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Recycled Wallpaper Mini Freebie

Posted in Freebies, Scrapbooking , on July 9, 2009 ,

I know this is beyond bizarre and a lot of you may be in shock because it’s been months and months and months since the last time I created digital scrapbooking elements to give away since knitting has taken over my craft time lately, but I made some freebies to give away over the weekend and I’m proud to offer them up to you today :) I call this little mini pack “Recycled Wallpaper” as the background papers remind me of scraps of wallpaper that have been ripped down during a remodeling effort. I’ve “recycled” them into something useful for your digital scrapbooking purposes!

Since it’s been awhile, I’ll be sure to mention that as always, the background papers and elements are created at 300 dpi, and the papers are 3600 x 3600 pixels (12″ x 12″) in size. The set is for personal use only (the terms of use are included, please be sure to check them out!) and the set includes 3 papers, 3 coordinating clips, and 3 matching ribbons.  Nothing fancy, but it’s a little somethin’!

Download Recycled Wallpaper HERE!

I know I’m a little rusty on the digital elements scene, but hopefully you’ll be able to find a use for this mini set! Be sure to check back tomorrow, as I’ve also created a quick page that coordinates with these elements. It’s a little pink and girly but that’s ok sometimes, right? See you soon, and enjoy the elements :)

Craftster Feature and New Scrapbook Pages

Posted in Featured, Scrapbooking, Soapmaking , on July 7, 2009 ,
You & Me Together by

You & Me Together by Shallya Kitby, using the kit Cherish for Love by Fanette

I am most honored to be notified that my DIY Batman Soap Tutorial was a Craftster-wide feature recently, AND was also chosen as a featured project for Quarter 2 of 2009 in the Bath & Beauty section.  WOW! I really appreciate all of the “this rocks!” votes I received on the tutorial and am glad it’s gone over so well :) Thanks everyone!

This weekend I got around to some much neglected digital scrapbooking. It feels like it’s been forever! Several months ago when I was doing more digi scrapping I had started stockpiling various quick pages that I’d found on DigiFree as I came across them daily.  I was just saving them for a rainy day I guess! The weather has definitely been rainy here in Calgary lately, and so on Sunday I went back through the folder and turned around 33 of those quick pages into new pages of my digital scrapbook.

Name by

Kissletoe by Cinnamon Designs

Firstly, I went back through photos I had on my hard drive, which took me all the way back to November. There were a couple of events in the fall and winter that needed to be scrapped, such as Lucas’ birthday party, outings with friends, and Christmas. I also realized that the more digital pages I had in a single scrapbook in My Memories Suite, the slower/longer it took for the program to load the scrapbook when I wanted to work on it. This makes sense since it had to render all of those thumbnail previews along the bottom, and the more elements and extras on a page to render, the longer that would take. Multiply that times 40 odd pages or so, and you can see where I’m coming from. To help with the clutter, I decided to sum up the end of 2008 by adding a few more pages to finish off the year, and then start a whole new, separate album for 2009. So now I have a Family Life 2008 album and I’ve started a Family Life 2009 album that will be ongoing for the rest of 2009.

Green Lagoon by

Green Lagoon by Miss Vivi

Family Life 2009 was a fun one to start on and where I had the most catch up to do, because we’re already just over halfway into the year and so much has happened in the first part of 2009! Really the pages just started flowing once I went back through the photos I had stored away in my Pictures directory. I had some great new photos of Oliver and Winston in their Flames gear to scrap and some Calgary Flames quick pages I had created myself last year to use with them. I had quite a few newer photos of Lucas and I together that were begging to be scrapped, and of course a LOT of photos from our recent anniversary trip to Nova Scotia. It was hard to narrow down all of the fantastic photos we’d taken to just a few digital scrapbook pages, but I managed!

Name by

An Apple Day by MimiLou

Then I scrapped our recent family outdoor activity of choice: rollerblading! Lucas and I have been rollerblading fairly regularly for almost a year now, but just recently (like 2 weeks ago) we decided to start trying to rollerblade with Oliver and Winston, too. This has been ridiculously hilarious and A LOT of fun, and a great form of exercise for the whole family. Oliver could stand to lose a few pounds, tbh. But shhh, we don’t tell him he’s fat. (Ok we do, but it’s mostly hair, right?)

