Friday, August 31, 2012

Indie Designer Revisited

PhotobucketDesigner: Maggy Vremec
Rav ID: basicmag
Some Great Designs: basicmag's Rav Designer Page
Original Indie Designer Post: September 25, 2009

Since the first time I profiled basicmag, her consummate skills as a sweater designer have continued unabated.
The pictured Asteroid B 12 is one of my new favourites. I love the playful texture. This sweater looks so comfy and wearable, it's just another thing making me want teh autumnz naow.

Another lovely, classic sweater it the turtle-necked Flamingo. This time with cables, and just as comfy and cozy looking as Asteroid.

I'm keeping my eye on this designer for some great winter wearables. Looking forward to snow!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Canary Update: Or, Hilts is Allllllright!

Just a quick update from a while ago, when I posted about little Hilts and his mystery illness.
He's alright!

Well, he appears to be alright.

He's been living in a different room than the other birds, quiet, nice and secluded. He seems much more chipper, tweeting occasionally and perching again!

So, my theory is he was just messing with me. He wanted to go in to semi-retirement, get settled in a different, more peaceful address.

All is well, and I thank you all so much for the sympathy and concern expressed during his illness.

Now, on to knitting!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Salt and Short and Sweet

In an attempt to copy a friend's fan-booming-tastic salted chocolate chip cookies, I made these suckers.
I stumbled across this recipe on the interwebs.

It was great, but still didn't have the magic of my friend's batch.

I'll have to get the secret from her.

I bet it's love. Secret ingredient is love.

That or more butter.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Ghost Knits: Collection Sneak Peek


Giving just a hint of one of my favourite patterns from my upcoming ebook, Ghosts: historiographies, cultural manifestations, and the knits they've inspired, set to be out in October.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Boadicea Binnerts
Blog: Boknits
Rav ID: Boknits
Some Great Designs: Boknits' Rav Designer Page

Fantastically geometric.

Those two words jumped out at me when I first looked at Boknits' patterns.

I'm sure you'll agree when you look at this list of lovelies:

Matrix Sweater (pictured) is a riot of interesting shape and shaping. Just read this quote, from the pattern page, "The drop-stitch darts form the shaping, in a unique new way. Even the sleeve decreases are somewhere else!"

How cool is that?

Vertical Ruffle Skirt is one of a few of Boknits' designs that play with this sort of amazing structural element.
See it appear as well on her Hello Sailor! sweater.

Mouse-stairs top uses another strict form, but in a different and more organic way. She refers to it as "a geometric waterfall of simple folds ". Beautifully put.

Go check out her other designs. It's so interesting and exciting to see a designer with a clear, attractive and uniform aesthetic!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pumpkin CPR: Dead or Alive

Garden update:

Curiously, there's a grand total of nine (9!) butternut squash on the vine. And, you know, still alive.

The pumpkins, on the other hand...


Not sure what's going down, but I have two (2, sadface).


It's been suggested that they're too crowded, and I suspect that might be the culprit.

The reaching-tentacles of the pumpkin have encroached all the way down the alley next to the house. As of this morning, that arm of this squash-expedition is still dead-leaf-free.


There are flourishing parts o' the garden, and I hopes they yield wonderfulness for me to share.
At the mo, there's just the morning glory.
Seeing it's prettiness always makes my day.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Ghost Knits ebook: Sneak Peek

October can't come soon enough! I have to share a pic with you now :)

Here's a sneak peek at a pattern that'll be featured in my upcoming publication Ghosts: historiographies, cultural manifestations, and the knits they've inspired.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Amy Keefer
Blog: Amy Keefer
Rav ID: BlaerKnits
Some Great Designs: BlaerKnits' Rav Designer Page

Oh so timely!

No sooner did I locate this designer and her great style, than one of her pieces gets published in the latest Interweave Knits magazine!

First, to the pictured Tiger's Eye. This versatile piece can be worn as a hooded wrap, shawl, poncho or a cowl. It's a simply dramatic knit, one that will see you through seasonal change and be able to adapt to many occasions and situations.

There's also the colourworked Topaz Hat. A toque with interesting texture and depth, this piece can work just as well for a man's knit as it would for a woman's.

Finally, I want to point out the beautiful new pattern she has published in Interweave Knit's Fall 2012 issue, the Downton Pullover. Just look at that colour, texture, sleeve puff, collar, and wonderfully detailed cuff!
I really dig this design.

I'm happy to report that the designer says she has "...a lot of projects on the needles for release in the coming months." One of the upcoming designs is a wedding shawl she's designed for herself, in gorgeous indigo dyed merino from Swan’s Island, made up of modular lace triangles. Sounds beautiful. Can't wait to see it!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Announcement! Ghosts: historiographies, cultural manifestations, and the knits they've inspired

I love research.
I love a good pattern. One that's had thought put into it, inspiration behind it.
And I love art. Connecting visual information and beauty. Creativity and utility.

That's why I'm publishing Ghosts: historiographies, cultural manifestations, and the knits they've inspired.

It's a collection of some research I've found interesting, and its application to a nice little set of garments and accessories you can knit.

