Monthly Archives: October 2006


Swatches, always knit swatches, everyone says. And I DON’T, because I am, you see, very dumb. I knit a swatch for my sweater because fit was so essential. But for this hat…no. And now I’m paying for it.

I need to learn some lessons the hard way. Like the “Don’t Dye Your Hair at Home Using Boxed Dyes from the Drugstore” lesson. My hair looked like shit for years, and now I have vowed never to do it again. And it’s starting to look better.

So maybe now I’ve learned the swatch lesson. Not having a pattern for a kitty hat, I improvised (it’s just a tube that tapers to close at one end) but didn’t calculate the number of stitches I needed.

Heh, heh.

I just measured the hat. It’s over 30 inches (yes INCHES) around. That’s like the size of the WAIST of the girl who will wear the damned thing.

I gotta go frog.



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Get a Job, Sha na na na, Sha na na na na

Having been referring to myself as a ‘seamstress’ for the past two months, I am happy to report I am actually seamstressing for hire! Yay! Fifteen identical dresses made to fit fifteen mid-teen girls, plus some special occasion dresses for other dancing pals. Again, I say, Yay!

So tomorrow turned into three days, so here we have my list of things to complete before Christmas. Keep in mind that for most of these I have yet to purchase or even choose yarn:

1. Felted bag for DS. Front of the bag is knit, so now we need a back and strap, to felt it, and add some ornamentation. Yoopee.

2. A hat to match the My-So-Called Scarf I knit for DS LAST year, but couldn’t quite complete before Christmas (because SOMEBODY ate my knitting needles with the scarf on them).

3. A lacy wrap for Mum.

4. A knitting-themed gift for SIL: a knitting caddy (sewn by moi) with hand-made stitch markers and stitch-row markers (thanks for the fab directions, Cristi!), possibly with funky needles

5. Knucks for Dad (lots of carpentry in a BARN in Ontario winters requires Knucks, I think).

6. The promise of kilt hose for Future-BIL.

7. Maybe some knucks for Mum’s BF…

8. Maybe a cool scarf and matching wristlets/gauntlets/gap-warmers for Dad’s W.

9. BIL and FIL: I can’t knit samurai books or fantasy lit, so I think we’ll be visiting Chapters.

Yikes. I have my work cut out for me. I need to finish that kitty hat pronto. Here it is so far:Looks a little like a bat hat…I’m a little concerned it won’t be ‘kitteny’ enough. Maybe I’ll embroider “meow” with the CC near the brim, to clarify.



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In purse-uit of happiness

I have finally finished the cabled purse!

A quick trip to the fabric store in O-town hooked me up with some fab lining fabric in a smooth printed non-silk satin. Black with white print (the white background would have gotten too grimey looking, I suspected) in a Chinese theme (ooh! dragons!) which topstitched up nicely. After blocking the front and back pieces (I felt the gusset was already very straight and lay quite flat, due to its moss-stitchiness, and I didn’t want to risk it growing in length) I used the gusset and a front/back piece as pattern pieces to cut out three lining pieces, then I added a pocket to one side of the lining to hold various small girly things. Stitched the pocket to the right side of the fabric (lots of neat topstitching for that bit) and then the front and back to the gusset (a slightly tricky finagle on the curvey corner bits). This didn’t take long on Friday evening, and I went to bed to crochet the gusset to the front and back of the bag, stitch on a faux-horn button and add a button loop. I discovered that gusset was at least 15 cm too long, so Saturday morning there was a quick frogging and re-knit of the decreases for the very end.

Then I topstitched the lining into the knit bag itself. I wanted the topstitching on the inside to be neat and tidy and as close to the edge of the lining itself as possible, so I used red bobbin thread, and a spool of black thread for the needle (top) thread. Worked out nicely and the stitching is very difficult to see (ok, if you look closely and try to see it, you can, but it’s certainly not obvious, and hides nicely in the cable pattern). The lining wraps around the D-ring at the end of each gusset to insure the gusset doesn’t stretch oddly under the weight all those loonies and toonies I always end up carrying around. Wrapped each end of the gusset through a D-ring and topstitched down using only red thread. Having successfully (and tearlessly, thanfully) frankened the strap off the suede messenger bag…

Oh, dear messenger bag…

…and here’s a big part of the reason I haven’t carried the thing in years: the strap was held on with a safety pin!

