Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August Obsessions

Heart Yarn
It's the last day of August but I figured it's still not too late to share what I was obsessing about all month long. If you've been a long time reader I'm sure you already know what a fickle, fickle bitch I am! It's like I have the mind of a magpie. Anyhoo, the 5 things that I've been obsessed with all month:

1. Westknits' Mystery Shawl KAL. Even though I haven't shown any photos of my shawl, other than what colour combination I decided to go with, trust me when I say I've been knitting like a fiend on this! I know there's been mixed reviews about this KAL and shawl design and whatnot, but I really like mine and don't have anything bad to say about this pattern. Yes, my rows are getting insanely long and it takes seriously 10 minutes to do just one row, but I absolutely love the colours I chose and can definitely see myself wearing this in the fall. Here's a sneak peak...this is after knitting up clue #2:

WIP - Mystery Shaw Clue 2

2. Chromeo. Still. Can't stop, won't stop...listening to this duo!! They are still in serious rotation on my iPod and their beats are played on a daily basis. The Munchkin and I regularly have "dance parties", especially to the song 'Night By Night', which is the music video that you see below. Every time I hear this song, I think of this video. He's so not my type, but I think Dave-1 in this video is seriously hawt! I think it's the slick moves. Oh yeah...

3. Hexipuffs. As in the little polyfil stuffed knitted honeycombs for The Beekeeper's Quilt. As in THE quilt that everyone is raving about and madly knitting on as well. I seriously can.not.stop.knitting.these!! Even though I only have 12 knit up so far. When I'm not knitting them, I'm definitely thinking about them! I really love the idea that I'm finally going to have a use for all my fingering weight leftovers. I also love the idea that I'll finally get to use those skeins of yarn that I didn't have the heart to destash/trade away but have no idea what to use them for. I feel like I have too much yarn lined up for this on top of the leftovers, but when I think about how many hexipuffs I need...yeah, it's actually not enough!


4. Canning and Jams. I am so beyond determined to try my hand at canning and making jam. I've been dreaming and thinking about this, seriously, ALL month. I would love to try making some blueberry jam, peach jam, and canning jars of peaches and dill pickles. I've been searching for pots and and all the accessories needed for successful canning, and spotted a starter kit that I must get my hands on. The wheels are turning...

Canning and Jam Books

5. Signature Needle Arts. My friend Michelle was über lucky to get to go to Sock Summit back in July. Not only did she score an incredible haul of yarny goodness, but she was also able to score me a set of circular needles from Signature Needle Arts. I've been dying to try these needles out and now that I have a pair of my own, I can definitely see what the fuss is all about. Don't get me wrong, I still have major love for my Knit Picks interchangeables, but if I had a choice I would definitely go for the Signatures. I use 3.5mm (US 4) needles the most and had contemplated between a 32" or 40" cable (I went with a 32"), so that's what Michelle brought back. I've been knitting Emelie with these needles and I swear they are the reason why I managed to knit that cardigan up as fast as I have! Signatures are so amazing that it's my new mission to save up my pennies so that I can get a set in each size available!

Signature Needles

I should also make an honoury mention to my month long yarn diet that I had put myself on. I had gone a little overboard with the yarn purchases and swapping in July and decided that the month of August should be a no-buy month. Even though the month isn't technically over, I did it! I didn't buy any yarn and really held back on the swaps. The only time I allowed myself to swap was when a skein of STR or a colour of Wollmeise that I've been seeking was put up.

Now that I'm jobless I don't know if that means I'll have more time to craft, but it definitely means I won't be purchasing as much yarn as I would like or normally would get. But you know what? That's ok. I have so many projects lined up that I already have the yarn for that I really don't need to add to my stash since I probably won't get to the new yarn for quite a while (sounds like I'm trying to convince myself of this, huh?).

Ok September...bring it on! Whatcha got??

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dog Days of Summer

August 2011 Sunset
If I thought the previous weekend was super busy, then this past weekend was beyond hectic. I guess that's what happens when you try to cram in summer fun and activities into the last days of the summer months. I suspect that once September starts things will begin to slow down again. But for now, everything is still a bit hectic. So again, this post will be a little on the random, point form side (it seems lately that my post after the weekend are always random):

- Brett's work had a company BBQ in which I had to make a wifey appearance at. It was a potluck style BBQ so Brett made his delicious broccoli rice casserole as well as his bacon wrapped grape tomatoes. To round it out I whipped up a batch of homemade turtles.

- the turtles were gobbled up within minutes.

- Brett is demanding that I make another batch since he was only able to nab 2 of them.

- my knitting group also had a BBQ this weekend. I had to work all morning and half of the afternoon and therefore showed up quite fashionably late. Lucky for me my friend Natalie was still there with her insanely adorable 2 week old son.

- I was very tempted to take her son and run. He's just that sweet.

- the Bees' BBQ was also a potluck but since I was at work I was unable to make anything. This stressed me out a little. Sensing my stress, Brett decided to be a super awesome partner because when I came home from work he surprised me with a container full of chocolate dipped strawberries that he made for me to take to the BBQ! He even drizzled white chocolate over them!

