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Preview: Tricotastique!


A blog that follows the knitting exploits of Natalie as she tries to expand her knowledge, pass university and go through life relatively unscathed.

Updated: 2014-10-01T01:51:20.453-04:00


Follow Me Down the Rabbit Hole!


Four years ago I was a 1st year in university, living in a dorm. I had just discovered, mostly by chance, the wonderful online world of knitting, and when I got back to school in January I decided to join it. I started this little blog. It followed me through school, to Europe and back again. It was there when I lived in my own apartment for a year, and while York was on strike. It was still there when I moved back in with my parents six months ago. I'm not going to lie to you, it never got any where I thought it would, but I don't know that I was ever proud enough of it to really show it off. It's a bit like having your mom over to your first dark dingy little basement apartment. The best thing this blog ever did for me was let me grow into it, into not being self conscious to say that I am a blogger. However, I have bigger and better plans for myself for this coming year, and I feel like this blog is just a little too small.


On that note, I would love it if you all grabbed your hats and coats and RSS feeds and took a few steps next door to my new blog, As of today, I will no longer be blogging on this site. All the old content from here is there already, so it's just the same, but the furniture has been rearranged. I'm sure it will continue to be rearranged as I settle in, but for now it's just right. I feel much more comfortable with the wordpress platform, and I even got fancy and got a domain name! With this being the beginning of a new decade, as well as my four year blogiversary having been on the 3rd, it seems like the perfect time for new adventures. Unlike last time I'll be trumpeting it from the mountains and telling all my friends. Well, anyone who will listen!

See you there!

Little Scissors, Big Cut


Dudes, I finally did it! I've been getting lots of questions lately on whether or not I've cut the steek on my Hearts cardigan and I can finally say yes!

(image) They are hard to see, but I did machine sew some reinforcement in there. These pictures really do speak a thousand words, so I'll just leave you with them and one comment. It really wasn't as scary as I thought it would be, except for one moment in the middle where I really hoped I had done it right, because otherwise all I had was a pile of very small bits of yarn. There really is no going back from a steek.

(image) (image) (image) (image)

Sleep Sweet Snow


As far as I know it is still snowing outside, and has been since this morning. The house is freezing, so I would much rather be under the quilts on my bed. However, there is much to be done, so I'm piling on the layers elsewhere.

Snowing with Ripley


While Toronto may have had an incredibly mild start to winter, what with November and December being unseasonably warm and devoid of snowfall, the time has come for bundling. There's the longsleeved shirts and the sweaters, tights and long underwear. Hats, mitts, gloves, scarves, cowls and big parkas. While today may no be our coldest of the year, it was rather chilly. I now officially look like this 75% of my outdoor time. The other 25% I am wearing more layers.

(image) The hat keeping me warm right now is Ripley, by Ysolda. I cast on in the car on the way to the Christmas Eve pagent, and I cast off Boxing Day morning. I did the less slouchy version as I wanted it to fit inside my helmet, for when I am riding my bicycle. It took maybe just over half a skein.
I believe that I knit the length of the edging a bit longer, or until it fit around my head, as I went down a needle size to create a denser fabric. The denser the fabric, the less wind gets in! I did a bit of giggery (a technical term) and picked up more stitches as well. I can't quite remember the math, but it did work. If anyone really wanted to know I'm sure I could figure it out. I generally wear the pleats on the side, for a cloche effect, however the pleats are genius for fitting under a helmet as they reduce the bunching up of scarf/hat at the back of my neck.

Forgive the poor photos, it was cold and snowing and I think my wireless remote was getting cold and didn't want to work. I think they turned out pretty well, considering!

Pool time, Tea time.


Today was the first day back in the pool after a long vacation away. It was lovely to see all my co-workers after the holidays, not to mention that the beginning of session training is sometimes the only time I see some people. However I was brutally reminded of what a toll the water can take on my skin, especially in the winter. I will have to seriously ramp up my moisturizing schedule for the next few months.

I am really trying to finish up some knitting projects, for a combination of reasons. Most of all I need the needles off my Ishbel, but I also have some gifts that need to be given, as well as the additional mental space. Perhaps tomorrow I will catch the sunlight for photographs... In the mean time I need to be guarding very early tomorrow morning, so it's off to bed for me.

