28 July 2006

Urban Counterfeiters

Since I first figured out that scissors + fabric + thread = clothes, I've been making most of my own. At the age of 25, after 2 failed attempts at post secondary education, I was at a loss about what to *do* & I frequently bemoaned the fact. One night, my roommate at the time eyed the dress I was hand sewing ribbon embroidery onto & told me that literally, the answer was sitting right there in my lap. That was that.

Learning how to design clothes was the most exciting thing ever - making a tactile object from what starts as a rough sketch was incredibly satisfying & everything I've made has been made with great care & attention & a sort of maternal pride.

That is why I'm glad I stumbled upon a blog called Urban Counterfeiters. A new blog that stands up for the independent designer & calls big companies on their shit. There's only a few entries so far, but they've really reminded me of *why* I feel slightly slimey every time I walk in/past Urban Outfitters, why my throat contracts every time I see an ***American Apparel ad, and why H&M is losing it's (already shakey) standing with me.

Of course, lots of people, myself included, wouldn't realize that some of these designs have been shamelessly ripped off by small design companies & individuals who do this because they *love* it - not because they love seeing every 15 year old come through the doors of their intensely designed shop space to snatch up shirts for $50 each.

Not a crafty post - but a reminder - it's easy to see something cute in a store & hand over your cash for it, but it's just as easy to fork your dough over to the designers themselve(or make it yourself!).

some of my favourite places to buy stuff:

Magic Pony
Crowded Teeth
My Paper Crane
Erica Weiner

There's a BILLION awesome AWESOME AMAZING places on the internet to get the coolest stuff - and it's about a kajillion times awesomer to get stuff that not just anyone can go to the mall & get for dirt cheap & then throw away after only a couple of wears because it's poorly made. (coughH&Mcough)

***American Apparel & I have a weird relationship - while I appreciate the fact that they pay their workers well & it *seems* to be a good working environment, I've never been happy with things I've bought there, and like - that guy Dov Cheney is the grossest human being. ever.

27 July 2006

pinch me.

But first, check out my vest!!!

It's done. In its wake it left mangled hands, several late nights, unplanned trips to the wool store & one incredibly satisfied knitter.

I knit this baby in less than 2 weeks after frogging it due to being extra tiny. I love it! I love love love it! I want another one in more earthy tones - but right now I cannot wait until this lame heatwave is over & fall comes so I can skip around town in this!


It's currently blocking on my bed, it's so humid here I have a fan & AC blasting on it to prevent mildew (ewie!)

the facts:
Eunny Jang's Deep V Argyle Vest
knit in KnitPicks Merino Style 'coal' & 'frost'
(I ordered 5 balls of each colour - but I made the 50" bust (uhhh yeah, nevermind that I don't have a 50" chest - that bigger size was knit to compensate for my healthy hips) anyhow - I ran way out of the coal - so I had to go to Romini to buy more black dk merino - of which they had none, so the last 20 rows or so of the body is knit with a merino/Alpaca blend. Then I ran out of that & had to go back for yet another ball. I have about 4 feet of each colour left over. whew! close one!
size 4 addi turbo bamboo needles (a joy to knit with!)

My first major fair isle knitting project, my first steeks (eeeep!), my first actual garment knit for me that I know I will often & with pride.

Now I'm going to go get blaaaaasted.

20 July 2006

Built By.......me??

With all the knitting I've been doing, I sometimes forget that yes, there's about 5 bajillion awesome knitting patterns out there - but what about sewing? My first craftylove? Well, I've been feeding my sewing pattern collection with these beauties:

That there on the left is the Amy Butler 'Weekender Bag' pattern - which I intend to make good use of. There's a couple of people on my gift giving list who will be getting these. I just have to stop being so particular about fabric. (wait a minute....no I don't!) I've been out a couple of times to find something suitable & nothing's jumping out at me. And in the middle we have the Built by Wendy Jacket pattern & that pretty thing on the right is one of her blouse patterns.

I freaking love it when designers hit the nail right there on the head. I've followed Wendy Mullin's career for a long time now. I remember reading about her guitar straps in Bust magazine ages ago & she's just kept getting better. Well, she rocked my freaking world when I found out that she had designed 4 patterns for Simplicity & now anyone (everyone!! everyone!!) can buy the patterns & make them. The other night I bought #4109 & #4111.

And tonight I sewed it up!

up close:

blurry full shot!

Lord have mercy! I *LOVE* this! pre-made patterns & my body don't get along. I *always* have to make all sorts of adjustments - especially across the shoulders or in where my little lemons are *supposed* to fill a big void.

Not this. This....this is perfect. The best thing is that you're encouraged to do all sorts of crazy stuff to these patterns & really 'make them your own' there's even a contest! The patterns are available up to a size 20 (thank you!) & the designs are simple & flattering & awesome!

I only made this in black because it's what I had in my stash & I've been trying to get through the piles & piles & bags & bins of fabric I have stowed away in every closet in the house. But my mind is already racing with thoughts of making more - in all sorts of stuff! denim, flannel, silk, jersey....AH!