Chocolate dipped strawberries
This is Brett's photo taken with his iPhone.

- Brett can be so thoughtful. I think I'll keep him.

- I quit my job on Sunday. I've been thinking about it for a really long time, and then Sunday morning on my way to work I made the decision right then and there that this was going to be the day that I will actually quit. My shift that day was the best shift ever.

- our budget is going to have to be extremely tight and I'll need to tug on the purse strings quite a but and try to make each dollar stretch.

- I'm extremely happy to have shed the comfortable security blanket that this job was and am hoping this will force me to go out and find something new.

- I'm also scared shitless about what I'm going to do in order to bring in some form of income on a regular basis.

- it's very unlike me to not have a back-up plan or to have another job already lined up. So all of this is super new to me. I'm not a fan of not knowing when and where my next pay cheque is coming from, nor am I a fan of not having a steady flow of income. It really worries me to not be able to save money for a rainy day, to not be able to buy something out of the ordinary and not in the budget (like a Hot Wheels race track for the Munchkin) and still be ok.

- I think I worry way too much.

- I also think I'm going through a life crisis. I really don't know what I'm going to do with myself or my life. I know a lot of people older than me still don't know what they want to be "when they grow up".

- I think I'm going to have a super hard time trying to find a job that will let me work only 2 days a week. Anyone know of any one looking for a really part-time worker?

- I experienced a milestone with the Munchkin: while at the playground I was actually able to sit down on a park bench while the Munchkin played. He was able to entertain himself and allowed me to sit on the bench and knit a few rounds! I thought maybe this was a one time deal but we were at another playground and again, I was able to sit on a bench and knit while the Munchkin played!

- it kinda makes me sad that the Munchkin is getting bigger and more independent.

- speaking of independent, Brett is making me drive more. It's not that I don't have my license (cause I do), and I'm not at all a new driver (I've had my license since I was 16) but I'll admit that I was extremely accustomed to Brett driving all so that I could knit. Not to mention that in all my years of living in Vancouver I didn't have a need to drive. I lived in the heart of downtown and had everything I needed within walking distance. The only time I needed a car was when I went on road trips to Seattle or Calgary.

- Brett really wanted me to start driving cause then I could drive myself to knit night, to the fabric store, to the mall, to the ferry... And he was right, it's like riding a bike, I just needed to get behind the wheel and get used to driving again. That, and I need to practice, build up my confidence again, and get used to driving the truck.

- my good friends Kat and Carlie came to Victoria for a day trip for a quick visit. We spent our short time together second hand shopping (and it involved a hellava lot of sequins and was something "fierce"), grabbing coffee, and window shopping along Johnson Street.

Kat and CBomb

- I've never seen anyone make a fuss over a Sally Ann. Carlie made such a mad dash and had raced through the aisles like a crazed madwoman. I thought it was funny.

- I know I'll get emails asking this (since there are some of you who have the eye of an eagle!), so I'll just save you the time and say yes. My friend Carlie is the same Carlie from season one of Project Runway Canada fame.

- I have a huge pile of FOs that need to be blocked. I was really hoping that I could get some of them blocked over the weekend. That didn't happen. I'm really hoping I'll be able to get most, if not all, blocked before the cold weather sets in.

- I was also hoping that I could get some sewing time in, but that didn't happen...again. I'm starting to panic cause I only have one bag left in my shop!

- fingers crossed that I'll get some sewing time this week.

- even more fingers crossed that this will be a good week!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Finished: Tahitian Tea Leaves

Tahitian Tea Leaves - Side
Finally!! A completed cardigan! After seeing so many cardigan WIPs I'm sure you guys have been wondering when you'll ever see a cardigan FO! Well here's one, #10 for my 12 in 2011 goal. This pattern was in my queue for what feels like forever and the yarn (which is Knit Picks City Tweed DK), I had bought in a sweater quantity's worth without knowing what I was going to use it for.

This project knits up pretty darn fast. According to the dates and notes that I took on Ravelry, and even with the issues that I had with the cuffs and sleeve length, this still had only taken me 2 weeks to knit. I think that even if I had started this from the very beginning I would still have taken 2 weeks to knit. The pattern is very straightforward and beyond easy, I mean, it's nothing but stockinette and there's absolutely no seaming involved! Plus, DK weight yarn was used. Not the fingering weight that I seem to favour and always am knitting with. All this equals to a quick knit. The only "tough" part was the yoke, which is nothing more than garter and a series of increases and decreases.

