Sunday, 29 June 2014

general heart vomit

i cannot express how much my heart explodes with happiness when i work with other people in the arts. some things happened a couple of weeks ago, and i won't go into major detail, because much of it is not mine to share, but i will share some of my own personal thoughts and emotions with you.

image work under loc's watchful eye.

on tuesday evening, curiouser theatre (which is now me, basically, but i'm still going to refer to curiouser in a group way, because as far as i'm concerned, it is an entity that exists for working with others and it serves as a vehicle for me as much as for any of my collaborators) hosted a workshop at the theatre school. one of my dear ones, loc lu, was training me in theatre for living techniques in order to prep for this coming year's tour of down the rabbit hole. i'll be facilitating workshops alongside the show with the focus of breaking down the stigma that surrounds mental health and illness. (if you are interested in hosting this and are anywhere within canada, give me a shout at curiousertheatre[at]gmail[dot]com. i'm looking at working mostly with high schools/youth groups/mental health organizations, but if you work with a group that you think would benefit from the work, i'm more than happy to chat and see what we can sort out.) the training was a bit of a crash course reminder for me in the specific techniques, and to place it on its feet and off the theory page. 

sculpting images.

so much of this work is body work, and you just can't get the full appreciation for what you're doing until you've got other bodies and energies in the room. like i said, i won't go into major detail about what happened, because those stories are not mine to share (the photos were taken with everyone's consent and also cleared with everyone individually before being shared here and elsewhere). but i am just so full of gratitude for the brave hearts who came out for the evening and opened their souls to play with us. my biggest worry as i go forward with this work (and with any work, really) is about whether i  can offer and maintain a safe space for the people i work and play with. much of the time, i'm asking people to dig into and poke at areas of themselves that may be hidden, or sore, or dismissed by others, and that's just straight up terrifying. i know. it doesn't matter how much prep work you do, or how well-versed you are in the subject matter and vocabulary, it's still really scary. and i completely, 100%, all of my being get that. but i also think, and know from personal experience, that it can be really important work that helps the healing process, and so that's why i continue to put myself, and others, through it. i realize, though, that it is not up to me to determine how far someone falls with me. that is not my decision to make. i can only offer a space and energy that is safe and feels stable, so that when people do take the plunge, they trust that the rope they're holding onto is secure and will stop them before they splat. as a facilitator, it's terrifying, because you can never guarantee 100% that you have tied the knot tight enough. no one can guarantee that. if someone tells you that they can, they're lying. but that's what this training and prep is for, to learn how to tie sturdy knots. there are a whole lot of metaphors flying around this (very long) paragraph, but i hope you get what i mean. 

part of providing a nice environment (and showing gratitude to the people who take time out of their day to come help out with this training) is providing delicious food! food is a wonderful bonding tool, and i think we did a pretty great job with this spread. my tutu lovely helped prep the food and made probably the best caesar salad i've ever eaten. i made a pot of lentil dahl, and we had corn tortilla chips and salsa, and sourdough from tall grass prairie, and juice. and we used mason jars for drinking vessels, and bowls from the theatre school. because really, being environmentally responsible is just as important as being socially responsible. they're kit and caboodle, if you will. plus now i've got a bunch of mason jars for the next workshop (and every workshop forever more), which will be sometime this fall before the tour starts. i'll need to test out the actual workshops on some friends and colleagues before i take it out into the public, just to get the kinks out. 

i would like to end with just a huge thank you and shout out to nspirg, who provided curiouser with a research grant in order to do the training for this tour. it's such vital work (i'm saying this not because i think i'm a particularly life-changing person, but because i know any work that gets us talking openly about mental health in our society is necessary), and nspirg has made it possible for the company to do the training that makes the work more knowledgable and therefore more responsible. my mental health first aid training was funded by the same grant, and i'm able to pay the artists involved with this workshop a fair wage for their time, and provide a nutritious and delicious meal to our volunteer participants (plus offer a free workshop to members of the theatre community). so thanks, nspirg, for recognizing and supporting not just our project, but all the amazing projects and campaigns you do. and i absolutely cannot wait to get this baby back to halifax!

