Saturday, December 30, 2006

My first attempt at Filet Crochet, inspired by the squirrels around the Kingston house.

It was worked in Size 10 Crochet Cotton with a 1.5mm hook. I wish the gauge were a little tighter but I may let the piece soak before blocking-it's 100% cotton so maybe it will shrink to a more opaque finish. Either way I'm really pleased. I used a chart originally published in The Antonie Ehrlich Crochet Book, c.1915. It has been made available here by Sandi Marshall. Next I'm going to tackle a bunny and an elephant from 1911-as you do.

Filet Crochet hasn't caught the eye of new crocheters quite yet and it doesn't have much of an online presence outside of Vintage Clothing sites. has a good article on the basics in addition to external links. Click here for some great instructions on increases and decreases in filet crochet. This site also has a great selection of vintage patterns.

I'd like to say hi to a couple of new and very important readers of the blog. Happy Hogmany Lindsay, and to the entire family. It's been so wonderful to hear from you. I owe everyone big, long letters. You can read about Lindsay McCrea's work and about his gallery here. Secondly, a very happy holiday to a dedicated reader somewhere in Halifax. Thanks for all the googlings and hits-wish i had more than a hopeful guess of who you are. Hope all will be revealed in the new year!

Soundtrack: "She Loves Him Still", Stevie Nicks

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Another thing about coming home for the holdays is that you get to be reunited with projects you left behind (and never got a chance to show off at kol)

This is Michelle Ciccariello's Aran Weight Lace Shell w/ Raglan Cap Sleeves (which can be found in Elann's Free Pattern Collection here.)

As you can see I've changed it quite a bit, removing several repeats (b/c I'm short). The biggest change however is that I made it into a jacket. There was a KAL started on craftster where many participants were trying to create a deeper v-neck, so it was a pretty common reaction. I also used short rows at the front centre edge to create a long point to echo the long v neckline. I was aiming for this kind of effect:

But I kinda fubared the buttons.

Soundtrack: "Santa Claus is Coming to Town", Chris Isaak & Stevie Nicks

Monday, December 18, 2006

Bwa ha ha ha...the triumphant return of my camera. One of the best things about Christmas in Kingston (being a hole notwithstanding- see previous post) is that our neighbourhood is full of birds and beasts. We celebrate First Foot with the animals in the backyard each year. This year we have a new generation of squirrels with white tips to their ears. They are very nice and all seem fat and fluffy. Most importantly they are not evil (I had altercations with some of their ancestors growing up). Ginny the cat is very entertained by their antics and has made a few new friends. Her other friends include sparrows, cardinals, pigeons, outdoor cats, starlings and a mummy skunk. Thankfully she has not met the racoons that pillage based on a keen sense of karma.

Also superb about being home is getting to use the Drama Room space at the high school where my Mum teaches. Now we have photos of the Fiddlesticks Raglan (hmm it needs a new name) on me. If my needles were longer you could see the front too (though I'm worried it's a bit of a mess in places. I will be closing and creating a lot of eyelets come blocking time.

I've been wondering through big bookstores (something I hardly ever do) looking at all the new needlecraft books thinking what would really come in handy-at least in terms of knitting-is a guide on turning a pattern for one thing into another. Elizabeth Zimmerman and Barbara Walker have explained how to make things from scratch-based on measurements and percentage systems-but nobody has really stripped down an existing pattern and explained how to change it from any given point. For example-gauge switching, changing from straight to circular in terms of stitch patterns and colour work, when you need to factor for salvage stitches, how to remove elements and features without distorting the flow of a garment or least all in one book. It would be a handy thing and I would buy it.

Soundtrack:"In Bed All Day", Tilly and the Wall

Friday, December 15, 2006

Fiddlesticks' "Garden Shawl" +Inca Gold "Baby Silk Cashmere"=

The beginnings of a lace Top Down Raglan. It knit up fairly quickly and I didn't have to re-work the shawl charts much to make them work as a sweater -until I hit the fern lace about 1/2 way down. Now I'm having to alter not only for purl rows (the shawl is worked circularly and I'm keeping my piece an open jacket) but also for alignment. I'm not complaining though-in fact I'm sort of delighted.
More photos to follow. Thank you to Jennifer (whose name rhymes so wonderfully with Eleanor Rigby that I can barely stand it) for letting me know that problems persist on the blog. She advises that it may depend on the browser you're using to visit my site, but as it looks perfect to me (or at least looks how i had intended) I'm not sure. Please leave a comment if you're having trouble too, or if you have any suggestions. I've been trying to post from different browsers, but as I'm home for the holidays I don't have access to many computers. ps Kingston is a hole now.

