Emptying out the basket

It’s that time of year when I start thinking about emptying out the WIP basket and finishing things off.

With Christmas break quickly approaching my mind has begun to wonder about possible new projects to cast on but some things must get finished before that can happen.

I currently have 6 active WIP’s on the go with about a 3 week time frame to finish. I’m NOT go to finish them all lets face it and I’m not turning this into a race, we all know Christmas is stressful enough so I’m going to pick away at my WIP’s and hope to get something accomplished before I pull any new yarns out. (I do have some exciting projects planned though but I’ll save that for another post)

Number one on the list is a new WIP that I just started last weekend. My mum asked if I could knit my Nanny a shawl for her birthday which falls right after christmas. She thought something similar to the Miss Dashwood shawl I knit for her at the beginning of the year would be nice. I am not a huge fan of knitting the same pattern twice, although I definitely would if it came down to it. Mum and I looked at many shawl patterns and she just kept coming back to Paulina P’s designs, mum knows what she likes.

She chose Miss Bennett by Paulina Popiolek another that was on my list to knit.This design calls for fingering but my version will be slightly larger with a sport/dk and a larger needle.

Speaking of mum knowing what she likes…. I took her to my LYS to pick out some yarn for said shawl. She headed straight for the Tosh, Pashmina at that!! Dang mum’s got expensive yarn taste! We walked away with two skeins of Madelinetosh Pashmina in the Escoteric colourway.

A beauty huh?

I was rather intimidated before starting my last Paulina P design but I think I’ve got the hang of her style now and hopefully it will go off without a hitch!

I think by the time I’m finished with the knitting it will be very hard to part with…..

Snowflake

Pattern: Opal Bunny by Susan B Anderson

Yarn: Opal Surprise in the Rainbow colourway *why is that not a surprise?*

Needles: 2.25mm dpns

Mods: No mods but if I were to knit this again I think I would move her legs a bit closer together so she sits better. I would also add the poly pellets suggested in the pattern that T refused to let me add.

My Rav Project Page

I wanted to blog about the making of this little gal, I really did but such is life sometimes.

While visiting my LYS one day T spied Susan’s Opal Bunny pattern hanging in front of the Opal Yarn shelves. We didn’t buy any yarn or pattern that day but she did ask about it NON STOP once we got home. She worked on her behaviour *first year of school is exhausting for those little minds* and finally earned the yarn for her bunny.

I thought I would be able to whip him up pronto but this mama was exhausted as well and not much knitting time was had. When I did pick it up and knit I kept making the most ridiculous mistakes. The day after I had stayed up late to finish the head *never a good idea for me* I realized I had set aside stitches for 4 ears instead of 2……. DOH!

 I vowed to only work on him when I wasn’t exhausted and if that meant NOT knitting for that day *Gasp! Horror* then that was what needed to happen.

I set myself another goal of getting it done by T’s birthday but that didn’t happen either. So it seems that Snowflake, as T has named her, was finished at just the right time. Our first snow day of the season. I took an hr to relax and finish her off this morning before we went out to the snow.

I think Snowflake fits in perfectly with my Rainbow girl don’t you?

Rainbow Art Party

Today was my sweet girls 5th birthday party!

Where has the time gone??

This is the second year we have had a birthday party with T’s friends and I’d have to say this one was A1!

T wanted to do a rainbow party and it was pretty easy for me to add art into the equation. Any excuse for children to create and I am there!

I made a bday wreath for the door.  I got the idea from my friend Lacey who made one several years ago for her oldest. I’m pretty sure she used smaller balloons and a TON more than I did but this mama was in the “get’er done” mode. So it’s just balloons pinned to a12″ straw wreath which you can see due to the angle I took the picture. I added a few curly pipe cleaners that I wound around a pencil and bob’s your uncle an instant party wreath. *Now I just need to work on buying a wreath hanger instead of tying it up with washi tape :)  I am resourceful if nothing else!

I bought a bulk pack of canvas from Michaels so each girl had a 12×12 canvas to paint and take home. Instead of making a picture I gave the girls strips of thin painters tape. They choose where to put the tape before the painting began.

Once they had finished painting and BEFORE the paint was dry we peeled the painters tape off and created a really cool mosaic art piece.

We also made stretchy bracelets with rainbow beads and beads with letters so the girls could spell out their names.

We had a slight problem making the knots stay put in the stretch elastic so here is a little help if you plan on doing this. Knotting Stretchy Bracelet 

The last activity was a treasure hunt in the backyard. These are always such fun and it’s definitely a highlight of a homemade birthday. Watching them run around pondering and searching for each clue is so much fun.

