Friday, December 30, 2011

December YearLong YarnSong

I made it! Just in under the wire.
Hey, I have a New Year's Eve party to plan tomorrow :)

But now, here's December's YearLong YarnSong.

Solstice Stag
Solstice Stag is a warm, beautiful, long-sleeved and cowled sweater. With a staghorn cable running along both arms and sides of the pullover, it creates a very sexy silhouette.
XS(28-30") to XXXL (52-54")
Solstice Stag - on Rav

Berries and Sugar and Joy
A very versatile piece, Berries and Sugar and Joy can be a wrap, a cape, a hood, a shawlette and a scarf. All in one!
Grab a cute pin and fasten it to accessorize a dressy outfit.
Flip it over your shoulder, or wrap it over your head, to keep the cold winter wind at bay.
Two sizes: S/M and M/L
Berries and Sugar and Joy - on rav

Home Glow
Home Glow are a textured pair of mitts, with a simple cable detail running up the edges. Keep warm this December with hand-wrapping moss stitch!
Two sizes: S/M and M/L

For Candles
For Candles is a versatile, simple knit. Wearable as a long cowl, close neck warmer, and even ear warmer, a basic moss stitch shows off your lovely yarn to perfection!
For Candles - on rav

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!
And especially, it seems, for wee Ellie.

Here you see her sporting her new sweater. She's not so keen on getting her paws through the arm holes, and has to be bribed with delicious, delicious dog treats to be en-clothed.

Below is a pic of the samesaid dog, this time enjoying another part of her gift. She seems to be fully in love with this new squeaky toy.

She just got it last night, at my parent's Christmas Eve shindig. It's already fully displaced all other toys.

Enjoy your time off!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holly Day Time; Or, Here Be Some News and Stuffs

I had these grand plans of posting all sorts of questions and info re: holidays this year, but I guess the whole crux of the thing is that it's busy at this time of year, thus the posts would capitalize on that, but then I got "too busy" for the posts.

So, I've decided to give ya'll a bit of an overview as to the knitty-and-otherwise-general-goings-on round my woods.

Knitting! I was busy working away, happily, on the YearLong YarnSong knits (which I always test knit myself, buuuut) which lead me to discover I have a bit of a .... wrist problem. This is incredibly frustrating, as it prevents me from knitting. The doctor says it's nothing to worry about. He says, "Just lay off the knitting for a while, and it'll be fine".
HA! Mr. Man, methinks. We need to come up with a better solution than that, because I needs my knit times.

This unfortunate situation has led me to scale back my gift ideas, and I'm afraid it might affect the publication dates of upcoming YLYS issues. So far, I'm behind, but hope to still publish within the month it's meant to be published! (she typed, as she also realized THIS month's issue is so-very-close to done, and yet just not).

Me, hamming it up at the photoshoot for the December issue of YearLong YarnSong.
Coming soon.
I swear.

And, Otherwise!
Ok, I'm trying to compile The Ultimate Christmas cd. I have a few favourite songs, but I was wondering: What's your favourite holiday music?

And, if you've read the above, you'll see that my knitting Christmas gift ideas were spoiled. I shake my fist at my wrist!
Regardless... I generally don't knit gifts for people, but I was wondering: Do you knit gifts? Who do you knit for? Is there a general, go-to pattern (or type of pattern) that you find to be a crowd pleaser?

Shortly, I hope to return triumphant, virtual book in hand, glorious trumpets sounding around me, colossal arches built to my honour, doused in delicious expensive wine and riding a chariot filled with sweet desserts and pulled by prancing alpaca.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Kristen Fanning
Blog: Knits Who Say Needles
Rav ID: texotexere
Some Great Designs: texotexere's Rav Designer Page

It's that time of year!
I was so busy, I failed to post Indie Designer day on Indie Designer day!

And so, I present to you, rather late, last week's Indie Designer, texotexere.

See the pictured Amphitryon for a great introduction to her aesthetic and designing strengths. A great gift, this beret has lovely, simply shaped cables which show off a beautiful skein of hand-dyed.

