Christmas tree calzones!! Don’t know what a calzone is? It’s basically a pizza pocket, but if you make it yourself you can call it a calzone and feel like a total kitchen boss. The recipe calls for something that sounds like fake meat, but it’s your pizza tree, you put whatever you want inside of it. If you want ham and pineapple, you do that. Whatever floats your calzone boat. Pinterest link is here, and the full recipe is here.
If you are making cupcakes anytime soon (and really, let’s make cupcakes because cupcakes are awesome) how fun is this rainbow icing swirl technique?! I had no idea it was so easy, either. Pinterest link is here, and the full tutorial is here.
I’m a huge fan of Austin Kleon – his blog is fantastic and his weekly newsletters always have interesting links. He recently gave a great talk about struggling with our work and creativity when it feels like the world is on fire, and I love his warmth and humour. All these points are brilliant. I highly recommend the talk on youtube, which you can watch/secretly listen to while you are at work here.
Have a great weekend everyone!! My big plans involve trying to stage the kids into a holiday photo for christmas cards this year… I didn’t do christmas cards last year, but I want to get back to it. And of course, I want to make my own with a photograph of the kids. I assume I will have to bribe them into participation with huge amounts of chocolate…. wish me luck! And good luck to whatever shenanigans you are getting up to this weekend, friends!
Many of us have experienced the particular sort of heartache and disappointment of knitting something with a sumptuous 35-bucks-a-skein yarn and it turned out…. sort of blah. Or how many of us are holding onto special, expensive yarn because we haven’t found the absolute perfect pattern that would go with it – and it’s been 8 years?
Not everyone has the money to knit a sweater that will cost them $200 in yarn, and no knitter should feel badly for this. Not just beginner knitters, but knitters at every stage of their knitting. Because there are a lot of great yarns in the craft stores these days more than even this yarn omnivore expected.
Yarn Snob? Try Yarn Omnivore
I define a Yarn Omnivore as someone who crafts with all sorts of yarn fibers and uses materials that fall all across the cost spectrum. I have expensive needles that died too quickly and inexpensive ones that were surprisingly durable and solid. I’ve got yarn that cost eye-watering sums and some that cost a few bucks a skein. How much they cost has had no impact on how easily they pill or wear through, or if they are durable and wet block beautifully. I’ve got silks, wool from several different breeds of sheep, buffalo, alpaca, cottons and linen, acrylic, nylon, viscose and everything in between. There’s even a yarn made from milk protein somewhere in my stash. This broad approach to my knitting has made me a happier knitter because I love trying out new yarn, and I love being happily surprised by a skein of yarn that was a great bargain.
My Favourite “Craft Yarn” Projects
I believe there is room for more than one type of yarn in your stash. There was definitely a time in my knitting life when it was clear to me that working with ‘craft store’ yarn was seen as something you moved out of in your knitting life, but I never quite understood why (looking back on old posts, I’m practically apologizing for using it, which is crazy). Recently I reviewed my Ravelry projects to see what I had made with those types of yarns, and was surprised at how many items there really were. Some of my favourites (and baby Lila!):
I knit many of these in Bernat Satin, a very soft acrylic that I picked up at my local Michaels, because they needed to be very soft and machine washable. The Bernat Satin is very soft to the touch, and made at a time when I wasn’t sure how a new baby’s skin would deal with real wool. I love how the yarns has held up over the years, and the toys are in good shape – although I made the tiger eleven years ago for a friend’s now 11 year old, so I’ll have to ask how it’s held up!
The plant pot cozies, which I now use as coffee sleeves, were knit in Patons Classic Wool Worsted, a 100% worsted weight wool that I hadn’t tried before that project, and was really impressed with. The yarn has held up wonderfully, and they look exactly the same as in the photos after washing, even with the stitched on face details and ears. If you were looking for a very affordable, 100% classic wool, it would definitely do a great job.
Recently I had a stroll through my local Michaels and took a look at the yarns. There were a lot of happy discoveries for me, things I hadn’t realized would be there. And it occurred to me that there were definitely some yarns that were absolutely perfect to buy at a big craft store!
Ideal purchases from the yarn aisle of your big craft store? Marled yarns, inexpensive 100% wool, tweeds, and yarns with different fabric effects – like the velvet shown above on the right.
I’m swatching with some of the Shetland Chunky Tweeds, which is an acrylic and wool blend. In the lighter swatch I wanted to see how the flecks came out in simple stockinette, and in the grey, I’m checking the stitch definition with a thick cable- I’m knitting chunky braided headband, which you can see is coming along nicely!
I have been loving the velvet trend that has been popping up in clothing stores recently, but you know what sucks about velvet fabric? The back of it, which is the part next to your skin. It’s not soft at all. What is the point in wearing velvet if the only way to feel the softness is to stroke your own arm?! But velvet yarn? Well, that’s some 360 degree softness, right there. Case and point – I’m madly in love with this Bernat Velvet yarn.
