Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ad on Subway in Paris

Once you're ready to die you'll live on forever
Once you're ready to cry you're truly alive
And this life is not about being clever
It's about making the love of your life

Friday, July 26, 2013


Creative Yarns in Scarborough
Creative Yarns: Estelle Baby Silk Lace
I didn't take any pictures during the event, unfortunately, but I do have pictures of what I brought home with me! Team Intarsia started off in Scarborough, at Creative Yarns, where I purchased 2 skeins of the above stunning red Estelle Baby Silk Lace. I intended to make a shawl (maybe the Marjamets Shawl?) out of it for use in August, but I don't think I'll be able to complete it.

The Purple Purl: 100% Merino Fibre
100% Merino Fibre
The next stop was The Purple Purl, where I laid my hands on some of this gorgeous fibre by sweetgeorgia. I was tempted to buy out the entire shelf of it! The colours are absolutely amazing. Even this grey is brilliant. Not muted at all, the blue one especially is very bright, and the name - summer skin - is a perfect fit. I started spinning up the blue one and it's so soft and smooth and it just glides along without any predrafting. Because merino is a bit of a shorter fibre, I decided to try ripping out chunks of it and spinning those (I think it's called short-draw? I'm actually not sure, but I'm pretty convinced it would've been very difficult with the Corriedale simply because that had such a long staple length).

Araucania Ranco Multy
Araucania Botany Lace
madelinetosh lace
Romni Wools was our next stop. I knew I definitely wanted to stop by Romni's for the Araucania Botany Lace (the yellow-green-ochre colour yarn) that I'd been eyeing for the longest time, so this was the stop I'd been looking forward to the most! While I was there, I also purchased more of some yarn I have in my stash so I'd have enough to make something large with it (no pictures of that one, but it's grey and white, and I haven't a clue what weight of yarn it is), and I've been meaning to try out madelinetosh for a while, so I indulged myself. They're so bouncy and soft! The Ranco Multy jumped into my basket while I wasn't looking (I resisted the urge to get more of an orange-pink colourway that I already have 4 skeins of, as well as a light green apple colour that I also love but wouldn't know what to knit it up using).

I think the Ranco is going to become a Kittywake Cardigan and the Botany Lace something that greatly resembles a Wickerwork Pullover (only because the pattern looks dead simple and I'm using a different weight of yarn so I'd have to recalculate all the numbers anyway).
Originally I was thinking of using the Ranco to make a Rime's the Reason, but I fear I don't have enough of it, especially since my gauge would be completely off and I'd have to make a larger size, and I had already snatched up all the skeins I could find at Romni's. There was a very similar colourway, but I think I'll just find another, more suitable yarn to knit that up in.
As for the madtosh, I haven't really settled on what I might want to knit them into. I'm considering getting more of each colour so I can make two full-size garments with each of them (instead of striping as I'd originally planned), but that will have to come at a later time.

Americo Original: 765 yards of llama, FREE!!!

Last was Americo Original, the store I was always afraid to step into because a) I'd seen their yarns online and they looked mouthwatering, b) they also looked really expensive, and finally c) I knew I probably wouldn't be able to resist if I did enter. Upon entering, I noticed that their setup was really nice - they had skeins hung up so that they lined the walls, as well as some in the centre of the store that were rolled up nicely (like the Sedoso above). Then they gave us all a lovely surprise by giving us each a skein of llama lace, free! That was such a generous gift and by then I'd completely relaxed my guard, so while I stopped a while at the Brezo (I really liked the Dark Citrine and Smoky Topaz), when I stroked the Sedoso I couldn't keep my hands to myself! The Brezos I had in my hands were quickly placed back where they belonged and two skeins of Sedoso brought themselves to the register and into my tote bag.

At the end of the day we all gathered at the Rivoli for drinks, food, and prizes! I won a $75 gift certificate for Patternfish (perfect companion to all the stash I acquired during the day!) and overall just had a great time! I'm definitely looking forward to next year, but I'll have to set some rules for yarn-buying (or not-buying, rather) for probably the rest of the year until Christmas/Boxing Day sales. That's to come.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Diamond Rib Dress

Hmm... I wonder if I should rip out the back neck?
Yarn: Araucania Ranco Solid. It's a beautiful yarn that doesn't feel too special when you're knitting it up, but it softens up after a gentle wash. I used the felted join whenever I had to join together yarn ends and it worked really well, so although the swatch came out of the washing machine fine (I never handwash, and put all my knits on a cold knits/delicates cycle), I'm a touch worried about whether my dress will felt when washed.
Needles: 2.5mm (after joining sleeves and body together) & 3mm circular needles (the body and sleeves up to the join)
Gauge (over pattern): 34 sts x 24 rows = 4" x 4" (I get the feeling my row gauge is incorrect here, but it doesn't matter too much)

