comfort food

maybe it's not good to bake when you're sick - or maybe it's just not good to share potentially toxic/contagious baked goods - but i spent saturday afternoon baking peanut butter cookies and raisin bread. mmmmm.

in other news, i met the walrus just won a daytime emmy award! i have a feeling things are going to get veeery busy around work for a while...


sick again? say it ain't so...

booo... we have to cancel our trip to the zoo today. but being sick is the perfect excuse to curl up on the sofa with my knitting and a movie, two of my favourite things.
in other news, we're getting in the hallowe'en spirit by getting started on h's costume - he is going as the empty child from doctor who. he needs a white shirt (got it), burgundy sweater vest (got it), grey woolen pants (got it unless they are outgrown), grey woolen jacket (i think?), and of course a gasmask.



well i may have thought i was done with ujein, but no. the seaming dragged on tediously, and it's not really possible to even guesstimate how it fits until it's seamed. so when i tried it on yesterday... well it was perfect, except that my cast-on for the triangles was not sufficiently stretchy. there was no getting it on until i ripped out the bottom. now it fits fine, but i need to do some sort of super-stretchy bind-off. gah. and i think i'll knit it down a little longer too, just because i can.


time for a to-do list update

to do list:
- hat for baby ellington - done and sent!
- placemats/napkins - napkins are done, placemats are cut & pinned
- kitchen curtains - not started
- xmas cards!! - not started, but i have a plan
- pullover for h - it's around here somewhere
- wrap cardigan for me - ditto
- xmas other stuff (tree skirt, finish embroidery on stockings, wreath?) - wreath is begun!!
- knitting needle roll/project bag - done!
- curtains for living/dining rooms - not started
- squid curling sweater for h - not started
- living room slipcovers - not started
- cottage stuff - curtains, quilt - still working on the fabric
not on list:
- malabrigo ujein - done
- socks for tg - started - maybe these actually count on the list under "xmas other stuff" ?
ok maybe i am not the most productive person in the world, but i think that is not too bad? especially since at least some of the "not started" items require buying more crap rather than stash-busting.


oh, come on.

maybe i'm crazy, or have a strange sense of humour. but i thought this post was hilarious, and obviously not meant to be taken seriously. much like bonsai kitten. and i clearly love knitting as much as the next person (although my experience with angora was a let down, but that's another story). so then we come to the comments. yikes! relax, spinners. you are not successfully defending your craft, you are showing yourself to be humourless kooks. yeesh. she even apologised. relax!


my favourite year part two

here is the rest of yesterday's post that just got too long and rambly.
it started out as an intro to otto preminger's the man with the golden arm with frank sinatra, which is the inspiration for today's knitting needle roll. in addition to being great and groundbreaking etc., the awesome 1950s graphics work well for the craftiness - in this case, the golden arm is reaching for a needle of a different kind.

i cut out the arm out of paper, pinned it to my fabric, and basted around the edges to mark the pattern.

then i cut away the fabric inside the lines leaving a 1/4" allowance, turned the edges under and pinned it to the lining fabric.

i used a standard machine zigzag to sew the pieces together. fiddly work.

then, i put it all together. basic needle roll dimensions - the main black fabric is 12" x 36" the green lining is 11 1/2" x 35 1/2" and the pocket piece i cut 11 1/2" square. i hemmed one edge of the pocket piece, then placed it on top of the main piece & lining. the edges are just folded in by 1/4" twice, which holds the pocket in place as well as finishing the edges. then it's just a matter of sewing the channels an inch apart to hold the needles. download the full tutorial (pdf) here!


