Monday, May 26, 2008

Knitwear fashion as art

These incredible pieces are all by Sandra Backlund. She uses a number of different mediums for her designs, but I thought I'd post a glimpse into some of her haute knitwear insanity,

These appeal to me strictly from a design standpoint, (not to mention every ounce of work that must go into them!) --but the form that she manages to create boggles the imagination.

Can't imagine we'll be seeing a pattern book for these any time soon. How does one manage to get a job as one of the knitting worker-bees on projects like these exactly? Or right-- I guess I'd have to go to fashion school or something. dang.

More incredible still are some of the non-knitwear pieces...I think this one is actually made out of hair:


Thursday, May 22, 2008

hats with purls get the girls...

free pattern: the purl beret from the Purl Bee (note: no actual "purling" in this pattern apart from the ribbing
yarn: Leftover Fleece Artist merino sock yarn --sorry, no idea what the colourway is, tho I absolutely LOVE it. (it was from a sock kit)
needles: 3.25mm Addis (40cm circs)
mods: I think I knit the body to 5 inches to make it slightly floppier.

Ok, so LOVE LOVE LOVE. When I first began to really get into knitting about a year and a half ago, the Purl Bee was one of my first inspirations and favourite blogs/websites (I knit two of their cashmere cowls, and I wear them ALL THE TIME). Here's one and here's the other (note marrimekko coffee mug in that one!). They offer up free patterns from time to time ...and free patterns that are actually cool. The patterns are sometimes over-explained in a way, which as a beginning knitter you really appreciate. It's funny what I take for granted now in my ability to decipher things that not that long ago I never would have dreamed of. The purl blog always has great photos, and just generally lots of cool stuff going on. These days my interest in it can come and go, but that's mostly because I'm not a sewer really (seamstress?), and they do both over there --so if you like both, it's definitely the place for you.

I had a good laugh last week when I proclaimed it "National dish cloth week", and then popped over there and they just by chance happened to have a new pattern for a dish cloth up. Kissmet!

They are also the brainiacs behind Last Minute Knitted Gifts, one of the few knitting books on my shelf that I can honestly say I've knit more than one project out of. Comme ça et comme ça et comme ça et puis comme ça. You get the idea. Simple, yet useful patterns. The free patterns on their blog are much the same as well...there's a couple that have been on my to-do list for a while now:

And LOTS more to choose from over there!

I've actually knit this beret once before with mediocre results (mostly due to my fear of running out of yarn, and subsequent corner-cutting). This go-round though I actually managed to get it out of the leftovers from ONE skein that I'd already gotten a a pair of socks out of (my first and only pair of socks to be exact...)

Come the fall I will likely be getting a lot more wear out of this baby.

This past Christmas I also had the chance to hit up their store Purl in Soho, NYC. It's very, very cute and CRAMMED with people. A little on the chi-chi expensive side for me given the location, but I'd be lying if I said I left there empty-handed.

Plus there was a "husband bench" out front, so the BF was happy about that. I was hoping to get back there again this fall, but in light of some recent developments--we bought a HOUSE!(...I'm still shaking) we may be saving our pennies and not going anywhere for a long, long time. OR buying more yarn for that matter (Though surely where there's a will there's a way, right?). Ok, now to get back to my non-stop stressing out. Thank-God I have a massage booked tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

more knitwear as art

I'm in love with this...and it's rounding out my obsession with fake taxidermy nicely, given the materials:

I'm not sure if the artist has actually knit it herself, or simply felted re-purposed sweaters etc. for it, but I'm thinking it might behoove me (yeah, I made that pun...) to knock one of these out for myself. Seriously there are just not enough hours in the day for all of the stuff I want to do lately!

Plus, made by yours truly would save me the $700 that I don't have for art...

If you CAN afford the real thing, this is by Rachel Denny and can be bought here.

You also might want to pick up one of these while you're at it:

Totally going in my crafty "to do" pile.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

not slackin'

This is the first time in a long time that I've actually found myself "between" knitting projects. There's almost always one or two on the go, and then I'll usually decide to throw a couple more on the pile (though one always manages to take the lead as the focus of my attention it seems). --Notice I'm not mentionning the stalled-out Iceland in this mix? --Fear not, she WILL have her day...

