Modification Monday: Little Striped Dress

Original Pattern: Lightweight  Pullover

Knitter Extraordinaire: Ida (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Turned the funnel neck long sleeved pullover into a short sleeved, crew neck sweater dress. Details can be found on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome:  It’s been a real wave of awesome sweater dresses, hasn’t it? ‘Tis the season! We have seen that it’s great to go with a top down sweater pattern so you can try it on as you go, and that you need to add in some waist shaping and then increase more than you would for a pullover to all for some ease in the skirt, but we haven’t seen This one has been modified to be a winter layering sweater dress, specifically with short sleeves, so that there’s the option to wear it over long sleeved shirts or on it’s own. Ida adjusted the neckline to a crew neck, adding k2 p2 ribbing to echo the hem. And then there are the great stripes! Each of her stripes is 20 rows, providing a great graphic look.

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

An anonymous artist/guerrilla crafter has been putting up these fabulous mice-sized shops and cafes all over Malmo Sweden. I’m so smitten with them.

This is 101 ways to cheers yourself up. The entire list is so brilliant, everyone should read it.

How to be a good listener.

Choose your hard. The things that are the hardest to do are usually the most important.

My Favourite Pins This Week

Twix cookies!! Be a cookie hero and make these for whatever holiday gathering that has compelled you to bring a baked good! These look so good I want to reach through the screen and eat one right now. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe can be found here.

Chicken Fajita sweet potatoes – Healthy, delicious, and you might as well get something good into you before the overdosing on holiday food is upon us (although if the holiday party that Guy attended last night is anything to go on, the onslaught has already arrived – it was at a restaurant that had kangaroo meat hot dogs and duck fat french fries.). Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

I am in love with these mini swan succulent planters. Just looking at them makes me crazy with desire to rush out and find those swans, paint them, buy some succulents, plant them, and then gift them to everyone and anyone, because they are the perfect ‘anyone’ gift. You know the kind of crazy I mean- where you are convinced that the time it will take to fight your way through the shopping crowds and traffic to the craft store and the line ups, and then to make them at home, then wrap them in cellophane (go back out to buy cellophane because you forgot the first time) or something to protect from the actual freezing winter out there so you can gift them…. all totally doable before the holidays! Who’s with me?! Maybe for New Years. Pinterest link is here, and the original DIY post is here.

I think this might be the coolest crochet scarf I’ve ever seen! The white and pink combo here looks very summery, but you could easily work it up in neutrals or dark colours for a more wintery look. Pinterest link is here, and the original pattern can be found here.

The best thing about obscure old swear words? They make you look cool, and not uncouth. The link does how more racy terms, and a whole lot of gifs with people flipping their middle finger, so be warned. Pinterest link is here, and the original list is here.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends! I hope you are all on top of your holiday planning and shopping and feeling like you’ve got this all under control. Then maybe you can come over and tell me your secret as to how you got it all done.

Match the Pom Pom to the Hat

I need your help! I have a couple hats in progress, one for me and one for Lila. I also have 3 faux fur pom poms, because I couldn’t decide which colour would work best. Not that having 3 to choose from is helping much, mind you.  So will you help me play matchmaker with these hats? Shall we meet our lovely bachelorettes?

This is Take Heart, knit in Briggs & Little Heritage in their brand new colourway, ‘Magenta’. It’s a wonderful bright fuchsia, makes me think of pink highlighters and how cheery it will be in the winter to have a nice bright hat. The pattern – I’m still undecided, I love that the brim is long and meant to be worn folded over to help keep my super sensitive ears warm, but I am not sure if the twisted rib is a little too airy. Should I have done normal ribbing instead? I’m too lazy to rip it out, and I like the way it looks, so it’s staying:

I do like the cables, they are intertwining in a wonderful way, although it’s hard to see it here. This is one of those patterns that looks a bajillion times better when blocked (I hope). Magenta, much like red, can be a tricky colour to photograph as it bounces light, but this is an accurate representation of the colour in real life.

My other hat in progress is the Bunny Hat from Muki Crafts. I’m knitting it in some Knit Picks Stroll Fingering in Dove Heather. I have completed the hat, and just need to knit the ears:

The pattern is lovely, and comes in both child and adult sizes. I haven’t shown it to Lila yet, but she is going to go completely crazy for it when she sees it all finished. I’ve got some soft pink angora yarn leftover from this very old sweater that I’m going to use for the inner ears, and one of the faux fur pom pom is on it…. my insides are already squealing from the cuteness.  I love the little loop on the top of the hat that is folded down to go around the pom pom!

So, ready to meet the bachelors?

