December 20, 2009

Have a Sweet Christmas

My sister and I had a Christmas baking day and it was exhausting but fruitful. We made and iced gingerbread and tried our hand at Macedonian zelnik. We have quite a way to go to master this pastry, which my baba has baked to perfection ever since I can remember.

The quickest and easiest thing we made was this peppermint bark. If you need to whip up some last minute gifts, give this fesitve treat a try. So delicious.

Have a very merry Christmas!

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November 29, 2009

Countdown to Christmas!

It's December 1st and I have a new pair of mittens, reminiscent of candy canes, to help celebrate the holiday season.

The pattern is Herringbone Mittens by Elli Stubenrauch (ravelry link here). I used Cascade 220 for mitts that could stand up to some wear and tear. The stranded colourwork means the resulting fabric is double thick so these should be nice and warm.

I have unusually small hands so I downsized the mitts by using 2.75 mm needles for the cuffs and 3.5 mm for the rest. The advantage of having small hands and feet is that it takes less time to knit mitts and socks, and saves on yarn!

I went to the park with my birdhouse ornament to take pictures, and happened upon a tree covered in decorations which I took advantage of for some photos. Thanks to whatever little elf trimmed the tree!

I hope we get some cold, snowy weather soon so I can make proper use of the mitts. Apparently it's going to be a mild winter though :(

Here's hoping for a white Christmas...

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November 13, 2009

Mystery Socks Revealed!

I finished my Mystery Socks last weekend!

Finishing these socks was not without drama and heaps of frustration. Everything was going fine at first. I finished my first sock quickly and without trouble. I knit most of the leg on the second sock and was almost ready to turn the heel. I decided to show off my remarkably quick progress to my husband.

My husband is a perfectionist. He admires and compliments my handiwork, but almost always finds some little thing and asks innocently something like ' there meant to be that hole there?'. This time however, it was not a little tiny mistake that he had noticed. Instead, I had forgotten an entire section at the beginning of my second sock.

This is what I was supposed to have, which I had managed to do the first time around:

And this is what I had on my second sock:

There was no way I was going to rip out all my hard work, I would sooner throw the entire thing in the garbage, so I had the bright idea that I would knit up the missing section and then undo the cast on edge and kitchener stitch the two together. Well, it looked terrible. If it had been all stockinette I would have been fine, but this just did not work. After much brooding and whining and lying in a heap I went for a walk (it was a beautiful day) which lifted my mood and I decided I would have to lose that section altogether. This meant undoing the first section on the first sock from the cast on edge so that they would match. If you've ever done that you know it is no easy task. The stitches don't just pull out easily and quickly as they do if you rip back from the other direction. After much tedium, I finally have a new pair of socks.

Here's the back:

And the side:

I vow to pay more attention to what I'm doing from now on!

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November 4, 2009

Lavalette - a fall shawl

I've got a new shawl for fall. It's Lavelette by Kirsten Kapur. So lovely and quick to knit too. Only took me 5 evenings (quick for me anyways).

I've been wearing it around my neck as a scarf but it would also be cozy around the shoulders while sitting and knitting.

I need to block it again, as you can see the edges are curling.

The pattern is available from Kirsten's blog, Through the Loops. It's free, but she suggests donating to Alzeimer's and dementia research (link provided on her blog) which I was happy to do.

I used Spud and Chloe Fine Sock (80% merino, 20% silk) which is squishy and springy (my two highly technical terms for describing yarn I like!).

Kirsten also designed the Mystery Socks I've been working on. I'm nearly finished and will post those soon.

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November 1, 2009

Handmade Holidays!

If you're looking for handmade gift ideas or inspiration for the holidays, head over to the Sew Mama Sew blog. November is a month of tutorials, recipes and gift ideas to get you in the holiday spirit. I really enjoyed the Scrap Buster Month in October, so I'll be checking the blog daily during November. Oh, and there's a chance to win a prize every day!

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October 30, 2009

Pink pigs

I made another Dewdrop Handbag, this time for my sister for her birthday. I love the way it turned out.

The Echino fabric is perfect for this bag as it has a sturdy weight and crisp hand that give the bag structure. I included fusible interfacing as well. It's one tough little bag!

