Monday, August 31, 2009

Campaniform; Or, How I Challenge the Stash

Moons ago in April, I began hatching a plan for stash usage.
I decided I wanted to play with a particular garment shape idea, and Campaniform was born.
Pattern: Campaniform
Yarn: 2 hanks of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, in "Lava"

I had so very much fun knitting this mini cardi. Very mini cardi.
Playing chicken with the yardage turned out alright in some respects, and not so great in others.

Alright: The knit was finished with only about 3 metres of the yarn left
(I'm astonished by my estimation powers)
Not so Great: In a stroke of goofy luck, I miscalculated the number of stitches for the front - subsequently I have a gap that is much larger than originally intended.
This error has been "surmounted" by the wee tags n' buttons, but not entirely satisfactorily.

Incidentally, the vote I put out there for button choice ended up being tied between leopard and clocks. It was a really tough decision! But with the clocks I went.

Alright: I really really like the shape, and think I have some useful data that can be applied to a new pattern idea.
It was a simple top down raglan, but as you can see, the sleeves ate up most of the yarn with their fun puffiness. I also short-rowed across the back, to give it a bit of a cute wee curve, as well as save some of the yarn. You can sort of see it in this back photo.
Not so Great: I held out hope til the last that there would be enough to pick up and knit along the front panels, and bring them closer together.
Sadly, I had not the required yardage.
le sigh.

It is comfort, though, that this knit has grown on me significantly after having worn it to work on yesterday (when I conducted this photoshoot).

The inspiration for this knit was partly the yarn, which is lovely and knits up wonderfully. I also looked to the beautiful gowns and fashions of the mid-late 18th century. While certainly not an attempt at exact replication, it's more of an homage to the off-the-shoulder neckline and belled sleeves of pre-revolutionary France. Hence the appropriateness of the clock buttons :)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Reader Appreciation Summer FunTime Giveaway!

PhotobucketWelcome to the ninth installment of the Reader Appreciation SummerFunTime Giveaway!

Congratulations to last week's winner, Julie of Team Knit! You can message me on Rav or email me at canarysanctuary at yahoo dot com with your mailing address and the package will be heading your way!

Here we go with week nine.

This week we have:

-one small purple purse
-one page of accessories to knit and crochet, from the 1970s
-one McCall's Needlecraft magazine, October 1984
-one Woman's Day magazine from 1985, including 101 needlework and sweater ideas
-a selection of various purple and black cotton fabric squares and scraps

Good Luck!
There's only one week left for the giveaway - stay tuned :)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Elisha Laubacher
Blog: Seasha's Knitting Stuff
Rav ID: seasha
Some Great Designs: seasha's Rav Designer Page

This week is a profile of the youngest designer I've ever discussed on Indie Designer Day!

Seasha is a "... soon-to-be-eleventh-grader who loves to knit and design. I try to create designs that flatter the wearer and aren’t outdated or “old-ladyish”."

And her knits are definitely cute and wearable!

Take her recently published Mayapple (pictured right). While simple in shape, texture and an adorable wee tie front add interest and character to this highly usable garment.

Seasha's Autumn Shrug is another great functional pattern, this time with subtle cables and two different coloured yarns creating a unique flair in the top. I always appreciate a simple, well constructed and wearable design - this is certainly it! I'm particularly fond of the "no buttonholes needed" tidbit. They're always tricky to make!

There are many other designs on her Rav designer page linked above, but I'll point you in the direction of one more, Short-Sleeved Sweater. The sweater has great waist detailing, and is highly adjustable for the infinite possibilities that are human shapes. It's wonderful to see designers aware of this fact!

Looking forward to seeing some new designs :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

This for Twins; Or, How I Come Perilously Close to Scrapbooking*

So, this is how I outfit behbehs:

I hear someone's preggers. It's twin girls. I diligently scoot off to find suitable (read: totally cute) baby patterns. I obviously choose too many. Obviously.

While I tried to avoid pink, it was actually a bit of a challenge to find baby-friendly yarn in my stash that was not this stereotypical colour.


So, while this photo looks like a baby-mess-riot explosion on the floor, it is actually comprised of:
-two wee elfin-esque pointy hats, bottom left
-an eyemask, for a tired out mama (above elfin hats)
-two little lace sweaters, (sitting on the left side of the grouping), both cotton and both yellow with sunflower button
-two sewn felt owls (right along the top there)
-melt-n'-pour soaps with lavender, and some homemade bath fizzes with the same scent for aforementioned tired out mama (along top beside owls)
Photobucket-two hoodies, courtesy this pattern from Knitty; one is pink and one yellow (see pic below for yellow hoodie close-up)
-bottom of the circle is a set of pumpkin hats and booties (since the wee filles are having their birthday in October)
-just to the left of the hats n' booties are some baby legwarmers
-and sitting beneath it all is a cotton gift bag/purse I sewed up the night before I gifted the package

As you may be able to tell, I had me some bigtime fun searching out and knitting up baby stuffs. These are the first infants I've gotten to knit for!

