Monday, March 30, 2009

Go-go garter stripes!

Eat your heart out Paul Smith!

Pattern: CO 352 sts, Knit every row, EZ sewn BO, tie ends as fringe - done!
Yarn: Drops Alpaca colour #0618, La Droguerie Alpaca (from scarf kit)
Needles: Addi Turbo Lace 3.75mm 100cm

Mmm...stripey. This was so easy and satisfying. Once in a while I really need to bang out a garter stitch somethin-or-other just to remind myself that knitting does not have to be "work". Besides, pretty stylish for a garter stitch scarf, enh?

The biggest pain in the posterior was the bind-off. Working side to side instead of end to end, I really wanted the bind-off to match the cast-on edge. What matches a long-tail cast on? The Elizabeth Zimmerman sewn method works pretty well... unless you have THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY stitches to bind off! What's the problem? For those that have never used the technique, it requires one to cut off a length of yarn THREE TIMES as long as your work, then work that long tail through your stitches one by one (see link for exact details). It's a pretty simple technique and looks great when completed, though takes eons. It took two evenings to bind-off this puppy! Perfectionist? Me?

Well, heck, it's worth it for this guy:

I sincerely hope my brother doesn't tire of hand-knit gifts any time soon!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Pat & Julia

At long last, my double-whammy hat pattern Pat & Julia is finished and available for purchase on Ravelry!

These two designs, much like their namesakes, are brother and sister. Knit from the top down, the hats are a great way to get the most out of your yarn yardage. (Try knitting the ribbed edge in a contrasting colour if you run out of yarn!) The slip-stitch pattern on a background of reverse stockinette is an ideal mate for busy self-striping yarns.

The PAT version is a snug-fitting unisex cap.
The JULIA version is a loose-fitting beret.

Instructions given for three adult sizes.

Here's some outtakes from our super-fun photo session with the fabulous Jenny!

Goofiness apparently runs in the family

We both also posses a remarkable ability to blink at exactly the moment a flash goes off.

My best "vogue" face, though Tyra would argue I'm not "smiling with my eyes".

Patrick clearly wins the vogue-ing competition.

We tried to get a picture of us nose-to-nose but couldn't stop laughing long enough to snap the photo.

BIG thanks to everyone who test knit and gave me feedback on the pattern!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Somewhere over the dude rainbow

If there's a sure-fire way to prevent a knitter from finishing a project...'s starting a new one. With my bro's b-day around the corner I decided to cast on a little giftie.

The yarn is from an alpaca scarf kit I got at La Droguerie in Lyon (sigh...France...). The kit came with instructions to knit a simple rainbow striped scarf which though cute, was definitely not going to work for my brother.

Rainbow stripes? Juvenile. Paul Smith stripes? Divine!

I needed to flip those stripes on their side and channel Mr.Smith! I picked up a skein of Drops Alpaca (conveniently nearly identical to the La Droguerie yarn) in a nice heather-y tan colour to use as my main "background" colour, crunched some numbers, and set to work casting on no less than THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY STITCHES!

Despite the ridiculously long cast-on, I'm thoroughly enjoying knitting this. Mindless garter stitch = fun! I was initially choosing the colours equally mindlessly by just knitting whichever bit of yarn came out of the bag first, but after a few rows I was worried things were getting a little girly:

Purple/pink/baby blue? Girly, right?

I'm not usually one for believing colours to be gender-specific (can we all just get a grip on pink, people?) but I wanted to be careful considering this IS a gift. After the colour intervention, things got a little "Welcome back Kotter", so I think it will all balance out in the end.

70's colours are good colours in my bro's world. Mine too, for that matter!

Apparently Paul Smith doesn't give a rat's ass about what constitutes "manly" colour either:

These socks were found in the men's catalogue. Given the number of knitters I see buying grey yarn to knit socks for the men in their lives, these colours are definitely in the "danger zone" for a lot dudes out there. I feel sorry for these poor, colourless men. Who wants to live in a world where rainbows look like this?

"Dude Rainbow"

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Every dusty rose has it's thorn

While all of my current knitting projects seem to be marinating in various states of "undone", let me tell you a tale of me and a certain little chair. Meet Dusty Rose:

Dusty Rose has been my trusty drafting table companion for many a year. Found on the curb, her facade may be faded, but her bones are strong. I should mention I found Miss Dusty on the side of the road... ten years ago. Yes, you're looking at decade-old garbage, posing for photos in my messy kitchen.

From the moment I brought Miss Dusty home, I had every intention of giving her a make-over. You see, there are very few colours I can't tolerate, and "dusty rose" is one of them. "Dusty rose" is to the 80's as "harvest gold" is to the seventies. It seemed different and fresh at the time, but now it finds itself horribly dated. Never mind dated, it was never that good in the first place. Dusty rose is the colour of retirement homes and dentist offices, decorative wallpaper borders and faux silk flowers arranged in porcelain vases shaped like kittens.

Last Monday, it was time.

As I pried back the staples I feared the worst. A decade of dust... mould... hairy beasties! Not only were the chair innards parasite - free, they were totally salvageable.

Hey - This foam is almost "harvest gold"!

After a little elbow grease and a whole lot of staples, Dusty Rose is no more.

I know, I know. I recovered the chair with vintage fabric, essentially sending the upholstery even further back in the decorator time-line. But hey, the seventies are cool now! Perhaps I should have just waited another ten years until "dusty rose" came back into fashion.

No, this ad is not from 1989, it's from 2009.

It all comes back eventually... right, Benetton?!?

Sunday, March 01, 2009


Because I enjoy knitting, and for the most part, it's a hobby, I feel guilty spending a whole day knitting. My last day off was spent cleaning and re-organizing my kitchen cupboards. A fine and noble thing to do with one's spare time. Meanwhile, the hat I finished in December with the intention to write up as a pattern, is still a work in progress. Why? Well those priorities! If I had spent that last day off test knitting and laying out a pattern, I would feel guilty about the state of the storage of my canned goods. What the hell is wrong with me? In the immortal words of Mitch Hedburg, I need to "get my priorities crooked".

So with priorities appropriately shifted, I have spent my weekend knitting, organizing a photo-shoot, and working on layouts for my next pattern publication. Yay! It won't be ready for a couple of weeks, but in the meantime, here's the long over-due write-up of Laire's hat:

It's not really a "design", but I know sometimes we all just need a simple pattern and can't be bothered doing the math ourselves! Besides, it was good inDesign practice (I've been meaning to teach myself inDesign for ages - I used to use Illustrator. Two birds with one stone!) Go pick it up for free on Ravelry!

I hope to have another "real" pattern finished in a couple of weeks. Anyone want to test knit one of these?

Email me!