Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week


My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

Studies show that creating art reduces stress- even if you are totally lousy at it.

These 6 emotional stages of frogging a project are pretty bang on.

6 ways to grow older gracefully, no matter how old you are right now.

The missing key to productivity is reflection.

My Favourite Pins This Week

Pin Ups and Link Love: Salted Caramel Apple Fritter Bread |

Don’t let the loaf fool you- this is dessert, people. Serious, amazing, apple fritter consistency with a salted caramel glaze, this is the kind of dessert that is so quintessentially fall that only way to make it more fall would be to have a pumpkin spice latte with it. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Spinach and Ricotta Pasta |

You guys know how much I like quick dinners! This creamy pasta dish is budget friendly and comes together in a flash. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Cabled Throw Blanket |

One day, I’m going to knit a blanket. Maybe not for another decade or so, but one day. And when I do, it’s going to have cables like this beautiful throw blanket (free pattern, too!) Pinterest link is here, and the Ravelry link (which includes links to download in US or UK pattern (different pattern styles!) is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Rainbow Crochet Basket |

Rainbow crochet basket? Heck yes. It’s made with t-shirt yarn, so if you had a rainbow assortment of t-shirts , this might be just the right sort of upcycle project for you! Pinterest link is here, and the original tutorial is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Halloween Gingerbread Houses |

I love it when people make gingerbread houses at non-Christmas times, because it’s really so fun (and delicious!) and I’m in awe at the creativity of bakers! Pinterest link is here, and the original round up is here.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! Little James has had a stomach virus this week, so things have been a little hectic around here, as he wants to be held constantly, poor little thing. I’m hoping that by the time you read this he’s feeling better.

Review: The Arbor Collection & New Yarn

There’s been so much amazing discussion on my previous post, thank you all for sharing your thoughts and comments! In contrast to that $10 cotton/acrylic shawl, today let me present the total opposite. Remember, I’m a Yarn Omnivore!

This is pretty exciting drop from Brooklyn Tweed– a brand new yarn and a new accessories collection, designed entirely by Jared Flood. Let’s talk about the yarn first.  Arbor is Brooklyn Tweed’s newly-released DK weight yarn from American purebred Targhee sheep, available in 30 different colourways. The crew at BT were very kind and sent me a skein of Arbor in the Vintner colourway to test it out:

Arbor Collection Review |

Right away, what you notice is how much denser it is than Loft or Shelter, their other two yarns. It’s a crisp, high-definition yarn that seems really well suited to cables.  You can read the full description of the yarn here, particularly impressive is that if you are very keen to have entirely American yarn, then this is as American as it gets – sourced in Montana and South Dakota, Spun and Dyed in Maine. I think that this might actually be the yarn produced closest to me, living in Toronto, Canada). I cast on for the Queensland Beach headband, which has lovely cables, just to get some experience with it:

Arbor Collection Review |

Arbor Collection Review |

I have to say, I’m impressed. I’m pulling pretty hard on this yarn, and it is tough. If you had previously tried Shelter or Loft and found that you were too rough and it would break, you won’t find that with this one. However, I do find that the colour is quite flat. The yarn is very matte, and with the single fibers combed so straight and spun so tightly, strength has traded off depth of colour. But man, those are some crisp cables. Like biting into an apple. An apple made of cables.

Let’s take a look at the pattern collection, shall we? There are 9 patterns: three hats, two scarves, two shawls, one wrap and one cowl. I should note that Laurel, Burnaby HatGuernsey Wrap, and Terra have been previously published in other collections and have been worked in different yarns, and if you previously owned those patterns you will be automatically gifted the updated versions with the launch. I’ll go in depth on three of my favourites here, but if you want to know more about any of the patterns in the collection, leave me a comment and I’ll give you more info!

Arbor Collection Review |

Foundry, by Jared Flood

A richly textured scarf with buttons to help keep it closed, Foundry is a lushly cabled scarf with geometric designs and lots of modern style. Even the ‘wrong side’ of this knit is beautiful. Design is charted only.

You Should Totally Knit This If: You can’t decide if you love scarves or cowls, or want the option to create either. And if you are crazy in love with cables.  Like you doodle ‘cables’ and then draw hearts and smiley faces around it on your school binder.

You Should Definitely Not Knit This If: You aren’t that great with charts. Because this is an intensive chart. Highlighter tape was made for charts like these.

Arbor Collection Review |

Hirombe, by Jared Flood

A reversible hat with loads of deep ribbing and twisted stitches and super stretchy! Also a great unisex design. Hat is charted only, although the stitches are fairly simple.

You Should Totally Knit This If: You love hats that can be for him or her, the reversible factor piques your interest, and you love quick knits.

You Should Definitely Not Knit This If: I suppose if you don’t like close fitting hats. Some people aren’t hat people, I hear.

Arbor Collection Review |

High Pines, by Jared Flood 

I love a good cowl, and this one looks lovely. It’s got an interesting half twisted rib at the top and bottom, and the branching stitches and combination of knits and purls are like the topography of some beautiful, faraway desert. Design is charted only.

