Video Killed The Radio Star


Sweater: Obsidian by Lisa Mutch; Cephalopod Yarns (very very sadly going out of business) Skinny Bugga in Montauk Monster; my notes and modifications on "The Shadow Knows"
Skirt: J. Crew - my god there are still some left. I bought three. Seriously this skirt is way cheap. I even bought this color in the wrong size because I liked it so much - I figure I can just wear it lower on my hips.
Shoes: Gucci, circa 2001. Miraculously, if you wanna be you wanna be you wanna be like Mike, and you wear a size 8, another size 8, size 7, or size 11, you can own these 13 year old shoes in white (I do!). These are not the original shoes I bought (for full price - the only pair ever) in 2001 at Neiman Marcus in San Francisco, but a replacement pair I bought on ebay two summers ago. I may have treated the first pair slightly roughly (ok, I accidentally hiked in them once), and was overjoyed that I found another pair on ebay so many years later. My mom bought a pair of these shoes, and while hers are smaller than mine, I convince myself I can almost squeeze my gargantuan foot into her pair should the need arise. Conclusion: I love these shoes. A lot.
Nails: Essie in Starter Wife which, because I have a sick sense of humor, is the shade I wore for my wedding.
Toes: Essie in Watermelon, in truth I prefer the orange I've been wearing nearly all summer, but I decided to change it up for 2 weeks.
Lips: Make Up Forever Rouge Artist natural in N31, Soft Fushia (sic)
Bracelet: Ever Together (no longer in business) magnetic bracelet. I looked for other magnetic jewelry, but none had the simplicity of this one. The artist, Terrence Kellerman, had better luck with his wallet business, Dynomighty, which has gone from a tiny studio in Tribeca (where I bought this bracelet also a gazillion years ago) to a worldwide success. I'm now really glad I have a bracelet and necklace. If you wanted to recreate something like this, I'd just buy the magnets from a supply store and get creative!
Bag: Longchamp, another replacement (thanks to very generous parents who combined multiple gift giving opportunities into one super awesome gift) for a bag I got in - god, was that 2001 too?

It's my husband's fault, really. He got The Ramones' I Wanna Be Sedated caught in my head in the shower this morning. Really good and stuck in there. I figured the only way to exorcise that particular earworm was the same way history did: with neon! I don't know how often you've attempted to match things to pale chartreuse, but it is not the most versatile color out there. I had an alternate outfit that involved a knitted tank top with corset styling, but even with a sedate navy blazer, it just didn't feel all that suitable for work. Enter Obsidian. Easy, breezy, goes with everything Obsidian. The why-even-though-I-have-the-yarn-have-I-not-made-a-second Obsidian. I can wear it off the shoulder with jeans and tall black pumps for a night out, with the cowl up as a hood for all the goth dress-up events I attend, or just like this with all manner of skirts for the rest of the time. I simply cannot recommend this sweater, and in a great neutral, enough.

I frequently worry about over-icing the cake. If you have ever eaten a cake I made, you might notice that I go easy on the icing and why I complain at length about the various cupcakeries and their ridiculous mound of sickly sweet frosting. so when you have a giant cowl neck sweater and a neon skirt, what more can you add? The slingbacks are black, so neutral, but with the pink heel for fun. Since my toenails were also that shade of pink, it made even more sense (and kept the color palette to three shades: green, black/grey, and pink), at which point I had to break out the pink lipstick that my husband hates and that I adore because I'm pretty sure it makes me look like Susanna Hoffs (and if you do not know who that is, obviously you are no longer my eternal flame). I am not a neon person, generally speaking, but as I've expanded the list of colors I'd be caught dead wearing, I find that a bit of retro brightness can be both fun and appropriate when styled responsibly (so I would not wear leg warmers with this outfit unless I was going to a costume party). For anyone who has tired of the 80s references peppered within this post, I say you're just not having enough fun with your Tuesday morning!

