Monday, March 31, 2008

so nice I knit it twice!

So I gather from the rapid flurry of "favourites" on my ravelry projects page today, that people are pretty anxious for Julia's Jenny Cloche pattern to be available for mass consumption.

And with good reason --it's a pretty sweet little number!

I knit it in Mirasol Sulka, which could quite possibly be one of the softest (though NON shedding) incredible yarns I've knit with. Of the hot-damn-I-wish-I-could-swaddle-my-naked-body-in-this-24-7 variety. It's merino, silk and alpaca (in the "lime" colorway). Much like Manos, Mirasol helps support rural communities through the sale of it's yarns.

But apart from that, it's like buttah people, like buttah!

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My second attempt at this hat however proved less successful with the aforementionned Manos...

Though not through any fault of the pattern--this was strictly a yarn choice problem...the Manos was too heavy, too lumpy and too BIG (it's knit double-stranded) and yes, in true-to-form reckless fashion, I got cocky on the second round and did not check my gauge. Hmmm--where have we heard this from me before? It looks kind of okay in that second round of photos, but I think that's strictly due to tucking in yarn ends, and tweaking the positionning...

So suffice to say, the very prospect of this test knit caused THIS to happen to me last week:

Yeah, that's right...seriously, what is my problem? (She's been bad, but she's not evil...)

Also, because Julia had originally knit it in Malabrigo, I became obsessed with this notion. I found it at knit-knackers --a cute little store in town that I've never been to, but that is literally three blocks from my house.

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Malabrigo success! mmmm I can smell the ocean...

(I didn't drive the three blocks as this photo might imply --I swear we were on our way to Montreal for a 'lil retail therapy!)

But in my usual fit of knit-impatience, I managed to knit the hat twice before finding my originally intended yarn. Now I'm not quite sure what to do with it (tho can probably come up with something).


this hat makes me feel all girlie...

Thursday, March 27, 2008


and you thought Twinkle had some chunky knits...

These are amazing. I think I particularly love them because they combine two of my favourite passions: Knitting and modernism!

And the price tag? A meager $1600 dollars of course...don't let anyone tell you there's no money to be made in knitting. These are from Dutch designer Christien Meindertsma and you can buy them at Design within reach.

Totally inspirational. It's kind of making me think that I need to think bigger in terms of designing my own stuff. God knows that I am furniture obsessed anyway! And I know I've said this a hundred times before, but I'm counting this as another precedent towards my theory that art is virtually ALWAYS good if it is either a) really freakin' enormous or b) totally miniature.

You can see more of her work here and here. Enjoy!

Monday, March 24, 2008

the miracle of blocking

Well, as predicted I did not have even remotely enough yarn for this pattern...

I kinda took a guess at "when" to end all my pattern repeats, and left myself exactly this much for some seaming:

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hmmmm. A full FIFTEEN inches before I was supposed to. I threw caution to the wind and to the yarn gods said "Suck it--blocking will be my new best friend!"

and in the end, she was done:

A very aggressive blocking meant the difference between this,

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and this:

as well as the difference between this,

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and THIS:

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In the end I managed to get probably at least a dozen extra inches out of this School Products "mystery" cashmere. (If memory serves it is 80% cashmere, 20% nylon...). I mean the width is fine, it's the arm/wing span that really needs the length. With my arms outstretched it's still a bit too short for my liking (3/4 sleeves?), but in any kind of normal position it appears to be fine.

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(Does this picture make you yawn?)

"Photo shoots" are just soooooo exhausting.

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I'm thinking I may actually block it once more and just stretch the shit out of it one last time. Or not. It uh, kinda makes my boobs look huge anyway, why did I never think of that?

In other news yours truly has been asked to be a "test knitter" for this beauty:

And I am naturally quite excited about it. (thanks Julia!), what yarn to choose? hmmmm, there may be a Manos stop on my way home tonight. woot woot!

Monday, March 17, 2008

I don't use the word "frock" enough.

Figured I'd better post an F.O pic of the aforementionned giant cowl, before time slips away from me and it becomes "officially" irrelevant/verbotten.

That photo was done in haste as I was flying out the door to work one morning, but here's the specs, nonetheless:

pattern: free from Knitlit Kate, the XO UO Cowl
yarn: Cascade 220 handpaints 100% wool (about 2 skeins, maybe a bit more)
needles: US #17

First of all, I'm not that happy with my yarn choice for this. I do LOVE it, and was so completely enamoured of the colour that I couldn't not buy it. I knit with it triple stranded in order get gauge. Ironic that *I* would be concerned about gauge, isn't it? I never am where it counts it seems, yet in a knitted tube where gauge is essentially irrelevant, I go out of my way to get it. That said...two-stranded would have been the way to go with this baby, and would have made it far less stiff.

