Corvid Knits

A not-so-secret love affair with yarn

June 15, 2016
by Katherine
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Lark Tee // Sprout Patterns

So my first foray into Sprout is complete. I ordered several items; a bowtie for the fella, a Moneta because I want to have a go-to dress pattern that doesn’t make me feel like a lump, and a Lark Tee because I saw the Donut Cats fabric pattern and knew I needed it in my life somehow.

I have been making Larks since the pattern came out and I really want it to work. Based on my chest measurement I had tried making a much smaller size than I needed to suit my shoulders. I bumped up several sizes when ordering from Sprout and think I may have found something that works.

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So Sprout has a really good thing going on here. If there is one thing I dislike about sewing it’s the tracing and cutting out a pattern bit. I know most folks would put taping together a PDF paper pattern at the top of the list, but I find that kind of a nice chill-out activity.

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Ha, please ignore the litter box in the background. You’re never far from cats in this apartment. Cutting it out was easy-peasy and the fabric was very kind and didn’t fray or stretch out on me while I was working.

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I honestly don’t know where I would wear this. It’s a bit over the top, even for me. The fella pointed out that the fabric has a strange sheen to it . . . like it doesn’t pick up shadows well when it folds. Something about it is strange, but I like it none the less. It makes me laugh every tim I look at it, which is all I can hope for.

 

Lark Tee by Grainline Studio // Sprout Patterns printing

Type: Top

Fabric: Performance Piqué – I picked this one in part because of the price point and in part because of it being made in the USA. I’m trying hard to cut down on my use of sweatshop labour and it’s haaaaard when buying fabrics.

Pattern Description: Slim-fit tee

Pattern Sizing: 0 – 18. I made a 12 this go round.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, this one was pretty spot on.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Easy as cake!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I’m not sure if it is the pattern or me (probably me) but I’m finding a bit of a weird fit along the shoulders . . . it’s pulling in a strange way across the front when I stand up straight.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I should learn how to use a twin needle for a cleaner finish – I usually just do a single row of stitching around sleeves, neck, etc.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This pattern is pretty great, I would say it’s a super intro into working with knits and making things with sleeves. I learn a new thing ever time I make one so I’d 100% tell folks to give it a go.

 

March 7, 2016
by Katherine
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Things have been in a bit of a lull, creativity wise, for the past year. Turns out trying to get a business up and running again while working a part time job on top of it all really just wore me out and it’s taken a couple of months to recover.

Knitting, as of late, has been relegated to the once a week at knit night but I think I’ve gotten my mojo back. Conveniently just in time for me to be cat-sitting for my sister – a woman who has trained her cat to view all yarn as a toy that must be mauled and chewed upon. Don’t get me wrong, Dolly Parton is a nice cat generally, she just has one glaringly massive bad habit.

Sewing is taking a time out while I get my body back into some sort of consistent shape. I mean literal shape, not level of fitness (I’m still relatively fit). Over the past two months I’ve been trying to get food intolerances and my eating habits under control and that’s resulted in a slow comedown from a very swift 20 lbs gain . . . somehow all in my lower body which has made fitting into dresses hilarious at best. There have only been two major casualties and those torn seams look totally mostly reparable.

I’m taking the little break as a a chance to really define what my clothing aims are and how to go about getting there in the most sustainable/ethical way possible, a real pickle sometimes. I have a sneaking suspicion I’m going to get really into Sprout Patterns when I do start back at it. I know I have a habit of making much more icing than cake so that’s something I’m working on. It’s just a matter of convincing myself that there is a good reason to make basic skirts and blouses.

 

 

February 20, 2016
by Katherine
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Curse you QuiltCon2016

So Instagram has been all “look at the quilts and the fun quilting event and doesn’t it suck that you’re stuck at home with naught but cats to keep you company?”. Why yes, Instagram, yes indeed.

I know I don’t need another quilt. We have several in good condition and in a variety of sizes. The dinosaur quilt small enough for just me that my auntie made me when I was 10, the burgundy quilt that just barely fits the top of the bed that my nan gave me about a decade ago, the moving to Toronto quilt I made in the wee hours of the morning the week before I moved. There is even a spare lap quilt in the living room that I made for the sole purpose of not having to throw away a good flannel blanket that was terribly stained (I used it as batting).

But these quilts, you guys. I want to make them so bad. So, so bad!

12744084_1008875732492094_8360913521596102907_nThis is one made by Jenn Rossotti that I’ve seen pop up in several folks accounts. The account I ended up tracking down is Me+You (by Hoffman Fabrics) and upon checking out their facebook page I might be in love a little bit.

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The other one that caught my eye some time ago is the Tessellation quilt by Alison Glass. I’ve clearly gone and lost my mind over intense colour / pattern combinations and I don’t think I mind one bit.

