Saturday, December 29, 2007

bobble anyone?

I tried to convince my Mom that she should model her own hat, but by the time I remembered to take the photo her hair was "done". Since I wouldn't be seeing the hat for a while I succumbed to modeling it myself. Here is the Twiggy Bobble Hat, courtesy of Andrea Tung of Fable Handknit. This was the first time I've made bobbles, and I admit, they were fun. I knit this for my Mom as a Christmas gift while catching up on old Heroes episodes (Jay and I had to sit at the computer to do so - not comfortable, and therefore, quite memorable.) The yarn is Rowan Cashcotton because I knew my Mom would appreciate the softness, and I enjoy knitting with it (the yardage for the price is also a big plus). It makes for a soft, lightweight hat and I hope my Mom likes it.

The dilemma of the day involves the fabric above. It's the "Holiday" pattern by Shinzi Katoh and I'm just smitten by it. Jay and I have been catching up on all things house this week (which is a whole post in itself), and we're focusing a lot on our kitchen. This fabric would work - I mean really work - in the space. Unfortunately, it seems that ordering right from Japan is the only way I can get it, but the instructions are a bit unusual and I'm so used to Paypal and direct ordering that I'm a little hesitant. I may try contacting Superbuzzy directly to see if this fabric is on their radar, but otherwise I may have to go without. Perhaps it's been too long since I've had a Shinzi Katoh fix?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

stoked x 3

An old boyfriend used to love finding the opportunity to say he was "stoked". So, I'm taking his youthful, useful word and listing three things that have me stoked these days:

1) Sadie's drawings. One day all she could manage were scribbles, then a day later she knew how to make faces with arms and legs. This guy above doesn't actually have legs, but Sadie claims it's a tiger, hence the pattern on the body. Pattern on the body? How did she jump into this realm of undertsanding? (And I think I'll have to embroider him on something - how can I resist?)

2) Scarbiedoll's honesty. This post struck a chord with me, and I adore Nadine for sharing her experiences so candidly, allowing us to feel like we're not alone. 'Cause we're not.

3) This book. I asked Jay the other day if he ever thought I would become such a knitter, and he honestly answered "no." Deep down I know the turn happened after Sadie was born - it's the one thing I can pick up and put down quickly, and no sharp (well, not really sharp) implements are used so I can leave it around. Everywhere. But I mainly knit functional things from patterns so this book is a real inspiration. Nothing helps more than seeing a community of people pushing the limits of the craft, and I'm always stoked to hear the backgrounds of these artists - how they got here, what lifestyle they lead now, what future they are dreaming of. It's a great book to end the year reading, cosied up on the couch thinking about a whole new year of possibilities.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

tree solution(s)

After seeing The Golden Compass Wednesday morning, I stepped off the streetcar one stop later than usual. I thought I could walk through our local park and see if any branches were lying around. There were two streets I could have walked up; I chose the one furthest away. I wasn't quite to the park when I almost walked past three piles of perfectly shaped, perfectly cut tree branches. I smirked at my luck and started digging through the pile. Finding four great branches among the bounty, I set off with them in my arms. One woman asked me what I was going to do with them and I happily answered, "they are going to be my Christmas tree".

One bucket, eight bricks and a length of jute later, the tree was up. Sadie helped me unpack the ornaments while I told her the story of my cardboard stars. We plugged in the lights and decided this was a good tree. Charlie Brown in style, sure, but a tree that met with the criteria I was given. Jay even likes it. The only downfall? It really doesn't photograph well, especially when there are paint-by-numbers behind it.

The other photo is my smaller tree endeavour. A late night inspiration from this blog had me dreaming of paper possibilities. Mine may not be as colourful, but drawing and cutting it was pretty fun and I think there might be more paper ideas to come. But speaking of inspiration, check out this fantastic advent calendar! It's a great blog and that robin's egg blue wall is awesome.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

seeing dots

Every year on Christmas Eve, my Mom would give us one gift to unwrap - a new pair of pajamas. It didn't matter that we knew what would be inside the box, it only mattered that it was tradition and that we would go to bed in something new and warm. In my attempt to figure out how Christmas might work in our house, I've decided to keep up this tradition with Sadie. Of course, I've also pledged to be as "handmade" as possible, so I sat down this week and made a wee nightgown. I didn't use a pattern, so I probably took longer than I needed to, but in the end I think it worked out. The heart buttons are just an extra detail, and the entire back is regular buttons (this is what happens when you sew freestyle - you get stuck and sometimes button plackets are the only solution).

