Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fuzzy wuzzy was a beret

Now that my last sweater project has been seamed, ends woven in and currently blocking...
(allow me to pause and turn around so you can more easily pat my back) ... I've got a raging case of startitis coupled with stash-burn fever!

This has resulted in finally casting on the skein of yarn I bought two freakin' years ago to knit a beret.

Yarn in question? Scrumptious Blue Sky Alpaca Brushed Suri. Pattern? Foxy Beret by Kim Hargreaves. The pattern is simple enough, but not being to leave well enough alone, I had to make some modifications.

I decided to use a tubular cast on, 'cause it's so pretty. I had used the technique once before, yet apparently this was no use to me as I proceeded to cast on and rip back about a bisquillion times. In the end, the yarn is so fuzzy, I don't even think you can tell I used a fancy cast-on!

I also decided to try using "knitting elastic" (elastic thread that I held together with the yarn) on the ribbed section. No one appears to use this stuff, but it seems like a good idea, non? Especially with these floppy hats that tend to take flight the moment the wind picks up. Is there a reason no one uses it? Am I missing something?

Halting the halter

With the speed at which I amass fabric and patterns, one might jump to the crazy conclusion that I do a lot of sewing. Not true. I merely plan on doing a lot of sewing. (The rate of one activity does not necessarily reflect upon the other.) Oh sure, I had grand plans this summer. After leaving my job in May, I was going to do heaps of sewing. Loads! I wouldn't have money for new clothes, but I'd have the time to sew new clothes. Brilliant! A whole new hand-made, one of a kind summer wardrobe would be mine!

The outcome of my brilliant plan? One dress:

(Note to self: Photographs taken at high noon are flattering to no one)

One, stinking, lonely dress. Any time I could have spent sewing I figured would be better spent looking for gainful employment. Many resumes and portfolios later I somehow managed to wade through the guilt long enough to make this dress. Well, okay, I got as far as the bottom hem, then abandoned it draped over a chair. I had every intention of finishing it the very next day, but you know how these things go. It may have taken months to find the right time, but somehow, yesterday struck me as "hem" day.

(!Fast and Easy", my ass")

Like everything I have ever sewn from scratch, this dress was initially much too big. I'm really growing weary of this phenomenon. I take my measurements, I chose the pattern size accordingly, and every time I end up taking in the seams to make things smaller. Does the fabric get bigger? Do I shrink? If I shrink, can I find a way to market this as a weight-loss gimmick?

So at long last, with a little jiggery-pokery (as my Mum likes to say) my dress is complete. And hey - in the time I left the dress to languish in purgatory, I discovered my sewing machine has a stretch-knits stitch setting. Noice!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Knitting, Yoga, Food

It's been brought to my attention that there are three things I never shut up about. 1) My passion for good, fresh, local food;

(I have a particular fondness for vegetables in colours different from your everyday supermarket varieties)

2) Yoga, and whatever sort of pretzel-like posture I have recently mastered;

(Okay, that's not me, but I can do this too!)

And 3) knitting;

Living in Kensington Market and occasionally working at the Nutritionista provides me with easy and ample access to obsession #1, my unlimited Yoga Space pass covers #2, but I guess there has always been something missing when it came to #3... So I went and got myself a job at a yarn store.

It begins!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Stop copying me, Vogue!

My scrumptious baby llama sweater is complete! Okay, well, almost:

Seaming is not exactly my favourite activity. I keep thinking of Homer Simpson's Sanitation Commissioner slogan; "Can't someone else do it?". Though if anything will light a fire under my bum to finish it up, it's the promise of a new project around the corner.

I trust we all have our new fall copies of Vogue Knitting, yes? I'm mildly obsessed with "Nordic Tradition":

I've wanted to knit a traditional colour work-yoke-type sweater for a while now. Throw in some cables and an a-line shape? What genius came up with that? Oh, right - Svetlana Avrakh, apparently.

I'm equally obsessed with this, not so glamorously named "Drop Collar Cardi":

I have a thing for big-ass collars. I suspect this sweater may look a little different on us "normals" than on this model though. I'll have to wait and see if it turns up on Ravelry. Why is the one pattern I want to knit the only pattern from this issue NOT on Ravelry? Is it a sign? Must I be the trail-blazer? Perhaps I'm reading too much into it...

And last but not least, a note about the cover totally biting my style:

Don't they know I practically invented neon eye-shadow?

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Once in a while people see fit to tell me what I should be doing with my life. Despite feeling somewhat directionless when it comes to choosing a career-path, I tend to ignore them. It's either a knee-jerk reaction to being told what to do, or a roll-the-eyes-of-course-I've-already-thought-of-that-and-systematicaly-rejected-it thing. The latter is precisely the reaction I had whilst brunching with my favourite (okay, and only) sibling;

Him: I saw this thing on Martha Stewart the other day? Eeety? Or Etree or something? It's like ebay for crafts? Anyway, you should totally do that!

Me: Um, yeah. You mean "Etsy"? I already had an Etsy store like, two years ago? Don't you ever listen to me? When I had that silkscreen business?

