Thursday, December 31, 2009

finishing the year, and the decade

I just wanted to post a Happy New Year's Eve, in case I don't get a chance to blog here tomorrow!

I'm currently ending the year with two WIP's... a baby blanket, so I can use up some yarn I bought a while ago, and a sweater for afghans for afghans to add to their current campaign.

I know, I know... another sweater! Argh! But it's a small sweater, it's specifically a vest for a child, knitted with an aran weight yarn, so it should be fairly easy to finish soon. So, no worries. Pictures to come soon.

Happy New Years, fellow bloggers!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

finally finished - DH's sweater!

I started knitting this sweater back in May... and because I was distracted with knitting my brother's Lebowski sweater and other projects, this got pushed off more and more.

Had I stuck with it, it would've been done for DH's birthday @ the end of June, but it has now become an xmas gift! (He of course knows about it, because he has seen me work on it... but he can't have it until actual xmas!) I also got him some other items, which are a surprise, which will all be gifted with the sweater!

In case anyone's curious, the pattern is Aran Pullover, from the book Knitting with Balls by Michael del Vecchio... love this pattern!




Saturday, December 12, 2009

christmas spider legend

Back when I worked @ Lewiscraft, I remember seeing for the first time, beading kids to make Christmas spiders... which was odd, it wasn't something I ever heard of.

It stuck with me though, and once I finish knitting my husband's sweater, I want to knit something spidery for the holidays... so I wound up googling Christmas spiders, and found this bit of information about them - and interestingly enough, explains the reason why we use tinsel on our trees as well! How wonderfully random!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Owl Coffee Cup Cozie pattern


materials:
- aran, dk or worsted yarn (18-20sts =4"),  13 grams
- dpn's (right size for yarn & tension) set of 4
- 10 sew-on eyes, 8mm-10mm
- cable needle, darning needle (to sew on eyes) and crochet hook (to weave in ends)
- optional: scrap yarn in a contrasting colour to sew on a beak

Finished size: mine ended up being 4" tall, and fits a large cup of take out coffee (approx 8-9" in diameter)

Terms used in this pattern:
C4F: put 2 sts on a cable needle, hold in front, k2, then k2 from cable needle
C4B: put 2 sts on a cable needle, hold in back, k2, then k2 from cable needle
C2F: put 1 st on a cable needle, hold in front, k1, then k1 from cable needle
C2B: put 1 st on a cable needle, hold in back, k1, then k1 from cable needle
K_tbl: Knit the stitch thru the back loop; in this case, knit two stitches each thru the back loop

how-to:
Cast on 48 sts. Divide between 3 dpn's, and join.
K2tbl, P2 rib for 4 rows.
Next row (5th row): continue doing k2tbl, p2 rib while increasing 2 stitches evenly around. 50 sts.


Work Owl Cable: (there are 5 owls around)
Rows 1 & 2: *k8, p2* around to end.
Row 3: *C4B, C4F, p2* around.
Rows 4-9: *k8, p2* around to end.
Row 10: *C4B, C4F, p2* around.
Rows 11-15: *k8, p2* around to end.
Row 16: *C4B, C4F, p2* around.
Row 17: *k8, p2* around to end. Or, to make pointy ears: *C2B, k4, C2F, p2* around to end. 

Next row: work k2tbl, p2 rib while decreasing 2 sts evenly around. (48 sts)
Work 4 rows of k2tbl, p2 rib.
Cast off loosely, weave in ends.

To finish: Sew on 2 eyes per owl, just under the third cable that was worked in row 16. Add a beak using duplicate stitch - a tuturial I like can be found here.

Sets of 10 SEW ON EYES available here in my zibbet shop - zibbet is free to sign on, and works just like etsy or ebay does!

© 2009 by Sabrina Thompson - original design and pictures. Please do not sell pattern or copy my pictures. Please use proper descretion with all finished objects, and respect local copyright & trademark laws. Pattern cannot be distributed for sale, or as a 'free pattern' promotional tool for selling yarn or knitting supplies. If posting Finished Items on personal blogs, please link back to this blog and pattern, thanks. :D If you have any questions or concerns about this or any other of my patterns, please contact me by posting your questions in the comments, I'll address them a.s.a.p.!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

what is a knittini?

I just love the word... and martinis. What would go into a knittini?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

knitted science

I saw this posted, and thought it was brilliant, so I needed to share it on my blog:

Enjoy!

Monday, October 26, 2009

dog sweater drive

I know that this is a crazy time, everyone's knitting and crocheting for the holidays... but, if you happen to have some time and yarn available, dog sweaters would be greatly appreciated!
I'm collecting sweaters of all sizes, preferably for dogs that are 60lbs or less. Here is what I'm looking for:

- the sweater must wrap around the dog's front legs at least, please stay away from 'cape' looking sweaters. Sweaters that cover the chest as well would be ideal.

- use a warm, machine washable yarn. If it's not machine dryable, that's ok, but at least machine washable. Many dogs are rescued in the winter and suffer from frostbite and hypothermia, so a warm fiber content would be needed for these dogs

I would like to be able to create a care package to donate for around the holidays or by the end of this year, if I can, at least 25 sweaters. These will be going to local shelters, in southern Ontario, Canada. Any colour(s) would be great.

If you could help, that would be wonderful. Please contact me for my mailing address, at purplespirit1 <at> hotmail <dot> com (title the email 'dog sweater donation').

I know, again, that it's late in the year and we're all busy, but this would make a great destashing project, if you have some extra yarn laying around the house and you're not sure how to use it up!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

the $3000 scarf

In my mind's eye, hobby farming and sheep hearding would be a fantastic - although unrealistic - idea. Just the idea of having my own sheep to then have full access to all the yarn I want, would be lovely. Then, I came across this article, and I'm now rethinking the whole concept.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

no more need for mittens?

