Thursday, May 31, 2007

Queen of Denial

Long time no blog! Blame the weather. Toronto is experiencing some unseasonable warm temperatures right now, and it makes for some unreasonably warm temperatures in my computer room. A tiny airless room with sunshine beaming through a skylight all day? Fantastic in January. June? Not so much. But I'm not here to tell you about the air circulation in my apartment. To the knitting!

Well, it looks like there will be but ONE knitted wrestling mask in the upcoming exhibition. If I had really thought it through, I would have realized this fact a lot sooner. I dream big, and I sometimes forget to do a reality check. What was I thinking? What knitter in their right mind would agree to something like this? Design your own pattern from scratch? Tight deadline? Maybe if the masks were going to five year old cancer patients or being auctioned off to raise money for battered women, but for a little exhibit in a bar? You'd have to be nuts!

Luckily I have never claimed to be of sound mind:


(The picture is a little outdated now. I'm actually up to the eyeballs - ha!)

First time designing a pattern? First attempt at intarsia? Yup, I'm a total nut-job. I'm using stash scraps and the crazy balaclava pattern (from my last post) as a guide. I started out diligently writing down everything I was doing, but my notes have been getting a little, well, sloppy. I think it's superstition. If I write up the whole pattern line by line, charts and all, it will inevitably turn out like a big steaming pile of crap that no one would ever want to recreate. Hence: notes are useless. If I don't write down anything, the mask will turn out to be a brilliant and innovative piece of fibre art brilliance that could make me millions in pattern sales if I had only taken the time to write a few notes. I don't want to jinx myself! (Okay, I'm probably just being lazy.)

I've noticed a lot of knit bloggers (Amy and Sarah and Nicole to name a few) posting about "cross-crafting" lately. Again, maybe it's the weather, but it seems like everyone lately is breaking with monogomy and seeing other crafts. Me? I've been busting out the beads:



Revisiting my bead-stash has made my realize no matter what the craft, it's all just the same obsession anyway. I had the inkling to make these earrings ages ago, but (naturally) never had the right beads. I'd look to the stash, realize I didn't have the right size of jump-rings, or right shade of red beads and go back to the bead store. Returning home with a bag of shiny new bobbles (that I had no intention of buying), I would sit down only to realize I was still missing the right size of jump-rings and right shade of red beads. Later. Rinse. Repeat. Sound Familiar?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Livin' La Vida Lucha

Alright knitters, it's time to get those creative juices flowing! I've got a proposition for y'all: Help me to create an exhibition of fantastic fibre-y fury:

Knitted Mexican Wrestling Masks!



My friends at the Embassy Bar here in Toronto have placed a call for artists:

LA LUCHA

This is a call to artists of multiple disciplines for proposals that address the theme of La Lucha Libre, popular Mexican Wrestling. We highly encourage works from artists that use non-traditional presentations of their artform that go beyond the framed image on a wall. Performance, installation and intervention artists are highly welcomed.

This event will take place at The Embassy bar in Kensington Market, we want your art to be as engaging as possible in this context (a darker night time atmosphere). In addition, we welcome street art that will engage the general area of The Market in conjunction with La Lucha exhibition. Proposals for street intervention must indicate a clear idea of place and medium. We will provide a map of works happening outside of the Embassy.

The selected works will question the popularization of La Lucha Libre having roots as a popular working class entertainment in Mexico that gained international attention and momentum. We are interested in literal, theoretical or conceptual approaches to this theme. We welcome proposals that address different levels of the imagination derived from La Lucha such as:

Elaborate disguises/Flashy costumes; the colourful world of masks.

Spectacular and over-exaggerated locks and moves.

The absurdity and theatrical aspects of this performance.

The conflict between stereotyped archetypes in this fight.
(the eternal confrontation between good and evil).

Your own ideas are also welcomed!

A masked Lucha Libre wrestling party will be held on June 22nd, 2007.



So... after reading this letter, a lightbulb went off. Beyond framed images on a wall? Flashy costumes? How cool would it be to display a collection of hand-knit wrestling masks?

Unfortunately, I just don't have the time or the skill to knit them all myself. I can certainly knit one mask, but I'm picturing an entire installation. Lots of masks from lots of knitters! THEREFORE, I'm proposing to co-ordinate a group collection. The Embassy? They love it!

