Friday, November 5, 2010

2 years

It's risky business choosing a pattern for a gloriously (at times) head strong little toddler, I mean BIG GIRL . Risky in that once the said knit is complete, it will actually be worn by the toddler for more than, say, 1.5 seconds. So you pour through the free patterns on Ravelry. Lord knows you don't pay for that pattern which has the potential to be permanently stored in the hat basket in the front closet. You pick one you think will hit the mark. Ear flaps for winter warmth, check.  Acrylic, check.  Squeak, I know, but I'm hoping to toss this baby in the washing machine after countless frolics in the snow. Purple, check. She likes purple, her snowsuit is purple. How can this go wrong?

Pattern:  Earflap Hats
By: Knitscene
Yarn:  Random Walmart Acrylic

 Huge, gigantically adorable pom-pom?  Eeks, maybe not. (Even though Mommy likes it, little girl's eyes turn red instantly). Uhhh. Maybe smaller cuter pom-pom? Ee gad. This is a toughy.   I couldn't even bribe her with smarties.    My fear comes to life and I park this old noggin topper indefinitely in the hat basket.  No amounting of coaxing or bribery will convince the decisive little one to even touch it, let alone wear it on her head.

What it actually takes to free this accessory out of purgatory is some time to age in the closet.  Fermenting for some TWO YEARS, until she finally plucks it out of the hamper on her own free will and declares the hat "SO CUTE!".  "Mama, this pom-pom is like a pony tail and these things on the sides are two lovely braids".  (She really does talk like that and she really doesn't let me style her hair. EVER. Figure that one out.)

Wow, 2 years to warm up to a hat.  Talk about playing hard to get.  Guess you'll be seeing this year's creation in 2012.

By: Cosette Cornelius
Yarn:  Franken Fibre Handspun By Linda Janssen (Blue)
Acrylic in Pink and Teal

Saturday, October 30, 2010

It's not for lack of knitting...

So I've been suspiciously quiet in the blogosphere, but it's not for lack of knitting.   I have found myself making a plethora of tiny objects for the last little while.

I can't help it, I'm compelled.  But the problem with knitting little newborn items is that often you can't find a proper sized model to show them off. 

So I made one of those too =).....

(I'm working on his model pose still....)

Collage items:
1. Carnival Hat-  by me; 2. Circles Stroller Jacket by Susan Anderson, minus the circles; 3. Eco Baby Booties by Jen Gontier; 4. Baby Bear Hat and Booties Set; 5. Baby Uggs by Jen Gontier with bear mods; 6. Scraps Hat - by me; 7. Circles Stroller Jacket; 8. Carnival Hat; 9. Nap Sack by me, free pattern coming soon; 10. Baby Bear Hat by me; 11. Scraps Hat; 12. Eco Baby Booties

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Road Trippin'

If you live in Toronto in the summer odds are you attempt to get the heck out of town on any given sunny weekend. To do a little road trippin' that looks something like this:

And if you do that a lot, you need a lot of this at the ready:

Everyone has their personal favourite for the road trip knit. I've tried following a chart and it made me want to puke. I've tried knitting a blanket and it made me want to sleep. For me, I like a simple, easily memorized lace pattern that keeps my hands moving quickly, keeps my eyes on the scenery, and challenges me enough that I don't doze off (even while listening to The Wolf 101.5).

So here's my latest road trip creation, the White Night Scarf, made from reclaimed yarn from a heavy cabled hat I bought from Banana Republic years ago that looked great but gave me a kink in the neck it was so darn heavy.

A heavy, cosy, funky scarf made just in time for the road trippin' to slow down for another season.  Sigh.
Pattern:  White Night Scarf
By:  Team Knit
Yarn:  Unknown
Needles:  US 13

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

She gets it....

