Sunday, July 31, 2016

FOs of July (and before)

I have some more photos of finished projects from July and also a couple from way before!

Karen Luk
mokoshi in linen & wool
Wow. Linen and wool act really weirdly when together. After blocking, mokoshi seemed to shrink down a bit down to my size, despite the fact that it looked about half a size to a full size too large while I was knitting it! It's probably because the linen just hangs so well - fixing the problem of the super flouncy flounces, too - that the extra fabric ends up hanging down instead of poofing out. Also, I'm not sure which yarn it is since both of them are yellow (and thank goodness for that, too!), but the yellow turned a murky yellow just minutes after putting the entire thing into a basin with water. I did this three times thinking it might just be excess dye before deciding to try adding some citric acid to the (hot) water before adding the garment and letting it soak for about half an hour or so, and all came out well! Not a trace of colour came out of the yarn after that. I wore it out for an entire day, and I noticed when I came home that the armhole had sagged a bit - probably because of the linen content - but not enough that it looked weird. Next time I work with linen, though, I'll keep that in mind. All in all, lovely pattern - well written, well thought-out - and I enjoyed working with both yarns! The Colourmart soft wool had this oddly sweet smell to it that I especially liked while knitting the body, although I'm pretty certain it's the oil that's used to make the yarn keep to itself on the cone. (The smell more or less went away after blocking. After another wash, it'll probably be completely gone.)

Karen Luk
Summer Bralette - a free pattern!
 Here's the Summer Bralette, not modeled! You'll just have to take my word for it that it fits well, although I had to make a mod to the garter stitch band length, as I mentioned before. It's also super warm, which makes me wonder whether it's actually supposed to be a summer bralette at all. I realize my yarn is different, but I'm pretty sure the original is a llama & silk blend, so it can't be much cooler. Although I suppose the silk content could really make a difference depending on the percentages.

Mods: provisional CO, 4 rows garter stitch instead of 16cm on both sides
Here's the provisional CO from the back, as well as the shortened back bands. If I were to make it again, which I actually might since it's super comfy, I would probably alter the rate of increases so that I actually get a back band and the bralette cups don't stretch all the way around. It's a great stashbuster though, so if you have about 175 yards of fingering/sport weight yarn left over, I would give this a try!

stashbusting Julie Asselin
Easy to knit, repetitive lace pattern
 I've finally got some photos of the Hitofude Cardigan I finished a while ago! Next time, I'd make an extra repeat of the sleeves part, since I feel as though I would get an even better fit if the ribbing section were a bit lower down (it curls up almost like a raglan at the front, as you can see in the below photo). That being said, the current size is a pretty perfect fit, so it's more of an aesthetic thing.

Julie Asselin Merletto
Feathery lace fans out
I might have mentioned this before, but Hitofude only has 2 ends to weave in after you're done, as long as you didn't have to attach a new ball of yarn. 2 ends! If that doesn't convince you to go get yourself a copy of the pattern and knit it up immediately, it only took me 10 days to finish knitting it (and I'm pretty sure I was working on other projects as well during that time, so if you're a monogamous knitter, it might take you a week or less!), and the pattern itself, well written and easy to follow, is only... about $2.62 CAD, and if you're in the U.S., it will cost you less, surely! Anyway, I'd love to knit another of these beauties up. Another thing I'd like to do is to work with this yarn again - Julie Asselin's Merletto is extremely soft and silky, and although I had some trouble with splitting the yarn a number of times, once I got the hang of it, it was easy to work with and gave me very little trouble. It's also a bit of a plus that it's a Canadian yarn.

The below are just some re-shoots of a couple of things, namely my linen cardigan from my exhibition last year. I finally have finished photos of myself modeling it. The other one is also from the exhibition: the scarf everyone that participated helped to weave!

Karen Luk woven in fine print exhibition
Twills upon twills upon twills!
So first we have a clearer picture of the scarf and all the colours and different patterns of twill that went into it! I treasure this scarf very much and, after a bit of thinking about what to do with it since the warp was pretty much done after the exhibition, decided to weave it into my everyday life and wear it as a scarf. That way I get to remind myself of how well everything went then, and to motivate myself to create more opportunities for others to learn to weave! Along the same lines, I'm also going to be hosting an Introduction to Bookbinding workshop at TPL during the Culture Days weekend on Saturday October 1 between 2-4pm at the McGregor Park branch of TPL. I know it's a ways away, but I'm super excited about it, so I'm giving out some advance notice!

