ideas


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!


Knitted purses done right

As the warmer weather approaches I have been looking towards projects that aren’t so focused on keeping me warm. I have long wanted to make a knitted purse that I could use every day but I feel like this is a tricky project, and not because they are hard to make.

The problem with knitted purses is that they can end up looking really tacky.

There. I said it. I said the thing you aren’t supposed to say, but it is true! Weird Al is the only person who could pull off a lot of the knitted purses out there. (Sidenote: man do I love Weird Al! Going to his concert later this year! YEAH!) I love to knit and love the look of most knitted things, but I am fully and completely aware that it is very easy to make very tacky, kitschy, dare I say ugly knitted things. VERY easy. I am also prepared to admit that some of the things I have made are ugly. (Cabled Leg Warmers, I’m looking at you…) Knitting is already regarded as being a dorky hobby, no need to compound that by knitting tacky ugly things. I am far from being a slave to fashion, but I do think that how you look and present yourself to the world has an effect on how you are treated. Maybe it isn’t fair or right, but it is just how it is. Plus, I am a civil servant and (unfortunately) have the expectation upon me to look more or less professional and civil servant-y (whatever the hell that means) most of the time.

My other problem is that I have a long history of atrocious taste in purses. I LOVE purses and often end up buying the ugliest purses on the planet. I have literally had strangers come up to me and insult my purse. I have learned to approach purses very cautiously.

So, how do I do the knitted purse while still looking fashionable? There are a TON of patterns out there for knitted purses in every shape and style imaginable, so first I look for knitted purse patterns that have elements I like in the purses I would buy!

  1. Not too big but able to carry what I need without over-stuffing
  2. good pocket placement
  3. comfortable strap at a good length
  4. structured
  5. not overly detailed or fussy

Then I take out the ones that have knitted elements that I find tacky, like the use of novelty yarn. To me, novelty yarn is NEVER the right option. Never ever. (Except maybe in this cute hedgehog pattern…) I also assess whether I think a non-knitter would be likely to wear the purse. If not, well,… maybe it isn’t the best choice.

So what does that leave me with? A surprising amount actually! I think I have narrowed it down to the following patterns.

For purses on the more simple side of things, I love this Braided Cable Handle Tote by Amanda Silveira. (Free pattern) Uncomplicated but still interesting thanks to the cables. And it is felted, and we all know how much I like felting!

For something a little more detailed, the Bee’s Knees purse by Andre Sue is pretty fantasic. Love the pockes and the stitch patten, the straps are nice and wide, and a fun liner fabric can do a huge amount to make it extra exciting and fun (while still being fashionable and untacky). The only think I’m not in love with is the garter stitch for the handle, but that is easily changed.

This DROPS design Bag with cable pattern (free pattern) is pretty simple and I think could be nice if done in a solid colour. It is a pattern I keep coming back to but for some reason I just don’t think it is right for me personally. Maybe it is the shape.

This Pleats Purse I by Josephine Woo (paid pattern) is pretty, felted, and interesting with the pleats. I also LOVE the mustard colour of the purse in the project photos and it is possible I’m responding more to the colour than I am to the purse design.

One pattern I keep coming back to is The Cinch by Nora J. Bellows. Part of me thinks it is too big and bulbous, but man… I just love how it looks. The belted detail adds so much and would be well worth the hassle of having to buy the hardware and do the extra work to finish it. The pattern is a bit pricey at $8.50, but very possibly may be worth it for me.

 

But then I think, hey, a purse is just a big pocket with some straps… maybe I can design my own! And that may very well be what I end up doing. I do like all the above options (especially Bee’s Knees), so maybe I can take the different elements I like from the different patterns and create a brand new design that exactly matches what I want in a purse. It isn’t like designing a sweater where fit matters. Its just a purse, after all. And this is knitting. If it ends up ugly I can always frog. 🙂

 

I am always open to suggestions so please leave in the comments any other patterns or ideas!

 

Links to all the patterns mentioned in this post:


I’m taking a knitcation.

Today is my birthday. I love birthdays. I’m one of those people who thinks everyone should have an awesome birthday day and normally this would be a day where I am all sunshine and daisies and obnoxiously happy. Not this year. No, it has been a trying 12 hours. Why?? Well….

I drew what I think the animal my kid was imitating must look like. My art skills leave something to be desired, but you get the idea. It is Godzilla with an ambulance for a head.

  • Horrible night’s sleep for various reasons such as randomly waking up for no thinking its morning (hate when that happens),  being too hot, having bad dreams, my husband snoring, and (by far the worst) my husband farting and the stink being so bad that it woke me up. (He CLAIMS it wasn’t him, or at least that I can’t prove it was him, but come on… He is the farter in this marriage.)
  • Out of nowhere and with no warning my hair dryer went all Klingon and decided that perhaps today is a good day to die. I am stuck with two french braids today. I look like a (very grumpy) adult Heidi.
  • My kid decided to spend the morning making loud ”WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-UGGGGGGNNNNNNN” noises repeatedly. It is hard describe, but if you imagine a mix of Godzilla’s scream and an ambulance siren, interpreted by an eight year old with a cold, you’d at least have the gist of it. Possibly the most annoying sound in the world. That noise, over and over and over. When I told him to stop he looked at me as though I was making a truly unreasonable request of him, like what he was doing was totally un-annoying. Yes, clearly I am the crazy one in this situation…
  • During a small close-quarters meeting a work a guy farted FOUR TIMES. This was a 20 minute meeting. That is a fart every five minutes. During a business meeting. In a small meeting room. I get the sense that the guy probably couldn’t help it, but that doesn’t make it not unpleasant.

This, so far, is how I have spent my birthday.

So basically, I give up. There is only so much a girl can take, and for all this to be on my birthday… It is all just ridiculous. In order to not resort to outright weeping or going on some sort of manic killing spree I have decided to use one of my precious vacations days so that I have something to look forward to. I am making this weekend a long one, I’m going to be taking Monday off to spend the day at home, relaxing, and knitting. No one else, just me, my needles, some tea, and some Stampy Cat (stampylonghead) and Squid Nugget (iBallisticSquid) to amuse me. Yes, I am 33 and enjoy youtube videos meant for kids. I’m not embarrassed or apologizing for it. Those two are properly entertaining no matter how old you are. And it is harmless, good-natured, non-violent, and just plain funny. Stampy and Squid are my favourite things to watch while I knit (with Iron Chef Japan coming in second).

Sweet sweet mindless entertainment… Ahhhhh 🙂

So that is my plan for Monday. I’m taking a big fat Knitcation.

  • knitting
  • all-day jammies
  • hot cups of tea
  • Stampy and Squid
  • possibly taking a nap (!!!)

The amount that I am looking forward to this cannot be measured or described in words, and (aside from Stampy and Squid) I think my plan for Monday would appeal to a lot of knitters. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that I never seem to have as much time as I want to do my knitting, so taking a whole day is stupendously luxurious and thrilling.

I do hope the rest of today goes better but if it doesn’t, well, I still have Monday. 🙂