Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mittens to Match

As soon as I finished the Miller's Hat I knew a matching pair of mittens was in order.  Originally, I wanted them to be grey with red cuffs, but the amount of remaining malabrigo dictated the design.  The following picture shows how much yarn I had left after weaving in the ends.  I would have added another round to the body of the mitten if I had had just a little bit more yarn.

I used the cable pattern from Cheryl Niamath's fetching (rav link) for the cuff, but added one extra repeat to make them longer and crossed the cable in the opposite direction on the second one to make them symetrical.

The body of the mitten is based on this classic mittens (rav link) pattern.  This is a great, traditional mitten pattern with a gusset thumb (a neccessity for me) and rounded top.

The cuff (grey) is Patons classic merino and the body (red) is malabrigo worsted. Everyone should have a pair of malabrigo mittens - they are just the softest thing without being fuzzy.  Now to see how well they hold up.

(my project on ravelry)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Random Thoughts

I was looking at my profile today and noticed that it says I've been on blogger since 2007, even though I just started "this" blog two months ago.  I originally started on blogger when I was doing my library tech. courses and we had to do a course on multimedia.  I had never heard of blogging before and frankly, thought it was going to be really stupid.  We had to set up a dummy blog and publish, I think, three posts.  I remember one of my classmates commenting (we had to comment on each other's posts too) that mine reminded him of Martha Stewart.  I didn't know if I should take that as a compliment or an insult (I chose compliment). I kind of wish I hadn't deleted those posts - it would be fun to see them now.

Fast forward a year or two and I resurrected my blog when I was digital scrapbooking so I could participate in contests etc.  I never really got going on it and let it go when I stopped that foolishness. I probably shouldn't have deleted those posts either.

But my blog reader lists dozens of amazing people all sharing their lives, whether they are diy, decorating, crafts, knitting, or whatever touches me.  And I have gained so much inspiration from them.  My husband doesn't get it - why do I want to read about other people's lives? Because it makes me appreciate my own - I'm not alone in my feelings on this or that.  Or I gain a new perspective into things I thought I knew.  Not to mention all the decorating, craft, knitting tips I have gained.

So to every blog poster I have read - thank you.  Thank you for sharing a little (or a LOT) about yourself, your home, you family, your lives.  Blog on ...........

Monday, November 9, 2009

It all started in Soho

I finally finished the hat I've been working on for Dave.  This hat has been in the works for over a year.

Sort of.

No, I'm not a ridiculously slow knitter.  It's just that the yarn and pattern wouldn't work together.  So it has taken me over a year, 14 months actually, to finally produce something I'm happy with.  And I am happy with it.

I started with a corrugated rib, followed by the initial pattern from this chart, followed by 2 stitch stripes. It has four point double decreases and voila, great hat.  

I started with a corrugated rib, followed by the initial pattern from this chart, followed by 2 stitch stripes. It has four point double decreases and voila, favourite hat.  

Pattern:  my own

Yarn:  Koigu KPPM and Sandes Garn Lanett

Needles: 3.25 mm (my ravelry link)

The reason for the title is that I bought this yarn on our trip to New York City (INY) in the summer of 2008.  We were staying at the Soho Grand and one of my top priorities was to visit Purl Soho which was just up the road from the hotel.  Dave picked out this yarn for a hat and I knit him up a turn a square.  I will not post a link to it because I hate that hat.  It didn’t turn out right, the colours all blended together and I screwed up the top making a spiral instead of a square.  Not to mention my colour changes were horrific.  What a waste of Koigu!  Thank goodness for this hat, because now he has retired the other one and I don’t have to be embarrassed by it any more.

I will make a Turn a Square someday, but with different yarn.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Perfect Hat in the Perfect Yarn

Let’s face it, most people, particularly women, don’t look good in hats.  Myself included.  But I live in Canada and I actually like to get out for a walk in the winter so hats aren't just an accessory but a necessity.  You can imagine my delight when I came across this pattern – Miller’s Hat by Kristen Kapur of Through the Loops.  It fits all my needs – beautiful, cables, covers the ears and looks good on.

Hat perfection.

