Sunday, December 31, 2006

Ring It In

It's been a while since Blythe has made an appearance over here, but since she's all decked out in her new party dress, I thought I'd give her a chance to show it off. The dress was a Christmas gift from Aaron -- it's a tiny approximation (though, not a particularly accurate one) of the dress that Molly Ringwald wears to the prom in Pretty In Pink. It's taken almost six years, but my husband has somehow become the kind of person who will seek out a tiny version of a dress from an '80s teen movie for a terribly expensive plastic doll. Don't forget that he bought me Blythe for my 30th birthday in the first place. Aaron, I love you. A lot.

Any way, we'll be ringing in the new year tonight and reflecting on how crazy 2006 has been for us. This has really been the year that we've shifted from our (relatively) starving artist in the big city lives to a (again, relatively) more comfortable parent types in a smaller city lives. Of course, everything is very relative (we were never even close to being in actual poverty and we're still living a pretty modest existence), but we've made a lot of big changes, both mental and geographical in the last year and we're hellbent on celebrating them. Hopefully 2007 will be full of an equal number of surprises -- though I'm crossing my fingers that none of them will involve us selling a house that we've owned for less than a year or moving across the country.

So, happy new year to all. May your 2007 be full of love, joy, and lots of good news.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Year End Wrap

Ah, a happy impending new year to all. I suppose that this is the time of year that craft blog types should reflect on a year full of productive craft time (or, as my case may be, the amount of time I spent in front of the TV/DVD player while my fingers happened to be knitting away). In 2006, I completed a single sweater (I know, I like the small stuff) for myself, one sweater for Ruby, 4 Jess Hutch toys, 7 pairs of socks, a pair of baby legwarmers, 3 scarves, 3 pairs of wristwarmers, 3 baby hats (including one that ended up on a doll), a neck warmer, a shawl, a pair of children's mittens, a beret and a pair of slippers. I also used the sewing machine to make an apron, seven Wee dolls, a kitty doll, a Halloween costume and the Olive and Archie dolls (which were well appreciated, by the way). Phew.

In the unlikely case that anyone is interested, I'm borrowing this questionnaire from Lolly so that I can pay tribute to 2006, a year of knitting.

What is your absolute favorite project you've ever knit (one that fulfilled both process and product)?
The socks. If I had to narrow it down I'd say the Jaywalkers, because they were my first and you can't beat that first turn of the heel.

Which of your handknits do you wear the most often?
Again, socks. My current personal faves are the Simply Lovely Lace Socks (pictured above). A nice combo of warm wool, but lots of holes for my feet to breathe through.

What was your favorite gift to knit?
Kate. For Ruby's first birthday.

Which of your handknits are gathering dust your closet?
Fairly Easy Fair Isle. There's a reason I don't knit sweaters. Bulky yarn sweaters may not try my patience, but they sure ain't flattering to a girl's figure.

Which of your handknits have you gotten rid of?
Nothing from this year. I think Aaron donated my That '70s Poncho to the Sally Ann though, since I didn't even wear it once.

If you've knit socks, what is your favorite pattern?
I love any of the basic rib patterns from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks.

What would you like to make in 2007?
I'd like to do a really nice sweater, but something in a really fine gauge, so it might take me a while. I also know about a zillion babies waiting to be born, so I think that's going to take up some time too. Oh, and an afghan. We need afghans in our house.

What have you learned about your craft in 2006?
To stick to things I enjoy knitting. Sounds simple, but there's no need to push myself just to prove a point.

What events/sites have you particularly enjoyed in the blogosphere in 2006?
I liked Project Spectrum because it inspired me to become insane enough to knit a pair of socks every month for six months. I also liked the secret pal stuff I participated in. I want to get in on more wacky trades (though more focused -- I found SP a little too open-ended and stressful) and KAL kind of stuff just to keep myself motivated.

So, that's it. What did you make this year?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Doll Revolution

Phew. My final homemade gift of the season. Meet Olive and Archie, the famed Wee Wonderful Make-a-long dolls. I learned a lot from making these little guys. They're not perfect and I pooped out before I could do details like the collar on Olive's shirt, but I'm pretty proud of these dollies. And, since I abandoned the other knitted gift I had in the works (pretty much finished, but they were slippers and deemed far too small for the recipient's foot), I'm done. Done, done, done. Plus I spent 2 and a half hours wrapping presents today, so with the exception of the box of Amazon goodies that the postman brought at 7 p.m. tonight (which in itself was a Christmas miracle -- I was sure they weren't going to arrive despite Amazon's promises to the contrary) that's done too. And it seems like the Norfolk virus that has enveloped me is done too, seeing as I scarfed down my curry dinner tonight. Yippee.

With that said, I can't really see much more blogging action going on here between now and Monday, so happy holidays to all. Give your loved ones a kiss and a hug for me.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Wrapping It Up

Here is the last knitted Christmas present that you'll see up here on this blog. I do have one more to do, but I'll only be talking about it over at Who Wouldn't Want A Knitted Gift? in order to protect the innocent. This, of course, is the Airy Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, which will be presented to Aaron's sister's girlfriend, Erin. Yes, it does get confusing with an Erin and an Aaron in the family.

Unlike the last one I made, I used the recommended yarn for this scarf: Rowan Kidsilk Haze, in the liqueur colour. I must say, the addition of the silk into the mohair really made this a nicer and less itchy scarf. It was pricey, but definitely worth it. And I do love these little scarves, though knitting lace-weight mohair on U.S. #10 needles isn't the most relaxing knit.

So, only a few things to do this week before the big day, but things have been drastically derailed by a stomach bug that Miss Ruby picked up last week. We had to take a couch day on Thursday due to fever and intense grumpiness, followed by stomach clutching and more grumpiness through the weekend. Now I've seem to caught it and I know why she was so cranky -- those stomach cramps hurt. But, if I get my appetite back like she has I'll be enjoying my turkey on Monday. Yum!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Invasion Of The Wee People

The Wees are finished! Oh, how I wish the lighting was better today so I could photograph them more dramatically -- but alas, they will find their new homes soon, so I had to capture them today. Maybe I'll try again tomorrow morning and get a better shot for flickr. Either way, here they are, seven completed Wees for the purpose of hostess gifting (plus a few additional small gifts -- I don't, thank goodness, have seven house parties to attend between now and Christmas).