Soundtrack: "All in Good Time" Ron Sexsmith,

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I've joined a couple of new blogging events;
Take a Stitch Tuesday and Illustration Friday. I do well with jobs that are assigned to specific days. Tuesdays and Thursdays are my nites for knitting in public. Thursday is also library day. Saturday is my morning for almost sleeping through the Farmer's Market but waking up in time for Morgan Waters (who sent me -and a lot of other people- a message about Sweet Thing playing at the Silver Dollar Room but I could not make it to town in time. Soon, momo, soon, for I am single as can be.) Friday is for rearanging the Manos Del Uruguay at The Loop, and Sunday is for taping the Coronation Omnbus, going to Meditation, watching the 3h of Corrie, doing laundry and yelling at the screen.

The Tuesday event doesn't get going until the new year but Illustration Friday has been around for some time. I'm still suffering from camera problems else I would have posted last week (though I didn't come up with much). This week's theme is 'Mask'. ooo I hope my camera situation is sorted by friday. Of course, when I think of masks I think of Masked Balls (because I like dressing up more than any other epic romance mysterious stranger cannoodling in the gazebo kissing of gloved hands kind of ball related fantasy reason *edit: yeah right.) I say bring the Masked Ball back. Not just horrid charity or black & white balls. Real ones with spies and scarlet pimpernels and harlequins and diadems with opera gloves. Or what about victorian-20s costume balls-where everyone has to present a vignette. Or what about Natalie Clifford Barney's where Collette would ride in bare back and naked and Mata Hari would dance? Or The L.A. Come as Your Madness party-does anyone have the movie that was made of that? Anais Nin as a caged bird with Rupert Pole? Whatever happened to happenings?
Of course going to an event like a Masked Ball would involve leaving the house....

To read about Take a Stitch Tuesday visit Sharon's In a Minute Ago Blog.
Information about Illustration Friday can be found here.

ps. blogger just added a 'new' entry from november!?!?! it's down there at the bottom now....

Soundtrack"Just Like The Movies", Regina Spektor

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

For christmas I want adobe illustrator for my wee mac. I used the 30 day trial version to make all this great pomoboho stuff and now that i need it (and the 30 days are waaaay up) I’ve discovered that they all have little typos. Any thoughts on the cheapest way to get this program (not bit torrent-the final installation files all go bananas when you try and open them-i’ve heard)

Back in the summer I cast on a lace weight fichu for Granny in Crystal Palace Kid Merino. It’s meant to look like seafoam, a nod to a seafoam shawl (incidently shaped more like a proper fichu than this) that she crocheted and that I used to borrow when I was small. It was dk weight, white, and all scallops and fans. I have it put away somewhere safe where I can’t find it.

I’m trying to finish this one before Christmas. It is my only Holiday Knitting Project. The problem is that I’m sick to death of the stitch-”Shower Stitch”. After a while of working it, the seafoamy waves began to look like spiders to me. Now they look like the little guys from Gorf (which i still miss playing on my Vic 20 computer.)

I think I will switch to a strawberry or fawn’s eyes pattern-something eyelety. Maybe to save yardage I will work a giganto border on each end in a white merino/mohair (if I can’t find more light blue merino). I had thought of switching to something without any loft -like misti baby alpaca, but i think that might be a bit too sophisticated.

I wanted to say more but i’m dealing with a hit or miss wireless connection here. Sorry to blogs i don’t get a chance to read. In the mean time enjoy:

Sunday, December 03, 2006

My very own colourways! The ‘Blued Scarlet’ on the right was dyed with Shibori and Resist techniques, and the Multi on the left was Handpainted. I used Weak Acid Dyes for both. They were both “Natural” Misti lace weight baby alpaca to start with. I’m very pleased with both of them.
I have nooooooooooooooo idea what to do with them.
Varigated lace shawls are really not my cup of tea. Or gin. No cups.
Ok i just had a wacky idea; what about knitting a variety of lace edgings, to layer inside a skirt (like I usually do wiith dollar store lace ribbon to make my own petticoats.).
I think that might be perfect.
Either that or it’s the gin typing...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I started this jacket (in mystery acrylic-based deplyed yarn from value village) trying to copy a marc jacobs sweater I bought on clearance. Buttoned at the neck and then at the waist it had an S-curve blouson shilloette which I thought I could duplicate using short rows. Maybe I could have, had I not run out of the irreplaceable mystery yarn. I think I’ll have to start it over in cascade 220 and I should have known better all along. I’ve only got the sleeves left to do so it’s all a little heartbreaking.