So, under the guise of being a rational adult I’m not going to make a new quilt – yet. I have time but from what I recall of my last big quilt it’s a combination of time and money that is the tricky thing about quilts. I’m not one to half ass things so when I do make a new quilt I’m all in for making the best damn quilt.

When the fella is done school and decides on where we will live, then I will look back on this post and figure out which pattern to make and spend endless hours on the internet picking out the ideal fabric. When we start looking at a permanent residence in where ever we end up I will start the sewing. Hopefully, by the time we are ready to officially move to a new city or an actual house in our current city I will have a new housewarming quilt for us.

Until then I’ll just think about it in a way that may or may not be described as obsessive, depending on who you ask.

 

July 31, 2015
by Katherine
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Pomme de pin Cardigan

I bought some yarn on my most recent trip to Vancouver. It’s outside of what I would normally have picked up but new-Katherine (as I’m calling her now) has decided to just jump in to the deep end with lots of colour and not worry about looking mature or relaxed or coordinated. While I appreciate the sense of adventure she’s decided to insert into my 30s, it’s a little stressful. New-Katherine thinks old-Katherine was kind of boring and should really be focused on finding her own distinct sense of style, and she cares not for the complaining about needing a nap because it’s all too mentally taxing.

 

 

Typically that pile of colour would send me running straight for a basic stockinette stitch pullover. “Not so,” said new Katherine, “we must pick something lacy and button up that you’ll put over all those bright dresses you have but never wear”.

 

 

I’m halfway up sleeve right now. It’s bright, but not overwhelming, and the pinecone stitch pattern is easy enough to memorize but fun enough to keep me from getting too bored. Hopefully I can get some nice sun and a picture of the progress later today.

June 6, 2015
by Katherine
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Knit night socks

I don’t tend to work on anything too fun at knit night. There is always a lot of chatting and I’m usually a little bit tuckered from work earlier in the day, not ideal for my ability to focus. Lately it’s been sock time all the time. I recently finished the first of a pair, a delightful berry hued feather and fan sock. I’m starting to think I have this basic sock thing down!

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The feather and fan also has the benefit of giving it a bit of stretch (thank you lace!) while breaking up the funky pooling that would happen otherwise.

The Detective is a fan, apparently. IMG_0319

May 22, 2015
by Katherine
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Another bookish update

So there has been a lot of reading but not much off the reading list. I’ve fallen into two book clubs, of a sort, and can’t keep my hands off pretty much anything nice looking that crosses my path.

My fella has moved himself to another province for a while (oh, how very Canadian of us) and so we’re doing books and shows together over a distance. I picked the first one and went with Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. I knew the basics of the case from some Iceland studying I did pre honeymoon and so to read a historical fiction based on it was quite interesting. Also, good to note that I still cry like a big baby at books.

Two of the dames from my knitting group decided I should join their lady author book club so I picked up a copy of Kindred by Octavia Butler yesterday. I haven’t started it yet, but I’m excited because it’s been on my to read list for years!

Outside of those I’ve read a lot of fluff and it’s been delightful. I do need to buckle down and get through some more Tolstoy this summer though. So much to read, so much time spent at work :(

April 11, 2015
by Katherine
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Spinning – a recap

Weekly recaps lasted all of that first week. There was just too much to do with the regular jobs and all the spinning I was trying to get in.

I’ll take some formal pictures of my bounty of work when I catch a sunny afternoon this week, hopefully. I was amazed that over the three weeks of study time with the wheel at home how drastically my work improved. I look at my wee little bits of first week yarn compared to some of the nicer stuff I was doing near the end and I’m a little shocked every time.

I did luckily end up with enough of at least one yarn for a project! This was an experiment on my part, combining some red thick single ply gifted to me by my pal Rhonda with some pink lace-weight given to me by my mother-in-law. I thought that since I wasn’t super set on plans for either yarn I would try plying them together to see what would happen. I ended up with a jaunty looking pile of stuff that I’m hoping will end up a pair of mittens and a toque for next winter.

I do want to buy a wheel of my own eventually, but for now noodling around on a drop spindle is plenty given what time I have.

February 24, 2015
by Katherine
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Spinning – week one

My beginner spinning class started this previous Sunday and it was one of those humbling experiences where I’m very swiftly reminded that when I start something new I’m total crap at it. The trick is reminding myself that if I put in even five or six hours that I’ll be quite a lot better than when I started.

Class was three hours and I put in about three this morning on homework and noodling. I can officially say that I’m better than when I started.

Homework was to sort out two singles out of the pencil roving we were supplied with – a nice easy bit so that we can see just how bad we are at plying.

