Red and Green


Sweater: Vivian by Ysolda Teague; madelinetosh erin in tart; my notes and modifications on The Misty/Kerri Fangirl Sweater
Skirt: Vintage Burberry; similar styles by Zac Posen and at Ann Taylor
Shirt (which I don't know if you can see): Everlane
Shoes: Prada and if you're a size 8 1/2, we can be complete twinsies!; similar styles by Chie Mihara and Tory Burch
Lips: Marc Jacobs Lovemarc Lip Gel in Showstopper

Merry Christmas, everyone! As an adult adopter of this holiday, I feel comfortable wishing people of all beliefs a Merry Christmas as I have determined that it is incredibly easy to overlook all religious significance, if one so chooses, to focus on the more universal peace on earth, goodwill towards men part. Christmas owns! My sad menorah just looks lackluster next to our awesome festive tree. Since I get all misty at this time of year, I have included, for my nostalgia and your amusement, the poem recited at my school for our holiday celebration - which was 100% pagan and amazing - at the end of this post. If I could convince my husband to celebrate a Very Druid Winter Festival each year I would, but Christmas makes an excellent runner-up.

I don't know why I haven't bothered to make another Vivian; or rather finish another Vivian. Because of my many WIPs is a lovely eventual Vivian. I love this sweater despite the pattern's problems (you will never manage to get the sleeves right without divine intervention or the mother of all blockings). I don't mind wearing it with work clothing, and it's perfect with jeans For the record: had I not managed to arse up putting buttons on my Grandpa cardigan, I would have shown it off for this post, but come to think of it, it looked terrible with a skirt and only good with jeans which, yet again, is a reminder that Yelena + cardigans does not equal a marriage made in heaven.

The skirt and shoes are new additions to the wardrobe and both are delightful deals. The skirt I found by following a pinterest link of a gorgeous vintage dress. While poking around on the site, Hemlock Vintage, I found the skirt for about $50 and immediately snapped it up because I love a good tweed. The shoes are from my new favorite obsession, The Real Real, an online consignment shop that puts ebay to shame. So far, I have purchased two pair of shoes from them at outrageous markdown and they both have arrived looking barely worn. Highly recommend. Unless you are trying to save your pennies, in which case run.

I figure everyone will be busy these next two weeks with holiday frolicking, so I won't bore you with posts until the new year (at which point the grandpa button problem ought to have been solved). Whatever you are celebrating, may it be happy and healthy, and thank you so much for reading.

The Candlelighting Poem by Nancy Cardoza (who, coincidentally, passed away this year at the age of 94)

In the season of the sun's rebirth
on the eve of the winter solstice
I consecrate this house
with light.

Build your house upon the Hill of Truth
and may the cornerstone be clean of ornament
that it give a strong foundation to the walls.

Even as the Doorway of the Dawn,
may your doorway be beautiful
that the angels of Starlight and Sunlight
may enter thereunder with spread wings.

And may the light of your window be wide
for the wisdom of the soul abides
in the mansions of the sky.

May the roof of your dwelling be Love;
the Sentinel, the wing of the Archangel
the Great Fire.

The winter solstice is holy with candles
which are bright
as the fruit of the holly
or as children's prayers,
for in the light of little things
the soul has its dawning
and is reborn.


Metal, right?


West End Girl



Sweater: West End Girl by some designer named Yelena Dasher; Black Trillium Fibres Pebble Worsted in Bright Rose
Skirt 1: J. Crew felted wool skirt; similar styles at Ann Taylor, Madewell, and T by Alexander Wang
Skirt 1: J Crew fluted mini skirt; several similar styles at ASOS including in chartreuse, purple, and hot pink, as well as a more versatile winter white at Nordstrom
Boots: Manolo Blahnik; I'm going to be honest - there is nothing out there right now like these boots which I bought from an online consignment store, however if you'd like to dream big with me, these Gucci low boots are amazing!
Lip 1: Bobbi Brown high shimmer lip gloss in Hot
Lip 2: Make Up Forever Rouge Artist natural in N31, Soft Fushia (sic)

Can you tell I had fun shooting these photos?

