Home Blog

The Hat that Turned into a Dog Sweater

Posted in Knit & Crochet, Scrapbooking , on August 17, 2009 ,
A hat turns Schnauzer Schweater

A hat turns Schnauzer Schweater

So while I’ve been less than post-y lately, there have been a few little projects being snuck in between all of this job search madness. I am officially teaching 2nd grade starting tomorrow (covering an extended mat leave) and I’m happy to start being productive, teaching kids again, and reeling in a little cash for my family. The whole unemployed status sucks, and it was starting to get to me. Hopefully this position will keep me busy for awhile and there will be some other prospects on the horizon when it’s finished. We’ll see!

my invites ready to be filled out

my invites ready to be filled out

So I spoke of a few little projects, and the first of these is designing the invitations for my sister-in-law’s upcoming baby shower that I’m hosting. Well, hosting at my parents’ house. I’m delighted to have the honor of getting to throw her shower and I just didn’t like any of the pre-packaged baby shower invites out there. The obvious solution was to make my own. I went to Michaels and purchased a set of blank print-your-own cards to work with. The ones I chose come in sheets of two per page and are around 8.5″ x 5.5″; ideally meant as RSVP card inserts in a wedding invite but turned into fabulous baby shower invites instead. My inspiration came from a birthday card layout by Laurie’s Scraps and I designed the stitched car embellishment and tag for it myself. I may have to do a little mini kit to give away the car embellishment later. It was fun to make! Holly loves the invites and they were mailed out today. Here it is close up:

The baby shower invites I designed for my sister-in-law

The baby shower invites I designed for my sister-in-law

My Schnauzer Schweater!

My Schnauzer Schweater!

And now on to the topic project: the hat that turned into a dog sweater. I was feeling a little stressed out with all of the employment searching these past few weeks, and a little bummed when I applied to so many places and got so few calls back. Nothing seemed to be promising and I knew I just needed to knit a little something to keep me sane while waiting by the phone for decisions and callbacks.  I thought that a plain vanilla newborn baby hat with a ribbed cuff would be the perfect simple, soothing knit. Except I didn’t gauge properly and somehow after doing the ribbing and starting the stockinette I realized that the hat would actually fit my head… not a good sign when the hat size is supposed to be sized for a brand new baby. *sigh* Jokingly I put the hat around our schnauzer, Winston’s neck, and suddenly the ribbing looked like the perfect turtleneck and the hat began to look more like a sweater. A schnauzer schweater, as I like to call it. So too-big baby hat has officially turned into a schnauzer schweater. Say it with me now, schnauzer schweater! This time with emphasis… SCHnauzer SCHweater! The real test is if you can say it five times fast. Ok I’m done, but it would be a great tongue twister, don’tcha think?

Enough pictures already.

Enough pictures already.

So I’m sorta making this pattern up as I go along — I cannot guarantee that it won’t turn into an epic failure but I’ll be sure to keep you posted, and if it turns out halfway decent maybe I’ll even post it here for all to try! Don’t hold your breath, though, little Winston looks less than enthusiastic about the prospect. I’ve decided that no matter how the schweater turns out, it’s at least exactly what I was looking for — something very plain and repetitive. I’ve been trying it on Winston as I go and while it works, I know if I did this again I’d make a few changes. All a part of the creative process, I think, and this process is fulfilling my needs at the moment.


Back Home Again, in Indiananaaaaaa…

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on August 5, 2009 ,
photo copyright to Lesley Karpiuk

photo copyright to Lesley Karpiuk

So we’re finally settled (mostly) back home in Indiana. The move from Calgary, AB Canada to Indiana was a long one, but well worth the drive. It was quite an adventure with Lucas and the two boys — three long days of long hours in the car.  You’d think anyone would go crazy being cooped up in a vehicle for such a duration, but I tackled my very first sweater on the trip and completed a set of baby mittens, too!

