Monday, August 11, 2014

two cowls done!

I finished these two Canyon Cowls today for a friend of mine, who requested them for her granddaughters. I love the way these turned out - they're mostly stockinette stitch with a bit of crochet detail around the edge and where the buttons are.

Thankfully she requested them early enough - they're not due until November for their birthdays, but it gave me plenty of time to get these done. With a toddler in the house, I'm limited to when I can knit; plus, I would've gotten them done much earlier if I hadn't been sick all weekend.

Now... off to finish all those WIP's I've got hiding around the house...

Friday, August 8, 2014

send in the clowns...

A few years ago, DH and I started the adoption process through public adoption. We've taken in a handful of foster kids via foster relief (essentially, taking care of foster kids while foster parents were on vacation, so we had kids for a few days to a couple weeks at a time) in the meantime. Thankfully, though, after about 4 years of waiting, we took in a little boy last October. He was about a year old when he came to us, still as a foster child. He did become a crown ward back in January, but the birth family is appealing the decision, so we're still waiting for all that to finish (still) before we can start signing the adoption papers - which we hope to start this month.

He's an absolute joy to be around, and we're so happy to have him! The waiting to sign the papers, though, is tedious, but it'll start soon enough, so there's hope. 

That being said, I of course have been doing a fair amount of knitting for him. I've knit him a toy for a gift for last xmas, and a cabled cotton vest for spring/summer wear. I've started, yesterday, to knit Mr Fortywinks - a Jean Greenhowe pattern that I've had in my collection for a little while. I just have the legs started:
 My MiL found a few booklets of Jean Greenhowe toy patterns, which I've been meaning to start ages ago, but I've now gt a good excuse to start one. It should be a fairly big snuggley clown - and it'll eat up a lot of this Bernat Satin yarn that I've got stored in a big bag.

Monday, April 1, 2013

toe up socks for the guys...

Dad's socks, knit in Paton's Kroy FX
 in Camo Colours
I just realized that I haven't blogged in a long while, so I'm going to make a point to blog a bit more this month.

Just a knitting update: I'm in love with knitting toe up socks. I know this pattern may be a little vanilla for some people's tastes, but vanilla works for me. I still don't get the logic behind knitting lacey socks, but give me a good skein of self stripping yarn, and this pattern looks awesome.

Both pairs of socks I have here, I finished last month. My dad's socks were for his birthday (yesterday) and DH's socks were made just for fun. Honestly, I wasn't planning on making DH any socks, but when he saw my dad's completed pair, he changed his mind and wanted some!
DH's socks, knit in Paton's Kroy Stripes
in Country Jaquard

(Not a problem!) 

Both were an easy knit - and my dad's I finished in record time, 9 days! It really helps knitting both socks at the same time, I've never been able to knit a pair of anything separately. Sleeves, mittens, socks - all done both at the same time. 

The only tweek I made to the toe up pattern, as you may be able to tell from these two pairs, is I added a little bit of ribbing to where the arch of the food would be, to make the sock more of a snug fit.

I've already cast on a pair for my FiL, his birthday is in June so they'll be gifted then. The yarn I'm using is similar to what I've used for DH's socks, but in a different colour. Pictures to come soon!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

halloween sheep cookies!

I made these sugar cookies last week - not until today did I get around to blogging about them. The icing on them is my first attempt at making homemade cookie icing, so all things concidered, they turned out pretty awesome!

In case it's hard to tell: the top 3 are just regular sheep with bloody bites missing, the two black ones are bloodthirsty sheep (there's blood coming from their mouths!), a jack o lantern sheep, a candy corn sheep, and the three on the right are zombie sheep! :D

The bites were simply made using the scalloped edges of the sheep cutter, and I bought the candy eyes from Bulk Barn.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


I'm all for knitting and crocheting both fun and/or functional items. Not all knitting needs to be functional, it can be weird or cute or silly.

But then, there's just madness.

Cozies for your fruit serve no purpose. Apples and bananas do not need a sweater.

A cozie for beer or coffee cups can be, in certain circles, a bit of a stretch. Beer bottle cozies help keep beer cooler longer, and don't get your hands cold. One might argue that the purpose of an ecological, reusable coffee cup cozie seems pointless when getting coffee in a paper cup that you're going to throw out anyway - but they can be cute nonetheless, and they do serve a purpose.

