Sexy Tip 001: Wear the right size!

I'm introducing a new feature to the blog today, and it's one that I've been wanting to do for a long, long time. I'm calling it "Sexy Tips", and it'll be a place for me to share about things that I believe will boost your confidence and enable you to step out into the world feeling happy in your own skin! Future Tips might include style advice, links to makeup tutorials, or musings on how to keep your confidence up in a society that wants you to beat yourself down, but today I wanted to start with something simple:

Wear the right size.

Can we all just go ahead and admit that at some point in our lives, we've smooshed ourselves into ill-fitting clothing because the minuscule print on the itty-bitty tag that no one but us can see bears the number what we want or believe it ought to say? Come on, don't be shy, go ahead and raise your hand. Yeah, me too.

Can we also admit that there is almost nothing that destroys our self-confidence and positive body image faster than trying to zip up a pair of pants that's two sizes too small? There's an easy fix for this, gals, and in case you didn't see it the first time, the answer is:

Wear the right size.

Think about it. When you stand in front of the mirror wearing that pair of premium denim jeans that you can only just barely zip up, what do you see? Most likely, you see a giant muffin top. I used to work in a big box retail clothing store famous for its jeans, and the muffin top phenomenon was one I heard about a lot. And you know what was ridiculous about it? What I was hearing from the women staring in the mirror was that it was their bodies causing the muffin top. WRONG! Ladies, absolutely anyone will get that look by wearing pants that are too small. So why are we blaming ourselves? Here's the thing. The size on your clothing tag is there to help give you a rough idea of which of the 38 pairs of pants on the rack that all look exactly the same you might want to try on first. They are not there to dominate your life, to bring sadness into your heart or to make you judge your body. Really! The sooner you can move past the idea that those tiny little tags "ought to" bear a certain number, the better. So here's another tip:

If you don't like the number on that size tag, REMOVE THE FLIPPING SIZE TAG.

In my own closet, I have clothing that fits my body in sizes that range from a little girl's size 12 to a ladies' size 8. That's a span of roughly 7 sizes. Because the clothing industry has no enforceable sizing standards for ladies' clothing, sizes can vary greatly from one shop to another (and sometimes, even within the same store). Most likely, if you're shopping by fit and not by what's on the size tag, you'll wind up with a large span of sizes in your wardrobe, too. And if you FEEL like you "shouldn't" be that size 16 that looks great in the mirror, then just snip that little tag right out! In a few weeks, you'll have forgotten all about what the tiny little number used to say, and you'll have played a really useful trick on your brain to help you filter out allllll those negative body image things and focus on building a positive body image for yourself. Because really, you look amazing. ;)

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Free glasses!

Yep, you read that right, and nope, I'm not running another giveaway! Right now on Coastal.com, you can get a pair of prescription glasses for free. Just pay shipping!

I snagged a pair of these Joseph Marc glasses in a brown tortoiseshell for $12. Regular price? $98

Geek chic!

I ordered my glasses on the 18th and they arrived five days later, on the 23rd. I have to say, I'm as pleased as punch with my purchase! I don't wear glasses that often but it's definitely nice to have an extra pair laying around; plus, I've been wanting a kind of nerdy-looking pair anyway.

Seriously, if you wear glasses you should definitely give Coastal a try, before they stop running this promo. Can't beat a pair of brand new, prescription glasses for under $15! ______________________________________________
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Getting to Know You #8: Kristin Omdahl

Oh boy, I'm so excited to introduce you guys to a crochet designer! This week I'm interviewing Kristin Omdahl, as part of her blog tour for her newly released Complements Collection, designed for Bijou Basin Ranch.

This collection features 6 knit designs and 4 crochet designs
TSK: Kristin, you are such a prolific designer! The Ravelry database currently shows a whopping 266 patterns created by you in just the last seven years. That's an incredible 38 patterns per year! As a fellow designer, I've just gotta ask: How do you find TIME for it all? What's your secret to staying efficient with you design time?

Starry Night Wrap and Blue Skies Chunky Cowl show off the wearability of Kristin's crochet designs. 