We'll see if it passes the Sadie test; she has a quirky habit of not liking anything I make her. My new plan? Don't tell her that Mommy had anything to do with it.

Monday, December 03, 2007

another monday

Admittedly, hearts are not really my thing, but I have an inkling that three year olds like them. So, to match her cookies, here is Sadie's tiny apron. The pinks and purples are more muted than she would generally pick, but I'm using fabrics I already have (honestly, I have a contract with myself - absolutely no more fabric enters this house for an insane amount of time. Ditto with patterns. Not ditto with wool...I need at least one indulgence.) It was ridiculously fun to make the ruffle and I hope the apron gets used to the point that cookie batter gets wedged between the folds.

So another Monday, another gift made. Not quite as inspiring or as relaxing a day as last Monday, but oh well. At least I got a belated thank you gift almost finished and spent some quality time humming along to Johnny Cash. Perhaps spending the previous night in Sadie's bed being kicked incessantly by little feet had something to do with my mood?

And man, do I ever wish we had some natural light in this house. Winter equals dark, muddy photos...and apologies from me.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

baking and waltzes

To make up for not taking much vacation this year, I have the next 4 Mondays off (oh, and a whole week in the middle). This week was my first Monday and it was fabulous. I had already pledged to buy handmade and even purchased a few gifts from Etsy, but there were some stuffed cookies that wouldn't ship to Canada. So, after a good clean up of my small workspace, I put aside all the bird drawings and conceptual pieces to make room for some Christmas gift making. Inspired by these Etsy sellers, I made Sadie a half dozen cookies, complete with sprinkles and beads. It was the most wonderful way to spend the afternoon, quietly handstitching the cookie tops and reacquainting myself with my wool scraps. I also listened to an older Cowboy Junkies album, Rarities, B Sides and Slow, Sad Waltzes but it was anything but sad. I did shed a tear or two but the message of all the songs seemed to be that the things we say are important, and that love can be forgotten if you don't acknowledge it or spend time tending to it. One song was inspired by a story (forgive me, I'm forgetting all the details) of a man who, when he lost his wife late in life, filled their apartment with cardboard hearts and other obsessive amounts of kitschy items. He loved and missed her so much that he surrounded himself with these unique reminders. Anyway, it was the perfect album for a perfect afternoon. And a nice start to the holiday season.

But why cookies? Well, Sadie likes to bake banana bread with me, so I thought a baking theme might be fun. She's very good at stirring and she doesn't get bored anytime during the process. Now I've started a purple apron ("purple's my fravrite colour Mommy!") so she can dress the part too.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

the december debate

The holiday season is never easy in our house, and already this year is no exception. But I deserve a newsflash: when you pair two artists from two different cultures and religions and then those two people create a darling little girl who happens to be the sum of all parts, well, how exactly is December supposed to work? I stress the artist part because this probably accounts for the main source of frustration - an inherent need to NOT do the things everyone else is doing. For Jay it's even easier; Christmas has never been in his book at all, so whenever December gets close it's my expectations that I have to come to terms with. And believe me, I come from a family who loves, loves, loves Christmas. Not the baby Jesus variety, because our house was religiously non-religious, but the variety where you put fake trees up at the very beginning of December and outdoor lights are a serious business. My Grandmother was the Queen of Christmas; one year her house was even photographed for a double page spread in the newspaper (she decorated with red velvet and white year round, but at Christmas the white trees and dozen miniature villages came out in full glory). So, I come by my inner desire to decorate and celebrate Christmas quite honestly, but I am prone to wanting to do things different and I also have trouble with consumerism. So what's a girl to do?

