Tuesday, December 31, 2013

out with the old

The last night of the year. Around here it was a year of ice storms, floods and multiple appliance replacements. The bittersweet end of daycare and the frightening start of a new job. 2013 was definitely eventful, but I'm pretty okay to see a new year begin.

Here's to more of all the good things. More making, more imagining and more celebrating.

Happy New Year.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

mildy obsessed

Oh yes, another Dovetail. What can I say? It's an awesome pattern. This time I used Malabrigo Worsted Merino in the Tortuga colour way. I actually goofed up the pattern by repeating rows I shouldn't have, but since it's a mirrored design I just repeated the mistake on the other side. It's taller but still very wearable. This is destined as a gift if only I could put my wrapping skills to work.

I managed to finish up Tell it to the Trees but I'm definitely feeling unsettled by it. I wasn't expecting to dislike the characters so much, especially ones that are children. The writing, the setting, the building suspense - it was all good, it just ends in a way that you can't feel good about. Which is actually...good.

For more reading and knitting, visit today's Yarnalong.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

sweet snoflinga

Milo's entry into Junior Kindergarten has resulted in the loss of 2 hats and one scarf - all handknit of course. But this doesn't upset me as much as it should because I see it as an opportunity to knit more.

Enter the Snoflinga hat pattern by Jenny Gordy. It's for adults but I followed a recommendation to cast on 80 stitches instead of 90 which worked out perfectly for Milo's 4 year old head. It's a simple design and the bobble row is so cute for a child's hat. The yarn I used is Malabrigo Rios in a deep blue (the colour reminds me of the Crayola crayon "midnight blue"). As much as I generally avoid blue, I can't help but admit the colour - in all its forms - really suits him. And luckily the hat has been making its way home every night this week. Fingers crossed this one lasts for a while.

As for reading, I'm working on Tell it to the Trees by Anita Rau Badami right now. It's my sixth Canadian Book Challenge entry and I'm really enjoying it so far. Hopefully I'll have it finished by next week's Yarnalong.

Happy reading and knitting!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013


These days a month passes too quickly. Suddenly we're wearing hats and scarves, it's dark at 5pm and four weeks have passed since I last wrote anything. So, yeah. Oops.

But there are two things I never neglect: knitting and reading. Jonas Jonasson's The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared was for the most part, pretty interesting. I liked the characters, the implausible set-up, the historical lesson - the only negative was that I found it progressed slowly. I never thought to put it aside, instead it was like a good movie that was just one hour too long. Enjoyable, but could have been snappier. Happiness, on the other hand, is fast and fun and thought-provoking. That Will Ferguson imagined a world taken over by happiness is awesome, especially when that world is a big fat bore full of automatons. It may seem counter-intuitive, but I'm okay with thinking that life is amazing because of our fleeting moments of happiness. I can't say the characters were likeable (May Weatherhill being an exception) but it didn't matter, the story was great on its own. I'd like to check out more of Ferguson's work now.

I gave veryshannon's Dreiecke Hat a try and loved how the purl stitches formed a simple pattern of triangles. It's a slouchy style which means both Sadie and I can wear it (is it wrong to share hat styles with your 9-year-old?) and the wool, Garnstudio Big Merino, has a nice heather effect (the palette is full of soft, muted colours). Highly recommended pattern and a really quick knit. Doesn't everyone need a new hat in November?

(The Yarnalong is on hiatus this week as Ginny, our wonderful host, has just welcomed a new baby boy. Congratulations Ginny!)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

going green

Some patterns are addictive. Right now, the Dovetail cowl is my knitting vice. It's engaging but simple, practical but pretty. I love wearing mine and I love knitting it as a gift.

This very emerald green version is a gift for an awesome friend who was extra supportive this summer when I was working through a tough decision. Sadie and Milo actually picked the colour because: 1) they tell me I choose boring colours, and 2) they are convinced they know said friend's favourite colours best. They're probably right on both counts. Kids are wonderfully honest plus mine love getting to make choices in yarn shops, especially when it benefits one of their favourite people.