Saturday, 28 June 2014

happy little worker bee

i am the happiest little worker bee these days!

worse than usual iphone quality, but those ears are just magical! and i built them all by myself!
i'm back full-time at the theatre school over the summer. this past week was just prep for the summer camps, so i split my time between training, admin work, cleaning the building (i did very little of that, to be fair to my colleagues), and building costumes for a show. the summer studio, one of our teen classes, have been hard at work on in wonderland, which will be performed during the winnipeg fringe. and you can see some great costumes on top of their great acting! i loved making these ears. i also just adore the fact that i work at a place where i get to make costumes and then wander around the building wearing rabbit ears. because that definitely happened.

i work at the best place on earth. and there are still spots available for camps! check out our website and call the theatre school office or pop in to sign up for week-long periods of adventure and mayhem. just imagine, your young spawn could end up like me someday…actually, maybe don't imagine that. just sign them up so they can have some fun this summer. and then bring them back for our professional production season and school-year theatre classes.

i also just got this stitch dictionary in the mail. the knitting world has been raving about it, and for good reason. stitch dictionaries are like bibles for us designers (and anyone who has ever thought about maybe making something up or tweaking a pattern), and they never really go out of style. you can use the same dictionary 30 or 80 years down the road and it's not a problem (actual patterns obviously shift as fashion styles change). most stitch dictionaries only give you a single break-down of the construction though, back and forth and bottom-up. this baby gives you bottom-up, top-down, back and forth, AND in the round! thank you, wendy bernard, for doing all the math for the rest of us.

my favourite section.
the instructions are clear (charted AND written out), the photos are lovely, and the binding is corded, which means you can leave the book as flat as you bloody well please. i've already put sticky notes all over the pages for the fashion show's designs. i've decided that i'll release patterns as they're ready for the fashion show, because it doesn't really hurt for the pattern pieces to be out in the real world beforehand. my bigger pieces that i'm not writing up/are a little more special will stay under wraps until the show though. i can't tell you ALL of my secrets. just some of them.

bonus pic: i ordered this puppy to get free shipping (yes, i went the online route rather than mortar and brick, but at least i didn't use amazon). i've only skimmed it so far, but it's absolutely amazing. it takes you from identifying fibres through to selling your handspun yarn (which maybe even has beads and shells plied into it!) commercially. how cool is that? i would like to try my hand at spinning some yarn on my wheel to include in the fashion show, but we'll see how that goes. i have some really lovely rock beads that would look amazing spun into yarn and then featured in an accent piece...

Thursday, 26 June 2014

oh my glob, it's finally done

oh my glob is finally done, which means i can tick tanis's shawl kal and the westknits summer shawl kal off my to-knit list.

i cheated a little bit, because i didn't do the final repeat of rows in the final section. i was just so tired of knitting around and around and around…and it's big enough as is, i think. i will say that odessa's tip about wrap-and-turns for that section makes it significantly easier, so if you're knitting your own lumpy space, i'd do that rather than knitting and then purling.

so here's the thing: i got really bored knitting it during the final section (clearly), but i do really like the way the construction works out, and the overall look, and the fact that any change in yarn/colour makes an entirely different shawl. like, more than a substitution normally would. and it makes me think that maybe i would like to knit another. not now - i have too many other deadlines to deal with anyway - but eventually. with maybe some blue label in jewel and lemongrass and papaya and tidal. or buttercup, or orange blossom, or lucky penny. bright colours, basically.

the deets:
pattern: lumpy space by stephen west
yarn: malabrigo sock in candombe; tanis fiber arts purple label cashmere sock in ballet slipper; juno fibre arts alice in mist; bc garn tussah tweed in 10Tt
mods: skipped the final repeat in the final section because i got tired of knitting forever and my knitting add kicked in for other projects. namely the fashion show.

you can't tell because my glasses are so dirty, but i see you...

