Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Sick Day WIP: Lupine


I'm home with a cold today, so I've been working on this little shawlette design I started a while back. It's actually the second version of it - the first is already finished, and just needs blocking, photography, and an official write-up! I knit the first in Malabrigo Mechita, a super squishy single-ply that has a slightly hazier, softer texture than its distant cousin, Tosh Merino Light. Mechita was an absolute dream to work with, and has earned a spot on my list of recent favorite yarns.

This second version is being knit up in a skein of Evil Genius Dye Lab M1S from my stash, in the colorway Selena. I'm enjoying the combination of gentle tonal color changes and the simple repetition of the pattern, which has kept me happy while I watch documentaries and drink tons of water and tea in bed.

Happy Wednesday, friends - I'm off to nap!

Friday, April 24, 2015

FO: Chiral


I already talked a bit about this project, but with all of our duck-wrangling from the past few weeks, I didn't have time to get it photographed!

What started as an experiment in lace turned into a functional, interesting piece of knitting - my favorite kind. The natural bias of the fabric folds down into a big, squishy shawl collar in the back, with a deep, curved shape in the front. It's a clever little thing, despite its simplicity. I'll be working up a pattern for it soon.

More details on Ravelry here.


In other news, both Monsieurs Squishy and Pooper are doing just fine, but have advanced into Rattie Old Age, which means lots of antibiotics and frequent vet check-ups. They're both back to their cranky, exuberant selves, but it's been an interesting few weeks.

Also, pro-tip: if a rat refuses to take her medicine, try putting Hershey's syrup on it. Yes, even if the meds taste like chicken. No, I don't understand it either.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Return; Art Deco Inspiration

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Well hello, friends! Since last we spoke, big exciting changes have been afoot in Chez Rat Cave, which I'll finally (finally, finally) be able to share sometime in May. I'm a bit superstitious about sharing good news on the internet until every single damn duck is properly lined up and quacking, so thanks for bearing with me!

But enough about that - onto the yarn! Last week, I celebrated my 27th birthday, and one of Blake's very thoughtful gifts to me was a trip out to Tolt Yarn & Wool in Carnation. My friend Jenny also happened to be working on Saturday - she's one of my rockstar test knitters, as well as a dear friend from my Issaquah Tinkers knit group - so it was great to squish yarn, catch up, and nerd out about yarn and projects with her.

And once I started squishing yarn, I went down a serious rabbit hole. I've been thinking a lot about Art Deco lately: the focus on functionality & beauty in art objects; the clean edges and intuitive symmetry; the soft, sophisticated color palette. As soon as I saw these colors of Quince & Co Piper sitting together on the table at Tolt, I had an idea - maybe a deeply unhinged one? - for a shawl inspired by a gorgeous Japanese vase from the 1930s, with a stained-glass-like motif down the center, contrasting white wings and a deep blue i-cord border.

So we'll see where that rabbit hole leads, I suppose!


On a bloggy note, I've also been thinking for a while that it makes sense to reduce my posting schedule a bit, from three times a week to two, with posts on Wednesdays and Fridays. I'm hoping that slightly less blogging will give me more time to focus on designing and writing - both of which I've been doing a lot more of lately, and enjoying a great deal.

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Short Interruption


Hi friends! We interrupt this week's usual posting schedule for cranky-rat-maintenance, as well as some Serious (and Potentially Very Exciting) Adult Crap. I hate to be all vague about it, but hopefully I'll have news I can actually share in a few days.

In the meantime, please enjoy this picture of Mr. Squishypants not plotting to destroy my soul while I sleep.

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Local Love: Sassafras Boutique

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This week, I went down to Sassafras, the Seattle boutique where my friend Katy works, to hang out and put together some fun, springy outfits to share on their Instagram. Sassafras is a shop that houses both retail and work spaces to showcase and support the work of local designers, and it's super cool and inspiring to hang out in a place where Seattle fashion is thriving.

And the company was top notch, too! In addition to being a sparkly unicorn of friendship and positivity, Katy is an NYFA grad, talented designer, and savvy businesslady - so of course I jumped at the opportunity to chill with her. We had such a great time going through the racks and pulling tons of beautiful, fresh, and funky pieces to play with - and this was one of my favorite looks from the day!

The dress is the Madison Dress, by BOHO Republic, and I might have to take one home with me this spring: it has that classic '50s silhouette with some major vavoom in the waist/bust ratio area, but with the easy fit of a fuller silhouette, cleverly nipped in by a shirred waist - so you can look adorable and eat all the tacos you want, which is a) a necessary part of being a fancy lady, and b) sometimes a seam-busting challenge with true vintage pieces.


The other thing I'm wearing - which I did take home because I loved it so much - was this pair of tagua nut slice earrings by Diana Fakhoury Designs. I've been feeling a major Megan Draper moment in my fashion sense lately, probably because of binge-watching Season 7 of Mad Men in my spare time, and these earrings were just the right amount of mod and swingy to indulge it.

I already posted pictures of them styled with my outfit from today on my own Instagram feed, where I would love for you to follow me. If you want to. If you're not too busy eating tacos.

Big thanks to Katy for the awesome day and photos, and to Sassafras for having me! Happy Friday, friends.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Design Notebook: Chirality

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In the last few months, I've been thinking a lot about chirality, a term from chemistry which I find beautifully descriptive of a different kind of symmetry. Basically, it describes the handedness of an object, which is exactly as it sounds: just as your right and left hand are mirrored duplicates of one another, an object which is chiral is mirrored about a point - making not quite a copy of itself, but rather an equal and opposite reflection of its essential features. (This is greatly simplifying the concept, but you get the idea.)

The whole thing sets me off on all sorts of weedy paths. On the human side of things, it can describe both our internal and external lives: we move through the world while embodying all sorts of polarized traits, and each of us as are distinct as fingerprints despite our shared interests, qualities, or origins. Just as the functionality of enantiomers can be wildly variable despite their shared chemical identities, we all move in paths independent of our bunkmates - even if, at our core, we are much the same.

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All of this, in turn, connects to ideas that I encountered a few nights ago at a wonderful lecture by the artist Ann Hamilton: of clothing as the first architecture of our lives; of art as the practice of moving experience towards form; of art as a thing both personal and communal in gesture. (The lovely combinations of words are purely hers, which I hastily jotted down in my notebook as she spoke, and I'm still working through their meanings.)

So where does knitting come into all of this?

In the midst all of these Deep Thoughts, I had an idea for a piece of knitting that would create a large-scale chevron-like effect by decreasing and increasing about two axes. In my mind, it would be a normal, flat, round thing, like a cowl. But as I knitted, the fabric began to show its bias, and eventually, its chirality: a two-dimensional object that changed its nature based on its orientation in space; that was mirrored about these two points, creating geometries unknown.

So although I had ideas about what this thing would be, in the end, it was the thing itself that decided what it was. And so, wool continues to capture my imagination; in becoming itself, independent of my hand, it has the delightful ability to challenge and shape my own inner landscape.

Happy Wednesday.