Reading has been slightly less addictive these days. I wasn't sure what to expect with Dance, Gladys, Dance by Cassie Stocks, but sometimes having no expectations is good. I took my time reading it and in the end it was quite entertaining, like a previously dismissed Hollywood movie you find yourself watching some Sunday afternoon, and when it's over you realize you really enjoyed it. Stock's characters were fun and charming, especially Mr. Hausselman. There were surprises, laughs and a fair share of heartbreak. Oh, and a very pleasant ghost. Overall a great addition to my Canadian reading list this year. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendkar I actually read a while ago but forgot, although it's anything but forgettable. The cover happens to be beautiful, but the story inside even more so. Just the thought that you could be so connected to another human that you would hear and recognize their heartbeat from a distance - ahh, it's romantic and profound and just the tip of the iceberg that is this novel. Highly recommended.

For more knitting and reading musings, visit today's Yarnalong.

Monday, September 30, 2013


Four patterns, one shirt. Who knew that a Frankenstein approach to sewing could work so well? I've been loving my Tova pattern, but there were two things that just weren't working for me: the sleeves and the collar (I hope this isn't considered blasphemy...I don't mean to say this pattern needs improvements, it's really just a style choice on my part). So far I've simply ignored the collar but I really wanted a shirt I could wear in cooler weather so I borrowed the collar from a Sew Lisette pattern. It worked with only a tiny modification to the length. Next up - the sleeves. Gathered, blouse-y sleeves just aren't my thing and certainly wouldn't suit the new, more traditional collar choice so I opted for a button cuff, typical sleeve borrowed from a really old McCall's pattern. I simply lined up the Tova sleeve cap with the McCall's sleeve bottom and Bob's your uncle. Then the fourth pattern Frankensteined into this shirt was Wiksten's Tank, but just for the hemline. I love the curve on that pattern's hem.

You only get true success with the right fabric though, and I'm a huge fan of this Kokka gingham. Sure, I look like a walking picnic blanket, but who cares? It's red gingham! BIG red gingham! It's all I can do to stop myself from making one of everything with this awesome fabric. I mean, imagine a dress! PJs for Sadie! A laptop cozy!

Oh, speaking of laptops, I am currently without one which is making my posting difficult (and sharing a computer with a husband isn't easy). Hopefully I get my own technology sorted out soon so I can get back to sharing. Laptops may bust, but the "making" doesn't.

(Knock on wood. Did I just tempt fate with my sewing machine's life?)

Thursday, September 05, 2013

hobby help

Words and stitches are distracting me from all that is new this week: new school for Milo, new lonely commute home (I desperately miss my little TTC buddy), and new job for me. Gasp. It's a whole lot of new, and it's going to take a whole lot of getting used to. But change is good, right?

I'm not going to go changing my hobbies though. On the knitting front, Sadie and Milo helped me pick a wild emerald green yarn to make a Dovetail Cowl for a dear friend (that pattern is currently my favourite cowl pattern ever).  And as for reading, I have two more Canadian books to add to this year's challenge. First up, Alligator by Lisa Moore. Similar to February, Moore shifts from one character to another in a way that means you don't really get too attached but the pages just fly by. Somehow though, I don't have much to say. At times it was intriguing, but overall it left me a little wanting. The Deception of Livvy Higgs by Donna Morrissey was definitely more memorable for me. It's the first time I've read Donna Morrissey, and I plan to pick up another soon. Location, time period, characters - I enjoyed it all, although I was surprised that the obviously cruel characters ended up still being cruel (perhaps I'm more of an optimist than I realize). Two more down, another nine to go.

