Thursday, December 22, 2011

Busy Season

I haven't been able to post for a little while, I've been too busy knitting up christmas presents, sorting with the holiday madness at work, and taking a night or two off for myself. I just need a little bit of time to recover, that's all. Once all of my presents have been gifted, I can post some pictures of them. I can't wait to show them off!

That being said, I've been able to make a few things over the past few days.

I really love this one. That's an ocean quartz hanging from a lotus, and it's such a lovely shade of green it's nearly heartbreaking. I imagine it would look lovely under black light; must test this theory.

This one is an amethyst that my partner gave me for my birthday three years ago. He gave it to me the night before we started dating, with a whole bunch of other crystals that he'd chosen for me. I remember thinking it was one of the most thoughtful gifts I'd ever received from someone other then my family. And I'm finally able to wear it proudly.

That's my life right now, summed up in two pictures. I'll have much more to post once my family have received all of thier gifts!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

In which Abby gets a new outfit

It's been a very busy two weeks for me, and it's been hard for me to work on anything that isn't mindless. Luckily, I already had a project started from a Stitch and Bitch two weeks ago.

Abby's a classy bitch.

This is a gift I'm working on for a present, it's a purely acrylic blend. I've knitted the yarn held double, in seed stitch, to make sure it's extra warm. I really love that I have a bust to display it on now! I'm pretty sure she's cold though, might leave her that cowl for a little bit.

This cowl needed a lot of stitch markers on a US 15 circular. So I just had to make some stitch markers too.

Aren't they cute? The orange ones are recycled from a bracelet my Dad bought for me while on a family vacation. I ate an entire jalepeno pepper for that bracelet, which I promptly smashed as soon as I got home while throwing a baseball at someone (true story). The purple ones are from a kit my Mom bought me years ago. They all work beautifully.

So.. That's my busy as hell two weeks in a row. Next up, my latest chart..Better start working.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A busy week

It's been a busy week for me here, but I don't have very much to show for it here on the blog. Mostly because I've been working on christmas presents that I don't want to ruin the surprise for!

Here is one project though. Here's what happens when you knit a hat for a toddler, think you know how to felt it, and send it off.

I really can't remember if this picture was taken before or after my attempted felting, which was basically boiling the hell out of the damn thing on my stove. It did felt slightly, but it more or less looked exactly like this when I gifted it. Kinda cool, but not appropriate for a toddler.

It was way too big on him, and although he loved it, not really useful. The next thing I knew, he'd developed a wool allergy, meaning he couldn't wear it at all.

I asked his mother to bring the hat with her for our Thursday night Knitting, and provided a practical demonstration on how to PROPERLY felt.

And now, it looks like this!

I still need to knit a cotton/acrylic liner for it, but I daresay it'll fit him much better now.

Thursday night knitting was a pretty decent success, we taught someone how to knit almost from scratch (his scarf looks amazing!) and we're working on a pair of baby booties for mom.

We also learned that the toddler knows that a torch makes fire when he came running over with my (empty) lampworking torch yelling FIRE FIRE FIRE. I don't know how he associated the torch with making fire, but I'm still proud of him.

I also have a new resident in the apartment. Meet Abigail.

I can't wait to use her! I'm very excited about knitting a Lopapeysa, a traditional Icelandic sweater that's knitted up with a gorgeous Lopi wool, and has a patterned yoke that flows over the shoulders. I'm knitting a tiny one just to see how it knits up.

It's just practice really, but eventually I'll stuff a newborn into it.

But that's my week, hopefully more work to come over the next few weeks!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Love Me Forever Wristwarmers

Warm, adult sized wristwarmers.

Yarn: Worsted Weight ( I used Patons Classic Wool)
Needles: US 7
Gauge: 5 stitches and 8 rows is 1 inch (stockinette)

Left Glove

Cast on 40 stitches using Jeny's Stretchy Slip-Knot Cast on

Divide stitches as follows:

Needle 1: 16 stitches
Needle 2: 12 stitches
Needle 3: 12 stitches

Work 10 rows of K2, P2 ribbing.

Cable pattern will be worked on needle 1, Needle 2 and 3 will remain the same throughout the entire pattern:

Needle 2: P2, K10
Needle 3: K10, P2

Behold, a chart!