Is it a surprise though, that the self-cinching waist (couched in a slip-stitch pattern from Barbara Walker’s II) looks more than a bit like a bargello pommegranate pattern? As scattered as I think I probably appear (tottering and teetering around town dropping things and getting driven into at spring garden and barrington -which left me swearing like a north of 7er right outside my beloved st. mary’s basillica*) all of my projects are pretty streamlined and everything I pick out to work on and to work with seems to go together. (even my groceries-mmm I wait all year for pommegranate season.)
I wonder why more people arent combining various fibre and fine art techniques. The trend towards ‘embellishment’ -which I think has really been pushed along by scrapbooking, but had it’s start in artisan books- has only poked into textiles a little bit, and rarely through handhewn craft. It’s been explored in some of the mainstream knitting magazines but not by any noteable designers which I think is a shame. It’s only natural that after this resergance of craft and knitting in particular that the craft should evolve (like quilting did, and embroidery is trying to do) and it seems obvious to me that the interdiciplinary trend is what fibre arts needs to avoid going back out of style in a few years. Sigh, if only macrame had pushed past plant holders. (felted bags, funfur scarves and illshaped ponchos I’m talking to you)

*I’m fine btw. It just left me wondering if the universe (in the form of a minivan) was trying to give me a nudge in the right direction. Surely I’m not missing something staring me in the face? Same goes for my recent hobby of burning myself on the stove. Maybe I just need supervision. Maybe all this Florentine needlework is getting to me and I need a patron-like Lindsey Buckingham. Did you see him on the late show? No. Of course you didn’t.
ps I have a soft spot for macrame plant holders as you may well imagine.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A pair of canvases before I go hop on a train this afternoon.

Last weekend I got to take the Dress Form Workshop that I couldn't take last fall (see here). There are some great photos and I will post them as soon as I get everyone in the photos' permission to do so (even though I'm the one having their body wrapped in duct tape).
In the mean time I have an exact replica of my torso standing in my hallway which is very strange indeed. I've already dressed her up and she looks smashing in all my clothes. I will use her for blocking lace sweaters a lot.
Sitting here typing though, I'm thinking I might extend one of her cutoff arms a little longer a la:
Oops-looks like someone else has thought along the same lines:link
Soundtrack: Murder She Wrote on the tv

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The weather here in Halifax has been very unchristmassy. My crocheted snowflakes (dk weight donated acrylic, 3.5mm hook) made their way to The Loop's window in time for both the Festival of Lights and record breaking warm weather. They look great with Cathy's toasty felted log fire, and the crazy 'no snow-snowman'. His bum is constructed of the former Guinness record holder for World's Longest Scarf. Let's hope me manages to see next year.

I'm working on several projects right now -embroidery, dolls and canvas-and taking a snowflake break really helps. I've decided to include one in all my christmas cards. I'm saying that now, in November.
We will see.

Meanwhile some of my handpainted mohair from class is quickly and a little thoughtlessly becoming a scarf. The stitch pattern is something or other from Barbara Walker, but I'm finishing the rest of it in garter having decreased by half. Like a tie, I guess.

Some visitors to the blog are having trouble reading posts. Please let me know if you're one of them and what problems you're having. Thanks. More photos of Festival of Lights at The Loop.

Soundtrack: coffee perking.

PS. Update: Will be teaching workshops at LeMarchant St Thomas next semester

Wont be showing at the Khyber Midwinter Fair (I was going to, but I will be out of town)That is all.

Friday, November 17, 2006


Well, today is my day for the library but I've already taken out more than I can chew. That's because I've taken on more than I can chew. At least having too many projects keeps me from chewing UG oatcakes and Mud Room sandwiches quite so much.