County Fair by

County Fair by GWTW

Then of course most recently, as in this past weekend, Lucas and I attended our first Calgary Stampede ever!  As I mentioned in my previous post, the Calgary Stampede comes to town for 10 days every July and turns the entire town into a rodeo.  Suddenly everyone here thinks they are a cowboy. To be honest, the Stampede was very much like the Indiana State Fair, just with a rodeo attached. It was great fun though, because it’s been years since I’ve been to a state fair of course.

All of this work to catch up my digital scrapbooks inspired me to create something of my own to share, and I played around with some new background papers and a couple of matchy-matchy elements to go with them. Nothing fancy, but I plan to give those away later this week, along with a quick page I made to go along with them. How exciting! Although knitting has dominated my crafting time for the most part the past several months, I don’t plan on letting my digital scrapbook get that far behind again, so hopefully that means more scrapping and more freebie goodies for you, too :)

In creating a 2009 album and leaving it open-ended to add on as life happens, I’ve started fast-forwarding in my mind to imagine what other upcoming pages I’ll need to scrap about. Most exciting is the next chapter in Lucas and I’s lives where we move back to Indiana and roadtrip with Oliver and Winston to get there, along with the birth of my first nephew coming up in October. The 2009 Family Life album sure will be a monumental one!

Tattoo Parlor Knitting

Posted in Knit & Crochet, Scrapbooking , on July 6, 2009 ,
finished baby blanket for my nephew!

finished baby blanket for my nephew!

The last thing you’d expect to see in front of a tattoo shop at 6am on a Saturday morning is a chick sitting on the front porch steps knitting a baby blanket. I suspect there have been stranger things, but not many. As I’ve mentioned a few times lately, Lucas and I are planning to move back to the U.S. to be closer to family at the end of the summer. I realized that it’s the first week in July and that means we could be moving as early as a few weeks from now. It seems like such a short time away all of a sudden! I’ve truly loved living in Canada and while I’ll be happy to be near to family again, I’m really going to miss it here. The three years I’ve lived here have been a very big and important part of my life and includes my amazing husband. We are looking forward to starting our own family back in the good ol’ Hoosier state. So what does this all have to do with me knitting on the front porch of a tattoo parlor at 6am on Saturday? Everything! When I realized how soon we may be leaving, it seemed like the perfect time to get the tattoo I’ve been wanting to have done before we leave: a small Canadian maple leaf on the top of my right foot, to celebrate this hugely important part of my life and my love here in Canada. It stands for Lucas (who is Canadian), and it stands for my life here. When we move back to the states, I won’t be able to forget this chapter and I will think on it with fondness. We’ll of course come back to Canada to visit friends and Lucas’ family out in BC often, but it just won’t be quite the same experience as living next to the Canadian rockies like we do now.

my canadian maple leaf tattoo

my canadian maple leaf tattoo

So why 6am? Well Smilin’ Buddha Tattoo Shop (where Lucas and I got our little matching tattoos exactly a year ago) has drop-in Saturdays where appointments are made for when the shop opens at noon on a first-come, first-served basis.  If you get there first, you get your appointment first. We arrived at 6am and were the first people there. We sat together and I finished my Organic Baby Wrapper blanket for my future nephew. Around 9am, someone came along and set up our appointments in order (by this time, several more people had shown up to stand in line) and so my appointment was set for noon when the shop opened. We then went off and enjoyed a delicious pannekoeken breakfast and did a little window shopping on 17th Ave to kill time before we had to be back. I was excited that the same tattoo artist that did my first, Stacie-Rae, also did my maple leaf. She did a fantastic job!

