Friday, June 29, 2012

Indie Designer Revisited

PhotobucketDesigner: Betsy Farquhar
Etsy: good egg
Rav ID: elf518
Some Great Designs: elf518's Rav Designer Page
Original Indie Designer Post: October 9, 2009

I'm excited to profile this designer again.

There's something about her aesthetic that really twangs my fashion strings. Why that sensibility is stringed, and why twanged I'm not sure, but inspiration abounds for me when I look at her bold, sculptural, colourful pieces.

The pictured design is her Funnel Cloud Shrug, from her fantastic ebook All The Marbles. Just take a peek at that shape. That's a shape I've never seen before. It's beautiful, organic and just as functional. What is this garment? I think it's a statement-making idea that solves a few issues otherwise presented by cowls or shrugs by combining the two into an amazing, wear-it-all-day piece.

I have to stop myself there. I could really go on about that one pattern!

Another aspect of her design skill is working with colour.
See her Skeleton Key Mittens and the adorable Kitsune Mittens. Strong lines, fantastically contrasting colours, and (once again) a fashionable, statement-making and yet perfectly functional piece of knitwear.
Triumph! Triumph, I declare!

Along with self-publishing, she's also had a pattern printed in the lovely book, House of White Birches. Her piece, Chunky Drop Stitch Cable Warmer, uses texture in the same way that she does bold lines and colour.

I'm also pretty dern excited by a hint she's given me about a future design project.
Recently finishing up some school, I'll have to hope this will allow her time to complete the
teaser project she mentioned to me in our emails:

" I’ve just started a massive celebratory project! (a design based on mexican pipel picado)"

Really can't wait to see that!
Thanks for the designs and the inspiration.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Romper; Or, Risk Taking

For quite some time I've had this wee thought in my brain.

It's been sitting there, bugging me every once in a while.

"Hey you. Hey. You see that weird outfit? That romper thing? That would be so cool for summer. You need to get your hands on one of those. Look how great they look on all the models, in all the ads n' stuff".1

Please note: this quote may lead to danger.

I recognize that this fixated-ness is based upon photos. Of models. In, what would be regarded by many, as a "weird outfit".

I'm going to skip along down this road of danger.

Thought it might be amusing for ya'll to watch me
a) prove a point
b) learn something new
c) crash and burn

And so I've decided to share my (possibly a big waste of time) plans.

I'm making me a romper! Maybe even two!

Let me show you:


I just purchased this fabric on the super cheap the other day.

I also picked up this 1970s jumpsuit pattern in the local used store.


You're all saying, "The WISE thing to do would be to, at the very least, go to the mall and actually try on one of these... weird outfits... to see if you like the look in the first place!"

Naw. Nope. Not gonna do that.
Gonna be a hard-headed lazy bones and decide to enjoy the journey (towards crash and burn, most likely).

Come along, folks! The first step shall be the cutting of the fabric.
1 To check out some of the ideas I've had floating around about this, you can have a peek at my pinterest board here.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Father's Day; Or, Lemon and Cupcakes and Sunny Days

So I had promised pictures, and have herein delivered (a scant few).
My brother and his girlfriend brought along a delicious lemon meringue pie.
Second only to apple, lemon is my favourite desserty flavour.

I also indulged in a wee bit of baking myself, with these cupcakes.
I decided they needed dressing up, and so found a manly font on the interwebs and voila! A cupcakey centrepiece. (in case you can't see it all that well, those circles surrounding each letter are actually little tires. Cute. Manly cute).

The rain ended up holding off, but what with the hecticness of hosting a party, I didn't end up snapping all that many pics.
Hope you all had a lovely Sunday last weekend. Mine went over great!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Aanika Silvennoinen
Blog: neulontai
Rav ID: SusiVilla
Some Great Designs: SusiVilla's Rav Designer Page

This week's designer has a selection of great garments and a warm, homey and fun style.

First up is the adorable Myssykkä. A free ear flap bat pattern, this knit is functional, with just the right amount of femininity (love that stitched on heart!)