If this article about fat people not needing mittens is true... I've been overweight my entire life, and yet my hands and feet are always cold? I've bought mittens every winter, and since I began knitting, I've always made myself mittens, because my hands are always cold! (Even in the summer!) So what's up with this article?!? Is the decrease in mitten sales really linked to obesity, or is it that maybe more people are just knitting their own?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

my Dude sweater, finally finished!

Well, after what seems like forever in working on this sweater project... it's done! This is the Big Lebowski-esque sweater I managed to design for my brother for his birthday, which was last week. It's a bit of a snugger fit than what's in the movie, but it fits nonetheless!

If you're coming across this post and want to check it out, my shop is http://www.knitsyoursknotmine.etsy.com/ - the pdf is available there!

Friday, August 28, 2009

finished 2 things!


These are pickled peppers from my garden... 3 different kinds of hot peppers + 1 sweet green pepper. Recipe can be found here. Filled a half litre jar! awesome!

The baby blanket is going to be donated to afghans for Afghans ... used up all my partial skeins of wool for that one. The pattern can be found here - I cast on 6 sts instead of 5, making 12 pinwheel sections instead of 10, and it's about 36" across.

Friday, August 14, 2009

according to the online Urban Dictionary...

... for what it's worth... although I think that people contribute to that for the sake of contributing... but it's slightly hilarious. The word "knit" has been revised into slang.

I'm not going to bother copy/pasting everything, but some of these definitions are hilarious. Find out what it truly means to knit a brown scarf (although I'm sure you can guess), or my favourite to knit cookies, or to knit-knit, a more traditional definition to a Knitting Pattern, lol on Knitted Underwear, oh and my favourite: the 1st definition of knitting is a hoot.

Btw... maybe I'll be courageous enough one day to whip up some knitfitti ~ and I love the definition of knitcore, maybe I'll get that on a mug.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

new homespun yarn

Finally finished spinning another skein of yarn... the before and after pictures:




It's hard to tell in the picture, but I spun the yarn with a metallic purple thread throughout, which gives it a bit of a shimmer, it's kind of cool! :) I'll eventually post it for sale, I think, in my etsy shop, once I've got a couple skeins spun up. Spinning yarn is soooo much fun, I totally get why people are hooked on it!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

knitting a poem

Can you believe that there's a group out there that's putting together a knitted poem? I came across it on the anticraft, and couldn't pass up the chance to check out the poem society's site, and then naturally contact them to see if I can contribute something.

We'll see what comes of it. :) Meantime, it's one more facebook group I can become a fan of. :D

Monday, July 27, 2009

abiding still by the dude

A few weeks ago I blogged about being inspired by The Big Lebowski to start creating a Dude sweater, since there was no pattern for it that I can find. (Despite endless searches and joining a few Lebowski themed ravelry.com groups!) So, I finished the torso today! Just have to figure out how to do sleeves, sew it all together, and I'm set! woot! ... Pictures will come soon!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

a new baby is born!

Remember in May when I posted that I knit a baby sweater and a baby blanket for my expectant cousin? Well, she had her baby today!

Her and her husband wanted to keep the sex of the baby a surprise until the birth - which I think is great - and they had a boy named Ryan James! woo hoo!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

in the midst of working on...

... designing a sweater. For my brother.

I've been itching to design *something* ... anything, really. And I've been lagging terribly. I finally decided to throw caution to the wind and take my chances at designing a sweater.

I've already made a few sweaters with much success, but this will be my first zip-up sweater. And also my first intarsia sweater. Has been a bit of a challenge, but despite it all, fun.

So far I've got the bulk of the torso designed, and I need to knit up the sleeves! Here's hoping I've a bit of luck, since sleeves have always been a bit of a challenge for me!

Pictures and (hopefully) a pdf version of the pattern coming to my etsy shop soon!

Friday, July 10, 2009

marshmallow madness


A few days ago I made more marshmallows - except this batch I cut them into smaller pieces, and dipped them into chocolate!
Surprisingly, the white chocolate ones taste better than the milk chocolate ones... very awesome combination!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

a huge mitred blanket


I've managed to consume nearly 8 skeins of Lionbrand Homespun (plus 3/4 of a skein of eyelash yarn) to make this blanket - a housewarming gift for my brother... phew!
Finally done!
The whole thing measures 73" by 46.5" - about 50% bigger than what the original pattern from the book measures. Granted that a large part of that comes from that I'm using a bulky yarn rather than a dk.

Monday, July 6, 2009

anti-net

My internet and phone has been down for 5 days. Damn the phone company.

Monday, June 22, 2009

the dude abides

Yesterday, DH, DB and I rewatched The Big Lebowski. It's been a while since I've seen it, and DB had the dvd... great, great movie.

Y'know, one would've thought that by now, someone would've created The Dude's sweater, since - according to my most recent google searches - everyone seems to be looking for it.

Maybe I'll do something about that.

Friday, June 19, 2009

rose jam

Got around to (finally) jarring the rose jam I've been working on for the last week. I've no idea what sort of roses these are, but I do know that my parents have been making rose jam from these roses for as long as I can remember. This particular rose bush that's been growing in my back yard for the last 4 years, to make this jam, has survived countless moves over the last 30 years or so... I'm just surprised that it still blooms as much as it does!

Just an fyi - these three little jars (the largest holds about 200ml) contain over 50 roses... a lot of work for a small result... but still tasty...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

knitting & the magazine - a vent in appreciation

Have you ever had a Christmas or birthday, or any other holiday where gifts are exchanged, where you impatiently wait for a whole year, and be extra good, hoping to high heaven that you finally get that puppy or bike that you were just dying to get, to only wind up with another gift bag full of tube socks? You know what I'm saying, right? Well, that's how I've been feeling with knitting magazines lately.