Ghost Knits - on blog

As you might imagine, cultures understand and recognize ghosts1 in a variety of ways. Even one culture, over a period of time, will alter its perception and visualization of this phenomenon.

I thought it'd be interesting to research this topic; it started just as a bit of curiosity, after having heard a factoid about how the invention/proliferation of digital camera technology has created the new "evidence" of ghosts: light orbs.

Since it was proving to be such an exciting topic, rife with great stories, descriptions, histories, images, and the like, I quickly became inspired to create an ebook collection of patterns based on ghosts, cultures and histories.

The picture above is a glimpse at the first pattern I worked on for the project. I'm not telling what it is! But I'm so keen for you to see it, my projected publication date of October can't come soon enough!
1 To clarify: since I'm discussing a variety of cultures, when I use the word "ghost", I mean it in the Western traditional definition. That is, the remnants of a deceased human's soul/spirit. Not it's corporeality (vampires, zombies), but in some cases its vengeful/demonic form. Once you start looking into this area of cultural study, you'd be amazed how many permutations of a seemingly singular supernatural phenomenon there are!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Toby Roxane Barna
Blog: Toby Roxane Designs
Rav ID: tobyroxanne
Some Great Designs: tobyroxane's Rav Designer Page

This week's designer shows off her delicate aesthetic in fantastic shawl designs.

The photo at right, Mansion House
(© Dennis F Barna), incorporates a great lace with an interesting shape. Now, I love a good, old fashioned triangular shawl, but this shape is really exciting, and I think, a bit more wearable than the triangle.

See it again here, with St. John's Wood and Piccadilly Circus. I love them all. This could really get me into the shawl-knitting mode, instead of just the shawl-dreaming mode!

Lest you think shawls are all she designs, there are other lovely garments like her Sweet William shrug and X-Mitts fingerless mitts.
I really dig the Sweet William shrug in particular because of its interesting, asymmetrical shape and pretty, gently ruffled edging.

I can't wait to see more work by this designer!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Owl Mitts

PhotobucketThe second kit I was asked to review by Morehouse Farm was this adorable pair of Owl Mitts.

The Knitter: R.S.

How was the yarn quality?
The quality of the yarn was good. I was concerned at first that it was too coarse, but it was actually quite soft to work with. It was easy to knit with and I had no problems with splitting or breakage.

Was the pattern written clearly, easy to follow, and accurate? Were there any mistakes in pattern?
The pattern was clearly written and easy to follow. No mistakes were noted.

Was your FO as expected?
I was quite pleased with my finished objects. The mitts are adorable. The pairing of the two yarn colors was excellent. I really like the flecks of blue-green in the variegated yarn, they really add to the finished product.

Had you heard of this yarn company before?
I had never heard of this particular yarn company before.

Would you get any other kits from this yarn company? Or recommend them to anyone?
I would definitely knit kits from the company again, and recommend them to friends based on my experience with this pattern.

Was knitting this project an enjoyable experience?
This was an enjoyable knit, a nice quick project. An easy knit for beginners, this would be a good project for beginner knitters who have never worked in the round before.

Is there anything else you'd like knitters to know about this kit/yarn/pattern?
For knitters who hate sewing, this kit might not be the best choice as you have to sew the eyes and you have to sew down flaps on each mitt. That being said, it really isn't a whole lot of sewing, I just happen to know some knitters who really hate any amount of hand sewing in a project.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Garlic Braid; Garden Harvest Ahoy!

Hooray! Done with the garlic from my garden.
It's all braided now, hanging happily in my kitchen.
I am TOTALLY safe from vampiric attack, peeps.

I used this video to help me figure out how to create this braid (mine's not so lovely as hers).

I'm also happy to report that I made some roasted garlic, using some of these very bulbs, and have survived. Unpoisoned! (though, certainly a bit more stinky).

Those crazy pumpkins and squash are still growing. They've currently taken over my pretty little park bench. It's their bench now.
I should post a pic. It's kind of scary.


Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Owl Backpack

PhotobucketWhen Morehouse Farm Yarn approached me and asked to review some of their kits, I thought it might be a fun idea do a bit of an interview-style review. I passed the kits along to some knitting friends I know and here you have the first installment of the reviews.

The Kit: Owl Backpack

The Knitter: S.H.

How was the yarn quality?
Overall this yarn is nice to work to with, however I did come across a few issues. One thing to be aware of is the yarn has a little bit of veg matter. I came across a small piece every few yards or so. The veg matter is very easy to remove though.
The other thing to be aware of is this yarn weight was VERY easy to pull apart. Normally if I decide to break yarn without scissors, I wrap the yarn around both hands and pull with quite a bit of effort. I was able to pull this yarn apart with wrapping and without much effort.

Was the pattern written clearly, easy to follow, and accurate?
The pattern was clearly written. I found it a little difficult to follow only because the instructions for each section are clumped together in one paragraph. It was necessary to cover bits of the instructions or cross parts out to follow along. It could be cleaned up a bit with the use of abbreviations and maybe an extra page for the pattern to go on. Currently the pattern fits onto 1 page.

