GEEKSOAP News & Support UberDork Cafe!

Posted in Knit & Crochet, Miscellaneous , on June 15, 2010

Hey readers!

I just wanted to give you a head’s up – GEEKSOAP will be on vacation from June 19 – June 29. Check out the On Vacation page of my store for more information. Basically the store will stay open, just be aware that my house sitter cannot make soap, so I won’t be able to begin work on your order until I return on June 30. :) I will then begin processing orders in the order they were received in my absence, and I promise to get your order out to you ASAP! Thanks for understanding :)

So what’s the vacation for? Well, Lucas and I’s anniversary is coming up on Sunday, and it’s our tradition to stay in a bed and breakfast on the ocean over our anniversary. Last summer we did Nova Scotia and I still daydream of the place we stayed at. I think the sound of the waves crashing up through the open patio door all night is the most relaxing thing ever! This year we’re going to Vancouver, which is a good choice since it means we get to stay on the ocean (we’re actually going out to Victora on Vancouver Island for 2 nights at a bed and breakfast there) and also head inland a little bit to visit friends and family. I’ve not yet been to Vancouver, so I’m excited about exploring after our getaway on the island. We’ll visit Lucas’ uncles and Matt and Laresha (brother and sister-in-law) and then head even further inland to spend some time in Penticton, where Lucas grew up, to visit his parents and some more friends. I can’t wait! I’m working extra hard this week in the GEEKSOAP soap studio to prepare; not only am I working on orders daily, I’m also still prepping for Gen Con in August! Whew!

When I return you can expect some new goodies, too! I’ve got 2-3 new soaps coming PLUS a rumored 3D Dalek soap from Dr. Who…. that won’t be ready immediately when I return, but it’s in the works! ALSO, the awesome Cthulhu bath mitt I designed and crocheted will also be made available. I will be calling it the Baththulhu Cthulhu Bath Mitt, and it’s extra cute! Currently I have a mens and womens’ size as well as being able to make it in a lefty-friendly design. It’s 100% original and made from super soft 100% cotton; perfect for getting clean with my Cthulhu GEEKSOAP! The Baththulhu mitt will be my FOURTH original Cthulhu design since 2009… first it was the Cthulhu toque (and a baby toque that came out last year), then it was my Sock-thulhu Cthulhu plushie in late 2009, then my Cthulhu soap came out in January 2010 and the Baththulhu mitt will be out July 2010! Exciting!

So July will bring some new soap and some new items for GEEKSOAP with the Baththulhu Cthulhu Bath Mitt! I will most likely be having my Cthulhu toques and Sock-thulhu plush added to my product listings at GEEKSOAP in the near future, even though they aren’t soap related… they’re still geek related and complete the set with my awesome, original Cthulhu soap. I want to prepare ahead of time because the Cthulhu toques get popular in the fall and winter months so I need to get started on some stock! I’d also like to take a few to Gen Con if I manage to get the time. Some bath mitts will for sure be going, but I may not have time to make very many toques or Sock-thulhus. (Speaking of which… I need to find a good wholesale supplier of various colored chenille socks… lol)

So that’s the news for where GEEKSOAP is right now, and what you can expect to see from me soon! Now I need to turn your attention to something incredibly awesome… my friend Natali (AKA @UberDorkGirlie) is amazing. She has this dream of a super fantastic geeky cafe that she calls Uber Dork Cafe – a family-friendly place where art and science and geek come together to provide patrons with a completely fantastic cafe experience – and she needs your help! Uber Dork Cafe was granted a pledge page at Kickstarter, where you can help pledge your support to various ideas and creations by all kinds of people and their dreams. Please go check out Uber Dork Cafe and pledge any amount that you can to help Natali fulfill her dream!

More ways to support UberDork Cafe: Head on over to the Facebook page and follow @UberDorkCafe on Twitter!

