29 March 2007

No Sheep

Last night I, and a few hundred friends, attended the DKC's monthly meeting to hear the lovely and talented Amy Singer speak about her new book, No Sheep For You.

What an entertaining and informative evening. Amy was so needlessly nervous. She has an easy, funny, public speaking manner and was totally rocking the Power Point display. I expected the talk to be interesting but I did not expect to learn so much. Some educational highlights:
  • Rayon is made from wood chips.

  • Bamboo yarn is not spun from the fibre but processed and extruded OR as Amy would say, cooked into Goop, mixed in the spinny thing and SPIT out into strands.

  • The difference between vegan and non-vegan silk.

  • The fibre from cattails aka bull rushes is used for stuffing.

And on and on. She, at times, reminded me of the cool professor at university - the one whose lectures you never missed. Right on girl!

A relaxed celebrity signs her book post-talk.

Informative visual aids abounded.

The trunk show was awesome. I admit to not really appreciating the patterns when first looking through the book. Then seeing them knit up, and touching those gorgeous yarns, made me fall in love with quite a few. My favourite was River Rocks, a Syvia Harding designed scarf. Too bad I didn't manage a decent photo of the sample.

22 March 2007

Textile Loveliness

I took myself off to the Textile Museum yesterday as a pick me up. It's lovely and quiet there early on a weekday. The current show Colour & Light: Embroidery from India and Pakistan, is captivating. There's a white lace sari on display that is entirely embroidered. That's over 12 feet of diaphanous cloth stitched by hand. It apparently took several people two years to complete. Also currently hanging in the rotating permanent collection room is a prize winning, early 2oth century, log cabin quilt from Quebec. I stared and stared.

I bought a membership so I can visit any time. They're looking for volunteers. I've decided to sign up. Perhaps I can work in their splendid gift shop selling yummy fibery bobbles.

21 March 2007

Not Reading, Just Sharing

My old Secret Pal, Canknitian, posted a question on her last blog post to help her along with her book club. What are we reading? What was the best book of last year?...That sort of thing.
Well, a confession: I haven't read a book in over a year. This is a remarkable statement coming from me. I am (was?) a devourer of fiction. My home contains hundreds of books. The library and used book stores have been haunts of mine all my life.
See, one of the side effects of my current struggle with anxiety/depression has been a severe ding in my ability to concentrate. The written word, particularly in stories, dance about the page and make little sense. My brain is just too busy. If I do manage to concentrate long enough to pick up the thread, I get too emotionally involved in the characters and have unreasonable responses if something bad happens. So I put reading aside. Didn't even pick up a newspaper for months.
I've have been reading a lot of poetry. Visual imagery created by words I can experience without problem. It's like watching dance or knitting with a beautiful yarn. It happens to you. It doesn't require over thinking. Rhythm, music, colour...
Last week, I tried reading a favourite novel of mine, reasoning that a book I've read and loved before might be the way to get back into fiction. No success. This makes me sad.

15 March 2007

I Lied...Twice

The first lie isn't really a lie at all. I bought some more yarn despite saying that I would not. To explain, it is not a lie because I intended this purchase before I made that vow. Also, it's Sweet Georgia which is temporarily, possibly permanently, going out of business. Having admired Felicia's yarns for so long and knowing Lettuce Knit had got some, I made the promise to myself that next time I was there, if there was still any in stock, I'd pick up a skein of laceweight. It's limited edition, collectible yarn. I don't consider it a yarn purchase, as much as an investment.

On the way to LK, last night, we stopped in Courage My Love and there was this adorable straw clutch from the sixties. Want, want, open wallet...mine!

The second lie is one I told to myself in the last post when I said I had a handle on that tricky top down bolero pattern. Shortly after posting and about 30 rows in, many ugly errors became apparent and it was rip and rip again. I'm much less frog hesitant than I once was which has proven to be an asset in this case. Not to be broken by a knitting project, I cast right back on again with different needles and a new attitude. Here it is at row 18. You'll notice the short straights. I find establishing a complicated pattern easier when starting on small needles. I'll switch to circulars as the piece grows.

