Category: Crochet

It’s Okay

This week’s post is just a short PSA that IT’S OKAY NOT TO BE OKAY.

Small business owners will say you should always be positive on your social media. However, I think it’s important to be real, and the reality is, we all have bad days. Heck, I’ve had bad months.

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Have Hope.

I went to a pop punk concert the other night and got this bracelet, made by an organization called Hope For The Day. They do great work in suicide prevention and mental health education. Over the years, I have learned to recognize and accept when I am not okay. I find solace in knitting and music, and that’s what gets me through. I k1p1 to the sound of screaming and banging on drums until I regain the mental energy to deal. It’s better to be open about it than to suffer in silence. Have hope that you’ll be able to ride out the bad and make it to better days.

As part of our effort to support those who are not okay, every item purchased = one item donated. If you’re not into that, it’s okay too.

Hello? Everyone Still Here?

Happy New Year!

I’m back! Website-ing is hard, and it took me longer than I anticipated to get everything set up. I like to think I’m pretty good at technology but this is a whole new level of skill. So many times I just wished I could go back to simply knitting.

BUT, all the hard work has paid off! I’m ready to start 2018 off with a shop launch and new crafting goals. This website is full of new features beyond the blog now. I encourage you to click around on all the new tabs and links. The WWK shop is officially open with a few cozy knitted items available for purchase. 3 styles, 3 colours, only one of each! Treat yourself to something nice to start off the year, why don’cha?

I’ve also converted what was formerly known as The Sidewalk Sock Project into Winter’s Weather Knits Gives Back, in order to encompass more knitted gifts and incorporate my charity work into my sales. You can read about that on the WWKGB tab.

Other fun plans for the year include:

  • Tons of new pattern ideas waiting to be shared.
  • Fun new fibres to play with.
  • Collaborations with new maker friends.
  • More blog posts, including what you’ve missed over the last few months of 2017!

Social media links are at the bottom of all the pages so you can keep up with everything that’s in store for this year!

2018. Let’s go.

Knit City 2017

Knit City 2017

Last weekend was my first ever Knit City!

It was basically your typical craft fair/marketplace with only fibre art related vendors. There were also tons of classes and lectures going on in other rooms. Unfortunately I didn’t get to attend any of those this year, but maybe Knit City 2018!

I’m no stranger to craft fairs, but I find that those tend to lack cohesiveness and community. By that I mean that because there are such a wide range of booths and craft types, you don’t interact with very many people who share your enthusiasm for something apart from the very general liking of art. The Knit City atmosphere was completely different from any similar event I’ve been to before. Right from the get-go you could see groups of people “squee”ing from excitement over a knitting pattern or yarn colour. Everyone was dressed up in colourful knits and rocking it. Strangers were approaching me to tell me they liked my shawl (some even reaching out to touch me). I knew other people attending the event, which also made the social aspect of the fair much more enjoyable. These people introduced me to more people, all of whom were ridiculously friendly and talented. All of our conversations started at 10 and escalated to 100 as we fangirled over the love of knitting. I’m pretty sure my eyes were wide open with delight the entire time I was in the building.

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I brought my sister along with me even though she’s not a crazy yarn lady like most of the people there. I paid for her entry so she got to have a 10 minute massage!

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As if things couldn’t get even more exciting, my sister (who was ever so generous as to come with me to a granny convention) won a gift bag at the raffle! Since she’s not a knitter, I got to take home most of the swag for myself, which included some beautiful natural wools, a pattern book, and a set of glittery EXTREME knitting needles. I also treated myself a little a bought a leather wrist-ruler (for the times I sit down to knit and don’t want to get up when I need to measure something) and 4 skeins of a merino alpaca worsted weight.

As we hopped around from booth to booth, I could feel the inspiration just welling up inside of me. New ideas came to mind, and I gained a sense of confidence that I could make things that people would want to buy. In the past week I’ve already spent tons of money in preparation for launching an online shop. I have seriously committed to doing it and there’s no turning back now!

What a great, adrenaline-filled day. Next up, Fibres West 2018!

Pattern: Yarnivores

Pattern: Yarnivores

My little monsters have an official pattern…and a name!

These creatures have been living in my head for some time now. I had made one a long time ago during a stressful exam period to try and de-stress, but I never really took the time to note down my procedure…until now!

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Each monster is based on some creature in the animal kingdom, with sharp-toothed underbites and a zombie-like gaze. While they don’t have arms, they have long dangly legs that are super cute when hanging off the edge of a shelf or similar piece of furniture. Mine also wear socks as a tiny homage to The Sidewalk Sock Project.

The official pattern is up on my Ravelry webstore if you are interested in purchasing it. The pattern includes step by step instructions for the basic features with lots of photos. Additional features are up to your creativity but I have found hearts, pockets, bows, and bellybuttons very cute.

