Saturday, March 28, 2009

Red Ruffles

During the last opera season, I convinced my HLM to go see Carmen (under the mistaken impression that we were actually going to see Carmina Burana, which goes to show just how friggin' cultured I am) and we both enjoyed it a lot. While watching the sexy spanish siren do her thing, I quickly realized that I needed a hot red shawl like the one she had.

Do you know how hard it is to find yarn in just the perfect shade of red? I have been trolling around online yarn shops for months, squinting at all shades from poppy to cherry to magenta to wine... trying to find the shade in my imagination. I stumbled upon it (some decadent alpaca laceweight) on etsy one opportune day, and fortunately it arrived here the same shade as it was on my computer screen. Gorgeous.

The shawl pattern I chose is lacy, romantic, and has a sexy ruffle that apparently moves "enticingly" as you move. Sounds very 'Carmen' to me. I am really loving knitting it, even though it's the first time in a long while that I really have to concentrate on every single stitch in a knitting project (like, did I mention that I made four mistakes just knitting the gauge swatch?) Honestly, though, I forgot how much fun it is to knit lace.

On an unrelated topic, have you seen the Sock Summit website is up? Talk about enticing.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I've had some Very Crafty Days around here -- I got several repeats of Clapotis done, finished my Ignorance is Bliss socks, did a couple of gauge swatches for the two next projects in the queue (a lace shawl and another pair of Rockin' socks), made some quilting progress on the Wiz, and even completed all the weaving math for my first weaving project. A very productive couple of days off, overall. Just the sort of recharge I needed.

I don't know why it looks like my left foot has some elephantiasis in this photo.
I don't think it does, in reality. My shoes seem to fit, anyway. Let's assume it was just the angle, shall we?

My finished IIB socks fit snugly and will be a great everyday pair. I have a couple of other pairs in Lorna's Laces sock yarn and none of them have worn out yet, despite many trips through the washing machine.

Not much else to add -- I'm off to measure out my first warp for Miss Bennet, so I will be ready to get her dressed, as soon as the sley hook arrives.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Too Much Fun For My Own Good

Just in case I didn't already have enough weaving ideas, I found a website the other day that lets you design your own tartan -- you pick the colours, the order they appear in, and the thread counts, and the site shows you a picture of what your tartan would look like, when woven. I was going on about it at our pub knit night, tonight, and thought I should show it off, in case anyone else wants to play.
Of course it only offers the small selection of colours that traditional tartans use, so I will probably take the idea and go way outside the box with it. I am really stoked about making metre after metre of cloth for clothes, bags, etc. But before I start buying all those lovely wooly colours, I have some stashbusting weaving to do. And I have to psych myself up for trying something so incredibly complicated, both in warp and weft.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

After Years of Anticipation

I know you're probably all waiting to see how I have dressed up Miss Bennet for her inaugural project, but sadly, I am still waiting for a boat shuttle, some bobbins, and a sley hook, before I can get started. (Fear not, they are on the way.) Instead, I have occupied myself with some quilting, finally bringing the Wiz quilt back from obscurity and making some good progress on it. I have also dug out an old pattern from Knitty and started it.

Clapotis is a knitting blog classic.
There are over 10 000 of them on Ravelry. Seriously. Ten thousand. When I was still a wee beginner at knitting, I wanted to make this so bad, but the price of the Lion & Lamb it calls for was just too steep, yet that yarn is so beautiful that I couldn't bear to knit the pattern in anything less. Enter Blue Moon Fiber Arts. They have a yarn called Luscious Single Silk that is pretty similar to the Lion & Lamb. When I saw the colours in my Rockin' Sock Club skein, I knew I wanted to use it for Clapotis, so I ordered some of the Luscious Single Silk in that colourway.

I am nearly done the increase rows and ready to start the straight knitting. And loving every damn minute.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Meet Miss Bennet

After finishing my weaving class a few weeks ago, I knew that I needed to get myself a loom of my own. I spent some time looking at various types of looms online, mostly table looms, since who has the space (or the money) for a floor loom? Not me, anyway. I bid on a couple of used looms on ebay, but didn't win one. Finally I resigned myself to spending the big bucks to get a new one. After some more poking around online, I finally decided on the one I wanted. The Louet Jane is a bit different than the LeClerc Dorothy table looms we used in class, but different in good ways. It's nearly twice as wide, to make wider projects (e.g. rugs, shawls, cloth to sew with) and has twice as many shafts, to make more complex weaves. The heddles are quiet texsolv instead of noisy wire, and the shaft toggles won't give me carpal tunnel. Basically I saw it as a simple and practical loom to learn on, but one that will grow with me, so I won't need to replace it with a more complex loom any time soon. Plus it is collapsible so it won't always take up my whole kitchen table (like it is today.) P.S. I have to give props to Shuttleworks in Calgary, who had the loom in my apartment 48 hours after I ordered it from them.