I'm on vacation starting Thursday so I won't be posting, especially since my outfits are going to consist of sarong, wetsuit, t-shirt with the neck cut out, espadrilles. I might, however, finish my striped sweater and grab some on location shots of it (crosses fingers). See you in a week and a half!


Follow Friday | July 25

So how did this thing get started anyway?

I blame Gayle and Sharlene. You may know them as The Yarniacs. Their bi-weekly (and that's the bi-weekly that's every other week, not twice a week) podcast is a delightful bit of voyeurism into the lives of two friends and their knitting. They also have started doing interviews with members of the kniteratti, reviews of books, and discussions of sheep breeds and dyeing. Last year during the summer, they hosted a knitalong on ravelry called The Colors of Fall, inspired by the seasonal release of the Pantone colors. It was a resounding success, especially as it asked participants not just to knit something from the autumn color palette, but to style it. Seeing how people all around the world were wearing their handknits was wonderful. So I'm thrilled they're doing it again this year (even as my own project has been hibernating).

Now Gayle and Sharlene are West Coast girls through and through and I fully admit to the more than occasional ribbing of their casual ways because casual for me means something entirely different. Case in point: it's casual Friday at my admittedly all-the-time casual workplace. Me: I've swapped my weekday blazers for a daring casual Friday long cardigan. But yes, I'm still wearing heels (and full disclosure, had I at all managed to get through the morning ritual in a decent amount of time, I would have snapped a couple of shots of my outfit. Apologies. If you'd like to imagine what I'm wearing, it's my Darling Emma, Cheyenne, a blue shirtdress from Mango (kind of like this one), my mom's kickass vintage YSL tortoise shell chain belt (which I'm kind of amazed I found with a google search of "tortoise shell chain belt ysl"), and a pair of Manolo Blahnik wine-colored suede sandals (not quite like these Brian Atwood's or like these from Express, but you get the idea). So a couple of weeks ago when they mentioned me on the podcast (which by the way, makes you feel like a million bucks) and said that while "normal" people wouldn't wear such and such a thing, Yelena would, I took that as a challenge to show just how normal I can be, fashion-wise. So you can all blame Gayle and Sharlene for being bored by the contents of my closet.

Because, and if I might get preachy for a moment, even in a vacuum when no one is around, not your husband/boyfriend/wife/girlfriend/other object of your affection, not the women in your office or the moms outside your kids' schools, not the gas station attendant, the barista, or your family, looking good feels good. I hear from women about how good they feel in their casual clothing when they just don't have to care how they look, but I argue that when you look at yourself in the mirror having taken even 5 minutes to put yourself together, you feel better than when you're eating fritos out of the bag while wearing yoga pants with a hole in the knee. Yes, there's a middle ground, of course there is, and by showing what a casual friday looks like in stilettos, I'm not necessarily advocating everyone do that - but maybe don't go to work without a swipe of mascara.

In conclusion, no matter what your personal style, knit for it! And knit for it during the second annual Colors of Fall knitalong. This season's color weren't my favorite, but I will, eventually, finish a second Hey Girl Cardigan in Wollmeise DK Bussi.


In Progress: 1858


Who starts a knitting and fashion site in the summer anyway? As the mercury climbs and I try to find work-appropriate ways to be as unclothed as possible (sweet, sweet linen, how I love thee), I'm also doing some other sneaky things. Like many knitters before me, I'm taking the jump from modifying patterns to suit me to just writing them up from scratch. It's not as though there aren't thousands upon thousands of amazing designs out there, but sometimes the exact precise one you want isn't out there.

 Case in point, the Breton. Do a ravelry search and you'll find lots of Bretons, marinieres, or whatever you like to call a blue and white striped sweater in the style of the classic French shirt. Why, therefore, am I designing my own? Because in my addled brain, not one of the sweaters already available was exactly what I was looking for. Did most of them check off most of my boxes? Yup. But I really have wanted a sweater like this, have been hoarding the yarn for it, and wanted it to be (dear god) perfect.

 So what does perfection look like?

