Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year dear readers and fellow crafters!

Bubbly Spirits
First off, I don't think I can thank you enough for visiting and reading.  And I especially appreciate all your lovely comments.  My first meager posts in cyberspace felt like a monologue exercise (not that I mind talking to myself, but the give-and-take of conversation is so much nicer).  Over the past year, the blog has grown, resulting in new friends--both cyber- and real-life.  

So as I raise a glass of sparkling bubbly, I want to wish you and yours a happy, healthy and crafty 2011.  Cheers!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Wrap-Up 2010

So there wasn't too much Christmas knitting in 2010.  This year I knitted mainly for my niece and nephews: two hats and a vest (that's a total of three items compared to last year when I made about 7-8 items). And I made no scrapbook gift albums either (the last couple of years I've made at least a few for family).

Now for the details:
One item was a cute vest (you can read about it over at Blog Bernat or you can check out my Rav project page (Ravelry link) for more details).  It was my first experience with intarsia.
Monster Vest for Nephew
The other two projects were skull earflap hats from Bernat's new Roving e-book (pattern here at this link).  Intarsia was also required.  Needless to say, I'm done with intarsia for a while.  If skulls aren't your "thang", you could easily modify the pattern by replacing it with another motif or just leaving it plain (more details on my project page (Ravelry link).  This was also a Bernat project so you can read more over at the latest Blog Bernat post).
Earflap Skull Hat for Nephew
There's something about an decent earflap hat that speaks to me--maybe its the warmth factor?  In any case, I liked hat so much, I made another one for my niece. However, a plain old skull didn't seem girlish enough.  So I modified the motif.  In Bernat's e-book for Roving, I found a poncho pattern using a skull with bow--perfect for a girl! (see my project page (Ravelry link) for more details). 
Girlie Skull Hat for Niece
It would have been nice to make more gifts.  Doesn't a handcrafted gift seem more personal?  Of course not everyone enjoys or appreciates a knitted/crocheted item (although the scrapbooks have been well received).   If I planned for my gifts (knit, crochet or scrapbook) in January, would it all be completed in time for Christmas 2011?  Ha!  Now that would a great plan!   ;)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Good Things

What are the good things in life?  What's the secret to happiness?  The love of a good partner, happy & healthy children, caring and supportive family and friends . . . the rest will take care of itself.

Nothing like a health scare requiring a trip to the emergency room to sharpen one's senses and to put things into perspective.  Rest assured that all went well and we're on the road to recovery.  If you've ever had to spend time in outpatients/emergency, the sounds of pained cries and sobs can be disheartening.

Hope you are enjoying the holidays with your loved ones.  Give them an extra hug and let them know how much you love them.

Friday, December 24, 2010

All Through the House . . .

Not a creature was stirring . . .
except maybe a mouse.
The stockings were hung near the faux fireplace
To lend the room a sense of whimsy and grace

Ahh, the best time of the year: Christmas!  
I love the scent of pine through the house after the tree gets set up.
Putting Up the Tree
I love the twinkling lights, both inside and out.
Outdoor Lights Aglow

And I love decorating the tree with all the lovely ornaments: some handmade, some special gifts from friends and some crafted by wee hands no longer wee.
Handcrafted Porcelain Angel, Tin Foil Bell, and Knitted Stocking

One of a Kind Santa and Plastic Canvas Train
But most of all I love spending time with my boys, and watching the joy on their faces.  Then after the excitement fades to quiet, dear hubby and I sip our coffee . . . 
A Cup of Jo and Toast . . . Perfection!

Hope your holidays are filled with peace and joy. :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Spreading Joy

Knitting joy, that is.  My second Boyfriend Hat is done.  It just needs a few ends to be tucked in.
Another Hat
No real mods other than to change up the stripe placement from my previous project.  And obviously I used different coloured stripes so the boys wouldn't get their hats mixed up.

So what's up next?  This next WIP looks ordinary enough.  Can you guess what it might become?
Mystery Knit
It's not a scarf or even a sleeve and definitely not another hat.  Its going to be a case for a DS--a wee bit wide, but I think we can fix that during the seaming process.  More importantly, its not my project.  It belongs to my son. 

After finishing a hat for his Toad, he wanted to learn how to purl.  Then he decided to knit himself a DS case.  This particular pattern has a section for toting games too--a big plus in his eyes (You can check out the Ravelry pattern link here).  This case is for his older brother.

I'm just beaming that my wee babe has taken such an interest in knitting.  He also wants to try crochet.  Ahhh, spreading the joy of crafty goodness. :)

Have a good week!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Confession Time

I'm addicted--harmless addiction, but an addiction nonetheless  Yes I do like to knit and crochet, but this is a non-fibre addiction (and no I don't count Ravelry 'cuz ultimately that is fibre related).