I've been itching to write a blog post that (hopefully) both show my appreciation for knitting 'zines but still allows me to vent, as I've a few things to get off my chest. I used to have a love for knitting magazines, both online and in print, but lately, when I come across the new issue, I've been finding myself with more bags of tube socks rather than cute puppies and shiny bikes.

First, let me state that I absolutely appreciate the amount of work that all designers put into their knitwear, and how awesome it is that there are many outlets available that allows these talented people to get published. And, the work of the publishers - whether they're paid or they do it voluntarily - to have to pick and choose from such a variety of designs and peice them together into one publication after another, kudos.

BUT - and here's my vent - whether the publication is in print or online, free or not, there's a part of me that wishes that either designers or publishers (or both) would please step up their game, and offer their readers not only great eye candy, but an actual challenge to the craft. The game needs to be stepped up a notch. We need to have more variety in what gets published on a quarterly (or more) basis.

For examples:

Knitty - a fantastic online publication, love the fact that it's both online and free to the reader, and the publication also pays their designers that get published! BUT - seriously, could we have even one issue where we're not being bombareded with shawl and sock patterns? I mean, I love shawls, and I've knit my fair share of socks. But, do we need a zillion shawls? Or a zillion pairs of socks? Are there no designers out there submitting patterns to knitty that aren't socks or shawls? Or, how about having a better distribution of patterns? Like for every sock pattern, provide a sweater pattern? Or for every shawl pattern, provide a guy's pattern of some kind? ----- Based on the almost knitty group on ravelry, almost-in patterns (for the most part) are fantastic - and there's a wonderful amount of them that aren't socks or shawls, so we know they're getting submitted. And, truthfully, the level of some of the knitting patterns that ARE getting into knitty in the last couple of issues, they seem bland and simple in comparison. (I'll address this last point a little later in the blog, be patient!)

Plus, I was quite looking forward to seeing, for the first time, a 'holiday headstart' section to this issue, but was sorely disappointed that all of them are small, short term projects. Granted, they're awesome for instant gratification, but truthfully, I wouldn't start such small projects in May or June for the holidays. Am I the only one who expected to see sweaters or something? Anything that would actually need a few months of invested work for the holidays? Knitty already publishes short-&-sweet winter projects in their winter issue, with the thinking of having quick knits for the holidays, so why start these itty bitties so early? Is the winter issue going to be filled with afghans and sweaters?

theAnticraft - a cool site, one of the few that I follow the blog more avidly than the quarterly issues themselves. What I have loved about this publication thus far is that a variety of crafts get in, not just knitting or crocheting. Any given issue there's something to sew, bake, knit, crochet, clay, weld, etc. Kick ass. But, is it just me, or has the site lost a little bit of its - I dunno - demure since the book was published? Once again relying a bit on ravelry, very few if any knitters or crocheters seem to be interested in the current issue (or even in the last, for that matter) all but two crafts revolve around making merkins.

Granted they all did require some work and creativity into designing them, and a fiber of bravery to be pictured sporting them, but how many of us will truly go out of our way to making one? If we do, what do we do with it? Would we gift them at Christmas? Hand them out as birthday party favours? Were these supposed to make ideal mother's day or father's day gifts? ----- It's just a big miss for me in this issue. The bacon issue - I believe titled "unclean", now that was probably one of the best issues I've seen in a while from Anticraft. And the first few years' worth of issues had some fantastic knitting patterns (think bat shawl, snowflake/skull wrist warmers, a killer rabbit) and very cool recipes. But, sadly, the element of hardcore creativity that I once expected from this site has fizzled a little. Please, I beg, recover. Even the anticraft ravelry group hasn't been posted in at all in at least a month. (A sign, maybe?)

And then, there's the print magazines. Again, love Interweave Knits, and have bought many an issue. Wonderfully photographed, well detailed, etc etc etc. But I've been finding that I've been buying fewer and fewer issues, despite many knitters putting this publication on a pedestal. IMHO, IK has a similar issue that knitty does, although instead of an oversurge of socks and shawls, there's a zillion sweater patterns and little of anything else. Bleh. Pretty, yes. Overdone, absolutely. Variety? Minimal.

And lastly, ofcourse, Vogue Knitting, knit.1 and knit simple. Great photographs, fun projects, and overall a healthy variety... and three publications that very distinctly appeals to 3 different genres of knitters. But, I've been finding there's just more of the same in each issue, and I've been spending more time lately wanting to read the articles published rather than be excited about a particular project inside.

Now, above I did make a statement when writing about knitty that "... the level of some of the knitting patterns that ARE getting into knitty in the last couple of issues, they seem bland and simple in comparison." The same can be applied to some of the print magazines as well, and let me explain why I wrote this before too many readers get their skeins in a bunch.

Yes, it's wise for any publication to offer patterns for all skill levels of knitters. It's encouraged. That way n00bs have something to work on, as well as people who knit intricate lace, fair isle, and celtic cables in their sleep. But (yep, this post is filled with but's!) would it be so horrible if these and other publications made an attempt to challenge their readers?

What I mean is this: let's put all knitting patterns on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the basic garter stitch n00b patterns, and 10 being the most challenging. Could we maybe try to publish patterns that are at least considered a "3" on this scale?

Reason being, it's a little insulting to me as the reader, that I've wasted a subsription to this magazine to be bombarded with the most basic patterns - again. And it bothers me a little to have so many fantastic patterns that are rejected because magazines would rather publish another garter stitch scarf. Authentically talented designers are being put aside for basic knit-&-purl patterns. Frankly, I think it insults the intelligence of the reader to provide so many 'dumbed down' patterns. If I wanted to learn how to knit, I would buy a book that would teach me, not a magazine.

