ME-MADE-MAY

Today is May 4th (may the fourth be with you!!; sorry couldn’t help myself, I’m not even a Star Wars fan!) and over the last week or so you cant help but notice people discussing or getting excited over Me Made May.  I’ve certainly seen and heard about this before, along with slow fashion October but until this post I have never spoken of it, let alone shared my thoughts on this movement online/ through social media.

Over the last 3-4 years I’ve made a shift in my personal wardrobe.  I can’t pinpoint exactly when that shift started to occur or the thought popped into my head but it did.  I have slowly become more conscientious as I buy.  To the best of my ability the garments that are purchased in my closet must be 100% NATURAL fibers (silk, cotton, linen, wool, cashmere…etc) and if for whatever reason they cannot be (nylon in socks and underwear for example) the item (like an undergarment) MUST be at least 50% NATURAL fiber…

Why, you may be asking yourself, does this have to do with me made may?  well, it more directly applies to me personally.  You see, I work in the fashion industry- I see, very much on a daily basis how much clothing gets put into development, how much is cast aside before it is even seen by a buyer, and then once again half a collection “disappear” before you see it in stores.   I actually have to partially shut down the made by hand part of me when I’m putting a collection into work.  Again, you may ask- WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH ME MADE MAY?! well ok, yes you have a point, not a LOT… but it means a lot to me.  While the company I work for has a pretty relaxed dress code- I sometimes have to dress “appropriately” (aka- wear my line) for certain meetings- and handmade items unfortunately don’t make the cut.  And most of my handmade items are also my accessories, and there are only so many ways to wear a wool scarf or shawl, and then those don’t really work during the summer months.  So- since I currently need to buy portions of my wardrobe I try to make up for it by buying natural fibers.  And when I can take this a little further I like to try to buy small/ buy conscious clothing.  This bit doesn’t always happen but it is something I do my best to keep in mind.

This year I wont be able to fully take part in the me made may movement BUT any chance I get to throw on one of my self-made pieces you bet I seize that moment!

Happy May to all….

XO

Christine

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BRIMMING WITH INSPIRATION.

Lately I have been very inspired to design; almost to the point of bursting with the need to make, create, put pencil to paper….and of course, it has felt as if there is no time to do this.  If housework/ errands were caught up on, baby girl wanted to play (not a bad thing)…. when baby was in bed, well, there was dinner, and dishes and maybe a moment to just take a breath.  And then of course when there wasn’t all those “things” I was at my day job…. Again, not necessarily a bad thing but I have some down time right now… so much in fact that I have caught up on (or I’m waiting until my boss is free for review…eek) my workload and am pretty much trying to look busy.  Naturally for me I find myself thinking of all the things I want to knit, or techniques I want to try, and finally, all the things I WANT TO DESIGN.  I have been wanting to for a very long time now to be writing up some of my own patterns and start to sell them and have never really committed the time to making this happen.  I am more than ever now itching to make my ideas and dreams a reality.  So I am having my pencil go to paper to DRAW.

What’s interesting is for as many ideas I seem to have in mind, it is harder to actually commit them to paper.  Its like those little images I picture in my mind suddenly fly away and I end up with little half thought out projects…Now contrary to what you may think this isn’t a bad thing.  I can use these bits and pieces to sort through what is the overwhelming need to design and actually figure out what is going to work.  What is going to be the fun (but definitely challenging) bit is swatching these designs.  I have a degree and background in women’s wear and as much I have read and dissected and read up on a variety of knitting patterns I have never written one with a mix and blend of stitches where I will need to ensure that they work together.  This does not intimidate me though because it is the beauty of the challenge and I WANT to succeed in this endeavor.  I guess this is really in my favor too- blind commitment maybe?

So my fellow knitters, I welcome your support and your advice and your stories about your own journeys today.  Thank you for letting to open my heart and my mind to you and welcome to my knitting vision.