I saw a really cute, slightly cropped sweater by Acne last year that worked a lattice across the front and had really deep ribbing. Like a lot of capital-F fashion, it wasn't super accessible to people who aren't fashion bloggers, but I dug the lattice, and I dug the wild electric mint green it was worked in. Fast forward to seeing some of the Black Trillium Fibres bright rose shade and an idea was born. This process was not without hiccups, however, as it was my first time charting a pattern at all, and definitely my first time trying to apply a motif across multiple sizes in a way that would preserve the feel while making the sweater available to a range of people.

But I had some truly amazing and intrepid test knitters and the yarn, which I know I gush about a lot, is just ridiculously awesome (I know I'm not supposed to buy more yarn, but I am heartily tempted to get myself another SQ of this). I'm really proud of the sweater and I think it has looked wonderful on the testers which also makes me happy - the idea that people would volunteer their time and yarn and not end up with a sweater they love keeps me up at night.

Ok, so let's talk fun styling. It's a hot pink sweater. It's so outrageous, it's almost a neutral. Yes, it's fine with the grey wool skirt, but it totally works with the chartreuse one, and I also have a traffic cone orange skirt I think I'll wear it with. As for the metallic grey knee-high boots, they were a ridiculous deal (albeit used), and they fit perfectly, and I simply couldn't leave them on the site for someone else to grab. Will I wear them as often as I wear my knee-high black boots? No. Am I absolutely ecstatic that they have joined the family? Yes. Hair and makeup were also a blast for these photos. Whether I went with mod or pop, the sweater just encouraged theatricality, so I hope you find the results as amusing as I do.

And I really do think this would make a great Christmukah present to yourself - grab a SQ, take some of your time off to curl up with a sweater WIP, and show me your FO sometime next year!


Reading the Fine Print


Sweater: Audrey in Unst by Gudrun Johnston; madelinetosh dk twist in onyx; my notes and modifications on Indispensable
Dress: Alice + Olivia - and wait, it's your lucky day if you a) want one just like it and b) are one size smaller than I am because I didn't read the fine print and now own two. Got it on sale for 70% retail (meaning a $700 dress is only $200) and I'll throw the shipping in for free! Otherwise it's off to online consignment with it
Shoes: Manolo Blahnik; similar styles at Gucci - and those are a great deal, Casadei also on sale, and Sergio Rossi yet again on sale - good time to buy red pumps, it seems
Lips: Dolce and Gabbana passion duo gloss fusion lipstick in Infatuation

So sometimes a sale isn't all it's cracked up to be: like when you don't notice that it's a "final" sale, so that dress you bought in two sizes to see which one would fit is now a dress you own in two sizes. Serious about selling the size 4...

But I love this dress even though this picture is rather terrible and the shadowing makes it look like I neither have a waist nor a complexion - this is the danger of photographing yourself as you are rushing to get to work ad picking the best of a number of terrible photos because you really want to tell everyone about your dress which you bought ages ago, but are only now getting around to wearing (let's not go into why you've had two of the same dress for months without trying to offload one). But this is a festive dress and it's a festive time which, despite last week's scrooginess, I am totally up for. Probably because we got our tree yesterday. And exchanged our ornaments (and, for the record, the one my husband got me was amazing and handmade). And I am done with all my Christmas (Chanukah) shopping.

What I am coming around to, however, and I know I've touched on it before, is that I think I am not a cardigan person. Or not a this kind of cardigan person. The fitted cardigan, so adorable and wonderful on so so many people, especially with cool full-skirted dresses like this one, has ceased to make me happy. I mean, look at how the top left of the cardigan is folded over on itself and totally unpolished? They all do that and it drives me insane. It looks sloppy and I don't know how to counteract it. How much better would this have looked with a blazer?!?

This cardigan aversion is particularly disturbing since I used part of the weekend to, at last, finish my Rhinebeck sweater (that's Rhinebeck 2014, mind you) which had only needed its button band put on. It's blocking now, and while it's a longer, less precious cardigan, I just look at it and wonder when it will ever be worn, and with what. My husband says it will be especially useful when I need to dress up as a couch (it's a particularly lovely shade of 1970s pukegreencouch, but he's not altogether wrong about its eventual utility. Which brings me to another development of the weekend: that Cromarty I discussed last week? I think I may have come around to the idea of frogging it. I will never wear it, I will be able to repurpose the yarn, and this means I won't have to knit a belt which I'm really not into.


