Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

Focusing on wholeness instead of happiness.

If you often get take out for dinner (that’s us! What would we do without our weekly pad thai?) Then you are going to love this tip- I’ve never thought of it before and it is genius. Totally what I’m going to do from now on.

This was a great list of how to spend less time making decisions by finding something that works and sticking with it.

Remember those super handy Kleenex® Mittens? Heidi has done an amazing job of producing a crochet version of the pattern, and they are even cuter than the knitted ones! Check it out here.

My Favourite Pins This Week

This loaded cauliflower casserole is going to be the best side dish ever! Or main dish, I think that’s a totally legitimate meal if you have a double helping. Of you are trying to keep it a little more on the healthy side, you can go easy on the cheese and bacon. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe is here.

These cookies not only look like the happiest cookies ever, and the recipe is very easy, using a pudding mix for part of the base. They bake up to be soft and moist, and of course work with any sort of sprinkles. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe is here.  I’m trying so hard to put off baking them for at least a week- Lila and I baked and decorated these cookies last week, and we are still eating them!

I’m super smitten with this adorable DIY pompom necklace. I think I want to make one for(or with!) Lila. The trick for making this look whimsical but not costume-y is to trim those pom poms until they are nice and small. The one time I let Lila trim a pom pom, it ended up the size quarter. She was diligent! Pinterest link is here, and the original DIY is here.

How adorable is this bunny cable stitch?! It would look so good as a border on a baby blanket, a sweater yoke, or even a hat! Pinterest link is here, and the full pattern is here.

This is my new phone wallpaper. I love the colours, and the message really resonates. I hope we all persist when it comes to what matters most. Pinterest link is here, and the original source is here.

Have a great weekend, everyone! James is recovering from an ear infection, and Lila got invited to 4 birthday parties this weekend! We can’t make it to all of them of course, but it’s still both Saturday and Sunday afternoon in party mode. Here’s hoping there’s enough cake for the grown ups, too! I hope that you have a wonderful weekend, and maybe even a bit of cake.

Book Review: Knitting in the Nordic Tradition

Knitting in the Nordic Tradition is the recent English translation of a classic Danish knitting book. This book is not for beginner knitters – the patterns are not patterns so much as they are charts and recipes, and would be ideal for designers or knitters who are looking to develop a deeper understanding of the construction of knitted garments and accessories in traditional Nordic styles, as well as the history and meaning behind the motifs that appear in popular knitting in this area through the ages. The book is fascinating, not just for the history, but in the way it deconstructs the elements of charted knitting through sketches and schematics that show how the charts come together in 3D forms, which is particularly helpful when looking at the varieties in thumb gusset construction or how charts come together in crown decreases.

You can see from the photos above that the book is in black and white, and is completely the same (except for the language) as the original Danish version published in the early 1980s. You also can get an idea of how much is packed onto each page – ideas for chart combinations, different charts for thumb gussets that compliment the main chart, as well as information about the math behind the construction.

As I mentioned in my review of Alice Starmore’s books, colourwork can seem daunting. I’ve done it loads of times and I still don’t feel confident about my colour choices until I’ve done a few different swatches. So let me introduce you to my new low-stakes, super easy way to swatch colourwork combos for knitters who hate swatches and feel like they can’t put colours together:

Fair Isle Mice! These are from the free fair isle mice pattern, and instead of using the charts provided, I just substituted different charts from Knitting in the Nordic Tradition instead. They knit up super fast, even for a slow knitter like me. You could whip up a mouse and even second guess your colours, rip back, and substitute a different colour in about an hour. Probably even faster, if you are a fast knitter! These were an easy, zero-stress way of trying out colour combos. I knit four of these mice, using charts I found on pages 26, 27, and 112.

The first mouse I knit was the grey one on Gatsby’s tail, near his back foot. My colour choices were not highly visible against the grey background, so for the rest of the mice, I decided to add in a contrasting stripe and a different colour for the background. Those three mice really pop, and have the added benefit of looking like they are wearing tiny waistcoats.

Then I decided that since I made these mice for the cats to play with, I should put a little catnip oil on them to really get their interest.

Then they got all gross and chewed on and I knew the kids would inevitably pick up the mice, so I washed them in some unscented Eucalan (because it’s non-toxic, pet-safe, and baby-safe):

The white mouse ended up with a chewed-out hole in its back, and one of the grey mice has an eye that is starting to dangle, but it was truly the point of the experiment. No useless swatches to stash away, but something that can be enjoyed even if I don’t like the way it turned out. It was easier than ever to combine colours quickly because I wasn’t trying to make anything big, and the cats have no judgement on my colour combos.

If stranded knitting makes you nervous, or you are hesitant to try out charts that aren’t part of a specific pattern, I really think you should try these mice. They are so small and so quick, perfect for little leftover bits of yarn. My chart rows didn’t always line up exactly with the chart rows from the original pattern, but it doesn’t matter if some mice are a little longer and some are a little shorter. If you don’t have a cat, you could give them to a cat-owning friend or neighbour, or you could donate them to a local animal shelter.

