Posts Tagged ‘best of 2009’

Hard to believe

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

It’s been a year since I’ve been blogging.  In the past year I’ve written 286 blog posts and 19 knitting patterns.  I’ve explored natural dyeing, handspinning, and lots of knitting.  This site has been seen by 19342 unique visitors from 110 countries.

I’ve made friends both near and far…I’ve tweeted, and joined up with several interesting blogging challenges (art every day month, best of 2009, tour de fleece, ravelympics).

And, what I’m most proud of is that I’ve been able to use this site to do some good, and donate $1600 (proceeds from the sales of Olympic Mitten Patterns)to the Penguins Can Fly swim team for disabled youth at our local YMCA.

As winter approaches, think about knitting a pair of Olympic mittens for yourself.

New Years Resolution: Knit from Stash

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

What New Years resolutions did I make last year?  Well….I don’t generally make resolutions, I make plans (sometimes they work, sometimes they get changed, sometimes they get postponed)

This year, after organizing my stash, I have made a decision…I’m going on a yarn fast.  I’m going to knit from my stash as much as possible for the new year.  We’ll see how long that lasts!

Note:  this plan involves me spinning up lots of fleece!


here's just some of my fleece

Wish me luck!

Happy 2010 everyone.

Mac or PC-best ads of 2009

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Disclaimer:  I am a Mac person, from a Mac household…who appreciates the simplicity of the product as well as the ads.

I rarely will search to find new ads for a product.  Usually I try to ignore the advertising that I see.  However, the ads that Apple has made for the Mac are so entertaining that I not only will sit and watch them, but sometimes I will even seek them out to see what the new ad is.

I like them because they are slick, simple, predictable, and funny.

Have a look for yourself!  My choice for best ads of the year.

click to see more...

click to see more...

Biggest Laugh of The Year: Push Button For Pizza!

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

The month of December is winding down, and so are the days of Gwen Bell’s Best of ’09 Challenge.

The topic of today is the biggest laugh of the year.

Thinking back, I’ve laughed a lot this year–A good sign!  The biggest laugh came in a hotel room in Mississauga, when a group of us were tired and hungry and really needed pizza.  We weren’t just regular tired, we were tired to the point of everything being hilarious, where once one person started to laugh, the rest of us caught the giggles and pretty soon had forgotten what we were laughing about.

It all started because we were in a new city, unsure of what number to call for pizza, and who was going to make the call.  Being in a hotel is a novelty for us, and using a hotel phone was a bit of a challenge.

What area code were we in?

Do we need to dial the area code?

Is there a phone book….no….that’s not a phone book in the drawer, that’s a Bible! (giggles started)

Finally found the phone book….looked up a number for pizza delivery

did rock paper scissors for who would call and order…..

Ended up ripping page out of the phone book by accident…. (giggles and more giggles)

We taped the page back in (still laughing)

Someone started to dial for pizza, and we noticed that the hotel phone had a button you could press for “Pizza”. (too much laughing)

We were in such a state already, that a “push button for pizza” was enough to send us over the edge.  If I recall correctly someone ended up laughing so much they fell off the bed (between the bed and the wall)…which only set us off even more.

I don’t think we ever did order pizza….nobody could get through the whole call without cracking up.

What a night!

Making Sheepy Cards and Knitted Cards

Monday, December 28th, 2009

This looks like a very cool stash-busting craft to make. Explanations are on the Sheepy Hollow Farm Journal website

Sheepy Note Cards.  Image from Sheepy Hollow Farm Journal

Sheepy Note Cards. Image from Sheepy Hollow Farm Journal

I’ve got lots of fleece. I may try making some of these in the new year. They look SO cute.

Here’s another cute idea from the knitted blog. Knit a square, add buttons, make a card! So many possibilities!

card idea from the knitted blog

card idea from the knitted blog

Ohhh…these are cute too! Mini sweater and stocking Christmas Cards. Pattern located on the Better Homes and Gardens website.

Image from Better Homes and Gardens

Image from Better Homes and Gardens

These would be my top three choices for best stationery, if I had time to make them!

I do write letters, but usually I use coloured paper that I decorate with doodles as I write.

What Comes First, The Pattern Or The Wool?

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

It’s certainly a good question!

Sometimes you’ll see or feel such a lovely yarn that you have to buy it.  It will sit in the stash begging for the perfect pattern to come along where it can be shown off in all its glory.  When you find that pattern, the yarn will leap from the shelf and the knitting will fly off the needles, just like it was meant to be.  Now, this is not always the case, but when it happens, it is magic!  Sometimes you need to make up the pattern yourself as I did in the hat I dreamed up.