Friday was the start of the Calgary Stampede, which turns the entire town into a rodeo. It’s amazing… it gets to be the first week in July and suddenly everyone is a cowboy. The cowboy boots and hats come out and everyone wears jeans to work all week in the downtown core. People say “Yeehaw!” and tip their hats and pretend they know how to rope a calf. Ok so I might be exaggerating just a little bit with that last sentence, but it’s amazing how many cowboy hats you see during this one week of the year. Happy Stampede! Lucas and I went for the first time ever on Friday night and we had a blast. I didn’t wear a cowboy hat and “yeehaw”, but I did throw in a lot more “ya’lls” for effect.

photo copyright Lesley Karpiuk / pinktoque

photo copyright Lesley Karpiuk / pinktoque

Also this weekend I put the finishing touches on the knitted dishcloth set (made from my free Unoriginal Bordered Basket Weave Dishcloth pattern) for my boss and packaged it all up in a small basket tied with a pretty black and white flowered ribbon. Doesn’t it look lovely? This is my last full week at the temp office job, and next week I’ll be in for the Monday and possibly Tuesday to help cross-train the new girl who is taking my place. With the baby blanket project and the dishcloth set finished, it was time to cast on something new. I’ve got quite a long list of baby things I want to knit for my future nephew, but the super soft snuggly knitted Baby Bunny from Alan Dart’s Wuv You pattern has especially been calling my name.  I’m not sure if it’s the cuteness that’s drawing me in or the incredibly soft Sirdar Snowflake yarn that I can’t keep my hands off of, but I casted it on last night and will be working on it this week.  Let’s hope it turns out half as adorable as the one in the pattern photo!

OH! And you won’t believe this, but I actually created some digital scrapbooking elements and papers this weekend. A quick page, too! Now don’t get too excited because I’m a bit rusty with all of this knitting going on instead, but I plan to release the little mini pack and quick page later this week so keep watching! I was inspired after working hard yesterday to finish off my 2008 digital scrapbook and get my 2009 one up to date. I know I’m 7 months behind on the 2008 one, but I really only had 4 final pages to add to it before I deem it complete. I went in and pulled from the stockpile of quick page layouts I’ve downloaded from DigiFree and been saving for a rainy day when I had time to devote to my digital scrapbooks, and rain is sure what we got this weekend.  This means I’ve got some pretty layouts and featured artists to share.  I’ll share the pages I did this weekend and the artists whose quick pages I used and give away some of my own created digital freebies later this week. See you back here soon! :)

First Spinning Attempt

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on July 3, 2009 ,
copyright Lesley Karpiuk / pinktoque

copyright Lesley Karpiuk / pinktoque

First spinning attempt… and it’s not pretty! Well, it’s not ugly, either, in all fairness. It’s just my first time! I’m sure it will turn out better in time, just like everything else :)

I’ve got a great top-whorl drop spindle that I purchased from Maine Woods Yarn & Fiber as part of a kit that came with the drop spindle and a big hunk of real, soft wool roving. It’s been on the back burner with other things taking priority, but yesterday I made myself sit down and follow the YouTube video I had bookmarked by The Art of Megan a few months back when I first started thinking that I wanted to try spinning. She makes it look so easy! I felt like my yarn turned out being waaaaay too thick, but that could be because I need to use thinner, finer strands of the roving when I spin. Also, I am not sure if the weird curlyness I experienced if I allowed any slack at all is normal or not. I tried to keep things taut but occasionally my winding around the spindle as I worked got a bit ‘wavy’. I remedied this by watching the follow-up video that Megan does where she shows how to take your handspun from the spindle and turn it into a skein. I wrapped my yarn around the back of a chair and tied it up, then soaked it in hot water for a bit. That’s what I thought I was supposed to do — but doesn’t hot water make wool felt?  Anyway, I put it on the back of my chair again to keep it taut as it dried. It looks ok, but still not quite as polished as other handspun. I am in the dark about plying and whether or not this is something I’m missing or that I need to do… it seemed like the yarn could unravel its twist fairly easily otherwise and I wouldn’t want that to happen as I’m knitting it!

While the spinnnig itself went pretty well, I had some trouble keeping things even. I’m not sure if this is due to the roving I had being fed too thick or too thin (I just went with it, lol) or what, but I’m sure I’ll get it figured out with more practice. All in all it was a good experience and because I only spun a small amount, I’ve got plenty of the plain cream colored roving to work with and practice on… because I’ve got this gorgeous roving that I won in a contest from Danido Crafty called Please Clap Your Hands that I’d love to spin into something useable!

