Modification Monday: Fliptops 2

Modification Monday: Fliptop Mitts |

Original Pattern: Nalu Mitts 

Knitter Extraordinaire: Asa (Ravelry ID, blog)

Mods: Added a flip top to the fingerless mitt pattern, and twisted ribbing to the palm and thumb gusset. More details can be found on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome:  I don’t see too many fliptop conversions, and I’m a bit of a sucker for the great texture of twisted ribbing. I’m actually amazed at how different it looks with the extra twisted ribbing!  Asa’s clever modification is a perfect example of how if it’s something that you want to have (flip top mitts) knitting your perfect pair is going to be the best thing ever, because not only will you have made them yourself (way to go you!), they will be exactly how you want them to be- and in your favourite colour.

Modification Monday: Fliptop Mitts |

The Resources that Helped When I Most Needed It

Some of you asked to know a bit more about the books that helped me with the depression I felt in 2014.  I’m a little nervous about sharing them all with you, because so many of them talk about things like your inner guide, high power/God, miracles, quantum fields of energy, etc. The kind of stuff that if you overheard someone going on about at a cocktail party, you’d probably steer clear. This isn’t stuff I thought I had any stomach for either. But when you feel like you are are drowning, you’ll pretty much grasp at any life preserver you can find, so I read without judgment. I read, and I read, and I listened to my life coach and did the exercises that she created for me and that the books suggested and I was lucky enough that it worked for me. I know a lot of people aren’t so lucky, or their depression goes deeper, to a stronger chemical level. So if you think that you need something more than some books and a life coach, it’s best to go to see a psychiatrist or your doctor and get whatever help you need. That’s the funny thing about when you go looking for help- once you really say it clearly and out loud that you need it (which is pretty much the hardest part, or is it realizing that you need help in the first place that is the hardest part?), people are usually there to help you find what you need.  These were the ones that helped me the most:

disclaimer: I’m not a mental health professional, this is just me as a friend chatting about what worked for me. Also, this is the first post I’m trying out Amazon’s affiliate program, which means that if you click the links for the books and decide to buy something, I think I get a teeny-tiny percentage of Amazon’s profit via Amazon store credit (no additional charges to you at all). I’m not sure if this is something I’ll keep doing, but I’ve linked to a fair number of books recently, and some people suggested it would be worth checking out. So hey, let’s see what happens.


book Collage |
I’m a fan of workbook-style guides, because the exercises made me feel like I was getting some control over my thoughts and my feelings, and they often start in small ways that are really doable. May Cause Miracles: A 40-Day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness was the one that had the biggest impact, because the daily exercises really were small enough that I could do them even on busy days. Miracles Now: 108 Life-Changing Tools for Less Stress, More Flow, and Finding Your True Purpose is a good book to read after it, as it covers similar territory but in a smaller way, more as a reminder of what you are working on. I’m a convert to the Gabby Bernstein way of thinking, and a large part of it is her pretty awesome youtube channel (which is all free, so if you are considering checking out the books, you should totally go listen/watch some of her videos and get a feel for her perspective). I found that if I was at work or walking around and felt like I needed some reminding of how I wanted to be feeling, I could fire up one of her videos and just listen, and it often helped. The last book on the far right is The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul by Danielle Laporte. The key point of this workbook is that often we are chasing goals that we think we want, but when we achieve them they feel hollow or somehow off the mark. Her theory is that this is because we aren’t clear on how we want to feel, and that if we start by figuring out what our core desired feelings are, it’s much easier to make choices and set goals that align with how we want to feel. There is a great sound bite on her website, if you want to have a listen to her talk about it.


book 2 Collage|

All three of these books deal in different ways with how your brain, and the habits of your own negative thinking, keep you from feeling happy and feeling good, and often those thoughts crop up once you recognize feeling good- they sneak into your brain and turn you attention to negativity once again. The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level talks a lot about getting into your Zone of Genius, but ultimately this book is about identifying all the multitude of ways negative thinking holds you back. Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One is very similar in the ideology of The Big Leap, but is more science-y in it’s apporach. If you have a hard time reading these kinds of books because they seem too airy-fairy, this one is written by a neuroscientist with a background in biochemistry and all sorts of brain science stuff. So if the only way you’ll belive the power of negtive and postive thinking on your overall being is if it’s backed by scientific facts, this one is for you. And the last one is a classic- A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles” is perfect for you if you like to read about love, self-forgiveness and God in a non-denominational way (A Course in Miracles, which I haven’t read, has a Christian belief through it, but the author of A Return to Love is Jewish). Williamson is extremely insightful, and this is the kind of book that begs to have you underline bits of it so you can refer back to when feeling blue.

I hope that helps! And if anyone else has other books to recommend, please let me know in the comments!

Pin Ups: My Favourite Things on Pinterest This Week

I know we’re supposed to be all eating healthy and getting fit now that we ticked over into 2015, but I’m still feeling pyjamas and leftover Christmas chocolate.  So I’m all about easing into the healthy eating, like this smoothie recipe:

Pin Ups: Cinnamon Bun Smoothie|

This smoothie tastes like a cinnamon bun, but is actually good for you. So really, you should drink this all the time.