The best way for anyone to learn is to give them a challenge, no matter now small. Let's encourage our knitters who are a 1 to push themselves a bit with a 2 project. Throw in a basic cable somewhere, or an easy lace detail, or at least use more than one colour of yarn in one project. Maybe even use dpn's and circular needles and knit in the round instead of knitting everything flat. Too many garter stitch & stockinette stitch projects makes Jack a dull scarf.

I would sooner invest my money and/or attention into a magazine publication if I saw @ least 1 project per issue that made me think "OMG, I want to blow half my paycheck on yarn to make that!" rather than skim through another issue after having to impatiently wait 3 months to see it and think "OMG, nothing, again."

So, after all of that, my suggestions to improve issues rather than just bitch and complain on my blog. Things that I would love to see in future issues of any and all magazines:
- more guy stuff. There's not enough guy patterns, and I (as well as others) have many great guys to knit for. Guy themed issues are great. Guy stuff in each issue, better.
- a better variety of patterns, or at least a better balance. Maybe pick a minimum of 5 or 6 things to knit (ie hats, scarves, tops, etc) and have a minimum of 2 or 3 patterns of each, so that there's variety. Again, not everyone's an avid lace, shawl or sock knitter.
- a better variety of sizes. Because some of us are 1x or more, like it or not.
- reshift your focus occasionally. If you've published a lot of sock patterns in the last year, for example, maybe come out with one issue where there are 3 or less sock patterns? That way, the focus is on something else temporarily.
- provide 3 or 4 versions of the same pattern - instead of waiting for ravelry members to knit your project in 3 or 4 different types of yarn, why not provide it from the get-go? IMHO it may make it more appealing to more people.

Think of it for your advertisers - and if you don't have advertisers, than at least for your site's shop. If your issue isn't stimulating enough for a better variety of knitters, then no one's going to pay attention to what it is you're actually selling.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

cupcakes!

This past weekend, we celebrated the two June birthdays ... and instead of making a whole cake and having to be finicky about how big to slice the slices, I decided to make cupcakes:


There's two different flavoures there: chocolate and lemon... I wound up with 24 cupcakes in all, so I bought extra tupperwares so that both my parents in law and sister in law could take home a bunch to snack on at home. :) Truthfully, as much as I love chocolate, the lemon ones were my favourite!

Monday, June 15, 2009

bat & bird house


FIL has been talking about - for @ least a year now - making a bat house for the back yard for their (FIL & MIL's) place up at Wasaga Beach, which backs on to the Nottawasaga River. So, since this past weekend we were celebrating FIL's birthday & father's day together (along with DH's birthday, which is @ the end of the month), DH and I constructed this bird and bat house. (pictured right). The instructions for it can be found here.

This was so much fun to construct, and we added the bat in front (self designed) ourselves at the end; only the bat and roof of the birdhouse was made of cedar, the rest was made from ... well, I forget which kind of wood it was, but it was bought at Rona. Just did one coat of waterbased stain, to protect it a little from the elements!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

tranquilize a sheep or two

This game is bound to kill an hour of your time:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/sleep/sheep/reaction_version5.swf

... what's your best reaction level?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Lance the Squid

I finished knitting & felting this squid a couple days ago, although I haven't had the chance to photograph it until yesterday.
It's for DH ... an inside joke, really. He's got weird words that mean nothing, one of which is "squidulence"... I don't know why he says it, but he's been saying it for a while. So, I've decided to give the word some meaning, sorta, by making a Squid Named Lance (which sounds sort of similar...)
Yes, I know... I've got little else to do ;) Bear with me!
The pattern for it is here - the only thing I would make note of is, when joining the tentacles, to join them at the top of the purled section of the bottom part of the torso. I stitched them @ the bottom, not really paying attention to how the bottom of the squid'll close up. But no mind, I knit a little extra peice and joined it in to fill in the gap.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

diabetic coma, here I come....

This dollopy mess that I made, is, in fact, one huge marshmallow:
I used this recipe and the mixer I got for my birthday from DH.

It just looks so awesome, although it won't entirely set until tomorrow, which is when DH and I can officially dive in and pig out. But in the meantime, we licked the mixing bowl and whisk, and it was so decadent.

I totally recommend making homemade marshmallows at least once in your life before you die. It's so good. But you do need that mixer to make it. If you don't have one handy, don't let that prevent you from trying some.... by all means order some homemade marshmallows on etsy from the talented bakers here. It's worth it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

to prove I'm using my new knitting needles...




... I've cast on a couple mitred squares, which will become a blanket as a housewarming gift for my brother. AND it'll eat up some of my Lionbrand Homespun I have laying around the house!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

new funky knitting needles!

My dad has picked up a new hobby a while back: hand carving wood. He has been carving up pretty much anything and everything, and a few months ago I had requested a pair of knitting needles with "something twisty at the end". Well, a few days past my birthday, he finally completed a pair and mailed them to me! These are what I received:
I think these look just nifty, and love the fact that I now have a completely original pair of knitting needles! My big dilemma now is figuring how what the first project to make on them will be!

Monday, June 1, 2009

SALE on ETSY

I have a shop on etsy - which you may or may not know - and I'm having a promo for all of June! It's posted in my shop announcement but I'll repost here:

FREE SHIPPING to ANYWHERE on all orders $25+, and there's a 2 item minimum. Some items already have free shipping as it is, so check those out too!


PLUS mention 'My Knitting Basket' somewhere on the receipt and get FREE SHIPPING to ANYWHERE ON ALL VINTAGE PATTERN PURCHASES - no minimum.