Unoriginal Bordered Basket Weave Dishcloth Pattern

Posted in Freebies, Knit & Crochet, Tutorials , on July 1, 2009 ,
photo copyright Lesley Karpiuk / pinktoque

photo copyright Lesley Karpiuk / pinktoque

Happy Canada Day! If you’re looking to whip up something patriotic today (or on Saturday for the 4th of July) check out my free pattern suggestions over at Knitting Under The Desk – I think you’ll like both the Canadian and U.S. holiday ideas. And if you’re an American like me living in Canada, you’ll find time to squeeze in one of each! Celebrating two holidays just plain rules.

I’ve been working lately on a dishcloth set for my boss. It’s summertime, and that usually means some kind of temporary office job to keep me busy between school years. Lucas and I are looking at moving back to Indiana very soon, and I recently realized that my time at the office will very quickly be coming to an end. Everyone there has been really fantastic, and I wanted to make a little something for my boss, who is wonderful, and the girl who showed me the ropes and trained me for the job, who is also really great. (See the bookmark I made for her a few weeks back here.) Sort of a “so long, thanks for being awesome” gift.

photo copyright Lesley Karpiuk / pinktoque

photo copyright Lesley Karpiuk / pinktoque

My boss mentioned not too long ago that her kitchen is done in black and red. Mostly black and dark wood with punches of red. When I started trying to figure out what I wanted to make for her as a “so long and thanks for being awesome” gift this summer, I decided some bright red dishcloths would be perfect. Then the search began. You know, there’s an awful lot of dishcloth patterns out there. I tried out a few and just kept getting discouraged. Nothing seemed to be just right. Then I started messing around with the basket weave stitch (more like alternating stitches evenly to create a basket weave effect more than a stitch), which was featured on a ton of the dishcloth patterns I was perusing, but eventually I just said “forget it” and put together my own version of a bordered basket weave dishcloth pattern. Unoriginal, I know. And seriously, just what the world needs is another dishcloth pattern, but really… this turned out well and I like how the borders gave it a really sharp, neat look to it when all was said and done.

So my pretties, as a Bonne fete du Canada gift, I present to you… my Unoriginal Bordered Basket Weave Dishcloth pattern. Free, of course. I think you’ll rather like the simplicity and reversibility of it! Not to mention that the little pocket square texture makes a great surface for scrubbing with.  I have made three so far and am planning on making one more and then folding them up all pretty (after blocking for presentability’s sake, of course) and tying with a black ribbon.

What You’ll Need
x1 skein of Lily’s Sugar’n Cream worsted weight cotton (1 skein = 2 dishcloths. Score!)
US size 8 needles

Download the PDF here [non-Ravelry users] or on Ravelry as a free [Ravelry PDF download].

Download my Unoriginal Bordered Basket Weave Dishcloth Pattern FREE!

Download my Unoriginal Bordered Basket Weave Dishcloth Pattern FREE!

Well that wraps it up for today; Happy Canada Day (and Independence Day on Saturday!) Lots of love and hope you enjoy the pattern :)

Delicious Nova Scotia Yarn

Posted in Featured, Knit & Crochet , on June 29, 2009 ,
Tanis Fiber Arts DK weight in Spearmint, photo © Lesley Karpiuk / pinktoque

Tanis Fiber Arts yellow label DK weight in Spearmint, photo © Lesley Karpiuk / pinktoque, taken on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia on the Cabot Trail.