I'm a day late, but for more reading and knitting recommendations check out this week's Yarnalong.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

little things

A little bit of sewing almost forgotten. My mom sometimes brings tea with her when she comes to visit, so I made her a tea wallet with a few herbal options (this might explain why she brings tea - we don't have the real thing around these parts). It always surprises me what a tiny bit of cotton batting and some favourite fabric can create.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


It takes having a quiet evening on a cottage vacation to finally get a photo of this cardigan (photos are my biggest hurdle lately - especially when I have to be the model. It's much easier when I'm making clothes for the kids, but I've been an especially selfish maker for a while). This is my third in a series of cardigans, and the pattern is finally perfect (here is the first and second attempt). I have a fourth waiting to be blocked and photographed and then I will post the pattern here. It's a simple design that really suits my favourite yarn - Debbie Bliss Luxury Donegal Tweed. I haven't translated it into other sizes, but it's such a basic top-down recipe that I think most knitters could easily size up.

On the reading front, The Douglas Notebooks: A Fable is my first Canadian novel for this year's challenge. Written by Christine Eddie, and translated into English by Sheila Fischman, it is a lyrical, contemplative tale of love, family and nature. Translating must be such a fascinating art. This is actually the third novel I've read that's been translated by Fischman and it gives me the feeling that there is something inherently lyrical about French prose. Trees are central to this story and even this small passage illustrates the rhythm the translation captures: "When they opened the door in the morning, they would take a few steps in the clearing, examining the vegetable garden, and enter a theatre devoted to beauty, inhabited by a crowd of giants that opened up towards the light." Needless to say I was thoroughly charmed by the novel, making me love the Canadian Book Challenge all over again.

For more musings on reading and knitting, visit Small Things for this week's Yarnalong.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

the stuff of vacations

When packing for vacation, it's my knitting/reading bag that gets the most thought. How many books is considered enough? What new knitting project can I start? What will I do if - catastrophe of all catastrophes - I finish up everything in the bag?

Turns out that I already underestimated how many books I could read (thankfully there's a bookstore in town, so that error has been rectified). A Scattered Life by Karen McQuestion was brought half-read, so I finished that up first. Let me say though, it wasn't the ideal way to start a vacation. The ending is dreadfully sad and I didn't see it coming so I was rather affected by it. Which may explain why I quickly dove into The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. My mood was instantly restored. Don, the main character, was wonderful. His voice was fresh and humourous and the entire book was utterly delightful. I laughed out loud a number of times and really had the feeling that I was reading something genuinely new. But I consumed it over the course of a day, so the experience was swift. Which maybe means I need to be knitting more?

As for knitting, I finished up a little baby gift for a friend at work who is due soon. Hopefully this Koigu Kersti palette is gender neutral enough. I used it for a pair of socks for Sadie but much prefer how the fabric works up when knit flat (instead of in the round). The darker browns are more balanced and it makes a very sweet hat. The pattern is based on one from Debbie Bliss' Baby Knits for Beginners but I've lost the book and had to wing it. I used 4mm needles (3.5mm for the rolled brim) and cast on 70 sts. Hopefully it's the right size for a newborn. It's hard to believe that babies are really that small, especially when you have a 4 year old acting as a blanket on his lanky 8 year old sister right in front of you.

For more knitting and reading stories, be sure to visit today's Yarnalong.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Whoops, there goes 3 weeks. I'm going to gloss over the fairly comical story of finishing a 10 month renovation and then experiencing a freak rainfall that not only drops an unheard of amount of rain in your city but also knocks out your power for 3 hours. Which means your brand new sump pump can't work and your brand new basement floods. Yep, that happened. But before that happened, there was a whole bunch of sewing. Of the same garment, over and over again.

In total I made 4 new Wiksten Tank dresses. It started with a black and white striped version which I randomly threw jeans under when it got cold one night. Suddenly I realized how awesome the pattern is - a dress when hot, a tunic when cold. Amazing. So then I made a gingham version. Both of these gaped a little at the back neck, so after a quick search I came across Rae's suggested modification. It worked like a charm and the next one - made from mushroom linen - fit perfectly. Thank you, thank you Rae!

After the modification success I basically ran to the Workroom to get more fabric to make another. I settled on a blue chambray from the new Union collection from Robert Kaufman. I finished it that night (these take 90 minutes to sew, max!) but by the next night, my sewing marathon came to a quick close. A water logged studio will do that to any sewing marathon.