I often find my husband giving me sideways glances when he sees me knitting up itty bitty pieces of undecipherable shapes, slowly starting a pile on my knitting desk. I can tell he wants to ask me what the heck I am doing but stops short to save himself from my rolling eyes and sometimes less than... uh-hum...polite response. I know the curiosity boils up inside him, not because he cares what I am making, but more because he just has to know what 4 squares, 2 triangles and 2 circles with long tails hanging around will actually be MacGyver-ed into.

So somewhere between square three and circle one I know the question comes...he blurts out in his most pleasant, inquisitive tone "So, what is that you are working on?". He cares not what the answer is, I could say I'm knitting a rocket ship that I plan to launch in the backyard once I figure out how to make this yarn fire retardant, he just needs an answer so that square + square no longer equals unknown.

So I smile inside and answer simply "It's a rabbit". And I show him the picture in the pattern so he can visualize it. I can read his mind (I haven't shared this fact with him after all these years, but I can) and he's thinking "Wow, what a colossal waste of time". But instead he responds with feigned interest, "hmmph", picks up his newspaper and carries on with his life. He doesn't get it.

He doesn't understand that when you care enough to spend so much time and effort into making something that a piece of your love gets implanted in that object, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant that object is. So what may be 4 squares, 2 triangles and 2 circles to him can actually give comfort and love to someone else.
He doesn't get it, but it doesn't matter. Because SHE does.

Pattern:  Little Hare Boy
By: Ala Ela:

Monday, August 9, 2010

Testing 1..2..3...

I recently test knit this great pattern for Cosette from CosyMakes fame. Her handspun, hand-dyed yarns are out of this world and her patterns each have unique little details that really make them special. Jonah is no exception. The slip stitch panel and little fish panel detail on the sleeve give this little kimono style sweater just enough pizzazz to make it special and fun to knit, while not being completely over the top that it won't get a lot of use. 

The attached I-cord detailing on the trim brings it all together neatly.  I knit it in a neutral colour cotton with the cutest little butterfly buttons (chosen by little daughter, my official button selector) in the 18 months size. Guaranteed this little knit will get TONS of use by its recipient. Love that. Love this pattern too (available soon).

I'm amazed by how small the world has become with technology, but I'm even more amazed how close knit (pun? perhaps...) the knitting community becomes because of it. Cosy calls out for test knitters from Pittsburgh and little old me in Toronto steps up to the plate instantly. Just like sweet Catherine in Sarnia that volunteered to test knit my Emma within minutes of me posting a request on Rav. Nothing expected in return, just knitters helping out a designer wherever they may be in the world. Cool. We rock.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I was commissioned by a friend recently to knit something especially for a little bundle of joy about to make their debut into the world. Commissioned. Sounds so profesh. (Someone is actually paying me to knit! I can get used to could my husband).

Commissioned AND given carte blanche. All I knew was that little baby on the way was going to be GIRL. Well, I've got quite a few designs floating around up here in the knit-by-nat noggin just waiting to make their way across the needles and onto some paper. I wanted a guaranteed "Oh My God! Soooo Cute!!" reaction and thought of no better conduit of said reaction than through a tutu.
Complete with lace, ribbon and bead detail, along with a matching ruffled diaper cover.
 Et voila. My favourite finished item to that I am truly proud of.

And when it came down to a title for my little creation I could think of nothing more fitting than the name of the its intended recipient. Welcome to the world, Emma. A princess is born, no doubt.

Pattern: Emma
By: Nataly Alves
Yarn: Patons Bamboo Silk
Colourway: Apricot
Sizes:  3-6 mo, 6-12 mo, 18 mo, 2T, 3T

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I guess I should have...

I must admit the biggest joy I get from knitting is presenting a finished object to someone.  Seeing their reaction and knowing that they truly feel special is a rush I could never quantify, nor could I have expected.  I have even given an adoring friend a scarf that I was wearing off my bloody neck (not literally, that would be gross).  But let me clarify, I only present a gift to someone that appreciates a hand-knit.  No sense in giving something to someone who thinks you're a madwoman for spending countless hours producing a garment that can easily be bought at a store for a fifth of the price in five minutes or less.   But I digress. 

