Thursday, December 31, 2015


Thank goodness for student pricing.
Gangnam Star, Earl Grey Flute, and Bacon Epi + stellar ROM visit
Spent the day roaming the ROM since I had a coupon for the Pompeii exhibit, and today was the last day I would have been able to go (it closes January 3, so if you can make it, I would encourage you to visit!). The carved busts & figures, the metal figurines, and pretty much everything else I saw - super detailed mosaic portrait that from afar looked like a painting because of how tiny the mosaic tiles were! The coins which were tiny but looked to be way more detailed than ours! - were amazing! Having done stone carving once (on limestone, much easier than marble), I was in absolute awe seeing those marble carvings.
Then on the fourth floor, there was a Mexican clothing & culture exhibit, which was mind-blowing. One of the many ikat-dyed pieces had lettering on it that was created during the ikat dyeing process. My jaw must have dislocated and fallen onto the floor, but it was totally worth it. And I got to chat with an older lady who marvelled at everything with me and shared my enthusiasm for textiles. I’m very glad I went. The only thing I’d like to comment on with respect to that was that the lighting was rather dim, and when you pulled out the drawers to look at more textiles, your shadow would fall on the glass and block the light, so it was rather difficult to view those pieces up close.
And then I tried out Bake Code on the way back. No regrets.
Have a happy new year, everyone.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Perpetual Progress

black dress
On the way to becoming overbaked brioche

I'm not quite sure what it is about finishing a project, really. No sooner did Timberline come off my needles (the sleeves are currently blocking and the body & button/neckbands are awaiting seaming) did I suddenly feel like I didn't have enough projects going on. Nevermind that the Sherwood and the Sheep Vest/Sweater have (still!) yet to be finished - they don't count, really... I mean, they don't count anymore, do they? - I needed to fill that hole in my life that needs a million projects going on at once to ensure I can never have finished everything! And so that pile of black yarn above, Elsebeth Lavold Eucool (which I've used for my notched hem tank), has started on its long journey to becoming a dress. A long dress with full turtleneck, in brioche. Which will also hopefully be accompanied by a not-so-long full pattern.

madelinetosh tosh dk
If you only knew me through this blog, you'd probably think I loved pink.

Then I swatched for a Chevron Cardigan with my madtosh tosh dk (in Torchere, which I am starting to think of as meaning "torturous pink" although I do adore it so). I think I'm going to go down a couple of needle sizes - one full millimetre, in fact, which sounds like I'm making it out to be something small, but for knitting, it's actually quite a bit of difference - so that I'll have a denser fabric. I don't want to have to go down to 3mm needles, which is what's preventing me from getting a fully dense & plush fabric that won't let quite as much wind through, so I'm settling for 3.5mm. The silhouette looks vaguely bomber-jacket like, so I'm going to run with it and play it by ear. Possibly lower the neckline a bit to make it more of a crew-neck, and do ribbing at the neck as well, before doing the buttonband (or after?). And in the meanwhile I can but hope I have enough yarn to get me through without having to play around with different dk weight yarns in my stash to supplement it as a contrast colour (hello sugarplum tosh dk!).

Einband, swatched the dark teal

Did I also mention that I've finally torn into the Einband my brother brought back... last year, was it? Or the year before? Just to swatch, but I've swatched, at least! And now I'm not sure I want to use it for the dress I was swatching it for... which was an adult version of this children's dress.

Cotton slip for wearing under dresses, possibly?
And then there's this pale pink cotton lace yarn I got from the Knitter's Frolic. I know what I was thinking - $20 for 2 of these! That's really good! - but I don't know what I was thinking: pale colours don't become me very well. But I have been thinking about maybe getting a slip to wear under my dresses so they don't keep going between my legs while I'm walking, so maybe I can just knit one out of this? I'm thinking of a Cosy Vest.

So the unfortunate thing is that none of these projects will be making it into the TCK12sweater2015 challenge, but at least once the top two are done, I'll have an addition of two very wearable items in my wardrobe (the pink is arguable, but it's such a glaring pink I might just wear it all the time), as well as two sweater-quantity spaces freed from my stash bins. And if I make the slip as well, then that's probably almost one full skein of these cotton lace yarns gone from my stash, which is a bonus. All of this is a win for me. Of course, that's after/if I finish these projects. And there's still the Romni's Boxing Day sale this Monday*.

* I was so disappointed (and very relieved for reasons I'm sure you can divine) when I thought it was going to be on the Sunday because I knew I'd be working the entire day for sure and wouldn't be able to make it, so imagine my surprise when they announced it'd be on the Monday! I'm going to be knitting a dress for a dear friend of mine, and she's specified black as the colour, so I will be prowling. Otherwise, I'm thinking about purchasing Miss Babs' Katahdin or Kilimanjaro in a black or purple-black to make it for her. If all else fails, I've got a sweater-ish quantity of black cottolin I can use.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2015 Year End Review

I see a lot of 2015 in review posts floating about, so here goes mine.

