High-Style Hand Knit Woolens

Gaptastic infinity scarf hand knit by me!

I know, I know I wait until winter is on its last legs to share some wooly goodness with you. But rest assured, if you leave anywhere vaguely North the March winds are just as chilling as any other winter weather, so you still have a good few weeks to swaddle yourself in wool to keep warm. This year marks my return to knitting after a five year break. While my mother is a knitting expert, and I have an archive of one-of-a-kind sweaters she has made me since I was a little girl, I am a slow and imprecise knitter. I love making things, but I’ve never been able to retain knowledge about how to knit from one project to another.

However, for the second winter in a row I was seeing huge, soft, infinity scarves that engulfed their wearers in warmth and style and I wanted one. In December saw a grey, silky wool cowl at one of my favorite boutiques NOS in DUMBO, but when I inched in to look at the price I balked and declared, “I could make that!”

Another piece of wool I’ve been wanting to add to my collection is the perfect cable knit sweater. I reached out to my mother and asked if I might be able to commission such a sweater from her. In a beautiful marriage of technology and craft I put together a Pinterest board to share my cable knit ideas with her and she found a variety of patterns on Ravelry, a pattern sharing and social networking site for yarn crafters, for me to look at. Together we found the perfect pattern, which was in a book she ordered from Amazon! Ahh, the modern world.

Skeins of Bel Aire yarn for the scarf

While I was home for the holidays my Mom and I went yarn shopping and after considering various organic yarns for my sweater I wandered around the yarn shop, Grace Robinson in Freeport, Maine, and found the perfect yarn for the cowl of my dreams. It was thick and soft, like petting a cat or grabbing a handful of clouds, if clouds were warm. It was 100 percent Merino wool by Bel Aire and the color was poetically named “Philly Fog.” I bought 3 skeins. I admit I had the yarn before the pattern, but my mom found me the perfect pattern on Ravelry, the Gaptastic Cowl. As a note, the yarn I used was a big bigger than the yard suggested for the pattern, so my scarf is even chunkier than the one in this pattern.

Crackers the cat helped me wind the skeins into balls of yarn

I had to get a little help from LJ to remember how to cast on and encouragement from Sabine, but I actually remembered how to knit pretty easily and didn’t even need a lesson to remember how to pearl!

Knitting lesson from LJ at Cake Shop, New Years Day

Of course my mother, champion knitter that she is, finished an entire sweater before I finished my scarf, but by mid-February I have been able to wear my two new high-fashion, handmade woolens – my lovely cable knit, organic, Oatmeal colored sweater made by my mother, and my voluminous grey cowl, made by me!

My beautiful mom-made cable knit sweater with a thrifted, handmade shirt, Mavi jeans and Swedish Hasbeens boots

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My Charming Darling Winter Ellips

Ellips day

I can be a rather impulsive fashion buyer. Actually, instead of impulsive, let’s say efficient. When I see something that speaks to me that I know I can integrate into my wardrobe and if the price is okay (even if it’s a little too high, but the object is worth it) I try it on and if it works, boom! Mine!

Cables!

My new Ellips boots with a thrifted skirt, American Apparel tights (layered over black Calvin Klein tights), a blouse from Uniqlo with a new cable knit sweater made by my Mom!

However, their are some wardrobe additions that I stalk for months, waiting patiently until end of season sales so that they are within my price range. This was the case with the boots in this year’s fall/winter collection from the fabulous, French shoe designer Priscille Demanche and her label Ellips. The first morning of her winter sale I pounced on the pair I had been eying all fall. Low and behold, they were already sold out in my size! Someone had bought the last pair of my first choice at 12:01 am the day of the sale. Well. That kind of persistence deserves the shoes.

Fortunately, I had a second choice, which was really more like a tie, all picked out. Voila, here they are, my darling bottines bleuette. Like my other two pairs of Ellips shoes (lovely red and grey low heels and some strappy, color blocked sandals) they are incredibly comfortable and I can wear them all day, trotting all around the city with a flash of unique color and style. What I love about these lace up ankle boots is they go with practically everything – slim jeans, skirts, dresses, you name it.

Debut de bottines Ellips! Cc @mhcestmoi

What I love about Ellips is that they are beautifully handmade in Spain from all natural leather and are clever takes on classics. As such they will always look fashion forward and will never go out of style. Definitely a piece that is worth the wait. And investment.

Hi hi bottines Ellips! Today is a great day!

As a note for US readers: If you are unable to order from the Ellips site using the shopping cart function (it may be set up only to ship to France) just email Priscille – she will arrange for payment via PayPal and get your order to you right away!

Merry and Bright

Modcloth dress, Gap cardigan, Hue tights, Robert Clergerie heels, Modcloth headband

This is just a quick entry to wish all a very festive and lovely season, whatever holiday you may or may not be celebrating. I hope that in this week leading up to the new year you will take some time to rest, reflect, regroup and spend time with the people who matter most do you and remembering what makes your life good. I am home in Maine for a few days to do exactly that, as well as be completely spoiled by my family and enjoy their incredible cooking. 2011 has been a banner year for me and I feel it has set things in motion for an even more rewarding 2012. We never know what the future will bring, but may it be merry and bright!

Cozy by the fire in my Built by Wendy sweater dress

Bright against the snow

Mom Style

My mom has great style. She is also a great knitter. All my life she’s been knitting and has made me countless sweaters and even some toy horses! I always seem to find sweater patterns to flummox her though, and my latest request was no different. Keight had knit herself a Sunrise Circle Jacket from a pattern by Kate Gilbert and I wanted one too! I chose a soft grey yarn and chose round buttons instead of toggles for closure. Finished in May it relaxed in my closet until these grey November days inspired me to pull it out. It was so warm, and so chique, I am certain to take it with me to Paris in a few weeks.

Late Fall Style and New Sweater

I paired it with brown oxfords, also from my Mom. I know vintage style Oxfords are all the rage, and these ones are actually vintage and finely crafted by Etienne Aigner. They also go great with the grasses on the Highline!

Taking the Oxfords for a Late fall walk on the Highline