 1. Top-down. This has become pretty much a must for me. I need to be able to try the sweater on as I go and have a reasonable idea of what it looks like. I've started to re-jigger bottom-up patterns that I knit so that they can be knit top-down (a recent example is my Harrogate).

 2. Set-in sleeves, also top-down. I've tried a variety of different contiguous set-in sleeves and they just don't match the shape of my particular shoulders as well as this method. Which is kind of sad for me because a lot of really cute patterns are using that method right now.

 3. Neck options. This white with blue stripes version I think I'm going to keep with a raw collar; the blue with white stripes I'm doing next, a crew neck. The slash-neck is lovely, but ever so slightly more bra-strap revealing and less popular so I decided against it.

 4. Full length, body and sleeves. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a moral objection to 3/4 length sleeves, I just don't like them for me for this sweater. I realize this is a minor thing because one can (and I do) frequently modify sleeve length, but while I was writing up a pattern myself, I figured it could have the sleeves I like.

 5. Stripe placement and width. Again I could have modified an existing pattern to my preferences, but since I was doing all the rest. The first stripe should hit at the top mid slope of the bust, not higher, not lower. I originally started with 4 rows of contrast color and 12 of main color, but ripped back to replace it with 3 and 9 respectively. It was the right thing to do.

 So the body of the sweater is done, and I'll be starting the sleeves this evening. I'm quite excited to have it off the needles so I can wear it, and a couple of girlfriends may have offered to test the other sizes for me (because they are swell). It's not my first foray into design, and I have a couple other projects in the works, but it is a fun diversion on a too-hot-for-knitwear day to share a sneak peek.


Follow Friday | July 18, 2014


Sweater: Nora by Linda Marveng; Polo & Co Masgot Fine in gres; my notes and modifications on "Distaff"
Skirt: Loft black pencil skirt
Shoes: Manolo Blahnik (similar style in suede, in patent leather and on sale by Cole Haan)
Nails: Butter London Lady Muck


Sweater: Tyrol Jacket by Linda Marveng; madelinetosh LEDK (no longer available) in baltic; my notes and modifications on "Brenner Pass"
Skirt: French Connection black ruffled hem skirt (similar by Tibi (also in orange!!!!) and H&M)
Shoes: Manolo Blahnik black leather knee high boots (ok, so I realize the boots I'm about to link cost more than most people's monthly rents/mortgages - it is legitimately insane. Full disclosure: I bought mine for $575 at the 1/2 off sale in January of 2001 and they are THE BEST SHOES I OWN. If they were whisked off to another dimension, I WOULD spend $1500 to replace them. I would not eat for a year and/or sublet my home and sleep in my car - your mileage may vary; this pair is not exactly what I have and I like mine better, but just so you can see what's out there; I will say that if you are going to buy a staple such as these boots, DO buy them from a respected designer. If you take care of them, they will last forever and will look so much better than the pair you bought at Nine West for $200 which will fall apart in two seasons. Save up, it's worth it.)
Nails: Essie Topless and Barefoot


Sweater: Cablewing Sweater by Linda Marveng; madelinetosh LEDK (no longer available) in astrid grey; my notes and modifications on "Courchevel"
Jeans: The Gap. No joke. I bought my first EVER pair of non-Gap/Old Navy jeans last week
Shoes: Fleuvog (similar styles at very pricey Yves Saint Laurent, great deal Giuseppe Zanotti, and haven't-heard-of-the-brand-but-they-are-real-leather Halogen)
Lips: Dolce and Gabbana passion duo gloss fusion lipstick in Infatuation
Nails: Butter London Lady Muck