Their names are, from left to right, Esther, Edie, Alice, Riley, Stella, Anita and Violet. Not a single one of them is perfect or professional looking, but they were all made with love and lumpiness. A seamstress I am not, but warts and wonkiness are what makes folk art beautiful. Yes, I'm brandishing myself a folk artist. So what.

Oh, and for those not already familiar with the work of Hillary Lang (and thus must not be regular readers of this blog), you can find the Wee pattern over at the amazing Wee Wonderfuls site in the freebies section.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Just In Case You Were Wondering...

... I haven't stopped knitting. No, I haven't traded my yarn and bamboo DPNs for a sewing machine and some embroidery floss -- though I have been feeling that way lately. I think I've dove a little too far into the domestic arts this season -- I'm ready to sink back into my couch with a big pile of yarn and some #8 needles. And I shall, as soon as I'm finished my wees. In addition to the last two Xmas gifts I need to finish up (that ball of Kidsilk Haze up there is for another Airy Scarf, this one for my sister-in-law's very stylish girlfriend, Erin) I've started thinking ahead.

Already on the needles is Henry, Jess Hutch's teddy bear, who will be gifted to my cousin's yet to be born son. The little guy is expected to make his appearance about a month early, so I'm getting a move on. And that lovely orange stuff you see is half of the Misti Alpaca I just bought to make into a special baby blanket for my upcoming niece or nephew (my first!!), who will be with us in June. Considering that I never finished the baby blanket I started for Ruby when I was about three months pregnant, I best get a move on on that one too.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Sleeping Babes

On Friday Aaron's mum, Leena, showed up with a load of stuff that had been given to her for me by a woman named Elinor, who was Aaron's childhood piano teacher. Elinor is getting on in years and is moving to an assisted living complex, so she's had to clean out her house and give away many of her things. I won't go into detail on the other things she gave us -- they are far too deserving of their own posts. But, among the treasures were these two little angel ornaments. They're plastic and date back to the early '50s, when Elinor would have been a child. Elinor's mother would put the unbreakable ornaments near the bottom of the tree so the children could play with them. Elinor wanted Ruby to have them, so they're now proudly displayed on the lower branches of our tree and will reappear there every year until Ruby has a home and a tree of her own.

Speaking of Christmas traditions, which is happily a hot topic among all the craft bloggers, we're starting a new one for Ruby this year. When I was a kid, one of the families in our neighbourhood had a tradition of allowing their two children, Heather and Rick, to open one present on Christmas Eve before they got ready for bed. Every year they'd be so excited for that one present -- which would always, without fail, be a new pair of pajamas to wear to bed that night. The thing is, while everyone else in the world new that the early gift was going to be PJs, Heather and Rick were always surprised and always delighted to find their fresh night clothes under the tree. They loved it. So, this year, and every year that she lives under my roof, Santa will give Ruby a new pair of jammies on Christmas Eve to keep her warm.

Got any traditions you'd like to share? Bring 'em on!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Morning After

Well, the second annual A Very Boothy Christmas (yes, that's what it's called) has come and gone. Preparing for a holiday party is one of the most stressful things, in the realm of happy events at least, that one can knowingly put themselves through. Yesterday morning I was a basketcase, yelling at poor Aaron and accusing him of going out of his way to aggravate me. Then Ruby didn't want to have a nap. Then, although the invitation said anytime after 3 p.m., not a soul showed up until well after four. But, once things started rocking, it was an excellent gathering.

We had about 50 guests, including a swarm of beautiful little children, which made Ruby really happy. The punch (booze and not booze) was a hit and the cookies were enjoyed. I ended up making seven kinds: peppermint double chocolate chip, almond stars, orange chocolate shortbread, rum balls, pecan pie bars, ginger snaps and jalapeno shortbread. The jalapeno shortbread was the miss of the group (they caused a six-year-old boy to cry "Mommy, these taste weird!") and the pecan pie bars were the biggest attraction. I'm still tweaking my holiday baking repertoire, something that I imagine will take decades.

On a side note, Ruby was gifted her first My Little Pony, a sugary looking purple thing with a flowing pink and blue mane. She freaked out and spent the whole afternoon showing people her pony, demonstrating how to comb the mane and squealing "purple pony, purple pony!!!" What is inside of her that is so instinctually girly? While I secretly love it, I'm also afraid of my future, which will be full of Barbies and ponies and fake lipstick and high heels.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wee? Oui!

At the risk of becoming considered a full-fledged Wee Wonderfuls groupie, I spent an hour or two whipping up my very first Original Wee yesterday. I love the cuteness of her imperfection -- I've seen some on the Flickr group that are made with sturdier fabric and turn out like perfect little Ukrainian Easter Eggs. But I like the lumpiness and bumpiness of my funny little wee -- she's like a flowery little blue and red potato.

I plan on making a few more of these in the next week or two to give as hostess gifts to the handful of parties and Christmas dinners we're going to over the course of the month. I have a bunch of fat quarters in different colours that I picked up for this very purpose. Cute, a little bit weird and costing only about $5 for the materials? Not bad. Plus, even with my crap sewing skills, I polished this girl off in about two hours.

Speaking of Christmas parties, mine will take place in a mere 48 hours! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Tree Trimming

As much as I love craftiness and as much as I loooooove Christmas, Aaron and I have very little in the way of Christmas decorations. When we lived in Toronto (which took up the first five years of our marriage) we flew back to Calgary every year, so there was no point in getting a tree or decorating the house. Last year we did a little bit of decorating for our first annual open house, but we seem to have lost anything that we bought last year. So, save for a big and wonderful wind-up snow globe that my brother gave me a few years ago, our stock of jolly decor is lacking. But now that Ruby's old enough to start enjoying Christmas, I'm trying to catch up.

Of course, with funds being of paramount importance (i.e., we're broke), I'm trying to make stuff and do so on the cheap. I saw a really cute garland in the Martha Stewart Homemade Gifts mag where Martha's people cut discs out of old cards (they call them "vintage" -- snort) and use sticky dots to secure them onto string to make a kicky little garland. Easy as pie, no? Well, sort of. I cut up my cards (yes, I save all of my cards and I decided as long as the sender is not now deceased I would allow myself to sacrifice them), but I couldn't find any decent dot stickers, so I just bought some card stock and cut out a bunch of red and green circles. Since the adhesive factor was missing and I was hanging out at my parents' house yesterday (we had a lengthy visit from the electrician so Ruby and I were banished from our own house), I pulled out my Mom's old '70s style glue gun and went for it.