On the Friday of Lucas and I’s Nova Scotia trip we spent the day being too pumped about exploring downtown Halifax to remember that we’d gotten nearly no sleep on our red eye flight in. We found Halifax to be a really fantastic city; it was a big city with a small town feel, and we really enjoyed it. Of course I had researched ahead of time to find local yarn shops, and on Friday we checked out The Loop Craft Cafe on Barrington Street right in the heart of the city. What a great little place! Lucas insisted that I pick out something to treat myself. I’ve never actually purchased any “fancy” LYS yarn before; only drooled and wondered when my skills would be proficient enough to warrant purchasing something so lovely. I don’t know why, but I don’t feel I’m an incredibly skilled knitter yet so I’ve put off buying expensive yarns because I’m afraid that my mediocrity would just waste it. I realize this is foolish, and so I let Lucas treat me without much of a struggle. We were on vacation, after all! I had a hard time picking out just one thing to treat myself with. I’m thoroughly pleased with my choice, however!

Tanis Fiber Arts DK weight in Spearmint, photo © Lesley Karpiuk / pinktoque

I picked up a hank of Tanis Fiber Art’s yellow label DK weight superwash merino. I own some merino, folks. This is a HUGE deal to me. I chose the Spearmint colorway because I’ve found myself obsessively drawn to gorgeous sea greens and mints lately. Don’t worry, pink, I would never choose a true favorite over you… but sea green is so heavenly. And seemed especially fitting on our seaside trip. I was ecstatic to find that Tanis Fiber Arts has an etsy shop; this means when I run out of Spearmint I know where to get more without having to go back to Halifax… though that would make for a good excuse to get back out to the east coast; I sure did love it out there!  This superwash merino is so squishy and soft that no other word but smooshy applies and I finally understand the meaning of such a word. It’s fantastic. I highly recommend checking out Tanis Fiber Arts on Etsy; you’ll love what you find there. I’d love to knit something fabulous in the Jewel colorway for my mom because she’d love the delicious violets and fushias blended together. Yum!

I lovingly toted my new yarn around and later photographed it with the backdrop of a quiet little beach in the Highlands National Park on the Cabot Trail we drove on Sunday. Cape Breton Island is so gorgeous! I haven’t completely decided what I’m going to make from this yarn, but whatever I choose it will definitely be just for me.

Nova Scotia Trip Projects

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on June 28, 2009 ,
baby blanket in the works for my future nephew

baby blanket in the works for my future nephew

We’re back! Well, we got back on Monday night but I’ve been so busy this week finishing off the final week of one online course and having a second week-long-only course start up first thing Tuesday that I’ve been reading, reading, reading, and writing several papers. Most of my work (all due tomorrow) is in and done, including my final papers for both classes, so I can finally update you on some Nova Scotia trip crafts!

First of all, Nova Scotia was AMAZING. What a perfect wedding anniversary trip. We saw some of the most beautiful scenery and had some of the most relaxing experiences ever. And we got to do it together. It was utter bliss. Lucas wrote all about it over on our personal blog: Honeyversary? Anniversamoon? Honanniversamoonary?! so be sure to read all of the wonderful details and check out all of the gorgeous photos we took there.

So… as far as crafts go, Lucas and I both took our baby blanket patterns on the plane with us so we’d have a project to keep us busy during downtime. On the Saturday, which was our actual anniversary, we relaxed after the adventures of the day on the balcony of our seaside cottage and knitted while we enjoyed the sound of the Atlantic ocean waves crashing up onto the shore just a few feet in front of us. It was amazing! Knitting together with that kind of relaxing scenery while inhaling fresh ocean air was a moment in time I wish I could’ve preserved forever. I tried to in photos at least:

The blankets are really coming along! I’m about 65% through mine, but I’ve had to take a small break to switch and work on a little dishcloth gift set that I’m making for my boss. As it’s a temporary office job to keep me busy during the summer and Lucas and I are planning to move back to Indiana soon, I know my time there is going to be coming to an end soon and I’d wanted to make something to give to her in thanks for being so awesome. More on that project in another post.

The hearts. Remember in my last post how I’d mentioned a little secret knitted hearts project that I was trying to get done in time for our anniversary trip? Those went over really well :) After felting I sewed them together to create three little plush knitted hearts. I hid those in my purse and took them with us. I distributed the hearts over the course of the weekend in various times/places kind of spontaneously.

