Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

25 things I wish I had known ten years ago. So true!

I’m trying to get a bit more stretching into my life, to stop feeling so stiff. These seven bedtime stretches for back and hips are awesome.

6 stress-reducing rituals successful people live by. They are the kind of things that everyone should do.

The etymology of several knitting terms, including raglan, fair isle, frogging, and purl. An interesting read!

And if you know any knitters travelling to London (or living in the UK) and would be interested in a London City Craft Guide, send them the link to enter the giveaway!

My Favourite Pins This Week

Pin Ups and Link Love: Apricot glazed Chicken and Cous Cous|

Here’s a wonderful and easy dinner idea- apricot glazed chicken with couscous. It’s as simple as some pantry staples mixed with a bit of apricot jam, and the couscous is fresh and full of flavour. Plus hooray for colourful dinners! Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Carrot Cake Cookies |

How about some delicious carrot cake cookies with cream cheese frosting? I bet you don’t even need the frosting, although it would be an extra special treat! And since there are carrots in them, you might as well have more than one. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Chignon Tutorial |

Is there any updo more casually elegant than a chignon? Here is an easy tutorial on how to do one with shoulder length hair or longer (sorry, my beautiful short haired friends!). I do this sometimes, but I didn’t know the trick about the vertical line of bobby pins- maybe that’s why mine always falls out! That vertical line gives it more stability. Pinterest link is here, and original post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Embroidered Socks |

How pretty are these socks with the embroidered folk flowers? This isn’t a how to, more of an inspiration photo from a dutch blogger who does a lot of embroidering. You could even do this on store bought socks, if you were so inclined. Pinterest link is here, and original photo was found here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: DIY Cloud Bookshelf |

I adore this cloud shelf! Obviously it’s super cute for a kid’s room, but I think it would be fun in a bathroom, or anyone’s home that had sort of whimsical decor. The only thing is, you will totally need real tools to do this (like a jigsaw and a drill). You could make one this weekend, if you wanted! Pinterest link is here, and full DIY post is here.

I hope everyone is going to be staying warm and cozy this weekend! Anyone have any plans? Guy and I are planning on getting a babysitter for the first time since James was born. Exciting!

Review: London Craft Guide

Review: London Craft Guide |

The awesome duo at Yarn in the City has come out with the London Craft Guide, a book (available both in print and digitally) that aims to help crafters get the most out of the massively diverse shops available to crafters in London, England. The aim of the book is to help visitors to the city of London plan their own little ‘craft crawl’, by providing information on relevant shops that are in a certain part of London (after all, this city is crazy huge- you need a game plan!) with suggestions by area on three main subjects: Yarn, Fabric and Haberdashery (ribbons, buttons, etc).

Review: London Craft Guide |

The photos of the various shops are enough to make you want to visit them all, even a non-sewer like me (one day, i will make peace with my sewing machine, but today is not that day). The guide is definitely more for knitters, especially knitters who are ‘multi-craftual’ and enjoy fabrics as well. There are also great tips for each area, like ideal places to stop for lunch or a coffee, the hours of the shops, and what sort of yarn they carry.

You will love this if you don’t live in London but are either planning to visit (or visit regularly) and want to make the most of your time when you are there. I mean, sure, you could go see Big Ben, but wouldn’t you rather see all the amazing yarn?! And you love the idea of doing a mini craft crawl.

Review: London Craft Guide |

I love the addition of mini day trips to Oxford, Cambridge, Brighton, Faversham and Bath- since my beloved Bristol is only 20 mins from Bath, I’m going to test out that advice later this year! I’ll be visiting England in August, and this is definitely the sort of guide that is ideal.

There are also 9 patterns included in the book, very suitable for crafting while on vacation. There is one crochet pattern, two sewing patterns, and 6 knitting patterns.  All are smaller projects that would only take a skein or two of yarn, or fabrics that take a couple of fat quarters. You can see all the knitting and crochet patterns included here, and I’ve included images from the sewing projects below:

Review: London Craft Guide |

There are also great suggestions on how to organize your own craft crawl, tips for getting the most enjoyment out of it, and recommendations on apps and ideas for planning what you need to make the most of your day of shopping and crafting.

