Filed under: Uncategorized
Come visit me at my new home: Coconut Chai.
Filed under: Uncategorized
I swear I’m still knitting. I’m currently working on the Tailored Cardigan from Drops that everyone and their mother has knit, but only have part of the back piece to show at the moment. I have been momentarily distracted by finals week, a visit from an old hobby (collecting fountain pens and journals), and intense wrist pain that makes me want to curl up with an ice pack and eat cookies all day. Okay, not really, but you get the idea, right?
I can’t believe this picture was taken almost eight months ago. It feels like just yesterday they were small enough to hold in the palm of my hand, and now they’re fat, fat kitties.
The other cat? What other cat? I know nothing of this cat of which you speak.
Filed under: Review, Uncategorized | Tags: Ciak, Ciak medium plain ivory journal, journal review
Something I don’t think I’ve mentioned on this blog yet is that before I knit, I journaled- prolifically. I have about ten or eleven books dating from 1998 filled with my thoughts and observations on my life and the world around me. I have specific feelings about each of the journals I use and thought I’d try my hand at reviewing my newest acquisition, the Ciak (pronounced “Chack”) journal.
Ciak appears to be an Italian company, and the journals are advertised as handmade- I have no idea whether or not this is true. Trivia: The medium Ciak with the red cover made an appearance in the 2005 film V for Vendetta as the journal of Delia Surridge, a document detailing her role in the Larkhill Detention Center and labeled as inflammatory by Chancellor Adam Sutler, possibly anything from an elaborate forgery concocted by V to the psychotic ramblings of a doctor who should have resigned ages ago for psychological reasons.
I own three of them in red, blue, and yellow and acquired them from The Journal Shop, a mail order company based in England, during their 3-for-2 sale on journals. They cost £13.50 each, which according to XE is currently around $19.07. Shipping ran me $22.68 for a total of about $60.85, a number that works out to the cost of three journals at full price plus a shipping fee of $3.64. What can I say about these books that haven’t been said already? I have no idea, but I’ll give it a whirl.
The medium, cream & unlined journal in the blue cover
- Horizontal rather than vertical elastic, string rather than band
- Covers are attractive and available in a rainbow of colors from black, pink, red, orange, yellow, lime green, to blue; bookmarks vary accordingly. However, there is some kind of visible weird rippling effect on the cover, which as far as I can tell is only present on one of the three books I own, so it may be a dud
- Good sized journal: the medium is listed at 12 x 17 cm and contains 140 pages. Small enough to be portable, hefty enough that it should last me a decent amount of time
- Paper appears very thick and smooth, the ivory unlined version is an attractive shade of off-white
The first thing I notice when opening the book is that it won’t lie flat and doesn’t want to open flat either. I think this has something to do with the way the cover curves around rather than clings to the spine.
This is as flat as I can get the book. It gets just a little flatter than that with some more effort, but not by much.
However, the cover seems flexible and sturdy enough that I don’t have any qualms about bending the spine back to create some memory in the book. As mentioned earlier, the Ciaks boast a horizontal elastic string rather than a vertical elastic band as found in most other journals: the website touts this as being part of the ingenious design.
Being so used to the vertical bands that disappear behind the back of the book, I was initially put off by the horizontal string; it dangled limply to the side of the spine and I worried it would get in the way, but it didn’t, and I quickly realized that it was a convenient way to keep my FP with the journal. If you’re as absent-minded as I am, this is a very good thing: you will never be without a pen again!
While these two faults made writing in the Ciak awkward and tedious at first, the paper made it remarkably easy to overlook them. As mentioned before, the paper in the Ciak is listed as ivory, acid free, and archival quality: these words mean nothing to me (save for the color, of course), but it doesn’t matter. The fine point nib of my Lamy Vista runs like a figure skater on ice across the pages of the journal. They’re so smooth I actually find myself frequently taking out the book just to run my fingers across the paper- it’s really an incredible tactile experience. It does take ink well with no evidence of feathering and bleeding minimal enough to even satisfy my tastes (even the tiniest show through grates on my nerves). Initially I noticed some skipping when using the fine nibbed Lamy Vista, but have insufficient information to determine whether this is the fault of the paper, the pen, or the ink (instinct tells me to blame the pen).
(I know, I know, this is a downright crappy photo. Sorry about that)
This journal is definitely an experience in and of itself, and is available in a myriad of varieties with cream, white, or multi-colored pages either lined or unlined with a rainbow of covers to chose from, all of them attractive in their own right. I wish Ciaks were more widely available stateside; my local Barnes and Noble only carries the medium blue with lined, multi-colored pages, Amazon only lists the black cover with lined pages that takes anywhere from 3 to 4 weeks to ship out, and only the multi-colored versions seem to be available from most other US-based merchants. I’ve never seen the journal in any of the smaller bookstores in Seattle proper, and the largest selection I’ve found was from the aforementioned UK based “The Journal Shop”. If you’re in the US and willing to pay the $22 shipping fee, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them as a reputable company.