The Crooked Cable Hat utilizes cables and lace in a great dance around your noggin. A good, basic shape with interesting design elements, I'm a bit surprised that this free pattern only has 4 projects listed on Ravelry!

And one more hat for you: a pretty beret, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Feminine, pretty lace stretches out across this knit, creating a piece that looks fantastic from all angles!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I, I Love You Like a LoveBird Elbie!

PhotobucketAnd You Keep Tweet, Tweet Tweet Tweet Tweet Tweet Tweet Tweet!

(I thought myself very clever when I stumbled upon the really rather perfectly serendipitous alignment of Serena Gomez's "Love You Like A Love Song" and the silly insertion of Elbie-inspired lyrics. I had to share).

Ok, here's the story of Elbie:

Back in March, I had this great desire to add to my (sadly dwindling) flock. It was around that time that I only had Butters and Hilts (the elderly canaries), and so added Henry and Anne. Shortly thereafter, Henry and Anne added a total of six finch babies for me.

Hanging out on Kijiji can be a recipe for disaster (for the pet lovers among us, certainly). I spotted two ads that were almost impossible to pass over: a lovely male Gouldian finch, and a hand-raised peach faced lovebird.

Elbie was born/hatched in March, so he's still just a wee young one.

But my on my, let me tell you, after having had only "simple" birds (canaries and finches) for a very long time, adding a clever, curious, loud, playful, destructive and downright adorable lovebird to the mix does tend to change one's attitude towards birds.

That is, the little jerk is (most likely) smarter than me.
This, I do not care for.

I like to be able to outwit my birds. I know, I'm petty. I can predict their movements, laugh at their silly ineptitude and feel certain that their food likes and dislike (yes, birds do have these, and they're all individual from each other!) will remain constant.

Elbie is another story.

Being stubborn, he refuses to eat his veggies.
Instead, he picks them up (very carefully) and deposits them in his drinking cup.
Little jerk.
Broccoli that's been sitting in water all day just isn't a great scent to be greeted with upon your arrival home.

While he's never bit me, it's quite clear that he hates hands. I guess they're big, scary things for birds.
So, after he's let out for a fly, I have to retrieve him with a badminton racquet.
Srsly, a badminton racquet.
Little cute jerk.
He'll happily step onto this bird-wrangling device, and be delivered back to his cage in a usual huff.
Here, in this picture, you see him bugging Butters.
Butters, I think, looks really rather annoyed.
"Hey you! Get off my cage you jerk bird!"

Thus is the story of Elbie. He's generally naughty and funny. I promise if he ever does anything amazing (like, behave himself!) I'll get photographic proof and show you.
For now, he's quite keen on thrashing his bell toy against the cage, and snacking on the random (and much appreciated!) sunflower seed or rice cereal puff that's gifted his way.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Mindie Tallack
Blog: Knitting if not Eccentric
Rav ID: Mindie
Some Great Designs: Mindie's Rav Designer Page

Looking for some lovely, comfy and cozy wee knits for gifts? Mindie, this week's designer, has a nice selection for the whole family.

There might be nothing better than a nice pair of warm, hand knit and felted slippers.
Duffers - Revisited are adult-sized slippers
which would suit the purpose nicely. (pictured right). I really like the colour-change detail on the toe.

Want some slippers for the little ones? Little Duffers is the child/toddler version of the above pictured slippers. It's a very cute idea to have matching family slippers!

