Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Shirley Paden's Design Class (or... It's All About the Numbers)

I took Shirley Paden's Knitwear Design class at  fibre space last Saturday. I had unknowingly followed her designs for years, i.e. I loved many of her designs before I knew who had designed them. So I jumped at the chance to take a design class from her. We were told before the class that we would learn how to construct two types of pullovers, a round neckline with a Classic Body silhouette, which does not have any body shaping; and a V neckline with a double tapered body silhouette, which is shaped along the natural curves of the body. To prepare for the class we were asked to select a sweater silhouette, sketch a garment, select a stitch pattern and yarn. Finally, we were to knit one or two 8”x8” swatches, which Shirley calls “meaningful swatches” that achieve a more accurate garment knitting gauge.

Shirley showed her VideoBio (Click on Press, then Video/TV) at the beginning of the class, which included photos of her work and explained what motivates her and how she designs. Then she asked us what we hoped to achieve in the class. Most of us were interested in learning how to make patterns fit. Though we had been told that we would walk through accurately measuring a swatch, taking body measurements, writing a pattern, calculating yarn amounts, and measuring a garment, I don’t think any of us expected that we would spend a day crunching numbers without knitting a stitch! But in retrospect, we should have.


We paired off to take each other’s measurements, then Shirley began teaching us the formulas, asking us to do the math to determine the number of stitches and rows for a garment, the formulas to calculate decreases and increases for body and neck shaping, and armholes, and for a long sleeve. Someone (not me!) commented that there were computer applications to determine these things, which Shirley ignored. We spent the morning with our calculators. Danielle, fibre space’s owner, brought in a tasty lunch for us from a local organic deli, cupcakes for desert, and coffee. Shirley autographed our books, then we got back to the number crunching.


My brain was fried from too many numbers and too little yarn by 3pm, at which point I stopped trying to follow the calculations and just watched the others. I reasoned that I could refer to Shirley's book, Knitwear Design Workshop, to figure out what I didn’t understand.

SP book II

I have to admit I got testy – had I paid good money just to take a math class? That long forgotten math-challenged fourth grader made her presence known! Shirley sensed this – she gave us a break from the numbers and told us a bit about her custom design business and shared some war stories.  She will design and knit a garment specifically for you for a fee; she always has several projects in the works; though she knits much of her work herself, she employs several knitters to help out, otherwise she'd never make money. Shirley also showed us an intensely detailed notebook dedicated to one design. No one asked why much of it was hand written, but it makes sense: if you are sketching something by hand, it’s handy to run the numbers by hand also. Perhaps she scans them into a computer system later. She resumed instruction by showing us the calculations for designing a set-in cap sleeve.

Looking at Shirley’s notebook was inspiring. I enjoyed looking at her handwritten notes, and sketches of stitch patterns. It was just the break needed for a visually-oriented person like me. She didn’t have completed garments with her (it wasn’t a trunk show after all!), which would also have kept me going over the course of the day. I suggested that she use photos of her known designs to illustrate teaching points.

Maybe because several of us were math challenged, thus slowing the pace a bit, we never got to apply the formulas to our sketches in class. Nor did we learn how to determine the amount of yarn a project requires - maybe Shirley tactfully skipped this part because it was obvious that most of us had not measured out our remaining yarn before hand as instructed. She did attempt to show us how to factor stitch patterns into a design, but I think she got too many deer-in-the-headlights looks to pursue this line of instruction! No worries – it’s in the book.

So, you’re probably wondering if I thought the class was worth taking. The answer is a resounding “yes.” And I would like to take several others.  First of all, I had not taken my measurements for years. In fact, I don’t know that I had ever taken detailed measurements such as shoulder width, armhole depth, raglan depth, neck width and depth, back and front torso length, wrist and knuckle, and a few others. Shame on me, but there it is. In addition to executing one’s own design, knowing the formulas is handy for those who want to alter patterns designed by others. I would never have thoroughly read through them in the book on my own (shame on me again…)  It would have been nice to have them before working on one of my current designs which includes an angled armhole. It turned fine, but having the formulas would have saved some time. Despite being pretty drained after class, I went home, ate dinner, rested a while, then plugged in the numbers for my design based on my measurements and desired silhouette, and cast on, working late into the night.