Tahitian Tea Leaves - Shoulder

The sleeves are super easy, the only reason why I had such an issue with them is because I was dying to get this done (and I did a beginner's mistake) and had just kept knitting with the 4.5mm needle that I had used for the sleeve and didn't switch to the smaller needle when I got to the cuff. The pattern didn't say to change needles (not sure if it was assumed that the knitter would know to do such a thing?), but it did say so when you get to the hem of the body...which you do before the sleeves. Anyhoo, so I kept the sleeve as is so that I could compare when I finished the second sleeve. Well, I took this to a knit night one night and sure enough, the consensus was that the garter knit with the smaller needle looked much better. I had also didn't like how the sleeve flared and billowed and looked overall chunky with the larger size. So after I bound off the second sleeve I went back and ripped out the first sleeve's bind off and cuff. So much work just to realize that the length of the sleeves are now too short for my liking. With this project I wanted a longer sleeve to suit the coziness of the overall look of the cardigan. Oh, and did I mention that I tend to forget that I have "meaty" arms and that the length would shrink a bit to make up for the fabric having to stretch around my mammoth arms. So again, I frogged back both sleeves back to the start of the cuff, knitted another inch (to the length that the pattern had originally said to do!) and then re-knit the cuffs in the smaller needle size. Yeesh! Luckily it didn't take me that long to do all this! But it was a pain in the ass, especially when I had to keep Russian joining the yarn to the working yarn.

Please excuse this next photo. Brett thought it would be cute to take. I thought it would be a good idea to show you what the back looked like (cause we never get to see the back of stuff).

Tahitian Tea Leaves - Back

The only modifications that I did was to change where the buttonholes were placed. I wanted them to be at matching ruched spots and so knitted 10 stitches instead of 20. And as per usual, I went with wooden buttons to finish off!

This cardigan is super warm and I was starting to sweat while trying to take these photos. It really didn't help that Brett has his own agenda as to what the photos should look like and so artistic arguments ensued. What is it with men wanting to take such unflattering photos? And not noticing if your hair is in the way when you're trying to get a close up shot of the shoulders, or any other small detail like that? Oi, I think it's time for me to get a remote for my camera. Might save me the time (and from sweating from having to wear alpaca on one of the hottest days this summer!) and artistic differences next time!

Tahitian Tea Leaves

Cardigan Details:
Yarn: Knit Picks City Tweed DK, I used almost 8 balls
Colour: Tahitian
Needles: Knit Picks Harmony Wood Interchangeable in 4mm (US 6) and 4.5mm (US 7)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

WIP: Emelie

Blue Yarn
Oh wow! Another cardigan on the needles. Surprise, surprise! Were you surprised? Yeah, I didn't think so. This is my last attempt at getting another project done for my 12 in 2011 goal. I had actually started this project back in March but had only gotten as far as 4-6 rows of ribbing before ditching it for something more exciting. Then after perusing my queue on Ravelry last month I realized just how many patterns I have at the top of my list that I keep bypassing in favour of something that's a hot knit right now. So I decided it was now or never (after all, the yarn has already been caked!) and picked up this project again now that I managed to get two other cardigans off the needles (more on those later).

WIP - Emelie

In case you can't tell what it is, it's the Emelie cardigan by Elin Berglund. I've had this in my queue since this time last year when the pattern was released. The simple yet elegant design really caught my eye, and when I found out that it was knit almost seamlessly from the waist up I knew that this was a pattern that I could definitely knit up. Once I got into a rhythm with the ribbing and (finally) got past it and onto the body, the cardigan is practically knitting itself. It also helps that I'm using new needles too, which I swear since switching to is making the cardigan fly off the needles!

WIP - Emelie Closeup

The lace panels on the front really help to break up the monotony of the stockinette body. I don't think I've been bored once so far. When I reached the 13" mark on the body I was actually quite surprised that I had knit up the body portion so quickly and was ready to divide up the stitches for the armholes. Normally it takes me a month to knit up a cardigan and that is if I knit on it exclusively, so I was amazed that it took me only a week to knit the body. It was so easy that I kept going over the pattern to make sure I didn't mess up somewhere!

One of my favourite design details in this pattern is the fake side seams using Elizabeth Zimmermann's method for garments knit in the round. This technique helps to create structure and prevent sagging when the drape of the fabric is heavy. I've never used this technique before and was pleasantly surprised as to how easy it is and how polished it can make a seamless garment look. I think this is something I will definitely use again and will try to incorporate when knitting another cardigan or sweater in the round.

WIP - Emelie 2

All that I have left to do is sew up the shoulders, pick up stitches for the sleeves, and knit the button bands. I'll admit that the idea of having to sew up the shoulders is what's stalling this project. It's been a while since I've had to use mattress stitch anything and will most likely have to wait until the Munchkin is either napping/sleeping or out playing hockey with Dad before I can tackle this step.

I'm also a little iffy about knitting the sleeves, seeing as to I can get "second sleeve syndrome" pretty darn fast. I'm considering picking up the stitches and knitting the caps on both sides before putting them both on either one long ass circular or on two circs so that I can knit them both at the same time. I figured this way I'd get the sleeves done faster and I can avoid the whole SS syndrome.