The first one I gave to Lucas when we were enjoying the breathtaking views at Peggy’s Cove. It was so peaceful and seemed like the perfect time to give him a token of my love. The second one I gave him the morning of our actual anniversary while he was in the shower. I sneakily placed it next to his wedding ring and glasses — two things he removes when showering. He came out to put them on and found the second heart there with his things. On the third morning it was the same idea, but this was Sunday… Father’s Day… so I placed a knitted heart on the nightstand at our seaside cottage with his glasses and a Father’s Day card that I had also sneakily made and brought without him knowing. The Father’s Day card came from our two dogs, Oliver and Winston. The inside had “Thanks for being a great dad” scrawled in doggie handwriting with pawprints for signatures. It was all very sweet :)

So those are our Nova Scotia trip projects! I’ll post soon about the really pretty cabled wine bottle cozy I finished recently for my parents’ anniversary coming up in July and the dishcloth set I’m making for my boss. First I need to find and settle on a dishcloth pattern I’m happy with! It seems I’ve started this project over more times than I can keep track of now, which is why it’ll be a post for a later time… I don’t have any photos yet because I’ve not gotten further than around 10 rows each time before I frog it back. lol.

More updates to come soon! :) Take care

Some Successes to Follow the Failure

Posted in Featured, Knit & Crochet , on June 17, 2009 ,
©2009 Lesley Karpiuk / pinktoque

©2009 Lesley Karpiuk / pinktoque

So lately I’ve been a bit negative (I especially loved the “wtf?” photo of the Cabled Wristlet That Couldn’t earlier this week, lol) so I thought it would be nice to share the successes that I’ve completed too. I’m not a total knit failure!

First up, a cabled (are you surprised? I said I was obsessed with cables now) bookmark for a co-worker of mine. (I used the Virtue Bookmark pattern by Jeannie over at Gilded Bottle.) Right now I’m working a temp office job for the summer, and the girl that showed me the ropes (and was trying to do her job and my job for far too long before they found me) is really kind. She’s great to work with, and I know that she reads A LOT. Like, a lot a lot. I know that my time in the office will come to an end at the end of the summer (hopefully because we’ll be moving back to Indiana) and I’m thinking in advance what I’d like to make for a few of the people who have made working there really fab. This bookmark will accompany a Chapter’s gift card nicely, don’t you think? I plan to knit my boss a set of deep red fancy dishcloths to spice up her black and red kitchen, but I haven’t started those because I’m still waiting for the order of red cotton to arrive. Any day now!

So cute and yet so going to be covered in baby puke soon.

So cute and yet so going to be covered in baby puke soon.

And because baby knitting has suddenly become the center of my knitting attention with a future nephew on the way, I’ve begun knitting for my brother and sister-in-law. First up are some spit-up cloths, aka washcloths. They turned out rather cute I think. The baby face pattern from Dishcloth Diaries was a pain to follow along with because there were so many changes and steps in each row at first, but I got through it. I especially like the baby feet one by Rhonda White, though I disliked working bobbles. My bobbles seem to be on the “wrong” side. I guess it doesn’t matter since you can still tell what they are, no matter what side you’re looking at. While these are pretty and hand knit, I expect them to be covered in baby puke and other interesting things very soon. That’s why they are in cotton! I used some of the yellow we had leftover from making Batman cloths for my friend Michelle, because yellow is a good neutral baby color. Last night we also picked up more blue cotton and some interesting puke green and brown cotton to make bibs and more cloths. Did you know ‘Hot Green’ was an official Bernat Handicrafter cotton color? LOL. Too awesome.

And speaking of baby knits, my friend Chicaschmica over at One Crafty Place inspired me by posting about Craft Hope, whose current charity project is knitting baby blankets, booties and hats in partnership with the Miracle Foundation to supply for newborns in India. It sounds like a really fantastic cause and I’m sure I’ll find plenty of time to make extra baby knits to send in the upcoming baby knit surge. If you’re interested in helping out a very worthy cause, head on over to Craft Hope where they are “spreading seeds of hope one stitch at a time” to find out how you can get involved.