Dig through your stash from time to time, and you might be surprised what yarn will speak to you.  Listen to it… it….you’ll be amazed with what you can create.

Picture from

Sometimes it’s a good pattern that will speak to you from the pages of a magazine, or from the depths of Ravelry.  The February Lady Sweater was one such pattern that grabbed my attention.  It was all the rage 2 years ago.  I went on a search and found the wool to match the sweater.

Now, whether you are looking for the perfect pattern or the perfect yarn, things have certainly changed a lot in the last 10 years.  This fact was illustrated on boxing day in the midst of our “ball winding party”.  I had gotten my mom a great ball winder from, and we were winding up different skeins into center pull balls.

My grandmother, my mom and I were discussing what to knit for a cousin who is soon to be a new dad.  My first instinct is to head to ravelry, or now that I’ve joined twitter and connected with so many awesome knitters, I’d ask them what’s good to make for a new baby.  My mom went to look in her pattern drawer for books and leaflets of patterns that she’s used through the years.  My grandmother wanted to knit the bonnet that her mother taught her to make.  She knew that she had the instructions on an index card somewhere.

It hit me, on Boxing day, sitting in a multi-generational knitting circle, that some things really have changed, but in some ways, they haven’t changed at all.

Happy 2000 visitors

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

In 2 months, over 2000 unique visitors have come from 60 countries to visit my little corner of the internet.  We had some cake to celebrate!

Here comes my A-Ha moment–I’m a blogger now!  2 months ago I never would have imagined it.  It’s been a good challenge to blog daily.  I’ve been more productive, and more creative recently, and that feels great!  Thanks to everyone who is following along….

Now, it’s your turn…audience participation required

Thanks to the wonders of analytics….here are some of the more “unique” search phrases that have brought you here.

  • “how to dye roving outside when it is cold outside”
  • “how to make a hat out of copper scrubbies”
  • “how to start spinning milkweed fluff”
  • “how to tie a sinai bedouin scarf”
  • “how to make two person mitten”
  • “how to wash thrummed mittens”
  • “how to make intricate friendship bracelet with string”

Now….for the fun….which of these topics would you like me to explain to you (some may require more research on my part than others)

Vote in the comments.  (Voting closes on Jan 1 2010)

The Most Epic Socks I’ve Ever Made

Friday, December 25th, 2009

Last year at this time I was madly knitting. This was the WORST case of second sock syndrome that I had ever experienced. The pattern is Rhiannon Socks [Ravelink] by Cookie A. They are wonderfully intricate knee high cabled socks with fold over cuffs. As soon as I saw them I thought they’d be perfect for kilt socks! Who would want to cover up these beauties?!

This entire project was also my first real experience in stealth knitting. Although I saw the recipient weekly, I didn’t know them well enough to know their shoe size. It’s also a little awkward to casually work in calf circumference in day to day conversation. I tried to give the measurement mission to their family, but that was unsuccessful. I tried several times to line up my feet with theirs during a quick conversation to gauge how my foot would compare. In the end, without proper measurements, I was left to
pass the sock in progress around to all my male relatives for them to try on guess.

thanks mysterious sock model #1

The first sock was completed in the summer. I thought that I’d have plenty of time to finish the other one in the fall, but….somehow miles and miles of knitting cables on tiny needles just didn’t seem all that appealing. November came and went (why does October always disappear so fast?). Suddenly it was December, I had only one sock and a cuff of another. I was determined to finish that second sock to present to the recipient on Christmas day. This may have involved an all-nighter or three, and I may still have been finishing knitting them while opening my stocking on Christmas morning, but these socks were ready to be presented that afternoon!

I didn’t let them out of my sight without a full photo shoot, of the front….

thanks mysterious sock model #2

and the back…

thanks mysterious sock model #2

And this is the first time that the recipient wore them with the kilt. These must be the hottest ankles in town. The wool itself [Knit Picks Bare Fingering Yarn] is not thick, but the cables do add bulk which does tend to trap heat. I really appreciate that the socks were worn on such an important occasion. It means so much when a knitter’s hard work gets displayed!


super stealth sock photo

This was one of the biggest, craziest gifts I’ve ever made. I’m sticking to smaller projects this year!

Ninjabread Men!

Friday, December 25th, 2009

Today my mom invented something AWESOME!


