Sunday, December 30, 2007

New knits

I'm so close to finished with Demi--only one sleeve and a bit to go. I ran out of yarn, but I don't think color matching the creme-colored yarn should be too much of a challenge (I'm already mixing two dye lots with no problem). So it's time to start seriously thinking about my next project. I'm fairly set on the Minimalist Cardigan from Interweave Knits Fall 2007:

It should be relatively quick. I think I'll make it in black wool so I can wear it with everything. I'm also keeping an eye on new fashion for inspiration. I love this Esme sweater by Ulla Johnson, seen at Basic Boutique:

I think this could be a fun one to try to recreate. I love that sideways knit yoke! I wonder what they have around the collar that makes it look so polished--maybe a crocheted edge or i-cord would have a similar effect? It also looks like you'd have to double or triple up on the yarn for the yoke--it looks so much more bulky than the drapey body. In any case, I'd love to see someone tackle this type of sweater.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Involving the ears

I heart Podcasts.

Do you ever get overwhelmed when you look at concert listings, and feel like you don't have enough time to keep up with what's going on in the music scene? Ok, before I start to sound like an infomercial, I just wanted to share some online (legal!) music sources that I have found to be a wonderful way to keep up with new music.

WXPN, a public radio station from UPenn plays a great selection of music--mostly new rock/indie stuff. You can listen to them online by clicking here and following the instructions.

On iTunes (which is a free program, for those who don't yet have it, and I swear its not that scary to figure out), you can subscribe to free podcasts if you go to the iTunes store. My favorite music ones are as follows:

NPR: Live Concerts from All Songs Considered
NPR: All Songs Considered
MPR: The Current Song of the Day
KEXP: Song of the Day
KEXP: Live Performances Podcast
NPR: World Cafe: Next from WXPN

For those of you who prefer stories and intellect, try these:

This American Life (Ira Glass is pretty dreamy)
WNYC's Radio Lab (excellent program, with a science-y spin)

Twinkle temptation

I've had a mild obsession about Twinkle knitwear since I first came across her book, Big City Knits, about a year ago. The sweaters look amazing on the models, and I adore big, soft yarn and texture (as evidenced in the previous post about the giant knit rug). Match made in heaven, right? Maybe, but maybe not. The patterns in Big City Knits get rather mixed reviews due to the limited size range, errors in the patterns, and the fact that extra chunky sweaters aren't exactly figure-flattering.

I'm currently trying to decide if I want to invest in some yarn to make this:

The pattern is available for free on the Canadian Living website. I've seen a lot of people make this one, and sometimes it looks really cute. I don't really like it buttoned up all the way--but I have never seen a picture of someone wearing it unbuttoned. This makes me nervous--does it only work if you button it? Also worrisome is the fact that I always seems to like the sweater best in photos of the sweater itself--as opposed to on the person who made it. All of this adds up to my logical mind telling me to move on to a more flattering pattern. But that yarn! Oh, and those giant cables! Can I really resist? I think I can get some sale yarn and make a version of this sweater for $25...maybe its worth it? I'm thinking it would look great in a pale purple. If anyone out there reading this has an opinion, please leave a comment!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Veggie Paella

I went to a dinner party with a Spanish theme a few weeks ago. They served sangria, tapas, and paella. They were even kind enough to make a small veggie paella for me. Paella is one of those dishes that I really enjoy, but rarely think about. The party got me thinking about it again, so last night I pulled out my own recipe to give it another shot.

It came out pretty well--chock full of vegetables, chickpeas and rice. It's quite a nice, healthy meal for a winter night. I used a recipe from VegWeb by Curtis Aikens. I just happened to have a bit of saffron left over from a stay in India a few years ago. Despite it's age, it was actually still very flavorful and colorful. Apparently saffron strands will keep for several years if stored in a dark, air-tight container.

And speaking of the container--I love it. It's lime green, about 1.5 inches tall and features Hindu deities. I'll be keeping this one.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Resist dyed fabric

Oi! It's been a very long time since my last post. For those of you still in school, or who remember those days, you'll understand that the time between Thanksgiving and the Winter holidays is difficult. Luckily, the end is in sight! I finished my independent study on resist dyeing techniques, and have been putting my project binder together. It includes 55 pages filled with fabric swatches and library research on resist dyeing in Africa, India, Japan, and Indonesia. Last weekend I set up an indigo vat by myself for the first time. It took a little trial and error, but in the end I got good results for my starch resists. I found a very detailed indigo vat tutorial online here, for those of you who might like to try this someday. I would suggest setting it up outside or perhaps in a basement or garage. It's messy, and not something you want near anything you care about or might eat.

Here are a few images of some of the textiles I made:

Board clamped resist
Starch resisted king

Starch resisted elephant

I hope to make a triumphant return to sewing in January. I have this Burda dress on queue, as well as this Burda skirt. My Demi sweater is now almost half finished, and looking great!