Well, a girl finds ways to balance this sensitive time, though with life at the current pace, sitting down and coming up with good strategies is challenging. But I have made one decision, and it feels like a good start. I've always made as many gifts as I can, but since I'm short on time, I've decided to Buy Handmade this season. The only exception will be books, because there is no equivalent and I'm just too strong a believer in the written word. The best part though? It's hardly a struggle - I mean, here I am spending glorious pockets of time looking through Etsy shops and it doesn't even count as procrastination! Happily I have already ordered from these fantastic folks at CircaCeramics in Chicago and also Cyberoptix TieLab.
If the thought interests you, here's where people are pledging. I love that people come together and organize such a thing. Peace and joy, right? Oh, and if anyone has some great strategies for keeping December peaceful I would be ever-so-thankful for the sharing. Especially Christmas tree alternatives...I've run out of room in the yard to plant live shrubs and my dead branches in a bucket of sand is just too tantalizing for Glen Miller.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

something black

Funny, but I'm still a little shocked that I knit this sweater. I started, never got bored, and actually finished it. And the even bigger shock? I've worn it. Multiple times.
Yes, I've knit two sweaters before this, but both have problems that keep me from wearing them (though I have black dye now, so only laziness keeps me from fixing the problem with my Sahara). But really, a black cardigan with one button and raglan sleeves? There is just nothing more perfect in my book. I worked from Knit and Tonic's "Something Red" pattern and modified the body. Instead of ribbing from the bust down I borrowed the shaping from Sahara and made a band of ribbing just along the bottom. The shaping makes the sweater fit me just so, with a nice waistline close to the button height. I actually bound off shorter sleeves but realized long sleeves would be more practical, so without the slightest hesitation I went back and changed them. I even have wool left over and using Misti Pima Cotton was really economical. Three cheers all around.
(Final details: I used 4.25 bamboo circulars and DPNs which gives the Misti a nice dense texture and didn't throw the gauge off. Did I mention the three cheers part?)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

a bevy of birds

For reasons mostly unkown, birds have been popping up everywhere in our house. I know that birds are nothing new, and frankly, I've been a bit leary of birds simply because they seem to be popular in art and design these days. But all of a sudden, I'm addicted.
At a low point this summer Jay had a profound interaction with a tiny and precious winged creature. Soon after, we purchased a massive drawing by Nicholas DiGenova because the subject matter was timely and even better, it spoke to us both. The image above is just a detail - the piece houses mulitple creatures with multiple heads, referencing some psuedo-science from centuries past. Next up is a souvenir from my New York trip; I never leave the city without a visit to the American Folk Art Museum. I enjoy the museum itself, but I also love the great gift shop. This brooch with miniature blackbird satisfied a jewelry fix I didn't even know I had. Then some resin bird buttons are the best detail of an otherwise classic brown cardigan I also picked up in New York. This leaves only one more bird mention...and by far, the most personal.
I've been trying hard to get back into my own artwork for a few weeks now, which is never an easy goal. Without truly knowing why, I began making bird stencils while looking for a way to use common stamping materials. I think, deep down, I imagine birds as messengers and the work I've been experimenting with is all about the hidden messages women have a urgent need to release. So this is where my addiction has led me, birds teetering on my own white pages, a product of my own hands. But if they harken me into my studio, I take all my reservations and silly comments back.
Wings are just where it's at. And I wholeheartedly join the bird revolution.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

where did my baby go?

Last weekend Sadie turned three. Three!

Time flying aside, I am most shocked by how seamlessly our relationship has welcomed real conversation. The two of us take the subway home everyday, which is almost an hour trip, and we fill each moment with words. Words that come out right, words that are strung together into sentences, words that communicate exactly what my three-year-old is thinking. I recently finished The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion and in it she reveals that when her daughter Quintana was young her husband would write down the things Quintana said on little scraps of paper. He put each scrap into a box partly for nostalgia, but mainly for when he wrote future novels that had children in them. As adults, there is simply no way we can recapture what comes out of a three-year-old's mouth without actually documenting the source. Inspired by this I have only written down one fragment (and mostly for Jay's benefit - I wanted to have a Sadie moment to share with him on the phone while he was in LA). Sadie was talking to Glen Miller, our cat, through the glass of our front door and she said: "stay back, you have to be safe and you not have shoes". Since then Sadie has explained to me that the whole reason why our cats stay inside is because they are shoeless. Of course. And it took a three-year-old to say it so clearly.

(At this very moment Sadie is piling her birthday cards, one by one, on Glen Miller as he sleeps on a stool. They are the funniest pair - not too long ago she bent down to within 1cm of his face and asked, "Are you sad? Are you sad? Are you sad?" Who wouldn't be when you are trying to sleep and a toddler is forcing you to study the poetry of Hallmark?)

