earthsea

It’s finally done! :D :D :D

It’s probably the most complicated knitting project I’ve tried yet! But it was tons of fun, and the pattern actually leaves a lot of room for customization and altering stitch patterns. Like the garter stitch ridges I have on one sleeve, and the couple of rows of stockinette at the bottom of the sweater.

Mike made this while editing the photos *laughing with tears emoticon*

Indeed! It used up a lot of my very old stash. I actually inherited scraps of the variegating orange, purple and blue from my mom, who probably bought the yarn in the late 90s.

I’ve never read Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea series, only saw the animated adaptation by Studio Ghibli, but thought it’s a fitting name for the sweater with its shape and colours. I’d like to read the books one day.

Wishing you a fantastic week!

 

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this week’s awesome finds

Also nice for layering in the fall with a fuzzier yarn I think! Beach robe by Two of Wands.

 

Cheerful origami cacti, links to diagram in Bluebells Design’s post!

 

The cutest chairs have paws. Pattern from Let’s Knit (email signup required to download).

 

This is ingenious! A jellyfish cap for air plant by One Dog Woof.

 

This cat sweater! Paid pattern by Knit Picks.

 

Looks like a speedy project and super squishy. Bunny slippers by Persia Lou.

 

Brilliant egg cozies for summer brunch-time. I love the pom pom flowers :) By Twinkie Chan.

 

For us cat admirers who’re allergic, the coziness of a cat scarf without a real cat! From A Beautiful Mess.

Happy weekend, everyone!

 

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wip monday

About a week ago I finished the body of the Enchanted Mesa sweater! 

And I’ve been working on the sleeves since. I decided to knit them flat, because while I was trying to find a tutorial about picking up stitches for sleeves and using the magic loop at the same time, I read on a blog that knitting small circumference while dragging the entire sweater around and around is a pain. And the time it takes to fiddle with the stitches with a magic loop would probably be the same as seaming the sleeves later. I can totally imagine that. 

The one sleeve has different colour stripes, the other has garter ridges. I’m currently working on the last couple of inches of the second sleeves! :D

Have a happy week!

 

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tea runs in my veins

I got a new clear phone case and was for a long time looking for the perfect decal to put on the phone. I wanted either a pile of cats or one simple black cat, but I couldn’t find anything I liked with the right size. So one day I just got frustrated and decided to make my own. I got some origami paper and a clunky utility knife and was just going to experiment, but this creature appeared. It has the perfect grumpy look!

And I sandwiched it between the phone case and the phone :D

I thought he’d also make a nice desktop companion. So I asked Mike to make a few wallpapers to share :)

Desktop

Tablet

Phone

 

I think the phone one works best on the lock screen. Just click on the size you want to save the image.* 

To quote Dr. Ogden from Murdoch Mysteries: “The brain requires a constant flow of oxygen..or tea!”

Have a happy weekend, everyone!

 

*A friendly reminder: my images are for personal use only, please don’t repost the images without crediting this blog, and please absolutely don’t sell the images. 

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hanami in the city

It’s the most magical time of the year. The trees are blooming, the sun is shining, everyone’s out enjoying extended daylight. Spring is here! :D

Every year we try going to High Park to enjoy the cherry blossoms. There were hardly any blooms last year because of unusual winter weather, but it seems to be making up for it this year with full blooms on sunny days. Aren’t they just magnificent?

I’ve been seeing these cords tied to tree branches everywhere. I think once upon a time I looked up the meaning of it, but can’t be sure now. I would guess that they represent wishes or prayers, or they just look nice on the trees? If anyone know what they are for can you make a comment and let me know?

Our tradition is to have a picnic under a cherry tree. This year’s picnic is a bit makeshift because we were coming from work (an attempt to avoid crowds on a weekday evening — not so successful. Oh well.), with discounted end-of-day sushi and Vitasoy and a taro roll, but it was still the best date night ever :)

We even met the resident swan!

Happy May! Happy spring! :D

 

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spring knitting

There was this buy one get one free deal for Caron Simply Soft yarn one day at Michaels. I was working on a project that needed dark blue at the time and thought I only needed one skein. So I picked up this fun self-striping fiesta colour for the free skein because I love the neon yellow in it. One of my nieces birthday was coming up soon, so I thought I’d make her a fun vest with it :D (pictured above) The pattern is from issue 88 of Inside Crochet, the Imogen cardigan. I added the arcade stitch to the bottom third of it for more fun :)

And then I ended up needing more of this blue yarn, so I had to get another skein, and had the chance to pick up yet another free skein of fun self-striping yarn!

(One might even suspect that I did this on purpose so I could get more free skeins to grow my stash rather than just getting the 2 skeins of blue that I needed in my first round of shopping. But I promise I really thought I only needed one skein of that blue. Who would want to grow their stash? That’s ridiculous.) 

