settling in…

I don’t think I’ve ever been away for so long, I’m so sorry folks! >_<

April was a very challenging month. There was a great loss in my family, there were final papers for the school term, and we were moving to a new place. The month felt like a blur, but at the same time each day felt excruciatingly long, with too many thoughts and too many feelings. So have been spending the month of May trying to settle in and feeling the earth beneath my feet again.

But I thought I’d bring a new thing when I return here. A how‐to for a floor pouf!

The pouf is finger‐knitted and uses exactly two skeins of Bernat Blanket yarn. It uses the same techniques of four finger knitting and turning as the ear warmers, and the photo tutorial is here.

The pouf is about 2 feet in diameter and 1.5 feet tall. I stuffed it with an old double size duvet. I do have to fluff it up after sitting on it, so for a firmer pouf it can probably be stuffed a bit more with a queen size duvet or another blanket.

To make the floor pouf, cast on the first row and knit until piece is about 25″ long, then turn and knit until you have just enough yarn left to sew up the seam (about 50″ of yarn tail). The piece would be about 45″ wide.

Sew the short edges of the rectangle together using tapestry needle, tie off, then turn right side out. Weave the yarn tail through the stitches around one opening edge, then cinch tightly and sew shut. Fasten off.

Stuff with duvet. Using a different colour yarn (I used a length of worsted weight yarn doubled up) that’s about 50″ long, weave through the stitches around the other opening edge, cinch and tie with a removable knot. So that the duvet can be taken out for washing.

This is the first piece of knitted furniture I’ve made so I’m quite proud :)

Hope to write again soon. Until then, take good care!

tchotchke the cat pillow

I bought some very chunky, very fluffy wool in Cape Breton a few years ago. It knits up in variegated stripes and I thought it would make a wonderful cat pillow. And the yarn weight is great for the large gauge of loom knitting.

I named the cat Tchotchke, because I like the sound of the word :D and because I have a lot of cat tchotchkes.

It’s basically a tube shape without any shaping, it’s the sewing together that makes the feet nubby feet and the ears. It’s a very beginner‐friendly project :)

Regular knitting: Alternatively, if one isn’t into loom knitting, I imagine that this cat pillow can also easily be made with a 10 mm circular needle and super chunky yarn. Just cast on 41 stitches, then knit one round and purl one round (garter stitch) until it’s 14 inches in length, then proceed with the sewing instructions. (I haven’t tried it though, so I don’t know if it might knit up smaller using regular needles, and one would therefore make the cat shorter.)

I used:

41‐peg loom, from this Loops & Threads set

12‐peg loom (optional, just easier when making the tail)

Loom knitting pick

Super chunky weight yarn about 200 m / 150 g (I suggest using the chunkiest fluffiest yarn you can find so less stuffing show through)

Polyester stuffing

Tapestry needle

Black yarn (I used worsted weight doubled up)

Body:

With drawstring cast‐on (instruction video here), cast on all the pegs of the 41‐peg loom using the super chunky yarn.

Knit one row (knit stitch instruction video here, ignore the cast‐on part in the beginning).

Purl one row (purl stitch instruction video here, again ignore the cast‐on part).

Repeat the previous two rows (thus working the garter stitch) until the piece is about 14 inches in length.

Bind off (bind off instruction video here).

Tail:

Cast on 7 pegs on the smaller loom or the same loom.

Knit one row and purl one row. Repeat these two rows until the piece is 12 inches long.

Leaving a very long yarn tail, weave the tail through the stitches on the pegs, then remove the stitches from the pegs and cinch to gather the stitches. Fold the tail in half length‐wise and sew together using mattress stitch. Stop sewing and tie off 2 inches away from the end.

New we sew it together and make a cat shape!

With the drawstring cast‐on on the body, pull on the yarn tail and cinch it close, but not too tightly. It will form a sort of curve. Tie off, then sew the opening close by sewing through both layers of fabric using whip stitch. (picture below)

With the other end of the tube (the ears and head), using whip stitch again, and sewing both layers of fabric together, sew from the edge in about 2 inches toward the centre. Repeat from the other edge. It will leave an opening in the centre of the head.

Stuff with stuffing, but not too firmly.

Weave a piece of yarn around each stitch in the centre opening, cinch it tightly closed, and tie off securely. (picture below shows what the top of the head looks like after it’s all sewn together.)

With the tail, spread open the end of the tail and sew around its edges while attaching it to the body using whip stitch. It will look like this:

Finally, sew on eyes, nose/mouth and whiskers with the black yarn.

A new friend to watch TV and hang out with! :D

Have a good week everyone!

this week’s awesome finds

Lip balm made with simple ingredients, from Our Lives with Bella.
I love funnel neck and marled yarn. Pattern by Purl Soho.
Of course I meant to write this post before Valentine’s Day to include this cute and practical craft! But love can be celebrated any day and I’m sure these olive stress balls will be greatly appreciated anytime as a gift :D From Handmade Charlotte.
Also from Handmade Charlotte, a yarn ball, an ice cream cone, a puppet — what can be more adorable?
It is not too early to dream of spring and boxy cotton sweaters. I particularly like how the centre seam is made an element of design rather than hidden. From Hooked on Tilly.
Also a boxy sweater, but a cozy one. I really like the cowl neck. By Lion Brand Yarn (follow link in post for pattern).

