30 January 2006

Sunshine & A Hat!

The view from our back bedroom this morning

A beautiful sunny Morning! The daughter is kept home from school with a cold so what better way to pass the time than by taking photos of the new hat in natural light?
You may recognize the yarn from my previous post. Yes, it is the lovely Peace Fleece which I received from my Secret Pal. I just love the colour in the sun! The pattern is based on Peruvian from Knitty. I had to add a few stitches to account for my huge head. Somehow, mine didn't come out as square shaped as the original - must have something to do with the way I pick up stitches. I don't really mind. In fact I quite like the way it looks.
A note on my technique: As I have mentioned before, I am hopeless with DPNs, so I knit this hat back and forth on circulars. Thus, there is a seam. C'est la vie! Love the i-cord bind off edge. It took six readings of the instructions and much fumbling, (with 2 DPNs knitting off the circular), but once I got it, I flew. Always great to learn a new technique.

PS: The back of the daughter's head appears with her express permission. It is a sad fact that this lovely hat looks better on her than it does on me. Sigh...

26 January 2006

A Package

A great big thank you to my Secret Pal. This package came yesterday and I was blown away by the generosity. I particularly love the yarn. In fact, I couldn't wait to get going on it so I wound the rose colour skein right away and swatched it. I'd already started a warm winter hat before I remembered to photograph the goodies.
I'd never heard of
Peace Fleece before. Their website is definitely worth a look. It strikes me that one of the cool things about this exchange is the opportunity to share products from one's particular region with someone far away. I am now going to make an effort to give something specifically Torontonian to my gift receiving Pal.
The photo I've chosen to post is not the best shot of the yummy package, but it does offer an excellent view of Malcolm bathing in the top left corner.

23 January 2006

My Weekend Project

Knit my one skein of Noro Silk Garden (45% Silk, 45% Mohair, 10% Lamb's Wool) into the popular Feather and Fan Scarf/Shawl pattern. I just kept going until I ran out of yarn. Here it is drying on my mini ironing board. It is head scarf/neckerchief size.

I do love the colour of the yarn - much more vibrant than in the photo - and it works beautifully with this pattern. I am not however, as in love with the yarn as I thought I'd be. It was very twisty when being worked and feels stiff. Hopefully, after blocking and use, it will soften up.

22 January 2006

What Would We Do Without Pre-teens?

As you can see, I now have a photo across my title bar. Thanks to Not An Artist for the advice. Special thanks to the daughter. She read the exchange about my difficulties and had the image hosting problem fixed in ten minutes flat! Who knew the kid had a web page? She learned everything about freewebs and picture posting from Neopets - the virtual pet world. So, I photoshopped my picture and she whipped it onto the internet. Kids today!

Template Advice

What I'd really like to do is get a photographic background across the title bar of my blog. Many other bloggers have this but I can't figure out the code. Anybody out there who can help?

19 January 2006

Summer Top Photo

Apologies for the poor quality photo. It's the best I can do in bad light with no assistant.
Not my best work, but all in all, I like it. I had to cheat the sewing behind the neck to get the underarm area to lie flat.

The yarn (Needful Kikki: cotton, linen, viscose blend) is extremely comfortable to wear which is important as you can't wear anything under this top. The back is very low. (Tried to take a picture, but I'm just not that flexible.)

14 January 2006

A Decision

So, the first Christmas my husband and I were seeing each other - over 17 years ago! - he gave me a sweater. It's a beautiful multi-coloured, pure wool, vegetable dyed, Peruvian sweater. The problem is, I've only worn it about a dozen times. The wool is kind of itchy. The fit is a little funny and frankly, all that pattern is not quite, well, me.
It's been in my drawer all these years feeling guilty and obligated. Two days ago, I was doing a dresser drawer purge and I came to the decision. I will unravel this obligation sweater for the beautiful yarn and turn it into many pretty things. A cozy hat is on the top of the list.
I've already completed an adorable little purse in which I will keep my lipstick and compact.
I believe this is a proper tribute to that 1st Christmas gift. It beats giving it to the Sally Ann.