I think this book is amazing, and would love to see more city craft guides. Are you planning on visiting London sometime in the coming year and would love to have a guide like this to check out some shops? Then leave me a comment and let me know when you are going, and you could win a digital copy of the guide, complete with all the patterns! Comments close Sunday night at 11 p.m. (EST), and the winner will be announce don Monday, Feb. 29th. And if you know someone that will be travelling to London or the surrounding area sometime this year, send them the link to enter, as well!

Good luck!

Finished Knit: Perfect Striped Mitts

Finished Knit: Choose Your Own Adventure Mitts |

Pattern: Choose Your Own Adventure Mittens by Alison Griffith 

Yarn: Biscotte Yarns in ‘Butterfly Wings’ colourway

Finished Knit: Choose Your Own Adventure Mitts |

Ravelry Project page is here.

Is there anything better than a simple stockinette project with a self-striping yarn you adore? I love the high contrast in this colourway, it’s sort of urban and a bit edgy to me.

This pattern was really easy to follow, and gave options at every turn. I would knit this again- a nice, basic workhorse pattern that allows for lots of customization and would be a good blank template if you wanted to experiment with your own tweaks and designs.

Finished Knit: Choose Your Own Adventure Mitts |

I loved working with this yarn, and since the mitts only took half of the generous skein, I’m already itching to find another project of the other half of the skein. I would happily knit with this yarn any day of the week.

Let’s talk a minute about simple fingering weight mittens, of which this is my first pair. I normally do fingering weight fingerless mitts, and full mittens in heaver yarns, like worsted or bulky. After all full mittens mean it’s crazy cold outside and you need all the warm in the woolly world, right? Wrong! I have been wrong all these years!

Finished Knit: Choose Your Own Adventure Mitts |

Turns out that fingerless mitts are fantastic for days that are cold, but not crazy cold.  It’s been a few degrees above freezing lately, so they are just right. And you can still hold things in your hand and feel like you have a grip. I tend to wear mittens when I drive in the winter (that steering wheel is c-c-c-cold!) and now I don’t feel like I’m basically driving with oven mitts on. I suppose you shouldn’t drive with oven mitts on anyway.

I love my thick mitts, and one a really cold day, I need all the woolly. But these feel really cool. Who knew mittens could be cool?

Finished Knit: Choose Your Own Adventure Mitts |

Meet The Sponsors: February Edition

Ah, February- the shortest month feels a bit longer this year since it’s a leap year. Doesn’t it feel a bit cool to have an extra day? I like doing something special on February 29th, just something small, but something out of the ordinary to mark an out of the ordinary day.  Often I get myself a special treat.

Speaking of special treats! You have to see the wonderful goodies for this month’s sponsors. I’m having a tough time holding myself back…
Meet the Sponsors: Knittin Little |

Name: Knittin’ Little 

What They Are All About: Andrea Sanchez is the creator of Knittin’ Little, which features adorable knits for kids and babies. The current Winter collection has 9 patterns that feature an assortment of garments and accessories, most of which are easily made for either boys or girls. If you like knitting for kids, you have to check out the site- they also have a book club that features kids books with knitting themes, and the blog often features round ups, interviews, book reviews giveaways, and DIYs.

 A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: Catoctin is a high neck sweater with a great cable and reverse stockinette yoke; written for sizes 6 months to 12 years.  Clara is a beautifully feminine ruffles sweater for sizes 2-12 years. Then we have a classic and toasty warm cabled hat in sizes toddler to teen, which would be amazing in just about any colour. And how fun would a contrasting pom pom be!

Meet the Sponsors: Ancient Arts Fibre |

Name: Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts

What They Are All About: The team at Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts hand-dye a huge array of both tonal and variegated colourways available in a wide choice of yarn bases (most from chunky to laceweight, plus a variety of fiber bases within each weight), specializing in the Meow Collection and Woof Collection, which are colourways inspired by cat and dog breeds. A portion of the sales are donated to Best Friends Animal Society to help animals in need. If you are a pet lover, I bet there is a colourway that matches your furry friend!

