Finished Projects: Before Dark

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Yaaaass I finally finished my Before Dark cardigan. I made it after being inspired by this blog on harvesting yarn from sweaters, it's made of 100% recycled materials. Both the sweater that I recycled the yarn from and the buttons came from the same op shop, coming to a grand total of about $16. See my original post all about that here.This pattern had a lot of good things going for it. I just love the double breasted style and garter edging. Despite a lot of Ravellers complaining about the loose bell-ish sleeves, I really like that feature, tight sleeves usually scream discomfort to me.

In hindsight I could have possibly done with a smaller size, especially because in the underarm area it bunches somewhat awkwardly.

I've had this project on the go for about a month and a half, being interrupted by my getaway up North and also the fact that I got a new job this week, which is pretty exciting and cool, mainly because I now have some spending money. Yesterday I decided to treat myself to some new knitting things, I picked up some of this pale-blue 12 ply (but really it knits like more of a 10 ply).

 To my surprise my new favourite knitting shop stocks knit picks interchangeable circular needles, so I thought I'd try them out before committing to the entire set. I've since cast on my Marion cardigan, I'm becoming less unsure about this wool that I dyed last weekend, I forgot how fun it is to knit with varieagated yarn, each stitch is a new colour, that helps to spice up an evening of knitting.

Happy knitting/crafting!

A Bit of a Yarn Makeover

Saturday, June 21, 2014

I brought a load of this camel coloured wool at an Op Shop ages ago, but it has sat in my wool stash for a long time cos I had no idea how to use it. But recently I had a brainwave to just dye the whole lot. So I wound it up into hanks and tied it off to soak it overnight to dye it with food colouring the next day. I read a really useful tutorial that suggested soaking the yarn in vinegar (which I would add anyway to the dye bath) which helps to soften the yarn, and it really worked! The wool was so itchy beforehand and now it's actually a lot softer. There was surprisingly a lot of wool wound into those balls, I weighed it on my scales at around 450 grams but I'm not sure how accurate that result was, cos there was a lot in those skeins. 

Dyeing yarn is the most inexact science, I went in intending to dye it a teal blue colour, but I ran into a few problems. Firstly I had so much wool I had to split it between two pots, which would cause dye lot problems if I wanted a consistent solid colour, so I went for a more 'space dye' effect by adding in a little green and yellow. But I realised I did not have enough blue food colouring to get a strong blue colour, and to avoid getting a really pale colour I upped the green and yellow, and thus the result was green with blue accents. The photos below are kind of inaccurate of the colour, they show up more of a muted blue/green but in reality it's really lime green. So now I have a heap of variegated lime green wool to use, I'm thinking of making the Marion cardigan, watch this space.

Really Enjoying Florals

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

 Well I brought this fabulous floral jacket last week during a visit to my hometown. Despite being on a self-imposed spending ban until I get some success in my job hunting, I caved and brought it because I have a thing for statement jackets. It's this lovely antique floral tapestry fabric, which screams nana so you know, perfect for me. And can we just take a moment to stare at how curly my hair is at the back, I didn't realise until I took these photos. Although I did have a fair idea after some drunk strangers groped it exclaiming "how curly" when I was standing in line to get into a club the other week.

Blazer: Thrifted from a Consignment Store. Dress: Factorie. Tights: ASOS (these are really good tights). Shoes: Dr Martens from Urban Outfitters.

It is becoming so wintery here in Dunedin, I was shivering when I took these photos so what I'm wearing isn't really an accurate representation of how many layers of clothing are required. It snowed here not that long ago in May which is ridiculous, and even more ridiculous is that I missed it because I was in Blenheim. I'm currently enjoying having some free time to knit and watch endless episodes of Grey's Anatomy. I hate not working, but I guess it's kind of like getting a delayed summer holiday which didn't happen for me at all last summer due to working. I'm almost finished my Before Dark cardigan so expect a post about that up on here soon.

Here's a close look at the lipstick I'm wearing, it's Fifth ave Fuchsia by Maybelline. I'm really into fuschia/pink shades at the moment.

Good Things, Great Things

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Here's a few things that have made me feel inspired recently, majority of the following is craft related. Having a lot of free time is to blame for this. I heard a quote recently that went something like "Creative energy sometimes comes from the lowest point in your life" and it pretty much sums up my relationship with crafting. It's like a nice soothing outlet, knitting a few rows often helps me brush out my anxiety, and there is nothing that beats the feeling of accomplishment when you create something out of some raw materials. 

This hand stitched (pun intended!) shirt by Marilla

This garter-stitch striped wonder. It reminds me of those Dr Who scarves that are making the internet rounds lately. I don't watch Dr Who, but I secretly still want one, like I don't have a million other things to knit.

My dream craft room visions came true. The colours! The functionality! The ability to grab your yarn as you please, without having to leave the couch!

I spent an evening lusting over Karen O's awesome style, and this was one of my favourites. Seriously my favourite rock band front woman.

Necessary cat silliness to remind me that life isn't all deathly serious.

This completely smart way to display your collection of mismatched vintage buttons.

