Tuesday, April 29, 2008


MUCH. cuteness.

pattern: Tulip Doll from Caffaknitted
yarn: well, the gold colour was Paton's Classic merino...the beigey skin tone, I'm not so sure...likely a Paton's blend of some kind (Canadiana?). I took it from my stash of catnip toy yarn (which I think I also originally stole from my mom's stash!).
needles: 3.75mm

No real modifications...in the end I switched out all butons for some knitted bobbles instead (and felt "buttons" on her shoes) mostly in an effort to remove any choking hazards for my friend's baby.

Ok, I love her SO MUCH. She actually looks kinda like my friend Jaye, and she's the first real "toy" that I've ever knit (I'm not counting catnip toys...), and she was a breeze. I really appreciate that all of the embellishments were made of felt...having seen my mom cursing over knitting HAIR for dolls --uh, no thanks. And I love her visible stitching --very Tim Burton-esque.

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She's kind of Sally from "the Nightmare before Christmas", meets Blythe in the 1940's. And my friend Marnie who's daughter little miss Roxy is for actually collects Blythes, so I knew it'd be a hit.

I love her matching undies:

(yes, I was still in my jammers when I took that pic...)

And I actually have a tip to share, courtesy of my mother. I had stuffed each piece individually prior to assembling, and even though it seemed like I had crammed oodles of stuffing into her, it really wasn't nearly enough, and likely would have compacted that much more over time. And I was loathe to rip her apart and re-stuff and re-sew. So, Mom to the rescue...it never really occured to me to poke extra stuffing in through a loose stitch (a decrease stitch works well) until she kind of gave me that "well, duh" moment. It's amazing how much extra stuffing you can cram in a little bit at a time.

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(tho this pic does look a bit gruesome as result, doesn't it?)

If you get a chance check out all the other dolls that Caffaknitted has done on her ravelry page...they're all amazing --monsters and dollies alike, and they're my favourite kind of stuffed creatures --sweet, melancholy misfits.

I pretty much had to get her out of the house as soon as she was done, otherwise I would have kept her forever. As it was I took about a hundred pictures of her in different poses. I find her totally charming and think I need to either make another for myself, or make miss Roxy a boyfriend. I'm already thinking about all of the berets and baguettes and accessories I want to knit to go along with her.

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I'm sad to part with her but her new best friend Stevie provides a worthy home!

tee hee --love that belly!

Monday, April 28, 2008


I wonder if I could get the BF to wear this? Perhaps at our next pool party?
Over the weekend we were in an American Apparel store (I won't go on at length about how much I hate that place...) and I managed to get him to try on one of those red metallic baseball jackets that they sell there just so he could indulge me in the ridiculousness of it. I'm telling you, this was no mean feat. He's pretty conservative at the best of times (tho I think he likes to think that's somehow punk rock...) and he's shy, and that place is obnoxious AND it looked like a shiny red garbage bag hanging there on the rack. But he still did it, and I have the photo to prove it. (I will spare him the embarrasment of actually posting it here even though I really, really want to). In the end I was kind of surprised by how good it actually looked on him.

sidebar: he indulged me in a lightning fast trip to Montreal this weekend just so I could go and check out the Marimekko stuff at H&M. Have I mentionned how annoying it is that this town doesn't even have an H&M, and that going there always winds up being this anti-climatic pilgrimage? Anyway, I have long been obsessed with Marimekko (I made a special NYC trip a few years ago for this baby hanging in my living room), and while I know that a lot of that stuff has essentially been wholly unwearable since about 1966, I'm still a devotee of all things mod, so I absolutely had to make a special trip for it. Naturally the H&M I hit has an extremely limited portion of the collection, and what was there was totally picked over.

In the end I made off with one top,

and a scarf,

but what I really wanted was the orange and brown stuff that they had NONE of.

boooooooo. Anyway, you can see more here and here.
Julia, if you came across any of it at the Toronto H&M, let me know...

SO. all this to say that my mod quotient was kind of unsated this weekend.

