Knit City 2017

Love, love, love!

I spent a bit of my weekend at the PNE Forum, walking in what felt like a meadow of yarn and fabric. Each year brings bigger and better things for Knit Social, and Knit City 2017 was as awesome as I expected!

Part of what really gets me excited about Knit City is seeing everyone’s projects shown off. Every person at Knit City was wearing a piece that they had made, from shawls to vests to sweaters to full on dresses. It’s an amazing collection of talent and time and devotion.

I loved how normal it is for everyone to just set up their shit and go to town. There were tons of people just sitting down, eating hotdogs while they knitted. That level of mastery is something I would like to achieve one day. People who didn’t know each other were openly talking about their projects and giving each other advice.

Another one of my favourite discoveries is sashiko stitching, from A Threaded Needle. It pretty much addresses my penchant for small, obsessive and repetitive movement. I was beside a gaggle of ladies who were all melting down from how cool the technique was.

One of the many patterns that caught my eye was this one called Hamilton by Josée Paquin. Of course, I bought the book.

And Heidi Kirrmaier, the other 50% of this book? She’s a fucking engineer. All these amazing women with these backgrounds that totally break impressions of old women with teapots and aprons always make me so happy and proud.

And another stop I made was at the Pip & Pin booth, where I really got into this super nice short shirt called Mount Pleasant. I tried to purchase their lookbook, but apparently it wasn’t for sale. I was forwarded to their Ravelry page, which had more amazing stuff.

Highlights also included me running into my high school Math teacher, Mrs. Robertson. Glad to report that she had retired ten years ago, and is happily weaving and collecting looms as part of the Greater Vancouver Weavers’ and Spinners’ Guild.

Lastly, here is the obligatory (but partial) photo of my haul. It was difficult to hold back, friends. And yes, I have more than one of each of those skeins.

On my way out, I said goodbye to Amanda at the Knit Social booth.

Amanda: “You’re leaving already?”

Me: “I don’t want to, but…”

I touched my bag lightly, which was already barfing yarn and merch.

Me: “I must leave.

Weaving Classes at Sanjo Silk Studios

It started as a post on Instagram, as one of the Knitting Ladies from Knit Social, Amanda, had been busting out beautiful scarves like nobody’s business.

Yarning for more… options

Part of my interest was from previous dealings with knitting some seriously variegated yarns. I really disliked the look of it when the colours got all tangled and stitched together. The colours pooled in odd ways, and it really drove me nuts. I know a lot of people like the way they look, but it just wasn’t for me. Here’s an image of a sweater I made, which was really fun to knit, but I only wore once. I really hated the pooling!

I had been looking for classes, and did initially sign up for one at Baaad Anna’s, however, that was later cancelled because we didn’t have enough people signed up! I was looking forward to it for so long! Did I flip out? Maybe a little bit. I’m pretty dramatic about this stuff, guys.

A few days later, like a misty dream on an enchanted seascape with the clouds parting at the sound of three cherubs singing a sustained note, in the form of a Facebook post, Amanda sent me a link to Sanjo Silk’s Weaving Classes.

Get Me A Seat in This Class, Woman!

The classes ran from 7pm to 9pm each Wednesday for one month. They were held at their studio in Granville Island, which was awesome because it gave me the opportunity to hop on the little False Creek ferries in the evening.

Apart from learning a new craft, I was excited at the prospect of me getting out of the house. It became something to which I looked forward after work, and was a welcome break from simply turning off my monitor and firing up Netflix.

It was a small class, just four of us around a table in the middle of the studio. Once in a while, some tourists would walk by and point, making me feel a little bit like I was in a fishbowl. (But then again, it might also be attributed to the fact that Sanjo Silk has some fucking amazing shit.)

We were introduced to the Ashford Knitter’s Loom, and I totally fell in love. It was a foldable little guy that came with its own bag. A loom in a bag. What the…? Heck, yes!

We had some weird experiments with beautiful yarns, which I matched with some from my stash.

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Totally Worth It

Jo was a wonderful instructor, and my classmates and I had so much fun with our looms. We learned the basics of weaving, of course, but also had the chance to play around with decorative elements by skipping lines and looping yarns around one another. I took to the task completely, and I knew from the get-go that I was going to love weaving.