A boldly patterned shrug, Kukka (means flower in Finnish) features great graphic patterns along the front, highlighting any beautiful handdyed yarn.

Another cute topper, Metsän Lapsi, showcases her skills in hat design. Another cool bit is the name: in Finnish it means child of the woods or Woodland Child.

Keep an eye out for susivilla's designs. You might see a new, independent design enterprise starting up soon!
Aanika let me in on a whole bunch of interesting information, which I'll just quote here for brevity:
"Susi - Villa means Wolf - Wool in finnish… i’m a knitting (wild) dog person. However everyone interprets the spanish meaning of it."
"there aren’t many wild wolves left in finland, but i live right up north in lapland which is somtimes called the borderline to wolf land!"

Friday, June 15, 2012

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Petra Neumann
Blog: Strickkaffee
Rav ID: peti50
Some Great Designs: peti50's Rav Designer Page

This knitter knows how to use colour!

Can't you just see yourself wearing her Ginkolino (pictured) this summer? It looks like such a light, wonderful, riotous use of blazing colours. Now THIS is how you knit with hot pink yarn!

You can see her using a more subdued combination in her Peti's Raffinierte Handstulpen Variante 1. These fingerless mitts have no English translation (but if you can read German, you're in luck!), but just taking a look at their use of shape, colour and texture is very inspiring.

And for a final, and rather intriguing, use of stripes and solids, check out Peti's Blättertuch. This asymmetrically shaped poncho uses a variety of yarns and colours to block in ways that I'm not sure I've ever seen before. It's an innovative poncho! The shades and shapes seem to dance into each other, and certainly remind me of butterfly wings. Another lovely summer knit!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ruminations on Dads; Or, Genetically Crafty-Makey


So Sunday is Father's Day. While this is a "made up" holiday1, it certainly does get one to thinking, and I'm sure it never hurts to have a day to celebrate an important person in your life.

Seeing as how this is a knitting blog, I thought "gee, how can I relate fathers back to knitting? Keep the content on-topic, eh?"
While I don't knit for my dad (I know better. There's just some people you don't knit for) and he certainly doesn't knit for himself (not sure, is knitting for ladies?)2, I can trace my joyful thriving on making stuff back to him. And even his father, too.

You might recall numerous occasions I've mentioned my dad on this blog; the most recent being my karmically-taunting mockings of him and his anti-raccoon efforts throughout my youth.

There's also the one where I talk about stuff-making, apple-growing, my lack of the genetic green thumb, dog-owning, steel-working and nostalgic song-listening.3

These stories, I now see, generally share ideas surrounding making. How I make, how he makes, and how maybe even further back our predecessors maked.4

But where did it really come from? Nature us nurture, right? I mean, it's tempting to think certain things are bred in yer bones; genetics are fascinating, especially when those familiar familial traits crop up in ostensibly non-genetic ways.

Ostensibly non-genetic, but who knows? I mean, I hear my great-uncle talk, and he sounds just like my grandfather. Can you have the very same voice as your own sibling? Is my brain just making that connection, even though (perhaps) there's quite a difference in their voices?

I've recently met some extended family of a good friend of mine. They share some similar mannerisms. What's with that?

And maybe it's all just situational: I was out with a friend of mine (she's about twenty years older than me) and we were asked if we were mother and daughter. Why? Because we're out together and both have brown hair and eyes?

A friend of mine who's a retired kindergarten teacher swears that our personalities are what they are and ever will be by the time we're five. Did all that playing in dad's workshop and exposure to table saws, peg boards, tools, electrical wires and random assortment of "parts" make my five-year-old mind say "yes, this is for me!"

Well hey, maybe I can get vociferously crafty-makey-hands from my dad. Be it through genetics or plain old craftular exposure, either way, thanks dad.

I'm having the mini-hoard (and I mean "hoard" in the most wonderful of ways) over on the big day. We're breaking in the new patio (great pics to follow, I promise).

