Wednesday, August 31, 2011

productive pause

Amid a predictably busy summer at work, I was given a tough suggestion to deal with the stress: temporarily give up all my hobbies except one. Sure, I was terror-stricken at the thought, but it only took me half a second to choose which one I would keep. It's the one that slows my mind down and helps me breathe deeply. It's tactile and full of possibilities and has taught me the wonders of patience. So while everything else is put aside, my knitting needles will keep me company.

What's amazing is how much knitting has happened since that decision one week ago. I finished these legwarmers - something I had started months ago after a failed attempt at a Citron Shawl using this purple Koigu wool. The pattern is Some Cloudy Day by Tiny Owl Knits and I love the simple lace effect, which was a really easy set of stitches to memorize. I may try a modified version (basically a smaller multiple of 6 stitches) in a worsted or aran weight to get chunkier pair for really cold weather. Or perhaps a tinier version for Sadie because it's possible that wearing legwarmers is more appropriate for 6 year olds anyway? (Though the same could be said for wearing bright red Mary Jane shoes, but that has never stopped me before - thank you Trove for having such an excellent summer sale!)

And as Milo napped Friday afternoon I also started the Golden Wheat Cardigan using my all-time favourite wool Debbie Bliss' Luxury Donegal Tweed, in the very same colourway as the Mara Shawl I knit last year (it's just that awesome a colourway). It's a top-down, seamless pattern and I'm already 3 inches into the body. Clearly this focusing on one hobby has productivity going for it...not that I should be focused on being productive (actually, that's exactly the opposite of the intention) but it's been a pleasant outcome so far. I am still reading though, because I think reading is more like breathing and eating, and not really a hobby at all. Although it's not in the photo, I finished up The Girl Who Fell from the Sky. It was swift, haunting and thoroughly engaging. I haven't been able to finish The Illumination (sorry Ragdoll!) but it does boast an amazing premise and an awesome cover too.

For more stories of knitting and reading loveliness, check out this week's Yarn Along.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

knitting, for real

Lately there has been very little knitting represented here. Now, no one is really holding me to showing only knitting, but perhaps it's time I change my little description off to the right. Clearly my addictions are not limited to wool and I no longer sew things from wool blankets. But this would involve writing a new description which takes...time. And thought. When instead I could be sewing and knitting some more. For now I'll add figure-out-what-my-blog-is-for-and-if-it-needs-a-facelift to my to do list. At least today I have a knitted vest to show.

It feels a bit like cheating to use my own pattern, but here's the sad part: I had to print myself a copy and I also had to restart the vest twice because I goofed up. Using my own pattern. Hmm. But I still love making this wee thing and I used Cascade Superwash to make things easier on the new mommy. It's been a while since I've had a baby gift to make and it was such a perfect reason to get knitting (and get me out of my knitting funk which involved three separate attempts at adult-sized sweaters - so much wasted time!)

I worked on this vest while while we stayed at a cottage two weeks ago in Prince Edward County (we stayed there a few summers ago as well). Before leaving I wanted to order some new books for the vacation, but I struggled for a moment trying to figure out what to pick. Then I remembered small thingsYarn Along. This is the beauty of community that the internet allows: in this case, those of us who count knitting and reading as favourite pastimes have a place where we can ooh and ahh over lovely photos of yarn and books while also getting reading recommendations from similarly minded people. Amazon will never peg my "likes" as easily as this group of knitters. So here is my first knitting-with-novel photo, taken on the cottage deck when I was about halfway through Annabel by Kathleen Winter. I haven't reviewed novels in a while, but other than the abrupt ending, I loved the world this story inhabited and the characters I met along the way. And now a trip to Newfoundland has moved to the top of my wish list. It happened to start on a wintery scene, but it was a lovely, engaging summer read.

Happy knitting.

Monday, August 08, 2011

little black dress

More Sadie-shot photographs, more me looking like the world's most awkward model. But I think this dress turned out really well, so they will have to do. I picked up a DKNY Vogue pattern (V1179) in the spring even though I've had bad luck with commercial patterns over the last few years. At this point I can't even remember why I started cutting out the tissue pieces. Whatever the reason, I'm glad I did. Other than the fiddly pleats (I mean, imagine trying to get pleats in knit jersey to be spaced evenly - it's pure torture) the dress was really easy to make and the resulting shape is comfortable and cute. It has the shape of the Mociun tie-front dress, minus the whole tie feature of course, but I like dress shapes that are snug where you are small (for me = bust) and roomy where you are...less small (ahem). So, great pattern and highly recommended. As for fabric, a lightweight jersey with drape would be perfect - my cowl is a bit heavy because I used a t-shirt weight knit but it's totally passable.

(Note to self for the next photo shoot: stand in front of the dimmer switch.)