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

drool-worthy #11 - knitscene fall 2014

another drool-worthy post so soon? well, the fall collections are starting to appear (it's after the solstice, so that's fair), and i want all of the knits. normally, i don't really go for knitwear magazines because - let's face it - the chance of liking more than one design is pretty slim. but knitscene has hit this fall out of the park!

ok, i would like many of these knits, but these two are my favourites. first up, glenveagh mitts.

i am so in love with herringbone in basically any incarnation it could possibly be found in. i also have freezing cold hands all of the time. and i love thumb gussets. and i love buttons. also, tweed. hello, new love of my life! i also have very little knitting time right now because of this fashion show and all the designs i've got popping out of my brain, and i'm working 9-to-5 again. but these are so cute and tiny and would take not too much time…i can totally fit them in, right?

what i might have a bit harder time fitting into my schedule is the baleshare cardigan.

yes, yes, i know, cardigans are a longer commitment. but it just looks so cozy! and it's a waterfall blanket-style cardigan, so it actually hangs quite long in the back and short (like, just under the bust) in front when you don't have it belted, so the shape is really versatile. and the collar is huge! it would be so perfect for chilly days. also, can we just take a moment to admire this entire outfit? thank you.

my selfish knitting days are over for probably at least 8 months now. and if i somehow manage to find time to knit a cardigan, it should be hana hou. but i would like to find time to knit those gloves at least. a quick little mind break from all the designing. and i should hunt down a copy of the magazine before it goes out of print. i can always use an excuse to visit wolseley wool...

Sunday, 22 June 2014

a summer solstice of the loveliest, artiest, weirdest sort

happy belated summer solstice to you all! i hope you spent its magic with lovely creatures. i certainly did.

good ol' instagram.

i was helping out my friend kelly with her fashion shoot. i won't say too much about it, because it's her project to gush about first, but as soon as she releases it, you can bet i will be sticking it all over the interwebs. i had such fun! kelly is an incredible clothing designer, and has a similar artistic sensibility to  myself (re: weird sometimes decaying surreal creations that feel like they shouldn't necessarily fit in this world but are often inspired by exactly that). anyway, i spent the majority of the day being a raccoon and having adventures in kelly's clothing surrounded by the mother of all hidden gems/junkyards. it was very exciting and delightful. 

kelly also did raw: natural born artists showcase earlier in the week, and she's inspired me to try it out myself. the showcases are meant to happen every couple of months, so i'm aiming to take part in one early next year. i need to come up with 15-20 looks for the catwalk, and obviously, i'll be knitting all of them. i've actually managed to come up with concepts for almost all of the looks, and sketched out about half a dozen already. it's going to be weird, and post-apocalyptic, and absolutely delightful. but the actual knits will be ones that you could very easily wear out and about. part of my plan is to come up with patterns for most of the designs i knit, so that you can knit your very own. or commission me to knit them for you, as the case may be. if i have time, i would like to get some versions knit up that don't go out on the catwalk, so that people can see up close and personal the detailing and maybe just buy the finished products right at the event if they really like something. it's a lot of knitting (and designing) to get done in eight months though. so having ones ready to buy will be at the bottom of my list for now. BUT wolseley wool is having a massive sale right now, so what better time to start stocking up on yarn for the looks? that pile is 5 projects' worth of yarn. one full look and the beginning of two other ones. i haven't decided yet what i'm going to do in terms of releasing patterns before the event/showing finished looks online/etc. we'll see how i feel as it goes. 

