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Trunk Show!

Capitol Knits had its debut trunk show and book signing event this afternoon in Alexandria, VA! I love that George Washington had his town house and office in Old Town which brings us full circle behind the message of Capitol Knits and the roots of this great country.

Fibre Space is an amazing shop owned by the talented and savvy Danielle Romanetti in the heart of Old Town. I teach a lot at this shop and Danielle is a great shop owner and friend. The store was packed! We ran out of books within the hour and it was wonderful to see people trying on garments, checking out the book and choosing yarn for what they want to knit.

Thanks for having me, Fibre Space!

 

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When I’m Not Knitting…

Most hardcore knitters knit everyday. It’s true that I feel a bit strange on days when my needles go untouched. I suppose it’s like exercising everyday or always starting your day off with a mug of tea… You miss a day of your routine and you feel it.

Lately I’ve been fixing up furniture. I generally stay off of Craigslist until there’s something I’m looking for, which is fairly rare. Craiglist is worse than Facebook, Twitter and Ravelry combined as far as being a time suck goes. I’m looking for a certain type of book shelf for Callum’s room and came across this cabinet instead.

I’ve always had a thing for birds. I think they’re amazing little creatures and one of my favorite pets of all time was our cockatiel, Ralph. We got Ralph when he was 3 years old from a neighbor who couldn’t stand the chirping. Ralph passed away last year (at the ripe old age of 27) and he took a little piece of my heart with him. I adored that bird. This cabinet made me think of him and I decided I needed to take it off the hands of the woman on Craigslist who needed to get rid of it before she moved across the country.

It was pretty cool to begin with, but a bit boring. I’m not a fan of white furniture and really think it needed color in addition to a good sanding to get rid of the raw wood and chance of splinters…

after I removed all the hardware and doors

weird crosshatching motif on the top

On a rainy day a couple of weeks ago, I left the house with an idea in my head and made my way to Home Depot. Heading to the paint section (look at all the pretty colors!) I chose a coral color that was more red than orange. I got some heavy-duty sandpaper, was disappointed in the hardware section, got some paintbrushes and a metallic bronze paint. The hinges were weird and I couldn’t find any the same size to replace them with.

After coming home and laying out all my Home Depot loot, I sanded that sucker within an inch of its life and cracked open my paint. A few days and a few coats later, I had my desired color, leaving a bit of the distressed look peeking through. I painted the weird crosshatching on top, the birds and the mesh a metallic bronze, found some fancy knobs online and voila!

Our home is full of color and this bright pop of coral in our living room makes me smile every time I see it. Bright, a subtly sparkly top, birds, fancy knobs… I’m really happy with how it came out. I know a few people with zero color in their homes, no artwork and zero warmth. Your home is where you live! You spend time there so why not make it a reflection of your taste and personality?

Next up… Revamping my ancient night stand!

 

 

Podcast!

Last week I was interviewed by Black Sheep Yarns owner, Nancy Hamilton from CT. Nancy has a very popular podcast called “Fiber Arts with Nancy” and I was excited to get another chance to talk about the message behind Knit Local.

You can listen to the 15-minute podcast here.

I had a chance to meet Nancy yesterday at VK Live, amongst all the knitting insanity! Old friends, new friends, knitters, crocheters, crafters and non-crafters alike showed up for the marketplace, classes, fashion shows, demos, book signings and parties. It’s like a summer camp reunion and even though I was a bit bleary-eyed from waking up at 4AM to catch the 5AM train, it was well worth going just to get a chance to talk about Knit Local and see some dear friends.

I did 4 back to back to back to back book signings for Knit Local with some of my favorite companies, Bijou Basin (LOVE their yarn and Carl and Eileen are some of the nicest people in the biz), The Yarn Co, Knitty City and Yellowfarm. Thanks for having me, everyone!

A Final Glance

Today we wrap up the sneak peek of Capitol Knits!

Capitol Knits is like a published journal or scrapbook. There are amazing sketches by Paul Heaston, an insanely talented artist, info on the flora and fauna of DC, historical facts, photos and tidbits. It’s an interesting book because it really is like having your journals out there for all to see, but instead of juicy secrets and gossip, mine are full of knitting and pressed flowers and leaves!

Union Station Infinity Cowl

Union Station Infinity Cowl available here.

Jefferson Pullover

Jefferson Pullover available here

This is probably my favorite garment in the whole book. I love this blue pullover with the cabled back!

E Pluribus Unum Cowl

E Pluribus Unum Cowl available here.

This was my favorite garment to knit! Picot hems and lace? Super fun!

National Gallery Shawl

Same shawl, solid color

National Gallery Shawl available here.

Shooting in the LED tunnel was the most memorable shoot. Another HUGE thanks to my model and friend, Jess. I can’t imagine anyone else being my model.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief glance at Capitol Knits. It was wonderful to make and I hope it makes everyone realizes how amazing DC is! Come visit if you haven’t already!

More from Capitol Knits

The response from Capitol Knits has been wonderful so far! Seeing something you work on pretty much by yourself every free second suddenly be out there for all to see is always an interesting experience.

I wanted to introduce a few more patterns today…

Lincoln Cardigan

Lincoln Cardi available here.