While the glue gun did the trick, I'm afraid I suffered from the most old school of crafter injuries -- the glue gun burn. My dad, who has a tendency to hover when anyone's doing anything in the kitchen, was standing over me, getting hot headed over a story he was telling me about an accident my brother had with a glue gun about 20 years ago. I was just distracted enough to dip my ring finger in a dab of hot glue that I'd just shot onto a disc of card. It... um, hurt. The worst part about a glue burn is the thing that's burning you sticks to your finger and continues burning you until you wipe it off. It killed for about three hours (it took me two to find the courage to pull the dried glob of glue off my finger), but by evening I was able to knit, so all is well.

Either way, I really like the garland. It does have a tendency to tangle up, but I think it's a keeper. And I must say, it looks beautiful on what is the first non-artificial Christmas tree that I've ever had in my life. Happiness has been achieved.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Sweet Feet

Okay people... It's December 1st. I can no longer resist blogging about my Christmas projects. If you are a member of my family or a close friend who I may be making a gift for, I'd strongly suggest staying away from this blog until December 25. You too, Leena.

For almost a year now, I've been meaning to make a pair of Sweet Mary Janes. I've always considered Mary Janes (along with ballet slippers) my signature shoe, so I was immediately drawn to these knit slippers. Here's my specs:

Sweet Mary Janes
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in Hawaii
Needle: U.S. 7 bamboo DPNs
Mods: none
Comments: I love that because these are knitted in a worsted yarn they're more like a sock than a slipper (which might be knitted in a chunky yarn), but they're way faster to whip up than a regular sock. I did struggle with the crochet, but I'm starting to catch on, so I'm keeping this pair for myself.

The sample in the pattern seems to be knit in Noro (the pattern calls for "any worsted yarn"), which is thicker and sturdier than the Lorna's Laces, so my slippers are a little less structured than they could be. I've already started a second pair, but in Lamb's Pride worsted, which again is substancially thicker than the LL. We'll see how they turn out. Either way, this is a super cute pattern and should make for some good gifts.

In other news, Ruby strapped on her sparkly shoes today for a trip to go see Santa. Despite having to wait an hour (I didn't know that school-aged kids had a day off today) we had a great time and Ruby did not cry on Santa's lap (though she didn't smile either). I ran into an old friend from high school who I haven't seen in over a decade, which was really lovely and not at all weird like it sometimes can be. Here's Ruby showing off her shoes alongside Mummy's Mary Janes.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Kitten-y Soft

I know I've shown you a few snaps of this kitty already, but I figured I'd put up the finished product for the record. This is, of course, the put-together book Kitty from Hilary Lang at Wee Wonderfuls. This kitty is the first softie that I've every made using the sewing machine (or any technique other than knitting, to be honest) and I'm very happy with her. Originally I was going to make a few of these and give them out to friends, but I don't think I'm going to have time (Aaron doesn't like the sound of the sewing machine and I can't sew when I'm with Ruby during the day), especially since I'm in the middle of the very ambitious and more difficult Make-Along dolls (also a wee wonderful product).

So, this little Kitty will be gifted to my Miss Ruby. I'm not sure if I'm going to put it under the tree or save it for her February 1 birthday. I think I may do a Makee-Along set for her as well -- definitely for the birthday though, as I don't want to take on too much. Christmas is already starting to drown me and it's not even December 1.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Self-Portrait Challenge: Glam Week #4

It seems that since I became a contributor on the SPC site, I've been participating less often. Not good. So, here is my portrait for the final week of Glam month. For some reason, this month I was invited to attend not one, but two all-ladies dress-up parties. The first was a house party which I knew would be attended by a number of rockabilly ladies and vintage collectors, so I squeezed into one of the '50s party dresses that I so favoured when I was young (the only one that still fits) and put on my pearls. This Saturday I was forced to abandon the dress I had chosen for ladies lounge night (too freakin' cold!) so I dug through Ruby's dress-up clothes (which she doesn't use yet, but they're in safe-keeping) to find this silver top. I don't remember where or why I bought this thing, but I do know that it cost less than $5. I threw it back on this morning for my glam photo -- eat your heart out Marc Bolan.

Speaking of glam, I do have a story to pull out of the archives that matches this month's SPC theme. While I've always like the stylin' of T-Rex and early-era Bowie, I've had a life-long fear of KISS. When I was a kid they used to advertise mail-order posters on the back of Archie and Richie Rich comics and there were always a few KISS shots pictured. I was terrified of them. I'd have to leave the comics outside of my bedroom door while I slept. When I first moved to Toronto and got my job at the magazine I had an opportunity to tag along on a Gene Simmons interview and I decided to go for it. You know how the best way to get over a fear of flying is to jump on a plane? It was kind of like that. To make a long story short, Gene (who was not, by the way, in make-up) turned out to be creepier and more horrifying in real life than he was on the back of the comic books. While I don't have nightmares about KISS any more, I still shudder to think about six foot six Gene Simmons coming up to me and running his grubby fingers through my hair. Ick.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Warm It Up

It's freakin' cold here. I don't know what the weather is like in the rest of the world, but we're hovering around minus 30 Celcius here and it's beyond cold. It's so cold that it's become funny. I was remarking to Aaron the other day that people tend to put up their Christmas lights and trees super early here -- I honestly believe it's a reaction to the cold. It's like the thought of Christmas warms people's hearts enough that they can deal with the bitter cold. Oh Canada, you are a cruel mistress.

Anyway, sometime last week I finished these women's wrist warmers, as seen in Last Minute Knitted gifts. Unlike the last pair of these I made (yes, I'm wearing the same thing in the picture for that post and standing in the same spot. Yes, I'm lame), I actually used the recommended yarn, Noro Cash Iroha. It's soft as butter, I tell you. I'm not totally in love with the colourway, but seeing as I whipped these up with a leftover ball from another project, I am in love with the economy of these psuedo-mitts. Will I keep them, or will they end up as an Xmas gift? Only time will tell.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Zut Alors!

Oooh boy. Young knitters, take this tale as a lesson as to why you should always check for gauge. So, I decided that I'd knit my Grandma a tam for Xmas. Berets seem to be a hat often favoured by older women and I figured if I purchased a fleece scarf in a similar colour it would make for a great gift. So, I printed off the handy beret tutorial from Petulant Feminine (thanks P! It's an excellent pattern and I highly recommend it -- any problems were created soley by myself) and grabbed some barely labeled yarn that I got for Christmas last year. It's beautiful hand-dyed wool that Aaron's sister picked up from an independent merchant and I had no idea what weight it was classified at or anything. So I started knitting. And knitting and knitting and knitting.