This is going to be on for all of June, so take advantage of it! Check back to my shop often, I'll be adding new items to it when I can!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

smooshie baby sweater

I finished this sweater for my expectant cousin:
She's due soon (July) and it'll be bundled with the baby blanket I finished for her. I used Sirdar Confetti yarn, which is SO nice knit up! Although, it's a super-bulky yarn, and the pattern called for just bulky yarn, so it required that I fudged the pattern a little to adjust for the tension. Hopefully it'll be ok!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

cheesecake cupcakes!

I'm on a cupcake kick now, don't know why. Not that my baking skills are all that stellar, but I'm getting into cupcakes nonetheless. Last week I had the idea of making cheesecake cupcakes, and just followed the recipe printed on the back of a graham cracker crumbs box. I wound up with these:
I used both regular sized and mini cupcake cups & trays, and made steller snackable cheesecakes! They turned out so good... will need to make them again!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

rarely do I blog my cat...

... but I found this to be particularily hilarious...



Apparently my cat enjoys chinese food take out - the other day she spent twenty minutes half in the bag that the food came in the night before!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

am I crazy?!?

I think I've officially gone bananas, starting up a sweater when the warm weather kicks in! lol...
My MIL bought this Aran with Wool yarn while she was in Ireland - 2 skeins, and enough to make a sweater, with the thinking of making something possibly for DH. This was like 2 years ago, and I've finally cast on.
I love the Aran Pullover pattern in the Knitting With Balls book, partially because the sweater looks awesome, and also partially because the guy modelling it is kinda hot. Plus, DH likes the sweater too.
Granted that the sweater calls for a worsted yarn, and I'm using aran weight (is it ironic that a non-aran weight yarn is being used for an aran sweater?!?) I'm still following it as is, because the tension is close enough, plus it'll come out a teeny bit bigger. According to a lot of people on ravelry, the sweather is a bit narrow anyway, so this slightly bigger tension will likely help.
Phew, let's see how long this takes me to knit!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Pictures, finally!

Finally, the camera program in the new computer is set up, and I can post pictures!

The blanket I finished 2 days ago for my cousin is called Heart Blanket, a pattern by Bev Galeskas, and officially my first finished lace pattern (short of a couple basic lace scarves). Phew, glad to get this one done!

I made it somewhat to the pattern specs: the 'large' version of this blanket is 9 hearts across (the small is 7 hearts across) but I only made it 12 hearts up - which is the small version, heightwise (the large is 14 rows of hearts). But, I managed to use exactly 6 skeins of S.R. Kertzer Northern Worsted, literally, w/o even an inch to spare! Kinda glad when projects work out that way!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

finished, but pictureless

I've just finished a baby blanket I've knit for my cousin. But, since we've switched computers @ home, I can't load pics of it just yet. It's a blanket that I started back in February, and I'm glad to say that I've finally finished it last night, while watching Lost. Phew.

Pictures to come soon, I promise.

Friday, May 1, 2009

etsy stuff... knitting stuff...

First and foremost, to get it out of the way: I'm having a Clearance Sale @ my etsy shop, because I'm temporarily closing it down... so here are the deals:

~*~ SPECIAL FOR MAY 2009 ~*~
(check shop announcement for more details)

- All vintage patterns are BUY 2, GET 1 FREE. Please buy your three, I will refund the value of the third (equal/lesser value) and its shipping cost via paypal!

- WHILE QUANTITIES LAST: a free homemade sheep shaped bar of soap (3oz) will be included with EACH knit or crocheted item in my shop.

- HEMP KNITTING KITS ~ for the duration of their listing ~ come with a FREE bonus skein (100g) of hemp yarn (please check listing for more details) AND free shipping PLUS a free pair of bamboo knitting needles! Great deal for less than $20!

So, that's that.

Also, a while back (I may have blogged about this, I don't remember) I started knitting a baby blanket for my expectant cousin (who's currently 6 months preggers) ... I've been slacking off a little the last month or so, but caught up this week, and am about 2/3's done! Yay! Pictures will come soon, no worries...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Spring CreativFestival

Today was spent @ the CreativFestival @ the International Center... which was very cool, although I was truthfully a little disappointed. The autumn one is HUGE, and a part of me was expecting the spring show to be something like it - but it was only like a third of the size. Nonetheless, I walked out with a crochet kit and a book - $10 off! Score!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

adventures @ Knitter's Frolic

I spent a couple hours today hangin' out in Toronto @ the Knitter's Frolic over at the Japanese Culteral Center... it was sooo much fun! I had found out about it from Linda over at Linda's Craftique, since she had a booth there and was obviously attending.

I did find some fantastic goodies - a knitting kit with 4 skeins of baby alpaca yarn, and 4 1-skein patterns, which are going to make fantastic xmas gifts, plus a couple goodies over @ Linda's booth: a black sheep tape measure & a beautiful shawl pin.

I also had the great fortune - while ordering a cup of coffee - to meet Amy Singer of knitty, who was standing in line behind me! (Cool!) We chatted for a little while, while ordering our respective drinks; it was pretty interesting to meet a knitting celeb! :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

cooking & knitting

I don't know why this idea has been stuck in my brain the last few days...

Wouldn't it be neat to have a knitting themed cook book? I, being the knitting dork that I am, thinks so. A few months ago I was watching Martha and saw a woman making knit-looking sweaters out of marzipan and thought that was simply brilliant. But what other knitting and crocheting themed items can be made with food? Is there a special knit-tini? Something involving crocheted spaghetti and meatball pompoms?

Have I completely fallen off my rocker with this idea, or what?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

back from vacation...