I dunno. I'm kinda thinking about frogging it.

Not sure if this was the original Urban Outfitters inspiration for this cowl or not,

but at $9.99 one does pause to wonder, why knit it?

oh right --knit therapy, right, right. got it.

My vintage shoulderette is also well underway now. It's about half done. I am so going to run out of yarn. I know it. Anyone looking at my blob of yarn would know it. I bought it at School Products in NYC. It was in a bag that said 70% cashmere, 30% nylon. That's it. nothing else. No name, no colour, and not much more than a shoulder shrug from the guy who sold it to me. It is soft like buttah. There is no more. And yet, I continue. Just in case. It's like this sickness. I can't stop knitting it even though I know it's pointless. And the UNKITTING. Sweet, merciful crap I'm doing a lot of "un-knitting" on this one. Stupid lace. What was I thinking bringing this to work as my "dumb" knitting? It's like 3 steps forward, two steps back with this thing. Someone asks me a question mid-row and it's all over.

And yet, still I persist. Actually now that I have the pattern memorized it's going a lot more smoothly. I just don't understand my bizarre compulsion to find out exactly "when" the running out of yarn will occur.

Iceland who?

Hope everyone had a great weekend --mine was unfortunately full of high school-type drama and a hangover deep like the snow on my balcony (that's me on the right...). the snow has now even buried my patio umbrella, it is just that high.

(thanks to my neighbour VĂ©ronique for this photo...)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

new knitty!

The new Knitty is up!

I'm kinda digging Talia right now:

That might be a definite make for me --y'all know how I feel about vests!

and this might also be a must do for a certain set of dog-lovin' friends of mine...

Too cute. Though it does kinda look like she's just got a hot water bottle for a hand...

Monday, March 10, 2008


Oh Iceland, I'm sorry, I know I hast forsaken thou!

I have total start-itis right now...there's about 50 things it seems like I want to cast on for, forever thwarting any progress I can make on Iceland.

The task of her is just too daunting right now, especially when I know that when I'm finally done she'll be too warm to wear. So for now, alone she sits with the same one repeat of the pattern done.

Ironic isn't it --especially in light of the extra what? 70 cms of snow since my last post?

Here's an aerial before/after shot of my balcony right now:

aye yi yi.

So yeah, the whole city was pretty much housebound all weekend. We did groceries on Friday night and it was like Xmas...people seemed to think the sky was falling and there was nothing on the shelves. The city had a NO street parking ban on the downtown core all weekend. That has never happened before. The streets were eerily still and quiet (and pretty with all that snow!). The few people who *were* trudging though it looked like zombies, plowing slowly down the middle of the streets since there were no longer any sidewalks.

So what's a girl to do but watch movies and knit all weekend?

From the amount of "neck" related paraphenalia I've knit lately I COULD have completed an entire sweater by now.

another giant cowl:

(I'll get more photos and the deets on that later..)

and the Herringbone Neckwarmer done.

Done in gorgeous Manos kettle-dyed wool (in colourway: Flame #115). See ravelry for all the gory details on trying to figure out this stitch pattern. Once it made sense to me it was easy-peasy...prior to that, well, let's just say you would not have wanted to be in the room.

You know, I hate to be one of those people who endlessly posts the cat + yarn pics but well,

I guess you're just gonna have to get used to it.

Other things I'm currently about to cast on for:

(actually this one is already cast on --thanks Julia for finding the pattern. Tell me-- do you ever wear this thing? I have half a pound of School Products cashmere itching to become something (other than a scarf...) and I'm giving this a whirl. I know "shrugs" are kind of over, but I'm hoping that "vintage shoulderette" will still be passable. (at the very least it'll work for TOR and/or EW...)

I'm also hoping to stash-bust with these babies:

AND stash-bust for this:

and still MORE stash-busting:

Finally --something to do with all that Kureyon in the stash. Here's what I've decided (for myself) about Kureyon: it's ugly. For the life of me I haven't really been able to find a use for it. No, I shouldn't say that--it's not ugly...just way too colourful for me. But in that purse--I love it! (also what is up with me an knit purses lately?).

Anyway, that said, anyone willing to part with the pattern for that Counterpane bag would really help me out, (and save me from buying yet another book chock full of patterns I will never use) --I'm willing to trade of course for anything from my (massive) pattern library. It's from Handknit holidays --any of you have this book and willing to scan me zee pattern?

I am officially giving myself props for even coming up with stash-busting ideas. I'm getting serious about that particular new year's resolution. Twice this weekend I had things "in my cart" at both webbs and and I somehow managed to not click the paypal button. That kind of restraint for me is essentially unprecedented.