NINJABREAD MEN!! Photo credit: @ninjarunner

Here’s our family recipe for Gingerbread cookies, passed down from my great aunt.

  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cloves
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons molasses

Cream butter and sugar.  Add egg and molasses.  Mix dry ingredients and combine with the wet ingredients.  Chill dough.  Roll and cut into shapes.  Chill shapes on pan before baking so they don’t spread too much.

Bake @ 400 F for 5-8 minutes

Yield 3-4 dozen cookies.

Now….to turn some cookies into NINJABREAD men you need to add some green food colouring to a portion of dough, and decorate the finished cookies with coloured royal icing.

Royal Icing Recipe

1/4 cup meringue powder
1/2 cup water
4 cups sifted powdered sugar, perhaps 1/2 cup more

In large beater bowl, mix meringue powder with water. Beat until it peaks. Add the 4 cups powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy, adding up to 1/2 cup more for desired stiffness.

What Are You Learning Today?

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Every day is a learning opportunity.  I know that I learn so much in the day-to-day interactions with people.  I make it my goal to keep learning new things even though it’s been a while since I was last taking a formal class.

Today, the learning opportunity comes in the form of an experiment. As a good science student, here’s my “pre-lab” writeup.

Experiment:  Felted Elf Slippers

Question:  Is it possible to make a pair of felted Elf Slippers before Christmas?

Hypothesis:  If sleep is ignored and other tasks abandoned it will probably be possible to finish knitting the slippers.  Time until Christmas in this case is the independent variable, and caffeine consumption is another independent variable that will work to decrease the amount of sleepiness.  Large gauge needles will decrease the time taken to complete the socks, but the immensity of the pre-felted slipper will counteract any advantage given by the needle size.  Felting has many variables (washing machine, water temperature, time) and since it is the first experience with felting, results will be unpredicted.


  • Cascade 220 1 skein dark green
  • Cascade 220 1 skein bright green
  • 6.5mm DPN


Refer to Flint Knits Felted Elf Slipper pattern


Image courtesy of Through The Loops

Image courtesy of Through The Loops

Dec.22.2009  11:00 PM  Inspiration hits. Wool run planned for 23rd

Dec.23.2009  4:00 PM  Wool run  to Wool-Tyme.  Cascade 220 and needles acquired.

Dec.23.2009  7:00PM  Cast-on first slipper

Dec.23.2009  10:00PM  Astounded by size of slipper in progress, caffeine consumed

Dec.24.2009  12:30AM  Overcome by sleep.  Slipper 1 complete

Dec.24.2009  8:30AM  Caffeine consumed, slipper 2 cast on

Dec.24.2009  10:30AM  Second Slipper Syndrome Already?  Break for nourishment/present wrapping/delivery.

Dec.24.2009  1:00PM  Successful Santa mission, and delivered an awesome hat to a cute little boy

Dec.24.2009  2:33PM  Second slipper is growing.  Decision made:  gift could be pre-felted slippers….if time runs out.  Then they could be felted-to-fit….that sounds like a good plan, right?

Dec.24.2009 5:12PM Second slipper is 8 inches from completion.  Must rest fingers and wrap more gifts.

Dec.24.2009 7:30PM Digested dinner and knit 8 inches by the fire.

Dec.24.2009 10:30PM Church break.

Dec.25.2009 1:00AM DONE….ends sewn in and everything.

I had only this much yarn left over!  About 2 meters…..Cutting it close!!!

Since late night early morning felting sounds like an all around disaster a BAD idea, the HUMONGOUS slippers are under the tree, and will be felted to fit tomorrow afternoon between turkey basting sessions.

Dec.25.2009 11:30AM  Slippers unwrapped, and tried on.  Dad confused by size.  They fit like a hat!

Dec.25.2009 12:30PM  Slippers put in a zip up pillow case and washed (no soap) in washing machine.  Settings: low water level, hot temperature.

Dec.25.2009 1:00PM  Felting accomplished!  Slippers stuffed with plastic bags drying on heating register, and in front of the fire.

Dec.26.2009 1:00PM Slippers still slightly damp.  Gave up and put them in dryer for 15 minutes.

Dec.26.2009 1:20PM  Slippers are done and being worn.

Conclusions:  Felting works.  Pre-felted items are HUGE, but shrink down to a very nice size.  It is possible to knit a pair of elf slippers and felt them in a day and a half.  The drying is the unexpected variable.  It took a very long time to dry!

before felting

After Felting

After Felting