Modification Monday: Orange Cloud Sweater

Original Pattern: Cloud Bolero 

Knitter Extraordinaire:  Keri (Ravelry ID)

Mods:  Lengthened the bolero and added sleeves to transform into a full cardigan. Details can be found on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome: Long term knitters, do you remember the original pattern? It was a little over 10 years ago when the Cloud Bolero debuted (September 2006, on the website for the now-defunct Yarn Forward magazine), and it was hugely popular. It has since been updated and the designer, Ysolda Teague, has been re-engineered into Liesl. I suspect that when great mods are made (like this one right here!) it’s easy to see how the original delicate bolero looks completely fresh and a bit more wearable when lengthened into a sleeved cardigan.

Keri did a great job of taking the original pattern and modifying it into a beautiful, more wearable cardigan. Plus, feather and fan stitch! remember feather and fan stitch? Love it.

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

How meditation can make you more creative. So true. Learning to meditate feels about as exciting as flossing, but yields amazing results (much like flossing, now that I think about it).

The key to increasing your luck is to increase the number of people you encounter. An engaging read on how success is a series of links in a chain, and they always lead back to random acquaintances.

On making new friends, as an adult. Because sometimes, you need some new friends.

You guys know how much I love a good modification, and Tin Can Knits has a great round up of all the ways they have hacked their free Flax sweater pattern (so far!). Very inspiring.

My Favourite Pins This Week

If you are lamenting the loss of the rich flavours of the holidays, try this one-pan cranberry balsamic roasted chicken. If you have leftover cranberries in the freezer, it’s going to super easy! Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

I get irritated when on January 1st the internet is suddenly awash in detox recipes and salad bowls for days. I can’t just stop eating rich food and treats just because December is over! Enter healthy treats- they give you the sweet hit you are looking for, but made with much healthier ingredients. These fudgey brownie batter truffles are made with chickpeas, but you would never know it. High fiber, high protein, AND tastes like a treat? Bring it on, January. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

I have to give a shout out to the website that creates literary cocktails, and they made a Bruleed Citrus Gimlet inspired by my book, Lady Crawford! If you love the Jazz Age and retro cocktails, then this is for you. Plus they have an excerpt from one of the poems in my book that most suits the cocktail- they totally nailed it. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe/reading post is here.

If one of your resolutions for 2017 is to try fair isle knitting for the first time, then there’s probably no better project to try than this fair isle hat (free pattern).  It’s super fast to knit, and comes in baby, child, and adult sizes. Pinterest link is here, and the original pattern post is here.

I loved this round up of great motivational quotes that help give you a nudge when you feel your productivity or creativity is floundering. Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Hello 2017!

Where did 2016 go? Other than some massive life shifts, a formal career change, finishing a new book, raising James through the first year of his life while caring for a 4 year old, then taking that family trip to England and Spain, and a side order of some knitting, I’m not too sure what I did with myself.

Oh wait… that’s where the year went.

A year-in-review post is my standard fare for this time of year, where I round up the things I’ve knit and designed the past year, comment as to what worked and what didn’t, and then I make some general plans for the coming year that I’ve long forgotten by April. So I’m going to do something I don’t normally do, but that I think we should ALL do- reflect on the big things that happened in 2016 in our own lives.

January- April: James was 4 weeks old, and not nursing well- I had many nursing specialist appointments. Also had to have several follow up appointments with another specialist, this one for ‘granulated scar tissue’ repairs after James’s birth. Do you know, with all our modern medicine, how doctors fix granulated scar tissue? They burn it off with a stick of silver nitrate and I’m not even kidding. They don’t numb or freeze you first either. The only other thing I can recall doing during these months is watching all of Scandal and working on Lady Crawford with my editor. I’m pretty sure there was a deadline in there somewhere.

May – July: I think I did some knitting! Was finally better enough to start going for big walks with the baby.  Guy formally registered his own business, and we popped the cork on some champagne!

July – September: Took Lila out of daycare thinking it would be a great idea, and it turned out to be a total fail. I will never under estimate the power of a small child’s need for friends ever again. I also realized it was totally possible to pursue my big dream of writing, if we stayed in our tiny home. I took the leap! We popped another bottle of champagne.  Also Guy and I brought the wee ones to England and Spain– we survived, possibly even thrived! The very next day after we returned, Lila started her first day of kindergarten. She loves school!

October – December: In October, James started daycare, I turned my attention to working part time for Stitchcraft Marketing, launched my poetry book Lady Crawford. Then everyone in our house got a horrible stomach flu one after the other, but Lena Dunham told the internet that she was reading my book and that was pretty awesome. December was a flurry of gatherings and then James, Guy and I got a stomach bug again the week before Christmas, and James was sick all through Christmas and into the New Year.

While it felt like the world was becoming a darker place with anger and fear calling the shots all over, 2016 was a year of revolution for me and my family.  Maybe because things seemed more frightening in other countries in the world, it was easier to see what was important to me, to us. To make choices that I’m fortunate enough to be able to make.

I didn’t get as much knitting done this year as I would typically like, but this was a hectic year, as you know. Here are the knitting projects I did complete! There is also the Harebell Cardigan that I finished on December 31st, but I need to get the buttons and a proper photo shoot will follow. Here’s what I finished knitting in 2016:

Top Row, left to right: Scottish Mist, Perfect Striped Mitts, Animal Pot Cozies (also double as coffee sleeves), Arika Cowl, and Fudge the Puppy.

