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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cedar Glenn Mitts Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered the Cedar Glenn Mitts Giveaway!

The winner is:

Amy, I will be in contact via Ravelry! Thanks again, everyone, and enjoy the beautiful Holla Knits Accessories Collection!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cedar Glen Mitts! Holla Knits Accessories Blog Tour & Giveaway!

Well, it's been over a year, but I finally designed a new knitting pattern: the Cedar Glenn Mitts!


These modular knits, which are part of the Holla Knits Accessories 2014 collection, are the perfect thing to use up the odd ball of special yarn in your stash!

The pattern is super customizable - I've included instructions to knit the Cedar Glenn Mitts in both DK and Fingering weight yarn, and you can knit them in one or two colors!

These mitts are such a portable little project - I even took them backpacking! I knit up one of the samples while camping at Cedar Glen campsite in Angeles National Forest, hence the name.

The pattern is $4 on Holla Knits, or you can enter to win a giveaway of the pattern and yarn to make a Fingering weight version of your own, just like this sample:

To enter the giveaway, go check out the other Accessories 2014 patterns and come back and leave a comment, telling me which is your favorite pattern (second to the Cedar Glenn Mitts, obviously.) Remember to leave your name and a way to contact you (email or Google), and you will be entered to win the Cedar Glenn Mitts pattern, and the gold and grey yarn to knit them up! 

I'll announce the winner next week, but before then, be sure to check in with the rest of the blog tour:

Nov 7: Karen Whooley

Nov 10: WeaverKnits

Nov 18: Angry Knits
Nov 19: Baah Yarn

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Holla Knits Fall 2014 Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered the Holla Knits Fall 2014 giveaway! has spoken, and the winner is Lindr! 

I completely agree! There are so many gorgeous patterns in this Fall Collection!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Holla Knits Fall 2014 Blog Tour!

Have you seen the new Holla Knits for Fall?

I am totally in love with Cape Vertigo by Leah Coccari-Swift. How gorgeous would this be in a monochromatic color scheme like two greys or two browns? I have a feeling it could double as a winter coat here in LA. 

What about Axial by Kirsten Singer? It's an oversized boyfriend-like sweater with a unique construction. Look at that back panel! Gorgeous! 

And Velma by Allyson Dkyhuizen. What a textured, classic beauty! The perfect Fall sweater (and I love that garter stitch neckline).

There's a lot more textured, sweater-y goodness in the Fall 2014 collection, so hop over to Holla Knits to check it out. Then come back and leave me a comment for your chance to win the pattern of your choice! I'll randomly draw a winner on Wednesday, October 1st. 

Be sure to check out the rest of the tour for giveaway fun:

Sept 10: Klever Knits
Sept 11: Berroco
Sept 12: Canary Knits

Sept 16: Life on Laffer
Sept 17: Knits in Class
Sept 18: Makewise Designs
Sept 19: Anzula

Sept 22: Ruby Submarine
Sept 23: BoKnits
Sept 25: DoogKnits

Monday, September 1, 2014

Finished Ikat Alder Shirtdress

Happy Labor Day, I finished my Alder Shirtdress

Ikat Alder Shirtdress

I love love love this pattern. I love love love the way this dress turned out. I hate hate hated sewing this fabric.

I knew when I picked this slippery rayon, I'd have troubles. But the drape! So soft! I just kept imagining the dress it could be, and I decided to go ahead with it anyway. And it's definitely a wearable dress, but it was a bitch to work with. 

What a lovely yolk!
(look at my road rash! it's so healed!)

The way the yolk is hanging, the mis-matchy ikat on the front, the slightly rumpled button band - these are all symptoms of working with this fabric. But it hangs nicely on the body so I can ignore most of those problems, and it's light and breezy. I already wore it to work this week and it is the perfect work uniform.

I would definitely categorize this under "wearable muslin." As you can see below - I skipped doing the full bust adjustment and that was a mistake. I cut a size 16, and I should have cut a 14 and done the FBA. I'll never wear this without a tank top underneath, so it's not a huge deal, but I'll go for a better fit with my next Alder. 

Ugh, low armscye!

I also skipped my planned side seam pockets because the drape-y fabric would not have held up well. I cut the chest pockets, and then ended up skipping them as well because the ikat fabric was already so busy. Like I need to give people another reason to examine my chest...

I did shorten this by about 2" (and I'm 5'8"), because if I am going to wear what looks like a large shirt, it better show off those legs! This makes it the perfect length for wearing with boots and feeling sassy, but it did, however, make it a bit too short to belt. Meh, I guess one cannot show off both legs and waist. 

Alder Shirtdress Back

All in all, I love it and I can't wait to make more. And check out Allyson's version and Laura's version - both turned out so rad! 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Chambray Skirt from eShakti - including crop top.

Having a blog is fun when companies want to send you stuff to try out, right? Well, eShakti contacted me a few weeks ago and asked if I wanted to try out one of their garments, so I chose this chambray skirt:

Chambray Skirt

It's actually no longer available on the site, but is very similar to this belted poplin skirt

The fun thing about eShakti is that you can modify any of their products to specifically fit your body. Originally, this skirt was supposed to be just-below-the-knee, and I requested it be lengthened. I first heard of eShakti when I was looking for bridesmaids dresses for weddings - how fun would it be to have bridesmaids in slightly altered versions of the same dress?

Twirly Skirt!

So they sent me this pretty skirt, and I love it. I've been wanting a longer, light skirt like this, and it pairs perfectly with this crop top I bought on a whim. Trends!
The fit is great - I should have gone down a size, because of the elastic waist on the back, but the belt helps cinch it. I love that you can customize down to the exact waist measurement. The fabric is thin, but that's not a bad thing in LA, right? 

