Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Year In Review: 2014

Although I'm tempted to exactly outline the sparkly, new-wardrobed Cory who will be writing this same post in a year's time, I'm more inclined to leave it fuzzy:

2014 will be a year of building both humility and confidence;

a year of being a student of many things;

a year of quiet and constant growth.

And as I look back at this year, I think that I really did succeed in that.


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I had a rough beginning of the year, health-wise, and spent much of January through May dealing with pain, allergic reactions to medication, and a slow but steady recovery. In the middle of all of that, I got some dental surgery that I've been putting off since I was seventeen - which was painful, but a relief to have over and done with. I'm thankful for my current good health, and hopeful that better self-care will help me stay that way.


Our brother & sister-in-law welcomed our little niblet Hayden into the world in March, and he's growing so fast, he's already practically graduated from college! It's been a delight to see him turn into his own tiny person, with teeth and a sense of humor and two truly awesome parents. Ever since we got married, it's been really wonderful to get to know and love Blake's family as my own, and this little guy has definitely been at the center of a lot of that!

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In July, I created my ballgown. It was huge, and overwhelming, and one of the best things I've ever done.

Ready for the list of posts? It's... epic.

Days 1-10

Days 11-20

Days 21-30


In September, I went to Oregon Flock & Fiber with my Issaquah knitting group, and had an amazing weekend hanging out with llamas, nerding out with other yarn folks, and (of course) petting and knitting gorgeous yarn! It was a nice change of pace after such an intense summer, and gave me a chance to reconnect with my wonderful knitting friends.

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Melody & I both finished our jackets in the late fall, and took them on two different photoshoots out to Discovery Park - a stark & somber shoot for Melody's Melancholia Jacket, and a nostalgic walk in the rain for my Magnolia Jacket. It was really rewarding to style and shoot the jackets in such different ways, and end up with images that each told a distinct story. I wore the Magnolia Jacket for the first time a few weeks ago, and I still can't believe that I made such a beautiful garment.


Last but not least - this year, I returned to my unfinished projects at school, among them portfolio, pattern grading, line & proportion, tailored jacket, and ballgown.

And today, as a result of all of that work - and as of this afternoon around 12:45 pm - I have officially earned a Certificate of Mastery of Fashion Design & Construction from New York Fashion Academy, Class of 2014.

So I have a little bit to celebrate today.

Happy New Year, friends, and see you in 2015!

Monday, December 29, 2014

FO: Plumeria

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I finished a pair of socks last week, and another pair a few days ago - I'm on a roll! These are a pair of plain socks that I started wayyyy back in February, and picked up again in August after finishing ballgown. I finally knit the last inch or two of the foot and toe last week, and bam - new socks for the sock drawer. Only took me the better part of a year.

Also, I'm (hopefully, tentatively) back on the usual bloggy schedule - just in time for the new year! Party!


Friday, December 26, 2014

The Clara Gown

Every holiday season when I was little, my mom took my brother and me to see Pacific Northwest Ballet's production of The Nutcracker. We'd dress up - me in a pink polka-dotted dress, my brother in slacks and a polo - and drive to the city lit up with Christmas lights. I remember watching the dancers float across the stage from our high-up seats - Clara in her fluttery nightgown, the Nutcracker prince in his red suit, the company in their long tutus and pointe shoes - completely enthralled. 

Then, at intermission, I'd sit in women's powder room at the opera house, the air dark except for the soft yellow glow of the globe lights lining the vanity mirrors. In that moment, feeling the pinch and swish of my pretty dress, waiting to change into the footed pajamas my mom brought, I felt a parallel of things: safety and warmth, the reassuring weight of my fleece pajamas in my hands; and beyond it, another, more darkly lit room, whose features I could not yet see - but whose very existence was electric.

It was the first time I recognized a threshold between the world I knew and the world that is; the first time that I saw beauty and darkness coexisting. That experience has become a touchstone of my identity, and one that has had a huge influence on my work - and on my ballgown in particular.

So when the final runway photos of Clara were released just a few days ago, it seemed very appropriate that I should write my final thoughts about her this time of year.

Well, first off, in August I submitted her for adjudication.

And she passed!

I got to hang out and chat with all my friends & family afterwards, and share the work that had been such an immense time commitment and physical, technical, and emotional challenge. It was very weird to be in the same position that I had seen as the pinnacle of achievement for my entire career at school - this project that I had seen so many respected senior students grow and flourish from - and realize that I had reached it.

Just a few weeks later, in September, I walked the runway at our annual NYFA fashion show. This year, we featured 25 years (!!) of original ballgown designs. I think it really shows how diverse each designer's vision and aesthetic truly is. 

When I look back at this experience almost six months later, I am still totally overwhelmed and proud. Ballgown was a turning point, not only in my design work, but also in my personal life: I emerged from that workroom a more confident, dedicated, and curious person, and I think it continues to expand my boundaries of ambition and creative energy.

