Tag Archives: knitting

A Winter’s Cap

Only 4 weeks into the new year and I have my first finished object! (I’ve also read three books already this year. Whoa!)

I was intrigued by the Volkstricken Neon Ski Bonnet I found on Ravelry over the holidays. I like my knitting projects to be a little extra-spicy, to help hold my attention. With cables, decorative wrapped stitches and pom-poms, I knew I had to try it!

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The front band is actually a tube, so has a double thickness. It was super warm on my -30C walk from the car to work this morning!

 
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I’m not 137% satisfied with this hat, even though I really do love it. The picture in the pattern made it look a lot bigger. I made the Adult Large, with needles one size bigger than recommended and it still ended up being quite snug, like a touque would fit. I was also hoping the pom pom would sit more on top of my head, but it ended up being more at the back.

Side bar – pom poms. Even if you don’t sew, knit or otherwise craft, get yourself down to Michael’s, plunk down $10 and get yourself a 2-pack (one large, one small) of pom pom makers. BEST $10 I’ve spent this year so far. Even if all you do is make a pom pom, throw it at your cat, and then have her trail it into the bed every night (like, hypothetically speaking), it will be SO worth it. But once you make a pom pom, you’ll start inventing reasons to put a pom pom on things, like that “put a bird on it” episode of Portlandia.

Anyway, I still love this hat a lot. From the side, it kinda reminds me of a pilgrim lady’s bonnet.

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The colour’s been difficult to photograph. It’s a real hot-pink, although it photographs kind of rosy-pinkish. AND it has flecks of glitter in it, so you know, win.

This photo shows the colour the best and the detail in the band.

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I have some other projects that I’m working on, and as long as it continues to be cold outside and I continue to be anti-social/depressed/broke and stay in on the weekends, I expect a couple more posts with finished objects soon.

Until then, take care of each other!

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I’m Finally Done!

How has it been nearly a month since I’ve posted here again?

Part of it has been due to the fact that I’m actually on a half-assed regular sleep schedule, for literally the first time in my life. I’m sleeping 7,8, 9 hours a night! This has never happened before. I feel great, but can’t help but still feel like I’m wasting my time. Very rarely can I piss around until 1AM on a week night anymore. Now, I have to get everything done that needs doing by about 10PM, before I crash.

So between sleeping, and being busy with dance shows and other things, I just haven’t had time to blog! A friend has recently decided to start blogging and asked me for some advice. I figure I should lead by example and find time to update my own blog!

I have, however, had time to finish a project that was a looooong time coming.

If you’ve known me for any amount of time, you may remember this picture (or something like it).

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I had started knitting a siwash sweater (or a cowichan, to some people), using vintage Mary Maxim patterns that my gramma had used for decades.

One year when I was about 10, for Christmas I believe, everyone in my family got hand knit siwashes from gramma. My mom and I both got pink ones with a burgundy  diamond pattern on them. I wore it all the time.

After a couple years, I outgrew it and had to stop wearing it. Then one day, I was at my gramma’s house and it ended up being colder when I went to go home and I didn’t have a warm jacket. My auntie was still living at home at that time and let me “borrow” hers for the evening. Then I just kept forgetting to bring it back and before I knew it, I had worn that thing for 20 springs and autumns.

It’s still a good sweater. It gets a little bigger every year as I hang it up and it stretches out. But since I wear it, and this sweater is cream and light blue, I have permanent coffee stains on the sleeves and what looks like a car grease  stain on one part that just will not go away.

So in the fall of 2010, I was ready for a challenge. I wanted a new siwash and I wanted to make one myself. The hunt was on for The Right Yarn. The standard siwash yarn is Mary Maxim’s Titan yarn. But it’s acrylic. And anyone who knows me knows that I don’t do synthetic yarn (unless it’s a bit of nylon in sock yarn).

Then I discovered Debbie Bliss’ Como yarn. 90% merino, 10% cashmere.