18 July 2006


A little while ago I ripped out the progress I had made on my Deep V Argyle Vest. It was painful, but as soon as I cast on for the larger size, all regrets faded as I soon saw that this *new* vest was exactly the right fit. I've been knitting on it any chance I get - in an effort to at least get it to where it was pre-rip & I have:

But now I'm all like "meh!" about the colours - I'm thinking they're a little much. I can't stop thinking about how nice this vest would look in tweedy oatmeal & brown...or in a pastel blue & heather grey. And here's mine - all in your face & "WHOAH! look at ME! I'm a bright blue vest!" Should I rip it out? Should I order different yarn? (maybe this time finding one with the correct gauge?) Am I being too critical? I guess it's not like I couldn't knit this a second time in a different colour combo.

I need these circulars for my Orangina - I'm done the front, have cast on for the back, and then I'll need the circs for the bottom ribbing. So I guess I should make up my mind soon.

Good thing I have my squirelly swedish mittens to look at & admire when I get nervous about my vest:
So far, I think these are my favourite thing I've knit - I'm super happy with the colours of the trekking, I love love love the little squirrels & I love how there's all this detail in such a little thing. These are mine. I missed one row of tree branches, but I can go back after & do a cheater fix-up.

Alright - this vest business. I need advice.

15 July 2006

Hat Damn summer in the city...

Gord, Geordie & I rode our bicycles in the crazy heat to the market & I finally got a chance to see the new location of Lettuce Knit. It's cute! Best of all, it's directly across the street from Paul's Boutique - so while the boys went in there, I was able to take the time to look for exactly what I needed. What did I need?

More sock yarn! But this time, not for socks - for mittens. But not just for any mittens - for these mittens:
The pattern is free at elliphantom.com & I've only done a couple rows of the ribbing (and realized I was doing it sort of wrong - the part of the cuff that gets turned under for the hem is to be knit all in the contrasting colour - I've been kniting the 1x1 rib with both my CC & MC. This, of course, will in no way mess anything up - but it sure will take a lot longer than plain 1 colour ribbing would. Does anyone else cringe at the site of "knit 1 x 1 ribbing for 2 inches"? yimminey-yuckers! yikes!

But I cast on, and here is my progress (after about 1 hour)

Good thing the temperature is in the 30s & even the thought of wearing mittens makes me cry silent tears.

Hmmm...segue alert!!!

Think about this - I bought the yarn for these mittens for a little over $40 (don't tell my mother) and I'm starting to knit them now - banking on picking them up only occassionally & having them be my project for when other, larger, more 'christmas present-y' projects don't appeal to me. To be sure, I have a good 2 1/2 months to knit this one pair of mittens. Sure, mittens in the past have been knit in worsted on size 6 needles - not with fingering weight yarn on size 1s but that's not the point. The point is, I am *willing* to spend over $40 & many, many hours on this pair of mittens that may or may not be gifted (I'm thinking not, since I'm already falling in love with them & I'm on the 5th row) - if I were to calculate my hourly wage & add that into the $40 & then come up with a retail price for these mittens it'd be ridiculous - like - in the $200 range. I must ask myself - if I saw these mittens in a store for $200(and that's not including a store's mark-up), I'd laugh & think to myself "I could knit these myself! for cheaper!" Which, of course - I could if I chose cheaper yarn - but it's trekking XXL & it's extra crazy cute!! But that's not the point & conveniently, I've rambled on long enough that I don't even remember what my original point was.

okay - so that all brings me to this story which happened as I was knitting these:

What a sneaky way to sneak in a sneaky picture of a finished pair of Jaywalkers - knit with Regia's 'Crazy Colours' They are another completed christmas knit - this time for my sister! woot!

Anyhow, last week I was sitting outside the laundromat knitting the last bit of the second sock while my clothes were flip-flopping around in the machine.

"whaaaAa? whadda you knittin'? A sock?"

The voice was boomy & warbley & not really what I was in the mood for, but always up for talking about knitting, I stopped, looked up, and smiled "yeah!"

"OHHH! is good! my grandmudder, she used to make. is good."


"is cheaper too - I mean, is good to make yooself. But then, I grow some vegetables & take so much time to do & then I go to the store & I can buy....I can buy so many fucking vegetables for no money. is frustrating."

"yeah, but vegetables from your garden always taste about a bajillion times better than stuff from the grocery store - just like socks, they fit way.."

"yeah yeah yeah - you gotta say to yousef. "am I gonna go to the store & pay like $4 for a pair of no good socks? NO!" and then you go & you buy the yarn & maybe it take you like wha? 1 or 2 days? but at the end of those days you got some socks AND that $4 you wudda spent on the socks at the store. You save that money!!!"

Of course, I was sitting there wondering where his grandma found sock yarn for less than $4 & how she could knit a pair of socks in 1-2 days. He continued.