I topstitched one end to one D-ring, checked the length, trimmed to length, and topstitched the second end. Ta da! One completed purse!

Here’s the finished deal:

…in all its red-dy cable-ness!

Here’s a rather blurry detail shot of the closure:

And in the spirit of all the blogstalking that’s been going on, here are the contents of my lovely bag (today, at least):

So here we see the effects of teaching highland dancing to a bunch of kids. Above we have, from the top: a fiddle cd by Natalie MacMaster, with hand written notes for a choreography number for the girls, my sunglasses (cheap, Fossil) my keys on a purple carabiner, and my ghillies (ooooohhhhhh…capezio split-soles).

And the contents of my handy-dandy pocket, from top left: driver’s license, Shopper’s Drug Mart points card, key card to get into my church, OHIP health card, BMO interac card, business card from the cobbler where they do great work on dance shoes (I need some extra eyelets put in those ghillies!), my Starbuck’s card (totally spent, waiting to be refilled), a $10 bill, silicon earplugs (DH plays a lot of gigs at crappy O-town clubs where the soundguys…well, frankly, they suck, and think louder is always better), some L’Oreal Glam Shine in Diva (how appropriate!) and MAC lipliner in Soar.

And here’s what helped me get this bag finished:

Thanks, Wembley! I couldn’t have done it without you!!

Tomorrow: Christmas gift knitting plans!! If you’re family, don’t read it, you’re probably on there somewhere!


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A quick note before choir practice

Ha ha…get it? Note?

Ok, a few little things before I leave for the first choir practice I’ll have attended since early September (for reasons I will explain later):

1. Knittyheads are fecking hilarious. Hi-f*cking-larious. I’m (slowly) compiling a list (a little down and to the right) of awesome knittyhead blogs. Check ’em out.

2. How long can a shih tzu go without a trip outside? Because mine is refusing to go outside due to the nasty rain. Surely my puppy needs to pee! It’s been nearly 24 hours!!

3. Also regarding knittyheads: it would appear that many of you are Whedonites. While our logic may not resemble your earth-logic, it is, in fact, far more advanced. And if you don’t understand, you obviously haven’t watched enough Buffy. Send me a message, we can look into a lending programme of my dvd’s to get you started. You’ll be better for it, promise.

Heather, if you happen to read this, I’ll bring your hat on Saturday so you can get a look at it mid-knit.

Later, all.

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Why does it always rain on me?

I need to recommend…

It’s a rainy day in Ottawa, and DH is off to Toronto for a conference on education gifted children. One night away, I’ll miss him tonnes, but I have the bed to myself, and sometimes, honestly, that feels pretty luxurious. Just me and Wembles, and possibly some sort of girly movie watching. Can you say Gene Kelly musical?

I have to say, I’m much happier with my blog now; after doing some alterations, it’s nearly a perfect fit. I suspect that this will lead to better and more frequent blogging, because now I actually want to look at the darn thing, instead of just feeling disappointed by it. Yay!

On to the knitting!! Let’s start with the newly completed addition to the wardrobe (currently worn by moi!). This sweater was a great first sweater largely, I think, because it wasn’t a great first sweater. I’ve looked at patterns for beginner sweaters (and beginner sewing patterns, crochet patterns, classical vocal pieces…you get the idea) and, quite frankly, I’m usually bored by them. If I had the money – and I don’t – I would be wearing designer clothes. Why? Labels? No, detailing, cut, attention to the little aspects of what make some garments beautiful and interesting to the eye, and an understanding that without said little aspects, simple, classic garments can quickly look common. So when I’m faced with a simple, knit-in-the-round turtleneck, I am often not impressed. This cardi was different. I used over one ball of Paton’s Classic on just the band of ribbing around the body. It’s nearly 15 cm deep, with matching ribbing at the cuffs. It has contrasting colour yarn on the outside edge of the ribbing, and the ribbing is slightly flaired. The body piece required a great deal of shaping, as the sweater is quite round. I am totally in love with it.