The Elsie Dress, especially love the 40s styling. 

This Black Watch tartan coat, I have a Black Watch tartan blazer similar to it but I never wear it because it is a touch too '80s power suit.

This red garter stitch cardigan. It looks actually really easy to knit, so perhaps I'm going to try and figure that pattern out real soon 'cos I need this cardigan in my life, I need it. 

New Zealand Wool Haul

Saturday, June 7, 2014

In Blenheim we visited this artisan shopping center called Vines Village. It included a cafe, a place for wine tasting, gift shops, a fudge shop and luckily for me a knitting and weaving shop. It was decked out with New Zealand yarns, and I am really wishing I took a photo because it was like a knitter's dream in there. I picked up a couple things there, two balls of sea-blue merino 8ply, and a beautiful skein of 10 ply merino. I'm never really sure if I should bother getting small amounts of wool because I only tend to make things that are at least 200gm minimum. If anyone can think of projects that would be suitable for these skeins, especially the 10 ply, then please send them my way.

Road Tripping: Blenheim and Nelson

Friday, June 6, 2014

Recently I took a trip up to Blenheim to catch up with a friend of mine who moved up there at the beginning of this year. It was a 9 hour trip by car which I drove all by myself, which was actually awesome because I had some great playlists prepared and spent most of the trip singing along and attempting to dance whilst driving. The above photo was outside the Nelson toilets, we took a day trip there to catch up with my brother, in all honesty we spent the majority of the day with food comas after a huge lunch at a place called Hangar 58, then we got lost trying to find the Kmart.

We visited the Marlborough SPCA one day for something to do and almost came home with three kittens each. I've always wanted to have two cats who are brother and sister, and therefore will enjoy one another's company and will sleep curled up beside each other, so it was hard to leave these two behind.

Blenheim is the national center for anything aviation, along with the RNZAF they have New Zealand's best aviation museum. Both being History graduates me and Sara were in war nostalgia heaven. We ended up going home and watching like 5 WWII movies that night.

On the way driving back, with Sara accompanying me this time we checked out the Seal cove that is about half an hour north of Kaikoura. During from about April to September all the seal pups migrate here away from their mothers to grow up in isolation, and bond with other seal pups. In the above photo there was probably 100+ seals frolicking in front of our face. It's things like this that make me feel pretty privileged to live in the world's wildlife capital.

Currently I'm feeling the post-holiday blues, I may be pretty much unemployed at the moment but it's taken me an entire week just to go through the application process for one job I'm really hoping I get. Unless anyone is wondering job-hunting is a full-time job, but it's unpaid.

Sustainable Crafting

Sunday, May 18, 2014

I recently stumbled across The Better Sweater Project, a blog about harvesting yarn from thrift shop sweaters and then transforming the yarn into an entirely new sweater. I haven't unravelled a sweater for a long time, and reading this blog reacquainted me with the process. So I headed down to my local op shop to hunt for a worthy sweater, and found this rusty tweed number, it's a men's sweater too so there was plenty of wool to unravel.

I'm using the wool to make this pattern, which was on my ravelry queue anyway and it just so happens that the wool was the right thickness for the pattern. There's something incredibly satisfying about using recycled materials when you craft, and breathing new life into old clothing. Also it beats spending like $8 per 50gm of wool.

You can even submit your own better sweater to the website, here.

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Feminist Link-up

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I have a pretty strong relationship with feminism, yet this relationship is not without its difficulties. I chose to minor in Gender Studies at university, a decision which everyone thought was frivolous. Including my parents, my close friends, and teaching staff (from other disciplines obviously). It's true that by deciding to study Gender Studies, I was in turn making my political views very out in the open, and unfortunately most people I encounter openly reject those views. Feminism is such a conflicted term, the basic values are almost unanimously agreed upon by most people, yet few want to identify with the label feminist. I've even started dropping the Gender Studies portion from my degree when people ask me what I studied at University, I'm not usually partial to having heated political debates with strangers, but people would assume so if you're a Gender Studies student.
Anyway I feel I've internalized all this feminism backlash a little too much. There is so much dialogue and resources and conversation to encounter. To keep track of things I've started a separate feminist tumblr, called Feminist Fancies. I intend to post both the serious nitty gritty feminism and to highlight the cringe-worthy misinformed attempts at explaining gender.

Here's a sample of what I've been reading recently and have found noteworthy. Maybe this could become a regular feature on The Suffragette.
  • Rape of Thrones, Why are the Game of Thrones Showrunners rewriting the books into misogyny? By Sonia Saraiya. A great article on that rape scene from Game of Thrones season four, episode three. It discusses how rape is more often than not inaccurately used as a plot device, and how sexualisation is problematic in the Series as a whole.
  • 17 Lies We Need to Stop Teaching Girls about Sex By Julianne Ross. The various points made about the myths of sex in this article would make a starting point for more informed sex education in school. There should probably be a counterpart to this article on the myths taught to boys about sex. 
  • The Language of Dude Feminism by John Mccarroll. This is an excellent article breaking down the 'misinformed' feminism. By 'Dude Feminism' Mccarroll refers to 'Real men don't...." stylized campaigns. This attempt to reach out to men about feminism has been popular, at the cost of reinstating gender norms, especially normative masculinity. 