No this addiction is more of a gaming one.  Rest assured it isn't EverQuest or Call of Duty (insert popular online video game of your choice).  But it does happen online.  I'm referring to Restaurant City, one of numerous games found on Facebook (yeah, I know).

It started innocently enough.  My brother-in-law sent me an invite and I obliged.  Often such games require "friends" or "neighbours" or "clan members" so that "gifts" can be exchanged.  I didn't plan to actually play.  Unfortunately once I started, I couldn't stop.  So here I am, still playing after logging in consecutively for over 100 days--yeah, that's called obsession.  But it is a fun obsession.

Meet the lovely cyber-version of me (too bad there's no curly hair).  With the appropriate number of coins, you can deck out your cyber-self and cyber-staff in neat outfits.

Cyber-version of Me

She runs a very hip and happenin' restaurant in the cyber-reality of the world wide web.  Check it out.

Exterior of Restaurant
The above is actually an older photo as I've currently decked out my restaurant for the holidays, complete with gingerbread men, lights, snow and Santa.

Restaurant Interior
The interior has recently been changed too: revamped the layout and included winter and Christmas decor throughout.

So now you know the truth (is it an ugly truth? 'Cuz I'm not feeling the ugly). And really its a harmless addiction as long as I can limit myself (usually I can) and as long as I don't spend real money (um, never gonna happen--and sadly there are those that do).  Real money is earmarked for knitting books and yarn--duh, that's a no brainer.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Quick Knit

Have you seen this pattern on Ravelry?  The lovely Boyfriend Hat (Ravelry link) is a quick knit.

Quick Knit
My son lost his hat (not sure where, but I think it was at the movie theatre when we caught the latest Harry Potter flick).  Too bad 'cuz the one he lost was a memento from the Blue Jays second World series win back in 1993. 

Rear View
I used Lion Brand's Vanna's Choice.  What a lovely yarn!  The hat is soft, squishy and very stretchy.  The two balls were leftovers from Baby Sophisticate (one of last year's many Christmas knits).  Too bad I can't find this yarn locally.  Maybe my mother-in-law might procure some more whilst in Florida this winter?  I could ask.

I only made two modifications:
1) added a couple of red stripes for fun (have quite a few leftover Bernat Softee Chunky). When changing colours, I first knit the round and then proceeded in rib pattern on the next row;
2) added about an inch before starting the decreases. I wanted to make sure the hat would cover my son’s ears.

I like the pattern so much, I'm making a second one for my other son.  Sadly he too has lost his hat.

Have a good week!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

All in the Details

Don't ya think that sometimes its the little finishing details that can make or break a knit (or at the very least take it from so-so to adorable).  I think the wooden buttons take my Little Navy Stripes from nice to super-duper cute (but that's just my honest opinion and I'm a tad biased).  Wotcha think?
Baby Cardi and Matching Beanie
I just love the rustic feel of the steel blue and cream paired up with the wooden buttons (I don't think they're real wooden buttons, but they're a darn good facsimile).
Detail of Buttons
This Little Coffee Bean cardigan pattern (Ravelry link) is a keeper: I can definitely see myself knitting this one again for future newborns (and I do know of at least one due this summer).  And the Beanie (Ravelry link) is a quick knit too.  Happy to report the new mom appreciated the gift.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Blog-jack In Progress

Don't adjust your screen!  It's just us, the Toads. :D

This is Toad and my brother Toad.  While that chicky Acrylic-girl is putting lights on her house, we've hijacked her laptop.  Aren't we scamps?  Actually we're really two fun guys--get it?  Fungi!! We're hilarious!

We wanted to share our knitting adventures.  One of us was feelin' chilly, so we decided to try this knitting thing.  If that chicky can do it, why can't we?  How hard could it be?
And like good brothers, we helped each other out.  Those needles are kinda big. 
But then something went horribly wrong.  Not sure exactly what happened . . . Guess knitting isn't as easy as it looks :(
That's not right, brother!  What did you do?  What's happening?!
Watch out!  Those sticks are awfully pointy and sharp.  Somebody could get hurt.
Oh noooooooo!  This hurts!!!!
Good thing we have a nice boy who loves us very much.  He patched us up and made one of us a lovely hat to keep our melons warm. 
That's not a hat, brother.  It's a mushroom cap--get it?  Haha!  We're hilarious!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cute Baby Knit

So remember when I posted about finishing my pinwheel blanket?  I mentioned something about promptly starting a new project.

