Tuesday, December 31, 2013

January Blog Challenge - 2014

Well hi! It's been a while!

I've been busy finishing up the first semester of my senior year (!), battling a bout of the flu (including a first-time-ever visit to the emergency room. Way over-rated!), and prepping for my senior collection before I graduate. I can't believe 2013 is over already, but believe me when I say I'm so ready to welcome 2014 with open arms. Let's hope for a better year for all!

I haven't even gotten a chance to sit down and think about my resolutions, really. Have you? Does it involve stepping away from the internet? Stepping closer? Making more things with your hands or spending more time with your loved ones? I always go way overboard with my goals, so this year I really want to focus on a few and do them well.

One thing that honestly had not occurred to me was putting more effort in here at the blog. When the lovely Carolynn from Kitty Adventures mentioned the January Blog Challenge I'd done a couple years ago to me, I couldn't stop thinking about it. It's been a long, long time since I've blogged regularly, and I like the idea of the challenge. But even better than that, I remember that when I did it last time, I made more effort to comment on other blogs, to reply to my comments, and regularly join in discussion. That alone is reason for me to try, as I'm woefully bad at these things normally!

So here is my challenge: to blog five days a week, every week in January! Want to join me? Feel free to take the button above, and let me know if you're joining in so I can add you to the list on the Challenge Page!

Have a Happy New Year, everyone!

Sunday, October 6, 2013


I think I'm finally getting the whole college thing down pat. Maybe I'm just feeling self-satisfied for finishing a project an entire day ahead AND cleaning the house to boot. I also made bread and did laundry. I'll chalk today up as a victory!

A lot of my weekends are not victories, struggling against the ever-looming mass of homework whilst fighting the heavy desire to take a break (or lots of breaks). I have the worst case of senioritis, and as always, an inclination to complain. What an awful habit! But this weekend, I had fun and worked hard and it makes going into my week much easier. Being massively productive is my favorite!

My most recent project for Portfolio was to re-do a past technical project. I chose my knits pages. Above are a couple of my favorite shots from a photoshoot with a friend, and at the top is my cover page for the project. I did the drawings in Illustrator and filled them in Photoshop.

I hope I look back on this time in my life with plenty of fondness. Even if I'm mentally done with school, and even if I get stressed out too often, it's pretty amazing that this is my homework. I'm fairly lucky!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Kohl's Flash Mob + Life Lately

During my internship, some of my fellow interns planned a flashmob for a Friday afternoon at the corporate headquarters. How awesome is this?? It was so much fun to watch... and this video really makes me miss work and this summer. That was the best part about working there: the people were wonderful and fun and it made work an absolute joy!

So I have started my fall classes. Some are exciting, some are not. But it always gives me a rush to know that I get to do what I love and this is actually my homework. I get to sit and sketch and look up inspiration (Pinterest = homework! What?!) and put together color palates and play with fabric swatches. As much work as my major can be, it is so incredible fulfilling.

I've been revisiting old projects for my Portfolio Development class, and it's really invigorating to re-work projects from my sophomore year. I bought some new supplies, including pastels -- which I haven't worked with since elementary school -- and I'm loving the creative freedom. I really enjoy working in Illustrator and drawing in CAD, but it is so exciting to get messy and color by hand.

This is just a quick sketch, and it is by no means very good, but it's a good example of the kind of fun I've been having with charcoal and pastels. To say I'm stoked about this semester would be an understatement!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fashion Show + Milwaukee Summer

Long overdue post. I put some things in our fashion show at school this year. It wasn't as big a deal and I wasn't as excited. But the stuff turned out pretty neat:

Some of this you've seen before; the jacket and the sweater, specifically. I put in class projects because I was too busy to do both looks entirely outside of classes. At that, it was really a stretch to get any of this finished! This first look is an alpaca cowl, black sparkly knit top, raw silk skirt (dyed ombre, though it's hard to tell because it was light brown to cream) with horsehair braid in the hem, and cut & sew knit moto jacket.

Look #2 was my first sweater project from my knits class, and jeans with (faux) leather accents. The jeans were made from a gorgeous denim I ordered from Mood Fabrics. The faux leather was also ordered from Mood, but that's a whole 'nother story. I intended to make a jacket with it, but when it arrived in the mail, it seriously looked like a crumpled up plastic garbage bag. Can you believe it was $14/yd?! I was so disappointed. I scrapped the jacket idea, and instead put in the cut and sew jacket (which was from a class).
But I knew I wanted some accents on the jeans, so I was able to sort of salvage the faux leather by spraying it lightly with flat black and dusty gold spray paint. It worked well enough that I could use it for the chevrons on the left leg, and for two painstaking triangle welt pockets in back.

In all honesty, the pants are too tight. The fabric has some stretch in it, and I just didn't adjust them enough to fit like real jeans. But this denim is amazing, and I have tons left over, so maybe another pair is in my future!
Above photo by Claire Kiger, via Facebook.

So that was one adventure. The semester ended in a whirlwind, and after collapsing at home for about a week, I went on to my next adventure: my ten-week internship at Kohl's Corporation in Milwaukee, WI! I don't have a lot of photos to show, but I'll just say, it was magnificent. I was in technical design and I got to learn so many things, work with great people, and help produce REAL product for people to wear. I am so excited to have had the opportunity.
Toward the end of July, I did something I've always wanted to do: I ran the color run!

