Cozy Coffee Despite Snow in April

Posted in Knit & Crochet, Sewing , on April 23, 2009
Finishing touch includes buttons

Finishing touch includes buttons

I guess instead of blasting Calgary for this <sarcasm> fabulous </sarcasm> snowy weather I should look at it from a positive point of view: Lucas had a reason to wear the toque and scarf set I crocheted him for his birthday last fall, and I had a reason to wear my handknitted ribbed cuff (pink) toque and my handknitted pink and burgundy boucle scarf… plus it was the first day out in the wild for my crochet felted purse, which I put the finishing touches on last night. The button closure was a breeze, and to shorten the length of the handle I cut out a section and put the two ends back together using two buttons; this looked decorative and it was functional all at the same time. I adore it!

It’s a good thing I didn’t pack those winter accessories away yet, eh? Meh, Calgary.

Coffee Mug Wrap pattern by Danido Crafty!

Coffee Mug Wrap pattern by Danido Crafty!

The cold and the snow meant I was in search of something… well, warm this morning. But of course, as I was at work, it would have to be a small project.  Cue my shameless plug for today’s Knitting Under the Desk free pattern suggestion: Danido Crafty’s Coffee Mug Wrap! I think I’m in love. No, scratch that… I know I’m in love. This pattern (and Daniella, the creator) ROCKS! I’m stalking her now, because it seems we have more than just knitting in common… like me, she also enjoys mixing fitness and fun with the Wii AND she and her boyfriend have a white mini schnauzer just like we do! Too freaky!

Ecstatic, KPG's Contest, and Knitting Under the Desk?

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on April 21, 2009

I haven’t even received my first KnitPicks order yet of a sock-sized DPN set and sock-sized 40″ fixed circular that I ordered a little while back (Still waiting on Canada Post!) BUT I did place my second order today already… and I ordered *takes a deep breath* the Nickel-Plated Options Interchangeable set! And here I thought I was excited about the DPN order… WOW I cannot wait for my interchangeables to arrive! I also threw in the ball winder for a little extra fun. I’m just ecstatic! This order cannot arrive fast enough, that’s for sure.

KPG’s Contest
My friend Karrie over at KnitPurlGurl is having a contest that started yesterday, and you won’t want to miss it! It’s a Curbing Bag Kit giveaway from ADHD Knitting/Straight Jacket Knitting, and it’s fabulous! The winner will receive the pattern for the Curbing bag, will get to choose the color scheme of yarn they want to have sent to make the bag with, and you’ll also receive some coordinating fabric and a pack of magnetic snaps. The contest is running from April 20 – May 4th, so be sure to get over there and enter! *drool*

Knitting Under the Desk?
Oh, and … do you knit under your desk at work or school? Regardless of whether or not you do so sneakily or not-so-sneakily, you’ll want to check out THIS blog: Knitting Under the Desk! There’s also a Knitting Under the Desk group on Ravelry which is growing quickly, so be sure to check it out! I am SO making the Blueberry Waffle Socks free pattern suggestion on today’s post. Awesome!

Have a great day!

