Modification Monday: Spring Birch Leaf Socks

 Original Pattern: Birch Leaf Socks

Knitter Extraordinaire: inglesidebelle (Rab id, Blog)

Mods: Changed sizing, and the lace columns on the back of the leg to the yarn over lace from Sensational Socks (see below); and change the leaves on the toe portion to finish with three leaves, including one pointing towards the toes, which she adapted from the Leafy Mitts pattern.

What Makes This Awesome: The yarn over lace at the back is a great little touch, but I’m even more impressed with the toe modification. I have to admit, as much as I adore Nancy Bush and think she is genius, I wasn’t crazy about how the two leaves in the original pattern kind of made the foot look funny. The elegant solution of the third leaf totally solves that- and doesn’t it just look as though this is the way it was meant to be? A beautifully organic modification, and one heck of a gorgeous sock!

Chicago Style!

Such an amazing city! Eliza toured me around, and we checked out the amazing Art Institute of Chicago, which was having a well-timed Apostles of Beauty exhibit on the arts and crafts movement in design. Frank Lloyd Wright was a part of this movement, and he did quite a bit of design in Chicago and the surrounding areas- in that photo mosaic there are is a photo of a house that he built. Many slices of pizza were had, and loads of baked goodies were consumed. So much food! And I got to crash Eliza’s great book group. The book in question? Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.Also fascinating was her father in law’s woodworking studio- he’s an amazing furniture designer, and his pieces were so incredible, I forgot to take photos (this happens to me more often than I’d like to admit). But check out all the gorgeousness here.

And of course, when knitters get together, it’s all about the knitting, isn’t it?

Knit 1 in Chicago is sadly closing down, but they are having a really amazing giveaway- purchase one of their patterns, and you will be entered to win one of 60 $500 prize packs! This is how Karen (the owner) is clearing out her inventory, which is such a creative idea. When we visited, we were able to try on some of the samples of the patterns, and picked our favourites:

Eliza’s choice, above
my choice, below

 That caplet just had to be mine, so I bought the pattern on the spot. I’m so in love, I’ve already cast on:

 Cascade Magnum in 9408, a lovely heathered reddish brown

Trisha was the one that alerted me to this bittersweet giveaway, and we had a great sit down to talk about all the things we love about patterns, yarn, and the perfect LYS.

 Pictures from Knit 1, with Trisha and Karen (shop owner and designer)

Check out all the gorgeous patterns here. You have until February 14th to purchase a pattern and enter the draw for the prize packs (it’s not restricted just to the US- so no matter where you live and knit, you can win!). Good luck everyone-  I’d love to win one of those $500 prize packs!

We also checked out Nina and Loopy Yarns, and I found myself stocking up on some Malabrigo laceweight from both:

‘Olive’ colourway on the left, and ‘Paris Night’ colourway on the right

And Eliza generously gave me a skein of her handspun:

All said, it was a wonderful weekend getaway. Thanks to all the wonderful Chicago people I met while I was there, you made my trip memorable!! And an extra thank you to Eliza and her husband, for being wonderful hosts.

Sweet Paul Knitting Love

First off, I’ll be reporting all about my wonderful Chicago trip tomorrow- I’m still organizing all the photos!

I’ve been a fan of the NYC food & prop stylist Sweet Paul for a while- his blog is so gorgeous, and I love his recipes and craft tutorials. He’s recently been a bit obsessed with knitted home decor, even though he can’t knit. So he chopped up some discount H&M sweaters and broke out the trusty hot glue gun. Results?

 He’s starting an online magazine this coming spring, in the new, soon-to-be tradition of Lonny Magazine, etc. I love his commitment to bringing crafts into decor!

Modification Monday: Fylingdales Modified

Original Pattern: Fylingdales

Knitter Extraordinaire: Jillian (Rav Id, Blog)

Mods: Scaled down the size of the pattern by 10 inches, changed the gauge, lengthened the body, added waist shaping, changed the collar from shawl to mandarin. Details on the modifications are here.

What Makes This Awesome: The smallest size in the original pattern is 42″ chest, so making it TEN INCHES smaller and changing gauge is a world of math right there.This is a wonderful example of how you can takes a boxy men’s sweater and transform it into something gorgeous and flattering for curves. the mandarin collar is a lovely touch, and the longer torso with the waist shaping makes this so, so flattering. This is the perfect mod- taking a pattern that a lot of people might not look twice at, and transforming it into a got-to-have-it knit. Amazing!!  I totally want to knit this!

Buttons of Miscellany

A friend of mine had a grandmother who collected buttons, which were squirrelled away over the years, snipped off shirts and sweaters that were outgrown or headed for the rag pile. One night when she was visiting Toronto, we had a couple of martinis and she told me about them. How old they were, how pretty, and how she couldn’t’ bear to give them to goodwill. “I’ll take them!” I said. “I always need buttons.”

So…. she sent them to me. Along with some yarn as wedding present (How awesome is getting yarn for a wedding present?! Hooray!!)

 This in an incredible amount of buttons, people. And these are just the ones in the ‘white buttons’ bag.  Now look closer- I’ve flipped them over so you can see their backs in the second shot. Do you see what I see?

They are shells. the vast majority of these white buttons are made from a white and pink shell. I want to say they look like conch, but I’m not sure. I’m not up on my shell nomenclature.They have this substantial weight to them, you can tell right away they aren’t plastic. And then there was another giant lot of coloured buttons, all shapes and sizes. I’ve taken a few shots of my favourites:

I can’t wait to use them!! I foresee a lot of button embellished projects in the future….

Erica and I went to Tango Palace Coffee Company recently. It’s my new favourite coffee joint!! Tonnes of bakery goodies, nice and cozy, unhurried atmosphere, and only a few doors down from The Purple Purl. If Erica hadn’t totally called me out on exploring somewhere new, I might never know how great Tango Palace was. They have a hot chocolate menu that rivals a starbucks coffee menu. That’s pretty fantastic in my world.

 Here’s Erica knitting away at the collar of her cabled seed stitch cardigan- it’s already gorgeous, and it isn’t even off the needles yet!

Tomorrow I fly out to Chicago, to visit Eliza and have a weekend getaway in the Windy City. Report to follow!!