It's all on ravelry, more or less.
For a brief summary of what happened, though:

  • Gauge was more or less spot on, so I cast on the body in the smallest size
  • I cast on the sleeves in the same size and, comparing the sleeve measurements on the schematic to my actual arm length, simply knit to my arm length instead of trusting the pattern - stupid mistake.
    • It was too short, because when the knitted fabric was stretched over my arm, the length decreased, too! Even worse, I only noticed this after I "finished" knitting the second sleeve due to my (clearly unfounded) self-confidence.
    • The sleeves were also too tight! I could wriggle them on with lots of tugging at the top of the sleeve that I wouldn't be able to do if they were attached to the body of the dress.
    • Both sleeves were frogged and reknit to a more comfortable size and correct length.
  • Back neck was raised using a few short rows (completely winged it)

Overall I'm quite satisfied with this dress. The Ranco colour is just lovely - so vivid! - and it doesn't feel itchy against my skin. I raised the back neck using short rows and it isn't too noticeable when worn, but when the dress lies flat, it's very clear that I did one or two rows too many (there's a sort of hill-like form that is the back neck). The sleeves also feel like they could use a stitch or two more, but then the pattern might not stretch out as much.

Those are the only gripes I have with this dress. Definitely something I'm proud of! Now I just have to wait for winter to come...

Maybe I can just leave it and no one will notice

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Corriedale and Ashford

What's this, you say? A 1/2 lb. of Louet orange-dyed Corriedale roving and 0.5 oz. Ashford drop spindle?

This past Saturday, I travelled downtown to a LYS in hopes of purchasing another skein (or two, or three) of the beautiful Araucania Ranco in the pink I'm using to knit up my Diamond Rib Dress.

I had a plan. Get in, head straight down to the basement where the sale yarns are located, find my Ranco, and get out. Fortunately, that didn't work out quite so well as I'd hoped.

Soft tresses of roving
The spinning and weaving sections of the store are located downstairs too, you see. And some beautifully painted tresses of soft Bluefaced Leicester roving beckoned to me the moment I reached the bottom of those stairs. (That wasn't what I walked out with, though.) I asked for some help in deciding what to purchase to learn to spin on my own, and the sweet lady was so helpful and gave me all the information I needed to make my purchase. Before I knew it, I had paid and was leaving with this beautiful orange Corriedale roving and a small drop spindle nestled in my bag.

I watched a couple of Youtube videos to see how drop spindling is done, and thought to myself, "Oh hey, that looks really really simple! I bet I could start spinning out pretty thin and even singles tonight!" Note to self: Murphy's law. Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Here's a small sample of the nightmare that followed: I didn't split the roving quite evenly when I got to eighths, and started ripping fiber from one eighth and trying to even it back out, but it kept falling apart; I couldn't for the life of me get the spindle spinning, probably because my hands kept getting caught on the fabric of my dress; the roving got caught in the spindle as it was spinning when I finally did get it spinning, etc. etc. I was ready to tear my hair out at this point!

And if that wasn't enough, when I finally got everything moving along, all I could spin out were thick singles with thick and thin spots that kept falling apart (not enough spin to hold it all together), and because I was spinning much thicker than the spindle was probably designed for, it got pretty hard to get the yarn to stay put in the notch when I placed it on the hook and spun. This was a pretty big blow to me with the mindset in which I started spinning. (Don't let me discourage you though! It is pretty easy once you start.) I don't have any pictures of the ensuing mess, but suffice it to say I was pretty discouraged.

Left to Right: first and second spinning attempts
While I don't have any pictures of my miserable first experience with spinning with a drop spindle, I do have pictures of the resulting yarn! Here they are, waiting to be dunked in warm water to set the twist. (I ended skeining and soaking both of them twice because some bits still had kinks and I wanted them pin straight). The first one is much more lumpy than the second, as I started to get the hang of it after a good night's sleep and much less cumbersome clothing.

