Tag: christmas

A Weasley Sweater for DUUUKE

This is my buddy, Duke. Duke is a fox terrier with a goofy smile, skinny legs and a pointy bum! Duke loves cuddles and any kind of attention he can get. And although Duke came from Alberta where the snow piles high and the temperature drops low, Duke lives in the temperate weather of Vancouver, and he gets cold!

Back when I first started knitting, I made myself a Weasley sweater which turned out so well everyone else wanted one too. 3 sweaters later, we decided that our family dog Pepper should have one. I made my first dog sweater in the same style, and this became our family go-to for Christmas and family photos.

Years later, Pepper is no longer with us, but I now make friends with all the furbabies I encounter. I am grateful for all the people who are kind enough to share their furry friends with me. I received special commission to make a sweater for Duke, and I was happy to oblige!

When you don’t have a dog to model, but you do have a ceramic polar bear…

The quality of my work has much improved since my early knitting days. Better materials, better workmanship, better outcome. I got to work with hand-dyed merino wool (courtesy of Duke’s momma aka Fidley Dyeworks), and tried my hand at fairisle knitting. I even have fancy fabric tags with my logo on it now!

Duke is a lovely customer. He absolutely returns all the love and looks super handsome and cozy. He’s probably the fanciest doggo in the park.

 

Bonus: found this cute little video of Pepper wanting all the attention. This is what knitting with a dog was like <3

SO GREEN Tree Mittens

Early last year whilst perusing knitting stitch patterns and designs, I found a chart for a fairly simple tree design. I had wanted to incorporate it into a pair of socks for myself but chart work always left me confused and frustrated. I saved the link in hopes that one day I would find the determination to figure it out.

During this time, I discovered a knitting friend, Kate. Kate dyes yarn in her home and has, on occasion, asked for my suggestions for new colour ideas. She has since learned that my suggestion is almost always GREEN. We would have discussions about colour combinations and I would leave expecting to return to a beautiful new green skein with flashes of black and gold. Yet somehow, I was always met with a gorgeous but disappointingly not-green skein, with maybe a speckle or two of something kind of resembling green. For Christmas, I was surprised with a skein of single ply SW Merino, entirely covered in the most rich, semi-solid green you could imagine. It’s SO GREEN, every time I look at it I can just imagine Kate saying, “Are you happy now?!?” She even let me name it for her shop (Austen–a somewhat roundabout tribute to my “ah mah” (grandma). We have distance, language, and cultural barriers preventing us from interacting, however I feel connected to her through our mutual love of crafting. She doesn’t have an English name, but Austen is the name of a song that makes me think of her).

The gloriousness of this skein brought all the tree-inspiration back to me. I had since completed a pattern requiring chart work, so I felt much more prepared to tackle it again. Turns out this chart is not as daunting as it seemed a year ago. I instantly decided on mittens, because you can’t let such beautiful yarn hide inside your boots!

I decided to make them top-down, which is a first for me. I like this method way better as it allows me to try them on as I go, so they fit much more snugly on my hands than most mittens. I drafted up my own pattern for future reference because I have learned to write EVERYTHING down when making new projects.

The final product is so smooshy and so green, and the tree design suits the yarn perfectly. As an added bonus, I made little button holes over the index finger and thumb so they can peek through to use on my phone while I’m out in the cold! So typical of my generation, eh? I definitely would have reconsidered making/wearing mittens if this wasn’t an option.

You can find Kate and her yarns over at www.fidleydyeworks.com. Austen should be up there soon, and you can check out the now-sold-out colourway named after me!

Kate, if you’re reading this, I appreciate you so much! Thanks for thinking of me and finally getting over your green-shyness. (:

Welcome to the Fam!

Welcome to the Fam!

As January has come to an end it’s really starting to hit me that it’s 2017! Knitting/crochet quickly became such a core part of my identity this past year, to myself and many others. It was never something I spoke often about before that year. It was always something I did in secret in my little home workshop. In 2016, I was outed! And in fact, the amount of support I’ve received has been so heart-warming.

It’s been a good year of creating. The overarching theme of my 2016 crafting pursuits was amigurumi. Here’s a quick summary of all the new yarn babies that were born from my workshop in 2016!

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All of these were gifts and are no longer in my possession, but don’t be fooled! There may or may not be more experimental critters lurking around. Perhaps they’ll make an appearance this year?

Baby Bob 2.0

Baby Bob 2.0

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How many years does your sister have to be with the guy she’s dating before you welcome him into your holiday celebrations?

I don’t really think there is a specific number, or rather, it varies based on the relationship. Since she introduced him as her boyfriend, he has been invited to any big dinner party we have. When it comes to Christmas and the exchange of gifts though, I’m a big believer in sentiment. Since I reached the age of “adulthood”, getting gifts has been less about materialism and more about either usefulness or meaning. When I give gifts, I like them to have special meaning for the recipient. So the answer to that question would be, when you know him well enough to be able to get him a gift of meaning.