my favourite year part one

ages ago i decided i wanted to live in the 1950s based on two factors: movies and music (later i added clothing and furnishings to that short list). specifically i decided that 1957 would be the ideal year, based on the bachelor party (most awesome soundtrack ever, according to my dim memory), the man with the golden arm, and the release of on the road (i know, typical. whatever).
that was my "existential period" i guess. i do think the 1950s are completely under-appreciated as a decade - everyone thinks father knows best and the cleavers, and forgets the incredible jazz scene (1959 is acknowledged to be the greatest year ever musically, with the release of landmark records by miles davis, charles mingus, ornette coleman, john coltrane, etc.) and intellectual rumblings without which the 1960s would never have happened. rosa parks took a seat in 1955. and what is truly amazing, is that the intellectual movements of the time were noticed by popular culture - cf funny face (which also came out in 1957). no way would any of the big studios today make a film that acknowledged the underground.
but i digress.
the man with the golden arm blew my mind away in particular because i was never a huge fan of sinatra (i think most of his appeal should rightly be credited to nelson riddle) and was not expecting such an amazing performance (oscar-nominated) and such an amazing score (also oscar-nominated). it is the story of frankie machine, a musician and heroin addict just out of jail and trying to escape his old career of dealing cards along with all his other bad habits. released in 1955, it is the first in a slough of ground-breaking american films that even today make you stop and think they were allowed to put this on screen back then? it was the man with the golden arm along with a few other films which forced the motion picture association of america to dismantle the production code that had meant decades of married couples sleeping in twin beds etc. i remember the first time i watched the philadelphia story with my dad - halfway through, i said that i was rooting for jimmy stewart's reporter character to get the girl, and my dad said it was impossible - she was divorced, ergo could not end up with anyone but her ex-husband - otherwise it would imply that she might have sex with more than one person in her life. when the mpaa code changed, all of a sudden there was an influx of films like golden arm and bachelor party and lolita - even my favourite xmas movie the apartment features extramarital sex as the main force driving the plot, and more importantly, fran kubelik is still considered a wholesome girl worthy of the protagonist's affections despite the fact that she has been carrying on with a married man.
ok i think this post is getting too long. this is the film part of filmcraft; tomorrow i'll get to the craft.
meanwhile, enjoy the gorgeous title sequence.


necessity is the mother

getting lovely new notions and being unable to find my blasted tapestry needles resulted in improved storage of stash becoming a priority. also, a little round box presented an opportunity.

first, i worked on the inside. i cut circles from a cereal box, just smaller than the inside of my box, and covered them with fabric.

putting glue all around the edge and then sticking down small sections on opposite sides is the best way to keep the fabric smooth and neat.

then, i cut strips to cover the inside sides, with little smips along one long edge to make it fit neatly around the curve at the bottom.

the insides taken care of, i moved on to the outsides. to make the box stronger, i cut strips of corrugated cardboard from another box to go around the outsides, and held them on with a bit of masking tape.

then i traced the top and bottom on the corrugated cardboard, and taped those pieces around the outside (not attaching them to the fabric-lined box). i used a serrated knife to cut the cardboard, so it wouldn't get all squashed.

once you've taped the outer corrugated pieces together, take them off the fabric-lined box, and cover them separately.

then, i cut a much bigger circle of fabric to cover the outside. i spread the glue evenly all over the carboard so it wouldn't gloop through the fabric weirdly.

notice how the circle of fabric for the outside is big enough to wrap all the way up the sides and lap over the inside - pull the fabric as snug as possible on the bias, and the natural bias stretch of the cloth will help it lie relatively flat. put glue all over the indside of the corrugated cardboard shell, and push the fabric-lined box inside. it will help the outer layer of fabric stay in place.

and voila! a neat little box, just the right size for pins, cable needles, stitch markers, and all the other little bits and bobs that are always going walking.


ooh, me happy

how lovely are these? sustainable indian rosewood seaming pins and cable needles, from the little knitting company. i've been coveting them for ages, and was really excited to see how cheap it is to ship them from the uk, and how great the exchange rate is right now! last spring i splurged on a pair of lantern moon needles; for almost the same amount (including reallyfast shipping!), i just got these cable needles and pins, plus two sets of 14" straights. heaven!

