Tuesday 10 November 2015

Finished Project: Shianne Hoodie

This is a project that I finished back in July, in time for my littlest cousin's 2nd birthday at the beginning of August. And I have to thank her mom, for taking the beautiful photos.

So here she is, Penelope, at 2 years of age, in her Shianne Hoodie.

The hoodie, which was designed by April Garwood, can be found in Crochet! Magazine, Autumn 2015. And comes in size 2, 4, 6 and 8. Now As this was a gift for Penelope's 2nd birthday, I went with the size 2. But I had some gauge issues, since I was using a different yarn than suggested.

The pattern calls for Berroco Maya, a Worsted/10ply yarn. But I picked up Diamon Luxuary 100% Merino, also a worsted/10ply yarn. However, as we yarnies all know, no two worsted weight yarns are created the same, and based on the yards/grams on the ball band, my yarn was a bit bulkier than called for. So I dropped a hook size, did some crocheting, some measurements and then some ripping out, and crocheting again.

You can watch my struggles in this video here.

But it was all worth it, because the finished sweater was super cute.

And Penelope likes it very much.

This sweater came with some new techniques for me.

Firstly, actually taking the time to pin my sleeves in place before joining them.

And second, sewing in a zipper to a knitted or crocheted garment. I watched a couple of youtube videos on the topic, and then kind of just went with it. but I Think it turned out fine. The key for me was in pinning it in place, zipped, trying it on a model, which in this case was a teddy bear (I had no toddlers handy) and then making sure everything looked lined up fine. Leaving the pins in and sewing it into place with some grey yarn and a very sharp needle.

Over all, I think this was a great pattern, not too difficult, just be sure to check your gauge. A couple times preferably!

Friday 30 October 2015

Easy DIY Cross-Stitch Halloween Pumpkin

Guys! Halloween is tomorrow! are you ready yet?

If you're still in need of a bit of Halloween decor, here's an easy little project that you can bang out in an afternoon.

For this project you need

-1 pumpkin real or fake (fake pumpkins need to be hollow)
-Graph paper and a Pen
-Knife to get inside that pumpkin
-A strong, large, thick, sharp Needle
and a butt tone of patience.

 And No yarn skills required.

Watch the video how-to here, and don't forget to click Subscribe while you're at it!

I love the way my pumpkin turned out, and I'm so glad I did this project on a craft pumpkin, so I will be able to use it year after year!

Monday 31 August 2015

A cow for a cow.

Here's a little project I'd been meaning to share for a while.

First, the backstory. You see my boyfriend Kevin graduated from Medical School this past June, as a member of the Class of 2015, or the Cows. You see the University of Calgary has a long tradition of giving their Med School classes animal names, and for the past three years, he and his peers cheerfully Moo'd their way through school.

So for graduation, I thought I'd give him a hand made cow.

So I searched the Ravelry pattern database using the following criteria: crochet, free, has photo, all toys and hobbies, keyword:cow; and a total of 30 patterns came up.

After some debate, I decided to go with the Spotless Cow, by Sabine Ingrao.

And he turned out great! He only took two evenings to make, and I was able to use all stash yarn, Red Heart Super Saver for the white and brown, and Red Heart Soft Touch for the rest.

I threw on some buttons for eyes, and added a stethoscope to make him into a 'Dr. Cow'.

I loved the way the pattern turned out, with the great big nose, and floppy limbs (which are incorporated into the body as you go along) this plus toy has a great feel. Plus the double thickness ears stand up tall and hold their character.

I threw a UCalgary brand on him as an added touch.

Oh, and if you are curious, I made the pillow in the background as well. You can watch the youtube tutorial here.

Wednesday 29 July 2015

Day Dreaming about Sheep

So as I toil away day in and day out in the lab to finish my PhD studies, I often find myself day dreaming about sheep.

And how could I not? They are practically clouds.

So maybe I shouldn't be encouraging these day dreams, but I certainly am.


