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!

 

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!

 

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!

 

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

 

full heart

 

Last weekend was a very full one! We went to a farewell party for iconic Honest Ed’s, organized by Toronto for Everyone

If you’ve ever visited Toronto, you might have been to Honest Ed’s. That was where I like to take out-of-town friends to impress them anyway. It is an enormous department/bargain store that literally invites you to get lost in it. Literally because there is a sign on the building that says:

COME IN AND GET LOST

Lost partly because there was SO much stuff! And so much really different stuff, all kind of organized in a maze-like formation. If you were there for the first time and looking for something specific, you’d probably get kind of frustrated, but then quickly distracted by the cheesy slogans hand lettered in cheerful colours everywhere. 

But if you were like me, who lived right across the street from Ed’s for a while and then continued to shop or meet people in the neighbourhood, you’d know exactly where to get the 99 cents loaf of bread and tinned fish for lunch, or bandannas for a sewing experiment (and this!), or those 2 dollar waffle shirts for days that turned cold suddenly, or large quantity of t-shirts for summer camp, or socks, or just to get another picture of that giant plush moose head on top of a grandfather clock with its eyes popping out, or to kill time, or escape from reality for a couple of hours in the evening. 

Honest Ed’s was named after it’s owner Ed Mirvish and opened in 1948. As noted on Toronto for Everyone:

Beyond his bargain prices and punny ways, Ed was known for his ability to bring people together and build community in wacky ways: roller derbies, 72-hour dance marathons, free turkey giveaways, to name a few. Perhaps most important of all, Honest Ed’s was a model for inclusivity. Everyone, no matter how you looked, what you did, or how much you made — was welcome at Ed’s. Whether you made a purchase or simply enjoyed walking around and browsing everything from kitchenwares, clothing, toys, fabrics, to knick-knacks (SO MANY knick-knacks!), Ed’s had a way of instilling wonder and making you feel at home.”

And from the Jane’s Walk that we participated in (more on that later), we also learned that he offered very affordable rental spaces — and they remained affordable despite the rapid increases in rental costs everywhere else in the city — to artists and artisans in the surrounding Mirvish Village.

There was no place like this place. 

And so a group of good people brought more good people together and organized one last very vibrant marketplace in honour of Honest Ed’s. 

The juxtaposition of vintage glassware and underpants very much captured the spirit of what this place was.

The artist who hand lettered all the signs for the store over the past years was there painting custom signs for visitors. 

In 2014 when the news first came out that Honest Ed’s will be closing, there was a sale for all the hand lettered signs used in the stores. So my friend and I went there and lined up for over 5 hours and each got ourselves a few signs. One sits in front of my desk at home, it says “holiday coated marshmallow biscuits * 99 cents”. Very special because it’s got stars on it and they don’t make pennies anymore! 

In a different part of the building there was a community hub, where one could sprawl out and read all the Sunday flyers…

… and very smiley policemen do yoga with the kids.

Mike and I were most looking forward to the retro ice cream social. (and you can see there is a setup for music or spoken word performance in the back)

And intuitive painting! :D

People were invited to paint on merchandise tables. The theme of our table was Honest Ed’s.

This was our work! The black dashes were meant to be foot steps but it’s all getting a bit lost there… that was the point I guess :) And Mike painted the streetcar. 

This was under our work by someone else very talented.

Then we participated in the Jane’s Walk in Mirvish Village, where a number of previous tenants spoke about the changes they experienced after the city block was bought out. At the end people who went on the walk also shared their stories of Honest Ed’s and Ed Mirvish. There were definitely expressions of sadness about seeing such important part of the city go, but there was no anger, or bitterness, just the acknowledgement that everything good will inevitably come to an end, and there is hope that what is coming will carry on the legacy of embracing diversity and inclusiveness, and the space will continue to bring people together.

In fact, you can see the vision for the new Mirvish Village here.

After saying goodbye to Honest Ed’s, the next day we went to the Warming Toronto knitting day. Here’s the hat I finished :D

It’s a two-colour fisherman’s rib hat that was knitted flat and seamed together. I learned the 2-colour rib pattern from this Craftster post. The decreases are not very neat at all, I’ll learn how to do proper decreases with this kind of pattern next time.

It was a very relaxing afternoon of knitting and hanging out with people who knit :D If you live in the city, the project is still collecting hats and scarves till March 26! The organizer can arrange for pickups along the subway lines. Check out the Facebook event page for details.

Have a lovely week, everyone! :D

                                                                                                                                                      

 

all was well

This week’s quick make! :D

I had quite a bit of leftover untwisted multi-colour yarn left from the pink fisherman hat project, I thought it would make a great colour block cowl! Also a perfect opportunity to try the no purl rib pattern from Purl Soho, which I have been eyeing for some time :D

I used 10 mm straight needles, cast on 27 stitches, used 2 strands of bulky weight yarn held together for the grey part, knitted till the piece was about 45″ long, then sewed the ends together to make a cowl. Here’s a better look at the magically made ribbed texture, with no purling involved! 

