Thursday, February 25, 2010

Notes From New York: She blinded me with knitted science!

From Katherine Jane in New York City:

A friend just sent me this link dedicated to strange and wonderful sciencey knits:
(Squeamish be warned, there's a couple of dissection-themed knits in there.)

I love niches within niches; not just science, not just knitting, but knitting science!

This sent me on a delightful Ravelry binge, looking through all the patterns that relate to sciency themes. Probably my favorite was this cowl, by talented artist Kiriko Moth:

Coral Reef Cowl by Kiriko Moth (picture used with permission)

Anyone else out there have a favorite sciencey knit?

-Katherine Jane


Katherine Jane Arathoon lives in New York City and occasionally guest blogs for Knitting Out Loud. She also blogs at Between Ewe And Me.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Marcie's vest - a winter collaboration

I had lunch with my friend Marcie the other day, and she was wearing this gorgeous vest. When I asked her about it, she told me this wonderful story:
I've lived in Maine through nearly 14 winters, and I can say, without a doubt, that the gift of the long, cold, isolating winter is that of unpredictable creativity. The long Maine winter allows for expansion, experimentation, and experiences with both people and projects in a way that always surprises me.
For nearly all of the years that I've lived in Belfast, I've practiced yoga at the Belfast Dance Studio. For the past three years, I've taught yoga there, so of course I know Sara Melanson, who is, among other things (such as a wild mushroom enthusiast), the manager of the studio. What I didn't know, until last year, is that Sara is also a passionate, extremely accomplished knitter. One morning I was passing through the studio and saw, through the open office door, that Sara was knitting. We started talking about knitting and clothes and before long, we realized that we had found some common ground for inspiration. I myself am not a knitter at all, but I do love clothes, and I love talking to people about making things. Our conversation went on and on, until somehow, we had decided to collaborate on a knitted vest: I would design it, and Sara would knit it. As you can see from the photographs, it turned out to be a wonderful collaboration. So wonderful, in fact, that we are now working on a second piece. But that's another story...
The inspiration for the vest was collage. Because I wanted it to have the spirit of a collage - disparate shapes and colors and textures pieced together - I approached the vest as if it were a blank canvas, albeit a vest-shaped one. It was designed in my studio, using Adobe Photoshop. I began with a photograph of a basic grey vest, and from there, working in layers, I altered the shape and proportions, created the design, and determined the general color palette. Then it was time to choose the yarn. Sara and I met at Helen Sahadi's fabulous yarn shop in Belfast, Heavenly Socks, and drooled over all of her yarns. Finally, the selection was made, and the vest was one step closer to coming to life. Then, back in the studio, with all of the yarn in front of me, I finalized the design, tweaking the color and the pattern.

Here is the original design mock up for the front:
Here is the original design mock up for the back:
In the space of a couple of months, Sara knitted, tested stitches and created small swatches. She had free reign over the choice and sequencing of stitches, and this became one of the most exciting elements of the vest. At some point in the process, Sara discovered the best way to translate my two-dimensional design into her three dimensional creation. In her own words: "When I saw Marcie’s design, the usual questions of whether to knit from the top down vs. bottom up, in the round or front and back in separate pieces, were tossed out, and I had to approach it from a completely new angle. Collaborating with a non-knitter was liberating in that it was a chance to rethink my notions of how a knitted garment “should” be constructed. And I was excited to work with Marcie in particular, because I admired her style and couldn’t wait to see what she would come up with - I just knew if would be fabulous."

So what's the moral of this story? That not only is an artistic collaboration a great way to get yourself through the winter, but it's also a great way to stretch and grow, and perhaps, if you're lucky, make a new friend.
- Marcie Jan Bronstein

Sara Melanson can be reached at 323-1813. She is open to receiving commissions, and to collaborating on other knitting projects.

Read about Marcie Jan Bronstein's "real" work at

Monday, February 15, 2010

Knitting from New York: New Year's Resolutions!

The closest thing to snow I saw in California over Christmas...

From Katherine Jane in New York City:

Goodness, can it really be February already? I think I'm personally having a hard time admitting that 2010 is well underway because (shame!) I'm still working on my last two Christmas presents--a hat and a pair of socks that just didn't get done before the December deadline. Luckily my loved ones are very patient, and also quite accustomed to presents that arrive a little past due.

I recently read an article that explained that mittens will keep your hands warmer than gloves, because they allow your fingers to touch which helps maintain warmth. Whether that's true or not, I am using the information as a perfect excuse to make these gorgeous little morsels:

Deep In The Forest mittens
©Tuulia Salmela 2008, photo used with permission

However, I'm not going to start them until both those belated Christmas presents are finished and mailed out, because my Knitterly Resolution this year is: no more UFOs! Before the end of January I intend to go through my stash with a ruthless eye, and either finish what's on the needles or frog it and reclaim the yarn for something else. No mercy!

Have you made any knitterly resolutions this year? Have you been sticking to them? Let us know!

-Katherine Jane


Katherine Jane Arathoon lives in New York City and occasionally guest blogs for Knitting Out Loud. She also blogs at Between Ewe And Me.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New audiobooks!

We are thrilled to launch Cooking Out Loud with beloved food writer Elizabeth David's South Wind Through the Kitchen. Elizabeth David traveled through Europe and the Mediterranean before, during and after WWII, cooking, eating and writing about the delicious local dishes, fresh ingredients and family cafes she discovered. Her books influenced an entire generation of cooks.

I was introduced to Elizabeth David many years ago by an English-Ukranian family I worked for in Boston. I instantly fell in love. Her books are so beautifully written that I read them like novels while commuting on the subway. It is a dream come true to bring one of my favorite writers to audio.

We are very excited to bring you Wild Fibers Magazine: Five Years of Favorites! Travel with Wild Fibers Magazine editor Linda Cortright around the world as she searches out the exotic breeds of fiber animals she loves. This is superb travel writing for the fiber enthusiast! Linda writes, reads, and reflects, with warmth and wit.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

knitting goes everywhere

A friend sent me the link to these masks. My daughter knew that the green one was Cthulhu.
This peacock mask/hat is quite beautiful.
I am knitting a scarf in basketweave with that Noro yarn, but think there might be a better use for it (any suggestions?) anyway the knitting postcard is of a watercolor "Old Guernsey Lady Knitting" by Peter Le Lievre (1812-98) in the Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery.
This wonderful postcard was sent to me by a friend of my daughter. This plucky sixteen year old left our tiny Maine town to attend high school on the island of Stord in Norway. She took this photograph at the knitting museum there, slapped a back on it, and mailed it off.
Happy mid-winter to everyone!