And on the other side - even though the process itself was lonely at times, the warmth and support of community I felt by sharing my work on this blog was incredible.

Blogging ballgown was completely unplanned. I didn't expect to have the time or mental energy to write about the experience in any sort of meaningful way, so it was more than a little surprising that blogging became an integral part of my creative process during ballgown. It was incredibly gratifying and humbling at the same time.

So thank you again, to everyone who has reached out to me - then or now - to share an experience, or tell me that you enjoy the blog, or just to say hi. It meant (and means) a great deal to me.

As a last note on community, I also wanted to mention and thank Bret Doss, the photographer who kindly gave me permission to use his beautiful photos for this post (and several others). He doesn't just have a sharp eye and talent for color & composition - he's also fun, and kind, and an all-around wonderful human being. He's contributed his talents to NYFA shows and projects for years, and if I thanked him a kabillion times for all that he does for us, it would never be enough.

Overall, I am so grateful for this experience, and I am so grateful for you. I look forward to the new challenges and experiences that the New Year will bring - and to sharing it with you all.

Happy holidays, and happy Friday.
Much love,

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

FO: Magnolia Jacket


Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are ruled by forces of water: tidal, meteorological, glacial.

They create a sense of intimacy with our surroundings: a tree in the rain is not just a tree, but shelter; a fire in the damp is not just a fire, but safety.


They remind us of the youth of our geography: our rocky beaches and jagged peaks, carved by the methodical hands of ice and time.


They tell us of the pull of things: that the forces that draw water towards us and away are constant, unchanging, endless.


There is a feeling to all of this, a sense of balance and rightness and repetition. By this definition, there is nothing new on this earth, and there is a measure of comfort in that knowledge: the rain will come down, and the tide will turn, and water will shape the land, each without regard for anything but its own purpose.

And yet, there are small things that locate us in the landscape of this greater design: the wonder of finding something old or somehow familiar, that falls into the grain of your life and grows into something you've never experienced before. A quiet magic in everyday things.

A pair of boots, a favorite coffee cup, a blanket. A stone. A rainy day.

A jacket.

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Photography: Melody Hirsch
Jacket: Magnolia Jacket, by Cory Ellen Boberg
Dress: Vintage Hal Ferman dress, from the amazing Trove Vintage Boutique
Socks: Waving Lace Socks by Evelyn Clark
 Boots: Fluevog Adriana Nuni

Monday, December 1, 2014

WIP: Talus

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Two days after the first snow of the year, our neighbor's roof is still covered in a mosaic of ice. The basement tile is too cold to walk on in bare feet, and even the hardwood in the kitchen radiates a muffled chill. But still, the winter sun cuts through the upstairs windows, filling the room with soft yellow light and the deceitful promise of warmth.

This weekend, folded up on the couch until the early morning hours, I cast on for Talus. The wind is thin and cold outside, but inside, I knit: heat on, air golden with dust motes and sun, the rats sleeping with their heads tucked into their bellies.

The winter may be long, but I have miles and miles of wool to keep away the cold. And soon, another little hat to keep me warm.


On another note, I will be taking a (hopefully short) hiatus, so that I can finish my schoolwork for graduation. I may pop in here and there, but my hope is that I'll be back to regular posting in January.

Happy Monday, and stay warm out there.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Design Notebook: Talus Hat

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I picked up just a few special skeins at Knit Fit this year, including this gorgeous skein of YOTH Big Sister in the colorway Oyster. I had been on the search for a light neutral dk weight for a hat design that has been kicking around my head for a bit, and this misted grey hit all the right notes.

So the other day, I pulled out my stitch dictionaries, fired up my Excel charts, and grabbed a few leftovers to swatch.

My first swatch - the blue - was in leftover Hazel Knits Lively DK, and I started off with the Christmas Trees motif from Barbara Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns (page 202-03, in case you want to take a peek). The stitch pattern as I charted it was huge, the ribbing didn't flow into the pattern, and I wasn't happy with the proportions of the center tree to the little trees. But the swatch gave me enough information to see what I wanted to change.

So, I tinkered with the chart, moved the trees together, shifted the ribbing, and voila! The second swatch - the pinkish purple - was done in a bit of Anzula Cricket, and as I saw the pattern emerging, it just made sense. Which, as weird as it is, is even more gratifying than making something that looks pretty: making a thing that, when you look at it, appears to have overturned something essential and correct in our dimensional space, simply by existing. It is the greatest feeling.

And it will be a good hat, I think.

Happy Wednesday.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Tailored Jacket: Closer & Closer

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Last week was positively full of jackets: on Wednesday, I worked on my jacket with my tailoring teacher, and Thursday, Sparklepants and I went on our photoshoot adventure. With the days so short, it's hard to get photographs before the light fades, but today I finally managed to snap some photos of my jacket progress.

I was under the silly impression that I might finish last week, but even though I didn't, I got a lot done: I started setting in the lining, sewed on the facings, and finished up some details on the contrast collar and lapel. Whew!