Cassshhhhhmerrrrre……

Yarn.com had a pretty good price on it, so I did the math for how many skeins of Como translate to the number of skeins the pattern called for in the larger Titan skeins. I measured and remeasured and checked my math and placed my order. Soon, I had a big box of delightful wool in navy, ecru, and magenta.

I wanted non-traditional colours because – I’m not sure if you’ve noticed – I’m not a beige/brown/black/grey kinda gal. I also knew I wanted a traditional design, in that I wanted some kind of animal found in Canada. But I didn’t want the reindeer that the pattern called for, nor did I want an eagle or a fish. I also didn’t want the same diamond pattern I had as a child. So I altered the Owlie Owl Cowl pattern from Ravelry to suit my needs.

And lo, a surly owl siwash in blue and hot pink was born!

Well… incubating.

I was making great strides until I realised I was running out of wool. Oops! Didn’t do the math right. I redid the math and ordered more of all 3 colours. They arrived a couple weeks later and I carried on. After a year of knitting on and off, I was so close to being done, and I ran out of blue again. Crap!

No worries, I could just order more, right? Well, at that point, Yarn.com had discontinued my yarn. And I couldn’t find it anywhere else. I searched everywhere.

Discouraged, I just hid the project away for a while, feeling more and more terrible every time someone asked me of my progress. I had lots of ecru yarn and some magenta. I was literally half a sleeve and a collar away from being done. I really didn’t want to put an ecru collar on a blue sweater.

But I could dye the ecru yarn, right? Of course! I bought some dark navy dye and stashed it away for months until my lazy ass felt like doing something with it. 2 weeks ago, I got really gung-ho again, and got to work dying yarn on a Saturday afternoon.

After an hour of the yarn in the dye bath, it was still just a sad grey/blue.

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Well fuck.

Okay, plan B time. The collar, I decided, could be magenta. That would look okay. But the sleeves… what to do with the sleeves? One sleeve was already done, all in blue. The other was about up to the elbow, with no blue yarn left. So I ripped the completed sleeve out, down to the elbow and knit a pink stripe in the centre of each and then carried on with the blue. I had to do this a couple times, ripping all the blue out, adding more pink, then knitting the blue back in, until I had enough for both sleeves.

FINALLY. I was done knitting this thing.

After a lengthy phone call to my gramma about Just How Do I Sew This All Together? I was ready to start the hand sewing.

Have I mentioned how I loathe hand sewing?

I loathe hand sewing.

I spent a good hour on Thursday night sewing pieces together at the kitchen table until my back had had enough of that. I guess I wasn’t wearing the sweater the next day! Friday after work though, I finished the sewing. It took a good few hours to sew everything together, but I was determined that I was wearing this sweater the next day when I went on a road trip with my belly dance girls. So by about midnight on Friday night, I had me a sweater!!

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(Obligatory horrendous 80s knitting catalogue picture)

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Lookit those surly owls. Aren’t they surly? With their half-lidded eyes?

Those owls say don’t fuck with me. I may be a sweetheart, but I regularly handle pointy sticks, so don’t fuck with me.

At least that’s how I imagine it in my head!

It definitely needs a little relaxing and stretching out, which always happens with a siwash after a few wears. I’ve already been “pet” a few times – everyone loves how soffffft the cashmere is.

This was a definite feat. A real accomplishment. I don’t think I’ll ever want to knit anything this massive again. It’s like Mount Everest. I’ve climbed it, proven that I can do it, but now I think I want to come down and just knit some socks. Or maybe a nice shawl.

I’ve got a couple more posts I’m working on that I can hopefully get out there soon. I’m off work all next week and since we’re still under so. much. snow, I’m probably not going to get to the couple of hiking day-trips I was planning. So I’ll probably be sticking around here, making some things, cleaning and hopefully blogging!

Be good to each other!

Back From The Dead?

It’s been exactly a month since my last post. I kept meaning to update and then I just… didn’t.  I’d like to say I was just really busy. In truth, February just wasn’t kind to me. It usually isn’t. I spent much of the last month at the back of a deep Cave of Depression, with side trips to Ravines of Self-Harm and Suicidal Ideation. I’ve emerged, back into civilisation, and am starting to feel better.