Well I've just finished reading One Woman Farm by Jenna Woginrich. An adorable, and beautifully illustrated diary in which Jenna shares her first year, by herself I might add, on a 6.5 acre farm in upstate New York. Although I guess she's not really by herself, she does have her flock of sheep, an assortment of chickens, geese and rabbits, her ponies Merlin and Jasper, her goat and her dogs.....and I think there might have been a cat..... also some bees. This little book draws the reader in to Jenna's love affair with her farm, and if you want to read more, she's written a number of other books (Barnheart, Chick Days, Made From Scratch, Cold Antler Farm), or you can head on over to her daily blog, barnheart.com . Don't feel like reading? she's got a vlog on YouTube, which I have dutifully watched in full and subscribed too.

And as soon as I put down Jenna's book, I picked up another one.

Adventures in Yarn Farming, by Barbara Parry, takes us to the other end of the spectrum, rather than 6.5 acres, she has over 200, and rather than just one woman going it along, so far (I haven't finished reading it) it seems that Barbara has a number of farm assistants and some serious start up funds (her husband was the CEO of Yankee Candle). However, what is clear from the start is like Woginrich, both woman have a deep bond with their animals and an affection for farm life. Throw in the beautiful full colour photography on just about every page of this book, and a few beautiful knitting patterns to boot, and this is a book I will dream over for years to come. Barbara has the fibres from her flocks available through FoxFire Fiber and Designs and also runs a blog, SheepGal.com (it hasn't been updated in over a year, but there are tonnes of posts for back reading).

Finally one last thing. If everything above sounds like too much reading, or if you're just looking for a quick sheep dream fix. Watch this youtube video produced by Etsy, featuring Susan Gibbs on her farm in Martha's Vineyard. And yep, she's another gal like Jenna and Barbara, who left the 'real world' behind to go chasing Sheep Dreams.

And for my Mother, who I know is reading this and shaking her head at her strange daughter's crazy ideas.... don't worry, Kevin knows all about my Sheep Dreams. (I love you mom!)

Friday 10 July 2015

Tour De Fleece and Vlogging!

Hey Ya'll! (for some reason I want to say Ya'll lately, please forgive me for that).

It's July, which means a few things.

1) Knitting in the heat makes me sweat.
2) Crochet in the heat makes me sweat.
3) The Calgary Stampede is in full force.
4) The Tour de France is in full force (which I of course care so very much about).
5) The Tour de Fleece is in full force! (which, you know, not sarcasm!)

For those of you who don't know what this is, it's a sister event to the tour de France made by spinners for spinners. Essentially, you join up with a team of Ravelry and spin every day that the tour rides.

And spinning I have been!

Every single day, in fact I've gone through 300g of fibre already. 

But even more exciting, I've been vlogging the process.

What's vlogging you say? Video-blogging.

That's right, I've been putting short, 3-10 minute, videos up, detailing my daily spinning. Some of the videos even include how tos for the techniques I've been using.

So here's the first video:

And if you like that video, please click on over to my YouTube channel, and subscribe for more great content.

The full Tour de Fleece playlist can be found here.

Thanks for watching! and happy spinning.....ya'll!

(it must be because it's stampede, I swear they put something in the water).

Thursday 18 June 2015

Celebrate Jurassic World with 10 free Dino Inspired Patterns

This Sunday Kevin and I went and saw Jurassic World. And it was Amazing! How amazing? Why don't you go read this post over on my personal blog to find out? (My Favourite 10 things from Jurassic World - No Spoilers)

Now to celebrate over here, I thought I'd share with you the 10 free Knit and Crochet patterns, inspired by dinosaurs, that I wish I had enough time to make.

If you don't mind doing some serious colourwork, this knitted in blocks Dinosaur blanket by Pattons is great.

For a simple but fun crochetted hat, why no try these Dinosaur Spikes by Danyel Pink?

Want to knit a set instead? This Dinosaur Hood was originally designed for toddlers by Julia Farwell-Clay, but some knitters have adapted it for those adult children out there.

Maybe just a hat isn't enough for you? Why not crochet this hat, diaper cover and booties set for a new born. Designed by Amy B Stitched.

Speaking of newborns, how adorable is this little Dino cape? Designed by Kayla Anderson, its the perfect prop for a newborn photo shoot.

Ok, enough with the babies, how about knitting up a Stegosaurus plushie? This Dino Jr. by Katie Boyette is pretty great.

Rather not knit your stuffed toys? This crocheted Stegosaurus is pretty great as well. Designed by the Button Ship, he looks at home in the grass.

