Based on a True Sweater

Jun. 29, 2006


So. I have loved the menswear look for women for as long as I can remember. Many times in the last many many years, I have tried to pull off the shirt-and-tie look, and I don't think I've ever actually left the house in it before. (I got enough practice at it, though, that I can tie a tie on myself without a mirror.) Last week it all came together in my head: I have the right haircut, a shirt and blazer that fit attractively, pants to match the blazer, and a buttload of neckties (hoarded to make things with). I tried it on and loved it, so I wore it the next night to my last bookkeeping class, then out with some friends, to celebrate being done my course. I asked my friends, "What do you think? How does it look?"

One friend said, "You are in drag."

To be clear: I appreciate my friend's honesty. That's really how he felt, and even though I felt a bit crushed for a little while, I'd rather hear that than "You look really great!!" if he didn't mean it. He's not a good liar, and the lie would have been useless anyways. My other friend did say "You look really great!!", but I'm pretty sure he meant it.

When I was younger, I would just wear what I wanted, even if it looked totally bizarre. I was not often bothered by what people thought of what I wore. (Sharon, vouch for me here: I used to wear pretty weird outfits.) My fashion sense was (still is) very subjective, shall we say; it's just more low-key now that I'm older and have less to prove.

So why did I give a crap that my friend, who's a pretty conservative dresser, felt that I was in drag? Well, I'm actually thinking of dressing like this for work and stuff, once the weather is cool enough. (I don't work in a business-dress office, so I don't need uptight business clothes.) I don't really want to go to work in drag, though I'd happily wear the look on my own time, drag or not.

When my friend Julie was over the other day, I put on the outfit and asked her to take a few photos. (Aren't these great photos? Click for big.)
So tell me, dear readers, what do you think?
This outfit on me is:
a) Drag
b) Cute
c) Both a & b
d) Stupid
e) Other

"And remember, this is for posterity, so be honest."

Jun. 27, 2006

Past and Future

Last night I got this photo of my grandfather in my email, with this story:

The attached photo was taken at Comox Air Base ( they have an area of now obsolete Airforce aircraft on display). The picture was taken on our recent trip to the Island with Sue and Roger. The number of the aircraft is 007, a T-33 jet trainer. I flew this aircraft in Dec, 1953 At Trenton when I took the T-33 instructor conversion course on the aircraft. I wonder how many hours that aircraft flew before it was "retired".

Pretty cool, huh? My grandfather was in the Canadian Airforce for years and years... I have lots of childhood memories of being fascinated by the exotic souvenirs from all over the world, which cover the shelves of my grandparents' house. I remember also feeling in awe of the world map which hangs on the wall in their place, liberally studded with the pins which show everywhere my grandfather has been.

Would you guess that my grandfather is turning 81 next month? I sure as hell hope I look as good when I'm 81.
I think it will have to be a good year for him. 81, a square of a square... how can that not be auspicious?
(...this is in my own made-up numerology system, I don't know what it looks like in any other system.)
(Shut up. I like numbers.)

Hey wait... I've got a square coming up myself, in 5 years. Maybe I should do something to make it monumental, I've got the time to plan...

I wonder what it would be like to find a piece of your past, like that plane. I feel so young sometimes, I'm looking forward to all the life I've got stretching out ahead of me... I wonder what I'll happen upon in 50 years that will give me memories like this.

Jun. 23, 2006

Sweet Tart

Check it out, it's a finished knitted thing! (Click all photos for big. Especially click the ones on the grass and the stair rail, to see the amazing colours.)

I made this shawl out of some chunky hand-painted (maybe hand-spun?) wool, which ended up with me during someone's random act of stash-offloading, when I was in Calgary a few weeks ago. There was one enormous, messy skein of this, with no label. I had no idea how much there would be, or how it would knit up. I picked up a cheap 9mm (US 13) circular needle and made this shawl during the not-work hours in the last week and a half that Zak's been away, and I blocked it last night.

For those who have been reading a while, yes, it's another freaking Flower Basket Shawl. This would be my seventh. Perhaps I should pack it in and resort to the Shetland Triangle Shawl from Wrap Style, because it's soooo different (read: almost exactly the same). What can I say? I love this sort of shawl formula, I like the bold, all-over motifs that make up the fabric of the shawl instead of being details of the fabric, I like the lack of a separate edging and I love the pointy edges. I like the way this shawl has looked beautiful in every yarn I've worked it from, and there are others in my stash that would suit this sort of design equally well. I like the way the stitch pattern is logical and super-easy to memorize, so that it's easy to work while I'm paying attention to something else.

And I love the way this one turned out!! Only seven rows of flower basket motifs, and I have a full-sized shawl. (Keep in mind, I am six feet tall, so a full-sized shawl for me is no shrimpy thing.) There wasn't enough yarn to do the full number of edging rows, so the edge was actually straight instead of pointed; I made the points during blocking. There was exactly the right amount of yarn; the yarn tails at the beginning and end of the shawl, together, were less than a foot long. I love it when that happens.
The yarn was endlessly fascin ating. The colours are so strange and varied, and they shifted so much throughout the ball; I love how well the shawl shows them off. I've taken all these photos, in different types of lighting, is to try to do some justice to the colours. Susie saw the shawl while I was working on it, and we both thought the colours looked like candy. Specifically, they remind me of Sweet Tarts, or those Rockets candies people (used to?) give out at Hallowe'en; hence the name.

