Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last UFO of 2008

This one is called the "Not Square" Jacket. It is made from an assortment of yarns I purchased from A Mano Yarn Center is a feast of creative inspiration, and was sitting, nearly finished, under my table for about a year. I needed the perfect button.

I finally found it online the other day and it just arrived in today's mail!

New Pattern Up - SweeTee

This little SweeTee has been driving me nuts and I am so glad I finally achieved what I wanted with it.
It's not the yarn, which is delicious, Silk Lace by Claudia in the color Cherries, 2 strands held together throughout.

If you know me at all, you know I love the details.

I love the stitch pattern, too, which gives a nice, slimming vertical stripe.

It guessed it...the math!!!!

I had the hardest time grading this - the 14 st pattern repeat offset with an extra 5 sts and wanting to keep the center intact. Grrrr.

I even tried to hire someone to grade it for me. She told me some things just can't be graded. No kidding!

Finally I conceived of an alternative - knit the same exact thing on different sized needles and you end up with a different sized garment. So I was finally able to finish it.

And just in time for TNNA!

Use coupon code HAPPY NEW YEAR and get the pattern for free from my website when purchasing 2 skeins of Claudia's Silk Lace yarn in your choice of 108 different colors! Plus, of course Free Shipping!

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

How I Spent Christmas

I spent Christmas in bed all day, watching movies and knitting!

Scarf With Striped Border, page 80, Victorian Lace Today.
Yarn - Malabrigo Lace Weight from A Mano Yarn Center. Been in my stash for over a year! My favorite color and the yarn is sososososos soft!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

My Name is Ellene and I am a Procrastinator

I am a productive procrastinator, but still...
Unless you count all those hours playing Guitar Hero. Thank you, Mr. Bear, for finally hooking me into the madness.

At least my other procrastination activities yield a product at the end.

Hot Hands in Claudia Hand Painted Yarn, Short Sport, colorway Circus Dancer

Kitty Bwankie for Charlie with catnip Meeses to match

Monday, December 15, 2008

Granny Takes a Trip

It always amazes me when I complete a pattern and publish it - all the details of math, format, layout, schematics, tech editing, more math, and still more math.

Designing is the easy part. Making the sample is the fun part. The rest is just work, work, work. Lots of stress.

But I am so happy when I am finished and have another pattern to add to my collection.

Many years ago, when I first moved to California, there were a few shops that blew my mind. One was the Pleasure Dome on Sunset Blvd. I had never seen such a collection of yummy colors and fabrics and hip styles.

There was also Holly Harp on Sunset - the rich and elegant hippy fashion paradise.

And then along came Granny Takes a Trip on Melrose. I heard it was owned by some wives of the group, Chicago. It was named after a hip boutique in London, at that time the epicenter of all that was hot in music and fashion. Pleasure Dome inspired me but Granny got me wanting a store someday - just like that one! Only with all my designs.

Flash forward about 8 years. My boutique on Santa Monica Blvd. had just been robbed - cleaned out, actually, and I had a big chunk of money from the insurance (those were the days when you could actually afford to insure your inventory) I was faced with the choice of starting an entirely new career or building a new boutique.

And guess what was available? Granny Takes a Trip had gone out of business and the store was for lease! Right across from the Bodhi Tree, LA's famous metaphysical bookstore, I had my name in shocking pink neon for the next 10 years! So many stories to tell, if I could only figure out how to write and knit at the same time.

Really, no knitting for me today. I am working on the final drafts of some other patterns. Stay tuned!

Kits will be coming soon in these colorways. Pattern is available here.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Yarn Section in my e-boutique Now Open!

For the past 2 months I have been working overtime adding a new Yarn Section to my e-boutique and it's finally ready for visitors!

I am happy to announce that I am the only resource in the world with the entire line of Claudia Hand Painted Yarn! That means 15 different types (14 really, but Sport Merino comes in 50 or 100 gram skeins) in 108 different color ways!

Claudia's yarns are exquisite! Her colorways are fresh and beautiful and as I was working with the photos, color correcting them to the best of my ability while holding each skein up to my monitor, I fell in love with nearly every single colorway!

Another thing I love about Claudia's yarn is the wonderful scent that wafts up to your nose as you wind the skeins and as you work. She has some secret ingredients she adds to the last rinse. I have been encouraging her to package and market her wool wash because it is so nice!

I think the best part about designing in and selling Claudia's yarn (besides having an enourmous stash of her yarn around me at all times) has been getting to know Claudia, herself. The inside of her ball bands carries a hidden message: Peace, Love, Comfort and Joy! And Claudia is every bit of the Rainbow Goddess I expected would go to the trouble of sharing a blessing in every skein.

In January, Claudia will be at TNNA in San Diego and will be featuring several of my new patterns, which I will preview for you here on my blog in the weeks to come. She has promised to sit down with me for an extended time and fill me in on all the details of how she came to own one of the most exciting hand-dyed yarn companies in the world, and I will share what I learn about her with all of you (with her permission).