So now I'll get back to knitting while we re-enter the basement renovation phase. Spending time with wool is never a bad thing.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

canada day eve

Fireworks are exploding in the background, so it seems fitting to write about my 13th and final book in this year's Canadian Book Challenge. The End of the Alphabet by CS Richardson was exactly what I expected - quirky, experimental, creative. But it was also exactly what I didn't expect - heavy, meaningful and heartbreaking. I devoured this small novel and every page was wonderful. I've been sticking to fairly linear storytelling this year so this was a nice break from that, reminding me of some of my favourite writers - Jeanette Winterson, Daphne Marlatt, George Elliot Clarke. The two main characters are so rich and loveable and it was very hard to say good-bye to them. CS Richardson is a book designer turned novelist so I was especially fond of his designer's sense. Structuring the novel around the alphabet, using the scale of a small notebook, the wonderful single opening page in robin's egg blue and the perfect description of font choice - these details added immensely to my whole experience of reading his words. What a perfect ending to this year's challenge.

I can't wait to start this all over again tomorrow! And if anyone out there is looking for the motivation to read a little more Canada, come join the challenge

Happy Canada Day!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

baby knitting bliss

Oh yes, this is one cute baby hat pattern. I suppose you can't go wrong with the simple combination of cables, bear ears and bows. If you have a baby gift in your knitting future, I highly recommend The Cabled Teddy Hat pattern. This version, knit with Rowan's Pure Wool, is going to a friend's new baby girl. I followed the 6-12 month size and made absolutely no mods. It was easy to follow, quick to knit and deeply satisfying in the adorable category.

The Canadian Book Challenge is almost over (how is it almost July?) and I just finished my 12th of 13 books. I read Joan Clark's An Audience of Chairs a few years ago and thoroughly loved it. Road to Bliss is her latest novel and although it wasn't as captivating it was still an okay read. The notion that a 15 year old boy would leave home and not be tracked down by his loving parents was a stretch for me, but there were some interesting characters and description of place. Though some characters may have been a little one-dimensional, or the characterization of the community they belonged to a little obvious. Or maybe I'm just loving my 13th book so much that I can't remember how this novel affected me.

For more knitting and reading stories be sure to visit today's Yarnalong.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

animal party

Not long ago I made a fox pillow for a friend. I was a little smitten with it myself and couldn't stop thinking about the face construction, so obviously I had to try another. The changes are subtle - I made the ears orange instead of white and then the cheeks are all white with a really tall nose. But it actually changes the whole expression.  This fox is quite sly by comparison. He's a great addition to a lonely black chair of ours.

In what is clearly an animal phase, I've been making a number of mini owls. It's birthday party season around here and they've been great additions to gifts for both 4 and 9 year olds. I tend to give them away as soon as they're done, but today I finally remembered to take a photo of a rather colourful version. The free pattern is super easy and it's a great way to use up scrap wool. Sadie and I estimated that with my scrap wool I'd likely be able to make about 1000 of them.

It's probably not even an exaggeration.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

wiksten tova, take two

I've been wearing my first Wiksten Tova. All. The. Time. So making another just made heaps of sense.

This pattern is simple and so easy to tweak and modify. I added the sleeves this time but slimmed them, added two inches in length and made a deeper cuff. The shoulders were a bit broad for me, so I took 1/2 inch off either side which actually made the sleeve cap fit better. And the inset pieces overlapped too much in my first one so I cut the edge of each inset piece back a bit - and on an angle - and I really like how it sits now, with just a slight v opening. I excluded the collar again and finished the neck edge with bias trim. Next time I'll round out the inset corners and probably turn it into a dress.

Of course, a pattern only gets better with the right fabric. I can't say enough about this Robert Kaufman Essex Yarn-Dyed cotton/linen - it's soft, has an awesome heathery texture and sews like a dream. I ordered 6 yards to make a shower curtain with and managed to have just enough left over for this shirt (the kids like the idea that I can stand in front of the shower curtain and become a floating head. These are the things we think about around here). The black band at the bottom is the Brussels Washer rayon/cotton - not as soft, but helped give the shirt some definition and now the hem has a better drape.