The good folks at Dover Publications have very kindly offered a coupon code for 25% off of ANY book on their site. So if you missed out the last time, now is your chance! There’s loads of knitting titles to choose from here, and you can click around and check out all their other craft books, if you happen to be multi-craftual.  Here’s the coupon code: WRBG


Because they are awesome, Dover Publications is also giving away one copy of Knitting in the Nordic Tradition. So who wants to level up on their stranded knitting?? (US and Canada addresses only. I’m sorry international friends!). And if you are already following on the social media channels for bonus entries, you are ahead of the game! Just click the buttons and enter the info for the bonus entries to count.

Click here to view this promotion.

Contest closes April 14th at midnight EST. Winner will be announced April 17th!

**This is a sponsored post from Dover Publications. All opinions are entirely my own.

Modification Monday: Raro Chooks

Original Pattern: Cooped Up 

Knitter Extraordinaire: Tanya (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Changed the pullover to a cardigan! Made it a bit smaller to fit her daughter, changed twisted ribbing for the hem and cuffs, and steeked the sweater and added a button band. Great detailed information can be found on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome: The original sweater is an adorable pullover, but I love Tanya’s downsized cardigan version to fit her young daughter. She knit it in the round and adjusted the chicken placement so that they would be balanced once the sweater was steeked, which is so very important when converting a colourwork yoke pullover into a cardigan. Using twisted ribbing for the button band, collar, cuffs and hem provided a nice textural detail to the sweater. Such an impressive, beautiful cardigan!

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

This was fascinating- how an agoraphobic artist sees the world without leaving home.

This was not that surprising, but still very interesting- transgender men commenting on workplace sexism, having lived on both sides of the coin.

I loved this very short story from Leonard Woolf’s memoir. It reminds me of the importance of consuming less media (which makes me feel so helpless anyway) and figuring out what my irises are, and to get on with planting them.

Loved this short film from 1955 about helping knitters choose yarns from Lavenda yarns, a now-defunct knitting company. It’s short, and so fun to watch! It has all the hallmark clichés of a short film from the 1950s. (via Woolful)

My Favourite Pins This Week

I love a good stir fry – it’s fast, it’s easy, and substitutes work so well. No chicken? Use pork or tofu. No mushrooms? Use zucchini or bell peppers or spinach or kale. This garlic chicken stir fry recipe is brilliant on rice or wrapped up in a flat bread! Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe is here.

Okay, this cake is a little out there, but isn’t it adorable?! I’m so considering making it for Easter, even though Lila and James are the only ones that would be thrilled. I would also go easy on the food colouring, too. The ‘recipe’ is very easy – nothing is from scratch, so if you like something that is going to be lots of fun and pretty impressive, give it a try! Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

This is touted as a cat bed, but what an awesome basket for knitting!! So cute, and easy to make. It calls for sewing the rope together, but I’ve never sewed with rope, can anyone attest to how easy or difficult it might be to make this? Because I want one for myself (sorry kitties). Pinterest link is here, and the original DIY post can be found here.

I’m in love with these beautiful needle felted and embroidered art pieces! Such a beautiful idea for wall art. This isn’t a tutorial, but if you were handy with embroidery and needle felting, the shapes are simple and it would be a fun project. Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

We could all use a little more happiness in our lives, right? Maybe today you need a reminder of what drags you down and brings you up. Pinterest link is here, and the original list is here.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! I don’t usually care for April Fool’s Day, but are any of you planning a bit of mischief tomorrow?


Knits in Progress: Two Very Different Sweaters

One of my unofficial knitting goals this year is to knit more garments, and I’ve begun with two completely different sweaters– one top-down pullover, the other a bottom-up cardigan –and I’m loving both of them so far. Let the sweater knitting begin!

The first is Golden Hour, knit in Spirit Trail Fiberworks Sunna in ‘Pink Sands’. This is the yarn that I used for this tank top, then frogged, and then recycled the yarn. I actually started knitting this in January and planned on knitting Manzanilla, but once I looked at the pattern I realized that it was a way more complex knit than I felt like taking on at that time (to be fair, the complexity was all at the beginning, and I’m sure once the yoke and arms were complete it would be very simple).

Considering how much pick up/put down I have to do with my knitting all the time, I very rarely get an hour or two to devote to knitting that requires close attention, so Manzanilla wasn’t in the cards. I decided on Golden Hour, which I had admired for a long time and looked like an easy to wear sweater that would be perfect for this yarn. I’ve tried it on, and so far everything is going wonderfully! The yarn is so buttery soft, I’m convinced it’s going to be a great spring sweater.

The dark grey cardigan in progress is Pomme de Pin, a sweater I’ve admired forever. I had the yarn all picked out for it- Briggs & Little sport in Charcoal. If you clicked over to their site then you know they are super old school, but when it comes to wool, that’s exactly what I wanted- a rustic pure wool, north american from sheep to skein. If you like real wool (meaning, that rustic sort of wool that feels sheepy and might have bits of hay in it sometimes), I really recommend the very budget friendly Briggs & Little. I’m biased, it’s the oldest wool mill in Canada and so my national pride is all up on that. I’ve knit with it before and it holds up beautifully.

They just started a spring knit along for any knits in one of their light weight yarns, so it was the perfect reason to get started on this cardigan. I don’t often do knitalongs, but when it feels like a knit might otherwise take forever (or never get finished) it can be particularly motivating to have a target date you are working towards, and have the encouragement of others knitting along with you. I’m secretly hoping to use the deadline (May 15th, so lots of time) to finish both Golden Hour and Pomme de Pin!