A few little tips for my blog visitors:

  • Make a heavy bean bag!
    • The heavier, the easier it will be for the monster to sit without falling backwards because of his legs. I personally also prefer the heavier feel. It kind of reminds me of carrying around a little sack-of-flour-baby (a school project I never got to do)
  • Always consider if you will need to sew the piece you are working on before you fasten off.
    • It is way neater (and easier) to leave a long tail when fastening off than using a whole new piece of yarn to sew pieces together
  • When attaching limbs and other features, use your darning needle to pull the extra tails left over in through the body and trim on the other side, hiding the tail inside.
    • Not exactly a secret, but learning this technique was super helpful when I was a beginner!
  • If you can knit, I like to make the face panel in a simple stockinette stitch, and the teeth using the beginning row of entrelac.
    • It gives a nice contrast to the crochet body.
  • The socks I made are just shorter versions of the legs with an extra increase round so they are just a tiny bit bigger than the leg.

We had some guests in our photoshoot. (L) A little toothless baby version of my original. (R) Curious puppy.

Summer is the perfect time for amigurumi! I hope you enjoy the pattern. (:

“Whoops, I made a hat!” Syndrome

“Whoops, I made a hat!” Syndrome

I usually like to keep organized and on top of things when it comes to this blog (and in general, really). In the past it hasn’t been too difficult because of the constant flow of ideas and projects. I would spend my weekends taking pictures and writing posts to schedule for the month. Recently however, I have been busy and stressed from work, and trying to keep up with family life, a social life, and my charity project! I’m whining a little, but I’m not really complaining–I love all those things. It just means I’ve had less time to allow my creative juices to flow, which in turn means nothing to post about.

As the weather gets warmer, it gets more difficult to be inspired to knit. Kind of like when you shop for groceries on a full stomach instead of an empty one. I haven’t been as “hungry” for new projects as I usually am.

So, this week, instead of having nothing to post, I want to talk about what I like to call “whoops, I made a hat” syndrome. I’ve written about this on various social media platforms already and it still makes me chuckle. I think the phrasing comes from that cartoon of a grandma eating noodles who accidentally uses her chopsticks to knit them into a scarf. I don’t knit my noodles (food just may be the one thing that is slightly above knitting on my hierarchy of values), but when I sit down with a ball of yarn to make hats for the homeless, I always experience that moment where I pause the show I’m watching and look down to see a completed hat. ((Other people my age have ‘Netflix and Chill’, I have ‘Netlix and whoops, I made a hat’.))

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With my lack of motivation to start a new project, I’m really channeling my energy into stockpiling hats so that once the cold weather comes round again, I’ll be ready with bags of hats to donate. If next winter is anything like the last one, I want to be prepared well ahead of time!

And so, at the risk of being repetitive and constantly plugging my charity project, here’s a quick video I made to try and visually represent WIMAH-syndrome.

New Choker Designs

New Choker Designs

IMG_20170420_191525With the seasons changing and the temperature warming up, I’ve been looking into some summer projects. I tend to focus on toys and amigurumi in the warmer months since it’s too hot for knitted clothing, but when I found some crochet chokers online, it sparked my curiosity!

A little while ago I followed a pattern to make my first choker (the blue one pictured above). After examining the concept of how the lace designs are formed, I decided to take a stab at designing my own pattern. I managed to create 2 patterns out of some scrap yarn I had left around from previous projects. I am calling them the Cherrypit Choker, and the Macuahuitl Choker (that last one is a mouthful, but google the word and it will make sense).

The patterns aren’t up anywhere yet because I have been too lazy to do them up. My brain has been stretched in so many different directions in terms of inspiration. I have tons of projects casted on and unfinished. Since this is a hobby, I made the conscious decision to just do whatever I feel like doing at the time and not worry about finishing the projects I don’t have the inspiration to complete. I know one day I will get around to all of them. Today just isn’t that day.

Faux Pom Beanie

Faux Pom Beanie

While shopping in Deserres in April, I stumbled upon these faux fur pompoms. I see these kind of hats all the time in commercial retail stores, and I never buy them because of the knitted body of the hat–I always steer away from buying knitted clothing items, because I know I am going to be knitting my own clothing.

IMG_20170420_191036Impulsively I picked one out and decided I am finally going to make myself a faux pom chunky beanie! That weekend I crocheted the body of the hat within a day (following no particular pattern–just stitch designs) and attached the pom and voilà! Super quick project, and super cute.

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Scared this blue bird up the pine while trying to photograph my hat. He scared me too!

The only downside is that the weather isn’t warm enough for wool hats! Guess I’ve gotta wait til next winter…

Pocket Teddy in Action

Pocket Teddy in Action

Back in December, I made a tiny teddy bear for my cousin that he could take with him to work for moral support. The whole concept behind it was to create a little buddy that could join him on adventures and provide some emotional support for those rough days.

