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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A finished summer sweater: Fire Opal Tee

Lookit what happened: I finished a thing.

Fire Opal Tee 4

This is my Fire Opal Tee, and I finished it a few weeks ago as part of Allyson's KAL. Oh, what a satisfying knit!

Allyson designed the tee to be knit with wool yarn, but I live in California, so I subbed Knit Picks Comfy Fingering in Parchment, and had to make few modifications. This yarn knits up so soft and drape-y, I know I will wear this all summer (and let's be honest, winter) long. 

Fire Opal Tee 1

Although the pattern was designed to be knit with positive ease, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I cast on the 38" size (my actual bust measurement is around 40"), and a few inches in, I realized it was going to be far too loose for my liking. So I painstakingly ripped out a good 6" of knitting and cast on the 36" size. I lengthened it by about an inch before separating at the sleeves, but otherwise knit as written. It's perfect. 

Fire Opal Tee 2

And yes, I'm modeling it without a tank top underneath. Once I had finished it, I knew it would lend itself nicely to being sauced-up a bit in this way. I'm not sure if it's because I'm smack-dab in the middle of LA, or if it's just the way fashion trends have turned, but I would have never worn it this way a few years ago. 

Fire Opal Tee 3

Is it the reasonable color? The sophisticated cables? Whatever it is - I'm a-ok being a bit scandalous with just a bra underneath. Maybe it's the short hair. I'm a risk-taker now! 

Fire Opal Tee 5

Thursday, May 8, 2014

On Cutting One's Own Hair

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that about a month ago, I cut off all my hair. It had been long for almost 4 years, and it was time for a change. I started looking at Pinterest for inspiration, and an hour later I was ready to do it. 

short hair

And I did! But more specifically, I cut it. I've been cutting my own hair since I was a teenager, and have only been to a salon a handful of times over the last 15 years. 

Teenage Katie
Cutting one's own hair sometimes leads to terrible bangs, as 14-year-old Katie illustrates. 

It started when I was 14, looking at a Delia's catalogue late at night. There was a model with the cutest short hair, and before I knew it, I had convinced myself that "hair grows back," and I should "just go for it." I walked down stairs the next morning with a short bob, and my mother (bless her heart) just looked at me and said "I like it," before continuing on with breakfast.

And the rest is history. A history littered with bad, too-short bangs, yes, but it's my history. Because no stylist can cut my hair like I do, because no stylist knows my hair like I do. 

A braid

When it comes to fashion, it can be so hard to know how to assert your individuality, but this is one way for me to do so. When I cut my hair, I feel like the cut is me. It's just like sewing and knitting - you can create a one-of-a-kind garment that only you can rock, because it was made for and by you. 

new hair!

So that's why I continue to cut (and color!) my own hair, even if it means the back is a bit choppy, or the layers are a little uneven. Because they are my uneven layers, and I like them like that.

Ps. If you want to get into the wild world of self-hair-cutting, I found this great tutorial on cutting your own hair. Saves money, too!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Holla Knits Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered the Spring Holla Knits Giveaway!

Thanks, random number generator....


The winner is Arielle Caldwell! Please send me an email at katiesredumbrella@gmail.com to claim your prize!



Monday, April 28, 2014

New Embroidery Pattern - Bikini Monday!

BikiniMondayMemorialDay1

Today I've got a new cute, new embroidery design on Red Letter Day Stitches for Memorial Day - Bikini Monday!

BikiniMondayMemorialDay3

BikiniMondayMemorialDay2

You can buy it now for $4 on Red Letter Day Stitches!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Holla Knits Blog Tour and Pattern Giveaway!

Now that I'm in Southern California, I cannot get enough of a good, lacy summer sweater. So I was holding my breath, waiting for the release of the most recent issue of Holla Knits!



And it did not disappoint with the Summery, beachy looks, perfect for the weather around here. 

However, there was one sweater that stood out for me....


When I saw the Cafe Au Lait cardigan by Kristin Singer, I knew I needed one in my wardrobe. So much so, that I've already cast on!

CafeAuLaitWIP2

I'm knitting the pattern as written, but subbing Knit Picks Stroll Fingering in place of the suggested yarn. I expect to wear this cardigan a lot, so I wanted something that would stand up to that kind of wear. 

Thus far the cables and lace are gorgeous and I can't stop knitting it. It looks tiny on the needles, but I trust that once blocked, it will be large enough for an adult human! 

Cafe au Lait cardigan in progress

Do you want to make your own Cafe Au Lait? Or any other pattern from the Spring Issue of Holla Knits?

I'm giving away a free pattern! Just comment here before next Friday, May 2nd, with your favorite Spring design, and you'll be entered to win!

Holla Knits Blog Tour Stops:

April 11: Kirsten Singer

April 15: Canary Knits
April 16: Baah Yarns
April 18: DovieJay Knits

April 22: Mari Knits
April 23: Magical Grammar
April 24: Knit York City
April 25: Under the Red Umbrella


The giveaway is now closed, thanks!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Gettin' Back to It.

I've been a bit out of it, craft-wise. 

Messy Table
My crafting, I mean, kitchen table, complete with embroidery-in-progress

I'm sure you've noticed around here - updates have been sparse, and it's not just because I'm not blogging. It's because I wasn't really crafting. Of course, I've been working on Red Letter Day Stitches consistently for almost a year now (eeek!), but other than that, nada. 

Some Christmas presents, but nothing for me, and certainly not a sweater or major project. 

Yarn Desk
Piles of yarn at work. 

But early this year, I got some of the old itch back. And let me tell you, it feels really good to be excited about making something. 

Allyson is running a knit-along for her Fire Opal Tee, and since I've been coveting it for years, I had to join in. I'm knitting it in Comfy, as opposed to the recommended wool, but otherwise following the pattern. Of course, changing up the fiber means that the fit changes. 

Fire Opal Tee in progress!

For the most part this is good - I want a drape-y, warm-weather sweater. But after knitting a few inches, I was skeptical. It looked LARGE. I tried it on, and it was. large. So I pulled the whole thing out, and have started again, on the size 36. 

Whew. I guess you can't be out of the game for as long as I was and not expect a few bumps along the way, right?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

"bitch, please..." an embroidered present

bitch, please.

I'm pretty lucky to work at a day job full of creative people. I work for a post-production house - which means we do production on films and TV shows after all the fun stuff happens. It's a good gig with a lot of fun people, and everyone is super supportive of artists.

So when my boss requested a stitched piece with the words "bitch, please..." for her birthday in March, I was happy to comply! 

bitch, please... embroidery piece

I like to sweeten up a salty phrase, so I added plenty of Lazy Daisies and some French Knots and called it done. It now sits on the edge of her desk, confronting those that might give her sass during the work day.

the back of the work - "bitch, please."

And a quick shot of the back of the work - I always love to see it, and I know you guys do, too!