Chocolate Nephele Sweater-in-Progress

I haven’t even posted about a bunch of knits finished in 2017, but I’ll catch up eventually. Right now I want to talk about the Nephele pullover I started in December. I’ve loved the look of the Nephele sweater since I first saw it – it has a simple, chic design to it and the dramatic cable is definitely the star of this sweater show.  And a cozy bulky weight knit is just what I need right now – we’re deep in winter, and needing all the cozy sweaters we can get!

I took the above photo with some of the things Lila likes to read lately – A Perfect Place for Ted is an adorable book about a dog looking for a home and has all sorts of knitting goodness in it, Davy the Day Bat is a sweet book about a mixed up bat (and Lila is obsessed with bats!) but is unfortunately put of print, and then we have a storybook of Lila’s own creation – Jungle Superhero Saves Cat from …. I’ll ruin the surprise, from a tree. The jungle superhero saves the cat from a tree.

This photo was taken just before the holidays, I’m almost done it now! I’m loving knitting it- the travelling cable is amazing, and the bulky weight is actually a really quick knit – or would be, if I spent more time knitting over the holidays. I should be done very soon, the pattern is so easy to follow, and given the cold temperatures lately, I’m very excited to wear it. It is knit in the round from the bottom up, and currently I’m on the sleeves, so it’s the home stretch. I struggle taking photos of sweaters in progress when they are bottom up, it’s so hard to convey what’s happening when you can’t see the finished product yet, but I know that it’s going to be great.

The yarn I’m using is Delicious Yarns Frosting in ‘Chocolate‘, a chunky weight superwash merino that is so amazingly soft! I’m loving it so far, it’s knitting up beautifully, and I wish you could reach through the screen to squish it.

Longtime readers no doubt noticed that there was no Modification Monday post yesterday. Sometimes I have them done before the weekend and they are all scheduled and ready to go, but this wasn’t one of those weekends. I ended up in the hospital on Friday night, and got to spend some quality time there. I had been wrestling with what I thought was a bad chest cold for a couple of weeks, but assumed it would pass. Turns out I was wrong – I have pneumonia. If you follow me on Instagram (and if not, you should- all kinds of behind-the-scenes stuff gets posted there!), you probably saw the photo on Instagram stories of my charming IV pole while I was still in the hospital.  I’m back home now, full of antibiotics and painkillers, but I feel like this:

So…. I’ll be moving at half speed for a while. I’ve heard mixed results on the timeline for recovery form pneumonia, but none of them were quick.

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

Why we shouldn’t shield children from the dark side of the human experience.

5 words to help you relax: Just do what you’re doing.

How to stop self criticism.

18 habits that will improve your life in 2018. Oh man, If I could manage to do more than 3 of these, I would be so happy!

5 books billionaire CEOs think everyone should read before they die. Jeff Bezos was the surprise twist on this list, but I’m intrigued by all of them.

My Favourite Pins This Week

I know I was posting about avocado recipes last week, but I’m not over my avocado kick yet at all – these chicken and avocado burritos are a perfect quick dinner, quick lunch, quick anything. And sooooo satisfying. Pinterest link is here and the original recipe can be found here.

Just because the holidays are over doesn’t mean I’m ready to give up eating cookies, people! This recipe couldn’t be easier, because it starts with a box of cake mix. It’s still baking from scratch if you put it in the oven yourself, right? Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe can be found here.

Trying to eat breakfast, or a healthier breakfast? Or just want chocolate and peanut butter for breakfast? Yeah, I only put my hand up for the last one too. Fortunately this chocolate peanut butter breakfast shakes is healthy, easy, and tasty, so it checks ALL the breakfast boxes. Pinterest link is here, and the recipe is right here.

I suppose this is a great idea for kids’ dress up activities, but who doesn’t just want to have a cat or fox mask for themselves sometimes? Now you can whip one up in no time with this wonderful free crochet pattern. Pinterest link is here, and the original DIY is here.

