Friday, September 28, 2007

Anything? Anything?

Nope, I got nothing. Been knitting my Woodland Shawl -- 12 repeats done, and it looks to me to be at about the halfway point -- but my camera batteries are currently recharging, so you'll have to take my word for it.

Um... I've been to a couple of movies. Last weekend we saw No End in Sight, which was excellent but had the unfortunate side effect of making me want to punch Bush and Rumsfeld in the face every time they spoke. Saw Eastern Promises a couple nights ago, and I enjoyed it. True, it's violent, but it's David Cronenberg; nothing he does now or in the future will likely gross me out as much as that typewriter in Naked Lunch did, and at least nobody's head explodes. Also, I finally watched Grey Gardens on DVD -- fascinating. It made me want to knit a pullover -- not to wear as a sweater, but to wrap around my head like a turban, à la Little Edie. And when I have time for a double bill, I've got DVDs of Jesus Camp and Hell House at the ready.

As for school, I'm reworking my reading list a bit at the moment, and I'm sending proposals to a couple of conferences. Same stuff, should be reading more.

Yep, yep, yep. Let's see... That's really about it. I hope you're enjoying your Friday, and that you have a nice weekend. What's the best movie you've seen lately? Thank god it's fall and good ones are playing again.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Two rhetorical questions

1. Why have I never been drawn to teal before now? I'm suddenly and madly in love with teal.

A few months ago I'd ordered two skeins of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Solids in teal from Little Knits to make a baby sweater, but when the baby arrived before the yarn I ended up buying Dale Baby Ull to make the wee garter stitch cardigan. And then I had two skeins of teal sock-weight merino on my hands. And then I discovered Nikol Lohr's Woodland Shawl.

And now I'm in love with this pattern and completely enamoured with teal.

2. Why am I suddenly obsessed with doilies, to the point where I'm cruising eBay for vintage crochet cotton? This new obsession is only being fueled by Ravelry.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Daytripping: Québec

My brother, Tom, is visiting me this week from Calgary. This is his first time in Quebec, so I thought he should see Quebec City -- it's a bit of a drive, but it's such a great place, especially for western-Canadians like us who are impressed by a hundred-year-old building. (Quebec City will celebrate four hundred years next year.) Happily, Tom agreed that it was worth the three-hour drive to get there.

It was quite a bit busier than when Bill and I were there in May, and unfortunately, large parts of the Chateau Frontenac and some other buildings are hidden behind scaffolding at the moment. Still, a good afternoon. I may have had two different ice cream cones just a few short hours apart. I was startled by the changing leaves! On the drive up, I noticed more and more trees turning red -- it's really looking like fall. Anyway, if you're ever planning to come to Montreal for more than a couple of days, I'd suggest spending one day in Quebec City.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

BOB, the cardigan

So quick I hadn't even blogged about its progress, this is the BOB (Bulky One-Button) cardigan. It was a very spontaneous project -- I was sick of having ten balls of chocolate-brown Debbie Bliss Merino Chunky in my stash and didn't know what to do with it, and then on Ravelry I came across the project page for the so-called Anthropologie-Inspired Capelet (pattern here for non-Ravelers). In particular, it was Starflower's version that got me casting on.

So, the AIC pattern was a springboard for BOB. I had to adjust for a different gauge, plus I knew I wanted to add exaggerated button bands down the fronts and lengthen both the body and the sleeves. Oh, and use the knit side rather than the purl side as the RS. I used a long 6.5mm circular needle for the body and button bands, and four 6.5mm dpns for the sleeves. Soaking the finished garment in Soak turned it from puffy to drapey. I'd originally planned to use one of my recently thrifted buttons for the closure, but in the end I felt that the chunky gauge overwhelmed the delicate button innards, so I went with a solid pearly button instead.

And now, watch closely as Mooky takes over the photo shoot completely...