The Evil Red Ducks of the daughter say "Hi there Secret Pal!!"

11 January 2006

A Picture Purchase Day

Ok, I was feeling crappy this morning. We're talking "I hate my life" kind of bad mood. So, rather than stew over dirty laundry, I charged the digital camera and headed out for some fiber therapy. So glad I did!!

First, I went to the Textile Museum, where I saw the Terrible Beauty bug show everyone is talking about.

I thought it was very cool, but I actually preferred the permanent collection and patterns display. My favourite fabric was this cotton coat lining. (No, I did not use a flash on the light sensitive articles. I had the camera set on a high indoor exposure.

Then, a cup of tea in a lovely Queen St. bakery. On the way from tea to Romni Wools, I passed Circa 40, a vintage clothing shop that is having a going out of business sale. I picked up a slightly ratty, but gorgeous fifties cut summer dress for 10 bucks. It's dark blue and green as was everything else I bought today. Hmm...

At Romni, I just got discombobulated. This often happens to me there. It's the same reaction I have at all-you-can-eat buffets. It feels like absolutely everything is there for the sake of being there, not because any selection process has taken place. I often leave without buying any yarn at all. (I do often get patterns there though). Today, I came across some lovely green Cloud Cotton in the sale basement. It immediately caught my eye and I have no idea what to do with it, but I now own 2 skeins. Only 5 bucks each! I also bought some new point protectors.

Last stop was the Knit Cafe. I walked between all the destinations, by the way. Yeah for me. I went there primarily to check out the vibe because their Stitch n bitch has been recommended to me. I quite liked the atmosphere and will definitely be bringing my knitting bag there soon. I bought my first ever skein of Noro Silk Garden, a real extravagance. Likely, I'll make a neckerchief of some sort with it. I also bought the zine Take Back the Knit which is published by a fellow Toronto knitter. It's very cool reading and I do so enjoy supporting local artists.

So, much cash and walking later, I feel better. Sometimes one just needs to immerse oneself in colour and texture. The soul needs it. Francois approves of the new dress.

09 January 2006

Secret Pal 7 Questionnaire

or should I say novella? Brevity is not the point....

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand?
Not a snob really. All (well most) yarns have their place. Acrylic is fine for crafty things but definitely natural fibers for garments worn next to the skin.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?

3. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
The small loose ones go in a solid plastic needle case that I've had forever and can't even remember where it came from. I keep store bought needles in the soft plastic cases they come in and the whole mess lives in a section of my desk drawer.

4. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
Intermediate I think. Definition: I can do garments, some lace, some fancy stitches. I cannot do intarsia or fair isle.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.) Sandalwood. Also like citrus (tangerine and lemon). Hate, hate, hate all those gooey fake fruity scents - strawberry, cherry, raspberry - in short, all the daughter's lip balms.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
I like chocolate but am really a salty snack addict.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
It's not really a craft, but I am journalling in a huge way right now. I carry a notebook everywhere I go and write in it constantly. Filling pages and pages.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
Can't play MP3's.
Like: Folk, classic rock, blues, eighties dance music. Oddly enough, I quite like a lot of the daughter's music like Pink, Gwen Stefani and Green Day.
Dislike: Rap, hip hop, metal, jazz

10. What's your favorite color? Or do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
Adore the Deep rose, purple, blue green family. Can't abide yellow.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
One husband, one 12 year old daughter. Two cats.

12. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Of course. It's winter in Canada. Re the poncho issue. I know that 90% of them are butt ugly and 5% are ok. The remaining 5% are lovely and tasteful. The daughter and I own 2 of these latter 5%, knitted by yours truly.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?

Currently liking cotton blends and silk blends.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
"Novelty" yarn.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?
Currently spending a lot of time unravelling thrift store sweaters for the fibre. It started as a money saving thing and turned into something I just like to do. The winding is very meditative. And my stash gets bigger!

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Anyone reading my blog knows I love doll clothes. Also tops, sweaters, scarves and wraps.

17. What are you knitting right now?
A doll and a cotton sweater.

18. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
Both are fine. Can't master DPN's

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Aluminum and bamboo. Not plastic.

21. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

22. How did you learn to knit?
Learned the basics as a child. Taught myself the trickier stuff from books and the net over the last few years.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?
Maybe 2 months

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?
My favourite animal is the walrus. (ya, I'm weird.)
As far as animation goes I love anything to do with the work of Hayao Miyazaki (ie: Totoro, Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, Kiki's Delivery Service, Princess Monoke)

25. What is your favorite holiday?
Summer long weekends.

26. Is there anything that you collect?
Older (1960's) knitting magazines. Pink glass. Aluminum teapots and percolaters.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
None right now. I took Creative Knitting for one year but didn't renew because I found it was becoming repetitive.

28. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on?
Books that intrigue me are Wrap Style, Last Minute Knitted Gifts or any book with little project patterns. I'd love any single issue of most magazines. Love Rebecca.
Yarns that I like are just about anything from Filtes King/Needful. I also have been wanting to try something with alpaca and am very interested in Dale Svale.

29. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I need to learn buttonholes! Not the ugly yarn over kind but good buttonholes. I'd like to get efficient with DPN's so I could make wrist warmers. Alas, I fear it may be a lost cause.

30. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
No. I don't know. I wear a size 8 shoe?

31. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
June 6

08 January 2006

Poor Velvet!

Hands up! Who here remembers Velvet, Beautiful Crissy's little cousin with the growing hair (Ideal dolls circa 1968-70)? Anyway this poor darling was bought on Ebay with a lot of others and she's obviously had a hard life. Some over-zealous child played hairdresser in a big way on her base hair. The girl arrived at my house with absolutely no self esteem. What to do?
Well, put her in a fabulous new knitted outfit as befits her time. In a flash, Velvet is looking 1970's swanky again in matching close fitting tam and skirt/poncho. They are knit with Bernat Satin (won't use this yarn again as it balls and sticks to itself while being worked). The tam is just made up on the go and the skirt/poncho is two rectangles knitted in a nice lace pattern then sewn to each other. Velvet's smashing bulky sweater is knit from a teddy bear pattern found in Creative Knitting (last year's issue but sorry, don't know the month).

In other news, the Secret Pal 7 Questionnaire is out and I will be working on it this evening and posting the answers tomorrow! Kind of like fun homework. I also have received my Secret Pal and must spend some time getting to know her via her blog. Exciting.

04 January 2006

2 WIPs

Finally, for those of you who are completion oriented (you know who you are!), here are some projects I have on the go.

The Princess Doll

Isn't she adorable? Got the pattern from an old British Woman's magazine. She stands about 4" tall and has been super easy so far. I love the way the stitches at the bodice and the overskirt give her an hourglass shape.
She just needs her hair, crown and face. I've started the hair twice as per the pattern - a knit skull cap with pony tails affair - and it looked hideous each time. I think I'll just braid some yarn and attach plaits to her headpiece.

Cotton Sweater

Some of you may recall the recycled man's sweater of several months ago . It was supposed to be the Mermaid Mesh from Interweave. Well, I swatched up a cycle of the pattern and it damn near killed me. So many ssk's and double yo's that my fingers positively ached. So instead, I have chosen a Sandra pattern of wavy half circles comprised entirely of knits and purls. A lot of counting but I quite like the effect. The entire sweater is supposed to look like this but I may do the sleeves in ss with only one run of pattern around the cuffs to streamline the look.

03 January 2006

Normally I Wouldn't But...

I usually don't like too many of the shiny blog things trend, but this one was so spot on and I haven't posted anything in a while, and the season was particularly stressfull and...oh, what the hell!

Your Birthdate: June 6

You tend to be a the rock in relationships - people depend on you.
Thoughtful and caring, you often put others needs first.
You aren't content to help those you know... you want to give to the world.
An idealist, you strive for positive change and dream about how much better things could be.

Your strength: Your intuition

Your weakness: You put yourself last

Your power color: Rose

Your power symbol: Cloud

Your power month: June

I also signed up for Secret Pal 7 today. A new internet friend is just the thing for the new year blahs.