If you want to try outeShakti for yourself, you can use the code "redumbrella" to get 10% off your order (until 9/16/14) and check them out on Facebook and Pinterest!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Alder Dress Sew-Along: W.I.P.

Our little Alder Shirtdress Sew-along is going strong! Allyson and Laura both posted fun pictures of their WIP dresses last week. They're a bit ahead of me, since my bike accident held me back from starting this as soon as I laid eyes on the pattern. 

Alder Dress, ready for cutting

This past weekend I was finally able to cut into my fabric. It's a slippery rayon, so I had some trouble cutting it perfectly on the grain. I've been straightening it up as I sew, though, and thus far that's worked out. 

Do you like my cutting table? Yeah... it's the floor. 

How about my scenic sewing room: 

My Sewing Room

I moved into a tiny, 420 sq ft studio last January, so this "sewing room" is also the kitchen, and the dining room, and sometimes bike storage. It's a challenge to fit everything into such a tiny space, but now that I have all my sewing stuff out of the closet, I'll be knocking out a few projects in one go. You can see my pile on the ottoman in the corner! 

Ok, check with Allyson on Wednesday for her finished Alder, and Laura on Friday! 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Alder Shirtdress Sew-Along Extravaganza

Have you seen the Alder Shirtdress pattern from Grainline Studio? I first saw it on Ginger Makes, where Sonja made two gorgeous versions, and I fell in love. I had to have this dress!

Then I found out that my bff's, Allyson and Laura, were also obsessed with this pattern, and it was official: we had to do a Sew-Along.

Luckily, our mini sew-along is just a week behind the official Grainline Studio Sew-Along, so I've been benefiting from their guidance.

Here are my plans, thus far:

Version 1: A straightforward take on View A. This will hopefully be a wearable muslin, where I work out any fitting issues within the pattern. Since it's designed for a B-cup, I will definitely be doing a Full-Bust Adjustment (following the instructions here). I will also be adding pockets, and possibly tweaking the collar to a Peter Pan style, depending on the fabric.

Version 2: View B, made out of something drape-y, like silk charmeuse. Also adding pockets. Always with the pockets.

Version 3: A v-neck shirt version, a la this post. I think this would be amazing in a chambray.

My plans are ambitious, but after my bike accident last week, they have stalled. Thus far I have....

Alder Shirtdress Pattern

Just an assembled pattern. But hey! That took a really long time. I really wish I had seen this tutorial from Colette or this one from Sewaholic before I started. But I'll be cutting that fabric in no time, I just know it.

You can catch up with Allyson's progress on Wednesday and Laura's on Friday for all the Alder-goodness you can handle!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hodgepodge Mittens for Meghan

Here's a Christmas 2013 project that never got a blog post: Hodgepodge Mittens for my sister. 

Hodge Podge Mittens on Meg

This was my favorite pattern from Holla Knits Accessories last year, since I love colorwork mittens. So cozy and so entertaining to knit! I knew my sister would dig them, too, in a nice, neutral color palette. And look! They matched her post-Christmas outfit perfectly. 

I knit them pretty much as written, using Magic Loop. I stopped a few rows before the end of the chart because my sister (and I) have small hands. It worked well to try them on as I went and adjust accordingly. I loved the easy 4-stitch pattern repeat and simple color scheme. They look great finished, but weren't too crazy-making while knitting. 

Meg's Hodge Podge Mittens

My sister got married in June, and a few months before the wedding, I was sitting at my desk, thinking about how things were going to change within our family. Meghan and Jeff, her new husband, have been together for 10 years, so I wasn't really worried until I realized: Meghan and I would not be waking up together on Christmas morning, like we had since we were old enough to sleep in our own beds. It brought tears to my eyes to think about! Who knew, that at age 30, I'd still have some "growing up" to do?

Monday, August 4, 2014

New Embroidery Pattern - Well Stocked Pencil Box

I have a new pattern up on Red Letter Day Stitches today - Well Stocked Pencil Box

It's technically our "Labor Day" design, but Labor Day always meant Back-to-School time for me, and that meant fresh, new school supplies! I'll admit - I still get excited to go into Staples and stock up on office supplies. I just love it!

You can buy it here for $4 today!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Summer Knitting - Harnett Tank

Hey, check it out: it's my Harnett Tank.

Harnett Back

I cast on this baby on New Year's Eve, and finished in early June. (Rav page here, if you're interested.) I knit size 38 with almost no mods, except following Michelle's directions for jog-less stripes. She's so helpful!

I used the recommended yarn - Knit Pick's Stroll - and found it... lacking. After I finished my Fire Opal Tee, knit in a cotton blend, I was totally in love. Putting on a wool blend, at the beach, for these photos, was torture. The sweater fares much better when worn in my air-conditioned office, but I still wish I had used cotton. 

Harnett Front

But it sure looks beautiful, doesn't it? I was a little worried about the length and width while knitting, but the nice thing about wool is that it's so darn flexible, and I was able to wet block it into a nice shape. 

And hey! I'm a lucky lady, because Allyson came to visit and work on Red Letter Day Stitches stuff, and took these photos of me. This was pretty much the most perfect day at the beach because:
  • We saw a whale, and it spouted water! 
  • We saw dolphins, doing flips! Seeing dolphins is not unusual on the SoCal coast, but I had never seen so many, being so acrobatic. 
  • The water was very warm and swim-able. Rare for the Pacific, and probably why we saw so many animals.
  • We mastered the technique necessary for anchoring a beach umbrella in the sand. 
  • We were seated next to a group of very beautiful European people, and spent a good amount of time eavesdropping on their conversations and speculating on who was dating whom. Maybe that's a thing I shouldn't admit on the internet...
Harnett Flat

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 to claim your prize!

Monday, April 28, 2014

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!


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!