My future nephew is due in October, so I’ve been on a bit of a baby knitting kick lately. I’ve made bibs, spit up rags, toques, and now mittens and a baby sweater. The mittens were super simple and super quick and I love the result. A friend of ours suggested that they were mittens for Vulcans based on the way I posed with them, haha. Live long and prosper… warmly!  The mitten pattern I chose was [Ravelry link] this one, “Baby Mittens” by Sassystitches.

photo copyright to Lesley Karpiuk

Live long and prosper... warmly!

The baby sweater was the big project that took most of my time on the trip. I chose the very simple 5 Hour Baby Boy Sweater by Jesse’s Branch Charity Crafts. [Ravelry link]. I love the great little garter ridges on the yoke area and the matching garter trim on the jacket body and sleeves. I’ve never knitted a sweater before, so it was probably a good thing that I chose a baby-sized sweater to familiarize myself with the process. I knit starting with the yoke and went back and forth, increasing in a regular pattern, doing the cute little garter ridges until it was time for the sleeves. It got a bit complicated for me at this point because I had a lot of separating to do. Thank goodness for having a full interchangeable Knit Picks set, because I used extra short lengths of cables to hold stitches while I worked the sleeves. I think I would’ve rather knitted the sleeves in the round via magic loop now that I’ve gone through this pattern once, but I was worried about trying to modify an unfamiliar pattern on my first try.  I should also admit that the “5 hour” of the 5 Hour Baby Boy Sweater actually took me more like 12 hours, but I chalk that up to my inexperience in knitting sweaters and the fact I was trying to spread the project out over a long car ride and taking my time.  And, well, I’m also a pretty slow knitter!  I blocked the sweater after we arrived and I think after adding the little car button as a finishing touch, that it turned out really well.

Speaking of little car buttons, I picked up a small pack of them and used them on my Modern Cabled Baby Bibs, too. Don’t the buttons add an adorable little boyish charm?

photo copyright to Lesley Karpiuk

photo copyright to Lesley Karpiuk

I recently had a few more people purchase my Crochet Cthulhu Toques so I barely had time to get settled in Indiana before I was busy crocheting away to complete the orders.  While I’m job searching, it sure felt good to have orders to fill! Cross your fingers that something comes along soon… I’m starting to get antsy!  :)


Moving Yarn

Posted in Featured, Knit & Crochet , on July 24, 2009 ,
Our moving sale on Saturday

Our moving sale on Saturday

So my writing has been a bit scarce lately but there have been some craftings going on in the background. First of all, the reason for being so busy lately is because Lucas, the boys (Oliver and Winston), and I are packing up and moving back to Indiana to be near family. I didn’t get the job that I went home and interviewed for last weekend, BUT there will be other job opportunities and I can’t very well take them or be available for them when I’m 2k miles away in Canada. I sure am going to miss Calgary; I love the Canadian Rockies and I love just about everything about this beautiful country I’ve called home for the past three years. However, I also love my family and want to be near them as my brother starts his family (my first nephew is due in October!) and as Lucas and I eventually start our own family. I wish I could somehow have all of the great stuff about Canada and my family in Indiana all at the same time in the same place, but alas… something’s gotta give.

working on a bib

working on a bib

So we’re moving back to the U.S. on Sunday, July 26. Over the weekend we had a huge yard sale to get rid of just about everything we own; we’re taking the minimalist approach for the move. We’re going to be pulling a 4’x8′ trailer and that’s it, so if it doesn’t fit in a box that fits into the trailer, it’s not going with us. Oliver has done the cross country trip before; he moved from Indiana to Canada with me three years ago. This will be a first for little Winston. While we sat out front for the yard sale Saturday I finished knitting the second Modern Cabled Baby Bib pattern by Andrea Pomerantz. They turned out lovely! They are 95% finished; the knitting and blocking is complete but I haven’t had the time yet to pick out some super cute baby boy buttons to use. I figure I’ll find some when we get settled back in Indiana.

