Ideas and Inspiration


Spats!

Spick and Spats by Madelaine Pippa Bartlett

Spick and Spats by Madelaine Pippa Bartlett

During the cold months (which is most of the year where I live) my wardrobe is entirely based around leggings with pencil skirts. I own about a dozen pairs of leggings (mostly black) and about a dozen different pencil skirts and mini-skirts (many of which I made myself), so it is very easy to toss together an outfit. Just add a neutral sweater and bam! Fancy outfit!

Grey- grey legwarmers by Katya Gorbacheva

Grey- grey legwarmers by Katya Gorbacheva

My extreme laziness loves it. Maybe some would argue that because I am overweight I shouldn’t be wearing pencil skirts, but they’d be wrong. I look fabulous. And more to the point, I feel fabulous in them. And I apparently have a reputation at work for looking spiffy and well put together, so I must be doing something right.

My problem comes with the shoes.

I don’t own a huge number of shoes that work with leggings. Ankle booties are the style I favour with my leggings and I own 2 pairs, but I get tired of wearing the same two pairs of booties all fall, winter, and spring. It gets boring. And, in all honesty, none of them are quite high enough or warm enough for the crazy snow that we get. It hasn’t been a huge deal because the walk from my car into my office is about 9 feet, but my office is moving and our parking is no longer going to be 9 feet away, it is going to be almost two blocks away. Suddenly my less-than-toasty leggings and booties are more of a problem.

So guess what I’m knitting!

SPATS!

No, seriously, just go with me on this for a minute. This is a brilliant idea.

  • Quick knitting project, so I can fairly easy get a few pairs in different colours/designs hammered out.
  • Spats will allow me to change up the look of my shoes/outfit with very little effort.
  • I can make them with a foldable cuff. On super cold days I can extend the cuff to create a sort of leg warmer.
  • Warm feet!
  • Keeps up with my whole retro look (…though I will admit the era of spats isn’t in alignment with my retro 50’s look I’m rocking these days)

I’ve already started a pair. Just a super basic 2×2 rib in black Redheart Super Saver I had kicking around. Mostly just a proof of concept, but honestly I can’t see why I wouldn’t love some spats. If these work out (and I can’t see why they wouldn’t) I will start experimenting with different design elements like ruffles, lace, buttons, cables, etc. as well as bright colours.


Back in the saddle

20160630_131115 we’ve been in our new house for a month now and holy hell, is it ever wonderful. Best part is that the house is basically unpacked a d sorted out now, including……. MY SANCTUARY! (aka. My office aka. My knitting room)

20160605_142607You know I wasn’t sure if this room would be as good as I hoped it would be. I tend to Clark Griswold things, invest a lot of energy and emotion on certain things working out a certain way, building things up in my head, and inevitably sometimes they don’t quite live up to what I imagined. This room though has actually surpassed my expectations!

It features :

  • A super comfy day bed positively covered in pillows, quilts, a sheepskin, and other soft squishy comfortable things. (cheaper and waaaaay better than a couch)
  • A big over sized desk (given to me by my aunt and uncle who didn’t want it anymore) for me to use when I work from home
  • A smart TV that also serves as a second monitor for me when I work from home
  • A knitting closet for storing all my knitting supplies/stash
  • A DOOR so I can close myself off and have some quiet Lesley time when I need it

It is, as you can imagine, magnificent. It works in every way. It is a great home office for me. It is a great private space for me. And it is a great knitting room for me.

20160605_142513

This is before I got my desk fromy aunt and uncle, but you get the idea.

 

So now that things are sorted I have finally been getting back to knitting. Currently I’m working on my sock yarn blanket and holy hell, does it ever feel great to get back into knitting. The relaxation and meditative nature of knitting for me was sorely missed. I haven’t counted the new of blocks I’m at, my plan is to counter once I’m at the end of a row again.

 

In other news, my need for winter gear is getting jacked up. My office is moving and the parking is going to be about 2 blocks walk away so I am really going to need warm snow gear this year. Since I primarily wear pencil skirts with leggings I  definitely going to want leg warmers or something like that. I have some ideas involving multiple sock yarns. We shall see.

 


An unemployed Lady Eleanor 4

Today is my last day at my current job. Been here for eight years, and have been working for the government for almost ten years (!!!) and today is my last day. I start a new job September 8th, so I have 10 days to be “unemployed”. THRILLING! Ten whole days off! Yahoo!!!!

Err, I actually have no idea what the hell I am going to do with myself for the next week. I have some things planned, like a beach day with my best friend who is taking a day off just for me, and I want to finalize my pattern write up for my Tri-Blend cowl, but for the most part I’m looking at a week of… I don’t know what. Its sort of pathetic, I know. Everyone (myself included) always wishes they had more time off, and now I have it and I’m panicking. (It is sort of like my experience with the furby.) The yesterday was my going away lunch here at work, and they presented me with a giftcard for Yarns On York (my LYS) and I got an idea…

Wouldn’t it be nice to use that yarn gift card on some yarn for an “unemployment project”?

So that’s the new plan – to start a new project using yarn purchased with my parting gift, and then see how much I can get done during my 10 day stint between jobs, and the pattern I am looking at is the Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole. After making my entrelac hat and seeing how easy entrelac is and loving the end result, I’m definitely ready to do another, larger entrelac project. This stole is gorgeous and looks really impressive. It looks like one of those “seems a lot harder than it actually was” projects, which are always fun. Sort of like the old Rice Crispy Treats commercial. (Remember that commercial? For whatever reason that commercial is burned in my brain for all time.)