As you can see, the thing is freakin' huge and looks more like a big poofy chef's hat than a chic beret. Unless my Grandma suddenly sprouts a head full of dreadlocks or develops an affinity for the music of the islands it just isn't going to work for her. But somehow, I like it. It's super warm (though kinda itchy) and I like that it totally covers my hair. It did slip over my eyes at one point while I was driving today and I should probably rip back the ribbing and reknit it on a smaller needle, but since I hate the feeling of tight winter hats, I think I'm going to keep it as is. I have a month to reattempt or I can always buy a felt tam at The Bay.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Automatic For The People

So, here it is. The Jess Hutch robot, knit for the little dude next door. Before I get to the grit, here are the specs (as if you didn't know):

Robot from Jessica Hutchison's Unusual Toys For You To Knit And Enjoy
Yarn: Cascade 220 in light blue, green and orange
Needle: U.S. #8 wooden straights
Mods: I stuck to a more solid colour scheme
Comments: Hmmm. I gotta say, this is the first Jess Hutch toy that I haven't been happy with. Sure, he's cute enough, but he doesn't have the same panache as say, Kate or Spherey. I blame it on the flat knitting and my own lousy finishing skills -- whereas the other toys (save for the ultra-simple Squarey) are marvels of construction with their round shaping, Mr. Robot is a slightly messy affair. I found that he was a bit of a pain to finish and I don't love the way the arms came out (that's a loose end at the top of the right arm -- I didn't have time to weave it in before I snapped the photo). I'm also not crazy about the way my less than tight intarsia looks with Mr. Robo stuffed fat. I think it'll be fine to give to the little boy next door, but I wouldn't hold it up as my finest work. Oh well, you can't win 'em all.

Friday, November 17, 2006


So, has everyone seen Hannah's new blog The Recipe Box? Her idea is awesome -- to create a place to share family recipes with the rest of her blogging community. The first recipe posted was for Orange-Chocolate Chip muffins and being a fan of the dark chocolate/orange combo and an obsessive muffin maker, I had to heed the call. I think I would make them a little more orange-y next time out (maybe a whole orange's worth of juice rather than half), but they're really great and really easy. And they're fattened up with olive oil rather than butter. Olive oil! In a muffin!

This also, weirdly enough, marks the first time I've baked with self-rising flour. I can't get over how cool this bag of flour looks. I love it!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Thursday Love

I love making gifts. But even more so, I love buying gifts that others have made -- all the specialness, but a fraction of the effort (and often, not even a much higher price). I really love the local Christmas craft fairs. And while I do have a penchant for the hipster craft fairs like D.U.D.E. in Toronto and other such places that attract the blogger types, I also have a soft spot for the old fashioned community hall fairs with older folks selling their goods. I stopped by a fair yesterday that had a few hipster types (there was a table manned by a few cute indie-rock glass blowers) but I ended up forking my money over to the seniors.

In addition to a few other things, I bought Ruby this little wooded truck with tiles teaching her the ABCs and 123s. An older gentleman made it and was selling a variety of little trucks for a mere $18 each. His wife told me that their greatest challenge was coming up with new designs since the trucks were so sturdy and handed down from child to child, their customer base couldn't just buy the same thing over and over. I also hit the Ukrainian food stand and bought a bunch of frozen cabbage rolls which we ate last night. Our whole house now smells like cabbage. Um... yum!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Happy Blogiversary!

Hey! I've been doing this for a year! Well, a year as of yesterday actually. Anyway, last November, at the urging of my insanely talented friend Sam I opened the doors to Elizaboothy. I missed the feeling of writing (almost) every day (which I gave up once I stopped working to raise my daughter) and I also needed a kick in the butt to keep my craftiness going (ditto). And guess what? It worked! In the last year I've kept the knitting up, learned how to make socks and, most shockingly, finally learned how to use my sewing machine. The blog community has kept me so inspired -- I'm chomping at the bit to learn how to crochet, quilt and do just about 100 other things, so I can promise you that Elizaboothy will be going strong for the next while to come.

Speaking of sewing, I didn't get nearly as much as I had hoped done over the weekend because I was too busy cleaning up baby vomit and in more recent days, my own vomit. Damn you stomach flu! Ruby seems to have recovered but although I'm feeling much better I still can't keep much more than saltines down. Still, I managed to make some progress on my put-together Kitty (see above pic), I blocked Mr. Robot, started a pair of wristwarmers (which I made good headway on whilst waiting to get some bloodwork done this morning) and I bought fabric for my Make-Along set. It's that time of year and I love it.

Friday, November 10, 2006

W.I.P. Friday

Note: If you are a close friend or a member of my family and think that I may be making you a gift, I'd strongly suggest that you quit reading the blog until after the holidays. Don't say I didn't warn you. Leena, you're okay to keep reading.

Okay, I had to get that picture of my pouty lips bumped from the top post. Ugh. I haven't had many F.O. to show this week, but I have been working hard. My holiday frenzy continues and what you see above is the fruit of this week's labour. I've got a Jess Hutch robot (in Cascade 220) on the go for the baby next door, a Wee Wonderful Put-Together Kitty (not sure who this will go to, but it's partially to practice for my masterplan Make-A-Long set for Aaron's sister) and a secret Cash Iroha project, which I'll most likely blog about on some of my KAL sites. I expect all of these things to be done soon, so more deets to come.

And, the stupidly early cookie bake-off continues as well. We're having our holiday party early this year, so I have less than a month to finish all the treats. This morning Ruby and I whipped up some ginger snaps. Delish!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Self Portrait Challenge: Glam Week #1

I love make-up. I have a lot of make-up. Lately though, I don't wear very much make-up. When I used to work full time at the magazine, although our focus was on music we had a very tiny style section that warranted the editor in charge of it the right to solicit beauty companies for free product. It was great -- for four years I didn't have to buy shampoo, sunscreen, lotion, bubble bath or cosmetics. And we got good stuff too -- clinique, benefit, origins, cake, cargo, mac... it was like my own personal sephora,

While the make-up train made it's last stop ages ago, I still have a lot of the stuff left in my linen closet. I know that you're not supposed to keep make-up around for years and years, but I don't seem to go through it very quickly, even when I go through periods of wearing a lot of it. To glam it up, this morning I put on two of my fave lip products from my pantry -- Clinique's colour surge lipstick in golden mink and Benefit's It Was Just A Matter Of Time Lip Cream. Yum. I would never wear either of these colours out -- way too dark. But to glam it up, they suit me just fine.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Off And Running

Is it lame for me to have already started my holiday baking? As previously mentioned, Aaron thinks I'm nuts and annually begs me not to "overdo it" when it comes to my holiday prep. Since I'm not working outside the home (though the freelance stuff is starting to pile up) and Ruby's not a screaming infant this year, I'm already full on for Xmas. And it's frickin' November. And I don't even celebrate it from a religious standpoint. Am I turning into the crazy stay-at-home mom with no life?

