Simply Summer...

I'm happy to introduce my newest pattern, Simplice...

I made the first version of this simple top last summer.  Several more iterations of it followed in quick succession.  It is a breeze to knit and wear, and immediately became the top that replaced my traditional summer tee.  I now have several linen versions, a cotton version, a linen/rayon version, and am currently working on a silk and paper version (weird but very fun—I'll post when it's done).  A bit excessive?...maybe...but this top has proven to be a real workhorse.  it's comfy, looks great with jeans and is easily dressed up with a belt, skirt and heels.  I've included a little video of the various versions in action at the bottom of the page.

Truth be told, I originally didn't plan on writing up this design because I wasn't sure it was exciting enough to merit its own pattern.  But then every time I would wear Simplice someone would tell me how much they liked it and wanted to know where I bought it.  That and how often I reach for my own versions of this top made the decision to publish this design self evident. 

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Knitting specs—Simplice is offered in 11 sizes with a finished bust measurement of 30-50" .  The top is designed to be worn with 0-4" of negative ease.  It is worked in DK to sport yarn at a gauge of 5 sts/inch.  The pattern is completely seamless, worked from the top-down, in the round. A row of eyelet increases at the natural waist form the A-line shape and offer a place to thread a belt or ribbon.  The pattern can be easily altered by placing the eyelet shaping lower or higher on the body—offering an empire waistline or straight tee with hip flounce.  The pattern includes directions for a plain or buttoned garter neckline band.

You can review the pattern page and purchase this design on Ravelry or Craftsy.

Can you tell I like this one?...simple to knit, fun and functional...my favorite kind of summer knitting.  Sending you wishes for sunny days full summer knitting fun!...

xox

~alison

Springing...

At last! We are in the throes of spring!  I love winter, don't get me wrong. And to be perfectly honest, I have truly loved the snowy days and deep freeze that this winter brought us.  Most people look at me like I'm a little touched when I say that, but it's true.  I love snow, I love to cozy up inside with knitting on my lap and I love to bake (and eat) hearty winter meals.  But even I am overjoyed that we are officially into spring.  This last gasp of winter hasn't been able to fool anyone. It's as if it just popped into say, "Don't forget me." And we won't, but move over winter because spring is here to stay.  It's time to wash those woolens, pack them away for next year, and break out the cotton, linen and strappy sandals.  

And just as if on cue, my newest design was released.  Aaaand...wait for it…in Twist Collective's Spring/Summer issue!  I am beyond thrilled. I've long been an admirer of this publication. It's always full of gorgeous designs, informative articles and just tons of fashion forward yet classic garments that I want to wear and knit.  It's been a secret goal of mine to find myself in their pages. And so this fall I screwed up my courage and sent them a proposal. I am not a trained designer and I am definitely not a trained fashion drawer, so sending out proposals always takes a bit of just closing my eyes and jumping.  And then the forgetting game...you know the one where you convince yourself that nothing is going to come of it so you should just put it out of your mind, but really you're holding your breath every time you check your email.  Do you know that game? Anyway, that's how it goes around here. And then the email came and then yarn and then this...Demeter... 

A flirty spring and summer skirt, that's knit in the round from the top down.  Demeter is a prettified mash up of my all time favorite summer skirts.  The first: gored in eyelet fabric, sewn on the bias~the one that is so tired and bleach stained that I've taken a sharpie to it rather than retire it.  And second: my go-to wear-everyday jersey knit skirts.

These shots are from Twist Collective.  I really do just adore them.  Isn't the model just gorgeous?! You can see more of these beautiful shots on my Ravelry page. 

 

I liked making this skirt so much that I actually made a second sample of Demeter…one just for me.

 

I love how it can be dressed up or down and how comfortable it is to wear. I see myself pairing it with a tee shirt and sandals as well as dressing up with a blouse and heels.  This pattern was worked in Chesapeake by Classic Elite Yarns.  Let me tell you this yarn was made for skirt knitting.  It's drapey, without being limp and lifeless, and it has memory.  It holds it's shape wonderfully.  These pictures were taken after a very busy day in which I had been wearing the skirt all day, drove for several hours and then ran errands and went to the yarn shop and sat around knitting for several hours more.  And not a hint of sagginess in sight. Love!

And then there's this...don't judge, but I've gained 10…10!!! pounds since I made this skirt last fall (remember when I said I like to eat in the winter?...proof positive). And I have to say that dear Demeter is mercifully forgiving. I gain all my weight right through my tummy, hips and thighs, and I was sure that I wouldn't be able to wear this skirt for a while, but low and behold! Demeter is kindly working with me until I lose that winter weight. I love that! No room for judgey clothes in my closet.

