Miss Brooks

This summer, I was fortunate enough to run into Sabrina Famellos of Anzula Yarns while she was pitching my LYS on her way to TNNA. I was working on Guinevere in the shop that day, and we got to talking about design. A few hours and some delicious Kansas City barbeque later, we agreed that I would design a dress with Sebastian and Mermaid for the next TNNA, coming up this January. Four months and five skeins of gorgeous yarn later, I give you: Miss Brooks!

Worked entirely in stockinette and reverse stockinette, this dress is a timeless classic with plenty of sex appeal.

I have a thing for style of days gone by. If I could get away with dressing in Regency dresses and Tudor gowns every day I would, but that's another story for another day. For this piece, I wanted to reference the glamour of 1920's fashion; skirts were getting shorter, legs were just starting to go bare, and modesty was still a valued commodity. I considered giving the piece a dropped waist, but in the end I decided placing the skirt just below the natural waist line would keep the pattern more accessible to today's woman. A boat neck, sheer sleeves and sexy layered skirt finish the dress in style, snatching it away from the land of costuming and landing it squarely in the 21st century.

Check out the outline of that leg through the bottom layer of the skirt! Sexy! The top two layers cover you where it counts.

I particularly love the skirt on this dress. Each layer is worked side to side in reverse stockinette; the bottom edges are allowed to curl up, and they're seamed only partially from the right side, resulting in a cool sort of deconstructed look. Once you put it on, the bottom layer is almost completely sheer. Nineteen-twenties, meet The Sexy Knitter!

Vintage fashion not your thing? Give it an even more "right now" twist by styling it with a steampunk vibe, instead.

As much as I love the monochromatic look of the dress worked all in one color, I would be excited to see it knitted using a different color for each skirt layer. It would even make a lovely wedding gown, worked all in white or cream! Replace the satin belt for leather and the vintage heels for half boots, or add a bit of steampunk and make the style all your own. Can you see the possibilities? There are lots!

This dress will be featured in the fashion show at TNNA in January 2011. Stop by Anzula's booth to preorder the pattern for your LYS, or visit my Rav page in January for your own copy!

Many thanks to Lee Ann Barker for the gorgeous photos. She was, as always, talented and patient.

Watch for trains when you're shooting on the tracks! Lord, I thought we were going to get run over...


A little update...

These past few months have just been a blur of activity and work for me. Quite a bit of what I've been doing I can't even show you yet, but trust me, it's going to be good! In the meantime, here's a glimpse at what's been going on over at Chez Sexy:

First, I had a trio of designs published by The Knitter Magazine, Issues 23 and 24:

 Aviatrix Clutch    Trek Socks    Serleena Socks

Then, another trio of designs, this time for Knitting Today! Magazine, Issue #1. Have you guys heard about this new magazine? It's the sister to Crochet Today!, and so far I love the way it's been styled. I'm so excited to be a part of the magazine, because I've always thought Crochet Today! was really cute and Knitting Today! is just the same. Check them out over at www.knittingtodaymag.com, or follow them on Twitter as knitting2day. Issues have been spotted at Barnes & Noble in the US, so be sure to have a look next time you're in!

Big Red ShrugChi-chi Slouchy BeretDrummer Boy Sweater

Oh,let's see. What else? Oh yes...I became a designer for The Loopy Ewe! That was a BIG day for me - so excited to be a part of their Sock Club and Sock Club Lite in 2010! Loopy has such a diehard following, it's been fun to get to know their fanbase and become involved with such a great company! These kits are absolutely FOUGHT over, so if you're even thinking about signing up for 2011, you'd better literally be stalking Sheri's blog next month if you hope to get a spot, because they'll be sold out for sure! Here's the two patterns I've done so far, but you'll be seeing more from me for them in 2011:

Cable Crossings     Argylers

Last but not least, I was honored to be asked to design for Woolgirl! Jenn puts together The. Most. Amazing. kits ever, and do you know how I know that? Because I get to receive a kit for each month I design a pattern! I've had four so far:

Through the Woods         Poppy Fields SocksElphaba's Revenge          Cuppa Cowl
Through the Woods, Poppy Fields, Elphaba's Revenge and Cuppa Cowl

Seriously, if you have ever thought about getting a kit in the mail, I highly recommend Woolgirl's kits! She puts a lot of thought and effort into making sure each one is just like getting an amazing present in the mail - she even wraps everything up like a gift! I also love that you can order just one kit at a time, instead of having to lay out a huge sum of money for a full year's worth of club. Check out her available kits here. You'll be seeing more from me for her in 2011!

