Have you heard about this Shetland trip that Mary Jane Mucklestone and Gudrun Johnston are leading next month? I have the pleasure of knowing both of them — have taken classes with both — and got to hang out with Gudrun a bit at Squam last month, and they are truly remarkable people and teachers. Plus: Sheltland! So it’s killing me not to be able to go on this trip. But what’s making it even worse is that the people who are going are some of my favorite and most admired knitters. Those I’m aware of include Kathy Cadigan and Nicole Dupuis (both former Our Tools, Ourselves profilees, as you’ll see from those links); Claire Dupont, who is a favorite of mine on both Ravelry and Instagram (and who has a standing invitation to Our Tools); and Lori Ann Graham from one of my favorite knitterly blogs, Lori Times Five. That’s her above, in the Bressay dress and Hansel shawl she knitted for the trip — both designs of Gudrun’s. (Bressay is from Mary Jane’s book “Fair Isle Style.”) “Zest for life” is not a phrase I use a lot, but it’s what springs to mind when I think about Lori and her long, photo-filled posts about her latest adventures — be they hiking or knitting or hitting up a festival or flea market somewhere in the world. I so admire her exuberance, and love her theory that “the longer an item takes to make, the more photographs it gets.” At least those of us who can’t go to Shetland — at least not this time! — will get to see Lori’s version. (And I imagine Nicole will blog about it as well.)
I’m also counting on all of these women to be posting copiously on Instagram: @mjmucklestone, @gudrunjohnston, @kathycad, @clairedupont @loritimesfive. If anyone reading this is also going, please point me to your online self!
PREVIOUSLY in Blog Crush: Coletterie
I’m kind of in awe of Sarai (I wish I knew how that’s pronounced) Mitnick and her blog Coletterie. Ok, not kind of: I’m in awe. Being founder of Colette Patterns, she’s obviously a master sewer, and she’s an accomplished knitter, too, but she’s really a phenomenal blogger. I’ve mentioned before how wowed I am at how thorough her Wardrobe Architect series has been, but it seems that’s a defining trait of hers. Just look at this post about her brilliant storage system for her vintage pattern collection. The blog is so robust I confess I can only be a spotty reader, but time spent there always leaves me wanting to be both a better sewer and a better blogger.
Apparently it’s possible to have a crush on a blog I can’t read, because I’m crazy about Rosa Pomar’s blog A Ervilha Cor de Rosa. I mean, clearly I have a crush on all things Rosa — I’m dying to go to Lisbon and visit her store (and meet her). Her Instagram feed is fantastic enough to leave me always wanting more, as you know, and her blog provides a little more, even if I don’t read Portuguese. Although, not all of the posts are in Portuguese: One of my favorites is this “pattern,” written the way I wish more patterns were — more like annotated charts and schematics and less like step-by-step methods — and it happens to be in English. I do know about Google Translate, but I sort of love the mystery of the posts, and love looking at the photos and sussing out what I can without the language. Much better than reading butchered robot translations that take the poetry out of everything.
Rosa has an open invitation to Our Tools, Ourselves and I’m holding out hope she’ll take me up on it when she’s ready. Meanwhile, I fervently hope she keeps blogging …
One of my favorite blogs is nearly impossible to read, but I mean this strictly in a technical sense. True Brits Knits is Belinda Boaden and Wendy Baker, and you’ve no doubt seen multiple references to it/them here in the past. I love love love their blog, but can only get to their posts by way of a feed reader, or a permalink posted on social media, or what have you. I don’t know what my glitch is, but I do know that persistence pays off! (And here’s the Bloglovin page from which you can get to the individual posts if the site itself isn’t working for you either.) ANYWAY! The point is, however you get to it, get to it. I love the mix of mood boards and trend watching and swatches and sketches, and all the playing around with scale and texture — so inspiring. And you never know what they might be getting up to with patterns. (Remember Pendleton?) Most recently it’s this tricked-out aran sweater, The Highland Bling, which I like to pretend they made with me in mind. If ever I were to wear sequins, they would have to be ironically crusted onto a fisherman sweater, right? Brilliant.