T opted for sandwiches, fruit and veggie for her party, so much better than pizza that they only take a few bites out of. They ate their fill of fruit and veggies, watermelon being the favourite, and then it was on to the cake. * I love chatting with kids while they eat. There are always some cute stories shared, opinions, likes and dislikes.*

Lastly lets talk about the cake. The cake is probably my favourite part of the birthday party. I’m definitely not the best birthday cake maker in the world but the kids think my shoddy creations are great *right now anyway* so I’m just going with it.

This year I wanted something pretty simple. I made a white cake and separated the batter into several bowls, each bowl being a different colour of the rainbow.

I baked the cake a week ahead of time and froze it until the day before. *Definitely key to my sanity come party day*

 I frosted it with white frosting, added stripes of smarties and volia.

Now would you like to hear the story of the smarties?? *groan* T and I picked up a bag of smarties at the store the week before her party. I had originally thought skittles but T discovered that smarties had ALL the colours of the rainbow plus pink and the skittles did not. We came home with smarties but when I was decorating the cake the morning of I ran out. Some stripes weren’t completed so I ask Moose to go to the store and pick up a bag of smarties.

Rule #1 NEVER ask a man to go to the store for something specfic!

I told him it was a BAG of smarties and they were on the top shelf in the candy aisle.

Rule #2 Even though you state EXACTLY where the product will be NEVER ask a man to go to the store for something specific!

He comes home, 15 mins to spare with a bag of other food and a clear plastic bag of BULK smarties lookalikes……

*cue steam rolling out of my ears*

They weren’t even the same colours!!!!

RULE # 3 No matter how specific or simple your instructions may be just go to the store and get it YOURSELF!

So the cake wasn’t what I had planned but I made it work as best I could considering what I had to work with.

The kids didn’t seem to notice and it still got eaten. There was one girl that picked all the smarties off and didn’t eat them….what is that? If I could eat smarties I definitely wouldn’t be leaving them on my plate!

Quite possibly my best party brain wave was asking NOT to bring presents. Instead we asked that each child bring a few dollars so that T could pick something from the World Vision catalogue for a family. So much better than being unloaded with tons of toys when the girl just wanted to have fun with her friends. She was excited to be able to purchase a piglet, 2 hens and a rooster!

We love you birthday girl!

So happy to be able to bring your rainbow party ideas to life but I won’t mind at all if you want to stay 5 for an extra year, you are growing oh so fast!!

PARTY!!! Wait what?? Party’s over?? Oh man!!

~ Molly~

FO: Antipodes and a giveaway

The weekend seems to have turned into giveaway time!

I don’t mind a bit and I’m sure you won’t either ;)

I recently finished a test knit for Libby of Truly Myrtle.

I told myself I wasn’t going to test much anymore and when Libby asked me I said that I didn’t really have the time to test right now. She sent me back a picture of said test in return……. just in case…..geez she really knows how to twist my arm!!

To be honest I have been wanting to knit a couple of cowl/shawls to wear at work. Something a little more neutral that could go with just about anything….

I had a skein of Softrope bfl sock in my stash that I bought from a friends destash. It wasn’t something I would normally choose, *grey, pink and beige combo* but it turned out to be the perfect skein this time around. *note: it always pays to go out of your comfort zone sometimes*

Pattern: Antipodes by Libby Jonson

Yarn: SofTrope BFL sock in Rapture

Needles: 4mm circs *straights would be fine for this too*

My Rav Project page

The shawl is knit from end to end in one piece.

A simple garter stitch body with the perfect amount of lace to keep things interesting.

The pattern gives instructions on how to make your shawl longer or shorter depending on the amount of yarn you start with. This would be the perfect project if you want to give shawl knitting a go.

SofTrope was lovely to work with, Jessica does soft subtle colours perfectly! I look forward to working with more of her yarns again in the future.

Libby has kindly offered up a copy of the pattern to giveaway to one of my fabulous readers! You must pop over to her blog and read about the dress she is wearing in her Anitpodes pictures.

So the question is where would you wear your Antipodes?

Leave your answer in the comments below to be entered to win a copy. Comments will remain open until wednesday the 19th at midnight est

Good Luck!

Zig Zag Wings

The winner of the What the heart wants giveaway is

EMMA who wrote “Behind my back is my favourite, I could see me wearing that a lot. It looks a lovely collection. I am just off to add it to my rav favourites!”

I’ll be contacting you shortly Emma to send you your ebook.

Speaking of Justyna and her beautiful designs I recently finished a test knit for her.

Pattern: Zig Zag Wings by Justyna Lorkowska

Yarn: Colour Adventures Sweet Merino DK in Sherwood

Debbie Bliss Wool/Cotton colour 125

Needles: 3.75mm and 4.0mm circs

My Rav Project page

The minute I saw Justyna’s version on Instagram I knew that I wanted to knit it and exactly what I would use. My Hierro mittens sample recently came back and I knew I wanted a hat to go with them. I wasn’t sure how it would look with the green as the main colour but once I had more than one repeat knit I was smitten.