I call these types of cardis (my favorite kinds of sweaters to design) “mullet sweaters.” You know, business in the front, party in the back? I love that knitting is wearable art, especially when there’s more going on than you think. This was our last day of shooting and my good friend and model, Jess was a sport. I was nervous asking her if she was down with shooting at the Lincoln Memorial at sunrise on a freezing day, but always game, Jess was willing and we met up in the dark at an obscenely early hour. We had the Memorial to ourselves and watching the sunrise from the top of the steps was something I’ll never forget. Jess was hands down the BEST model I’ve ever worked with. She let me tell her what to wear, how to wear her hair, didn’t roll her eyes when I bought her lipstick and made her wear it, twisted her body this way and that or took away her coat and made her stand in the freezing cold. Jess, you are a rock star.

Constitution Hall Scarf

Constitution Hall Scarf available here.

There’s something really fun about multi-directional knitting topped with a lace edging. All I can say about this yarn is YUM.

Renwick Wristers

Renwick Wristers available here.

Another fine example of “thinking on your toes” is when you go to shoot at a place you scoped out months ago, checked on a few days beforehand, show up and it’s closed. We waltzed into the Renwick ready to shoot, went upstairs to the gallery I had planned on using and it was closed. Not only closed, but EMPTIED. To change the lightbulbs. For the next week. Drats! Always have a back-up plans, folks and it’s a good thing I did! Luckily the Renwick is gorgeous and I had thought we’d shoot in both galleries to see what worked better with the wristers. On to Plan B.

American Indian Cardi

American Indian Cardi available here.

I love this building. The exterior is truly amazing.

Tomorrow I’ll show you the last few projects. hope you’re enjoying these sneak peaks from Capitol Knits!

GIANT News!

It’s no secret that I have an issue with sitting still. Why watch TV when you can watch TV AND knit? Why sit in the car when you can sit in the car AND knit (as a passenger, of course)? Why talk on the phone when you can talk on the phone AND knit? In short, I tend to seize each opportunity to get a few rows in, especially since my day is devoted to taking care of our son and there’s just not much knitting time. So why not really push myself and do another book?

Since moving to Washington DC, I have been incredibly inspired by the history and architecture around us. We live on Capitol Hill and I walk the dog with my son every day up by the Capitol, near the Library of Congress or down by the National Mall. It’s pretty amazing to see the madness of the November Presidential Race begin and know that things around here will soon reach a fever pitch. I’ve lived in Boston, Providence, New York and DC. I’m not necessarily a city girl (and actually crave space and peace), but it’s just always worked out that way that I find myself in a new city now and again.

Capitol Shawl

Capitol Shawl available here.

I liked DC right from the start. Perhaps it’s because it’s similar to Boston where you can actually see the sky, people seem to have more to say, there’s fantastic museums and culture is abundant. There’s a rich sense of history you can’t help but feel while strolling these streets.

I got it into my mind last year to do an independent knitting book inspired by Washington DC’s architecture. There were a few reasons why I decided to do this… I wanted to see what it felt like to have complete control over a book from start to finish. I wanted to do the photography, have 100% say over the yarns, colors and designs, decide on the locations and choose my model. I knew it’d be difficult, but it was an experience I wanted to have. I had a loose idea in my mind about what I wanted and I started putting pen to paper, sketching, writing copious notes, choosing yarns and began knitting. I started this venture in September and now it’s here. It’s finished! I did it! It was harder and more wonderful than I imagined and holding my indie book in my hands and leafing through it is pretty great.

Library of Congress Hat

Library of Congress Hat available here.

The book has 12 garments in it, each inspired by a different location within the DC limits. I’ll introduce a few each day, all week. The book is available on Amazon (click the cover to the right) or through Deep South Fibers if you are a shop that wishes to carry it.    Deep South is also distributing the individual paper patterns and digital downloads are available through Ravelry. Each garment in the book has a historical write-up on the location it was shot at, accompanied by amazing illustrations by my friend, Paul. There is so much jam-packed into 56 pages! I did so much research about DC I should be a tour guide!

Summerhouse Hat & Wristers

Summerhouse Hat available here and Summerhouse Wristers available here.

More to come tomorrow!

Nice to See You Again, Itasca!

Over a year ago I was lucky enough to be asked by fellow Tanis, Tanis Lavallee from Tanis Fiber Arts up in Canada to design the first project for her Year in Colour Club for 2011. Not only am I a GIGANTIC fan of her hand dyed colors, but a fellow Tanis is hard to come by so we have to stick together!

I love projects like this. Tanis sent me a special color reserved only for the club (I had no idea what was coming, only that it was sock yarn and blue) and asked me to design something with her sock yarn that wasn’t socks and took only 1 hank of yarn. Always chomping at the bit to throw another lace pattern out into the ether, I had a few ideas rolling around but wanted to wait and see what the exact color was. Color has a HUGE influence over me and it really can change an idea when you see it in person.

This is what I wrote about my design…

“When I get sent yarn to knit a garment and am given free reign over my design, I try not to look at the color name.  I find this can have a huge influence over me and I like to keep an open mind, leave the yarn on my desk for a few days and see what kind of inspiration hits without any prejudice. Growing up on the ocean near Boston I know how quickly the ocean can go from calm waters to raging storms in a very short while. The blue color looks just like the ocean in winter-calm on top with a raging storm underneath. That’s the beauty of Tanis Fiber Arts – it’s multidimensional. I wanted to use a lace pattern that looked like churning water with an edging that mimicked waves, showing off the gorgeous colorway. The name “itasca” comes from the coast guard base that Amelia Earhart radioed into while trying to complete her fateful last mission around the world. She left the last leg of her final voyage with clear skies and a favorable weather forecast, only to have the weather change to an intense storm making celestial navigation impossible, therefore sealing her unknown fate.”

Now one year later, Itasca is available to all. You can download the pattern on Ravely here. Hope you enjoy it!