Meet Sally

Coronavirus lockdown certainly has the ability to squeeze the optimism out of the best of us. It has also brought on our collective creativity. What we seek to do is what we did before. Who we seek to be with is who we wanted to be with before. I am noticing we, as a people, are finding alternative ways within the parameters of social distancing to adjust and make change. Car parades or gatherings on front lawns to celebrate birthdays, zoom meetings to visit loved ones, or making large signs on poster paper to communicate feelings to those we cannot visit are a few visible signs of finding creative solutions. An abundant amount of creativity is seen online such as four second videos on TikTok that make us laugh or ponder, stories on Instagram for promotions or otherwise, song writers being inspired to write new songs such as Kelly Clarkson’s Dare to Love. There are a myriad of examples of people finding creative solutions so life can move forward; just look at what is happening in the field of education, itself.

Such was my motivation to find a way to do what I do. Knitting, of course has been no challenge, in fact the added time at home has in itself been helpful. I have knitted more, organized my yarn more, and been able to plan future projects with a clearer head.

However, how was I ever going to pull off the photo shoot? That involved another. Could we keep our safe distance and figure a way not to share in the equipment? Was asking another adding potential exposure to the virus and ultimately that person’s health risks?

Issue/what ~ I began researching the possibility of a home photo studio. I studied the needed equipment, thought about available space in my home, wondered if I had the know how of sophisticated tools. I watched many videos for ideas for backdrops, lighting and the like. I even viewed a video on making a DIY backdrop by painting splatters of color. The more I researched, the more involved I felt a home studio would be to create, and ultimately more time away from what I want to be doing and that is knitting. Also, I was not motivated with the end product of an indoor photo against some artificial backdrop. And, most certainly this was going against everything we, late hubby and I, had ‘invented’ when planning fashionscape.

Issue/who ~ This brought me back to desiring photos to be taken outside and the ‘who’ of the problem. What could replace a person? I went on Amazon just to peruse equipment. It was there that I discovered tripods. I had always known about tripods for serious photographers, however, I did not know about tripods for iphones. And, then I learned about a tripod with a remote! bingo! Would I really need any other equipment? I realized then that this one simple tool could be a game changer. I could go anywhere, anytime, set up the iphone in its holder, and when ready, I could snap the photo.

Well, here ‘she’ is. I’ve affectionately nicknamed her Sally. She is a tripod from Ubeesize, lightweight, pulls out to 60 inches, holds a wide variety of phones, and doubles as a selfie stick. I am now able to go out during coronavirus times, be safe and respectful to others, and keep the photos to the aesthetic I desire when sharing my knitting online.

Borrowed from the Boys

Much like Facebook’s posts and ability for friends to comment and/or like a post, Ravelry, a knitter’s online paradise, has a function called forums.  Forums are generally written and like-interested people comment, share, like, or otherwise support the theme of the post.  Reading these threads is as interesting as posting on them.  Groups on Ravelry generally have many such forums going on at once and of course, there are people in all ranges of activity on them.  Some are so active, they have become moderators and those moderators are now posting what we affectionately call challenges.  This is true within the Vogue Knitting Group, at least. This is where the inspiration came, or maybe an excuse, to go all the way back to my complete VK magazine collection dating Fall/Winter 1982 (easy access here on shelving).

One challenge said something like a ‘very easy Vogue’ from a vintage year and the other a #19 (representing the current year).  The latter suggested we could double up if we so chose meaning one project could fulfill both challenges.  Oh, the games we play . . . and, I so enjoy.

Here is the #19 and the vintage magazine, and if you read the description on how to make this pull, you see how it denotes “very easy”.  Take out pearls, white gloves, and shoulder pads (however, I have heard they may be making a return), I felt this a real possibility.  Also, in this age of ‘borrowing from the other gender’ era, how fitting. Case in point:  the below is taken right from a fashion magazine looking for this specific design inspiration:


With growing trends towards genderfluid dressing and genderless fashion, we’re seeing more and more menswear inspired details on the women’s catwalk. These details include:

  • Oversized silhouette (the boyfriend cardigan, boyfriend jeans, etc.)
  • Heritage focused (Fisherman and Aran sweaters)
  • Vintage, varsity style clothing
  • Raglan and Saddle shoulder sweaters
  • Styles that both men and women will wear

Decision made, I found me some interesting organic cotton that had a similar texture to the yarn of yesterday, and utilized stash

yarn, a worsted weight cotton for the collar and a worsted weight wool for the tie.  The tie is lightweight so as to not pull down, yet long enough to not blow away in the wind as you can see is happening . . .

After setting up gauge, this knitted up very quickly as you might expect, sewed on collar and tie, and off to the photo shoot we went.  Where?  to my alma mater because . . . why not?

Pretty cool standing next to a building I had many classes in 40+ years, ago.  (Buffalo State)

And, pretty fun fashioning a vintage pattern.

Project as seen on Ravelry

Relationship of fabric to design

Well, at this point, this project has been knitted twice.  Not by choice, of course, but to eliminate too much shelf time, aka, not be worn.  I knit to wear so if there is something about a garment that doesn’t feel right or comfortable, I know its future is doomed.   I must say, the fabric that was created by this stitch was the conundrum.

The honeycomb stitch is a type of cable that is dense, especially when using Lion Brand’s fisherman wool . .  held double.  Not so much dense in weight as the pulled stitches create a kind of air hole behind it.  Maybe, you can make this out here, but dense in body.