I'm dying to finish this and get it blocked and ready to go. Luckily for me the weather is still quite warm and I won't be able to wear this cardigan just yet. With less than a week left in August I'm really hoping that I can at least get this completed before the month is over. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Weekend Treats

Mini Banana Treats - Steps
This past weekend was a busy one. With the summer days dwindling down and September being just right around the corner, the Munchkin and I made it our mission to enjoy the nice warm sun as much as we could. So this meant a lot of time was spent playing road hockey, running around at the playground, and taking a stroll around the brett is awesome inner harbour. When it got too hot out or when we needed some down time, we made some treats. I dipped into my marshmallow and made some Rice Krispie treats, and since we had an extra bunch of bananas on hand I decided to make some Mini Chocolate Dipped Bananas again. Yes, I said again. I made them a few weeks ago but forgot to blog about them. They were absolutely deeee-lish!! I used this recipe by Joy the Baker. Last time I used baking chocolate to coat the bananas (yeah, what was I thinking??) and it tasted just ok. Nothing to write home about. So this time I made sure to buy some nice chocolate that I'd be willing to eat on its own, and boy, did that ever work. This batch of dipped bananas didn't even last a day!

Mini Banana Treats - Predipped

If anyone is wanting to make a batch themselves, I highly recommend using bananas that are either almost or just ripe. You definitely don't want overly ripe bananas as they'll be way too soft and won't stay on the lollipop sticks well. Another tip: don't let your 2 year old son take random bites from different bananas, unless you want them super mini.

Mini Banana Treats - Closeup

I also recommend eating these within a few days of making them. If left in the freezer too long they get really mushy and gross and they kinda shrivel up a bit. Not really an appetizing sight.

The Munchkin loved these, not only was he able to "help" (ok, he really enjoyed using the rolling pin to smash up the peanuts and his idea of dipping was putting as many bananas as he could in the chocolate) but he gobbled these up. To tell you the truth I think he only liked them cause they were on lollipop sticks. Oh, and because chocolate was involved. I think next time I want to try s'mores pops. That's right. I said s'mores. On a stick. Now those could be deadly. I mean, chocolate covered marshmallows sprinkled with graham cracker crumbs?? No, scratch that. Chocolate covered toasted marshmallows sprinkled with graham cracker crumbs. Oh yeah. Now we're talking.

Mini Banana Treats

Anyhoo, let's move on before I start to completely salivate all over my keyboard. Aside from being outside as much as possible, and from mine and Brett's (long and tiring) work schedules, I also had a really good friend in town for a visit. My wonderful friend, Leana, was on the island for about a week. She lives up North and I rarely get to see her, so whenever I do get the chance it's quite the treat. I was super happy to find out that her brother has moved back to the Victoria area and because of that Leana will be making more visits!! Yay! Now I'll be able to see her more than once a year! Every time she's here we always go out for afternoon tea and pub eats, as well as venture out to explore Oak Bay (her favourite area). This visit was no different. We enjoyed some yummy 2-for-1 fish and chips at the Penny Farthing, window shopped around Oak Bay, played Marble Run with the Munchkin, enjoyed some sun on the patio, and had some great conversations. I can't wait for her next visit!

Because the weekend was so full, I had missed out on Fibrations that took place on Sunday. I'm really hoping that it was a success and that it'll happen again next year. So far, from what I've heard and read, it was a success and a ton of fun. So sad that I missed out! I think in order to compensate for missing this event I should indulge myself in some yarny goodness once my yarn diet is over. Just to clarify: August was the month of my yarn diet, and I've been really good and have been abstaining from making any yarn purchases. But for those of you who know me and are friends with me on Ravelry and have seen me update my stash page a few times this month (ahem, people like Natalie and Jennifer!!), I'm still receiving yarn purchased/swapped last month. Those yarns were not purchased during the month of August!

So I think once September rolls around I should treat myself to some yummy yarn...ooohhh...let the yarny daydreams begin! 'Til then, I should really get off my butt and do some knitting (something I wasn't able to do much of over the weekend), since this coming weekend will be even more busy!

Happy knitting! ♥

Monday, August 22, 2011

Finished: Retro Heaven Shawlette

Retro Heaven Shawlette
Woot woot! This is finally done!! After a four month hiatus I finally buckled down and just had to finish this project up. How amazing it feels to get this officially off the needles, crossed off the knitting to-do list, and out of the WIP basket!! Trust me, it feels good. Real good.

This shawlette will be considered my 9th FO (finished object) for my 12 in 2011 goal. This pattern is actually super easy and should have been a quick knit but because I had wanted to use up every last inch of my yarn, I spent more time knitting and then ripping. I'm just über glad that I was smart enough to utilize lifelines! Before my hiatus I was about halfway done knitting the border when I realized that I had a ton of yarn leftover. I hemmed and hawed over ripping out the border to add another repeat and then found myself ripping before making the final decision. I guess my heart wanted another repeat!

So I knit the extra repeat and was onto the border when I realized that I now wasn't sure if I had enough yarn to finish the project. Man, there's just no winning with me! I had knit 4 rows of the border before discovering that I wasn't going to have enough yarn to finish. I tried binding off after the fourth row, only to find out halfway through that I wasn't going to have enough yarn to do that either. I tinked back the bind off and a row and tried to bind off again. Bloody hell. Still didn't have enough yarn!! Baring my teeth at the shawlette, I ripped out the border (again!) and ripped out the rest of the border rows. Finally! I had enough yarn! I seriously had like, less than a meter of yarn left over once I was done!!