Shhh... they're blocking

Shhh... they're blocking

Another mini project that needs to be kept on the down low… I’ve just felted some cute pink knitted hearts; which is also the very first knitted pattern I ever followed, to be exact. This is the third batch of these cuties from the Mochimochi blog that I’ve made, and I remember my first attempt to knit them waaaaaay back when I first learned how to knit. I had to have someone at a LYS show me a KFB because it just wasn’t making sense in the instructions. I was such a noob! I’ve knitted these and am felting them secretly because I plan to sneak them into our luggage when Lucas and I go on our wedding anniversary getaway this weekend and have them just “show up” randomly during our trip ;)



Ok that’s all for now. See you when we get back from Nova Scotia next week! And don’t worry if you follow along over at Knitting Under the Desk — I’ve already written up a post that is scheduled to post automatically for me Monday morning while I’m on vacation. You’ll want to check it out for sure; I LOVE the pattern I came across and plan to cast on for myself soon. (Like I need to add another project to my to do list or WIP list…) Later!

It's (Gonna Be) A Boy!

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on June 16, 2009 ,
Think we bought enough?

Think we bought enough?

My brother and sister-in-law found out today that they’re having a BOY! I am so ecstatic that I will have a nephew in October that Lucas and I went yarn shopping right after work. Do you think we got enough? The next few months will be filled with baby toques, booties, bibs, puke cloths, blankets and everything in between. I’m planning to pack the blanket pattern I’ve chosen to knit (the Organic Baby Wrapper by Fawn Pea [reg link] [Ravelry link]) in something soft baby blue, and Lucas is planning to take the Lion Brand Hooded Baby Wrap ([LB link] [Ravelry link]) to knit on the plane for our trip to Nova Scotia this weekend. We leave Thursday; I am SO excited!

Yay! His first pair of socks and first official project!

Yay! His first pair of socks and first official project!

Speaking of Lucas knitting — we both have finished our pair of socks now (his first official project!!!) for our dads for Father’s Day, and our socks will be shipped off first thing in the morning. They’re gonna be a little late I think, but that’s ok. Lucas did a fantastic job; I am so proud! Here he is finishing up his second sock.

I am too excited right now to write anymore; check back tomorrow because I have some FOs (that are successes) in response to yesterday’s failure post. lol.

The Cabled Wristlet That Couldn't.

Posted in Knit & Crochet, Sewing , on June 15, 2009 ,
Sure, it looks OK when not in use...

Sure, it looks OK when not in use...

I would be a bad blogger (and a liar) if I said that everything I attempt to make turns out as planned. Or even that I never have a craft failure, cuz’ clearly I have had my share. It’s not really that this cabled wristlet I whipped up didn’t look nice when finished. I mean, it doesn’t look too bad in the pic, right? Its functionality went down the tubes somewhere along the way, though, and that’s what made this project fail on me.

I was so looking forward to this post way back when I was still designing the wristlet. I couldn’t wait to share it, couldn’t wait to finish it in time for an upcoming trip, and couldn’t wait to give you all the pattern and my instructions so you could make something equally beautiful for yourself. In my lack of design experience I missed a few key things, however.

The idea was that I wanted to try cables. I had it in my head that cables were so hard. But then I actually sat down and made myself try them. They were such a piece of cake! And wow, did I ever really love the look of cables. Cables make it seem like I’m so much fancier and so much of a better knitter than I am. They’re easy, but to the untrained or inexperienced eye, they look super intricate and difficult.  Add cables to an otherwise boring knit and suddenly it’s magic and you’re a superstar! I still feel that way about cables, which is why I think this wristlet project looks nice, but it just didn’t work out when it came time to use it. I haven’t decided if I’m going to even bring it this weekend on our trip or not.

... still not looking all that bad...

... still not looking all that bad...

