Sweater Dress Love

I was on Net-a-porter.com 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.

FO: Eyelet Ribbed Bandeau

The Specs

Eyelet Ribbed Bandeau, from Interweave Knits, Summer 2007


Yarn: Filati Italian Collection Tebe Extrafine Merino. I cannot say enough good things about this yarn, I immediately fell in love with it’s sprongy-ness. I dont’ care if that’s not a word, this yarn is heaven. Heaven!

Needles: 3.25 mm, 3.5 mm, 3.75 mm (straights and circulars)

Modifications: Made it a couple inches longer. The waist shaping is done with needle sizes, so it didn’t pose any challenges to the shaping and how it aligned on my actual body.

Notes: I would have finished this a month ago, if I hadn’t misplace the pattern for over three weeks! I bet a lot of people were put off by the eyelets in this, and figured it wouldn’t be wearable. My original plan was to wear something underneath, but I found that the eyelets were small enought that my skintone strapless bra worked just fine.

If I was knitting this again, I would make the button band longer. The pattern calls for the button band to be shorter than the length of the top, but I found that the top is only as long as the button band allows. So my extra inches in length were all for naught, and cause a bit of bunching sometimes.
And I can I just say how much I love picot hems?You would think a merino tube top would be toasty, but I have to say- I froze my tail off in that thing. Those eyelets, while modest enough, sure do provide a lot of ventilation! a bit of a breeze, and it feels like you don’t even have a top on. As for my final opinion? I’m not sure. I want to like it, but it’s shorter than I thought it would be, and sometimes it’s hard to appreciate a knit for what it is rather than what you were expecting it to be. The pattern is a breeze, but if you hate finishing, I warn you now- there is a LOT of sewing involved in this. Button bands are sewn on, not knitted on, and the picot is comprised of live stitches that are tacked down on the other side to form the hem.

Hats off to G, who took the photos. I must admit, it’s very nice to have someone else (other than me, I mean) taking pictures!

A List to Build a Dream On

I was doing a little knit stalking on Anthropologie this morning, and came across these two lovelies from their upcoming fall collection:
Changling Cardigan: Angular Momentum Sweater: I love how Anthropologie has the zoom and back view feature on all their items- it shows a great deal of detail, and exactly how it’s all put together!The different sized wooden buttons on the changeling cardi are such a great touch, and I’m particularly in love with that Angular Momentum Sweater, but wih the knitting backlog I’ve got going on at the moment, I can’t imagine that I’ll be reverse engineering it anytime soon. But hey, a girl can dream, right?

By the way: I had to ask G how to get jpegs from videos/images that are run through a flash player, and he wrote it out for me so clearly that I had no trouble following it (and I’m not exactly the most technologically gifted individual out there). So, for anyone else who’d like to be able to do that for videos, other Anthropologie items, etc. These are the instructions:

1. Hold down the ‘Alt’ key and press the Print Screen button at the same time
2. Open Microsoft Paint and choose Edit> Paste.
3. Then use the rectangular selection tool to select the area you want (the rectangle with the dotted line),then Edit> Cut, File> New, then Edit> Paste.
4. You should now see your new image, cropped the way you’d like it.
5. You will probably need to go to Image> Attributes to muck about with the sizing- for that site I found that a width of 300 pixels and a height of 400 pixels gave a nice size of white border.
6. Then just go File> New and Paste the image again.
7. File> Save As, change file type to .jpg.

You may not know this about me (although the above steps should help give a clue), but I’m a total list person. I was completely inspired when I saw Steph’s List of 101 Things in 1001 Days on her blog. I love the concept of this. Time passes by no matter what, so you might as well be doing something with your time that makes you feel as though you’re really living the kind of life you want to lead. Not to mention that setting attainable goals and plodding towards them in a realistic timeframe is pretty much the only way anything ever gets accomplished… and did I mention I love lists?

So, here’s my list:
Date Started- July 10, 2008
End Date: April 7, 2011

In the Kitchen
1. Make cinnamon rolls from scratch
2. Learn how to making icing flowers that I’m happy with.
3. Find and perfect a great bread recipe for a standard loaf (i.e. sliced bread), and make regularly
4. Learn to make pad thai at home, just the way I like it.
5. Learn to properly decorate a cake.
6. Bake cookies for every branch of my family.
7. Make jam.
8. Try a new recipe once a month.
9. Try making my own sushi
10. Find 5 appetizing and healthy brown-bag options for myself
11. Cook dinner for my parents at least twice.
12. Go one month without eating take away or in a restaurant
13. Find my go-to peanut butter cookie recipe.
14. Use my crock pot 10 times (0/10)
15. Bake 5 kinds of cakes that I’ve never made before (0/5)
16. Join one of those organic box a week programs.

