Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Some Finished Sweaters

I'm back at school... and, one day in, I'm already exhausted! It feels like it's been weeks! I know this semester -- my LAST semester! -- is going to fly by. Could it just, um, start flying a little faster? I'm conflicted in that I'm looking forward to my classes this semester, but also looking forward to them being done. And my senior fashion show. And graduation. And the trip to Europe I'm taking with my brother. So many exciting things to do (and to wait for!). 

A week ago, I was deeply entrenched in cleaning my room. I'll spare you the details, as well as the before photos. (And, apparently, I'll spare you the after photos too, for a little bit longer! I'll write up a new post about my studio space soon.) However, my mom came to help, and it took us over a day to clean out, pack up, and reorganize my little apartment bedroom into a functioning, clean studio space to work in. And boy, was it worth it. Above, you can see some of the materials I'm using for my collection! It's so inspiring to work in this clean, bright space. I can feel the creativity flowing!

Speaking of! I finished three sweaters over break. I was hoping to get at least four done, but I'm still really happy with the amount I finished. It puts me that much further ahead for the semester! As of right now, I'm planning to make 13 garments: seven sweater knit garments, three coats, two pairs of trousers, and one blouse. Having three done is going to help me keep my sanity! I found the process of knitting them over break to be so enjoyable. Honestly, it was some of the most fun I'd had in a long time. Is that silly? It felt great to be productive and get lots done, and it was so pleasant to sit and knit without any sources of stress.

I'll show photos on my models once all my garments are complete, but in the meantime, here are some flat shots of the finished sweaters. The intarsia turned out great! I'm so stoked about it!

Mostly successfully matched up the triangles on the side seams. Good 'nuff!

Everything in the yarn looks so luscious. I'm really happy with this one, and how very classic it turned out! I did have to re-do the neckband last night. I seam things really tightly, which had eliminated all of the stretch. It actually fits over heads now, while still maintaining a tight crew style!

I don't think I even posted about this sweater at all! After the intarsia took me two weeks, this felt like a breeze to whip up in five days. It's a shawl collar cardigan with a saddle shoulder and some pretty terrific shaping. I also did a cool feathery stitch on the sleeves that I am pretty excited about!

Here you can see I did the back in panels to create a little bit of a flounce. It was so cool to see it actually turn out as I had envisioned it!

I have only done strictly set-in sleeves before this, so I was unsure as to how the saddle shoulder would turn out. It went pretty okay, and I love the extra detail! I read that this style is used more in menswear, but the lacy stitch adds more of a feminine touch to this sweater.

How delicious is this stitch pattern, seriously?

So that was my break! Now, I have to catch up on reading textbooks!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Design Project: Coats and Sweaters

Well I am doing excellently at this blogging challenge thing! (Oops.) Honestly, I'd rather blog when I have something to actually write about, which I just don't have every day. But I do today, go me! 

This was part of my final portfolio project. It is the lead-in to my senior collection, which you have already seen bits and pieces of. For the most part, I wanted to get the aesthetic down before I worried about specific details on garments. I started out with a ton of hand-sketched croquis, with lots and lots of ideas. However, my sketches just did not seem as sophisticated as my digital drawings, so I re-did them on the computer, and I'm so glad I did. I love the result!

As I mentioned, the my personal goal was to get put a finger on the aesthetic I wanted. I was going for an old world feel, with timeless fabrics (wool, cashmere, tweeds, silk, cabling), intense detail, and some luxury. The kind of garment someone would wear apres-ski, in Aspen or the Alps. Kind of Sundance catalog/Gorsuch feel. Wait til you see my fabric -- I'm certainly inching into that price point, if nothing else!

I've ended up going a different direction with some pieces (for example, the jacquard sweater is now the fairisle sweater), but I definitely expected things to change. I am planning to do two or three coats, and as crazy as it sounds, I actually can't wait to begin slaving over them. There's just something about tailoring and fine wool that gives me butterflies!

Oh, I wanted to mention, I've become more active recently on Ravelry-land. Let's be friends, I love stalking projects! My username is AddieMarie :)

Finally, can we please have some LOLZ about how far I've come in my fashion illustration skills? More laughs here!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Intarsia Triangles WIP - Part 2!

It's slow(ish) going on the intarsia sweater front. The truth is, knitting it isn't so bad, but knitting combined with all the other steps is what kills. See: making charts. Weaving in ends. Fixing mistakes (duplicate stitch embroidery, shhh). But it is SO gratifying to see a pattern come to life like this!

This is the front panel. It is going to be a hi-lo design, pretty cropped in front, with a scoop neck. I had not done a shaped hem before, so I'm pretty happy with how it turned out--but it does bother me that I didn't shape it with the ribbing on the bottom. I now have to rehang it or seam the rib band on, which just won't look as clean. Maybe in the future I'll be daring enough to try it, but I wasn't even sure how the shaping would turn out here, so I decided to play it safe. 

