My sister (there always has to be a shout out to my biggest fan) asked me what my next blog title would be and I came up with this on a chairlift while freezing. She asked me why, and I said, "I don't know, it's kind of funny." She replied "yeah, it kind of is." I can't tell you why I think it's funny and my sister thinking it's funny is not an indication that the humour generalizes at all. I think it's a problem of genetics.
More baby gifts. I am surrounded by small children. Actually I am not, I'm surrounded by women my age with small children. No complaints though, another great excuse to knit something ridiculous that I would never knit for myself, though my partner did want to keep this. I don't know what he would have done with it other than be a grown man with a knit toy elephant. He was really awesome about the whole thing though. We had to watch a lot of Netflix a few days before Christmas in order for this to be finished in time. Also, he even took photos for me while I was at work. I ended up retaking some but I was impressed that he did it. He is nothing if not obliging.
The pattern is Elijah by Ysolda Teague. I have knitted a few of her garment patterns in the past and have always enjoyed them. At times her style is a little too whimsical for me to pull off but I am always charmed by it. This pattern is especially endearing and seemed perfect for a sassy (how is spell check telling me that sassy is not a word?) toddler. The pattern is well written. I like how it included line by line instructions with stitch counts at every line. It helped me know if I was on the right track at all times. The only downside to the pattern was the instructions for the body. There is no clear instruction for where the start of the row should be in orientation to the head and I didn't realize until I had knit the entire thing that it was backwards. Instead of a cute belly, my elephant had a weird butt. I didn't want to reknit the whole thing so I used a seam ripper to unpick it form the head. I ripped one row too high and ended up destroying the head in the process. This saved me no time as I had to reknit the head instead. The row starts on the side closest to the trunk in the centre. Ravelry link here.
I used some worsted weight wool yarn from that same animal-filled mill in the Maritimes. It was fairly easy to work with but broke when pulling hard with multiple needles when attaching limbs. It was nice and squishy and soft though. The sweater is inspired by others on ravelry and was knit using scraps of Rowan cotton rope. This yarn has been discontinued, likely because it is the worst yarn in the world. It is so hard and tough it's brutal on your hands and splits constantly. The colours are cute though. I stuffed it with scrap ends of yarn that I've accumulated and some cotton balls as I didn't have time to buy proper polyfill.
Overall, this was a great knit but I found the picking up stitches to knit the appendages really fiddly and awkward. It took a lot longer than I predicted and was hard on my hands which was partly poor yarn choice. In the end it looks super charming and was well received so it was worth it.
The awesome thing about baby stuff is that it's easier to make because it's tiny and it looks infinitely better because it is tiny.
I recently went to a baby naming ceremony. It has been explained to me as the girl version of a briss. It was a really nice ceremony and all they did to the baby was wash it's feet. Way better to be a girl in this case, I think.
I took this ceremony as an excuse to knit. Any excuse to knit tiny things.
On a side note: I got a new camera for my last birthday and I am loving using the "food" setting to take detail shots of my knitting. What does it say about our culture that we have an setting for taking pictures of our food? I suppose it says even more that I use it for knitting...let's leave it there.
I used some sock yarn left over from a sweater that I made and then ripped apart because it was the wrong size. The pattern is called saartje's bootees. Ravelry link here. I love this pattern because it is easy to follow and they look like tiny mary-janes.
Every year I write a list of things to do. It's a list of big and small goals that I'd like to reach in the year. My sister and I do it together and then colour them with pencil crayons and frame them elementary school style. One of my things to do for 2012 was to learn how to crochet. It didn't happen and I didn't put it on my new list. Recently, I was feeling restless and a little inspired and decided to just go for it. I found a youtube video on how to make a granny square and followed it. Blankets are typically made of multiple squares stitched together but I really liked watching the yarn become this radiating burst and just kept going making one giant square. I ran out of rainbow but found some of this border colour in my stash that I thought blended well with the last colour of of the rainbow yarn. I really like how it turned out and hope that it keeps a newly named baby warm.
Ravelry link here.
Here's to happy mistakes and everything looking cuter in miniature. I just realized that people might interpret the mistake to be the baby, but I meant the blanket experiment, just to be clear.
I used to be a fair-weather biker. I had this beautiful red vintage Appollo that I would ride around the city on. I'd wear a sundress, sandals and a bathing suit and bike to the beach with stops at sandwich places or coffee shops. It was lovely and stylish and I got huge hipster props for it all.