Hope everyone have a wonderful week!

lately

What I’ve been working on after the holidays…

This was something that I started on my trip to Hong Kong. Working on this got me through excruciatingly long flights and some moments of sadness as well as a cold. I actually managed finishing most of the body during the trip and finished the sleeves after I came back.

I made up the pattern entirely and jotted down some notes with the hope of sharing it sometimes in the future… it might not happen till May when the winter semester is over, so hopefully I will still remember what I did…

I used the Red Heart It’s a Wrap that was sent to me from Yarn Canada to review. Remember the ghostly doily? So I finished the doily AND made this sweater AND still have yarn left for probably another doily. The yardage is incredible!

After school started back again I didn’t have as much time but I did knit a hat! I’ve loom knitted a hat with with this Caron Chunky Cake before but the wide gaps between stitches (part of loom knitting but I think it’s fixable, I just don’t know how) make the hat not very warm… so I figure I’ll unravel and knit a 2x2 rib one.

And then I thought it’s a bit too short and the brim not wide enough, so I unraveled again and added stripes with the leftover grey section of the yarn cake.

I think this one is staying knitted :D

Have a great week, everyone!

homecoming

Over Christmas I made a trip to Hong Kong with my mom and sister, because my grandma is unwell. We tried to spend as much time as possible with her, knowing also that having visitors was also tiring for both my grandparents. So my sister and I did quite a bit of wandering.

The grimy streets, the humid air, the plume of exhaust every time a bus passes by on the narrow street. The palm trees, the emerald mountains, the tropical plants blooming in December. People who would speed walk right into you if you don’t make way quickly enough. The sea that always smells faintly like the sewer.

I love every tree, every brick, every grimy sidewalk, every pedestrian bridge in this city.

But I wonder if I would say the same if we never left. If I had to grow up and learn to be an adult in it. If I actually have to live with its various complicated political and social issues now. I don’t know. I don’t even know if I will always be able to visit as freely as I do now, with the ways the said complicated political and social issues are progressing. We’ll wait, and see, and hope. And in the meanwhile I’ll show you some pictures of this beloved city.

Porg, our travel companion, poses in front of the window at our guest house.
View from a pedestrian bridge on King’s Road with the old style tram.
Oil Street arts centre near our guest house. Folks relaxing on the lawn at lunch time.
Street market and shoppers.
Wandered into Hong Kong University, a colonial institution built in 1912.
Of course, stitching on the MTR. No one stitches on the MTR though…
Visiting Hong Kong Park. It has meerkats and lemurs. Much greenery. Also unseasonably warm this time of year.
Porg wants a photo. It’s not every day he gets to ride the MTR.
Another pedestrian bridge, another view.
A refurbished cotton factory that turned into an arts centre and retail space, with a thriving rooftop garden.
One of the many ghost signs. It’s clear that there are lots of thoughts and efforts put into preserving and showcasing the original structure. Even the benches are made from the original wooden doors.
Visited the neighbourhood where my parents grew up and met with my mom and aunt. Also where I went to kindergarten. I have a few specific memories of this place.
My parents’ families lived in small flats like these.
Toasts at tea time.
We egg tart lovers. Held on to Porg’s wing just in time to stop him from falling right in.
Spent part of our last evening at the harbour, with many groups of enthusiastic buskers, and the backdrop of the iconic Hong Kong skyline.

One of my favourite poems by Ursula Le Guin comes to mind, wherever home is for you…

May your soul be at home where there are no houses.
Walk carefully, well loved one,
walk mindfully, well loved one,
walk fearlessly, well loved one.
Return with us, return to us, 
be always coming home.

From Always Coming Home, 1985

new year’s awesome finds

A few projects to get the new year crafting started! :D

A quick and cozy make. I love funnel neck. By Two of Wands.
Intricate stitch pattern inspired by the Great Lakes. From Crochet 365.
Impressed by how much it looks knitted! I’m not super into crochet projects that try to look knit (because there’s nothing wrong with crochet that looks crochet!), but I do love the look of knitted fabric while my hands prefer to crochet. From My Hobby is Crochet.
I’ve always wanted to make a good jacket and this one looks sturdy! A paid pattern by Elina Vaananen on Ravelry.

Happy 2019! May your year be filled with love, joy and crafts! :D

Merry Christmas!

This year Mike and I marbled paper using shaving cream and made Christmas cards with them. It was a lot of fun and I wish you can smell the refreshing scent from across the screen! :D 

Thank you so much for journeying with me this year. Though my posts have been few and far in between since the fall, this blog has been with me since 2010 and is still a joyful anchor amidst various busy and chaotic times in my life. Thank you for being a part of it by visiting, reading and sharing your thoughts too!

Wishing you a wonderful holiday, with time to pause, rest, re‐energize, craft, eat good food, share lots of laughs with your loved ones, and craft some more :D

this week’s awesome sweaters

Cozy winter projects :)

Really like the garter panel on the side of the sleeves and looks like a beginner’s make I can handle :) By Tin Can Knits.