I'll admit, when Ruby and I popped into Winners last week (to try on fancy high-heel shoes), I briefly contemplated buying one of those Christmas sweaters with bobbly snowmen and sparkly gift packages, but I stopped myself (and purchased something from the "junior trendsetters" section to overcompensate for my momentary lapse in judgment). And I've already baked about five dozen cookies that went promptly into the freezer -- the almond stars you see above and a huge batch of double-chocolate peppermint chip. But this isn't because I'm chomping at the bit for Xmas -- it's because I know myself. I know that I'm going to get busy and burn out sooner rather than later. And I want to get all this stuff done because I want Ruby to grown up loving the holidays as much as I do. Is that so crazy?

I knitting news, I signed up for Norovember since I'm currently working on a top-secret project in Cash Iroha, which I can't really blog about here. Button to appear as soon as I can take a moment without Ruby tearing up my office.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Hip To Be Square

I didn't sign up for the national blog month post every day thing, but I may as well have. So much to post about! Tis the holiday season, I suppose -- I'm trying to crank out the small items and as of an hour ago, I've begun my holiday baking. It's so weird, I used to be very lazy about this stuff (i.e. did nothing), but I've been overcome by some weird desire to be super-mom. A friend once commented that as soon as Aaron and I had Ruby we somehow became The Flintstones, and despite my years as a Women's Studies' minor, it's true. Oh well, sisters, we've won our right to choose and I choose to bake cookies.

But I digress. I present to you my first holiday FO. This was one of my longest current WIPs -- I think I started it when we were still in Toronto. But, since I decided to give it to Ruby as part of her Xmas gift, it counts as a holiday knit. Ha.

Squarey from Jessica Hutchison's Unusual toys For You To Knit And Enjoy
Yarn Lamb's Pride Worsted in Orange You Glad, Lotus Pink and Limeaide
Needle U.S. 8 wooden straights (and DPNs for the limbs)
Mods put sleeves and pants on him
Comments: I love it. I didn't test for gauge, so I was amazed that the pillow fit perfectly -- I really thought I was going to have to polyfil this guy. But he's soft, cuddly and given Roo's love for softies these days, he'll be well loved. Given her affection for a stuffed Pilsbury Doughboy that she was given, I'll be glad to put a non-commercial buddy into her arms. As it is, I can't get her out of the grocery store without poking the boy on the frozen cookie dough display and watching Ruby giggling maniacally.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

My Swiss Miss

Yesterday my friend Mark and I took Ruby to Walmart to get her Xmas portrait done. Usually I avoid Walmart like the plague (a gross, unhealthy, over-Americanized plague), but Mark and I have made it a tradition to take Roo to the Wally for the portrait. My main reasoning for this is because it's so flippin' cheap -- a package of 42 prints is only $19.95, and this includes the sitting (this is by no means meant to be an advertisement for Walmart). Of course, they don't give you a choice in which shot qualifies for the special and they take a bunch more which they later try to sell you for 10 times the price. But I do like the general cheesiness of the whole process and Mark enjoys his role as art director/Ruby wrangler.

What you see above is the dress that we chose as Ruby's costume. It came with a box of family heirloom hand-me-downs that Aaron's aunt Bobbie (the mother of the next youngest kid in our clan, Aaron's five-year-old cousin Maren) gave me after Ruby was born. I have no idea how old it is -- I've seen pictures of Aaron's 31-year-old sister wearing it when she was about Ruby's age, but it might date back farther to Aaron's aunt, who's about 50. Either way, it was made in Italy and it's absolutely beautiful.

As I very secretly predicted, the actual photo session was a bit of a bust. Ruby was fine and was sitting in front of the Swiss village background that Mark selected as the photographer set up her equipment. Right before she was ready to start snapping, Roo had a big freak out and refused to sit. We did everything we could to please her, including a walk through the hardware section of the Walmart. She continued her refusals. Finally, we bought a package of shortbread cookies and bribed her. She sat there, on the photo platform, happily chomping away, but would cry whenever she was without cookie in hand. So all of the photos feature Ruby holding a cookie and wearing a wide crumb-covered grin. I think they're pretty cute and will provide an suitably embarrassing story once she's older. Ha.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pistachio Pudding Pie

In an effort to get more than a half hour's wear out of Ruby's clown costume (why did I spend countless hours sewing a costume for a toddler?) I hauled her down to Aaron's office today for his company's Halloween potluck lunch. While that in itself isn't really worth writing about, I've got to tell you about the dessert I made for the occasion. The official name of the dish is "Joanne's Dessert" (who Joanne is I'll never know), but in my family it's known as Grandma Ruby's Green Dessert. In reality, it's kind of a pistachio pudding pie.

Every year my Grandma Ruby makes two pans of this stuff for my parents' annual Boxing Day party, which is attended by about 60 of my relatives. We all love it. We wait for it. We take a serving along side our ham, just in case there's none left when we go back for dessert (this actually happened to me once when my cousin Cathy cut the squares too big). It's delicious. After my Grandma got hip surgery she wasn't up to making it last year, so I stepped in and whipped up a double batch. I was really excited about it because I got to use her special Green Dessert pans, which are metal and have a lid that slides in, making them really great for desserts that need to go in the fridge for a couple of days.

Below is the recipe for Joanne's Dessert, a.k.a. Grandma Ruby's Green Dessert. It's one of those great mid-century recipes that will cause any organic chef to recoil in horror -- basically a step above dump cake -- but I love it. If you make it and love it, let me know -- I'll pass it on to Grandma Ruby.

Joanne's Dessert

1st Layer

1 cup flour
1/2 cup margarine (I couldn't do it, so I subbed with softened butter)
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds)

Press into 6 by 12 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool.