My 'Original' Rant

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on April 20, 2009
So as I mentioned recently, I’ve put my Cthulhu toque pattern up for sale. Pattern sales seem to be better than the actual completed item, which is ok by me because it gives me more time to work on other things instead of making a lot of crochet Cthulhu toques to have available on hand. I was able to get into the recent batch of those activated to sell patterns on Ravelry, so I of course put the pattern up for sale there. I noticed the very next morning that there was a blog post attached to the pattern so I went to check it out:
“I read the description of this pattern original cthulhu toque and tried to decide whether I should be offended. Not at the ACTUAL pattern because it’s very cute but because it’s incorrect and I published a crocheted cthulhu beard hat (or toque if you will) back in december. I think I’m not going to worry too much, but at the same time I was irked because I had that original idea long before. sigh”
Truth be told, I’M a little offended by her post. Mostly because my crochet design IS original, and it IS the first of its kind. The concept of mixing Cthulhu with headgear is NOT new, nor was she the first to think of it, as there have been many forms of various Cthulhu headgear created long before her. When I had the idea for my crochet Cthulhu toque, I did a lot of searching — both on Ravelry and googling — to ensure that it was an original idea. I’ve seen several Cthulhu toques, but none were like mine. I’ve seen fleece toques with tentacles that hang down (Sewn, though, not crochet) and I’ve seen both knitted and crochet toques that have the image of Cthulhu’s head outline done in a pattern that repeats around the hat like a band, chart style… but nothing crocheted as just a true toque with eyes, wings and the tentacles that hang down on top of the head like my design. I even saw the pattern in question that the person above is referring to of their design — but again, her design is not the same as mine. She created a bearded facemask… not a ‘toque.’  Her crochet design is a facemask that has tentacles hanging down like a beard, which transforms the wearer into Cthulhu.  My crochet toque design is a beanie style hat (not a facemask) and the tentacles I used are not like the bearded facemask design at all… not in how they are designed and not in the way they are positioned within the scope of the garment. The tentacles of my toque design are on top of the head along with eyes and wings, so the toque itself creates a little Cthulhu creature sitting on top of your head… which does not transform you into Cthulhu himself when worn and does not make the wearer sport a beard of tentacles. To me, there is a huge difference between a toque and a full facemask. The designs are NOT the same functionally nor aesthetically, and so her post makes me mad, as her comment “I had that original idea long before. sigh”  is completely irrelevant — she did NOT have/make the same idea as me.  The definition of ‘original’ is as follows:
new; fresh; inventive; novel: created, undertaken, or presented for the first time: capable of or given to thinking or acting in an independent, creative, or individual manner: a person whose ways of thinking or acting are original.
While I understand that the concept of creating Cthulhu headgear in general is not my (nor her) original idea, my particular crochet design IS original, as there are no other crochet designs out there like it. Because there are no other designs out there like it yet, that makes my design original in the sense that it is the first of its kind. This person’s crochet design of a tentacled bearded facemask is original, just as my design of a crochet beanie that creates a Cthulhu creature on top of your head is original. I could understand her frustration if I had created a crochet bearded facemask like hers and tried to pass it off as the original of its design… since she clearly created the crochet bearded facemask before me. But we’re talking about completely different headgear here that creates a very different aesthetic and functional result.
*grumble* Just had to vent.

Cthulhu Crochet Toque PATTERN for Sale!

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on April 19, 2009

So my original Cthulhu crochet toque design I made up at the end of last month is now for sale! It’s up in my shop AND Ravelry for purchase and download. How exciting is that? My first pattern for sale. If you purchase at The Pink Toque Shop, I’ll be emailing out the PDF pattern within 24 hours of receipt of purchase. If you purchase on Ravelry, you’ll be able to purchase and instantly download.

Buy An Original Cthulhu Crochet Toque Pattern in MY SHOP
Buy/See An Original Cthulhu Crochet Toque Pattern on RAVELRY

Not sure what the heck I’m talking about? Read the post about my Cthulhu toque here. :)

I’m a little sad to admit that my KnitPicks order of sock-sized DPNs and a suitable 40″ circ for magic loop sock knitting still hasn’t arrived, though it’s not any fault of KnitPicks… it’s just sitting with the Canadian Postal System! UGH! To keep me from stalking the Canada Post website to see some change or update on where my order is now that it’s crossed the border, I pulled out two great sock knitting books my mom

look at me go! my first sock

look at me go! my first sock

bought me for Christmas last year — Getting Started Knitting Socks and I Can’t Believe I’m Knitting Socks. Together the books are amazing, as the Getting Started book goes into lots of details about the “how” and “why” in construction of socks, and then I Can’t Believe I’m Knitting Socks shows the basics using every kind of sock knitting method out there: knitting on DPNs, magic loop with one circular, knitting with 2 circs, etc. They were really handy visuals. Friday evening (After I freecycled a large box of yarn in the basement that I wasn’t using to a kind woman who will be using it with senior citizens), Lucas and I sat down to watch a movie and I followed the books line by line and came up with my first official sock!  I just used my size US8 DPNs and sport-weight yarn and didn’t worry about gauge since I just wanted to practice constructing the various parts of a sock’s anatomy.  It worked! I did it! It really wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, and I REALLY can’t wait for my KnitPicks order to arrive now!