Office Party


Dress: Ash by Allison Hendrix; wollmeise dk in merlot; my notes and modifications on Trapezius
Blazer: Armani Collezioni; similar styles by Alice + Olivia and at ASOS
Shoes: Cesare Paciotti; similar styles by Pierre Hardy, Alexandre Birman, and Sam Edelman
Lips: Dolce and Gabbana passion duo gloss fusion lipstick in Sensual and Bobbi Brown high shimmer lip gloss in Hot

What do you do when your company has a Christmas party in the office, no spouses invited, that starts at 4pm, and isn't quite billed as either compulsory or optional? Obviously you have to go, but since you also have to drive, it's not as though you're going to drink. Also, you're pretty sure you saw a coworker wearing flip flops...THIS WEEK, so it's not exactly a formal environment, but it is a Christmas party (note: I doubt it's actually a Christmas party, I would be willing to bet every pair of shoes I own it's a holiday party because this is the hill some have chosen to die on) and I like parties and I like an excuse to wear nice things. Now, I also have to work today, with others, in a professional manner, so not only am I not going either a) braless or b) stick-on bra-ful with this backless dress, I'm not even admitting it is a backless dress. I'm wearing a good old fashioned bra and an even more good old fashioned blazer and both will remain firmly in place all day long.

I have to confess that I have yet to get in the holiday spirit. I'm concerned that my wonderful husband may not have acquired an ornament for our annual ornament exchange and will therefore get something totally crappy and last minute - meanwhile we have decided not to exchange big gifts this year because instead we're going to go to Malaysia next year which, don't get me wrong, is capital-A Amazing, but not especially Christmassy. I still don't know what we are doing for actual Christmas because my in-laws are not the most brilliant of planners, and I have no idea what to buy my dad who needs nothing and hates everything. I'm also considering telling my brother that he and I should stop exchanging gifts for birthdays and holidays because there is absolutely nothing either of us wants that falls within our budgets for these kinds of things. I mean, what do I want for Christmas? A new digital camera with underwater housing and external strobe plus wet lenses and filters. I'm not interested in anything even remotely top of the line and the cost for the things I just mentioned makes the Gucci booties I posted yesterday seem rather reasonable in price. I might ask someone to get me one of the wet lenses and filters - at least those are in the neighborhood of what I think is reasonable for gift spending.

But most of all, I just feel a little worn out. Between Thanksgiving, which was not as relaxing as any of us had hoped (lesson learned, I just wish it had been a cheaper lesson), and being sick for about 2 weeks, I just feel like I need to decompress and the holidays are generally not a time for decompression. On the plus side, my wonderful, amazing, talented test knitters are making gorgeous cabled sweaters and I hope to have the pattern ready for release next week or early the following week - you know, so you have something to go with the yarn you receive for the holidays!


Looking Ahead, Part 2 - Works in (sort of) Progress

Is it strange to be looking ahead when I have two sweaters in the super-active queue already?

The hot pink sweater came off the needles and went straight to the blocking boards Tuesday night which meant that a navy sweater got cast-on Wednesday evening.

I have vowed to get some WIPs taken care of in the new year. I start way too many sweater and then just abandon them. There's really no rhyme or reason to how this happens: both fingering and aran sweaters, both cardigans and pullovers, both plain and advanced, there's no rhyme or reason as to why one sweater gets started and finished almost without break and others spend years in the WIP pile.

My Fisher Queen WIP is in the lovely madelinetosh erin (which I hoard as a rule) in thoreau

and it is going to look excellent with my J. Crew cream colored wool mini skirt

and it's early to the waist of the body AND on super big needles! I have no excuse not to power through it.

Or how about the ubiquitous (in my social knitting circle) Grace? It's in one of my favorite colors, madelinetosh's brothers grimm (whose discontinuation god himself can't explain), will perfectly match one of my fave summer dresses from Anthropologie

and be amazing with nearly everything else I own (ok so I own several dresses from Anthro that will go well with a cardigan)

AND I solved my problem with the cardigan which is that I didn't like the plain shoulders next to the lace rest of it so mine has lace all over the yoke. It is also finished to around my waist.