I did manage to complete a couple things (and start several more!), in the midst of everything.

First, I made a sweet skirt.

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I’ve been wanting to use corduroy on the cross grain for a while, but didn’t want to necessarily make pants. There was a skirt that I saw online from a small business/designer that I really wanted. They didn’t make clothes in my size, however. Normally, when I find something I like in a straight-size store at the mall or something, I have no problem copying it and making the exact garment  in my size. Because the skirt I found was made by a smaller business, I felt bad about making a knock-off.  It was like I was literally taking money out of their hands. Then I just happened to be reading a blog from a fat activist who was talking about how, if you don’t want my fat dollars, I’m not going to feel bad about taking your idea and making it for my body (and – shock! – it looks fine on a body bigger than a size 12!)

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Details:

Blouse: Request, XL // Cardigan: Joe Fresh, XL // Skirt: made by me // Tights, Joe Fresh // Boots: TUK, 10  // Beret: from a souvenir shop in Paris

I now want to make a million skirts with layers like that!

A couple weeks ago, I also finished my very first shawl! I usually knit hats, mittens and socks, so I generally don’t have to block things. This shawl definitely needed to be blocked, which was a nice thing to be able to check off the list of Knitting Things to Try.

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It’s the perfect size to wear around my neck in what I call a Hipster Scarf. And it’s soooo soffft. Oh vintage cashmere, you are wonderful.

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The pattern is the Sewanee Shawl, from Ravelry. Super, super easy and a quick knit. If you’ve never knit a shawl before, I’d definitely recommend starting with Sewanee.

I have a couple other projects started – one of which is for the shop! – that I’m just not ready to unveil quite yet. Maybe by next post? Which I’m positive will occur before April!

Until then, take care of each other!

Some Finished Objects

I’m riding high on a wave of accomplishment today! First, the slowest knitter to ever knit (ie, me) finished a pair of socks this afternoon.

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These are the True Love socks on Ravelry. The sides are supposed to have a repeating column of lacey hearts, which show in everyone else’s socks, but mine are kind of a “squint and use your imagination” deal. No matter, I love the way they look anyhow.

Like I said, I’m a slow knitter. I’m actually pretty slow and steady with a lot of facets in my life. This is something that people just do not get. When I’m showing off something that I made (sewed, knit, painted, etc), there’s always at least one person that says “wow, you’re so talented! How long did that take you?” And it’s always in a tone that says “you’re good at this, so I’m judging you hard if this vintage reproduction, fine-attention-to-detail swing dress took you longer than an hour”.  The only thing I can really “impress” people with is PJ pants: from cutting out to finishing, it usually only takes an hour with a serger.

Some people can knit a pair of socks, start to finish, while watching a movie. I sure can’t. One, I don’t have the attention span, no matter how much I enjoy the activity. Two, I’m just slow! And that’s okay! Every project gets finished. It might just sit in the to-do pile for the better part of a year first.

Today I also added some stuff to my Etsy shop!

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Bow tie necklaces! I currently have 5 up and might make some with longer chains too.

And it must be the start of a new work week, because I’ve got new nails.

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Pink and red are maybe a little too valentiney (and early at that!), but I just love pink and red!

So I finished socks, painted my nails, updated the shop and went to my first belly dance class of the year. Yeah! Oh, and I signed up for my first ever Coursera course.  It starts on January 28 and I’m super excited! I’m looking forward to required reading, taking notes and doing homework (what? I fucking loved university and would just stay in school for the rest of my life if I could afford it!)

I’ll have more on that once the course starts up.

I’ve got a couple more posts planned for later this week, provided work isn’t too busy (that’s a BIG “if”, I think). Until then, take care of each other!

I Made Some Stuff Last Week!

I always feel super-accomplished when I finish projects and see them through to the end. Last week, I finished more than one project, so I’m feeling great about them!