Pin Ups: beet and kale chocolate cupcakes |

Those of you who have been hanging out with me here on the blog a little while know how much I love to hide veggies in baked goods. Behold! A beet and kale chocolate cupcake recipe. I know beets and chocolate play nicely together, but now that there is new recipe that also has kale, I’m most intrigued. Does this mean my toddler will eat kale?! Holy smokes, people.

Pin Ups: Mediterranean flatbread |

And if you don’t want to hide your veggies, you can’t go wrong with slicing, dicing, and making this super easy Mediterranean flat bread.

Pin Ups: Printable 2015 Calendar |

I love how this time of year really brings out our cravings for new calendars, and this free printable one is so chic. I’d happily look at it all year long.

Pin Ups: New Ending |

I don’t really buy into the idea that because it’s a new year, it’s a new you. But I do believe that the things we do every day become what our lives are about. And it’s never to late to make changes.

2014 Year in Review

Confession time-  I’m glad that 2014 is over. 2014 was not my year. It’s taken me until December to really get clear on what happened and to pull myself out of it.


Somewhere back in the spring, I sort of fell off the happiness/contentment carousel and spent most of the year trying to get back on. I wasn’t sure why I was blogging, why I was writing, why I was designing, why I wanted to do anything, at all. I felt really low. I didn’t feel like I was good at anything. No matter where I looked, other people were doing things better, faster,  making it all look easier…. and I found everything (getting up in the morning, trying to get excited or even vaguely interested about a new project, or even taking a shower) difficult. I would work on projects, but the motivation to take photos or to blog about it had left me, and many of them are still not even up or are unphotographed entirely. It’s a hard thing to talk about, and it was a hard thing to eventually realize that I was depressed and needed some help to reorient myself. I started working with a life coach who helped me get some perspective and gave me exercises and  assignments to help me see more clearly, and I was lucky enough that the coaching, and some really good books, helped me get back on track. The life coaching experience was really interesting- I actually had a life coach who lived in California, and we did it all by Skype calls and email. Ah, modern technology!  if anyone is interested in talking to me more about that, please feel free to email me directly.

I like to think that in the not-too-distant future, I’ll look back on 2014 and see it as a year that helped change and shape me into a better version of myself. Already I feel more energetic, more excited, and more tuned into myself than I’ve felt in a long time. I’m excited to turn the page and start fresh- I’m not big on new year’s resolutions, but I’m feeling like 2015 is going to be a year where I get clarity on how to be my real self.

As for knitting, I completed 16 FOs (two of them still need their own FO blog posts, but there are sneak peeks below), and designed 3 new patterns. I didn’t live up to my goals set out a year ago, but all things considered, I’m going to be kind to myself and just get over it.

2014 Knits Collage|

Top Row, left to right: Autumn Sun Caplet, Diode Hat, Starry Starry Sunset, Irisa Cowl.
2nd Row, left to right: Fair Isle Coffee Sleeve, Autumn Shaw Hill, Laramidia Shawl, Forest Fold & Turn.
3rd Row, left to right: Embrace the Day Striped Socks, Lady Silver Bat, Causerie Hat and Fingerless Mitts, Super Bulky Toddler Cowl.
4th row, left to right: Lotus Honey Cowl, Coolbreeze Paris Style, London Bridges Cardigan, Red Eco Pullover.

I wanted to pinpoint which was my favourite FO this year, but looking at them, I’m really quite happy with most of them- I feel like the projects I chose this year were really my style. Considering that one of the things I wanted to do was choose patterns that were a better reflection of what I actually wear, I think I did really well in that department. And in the first few months of the year, I did design 3 patterns:

2014 Design Collage|

Irisa Cowl (a free pattern!), and Causerie Hat and Mitts, and the Laramidia shawl were both part of the Tanis Fiber  Arts Year in Colour Club 2014 exclusive patterns (and if you are interested in the 2015 club, there is a pattern-only option, too!) but as 2014 is now over, they will soon be available for individual purchase.

So, 2015 Goals. Each year, I set out a general number of FOs I want to achieve, and number of new patterns I want to design. This year, I’m not doing that. This year, my goal is to knit things that I really want to knit, design the things I really want to design, and just feel good about what I’ve accomplished, and not feel guilty about what I didn’t. Also, to start using eye cream, and to get moving with my new Fitbit One.

I’m going to keep it simple, and do what feels right for me in 2015. What about you guys? What are your goals for 2015?

Happy New Year|

Modification Monday: Little Seeds Sweater

Modification Monday: Little Seeds Sweater |

Original Pattern: Flax 

Knitter Extraordinaire: Eva (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Using the original pattern as a size guide, Eva changed it from top-down to bottom-up, changed the gauge, and changed the bottom hem & sleeve cuff  to garter stitch and knit the rest of the sleeves in her stranded design. Project page with more details on her mods can be found here.

What Makes This Awesome: Normally everyone is always trying to do top down instead of bottom up, but Eva was smart in changing the direction so that the ‘seeds’ would sit the way she wanted. Using a sweater as a guide and then taking your own spin on it (and something like this is a great way to try your hand at stranded colourwork for the first time) is always a great way to modify a pattern. The garter sleeve cuffs and bottom of sweater looks so sweet as well- and in the simple black and white palette, she made a wonderful outfit for a baby, with a complimentary hat, mitts, booties, and a bunny! This little baby was no doubt the chicest of all the babies in handknits, for sure.

Modification Monday: Little Seeds Sweater |