I called 5 yarn shops in Toronto and no one had the faux fur pom poms, so I got lazy and ordered them off of Ebay for I think about $2 a piece. The price is incredible, but the downside to buying them this way is they ship from Hong Kong by the slowest/cheapest method so it takes about a month for them to arrive. I know I’ll use them, so I picked a few colours that I thought would work with either hat. And now I can’t decide.

  Perhaps the cream one makes the most sense on the bunny hat, And maybe the light brown or pink on the magenta hat? Or the pink one on the bunny hat to match the ears, even if not ‘correct’ for a bunny tail? What do you guys think? Which pom pom should go with which hat?

Side note- I caved and bought one of those fake wooden backdrops that are printed on vinyl. I can’t deny that it looks good, yet I feel like I’m just perpetuating all the ‘knitting with wooden backdrop’ photos that are out there. I’m not sure if I’ll keep using it, but I’m trying it out for a bit. There is something so visually harmonious about yarn and knits on wood,  the eye seems to love natural materials on natural materials.  Even if the ‘natural materials’ are faux fur and a photo printed on a sheet of vinyl.

Knitting Themed Books for Kids

I’ve barely begun my Christmas shopping, so if you are anything like me and have some kids to buy for, why not help get the love of knitting started early and get them a knitting themed kid’s book?

Knitting Books for Toddlers: Ages 2-4

Clockwise from top Left: 

Knitty Kitty: This is a great book to start off the youngest ones. The rhythm of the prose is lovely, the words are simple, and the illustrations are beautiful. Lila loves this one.

Noodle’s Knitting: Noodle the mouse finds a wonderful ball of yarn, and decides to knit a huge scarf… until she gets all tangled up!

Freddie’s Blanket: This sweet book is about a little platypus transferring to his own bed, and includes actual knitting patterns!

Knit Together: A little girl wants to knit like her mom, but finds it too difficult. So they collaborate on a knitting project together- she draws a picture, and her mom knits it. So sweet.

Knitting Books for Young Kids: Ages 4-6

Clockwise from top Left: 

Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf:  This is a great book about a little girl learning to knit, and facing the frustrations and imperfections of that first project. It also comes as a deluxe set, and I’m pretty partial to it(you can see my review here).

Knitting Nell: This is a story about a little girl who was made to feel badly about her voice, so she doesn’t talk much- but she sure does knit a lot! Also talks a bit about charity knitting, which isn’t something you see much of in children’s books.

Annie Hoot and the Knitting Extravaganza: Annie the owl loves to knit, but the other owls don’t want to wear her knitted creations. So she knits herself an air balloon and goes off in search of animals that will appreciate her knitting.

Phoebe’s Sweater: This is a sweet book by the same author as Freddie’s Blanket. Phoebe is about to become a big sister, and learns about her new role in the family. This book also includes the knitting patterns for the knits featured in the story.

Knitting books for older kids:  Ages 6-9

Shall I Knit You a Hat?: When mother rabbit hears of a blizzard heading their way, she knits a special hat for rabbit. He loves the hat so much, they set about trying to knit for all their friends.

That Darn Yarn! : This is a pretty cool format- there are two stories in one! On one side of the book, is a sock monkey who gets snagged and begins to unravel. On the other side, a young girl find a ball of yarn and begins to knit a sock money. Watching these two stories come together is really clever and fun.

Extra Yarn: This utterly charming book is about a little girl who finds a magic box of yarn, and knit  a sweater for everyone and everything in her home town, until it’s famous. The illustrations are extraordinary.

The Magic Ball of Wool: one morning, Hedgehog wakes up to find a ball of wool stuck to his prickles. A spider teaches him how to knit, and he knits things for all his forest friends. Then one day, something happens and he needs a lot more yarn- this is a sweet book about helping others out, even when it’s difficult.

Our Newest Knitting Book Acquisition!

 

We love A Hat for Mrs. Goldman, our newest knitting books for Lila! It’s not only knitting themed, but also references Jewish culture (now I finally know what a mitzvah is! It’s a good deed!). Sophia is a little girl who helps her neighbor, Mrs. Goldman, make pom poms for hats. Mrs. Goldman knits for everyone in the neighbourhood to help keep them warm, but because she has put everyone before herself, she has no hat and is cold when they go for walks. So Sophia tries to knit a hat for Mrs. Goldman, even though it’s not easy. Lila loves this book! I’d say it’s ideal for ages 4-6, and promotes thinking about others, doing good deeds, and persevering even when something isn’t easy.

We aren’t Jewish, but I have been trying to read multicultural books to Lila in an effort to make sure that she doesn’t just see kid’s books full of white people. When I was a kid (maybe about 7 years old?), I had a school trip to the ballet and it was magical. We saw Sleeping Beauty, and I loved it except I insisted that the dancer wasn’t really Sleeping Beauty. The ballet dancer who played Sleeping Beauty was Asian, and in my books, Sleeping Beauty was always blonde. You know how kids can be so rigid in their definitions of something? Well, I had only ever seen blonde Sleeping Beauties, so I couldn’t accept anything else.  Now that I’m a parent, I don’t want my kids to think that only white people (and blondes at that!) can be a certain character. And I don’t want them to only see one type of person in their story books.