Before I started the sweater, I knit a purse from this pattern. Biggest fun? Casting 129 sts of double-stranded Paton’s Classic onto 14″ long bamboo.

Here we have all the stitches:

The bag is knit as a half-moon, so the stitches begin decreasing immediately. After working the cables for this bag, I must say, I appreciate a proper cable needle. I’ve used dpns, I’ve used hair pins! but I quite liked how well the little zigzag in the cable needle kept the stitches from falling off. I have issues with sts falling off needles. Can you comprehend the fear I had when I was knitting that last GIANT band of ribbing on the cardi, I had over 500 sts on the circ, and I pulled a couple of stitches OFF the needle?!! I very nearly had a cow.

Anyway, the purse. Adorable cable pattern. Comes out looking like this:

Knit another one to match, and a band in moss stitch to attach the two around the bottom of the bag. The problem? It really should be lined. With wicked awesome fabric (I’m damned proud of this thing, I want the inside looking as cool as the outside. Also, I need a pocket for my mobile, and another for lipstick. I am, you know, a big girl) of which I have none. And a strap, since I am NOT sending away to M&J in NYC for a $20 usd (plus S&H and duty) purse strap. That strikes me as the not wise. So I’m going to Franken-purse.

I have an old suede messenger bag that I wore to it’s absolute end when I was an undergrad. I think I got it between 2nd and 3rd year at Old Navy, for about $20. It’s plain, it’s brown, it’s perfect. With careful arrangement, I could get my clipboard for lectures, at least one or two of my smaller texts (novel-sized paperbacks) my wallet, my half-litre Nalgene, my discman, and a handful of pens and some lipgloss into this thing. I LOVED IT.

But it’s old now. The suede has gotten all pressed down and shiny in spots, the stitches are starting to go, and I am not in undergrad anymore. Boho philo-student chic isn’t really my look, now, and I haven’t carried this bag in years.

It has a plain suede strap.

I’m going to go hack it off, and use it for my new cabled bag.

I feel guilty, like I’m hacking a part of an old comrade. I anthropomorphise to the extreme.

I’ll let you know how it goes, if there are any tears….

Other WIP’s: a small felted purse in dark grey with peacock embellishments (more Paton’s Classic…I have a new fave!) for DS for Christmas, and a black hat in Bernat Boucle with kitten ears and bright pink pompoms on the chin strap for my friend Heather. It started off looking like this:

Because I’m doing the ears as a series of increases, I needed to knit the hat top down, or the ears would look rather…upside down. Kind of a pain, but it’s a manageable size now, and the ears have just started. I hope they work: this stuff is a b*!ch to rip out!

May join my puppy in a snooze…rainy days are good for snoozing!

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Holy Construction, Batman!

After concluding that my page was boring as all get-out, I’ve begun construction. It’s all a little higgledy-piggledy at the moment, so I hope you’ll excuse the state of it, and keep checking in.

I have two works in progress, one waiting to be blocked and constructed, and one still on needles. After spending 3 hours messing around with Blogger, Photoshop, and Photobucket, and considering I actually have to be up before noon tomorrow, I’ll have to post them tomorrow for you. Ooooh…I’m sure you’re all just quivering with anticipation….

A thought for the evening: a nice marriage to come home to is, perhaps, made up of little things. I came to bed last night and my husband was already asleep. My feet were cold – they always are – and in his sleep, he slid is feet over to mine to warm them. A sweet, little thing, but it’s special, I think.

Have a good night!

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I did it!!

First completed sweater, ever!!

The sweater is knit in Patons Classic “Paprika”, with “Peacock ” trim, and the pattern can be found here.

More super-fascinating blogging soon. In the meantime, I leave you with a picture of Wembley snuggling with my lovely new cardi while it was in process, and wearing some yarn herself (her right eye looks entirely wonky in the pic, but I swear to you, she’s normal enough looking in person, or I should say, in dog). Enjoy.


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