Outfit Snap: Knit and Frill

Outfit Snap: Knit and Frill

Over the weekend I attended Vogue Knitting Live! Chicago 2014~ I first attended in 2012, as I was lucky enough to win an attendance package for marketplace access and a single lecture. I purchased an additional lecture, but I couldn’t quite afford to take a class. I hoped to be able to do so last year, but that was not possible either. This year, I was prepared–I registered bright and early, convinced a friend to join with me, and was able to take a few classes. ♥

I wanted to put my frilliest foot forward, but I also wanted to highlight knit pieces. I realized that I don’t knit very many things for myself, which made coordinating a bit more complicated than I originally anticipated. For a bit I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I had all of these ideas of things I’d like to make for myself and so few of them have been projects I’ve worked on. During the event I suddenly understood why. My clothing is primarily a very specific shade of pink. The yarn that I see and buy is typically a clashing shade of pink. I’m going to have to keep my eyes open for “the right pink.”

Friday VK Live! Outfit
This mirror and I became close friends for outfit pictures over the weekend, haha~

On the first day I opted to wear a yellow hat featuring my favourite hat pattern. It is pale yellow, so I pulled out a pink skirt with yellow accents. (I did not wear a petticoat on any of the days in attendance, because the classrooms and marketplace can be very crowded. To take up extra space felt rude.) This skirt has always difficult for me to coordinate; it contains a number of pinks that are unique from most of my socks/cardigans/etc. I really like it with this turtleneck in autumn, though.

I also wore a crocheted scarf. A friend and fellow lolita made this for me many years ago as a gift. It’s a nice touch when the weather is on the chillier side. I love the giant rose blossoms on either end~ ♥

Saturday VK Live! Outfit
I’m really not the best at taking pictures of myself, so it took a lot of tries to not get something so blurry it wasn’t useable.

On Saturday I really wanted to wear this large cabled hooded pull-over cape. I’ve been eagerly waiting for the temperature to drop a bit so that I could wear it~ (Actually, it was much warmer on Saturday than I anticipated it being, but thankfully the air conditioning in the hotel was intense enough that I didn’t regret putting this layer on.)

It has a very “idyllic forest” feeling to it (honestly everything designed by Tiny Owl Knits does!), so I felt the tiny forest animals on the border of this Innocent World one-piece would set this off well. Additionally, there are hints of the same pale green and a slightly darker green in this dress’s print. It helped avoid the green colour standing out in a way that seemed ungrounded elsewhere.

It Has a Hood
I love this hood! Especially the tassel on the end~

I pulled my hair up in braids to avoid larger hair accessories. I thought I might want to pull the hood up, not that the weather was really making that necessary, and I didn’t want a larger bow to get caught in the hood. The small bow clip was just enough to set it off.

Sunday VK Live! Outfit
I kept thinking I would find a different spot to take pictures, but again and again this was most convenient.

Sunday was the last day, and that’s when I realized I was running out of knit things to wear. I have a few pullover sweaters, but the weather is not cold enough yet and they are enormous “snuggle up in this and never come out” sweaters that would look very silly with lolita attire. I have a few shawls in colour choices that match nothing. I fell back on this cardigan. I knit it to a longer length that I prefer to wear with jeans, so it hits my skirt at a strange length, but I was determined to wear it.

I opted for a high-necked blouse to avoid a collar overlapping the scoop neckline of the cardigan. I had to wear the tartan skirt because I took a class on knitting a fabric that resembles woven tartan! (I wanted to stay “in theme,” haha~) The gray tights are not my favourite in this picture, but they seemed significantly paler and a closer match for the cardigan’s silver tone in better lighting.

Swatch Matchin'
Swatches from our instructor were passed around during the plaid technique class, and I matched this one pretty well!

My non-standard attire made it really easy for my friend to spot me in a crowd, always handy at a busy event! A few people approached me over the weekend stating that they met me in 2012 and remembered me from then! One such person was the lovely lady who taught me to crochet at the “beginner’s lounge” two years ago~ I definitely owe her a lot; I’m not crochet-savvy but I can do enough to get around for what I want. I’m really looking forward to next year’s Vogue Knitting Live!

(A more knitter-focused recap of my experience at Vogue Knitting Live! Chicago 2014 here~)

Charming Activities: Knit & Purl

Charming Activities: Knit & Purl

My jaunts of writing-related disappearance have been primarily the result of 3 things:

  1. Schoolwork
  2. Family obligations
  3. Knitting

My coursework is coming to a close for the fall semester, providing a brief respite before picking up again for the winter, and I’ve been keeping myself occupied with knitting. I learned to knit several years ago, while on vacation with my grandmother, and I’ve knit off-and-on since then. I’m not very dedicated in my approach to knitting; I have a tendency to knit intensely for a few months, take on a project beyond my capabilities, become incredibly frustrated, vow to never knit again, and hide my yarn and needles for an unspecified length of time. Then, when I’ve completely forgotten about my previous failure, I chance upon my yarn and needles and decide to try again.