What do I do with this delicious mixed berry colour? Turned out that one of my best friends was visiting from out of town with her most adorable daughter. So I made another vest, plus a matching bias scarf for mum! :D

I used the Chasing Blizzard pattern for the scarf, but only followed it loosely, because my gauge is different. It was a lot of fun to knit. Here I am kind of modelling it so you can see the stitch patterns a bit better.

And the bunny rocking the vest :D It was part of a cardigan pattern from a very old issue of Crochet Today magazine. 

She insisted on playing with the rice cooker measuring cups at the juncture of kitchen and dining room. (that was how her mum was able to get a picture of the front of the cardigan)

And spring is the perfect time to go on a knitting/crocheting/yarn crafting adventure! Two years ago I participated in the TTC knitalong, it was a great deal of fun visiting different local yarn shops, meeting other yarn crafters and knitting in public! (you can see my pictures here!). I even got a few exclusive patterns and won a sweater-quantity of handspun from one of the shops!

This year the knitalong is going to be on Saturday July 15! It’s been a hugely popular event that’s entirely run by volunteers, so this year I’m helping to organize the event and we need a few more yarn-loving folks to help out! So if Toronto is your neighbourhood and if you love yarn I think you should absolutely join me :D

It’s really a fantastic event that brings people together, draws business to independent yarn shops and benefits Sistering, a local drop-in and support centre for women. So! The next planning meeting is Saturday May 20 at 1pm, and we can even get ice cream afterwards! :D For more information and updates, check out the event’s Facebook page here.

Hope everyone’s enjoying the sun!

 

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wip friday

A couple of weeks ago I completely ran out of knitting and crocheting projects (GASP!) and was feeling antsy watching Netflix without yarn and needles/hook in my hands. I’ve been knitting and crocheting for a while now, (that’s an understatement. It’s been decades.) and while I like simple designs, it may be time to stretch and challenge myself a bit. Also, it might be good to work on a project that takes longer because I’m kind of running out of storage space for new sweaters and cardigans… 

So! I’ve been eyeing the Enchanted Mesa sweater for a long time but always thought it’s wayyyy beyond my skill level mainly because it’s knitted in the round. I usually stay away from projects that are knitted in the round. But then Mike pointed out how he doesn’t understand why I say I can’t knit in the round when I can knit almost everything else. It was a question I couldn’t answer. So I thought I must give it a try!

I really like the asymmetrical-ness of the sweater, and that it’s meant to be knitted with odd balls of stash yarn. I have many many many odd balls of stash yarn. And I really like the patchwork look.

So first, the pattern says to do a provisional cast-on. In the round. O_O

So I looked up provisional cast-on, and magic loop, because the circular needle I have is longer than the circumference of the collar. (linked the tutorials I used above in case it’s useful to you too!)

Here we have it, knitting in the round, provisional cast-on, magic loop. Needles crossed, eyes crossed, fiddled for a while, several false starts, but I eventually got the hang of knitting in the round with a magic loop! :D

But then the next part of the pattern is knitting short rows back and forth (thank goodness!), and I couldn’t wrap my head around how I could go from magic loop to knitting back and forth. So I decided that I was going to get a shorter circular needle (16″) so I don’t have to do the magic loop. A bit sad that I won’t be using my new skills in this project but at lease I know I can do it!

I should also point out that when I bought the Enchanted Mesa pattern on Ravelry it comes with the Outer Space pattern also, which is a chunky version of Enchanted Mesa. So I’m combining the two patterns a bit, using 1x1 rib for the collar, because I’m using a stiff acrylic (what a lot of my stash yarn consists of, and I wasn’t going to use a nice wool for something I don’t have a lot of confidence making in case I mess up :P) and it just won’t drape nicely if I try to make a cowl collar. I also decided to forgo the provisional cast-on to make everything easier for myself. I made the ribbed collar extra tall so it can be folded down or left up, for an avant garde look, I guess. 

I also had to modified the number of cast-on stitches and rows in each section because of the heavier yarn I’m using and I wanted a more fitted sweater than what is shown. The many project pages on Ravelry helped a lot.

Slowly taking shape! So excited about the asymmetrical sections! 

Here’s where I’m at currently. Divided for sleeve and placed stitches on waste yarn (another achievement unlocked!) and working on the body. It’s a lot of fun deciding on the next colours as I go. It’s my favourite way to knit I think :)

Will keep you posted on this knitting adventure! 

Have a great weekend, everyone! :D

 

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this week’s awesome finds

This fabulous phases of the moon shirt, on Raegun Ramblings.

 

Look at this toasty pizza blanket! From By Jenni Designs.