A French Press


Well I've spent most of today hanging around in my jimjams. I'm loving these legging style ones that I picked up during the Roots Boxing Day sale last week. I'm not sure if they are actually warmer, but they sure are comfy. I do feel like a bit of a kid in them, but I don't mind. Other than being cozy, it's just too cold out to think much about wearing real clothes! I did get dressed later in the afternoon to go to dinner at a family friend's house, which was delicious. Their house was much warmer than this old drafty one.

As I was remiss in posting over the holidays you'll have to excuse a bit of a belated wrap up. I couldn't write about most things while I was doing them as I'm not quite sure who actually reads this in my family. My mom checks it everyday, so I certainly couldn't risk that. I joined in on the felting insanity this year and made her a pair of French Press Slippers. She was looking for classy, sophisticated slippers when we were at the One of a Kind, but we couldn't find anything. As soon as I heard that I knew what I would do!

This was my first foray into felting, and luckily I had Meagan to help me out in it. I'm not going to lie, she did most of the work, though my excuse is that I was officially working at the time. I love how they turned out, though next time I will take the straps out earlier as they over felted a little bit and are quite stiff. Searching for buttons is always fun, and I knew that I wanted red ones. Grey and red are one of my favourite colour combinations, especially when it is a grey fabric with red buttons.

It felt like everyone was all over these this year, the thing that everyone knit for holiday presents. The nice thing about them is that they are speedy enough to give to almost anyone, but also special enough to give to people for whom you care about. I was originally going to make many more, but changed things up at the last minute. However, that's not to say that there won't be more in the future.

These were not the only thing I knit for gifts this year, so there will be more posts like this. Some of the gifts have already flown the coop to be with their rightful owners, while some have stayed closer to home. And of course, I did knit some things for myself.

A New Year


Since recaps seem to be all the rage today, I thought I'd give it a try. Hey, all the cool kids are doing it!

2009 was... interesting. Many of the things I thought would happen didn't, while many unexpected things did. No one thought the TA's strike at York would go on until the end of January, and I really thought my days of living with my parents were over. I've been living in the basement (cliche I know...) since August, and it's really fine. I certainly didn't think I would go to New York twice!

I was able to go to two fiber events, Squam and Rhinebeck, as well as one music festival, Mariposa. The photography on here has improved exponentially since I got my Nikon D40 in June, and even better when I got a new lens in October. I am loving photography in a way that I didn't expect at all. I hope that in 2010 I will be able to continue to hone my skills. I finally finished my undergraduate degree last month, and not a moment too soon! I took my bike riding to new levels when I bicycled through a fair amount of last winter, though that was tested yesterday when a set of streetcar tracks depostited me in the intersection rather unceremoniously. I hope next year will go better than that!

In 2010 I hope to go to Europe, and to a few fiber events. I have big plans that will be made public in the next few days that I am very excited about. I am looking forward to another February trip to California, this time without writing papers on the bathroom floor of the hotel! I hope to find the courage to act upon my ideas and dreams this year. I have a terrible habit of holding myself back, but I feel like this year will be much better. My greatest wish is to be able to completely transform my work schedule in the next 6 months, which will be a challenge, but I am ready for it. There is no try, only do.

I've got 2010 in my sightlines and I'm ready.

Party Hearty!


Well the party is all done, and I can hardly believe that we squished that many people into the house! It was really hard to take pictures as there wasn't very much room between people. My mom did get this one of myself and my two cousins, Johanna and Katie, before things got too busy.
(image) In the craziness of it all we forgot to take a family photo until this morning, so while it is nice, we aren't all dolled up in our finery. I will be posting more pictures of the party later this week, but for a very specific reason!

(image) I swear we didn't mean to match our sweaters, it just happened that way...

Party Prep


What's this I see?! The tree has been trimmed.
(image) Cookies and sleighs wait expectantly to be unwrapped.

(image) The stockings sit in a row on the mantle.
(image) There is plenty to drink.
(image) Crates of juice, fizzy water and more baked goods are at the back door.
It looks like we're having a party!

