Sunday, January 25, 2009

More Buttons, No More Hauntings

Yesterday the Costume Museum of Canada held a button sale at a local sewing shop.

I went....and I bought.

There were lots and lots of very beautiful and interesting buttons. Sadly the museum decided last minute that rather than sell off ALL of it's buttons, it should make displays out of the best ones and only sell off the next to best. So, the two women staffing the event had to decide right there and then what was allowed to be sold and what wasn't. There were many things that I picked up and ogled, but had to put right into the bag of display buttons (one in particular was a lovely big bag of mother-of-pearl belt buckles).


However, I'm looking forward to going into the museum some other time to see them all sorted and posed to be admired.

***Please note, they're looking for people to help with this project, so if you love buttons and are here in Winnipeg, then give the museum a call and they should be able to put you through to the person in charge of this.***

These weren't the least expensive buttons I'd ever seen, but the funds raised were going to support the museum, so I forked over the cash. Here are my catch(es) of the day:

Some vintage/old black glass - my favourite are the square ones, perfect condition Art Nouveau,

More vintage glass, in charming colours,

A few plastic, I liked the shape of these,

Two vegetable ivory, these buttons are always in colours that are not me at all, but there's something about them I just love,

A group of metal,

This Italian one makes me laugh, it says "Attention, Forbid Access to the Person Not Authorized". Sounds menacing, but it's a fairly modern, cheaply made button, probably from the end-of-the-Cold-War 80's,

There were lots and lots of lovely mother-of-pearl,

And some more, I would have bought lots more if they'd been more affordable,

I love buttons. Love them, love them, love them.

Also this week, I ventured off into the world of yarn dyeing. This is quite a popular pasttime amongst knitters these days, and I thought it was about time I gave it a try.

Late last year I bought 10 skiens of Jaeger Aqua cotton yarn online. Colours can sometimes be deceptive on a computer screen, and "Muse" which looked to be a pale shell pink, turned out to be more of a salmon/coral colour when it arrived.

Not a terrible colour, but not a good colour on me. I'd bought some Procion MX dye in Fuschia, and set to work. I hadn't dyed anything in a very long time and forgot to buy the dye fixative (soda ash), so after stirring the yarn in the dye bath for 50 minutes, I started rinsing the dye out, and quickly realised that way too much of the dye was going down the drain. I abandoned the yarn in the sink, ran out to Artist's Emporium, raced back home and threw the yarn into a second dye bath. I didn't stir it this time though, I just let it lay there soaking.

I'm very pleased with the end results. Very bright fuschia, but with a streakyness, very summery, I think.

And lastly, an update on our haunted landing, mentioned here and here. After setting out crystals and having a "chat" (really more of a rant) with whatever was killing off my houseplants, I wondered if our visitor was still lingering in the house. Shelagh, whose husband has a gift for this kind of thing, suggested that I put out some letters and see if the ghost wants to send a message.

I put out all the Scrabble tiles (except the blank ones - if I get a message from beyond, I want it good and clear) and left them on the windowsill of the landing.

After two days, this is what it said,

Perhaps I should have mentioned to Ian and Nigel that they weren't the one's I was trying to commune with.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cold and Frosty Days

It can be difficult to put into words how cold it is around this neck of the woods, and since I want to keep this blog free of gratuitous swearing, I'll just say that it was -60 Celsius at the airport this morning, and that's just a quick five minute drive for us.

On the upside, the bright sunny days are compensation and frost on the windows (yes, the house has a few draughty spots) is really very pretty...

I'll say no more about the weather, unless of course it doesn't end soon (has it really been five weeks of this?!), and then, well, you'll just have to forgive me if I start to rant.

I finished the tam I was working on last week.

I tried it on when I first finished it and thought it seemed just a little bit on the small side. Not that it didn't fit, it did, but the pattern promised a big slouchy sort of tam, and it seemed a tad meager. However, I blocked it today and now it looks enormous. I'll try it on once it's dry. Here's hoping for perfection.

I've been trying to convince myself to finish all the projects I've begun over the last year (or two) rather than starting anymore new ones, but I just couldn't help myself. I started another Clapotis.

I love this pattern and happened to have some yarn that was calling to me. The pattern recommends a worsted weight yarn, but since it's a scarf you can really use almost any weight of yarn since fit doesn't matter. I chose the laceweight KnitPicks Shimmer in a (now discontinued) colour called Happy Dance.

By the time I finish this project, we should start to see signs of spring, and I think a happy dance just might be in order.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Poor Tamless Bunny

This little bunny was staring in the Dining-room window the other day, no doubt wishing he were out of the freezing cold and in somewhere cosy.

I've been working on a tam with the hand-dyed yarn Elly gave me for Christmas.

The pattern is called Spin Me Right Round (Hey - I have that song on my IPod!), and it's available free on Ravelry, but you have to be a member to see it - though I'll let you know it's a simple yarn over knit two together repeat. Elly was making the same pattern for herself while she was in town, and I decided I wasn't too old for a slouchy cool tam.

Close up it looks like a million birds taking flight. I'm hoping that Elly (who is now home in Dublin - and yes, the airline DID find her luggage)) finds that an uplifting and inspiring notion. I'll say no more (for now).

I think I should knit tiny little tams for all the neighbourhood bunnies with the leftovers from this yarn, a la Benjamin Bunny. Perhaps, Elly, you could do the same for all those little tamless Irish bunnies.

For all of you who missed the 1980's, let's have a listen to Dead or Alive (Hey, my tam would, like, totally co-ordinate with his outfit!).

And yes children, that really is what men looked like in the '80's

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Christmas, Here and Gone

Yes, Christmas did happen, and in the snap of a shutter it was gone again.

I didn't get too many good shots on the day. I find it difficult to remember to take pictures AND open presents, and gifts always manage to win that kind of competition anyway. And my, my, my, but there were an awful lot of lovely gifts.

Here's a few highlights:

Elly hand-dyed some yarn especially for me.

It's sock weight and in very beautiful colours called cyclamen, hyacinth and silver birch. It has since been wound into a ball, and I think it may become a beret in short order.

I received this gorgeous little watercolour painted by Vanessa Cabban (I bought this from her etsy shop a few weeks back, but being so close to Christmas, Nigel made me wait to see it up close and in person - isn't he cruel?).

I highly recommend checking out her etsy shop (lovely little watercolours) and her blog (her writing is adorably sweet).

And Ian loves his new fish hat.

In fact, he wore it almost continuously the first two days - that's him showing off his new iPod (IPod ipod Ipod?).

Nigel's really big gift to me was the most fantastic legal document, in which he promises not to complain (in my presence) of the cost of our upcoming house reno. I'm tempted to reveal to him now that this may be the house reno, to top all house renos, and perhaps the shear size of the bill will get us on the evening news, but then again, maybe it's better to leave a few surprises in a marriage, yes?