IMG_1302 (2)

Shirley gave us a hefty number of helpful handouts that I referred to in addition to the book.  The teaching charts you see in the photos were included in the handouts as well as detailed illustrations showing how to properly measure oneself.  The book is a very instructive how-to and reference tool: there are chapters dedicated to every aspect of garment design from necklines to armholes, neckbands, collars, and lapels, a range of silhouettes, choosing yarn,  finishing techniques and more. It focuses on detail more than most other knitting books I've seen, and is perfectly organized.  It was interesting to hear that Shirley eagerly collects stitch pattern books, style and knitting books, and subscribes to a number of publications dedicated to predicting fashion styles and colors of the upcoming seasons (what are those called?)


She confirmed that there is a lot that a designer must work out on her own, by trial and error. Like the character of specific types of yarn and how they might behave in a pattern, though she also covers a bit of this in the book. And of course a designer must find her own inspiration.

Shirley Paden teaches classes in her hometown New York City and has a full book promotion and traveling class schedule. You can find her class schedules, Video Bio, and portfolio on her site.  She recently completed a very successful Webinar. Those of you who can't take her class should keep an eye on her site and the  Ravelry group,  We Love Shirley Paden! for announcements of other Webinars.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Les Regards de Chanel, Les Bruns

Les Regards de Chanel, Les Bruns

ETA to clarify that the palette is now available on

This all-purpose palette has been out of stock for quite a while.  It's only available on Chanel's website, where it really isn't defined.  Chanel fails to tell the consumer that it contains two eye shadows, an eyeliner, an "eyelighter" (really another eye shadow), and two eye brow powders.  The name on the bottom of the palette is Les Regards de Chanel, Les Bruns.

Les Regards de Chanel, Les Bruns

Les Bruns looks rather blah on the site, but the colors are perfect for those days when you have a meeting in the office and want a subtle eye color or a neutral eye to wear with a stronger lip.  I like that it has shadows, liner, and brow color in one palette, making it perfect for travel.  It comes with an a good eyeliner brush; a serviceable eyebrow brush, if you have no other; and a sponge applicator.  A double-ended one would have been nice.   I typically use brushes, but think that sponge applicators deserve more respect.  I find that they're useful when applying eye shadows that have lots of fall out. 

without primer

with primer

Like most Chanel eye products, they are deeply pigmented, including the eyeliner.  The eye shadows and liner have just enough shimmer to make them interesting. The shadow at top left is taupe, top right is dark brown. The liner is dark brown, swatched with water here, but goes on well without.  The "eyelighter" is a light frosted pale pink.  The lighter eye brow color on the right may look like it has a hint of green on your monitor, but it doesn't appear green when applied.  On my medium brown skin, the color defines my brows, without making them too dark. 

This is a keeper.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Habu Hempathy Skirt Pattern

Habu Hempathy Skirt

I finally finished writing the pattern for my Ralph Rucci-inspired Habu Hempathy Skirt.  It is available on my Knitwear Design Page.  There's only one pattern there now, but there are more to come.   It is also available as a .pdf download on Ravelry, but I can't link it to the blog at the moment.  Many, many, many thanks to Deb and Olga for their much needed advice, editing, and modeling.   The original post can be found here.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Tom Ford Lip Color "Warm Sable"


I wanted "Warm Sable" when tested on my wrist a few months ago.  The price, $45, made me hesitate.  When I won the Neiman Marcus shopping spree it was one of the first items I picked up.  It's good quality, but not stellar.  It's not drying, but not particularly moisturizing either.  It wears well; it lasted throughout the morning, and there were traces left after lunch.

Tom Ford, "Warm Sable"

It's the right all around neutral for me - the right balance of brown, pink, and yellow for my complexion and perfect for any eye color I chose, not too dark, not too light, and it doesn't bring out any odd colorations in my face.  I'd buy another when it runs out.  Unless I find dupe.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


I started these many months ago and finished last night.  I'm pretty sure I used the Formula Toe Up Socks for All Sizes by Lisa Kay, for the lattice pattern, but did my own Turkish cast on and heel.

Lattice socks

Yarn: Socks that Rock, given to me my Olga
Colorway: Korppi
Needles: US3

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chanel SOHO Collection, "Stunning" Rouge Coco Hydrating Creme Lip Color

I think I've finally found "my" pink lipstick.  Though I like the ones I have, I still found myself looking for one that I liked just a little better.  This one, Chanel Rouge Coco Hydrating Creme Lip Color in Stunning, from the limited edition Chanel SOHO Collection, is the best one so far. 