Karen Luk linen cardigan
A better shot of the line'n'cardigan (over the line)
The line'n'cardi (over the line) was knit all in one piece from the back over the shoulder line to the front, then the sides seamed, before picking up and knitting the sleeves. The neckline/edging was picked up and knit afterwards. I made it A-line in shape, which might have been unnecessary given how much extra fabric the body already has, but that just makes for more twirling opportunities!

Karen Luk linen cardigan
Obligatory twirl shot

Monday, July 25, 2016

WIPs (A.K.A. Playing Catch Up: the June & July Edition)

It's been a while since I've done much knitting or the like, or so it feels, so I'm glad I finally have something to post. Let's start out with the good news: I'm knitting a lot out of my stash!

Warning: this is going to be pretty long.

Do I keep it or does it go?
Is there such a thing as too many flounces? I think I might be hitting that point.

Mokoshi is very well-written & easy to follow, so it's not the designer's fault mine turned out rather loose. I know the reason, at least: my gauge was way off, in addition to which my gauge swatch lied to me (it's actually surprising it fits at all and isn't two times as large as it is!), so even though I tried to compensate for it, I compensated incorrectly. Knowing what I do now, I would definitely make the smallest size next time, maybe even scaling it down one more size from there. That being said, I'm not sure whether it's supposed to be this loose or if it's because I chose the wrong size/used the wrong yarn & needle size combo (went down a needle size to accommodate the linen of the Louet Euroflax). I can live with the positive ease though.

extra positive ease?
See that middle back bit that's coming out where my hands are? That's all extra!

What I'm really not 100% sold on right now is the second flounce at the bottom. Am I pushing it a bit with this super voluminous detail? And should I compound what might be an egregious decision - keeping the second flounce - by following the pattern for the fluttery cap sleeves too? I'm overstating it a bit, because I actually like it a lot, and it's just that frills aren't too much in my wardrobe at all. So it's just a question of whether to remove the second layer or not, and whether to knit the flutter sleeves or make them long sleeves with one layer of light frill at the end, in the fashion of eritml.

Starry Starry Night
Vestigial, in colourway Starry Night - pretty fitting, no?

Socks! For me! Finally! Using that Eden Cottage Yarns BFL Sock that I purchased in England a while back! I've knit a pair of socks before, but they didn't really fit well and they felt pretty half-baked, to tell the truth, so I've stayed away from them till now. But no more! Apart from the slightly tight cast-on for the first sock, these fit me so well I want to wear them all the time, never mind that it's summer right now with humidexes upward of 40C some days. Truth be told, the BFL isn't as soft as I'm used to with my socks, being a bit prickly and all. I'm not sure whether that's because of the heat or if it's the fiber though. What I am positive about is that I will much appreciate these once winter rolls around.

I knit Vestigial, which is a free pattern and coincidentally offers only one size. I also could not spot where the gauge was listed in the pattern itself - I might just be blind though - so thank goodness they fit! I'm pretty smitten with the finished socks, so I'd say it was worth blindly following the pattern this time.

no picture!
No pictures of the finished Summer Bralette yet. There may never be.

I set about translating the Summer Bralette pattern from Swedish - thank you Google translate! - the day it came out, cast on the day after, and finished the day after that, only to realize it was waaaaaayyy too loose. Needless to say, I didn't do a gauge swatch in between any of those steps, and although there was a nagging suspicion that the size looked way too large, I figured I might as well finish it and see what to change the second time around. The first try came out with positive ease. Not what you want from this pattern! So I got rid of the 16cm of garter stitch at the beginning & end (reducing it to 4 rows each), changed to a provisional CO, cast on half the stitches for the straps (50sts instead of 100 - I tried 75sts the first time and it was still too much), then did a 3-needle BO to the provisionally CO sts.

I do want to make a note, in case anyone else is using Google translate. It actually does a pretty good job with translating the pattern, except for some misleading parts: where it says "purl", it actually means to "knit" (you want stockinette for the most part), and when it says to "have 16 stitches wormed"/"bind off 16 stitches", it actually means that 16 stitches have already been bound off, so don't bind off another 16!

Vintage Lace Gauge Swatch
Not very good depiction of the lace here either though.