But photos like this are making it all better!

photo credits: Stitchy McYarnpants, nitro:licious, marimekko blog

Friday, April 25, 2008


Jenny, Jenny, who can I turn to?
Sing it! "Jenny, Jenny, you're the hat for me..." For a good time, for a good time call:

pattern: Jenny cloche by Julia Madill
yarn: Elann Seta lana in black (2 balls)...yes, leftover from the biker vest
needles: 7mm

I'm a good little test knitter, aren't I? Good thing this wasn't a sweater! Version 3 of this hat is my best attempt yet. I did it in the smaller size and it fits perfectly. Too bad the darn thing is getting socked away until I can actually begin wearing it in oh, 6 months time.

I also attempted the second "non-bow" version of this hat, and tried it out with a few vintage pins from my ever-growing sixties enamel flower collection. (I feel like I see these things everywhere now and always have to pick them up)

Ok, I may have gone a little overboard...

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But in the end I went back to the bow version. Somehow it manages to sweeten up all my bad-ass outfits (heh.) and in black I think it's a little less precious.

Oh, and I should probably introduce you to "Sam". You'll probably be seeing a lot more of her, particularly when I grow too impatient to wait for the BF to take hat pictures for me. (I'm antsy like that...)

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I can't decide if she's creepy or not. Maybe in a very eighties kinda way. My sister was doing a purge of all sorts of stuff and "Sam" was a leftover from when she was in hairdressing school (also why Sam has so little hair left...), and she was in the toss pile. I pretty much zeroed in on her and not much else. She's also got this crazy table clamp that you cram her neck into and then you can turn and manipulate her all different ways. She's like the older sister to my barbie styling heads (though I do believe that the last one of those I had in the eighties I also gave a buzz cut to...)

I'm presently deciding on which new projects to tackle, but am also loathe to begin anything new until I FINALLY finish that Swiss Cheese scarf. Seriously, that thing is taking forever. Though is it any wonder when I keep starting new things? But, the end is in sight! And I have another very cute F.O comin' yer way.
Have a great weekend...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Twinkle biker vest

Well, all of my bragging last week about how I was going to crank out all these posts/projects quickly dwindled to nothing when I was stricken with strep. Literally, I was too weak to even pick up the needles. This is god smiting me for also bragging a couple weeks ago about how I hadn't really been sick this year. Stupid ironic backlash. I partly blame this massage I had a couple weeks ago--she spent a lot of time working on my neck. Is that possible, or am I paranoid? I use the term "massage" loosely. She basically likes to just beat the shit out of me. See Rolfing for a better idea of what I'm talking about. Mostly you just get trampled by your RMT's fists and elbows and then can't move for two days. Why must all the horrible things in life work so well?

But I digress. So with anti-biotics in hand, and some energy returning I finally feel T-U-F-F enough (yeah I spelled it like that) to talk about the "biker" vest:

The deets:
pattern: Biker Vest from Twinkle's Big City Knits
yarn: elann Seta Lana (50% wool, 50% silk) in black. Knit double-stranded, aprox. 4 balls for the medium.
needles: Denise interchangeables US size 13 (?) sorry I can't remember now--whatever the pattern prescribed.

I was seriously at the height of sickness when these photos were taken and my hair is SO dirty --but I do it all for you...heh)

Ok, well now that it's done I absolutely love it. As anyone who has attempted this pattern already knows, it's the getting there that was the issue. If I made it again I'd be tempted to actually only knit it single-stranded. Seems like it would be a lot lighter/airy and better for the summer. As it is I didn't knit it in the prescribed cotton anyway, so it's pretty much going to have to be shelved until the fall --or some cool summer nights. Except we don't have those here. Did I mention that after all our recent snowstorms it is now FULL ON summer, and impossibly hot to sleep at night. No Spring. But I will save weather talk for the office, sorry --this is going to be a long enough post as it is.