At one point shortly after I picked up the craft, I decided to do something completely different and knit something for ME.  Little fitted vests were all the rage, still are, especially in the business world.   I envisioned a smart little cable knit vest that I could wear to work and people, nix that, the women in my office (they are few and far between on a trading desk) would say "Oh my! What a beautiful vest!" and I would proudly respond "Why thank-you! I knit this myself!".   And the convo of oohs and ahs would be momentus and the cat would be out of the bag that I was a closet knitter and that cool people knit too.  (btw, the cat's out, not sure what the verdict is on the cool status).  Well, things didn't quite go as planned.  The vest is great.  But the vest on ME - not so great.   I guess I should have done a little bit more reading on making a knit pattern work for YOU and I guess I should have pulled out the tape measure to double check the length of my torso and I guess I should have accounted for the permanent post-baby belly (or taken up a more steady habit of sit-ups).   Should have been longer.  Should have measured. 

So what have I learned through this whole escapade?  Guesses + Should Haves = One more gifted knit....

Pattern:   Two-over-two Vest
by:  Jennifer L. Appleby
Yarn:  1 skein Berroco Ultra Alpaca

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fit for a Princess

What do you do when your daughter is the only one to show up to a community centre ballet class sans tutu?  And howls conspicuously at the inept mother (that would be me)  "I don't want to dance, I don't have a tutu!!!!"  Parents chuckled; I'm sure I saw a couple of them sneer.  Please, give me a shovel so I can dig myself a shallow grave.  Ok, so call me a bad mother...I didn't know these parents went all out for a $5/day class!  Rest assured, I was prepared for the next class and the little diva angel was decked out like Karen Kain.

I feared little one was still a bit disgruntled over the whole ordeal and I thought what can I do to make up for subjecting her to her first traumatic experience of being *gulp* underdressed for the party???  If you're me, you knit yourself back into the good books with pretty princess slippers.   Felted in my washing machine with a skeptical husband looking on.  Finished off with sparkly heart buttons carefully selected by the prima ballerina herself.


$5 in yarn may very well have decreased the future therapy costs incurred on said princess exponentially....(a mother hopes...)

Pattern:  Felted Princess Slippers
By: Nataly Alves - Free pattern!
Yarn:  Mei Mei Bulky Felting Wool Colour #708
Yardage: 100 yards

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


When choosing a knit for a new baby, one should choose something functional.   It should be knit a couple sizes bigger than the baby to get good use out of it.   Afterall, when spending x number of hours knitting away at something, you'd hope that little wee one could wear it more than once.

It should be fairly straightfoward to put on the little joy to appease the jittery hands of new parents.  Babies hate having things put over their head, you're guaranteed a red faced scream every time.   It should be neutral in colour, so that the next generation of babies of unknown genders can enjoy this beautiful family heirloom.

OR, you can throw out all that logic out the proverbial window and cast on for the most adorable little NEWBORN sized, BLUE sleeper, that fits OVER the head, for the most precious baby boy due to arrive any minute.   Precious trumps function.  Always.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Procrast.... (I'll finish that thought later)

About a year ago I was inspired to knit a simple lace pattern t-shirt for my goddaughter.  It is a great pattern, one that is a bit more grown up and fashionable, but still quite age appropriate.    I zoomed through the knit quickly and bound off excitedly.   And after that either I slipped into a coma or I began the world's longest soujourn through the depths of procrastination the planet has ever seen.  All I needed to do was weave in the ends.  That's it.  I didn't have to steek anything, I didn't have to pick up stitches and knit a trim, I didn't even have to really block the thing since it looks great as is (but I will).  One year.  To weave in ends.  Wow,  I suck.

Needless to say, what once fit a 5 year old a year ago, no longer fits a 6 year old today.  Luckily I have a dancing 3 year old ballerina that will get some use out of it (for a couple years to come).