I am so curious about how she got started, what she did before, what she dreams of for her future. Enquiring minds want to know!!!

Visit my website and let me know what you think of the new Yarn Section!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Melody's Solution

Melody, a fablous fiber and yarn artist, sent me this photo of her solution to the ugly seam in the Rib Warmer. She did a 3 needle bind off. I like the look of this much better than the seam.

Check out Melody's amazing work here and here.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

New Modular Project

This time I'm knitting a blanket made of one square from each of Claudia Hand Paints fingering weight - she has 108 colorways! I will have to add a few to make the blanket come out right.

I'm actually using the knitting machine to make the squares which are going to be about 5" square. After blocking them, I will crochet around each one with the same color - not sure what that color will be. The thing I am really looking forward to is have all the squares blocked and playing them out. Then I will know what color the borders should be and what else I need to make it as stunning as possible. Then sew or latch it together and put on a border.

I would have really liked to hand knit or crochet each piece because I just love the way Claudia does her colors and I have so much pleasure just watching them change. But my goal is to have it done by Christmas, which I don't think is realistic, considering all the other deadlines I have. But I am an optimist and also perform best with the pressure of deadlines.

What I really want is to have it done by TNNA so Claudia can display it in her booth. My other deadlines are the new patterns I need to have finished by then, too.

My fingers just can't keep up with my brain!

The best thing is all my holiday knitting is done, so I can devote myself totally to this and also, to getting the new addition to my e-boutique, to be announced at a later date.

EZ Rib Warmer

I really like the way this came out. I used some Plymouth Fantasy Naturale I had in my stash and it was the perfect weight and drape for the garter stitch pattern. I just love the way it fits - sure wish I had a resident photographer so I could show you on a real person.

It kind of stays contoured to the body, not falling open even though nothing holds it together. I think this is because of the combination of short rows (making a bias where a dart would be) plus the weight and texture of the yarn plus the garter stitch.

The only thing I don't like about it is the back seam. I'm thinking hard about how this could be done without sacrificing the bias short rows exactly where they are. I'm thinking it might be possible if you finish the back as one piece and then pick up stitches on each side and work around the front to the collar (the opposite direction that EZ's is worked)

The thing I do like about the back is that sexy little curved split in the center of the lower back, and I think I could still get that without the seam.

Just add it to the overflowing pile of ideas in my bushel basket.

Friday, October 31, 2008


compassion, patience, flexibility...

These are the qualities I believe we need to survive the future. These are the qualities I have been developing, some more successfully than others, all my life.

Through the web of blogs that connect us, I have come to know that there are lots of us doing the same thing!

If you are reading these words and you know what I'm saying, please join me in becoming the peace, being the calm . The world depends on our light. We make it stronger by weaving/knitting/sewing/crocheting/spinning/embroidering/beading - insert your form of expression here - our own little, individual parts of the web.

If we can all hold this web in our conscious minds at least part of the time as we work, we can shine brighter together.

Join me, please. You know who you are.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Doris Chan, I Love Your Patterns!

Doris Chan's All Shawl with Strawberry Lace edging. Free Ravelry download.
Yarn: an unlikely combination of Fiesta La Boheme and Colinette Enigma. (edging)
Hook: L
2 days to complete

My thoughts on shawls:
When you are young and cute, a shawl looks quirky and cute on you.
When you are ... ahem ... mature, you are fighting that granny look.

Who cares when the shawl is this gorgeous?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Procrastination is a Serious Affliction

I've got a serious case of "Mathitis" The symptoms are:
• Clenched stomach when contemplating my notes.
• Accumulation of many quick finished projects from patterns written by other designers.
• Occasional inability to even enter my workroom.
• Guilt.
• Despair.

I'm supposed to be writing the pattern for this:

Lace Tee from Claudia's Silk Lace.

Instead, I made this:

Juliet from Zephyr Style ... way too big for me : >( ***

And this:

adaptation of Doris Chan's Cinnabar from Everyday Crochet, also too big for me***

And THIS!!!!!
Babette Blanket from Interweave Crochet

There are too many problems with the Lace Tee. My mind is boggling from the math. The pattern repeat is making it really hard to grade into sizes. The sleeves need to be reworked as set-in or else the larger sizes will have sleeves that begin at the elbow (not attractive)

I decided as long as I am reworking the shoulders, I will knit it circularly instead of flat. That's a good idea, but the calculations are making me nuts. I thought I found someone who would do the math for me, but she is too busy. Aargh!!!

And I'm not even going to show you the number of new designs of my own I have started (some are even completed) while procrastinating on this one....of course, I still need to write the patterns for them.

This one may end up in the file marked "Forget it".