First off, I finished my legwarmers!

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I realised pretty quickly into this project that I wasn’t going to have enough of the pink to have solid pink leg warmers. I found some purple in my stash in the same weight and decided to do them two-toned.

These were mostly just to play and try out knitting legwarmers. I wanted a pair to wear over tights while walking to and from work when I wear dresses and skirts. They’re not very pretty, but with a pair of boots – the intended use – I like the way they look.  Of course, I didn’t wear them today – I had orange tights on, so I wasn’t going to throw pink and purple into the mix to walk to work in the dark for 10 minutes this morning.

My vanity knows no bounds.

This project was the first time I ever used the seed stitch – it never really appealed to me before. But after seeing the seed stitch “in real life”, I love it!  I really want to make a seed stitch cardigan now. I’ve found a regular stockinette-knit cardigan pattern that I’m hoping I can just substitute the seed stitch in. I’m a good knitter and I can understand a pattern, but altering something big like a sweater makes me nervous. I don’t want to buy a ton of yarn, get part way through and then realise “oh, this isn’t going to work at all….”

On to the next one. I finished this jumper last night!

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OOTD  – Jumper: made myself // Blouse:  Ricki’s, 16  // Tights: Joe, from Superstore  // Shoes: TUK from Torrid, 10

I had the jumper made half way about 2 weeks ago and then got to what I perceived as a “hard part” and set it aside. I picked it up again yesterday and was finished within an hour! Nothing before it’s time, eh?

I wanted to make a jumper like this for a while and remembered that I had 3 metres of this suiting in my stash from a few years ago (when chenille suiting was really popular at the fabric stores). The verdict? It’s shitty to work with – sheds all over the place in long strings. And probably a touch too heavy for the garment, but I do like the weight it gives to the skirt.

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I looooove the buttons I used! At $5 each, I probably won’t be buying them again (I  only bought 2 and got them 50% off, which is why I bought them). Also: kind of into the wide french manicure lately. I can do it with shorter nails, which is nice, because I just can’t handle long nails at all!

On the weekend, I also made cookies!

coookiesAnd enjoyed them with a hot beverage in my Holly Hobby mug! You jelly?

They had swirly white- and milk-chocolate chips in them. It changes the taste just enough so they taste like something new and exciting and not your everyday chocolate chip cookie!

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I have to go to work tomorrow and then I’m off until the following Monday! Since I have no plans or preparations for “the holidays” to work on, I can just do whatever I want for 5 days! I cast this on last night:

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Not telling what it is yet, but maybe by the weekend I’ll have another Finished Object to post pictures of!

Stay warm and take care of each other!

 

Sometimes Cupcakes Are All I Can Manage

I’m having a rough go of things right now. This always happens in the summer. I mean, it also happens in fall, winter and spring, but it feels extra-sucky in the summer. I feel like Harry Potter, stuck in an eternal summer at the Dursleys. To those of you whose glasses aren’t as thick as mine, what I mean is I just feel far away and disconnected from everything. I want to quit everything I’m involved in and never go back to it.

What up,  chronic untreated depression and anxiety?

So about all I can manage right now are cupcakes: baking, taking pictures of, sharing and of course, eating.

For the uninitiated, I guess the technical term here is: I fucking love cupcakes. Full stop. They’re one of the greatest things on the earth. I remember one birthday, not too long ago, where I actually did more cupcake-eating than I did drinking.

You can take a cake recipe and make it to the letter, decorate it all fancily and it will be  good cake. I’ll enjoy it. But do the exact same thing in miniature, cupcake form? Boom – you’ve just made that recipe 800 times better.

So Wednesday, it was a coworker’s birthday. Naturally, it called for cupcakes (I’ve been known to say that just a random Tuesday calls for cupcakes too, so I’m pretty easily swayed).

 

I made vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting (yes, as much of an aficionado that I am, vanilla-vanilla is still my favourite…). I put some star sprinkles in the batter for a surprise when a person bites into them. Because I usually ice everything pink/red/purple, my red dye supply was dangerously low. So I did something different and did turquoise icing. They were a huge hit at work! I didn’t have any leftover to take home with me.

