"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."- Leonardo da Vinci

4.19.2014

Happy Easter

Easter preparations are in full swing at our house. Since my mom is here, she is going all out with traditional dishes. We are certainly spoiled this time around, and it feels fantastic!

While my mom is busy with these preparations, I have had some time to ponder what sort of crafty surprise I can make for the kids. My criteria is simple, it has to be fast, cute and inexpensive. 

Now that there are 4 kids in the family, my sister and I have worked hard to create traditions and lasting memories for them. We are having an Easter egg hunt (indoors because it's still cold out), they will be decorating easter eggs, but I wanted something new as well. And then it hit me!

Why not dye quail eggs for them? They are certainly healthier than their chicken counterpart, and just their size. Plus the fact that they are spotted, makes for a cute pattern when you are done. 

Here are some before and after shots. What do you think?
































And that lovely candle you see in the background? Remember how I was talking about my uncle with the bee-hives? Well he makes these candles as well, and this one has an adorable bunny theme.

4.16.2014

Stripes make me happy

It has been a tough winter, so I guess it is no shock that one of the first things I wanted to knit for my little one, was a cozy blanket, something to cuddle her in. I wanted to make an heirloom piece, that she would be able to use throughout her childhood, but then tuck away, to give to her own children one day.

But how to choose? There are so many beautiful patterns out there. I had to find a way to narrow it down. I wondered, should I go with a more intricate pattern, or something simple? To me, in order to show off an interesting pattern or stitch you are better served with a solid colour yarn, whereas if you want to play with colour you are better served by a plain stockinette or garter stitch, maybe even cables. Once I looked at it this way, I decided that I wanted a colourful blanket.

I had always admired these blankets by the Purl Bee, so I started researching yarn and colourways. I can tell you, I splurged....BIG TIME. Six skeins of Madeline Tosh Merino DK will set you back a bit. None of my LYS carry the colours I was looking for, so I had to take a chance and order based on how they looked on my computer's screen. I was a little nervous opening the package, but once opened I absolutely loved my choices. The colours are incredibly bright and intense, and the yarn itself, oh, so soft. The colours I chose are Calligraphy, Fragrant and Candlewick.




I cast on 140 stitches and off I went. I needed a mindless project like this, while I sat in the NICU waiting for my little munchkin to grow and get healthy.You would not believe how many moms and nurses approached me to ask, and talk about my knitting. I became known as the "knitting mom", and they would come and check in on my progress. Many stopped to chat about their own crafting (mis)adventures, and to say that they would love to learn, or re-start, knitting themselves. 

I am always amazed at how this craft can so easily bring people together. It speaks to a side of us that is open, kind and loving. Being able to connect over knitting, changed my relationship with them, it made it more open and, well...kind. Once again, proof that knitting brings people together. I am sure I have recruited some new knitters.

I finished the blanket a few nights before she came home. It gives me such joy to cuddle her in it now, and to think of what the future may hold for this little, and incredibly strong (and cute!) baby.





4.06.2014

New life

When I last updated this blog I had promised myself that I would not let too much time pass before updating it again. Alas, I have broken my promise again. As much as I wanted to keep it, life, once again, got in the way.

Let's recap. The holidays were busy, but great, our biggest challenge this year being the weather. The bitter cold started much earlier this year, so we were unable to do some of our traditional outings. The Christmas market is no fun at -20 degrees or closer, neither is a walk around town to admire Christmas decorations. We will make up for it next year. This lack of outings and dreary weather have also resulted in very few photos being taken.  Thank you polar vortex!

I certainly have some serious catching up to do.

And just as I thought that I'd get a fresh start in 2014, my baby daughter decided to make her appearance 3 months early! I spent my days by her side, at first struggling to keep positive, then cautiously optimistic as she started improving. We worked hard to keep a routine going, mostly for my son, but also for ourselves, to help us keep our sanity.

It has been an emotional roller-coaster, having felt panic, paralyzing worry, guilt, helplessness, but also euphoria and happiness. 

Through it all, one thing has helped me cope, and that is the wonderfully calming effect of my knitting needles. Well, ok, to be honest also the occasional glass of wine and massive amounts of chocolate.

She has now been home for 2 weeks and a new stage has begun. A new routine, getting to know each other and lots of cuddling. 

For today I wanted to share a glimpse of my precious baby girl. 



Soon, I will share some finished FO's.

12.01.2013

Advent Countdown

It's that time of the year again! The holidays have snuck up on us, the first snowfall has already happened, and the countdown to Christmas begins. 