Before & After!
It was a blast! I had never ever been fond of running before this summer. But I signed up for the run five weeks in advance, and decided I had to get out of my couch-potato state and start training. Even if it is just a 5K, going from walking to running 3 miles in five weeks requires a little bit of work!
I found a trail in Milwaukee that went alongside the river, totally into the woods, and just fell in love with it. It felt like I wasn't even in the city once I got on that trail! And for the first time ever, I started training the right way. Rather than going all-out, I took baby-steps, trying to not get hurt or sore or anything that would cause me to be un-motivated. I walked a LOT at first because I wasn't used to working those muscles. But slowly I got better, and by the time the race came around, I was leaps and bounds beyond where I'd been at the start! It was so exciting to run my FIRST RACE... and it's not going to be the last. :)
The summer was wonderful, and even on its own, the internship was an incredible experience. I grew so much as a professional and learned more than I have in many sixteen-week classes. I am really stoked to share the news that they offered me a full-time position starting after I graduate next summer. I can't wait to work for such a great company!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Aran Cable Sweater

I am so in love with machine knitting.  It is such a marvelous thing. I feel that I have so many possibilities at my fingertips and I can't wait to start the next project!

Let's go over the latest, shall we? This was my final project for my Knit Design & Technology class, which, of course, was everything I wanted and more. The class, that is! This sweater was only lovely once it was finished. Sound familiar, anyone? I decided to do an aran cable pattern on the front, with pointelles on top and bottom and a mix of jersey and reverse-jersey (or stockinette, if you prefer).

Well, I was CRAZY to do so. Here is a sweater progression and an explanation:

In machine knitting, the most basic stitch is a jersey stitch. On a single bed machine, doing anything other than jersey requires un-knitting a stitch, and re-knitting it in the reverse with a hook. So, all ribbing, garter rows, and what have you are done like this. By mixing the two, I had a whole lot of reversing on my hands. But on top of that, aran cables are a continuous transfer of stitches, used to create strong diagonal lines. Which means, every two rows, I had to transfer stitches in multiple places to new needles. What I'm getting at is, the front of this took me 26 hours (ish) to knit. Which is a heckuva lot of time for a machine--and about two weekends of mad knitting for a girl with already too much homework to do!

But with some perseverance and some late late nights, I finished a little early, and was able to get some photos at a bandstand in a park with my friend Lindsay. How great are these white walls?!

I am really happy with how it turned out. There are a few issues with fit that I will need to address in future sweaters -- armscye, mainly -- but nothing is so major that it will prevent me from wearing this! The yarn is KnitPick's City Tweed, DK weight, which is a luscious blend of merino, alpaca, and Donegal tweed (acrylic). I snagged it during their alpaca sale for an incredible $2.99 a ball, which prices this sweater at.... under $30. !!! However, I overestimated yarn by, like, a lot, and I have seven left-over balls to use up another time.

Look at all those neps! Never going to get over this yarn. Ever. The rest of the sweater is pretty basic--2x2 rib, crew neck, long sleeves, and so on. I had no creative energy after the front!

And here, just for fun, are a few of my portfolio pages for the project. I did an extended line, but since these don't have the swatches on them, I only included the pages with real pictures.

The sketches are done on the computer, printed, hand colored with Prismacolor pencils and brush markers, and then scanned back into the computer. The rest of the elements are done on Photoshop.

All the technical aspects. Charts are fun in theory, awful in reality!

You might have noticed that things look different around here! I revamped a little, just to neaten things up. Um, can you tell where I got my inspiration from, now that you've looked at my most recent portfolio pages? I love this font, okay? And the motif! And distressed lettering!

So that's my biggest news. I still have fashion show clothes to post, as well as some things I've been making since school is out for the summer... I start my internship in less than a week, and I've been making business appropriate shirts to wear! Hope to share them soon, we'll see how it goes with pictures.

What are your big summer plans?! I'm just amped to start working in industry, to meet more creative people, and to figure out what I want to do in life. Plus, summer in the city, festivals, and sunshine!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sweater Design

It's been a crazy semester, and to be honest, I haven't been doing too well. I am working two jobs, and classes are hard--but they're always hard--and getting things together for our fashion show has been a little overwhelming. Or a lot overwhelming. Breakdown-worthy overwhelming. More than anything, I can't wait until I graduate (a grand fourteen months away). Maybe then, this tight ball of stress will no longer be a permanent fixture in my stomach. Maybe I'll be able to fixate more on family than on homework. Maybe I'll be able to sleep. And breathe.

Gosh, this is a depressing post. Anyway. I designed and made a sweater! I'm taking a Knit Design class, and bought a beautiful knitting machine at the beginning of the semester to make sure I could get everything done without going into lab. It's the best part of my week, being able to go to this class. Feels like playing, seriously. I used Knit Pick's Wool of the Andes sport weight yarn in Mink Heather... of course I had to have wool. What can I say, I was raised to be a bit of a fiber snob! Gimme some protein fibers and I'm a happy camper.

Now I'm working on portfolio pages for the project. Above is my first try at a more organic style sweater flat. Can't wait to pull out the pencils and markers and start coloring away!

P.S. Disregard my angst. It's senioritis come early, coupled with an inclination to take far too much on and an inability to say "no". This is how we learn our limits, I guess!