There is no reason, I repeat no reason, why I don't have a finished Cocktail(Dress). I am making it in the phenomenally amazing Duck Duck Wool Singleton in metalware and this photograph DOES NOT DO THE YARN JUSTICE

because the yarn legit glows. To prevent attention from being drawn away from this awesomeness, I've used madelinetosh merino light in onyx and dirty panther, aka black and as dark as grey can be without being black, as the contrast colors. It's so friggin' cool. To say nothing of the fact that this is a wheelhouse dress like no other - I own at least 1 million pairs of shoes that would go with this (1 million might be a slight exaggeration, but I do own quite a number of shoes I can wear with this dress). Including, should they go on super duper extra holycrap sale, these eminently covetable (and seriously unaffordable) Gucci booties which, I assure you, look ridonkulous on.

On another tangent, do you ever find that while you love a designer, you haven't actually managed to knit any of her (or his) patterns? This is my monumental problem with Julia Trice (aka mindofwinter). I have stashed for her patterns, swatched for her patterns, and the closest I've come to knitting any of her patterns is the 3/4 of the yoke of Yukiya Pullover that sits in a pile with the other accusatory WIPs. And again, I couldn't be more fond of my yarn choices: I'm using various Buggas in grey, black, and red - so again, just my kinda thing. I think I'll don a cheapo black tank dress from H&M or Forever 21

(this is among the best 7-13 bucks you can spend - I own gobs of these cheap, disposable dresses which are totally camouflaged by a blazer and completely wonderful on the kinds of vacations I take - size up, this stuff is made for tweens - in fact, I took a break from writing this to purchase 5 more), and wear booties or knee-high boots.

I wasn't going to admit to all the WIPs I want to get through in 2015, but I think it will keep me honest, so here goes. I've had Cromarty on the needles since 2012 and despite the fact that I'm making it in a decidedly purple yarn,

no longer have the black pants it would go with (they were from Uniqlo and died a sad, though not wholly unexpected, death-by-hole), and really don't know when I will ever wear it, I feel compelled to finish it. This, realistically, might not get done in 2015.

The same cannot be said for Birchbark which I would happily have worn today with my flippy bcbgeneration skirt

and my riding boots

and which is going to make me so happy in this wonderful Polo & Co. neutral,

so why is it not already mine?!? I would also wear it with the jeans I need to buy from Old Navy

now that I know the secret to Old Navy jeans is to bring 10 pair of the same size into the dressing room and buy the one that actually fits because their quality control is shite.

And finally, 2015 will be a WIP success if Northdale becomes reality. I have a couple of inches knit and it's so much fun, but also tedious, time consuming, and not something I can do mindlessly. I also don't know what I'll wear it with, though guessing a navy skirt isn't the most ridiculous guess one could have.

I'd also like to say that there won't be a Part 3 of this series, but there will be, because we haven't tackled things I want for 2015 that I have managed not to cast on and abandon - and believe me, I have a list for that too.


Looking Ahead, Part 1

Here's why it's been quiet:
1. Thanksgiving vacation - it could have been better though I am tan
3. Sweater outfit photographed (on only day last week I didn't look full on ebola-ridden), but designer hasn't released it yet so no looksies

However, with the year about to end, I can start ruminating on next year and the outfits that will be.

I will be finishing my neon cabled sweater design today, barring something unexpected. For those who don't know it will be this color pink

with an allover cable pattern. In a perfect world, this weekend will have a day where photos can be taken because I have plans for shots with my super flared distressed Alice + Olivia jeans

and with a mini skirt and these soon-to-be-arriving second-hand Manolo Blahnik

silver boots.

When that has been dealt with, I will immediately cast on Linda Marving's Cable Round Sweater

which I hope to bang out before the January 2 deadline. I'll be using some Plucky Trusty in In The Navy. On that topic, I'd like to inform people that Paypal has recently extended their dispute window to 180 days. Since the shipping times for orders from The Plucky Knitter traditionally skirted the 45-day window for disputes, I was extremely wary, on principle, of purchasing from the pre-order updates; now I can feel a little better about participating, which I did, on Friday, by grabbing 2 SQs and a single skein for a hat. I haven't decided how I will initially style the sweater yet, though I do have a vintage skirt that might do nicely.

Then, remember this woman?

Well my interpretation of this sweater is also OTN as we speak in the ridiculous Astral Bath Spectra DK (which I adore and am so ecstatic I have a custom SQ on order). This sweater will, eventually, go with everything I own, but I am particularly eager to wear it with my Reformation Calico skirt

and possibly booties. I'm crazy like that.

That should more than round out 2014. We'll talk about 2015 later.