I’m a little bit obsessed.

I found this yarn candy on a trip to London earlier this year. Even though I wasn’t knitting much at the time, this was impossible to resist.

It is a Pigeonroof Studios mini-skein set.

Apart from taking photos of it, I’m also dreaming up what lovely things I could make with it. I’m undecided between simple stripes or trying to blend the colours somehow… Any tips? Have you knit with gradients before? Aren’t they magical? :)

what are you reading these days?

There was a time when my blog reader included 129 subscriptions to knitting blogs alone. In the meantime, as many blogs died off, as I started knitting less, and as the very nature of blogging changed (less frequent posts, less commenting), my blogroll gradually shrank to tiny proportions. But now that I’m blogging again, I’m eager to (re)connect with more like-minded people again.

So here’s who I’m reading these days:

Tanis Fiber Arts – an independent Canadian producer of hand-dyed yarn. I’ve been following her for ages, and have recently finally ordered some of her yarn. The most scrumptious yarn porn you’ll find online.

Ysolda – a favourite from the beginning of my knitting journey, she needs no introduction. I’m thrilled that she’s still blogging. Often showcases interesting FOs made from her patterns.

Fuoriborgo – an Italian who was not knitting when I started following her (she is now!), but always has something interesting to say on wool, cooking and country life.

Knit The Hell Out – one of my favourite independent designers, when my hand heals I will knit aaaaall of her men’s sweater patterns. Her blogging style is informal and easily approachable, which I love.

Needled – a Scottish designer and, since recently, yarn producer. Often writes interesting, thoroughly researched pieces about the history of knitting.

Sazmakes – the most beautiful FOs. In between posts, I stalk her ravelry projects page for inspiration.

Sweet Sunday Stitches – a warm and calming thought on crafting every Sunday.

Yarn Harlot – the empress of the knitting world, I’ve recently read her books and my heart jumps with joy whenever a new post pops up in my reader. Take her advice on knitting and life in general, and thank me later.

And what are you reading these days? Any new must-read blogs you’d like to recommend? Do tell!

baby gift set: milo and the simple baby hat

Speaking of simple baby stuff and good old patterns, here are two patterns I keep going back to when I’m in need of gifts for new parents. (Excuse the terrible photos, these are really quite lovely in real life.)

I tend to knit Milo and Simple Baby Hat as a baby gift set. I’ve done three pairs so far and I have no intention of stopping any time soon. They both call for more or less the same yarn and gauge, and are equally simple to make. Moreover, they can serve as wonderful blank canvases to experiment with whatever you want – embroidery, colourwork, striping…

Finally, they are both extremely quick to make, and parents tell me they’re super practical. So, if you need a win-win solution for the next baby shower you’re invited to with a few days’ notice, I’d highly recommend these two!

finished object: little thorpe

This knit started in a fairly standard way: my friend’s 2-year-old son needed a good hat that would stay on. After combing through dozens of children’s hat patterns I went back to good old Thorpe – it is such a great shape for keeping warm and its top-down construction means it’s also very easy to modify the size.

However, I came to learn quickly that it is very difficult to imagine what a good size for a 2-year-old head is if you don’t have any 2-year-old heads nearby. I ploughed on through the pattern eyeballing the size, with the help of my mom, An Experienced Award-Winning Three-Time-Mother and Two-Time-Grandma. You’d think she’d know. We were quite happy with the outcome up until I tried to put it on my own head and found it to be too big even for me.


Luckily this hat has a top-down construction (you start from the crown of the head), so if you need to make it smaller, you just have to rip back a few increases, until you get to a more appropriate number of stitches and then re-do the rest. The most fiddly part anyway is the cast-on and increasing, so with that out of the way ripping and re-knitting is a breeze. The second version I knit ended up fitting the boy like a glove. I really cannot recommend the Thorpe pattern enough if you are aiming to make a hat with a perfect fit (especially if you have the recipient’s head nearby for trials)…


Stay tuned, folks, this issue of babies/kids and sizing is going to become a recurrent theme on this blog, let me tell you…

how to start a stitch’n’bitch club in less than 60 minutes

A few weeks ago, an acquaintance from work asked me if I be willing to teach an intro to knitting workshop for a few people at his place. At first I thought I was being teased. I have lunch with the guy occasionally, as part of a bigger group, and I know he’s always joking around, playfully teasing people for this or that. I figured he must have heard from someone that I knit, and wanted to score a few quick laughs. I agreed but thought nothing much of it. Until he followed up with an inquiry on dates. And an invitation to the whole group to attend. And questions on where to buy yarn and needles… Huh!

And so, yesterday, on a rainy Saturday afternoon, five of us met up with some warm coffee and lots of fresh balls of yarn. I was nervous – would I be able to explain this to them? I had no idea how to teach someone to knit. I had learned from books and youtube, so I couldn’t even think back to how someone else had taught me. We had settled on the simplest thing – a scarf in garter stitch, just knit-knit-knit to start with. But what about the part which I personally always struggled with most, the cast-on and the first row? Should I just do it for them? Well, that wouldn’t be very pedagogical, would it? Uh…

In the end I just jumped in and improvised. It turned out that the hardest thing to teach them was the slip knot (what helped was showing them how to do it with a finger instead of with a needle). After that we did a simple backward-loop cast-on (not my favourite, but easiest to learn, I figured), and then off they went on their first knit stitches. I worried a lot about what to tell them about holding the yarn (something I struggled with for years), but in the end I didn’t mention it at all, and they each figured out their own way of doing it.

At first there was a lot of cursing. Like, A LOT. Sentences such as “This is much harder than I thought!” and “How on earth is this supposed to be relaxing?” were uttered a number of times. We ripped and restarted a few times. I flitted around from one person to the next, showing them the movements again and again, and watching as their shaky hands slowly figured it out. Amidst this busyness, the curses slowly died off, and silence emerged, punctuated only by the occasional “Oops, I’ve done something wrong, help…” Someone remarked on how it was impossible to knit and talk at the same time. And yet, another 20 minutes later, we found ourselves in the midst of a lively office gossip session, the four of them all the while continuing to diligently work on their stitches. And I looked around, and thought to myself: “Wow, I’ve just created a stitch AND bitch club in less than 60 minutes.”


simple baby stuff

As I’ve struggled with my RSI, my knitting has been very on and off. With the emphasis on the off. But every once in a while I’d get hopeful again and give it a try. And in the process I discovered the key to not getting frustrated: simple baby stuff.

Simple baby stuff is usually knit in a smooth yarn so as to avoid scratchiness for the babies, but this has the added bonus of the yarn not giving much resistance for the RSIer. In a similar vein, a loose gauge is required: again, softness for babies, less tension for the knitter. Last but not least, baby stuff is tiny! This means that a project can be completed very quickly, giving your RSIer a quick sense of accomplishment even if they can’t work on it for long stretches of time.

Above is an example of the kind of simple baby stuff I’ve been knitting – a lovely pattern to knit up even if you don’t have a particular baby in mind at the moment of knitting. They’re very handy to keep around and quickly grab for a gift when an unexpected new baby shows up. Every baby needs a practical hat, and mothers love them. Pattern and yarn details on Ravelry.


Ok, so I’m willing to admit that whatzitknitz may have had a point when she said do I sense a love of fiddly toys starting ; ) two in a row is all I am saying. Though I still maintain that it is due to the fact that after the Fiddliest Fiddling Octopus, nothing can match the level of fiddliness, and thus many other toys seem super easy to make now.

And by many other, I mean, three in a row.

Yes, there may be something to it after all…

(In case anyone is wondering, it’s Mousie.)