Now that I have made an Advent Calendar for 3 years in a row, the expectation has been set, and my son started asking days ago when this years' will be ready.

I just finished setting it up yesterday, and I find that it makes the house look festive. We're slowly setting up our Christmas decorations and we have a few cookie baking days set aside, these also having been requested by my son. I have to say, I am pleased to see that the little traditions I started a few years ago seem to already be ingrained and looked forward to. To me it means that he will have happy memories as an adult and that is exactly what I was hoping for.




On a more practical note, I am starting to run out of ideas as to what to fill the calendar with! I started with a puzzle, went on to a Playmobil one, last year's was filled with activities, and this year, every day he will get to unveil a Lego piece. 
What about next year?

Ideas? Suggestions? I realize I have another year to come up with something....still....help!

Tell me about your Christmas traditions. Anything that makes the countdown special? Something the kids can't get enough of? I am open to ideas, so go ahead, share!

And A Happy Advent-time to everyone.

11.17.2013

Color Affection - To YO or not to YO?

I am back today, to tell you more about my experience knitting the Color Affection Shawl. It is an incredibly popular project on Ravelry, having been knitted more then 10 000 times!
And because I am slowly starting to learn from my mistakes, I read up on quite a few project notes before starting my own.

It seems that there are 2 schools of thought when it comes to the correct way to knit Color Affection.There are those who choose to do a YO after the first stitch at the beginning of each row (dropping it on the way back so as to keep the correct number of stitches), and those who believe this step is unnecessary. The first avenue will result in a straighter top edge to the shawl, whereas not doing the YO, will give you a more crescent-shaped shawl.

What better way to test this theory then to start knitting 2 shawls using each technique. I was feeling adventurous you see? Below you can see the 2 samples I made. You can already notice that only after about 30 rows or so you can tell how one is curling more then the other. To me that was proof enough, I now had a decision to make. To YO or not to YO? It was not an easy decision, but ultimately, to me, the YO gives a cleaner edge, and I prefer that.


My shawl is finished and I will share photos of it in a couple of days, once the sun makes a long enough appearance to allow me to photograph.

In the meantime I have been working hard on my craft fair stash which is almost complete. The event is taking place on the 1st December in Montreal, at the Hampton Inn Dorval. If you are in the area, stop by, there will be tons of incredibly talented people there and you will surely be able to cross a few people of your list!


11.01.2013

A good excuse

It’s been a while! 

I am sure some of you may have been wondering what has happened to my blog? Well I am here to tell you that I am ready to revive it (cue the applause)! Slowly to be sure, but my blogging and knitting mojo are coming back.  

What happened you ask? I’ve had a few months of rest, a time that was  sorely needed, due to the fact that I am expecting my second child! The first trimester was a blur, mainly because I could barely keep my eyes open, I felt so tired. But as I said, I am slowly feeling human again, and I have picked up the needles again, have started looking into patterns, I mean there is baby-knitting to be done! And I do have some projects that I can update everyone on, there are things that were finished a while back that I never got a chance to photograph or blog about! 

But tell me, what are your favorite knit baby-items, patterns, projects? Any suggestions? Ideas? I am curious to know what everyone suggests.

Via Pinterest

8.10.2013

Charting new territory - Yarn dyeing

I believe I may have discovered a new obsession recently. It has been a while that I have been fascinated by the process of yarn dyeing, and that I have wanted to try it. So when I discovered that a Montreal based yarn dyer called Sweet Paprika Designs was organizing a workshop, I signed up. Two of my knit-night friends joined as well. 

Our teacher, Debbie, was wonderfully informative and patient. We each had brought photos with us for inspiration, but it took us a while to decide on what colors we wanted to use and to achieve the right shades. Debbie was extremely helpful in making our inspiration translate into reality. 

I was freshly back from my vacation in La Jolla, so my mind was still filled with bright images of flowers and the calming tones of the ocean. 

First we tried hand-painting yarn. We each had a skein of laceweight, 50% merino and 50% silk, of about 1100 yards, which is amazing yardage, enough for a shawl, and maybe even the Wispy or Whisper cardigans.Debbie carefully guided us through each step, and it was amazing to see it all come together. All three of us were thrilled with the results.

Then came a skein of superwash merino fingering weight yarn which we dyed using the immersion method. Not nearly as exciting as hand-painting but still a ton of fun. 

As I said, this was so much fun, that I decided I will certainly continue experimenting with yarn dyeing, I can think of a million fun projects and color combinations. Oh, to have the time. 

Now, does anyone know of a sheep I can adopt, cause I am going to need lots of wool!