lately

Over the past month or so I’ve been working on a couple of hand puppets using a kit that I bought from my local yarn store. It was my subway project. I learned to make bobbles! I really like the toothy grin of this one. The teeth are crocheted :)

And I figured out how to make tiny spikes with a picot cast-off/edging tutorial! Here they are, singing :D

My co-worker gave me a stone that I think really wants to be an owl, so I helped it along :) Now I think it looks like it’s wearing a pink sweater.

I watched a random video on Instagram about cooking an egg in a glass in a microwave. It worked for the most part! And it really needed a Gudetama face :P

It’s the little things :) Have a good week, everyone!

 

lately

Slowly working on a few lazy summer project. I bought this Bernat Handicrafter Cotton to make a dish cloth but I had a lot left. I tried making a couple more dish cloths but I still had a lot left. So I wondered whether there was enough to make a summer top with the rest. Because it’s a variegated yarn I thought a simple geometric pattern, like a diamond lace pattern, would work without obscuring the lace pattern too much.

It was just going to a simple boxy sweater, I figured I would knit in the round until underarm, then knit front and back separately by knitting flat, then sew the shoulder seams, and finally knit several rounds of 1x1 rib around the sleeves and collar. 

So I started with knitting in the round, first in stockinette, then in garter stitch, but the pooling just turned out really weird when I switched from knitting in the round to knitting flat when I separated front and back. I guess I should’ve known that the yarn would do that. So anyway, the above picture shows that I’m back to knitting it flat in two pieces, then knitting the ribbing on the sleeves and collar in the round. Will keep you posted on how it goes! I do like the colour combination of the yarn, and knitting it flat is creating more of a striping rather than a pooling pattern, which I like better, so I’m really hoping it will work. Will keep you posted and share the pattern if it works out!

Before the summer sweater I was working on a pattern from the 5th anniversary issue of Pom Pom magazine. It’s being hibernated at the moment because it’s too warm to knit this. But I’m looking forward to finishing it. I love sideways sweaters. It just needs sleeves, which I will knit in the round after sewing up the side seams. Using Caron Cakes! :D I do love variegated yarn.

And because a sweater is too large to knit on public transit, I started a portable project for going to and from work. I’m making some dragon hand puppets for my niece and nephew for Christmas (shh… and no, it’s never too early to start holiday crafting). I bought a kit from my local yarn store and learned to make bobbles (a row of bobbles runs down the back of the puppet). Also, short colour repeat rainbow yarn is so much fun to work with! Spot the tiny heart!

Looks like I have a few WIPs but I actually did finish a custom order recently. Animal friends to be part of a commemorative project, so glad I could contribute to it. 

Wishing you much joy and creativity for the weekend!

 

TTC knitalong adventure :D

Last week I helped out with the TTC Knitalong and yarn-hopped with a wonderful group of people around the city yarn-crafting and sharing laughs! Thought I’d share some highlights!

Oh and if you aren’t familiar, the TTC Knitalong is a charity event that benefits Sistering, a trans-inclusive support and drop-in centre for women in downtown Toronto. Live around TO and missed it this year? You can read all about how it works here so you can be all ready next year! :D

Our route started at my local yarn store, the very cozy and friendly Porch Swing Yarnsomniacs. Mike is such a trooper, he had a wedding to attend in the afternoon but joined us for the morning, working on a Hufflepuff scarf :) Also, note the brilliant Star Wars sweater that the owner of Yarnsomniacs created!! (It’s on the back of the wooden rocking chair — you can see it in all its glory here :D)

We then hopped over to the bright and sunny Knit-O-Matic. Must remember that they carry Lily Sugar ‘n Cream cotton. I love summer knitting with cotton.

Eweknit not only has yarn, it also has WATG kits (heart-eyes) and tons and tons of gorgeous fabric!

Then we took a break for lunch. We went to Little Sito for Lebanese brunch, which I’ve never had before. The perfectly poached eyes on rich fried cheese, avocado, herbed home fries, oh my. Highly recommend it!

After lunch we went over to Yarns Untangled in vibrant Kensington Market. It has the perfect knitting spot for knitting/napping under the tree :) Also love that this shop always carries products from local artisans like greeting cards, soaps and buttons, in addition to unique hand-dyed yarns.

Finally, we spent the rest of the afternoon at Romni Wools in the isles and isles, floor to ceiling full of woolly goodness. (everyone quickly disappeared behind the yarn before I could take a picture :S)

Knitting along on the TTC! Knitting while standing in a crowded, moving streetcar is a Torontonian superpower. 