Lest you think slippers are the only item Mindie designs, I'd like to point out her Greengage Scarf. This scarf is very versatile. I can see it being worn on men or women, young or old. The basic stitch texture and detail creates visual interest, but remains wonderfully evasive of gender or age categorization.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Help Me Plan My Holiday Bash, Part Two; Or, The Massive Cookie List

PhotobucketI promised last week that I would share the Massive Cookie List, and here it is:

Apple Butter Thumbprint Cookies (with my own home made apple butter! Boo yeah!)
Apricot-Chocolate Triangles
Brown Sugar Cookies
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate Covered Coffee Bean, Toffee and Almond Cookies
Chocolate Covered Port Cake Balls
Chocolate Espresso Balls
Chocolate Mints
Chocolate Orange-Cream Bars
Cinnamon Buns
Coconut Dreams
Date Squares
Empire Cookies
Double Chocolate Espresso Brownies
Ganache-Covered Mini Cakes
Graham Cracker Sandwiches
Green Tea Shortbread
Holiday Candy Fudge Bars
Iced Sugar Cookies
Lemon Squares
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Orange Date Nut Cookies
Orange Dream Cookies
Pecan Butter Cookies
Peppermint Candy Shortbread
Rice Krispy Squares
Rum Balls
Smoky Bacon Ginger Cookies
Tipsy Date Squares
Whoopie Pies

Many of these recipes come from the book I've photographed above. This is, rather unfortunately, now out of print. I've found it to be the best collection of cookies recipes I've come across; they're really reliable, simple, easy to follow recipes with readily available ingredients.
I've bolded the recipes on the Massive Cookie List that come out of this book.

The italicized recipes are from one of my many Martha Stewart mags. Now, I love Martha, her stuff is always beautiful and wonderfully put together. But I've found the majority of her recipes I've tried to be overly complicated, with hard-to-find ingredients.

Case in point: Smoky Bacon Ginger Cookies.
These include smoked sea salt (who knew? I might be living under a rock, but I'd never encountered this before), as well as sorghum syrup. I've done my googling, and discovered that this is a popular ingredient in the southern parts of the States, but (again, possibly due to my habitation under aforementioned rock) I've never heard of this syrup before.
Substitutions suggested have been unsulphered molasses, but with the caveat that "it's just not the same".

Has anyone ever tried sorghum syrup before? I suppose it must have a distinctive flavour.

Anyway, after that tirade, you might wonder why I've still included so many of her recipes on the Massive List. Well, I like to try new recipes, and they all do look so very delicious! You can likely find some of them by googling the recipe name and Martha Stewart.

As a parting note, I thought I'd share an image from my so-far-very-successful goodie baking extravaganza.
This is (me version of) an Empire Cookie.
I make the (basic sugar cookie) dough with icing sugar, not granulated (makes it yummier!), I don't put that icky maraschino cherry on top (because it's icky!) and the icing has fresh lemon juice in it, instead of almond extract. These are possibly the yummiest cookies ever.


Friday, December 02, 2011

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Michelle Blohm
Blog: My Daily Fiber
KnitPicks Bio
Rav ID: MyDailyFiber
Some Great Designs: MyDailyFiber's Rav Designer Page

In my present-making mode, I present you today with a designer who's created an array of pieces that would all make for great presents! (that's right, present three times in one sentence. I could have said gift, but I chose present and I ran with it!)

With beautiful crochet work, The Diamond Exchange scarf (pictured) makes great use of a shell pattern and coloured yarn. I can't think of a single knitter/crocheter who wouldn't love a piece like this!

Cascading Stylish Shawl is another wonder in crochet. If you ever hear people (ahem... knitters...) bad mouthing crochet, send them that link and I think they'll have their minds changed. This is a delicate pattern, with variety and interest created through changing textural effect/crocheted shapes. Utilizing the strengths of crochet in the best of ways!

Finally, I'd like to point out her Plumeria Frill scarf. This piece is no-kidding-fantastic. I love the ruffle shape it creates, and how great it looks in both self-striping yarns and solids. It's also pretty rad that it's categorized under scarf, cowl and collar. Depending on how you wear it, this piece could be all three!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Help Me Plan My Holiday Bash, Part One; Or, This is Far Too Exciting

Lifelong learning is important. Certainly, when it intersects with fundamental, as-yet-undiscovered and untapped internal resources and inclinations, it can be downright exciting.
PhotobucketThat's where I find myself at the moment.

It's pretty clear I like making things; but over the past few months I've discovered I'm really way super keen on party planning.
Arranging the house, planning meals, creating decor, all these things float my boat.