2nd Layer

2/3 cup icing sugar
8 oz. softened cream cheese
1/2 large container cool whip (I believe it's the 12 oz size)

Mix together until creamy. Spread over crust

3rd Layer

2 pkges pistachio instant pudding
2 1/2 cups cold milk

Beat. Spread over cheese layer and refridgerate for 20 minutes

4th Layer

Spread remaining 1/2 container of cool whip over pudding. Sprinkle almonds slivers on top. Refrigerate. Enjoy!

Monday, October 30, 2006


It's still another day until Halloween, but I thought I'd put a picture of my little pumpkin up today. Oh, how she's grown since last Halloween when we carried her around in a sling to go trick or treating. Unfortunately I don't think the TNT is going to go off too well this year -- ever since I was a kid, Halloween in Calgary was always ruined by a major snowfall. We got a dumping on Sunday, and it's cold as can be, so I don't think Ruby will be out for too long tomorrow. It's not like we let her eat candy anyway, but she's got to get some use out of the costume, right?

I'm pretty happy with the costume -- for my first real sewn garment, I'm pretty pleased. She loves it too. It was a struggle getting it on for the party we went to on Friday, but she's been begging to wear it ever since. Aw, my little clown. I'm glad you like it.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Listen Up

I don't often write about music in this space. Not because I don't listen to a lot of it or because I don't think about it, but because writing about music is how I make my living (in addition to chasing a toddler, of course) and making what you do as your living into your hobby as well isn't all that fun. But, I feel like it is my mission as someone who likes music to tell the handful of people out their who drop by this blog about Woodpigeon. As a seasoned music critic very little impresses me anymore, but Woodpigeon actually amaze me.

Okay, here's the story: Woodpigeon comes from the mind and heart of Mark Hamilton, who happens to be a very good friend of mine. He's the art director for Ruby's annual Walmart Christmas shot. For about a decade, I thought that Mark had a great visual eye, that he knew a lot about the cinema and that he was an excellent photographer who recorded much of his life with a camera. I didn't know that he wrote songs. Nobody knew that he wrote songs -- he didn't sing them in public. A couple of years ago while we were living in Toronto, Mark sent Aaron an MP3 of one of his songs, asking if it was good enough for him to bother continuing. As a trick, Aaron played the song without telling me who it was and I said I thought it was great and we should buy the album of whoever it was. I couldn't believe it when he told me that it was my quiet, unassuming friend Mark.

I try to be supportive of all of my friends who make music, but I often catch myself realizing that if they weren't my friends I probably wouldn't be as charged by their music. I find myself asking if I could hold them up to Belle And Sebastian or Fleetwood Mac or some other band that I worship and the answer is always no. After seeing Woodpigeon play their CD release party at a soft seat theatre last night, the answer for them is "yes." I was moved to tears. (Oh, and their opening act, Aaron Booth was pretty tear-worthy too. And swoon-worthy as well, if I may add. Check him out at the link on the side panel). So please, if you have an opportunity to see or hear Woodpigeon, please take it. You can check them out online here.

Back to suburban crafting tomorrow. I promise.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I Get It

Okay, I get it. I get why you all like Noro so much. I've always passed the Noro in the shops and thought "Why do all the bloggers love this stuff so much? The colours are wacky, the thickness inconsistent and it's rough as all hell." Well, I get it now. Noro is great -- it just has to find the right project. And here it is:

Child's Rainbow Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Yarn: Noro Kureyon in two different coloured balls (I threw out the bands, so I can't tell you which numbers)
Needle: U.S. #9 aluminum
Mods: none
Comments: This pattern is GENUIS. It really plays out the sheer craziness of the Noro colour combos and it's a real crap-shoot as to if portions of the scarf are going to look like vomit. I started one ball from the outside and one from the centre-pull (just because) and I think I ended up getting a much better colour combo than if I'd gone the other way. Now I want to do this over and over again just to see what combos I can get. I was really addicted to knitting this scarf and I'm sad it's over.

In other news, as you can see, my camera is back from its trip to Florida, as is my husband. So, hopefully, post-Halloween of course, things will be less stressful around here soon. Hopefully.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Camera Shy

My camera has been whisked away to an exotic locale, so there will be no pictures of anything for at least a few days. It's too bad, because I'm feeling a creative wave hitting me. I've been furiously knitting and sewing away, trying to get Ruby ready for Halloween/winter. I'm also aware that I announced the commencement of holiday knitting well over a month ago and have not one gift to show for myself. That's all coming to an end. Xmas presents, articles to warm my family's extremities -- bring 'em on. And yes, that blasted clown suit will be done in time. Mark my words.

I'm also feeling kind of inspired because I finally got my copy of Craft magazine in the mail today (Canadian subscriptions are always a bit slow). Very inspiring indeed. And it reminds me, I've got some robots to knit...

Monday, October 16, 2006

My Little Kitten Has Found Her Mittens

It was pointed out to me recently on a crisp day that my child's hands were freezing. Last winter (and the winter before) Ruby had yet to join the realm of the walking, so she was bundled up Maggie Simpson-style with her hands pretty much bound inside her snowsuit. So, I totally forgot that little kids need mittens in the winter. Ruby's Nana thoughtfully purchased her a couple pairs, but a kid can never have enough mittens and like any good knitter mum, I decided to cook her up a pair.

I've never done mittens before -- kid or adult size -- and who would have known they were so easy? After months of sock knitting, they were a total cinch. Here are the specs on these little kid mitts:

Ruby's Mittens adapted from the Bold Banded Mittens from Zoe Mellor's Adorable Knits For Tots
Yarn: Schachenmayer Nomotta Bravo Baby Soft
Needle: U.S. 3 bamboo for the cuffs and string and U.S. 5 acrylics for the body
Mods: I sort of just used the pattern as a basic mitten recipe. I took another one of Zoe Mellor's books from the library and there were a couple other fancy mittens, but all with the same basis. She also recommends doing a braid for the string, but that was way too much of a pain. I started doing some icord, but it seemed a little bulky, so I knit a flat three-stitch band to string the mitts together.

It's funny, I went to a posh LYS that carries a lot of brand name yarn because I was going to splurge and use the Rowan that the pattern called for. After searching through the piles of DK yarns I decided on this Bravo Baby stuff, which cost a whopping $3.50 and is totally washable. Hooray. As you can see from the above photo, my back garden has transformed into a virtual winter wonderland, so Ruby will be needing the mitts. Still, she prefers to prance around the house while wearing them as a scarf -- very chic.