LT - Left Twist - Slip 1 stitch to cable needle, hold in front. K1, K1 from Cable
Rt - Right Twist - Slip 1 stitch to cable needle, hold in back. K1, K1 from cable
C4B - Slip 2 stitches to cable needle, hold in back. K2, K2 from cable
C4F - Slip 2 sitches to cable needle, hold in front. K2, K2 from cable

Repeat charted pattern 4 times. You want to wind up with a total of 4 X's and 4 O's. If that's confusing, just take a look at the picture. You can of course shorten these by doing fewer repeats. I just love long armwarmers!


Once you've completed the chart 4 times, work Needle 2, and on Needle 3: K5, K4 on waste yarn. Slip waste yarn stitches back to your left needle, and reknit them using your main colour. This will leave a small little stripe of stitches knitted on waste yarn, which will be worked later for your thumb.

Work rows 3 through 9 of chart, then knit 6 rows of K2 P2 ribbing. Bind off, I used Jen's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off.

For the thumb, pull out your waste yarn stitches and pick up the open stitches. This should leave you with 8 stitches, I usually pick up 4 extra around the thumb hole to make for a nice roomy thumb. Work 7 rows in stockinette, and bind off.

Right Glove

Work as for left glove, but for the thumb row:

Once you've completed the chart 4 times, on Needle 2: P2, K1, K4 on waste yarn. Slip waste yarn stitches back to your left needle, and reknit them using your main colour. K5, work Needle 3 as previously indicated.

Work rows 3 through 9 of chart, then knit 6 rows of K2 P2 ribbing. Bind off.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cabled Wristwarmers

Finally finished with another Christmas present.

This has to be one of my favorite wristwarmer patterns. This is only my second pair, but the cable pattern is easy to memorize, and looks as elegant as all out.

Evangeline has been lurking in my Ravelry Library for quite some time, I saved the pdf back when the pattern was still free (it's 3.00 to download now)

The first time I knit this, I used Bernat Mosaic (which split every time I tried to tighten a cable), but had a beautiful colorway similar to Noro. This time, I'm using Patons Classic Wool, which has beautiful stitch definition and all the colours I could possibly want to chose from.

I apologize for the picture, my partner thinks he's a photographer but he actually sucks. This was the only one of 5 that was actually in focus.

Can't wait to gift these.

The pattern should be relatively easy to play with, I'm thinking that the next pair I make will have a different cable pattern. It would be nice for everyone to receive something unique this Christmas, it's more fun that way. Oh well. These are done, and I've started the next gift. Well on my way for Christmas!

On a seperate note, I caved and bought a knitting DVD the other morning. I've officially passed the point of no return.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I haven't had very much time to myself lately, life just seems to be getting in the way a little too much. A 10 day week, followed by my birthday weekend, and Halloween? Far too many things to be getting done in far too little time.

I've been working on this gorgeous little piece, the cable pattern is one of my favorites. I still need to add the thumb and weave in my ends, but other then that it's basically finished. I may or may not block the piece, I think it looks lovely as is.

A new method of organization has been forced upon my knitting, as my partner is getting tired of almost sitting on needles. All of my yarn, Christmas presents, and WIPs are in plastic containers stacked next to my futon.

This is frustrating me to no end. How will I know what I'm supposed to be working on if I can't see it?

I'm losing time, Christmas is sneaking up on me. I still have so many presents to finish.

Friday, October 28, 2011

When we knit we do it right

Hanging out at home for a couple of days, and I got the opportunity to spend a bit of time out in the studio with my dad.

I was thinking about big ass knitting, knitting with huge needles and recycled T-Shirt yarn. One of the biggest deterrents that I have regarding this is the expense of the needles (which are often short and only available in plastic), and the availability of t-shirts to destroy.

Well, Dad took care of the former quite easily. We stopped by Home Depot and picked out a 3/4 inch dowel that was smooth and lovely, grabbed some furnace filters for the house (gotta make the trip worth it) and ran out to the studio.

Dad started up his amazing lathe, and turned out two perfect needles in under 30 seconds.

Mom then advised me that she actually had a bag of t-shirts out in the trunk of her car that she had been meaning to donate. I haven't turned them into usable yarn yet, but I'll probably be getting that done relatively shortly.

Not a bad few days at home! Still plugging away at Christmas presents, as I finally received my final shipment of yarn from Patons. A lot of the gifts are the same pattern, just to make my life simpler, but they're all knitting with the tender loving care my family has come to associate with my gifts.

Barely said that with a straight face.

Seriously, I came home to a box of lovelyness, and it was everything I could do not to squeal the entire bike ride home. I love knitting gifts for people.

