26 May 2016

Art and Fashion

One last post about my Chicago trip. For what's a trip without a little window gazing? I am quite enamored of these displays at Chanel on Michigan Avenue. The whimsy of the airline theme mixed with classic Chanel details delights me. I especially love the three piece skirt set though I suspect that for me, the light blue shirtwaist is more flattering. As if I would ever have the opportunity to wear Chanel in the first place!
I do admit that the shoe choice leaves me puzzling.

And what's this? I excitedly posted this photo of Marcel Duchamp's Hat Rack on my Facebook page and got barely a look. Coming across this 1964 signed repro of the 1916 Dada milestone at the Art Institute set my heart pounding. You can clearly see his signature. Am I the only geek to be thrilled by this?

So cool!

23 May 2016

Yarnify That

While in Chicago, I had to visit a yarn store! Luckily, I found Yarnify via the hotel advertising guide. It was even within walking distance of my location. Yarnify is a bright space with friendly, helpful staff. They carry a great variety of weights and fibers. As always when travelling, I was in search of something I had never seen before - souvenir yarn. I found it in this pack of Wonderland Yarns (from Vermont). These 5 skein, 640 yard, packs of fingering weight merino came in many colour combinations but of course I chose the gradient red. This will make a luscious shawl.

The store had a shelf, marked 'FREE', of old magazines and flyers. Flipping through it I found the Spring/Summer 1987 Vogue Knitting. And I love eighties sweaters!! I offered money for it but they said they just wanted the books to go to good homes. How delightful.

This issue is a gem. Naturally, some loud colours, over sized bodies and floppy sleeves are present. But check out these lovely designs:

The cotton in this pullover reminds me of Americo's Cotton Flamme.

Cute cardigans with dresses and skirts are always a favourite.
(Side note: I tried this hairstyle in the 80's - to disastrous effect.)

Wow!. And it's cotton. I want this deep waist rib top now.

I've been looking for a simple loose pullover. I don't wear contrasting
stripes myself so I'd use a single colour while keeping the texture.
I am mad for dropped sleeves.
They are out of 'vogue' these days but are still so flattering.
Yes, this is an article by Elizabeth Zimmerman!
This magazine was truly a find. I had heard of EZ's faux seams before.
Now I have the source material.

19 May 2016

A Quick Chicago Visit

I recently had the opportunity to spend a day and a half in Chicago. My partner had a conference so I tagged along and spent a day walking my feet off in the Windy City which, thankfully, was not windy at all that day.

This is the Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park. 
Chicago seems to be very committed to its public spaces in a way that Toronto often is not. People friendly design is everywhere and there is a definite respect for existing architecture. 
The new integrates beautifully with the historical. 
I was delighted to learn that this pavilion was designed by Frank Gehry who also designed one of my favourite local spaces - The Art Gallery of Ontario.

One could spend a whole day at The Art Institute. What a magnificent museum! I only had the morning and chose to spend most of it in the European Modernism galleries.
Braque, Duchamp, Man Ray, Gris, Miro. My little Surreal heart was all aflutter.

We came across this fantastic horse sculpture in a children's park
 on E. Chicago.

Our evening walk in the park was splendid.

08 May 2016

Driving Along

Driving along the highway last weekend, I faced a dilemma. I had been working on this sock using yarn a well meaning relative gave me for Christmas. It's obviously a cheap yarn, poorly spun and with a high acrylic content. The sock is less than half done and already looks distressed. It also feels like plastic.
So, what's a knitter to do?

Despite the time and knitting already spent, I ripped the needles out and stuffed the half sock into my bag. When we arrived at our destination, I tossed the sock and remaining yarn into the nearest trash bin. Life is just too short to knit with crappy yarn.

On the way home, I cast on some wristers with some beautiful scraps i had in my bag. It was a much more satisfying drive.

And now here is a nice photo of giant yams at market.

17 April 2016

A Hat For a Boy or Yarn Is A Funny Thing

I knit this watch cap for my guy as a Christmas gift. Well, I knit this pattern. the gift cap was navy blue and worked in Cascade 220. He loves it and looks surprisingly smashing it so he wanted another in a second colour. He requested gray to match his good overcoat.

This charcoal gray version is also Cascade 220. Here's the funny thing. You'll notice the gray is slightly heathered? Well the short white fibers used to create the heathering differ from the main wool. They are coarser and slightly straighter. Consequently, the yarn of this cap behaves entirely differently from the first, navy blue, version. It is spongier, less springy. The finished product feels thicker. Both hats are very nice but isn't it remarkable that the addition of one small element makes them seem as if they were knit from completely different yarns?

