Tuesday, 29 November 2011


I recently ripped out the Clemence cowl that I knit in June last year. It was really sad to do this because I loved it but it was even sadder that I wasn't wearing it because it was too loose. So I reknit it with one less repeat width-wise and on a smaller needle.

The Vital Statistics
Pattern: Clémence by Katya Frankel, available for free through Ravelry.
Size: I cast on 63 stitches as I was using a heavier yarn than that which the pattern calls for.
Yarn: Noro Transitions in shade 21 purchased at Lake City Way Value Village.
Needles: 6.5mm.
Start to finish: 26 to 27 November 2011 and then wove the ends in the next day.
Stash/recycle content: Yes!
Comments: Great pattern, easily memorised, great for a self-striping yarn as the combination of increases and decreases every row really breaks up the chunks of colour.
Verdict: It is lovely again. Actually, hard to discern from the original but I hope that I'll wear this more often.

Monday, 21 November 2011


It's a full week ago, but allow me to report on my trip to Bainbridge Island to buy some of the new Brooklyn Tweed yarn, Loft. It really is lucky to have one of the only ten or so brick-and-mortar stores that stock the stuff right here in the neighbourhood because it is so lovely to look at all the colours together and touch them and hold them against each other in different combinations.

I purchased (clockwise from top left): blanket fort, barn owl, pumpernickel, storm cloud, truffle hunt, nest, meteorite and old world. Just one skein of each, yes 'just' as I have many plans for them. I want to knit a striped version of Cladonia in truffle hunt (possibly my favourite shade) and old world, using blanket fort (which is actually a light purple) as a contrast in the lace.

I also want to knit a stranded colour-work tam in all the brown/grey shades, using blanket fort and old world as the highlights. I'm considering the Autumn Tam pattern which actually calls for ten shades (I only have eight) so that will take either some working out or two more skeins ...

And then I'm wondering if I were to hold the yarn four strands together whether I could use it to make a very earthy pair of Little Duffers for my baby b whose birthday is rapidly approaching. He's getting a big kid bed so that would fit nicely with the bedtime theme.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

riding the wave

So now that I have some screen printing under my belt I'm gung-ho to do it all over the place. Miss bear was not prepared to wear this blue fine wool t-shirt when it was 'clear' (her term for plain), she wanted it fancy so we printed the waves/clouds patterns onto it in silver. It came out reasonably well. She is yet to wear it but hey, I made the effort. The t-shirt is a thrift store purchase.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

handprinted: catching the wave

Well phew, I didn't drown! Actually, these look more like clouds don't they? I have been thinking of them as crashing waves, like really rough surf. perhaps because I had a pretty rough time getting these done.

I was so inspired when I became aware of this fabric swap - oh and an apology to my swap partners or Leslie the organiser if they happen to be reading this, the responsibility for taking this on was completely my own and I was delighted to participate but do have to be honest about the process - and jumped right in without really thinking what it would be like for me to have a deadline. Now I know - not good.

When it's up to me I work furiously on things for a few days, or even weeks if I'm lucky, then let them lie fallow until the creative spirit moves me again. This can take a long time. I also make my stuff at home, by myself, no requiring any technical assistance which is why it can also take a long time if there's a thread colour I need, or a type of ink. Needless to say, this style of making stuff is not really compatible with a deadline and a screenprinting project that was really beyond my at-home resources.

LinkFirst of all, I had to burn the screen, that is use a light-sensitive photo emulsion to create the screen image ready for printing. No, first I had to buy the screen, a big one to make a fat quarter size print. And for that I went trekking across town, kids in tow, to an industrial screenprinting place that sold me a used one for $15, once I found them in an old building in Interbay, down a flight of stairs and through a door, and down a hallway. Actually, that bit was quite fun - I enjoy exploring.

Then I bought the photo emulsion and a pouring device and the light bulb for the exposing and then decided that I just couldn't face it and booked in some time at the Vera Project's silk screening studio. That didn't turn out so well - apologies now to the Vera Project in general because I think they have a great facility and programs going there - but the day that I went in the guy 'helping out' in the silkscreening studio was a total ... if I used the same language that was in the music that he had playing in the studio, I would have to rate this post 18+.