Chanel SOHO Collection, Stunning
Chanel Rouge Coco Hydrating Creme Lip Color in Stunning

Chanel makes similar shades, but I think the secret to Stunning, for me at least, is that it has a hint of brown, which makes the color blend in with my complexion, rather than creating a sharp contrast the way many of the others do.

Chanel SOHO Collection, Stunning

If I want to deepen the color even more, I fill in my lips first with a brown lip liner.  Stunning was sold out at the newly re-opened SOHO store, and on the Chanel site for many weeks, but I asked the store staff to call if they got a new shipment, which they did for the SOHO gloss "Stunt," and I kept checking the site, and finally scored one.  I hope Chanel will decide to make this collection permanent, especially the lipstick and lipgloss, since these colors make great basics.

I discovered makeup artist Lisa Eldridge's website a few months ago and have really learned a lot from her videos.  My latest favorites cover make-up removal  and creating a look with dark lipstick.  I found that some dark lipsticks made me look ghoulish, but she provided a solution for that.  I know - you're probably saying, "don't use them!"  But I wanted to adapt the look for myself and learned how from her video.  She's also done videos showing how to create other looks, on makeup brushes, and skincare. I also really appreciate that she includes tips for women of color.

By the way, Urban Decay goes on sale Monday at Hautelook; here's an invitation.   Be sure to get there early.  Some products sold out in minutes the last time.  Rescue Beauty Lounge is having its annual 5-hour 50% off sale November 1 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST. And Clarins is on sale at Gilt Groupe until midnight, November 1st  - here's an invitation.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sephora Friends and Family Sale

The Sephora online sale is on!  20% off using the code FF2010.  The sale ends November 3rd. What are you going to buy?  I've got my eye on the new Fall Guerlain eyeshadows and couple of Bobbi Brown palettes.  

If you want to earn 5% on your purchases, go to Sephora through the Mr. Rebates portal.  Mr. Rebates an online site that allows you to earn cash or points when you shop online.  Cash can be transferred to your PayPal account.  Online stores such as Saks, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Target, Barneys, NARS, Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani Beauty, Bobbi Brown, Bliss, Blue Mercury, ASOS, Banana Republic, Urban Outfitters, Apple, and many other cosmetic, apparel, electronics, and bookstores hire Mr. Rebates to provide coupons and the cash/points program for consumers.  It's BBB rating is A+.  If you're going to spend, you might as well earn a little, right?  I earned extra cash for Christmas last year.

Full disclosure:  these are referal links.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Le Metier de Beaute Kaleidoscope Flawless Face Kit

Le Metier de Beaute Flawless Face Kit

I love this kaleidoscope.  Its shape doesn't immediately seem travel-friendly - whenever I think of travel-sized makeup products, I think small and flat, with smaller amounts of product - but the barrel-shaped Kaleidoscope is perfect.

The kaleidoscope comes with four products:  Classic Flawless Face Finish Translucent Compact Powder; Highlighter in Whisper, Rouge Radiance Powder in Echo; and a Bronzer.  The powder was too light for me so Lisa, Mazza Neiman Marcus' Le Metier Rep, replaced it with the Eye Brightening and Setting Powder.  After applying the Peau Vierge and concealer,  I apply the Brighening and Setting Powder on my entire eyelid, the bronzer as contour in the cheek hollow, the Echo Powder Rouge on the center of the cheek bone, the Whisper highlighter on top of the cheek bone, all with the same brush, then set it all with T. LeClerc loose powder.  Having four products in one palette that swing out easily and are big enough to drip the same brush into is perfect and fast.

Le Metier de Beaute, Flawless Face Kit
From left the right:
The Bronzer
"Echo" Blush
"Whisper" Highlighter
Brightening and Setting Powder

Eye Brightening and Setting Powder I use loose powder on my lids to create a smooth and oil absorbing for eye shadow.  It's my version of primer and works for most eye shadows.  The Eye Brightening and Setting Powder does this well, provides a good highlighting color for eye shadows that one might use, but the real the bonus is that though it's supposed to set under eye concealer, which it does well, it's also a great under eye concealer by itself if your under eye circles aren't too dark.  I brushed it on quickly before I ran out to do errands last weekend and did a double take after application.  My under eye circles looked less dark, and face generally brighter.  It does not settle into the small lines around my eyes.  This is a great multiple-use product.  It is also sold in a compact by itself.