Well, I finally came back from visiting my parents in the south of France - lucky me, eh? Phew, it was an exhausting two weeks. A large part of it is getting used to the time change (6 hours difference), and once I got used to it the first week I had to get back used to the time change when I came home! Eep!

Also, with being @ my grandmother's, she's the type of person who is always out doing something, so we hadn't had a day of rest, we were constantly running around somewhere.

Since I'm limited to the number of pics I can post at a time, I will limit my stories of France as one description of my trip per post. (Believe it or not, we have over 250 pics that I had to load up after two weeks! I won't bore you with all of them, but will show off some!)

My grandmother lives on a property that's at least a half acre, with a single story home, beautiful front yard, and fruit trees growing out the wazoo in the back. This is a pic of her front yard one foggy morning, which I thought was beautiful:

The weird looking trees you see growing are (I think) mulberry trees, that have enormous leaves that just started to bud the day before DH and I came home.

These next 2 pics are of where my dad works... there are a few more but you get an idea of how the grounds look like:

It's a winery located in Pertui (sp?) ... it's a huge property that grows mainly grape vines (obviously) for making their own wine, and olive trees too for their own olive oil. The pic on the left is part of the winery itself; there's also a banquet hall, small shop, and another part of the winery in another building, and the family live in an authentic castle just up the hill behind the pictured building. The pic on the right is of some of the gardens, which there easily is at least 5 times more of. They grown their own vegetables and have tons of fruit trees as well.
I'm off to do a little work now, but I will post more pics of my trip later on in the week....

Friday, March 27, 2009

I'm leavin' on a jet plane...

Today DH and I are leaving to France to visit my parents for 2 weeks. It's a surprise for my dad, truthfully, since it's going to be his 60th birthday next week. I'm super excited to go, and to see packed suitcases in the living room for the last 2 days makes leaving a little more exciting.

I'm hoping that airport security will allow me to bring knitting needles on the plane - I've purposely bought wooden circular needles to knit up a pair of socks. So, this flight, I'm in truth teaching myself how to not only knit socks on circulars, but from the toe up as well. I've heard from a few peope that as long as I'm not bringing dpn's on the plane then I'm fine, and as long as they're wood (to avoid sounding off the metal detectors) then that's preferable too. Here's hoping.

For the next 2 weeks I'll have no internet service, so no blogging for me! But I'll be sure to update on whether or not the circ's made it on the plane, and also posting photos of my trip! woo hoo!

Friday, March 20, 2009

a sad/bad end to a mediocre week

Eesh, I'm not having a good day today. Hopefully the weekend will find me productive and more positive.

Firstly, I've had to leave my first negative on etsy. I hate leaving negives on etsy or ebay. I've only had to leave one other negative before, and that was on ebay. I know that we live now in trying times with the recession, and it'll result in unpaid items, but why on earth would you put the effort into buying something that you know you're not going to pay for? :P I guess I just find it a little frustrating, especially since this person and I have been convo'ing for at least a week about what she wanted to buy. She had the choice to not buy it whatsoever... but then to not only to buy it and not pay for it, but then getting upset with me for leaving negative feedback? Puh-leeze. o_O

Secondly, I've gotten another publication rejection. I've sent in what must be my 10th submission to knitty.com to try to get something published, with no luck. I'm starting to get the feeling that I need to somehow master the skill of lace or sock knitting and to come up with a pattern using either of those, to have something worthy of publication.

I suppose I can always try to get my current pattern published somewhere else... but it's still depressing a little, to be consistantly rejected by the same place over and over. Getting published just isn't all that easy.

Friday, March 13, 2009

gettin' jiggy with my first power tool!

I recently got the idea that I want to make some mitten and sock forms for my etsy store... but despite all the tools that DH has, a jigsaw is not one of them.
So, I decided to not only go out and buy a jigsaw, but also to blog about it using a bad joke as a blog post title. Bear with me, in my mind it's hilarious. Get it? Jiggy with it? Jigsaw? Isn't that so unfunny, it's hilarious?
Ok, maybe/maybe not. What's done is done. Let's see if I can use a power tool on my own without lopping off limbs.

Monday, March 9, 2009

PIF- paying it forward

I will rarely post items I have for sale in my etsy shop, so this is an exception.

I've got this afghan, which is hand crocheted - it's been marked down, and I've also marked down the shipping by at least 2/3's so it'll hopefully move faster.

If it sells during this current listing, I'll be donating $75 of the sale to www.kiva.org, and as that loan gets repaid, I'll continue circulating that $75 into the site as a lone over and over. It's a way of my paying forward some of the kindness that others have shown me, and I want to be able to contribute to others as well in a random act of kindness.

And, the bonus for the person who buys it is that they both have the satisfaction of knowing they're helping, as well as being able to snorgle into a good comfy blanket!

If you've a chance, please check it out.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Today, I blog about laundry

Laundry's knitting related, right?

:P Well, it sort of is, today. A while back I bought some Soak wash, and with it I got 2 mini free samples of Soak in different scents than my bottle. I finally got around to using one of the mini free samples today, and I'm soaking 2 handknit pairs of socks, a handknit pair of slippers I made for DH way back when, and a bra. In my sink.

And, if it's not enough that I've made a sink-full of soaking laundry a blogworthy event, I've even made it picture-worthy:
So there.

I'm going to spend the rest of my day whipping up some granny squares that'll go towards a blanket that I hope to finish - well, let's be realistic - by the end of the year!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

treasuries on etsy

I've become newly obsessed with doing treasuries on etsy. I've already managed to put together 3 last month, which were so fun to do! Two of them were knit and crochet themed, but I think this month I want to focus on other things.

After spending a lot of time in etsy's chat rooms, I've come to realize that there are people who want to buy, but don't have the funds to necessarily go on a spending spree. So, what I want to focus my treasuries this month is finding items $20 or less... still with a theme for each.