 

I love the chocolate bunny one. Sweet cupcakes by Candy van Sweet on Ravelry, free patterns!

 

A cool friend pointed me to these lovely clouds ^_^ by Gateand Handmade Crochet.

 

Another lovely design by Crafty Queen. The granny cardigan just looks so comfy <3

 

I love negative spaces filled with strings. The tutorial is in French but it’s got wonderful self-explanatory pictures. From Jesus Sauvage.

 

I was tempted to buy the faux succulents while wandering in Michaels one day but didn’t know what to use it for, and now I know! I love that it’s made with an embroidery hoop! Check out the minimalist air plant versions too. I might just make that and will never kill another air plant again. From Delia Creates

 

These are the most fabulous! Looks like I have to get myself to Old Navy again for more flip flops! Yes I already have an open-toe pair that I have not yet have the chance to wear, but one always needs more than one pair of summer shoes. From Make & Do Crew.

So grateful for the warm spring weather today (finally!), hope everyone’s enjoying spring!

 

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adventures in flameworking

I’ve always been fascinated by glass, especially the kind of small glass sculptures or beads where a form or swirls of colours are enclosed in clear glass. It’s like a world unto itself. I’ve been wanting to take flameworking classes for a long time, but didn’t quite have the money or the time. In the beginning of the year I decided to make time to do something I wanted, and remembered that years ago I bought this small pendant of a jelly fish encased in a drop of clear glass from a local artist. So I looked her up, and found that she offers classes at a studio not too far from me, at quite a reasonable rate! Excited, I signed up right away.

And these are my very first batch of beads!

To be completely honest, half way through the first class I had the thought that it was a bad idea after all and I should just leave, because I was so uncomfortable with open flames, and the glass wasn’t melting the way it should because I wasn’t holding it in the right spot in the flame, I was terrified of the glass or the torch exploding or me doing something stupid and catching on fire (vivid imagination sometimes is a hinderance to learning), and I couldn’t see properly because I was wearing these goggles on top of my glasses… but towards the end of the class I seemed to have gotten the hang of making round beads. I made three proper ones (the 3 green/clear donut-shaped ones on the left — the teacher made the small opaque green one as demo, she just let me keep it :D), and one of them I made into a necklace right away when I got home :D

The next class we tried making different shapes and adding sculptural components. That snowflake is a bit sad-looking but it was fun to try.

If you’re in the city and would like to give flameworking a try, check out the nanopod studio! (that’s me concentrating very hard in the plaid shirt)

On a related note, I saw an image of a beaded death’s head hawk moth one day, and decided that I wanted to make a beaded moth. So I looked up bead embroidery, found this very helpful tutorial, and tried just making a test one on felt, with the beads I have on hand.

I found it a bit difficult to keep to the exact shape I drew on the felt, the wings are more rounded than I intended, but it may get better with practice. Next time I’ll get more moth-like colour beads and try another design.

Hope everyone have a good week!

 

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spring forward

Winter seems to be dragging on in my corner of the world, but that doesn’t stop us from getting ready for sandal weather and looking forward to blooming trees :)

Last year I tried crocheting shoes because I hate shoe shopping. I made some shoes and sandals with jute soles, I was quite happy with how the pattern turned out, but the jute sole turned out to be a bit bumpy and uncomfortable after walking in them for a while. Several friends have sent me this crocheted shoes pattern by Make & Do Crew, so I thought I’d try using flip flop soles this time.

And I think they turned out not so bad! :D

I thought I’d share how I made them here. As much as I’m sharing it with you, I’m also recording it so I can remember what to do when these wear out, because they’re really quite comfortable! If you try to make them I hope you’d like them too :) It took me just two evenings to make them and I was taking process photos and such, so it’s a fairly quick project. And apologies in advance about the poorly lit process photos! The weather has been so drab lately and the lighting in our apartment is bad :S but hopefully the what the photos are trying to show is clear! If not, drop me a note!

I used:

One pair of flip flops (I bought mine from Old Navy for about $5 CAD, in size 5)

One skein of Bernat Handicrafter Cotton (80 yrds, mine in Indigo)

3.5 mm hook, and a smaller hook (i.e. 2.5 mm) to weave in ends

Sewing needle

Sewing thread that matches the colour of yarn

2 half-inch buttons

A long sharp tool (I used an awl for bookbinding, but I know that’s not really an everyday handy tool, so I did a quick search for awl alternatives, and the results that came up were metal skewers and long crewel needles)

Masking tape or painter’s tape

Sharpie marker

Tape measure

Kitchen scissors

What I did:

First, I cut off the straps on the sandals with kitchen scissors. I left the bits of plastic in the holes where the straps were attached though, because I plan on wearing these outdoor and I don’t want holes in the soles of my shoes.