Friday, October 13, 2006

W.I.P. Friday (The 13th)

Happy Friday 13th! I plan to spend my evening eating hotdogs and celebrating my friend Jane's birthday. Hooray!

Speaking of scary days, I've been hard at work putting together Ruby's Halloween costume. Let me tell you, this learning how to sew is a steep learning curve. But the clown suit is looking pretty good so far and I'm thinking that I may actually finish before the party she's attending on the Friday before the actual Halloween day. In the last couple weeks I've learned how to do gathering, set in sleeves (with easing!), do an elastic casing, collar facing and much more. It's sloppy and won't fit very well, but clowns are supposed to be goofy looking, right?

And as an added bonus pic, here's a shot of Ruby in the ruby red slippers that a friend of ours bought for her in Las Vegas almost a year ago. They fit a lot sooner than I expected them to (despite having a tiny body the Rubester has enormous feet for a girl her age) and my girl was tap dancing around the house all morning. She loves walking in heels -- I don't get it.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Canadian Thanksgiving, that is. That's right Americans, we have our own turkey eating festival/reinterpretation of European-Native North American relations too. But, since our harvest is a bit earlier to accommodate the blistering cold winter, we do it at the beginning of October. Yesterday I joined about 30 members of my family to walk 5K to raise money for the Alzheimer's Foundation. My grandfather passed away nearly 10 years ago after a struggle with the disease and for the last five years or so the fam has been marching to raise money for research. It was a gorgeous walk along the shore of the Bow River and I had a great time hanging out with my clan.

So, in the interest of posting something about knitting, here is my finished City Shawl. Please excuse the hideous photos. Here are the details:

City Shawl, a Glampyre pattern
Yarn: Lion Brand Suede in black
Needle: Addi U.S. 15 circs
Mods: I added about 20 rows

I'm in love with the finished product, but I had trouble getting this one started. I looked high and low for some really nice chenille at various fancy yarn stores, but everything was in gross colours or variegated (or variegated gross colours) so I decided to hoof it to Michael's and grab some Lion Brand. The pattern calls for any bulky chenille so without paying much attention I grabbed the LB Thick 'N' Quick Chenille. I later noticed that other bloggers used the same yarn with unhappy results. I also noticed that TNQC is actually a super bulky, which is why my shawl was starting to look like a teddy-bear skin coat. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that Stephanie actually suggests LB Suede on the pattern, so I switched it up (I also switched from bamboo circs to my Addis because the LB was sticking on the join and with both the suede and the TNQ chenille the bamboos held the yarn so tight that I broke the yarn on some of the K2togs).

So, the lesson learned? Pay attention to your yarn, use appropriate needles and if you need to, keep knitting until the shawl's a-fitting. My finished product is warm and cuddly and looks cute too. The edges are starting to dog-ear and curl a bit and the ends didn't weave in as nicely as I'd hoped, but I love the pattern and am happy to have a functional and finished item that I've actually worn many times since finishing it last week. Hooray!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Crochet Me? I Don't Mind If You Do!

I'll admit it -- I was skeptical about One Skein Secret Pal. It was a blatant marketing scheme for a book that didn't particularly wow me (I didn't actually get the book until after I signed up for the swap) and I didn't feel like I had a whole lot in common with the pal I was assigned to, so I had a hard time choosing items that I thought she'd like. Luckily, the pal assigned to me was awesome throughout -- she sent me great yarn, threw in additional goodies and had a healthy appreciation for my love of pink. I just got my final package from her (I was warned ahead that it'd come a bit past deadline and the lateness was for some very good reasons, so I didn't mind one bit) and not only did she send great stuff, but she seems like an all-around awesome person to boot.

My pal is none other than Kim Werker, who will be known to crochet addicts as the editor of Crochet Me which is kind of like the crochet version of Knitty or Magknits. She also just published her second book, Get Hooked. Since she knew I can't do it myself, Kim chose to crochet me an item rather than knit (although she can indeed knit as well) and she came up with this bobbly-textured little pouch. As the mother of a toddler my purse (which doubles as a diaper bag) is very poorly organized and I know this will come in handy. Plus I'm in love with the pink yarn and the bubbly texture. Being the gal she is, Kim also threw in a ball of beautiful Rowan tapestry and some Knit Klips, which I'm dying to try, seeing as I'm still struggling with my finishing skills.

All of this really makes me want to make good on my pledge to learn how to crochet. I love the tightness of the stitches and the sturdyness of this little pouch -- it's structured enough that there's no need for lining. With Kim and also Amy Swenson having new crochet books out and that dusty copy of the Happy Hooker on my shelf (well, actually in a box in my still unpacked basement), I have no excuse. Will 2007 be the year that the hook and I finally become friends?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

F.O. And SPC

Since I'm just that kind of gal, my picture for today is doing double duty as Self-Portrait Challenge and a picture of the new neck-warmer I made. Both me and the neck-warmer fit the theme of imperfection for this month. Me because winter is coming in and my skin is going wacky, my hair both dry and oily at the same time (I can't tell you why my mascara is smudged. But it adds to the effect, no?) Calgary's climate is really weird: dry and cold but sometimes dry and hot and it's murder on a girl's beauty regime. Even Ruby, who is a picture of physical perfection is suffering with rashes and dry patches. So yes, winter time in these parts makes the imperfect even less perfect.

And what about the neck-warmer? Well, here are the specs:

Adapted from Pashmina Cowl from Last Minute-Knitted Gifts
Yarn: The worsted Blue Sky Alpaca that my One Skein secret pal sent
Needle: U.S. 10 circular
Mods: Well, this clearly is nothing like the pattern in the book. And intentionally so, but I'm not sure I'm that crazy about this thing. When I got this yarn I knew I wanted to make a neckwarmer, because it's so nice and soft. I very loosley based it on the cowl in LMKG, which is knit with a superfine cashmere and is much drapier and finer and taller and slouchier. What I have here will work fine under a coat, but I'm seriously thinking of splurging on some cashmere and doing the real thing in the new year. Mmmm... cashmerey and cowly.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


What I did this weekend (apologies for being a day late):

Bought Ruby a Fisher Price Three Men In A Tub set for $1 at a garage sale; did pilates; went for brunch with friends; worked in the yard; played in the leaves; finished a shawl (pictures to come); started a cowl; watched a movie that made me cry; ate a Dairy Queen sundae; took a bath; had a nap; sent Ruby downtown with her grandparents for the first time; got lots of work done; put my feet up; spent time with family; cleaned out the linen closet; ate pie and ice cream; got some much needed rest.

p.s. I couldn't resist the three men in a tub. It was my favourite when I was a kid. My brother remembers putting soap on his face in the bath and using the men to "shave." Ruby hasn't taken them in the tub yet, mainly because she can't get enough of them on dry land. The second I game them to her she was delighted and refused to unhand them most of Saturday -- she even insisted on taking them into the restaurant when we went for brunch. Her current favourite game is running from the living room to the kitchen, putting one of the men in the cupboard, running back in and putting her hands up to signal "where is he?" then running back to fetch him and show him to Aaron or I. She probably did that about 30 times on Sunday night. I couldn't be happier that one of my favourite toys, which I was able to purchase for such a small sum, is causing more joy in my little one than a $50 T.M.X. Elmo ever could.