It is very thick and warm :)

Speaking of warm scarves and hats, I’ve just discovered that there’s a knit/crochet-together event in the city next Sunday! If you’re in the city, maybe consider joining me to knit for those who can use some handmade warmth this winter? Warming Toronto Knitting Day is happening next Sunday Feb. 26, 12:30–6pm at the Imperial Pub (Dundas/Yonge). I’ve started another fisherman rib hat for the event!

And of course you notice the rad t-shirt I’m wearing in the first photo? :D 

Mike and I finally visited the Lockhart, a Harry Potter themed bar in the west end of Toronto, for brunch!

The food was marvelous and quite affordable. The Better Beer (a butter beer in my book :D) does not disappoint!

Highly recommend if you’re in the neighbourhood, especially if you’ve enjoyed the Harry Potter series. (confession: I’ve actually not read the books, but quite enjoyed the movies! Maybe I’ll read the books one day…)

Wishing everyone a lovely weekend! :D

 

pink fisherman

Made a colour block hat in bright pink this weekend :D

I usually don’t wear bright pink, it’s kind of outside my comfort zone, but it’s quite uplifting in February, where the days are short, grey, cold and snowy.

It incorporates the fisherman rib pattern that I learned from Purl Soho. The stitch makes an extra squishy fabric that’s very cozy for a hat. The hat is worked flat and then seamed. The resulting fabric is also quite stretchy, and I imagine the hat will stretch as it is being worn, so the stitch count is conservative, and it fits my head comfortably (21″ in circumference). But I’ve also included instruction for a larger size in parenthesis.

What I used:

Red Heart Soft Essentials in Peony (bulky) — one skein

Contrasting bulky weight yarn (I actually used Issac Mizrahi Lexington yarn in Irving, it’s a super bulky yarn that I untwisted, or split into 2 strands, and only used one strand at a time. It was a very time consuming, boring task, so I would suggest just using a regular bulky yarn, unless you’re in love with the Issac Mizrahi yarn like I was.)

6 mm straight needles

Tapestry needle

Toilet paper roll and scissors (for pom pom)

Pattern:

CO 56 (60) with pink.

Follow fisherman rib pattern for scarf until piece is 4″ from beginning.

Attached contrasting yarn, break off pink, and continue in pattern until piece is 6″ in length (or desired length, i.e. 7–8″ if you want a bit of a slouch)

Larger size only:

Row 1: *work in pattern for 8 st, p2 tog* repeat from * to * to end.

Row 2: work in pattern.

Row 3: *work in pattern for 7 st, p2 tog* repeat from * to * to end.

Row 4: work in pattern.

For all sizes, continue as follows:

Row 1: *work in pattern for 6 st, p2 tog* repeat from * to * to end.

Row 2: work in pattern.

Row 3: *work in pattern for 5 st, p2 tog* repeat from * to * to end.

Row 4: work in pattern.

Row 5: *work in pattern for 4 st, p2 tog* repeat from * to * to end.

Row 6: work in pattern.

Row 7: *work in pattern for 3 st, p2 tog* repeat from * to * to end.

Row 8: work in pattern.

Row 9: *work in pattern for 2 st, p2 tog* repeat from * to * to end.

Row 10: work in pattern.

Row 11: *work in pattern for 1 st, p2 tog* repeat from * to * to end.

Row 12: work in pattern.

Row 13: p2 tog to end. 

Leave a long tail for sewing a break off yarn, weave yarn tail through remaining stitches, cinch tightly and tie off. With wrong side out, use remaining yarn tail to sew up seam until pink section. Fasten off contrasting colour yarn tail. Using pink yarn, sew up the rest of the seam in pink section. Fasten off and weave in ends. 

Pom pom making

Flatten a toilet paper roll, and used the flattened roll to make the pom pom as if it is a square of cardboard. This blog post has a nice photo tutorial.

As you shape the pom pom, leave the yarn tail that you used to tie the middle of the yarn wrap long. Use the yarn tail to attach the pom pom to the top of the hat.

Have a bright and happy weekend, everyone!

 

 

holiday crafting

After making gifts for months before Christmas I finally had some time to make the things I wanted for myself! :D 

I lost my gloves on my first day off for the holidays. It was like the 10th pair I’ve lost. I buy the fleece ones from the dollar store and they’re the best — they’re warm and the youth size fits me perfectly. But I guess because they’re so easy to replace, I keep losing them! And most of the time I don’t even know how or where! So I thought if I were to knit myself a pair of mittens, I’d be more careful with them. 

