Friday, January 27, 2012

The sample / La muestra

As some of you may know, I work for a very lovely yarn store in Buenos Aires.  It is called Milana, and it was my favorite yarn store since I started knitting.  Two and a half years ago I was offered a job there and it immediately became my dream job.
I do a lot of things there, though I am actually very little time at work.  And among other things, I help design new products and find suppliers.
So a couple of days ago we decided we were going to sell faux-fur sweater fronts (Clarification: faux fur is 100% synthetic and no animals are involved in its production).  I cannot find a picture of exactly what we are trying to make, but it would be something somewhat similar to this:
So we found a supplier of ecological fur and I had 2 samples made for us.  I need to knit a sample and make a small pattern for the customers to see how a sweater would look like using these fronts, and I am quite nervous about it!
This is not my knitting style at all.  I think I would happily wear something like this, but this is totally out of my comfort zone when it comes to knitting.  I hope I don't screw it up!
The yarn I am going to work with is called Mapuche.  It is a wool/acrylic/llama blend that sells really well at the shop.  The color is very beautiful, it is a heathered beige that has some brown, gray and white fibers blended in.  Really matches the fur I am going to use.
So if I can get a nice sample done, then we'll be ready to sell them.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Summer / Verano

As soon as the summer arrived in Buenos Aires, all my organization went away!  I just couldn't keep up the blog as I had planned to do every Monday...  We spent some weeks in a summer house where we had no internet connection, and though I could answer emails and catch up with ravelry through my phone, blogging through it seemed quite like an impossible task! (Mind you, I have a very tiny and cheap cell phone...)
En cuanto llegó el verano a Buenos Aires, toda mi organización se fue por el aire... No pude mantener el blog como tenía planeado, de actualizarlo todos los Lunes...  Pasamos algunas semanas en una casa de verano donde no teníamoc conexión a internet, y aunque podía contestar emails y ponerme al día con ravelry con el teléfono, bloggear con él patercía una tarea imposible! (Sepan que tengo un teléfono bien quititito y barato...)

The good thing is that I got to spend some precious time with the 3 men of the house (hubby and sons) and they spoiled me a lot.  We have some great holidays!  Charly and I are always amazed about how kids grow during the holidays...  Does this happen to you too?  They seem to accomplish so many things when we parents are around and free to play, talk, teach...  Of course we try to give them quality time during the rest of the year, but to me, 15 days of Mom and Dad exclusively for them make quite a difference!
Lo bueno es que tuve tiempo de estar mucho con los 3 hombres de la casa (maridito e hijos) y me re mimamro.  Pasamos unas vacaciones hermosas!  Charly y yo siempre nos sorprendemos con todo lo que los chicos crecen en las vacaciones...  Les pasa a ustedes también?  Pareciera que logran tantas cosas cuando los papis estamos alrededor con tiempo para jugar, hablar, enseñarles...  Por supuesto que tratamos de estar con ellos durante el año todo lo que podemos, pero 15 días de Mamá y Papá sólo para ellos hacen una gran diferencia!

The other good thing is that a lot of knitting gets done during the holidays, and also a lot of pattern writing that hopefully I will be able to share with you soon.  I did publish 2 new patterns in ravelry, and I am sorry I missed the opportunity to show them off here in the blog the moment they were released.  But here they are now!
La otra buena noticia es que pude tejer bastante estos días, y también pude avanzar escribiendo patrones, que ojalá pueda compartir con ustedes pronto.  Sí publiqué 2 patrones en ravelry, y lamento haber perdido la oportinidad de mostrarlos acá en el blog en el momento en el que fueron lanzados.  Pero acá están ahora!

The first one, is my all time favorite sweater: Flyaway Hoodie.
This pattern was not an easy one to write.  For some reason we hit a lot of stones in the way and I had to re-write it a dozen times.  Testers were so great helping me out with this one!  After a lot of hard work and editing, the pattern was finally ready to be released and we did it the first days of January.
El primero, es mi sweater favorito de todos los tiempos: Flyaway Hoodie.
Este patrón no fue fácil de escribir.  Por alguna razón tropezamos con un montón de piedras en el camino y lo tuve que volver a escribir una docena de veces.  Las testers me ayudaron muchísimo con este!  Luego de un montón de trabajo y de edición, el patrón estuvo listo para ser publicado y lo hicimos los primeros días de Enero. 

The cardigan is built from the top down.  I find this method a little bit more difficult to design with.  You need to do a ton of maths, and all the hard work is always first!  You need to check how the shoulders are going to fit, how the cables are going to flow over it... But, I know why knitters love to work sweaters top down:  You really can try them on before the "whole lotta knitting" is done!  You can easily adjust sizing by working fewer/more rows, more increases...   You can make the sweater as long as you want, and also you can make the best use of your yarn and yardage.
Este cardigan está construido desde arriva hacia abajo.  Esta manera me resula un poco más cmplicada para diseñar.  Tenés que hacer una tonelada de matemásticas, y todo el trabajo pesado está al principio!  Tenés que revisar cómo sientan los hombros, cómo fluyen las trenzas sobre ellos... Pero yo sé por qué a las tejedoras les encanta tejer los sweaters desde arriba hacia abajo:  Te lo podés probar antes de que "todo el montón de tejido" esté listo!  Podés hacer ajustes muy fácilmente sin equivocarte.  Podés hacer el sweater lo largo que lo quieras y asegurarte de usar toda la lana que tengas.

A view of the back:
Una vista de la espalda:

And I want to show you a close up of the buttons, which for me, were a great find!
Y les quería mostrar una vista de los botones, que para mí, fueron un gran hallazgo!

Apparently a lot of knitters/seamstresses know this shop, but I didn't and I loved it!
Al parecer, un montón de tejedoras conocen esta tienda, pero yo no, y me encantó!

