Wednesday, February 14, 2018

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Why Yes, Those are Trousers I'm Wearing

Jacket: Comme des Garcons
T-Shirt (not visible): Three Dots
Pants: Velocity
Socks: Calvin Klein
Shoes: Robert Clergerie

Monday, February 12, 2018

Projects Update & Defending the Stash

I ended up with a snow day last Wednesday, so there was no What I'm Wearing to Teach Today post. I actually did get dressed to go to work, but upon the advice of the administrative assistant for the department, I stayed home.

In the meantime, I've been working on a couple of KALs - the Bang Out a Carbeth and #fringeandfriendslogalong. I had to order a couple of skeins of Alafoss Lopi yarn from The Art of Yarn because I wasn't interested in playing yarn chicken with the Carbeth. While the dye lot will undoubtedly be different (the ladyfriend brought me my original skeins from Iceland), I have a plan - the sleeves will be done with the new yarn. So right now, I'm up to the armpits and waiting to for my package to get here. Unfortunately, Canada Poste says it's scheduled for delivery on February 19th - blech.

In the meantime, I'm still knitting "logs" for what I hope will end up as a nice little lap blanket. I've let go of trying to plan it all out. I've got some basic measurements, a limited amount of yarn, and a few ideas, but that's about it.
The log pile
And I can't forget about the ladyfriend's special sweater; it, too, is moving along although I have no picture at the moment. After discovering that I'd somehow knit the back using two different sized needles, we decided to continue that for the front. If she's happy, I'm happy.

I've been trying to finish A Stash of One's Own since it's currently overdue at the library. The essays are fun and interesting and touching, and they've inspired me to see my stash more fully. It's also possessed me to do a yarnventory or stashventory, if you will. This is what it looked like before I opened all the bins, and actually, not all the bins are pictured here.

Rather than feeling overwhelmed by the amount of yarn I have, I'm actually happy that I haven't reached SABLE - Stash Acquisition Beyond Lifetime Expectancy. In fact, I'm finding the stash to be a treasure trove of awesome yarn...and some yarn I'll be getting rid of.

But back to the stash and feelings about it. It's easy for a nonknitter (and some knitters, but I take that differently) to laugh at or mock a knitter's stash. This actually happened the other day at the studio (where the stashventory is taking place). I was working with the door open (I was actually untangling a massive rat's nest of yarn that had decided to get together), and a friend who has a studio near us stopped by. He saw the yarn everywhere and started laughing. Now, this friend is also an artist, but I know he's a bit linear when it comes to ideas about making, and frankly, I think he's suspect of craft (this is just my sense).

I let him finish laughing.

He said, "This is like that Star Trek episode."

I replied, "The Trouble with Tribles?"

"Yes," he replied.

"No. It isn't," I responded.

At this point he clarified that it was the visual aspect that was the connection, but I wasn't going to be shamed by my stash. And no one should. Even now, it annoys me that a fellow artist would seemingly mock my supplies.

And so I say to you - revel in your stashes (whatever they may consist of). It's taken time, money, and thought (sometimes more, sometimes less) to acquire, and for me, many of the yarns trigger memories, which is invaluable.

Monday, February 5, 2018

February's Three Goals

January's goals were accomplished. The only glitch was that the lamp wasn't an imperative, so I switched in getting the old dishwasher off our front porch (it'd been there since mid-December when the company that delivered our new dishwasher didn't feel like taking the old one). The whole dishwasher thing felt like a triumph to me since I had to disconnect the old one myself. Yes, a can-do femme am I!

Here are February's three goals:

1. Project to Finish (WIP): I have just a couple of steps (one of which is steeking, which is cutting your knitting to create an opening) before my Kate Davies's Bláithín cardigan is finished.

2. Fix/Remake/or Let Go: Years ago (yes, years) I took a dress shirt class at the workroom in Toronto. I don't think anyone actually finished their shirt. I still have all the pieces as well as the directions at the studio. It's time for it to be finished or recycled.