And with a house at my disposal this year, it seems the stars have aligned and I'll be able to host my very own family Christmas dinner.
Actually on Christmas! No joke! It's true; I'm all grown up now.

The guest list stands at nine adults, and I can't wait to get going on planning this shindig!

But first, I have the Massive Cookie List to tend to.

What, never heard of the Massive Cookie List? (likely not, since I just made it up. Like, right now).

This Massive Cookies List is a personal challenge I've issued myself over the last few years.

For the holidays, I bake goodie platters to give to (usually around) 25-30 people. The challenge lies here: each year, I try to make more recipes.

The first year came in around 24: this year, I'm shooting for 33.

I'll happily share with you my list (in a few posts!) but first I wanted to ask: what are your favourite goodie recipes? I've learned the hard way that some recipes in my massive collection don't really yield the greatest end result, despite any mouthwatering photographs accompanying said instructions.

Monday, November 28, 2011

YearLong YarnSong: November

And now it's finally time for the third installment of my year-long ebook project!

Here's November.

Spiced Heads and Dead Leaves
Spiced Heads and Dead Leaves is a slouchy lace toque. Worked entirely in a Fir Cone Lace pattern, this hat has a subtle loveliness that’ll make a breezy November day just that bit warmer!
one size

Spiced Heads and Dead Leaves - on rav

To The Ground

To the Ground are a pair of over-the-knee legwarmers with a delightful bit of slouch at the bottom.
Beautiful yarn is shown off wonderfully with this simple 2-stripe repeat.

Sizing: there aren’t any standard sizes for legs/legwarmers, so this pattern contains two sizes. Everyone has different legs! I’m very happy to help anyone change up sizing if necessary.

To the Ground - on rav

Garden Cover
Garden Cover is a warm, simple shift dress that is universally flattering and available in a varying size range.
Listed are sizes S-XL; this in fact covers the CYC standards for sizing from XS up to XXXL. Due to the oversized fit of the dress, each size range is covered under these four sizes.

Garden Cover - on Rav

Season's End
Season’s End is a colourwork yoked mini sweater. This piece is just the right size to use up some extra, lovely yarn you have left from another project. For an adding bit of warmth on an increasingly chilly November, Season’s End will serve the purpose well!

XS(28-30") to XXXL (52-54")

Season's End - on rav

Friday, November 25, 2011

Indie Designer Revisited

PhotobucketDesigner: Lauren Osborne
Blog: Hungry Knitter
Rav ID: lauren0
Some Great Designs: lauren0's Rav Designer Page
Original Indie Designer Post: March 13, 2009

When I first profiled laurenO, she had one design published. It was such a great piece I knew I wanted to share it with all you readers.

Fast forward about 2.5 years, and she now has more, and even more fantastic, patterns posted.

As both a knitter and crocheter, laurenO displays great design talent in each craft.

I chose to include a photo of her
Brocade Socks for several reasons. First off, they're beautiful! But also, something about that colourwork is getting me in the seasonal mood. Possible suggestion for a knit gift to a much beloved recipient?

Her first pattern was self published, as is the pretty Macro Mitts. A pair of knit mitts in great graphic colourwork, these are a wonderful, traditional-looking project that can suit a very wide range of people: men, women, children, young, old, and all!

She's also been published and featured in a variety of other arenas, including this Knit Picks design, Frank. Frank is a pair of mitts with yet another example of great colourwork. This time, it's architecturally inspired and wonderfully geometrical.

Crochet Today has also published her work: the Stuffable Stockings (which are defo time appropriate!) would make a fantastic wee gifty for many. I think I just might make one for my (as yet un-stockinged) lovebird Elbie.1

Keep a look out for laurenO designs - they're always bound to impress.
1 It's just occurred to me: ya'll haven't met my young, and rather naughty, lovebird Elbie. Hmm... that's for another post!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday Musings: Or, What To Do With This Nook?

As you may (or may not) know, I've recently moved house.
Specifically, from an apartment building to a real, actual, detached house.