This would be a great first colour work project for someone. The motif is very simple, knits up quickly and makes a beautiful finished project! The pattern comes with two different motif choices so buying the pattern (for $4) is like getting two hat patterns for the price of one.

A big pom pom definitely sets off this hat so I couldn’t resist adding it although I could wear it either way no problem.

My version is definitely more of a beanie style than some other slouchy versions you may come across.

I wore this on a few walks before blocking it and decided that the pre blocking state is best for keeping warmth in and the cold wind out.

Of course there always has to be some goofin around when it comes to pictures and this girl. A girls gotta have some fun :)

 I think another version of Zig zag wings is in my future using the other motif.

I just need to decide on a colour combo.

Stockholm

We had friends stay with us this past week from Arizona. I found out a week before they arrived and thought oh I should whip her up a cowl because she is probably going to freeze.

The days ticked by and I still had yet to cast on….. Oh I’ll just crank it out on the weekend I thought…….. apparently I WASN’T thinking straight that week because the cowl I knit definitely took longer than 2 days to knit.

Pattern: Stockholm Scarf by KnittedblissJC

Yarn: Berroco Vintage Dk in colour 2181

Needles: 6mm circs

Mods: I knit this in the round casting on 252 sts.

My Ravelry Project Page

The Stockholm scarf although fun to knit was definitely NOT a weekend knit with 252 sts per round in a lace and rib pattern. I picked up 2 skeins of Berroco Vintage Dk because I wasn’t sure how she would handle the washing aspect and I think I chose right. She has dark hair so the red was a pretty easy decision.

 I, of course, ran out of time to knit the full two skeins, like I had planned, but was able to get a good sized cowl out of the yardage regardless. I think i had about 16 repeats of the 4 row pattern. In the pictures I have it folded in half before wrapping around my neck and it was perfect.

I had it blocking the day they arrived before but it still wasn’t dry a couple of days into their stay. I moved the blocking board to my bedroom before they arrived so it would be out of sight until it dried completely.

It was finally dry when I checked it before our trip to Fall Brook Falls. (It’s been a couple of years since we have been there.) It was a brisk day for our grand outdoor adventure but lots of fun when bundled in handknits.

 They are off home now but hopefully she will get some use out of it especially next year when they visit again. I’ll have to get knitting on some more accessories to keep them warm because the next trip might be a snowy one.

What the Heart Wants – Lete’s Knit Giveaway

It’s the weekend and I’m ready to celebrate with another giveaway!

Are you in?

The lovely Justyna from Lete’s Knits recently released a beautiful collection called What the Heart Wants part of the Malabrigo Freelance Project.

I have watched Justyna grow so much as a designer in such a short period of time. I can still remember her first hat and cowl pattern that caught my eye and led me to her blog. I have test knit for her several times and every time I see her latest pattern I’m blown away once again at the beautiful things she comes up with.

It is both a pleasure and honour to be able to share her newest project with you today!

Let’s look at this stunning book shall we?

The ebook contains 4 patterns, 3 garments and a shawl.

Fickle Heart

A beautiful cabled seamless top down hoodie.

This definitely appeals to me. It calls out comfort! Add cables to that and you just had me at hello.

There are so many gorgeous versions of this one already on Ravelry.

They will have you wanting to cast on at once!

Behind My Back

Another top down construction (can you tell top down is Justyna’s thing?) with a beautiful lace back panel.

If you check out the many projects on Ravelry on this one you will see more fitted versions as well as the version with more ease. Each is a different look yet both so pretty. Makes we want to knit one of each!

Breaking The Waves

An airy wrap cardigan that you could dress up or down.

I find this to be true with so many of Justyna’s designs.

I can imagine this one over my favourite little black dress but also with trousers or jeans. We think you will all agree that versatile pieces are the best kinds to add to our wardrobe.

Old Loves, New Flames

A short row shaped shawl with a little bit of everything.

Texture, colour blocking, stripes and a fun edging.

What’s not to love?

You definitely get to play with colour combo’s on this one.

There are so many choices you know you’ll just have to knit this one more than once.

Justyna has kindly offered an ebook for me to giveaway to one of my lucky readers.

To enter please leave a comment telling me which one of these designs you would love to knit. Contest closes Friday October 31st at 12pm EST.

If you don’t win this time you can still purchase the ebook as well as each pattern separately on Ravelry and the What the Heart Wants site.

Good Luck!

