Wednesday, November 30, 2011

little bits of knitting

Lately my knitting has been all about adult-sized sweaters, so I have had very little to show. But luckily a friend is about to have a baby, which means I got to do some newborn knitting. I'm pretty sure it's the best kind of knitting. I mean, who can argue with something quick and utterly adorable?

The little hat shown above is knit with Willow, a bulky yarn that is a merino/cashmere blend. It's quite soft and the palette is very suited to babies. I didn't follow a pattern - and I may have overdone the pompom size - but overall it should keep the new baby's noggin' warm.

As for my reading these days, I just finished Come, Thou Tortoise which I loved. It turned out just the way I was hoping (resulting in tears of joy, and I'm not even kidding) and I was thinking about the characters for days after I finished. The voices of the characters were so comical and quirky, making them incredibly loveable. And in my non-fiction world, I've been working on The Servant Leader and so far it is really resonating with me. The books I read for my work life always take me longer because I read them in small moments on the subway, but even at 2 pages at a time this book is powerful. And the knitting sitting on top of my books is the finished, now-blocking sweater that's been on my needles all month. Hopefully I'll have pictures of that next!

More knitting and reading inspiration over at the Yarnalong.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

crossover crazy

I do not need more hoodies. 

And yet, I keep making them. I'm up to three now - there's a black fleece one too but I know black is pretty impossible to photograph (and I've been wearing it the most, meaning it's always covered in cat hair). It took a couple of tries to get the crossover hood just right, but now it's working and it seems foolproof even when using different fabrics. The geeky sewer in me loves the resulting shape of the pattern piece because it has this great swooping line. The gray hoodie was my first, and the inspiration for the front pockets is from Norah Gaughan's Kaari sweater. Although I'd like to knit it someday, I prefer the stiffness the pockets get when it's made from jersey (but don't get me wrong, it's great knit too). The pocket design is fantastic - they hit at the perfect spot and it feels so right to plunge your hands in there. The overall body for these sweaters is still from my basic-but-altered t-shirt pattern from Wendy Mullin's Sew U Home Stretch. It works every time - her book is so worth the investment!

For a bit of contrast I tried gingham bias tape to edge the hood and pockets on this navy version. It might be a bit too much, but I like the idea of having different bands of colour, especially around the hood. I guess I'll just have to try another sweater to really work out the ideal combination.

Because everyone needs a closet full of hoodies, obviously.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

purple forever

At age seven, there is no way I can knit something for Sadie without her choosing the wool. So on a recent trip to Knitomatic, she spied a VERY BRIGHT purple Cascade Luna cotton yarn that she fell in love with (after I had shared my blasphemous opinion of not liking Cascade, no less). I had lots of other options at home and I'm pretty sure we were there for some other reason, but she was just smitten. And she's a clever girl who knows my weakness: I am easily convinced to purchase wool.

We had already picked a hat pattern for her - Little Pip's Acorn Cap by Kyrie Mead (Ravelry link because I can't seem to get her personal link right now). It's a very fun pattern with bobbles and it suits a solid colour wool nicely. I had tried one for myself in tweed but the bobble pattern effect was completely lost. Sadie has been wearing hers non-stop even on our lovely warm fall days, and although I still had a slightly icky feeling while knitting it, Sadie tells me it's very soft on her forehead.

Score one for neon purple.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


We were having a shoe dilemma, but a dilemma like that is always a fun challenge around here. It means we get to brainstorm ideas and start searching for bits and pieces that may end up as a shoe shelf. Armed with measurements we spent a few weekends looking around our favourite second hand and antique places in the city (so, Queen & Roncesvalles, Guff etc. in Queen East, Dundas Street West...if you live in Toronto, I highly recommend checking out Smash). But we came up empty handed and realized that we'd probably have to make something.

At this point I forget how the idea actually came together. Jay always has house-salvaged wood lying around waiting for a new purpose, so that part was easy (the pieces he ended up using were once a shelf, circa 1923, from our basement). The sides were more of a struggle to figure out but we knew that a wood + metal combo would suit the space, which is beside an old rad and under a wooden console table (the picture above is deceiving - I had to move the shelf to a new spot to photograph it, it's just too dark where it really lives). Luckily we somehow remembered these black metal grates Jay picked up at the ReStore years ago. We've been using them decoratively on shelves but we actually had 4 - the perfect number for a two level shelf. So after maybe an hour of work, Jay had the shelf built and all our shoes finally had a home.

Organization sure feels good.