IMG_1265I was little skeptical about the Highlighter, because it seemed too light and too pink, but it worked for me too. Since it's a highlighter, I use it sparingly, just on top of the brow bone, blending into the rouge. It looks a little pale and light at first, but settles in to highlight imperceptibly. I'm going to try it as a highlighter under the brow bone the next time my makeup color palette is pink or purple. "Too light" seems to be one of my recurring first impressions, which has turned out to be wrong many times. I should press on past it from now on.

IMG_1265The Echo Powder rouge is a perfect blush. I can't imagine that it wouldn't look good on everyone. I fell in love with the tester, and was very pleased to find that it was included in the palette. It's a peachy pink - the peach or the pink will dominate depending upon the other colors in your makeup palette on a given day. For example if your eyeshadow and lip color are in the pink family, the pink in the blush would stand out; the peach would stand out with a brownish palette.

Le Metier de Beaute BronzerThe Bronzer is golden brown, making it a great universal bronzer, but not too golden that it can't be used for contouring.  Contouring doesn't seem to be a standard practice any longer, but I find it useful to apply a little just under the cheek bone to accentuate the hollow, and a little in a straight line along the jaw line to deflect some jowly areas that are developing there.  Done with a subtle hand, it tricks the eye into seeing a slimmer face.  I have also used it as standard bronzer on my cheeks and it was perfect.  Another multiple use!  The Bronzer is sparsely infused with silvery flecks, but they're not evident on the skin. 

Used altogether, these products create a subtly chiseled face.  These colors would complement many complexions.  I'm not sure that Le Metier intended the palette to be customizable - it's not advertised as such - but if one of the Kaleidoscope's standard products doesn't work for you, ask your Le Metier rep if she's willing to swap it out for a product that does.  There's a little pin hole on the underside in which you could insert a pin or the end of a paper clip to push the pan out.  Or you could do it yourself if you already own other products you'd rather have in the palette.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Le Metier de Beaute Peau Vierge Anti-Aging Complexe and Foundation Brush

I took many of my new cosmetic items with me to San Francisco, including Le Metier Beaute Peau Vierge Anti-Aging Complexe and the foundation brush.
NM LM Peau de Vierge
Photo from Neiman Marcus

I got lots of complements on my complexion, including one from a Nordstrom beauty sales associate who stopped me as I walked by to ask what I used on my skin because it was so beautifully luminescent!  That's a first.  I love the way Peau Vierge makes my skin look too.   It banishes the shadows that my office lighting casts on my face, and reduces the need to use under eye concealer (sleep would help too, but in the meantime...). It is expensive, but a little goes a very long way.  I took about a teaspoon in this tiny little container, and barely made a dint in it over four days of daily use.

Peau de Vierge

I did not use foundation, just Peau Vierge, blush, eye makeup and finished with loose powder and lip color.  Here's Le Metier's description of its product:
Peau Vierge "Contains anti-aging powerhouse retinol, known for its ability to smooth and plump wrinkles from deep below the skin's surface, stimulating collagen cell rejuvenation and bringing elasticity back to skin. Retinol is delivered through a patented and proprietary delivery technology called Syntoc Actif, which encapsulates the retinol and allows it to safely and effectively penetrate the skin. Syntoc Actif provides 20 times more retinoic acid than traditional over-the-counter products and is absorbed into the deeper skin layers, making it the most effective cosmetic retinoid treatment on the market."

It is also talc-, fragrance-, and dye-free. 

Peau Vierge is tinted, coming in two shades: Light to Medium, and Medium to Dark.  I use the latter.  Though I thought it might be too light to me at first, it is not, going on very sheer.  Lisa Lingis, the Mazza Gallery Neiman Marcus Le Metier representative, told me that many of her customers with daker complexions use it too. 

It's possible to apply foundation atop Peau Vierge and maintain that fabulous glow. It has as SPF 20 factor, so there was no need to apply a separate SPF product, a bonus since I've read that retinol products renders one's skin sun sensitive.   I haven't been using it long enough to attest to its claims to even out skin tone, but my complexion looks more even while I'm wearing the product. I've joined the cult.