Right now I'm caught up in Russian Nesting Dolls, or Matryoshki and the Nested Doll Principle as it applies to Marketing,, Matroska Files, Chemistry, and TRIZ thinking. Learn about TRIZ: here. I've been looking at TRIZ and the IChing a lot lately (the latter probably through having to give 3cents change a lot at the store) and wondered how that kind of thinking could be applied to arts and crafts-specifically to some problems I've been having with my crocheted dolls. Then I thought why not create something based on Nesting Dolls, their Russian craft heritage (2D & 3D) and the principle named after them.
Soooo. I'm embroidering a series of nesting canvases-the folk embroidery echoing the painted embroidery on the Matryoshka's clothing. Quilting theory is helping quite a bit too, so I've taken out a huge book on Tessellations which should keep me going for a while. It should also help with my Brideshead Vest. (see previous entry)

But beyond all that, Russian art is fun. I love the "World of Art" (Mir Iskusstva)painters and illustrators, revolutionary era textiles and patterns, and anyone visiting the apartment can see that iconography is a bit of a passion-even if my icons aren't orthodox.
In knitting news, I'm working a Fiddlesticks shawl pattern into a top down raglan (just substituting the lace patterns in order) using Inca Gold BSC in a blue-greyish colour. Keep your pants on, it might be a while.

Monday, November 13, 2006

A pretty Collar in miniature for no good reason at all. I'm still exploring wearables based on doily techniques. This is based on a pattern c.1958, crocheted in dk weight.

I make no promises, but for now I seem to have traded in a little of my oft ridiculed "Bordello" Tastes for "Bargello". Oooh baby, I can't get enough of it and canvas work doesn't sound as dirty as it did before. As you may have noticed, I will always back the underdog when it comes to crafts, and really,to all things Women's Work and I'm sure this is indicative of some disorder or another but I'm not much bothered.
I haven't started a bargello project yet, but I've quite decided I'm going to find it really satisfying from a mathematical standpoint. I'm also really taken by freeform bargello as discussed on favorite blog haunt Seamsters. I think I will start with Flame, Pomegranate and Ribbon patterns. I will save "Four Way" til I'm feeling more adventurous.


Soundtrack: "Cathouse Blues", Stevie Nicks

Thursday, November 09, 2006

++ errata +errata=

Annie Modesitt's "Sideways Spencer" from IK fall 2004, in Manos "Oilslick"(!) Yes, yes, yes. Smashing, smashing, smashing. Quite. I feel like Lizzie Bennett already.
The sweater is knit cuff to cuff which was exciting and confusing until I reached the neck shaping, and the piece stopped looking so much like a cabled loincloth (thank you loop group boys for pointing this out).
The other finished versions I've seen have all been rather long (which I can't help thinking misses the point) so I think I'll skimp on the rib cuff. I may do this in a different colour-maybe matte (or manos-matte) grey? Lately I've been buying a lot of muted, in between type colours and colourways (sorry Phantom Hacker). If there is a common link between them all I guess they all remind me of heather, rocks, and the Highlands. I'm ancestral home-sick if there's such a thing. Alison will know what I mean. Last night in Dyeing Class Mimi and I kept choosing colours that are inherently muddy in the same way. Our handpainting techniques are coming along but we may have to concede to bright colours once in a while. My biggest problem is that I want to mix solutions as I go and treat the dyes as watercolours. Not a good idea if you ever want to reproduce a colour scheme. And then there's that whole 'dangerous chemicals' issue. Ho hum. I had to promise I would not try this stuff at home. Maybe I will take a photo of myself in my coolio Darth Vader respirator mask. Sexy! No, no, all things in moderation. Especially Spencer jackets and Regency fashion.

Soundtrack: "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic", The Police
Sorry I really rambled today-will post photos of muddy yarns later...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

It must be time to start Holiday Knitting if my christmas cactus is blooming. It must be a cactus if it is the only happy plant in my house...and it pretty much is.

Take a look at my pitiful no name mystery plant. It used to be lush and full and beautiful. I put it in a window-right in a window and now it is slipping away into a mess of brown crinkly leaves of death. It is so sad and I don't know what to do for it. I have moved it to a *slightly* sunnier window but they are few and far between at my house. My house is more of a lair really. Any tips on bringing it back to life?? Please? It looks even worse now:(

It is so gloomy here now that the days are shorter that a rain cloud has taken up permanent residence in my jade plant.

Don't worry-it's rain drops are just picot ribbon.

Soundrack: "Fidelity", Regina Spector

PS: I ended up being Little Bo Peep and was interviewed for the illustrious Live at 5
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