Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Acros

I recently finished a small 10-piece collection for TSC Yarns (Tahki Stacy Charles), and I couldn't be more thrilled.  I had such a great experience working with everyone, from the generosity of Stacy Charles and his fantastic selection of yarns, to my stylist, hair/makeup and video crew (and of course the models).

The entire collection, along with the video produced for the collection, can be viewed HERE.

This is the time of year I love the most - fall is coming, the chill in the air is a signaling of a very creative time for me traditionally, and this year should be no different.  I have many new projects in the works, and remain grateful I belong to a centuries-old craft that allows me such great opportunities.  I have a new collection (HIBERNA/HIBERNUS) I've just begun work on, I am designing a new sweater for Rowan Yarns, a Koigu dress, and teaching all over the place.  A list of my upcoming cities/gigs (I hope to see some of you there!):

September 18-21 - Block Island Knitting Retreat at North Light Fibers
September 27 - Koigu Knit Intensive at The Brooklyn Craft Company
October 11 - Big Apple Knitters' Guild
October 24-26 Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago, IL
November 14-16 A Good Yarn in Sarasota, FL
January 16-18, 2015 Vogue Knitting Live in New York, NY (registration open soon)
March 5, 2015 Opening of textile exhibition, "I Would Never Wear That" at Daniel Cooney Fine Art, NYC
April 17-19, 2015 Vogue Knitting Live in Pasadena, CA (registration open soon)

Please reach out for any questions, and I look forward to another fall/winter season of cozy knitting, community, and creative energies!

Happy Knitting,
xoxo
j

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

It's here! (And who doesn't love a contest)

You guessed it, (or maybe not) my Craftsy class is launching MAY 13, 2014!!!!!!  After all those swatches, long days of planning, peaking stress levels, and loads of yarn, my class, Seaming Beyond the Basics will actually be happening.

Couple things:  I want to THANK the Craftsy team for believing in me, for nurturing this project from start to finish, and for holding my hand through the whole process.  It truly has been a delight to work with those folks.  If you've purchased a class from these wonderful people in the past, just know that you are supporting some amazing talent who are first and foremost passionate about delivering a great product to their students.  I'm not a smoke blower, so I wouldn't say this if it weren't true.

Secondly, they've created a lovely little link for you to enter to WIN my class!  Click this link by May 9th to register to win: http://www.craftsy.com/ext/JohnBrinegar_Giveaway.  It's just that simple.

Please help me spread the word, and generate some buzz about this class - we are all very proud of it, and I hope you all will agree!!!

Happy knitting!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Me? A Craftsy Instructor??

Sometimes I have to pinch myself.  This is one of those times.

I'm a Craftsy instructor, believe it or not.  My online class, "Seaming Beyond the Basics" will launch in May!  Some of you may have taken my classes at Vogue Knitting Live, or at a yarn store near you, but this online class thing is all the rage, don't you know.  Just a word about the Craftsy experience - AMAZING.  I was so nervous.  I guess a lot of the "what if I fail" jitters, but in the end they made sure I had everything I needed to succeed - a smart producer, and a talented crew of camera men and computer whizzes.  I loved every minute of it, and I'd be nervous all over again if they asked.  Please stay tuned for the launch announcement and the details.  

I've also just published a new original crochet design in the Vogue Knitting Crochet 2014 issue:


It was really fun to make.  Ok, that's a lie.  It was super challenging.  At times I didn't think I'd be able to pull it off, but the end product made me smile.  I'm happy with her.  She's one of my favorite crochet designs.  Sometimes I look at this stuff and I'm like "where on EARTH did that come from?".

And I'm also happy to announce I have a new website for my alter ego stuff.  Tainted Wool is an exploration of the experimental, artistic side of my knitwear practice.  It's a little darker, so you won't find many frilly pretty things (depends on who you ask, I guess):


So yeah.. Lots going on.  

Happy knitting!
xoxo


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Winter Part I

Vogue Knitting LIVE in Chicago just wrapped up a few weeks ago, and the NYC event is fast approaching.  I love that event.  It's really a top-notch, well-produced show, and I feel so lucky to be part of it.  I'm teaching several new classes at the NYC event, so please register early!  Classes for that one are already selling out.

I have a lot of new projects in the works - a sock spread for Vogue Knitting for the Early Fall issue that you'll instantly fall in love with, a 10-piece collection for Tahki Stacy Charles, and my own small collection for release in February for the Fall/Winter 2014 season.  

I barely have time to make little quick projects that give me that instant gratification jolt, but an exception has been made!  The Abbey cowl was inspired by the old gothic cathedral style church lanterns.





You Ravelry users can get it here: 


Happy Knitting and I hope all of you have a wonderful joyous holiday season!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

It's ok to frog.

There is talk about frogging.  Knitting has its own language, and not surprisingly, elicits strange looks around non-knitters when something like "Argh.  I have to frog this" is said.  The "ripper" begins spewing obscenities and sometimes even calling the "rippee" horrible, horrible names.  A little dramatic, perhaps, but true.  And sometimes it's just a simple "eh, doesn't look good" that suffices.