I’ve always wanted to try the Ancient Stitch Mittens by Purl Soho, the stitch pattern is just so beautiful. But the thumb part is knitted in the round with DPNs. Not that I haven’t done that before, but I’d much rather knitting with 2 needles, and I didn’t really want to get a new set of short DPNs just for this. So I made up a way to knit them flat.

This isn’t a great photo, but you can see that I’ve knitted the mittens in 3 parts — back, thumb, and palm, then joined them together. Maybe I’ll write another post explaining how I did that in case others are interested. And yes, I was also visiting with some old friends during the holidays :) Mike found his copy of Bunnicula while going through some old stuff at his parents’. 

I also added cuffs so they’d tuck in better inside my coat’s sleeve cuffs. I was quite happy with the finished mittens! But they turned out really huge on me, and I’ve used 6 mm needles instead of the 8 or 9 mm needles that the pattern called for. My dad ended up taking them because they fit him :D

I was determined to give the pattern another try, this time using a lighter yarn and even smaller needles. I used a skein of hand dyed wool that’s slightly heavier than the regular worsted, and used 5.5 mm needles for the mittens and 4.5 mm for the cuffs. And they fit much better! :D

Here’s a better picture of them.

Another project I wanted to make was the polka dot hat. I used the Loving Hat pattern by the Garter Stitch Witch, but knitted it flat of course. It is a bit of a hassle to knit this flat because on the purl side I had to carry the white yarn all the way across. Sometimes I wonder why I’m so stubborn about knitting everything flat… but anyway, the fair isle knitting made the hat extra thick!

My mom wanted the same hat, and because this one ended up being too big for me, I gave her this hat, and made some modifications to make a smaller hat for myself, with wider spacing between polka dots.

For the new year Mike and I decided to make some soup jars for the pantry, since we so often come home from work in the evening with no idea what to make. We used this recipe from She Uncovered

Added a bay leaf because it’s pretty :D

More projects to come, keeping hands busy and mind happy with more knitting and crochet! :D Have a good weekend everyone!

 

one busy elf!

Now that the holiday’s over, I can show you the Christmas gifts I made and all the fun I’ve been having since the fall! This was one busy elf!

So I made a number of wash cloths, to give with artisan soaps that I got from craft fairs, very practical gifts that I thought everyone could use :) The butterfly wash cloth is from this Paillon Cloth pattern, which was a lot of fun to make with a variegated cotton. The tiny fish ones are for my niece and nephews, from this pattern on Ravelry. The hanging towel was a modification of the Circle Cloth pattern. Also made a couple of these pineapple hanging towels.

 

I took a workshop in November with my co-workers at a glass shop making millefiori pendants. I’ve made one for myself before and it was a lot of fun, so I made another for a gift :)

While making pom pom hair ties for my sincere sock cupcake project, I thought I’d also try making some soot sprites hair ties for a couple of Studio Ghibli fans :D

Caught in a perfectly tiny tin! :D (that used to hold some sparkly tea)

These hedgehogs mitts are for my niece, made almost entirely in commute. Excellent pattern from mom.me.

Spent a couple of Sunday afternoons at the Gardiner Museum drop-in clay class, and made an army of ornaments and tea bag holders! It was a great way to spend a weekend afternoon creatively, must go back sometimes!

And my newest invention — sushi sock rolls! :D For my dear friend’s baby. I used this 2-needle baby sock pattern, but had to modify it quite a bit to get the black part long enough to roll around. So the socks are faaarrr too big for the baby right now, they’re more for a toddler. But they’ll fit soon enough! And the idea is that when the child out grows the socks, they can be rolled up and sewed together permanently and be used as play food, or a pin cushion :D

 Now, the biggest project ever undertaken — behold the polar bear blanket!!!

I’ve been working on it for months and it’s for my parents! Wish I have a better picture of it, but it’s just so big! I didn’t have the room in my place or my parents’ for a good photo shoot. So here it is on my parents’ bed :) This is my first attempt at corner-to-corner crochet as well. I first made the polar bear blanket from Simply Crochet magazine (issue 50), then thought my parents would probably like a larger blanket. So I thought I’d add squares around it. I used the pine cone pattern from Make & Do Crew, then found and modified some knitting and cross-stitching graphs to make the snowflakes and the north star. Discovered that Microsoft Excel is a great program to draft crochet charts! 

And now, one great gift I received from my sister — from the awesome Out of Print clothing, a Miss Peregrine shirt!

Stay peculiar and levitate!

(Well, maybe not too much levitation this year. I haven’t tried taking this kind of photos for a while, and then afterwards my knees were a bit sore… another year older, after all. But stay peculiar, definitely!)