The herringbone rib band is fun to knit and the texture looks fantastic.  Don’t be afraid that it’s going to be too tight, it stretches just enough.  And adding the simple garter stitch trim really changes the fit of the band.

Then there’s the slouchy cabled top.  More texture, lots of depth and again, great fun to knit.  I did go up one needle size for this section based on what others had said and I’m glad I did.

I will wear it pulled down in the back like in the pictures.

I didn't block it because I like the fit and I know malabrigo can really grow with wet blocking.  We'll see if I change my mind later because I am a bit of a blocking fiend.

I had forgotten what a dream Malabrigo is to knit.  How to explain the feeling - it just glides through your hands.  No itchy wool here.  This red is very hard to photograph properly though.  It's a deep red with quite a bit of variation in the colour.

Pattern:  Miller’s Hat (rav link)
Yarn:  Malabrigo (mmmm) and a tiny bit of Paton’s Merino Wool for the trim.
Mods: None, perfect as written


Although even with my new gorgeous hat, I am still not ready for this.  Nooooooooo……. 

Thursday, October 29, 2009

More Baby Knitting

I finished the knitting for co-worker baby #2.  It took me some time to pick out patterns, but I finally ended up with the pixie hat from Crystal Palace.  What's not to love about a baby in a pointy hat? 

Pattern:  Pixie Hat (ravelry link)
Yarn:  King Cole Merino Blend (white) and Sandnes Garn Smart (lime)
Mods:  Adapted for DK weight yarn by casting on less stitches.  Didn't knit and sew on the bottom border.  Instead, I picked up stitches along the back and front (2 stitches per knit section and 1 per purl section) and did a seed stitch edging (6 rows at the back, 4 along the front).  (I can't take credit for the seed stitch border idea ... I saw lots of examples on Ravelry that inspired me).  The ties I made by casting on 75 stitches then immediately casting them off using a p2tog cast-off.

The booties are the same as for baby #1.  I wanted to make them in green, but one skein wouldn't stretch that far.  In fact, I only have a little left from each skein after making the hat and booties.

Yarn: King Cole Merino Blend (white) and Sandnes Garn Smart (lime)
Mods: Adapted for DK weight yarn.

This was my first time using the magic loop method - hello, where have I been?  Talk about simple, no dpn's all over the place and best of all, no ladders.  I can't wait to try this with a pair of socks.

All pictures are pre-blocked, so they should look even sweeter once I give them a nice soaking.

I think I'll take a break before tackling baby #3's knitting.  Something for myself maybe.  A skein of malabrigo sock I picked up is calling my name ...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Just because ... I wanted to join the vignette party

I'm joining Donna's Vignette Party over at Funky Junk Interiors.

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

These are just a few gatherings I have around the house.  

The first is my new coffee table tray. I've never had anything on here because the trunk is also our liquor cabinet. We rarely use it, but it's awkward to offer a guest a drink and then make them wait while we unload a bunch of stuff off the top. So I found this tray at Home Sense (love) and now I can just pick up the whole shebang if I need to get into it.

I recently redid my mantle.  It is very narrow so decorating it is always a challenge.  I repainted the candle tray a few weeks ago (it used to be cranberry) and added the numbers.  I added the little white pumpkins today, which is the extent of fall/Halloween decorating in my house.

This vignette sits atop my hallway shelf thing we got from a friend.  I can't give a full shot of this beautiful piece because it's a mess.  I live with teenagers, enough said.

This is a little grouping of cream and sugar dishes that all belonged to my grandparents.  They are on the bottom shelf of my dining room plate rack.

For some really great inspiration head over the Funky Junk Interiors to see the rest of the party goers.

(my apologies if the text is small with huge spaces in between - blogger is being mean to me.)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Just because ... everyone is pregnant at Dave's work!

Well, not everyone, but five people are expecting babies and there are under 20 people in the department. When he told me about the first one, I was so excited to have an excuse to do some baby knitting. Enter the blanket ...

This one is basically my design, inspired by many others. All told the yarn cost about $75 and I was thinking, hmmm, that's a bit steep for a co-worker.

