Learning something new!

I have had a jar of sock yarn leftovers that I have wanted to make into some kind of a blanket for years now. Year after year it sits there being unused and unloved…. that is until last week.

You see I recently watched a new to me podcast called Bakery Bears Podcast. If you haven’t watched this knitting podcast yet you should! The podcast is a husband/wife team, Dan and Kay and is very well done. Dan loves history and because they live in England they get to experience all the wonderful historical places England has to offer. They even take their viewers with them for a little history lesson.

Kay has toy patterns for sale on Ravelry that she calls Mr. and Mrs. Bakery Bear, hence the name of the podcast. They are awfully cute but I think my favourite is her newest design. Miss Gelato. How cute is she?

So while I was watching the show Kay holds up her “scrappy sock yarn granny blanket” and I knew that was what my scraps needed to become. There are several viewers of the podcast on my Instagram feed who are grannying also so it really did fuel the fire.

Last Friday I decided I was going to learn to granny. Now my mum grannies like a pro and I have tried to learn from her a time or two before but I’m so very visual and need to see things repeated over and over a bagillion times before I can perfect them. T and I made a trip to michaels to get the itty bitty 2.75mm crochet hook that I needed and that night, once she was in bed, I sat down with Bella Coco on you tube and learned to granny.

My problem is I get a little bit obsessive when I’m trying to learn something new. I want to be good at it right away, so I ended up staying up much later than I normally do trying to wrap my brain around it.

By the end of the next day and many ripped squares later, I had it down pat. There are still times when I find that I forgot to do 2 trebles in the corners but they are small enough that ripping back and fixing it isn’t a big job at all.

I am now well on my way to my first granny square blanket!

Design Along

This is my knitterly friend Sarah aka PrairiePoppins.

She is currently in the top 5 of the design along challenge that the A Playful Day Podcast is hosting!!!

If you listen to the APlayfulDay Podcast you will have heard about the Design Along challenge that is going on right now. If you don’t listen to A Playful Day “Where have you been??” Head on over there and have a listen.

You can read all about the Design Along challenge and the amazing opportunity the winner will receive here.

I didn’t get around to posting about the 1st part of the challenge before it ended…. not enough hours in my day, but part two is happening now so I thought I would give you a chance to be a part of it.

In part 2 they picked their favourite 5 designs and it is now open for public vote. The design with the most number of likes wins:

A 2 hour tech consultation from Kate Atherley, yarn support from Fyberspates for this design or samples and an hour’s consultation with A Playful Day herself to help them on release/ next steps.

How awesome is that for a budding designer getting their first published pattern out into the world?

I have watched Sarah design for her family for years and was very excited to see her take the next step to publish her work.  I know there are great things to come from this lady and am behind her all the way!

This is her Three Colour Plaid Cowl pattern that is in the top 5.

Features of the Cowl:

  • only one colour per row
  • squooshy, deep fabric that doesn’t curl
  • woven plaid look with simple slipped stitches pattern
  • button closure so you don’t have to pull it over you head and mess your hair if that’s important
  • tall enough to stand up and fight the winter wind if you want to
  • could be a two colour cowl, and would be fabulous with a gradient and a contrasting solid

Can’t you just imagine this in those rich Fyberspates colours??

So if you would like to encourage Sarah in her pursuits please head on over to the board and click like!

Voting is open until Monday the 9th February so get your votes in and cheer this lovely lady on!!

Good Luck Sarah!!

FO: Snood

Well hello!!!!

Two snow days in a row means I have an FO and a blog post. How about that now?

We experienced Blizzard Colbie yesterday as did much of the eastern America and Canada. It is still snowing here today with icy conditions so we’ve been extra lucky to have another snow day today too.

Pattern: My own

Yarn: Clifton Woolens Boucle

Needles: 5.5 mm’s

Ravelry project page

A co worker asked me to make her a snood before Christmas. She is an artsy gal and I knew my hand knit would be appreciated so I agreed. She brought me this red boucle from a local dyer but I didn’t get around to casting on until a few weeks ago.

You see the day after Christmas, Moose and I decided to completely gut the living and dining rooms and make them new. It was messy! Old carpet ripped up and crack fill dust everywhere, definitely not the place for a knit in progress to be. I’ll talk more about the reno’s in a future post but if you look closely at my FO pics you might see my new wall colour and chair rail :)

As you can see this “Snood” is going to be very versatile. I can wear it as a capelet, fold it over to be a nice warm cowl and also pull it up over my head and use the drawstrings for  a neck warmer/hood combo.

My girl took these pics for me and she kinda brings out the silly in me. I feel more comfortable in front of the camera when she is taking the pictures compared to Moose the “hurry up and get this over with” picture taker. He needs to take some lessons from T me thinks.

I can’t honestly say I enjoy working with boucle. It does get easier to work with as you go along and creates the most cosy fabric but it’s just those loops, you catch one at the wrong time and it messes with your flow.

I think it turned out well and hopefully this will keep her warm for many winters to come.

First FO of 2015! HUZZAH!

I’ll be back to tell you about the current reno’s and it is most definitely time for some selfish knitting. Sweaters! The sweaters are calling!

FO times 2!

The shawl is finished and pictures were taken only an hr or two before mum showed up to take it on its merry way across the pond for Nanny’s bday.

Pattern: Miss Bennett by Paulina Popiolek

Yarn: Madelinetosh Pashmina in Esoteric 

Needles: 4.5mm

Mods: I knit 44 repeats on a larger size needle. I also added a few rows of garter to the edge of the shawl before binding off to avoid rolling.

My Rav project page

Another fabulous pattern from Paulina. I enjoyed knitting the lace first and then I was free to coast through the stockinette portion in no time.

The Pashmina was a joy to knit with, the silk and cashmere content really make this shawl that little bit more special.

I had to buy two skeins to complete the shawl but I had tons of leftovers so I made a beret to go with it.

Pattern: Greenery Beret by Melissa Labarre

This was a quick little knit that looks more complicated than it is. The lace work is a simple feather and fan pattern and looks smashing when blocked.

I quite liked wearing this one. It reminded me that it has been a while since I’ve worn a beret.  I may just have knit something new in the New Year.

For now I’m going to relax with no knitting deadlines looming before I decide what to knit next.

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?

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 **