Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Baby Boom

Whoa. I disappeared again there for a bit. Between just general busy-ness and an ill behaved laptop, things got a little hairy there for a while. Looks like I'm back in business however. So let's get caught up. Shall we?

Another (really good) reason for my online absence as of late, are all of the beautiful babes being born these days! Between my mom and I, we know fourteen little ones due over the next two months. Four of those babies arrived over the span of three days a few weeks back. So naturally, I got knitting...

Knitting striped hats for everyone!

And while I know that these are far too large for most newborn babes to wear right now (because sadly... they still need hats in mid-April in Canada it would seem...), I have been calling them their "Back to School" hats. Possibly in September, they will be able to yank this down over their little bald heads and stay warm throughout the chillier months that follow. 

And besides... even if they are too young to go to school, I still believe that everyone is entitled to a new outfit to kick off the fresh school year. 

Wouldn't you agree?

So, striped hats for one and all, using up all of my bits and pieces of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino.

Knitting with this beautiful yarn, in very addictive little stripes has been simply heavenly.

And so are all of the beautiful little people that have just landed here on earth.

Yarn? Odds and ends of some Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino.
Needles? 3.25mm double pointed.
Pattern? From the Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino Book 2. I love that book... dearly. But I did modify both the socks and the hat so that they are seamless. No one wants a seam in their sock! Come on Debbie!

So on this snowy April day... I leave you with this.

The Flower Shop at Liberty in London

Happy Spring everyone.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Big Fat Irish Cranium

So, whoa. A month has slipped by on me. Where DID it go!?!?!? It has been a good month on this end. A really good month.One that included a trip to London with my family (more on that later), hosting a baby shower for a dear, dear friend, weekend house guests who convinced us a trip to the fabulous new aquarium in Toronto (AMAZING!) during March Break was a good idea... all topped with a pretty decent amount of knitting. All in all, two very enthusiastic thumbs up.

I figured that before I bore you with details of our latest travel adventure, I would share with you one of my latest finished projects. Besides... knitting is what brought you here in the first place. Isn't it?

It's nothing major. Nothing huge. But it's a hat.

A green hat that just so happens to be one day post St. Patrick's Day. Which admittedly... is pure coincidence. I really couldn't care less for that "holiday", despite my dark hair, pasty white skin and rather Irish sounding last name.

This lovely green hat came to be as a result of seeing a customer named Emily wearing this hat perched beautifully on her head. I asked her what pattern she had used, immediately proceeded to download it and then 100% copied her. Like... totally ripped off her style. Even her colour selection.


I cast on while in London, but knit the majority of it (read- all of it, minus the ribbing) on the plane coming home as I was glued to that tiny tv screen they sit you in front of for the entirety of the flight. (Anyone out there seen Captain Phillips?!?!? I was DYING the entire movie. OH MY GOSH! So intense... Be glad you weren't sitting next to me during that haul home. The noises that I was making were truly outrageous for an airplane.)

Sadly, the one thing that I forgot to consider while knitting this beautiful green hat however... is that I have one giant Irish head. My newly knit hat just didn't look quite the same on my head as it did Emily's.

Either I have an huge head... or that movie was just too much for me to handle, thus affecting my gauge.

I suspect it's my skull that's the problem however... as this isn't the first time I have encountered this situation in my knitting career.

But instead of ripping it out and starting again, I just cast on another one.

And knit it until it did fit my giant melon.

Should you be so inclined to copy Emily, I wouldn't blame you. Here is what you will need to know.

Pattern- Upper East Side by Joji Locatelli.
Size- The first one I knit was a medium, then went on to knit a large for the second version. Despite the pattern's description... I did not end up with a 'very' slouchy beret. Simply, a hat that fits.
Yarn- Three balls of Zara Chine in shade 815 (three balls made two hats).
Needles- 3.5mm and 4mm, 40 cm circular and 4mm double points (for the crown of the hat).

The original itsy-bitsy version that I didn't dare try to model for you...

So my dear knitting friends, it would appear as though we are still in need of our hats in this part of the world.

Rest assured however, that Spring has sprung in London-town.

Which means that we cannot be too far behind.

Friday, February 14, 2014

This, Is Love

Last week, a really good friend of mine sent me a text that said "I just discovered 2x giant holes in my only pair of hand knit socks circa 5 years ago. Can I mend them?" 

Following the message, was this image.

Valentine's Stripes for Valentine's Day
Wait a minute now... I knit those socks! And I completely forgot about them! And to see that they have been loved for the past five years to the point of big-toe-sized holes... makes me more than willing to cast on a new pair for the girl.

The holes in these socks my friends... is love. 

And replacing them is the least that I can do.

So on this Valentine's Day, I wish you nothing but the kind of love that all the hand knit socks like these ones have received.

Big love to you.
And to your knitting.

Not just today, but everyday.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Some Valentine's Day "Crafting"

It's no secret that my favorite holiday of ALL time, is Valentine's Day. I can't help it! I just... love it. The red, the pink, the sweets, the hearts... it's perfect. It's especially perfect at this time of year. Come on... what else is REALLY going on these days anyway? Not a whole lot other than... snow. And ice. And aren't we bored of talking about all of that already? It's about time that we focus on the bright and happy.

While in the past I have opted to do some Valentine's knitting (see here and here for documentation), this year I thought I would do some 'crafting' instead.