I love the way the nylon foundation brush applies product.  I've never seen another angled, flat one. 

Le Metier Foundation Brush

Perhaps this shape is why it doesn't seem to hold on to as much product as the oval-shaped foumndation brush I already owned, but releases it on my skin instead.  It also leaves a superior application of concealer, better than my finger or concealer brush.  I dot a bit of concealer on first, tap it out with the end of the bristles, then smooth it as necessary with a sweep of the brush.

I'm not associated with Le Metier de Beaute;  I won the products reviewed above in a Neiman Marcus drawing.

Artfibers, San Francisco

I'm back from a week-long business trip to San Francisco.  Though I seemed to have worked more on this trip than I do when I'm in the office, i.e. meetings all day and working through State's remote system at night, I got to see more of San Francisco than I usually do.  I managed to eek out some time to visit the newly re-opened Artfibers on Sutter Street.  You may recall that under new ownership Artfibers was moved to cheaper real estate in Pinole, 22 miles from San Francisco, but its customer base didn't follow it there, so they moved back to Sutter Street, thank goodness. 

ETA:  Artfibers never changed ownership.  Roxanne only moved it to a new location.  Sorry about the error.

Artfibers, San Francisco, Roxanne (right), and customer

Here's the owner, Roxanne on the right, with a customer.

Artfibers, San Francisco

Artfibers, San Francisco

I was happy to see that they still have the Yarntasting Lounge and they will help you develop custom patterns.  They also still carry some of their old favorite yarns like Golden Chai, Tantra, Kyoto, and Ming, among many others.

Artfibers, San Francisco, Yarntasting Lounge
Bucket of needles in the center of the table.

I bought a cone of Golden Chai though I haven't knit up the cone Golden Siam I bought last time I was there.  It's beautiful and couldn't resist!

Golden Chai

If you like vintage, there's a beautiful store, Torso, just next door to Artfibers.  I was astonished -  they carry real vintage, not just clothing and accessories a couple of years old.  I should have taken photos, but I was too busy looking.  Check out the site, it'll give a good sense of what they carry.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Neiman Marcus Shopping Spree!

I won a $500 beauty shopping spree at Neiman Marcus thanks to Charleston Girl at Best Things in Beauty and of course NM!  I was breathless for hours after I found out.  NM gave readers of Charlestongirl's blog, Best Things in Beauty, the cute gift below, and entered us in the shopping spree drawing.  The keyring's adorable, and I will use my notebook to catagorize lipsticks and glosses a la Twisted Knitter.

Best in Beauty Blogger Gift

I had so much fun this afternoon! I picked out a Tom Ford lipstick first, then headed straight for Le Metier de Beaute as soon as Lisa, the Le Metier representative, was free. She gave me one best makeovers ever. She's a doll! She used LM's Peau de Vierge Anti-Aging Complexe, followed by foundation and blush, then one of their new lipglosses. I was little doubtful about the Anti-Aging Complexe, but I loved the glow it gave me, so I bought everything as you can see below. I think Annalisa, from NM Public Relations and who escorted me throughout the department, may go back for a few LM items herself - and we will find the perfect red for you!

Neiman March Shopping Spree

From left to right: Le Metier foundation, Peau de Vierge Anti-Aging Complexe in the tall silver cylinder, LM lipgloss "La Belle," LM Face Kaleidoscope, LM foundation brush, YSL Faux Cil Noir Radical mascara, Chanel eyeshadow in "Khaki Vert," Tom Ford lipstick in "Warm Sable," Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss "Impertinence" a mauvy pink, and in the back, the ultimate extravagance, Chanel Le Coton.

I will begin blogging these items with swatches soon.

Thanks again to Charlestongirl, NM, Lisa, and AnnaLisa who with great patience sweetly helped me gather my gifts this afternoon.  I had blast!