I then put painter’s across the soles and wrapped around the sides, the top piece of tape positioned just a bit above where the straps were attached at the top of the sole. On mine it’s about 1.5″ from the very top of the sole, but that would probably be different if you have a different size shoe. It doesn’t really matter, as long as the tapes on both shoes are positioned the same way. I put a couple more pieces of tape across so that the taped area is 2.5″ in length. Again you can make it longer or shorter, as long as both shoes are the same.

I then marked one side of the sole on the painter’s tape with a tape measure and marker, with a marking every quarter-inch apart, at about the midpoint of the thickness of the sole, starting at one edge of the taped area and ending at the other edge of the tape. 

I then poked holes at the markings and going through diagonally from the side to the top of the sole, coming out about quarter-inch away from the edge at the top of the sole, like so…

Repeat marking and poking holes on the other side of the sole. Remove all the tapes.

I put painter’s tape around the heel, starting and ending where the original sandal straps were attached at the bottom of the sole, and marked and poked holes in the same way I did one the sides of the sole. Remove the tapes when done.

Repeat for the other shoe. Make sure both shoes have the same number of holes!

With top of the sole facing, and a length of yarn and sewing needle, attach yarn to the first hole at the top on one side of the sole, like so…

Sew through the holes made with blanket stitch.

When you get to the last hole, reinsert the needle down from the top of the sole to the side of the sole, then tie off securely.

Don’t worry about all the loose ends, you can weave them in when you crochet the top and heel :)

Repeat the blanket stitch on the other side of the sole and the heel, then repeat on the other sole. It will look like this.

Now we’re ready to crochet! :D

Left Sandal Top:

With a blanket stitch, you would have a vertical thread and horizontal thread in each stitch. Attach yarn to the vertical thread on the top right of the sole, work 1 sc around this thread, then work 1 sc around the horizontal thread right next to it, then work 1 sc in every horizontal thread to the end of the row, and placing last sc around the last vertical thread of the row.

Second row and every row thereafter: ch 1 (does not count as a stitch), sc in each sc, turn. 

You can put your foot on the sole and see how wide you need to make the top as you go. It’s good to make it a bit snug, I imagine it will stretch a bit as you wear it. There were 26 rows in mine. End with a wrong side row. 

Attach row: sl st in top left vertical thread of the blanket stitch on the sole, then sl st together next sc on the sandal top and next horizontal thread of blanket stitch on the sole, continue with sl st in next sc and next horizontal thread till end, end with sl st in vertical thread of last blanket stitch on the sole, fasten off.

Edging: Attach yarn to the vertical thread of the blanket stitch on the top right side of the sole, ch 1, sc evenly across top edge of sandal top. I find that repeating [1 sc in each of the next 3 end of sc row, skip 1 end of row] seems to work well. Ending with sl st in vertical thread of blanket stitch on the top left side sole, fasten off.

Repeat edging on the bottom edge of the sandal top. Weave in ends.

Left Sandal Heel:

Attach yarn to first vertical thread on the right side of the sole, work 1 sc around this thread, then work 1 sc in the horizontal thread right next to it, then work 1 sc in every horizontal thread to the end of the row, and placing last sc around the last vertical thread of the row.

Row 2–3: ch 1 (does not count as a stitch), sc in each sc, turn.

Row 4 (decrease row): ch 1, skip first sc, sc in next sc and each sc till there are 2 sc left, 2 sc tog, turn.

Repeat rows 2–4 twice more. Fasten off.

Edging: Attach yarn to the first vertical thread on the right side of the sole (same stitch where the heel started). ch 1, sc evenly up the side of the heel. I find that repeating [1 sc in each of the next 3 end of row, skip 1 end of row] seems to work well.

When you reach the top of the right side of the heel piece, ch 30, sc in the 6th ch from hook, sc in every ch (strap made), then sc in each sc across the top of the heel, then sc evenly down the other side of the heel, end with sl st in last vertical thread of the last blanket stitch on the heel, fasten off. Weave in ends.

Attach button with matching thread to the top left corner of the heel piece.

Right Sandal Top:

Make as left sandal top, except start by attaching yarn to the bottom left vertical thread on the sole. 

Right Sandal Heel:

Make as left sandal heel, except when crocheting edging, work sc evenly up the right side of the heel piece, then sc in each sc across the top of the heel piece, then ch 30, sc in 6th ch from hook, sc in each ch, then work sc evenly down the left side of the heel piece.

Finishing:

Sew button on each heel piece opposite of the strap.

Ready to roll :D

These are fairly plain-looking, but they’re my first try, and I do like simple designs. But maybe one day I’ll try to incorporate fancier stitch pattern or a closed toe version! As always if you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment below :)

Hope everyone is having a good weekend!

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