I mean, the screen got burned fine (although not large enough so I didn't manage to print fat quarters) but I found the whole experience incredibly demoralising. Perhaps it was just my own self-consciousness about being there (which was sky high), that I wanted to ask them to turn off the insulting music but didn't dare and then was frustrated with myself, didn't really know what I was doing and wasn't getting any help - whatever. Anyway, I felt really old.

But, I got four pieces of re/upcycled linen printed with the image of a block print that I made, taking the design from the end papers of an old book. They are not great - the printing is not great, they are not large enough - but they are done and I am happy with the visual effect and I stayed true to my values by using recycled fabric. I particularly like the slightly offset version where I used the black and silver. And I got awesome swap fabrics in return (more on those next time).

Thursday, 10 November 2011

turn a square

Sometimes unique names for my projects come to me, and sometimes they don't.

The Vital Statistics
Turn A Square by Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed; available for free through Ravelry.
Just the one size.
Cascade 220 Heathers in Walnut and Plymouth Boku in 5 Plum Forest.
4 and 4.5mm.
Start to finish:
7 November to 8 November 2011.
Stash/recycle content:
All from stash; the Cascade 220 was leftover from Jarrett and the Boku from a very scary crochet project.
It was fun to learn the jogless stripe technique and reassuring that there is something to be done with self-striping yarns (sometimes I do despair).
Great knit, quick, easy, fun to see how the colours emerge in the stripes and great to use up leftover worsted-weight yarn.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

putting it all together

I have started to seam together squares for the Babette blanket. It's going well and not nearly as onerous as I expected. Just like the crocheting of the squares themselves, it's exciting to see which squares end up where, which colours end up against each other.

I have been using mattress stitch through the back loops of the edge stitches which is giving a very satisfactory result. Once this stage of the project is finished, I'll have to start thinking about the border - which yarn/s to use, how deep to make it. I'm afraid that the finished product is not going to be as large as I had hoped for, so a good border may be in order. Once it is all pieced together I expect that I'll have a better idea of whether the blanket needs anchoring with a darker border or a lift with a brighter border.


A while back, quite some time ago, ok about three years ago I did some screen printing - a quick afternoon class at Pratt Fine Arts Center, an introductory course at the Vera Project. And my silk screen equipment has gathered dust in the basement ever since.

But the spark of interest didn't go away and flared up again when I saw this intriguing button on Di's blog - 'handprinted: a fabric swap'. Ah, just what I need, I thought, to give me reason to get back to it. Yes, just what I need - juggling baby sitters and open studio session times, feverish child, frantic thrift store visits for fabric to print on, frantic art supply store visits, cancelled studio sessions and a deadline.

Yes, I'm really having fun.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

october reading

The September Society by Charles Finch - This is the book that I originally picked up that lead me to this author; but then I had to read the first book first, of course. I enjoyed this one more. Finch writes very lovingly of Oxford and the plot has some good twists.

Inspector Singh Investigates: a most peculiar Malaysian murder by Shamini Flint - I just love the title of this book although I'm not sure if it's the murder that is peculiar and it also happens to be Malaysian or whether it's a peculiar, a murder most peculiar by Malaysian murder standards. Anyway, fun to read, a bit of a genre buster and interesting cultural slants.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

[hershey's] kiss of death

Ah, Hallowe'en. Lots of people in the US have told me that it is their favourite holiday (quick aside, I do love the way that Americans use the word holiday in its original sense to mean 'holy-day' and vacation to mean that they are having time off or going away somewhere; of course, for Australians any day off is holy but anyway ...) and it is certainly the one that gets miss bear all excited.

Is it the excitement of getting dressed up? Is it the anticipation of going out, at night, for trick or treating? Is it the frisson of fear at the ghoulish decorations appearing in people's yards?

Or, is it just mass hysteria induced by the prospect of a poor quality compound-chocolate high-fructose-corn-syrup-saturated high? I can't stop eating these dreadful things, I'm all snogged out.