If you are a bit sad that you’ve put away all your holiday decorations (sniff, sniff), why not take the opportunity to craft some new decor with pom pom flowers? Them look whimsical in mason jars, and would be fun to have in surprising little corners of your house where real flowers or plants won’t hack it. Pinterest link is here, and the original DIY can be found here.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! Anyone getting up to anything crafty this weekend, or trying something new?

Brooklyn Tweed Winter 2018 Review

A new year, and a gorgeous new Brooklyn Tweed Collection! Brooklyn Tweed just launched their Winter 2018 collection, full of fascinating new textures and designs – 5 pullovers, two cardigans, one jacket, one hat, one scarf, one wrap, and one cowl.  There is a lot of diversity in the collection, not just in the items, but in the techniques and textures offered. The photography is dark and moody, which is amazing, but we knitters do love some good detail shots – it’s worth checking out the patterns beyond the look book. The individual pattern pages have a lot more photos, and often show them in different colours, which helps give a better perspective on some of the darker knits.

Out of the 12 patterns, this pattern review will focus on my favourite five. If there is a different one you’d like more info on, let me know in the comments and I can respond to your questions there and offer as much info as you’d like! And if you’d like to look at the patterns on Ravelry (I always do, so much easier to add to my queue), the link is here. My top 5 picks:

Bevel, by Jared Flood 

Bevel is a squishy, garter-filled scarf with all sorts of fun color combination possibilities. It is knit in a modular style, meaning that the chevrons are worked first, then the outer borders are picked up around the edges.  The pattern comes in both a DK and fingering weight version, and there are even kits available for the fingering weight version with 6 different colour combinations- I can’t wait to see knitted up versions of the Toboggan combination, and Snowfall. Check out the kits here, and the colour combos are all the way down in the 7th photo.

You Should Totally Knit This If: You love garter stitch, knits that are more than one colour, and want to try modular knitting without it being a gigantic log cabin blanket.

You Should Definitely Not Knit This If: You are not into garter stitch as a fabric, and the very idea of picking up all those outer border edges makes you cringe.

Geiger, by Norah Gaughan

A beautiful cabled button up cardigan in a classic shape, full of tailored details and set in sleeves. This DK weight pattern is knit in pieces from the bottom up  and seamed together, with thick cables accenting details on the back fronts, and sleeves. The cables are not for the cabling novice: 8 different charts and 20 – yes, TWENTY – different types of cable crosses in the legend. Chart reading skills and total sobriety are a must – if you want to have a glass of wine and put on Netflix then you are living dangerously, my friend.

You Should Totally Knit This If: You read the above and thought – ‘Challenge accepted!’ because CABLES ARE LIFE, Y’ALL.

You Should Definitely Not Knit This If: You half choked on your tea or coffee when I told you there were 20 different cable crosses and haven’t even finished reading this sentence, because you’ve already scrolled down to the next.

Etna, by Veronik Avery

A laceweight dolman pullover knit flat from the bottom up and seams. The second I saw the drapey cowl neck, I loved it. Looks so pretty, and if you are a slow knitter, start now and you will have the perfect spring pullover just when you need it. Lace is charted, but the charts are fairly simple and repetitive, and the most complicated stitch would be sometimes knitting or purling into the front and back of a stitch. Also, no short rows.

You Should Totally Knit This If: You love knitting lace and mesh, love a good drapey neckline, and got a little happy when I mentioned there were no short rows.

You Should Definitely Not Knit This If: You winced a bit seeing that it is laceweight, and dolman sleeves make you feels a little weird (no, you don’t look like a fruit bat).

Freja, by Jared Flood

This bulky knit cardigan is one of the easiest and likely fastest of the garments to knit from the collection. Knit from the bottom up and seamed, there are no charts and all simple, straightforward stitches. The sleeve length could easily be adjusted, but i like the elbow length- it is a chic contrast to the open shape of the body of the cardigan.