Weeee! An alpaca holiday sweater! *heart‐eyes x1000* By Joy of Motion.

I think this would be a perfect project to learn round yoke colour‐work sweaters. By Sewrella.

I love everything about this sweater — the raglan detail, the simple design, and the funnel neck. By Eleven Handmade in issue 108 of Inside Crochet (follow link on Ravelry).

Love especially the pops of teal around the edges! And the triangles of course. By Amy Gunderson in the latest issue of Knitty!

Happy winter stitching! :D

yarn elfing

If you have been journeying with me on this blog, you might recall that I like to call holiday gift‐making “elfing”. It is that time of the year again for us busy elves! Although I’m not a very productive elf this year… Not much yarn‐crafting happening, just paper‐writing… suppose those count as gifts for my professors…

It is also the time of year when we think about making for those beyond our own circles of families and friends who can really use our gifts of craftiness with yarn. The nice folks at Yarn Canada are partnering with Bernat Yarn to give away yarn for individuals and groups who craft for a good cause! Do you and your friends make scarves and hats for people to find? Or winter gears for shelters? Or soft prosthetics for breast cancer survivors? Or practice other kinds of yarn‐kindness? Check out this page on Yarn Canada’s website for more details on how to enter this give‐away for a good cause! 

In the meanwhile, here are some awesome ideas I found for the yarn‐crafting elves…

These very cute cup cozies are loom knitted on a 24‐peg loom. It’s a paid pattern on Ravelry but the how‐to video is free on Tuteate’s Youtube channel (which have excellent and really well‐made loom knit projects!). By Mireia Marcet on Ravelry.

 

Absolutely stunning granny square by Kirsten Holloway Designs.

 

A free pattern on We Are Knitters and it’s an amigurumi alpaca! :D

 

An insta‐gratification wool‐craft, all you need is some tufts of wool, some pipe cleaners, some poms, and some love. Brilliant. From Handmade Charlotte.

 

Happy crafting, everyone!

 

 

casper‐go‐round

Yikes! I haven’t written for over a month! I don’t think that that’s ever happened since I started this blog in 2010! Oh man. It’s been very, very busy with school and work, just getting a bit of breathing space after finishing a mid‐term paper today… And! We North Americans get an extra hour thanks to daylight saving! So guess what I did with that extra hour?

Blocking! :D

The really nice folks at Yarn Canada sent me a couple of cakes of Red Heart It’s a Wrap quite a while ago to try out and review, and I recent found a perfect pattern for it — it calls for a thread/lace weight cotton, it’s a relatively quick project, and it’s something that I think my BFF will really like…

A ghostly doily! :O

I like to call it the Casper-go‐round — it’s got the perfect Casper head‐shape!

My BFF loves all things Halloween, so I’m thinking she will enjoy this even when it’s not Halloween. (and she doesn’t read my blog, so she won’t know this is coming her way. shhh.) This brilliant (free!) pattern is called “Boo” by Marsha Glassner on Ravelry. The pattern calls for a lighter thread, but for the Red Heart yarn I used a 2.5 mm hook.

With 50/50 cotton and acrylic content, the yarn was smooth and soft to work with and has great drape. While I’m trying my hands on it with the doily I’m thinking it would be great for a garment.

It has exceptional yardage — 1100 yards per cake (for under $12 CAD!). I used less than half of the centre beige section for a 13″ doily, with the “Western” colourway because I’m partial to muted colours, but the yarn also offers other colour combinations that are more bright and cheerful. It would be great for shawls, cardigans, even a toddler’s dress, with all that yardage!

Because it is a lace pattern it was necessary to block, which I’m not too familiar with. But I did get some tips from a knitting circle I was a part of in the summer, so I gave that a try, and I thought it would also be a good way to test out a different aspect of the yarn for this review. 

So first, I soaked a hand towel and wrung out the excess water. Then I rolled the doily in the towel and added more water to it, then carefully pressed the excess water out (but careful not to wring, I was told). Then I laid the doily on a folded large towel (the plushiest I have, because I don’t have blocking mats), and stretched and pinned it to shape.

It only took several hours to dry. Because of the cotton content of the yarn, it mostly held its shape after unpinning. It did start to spring back a tiny bit, I guess because of its acrylic content (or maybe I was stretching it too much), but I think for this pattern it’s fine for it to shape‐shift a little :) I was thinking if it continues to lose shape I can also press it with an iron under a towel, which I had done with acrylics before. 

Perfect underneath a candy dish! Stay Puft would be proud :D

With the rest of the yarn I’m going to start on a crochet pullover pattern that I’ve been eyeing for a long time. It’s going to take a while… but will surely share when it’s done!

Be sure to check out Yarn Canada’s huge selections of yarn, I always think it’s pretty incredible that they offer free shipping on orders over $45 or flat rate of $5 (within Canada). It’s also pretty convenient when I have such shortage of time these days… too convenient…

Happy November!

 

*Disclaimer: I received product from Yarn Canada to write a review of the product; the opinions expressed on this blog are entirely my own.