Anyway, the stole. Yeah, I really like it, and a big part of that is because of the colour blocks that happen. I looked at the projects for that pattern and it would appear that a LOT of people used Noro Silk Garden yarn.

This is a problem because Noro, to me, feels yucky. I’ve never knit with it, and I am fully prepared to admit that it may very well be fantastic and wonderful. The fact that so many people use and love Noro should lead me to believe that it is probably nice, but man… it feels yucky. Coarse or something. Every time I go to a yarn shop I look at Noro and wonder if maybe I should give it a shot because, man, I love those colours, but then I pick up a ball and have a “Eeeuuugh!” reaction and put it back.

I asked on Ravelry what the deal was with so many people making this project with Noro Yarn and the consensus seems to be that the colours of the Noro yarns work really well with this pattern, and that Noro yarn knits up a lot more nicely than it feels in the balls. Apparently it knits up quite nicely and it apparently gets softer and nicer with repeated washings. I am fairly trusting in the advice of people on Ravelry, but this is a big project, and I would need 10 skeins of the stuff…. Big investment.

So what’s a girl to do?

Honestly, I think I’m going to bit the bullet and just get the 10 skeins of Noro Silk Garden and hope it ends up okay. I like the project enough to risk it. I mean, seriously, look at that picture! How gorgeous is that!! And maybe the yarn leap of faith is fitting since I am making it to mark my career change leap of faith. 🙂

 

If anyone has any experience with Noro yarns go ahead and tell me what you think in the comments!


Learning a new technique is so gratifying!

Today I decided to cast on using the yarn I purchased at Belfast Mini-Mills. I love the yarn, love the colours, but it was looking pretty insane all on its own. I am all for crazy fun colours, but this was just too much, even for me. I dug through my stash and found some leftover dark grey wool from the striped hat I made for Ryan this past spring and figured it would work to tone down the rainbow. But how? Stripes? Checker board? Some other sort of colourwork?

 

What about entrelac?

 

I hadn’t even attempted it before, it looks so beautiful and complicated but also super intimidating. Whatever..no time like the present. And of course I am insane and decided to plough ahead without a pattern. Nothing says “likely to succeed at new technique” like winging it… 

Entrelac As it turns out it is actually TOTALLY turning out! And entrelac is way easier than I expected! I am absolutely loving how this is knitting up, the grey has done exactly what I hoped it would. The rainbow now pops without being crazy in your face insane looking. I love how each block of the rainbow looks sort of like it’s own perfect little miniature rainbow. Man, I just love this.

 

Hurray for learning new techniques!


Week of Discussion: Day Five – Techniques (one of the main Ravelry Boards)

This week I am featuring the best of the Ravelry discussion boards. Each day I highlight a particular group, forum, or topic that I personally find either interesting, informative, inspiring, or just plain cool! Be sure to log in to your Ravelry account to be able to view boards/threads! (It is free to sign up and well worth it if you ask me!)

Day One: Gorgeous Gradients

Day Two: Yarn (one of the main Ravelry forums)

Day Three: Lovin’ the Freebies!

Day Four: Selfish Knitters & Crocheters


Day Five – Techniques (one of the main Ravelry boards)

I learned about the "Bubble Wrap" stitch from a random post on the Techniques board!

I learned about the “Bubble Wrap” stitch from a random post on the Techniques board!

I saved this board for last because, for me, this board is pretty spectacularly useful. If you follow only one board on Ravelry, this should be it. I have learned more about knitting from this one discussion board than anything else on the internet. There are a couple specific threads that are particularly treasure trove-y in terms of valuable tips and information, but the real value in this discussion board is due to the fact that there are questions of all sorts constantly being asked (and answered). Everything from “How should I block this awkwardly shaped item?” to “Something messed up, can you help me figure out where I went wrong?” to “Can you identify this stitch pattern?”. Perhaps a weird way of putting it, but I have learned a tremendous amount from everyone else’s questions, concerns, mistakes, and problems. I read pretty much every thread in that board, even if the question being posed isn’t at all related to the type of knitting I do, because I think the more I know, the more ways of solving all types of problems I’m aware of, the better knitter I will be. (It bares saying that, like the Yarn forum, this is one of the main Ravelry boards and is therefore pretty closely moderated. To me this is good because it keeps the posts on-topic and not filled with unhelpful, uninformative chatter, resulting in a concentrated board of informative awesomeness.)

The piece de resistance is the Personal Tips and Resources thread. It isn’t a place to ask questions, but rather to post about the tips, shortcuts, tools, and solutions you came across (or invented) that you personally find helpful, and maybe it will help someone else. As I make this post there is over 5,700 posts in that thread, and I have read every single one of them. It took me a long time (obviously) but I did, and holy hannah have I taken a lot away from it. I love that sometimes someone will post their tip and other people will come in and confirm it, or (more interestingly) disagree and then explain why that doesn’t work for them.


 

There are tons of other discussion boards and groups on Ravelry, covering every topic and interest, so definitely browse around. I guarantee you’ll find at least a few that suit you! I have a number of honourable mention groups that I could have posted about (like the Fans of Wolle’s Color Changing Cotton group and the Harry Potter Lovers group) so maybe someday I’ll revisit this, but really the point I wanted to make is that the Ravelry discussion boards are hugely powerful, valuable, and worthwhile, and I encourage everyone to participate. 🙂

 

There ends the week of discussion. It was fun doing this theme week of sorts, but I look forward to getting back to normal posts next week.