If you are interested in contributing, here's the run-down:

- Create a knitted wrestling mask of your own design (or your take on one)
- Drop off your mask at the Embassy Bar, or contact me (click on "view my complete profile" on the top right to find a link to my email) to arrange for pickup before June 9th (I know, I know, time is tight!)
- Contributors will not be paid, but if you wish to sell your mask, provide me with your asking price and it will be displayed at the bar.
- The masks will remain property of the artist/knitter
- The masks will be on display at the Embassy Bar until the exhibition is over (length of exhibition to be determined.) at which point the artist/knitter may pick up their work or arrange (with me) to have their work delivered back to them


Still with me? Now put your thinking cap on! The masks don't even need to necessarily be full size, or in any way functional. Have fun with it! Think outside the yarn! This is a great opportunity to use up some stash yarn. (Especially that crazy stuff you never knew what to do with.) If novelty yarn has a purpose, this is it!

RESOURCES:

PATTERNS:

If there is an actual Lucha Libre mask pattern out there, I haven't found it yet. Luck for us, there are countless balaclava patterns available. Close enough! A little creative intarsia or embroidery, and voila! Fit for a wrestler. Free balaclava patterns can be found here:

- Antifreeze from Knitty

- Some WWI patterns

- A basic pattern or two or three(no pictures - frustrating!)

- Check out this blogger's hilarious find She claims to no longer has the patterns, but I got it them her before she gave away the magazine. Whee!

- If these aren't doing it for you I have some vintage patterns of my own. I could scan something and email it to you (though some may still be under copyright - not sure about the legalities on that)


DESIGN HELP:

- Turn your image into a chart with KnitPro 2.0

- OR, print your own graph paper here
and dust off those coloured pencils!

HISTORY:

Have you read this far and you're still totally confused? Not familiar with Mexican Wrestling? Never seen Nacho Libre? Get the scoop:

- Wikipedia
- Lucha Wiki - I can't believe this actually exists!


INSPIRATION:







I'm crossing my fingers and toes I can pull this off. Help me out guys!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Fix Fit

I fixed it!




The pillow is about 8 million times better now. No wonky puckering!



I'm not sure if I ever did ye olde run-down on this project, so here she blows:

PATTERN: Loop pillow from Stitch n' Bitch Nation by Debbie Stoller
YARN: Brown Sheep Company Lamb's Pride Worsted in
NEEDLES: Denise Interchangeable 5mm
MODIFICATIONS: Added i-cord border

I also fixed the unfortunate dropped stitch in my kerchief and blocked her up all purdy:



Blocking made a big difference. It's a nice, neat, flat triangle now - and so much bigger!



Happy May two-four, eh?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Cough, HONK, cough, cough!

Guess who's got the sniffles? Lucky me! Just when the weather got warm and work got busy! Alright, enough whining - on with knitting!

I wish I could say I spent a couple of days at home recuperating on the couch with my knitting, but alas, it could not be so. (Wait, didn't I say I would quit whining?).
Nonetheless, I did manage to complete the second sleeve of my Phildar Swing Jacket. (More on that at the knitalong blog).



I also grew tired of staring at my pathetic looking pucker-y loop pillow and decided to (finally) do something about it:



I stripped the pillow-form of it's knitting and took stock. The square of loop-dom needed to be bigger. OK. Sure. Right. Bigger. After much time spent dreaming up ways to pick up stitches or put other business together, I decided to take the easy(?) route and just knit up a bunch of i-cord. That finished, I realized that probably wasn't going to solve my problem. Dang! The major obstacle came from the fact that the knitted front of the pillow was stretchy, while the fabric backing was not. Solution? Just knit the damn back already! I don't know why I was so reluctant in the first place. I originally wanted to make two pillows from that yarn, but who wants two crappy pillows when they can have one good one? Not I!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

No sheep for me! (but lots of silkworms)

The PINK kerchief is complete! Simple knitting like this is delicious. I'm thinking I might need to have something like this on the needles all the time!

Yarn: Alchemy Pagoda 100% silk in "Punky"
Needles: Addi Turbo 6mm
Pattern: Meh! I did this:

CO 3 sts
Row 1: INC 1, PM, K1, PM, INC 1
Row 2: *INC 1, K to marker, YO, K1, YO, K to last ST, INC 1
*Repeat Row 2 until you run out of yarn

And speaking of running out of yarn, check out how much I had left after binding off:



Four inches! I sure showed that skein who's boss! Take that, Punky!

I bound off Tuesday just in time to wear it today for the No Sheep for You book launch. I wore it Wednesday, planning to block it later. I pinned it out tonight...



... and what's this?



It can't be!



Nooooooo! A dropped stitch! So much for delicious knitting! It's like finding a black fly in your chardonnay! Wait, did I just quote an inaccurate example of irony as sung by Alanis? Time to change the subject.


The book launch! No Sheep For You was officially unveiled last night at Lettuce Knit (duh):




Dig LK's bitchin' new glass!

Amy sure knows how to throw a party. Pizza (the good stuff), cupcakes, libations and...