So, a baby Sadie is not. A charming, unpredictable, inquisitive three-year-old is my girl today. And I have to say, I'm pretty stoked by that.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

the forever socks

Finally I can turn in my DPNs, the red socks are done. I started these when my Dad had hip surgery back in February and they just hung around building s-l-o-w-l-y over time. Also, I made the first toe all wrong and had to rip it out after finishing and weaving in the ends - oops. But the best part was trying to take photos of my feet while Sadie was around, and as you can see, she had to get in on the action. Her striped pants deserve to be photographed though, so she can trump my new socks anytime.
Speaking of socks, I don't know how Elizabeth does it! She's so fearless...I have a hard enough time with this basic pattern from Fleece Artist. But at least I can join this group now on Flickr - because I have to admit, seeing handmade socks with a pair of great shoes leaves me feeling all tingly inside.
Sock details: Fleece Artist 100% Merino Washable wool and 2.5mm Pony DPNs.
Oh, and the cable idea has been approved. But how do I catch up on all the Mad Men that I've missed?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

searching for something

No cable yet, but still a persistent pull to change something, anything. I spent last night sitting at my sewing table unhappy with everything I was working on. This simple red bird (and purple buddy below) were all I could come up with, and they are both far too sweet for my tastes. Just as I was walking out the studio door I had one final thought, resulting in the roughly sewn on bit. I've been cutting out fragmented messages from this old book I found in Michigan - this one being "I will not go with you". See? Change would be great right about now.
Which leads me to the paint chips. We have an all-beige house which I completely agree with in theory. It's practical and means your "stuff" can stand out. But I am ready to abandon being practical. We get hardly any natural light in our house and winter is coming so I think a saturated, full-of-passion colour would be a healthy move. Sadie and I debated our options on the porch today, and I've narrowed it down to two: "boston brick" red and "cougar brown" well, brown (though it has an almost plum base). Jay gets home Tuesday and as long as he doesn't shudder at the thought, I hope he can weigh in. He's never been into red, but maybe this year things are different. Sadie can be very persuasive.
On a different note, thanks to Ragdoll's reminder, Sadie and I went to Word on the Street today. We loaded down her stroller with books (a bag of books for $5? Give me 2!) and felt very happy with ourselves. Books and paint, we must be readying our nest for the winter. Throw in a pair of almost-complete-socks and my beloved can of Coke, and I may make it through this need for change after all.

Friday, September 28, 2007

hollywood night

Right now, Jay is heading over to an opening reception for a show called "Just Britney" at a gallery in Hollywood. They managed to pull together work from 47 artists, including Fourteen and Chris Crocker (of YouTube fame). Of course, Jay could have gone down the trashy route for Ms. Spears, but his portrait is beautifully innocent and I think it's one of his best pieces. He just knows her face so well, and I've long since forgotten my husband's predilection for this particular blonde. Well, for the most part.

It would have been great to join him, but I just got home from a lovely break in New York with Ragdoll and couldn't stand being away from Sadie that long. Although I was in NY for a work conference, I was a total girl and shopped like mad (Ragdoll inspires me that way, though she did laugh when I bought a pair of red shoes similar to ones I already have. My response: I like variations on a theme.) But being away from home was good for my soul, truly. These are uncertain times at my workplace, the summer, frankly, was a bummer, and I have a real need for change right now. My mother, bless her, tried to help me move all our furniture around today just to make some change, but with a cumbersome TV, nothing worked. Stupid TV - and to add insult to injury, we don't even have cable.

So while Jay is doing his art thing I just need to sit down and knit, send him happy Hollywood thoughts, and consider this whole cable ridiculousness. Maybe signing up could count as change? At the very least I could finally watch Mad Men.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

gramma love

Truth be told, I learned how to crochet way before I ever knit. The women in my family were more of the doily-making variety instead of knitters; perhaps they preferred keeping track of only one needle or they liked the humour of being called a "hooker". I imagine the latter is the case, as crochet reminds me most of my Gramma Vi, who passed away two weeks ago. Sure, this summer has been absolutely crappy for losing loved ones, but at least remembering my Gramma makes me laugh. She was a crazy, one-of-a-kind lady. You could not leave her house without sparkles attaching themselves mysteriously to your body and she was a crochet queen. So finishing a crochet project is not only timely, but also therapeutic.