That’s it for today – I’ll see you back here after I get home from vacation with an update on the crafts I’ll be taking with me on the plane (Lots of Baththulhus will be made for sure!) and to announce new soap and finally release the bath mitts! Thanks for stopping by *hearts* <3

GEEKSOAP: Cthulhu, Star Wars, & Batman Soap!

Posted in Knit & Crochet, Soapmaking , on February 22, 2010

It has been a busy crafting weekend!

First of all, I’m excited to report that I’ve applied to be considered for space at a booth at the Bloomington Handmade Market coming up in early April. The deadline to enter is Friday the 26th, and then I’ll find out whether or not I’ve been accepted and have a table by March 5. I’m totally excited – if accepted, I’ll be sharing a table with my cousin’s girlfriend, Christine, and we’ll be selling our wares to the public in just over a month from now. Not a lot of time, but I’m determined to be ready! So what am I going to sell?

I’ve decided that this is the perfect opportunity to start an idea of mine I’ve been wanting to put together for awhile. Well, since at least last May. GEEKSOAPâ„¢! I’ve finally figured it all out and this weekend I slaved over soapmaking supplies and cranked out two dozen bars of a couple different geeky soap varieties that have been floating around in my head. Introducing my GEEKSOAPâ„¢ line, which so far includes

– Cthulhu (these are my faves, and so cute! They fit with my Cthulhu toques and Sock-thulhu plushies so well)
– World of Warcraft
– Star Wars
– Star Trek
– Batman
– Indiana University (appealing to the IU crowd at the craft show)

and has plans to include PacMan, Thundercats, and a few other geeky and awesome ideas still rolling around in my brain faster than I can make the soap. Check out the entire GEEKSOAPâ„¢ line over on my portfolio, which will be updated as new designs are created. All of my GEEKSOAPâ„¢ varieties will be available on Etsy as well. I’m currently making soap to have as stock to sell at the craft show in April, but I can easily sell it and/or make more for Etsy sales, too.  It’ll help me see what is popular and what I need to make plenty of in time for the show.

Batman GEEKSOAPâ„¢

Batman GEEKSOAPâ„¢

Along with the soap I plan to knit up some simple cotton washcloths to have available for purchase. The application for the Bloomington Handmade Market requires either a business website or five photos of your work to help them consider you for space, and so it was another good opportunity to get my craft portfolio site up and running smoothly (something I’ve been meaning to do for months now) to showcase all of the crafty things I do. Most notably are the Cthulhu toques, Sock-thulhus, and my GEEKSOAPâ„¢ line. Thanks to my fantastically amazing husband, the portfolio site is up and running and I sent the link along with my application.

Introducing…!  The Pink Toque is my online portfolio to show off knitting, crochet, plush, and soap creations I’ve made over the years. Along with being a portfolio, the site then directs people here to the craft blog and to my Etsy shop for more Pink Toque goodness. Let me know what you think! Even if for some reason I’m not accepted for space at the Bloomington Handmade Market, it was at the very least a good way to get me and my handmade business whipped into shape a little bit, don’t you think?

Stay tuned for more photos and more GEEKSOAPâ„¢ – have a great week! :)

Sharon's Knitted Duck

Posted in Featured, Knit & Crochet, Sewing , on February 18, 2010

Photo copyright to Sharon of Making Stuff

Happy Thursday! It’s been a little quiet around here lately, but today I’ve got an adorable knitted duck to share with you. Behold! Sharon of Making Stuff (Aka Avoidance of Housework) has knitted this super sweet duck from my free Knitted Duck Plush pattern. [also on Ravelry]  Didn’t it turn out lovely? I heart Sharon and all of those who share pictures of what they’ve made from my patterns. It gives me such a warm, fuzzy feeling inside!  Thanks, Sharon!

Speaking of Sharon’s blog, you just HAVE to check it out. All of her baking (wow, look at her blog banner… it looks good enough to lick the monitor screen!) looks so delicious. I love how beautiful her Battenburg turned out and I am definitely trying out her Fougasse recipe. Yum!  Plus… she has a PINK kitchen! It doesn’t get any better than that.