superwash BFL fingering weight wool dyed "Lesley" by Lesleyluu

superwash BFL fingering weight wool dyed by Lesleyluu

A few weeks ago, user Lesleyluu on Ravelry had a contest to create a new yarn colorway. I suggested “Lesley” (as it’s my name, too, and we spell it the same!) and offered up my three favorite colors together: pink, mint green, and browns. Kind like spumoni ice cream from The Old Spaghetti Factory. Yum! The colors turned out soft and ice-creamy, and absolutely dreamy.  I didn’t win the first prize, but Lesleyluu did choose my colorway to make as a runner up, and I was then able to purchase “Lesley” from her Etsy Shop.  Yay! It arrived in the mail earlier this week and I was so ecstatic. It’s a gorgeous superwash fingering weight BFL wool, and my head is swimming with all of the knitting project possibilities for this lovely yarn.  Be sure to check out her other fabulous colorways on Etsy. And tell her “The other Lesley” sent you!

Anyway, as you can imagine I’ve been pretty busy lately. Tragedy has also struck my family and with the move and all of the tying up of loose ends here in Canada before we move back to the states, time has been short for projects. However, at the end of a long packing day I’ve found time to sneak in an hour or two of knitting. I’ve got some more burp cloths to make my sister-in-law for my future nephew in the Bernat handicrafter cotton color, “Hot Green.” Seriously, Hot Green? Have you ever heard of a more hideous (and perfect for baby spit up) color name? I can’t wait to make some appropriate spit up cloths from it! And you can be sure with 4 days of driving across the country in the car with my boys I’ll have plenty of little projects to work on and share once I’m back in the good ol’ Hoosier state. :)  I’ll do my best to keep up on Twitter during our moving and cross-country knitting adventures, but don’t panic if it takes me another week or two before I can update here properly again ;) Take care!


Cabled Wine Bottle Bag

Posted in Knit & Crochet, Sewing, Tutorials , on July 20, 2009 ,
copyright Lesley Karpiuk / pinktoque

copyright Lesley Karpiuk / pinktoque

My parents’ anniversary is fast approaching (July 27) and I’ve had it in my head that I would make them something wine-related as they enjoy wine-ing with friends. I know that wine-ing isn’t a true word, but just go with it, ok? While Lucas and I were in Nova Scotia last month we picked up a bottle of local wine for them, keeping in mind that I was going to be knitting them up a wine bag for it later. This was an important choice to ponder as most wine bags are meant for typical shaped bottles of wine while my favorite wine to buy my parents is usually some kind of Canadian ice wine, which likes to come in these super skinny tall bottles instead. I picked out some Kellermeister by Jost Vineyards that has a very normal wine bottle shape. I’d like to be able to say that we’ve tried this wine and can give you an opinion, but we picked up a bottle of something else while we were in Nova Scotia and the name completely escapes me. But I’m sure Kellermeister is good. It’s a 4 out of 5 on the sweetness scale, and my parents enjoy wines on the sweeter side.

copyright Lesley Karpiuk / pinktoque

copyright Lesley Karpiuk / pinktoque

When searching for a pattern I had a few requirements. First of all, I wanted something that could be done in the round from top to bottom; just say no to seaming, folks (if saying no is an option). I also wanted something pretty. My recent interest obsession with cables had me looking for a cabled wine bag, but I wasn’t having much luck. Then I came across the Wine Bottle Cozy pattern by Tara’s Knits — her original bag is fantastically plain and simple, and so I decided I’d be able to modify the stockinette body of the bag by throwing in a cable pattern to spice it up. I’ve done enough cables to have a vaguely accurate idea of how to write up a cabled pattern and so that’s what I did. When it was all said and done I was happy; I think I would’ve liked to have made the cables bigger, but it definitely turned out lovely, don’t you think?