You Should Totally Knit This If: You love wearing open front cardigans, haven’t tried a Brooklyn Tweed pattern before, and want something that you can enjoy knitting while you watch some TV, and maybe have a glass of wine.

You Should Definitely Not Knit This If: You don’t love easy-to-wear cardigans, stockinette, or are not sure about a more voluminous cardigan.

Kirigami, by Gudrun Johnston 

A DK weight pullover knit in the round from the bottom up, Kirigami is a straightforward knit. The yoke is fully charted, and the body has some waist shaping and some short rows at the bust.

You Should Totally Knit This If: You adore round yokes, knitting in the round, and the texture intrigues you.

You Should Definitely Not Knit This If: You are not into round yokes at all. Hey, they aren’t for everyone, no judgement.

And those are my top picks in my Brooklyn Tweed Winter 2018 Review! What are your favourites from the new collection? Let me know!

Modification Monday: Hybrid Reindeer/Thereafter

Original Patterns: Reindeer and Thereafter

Knitter Extraordinaire: Lesley (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Lesley combined two patterns, using Reindeer for most of the sweater, and adding the back panel from Thereafter. Details and plenty more great photos can be found on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome:  Lesley notes that she had both of these patterns in her library, and then decided to combine them.  What a brilliant idea! I love how instead of the original cable design on the back of Reindeer, Lesley chose something in the opposite direction, and went with an airy, lacy center panel over the spine that featured in the Thereafter pattern.  Such a simple but wonderful idea – how many of us have a library full of knitting patterns, and the realization that you probably aren’t going to get to each and every one of them? Combining two patterns that you really like is a great way to get the joy of knitting the details that attracted you to each of the two patterns, but combined in one beautiful knit. Look how lovely the results can be!

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

Apparently a hot bath burns as many calories as a 30 minute walk. So if you need me, I’ll be in the tub.

What I learned from a week with no technology.

These tiny works of art are incredible!

How to do more of what’s meaningful, and less of what’s not.

7 fitness resolutions that are better than losing weight.

My Favourite Pins This Week

I’m all about the easy, quick dinners, and this buttery, garlicky chicken and zucchini doesn’t disappoint (assuming you like chicken and zucchini, that is). You could also substitute the zucchini for another veggie, but don’t skimp on the fresh herbs. Fresh herbs in winter cooking makes everything taste so much more amazing! Pinterest link is here, and the full recipe is here.

I can’t be the only one who goes to Costco, buys a bag of avocados, a massive pile of bananas, and then 6 days later is in a race against tie trying to use them both up before they become overripe and unusable. Behold – chocolate avocado banana bread! In truth this recipe doesn’t use a heck of a lot of avocado, but it does add a certain creaminess to it, that’s for sure. Pinterest link is here, and the full recipe can be found here.

I know this isn’t the first time I’ve featured a link to DIY wool dryer balls, but I’m a HUGE fan of wool dryer balls- I haven’t used dryer sheets in about a decade, and wool dryer balls are amazing – not only are you using up scrapes of yarn, but they speed up the drying time of your clothes and get out wrinkles. Once you try them, I doubt you will ever go back to the waxy, chemical-filled dryer sheets you have to buy in the grocery store. Pinterest link is here, and the original DIY is here.

Those colours! This tutorial for making your own faux stained glass from a sheet of glass is such a fantastic idea – you could coordinate the colours to match your decor, and would look so great anywhere you want a splash of colour and a bit of privacy from the outside world. Pinterest link is here, and the full tutorial can be found here.

I don’t make new year’s resolutions, but I would definitely like to get more greenery in my place. If you are also feeling the urge to get some houseplants, this is a great round up of attractive plants that are fine with low light, awkward window placements, and other challenges. I already have two of these (the snake plant and dragon tree)and can attest to their ability to thrive on neglect. Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Have an amazing weekend, everyone! I hope you are staying cozy- It’s bitterly cold here in Toronto, and I’ve heard so many weather reports from all over about how snow people are getting!