Thanks for making my day, Sharon! :)

Forget sock monkeys — YOU need an original Sock-thulhu!

Posted in Knit & Crochet, Sewing , on January 25, 2010
Sock-thulhu © Lesley Karpiuk

Sock-thulhu © Lesley Karpiuk

Sock monkeys are sooooooo 1930s. What you need is one of my original designs: the Sock-thulhu, a Cthulhu plush design à la sock monkey. Made from soft, fuzzy chenille-style socks and stuffed with polyfil, Sock-thulhus will steal your heart with one look or a beat of their gently reinforced wings.  While socks and Cthulhus have gone together before, the Sock-thulhus’ pattern and construction is like no other and produces a one-of-a-kind plushy delight perfect for cuddling.

Sock-thulhus stand around 6 inches tall. You can buy one in my Etsy shop! Currently I only have three: one mint green, one purple, and one orange. I hope to get a blue and pink one up soon and more to come as well.

Hope you have a great week!

sock-thulhu02 sock-thulhu03 sock-thulhu08

Sock-thulhus are a creature and pattern legally registered and © copyright to me, Lesley Karpiuk (pinktoque) of the Pink Toque Craft Blog

Free Knitting Pattern: Cousteau Cowl

Posted in Freebies, Knit & Crochet, Tutorials , on January 14, 2010

IMG_7747It has been a busy week in the Karpiuk household – Lucas finally arrived home from Montreal where he attended his U.S. immigration interview, and the good news is that he is officially a U.S. Permanent Resident now. The bad news is… well, there is no bad news. It’s all good! So we’re excited to have him home finally and for this big immigration process to be behind us. While he was gone, I decided to knit something for him because it helped to pass the time. For Christmas I had knit Lucas the  Jacques Cousteau Hat pattern by Typy [On Ravelry], and after seeing how much he enjoyed the idea of my cowl, I thought I’d try to fashion a matching cowl that would look good with his toque so that he could have a matching set, too.

And that’s where the free pattern comes in. I used the same flavor of basic ribbing to create a cowl that has the same look and feel to it and wrote down my notes so I could share it with others in case they wanted to knit up a matching masterpiece to their Cousteau Hat. I must say, the combination is very fetching, don’t you think? The boys and I presented it to Lucas when he got home on Tuesday and he loved it.

What You’ll Need
US size 4, 16″ circular needles or DPNs for working in the round
1 skein of worsted weight yarn (approximately 145 yards), I used Michaels Loops & Threads Impeccable brand in the color True Gray
stitch marker
tapestry needle for finishing

Download my free Cousteau Cowl pattern below on Ravelry!

I hope you enjoy the simple and free Cousteau Cowl :) Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

Merry Christmas FOs

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas! I hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday. I’m excited to finally be able to share the goodies that I knit up for family and friends this season.

cowl Lucas knit for me

cowl from lucas

First on my list is to share what my husband knit for me. Yes, you read that right! It was Lucas’ mom that taught me to knit in the first place, over 3 years ago. Last May when I was trying to figure out what to knit for our dads for Father’s Day, Lucas asked me to teach him to knit so that we could both knit socks for our dads together. What a keeper! For Christmas this year, he knit me a beautiful, beautiful cables and eyelets cowl. It’s the same pattern I used to make a cowl for my step-MIL this year, too. I remarked about how much I loved it and he knit me one. When he gave it to me, he said, “Thanks for teaching me to knit.” Awwwe, what more could a girl ask for?! I am a lucky, lucky girl indeed. I plan to knit a matching toque on our little road trip to Toronto tomorrow.

