Seven Random Things, and Lilacs Galore


Leanna so graciously gave me the Beautiful Blogger Award on her blog! I’m so touched, thank you so much! It’s always great to hear that people like your blog, especially those people who aren’t related to you and stand no chance of being quizzed over dinner one day about recent blog posts.

I never know who to nominate for these, you are all so awesome and I love going to your blogs. So I hope if you are interested, you’ll consider yourself tagged! As part of the award, I’m to post seven random things about myself. So here you go!

  • One of my overall life goals is to visit 50 different countries before I die. So far, I’m clocking in at about 19, which isn’t too shabby. For those interested, they are in no particular order: Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia & Montenegro (although it was called Yugoslavia when I was there), Slovenia, Hungary, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, England, Ireland (both parts), Spain, The Dominican Republic, The Bahamas, and the United States. Sadly I did the vast majority of those in my early twenties, when I was living in Istanbul and travelling a lot more. 
  • Which leads me to my next little factoid- I taught English in Istanbul for two years. I think that having lived in Istanbul is easily one of the more interesting facts about me. 
  •  My husband is British, and he moved to Canada so we could be together. We met here in Toronto when he was on holiday and  had a whirlwind 5 day romance before he had to fly back to England. He asked me to wait for him, because he was coming back for me. I didn’t really believe him, but he convinced me by endlessly calling, emailing, texting, msn-ing,…. you name it.  He moved to Canada three months later. I’ve been ridiculously happy ever since.  
  • Although this blog hides it very well, I actually want to be a novelist and poet. I write things, and then never talk about it except to very, very few people; although occasionally I publish the odd poem here and there. which brings me to another point that this blog hides very well….
  • I’m terrible about self-promotion, or any kind of tooting of one’s own horn. Except for things I’ve knit. Then I’ll tell anyone who sees it that I knit that, and isn’t it awesome. I really must learn to apply this trait to other areas of my life.
  • I’m a total, full-on green tea addict. I do drink coffee sometimes as a special treat, but it’s green tea that I drink from the moment I get up to when I go to bed. Right now I’m crazy about Iron Goddess of Mercy tea. How can you not be ready to face the day after you drink a mugful of something called Iron Goddess of Mercy?!
  • Whenever I’m in a conversation about which superpower you’d love to have (I feel like I’ve been in a lot of those conversations over the years), I always, always choose invisibility. Of course, I’d like to be able to turn it on and off at will. Then I could totally fight crime or something- I’d be invisible, and filled up with Iron Goddess of Mercy tea. Nothing could stop me!!!

I’m currently recovering (catching up on lost sleep) from a work conference that consumed much of last week. The lilacs in the garden apparently realized I was away a lot and took the opportunity to explode into full bloom, in a bid for total neighbourhood domination. I can actually smell the lilacs in my garden from three blocks away.

Their perfume steals in through the open windows, and at night I love to imagine that they are lulling me to sleep with their scent.And in the morning, in the sunshine, they are quite simply the most beautiful sight to see.

Modification Mondays: West Hill

Original Pattern: Nob Hill

Knitter Extraordinaire: Louise (Rav Id, Blog)

Mods:  Deliberately came in under gauge, added extra edging, shortened the sleeves, and used short row shaping for the seed stitch sleeve border. 

What Makes This Awesome:  I love the smaller-sized take on this that brings the fit in, and makes this a really wearable layering piece. The smaller sleeves are lovely.  Even though the photos are the oft-seen photo in the bedroom mirror, I think the shot below shows how really great this looks over a simple shirt and jeans- the vest/bolero transforms everyday wardrobe staples into something really stylish. And let’s not forget cozy! I love this look. Project page with details on the mods is here.

Modification Monday: Spring Tee

Original Pattern: Emmaline

Knitter Extraordinaire: Jessica (Rav Id, blog)

Mods: Changed the gauge completely by making the bulky-weight pattern into a lovely and summery sport weight tee.

What Makes this Awesome: The Emmaline design is really lovely, but I think a lot of people (and I’ll confess, myself included) hesitate at the idea of a bulky-weight tee for summer. I know that a huge part of the pattern is that it’s so unexpected, but when I saw Jessica’s take on it, it just looked so right. I love how changing the gauge gave this tee a light, summery look that is classic and perfect with anything. This top looks like it’s equally at home with a great pair of jeans or a pretty, dressy skirt. That’s versatility!  Just look at the final result- so gorgeous. so flattering. so wearable!! Details on how she did it all are on her project page.

Handmade Squirrel Contest!

Brooklyn General Store is both a bricks-and-mortar store as well as a great online shop that sells yarn, books & patterns, buttons, fabric, and all sorts of crafty goodness. They are having a handmade squirrel contest, which is just about the sweetest sounding contest ever.

Your challenge: craft a squirrel. 
Can be knitted, sewn, whathaveyou. your own creation or from a pattern. Then send them the squirrel! They will have the squirrels on display in the tree below. 

Oh won’t someone please help me find some squirrely friends?
They will judge the
squirrels, and the top 3 get prizes!! 
1st Prize:  $200 Brooklyn General Store
gift certificate (valid
for one year).


Prize:  $100 Brooklyn General Store gift certificate (valid for one

 $50 Brooklyn General Store gift certificate (valid for one
Deadline to have to squirrels in is May 15th, Which isn’t that far away, I know. But I think we can do it! I’m definitely going to send in a squirrel. I have already cruised ravelry and picked a pattern- now I just need to think a bit about how to make my squirrel super awesome!!
For lots more details, please visit their contest page.

FO: Destroyed Cowl

Pattern: Destroyed Cowl

Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Grapes colourway

Needles: US 8/ 5 mm

Mods: In order to keep this a one skein project, I shortened the length slightly- it’s only about 38 inches in circumference.

Notes: What can I say about Malabrigo that hasn’t already been said? I’m a fan of knitting cowls (and anything else that is meant to be worn against the delicate area of the neck and chest) in the softest yarn you can get your hands on, and Malabrigo is definitely high on that list.

This pattern was a lot of fun, and definitely could be churned out as a last minute gift, as long as you don’t mind stockinette and have some good wrist stamina. I knit this within 24 hours, and just loved the magic of unravelling the stitches on either side for the ‘destroyed’ effect. For those of you who have made the Clapotis, you’ll understand how oddly satisfying it is to unravel portions of your knitting!

I love cowls, they are such a great accessory. leave them loose and unlooped for a fashionable accessory, or loop them around to keep the chill away. Here is what it looks like when it’s wrapped around your neck twice:

The vest I’m wearing is not trimmed in real fur- it is
fake. I don’t wear real fur.

So snuggly and warm!! And wrapped twice around the neck is just right- not too loose, not to tight. I love it!! This is likely to be one of my future Christmas gifts. That is, unless I can’t bear to part with it come December!