Monday, 25 February 2013

Fashion over Function

Although this is usually a knitting-only blog, I recently had a fashion experience that I thought I would share with you all.

Ever since I moved into my condo, my Saturday nights have consisted of pizza and a movie in front of my TV. I cherish my calm Saturdays, usually spent snuggled with my boyfriend rather than out and about. I have become a bonafide homebody, and seem to be having a honeymoon with my condo. I don't want to leave!

Before I moved in, I would never pass up an opportunity to indulge in a club or bar downtown, dinner with my friends, hit a patio or two in Little Italy or grab an ice cream in Yorkville and walk around aimlessly. Seeing as I haven't really been to a social outting out of the confines of my cozy diggs in months, I jumped at the opportunity of dinner and dancing with my boyfriend and some friends. Of course, I decided on a cute outfit and couldn't WAIT to wear my delicious new Brian Atwood "Maniac" pumps in Coral calf hair.

I bought them at Holt Renfrew Last Call during a closing sale. The shoes had an original price tag of $695 Canadian, and I paid $89 + HST *insert happy dance*. I love Brian Atwood, and was thrilled to finally be able to snag a pair of his shoes without breaking the bank.

Brian Atwood "Maniac" pump in coral calf hair
 I paired the shoes with a white silk blouse from Aritzia and navy blue skinny pants with blue velvet polkdots. I added some gold stud earrings, Stella & Dot clover long gold necklace, Michael Kors Tortoise & Gold watch, and my favorite Alviero Martini 1a Classe thick bracelet. I looked pretty good, until I stood up.

I couldn't walk: I bought the shoes a half-size too small - on purpose no less. My foot is quite narrow, so when I wear heels my feel slide, leaving a ghastly gap at the back. Usually, buying a half-size too small ensures my foot won't slide and I won't have to worry. In this case, my pinky toe was not happy and decided to swell to the size of my big toe. I tried desperately to heat my shoes under the hand dryer in the ladies room, put baby powder on my feet - all to no avail.

We had to leave the club early as I was literally in tears. I couldn't stand up, sit down, walk, dance or generally think straight. I seriously think I was developing a fever for how bad these gorgeous shoes hurt. When we got to the car, I shed a few tears openly (think Kim Kardashian ugly cry) and spent the rest of the car ride with the A/C on my feet.

Have you ever experienced a fashion-over-function pain? What are your remedies?

I will be try some internet suggested options. I refuse to never wear these again. They are stunning and gorgeous, and I got them on sale. I love them with every fibre in my body, including my baby toe which has still not forgiven me.

Until next time,

Little Miss Cowl Co.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Knitting & Nuptuals

I have a confession to make. Ok, apart from sneaking scoops of Nutella when no one is looking. I have been planning my wedding from the time I was about 8. 

The madness started when I received the "My Perfect Wedding" board game (I kid you not - it existed and it was fantastic). The object of the game was to successfully book your band, flowers, dress, etc with enough money left over to walk down the aisle and get married. The game pieces include plastic engagement rings in four different colors and the grand prize of a yellow plastic wedding band. I think people got sick of me playing it so much, so I played with my dad a lot (insert Father of the Century award here).

By the time I was a tween, my best friend and I would go over what dress we wanted to walk down the aisle in, color of flowers and bridesmaid dresses, and who our celebrity groom would be (I'd like you all to know that I called dibs on Jonathan Taylor Thomas, my friend chose Andrew Keegan and we were both lived happily ever after in our imaginary marriages).

As time went on, I luckily found myself helping those around me as they planned and executed the most important day of their lives. Two of my closest friends got married over the past year, a few more are about to - and now, as I see myself close to accepting a proposal from my boyfriend of a year, I am increasingly looking at the smaller details of wedding planning. Specifically, I'm looking at how my knitting skills/obsession can be intertwined in all of this.

I'm not a huge fan of the "garter" tradition myself - but a hand knit garter is a great way for someone to contribute to a wedding. The stitches are usually quite fine, as is the quality of the yarn used. Hand knit garters take a lot of time and care to create, and therefore can be a great option for a mother-in-law, grandmother, godmother, aunt, or friend to give to a bride-to-be.