When edge- and top-stitching there were times when there were several layers to sew through which would have been difficult without my trusty walking foot. I love that thing! Absolutely indispensible.

I wanted the bag to be deeper than the last one I made so it could hold more. To achieve this, I cut the pattern in half horizontally, separated the two halves by two inches, and then pinned and cut.

I totally love this fabric and have several more prints that I'm looking forward to using.

Have you made something with Echino?

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October 25, 2009

Fall (or stashing season)

We've had some rainy, cold, windy weather here and I've got handknits on the brain. I mostly concentrated on sewing during the summer but with the leaves turning, the mercury plummeting, and Christmas 62 days away, I find myself poring over patterns and hankering for hanks.

I visited The Needle Emporium in Ancaster to pick up some new yarns. The shop is like a candy store, so jam-packed with yarn I felt giddy. Once I managed to compose myself, I bought some lovely autumnal yarns.

First up, this delicate Silky Alpaca Lace by Classic Elite Yarns (70% alpaca, 30% silk).

I bought the other yarns with a purpose in mind, but this FeltedTweed by Rowan (50% merino wool, 25% alpaca, 25% viscose) was a total impulse buy. I LOVE it. I will probably make myself a nice wrap with this.

Good old Cascade 220 The Heathers (100% wool) will combine with some 220 already in my stash to become a new pair of mitts for me.

I hope to design a cowl using this super bulky Big Wool by Rowan (100% merino wool).

Bought any new yarn lately? What projects have you got lined up?

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October 17, 2009


Socktoberfest is a month-long celebration of socks and I'm celebrating by joining the Through the Loops Mystery Sock Knit-along!

Every week during October, Kirsten of Through the Loops will post a new clue in a free sock pattern; first the cuff, then the leg, the heel, etc. You don't know what the sock will look like until you've knit it! It's exciting to see the pattern emerge as I knit.

I thought I'd use a nice fall colour for my socks. I'm using Spud & Chloe Fine Sock in Clementine which is 80% superwash wool and 20% silk.

If you're on Ravelry, you can join the KAL group here.

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October 11, 2009

Halloween craft round-up

Halloween's around the corner and there are a ton of great crafts out there to help get you in the spirit. Here are a few of my favourites:

Zombies and Monsters: embroidery patterns for sale at Sublime Stitching
Image: Sublime Stitching

Spooky packing tape transfers: a tutorial from How About Orange...
Image: How About Orange...

Sugar Skull Pincushion: hand and machine embroidery patterns for sale at Urban Threads
Image: Urban Threads

Knitted eyeballs: free pattern from Mary Jane Mucklestone
Image: Mary Jane, Midge and Mink

Polka-dot Pumpkins: an tutorial
Image: Lolo-B @

Day of the Dead Dolls: free pattern from Knit1
Image: Knit1

Las Calacas Danzantes: free pattern from The AntiCraft
Image: The AntiCraft

Spooky portraits: a tutorial by Sweet paul
Image: Sweet paul

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October 9, 2009

Lavender Sachet

I made this from a great book I recently bought......

It's a sachet filled with lavender flowers. The pattern calls for a striped fabric that you then cut into matching squares and sew together to get this diamond effect. I used some Heather Bailey fabric that I had leftover from my Buttercup Bag.

The book is The Impatient Patchworker by Jayne Emerson and I love love love it. Jayne uses gorgeous combinations of Rowan fabrics and the projects are all relatively small and quick to make. I was surprised when I found this book in the shop because it's from 2006 but I hadn't ever heard of it before.

I'm going to use my sachet to keep moths away from my yarn. I haven't had a problem with moths yet (touch wood) and I'd like to keep it that way!

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September 28, 2009

The Notebook

My dear mom is celebrating a milestone birthday this week so the family got together for brunch at a nice restaurant on the weekend. Copious amounts of delicious food was eaten; plenty of meat for those so inclined, but fortunately an impressive variety of offerings this vegetarian could enjoy. And chocolate cake and profiteroles to top it all off!

My sisters and I gave my mom theatre tickets and a photo book put together on my sister's Mac. But I just had to add one little handmade thing. Couldn't help myself .....

