Modification Monday: Grayson

Modification Monday: Grayson |

Original Pattern: Grayson

Knitter Extraordinaire: Fee (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Added a duplicate stitch Darth Vader theme using a chart found here, to the sweater. To ensure that the chart could be centered, she adjusted the stitch count on the body so that it could be properly balanced. Details can be found on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome: The amazing things you can do with duplicate stitch, right? Fee made this sweater for her Star Wars-loving son as a birthday present, and he adored it. That’s what we really want, isn’t it? to give knits that are enthusiastically received and adored, precisely because they are just what they wanted. This is a wonderful gift idea- using a classic sweater as a blank canvas and finding a chart that you could duplicate stitch on to it. If you haven’t tried duplicate stitch before, here’s a quick YouTube video on how it’s done.  You are basically using an embroidery needle to ‘trace’ the stitches with yarn and work a design on your knit. It must have taken Fee some time to duplicate stitch this incredible design on the sweater, but well worth it. You could do all sorts of beloved characters like this- or even something more simple, like a Minecraft design or a heart. So many options!

Modification Monday: Grayson |

Modification Monday: Grayson |

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

This is bizarrely simple, but can really influence how much you wear your final knitted result (and applies to all sorts of store-bought wardrobe items, too!) Two questions to refine your personal style.

Are you a worrier? Here are three tips to worry less.

Andrea over at This Knitted Life has a round up of the pros and cons of all the online stitch dictionaries– a great resource!

Apparently Zappos has a customer service mandate that pretty much restores your faith in customer service. This was a sweet, funny experiment in misusing Zappos!

My Favourite Pins This Week

Pin Ups and Link Love: Chocolate Avocado Mousse |

Have you guys had the amazing combination that is avocado and chocolate? If you haven’t tried it before, I know it sounds strange but it is utterly incredible.  This dark chocolate and avocado mouse is 8 ingredients chucked into a food processor, and then chilled in bowls. How easy is that? The avocado is undetectable in the recipe, but leads a really buttery, creamy texture to the mouse. And of course, then you are getting all the goodness of avocado, so you might as well have another helping, right? Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Chicken Fajita Bowls |

These chicken fajita lunch bowls are perfect for work day lunches or busy weekday dinners. Just look at the gorgeous colours, and it’s full of flavour. This is definitely one to try, and when you make a big batch, you’ve got lunches (or more dinners) for the week ahead! It keeps in the fridge for up to 4 days. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Rainbow Popsiclesm

How beautiful are these popsicles? They are made by layering smoothies, so they are as good for you as they are gorgeous.  And each layer is a new flavour! Pinterest link is here, and the original how to post is here. You were going to dust off your popsicle molds this weekend anyway, weren’t you?

Pin Ups and Link Love: Alphabet Pom Poms |

It’s been a while since I’ve seen an adorable pom pom craft, but I love these alphabet pom poms. Wouldn’t they be so fun to spell out words for banners, or someone’s name, or even just for kids to play with. They don’t look easy, but for the right person this would be totally worth it. Pinterest link is here, and the original DIY post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: How to Draw a Rose |

This is a wonderful 2- minute video on how to draw a rose. This is part of a 30 day challenge for the month of May of drawing a different flower each day. A fun idea if you are looking to improve your skills! Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

My cold from last weekend had me down for 4 days, which was no fun! I’m at that gross-but-functional stage now. The weather is getting warmer, and I’m looking forward to a weekend i the sunshine! What about you guys, what are you up to?

Pattern Review: Brooklyn Tweed Wool People 10

Have you seen the just-launched Brooklyn Tweed Wool People 10? It contains 15 amazing patterns: four pullovers, four shawls, three rectangular wraps/scarves,  and four cardigans. It’s not a particularly summer-y collection as you can probably tell, the exception being most of the accessories. Lots of classic Aran detailing, with beautiful cables used in both classic and innovative ways, and fantastic texture. The shawls and wraps are lacy and light, all are for laceweight yarns and are geared to a variety of styles- some are graphic and more modern, others classic with botanical touches.

I’ll review 5 of my favourites in depth here, but if there was one you’d like more info on any others, let me know in the comments and I can respond to your questions there. If you’d like to look at the patterns on Ravelry, the link is here.

Wool People 10 Review |

Oda, by Yoko Hatta

You don’t often see a Brooklyn Tweed/Wool People pattern that is suitable for a beginner, but this actually very doable, even for a first cable project. This worsted weight sweater is knitted flat from the bottom up, and seamed. Classic fit makes this great for layering or wearing alone- I could easily see this being a cool-weather wardrobe staple. If you are well experienced with cables, this would be a straightforward, almost zen sort of knit.

You Should Totally Knit This If:  You are looking for a beginner-friendly cabled sweater design, or just want a simple, classic pullover that you will wear for a long time to come. Oh, and if you don’t mind seaming.

You Should Definitely Not Knit This If: You are looking for more complex cables, or a more adventurous knit.

Wool People 10 Review |

Marylebone, by Bristol Ivy

This is my favourite cardigan of the collection. A bulky weight, saddle shouldered cardigan worked from the bottom up in one piece. I love the antler cables that line both the fronts, and the shoulders and sleeves, and even are worked up the back. Plus, pockets! Who doesn’t love pockets on a cardigan?