Monday, August 30, 2010


For those of you wondering, I've been interested in makeup since I was a teenager. I used to do my girlfriends' makeup. At the time I was mostly interested in eyeshadow; I still am though my interest has expanded since then to a full range of products, from inexpensive to high end. I got into high end because drugstore brands at the time were not highly pigmented, causing them to be ashy when applied to darker skin. I was reminded of this when I couldn't resist buying one of those 120 eyeshadow palettes at a Ross in El Paso this summer. It cost like $8, so how could I resist???  Anyway, though the colors looked rich in the pan, almost every color looks like metallic silver on me. The palette didn't travel well either - several of them had crumbled into quite a mess by the time I go them home. Luckily, drugstore brands - of all kinds of makeup - have significantly improved since I won't tell you when. I was encouraged to see the wide range of foundation colors at CVS a few weeks ago, and the big high end names have a much wider range of colors than they used to.

I don't always use foundation, but I sometimes wear it if I want a more polished look. One of my Oprah discount purchases was Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint.

Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint

It's oil-free and SPF 20.  Unfortunately they don't have a wide range of colors, but their darkest, Dark Bronze worked for me. The moisturizer is a little heavier than the Bobbi Brown and the now defunct Prada tinted moisturizers I've tried, and hides flaws and slight discoloration better. The finish is perfect: not too dry, not too moist, and it really illuminates.



Jouer sent samples, including the small travel size of the color I bought, which are available in sets of four.  I'll be buying more. They also sent a sample of a lighter color what doesn't quite work for me, but I will try to blend it with a slightly darker foundation to make the perfect color. I'd like to try their other products. Jouer's not sold here in DC, but I feel that got so lucky choosing a foundation color, that I'll risk ordering some of their other products.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I am knitting.  Yes.  I'm knitting a wool skirt in the round, Penelope, from Perl Grey Studios.  I picked up this kit while on a business trip to Miami a few months ago.  I made it all the way there without knitting project in hand, but I had planned to visit a local yarn shop anyway.


It was a cute little shop - can't recall the name, but the staff was very friendly and helpful.  But I have to say I was amazed that they only seemed to have wool there in June.  No warm weather yarn like bamboo, cotton, or silk.  The lone yarn shop in El Paso, a city known for its hot summers, doesn't carry any warm weather yarn either.  Why is that? 

Anyway, I fell in love with the semi-solid aqua color of the yarn, it's knit in the round, so it's easy.  I'll make it shorter than it is in the photo - probably around the knee.  It's got an interesting hem scheme that requires a provisional cast on then joining it to knit in the round.  I couldn't manage joining 200 some stitches without ensuring that it wouldn't be twisted, so I cheated.  I knit in stockinette until the correct number of rows for the hem were completed.  I purled one row to create the fold, then joined it.  That was much easier.


My guess is the cheat won't be visible since it will be on the wrong side.  If not, I'll have to frog.  I've done that before.  Whole sweaters, in fact.  I don't have as much time as I'd like to devote to it - I'm limited these days to knitting in transit to work.

Did you visit the Urban Decay sale at HauteLook today?  What did you buy?  It was wild - I think the traffic for the sale almost crashed the site.  I scored one of my favorite lipglosses, Gash, and some eyeliners, which are among the best.  I missed out on the eyeshadow primer.  Everyone wanted it and they sold out in no time.  I could have used in primer in makeup lasted 15 minutes while I stood waiting for a cab back to the hotel.  Oddly, the only cool place was the beach!  I loved Miami though:  I loved the Cuban food, I got a good Cubano, the best Cuban coffee, and scored some Cuban bread, and mojo.  I'll just have to go back at a different time of year.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Rock and Republic "Tempting" Eyeshadow

It's so frustrating when makeup lines are discontinued.  Prescriptives?  Gone.  Tony and Tina?  Gone.  Tony and Tina made the best brushes.  This Rock and Republic eyeshadow in "Tempting," has become one of my favorites.  It's hard to tell from the photos, but this rich taupe has a hint of mauve in it, and anything that is even remotely in the purple family always captures my attention.  Well, not everything, but this is well done. 

Rock and Republic "Tempting" Eye Shadow

The shadow is richly saturated with a bit of shimmer, but not frosty. I imagine it will look great with a plum eyeliner and plum or purple mascara. I bought it during a two-day sale on one of those online sample sites. It's sold out on the Rock and Republic site, so I'll be keeping eye on eBay.

Rock and Republic "Tempting" Eye Shadow

For those of you who are interested, Stila goes on sale Monday, Aug. 23 on Hautelook and Urban Decay on Wednesday.  (Full disclosure: the Hautelook link is a referral link.)

