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!

 

mid summer plumeria

In an earlier post I talked about trying out a diamond lace pattern for a summer sweater. So it’s finally done! 

I used less than one skein of Bernat Handicrafter Cotton (large ball, 340g) in Queen Ann’s Lace Ombre. I had started this sweater with the goal of using up the ball of yarn after making a couple of dish cloths. So I was able to make two dish cloths (one was crocheted too! The other knitted) AND a sweater out of one ball of yarn. Now, the sweater is of a cropped style and I’m a small person, and I did use an extra small skein of pale yellow for the ribbing, but still! I was quite happy with the ball of yarn :) The striping also worked out quite evenly with garter stitch. Kind of retro feel.

It’s essentially a boat-neck square top. Pretty easy to make, and quite comfortable, perfect for mid/late summer evenings, or hanging out by the waters where there’s a bit of a breeze. 

This is more of an adaptation of a pattern than an original pattern. There is no way I’d have the skills to come up with the diamond lace pattern. The chart comes from the Diamond Girl sweater pattern by Red Heart (linking to its Ravelry page here, as the direct link to the pattern site doesn’t seem to work).

What I used:

One ball of Bernat Handicrafter Cotton (large, 340g) in Queen Ann’s Lace Ombre

One skein of Bernat Handicrafter Cotton (small, 50g) in Pale Yellow

6mm circular needles (36″)

5mm circular needles (9″ — for sleeves ribbing and collar)

Tapestry needle for sewing up seams

Finished size I made: Bust 35″, length 16.5″ (size adjustment in italics below)

 

Note: 

The instruction below does require knowing how to read knitting charts.

The sweater starts from the bottom ribbing of front piece, knitting body up to neck, binding off a number of stitches in the centre for collar, then in the next row casting on the same number of stitches using cable cast on, then continuing down the body of back, ending with ribbing at bottom edge. The side seams are then sewn, then collar edging and armhole ribbing are worked using smaller circular needles.

What I did:

1. Download diamond lace chart. (Try following the link on its Ravelry page, or copy and paste the following link in your browser. Clicking on the link itself seems to only open up the Red Heart general site, not sure why: http://www.redheart.com/free-patterns/diamond-girl-top)

2. With larger needles and pale yellow yarn, cast on 65 st. Work 1x1 rib for 9 rows.

The chart is a 16 st pattern repeat, the easiest way to size up would be adding 16 st to cast on = CO 81. 16″=approx. 4.25″ in this gauge. CO 81 would therefore result in 43.5″ around.

3. Fasten off pale yellow, attach main colour yarn, begin working diamond lace chart across. Use knit stitch in every row.

4. Repeat chart 4 times. (or more repeats if you’d like a longer sweater)

5. Next row: knit 12 st, bind off 41 st, knit 12 st. (For larger size i.e. CO 81, suggest knit 16, bind off 49, knit 16.) 

6. Next row: knit 12 st, cast on 41 st using cable cast on, knit 12 st. (For larger size i.e. CO 81, suggest knit 16, cast on 49, knit 16.) 

7. Next row: knit every stitch.

8. Next row: begin diamond lace pattern, repeat pattern 4 times. (or more times if you’d like a longer sweater, same number of repeats as the other side of sweater)

9. Fasten off main colour, attach pale yellow, work 1x1 ribbing for 9 rows. Bind off.

10. Assembly: Sew up side seams from bottom of sweater to under arm, approx. the length of 2 diamond lace pattern repeats. (or adjust to your measurement)

11. Sleeves: Turn sweater right side out. Using smaller needles, attach pale yellow to arm opening at underarm seam, pick up and work 1x1 ribbing evenly around arm opening, for 6 rows, then bind off. Repeat for the other arm opening, ensuring the same number of stitches on each sleeve.

12. Collar: Using smaller needles, attach pale yellow at centre back of collar, pick up and knit evenly around collar. Knit one more row around, bind off.

Weave in all ends, and we’re done! :D

Please feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions or need clarifications! Have a happy, crafty week! :D

 

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!

 

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

                                                                                                                                                      

 

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