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right:  All of these colours are available in a variety of yarn weights. I love this speckled Cross Stitch Sampler colourway– it manages to combines vivid reds and blues in a really attractive skein and knits up beautifully. Rose Tribute is a sophisticated golden pink that would be so, so beautiful in a sweater or a shawl.  Calico Cat is just like a pretty little calico kitty, and would be an awesome pair of socks, I think!

Meet the Sponsors: Biscotte Yarns |

Name: Biscotte Yarns

What They Are All About: Biscotte Yarns specializes in self-striping yarns with lots of fun inspiration, but they have all sorts of goodies on offer- fabrics, project bags and kits, patterns, and tonal single ply yarns, as well as a mystery club! And a bonus to my fellow Canadians- Biscotte Yarns is offering 20% to help offset the exchange rate, using the code cadpal20. I know that a lot of Canadian companies have had to put their prices up because the cost of their supplies has gone up, so it’s nice to get a bit of a break.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right:  This one is a limited edition, so get it while you can- Pure Silk Lace beaded yarn is 90% silk, and 10% glass beads. So beautiful! Lumos (shown here in Nuit) is a subtly sparkly fingering weight in 75% superwash merino, 20% nylon, and 5% stellina. And for fans of grey and yellow as a fabulous combo, the self striping Bis Sock yarn in Yellow Brick Road is just for you!

Meet the Sponsors: Madbird |

Name: Madbird 

What They are all about: Alecia and Rob Miller make fun and functional project bags, project clutches, totes, spindle bags, needle and hook rolls (even for dpns and interchangeables), and zip pouches- with a wide variety of fabrics, you’re sure to find the right size you need in a print you love.  Project bags come with interior yarn guides that have a snap on them, so your yarn feeds through cleanly, but you can change out the yarn or project any time you like. And they are all sturdily built, with fleece interfacing and solid bottoms that ensure the bags stand up well on their own, once a project is inside. If you haven’t tried one of their bags, you are missing out- every detail is perfection. Want 10% off? Of course you do. They are offering 10% off everything in the shop with the code KNITTEDBLISS.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: I love the fun Japanese fabrics that are part of the new line! This gorgeous medium-sized project bag has a beautiful sushi print on one side, but is fully reversible to show a blue butterfly pattern inside. This Harajuku Garden elegant drawstring project bag has a gorgeous Japanese floral design on one side, and a pretty orange and pink diamond pattern when reversed. This large project clutch in Whiskers design totally appeals to the cat lover in me. I love the cute fabric, and gorgeous inner lining.

Meet the Sponsors: Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe |

Name: Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe

What She is All About: Alicia makes luxurious all-natural lotion bars and lip balms using skin-loving ingredients like lanolin, cocoa butter, almond oil, and vitamin E and mango butter. If you haven’t tried a lotion bar before you are missing out! Everything is non-greasy, and the lip balms are my favourite on the planet.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: Carnations are such an under-appreciate flower in floral arrangements, but remember how good they smell? clean, a little spicy, and so delicate. This Carnation Lotion Bar smells just like that.  How adorable are the sheepy soaps? They come in all sorts of great scents, this one is Green Tea. I can personally attest to how fun they are! And finally, the lip balms are fantastically moisturizing , colour-free and all natural- Winter Clementine is a sweet, bright choice.

So what do you think? Any stand out favourites that you are now craving? I’m always happy to enable!

Modification Monday: Forget-Me-Not Jumper

Modification Monday: Forget Me Not Jumper |

Original Pattern: Indigo Frost

Knitter Extraordinaire: Dawn (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Knitted the original poncho pattern, then ripped back to the yoke and revamped it as a sweater. Details can be found on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome:  Dawn was one of the original test knitters of this pattern, and knit the poncho in pattern. Finding that she doesn’t really wear ponchos, she decided to rip back to the yoke and rework it as a sweater. I love that she kept the original elements with the eyelet fabric, and also chose the colour scheme to match forget-me-not flowers. The result is fantastic! Sometimes I see amazing ponchos and wonder if I’m a poncho person, but this would be a great idea to try- if you knit a poncho and find it isn’t quite right, you could rip back and re-work as a sweater. Worth an experiment if it turned out this lovely!

Modification Monday: Forget Me Not Jumper |