Happy first week of January! Hope everyone had a re-energizing holiday and have a great start to the new year! :D

 

 

friendship and hospitality

photo-2016-09-23-6-31-55-pm

I was thinking of making some practical Christmas gifts for family. I thought of making wash cloths. Because everyone can use more wash cloths. And I made a couple using this excellent pattern from Hakucho. It’s a lot of fun to knit using variegated yarn!

photo-2016-09-17-9-32-12-am

And then I thought I could modify the stitch pattern a bit and make some hand-drying towels. I know that the specific gift recipients I’m thinking of are always inviting people over and hosting gatherings for family and friends. And the hexagon pattern lends itself easily to the making of a pineapple, and pineapple is a symbol of warm welcome, friendship and hospitality (read more here if you’re interested!). So the pineapple hand-drying towel pattern was created. And since it is a symbol of friendship, it must be shared ^_^

I used Bernat Handicrafter Cotton in “Lemon Swirl” and “Sage Green”. I wish I could find a brighter yellow and a lighter green, but there weren’t any other kind of worsted cotton at the Michaels I visited. But I think overall it still looks like a pineapple.

photo-2016-09-23-3-32-19-pm

This pattern uses both knitting and crochet. Crochet is only used in the top (green, hanging) part. It’s not complicated, just involves making chains, single crochet and slip stitch.

I used two 4.5 mm straight needles and a 3.5 mm crochet hook. Also used tapestry needle for sewing and a 1-inch button.

Knit — pineapple body:

First, download the free Circle Cloth pattern from Hakucho. (I know it’s a bit annoying to go back and forth between two patterns, but the knitting pattern isn’t mine so I don’t want to reproduce it here — so please bear with me >_<)

With green, CO 14.

Row 1: p all stitches.

Row 2: kfb all stitches (28 st).

Rows 3–8: Attach yellow, work pattern rows 3–8 in Circle Cloth pattern.

Row 9: Switch to green, work pattern row 9 in Circle Cloth pattern.

Row 10: k2, *k1fb, k1*, repeat from * to * across until last 3 st, k3 (40 st).

Rows 11–12: Work pattern rows 11–12 in Circle Cloth pattern.

Rows 13–18: Switch to yellow, work pattern rows 3–8 in Circle Cloth pattern.

Rows 19–22: Switch to green, work pattern rows 9–12 in Circle Cloth pattern.

Rows 23–28: With yellow, work pattern rows 13–18 in Circle Cloth pattern.

Rows 29–32: With green, work pattern rows 19–22 in Circle Cloth pattern.

Now there should be 3 sections of yellow completed.

Repeat pattern rows 3–22 in Circle Cloth pattern 3 more times. Then repeat pattern rows 3–8 once more. There should be 10 sections of yellow altogether. Fasten off yellow.

Pineapple top row 1: With green, work pattern row 9 in Circle Cloth pattern.

Row 2: k1, k2tog to last st, k1.

Row 3: p1, p2tog to last st, p1. (11 st.)

Row 4: k all st.

Row 5: p all st.

BO all st, don’t fasten off. Insert crochet hook in last remaining loop.

photo-2016-09-23-4-36-04-pm

Crochet — pineapple top:

The pineapple top is crocheted in loops. We’ll first make 2 loops attached to the pineapple top, then make 3 longer loops going from the pineapple top and attached together at the top creating a buttonhole tap, and end with 2 loops attached to the pineapple top, like so…

photo-2016-10-01-12-08-14-pm

Loop 1: From where we left off in the knitting part, ch 25, sc in same st at beginning of ch. When crocheting into the knit part, be sure to insert hook through both loops in the BO stitches.

photo-2016-09-25-7-23-05-pm

Loop 2: ch 25, sc in next BO st.

Loop 3: sc in next BO st, ch 42, sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in next 5 ch, ch 35, sc in next BO st at pineapple top.

Loop 4: sc in next BO st, ch 35, sc in each sc in the 6-sc row that was made in loop 3, ch 1, turn (turning ch does not count as a st), sc in first sc, ch 3, skip 3 sc, sc in next 2 sc, ch 35, sc in next BO st.

Loop 5: sc in next BO st, ch 35, sc in next 2 sc at top of loop 4, 3 sc in next ch 3 sp, sc in last sc, ch 1, turn, sc in next 6 sc, ch 35, sc in next BO st.

Loop 6: sc in next BO st, ch 25, sc in next BO st.

Loop 7: ch 25, sl st in same st at beginning of ch, fasten off. Weave in ends.

Sew button to the knit part of the pineapple top. And we’re done! :D

photo-2016-09-24-9-51-48-am

Hope you like the project and have fun if you do give it a try. Have a fabulous first week of October! :D

 

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