3. Get Started On: With the fermentation station set up in the basement, I'm anxious to get some beer, kimchi, and kombucha started.

In the meantime, I'm participating in a couple of KALs (knit-alongs). February may be a short month, but don't underestimate what you can get done in 28 days.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Hanging In There

Dress: Woolen Moss
Vest: Ekeby pattern (Noro), knit by yours truly
Tights: Wolford
Boots: Aquaitalia

Monday, January 29, 2018

Busy Weekend

I had one of those optimum weekends where I got to putter around my own stuff. The ladyfriend was at a hockey tournament for quite a bit of the weekend, and I really wanted to try some of the things I'd learned in my natural dyeing class at OCADU. I got the phase 1 kit to go with The Modern Natural Dyer last year (2016!) for Christmas. I decided this would be the best time to do the work-along. This is the result of my first at-home dyeing experiment.
For those of you into this, I used an aluminum potassium sulfate mordant and used madder for the colour. As soon as it is dry, I'll wind it into a cake and start the Northwoods hat, which is the associated project.

I ripped out a couple of failed FOs (finished objects) as well and reclaimed some nice yarn. Note, the shower curtain rail makes a great place to hang yarn to dry.

And since there were organic lemons in the "bloodied but unbowed" produce section (aka discounted produce), I went ahead and started the limoncello I'd planned to make with some Dillon's White Rye that was pawned off on me. I've made it before, with grain alcohol, and it's pretty damn yummy.
In about a month I'll remove the lemon zest and add a little sugar to sweeten the deal.

Last weekend, I built the fermentation station in the basement, per this month's three goals. I haven't been able to take a good picture of it because of the low light in the basement, but I plan to get some things a-bubbling on the shelves soon.

My other goal for this month, the teak lamp, is going to have to be traded out for something else. The original impetus for getting the lamp done this month was to put it where our artificial "holiday" tree is, but we're leaving it up until Easter. Yep, the tree will stay; the decorations will (hopefully) change, so there's no room for the lamp right now. I'm open to amending the goals if they just don't seem to work. I have a couple of days to figure out what I might do instead. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Lean On In

Coat: Comme des Garcons
Pants: J. Morgan Puett
Socks: Little River Mill
Shoes: Brunello Cucinelli

Monday, January 22, 2018

The End of Cable

The ladyfriend and I got rid of cable recently. Our DVR was acting up (making a weird clicking sound, it had dumped everything we'd saved, and it wouldn't record anything new), so we called our provider who told us that the box we have is no longer in use or being serviced and that we'd have to switch our internet service to them if we wanted to continue having cable.

Now, we've talked about getting rid of cable for awhile. We have a number of subscription services (Netflicks, Crave, Amazon Prime, and NHL Centre Ice) and like many, found that we frequently tried to find something on cable to watch only to have something random playing in the background.  The need to switch internet providers sealed the deal (not that our provider is so great but still).

Here's what we've discovered.

We have more frequent and more in-depth conversations. We take the time to talk to each other, and without the white noise of the TV in the background, there's no sense that we need to finish up quickly so we can get back to the TV.

We have to actually think about what we want to watch. Cable makes it easy for you to scroll through the channels and find something, even if it's not what you were looking for. It was easy just to turn on the TV for accompaniment. In order to avoid the "what are we going to watch tonight" time suck (ever scroll through Netflicks looking for nothing in particular?), we've actually scheduled shows to watch on given days. Yes, it's kind of like old school TV. It's Monday night? We're watching Big Little Lies. Tuesday? It's a wildcard day, which is for shows we're interested in but haven't committed to. I'd really like to make a spinning wheel for this. It'd be fun.

There are shows I thought I'd miss, like Top Chef, but when it's not an option, it doesn't really come to mind. Plus there's content that we access through YouTube and online.

It's good to be without cable although I will say that we've bought an antennae to get the broadcast channels. Nonetheless, I don't think we'll be going back to random switching on of the TV. It's a good change.