I was recently reminded (and inspired to write this post) about the process of knitting and designing.  It reminds me of my own growth as a knitter and designer.  I used to be the "brace for impact" kind of knitter - someone who took my needles and yarn, casted on the number of stitches I thought I needed, and hoped for the best with the final project.  Thankfully, I've evolved into the kind of knitter that sees it more as a practice, a meditation.  Of course I want everything I knit to turn out perfectly and everyone to love it.  But that's the same expectation as wanting everyone to live peacefully, love generously and stop letting their dogs pee on our flowers, never mind the destroying of flowers.  It may never happen.  So, before I start knitting anything, I try to remember to let the yarn tell me, not the other way around.  It's a way of setting aside everything I think I know about the fiber, drape, color behavior and grace vs. awkwardness in a fit.  So when I have to do this it's all ok:

In case you're wondering, yarn is (clockwise in a spiral from top) Zara, Brown Sheep's Top of the Lamb (dark), Brown Sheep's Top of the Lamb (light), unknown cashmere brand (green and blue), and Rio de la Plata in Rabbit (no longer made)
...it's all ok.  Say it with me now.....

It's the same reason I don't write this blog to be famous or accumulate 100 comments about something silly I've written.  I've had blogs/abandoned them, written/not written, and then always feel the need to apologize for not being "around".  It's all part of the process.  Who cares if I haven't been "around" anyway?

Happy (process) knitting....

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

R.I.P. Sunflower

Few things make me shake my head in disgust like the need of someone to destroy something beautiful.  Alas, they have.  My partner and I (mostly him though) have been maintaining a tree bed outside our building for the last couple years, having had varying degrees of success with growing, planting, bulbs, color, balance, and fertilization.  It's been a journey, an experiment in gardening.  There have even been sleepless nights researching organic materials, soil pH, minerals, and disastrous things to watch out for and from which to protect your little garden.  We seemed to be doing it all right, even drawing neighbors out of their shells who would normally keep their heads down and just get to where they're going to stop and say, "Thank you for doing this.  It's so beautiful".  Making friends through the beauty of nature.  The power of something bigger than us to bring us all together to celebrate.

But what we never planned for was someone so full of rage and pain that they would feel so compelled to rip our beautiful sunflower off its 7 foot tall stalk and tear it to shreds.

I rode my bike to work and had some time to reflect on my reaction to this unfortunate event.  What I focused on was unusual, especially for me, who's normal inclination would be to seek out the person who did this and teach them a lesson.  Among other things.  I remembered being told by one neighbor, "You know it's just a matter of time before someone rips that off, don't you?  It's a zen garden, you have to let go".  Turns out he was right.  Very right.  The act of letting that magnificent sunflower go and remembering its short but gorgeous life was a real gift.  It allowed me to be at peace with the things this world can be, not the things that it is not.

I stopped by that sunflower last night, like all nights, before I went inside for the evening.  One, I never thought that would be the last time I would see it.  Two, I'm eternally grateful I stopped and smelled the intense, rich honey-like smell it was producing.  It finally became heavy enough to bow and allow me close contact.  I breathed so deeply I swear it took root in my heart.

I'm also eternally grateful I took photos and saved them at key points in this sunflower's cycle:






Ironically, neither my partner nor I realized sunflowers form a heart in the middle as they are nearing the final blooms, and they produce hundreds of tiny hearts while the stamens are unfolding.  Last night my best friend said to me, "Mother Nature is showing her appreciation".  See, to me, the sunflower is merely a physical object symbolizing something larger.  It's a power greater than me.  Call it God, The Universe, Mother Nature.  But my serenity lies in knowing that I am a person who is 100% capable of seeking and surrounding myself with beauty, and not someone who is in so much pain that I seek to destroy it.

These are the things I will remember.

So I say not to the person who ripped this flower to shreds, but to the sunflower:

Just know you were loved while you were on that big beautiful 7 foot tall stalk, and you are loved now.  Wherever your soft little petals and delicious golden pollen are, you will continue to live in our hearts.  The bees will find you, sit tight.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sideshow Freaks and Knitting

Whether you live under a rock or not, I don't think it's easy to escape the news these days.  Personally, I try to strike a balance between listening to what's out there and completely shutting everything out - which I think most people try to do.  Though sometimes I just want to crawl under a rock, literally.  There is so much hatred and ill will in the world today, it's hard to focus on the good stuff, but I keep trying.  I'm very grateful I have a creative life because I think I might go bonkers without it.  My bliss lies in being in my studio, listening to Florence and the Machine, losing myself in crafty little details.

I've been extremely busy with designing and articulating a new frontier in my knitwear practice, which will hopefully end up as a small collection soon.  It's inspired by a good friend of mine who is an acrobat/contortionist with Cirque du Soleil, but more broadly it's inspired by circus sideshow freaks and performers.

But first, this is a nice vintage-y shot of two new designs I just finished for Willow Yarns:


The cowl is a merino/silk blend with lots of squish, and the belted cardigan is a linen/cotton blend that's just like a soft T-shirt when machine washed and dried.

If you don't know Willow Yarns, it's worth investigating their products.  Simple clean yarn at a great price.

I will be teaching again at Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago from November 1-3.  Some classes are already sold out, so if you're thinking you might want to go, it's a great idea to just commit.  You won't be sorry, it's an amazing event.

This little felted vest work in progress is part of my new frontier:


It's a wool felt vest with leather trim along the neck.  Exactly what you want to see pictures of while most of the USA is engulfed in a heat wave, right?  I'll post some photos of it when it's finished.  I don't think it'll make it into the final collection, but there's more where this came from.

I've recently begun embracing more of my creative side when working in my studio, and letting stuff just flower and become what it wants.  Hopefully more to come...stay cool!!