Old stuff

I loves it.

I nerded out pretty hardcore when I saw that the decor theme at this restaurant was all vintage knitting and sewing stuff.

And at a used bookstore I recently acquired these:

   

Early American Weaving and Dyeing by J. & R. Bronson was first published in 1817. It discusses how to weave 35 designs and includes 41 dyeing recipes and tips. There is detailed coverage of wool processing, calculating thread, carding and spinning, loom operation, more.

Here are some excerpts:

Needlework as Art by Lady M. Alford is rather self explanatory. It explores the history of needlearts around the world.

Excerpts:

Remember, all of this would have been done by HAND. It blows the mind. This is why I love textiles: it’s history you can hold and use.

Another cool find recently has been a flea market with a large collection of antique crochet. Did you know that all crochet is done by hand? Machines can’t duplicate it like they can with knitting. You can have faux lace made on a machine, but it is just fibres crimped and pressed together cheaply, or in some places acrylic/plastic (shudder), but it will never be true crochet like these beauties:

 

 

 

I included the cake lifter in that last shot because it’s petit point themed. How awesome is that.

Other arts involving string

Just thought you might enjoy a gander at some of the gorgeous work done by members of the Scarborough Needlearts Guild. They had samples of their work on display at the library last week and taught interested people how to use a needle and thread to make works of art.

 

 

“L” is for Librarian! This one’s my favourite :)

For the love of yarn

It’s been officially over a month since my last post. It was the holiday season and I was furiously knitting, crocheting, and sewing, so I make no apologies. More to come on those adventures soon. For now I’ll continue on the topic of my being a process knitter, or “knitting for knitting’s sake,” lest things get disjointed.

More proof of my process bent can be found in the fact that I recently got a copy of this in the mail:

One of EZ‘s best, but perhaps most esoteric works. Lots of great patterns and knitting advice next to divergent stories about her life. Because of this, some find it tedious and lacking in enough patterns to be “worth it.” Yet I find her life supremely interesting: her stories of first learning to knit as a child, how this creative spark later translated into going to school for fine art and into starting her own knitting related business, how she loved to create clothes for her family and ended up passing her passion on to her daughter Meg. To me it’s inspiring.

Let’s be frank, my love for “Knitting Around” isn’t just proof of my being a process knitter, it also exemplifies the extend of my nerdiness. Take, for example, this other tome I bought (I use tome judiciously – it is rather large):

As this review states, the book is a sort of social history told through mittens. It is a collection of traditional knitting patterns and the stories behind them. Robin Hansen “gathered them from authoritative sources in New England, the Canadian Maritimes and Scandinavia—from knitters who are grandmothers, fishermen, lumberjacks and farmers, men and women, and who learned them from parents, aunts and neighbors.”

Does this kind of talk get the interests of you guys piqued, or is it just me?

As a side note, Hansen also wrote Sunny’s Mittens (which I’ve written about previously) and this other kid’s book I just stumbled across:

As a knitter, history lover, and children’s librarian, I heart you Ms. Hansen.

The same author appeared mentioned in another book I’ve read lately:

The author, Gwen Steege has put together a great compilation of things you need to know to be a knitter who can truly say she knows her craft. In it she mentions Hansen’s “Favourite Mittens” and talks at length about her work on twined knitting:

“Twined knitting was used throughout northern Europe and the Middle East whenever a firm, flat edging was needed, such as on scooped necklines or stocking caps. Today it turns up in eastern European and Middle Eastern knitting as a decorative edging, often called ‘braided edging’, although the effect of the two-color twined purl is more like a series of sideways chevrons than braid. The apparent reason for twined knitting’s demise in many regions has to do with the spread of the German or continental method of knitting in much of Europe… In twined knitting two strands are worked alternately, usually two ends of the same (quite small) ball. The strand for the present stitch is brought consistently either under or over the strand just used, creating a half-twist between stitches… The knit side is typically quite flat and firm, and the fabric has only slight elasticity… Although working twined knitting initially seems slow, the resulting fabric is firm, warm, and durable and, depending on the yarn and ornamentation, can also be quite elegant.”

A great tutorial on twined knitting by Knitty can be found here.

Since books seems to be the theme (yet again) I have to share this other recent acquirement (sales! all sales! I swear!) :

By the great Margaret Radcliffe, this is hands-down the best book on colour knitting I’ve seen.

Lastly, I need to share this:

“From the neo-feudalistic slubs, the corn-filled world of Tane’s youth, to his apprenticeship among the deadly saleswarriors of Seattlehama–the sex-and-shopping capital of the world–to the horrors of a polluted Antarctica, Yarn tells a stylish tale of love, deceit, and memory. Tane Cedar is the master tailor, the supreme outfitter of the wealthy, the beautiful, and the powerful. When an ex-lover, on the run from the authorities, asks him to create a garment from the dangerous and illegal Xi yarn–a psychedelic opiate–to ease her final hours, Tane’s world is torn apart. Armed with just his yarn pulls, scissors, Mini-Air-Juki handheld sewing machine, and his wits, Tane journeys through the shadowy underworld where he must untangle the deadly mysteries and machinations of decades of deceit.”

Um, awesome? It’s on my to-read list.

ADDENDUM: while on the topic of nerdy knitting things, I just found this post on knitting in Shakespeare by fellow blogger Katknit. “I mean, that my heart unto yours is knit” – I might have to use that in my wedding vows…

Last minute gifts to make

Here’s a copy of a blog post I did for work. Enjoy!

Link to the original: Last minute gifts to make.

Ok, so it’s not really last minute if you’re shopping, but if you plan on making gifts to give this holiday season, the time to start is now!