Phew, that was a lot of linking! You may notice that in addition to some similarities in nail polish and shoe designers, these three sweaters have something else in common: they are all designed by Linda Marveng, lindamarveng on ravelry and in the blogosphere. I got to know Linda long before I ever knit one of her sweaters because she was always so complimentary when I finished a project and posted it. I was itching to find the right project of hers to cast on because I loved her aesthetic...I just was never sure it was for me. Linda's designs are gorgeous and complex and a delight to knit; but I know some of them are far more beautiful and wardrobe friendly on other women than on me. But when I saw the test call for the Cablewing sweater, I threw caution to the wind. Perhaps it was that the sample was knit in a neutral, perhaps it was that the accompanying cowl was not part of the test, but I could see myself wearing it and loving it. And I have done both. This opened my eyes to the possibility that others of Linda's designs might also find happy homes in my closet, so two additional test knits followed - each of them a sweater I would not have foreseen myself knitting, and each of which has found a place in my wardrobe with ease.

Do I generally wear the sweaters, as styled above, with a simple ensemble? Absolutely. These pieces are standouts, little works of art, that need no more than a staple, be it a pair of dark wash jeans or a classic skirt to accompany them. I really have to thank Linda for expanding my knitting horizons and challenging me to knit with a bit more adventure. Simple pullovers and cardigans are great, but being able to make your own truly unique clothing is such a fun experience.

After discovering that Linda is featuring my Nora sweater on her blog tomorrow, it reminded me that I've been intending to do a blogroll of my own, and that rather than blabbing links all over a sidebar, I'll add slowly, writing a Follow Friday post for each addition to my link list.


Delayed Gratification...Gratified


Sweater: Agatha by Andi Satterlund; madelinetosh dk twist in lannister gold; my notes and modifications on "Game of Cardigans"
Dress: T by Alexander Wang pleated neoprene dress (still on sale!!!!) or in white (not on sale) or similar styles including this one by Dorothy Perkins
Shoes: Navy tipped satin peep toes by Giuseppe Zanotti Design, similar styles in floral (which I'm seriously considering for me) or embossed suede
Lips: Clinique Different Lipstick in Shy

I've wanted this dress for over two years. Ok, this was my second choice. I wanted the black one by Tibi, nay I have scoured the ends of the internet for that dress to no avail (I could rent it from Rent the Runway, but I don't want to rent it, I want to own it). This Alexander Wang one has come in many variations and colors and I always seemed to just miss the sale. Or miss my size when it went on sale. Not this time. I've had this dress pinned at 192.50 for months. And I knew, just knew, that one day I would either get a coupon or it would go on more sale and I would not miss it this time. So when the 30% off anything I want coupon showed up in my mail, my only concern was "what if I don't like it." Since I've photographed it and you can't see any tags, the verdict is in. It's pretty spectacular.

I scuba dive. A fact (and the attendant nerd talk) I try to keep under wraps (because of just how much nerd talk I can do). However, scuba diving introduced me to the wonder that is neoprene. It's like a sports girdle. It sucks everything in while making you look super badass. I love it. I would wear my wetsuit in public if I could. So the idea of a socially appropriate use for neoprene, one I could wear outside at home? I was ready! Hell, I won't lie, if I ever find another one on sale, I'll buy it too. It is so comfy and so sucking-in-of-all-the-things and yet somehow on trend that I might never take it off.

As for the sweater, I originally knit it to go with an anthropologie dress that I bought after yarnosaurus showed off hers (ravelry is not just terrible for stash management, it also very much contributes to wardrobe growth). This was the dress that made me start shopping at anthropologie after a lifetime of making fun of it (no one told me that if you wait long enough, they reduce everything to $30 at which point I'm laughing all the way to the bank). Andi Satterlund's designs are all very hourglass friendly and I like her way of constructing them as well. I have a bunch more waiting to get made in my queue, but I do highly recommend them.