These aren't totally true-to-color images, at least not with the blue. It's more of a teal (Knitpicks Marine Heather, Palette wool yarn), which matches my aran sweater a bit better. It is just so darn exciting to watch this come off the needles bit by bit!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Sweater Planning: Intarsia Triangles WIP

Even though I have the tiniest bit of knitting left to do on my cabled City Tweed sweater, I started in on the next project. I couldn't resist! My next sweater is going to be similar to the intarsia sweater in my print design project, but with some different colors. 

I purchased an intarsia carriage off eBay, and the day it came I was immediately trying it out. This thing is incredible! I'm so stoked about the possibilities here! However, charting the entire sweater out on graph paper is less than ideal. Anybody know of a website where you can do this? All I could find were sites where you upload a photo and it turns it into a pattern -- and I don't have a photo to use, since it is an all-over pattern. It would be perfect if I could digitally just fill in a chart!

In the meantime, it's all about the hand drawing and coloring. I know it will be worth it once I start knitting, but for now, it's pretty tedious. Only the excitement of actually putting this on the machine is getting me through!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Christmas Dinner

My brother Paul and I concocted a plan one summer afternoon to cook lobster tail for our Christmas dinner. Our family was on the screen porch, sipping coffee, and we slyly decided right in front of our parents that we would cook the meal, and what the main dish would be. Four months later, Paul and I were doing everything we could to keep it a secret while still figuring out how to properly cook everything. It was not easy to do, but it sure was a lot of fun.

Even though this really isn't normal content for me, I wanted to share these photos that were taken that day. We had mussels and crusty bread for the first course, asparagus and avocado salad, lobster tail and sweet potato fries for the main course, and crème brûlée for dessert. We enjoyed ginger/tequila cocktails with the first course, a light red wine (we forgot to buy white!) with the meal, and a fancy sipping rum with dessert. The meal was awesome, but more than anything, I loved enjoying the food with my family, with good conversation and lots of laughter. It was everything I could have hoped for!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Design Project: Jacquard and Intarsia Patterns

This fall semester I took a portfolio class. It was a lot of fun and a lot of work, and I'm really happy with the outcome. We had a variety of projects that I will share, but one of my favorites to work on was this print design project. It was just not like anything I'd ever done before, and that made it exciting!

I settled on a rather weird color palate. Somehow I got really into orange, and just went with it! I decided to build the project around a cut-and-sew hoodie I had made last year, which was out of this awesome geometric double-knit jacquard (pictured below). With that to work from, I did jacquard and intarsia patterns only, with bold geometrics. It was a cool challenge to do knit-only patterns, because it meant limited colors (due to potential cost of multi-color jacquards, which would be astronomical if they were produced) and limitation in shapes (due to the structure of knit fabric). Below is my color palate, the original hoodie, and then a few of my prints photoshopped onto clothing I had made.

Another thing I enjoyed was that I got to play with multiple color combinations and offerings. I made about forty different combinations of colors and prints, hung them all up, and then narrowed them down in a very difficult decision-making process.

All of my croquis are drawn in Adobe Illustrator and colored and shaded in Photoshop. Prints were made in Illustrator. I can't find my absolute up-to-date JPEG files, actually; they are supposed to have slightly pixelated prints (to imitate a knitted chart), and a sweater texture overlay like the first photo. Oops!

The triangle sweater above is my absolute favorite, and I'm actually going to knit something very similar for my senior collection! I'm so stoked to see it come to life.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Cabled Sweater in City Tweed - WIP

Lately I have been doing a lot of knitting! I brought my knitting machine home for break, along with, um, over 100 balls of yarn. When Knitpicks had their Thanksgiving week sale, I splurged and bought pretty much all the yarn I will need for my senior collection. It was a huge purchase, but I am so excited to use these luxury yarns. Fiber snob and proud of it!

Here's some proof from after I opened the box. This isn't even all of it! But I just counted 99 balls in this picture alone so I guess it's close. It's just so much yarn. But I'm starting to make my way through it, believe it or not!

So this is the latest project/ I learned how to do these cute little triangles on my machine, and paired them along with a staghorn aran cable and two braided cables. Lots of counting and keeping track of my place and catching mistakes! I don't even know what I would do without my knitting machine. Maybe I'll post all about it sometime this month in case someone is interested in getting one? They are amazing tools with insane capabilities. It still takes a good amount of time to knit something like the sweater above, due to the amount of hand manipulated stitches, but it still speeds things up from hand knitting.

By the way, this is Knitpicks City Tweed yarn, in the Jacquard colorway. The photo isn't true to color, but I'll try to get some better photos in natural lighting with a real camera soon! The yarn itself is some of my favorite to work with. I used it on my last sweater, and it's just a luscious blend of merino and alpaca. The neps add so much visual interest and it's a joy to work with and to wear!