. Have you all seen the Summer 08 preview of Interweave Knits (or the gallery)? I am so excited to announce that one of my designs made it in: the Wallis Cardigan! It was almost surreal the day that Eunny called me last November to tell me I made it and I couldn't wait to see the final pictures and share the awesome news. Now I can't wait to get my hands on the new issue, it looks like a really good one.

Swallowtail Shawl

This project was so quick, I don't even think I had a chance to mention it on my blog at all! Started knitting last Sunday and finished knitting my Swallowtail Shawl this Saturday. It took a quick dip tonight and is blocking as I write.

swallowtail blocking

swallowtail detail

Details [Ravelry]:
Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark published in Interweave Knits Fall 06
Yarn: Handmaiden Sea Silk in Straw from One Planet Yarn and Fiber
Needles: Size 3 bamboo and Size 4 addi lace circulars

I really, really liked this project. I never thought I would knit a shawl for myself, let alone a triangle shawl. The yarn just spoke to me and it said wanted to be a Swallowtail Shawl, how could I argue? The Sea Silk was a dream to work with and the subtle color variations are lovely. The pattern was very easy to follow, although the purl 5 together bits gave me a bit of a problem until I ran out and bought some lace Addi's. Those needles were a blessing! Now I'm just hoping it doesn't take forever to dry with all of this wet weather we are having.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Fashion Friday

In the spirit of my full-time endeavor, I'd like to maybe spend a little time every week (or every other week) talking about fashion: trends, colors, personal sewing projects, and issues. For my first Fashion Friday, since it's been in the news the past few weeks, I'd like to talk about where your clothes may come from and the possible conditions of those places.

Like Cheap Clothes? Have you ever given a thought to why they are so cheap?

In the news the past few weeks, there were reports of many factory workers in Bangladesh striking for fair living wages. With the price of food going up around the world, many workers in poor countries are having problems feeding their families.

But that is just one problem plaguing these workers.

The general working conditions for many of the factory workers in developing countries aren't always the best. Long hours, poor pay, unhealthy, cramped, and unclean working spaces.

With retailers constantly putting pressure on clothing companies to give them goods at cheap prices, the problem often becomes tolerated and overlooked. Consumers who love cheap fashion or "throwaway fashion" keep the cycle going.

Luckily, I work for a company who owns their own factory; conditions are controlled and the factory has the highest quality certification they can obtain (which only a handful of retailers require). But it's not always so easy for companies, retailers, and consumers to know where their goods are being produced and what the conditions are like at those factories. For example, our company makes goods for some of the retailers that sell clothing on the cheaper end of the scale. Once the goods are on the floor, there really is no way for the consumer to tell the difference between our sweaters made in a good factory versus another company that uses a factory with poor standards. So it's not always a black and white issue when it comes to actually knowing the truth about your clothing.

Wanna see for yourself?

BBC has launched a new online fashion magazine aimed at promoting eco-conscious style called Thread. The BBC has also produced a series called Blood, Sweat and T-shirts which gives 6 people the chance to see how their clothes are made by giving them first hand experience in Indian factories. I'm not sure if the program will air in the states, but you can watch a short video clip of each participant's experience and thoughts here.

What can you do?

- As I mentioned above, just because the clothing is cheap, doesn't mean it was made in a bad factory. A good way to start is to write your favorite stores or clothing brands and ask what they are doing to make sure their clothing is being made by a decent factory and get your friends to do the same. Pressure from consumers is the first step to change.

- With what seems like a new consciousness of this issue, a few clothing lines have started to advertise their fair work practices and some even combine it with green technology. They are still mostly carried in specialty stores, but a quick google search is just a click away. The most important key to this whole movement though, is not to mistake these goods for a "luxury" item as some of the more expensive stores are advertising. Consumers shouldn't have to pay hundreds of dollars to make sure the workers who made their clothing are getting fair treatment.

- Always wanted to learn how to sew? Sewing your own clothing is a great way to express your individual style and you know exactly where it came from! Don't have time to sew? Second hand and vintage stores are also a great option.

A few links to get you started:

Clean Clothes Campaign
Sustainable Technology Education Project
"Fast Clothes versus Green Clothes" [via International Herald Tribune]

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


The stocking was finished up on Sunday night and wet blocked last night. Yay!

stocking finished!