...prizes! We were all given a ticket to throw in the "fancy door prize ticket thingy". Amy diligently called out number after number, allowing said lucky winner to take a place in line to pilfer the glorious table of prize-age (a big 'ole selection of books and yarn). I was lucky enough to be, I don't know, about 5th in line, when I heard a commotion outside. Amy had tossed the "fancy door prize ticket thingy". Though there were a good many knitters eager for goodies, there was more than enough goodness to go around. It became a free-for-all. Sounds scary, no? A large gathering of knitters let loose upon a collection of free knit-related prize-age! Biting? Scratching? Surely, there was a little hair pulling! Surprisingly, we were all quite civilized! After the last skein was adopted - not a missing limb in the bunch. What a great bunch of considerate knitters!

Wary of adding yet another skein of lovely, yet unnecessarily yarn to the stash I chose a book:



Oooh...glamorous!

Then, Amy said I absolutely had to take this as well:



Apparently, it's "totally me". Really! Don't you know my mother reads this blog!?! In all seriousness though, I understand where she's coming from. It's sassy, I'm sassy...blah, blah, blah. I just don't think I'll be knitting any pasties any time soon. (Don't get me wrong - I love it! Totally grateful!) On the flip side, I now have a one stop pattern resource for any upcoming bridal showers! I can't wait to force the next bride-to-be to open this in front of their grandmother:

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Everything must go!

In the immortal words of my friend the Nutritionista;

"Oh, for geez!"

After spending three full hours attempting to organize my office/art-studio I stand defeated. There's just no freakin' way. The room is too small and there is far too much stuff that needs to live in it. I'm drowing in a sea of "things I might make something with someday" and I have only myself to blame. I am faced with but two options:

1) Get a bigger apartment
2) Get rid of some stuff
Sigh. While I would love to have a sprawling loft with floor to ceiling shelves with which to store every craft supply, ball of yarn and kitchy nik-nak I own - moving seems a little drastic. Help me out and buy my junk! I have a few balls of yarn for y'all to peruse here. It's mostly stuff I have thrifted over the past year, plus a couple of odds and ends, so I'll let if go for cheapies. Make me an offer!


In the meantime, I gotta get through some of the remaining stash. Progress is slow but steady. The pink thing:



Coming along nicely. By the time my retinas are sufficiently burned, it should be complete and I'll be ready to return to the sea of grey:



One back, one sleeve and a smidge does not a jacket make. I blame second sleeve syndrome!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Pink!!!

I'm slowly coming to except the fact that my Phildar Swing Jacket is not going to be ready to wear anytime soon. I'm a slow knitter. I cannot keep convincing myself that I can knit entire sweaters in time to wear them in the current season. Someday, I will have the forethought to knit for the upcoming season. In the meantime, I'll just have to think about wearing that jacket on cool summer nights instead of brisk spring afternoons (and hopefully it won't come to crisp autumn morns). Besides, I've grown weary of this sea of grey I've been swimming in.

What cures the monochrome blues?



PINK!!! Hot pink! Screaming day-glo in your face pink!
(it's the Alchemy Pagoda from the Knitters Frolic if you're keeping up) Considering the next thing I have planned to knit will also be grey (the biker vest from Twinkle) I need to give the poor 'ole eyes a break, you know? From black and white to technicolour - just like just like the Wizard of Oz!

I decided to knit me up a triangular, kerchief-style scarf. After experimenting with several different stitch patterns and discussing the project with the almighty Denny, (yes that Denny for all you Harlot fans) I/we reached a decision: Garter stitch.



Why does garter stitch have such a bad rap? It's got a sexy name, doesn't it? It's the first stitch pattern we all learn, and the last one we turn to for inspiration. I too fell into the trap of "oh that's a beginner stitch". But you know what? It was exactly what the project needed! Besides, it hardly even registers as garter stitch in this yarn! It's all wiggly-piggly! I'm throwing in a couple of yarn-over eyelets for interest and before long, I think I'm gonna have myself one helluva triangle.

Just when I turned my back on the the Phildar jacket, guess what showed up on my doorstep?



My pattern books. Sensass! (Quite speedy delivery I think, considering they're direct from France.) I was a little confused when I opened the package to find four books when I had only ordered two. Une erreur ? Non! They sent me both the French and English instructions. Great, right? Canada's second language is French! I know some bilingual knitters who would take the copies avec tous mes remerciements! I could share the wealth! But alas, the English books are only the written patterns. No pictures. Quel dommage!


Ooh! - And as an interesting side-note: It turns out my favourite pattern from Runway Knits, Springtime in Paris, is available for free here. Thanks anonymousl commenter!