But that said, I've now cast on for a whole host of new projects --most of them little. I think that way I feel as though I'm actually accomplishing something. Plus the thought of having a warm sweater on my lap all summer, not something I really relish.

The Prairie boots from Cocoknits. Periodically as a time killer on ravelry I will do one of those random pattern searches where you can search a random assortment of "favourites", and that's how I originally found these. I queued them immediately, and then noticed in my friends page the next day that about ten other peope had done the same thing! Honestly, what did we do before ravelry?! Check her out --she's got some interesting patterns for sale on her site. I recently bought this one as well,

Felted Desk accesories:

I thought they'd make some nice quickie "office" Xmas presents this year. Goodness knows I'm not actually giving out any of my business cards, I might as well house them in something cute (before I start using them as scrap paper...)

That one is the "Phiaro scarf" by Katie Himmelberg --it was in the last issue of Knitscene. It's gonna be a long slog I think. It sits on my desk at work, and gets about 20 minutes of knitting action (if I'm lucky..) on my lunch break. Plus it is endless stockinette in the round until the bitter end when you finally get to drop some stitches. I'm excited about the yarn though, it's the first time I've knit with bamboo, and it is gorgeously soft.

Also from that same issue of Knitscene, the Calyx handtote:

The bag handles are done, but they need to be felted before I can press on,

...and apartment living means that might take a while. I have some slightly more rock and roll plans for this bag though than the more Zen florals pictured in that sample photo.

And I've got one other small number on the sticks, another beret from the Purl Bee. It's just about done though so it's pointless to post an "in progress" pic of it. The last Purl beret I knit has long since been frogged, so I'm hoping i'll have better results this round. Though I am questionning whether I'll have enough yarn for it (and there is no more...) so I might wind up with a RIP post about it rather than an finished object.

So that's it --there's lots going on around Reckless Glue headquarters right now in addition to a really busy personal/work life of late. I'm not sure if it's Spring fever or what, but lately i just feel like sitting on the porch reading rather than doing any knitting. Is something wrong with me? I guess I tend to get this way as the summer nears. Hope everyone has a great long weekend!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

that 80's show

Some cute new Phildar patterns for Summer--

and they kinda read my mind on these ones:

A few months ago I made this pinafore for my friend's new baby,

and ever since I've been toying with the idea of making my own adult version. And I guess now I don't really have to!

My favourite from the new catalogue might be this one though:

Though maybe not in a varigated...I don't do varigated very well. But there are lots to choose from. This next one actually reminds me of similar number that my mom DID knit for me in the early eighties (in a lovely "dusty pink" if memory serves...) I wonder what ever happened to that?

Picture it "fuzzier..."

Wish I'd kept it. I definitely know where the blue-green enormo navaho-style jacket she knit for me in the early nineties is(or was it like 89?)--I wish I could say it was my during my "grunge" phase, but I think it was more a part of the guatamalan/hippie thing that I was going through there for a while. (a seriously bad time for fashion...)

But it's all verrrrry eighties with these colour choices. I thought this whole electro thing was dead in the water by now? I blame American Apparel for this. And also hate myself for kinda liking it.

No english versions on any of these patterns yet, but they are no doubt in the works. Phildar seems like they're pretty much translating everything these days.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Grrrrrrr / Purrrrrrrrr

I'm told it's National wash-cloth week?

Ok, I've not really been told that.

pattern: Grrr washcloth by Alice Bell (
yarn: stash bustin' lionbrand cotton ease in Taupe (double-stranded)

(image deleted)

If only sweaters would knit up as fast. This was very cute, though I have discovered that I seriously suck at embroidery. Anyone know of a good online-type tutorial?

Maybe a bit thick for a washcloth though? I think it would actually make a good trivet, and Mr. Purrrrr was happy with his friends for awhile, before I gave him to my sister. Plus her place is a lot cleaner than mine so he'll probably be a lot happier there.

Easy come, easy go.