Honestly, if you go to the craft store for no other yarn, please go and pet this yarn. It’s incredible. I want to knit a whole sweater out of it, but it would also be brilliant for some very soft and luxurious cowls or mittens. Then I want to knit sheets out of this yarn, and sleep between them. Everything I touch should be as soft as this yarn!
And come to think of it, would be great for holiday gift knitting- assuming you can part with any of it once you’ve touched it. Surely we all know someone who would love a luxe cowl or mittens in a velvety yarn like this. And the skeins are HUGE – 315 yards per skein of a chunky weight yarn. Not too bad at all.
The other thing more affordable yarns are perfect for- yarn crafts. You don’t really want to use your cashmere blend to make a pom pom, do you? Holiday decorations that are going to spend most of the year in storage will likely become treasured keepsakes if crafted in non-organic fibers, as my Nana’s holiday decorations (crocheted more than 30 years ago) can attest. Moths don’t like to munch acrylic! I’m thinking of making a big pom pom wreath this year, and I doubt I’ll be looking for anything in my merino stash for it. No, I’ll be looking for something fun and festive, in the yarn aisles of my local craft store.
** This post was graciously sponsored by Spinrite yarns. All opinions are my own, and I chose all the yarn myself.**
Sometimes, tasty things on great bread is all I want to eat. It doesn’t have to be complicated- some great fresh vegetables, a bot of cheese, a bit of balsamic… perfection. This recipe (directions, more like it!) will have you eating a tasty, healthy lunch or light supper in no time. Pinterest link is here, and the full post is right here.
I love how this wall hanging actually looks quite chic, while also being a really easy DIY. Plus you could completely customize the colours for what would work for your decor, or switch it out seasonally. So pretty. Pinterest link is here, and the full DIY is here.
Did you know that you could use Instagram to make your life happier?! It’s true! I know it can be hard not to fall into the comparison trap (been there, my friend, been there), but there are actually a bunch of ways you can use Instagram to make you feel happy about your life. Items 2, 3, and 5 are totally my main reasons for even being on Instagram (I also love keeping up with friends and family near and far, and the hashtag #alpacasofinstagram brings a lot of joy to my feed). Pinterest link is here, and the full post is right over here.
I had this gorgeous skein squirreled away in my stash for ages – too long, it seems, as it was since discontinued- but I loved it and wondered if it was possible to squeak out a little camisole with the yardage. Turns out, it was possible! I often look tall in photos, but if you have met me in real life, I’m actually on the smaller side – 5’4″ and knitting generally in the size of a 32″ bust. I was able to exactly what I wanted- squeak out a camisole on the single skein. I love how it turned out, but made a couple of changes when writing up the pattern. In these photos, you’ll see that there is a faux seam – I took that prat out of the pattern, as I thought it was already form-fitting, and didn’t need to have the faux seam. I am a huge fan o the split hem, so that was a feature I really wanted this pattern to have- I find that split hems sit nicely around the hip area and keep tops and sweaters from riding up while wearing them.
The pattern is designed to be worn with zero or negative ease, but my amazing test knitters also tried modifying it- because you know how I love modifications! Some went for an A-line approach, and others made a size up…. it was neat to see. As the pattern just went live on Ravelry late last night, projects are still being connected to the pattern page, but it worth checking out the notes of those that made some changes and experimented with it. I would caution on going a size up in the bust area, though. the i-cord ties only bring things in so much, and if there is too much room in the bust, the neckline will bag and sag. If you want more ease in the body, I would recommend casting on for a size or two bigger than the bust, and then decreasing down to the true bust size (take measurement on the high part of your bust, not the widest part of your bust). Side stitch markers can help with where to put those decreases, should you decide to try that.
When knitting this, I made the neck placket too deep so I sewed it up a bit – and I loved the result! it gives s lot more coverage than you would think, since you have to really look hard at the lace in order to see anything beyond it. I also have an amazing strapless bra on that matches my skin tone, so you think you see skin, but you are really looking at my bra. The straps are i-cord, but if you would prefer wider straps, you could easily modify and cast on for thicker straps, maybe in the lace or even ribbing! I hope to see some neat strap modifications!
These photos were taken in September, with goldenrod behind me. I know that the cold weather has hit most of us, but this also makes a lovely top to sleep in, and also is really pretty layered with a cardigan over top.
To celebrate the new pattern release, the pattern is 30% off until Friday, November 9th (midnight Eastern Time). No coupon code needed!
Mods: Adjusted gauge for sportweight, added in the sheep motif from the baa-ble hat pattern, and made the neckline smaller for more of a crew neck cardigan. Details can be found on her project page, here.
What Makes This Awesome: This isn’t the first time Karen has modified the Mon Petit Gilet Raye pattern- she was also featured last month for her very different take in the Striped Cardigan in Plum. This time she went for a more neutral palette and adjusted the neckline to be less of a boatneck and more of a classic crew neck cardigan, and worked in the ever-popular sheep motif from the Baa-ble Hat pattern. The effect is perfection- the sheep are just right in the placement on the yoke, and the smaller neckline is very flattering.
Plus I love the detail of the slightly variegated yarn for the sheep – it’s a small detail, but so perfect!