At work this year I participated in a Secret Santa drawing, and I loved it! I got the art teacher, who is a friend and fellow knitter. She and I and the home ec teacher together created a knit/crochet group for other teachers in our building. It was so much fun having a knitter for a Secret Santa! I made her a tiny crochet turtle one of the days because she loves turtles (complete with a tiny knitted scarf!) and a knitter’s ornament on another day, and then her final gift was a set of Fetching — fingerless mitts. It was my first attempt ever at doing gloves/fingerless mittens and I had so much fun! They worked up quickly and beautifully. I need a little practice on picking up stitches, though, because I felt my thumbs were a bit messy, but overall I was really pleased. And the recipient loved them, too.

tinyturtle knitornament fetchingmitts

momscarfFor my mom, I knit a gorgeous Column of Leaves scarf. It took me nearly a month to do, but that was because I kept putting it aside to finish gifts for out-of-town family that had to be shipped first. The pattern repeats were simple and I was able to get into a groove with it. I would knit the 8 row pattern repeat 5 times a day for around a week to get the finished length of around 56″. It was well received, and the first non-boring garter stitch scarf I’ve made my mom. I like that I feel like I’m becoming more of an intermediate knitter this year and attempting to tackle (and complete) more advanced projects that include (gulp) lace! It’s really not as hard as I thought it would be.

Speaking of moms, I knit a Cable & Eyelet Cowl for my step-MIL and a slouchy beret-style hat for my mother-in-law this year. I was really proud of the turn out for both of them. It was my first cowl, and suddenly I wondered why I had never knit one before; so much more interesting than a scarf, I think. (Watch out mom, you may get a cowl instead of a scarf next year!) I enjoy knitting in the round and I love knitting toques, so a cowl was like knitting a toque without the decreases at the end, and I was in heaven. I’m weird I know. The slouchy toque was my first attempt at such a design and while I don’t think the style fits me, I think it will be absolutely lovely on my mother-in-law.  I wish I could pull off the beret style! Lucas helped me to pick out the colors I used and I think she’ll be really happy with it.

lesleycowl boosberet

cousteauhatFor Lucas I knit up a new toque. I had crocheted him a toque and scarf set last year, but I wanted something that was a little more stylish than a simple single crochet beanie. (Not that there’s anything wrong with a single crochet beanie!) When I saw the pattern of the Jacques Cousteau hat, I knew it was the one.  It was a really simple rib the entire length of the toque, which is easier said than done; my poor fingers were so sore afterwards! I’m sure it had more to do with how I gripped the knitting to try and keep even tension when switching so often between knit and purl stitches, but still. It was totally worth it, though! I loved the look of the decreases at the crown.

lucaslesleydollsAs most of you know, Lucas and I were living up in Canada until the end of July when we moved back to the states. We left behind a lot of good friends that we miss a lot. One of my best friends in particular, Michelle, is very much missed and we know she misses us, too. I decided to make her a set of Lucas and Lesley Dolls. Which is just what it sounds like; little crocheted amigurumi dolls that look like Lucas and I. I am so incredibly proud of how these turned out — I love them so much that it was hard to ship them because I wanted to keep them for myself! Lucas’ little glasses and my little bangs are just super cute. I just want to squeeze them! I think they turned out well, and I can’t wait for Michelle to get them. (The post office is going a bit slower than usual at this time of the year.)

IMG_7453And last but not least by any means is the gift I made for my brand new nephew, William. My brother and sister-in-law love all of the Disney Cars themed stuff for him (my brother is a mechanic, I predict Will loving cars just as much as his daddy does!) and so I purchased this fantastic Little Car pattern from Delicious Crochet on Etsy and created a stuffed amigurumi car for Will. Isn’t it adorable?! It was so much fun to make and he was so cute with it on Christmas morning.