Apple cozies serve no actual, functional purpose. Unless, of course, your goal is to have your coworkers stare at you in the lunch room, wondering why your apple is wearing a sweater. Or, maybe, you've got a partial skein of yarn that's just burning a hole in your craft room and there is absolutely nothing else in the universe that is left for you to make a cozie for. Or, maybe, pharmaceuticals are involved, and while on them you become convinced that your apple is freezing and needs a sweater. Or, maybe, you're trying to be an etsy hipster and you've already got pictures of you posing with that Sharpie marker mustache you drew on your finger, and making an apple cozie is the next logical step in things to make and display online.

I'm usually the last one to comment on the utter uselessness or tackiness of something. Nevertheless, comment has been made. I've yet to be convinced of their purpose, and can guarantee that this will never be something that I'll make.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

free patterns vs paid-for patterns

I've been debating for a while now, whether or not to write a post about this, since this is something that has affected not only myself, but several other designers out in the knitting and crochet community.

I've got quite a few patterns available for free, as you can see... but these are all for small projects (1 skein or less) - I haven't posted them for sale largely because I personally only would want to post larger patterns for sale, for items like shawls or sweaters. This perspective will vary from one designer to the next. The knitting community has, for the most part, greatly & graciously appreciated the quantity of free patterns out there, and whenever possible, supported designers who chose to charge for their patterns.

Designers should never have to feel guilty for charging for a pattern. Most people - whether they knit or not - can appreciate the quantity of work that goes into knitting a garment. There's as much work that goes into writing out that design, and making sure that it's as accurate as possible.

Now, it will happen, on occasion, that there'll be a pattern that will come up for sale online or in a book or magazine, and there'll be free patterns that are very similar to it that will pop up. Assuming that the authors of the free patterns aren't purposely and deviously trying to make a sale pattern available for free, but rather these free patterns are merely coincidentally similar, then whoever decides to make the pattern that's for sale shouldn't feel any sort of guilt from having to buy the pattern, despite the availability of the free similar ones.

In my case, what happened a couple years ago, was I designed a sweater similar to the one worn in the movie The Big Lebowski. My brother was a huge fan of the movie, he loved the sweater, he wanted one, and he had requested one from me. At the time, there were no patterns available. So, I had to somehow improvise one. I did, and as I knit mine, I wrote out my pattern the best that I could. I had never written a sweater pattern before, but I had already knit several sweaters, so I had a fairly good idea of how to go about creating one.

My brother's sweater was gifted in September, for his birthday. The pattern became available for sale soon afterwards in the etsy shop I had at the time. As it turns out, exactly a week after I had mine up for sale and linked to ravelry, another designer had come out with her own version of the Lebowski sweater, and had decided to share it for free.

I have to admit, at the time I prided myself in finally coming out with a sweater pattern that seemed to be in such high demand; people had been posting online for years, desperately wanting a Lebowski sweater pattern. And it did bother me a bit that someone else not only came out with a pattern pretty much exactly at the same time I did, but I felt a little undermined that it was available for free. But, our patterns were different enough, and at the end of the day, it was really coincidence that we both had a Lebowski sweater pattern that came out at the same time, so I really couldn't fault anyone for that.

The problem came, though, soon afterwards. And it largely came because there was a free pattern out there, which inevidably conflicts with a pattern for sale.

I had sold a few of my patterns, and as far as I knew, everything was fine. A year had passed, I had quite a few people buy my pattern and knit it, and I had received quite a few emails of people who had finished my design and they all seemed to turn out rather well. The issue, rather, came about on ravelry - I had a couple people buy my pattern, and within a couple months, wrote very mean messeges to me about how they believed I was trying to rip them off, SIMPLY BY HAVING A PATTERN FOR SALE when there was another one out there for free.

In my defense, I told them, that my pattern and the free one had come out within a week of each other, and a basic pattern search on ravelry would show both of these patterns. They chose to buy my pattern, I couldn't be held responsible for that.

It was only AFTER that, that I was told that my pattern was apperently riddled with mistakes, although those mistakes were noted absolutely nowhere. The couple who had complained about my pattern said they would ONLY let me know what these mistakes were on the condition that I paid them for it - which is unheard of, at least as far as I was concerned.

Sidenote: I've frequently come across mistakes in patterns, in both ones I've bought AND ones I've used for free. In EVERY case, I have not only contacted the designer with the mistakes I've found, but I've also made note of them in my notes on ravelry. If for nothing else, that there is SOME mention of erratta SOMEWHERE, and there's a chance that the next person who knits said design MIGHT come across my notes and can make the necessary adjustments. So far, in all of my years at least on ravelry, this has been what other knitters have also done with the patterns they've made. I've even posted, out of curiosity, in ravelry's forums, if a designer should pay their paying customers for pattern corrections, to which I've got an astounding 'no'.