** All photography is  © Marcin Duda **

This week’s snacking

Since starting back to work in a nut free environment it has become extremely hard for me to take the foods I live on to work everyday.

I’ve had to get creative and am continually searching for things to snack on. I usually make either a few batches of something at a time or make several different things one right after the other so I have some kind of variety during the week.

So I thought I would share this week’s snacks with you because they are sooo frickin delicious!

First up we have Salt and Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas! Reading that sentence just makes my mouth water and these do not disappoint.

The recipe is from Oh She Glows. She has tons of yummy recipes, my only problem is she uses lots of oatmeal which I can’t eat……… I wish I could but it just doesn’t go down well. I miss oatmeal! Anyway back to the chickpeas… this recipe was super simple. I packaged them up for the perfect snack while I work.

Next we have Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins by Diane Sanfilippo the author of Practical Paleo. I made these as muffins and then as a loaf. It is good both ways and especially good when heated up before consuming.

Lastly I made energy balls, pumpkin pie and  super seed chocolate protein balls 2 batches of each. Both of these are yummy but the chocolate ones seem to hold their shape better because they have seeds in them. There are  many variations of these on the web so I’m sure I will be trying out many more in the future.

*while I was grabbing my camera to take a picture of my energy balls Boss, the super stealth sneaker, got up on the counter and ate them all………….*sigh*

So that’s what I’m snacking on this week. Do you have any favourites you’d like to share?

All Kinds of Random

The random number generator chose comment #53

Natalie who wrote: Pillar Box is my favourite! I would probably make scarf or a shawl, but it would be for me – I haven’t made anything for myself in over 2 years.

I’ll be contacting you shortly for your choice and address.

How can it be the middle of October already?

The days are slipping away and I feel like nothing is getting accomplished creatively lately.

Two days after we moved I started a new job and it has put a stand still on getting anything done around these parts.

Soooo I’m thinking that until I can get things under control more around here I’d like to do some posts Truly Myrtle style. Libby does Share All The Things Fridays and I do enjoy the randomness of it. My posts will probably won’t be weekly and who knows what they will entail so lets call it All Kinds Of Random.

My computer is wreaking havoc this week. The battery is worn out and won’t stay charged. On top of that the cord that plugs into the computer is wearing out and won’t keep the computer on……… talk about frustrating. Today, I came home to a new battery sitting on the table… hopefully this will keep me sane for a while longer.

 I have been all over the place with knitting projects lately. I can’t seem to find the RIGHT project but I do know that my mind is sorely missing that quiet monotonous time. I have a pair of plain socks on the go to keep me occupied during gymnastics. The yarn is Knit Picks Felici in Foxglove and they seem to be the only thing I can concentrate on at the minute.

T and I made some delicious apple sauce this week using apples we picked during Thanksgiving. Warmed up this is the most delicious little pot of Fall flavours.

I finally broke down and bought the Clover Pom Pom makers in all the sizes. My days of cardboard pom pom making are offically over! These are definitely worth the money and pom pom’s now only take 2-3 mins to complete. BLISS!!  I can finally get back to that little project that required a few pom pom’s to finish it off. Expect a pom pom clad FO soon!

Miss Molly, the dog we always said would happily lay out in the yard all day has now been dubbed Houndini….. Twice she has escaped the fence we put up the day we moved in. I don’t think she thinks of this house as her home yet and is frantically searching for us when she gets out. Thankfully we have amazing neighbours and one managed to get Boss back in and tied up before letting me know Molly took off. The fence has been bolted together so she can’t pull it apart with her teeth anymore….. She is a crafty weasel I tell ya and will do whatever it takes to be with her daddy.

 Off to put my child to bed and find myself something to knit…. who am I kidding I’ll probably fall asleep on the couch….

Hierro

 First off I need to say Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends! I hope you are enjoying the cooler weather that seems to have crept in on us all of a sudden.

Time to pull out all the handknits!

Speaking of handknits… you may remember my pattern Hierro from Pom Pom Quarterly’s Autumn 2013 Issue 6. The rights have reverted back to me and I’m excited to be able to offer it to you now as a single pattern. 

These mittens are just what is needed this time of year.

Sizing & Measurements: s (m) – 18 (21.5) cm / 7(8.5)” hand circumference

19 (21.5) cm / 7.5 (8.25)” top of cuff to tip of mitten

Yarn: Colour Adventures Sweet Merino DK (100% merino; 115 g = 229 m / 250 yd), 1 (1) skein; Colour shown: Sherwood

Gauge: 28 sts & 36 rows = 10 cm / 4” in lattice pattern

Needles: 3.75 mm / US 5 – DPNs or circular
Always use a needle size that will result in the correct gauge after blocking.

Notions: stitch markers, scrap yarn, tapestry needle