Category Archives: do

National Sweater Day.

I posted this on my Facebook for my friends yesterday. It’s National Sweater Day!

Many of us live in a society where we can go to a store like H&M, Old Navy, Forever 21, etc. and pick up a t-shirt for $10 or less. We can buy machine-knit sweaters (manufactured in Asia) for $20. So why spend more money on wool and then take weeks (or months) to actually knit a sweater? Because you will be learning an ancient craft that you will have for life. Place value in the term “handmade.” Sure, you can spend $20 on a cheap sweater now, but in 10 years it will be saggy and shapeless, whereas a good quality handmade woolly sweater will last a lifetime. When you complete your first sweater, I can guarantee you will proudly wear it no matter what it looks like. You will have an item of clothing that YOU created, that YOU poured sweat and sometimes tears into, that YOU made with your own two hands, not by some machine of mass production or underpaid workers. When someone asks you where you got your sweater and you respond with “I made it,” the sense of pride feels pretty amazing. I have had total strangers come up to me saying that they wished they could knit and I tell them that once upon a time, I didn’t know how to knit either.

That’s why I’d encourage anyone who has ever had the thought “I’d like to learn how to knit” to start learning how to knit! It’s easy. When I first started all I could do was knit a 6″ square that was both lumpy and hole-y, just ask my mum. Now I can knit sweaters top-down, bottom-up, raglan sleeves, yoked, seamed in pieces, in the round, as a pullover, or as a cardigan. I can do cables, intarsia, fair-isle, lace, and textures. Yes, all of these things are important – they’re on all commercially sold sweaters. And men, don’t shy away from knitting because you think it’s feminine. Knitting as a hobby began with fishermen who spent time making socks for themselves. And at the top of the knitting blog chain is designer Jared Flood, who now has his own design and wool line. Many knitters are in love with him, just sayin’.

Embrace wool, not the cheap synthetic yarn from Michael’s. Check out Wovember’s Hall of Shame, where my favourite blogger has compiled images of online shopping sites that advertise clothing as “wool” because they know it is synonymous with “warmth” and “comfort,” when in fact the clothing contains no wool whatsoever. Learn where your clothing comes from. After all, you wear it everyday (I assume).

Start small. Knit a square. Knit a scarf. Knit a hat. Work your way up to that first sweater and treat knitting as what it is: a practical and challenging skill that will result in highly creative output. So if you’ve got some time tomorrow, stop by a yarn shop and ask an employee to help you pick out some wool and needles to get started.

http://www.sweaterday.ca/

“I Aten’t Dead.”

A few things happened since you last heard from me. I had been spending more time blogging about books but my other blog is out of commission at the moment as my friend is taking care of some viruses. The holidays are over and I have a few things to post.

I finally finished my Manu:

I sewed the Jasmine top from Colette Patterns:

I bought a new DSLR camera, the Canon T2i, and I am in love with it.

Christmas happened, and I finished Corey’s Cobblestone Pullover in time. Here he is, posing at his uncle’s house on a farm in the Eastern Townships:

And our little pup Sadie is growing. She is now 4 months old and getting bigger by the day.

I have some felt wool that I bought on Etsy for crafting purposes, and I’m going to join the sew-along for the Minoru jacket as created by Tasia of Sewaholic.net. I’m looking forward to 2012 as a crafty year!

Sadie.

One reason I haven’t posted for several weeks now is because of this little monster:

She doesn’t really look like a monster in that photo, but she can be when she’s awake at 6:30am and ready for a biting match.

Corey and I have had Sadie for almost four weeks now. We got her at eight weeks old, when she was a bit pudgier:

But she’s already lost a bit of her puppy fat and is getting leaner. Her mother is an Australian Cattle Dog (also known as a Blue Heeler) and her father is a black Lab Retriever. I can’t wait to see what she looks like as she grows, because it doesn’t seem to be a common mix. It could get intense though – she’s going to have a lot of energy and will need a lot of exercise. The Blue Heeler in her will probably want to nip at our heels even as an adult. But she is also lovely and I love her and I want to play with her all the time (except for when she bites me). The hardest part is that I want her to cuddle with me on the couch but she’s not allowed on yet… even though I find her asleep on the couch when I get out from the shower.

A leaf-eating photo from Gatineau Park:

I knit when she’s asleep. Expect some photos to come…

Busy bee binds off Boundless.

After having a bit of a slow summer, my life has exploded this month. My good friend Adam came to visit us for one week. The three of us went to Oktoberfest in Vankleek Hill hosted by Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company and got to try some of their new beers. We did all the usual touristy things in Ottawa, like go to a museum (we chose the incredible War Museum), visit Parliament and go up the Peace Tower, visit the National Gallery, walk around the canal, and took a stroll in the Gatineaus.

Now my mum is here for a quick visit from Thailand before she flies out to meet my dad in Vancouver for a bead show in B.C. After she leaves tomorrow morning, I promise to start posting crafty things again. I’ve finished knitting the Boundless cape (save for the button). Here’s a sneak peak as it’s blocking:

And soon I’ll unveil my Colette Fall Palette Challenge clothes. I’ve got a skirt, a dress, and a shirt to show off at the moment. Maybe I’ll be able to add to that once my life calms down a bit!

Back from BC and SK.

I’ve recently taken two weeks to visit Saltspring Island in B.C. for a wedding, Nanaimo for play-time with my friend’s newborn baby, Vancouver for some intense games of Settlers of Catan and knitting and excellent food, Saskatoon for dinner with my future mother-in-law, and Lac La Ronge Provincial in northern Saskatchewan where Corey and I saw two bears and went fishing.

please ignore the smudges in the photo.

