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New book: Japanese Cowichan-style Knits

14 Feb

Granted Clothing

A few months ago I discovered Granted Clothing and fell in love with their sweaters, handmade in Vancouver BC! As a non-knitter, I would look at the $400 price tag and cry a little tear, but as a knitter I get to figure out how to make my own!

If you’re like me, you recognize this style of sweater–they’re bulky, usually with animal designs, and are vaguely Native American-looking–but don’t know much about it. I did some background research and the style is called Cowichan knitting, after the Cowichan people of Vancouver Island, BC, and was developed when the Cowichan were introduced to European settlers’ knitting methods. Like other styles of Native American/First Nations art, mainstream fashion decided these sweaters were something that could sell and now you can now find mass produced “Cowichan” aka “Big Lebowski” sweaters at Urban Outfitters (great blog post on this issue here).

I *think* I get to bypass these issues by making a sweater myself… and acknowledging that I’m remixing the original style into something of my own creation while still honoring its origins. I’d love to have something that incorporates more color and maybe has horses on the back?

Japanese Cowichan Book

In any case, the idea to design my own Cowichan-style sweater was on the back burner when last week I saw this book on sale from Fringe Association (a great store/blog I just discovered). It light heartedly (and obliviously?) combines traditional designs with Scandanavian motifs and other styles. It’s a total cultural mash up and it’s great.


One of my favorite Granted sweater is the whale vest for kids, and this book has its own whale design. Perfect!


I love this lion head too. Would be so cute on a little boy’s sweater.

If you’re wondering “wait… isn’t the book IN JAPANESE?” well yes, it is, but Japanese patterns have such detailed charts and diagrams that no reading is necessary (except numbers–at least those are the same). And if anyone finds this on Ravelry, please let me know!



physics + nature = a mystifying beauty

25 Jul

Images of sand formations, top from NJ and bottom from CA. Via Wired.



it all ends tonight.

14 Jul

I’ve talked before about how much I love the Harry Potter series. When something has been part of your life over 10 years (over half my life), it moves from the role of “really good book” to something totally different… and as the movie posters have been trumpeting, “it all ends” tonight. While I have been pretty disappointed with some of the movies I thought the last one was really really good so I’m excited for this one.

In celebration of the premiere we made butterbeer cupcakes, a recipe I’ve been wanting to try for a while after I saw it on amybites. I’m forgoing posting the recipe/steps because she did such a nice job in her post.

I would definitely recommend this recipe, it’s delicious and tastes just like the drink at the theme park (not that needs to be the official standard of taste, but I thought they did a great job). The only change I made was making the frosting with 1/3 cup cream soda in place of the 1/3 cup butterscotch the recipe calls for and I used vanilla bean instead of extract. Also I made only half the amount of ganache and still had a lot left over so I would cut the proportions of that. Otherwise it’s a very well written recipe, the cakes is light yet moist and not too sweet which is good because the filling and frosting is very sweet. Check out the butterscotch filling below!

I’ll get back to you with what I think of this movie (and whether it makes me cry like the last one did…). Let me know what you think too!

we heart the fibre arts.

6 Jul

I love this latest example of fibre/fiber arts entering the mainstream via new editions of Penguin Classics embroidered by artist Jillian Tamaki, available in October.

P.S. In case you were wondering:

Fibre Arts:  A broad term that covers various types of modern work that are made with fibre but which are distinct from traditional categories such as tapestry.

 ‘The use and development of non-traditional materials in art, combined with feminist consciousness about the relationship between certain materials and processes and women’s cultural and historical traditions, led to an intense questioning of art traditions … The idea of using fabric as an art material both summed up the iconoclasm of the 1970s and established a context within which to mount a feminist challenge to the way art history honored certain materials and certain processes instead of others.’ (Whitney Chadwick, Women, Art, and Society, 1990) (

Whoa, how’s that for a highfalutin definition.

“how I became 100 artists.”

20 Jun


An amazing Ted talk about an artist who was frustrated with the contemporary art scene and wanted to see more accessibility and craftsmanship. He decided to create a biennale (exhibition occurring biannually) featuring artists whose work he could explain to his grandma in 5 minutes. But when he realized how much work it would be to find such artists, he decided to do the work himself. So he created 100 fictional artists with unique backstories and personalities, and then created their work. It’s amazing!

more great greeting cards.

15 Jun

happy jewish dayhappy jewish day Continue reading

hilarious greeting cards.

12 Jun

Continue reading

DIY Wall Art

17 Jan

With a new year comes a new calendar. What to do with the old one? I really liked my 2010 one so I cut it up and put it up on the wall with masking tape. It’s super low-tech but still looks good. All you need is a friend to help you out!


P.S. Hands down best pic from that calendar (Creature by Andrew Zimmerman) was the Slow Loris. Is he attempting a stealth tickle?

330 square foot “mini-mansion”

5 Jan

So I took a pretty long break over the holidays. Hope you all had a good break! The following is the first post by my friend Meredith. She’s going to Argentina this semester so hopefully we will get some posts from abroad!



City life may be exciting and splendid, but that all comes at a price. For most, they are subjected to cramped living arrangements. In Hong Kong, where apartment style living seems to be the only means of living, green architect Gary Chang has transformed his 330 square foot apartment into a 24-roomed apartment. How is this possible? Through Chang’s construction of layered pull out walls, panels and furniture. Chang has managed to create a practically unlivable space into a “mini-mansion.”

we heart easy decorating.

9 Dec

Christmas is coming and in my apartment we don’t have a real tree or a fake tree or actually anything amounting to christmas decorations (although we do have some halloween decorations still up if that counts for anything). That’s why I love this post from ReadyMade (a cool DIY magazine/website (for people who live in Seattle, they often give out free subscriptions at Bumbershoot)) with low-cost and low-commitment (for people who might be moving around a lot) ways to decorate.

1. I love the Post-it Christmas tree! Luckily I get to go to home to a real one this year, but you never know, maybe I’ll need one next year.

2. This sweet modern wreath is made from the pages of an old book, but I don’t see why you couldn’t just use newspaper or old wrapping paper for a more colorful look. Tutorial from Living with Lindsay.

3. I love that these hanging decorations are holiday-neutral. Christmas, Hanukkah, Valentines day, whatever. The how-to says to use card stock and grommets, but I would opt for simple colored printer-paper and staples! Tutorial from Curbly.

More ideas from ReadyMade here.

P.S. Did you notice the snow falling on the blog? It’s a wordpress feature until January 4th. Happy holidays!