Even though the knitting was completed, it took me forever to get around to blocking this project out. It wasn't because I was avoiding it, cause believe me when I say that I love blocking lace. There's something about it that gives me the utmost satisfaction. I think it has something to do with turning a small blob of yarn into a beautiful piece of art. Anyhoo, one night the Munchkin went to bed earlier than normal and I thought it was a perfect time to block this baby out. The Munchkin sleeping for a longer period of time meant that a blocking piece of knitting (and the pins and wires that go with it) could go for a longer period of time without being touched. Also in my favour: it was a super warm day and since I'm in the James Bay area, that meant I also had a great breeze happening for me. Yay for faster drying time!

Retro Heaven Shawlette - Shoulders

So now that this shawlette is all blocked and ready to go, I have to admit that I'm not sure if I care for it. Sad, I know. Even while knitting I wasn't sure if I was crazy about the yarn I was using. I had only knit with Noro once before, and that was to make Brett a Turn A Square hat with Kureyon. This time around I was using Retro. When I first bought this yarn my intention was to use it to weave with, but after a while the novelty of weaving with thick and thin yarns wore off. So balls of this stuff sat in the stash. When I came across the 198yds of Heaven pattern this yarn immediately came to mind. Several times I thought my yarn was going to snap in half, it was so thin. Other times I was having such fat slubs run through my fingers that it was throwing the pattern off balance. I was really hoping that the blocking process would help smooth it out a bit. I was also hoping that a good soak in wool wash would help soften the yarn up. It was so crunchy to knit with! Half of the yarn's fiber content was wool, and it was quite obvious that it wasn't of the merino variety. I've never knit with angora before and wasn't sure if I cared for the random fibers that would fly off the yarn. I knew that silk is an inelastic fiber so I was making sure I was knitting on the loose side, but the thick and thinness was really throwing my gauge off. Then towards the end (as in, right before I was going to start the border) I held the shawlette up to take a good look at it and discovered that there was this weird black streak going perfectly across the entire shawlette. Yeah, not a fan of that either.

The blocking did soften up the yarn a bit (enough so that it's now wearable) and it did even out my stitches, but there's still something about this project that just doesn't sit well with me. I guess I'll just have to wait until fall when I can wear this to find out for sure how I really feel about this shawlette. Don't get me wrong, this feeling has nothing to do with the pattern. At all. The pattern is awesome and I love it when designers can add both charts and written directions in their patterns. I love the colour, it has good drape. Hmm...maybe it's the yarn itself? I'll let you know when fall rolls around.

Retro Heaven Shawlette - Open

Shawlette details:
Pattern: 198yds. of Heaven by Christy Verity (the link goes to Ravelry)
Yarn: Noro Retro
Colour: Teal
Needles: Knit Picks Harmony Wood Interchangeable in 5mm (US 8)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Drum Roll Please...

Giveaway Draw
Yay! My shop's grand opening giveaway is officially over! Thank you so much to everyone who left comments, well wishes and congratulatory messages, made purchases, and entered the giveaway! Now it's time for me to pick a winner. Since some of the comments weren't entries for the giveaway, I decided I really couldn't use the random number generator to select a winner. So instead I figured it would probably be easier to write down all the entries on paper and draw a name out of the proverbial hat. Please excuse the Lego Man in the above photo. My son seriously insisted that it be placed right next to the bowl. I thought it was cute, so why not?

To prove that nothing was rigged, I decided to make a little video of the name drawing (that, and I wanted to figure out how to compress video files in iMovie!). If you don't feel like watching the video then you can scroll down to the bottom of this post cause I also took a photo of the winning name...cause I'm a dork like that.

Please excuse the lack of talking/sound in the video. When I first turned on the camera to get it focused and ready both Brett and the Munchkin were yapping away and were running in and out of the kitchen. While trying to get the camera to focus all of a sudden it was dead quiet. Brett was busy with his mobile and the Munchkin was extremely absorbed with his Hot Wheels toys that I quickly and quietly taped myself picking a name out of the bowl.

Oops! Please also excuse my wrinkled table cloth!! Not unless it's a formal dinner with guests (which I've only done once in my life, and that was eons ago), I find it pointless to iron table cloths. Anyhoo, and in photo format:


Giveaway Draw Winner

Yay Areo!! You're the winner of my etsy shop grand opening prize!! Thank you so much for entering!! I'll be contacting you shortly to get your info so that I can ship off the winnings your way!

Thanks again to everyone who entered! ♥ I'm seriously grateful and honoured that so many people entered. I was a little fearful that only one person would enter, and that person would have been Brett cause he felt sorry for me. So thank you, thank you, thank you! Yay! Giveaways are so much fun, I think I should do one more often!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Don't forget...

Blog - Shop Giveaway
Today is the last day to enter my shop's grand opening giveaway! You have until 12 midnight tonight (that's 12 midnight pacific standard time) to enter. I'll be randomly picking a winner on Saturday and will post who the winner is either on Saturday or Sunday. I'll be contacting the winner sometime that day too.