Have a great weekend all!
1 One that's been around for only about 100 years (only!)
Hardy har har. I feel I must footnote this sarcastic laughter, lest anyone actually think I'm a sexist jerk.
3 Let me tell ya, that "search blog" box up there is quite helpful when you can't remember all the posts you've written over the past seven years on your blog that talk about your dad!
4 That's right, maked. I made the decision to misuse the English language just there. I figured putting "how our predecessors made" sounded scatological.
Yes, I'm a child.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Kelly Menzies
Blog: Kydel Makes
Rav ID: Kydel
Etsy Shop: Kydel Handmade Knitwear Design
Some Great Designs: Kydel's Rav Designer Page

With a fun, playful style, this week's designer provides us with a nice selection of accessories.

I immediately feel in love with Miska when I first saw it. How cute is this? I thought, wow, I have to check this designer out and see where this aesthetic leads her. I was most certainly not disappointed.

Cariad is a fast, simple and really cool-looking knit cowl, loads of beautifully textured fabric draping over shoulder and up around your head are sure to keep the cold away and look casually fashionable.

Air is another quick project, but this time an airy toque/slouchy hat (depending, of course, on how you wear it).

I think by now you all know I'm a sucker for a good pair of legwarmers: check out Label Case. Any pattern that looks this awesome goes right on to my must knit list. Combination of cables and yarn overs create a knit that can be quite functional, but also make quite a fashion statement.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

How To: Keep a Cat Out of Your Garden

Dear readers,

Just a while back, I shared with you my ongoing battle with the Orange Cat of Strawberry Death.
Though I have not the ultimate cat-deterring answer, I have indeed tested a few suggestions, and can herein outline their effectiveness, cost, availability and overall applicability.
The battle continues, folks, but there is hope.

PhotobucketSuggestion #1:
Dog pee
Effectiveness: I "tried" this one by default. Only a day or so after my initial post, my parents dropped by with Ellie dog. She, as dogs will do, left some scent in my yard. I saw the cat in there the very next morning. So, not particularly effective.
Cost: free! Just subject to the availability of the dog.
Availability: See comment above.
Applicability: Maybe if Ellie was around more often to "recharge" her scent this method would work, but if you don't own a dog or have one very near indeed, this is likely not the solution for you.

Suggestion #2:
Cayenne Pepper
Effectiveness: Some people have sworn to me that this method worked for them. I suspect this it totally cat-dependent, in that, if your particular problem-cat hates cayenne pepper, this will work. If not, you're barking up the wrong tree. One negative to this method: after any rain (or watering of garden) you've got to re-apply the cayenne.
Cost: Minimal. I think I picked up a little spice baggie of it for under $3.
Availability: Easy to find in any grocery store.
Applicability: Well, I hope for you this is the answer, since it's so easy to get and inexpensive. The applicability, though, depends on the cat-in-question's sensitivity.

PhotobucketSuggestion #3:
Water Spray
Effectiveness: Works like a charm!
Cost: Free! Unless you decide to invest in a Super Soaker, or perhaps want to split hairs and check how much water consumption is used in particular for cat-spraying... pennies, I would think.
Availability: Right there in your tap!
Applicability: This is free/cheap and easy to get, but unfortunately only works if you're there all the time... waiting... Getting a motion-activated sprinkler is an option, but an expensive one.

PhotobucketSuggestion #4:
Bamboo Skewers
Effectiveness: If I was handing out prizes for methods suggested, attempted, and proved successful, ChrisC would be the winner! Shoving the skewers (pointy side down!) keeps the cat out like a charm.
Cost: Inexpensive. I bought a few packs of 100 for under $4.
Availability: Easy to find, I would imagine most dollar stores would have them.
Applicability: Easy to install! And once they're in place, you can garden around them, pull them out and re-use them in other parts of your garden (or for next year's problem-cat...)