There are a lot of famous Janes. My Jane loom is as clever as Jane Austen, as beautiful as Jayne Mansfield, as tough as Jane Cannary, as artsy as Jane Siberry (sorry, Issa), as inspiring as Jane Yolen, as no-nonsense as Jayne Cobb.

More than anything, I think my Jane embodies Jane Bennet from Austen's Pride and Prejudice -- she is beautiful, smart, practical, sweet-tempered, quiet, lovable, and always wants to see the best in everyone.

Can you tell I'm in love?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Jengu Woobu Aran

Finished on Friday morning before work, but I didn't really get to rock it out until today. I am so so happy with how it turned out -- soft and snug and cabley.

As I've mentioned before, I made many modifications to the pattern, since the yarn I used was a smaller gauge (sport vs. aran) and the size I made was bigger than the pattern included. I widened the berry stitch section in the center by a couple of berries, to keep the overall stitch-pattern proportions right, then added a few stitches to either side of the front and back, to make the whole sweater a bit wider. I did waist decreases, bust increases, and short rows to lengthen the back ribbing. I lowered the front neckline by an inch or so (thank goodness.) I made the sleeves about an inch shorter than the pattern would have them. For the diamond cable on the sides, I stopped the diamond and made it into a zig zag after the beginning of the armhole decreases. (The pattern didn't say to do this, but the original pattern photo in Vogue Knitting has them this way, and I liked how it looked.)

I think that's about all the modifications I made...

The Woobu yarn itself is great -- soft and full. I wouldn't call it a sport weight, though, more of a DK to light worsted. I almost got gauge with it, actually, which saved me a lot of grief, math-wise. And knitting with it was so nice. I would totally knit with this yarn again, for more soft cozy sweaters. Only time will tell how it wears.

Overall, a very satisfying project, from beginning to end. Thanks for the sweater design, Michael Kors!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

So Close

I headed out of town for a couple of days of R&R at my folks' place. There was much relaxation, jigsaw puzzles, knitting. Not to mention a hot tub. Pretty heavenly, really.

I finished the sleeves for the Jengu Woobu Aran, while I was there. I did both at once, and they were quick -- they took a handful of hours, from start to finish. When I got home, I blocked the back and sleeves of the sweater on the floor, and when my HLM saw them, he thought the sleeves looked like I had knitted a pair of panties. Warm wooly aran panties. Hmmm something to think about...

I would love to keep chatting, but I have a sweater to put together. Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


I had a bit of a challenge with the back of the Jengu Woobu Aran. Somewhere near the bottom, I had to frog it back by about six rows... twice. Once because I forgot to make decreases on the left side, for the waist, and the second time because of crossing the cables the wrong way. Then somewhere around the armhole shaping, there were a couple of more times that I tinked back a row or two... or three. You'd think that by the end of knitting the body of this sweater, I'd have the stitch patterns sorted out in my head. Thankfully tonight I finally finished the back -- a real milestone. Fortunately the sleeves are short and hopefully won't take long. Or have very many screwups.

Meantime I cast on a very basic pair of socks, out of Lorna's Laces Happy Stripe yarn. It is very brainless stockingette, purely for simplicity of knitting at the pub on Sunday knit night. Because they are ridiculously simple, and made of Happy yarn, I have dubbed them the Ignorance is Bliss socks. (Perhaps I'm putting too much thought into this...)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

This Week Chez Crafty

Well I had my last weaving class on Monday night, and none too soon, since my favourite Local Boy Turned Screen Star**, Nathan Fillion, has a new tv series starting next Monday. Yay! I am super-excited about it, and hope it catches enough interest in the fickle public eye that it will last a while.

Meantime, I don't have much to show off, just more of the same -- I have finished and blocked the front of the Jengu Woobu Aran (photo included for proof)
and made a lot of progress on the back. Another week or so and I should have this one ready to wear.

In related news, we had our first meeting of the Post-Apocalyptic-Readiness Knitting Guild at the pub on Sunday night: there was food, beer, knitting, conversation and hilarity, and a few knitterly mistakes. Much fun was had, and it seems like it will be a regular thing. I think it is in my best interest to bring simpler projects in the future, though -- the aran designs might be a bit much for a brain saturated with Guinness.

**Lest we forget the other precious Local Boys, like Callum (did I ever casually mention how he popped by my work one day?) or Bruce.