Whew! It was a busy, busy holiday season. Now Lucas and I are off to Toronto and I can relax with a little knitting for myself on the drive there and back. I received the fantastic Harmony wood interchangeable set from KnitPicks from my parents to go along with my nickel-plated set, and I can’t wait to take them for a spin. :) Happy Holidays!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on November 26, 2009
Orgrimmar Baby Toque of Awesome

Orgrimmar Baby Toque of Awesome

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with friends and family and other goodies to be thankful for. Lucas and I baked some fantastic pumpkin pies (If I do say so myself) to take over to my parents’ house and we celebrated our first Thanksgiving back in the states in three years.

This, unfortunately, is the time of year that’s not a lot of fun posting-wise on my craft blog. Mostly because I’m hard at work on gifts for family and friends and… well… I can’t post some of them because I know that they will or might read my blog and then their gift is no longer a surprise. It’s hard because I get so excited when I finish a project and can’t wait to show it off, but alas… I must refrain. For example… today while hanging out with family I managed to finish another baby hat. This one was not for my nephew, however, and instead for some friends that play World of Warcraft, and who are about to have their first child any day now. They’re both awesome, and I wanted to make them a little something.

The cleverly customized WoW item tag to go with it

The cleverly customized WoW item tag to go with it

It’s nothing fancy — just a two-color striped baby toque with a ribbed trim, but it’s the tag I created to go along with it that’s more fun. Firstly, I used orange and red, which the mom-to-be told me were “Orgrimmar colors.” (Excuse me while I geek out a little bit.) These colors were sure to make any orc parent proud! ;) The tag explains the toque’s beneficial stat boosts when worn by the little recipient. I thought it was clever. I even called it the Orgrimmar Baby Toque of Awesome. If I were a better knitter who wasn’t afraid to try fair isle/stranding methods for doing multiple colorwork, I’d have knitted a Horde logo on there instead, but… ya. Still on my to-do list. Do you like the handmade tag? :)

Wait, I said gifts completed that I can’t share on my blog, right? Whoops. Ok so the baby toque I could share because it wasn’t a surprise, but then later this evening after we got home from Thanksgiving festivities, I completed the gift I’ve been knitting for Lucas for Christmas. And THAT gift I can’t share here… yet. Just know that I’m soooo stoked that it turned out and proud of all the work that went into it that is now complete. And it looks fabulous.  I’ll definitely share it after it’s gifted, though!

The rest of this holiday weekend will be spent trying to trim down my Christmas gift making to-do list by casting on a project that will be gifted to my mom, and actually pulling out some paint for a gift for my brother and sister-in-law. Stay tuned!  Enjoy your holiday :)

Introducing the BABY Cthulhu Toque!

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on November 15, 2009
Newborn nephew Will sporting one of my ultra cool new baby Cthulhu Toques!

Newborn nephew Will sporting one of my ultra cool new baby Cthulhu Toques!

It was only a matter of time before my crochet Cthulhu toques spawned pint-sized versions for children. Due to many requests, I finally sat down and put together the youth version of my pattern. I’m now selling child-sized Cthulhu toques in my shop AND am offering the youth pattern included in the same PDF as my original adult sized version… at no additional cost for the pattern!  Now my Cthulhu toque pattern is like having 2 patterns in 1!   You can either buy the pattern, which includes adult and child instructions OR you can purchase adult or child-sized Cthulhu toques already handmade by me at The Pink Toque Shop. Just in time for the holidays!

The new youth sizes includes instructions for creating a newborn, toddler, and child sized version of the Cthulhu toque. Now you and the child or children in your life can be in matching style together!  The model in my picture is my brand new 2 week old nephew, and he’s sporting the toddler version, which is why it’s a bit big. But aren’t they both adorable?!  As I said, I’m selling the child-sized toques individually in my shop, so if you love the Cthulhu toques but don’t have the crochet know-how, I can make one for you :)

The new baby version of my Cthulhu Toque. Get yours now!

The new baby version of my Cthulhu Toque. Get yours now!