13 March 2007

Malcolm Update

The little guy has an inflammatory bowel condition caused by, what? Trauma? Something he ate? It's impossible to say but the result is the same. Very little was moving through him, hence the vomiting. The food literally, had no where else to go. I saw the x-ray and this cat was stuffed and swollen. Poor fellow. The current course of treatment is several small meals a day of a high fibre mix, including wet food for fluid increase. he's also on medication to coat and soothe his stomach and intestines. He's thin and sluggish but hasn't vomited since he got home.

As for knitting, I'm working on the Top Down Bolero from Headwater Wools. It's the most bizarrely worded pattern I've ever seen and there's been a lot of ripping and re-reading. Finally, 25 rows in, I think I have a handle on it.
I also finished Tzarina. Pictures soon.

10 March 2007

Ok, This Is Absolutely The Very Last Time...

But honestly...a buck a skein!
Kelly and I braved the Knitomatic basement clearance this morning. Not wanting to line up, we purposely arrived late after a leisurely brunch. We still had to line up. The wee store was packed to capacity and people were leaving with two and three bags stuffed full. Theoretically, the sale continues tomorrow, but there's really not much left.

At the aforementioned dollar, I got:
  • 5 skeins King Skipper 100% cotton in a bright emerald shade.
  • 8 beautiful Kikki cotton/linen/viscose (a favourite), Colour 110, a blue/peach.
  • 4 deep plum Scheepjes cotton blend.
  • 1 Estelle Mirage poly ribbon tape for crafts. Shiny pink/orange/gold.
  • 2 King Korallo, a weird sparkly multi-coloured woven yarn for The Daughter. "Bring me something pretty." she said. Pretty enough?

Not for a dollar but greatly reduced:

  • 1 Lambs Pride superwash in misty blue.
  • 1 Lana Grossa sock yarn the colour of autumn maple leaves
  • 1 Scheepjes Invicta Colours sock yarn in 1713, a lime/orange/cream variegated.

Cool huh? Also, here is the latest FO - my Broadripple socks done in Paton's Kroy, the yarn given to me by my first Secret Pal, Sherril. (Thanks again !). This is the first pair of socks that I've made for myself that I really love. They fit and the Winter Eclipse colours just make my feet happy.

08 March 2007


That's the sound of the vet's cash register as Malcolm spends a second night there. He's in for tests relating to his continuing vomitting/weight loss problems. Yesterday, he was given barium which should have passed by this morning but was less than halfway home. As I told The Daughter, he can't come home til he poos. So far, it has been determined that there is swelling in the large intestine. The vet is unwilling to make a diagnosis at this point. I just hope it's something treatable.

In fatter days.

04 March 2007

Finally, Some Product

Pattern: Twiggy Tweed (Knitty)
Yarns: Briggs and Little Heritage (Jade)
Peace Fleece (Georgia Rose)
Finally, this bag is done. A project that began with such enthusiasm ended up being a lot of trouble and, honestly, yielded an average looking result. This is a very fussy project. Knitting the "holes" is a bother and leaves too many ends. There are too many pieces to fit together and way too much sewing. Frankly, if a friend hadn't sewn the lining for me on her machine, I likely would not have finished at all. My hand sewing skills are just too sloppy here and the purse definitely looks "homemade".
The one aspect of Twiggy Tweed that I find clever, is the use of a tee-shirt for the lining. The top of the lining is actually the neck of one of The Daughter's old shirts. A great opportunity to recycle a favourite fabric.

Vintage Yarn

I whipped up yet another pair of wrist warmers as a birthday gift for a friend. The party was last night and I never got around to taking a picture. No biggie...same Bat pattern, same Bat technique, though I sewed on a few beads for decoration this time.

What's actually interesting about this pair is the yarn. I dug deep into the stash and found a skein I forgot I had. It was leftover from a fateful boyfriend sweater of 2o years ago! This is vintage yarn people! I don't believe Spinrite even exists as a brand anymore though it is still the corporate name of the makers of Bernat and Patons. And check out the price tag. Remember when department stores sold yarn? In fact, it used to be the only place to buy in smaller towns. And $1.64 a skein! Ah, memories...

Also, check out this fabulous site of Russian Fibre artist, Natasha Fadeeva, who knits and felts gorgeous (really gorgeous!) stuffed toys.