Remember how I took account of all the yarn in my stash earlier this year? I figured I would tally it all up once again now that the year is almost done. (I know, there's still a couple of weeks left to actually do some really bad damage and change all these numbers, but let's just assume I'll recover some semblance of self-control.)

So how'd I do?

Scary-looking huge numbers, but...
I know those numbers look huge. And to be fair, I did purchase quite a lot of yarn in 2015, so I can't even offer any defence for myself. At least I have yet to buy the remaining madtosh lace at Romni's (I'm thinking 3-4 skeins of Maple Leaf, which is a really weird colour to be thinking about in terms of my wardrobe... although maybe not too odd given I made the Frost Flowers Dress, which is a kind of close but not as blinding and offensive colour). Yet.


Look at what these numbers were before (sometime in June or July?):

Halfway through 2015

Also look at how much yardage I used up this year so far!

Yardage used up in 2015 so far.
So what does this all mean?

  • Total Yardage in Stash: 97,934.4 - 81,753.5 = 16,180.9 yards less (total) than halfway through 2015!
  • Yards Acquired in 2015 (remaining): 39,528.5/97,934.4 ~ 0.4 = 40% of my stash was acquired in 2015, which makes sense, because of the following reasons:
    • I've been purchasing less cone yarn, which doesn't register any yardage at all on ravelry, and purchasing more in skein format
    • I've been making more and using up sweater quantities, which means more free space, which of course = buy more to fill it all up = horrible purchasing habits I need to revise
  • Yardage Used in 2015 compared to that added to stash: 26,974/39,528.5 ~ 0.68 = 68% of what I purchased, I used this year (kind of, since I didn't really use all the yarn I stashed this year like that, using up some older yarn for projects, but this is more straightforward)
  • Yardage Used in 2015 compared to Yardage Used from all time: 26,974/44,826 ~ 0.6 = 60% of all the yarn I have ever used that could be documented (i.e. not cone yarn) came from 2015 knitting & weaving projects. That's pretty good, if you ask me.
The verdict?

I definitely could have brought home way less yarn; there was never any question of that, ever. But in my (meagre) defence, a yarn store did close up, and I tried to exchange as much yarn as I could at Romni's whenever I went, instead of pouring in a new flow of funds. I also used a fair bit of the yarn I brought home, or at least cleared out those bins, which gave me the room to go and fill them back up again. So it's been a pretty productive year, even if it doesn't really feel like it (hello, 8 out of 12 sweaters I was supposed to knit for the TinCanKnits challenge! And one of them - Timberline - isn't even really done! About 97%, so close enough, really, but not done!). There are things I'd like to aim for, next year, though, with respect to textiles:

  • Write up & publish at least one pattern, again. I mean, I have to make the pattern in my size anyway whenever I knit something (because I'm the type to do all the calculations and everything before knitting), so I might as well make it in a bunch of other sizes as well while I'm at it!
  • Slash down that queue! My queue grows like weeds, and sometimes I go through it and see all these items I know I queued, and I know why, but that I also cannot for the life of me see myself ever making. So either knit down my queue, or simply cull a good half of it.
  • Weave, weave, weave. Way more than I did this year. Make scarves for sale & use up those odd remnants I have lying around. Weave up a huge swathe of twill and make clothing (or a collection of clothing based on what I had in my solo show?) either for myself or for sale. I have a couple of gaps in my wardrobe that need filling, and my wallet is also eternally in need of filling.
  • I'd really like to actually knit more. I know I accomplished a lot in terms of FOs this year and all, but I want to knit more dresses for myself, as well as comfy cardigans that I know I'll get a lot of wear out of. I'm discovering that although I really like most of the sweaters I've knit, I have trouble fitting them into my daily routine unless I'm feeling adventurous that day. So cardigans might be the new thing. Buttonholes & zippers, here I come!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Camera Eyes vs. Human Eyes

Alternative post title: On the Importance of Paying Attention to Dye Lots

Miss Babs
I hope you can't tell how heavily photoshopped this is. If you can't, please admire that.
I guess it might be difficult to see what it is I'm talking about if you didn't know what to look out for, but if you ignore the heavy photoshopping in the white background there (and the fact that the entire image has been skewed in order to make it look straight), and direct your attention towards the area just where the armhole shaping starts, you'll see what I'm talking about. I noticed it even as a human being, but figured it wasn't that bad and continued (what was I thinking though?). And truly, it isn't that bad in real life, so I guess being lazy was fine this time. But the camera picks up everything that is wrong with reality (see this warp at the bottom of the post? It's off the loom now and nobody can tell it was ever crooked. Not that I've asked. But I know nobody would think it was. Not that I'll be testing that anytime soon either.) and shoves it into your face for you to see! So there's the lesson, everyone who doesn't already know better than to alternate dye lots. Especially ones purchased a year apart. No one? Just me? Figured. It's a pretty good match, though, as I mentioned last time, so I'm not as bothered as I maybe should be.