Second Row, Left to Right: Golden Rose Cowl, Rocky Joggers for James, Wood Elf for Lila, Delineate TankGriffon Hoodie.

Third Row, Left to Right:  Kveta Shawl, Offhand Lace, Made Up Shawl in a Ball, Garter Ear Flap Hat, Mini Stocking Advent Calendar.

There was also this one random made up knit. Lila wanted me to knit a rainbow jacket for this stuffed dog, so I did- I knit it in the car on the way to my parent’s place. And once it was done, she was totally over both the dog and the rainbow jacket. Sigh. But it also fits the elf doll in the above collection, so I think that the jacket might get more play in the future.

While I was not focused on designing at all this year, I did update the Fairy Mist pattern to include laceweight, fingering weight, DK, Aran and Bulky. I designed three small free patterns, too- animal themed pot cozies that double as mug sleeves, super easy (really, really, REALLY easy) slipped stitch fingerless mitts, and a stranded hat pattern that comes in child and adult sizes.  The last two were for a Stitchcraft client! I’m someone who works well with external deadlines and commitments, so it was great to have the motivation to create a couple of new patterns at the end of the year.

Top Left: Fairy Mist (shown in Bulky) Top Right: Animal Pot Cozies / Coffee Sleeves

Bottom Left: Slipped Stitch Handwarmers  Bottom Right: Hobium Colorwork Hat 

To celebrate the end of 2016 and welcome in 2017, Here is a coupon code for 60% any of my not-free patterns – good until this Saturday (January 7th).

amazing2017

Lots of perfect winter accessories, like Pemba, Hyperballad Cowl, Xanadu, or Fairy Mist!

I don’t know what 2017 will bring, but in my knitting I want to focus on more garments, and more full mittens. I feel like with all the big shifts in my life in 2016, I need to find a new normal for 2017, and I’m excited to map out that new path.

So, here’s to new ground in 2017.  Here’s to doing the hard work to build the kind of future we’ve always wanted.  I want wonderful, amazing things for each and every one of you this year. Let’s make 2017 incredible!

Modification Monday: Theo’s Winter Body

Happy New year, everyone!! I hope you are excited for a brand new year, full of potential.  The last gasp of 2016 was a rough one for us- everyone was sick except for Lila, which was a blessing since missing Christmas as a 4 year old is pretty terrible. James has definitely been having the worst of it – he’s still on the mend, poor little thing. But on to a new year, and good things!

Original Pattern: B21-32 Litte William’s Body

Knitter Extraordinaire: Sari (Ravelry ID, Blog)

Mods: Changed the colourwork design on the onesie and changed the arm shaping to have straight sleeves instead of tapered. Details can be found on her blog post, here.

What Makes This Awesome: I’m in awe of this beautiful little onesie. What a great idea to knit a one piece! Sari loved a colourwork design from a sock KAL and decided to incorporate it in a onesie. Taking stranded designs that are meant to be on smaller items (like accessories and socks) and making them the main attraction on garments is a great way to create a knit with big impact. And the icing on the itty-bitty baby onesie cake? She knit it all with leftover yarns that she had in her stash!

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

Eight indoor hobbies to get you through the winter. Of course knitting is one of them.

The holidays can be a tough time, but any time you are having a rough day, here are 4 questions to ask yourself that can turn your day around.

How meditation makes you more creative.

If you are like me and have a tendency to eat EVERYTHING through the holiday, here are seven tips for eating more mindfully.  #7 is the one I need to focus on. I find by the end of Christmas I realize I haven’t actually experienced the feeling of hunger for days.

My Favourite Pins This Week

For a fun and lighter-feeling dessert, how about these super fun reindeer ice cream cones? It’s basically any ice cream you fancy, decorated with a red m&m, and some brown m&m’s or chocolate chips. In this ‘recipe’ they use shaped gingerbread for the antler, But I say break some pretzels and use those instead. Unless you happen to have shaped gingerbread lying around your house. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

Asiago Chicken Pasta with sundried tomatoes and asiago cheese is a great weeknight supper, although the directions on this seem a bit rushed (who am I to judge, I write so many blog posts when I’m exhausted and the kids are finally in bed). My suggestion is to ignore step #1, and get the pasta on the stove to start boiling while you cook everything else. Way faster. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

AS part of the faux fur pom pom post here recently, some of you posted about how hard it is to find faux fur pom poms…. but if there is a fabric store, perhaps you can get some faux fur and make your own! Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

This would be such a cool January project- making your own oversized cross stitch wall art. Think of all the fair isle knitting charts you could purpose for this! Pinterest link is here, and the original DIY post is here.

As someone who loves to travel, I’m fascinated by words that explore the complex feelings that travel can bring up in us. This is a wonderful list of words from around the globe that describe all sorts of interesting aspects of travel. I had forgotten about sonder,  but I love what it means! Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! For me, this means it’s Christmas weekend, so we will be spending time with family and being all Christmas-y. if you celebrate Christmas, I hope that you have a wonderful weekend full of your favourite Christmas things! And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope you have an amazing weekend of relaxation and the very best that this season has to offer! Big hugs to you all!