Personal Development
17. Make eye contact and give the other person my attention when they are speaking. Particularly to cashiers when I’m in checkout lines.
18. Learn to use Photoshop.
19. Take 2 classes of some kind (pottery? Indian cooking? Pole dancing? Something, anything)
20. Commit to self portrait Sundays, and actually do them until I feel comfortable having my picture taken
21. Download some French podcasts onto my iPod, and make an effort to re-learn my seriously rusty French
22. Paint a painting that I’m happy with, or sketch something I like enough to frame.
23. Learn how to use the features on my camera
24. Practice drawing something everyday for a month.
25. Buy a pair of red high heels. Never wear them with anything red.
26. Find a new artist (new to me, I mean) whose work I love

Reading and Writing
27. Begin and maintain a regular writing schedule (hammering out a couple of pages every three weeks doesn’t count)
28. Complete 3 manuscripts.
29. Submit each manuscript to three different literary agents or publishing houses
30. Submit to a literary journal 4 times a year.
31. Re-read all of Virginia Woolf’s novels and short stories.
32. Participate in NaNoWriMo
33. Spend more time creating thoughtful and useful blog posts.
34. Read all of the Brother’s Grimm fairytales.
35. Blog every day for a month.
36. Go to one poetry reading a month.
37. Write 10 short stories.

Knitting and Craft
38. Learn to crochet
39. Sew an article of clothing.
40. Reduce yarn stash to two drawers and trunk only (currently a fiasco that threatens to overrun my bedroom)
41. Go to a wool/fibre festival
42. Create 2 original knitting patterns
43. Knit a stockpile of baby stuff, so when people have little ones, they are ready to give as gifts
44. Learn the magic loop technique
45. Knit my friend Paul a Fisherman’s Gansey.
46. Participate in three swaps (0/3)
47. Finish fixing the Legacy Sweater for mom.
48. Organize knitting patterns and books
49. Become a regular at a Stitch n Bitch.
50. Try a new craft that I’ve never done before.
51. Crochet five things that are not dishcloths (0/5)

52. Begin and maintain a regular fitness programme (doing pilates once every three weeks does not count)
53. Do yoga every day for two weeks.
54. Take up jogging and see if I like it.
55. Spend an entire day hiking (basically, in the bush for at least 8 hours).
56. Work on my golf swing
57. Do pilates every day for a month.
58. Learn to rollerblade.

59. Visit 2 countries that I haven’t been to before
60. Visit NYC.
61. Take a last-minute holiday.

62. Create a budget and stick to it
63. Pay off my credit card, and stop carrying a balance on it
64. Organize my tax paperwork, properly, so doing my return isn’t a paper hunt every spring. This includes keeping track of prescription receipts.
65. Put $5 aside once a week to save up for something special (TBD- trip?)
66. Track and add up how much I spend on eating in restaurants a month and then be properly horrified at the $$.
67. Create a better game plan for my RRSP.
68. Research the housing market, and begin the planning stages of buying a condo
69. Review current banking fees, and compare with other banks to see if better rates/services are available.
70. For every uncompleted task on this list, donate $10 to a charity (charity TBD, but no doubt something animal related)

Life in General

71. Build a snowman
72. Kiss my boyfriend passionately every day
73. At least once a week, call a friend I don’t see regularly, just to catch up
74. Dry clean my wedding dress/veil (I got divorced in 2006, that’s how long I’ve been putting that off)
75. Decide what to do with wedding dress/ veil (sell it? Give it away? It seems weird to hang on to it)
76. Take 3 bubble baths with a book and a glass of wine/mug of tea
77. Print photos, arrange in photo albums (because if my hardrive crashed, the only photos I would have would be the ones on Facebook and flickr!)
78. Host a clothing swap
79. Declutter- throw something out (trash or recycling bin) every day for a month.
80. Try out five independent cafes in Toronto that I haven’t been to before
81. Go to the zoo.
82. Make a light box for taking photos.
83. Start using the green bin more regularly.
84. Send Christmas Cards.
85. Get some sort of music set up for the bedroom( probably an iHome)
86. Take my little brother for the day at least every 6 weeks.
87. Get some lavender to protect sweaters from moths.
88. Go to bed at 10:30 p.m.(with the light’s out!) every night for a week.
89. Wear a true red lipstick 3 times (I never wear lipstick, much less red) (0/3)
90. Grow basil. Again.
91. Reconnect with an old friend that I regret losing touch with.
92. Do something wonderful/fun/really meaningful for my 30th birthday
93. Do something really special for G.
94. Try ten new cocktails that I’ve never had before. (0/10)
95. Go to Shakespeare in the Park (Why have I never done this before?!)
96. Private* (0/5)
97. Get a cat
98. Phase-out all the non-biodegradable cleaning products in my home.
99. Host some kind of party.
100. Build something with my little brother.
101. Email a friend, every day. Just to keep in touch.

I can’t even imagine my life in April 2011, but if I’ve crossed off even 75 things from this list, I’m sure I’ll be pretty happy. And just because this post is a little text heavy, here’s a closing shot of the Canada Day Fireworks we had on July 1st: