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.

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!

Tickled Pink (And Blue and Green)

Posted in Featured, Knit & Crochet, Sewing , on June 2, 2009
Photo copyright to Daniella Cortez of DaniDo Crafty!

Photo copyright to Daniella Cortez of DaniDo Crafty! Get your own at

I’m just tickled to have been one of the winners of the lovely and talented Daniella of DaniDo Crafty‘s Handmade News scavenger hunt contest last week. I’m tickled pink… and blue… and green… because I chose as my prize some of her absolutely gorgeous Superwash Merino roving. And the colorway? Please Clap Your Hands! (Seen pictured here. Photo copyright to Daniella!) Way too fun! This excites me because I’ve been wanting to spin; if you recall in a previous post, I had purchased a top whorl (and bottom whorl) drop spindle kit that came with some plain white wool roving to work with. I’ve been so busy with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day knitting projects that I haven’t had a chance to sit down and give it a whi(o)rl. (See what I did there?) Then in walks an opportunity to work with Daniella’s beautiful Please Clap Your Hands roving, and I’m inspired to make time for spinning. No more putting it off — once this fabulous merino arrives I’ve got no excuses; I can’t let such beauty go wasted and unused. It will be loved, I tell you, LOVED! And hopefully (*fingers crossed*) spun into something that I can knit into something fantastic. I’m also a little embarrased to admit I’ve never worked with merino before; so even more reason to be excited about such an opportunity to work with something so awesome.

Special thanks to Daniella for the contest and the wonderful prizes. I truly am tickled. You should definitely check out her site, Danido Crafty! as well as her Etsy and Artfire shops. You’ll love the free patterns on her site and all of the beautiful handspun and hand-dyed yarn and roving (among other things) that she has available in her shops. She’s also a writer over on Handmade News and guess what she writes about? Inspiration! Perfect, as her contest to hunt all over Handmade News last week had me finding articles that I may not have otherwise read, and so many great ideas — all very inspiring!  Thanks again, Daniella!

Homemade Hilarity

Posted in Featured , on June 1, 2009
I simply must give a shout out to the Homemade Hilarity blog. I came across Homemade Hilarity while browsing Craft Fail. There is just something funny about homemade things lovingly handcrafted that turn out to be total and utter crap. (Especially when the maker is completely unaware.) I admit I’ve had plenty of my own craft fails in the past and undoubtedly will create many more in my future, but the witty writing of the girls over at Homemade Hilarity paired with such terrible (and not intentionally made to be bad) “art” leaves me crying and/or howling with laughter. At work, no less. In front of co-workers, no less. I really shouldn’t read entries from HH while at work, because on more than one occasion I’ve had co-workers stop and be concerned about the tears rolling down my face and I’ve had to convince them that there was really nothing wrong and that I just love the Internet. The Internet that contains HH, that is. Because really, what is the Internet without hilariously bad handmade crafts on display? Not the Internet in a world I’d want to live in, believe you me.
Instead of just sending you over to HH all willy nilly, I thought I’d ease you in by way of sharing a few of my favorite posts. Then of course, you’re on your own. But trust me, you won’t be disappointed. Don’t say I didn’t warn you if you accidentally pee yourself while reading, though. It’s that good. So, without further ado, here are five HH highlights (I think) you simply must see.
You don’t need more reasons to get over there and check it out. I promise it’s full of funny and win. Enjoy!

Just Ducky!

Posted in Featured, Knit & Crochet, Sewing , on May 14, 2009
Photo copyright to Jill D'Aubery

Photo copyright to Jill D'Aubery

I love, love LOVE when people send me emails, showing off things they’ve knitted from a pattern or made from a tutorial of mine. This week I got a lovely email from Jill D’Aubery who made her own version of my knitted duck plush, [on ravelry as well] making some fabulous adjustments to the wings and beak to suit. She even added a tie! The changes and resulting duck is simply FANTASTIC and Jill has given me permission to share her pattern changes with all of you so that you can follow her method on your own ducks. But first, the back story. Jill writes,

“My brother-in-law, who is in his 60s, is in love with rubber duckies.  For years now I have knitted something for his wife, but never for him…until I saw your pattern!  I had seen the Lion Brand pattern and felt exactly the same way you did about it.  So I tried your pattern and made a couple of changes and the result is in the attachment.  It’s adorable!!!  I gave the ducky a tie since it’s for a guy and I knitted the tie out of silk embroidery floss with a #1 needle…very difficult but very wonderful.”

“The changes I made were to the wings and beak.  I did the wings lengthwise and bound off tightly which give them a little scalloped effect. 

Photo copyright to Jill

Photo copyright to Jill D'Aubery

Cast on 14 st. 
Knit every row for 10 rows or so…until the wing is the size you want.
Bind off tightly.
Attach to the body at the bound off end/side.