And in an effort to save someone else all of the “ripping back” anguish that I (and it seems many others…) got to experience on this project, I thought I’d write out for anyone stumbling upon this how I worked out some of the instructions. Fortunately most of the ripping out seemed to happen after row 2 so at least I wasn’t getting half way in each time and forced to start over.

Getting past the first 7 rows of increases were the most annoying part…my suggestion is follow the CHART, not the written pattern instructions provided in the book.

I made the medium size so I cast on 47 stitches…you will have to adjust this accordingly in another size within the chart pattern. This might throw off my instructions a bit because i think the difference in each size is 3 sts, which puts you at a different place in the chart.

Here’s how I worked those first 7 rows (NB, each row begins and ends with one stitch outside of the chart, making a stockinette border):

Row 1 (WS): P1, *P3, K3; rep from * to last 4 sts, P3, P1, CO 3 sts (I used the backward loop method) to the end of this row, then turn and start row 2.

(Your first three stitches will always be the 3 that you just cast on at the end of the previous row)

Row 2 (RS): K1, *YO, S2KP, YO, K3; rep from * to last st, K1, CO 3 sts

Row 3 (WS): P1, *P3, K3; rep. from * to last 4 sts, P3, P1, CO 3 sts

Row 4 (RS): K1, *YO, S2KP , YO, K3, rep from * to last st, K1, CO 3 sts

Row 5: P1, *P3, K3; rep from * to last 4 sts, P3, P1, CO 3 sts

Row 6: K1, *YO, S2KP, YO, K3; rep from * to last st, K1, CO 3 sts

Row 7: P1, *K3, P3; rep from * to last 4 sts, K3, P1

You should now have 65 stitches on your needle

Row 8 (which is row 4 of the chart pattern…): K1, *YO, S2KP, YO, K3; rep from * to last 4 sts, YO, S2KP, YO, K1

You will now be repeating rows 1-4 of the chart pattern until your piece measures 6.5 inches (with one ST st at each edge). Essentially on the RS rows you will knit the knit stitches and do the “lace” (the YO, S2KP, YO part) on the purl stitches. I actually found it helpful to jot the K's and P's directly into the boxes of the chart itself. Mostly because I kept confusing myself on the WS and RS rows.

When you get to your 6.5 inches in length and have to divide for the body, end on a WS row (not row 4…). When the pattern says things like “K” in a more general way (i.e. “knit the back, or knit the front side…” what she really means here is work in chart pattern).

The other thing I found wonky in this pattern was in the knitting of the left and right front sides. Once I had decreased to my needed 6 stitches and had to work in pattern until those sides were as long as the back I was a bit stumped on what to do for the chart pattern.

What I basically did for that part was repeat the first four stitches of each row only (plus my two edge stitches equals six sts total) until those sides were long enough.

Here’s what I did for that part:

Row 1: P1, P3, K1, P1

Row 2: K1, K3, YO, K1, Pass the YO over the K1, K1

Row 3: P1, K3, P1

Row 4: K1, YO, S2KP, YO, K1, K1

Repeat those 4 rows until your front sides are the same length as the back.

Ok, well hopefully I haven’t screwed something up there in the “re-writing” and just made things worse for someone else!

The pattern was a bit of a nightmare, but given that it was such a fast knit, at least it was blissfully short nightmare. I think it took me one evening of knitting, and then a couple episodes of coronation street the next morning to finish up.

SO, good luck if you plan to attempt this --sorry for the novel --I'm gonna quit while I'm ahead!

What do you think the odds are that my cats would wear one of these?

International Cat Hat: France, Le Mieux by Stacy Mar

How could I not attempt it, really?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

F.O action

Front-side/back-side (heh. "back side" is the expression my mom uses in place of "ass"...). It's like two different coloured bags --but not. Ah, the miracle of Noro... though also sometimes the annoyance that is Noro. I expect new yarn to be "knotted" into a skein at some point along my knitting projects --but so often? and so poorly matched? You'll be knitting along all green-like and then whammo! a knot. In pink. grrrr. I spent some time un-balling a couple of skeins just to make my colours flow a little more accurately (I'm demented like that). Now I've got like three half-balls of Noro that I'm not quite sure what to do with. I'm thinkin' maybe coffee cozies as future "office" Xmas presents.

