Monday, June 30, 2008

Haute stuff

Have you ever looked through a Vogue or Elle or whichever magazine is showcasing exorbitantly priced clothing and wonder what those pieces might look like "in the flesh". We all know about the photo trickery applied to making models and celebrities look flawless in magazines, so how much of that magic is applied to the clothes themselves? If we saw that Gucci dress up close would we notice loose threads? Would the fabric look cheap?

Well, I for one am not about to set foot in a Channel boutique to inspect their hems anytime soon . (I have a feeling if I did, they would somehow instantly smell my empty wallet and escort me off the premises). Lucky for me, I had the chance to get up close and personal with some haute couture at the Musee des Beaux Arts Yves Saint Laurent retrospective.

What was the first piece on display?

Knitting! Crazy knitting!

Apparently this is what passed for a wedding dress in the Fall/Winter collection of 1965. Mmm-kay. Somehow I don't think this walked down many aisles outside the runway variety.

It was while trying to capture the ridiculous amount of sequins on this mod little number that I was politely informed that "photographie" was not permitted.

Dang! I wasn't using a flash, which kept me under the radar for a while, but after being outed with my camera those museum guards watched me like a teenage shoplifter. In the end, I picked up a little souvenir which documents the show much more stylishly than my camera ever could.

YSL paper dolls! There's even one of the designer himself:

It was a really well put together exhibit and I highly recommend a visit should you find yourself in Montreal this summer. It's definitely the closest I have ever come to real designer duds and let me tell you, up close? They're still just clothes. Ah, you know, if you can consider a knit bridal cocoon "clothing".

R.I.P. Y.S.L!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

La Belle Province

I went to Montreal!
And when in Montreal, there are a few things one must do.

• Eat a bagel!

(***note: if you're a meat eater, this step may be swapped and/or supplemented by the eating of a smoked-meat sandwich, preferably from Schwartz's)

Now I know New York claims to make a good bagel, but I must say, I've tried both and as far as I'm concerned Montreal wins hands down.

•Regard modern architecture!

The photo doesn't do it justice, but this is "Habitat 67" built for Expo '67 (though you may be more familiar with it's supporting appearance in Blades of Glory)

•Visit the "distrobo" at Casa del Popolo (cigarette machine re-jigged to sell zines, demo tapes and various other curiosities)

•Have a nice meal:

•Climb the mountain: (Mount Royal, Mont Royal, Montreal...get it?)

Um ..., so the only pictures I have of this trek are of the graveyard up there (really, I'm not goth or anything!). Pretend I took this instead:

Much better.

•Shop! Okay, so considering I'm unemployed self-employed, I tried to reign this one in a little. I suppose I should have tried a little harder as I somehow ended up with 3 new dresses. (Heh-heh, mid-season sales!) I can however find some solace in having found some cheapie beads in a thrift store:

Note the price-tag: 25 cents, yo!

So where's the knitting, knitteroo?

Despite swearing off new yarn purchases forever for the near future, I felt it was only polite to at least visit a yarn store. I chose Ariadne, where I was struck with a sudden and acute case of camnesia. Despite lack of photographic proof, I assure you Ariadne is a very charming and well-heeled yarn shop well worth visiting. True to my word, I did not buy any yarn, though I didn't exactly leave empty-handed:

I don't see this so much as a purchase of whimsy, but an investment in raw materials for the production of future hand-made gifts. (Yeah okay, so yarn could fit in the same category, but just go with it.)

I do have a little more Quebec-centric knitting content to share, but at the risk of turning this into a marathon post I shall save it for another day. Stay tuned for the next installment of Knitteroo goes to Montreal: Tricot haute couture!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bustin' out!

Ms.Marigold is complete!

Well, sort of. I'd like to rectify this situation:

Notice anything is um, a little emphasized? I feel like I just knit a big, woolly frame for the 'girls. Hey, I don't mind looking a little busty, but I do prefer people look at my face before they look at my boobs (it's only polite). If I were to knit this again, I would definitely make some modifications to add a little more coverage in the chesticle area (like here). For now, I'm just going to re-knit the ribbing with smaller needles and fewer stitches. I may knit the rib a little longer and overlap it where it meets at the bottom of the "V" as well. Despite bustin' out all over the place, this was an amazingly quick knit (or could have been if I was a more monogamous knitter). I highly recommend the pattern, just be wary if you're bigger than a "B" cup!

PATTERN: Ms Marigold by Zephyr style (size SM)
YARN: Sirdar "double knitting" found at a thrift store
NEEDLES: 3.75mm

I'm still on the fence whether to crochet the shoulder ruffle or not. I do love the look of it, I'm just concerned that a lot of things I may wear under the vest will have puffed sleeves.

Puffed sleeves
Shoulder ruffle
= crazy linebacker shoulders?


Puffed sleeves
Shoulder ruffle
=2 X the cuteness?

Big thanks so Laura and her fancy new camera for the awesome photos!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Much Ado about Knitting

There's been a whole lotta stichin' going on in the T-dot this weekend! While others less enlightened were running between clubs for NXNE, I was running between yarn shops.

