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Here is a thing what I made
It’s Mr Fox Stole My Heart by Tiny Owl Knits. I saw this on her ravelry page (I want to knit EVERYTHING she has designed. Especially the little needle houses and also the deer hat) and stalked the magazine it is in for probably close to six months. It’s the April edition of Yarn Forward, published in the UK. That means that it’s really the March edition, but it only made it to Oz the first week of May.
The dress I am wearing is a custom etsy purchase from Heart My Closet. I was so pleased with the whole process of getting this dress – the price is good (try finding a plus sized formal dress for less than this cost, go on, I dare you), the material is quality, the stitching is GREAT (I ordered it a couple inches longer than I should, but I can’t bring myself to unpick the gorgeous neat hem stitches!) and the seller was really good about clarifying what I want. She also asked great questions – like whether I have issues with standard clothes in certain places, to identify extra measurements she might need. For me that’s my waist and shoulders – a bit longer and broader than is ‘standard’. I admit to being pretty nervous, because the opportunity for error is fairly large, but the fit is just glorious. I will absolutely be ordering from there again – I have had to ban myself from looking at her store because I keep putting things in her cart, and I’m trying to be fiscally responsible.
When I got the dress, which has a retro kinda feel to it, I looked at it and thought ‘what this needs is a fur stole’. Except… I feel kind of gross about that. I found some fur coats in a second hand mart, and while they didn’t fit they also made me think that that wasn’t what I wanted. What I WANTED was a ‘fur’ stole. It’s as much real fur as this dress is really retro, so I figure it fits. I wanted to wear it to the wedding on the 21st of may and I got the magazine somewhere around the 7th. And then I couldn’t get yarn until the next weekend. I sewed the face in on the morning of the wedding. Hoorah! I made the body about three inches longer, to fit better around my fat neck (I’m, not joking, since the last time I put on weight, all my necklaces sit higher). Didn’t manage time to make the legs, though. I also scared the CRAP out of my cat with it. He was sleeping on the arm of the couch while I sewed the face in, and when I was done I turned around and said ‘what do you think, kitteh?’ and showed it to him. He jumped a metre in the air, landed on the ground, and scurried away to hide under the bed. He spent the rest of the day searching the house for the terrifying intruder. Poor kitteh!
This is probably one of the better written patterns I have ever knit. It’s a generous layout with lots of pictures, clear instructions, and good advice. They suggest yarn subs, and all the fiddly bits have pictures. Seriously good job by Yarn Forward (going to be called Knit from next edition, presumably to make it easier to confuse with every other knitting magazine out there).
Thanks to Emma for the picture. She snapped it between the wedding and the reception, and it’s the only one I had. The mother of the bride LOVED it, and I ended up giving it to her. It was mostly a selfish gift – I genuinely enjoyed knitting this so much that I’m looking forward to knitting another one for myself. I’m about halfway through. I think I might make the tail a bit bigger this time to keep in proportion with the longer body I knit.
The yarn is Moda Vera Mousse, which is 70% wool, 30% soy protein, and extra snuggly. I was so pleased to find a good foxy colour! I used two 50g balls for this, and the other bits are Bendigo Rustic from my stash. I’m thinking I might also knit up a BRIGHT red fox from some stash yarn. I bet my sister would wear it.
It’s actually super snuggly and warm and practically useful. That is my second favourite thing about it. My first favourite is that it is a bit weird. When I walked through town after the wedding I got lots of stares – a few glares (Seriously?) and a few people commenting in the most lovely way. My third favourite thing is that it doesn’t look dead, and my fourth favourite is that it doubles as a stuffed animal to amuse small children. And large children, for that matter.
I’ve been reading Bill Bryson’s ‘At Home’. I just hit the halfway mark and… I think I’m done. It’s just making me too irritated.
I’ve enjoyed it so far, on the level of ‘here is a loose narrative rambling through things you mostly know, with a couple new facts thrown in’. HOWEVER I have a couple of bones to pick with it.
First of all. It flits between the US and Britain (well, mostly England) in a really disorienting way. You’ll end one paragraph in England, start the other one, only to find he’s talking about something that happened in Wisconsin. It would be less irritating if he had said it was to be a history of home life in England and the US. But no, it’s supposed to follow the ordinary things in his ENGLISH house. So why, when we get to tea, do we spend ONE PARAGRAPH on China. It’s not even properly on it, it’s just like ‘oh, we wanted to buy their tea so we sold them opium and then we took tea to India and then there was a revolution, funny thing, so the government disolved the East India Company.
Um, what. That’s IT?