It was my first time fishing. I went out with Corey at 6am and we each caught two fish. Went back later in the evening with Corey’s youngest brother and I caught two more. I am now a pro, or a specialist as it says on the new fishing rod that Corey bought for me.

We stayed at a cabin in Lac La Ronge that belonged to Corey’s dad’s family. It slept six of us and it was the only cabin on the little island in the big lake. How lovely!

In the photo above, I’m working on the Pas de Valse cardigan. I got back into knitting on the trip, thanks to being around one of my dearest friends who is also a knitter in vancouver.

In fact, once we got home, we decided to make a small IKEA trip to get some new things for our home, since we plan to stay here a little bit longer. We came home with this:

knitting shrine.

It’s also a shrine to my friend, apparently, because she also took that graffiti photo, made/sent those cards, shares the same Nancy Pearl librarian figurine, and is in the photo with me which was taken during our trip to Portugal.

We also bought a ton of picture frames, and even got one for our Scott Pilgrim cartoon poster. Since we have decided to stay for at least another year in our current apartment suite, we decided to put more effort into actually decorating our place, rather than just slapping things up on the walls here and there.

In other news, I have started up a book blog called Little Owl Reads. I debated for a very long time whether to do a YA book blog or an adult book blog, but decided to just talk about books that I read, in order, because that’s probably easiest for me right now. Never mind the fact that I just started part-time work at a local children’s bookstore. I love YA fic and there are so many amazing YA blogs out there that I wanted to start one too, but realistically I could never read that much YA because I love adult fic too. So my blog will have a mix of the two. A good friend of mine from library school bought the domain for me as a gift!

Italia.

I’m crediting my trip to Italy as the reason for my extended absence on this blog, but unfortunately I don’t have much of an excuse since I also had two weeks of unemployment a short time after that!

Corey and I traveled to Italy for about ten days last month. We met with my parents in Rome and the four of us enjoyed wandering Venice, hiking the Cinque Terre, and marveling at the outdoor museum that is Rome. It was my second time in Italy, and the first for everyone else. (In fact, it was my mother’s first time in Europe! My dad had been to Venice before for business but hadn’t seen any other parts of Italy.)

I bought Corey a Holga camera for his birthday last year, and I recently purchased a Diana F+ for myself. I took mostly digital, but came back with two rolls of film from the Diana, and Corey mostly went manual with his photography. Most of our photos turned out very beautifully…

One of my favourite photos of my mom, sitting in St. Mark's Square in Venice.

My dad and me at Palatine Hill in Rome.

Corey, in Vernazza in the Cinque Terre.

Me, at the Trevi Fountain in Rome.

If you’re interested in the digital photos, please visit my Flickr page:

Since we got back, my co-op work term ended so I have been enjoying (somewhat) my time at home. I’ve been knitting with a friend and watching Anne of Green Gables. I’ve been cooking and baking a bit more. I signed up for a six week semi-intensive French class, which started this past week. It’s on Mondays to Thursdays, from 9am to noon. As well, I’ve started my last distance course for the MLIS. It’s been raining here in Ottawa – yesterday it rained for the entire day. I plan to spend this gloomy Sunday enjoying the sound of the rain, reviewing my French, doing some coursework, and perhaps cutting out fabric for a new skirt.

Rings and WIP.

So these are the wedding bands we chose:

Wedding bands.

We contacted a metalsmith on Etsy to have them custom-made to our size, in palladium with this hammered texture. Her Etsy shop is singleBbeautiful. We originally wanted to go with a set that had an engagement ring and wedding bands, but then we didn’t want to have an engagement ring for me and nothing for Corey. As well, it was extremely important to us both that if there was a stone involved, it would have to be conflict-free – so to keep the cost down and stick to our values, the decision was made to scrap the idea of an engagement ring. We decided to contact a local jewellery store in Ottawa and the quote they gave us for white gold rings was just too high, especially for 14k white gold. The rings we ended up getting from this Etsy shop were less than half the price and made of the metal we wanted. Plus, I really like what she writes about using recyclable metals. So we’ve put them on chains and will be wearing them around our necks until the wedding, and that way we both have something to show off for our engagement.

In other news, I have actually been semi-knitting. I started work on this a long time ago, but it’s still a work-in-progress and I love the colours:

Simple Yet Effective Shawl by Laura Chau

I’m using Noro Kureyon Sock, and the colour changes are so delightful. I will be having a knitting night this Friday evening with a friend while our male counterparts play video games – so hopefully that will get me back into actual knitting instead of picking up a row here and there every few weeks. Maybe this yarn diet thing is really getting to me. I want to start a new project so badly, but I know I have so many projects to finish off (my Manu has been sitting with a half-made sleeve for approximately six months). So I’m in a self-imposed limbo where I want to knit, but I don’t, because I know that starting a new project is not a good idea right now and I have lost interest in old projects. I just need to rekindle that interest!

Oh, and two books I have recently read and enjoyed are:

    The Passage by Justin Cronin, a futuristic, apocalpytic vampire story that is more sci-fi than it is fantasy. These are “vampires” created by the U.S. military by accident, not descendants of mythology. It is very gripping and suspenseful. It is the first in a trilogy, the next part to be released in 2012.
    Seer of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier, the fifth in her Sevenwaters series. Originally, the first three books were thought to be a trilogy, but all of a sudden (at least, to her readers), Juliet Marillier began writing more. These are fantasy novels but have more of a folklore fantasy feel to them, not Tolkien. I enjoy her female characters, their adventures, and her settings, usually Irish landscapes. The stories are usually based around Irish mythology. Basically, if Juliet Marillier wrote it, I’ll read it. She’s recently expanded into YA fantasy, and those books are equally fun and exciting.