after i was done being a raccoon, i met up with some lovelies for supper, then went off with another friend to see war horse. yes, i can finally say that i've seen it. my one complaint is that some of the actors didn't enunciate well enough (or perhaps the tech just wasn't as clear as it should have been for the space) to catch a number of lines. and this from someone who lived in the uk for over a year and was exposed to all sorts of dialects and accents. really, southern england dialects should not be hard for me to understand. but it was really beautifully done. the puppetry was absolutely jaw-dropping, which is to be expected. i did a workshop with the company during my master's and just could not get over how much mechanical prowess went into designing the horses' legs! they tweaked and tweaked until the feet fell just right when you shifted the shoulder joint. incredible. the show is about world war one, so it's obviously not the happiest of tales. i had not the happiest of dreams last night. but i was glad to leave the show and arrive to sleepy heads rather than a very social bonfire that had been the original plan. i don't think i would have been the bubbliest of company. and then i woke this morning to a cat curled against the small of my back, so that was pretty adorable. all in all, a wonderful solstice, filled with all the things i enjoy the most - art, good people, animal familiars, knitting, and adventures. 

Thursday, 19 June 2014

creative cross-pollination

tanis recently wrote a blog post about something i think we creative types often find ourselves struggling with - the balance between focusing on our main creative pursuit (i.e. the one that pays - or sort of pays - our bills/crafting habit, or that we love the most and can't imagine living without) and all the other things we love/want to try and perhaps learn to love. the fact of the matter is, that working in multiple mediums is incredibly healthy for the creative juices. maybe not so many that you get completely overwhelmed, but certainly a few is good to do. it's amazing how much inspiration for one project can come from another totally unrelated project. like, i will often be trolling pinterest for fibre inspiration, and find something that inspires a show design or even new performance concept. take, for example, this floor cushion.

great for a kid's room, yes, but also, i would just like it for my own use. meditation pillow, cozy floor cushion, excuse to work on my crochet skills, all that good stuff. you know what else would be great? an interactive show that is designed to be in the woods and has the audience sitting in the space on these giant mushrooms. see how that single cushion just flowed from home decor to a (very alice in wonderland) show concept? 

my current active wip pile, four shawls worth.

sometimes, i get stuck in a knitting groove. and that's perfectly fine, because i love my knitting, but occasionally, it gets a bit mind-numbing. specifically when i have so many deadlines coming up that i can't afford to start or really even take much time to consider new design concepts. and then i start worrying, because i'm an anxious creature, about taking too much time away from theatre creation, and how i need to be coming up with concepts a year or two or five in advance in order to get the grant money in place to start working on that next piece. and then i worry that maybe i'm stagnating.

look what arrived in the mail yesterday!
the simplest break can provide some space and mental clarity, however. today, i was doing the laundry and cleaning up my room. i stumbled on some older sewing projects, and took the time to read my mollie makes usa over coffee (yes, coffee is back in my system again), and clean up my room, and block the test knit. and then i was going through some old notes on my phone and found a couple lines of poetry that inspired two pages of text for down the rabbit hole's next incarnation. these small little tasks made me feel like i was accomplishing things, and that can be just as important as working on large projects. i still have some pretty major knitting projects to get done in the next 2-3 weeks, but today, i feel like i'm getting somewhere. and having a clean bedroom and clean sheets is a bonus. 

colouring books have always been one of my favourite creative escapes. they're so calming. this is my current favourite.

getting inspiration from other creative types is also fabulous! a couple of exciting upcoming events in winnipeg (besides tonight's panorama in the exchange district): 

w.e.s.t., etsy canada, and compendium artist market are teaming up to bring an etsy made in canada event to manitoba on sept. 27! there are several ways to get involved. you can find more details here. i'm still sorting out in what capacity i can commit myself to it (september is really not that far away), but i'm thinking either attending as a vendor or as a demonstrator could be a lot of fun. between my etsy items and closet clear-out (of handknits), i could get myself in order as a vendor. but is there something you'd be interested in as a short workshop/demonstration? i'm open to any and all fibre-related suggestions (except spinning/crochet…i'm still a novice at those and wouldn't feel comfortable teaching others any sort of technique beyond how to incorporate them into other design work). 