Okay, this turned into more like a big update, but there you have it! This doesn't even scrape the surface of what I've been up to since the last update though, and that should give you any idea of how busy I've been! Speaking of busy, I've got a cowl on the needles for The Knitter Magazine right now that I need to get back to - I'll be back soon to post photos from my latest shoot!

I love you all! Did you know?


New pattern: Khufu Mitts

The September shipment of the 7 Ancient Wonders Club by The Unique Sheep is winging its way to club members all over the world, and I'm going to give you a little peek at what's inside! It's my new pattern, Khufu Mitts, inspired by the Great Pyramid at Giza. I have long been obsessed with all things Egypt, so when I was approached about designing for the club, I was more than excited to be assigned The Great Pyramid! At first I was a little stumped at how to make a mitten correlate to a desert region, but in the end I'm really happy with the symbolism here!

Cabled cuffs suggest the waves of the Nile River

Bricklike patterning and a pointed mitten top represent the pyramid itself

Sand stitch across the hand evokes the vast deserts of Egypt

These mitts are worked in the amazing Green Sheep Sport, an organic merino wool truly unmatched by anything else in its class. Only 250 yards knits up the pair of mitts, which are worked upwards in one piece from the cabled cuffs. Instructions are included for a full and partial thumb, and a nifty convertible mitten top means the wearer may choose between a full mitten and a fingerless glove.

This pattern is exclusive to club members until March of 2011, but if you are interested in knowing when the pattern is available for sale, please leave a comment on the pattern page, and I'll be sure to let you know! In the meantime, why not look into joining another of The Unique Sheep's clubs?


Welcome and a free pattern!

I'm so excited about my new Knitty pattern, Crosswaves, which I'm sure most of you have seen already! This pattern has been a long time coming, as I designed these socks in September of 2009, and I'm so glad I can finally share them with you! By the way, these were a total accident, because the day I was struck with the idea to design them, I was actually trying to design something else entirely. Hooray for serendipities, yes?

Click here to get the free pattern!

Squee! I love the Converse shot!

I'm so pleased to have so many new visitors to the blog, so welcome if this is your first visit! I'll be doing a post in the next couple of days to sort of explain why I'm The Sexy Knitter, so do stop back by and have a peek at that, won't you? :)

Oh! And just click the little photo to download the free pattern. You can queue it up on Ravelry right here. Enjoy! 


In which we shop at Etsy...

One of the projects on my needles at the moment is a reknit of my Diamondback Shrug for Knit Picks. I'm this close to finishing the new sample, knit up in their City Tweed (which, by the way, is amazingly squooshy, especially in garter stitch). As I've been knitting along, I've been considering how I want to style the photo shoot. . .I know there will be some big, chunky jewelry involved, so naturally, I turned to Etsy.

While I was looking, I found these:

way cute, right? click the photo to view the listing!

While I've decided to style the Diamondback with my own jewelry from 579, I couldn't pass these up. At $8.75, they are such a steal! The shop has plenty of other cute things, too, prettily photographed and very reasonably priced.

I got so excited about my new owl earrings, I was inspired to create a whole owl treasury! Did you know there are about a million awesome owl-y things on Etsy? Of course you did. . .and here are just a few of my favorites:

gahhhh! so many owls! i want them all! click the photo to view my treasury

Between Etsy treasuries and Polyvore, I could waste ginormous amounts of time. Perhaps I should have been a graphic designer - I love playing with photos!