Now, I'm off to buy some rubber balls to go on the ends of my amazing new knitting needles. Far too excited about having sparkly, bouncy and completely handmade knitting needles.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Beaded Felted Bracelets

I've finally come up with a way to make felted bracelet that makes me happy with the finished product. I 've spent the past 3 days at the Toronto Bead Oasis Show and found some really lovely beads that actually fit on the yarn that I'm working with. I really love the 6/0 beads from NLM Glass Arts, the colours are simply stunning and I love how consistant the beads were.

I strung about 60 beads onto my yarn, and knitted them into the 8 stitch i-cord wherever they happened to fit. I made the i-cord about 9 or so inches long, used a kitchener graft to connect the bracelet and felted it until I couldn't see any of the stitches. I absolutely love the results.

I went back to the bead booth and bought more beads, I'm in love with the colours. I may need to write up a tutorial on knitting with beads, there were a lot of little things about the knitting that drove me crazy for the first little while. Now that I've got the technique down, the next couple will go a lot faster. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Felt and Silver

Just trying a new concept here, as I have to man the booth at the Toronto Oasis Bead Show this week. I have some little leftover scraps of felt from my previous felting experiment, and I decided that I needed a new set of earrings for the show.

These earrings were made out of sterling silver chain, Swarovski crystal beads, and two hand felted beads. I did the felting by dumping some small felt scraps in hot soapy water, and rolling the felt between my fingers until the felt turned into little beads that I could wrap wire around.

They're very cute and light, and I like that I can mix up the colours if I feel like it. The only other colour that I really had was bright pink, and I just can't justify it. Redheads just weren't ment to wear pink.

Sorry Ariel.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Felting again

Just working on a quick little side project with the leftover wool I'm accumulating from making all of these presents for people.

The picture here is of two knitted i-cord bracelets, the one on the right has been felted.

I'm pretty sure it isn't felted enough though, it didn't shrink very much. It's very comfortable to wear, nice and light and soft. I tied a knot into it... but I'm not really sure why. I don't think I'm going to do it again.

I really like the look of these, but they aren't quite as BIG as I wanted them to be. I'm also having some difficulty finding beads that have a large enough hole to allow me to embellish the surface with beads before felting. I'm picturing the black bracelet with pink, or silver beads. It would be quite lovely.

Side note on the felting process, turns out that using my brewing bucket is outstanding. I can put the lid on (which has a hole to allow for an airlock) and bash away without spraying water anywhere. Very nice to watch TV while I'm felting, although I will say that my arms are killing me.

I remember at the gym, that my trainer told me that the reason my triceps were aching so much was because it isn't a muscle we use regularly. Well let me tell you Ms Trainer, I've found an activity that abuses the hell out of them.

I've ordered more yarn for presents, once I have some more leftovers I can play a bit more with this bracelet idea. How funky would it be to have 3 or 4 different coloured felted bands on your arm? I can't wait!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bathtub fun

I really wish that I could say that this post is as entertaining as the title suggests.

Oh well, you're here now! So now you get to listen to my Thursday night adventure: Felting.

Basically, while working on my christmas presents for people (these two colours specifically made beautiful presents for my sister and her roommate), I realized I had two tiny balls of leftover yarn that were destined to roll around the bottom of my yarn countainers until I got mad at them and used them to stuff cat toys.

My mother noticed this as well. She told me I should try making some felted cufts with the leftovers.

Well.. Why the hell not?

Except I've never felted before. What stitch do you use? How much shrinkage is normal and expected? How can felting even be economical when I live in an apartment with pay-per-use laundry, and my mother has a front load washer?

I discovered the solution in my bathtub. Specifcally, at the bottom of a bucket, with a plunger and those little balls you throw in the dryer to fluff up your towels.

I filled the bucket up about half full with water as hot as the tap could give me, chucked in my knitting and the dryer balls, and went at it like a butter churner on speed. Whenever the water went lukewarm, I threw my littles sqaures into cold water to shock the fibers, refilled my bucket with hot water and a squirt of shampoo, and went at it again. I called my sister to help pass the time, and ended up losing about 40 minutes. I probably didn't need to do it that long.

And I have felt! I notice that the stockinette stitched sample shrunk MUCH more then the garter stitch sample, but only lengthwise. Widthwise, they seem to have acted much the same.

You can't see light through them, and I'm hoping that I'll be able to cut them with scissors and not have them fall apart on me.

