The Honeymoon

I am not going to do this in order. I am sure everyone is curious about the wedding itself and how everything went. Rest assured that everything went well and we did end up getting married, which is the point of everything right? I want to wait to talk about the wedding itself until I get the professional photos back. I really can’t wait to see them (no pressure Jesse)!!
Paul and I were not leaving until the Monday so we had Sunday to run around and tie all the lose ends. I semi thought ahead and packed a majority of things I needed, before the wedding. When all was said and done, I just needed to throw in a tooth brush and other basic toiletries.

Airport Selfie

Our flight was at 9am so we left home at 6am. I was totally wiped out and ended up falling asleep on the ride to the airport, at the airport and on the plane. This was the best flight I had ever been on because I have no memory of it; I don’t even remember the stewardesses doing their safety spiel.

Vapiano 2014

Immediately after checking into the hotel, Paul and I trouped across the street to Vapiano. I was slightly worried about building it up in my mind and no food could ever be that good. I really wasn’t building it up. The food was excellent! I wish I could live there, right across the street, or maybe have them come home with me. We were in Chicago for a total of 6 days and we ate at Vapiano 8 times. Yes, it was slightly excessive. No I regret nothing.
We didn’t really do too much the first day, the second day we shopped the magnificent mile, day three we checked out Navy Pier and I slept a lot on Day four and registered for VKL. Thursday (day four), Friday and Saturday were taken over by classes and we left for Antigua on Sunday.

Sandals

As I mentioned in the second VKL post, our flight was leaving at 5am. This meant we had to be at the airport for 3am and the airport was an hour train ride away. I went back to the hotel room after my class and slept. The four hours of sleep I managed were not near enough to get me by and I remember very little of the first day in Antigua. I vaguely remember being too cold to sleep on the planes and a really good chicken quesadilla.

Honeymoon Pool

That first night we went to bed around 9pm and slept in till 11am the next day; it was much needed after all the classes in Chicago. Our days followed the pattern of wake up, eat lunch, float in the pool while trying various drinks from the menu, get cleaned up, shower, find dinner and play pool and socialize at the Drunken Duck.

Towel Art

The Sandals in Antigua is known for being a more romantic resort, so all the couples we met were either celebrating and anniversary, and engagement or a honeymoon as well. Ironically, we met five or six couples who lived within a 15-minute drive from our house in Burlington. I didn’t anticipate meeting a lot of people from Ontario let alone the GTA.
All the food on the entire resort was amazing; we probably ate almost every two hours. A lot of the time we would also go for ‘second dinner’ because we wanted to try all the restaurants. The staff was incredibly helpful and usually cheerful. I did notice less enthusiasm when it was searing hot outside, but they were wearing pants (as in, not shorts) and I could cope with that.

Drinks

One of the things we ended up doing was a sunset photo shoot. They don’t really give you a choice about the day or time, but tell you to show up and they do the photos. Since neither Paul nor I are real big photo people, we ended up getting a few of the professionally taken photos as a memento from our honeymoon.

Sunset Honeymoon

The photos from the wedding take three to four weeks and we are currently sitting at 2.5, so I am hoping they will be done for next week. Really hoping, on the scale of more wishful thinking than anything. Cross your fingers for me!!!!

I’m Back!

Well, I’ll be completely honest with you, I haven’t done all that much knitting in the past couple weeks. BUT there are great plans for the future!

Gradient 2

Last time we talked, I had a pair of gradient car-socks I was working on. I have managed to finish them! The plain ride back from Antigua was five hours long and that was the longest plain trip I had ever been on. Just sitting still for that amount of time was crazy so I am really glad I had some knitting with me. I couldn’t graft the toe closed because I didn’t have any needles with me, but I just left the needles in the toe, and reclined to listen to my audio book the rest of the way home.

Sock Toe

I was also working on the Rocky Coast Cardigan. I was not totally impressed with the gauge I ended up getting in order to accommodate the pattern for the RCC. It was very lose, which would really cause it to grow in the future. I was looking for a pattern that would be fine with a little growing, but I think this was going to get out of control a little bit. I have decided to rip out the little bit I have and knit a tighter fabric.

RCC

When I was taking Amy Herzog’s class in Chicago, I got to look at all her samples, and there was actually one sweater there made from 100% alpaca. It was a sample sweater that had been tried on a million times and it had not grown at all. The seams and tension were holding it together perfectly. This made me realize that I didn’t have to go through so much trouble for the type of yarn I was using. I am thinking about using Amy’s website, Custom Fit, to make me a pattern for the exact sweater I am looking for.

Next up on the docket is a pair of mittens for a friend! I am not sure how sneaky I should be with this project, but all I need to say is that they are lovely and will be beautiful. I am going to have to ask her if I can disclose the particulars on the blog!

Chicago VKL Day 1.5

Vogue Knitting Live has officially started!! Whooooooo! Today is technically day two for me because I had one class last night and two today!