I'm not quite sure what to do with my babies now that they're ready to be knit up, though. I get the feeling there isn't much yardage on them, so I was thinking maybe mittens or a hat, but the first handspun is sort of falling apart at some points and they're both so uneven I might end up just plying them together in the hopes that it'll even itself out a bit (I'm almost positive plying is supposed to take place before I set the twist, so I'm not sure how well that would work).
My 3 beautiful babies!
I have been practicing my spinning almost daily now, and am proud to say that I'm spinning out relatively consistent singles now! There's still some pretty dangerous thin spots every once in a while, and I tend to keep trying to spin thinner and thinner since I feel as though I'm not spinning thin enough, but all in all, it's coming together pretty well, I think! There's my third attempt (it's pretty obvious which) - isn't she beautiful?

The first two are each 1/8 of the roving (1 oz. each), and the third is 3/16 of the roving (1.5 oz.). I still have about a half of the entire bag left to spin, and I'm already contemplating whether I should purchase more of the same fiber so I'll have enough to make maybe a 3-ply yarn to make a sweater!

Friday, May 31, 2013

oh comely

oh comely magazine
Purchased: 05.27.13.
At: Chapters/Indigo
Notes: Looking for more magazines, and there were actually quite a few I wanted to get this time, but that my budget wouldn't allow. I flipped through it and saw that there were several pages that featured knit sweaters (along the same sort as the cover), which was what got me in the end. Overall, a very nice and simple, clean aesthetic that I quite enjoyed.
69 stations of Kisokaido
I also purchased this Hiroshige/Eisen Sixty-Nine Stations of the Kisokaido, which was on sale for $20! It's a sizeable hardcover book featuring their prints, which I fully intend on studying before I get back to my own printmaking in the coming months. At the moment it's still shrink-wrapped, but a flip through a sample in store revealed descriptions for each print, which were each a page in size, full colour. It's probably going to come in handy sometime during my academic career, and even if it doesn't... all those beautiful prints! (Albeit not actual prints, but it's still quite worth it).

Sunday, May 26, 2013

frieze & philosophy

Frieze magazine and The Story of Philosophy

Purchased: 05.24.13.
At: Chapters/Indigo
Notes: I went looking for knitting magazines, which I did get, as well as hoping to browse through the art magazines, since I want to try to expand my knowledge of people and what they're doing where. Maybe try to connect a bit more and go to galleries more often, and not just the bigger ones or when I have somewhere in particular to go. But I don't usually purchase magazines, so I had no idea which publications were going to be to my liking. So, as I'm sure many before me have, I looked through the stand and judged all the magazines I saw by their cover. I was looking for something that wasn't too image-heavy (I mean, I love images, but I also tend to gravitate towards text) and that had articles in-depth enough to actually give me enough information to get me interested enough that I'd do my own research later on. I flipped through a number, and found a lot had either Q&As or very short introductions of artists followed by pages of pictures, and not too many that were of the sort I was looking for.

one of the listing pages
So I settled for Frieze, but I'm quite happy I did! I haven't made my way through all of it, but I really appreciate all the shows and exhibitions that it lists for several countries! Especially since I want to go visit more galleries, it's very helpful to see where I can start, and I'm quite excited about it!

It was on sale.
As for the other item, The Story of Philosophy, it was on sale. I'm pretty into philosophy as a whole, and seek it out whenever I go to book sales and the like. I thought this might set a good foundation for whenever I read newer works that build upon the classics.

frankie & smith

Frankie & Smith

Smith Journal
Purchased: 04.14.13
At: Chapters/Indigo
Notes: I guess I expected a lot from Frankie magazine (since I kept seeing people posting about it, especially the issue with the cross-stitched cover), so I was a little disappointed. There weren't as many articles as I expected, but in their defense, some of the articles did catch my interest. That being said, I feel like they weren't quite as in-depth or "serious" as I wanted them to be. It's great for a quick flip-through, when I maybe don't have too much energy to focus on longer articles, but my high expectations set me up for disappointment (which is probably of my own doing).
Smith on the other hand did impress me! They're both sold on the same site (from what I know, though I haven't really looked into it) and the description said that Smith was aimed at males, and I'm assuming Frankie at females, which makes me wonder what the implications are concerning their contents. That is, I found the articles in Smith much more engaging, both in the style of writing (even the length of them) and the contents, and it felt like I got a lot more for my investment than I did for Frankie. (Perhaps due to my expectations.) This was the sort of content I was looking for when I sought out Frankie, and I would probably go back to reread Smith at some later point in time.
Both of them are meant for different audiences (or different mindsets from a similar audience), and I'm sure both fulfill their goals in filling their respective markets, but I'd be more likely to purchase Smith again than Frankie, personally.