And yet, in the chapter on ‘the cellar’, we spend half of it in America talking about canals. What, even. The first page has a highly dubious connection between cellars and building materials, and then it’s all wandering around, talking about these fantastic American inventors.
Look, even if you’re not going to talk about China or India (how did he even manage the dining room section without talking about porcelain?) – which you SHOULD because besides being important India at least was a colony. Even then, why not include Canada, or Australia and New Zealand or even freaking IRELAND. There’s about two paragraphs on the potato famine, which do mention that food was leaving ireland while people were starving, ohwhatatragedy, praytababehjaysus. But no exploration of why, which is certainly as interesting as naming random inventors.
He does spend some time in the Kitchen chapter on South America, but mostly in the plundering of it, and talking about things they invented that we could take. Which I guess IS the focus of the book, but I found the tone off-putting. ‘How marvellous, these mysterious brown people! Inventing things! Corn! Potatoes! Great, I’ll take ten!’
Also, he bemoans all the un-known male inventors, but when he mentions a woman or two he notes how extraordinary they are for being successful businesswomen, but there’s none of the ‘and they should be CELEBRATED’ that the men get.
Turns out I’m crosser about it than I thought. It’s disjointed and misleading. Which leads me to my next point. The whole narrative has a whole ‘oh, those old timey people, weren’t they quaint’ feel which I find patronising and disingenuous. A prime example is the several times that he refers to ‘stale urine’ as an ingredient, or as used in laundry.
Oh, you mean ammonia, Bill? A chemical that we use today in all the same processes, that happens to be what you get when urine goes stale? Oh, how foolish of those oldetimes peoples, to use a readily available resource that can otherwise be a pain to dispose of, to MAKE THINGS.
Any-waaays. I would give it a miss. It’s not terrible, but it’s not good. Instead, readVictorian House, by Judith Flanders. I highly recommend this book*, and Bryson has copied the room-by-room format and half of the information, anyway. He references it many times, and a lot of the actual informative sections read like he’s skimmed the surface material off of Flander’s books. I don’t mean he’s stolen it, I mean that the good bits in Bryson’s book are better in Flander’s. Or you could read Consuming Passions, by the same author, although I found that denser. Because Victorian House is room by room, it’s easier to pick up and put down without loosing the thread of things.
Or, if you want something as light as Bryson’s work, but better written and more thoughtful, you could read Ghost Map by Steven Johnson, which is very easy to read. It alternates a people-level view of the cholera epidemic with a broad sweeping view of life, science, and social structure at the time. I ALSO highly recommend this one, to the extent that I’ve bought it three times because I keep lending it to people who lose it.
TL;DR give Bryson a miss. And Bill – if you wanted to write a book called ‘Why American Inventors Are So Great’, you should have written that book.
*It’s in the ‘women’s history’ section of my library, which makes me SO MAD. Because only women live in houses? I don’t even know.
A while ago I was browing ravelry and S came up behind me to see what I was exclaiming at. I was looking at the DNA vest, and I mentioned that it was originally a scarf. S expressed a vague wish to own such a scarf. WELL, I said. I HAPPEN to HAVE such a scarf!
I made it for my dad, in 2007. It’s in Bendigo Rustic, colour midnight tweed. It was my first cable project, and I didn’t realise at the time that it was a tricky one. I don’t know if I’d take up such a fiddly project, now.
Anyway, obviously my dad wasn’t using it anymore, so I got it back. I don’t wear scarves, though, so it sat for the last couple of years in that pile of ‘can’t use, can’t bear to give away’ knits. I pin blocked it at the time, but it was quite curly. So I gave it a really thorough steam blocking and it looks about 100x better. Here are some gratuitous photos of it.
It’s a ‘seaman’s scarf’ (hur hur hur) which means it’s got ribbing halfway through, so that it stays on your neck and is less likely to get blown away by the wind, etc.
Excuse the odd facial expressions. It was very bright and glarey.
I’m very glad that it’s found someone who will use it. Gosh, look at all those fiddly cables and metres of moss stitch! It must have taken me forever.
A while back I heard that Sara was incubating a child. Brilliant! I thought. Here is a chance to knit for a small one whose mother is a crafter, and yet not a Knitter, the perfect recipient of knitted things in terms of appreciation:effort ratio!
I asked her when she was due, and she said February, but could I please knit for the coming winter. This was excellent as it gave me 1)the chance to knit something that might fit for more than one minute and 2) time to procrastinate. These two in combination are slightly problematic, but shoosh. Sara also asked (very politely) for red and grey, as gender neutral options. Red was easy, and I knit this moustache jumper first, out of leftovers from something else.