Were there any mistakes in pattern?
I only noticed one mistake at the end of the beak section but it was very easy to figure out. With 4 stitches left, the patterns says to k1, k2tog, k1. The next line says to k2tog and pull yarn through the remaining stitch but there are 2 stitches left over at that point.

Was your FO as expected?
It was bigger than I thought it would be (though admittedly I'm not good at estimating things based on dimensions). Otherwise its exactly what I expected and so cute!

Had you heard of this yarn company before?

Would you get any other kits from this yarn company? Or recommend them to anyone?
I would buy/try out another kit from this company. They have so many adorable patterns on their website. I'm currently eye-ing the mouse nibbles jacket.
I would recommend these kits but with the cautions that I mentioned above.

Was knitting this project an enjoyable experience?
For the most part this was a joy to knit. It was easy to knit and a perfect project to do while watching tv or hanging out with friends.

Is there anything else you'd like knitters to know about this kit/yarn/pattern?
For any knitters that may be scent sensitive - I noticed a slight scent from this kit when I opened the bag that bothered me a little. I let the yarn air out for a little bit and didn't have any problems after that.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Holla Knits Sneak Peek

PhotobucketHolla Knits is an exciting, fun new emag which focuses on bold, challenging, fashion-forward designs.
This stuff is so right up my alley. (Srlsy, any mag that publishes a romper pattern makes my heart go a-flutter).

So I was increda-excited when my submission was accepted for their Accessories 2012 collection.

There's a post about my experience knitting up the sample (preview seen in the pic here) published on the Holla Knits blog today.

This collection will be published in October: I can't wait for ya'll to see it! October feels sooo faaar awaaay!

Friday, August 03, 2012

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Rachel Atkinson
Blog: my life in knitwear
Rav ID: knittingtastic
Some Great Designs: knittingtastic's Rav Designer Page

This week's designer states that she specializes in "...bright and bold designs for the modern knitter with patterns suitable for all skill levels."
Does she ever!

Just check out the fab socks, Into the Groove. This is such a great bright and such a stunning bold!
The texture stands out as the focal point to this design. I have to admit to being partial to the colour she's chosen as well, but even envisioning this design in something like a deep navy blue, I think it holds plenty of pop.

She's also been published on numerous occasions in Knit Now. See my faves from this magazine, Riviera Scarflette and Kind Hearts & Coronets. Both are perfect markers of her style. Both are sweet and wearable knits. Knits with personality; bold, bright and modern!

Grieving a Pet

I'm generally not keen on sharing personal or sad news online, but I currently have a very sick canary.
My experience with these creatures leads me to believe he'll die sometime quite soon, though he is scheduled to see the vet.

Hilts - on blog Pictures, Images and Photos

This crappy situation has recalled in my mind previous pet bird deaths, and I'm going to tell you a story about one.

A person I know, likely not meaning to do harm or be viscous, once responded to "my canary's just died and we're very sad about it", with "well, it's just a bird".
I suppose comparatively one could say it's easier to bond with a dog or cat. But grieving over a pet seems to have an awful lot more to do with the human than the animal.

I'm not on some campaign to end flippancy to unconventional pet owners' grief and love for their animals; just ruminating on how people decide to draw the line, culturally, on
1) what animals are acceptable "pets"
2) what animals are high-level "companions"
2) what animals are low-level "furniture", and don't require or induce dear feelings from their owners

Another one of my favourite stories:
I was at the vet, in the waiting room. Just arrived, holding my bird's cage. A woman with a cat in her arms comes right up to me. She coos to her cat "look kitty, lunch!"
I kid you not, folks.

Of course, the bird's already in a high-stress situation. They're easily stressed animals. Putting a predator right in its face is not going to help. At least, it's not going to help the bird, but I suppose the bird doesn't matter.

End rant masquerading as rumination.

If anyone's interested, I'll keep you updated on my poor little guy's progress. It's Hilts, by the way. He's made more than one appearance on the blog.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Craftsy Courses Rule School



Have you heard of Craftsy?

If not, let me tell you, this site is fantastic!

It's a community for a wide variety of crafty endeavours (knitting, sewing, gardening, jewellery making and even cake decorating).
You can download free and paid patterns, share your projects, and enroll in classes.

Oh, the glory of classes!

I've always thought I could easily be a perpetual student. Craftsy's helping me return to my undergrad (in a manner).

You can enroll in interesting classes like Knitting with Beads and Spindling: from Fluff to Stuff. The classes range from beginner's classes to more advanced topics.

If you're unsure if an online course is for you, they have a few free options.

I've taken Short Rows with Carol Fuller. It's been really great to experience the class platform. It's very interactive and useful. You can make little notes as the video rolls along, pause, return, redo, relearn. The classes are always there at your fingertips, ready for you whenever you're ready for them.

I'm also in the process of taking Lace Shawl Design with Miriam Felton and Know Your Wool with Deborah Robson.
Another cool aspect of Craftsy's courses are that you get to learn from well-known designers.

I'm wondering: what classes would you most like to take? I'm just waiting for the day they get a steeking class up there. That and double knitting!