Tag Archives: ArtFibers

Happy Birthday – Sister’s Birthday Vest

For my sister’s birthday, I decided to make her something special. Since I didn’t allow myself very much planning time, I was lucky that I had some wonderful Kyoto from my trip last September to ArtFibers with partner in knitting Amanda.  Even better is the fact that this luscious blend of 75% silk and 20% mohair was in a deep royal purple which happens to be this year’s “it” fashion color!

 

Given that my sister’s wardrobe is peppered with grey and black outfits (despite living in suburban Los Angeles, no one’s informed her wardrobe to give up the always stylish New York black!). This will make a great background for my fitted vest.

 

Of course, my sister thinks that I’m a mind reader. When I asked her for her measurements to ensure that the vest was a perfect fit, she told me her bra and pants size. With these only marginally helpful guidelines, I decided to aim for something that fit me and hopefully was a svelte fit for her. Since I only had 605 yards of yarn, I decided to made a plain tank top like vest with 6 rows of garter stitch edging to prevent rolling.

 

Having made many vests and tank tops, I made a small swatch and used that as a guide. Given Kyoto’s delicate nature, I tried not to have multiple starts as I do with many of my projects.

 

During the knitting I prayed that my sizing would be correct. With size 7 needles, it went fast since much of what I have been making has been on size 2 and 3 needles.

 

In total it took about a week to make and I was surprised to discover that it fit me perfectly.

 

Since my sister was in town for her birthday, I lent her my apartment. I decorated it with hokey pop-up birthday decorations. I left the vest in a gold bag along with two champagne flutes. In the frig, I left a bottle of champagne and a chocolate cake with candles taped to the top.

 

Purple Kyoto Yarn From ArtFibers in San Francisco

Purple Kyoto Yarn From ArtFibers in San Francisco

 

P.S. Sorry that I didn’t take a photo of the finished vest.

 

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2007 – The Year in Yarn

Looking back, 2007 was a year where my knitting made significant progress. When I consider the projects that I completed this year, I wonder where I found the time to make them all! By category, here are my 2007 finished objects:

SWEATERS

  • Black and Red with Fair Isle Crewneck Sweater – Made from Karabella cashmere and silk blend. I created the pattern myself to use the leftover 4 1/2 balls of black that I had from another sweater. Since the yarn was purchased at the Lion and Lamb’s going out of business sale, I couldn’t return them!
  • Hairy White Sweater – Made  in an acryllic blend from Anny Blatt. I discovered that once knitted up my skin didn’t react well well to the material, so I gave it to my sister who is more resilent to fiber content.
  • Red Debbie Bliss Alpaca and Silk Sweater – Made in Debbie Bliss Alpaca and Silk  purchased at The Point. This cherry colored sweater is soft and warm.  I gave it to my mother for her birthday.
  • Rust Silk Sweater – Made in 100% silk purchased at Silk City Fibers. It was a birthday present for my boyfriend.
  • Yellow Silk and Grey Rayon Sweater in Wide Bamboo Stitch. Made in silk blend purchased at Silk City Fibers. I adapted a Sally Melville pattern from The Purl Stitch.
  • Pink and Lavendar Summer Sweater. Made from Misti Alpaca pima cotton and silk purhcased at the Knit Cafe in Los Angeles. I started out to make a sleeveless top and decided that the swatch was warm and soft. When I called to order additional pink yarn, there was no more. As a result, the sweater combines the two colors.
  • Laced-Front Sweater. Made from Brooks Farm Harmony purchased at Rhinebeck in 2006. This was a pattern from Knitted Lingerie.
  • Cross Your Heart Sweater. Made from 100% fingering weight alpaca purchased at Rhinebeck in 2006. This sweater was adapted from a Rowan pattern.
  • Origami Cardi. Made from 1oo% wool purchased at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival 2007. This pattern appeared in Interweave Magazine in Summer 2007. It is probably my favorite project this year!
  • Fishtail Lace Sweater. Made from 80% merino/20% cashmere blend purchased at The Point. This was a store pattern that I adapted and added long sleeves.

OTHER CLOTHING ITEMS

  • After Dark Nightie. Made from Lang’s 100% Egyptian cotton in periwinkle blue purchased at the Joan Vass Sample Sale in 2006. I used the Mason Dixon Knitting book which inspired me to knit more lingerie. I have worn this nightie as a dress!
  • Dad’s Vest. Made from Noro blend bought at Webs. Since my dad claims that he has too many sweaters, I made him a vest based on his measurements without a pattern.
  • Red and Orange Ribbon Tank. Made from Seville ribbon purchased on sale at The Point. This project was a pain since the ribbon was so shiny that it kept twisting (required a rubber band on the ball to keep it in place!). Due to the lack of red, I added orange stripes.
  • Yellow  Cotton Tank. Made from 100% cotton purchased at Silk City Fibers. I used a reverse wide rib based on the threaded twist to the cotton. I was proud of the lines of the top despite the relatively simple item.
  • Shaped Lace Tee Shirt. Made from Lamb’s Pride Cotton Fleece purchased at Purl By the Sea. I used Knitted Lingerie’s pattern. It is a dusty rose.
  • Verona Socks. Made from Lion’s Brand (don’t cringe!) sock yarn.  These socks were started en route from Venice to Verona. I even knitted them waiting for the opera to start in Verona! Of course, they took me a year to finish!

