Thursday, October 27, 2011

Swallowtail shawl

So I have finally managed to get on the Swallowtail bus (seriously over 9000 people on Ravelry have now knit this thing) and I must say, I've got the bug!

pattern: Swallowtail shawl by Evelyn Clark
yarn: Elizabeth Lavold's Hempathy --just over three balls (but I had so many ends from frogging a project for the yarn that I think you could do it in three if you were starting fresh)
needles: 4.5mm

the mister said it looks like I'm wearing a "spiderweb", just in time for Halloween I suppose.

It's been a while since I did a lace project like this....lace is fun (or at least this project was) but also frustrating. There were several bouts of "unknitting" at times when I wasn't paying attention. Though I *was* smart enough to put in some lifelines for once, but I think too lazy to do it often enough to be of any real help.

As usual with any lace project, the beauty comes when it is finally pinned out:


Husband woke up in the morning to find it pinned to the floor and was quite surprised I think..."this is what you've been swearing about?" realization now dawning as to why I wasn't able to knit and watch a movie without a million expletives.

Still it went up fast and I can totally see myself making another.

My only issue came on the last row (TG for youtube knitting tutorials) because I must have re-read that line ten times and still couldn't figure out what it was asking me to do. I re-wrote it in my own Cara-speak though (you can see my ravelry details if you are interested in that) and then it all made sense.

I frogged the yarn from this shrug (plus the remainder of one ball still in my stash) for it. Naturally I RAN OUT OF YARN with two rows left to go…grrrrrrr. So off I went to buy one more ball (three years after buying the original yarn with no hope of even knowing what my dye lot was) and will now have virtually a whole ball of the same yarn left in my stash again, thus making my stash exactly the same as when I began this project.

lace detail

Still, the shawl in this yarn/colour is gorgeous and will get a lot more wear than it ever did in it’s previous incarnation as a shrug. Surely everyone knows by now how much I love MUSTARD. And fortunately for me it's actually on trend this year!

My gigantic, enormous Kiki Mariko rug is also nearing the finish line. Can't wait to see how that turns out once all the felting is done. Could be amazing, could be crap.

And on another note I have taken the Pinterest plunge, so follow me there if you have want to do so.

Pinterest seriously appeals to my lazy (and easily distracted) internet nerd within!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Phildar love...

been a while since I've done a Phildar post (and please note, in no way am I compensated for gushing about their patterns --though I would definitely not be adverse to that if I'm being completely honest and if it were to happen!) free patterns? God yes. But I do like to peridoically check in with them and see what's new. Can't beat the French for subtle styling tips...

One of their newer pattern books has a whole Mad Men theme happening:
(and N.B the following images are all from the same book, Fall #59, sorry French only so far for this one)

There are lots of fabulous reto-styled patterns like the one pictured above.

And while I am definitely a vintage lover pre-Mad Men *and* a lover of Mad Men itself (seriously it must be one of the most well-written shows on TV to date). I find myself even more enamoured of some of the other knits in the same book:




(always a sucker for's like a sickness I have) and bows. and ruffles. Could that admission be any girlier?

Now before anyone emails me asking me to make.copies.of.all.these.patterns for them (seriously this happens a lot) I need to be clear that I do not own this book. (yet). I am debating on waiting to see if they are coming out with an English version of it. Phildar often does this though it's kind of hit and miss. I will likely order it in French (once it goes on sale heh).

Also that said, please don't email me wanting me to translate a pattern for you. I have done this once or twice but will likely never do it again.

Geez, was that way too crabby? While we're on the topic, what are everyone's thoughts on pattern-sharing?

I don't usually have an issue with it if I deem it is a pattern this is not readily available. For example, if you are emailing me asking me to scan you a copy of a Vogue Knitting pattern that is still available on newstands, I will probably take issue with that. I mean, are you just too lazy to walk to the corner store? If your excuse is that you "can't afford it" then you likely can't afford the yarn for it either so why bother? (but I am clearly being overly-judgemental here to make my point, I suppose you could easily have lots of free yarn in your stash as well!).

You would also be surprised what knitting books (and magazines) you can find at your local library, and as a result I have pretty much stopped purchasing said knitting books. Is that legit? I hope so, cuz the idea of spending 40 bucks on a book that I will only knit one pattern out of makes me feel even more overwhelmed by the amount of already useless crap on my bookshelves.

But if it's something old or out of print that I have at my disposal I will usually be happy to do it (I hope I haven't made anyone afraid to email me now!). I find there is a fine line between knowing when that is ok or not, and the more you get entrenched in the online knitting community, the more some of these people become your friends that you want to look out for, so if it's a PDF that is readily available, please spend the three bucks (or whatever) and help that knittah out.

Just sayin'.

And while I am now completely off the rails in terms of topic, can I also just add that I have gotten several requests from people asking me to knit them the Missoni-inspired blanket. I am somewhat speechless about that (tho flattered)--clearly these people are not knitters which I can appreciate, but huh? What would I even charge for my time on something that size? I am obviously not going to do this (tho have often thought about selling knits via etsy at some point) but that blanket? I am tempted to ask 2 grand for it and see if anyone goes for it (if they do I will definitely knit it for them! ;) Still waiting to see if anyone pays 31 grand for those rubber boots on ebay that I bought for myself for 30 bucks (disclaimer: *I* did not post those boots for 31 grand, I just have the same ones...) people are obviously still Missoni CRAZY.

