Monday, April 30, 2007

I'm cashmere!

Another silly quiz:


What kind of yarn are you?




You are sophisticated and luxe. You can often be found in high-end boutiques and hobnobbing with the upper crust. You are one of the beautiful people and you don't let anyone forget it!
Take this quiz!




I don't know about the "hobnobbing with the uppercrust", but I'll take the "one of the beautiful people"!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Frolic!

Long time no post - but fear not dear readers! I'm chock full of new blog-fodder! And exclamation points! (Get comfy, this is gonna be a long one)

Yesterday was was the Downtown Knit Collective's 10th annual Knitters Frolic. Seriously, a "frolic"! How often do you get to go frolicking? I had never been, so I naturally assumed it would be a room full of knitters in pretty spring dresses skipping about with baskets of yarn in the crooks of their arms. I had to see this,so I boarded no less that one streetcar, one subway train and one bus (seriously, there aren't any suitable venues downtown?) and went frolicking.

I somehow managed to spend three hours there without taking a single picture! (I'm sure other bloggers will do a decent job of documenting the show, so I won't beat myself up about it.) In my defense, I was a little distracted. Too busy shopping! Total yarn goggles! Anyhooz - to me, the whole thing just looked like this:


(seriously, it was like Fleece Artist just exploded in there)

I don't think I could handle a giant fibre fest like Maryland or Rhinebeck. When confronted with too much choice my brain just shuts down. I stepped in the door of the Frolic and blew a yarn fuse. Merino and cashmere and silk - oh my! After doing an initial inspection of the perimeter I moved safely from 'overwhelmed' into 'hunt and peck'. I picked up a couple of super BARGOONS from Needles and Pins:




Alchemy
yarns - HALF PRICE! Wheee!!! The skein on the right is mohair in the "Spruce" colourway and that hot pink number is 100% silk in "Punky" (seriously, how could I resist it with a name like that?)

I also picked up a book I had been dying to look through, but had yet to find:



Runway Knits! (I also picked up that ridiculously cute monkey tape measure and look! Free samples of Eucalan!)

I want to knit at least half of the patterns in here:



Gasp!



Drool!



Squeel!



Yum!



Sweet! Although, I think it would much more sophisticated in black:



Why have I never thought of using photoshop for this purpose before? Look now it's green!



But I digress... THIS is my favourite pattern:



It's called "Springtime in Paris". Why, of course it is!

All in all, the Frolic was definitely worth all the public transportation to parts unknown (North of Bloor! East of Yonge! Eeek!)

In non-frolic-related-news - check this out:



My brother found all of this for me. In the garbage! Now, normally I don't like the idea of "used needles" and "garbage" but he assures me that wasn't exactly the case. There was some sort of Earth-day clean up rummage thing-y in his neighbourhood and someone was getting rid of this stuff. Nice! I don't really need anymore straight needles, but hey! A freebie's a freebie. Plus, there was other stuff in there too. Crochet hooks, dpns, a nifty old stitch holder and this:



The coolest knitting gauge I've ever seen! Which gets me thinking... Why aren't there any interesting/designer/novelty needle gauges out there? We have schmancy needles and stitch markers and tape measures - Why not the gauge? I see a gap in the market! Too bad I'm too lazy to fill it. Somebody get on this!

Well, folks, that about wraps it up. Now it's time to go out and process some vitamin D. Thank goodness for a little sunshine!

Happy knitting!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Forgoddablogit

Whew! What a week it's been at casa de knitteroo! I've been working a lot of overtime and alas, the knitting has suffered. Though with overtime working hours comes overtime pay - yippee! As a special treat for all my hard work I ordered me some schmancy french pattern books!




Of course, I'm already knitting a pattern from one of these catalogues, but I don't actually own the book (thanks for the scan Cara - now I'm goin' legit!). Patterns priced in euros that must be mailed overseas are extravagances meant to be indulged in sparingly. You know, like cheesecake.

With precious little knitting time comes precious little blog-fodder. Lucky for me, I'm prepared for just such a situation. I have emergency back-log blog fodder!


(Yes, my living room is red and black. No, I'm not a goth.)

I put together the loopy pillow! I sewed up a pillow case with some satin-y red fabric, then slip stitched the knitting to the edges. Unfortunately, a fourteen inch knit square needs to stretch considerably to cover a fourteen inch pillow form. Who knew?



Waah! Totally not cute. I'm still debating how to fix this. Should I knit an i-cord border to en-biggen the knitting? Or should I just go for it and knit the back of the pillow so that the whole darn thing is knit and stretchy? With all the grief this "simple" project has given me, I can't say I'll be getting around to fixing it anytime soon. Besides, a perfectly constructed pillow would clash with the scuffed hardwood and warped drywall. Why ruin the ambiance? And anyway, the cats like it just fine. In fact I think it's become Selena's new boyfriend:

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Accidental stash inhancement

I either have to learn how to knit faster or learn how to purchase yarn slower. Hmm... my money's on the first one (any tips?)! Spring is sproinging and this young girls fancy turns to:



Blue Sky Cotton! I picked up four skeins of it in a lovely deep grey called "ink". It's softer than a baby's tush and let me tell you - it's like buttah! Someday I'd like to knit a whole sweater from it, but for now? A cotton vest to add to the summer wardrobe:



Yup, Twinkle strikes again - the Biker Vest from Twinkle's Big City Knits. I figure the bulky yarn/stick figure issues won't be a problem with this one - it's a vest for heaven's sake! (please knitting gods, don't make me eat my words!)

And then just when I thought it was safe to leave the yarn store, Lettuce Knit received their shipment of Socks that Rock!


"Purple Rain" and "Obsidian"colourways.

I think one skein may become another Purl beret (with significantly more yardage than Koigu, I shouldn't run out of yarn this time!). Perhaps a lacy scarf for the other? I know it's called socks that rock, but I'm just not even very interested in sock knitting (*duck*). So much work for something that hardly anyone sees? I don't know, maybe my opinion will change once I finally finish knitting a pair for myself. I've been told (constantly, exhaustively) that there's nothing like the fit and warmth of a hand knit sock... so we'll see.

For now I'm trying to be a good and monogamous knitter to complete my Phildar Swing Jacket before the weather becomes too warm to wear it. I've almost finished the back, and so far I'm really enjoying knitting it. The stitch pattern is quick and the instructions are clear. Why can't all knitting patterns be so comprehensible? This one is even translated from French and it makes sense!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

There's a 5:30am?

Look ma! I wuz on the teevee!


(I'm awed/horrified to see that as of today, 704 people have watched this on YouTube!)

Yes, Yesterday I launched myself out of bed at the "totally reasonable" hour of 5:30 am to go play model on Breakfast Television. (Okay, truthfully I set the alarm for 5:30, but I didn't actually get up until 5:50 - you know how it goes). I do not recommend attempting to do hair and make-up whilst still semi-conscious. I now understand why products like shampoo have "duh" instructions like "Apply to hair". (I narrowly avoided putting lipstick on my eyes and brushing my teeth with mascara.) Adequately beatified, I scurried out the door and managed to meet the (again "totally reasonable") call-time of 6:45am.

After unpacking the props and fighting over sweaters we "hurry up and wait-ed" until our segment.



Though we all brought knitting, Rachel was the only one calm enough (or smart enough?)to knit a few rows pre-taping:


(She even brought a sheep-free project. Clever knitter!)

Amy gets some "pointers"

(contrary to her somewhat bewildered expression in this photo she totally understood what to do. I, on the other hand, still don't know what all the pointing was for)

We met Brad...


Breakfast Television producer and adoring hubby of the fabulously talented knitter Elizabeth! (He regretted not sporting a hand knit sweater. Perhaps showing up unbeknownst on a knitting blog will suffice?)

Before we knew it we were "on". A P.A. shoo-ed me onscreen and before I had time to embarrass myself it was all over. I'm proud to say I did not trip, curse or make any awkward hand-gestures. I'm sorry to note, I smiled nervously like I did in elementary school photos, and flipped my hair too much - but I'll take that over tripping any day. In fact, no one embarrassed themselves - quite the contrary! Go team No-Sheep!


From left to right, Rachel h, Amy .R. Singer, yours truly and Jacquie

Post broadcast, we went in search of sustenance. Turns out looking for somewhere to have breakfast at 8am on a Wednesday is not so easy. (Queen St. West doesn't wake up until at least 11) We ended up heading to my favourite break-ie place the Luna cafe and thankfully, they were open. Not only that, we weren't the only people there knitting over breakfast! I really should have taken pictures, but I was busy caffeinating my sleepy brain. Thanks for breakfast Amy! (And big thanks to Elizabeth for chauffeuring me to work afterwards) Hey, if I breakfast was payment for modelling, can I call myself a professional model now? Even if I get paid in back-bacon?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Canada's Next Top Knitwear Model


(Even the pros have been known to land a face-plant from time to time)


If you're in Canada, Tune into Breakfast Television tomorrow (6-9am) to see me quite possibly making a total fool of myself! Amy R. Singer is promoting her new book “No Sheep for You” and I have been asked to model some of the designs on air. I don't know what the hell I was thinking as I have no burning desire to be on tv (or get up a 5:30am to do so), but I'm doing it nonetheless. I suppose I'm easily flattered. "Who, me? *blink-blink* You want me to model something? Why, I couldn't possibly..." You get the idea.