It was my first ever intarsia, and you can see that one side is pretty puckery. But I figure babies don’t care too much about that, and all in all I am pretty pleased with it. I was a bit disappointed when I heard that Wolf was a boy, because then it’s less ironic. But I know Sara will do her ironic best.
Of course, after I knit it I realised something very obvious. It is a pullover. And babies? Have large heads, and do not much like things being pulled over them. So I decided to knit another jumper, this time a cardigan. I settled on the garter stitch baby kimono, which turned out to be a really fun knit.
Those of you who remember me at craft camp, whining about how I never wanted to see any grey ever again, may be surprised to hear me say this. But it turns out, the problem wasn’t the colour, which I am actually quite taken with. The problem was that in order to find a nice grey in a superwash yarn, I had to buy Bendigo Classic, which is a crepe style yarn. This meant it was very splitty, and so I couldn’t really knit it without looking. Which is really one of the benefits of knitting a small baby jumper in garter stitch, so that was a bit frustrating.
I’m quite pleased with the green applied i-cord, which is from knittery yarn that I dyed myself. The buttons are from my stash, and I am also very impressed by my skills which enabled me to sew two round things on wonky. You wouldn’t have thought it was possible, would you?
I’ll give an honourable mention to my February Baby Sweater, which I cast on just before Wolf was born, maybe for him. But the yarn is a bit pink, and I thought best to leave that in my gift stash. But I’m going to show it off here.
And of course, babies need hats. So I made an aviatrix hat, which was a lot of fun, too. So fun that I cast on another one right away. It’s sitting in a basket on the shelf. I’ve done about three rows.
Ravelry tells me that this one took me three days to knit. Of course, it then took me almost a month to sew the buttons on. Sorry Sara!
Turns out hats aren’t made for ears:
And then I thought, you know. It’s not really fair that Wolf gets all the snuggly goodness. Also, I kind of want to buy some malabrigo. So I did, and then I knit a honey cowl out of it, for Sara.
Nothing for Tom, though. Sorry, Tom.
They were all sent off last week and now Sara and Wold have them, and she tells me they have a cold snap in Sydney too. It’s bloody freezing here. Luckily, I found a greatcoat in the op shop last week. It’s like wearing a blanket out of armour. I love it.
Gosh, I’ve been such a bad blogger. I’m going through a real enthusiasm slump lately – about everything. I suspect it’s hormonal. I’m having my implanon out this week, and I’m hoping that changes things. I know I’ve talked about my birth control here before, and I have.do love it. But it’s not needed now and I feel like I’m trapped in that week of the cycle when everything takes a bit of extra effort. I can MAKE myself do things, but it’s no fun and there’s a limit to the amount of MAKING myself I want to do.
So, I’ve not been motivated to do things like upload photos to flickr, so I can blog them. And I haven’t really been DOING much to photograph, anyway. Some knitting, not any FOs. Some mending and hemming, but nothing to show off. Some cooking and baking, but nothing particularly spectacular. Very little gardening. I have called some people to come and give me a quote about getting my lean to redone, but that’s still in holding pattern too.
I did have a job interview last week. I didn’t get it, and I’m not sure I’m sorry about that. I’m going to have to do some reflecting on what I want. I don’t want to be where I am now, but I can’t work out how much of that is that I am just OVER working. And I always get cranky about this time of year, when I am waking up and arriving home in the dark. It feels like all I do is go to work and come home and do chores. Add general slump to that and you get a big dose of dissatisfaction. There are things about this job that make it less than ideal, so I might keep an eye out, but wait for something that is actually better rather than different. I got really great feedback for my application and interview, though, which is nice – but there was someone more experienced. So whatever happens, it was good practice.
I have been doing a lot of reading. Read a bunch of the Little House on the [blank] books. Re-read a few pratchetts. Paid off a large library fine (to be fair, they DID send the late notices to a place I haven’t lived in six years, for no apparent reason) and borrowed some books for the first time in probably a year.
Oh, and my cousin gave me some Zhivago yarn that she bought for a jumper and only used one ball of. It looks like this:
(Here’s someone’s FO using it so you can see it knit up)
And beige is… not my colour. Plus, it’s tencel/acrylic and while it’s not an unpleasant yarn to touch, I just personally don’t like it much. I was going to give it to the op shop, but if anyone wants it, you can have it for the price of postage. It’s a whole bag, I think, or nearly anyway. I’ll count how many balls when I get home.
Anyway, this was just to remind you all that I exist and to hopefully encourage me to do some more blogging, because, as I say EVERY time I go through a no-blogging patch, I miss it.