To officially enter, go to this post here and leave me your name, email, and a comment telling me which item in my shop is your favourite. Easy peasy, right? You can also score an extra entry by becoming a follower of my blog and then leaving me a separate comment saying that you're now following me. Don't fret if you're already a follower, cause you can leave me a separate comment too and tell me that you've been following all this time! Sweet, right? Oh yeah, and for those of you who have purchased an item from my shop? You can leave yet another comment telling me what you got for an additional entry. Boo yeah! Entries galore!!

I also got a few emails asking for a better photo of the prize project bag, since I don't have this print currently in the shop. Oops! Sorry peeps! So here's a better photo for your viewing pleasure:

Blog - Shop Giveaway Bag

Some deets: the fabric is a decor- weight Japanese import (Etsuko Furuya, my absolutely favourite Japanese textile designer) that is made up of a linen/cotton blend. The bag is fully interfaced and completely lined in a beautiful chocolate brown quilting quality 100% cotton, and has a matching brown zipper, interior finishings, and nylon web pull-tab at the end of the zipper.

This is my small sized project bag that is perfect for socks, shawls, baby, and other small projects. This bag would also be absolutely perfect for toting around the makings for hexipuffs too! I store the beginnings of sweaters and cardigans in mine, and sometimes I can get away with using a small bag for the entirety of a cardigan.

So again, enter here for your chance to win!

Good luck!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Purely Random

WIP - Mystery Shawl Colours
So this is going to be totally random since I'm unable to sit in one spot for an extended amount of time (re: the Munchkin is on the loose and apparently Mummy is suppose to chase him around the house until he gets bored and wants to play a different game) and can't really type out a lovely coherent post. The best I can do right now is point form mish mash. So here we go:

- the weekend was über busy and full of excitement, and I think the rest of the week is going to be just the same.

- I have a parade of friends arriving in town, one after the other, for visits. The first of the friends was my friend Ann, who was in town with her team for the Dragon Boat Festival. I haven't seen Ann since last year's festival. I really wouldn't count last year as a true visit though since I had only seen her for a few seconds. Literally. I had leaned over the railing seconds before she was suppose to get on the boat and wished her luck and apologized for not being able to hang out. I had family in town that weekend. Visiting with Ann made me remember just how much I miss my friends in Vancouver and the city itself.

- I was quickly distracted away from my feelings of nostalgia by the Munchkin's trip to the ER. He decided to pull a heavy weight off a shelf and it had landed on his big toe. It's nothing serious, but he might lose his toe nail and there is a slight chance that it may never grow back. His toe doesn't look bad though. It does bleed from time to time and so a box of bandaids must always be near by.

- since the Munchkin's accident, I can't look at his toe without getting the heebie jeebies. The sight of blood makes me queasy. Add in the fact that his toe nail looks like it's just sitting on top of his toe and is soft to the touch makes me even more grossed out.

- twice I've found bloody bandaids stuck to me. But only after discovering that the bandaid had fallen off the Munchkin's toe and wondering for at least 12 hours where in the world said bandaid could be.

- if it weren't for the fact that the Munchkin is my son, having a used bandaid stuck on my persons would have seriously grossed/freaked me out. Ew.

- I got a fair bit of knitting done over the weekend. Only because I made the decision to sacrifice sleep in order to get the knitting time.

- I've been working on a new cardigan with a new set of needles and I swear these needles make me knit faster!! It's been a week and I'm already done the body! If I wasn't such a project hussy I'd be done this already, and then this would've been the fastest that I've ever knit up a full adult-size garment.

- I've been slacking on the mystery shawl because of the aforementioned cardigan, but not to worry, I'm back on track and am at the crossroad of deciding whether to knit the medium or large size.

- I'm going to go with the large so that I can use up most of the yardage that I have. Meaning, I still have a fair bit of knitting to do before the last clue is released.

- sadly, I didn't get any sewing time. Although, last night Brett and the Munchkin went outside for a bit to play some road hockey. I decided to forego doing the dishes in favour of sewing.

- I'm hoping to list at least 2 more bags in my etsy shop in the next few days. I was really hoping to sew up some sweater/large size project bags over the weekend but now I'm thinking it'll take me another week to get that going.

- I'm super excited that I've sold a few bags already!! Thank you so much to those who have purchased one and for your support. You don't know how much this means to me!!

- Don't forget to enter my shop's grand opening giveaway here if you haven't already. I'll be picking the winner on Saturday!!

- I'm hoping I'll get some sleep in sometime this week. All my knitting projects are consuming me and the past week all I can think about it knitting!! Am I going crazy? Does anyone else think about knitting 24/7?

- I'm also hoping to get some finished projects blocked this week too. I swear, I do finish projects, not just start them!

'Til next time, happy knitting Blogging Friend! ♥

Friday, August 12, 2011

Social Knitworking

Check it out: Victoria's Monday Magazine featured an article about knitting and knitting groups! I love it when non-knitting or fiber arts related publications have articles on knitting. I love it even more so when they talk about how cool knitting really is and try to break the "Grandma" stigma that's attached to knitting.