You Should Totally Knit This If: You love trying new-to-you stitches and love cowls as much as I do (I would totally doodle cowls and then draw hearts and smiley faces around them if I was in class), and you love texture.

You Should Definitely Not Knit This If: This is a pretty intense chart. You are absolutely going to need highlighter tape, a ruler, maybe a marker or two. The chart is 59 rows and although the design is repetitive, it travels. There’s a lot of potentially new stitches here, as well. You’ll need to keep the pattern key close by.

So what do you think about the new yarn,  do you think you will try it? and the patterns, do you have a favourite?

Why I’m Not Participating in Slow Fashion October

Why I'm Not Participating in Slow Fashion October |

I have mixed feelings about slow fashion October. I absolutely love that Karen is making sure to remind people that it isn’t about judgement and that it’s all about taking a more considered approach to what we buy and wear. Especially since many of us reading it are crafters who have the skills to create items for our wardrobes. I’ve loved the posts written by friends out in the knitting world about beloved items they have treasured, things they were so proud to make, and what they have accomplished by upping their crafting skills to produce beautiful, wearable garments.

It feels like the cool girl club, SFO. Even though it isn’t marketed as such- and there are loads of really insightful comments that I totally agree with in the link above, where Karen lays out the scope of SFO that is meant to be very inclusive and non judgmental. But I don’t see that inclusivity reflected back. 

This isn’t a critique on Karen. I think she is awesome and I love seeing women crushing it out there. I have a lot of time for women doing the things they love and making it work. It’s just almost inevitable, when you start a movement – and slow fashion October is indeed a movement – that not everyone is going to be included. It’s hard to have a movement that fits everybody. And if there’s a group of people that knows one size does not fit all, it’s those making their own garments. 


A lot of important conversations are happening about where wool comes from, about the practices, breed varieties, and these are all really good conversations to have. I love wool – wool that feels like it’s barely off the sheep and still has bits of straw in it. I can even wear it up against my throat, it doesn’t bother me. Wool has never felt scratchy to me. But my tremendous love of wool, of supporting small batch yarn, local farms when possible, and (when I’m in England) local UK yarns; doesn’t preclude plant fibers, or blends of man made fibers. There’s room in my knitting world for all sorts of yarn. Big brands, indie brands, no brand at all. I like to mix it up. 

There’s something to be said for checking in on craft store yarn from time to time. It is ground zero for where the majority of knitters buy their first yarn. For those in lower income brackets, it’s where they are still buying their yarn. While it’s important to consider where our yarn is made, and what it’s made from, it’s also important to remember that these aren’t considerations that everyone can afford. 

So I thought for slow fashion October, I’d go the other way with it- what are the big brands putting out these days? What yarns are hanging out in the aisles to entice occasional knitters, or new knitters? I’m rebellious that way. If there’s a bandwagon, I’m heading in the other direction.

May I present the opposite of Slow Fashion October (although I suppose maybe I am participating in Slow Fashion October? Can you be unintentionally participating?) … a totally experimental crescent shaped shawl I knit with a single skein of Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball that has no animal fiber in it whatsoever, and even has (gasp!) acrylic. This is the Calming Desert Colourway:

Why I'm Not Participating in Slow Fashion October |
There’s no pattern, I was experimenting with the yarn and wanted to see what it looks like as a simple, stockinette crescent with a bit of ribbing at the hem. I increased a bit too much though, and ended up with a C shape shawl, but that’s okay. The yarn is extremely lightweight and is comprised of 58% cotton, 39% acrylic, and 3% polymide (the website says ‘other’, but I emailed and asked. Knitters everywhere are so helpful!). I love the flecks of white throughout. 

Why I'm Not Participating in Slow Fashion October |

It’s pretty, soft, lightweight, and I really enjoyed knitting it. I imagine I’ll get a lot of wear from it, even though I needed a shark like I needed a hole in the head. It’s a single skein project and the skein costs $9.99 US ($12 CAN). It’s never been anywhere near a sheep, and that’s okay. If you are allergic to wool, on a tight budget but need to get your craft on, or want to knit something pretty for a friend who is addicted to their tumble dryer, then this yarn is for you, my friends. You can probably get it at any big craft store. Or online.

Why I'm Not Participating in Slow Fashion October |

You are still a knitter if you can’t afford the small batch artisan wool photographed on the reclaimed barn wood planks (does everyone else out there have a reclaimed barn or a perfectly weathered wooden patio for their photos except me?). If you buy your yarn from Knit Picks, Lion Brand, Rowan, or Berroco. If the cost of your hand knit sweater was only $40. There’s room at my lunch table for knitters who can’t afford the $25 skeins of yarn, or are only able to knit with them sometimes. That’s okay. I’m not a yarn snob. You can totally sit at my lunch table. Here’s a chair. 

