Sunday, September 27, 2015

Summer Roundup (final part)

madtosh tosh dk in "sugarplum"
Super fluffy sugarplum brioche
Now that summer is officially over, this summer roundup is, I suppose, a bit late. But, here are the FOs! All of them are now finished, although I don't have photos of all of them as FOs. Also, despite these 3 FOs, I think I've just about given up all hope on finishing the TCK12sweater2015 challenge. That being said, I'd like to see how well/terribly I do at the end of the year anyway, so I'm still tagging these posts and projects (on ravelry) as such.

I mentioned the Orne Cardigan (here) and set about casting on more or less right away because I had to have it in my wardrobe, and I'm happy to say that I did not make a mistake! I am extremely satisfied with the result (despite several mistakes - don't look too hard)! The only thing I wish I did differently is to move the pockets up a couple of inches so that I can reach into them more comfortably. I'm not bothered enough by it to rip out those couple of inches and reknit though, so just keep in mind for next time I work with brioche: it grows a ton vertically. Note that this is one of only two (intentional) changes I made to the pattern, the other change being not to change to 1x1 ribbing at the front bottom hems. Keeping it as brioche at the fronts resulted in the fronts being slightly shorter than the back even after blocking, but that's okay. I prefer that to it shrinking in and pulling towards the back.

The finished cardigan is super comfy to live in, and madtosh tosh dk is a dream (as might be deduced by the fact that I purchased more). I still have about 1.5 skeins left, so perhaps a hat is in the future?

almost finished!
I missed one!
I followed the Classic Shirt pattern by Sally Melville for the most part, making it longer in the body and tapering the top collar button placket a bit so it didn't end in such an angular edge. I just want to say, though, now that I have the buttons (see below; they're beautiful!) in: my gauge lied. I knit a large enough swatch and soaked and blocked it as I did the sweater and the sweater is still a couple inches smaller than I expected it to be! It fits like a glove, with about -1" ease or so, which would otherwise be fine were the buttons at the bust not straining a bit. It was supposed to fit with about 2-4" positive ease. The only reasons I can think of are that I knit my gauge months ago, so perhaps my own knitting just changed, combined with the unevenly spun yarn: some skeins were much more tightly spun than others.

Lovely thrift store buttons - shell?
The pattern itself was a little confusing for me personally, though I could follow along just fine and make my own adjustments here and there (namely body length). I love the little details, such as the ones at the cuffs and the collar, though, and would contemplate making this again in the size that I had originally wanted this to be, or just following the instructions for a size or two larger.

I would definitely, definitely, use another yarn though: this stuff is a pain to work with! It's alright during knitting - not the best: it sheds like nothing else, with the exception of maybe the cotton I used for my Beatnik - but it's a horror for seaming! I think I had 5 or more broken ends per sleeve, not counting the sides, when I seamed up the sides and sleeves in what was supposed to be one go. This resulted, of course, in a very long day of weaving in ends: one of my least favourite activities, and one that I put off for a couple of days, if not a week or more. I even missed one (see above photo). It's ridiculous! Pull a little too hard and it breaks. Kitchener stitch more than 3 or 4 sts and tighten it? It breaks. Look at it wrong and it trembles, shedding everywhere before breaking right in half! Definitely returning the one unused skein I have to Romni's for store credit (unless anyone wants to buy it off me, even after this horrid review of it, in which case, send me an email or PM on ravelry!).

Another linen cardigan, now finished.
And here's the last one, finished not too long ago. It's missing a sleeve; no, that wasn't the style I was going for - I'm not quite that avant garde. I tried it on right after finishing the body and thought it was a complete and utter failure, but carried on anyway because I really needed to have this done for my show, in addition to some other textile pieces I've been plugging away at in the meantime. Now that both sleeves are done, I think it actually looks fine. There's a bit too much swing at the back for my comfort, especially considering the waterfall front, but otherwise, it fits pretty well and I think it could grow on me (not literally, though that's also a possibility, considering it's 100% linen...).

Now, the slightly disappointing news. A picture is worth a thousand words:

Mirasol Nuna & Diamond Luxury Collection Pima Lino Lace
Mirasol Nuna & Diamond Luxury Collection Pima Lino Lace
I got them prior to the Lettuce Knit splurge. Also, everything still fits into the bins I have. so it's OK, right? Right?

So in sum: I used up yarn I purchased for the purpose I got it for (madtosh tosh dk for Orne Cardigan), used up stash yarn (Elsebeth Lavold LinSilk & LitYarn 100% Linen) for two pieces I had to have for an upcoming show, in addition to using up a bunch of buttons from my stash (because I have a stash of buttons too). Not too bad, all in all!