I enjoy knitting primarily because it gives my hands something to do; I like to be occupied rather than idle. I can knit while riding public transportation. There’s not much else that I can really do on a bus–reading gives me a headache. My current project can be tucked into a totebag when not being worked on and pulled out for a few stitches or rows while standing on the train platform. I can knit while watching movies (or television shows, such as the current three episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic over and over and over and over and over and over again…my poor, poor husband…) or having intimate conversations with friends over a pot of tea. Even better than merely being able to do the activity is that after a certain amount of work I have something to show for it~ I absolutely cannot sew, although I’ve always wanted to and regularly attempt to be taught yet another time, so creating knit objects, however simple they might be, makes me feel quite proud of myself!

The View from My Knitting
Although I ~can~ knit on the bus, that’s not the only place I knit. Sometimes it’s nice to cozy up with my stuffed shark, some tea, and a good movie.

The concept of “hand knit” can sometimes conjure up terrifying images of multi-coloured itchy sweaters, but that’s only a teeny-tiny portion of what can be made. There are so many options for yarn and so many beautiful patterns that there’s something for everyone’s taste. I’m working on knitting accessories for Christmas presents, and I’ve found perfect projects for everyone from my “I don’t want anything for Christmas” mother to my teenaged-and-way-too-cool-for-the-likes-of-a-silly-Alice stepsister. I am absolutely enthralled with the yarn shops of my city–I can find everything from expensive-expensive “do I dare breathe on this” beaded silk to inexpensive superwash wool.

Since my discovery of the needles and yarn, I’ve knit several scarves and am now moving on to wrist warmers. I have sparkly-eyed dreams of mittens and socks–all in due time. My goal–which I dream of as my pièce de résistance of knitting–is to make the Chocola-chan scarf patterned in the Gothic & Lolita Bible.

Chocola-chan Scarf
Chocola-chan is a white cat with a round face and jeweled accessories~

I own the Chocola-chan coat, and thus envision it perfectly accessorized with the Chocola-chan scarf. The pattern is available in English in the Gothic & Lolita Bible English edition volume 4. (I’m not sure which volume the original Japanese pattern is in.) The pattern itself is not excessively difficult, but it is a bit more vague that I would prefer. I want to make the scarf from a very nice yarn and avoid any inconsistencies due to mistakes, so I’ve been avoiding making one until I feel more confident about my abilities. Chocola-chan is too cute to be made to suffer from my lack of skill.

Instructions for Chocola-chan
The English instructions for the scarf were clearly edited from the original Japanese, but I don’t think I could attempt this based on the Japanese instructions.

There are some other knitting patterns from the Gothic & Lolita Bible that I’d like to try, such as a lacy hairbow and scallop-edged mittens. It would be nice to make them in a colour to coordinate with my winter coat~ The mittens that I usually wear are not very warm at all.

Mittens, Bow, and Brooch
I think these mittens are adorable, particularly because of the pom-pons~

As knitting is my current fascination, I’ve been spending a lot of time on Ravelry. (My username is MilkyTea.) Ravelry is a community for knitters, crocheters, and (to some extent, at least) spinners. It is also a marvelous database, providing a quick and easy way to search through thousands of patterns–whether they’re from books, from blogs, or from magazines. You can type in the name of a yarn and find important information even if you’ve misplaced the label. Projects can be registered and detailed on the site, you can keep track of your yarn and needles, and you can take notes of patterns you like that you might want to try in the future. I love how everything can be kept so organized.

I’m also fascinated by the sheer number of instructional knitting videos on the internet. When I learned to knit, that sort of thing didn’t exist. When I forgot an important step I had to spend quite a while bent over my “how to knit” book, feeling very confused, until I had a chance to see my grandmother again and have her show me what I was doing wrong. (For almost a year my purl stitches were actually knit stitches…just…amazingly convoluted. When I finally realized how to actually purl I thought, “…No wonder all of my ‘patterns’ have looked exactly the same.” It was a sad time. A few minutes on YouTube or Knitting Help could have prevented that.)

Rose and Knitting
This is how the inside of my totebag typically looks…although the bear is no longer wrapped in plastic.

Rose, my adored BABY, the Stars Shine Brightusakumya friend” teddy bear, has become my knitting companion. She’s usually hiding in a totebag along with a skein of yarn, needles, and a sheet of notes. (Sometimes I tuck the notes under her arm so they’re easier to find.)

Maybe someday, when I finally conquer the Chocola-chan scarf, I’ll move on to making cardigans or boleros like those that Angelic Pretty and BABY, the Stars Shine Bright release in the cooler months. I think they’re beautiful, and I’d love to have a nice layering piece that I had actually made. I’d be able to pick whatever colour would best match my wardrobe and make any other adjustments. It could be fun~

Does anyone else knit? (Or crochet? I find crochet fascinating but haven’t managed to figure out anything other than making long loopy chains.) Have you tried any of the Gothic & Lolita Bible patterns?