My Tova love means I'm totally crossing my fingers that Jenny Gordy publishes more sewing patterns. Me and hundreds of other sewers out there, right?

Thursday, May 09, 2013

a little more canada

The new studio space still isn't fully organized, but thankfully that doesn't affect my knitting or reading. The pinky-red cardigan is coming along (meaning I'll finish it just in time for the hot weather to arrive). I've been fine-tuning this cardigan pattern so once this one is done I'll finally be able to share the pattern, although it will just be the one size. I'm not mathematically inclined so I don't know the magic of how to figure out sizing up without actually knitting it physically. Perhaps that will be my knitting goal for the next year: learn official pattern-making skills.

As for reading, I've added more to my Canadian list. First, See the Child by David Bergen. I enjoyed this one more than A Year of Lesser, but I'm not about to go grab more of his novels. I do love Bergen's sense of place; I felt like a neighbour in town every time I opened the book. The characters were real, full of flaws and driven by emotions even when they knew better. Loss, longing and the complicated relationships of family were constant themes that kept me engaged. I'll just take a break for now.

I have had quite an affair with Elizabeth Hay this past year, but The Only Snow in Havana is the first non-fiction work I've read of hers. I was not disappointed. There's just something in the way she writes that I really connect with. In this format, I found her prose lyrical, thoughtful and often surprising. Also, it didn't hurt that it was essentially a musing on being Canadian and how as Canadians, we are tied to the fur trade or, at least, a collective need to keep warm. It sounds simple, but it's oh so true. I figure it's my very Canadian-ness that actually makes me a knitter - I'm fated to care about bundling up. Overall it was a pleasant detour from my fiction streak, and another happy Hay read.

For more knitting and reading, catch up with today's Yarnalong.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

a wiksten spring

Seeing all the Wiksten tops in the Spring Top Sewalong pool inspired me to run out, buy both patterns and whip up one of each in a matter of days. To my family it may seem a tad impulsive, but I'd like to think that's exactly what a sewalong is for - to feed a collective sewing obsession.   

So the Tova pattern is great. I used Robert Kaufman's linen/cotton which is a bit heavy so although I had added the sleeves, they were too stiff and I took them off. But I quite liked wearing it with a shirt underneath and having playful bias tape around the inside edges is just plain fun. I've never been crazy about the collar when I've seen other Tovas so I left it out and used bias tape there too. I just think it makes a nice shape. Overall a great pattern and well suited to my, er, flattish chest.

Next up, the Wiksten tank. Again, super easy pattern and this time no adjustments at all other than how I attached the bias edges (I pressed the strips in half, stitched them to the wrong side with raw edges lined up and then pressed to the front and topstitched down). Since the inside seams are clean - which I love even though I have a serger and could have simply serged them - the whole garment just feels so "finished". The fabric is some cotton shirting and I love seeing the diagonal version of the checks, which is why pressing the bias trim to the front seemed necessary, even at the hem. It might not be a very flattering neckline for me but this will be very wearable with a cardigan.

So Wiksten officially tried and loved. More in the future for sure.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

spring, sort of

While I try to avoid facing another paint colour mishap, sewing has been a decent distraction. I've had this shirt pattern for years - Vogue 7998 - and I finally gave it a try. It's a kimono/wrap style and it turned out much better than I was expecting. Given it's "Very Easy" distinction there are one or two construction details I'm not a fan of but overall I think the seams will hold and the collar does a good job of hiding the questionable bits. I used Robert Kaufman's Brussels Washer fabric which holds its shape and is very wearable. I quite like the tie at the back but it would be great to leave the ties off so you could wrap any belt or scarf around the middle. Overall, a great, somewhat-dressy shirt.