This is a fantastic house with wonderful family history. I love this house.
I had some great help getting this place to look more "me", and so have had house-nesting and room decorating on my mind for the past few months.

After all was said and done on the September 30th move, I somehow fit all my copious amounts of crap into this (really rather small) abode. (yes, that's right. The abode is small. This has nothing to do with the aforementioned crap of copious amounts).

Many of the little details have been tended to; I've discovered a bit of a routine, things have their places, nooks have their nooklets.

But, along with all that framed art and photo hanging that I have to do, there's also the question of this interesting kitchen feature.


My mother tells me this once was a nook for an ironing board (that's right - in the kitchen).
At the moment I have my calendar hanging in this space, but that sort of seems to be a wasted opportunity.

I've had spice rack suggested as a possible use for the once-ironing-board-bed, which would be very cute.
But I thought I'd poll ya'll and see: What would you do with this space?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Leah Coccari-Swift
Blog: ruby submarine
Etsy Shop: RubySubmarine
Rav ID: RubySubmarine
Some Great Designs: RubySubmarine's Rav Designer Page

It seems even earlier this year that the stores have become holiday-shopping-busy: decorations are up, and I've even heard the music of the season being played/blasted from various and sundry shops in the mall.

I can't say it's gotten me in a bad mood at all, I really like this time of year! It's certainly got me primed for gift-planning, and this week's designer has a great selection of cool knits for those cool people on your list.

The pictured Kitefish Shawl is a fantastic stand out piece. I love her colour combinations. A great way to utilize some lovely hand-dyed yarn, create an interesting shape, and have a finished product that you certainly won't want to give away!

Another cute suggestion for a quick gift-knit is her whimsical Realistic Octopus. This little crocheted masterpiece in yarn really does look like it might come to life and start scuttling across the floor! (I'm a little creeped out by octopi, and it's a testament to the realism of this wee creation that it puts me on edge. Just a bit.)

I'm also a fan of her pretty Scallop Lace Hat. I really dig the shape the lace gives to the hat, and the slouch it's got as well. I'd really, really have to like someone mucho to knit this and actually gift it away!

In one of the most uniquely fashionable, interesting and wearable pieces I've seen, the Medusa Look Scarf is an eye-catching knit. Please click on the link and you'll see. This is the sort of versatile piece that could dress up a plain outfit; a fantastic accessory that would showcase shape, drape, and the beauty of your yarn.

I'm really keen on RubySubmarine's aesthetic in designs. Really looking forward to any other patterns she publishes!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

One Last Bit o'Halloween: The Sweet Stuff

I've just located some last little pics from Halloween.

For the party, I wanted to give people a special bit of something sweet in their goody bag.
Of course, I looked to Martha for some great ideas.

These are some yummy and cool looking skull cookies, seen here.
I switched up the recipe, and just made a basic sugar cookie with some cocoa thrown in for colour.

Incidentally, you never realize just how stick marshmallows are until you try to cut them up with scissors. Nightmare! After just 2 cuts, they gum up the blades and you've got to either slog though the mess, or spend the time cleaning up and wiping dry the scissors between each couple of cookies!

So worth it, though. They looked cool and were defo yummy.

Now, on to the next holiday!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Halloween: Oh How I Love Thee. Party Time!

I thought perhaps before it gets too late, I should post about my Halloween party!

Here's me costume. It turned out mostly alright. I was quite happy with the belt, but still didn't get the hang of sewn in sleeves (thanks to my blogless friend Krista for taking these pics!)


Some of the mucho sugar that populated the party.
After that evening I was like a desperate soul, begging people to take some food! So much food. Food that lasted for days and days!
Note: next year, invite more people. Threaten them if they don't take lots of munchies away with them.


Which pumpkin would you vote for? I had a few prizes and draws: best carved pumpkin was one of them.
FYI, the winning pumpkin was the one at the bottom right. It was actually tied with the pumpkin on the upper right.
I carved the one that looks like windows, sitting on the ground there. It actually wasn't finished. It was supposed to have a carved vulture sitting inside it, à la Martha here.