I’ve seen more and more of him over the years, but this year is the year I really began to feel comfortable interacting with him and really started to think of him as family. T loves gaming. Specifically, T loves catching and raising dinosaurs with his friends online. I’m not a fan of gaming, but what I did find nice was that when I’m over, he shares with me. He tells me about the dinosaurs in his game and what he’s doing. He invites me into his world. He showed me “Baby Bob”, which was his prized dragon (?) he hatched and raised. We laughed about how he named it Bob and over time he would soon become “Adolescent Bob”. (You had to be there…)

To get to the point, I wanted to make him a little dinosaur that could hang out by his gaming computer. I found this stegosaurus pattern and could just imagine it on his desk. Went with a more earthy, self-striping yarn and didn’t stitch in any features so it would look a little less childish…but let’s be honest…it’s a stuffed dino.

Dad-Approved iPad Case

Dad-Approved iPad Case

In all the years I’ve been knitting, I have never made something for my dad. I’ve given a ton of gifts to other family members, friends, even some people I only ever worked with for a couple of years. It’s not that I didn’t want to give him something, it’s just that I never knew what I could make that he would actually like.

In one of our recent car chats, he mentioned that he was looking for an iPad case to use when he travels. Instantly, I thought there had to be patterns out there that I could easily whip up before his next trip. There were tons! Still, I decided to read through them and construct my own. I’ve never been one to follow other people’s patterns.

Here’s what I came up with:

Materials:
  • Yarn: King Cole Magnum Chunky (1 skein)
  • Needles: US 10 (6.0mm) DPNs
  • Button
Case Body:
  1. Cast on 55 sts spread across DPNs. CO an extra stitch for joining in the round (will be dropped). (55)
  2. Work linen stitch in the round until piece measures about 25 cm.
  3. Bind off loosely, leaving a long tail. Use this tail to sew the end shut flat and weave in ends.
Strap:
  1. On starting row end, pick up 8 stitches in the middle. (Or width needed based on button size.)
  2. Work 15 rows of linen stitch, ending on the WS.
  3. On RS row, make buttonhole the size of your button.
  4. Continue in linen stitch for 4 more rows.
  5. Bind off and weave in ends.
  6. Sew button in place on case.

I recommend testing the width after a few rows on an actual iPad and again later to make sure the length covers the whole thing (if you have access to one–I snuck in and out of my dad’s office many times to create this project and keep it a surprise).  It is meant to be tight-fitted and stretch like a sock to avoid having the iPad slip around inside it.

My dad was surprised on Christmas morning to see that I had actually followed through on what seemed to be a casual conversation. Will have to wait til his next trip to actually test it, but so far I think he’s a proud papa!

Oh Deer, Is Christmas Over Already?

Oh Deer, Is Christmas Over Already?

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We have officially taken down our Christmas tree, and even though Christmas day is already just a faint memory, it still makes me a little sad!

I’ve never been a huge fan of Christmas ornaments. What I mean by that is I like the tree to be properly decorated with sets of baubles–maybe 2 or 3 varieties, and some lights and tinsel. To have a tree completely cluttered with ornaments that came from here and there is too much for my OCD brain to handle! I mean, clearly you’ll have favourites and some will inevitably be shoved to the back of the tree. And those that are super cute on their own end up clashing with all the other super cute ornaments, just fighting for attention. This year however, the family that I work with in my day job had a beautifully decorated house that I was lucky enough to get to visit for a few hours most days. On any regular day, their interior design is #goals, but when Christmas season rolled around, boy, did it become like a movie set. They had a chubby tree completely littered with all sorts of ornaments…and it looked good!

So against my better judgment, I decided to crochet Christmas ornaments. Even though ornaments people gift to me often just end up in a box somewhere, I could feel that they would fully appreciate and make use of them. I wanted to make something that the kiddos would enjoy, and upon browsing a tiny amigurumi book (book on tiny amigurumi…the book itself was actually quite large), I settled on making little reindeer ornaments.

I learned 2 very cool things from this book:

  1. You can crochet an i-cord.
  2. When making tiny amigurumi limbs/antlers, you don’t have to darn each one on to the body (which I hate), you just have to leave openings to pull the entire tube through! (ie. Instead of making 2 front legs, you make 1 piece that is equivalent of both legs plus a little, and leave holes when making your body so this long piece can be pulled right through. It requires a little bit more planning, but totally worth it in my opinion.)

So, as we start a new year and wait for Christmas season to roll around again, I can only hope these little fellas get to come out again next year!

TSSP Meets The Kettle Society!

We brought 120 pairs of knitted socks over to The Kettle Society on November 10 so they could share them with their members! Amidst all the negativity going on in the US and here right now, it was nice to have a day filled with good vibes.

Did a little bit of vlogging for the first time…that’s an art too, right? I’ve been experimenting here and there with this blog and now with doing videos. If it goes well I may invest more of my time into it. I really like the idea of being able to look back at my accomplishments, both in photo and video form. Not quite comfortable in front of the camera yet, but glad to be part of the growing process!