And just because I haven't posted any recipes in a while, how 'bout some cookies?

Black Pepper butter Cookies

1 cup flour
2/3 c sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/s tsp coarse crushed black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c unsalted butter
extra butter and sugar for flattening cookies

Preheat oven 300 degrees, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a food processor combine flour, sugar, baking powder, pepper and salt. Pulse
to combine.

Melt butter in small pot over medium heat until light brown.
Add butter to flour mixture and process until dough forms into a ball (about 1 and a
1/2 minutes). Shape into 1 inch balls about 2 inches apart on baking sheets.

Lightly butter the bottom of a flat-bottomed glass, dip in sugar and press each
ball to 1/2 inch thickness. Bake on lowest rack of the oven until browned on bottom, 20-25 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

My dough wasn't really wet enough because I ran out of butter but decided to make do anyway...I'm wild like that. I think I originally got this recipe out of the Ottawa Citizen.

Hope everyone's been out enjoying the glorious weather ... I've cast on for several new things lately --but more on that to come.

Monday, May 05, 2008

who cut the cheese?

I did! I cut the cheese....FINALLY. Ok, fart jokes aside, I've been knitting this scarf since September, but now it is done, done, DONE!

here's the deets:

free pattern: Swiss Cheese scarf from Knitting escapism
yarn: Patons Grace 4.5 balls (100% mercerized cotton) in "Night"
needles: 3.25mm bamboo straights (apparently I have no circs this size or I would have switched)

This has seriously been one of my looooooonger projects to date. Mostly because I kept putting it down out of boredom. There were times that I put it down and thought that I would never go back to it. I would force myself to bring it on trips. I think the bulk of it's knitting was done in the following airports: Ottawa, Laguardia, Detroit, San Diego, San Francisco and Philadelphia. And then a big chunk got knit on a drive along the Pacific Coast highway (fear not, I was checking out the scenery too...). Two weeks ago when a bunch of my smaller projects were coming to a close and I was itching to cast on for about fifty more, I gave myself a slap and said NO. No. new. projects. until. the. cheesy. one. is. done.

And the results you now see before you.

And really, I could not be happier. I know I'm going to get a lot of wear out of it. For once the drudgery of knitting with black yarn was worth every agonizing stitch. And my yarn choice? Well as I used to say in grade six, it pretty much sucked the grande banane... Mercerized cotton slipped and slid all over my needles, and the drape of it just wasn't right. Some of you may remember the issues I was having in the beginning with a loosey-goosey stitch that kept forming at the edge of every hole (you can read about that here and here and what I did to fix it is on my ravelry projects page, so I will spare you more of that other than to say THANK-YOU ALL for your advice on it...) And in the end, the scarf looked a lot better than when I began, tho definitely still a looser weave. Not a yarn I'd recommend for this project at all (but I was stash busting from another frogged project and was hell-bent on using it). And the "holes" do look a bit better than before:

I also forced myself to knit to the 60 inch mean feat on a scarf this wide I might add. I kept measuring it and cursing myself, but I knew I'd be happier in the long run if I didn't cut any corners. I got to about the 55 inch mark and thought "I'll block out the rest". Then I had the BF measure it and he only came up with 50 inches. I wanted to kill him. I felt like I was knitting backwards. But I perservered, and after a good blocking it was a whopping SEVENTY-THREE inches.

A beast!

The other suck-tacular thing about this yarn? It's a total lint magnet. Now I'm definitely used to being covered in fur and fuzz as a general rule, and it definitely doesn't help that when trying to take pictures of knitting projects I'm usually also contending with some uber-annoying antics:

Anyone else have those "he's-so-adorable-yet-I-still-want-to-ring-his-neck" moments?

But at the very least you can tell I'm excited about a project when I post a million pictures of it. Two more? oh ok,

SO, complaining about the yarn aside --it's done and I love it. Temperatures have been unseasonably cool here lately too so I've actually been able to get some wear out of it. No doubt that is all about to change though --we're not really one of those climates where you can wear scarves all summer (even cotton scarves...)

And completion of this beast means one thing: new projects on the horizon!