Friday, December 29, 2017

Secret Santa

I don't know why I do this but every year I participate in the annual secret Santa gift exchange at work. I hate it. I usually get someone I don't know very well and it is so difficult to get a decent gift for a work colleague that you don't know very well. And let's not forget that the gift has to be in the price range of 20$ - 25$. It's not easy. 

This year I nearly cried when I saw whose name I had drawn. At least it was someone I know very well. I picked my BOSS!! Don't get me wrong. He's a wonderful man, but he is a man. He is well into his seventies. And he is pretty well off so anything that he needs or wants that falls into this cost bracket, I'm pretty certain he is well equipped to get it himself. 

So what's a girl to do?? I decided to do something that I know he can't do himself. I decided to do something that I don't think anyone in his immediate family could do for him.  I decided to make him something unique - that wasn't mass produced and couldn't be purchased in a department store. I decided to knit him a hat with the logo of his favourite NHL hockey team. 

Here it is with the knitting all finished. There wasn't a pattern online that I was satisfied with so I used the graph for the logo from a scarf pattern that was published on Ravelry. 

As you may be able to tell, I didn't knit the logo into the hat. This technique is called duplicate stitch and it makes for a much neater design.

I must say that I used to hate to do duplicate stitch until very recently.  Remember the little knitted birds from a few posts back?  They made me competent in duplicate stitch and as a result they made me fall in love with the technique. 

It's hard to get a decent photo of the whole logo because it is so big.  I decided to add a pompom too. 

Overall, I'm very happy with how my gift turned out. I think my boss was happy too. 

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Arrow Caterpillar

Arrow Caterpillar may sound like a strange title for a blog post. It's the name of the pattern of the sweet little shawl that I just finished.  The original name is 'die Pfeilraupe' I think that's Swiss but I could be wrong. The pattern is by Ravelry user Alpenrose. She has a few patterns available but this one is by far her most popular

I had a couple of goals when knitting this project. One was that I wanted to try this new fade technique that is popping up in knitting patterns everywhere. The whole point of this technique is to alternate your colours in a certain way when transitioning from one colour to the next. The colour change is meant to look gradual and nonjarring. 

The second thing that I wanted to achieve by knitting this project was that I wanted to use up some odds and ends of handspun yarn that I had left over.  I managed to do this! I used a lot of my odds and ends were just too precious to part with. 

I made a major modification when knitting this shawl. It was meant to be a much deeper triangle. The length is correct but I didn't get it to the specified thickness. Halfway through the project I miss placed a stitch marker and made an educated guess as to where it went. I have no doubt that I guessed wrong, very wrong.  As a result I didn't do nearly as many short rows as I should have there for the end where the holes are aren't as deep as it should be, I'm actually missing a hole.  But this may be a happy accident as I'm very pleased with the final project. It's just right. I love the many ways that this simple little garment can be styled. I think that I'll get plenty of wear from the Caterpillar shawl

Friday, November 03, 2017

Sketch box

Back in September I decided to treat myself to a little birthday gift. I decided to subscribe to something called "SketchBox". Each month subscribers get a box of goodies that are of interest to artists and sketchers.  I've gotten two boxes since then and I must say - they are so much fun!! I'm trying products that I'd never have tried before and I'm loving them.  I love the idea of these subscriptions. My girls gave me a Yarn Box subscription last year for Christmas and I loved it. I think I'm gonna spread the love this year and perhaps get my nephew Riley (who loves to draw) his own sketch box subscription for Christmas. 

Here are a few of my drawings and quotes so far.  

Friday, October 27, 2017

Something a little different

I saw these wreaths and how to make them on Facebook - in particular George Takai's Facebook! I love him for many reasons. I wasn't expecting to be introduced to a new craft by him! (he posts a lot of cool and interesting things). I made one for myself and one for each of Kevin's girls. I'm crazy about them!! I especially love the eyeballs one! It's perfect.  I bought most of the supplies at the pharmacy! crazy right?? They cost next to nothing! I foresee a wreath for every season - that's how easy they are. The trick is to make them full. The centre one isn't as full as the other two and isn't as aesthetically pleasing.  Next up - Christmas wreaths!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Knitting friends are the best!