09 April 2016



You who think I find words for everything,
and you for whom I write this,
how can I show you what I'm barely
coming into possession of, invisible luggage
of more than fifty years, looking at first
glance like everyone else's, turning up
at the airport carousel
and the waiting for it, knowing what nobody
would steal must eventually come round -
feeling obsessed, peculiar, longing?

Adrienne Rich
Contradictions: Tracking Poems
Your Native Land, Your Life, 1986

30 March 2016

It Turns Out That...

...casting off in twisted rib produces a delightfully angular edge.

They are done!
The Flemish Lace Socks by Naomi Herzfeld from Lace One Skein Wonders.

...and getting your bike tuned up can be an aesthetically pleasing experience.

The bike shop in my new hood.
Nice staff and a beautiful brick wall next to a large window.
Mark one on the positive side for this place.

27 March 2016

Easter Egg Colours In The Sun

A sneak peak. Notice how one sock is so much more colour saturated than the other?
The result of an unevenly dyed skein.
I made a ridiculous mistake joining the round after the heel turn. This was followed by another, sillier, mistake. So I had to rip back and start the section again. What this means of course is that the sock is not done as I planned it would be.

The bright side of this, and I mean bright is that I got to sit in the brilliant sunshine of this Easter Sunday morning working away on the colourful sparkly loveliness that is this yarn. Just delightful.

21 March 2016

Imagine When Spring

Inspired by Glenna's post about showing up for your knitting, I sat down and committed to getting something done. You know what? Glenna is right. If you just show up and knit the darn thing, it actually gets done. In fact, the shawl came off the block several days ago but the weather has been conspiring against photography. Finally the sun came gloriously out for the first day of spring and I got many lovely shots; happily so, as this Imagine When shawl is off to its gifting recipient soon.

I am delighted with my work. The decisions about where to place the solid areas among the short rows seem to have been the right ones. I love the asymmetry of this pattern and the open work rows are delightful. 

In the spirit of showing up, I have also been progressing well on the sparkly socks and they should be ready for their own photo shoot by tomorrow.

Yarn: Sweet Georgia Sock and Koigu KPPPM
Pattern: Imagine When

14 March 2016

Not So Vintage

What exactly is "vintage"? I often find myself wondering about the definition of this particular word as it applies to clothing. More and more I see 80`s style referred to as vintage. I have a problem with this simply because I was alive and wearing the clothes of that time. As a child of the 60`s and 70`s, fashion was then for me what the "grown-ups" wore, so yes, that feels nostalgic to me. But the eighties? My first adult personal wardrobe choices (sometimes unfortunate ones) were made in the mid-eighties. How can my own fashion evolution be historical? How can items possibly be vintage when I still own and wear one or two of them?

We are, as they say, none of us getting any younger.

Well, vintage or not here is a beauty from an old Pingouin Ete. Isn't it perfect and light and summery? It's one I've been eyeing for several years. I have a crazy fantasy that it would look cute on me. However, this I know from experience to be highly unlikely. I've tried on many dresses of this shape in the past. I even tried to knit something similar about ten years ago. Loose fitting A-line dresses just don't suit me and no amount of wishing will change the fact. 

The yarn used in this pattern is Pingouin Nacre, a DK cotton/rayon blend long since discontinued. This meant the dress could happily live on in my fantasy world. Then the other day, I happened into Americo and saw their oh-so-lovely Bebe yarn which is almost a perfectly exact yarn substitution. Suddenly, this dress really wants to become reality again. 

09 March 2016

Just Wool

Strolling through Kensington Market on Saturday, I found myself at Yarns Untangled. I wanted to see whose yarns they were carrying as their reputation is for small, local and natural.

I found myself drawn to this worsted weight oh so woolly wool from Topsy Farms in Ontario. Neutral gray is not my usual thing but this yarn said yes to me. It has such a great hand and a sturdy, rich loft. It smells divine. (The rest of you smell your yarn, right?). 

I was reminded of some Briggs and Little I have had for years. A quick walk over to the stash, now in storage up the street, was easily done. Now the brown heather, also Canadian but from New Brunswick, is hanging with its new friend. I think they may work well together. On what I don't know. I'll just let them be and see what comes of it.