In all truthfulness, I'm glad to do a favour for Amy, for whom so many of us are indebted to for all the wonderfulness she brings us with Knitty.com! And let's not forget how I feel about karma...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Guage vs Gauge

I've come to a conclusion. It seems the source of my bad knitting ju-ju has all along, simply been a matter of incorrect spelling. The other night Laura pointed out to me:

"Maybe the reason you're having trouble getting gauge is because you keep spelling it wrong."

What? Me? Poor speller? How dare you! I won a spelling bee in elementary school!



I got 90's in high school English class! I baulk at grammatical errors!

But alas, 'tis true. Even with the aide of computerized spell-checking I have been spelling the word gauge incorrectly for ages.

I think somewhere along the way, I made the decision that I was spelling the word correctly and it was the computer that was in the wrong. (You know, like when you type a word with the Canadian/English spelling such as "colour" and the American spell check tells you it's a mistake). I don't know how I came to this decision, but I stuck by it, even though each time I used the word, the automatic spell-checker would highlight it as WRONG-WRONG-WRONG! I can assure you, I have learned my lesson and shall never make the mistake again. I have been accused of a lot of things, but bad spelling? The horror!

The good new is, along with finding the correct spelling of the word, I have found the correct gauge for my Phildar swing jacket:



I cast on the back the other night at Stitch n' Bitch. Thanks again Laura for a)correcting my spelling, b) double checking my gauge (not guage)swatch and c) making a killer chocolate mascarpone cake!

In other news; I have been blessed by Twinkle! On Wenlan Chin's website, she has a bit of a contest going. If you send in pictures of completed knit garments from her book Twinkle's Big City Knits, you can win a gift. I sent in a picture of my Best Friend cardigan, and while I was at it, I mentioned there was a mistake in the pattern. I was a pleasantly surprised to receive a reply:

Thank you for pointing out the mistakes. Will definitely post it onto the correction board. The sweater looks great on you.

Wenlan


I've worn the sweater once and people seemed to like it, and now the designer herself said it looks great. I suppose I should get over my "phneh" feelings about it!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Me: 1, Knitting:0

I shall overcome!



A successful FO! Finally. The loopy pillow is off the needles (and look! It's square this time!). Of course it's not exactly a pillow yet, so not technically finished but nonetheless... I picked up some remnant fabric today to create the back of the pillow (I'll be damned if I'm knitting a matching back!). I do plan on making a pair of these, so I will have to knit another one eventually. Just not for a while. Enough with the loops!

The disastrously tiny/puckered beret? Frogged and awaiting a second go around:


(This tiki dude's face fairly accurately mimics what mine looked like upon finishing the hat)

I'm going to try a swatch tonight for the Phildar swing jacket too (I added another post to the knitalong page.) Here's hoping I'm on a winning streak!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Floppy Beret total Flop

Sigh.

I'm really on a losing streak these days. Knitting is totally kicking my ass.

The other night I sat down with the intention of finally finishing my Purl beret. I was knitting merrily along when I noticed a potential problem:



I was just approaching the first row of decreases and I had a terrifyingly wee amount of yarn left. I ignored it. I pretended it wasn't there. I told myself it was all going to work out. I knit another round and re-assesed:



Yep, still tiny. I decided to stop lying to myself. I was most definitely going to run out of yarn. The pattern says to knit 4" from the CO edge before beginning decreases and 5-5.5" if you want a "floppier" beret. I was hoping for a good amount of "flop" but I was willing to compromise - I needed the yardage. I ripped back an inch.

The next morning, newly refreshed, I picked up my adjusted knitting and soldiered on. Before long, I had a growing sense of deja vu:



What the? I was going to run out of yarn. AGAIN! Deep breath. Once more, I ripped back. I was just going to have to live with a standard issue, straight-up, no-flop beret. No problem. I already have a floppy beret, do I really need two? I knit on. I finished. Before weaving in the ends, I smoothed it out:



Hmm. A little pucker-y, no? Allow me to show a comparison. Here's the finished beret picture from the Purl Soho site:



Hmm. Something was not right. I put it on. Oh dear. It was tiny! Pucker-y and tiny! (sorry, no pic - too humiliating!) What happened!?! The pattern was so simple!

Guage.
It was the gauge.
Of course it was the guage.
It's always the guage.
Guage, guage, guage.

Despite using the recommended yarn and needle size, my guage was WAY off. I was supposed to have 7 stitches to an inch. My beret? 11 stitches an inch.

Oops.

***post script***

Why was my guage so horribly, horribly wrong? I went back to the pattern to see if I could find some insight. It turns out that in my haste to get this project started, I failed to notice the recommended needles were the American size, not the metric size. I have no one to blame but myself... but I'll still blame the pattern. Stupid American sizing!