If you're looking for some spring sewing inspiration - and not the all black, full length sleeve sewing that I'm indulging in - visit the Spring Top Sewalong Flickr poolThis top is especially awesome and could persuade me to sew something gray.

And then I remember the gray paint mishap. Sigh.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

all things charcoal

As a break from moving supplies, I thought I'd actually sew something (plus I took some time off this week to do just that.  Sewing is very restorative as much as my co-workers tease me for it.)  And instead of making something for the house I put the time into making something for a friend (double restorative, it turns out). A while back I spotted Meet Me at Mike's fox quilt, but didn't until this week think about adapting it to make a  foxy pillow. To better suit a square pillow form I made the fox block out of 12 squares, each being  3.5" high x 4.5" wide. I also inset the eyes so that they were part of these squares instead of appliquing them on top. The fabrics are white linen, salmon raw silk and then my current favourite, Robert Kaufman's Essex Yarn-Dyed cotton/linen blend. It's such a great design and I think it makes for a nice gift. Maybe someday I'll get around to making a wall quilt version - I know a certain basement with bare walls that's just aching for foxes.

Over the holidays I made a scarf for my dad that turned out soft, squishy and quite manly. So it only made sense that Jay should get a similar scarf. I used Berroco Vintage to contend with Jay's rough beard, but he's not one for modelling so the shot above is the best I could do. He seems pleased with the dark gray and he's not a yarn snob, so the blend suits him fine. The pattern is really great - easy to memorize (a center marker is a lifesaver) and it makes a warm, dense fabric. 

Next to the scarf is one of the nicest book covers I've ever seen (at one point I thought the whole cover would be my palette inspiration for the basement). Ru by Kim Thuy was recommended to me my a complete stranger in the line at Indigo a while back. The line was long and we managed to trade a few suggestions while we waited - it was like an impromptu Book Club. Luckily this novel counts for my Canadian challenge and even better, it was a beautiful read. Rather than being a linear story it was more a meditation on Thuy's life told in lyrical and petite chapters. It's been translated from French but somehow I imagine the rolling prose was there to begin with and it's just that fantastic a translation. I was swept up by Thuy's writing and was a little heartbroken when it ended. Thank you dear stranger!

For more knitting and reading stories, visit today's Yarnalong.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

sneak peek

Ahhhh. We are practically there - I've got very little painting left to do, we've taken off the floor protection and we've even moved down a piece of furniture. Oh, and the kids had an improv ballet session on the empty floor tonight. Basically we're super excited.

This moment hasn't come without some panic and craziness, but I'm prepared to blame that on too many hours spent painting. You see, when we first uncovered the floor in the hall (photo on left) my heart sunk. All I saw was red in the finish, a tone that I didn't expect to be there. Which then led me to question my wall colour choice. On a section of wall that was finished, and at that point finishing anything was a milestone (because after jinxing myself, I did paint the bathroom 3 times, just like my kitchen debacle, but this time in oil.) I have a bad habit of obsessing about colour and caring way too much about getting it just right. Luckily I have an amazing husband who knew exactly how to save my sanity. While I was at work he brought down a carpet, a bookcase and my favourite mushroom lamp so  the space looked lived in. The floor is just one part of the space, and truthfully it isn't red at all. I was just going bananas at the wrong time. And since that night (only two nights ago!) I have finished up the main room and done the one risky move - a black wall. Thankfully the unanimous vote in the house is that we all LOVE it.

Thanks to a quick March Break road trip to Montreal (aka, "escape painting") I managed to knit up another pair of socks for Sadie. I used the Two-Tone Socks pattern in Debbie Bliss Simply Baby but with larger needles and yarn. The yarn is Koigu Kersti which seems to be holding up really well in the other socks I've made for her, plus she loves the variegated palettes. I grabbed a Berroco variegated skein for another pair of socks while we were in Montreal, at a great yarn store called Espace Tricot. Highly recommended!

Also highly recommended is Eowyn Ivey's The Snow Child. Oh, wow. I loved this quiet, fairytale-esque novel - and not just because the cover is amazing or that the description of hand-sewing a snowflake embroidered wool coat had me swooning. It is just a charming story, wonderfully told.