Ultimately I think the medium Ciak will make me a fine companion; its cover is soft and flexible enough that I toss it into my backpack with the rest of my college textbooks and find myself worrying more about stains rather than tears. It’s small enough to be portable and hefty enough to last even a prolific journaler a good long while, and reminds me why I continue using pen and paper despite how tech-obsessed American society has become.
ETA: Ciaks also available from Journaling Arts, a mail order company based in Kentucky. Seems like they have a pretty large selection; owner posts on The Fountain Pen Network that there might be more items in stock than listed on the website and to contact her (link leads to a page of contact information on the website) if you don’t see something you want.
Filed under: Acer Cardigan, Cardigan, Estes Vest, Uncategorized, Vest, wip | Tags: Acer Cardigan, Estes Vest
It’s been a while. Let’s play catch up:
The above are, respectively, the Estes Vest from last fall’s issue of Interweave Knits (such a cruel, cruel trick time plays when something that happened nary four months ago is “last year”), and the Acer cardigan, designed by the singularly talented Kristin Kapur of Through the Loops.
Estes, as you can see, is currently going through her second blocking and awaiting the last and final I-Cord, whereas Acer, not so obviously, is awaiting her last row of garter stitch and bind off on her body and a shiny set of sleeves. More to come sooner rather than later, I promise!
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: fo, for me, Minimalist Cardigan, rowan felted tweed
A new FO:
More when I get around to taking better photos of it. Oh, and happy new year!
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I miss my babies:
I’m now on the East Coast visiting family over the holidays after a harrowing experience with “severe turbulence” (lesson learned: when the pilot gets on the loudspeaker forty minutes before descent and warns you about “moderate to severe turbulence” . . . he isn’t kidding) and being diverted to Baltimore in the middle of the night, when the airport was completely shut down save for two policemen and a maintenance worker on premises. Literally. They had to wake up a supervisor and ground crew from DC, 45 minutes away, to come rescue us. But you know what? I don’t even care about all that. I’m just glad to be alive.
Next up is a Lucky Star bus ride to Boston to visit my cousins and some college friends, and of course, to catch up on some knitting. Why do I always think of Boston as such a fibery city? I don’t know. Maybe it’s New England as a whole? I can’t wait to visit my second, no wait third, home.
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If there’s anything I’m more obsessed with than color choices, it’s texture.
Shown here is a progress shot of the Minimalist Cardigan from the Fall 2007 issue of Interweave Knits. I loved Parikha’s version in Felted Tweed, outrageous color and all, but didn’t think I could pull off that particular shade of gryellow. Days later I realized I had a stash of the Felted Tweed hidden away, intended for the Tangled Yoke Cardigan, but in the perfect yardage for the Minimalist Cardi. The rest, as they say, is history.
This project has only reaffirmed my love for Rowan’s Felted Tweed. It’s certainly not the softest yarn in the world, and many have commented that they don’t care for the colorways, but the little flecks of color scattered throughout the skein really make any pattern pop, even simple stockinette, and especially double moss stitch, as used in the Cardi. I’ve already knit two Salinas from the yarn, and both sweaters have stood up to the test of time admirably, so I have no worries about this cardigan holding up. Unfortunately, as Felted Tweed is a lighter weight yarn and not very dense, the ultimate garment will be something more appropriate for cool Fall, Spring, or early Summer evenings rather than the harsh cold of New England winters. For that, I’d be better off with the Beaverslide Worsted I used in the Albatross hoodie (So not looking forward to Boston. I need to finish the Central Park Hoodie, stat).
So far the pattern itself seems pretty straightforward- very, if you will, minimalist in nature. The body is knit straight in double moss stitch in pieces which are then seamed together. The only modification I made was knitting the body in one piece, as I absolutely abhor seaming, especially with Felted Tweed (it’s nubbly, and splits). I just hope that doesn’t leave me with a cardigan that resembles a burlap sac.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: fingerless mitts, lace, Sundara sock yarn
Now that I have Cindi Lauper in your head, here’s some brand spankin’ new knitting to show you:
That, my friends, is a pair of Merletto Mitts (Ravelry link) knit from one skein of Sundara Sock Yarn as received through the Seasons Yarn Subscription. It was my second time knitting with Sundara, my first since she became so popular with my fellow knitters. I don’t understand the fascination; yes, the yarn practically glows in the skein. Yes, it’s wonderfully squooshy and soft and delightful to knit with and wear, but honestly? It’s yarn. There are millions of skeins out there just as beautifully dyed, just as beautifully squooshy. I think I’ll pass on the Sundara safari, thanks.
These mitts though? Perfect for chilly days, of which there are many out here on the West Coast. I love them already, and can’t wait for the chance to wear them, which should come soon.
I decided to put the Central Park Hoodie into hibernation for the time being and focus on other things. Next in line is a pair of Maine Morning Mitts knit from a skein of Classic Elite’s Stormy in a particularly ugly shade of orange and the Estes Vest from this fall’s Interweave Knits.
No matter what side you were pulling for, it is undeniable that this is a most momentous time to be living in America.