My friend Flo gave me this great little book. I'll be honest, this is not a book I would have purchased on my own.  It is a little more whimsical than the books I  usually purchase.  I was so thrilled when she gave me this book. She gave me this book for no reason. It wasn't my birthday, I wasn't sick, I hadn't done her any outrageous favours. This was a gift in the purest sense. She saw the book and was so tickled by it that she bought one for herself, one for me, and one for our knitting friend Jesse.

I don't need too many excuses to be distracted from whatever current project I have on the go. Believe me, there are many current projects on the go. When I saw the little birds in this book I just had to cast on for something.

The wonderful thing about this book is that the projects are finished in a matter of hours, they knit up that quick. You get to try out some different techniques on a very small scale. That way you won't feel as though you've wasted hours of your time trying a technique that you hate or knitting on  a project that you can't stand. 

So here is the first of what I predict will be many knitted birds. This guy features the sweetest little ear flap hat with some duplicate stitches on the tail for good measure. 

I adore him!!!

Those are knitting needles propping him up. The book shows how to make these adorable wire feet/holder/base-type-thing. I'm sending Kev to the hardware store tomorrow to get some of the wire for me and I'm gonna recruit him into making these wire type feet things for me (and possibly Jesse and Flo too). 

Edited!! I did the feet. They really make him even more special 

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

All the things!!

I can't help myself. I want to knit all of the things. We were away on vacation. We took Max to Prince Edward Island for a week long hockey camp. While Max was at camp I had quite a bit of downtime which I used to do a little painting and a little reading and a little knitting.  Overall it was a wonderful time. And I got to spend ample time with my oldest grandson. We went tuna fishing and zip lining and we visited a wax museum and a  Ripleys believe it or not museum. WE went to amusement parks and water parks. And we even spent the day at Parlee Beach in Shediac, New Brunswick. My grandson Max hamming it up. It's getting harder and harder to get a decent photo of him 

I managed to do a little yarn shopping. Downtown Charlottetown has a lot of unique shops. I was overwhelmed when I walked in to what I thought was a little boutique selling handknits. It's called Northern Watters Knitwear - and it's so much more than selling knitwear. At the back of the store is a full fledged knit factory going on. There are huge knitting machines cranking out the most glorious hand knit sweaters I've ever seen. And there are handknits sweaters ready for purchase in just about every style, colour and size you can imagine. They also sell woven fabric, pottery, and souvenirs. But for me, the big attraction was the wall of locally dyed/milled yarns. Loads of Fleece Artist and Hand Maiden but others too that I hadn't heard of. They are definitely worth checking out.  I bought two separate Fleece Artist mitten kits.  One called the "Favorite Soft Mitts" which basically involves holding a strand of brushed mohair with a regular spun BFL DK yarn. The resulting fabric is amazing and soft and cushy and warm. Of course I've started already.

This pic doesn't really do it justice but I'll be sure to take a better pic once their finished. I'll write about the other things/kit I bought as I knit them. 

I finished a pair of socks while traveling. These are my standard after thought heel socks 

I love them. The yarn is from Turtlepurl girl or at least I think that's her name. She is a Canadian dyer currently based out of Moncton. She does these fabulous kits called turtle toes and they are wound into individual cakes for each foot. That way both socks should match perfectly.  As you can see mine are a little off. It started right from the cast on. Oh well. If I wanted perfect socks I wouldn't be knitting them right?

Lone Pine

When we went to PEI this summer, we went to a store in Charlottetown called Northern Watters Knitwear. It was a fabulous spot. They sold gift ware and pottery and the most beautiful woollen knit sweaters. They had employees working on the knitting machines in the back of the store. They were churning out sweaters lickedy split. 