Back on topic: I came to the conclusion that what these couple buyers had was buyer's remorse. I get it, it sucks to have to pay for something when you later discover you could've gotten something very similar for free. This was something that was reiterated a few times to me by these few people: I owed them because they believed I cheated them out of something. I even had one person wanting me to pay her back for the yarn she bought, because she used the colours I did in my original design, rather than using the origincal colours from the Lebowski sweater. Huh?!? And another knitter who, even though she bought the right yarn, knit much too tight and would up with a tighter tension (and therefore, a smaller sweater) so, according to her, I owed her for that as well.

Eesh... one has really nothing to do with another.

I want to note, only because I've been asked and this has been commented on, that I've absolutely not had a problem with the other (free) pattern, nor an issue with its designer. She's a wonderful designer and we've had a good chat about our sweater patterns when they were first released in the ravelry communtiy. The issues solely lied with the few knitters who have a) bought the pattern, and b) commented on their own issues of these seemingly conflicting designs.

On a personal note, it has hurt me quite a bit when my pattern came out that I was given as much grief as I had, simply because I decided to charge for my design, and I apparently had a very selfish audacity to offer a pattern for sale when was out there for free. I took it very personally then, and it still bothers me a bit to this day, to be attacked in such a way not only privately, but also blatently and publicly, online, simply for having a pattern for sale. I didn't steal the design, and yet I felt like I was being crucified simply for having a pattern for sale.

It had been, after a year of being available, taken down. I had completely removed it and was since very much discouraged for even considering sharing another pattern (for free OR for sale) because of those couple incidents.

I have, though, a number of times since, been asked to at the very least share my intarsia charts for the Lebowski sweater pattern I made, and I stood on the fence of whether or not I wanted to even share them privately, because of all that had gone on. So, I simply declined.

Now, 3 years to the month later, and after several more requests for at least the charts (and a few requests for my version of the pattern as well) I decided to post it up as only a ravelry download here - charts and all. I'm posting with a great amount of hesitation, but hopeful that maybe even part of my pattern is helpful to anyone who wants to knit a sweater, and that there's an effort for positive construction to move forward.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

short post

Short post today: I know I missed posting for the last couple mondays, I just didn't have anything to write.

Progress on diet: I finally got past the 25lb mark - I've lost 25.2 lbs so far, despite a couple glitches. Better late than never.

Summer top progress: I'm making progress. I'm knitting this top-up, so I finished the torso and part of the sleeves, I've just joined everything and am finishing the yoke part of the top. Trying to figure out how I'm going to decrease everything to finish off the collar so it doesn't look half-assed. More on that later.

DH and I are doing a little relief work, taking in a foster child toddler for the next 10 days or so, so I may not be posting next monday. But I'll definately post the week after. Maybe I'll get around to downloading whatever I need to download for blogger so I can finally post pictures!

Monday, June 25, 2012

epic knitting fail

I'm still having trouble uploading pictures into my blog, and downloading the new blog format, so bear with me. I'll be including links to ravelry for my project.

The top that I bought way back in March, that I started nearly 3 months ago, was completed last night and it was an epic fail. For a number of reasons. I believe, truly, that it had more to do with the pattern than my knitting, but I'm not going to blame it entirely on the design. I'll comfortably divide the blame 80/20, the latter being my eye and knitting.

Ravelry link to my project: Vintage Love Summer Top

The top is knit top-down, and I think the designer's thinking is that you can make adjustments as needes while you work. Which means, especially if you're making the plus sizes (which I did) one would have to remove it from the needles, thread a yarn thru live stitches, try it on carefully, thread it back on to the circular needles, and keep on going. Very difficult and tedious and very easy to drop stitches.

As I was making this design, I noticed in the beginning there was one problem after another with the pattern itself. I was one of the first to buy the pattern when it came up for sale, and I couldn't work past either the extremely weird wording or the mistakes, and it took sometimes 2 weeks to get a reply from the designer. So, just to get through the top down to below the bust (sans sleeves) this all took at least 4 contacts to the designer to try to figure out the problem, and nearly 2 months. That was painfully annoying. In that time I could've completed the top entirely.