Here's to hoping I get some modelled shots forwarded my way :)

*There's nothing wrong with scrapbooking - in fact, there's far too much that's right about it. I had a grand ol' time making up the labels for the gifts.
At issue is my tendency to be attracted to knit-picky (heh), tedious tasks/crafts, and one has only so many hours in the day and days in the life to craft!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Kelly McClure
Blog: bohoknits Patterns
Etsy Shop: Bohoknits
Rav ID: bohoknits
Some Great Designs: bohoknits Rav Designer Page

Being just a little too anxious for autumn to arrive, I thought this week would be an appropriate time to present a designer with a great collection of chilly time designs.

Bohoknits has many lovely cool-weather pieces. First we have the very pretty Hemp Whirlpool Mittens (pictured). With a very pretty swirl motif, these mitts have the perfect amount of colourwork for the beginner colourworker :) And will give you an attractive and functional FO!

The temptingly textured and beribboned Mediterranean Tulle Wrap is another relaxing knit, and is generously offered for gratis!

She has numerous designs, and I can only mention a few here, but I'll direct you to two cool hats, Oceana Toque (crochet) and Sockhead Hat. Keeping with the practical and fashionable spirit of her designs, Bohoknits has written the Oceana Toque so that you can use any yarn from a sport to bulky weight, and to fit any head size. I particularly appreciate the nod (heh) to head-size variety. Sockhead Hat is yet another practical, functional, simply constructed and wonderfully cute design, with leagues of stockinette, perfect for tv watching/knitting!

Make sure to check out her etsy shop. It's chock full of patterns as well as finished knits for all ages.

And here's a great bit of insight into her design process:

"I believe my personality, being a strange mix of perfectionism and uninhibited creativity, is perfectly suited to the craft of knitting. Although my pieces are very precise and accurate, my process is often organic and scattered. I tend to start many designs and pieces at once and it isn’t unusual to find me surrounded by many partial projects, and even more books, magazines, and notebooks."

And how, fellow knitter!
Fingers crossed for the coolness, so that we can all start to sport lovely fall/winter knits like Bohoknits' :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

October Glory; Or, I Get Published!

October Glory - on blogIf you hop on over to Knotions I'd be süber flattered, cause they've just posted my first ever published pattern!

A bit too excited for words, I am.
So excited, in fact, that revert to Yoda Speak I do.

It's called October Glory, after the particularly lovely species of red maple I so admire round that time o' year.
I love me my autumn, and I've done my best in this knit to make two hanks of orange silk be as autumn as it can be.

Monday, August 17, 2009

My Button Expedition

PhotobucketHaving waited a few weeks for the cross-city bus-tacular journey, I've now just returned from my trip to the sewing/textiles district and have the booty here for display. My poor semi-neglected almost-knit is thisclose to completion, but requires some extra input.

Being the way I am, one choice couldn't be made in the store. I must call on everyone's input, and ask for a hand in selecting which button best complements this yarn.
Also, I love the wee buttons decorating the street signs, seen here:
Incidentally, I needed to photog the various thematic decor sprinkled through the district.
I'm a fan of this colourful addition to the streetscape.

Now, on to those buttons.


From furthest away, moving forward:
1 - plain old semi-transparent white plastic, with a bit of a flower pattern cut on top.
2 - cool shanked yellowish (well, almost sepia-toned) button with Roman numeral clock design
3 - plastic shanked leopard print (closest to what I had originally been thinking of for this knit)
4 - pretty light-coloured shanked wood button with scroll pattern incised on top
5 - opaque white plastic shanked button with neato twistys

As you can probably tell, they're all different sizes. I do believe I can work with them all, though I might be pushing it with the smallest, #1.
The whimsical #2 has a pretty high unique/cool factor, but I only have three of them and I might need for. Well, four might be preferable.
Numbers #4 and #5 are quite pretty, but I wonder if they're too light, and perhaps stand out too much against the purpley yarn?

Thanks in advance for all input! I'm looking forward to this as an autumn knit, so I've a few weeks to make up my mind and complete it.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Reader Appreciation Summer FunTime Giveaway!

PhotobucketWelcome to the nineth installment of the Reader Appreciation SummerFunTime Giveaway!

Congratulations to last week's winner, Unraveling Sophia. The package will be heading your way in the post, post haste!

Next week I'll be taking a break from the giveaway, because I'll be cottaging.