For more knitting and reading stories visit today's Yarnalong.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

of words and rows

Even when painting never ends and work bleeds into my home life, I rarely let a day pass without reading a few pages and knitting a few rows. Likely I would lose my marbles if I didn't - somehow a few moments of making and a paragraph or two of fiction ward off feelings of being overwhelmed. Restorative pastimes indeed.

Both The Kitchen Daughter and The Three Weissmans of Westport were light, enjoyable reads. Nothing too cerebral, but full of compelling characters. I took a small break from my Canadian Challenge for these two, but they were great books to end hectic days with.

I have hit that time of the year though when my knitting isn't really working out. It's bound to happen and this time it's because I was too determined to have a red sweater. Like Red Riding Hood, we should all have one red sweater, right? Wrong. Some people just can't wear the colour and no matter how hard I try, I'm one of them. So after knitting everything but the sleeves of a raglan cardigan, using Quince & Co's Peak's Ferry, I had to call it quits. I haven't had the heart to unravel it just yet, but I'm thinking Sadie would like an Annabel cardigan like this cute one. Perhaps red sweaters are more for 8 year olds anyway? And on the bright side, I found a new colour in my favourite Debbie Bliss yarn. It's more of a raspberry/coral mix, but hopefully it will turn into something more successful. And less RED.

For more stories of reading and knitting visit today's Yarnalong.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

getting there

This image shows how I wish our days were being spent right now. We'd be playing around with display items, putting an inspiring little doll into a vintage light fixture then standing back to debate if the placement was right.

But of course, that's not the case (though we did do that).  Here is where our focus is - in the big giant mess in our basement. It's getting to be a very exciting mess though, and it's amazing what has happened in the last 10 days. The floor is down (and protected under all that cardboard), the drywall is done, and there are light switches that actually turn lights on and off! We painted all last weekend, much to the kids' dismay, and I'm currently procrastinating about heading down there again right now. Back when we signed the contract somehow taking on the painting component ourselves seemed like a good idea (truthfully I quite enjoy painting) but it's a HUGE job and I'm not very fast. Every wall, every piece of trim, every square inch of ceiling and awkward closet needs at the very least 3 coats of paint. Our goal this weekend is to get the bathroom and laundry room done because we actually have things that need to be installed in both. I've agonized over paint colours for the past few weeks and hope the final decisions are decent (my kitchen debacle is fresh in my mind). The bathroom will be Benjamin Moore's Balboa Mist and the laundry room Collingwood - which are side by side on the paint chip, and both on the warm side of gray. I used Collingwood in our upstairs bathroom but this new bathroom has carrara floors and (soon-to-be) countertop so I hope the slightly lighter Balboa Mist works. Ceilings and trim are all Para's Cameo White, the same white everywhere else in the house. I'm nothing if not consistent.

Soon, soon we'll be moving in and starting to make things again. But for the foreseeable future, I'm glued to a paintbrush.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

knit and purl

Malabrigo Worsted + Dovetail Cowl pattern by Carina Spencer = knitting awesomeness. I adore this cowl! Most of my knitting choices are simple stretches of stockinette, seed stitch, maybe ribbing, so this pattern seemed pretty adventurous. But amazingly, it is all based on simple knit and purl stitches, and the suggestion of using stitch markers to define the pattern repeat made staying on track super easy. The final texture is spongey yet intricate and I can't imagine a nicer yarn for the project. This was knit as a gift but I'm so in love with the pattern that I'm pretty sure I will have to knit myself one. And did I mention it is reversible?

I started Freedom by Jonathan Franzen while I was knitting Dovetail and just finished it up this week. I've heard many good things about The Corrections so I think I'll have to try it before making a final decision on Franzen. There were some things I liked about Freedom, but I definitely struggled to finish it. The characters - purposely flawed - were hard to like and there were entire sections bogged down by description. Oh well.

For more knitting and reading love, visit today's Yarnalong.