*** I think I may be imagining I am bigger than I actually am, since everything I've made myself lately is too big. Blankets, however, always fit.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Lifetime Project Completed!!!!!

The Koigu Kimono Jacket is finished! I had challenged myself to complete it this summer and I am only 2 days past my deadline.
I am not counting myself out over 2 days, since I have been working on the blessed thing for about 3 1/2 years!!!

There are more than 20 different yarns. All the large (4"x4") squares and about 90% of the 2"x2" squares are made from alternating ridges of 2 different colors. Sometimes I used contrasting colors and other times, variations of the same shades.

The basic color theme was pink and turquoise, with white, purple. a bit of yellow and a bit of green. I just went through all my sock yarns and pulled out everything that was pink or turquoise, then improvised off the other colors that were included in the variegates. Most of the yarns are Koigu, but others joined in when the colors worked.

These are my most favorite colors, although I often say I never met a color I didn't like for something. The very first time I was allowed to pick my own colors for my bedroom, I was in the 6th grade. I chose a rich, warm, pinkish coral for the walls and a deep rich turquoise shag rug. My mother took some old, carved furniture she was replacing and painted it white, then antiqued it with gold, but it was funky, not French looking. She kind of Jackson Pollocked the gold paint onto the white by flicking the paint brush, then wiped it with a rag. Maybe she did it by accident - but it looked all streaky and fabulous. Then she put the gold paint over the carved flowers and wiped it off so all that stayed gold were the deepest crevasses.

If it really looked the way I remember it, I'd probably still like that furniture today.

And my kimono would fit right in!

I am having a little let down after finally being able to try it on.

It's too big..

Not a lot too big, just enough too big that I feel 'wrong' in it, if you know what I mean. I made the smaller size and the measurements sounded good on paper, but my critical eye tells me if it were a couple inches narrower and the sleeves were 2" shorter, and the sleeves weren't quite so wide, I would love the way it looked on me, instead of just loving the way it looks.

Also, it is very heavy! I never thought sock yarn could end up so weighty. I am storing it folded but am pretty sure that after wearing it for a few hours, it will grow. It is warmer than I thought, so I probably won't get to wear it that often.

Now I understand why people make fabulous modular blankets instead of clothes. Blankets are never just a little too big.

Fingering 55

Yes, there is another one. If I could figure out a way to photograph both my hands at once, I would have loved to show you the pair!

This is a Flower Gauntlet made from Claudia Hand Painted Yarn Fingering 55. It is 55% silk, 45% merino. It is wound tightly, and is much springier than other silk/merino blends I have used. A real pleasure for the hands, both while knitting and while wearing. The color is called Marooned.

It actually comes in every one of her 108 color ways. Need some? Contact me for details.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Still Knitting

I finally finished Razzamatazz and got the pattern put into my e-boutique!!!

Click here to order this pattern as a download.

In Claudia Hand Painted fingering weight.

In Koigu KPM.

In Noro Kureyon Sock.

I am so jazzed with the way the Noro gloves look on Annette. It seems like they were just made to go with her tats!

When I named this pattern, I was really thinking about the Quincy Jones/Patti Austen song. I googled the word 'Razzamatazz' and came up with the Urban Dictionary's definition which is much kooler and more in keeping with the 21st century!

I wish it was cold enough in LA to wear gloves! I would so wear these!

Friday, July 11, 2008

ElleMyra is Born!

For a long time, I have been an admirer of the work of Myra Wood. Our paths have crossed over the last few years at different fiber events and finally, just a few short months ago, we got a chance to sit down and have lunch together.

Since that day, it has been like discovering a long lost friend - more like a long lost sister. Inevitably, we started consulting on each others' designs in progress.

And that led to collaboration.

We discovered that we work very well together! We have equal and complimentary skills and aesthetics! We both love feminine and sexy! We both love drapy and flattering. We both thrill to texture and color. We both insist on impeccable and classy. We both feel that you can't embellish too much!

We decided to design and write patterns together. We are thrilled to present our first collaboration, the ElleMyra Shrug!

Please let me know what you think!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

LaToya Must Be Hard Up

She seems to have been auctioning off her old wardrobe from the 80's. Or else she's gotten too fat to ever hope to fit in them again.

I was procrastinating this morning and found this:

It's a weird photo, with the pants legs all squished at the bottom, but she got something like $250 for it! Not as much as she paid, but a lot more than I would have thought someone would pay for something this dated. It was called the Double Padded Shoulder Sequined Jumpsuit and was a very popular look with my stagey clients back in the early 80's.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mermaid's Net

All the fish were knitted first, with a modular sweater in mind. After sewing some together, I decided I wasn’t happy with the lack of drape in the resulting fabric. Put them away for about a year. When I revisited them, I had a new vision. I took them apart and started crocheting them together with a selection of different textured yarns. Then I added the beads and pearls. This shawl actually used every single fish I had knitted and over all took about 2 1/2 years to finish!