I’m actually quite directionally challenged (had to consult with my compass a couple of times throughout the trip!), so thankful for participants who super knew where they were going, and for a relatively easy, relaxing route :) Though because I’ve never led a team before I was quite nervous about remember the route and keeping time, so I didn’t try to buy anything until our last stops. But I did bring home sweater quantities of Briggs & Little wool (Canada’s oldest woolen mill!) in these beautiful shades of green, a back issue of Pom Pom magazine with lovely summer sweater patterns, and a beeswax food wrap with piles of cats on it to reduce the use of Saran wrap! 

We’re so fortunately to have so many local independent yarn stores in Toronto! I’ve always just known they are there but don’t really visit, because going to Michaels is easier, and I’ve started to take them for granted. Will have to make a point to visit them more often! 

Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

 

countdown to the TTC knitalong!

I spent yesterday morning stuffing awesome swag bags with awesome people for everyone coming to the TTC Knitalong (heart-eyes, heart-eyes, heart-eyes). Check this out!

So excited!! It’s only one week away! It’s not too late to sign up, but hurry, there are only a few tickets left!

So grateful for the sponsors this year!! <3 we’ve got very nice mercerized cotton, large buttons, needles, hooks and knooks (new craft to learn btw!), gauge ruler, and knitting patterns!

There are ALSO lots and lots of YARN raffle prizes, which you can check out on the TTC Knitalong Instagram feed :) And you can get a free raffle ticket for every yarn or finished item donation! The yarn donations go to organizations like Street Knit, Knitted Knockers and hospitals. Proceeds from the event goes to Sistering, a drop-in and support centre for women in Toronto.

Come join us this Saturday if you’re in the Toronto area! :D You’ll see me with team Magic Loop!

Have a good week everyone!

 

the travelling pineapple purse

I started the pineapple purse on the trip to New York. Here’s me participating in International Knit in Public Day in Brooklyn! (We had checked out of the place we were staying at and had a free morning before our flight in late afternoon, hence lugging around all our bags)

Made the straps when we got home. I think I made them too long, it was a bit hard to gauge… it works ok for now, but if they continue to stretch as I use it I will have to replace them.

Here it is in action, at the Devil’s Punch Bowl in Hamilton, Ontario!

Much fruitiness at the Punch Bowl :D Here’s another look at this beautiful display of rock strata.

I wish we had the time to figure out the trail to the base of the cliff. The view up on the face of the escarpment must have been magnificent. But we were heading out to visit family and there was a thunderstorm was coming, so we didn’t want to get stuck on a trail in the woods in the rain.

According to the Waterfalls of Hamilton brochure that I picked up in the nearby Punch Bowl Market (more on that in a minute!), Devil’s Punchbowl Falls was created at the end of the last ice age 450 million years ago, carved by huge amount of meltwater rivers that plunged over the escarpment. The Punchbowl is the only area where one can view such a large vertical display of Ordovician and Silurian stratified rocks. My phone camera didn’t capture it super well but you can see a brilliant teal band of rocks in the middle of the cliff. We will have to go back one day and see it better.

And the Punch Bowl Market is a treat in itself! We had a lunch of very fresh, very delicious pies (chicken, strawberry rhubarb, beef) under lush hanging plants in the patio outside :) They also sell a lot of homemade preserves and sauces, and the decor is delightfully retro :D

If you ever find yourself in the area, be sure to visit, along with the many many beautiful waterfalls in Hamilton area. I’ve only visited one other waterfalls in the area, so maybe a summer road trip is in order :) 

Have a good rest of the week, everyone!

 

pooling isn’t just for ducks!”

That was what Mike said when I first explained to him the idea of pooling when using variegated yarn. I thought it would make a nice catchy blog title! :D 

I was making a hand towel for a relative as a gift, and bought this variegated yarn because I liked the colour combination. I started with a chain of 40, so there are 39 stitches across. I used a 5.5 mm hook, and crochet moss stitch, using Bernat Handicrafter yarn in Queen Ann’s Lace (large skein). And look! It started making a plaid pattern!

This was completely unintentional. I was even feeling a bit bad about it because when I read about planned pooling, I saw that it often takes people 5–6 tries before getting the pattern to work (which kind of deterred me from trying at all…), and here I am, la-di-da, out comes a plaid pattern (which is not perfect but good enough for me!).

Which is why I wanted to share all the details of what I did, maybe it will save someone some time if you’re trying to make a similar thing? The finished towel came out to be 9″ wide.

But then I also read that the success of planned pooling depends on one’s tension, where in the colour section one starts and the skein of yarn, so even if I try to do the exact same thing I may not get the same result anyway.

Definitely a pleasant surprise! 

Happy crafting!

 

 

wicker

Made with simple V-stitch, the resulting texture reminds me of wicker furniture. 

It’s an open front, light cardigan with a seamless construction. That’s right — no sewing, no sewing at all :)

Simple stitch pattern means easy to customize. The size I made is 34″. I’ve added suggestions for increasing size in italics.

I used one ball of Lion Brand Pound of Love and a 5.5 mm hook.