copyright Lesley Karpiuk / pinktoque

The yarn. Let’s talk about the yarn. Earlier in the new year, signs started cropping up in my local Michaels. “New yarn department coming spring 2009!” they said. I waited. And waited. It was discussed a lot on the Ravelry forums. Michaels finally unveiled their “new yarn department” and at first I was a bit disappointed because it basically just looked like they finally restocked the yarn aisles for a change and added more acrylic yarns to the mix. Like we need more acrylic! I was secretly hoping for a little more wool and other natural fibers, but I have to accept that Michaels is a big-box craft store that hosts thousands of other crafts besides knitting and crochet, so I guess I should be lucky that they’ve stocked so many different kinds and colors of acrylic instead of complaining; it may not be the yarn favorite, but I’m not a yarn snob and can admit openly without shame that acrylic definitely has its place. I have plenty of acrylic in my stash; it’s very multipurpose and washable. As part of the new yarn department unveiling, Michaels came out with their own new brand of acrylic. The brand is called Loops & Threads and the yarn’s name is Impeccable; it comes in ombres (mixed colors) and solids and is fairly soft for being acrylic. I’d been kinda drooling over the way the Seaside ombre colorway looked on a previous trip to the store (It’s gotta be the gorgeous shades of blues and greens that blend together so well. Oops, did I mention my recent infatuation with blue greens again?) and with a wine bag plan in mind, I saw it: the Impeccable colorway that blends violets and lavendars and greens together: Fresh Lilac Ombre.  I don’t know, but doesn’t a colorway in grapes and greens seem like the perfect combination for something wine-related? I thought so.

copyright Lesley Karpiuk / pinktoque

copyright Lesley Karpiuk / pinktoque

If you’re interested in my modifications of Tara’s pattern to create your own cabled wine bag, all you have to do is sub in my cable pattern repeat (4 rows) in place of the stockinette body of the pattern. I did the ribbed top cuff the same and did the decreases at the end the same; the only thing that changed was instead of knitting row after row around and around for the body in stockinette, I created and followed the 4 row repeat below:

rows 1, 2, & 4: (k6, p1, k4, p1) each needle/repeat until end of round
row 3: (k6, p1, sl2 to cn & hold in front, k2, k2 from cn, p1) each needle/repeat until end of round

And there you have it! I’m thinking if I make another cabled wine bag in the future that I’ll switch the 4 stitches of cable with the 6 stitches of stockinette in between the cables. So I’ll cable for 6 stitches and only have 4 stockinette in between the cables. Does that make sense? I like big cables and I cannot lie… you other knitters can’t deny…  ok I’ll stop there.


Recycled Wallpaper QP Freebie

Posted in Freebies, Knit & Crochet, Scrapbooking , on July 10, 2009 ,

I’m baaaaaaack! Hopefully you liked the Recycled Wallpaper mini pack freebie given away yesterday :) Today as promised I’ve got the coordinating quick page to give away, too! It’s 3600 x 3600 pixels (12″ x 12″) and 300 dpi. It uses a little from the Recycled Wallpaper pack and then I added some other random stuff as I went. It’s a little pink, but pink is a very good color :)

Download the Recycled Wallpaper QP here!

Don’t forget that unless otherwise specified, my digital scrapbooking elements are for personal use only. Be sure to check out the TOU included and let me know if you have any questions. I hope to make some more new stuff in the near future, as time allows. Right now I’m back home in Indiana for a brief period this weekend in order to interview with the school district I taught at before I moved up to Canada. Cross your fingers! If I get a job offer, Lucas and I will pack up the boys and we’ll be on our way.

And of course, finding out last minute (Wednesday) that I was going to need to take a plane to Indy the next day (Thursday), one of the most important aspects of the packing wasn’t which outfit I was going to wear for the interview, or my teaching portfolio… but what knit projects I wanted to take with me for the flight! Haha. Ok so I’m probably exaggerating a lot (It took a long time for me to decide on an outfit, and I spent several hours touching up my portfolio), but it was a very important part of the packing. I had to figure out the patterns I wanted to take and wind some yarn for those projects into cakes to pack in my carry on.  I’m going to be working on Danido Crafty’s Bebeh Earflaps Hat and the Modern Cabled Baby Bib by Andrea Pomerantz. I’ll let you know how it goes! :)

Have a great weekend, and wish me luck!


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 :)