i'm wishing i bought more stuff for gifts etc., but the whole package was so reasonable i don't feel bad about making another order at all.



ok, it is probably more accurate to say "1/2 of cuff of sock-to-be" but i'm just happy to be snappy.


holy rainstorm

wow. did not make it to tai chi last night. barely made it home in one piece, and i should have ventured out to fetch the baby, but our car seat is in rosary's car... ah well.
meanwhile, ujein is blocking, and will doubtless take ages to dry, in this humidity. poo. but, i'm not likely to be wearing wool for a few weeks yet in any case. i have a new set of socks on the needles, we'll see how that goes.
in other news, the mobile has returned! it is currently charging, so there will be plenty of blurry lo-res pics here soon. and tiff madness continues - running around, prepping for the bravo! microsite, getting excerpts in our player, getting filmmakers in and out of interviews with bravo! and etalk, and general busy-ness. is it really going to be like this for another month?



done! the knitting part, that is. i was afraid for a moment i'd suffer from second-skein-of-malabrigo syndrome, where two skeins of malabrigo from the same dyelot are different enough to be problematic. no worries though - after mock-piecing-together the ujein, i think everything will be fine. on to blocking and seaming!



i've lost my mobile (it's somewhere in the house, i'm sure of it) which means no way to take quick snaps. but! i've just snagged the proper camera to take a few shots of the ujein so all is good. made lots of progress on it last night when a couple of fellow knitters (amylovesred and ebk1979) came over for a wee knitting bee last night. it is so nice to have knitters in the neighbourhood! although i did not intend to stay up till after 11:30 - whoops.
this pattern is great - knits up so quickly! i'm sure seaming will be a chore, but right now i'm happy. and so glad to have found it on ravelry. the picture in the book is decidedly unimpressive - it looks droopy instead of structured, and shows off too much of the model's own droopiness so to speak. not so appealing. everything is better in malabrigo, i guess...

the pictures just don't do the colour justice. it's gorgeous.



so bored at work today... especially with my malabrigo sitting here tempting me!


found this on delicious stitches: instructions for making a coraline doll out of paper from dark in the dark. brilliant. i kind of want to steal it to use as a pattern to make a real rag doll for h - he loves that movie, and whenever he finds a button, he sticks it in his eye.


movies: a great place to knit

if you have the right pattern, that is. ujein from knitknit: profiles + projects from knitting's new wave is great for film viewing, as it involves long strips of garter-stitch that you can do in the dark without thinking. i got a big chunk done on friday night watching black dynamite, the opening night gala feature of toronto after dark.
an awesome parody of '70s blaxploitation flicks, it hits all the marks without ever getting tired. this kind of project always runs the risk of saturday night live syndrome - think of all of those sketches based on once-funny jokes that chug along until they run out out of juice, usually long after the audience has. black dynamite is more like a louis armstrong solo that keeps hitting higher and higher notes. the tone is set from the outset with an ad for anaconda malt liquor (which later becomes integral to the plot).

the film takes aim at every stereotype of the genre, as well as stereotypical black characters (the oversexed pimp, the earnest activist) and the authenticity of street talk itself, but in a very playful and plot-driven way. actor/writer michael jai white plays it beautifully, never breaking character (even as a boom mike looms inches from his forehead) as he goes from slick ladies' man to kung-fu battle to "poignant" flashbacks to outrageous exposition. he's a one-man army out to fight for justice in a slick polyester suit, with too many quotable lines to count. the final fight scene against his ultimate enemy is just indescribable, but perhaps the finest moment is a scene in a restaurant when he has a wait-that's-it moment, and connects the dots with his posse in the ludicrously erudite way.



last night, we finally tried the mythic bacon vodka. and... not so much impressed. it had some smokiness, but it didn't have the bacon-y wonderfulness i was hoping for. our friend nic insisted that mixing it with pepper vodka in your ceasar was the way to go, but it still wasn't doing it for me. sigh.


