Toronto Stitch n-Pitch

Last night was the Toronto Stitch n’ Pitch for 2008. Which was lots of fun. There were complimentary tote bags: And they had free yarn in them! There were knitters as far as the eye could see: And the Jays won! They don’t do that very often, so it’s really something to remark upon. ; ) All in all- a very good time.

Nex ton the knitting agenda: I’ve been getting ready for the Ravelympics! I’m participating the Sweater Sprint for Team Knit Girl!. I’ll be casting on for the Gathered Pullover from Interweave Knits Winter 07 during the opening ceremonies tomorrow. I can’t wait! Hats off to Ravelry for coming up with such a fun idea.

FO: Chinatown String Bag and Baked Goods Galore

Pattern: Such a heavily modified version of The String Bag that I don’t think I can say it is the same pattern at all- but definitely inspired.

Needles: 3.5 mm and 8 mm circulars

Yarn: stash cotton/ramie blend, about 400 yards

Modifications: Oh, where to begin. First off, I changed the lace/netting pattern of the body of the bag to the pattern from the Montego Bay scarf. This meant I could happily do a repeat of k2tog, yo round and round and round. I switched to the 3.5 mm and bound off the sides of the bags, and then knitted the handles one at a time, one on each side. The handles are 8 stitches wide, and just plain old stockinette.But how they attached, that’s where I wanted things to be flexible. Enter the buttons, one of which is sewn on the inside of the bag at the base of each handle:Since I put in a button hole at the end of each handle, there are two ways to arrange the handles for easier carrying. Doubled up:Or grocery bag style: I can’t tell you how pleased I was that the handles worked out. I was a pretty happy bunny about those handles!

Notes: I had no idea that the lace would be that stretchy: Which has it’s good points and bad points. Good: This thing could hold a full grown cow, it has that much stretch going on. Bad: Who wants to carry the weight of a cow on their shoulder? Not me. Or G, for that matter. Since G ends up carrying all the groceries we get in Chinatown, he mentioned that it could be improved upon by making the lace section shorter, and having the option of a shoulder strap so that it could be worn diagonally across the body.Better to make the trek with a cow’s weight worth of veggies.

Since it is undyed cotton/ramie blend, I’m going to throw it in the tumble dryer and see if it shrinks up a bit. If that doesn’t fix it, I’ll probably tack down part of the lace to shorten it a bit. Even though it turned out bigger than expected, I really am pleased. It is my idea of the perfect reusable grocery bag.

As it was a long weekend here, I decided it was the perfect time to do a bunch of baking, and invite some friends over to partake in all the goodies.My List of 101 Things included doing a bunch of baking I hadn’t done before, like making cinnamon rolls from scratch: These were so popular that once I pulled them out of the oven and put the cream cheese icing on them, they went so fast that I didn’t have time to get a picture of a full plate: Thanks to Teresa for the wonderful recipe!

Also in keeping with the list- My goal is to try five different cake recipes that I’ve never made before. Juicy Knits sent me a recipe for a delicious flourless chocolate cake, and Phoe sent me a recipe for an amazing ginger cake. (Sorry for the wonky lighting, not sure what happened there). They were absolutely amazing. People loved the brownie-like texture of the flourless chocolate cake, and were equally enamoured and impressed with the satisfying spicy/sweet ginger cake.

So thank you for the recipes! I know I’ll be making all three of these again in the future.

Sweater Dress Love

I was on earlier today (I can’t afford to shop on this site, but I enjoy cruising the knitwear!) and saw this: That’s a Chloe Ribbed Knitted Dress, regularly priced at $1404.20, for the summer 2008 collection. Doesn’t it look remarkably similar to the Ribbed Mini Dress (ravelry link) from the Summer 2007 Vogue Knitting? I hate to say it, but it looks like the design team at Chloe totally ripped of Mary Lynn Patrick.