wolseley wool just announced the early bird registration for their 7th annual fibre retreat in the whiteshell! it's happening in november, and it looks pretty spectacular. i don't know that i'll be able to attend this year, as i'm still unsure what my work status will be this fall, plus i have to arrange my life around down the rabbit hole's tour anyway, but next year when i don't have a tour on the books would be a lot of fun! 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

drool-worthy #10 - brooklyn tweed's kid collection

it's been ages since i last had a drool-worthy post! i guess the list last time got it out of my system for a bit ha. but then brooklyn tweed released a kids' collection. so, time for another drool-worthy!

i'm not going to focus on any single pattern this time around, because i adore most of the patterns in bt kids. they're not all ones that i would knit for my (imaginary) spawn, but i would definitely make 3/4 of them. wyatt is just so wonderful, and with those cords! it's the perfect back-to-school outfit for any kid dealing with chilly september days in canada. you don't necessarily need a coat, but a thick sweater is a good back-up for when the wind picks up.

i love layers. i think that's pretty well established. so this short-sleeved sweater is one of my favourite designs of the whole collection. it's lightweight (fingering), so it wouldn't be too much to wear over something like this dress, or even a long-sleeved t-shirt. the design is delicate and rugged at the same time, which means that those spawn who reject gender conventions and just dress how they feel on any given day could wear this basically all the time. and it could work well as a hand-me-down thanks to that too! who doesn't love a good hand-me-down knit?

sock monkey sweater.
ok, sock monkey anything is usually pretty damn adorable. so a pullover with a gorgeous shawl collar and sock monkey colours? um, yes! also, that kid is too cute.

and it's not just clothing - there are toys and blankets and pillows too! this pillow is just way too adorable. so i'll leave you with it. bird hugs.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

catch up of a sort

i haven't posted for a few days. sorry about that. i don't want you to think i've been ignoring you. to be honest, though, there's not much to post about. well, that's not exactly true. i've been having lots of adventures, and doing a variety of things, they're just not all things that have a place on this blog. it's been lovely, i will say that much.

one thing that i will share with you is this lovely sidewalk chalk love note. i was adventuring yesterday with someone and we stumbled on a series of love notes on the sidewalk (you can see all of them on my instagram). this was the first of them, and is probably my favourite. dr. seuss is always a good choice! we actually saw the chalker in action, but didn't want to interrupt the magic. suffice to say, it was a rather wonderful discovery.

this is all the knitting that i can show you right now. i finished the small sample shawl for the wolseley wool contest, and it's all blocked and ready for the world. but i can't show it to you all until after the contest closes, which is next month. i also started the test knit for another designer, which will stay under wraps until she decides to release the pattern. i had a lot of trouble getting that one started, but it was 100% me and 0% the pattern. the pattern is great so far. as for lumpy space, it's…well, it just is. the final section involves just knitting around and around and around, growing from about 400 stitches to almost 700 stitches over 50 rows. followed by a picot bind-off. ohdessa from wolseley wool gave a great suggestion on instagram about doing wrap-and-turns at the end of rows in order to just knit rather than needing to knit and purl. the only time you need to do it normal is after the yarn-over rows, just because the wrap-and-turn doesn't work exactly after the final stitch. still, i feel like it will be ready maybe in a hundred years. except it actually needs to be done by the end of the month for tanis's kal, and then i can tick off my westknits' summer shawl kal too. then i need to finish off my winterberry shawl and knit up the larger size of my sample shawl. once all of that is done, i can start on another design i came up with recently. i want to do the photoshoot for that design next month, so i'm on a bit of a time crunch. goodness, i'm a bit ridiculous sometimes. it's ok though. i start working full-time (on non-knitting things) next week, so i can arrange my knitting to fit during breaks and bus rides, which will maybe help structure my time a bit better.