I have been buying more makeup than yarn lately, thanks to a natural inclination and Oprah's discounts last month.  I bought deeply discounted products that I've dying to try.  I'll post those later as well as the Colourmart cashmere blend that arrived last week.  I'm not sure it matches the Habu but it's beautiful!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Blog Change

I inadvertently changed my blog last weekend.  I wanted to install a label cloud and while tinkering I clicked on "upgrade," not realizing that I would lose data.   Further tinkering recovered many of my links, but my buttons are gone.  I suppose in this Ravelry age, not many of us are collecting buttons and badges anymore (are we?), but I wish I had mine back just for sentimental reasons.  They reminded me of the knitting contests I entered, the knit-a-longs I joined, the first knitters I met online.  Even the bars that showed the projects I never finished!  I know that as I read your blogs I'll find some of those old buttons and I will attempt to recover them.   I won't revert to the Classic Blogger - I've discovered that the newer version has many features I like that aren't available for Classic.  But I wish I had saved my old blog's HTML code before I started playing around.  Be warned.

Tinkering is easier and faster - and more dangerous - now that I have a new laptop.  I'll continue to refine this blog, and hopefully be as pleased with it as I was the last.

I am still knitting.  The shawl is stalled again.  The yarn that I thought was right, wasn't when I took it out into the sunlight.  I need the knit police here to advise me.  I have one more source to try:  Colourmart.  they make an interesting looking silk blend in a colorway called "Lemonade."  They've been out of it forever. 

Decided to check - they had one cone left!  I hope it will be a better match than what I'm using now.  If not, I know I'll use it for something else.  Priscilla made a pair of socks out of it and it was beautiful.  In the meantime, I'm working on a skirt from a kit I bought in Miami a couple of months ago.  Photos will follow later. 

Habu A-34 2/26 Cashmere, #1305

Saturday, August 07, 2010

I got some useful make up tips this week.  The first came from Afrobella in a blogpost entitled "Stop the Shining."  I didn't follow every step because I don't have all of the products, but I used the Smashbox primer that's been sitting in my train case for years, which made a big difference in this humid weather we're enduring right now.  So, step by step, I applied  in the following order:  primer, tinted moisturizer, my new tarte bronzer,
tarte Park Ave. Princess Waterproof Bronzer

then finally loose translucent powder.  The primer improved the look of my makeup and it faded less than usual.  I also have some of those Tatcha Aburatorigam Blotting Papers Afrobella raves about.  I swear by them. 

Tatcha Blotting Papers
Rather than apply powder directly onto my oily face, I blot first.  I've experimented with several brands of blotting papers including Shiseido; Papier Poudres, which are so small that I have to use two sheets every time I blot my face in the summer; some drugstore brands and others. The Tatchas are faves these days.  They're bigger than most and don't leave powder behind.  I haven't seen them here in the DC metro area - I bought some in San Francisco a few months ago, and they're available online at, with free shipping.

By the way, we're entering the last week of Oprah's deals.  Beauty Habit  is offering 25% off its products, code word OPRAH at check out.  They sell Tatcha blotting papers too. 

The second tip came from a woman I met in passing.  Her makeup was lovely and I had to ask what products she used.  Turns out she studied at Barbizon way back when, where she was taught to use flesh-colored (whatever ever matches your skin color) eyeshadow as a concealer.  I thought that was a brilliant idea especially for women of color.  I have dark circles under my eyes these days that I struggle to hide. I've  used several products, most of which only do a so-so job.  I use Giorgio Armani Master Corrector in shade #2, which really does work, but in this humid/oily season, powder eyeshadow might be even better.  I bought Urban Decay's Naked Palette which has a matte color that's perfect for me.  Wonder how eyeshadow might even out skin tone on other parts of my face.

Urban Decay Naked Palette

I've also read on a few blogs that if you're having trouble finding tinted moisturizer, you can make your own by adding a few drops of your foundation to whatever moisturizer you use. 

Back to purging makeup and stuff.  I'm having a hard parting with makeup - it's kind of like my attachment to Habu.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Yarn Sale

It's time for a destash.  If you're interested, check out the details here.  There are only a couple of things now - I plan to add more gradually.

Zara Plus for sale $28

Mountain Feat Handpainted Superwash Merino Sockyarn

Thank you, Oprah!