Fortunately, kid books are more diverse than ever before.  A good example is one of our favourites, The Airport Book, which shows a multiracial family (the mom is white and the dad is black) and teaches kids about what to expect when travelling by airplane. There is no discussion of race, it’s just a book about a family flying to visit grandparents and spending hours in an airport. And we love it! Perhaps a great gift idea for little ones that might be travelling by airplane next year?

Review: Brooklyn Tweed Winter 2017

The Brooklyn Tweed Winter 2017 Collection just launched 16 wonderful new patterns, earlier than they usually arrive@! In the past, Brooklyn Tweed has put out it’s winter collection in January. This collection is garment focused,  This is a cardigan-heavy collection with  seven cardigans (although some may be more of the ‘really big shrug’ variety),  five pullovers, two scarves, and one hat.  A big focus is on texture. Everything has lots of texture. Lots of moss stitch, cables, and all sorts of texture combos that stitch dictionary aficionados love. If I just described you, then you are going to want to take a close look at the collection.

Out of the 16 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 if you’d like to look at the patterns on Ravelry, the link is here.

Svenson, by Jared Flood

I think I swooned when I saw this, and it’s not just for the cutie modelling it. This DK weight design is an Aran sweater, but updated with well balanced textures, cables, and more moss stitch than you can shake a stick at. It’s knit from the bottom up in pieces, and seamed – not surprising, considering that a sweater of this scale needs seams to help provide structure to keep it from getting saggy and baggy around  the middle. This pattern is listed as being for men, but I say go for that ‘boyfriend’ look and rock this stunning sweater yourself.

You Should Totally Knit This If:  You love Aran textures, moss stitch, and don’t mind a good excuse to seam a knit.

You Should Definitely Not Knit This If:  You would rather die than seam, or if moss stitch makes you want to stick a knitting needle in your eye.

Shoji, by Norah Gaughan

This is the photo-finish runner up to my most fave of the collection. DK weight cardigan looks crazy but isn’t- it’s basically a really big rectangle, some fancy seaming, and the you pick up on different sides for the ribbing.  AND you can wear it more than one way! You can wear it upside down, and the vent in the back because a totally new neckline.

You Should Totally Knit This If:  You love knitting texture rectangles, think origami is cool, and feel like a cardigan that can be worn two ways is like two knits for the price of one.

You Should Definitely Not Knit This If: You feel you might slip into a coma if knitting a repetitive stitch rectangle, no matter what the end result might be. Also, if you hate origami and your elbows …. then this isn’t for you.

Binary, by Michele Wang

Another DK wonder (because Arbor really is a lovely yarn, and has amazing stitch definition), and beginner friendly! Fabric is reversible (although not identical on both sides) both sides are definitely appealing. There is a scarf version, but go for the wrap- look at that great volume. The texture repeats two different sections – a ‘wave’ pattern and a ‘block’ pattern- and they are fairly easy to remember. Design is written and charted.

You Should Totally Knit This If:  You are looking for a big, textured unisex scarf and a beginner-friendly Brooklyn Tweed pattern.

You Should Definitely Not Knit This If: You already pledged yourself to the cowl gods, although you could do a provisional cast on and then make it cowl length. Just a thought.

Kirwin, by Julie Hoover

An easy, worsted-weight layering piece, Kirwin is ideal if you love wearing button ups and hate being cold. Knit flat from the bottom up and seamed, this shell is perfect for those that don’t see deep, snowy winters, but still need an extra layer.

You Should Totally Knit This If:  You love knits for layering and you have short hair or love wearing your hair up- I have a feeling that this knit looks really good when you can see that great collar without anything blocking the view.

You Should Definitely Not Knit This If: You are  distracted knitter- keeping those stitches moving in their perfect diagonals is going to take a bit of focus.

Stonehaven, by Veronik Avery

A fluffy, oversized batwing cardigan that tells the world that no one is cozier than you right now. This Bulky weight cardigan is an adventurous knit and requires your knitting game to be on point. 5-at-a-time stitch decreases pop up in the chart,  and there are short rows for shaping the shoulders. But just think of the cozy!

You Should Totally Knit This If:  You love cozy sweaters that are built for weekends bulky knits, and love a good knitting challenge. Game on!

You Should Definitely Not Knit This If: Your eyes glazed over at the mention of 5-at-a-time decreases.

Those are my top picks! Do you have a favourite?