There was an intro to the technicals, of course, but it was pretty much up to our own imaginations to see what trouble we could get into.

We all ended up purchasing our own Ashford looms after the last class. I got a 16″ rigid heddle loom with a 12.5 reed. The awesome thing was that while I didn’t enjoy knitting lighter/fingering weight yarn, weaving this weight was so enjoyable! It’s so different when it comes to weaving.

The drape is so nice, and I didn’t feel like I was working with dental floss all around my fingers. Perfect!

I’ve been weaving like a mad motherfucker for months now! Here’s the same yarn from the Grace sweater that I ripped up and turned into scarves!

Look at that texture! Look at all these exclamation points! I’ve worked myself up into a tizzy!

And here is an image of Tina wearing a sample square I made with some leftover yarn, looking like something right out of Dr. Zhivago because cat.

 

T-Shirts for Sale! My Foray into the Threadless Artist Shop

Once upon a time, I did a lot of illustrations for lots of ideas with my friends Ben and Ryan. We worked on tons of things, mostly sports apps, and part of these endeavours resulted in fantastic random graphics and images of baked beans, donkeys, an old shoe, and even Matt Damon. There was a narrative to it, I swear.

It didn’t become the billion-dollar app that we were planning for, but that was okay. We all moved on and lived our lives.

While I was cleaning out some of my files (as you do when you are actually procrastinating and probably should have been doing something else), I came across the old Illustrator files and started to laugh at them. In particular, this image of a mule I had made.

 

Pushing through a bit more, I found that a lot of these elements would work really well on t-shirts. They were all set up as little icons and visuals, and I thought kind of perfect on their own.

Ben, Ryan, and I have previously tried to endeavour a merchandise-based experiment, but it only ended up with us (me) having to store hundreds of t-shirts with Roberto Luongo’s face and the text, “What’chu talkin’ about, Gillis?” emblazoned on the front. It was difficult to find a market of where Canucks fans would meet Diff’rent Strokes fans in a Venn Diagram.

Learning from that, as well as a few lessons from Cycling ’74, it was clear that I did not want to have any type of inventory in the house. An on-demand service seemed like a great way to go because it was less waste, less risk, and less commitment. According to my pro-con list, one of the bigger cons may be the cost.

But as a way to justify this, I decided to think about it as another leap towards something new to try.

The main goal is to have fun, not make money.

It’s so easy to say that, of course, and we’ve all heard it, but it’s so difficult to keep that in mind and at heart whenever we do something.

I just kept thinking about how I laughed when I opened up the above donkey file, and I wanted to see if I could extend that delight a little bit.

It’s okay if I don’t make any money from this because it’s given me something more to think about and spend my energy on. I’ve found myself looking at older illustrations, tweaking them, improving them, and even making new ones. Just the idea of creating them was so much fun for me, and being able to publish them somehow was a great motivation.

I think it’s a bit related to building your own portfolio or self-initiated projects. I get lazy when I know it’s just for me. It’s terrible to admit that, but I think we all know that feeling.

When there is less pressure in the form of a client or accountability, the less stellar the work is. Unless you are some kind of crazy genius, or an obsessive alcoholic. But then again, who likes hanging out with those guys anyway? History is filled with brilliant people that everybody regarded as spectacular assholes.

The great effect its had on me is that I dream a little bit more, and I complain a lot less. I think about what else I can draw, and what other things I can try.

Another fun part is when my friends throw in some ideas. I really enjoyed making this monkey and this cute pig.

I would never have thought about them if my friends Megan and Anita did not suggest it on the Facebook post I meekly shared.

And now, the printed samples I ordered are starting to arrive in the mail, and I think I definitely achieved my goal of extending my personal delight over these illustrations. I get super excited to go downstairs to check the mail because of the possibility that it might be a t-shirt, a bag, or a mug.

To round things off, the very first sample I got was the Donkey Bag. It came in the mail on the same day that I was to meet up with Ben again, after more than 2 years of being apart, and it was going to be the first time that I was going to meet his little son. Funny how things align like that, and I had no hesitation in bringing it with me and giving it as a gift.

Haha! Guys, my Donkey Bag arrived in the mail today!

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