XO

Christine

Progress Report…

So it’s been a little over two weeks since I decided to cast on the Ural Shawl by Whitney Hayward. And oh boy is it wonderful!  As I type I am already past the half way point and can picture myself breezing through the remaining decreases in the next couple of days.

At first I was slightly worried about my yarn choices. Not for color but with the texture- all 3 yarns I chose have a slightly different twist (please forgive if my terminology is not quite accurate here; I’m still learning!) and I didn’t know how compatible they would be knitted into one piece. But I am completely satisfied at how they have blended together! What I am interested in seeing is how they act once the whole piece is soaked and blocked.

I’ve also been trying to decide if I want to add some finishing touches…. a little tassel or rope tie at the tips, tassel at the longest point…. or potentially fringe along the bottom edge…. This is all still up for debate in my head…. I want to wait until it is finished and blocked before deciding if any one of these options is necessary. So for the details…..

Pattern:Ural Shawl by Whitney Hayward

Yarn:Sawkill Farms Worsted; Undyed Wool from 2016; “Odd Offs” from Purl Soho (they were skeins/ colors that I believe didn’t go into final production…I think its the Worsted Twist but not 100% sure and the label is not clear…); and OWool Local in color Cochineal

Next time you see this piece it will be DONE!  Happy Day all…

XO,

Christine

P.S- don’t forget to follow along on insta! @rubyandanainstiches

FO: Penguono!

A few weeks ago I weaved in the last of many ends on this beauty and since then it’s been worn almost every day of the week! I am in complete and total love over how this knit turns out.

I am slightly ashamed that it took me so long to decided to cast it on! It used to look like an intimidating piece but turned out to be simplistic yet genius in its design and construction. I made one change in that the bottom band I did more than the recommended rows and used a whole skein (the only one I actually purchased for this project) as I wanted the sweater to be a bit longer for my tall frame.

I got around to taking a few photos this morning and they honestly don’t do it justice! There is something about Black that doesn’t photograph so well- at least for an amateur photographer like myself & my old iPhone. I am already looking forward to casting on my next sweater! I wonder what it could be…..

Hmm…

XO,

Christine

P.S- I highly recommend blocking- the difference was HUGE- and overall grew about 4″. I didn’t check my final measurements against what was stated in the pattern but it was a game changer for relaxing all of the garter stitch sections…

WIP: a little mini knitting

Morning!

I am finally continuing on my baby test knit! I was able to head out with the little one over our long Easter weekend to get the proper needles that I have needed for weeks now. As tiny as these stitches are it is surprisingly refreshing to the DK weight yarns I’ve been knitting the last few weeks. So for the last week I’ve been happily knitting my two at a time sleeves hoping to complete them quickly and what do I discover?…. I have a shading issue!! This is surprising to me because 1) it’s one skein; I’m pulling from the center and the outside edge… and 2) this has been tucked away in a basket for some time and not really exposed to daylight so I never expected to have a color issues…

Regardless I am going to continue. As excited and happy as I am to be testing this pattern it’s been hanging around too long and I would like to move onto something new. And to be honest- I may only notice this color issue as I am responsible for color approvals at my full time job which makes me a little sensitive when it comes to color differences (don’t get me started on why wearing all black is now difficult for me!). And really- is my little one going to notice?- no, she won’t…

Happy Friday all….

I’ll be back soon with a write up on my now FO….Penguono!

XO

Christine

WEEKLY ROUNDUP; episode 6

It’s been a while; and I’m late! It’s Saturday night right now and we have had a family full day of brunch and a zoo trip, laughs and non stop running around (baby girl seriously tried to introduce herself to every other kid at the zoo today…🤦🏼‍♀️). In other words… it was a perfectly exhausting day.

In my knitting world I have some very exciting news…. PENGUONO IS FINISHED! I love it, it’s beautiful and strangely I already want to make another even though I have a million other items I also want to make….