Left – three bits of pencil roving in light grey / Center – three bits of pencil roving in charcoal / Right – brown mystery yarn supplied by instructor

Homework singles light grey and dark grey from pencil roving, brown from mystery roving.

 

Once homework was done I noodled around a bit with singles and plying. My singles are still in the category of “total crap” which is made even more apparent by plying. I’m excited for next week when I’m sure Jen will explain how to ply without ending up in a big tangle of yarny bits.

Left – brown mystery yarn from in class practice plied on its self / Center – white merino roving plied on its self / Right – 1 bit of pencil roving in light grey and 1 bit in charcoal spun and plied together

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I noticed that the nice white roving was easier to work with than the mystery stuff from class, but that might be due to having a little experience by the time I got to it. It’s not great, but it’s a start.

January 1, 2015
by Katherine
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Hekla – Body and Sleeves

So, I think I finally sorted out the abbreviations chart which I can assure you has made the whole process about 70% smoother. Though please do not quote me on any of these as many of them are just educated guesses as I cobbled together words from several sources and from several patterns.

sl – slétt / knit

br – brugðið / purl

L – lykkja(-ur) / stitches or maybe loop?

pr – prjón / knit (?)

prj – prjónið , prjóna / knit (?)

óprj – óprjónað, óprjónuðu / stitch 

umf – umferð(-ir) / round

ent – endurtakið / repeat

*_* – surely this means knit * to * (a universality among knitters)

 

I’m sure there are some words that will come up often enough that I’ll want them recorded for my ease of lookup as well. affelling/cast on, hringprjónn/circular needle, stroff/ribbing, úrtaka/decrease, útaukning or auka út/increasefella af/cast off.

Onto Hekla as an actual sweater. Today I’ve worked through a painfully bad translation of the body and arms (not listed here as it’s such a mess) and then promptly decided that trying to follow the pattern exactly as written would cause me no end of frustration anyway. My Icelandic isn’t great (read: I don’t speak any and can only read about a dozen words) so I’ve gone through the body and arms and noted that, while neat and maybe useful, this would also only be good as a general guideline.

From what I can tell, and I am inferring more from pictures that I am from trying to directly translate the pattern, it’s a basic “cast on, knit 2×2 rib for 6cm, start on body and increase X sts evenly around then start charts”.

I feel as though where this is a very chart dependent pattern that I won’t have a heap of trouble even though I’m foregoing taking it as a direct read from the written pattern. It’s a bottom up yoke sweater and those are my jam. I have learned a lot about reading in other languages which is always nice, and taken the whole thing as an exercise in patience.

December 31, 2014
by Katherine
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2014 in review

I do a fair bit of skulking about on other blogs (shocking, I know) and there was a lovely post on Into Mind about reviewing your past year. I’m all about taking stock of my accounts, so I thought it’d be a worthwhile exercise.