through the eyes of a child

here's something baby h pointed out. when you look at this, what do you see?

do you see a peanut?
or... do you see a baby owl?



el capitan es finito!

here's the hat for baby ellington, currently being blocked on a bowl:

whee! finished before he has a chance to outgrow it i hope!



best ever email:

Toronto Public Library Notice


The following materials are available for pickup until the date shown below.
Knitknit : profiles + projects from knitting's new wave / Sabrina Gschwandtner ; photography by Kiriko Shirobayashi
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ujein here i come!


today will be the day

i've been forgetting to bring my latest capitan hat with me on the ttc, and as a result it has languished brimless, even though the brim goes so quickly! today will be the day that i remember to bring it with me and hopefully get it finished!

in my defence, i'm using sock yarn and tiny needles since it's for a newborn (baby ellington), and those tiny needles fill me with pain...



as per usual, i am good at starting projects, or having ideas of projects i want to do, or buying supplies for theoretical projects, but not so much good at actually finishing said projects. and as is also typical of my bursts-of-energy-followed-by-bursts-of-lethargy nature, i am wanting to do a hundred things right now, even though i have a bunch of unfinished projects on the go. and, i've been organizing/cleaning house, and really want to get the piles of ufo/wips under control rather than letting them take over the house as they are currently doing. so it is time to prioritise.
here's my list of stuff-in-progress and not yet started - where to go from here?

hat for baby ellington
kitchen curtains
xmas cards!!
pullover for h
wrap cardigan for me
xmas other stuff (tree skirt, finish embroidery on stockings, wreath?)
knitting needle roll/project bag
curtains for living/dining rooms
squid curling sweater for h
living room slipcovers
cottage stuff - curtains, quilt

it pains me to put the cottage quilt last since it's kind of what i'm most excited about right now, but the other stuff should be done before christmas and we're not likely to be spending a lot of time at the cottage till next spring.



i just realised what i need to do - i need to make h a new curling sweater since his old one is thoroughly outgrown, and it needs to feature a giant squid.



okay, so after coming up with the quilt idea, i went to town a bit. i'm a bit excited (and excitable) because i had wanted to replace the nasty old quilt, and i had wanted to commemorate the "old houses" poem somehow, but until now i couldn't quite figure out how to combine the two.
so. i printed out a sheet of paper with nine square on it (why nine? why not? a two-inch square seemed the right size for sketching, and nine fit neatly on the page) and got to work on quilt blocks. i started with a classic traditional schoolhouse block:

sketched one that is loosely based on the cottage itself:

one that's a typical lanark-county farmhouse:

an old barn because i love old barns:

and i did one that kind of looks like our house & our neighbours' together (they're row houses):

and a couple of others loosely based on quilts i saw online (but simplified! i am lazy, and not good at quilting, and most of what i found online was way too complex). but now i am tempted to do all "real houses that i know" instead of random houses, but that might just be crazytalk. we'll see. these sketches are pretty preliminary (as you can no doubt tell by the amount of correc-tape used) so there will no doubt be changes. but i am excited enough about it to have finally started working on doing a decent graphic of the curtains fabric.


rip john hughes

i was shocked to see my friend whit posting on twitter last night, because she never ever does. she and lisa were posting john hughes quotes. i thought it was just another silly twitter game at first. nope. john hughes died of a heart attack at 59.
anyone who was ever a loser in high school has an appreciation for john hughes. or maybe it's just anyone who was ever my age who has an appreciation. i remember years ago a friend saying that the chronological edges of "our generation" could be easily defined by whether or not a person really got the breakfast club. there was a film that totally blew my mind in high school - not just because it was the first time i had ever seen a person like me portrayed on screen (allison, duh) but because it was possibly the first film i ever saw that didn't have a plot. "a nightclub owner's ex-girlfriend arrives in town with her husband, ww2 resistance fighter, and the nazis hot on their trail" is a plot. "kids sit in library all day and find themselves" is not a plot. i watched that film a million times and practically memorised it. he was a brilliant screenwriter who probably gets quoted a million times a day in conversation.
and, if you want some good filmcraft-y watching, pretty in pink is one of the few great teen flicks where a sewing machine plays a pivotal role. and yeah, i wish she chose duckie, but i think the fact that she didn't in that moment is more realistic, and probably made the rest of us more likely to choose the duckies in our own lives.


