Finished Knit: Mystery KAL Knitted Turtle

I so love knitting toys- they are just really satisfying to put together, and so perfect for destashing odds and ends!

Finished Knit: Rainy Day Turtle |

Pattern: Rainy Day Turtle 

Yarn: Rowan Handknit Cotton in ‘Pesto’ and ‘Celery’, and Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label Fingering in ‘Buttercup’

Needles: 4.5 mm (US 7)

Mods: None.

I had previously posted on participating in this mystery KAL here, and absolutely loved the whole process. The preliminary information stated that the designer used two shades of green and then an ‘accessory’ colour, and clues were revealed slowly, starting with the accessories (hat and rain boots). I knit the hat and boots in some leftover ‘Buttercup’ Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label I had kicking around. I deliberately went out and bought the Rowan handknit cotton for this project, because it’s one of my favourite yarns for knitting toys with- it machine washes well, and the smaller skeins work well for knitted toy sizes.

Finished Knit: Rainy Day Turtle |

Finished Knit: Rainy Day Turtle |

The shell was tricky for me, but it was my own fault- there were options to knit it either flat or in the round, but I accidentally skipped around and amalgamated the directions together into one, so there are some slight flaws in the decreases for my turtle’s shell, but it all worked out and is actually quite difficult to see. That’s what I get for trying to do knitting and decreases while also wrangling a toddler! It’s cleverly constructed, and I like the front panel- I added some yellow into my stripes for a little more flair, and I think it goes nicely with the star buttons that are on his shell straps.

Speaking of the toddler- Lila, like so many toddlers, really enjoys taking the hat, boots, and shell off the turtle right away, and then asks me to put them back on, so she can take them off again, and so on. We repeat that little performance for quite some time, although I’m trying to get her to learn about putting his shell back on herself.

Finished Knit: Rainy Day Turtle |  You can see the turtle’s tail more clearly once his shell is off!

I do think that’s a key detail that makes a knitted toy that much more awesome- accessories. Having great articles of clothing that can be taking on or off helps children interact with the toys in a much more meaningful way.  That’s something I think Barbara (the designer) does really well- she has lots of clothing bundles for her toys, and the patterns always come with an article of clothing or two.

If you haven’t knit a toy before, I recommend it- but be aware that they all have finishing tot hem, so if you would sooner die than seam anything, they might not be right for you. but if you love destashing and knitting for kids, then these are absolutely perfect.

Modification Monday: Snow on Wheat Mittens


Modification Monday: Snow on Wheat Mittens |

Original Pattern: Maid Agnes’ mittens/Pigan Agnes vantar

Knitter Extraordinaire: Gardenlily (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Used motifs from the original mitten pattern and added additional details inspired from afghan rugs, changed hte pattern to fingerless mitts and altered the ribbing. Project page can be found here.

What Makes this Awesome: It’s important to click over to the original to see how different it is- only a small portion of the original charts were used, and I love the improvised details that add texture of the ribbing and the palms (which you can see underneath the top mitt in both photos) which does exactly what Gardenlily set out to do- add details that evoke exotic afghan rugs. I’m particularly impressed with the interrupted corrugated ribbing- I don’t think I’ve seen that before! This is a great modern update on a very classicly designed mitten, and it completely works. Even the choice to use a variegated yarn with a semi-solid one gives depth and variation it the final product. After all, stranded knits are all about the details!

Modification Monday: Snow on Wheat Mittens |


Pin Ups: My Favourite Pins This Week

The winner of one copy of Holla Knits Summer Accessories Collection is…… Tamera! Tamera wants to knit the Fransisco Cowl, and now we’re totally going to make that happen. Congrats, Tamera!

Let’s check out this week’s offerings. I’m so trying to resist full-on summer recipes, I know it’s still May, but I’m just so freaking excited for the warmer weather.  Last weekend I did some baking and packed up all my winter clothes,  hauled out my summer ones, and planted flowers in pots on the patio. It was a wonderful, delicious weekend –  easy, relaxed, and full of sunshine.  And it included a couple of these below:

Pin Ups: Easy Bagel Plate |

This easy bagel plate would be a snap to put together for a casual family breakfast, and everyone could easily assemble a healthy bagel just to their taste. And you never know what you might find out about how your family likes their bagels- turns out my three-year-old loves smoked salmon! Although she pretty much just picked it off the bagel and ate it on it’s own.  The link contains three different breakfast ideas, but I think this colourful build-your-own-bagel idea is the best one, and you could have different types of cream cheese on offer, if you wanted.  Pinterest link is here, and the original site is here.

Pin Ups: Skinny banana chocolate muffins |

Last weekend, I had some bananas that were past their prime, so I made these fantastic (and very healthy) banana chocolate chip muffins. There is no sugar used (sweetened with  a little honey and bananas only), but I think the chocolate chips are crucial for ensuring these taste like a treat.  They were very popular around my house! Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Pin Ups: DIY Wire Rings |

These super simple wire and bead rings are quick to make and so delicate.  All you need is a fine gauge wire and beads that will fit on it, and you could easily make one in under 15 minutes. Pinterest link is here, the original  site is here.