Snow Crafts


Now that it's starting to look like this a little more often, all I want to do is curl up and craft all day. This view across the street from my parents house only lasted a few hours earlier last week, but it put an enormous smile on my face. The sun was shining, the snow was sparkling, everything was perfect.
(image) As for many people, my crafts these days are holiday themed. I am working very hard on my advent calendar. It's going along quite well, though I am woefully behind on what day it actually is. Who's idea was it to have 24 days of advent?! So many pockets, so many buttons, so many little numbers.

(image) (image)
(image) And I haven't the foggiest clue where to put them when they are done....

Tea Mug, School Time


I'm a busy bee at work this week, which is alternately terrifying and rather excellent. The work in question is the final projects for my undergrad, which will be handed in tomorrow. Thus, they signal the end of my undergraduate degree. To say that I am excited would be an under statment. I am very much looking forward to starting the rest of my life, which is also part of the scary. Stay tuned since some of these plans I have involve you, my readers.

(image) However, I am currently left huddled up finishing things off for now. I have surrounded my self with tea, and some soothing stockinette for when I need some thinking. And what better way to celebrate finishing all this off than with a new mug? I took a break last night to go to the One of a Kind show with my mom, and found this. It's by a local potter that my mom and I visit every time we go. In the small world that Toronto is, her daughter also went to school with my brother, so we always have a chat with her. Mom got a lovely little square dish, and I also got a small paisley plate to put my stitch markers on. I'll do a bigger post about it all, and the other things I found later. You know, when I don't have school work looming over my head.
Off for another pot of tea!

Flashlight at the Dakota


(image) Last weekend Flashlight Radio played their first gig since their CD release at the end of August. I got to play photog with my new lens! The show was at the Dakota, on Ossington, which is quickly becoming my favourite bar. The lights, the decor, the atmosphere; it's just so cozy and fun! I was a little disappointed since Liam was supposed to play pedal steel, which I love, but he's been recording his new album, so hasn't had much time to practice. Not to worry, since that meant he was playing guitar instead, so it all worked out. Kieran Adams played drums.

(image) I absolutely love this picture, thems be some wicked shoes Benny!

(image) And of course, Ben's dad Ken cam out to play a tune on the piano. Nothing like some father/son photos to round it all out.

A Book Knit


Just a quick peek at the knitting that is going on right now. It's starting to get into holiday time, so I can't talk much about it, but don't you just love the Starry?!

(image) I've also picked up an old, favourite series of books. I first read these in highschool, and the spines of all three books are creased from re-readings. I was feeling in the mood to read the His Dark Materials series again after seeing them in a book store yesterday, but my copies are packed away in a box. These have been sitting on my shelf and calling to be read for a few months now, so when I couldn't sleep it was easier to grab these than go rooting through boxes. Sabriel is the first in a trilogy of light fantasy for older teens by Garth Nix. If you liked all that Twilight business, but want something with more substance I might suggest these. Well fleshed out characters, a compelling story line and exceptionally well written. Much better than that other stuff.

One of these things....


I was wondering why the decreases were taking so long... turns out it helps if you knit them the same.

Needless to say I've frogged back to the thumb to fix another mistake I made, though I've almost knit it all back up.

Found: Mittens


While I didn't love the pattern/yarn combo before, I did love the colours. So when my little four year old friend asked for pink and purple mittens I knew exactly which colours to reach for. I decided to keep using the charcoal as a contrast since I still had a bunch of that left over as well. They will be a perfect bit of cheeriness on grey days.


Galileo on LSD


It is my belief that very knitter has it, every knitter does it. They pick a pattern, pick some yarn, pick some needles and knit it up. The pattern will be lovely, the yarn is top notch, and yet it just won't come together into something that actually makes sense.

Such was my problem with the Galileo Mittens. I started them last November, to help Laura sort out some kinks in the pattern and merrily knit the first one. Now, this was back before the whole fair isle mitten spree that I've done in the past year, so I was still new at this mittens business. Despite my best attempts to make the mitten bigger, as I knew Laura's was running small, the dang thing was still tiny. In hindsight it was my mistake to use Lorna's Laces instead of the suggested Koigu, or something closer to sport weight, but still. Also, the colour striping of the Candy Apple colourway I chose is kind of on crack. If Galileo ever wanted to actually wear these, it would be because he was halucinating on LSD.