Is it too late to declare a New Year's resolution?  I WILL FINISH WHAT I STARTED!  No procrastination.  No more unfinished objects lying in the ether of "almost done" land.  Eh, it's almost February, it's too late.  I'll resolute next year....

Pattern: Marina - Leaves Top by Simona Merchant-Dest

Thursday, January 28, 2010


From a very young age I characteristically have been known to zoom ahead in any task with little regard for those trivial "baby steps".   It happened in ballet class at age 3 when I wanted to pirouette with a flouncy tutu across the stage like a real prima ballerina.   When the class consisted of the aforementioned baby steps that amounted to little more than marching around the room with "knees up high", I was distraught to say the least.  My dancing career was very short-lived.  30 years later when I tell my daughter to join in and "dance!" to which she matter-of-factly replies "But Mommy, they're not DANCING!", I have to grin and shut right up.   I know where she's coming from.   

Again I was faced with this whole "baby steps" hogwash in Grade 10 when my dad and I signed up for downhill skiing lessons.  I gave up after 2 lessons because I had no patience for all those little details. Snowplow?!  Snowplowing is for wusses.  I'm going straight down this hill and not you or that parked car at the bottom of the baby hill can stop me.   Oh wait.  That car can stop me.  And then my spectacle can stop the entire mountain of skiers so they can point and laugh at my crumpled body lying in a heap on top of the snow.  (True story)  

I face this problem time and time again.  I glance over things, I read things semi-thoroughly, I listen with one ear.   One could say it's a bad habit, but I like to think it's my joie-de-vivre that compels me to absorb EVERYTHING all at once without wanting to miss out on any of the good stuff, while those little details sometimes pass me by.   

It doesn't escape me in my knitting.  Problem is knitting is ALL about attention to detail.  Not to miss a single "yarn over", or a "make one".  Or in this case, in Stephanie Japel's Reclamation Scarf pattern which is a stitch pattern of TWO honkin' rows repeated for Pete's Sake, and I manage to screw that up!  So here it is, in my haste to read two lines of directions accurately, a Reclamation Scarf that increases at both the beginning AND end of every row (quite accidentally by mistake...).  Luckily I'm too busy joie-de-vivre-ing it up to care!   On to the next adventure!

Pattern: Reclamation Scarf by Stephanie Japel
Yarn:  Hand dyed Berroco Alpaca
Amount:  1/4 skein

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Little Shrug

Dear Child;

I was concerned for you. I really was. I thought you would be cold on your big day (flower girl). So I cast on this little shrug RIGHT AWAY for you. I pillaged some cotton yarn from a blanket I had been making (yawn, I despise knitting blankets, so maybe you did me a favour there). I fervently knit this shrug with a deadline only 7 days away. I knit this on the subway. I knit this during my girls’ cottage weekend with a hangover as my friends stared peculiarly at me while sipping on their caesars (one day you will fully appreciate this feat). I knit and knit and made it just in time. I washed and blocked this shrug…I stretched the armholes that I feared I knit too small. I dried it on top of the warm dryer to speed up the process. I packed it in our suitcase filled with flower girl paraphernalia. The big day came and went. You were a true princess from head to toe. And it was warm. You didn’t need this silly little shrug. But, Dearest Child, after all this fret filled knitting, can you please, please just put this wretched shrug on for 2.3 seconds so I can take a picture??


Your shrug hating mother.