  The ideas behind slow fashion are relevant all year long, and I hope that slow fashion October brings about more awareness for all of us on the choices we make when we buy. But as Karen always says, slow fashion isn’t about wearing our judgey pants. I might be loosely paraphrasing. But you get the gist. 

(disclaimer: this is only one facet of a huge conversation that has a lot of overlapping points of contact. I could also write a post about all the reasons you shouldn’t knit with acrylic, or why we need to only use small batch rare breed sheep wool, or why we need to support fast fashion but pester big brands for more accountability on their supply chain, etc. Also, I’m totally knitting with a small batch local yarn on one of my current knits in progress. Not sure if that makes me a hypocrite or a yarn omnivore.) 

p.s. Wonderfully wise words about knitting with wool when you are starting out from Clara Parkes, and the so-darn-smart-and-awesome-I-totally-want-to-be-her-friend designer Bristol Ivy talking about the privilege that needs to be remembered during SFO

Oh, and p.p.s – here’s a hilarious boomerang Guy took of me doing the salmon while wearing this shawl


Modification Monday: Sea Salt Pralines

Modification Monday: Sea Salt Pralines |

Original Patterns: Pralines and Savoy Truffle

Knitter Extraordinaire: Rebecca (Ravelry ID)

Mods:  Rebecca couldn’t decide between two shawl patterns, so she decided to combine them both! Project page can be found here.

What Makes This Awesome: It happens to all of us- you love both patterns, and can’t decide which one to knit. But Rebecca got clever, and decided she would use elements from both of the shawl patterns she wanted to knit and combine them into a single shawl. While this concept could really work for any two shawl patterns, It helps that they were somewhat similar from the outset. Rebecca could then use all the parts she liked best of each to make her shawl exactly the way she wanted. So, my fellow knitters, consider this- what two shawl patterns do you love, that you think would look positively smashing mashed up together into a single shawl? Sometimes if you can’t decide, the answer is to knit them both into one!

Modification Monday: Sea Salt Pralines |

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This week

 It’s been a weird week for me, as my smartphone completely died and took with it a LOT of photos that I hadn’t backed up. I mentioned it on my last post, but I’m really not over it. I’ve been writing a post all week that was supposed to go with photos that are now lost and I’ve been resisting retooling it, resisting letting go of those lost photos. Not just knitting photos … family photos, photos of the kids. But lesson learned- I will be backing up photos to the cloud as soon as I get a new phone! Guys, if you have a lot of cell phone videos or photos that are precious to you, please learn from my mistake and back them up.

On to some better news!

The winner of the amazing Berroco Yarn and pattern giveaway is…. Karyine!! Karyine, I’ll be in touch shortly to get your address!

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

This Instagram account features famous works of art as taking selfies. Hilarious!

If you enjoy precision typing, then this game is for you. It’s oddly addictive, so set aside some time if you are going to play!

Lately I’ve been having a hard time falling asleep at night. If you are struggling with falling asleep too, here’s 5 tips to help fall asleep faster. I’ve been implementing them for the last two nights, and it is working.

So…. Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature. This is a bold new move for the Nobel prize – it’s never been awarded to a songwriter before. I’m not sure how I feel about it.

My Favourite Pins This Week

Pin Ups and Link Love: Stuffed Halloween Peppers |

I’m not the biggest Halloween fan, but these jack-o-lantern style stuffed peppers are pretty freaking awesome! And key, if it wasn’t Halloween, you could just use the recipe and not carve a little face into the peppers. The stuffing? An amazing slow cooker shredded taco chicken and rice filling, easy-peasy and very delicious. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post can be found here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Chocolate Turtle Apple Slices|

Guys, you know what I’m like- if there’s fruit involved, then I’m confident it is a healthy treat.  Even though there’s enough chocolate and caramel on this to pretty much nullify the nutrition… and so very seasonal! Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Embroidered Sweater DIY |

I love embroidery on sweaters, and this is a great tutorial on how to embroider a word or phrase on a sweater- either store bought or one you knit yourself, all with using the chain stitch. Pinterest link is here, and the original tutorial can be found here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Painted Pencils|

Feel like your pens or pencils are looking a little blah? Turn inexpensive pencils into something fresh and pretty by painting them. I love the tiny polka dots! Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Puppy in Sweaters |

One of my favourite things about the cooler weather? I adore seeing dogs in sweaters. If it’s cold enough for you to wear a jacket, then the puppy needs one too! Presuming it’s a short hair, that is. I imagine huskies and other furry pups don’t quite need the same sweaters. Sadly I cannot find the original post, but here is the Pinterest link.

Have an amazing weekend, my friends! I think we are going to get a pumpkin. Or several pumpkins. I might spend the weekend looking at fun pumpkin decorating ideas, since I hate carving them – a very long time ago I volunteered at an art gallery that had a Halloween fundraiser, and one of my jobs was to carve over 40 pumpkins that lined the walkway leading up the gallery. It looked amazing, but I had an actual bruises on my palms from scraping the insides clean and carving them. Haven’t carved a pumpkin since. But I like the idea of painting them!