If you stop by the treasury, do leave a comment, won't you? :)


Rag Quilting for Project Linus

Three snuggly quilts await new homes

Many moons ago, I undertook a rather large charity project, and since I began that project, I have made over 200 rag quilts. I chose to make rag quilts for my project because rag quilting is, quite simply, the easiest and silliest blanket-making method that I've ever seen, resulting in the most delightfully snuggly blankets imaginable. If you can cut on a straight line and sew on a straight line, you can make a rag quilt! It really is that simple. If you want to learn more about it, Wendy Bernard has written an excellent tutorial which you may download for free right here. Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yes, the charity project. Well, we finished that project, we actually did! Almost 250 quilts in less than a year by no more than three sewers. . .I'm still quite proud of that, let me tell you! But I was saying, after we were finished with that particular project, I had a few quilt squares left over. About 15 blankets' worth, in fact. Those squares, they sat and they sat and they sat and they sat. For about three years, they sat. I even had to move those big trash bags full of quilt squares from Florida to Kansas, and still they sat. I'd promised myself that I'd finish them up and donate them to some kind of charity, but see, after that Big Project, I thought if I never saw another Quilt Square, it would be too soon. Fast-forward to April, this year. One of my LYSs here in Kansas City hosts charity drives throughout the year, and they announced that the second-quarter charity would be benefitting Project Linus. If you've never heard of Project Linus, you should definitely give that link a visit, because they are a most worthy charity organization which has brought comfort and warmth to almost 3 and a half million children through the gifting of handmade blankets. If that doesn't just blow your mind, well. So you know what I did? I hauled those big bags of quilt squares out of the basement, dusted them off, opened them up and got to quilting! I've already donated 10 so far, and I have only 3 left to finish up before this Sunday's deadline.

I'm curious: How are you using your talents, whatever they may be, to benefit those less fortunate than yourself? I'm not talking about just giving money to charities, here - I'm talking about getting down in the trenches and really doing something. Do you volunteer at a soup kitchen? Knit caps for preemie babies? Crochet prayer shawls for the sick? Perhaps you volunteer your time regularly at an organization like The Ronald McDonald House or Heart Gallery of America (which, by the way, is awesome and I just heard about the other day). Share with me! How are you changing the world? :)


No-Bake Blackberry Nectarine Cheesecake

Last night, we had guests for dinner and board games. Nothing too fancy, you know, just throw a couple of frozen pizzas in the oven (actually, we had these guys' frozen pizza, so as it turns out it was kind of fancy). The day before, I was texting the guests about dessert options, and given the choice between blackberry cobbler, cheesecake, or cookies, the answer was "Yes". Well! I got to thinking, and I started thinking that blackberry cheesecake sounded rather good, and to put it on a cookie crust sounded even better. So I mishmashed a few things together, and here's what I wound up with:

 Using nectarines instead of peaches prevents oxygen discoloration

I promised my Twitter followers a recipe, so here it is:

15 Pecan Sandies cookies, crushed to oblivion
2 Tbsp butter, room temperature
1/2 cup pecan pieces

Combine the crushed cookies and butter with a pastry cutter or your fingers. Press firmly and evenly into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Sprinkle pecans across the bottom, patting them into the crust a bit so they stick. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Allow the crust to cool completely before adding filling.

2 8-oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbsp lemon juice + enough nectarine juice to make 1/4 cup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 pint frozen blackberries, chopped into pieces

Note about the nectarine juice: Peel a ripe nectarine, then just sort of squish it to death with your fingers - you'll get lots of juice and a bit of pulpy stuff, too. The puply stuff is okay, because it'll all get blended in when you mix up the filling. :)

To make the filling, just dump all of that stuff except the blackberries into one large bowl. Mix it with an electric mixer on high until alllllllll the lumpy-bumpies are gone, or at least 5 minutes. Gently fold in the blackberries. Pour the filling into the cooled pie crust, and top with a sliced nectarine and a couple of whole blackberries. This cheesecake needs to be refrigerated at least 6 hours before serving, but it's best to make it the afternoon before and let it refrigerate overnight so it can really set up.



New pattern: Cuboid

A while back (really, it's been a few months now), I worked up this little felted box bag for The Unique Sheep:

You can read all about it by clicking the link above, but basically it's a little felted box bag which uses only 340 yards of worsted weight yarn. I made it for The Ram Club Series 4, which is a series of accessories for men. My kits just shipped out this month, and so far have had a great response! This is a super quick knit that gets transformed in the finishing work. Knit flat in one piece, fabric lining gets fused to the inside of the bag for sturdiness (there is no "stuffing" in the bag in these photos), then a zipper is inserted and the whole thing gets folded up origami style and seamed together with a sewing machine. No sewing machine? No worries - you can just as easily sew it up with yarn and tapestry needle.

I love the detail at the corners!

