Sunday, April 28, 2013

See my vest, see my vest!

Yesterday I expanded by knitting shopping horizons and went to the Downtown Knit Collective's annual Knitters' Frolic in Toronto.  The Guild organized a bus to the Frolic, and for ten measly dollars, I sat in comfort on a big yellow school bus and chatted and knitted while someone else worried about driving and parking (shout outs to Dee-Anne for being a rockin' chauffeur!).  I've been to the local Knitters' Fair a number of times, and it was at the Fair that I first learned about the Guild.  I've been part of the planning committee for the Fair for the last two years, and part of the reason I wanted to check out the Frolic was to compare notes and see if we could be doing things any differently/better. 

Let's start with what I bought:

I finally own a yarn bowl!  I've been seeing these at every fair and festival and yesterday I took the plunge and bought one.  This little beauty came from a vendor from Quebec, called Sheppard Handmade.  I toured the whole Frolic before coming back to buy my pottery here.  Her stuff was the best by far.  I especially like that the notch for your yarn is SMOOTH.  Every time I've seen other yarn bowls, if you run your finger along the notch it's all catchy and grabby, and the exact opposite of what you would want for your yarn.  Kudos Sheppard Handmade!
Look how cute it is!

She also makes ceramic buttons, so I search through the piles and found 6 relatively small buttons for my finished paulie cardigan.  I sewed them on when I got home, and now my sweater is officially complete.  Ps. I love moo cards for tags on yarn and knitting notions, don't you?

My favourite project bag maker, Zig Zag Stitches.  The robots make me think of Fuzzyhead, so I've decided this project bag will be for boy projects, like boy socks.  Which leads me to...

The TARDIS yarn from indigodragonfly!  Fuzzyhead and I watch Dr. Who on a regular basis and I thought this would add some much-needed colour to his handmade sock collection.

Yarn bowl in action, securing Maeva from rolling around all over the place.

I didn't buy a whole lot, since I haven't gone through the stuff I already have in my stash, and I have big, exciting plans for it.  I brought $200 cash to the Frolic, and I still have $65 left over.  I did real good!

I liked the Frolic a lot over all, they had a great selection of vendors, including some I had never seen before at the Fair.  The venue was really nice too, it was held at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, which was pretty and open and easy to navigate.  The vendors were mostly set up through different rooms on the main floor, with a small strip of vendors upstairs (only about 5 in total, which makes me think they were last-minute additions).  They also had fantastic food options - the Knit Cafe handled all the food service, and I loved the sandwiches Catherine and I shared.  Everything was vegetarian, which also happened to be what I was in the mood for, and the sandwiches were very interesting.  We shared a grilled zucchini and mozzarella and a sweet potato and cheddar sandwich.  Sweet potato on a sandwich!  I have never even thought to do that.  I rushed home to tell Fuzzyhead about my sandwich epiphany.  

And of course, there were some things that could have been improved on, and I'm keeping these ideas in mind as I work with the Fair committee.  There was no bank machine on site, which caused a hiccup for the two people I was shopping with when they needed more moola and many of the vendors don't accept plastic forms of payment.  At the Fair's previous location, Bingemans, there was a bank machine on site which, I heard, regularly runs out of cash before the day is over.  At the Aud this year, there are TWO bank machines on site, and they care about keeping them full.  Hooray!  Our next committee meeting is coming up soon and I'll prepare a run-down of my thoughts and comparisons, since the only committee members who went to the Frolic were Catherine and I.

In current project news, I'm making good progress on Maeva, I'm on to the second sock, and I'm more than halfway done the foot.  I'm debating whether I should start a second project at the same time (gasp!) since I completed neglected Maeva while I worked on paulie.  The very next project for me will be my Annis shawl, and I hope I can get that one on the needles by the end of the moth.

Happy knitting,



Friday, April 12, 2013

Blood work and black coffee

Happy Friday, dear readers!  I finished a sweater, today is a glorious day!  Let's start off with pictures of the finished specimen, and then we will dissect its inner workings and talk about the process.

Squeeeeee!  Here's paulie:

Isn't she lovely?  I'm really pleased with the colour combination and the fit.  All my swatching paid off!

It's a gloomy day outside, so I wandered around my house trying to find some reasonable light to take a few selfies.  

Look at how she nips in perfectly around the boobs, I love her already!  She still needs buttons, but as we all know, a cardigan is very wearable without buttons.

The perfect length too!

So now the knitty gritty about how paulie came to be.  The journey started with a complete ripping back of the collar and shoulder section after I misread the pattern and increased far more often than I was supposed to, right up to the end of the garter stitch section when I was going to start the stripes and get into the body of the sweater.  I ripped it back all the way to the first few rows and started again, and thankfully that was the only major setback of the whole project.

I mostly kept to the directions on the pattern, I didn't need a lot of modifications because my measurements lined up more or less with the medium size.  I added a couple extra stitches around the upper arms, and I added an extra decrease or two to the sleeves.

The shawl collar deserves its own paragraph.  I had no trouble with the length of any other section of garter stitch edging (the cuffs, the bottom of the sweater), so I went merrily along with the directions for short rows for the shawl collar.  When it was done, I completed the i-cord bind off in the contrasting colour, and everything looked lovely.  When I tried it on (before blocking), there was no way the shawl collar would fold back on itself and stay there.  It kept popping up and looking like a douchey cardigan-style popped collar.  I thought it was either that the collar itself wasn't wide enough to give enough room to fold it back, or the edging was too tight and forcing it to go against my wishes.  I toyed with the idea of ripping out the i-cord bind off and doing it again, much looser, but I figured blocking might cure what ails me.

I made sure to block the collar folded back on itself, and it sat for 3 days drying in my mud room.  Annnnnnnddddd, the result is still kind of the same, but it's smoothed out a lot more so I'm very ok with the collar staying flat.  Whatever.

Next up, selecting buttons!  I hear that Shall We Knit? has a new fancy pants button selection, so I may check them out next month when I'm in Waterloo for the Guild meeting.  My go-to place for buttons is Lens Mill, but I think paulie deserves something nice.  The official wearing of paulie has started already, so buttons or no buttons, she's now a part of my wardrobe.  Her ceremonial debut is this evening, at a friend of Fuzzyhead's birthday party in Dundas.

And I'm back to sock knitting!  Paulie was my one and only project for the last two months, and I've been neglecting Maeva.  I picked these up again on Monday night knitting at Margot's, and I've finished all of the cabling work for this first sock.  The leg of the sock is just panels of Stockinette with seed stitch columns - simple, but with a bit of interest.

I'm also itching to pick up some lace work for spring, I'm thinking Annis will get her time in the sun with my indigodragonfly singles lace.  Annis is nice and simple, and I've got her pegged for such a fun and bright colour, I'm looking forward to it.

In non-knitting news, I'm engaged to be wed to Fuzzyhead.  The facebook status update was released on Monday night, and we watched all of the "likes" come in fast and furious.  People love us. 

Happy knitting!