Knit in Progress: Fuzzy Mitten Mystery KAL 2015

My first mystery knitalong (abbreviated to KAL) is underway and I’m already really enjoying it- the Fuzzy Mitten Mystery Toy KAL is so much fun. Mystery KALs require you to have faith and a love of surprises, since it can be very difficult to tell what it will look like while in progress. Each week another part of the pattern is revealed, and because it’s a toy, it’s easy to fit in knitting each week’s clues into my schedule, no matter how busy I get.  Before the first clue was revealed, Barbara talked about what colours and weight of yarn would be necessary for the pattern.  She recommended a light green and a dark green (leading to much early speculation on the mystery KAL ravelry chat thread- a crocodile? A lizard? a frog? A turtle? Gecko? Iguana? More names of different lizards that I don’t actually know? But therein lies the fun of a mystery knit. Starting out and not knowing what it’s going to be, but trusting the designer and having fun with the mystery. This is what the critter looked like after the first 3 clues:

Knit in Progress: Mystery Toy Knitalong |

I’m a big fan of Rowan Handknit Cotton for knitted toys, it doesn’t pill and it machine washes really well (perfect for toys).  I intended to use stash yarn for the toy, but I was in a local yarn store and came across it, and couldn’t resist- I had to buy it. It was just the right shade of green.

The first clue started with a a rain hat and rain boots, which I knit in a contrasting yellow. I love that about Barbara’s toy patterns- she always has really cute accessories and clothes for each of her toys. I know that the hat and boots won’t be the last of the accessories for this knit (and if there is a coat I’m thinking of adding in some colourwork for a bit of fair isle style).

For the photos, I dressed Lila’s toy panda in the yellow rain hat and boots:

Knit in Progress: Mystery Toy Knitalong |

I took these photos before last week’s clue was revealed (which was the critter’s head!) so now it is pretty much revealed to be a turtle. I haven’t knit the head yet, but will be very soon. When taking these photos, my cat Yarn was napping nearby.  I figured she would happily get involved in the photos:

Knit in Progress: Mystery Toy Knitalong |

Knit in Progress: Mystery Toy Knitalong |

Knit in Progress: Mystery Toy Knitalong |

Okay, maybe not quite so happily.At least the panda looked happy.

Modification Monday: Matchbox

 And the winner of the Inspiration Knits shawl pattern giveaway is…. Jenna,
for her comment:

I’ve got some Panda Silk DK that would be lovely for the Fresco pattern…it’s a coral and teal variegated…or some beautiful SweetGeorgia Tough Love Sock in Tourmaline I picked up on a recent trip for the Painted pattern! I love patterns that are so versatile when it comes to yarn choice :)

Congratulations, Jenna! You’ll be getting an email from me shortly.

Original Pattern: Briquette

Knitter Extraordinaire: Jennifer (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Changed the solid colour, hooded sweater into a scoop-neck pullover; and worked stripes into the diagonal garter section. Details can be found on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome: This modification is a great interpretation of the original pattern- the stripes really emphasize the diagonal garter section, and the simple scoop neck makes this sweater a little more versatile– I could see it pairing nicely with a skirt, as well. Jennifer’s stripes are such a great idea that are super flattering and are ever-so-slightly ombre- she’s used three different colours to have a subtle shift from a natural cream to a cool light grey to the final blue stripe at the bottom. Jennifer’s plan worked perfectly here, and maybe you might want to consider looking into your stash and seeing if maybe you’ve got some great colours to make some cool stripes in your next knitting project, as well- and don’t be afraid to mix up the texture, either!

Pin Ups: My Favourite Things on Pinterest This Week

  Pin Ups: Easy Spaghetti Carbonara |

This spaghetti carbonara is delicious and super easy-  I made it for dinner for us earlier this week and we all loved it! I particularly like that this recipe doesn’t call for separating the egg yolks. I also added some spinach to get a bit of veg into the mix, as well. There were zero leftovers, and Guy requested that it become a weekly staple. So if you like pasta and bacon, give this a whirl. 

Pin Ups: Amazing Carrot Cake |

Understand but perfect, this carrot cake is always a winner. This recipe has lots of spice and a healthy portion of unsweetened applesauce and lots of grated carrots- it’s practically healthy! (in my dreams, I know).