Registration opened at 3pm on Thursday and I was there on the dot to get my pass and schedule. Since I am an ‘international’ attendee, VKL does not mail out passes and packages, you have to pick them up when you get there. I got the biggest package there was, which came with Rosemary Drysdale’s book Entrelac 2. I really love entrelac techniques and I am taking the class Beyond Entrelac, so I was very excited by the choice of book. I don’t think I will get the large package again; it comes with 6 three-hour classes, 2 lectures, a Vogue Knitting gift card and the swag book of VKL’s choice. Last year the largest package came with a ticket to the gala, but this year they were extra so I decided not to go. There was also quite a bit of confusion as to what was happening at the gala this year so I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to pay an extra $140 for dinner and swag.

My first class was Thursday at 6pm; Teeny Tiny Toy Knitting with Anna Hrachovec. You have probably seen her books before because they are full of some of the cutest tiny toys you will ever knit. The class last night was centered on one of her more classic toys, the gnome.

Gnome

I am really glad I took this class because I was not totally sure where I stood on the toy knitting and I’ve been trying to win one of her books since last VKL Chicago. I’ve been so shameless as to send Paul out to look for the tiny toys while I was in class. I was hesitant on buying one because I really didn’t know if toy knitting was for me. What if I really didn’t like it?

I am happy to tell you that it is a lot more fun than it looks and totally and completely addictive. The class we had was three hours and I knitted the gnome in two. I was on the fast side of the class and didn’t stick with the pacing everyone else set. There weren’t a huge amount of people in the class so I was able to take my time and listen to the questions other people asked. When I am in class, I don’t always have questions right away, but sometimes, others ask questions I didn’t think about at the time. There is always the opportunity to help out classmates who get stuck as well.

Teeny Tiny Toys

As I said, the class was relatively small, so Anna had no problems getting to everyone who had questions and even stopping by my seat and teaching me how to embroider on the eyes. The class moved at very different speeds, but Anna took it all in stride and managed to get to everyone. I fully expected to sit and wait for the rest of the class to catch up before I moved onto the eyes.

Overall, I gave this class an excellent rating! The teacher was attentive, organized and passionate. Without one of these characteristics, I think a class suffers. Anna knew exactly what she was talking about and was infectiously enthusiastic about teeny tiny toy knitting.

First class of Friday was Rosemary Drysdale’s Beyond Entrelac; this was another class with a small student population. There were only five people on the role call for this class. I really like small class sizes because you get much more individualized attention. I showed up early along with three other participants for this class; before 9am we just talked and helped re-direct lost students to their own class rooms. The room this class was in was a little bit out of the way and the last possible option in that particular hallway. The last member of the class was a little bit late, but because we were such a small class we were able to wait for her before beginning.

Entrelac

The class itself focused on the more unconventional applications of Entrelac knitting. Things that are not the typical square or hat from the brim up. We were supposed to bring two colours of DK weight yarn, which I managed not to pack, luckily Rosemary had anticipated this and brought along extra yarn for the unprepared student. In class we worked on a swatch with different patterns on the middle squares.

The samples in class were very inspiring; there were a lot of different colours, yarns, fibers and stitch patterns. There was a swatch in particular that I am thinking of with beading! I really want to make a beaded entrelac scarf now! I really enjoyed this class and loved Rosemary as a teacher! She was very personable and managed to put up with me for an entire three hours, which is harder than it sounds. I joked the whole time that she was going to forcibly eject me from class for being a problem student. After we started knitting our swatches, I settled down and wasn’t too bad.

Immediately after this class, I headed off to lunch with Paul. We just popped across the street to Vapiano and it was PACKED. The morning classes all end at approximately the same time and there is just enough time to grab lunch and get back. The restaurant across the street would, of course, be totally and completely swamped. It was my fault for not being totally on the ball because we normally jump right out after class and just beat the crowds to lunch, I was pretty slow getting back up to the room and dropping off my stuff.

Vapiano

I managed not to be late to the next class, which was Sweater Boot Camp by Amy Herzog. Ever since I saw VKL New York was hosting Amy, I have been dying to take her class, for New York and Seattle, they sold out in a matter of minutes. I felt extremely lucky to get into two of her classes here, but then I did sign up MINUTES after class registration opened.

Sweater Boot Camp was about all those little mistakes you make while you’re knitting a sweater that lead you astray. Astray is probably not the best word, but it is currently the only one I can think of. The things that make the sweater you’re actually knitting much different from the one you’re imagining in your head. We went over a wide variety of techniques, benefits of one type of fiber vs. another and cautionary tales.

Sweater Boot Camp

This course is a little different from her regular classes about picking the sweater type for your body, but it was really useful nonetheless. Amy is, of course, still a captivating speaker and such a funny person. I love her dry humour and the little quips she uses to emphasize and enhance her classes. I have her Knit to Flatter class tomorrow and I am sooooo looking forward to it!

I think that is going to be all for tonight, I am already tired and tomorrow is my day of three classes. Our flight to Antigua leaves at 5am on Sunday morning, so I think we are just going to stay up Saturday. I am sure my post tomorrow will be quite deluded and incoherent. I am sorry in advance!

Technical Tuesday: Explosive…

Happy April Fools! I dread what I will find when I make it into the office today, I am sure there will be ample amounts of startling situations. The best pranks are always prepared for a couple days in advance though; you really need to gather your materials or start faking morning sickness the week before. This is why I am going to talk about yarn bombing. Not only is it a great joke, it’s an amazing stashbuster!

