Thursday, November 6, 2014

Rhinebeck skirt

             Every time I go to a yarn fair I aim at the fibers I am not able to find in NYC. I know, it seems that there is nothing you wouldn't be able to find in the city, but trust me it misses some of the yarn snob vitals. Last year at the Vogue Knitting Week I treated myself to extremely nice yarn from Windy Valley Muskox. (One day my dear friend Darrin and I will move to a farm to raise muskox and spin one of the most expensive fibers in the world)))).  The yarn was sitting in my stash for a few months before I decided I wanted to make a skirt for my trip to Rhinebeck. Once it was done I was really looking forward to show it off. The night before the trip I was checking the weather and was so angry to find out that we should expect 68F! Forget the wool (or for that matter, qiviut, which is 8 times warmer than wool!) and pull out your cotton! I still got to wear my cardigan, but had to figure something else instead of a skirt. 
Those of you who attended the event must understand how much I hate those jokers from the weather channel! It was freezing! However I fought my way through the cold by jumping from barn to barn and fondling some precious. Also don't forget the scenery--it's breathtaking!
Even though the skirt didn't make it to Rhinebeck it still deserves to be shown :)

It was crochet from the top down. I used 1mm hook and started with 330 dc working back and forth increasing evenly every 5th row to 350 for the yoke, finishing the last couple of rows in the round. It created the slit for the closure. For the next row I worked 1dc ch1 into each dc (700 st in total) to create the fuller body of the skirt. Kept on working in filet till the desired length (19"). For the closure I used 5 round buttons. The bottom of the skirt was embellished with the ribbon weaved in between dc into ch1 space. 

The skirt and the cardigan are modeled by my friend Gunel. 
Rhinebeck pictures are taken by my friend Darrin.

Yarn--Majestic Blend from Windy Valley--a little over 9 balls 
Hook-- 1mm
Buttons and ribbon--M&J Trimmings

Sunday, October 5, 2014


Confession needs to be made: I hate pineapple crochet stitch. It's Justin Bieber of crochet world. It's everywhere and it's annoying. Only a lazy crocheter didn't make a dress that appeared on a cover of Cosmopolitan magazine several years ago (or a true hater, I guess)))).

No doubt the stitch is beautiful, but its popularity turned it into a joke.
Another confession to make: I DID crochet a pineapple skirt designed by Doris Chan. And you won't believe how many complements I get every time I wear it!
And yet here I am declaring my hatred for the pineapple stitch. The heart wants what the heart wants...

A few months ago I happened to stumble upon a stitch called Antique Pineapple Stitch. "Another one of those,"-I thought, but clicked on the link provided. And it was nothing I expected to see. This 1900's crochet stitch has absolutely no resemblance of a familiar shape and looks more like a knit stitch rather then crochet. It is worked in the round (or break off at the end of each row as suggested by Manual) over 1 row repeat. I immediately grabbed my hook and the first yarn I could reach just to try the new technique.
The results are modeled by my friend Gunel:

For those of you who are interested I am posting the instructions:

Make a chain.
1st Row - Draw yarn through 4th stitch from hook, skip 1 chain, draw through next chain and draw through the 3 loops on hook; chain 1. * Draw loop through the same stitch as last loop, skip 1 chain, draw through next chain, draw through the 3 loops on hook; chain 1. Repeat from * to end of row. Break off.
2nd Row - Fasten yarn through chain of 1st row; chain 4. Draw loop through 1st space, through 2nd space, through the 3 loops on hook; chain 1. * Draw loop through space last used, through next space, through 3 loops on hook; chain 1. Repeat from * to end of row. Break off. Repeat 2nd row.
Source: Woolco Knitting & Crocheting Manual

Mine looks much fluffier because I used Lion Brand Baby Alpaca (Auburn).
Hook--6 (4mm)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Long time

Yes, I have to admit that I cheated on my blog... with doctor House! Oh boy! All 8 seasons at once! Absolutely no time to write. But guess what--plenty of time to crochet in front of the screen.  Right before I got sunk in Dr. House's big blue eyes I had some fun time with my dear friend Darrin. We happened to walk around alphabet city and stopped by one of my favorite yarn stores in NYC-- Downtown Yarns. Rita, the owner, was so sweet and gave me 40% (!!!) discount on Italian cotton I spotted immediately on one of the shelves. I suspect she just wanted to get rid of some old stuff and I seemed like a good "hooker" to take home those rejectees. My friend however swore to me on the cover of Vogue magazine that this is the ultra trendy color and I believe her.

Since the yarn has such saturated plum color I decided to go easy on the stitch pattern and picked something rather underwhelming. Once the swatch was made and basic calculations were done, I simply pulled out one of my best fitted cardigans and followed the measurements to be sure the new one would be exactly the same (fit-wise, of course, not the design-wise))). From time to time I was matching what was on the hook to the original and making notes on the counts of the stitches, so sleeves and two front halves would be identical. The hole process took me about one season of House, M.D. (I guess 5-6 days plus blocking).

And here is the piece I am going to wear for NYC Sheep and Wool Festival.

Can you guys keep a secret? I am making a skirt to complete the outfit)))

Yarn--Isager  6 balls
Color--36 (plum)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

In the beginning was the word.

I didn't just pronounce myself a queen. I believe this is a well deserved crown.

A few years ago I was a Fashion Design student at FIT. During my last semester I was working on my portfolio and decided to present a complete collection of knitwear. My professor loved it so much, so he called me a Knitwear Queen. I proudly carried the title throughout the semester and once it was over I put the crown into my closet along with my portfolio. The job market was tough and I found myself at the technical (don't confuse with creative) knitwear department of Ellie Tahari.  I ended up measuring finished garments and sending demanding comments to the factories in China and Peru. A year and a half later the company went through the turbulence and many of us got laid off. I came home crying and my husband asked me if I was upset. I answered: "I am crying, because I am HAPPY!"

Nine months later I saw an ad at a well known free website for a position at a local yarn store. I have to say, that a day before I just landed a job as an assistant technical designer at another company and was supposed to start in a week. However, I immediately emailed to the store and within a few days I had a thirty-minute phone interview,  an hour-and-a-half-long interview in person with 4(!!!) different people and a sales person position at Lion Brand Yarn Studio. During that interview I was asked to pick one craft that I enjoy the most. I said that I love knitting as much as I love crocheting, but if they would insist and put a gun to my head asking me to choose a craft for life I would have to pick crochet. And there I was--helping my customers with their crochet questions, making projects for the Studio, teaching different crochet classes and of course working on my own designs.

From that point my dusty crown was taken out of the closet, polished and hoisted where it belonged.