I knit the other one in an exercise in futility, and set them aside to wait for their thumbs. I was really thinking of frogging them until about a month ago when Katie was over and for some reason I had her try them on. She is a bit of a miniature person, so they actually fit her! Yesterday I got off my but and knit up the thumbs, to varying amounts of success and convinced my mom to wear them for photos today. They are far from my best work, but they are done and are going to be usefull, so I don't really care.

Now I've just got to knit the leftovers into mittens for a four year old. I'm thinking stripes.

Warmed Up


Last night, when I did finished the last colourwork row on my Warm Hands cardigan, I could hardly wait to try it on. I ran around the house showing it off.

(image) While my mom and I were taking pictures this morning the neighbourhood cat came by to say hello. He's been hanging out in our yard for about 8 years now, so it's almost like he's ours. He certainly knows when it's dinner time!

(image) Of course, it's not quite done. I still have to cut the steek... eep! I've been looking at tutorials on line, but I'm going to ask advice tonight at Lettuce as to how to proceed. This is not something to be taken lightly.
(image) In the mean time I've started knitting the Beaumont Tam from Jared Flood's Made in Brooklyn, out of Blue Skies Alpaca's Alpaca & Silk. Mmmm.... soft.....
(image) Off to make cookies and have a tea party!

Pumpkin Fun


Halloween is one of my favourite times of year, and this year was no exception. The smell of leaves, the fresh air and little children running around in sugar comas. Perfect! This year I got together with some friends to carve pumpkins, something I hadn't done in years. We were very focused in our carving as you can see. What an amazing way to spend an afternoon.

(image) (image) We also discovered the perfect use for Aaron's delivery bike. On the way home we put some LED
lights in it too. It got some funny looks, but I can't think of anything more festive than a black bike with a cheery orange pumpkin bungeed to it!

Penguin Claps


Way back in before I left for New York I bumped into some neighbours of ours who's kids I look after some times. I noticed that their little 2 year old boy was wearing socks on his hands instead of mittens. They're in the midst of a messy renovation of their house, so I wasn't surprised. I'm sure they're tucked away in storage and they just haven't had the time to dig them out again. That being said, I decided to whip up a little pair of mittens to cover some little hands.

They have no thumbs, and penquin buttons I found in my stash for the string. The yarn is leftover Cascade Eco+ knit at a very tight gauge on 3.25mm needles. They have been gifted and worn. Nothing brightens up your day more than the sound of mitten claps and the sight of a smiling toddler!

It's a helluva town....


Last weekend, as anyone knows, was Rhinebeck. I, being the adventurous knitting I am, decided that this was the year I would go. And so, I did. I drove down on the Friday with some people from Lettuce, and spent the night in a lovely house. On Saturday we drove to the sight and shopped our little hearts out, and then ate some delicious food. Then, I took a deep breath and asked them to drop me off at the Rhinecliff train station just outside of Rhinebeck. I boarded a train, and not two hours later I found myself in a very big city. New York City!

Now all this might have been entirely overwhelming had I not had someone very special looking out for me, my cousin Renata. Actually I had a little crew of people, including her roommates Julia and Julie (I know!) who didn't mind at all that I slept on their couch for three nights. My days were spent wandering about in Manhattan while the evenings passed knitting in Queens. Renata was working on her very first sock, so we turned the heel in stages over the weekend.

These are some of my very favourite pictures from the weekend, though I have to say there isn't much from Rhinebeck. My fingers were much to busy touching wool to touch my camera in any meaningful way.




(image) Toronto is currently grey and very blustery. What better way to spend it than inside with a terrible (yet entertaining) book, and some excellent knitting? This sweater is speeding along at quite the clip, I've got about 9 inches of the body done. Unfortunately it is going to go on hold for a week now, as I am going to take along some more compact knitting for Rhinebeck/New York City. We leave tomorrow! So much excitement!

Purple and Gold for the win


Like most knitters, fall is a busy knitting season for me, thought it always feels way busier than it should be. Or maybe I'm just never as prepared as I should be. At any rate, on top of holiday knitting, I also have a number of birthdays to contend with, one of which is my brother.