Finished Knits, Mustard Cardigan

Sunday, May 4, 2014

This morning I finally finished my Mustard cardigan, this was actually a bit of a milestone for because it's my first sweater/cardigan. It was such an easy pattern to follow, here's the Ravelry dets here. I was worried it was going to be a bit too tight because I played around with the guage to fit some wool I brought on a whim, but after it was blocked it actually sits quite nicely, except for the button band not behaving. Next time I'm picking up stitches I'll be more careful on picking up the stitches as close to the edge as possible.
I'm already planning my next project, most likely this garter double breasted beauty. I just love garter stitch so much, I was seriously on the road to knitting a sweater entirely in garter, until I read the pattern and it was knit in the round on circulars. Knitting garter on circulars is not worth it - why bother kitting and purling if you don't have to I always say.

Hope you all have had a great weekend, I'm going to go nerd out and watch the most recent GoT episode (hoping it's not as much of a dissapointment as last week, all that storyline with Crasters keep and Gilly was unusual?)


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

You may have noticed my new blog header/layout, I felt it was time for a fresh start. Out with the old slapdash header that's been on this blog for a while and in with the new. Similar effort has gone into the new one really, but this time around I did some research on getting the resolution right, and the equal importance of wreath embellishments, with he help of this blog post.
I guess you could say I'm on a bit of a spring cleaning roll lately. I'm in the process of cutting all the bad shit out of my diet/lifestyle. I watched this thing on TV the other week about how this guy had cut sugar out of his diet, and it sort of made me have a revelation about how much sugar is in my diet. After much research I'm currently avoiding sugar wherever possible, and substituting it for dextrose, which is like ordinary sugar without the bad stuff. I'm obsessed with making healthy desserts/dupes, like avocado chocolate pudding, or coconut oil fudge. It all helps that I'm not working full time anymore so I have time to make myself healthy food/ not tempted to head over to the convenience store in my breaks and buy the discount chocolate bars, also snickers bars were my favourite coping method after a full-on day at work. 

Anyway I feel like I pretty much forgot I had a blog over the summer, so I'm going to attempt to recreate my summer here in one blog post. Honestly I took hardly any photos this summer, and only occasionally did some outfit shots. 

Here is a pretty typical work outfit, I work in a gift shop so I can pretty much wear whatever I like, provided it's not too casual. I have practically lived in those cherry red Dr Martens, which I picked up insanely cheap at the Urban Outfitters cyber monday sale. 

I also made a fair bit of jewellery this summer, the necklace below was made from polymer clay, everyone tells me it looks like I'm wearing candy.

At the moment I'm sort of between jobs, my hours are only part time and I'm going on a longish holiday at the end of may. So I've had a lot of spare time on my hands. I'm not one to sit around without a project, so I started knitting this mustard cardigan a few weeks ago, despite being a pretty avid knitter I've never knitted any thing major like a cardigan or sweater, I've always ended up unravelling whatever I started. I brought the mustard wool on a whim when it was on sale at the craft store, and just found a pattern to match it. I've always wanted a mustard cardigan so it's a bit of a win-win.

P.S. I hacked half my hair off. I had been growing it out for SO long, and when I finally had it at a good length I couldn't bare it, it was way too thick, frizzy and dry so I got an inverted bob, which is possibly the best hairstyle ever for my hair type. I'm always down with hair that is low-maintenance.

Recent Pins

Saturday, February 8, 2014

I'm really digging pinterest as of late, I recently reached the 3000 pins mark - wouldn't like to think how many hours it took to accrue that. When I get home from a 8 hour shift in retail every day I don't have energy for much else other than crazed pinning, then on my days off I often use my free time to attempt some DIY. I tried to make polymer clay beads this week, but this story doesn't end well because I had all the settings wrong when I baked them in the oven and they turned out all black and singed. But nevertheless I'm still on the lookout for new DIY ideas, and I love nothing better than pinning some outfit ideas. I've been considering doing a post on my work outfits, but everytime I get home I sit down and can't get myself back up again, let alone take a nice outfit photo.

So here's what's been hot on my pinterest lately:

That fox brooch is brilliant, and that bright orange against the navy looks fabulous.

I don't necessarily need a new pair of Dr. Martens. But I love all the limited edition printed ones that Urban Outfitters stock, including these poppy ones.

I recently purchased my first MAC lipstick the other week in the shade Diva. I swatched Vegas Volt in store but it didn't look quite as wearable as I thought, a touch too orange. But it looks amazing in this photo.

I still love a good old fashioned leather biker jacket, especially paired with black mary jane Dr. Martens.

This is hilarious. Cats will never not entertain me.

This outfit is perfection, the fit of the dress, the aqua against the teal tights, and then a mustard cardigan - colour heaven. Also Hel-looks is such a great haven of outfit inspiration.

Perfect nail and collar combo, I've found a new appreciation for pink.

These sewn cats are so cute, would look great as a brooch.

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