Meet my new project (see sidebar for Ravelry link):
Project Sheet
It's for a co-worker who just had her first baby.  I was gonna buy a little something; however, whilst basking in the glow of my pinwheel FO, my thoughts turned to quick baby knits.  For some reason, I had it in my head that I could finish a baby sweater in a week--or less.  Now don't laugh.  It could be possible, perhaps if I had chosen the 3 month size (but babies grow fast, so 6 months seemed like a better size).  And perhaps if I were a different knitter--say a faster one!  Ha!  And maybe if I didn't have to go to work during the day or sleep at night . . .

No matter.  The sweater is a growing.

Body complete, one sleeve in progress

This is gonna be darn cute when its finished.  And yes, I am using the leftover yarn from my pinwheel blanket.  Aren't these the best colours for a wee baby boy?  Hoping to make a matching toque too. 

Now back to knitting 'cuz my queue grows by the day . . .

Friday, November 26, 2010

My Crochet Afghan

So while I tarried on my pinwheel blanket, I also worked on my crochet afghan (have you followed the crochet-along over at Bernat?). I was doing well, completing each clue as it was released.  Then came the mitred squares.  There were supposed to be sixteen of them.  I fell behind--far behind :(
Lots of squares

There's an update over at the Bernat blog by none other than yours truly (I think I'm allowed to toot my own horn, right?). 

Thank goodness for my fellow crocheters over at the official CAL forum on Ravelry .  Their photos and tips have been inspiring and encouraging.  Soon I'll be finishing my squares and sewing them together . . . soon I hope :S 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

One Down

Finished the pinwheel blanket this afternoon.  And I must say that I am feeling very good about scratching an item from my list of WIPs (let's not talk about the new project for which I cast on promptly after supper--yes, I added more to the list, but let's save that for another day, shall we?).

Pinwheel Blanket
The stripes  and mottled seed stitch add a touch of whimsy to what would have been an otherwise plain blanket.  N'est pas?

Stripe and Seed-Stitch Detail
Once I've woven in the ends, I'll give it a wash.  When it comes to acrylics, I generally don't block, but a wash & dry makes everything look fresh and clean.

Now back to my knitting . . .

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Just Keep Knitting . . .

Just keeping knitting . . .
Knitting, knitting, knitting . . .
What do we do when we want to keep going
We keep knitting, knitting . . .

Remember good old Dory from Finding Nemo?  And her song about "just keep swimming"?  Well, I've embraced that philosophy and have kept knitting my pinwheel blanket.  
Stripes on the Pinwheel

I'm currently at the 370 stitch mark and have approximately less than 20 rows to go.  Unfortunately each row requires about 20-30 minutes to finish (which in the grand scheme, is not an inordinate amount of time, but my interest quickly wanes with what seems like miles upon miles of stockinette . . That's partly why I've added striping--to keep my attention just a wee bit longer.
Inside the Pinwheel

My knit club meets this coming Wednesday.  Will I be able to finish in time (minus any darned ends or blocking)?  Must keep knittin' . . .

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Always Remember . . .

That there were others before us that made the supreme sacrifice . . .

Poppy Wreath courtesy of
So that we could enjoy all the freedoms and rights we have now.   
Red Poppy courtesy of

Lest we forget . . .

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Slow Progression

Whether it be crochet or knitting, my crafting life moves slowly  . . . but there is progression.
Pinwheel Blanket

My pinwheel blanket is now just a wee bit bigger than a 12" pizza and I've passed the halfway mark at well over 270 stitches (Target size: 450 stitches).  Some of the ladies at knit club have already finished theirs (although some of them had a head-start--just sayin').  Nothing like peer pressure to spur one on.

Slipper Progress

My husband's slippers . . . not much new there.  Other projects have come first.  And now they are truly on the back burner 'cuz the gift knitting has begun.  
The Start of a Christmas Gift
Cast on for a girly skull hat this morning and am now starting the decreases (click on my Ravelry project link in the sidebar to see more details).  It's a wee bit big for its intended recipient, but I think it will still be appreciated.

Almost-Finished Girly Skull Hat

As for my Bernat CAL, progress continues.  Although I didn't quite finish all of the mitered squares, I'm up-to-date with all the other squares.  I'm not sure about the projected due date (some time in December perhaps?).  Hope that will be finished for Christmas.

A Few of My Crocheted Squares
Sometimes I feel as if there's too much on the go.  How did the two-project gal end up committing to so much?  Too ambitious?  Unrealistic goals?  Maybe I over-estimated my knitting speed?  How did I manage to make so much last year?  Perhaps I need to re-evaluate my goals--and how I spend my time . . . for now, I'd best get back to finishing something. 