The cardigan is made top down.

Stitch pattern:

v-stitch (v-st): dc in stitch indicated, ch 1, dc in same stitch

Back

ch 66

Add 6 ch to the beginning ch for every inch you’d like to increase.

Row 1: v-st in 6th ch from hook, [sk 2 ch, v-st in next ch] till last 3 ch, dc in last ch, turn.

Row 2: ch 3 (counts as a dc throughout), [v-st in ch 1 sp] to end, dc in top of turning ch.

Repeat row 2 eleven (11) more times. Fasten off. 13 rows altogether.

For larger size, work 2 more rows for every 6 ch added to the beginning ch.

Right front

Turn piece upside down, so that the beginning ch is at the top. Attach yarn to top right corner of piece.

Row 1: ch 3, [v-st in the base of the v-st  from row 1 of back (it would be upside down)] 6 times, dc in the base of next v-st.

For larger size, work 1 more v-st for every 6 ch added to the beginning ch.

Row 2: ch 3, [v-st in ch 1 sp] to end, dc in top of turning ch, turn.

Repeat row 2 eleven (11) more times. Fasten off. 13 rows altogether.

Left front

Re-position the piece so that the unworked side of the shoulder is at top right. Attach yarn to top right corner.

Repeat rows 1–13 of left front. Don’t fasten off.

Join front and back

Join row: ch 3, v-st in every ch 1 sp across left front, dc in last dc of left front, dc in first dc of back, v-st in every ch 1 sp across back, dc in last dc of back, dc in first dc of right front, v-st in every ch 1 sp across right front, dc in last dc of right front, turn.

Body

Row 1 after joining: ch 3, v-st in every ch 1 sp until under arm, v-st in between the last dc of front and first dc of back, mark v-st just made, v-st in every ch 1 sp until under arm, v-st in between last dc of back and first dc of front, mark v-st just made, v-st in every ch 1 sp, dc in last dc, turn.

Row 2: ch 3, [v-st in ch 1 sp] to end, dc in top of turning ch, turn.

Repeat row 2 until piece is 19″ from shoulder, or desired length. Fasten off.

Sleeve

Sleeve is made in the round, turning at the end of every row. You will now be working along the side or ends of the rows in the front and back pieces. You will be making v-st around the dc (which I will call the horizontal bar below) and in the joining point between rows (which I will call joining point below — it is either the top of a dc or turning ch, so you can just make a v-st into it like you would usually do into a dc or ch).

Row 1: Attach yarn to the base of marked v-st in underarm, ch 4, dc in same place. sk the first horizontal bar, [v-st in next joining point, sk the next horizontal bar and the next joining point, v-st in next horizontal bar, sk the next joining point and horizontal bar] to end of round, sl st in 3rd ch of turning ch, turn.

This might help illustrate where I’m putting the stitches. The circles are the joining points, and the dashes are the horizontal bars. The v’s are the v-st.

Row 2: ch 3, [v-st in ch 1 sp] around, sl st in top of beginning ch, turn.

Repeat row 2 until sleeve is 17.5″ long, or desired length. End on a wrong side row so next row begin with right side facing. Don’t fasten off.

Cuff

Row 1: ch 1 (does not count as sc), [sc in next ch 1 sp, sc in between two v-st] around, sl st in first sc, don’t turn.

Row 2: ch 1, in the back loop only, sc in every sc around, sl st in first sc, don’t turn.

Repeat row 2 two (2) more times. Fasten off. Weave in ends.

Repeat for the other sleeve and cuff.

Front border / collar

Row 1 (RS): Attach yarn to bottom corner of right front, ch 2 (counts as hdc), 2 hdc around every horizontal row end (horizontal bar as described above in sleeve) up along front, across back of neck, and down front again, turn.

Row 2 (WS): ch 2, in front loop only, hdc in every hdc to end, turn.

Row 3 (RS): ch 2, in back loop only, hdc in every hdc to end, turn.

Repeat rows 2–3 once more (or until desired width), then work row 2 again once. Don’t fasten off.

Bottom edge

Row 1 (WS): ch 1, 1 sc in every row-end of the hdc rows in border, 1 sc in every st across body of cardigan, then 1 sc in every row-end of border, turn.

Row 2 (RS): ch 1, in back loop only 1 sc in every sc. Fasten off, weave in ends.

 

All finished. No sewing, as promised :)

Please feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions! Happy crocheting :)

 

moth patch

Was looking for a perfect moth patch for my jeans jacket but couldn’t find one that I liked, so I decided to crochet one!

Made with a 2.5mm hook and some sport weight cotton. I made the two larger wings and the middle part separately, then sewed them together. I used a lot of fabric glue on the back to stick down the yarn ends. It was a fun one evening project!

Here it is on my jeans jacket :D

Happy June!

 

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!

 

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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