Pattern:    Mon Petit Shrug by Jessica Rode Salonen Craft
Needle: US 3 / 3.25 mm
Yarn: Bernat Organic Cotton
How much? 1.5 skeins = 120.0 yards (109.7m)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ribbit and Grumpy Old Bear

Pattern: Ribbit by Susan B. Anderson
Yarn: Herrschners Whisper Soft
Colorway: Green

Pattern: Grumpy Old Bear by Susan B. Anderson
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca

This little bear is so cute, you can stop knitting until it’s done! I de-stashed and used up some of my Kool-Aid hand-dyed Alpaca. In true bean bear fashion, I stuffed this little guy with dried beans and cotton batting. It quickly turned into a hacky sack game with my brothers (and the seams held up!) This was my first toy I’ve ever knit, and with Susan Anderson’s great instructions, it’s hard to go wrong.
The frog's body is a tennis ball! It's a big hit with any kid, whether to cuddle it or launch it across the room! I wish my finishing and embroidery work were a little more "pretty", but I managed to get the job done. Luckily I have an inside connection on my tennis ball supply, so next up is bunny....

Toddler Tunic

Pattern: Toddler Tunic by Staci Perry
Size: 2 years
Yarn: Rowan Linen Print - Sandy

This is a really cute knit and a very well written pattern. It knits up super quick. Not too crazy about this yarn I used, I suppose Rowan discontinued it for a reason. Very heavy on the needles and almost sticky. It was the first time I used a chain-type yarn and to be honest, I don’t think I’ll buy any more of it.

Fiona Baby Sundress, Flower Hat, Saartje's Booties

Pattern: Fiona Baby Sundress by Staci Perry
Size: 3-6 months
Yarn: Herrschners Worsted Wool
How much? 1 skeins = 215.0 yards (196.6m)

Such a cute, quick knit. I love that the pleated detail at the waist makes this sundress transform into a little gown. As usual, a well written pattern by Staci Perry. The flower is modified from Susan Anderson’s Flower Hat and Cardigan set from Itty Bitty Nursery. I added an extra increase for the petals and the centre to give it that large impact I was going for. The leaf is from the Wee Leafy Baby Set at I gave this outfit as a baby gift with a matching blouse and the smallest jean jacket you’ve ever seen, but I’m thinking a tiny simple lace shrug would put this ensemble right over the top!

Pattern: Flower Cardigan and Hat Set by Susan B. Anderson
Yarn: Herrschners Wool Blend Yarn

Everything Susan Anderson designs is adorable and this knit is no exception. The instructions are perfect, even down to the exact flower placement. While I’m not crazy for mixed acrylic yarns, this yarn was soft and not squeeky. The green yarn on the I cord was Herrschners Whisper Soft 100% acrylic which is surprisingly soft and luxe feeling. I always justify buying a pattern book if I fall in love with at least 3 of the patterns, but you’d be hard pressed to find a pattern you don’t want to cast on right away for. Definitely worth the $$.

Pattern: Saartje's Bootees by Saartje de Bruijn
Size: smallest
Yarn: Herrschners Wool Blend Yarn

These are an A++++++ in the cute department. They are a fun little knit and gets the oohs and aahs guaranteed. I’m not 100% happy with the way my little loops turned out, they were a bit too big and clumsy.
The yarn was splitting on the loops, so I improvised and applied several coats of clear nail polish to make a nice sturdy hook. Next time I think I might attempt to make a loop with elastic cord to make it more functional.

Little Windows

Pattern : Little Windows by Kristle Chester by Kristle Chester
Needle: US 5 / 3.75 mm 16" circulars, DPN's

I am very proud of this project. So far my most challenging project to date. The pattern is expertly written. My daughter adores her hat, and she’s my biggest critic! (even though she’s only 3). I would definitely make this pattern again in a camoflauge motif with a ribbed edging for a boy.

Twirly Skirt

Pattern:Twirly Girly Skirt by Anadiomena
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton-Ease
Colorway: Hazelnut
How much? 2 skeins = 414.0 yards (378.6m)
Colorway: Salmon
How much? 1 skeins = 207.0 yards (189.3m)
Great little playtime knit and the rolled waistband with a provisional cast on is ingenious. The yarn I found to be a little heavy on the hand and a little bit sticky on the needles, but not cumbersome enough to have to stop knitting. I will definitely making this skirt again in a bigger size for my little girl next year