Designer Spotlight

If you’re serious about being a tourist in Oregon and not limiting yourself to the lovely town of Portland, I highly suggest you shuffle your self a car with some oomph and head west through the Cascades to the Oregon Coast. That’s right, the coast. Not the beach.

coast-morning-oregon (1)

The Oregon Coast is dotted with many coastal towns with a rich history that makes this state so unique. All the way north at the mouth of the Columbia River down to the Redwood National Forrest.  In these coastal towns you can easily find local crafts; everything from paintings, to woodwork, to glass and ceramics.

I’ve been rather lucky in that my in-laws are friends with the awesome Brian and Kate Johnstone of Nehalem Clay Works. My sister-in-law Meagan is a soil scientist and wrote up this awesome article last fall about the science of clay and had an chance to showcase the Johnstone’s work as well.  They gifted us a beautiful set of goblets for our wedding. AND IT WAS PURPLE. I mean how much more awesome can you get?

Last Christmas I was also gifted a purple yarn bowl made by local potter JamPDX. Mayhaps they were intrigued. Needless to say, the Johnstone’s are now making yarn bowls! These are truely unique as no two are alike: coastal themed, and come in earthy and ocean-inspired color ways.

Here’s the one I got 😀

Johnstone Yarn Bowl

Jonstone Yarn Bowl

Jonstone Yarn Bowl Jonstone Yarn Bowl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I guess a little bit of my Korean-ness shows in my choice of ceramics. I have a major soft spot for teal/seafoam colored glazes. I especially like the light green known as Kingfisher aka Celadon.

Last I heard, these yarn bowls are available at the Coastal Yarns shop in Cannon Beach. They even have a knit nite on Fridays! What’s not to love? Oregon is just the best! We’ve got legit yarn shops galore, serious artisan crafts, and a coast that all of us natives tend to brag about.

Now I have two yarn bowls. Wish I had more hands so that I could knit on more than one project at a time! Alas, the crafters dillema. XD

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Pearl FIber Arts As you may or may not know, one of my favorite places to shop for yarn is at Pearl Fiber Arts.

Reasons:

  • All the squishy
  • PFA supports and encourages local knitters and designers at all levels
  • PFA stocks high quality products, none of that Cascade 220 bs.
  • PFA isn’t overpriced or marked up despite being in the Pearl District. So if you need something for a project you’re not out $$$.

Yesterday’s newsletter came as somewhat of a surprise. TADA! My face is in it! And my face is also in the pattern page on Ravelry! Official model status! Huehuehue…

Ok so the picture is a little bit before I got my new glasses and before I permed my hair, but it’s still good!

Make This Hat!

Since my hair is now quite luxuriously poofy, I’ve been wearing my Consummate V’s hat, which I made larger on purpose. The Make This: Hat, desingned by Cindy herself as a part of the Make This Collection that she is working on, would be an awesome addition to accommodate my poofy perm. Now I just need to decide on a color…#storyofmylife

The newsletter also included information about a bead and vintage button trunk show this Saturday. Aaaah the temptation! I guess I don’t really need beads, but buttons!

I’m always on the lookout to add to my button collection.

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I’ve been following the (Argyle Sheep, Black Sheep, New Stitch A Day) emails with their video links to their highly anticipated new project launch. In their videos they talk a lot about being connected with their clothing, the emotional suffering that us first worlder’s experience when coming to the realization that yes a lot of our clothes come out of SE Asia sweatshops. But the funny thing is that this is just another yarn club, but with a twist. The twist is that they are using materials made in America as well as providing a forum for discussion and high quality instructional videos for the patterns exclusive to the club.

Now on one hand I find that this is an incredibly awesome thing. New Stitch a Day is an excellent tutorial website with clear filmography and curated so these guys know what they’re doing with providing classes and such. I absolutely love this website. Not everyone has the advantage that I have living in the DIY community that Portland is.

On the other hand, I was really…and I mean really…disappointed.

All that hype about having those staple items in your wardrobe, knowing where and how and when your clothes are designed, produced, and manufactured; and not to mention the plethora of already existing yarn clubs, independent dyers all across the country, and online resources. I was really hoping that they were going to open a shopping mall, similar to Etsy, specifically for hand manufacturers for knitting, crochet, and sewing. Instead we’re presented with another seeming pyramid scheme of the middle man banking off of mid-size American yarn producers and knitwear/sewing designers. I was hoping it would be an awesome Wool & The Gang type thing with a modern and modest every-day style. Something I’d be proud to show off to my friends, but also derp around at the grocery store in. Talk about a major let-down. =(

Granted there’s a lot of exposure already that goes with being a part of a knitwear community. And it’s awesome that they’re providing another venue for independent producers of patterns and knitwear designers. But its not for me. I consider myself to be a intermediate/advanced knitter and the prospect of spending over $100 for a measly 3 projects without even the material to make the project is just ludicrous.

I’d have to blow another $100 just to get the exclusive membership project bag. What?!

Ok lets do the math:


Standard Membership is $147:

6 patterns: Up against Ravelry’s library and averaged $6 per pattern that comes to $36 ($111)

6 HD video classes: Up against the INTERNET that comes to $0

Live Designer Q&A: Up against a book signing at Powell’s that comes to $0

Community Forum: Up against Ravelry’s free forums and groups that comes to $0

Lifetime Access: Up against Ravelry’s free membership that comes to $0

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For someone who needs the instructional classes, this would be a steal! Averaging $25-$60 a class at a community college or a LYS you’d come out on top. So for me this would be a complete waste of $111.


Gold Fleece Club membership: $377

36 patterns: $216

etc etc etc.