Know what else I love? Seeing random photos of people knitting. Especially celebrities. Cause it brings knitting to light how fabulous this craft really is. When I first found out that Kristen Stewart (of Bella/Twilight fame) knits and was photographed knitting on sets, I had to giggle with glee. Yes, we all know that Julia Roberts knits and has encouraged co-stars to knit. But did you know that Kristen Davis (Charlotte on SATC), David Arquette (he's on the cover of Celebrity Scarves 2), and apparently Russell Crowe all knit?? Yeah...bad ass.

Mary (our "Queen Bee" as I like to call her) was interviewed for this article (she's the one in the photo with me), and even though I'm in the photo, I wasn't interviewed. I was just there to look pretty. HA! I'm just glad that I wasn't referred to as a "Yarn Hussy" (thanks Jennifer!). Anyhoo, if you're in the Victoria area snag yourself a copy of Monday Magazine (it's free!). If not check out the article here and let me know what you think about the new popularity in knitting.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Open for Business!

Project Bag Collage
Hey! Guess what?? I've got an etsy shop! That's right, I finally opened up an etsy shop of my very own! Eek!! I'm so excited! I've been wanting to open up a shop for quite some time now, and had actually made it as one of my 101 goals to do but I just couldn't get enough sewing time in to build up some stock. After some procrastination and getting over the need to have a ton of stuff to offer, I decided to bite the bullet and just try it out with the four small project bags that I had managed to sew up in my (very) limited free time.

Ok, confession time. My shop has actually been up and running for a few months now but I didn't want to say anything until I could sew up more stock. Why? Cause I wanted to do something special for my grand opening! That, and I wanted to make sure I had more than 2 bags to offer! So I've been quietly working away these past few months and I think I have put enough in the shop to make a big deal about it now. So check it out here, or look over on the side bar of the blog and take a quick peek of what's in the shop.

Blue Echino Cameras

I currently have small project bags for sale, which would be great for all those small knitting or crochet projects that you have on the socks, a baby sweater, the start of a cardigan, or even the makings for hexipuffs for The Beekeeper's Quilt!! But hey, don't think these boxy bags are just for knitting or crochet, they can be used for anything! I'm really hoping that I'll be able to get a few large sweater-sized project bags in the shop in the next few weeks, so stay tuned for those!

All my bags are completely interfaced and fully lined, and all seams are reinforced with bias tape to prevent fraying and for added durability...cause who wants a knitting needle poking out of their bag? Not me!

Project Bag Insides

Also in the shop, yarn-y notecards!! These blank cards are another thing that I've been wanting to do for a while now and I finally buckled down and got them made. I've been looking for blank cards that had a simple photo on it with no words or extra decorations. I've searched everywhere but either the quality wasn't there or the card wasn't what I had in mind. I've gotten a lot of compliments on my stash photos and thought about turning a few of them into cards but after that I didn't do anything about it. Then one day while searching for a card to include in a handmade gift I thought back to my idea about my yarn photos and how it would have been nice to include one in with my gift. That's when I decided to get off my butt and get these cards made!

MisoCrafty Notecards

It took me over a week to go through every single photo I had and pick out the ones that were of great quality and didn't have labels or price tags in them. Then it took me another few days to fix all the photos (cropping, rotating, etc). I don't know what was more excruciating - staying up 'til 3am to work on the photos, or waiting for them to arrive from the printers!
MisoCrafty Notecards - Set 1

The cards are professionally printed on a nice weight of cardstock and have a light satin coating on the outsude, but are uncoated on the inside to make it easier to write on. All my cards are packaged by me (yes, I personally hand-folded each wrapper, cut out every little fabric strip, and glued them onto each package!!) and come in a set of 4 in a clear cello bag. These cards seriously make me squee with glee! I am so proud of them! I just hope that I'm not the only one that's in love with them!

Since I'm so giddy with excitement about finally being able to share my shop's grand opening with everyone, I decided to do not only a giveaway but to also give my blog readers a 20% discount on everything in my shop for the rest of the month! Just use coupon code GRAND11 at checkout to get 20% off your order! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me or send me a convo on etsy!!

Giveaway is now closed!! Thank you for entering!!! it's GIVEAWAY time!!! I'm so excited about my shop's grand opening that I thought it would only be fitting to do a giveaway!! Even more so fitting is to offer one of my small project bags and a set of notecards as THE PRIZE:

Blog - Shop Giveaway

And who knows what else will find its way into the prize package!!

Want to enter? All you have to do is leave a comment with your name, a valid email address, and tell me which item in the shop is your favorite! Get a bonus entry by becoming a follower of my blog and then leave a separate comment to say that you're now a follower. Are you already a follower of my blog? Leave a separate comment too and say so!! Want another bonus entry? If you purchase something from my shop, leave a comment and let me know what you've bought!

Giveaway is now closed!! Thank you for entering!!!
The giveaway is open until Friday August 19th, 2011 at 12 midnight PST. I will be contacting the winner on Saturday August 20th, 2011.

Thank you so much for stopping by!!