meet kelly. she's awesome, and creative, and lovely, and a delight! and she made that dress (told ya she's creative)!
i have an exciting week ahead of me, with theatre for living training tonight for curiouser, my friend kelly's art show on thursday night, and then working on a project with kelly on the weekend. and going to see war horse. finally!!! how did i live in london for over a year and never get out to see it? yeesh. luckily, it's touring right now and i'm going to see it on the weekend with a friend. and there's also a multi-sensory show in the exchange that looks at the politics of making, running until next friday. so much art, so little time…

p.s. i've been rebuilding my website. moved from wix to wordpress as the host, and i'm loving it so much more. finding the right theme and tweaking it to be what i want is taking some time, and i need to fill in a whole lot of stuff, but overall, i'm quite happy with it. it's just so much easier to update info. once i finish my own website, i have to do the same with curiouser's too. that one will take a bit more restructuring, i think. the branding is a bit more specific, to start with. i haven't switched the domain over for curiouser yet, so if you're looking for info, you'll see mostly out-of-date stuff on the old site. i'm hoping to have new stuff ready for y'all soon though. and don't worry, this blog isn't moving anywhere. wordpress will remain my official website with relatively static information and maybe semi-permanent posts about various projects i'm involved with. day-to-day blogging is going to stay here though. i like it, i like the look, i like the ease, and i like the bit of separation from my officially professional self and my sort-of professional/mostly just me self. plus i feel like i can swear more here. which is sometimes just necessary. not always, but definitely sometimes. so there ya go. 

Thursday, 12 June 2014

a couple of things to unveil

well, i'm still chugging away with surprise knitting of various sorts (i'm finishing off one of the wolseley wool sample shawls and will be casting on a test knit this weekend), but i do have a couple of things that i can share with you today.

first up, the surprise knit that made its way out east! it arrived at my friend's shop, bhavana yoga boutique, earlier this week.

if you recognize that woven mat from a bunch of other photos, you realize the scale here. it's a teeny tiny baby hat that's about as big as my fist. my beautiful friend, krista, is about to bring a wee yogini into the world, and what's better for a wee sprout than a wee sprout hat?

pattern: i made it up, referencing a few other newborn hat patterns for measurements
materials: malabrigo arroyo in glitter; leaf appliqué in old maiden aunt merino superwash 4ply in bean nighe; wooden button
features: the ribbing is 2:1, which gives a pretty shape as well as good structure. i stitched the leaf on using a long tail of the yarn after i secured the last stitch.

and here's some yarn that just arrived today from tanis! i have a plan for a 3-pattern set that i'm aiming to release sometime this fall (fingers crossed). this will be the yarn that i use. i won't say anything else about it other than that you'll probably see teasers on instagram and twitter eventually, but i couldn't help but show you the colours i'll be working with. aren't they stunning? that's charcoal, aurora, and frost in blue label right there.

exposure was a bit of a pain here, but it's also the most accurate representation of aurora's amazing colours.
a new lovely in my life is really into tutus and we started talking about my knitting her a tutu. i think we were originally kind of joking, but it's turned into a bit of a fun design challenge. a longer-term one, because i have a stupid amount of knitting to do in the next little while, but it's definitely going to happen at some point. so, a knitted tutu. knowing me, it'll involve lace and a not-so-basic construction. and sparkles/glitter. but that's just necessary.

i'll leave you all with a quote. i've been doing research lately for a couple of projects (just spent the day reading david diamond's theatre for living: the art and science of community-based dialogue for a curiouser project), but this quote actually comes from the introduction to betsy greer's craftivism. i like it a lot.

[…] the creation of things by hand leads to a better understanding of democracy, because it reminds us that we have power. - betsy greer 

and on that note, you can help me make more things by hand by donating to my indiegogo campaign! i've got about two weeks left to go before the campaign closes, so donate and share as you're able! xo

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

messy chaotic bliss

so, the last week or so has been a strange mix of extremely busy and also relatively relaxing for me. i've been filling out more job applications (they never stop), working at the theatre school, attending workshops at the theatre school, generally hanging out at the theatre school (i'm a bit of a creep like that), doing bits of research into all sorts of things, having adventures with people, planning new projects in various areas of the arts, knitting like crazy, and finishing off some contract work. oh, and binging on orange is the new black. twice. that's kind of a given, though. (poussey, stop breaking my heart! ok, that's all i'll say on the matter. no spoilers.) more iphone quality photos for y'all today! i'll get back to pretty photos once i have fo's that i can actually show you.