First Felted Project Success

Posted in Knit & Crochet, Sewing , on April 15, 2009
My first felted project

My first felted project

WARNING: This blog is the reason the weather got cold and we had… wait for it… SNOW yesterday. My apologies, Calgary, for jinxing the spring-like weather we had late last week by mentioning its glorious arrival here. I apparently spoke too soon. Here’s hoping the warmth returns in the near future, as knitting indoors downtown on my lunch break isn’t nearly as satisfying.

Though I haven’t updated in about a week, plenty of fiber-licious things have been going on behind the scenes around here. First, (and so important to note!) is that I have completed my first felted project!
The felted crochet purse that I designed myself
Lucas modeling the bag

Lucas modeling the bag

actually turned out FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC. Like, exactly-what-I-was-dreaming-of fantastic.  And more.  However, in my excitement to finish and try felting I didn’t really take good notes of the pattern specifics as I went like I had planned; I basically single crocheted a flat round piece until it was about the size I wanted the bottom of my purse to be and then double crocheted up the sides until I reached the desired height. I was careful to add a few extra increase rows to the bottom and a few extra rows up the sides to take felting shrinkage into consideration. I also did two rows of slight decreases to finish off the sides and give it the shape I had in mind.



I was going to attempt doing the bag all in one piece, but I ended up doing the handle separately because it meant I could carry a smaller project around… because let me tell you, the bag before felting looked to be the size of a giant bucket that was less than ideal for toting around town.  I did the handle in double crochet as well, around 15 stitches wide and worked it like a scarf until it was (you guessed it) about the ideal length and then (you guessed it again) I added a few extra rows to be safe. I ran the entire bag through the washing machine once and it still seemed a tiny bit too big so I ran it through one more time and … BLAMMO! It was incredible. Perfect. My ideal size, and so sturdy! I am SO happy that my first felted project can go down in the books as a success! I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Speaking of successes, I’ve been practicing with DPNs every chance I get. Not so much the knitting a long tube part, but more of the starting and getting used to the first round of joins when creating something in the round on DPNs, as it seems so fiddly and uncoordinated in the very beginning. Once I get going and get at least the first row around complete it’s no sweat and I can relax, though I do need some more practice on making the joins a bit tighter to avoid ladders.  I am hungrily awaiting the arrival of my KnitPicks sock-sized DPN set so that something useful can come of all of this repetitive practice.

Adventures Knitting in the (Urban) Wild

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on April 10, 2009
Knitting in the (Urban) Wild.

Knitting in the (Urban) Wild.

It’s finally spring in Calgary! Though I may be jinxing its existence by the mere suggestion that spring has officially arrived, I can’t help but proclaim my happiness that the seemingly neverending snow seems to be behind us.

Yesterday I had to go downtown in the middle of the day for an appointment. Lucas also works downtown, and by the time I was done with my appointment and had snagged some lunch, I had a good hour and a half to spend before Lucas got off of work. I decided to hang out downtown until then so we could train home together and that way I could enjoy the sunshine. It was such a gorgeous day I decided to take some knitting with me. That’s right, I said knitting! As I mentiond in my previous post, I’ve been itching to knit instead of crochet lately, even though my crocheted hobo bag isn’t quite finished. More on that later. Anyway, to get back into the knitting groove, I took my US size 8 16″ Takumi bamboo circulars and some pretty Petal Pink wool in my knitting bag on my trip downtown. I decided to start a toque for myself using the perfect knitted hat formula.  I really enjoyed finding a sunny spot in the middle of downtown to knit while I waited for Lucas to get out of work. It was SO refreshing and peaceful, even with the sounds of the city buzzing around me. I LOVED it and the weather was perfect. And Tim Horton’s was just diagonally across the street from me. Heaven!