"Is like - okay, I see a designer sweater & is like $50! NO WAY I'mma gonna spend that kinda money on a no good sweater - but if I could knit, like you, I save that $50!! And at the end of the week I got me a real nice sweater!"

A sweater in less than a week for under $50?? who IS this guy? (After his rant on how dirt cheap it is to knit sweaters & socks, he started talking about how some guy he worked with punched him & now he's on Worker's Comp. I went awa to check my laundry)

13 July 2006


So, last week the new Knitty came out & before I knew it, I had cast on for 'Fetching.' These were a 2 night knit & a good chance to use the Manos that had been sitting in my stash since last December's failed attempt at knitting a dog sweater (why why WHY would I think to use expensive wool? I ended up making it out of super cheap acrylic)

Taking a photo of your hand in a glove is weird - I felt like I should be holding something - or doing something, but I settled on this. I tried to use the timer to take a photo of *both* of them (trust me, there's 2!) but they didn't turn out.

I'm not really much of one for fingerless gloves, but I'm sure they'll find a good home with someone.

My favourite thing about knitting these was that I did the cables without a cable needle. I learnt how from Grumperina's blog & man oh man(os!) it's so much easier!

I also just finished another pair of Jaywalkers. (wha??) but the toes need some stitchin'.

09 July 2006

Rip it up & Start Again

World Cup ended about 5 hours ago & my neighbourhood is still going totally bananas. I was tempted earlier to go out & take some photos so people would understand the mayhem taking place only steps away but I am too lazy. Besides, I have *other* photos to share!

So Thursday I took a deep breath, closed my eyes & frogged my Deep V Argyle Vest.


look! I was almost at the V-neck steeks!

And while I was at it, I thought I might as well rip out the progress I had made on the Embossed Leaves socks I was knitting (they were beautiful, honest, but after I turned the heel, I discovered the sock didn't make it past my instep - they aren't for me, but I didn't want to chance them not fitting my sister)

And then after I did that, I had this:


But dude, isn't that Fleece Artist sock yarn tastay?

Those things didn't *really* die, their energy just got passed on to these socks:

Remember these? I started them a while ago & I finally stitched up their toes & now I can add them to my 'christmas knits' box. These were originally going to be for my sister, but the colours are screaming out to be given to someone else.....someone who wasn't home when I snapped these shots, so I thought...."What better way to take a picture of socks than in the shoes they'll be worn in?" I don't think he reads this blog, but if he does I'd like to say this:

A) don't worry my feet weren't dirty
B) I'm totally washing them anyway
C) I only wore your shoes for like....4 minutes.

Pattern from here.
Size 2 dpns
DGB sock yarn. I don't have the band anymore, so I don't know the number.
I tried my very best to make the stripes match - and basically they totally do. If one is held upside down.

Thanks to my Ott-Lite, the colours you see here on this monitor are *exactly* what they look like in real life...Ott-Lite, I'm sorry I hated you at first.

Party On!

03 July 2006

It's a looooooong weekend down in heeeee-e-e-eeere

and the crafting was in full swing.

Thursday night I started it off with this:

And ended with this:

I bought the fabric for about $9 a couple of weeks ago - the pattern was pretty much made up as I went along. The grey fabric was in my stash & happened to match perfectly!
My point in showing the records is that in the time it took me to listen to one full length, 3/4 of a double live, and one EP, I had a dress done - lined, hemmed, the edges done & photographed poorly & akwardly. Sewing is fast. But something weird happens to me at the sewing machine. I get cranky, I get impatient, I get sweaty & achy. And I enjoy every second of it. It did make me realize that I knit to keep calm, I knit to think, I knit to keep away the ADDDemons.

Saturday & Sunday I took a crafting break & went to Hamilton to visit family, drink tons of beer, listen to Kim Mitchell & Journey & swim in my parents pool, watch their satellite television, and play with their dog.

Today, I went back to my sewing machine & made a new little friend!

It's Pointy Kitty from Wee Wondefuls! The pattern was simple & cute & fun to make & best of all - it is going to be my favourite way to use up my scraps.

On Thursday I went by Lettuce Knit & was met by a sign saying they were closed due to a leaky roof. Disappointed a little, I walked away, planning to visit on Friday. Well, when I got there I was met by a half empty store, most of the stock stashed away in plastic bags. "Is this because of the leaky roof?" I asked, "No, it's because we're moving." My heart stopped for just a second & re-beat when I was told they were only moving next door. I didn't want to root around in the bags, so I left - planning to go back this week when they were moved & settled.

A little defeated, I walked on... and then I saw....a random garage sale. I walked by at medium speed, scanning the tables for things that I might need. and then I saw this:

A ginormous cone of fingering weight grey wool. For $3! It's lovely, and I plan on making it into my very first shawl. I've already cast on (375 stitches! yerg!) for Ene's Scarf from 'Scarf Style.'

**Please note, the next entry isn't going to be nearly as "look what I finished!-y" as this one. Deep V Argyle Vest gets ripped out tomorrow night.