my lumpy space has been on the backburner over the last few days. i got tired of the long rows and started another sample shawl. 
my research these days. it's a blend of crafting and theatre and business (of course).
yarn for the next sample shawls for wolseley wool
fabric for my friends' wedding quilt. i'm really excited about this!

sometimes i wish there were more hours in the day, but i think overall i'm handling my shit pretty well. sometimes i feel like all this (primarily unpaid) art work and the online/on paper cataloguing of it all isn't quite as legit as the paid work that i do. but mostly i'm happy about it. and recognize my privilege in being able to actually focus on it while i sort my life out. i know that starting businesses takes work and time and requires building up a whole lot of everything, and taking the time to actually make art now unpaid/not connected to anything specific outside of myself is important as a building block. and the admin/documentation side of things is important too. talk to me next week after i've rebuilt two websites and i may have another opinion, of course.

speaking of making art, i still have that indiegogo campaign going to help get me to white rabbit this august! go check it out. i can't believe it's only two months away already. soooooo excited!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

summertime, and the living is easy...

…well, minus all the deadlines. i can do it though. of course, i also just volunteered myself to test knit for another designer and now need to finish that in the next month too. so that makes three kals, two more sample shawls, and now another project to add into the month. it's ok. i don't start my 9-to-5 until the end of the month. i'll be back at the theatre school for the summer, which is delightful. spend my day with kids and then get evenings and weekends to play/knit/make stuff/go to folk fest? yes, i can do that.

speaking of making stuff, i sent off the surprise knit and undie orders earlier this week. i kind of love going to the post office to send off snail mail. i love sending it as much as i love receiving it. i am often an over-gifter. it's fine though, because i never expect things in return. i just like looking at people's faces when they get the thing, or hearing from them afterwards. it's pretty delightful.

teaser of my wolseley wool design. 

there are so many surprise knits i have going on! the one gift will be revealed probably in a couple of weeks, depending on how long it takes canada post to do its thing. i also finished the first prototype for my wolseley wool shawl design contest, but it didn't turn out exactly as i wanted. which means i now need to knit another small version as well as the large with the adjustments i made and hope they work. i sent it off to my test knitters already though, and i'm pretty sure it'll be ok. we'll see. i also came up with a design concept for a 3-pattern set that i hope to release sometime this fall. i ordered the yarn from tanis fiber arts already, although i doubt i'll get around to it until july at the earliest. i'll release teasers, no doubt, but those will also stay basically under wraps until they're ready to go live.

mangos were on sale! which meant another batch of mango chutney. we go through the jars pretty quickly. the mangos really reduced this time, so i ended up with one big jar and one half-jar that will go straight into the fridge. i also had a 5-lb. bag of apples that were too bruised to crunch on. i am extremely picky about my apples. and since we don't have the annapolis valley farmers here in winnipeg with samples to test throughout the growing season for ideal crunch appeal, i'm kind of stuck just guessing with the imported-from-all-over apples at the grocery store. usually i just get ones from british columbia (east coast apples rarely make it out here). anyway, my 5-lb. bag got turned into apple butter. with a lot of cinnamon. obviously. i think it'll be delicious on banana nut muffins. and i made some more coconut bars. and since i was in the kitchen anyway, i took the opportunity to pre-mordant scraps of cotton jersey and some more swatches to prep for solar dyeing adventures. i'm going to first play with more avocados (i have an ice cream pail's worth of skins and pits) and birch bark from our woodpile. i don't want to use good canning jars though, so i need to hunt down some really large glass jars that are either on their last legs (not that glass jars ever really have last legs) or that have those weird lid grains you can't reseal with a proper top. or large plastic jars would technically work as well. if you have any kicking around and are in winnipeg or the general vicinity, feel free to get in touch with me. i will happily take them off your hands.

here's a photo of my lumpy space! it's growing pretty quickly so far. i'll get more done on it today. i'm trying to keep myself to completing at least one shawl per week. the deadlines are staggered enough to sort of fit that timeline. i don't know that i'll get to my voetpad before tanis's shawl kal closes, but i'll keep my toes crossed (as my fingers are busy with knitting).