Monday, August 8, 2011


Parliament Skyline Sunrise
Hellooo Blogging Friends! I'm pretty sure you didn't know or even notice, but my internet was down all weekend. My internet problems started Thursday, when my service would go offline sporadically and then made it officially offline as of Friday morning. It was such a bummer and of course my internet provider was of no help whatsoever. Luckily I could still get internet service on my mobile so I wasn't completely cut off and could still check my email and Ravelry (although, trying to respond to anything was extremely time consuming). I have to admit that a part of me liked not having internet access, as it really got us to spend more time outside and do stuff together as a family.

I was really hoping to get some crafting done this weekend, but that didn't happen. At all. If I wasn't outside with the Munchkin then I was somewhere dealing with a toddler that was throwing a massive tantrum/fit/stand off about who knows what. Ahhh...the terrible twos. The only time I got any knitting done was when I was at the office of my internet provider, where I was waiting in line for 45 minutes to find a way to resolve whatever issue it is that my internet is going through. It really is times like these that I'm so glad that I'm a knitter...those 45 minutes flew by and I was able to get a whole pattern repeat and a bit knit up before it was my turn. Yay for not having to stand there bored out of my mind!

Even though not much crafting was accomplished this weekend, I still have quite a bit of stuff to share with you. I even have some really exciting news! But I'm going to have to share that with you tomorrow. Right now I'm so exhausted that I've been reading the same sentence over and over for the past 5 minutes without even realizing it. Yeah, that's a pretty good sign that I need to hit the hay!

**Yes, I know that the photo above has nothing to do with the actual content of this post, I just thought it was pretty.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Beekeeper's Quilt

O...M...G! I am SO in love with this quilt! Seriously. I spied this quilt on Ravelry the day the pattern for it came out, and have been thinking/dreaming about it ever since. It's pure love. I SO need to make this. I don't even care that it took the designer (the lovely Stephanie from tiny owl knits) a whole year to make this. I think it is totally worth it. Don't you? I mean, look at it! Gorgeous!!

I know I've always said that I could never do a sock yarn blanket cause it takes too much time, and the thought of hand sewing all those pieces together? Yeah, that alone scares me. Then I started reading the pattern description and such a labour intensive project didn't seem that bad. Or at least this one doesn't seem that bad. Since the honeycombs (or hexipuffs, as they are lovingly called by tiny owl knits fans) are double sided, there's no need for a lining...or, if you're über picky like me there's no ugly backside to worry about. But what about joining the pieces together, you ask? Well there's a guarantee that the process is quick and easy. The pieces are tied together at the corners. No jokes. It sounds like I'm trying to convince myself that I can knit this and shouldn't worry about the time frame and finishings, doesn't it?

It doesn't help that I also have a crap-ton of sock yarn left overs. After all, I am a person that knits about 90% of her projects in fingering yarn. So what better way to use up all those bits and bobs than a sweet ass quilt? The designer had made this in between other projects and had even took a four month hiatus, and still managed to complete this in a reasonable amount of time. I love the portability factor of this project. Seriously, all you need are your needles, a tiny ball or a mini skein of yarn, a crochet hook, and some poly-fil...all in a little pouch. How easy is that to put into your handbag on your way out the door? It makes me heart this even more.

To top it all off, I think each individual honeycomb will feel like a project in of itself. Like baby knits, they are so small and can be an instant gratification thing, especially if you were to use a different yarn/colour than the one just made. I really want to knit one of those cute li'l hexipuffs now, just to see how cute/fast/easy they really are. I'm already envisioning my own basket full of puffs! Although, this might take me longer than a year to do (IF I do end up doing this), since I would like mine to fit our king size bed...that's over 700 puffs!! Eep!

I better think this through...or get, now! In the mean time, last night I finally got around to blocking part of a project that was started at the beginning of the year. I'm crossing my fingers that it'll dry by tonight so that I can start working on it again, and maybe I can block the other half tonight. Hopefully I'll have an FO to show in the next few days.

Totally off topic, I did have a post written up about the long weekend but something weird happened and the internets ate my post!! How frustrating is that?? I was saving my work as I was going along and then when I went to publish the page went crazy and before I knew it, the post was blank. It was no where to be found. Grrrrr... At least I got to spread the word about this fabulous quilt, and entice whoever is reading to knit this with me! Any takers?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ready, Set, Knit!!

Caked Skandal um Rosi
Today is the official start day of the Westknits Mystery Shawl KAL!! Yippeeee!!! The first clue arrived in my inbox last night, which I promptly read and printed out. I just need to wind my yarn and cast on...that is, if I can make a final decision on which colour combo to use!! Eeek! Talk about last minute! And let's not even discuss the pressure I'm putting on myself to be on top of this KAL. I seriously don't want to lag behind and would love to finish this shawl by the middle of September.
What's up with the pressure? Well, not only do I already have a fair bit on the needles already, but I also have a lot of other projects that I want to do. The pressure is merely to remember to get some knitting done per day. Not that I don't find the time to knit (cause I'm seriously the person who's knitting in the line up at the post office/supermarket), but lately my exhaustion levels are definitely making me zone out more which can sometimes cut down on my knitting time.

Is everyone else ready to go? Ok...enough blogging. I got some serious decision making to do, yarn to wind, and a mystery shawl to cast on!

'Til next time, happy knitting!!


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