Friday I headed to the Purple Purl for another Knitty Yarn Roundtable . After a great time fondling yarn, I came home with this rather odd-looking swatch of super-secret test knitting...

... and a skein of prize yarn!

Mmm...this shiny goodness is Tilli Tomas "Fil de la Mer" (70% Silk / 30% Seacell in "parchment" ). Coincidentally, this is a yarn that I tested the first time I went "yarn-tasting" (it tested well!). It's an incredibly decadent skein of yarn and I'm looking forward to knitting it into an incredibly decadent eye-pillow.

The next day (as most of you already know) was World Wide Knit in Public Day / Stephanie Pearl McPhee's 40th birthday / Franklin Habit's 1000 Knitter's Toronto shoot. Whew! Lucky for me, most of the activity was taking place just around the corner at Lettuce Knit (I know, I know, I'm blessed).

I showed up, knitting in hand, ready to knit in public, get photographed, and wish the Harlot a happy b-day. Mission accomplished! I got to meet Franklin (obviously) and got raves about my dress (thanks Cara for turning me on to the the Marimekko line at H&M and Amy for snapping a good pic!)

Despite taking my camera along, I didn't take nearly enough pictures. Thankfully, where there are knitters there are bloggers. People immune to camnesia include Amy and Jackie, though I'm sure the weekend's events were documented and photographed from every imaginable angle and will be popping up on other blogs before long. I hope you all got to K.I.P. too!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Feelin' hot hot hot

Waaah! It's hot!

Remember when all us Torontonians were bitching and moaning about the never-ending snowstorms? Allow me to ring in the new season of bitching. It's 38°C (100°F) this afternoon. I can actually SEE the heat coming off the neighbouring roofs. You know it's hot when even your indoor cat, always anxious to escape to the great outdoors, lies listless on the hardwood, completely ignoring the open door.

Poor Teddy. Eternally trapped in a fur coat.

So what does a knitter do when the mercury rises to dizzying levels? Why pull out all her yarn of course:
Okay, so call me crazy, but I've been meaning to take stock of the old stasheroo for a while now and weather be damned - it had to get did. (To be fair, I did it this morning when the temperature was slightly less intolerable). After about an hour of taking things out of one bag and putting them in another, I now have a much better understanding of the stash. I have listened to everything the stash has had to say, however shocking, and our communication is all the better for it. Call it stash counseling.

Despite all of the careful organization, only the keenest of observer will note much difference in the "after" shot:

Trust me. It makes more sense now. My most shocking discovery? I have an entire bin full of super-bulky yarn:

Not just bulky. SUPER-bulky. (It's those damn Twinkle books! ) You know how we all tend to have a "type" when looking for love? Well, my yarn type is single-ply bulky. See? This stash toss (© Yarn Harlot) thing IS like therapy! I'm learning so much about myself!

So, now that the stash has been dumped out, shaken up, bagged and tagged (so to speak), it's time I cast on something a little more appropriate for the season:

A mesh grocery tote with some GGH linen from the very oldest seeds of the stash. I'm using the basic Elisa Nest Tote pattern from the Purl Bee, but changing up the stitch pattern. I recently picked up another Barbara Walker Treasury:

I became fascinated with the "Veil Stitch" (pg.165), which isn't really a stitch pattern at all, but just a funky way of knitting that produces a super-stretchy mesh fabric. I'm hoping the stretch of the stitch and the strength of the linen will be a nice combo to contain all of that yummy summer fruit and veg just around the corner!

Stay tuned for future weather complaints - I hear there's a thunder-storm a-brewin'!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Totally not knitting

There is a strange anomaly happening in my fabulous new unemployed life. Now that I have all sorts of free time to knit; I'm somehow doing less knitting than when I was working full time. Wha?

I think it comes down to this: I used to feel that I deserved to knit after slaving away for eight hours at the office. Now that I am free to do whatever I like, I feel like I have to earn my knitting time. Turns out I have a crippling inability to relax. Combined with my uncanny ability to procrastinate, I'm getting a lot of things done, none of which I should really be doing.

While I should have been working on re-designing my business card, I made rhubarb crumble:

When I should have been sketching ideas for my website, I made banana loaves:

While I should have been collecting the elements for my demo reel, I made salmon fillets and roasted baby leeks:

If I were a career counciler, I would be likely to conclude my destiny does not lie in the design world at all, but somewhere in the culinary arts.

Honestly though, I have been doing all sorts of design work for friends. The trouble lies in making my own work a priority. Part of the reason I know I'm suited to the freelance world is the fact that I thrive on deadlines. Give me a deadline! Please! I shall deliver! Updating my business card, building myself a website and compiling a new reel have no set deadline. Dinner on the other hand, seems much more pressing.

So, dear readers, you must be my witnesses. I am handing myself a strict deadline:

My new logo, homepage layout and business card shall be completed by midnight, Sunday, June 8th.

Now if somebody please keep my away from this guy, I may just find some time to knit!