I got a new Dell laptop and printer, and wireless mouse at 30 percent off via one of O magazine's deals of the day.  I know Dell frequently runs sales, but this offer came in the nick of time.  I needed a new laptop - my old one is at least six years old, ancient by techie standards.  It is impossibly slow and starting to freeze, so it was about time.  My old printer had quit printing.  O's August issue is full of deals and discounts on cosmetics, home goods, clothes, and lots of other stuff.  (But no yarn!)  It's worth checking out if you haven't already.  The offers are good until August 13th, I believe.

One of the deals is at Beauty Habit for 25% off, code word at check out is OPRAH.  I got to try out some products I can't find in DC.  There are other makeup deals too, too many to name here.  I haven't been reading knitting blogs much lately, but I have been reading makeup blogs.  I'm a makeup addict as much as I am a yarn addict.  I can't resist it - from inexpensive to high end.  I will sell some of it periodically, if I can bear to part with it!  I'm running out - have run out - of room for yarn and makeup (Deb, Debbie, and Olga - don't y'all dare laugh!)  But I'm looking forward to the new Giorgio Armani Fall 2010 collection.  Check it out at Beauty Anonymous.  Armani's a little late with the blue nail polish, but I'm glad to see he hasn't given up on polishes in general.  It's one of the best formulas around.

ETA:  Chanel is offering complementary standard shipping on their products until August 8, 11:59pm EST.

Any other makeup addicts out there?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Habu Paper and Cashmere Spring Shawl

I started working on this shawl and its burgundy twin two years ago, but was stymied by instructions that appear to be full of mistakes and miscalculations, and ran out of cashmere required for the six cashmere-only "Ears of Grass" panels, and to strand with Shosenshi paper on the stockinette panels. 

Habu Paper and Cashmere Spring Shawl

The cashmere is A-34 in colorway 1305, discontinued by Habu because of inconsistent production. It has a more greenish cast than pictured here.  I hoped to find some somewhere else on the internet, whether a retailer or owner with extra, but no luck.  Habu owners tend to hold on their yarn even if they don't know what they want to do with it.  No criticism here - everyone knows that I hoard Habu too.  Finding a substitute yarn has proven difficult too.  Even the other yellow-greenish Habu cashmere isn't quite right.

Habu Paper and Cashmere Spring Shawl

So since I can't calculate exactly how much I'll need because the gauge estimates in the pattern appear to be wrong, I've decided to knit a panel with two plies of cashmere instead of three to see how it looks. If I like it, I'll knit all the panels until I run out.  Hopefully I'll have enough to to complete all six.  Then I'll strand one of the substitute yarns with the Shosenshi for the stockinette panels.

I'm using a US4 and 4.25 needles instead of the US2s called for to get six 4 inch cashmere-only panels, and US6 instead of the US3 for the seven 7.24" stockinette panels.  That should create a 20x74" shawl. 

Let's see how this goes...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Habu Hempathy Skirt

I always start things a bit late.  I didn't know there was a Ravelympics 2010 until two days into the Olympics.  Without a second thought, I jumped up and grabbed some yarn out of my stash and began knitting this skirt.  To be fair, the concept for this skirt had been stewing in my mind for a while.  It was inspired by a Ralph Rucci collection and Habu stainless steel.  And I needed a black skirt.  I quickly knit a swatch, determined the gauge, then cast on, using US4 Addi Lace Weights. 

Habu Hempathy Skirt

The body of the skirt is knit with black Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy.  (I don't know why it looks blue in the photos.)  I will probably use Habu Tsumugi Silk next time.  The transparent bands are Habu Silk Stainless Steel.  They are placed to create the effect of a short skirt, offset by the below-the-knee total length.  I wanted somethiing conservative for work but not matronly.  It also had to be modest when sitting.  The skirt is knit in the round, has a provisional cast on hem, and an elastic waist band.  A simple and quick knit, completed within the two weeks of the Olympics.

Habu Hempathy Skirt

Habu Hempathy Skirt

Habu Hempathy Skirt

Habu Hempathy Skirt

I am pleased with the outcome.  My model/knit-sibling Deb makes it look even better.  I'm grateful that she agreed to model it for me, and had the patience to endure the twenty or so shots I made.  Thanks, Deb!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...