Saturday, March 22, 2014

Happy Spring!

At least I hope spring might be showing up wherever you are! (Or if I actually have any readers from Down Under, I guess it could be autumn, right?) It’s definitely spring here. See my lovely kale buds?


I got a whole pail full of these delicious beauties! I definitely like them better than the kale leaves. Or broccoli. Or even gai lan (Chinese broccoli), which I love. So worth keeping the kale patch through the winter. This variety is Rainbow Lacinato, a cross between Redbor and Lacinato kale. The plants are different colours: green, purple and blue-green. It’s pretty, easy to grow and fairly winter-hardy. It managed to survive –10C for days on end – unlike most of my thyme plants, sadly. This year’s babies are just starting to get their second leaves under the lights in the grow-op. I’ll need to transplant them into bigger playpens very soon.

So in celebration of spring I seem to be spending money like crazy after having been very good for months now! My poor credit card is looking a little singed around the edges. I couldn’t help myself when the latest BMV pattern sale was on and ordered a few more to add to the stash. They will take awhile to get here however. Plus I got a few digital magazines. Even though I really prefer paper, I went digital for two reasons: one, because I’m sadly running out of room on my bookshelves and two, because print magazines are getting harder and harder to find locally. They are going the way of the dodo bird! A quick download and these are immediate gratification too. More on one of them later.

Backing up a little time-wise, on Wednesday the weather was nice so we walked downtown to Dressew. I needed to get something to line my Marcy Tilton V8499 skirt. I decided that the very lightweight wool fabric was too light, sheer and drapey to work well in this pattern. But since it’s already cut out and I’m stubborn, I thought I could rescue it by using an underlining. Underlining seemed to me to be a better solution than just lining it because each piece would then have the support of the underlining individually. (Does that make any sense?) I haven’t gotten very far on the stitching yet so only a couple of small seams need to be unpicked to do this. Happily I found a lightweight 100% cotton sateen in black which will hopefully be perfect. It might also solve any problems with the skirt sticking to my tights and also should make the skirt a little less prone to major wrinkles. I can only sew the darn thing up to find out, right?

Of course I couldn’t get out of that shop without succumbing to a few other items, now could I? I got some buttons that I really like for the pockets on the skirt. (I didn’t want zippers.) And more buttons, these ones for my current sweater project. I adore Dressew’s huge button selection! They also had fold-over elastic for $.99 a package each containing 2 pieces 2 yards long which should be enough for undies. Naturally I bought 4 packages to get all the available colours! One piece is pink so it might be fun to experiment and see if it will overdye. (You know how much I do NOT love pink.) They’re nylon and lycra so that should work. I also fell for a bamboo rayon and spandex in a glorious shade of rusty orange:


I got 2 metres and I’m thinking tights. I really want to perfect a tights pattern anyway. And maybe a tank or knickers from the leftovers? It’s very light and stretchy stuff. There was also a lovely lime green and I’m now regretting leaving it in the store! It was $14.99 per metre though which is kind of on the pricey side for my usual fabric purchases.

But that’s not all! Yesterday I went with two of my dear friends out to Cloverdale to Fibres West. This is our chance to schmooze with our fellow fibre enthusiasts, get overwhelmed by the wool fumes and buy things from vendors who are mainly from out of the area or who sell mainly by mail-order. No substitute for touchy-feely for textile folks! There are excellent classes to take too but that’s not why I go since they are mostly on a beginner-intermediate level. We three had a lovely day with Our Peeps and in spite of my fervent belief that I have enough stuff in the stash came home with this haul:

FibresWest haul

Clockwise from the bottom: 2 skeins of sock yarn from Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts (Frolic and Grey Tabby), 4 tubes of 2/18 superfine merino from Jane Stafford, a large-ish cone of fine overtwisted wool and a small cone of Colcolastic (cotton and lycra thread) from Laura Fry, and finally a little bottle of Ashford spinning wheel oil with a nice long spout from Fibres Plus. Obviously I was in a spring-y mood with the yellows and naturals, huh? I guess now I actually need to weave some scarves using fulling and collapsing textures since I have all the right yarns for it! The Grey Tabby yarn is for socks for Thom in memory of our old tabby cat, Ms. Polly. Ancient Arts have some lovely kitty-coloured yarns and a portion of the sales goes to kitten rescue. I particularly liked the calico and tortoiseshell ones but thought Thom would prefer the tabby instead. The other sock yarn I fell for is a dark and subtle mix of many colours. The base yarn is 75% superwash/25% nylon for wear but they had other bases, including merino/silk and BFL. I hadn’t noticed their yarns before and obviously I’m starting to fall for the indie dyers in spite of myself! They are surprisingly not that much more expensive than the more industrial versions.

However, my quest to find a source for the undyed base yarn in reasonable amounts for a reasonable price has been thwarted again. In chatting with Felicia and Grace from Sweet Georgia I found that they get their Tough Love Sock already in skeins for dyeing. They will happily sell me the undyed version but there is no discount for that. I may perhaps go this route anyway. I actually enjoy dyeing and have lots of dyes to use up! However, it’s interesting to me that the indie dyers are none too interested in selling me their undyed product. I could understand if I was going into business against them but I’m not. I guess they would prefer that I just buy their dyed yarns at full price like everybody else but truthfully I’m not likely to buy as much of that as I would the undyed. Wouldn’t it be better to sell me lots of yarn that they don’t have to do anything to (except hand it over) at a slight discount and still make a fair profit, probably more than they would make if they had dyed the yarn? Am I missing something here? Guess that’s why they have a business and I don’t, huh?

BTW, I happily got to see Felicia’s baby boy, Russell, at Fibres West. He’s a whole 4 months old now and very cute! I’m so glad she has a whole bunch of great people working with her so that she can spend whatever time she needs with him. It must be tough to be a new mom and run a business at the same time. Not something I ever tried to do! Congrats to her and her family. Obviously I’m missing babies around here…

What else? Oh yeah. I promised to talk about a magazine, didn’t I? I picked up the digital version of Interweave’s special publication, Knit.Wear Spring 2014. I’m usually a bigger fan of patterns for cold-weather knits but whatever the season I’ve been very taken with the styles in Knit.Wear since the first issue. Not that I’ve knit any of them yet! I don’t know what it is about the aesthetics, but the kind of architectural clean lines and occasionally surprising details totally appeal to me. However, this issue has really expressed my style and there’s at least 6 or 8 sweaters that I would love to make from it. There are a lot of relaxed trapeze shapes that will fit me without much adjustment too. How refreshing! I don’t know what to focus on first. Meanwhile though, before anything else happens I need to finish my green shetland tweed pullover. Small needles and small yarn makes for a really nice sweater but a LOT of knitting! Just sayin’. It’s been nearly 2 months so far. I’m on the final few inches of the split turtleneck collar with only the sleeve bands left to go. The end is nigh.

Well, gotta go get some more seeds planted in the grow-op. They have to be big enough to go in the garden as soon as the weather is right and the beds are ready. Soon. Soon!

Later, gators!


pao said...

You are so busy I can't keep up! Sewing, knitting, dying, and gardening. But it's all creative, isn't it?

I just made some tights from a great pattern, by the way. Downloadable from Seamsters Patterns. I have the link on my current post.

Gardening?! The snow just melted so I can finally see the ground.

Louisa said...

I saw that pattern for tights and it looks lovely. However, I really want something more like lightweight leggings. No feet. One inside leg seam. I have a promising pattern from Kwik Sew on the way to try. Though I may succumb to the Seamsters one some day.

How delightful that you can touch the ground again! I love snow but get tired of it after about a week. Luckily it usually never lasts more than a few days here.

Heather said...

My goodness, you've been busy! You're amazing...