DIY Message Hairpins |

Talk about  a fun, grown up pasta craft- these DIY message hairpins involve gluing little alphabet pasta to a bobby pin, and lacquering with nail polish. Such a fun idea!

Pin Ups: watercolour wall art |

This is a great project for adults or kids- creating big bubble prints that are pretty enough to hang on your wall. Plus you can customize the colours to work with your decor.

Pin Ups: Rainy Cafe Soundtrack |

And you know how a low level of noise, like in a cafe, helps stimulate creativity and focus? Well, here’s a rainy cafe soundtrack to get your focus on. You can even customize how much ‘cafe’ and how much ‘rain’ you want to hear. It’s pretty addictive, I’m listening to just the rain right now.

And if by chance you missed it- My Easy Easter Hot Chocolate with Peeps!

Inspiration Knits ‘Palette’ Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Spring is coming, so you know it’s going to be time to show off kitted shawls soon! I have a lovely little giveaway for a very lucky shawl knitter. If you are into texture and shawls, then these two patterns are just right for you.  Here are Painted and Fresco, by Louise Zass-Bangham:

INpiration Knits: Painted and fresco Shawls |

These patterns both feature the same vintage Grecian plait texture stitch, but have different shaping and different gauge. Painted is a shallow triangle shape that is perfect for wrapping around your neck, and takes about 400-440 yards of fingering weight, so would be perfect for that gorgeously fun skein of fingering you picked up but have no idea what to do with.  Below you can see how it knits up with a variety of tonal, semi solid and brightly variegated yarns:

Painted Collage |

You can also check out the other finished knits here on Ravelry to get some ideas of all the lovely colour options you can do with this,  depending on on your yarn choice.

Inspiration Knits: Fresco Shawl |

Fresco is a triangular shawl that takes approximately 560 yards of DK weight yarn, and while some of you may have 2 or 3 skeins of a lovely DK languishing in your stash, not sure what they should be, this is the shawl for you. The patter would even work well for a worsted weight yarn in the same yardage, for a cozier shawl.  And with texture as lovely as this, the pattern can definitely handle a busy handpainted yarn that has lots of colour changes, or something more subtle with tonal variations. And I wonder what it would look like with stripes, in this texture!

So, would you like to win a copy of both patterns? You would? Awesome! To enter, please leave me a comment letting me know what yarn in your stash you think would be so perfect for either painted or Fresco. The winning comment (chosen at random), will win a copy of both patterns, and will be announced on Monday, March 30th.

Tomorrow, you should totally check out the next stop on the Inspiration Knits Palette blog tour- Knit with Attitude!

Easy Easter Hot Chocolate Recipe

If my Instagram feed is to be believed, many of you are already experiencing actual, full-fledged spring where green things are growing and flowers are blooming. I can’t quite get my head around that yet– it was -9 Celsius here today (more than a bit below freezing, for those on Fahrenheit). I’m told it’s only going to last another couple of days, but I’m still hunkered down with hot beverages, trying to stay warm. Which brings me to this very easy Easter hot chocolate recipe.

Easy Easter Hot Chocolate |

Side note- Look, I made a real grown-up blog image with a text overlay! it’s pinnable and everything! I’m a little excited. I feel like I just leveled up or something.

Easy Easter Hot Chocolate |

So- hot chocolate is pretty awesome, I think we can agree on that. This is a really easy recipe that doesn’t have any powdery stuff- it’s entirely possible to make this delicious hot chocolate with just milk and chocolate chips alone, but a dash of vanilla and a bit of instant coffee add depth and richness to the flavour, unless you happen to be using fancypants gourmet chocolate. In which case, you do what you’ve got to do and savour it in a simpler form. You can substitute bar chocolate for the chips, you’ll just need to chop it up first.

Easy Easter Hot Chocolate |

What makes this Easter-y is the peeps. We are all totally comfortable with putting marshmallows on top of our hot chocolate, so how fun would it be to put a charming marshmallow peep or two on top of yours? pretty damn fun, let me tell you. And did I mention how easy it is? So very easy that it fits on a little recipe card.

I basically spent my weekend testing the recipe until perfect and making the recipe card (also had a bit of a sugar coma after eating a lot of peeps, for research purposes). I feel so professional now! if you would like to make your very own Easy Easter Hot Chocolate and impress yourself, loved ones, or kidlets; then you need to click on the image below to enlarge, and print.

Easy Easter Hot Chocolate |