I'm kind of in love with knitted skirts right now—with knitting them and with wearing them. This construction is my favorite—top down, seamless and in the round.  It allows for lots of try-ons along the way, making it incredibly easy to customize—a little longer, a tad shorter, straighter, fuller…easy peasy.  As someone who changes her mind a thousand times in the course of knitting a project, I like that kind of flexibility.  

You can purchase the pattern for Demeter by following the link on Ravelry or by going right to the Twist Collective shop.

Happy spring all! I'm off to...you guessed right...knit...OUTSIDE !!!!  

XoX~ 

alison

 

 

There and back again...

I just wanted to stop by to wish you and yours the happiest of New Years, may it be full of peace, contentment, love and joy.  

We have had a wonder-full year here and there and all of the places that 2013 took us in between.  It has been a year full of travel, new experiences, of homecoming, work, of handmade, of love and laughter, and loss, of possibility, contentment, companionship, joy, sorrow, peace, longing and true love...a bittersweet year full of memories to savor and hold close.  I feel very lucky as we say goodbye to 2013—and a little nostalgic and misty—but mostly so so grateful for this amazing life. Here's a glimpse of where we've been in 2013...

The road ahead will bring its own joys, triumphs and challenges.  I'm ready.  Peace, health and happiness to you today and tomorrow... 

~xox~ 

alison

Mother Goose comes to call...

Well, after a brief hiatus, I'm back with more felt fun for advent.  I did give myself a bit of a break during this past busiest of weekends. Instead of felties I gave  a couple of ornaments that I bought for just this prpose while we were in Siena.  I love that our tree has ornaments from all the places that we have traveled as family.  Here's one.   It has the emblem of the Lupa (a contrada) and the black an white colors of Siena...

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It makes me crazy happy.  Also, taking a break from felting gave me a chance to enjoy all of the performances the lad was involved in over the weekend, plus I was able to get a toe hold on my holiday knitting (which I'm embarrassed to say, I'm just starting  ~ let's just not talk about the fact that Christmas is mere days away, okay?).  

I digress.  Let's get back to the matter at hand...our recent visit from Mother Goose.  Here she is...

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I'm still loving stitching on these guys, so I decided a wreath of flowers was in order.   

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A quick word about my emerging felting process.  I have watched a number of online tutorials on needle felting lately only to discover that I am apparently not doing it the way most people out there are doing it.  I don't really care much, but I do think it's interesting.  If you're interested in needle felting you should have a ramble around the web.  There is lots of feltie goodness out there.  Anyway, one thing I am still trying to figure out is how to add armiture wire to my felties using my current method, more or less, while still finding the process satisfying.  Several of my felties hav wire skeletons, but I really don't like felting with the wire bases as much as I do without it.  And because I am making these for immediate consumption, so to speak, I don't have a lot of time to experiment too much.  I'm still working all of this out and it really isn't that important, but writing about it here will remind me where I was when I look back from the future.    

Okay, that about does it but I just wanted to add one more thing.  I had a birthday this past weekend.  It was a wonderful day, and I don't mean to boast, but I did want to share one little thing with you.  My darling daughter designed and made this lovely cowl for me.  Isn't just perfect?...

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 Okay. It hasn't been blocked yet (the designer would want you to know that).   I wanted to wear it right away and still need to give it back to her for blocking, but isn't it just dreamy?!!!  I love it!  And after being a handmade giver for most of my life, it is such a treat to be a handmade receiver.

Happy handmade to you and yours...

~xox~

alison

festive frippery...

Greetings friends!  I am going to pop in and out quick as a bunny today.  We have carpet to rip out, wallpaper to tear off, kid number two on his way home, the lad prepping for his Shakespeare performance tonight (oh gosh!...that reminds me I'm supposed to make snacks for the cast~okay, note to self), a closet to paint, work knitting to accomplish, the lad's piano recital on Sunday, a party to make an appearance at if at all possible, and hmmmm...what am I forgetting...oh yeah, Christmas gift maikng and shopping...in other words a normal pre-holiday weekend for most moms.  I'm guessing that your schedule, mom or not, isn't too far from this as well.  But it's all good, isn't it.  Busy and full and good.  All this to say that today's offering is a bit short on substance, but still fun and festive.  I'm realizing that there will probably be a few more advent stocking stuffers like this in the coming days.  And I've decided that that's okay.  So here goes...

 

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Ummm...okaaaay...just what is it?...

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hmmmm...still guessing?...

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Oh right!...a garland!!!  Yep, a garland for our windows or tree or whatever.  Coming to you with the warmest wishes and a whole lot of...

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~xox~ 

alison

This little piggy...

Hello! Today I bring a little cinta pig as a feltie offering...