But for now, we go on with week nine.

This week we have:

- a knitting project bag, with several comparments, slots for needles, and a drawstring top
- a matching needle holder, which includes three sets of straights, 8mm, 9mm and 10mm
- a three-pack of needle point protectors
- two hanks of Belle Vallée Wools. This is a hearty 100% wool yarn, one is a lightly heathered grey, and the other a creamy white
- and of course, one wee cute polar bear

Good Luck!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Susannah Hill
Rav ID: swhill80
Some Great Designs: swhill's Rav Designer Page

This week's indie designer is swhill80, and she's got a great little lace top, perfect for August heat!

Nympheas is a free download on Ravelry - very generous! I love the scoopneck and picot edging.

Surprisingly, there's only 8 projects for this cute pattern, and a couple with cool mods (including vest-i-fying and multi-colourizing).

I always appreciate a garment with good fit, and swhill80's design certainly has that. She says,

"as far as inspiration, I’d say Wendy Bernard is a big one for me. She introduced the whole concept of negative ease in her patterns and that’s made a big difference in the way I knit my own sweaters."

Hear hear! This statement is close to my knit-heart, and has inspired me to get going on a few more design principle posts :)

Thanks swhill80 - can't wait to see any new designs!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Today is Tuesday; Or, It's Hot Out, Dude

Here, lemme show you my very ordinary Tuesday.

9:30 am: Morning Glories say hello, but Marigolds wither goodbye. I continue, stubbornly, hopefully, to water them.

10:00 am: I admire the pretty Anglican church across from my bus stop. I've always loved stained glass windows. Maybe some day I'll live in a house that's got some...

10:30 am: At work, with coffee in hand. Already 23°C, feels like 29°. Yowza. For those of you who don't know, I wilt in the heat, and so decided to photog my spontaneously co-operative hair before the humidity makes it go puff.


1:30 pm: Lunchtime! I ingest more caffeine, this time in the form of some Earl Grey tea. I also read more of the Potter book, which is actually a fail because I had meant to have finished re-reading it before I flounced off to watch the movie. I'm at the part where Harry's trying to get the memory off Slughorn.

3:30 pm: I share my break with a couple of rather entertaining sparrows.


5:30 pm: I arrive home, eat dinner, and ponder what to do with about 6 overripe bananas. There's also the issue of the mint that I've dried. Anyone know any good recipes/uses for either? Banana cream pie sounds fun, but what to do with the mint?

9:00 pm: Knit Night! I display part of my work after a few hours in good company and delicious drinks. While a baby knit it might be, I'm knitting for twins, and so it feels a bit unending. That and I've decided to do almost every adorable baby pattern that I've come across. These are the first babies I've gotten to knit for!

10:00 pm: Wee pin lights on in the kitchen mean it's chill time for me.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Reader Appreciation Summer FunTime Giveaway!

PhotobucketWelcome to the eight installment of the Reader Appreciation SummerFunTime Giveaway!

Congratulations to last week's winner, Jessica. You can message me on Rav or email me at canarysanctuary at yahoo dot com with your mailing address and the package will be heading your way post haste!

Here we go with week eight.

This week we have a plethora of patterns!

-one afghan booklet, circa 1970s
-one "Bazaar Novelties and Gifts" booklet, circa 1970s
-one "Pre School Fashions" booklet, circa 1960s
-one baby set of hood and jacket, circa 1970s
-one collection of infant knits for "The First Month" circa 1950s/60s
-two sheets "Easy Accessories in Big Needle Knitting" circa 1970s
-one child's hoodie pattern, circa 1980s
-six single sheet patterns, all from circa 1960s/70s, including hats, scarves, slippers and mitts for all the family and some cute little head kerchiefs for ladies

Good Luck, and thanks for reading!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Ditte Lerche
Knit Blog: Dittelerche
Design Blog: Spot On: TEXTILES
Rav ID: Lerche
Some Great Designs: Lerche's Rav Designer Page

Want to get inside a textile designer's head? Check out Lerche's beautiful work and websites!

As a student at the Danish Design School in Copenhagen, it's not surprising that her knitwear stuns. Pictured right is her Mutant Knitwear One. How amazing is this piece? It looks like it's jumped off the pages of Vogue! Her blog is chock full of inspirational, atmospheric photos. I'm a big fan of her recent post re: Sonia Rykiel knitwear exhibition. Check it out.

Another demonstration of her cool textural and spatial aesthetic is her Mini Poncho or... . I want one, and I don't even know what the front looks like!

Keep your eyes peeled - her website is coming soon. Can't wait to see it!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Knot Tying 101; Or, How Wedding Planning Comes Along

After much research1 I've made some decisions regarding my wedding next year. Herein lies the first of what may turn out to be one, or rather many, Canary's-Getting-Married posts.