Have A Nice Day!

Have A Nice Day!

I snapped a few pictures of my adventures knitting in the (urban) wild (which I’m sure looked very odd to random passers-by, but hey… I’ve seen stranger things downtown before.) and was pleased that THIS picture (to the right) in particular harbored a little secret message. See if you can find it. (hint, check the bus message.)  It just made my day!  And what a wonderful day it was, truly. THANK YOU SPRING, for finally arriving.

So back to my knitting itch. I’ve been determined to figure out DPNs without tears, and I’ve also been wanting to learn Magic Loop, so socks it is. I ordered some KnitPicks needles this past week — my first KnitPicks order ever!! — and am eagerly awaiting their arrival. Like, soexcitedIcanbarelystandit eager. After reading some threads on Ravelry, I’ve decided to go with the nickel plated needles, and while I’m lusting desperately over the KnitPicks Options Interchangeables set, for now (and to be sure the nickel plated is the best for me) I just ordered one set of sock-sized DPNs and a fixed 40″ same sock-sized circular to match. Today we went to Michaels to use some of the coupons I’ve been hoarding, and I picked up some simple sock yarn for use when my order arrives. Did I mention I cannot wait?

DPN Practice Success

DPN Practice Success

In preparation, I’ve been browsing tutorials and YouTube videos to see if I can get the hang of DPNs with the US size 8 Takumi bamboo DPNs I have collecting dust in my needle bag. Two hours and many videos later, I finally found a video that made it all click: How to Knit Socks Part 1: Working with DPNs by Dorret. While its quality may not be as clear as the video or some of the other YouTube videos out there, one key part that made the lightbulb come on was how Dorret showed to move the yarn down to the end of the needles and flip it around after casting on. In the other videos I wasn’t understanding how to start the join and get going once I had the stitches divided evenly on the needles. I’d get my stitches divided up and then be at a complete loss as to how the demonstrator was getting started. Something about Dorret’s video made me suddenly get it. It was a Hallelujah moment for me, to be sure. I think I’m finally ready once my KnitPicks sock DPNs arrive. And if that doesn’t work, I’ve got the option to go Magic Loop. Socks WILL be looming on the horizon, one way or the other!

Happy Easter weekend :) And OH! Happy Bobmas Eve as well!*

*wth is Bobmas? The anniversary of when Ravelry was conceived.

My Craft A.D.D. is Taking Over!

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on April 7, 2009

Does anyone else have craft A.D.D.? You think you’re absorbed in a project, but there hiding in the back of your mind is another project… one that keeps whispering your name.  Then when you’re supposed to be focusing and working on your current project, you can’t stop your mind from floating back to the possibility of this other project, how it will look when it’s finished, what supplies you need…  it’s been like this for me all week.

I know that I learned things backwards; I learned to knit first, then learned crochet and have been pretty much doing crochet-only projects since. But I’ve recently been wanting to get back into knitting projects, and of course I’ve already got an idea or two in mind. Once I learned crochet I found working things in the round to be so much easier than fiddling with DPNs, but recently thanks to some support and information on the Ravelry forums, I am feeling confident enough to try the Magic Loop method… and maybe even to drag those DPNs out of hiding. The problem is now that I feel confident that I can achieve this, all I want to do is get started. I won’t let myself begin yet another project, though, until I finish what I have “on the hooks” as I’m worried my current crochet project will just never get finished. *ahem* like that crochet sweater I started months ago. The poor side-to-side cowl neck sweater is still sitting on the back burner because I’ve let myself start something else. I am determined to finish it, though!  Even if it means I won’t be wearing it until next winter. ;) I know that there are many people out there who have lots of WIPs at once, and so I know it’s not a bad thing, but I worry that if I give my craft A.D.D. an inch, it’ll take a mile. I guess I just hate the idea of too many unfinished projects lying around. I must stay strong!

