Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Made in Brooklyn | Accessories

Today we wrap up with a few stragglers from the collection who haven't fit into any other category yet. Both projects make great travel or gift knitting. And while I don't fancy myself an expert crocheter by any means, I thought I'd be crazy and throw something in for fun for the hook-lovers.

Meet Grove.


These mittens are an ornate little treasure for the hands. I've always loved the relief-like quality of twisted stitch knitting (knitting all knit stitches through the back loops) and how sculptural and graceful they look when used in travelling-stitch and lace patterns.


The interesting thing about the main motif on the tops of the hands is that there is no cabling involved - the motif is formed by yarn overs and twisted knit decreases so I guess technically should be considered lace, albeit a well-disguised version. The cuffs on both hands do utilize traveling stitches in a spiral pattern that is mirror-imaged on either side to add that special detail.


There's something enticing about mitten knitting - maybe the way they remind us of childhood winters, or how they don't really make sense for adults who are constantly in need of finger dexterity (mittens are a great way to drop expensive little electronics down a large flight of stairs - ask me, I know), or that they're just more enjoyable to knit than other things for your hands? Nevertheless, it seems that mitten knitting is alive and well, and that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

And finally, Metropolitan.


So these. I spent a lot of time staring at a few big, beautiful hanks of Aspen - a super bulky, heathered wool/alpaca blend that comes in a gorgeous array of autumnal colors - thinking What, Oh What am I to do with you? Super bulky presents a funny problem: it's fun to knit for the instant gratification and larger-than-life sculptural quality of your stitches, but not as practical for daily wear because it's, well... super bulky. The other sticking point is that the yardage isn't exactly what you'd call generous - the fiber you could use for thousands of yards of lace schlumps itself into mere double digits in the super-bulky arena.


So my personal design challenge was this: what can you do with one skein (approx. 51 yards) of Aspen that isn't a hat? And as I was mulling this over on my morning commutes to and from school, I found myself marveling at how all of my fellow commuters, while jammed together on a crowded train, were so perfectly isolated from one another by virtue of a fantastic modern wonder that we call Noise Cancelling Headphones. You know, the big, shell-like headphones that make you look like a cool, urban fighter pilot? Do you see where I'm going with this?

Then: the light bulb. Earmuffs! Inspired by these insular electronic devices! Or even, earmuffs to wear over your insular electronic devices! Well, now I was getting a little carried away, but more or less this is how these things came to be.


Metropolitan is a simple crochet project, worked on two different sizes of giant hooks (Huge and Really Huge) for a structural pair of muffs. The ear "shell" is shaped by changing hook size - trust me, I'm not fancy enough to design other means of shaping in crochet with super-bulky yarn - we're keeping it simple.

But the best news about this is that they use just under one skein (including tassels), can be worked in about an hour or less and are perfect for last minute gifts for that person in your life with quirky winter style. And if I can hook it, so can you - trust me.

And with that, we wrap up our official coverage of Made in Brooklyn - I hope you enjoy the collection and thank you already to all of you who have sent such supportive and wonderful e-mails about the work. It is very much appreciated.

In travel news - I'll be headed out to Western Mass this weekend with the trunk show for some teaching workshops. Be sure to stop by WEBS to see the garments in person if you're a local and need a knitting fix!

ETA: If you've been searching for a copy of Made in Brooklyn and haven't been able to find a retailer, you can use CE's "Where to Buy" page to find local shops that stock it here.
The booklet is also available online through CE's website here.
Grove on Ravelry
Metropolitan on Ravelry


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