And while I have no issue with 'crafting' generally speaking... I have a hard time bundling knitting and crocheting up into this category. While non-knitters and big box craft stores might argue otherwise, I would like to go on the record as stating that our "craft", is in a league of it's own. But I digress...

Last year, a neighbour of Mary's Yarns posted a video on Youtube of a "DIY Woven Heart". I loved it, and mentally bookmarked it in my brain. And shockingly... I actually remembered and followed through with it this year.

On a recent trip to the Home Depot to pick up light switch plates and a new bathroom faucet, I also swung by the flooring department and snagged myself this big ol' square of wood. But not because I plan on laying flooring anytime soon...

But because I had an odd ball of Cascade 220 kicking around my house.

So, there you have it.

My very own version of a woven Valentine's heart.

What better way to use up that pesky ball of yarn that's just begging to be used?

Action shot at the shop
Should you be so inclined to give this a try out for yourself (or maybe even just mentally bookmark it for next year)... here is the video that inspired me to get all crafty in the first place.

Big thanks to the Blossom Girls for the inspiration.

And Happy Valentine's Eve to all of you.

Icicles at the shop this week

Surely when it looks like this outside, it can't hurt you to find a little love in your heart.

It's most definitely the cheapest way to stay warm this time of year.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Public Service Announcement

This past Christmas, I unwrapped a yarn bowl. And I'm not going to lie... I was sort of like "Uhm... OK. That's weird. But a pretty obvious gift for a knitter like me, I guess."

I must confess... up until Christmas day, I had never used a yarn bowl before. Of course I had seen them, heard of them, and pretended to enthuse over them when people told me about them... but I really had no interest in acquiring one for myself.

But as I was coming down from my Christmas Day high while cozied up in my chair with a new project all ready to go, I reached for that yarn bowl and popped in my freshly wound ball of yarn.

And low and behold... it was like magic.

My dear friends and knitters... I eat my words. This beautiful bowl has quite quickly become my most beloved knitting tool. No knitter should be without!

No more am I allowing my yarn to roll around the floor all willy-nilly-like! It now stays in one place and smoothly provides me with just the right amount of yarn as my needles require it. No tangles, no knots, no crawling under the couch to retrieve a rogue ball. It's all there, right in one place- in my pretty purple bowl.

So go and buy yourself one. And then buy one for every knitter that you know! (That's the public service announcement I promised you in the title of this post). You will surely fall in love with yours, just as I have mine.

 Yarn Bowl by Rosemary Jenkins- potter extraordinaire

 As if working with yarn wasn't beautiful enough... a beautiful yarn bowl is just the cherry on the already VERY delicious cake.

It's so cold, it's PURPLE out there! Just like my yarn bowl...

Be warm dear knitters!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Oh, Canada

Canadian crocheters- the ultimate in "kindness".

Monday, January 13, 2014

It's My Party And I'll Knit If I Want To

Back in mid-November, I turned thirty. I didn't really make a big deal about it. There was no massive party, I didn't wake up in tears that my twenties are now officially a thing of the past, I didn't go to Vegas (well, at least not in November I didn't)... I just turned thirty.

I woke up on the morning of my birthday, just like any other day, and came across an email from my mom which said "Why don't you take the day off work and just knit?"

Best. Birthday gift. EVER.

So, that's exactly what I did.

I conveniently had a project that had been sitting next to my knitting chair for a while that was just begging to be cast on. The needles, the yarn, the pattern, even the fur pompom. It was a project that required some focus and attention and since most of my knitting these days seems to be in the evening, I have a hard time branching out much beyond just plain old stocking stitch (more on that project later). In my old age, I have apparently become a morning person and I'll be darned...

So I got out my crochet hook, did my provisional cast on and tackled this brilliantly constructed toque, designed by the ever so talented Jared Flood. (SWOON!)

This hat looks like the perfect excuse to take up skiing
As it happens, this turned out to be the perfect project to ring in my new decade. I learned some new techniques (tubular cast on anyone?), I was able to exercise a technique that I already know and love (more cables please!) and it all resulted in a beautiful accessory to boot.

I will be the first to admit that I have been lazy with my knitting lately. I have been craving the simple things, and while I have no problems with continuing to do just that, this project was a nice reminder that it's ok to push myself. While I do love myself some stocking stitch... I am capable of so much more. All knitters are! And it's important to challenge ourselves from time to time, if even just a little.

 As for the pompom... it was a souvenir from our whirlwind trip to Switzerland last September. My sisters had been on the hunt for decent fur pompoms FOREVER... And if you can believe it... a tiny town in the Swiss Alps called Leukerbad is exactly where these pompoms were finally discovered. I bought four, and gifted half of them at Christmas to my sisters, which leaves me with one more- a green one! But this seemed like the perfect hat a pop one on.

Perhaps I should resolve to get a half-decent camera at some point this decade???
Dirty Thirty Details

Pattern- Forge by Jared Flood
Yarn- Two balls of Airolo by Lang in shade 60
Needles- Lots of them...


May this thirtieth birthday hat of mine remind me to stay open to new challenges, to continue to re-visit and exercise the things that I already know and love, and to never stop accessorizing- especially with pompoms.

So keep knitting my friends.

This season isn't finished with us just yet.