The nerdy tidbit about this recipe – my favourite part next to the actual eating of the cupcake – is that the recipe I use is one the earliest known cupcake recipes. It’s over 300 years old and has stood the test of time! (If you’re curious, just Google “1234 Cake” or “Number Cake”).

And that’s about all I got right now! I went to Zumba after work which is always good for working out aggression, stress and other negative shit. Then I came home to pizza, beer and yarn – more great de-stressors. I had to frog like 20 rows last night thanks to a dumb mistake, so I have a bit of work to do!

More later, take care of each other!

It’s Against My Religion

Good intentions, man I have so many of them.

I’m in the middle of a three-day weekend and on Friday I had so many plans laid out for all the sewing I’d do on these three days. I had to go into work on Saturday morning, yes, but after that I literally had no plans. I could finish this dress and maybe make a new blouse too!

We’ve been so busy at work lately that the only nights I’ve left on time are the nights when I had to get to dance class or Zumba. I just haven’t had a lot of leisure time in the past week. So this morning, I woke up around 5:30 to go to the washroom and fed the cat while I was up. I thought it was way later than it was, like 8:30. When I realised the hour, I decided it was way, way too early to be up on a Sunday and crawled back into bed. For some reason, I turned my 9AM alarm off. I didn’t really need to get up, I just had the alarm set from Saturday and figured I’d keep it on since, “it wouldn’t kill me to get up at a decent hour and be productive”. This logic flew out the window at 5:30 this morning.

Next thing I know, it’s 12:48PM. I’m glad I fed the cat earlier, or I’d have one cranky kitty on my hands!

I got out of bed, had some “breakfast” and actually got down to work on my dress. Then I got distracted by shiny things (the internet…) and it was game over. I tried to get back to work by doing a series of 20/10s (work for 20 minutes, chill for 10 and repeat), but it was no use. It’s like it’s against my religion – The Church of Lazy-Day Saints –  to get anything done on a Sunday. And I think I deserve some down time given how busy last week was and no doubt how busy the coming week will be!

So instead, I’m watching television on the internet (oh, how post-modern!) and knitting.

I can’t just sit and watch TV, so I guess even my unproductiveness is still productive. I always have to be doing something while in front of the TV (or laptop in this case), which I why I can only watch subtitles in a movie theatre.

I’m currently knitting the True Love Socks on Ravelry. I can’t remember what the yarn is, as I bought it at the Knitting Cafe in Toronto 2 years ago. I forgot all about it until just recently and decided to cast on when I found the skeins again. This pattern’s been in my bookmarks for a while and I attempted it once, but there was one kind of stitch that made no sense to me and so I modified it, thinking “how important could that stitch be?” Well, it occurred a lot in the charts and is a big part of the DNA of this pattern, so my first attempt didn’t turn out so well. Since then I’ve learned how to do the stitch properly. So when I found this yarn, all I could think of was trying the socks again.

I’m happy to report that they’re turning out quite well this time.

I’m an incredibly slow knitter, despite enjoying it and being (I think) pretty good at it. So don’t expect finished product pictures any time soon!

However, you can expect finished dress pictures soon, I’d imagine. I’m currently catching up on this past season of Mad Men (I kind of forgot to watch while it was airing every week…), and that show always makes me want to sew a whole new wardrobe.  I mean, just look at Joan’s dress:

 

I’d be lying if I said Christina Hendricks wasn’t the reason I kept watching in the first season (let’s be frank, she’s got the best boobs on TV). Her costumes always have me reaching for a sketchbook and checking to see what fabric’s on sale this week.

The further I get into season 5, I’m sure the more the sewing bug will bite. Hopefully I can finish this dress tomorrow to wear to work on Tuesday. But I do have to do laundry, get some groceries and wash my car too. For now though, my coffee cup is empty and I’m about ready to turn the heel on this sock.