This notebook is a project from Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. I really like the way it looks and it was easy to make.

My mother is expertly organized and is always keeping track of things. Heck, she even keeps track of the recipes she tries from various cookbooks and attributes a rating to each. I figured she could find a hundred uses for a little notebook.

I used a small moleskine notebook with lined pages. This is a great project for using up itty bitty fabric scraps. And there is something about the needle punching through the cardboard and producing delicate zig zag stitches which is very satisfying.

Happy birthday mom! Many happy scribbles to you!

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September 16, 2009

Fabric shopping on Etsy

If you're familiar with Etsy, you know it's a great place to find handmade items. It's also a fabulous place to find fabric for your own handmade creations.

I love to browse fabrics on Etsy and find the selection much more inspiring than what is typically on offer in large retail stores.

On Etsy you can browse by designer, colour, or by keyword. For example, try typing 'fabric bundle', or 'fabric owl'!

Here are some of my favourite fabric shops on Etsy:

First, the original handprints......

The Cotton Press
- Hand-printed using a variety of eco-friendly, organic, natural and water-based materials.

Large-scale White Dandelion Clock (100% cotton sateen)
Image from The Cotton Press
(Click image to see item in shop)

Melbomba - Original fabric designed and hand-printed by Melissa Bombardiere.

Belbird in Bright Blue (55% linen, 45% cotton)
Image from Melbomba

greenolive textiles - Original designs, hand-printed using environmentally-friendly, solvent-free inks.

I love that this design is based on a drawing that the designeer made at the age of 5!

My Bike bits and pieces pack (100% linen)
Image from greenolive textiles

And then there are the shops that offer an impressive assortment of designer fabrics......

Whipstitch lets you make your own mix and match selection of 2, 3, 4, and 6 fat quarter bundles. They have a great selection of cotton prints and also some denim, twill, home dec, bamboo and corduroy.

Damask Rock by Michael Miller (100% cotton)
Image from Whipstitch

Fabricworm has a great selection of designer fabric and a good sale section as well. I love browsing the half yard, yard, and baby quilt sets.

Saffron Craig Owl Range, Owls Nesting (100% cotton)
Image from Fabricworm

BE WARNED: If you love fabric, shopping for it on Etsy is seriously addictive!

If you're not familiar with Etsy, you should definitely check it out. It's an online marketplace full of handmade and vintage treasures, as well as art and craft supplies. Customers provide feedback on shops and purchases and that means that you are very likely to receive exceptional customer service. It's like word of mouth on a global scale.

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September 7, 2009

Summer Wrap-up

It's officially the last weekend of summer so it was apt that I finished something called Falling Leaves Wrap, a lovely lace pattern by Dory Brown.

With the blue colour I chose though I think it also resembles waves, of which there were plenty at the beach yesterday.

My husband wanted to do a lake watch as windy weather at this time of year pushes various jaegers and gulls close to shore as they migrate south from the far north. The beach was a perfect backdrop for some photos of my new wrap.

I used a 100% bamboo fingering yarn from Dye-Version. The bamboo stretched less than a wool would so the wrap is a bit narrow, but it's still sufficient to keep the chill off my shoulders and a nice light wrap for early fall.

I enjoyed this stitch pattern because, as Dory points out, once you've completed one of the 16 row repeats it's easy to see what comes next so you're not likely to lose your place.

The shawl pin is from the River John Needle Company of Nova Scotia.

We were a bit concerned that the beach would be packed, and there were certainly a lot of people there. Funny though, most people don't venture too far from the parking lot so several hundred metres down the beach we had the place nearly to ourselves. But for the wind and surf it was quite tranquil.

And we spotted this Parasitic Jaeger : ) ......

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August 27, 2009

Bubble Pouch

I made another cute Keyka Lou pattern, the Bubble Pouch.....

I couldn't wait to use some of this birdy Park Slope fabric by Erin McMorris and thought this petite pouch was just the thing.

I used a hair elastic for the closure as per the pattern. Works great!

I haven't really the foggiest idea what to use this pouch for, I just wanted to make it cause it's cute! Any suggestions?

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