This pattern will be available for individual purchase from me in October. Don't want to wait so long for the next one? Consider signing up my next club with The Unique Sheep, the 7 Wonders Club. This club features one kit for each of the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World, and I was lucky enough to get the Great Pyramid at Giza! Yessssssssssssssssssss! Anyone who knows me knows I am fascinated with the pyramids and all things Egypt, so this was a real pleasure for me to get to do! The item I designed for that club is one of my favorite things I've ever made, so do go check it out won't you? :)


Style Your Knits: Bijou

Casual Bijou

Today I took a much needed break from designing to create this set on Polyvore. The set styles Marnie MacLean's gorgeous Bijou (available from Twist Collective) for a more casual, daytime look. This sweater strikes me as a more dressy item, with its delicate stitch patterning and dainty finishing details, and from what I've seen is usually styled that way. Well, doesn't that just present a challenge! I've pulled out what my brother refers to as "mad layering skills" to put together a sweet little outfit that is young, edgy and comfy! I could see myself hanging out at the coffee shop in this, window shopping some fabulous boutiques, or even going on a date with the Dr.! Movies, anyone?

If you're not familiar with how to use Polyvore, Marnie has put together a great tutorial for it over on the Twist Collective blog. Why not get addicted today?


Destash - Prism 1/2" Rayon, Nevada Colorway

I've got some lovely ribbon yarn up for grabs!

Three skeins Prism 1/2″ Rayon Ribbon, Color: Nevada
95 yards per skein, 100% rayon
Dye Lot #72004
Original Price was $172.50 for all three skeins. The skeins are untouched as seen in photo.

I'm asking only $100 for all three of these pretties, and that includes shipping to the US (add an extra $10 for international shipping). Leave a comment here if you're interested, or message me on Ravelry!

I have quite a bit of novelty yarn that I'm basically giving away, if you're into that sort of thing. Pop on over to my Destash page to see the rest.


I'm giving away free patterns!

Interested in knitting one of my designs, but just can't commit to clicking the "Buy Now" button? Well, now you can win one for FREE - just by following me on Twitter! Each Saturday, I'll randomly select a knitterly follower to win a pattern of their choice from my portfolio. Followers are eligible to claim more than one prize, and you do not have to be a new follower to win!

The Sexy Knitter Follow me now to win!


Jumpsuit Mania!

So, I've been thinking lately that if I could afford it, I'd buy almost of my clothes on Etsy. I'm the kind of person that doesn't like to wear the same thing everyone else is wearing, so I browse Etsy a lot to drool, and to get style inspiration!

Today's search for jumpsuits turned up these pretties:

Convertible Harem Jumpsuit
Convertible Harem Jumpsuit, $125.00 from NICFISH

Backless JumpsuitBackless Jumpsuit
Persephone Backless Jumpsuit, $88.00 from VeronicaTrost

Warrior JumpsuitWarrior Jumpsuit
Urban Warrior Jumpsuit, $70.00 from ME2Designs

Hemp Jumpsuit

Hemp Jumpsuit, $76.00 from MeatMaster

I love when a seller takes the time to style their clothing and take it out for a real photo shoot on a real model! It makes all the difference between feeling like you're buying something made in someone's basement and feeling like you're buying something from a professional designer in a boutique. Love it!

I'd wear all of these in a heartbeat - I'm just that kinda gal.


Pattern Refresh - Argyle Golf Club Covers

I had an E-mail a couple of days back from a lovely Raveler with a question about my argyle golf club covers. She was wanting to use the pattern to teach a class, which I thought was wonderful! This prompted me to take a look at the pattern, which was in dreadful need of a makeover. Well, I provided said makeover, and the shiny new PDF is now available for your downloading pleasure! The new version features in-the-round construction and a chart for the fair isle bit! Don't worry, though, the verbose instructions are still there, too - and if you prefer to knit the pattern flat, just omit the bit about joining in the round and follow the chart for the fair isle. Then, in the decrease section, purl the even rounds, and you'll be good to go!

Get it now, for free: PDF download

I also get a lot of questions about yardage requirements - the pattern lists 1 skein each of 3 colors Malabrigo, and my guess is you could get 2 covers out of those skeins, likely 3 if you omitted the ginormous pompom on top (or made the pompom in a different color). If anyone out there wants to weigh their cover and let me know how many grams it took, well that would just be swell!