I'm very happy and satisfied with this shawl. I even found out that I can work with the big chunky needles after all, as long as I use circulars; I had given them up a few years ago as I find they hurt my wrists. I've been having a harder time then usual with this trip of Zak's. Usually it's not so bad, and I can get into having some time alone, even though I miss him. I'm not sure what's different this time. It's not over yet, but at least I've got a nice cat and this big shawl to keep me company.

Jun. 19, 2006

They Will Know The Power Of Thy Sword

It's confession time. I have an addiction, an infatuation, an obsession right now with the cheesiest of cheesy epic metal. (...if this isn't the cheesiest, maybe don't tell me.)

Manowar is a band from Zak's youth, which he told me about for years but never actually tried to play for me... I think he was afraid of rejection. After we went to see this movie, though, we were both feeling the love for the metal in our lives (we are both fans of different genres), and he played some Manowar for me. It was one of those "how can something so wrong be so right??" moments.

This band sings about myths, Satan, the glory of battle... apparently without irony, which is rare and a little exhilirating. Technically, they are brilliant and amazing, and their music is beautiful. Incredibly, the live stuff is at least as good as the studio stuff. I don't like all of it that I've heard; some of it is really, really not to my taste, but my playlist keeps growing. They have all of their albums available for purchase as MP3s on their site (both as albums and as single tracks), and Zak bought all of them, so I am slowly going through them and finding what I like and what I don't.

If there is a part of you that loves cheesy, melodic, glorious metal and you want to try some Manowar, I'd definitely recommend buying a few songs. Here's my current favourite playlist, in case you're interested:

1. Gates of Valhalla
2. Battle Hymns
3. Black Wind, Fire and Steel
4. Defender
5. Guyana (Cult of the Damned)
6. Master of the Wind
7. Bridge of Death
8. March for Revenge
9. The Power of Thy Sword

I would love to see these guys play live. I would even stand in the sincere line.

This post was brought to you by the conversation I had with Rachael on Friday, about sitting down and writing those blog posts that write themselves in your head as you're doing something else. Guess what I'm listening to as I bang away on the patterns for the Summer issue of Knitty?

Jun. 16, 2006

Dress: Check.

Well, last night was dancing night again. Although we did not end up actually dancing (our dancing spot was a little too populated), I did actually show up dressed appropriately. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the whole dress, but here's proof that I got one made in time to not look like a total slob:

If you are in Vancouver and have not yet been to the Hamilton Street Grill, you have no idea how much you are missing out. This is one of my favourite places to go, and it's always nice to bring folks who haven't been. I had that pleasure again last night.

I'm too tired to write more now, I'm going to go and... knit. I actually do still knit. I'll try to photograph some stuff this weekend, to prove it...

Jun. 9, 2006

In Which I Meet A Friend, And Go Dancing

Hey... is anyone still there? Wow, you're really patient. I know it's been a while. I was in Calgary last weekend, which was wonderful... but that's not what I'm going to write about today. I brought my camera with me to Calgary, but I didn't remember to use it even once. Perhaps I will soon be able to show you some photos taken by other people, but for now I'll show you some photos that were taken since I got back.

When I got home Tuesday night, I had a few hours with Zak before I went out again to meet up with Stephannie! It was fantastic, dinner and dessert and coffee went by in a blink. Suddenly it's 3 hours later and that's that until who knows when. Steph is funny, smart, interesting, sweet; all the things you would know from reading her blog, but better. I have one more reason to go to Toronto than I did a week ago, I have to figure out how to make that work...

Here's the shot of her I like best:

Here's the one I like best of me:

..and here's another one, for good measure.

Last night, I went dancing with my friend Raistlin. We have been talking about this for a while... he used to swing dance with an ex, and I used to do many other kinds of dancing, but I've never really done swing dancing (expect for whatever I got in the Social Dance unit of Gym class in Junior High... you know). I used to be quite a good dancer, and Raistlin said he wasn't, but it's been a while for both of us so we thought we'd just go dance somewhere outside where no one would be watching.

It was raining last night, so I didn't dress up. He did.

Yikes! I can't wear a t-shirt and jeans to dance with a man dressed in a freaking tie! I hastily put on a skirt, though I was still under-dressed. Here are some goofy photos we took beforehand in my messy, messy kitchen. These photos hurt my vanity, so just look at him, not me.

Here's where we danced, at night, in the dark, in the rain:

It was really great. We have a long way to go before we could dance together in public, but who cares? After all the time I spent dancing in clubs when I was in college (I'm talking 2-3 times/week), I had no idea how excellent it could be to dance in a picnic shelter at night.

I know I've waxed poetic before about how wonderful the friends are that Zak and I have made in Vancouver, probably enough times that you, dear reader, will barf if I do it again. Um... cover your keyboard with something, I promise I'll make it short.

Raistlin is another friend who makes me glad that we moved here. He and his partner Lj have become very good friends of Zak's and mine, although we've only known them a few months. I miss my friends and family in Calgary very much, and it was both wonderful and a little heartbreaking to see them all last weekend. The fantastic friends we're making here make the difference for me between wallowing in homesickness, and being excited about the future.

I can't wait to go dancing again, though I'm making a dress first.