I've also started on a vintage sweater pattern that has an allover lace pattern, which the photo depicting said sweater does not actually depict at all. You can vaguely make out there's lace, but you can't for the life of you tell what the lace pattern looks like. And now you do, though admittedly not much clearer. Knitting on 2.0mm needles for a 1x1 rib is a bit torturous though, and I'm not sure I would recommend it to anyone to follow the pattern blindly as I am, especially given the lack of clear gauge - by which I mean I have no idea what the finished garment size is supposed to be, though by my own gauge of 24 sts = 4" in pattern, the finished garment will have +14" ease on me. I'm kind of doing this in good fun to see where it'll take me, but I'd probably want to just recalculate everything and give myself maybe +6" ease total for this. On the upside, I am using the Spellbound Fiber laceweight merino that I got from an installment of Fiberista Club, so that's going to be knit completely from the stash. I might have to supplement it with colourblocked sleeves or maybe the lower 3/4 of the back can be yellow? We'll see how it goes.

Llama Lace Americo Original
Finally decided on what to knit with this Llama Lace!

I waffled a bit with choosing what to knit with this, from Rhaedr to Citron before finally settling on Divinity. I actually cast on for all three of these, and there's nothing wrong with any of the patterns, but it didn't really seem to match the yarn. The cables of Rhaedr looked like they'd be lost (besides which I messed up the cables pretty early on, so I simply didn't try a second time, knowing it wasn't going to be the pattern for this yarn). And while Citron is a tried & true, I wasn't sure the Americo Llama Lace was actually going to be soft enough for my neck, not to mention I noticed I was having some difficulties breathing easily while knitting with it. I'm assuming it's due to all the fibers coming loose from the yarn that I'm subsequently inhaling, but I didn't think putting that yarn anywhere near my face for long periods of time would be a good idea. So I searched high and low for a lacy clothing pattern that I could squeeze out of my 765 yards, and Divinity's been on my list for a while, so that was that.

The one on the right.

And I also knit myself a Hitofude cardigan, which has been in constant use since it came off my needles using the Julie Asselin Merletto (in Cove) I purchased during the Lettuce Knit closing sale. I still don't have any photos of the cardigan itself, which is almost ridiculous, but seeing as it's been on me more often than not, let's excuse the lack of actual photos. Very well written, and I love the construction! Only two ends to weave in, as long as you only used one skein: the CO and the BO.

Now the slightly more painful bits:

nips & tucks left and right
Nips & tucks, here and there, left and right.

This has been in this state for about a month or two now. I had grand plans to wear this to the Team Up reception - I didn't make it in time due to some issues with the sewing - and now I have no particular motivation to finish it apart from having it done and out of the way, now. I also cut off a couple of inches from the original pattern, but realized that the hem is way wider than I thought, and looks better wide, so I'm going to have to undo the hem and sew an extra piece on that turns in as the hem. The collar also didn't work out at all, so that plan flew out the window pretty quick, in addition to which the lack of shaping, combined with the cotton fabric I'm using, don't work well together, giving me what looks to be a baby bump. So I've had to add vertical bust & back darts to fix that problem. Maybe if I were using something super smooth or slinky it wouldn't be as much of an issue?

in pieces
Seamwork Hayden shirt... still in pieces. Crinkled after months of sitting under itself.

... So this is supposed to be Hayden. I'm 98.2% sure (+/- 1.8%) that it's too small for me. It might be a perfect fit if I could ever get it over my head and shove my arms through, but I'd never get it off again. I cut out size 36, which measurements should fit me perfectly. The realization of which got me so down I still haven't sewn it together. In addition to which I belatedly searched up reviews of the pattern and noticed a couple of negative reviews mentioning size & fit issues, so it's probably, sadly, a bust. There's still only one way to find out though. But that would mean I'd have to actually sew it up and face reality to see what I can do to fix it - uhh... cut a larger size? - and that doesn't really appeal to me currently. Now I understand why my very capable friend, Haley, who learned how to knit in an incredibly short frame of time and delved right into lace & cables after some encouragement, felt like dropped stitches and other knitting mishaps like accidental increases or decreases were such big hurdles. I assured her they aren't, at all, so maybe I should just administer the same medicine to myself: suck it up and truck through!

On that same note, I searched up reviews on the Moji pants while I was at it, because those were what I really wanted to make, and found negative reviews concerning the lack of ease in those, too! Now, I can't actually razz on Seamwork patterns just yet since I haven't technically sewn anything from it, but I'm already getting bad vibes because of the reviews, so I've temporarily cancelled my subscription. It's probably for the best, considering how much - how little - sewing I actually do.