Also, the goal is to put together at least 5 treasuries this month. I really need to get myself more involved in the inner workings of etsy, and doing a bunch of treasuries, I think, may be a good start.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

too long between posts... :(

It feels like forever since I've last blogged. I've been so distracted with a thousand other things, lately, that there are days where it seems my brain, my hands, and my feet are each going their separate ways.

I've pulled another all nighter Sunday night to work on that knitting pattern that I wanted to submit for publication. Still under wraps atm - I want the big reveal of it to be when (or if!) I manage to get it published. I really need to get it done this week.

I've also been updating my etsy store like crazy... I haven't been paying enough attention to it for a very long time, so I've spent the last month or so concentrating as much as I could on it. It's paid off so far - I've made 2 sales this month (actually two sales within the last week!) which is a new record for me!

Plus I've been hanging around etsy a lot - and for the first time since I joined for that matter. I've discovered treasuries, and have so far created 2 this month. I've been hanging out in the etsy chat rooms too, and have met some great new people because of it. It's always awesome to get some great advice from fellow etsians, and to explore their shops as well.

Have I mentioned that I'm going to a knitting group two Tuesdays a month? I think the next meeting is tonight. It's out in Port Credit, which is only about 10 minutes away driving, but since I don't drive, it's in fact 2 buses away. Not far. But it's fun, and it's great to hang out with fellow knitters, something that I've never had a chance to do before. I'm getting a lot of great advice there too, and it's a fun group to hang out with too.

Well, I'm off to loiter on etsy again... will blog more frequently, I promise...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

so, I knit for Valentine's Day....

DH has been requesting socks and slippers off and on for the last while, so I finally got around to knitting a pair:

I used the Knit Dorm Socks pattern - and as far as I can tell on Ravelry, the pattern's only been used with Red Heart Strata yarn, as the original pattern is intended for. These are great socks because they're nice and thick, and double as slippers. (Although, too thick to fit in shoes!) I picked up the yarn at my last SnB meeting this past Tuesday, using some Drops yarn.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

two things

I will note only two things, very briefly:

1) my etsy store now has vintage patterns! I found a bunch, and will be adding them in stages. A few are up now.

2) I will not get into detail atm, but I will say this: I have lobotomized teddy bears in my living room.

Live with it.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

another February

Changed the look of my blog once again - I just felt like it needed a bit of a facelift, it's been a while since I've changed the backgorund!

Still working away at that bear pattern - knitting a second one to retest my pattern, to ensure that my revisions are correct. So far, so good.

Got an email back from knitty - I had sent a pattern a couple months ago, hoping to get it published in the spring issue (March), it was a pair of wrist warmers that I designed for my brother. Rejected. So far I'm 0 for 2 in trying to get something published in knitty. I had submitted 3 (maybe four?) patterns for the winter issue, which is currently out, and all of those were turned away. :( A bit discouraging. I know that a lot of people submit patterns, and it's hard to pick just a handful for publication, but still... maybe I'll have better luck with this current pattern?

I suppose I can always try submitting patterns elsewhere before posting them in my blog - it'd be nice to see them published in a mag somewhere. Last resort will be to sell a pdf of them... I just hate having to wait for responses back!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

bearly here

I have a cold. I've had it for almost a week. It's not going away.

Luckily, it's contained just in my sinuses, and hasn't gotten worse... yet. Although with me, colds have a habit of getting worse before getting better. Maybe I'll luck out, and it won't be the case. I've been living on Halls and Neo Citron for the last few days, and today I stocked up on chicken soup to hopefully help me get better.

But, because of my cold, I've missed my knitting group last Tuesday, and a trip to Costco on my uncle's membership today. Bleh. Of all the weeks to get sick.

I'm also having a little bad luck in one of my knitting designs, despite being totally inspired. I've come up with - what I think is - a great knitting pattern for a teddy bear. But, I need those plastic eyes to go on it. Do you think I can find eyes anywhere? No, of course not, that'd be too easy.

I remember, when I was working at Lewiscraft once upon a time, there was a whole section of them at the store. Now, irrigardless of where I go, all I can find is googley eyes. Michael's, Walmart, and Zellers have been no help. I've tried 3 dollar stores as well, with no luck either. So, I have to rely on ebay to help me out. I've found a few people who are selling eyes - even those plastic bear noses! - with the backings I need to keep them steady from the inside of the fabric. But the auctions don't end for at least a week, and then who knows how much longer before they arrive by mail.

I really need to put these eyes and noses in place before stuffing and stitching up the head, so in the meantime, I'm at a standstill. Oh well.

Maybe the extra week or so will allow me to focus on some other projects - but I so desperately want to finish this one! :(

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

it's been so long since I've crocheted...

Lately, I've only been using my crochet hooks for weaving in ends. I have to admit, it's been a while since I've crocheted anything.

I came across someone destashing a copy of 99 Granny Squares to Crochet, and I remember seeing it when I was working at Lewiscraft once upon a time. To this day I don't know why I didn't pick it up back then. But, I did buy it off this fellow raveller, and finally arrived in the mail today!

I got two squares made - it's #93:

I'm using up some Red Heart Super Saver I have laying around the house to whip these up. I don't have enough to make a full blanket, but I'll do as many as I can with what I have, and if need be, I'll swing by Walmart or something to pick up a few extra balls of these colours to finish it off!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Two birds, one stone

I've been using this pattern for basic kid's mittens to knit these 10 pairs, for afghans for Afghans, during the last 6 weeks or so. Exhausting, but fun. :) Managed to get a good handle on how to whip up a basic mitten, and I think I can now brave my own design. And, the other bonus, was I was able to destash much of the partial skeins of yarn I had laying around my house!