Now --go shovel people, the bus is starting to anger me!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

enough already.

what? We're supposed to get another freakin' THIRTY centimeters of snow tomorrow?!
To say that I am growing weary of this would be the understatement of the decade.

My street:

Ironically this photo was taken prior to Saturday's snowstorm, so yesterday things were pretty much twice as high as that. Then there was some good melting last night, and now apparently it will be all for naught, again. I can't even see out my balcony window right now.

Don't get me wrong --I LOVE the snow. I'm one of the few it seems who generally has no complaints in the winter (it's our tedious 45 degree celcius sauna-humidex summers that I can't handle...)

We even went tobogganing again on Sunday (with far less injuries than last week's debacle..)

and I post this because the tobogganing hat that I wore that day is the one day beret that I knit over the weekend.

I'm pretty much obsessed with berets and am always looking for just the right pattern.

This one might be a keeper. It's more of a beret "recipe" than actual pattern I guess. It's still kinda too big for my liking though. I need to get a better handle on my actual head size or something to really make this beret measure up properly. I knit it once and it was ENORMOUS, so I tore it all out and made it much much smaller. I'm also not sure how I feel about top-down hats. I like my knitting to get progressively smaller as I work on it --that way I can actually feel like I'm getting somewhere and the end is somehow in sight.

One day of sledding though and it looked like this in the end:

Totally stretched out, so definitely still too big. Mind you I did kinda know that would happen when I brought it with me. I will probably try this pattern again using something else...I used Misti Alpaca worsted 4-ply in "natural". Super soft, super floppy, so it's no wonder it didn't really hold it's shape so well.

Anyone out there have a beret pattern that they love? I'm thinking I may try the Purl beret again since the first one I knit was a bit too small for my liking.

Monday, March 03, 2008


pattern: Spiral Scarf from Knitting Nature
yarn: Sirdar Sport Denim in "Madder Pink" (3 balls, knit double-stranded)
needles: 3.75mm DPNS

Ok, I'm kinda proud of this one. Mostly because I think it looks so impressively cool. This is the first Norah Gaughn pattern I've tried, and I have to say that it was amazingly well-written. Also proud because I had so many issues with it to start. I ran out of the original DK weight version of this yarn that I started with and my LYS had no more. Then I tried the sport weight and had gauge issues, really, it's a wonder that I just didn't give up on it altogether.

There are some really cool patterns in this book--very unique, and based on this I'd be tempted to try others as well, though there is a bit of an overall "intimidating" feeling with the book. Not sure what that's down too...just looking at the patterns, you pretty much know that you're in for a lot of work with most of them, and the reality is that some of them are also slightly unwearable --though still a cool concept for a book (items/shapes inspired by nature etc.).

And that said,

yeah, I kinda don't really know how to wear this thing.

I'm also not a fan of double-pointed needles...which this scarf is made by, spiral after tedious spiral. Another reason that I'm proud, because I perservered through that whole labourious process. In some ways I should have waited because on Saturday I put on my new spiral scarf and went to pick up my mother so that we could take a knitting course together that afternoon. A knitting coure that would have solved all of my DPN anguish: Circular knitting using two circulars and the Magic Loop.

Some of you may recall that this was one of my New Year's knit-o-lutions. I'm glad it's done...I am now a total Magic Loop convert and I never want to use another DPN again! It's kind of one of those things where afterwards I'm like "man, this was so easy, did I really need a whole course on this?!" But the reality is that I never would have sat down and taught myself, and this kind of forced me to not put that off indefinitely, as I had previously been doing. Based on that I think I'm going to sign myself up for a crochet 101 type course as well. Another one of those things that I've been avoiding and that periodically rears it's ugly head in the world of knitting.

The one thing that I did NOT find easy about that course though was 1) knitting a pair of socks using TWO circulars and 2) knitting two pairs of socks at the same time using two circulars. I think my brain is just seriously not made to wrap my head around the tangled frigging mess that was those two disasters. I don't plan to put the concepts aside indefinitly mind, but the reality is that I'm just not really a sock knitter anyway, so I'm kind of in a "who cares" state about it right now.

Magic loop however made perfect, ladderless DPN-free circular knitting for me (and with no needles falling out on me everywhere!):

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woo hoo!

Though my mom on the other hand, not a convert at all. In fact she appeared to resist every ounce of that course with every fiber of her being. She loooves her DPNS, and at 70, I guess you can't teach an old dog new tricks. (Her words, not mine...), but she was a good sport about it at least. And when she told me that she liked my scarf, I responded with "good, cause it's for you", thereby foisting the unwearble (for me) spirals on to her forever more. I think she was pretty excited about it actually...

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