I have knitted many of Vladimir Teriokhin’s patterns, many, or most of which are an oversized design.  Meaning the style is such that the garment is meant to skim over the body or hang loosely.  This is a FREE pattern, off the Lion Brand website.  You can see the oversized nature of the pattern.  I went happily knitting along with my gauge and knitted the pieces as per the schematic thinking nothing of what I was about to see.


Well, how exciting to finish knitting a sweater coat! I sewed the pieces together, wove the ends in, sewed the buttons and label  in, bragged to my knitting friends I had finished, and had a photo or two taken. Only then, AFTER seeing the photos, did I realize I had a garment that would never see the light of day.  In other words, it was awful.  No, you’re not going to see a picture of that.  You’re going to wonder . .  Had I tried it on?  yes, of course.  Didn’t I notice the fit issue?  no.  Didn’t the mirror tell you there was a concern?  no.

I have noticed this before that sometimes a photo talks back to me where a mirror does not.  I believe it has something to do with distance.  In the past I have caught mistakes in my knitted fabric regarding the stitch pattern, have found color mishaps, and with this project, fit issues via photos when I had not caught these mistakes simply by looking directly at the garment or in a mirror.  Lesson?  I now actually take photos through the knitting process to help me catch these errors.

The issue was the dense fabric and oversized shape was much, much too overwhelming for me.  I had to cut way back on the amount of fabric, both in length and width, if I was to keep the honey comb stitch.  I could no longer use the pattern I was using as now I wanted a closer fitting design.  I pulled a coat I had from my closet that fit the way I wanted this to fit and thought it could work as my pattern.  I took the measurements, kept my gauge, and re-figured stitch and row count to establish a plan for the size I now realized I needed. Oh joy . . .

Whether opened

or closed

the coat is working for me.

The weather was perfect for this shoot

We were along the Erie Canal

looking over in anticipation of the warmer weather to come.

Here is a picture of the yarn that was taken OUT of coat-attempt-one.  Keep in mind these balls of yarn is double yarn, so really I have twice the amount left over, about 3 skeins.

Now, I feel this a successful project and will remember to take into consideration a garment’s fabric in relation to the suitability of the design.

Leg-o-Mutton ‘THEN’

I think it is interesting to hear of what inspires each of us.  For my inspiration, I can’t think of a time when I reached for any Vogue Knitting publication that I didn’t end up wanting to make at least one item from it.  Oftentimes, more.  This has remained true for over 40 years.  Now, currently on Ravelry, such magazines, publications, designers of well-known fame as well as fledglings have ‘groups’ one can follow.  From there one can drill down and find things like KALs (knit alongs) and surprise KALs (just that, clues per week to lead to a surprise garment in the end).  These things are found in ‘forums’.  These niceties  are all meant to inspire or motivate the knitter in us.  Well, the Vogue Knitting Group is no exception.  It offers challenges, and I am right in line to accept them.

This particular project is an entry for the 2018 Vintage Vogue KAL:  THEN AND NOW,  This challenge offers:

1. One “Now” project from 2018 VK (tag: VK2018now) – potential designs here

One “Then“ project (tag: VK2018then)

(a) from previous VK “8” year – potential designs here

(b) featured as “Then and Now” or “Flashback” in any VK – potential designs here

Cannot combine “Then” and “Now” as one (i.e. 2018 Flashback), two required

No finish time limit if start in 2018 (except post #1 describes WIP loophole)

I chose Edna Hart’s Striped Pullover from VK Winter 2007/2008 as my ‘then’ leaning on the happiness of the stripes and shape of the sleeves.  This leg-o-mutton sleeve or some interpretation of it is everywhere in today’s fashion.

Another reason for choosing this pattern is the opportunity to use up stash remnants.  An idea for your little annoying balls of yarn . . . I love using up those unwanted scraps and am always perusing patterns or thinking of how to use them up, These little bundles were colors with a similar hue and similar to the colors shown in the pattern..  (My color mantra is colors of a similar hue go together.) This gave me 50% of the yarn I needed to knit this project.

The black stripes?  I’ve learned from another how Ravelry’s yarn data base has people willing to sell yarn from their stash, in this case I found the exact yarn the pattern called for a very fair price.    The photo below is the leftover I now have.

After finding gauge, (tricky row gauge, unfortunately), the project moved along.  The design modification I made, however was with the sleeves.  Knowing movement, in particular the stretch at the elbow, I felt ribbing from the puff  down to the wrist, a better way to go.  The pattern calls for straight stitch. I felt the long rib would stay in place, is a stronger fabric, and would lend to the continual movement of arm movement.  I also lengthened the ribbing at the bottom and around the neck to 1 inch, same width as the stripes.  The pattern calls for 2 rows of ribbing.  The wider rib also lends to a more stable finishing.

As we were driving in a direction we thought might be suitable for a photo shoot, we spotted this beautiful gate that resembled the black stripes and significant features of this sweater.  We felt it was a perfect complement to the curvature of the scoop neck as well as the puffy sleeve caps.

The sun was bright.  We worked with it and hoped to match the rainbow-like brightness of this little sweater.

This project was completed this past Fall.

Goal setting!  I am in the process of catching up on my writing before the new year rings as then, I can be writing about current happenings as they occur once, again. OH, and for this challenge, I will be staying with the leg-o-mutton theme and knitting THIS from VK 2018.

Me-ssoni for Tech Geeks

I am talking about a recently finished garment, my first of 2018.  First due to the nature of my newly single life (adjusting/managing/accepting) but also first due to the intricacies of what was on my needles.  In all fairness to the publisher of Vogue Knitting, the pattern was marked as ‘expert’ which means a high level of difficulty to knit, so I guess I was warned.

Continue reading “Me-ssoni for Tech Geeks”