You Should Totally Knit This If:  If you like saddle shoulder construction, and you love cables, deeply. Because this is antler cables ahoy. You will be working cables on every single right side row.

You Should Definitely Not Knit This If: If you are unsure of your feelings towards cables. Because this sort of sweater is really looking for a serious relationship, not just casual dating. If you aren’t feeling the love, then don’t lead this sweater on.

Wool People 10 Review |

Amarilli, by Amy van de Laar

 A triangular laceweight shawl worked with classic garter-tab construction. The charts are also fully written out as well, if that is more your style. Charts are not too intimidating (wrong sides are worked with knit and purl stitches), and the repeat fluctuates between 18-22 stitches.

You Should Totally Knit This If:  You love a good triangular shawl and think this would look awesome on you. Because if you don’t like triangular shawls, then I have no idea why you would try to knit one.

You Should Definitely Not Knit This If: Well, if you don’t like triangular shawls. But otherwise, this is a stunner.

Wool People 10 Review |

Bronwyn, by Melissa Wehrle 

This is my absolute favourite of the whole collection. The worsted weight sweater is knit from the bottom up and has a split hem; raglan sleeve construction. Cables are fully charted, but is simpler than you would think. Repetition is the key ot making each cabled section so high impact.

You Should Totally Knit This If:  You love cables and feel like it was love at first sight. This isn’t the easiest sweater, but it’s easier than you’d think.

You Should Definitely Not Knit This If: You aren’t prepared to print off the charts and bring them with you everywhere. Or if you aren’t good with tracking your rows (highlighter tape is good for this, though!)

Wool People 10 Review |

Saiph, by Irena Dmitrieva

This laceweight rectangular shawl uses a provisional cast on to ensure that both end of the shawl look exactly the same. You could also work this design in a fingering weight for a little extra warmth, if you like. The design is fully charted and doesn’t have any challenging stitches- it really is all knit, purl, k2otg, ssk, and yarn overs. It does has a lot of charts, though- 5 in total. You will want to print this one out.

You Should Totally Knit This If:  You love knitting lace, and rectangular scarves. There are a lot of charts, but they are pretty straightforward, you just need to keep working through them.

You Should Definitely Not Knit This If: If you are a beginner with lace, or hate double yarn overs. Double yarn overs come up frequently in this design.

And those are my top pics! What do you guys think of the new collection? Anything you are absolutely loving?

Stretches and Exercises for Knitting Pain & Strains

Guys, I’m super nervous about sharing this video! Am I the only one a little weirded out by seeing themselves talk? Watching the footage made me feel like I have no idea how my face moves, and then I felt like my positioning was odd and questioning how it was all coming across. Then doing take after take (after take, after take….) in the living room, with the camera on a tripod in front of me and the baby napping in his crib upstairs…. all I can say is thank goodness my cat Yarn came in to keep me company. She has a good sense of timing. Because for all those times you watched an instructional video and thought, “man, I wish I was watching a cat video!” now you can have both at the same time!

 For most of us crafters it’s really easy to be hunched over our work, knitting away for hours and not pausing to stretch or move around that much. In this video, I cover a few exercises that I find really help with areas that I get tension when knitting for a long time- shoulders, hands and wrists. But, as I am not a doctor or health care professional or have any professional fitness background, why should you take my word for it on how to properly perform an exercise that is intended to reduce injury and strain?

So I partnered up with the Ontario Chiropractic Association who have thoroughly vetted this video and the exercises I’m doing (chiropractors, not just for your back!). They are awesome good sports to be associating with me and my cat.

Knitted Bliss: Exercises and Stretches for Knitting Strain on Vimeo.

I think a lot of us sort of casually assume that as we get older, aches and pains are ‘normal’ because of our activities, but they really aren’t. And if you have health benefits, visits to a chiropractor are usually covered (at least they are in Canada) so there is no need to just tolerate it- it’s worth getting checked out.

Let me know if you try these exercises and find them helpful- I really do practice them! The shoulder one in particular does double duty for me, I find it’s also great for the tension that builds up in my shoulders and upper back from carrying the baby around all the time.

*This post and video are sponsored by the Ontario Chiropractic Association. All thoughts expressed in this blog post and on the video are my own words and opinions. The video was reviewed by the OCA to approve the accuracy of the information and demonstration of exercises. 

Modification Monday: Kitty

Modification Monday: Kitty |

Original Pattern: Sophie

Knitter Extraordinaire: Marianne (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Using the general bunny bod from Sophie, Marianne made small triangular ears for the kitty and  added a striped tail and embroidered whiskers. Details can be found on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome: I love how Marianne used the basic bunny body as a template to create the kitty, and even added a wonderful sweater (pattern found here). The contrasting ears and paw tips are a great detail, and who doesn’t love a little knitted animal wearing little clothes? While there are a lot of different animal knitting patterns out there, if you find one that you love, consider making changes to turn it into a different type of animal by changing up the ears, the tail, or facial details. Or even cusotmize for a cat lover in your life to knit a version of their real-life furry friend- different colour choices would turn this kitty into a Siamese, or a calico, or any colour you like. And with a sweet little sweater, who could resist such an adorable little knitted friend?

Modification Monday: Kitty |