Not unlike many brothers, he is rather difficult to knit for. I was informed this summer that the red Koolhaas I knit him for Christmas was never worn, but not for any particular reason. Apparently the fact that I had knit it was enough to render it unwearable. It was made abundantly clear that he fit into the 'unappreciative' subsection of giftees. This was hard to hear, after all I had put in a good two days of work knitting the thing for him, and even let him pick out the colour. A knitter of less fortitude might have given up at this news, however I decided I would give it one last attempt. After all, I am his big sister and it is my job to be annoying, especially when it comes to gifts.

So I settled down and knit him a scarf a few weeks ago, and wove in the ends this morning. His birthday isn't until the end of the month, but the kid was home for Thanksgiving, so it needed to be given today. It's a basic 2x2 rib in alternating big and little stripes, in purple and gold.

This isn't just any scarf, it's a Wilfred Laurier University Varsity scarf. For my brother who is not just a student, but also on the varsity swim team. Jesse told me this weekend that he had to go out and buy the sweatshirt because he didn't own anything purple or gold and it was starting to get embarrassing. Now he has a scarf too!

(image) I was a little worried, but in the end it was declared "actually sick" which translates to "probably going to be worn". Now he has something to keep him warm on the way to those 5am swim practices.

And the red Koolhaas? It was regifted to a friend who was looking for a hat. It is much happier keeping someone's head warm.

Cold Hands, Warm Heart


Sometimes everything with knitting just comes together. I saw Kate of Kelbourne Woolens knit this sweater a couple of years ago and loved the sweater, but she only released the pattern this month in latest Vogue Holiday edition. As soon as I found out it was being released I started thinking of yarn options.
And I thought of the perfect combination! Nordique, from Veronik Avery's new St. Denis yarn. I knit a little dude from the accompanying magazine a few weeks ago, and I really like it. Denny and Amy helped me pick out a pale blue for the main colour, and then light grey, white and a dark blue for the yoke. The yarn isn't the softest, it's pretty sheepy, but very nice. I think it will soften up a lot in the wash. I whiped up the first sleeve in class on Thursday, and I'm almost halfway through the second. At this rate I might have another sweater for Rhinebeck next weekend!

Brownie Hawkeye


I went to the St. Lawrence Market today with the parents and picked up this little gem. It's a genuine Brownie Hawkeye! These camera's were hugely popular in the 50's and took 6x6 photos. The lens needs a bit of a clean, but other than that it's ship shape!

I also picked up a thimble to help with some hand quilting I'm doing. It will save my little fingers... Got to finish up the quilt before it gets too chilly!

T Cafe


With the increase in reading material from school comes another cafe review! I'm really enjoying these, it's a bit of an excuse to get out and try different places that I've been meaning to go to but haven't made it to yet...

Today I ventured out to Bloor St, partly to buy a text book from Book City and notebooks from the Outer Layer, but also to go to a cafe. I'd heard of the T Cafe, and had obviously seen it since it stopped being the local diner spot Dooney's. My friend Victoria would go frequently before she moved back to England, so it is to her that I dedicate this cup of tea!

(image) I had a mango tea 'on the rocks', which is a fancy way for saying iced tea. It's a sweet idea really, and perfect for this time of the year. You get a whole carafe of iced tea, there are four flavours to choose from and you can get them sweetened or not. The specialty teas were a little more expensive than at other places, but I have a feeling they may come by the pot, meaning you get more than usual. This must still be explored. They are also apparently starting to serve brunch on Saturdays and Sundays as well, which is excellent since with Mel's Cafe gone, there really isn't a place to go other than Future's. Their selection of gourmet sandwiches sound delicious!

(image) I got through the first 20 pages of the 54 I have to read by Thursday, which is pretty good. I have loads of time tomorrow to finish up my summaries and such.

(image) You can see the battle between summer and fall in the tree that shades the patio, the tips are just starting to show red. I had a few leaves fall on me while I was sitting there. It made me really want to finish my knee highs, so I got a few rounds in on that too.

All in all a really well rounded cafe, with free wifi, comfortable seating inside and out and friendly staff. The prices are only a little high, but you do get more than other places, so perhaps it evens out.