Now not a lot of photos as of yet but hope to get a few more to share soon. For now enjoy…

Now some house keeping…. life has picked up for us recently and I’m finding that even though I have time to knit I can’t get that little extra time to do a weekly roundup of my knitting progress…. so I will be moving to MONTHLY roundups. This will allow me the chance to give you a well rounded, well written roundup and then allow for little mini posts throughout the weeks between.

So this weeks post is just for “show”… hoping to give a more proper individual posting for my finished Penguono!

Best,

Christine

WEEKLY ROUNDUP; episode 5

The first few times I have done these weekly roundups I have been adamant about writing THROUGHOUT the week and doing a final check before publishing.  This week however has been messy.  My full time job has kept me on my toes as we are heading into crunch-time; and though with my little family I have been given set working hours the days leave me with so much stress I am completely mentally drained when I leave and don’t want to think about writing.  And after there is baby to put to bed and the constant of keeping up with anything home related.  Top it off that for the last week and a half I have been prepping for her first birthday party.   This momma is EXHAUSTED!  All that being said I have squeezed (literally) as much knitting as possible into this crazy schedule of mine because DEADLINES!  So here I am, less than a day before posting, writing up a nice long and lengthy weekly roundup!  Here we goooo!!

I am happy to announce that I have finished the Popcorn Vest and Bonnet; and at just under a week before I need to have baby girl unwrap for her birthday!  Let me just say I am so crazy happy with the results… honestly my best knitted set yet.  Considering how many times I have actually knit this pair, I have made minor revisions each time which have either made the knitting more seamless, literally and figuratively.

This time around instead of BO then sewing together the shoulder seams, then later picking up the back neck for the rib trim; I chose to keep the stitches live.  This way I was able to kitchener the shoulders then easily use the live back neck stitches to seamlessly join with the rib trim.  For some this may seem like a little more work and maybe it was; however one thing I am still mastering as a knitter is picking up stitches, and picking them up evenly and beautifully.  This change allowed me to up the quality of the vest itself; no more worrying if I picked up enough stitches evenly or consistently- they were already live for my working!

I also slipped all edge stitches, giving me nice clean edges to work with at the front edge and armholes.  While I may not have picked up as many stitches as the pattern states, I know that what I did pick up and cast on will be sufficient enough for my daughter to wear.

Pattern:Popcorn Vest & Bonnet by Studio Misha & Puff

Yarn:Sawkill Farms Worsted; Undyed Wool (Romney, Icelandic, Finn, Texel mix) from 2015 knit with Alchemy Yarns of Transformation Haiku in Fieldstone + rib trim in Sawkill Farms Worsted; Undyed Wool from 2016 ***

Last weekend I allowed myself the luxury of finishing up the underarms on my Penguono and ohhh I have a knitted thing that looks like a sweater!  It is so exciting!  I still have the neck and bottom bands to do which I keep changing my mind on what yarn I would like to use…I have been determined to not buy any yarns to complete this but am contemplating getting a single skein of Purl Soho Flax Down. This is the yarn I chose to use for the main back panel and something tells me it would be nice to have it repeat but I think I will still try to use what I have.

Project/ Designer:Penguono by Steven West

Yarn:  Purl Soho Flax Down in Kettle Black + The Fibre Co Cumbria Fingering in Scafell Pike & Dodd Wood + Lake yarns Alturas in Shell Seeker + OWool Local in Gray Birch + Skeinny Dipping Fingering and Skeinny Dipping DK in Cease and Desist + Baa Ram Ewe Titus in Coal

Until next time….

XO.

It’s been awhile…

Hi there…

It’s been a long time since I’ve put my thoughts out in the world and have been thinking its better late than never….It’s been quite a year and a half since I last wrote and I couldn’t even begin to say where I should begin!