Friday, September 29, 2006

W.I.P. Friday

I'm actually feeling pretty productive this week despite the fact that Aaron has been traveling all over the continent on business (L.A. this week, NYC last week) and Miss Ruby has been extra busy with her classes and playing. But I've got some knitting and some sewing on the go, which feels good. To be honest, my commitment to only knitting small things has started to bore me (not much challenge in simple baby hats) partially because I don't like the look of small items with too many flourishes. A toque with a bunch of cables all over it? Lace gloves? No thanks. After my Xmas knitting is over (which may be sooner rather than later, I'm seriously thinking about just buying stuff this year) I think I'll tackle a fine knit sweater or a lace shawl just to have a long term challenge to get me out of my accessory ennui.

For now though, I'm knitting something for myself: Glampyre's City Shawl. It's that big black lump that you can see. Almost done, I'll give you all the deets once it's off the needles. And that piece of orange fabric is the sleeve to Ruby's clown costume, which'll hit the machine tonight if all goes well.

Oh, and since the W.I.P. photo isn't much to look at, I present you a lemon loaf that I just whipped up for tea with my neighbour later this afternoon. I love lemon loaf, but have never actually made it since Aaron has laid down the law with a strict "If it's not chocolate, it's a waste of dessert" decree. But, I've snuck a taste and despite the fact that I usually agree with him on the chocolate thing, the lemony deliciousness is perfect for a ladies/babies tea party.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Spoiled Old Me

I've been bad. Yesterday Leena and I stopped by our favourite LYS, Make 1 to show off the poncho that she made for Ruby. Leena also wanted to pick up some felted bag patterns, as she's participating in this great charity handbag sale that's raising money for grandmothers in Africa who have been left to raise their AIDS-orphaned grandchildren. I wanted to buy a little something to get started on my Xmas knitting (I know, I announced the commencement of Xmas knitting a month ago, but I've gotten nowhere) and I was seduced by the Lorna's Laces.

I was immediately drawn to the Shepherd Worsted in the amazing "Hawaii" colourway. Look at it! This will probably end up as a gift -- I've been wanting to make a pair of Sweet Mary Jane slippers since I stumbled upon the pattern via Sam's blog months ago. The Shepherd Worsted is superwash, so I think it'll work out nicely. I also very greedily picked up some Shepherd Sock yarn in the Sassy Stripe colourway because, well, I couldn't resist. I rarely buy yarn simply to stash, but a good sock yarn is hard to come by and my fingers have been missing the pleasure of sock knitting. I think I'm a lifer.

I'm also buzzing because I'm home without Ruby today, as Wednesday has been designated "Ruby stays with Grandma or Nana while Mummy tries to get some work done" day. I spent a nice chunk of my morning on the phone doing an interview with a very high-profile British rock star. I won't name names (don't want search engines ending up here and poking in my personal business), but he's the guitarist/chief songwriter of a very prominent and long-standing British band that his brother is the lead singer of. Got it? I've spoken to this gentleman before and he always leaves me swooning. Receiving phone calls from rock stars always makes me feel like less of a suburban housewife. Hooray!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Merrily I Sew Along

As I mentioned last week, I've been bit by the sewing bug. Hard. My mother bought me a sewing machine for Xmas last year after I expressed a motherly desire to be able to eventually make Halloween costumes for Ruby. Because of my knitting habit (or, more specifically my 2006 sock obsession), vacation, the move and general busy-ness, I didn't even take the machine out of the box until very recently. Also, I was intimidated and too shy/busy/lazy to take a sewing class. Anyway, Aaron's been out of town a lot lately, giving me plenty of sewing time in the evening, so I decided to go for it. Once I figured out that I was using the wrong size bobbin, I fell in love with the machine.

With the machine my mom gave me a bunch of fixin's, a Simplicity apron pattern and some cheapo Walmart fabric to cut my teeth on. So, over the course of the last week, I whipped up this little apron. There are lots of mistakes (I totally botched the ties) and the finishing leaves much to be desired, but overall, I think it's pretty darn cute. I have a grand vision of making a few of these with Jenny Hart embroidery on the pockets and giving them as gifts. I don't know if I can swing it by Christmas (my sewing time is pretty limited, what with Ruby and all, so I may have to crank out smaller knit gifts and some Wee Wonderfuls), but maybe I can stock pile a couple aprons for birthdays. Either way, I'm excited and after a trip to a beautiful quilt store in my neighbourhood and little scared of the price of nice fabric. I'm already having trouble fitting my yarn habit into my budget -- how am I going to afford kitschy Japanese fabric?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

In Praise Of Other Women's Knitting

As I've mentioned before, Aaron's Mum, Leena is a fantastic knitter. She's far more patient than I am and has a remarkable gift for choosing tasteful patterns and beautiful yarns. Naturally, she is thrilled by the notion of getting to knit for her one and only grandchild and Ruby has been suitably spoiled with plenty of Nana's handknits.

On our first sojurn to Make 1 Studio a couple months ago, Leena was seduced by a hank of very colourful and very soft yarn that screamed Ruby. The nice lady at the store helped her flip through the pattern binders to find an appropriate sweater pattern but we were both much more taken by this little pattern. The original was knit up in a kind of little red riding hood motif, but I like Ruby's acid pink/yellow combo even better. It's soft, it's warm and the girl looks adorable. Thanks Nana!

On a side note, I think I've got myself in trouble. I finally figured out how to use my sewing machine and all I can think about is sewing. And knitting. And sewing and knitting. And I'm under strict instructions by Aaron to find more freelance work -- but who can think about writing when there are so many Wee Wonderful patterns to knit up?