Now on to sweaters. This wrap around dinos cardigan is adorable, and with all those textured stitches and colour changes, it would be a challenging little knit. Stephan's Dinosaurs is designed by Pat McDermott.

Here's another design by Julia Farwell-Clay, and I have to admit, I kind of want this dino hoodie in my size.

Finally, here's a great Velociraptor motif (by Kjersti) that can be incorporated into any sweater or hat or whatever you can dream up. Perfect to celebrate the new Jurassic World movie, and if you start knitting it now, you should be able to finish it before the sequel.

Wednesday 27 May 2015

May Etsy Update: all the yarns!

Yesterday I did a major Etsy shop update, with tonnes of beautiful hand dyed, recycled yarns. Here are some of my favourites.

These beauties are from the same sweater, love that pop of sparkle in this great wool acrylic blend.

All three of these colourways were dyed on the same %100 lambs wool sweater base. They're sport weight and would make a great pop of colour in a shawl (especially a West Knit).

Check out my shop for more great yarns at great prices! 

Friday 22 May 2015

Dyeing combination fibers - Swatches!

A friend of mine had this giant cone of yarn that I think she picked up at a garage sale a while back. Just yards and yards of it,and all in a boring nude colour, so I offered to dye it up for her. The problem? It's about a 50/50 linen/silk blend. which means half of the fiber will want an acid dye, and the other half a reactive dye. So that means experiments!

So I skeined off 1000 yards to set aside for the final dyeing, and then wrapped up a couple mini-skeins to do some tests.

Here's the results, from top to bottom: original colour, Acid dye teal, Acid dye peach, Reactive dye Violet, Reactive Dye Black, and the last one I cooked the yarn with some saskatoon berry preserve, which came out a nice purple, but faded out in the wash.

In the close up of the teal, you can see that the acid dye, which will dye only the silk mainly dyed the white flecks in the yarn. Which means the base yarn is the linen, and the white flecked single it's plied with is the silk.

The peach, also an acid dye hit the flecks as well, but being a red based dye, hit the linnign a bit as well. The fiber reactive violet dyed a bit more uniformly. But since I used almost no salt, it didn't have full penetrance in the linen.

Same goes with the black. The berry dyed yarn faded after washing, and the effect achieved was mainly just to tone down the yellow of the original colour.

Monday 4 May 2015

May the Fourth Be With You : Star Wars Pattern Round Up

Today is Star Wars Day. And with Episode 7 on its way to theaters this Christmas, it's the perfect time to start knitting or crocheting some awesome Star Wars themed projects.

I managed to finish one that I had been working with since Christmas just last night, and framed it in time to celebrate.

OK so it's cross stitch not knitting or crochet, but it's still a fiber art, so who cares? The Pattern for this X-stitch is available from Wee Little Stitches on Etsy.

If Cross Stitch isn't for you, here are my favourites of what Ravelry has to offer.

Monday 27 April 2015

Summertime Crochet: Shorts!

I've always wanted a cute little pair of crocheted shorts, so in the made rush of crocheting I did before my trip to Hawaii, I whipped up a pair. (Literally, I worked on these like a mad woman and finished them in 3 days, including an extra trip to walmart when I ran out of yarn).

The after seeing a few great shorts patterns in the nominees for the 2015 First Quarter Flamies in the best pants/shorts category, I went to ravelry and found the Pineapple Lace Bikini Shorts by Heritage Heartcrafts. I forked out $5.99 for the pattern but it was well written and worth it.

I worked these shorts up in Red Heart Luster Sheen, a fine weight acrylic yarn made to feel like cotton, in the violet colourway. I worked with my F crochet hook and used about one an a half skeins of yarn.

To make these shorts you crochet a series of circle motifs and connect them to form the waist, then crochet the pineapple motifs downwards, and shape the legs of the shorts. I think I deviated a tiny bit from the pattern here, omitting one or two rows at the end. The great thing about crochet is you can try your garment on as you're working on it and make adjustments on the fly. Once the bottoms are done, you add some extra circle motifs in the back to make sure you're assets are going to be fully covered. Finally, add a waistband and draw string and you're ready to rock a super cute pair of beach shorts.