Just flame, no heat: this was a part of the backyard. The plan had been to have my patio heater there all set up and good to warm all the becostumed partygoers as they enjoyed the clear October evening. Didn't work out quite like that. The heater looked awfully cool, but didn't really heat so well.

So very much looking forward to next year. What should I be? Hmmm.....

Friday, November 11, 2011

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: fallmasche
Rav ID: fallmasche
Some Great Designs: fallmache's Rav Designer Page

Simple shapes; subtle colours.

This week's designer has a graceful, understated style that translates beautifully into a variety of knits.

Versio (pictured) is a comfy-lovely seamless knit. There's something very fashionable yet casual about this piece. It's the whole aesthetic, methinks: just the right amount of ease, the wide stripes, the colour choices.

Rotation also uses stripes to great effect, this time both wide and narrow. The combination of these two stripe sizes and negative ease gives this comfy-lovely pullover a very attractive look and inviting feel (and bonus: it's a free pattern!)

It's really great to me when designers put in those extra details that show they're really thinking about their pieces. The Strandlaeufer (sandpiper) cowl was fallmache's first pattern, but she demonstrates her thoughtfulness with this colour suggestion:
"For the darkest color...maybe choose the color of your (or the one who will wear the cowl) eyes."

And finally I'll point you to April in Berlin. This elegantly simple tunic top is the sort of thing that makes my heart go thump. Now, if only I could gather together more time in the day to knit one for me!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Adventures in Apple Butter

My dad has a farm out in the boonies. Beautiful, beautiful boonies. (funfact: it's the location for the photos for the September YearLong YarnSong).

This farm has a great little orchard, from which he's kindly collected some apples and pears for me this year.

Once again, I'm on a mission to make my house smell amazing, and make some apple butter!

Since these are organically raised apples (read: not sprayed, and basically left to fend for themselves...) many of them were, let's say, less-than-photogenic. Under the surface peel, though, lay delicious, delicious apple meat :)

My dad tends to do things thoroughly, and when I asked for "some apples", he brought be about 4 barrels full.
So merrily I went on, peeling and slicing away.

I love the hours of cooking involved with making apple butter. That might sound a bit off, but really, I like tending to the simmer pot of sweetness, watching it thicken and darken, always amazed at how much it reduces, and pleasantly soothed by the wonderful scent in the house.


This was, of course, only a fraction of the many, many apples I had waiting to be cooked. Let me tell you, I have apple butter to last a life time now.

Anyone want some?


Friday, November 04, 2011

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: MMario
Website Group: MMario KKnits
Rav ID: MMario
Some Great Designs: MMario's Rav Designer Page

I gasped and gasped again when I came upon MMario's wonderful designs.

Unbelievably, there are quite a number of beautiful pieces that are free!

First I'll point out the Uhura shawl (pictured). This intricate triangle shawl looks like the lace is dancing, the alignment of yarn overs and solid areas make for a vibrating and eye-catching knit.

Out of Cheese is another free shawl; a different shape this time, the large hexagon with its central detail and intricate wide edging looks fantastic draped over one's shoulders.

A cape: St. Jacques demonstrates MMario's great skill in lace design. I'm really quite amazed at the range of shapes he's able to skillfully create. He has over 80 designs. It's unreal.

And finally, a bit of whimsy, the Lobster Quadrille shawl. How cool is that? A lobster in lace!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

October's Haunting Air: New YearLong YarnSong

YLYS October Cover - on rav
What with one thing and another, I've finally been able to publish October's edition of YearLong YarnSong.

This issue contains three patterns.


Sizes XS - XXXL
A long sleeved, historically inspired gothic fancy, this sweater has unique details such as a peplum, buttoned lace cuffs, ruffled neckline and three-button keyhole closure at the back of the neck.