Details [Ravelry]:
Pattern: Victorian Christmas Stocking by Donna Kay
Needles: Size 0 and 2
Yarn: Elann.com Baby Lace Merino in Cream and Navy
Started: March 20, 2008
Finished: April 20, 2008

Overall, it was a fairly enjoyable project and even the stockinette I complained about moved quickly when you're working a few rows here and there on the subway to and from work. I left out the beads on this one, but may go back and add some small swarovski crystals here and there. Even though the size of the project isn't large, it's probably one of the most labor intensive projects I've worked on: small needles + fairisle kinda does that to a knitter.

Now to put me truely to the test - how fast can I finish stocking #2? Considering I cast on for the Swallowtail shawl right away, probably not very fast....

Friday, April 18, 2008

Sesame from Magknits Part 1

Just wanted to spread the word that the new and improved Sesame is back up. This pattern was originally released in the August 05 issue of Magknits, but is no longer available there as most of you already know.

I've added 2 smaller sizes to this batch: 30.5" and 33.5". I've also added more details to the schematic and re-edited the work for math errors. I'm also planning on releasing larger sizes of the pattern also, hence the title "part 1", which will cover 46"-62". It might take me a tad bit longer for the Plus version because I want to make an actual sample for the larger sizes first.

After thinking long and hard about this, instead of charging for the pattern, I'm accepting donations. I put quite a bit of time into revising the pattern and adding extra sizes, but I felt it might be a little unfair to charge outright considering the previous Magknits life of the design. So if you want it for free, you got it. Want to put a few bucks in the tip jar? Well, you've got that option too.
By Melissa Wehrle



- Rowan Wool Cotton: 50% Merino/50% Cotton, 50g/123yd ball;
Yarn A: Ship Shape 5 (5, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6) balls
Yarn B: Spark 4 (4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 5) balls
- 1 pair US 6 (4mm) straight needles
- 2 Stitch holders
- Tapestry needle
- (7) 1 3/8" (54 Ligne) wood buttons

Finished bust: 30.5 (33.5, 35, 36.5, 39, 41, 44)"/77.5 (85, 89, 93, 99, 104, 112)cm

Length: 21.5 (21.5, 22, 22, 23, 23.5, 24)"/54.5 (54.5, 56, 56, 59, 60, 61)cm

21 sts/27 rows = 4"/10cm in Stockinette stitch

Monday, April 14, 2008

All Stockinette Stitch, All the Time

Yes, I've reached the point of the stocking where it is all stockinette all the time - on size 0 needles! I've been plugging away for almost a week here and there: subway, car, cooking dinner, and am happy to say that I'm only about 1" away from the light at the end of the tunnel. I can't wait!

stocking progress

Over the weekend I also tackled adding more sizes to Sesame and was in all my mathy glory. I even dreamed about solving math problems in my sleep. Luckily, I like math. A lot.

sesame math

When it's all said and done, there will be 7 new sizes added to the pattern: 30, 32, 46, 50, 54, 58, and 62" bust.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Magknits Fall Out

As most of you probably already know, Magknits is no more as of today. I'm sure you've read enough about this today to last you a lifetime, so I'll keep this short.

Way back when, I had designed 2 patterns for Magknits: Sesame and Lux and I do plan to have them available either here or on Ravelry as soon as I have a second to reformat them and make them look pretty. I might even throw in an extra size or two - I think Sesame could certainly benefit to be sized up a bit to be more of an equal opportunity pattern. So stay tuned!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Dear Kid Silk Haze

Dear Kid Silk Haze,

We had so many good times together, Grannie Smith, 2 striped pullovers, lacy babydoll and butterfly - not to mention the stash. You're just so beautiful, colorful, soft and warm. Even though some others don't quite understand why you are so thin and fine and why anyone would want to bother with the headache you can cause, I defended you.

I still feel so much love for you, and what I'm about to say next might come as a shock, but I don't think you are my favorite anymore. I met a new love via USPS this week and her name is Sea Silk. It's not you, it's me and you'll always be my second favorite. Please understand.


Hand Maiden Sea Silk in Straw
from One Planet Yarn and Fiber