The Same but Different

Recently I saw a photo in which someone claimed they were wearing chambray and I wondered if they really were. I am a textile geek, after all, and I could see why someone would think that a fabric is one thing when it’s really something else. I wondered if the fabric in question was indeed chambray, or if it was denim.

Left: striped chambray Right: denim

Left: striped chambray
Right: denim

Chambray and denim are very similar in that the warp threads – the threads that are attached to the loom in weaving – are dyed threads, and the weft threads – the ones that come off the shuttle (I remember it by “weft goes left…and right”) – are white threads. And they’re both typically made of cotton.

Denim is typically a pretty thick canvas, but it can be very lightweight as well, it just depends on the gauge of the threads used. Chambray is typically lightweight.

This is a great blog post about denim, and it explains the structure of “the simplest example of a woven fabric” (which weavers call “plaino”) and the structure of a twill fabric (looks diagonal). Herein lies the fundamental difference between denim and chambray: Chambray is plaino weave – one over, one under, and denim is a twill weave, two over, one under.

Ultimately, I was concerned that the person was accidentally wearing an Albertan Tuxedo (denim jacket and jeans – a fashion I unwittingly adhered to for much of the 90s and early 2000s). If you want to go blue on blue, make sure you’ve got a chambray top and denim jeans – or vice versa.



Yesterday started out well enough; I got up and did some exercise, got ready for work and had a pleasant morning until someone hurt my feelings and for some reason it ruined my whole day. It was a paltry comment, not even worth the breath used to utter it or the synapses used to hear it, but for some reason it irked and wrankled and I could not let it go. It wasn’t meant to be hurtful, and I think the person who said it honestly thought they were commiserating with me. Maybe I’m sensitive due to the pressures I’ve put on myself with my ridiculous procrastination and some fitful nights of sleep. Whatever the case, it hurt and feelings are there for a reason.

So when the end of the day came, I went straight home rather than stopping at the library, and instead of picking up my homework, I picked up some knitting. Knitting for me. With Christmas looming, I should be working on the two gifts I’m trying to complete, but I didn’t want my bad juju to get wrapped in the stitches I am giving away. And I knew I wouldn’t focus on my writing. So I popped in some movies and knit.

And knit.

And the pain of the day unwound as my project grew.

Because it is a sort of meditation. It is a repetitious action that if you concentrate on it, and it alone, it soothes, it is a balm. I realised long into the project that my counting (and I counted my cast-on stitches three times) was completely inaccurate and I was four stitches short for one of my cuffs, but I’m not going to frog that cuff and re-knit it because it doesn’t matter. I wasn’t even angry with myself for doing 76 stitches rather than 80 because I had calmed down. I was still a little sad by the time I went to bed, but I was no longer hurt. And I slept better than I had for days.

Thank goodness for knitting.

Where are they now?

The February Lady Sweater.  It’s so cute on so many people, I had to start making one.  I found beautiful (and expensive) buttons to add to it, I got so much of it done and then I stopped for awhile.

I picked it up again a couple summers ago, but I had lost a fair amount of weight and realised it was too big so I paused.

I gained the weight back and thought, well, I may as well finish it.

I was working on it a couple of weeks ago, and realised, it doesn’t suit me.  I think I am not a girl for wearing worsted weight sweaters.  Where is it now?  Sitting in one of my yarn cubbies, waiting to be frogged (once I decide what else to do with all that Cascade 220).

Skill + 1Up!

I tend to be a fearless knitter.  I see a project I want to do, I figure out how to do it.  Sometimes, the only deterrent is my gauge.  Yup, I’m one of those people.

So I didn’t really learn any new skills this year.  So my one-up-ing comes from experience points.  This past year I have done more colourwork than I had done in previous years, and I did some modular knitting which involved a lot of picking up and knitting, as well as a lot of weaving in.

I do have skills I need to 1 up – mostly they have to deal with spinning flax fibres into linen yarn.  I need to do this soon.  That ties into the other skill I’m working on – finishing.  I have a wicked case of startitis.

A Tale of Two Yarns

It must be stated – I am a fibre snob.  Working as a costumer at an historic site for the last 13 years has ingrained in me the importance of natural fibres.  Being someone who is becoming increasingly aware of my environmental footprint is also something that affects my fibre choices (I am morally opposed to superwash yarns due to the amount of water and/or chemicals involved in its creation – it’s a personal hang-up, I’ll let you use whatever you please).

The first yarn I worked with on a regular basis was by Briggs and Little.  I got a lot of it, in several different colours and weights, so that I could build shawls for work.  I thought its rustic hand would be perfect for the Park.  Now I look at that yarn and shudder – I have sensitive skin and can’t wear it, so why would I expect my staff to wear it?

My latest go-to yarn is, of course, Cascade 220.  It’s non-superwash (well, the original is anyway), it’s got a plethora of colours, and it’s comfy on my sensitive skin.  That being said, I’m beginning to come to the conclusion that it’s not the best for my physique; I can only wear if it’s made into hats, mittens, or scarves.  I’m not very tall, and I’m curvy, and I am about to frog my February Lady sweater that only needs the sleeves finished because I tried it on and felt it was just too bulky for a girl of my build.   However, it is being made into a cardigan for a female 1920s interpreter, two 1920s men’s sweaters, and it’s been doing quite well for finger-woven sashes (after being over-plied so that it resists pilling during construction).

Neither of these are my favourite yarn but they have been, or are becoming, my workhorse yarns.

Well, hello there

Look!  A hat!

Norie by Gudrun Johnston.  Ravelry link to my project.

So much for this being a school journal.  Journaling isn’t really a daily thing for me.  Mehh.

Although, speaking of school, I think I’ve come up with a new way to encourage myself to get my level 4 spinning homework done (because apparently I need incentives other than actually finishing it).  Shoes.

This winter has had more snow and cold days than most of the preceding 10 years and because of that, I’ve been wearing my winter boots almost every day since I got them in November.  I love my boots, but I’m really looking forward to wearing something else.  I’ve taken to wearing my plaid sneakers around my apartment and eyeing my “Roman” sandals with longing.

So if I get my yarn homework done in a decent amount of time, I’m going to get myself shoes.  Below are links to the shoes I’m currently tempted by; I may go with none of these because I may discover something that fits my shortness and thick calves better, but I wonder which are your favourites?

Shoe A.  Fluevog boots with tonnes of buckles?

Shoe B.  Fluevog printed boots with lattice-work cutouts?

Shoe C.  Neosens Rococo in “Ghobi Albahaca” with a cute little ribbon bow?


Sorry about the bad photo that is about to follow.  My fancy camera’s in the shop so I have to resort to my old point and shoot and I’m out of practice with it so it’s blurry.  Anyway, I had to do a 150 hour project for my level four homework.  164 hours and 37 minutes later it’s done.  Now onto the rest of the workbook.

African Adventure Quilt by Horst Schulz (Ravelry Link).

4.0 mm needles.

100% Bluefaced Leicester wool spun, dyed and knitted by me.