Primrose? More like butter!

I've been working on a project inside the confines of my mind that plays with recipe weight ratios and thinking about weaving my interpretation of several recipes up. The yarn is here. I finally got the right shade of yellow for the butter (the first round of yellow might do for Meyer lemons, but it's not butter as far as butter goes in Canada, from what I know). And I have absolutely no excuse to not have even calculated exactly how to warp this up. In fact, by my own timeline, I should have already finished a couple of scarves and started applying for exhibitions and marketplace stalls by this point! Alas.

It appears as though knitting is still my game, with sewing and weaving falling far far behind just now (and spinning having fallen off the radar altogether), which is quite unfortunate, but at least I'm knitting.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Reading May to July

While July hasn't officially ended just yet, I don't think I'm going to be finishing anything more. Possibly Naked Statistics (stats outside of the classroom? I honestly don't know what I was thinking when I put it on my list, but I'm enjoying it so far!), but unfortunately not much more than that. I'm trying to make my way through my seemingly never-ending pile of borrowed material from the library, which never seems to diminish by even one book despite my efforts - I'm sure my continuing to borrow books doesn't help - so that I can finally focus a bit more on my own bookshelf. Meanwhile my own collection continues to grow.

  1. The Name You Carry - watched on the plane
  2. Tic Tak(?) - a short animation on the plane
  3. Blood: The Stuff of Life by Lawrence Hill
  4. Childhood's End by Arthur Clarke


  1. The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  2. City of Men (Cidade dos Homens) (2007)
  3. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
    • It took me a good 3 times trying to watch this film to actually get through it, and the third time I jumped to where I had left off the second time around. Not that it was a bad film, but for some reason or another, I couldn't stay still enough and have this story told to me. Sorry love, but this recommendation I'd say was a miss.
  4. Gossip: The Untrivial Pursuit by Joseph Epstein
    • As with Snobbery, a delightful read. Slightly more self-conscious than in Snobbery, I found, perhaps because of the distasteful notion of gossip, even in this context of trying to discern gossip from the non-gossip.
  5. Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis
    • I couldn't wait to be done this novel. And I don't say that kindly. I didn't really care about any of the dogs, and the style of writing made it distanced in a way that prevented me from getting into the plot. It was obvious where it was going, and I hate to use this description once more, but the style seems very self-conscious, restrained, and as though trying too hard to be loftier than is within the limits of the author. That could have been done on purpose, as the narrator is hierarchically speaking in terms of the novel above even the gods themselves, but still. I couldn't get into it.
  6. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
    • Yup. All the while I felt as though I was reading a somewhat more acceptable version of what I assume are Harlequin paperbacks (though I have yet to read one of those) except with a slightly more empowered heroine (who nonetheless has to be saved by her hero many many times, and whose tantrum that once I could not for the life of me understand the inclusion of - oh, and, her prince charming appears at first glance a poor boy, except, surprise! he still has money & land, if only he were to be able to get back possession of it, and now that he's married, if he's gone, it all goes to her! Thank goodness that's settled.). All that as an aside though, since I honestly did enjoy the novel - Gabaldon has a wonderful style of writing - and devoured it within a couple of days.
  7. Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat
  8. Work Clean by Dan Charnas
    • Well done, but nothing I don't already know and/or try to implement. Unfortunately, for me, pretty use.
  9. Moon (2009)
    • WHOA. Wait what? The description at the back of the DVD case did not prepare me for this at all, in the best of ways. The ending, though, I'm still undecided about.
  10. The Thing with Feathers by Noah Strycker
    • I didn't realize there were pigeon races. I was also surprised - somewhat disappointed - there wasn't more about corvids in this. I'm biased, of course, being a bit of a fan of that particular subset of birds. Otherwise, a pleasant and sometimes surprising read.
  11. The Triumph of Seeds by Thor Hanson
    • 100% agree that a career goal has been reached when you get to buy candy bars & coffee and call them work expenses.
  12. Animal Farm by George Orwell
I've been trying to re-read The Art of War (Machiavelli), in addition to finish The Fruit, the Tree and the Serprent, not to mention If This is a Woman: Inside Ravensbruck, all of which have been in my possession since before I left in April, to no avail. The newer books have me in thrall whereas the half-finished, half-started ones seem to become less approachable with every passing day, so it's gotten to the point where I'm not sure whether I can even stir myself to finish them up before passing them along.