It turns out that crocheting is also easier to do on the subway when I'm standing behind Sadie's stroller. We only go 4 stops, but I suffer from having to always do something with my hands, so I make use of the time. This scarf is a simple fan pattern I found somewhere online and I like that it feels lacy without the task of having to memorize a lace knitting pattern, plus it looks the same on both sides. I used Rowan cashcotton, which is lovely to work with, and a 4.5mm hook. It's about 9 degrees outside right now, so I'd say I finished the scarf just in time.

See Gramma? I'm a hooker now too.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

babies need red shoes too

I was incredibly slow to discover the wonder of Japanese crafting books, but wow, how inspiring they are! One in the Handmade Zakka series arrived at my door last week and the very same day I heard that Nadine had had her baby. So, eager to sew for a little baby girl I started picking fabric for the baby shoe pattern. The construction was surprising, and the hand sewing intense, but I should have known that to make something so tiny and sweet requires special processes. Now I just have to get my act together and deliver the little package before baby Lucine's feet get too big! Three years down the road and I have no idea what size newborn feet are. I may already be too late.

P.S. Nadine - if you're reading this pretend that by "Nadine" I mean Georgette. And if you find a wee package hanging on your door, it's from the Baby Shoe Faery. But most of all, congratulations and I can't wait to meet your little lady.

Friday, August 24, 2007

starting over

Once upon a time, sewing was the love of my life. In the past 3 years I have been neglecting my needles and thread (though knitting has filled some of the void, to be sure) but lately I have really been missing this part of my world. And today at a very poignant psychic reading I was told just this - I have walked too far away from this love.
Of course, times have been a little tough lately. One night when Jay was staying at the hospital I escaped into our shared studio and started making pants. Made one sketch and just grabbed fabric. I had been inspired by Little Red Caboose and since Sadie has been adding inches to her legs, I figured pants were a gentle and practical project to take on. Among the tears and heavy heart, the night spent sewing was wonderful. As usual, my little girl dislikes what I made her, but I'd be happy to even give these away; making them was what I needed most. And yesterday I received these fantastic books in the mail so I think I may be able to keep up the sewing energy. Sadie is more likely to appreciate the dolls I stitch together, so I may just start there.
I may even make the psychic proud.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

for Margie, with love

My mother in law -
your laugh, loud and so sincere
left us all too soon.

(P. S. Our garden will always have purple flowers for you.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

purple goodness

It feels as though this sweater took a long time to get through, even though it's toddler-sized. Perhaps it's the weather, or maybe the fact that every summer seems to get packed with things to do (and lately, not the happiest of things), but it sure felt great to weave in the very last end and convince Sadie to try it on.
The pattern was very simple to follow; I had knit the collar much longer but ripped it out to make the sweater feel balanced. I made a cleaner selvage for the edges, but it rolls inward anyway so I don't know if it mattered much. The one funny thing I found out is that when I transferred the sleeves to DPNs my knitting became too regular and looked totally different than the body. I switched to knitting them flat and it matched again, so I just had to endure more seaming. Unfortunately Sadie dislikes the sweater entirely - I had to promise she could wear polka-dotted sneakers that are still too big for her just to get a few photos. She was more than happy to tear the sweater off...I sure hope she changes her mind in the fall.
Wool: Misti Pima Cotton/Silk, 3 skeins
Needles: 5mm bamboo circulars
A couple more shots on Flickr.

Monday, July 09, 2007

the birth house

Even though the premise interested me, I wasn't expecting to love The Birth House nearly half as much as I did. I took Friday afternoon off and sat in our quiet backyard - by myself - for hours, savouring every word and every scene. The characters were charming and real, the midwifery perspective respectful and fascinating, the story simply over too soon. I can't do a book review justice (I'll leave that to Ragdoll) but I certainly can gush. I loved, loved, loved this novel.

