Wednesday, December 29, 2010
The scarf is a vintage find from the Kelowna Salvation Army. It was made in West Germany!
Here's the front:
A close up:
This is the back:
It was surprisingly easy -- like drawing using little whisps of wool roving.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Some things: Blue nail polish that matches many things I own, a pincushion given to me by my almost-sister-in-law Cara, a baby hat that I knit in the car yesterday while driving to White Rock to see my aunts.
In the car, my sister and I talked about how we both love teal. She loves bright, clear, almost Cerulean teal. I like a darker, greener, more muted teal. I like that she notices these types of things.
Nail Polish - Sula Brand
Pin Cushion - made by local crafter/art student/graphic designer Hudsonny
Hat - knit in Blue Sky Alpaca, pattern by Jennifer L. Jones (appears in Stitch 'N Bitch: The Knitters Handbook by Debbie Stoller)
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Pints and Purls: Portable Projects for the Social Knitter
by Karida Collins and Libby Bruce
North Light Books 2009
Pints and Purls is a beginner-friendly collection of patterns with a pub-knitting theme. There are lots of small accessories, like socks, scarves, hats, and the inevitable beer-bottle-cozy, as well as a few simple sweater patterns. I was most intrigued by Olga Buraya-Kefelian's Drunken Sweater, a simple stockinette pullover with asymmetrical armholes inspired by the knitwear of Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto. It's pleasing to see such a fashiony, avant guard design in a beginner-oriented book.
Olga Buraya-Kefelian has a designed number sculptural patterns, including the melting Gills tank and this knot-sleeved cardigan.
Jessica Kleinmann & Libby Bruce's Absinthe Sweater is another standout design. It's simple but so pretty, with an overlapped boatneck collar and a nice yarn choice (Fiber Company Terra in a green semi-solid/tonal).
The book itself is nicely put together, with full colour on every page and attractive illustrated graphics. When I picked it up, I thought of my sister: she enjoys the nightlife more than I do, and I'm pretty sure she'll start knitting at some point. She already mails me yarn a couple times a year because she enjoys picking out colours. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that one of Pints & Purls authors, Karida Collins, is the owner/operator of Neighborhood Fiber Co., a Washington DC-based yarn dying company that names colorways after DC neighborhoods. And who else but my sister mailed me a skein of their sock yarn a for my birthday last year? IT'S A SIGN.
Friday, December 17, 2010
That is pleasing, if weird, and makes me feel like I am doing my job with this blog.
Four of the other top ten search phrases were "brain slug", "brainslug", "brain slugs", and "futurama brain slug pattern." I am less excited about this. But Alicia of the Hooks and Needles blog should be happy, because she wrote the brain slug pattern that brings me so much traffic.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
I'm not totally done, but some of the pressure's off, and it feels great.
I sold a few pair of completed Inuviks today (and forgot to photograph them!). I went right out and spent the money on a new blue coat, a black dress, and a pair of red tights. I've been feeling a bit shabby lately so I'm very pleased. (Even though it's all from H&M and I had sort of promised myself I'd stop shopping there).
I'm also pleased because I had the best day at the library on Sunday. As a patron, I mean, not as an employee. I went to drop off a few books and came back with the following:
I Know I Am But What Are You (audiobook)
by Samantha Bee
I've listened to about half of this memoir by the Daily Show's Samantha Bee, and I'm sad, because I'd like it to go on forever. Her reading is hilarious -- I'm sure it's much funnier in this format. As a memoir, it suffers from some of the problems common to books written by comedians (i.e., the chapters are great stand-alone bits but they don't really add up to a book). But Bee's delivery is so funny that I just don't care.
by Crystal Renn
Crystal Renn is the most famous plus-sized fashion model in North America (possibly the world? I'm not sure). This memoir details her entry into conventional modeling at 14, her struggle with anorexia, and her eventual decision to become a plus-size model. I've only read a chapter so far, but the writing seems decent. I'm curious to see how Renn positions her career within the larger discourse of beauty. Renn at a size 14 is still more conventionally beautiful than most people will ever be, so there's that to ponder ...