SPEAKING OF AMAZING CABLES: To my immense astonishment (and gratitude!), the enormous stack of Cable Fashion Drama I had, which I thought would last awhile, is already down to a handful of copies. I’m hoping to be able to score some more of them, but at best we’ll be waiting for the slow boat again. Just so you know.
I know I’ve indirectly professed my love for Kate Davies’ blog before, but I want to give it a proper place in the Blog Crush annals, because the longer I follow it, the more my esteem grows and grows. The blog is a mix of personal updates, pattern releases, vintage finds, tutorials and historical perspectives — and she’s good at all of it. She lives in incredibly scenic rural Scotland (having moved from Edinburgh last summer) and has been recovering over the past few years from a stroke, about which she’s been quite candid. She posts generously about the thought process behind each new design she releases. And everything she creates or writes about is infused with her admirable love and knowledge of the history of knitting and textile design. Her posts always leave me feeling like I’ve learned a little something and also that I have a whole bright world of things yet to be learned. So she’s inspiring on all sorts of levels. If you aren’t already reading her blog religiously, add it to your list.
You may or may not have seen my update to the Colorwork for first-timers post, but Dianna Walla noted (and I added) that she had just recently done a post on her blog about knitting from repeat-based charts, so it was a funny coincidence that I had used her same chart as an example in my post — and a big reminder I was behind on my surfing. I find myself catching up on blogs about once every 10 days or so at this point (woe is me!), and Dianna’s Paper Tiger is one I’m always eager to get to. You’ve heard me utter her name fairly regularly lately, with respect to her many recent patterns I admire. I haven’t been following Dianna long enough to know why it’s called Paper Tiger, but I do have the sense that her focus has shifted over the past year or two as she’s advanced her career as a knit designer. It’s hard to pinpoint, but I think what I like so much about her blog is the variety of it, and how plain-spoken she is, whether she’s talking about the biking sweater she just finished for herself, or sharing the back story on a new pattern, or giving a lesson in color dominance, or whatever the case may be. I’ve never met her, but her blog gives me that pleasant feeling that if we did meet, we would totally be friends. (And that’s from before my name turned up in some of her posts!)
SHOP NOTE: I’ve added a few copies of the last two issues of Pom Pom to the shop, and also got a few more of the large natural baskets, which I can’t ever seem to get enough of at one time! FYI, since I had a few questions about it, the ones I used in this post are the “small” size.
Sorry, poor neglected Blog Crush! Between the loss of Google Reader (which I’m still trying to adjust to), the increasingly glacial performance of my ancient iPad (whose only job anymore is to deliver me to blogs) and being sick for most of a month (and thus behind on everything), my blog reading has been patchy lately. Regardless, it’s been a long time since I fell into a new-to-me blog and didn’t want to come out, but it happened to me on Saturday with the blog of Rebekka Seale.
I stumbled across her on Instagram when Beth Kirby noted under a picture of herself that her hat had been knitted by @rebekkaseale. I knew the name was slightly familiar, and the beautiful yarn shots in her Instagram feed were definitely familiar, but I couldn’t think why. Then I opened up her blog, began reading, and realized I had seen an interview with her recently at One Sheepish Girl [UPDATE: no longer online]. The marigold-dyed yarn had prompted me to click through to her webshop, Camellia Fiber Company, and all I remember thinking when presented with those seductive yarn photos is “Close the tab, Karen. CLOSE THE TAB!” Which I guess explains why I didn’t get as far as her blog at the time.
Seale is an artist, illustrator and house portraitist, living in Nashville, whose blog has been a delectable journal of food and gardening and illustrations and portraits — one exquisite photo after another — and I’d have been happy to find it for all that. But over the summer she began dyeing yarn. And since then, and the launch of the webshop, yarn appears to have taken over her life — and may just be taking over her gorgeous blog.
[UPDATE JAN ’14: Rebekka has officially moved her blog and shifted her focus. Update your bookmarks or feedreaders to http://camelliafibercompany.com/ ]
ICYMI for this week, harking back to last week’s post about the simplicity of cable knitting, is Knit the Look: Jemma Baines’ big black cable beanie.
And one other quick note: You can now find the Fringe Supply Co. stitch markers at Knit Purl in Portland OR. Or, see the Stockists page to find a shop near you!