Him: Oh. Well you should totally do it again. Martha might buy it!

Alright, so I'm paraphrasing and casting my brother in a poor light (my blog, my lights), but you get the drift. I've also had a couple of conversations with other friends and neighbours that went something like this:

Friend: You have so much cool old shit! You should totally open and store and sell this stuff!

Me: Yeah, that's really hard. Do you know how much overhead costs? And the competition? I don't even have a car! Excuse, excuse, blah-blah-blah!

I really need to learn to just shut up and listen sometimes:

(Deals for blogger friends if you email!)

Monday, August 11, 2008

No knit left behind

I love to start things and hate to finish them. Most of you knitters share the same curse. Unfortunately this affliction seems to be spreading. Not only do I have partially completed craft projects all over the house, I also seem to have finished craft projects that I have I have forgotten to tell you all about. Even worse, most of them I have promised to post about and then poof! They slipped through the sieve of my mind. In a (vain?) attempt to better myself and finish what I start, here are the tidbits that slipped through the cracks.

Ms.Marigold revisions: forgotten sometime in June

I ripped back the neckline ribbing and re-knit it, picking up fewer stitches and going down a needle size. Despite the focus of these self-portrait photos, this revised version of the vest is not as much of a boob-showcase as it's former incarnation.

Skull Wristband: slipped my mind a few weeks ago

My first stranded-knitting project and I forget to show you it's completion? What the hell is wrong with me? The record player photo-shoot seemed like a good idea until I accidental leaned on the "start" button. Twirling knitwear is only amusing when you're not attempting to capture it in a photograph.

Anyhooz, stranded knitting? Not so scary! I held one colour in each hand which meant having to knit continental-ish half the time. I could use some practice, but I'm pretty proud of tackling my colour-work fears. Speaking of which:

Bulky Houndstooth Pillow: Forgot to mention all-together

I was really digging the oversize houndstooth prints I'd been seeing in ready-to-wear fashion and it gave me the idea to try it with some knitting. Lessons learned:

- Houndstooth is a traditional weaving pattern
- Simple patterns aren't necessarily simple to chart
- Intarsia + Super-bulky yarn = nightmare

It's a bit of a disaster, but at least it didn't take long to make! It's too sloppy for me to bother making it into a pillow and too fiddly to frog. Any suggestions other than tossing it?

Finished jewelery from Silversmith class: forgotten so long ago I should be ashamed of myself

Remember when I took a the Silversmith for Beginners class at the Devil's Workshop? No worries, I hardly remember it myself. I posted pictures of my partially completed jewelery and then skipped to my Lou, my darlin'. For shame!

My completed jumbo silver ring with jade cabochon:

My copper "wonderwoman" cuff bracelet:

And my personal masterpiece, a wing shaped necklace made from silver, copper and bronze:

I wear at least one of these pieces everyday. So fun to take a saw and a hammer to a bunch of metal and come out the other end with custom jewelery. Wicked!

I think that about does it for my projects. Now to promote the work of others: My friend Cathy's store opens today!

THE NUTRITIONISTA: natural necessities
1255 Dundas St. W @ Dovercourt , Toronto
(conveniently located across from the liquor store)

Healthy snacks, organic staples, green cleaning products and more! (She's a registered holistic nutritionist too so she knows what she's talking about!). If you're in the T-dot, go and buy stuff!

Friday, August 08, 2008

You can take the girl out of the country...

Much like laundry, once you start procrastinating about posting to your blog, the task just gets bigger and bigger. Before you know it you've run out of underwear and you have to take a cab to the laundromat. Let's consider this my first "load".

I'm back from two glorious weeks in cottage country. Sigh. Here's a peek at what I've left behind:

The flora! The fauna!

Valley Heritage Radio Bingo! (No bingos, but I did finally win a game of Trivial Pursuit)

I'm certainly missing the fresh country air that doesn't reek of urine and rotting garbage. Most of all though, I'm going to miss the long days free of responsibility, where I can actually find the time to do things like this:

I bought a bag of random buttons at a thrift store, washed them, sorted them, and sewed the matching sets onto cardboard. Who has the time to do such things? Sorting buttons? Madness!

Oh yeah, and I knit:

Despite packing enough yarn to knit a whole new fall wardrobe, I didn't find myself knitting as much as I thought I would. (I spent a lot of time working on another craft project which is a gift and therefore, unbloggable). I still managed to come home with a good chunk of sweater:

This yarn knits up quick. I have a feeling even if this sweater turns out to make me look like a big fat stripe-y lump, I'll wear it anyway. SO soft. SO fuzzy! SO warm and entirely inappropriate for summer knitting!

Now that I'm back to the "real" world, I have to deal with things like, oh, I don't know, finding gainful employment. This silly task is seriously cutting into my knitting time! I have a feeling I'm going to be posting more often in an effort to avoid such serious matters. I'll try my best to avoid too much procrastination. I certainly don't want the job hunt leaving me undie-less and hailing a cab. Eek!