And now for something serious: Who's watching ANTM tonight?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Got outta town

I love Montreal, but I love getting away from it, too. Yesterday I spent the day in the country (about 45 minutes away, near Hemmingford), at the Roxham Wool Gathering. I went with fellow Montreal Knits ladies Robyn, Angela, and Kadi. We ran into Kate there, too. (Robyn went both days, and blogged about it here and here with lots of photos.)

It was a "wool gathering," but there was a lot more than wool -- or rather, there was lots more than yarn and roving for knitters. Several vendors were selling things made of wool, like these really fun felted hats by Elaine Saucier:

I loved the mittens, helmets, scarves, and pillows made of recycled wool sweaters by Genia (who doesn't have a website but sells her wares locally at L'Arterie):

There was a vendor selling alpaca yarn, finished alpaca socks and scarves, and the softest alpaca bears. Kadi met her new BFF:

There were also handmade crafty things that had little to do with wool. I loved the dolls by Raplapla (seriously, click that link), and I bought a typewriter-key (asterisk/hyphen) pin by Misssoka Salvageware.

It was great to get out of the city, and it was really great to be surrounded by such inspiring creativity. It was pretty fun to hang out with Robyn's little boy, too; Sean was all smiles, all day:

I even saw my first real-life sheep shearing!

Kadi and I were both ready to move to a farm by the end of the afternoon. Why not? Even the weeds are beautiful there:

Oh my, I can hardly wait for Rhinebeck...

Friday, September 14, 2007

New blankie

The recipient of this new crocheted blanket is outside at the moment, so I can only offer this empty-seeming photo. Yep, Mooky has a new blankie. A nice new machine-washable acrylic blankie. (Three balls of Red Heart Soft Touch in red, plus bits of thrifted acrylic for stripes. Finished size: 28 inches by 35 inches.)

I followed the Shell-Stitch Afghan tutorial on Anastacia Knits. It's very simple; all you need to know is sl, ch, and dc, and you can crochet this blanket. Plus it is made diagonally, so the rows are nice and short at the beginning, and then nice and short again at the end. Of all the people on Ravelry, Anastacia herself and I are the only ones who have used this pattern so far. I'd recommend it if you're considering an easy blankie. Here, have a closer look at the shell-stitch pattern:

Nice, right? I finished the blanket last night, laid it on the couch, and put Mooky on it; he started washing his face. I had to seriously lighten this photo, but look at that tongue! I love it.

As for the new Knitty, my favourite patterns are Tussie Mussie, Neiman, Muir, and Urchin, but I think the whole issue is good overall.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I may be feeling terrible because of allergies, but I'm pretty pleased that I can make myself comfortable on the couch under a handmade blanket and my little handmade quilt, with handmade wool socks on -- a happy cat curled up on my legs and a new Knitty online. Could be worse.

(I'll tell ya what I want to knit from Knitty later, once I've had a good look. Whah-choo -- oh, pardon me -- gonna make?)

Monday, September 10, 2007

We went to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix last night (3-d IMAX!). I loved it. I was also fond of the plaid sweater worn by Ron Weasley during the final action extravaganza; the front was plaid, and the back was herringbone. I know there are lots of knitters out there who figure out the knits in the HP films. I wonder if anyone is figuring out a copy of this one...

Added: Cirilia blogged about this sweater (and others) back in July. (I agree with her that Luna's sweaters were also excellent.)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Good shopping day

1. Market

Armed with my new crocheted bag, I went shopping this afternoon at the Jean-Talon Market (which is kind of a bad idea on a weekend, because it's so busy, but I still love it there).

I made this great -- and sparkly! -- little bag from this free pattern. Now, my original plan had been to make a good-sized bag that could hold lots of stuff. As I was crocheting this one I thought it looked pretty small, but of course a mesh bag will expand; I added an extra four rounds before working the decreases, but otherwise followed the pattern. When I finished, my first thought was that I'd just made myself an evening bag instead of a grocery bag. It was so small!