This might be worth my time, unfortunately it’s still $377 and without the option to choose yarn colors, skip a month, and it’s an extra $300 for the bonus project. O Hell NO.

 


What about people who are larger sizes? What about people who can’t wear animal fibers? There’s not enough information on these pages to really sell me. This is a blind $400 purchase for it to even be somewhat worth while. =/

And I must point out that there is a large price discrepancy between knitted and crochet projects. They are priced differently, but why? Are the crochet designers also getting paid less? This is incredibly infuriating. Argyle Sheep is maintaining the status quo of crochet being the lesser craft, the craft for people who lack any sense of style or sophistication, the craft for the stupid. This is the first time I’ve seen it presented so obviously by a relatively mainstream platform. Crochet is an afterthought, even in their videos. Why is there such a negative appreciation for those who crochet? Elitist.

The last video where they are finally opening Black Sheep memberships they also includes a small plug for their own YARN LINE. Which is one of the yarns they are offering in the knitted and crochet projects. Are you kidding me? You want me to spend $150 for an untested and untried yarn of your own design? Aside from the usual what if I don’t like the color or what if I don’t like how it’s plied, or what if the colors bleed, what about where did you get the fiber from? You see that “100% American Wool”? America is the ENTIRE WESTERN HEMISPHERE. I don’t see anywhere on their YarnFund website mention a state in this country that is producing or milling their Zephyr yarns. W.T.F.

Be careful guys. Seriously. Black Argyle Sheep. HUGE LETDOWN. I just hope those that have bought into it can assuage my cynicism. I really don’t want the New Stitch A Day people to fail, but I wish it was something else.

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One of my favorite knitwear designers is Thea Coleman, aka babycocktails! As noted previously in my project post on Paloma, I’ve been wanted to knit sweaters all year and finally decided on a bulky weight fast knit. Funny enough, most of Thea’s designs are not in a bulky weight yarn, but rather the standard fingering/dk weights.

babycocktails A lot of her patterns, if not all, have a very feminine and unique detail in stitch work or yarn type that I really like without being overtly colorful or dramatic: subtle but not boring, cute, cozy, snugg, and stylish. And she is PROLIFIC. Her patterns page is split up into object categories with a well photographed image of the finished piece. Also if you notice, her patterns are all named after drinks! Her ravelry username is babycocktails after all.

These are the patterns I hope to make in the next year or two!

This weekend my husband and I went on a quick trip down to Canby, Oregon to the Oregon Flock and Fiber festival. I hadn’t planned on going so I wasn’t quite in the mindset to take photos of the animals: sheep, goat, rabbits, and alpaca were present in all their glorious fluffiness. (The angora were particularly in fluff mode, so cute!). Overall the festival seemed less clumped together like the last time I went a few years back. The exhibition hall was far more organized, but the knitted garments display with ribbons was not as impressive…although the items themselves were quite nice.

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I picked up just a single skein, for souvenir purposes of course, and two buttons made with vintage Czech glass molds. I just couldn’t resist the sparkles! The bigger purple one is going to be used on Paloma. Tulips and purple AND Czech glass holographic style? Heck yea!

Pretty excited to make something with the yarn. It is Bijou Bliss Lhasa Wilderness in Black Cherry set to be available on their website on the 1st of October, score! The husband and wife partnership hail from Denver, Co. and made the trip up for the festival!

I was given a sample of the Allure wool wash that they make as well. The skein smells amazing (I have to keep it far and away from Lucy and her sniffy nose) and I’m hoping the Allure wool wash is the same scent.

It is also super super soft like a really fine merino blend, but it’s 75% Yak down and 25% bamboo! I have a feeling that this is going to become a nice hat or a small cowl for the coming winter. Just need to decide on a pattern >.<

 

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Well duh!

How can one not love a good button collection? Here’s my set of One Of A Kind Buttons; handmade in Portland by Candace!

One Of A Kind ButtonsOne Of A Kind Buttons

Candace will be having a month long trunk show at Pearl Fiber Arts this month starting on the 3rd. Not only will these buttons and pins be available, but also shawl pins and these gigantic coaster size sew-ons! You can see other creative ideas for these unique buttons on Candace’s Website. There’s a knitting project bag on there that I’ve been meaning to make and One Of A Kind buttons are perfect embellishments and for the strap closure. A button is a button so of course use it as a button! hehe…

Also, don’t forget to use your Supportland Card. Get them points!

The theme for the trunk show is Portland, Oregon. Here are my Portland themed pins:

One Of A Kind Buttons - Portland

The bicycle one lives on my backpack which I use to ride around on my bike, obviously. Yep.

The bird one I’ve yet to delegate to a location or project. It is likely to end up matched with the chicken. Yes, chicken buttons! (There are also octopi, dragon flies, animal paw prints, inspirational quotes, William Shakespear’s face, and cat pins/buttons) XD

I’m not sure yet which button I like best for my Seeds to Flowers shawlette.

Seeds to Flowers with Butterfly Seeds to Flowers with Little Bee

Date Completed: August 1st, 2015

Project: Seeds to Flowers

Yarn: Zauberball in the 7 Wolke colorway

Difficulty: Beginner-Intermediate

Notes: Butterfly…Little Bee…Butterfly….Little Bee…decisions decisions… lol The pattern itself is written exceptionally well. I generally don’t gauge swatch for shawls, but I used pretty much the yardage noted for the small size. Beads used were a size larger too. Since this is my first project using beads I really didn’t mind the size. Larger beads = easier to work with, imho so far anyways.

I also picked up this handy tool to string the beads into each stitch called a Bead Aid. Yet again, another awesome tool for making my knits more awesome by a Portland artisan!

 

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