My knitting has been coming along nicely and while I haven’t fully tackled a new technique or particularly difficult project I am pleased with what knits i have been adding to my life and wardrobe.  There were few new pairs of socks (which I wrote about earlier this year) and a fine (but incredibly warm) linen weight scarf, along with a basic sweater!

My project list has a new subject to focus on however and one that I am more than excited about… a baby!  My husband and I welcomed home a beautiful little baby girl earlier this year and we cannot be more thrilled!  She has been such a joy to watch these first few months and I am still in awe of becoming a mom.

While I will sadly be going back to work very shortly it has gotten me to begin to try to think of ways that I would be able to stay home with my girl while still contributing to our household income.  I have always known that I would enjoy staying at home and my maternity leave have truly shown me just how much I love it.  However, it is the difficult part of our living in NYC as the cost of living is outrageously high which is what is taking me back to the office.  That being said, becoming a stay at home mom has become a bit of a dare for me in seeing if I could make it work.  I am by no means saying I am up and quitting my current job today ( I’m not that crazy!, if you’re reading my beautiful supivisor I truly promise to give you fair warning!) but I have been thinking about how a transition from one environment to another could work.

I am pleased to say that I feel my knitting could be a part of this budding plan and one that I plan to explore.  If I remember to look back at my archived posts later I believe I had plans to write and publish one of my own patterns.  That has been one of my first thoughts of trying to stay at home… come up with and write my own patterns to sell- as I would not be committing all my time to making each piece which would take away time from being mommy… What a great way too to test drive a venture like this as well…

So I raise you readers…. have any of you ventured into self employment?… what were your best decisions in the planning stages that would help another young entrepreneur?  And knitters!- what have you found most helpful when it comes to writing, purchasing, or reading patterns?…

Followup to thoughts on socks…

So following my last blog post, I finished my Goomy 50 socks!  And let me say its love at first sight I mean, wear.  I found that as tedious as it was to knit on size 0 needles, I am more than pleased with the outcome and have already started on my next pair!  Cannot wait to see how those turn out.

 

So please enjoy the below photos of the delicious, cozy goodness….

Until next time….❤️

 


Thoughts on Socks.

Let’s go back for a minute to my pre and during college days… My dad thought it would be absolutely amazing if I became a sock designer… (insert usual late teen eye roll here…)  now whether he was completely serious or not I don’t know but to this day it’s definitely joked about. So when I became serious about my hand knitting of course the comment of my knitting socks came up…

Well let’s say I was easily justifiably (in my mind) not into trying, like, AT ALL.  The thought of how you possible turn a heel, create a gusset, I just couldn’t wrap my head around how it would be done- and patterns I even chanced to look at- oh no, it was a foreign language.

Then came the call saying Dad wasn’t well and … I couldn’t figure out fast enough how I was suppose to make a sock.. Six pairs in and he still hasn’t gotten a pair (really dad, yours are coming I promise!!) but I have become enchanted about how easily it is to wip a pair out pretty quickly. 

           

 And then…Goomy 50 happened (bottom right hand corner)…   

And I couldn’t avoid the size 0 (yes 0!!) needle size… So to avoid actually experiencing second sock syndrome I looked up two at a time socks and I have learned a few things….:

1) casting on is dreadful, cast on separately and bring together once you’ve joined in the round…you just try navigating periously small rows of tiny stitches and tell me it’s easy!

  
2) that ladder thing everyone talks about- yeah it happens, and it sucks.

3) picking up stitches in the round for two?- yep that’s interesting to, I think I’ve mastered it though since I ripped out my pick ups 3 separate times! (Check this link out, the visuals helped in figuring out the correct technique…)

4) you get interested stares when you knit two at a time on the subway, and yes many will think they are sleeves…

  

5) the end result…sure, it pretty much blows all those annoying bad points above out of the water…  Putting on a pair of hand knit socks is pretty f*cking satisfying.

You know you want to be a sock designer…so pick up your double points and do it…. 😉

❤️