And lined:

the deets:

Pattern: Counterpane carpet bag from Handknit Holidays (thank-you Julia!)
yarn: Noro Kureyon, colour #188 (about 3 and half balls)
needles: oh god --I think I used 8mm
misc.: some vintage fabric from the fabric stash, and a pair of bamboo handles that I just got at Michael's

Anyway great pattern, well written, easy to follow etc. It actually went up pretty fast considering I was only kinda half-interested in it. Not sure if i'll keep it...I'm thinking it might be a bit too "boho" for me. Too pretty or girlie or hippie or something. THOUGH, I must say, I am quite enamoured of it and think that it looks really good. Something I'd even consider buying in a store (in a non-homemade kind of way...) or conversely something I'd force someone else to spend a lot of money on IN a homemade kind of way. (Funny those two extremes...)

Saturday evening I also cast on for (and finished Sunday morning), the Twinkle biker vest. It's been in my queue for a long time. Prepare yourselves for a long post on that one because there was A LOT of wonkiness with the pattern, and I'm toying with the idea of doing a bit of a re-write on it in case anyone else decides they want to knit it, and they happen to stumble over here. I definitely would have looooooved to have found a blog post like that myself this weekend. But at the very least it was a fast knit, so any anguish I suffered was fortunately fleeting.

I also cranked out another of Miss Muffy's Jenny Cloche hats which I'm pretty stoked about, so i'll try and post pics of that later this week too. Speaking of which y'all should head on over there and buy one of those patterns--2 bucks! --you can't even get a coffee for 2 bucks! Well maybe a coffee, but definitely not no starbucks-grande-triple-shot-skinny-cinnamon-dolcé-latte (she says with the finesse of someone who orders this weekly with no trace of irony). Help a girlie out, go buy Julia's new baby (pattern, that is...).

And speaking of babies... I stole this off my friend Marnie's Facebook page (now that she's had this kid, facebook is what amounts to friendship these days, but what can you do...)

Lookit that sweet face! recognize those knits?

the Debbie Bliss hat

and the BSJ

much cuteness abounds!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Cowl overlord

Startin' the week off right with an F.O!

and yes, I have now dubbed myself "cowl overlord", deeming the former "Queen of the Cowls" too meek a representation. And given that this is cowl, what --number 6 (?) in about the last year and a half, I feel I'm owed that distinction. heh.

the deets:

yarn: School Products Italian cashmere. 100% cashmere, 3 skeins. Don't know much more about that --kind of a mustard colour...
needles: 5mm addis turbos
pattern: Aspen Neck cowl

You may remember another version of this same cowl that I did in Alpaca about a year or so ago --this one. Some mods this time -- I cast on 100 sts instead of 130 to account for the bigger yarn. It still came out much bigger than the last one I knit, which is totally what I was banking on. I also tend to wear this thing "inside out" for the most part. I dunno, I think the knit side (WS) looks nicer. What is kind of weird about this pattern is that it is 10 rows of purling, 2 rows of knitting repeated. Now, why I didn't just do the opposite of this and then flip it in the end I have no idea. It's just a tube after all, and knitting all those rows instead of purling them would probably have been more enjoyable. But for some reason I am very obedient when to comes to patterns--no matter how simple.

After a washing (and as instructed to do so by the guy at school products...) The cashmere "bloomed" and came out A LOT softer than when I was knitting with it.

Though still not nearly as crazy soft as the swatch the guy had in the store. I'm never sure with handwashing stuff like this exactly how agressive I should be. I find even with blocking things I always tend to go overboard and "submerge" rather than "spritz", though this time I may have erred too much on the side of caution. I think with wear though it'll get even softer.

And, much like my other cowls, it is already in heavy rotation (though will likely have to be put away soon until the fall...)

(takn on its inaugural wearing --an evening of sushi, car maintenance and costco, or these days what amounts to as close as we get to "date night").