I purchased these buttons almost 2 years ago and saved them for something special.  When we visited the Malabrigo factory with my friend Ale, I brought them with me, and I chose this yarn for these buttons.  I think the combo came out great and it is just as I imagined it.  I had never chose yarn for buttons before... Usually it goes the other way around... :D
The yarn I chose was the fabulous Malabrigo Rios, and the colorway is Paris Night... Oh my goodness.  I am completely crazy about this yarn.
Compré estos botones hace casi dos años y los guardé para una ocasión especial.  Cuando visitamos la fábrica de Malabrigo con mi amiga Ale, los traje conmigo, y elegí un hilados especialmente para estos botones.  Me encanta cómo quedó la combinación y es exactamente como me lo había imaginado.  Nunca había elegido lana PARA UN BOTÓN.  Generalmente es al revés!
La lana que elegí es Malabrigo Rios, y el color es París Night...  Qué hermosa!  Estoy completamente loca por esta lana.

I will post some pictures of some finished Flyaway Hoodies in another post, as I don't want this one to be so long and I have so much to tell about.
Voy a postear algunas fotos de otros Flyaways terminados, no quiero que este sea tan largo.  Tengo mucho para contarles!

The other pattern was published last week, and it is called Purple Storm.
I am so happy about it... I actually made myself a Jacket.  A Military Jacket!
El otro patrón lo publiqué la semana pasada, y se llama Purple Storm (Tormenta Violeta).
Me encanta!  Me tejí una chaqueta!  Una chaqueta militar!

I chose to work this pattern in the traditional way, from the bottom up.  I couldn't get it to look the way I wanted from the top down, and I really needed to get it right.  I wanted those shoulders to be in the right place to add later the epaulettes (those bands on the shoulders).
I learned to make Half-linen stitch which added the perfect structure to the more important areas: the bottom band, cufs and epaulettes.  This stitch produces a very un-stretchy fabric that can lay perfectly flat without curling, which helped to give this sweater the very "Jacket" look.
And I also added pockets.  I am trying to add them in as many of my sweaters as I can.  I am always looking for a place to keep my hands, specially during the photoshoots, so they do come in handy...

When the jacket is worn open, it is supposed to look like ruffled in the front, because of the neck shaping.  I am not sure I showed it right in this picture:
 Elegí tejer este patrón en la forma tradicional, desde abajo hacia arriba.  No podía lograr que quedara como yo quería de la otra manera, y realmente necesitaba hacerla bien.  Quería que esos hombreos quedaran en el lugar correcto para agregar las charreteras.
Aprendí a tejer punto "medio lino" que le dio la estructura perfecto a las áreas más importantes: la banda de abajo, los puños y las charreteras.  Este punto produce un tejido bastante rígido que no se estira, y que puede quedar perfectamente chatito sin curvarse, que ayudó a darle a este tejido el look de "Chaqueta".
Y también le agregué botones.  Estoy tratando de agregarlos a todos los sweaters que hago.  Siempre ando buscando dónde meter las manos, especialmente en las sesiones de fotos... Así que me vienen bien ;D
Cuando la chaqueta se usa abierta, se supone que tiene que caer en cascada, como un volado, pero no creo que lo haya mostrado bienen las fotos...

But you get the idea.. I hope?  Testers were also great for this project, and I will show you more Purple Storms in future posts.
The yarn I chose for this project was incredible.  It was Malabrigo Twist in colorway Purple Mystery.  I know I always say the same thing about the yarn I work with... But what can I say?  I get to play with very nice yarn!
Pero se dan una idea... Espero?  Las testers también me ayudaron un omentón para este projecto y les mostraré más Purple Storms en otro post.  
La lana que elegí era increíble.  Es Malabrigo Twist en color Purple Mystery.  Ya sé que siempre digo que la lana es hermosa, pero bueno!  Es que siempre tengo la suerte de poder jugar con cosas bonitas...

I thought it would be nice though to compare both yarns.  They are both manufactured by the same company, which I admire and love very much.  I specially love the fact that they are so close to Buenos Aires and I get the chance to visit them by just taking a ferry...

Rios is a superwash yarn.  It is a worsted/aran weight that knits up at a gauge of 18-19 st to 4 inches (10cm).  I think that because of its superwash treatment it behaves the way it does (I don't know anything about this process, I am just speaking based on my experience with different yarns, which I do have).  The knitted fabric is light, drapey, and super soft.  It is great for making warm clothes that look really light and feminine.  Cardigans with A-line shaping are the perfect choice for this yarn, because you can show off the way the fabric "flows".  My only trouble with this yarn is that you need to be super careful when you wash and block your garment.  It can really stretch out during the process and I needed to patt it to its original measurements many times.  If you are careful not to stretch it, it bounces back perfectly and you will end up with a perfect garment.  Believe it or not, a sweater can bounce back over 4 inches in the bust measurement when it dries up.

Twist, on the other hand, is not a superwash yarn.  But it is not just a regular merino... It is the softest merino ever!  I don't know if Malabrigo uses the same wool to make Worsted and Twist, but the latest cerainly feels so mcuh softer to me!  I couldn't stop working with it.  It was like knitting with butter, I tell you!  The yarn has like a million plies, all tightly twisted.  But even so, it is not stiff and it is such a pleasure to work with it.  I found that I could knit garments with more "structure" using this yarn.  It holds better the shape and when knit at a tight gauge (17 st to 4 inches) it creates a very dense fabric.  I know it will pill (I hasnt' pilled yet, though), but I can live with the pilling.  I think it is the price we need to pay to have sweaters as soft as this one. :D

Well, sorry about the super long post!
Promise I will go back to my regular updating routine....