All together though, this went pretty well, and I really won't mind doing it again with my other samples. My downstairs neighbour might get upset though, going at it with the plunger sounded like I had a stairmaster going full speed in the bathtub, even with the towel underneath cushioning the blows.

The next step is going to be embellishment. I'm thinking silk ribbons, silver.. maybe some decorative stitching? I'll sleep on it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Keeping warm in the AC

Just a quick update of a pair of mittens/fingerless gloves that I'm knitting for a coworker.

So very cute on the needles

But so much cuter once it's on!
I'm very much in love with these. They're a tight knit, so they'll be quite warm when they're finished. Once I've got one done, I can start trying to find buttons to suit them.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Clearly I belong in Trees

Looking around today, getting some work done, got an email from an organization that I remember was filming one of my volunteer fruit picking expeditions.

(If you don't already know, Not Far From The Tree is one of the best volunteering groups I've ever been involved with. If you live in Toronto, volunteer!)

Turns out, I'd completely forgotten that this pick had been filmed for the organization Good Evidence which produces videos for non-profit community initiatives around the world to showcase the work being accomplished on social, economic, and environmental issues

How cool is that? I'm the video preview!

Cleaning out the Moths

I've run into a problem that is both literal and figurative.


I've been running around my apartment trying to kill these evil little things for over a week now. I've lost a pair of socks (that were still in progress), and the cuffs of my favorite pair of mittens, but nothing else very important. Truth be told, those socks were never going to be finished anyways.

I'm still incredibly upset though. It's horrible to know that somewhere in my apartment, these little flying devils could be munching into my stash, of my hard-won finished projects. Bad enough I found them in my kitchen, when I noticed them in my closet something HAD to be done.

These little guys have really brought to light a current problem that I've been having in my life as well. I've left some of my creative thoughts and processes go stagnant for so long, that the moths are eating all my dreams away.

Visiting my parents on the weekend really made me realize how many of my designs and thoughts are going unheeded. I'm so caught up with the day-to-day runnings of my apartment, my job, and taking care of my pets that I keep forgetting that I really need to plan time away for myself and my crafts. I haven't carved any new jewellery projects in months, I'm only knitting again because Christmas is coming, and I'm not letting all of my creative new thoughts out of my mind into the world.

This weekend, I thought of several new projects that can combine both my jewellery arts and my knitting, and I've yet to sketch them all out in my notebook. My dad has given me a new small notepad that will hopefully make it that much easier to keep all those lovely thoughts from getting lost.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pancakes with Cornmeal

I've recently come into possession of two large bags of cornmeal. I asked my boyfriend to pick up some cornmeal so that I could use it to dust my baking trays when I'm baking bread. He brought home two bags.

Hence, every day I walk by my kitchen I try to think of a use for the cornmeal. Corn bread is just too easy, I'm looking for something a little more day-to-day and challenging.

Therefore, I threw some in my pancakes.

2 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 tbsp oil

1 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Mix the wet ingredients, then add the dry and fry up like you normally would. I just divided my batch in 2 and made two massive pancakes.

This recipe produced pancakes that were definitely more filling then what I'm used to, so next time I'm going to up the amount of cornmeal in them, hoping to phase out the flour entirely.
I wonder if baking powder is gluten free? If so, this has potential for my mother....

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Stock thoughts

I love to read about food. It always gets me to cooking and reinventing, unlike requests from my significant other for sustenance. For this purpose I've always enjoyed Jerry Steingarten's writings, his passion for food is simply intoxicating.

I've lent my copy of "The Man Who Ate Everything" to my father, unfortunatly, but I do have his second book, "It Must've Been Something I Ate". I purchased this book new, for about 20 dollars, and it's showing some signs of being well loved. I'm pretty sure that's espresso that's staining the cover.

I don't feel that most people really appreciate their food, and appreciate using every bit of the food that passes through their kitchens. I've only recently gotten into making my own stock, and it's amazing how little goes to waste when you're making it. Practically everything goes into the pot, even your garlic peelings!

How easy is it to save all the peelings, trimmings, and bones from a nice roast dinner, pop them into water and boil them for a couple of hours? It takes almost no time at all to prepare, and you're left with a delicious stock that can sit in your freezer for up to 3 months! It contains almost no salt (compared to the powdered stock most of us buy) and is chock full of flavour. This experiment just might be the turning point in my cooking career. My poor children.