But by far the thing that I probably get emailed about the most is the Twinkle Biker vest. Seriously I knit that thing almost 4 years ago when I was a relatively new knitter and had a heinous time of it. I scrawled a few notes about it and then bam! I feel like every person who has ever attempted that pattern has contacted me about it. Aye yi yi. Sisters, I feel your pain on that one, but I definitely no longer remember the finer nuances of how it even got knit!

So anyway, after that looooong digression (as usual) time to get back to our regularly scheduled Phildar cuteness:


C'est si bon!

C'est super-fantastique!

and a little something for you to put on in the background while you peruse the Phildar website...
Brigitte Bardot singing Harley Davidson, a long time fave.
(I wish I was smart enough to know how to directly embed that video)

Monday, October 03, 2011

Stash Monster

People of earth: I have not abandonned you for Tumbler, I promise. Upon further reflection I decided that Tumblr was the lazy-man's way out and have chosen to renew my commitment to this here tried-and-true blog. I mean who am I kidding, I can ramble on about nothing with the best of folk. Just photos?! But then who would hear about all my pithy knitting-related musings? Oh right, just my husband and he DOES NOT want that... (seriously I think I need to find some real-life friends that are knitters, my bench is not very deep as they say).

Blogging about knitting would obviously be a lot less overwhelming for me if I didn't let the F.O's pile up to the point that they become a daunting Tsunami of things to talk about. (I know I know, better an F.O than a U.F.O at least--whoa knitter-speak whaaa?), so with that in mind I am going to do something I haven't done in a while and post about some current projects.

If you've been here before you know I am always talking about stash-busting, but the reality is that compared to most knitters, my stash is pretty small. At this point I can fit it all into one large rubbermaid container. Just one! That's pretty good I'd venture, but I have this dream about having NONE. I want to have none.

Does that make me weird? I know that this is likely an impossibility. There will always be scraps kicking around, and I am definitely someone who has been known to throw out yarn that I am just plain sick of looking at. (gasp!). But I still envision it all being gone one day and then being able to buy only new (or new-to-me) (and glorious) yarns for projects as they arise on a need-to-knit-asap basis.

I think I fell into that "new knitter" trap several years ago...where you are just buying yarn wherever/whenever you can in a desperate attempt to have.a.stash. And as such, that very stash is what I still appear to be left with to this day...mostly workhorse yarns or one-off skeins that I bought that I couldn't afford in "whole-sweater" amounts. You find yourself wanting a piece of the glory, but then you are stuck with a stash full of random incompleteness.

There has been the odd new-yarn here or there, but new yarn is only bought with an immediate project in mind, so it generally gets used up right away.

And I may have stumbled upon my most epic stash-eater to date: the Kiki-Mariko felted rug.

I cast-on additional stitches (I think it calls for maybe 118 and I did 154?) and off I went.

In no time I had blown through all of the remaining Cascade 220 I had leftover from the Missoni-Inspired blanket as well as most of the Patons Classic I had in my stash and I wasn't even half done!

I tried desperately not to care about my colour flow and pressed on grabbing whatever random colours I had available (it is more difficult to make "old gold" work with other colours than you would think --why did I buy 5 balls of that?! oh right--because it was discontinued that's why, and my love of seventies mustard colours is totally irrational). But then I stopped to actually take a look at what I was doing and knew I couldn't go any further.

I like to think I am somebody who can "just let it go" if there's a boo-boo or something I don't like, but the sad reality is: I am not that person. My colour combos looked like ass together. (those are conveniently not pictured here)

So I tore back and then yesterday went out and bought.more.yarn. Not only that, but more workhorse yarns (i.e the Cascade and Patons that I was TRYING TO PURGE IN THE FIRST PLACE). And in the same colours that I also would have never chosen in the first place if I was starting this project "new". GAH.

So, that in a nutshell is my current saga.

But I refuse to lose sight of my ultimate de-stashing goal, even though I am clearly the problem in this whole situation.

Another example of this: I knit a project and don't like the finished result. Instead of just donating the offensive garment to someone else that might actually appreciate it, back into the stash it goes. I need to learn to just get rid of these things and be done with them, regardless of whether I have additional amounts of leftover yarn to go with it.

and that is SO NOT what I did here:

swallowtail shawl

(yes, more mustard --but I can't be faulted for knitting with mustard in the FALL right? right?!). Still I am actually excited about this knit, it's been a while since I've tried my hand at a lace project, and 9000 other knitters can't be wrong about the Swallowtail shawl so it's time I joined that club anyway.

Also from the DEPTHS of my stash:

HOT pink boot toppers

Why yes that is the hottest-retina-melting-pink that you have ever seen.
Honestly, was this a thing I was into for a while? HOT pink? I think this was another situation where Rowan-yarn-was-being-discontinued-at-my-lys-so-I'd-better-buy-(only)two-balls-for-some-stupid-reason!

Guess it's a good thing neon has kind of come around again.

Also from deep stash:

I bought all that grey DK merino when Knit 2 together was a revolutionary new book from Tracey Ullman and I just had-to-have that shrug in there stat!

Now here we are 6 years later and you pretty much couldn't PAY me to knit anything in that book yet I still have all the original yarn to show for it. But wait a minute, those are some too-harsh's actually a great book, just you know, much like the yarn presently in my stash-- I am totally bored with it.

So I'm thinking about using up said yarn for this November sweater. Yes, even though I know I VERY RECENTLY OPINED: "no more sweaters".

What can I say, I'm an enigma.
(and also apparently, a liar)