They also had a fairly large selection of yarns for sale. Most of it was 'local' yarns. Fleece Artist and Handmaiden and the Mineville Wool Project.  I had such a tough time deciding what to buy. I wanted it all!

I did limit myself to three skeins - two of which were actual kits!  I've already cast on both kits. That's how gorgeous this stuff is! 

I cast this on this past Friday- so three days ago. Now we have had a long weekend so I did have more knitting time than usual. This pattern is called Lone Pine Mittens and it's by Todwick Studios. 

I love it!! I'm currently finishing up the thumb on the first mitten. This is going to be a beautiful pair of mittens. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017


I've been on a booty making kick lately. Wait till you see how many baby bootees I have made in the past few months. There's a good reason for it of course. A friend of mine had a baby and usually that's reason enough to make a pair of booties.  But my friends baby got sick, real sick. And I thank God that she is well and healthy and thriving today. But she did lose a foot. She is too small for a prosthetic but her mom likes to put bootees on her. So she asked me to knit some for her. How could I say no? 
 This is the most recent pair that I finished. The pattern is from The Yarn Harlot. I love them. I love the look of garter stitch in variegated yarn. The yarn is socks that rock by blue moon fibre arts.  It is so vibrant and beautiful. And I just love those little pom-poms.
 This pair is also garter stitch. This time in a worsted weight yarn from Rhichard Devrieze that is speckled. Speckled yarns are all the rage right now.  The pattern is from The knitted slipper book by Katie Starzman (which is an absolute joy by the way). There are so many great patterns in this book!! I knit another one from this book too. 
These little slippers are knit and then felted down. They also come from Katie Starzman's book. I love the needle felted flowers. My daughter gave me some textured paint to use on slipper bottoms along time ago. This is the first time I've ever used it and I love it. Reagan tried these out and they definitely make for a no skid surface. They aren't sized for a baby of course. These were for the baby's older sister. There was no way I could gift a bunch of baby booties and not have something for the older sibling. That's just not how I roll. 
Now these mock shoes are to die for!! I love love love them. Whenever I talk about them my voice automatically switches into babyspeak and it's several octaves higher than it should be. I can't help myself. Amy says there's an actual name on this phenomenon. People do this all over the world. It's been studied extensively by linguists. Good to know i'm not the only crazy person out there. I thought they couldn't get any cuter and then I sewed the Daisy button on. Swoon!!! The pattern is by Bekka Knits and it's called Baby Merry-Janes. 
These also have the potential to make my voice go several octaves higher. Just look at those tassels. The pattern is from a Norwegian designer named Heidi Pettersen. It's called Lillebrors vintersko. I knit them using Spud and Chloe Sweater yarn. This yarn is super wash and it's a wool/cotton blend.
These aren't quite finished yet. There is no pattern for them. I'm making the pattern up as I go along. I love the way the bootie looks.  I'm sure when there's two of them they will look even better. I'm crazy about the picot edge. It's so much fun to knit. I'm worried they may be a little small for my friends baby. But that's ok because I'm gonna need some test knitted when I decide to publish this pattern. A larger size will fit the bill. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Keep on trying

I mentioned a while back that I'd been dabbling in other mediums. Mediums other than fiber that is. Believe me, that is really really branching out. My daughter introduced me to this thing called "masking fluid". The point of it is that you use it as a resist. You paint it on an area that you want left unpainted. Then you paint around it and when all is dry, you peel off the now dry (and almost rubbery) masking fluid. It is such a satisfying thing to do!!! I've been really enjoying playing around with it. 

So far, I've done these little leaves on water colour greeting card paper.  I'm smitten!  I plan on doing a lot more!

You can sort of see the masking fluid being peeled off in this picture above. 