I also wanted to show you what it looked like open. I still have a cardigan problem where I don't always want them buttoned, but unbuttoned they fall off my bust and look kinda weird. I haven't decided on this look yet, but I would be much more likely to wear this outfit with the cardigan open since it would be a just-in-case cardigan for cold indoor places. The shoes are a coup from many years ago and remain the only good deal I have ever scored at Woodbury Commons (for those in other states, Woodbury Commons is the outlet mall closest to Manhattan). Since I can score better deals at end-of-season sales right here at home, schlepping to a mall 45-60 minutes away to get a whopping 30% discount on clothing from many seasons ago seems silly (and I do not know why anyone else does it), but these shoes were, for some reason, 75% off retail, in my size, and cute enough that I bought them. They're another pair I always get comments on because while the style is classic, you don't see that many apple-green satin pumps walking around. My mother used to say she was pretty positive my grandmother owned a pair just like them so if you wear the same size shoe as your grandmothers, I highly encourage you to raid their closets!


New Skirt | Borrowed Friend


Sweater: Raina by Marnie MacLean; The Sanguine Gryphon Bugga in Bomber Worm (similar but currently out of stock); my notes and modifications on "Kashmir"
Skirt: J. Crew on super duper sale right now!!!!
Shoes: Sperry Top-Sider Hayden loafers, similar at GH Bass (also on sale - July is a terrific month)
Fingers: Essie Topless and Barefoot
Lips: Clinique A Different Grape

I own flats! I'll bet you didn't see that coming. I happen to own these shoes in two colors and they are great for activities such as taking my buddy, Chief for a walk. Also good for that activity? A lightweight sweater and a flippy skirt. And the skirt has been on the radar for months. You see, I am a nut for pinterest because I use it to keep tabs on things I might want to own or cook and it allows me to check and see when those former things go on sale. This skirt from J. Crew was originally $98, a price I would never have paid (because it's J. Crew and its quality has gone way down in my lifetime while its prices continue to rise). The skirt is nothing particularly special, nor does it fill a hole in my wardrobe. I own a navy skirt, I own a flippy skirt. However, at $22.50, it is a completely necessary object; I bought two. In truth, I wanted the pale citrus because I certainly don't have a skirt that color, but my size sold out and I contented myself with the peacock green.

I also really love this sweater. It was my first bugga. I love how flattering the shaping is and how deeply scooped the neck is; I love how, at this point in my knitting, I was comfortable enough to change it up a bit to suit my tastes - the original had henley styling. I remember being so nervous when I started to modify patterns that I'd do something wrong and the sweater would look terrible and I'd be miserable. But that never really happened. I'm not saying I don't make mistakes while knitting, but the mistakes are rarely attributable to modifications qua modifications and often the result of my not paying attention. I would urge the more timid knitters to try it out - customizing a sweater, whether in fit or style, to more closely align with your aesthetic opens up so many more knitting doors and frequently creates a unique piece you truly adore.


Too Hot Tuesday


I love the summer, but it's not all that knitwear friendly. And I have an unnatural fear of laceweight. And I'm lazy and would prefer not to knit on size 2 needles. And, and, and. But the heat does make me think about projects I might like to make for future hot weather. My experience knitting tanks is that the straps are never strong enough to hold the weight of the body without stretching out, which is why I've been eyeing the Sherbrooke Street Top which was just released. The a-line design is not my preferred shape, but I can see it being really wardrobe friendly, especially in lovely neutrals like the sample. The straps are wide and looks substantial enough to support the sweater's body. I'd wear it with a straight black skirt or, if feeling saucy, a red one like this St. John or, at $17 it makes little sense not to add this Dorothy Perkins to the wardrobe.

I also really want to find a way to make Hane work for me. Nearly everyone who has made one has styled it with jeans, but I'm wondering if it might not go with the J. Crew skirts I just bought (they are 22.50 down from 98, I couldn't resist, and if I like the way they fit, I might buy them in more colors, though I was disappointed that the pale citrus color sold out...). It would mark the first time I would knit myself a top in linen, and that would definitely be summer appropriate (do you hear how I'm trying to convince myself to purchase yarn?). Then there's the crazy part of me that would learn to crochet simply to make this dress! Which I would then pair with outrageous shoes like these by Sophia Webster, these by Alexander Mcqueen, or heck, let's go back to Sophia Webster and really make a crazy statement!