the orphan has a home!

the green ufo has gone! thanks to all who inquired, and especial thanks to zyrene for giving it a lovely new home.

i like old houses best, don't you?

remember this?

what if i not only recreate the falling-apart curtains via spoonflower but also used the image to make a couple of variants and then used them to make a patchwork quilt to replace the sad (polyester with holes) quilt at the cottage? with each block being a little house - one that even looks like the cottage, and a plain border that is free-quilted with a poem that has sentimental value?
i'm either brilliant or i'm crazy.

eta: this week's spoonflower email mentioned that next week they are having free swatch day!! woo and hoo! i had better get to work on my designs...


all hail lord simcoe

monday was simcoe day, aka "civic holiday" aka "august long weekend." i think i really function better when there are only four days in a work-week and three days off.
anyway i took advantage of the gorgeous weather to (in addition to cleaning, tidying, organizing wrapping paper, going out to brunch with erin, going to a puppet show in the park, and doing laundry) take the ol' supermatic out into the backyard for some sunshine sewing.

made a new sheet for h's crib (since i had mammoth scraps left over after making a layette), pyjamas for xmas, and the infamous placemats/napkins.
in other news, this ufo came to me looking for a home - it's a sweater that turned out to be too wide and too short, knit out of very thick wool. a great find for someone willing to frog (i might end up keeping it if i can think of a specific project to use it for - that's my new rule, no more speculative purchasing). any takers?


today is the day

that the toronto international film festival announces which short films got in - and eleven of ours did! woo! shorts include the visually stunning tungijuq featuring the amazing tanya tagaq; the beautiful found based on the poetry of souvankham thammavongsa, and dylan reibling's brilliant record. very exciting, but also much work to do... brunch to arrange, tickets to buy, yada yada...



in one of my favourite ravelry threads (the gta subway spotters), i just found the most awesome pattern: ujein. it is neat-looking and apparently quick & easy and best of all? can be done in 2 skeins of malabrigo worsted - which i happen to have in stash, bought on sale with no plan for it, and so far hadn't found a pattern i liked that could actually be knit out of only two skeins. and so: wheeeee!


what i did on my summer vacation: day eleven

our last day. it's early as i type this, but it looks like it might be a nice one! this was not the ideal cottage week (due to illness) but i'm still sad to think of getting back to the city. if i have to be sick somewhere, i'd rather be sick here, where there are cardinals and loons and tall trees. i'm not up for swimming, but hopefully we will at least have a chance to soak up some sun on the dock before we go back.
[later the same day...]
it was sunny for a bit, so h and i sat on the dock and watched the lake - lots of boats, and a family of eight ducks! while we were there i picked up a little project that i'd thought of a year ago, but had done nothing with - a little toy boat for h. there was a box of old piano keys in the shed (who knows why?) and i made a frame out of three of them, then used others to make the bottom and keel. a stick found conveniently on the ground became the mast, and in celebration of potty training (woo!) i used an old flannel diaper for the sail. he really likes it! so much, he said "i hug boat!"

the sun came out in the afternoon while h was napping, so tg and i took a break to laze around. then, the massive cleanup. not fun, especially after h awoke and started getting underfoot. then we heard a ruckus of honking down by the water - a flock of 15 geese landed right off the dock! the perfect way to end our week in the country.


what i did on my summer vacation: day ten

feh. the antibiotics i am taking make everything taste horrible.