Then ... we heard about baby #2. Okay, I can whip up another blanket, but this time I'll use cheaper yarn. Still don't have a picture of it, but it's Serenity. No problem, except although it's superwash, it HAS to be blocked to look right. Hmmm, what if the mom doesn't want to block it. So now I'm starting to doubt the whole baby blanket thing.

Then ... we heard about babies 3, 4 and 5. Yes FIVE. That's it, no blankets. So, at the last minute I'm scrambling to knit booties and hats, because these babies are on their way.

First, I knit up a pair of blue steps. This pattern is brilliant!  Using a figure eight cast on is tricky, but totally worth not having to seam up the bottom.  And half-brioche stitch ... love it.

To go with them, I used the Sweet Baby Cap pattern. 

They have been delivered to the parents and baby #1 has arrived. (it's a boy, as expected).  

More on baby #2 knitting next post ........

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Just because ... I'm addicted to labels

One of my latest obsessions is labeling everything.  I'm just showing you my spice jars, but believe me, there are many more of these babies around the house.

The technique I use is simple enough.  Print the labels onto full page white shipping labels (I use Staples brand).  Before cutting them out, cover them in clear contact paper.  That way the ink is protected from moisture.  Then just stick them on.

I made the spice jar labels by photoshopping these beauties from Eat, Drink, Chic.  I also stole used her idea of looking up the Latin names in an online encyclopedia.  I think they look so neat and tidy lined up in the cupboard.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Just because ... the spare room was icky


I had quite a few projects on my to do list this summer, but sadly, time only allowed for the completion of this one.  We had company coming and I refused to let anyone stay in our icky guest room again.


I used the new Behr paint with primer - not a fan.  It's expensive (for Behr) and did not cover very well.  If it was a more used room I would repaint, but it's just a guest room that doesn't see a lot of action so I will leave it.  The colour is Offshore Mist.

The "dream" is one of those vinyl wall words that I picked up at Michaels.  I had to explain to my family that I'm not "into" the word dream, it was just the only word that made sense in the room and came in white.  They were pointing out all sorts of things - pillows, art, etc. - with the word dream on it over the next few weeks.  Yeah ... no.


I painted out some existing cheap, brown plastic frames with glossy black craft paint, added inexpensive mats from Michaels and framed up these batik names of my boys I bought when they were just little guys.  Love them against the blue walls.
The lamp (you can see it in the picture below) was originally hunter green so I spraypainted it with the ubiquitous Rustoleum Heirloom White.  I don't think this will last long term (it scratches easily) but it was good in a pinch with company coming and no time to shop for a new lamp.

I already had the bedding.  I made the duvet cover years ago from two flat sheets and a zipper - easy peasy.  The small pillows are pillow cases folded over and pinned in place.

I've had this old spice rack forever but never liked the look of it. It also got a coat of Heirloom White and I bought these cute spice jars for 99¢ each at Canadian Tire. Wish I had a before shot of it, but just picture that old, dark stained wood - ugly. Now I just need to hang it up.

The "art" is canvases I bought years ago with Amy Butler scrapbook paper modge podged over top. I hung them with these 3M picture hangers - it's sort of like velcro. 

The hangers made it so easy to get them lined up properly because it's very flexible.


The closet is my favourite part of the room.  When we had the hard wood floors installed years ago the closet doors were all too long and couldn't be adjusted.  So this room just had a big gaping hole full of all my craft junk - rather scary for guests.  

I bought the curtains at IKEA (Hedda Rund ) and cut off the tabs.  Then I took the rings off some existing curtain rings, opened up the remaining ring and hung them hook like over the existing door hardware.  I'll try to post a better picture.  They don't move that easily so it wouldn't be a solution for a bedroom, but it works well to hide all my junk in the guest room.

You will notice that there is no full room shot.  That would be because I use this room to hang my laundry (when we don't have guests!) and it currently has two full racks of laundry beside the bed.  Someday I will add a full room shot so you can see the lovely old desk the spice rack is sitting on and where the artwork is hanging.  

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Just because ... I needed a fresh start

I'm resurrecting my ancient blog ... hadn't posted since 2007.

Going to try this out for craft projects and see how it goes.

But no pressure!