Additionally, I made several scarves and triangular wraps for friends and family.

Further I extended my acquaintance with several yarn selling establishments. Among them were:

  • Yarn Seller – Good resource with near/in York, ME.
  • Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival – Always an incredible yarn experience. While trying on the pocketbook, it’s great for your stash especially given the smaller local farms.
  • Knit Cafe – A mecca on Melrose in West Hollywood, CA.
  • Colorful Stitch – A two story yarn emporium in Lennox, MA which has swatches of the various yarns and unusual samples.
  • Webs – Well worth the trip! The back room/warehouse is a treasure trove of yarns at great prices.
  • Purl By the Sea – At the end of the world, at least from a NYer’s perspective. A wonderful assortment of brands, colors, price points as well as tools.
  • ArtFibers – A pink second floor enclave in San Francisco’s financial district. It allows you to test their various materials. It only sells their brands in colors to make your mouth water.
  • Chix With Stix – A large airy store in Forest Park, IL. It has two knitting tables and a wonderful sofa for significant others.
  • Loopy – Nestled in Chicago’s Loop this knitting treasure has a wonderful, helpful staff who don’t believe that you have to follow patterns religously! It carries a lot of small producers and a wide range of fibers.

Noteably, I wasn’t able to attend Rhinebeck this year. That said, my stash has grown very nicely.

P.S. Pictures of recent accomplishments will appear later.

Speaking With a Side of Knitting in San Francisco

My colleague, Amanda Watlington, owner of Searching For Profit, and I met at last year’s DMA Annual in San Francisco. Over lunch, we discovered that we shared a love of knitting in addition to our work in interactive marketing.

My Noro vest  peaking through my New York black business blazer was a strong leading indicator of my passion. It led us to compare notes regarding the stores in San Francisco. Top on both of our lists was ArtFibers on Sutter Street.

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of visiting ArtFibers, it’s an unusual knitting haven. There’s a salmon colored sign on the sidewalk that points your way to the second floor space. The store is an open space with metal racks filled with ArtFibers own brand of yarns. The yarns are composed of luxurious fibers in wonderful combinations. My favorites incorporate silk that softens the wools. To add to the sensual experience, the fibers are dyed in rich, jeweled colors.

What sets ArtFibers apart is that it only carries its own yarns and that the staff will help you to create a pattern tailored to your selection of fiber and project (scarf, sweater, etc.). There’s a circle of chairs and baskets of needles near the windows in front where customers can sit and swatch their selection to ensure that they get the appropriate amount of materials. There’s no charge for testing the yarns which are organized by type in a set of file bins. The staff may unravel your swatch to determine your gauge with their computer program.

Last year, I indulged in natural colored Ming, a 50% silk/50% merino combination to  make a sweater. My only regret was that their computer program tends to underestimate the quantity of wool so that I had to forgo the bamboo stitch I wanted to use for a plain stocking knit stitch. (Knowing roughly how much wool I use for a sweater, I should have bought extra but ArtFibers product is dear (aka expensive!) That said, the sweater is soft enough to be worn next to my body without itching!

Fast forward, when Amanda and I agreed to speak at the WITI Conference in Santa Clara, I didn’t realize that Amanda’s motivation was to have a partner in knitting to visit ArtFibers. We booked our flights so that we could have the afternoon to pop into San Francisco and do some knitting therapy.

After drooling over the new additions to ArtFibers’ collection, I nestled into one of the chairs to test my prospective purchases. Several swatches later, I abandoned my choices and took another tour of the store. The jeweled purple Kyoto which is 69% silk/25% super kid mohair/6% extrafine wool called out to me since purple and black had been highlighted in fall windows of some of the Fifth Avenue stores in our neighborhood. Although ArtFibers didn’t have the new Knitted Lingerie book, I bought what I hoped would be enough Kyoto for one of the lace tops.

Amanda made some stash enhancing purchases and we left (or more accurately were gently nudged out past closing). Given ArtFibers’ location in the financial district, parking for this venture ran us $30.00!

In our exuberance to get to ArtFibers, I left my camera in the car so that all I have is an outside photo of the store. 

ArtFibers-San Francisco Knitting Store