I like that idea of having a miniature stuffed companion that’s discrete and easy to take travelling. I think a lot of people would benefit from having a little extra comfort and assurance in their day to day lives–I know I would! I am currently working on designing my own little critters that may one day follow kids to school, or teens to university, or even adults to work. Having felt the burden of anxiety myself, I think anyone who has ever dreaded leaving the house would like a little buddy to go with them.

In the meantime however, here’s what pocket teddy has been up to.

15731669_10211014987626509_978390770_nHe travelled safely with a few friends over to California in time for Christmas.

17911064_10212100516404050_220519684_nHe sat in this pocket and went to work at the library.

18110754_10212194449512319_376450668_nAnd most recently, he was there to provide support in a Chinese (amateur) speech competition…in front of 400 guests!

Super pleased to see these photos and hear about how pocket teddy’s been helping out. This was the motivation I needed to seriously consider going further with my designs. I’m still trying to squeeze out whatever projects I can to make use of the cold weather we have left, but once summer rolls around, it will be all about the pocket critters!

Happy Place Joey

Happy Place Joey

As a continuation from last week’s post, my sister and I spent the following day after getting tattoos together doing crafty things!

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We visited a French craft store called, DeSerres. It was a cute little shop with cute little crafting things and cute little French boys stocking the shelves. While they didn’t exactly specialize in yarn and needle crafts, they did have a yarn wall that obviously attracted me right away. Most of the yarn was French and at least partially wool, thus the price range was a wee bit higher, though not as high as a specialty yarn store.

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Normally I’m a thrifty knitter and will shop for deals rather than for fancy yarn in fancy materials. I’m totally cool with the 100% fake, unidentified fibres, provided they are soft and wear well. However, I wanted to treat myself a little and went for two little skeins of wool sock yarn. We’ll see if my taste changes after knitting with these! I also found a faux fur pom, and was enticed to buy it to make myself a chunky beanie.

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My sister took the photo of me staring at the yarn wall and accurately captioned it “Happy Place Joey”. If I had a million dollars I would almost definitely spend all of it on yarn.

After that, we stopped by the mall to mail a letter and pick up some food. We also waltzed into the Dollar Store, and they had yarn! To add to the fancy yarn I bought just moments earlier, I also picked up a few skeins of cheap, fluffy yarn. I had been looking for a new fur yarn I could use to make more stuffed animals. Thinking of designing a set of amigurumi “Pocket Critters”. I was just as excited by these skeins. Guess I’m easy to please.

Spring’s got me choking, and not just from allergies!

Spring’s got me choking, and not just from allergies!

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As the weather starts to warm up and the sun starts to show up a little more, people are starting to strip their layers. While I’m still bundled in my knitted infinity scarves, I find myself looking around at people who might as well be in shorts and a tee on their way to the beach. It’s not actually that warm out yet, especially not during the early commute to work, but I am feeling a little silly in my outfit of choice.

It’s also that time of year where people are glad to be getting away from the snow and starting to long for the summer, which means summer projects! That means yarn will be more limited in stock and more expensive (fewer sales), and I’m going to have to be more creative in projects since the giant blanket I make now probably won’t get to be used for month. While scouring Pinterest for technique help on another project I’m working on, I happened to stumble upon a series of crochet necklaces. Some were a little extravagant, but for the most part I found myself strangely intrigued. Is this something I really would wear? Is this something only crazy yarn ladies would make? Wait a minute…I am a crazy yarn lady! It was perfect!

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Even though I’ve got about 4 other projects on needles, I pushed them aside to learn how to do this. ((I mean, that’s what circular needles are for aren’t they? If you’re going to give me all this room to just slide my stitches onto, I am going to do just that!)) I settled on a simple pattern and got started. It took a little bit of testing, but eventually I got the pattern down. I made a few adaptations because I thought it was a little big and too showy for me, though I may get more adventurous after a few more (yes, there will be more).

I had butterflies the entire time I was making it…and blocking it…and putting it on. After that I stared at myself in the mirror and tugged and adjusted. While I’m still a little wary of the style, the overall feeling I have is excitement! I think I love it? I think it’s totally cute and classy? I feel feminine, and kind of…cool? As much as I embrace my inner granny in all the knitting and crochet that I do, it’s kind of awesome to do a project that’s just really hipster.

I posted the picture to instagram and facebook and the feedback was really positive. People who don’t always like all my posts liked the picture. Some even commented on it. ((I have to admit I am always flattered by the heart-eyes emoji…)) For a moment I felt really cool…and then I came here to document the project and wrote the title for this post. Cool factor instantly dropped back to where I normally am and should be. Heh. I still think I’m funny.