I also thought, as I was making it, that the arm holes seemed enourmous. But I thought, well, there's a lot of shaping that happens in arm holes, and that reflects in the sleeves. Had I been skilled enough to design my own arm holes and sleeves, I really wouldn't need to buy a pattern in the first place. This is where I lack as a designer, so I depend entirely on pattern instructions. Despite my skepticism, and a few unreplied messeges to the designer, I went ahead and finished the design anyway. There is an extra 10" of space from my armpit to the bottom of the sleeve hole. That is HUGE!

This means, if I were to wear this out in public, I'd have to do so without lifting my elbows, or I run the risk of a wardrobe malfunction, and trust me, no one wants to see that.

There is a lot of this pattern that I dislike, and it partially has to do with how it fits on me. It largely, though, has to do with the structure of the pattern. There is no diagram showing what the final measurements and proportions of each part of the top should be, as sweater patterns should have.

Anyway, at the end of the day, and this is also on more of a personal note, the attitude of the designer also turned me off quite a bit. No matter what I asked, despite my best efforts in trying to be polite in all my frustrations, the designer consistantly insisted that what I was doing was wrong, and there's no flaws with the pattern. The pattern support is awful, and the designer proved to be rather difficult to work with. Bad customer service does add insult to injury in this case. This whole endevour has turned me off entirely of retrying this project or any of her other designs.  

This project will be frogged, and in the 7 weeks remaining before my brother's wedding, I'll be making extra effort to reknit my blue top and hopefully find time to knit a black one as well to wear.

Monday, June 18, 2012

and... more progress!

Well, I'm now officially up to 23 lbs lost, which is awesome. And to be honest, I haven't really been tracking points as intently as I normally do, since there's been a lot of eating out. It's interesting how I can more or less guess what a quantity of something is just by eyeballing it, and it's obvious that I can't be too far off because I'm losing weight.

My big issue with weight is not so much that I don't eat healthy - because I generally do. My issue is with snacking. It's rare that I have take-out or pop in the house, we don't really eat chips that often. It's really just portions and snacking that throws me through a loop. I've also found myself making the same meals over and over again - meat with a side of rice every day for dinner. Which, in itself is healty, but it can be a lot. I know I've frequently had 2 pork chops instead of one. A cup of peas is half the points of a cup of rice, and a 1 point salad is not that hard to put together - which would be a quarter of the points of the rice again.

Or, a small glass of juice instead of a tall glass. Sweetener in my coffee instead of sugar, or milk instead of cream. A slice of cheese instead of an inch-thick cut of it. Weird little things like that will cut down the number of points (& calories and fat!) I consume.

Plus I've found myself eating things I don't normally eat. I'm eating a lot more fruit and veg for snacks instead of granola bars, even though the granola bars are quite healthy. Or cottage cheese makes great snacks too.

Small things do make a big difference!

Saturday, June 16, 2012


I just realized I forgot to blog last monday, as I usually do.

Well, fwiw, I passed the 20lb mark, I weighed myself monday and discovered I lost a total of 20.6lbs. There's still a ways to go, but it's really a good start.

I've also been slacking off a bit, I'm trying to figure out how to load Google Chrome... because blogger's not allowing me to post links or pictures without the update. I've a bunch of projects I've finished recently that I haven't been able to post because of this, but hopefully this is something I can tackle soon, so I can share my knitting and crochet projects!

Off topic: a weird yarn thing happened this past week. I discovered that Patons Shetland Chunky used to come in a different sized skein. I came about discovering this when I went thru ravelry, and bought someone's stash 2 weeks ago, and it arrived yesterday. I thought I was buying 7 skeins of 100 grams and 148 yards, but what I infact wound up with was 7 skeins at 50 grams each and 73 yards. Drastic difference, and this was something that was not shared before I purchased it.

In itself, it's not a big deal if what I intended to knit with it is hats and scarves and mittens, because it really wouldn't make a difference. What I wanted to make, though, with it, is a sweater for DH. Which requires 7 100 gram skeins. It's one of those colours that I can't just go to Michael's and buy the balance of what I need, because if I could, I would.

I did contact the person I bought it from, and she's adament that the old yardage was infact listed in ravelry when she sold it to me, and I insist that it wasn't, so it seems that we're both in a position where we each think we're right and the other person's wrong, so what can I do. This wasn't an issue of how much I spent on the yarn, because truthfully I did get a good deal on it, but more of an issue of expecting something and getting something entirely different and being stuck with it.

Without asking for a refund, I did get one though, with the condition from her end that the yarn would be used charitably, so that's what I'm going to do. If I can find a charity that can use this yarn, it'll go there, otherwise I'll gladly knit it into some garments and donate it to a charity that's looking for some warm clothes. So, in the end there's something proactive that comes out of this.