The Beak
Cast on 7 st.
Knit in Stockingknit stitch (knit on right side, purl on wrong side) for 6 rows,
k 2tog on each side, purl one row, add 1 stitch on each side and continue for 5 more rows. 
Bind off.
Attach to body from the slightly narrow middle with the smooth side on the outside.
The beak curls nicely and opens just like a ducky beak!  Of course, you can make the beak larger or smaller as you wish.  Also, I attached the feet on the narrow end so that they sort of flare out like a duck foot does.”

Picture copyright to Jill

Picture copyright to Jill D'Aubery

Now don’t you agree, the result is fantastic? Jill’s ducky rocks my socks off, and when I first read her email and saw the little knitted tie on her ducky, I squealed aloud. SO cute. Great job, Jill, and thank you so much for sharing your pattern with us!

Around here it’s almost time for a long weekend, so hope you all have a great weekend. I’ll be back to update you on our Father’s Day sock progress soon!

KnitPicks Giveaway!

Posted in Featured , on May 7, 2009

This is one giveaway you won’t want to miss… over at the Things Moms Like blog they are giving away an entire KnitPicks Harmony (wood) interchangeable knitting needle set! And not only that, but four balls of the fabulous KnitPicks (organic!) Simply Cotton worsted weight yarn, too! You’ll get to try four different colors: Marshmallow, Malted Milk, Ginger and Toffee — a $90 value that cannot be beat. Get on over there and enter to win!

Speaking of KnitPicks, my order finally arrived today!! The squeals that came out of me when I realized it had come were not human. I am too excited — I can’t wait to go and play! And get this… Lucas asked me to teach him to knit today. But shhhh… don’t tell anyone. He’s going to learn so he can help work on Father’s Day presents :) Wish him luck!

Mmmm, Goodies!

Posted in Featured, Knit & Crochet , on May 5, 2009
Drop Spindle set by Maine Woods Yarn & Fiber!

Drop Spindle set by Maine Woods Yarn & Fiber!

No, my KnitPicks nickel-plated interchangeables haven’t arrived yet (trust me, I stalk the tracking number 800 times a day) BUT more goodies arrived today; my first wool roving and drop spindle kit! The kit comes from Maine Woods Yarn & Fiber, and I highly recommend ordering from them if you plan to learn spinning or if you need gorgeous (gorgeous handpainted!) roving to spin with. You can order from their website or check them out on eBay, where I originally found them. The customer service is absolutely fantastic and it was a pleasure working with the owner, Arlyne. I will definitely be ordering from them again — especially because I can’t help but drool over their yarn swift.  I ended up with a maple wood top whorl and bottom whorl drop spindle and have been scouring YouTube for good instructional videos to accompany the great booklets that came with the kit. (I’m a visual learner.) I think I’m going to work with the top whorl first, because this video by theartofmegan is very clear and easy to understand. With written instructions from Arlyne and the video to guide me, I think I can handle it! Once I spin some yarn I plan to give dyeing a try — this will be a very noobish, first time experience for me on many levels. I’m so excited! Not that I don’t have 100 other things I need to finish, like starting Father’s Day gifts, working on birthday presents for a couple friends and a wedding anniversary present for Lucas, all within the next two months or less. Ahhh! But how can I say no to getting started with these wonderful goodies sitting here in front of me, practically calling my name? What would YOU do?

Queen of ALLL Things AWE-SUMMM Award!

Posted in Featured , on May 4, 2009
Queen of ALLL Things AWE-SUMMM!!! award

Queen of ALLL Things AWE-SUMMM!!! award

I was generously bestowed the honor of Queen of ALLL Things Awe-Summm, an award granted to me by my friend KnitPurlGurl!  To accept this award, I am required to abide by the terms and conditions that come with it: I must list 7 awesome things about myself, and then I must list 7 others who I think are awesome to pass the award on to.