Another hand knit item could be either bomboniere (thank-you gifts) for attendees or for a bridal shower. Hand knit doilies, wash cloths, tea cozies, coffee cozies, etc etc. These can be of course be part of a theme (i.e tea-party themed bridal shower, wash cloth for spa themed shower and so on) or just be something special you decided to knit up as a thank you for your guests. If you chose to have a bridal party, you can make knitting nights with them and everyone can have a hand at creating something as well.

There are many benefits to knitting thank-you favors. First, it can be very budget friendly (depending on the yarn used). Cotton washcloths are usually knit up using about $2 worth of cotton yarn each. Second, it can be an effective way to de-stash and use up your free time while still enjoying knitting.

The downsides, however is mainly that some guests may not appreciate the time, talent and effort of a hand-knit item. Depending on the size of the wedding and the number of attendees, knitting up dozens - or hundreds - of favors may be more effort than it is worth. 

All in all, I think I will try to incorporate some of my knitting passion into my future wedding. After all, apart from a wedding being a celebration of two people's love for each other, I think it's important for it to be personal and display personality and taste.

Until next time,

Little Miss Cowl Co.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Swap Shop Eat

So, I'm officially addicted to swaps.

I've participated in three so far, and have to tell you - they are so much fun!

The latest was with my local knitting group - we decided back in September to do a swap, and have been working away at it ever since. We are a group of about five ladies, and have gotten to know each other quite well over the past couple of years. We're all on Ravelry, and all share our favourite yarns, patterns, ideas etc at our bi-weekly knit nights. We decided to have our swap coincide with Chinese New Year so we would have hopefully jumped over the Christmas rush. We planned a downtown date - brunch at my favourite French bistro, Bonjour Brioche (812 Queen St E) and then off for some yarn shopping at the Purple Purl (1162 Queen St E). 

On my way to swap day!

My swap partner likes coral colours and natural fibres, and doesn't like knitting with chunky yarns herself - so I had a pretty good idea of what I was going to make her. This came with it's fair share of hiccups, though. I initially was going to knit her the Gaptastic Cowl (find the pattern on Ravelry). It is an extra chunky infinity scarf in a seed stitch pattern. I thought it would have been perfect for her - until she showed up at a knit night wearing it! Her daughter had made one in a lovely Raspberry chunky yarn, and it looked wonderful on her. I was about a month away from the swap deadline - and beginning to panic.

I decided to knit her the Clara cowl (also a free pattern on Ravelry) by designer Gretchen Ronnevic. It's a giant cable, and ends up looking like a braid. There is an option to double up and make it an infinity scarf, but I thought the beauty of the detail would have been lost, so I stuck to the original pattern dimensions. I used Diamond Brand Baby Alpaca Sport in a Chunky weight. Here's the finished project below:

Clara Cowl in Coral Alpaca

Clara Cowl in Coral Alpaca

I included the Ravelry anniversary project bag and Closely Knit by Hannah Fattig (who I found out, is my swap partners favourite designer!). I also gave her some extra yarn (about a full skein minus a few yards) so she could make a matching headband or fingerless mitts. Thank goodness she liked the gift (she wouldn't take the cowl off!) and I was in awe of what I received.

The first thing I opened was the book - The Knitter's Life List by Gwen Steege. This book is like a bucket list for knitters - yarns, patterns, ideas etc. It is a crucial step in any knitter's path to becoming a capital-K Knitter. Next was Americo Copito Medio yarn (think "Thick & Thin" but way more luxurious) in a gorgeous eggplant/plum colourway. It came with a hat pattern, which is perfect since I need a hat! I save the best for last...she knit me "Celebrating Azzu's Shawl" by Emma Fassio. The shawl was born out of two friends brought together by knitting - PERFECT! It was knit with Madeline Tosh Tosh Lace in Composition Book Grey. Everything about this shawl is perfect - the idea and thought behind it, colourway, superwash, detail, and love put into every knit, purl and YO.

Celebrating Azzu's Shawl
Swap day is here!
Perfection. I am in love with everything!
To close, I hope everyone reading this has an opportunity at one point in their knitting lives to participate in a swap. Giving something you made to someone else who appreciates all the work and love you put into it is priceless. Receiving something directly related to your knitting passion is wonderful, but most of all - sharing the experience with close friends is incomparable.

Happy swapping and of course, happy knitting!

With love,

Little Miss Cowl Co