However, as shown in the first photo, this sucker does hold plenty. In that picture, there were two large tomatoes, two red peppers, one English cucumber, two small zucchinis, a bunch of green onions, and a bunch of celery in the bag. Just minutes before, I'd had a conversation with one of the produce vendors that went a little something like this (but in French):

Me: I don't need a bag -- I have one.
Her: This? Is it big enough?
Me: Yes! [not really sure this was true]
Her, putting the vegetables in the bag: It grows!
Me, beaming: I made it!

I still have lots of sparkly silver cotton left, so I'm going to make at least one more bag. I'd like to try this MagKnits pattern, which is for a much bigger bag. I don't love knitting on big needles, though, so I may crochet again. Not sure.

2. Thrift

It's been a while since I bought buttons, since I have lots, but I'm in the middle of making a simple, bulky cardigan and planning for it to just have two big buttons. At Value Village earlier today, I just happened to find some of the most incredible buttons I've ever seen:

I'd love to know what the story is with these. I've never seen anything like them. The designs in the middle are 3-D under a clear surface. Have you seen these before?

I also managed to find some back-to-school clothes: a short-sleeved shirt, a blue long-sleeved Western-cut shirt with pearl snaps, and a light-brown wool V-neck vest with a nice lace pattern on the front (which I could easily knit, but not for $3.99). 'Twas a good shop.

(Oh, and the plastinated bodies were fascinating.)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

End of summer

I took this picture one evening last week when Bill and I went to the Gibeau Orange Julep (celebrating 75 years this year!) for a seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time dinner of hot dogs and poutine. I think it was when I noticed how early it's getting dark now.

I love back-to-school time. As a Ph.D. student, one no longer goes back to school. One just stays in school all the time. Still, I'm on that student schedule where everything begins anew after Labour Day. I was at the library this week, and I was like a vampire sucking energy from all of those eager new undergrads. I'm so ready for fall. I was feeling a little guilty about my meager academic output over the summer, but I'm over it and I'm looking ahead. And I'm excited.

(Having said that, I'm taking today off and heading out soon to go to the Body Worlds exhibit at the Science Centre! And I'm really excited about that.)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Finished: Sweetness

I'm so happy with this little garter-stitch cardigan! It took exactly two balls of Dale Baby Ull (colour #5711), which is a great machine-washable wool that I'd never used before. I'd hoped to have some left over for booties or a hat, but when I bought the yarn I wasn't thinking about the yardage-eating quality of garter stitch -- by the end, I was just relieved to have enough for the sweater. The pattern is from an old Patons pattern booklet, as you may recall. It's kind of thrilling to follow a pattern that includes only a black-and-white photo -- the result seems so vivid!

According to the pattern, this sweater is meant to be tied closed: you are to thread a knitted cord through eyelets in the neckband. I decided to go with a less fussy single-button closure instead. I didn't think about this before I started, though, so I hadn't put a buttonhole into the right sweater front. What to do? Well, I was saved by blogs. Just a week or so ago, Ysolda posted a tutorial on sewn button loops. Perfect!

Drumroll, please...

My copy of Romantic Hand Knits will soon be on its way cross-country to Robin! (Bill did the honours of drawing her name out of a bowl -- it was all extremely scientific.) So keep an eye on the Crafty Bird blog; one of these days, Robin might be showing off hand-knit floor-length skirts, or lacy hand-knit hats! (Right, Robin? No pressure...)

Monday, September 03, 2007

Much better, thanks

Mooky has asked me to let you know that he is recovering very well from his injuries, and that he is confident the fur on his nose will grow back nicely. In the meantime, he will carefully supervise tonight's prize drawing at ten o'clock Eastern Daylight Time and ensure that the results are reported in a timely fashion. Until then, he will nap.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

ASA: Amazing Sweater Alert

We interrupt this blog and its long-weekend contest to alert readers to what may be the coolest handknit sweater ever: Practical Polly's Wonder Woman Jumper. Click now, thank me later.