Anyway, this is the Timberline WIP, sans sleeves even though those are finished (I followed the instructions and finished those first since I was scared my puny little gauge swatch might have lied to me). I'm pretty stoked for this to be done and on my person. You wouldn't know it by my lack of progress since finishing the entire body and everything except for the button/neckband. I don't know why I'm waffling so bad. This is the easiest part. I also started knitting those adorable kitten mittens (for humans) though, so that's probably the main culprit. I'm hoping I'll have this one finished before 2016 starts up. And of course, insert the usual statement about the same hope for my sheep vest/sweater & the sherwood for my brother. Except those are less probable futures and this one's foreseeable, so I'll invest my hope (and effort) in the Timberline instead. Sorry, sheep. Sorry, brother (although I did knit a couple more inches of body into your sweater this year!).

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Livin' the Print Life

Well not really. I mean, much less than I had expected at the beginning of the (school) year. I also have no photographic evidence to show for it, so I suppose it never happened. Or at least, it has yet to have happened until I get the project back come the new year and I get to take a million pictures of the book & quilt I made. Did I mention how that was the first time I had ever made a quilt? And that I hand-dyed some Saldahna, hand-wove, and hand-sewed (or at least hand-quilted all the layers & hand-sewed the borders because it just wouldn't go through the machine properly) the entire thing? Oh, and by the way, I made the loom I used to weave the fabric while I was at it. I also pulled an all-nighter for the first time in my academic career to finish hand-quilting. Three of those, actually. In a row. Then proceeded to attend the crit. First time for everything, my friends.

8 underweight in stash + 2 more full weight
Miss Babs Heartland in Beachglass, all these skeins have been knitted up & 2 new ones are continuing their cause

On the above note, none of my WIPs exist either, unfortunately. One Timberline is almost done (I ended up purchasing 2 more skeins of Heartland in Beachglass because I had at least 2 underweight skeins in my stash, although now I think one skein might have been enough. I really have to commend them on their consistency with dyeing! The two skeins match pretty well. I forgot to alternate for the fronts and I mean, it's kind of noticeable since the green is just slightly different, but it's pretty darn close.) and I've started knitting a pair of kitten mittens (Moggies - can we talk about how adorable these are?) for my Secret Child (see last year's).

I also went shopping a couple of days ago and saw a couple of things that I really liked but didn't want to buy for reasons (below)! I sketched these out to see how they might look from what I remember:

quilted yoke!
Quilted yoke salopette/shirt-dress?
So I saw this really adorable dress shirt at Kind Exchange, but it was kind of ratty-looking and I knew I wouldn't wear it for sure even if I had gotten it, so I put it down and tucked the image of it in my mind. The yoke was a contrasting colour, I think subtly patterned, and it looked as though it was quilted? It had matching quilted/contrasting pockets, and white contrasting cuffs (and I think collar & buttonband, since that would only make sense). It was really cute. And definitely not my style. (I don't think I have any pants that go with it.) But I would totally make it and wear it around everywhere as a dress!

And O-Wool went and put Legacy DK on sale, so I've been eyeing the Lake Erie (all 13 skeins of it that are left!), either Pomegranate or Bee Balm, and the Natural or Oyster Mushroom for the contrasting colours. My self-restraint is collapsing in on itself big time. I already let 16 skeins of Coal slip through my fingers (I was debating it while they were in my cart, and by the time I went back to look, they were gone, gone, and gone). Someone please take the decision out of my faltering hands and just buy up all those colours please. Or at least all the Lake Erie. And the Oyster Mushroom. And maybe the Natural. And the remainder of the Pomegranate. I don't have the guts to wear something solely Bee Balm, so that one's fine. But honestly, O-Wool's one of those companies I really want to try out, so this has been straining my self-control so much these past weeks (or week, I don't really know anymore).

Club Monaco dress - new collection I think?

Then there was this dress at Club Monaco that I thought was too shapeless, but couldn't get out of my mind after I left with another really cute white dress. (The moment I put it on, I was so smitten I knew I was going to get it, so. It felt good to buy something I thought I could make, but decided it was more worth it to simply get what was in front of me.) This grey one is such a classic silhouette though - I mean, long-sleeved turtleneck dress? - that I probably can't go wrong with it. And I think I could make it with the same yarn I used for my funnel-neck sweater.

Then there's this adorable children's dress (why do the cutest dresses have to be for children?) and decided I absolutely must have one in my size:
Which one do I cast on?

Not sure which style I'd like to make, yet, but I'm very much veering towards number 1 there on the left side. And I like the thought of using my Einband to make it, so that's probably what's going to happen. I'm just not sure whether I have enough of the grey.

The only take-away from this post, really, is that I have too many things I want to make for the timeline within which I want all those things.

And those are the reasons for which there have been no posts here since forever ago.