Here are some great books full of instructions and inspiration.

(click on a title for link to item)

For those who celebrate Christmas:

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Index4

Index2

Or any of these other titles.

Or perhaps you celebrate Hanukkah?

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See more here.

How about Kwanzaa?

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See more here.

And then there are resources everyone can use:

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more card making resources here.

Maybe you have a particular craft you’re drawn to?

If you’re a knitter like me you might want to try searching for books with patterns for knitted gifts, such as this one:

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Or, if you aren’t the fastest knitter (also like me) or are running out of time (me again), try some of the quick-n’-easy patterns in these books:

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Into paper crafts? Want to make someone their very own unique fabric-bound journal? Try a search like this, to get books like this:

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Beading? Try a search like this one to get books like this:

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Wood working? How about searching for books like this:

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The possibilities are endless.

And don’t forget to have a gander at our librarian Recommended Websites too.

Happy Holiday Handcrafting!

Knit-In Recap

The Knit-In at Nathan Phillips Square in support of Toronto Public Library workers was a HUGE success. Thank you so much to everyone who came out. Some estimates pegged the number of participants as high as 200! That’s a pretty sizable group for a weekday event held on only 2 days notice.

A special thanks to Wise Hilda, Kate Atherley, and the Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, both of whom not only retweeted about the event but even came out to lend their support!

I knew Kate was coming, and it was still awesome meeting her, but Stephanie was a surprise. I read her blog and have read all her books. I was star struck and ridiculously excited. I snapped this picture while I was still working up the nerve to talk to her. Then I moseyed on over to say hi and thank her for coming. Turns out she is really approachable and easy to talk to, which resulted in me running my mouth off and mentioning that I wish I’d brought a book for her to sign. Immediately after I left, the media descended on her. I’m hoping it’s not my fault because they overheard me indicate she’s famous… Sorry Stephanie!

Margaret Atwood gave us a shout out on her Twitter as well. Matter of fact, it was the same day this article came out.

Speaking of articles, we had a lot of media interest. Here is what’s been published:

First there was the Sun’s article featuring an image of yours truly. Glad they published that one and left this one to Twitter. It as windy out! I have a lot of hair!

Then came the National Post’s coverage. And the Globe and Mail including this great pic in their Day in Photos section. We’re photo #7.

And of course I count Kate’s including a mention of the event on the Knitty blog to be media too ;)

Some highlights:

“… participants laid out blankets on the asphalt and brought tupperware containers filled with apples and other snacks as they knit together skirts and scarves” – this National Post statement, combined with The Sun‘s Twitter photo caption makes me think I should have chosen another knitting project, one less easily associated with librarian stereotypes perhaps. It’s not your Grandma’s skirt, I promise! And what’s with the focus on blankets and snacks? Another reporter also said on Twitter that “striking library workers are being adorable again.” Thanks for the sentiment, but I counteract with this quote by yours truly in the plug the Bissell Bombers did for us: knitting is “…part and parcel of the stereotype of librarians as dowdy, grandmotherly figures. A Knit-In in support of a library both pokes light, tongue-in-cheek fun at this stereotype while simultaneously challenging it. Today’s knitters are full of passion and vitality. They choose to craft for the enjoyment of it and bring immense creativity to what they do. Such energy is a perfect fit for activist persuits, hence the rise of knit-ins and yarnbombings.” So there.

“Author and blogger Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, known on the web as the Yarn Harlot, was at the protest, knitting what she hoped would be a scarf” – The Sun. That’s knitting for ya, you just have to close your eyes, knit, and will your desired object into existence. You can never know for sure what you’ll get.

And then, that very night it was annouced that a tentative agreement had been reached. I like to think that the knitters helped turn the tide, thank you very much.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, a photo gallery.

In case you’re wondering, the partially obscured one says “Don’t pull the wool over your eyes.”

Childrens’ Librarians can’t help but bring their puppets to the picket line. This one got his own scarf out of the day!

Katie with some of her gorgeous cable knitting and lino-cut cards she makes and sells around town as well as on her website. These ones are yarn themed! The woman just oozes creativity.

This wedding party asked if they could have their picture taken with us! I can’t believe this happened in the 15 minutes I took for a coffee break.

The woman in pink is a new knitter and one of my coworkers. She was introduced to the knitter habit of ‘yarn groping’ after I impulsively squeezed her skein. The colour! It’s just so beautiful! (Turns out it’s Malabrigo worsted in 228 Snow Bird, by the way. You’re welcome)

Life on the line

Don’t worry folks, it’s a pun! We’re on strike at my place of work.

(I just love this picture I snapped of a colleague. She made this flag herself! In case the symbolism is lost on you, we’re both librarians).

I’m not the type of person to deal with this well. Four hours a day on the picket line is surprisingly exhausting, but I find my Type A personality makes me a little stir crazy after a couple of hours once I’m back at home. You’d think I’d be knitting, but I actually tend to knit to relax and unwind at the end of a work day. No work day = wired Erin = must partake of active pastimes. So far I’ve cleaned the entire apartment, caught up on all of the laundry, concocted a recipe (see previous blog entry) and baked not once but twice. I blame the baking on my developing Pinterest obsession. First came a rather complex (for me, anyway – two different glazes!) lemon cake, and then muffins. And it’s only Thursday.

Cleaning the apartment lead to a sobering discovery. This is how much yarn I own:

Oh no, that’s not all. See the edge of the chair with the grey and cream afghan over it in the top right of the above photo? Well, this is what’s behind it:

The fiancé doesn’t know about this secret hiding spot.

Well, now I definitely won’t feel tempted to buy more yarn during the strike…