Knit in Progress: Arika Cowl

g Squeeze Bulky |

I recently got my hands on this amazingly soft Ancient Arts Fibre yarn in Big Squeeze, their 100% merino bulky weight.  I chose the Frolic colourway, which is an earthy mix of cool dark greens and reddish browns,  and reminds me of a lush redwood forest. Just look at this:

Ancient Arts Fiber Big Squeeze Bulky |

Isn’t that amazing? Don’t you just want to dive in and swim in all that cozy goodness?

Of course, when I laid out all that beautiful yarn, this immediately happened:

Gatsby Cat |

Cats. They have that deep instinct to immediate lay on anything that has your attention, don’t they? The yarn is so amazing I can hardly fault him for wanting to lay on it, since really, I wish I could nap on it, too.  Gatsby is sporting his long hair winter coat at the moment, so he’s extra fuzzy.

Let’s get to the knitting! I knew right away that I wanted to knit  a cozy cowl, and the Arika Cowl has been on my to-knit list fever since the pattern was first released. It’s a really satisfying knit as it’s really easy to memorize,  knits up really quickly, and takes just a couple of skeins. This sort of knit is perfect for me at the moment. Babies and little kid wrangling means lots of picking up the knitting and putting it down 30 seconds later, so I appreciate knits like this.

Arika Cowl |

Guy recently got me this beautiful Rifle Paper Co edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, with the most stunning illustrations sprinkled throughout the book. It’s part of my slow-but-steady goal of replacing the beloved (but beat-up) classics I got secondhand in university with beautiful editions that are as beautiful as the wonderful words they contain.  Now if only a publishing house would put out beautiful editions of  Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, and Shakespeare’s plays, I’d be all set!

Arika Cowl |

Modification Monday: Painted Canvas

Modification Monday: Painted Canvas |

Original Pattern:  Blank Canvas

Knitter Extraordinaire: Melody (Ravelry ID)

Mods:  Changed gauge from DK to worsted weight, added a split neckline, stripes, and a kangaroo pocket. Details can be found on Melody’s project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome: First, I want to high five Melody on her great stripes. I’m in awe of people who can do stripes of different thickness and have it all repeat and work out and look balanced, not random. I love the pouch pocket, and how the ribbing on the edges echo the vertical lines of the ribbing on the split neckline. And that teal blue feels like it absolutely was the perfect choice in this colour scheme for all he ribbing. I can’t say enough good things about this sweater, it’s a slam dunk!

Modification Monday: Painted Canvas |

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

It’s daylight savings time change this weekend. I hate that we still do daylight savings time, but here are 13 tips on helping to adjust without feeling so darn tired.

7 inspirational videos from JK Rowling, Neil Gaiman, David Foster Wallace, Amanda Palmer. Bert Jacobs, Danielle Laporte, and Gala Darling.

I found this photo essay of Nigeria’s female romance novelists to be pretty fascinating.

I found this article to be quite interesting- Why do we teach girls that it’s cute to be scared? It has me thinking about if I’ll end up treating Lila and James differently when they have accidents. I hope I’ll remember this article and caution them both equally.

My Favourite Pins This Week

Pin Ups and Link Love: Mexican Sushi|

I saw this and it blew my mind- you mean you can combine sushi and Mexican food?! It makes total sense as both meals are rice-based, but putting it all together seems so clever. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Monet Oreos|

In other food posts that blew my mind this week, I had no idea you could dip Oreos in melted candy coating and then paint them with food colouring. I love it! You could do this with any colour candy chips, not just blue. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Crochet Market Tote|

Simple, sturdy, a perfect take-anywhere market tote bag that looks pretty easy to crochet, and looks best in a simple, rustic yarn. One day when I learn to crochet properly, it’s on my to-make list.  Pinterest link is here, and the full pattern instructions are here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Watercolor Floral Eggs|

I love this beautiful tutorial for making floral east eggs- watercolours and sharpies are all you need! Well, and eggs. But I hope that goes without saying. Pinterest link is here, and the DIY post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: DIY Mini Flower Bouquets|

These mini bouquets are such perfect little gifts, and so easy to put together. A friend once gave me a small bouquet like this for no reason, and it totally made my day. Who doesn’t like getting flowers just because? Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Other than adjusting to daylight savings time (ugh), it’s a pretty low key weekend around these parts!  Anyone have any fun weekend plans?

Vote: Help Me Choose a New Project Bag!

As someone who ALWAYS has multiple projects on the go, I’m perpetually in need of project bags. Rather than work more aggressively on finishing them up already (yeah, yeah, I know- some have been languishing in WIP status for over a year!), I think it’s so much more fun to just get a new project bag.

First of all, I had this idea  to have you all help me pick a bag a few weeks ago, and several of the ones that I would have chosen for this have already been snapped up. So my advice is that if you see a project bag that you like somewhere, get it quickly before someone else does! So many great project bags are sewn by small indie businesses  (like Alecia at Madbird) so there really isn’t huge stock of the same kind in a warehouse somewhere. Usually, only a few of each print are made. Knowing this, I’m about to ask your advice on which project bag I should get next, knowing full well that there is a chance that someone is going to snap up the last one before I get a chance. There are lots of other styles and sizes, if you are thinking of it!

I definitely want a drawstring bag, and I like that these ones from Madbird are totally reversible- I can use it one way for a while, then turn it inside out and feel like I have a brand new project bag. Very cool. Of course, this means that both sides of the fabric are really important to consider!

Here’s the three I’m considering. Left is Giant Octopi Blush, middle is Wasabi, and the Right is Harajuku Garden.

Madbird Project Bags |

So what do you think- would you vote for one of the above, or do you think I should do something totally custom, with totally different fabric? Vote!

Which bag should I choose?

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Finished Knit: James’s Puppy

Fudge the Puppy |

I loved this pattern from the second I saw it- which was a bit inconvenient, since it was an exclusive kit through Knit Now Magazine, which is based in the United Kingdom. Have you ever bought a craft magazine in the UK? It’s amazing- almost every magazine comes with a free gift, like a small complete kit for making something  like this little dog (You can see this month’s on their recent blog post). I decided that I really, truly had to have this pattern, so I ordered the magazine online. The shipping was quite reasonable.

Fudge the Puppy |

But now you can buy it online! the pattern, that is- and it’s quite the bargain. I think this puppy would look so cute knit up in a black and white version, too.  The pattern is knit flat, then stuffed and seamed. I find it helpful to put the various pieces in a little ziploc bag inside my project bag to help keep track of the knitted arms, legs, head, ears, and body before it’s assembled.

For some reason I didn’t stuff mine as much as I should have (which is weird, because you guys know how much I love to make knitted toys so this is hardly my first time). So James’s puppy is a little on the skinny side.

Pattern: Fudge the Dog 

Needles: US 3 (3.25 mm)

Yarn: No idea.  I used the kit, and the yarn is oddly not identified, but feels like a wool-acrylic blend.

Mods: None, except to add a collar. I cast on 24 stitches using a long tail cast on, then immediately cast off. I sewed it into a circle around the neck. Ravelry project can be found here.

Fudge the Puppy |

I finished this little stuffed toy puppy ages ago, and it quickly became James’s favourite first toy- he loves looking at it! He can’t quite control his hands enough to intentionally grasp it every time, but he does a good job of navigating the puppy to his mouth so he can chew on those (apparently quite tasty) little limbs.

Fudge the Puppy |

He and James hang out together quite a bit!