Suggestion #5:
Cedar Mulch
Effectiveness: For the Orange Cat of Strawberry Death, this proves absolutely ineffective. I laid down several inches of mulch, and caught him digging, quite happily, in it on several occasions.
Cost: I guess it's pretty cheap, but depends on your budget and amount of space to cover. One very large bag was about $6, and covered about a 3' sq area.
Availability: At this time of year, it seems there's garden centres everywhere selling the stuff!
Applicability: I'll say it looks great, keeps weeds down, but doesn't seem to have any effect on at least my problem-cat.

Suggestion #6:
CatScat Mat
Effectiveness: This works just as well as the bamboo skewers!
Cost: Too expensive. Way too expensive. Each wee mat covers an area of less that 1' sq. I bought 8, and it came to over $50! (I felt like a sucker. I placed the order for this stuff and then the next day ChrisC left the helpful suggestion of bamboo skewers. D'oh!
Availability: Well, you can buy it online, so I guess it's easy to get. Bamboo skewers are better though.
Applicability: It works! But is too expensive. Especially in light of the cheapness of the skewers.

There was also a bunch of great suggestions I did not try, but thought I'd share my input on anyway...

Suggestion #7:
Fresh Box of Litter Next to Garden
Effectiveness: I can see this working. I read this suggestion in several places, some of which also mentioned planting some catnip to make the approved-of poop area even more enticing.
Cost: Honestly, I've never bought kitty litter before. I assume you'd also have to get a bin to put it in.
Availability: Easy to find!
Applicability: Ok, while this could work, it has the unfortunate downside of ME having to scoop a cat's poop. Not my cat, don't want to scoop its poop.

Suggestion #8:
Green 2 Litre Bottles
Effectiveness: Oh sweet chocolate from heaven, I wish this would work. It would be hilarious and inexpensive.
Cost: See point above.
Availability: So easy to get!
Applicability: Please please tell me if you try this one. I'd love to know its success rate.

Suggestion #9:
Orange Peels, Blood Meal, Coffee Grounds, Pine Needles, Anti-Cat Plant
Effectiveness: I've heard this one from so many sources, it must work on some cats.
Cost: Most of the things listed there are inexpensive options, though I've never priced Blood Meal.
Availability: Again, I think they're mostly easy to find.
Applicability: These ones all have a multitasking bonus. If it keeps the cat away, hooray! If not, at the least, these items all either fertilize your garden, or act as a beneficial mulch.
Here's a link to a plant which is reputed to work anti-cat magic.

Suggestion #10:
Chicken Wire (above or below)
Effectiveness: I would imagine this would be very effective indeed, especially when placed above your plants in a protective cage/wall.
Cost: Chicken wire is one of those things all our fathers have tucked away in the basement or barn, no? It just grows naturally, appears suddenly, and is readily available through the magic methods of "stuff-dads-always-have". Other items that fall into this category are twine, random wires of unknown origin or use, tools that are older than your grandparents and, my favourite, duct tape.
Availability: See above! (No, I joke. I'm sure chicken wire is reasonably priced and easy to find).
Applicability: I would imagine its price, availability and effectiveness would score it high points and make it a viable option for many gardeners.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Linda Blakely
Blog: Connie Caps
Rav ID: ConnieCaps
Etsy: Wine Diva Designs
Some Great Designs: ConnieCaps' Rav Designer Page

This week's designer is not only a creative and talented mind, she's also very giving.

She's set up the non-profit organization ConnieCaps, Inc, which provides stylish, hand-crafted hats to cancer patients. All all the proceeds from the sales of her patterns goes to fund ConnieCaps.
So, purchasing her patterns will do great good to not only you, but others in need whom you may never have met!

On to the knits!

Pictured is Lemonade from Lemons, a free and very lovely poncho. I quite enjoy the multiple pictures of ways to wear it, especially the over-sized cowl!

Simple Ridges Shawlette is just that: a great little knit that utilizes simple texture and repetition to create visual interest. With such a solid base, this pattern is wonderful for that special hank (or two!) of yarn you might have.

Hanging on Hat was designed and is meant to be purchased in conjunction with the complimentary scarf, Letting Go. This hat has a fantastic lacey yet cabled brim, one that adds a subtle twist to the basic shape of a simple hat.