Photo courtesy of our local thrift store - when Sadie was about the same age we found this beauty framed. It's quite large, about 22" x 30". He/she has been hanging in our bedroom ever since.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

have fabric, will sew...maybe

I've been itching to sew. Once, that was all I ever did, but these days my shelves of fabric stand untouched and my sewing machine mainly stitches gift cards. The wall hanging above is one of the last non-softie projects I completed soon after Sadie moved into her own room. Small quilting projects are so rewarding - I love sifting through scraps and randomly sewing pieces together, although my choice of black may be a bit macabre for a little girl (I tell myself this everytime I dress her in black too, yet I never really pay attention to my internal scolding).
Months, and I mean MONTHS ago I picked up these two floral prints and two polka dot ribbons at Designer Fabric to make a curtain for Sadie's window. Still unmade, I'm trying to muster the energy to get it done this week. And seeing as I'm breaking the rule about similar sized patterns together - twice! - I really should finish my rebellion and just do it already. This time, I'm crossing my toes.
The other shot is just context - a little vignette in Sadie's room. My Mom won the lamp in a raffle and the old toy is from when I was a baby, along with some other odds and ends.
And in a "small" aside, the wonderful folks at small magazine were kind enough to include my Trampy Bunny in their latest edition. It's pretty cool to be in such great company and Jay thinks Dawn's bunny rocks.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

who knew?

Finally I finished a book. Not a book of patterns, not a magazine, but a novel. I have started about three, no four, books over the past few months (Everything is Illuminated, On Beauty, The History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters and The Trick is to Keep Breathing) and nothing stuck. I did finish The Actual by Saul Bellow but that's classified as a novella so I didn't feel the same accomplishment. But why am I even talking about this boring fact of finishing a novel? Well, I heard myself telling friends about it all week, and then tonight I looked it up and the first search result was the movie listing at IMDB. So the film will also be titled Revolutionary Road, and the novel is by Richard Yates, about a suburban couple in the 1950's coming to terms with their relationship while raising two children. Funny thing is that I felt like I chose to read the 1950's version of Little Children and IMDB tells me that Kate Winslet is playing the lead character in this film too. Huh. But I'm still staying away from Little Children for the time being.
To keep with the momentum I'm re-reading A Room of One's Own. Ah Virginia Woolf, how I love thee. I don't know if I'll ever get back to any of the other four I started, but at least I broke the reading rut. Finishing my tally for 1001 Books You Must Read may have provided an extra push too - I'll never be Ragdoll, but I hope I can stretch beyond my 64.
Oh, and the flowers (or shall I say cabbage) have no direct meaning - I just like to have flowers out for guests.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

big grrr

Sadie has informed me that she isn't a little grrr anymore, but a big grrr. And big grrrs like fairy wings, smoked salmon and capers. They also love to go on road trips to Chicago and stay in motels staying up late with Daddy to watch basketball. Every day with a big grrr brings a new word, new song, new catch phrase (today for instance, it's "I don't think so.") Big grrrs also love to garden with "glubs" on, and fight any polite request to come indoors. Big grrrs rock.

On an unrelated note, a colleague yesterday stated that folks who lean far to the left are often the ones who only have one child. Being 100% sure that I haven't decided where I stand on the second child decision, it was a curious thought. It was only an opinion of course, but still intriguing. All I do know for now is that I'm going to enjoy every little big grrr moment I can. This whole growing up thing happens way too fast.

Monday, May 07, 2007


Tulip will only garden with her apron on - she's fussy that way.
I have taken giant liberties with the Month of Softies theme. It's "Plant Life" but somehow I couldn't get bunnies out of my mind (thanks to a certain trampy bunny I know). To her credit, Tulip is all about flowers and even though she's pink, I believe she has a genuine green thumb.
These days I'd rather show the seams of my softies because I can get a little stuck in the finishing details and at this point it's simply about making. The less I worry about, the more fun I have. Oddly enough it's the clothing (if my last bunny's stockings count as clothing) that I'm taking the most care with. Phases will be phases I guess.
Note to self: I must get more of that polka dot ribbon.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