1. I’m crafty. But you already knew that. I knit, crochet, sew, paint, handmake cards and everything else in between. If it’s crafty, I’ll try it. I’m constantly crafting something and always trying to figure out how to make things; I prefer to make something myself if I can, especially gifts for others. I can’t remember the last time I purchased a greeting card for someone. Being crafty means I understand, appreciate and respect others that handmake things, too: the process, the effort, the time investment, the heart and soul…
2. In my professional life, I am dedicated to helping others. I’m an elementary teacher by trade, and have known my entire life that I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. I’ve been teaching others for as long as I can remember and am proud to have a career where it’s my job to help others all of the time.
3. Along the same lines, in my personal life I am dedicated to helping others. I’ve melded my love for crafts and teaching together here, where I’ve made tutorials on the digital scrapbooking software, My Memories Suite, to help others get the most out of and figure out how to use the software.  My other pastime, gaming, has also been melded with my passion to help others as I write tutorial articles for various games, too.
4. I took a huge plunge and moved to another country in the summer of 2006. Moving so far away from family was hard, but it was the best decision I have ever made in my entire life and the best thing that I’ve done for myself, ever. If I had to do it all over again, I’d do so in a heartbeat.
5. That being said, Lucas and I have made the decision to move back to the states this summer (or ASAP) to be closer to family so we can start our own family soon. And while we’re moving back, which makes my family very happy, I’d still not change the three wonderful years in Canada nor change my decision to move here back in 2006.
6. I can multi-task. Seems boring, but I get a thrill out of having multiple things to do and managing them all at once. To be honest, I think I am more efficient when I’ve got a lot of things due and am up against a deadline. I think this is because I’m very organized and get excited about organization and prioritizing.
7. I can rollerblade. Don’t make fun, because not only can I rollerblade, I can do so without killing myself. While this may seem silly, rollerblading makes me FEEL awesome, and I can’t get enough of it when the weather is nice.

Whew! That was a bit challenging. Really, I thought about it for two days. However, it’s easy peasy to come up with 7 awesome people out there that I would consider Queen of All Things Awesome. In fact, the hardest part about listing 7 awesome people is limiting my list to only 7 people! Ugh! So here goes, in no particular order, the 7 awesome people I am passing this award on to:

1. Daniella of DaniDo Crafty! – fabulous patterns, owns a white mini schnauzer too, and an overall awesome person :)
2. Crazy Aunt Purl – love her writing style, humor, and perfect rolled brim hat recipe!
3. The Yarn Harlot – sure, this may be obvious, but it wasn’t until recently I started using Google Reader and actually following other peoples’ blogs more efficiently than just remembering to go down the list every week or so. Now that I’m on top of it and reading/following/stalking regularly, I can’t believe I’ve been missing out for so long. The Yarn Harlot’s blog leaves me in stitches! (See what I did there?)
4. Maria, creator and maintainer of the DigiFree digital scrapbooking freebie blog. I heart it.
5. Scrap Stuff with PSP – Shawna’s tutorials for PSP and PSD are my inspiration and where I learned most of my digital scrapbooking design techniques. I’d be nowhere without her!
6. Glamour Gals – My friend, Julia, is the director of program expansion for an amazing charity called Glamour Gals. Check her out!
7. Teresa Richardson’s Crochet Mania blog – I taught myself crochet via her YouTube videos. She has over 300 instructional crochet videos or something amazing like that. All I know is she is my top resource for all things crochet. She even has a Video Crochet group on Ravelry!

And there you have it! Special thanks to these lovely people for being blogs I enjoy following and for doing amazing work in your field. You’re all an inspiration! And thank you to KnitPurlGurl for thinking I’m AWE-SUMMM enough to deserve this award in the first place! I’d have included her in this list but since she just had to do it… I figured I can’t really send it back to her. But she’s definitely an AWE-SUMM crafter and overall fab person, and you simply have to pop in and check her out :) Have a great afternoon!

A Craftzine Feature!

Posted in Featured , on April 7, 2009

WOW! Two posts from me within a few hours of each other… something must be wrong with me. Or really good… I just wanted to share some fabulous news!  A friend of mine, Claire, just noticed that I was featured on the Craftzine Blog for the custom handpainted Mahjong set that I made for Lucas for Valentine’s Day this year. How amazing is that?! I am so honored that it’s making me blush. Thanks for the shout out! <3

My Crafty Husband

Posted in Featured , on January 21, 2009

So I know this is my craft blog and I’m the crafty one of the family, but my loving husband surprised me this past weekend with a craft of his own!

I like to crochet when I’m on the couch watching a movie or a hockey game with my boys — Lucas and our two dogs.  I always seem to end up with skeins that I can’t pull from the center, and so having a bouncing skein of yarn that unravels around the outer edge can be really annoying.  Lucas decided he’d secretly clean out one of the HUGE jars of peanut butter we just finished recently and craft it into something useful for me.  He drilled a hole in the top of the lid and used one of my clasps for making purse snaps to fit into the hole so that the edges were smooth.  Then he printed pictures of him and our two dogs and taped them around the inside of the plastic jar.  Voila!  It was a yarn jar.  I can put my smaller skeins of yarn inside and pull the end through the hole and let the jar just sit there … now the ball of yarn is inside and can bounce around all it likes without bouncing away from me.  What a nifty idea, eh?  It was very sweet of him :)

And when I’m not out in the living room working on a crochet project the jar sits on my computer desk and is a neat little photo display and reminder of how lucky I am. :)