I think I'll have these mailed by the end of the week, since I need to the post office anyway to mail a couple thank-you cards.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

so far, I'm lagging

I've got three WIP's on the go atm, and haven't touched one of them so far this year. I've been too distracted with making my scarf and spinning wool.

I need to get a move on.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

scarf done :D


Finished my scarf made from malabrigo yesterday! phew!
Wore it out for the first time today when DH and I went to pick up my mom at the airport... and justifiably so, since it was snowing and cold out today! It's so warm... lovin' it!

Friday, January 9, 2009

oh, so tired

The night before last, I stayed up all night, deciding to both knit and design my own knit teddy bear from some red heart super saver yarn I have laying around.

Despite not completing it yet, as I have other WIP's that keep me on the go during the day, I've got at least the arms, torso, legs and tail knit and assembled. What to do with designing the head, I've no idea.

As this is my first attempt at designing a toy, I really want to get it at least 90% good on my first try, rather than looking at it and thinking "Wow, this whole thing is a disaster."

I suppose the point of today's blog post is that, since I pulled that all-nighter, I'm still recovering because I'm very sleepy today.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

got me some head!

Yes, I know. I titled that on purpose.

Finally, after a few years of searching, I found some glass mannequin heads for a good reasonable price - Pier 1 is selling them for $22 CDN each. I picked up two of them; they'll be a great asset to when I need hat models!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

show a little love

I am infatuated with scarves. I always have been.

That's why, since I restarted knitting and crocheting, that scarves have been the item that I've made the most often. In my book, the longer the scarf, the plusher the fabric, the funkier the design or colour, the better.

That's why I love winter - the best season to wear those big warm knit scarves!

Next week, friends of my parents' are getting married, and I thought, Why not knit a great scarf that I can wear to their wedding? And, what better yarn is there to use than some Malabrigo?!?

I bought one single skein at the creativfestival last October in TO, and I've finally gotten around to knitting it up. Should've taken me less than two days, but since I found it a bit wide, and had I finished it at that width it would've been a bit short, I frogged it and made it about an inch thinner. Frustrating to have to frog knits, but it looks much better now.

I can't wait until it's done so I can wear it out!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

another spinning attempt

I'm in the process of spinning up another skein of yarn from roving:
This'll have more of a 'barbershop poll' look once I blend it with another spun skein, which I'll get to eventually!

Monday, January 5, 2009

le beer bloggery

Of all the times I blog, I rarely post the creative stuff that DH makes. Granted he doesn't play with yarn, but he's rather creative when it comes to a relatively new hobby: beer making.

Over the holidays, he made two batches of beer: one with dried bananas (that he dried himself) and one with ginger. He bottled each batch in different coloured bottles to tell them apart, and labeled a few for gifts and xmas itself:
Aren't they neat?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

since I'm on a handspun-yarn kick...

... I thought I'd rummage through flickr again to select a few great photos of great projects.

The first pic I found was of these fantastic fingerless mitts and the ball of yarn it came from - great colours, some of my favourite, and spun into a really great colourway, to make these great mitts. Fingerless mittens, in my book, are simply the best project to both make and wear. Nice job! :)

Then there's this yarn called 'Baked Alaska' - which is just a stellar colourway. And nicely photographed too; print-and-frame worthy in my opinion. Another frame-worthy pic for a good wall hanging, imo, is this fantasticly coloured pic of fun coloured yarns!

Now, I just love green. Granted that my favourite colour changes daily, what's been mostly consistant is green, in any shade and form. So when I found this pic of wonderful handspun called The Dryads, I was almost beside myself. A good inspiration for future dyed wool.

I kind of freak out when I'm spinning my yarn, that the thread itself isn't consistant. I get thick and thin chunks all over the place, despite my best efforts. I suppose it's what makes handspun yarn unique, but a part of me gets frustrated when I do it to my own work. But when I see a beautiful yarn like this in all its fantastic texture, I don't nearly feel as bad! I love it, despite the fact that pink may not be my most favourite colour; the texture nonetheless looks fantastic as it is!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

my first handspun

I used a drop spindle to make this:
It's my very first handspun. Overall, I think it turned out alright, although I did try to make it as thin as possible. I was aiming for something about fingering weight, although despite my best efforts, there are parts of it that are thicker (like dk weight-ish) and parts that got too thin (like lace weight-ish), but, oh well. I think that sort of thing just happens.

Now, in the end I wrapped the skein around my arm, so I'm estimating its length to be about 28 meters, although I was hoping for more. It's 50 grams all together. At the very least, I love the colourway.

Friday, January 2, 2009

burnt wool

Apparently, when microwaving dyed wool to set the dye, it's possible to burn it:
And, in case you're wondering: the burnt part smells like caramel. Yummy.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Happy 2009, everyone!

I've been trying to think of a few good resolutions, that I know I'd want to stick to, and be motivated to stick to a month from now. Aside a few usual resolutions like losing weight and so forth, here are a few knitting/crochet related ones I've made for this year:

Commit 100 random acts of kindness using knitting or crochet, ie donating knit and crochet items, donating knitting supplies to worthy causes, etc. Why 100? Well, why not? Knock on wood that this is something I can accomplish within one year, but I wouldn't be a stickler about this one. One pair of knit mittens, for example, will count as one random act of kindness - so donating a few pairs will count as a few acts. Progress will be blogged.

I've also made a list of both online and in-print magazines that I want to get published in. I've been wanting to get published for years now, and I really need to buckle down and get in gear. This'll hopefully be my year. I set a goal of creating a minimum of 10 patterns this year to submit to various places for a chance of publishing something, hopefully something'll work!