Friday, September 18, 2015


lightweight, durable, warm, and thin
Still one of my favourites: thin, warm, lightweight, and surprisingly durable.
Can we just take a minute (or two, or three, or maybe sixty) to appreciate literally everything that is egg? The pieces, the styling, the whimsical poses, everything? Even the website itself? Including the fact that this stool - and what a lovely stool it is - has a page of its own but is not for sale? I haven't included any pictures because I don't want to use images without permission, so I urge any and everyone to go take a look. Might I recommend feasting your eyes upon this incredibly lovely coat? Or perhaps this sara lanzi jumper and dress? Those baby gathers (or soft pleats, not sure) tug at my heartstrings like nothing else. And the felted wool makes both of them look as though you'd want to live in them. Or this oversized shirt-dress variation? Also this entire page (as well as this one, also this one, along with all the other pages, not least of all this one)? Did I miss anything? Because if I did, that was an oversight.

There is a sweater in the collection that looks similar to something I've knitted before, which tickles me with delight to no end. It is much more oversized than mine, and has even less shaping (if that's possible) with its dolman sleeve from what it looks like, but I'd just like to point out that my saddle-shoulder funnel-neck lightweight sweater (above) gets plenty of wear during the colder months. Which, by the looks of it, everything from egg would too, all year round.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Summer Roundup (pt.2)

Whaddya mean I never wear pink?
So due to the uncooperative weather conditions that were this past weekend (gloomy, overcast skies that prevented me from doing self-portraits in my room), I decided to push the WIPs/FOs/almost FOs roundup post to the third instalment instead. In their stead will be future WIPs/FOs/almost FOs! Also, a list of and small discussion about the titles I've been reading and the movies I've been watching.

Just a little forward to this stash enhancement. I think I can justify myself: if any of you live around town and are up-to-date with the LYS happenings hereabouts, you'll have heard the news that Lettuce Knit is closing. Not moving, like Eweknit and Knit-O-Matic, but closing. They'll still be around as a brand, which I'm glad to hear, as I've noticed them over the years through projects like their gay sweater and the fact that they addressed body image issues by actively started stocking larger quantities of yarn in the same lot. Now. While I'm sad to see them go, I'm also perfectly willing to help them clear their shelves a bit in the closing weeks (see their site for details). Which leads me to this little stash update.

The shockingly pink yarn above is madtosh tosh dk (having just finished the Orne Cardigan, I am pretty pleased with the thought of having more tosh dk in my stash) in "torchere", a scorching shade of pinkish red that borders on profanity. Just my type of pink. No moderate baby pinks for me, no. (I don't even wear pink! At all! I cannot properly recall the last time I wore pink... except for those overalls/jumpsuit I used to love as a child, which was either bright pink or bright orange. I don't remember. But does it really matter? There will be pink in my wardrobe once again, in the near-ish future!) I'm seeing it as a boxy cardigan or jacket without much shaping. Cables or some sort of texture, and dropped sleeves, perhaps? Definitely positive ease. I only have the 6 skeins, though, so I'll have to think hard about how to make them work into a positive ease cardigan/jacket with possible yarn-eating cables!

undyed bulky wool yarn
Endless potential.
On the other hand, I snatched 3 skeins of Cascade Ecological Wool to knit myself a Maple Shade Coat, apparently errata-laden as it is, but now that I've looked through my queue and library, I'm wondering whether this might be the time to knit up a Belfast Hoodie for myself (it's been in my queue and Patternfish cart for years). Or even, in the event I can't do cables due to yardage restraints with my hot pink SQ above, an Aidez. The possibilities are endless! And as for motivation, in case I needed it, I know whatever I choose to knit will practically knit itself, considering the bulky/aran weight of this yarn.

So so luxurious.
I forget how many blue-gray/blue-brown combos I have in my stash.
And as for these two lovelies... I'll admit I kind of went on automatic and put them into my basket without much thought as to what they'd become. I'd be more than happy to use them singly for maybe shawls (or a Hitofude Cardigan, as I see someone has made one out of one skein), but I did get these two thinking of stripes or colourwork of some sort. Forgetting entirely, of course, that I have also the blue/grey pair of Americo Sedoso, as well as the blue/grey pair of SMC Select Highland Alpaca Fino. Oh, and, to some extent if I so chose to use it like that, the blue/grey/other grey pair/trio of madtosh lace. Am I overdoing it a bit?

Now as for the reading list, since I don't have any pictures of these books - I've returned them to the library, which I'm finally making good use of, despite having worked there for years - it'll just have to be a list. I tried to get my act together in July, when I figured my lack of general motivation was getting a little too far ahead of where I could feasibly control it, so I turned to books. I'll list them in order of the month.