VKL Yarn

Yarn bombing, yarnbombing, yarn storming, guerrilla knitting, Kniffiti, urban knitting or graffiti knitting is a type of graffiti or street art that employs colourful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn or fiber rather than paint or chalk.

From my research I can trace the history back to Bill Davenport. A Houston-based artist, who created and exhibited crochet-covered objects in the 1990s. He stated that he thought of yarn like ‘ultra-thick paint.’ The Houston Press said “Bill Davenport could be called the grand old man of Houston crocheted sculpture.”

Toast

By Nicole Gastonguay, photo taken at Vogue Knitting Live NYC

Something about the crocheted objects caught because it wasn’t long before artist Shanon Schollian was knitting stump cozies in 2002 for clear cuts in Oregon. The Knit Knot Tree by the Jafagirls in Yellow Springs, Ohio gained international attention in 2008.

The movement moved on from knit covered objects with the innovation of the ‘stitched story’. The concept has been attributed to Lauren O’Farrell, who creates her street art under the graffiti knitting name Deadly Knitshade, from London, UK. She founded the first graffiti knitting collective Knit the City. The ‘stitched story concept’ uses handmade amigurumi creatures, characters and items to tell a narrative or show a theme. This was first recorded with the Knit the City collective’s “Web of Woe” installation in August 2009.

For those who went to any of the Vogue Knitting Live events, Anna Hrachovec has had a display with very small amigurumi at New York and Chicago. I am sure there was one at the event in Seattle too. Any of her books would be a great resource for tiny knitted creatures to assist you in yarn bombing. The link below is to the Vogue Knitting Live Flickr photo stream.

IMG_6725

There are several different methodologies you can use and I will go over the two well-known ones in detail. First on the list is the TP technique. You know in movies, TV shows and high school, there is always talk about TP-ing the principal’s house. Originally toilet paper is used, hence the TP, but you can also use yarn! Simply pick your target; car, house, tree, potted plant, filing system and throw loose yarn over it. For bigger objects, see abovementioned tree, car and house, you will want to hold one end and throw the ball. As it unravels in the air, the end will stay anchored in your grip. This will cause a silly string effect and there will be yarn everywhere. You may wish to use several different colours in order to complete the look of chaos.

For smaller items, such as potted plant, coffee cup, telephone, you may wish to unravel the ball over top of said items. If you truly wish to be a pain in the neck to the yarn bombee, you may wish to use several lengths of yarn and tie the beginning of the yarn to the end after weaving the strands through any open spaces. Think the spokes of a bike; those would need to be trimmed off.

The second technique I will evaluate is the couture technique.  This is much more subtle and much MUCH more work. You would probably have to spend a couple months preparing for this one. You would actually knit things and strategically place them. I’ve seen EXCELLENT examples of this around different yarn festivals and squams.

Burger and Fries

By Nicole Gastonguay, photo taken at Vogue Knitting Live NYC

I’ve considered replacing all the equipment on someone’s desk at work with small knitted figures of computer, telephone, coffee cup, etc. But that is a lot more work than I am prepared to do at the moment.

If there are some who would like a more structured approach to their yarn bombing, you can check out this book, Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti. Author Leanne Prain goes into detail about stealth, creating your own graffiti tags and how to organize large scale textile events.

Now I will say, yarn bombing is considered graffiti and is technically still illegal in some places, although it is not vigorously enforced. So I caution all to be circumspect in your plans!!

Dear Dyery

I am happy to announce, I’ve dyed my first skein of yarn… at home… with my own tools… you know what I mean.


It was so much fun! I was a bit apprehensive about messing things up since I’ve never mixed dyestock myself, but it went okay. I would call it a success; I really love the colour I ended up with.
After some consulting with my own personal chemist, we’ve managed to tweak the process a bit in order to simplify the process. I think it will work in our favour.
I’ve been going over my notes from Chicago and New York, trying to remember what I managed to learn. It’s a good thing I took so many notes, or I would be totally lost. That being said, sometimes I stopped in the middle of a thought or made vague points along a separate train of thought.
I am resolute to be more specific in my dyeing notes this time. I bought a notebook that I have labeled my ‘dyery’, that way, I will be able to remember exactly what I did.
I hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day. Mine was really good, Paul surprised me with a charm for my Pandora bracelet, and had flowers delivered to me at work. It was a really nice surprise, especially since we agreed to give each other a wedding for all holidays and events.
I did not manage to get a photo of the beautiful flowers that were sent to me, and now they’re starting to look a little… relaxed. You’ll just have to trust me that they were vibrant, colourful, and lovely.
My parents were down this weekend for my Dad’s birthday, he actually liked the socks I made for him; the colour and the socks themselves. I believe the sum total of words said were ‘I actually don’t mind this colour’ and ‘these are actually pretty comfortable’. Which, if you knew my Dad, is pretty much gushing praise for him. I am still working on Paul’s version, I am not completely sure I will have enough yarn, a trip to the LYS may be in my future to complete these bad boys…