And that brings me to the elusive “something else” that I am working on currently: a crochet hobo bag. And not just any hobo bag — a felted one of my own design. It was time for a new purse and this will be my first felted project! I didn’t really want it to be of my own design, especially with it being my first time felting, but I can’t seem to find just what I’m looking for already. I know that to felt the bag it needs to be around 25% bigger than I want the finished result to be (give or take a little) and because I couldn’t find a (free) pattern for a felted hobo style bag that I’m dreaming of, I’ve decided just to wing it. I’m getting a little nervous, though, as the sides take shape — it seems really big. Maybe too big? I just hope it felts up as planned and ends up being about the right size in the end. I won’t know until I try, right? And what better way to learn than to just jump right in. Wish me luck!

An Original Cthulhu Toque, and Now Selling

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on March 24, 2009

As if I didn’t have a crafty enough weekend, I started working on a new design: a crochet Cthulhu toque!

I’m suddenly obsessed with this cute tentacled creature and envisioned a toque (hat!) of one. I did some searching but didn’t find anything like it out there. I found some sewn fleece Cthulhu hats, some knitted ones that have a tentacled Cthulhu shape repeated as a band across the hat, and even a full facemask that transforms the wearer into Cthulhu with a tentacle beard, but nothing quite like this. So I decided to make my own!

The Cthulhu toque design took quite a lot of pulling out stitches and reworking rows until I got it just the way I wanted, but I’m really happy with the turnout. Special thank you to my wonderful husband for his feedback along the way.  It’s my first toque design period!  This and toques like it are now for sale at The Pink Toque Shop!

Speaking of which, in 2009 I decided to switch my shop to a host other than Etsy and all Cthulhu purchases can be done at The Pink Toque Shop instead. The shop should be fully stocked unless I have too many orders going at once, so be patient if things are sold out; I’ll add more as my schedule frees up.

I sure am enjoying having a little bit of extra time this spring break for crafting! :) Happy sales <3 (I hope)

Crafty Crochet Weekend

Posted in Knit & Crochet, Sewing , on March 22, 2009

It was a busy weekend, and yet somehow I managed to sneak in three whole crochet projects. Crazy, I know. It’s the official start of spring break for me, and my mom and grandma are coming to visit later in the week. Between getting organized, cleaning and getting some things around the house done we’ve been meaning to complete, I am amazed that I was able to get so many extracurricular crafting done this weekend, too. Woohoo!

First on the list is a crochet sackboy from Little Big Planet. I stumbled upon this pattern and felt up to the challenge. I have a friend who loves the game and so I decided to whip one up to send his way. It’s off to the Netherlands tomorrow! He turned out okay — I added the little yellow ribbon for flair — but I felt the zipper part was a bit messy. It was my first go at jointing limbs on a crochet stuffie, too. All in all I think he turned out pretty cute and I’m sure he’ll be well received when he arrives.

Second this weekend was another gift for a friend; this time a colleague of mine at work. I crocheted a 12 ft tall purple bird. Well, not exactly 12 whole feet tall (try 17 inches), but there’s a bit of an inside joke with this bird. Each morning on the bus run for our school, this other teacher friend of mine puts on kids music for the kiddos. The kids really love this one tape (yes, tape) of songs and refuse to listen to anything else. Let’s just say that after three months, the tape is starting to get a bit annoying. But the songs are cute and it makes the students happy, so who cares, right? My teacher friend shared with me that she really hates this one song on the tape, and it’s a song about a “12ft tall purple bird.” I of course told the students that she looooooooves the song and that it’s her favorite, and so now whenever the song comes on the kids will say, “Oh, isn’t this your favorite song?” to her, and she has to just agree with them. It’s good for a laugh, even though I get the evil eye, haha. So I imagined what the “12ft tall purple bird” from the song would look like, and voila.  I cannot wait to gift this to her after spring break.