Oh ya, the trip! That was really what inspired this knit; Lucas and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary and we decided to go somewhere that neither one of us have ever been, but that we’d been wanting to see. As we’re planning to move back to the states in the somewhat near future, we decided to stay within the country and finally make a trip out to the far east coast of Canada. Nova Scotia, to be exact. We’d talked about going out there for our honeymoon last year but never got around to it. So instead we’ve decided to treat ourselves to a 4 day getaway with no real set plans and no family members nearby.  We realized recently that we’ve never taken a vacation that didn’t involve visiting family or friends. Every trip we’ve ever taken together has been to visit our family either in British Columbia or Indiana, and while the trips were fantastic and we enjoyed every minute of visiting with family we don’t see very often, we decided it was high time we take a trip for just the two of us. Our plans loosely include flying into Halifax overnight Thursday and staying until late Monday afternoon. No hotels are booked yet; we are renting a car and just driving… just planing to stay wherever we end up. We do know that for Saturday, our actual anniversary date, we want to stay in a really nice bed and breakfast way up on Cape Breton Island and eat somewhere nice. The exact how, when and where is still up in the air, and believe it or not, I rather like it that way.

...not horrid but not the best. You can't see the "invisible" stitching, but I promise it's there.

...not horrid but not the best. You can't see the "invisible" stitches, but I promise they're there.

Anyway, back on topic… this beautiful province we’re planning to visit in Latin means “New Scotland.” When the trip was planned (very recently) I realized I had just over 2 weeks to knit something to use/wear on the trip. I’m a slow knitter and have lots of things with a deadline coming up to finish, so I knew it wouldn’t be anything large and most likely I’d not have enough time to knit a shrug, either — though I’m dying to make one. I decided something cabled because for some reason, thick cables and either greens and blues sound like something that would fit in a place called “New Scotland.” Something I am really looking forward to experiencing in Nova Scotia is the Scottish flavor of music and culture that I keep hearing about up in Cape Breton. Cables make me think of (or remind me of) celtic knots in a way, and so a cabled wristlet idea was born, even if that reasoning sounds silly or illogical to anyone else.

What the hell is this? Oh right... my cabled wristlet IN USE.

What the hell is this? Oh right... my cabled wristlet IN USE. Thanks for modeling, honey.

In looking at basic cable patterns I kept seeing the same sorts of variations on a rib/cable pattern; ribbing along the sides and a cable winding up the middle. I stuck with that idea and using chunky yarn in a pretty sky blue, I whipped up a big rectangle. Wtih those cables, gah, it was just SO gorgeous. I was so proud! They looked so fancy! I folded the rectangle in half, and then to form the strap I just did a simple 6-stitches-across and repeated the rows until it was “long enough.” Design problem number one was not thinking ahead as to how that strap would stretch later on. I sewed up the side seams of the rectangle, sticking the ends of the strap inside one side seam. So far so good! I decided to line it and include a zipper, because I coudn’t very well let an open pouch dangle from my arm; all my stuff would fall out! The most secure way would include a zipper so there were no openings for my belongings to fall out through. I guess this is where the rest of the failure continued to go: I had a horrible time lining such a thick knitted pouch. I did the lining fabric pouch separately and used my machine to sew the zipper neatly to the lining. Then all I had to do was hand stitch the zipper neatly inside the knitted pouch. This all went according to plan, but the hand stitching looks awful (I even used invisible thread!) and when it was all finished, I realized how off my proportions were in the design. The handle is too long and stretches a lot, and the bag’s size is a bit big and looks a little awkward. Even with nothing IN the pouch, it’s so heavy and bulky that it makes the handle stretch, which makes the side seam of the pouch stretch in a very unflattering way.  The end result really isn’t very flattering at all, to be honest.

I don’t know what I expected, but the vision in my head didn’t match up with the end result, and so to me it’s a failure. Lucas would say I was being too hard on myself, though, so maybe I shouldn’t use the word “failure” … on the bright side, I got in a lot of practice with cabling (which is my new obsession and I love it, which is automatically another ‘plus’ to the project) and so it wasn’t all bad and thus not a total failure. What do you all think? Would you make one for yourself? If so I could throw together the loose outline. Any suggestions on design changes for a future attempt or should I just leave it dead? Is the stretching as bad as I think it is?

Despite this not-so-great result with the wristlet, I did get in some really simple projects over the weekend: some dishcloths and a cabled (I told you I was obsessed) bookmark for a co-worker. More on those (with pics) later this week :)