Who? What? Why?...well as some of you may recall, last year ourr family was fortunate enough to spend 3 months of our sabbatical in lovely Siena, Italy. It was a dream come true. Lately  I find myself daydreaming of that beautiful medieval town all decked out in her holiday finery.  Here's what Siena looked like last year...

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So gorgeous.  

We spent our days soaking up the history, art, and beaurtiful scenery.  It was truly magical and I still pinch myself when I think of the loveliness of those Tuscan days.  I knew that a cinta would have to be part of this year's menagerie in honor of all the sweet memories that Siena gave us. The cinta  (cheen-ta) is a pig specific to Tuscany.  My favorite depiction of a cinta can be seen in Lorenzetti's 14th century frescoes of the Allegory of Good and Bad Government.  We've spent a good deal of time in front of these frescoes during our visits to Italy.  They are truly remarkable and a wonderful glimpse into medieval life.

 

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Can you see him there trudging up the hill amidst the flourishing countryside and the industrious people prospering in this glimpse of good government?  You will notice after a bit of time in Siena and the surrounding towns that these little cinta pigs are tucked into the corners of many frescoes and paintings.  If you ever travel to the region with little kids in tow you will find that a game of I spy the cinta will give you many more minutes of peaceful museum viewing.  The lad was a champ at this game and could find them in the most unexpected places.

Here is my not-quite-up-to-snuff homage to the darling (and dare I say it, delicious) cinta... 

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Not perfect for sure, but a success by and large.  The lad and the mister recognized cinta immediately and there might even have been a little squeal of joy when he was first discovered in stocking number 12 ~~ music to a feltie mama's ears.  

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By the way, his front trotters should really be white.  Cinta pigs have that fabulous white belt and most often have white stockings to match...such fashion plates.  Sadly, my white roving is trapped behind a wall of furniture and boxes and I just managed to find enough for his white belt in with my leftovers from last year.  We are in the middle of some home reno and everything is topsy-turvy for the time being.  I figure once I can access those boxes I will do a little front leg-ectomy and perform a double trotter transplant.  Who knew that surgery would be part of this feltie journey?   

Anyway, that's all for now. Stay warm and well!

~xox~ 

alison

Oh dear!

 ...dear deer what can the matter be?...  Do you know that children's song?  I'm afraid it might have gone out of favor but I still find myself humming when I look at this little fawn.  Also it just seems aprropriate since I totally neglected to post this guy yesterday.  Rest assured nothing's the matter! It was just one of those days--a day filled with bedroom painting, baking for a cake order and tending to a sick kiddo (actually he didn't need that much tending-just waiting out an annoying virus-he's a trooper that one).  Anyway, here (better late than never) is a belated day eleven felt friend...

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a little fawn in a meadow... 

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dreaming of spring...

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I'm still playing with embroidery on these felties.  Can't seem to get enough of it, to tell the truth. And I'm learning so much doing these bitty sculptures...things like this ~ noses and snouts can be problematic and can change an animal's species in the blink of an eye ~ that neck circumference and length are more important than you'd think and that even if you don't get those two things just right a cute bum and ears can save the day...

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I can't believe that we are almost halfway through this feltie advent adventure.  I think I'm sort of finding my style.  I've realized that while beautiful and so impressive, I'm not aiming to make completely lifelike critters.  I'm not actually sure that I could. There are some truly talented and inspiring artists crafting these little look-a-likes~~really jaw-droppingly beautiful felties . And yet at the same time I don't really want to make cartoony or pop arty felties.  I do love many of them out there.  The cute factor with some of these is practically irresitable, but it's just not what seems to want to get made when I'm working on mine.  So where does that leave me?...somewhere in the middle I guess, hoping that these little creations are easily recognizable by species but are not all together lifelike.  I think anthropomorphism might have something to do with my emerging style of felting (though I'm not sure you can actually call it a style yet).  What I mean is that I find myself making up little stories for them as I make them and /or trying to recreate some of the characters in my favorite children's stories.  That inner dialogue is apparently a very big part of the felting process for me. I don't seem to ever get too far from that fairytale theme, do I?  Anyway, it' still fun, still an adventure, and still worth all that midnight.  Hope you're having fun in this season of making and giving.

until the next feltie, 

~xox~  

alison

 

Hen party...

10 !!! Already!  We have a little red hen for today.

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I'm sorry about the quality of these shots but the light was not so great and red can be so hard to photograph.  You'll just have to trust me that this litte hen is bright red with jewel tone embroidery.  It's a fun combo and she's very folkloric.  I was tempted to make her embroidery all white.  She would have looked very scandinavian that way.  I might just have to make another and give it go.  

Things are super busy here these days, as I'm sure they are at your house too.  So I will bid you farewell for now.  ttfn!

~xox~

alsion