1 lemonade

Summer cocktails are always a special treat unto themselves, and this tequila blackberry lemonade is amazing! I don’t even usually like tequila, but it’s well camouflaged in this wonderfully bright and summery lemonade. It’s also super simple to put together, perfect for parties. Pinterest link is here, the original post is here.

1 rainbow stairs

I’m in love with these rainbow stairs. So bright, so pretty- and I love how each step is so bright and totally it’s own colour. There isn’t much to the original post except some additional photos, but they are lovely to look at! Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! I hope you have lovely weather and get to do your favourite things.

Pattern Review: New Collection from Holla Knits!

The summer accessories issue of Holla Knits just went live, and it is worth checking out. What makes Holla Knits different from most knitting magazines (both online and print) is that there is no advertising. As in zero. Ads are how magazines cover their costs, so Holla Knits relies on issue and pattern purchases alone to support production and designers.

Holla Knits Summer 2015 |

The issue is $14, which is a pretty good deal for 5 patterns (works out to $2.80 per pattern) and 4 articles, such as how to knit a wedge shape with short rows (easily the most valuable article in the group, because it explains short rows very clearly and the wedge shape is great for practicing), conquering your stash, and a great sock 101 article breaking down each component of a sock pattern and what to watch out for. And there is even a fun quiz (who can resist a quiz?!) on finding your ‘knitting spirit animal’.  I’m a Raven! You’ll have to take the quiz to get it.

But back to the patterns.  The links to the individual patterns contain details on yardage, needle sizes, etc. My top 3 are:

Holla Knits: Bowdoin Hat |

Bowdoin Hat

A textured mesh hat that is perfect for that special skein of sock yarn you have squirreled away. Lace is both written and charted.

You should totally knit this hat if you: love mesh, texture, one-skein projects, and knitting hats you can wear from spring into fall.

And you should totally not knit this hat if: a 12-row pattern repeat is too much for you, or if you will never wet block a swatch, not even if your life depended on it. It’s crucial to wet block this one, because the mesh grows.

  Holla Knits: Taken By The Wind |

Taken By the Wind

A big, dramatic shawl that is completely timeless and totally vintage all at the same time.  Lace is both written out and charted.

You should totally knit this shawl if: You love big comfy shawls that have a bit of drama, little hits of lace, Stevie Nicks, admiring the moon at night, and short rows.

You should totally not knit this shawl if: You despise stockinette, and/or making fringe. Of course, you could leave the fringe off (click through the links to see what it looks like without the fringe!)

  Holla Knits: Mykonos Wrap |

Mykonos  Wrap

A beginner-friendly pattern that alternates garter blocks and super-simple mesh lace.

You should totally knit this shawl if: you love knitting while having conversations or watching movies, easily memorized instructions, laceweight yarn, and rectangular shawls.

You should totally not knit this shawl if:  you like your knits complex and keeping you on your toes. This one will not keep your attention if you are looking for a challenge.

 As usual you can buy each pattern individually for $4, or you can purchase the full magazine, with all the articles and fun stuff inside including all the patterns, for $14.

 I recommend you check out all 5 patterns  here, because then you can leave a comment and enter the giveaway to win a free copy of the newHolla Knits issue! Please leave a comment below, letting me know which accessory from the new collection you most want to knit right this second. Bonus entries are counted for facebook (You can comment on the post link when it goes up) and Twitter. I’ll be keeping track in a handy spreadsheet. Because I like spreadsheets (try not to judge).

Entries are accepted until midnight (EDST) on Thursday, May 21st. Good luck!

 There is also a blog tour for the new issue, with stops below:

May 18: Holla Knits Warm Weather Accessories Issue Launch

May 19: The Sweatshop of Love / Knitted Bliss – pattern giveaway, issue giveaway
May 20: Ruby Submarine – fringe tutorial
May 21: Handmade by Stefanie – pattern and yarn giveaway

May 26: Doog Knits – kit giveaway
May 28: Canary Knits – issue giveaway
May 29: Laura Reinbach – pattern giveaway

June 1: Gynx Yarns Podcast – pattern and yarn giveaway
June 2: Ruby Submarine – issue giveaway
June 4: Rock and Purl – giveaway

June 8: Handmade by Stefanie – Take 5
June 9: Hands Occupied – issue giveaway

Be sure to check them all out!

Modification Monday: Smithfield

for May 18th

Modification Monday: Smithfield |

Original Pattern: Smithfield Pullover

Knitter Extraordinaire: Monica (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Turned the pullover pattern into a cardigan, with a great buttonband and keeping the funnel neck. Details can be found on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome: I love how Monica kept the details that made the original pattern appealing- the texture, the split hem, and the funnel neck. Turning it into a cardigan was a fantastic idea- cardigans are often more versatile and trans-seasonal than a pullover, and it’s not common to see one with this sort of neckline- and it totally works. The fit is great, and I love how the collar looks both down up and open- compare top and bottom photos to see how different it can look. It’s a fantastic result!

Modification Monday: Smithfield |