I have to admit, it was something of a decision for me whether or not to impose wedding gleefulness on a purportedly knitting/craft focussed blog, but I'm having loads of fun planning! The glee cannot be contained.

And truly, while I'm happy to be marrying the dude, yada yada yada, I'm looking forward to a grand excuse reason to craft to my crafty heart's content.2 And a kickass party.

Being something of a clotheshorse, the dress was tackled first. I thank greatly Julie at Team Knit for her post earlier this year re: her beautiful wedding. You've been inspirational and informative. Merci bien! Her post led me to the website where I found my dress.

Now, to dispel some silliness re: weddings. I had no "ohmigawd-magic-this-is-the-dress" moment. No siree. Methinks this is something of legend. Instead, I did me my homework and knew going in that I did not want süber bling, anything overwhelming, the promise of my firstborn for down payment, and definitely nothing strapless (btw, good luck to all looking for something outside this box. If you are, the interwebs are your friend. The cookie-cutter bride is raging in my locale, wherein it seems the stereotypical gown is requisite for one and all. If you ask at the shop for anything different, they just might give you the confused-Scooby-Doo-whatchoo-talkin'-bout face.)

Bizarrely, the dress I purchased is actually the first one I tried on. I humoured the sales attendant by trying on two she picked out for me, but I certainly wasn't having any sequin-encrusted nightmare claustrophobically enclosing my body.

I started out being certain that I wanted a tea length dress. But it occurred to me that I would surely never have a reason to wear a wedding gown again, whereas a lovely tea-length dress could be trotted out for various and sundry occasions. So here's the dress as sported by a statuesque Spanish model.
Pronovias makes lovely gowns, and I was very happy to see that this particular style (Diamante) flatters many different body types (just google Pronovias Diamante. All those sporting it look fantastico.)

It lives on the back of my closet door now, because I'm nervous to go to the seamstress. Very nervous. I'll spill my heart out here and divulge that I'm afraid they'll kill it. I'm also afraid they'll tell me I'm too short to wear it. Yes, it's true. Munchkins aren't allowed to wear flat shoes and full-length wedding gowns, as I've come to learn.3 This dress has to come up about 10". No joke. So, if my dress isn't killed I'll do a happy dance and let you know it lives still.

I do have a question for you: I'm not a veil person, and so am nixing that part of the ensemble. Instead, I'm leaning towards a silk flower in my hair, possibly with feather adornments. Not sure yet.
Considering this dress, what would you wear in your hair? Head band? Tiara? No hair adornments at all?

If you aren't sick of my wedding-glee, I'll have to show ya'll my shoes and jewellery next.
1 by this, I mean magazine perusal, blog a-readin' and copious book skimming

2 The goodness of the dude and compatibility of the match can be summed up in his canny comment, "this is just a big crafting project for you, isn't it?"

3 Unfortunately, there are many people who don't hide the fact that they think you're doing something "wrong" when planning your wedding. Most people are lovely, but there are a few who make you feel like poo.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Stash Diving; Or, What's Lurking in the Deep Dark Depths continues the tale of the Stash Diving Adventures of one Canary Sanctuary - when forced by economic forces unseen into digging for fibrey gold in her own backyard...

Gadzooks, it's been ages since I've even thought about this stash-redux attempt!
But, since there's been some progress, I wanted to give everyone an update re: this particular yarnny re-discovery.Photobucket
The Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool has been sitting on my coffee table nigh on three months now, resolutely being ignored by meself. My wholehearted attempts to project-focus and actually complete designs has produced a dissatisfaction and reluctance to knit that has only just recently been traced back to this aforementioned wholehearted project-focussing attempt.

But oh, when I got my hands on this other yarn, it was like an illicit affair! I was off and running (or knitting/betraying...procrastinating!?)
While superfluous punctuation may not serve to sufficiently illustrate my enthusiasm on beginning this lanolinic liaison, perhaps this teaser progress photo will.
This is how I spent my lunch today - sitting in the sun, tossing cookie crumbs to the cute sparrows, and getting a knit on this project (which I've happily titled Campaniform.*)

With only two hanks of this yarn I embarked on a chancy and froggingly-frightening mission. Now, I'm within an inch (or two, and - if I'm lucky to have enough yarn - three) of completion!

I now put a call out: does anyone know where a knitter can get herself some small, fuzzy-fabric-covered leopard print buttons? Or ribbon? My own brief interwebs search proved fruitless. It's a rarity indeed for eBay and Etsy to let me down, but my surfings today have failed.

*I can't tell you how much fun I've had with this site.