28 September 2012


Okay, so every once in awhile, I run across work by another knitter that just floors me. Often, it's something super intricate, unusual, or creative. Today I wanted to show you one of those projects:
Aaaah! I love it! It's millamelli's Eclectic Electric sweater. Finished just over a month ago, it already has 135 faves on Ravelry, and I freaked out when I saw it on the madelinetosh group's forum. I love the color choices (Edison Bulb and Grapefruit tosh merino light), as well as the colorwork pattern of the sweater itself. Together, they make a bold and gorgeous product. 
I was so blown away by the finished sweater that I just HAD to share it with you guys! I asked millamelli to answer a few questions for us regarding the project and working with fun colors:
YX: How did you choose your color scheme? 
MM: I love colors. All of them, especially bright colors. I choose my colors based on which ones make me happy in the moment. I know that sounds really hippy-crazy of me, but it’s true! Life is too short to dress in boring colors. I like to put colors together which are slightly off and don’t traditionally match.
YX: How do vibrant colors affect your knitting? MM: Because I choose colors which make me happy, I’m always so excited to pick up my knitting. Plus, I’m a huge fan of knitting in public, and knitting with bright colors totally dispels the myth that knitting is for boring, dowdy grandmothers.
YX: Do you get tired of staring at such bright colors? MM: Never! But sometimes I do find myself daydreaming about other color combinations. Sometimes, when I’m about 1/4 through knitting something, I get caught by a little trepidation and think, “Is this really what I want? Should I have chosen different colors?? Possibly something less loud?” But then I laugh it off and continue knitting.
YX: What were the biggest challenges with your project? MM: I have the attention span of a fruit fly, and apparently my math skills are on par with that. Counting. And being patient. I know my count was off at numerous points in my project, but I was too lazy/stubborn to go back and figure it out, so I kinda just winged it through out. A big part of me choosing to knit a hood and put in a zipper was because my middle was off and the pattern wasn’t completely symmetric.
YX: Do you get comments from non-knitters when you wear your sweater in public? MM: Well, I’ve only really worn it out once. I’m currently living in southern California where it is STILL +100F every single day. But I’m looking forward to wearing it more when I move back to the east coast. I did wear it on an airplane trip to Chicago. I was knitting a sock while wearing my sweater, and the flight attendants all commented on my knitting, then disbelievingly asked if I had knit my sweater. When I answered in the affirmative, they were floored. It felt amazing to have my work validated like that. I get a lot of “You should sell your work!” and “Can you knit me one, too?” Answer: No. Sorry.
YX: What advice would I give someone who wants to start experimenting with fun, exciting colors? MM: DO IT. But first, believe in yourself and believe that YES YOU CAN wear bright colors. Not everyone can do it, but it’s so much fun. You have to commit to it and know that you’re just that awesome. I guess you could start small -- like with mittens or a scarf with a pop of color -- but in all honesty, just knit with colors that make you smile.

I totally agree, and I absolutely love this project! Thanks to millamelli for sharing it with us! And remember, just a few more days to win some bright yarn of your own!
- YX

24 September 2012


Holy crap, you guys-- Saturday marks the ONE YEAR anniversary of Yarnexploder.com! Partake of my delicious yarn cake:

What?! An entire year? I can't believe I've been able to talk about knitting for a whole year. There was even that month that I posted (almost) every day!

Awesome. Had I been more intelligent about it, I could've done some kind of big to-do about it. Goodness knows we love big to-do's over here.

Instead, I'll show you a photo of my Jaina Sweater, in progress:
There it is, in all its moody, dark glory. What? Can't see anything? Well, let's hope the FO photographs just a bit more visibly.

I've completed my first sleeve, which is intentionally knit two inches short. The entire sweater is a bit small, allowing for the growth that tends to happen with alpaca. If it ends up not growing, a good, solid blocking will help me out.

I keep stressing about finishing the sweater in time for Rhinebeck, which is kind of silly. It's simple enough that it's going to go under the radar there, and it really isn't my best, brightest work. I'll probably drag along my Sultan sweater, as well as various hats. I'm assuming that New York in late October will be a teensy bit colder than down here in Houston.

Well, onward I go- One more sleeve and a collar to do! Don't forget to sign up to win that Madelinetosh yarn!!!


19 September 2012

The color of Fall: Burgundy

I've read a lot of stuff lately that suggests burgundy will be the hot color for Fall... I'm not a big fan of burgundy on my skin, but it's a beautiful color. It reminds me of some of the maple trees where I grew up:
There are some great burgundy yarns for sale... It seems like a more common color for yarn lines. Tosh has a great colorway called blackcurrant that I could absolutely see myself wearing, actually:
It's beautiful. I love the idea of pairing burgundy with unexpected colors, too. Burgundy and hot pink?
I like the idea of this color with a sky blue, too:

 Or you could always go traditional with it...:

 What do you guys think? Will you be joining the burgundy bandwagon, or are you finding yourself drawn to other colors for the season? I'm a big fan of deep teal colors around this time of year...