 This is the leaf after the masking fluid is peeled off. They are so satisfying to paint. They are done on watercolour cards so they will be used as greeting cards for some occasion at some point.   Here is the most recent leaf. I love how the colours bleed into each other. This is what you call wet on wet technique in watercolour. I will be exploring more of this technique in the future  

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Mittens for Cooper

This is Cooper. He likes mittens. He also likes frogs. How could I resist making these frog mittens for him?

I couldn't.  At the request of his mom, I did an i cord too. He loves it!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2017 - Finishing Old FOs

Today is January 17, 2017.  We are already over half way through the first month in the new year.  Sadly, I have just finished one knitted object.  This year was rang in unlike others.  I wasn't gung ho to start a new project.  I didn't cast on anything new on New Year's Eve.  I just knit on the half dozen or so little projects that I've got squirreled away in various stages of completion all over the house. 

I have SO.MUCH.YARN!  You think I'd be embarrassed by it, but I'm not.  I'm quite proud of it, to be honest.  I jokingly say that I'm getting ready for retirement.  But, when I actually think on this, it might really be true.  Kevin is retired already.  Granted, he is A LOT older than me (not really, just 10 years) and he did start work very young and worked for the provincial government for many many years.  He also is incredibly hard working and managed to save a lot. As a result, Kev has a decent pension and was able to retire comfortably  He's been asking me to consider retiring as well, or at the very least scaling back on my hours so that we can do things together - travel being the biggest thing on his mind.

Until now, I haven't given it a lot of serious thought.  I love my job and can't imagine not doing it.  It is nice to know that if I were to stop working then I'd have enough yarn in my stash that not only would I not need to buy any yarn for many years, but I'd also be able to try new yarn out on a regular basis.  It is a little ridiculous how much I've accumulated.  One day I'll be brave enough and actually post pictures of it all.  Until then it is my own private embarrassment. 

So far this year, I haven't felt driven to start something new.  I have felt the need to finish off some of those half completed projects that I have everywhere.  I'm actually thinking of not starting ANYTHING new, unless I finish an older FO.  Meaning, I can't cast on anything new until I've finished something old.  Maybe by doing this, I'll get a bunch of things finished.

My first FO is a simple pair of after though heel socks that I've knit for Amy's boyfriend Maxime.  He really loves handknit socks and really appreciates them.  He's an easy guy to knit for and so knitworthy.  The yarn is a worsted weight, self striping by Regia or Opal - I cant remember where.  His birthday is in March and Amy may even be going to visit him during his March break.  He is currently doing his PhD in Maryland USA.  Not really worsted weight sock weather there, but he is a native Montrealer, so he can appreciate things to keep warm.

Now, I'm able to cast on something new, but the desire is still not there, so I'm going to go with it.  I want to finish up some more things.  I'm thinking that Quiviut Cowl that I've been knitting forever may be the next up for completion.  I've been savoring the quiviut because it is a joy to knit and its so expensive that I'm doubtful I'll be knitting with this yarn a lot.  Jessie and I purchased a skein of this each a while back.  She knit up her yarn pretty quickly, whereas I've been kind of dragging on the project.  Partly because I want to savor it, but mostly because that's the kind of knitter I am -  casting on whatever strikes my fancy. 

The cowl is very beautiful.  The pattern is in Romi Hill's recent books called New Lace Knitting; Designs for Wide Open Spaces  I've currently got the body of the cowl finished and am working on the short rows for the back of the neck.  Then its on to the lace edging and I'm done.  After that, maybe I'll cast on two new projects.  Or maybe I'll take a look around and see an aran weight cabled cardigan that is 1/3 done, or I'll see those striped mitts that have one finished and the cuff done on the second.  Or, I'll see the bulky weight dropped stitch cowl that's half done.  Sadly, I could go on and on and describe about a dozen other projects.

So, here is to 2017 and the hopes that I will clean out some of the old half finished or even barely started projects.  And, who knows?  Maybe, I'll get bitten by the 'startitis' bug and cast on a dozen new projects between this post and the next one.  I'll be going with the flow in any case. Wish me luck!!