The last thing I made this weekend was a little tiny Cthulhu! Oh my gosh, isn’t he cute?! I could just eat him up. I made him for Lucas, who found the pattern online awhile back. I of course then found it in the Ravelry database and queued it up. Today I was browsing my queue to find something to make and was reminded of this little guy. He was a quick crochet, and I just loved the way he turned out. I opted for no arms because I’m weird like that, but he does have wings and those oh-so-cute tentacles. If he had a nose, I’d want to rub noses with him. He now sits on top of a stack of blank CDs and DVDs on Lucas’ desk. I think I need to make a pink one for my own desk. TOO cute! It makes me want to make more… and more… and more…

My side-by-side cowl neck sweater is still sitting where it was 2 posts ago. It’s such a time consuming project that I’ve found I really have to be in the mood to do something incredibly repetitious for long periods of time to get anywhere with it. I’ll have plenty of time for that whenever we make the move back home to the states. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here on my craft blog yet, but Lucas and I made an announcement over on our personal blog that we’ve decided to move back to Indiana to be near family. Mostly because we’re ready to start a family of our own, and we don’t want to be so far away from them when we do. You can read all about it over on our blog. We go in tomorrow morning to start paperwork, and are crossing our fingers we can be ready to move by the end of the summer. That means 4 days in a UHAUL with my boys and lots of crochet projects to keep me busy ;) Here’s hoping! Take care and have a wonderful week :)

Houston, We Have an Armhole.

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on March 8, 2009

While this news may not seem incredibly exciting to most, for me… it’s huge. It feels like I started my first crochet sweater months ago now, and today I finally had a little spare time to not only work some more rows on that, but I also finished another Huug the Hug Monster(c) that had been sitting half finished for the past three weeks, too. But OMG, my first armhole of my first sweater. Someone call the media.

The sweater I’ve been working on is from Lion Brand’s site, called the Side-to-Side Cowl Neck Sweater. It’s basically done as one big giant piece — go 18 inches, skip 25 sts (first armhole), then go another 18 inches and leave another 25 sts skipped (second armhole) with only one seam up the side for the body. Then the two sleeves are done separately and attached where the skipped sts are. It seems like one very tall rectangle, but the bulk of that will turn into the cowl part of the neck, once I finish the backside. At least that’s the plan.  This is the medium size, but I swear it feels huge — then again, that might be because the neck is not defined yet. Did I mention this is my first sweater? lol. I sure hope to finish it before winter is over. Though with the nasty cold and snow we just keep getting, I’m starting to think winter will never be over in Calgary. I’m also starting to realize that I’m more of a small-project-instant-gratification crafter vs. big-project crafter, hehe. However, once this sweater is done, the amount of gratification and pride will far outweigh the length of time it took me to make. I don’t spend nearly as much time working on it as I should.

And here is my latest Huug — in pink! Isn’t it cute? I am thinking of putting the previous blue one I made and this new pink one up for sale in my ArtFire studio. What do you think?

Lately I’ve had an itch to knit something. I’ve been crocheting so many things over the past several months that I can’t remember the last time I picked up knitting needles other than to move them aside as I rummage around in my case to find the right sized crochet hook I need. The problem is, I still have a fear of working with DPNs… so after getting used to and enjoying the fact that I am able to use a crochet hook to go round and round and make tiny little things without having to switch to DPNs, I can’t seem to figure out what to knit.  Any suggestions? I was thinking about the Calorimetry band or perhaps the Isabeau purse.  Of course, this is AFTER I finish the crochet sweater ;) So we could be talking about next winter at this rate, lol.

Have a great afternoon :)