Now that the collar is almost done, it's really rewarding to see it all coming together. It's starting to look like a real jacket! And although there are things I would do differently on my next tailored jacket - making the sleeves an inch or two longer, for starters - there are lots of things that I'm really proud of with this piece.

And with a little luck and a lot of work, it should be done sometime in the next month or so!

Happy Monday.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Photoshoot: Melancholia Jacket


Fall is always a bittersweet time of year for me. Each year, the end of October marks the anniversary of the murder-suicide that changed the course of my life. (This year, it's eight.)


In fall, the days grow shorter, and the light of day is tempered by shadows. In some moments, it's easy to fall into darkness completely.

And yet, in marking this time, I feel a sense of comfort. Every October will be another October since the magnetism of my world shifted, just as every November ticks off the years since I refused to let that violence destroy me.


And as strange as it is, there is also comfort in recognizing others who have touched the rim of that same darkness, and chosen to turn their profound despair into beauty. My tremendously talented housemate and dear friend Melody Hirsch designed and constructed this jacket, inspired by the film Melancholia, to reach into the darkness and call it by its name.


So when she asked me to take her jacket into the woods on a hazy Thursday, and told me the story of its origin, of course I said yes.

Happy Friday.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Yarny Weekend at Knit Fit!

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The other weekend, I met up with my yarny friends Sooz, Ariel, and Kat at the Knit Fit market on Sunday. Along with some of my favorites on the festival circuit (Three Fates Yarns! Abstract Fiber! Yarnarchy!) and the local shops that I love (The Fiber Gallery! Tea Cozy Yarn!), there was a nice variety of independent dyers and designers, with booths and booths of beautiful yarn and yarn-related goodies. And even though I only got to stop by for a few hours towards the end of the show, it was an incredibly welcoming place to be. I've loved both of my experiences at Knit Fit, and I'm excited to see what next year's show holds!

So without further ado, here's some of my vendor highlights from the show.

Beautifully shaded colors inspired by nature

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Portland-based Bumblebirch has been on my radar for a while now, so I was really excited to see her name on the list of vendors. The booth had weights and colors that I hadn't seen in person before - worsted and DK-weight, gently variegated floral colorways - and I had to restrain myself from taking home one of each. The colors are clearly influenced by the natural world, and gently shaded, as if viewed through fogged glass: fallen leaves, the morning sky when it's about to rain, an iris bowing on its stalk. Swoon.

Sophisticated neutrals & deep, arboreal hues

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I first encountered YOTH on a trip out to Tolt Yarn & Wool when they had just debuted their line of one-of-a-kind colors, and I've been watching with excitement for the last few months as they've grown and added more color to their lineup of repeatable colorways. I absolutely love their aesthetic: it's a gorgeous, distinctly Northwestern balance of practicality and worn-in beauty. And their yarn lines - DK & fingering weight merino/cashmere/nylon blends, charmingly named Big Sister and Little Brother - are wonderfully, squishably soft.

Hazel Knits
Vibrant, beautiful, color!

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When I'm looking for a specific and flawlessly-executed color, I look to Hazel Knits first. Her color catalogue is a most magical paintbox, each shade evoking its name perfectly: Beachglass; Stick o' Butter; Vamp; Hoppy Blonde. The depth and clarity of each color practically sings, in a palette ranging from earthy neutrals, to pastels, to brights. And with an expanded range of weights - from sleek laceweight Filigree Silk, all the way up to ultra-squishy worsted Cadence - it's an exciting time to be a Hazel Knits enthusiast!

Spincycle Yarns
Handcrafted yarn, dyed and spun in Washington

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Okay, I'm gonna be blatant here: I love Spincycle. My mom sent me two skeins of BFL Worsted for my 20th birthday - back when I was a wee knitter! - and I remember being absolutely captivated by its color and texture. I've been a fan ever since. In the last few years, Kate & Rachel have brought their signature color sense to locally dyed, small-batch millspun yarns that capture the organic color shifts and unexpected beauty of handspun, with the advantages of accessibility and quantity offered by millspun.

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I also popped by my friend and coworker Ann's booth to say hi. As anyone who has read my poetic waxings about materials will know, I have a liiiiittle bit of a button obsession - and lucky for me, Ann brought her whole awesome collection of vintage buttons to the market! I swooped up some stunning cut glass buttons with gold leaf accents, because apparently I'm a large, girl-shaped magpie.


Overall, I had a great time running around, taking pictures, and talking with friends, dyers, and designers! If you're out of state - or local and didn't get a chance to come - and interested in checking out a wonderful selection of independent dyers and makers, I highly recommend that you check out the Vendor page. And maybe you can come next year! (Wink wink, nudge nudge.)

A huge thank you to every vendor who graciously allowed me to take photos and chat, and to all the coordinators and volunteers who make this great event happen!

Happy Monday!