Thursday, January 23, 2014

back in time

The sewing bug came back this week, but instead of clothes I actually sat down and made a doll. Which I don't think I've done in...years? It's funny, because dolls were kind of my thing back in 2005 when I started this blog. I just haven't been thinking dolls. Until last Friday. And then suddenly a little bunny emerged.

Like the Bundlies I made so many years ago, I imagined a doll wearing a snowsuit so just the face would be exposed. I'm Canadian through and through - everything I make has to do with keeping warm.  But this time, instead of little children, why not an animal? I thought having ears popping out could be fun. And it was - it really, really was. Using up small bits of wool to make tiny scarves is pretty fun too, so there's a good chance I'll keep going.  There's an almost finished fox waiting patiently on my work table.

Speaking of Canada, I've finished another novel for this year's challenge. The Emperor of Paris by CS Richardson was wonderful. Much like Richardson's other novel, the lyrical, fairytale quality of his writing really appeals to me (that this tale took place in Paris was pretty magical too). The cast of characters were charming: storytellers who couldn't read, booksellers who couldn't sell, bakery assistants who couldn't see. It's a tale of love and destiny, art and literature. I only wish I hadn't exhausted Richardson's catalogue already.

For more reading and knitting take a peek at this week's Yarnalong.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

sweet snoflinga, part 2

Another Snoflinga, this time with Sensation, an angora wool blend. It's such a beautiful grey/lavendar colour, though it may be a little too muted for Sadie's taste. If Sadie had her choice, I would have knit her the EXACT hat that Milo got, yarn and all. She hasn't really been wearing this one, so I may give in. She's not likely to want to match Milo for long, so I better take advantage of her unconditional, absolutely charming love for her little brother.

Just like before, I cast on 80 stitches instead of 90, but otherwise followed the pattern. It's simple, quick and the result is very satisfying.

I did forget a book last week! Unfortunately it's photographed with one I've already talked about, but Nancy Huston's The Mark of the Angel was quite riveting. The foreboding feeling that something was going to go terribly wrong lasted throughout every chapter. The characters were so well-developed, so real, that I was convinced Saffie was going to let her son slip through her fingers in some way or another. I felt relief every time young Emil lived through another day. Saffie's backstory is terrifying and the historical setting riveting. Although I was anxious for every page I really enjoyed the novel.

For more reading and knitting stories check out today's Yarnalong.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

warm again

Nothing like a massive power outage to reaffirm your love of wool. And I'm not being flippant - I honestly fell in love with wool all over again when our house got down to 43 degrees F. There is just no substitute for the warmth you get from wool garments. But with as many cowls, hats, sweaters and scarves that we wrapped ourselves in, I realized I didn't have any wool slippers. For real. So clearly I had to remedy that as soon as the power returned.

I've had the Nola's Knitted Slippers pattern saved forever, and I really wish I''d tried it sooner. It's easy to modify and I'm super happy with my slippers. I've been wearing them every day - over socks at night, with bare feet in the morning...they're becoming a part of me. I used stash wool, so most of the slipper is Berroco Vintage Chunky but because I didn't have enough of it I used Debbie Bliss Luxury Donegal Tweed, doubled, for the soles. It actually makes the soles stiffer and gives the slippers a permanent shape (the third photo says it all!). I did modify the pattern a bit: I knit these in the round 'cause that's just my preference, and I chose stockinette for the tops instead of all garter. And because my feet are on the small size and this is a men's pattern, I used smaller needles and shortened the foot overall. If you're looking for a new pair of slippers, I highly recommend making a pair for yourself. Your feet will swoon in squishy comfort.

When the lights came back on and the UPS truck arrived, I received - and immediately read - Alice Hoffman's Survival Lessons. It's so wee that I read it in one night, and although it's pleasant and there were some inspirational moments for sure, I was actually hoping for more. More knock me over my feet insight, perhaps a longer meditation on the healing power of knitting? But it's the perfect book to pass around for a quick dose of reality and grounding. Not to mention it has a lovely cover.

For more knitting and reading, visit today's Yarnalong.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

hedgehogs and such

It's hard to make things for Milo for Christmas. Sadie is easy, but he's entirely unpredictable (what, 4 year olds are unpredictable?). Luckily my plan of animal mittens totally worked out.

The pattern for Poky Hedgehog Mittens is adorable and pretty straightforward. I used leftover wool - Debbie Bliss Cashmerino for the cuff and face and then some Quince & Co. Lark for the body. Both are blue/grey so they worked well together. Milo has worn them everyday since Christmas and seems tickled to have faces on his hands. But really...who wouldn't be?

Now for my reading update. I feel like I'm forgetting a book, but for sure I just finished up A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon. This novel was a great reminder of how much books inspire empathy in their readers - I swear I started losing my mind just as George, the main character, did. Or maybe that was the holidays and the 3 day power outage? Regardless, I found Haddon's description of George's breakdown captivating, and I genuinely worried for him throughout the story. I also cried when Katie, his daughter, realized how she felt about her fiancé. I really wasn't expecting to be so emotionally affected by the novel, but it was a pleasant surprise. And it made for a great holiday read.

For more reading and knitting updates visit the first Yarnalong of 2014 over at Small Things.