  1. Thermopylae: the battle that changed the world (Paul Cartledge)
  2. Thermopylae: the battle for the West (Ernle Bradford)
  3. The First Clash (Jim Lacey)
  4. First Love (Turgenev)
  5. Dracula Untold (movie)
  6. Sailing the Wine Dark Sea: why the Greeks matter (Thomas Cahill)
  7. Mr. Selden's Map of China (Timothy Brook)
  8. Olive Kitteridge (BBC miniseries)
  9. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (Solzhenitsyn)
  10. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Jules Verne)
  11. A Student of Weather (Elizabeth Hay)

Some burgeoning interest in classical times.

  1. A Fraction of the Whole (Steve Toltz)
  2. Goodnight Mommy (movie)
  3. What Maisie Knew (movie)
  4. The Iceman (movie)
  5. Compliance (movie)
  6. Deadfall (movie)
  7. House in the Sky (Amanda Lindhout)
  8. Alone in the Classroom (Elizabeth Hay)
  9. The Greeks: portrait of self and others (Paul Cartledge)
  10. Beyond Good & Evil (Nietzsche)
Nietzsche was a pain to get through, I must admit. I read a quarter of the way through Thus Spoke Zarathustra and gave up after finishing BGE, which was infinitely more readable. I'll pick it up again someday. A lot of movies.

September (so far)
  1. Night Film (Marisha Pessl)
  2. God Against the Gods  (Jonathan Kirsch)
  3. Ernest & Celestine (children's movie - I would recommend it* edited to add that I find the attitude towards atonement for their crime towards that family, whom they did in fact harm financially if not bodily, is rather ambivalent and sends somewhat mixed messages. Somewhat like the way Jack and the Beanstalk doesn't really teach any lessons in morality. I do find it odd that there was that loose end though, in this case.)
  4. Mommy (movie)
  5. Into the Woods (movie)
  6. The Spartans (Paul Cartledge)
  7. A Short History of Myth (Karen Armstrong)
  8. Late Nights on Air (Elizabeth Hay)
I feel as though Into the Woods could have been so much better! So incredibly much better! I've got no idea how, exactly, but the beginning was very promising. As for the books, you can see I'm slowly making my way through Cartledge's books. I think I'm very lucky in having chosen to read his Thermopylae first, to get myself started back into reading: he has a very easy-to-read style of writing, almost casual and very amusing, and one of the things I really look for is whether I get along with the author in terms of the style of writing. If I can get into a good rhythm reading a book, regardless of whether I like what they're saying, I'll probably finish it. On the other hand, even if you make a perfectly good argument, if it's written horribly and I can't make head nor tails of it, or even if it's simply not engaging due to its style, I'm sorry to say that I would put it down. As I did Nietzsche, from whom I know I have so incredibly much to learn. It'll happen someday.

And here's a list of books I'm working my way through as of right now:
  1. Hiero the Tyrant and Other Treatises (Xenophon)
  2. Scaramouche (Sabatini) - haven't really made much of a dent in this or the ones below just yet, but I've borrowed them, so it's just a matter of time.
  3. The Rise of the Greeks (Michael Grant)
  4. Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things (Randy O. Frost) - is it of any significance that this is making it into the post about adding to my stash? Oh, and see also my hunt for a loom.
  5. The Rome that did not Fall (Stephen Williams) - have not yet borrowed this due to the number of items I have out already, but again, on my list.
That's all for now. I think I'm keeping along at a good pace, yeah?

Monday, September 7, 2015

Summer Roundup (pt.1)

It blooms!
Moon cactus flowering!
I feel as though I haven't really posted much at all over the summer - I haven't posted any in-progress updates of my WIPs (of which there seems to be a never-ending perpetuity), for one - so I decided to round up a couple of those things that had gone on thus far without making it onto the blog. To be honest, though, I haven't done much this summer. Certainly nowhere near as much as I had originally planned on accomplishing. Not that I felt I would, from the beginning, to be fair: I burned out last September-December (most likely from being a little too ambitious in all my printmaking adventures) and have basically been trying to recover motivation for doing anything since. I think I'm ready for the new semester now. (Well it's going to start either way, so thank goodness for that.)

One of our two moon cacti flowered this summer, which was a pleasant surprise. I didn't even know they flowered! They also don't seem to perish even if you don't water them for half a year, so they're pretty low maintenance. (Nobody really knew who was watering them when, so nobody watered them for that time for fear they would drown, thinking someone else was taking care of them, until Mom finally took them under her wing - they blossomed soon after.) That being said, one of them hasn't moved or otherwise changed in appearance even after the watering resumed, so perhaps they do. Or maybe this one just doesn't flower? I really don't know.