My 2014

  • What one event, big or small, are you going to tell your grandchildren about? Given that there are 0 grandchildren in my future, I will leave a manuscript for my collection of hyper intelligent cats. The most important event would be the, yet forthcoming, introduction of a new cat to the family – and the subsequent exercise in patience and acceptance of unpleasant situations out of our control. 
  • If you had to describe your 2014 in 3 words, what would they be? Trying, scary, exciting. 
  • What new thing did you discover about yourself? I’m more willing to do things that scare me than I thought I was. 
  • What single achievement are you most proud of? Going back to a career I left to start it over again. 
  • What was the best news your received? That we’d be getting a new cat. meow meow
  • What was your favourite place that you visited in 2014? Glasgow, without a doubt! Best city! 
  • Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year? Patience. I needed so much more than I thought I would. 
  • Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on? It’s a tie. Angela (best pal) or Adam (best partner). 
  • Which new skills did you learn? Quite a few skills related to yoga, did my first handstand, etc, and how to teach more effectively. Many more management skills than I thought I’d ever know! How to bake several new treats. 
  • What, or who, are you most thankful for? It’s a what – my general health. It’s better than it’s been in the past ever and I never thought I’d see that happen (especially now that I’m 30). 
  • If someone wrote a book about your life in 2014, what kind of genre would it be? A comedy, love story, drama, film noir, or something else? Unfortunately, likely a drama, with how much nonsense surrounded the cross country move and wedding and everything else over the summer. 
  • What was the most important lesson you learnt in 2014? If there is something you don’t want to do, but have to do – just muscle your way through and get it over with. 
  • Which mental block(s) did you overcome? A fear of public speaking (though not entirely) and learning to cope with change (though, again, not entirely). Clearly still both works in progress. 
  • What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with? Adam – excellent travel companion. Angela, Rhonda, Michele, and Katia – best knitting pals. 
  • What was your biggest break-through moment career-wise? Leaving a management job to go back to running my own business, getting back to a job I really felt passionate about. 
  • How did your relationship to your family evolve? Not much change on that front at all. 
  • What book or movie affected your life in a profound way? Paradise & Elsewhere, An Aritist of the Floating World, or Unwrapped Sky – these really gave me an opportunity to view things (art and politics and relationships) in a new way. 
  • What was your favourite compliment that you received this year? To quote the husband when I brought this question up to him “Oh that’s easy ‘Hey, your butt looks really nice’ because you’ve been working on it lots”. I can’t even argue him on that. 
  • What little things did you enjoy most during your day-to-day life? Cat cuddles and cups of tea and the occasional new beer. 
  • What cool things did you create this year? A number of very nice knitted things and a very well arranged and decorated apartment. 
  • What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)? Anxious, keeping with my previous 29 year streak. 
  • Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year? Fly over the ocean. 
  • What was your favourite moment spent with your friends? When they gave Adam and I our wedding gift blanket. It was a big group hug and I don’t think I’d ever felt so much love and affection in one place before. 
  • What major goal did you lay the foundations for? Getting back to working as a massage therapist full time. It’s still a solid 6 months away but I’m chipping away at it. 
  • Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary? Absolutely none! In fact, I feel like a bit more worry would have been warranted in several instances. 
  • What experience would you love to do all over again? Meandering around Glasgow. Walking along the river Kent was one of the loveliest days all year. 
  • What was the best gift you received? Wedding blanket, hands down!!! 
  • How did your overall outlook on life evolve? I don’t want to say that I’m more jaded, but I’m more pragmatic with less faith in humanity than I had even a decade ago. I’ve also figured out that there is absolutely nothing wrong spending time and money on myself even if it’s for things that may be viewed as frivolous by other folks. 
  • What was the biggest problem you solved? I didn’t have any big problems. Most small problems were solved by a healthy dose of ignoring the issue until it went away. 
  • What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you thing about it? Pretty much any time when Adam and I narrate for the cat. Her inner monologue is that of a stern dictator. 
  • What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever? Adam and I splurged on a Craft Beer Advent Calendar this year. What a good choice that turned out to be! 
  • What one thing would you do differently and why? I’d strongly push for an elopement, even a small wedding really tried my patience and caused me to really reconsider people who I thought I knew. 
  • What do you deserve a pat on the back for? Moving across the country, then all the way back 18 months later. That’s a whole lot of moving and I ended up getting rid of well over 50% of my possessions over the course of the moves. 
  • What activities made you lose track of time? Knitting, always in the best way possible. Video games, I’ve recently (re)discovered the indie/horror/survival genre and I get lost in them really easy. Reading, specifically classic Russian literature.
  • What did you think about more than anything else? The terrifying state of the world and the process of dying. Again, two topics that I’ve been fixated on for nearly my entire life. 
  • What topics did you most enjoy learning about? Germanic languages, Icelandic history, Scottish textiles history, meditation. 
  • What new habits did you cultivate? I developed a pretty good habit of tending to myself more regularly. I’ve managed to keep up a good level of physical activity, meditation, hygiene (flossing, neti, moisturizing, before bed stretching). 
  • What advice would you give your early-2014 self if you could? Work as hard as you can at yoga school, you’ll get more out of it than pretty much anything else you do this year. 
  • Did any parts of your self or your life do a complete 180 this year? I certainly give zero fucks about what random people think about me now, which is a pleasant change. I’ve also really managed to get over my publicly shy persona. I’m still entirely an introvert, but I can really embrace an outgoing mask while I’m at work or out running errands. 
  • What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year? Likely Adam, as he’s the one responsible for much of the moving about and pushing me to do things that really made me uncomfortable (teaching my yoga class instead of dropping out, for example). He’s got a big personality which is a good ongoing challenge for me. 

My 2015

  • What do you want the overarching theme for your 2015 to be? Not being so damn worried all the time. 
  • What do you want to see, discover, explore? I would like to go somewhere, but I have no set plans right now. 
  • Who do you want to spend more time with in 2015? My knitters, Adam and our growing herd of cats. 
  • What skills do you want to learn, improve or master? Fair isle knitting and lifting heavy things.
  • Which personal quality do you want to develop or strengthen? Humour and vanity, those are two things I would like more of. 
  • What do you want your everyday life to be like? Less anxitey inducing than it has been for the past many many months. 
  • Which habits do you want to change, cultivate or get rid of? My generalized level of panic about things, I could use less of that. I would like to replace it with some sense of calm. 
  • What do you want to achieve career-wise? Be entirely self employed again. Not a lofty goal, right?
  • How do you want to remember the year 2015 when you look back on it 10/20/50 years from now? As a time when I started doing a better job of working towards what I wanted. 
  • What is your number one goal for 2015? Hold myself more accountable.