- YX

14 September 2012

The logic is winning

I'm a bit disappointed in myself lately. Although I'm moving along on my Jaina sweater, I've been looking through my queue and various FO threads on Ravelry, and I've come to some kind of realization about myself.

I'm being too logical about my queue and project choices.

I think, at some point, I just decided that owning three knit hats in Houston was the right amount. And shawls? I have a ton, but barely wear them. Maybe it's the heat of the (still hot) summer here, but I find myself gravitating toward making sweaters because I wear them much more frequently than anything else.

So I queue and make sweaters. The problem is, they take so very long to finish. I even have one that is so close to finished, but it needs sleeves:
I went through a period of time ending about a year ago, where I made tons of little things and felt really accomplished and happy with them. But now, I wonder how many of those things I can sustain in a collection. Do I keep filling drawers with hats and scarves? Do I go on a self-proclaimed hiatus and stop knitting them altogether? Do I -gulp- make them, but give them away?

I have a more visceral reaction to nice sweaters than any other type of object, and I really have to like something to make it, so... queue full of sweaters.

Seems like I have some things to consider... Meanwhile, I'll continue knitting my first sleeve on my current WIP and try to figure out how I can spend three hours knitting something and have it grow ZERO INCHES. Ugh.

- YX

10 September 2012

Queued: Belle

Someone give me seven bucks because I have to have this right now:
This is Belle, by Julie Weisenberger, and it is everything I want to be, ever. 

Well, everything I want to knit, anyway. Holy cow. Look at the drape. Look at the slouchy-wouchy-ness. Look at the sleeves that are foofy and gorgeous and its an open knit and it's asymmetrical fhdsjlafdljfsadjldsfl

It's asymmetrical because it's a bias knit.

 Bias knitting, for those in the dark, is when knits are worn on a diagonal. Imagine that the rows and columns in a normal knit are like a grid, right? When you turn them diagonally, they distort into a diamond-shaped grid. This grid expands over wide areas and constricts over smaller areas, giving a form-hugging fit. That's how the sweater is so lofty but still manages to give the boom boom pow booty effect.

The sleeve seams, which are done via three-needle bindoffs, are a nice detail that doesn't fight with the design of the sweater.

This sweater looks like an expensive designer sweater from a nice store. It can be done in a ton of colors. It's flattering for my body type. I need fifteen of them.

Someone send me some extra hands!

04 September 2012

Woeful thumbs and other events

I spent a good part of the beginning of my holiday weekend knitting. I spent the other part of it tearing baseboards out of a house. One of these things has injured my left thumb, rendering it un-usable for knitting.

I can do plenty of other things, like type, cross stitch, and hitchhike. But I pick up some needles and BAM, impossible to knit. Obviously, this is rather frustrating.

Due to said events, I have nothing to show you on Jaina... I have finished the body and moved on to a sleeve cap, which is simultaneously cool and a pain in the rear. The sleeves have short row caps before moving on to the spiraling tube of the sleeve itself. I'm thinking it's possible that the maneuvering of short rows, combined with a metal circular needle is what fatigued my thumb. And I'm frustratingly close to having a FO, too.

The sweater is short and snug, which is frustrating only until I remind myself that it's 100% alpaca and guaranteed to stretch down to my knees upon first wearing. I'd really like to finish it for my upcoming trip to Rhinebeck... Did I tell you all I'm going? The hotel is booked!

Of COURSE, you'll all be coming with me, no matter how virtual. Get excited!

In other news, look at this!!!!
Aaah! Gorgeous! It's Obsidian, by Lisa Mutch. As in, I would like to knit this sweater, thank you very Mutch. I mean, I can start with the fact that it's ridiculously sexy, without being risqué. Oh, too revealing you say? Well, just pull up the neckline and BOOM
It's a bitchin' cowl sweater. Yes, bitchin'. But I really like it worn down over the shoulder:
These photos are just so perfect, too. They show me what I need to know about the pattern: It's a snug fit, open gauge pattern that will have quite a bit of drape, so it's worth dropping down a size. It reminds me of my Versio, which was similarly lacy/open. This could be gorgeous in a cotton or linen, too, for warmer climates.

So... Someone wanna knit it for me? Send ace bandages and ibuprofin, stat!
- YX

01 September 2012

September giveaway!

This month, I have a bright giveaway for you:

It's a skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino DK in the colorway Pop Rocks. It's insanely bright!
Madelinetosh merino dk is what I made my Raphaelite with:
I love this stuff for the subtle heathering, dimensional dyeing technique, and the one-of-a-kind color. This stuff looks amazing paired with a dark gray. If you haven't tried madelinetosh yarn before, here's a great opportunity!

How to win:
Post a link to the giveaway (or another YX.com entry you love) on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media website. And of course, come back and tell me what you shared, where you shared it, and make sure I have a way to contact you if you win!

Good luck, and happy September!
- YX