Once in a while, Value Village has some gems.
Treasure hunting at the thrift store
In textile-related (not-so-new) news, I found a wooden umbrella swift at the thrift store for 7.99! Apart from the missing bottom peg, it was in perfectly serviceable condition, so I got it, went to Home Depot to get a nut and bolt to replace the peg, and now it sits merrily atop surfaces while I wind in my room. The verdict? I actually like winding from my knees over using the swift! I could totally understand using it for slippery yarn - silk, maybe? - but for regular ol' wool, knees are the bees' knees, so to speak.

On the subject of yarn, I tried out dyeing over the summer months, very enthusiastically at the beginning (although I have no photo evidence of all the little mini skeins I've dyed with food colouring), and producing some success, even going as far as to purchase Greener Shades dyes from Knit Picks when it went on sale a couple months ago because I realized that food colouring was incredibly inexact and presented numerous difficulties when trying to reproduce the same colour in the mini skein in a full skein, but I have nothing to show for it at this moment, still. I used the Greener Shades dyes to dye up 3 mini skeins a beautiful deep red-purple colour at 5% dos, but I have yet to take the plunge and dye up a full skein of anything. As dyed fibre is one of my proposed goals for the fall/winter semester, that will have to change. Sooner rather than later.

I haven't a clue, but I'll continue weaving them!
Pile of woven pieces, waiting to be cut & sewn.
There's a pile of woven fabric that's starting to look as though it has the potential to loom over me in the future unless I actually go about using it up or otherwise getting it out of the house (takers, anyone? I would gladly sell the red-and-white one! It's a lovely check pattern, but I haven't a clue what to make with it.). The mouse and champagne were supposed to become a simple a-line dress, but now that mouse has been finished and washed, I'm just not feeling it. Maybe a top? I'm thinking maybe striping them together or something to make it a bit more interesting. The red-and-white check? I can't imagine it as anything other than a flat piece of fabric! Besides, how many patterns do I wear on the regular? I can count them with one hand. Two fingers, really.

The black one I have no excuse. The pattern has been drafted (although it needs to be pieced together) and I know how to lay them out on the fabric to use the most fabric possible and finish the least possible seams. I wove it specifically for this purpose, and it has been languishing beneath those other pieces. In other words: I've just been procrastinating.

In other weaving news though:

un coccodrillo vero
New project on the Nilec - sampling.
I'm using my Nilec as a sampling loom! Just like I said it was perfect for! And guess what yarn I'm using for it? It's some undyed BFL I purchased for the dyeing venture! Just knowing my dyeing experiment fizzled out (died, perhaps?) over the summer despite all my forced enthusiasm gets to me. After some reflection, I've realized more or less that I actually really like the look of undyed yarn. I also like the dye jobs other people do. Apart from wanting to have tried it out, I don't see much reason to continue doing it. Maybe that will change when I have more solid plans in terms of dyeing.

Despite everything though, like I said, I'll have to produce some sort of dyed yarn to use in my weaving this coming semester. Perhaps this more directed approach will be more enjoyable? I was rather aimless in my attempt to dye, my goal simply being to learn how to dye yarn and fibre.

Go get yourself a 0.25mm pen!
New notebooks, and my favourite pen.
Ending on a completely unrelated note: I got two new notebooks! My brother gave me a moleskine for my birthday last year, and much to my own surprise, I've already filled up half of it or so! So I figured maybe I would benefit from having some thinner notebooks to do more focused studies or notes and scribbles of things. Instead of doodling possible knitting designs and ideas, loom building plans, thoughts, school stuff, etc. all in one notebook, in other words, I would separate those all out to make some more sense of everything. This works in theory. Well, there might also have been a back-to-school sale at Aboveground, and you can never have enough notebooks, right? These Fabriano Ecoqua notebooks have blank pages (yay!) that are slightly thicker than those in the moleskine, and have a bit more tooth to them as well (boo!). They feel pretty nice though, so I'll probably get used to them.

Part 2 will be a roundup of my knitting. There's the Orne Cardigan and two linen cardigans that have somehow not been finished over the summer, and the pair of finished linen stitch/linen weave blankets, which have been finished for a while but have remained unblocked for no good reason really, as well as possibly additions to my stash that have happened? (I know, I know.) Also, I've been doing a lot of reading, to get me back to actually doing. It worked, I think. So, note to self: even if you can't get yourself to do anything else, read. A list might be forthcoming.