But I did see this, and I’m absolutely in love with it: This little number is courtesy of Stella McCartney, and I’m seriously considering knitting it. Minus the batwing sleeves and with a tad more waist shaping. I’ve had a secret obsession with knitted dresses for a while now, but haven’t yet made one. The trouble is, there are two very good reasons why I haven’t yet taken the plunge- 1. That’s definitely going to take a lot of time! I have no idea what I’d blog about while knitting it (‘hi, here’s a shot of the stockinette… and more stockinette two weeks later….’ etc.)2. That’s a lot of yarn, and it won’t be cheap. Of course, it would be much cheaper than a ready-made Stella McCartney dress, but still. A bit more than my little yarn budget can handle at the moment.

Has anyone knit a sweater dress? How did you find the whole process? Any words of wisdom for those about to journey down the sweater dress path?

A Merry Band of WIPs

There are three projects that I’m working on at the moment: Lelah, The String Bag, and my poor abandoned Central Park Hoodie, which I recently picked up again because (and this is such a ridiculous reason I can’t believe this is what made me turn to it again) I was concerned that I was knitting too many projects with cream coloured yarn, and I thought it might get a bit boring, blog-wise. Yup, that’s the sad, tiny reason I bothered to rediscover my CPH again. So, here’s the status report:

CPH: It’s been hauled it out of the WIP basket, and I’ve begun blocking the sleeves: The hood is almost finished. Then the body needs to be blocked, and I need to find a zipper for it- I want it to be a zippered hoodie. So plenty of finishing still to be had on this one.

Lelah: Everyone talks about what a fast knit this is. But I bet they weren’t using a 4mm needle when they said that. And soon I’ll be switching to 3.25 mm needle for the bust portion. This little top is coming along,but at tortise speed.
The String Bag:
I found a bunch of undyed cotton/ramie in my stash, and, no word of a lie, it begged me to knit it into a shopping bag. It actually pleaded to come on my trips into Chinatown, so that it could be filled with cheap and abundant bok choy, chinese eggplant, spring onions and small boxes of green tea. How could I deny such a request? Look at that, cozying up to the produce already. I couldn’t resist it’s charms. It’s desperation to shop with me (and it’s unfussy pattern) mean that it gets to travel around in my purse to be worked on during moments of public transit. I’d be surprised if this one takes more than a week to complete.

FO: Jules Socks

Pattern: Jules, by Kate Blackburn

Yarn: Mirasol Hacho, in the peacock colourway.

Needles: 2.75 mm dpns

Modifications: The pattern calls for the stitches to be distributed across 4 needles, and I prefer 3, so I re-adjusted that. Also…. the toes. See, I find that the kind of toe area that this kind of sock provided is designed for women who have long, elegant feet. And long, slender toes. Which I do not have. And therefore, that little tapering thing it does looks, I’m sure, divine on women who do not have feet like mine (WARNING: next photo is not for the feet-squeamish!): Those, dear readers, are obviously Hobbit-worthy feet. short pudgy toes galore. So, after I finished the foot of the socks (and I don’t exactly have a lot of love for kitchener stitch, I’ll say that right now), they looked like this:Which made me feel so, so disappointed. So, I ripped them back, and improved a shorter, squatter, wider toe pocket: G, who was watching this whole sock toe overhaul episode, commented afterwards that it would be great if I could do a toe pocket that is specifically for chubby short toes such as mine, something that would be smooth and a design feature, as opposed to some frantic k2tog and ssk all over the place. And you know, I think he’s right. I would like that a lot. But I have no desire to reinvent the wheel- does anyone already know of a lovely, thoughtful sock with a toe pocket for stubby toes?

Notes: This was a nice sock pattern, and it knitted up well. But when’s all said and done, even though I’m happy with them, I don’t think that a yarn with this much variation in the colourway was well suited for this sort of pattern. I think a yarn with a more subtle colour change would have been better, and made this more about the texture. But hey, cute socks are cute socks. And I love the way hand knit socks cup my heel:They also keep my feet toasty warm (like that’s a concern in July, but whatever), and there is something about hand knitted socks that is so soul-satisfyingly good. And that makes me happy.