Peat, Ghosts and Hurricane Lanterns

Sizes S - XL (note: this covers the CYC standards sizng from XS up to XXXL)
This knit (which has made it's way into my regular rotation!) is a pretty and practical piece to add to your wardrobe. A shrug with style, this garment includes a deep hood with gathers along the upper edges, a picot hem, short sleeves and a front closure clasp.
Peat, Ghosts and Hurricane Lanterns - on rav

Cemetery Whispers

Sizes S - XL (note: this covers the CYC standards sizng from XS up to XXXL)
A quick knit with bulky yarn, this shrug has a large ruffled collar and sleeves.
Cemetery Whispers - on rav

Friday, October 28, 2011

Indie Designer Revisited

Designer: Hanna Breetz
PhotobucketBlog: evergreenknits
Rav ID: evergreenknits
Some Great Designs: evergreenknits' Rav Designer Page
Original Indie Designer Post: February 6, 2009

Not only are evergreenknits' designs beautiful and consistently elegant, she's maintained her dedication to knitting green.
Her latest blog post talks about natural dying with pecans - really cool.
On to the knitting!

Since I first profiled Hanna in 2009, she's done much more great work. She's published a fantastic shawl pattern for Sanguine Gryphon, Industrial Revolution (pictured). I encourage you to check out the other photos of this shawl on the pattern page. It seems to morph wonderfully into several different shawls, depending on how it's worn.

Another beautiful knit, self-published this time, is Vermont Shawl. I love how it really does seem to reflect the lushy greeny leafiness of a strong, old forest.

And one more notable mention is the adorable Sea Urchin. This sweet little whimsy just might find it's way onto my Christmas knitting list!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Cecilia Flori
Rav ID: ceciknits
Some Great Designs: ceciknits' Rav Designer Page

With interesting shapes and attractive elements, this week's designer has a great talent for creating fabulous accessories.

One of the two patterns she has posted is the pictured a thousand splendid suns. Great name, right? I think it's rad gear.
The photograph shows off the beautiful way this seemingly simple knit can look so interesting, and I can imagine it really "making" an outfit.

The second pattern ceciknits has published is the long (and winding) mesh. Again, great name. Take a look at the number of photos she has posted of this piece. It appears to transform into so many different shapes! I really love the look of it all scrunched up, and the little flipped over cowl look is great too.

Thanks for the patterns! Looking forward to any new designs you may cook up (and the wonderful names to accompany them!)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rhinebeck Redux;, Or, Here's My First Video Post

Hi all!

As a bit of a recap, I thought I'd let you know a bit about how Rhinebeck went for me. And, in a video post!
I apologize ahead of time for the following:
-poor video quality
-obvious awkwardness
-any inability of the video to play

Rhinebeck Redux from canarysanctuary on Vimeo.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Beware: Four Hungry Knitters on Road to Rhinebeck!

PhotobucketIt's true. This year is the year.

I'm finally going to experience the consta-lauded, much-anticipated, always-venerated Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival.

I'm not new to attending knitting fairs, but by all accounts, this is a festival like no other. I'm pretty dern excited, and I'll tell you why:

This is going to be a superawesomesauce road trip for me and three other knitting buds. The Orange Beast1 is up for the haul. I've done over 6 hours of straight driving before, but that was all within Canada. Crossing the border is new! So, that orange car with the Ontario license plate? That's us.2

As a big fan of cute animals (especially dumb cute animals), I look forward to meeting a few of the ovine persuasion. And, if anyone of you will be there, please say hi! Fair warning, you might have to pull me away from whatever shiny thing I'm fawning over at the time!

1 The Orange Beast is my fantastico car. Guess my favourite colour?
2 I've coordinated with all the other orange-car drivers in Ontario - they're not going. I have the market cornered on Ontario orange cars.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thanksgiving; Or, How Awesome It Is

Leaves - on blog

It's difficult to choose, but in the general rankings of holiday awesomeness, Thanksgiving's my second favourite of the year.