Sunday, 1 June 2014

glitter, or why i'm a terrible queer but a happy person

the past few days have been an absolute delight. the nice weather has finally caught up with us, and my outdoor "office" has been my home for the vast majority of the time i've been at the house. which, granted, has not been so much this weekend, but the days leading up to it were mostly spent camped out on my little two-seater with knitting and house of cards (oh my goodness, it's so good, i binged so much, and if you know/love the scottish play, it's even better). so this post is less about knitting, although there is some of that, and more about what i've been up to. with some awful iphone quality photos. sorry, i've been too busy to take nice ones. 

i went to a local theatre company's end-of-season party on friday night. a couple of friends are associated with the company (one trunk theatre - i haven't actually seen any of their work yet, but i will eventually), and the evening promised dancing and painting. duh, obviously i'm going. it was a pretty fun night, and i discovered the most orgasmic snack (dark chocolate covered almonds with a layer of coconut between the almond and chocolate…), and i painted with my fingers and then with a brush, and i dove for this handsome dinosaur when the piñata finally exploded. it took a while. it was an impressive piñata. there were little bottles of booze on the floor too, but my priority was obviously the dino.

a quick sort-of selfie from this morning. still-wet hair, pencil skirt, corset top from velvet plume, and ecoprinted scarf.
and then yesterday, i walked a lot, which my feet didn't like because i was wearing grumpy shoes, but i ran into a lot of delightful people. and i got this shirt from velvet plume's open studio, and chatted with kristie, who is always a delight, and was yet again reminded by myself that i'm an even bigger hippie than i let on to most people. and then i went back to my theatre school, which i had left earlier in the day, and found my inner clown. which is amazing, because i've been trying to find it for many years. it's generally anxious and sometimes annoyed at happy clowns, which makes sense. it was a lot of fun. and i met an adorable puppy with an equally adorable owner (i never did get his name, but the dog was pretty great), and then i soaked my feet at home to apologize for the grumpy shoes. earlier in the week, my eco-printed scarf from caitlin ffrench's kickstarter campaign arrived, and i've been wearing it religiously ever since. it's too hot for wool right now, but i still like to have something around my neck. so this works. 

me and onions the rabbit puppet at work this morning. onions was later gnawed on by a very determined baby.
speaking of wool, i've done a lot of knitting in the last week, but it's all a surprise. my small shawl sample will be revealed once i hand it in to wolseley wool next month, and a surprise gift for my friend out east will be revealed once she gets it. it's adorable though. i put a sneak peek on instagram, if you really can't wait. oh yeah, i'm using instagram again. it's mostly a mix of knitting, my dog, and my face making various expressions. and i got my hair buzzed this week! finally. and the girl at aveda hair school was adorable and snorted. now my hair smells like essential oils rather than just campfire. i smell like a weird pina colada these days. my usual patchouli and natural deodorant and lush products mixed with sunscreen. i've had people say it's a good scent, but if you're sensitive to scents, maybe don't come near me. i always smell like essential oils of some sort.

my terribly handsome old friend and the tiny buddha we consumed shortly afterwards.
now, why i'm a terrible queer. it's been pride all week long, and i haven't gone to a single event. to be fair, i'm not really in the queer community here at this point (although all my theatre friends have been going out, it seems, so i could have just joined them probably). anyway, i finished off my shift at the theatre school and then met up with a friend afterwards to hang out, so i didn't totally miss pride. i saw all the baby queers wandering around after the parade and walked through the tents. and i'm sure i will be finding rogue glitter all over myself and my house for months to come, so it's good. life could always use a little more glitter.