As of the time of this writing, I’ve sent out a mass email to everyone who has purchased the Cthulhu toque pattern from me in the past via Etsy or Artfire and sent them a complimentary copy of the youth sized pattern update. Going forward, new purchases of the pattern from Etsy or Artfire will receive the updated PDF that includes both adult and youth pattern instructions. I also uploaded the new PDF to Ravelry and sent out a mass message to those who had purchased it via Ravelry to get them the new copy.  If I somehow missed you, please contact me immediately with your name and email so I can ensure you get the updated version!

Adding youth sizing to my pattern is not the only update that I’ve made to my most recent version; I also updated the pattern to include tips and blocking instructions specific to the design to help you get the most out of the pattern and get it to look just right.

New and Improved pattern now available! Includes both adult and child versions plus blocking instructions

New and Improved pattern now available! Includes both adult and child versions plus blocking instructions

Want to buy the new and improved Cthulhu toque crochet pattern? Check it out in my Etsy shop!  Want to buy pre-made Cthulhu toques already crocheted by me for yourself or a loved one? Get thee to the shop!

Enjoy! And thanks for your business :) Hope you had a great weekend!

He's Here!

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on October 29, 2009

Will with his hand knitted bunny from Auntie Lesley

My baby nephew is finally here! Little William was born last night at 11:14pm and weighed 7lbs, 15oz and was 22 inches long. He is the spitting image of my little brother, and so beautiful. I am so proud of my brother and sister-in-law, and everyone is healthy and doing well. All I have for you with this announcement post is a precious, precious photo of Will hugging his first stuffed animal… a knitted bunny made by his Aunt Lesley :) Lucas also gave Will the wonderfully soft blanket that his uncle knitted just for him. Warning: these photos are full of cuteness. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Welcome to the world, little nephew. I can’t wait to spoil you!

Uncle Lucas' hand knitted blanket

Uncle Lucas' hand knitted blanket

A Little of This, A Little of That

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on October 27, 2009
photo copyright to Lesley Karpiuk

photo copyright to Lesley Karpiuk

I’m here for just a quick drive-by (or surf-by?) post to show off what I’m currently working on! On the needles today is a lovely lace-edged toque with my even more lovely Nova Scotia yarn that I purchased over the summer when I was in Halifax with Lucas celebrating our anniversary. I know this picture doesn’t do the yarn or the pattern justice (and I’m quickly learning that lace doesn’t look quite right until after it’s blocked) because I took it at work instead of at home with my good digital camera, but I think you get the idea. I’m finding the yarn to be just delicious — if you don’t remember, it’s the Tanis Fiber Arts yellow label DK weight yarn in Spearmint, and I purchased it at the Loop Craft Cafe in downtown Halifax. The color is gorgeous and the yarn is so nice to work with.  It was my first hand-dyed hank of yarn and I don’t own a swift so Lucas and I did our best — it turned into a huge pile of mangled mess, but in the end we managed to get it wound into a cake. Whew! It was totally worth it.

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

The pattern is the Lace-Edged Hat from Julie M. Hentz at Head Huggers, and I really think it’s turning out pretty. I featured it over on the Knitting Under the Desk blog last week, and my favorite part of the hat is that there’s enough excitement with the simple lacework for a brim instead of the typical ribbed brim to make the hat interesting, but enough stockinette to keep me in my comfort zone, too. The best part is that once you do all of the lacework, you’re home free, since it starts from the brim and works to the crown.  I highly recommend it! I can’t wait to finish it and post a better photo of me wearing it.

Also recently I’ve been working on a pattern en masse as Christmas presents for family and friends.  Remember all of the jam? I’m also knitting Christmas ornaments to go along with the jam packages, so photos of that will be coming shortly. I’m nearly halfway finished on the lot!

In RL news, my baby nephew is due any day now and Lucas and I are moving into a new place this weekend, so it’s a busy week! I can’t wait to meet my nephew and snap some photos of the baby things I’ve knitted for him over the last several months. You can be sure photos will follow :) Take care!