Previous years have seen me post a wee bit on this topic: a few years ago it was joy at the successful avoidance of mass familial poisoning at my first Thanksgiving as hostess.
This year, I sadly am stepping down as party-starter. My new home isn't up for company quite yet. I suspect the atmosphere might be ruined if the dining situation involved boxes-as-chairs and plastic cutlery (because you know, somehow, there seems to have been a bizarre migration of real silverware from the box they were supposed to be in to some random, foreign box, buried at the bottom of the bottomless pile of randomness in the fright-maze that is the basement....)

Aaaaanyway, I've always felt Thanksgiving is so wonderful and warm. Family together, that fantastic post-gorging bloat, the beauty of an Ontario autumn, and really, I dig the whole "taking time to be thankful" thing.
I'll tell you a secret: the apparently frivolous nature of this blog? It's silly and pleasant and happy and frivolous on purpose. This is itself a tool for being thankful.

I'm thankful for pretty yarn. For the inspirational creativity of others. For the fact that my life is prosperous and comfortable enough to allow me the time to indulge in frivolity. I have fantastic people around me who I can turn to for help; people who support (and even understand) my squeals of delight over a simple hank of yarn.

I hope you all have that level of happiness, too. And even more!

*ok, wiping away the superfluous amounts of saccharinity....

Let's go eat food! Because there's no joy in life like a full belly.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all, whether you're in Canada or not.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Halloween: Oh How I Love Thee, Part the First; My Costume!

This year my new château will be host to Halloween!

October is the best for oh-so-many reasons, and Halloween is my list topper. I love this holiday. If it were a human, I'd be seriously inclined to marry it. At the very least we'd go out on a few dates. See how the chemistry worked out.

This post is a warning, beware and heads-up: I'll be re-entering the blogging world with a superfluity of Halloweeny party planning.

This post is also a discussion about, rant upon and general headdesking about women's Halloween costumes.1

Here is what I wanted to be for Halloween: a Roman centurion.
Guess what type of costumes I found for a grown woman Roman centurion?


I believe the photograph, with it's ability to speak one thousand words, explains why I have not chosen this pre-fab.

With limited time and sewing skills, I didn't feel up to the task for doing any of the following:
-buying this.... costume.... and altering it to suit my tastes
-buying either a men's costume pattern or boy's costume pattern and modifying it to fit me
-searching (perhaps fruitlessly) for bits and pieces to toss together and hobble up my own no-sew version of a Roman centurion

And so, off to the fabric store I went, fingers crossed that somehow it would have a women's Roman centurion pattern that... suited my tastes... which the internet did not.

Lo, and to my everlasting non-shock, it did not.

But what the fabric store did have was an array of lovely historical dress patterns. Being a history nerd, I couldn't resist, and purchased Butterick's B4827 Misses Medieval Dress pattern.


Of course, I couldn't go as just any well-to-do medieval woman: I'm going as Eleanor of Aquitaine!

Boo yeah!

This costume suits my many costume guidelines:
-will keep me reasonably warm on what will obviously be a chilly October evening
-allows for freedom of movement (this guideline unfortunately rules out tons of kickass costumes)
-does not require any sort of thick face paint
-also, does not require a mask (clashes with the glasses. Glasses cancel out masks. I choose my ability to see over costume)

So, anachronistic as it shall be, I'll be a plastic-frame bespectacled Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Next time: costume sewing success (or failure. And if it's a failure, I promise it'll be a hilarious one.)
1 Wooo! Feminism post!
Yes yes, it's all very personal-as-political, but everyone has their bugbears, and sexualized Halloween costumes happen to fall in the category of things that yank my chain.
It highlights the masquerade parade that is acceptable "femininity" in this culture that women, when given the opportunity to dress up, are assumed to
want to have every single costume choice be highly sexualized.
Even when you can find a costume for an adult female (and disturbingly, even for teenage girls and
pre-teens!) that isn't by it's nature very sexual, it is morphed into a sexualized piece of women-hating garbage.
Want to be Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz? Be prepared to raise that hemline and expose some breast! For dog's sake, Dorothy was a little girl.
And, think there's a limit to what can be sexualized?
A few years ago a friend of mine saw a woman dressed up as a sexy Ninja Turtle.
End Rant.