what i loved about vancouver

This month Mike and I took a trip out west, and it was pretty epic in our history of travels! Our route went from Vancouver, through the Rockies to Calgary, then a few days’ stay in Drumheller, Alberta.

What I loved about our first stop, Vancouver!

1) People walk slower

That was first thing we noticed getting into the city from the airport. While Mike and I saw the bus approaching at the stop across the street and ran to catch it (with our luggage and everything in true Torontonian panic style), everyone else were just walking casually, then formed a neat line to board *blush* 

2) Logs on the beach!

We stayed in English Bay, which I highly recommend if anyone is visiting Vancouver. It’s so easy to get to downtown attractions, Stanley Park and Grouse Mountain by bus, and the beautiful beach is just steps away, perfect place to watch the sunset every evening with an ice cream cone — and yes, many great food places just on the one street where our hotel was, including sushi, Korean food and ramen! It even has palm trees! There are quite a few hotels in the area but we stayed at this more affordable one, which was owned by very friendly people and the room was spacious!

And the beach have logs that people can sit on and relax! I thought that was the most brilliant thing. Everyone was so relaxed. It must be the ocean breeze. People playing instruments, chatting in different languages, so lovely. 

At one end of the beach there is a giant inukshuk, and all around it along the sea wall we were happy to find that there were inukshuks of all different shapes and sizes :D

3) The magnificent rain forest 

We took a free shuttle to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. The main attraction was the bridge, which I mainly focused on crossing without fainting :S

I managed to snap one photo while on the bridge, it was stunning.

But I much more enjoyed walking around in the rain forest, marveling at the very, very tall trees, and the smaller suspension bridges around the treetops. 

The air was hazy because of smoke from the wild fires. And the sunlight filtered through the haze painted everything orange.

There was so much to look at on the forest floor — different kinds of moss, rocks, a stream flowing through, a nurse log with so much diversity and life growing from it… I could explore forever.

4) The Vancouver Aquarium!

Has the most beautiful exhibits of jellyfish! I could spend all day (well I kind of did) watching them flow. 

And the gallery is decorated with origami jellyfish! It’s an interactive display where one could control the colours of light illuminating the jellyfish. Maybe I’ll decorate our apartment with lit up origami jellyfish too…

And sea otters! They’re the cutest creatures, so fluffy, floating on their backs. We learned that they were orphaned, and rescued by the aquarium staff, they sometimes hold paws when swimming together so they don’t lose each other (so sweet!), they tuck food in their armpit pockets to snack on later (smart!), and they hold favourite stones in the same pockets to open clams! (“or for when they worry,” says Mike)

5) LYS!

On Granville Island! There’s the lovely Fibre Art Studio, with a group of 5 artists who sell yarn that are hand spun and dyed by themselves. It also sells weaving supplies. I couldn’t fit much yarn in the luggage (I wish I could bring back some hand-dyed yarn though!!), and just needed small amount of various colours to make amigurumi dinosaurs (more on that later! :D). The yarn for weaving was just perfect.

6) Chinese Garden

The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. A re-creation of a 15th century Chinese garden, in the middle of Chinatown! A very serene place. It has a bamboo forest and different nooks and crannies with different views of the lily pond. Also has a resident turtle and koi fish!

7) Massive public library!

Must love a city with a library like a Roman Coliseum! It’s definitely massive, with kind of a street and shops inside, not to mention floors and floors of books!

8) Stanley Park

And of course, last but not least! A dear friend recommended the hop-on-hop-off tour bus while in Vancouver, which was really helpful and we probably saw 50% more than what we planned to. Without a car, there was only so much ground we could cover by walking, and Stanley Park is huge! We went through Stanley Park twice! There were many lovely views but you’re probably tired of my photos by now, so I’ll leave you with my favourite — because it captures a seagull. (they’re chicken-size out west!)

Oooh, and a bonus one — Digital Orca by Douglas Coupland at the harbour :)

Already miss you very much, Vancouver! We will meet again <3

Stay tuned for “what I loved about the Rockies” and “what’s so bad about the Badlands?” :D

 

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stegosaurus love

When this pattern goes online I should be arriving in Drumheller, Alberta — dinosaur capital of the world! I’ve been looking forward to this trip for ages, and stegosaurus is my all-time favourite dinosaur since childhood, so I thought I’d share a pattern to mark the occasion :D

It’s been a while since I wrote an amigurumi pattern, hope I’m not too rusty! This stegosaurus actually evolved from the dumpling pattern I wrote a long time ago. I wonder what the stegosaurus would think about that, evolving from a dumpling…

Anyway, here he is sitting on my hand for scale. Probably makes a nice pin/brooch or magnet!

This pattern is super easy and takes very little time and yarn. To make your own tiny stegosaurus, you’ll need:

  • A bit of worsted weight yarn for main colour for body, and contrasting colour for spikes
  • 3.5 mm and 3 mm crochet hooks (if you only have either size, that’s fine too)
  • Tapestry needle (very important! You’ll see in the pictures)
  • Black seed beads
  • Black thread and sewing needle

Pattern:

The body begins as a circle, and with larger hook.

Round 1: ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd sc from hook, don’t join in round.

Round 2: 2 sc in each sc around (12 sc).

Round 3: [sc in next sc, 2 sc in next sc] six times (18 sc).

Round 4: sc in each sc around (18 sc), don’t fasten off.