KO: Thank you for sharing my pattern statistics with me! I never figured an annual average before. Wow, it makes me tired just thinking about it. But if averages around 3 per month, that sounds about right, I guess. I am a single mom whose only source of household income is designing knit and crochet patterns. While this is a labor intensive job, you can imagine the hours I put in. BUT, I have the freedom and luxury of being a mom who works from home, gets my son ready for school every morning, picks him up at the school bus stop every afternoon, makes & eats dinner together, and tuck him into bed at night. HOWEVER, that also means I work from the time he leaves for school in the morning. Stop when he gets home from school to do homework, make dinner, clean up, play outside with him, get him ready for bed, THEN go back to work until midnight or 1 AM most nights. It is the only way I can keep up with the hours requires to produce enough patterns to keep the roof over our heads! I love what I do and feel very fortunate to have such a wonderful creative outlet for my income and it absolutely thrills me that my schedule is so flexible for my mommy time.

Willow Bag and Petals Wrap Cardigan, both from Kristin's book, Crochet So Fine

TSK: Many knitters are biased against crochet, because crocheted fabrics can often be bulkier and less fluid than knitted fabrics. You, however, have managed to breathe new life into crochet, designing relevant, fashionable garments and accessories for today's woman, many with exquisite draping. Do you have any words for knitters who are interested in crochet, but still hesitant to take the leap and try it out?

I think crochet has an incredibly easier learning curve when it comes to fixing mistakes. A beginner at anything is going to make mistakes, and lots of them, and crochet is far easier to fix than knitting. Also it is about 30% quicker if you compare apples to apples (yarn, hook & gauge, of course). There are things I prefer to do in knitting more than crochet, and vice versa, and many things I think can be equally beautiful in either craft. I have done a lot of exploring in lacework and tiered edgings in both crafts. The secret to many mysteries is BLOCKING! I believe in blocking your swatches to get accurate gauge. Also very important is blocking lace to get the most beautiful drape and blossoming of your stitch patterns.

TSK: With so many hours in the day devoted to working, do you ever have time to do anything else? What do you enjoy doing when you're not slaving away with the pattern-writing math?

Oh boy, this is a tough one! My hobbies (because although knitting and crochet are hobbies, they aren't mine because I work in them) are piano, guitar, weight lifting, kayaking, barefoot running (sometimes in the rain), reading historical fiction and non-fiction and creating my own healthy recipes.

My two favorites from Kristin's Complements Collection, Tulip Tiered Crochet Cowl and Aster Tiered Knit Cowl

Kristin has generously offered a digital copy of her new Complements Collection to one lucky commenter! To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment stating which of the patterns in the collection is your favorite. That's it! If you're on Twitter, you can gain an extra entry by tweeting the following (but note that you must also leave a comment):

I just entered to win a copy of @KristinOmdahl's Complements Collection! Stop by @TheSexyKnitter's blog for more info: http://tinyurl.com/gtkykristin

I'll announce a winner on  June 1st! See you then!


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Free Pattern Day!

Lordy...we haven't had one of these in a long time, have we? I suppose that's a witness to how many paying design jobs I've had, that I haven't had time to write up a quick little freebie.Today's pattern was designed for my friend Julie's new baby, Lila Somerset. You may remember Julie from my very first Getting to Know You post; when I found out she was pregnant, I knew that her baby would need something designed just for her! These are the result:

This pattern calls for just 40 grams of fingering weight yarn, so it's a great use for that leftover sock yarn you have laying around, or a single 50 gram ball that's lost its mate! These tiny legwarmers measure in at 6 inches around the top cuff (unstretched, of course!) and 9 inches long. I honestly have no idea what that works out to in baby sizes, but as Elizabeth Zimmermann used to say, "they'll fit someone"! 

I wanted Lila's legwarmers to be a little bit lacy, as she was an April baby, but still have a nice bit of coverage for environments with overactive air conditioners. I decided on a little feather and fan, alternated with sections of stockinette. Knowing that the feather and fan would cause the fabric to ripple in a most girly way, I thought it would be fun to accent the chevrons with one of my current favorite design elements: the lateral braid stitch. This stitch is waysupereasy to do; it's basically just a twisted stitch that gets repeated across the row. And in case that sounds intimidating to you, I've created a video tutorial on the technique! Sneakety-peek (don't worry, the link is in the pattern):


So congratulations to Julie and her new little family! Queue up the pattern over on Ravelry or (if you're not a Rav member), right here.