Here's hoping your week is filled with crafting goodness. :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Jig Is Up :(

The boys figured it out on their own.  They devised an "experiment" to test their hypothesis and then they discovered the ugly truth: the tooth fairy ain't real.
A Special Box
Without telling anyone, my eldest lost a tooth.  When no one was looking, he put his tooth in the special box and then he waited.  And waited.  And waited.  After a week and no coin in sight, he figured that the great mythical fairy was just myth.
An Empty Box?
I suppose it was bound to happen eventually.  It just makes me a little sad.   

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Festive Jack-o-lanterns
What are your plans for the weekend?  My boys will be designing and carving their own pumpkins with their dad.  We'll even watch a few scary movies.  Then this evening, we'll visit the neighbours to collect treats.

I've also been busy on various WIPs: my pinwheel blanket is more dinner plate than coaster; the crochet continues for the Bernat CAL (the squares are getting progressively more difficult); made very little progress on hubby's slippers; however, did finish my skull hat for Bernat blog (plan to make more of those with a few modifications).

More important, last week's stash flash inspired me to photograph and catalogue the rest of my stash.  Most of my yarn is attached to specific projects (unless the yarn was gifted or is leftover from another project).  If you're already on Ravelry, you may notice that my previously blank stash page is now full of yarn entries.  So much yarn.  So little time.

More Halloween Fun

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ummm, Is That Stash?

Yes, I'm growing a lovely stash.  Thanks for asking.  Check out all the nice sock yarn.  I can hardly wait to cast one on . . . hmmm, perhaps after Christmas?

Paton's Kroy and Kroy FX

I've been dying to use the pretty self-striping stuff both for myself and my son.  Sadly we are the only two who enjoy handmade socks.  I even picked up Paton's Next Step series on socks (mainly for the good visuals along with worsted and bulky sock patterns).  Socks are definitely in my future.

I also got my hands on some nice lace weight to experiment with lacy scarves.  Last year`s adventure in lace scarves proved successful and enjoyable.  Hopefully I can get  two scarves, maybe one triangular and the other rectangular.

Paton's Lace

And not to be selfish, my final acquisition is destined for others.  My goal: use Bernat's Roving to make three hats for my niece and nephews.  Since the yarn is bulky, I hope to have them completed in time for Christmas--not an unrealistic goal.

Bernat Roving

My immediate challenge is organizing my newly acquired goods.  I was organized at one point (and proudly posted about my organization success ).  Sadly, I`ve gotten a little yarn happy since then and my yarn runneth over (thank heavens dear hubby tolerates my love of all things yarny as long its relegated to the sad, messy computer room).  Me thinks I need another tote. . .

Have a great week!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Not Another . . .

Project?!  Yeah, I started another project.  Is that wrong?  Oh, I wasn't supposed to do that? What's that? I already have too much on my plate?  I know; I know.

Beginnings of Pinwheel Blanket
But I couldn't resist because:
a) the project is for charity
b) I'm using yarn that's already in my stash for a pattern that's quite easy on the brain (it's a pinwheel blanket designed by Genia Planck.  Check out Ravelry for umpteenth versions and variations)
b) its part of a KAL 

I'm already part of Bernat's CAL, so why start a KAL?  Well, happy to say its a KAL with my new knitting group.  You heard right!  I found a newly started knitting club--or rather one of its members found me--on Ravelry--and invited me to join (thank you Allison!).  My first meeting was fun; it's great to spend time with similarly craft-minded individuals.  Hurray for knitting groups!! :D

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Love Is . . .

Fraying, Splitty, Snagable Frustration
. . . working with hideous yarn (aka indestructible petroleum by-product) to create a beloved knitted item.  Recognize the above product?  Good old Phentex Craft and Slipper Yarn.  Ever work with this stuff?  If you have, then you totally comprehend my frustration with it. 

Now don't misunderstand:  I lurve acrylics (hey, my name should be a give-away), mainly for their affordability, availability and easy care.  But not all acrylics are created equal.  Sure there are some lovely acrylics out there.  This Phentex stuff just isn't it.  But it is durable.  

Guess what it is?

Now care to guess what I'm making?  I'll give you three clues: something to keep the chill away in the dead of winter; something your great aunt or nana might have made; something a man might request.  Figure it out?

Dear hubby seldom asks for knitted goods: he dislikes woolen socks, seldom wears hats and prefers his water-proof gloves to the hand-knit variety.  However, he loves those Phentex slippers his mom used to make for him as a kid.  And up until recently, his mom still made those slippers.  Now its my turn to make them.  
Right Side with Alternating Colours

Stranding on Wrong Side

I have made these before for my oldest boy back in 2009, but for some reason I didn't understand how to twist the two colours to avoid holes.  I've worked fair isle and even intarsia--all successfully I might add.  But these slippers seem to combine the two and my poor brain doesn't "get it".  So I changed up the pattern by alternating colours every two rows.  I avoid holes and still create the stranding effect on the back.  It's all good. ;)
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