Then I realized that my beautiful bike was too small, making hills much harder than they needed to be. I finished school and got a job which meant some money and a commute which is only 20 minutes by bike and 40 on the bus. I bought a functional road bike and rode it to work all summer. Then the rain came. The first day it rained I spent the entire day at work with soaking wet feet and thighs. I was miserable. Rain hit me in the face and head, it blinded me by flying into my eyes. My fingers froze. Every crazy item I had ever seen at MEC instantly made sense.
Here is what I've become:
Now I change at work and fully embrace how dorky I am during my commute. Maybe I'm getting old and I'm giving up on fashion or it's just too cold to care at any age. I know I'm still cool on the inside, right?
I am a huge fan of the book Custom Knits. I like that the patterns are mostly top-down and so they are easy to fit. They are relatively simple but have nice details that make them appealing. The designs feel young and current without being too trendy. While it is odd that most of the sweaters are modelled by women in their underwear it must be marketing that works as I have two knitting books where this is the case. Perhaps it is meant to be alarmingly obvious code to young people that knitting is sexy and not just for frumpy cardigans. Despite typically wearing this cardigan over clothes, I quite like it.
I got this yarn on a road trip around the Maritimes. PEI seems to be all about 4 things: lobster, potatoes, red dirt and Anne of Green Gables. PEI has another awesome thing going for it though, a mini mill with lots of yarn and animals all over the place.
The sweater went together relatively easily. The only change I made was to mirror the cables on the arms and on either side of the button band as I thought it looked better that way than both sides going in the same direction.
I find the button band a bit wavy so haven't worn it buttoned up much. I think I will wear it a few more times before deciding if I need to stabilize the backs of the button bands with something.
The upside of being able to button up this cardigan is I could wear it as intended - braless and shirtless as pictured in the book.
I asked my partner if the print of this shirt was a bit "mature." He didn't understand what I meant, and I said "you know, like something a saucy 40 year old would wear." He gave some vague supportive comments. Later that day I saw my sister and she said, "it looks like something a secretary would wear, like a cougar." Nice...
Well, I got this fabric in a big Our Social Fabric Sale in a huge bag for $25 so I'm calling this shirt $1. Plus, I was on a roll with the Briar pattern so I just went with it. I made a Medium with the neckline band. No alterations. It sewed up really quickly and easily. The shoulders were reinforced with clear elastic.
I then decided that it would be good to take some photos outside of my apartment. We went in search of a good spot while doing some errands. My partner suggested this spot over the skytrain because you can see the city in the background.
So, it looks kind of cougary, but I think the silhouette is young and trendy. I will wear it even though I wouldn't actively go out and purchase this fabric for real money. I wonder if this is normal, that I would sew and wear something solely because it is cheap. Why should the cost make a difference? No one else knows how much my shirt cost. They just see a woman standing outside in a busy public transit area in the freezing rain posing for a photo in an obnoxiously printed shirt.
A couple detail shots of the sweet twin needle action done for the hems with my standard sewing machine.
My amazing sister gave me a couple of great patterns for my birthday this year. One was the Briar Pattern by Megan Nielsen. It's a simple pattern with only a few pieces. It is probably easy to draft something like this yourself but I appreciate the work being done for me. More importantly, I value the amount of hand-holding that a lot of independent pattern companies do when it comes to instructions for construction. I love the clear step-by-step instructions, suggestions for variations and the tutorials that are found online to accompany the patterns. The Briar is no exception.
Inspired by a post from the Megan Neilsen Design Diary blog, I saw some sequined sweater knit next to the cutting table at the fabric store and grabbed it on impulse to try this pattern out as a sweater.
I had never sewn a sweater knit before. I was expecting it to be harder to cut and sew on a machine. My rotary cutter didn't like the sequins but I switched to scissors and had no problems. My machine was able to handle the fabric without any problems with a zig zag stitch and no walking foot (as I don't have one). The only down side is that there are tiny sequins all over my dining room table FOREVER.
I usually cut a size Medium for the briar but sized up to a Large for the sweater knit to wear over shirts and I am quite happy with the fit. I chose the neckline band instead of the binding as I am comfortable with a band and have only tried the binding once with mixed results.
Overall, I'm really happy with this sweater. It satisfies my desire for over the top tackiness that I am drawn to - in this case sequins for everyday wear.
My partner is graciously taking photos for me for this blog but is learning in the process so I have decided to add out-takes because there are many. Here's the first one:
A blog to document my attempts to create a well-fitting wardrobe through sewing and knitting.