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Summer Knitscene!

Last June at TNNA, I had the pleasure of meeting Lisa Shroyer, editor of Knitscene Magazine, in person for the first time. A short conversation later, I'd somehow managed to score the featured designer spot in the following summer's issue! I'm pleased to announce that I have four patterns  making their debut in the current issue. These four patterns represent my personal style journey, each being inspired by one of the four towns I've called home as an adult. I'm so pleased with how these pieces were styled for Knitscene that I'm including their photos here alongside my own; read on for more about my inspiration and how knitting one of these patterns could win you a fabulous prize!


Moving into a neighborhood just west of Kansas City’s upscale, outdoor shopping center taught me a lot about street style. Westport, a popular hangout for a group of people I would later know as “hipsters”, was a veritable treasure trove of zany characters. For the first time, I realized you could do more with a scarf than just throw it over your shoulder in the winter time. My contribution is also a bit offbeat; it is worked from tip to tip and is scattered with tiny, textural circles and a wide lace border.

I called Fort Worth home for almost 20 years; in the heart of downtown is a 35-block entertainment district home to skyscrapers, exciting nightclubs, elite restaurants, and one of the world’s top ten performance halls. Sundance Square holds a special place in my heart as I made many memories within these streets, including my first kiss. The street style is chic and Texas, with plenty of day-to-evening looks and exclusive labels mixed in with the big hair and genuinely dusty boots. Here, I’ve created a fitted yet comfortable pencil skirt worked from the top down in one nearly seamless piece, with clever shaping at the back of the skirt and knitted-in casings that create a ruched effect when laced with a length of I-cord. Wear it to the office in the morning, then cinch it up a little higher for your night on the town! 

Upon the Dr.’s graduation from medical school in 2005, we moved to West Palm Beach so that he could attend a general surgery residency program. Known for having one of our country’s highest per-capita income rates, this city was our home for 3 years and the people sport an intriguing mix of beach style and haute couture. Worked in an unbelievably luxurious organic cotton and bamboo blend yarn, this ethereal cardi would be equally at home worn on the beach or for an afternoon of shopping in some of Worth Avenue’s most exclusive boutiques.

My current home, Columbia, is the location of Missouri’s largest state college. The style here is anything-goes, and while lounging at one of my favorite coffee shops it’s not uncommon for me to see students walking about in pajamas, sweat pants, or something that looks like the wearer should be headed to a period costume party. Inspired to make something that was at once comfortable, casual and stylish, I created this one-shoulder tank with a gentle A-line shape topped with a bit of simple lace. Worked in one seamless piece from the top down, the stockinette body provides plenty of mindless, post-study knitting, while a lace ruff provides some pizzazz and technical difficulty. Want your ruff a bit rufflier? Simple instructions are included for that modification.

Prize alert!!!!!

Now that I've shown you the collection and bored you to tears with my inspirational details, I have a bit of good news. My group on Ravelry, Club Sexy, is hosting a MEGA knitalong this quarter to celebrate my appearance in Knitscene! You can read all the gory details about how to enter over here, but in the meantime, I just had to share all the gorgeous prizes from our generous sponsors. Feast your eyes on these, kids!

1 skein of Serenity20 in Tiger Eye, from Zen Yarn Garden

$50 Gift Certificate from Indigodragonfly Hand Dyed Yarn & Fibre Studio

2 skeins Silkie Socks That Rock in Nodding Violets, from Blue Moon Fiber Arts

4 skeins Seduction in Aubergenius, from Blue Moon Fiber Arts

3 skeins Oasis in Spruce, from Anzula Luxury Fibers

Rippling Water Socks kit, from Kollage Yarns

 Roaming Rib Scarf kit, from Kollage Yarns

Finishing any one of my four Summer Knitscene patterns by June 30th enters you to win a fab prize (but seriously - check the KAL thread for all the details). So what are you waiting for? Grab your needles and get clicking!

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