Wednesday, March 28, 2007

crochet class at etsy!

i am very excited to announce that in april i will be teaching a crochet class at the spanking new etsy labs right here in brooklyn! it sounds like the coolest craft clubhouse of your dreams: a giant loft stocked with all kinds of equipment and supplies, with tea parties every wednesday! they have lots of other cool events and classes too. plus they share office space with CRAFT magazine! you can read all about it here...

introduction to crochet technique

date: 3 week series held on mondays in april beginning the 16th, 23rd, and 30th, 2007
time: 4-6PM
location: etsy labs, 325 gold street 6th floor, brooklyn, NY 11201.

in this class you will learn all the basics of crochet (chain, single, double and triple crochet stitches) and how to use them to whip up scarves, hats, amigurumi and infinite other possibilities! we will learn shaping and circular crochet, as well as stitch patterns like meshes, scallops and bobbles. you'll begin a scarf in the first class and continue on to either a hat or shawl by the end of the session. happy hooking! supplies provided.

class fee is $90.00

sign up here

Monday, March 26, 2007

get out the VOTE!

it's time to cast your VOTE for the 2007 softie awards! you have until friday to make your voice heard. you can preview all of the finalists here and here. and everyone is eligible in this election, no matter your age, location or party affiliation...

Friday, March 23, 2007

wrap manifesto

about 2 years ago in a yarn shop i saw a hand-knitted garment that was essentially a long rectangle with sleeves. this was a concept that had already been bouncing around in my head for several years, as i have always loved the idea of wraps and shawls but disliked the way one needs to hold onto them to keep them on. as frequently happens with ideas i carry around in my head for years (of which there are dozens, i assure you!) i eventually bump into it as the collective conscience comes around... anyway, the hand-knitted piece was gorgeous and my first thought was that i should crochet one myself. but then i realized that it was quite a lot of fabric, about 2 yards by 30" or so, plus the sleeves, so i decided it would be much more practical as a cut-and-sew piece. thus the orange wool jersey wrap you see above (modelled by the lovely erika) was born as part of my fall 05 collection.
fast forward ahead one year to fall 06, i still thought the concept had great potential though i had let it languish for so long... so i decided it could be my big item for the holiday sales i'd be doing in december. i finally made one for myself to wear and discovered that it's about the COZIEST (pssst: foreshadowing!) thing you could ever wear, and so much fun to play with! it can be a scarf, cardigan, shirt or shawl, and looks great no matter what you do. amazing! every time i wear mine, people ask me about it.

meanwhile... in november i got an invite from liz collins, the most ingenious knitwear designer i know, that her RISD students were having a show at the DKNY store reinterpreting the 'cozy'. this sounded like fun to me so i went, and searched the store high and low for toasters, teapots and ipods covered in funny little sweaters. couldn't find them! i would have thought it was the wrong night except for the champagne and waiters with trays of hors d'oeuvres. then i saw an intriguing group of knitted pieces hanging from the ceiling... i went closer to inspect and quickly realized that they were obviously the students' work, and that COZY is what DKNY calls my beloved wrap with sleeves! apparently, and completely unbeknownst to me, it has been their hugest-selling item for several years!

i was a little taken aback by all this, but in the end decided that i should still make them since i had come to the idea organically. so i made up a big (for me, anyway) batch of them, meaning i had about 6 at each sale, and lo and behold, i sold out of them both times! not only that, but i got 2 e-mails afterwards to order them! i've never had an item fly like this. weird... for spring i'll be making lighter-weight versions in cotton, with shorter, wider sleeves. i have a lot of ideas for playing around with ruffles, even-wider kimono sleeves, and printing and dyeing them.

Friday, March 16, 2007

spring forward!

i am feeling so inspired for spring! and changing the clocks earlier this year is really helping me pull out of the late-winter funk. so i thought i would share some of the fun pics i have been keeping in my folder titled 'spring 07 inspiration'. i will try to say where they come from if i remember but i'm afraid sometimes i have no record...

above are some fun embellishments i've come across... the top crochet piece is from prudence mapstone. lower left is the winner of this embroidery contest and right is from maira kalman's embroidery show, which i could still kick myself for missing.

these are three beautiful examples of mixing crochet into knit tops in a very demure fashion. i tend to lean a little less sweet, a little more crude, but i love all of these. center is from lyell and the other two from anthropologie.

i have been wanting to play with quilt piecing for years now, and i'm determined to make this the season i do it! i love this girl's quilty top but forget where i saw it. craftster maybe? and the tunic and dress are built by wendy, whose spring collection last year was my fave she's ever done.

above left is another from prudence i think. i probably can't do any allover crochet pieces like this as they take too much time and would have to be way expensive, but i have been collecting so many doilies and other vintage crochet bits, so i plan to do lots of piecing them together with other knits and wovens. and i just love this girl from hel-looks, i think she has just the right mix of vintage and modern that i am after!

a while back, tie one on did smocks for the monthly them and there were lots of great ones. this was a vintage one from ebay that she posted for inspiration purposes. i've always loved aprons and smocks. and these handmade (by a 90-year old japanese woman!) waraji sandals are just so amazing... i wish i saw them at salvor kiosk before they sold out. i love their texture and pattern-mixing.

i cannot remember where this skirt is from, but she does amazing arty skirts. i love the quilted texture of this one and plan to experiment with some quilted skirts of my own. and the embroidered mat is from the amazing taza taza show at little cakes last year. julian and guillermina's embroidery is so bold and delicate at the same time, it amazes me.

a funny thing looking at all these pics together is how much white there is, when i really don't like white that much usually, at least to wear myself. anything white that i own or make i usually dip in tea! but i am really attracted to white with bold primary colors this season, or so it seems. we'll see how it all comes out in the end...