Gothic and Lolita Bible
Gothic and Lolita Bible is a quarterly magazine/book devoted to the Japanese Gothic Lolita / Lolita / ect fashion subculture, now translated and published in English (albeit a year late). There's lots of gothic Victorian and dressing like Strawberry Shortcake. My favourite part, though, is how the magazine meets the challenge of describing all-black clothes that don't photograph very well to a rabid audience who are eager to purchase things online. There are lots of assurances that the subtle black-on-black pinstripes are more obvious in person, and the writers take special care to mention anything removable or customizable about the garment. Designers (and editors) in this market clearly understand that the point is to combine the clothes in unique ways, so there are lots of detachable collars, sleeves, overskirts, etc. Sub-genres are strictly observed, and lots of outfit suggestions are made: a ginham shirt can be "country lolita" when paired with a long skirt, or "innocent lolita" (aka school-girly) when paired with a jumper dress. I can safely say that while I'll never be a lolita myself, I find all this nerdery completely fascinating.
Learning to Love You More
by Harrel Fletcher and Miranda July
This is the book that documents July's long-running collaborative art piece of the same name. At least, I think that's what it is. I haven't looked at it yet.
I also got a knitting book and a lame memoir about having borderline personality disorder, which was completely boring. Apart from that, it was a great haul. It's funny how rich I feel when I come back from the library with all these hours of future entertainment in my bag. I mean, I really feel like a rich person. It's sort of how I feel when I think, what am I doing tonight? And I realize that my task is to write or knit or blog or something. Sometimes I feel terribly pleased with my life, and it has nothing to do with money at all.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Vanna White and Lion Brand, you can now add "Junior Deluxe yarn award recipient" to your resume.
Awarded on an ad-hoc basis, the Junior Deluxe yarn award for best amigurumi yarn honors yarns with the best combination of texture, color and workability for creating crocheted figures. Instead of cash or a fancy gala, winners receive a free unsolicted plug on this website which is read by at least six people.
The backstory: lately, I've been making some more brain slugs for friends.
I'm using Vanna's Choice 100% arcrylic yarn. Vanna's Choice is my favourite yarn for amigurumi because it has a nice lofty body, it's not too shiny, it's soft, and it comes in really nice colours. It's better than Caron Simply Soft, which I find a too shiny and oddly flat. Vanna's Choice doesn't compress as much when you crochet at a tight gauge, which gives it nice stitch definition. Since it's made by Lion Brand, it's pretty easy to find, too.
Also, the fern colourway is perfect for the brain slugs.
Pattern: Brain Slugs from the Hooks and Needles blog. And now, the hypnotoad.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Four awesome things:
1. Junior Deluxe favourite Hadly Freeman has a column called Ask Hadly, where she dispenses clear-headed and sharp-tongued fashion advice. (Question "Why is it that so many people these days wear clothes that absurdly advertise the shop?" Her answer: "The answer to your question is simple: it's because they are morons.")
2. The Life and Style pages have a designated Craft section! It's organized into several tabs including
Guide to crafts
The rebel knitter
This pleases me both and a crafter and as an information professional. If there's one thing I like as much as making stuff it's categorizing stuff. Delightful.
It also makes me want to get a proper website where I can organize my content in tabs!
3. One of the projects in the "Craft books" section is a little knitted Jack Russel terrier from Sally Muir and Jo Osborne's new book Best in Show: Knit your own dog. I probably won't make a little dog, but this project has a uniqueness and freshness that makes me happy.
You can see a lovely gallery of other projects from the book. The bulldog and the old English sheepdog are my favourites.
4. There's also instructions for making a super-pretty bib necklace! A great use of all the beads one has lying around.
Can I get a job at the Guardian website already? Who do I talk to about that?
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
It’s So You: 35 Women Write about Personal Expression Through Fashion & Style
Edited by Michelle Tea
It's So You is a collection of personal essays on clothing and fashion edited by poet and novelist Michelle Tea. Tea is known for writing frankly about being a working class, queer, former sex trade worker. So it’s not surprising that most of these essays are written by people who are fashion outsiders, in one way or another. In "The Slimming Effect", Sherilyn Connelly reminisces about being a six-foot tall sartorially-challenged male-to-female transsexual who has been asked to write a fashion column for a goth website. Two authors describe their unglamourous careers as teenage models. The power and meaning of short hair and curly hair is discussed, as well as plus-size shopping and the satisfaction of owning a pair of green velour stretch pants at age 12 (followed shortly be the humiliation of your stepfather buying a matching pair).
The essays contradict and clash in interesting ways, giving this book the feel of a long meditation instead of a manual or feminist critique. In the end, It's So You gives 25 examples of how fashion fits into a person's life, and the many ways personal style intersects with gender, sexuality, class and subculture.