First of all - please, please know that I'm not really fond of pictures of myself (and especially POSTING pictures of myself). I do however appreciate when I see finished garments on a real person and not a headless torso. So for this reason I had Jay take a photo for anyone and everyone to see (gulp). Please mind the early morning bedhead.
My Sahara is done, and aside from the wild colour I'm pretty happy with it. The pattern really was easy, and I learned once again to read instructions carefully...I had this puffy sleeve at one point because I didn't realize I was supposed to wrap the next stitch two stitches past the last one. I skim, I admit it. But what I love about knitting is that you can correct your mistakes, plus I no longer fear ripping out nights of work. It's so worth it in the end because you'll have a sweater you will actually wear! (Though I do think the sweater would suit someone with an actual bust better, but I'll wear it nonetheless.)
And on another note, I just loved this wool. It's so soft and not as heavy as other cottons. Sadie and I already walked to Knitomatic today for more: black for Something Red, and purple for Girlfriend's Swing Coat (for a deserving little girl). Suddenly I'm a huge Knit and Tonic fan!
Pattern: Sahara by Wendy Jo Bernard
Wool: Misti Pima Cotton/Silk, 4 skeins
Needles: 4.25 /3.25 circulars, 4.25/3.25 DPNs
Modifications: I did the XS size until the waist and then made more frequent waist increases to end up with a S/M bottom. I didn't do the shirttail hem for no better reason than I thought I would prefer it straight. And I spent forever stitching the collar ribbing to the body. I couldn't get a mattress stitch seam I was happy with so in the end I used a crochet hook and made a really lumpy seam, but it mimics the ribbing and suits me just fine.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

tangerine progress

Just before our road trip to Chicago I picked up wool for the short sleeved Sahara sweater. The pattern is from Knit and Tonic (though purchased from StitchDiva), but it was this version that really convinced me to tackle it (could that blue be any more perfect on her?) Anyway, I headed to Knitomatic before we left and stocked up on Misti Pima Cotton/Silk in this wild tangerine colour. I had black in my hands when Haley suggested that summer knitting called for colour, and if I was really unhappy in the end I could always dye it black. Sadie chose the orange over lavender, and Haley approved. I will wait to decide until the end...but I'm such a practical girl at heart that I'm already leaning to the dye job. The pattern has been straightforward and I'm really excited about the collar detail - plus the wool is fantastically soft. It's pretty dreamy to knit with. All I have left are the sleeves!
The one thing that may keep it orange is how well it will go with my recent indulgence - a bag from Orla Kiely. I am a bag person for sure, but not really a purse girl. I ordered it online as a birthday present to myself, so I don't actually know if it will suit my non-purse persona. Oh well, at least it will be awfully cute...I mean, look at that awesome pattern!
Hmm, the older I get, the more girly I become. Funny that.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

that bunny's a tramp

Every so often, I just tell myself that I need to make something in less than 24 hours. This weekend was one of those times; armed with the March theme for Month of Softies ("mad as a march hare") and inspired by Lyn at Mollychicken (really, when isn't she inspiring?) I set out to create a bunny for Sadie. I must admit I soon went off the rails, and my bunny became a black-eyed, stitched up hussy who just had to have black stockings. Luckily Sadie got a new bunny from friends today so I think it was all meant to be.
I must tell myself to make something more often - this may have been the most fun I've had in a while. For more doll inspiration, check out these two local artists: Magda Trzaski and Miru's Friends.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

lovely in chicago

While in Chicago Jay and I sought out a show called "ImPaired Visions" at the District 13 Gallery. We saw a link on the Daily Candy (thanks Dave!) and thought it sounded like a good stop. When you know nothing about a city it is hard to understand where the good galleries are, and often people have opposing opinions (really, most folks suggested going to the Art Institute, but we wanted to see contemporary work to get an idea of the type of culture Chicago fosters). In total we visited around 10 spaces, but this one was by far our favourite - and luckily our last stop, so we ended on a high note. Youth, playful restraint and solid talent filled the walls. We each were drawn to a piece - but not the same one. Oddly enough, they were by the same artists so we had to take a walk to decide how we would choose. In the end we picked both because we were in Chicago for Jay's art and we liked the idea of showing our support in return.
The top piece was my pick, titled "supper was delicious mommy"; it was a little more feminine and I just adore the script of "lovely" flowing out of the vomiting daughter's mouth. What you can't see in the photo is the clear gloss printed floral pattern that I think was the last layer screened. Jay's piece, "hope", is printed on solid wood and is wonderfully minimal. The artists are two guys from Minneapolis who form the duo Lovely. They had a number of pieces in the exhibit and even designed the show poster (which we also got a copy of - you can see it here), but most of the other artists were from the Chicago area. I did recognize one artist by name - Shawnimal - from the Plush You II show last year. For a very brief moment, this one degree of separation made me feel like a part of this vital culture, but I quickly resumed my "happy to be absorbing" position.
Someday, someday.