Stay tuned --a whopping THREE more F.O's comin' yer way this week (unless of course I get lazy about posting...)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

non-knitting obsessions

Plans today to purchase this bike:

Were seriously thwarted when I was informed of the THREE MONTH waiting list just for pre-orders. Booooooooooo. Much sadness ensued. So I bought a new helmet instead. Somehow I don't think that particular void will be filled by it though. Dreams of canning my gym membership for the summer and spending all day everyday on the new beast immediately vanished.

Tokyo drift:

appears to be stuck with me a while longer. I guess I shouldn't really complain.
To make myself feel better (and let's face it, to stave off boredom another hour...) I did my monthly Flickr trolling for Bento.

Now, I have loooooooong been obsessed with the artistry of Bento boxes. It's kind of one of those obessions that I am fearful of indulging
too seriously lest it completely take me over. Because as you KNOW, I am really weak when it comes to my obsessions and can often let them rule me. Plus the very idea of painstakingly agonizing over my lunches all the time, buying special "supplies", being meticulous etc. I just don't want to go there. I have enough hobbies.

Often I will troll flickr for some inspiring Bento, and in light of any real knitting to post today, thought I'd honour a few favourites.

This woman, Sakurako Kitsa on flickr, is so amazing! You can see them all here, but a few of my faves,

her garden bento (flowers made of egg whites all individually dyed):

Canada Geese:

Anyway, she has SO many more...check her out, she's amazing. Some of my favourites are just the more simplified sandwich bentos that she does for her boyfriend.

SO fun!

And some other amazing Bento-type people on flickr worth checking out:





And, just generally lots and lots more Bento porn here. Now, go!-- while away the hours thinking about how inferior your lunch looks today!

Monday, April 07, 2008

spring into progress

No real F.O's to post yet, but some progress pics!

(image deleted)

The cashmere cowl...very nearly done actually:

(Or as I keep referring to it: my spring tube top)

And also, the counterpane carpet bag:

Whose knitting is also very nearly done. Mind you it's the final "assembly" that intimidates me. I have about ZERO interest in lining a bag right now. Though I know it won't get any use unless I actually bite the bullet and do it.

I'm actually really loving how the Kureyon colours are working up in this one...it's not nearly as garish as I'd predicted, and I'm *gasp* liking it. It's really a pretty fast knit, but I've been deliberately limiting my work on it in an effort to get other things done. But then I had a little bit of a Californication lockdown and the thing just kinda flew up.

And here's a question about gauge that came up when I was starting my Iceland sweater--

when a pattern asks that you to get gauge 20 sts/10 rows "in pattern", but the pattern itself is about 100 stitches and 18 rows repeating, what do you do? I could not for the life of me find any appreciable way of making a smaller gauge swatch based on this pattern.

I find often in those situations I just wind up casting on and knitting, and then kind of measuring "hours in" to see if my gauge is accurate (naturally, it was not...). Why can't all patterns just offer you an alternate stockinette swatch for checking gauge? Or am I missing something here? I really don't pretend to be a very knowledgeable or experienced knitter. Anyway, all that to say that I'm feeling a bit like the sizing of this sweater may be a wee bit of a crap shoot right now. Which also might be why I've put it aside altogether for the time being. The uncertainty is presently killing me and I'm really not a fan of unknowns.

"Dear Iceland: welcome to dumpsville. Population: you. p.s, I am gay." Ok, maybe not. Perhaps I will see you in the fall though when all of my summer flings are done.

In better news, my man has finally returned from the humidity that is Texas (bearing gifts no less (!)...) so I can officially stop feeling sorry for myself, wallowing in front of an entire SEASON of David Duchovny's nekkid butt (cute tho it may be), and actually get out and enjoy the sunshine. (Not sure why I couldn't do this without him exactly, but at present I am blaming "female" troubles.) Yeah, I just played that card.

Some F.O's and new projects are on the horizon, until once again, summer becomes too staggeringly humid to knit in and I abandon it for a solid two months.