Next, we make the head: in the same sc where last sc was made, [yo, pull up a loop] three times, pull through all loops on hook, ch 1 (cluster made), sc in same sc as cluster. Don’t fasten off.

We now fold the piece in half, and from here on crochet through both layers across the back of the dinosaur.

Back: sl st in next sc on body through both layers, like so…

sl st in next sc — attach contrasting colour yarn when pulling up loop to finish the sl st, like so…

Carry the main colour as you work across back with contrasting colour.

Spikes: with contrasting colour, [ch 3, sl st in 2nd ch from hook, sl st in next sc in body (working through both layers)] five times.

Here is a picture of the spikes in progress, notice that the main colour is being carried and wrapped in the stitches across back.

In the last sl st of spike, pull up loop using main colour, thereby switching back to main colour. Fasten off contrasting colour.

Tail: with main colour, sl st in last st through both layers on back, ch 5, sl st in 2nd ch from hook, sl st in next ch, sc in last 2 ch of tail, sl st in a space between the 3rd and 4th round in the body (belly part of the dinosaur). Remove hook and pull out the loop, as shown in the picture. Pull through enough yarn so that you have a 12″ tail. Cut yarn.

Hind leg: Thread the yarn tail through the tapestry needle, weave the needle through the belly of the dinosaur so that the needle comes out through the 2nd and 3rd rounds of body in the front, like so…

Pull the yarn tail through, remove the needle. Insert smaller hook (if you have it) through the stitch where the yarn tail came through…

Pull up a loop using the yarn tail…

ch 3, sl st in 2nd ch from hook, remove hook and pull the yarn tail out, like so… 

Thread the yarn tail through the tapestry needle again, insert needle in a stitch between 1st and 2nd round in body, then come out in a stitch between 1st and 2nd round in body in the front on the opposite side, like so…

Front leg: Work as the same as hind leg, as follows: remove needle, insert hook through the stitch where the yarn tail came through, pull up a loop with the yarn tail. ch 3, sl st in 2nd ch from hook, pull out yarn tail, thread yarn tail back in tapestry needle, insert needle through a stitch between 2nd and 3rd round of body, then come out near the top on the back of the piece, fasten off.

Weave in all the ends. Pull the long yarn tail into the body of the dinosaur to fill it out a bit :)

Tail spikes: Cut a length of contrasting colour yarn about 3 inches long. With wrong side facing, pull up a loop through a stitch at the end of the tail with the short length of yarn, then pull the two short yarn tail through the loop just made. Pull tight carefully. Trim spikes. Apply a bit of fabric glue at the base of the spikes. 

And it’s done!

Stegosaurus in its natural habitat…

Let me know if you do make your own tiny stegosaurus, I’d love to see it! If there are enough pictures we’ll have a virtual stegosaurus party and it will be fun, so please share! :D

Happy crocheting!

 

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happy september!

I found this amazing t-rex applique pattern, and decided to make a granny square with it to participate in Granny Square Day on Instagram back in August :D Haven’t heard about Granny Square Day? Check out this picture of different virtual blankets! (and spy my dino square! :D)

I love this t-rex pattern so much, I made another one to put on a shirt (Mike kindly donated an old t-shirt) :D 

Just in time for our trip to the land of the dinosaurs! :D 

Also found this tutorial for a self-watering system for the plants while we’re away.

I started a few days before our trip to test out the idea. It definitely works, even flooded one of my small aloes. I used cotton yarn, and I found that some strands of yarn carry water and others don’t, even though they’re from the same skein… Not quite sure why, I just kept replacing the ones that don’t work. Hopefully our plants will still be happy when we come home!

Stay tuned for pictures of dinosaurs! :D Happy September! 

 

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this week’s awesome finds

Simple, elegant summer blouse. Pattern from Kokka Fabric.

 

The cutest owl baby mittens. There is also a chart for Totoro ones! From Lynnette Hulse on Ravelry.

 

The only way I would wear ripped jeans. Crochet lace patch by Make & Do Crew.

 

From A Spoonful of Yarn: “In the top you will find three different cloud shapes: Cumulus clouds (those big heaped clouds), cirrus clouds (thin and whispy) and cirrocumulus clouds (small puffy clouds).” Lucky us cloud lovers, it’s free pattern! :D

 

This is so groovy. Avocado squares from Sprinkles on Top Nina.

 

More cute crochet food by I Crochet Things.

 

Doesn’t this look like a giant marshmallow? :D Tutorial on Curbly.

May your week be filled with wonderful craftiness!

 

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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!

 

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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

 

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this week’s awesome finds

A very sophisticated-looking pom pom bunny! Also, loving the donut pom pom makers. From Pom Maker

 

This is simply wonderful, and it’s a free pattern! Wonder Woman Wrap by Carissa Browning on Ravelry.

 

Patterns for different kinds of mushrooms, felted! From Kathryn Ivy.

 

Tiny window cat, looking out into the world. From Sara Elizabeth Kellner on Ravelry.

 

Brilliant! Must make one for my backpack before our trip to Drumheller in the fall. From Pride of Lions.

 

A summery dishcloth that reminds me of Wes Anderson movies. From Knit Picks.

 

Cozy slippers, love the teal heels. From Make & Do Crew.

 

Fantastic pineapple pillow pattern, by Little Things Blogged on Hobbycraft Blog.

 

Happy August! :D

 

 

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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!

 

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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!

 

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