... my poor, poor neglected blog... :(
128 days of empty, quiet bloggedness.
The very least I can do if offer up that long awaited and v....e.....r.....y simple bowl pattern I promised....

Just click here to get a head start on your holiday gifting.... :)
ps-- I am doing a MAJOR purge of yarns, buttons and books. The proceeds are going to the almost completed Prince Edward Dog Park in Picton. If you plan to be in the area drop me a note and we can arrange some yarnie perusings...


A very tempting... just arrived from WEBS.
They are having an anniversary sale and a good amount of Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn shades are available for only $13.99 a ball.

Many of you have commented on my personal version of the Summer Linen Wrap (below, as seen in Gifted knit in Berroco Linen Jeans).

Well, my version (below) is made using one ball of said Noro. It has been worn a lot this past winter. And, the way spring is going so far... it will be worn a lot more before any "summer" wrap will be needed in my neck of the woods.

I do have to tell you.... I have AB-so-LUTE-ly no idea what colourway mine is knit in. I never noted it down and the wrapper has been swallowed up somewhere in my studio. SO sorry! I can tell you that it has lots of shades that are pinky, winey and rusty along with greens and a vibrant orange that grew on me. Noro has a way of making colours grow on you...



... of advice.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about gauge. Then today I got this message...

Hi Mags,

I was in Vancouver last Christmas and found a store that had Americo yarn. I naturally bought enough to make Mothed. I’ve been swatching and am having a dickens of a time getting gauge. If I use 6mm needles I can get 20 st over 4 inches. I’ve tried this in the round, knitting flat but can’t seem to hit the 18 st. augh! Anyhow, I’ve looked at the over one hundred knitters who have knit this pattern and no one else is having this problem.

Any tips that you may have would be most appreciated.

(name removed to protect the innocent)

I blame the following reply I sent on the very spicy Massaman Curry I had for dinner... and the fact that I beleive what I wrote...

Hi (name removed to protect the innocent),
Sorry to hear you are struggling. From your Ravelry info it appears that you are a knewbie knitter... welcome!
Here are some words of advice that were shared with me years ago...

Needle size DOES NOT matter.... GAUGE matters!!

Just move up to a larger needle and swatch again.
I have the total opposite problem... I am a chronic loose knitter! I used 3.25mm needles to get gauge for Mothed in the Americo... gasp! I've been knitting for years and I know to just disregard the needle size of ANY project I take on.
Between you and me, I just want to smack--just lightly ;)-- any knitter that proclaims with hand on hip, "I have PERfect gauge!". Honestly! I believe there is no such thing for ALL projects-- I'm sure some will disagree with me!
The needle size stated on a yarn band or in a pattern is simply a suggested size to start with. There is absolutely nothing wrong and certainly no shame in moving up or down as many needle sizes as needed to create a beautiful, well fitting and satisfying project.
Always remember the goal is the joy found in creating your knitted project NOT obtaining gauge at the suggested needle size.
Now I'll step down from my soap box.. :)
I know this may be frustrating--especially when you are revved up to start a project-- but, you'll get those 18 stitches to 4" and you'll enjoy making and wearing Mothed... I know it!


Just in case...

... you are thinking ahead to the NEXT winter woolly season, here are the colours that are supposedly going to be "big" for Fall 2011....

I'm kinda likin' them.... bamboo, nougat, quarry.... yum.
If you click on the palette you can read more about what one source anticipates for the season. Hey, sorry if you think I am rushing you, but the magazines already have us thinking about Spring 2012.... yikes!



... I really wonder what rock I live under?!?!?!?!
I just stumbled across the most F.A.B.U.L.O.U.S magazine birthed from an exceptional blog about "design, craft and food"... Sweet Paul!

The fourth issue of the mag will be available on March 1st, but until then you can download pdf's of issues one through three and read at your leisure.

How incredibly generous of dear Sweet Paul.
Now, once again, I have to figure out how to add more days to my hours...

my retail therapy arrived today!


Retail therapy...

... at wholesale prices... yarnie style!
FYI-- is hosting a great sale on Patons Classic Wool. At half the price you would find elsewhere, I just could not say "no"!
This has got to be my all time favourite go-to-yarn for basic knits-- toasty pullovers, fireside socks, hats and mitts. It is also the most reliable and readily accessible wool that I have found for felted projects.

I have been making little felted bowls out of it to hold "dry goods" as part of my pret-a-porter line and I have been running low on select colours.

Above you can see a litter of them drying and shaping on some bowls. I like the way the little contrast coloured center dot makes them full of whimsy.
I also love to watch the way people pick them up. They cradle them like little kittens or as if they were crafted from fragile porcelain. Hah! Us felters know how tough they are!
Soon, I'll have lots of new colours to play with!
I just love the way the shades look in my shopping cart... come hither pumpkin and wisteria!

And, since I had a teensy-weensy bit of room left in my cart, I tossed in a bag of this for me...

I see something Free People inspired for a cool summer evening made out of this. At less than 17 bucks for a bag of 10 balls... how could I resist?
Oh, and I tossed in 3 skeins of this...

You never know when you need something woolly in Malt Heather. And... at less than $5 for 200 grams? Pleeeeease!

I have been thinking of writing up the simple bowl pattern and making it available as a freebie. Let me know if you are interested. It just might put a match to my butt.... ;-)


Those 80's "hammer pants"...

... had to go!
I know... they have popped up everywhere the past few fashion seasons.

Created from light, light natural Indian cotton, hand printed in black with discreet touches of a metallic silver, they could not be discarded.

A wise soul once said, if you wore the trend the first time around...
don't even think about it the second time around!

I simply could not part with them so they had been salted away--- for years. Some of you may know that I have had this odd form of "separation anxiety" with previous pieces in my fashion archive.
Then one day... this image popped up in my inbox, thanks to Gudrun Sjoden...

Hmmmmmm.... I thought!

I've got my hammer pants....
I've got balls--wooden ones...

I can tie a knot!!!

A bit of cutting, sewing, ball stuffing and knotting and I got me a pair of these...

Yes, I went quite a bit shorter than and did not pile them on as much as Gudrun. My lifestyle isn't quite what is envisioned by Swedish fashion stylists. But I do love them... even more than the original pants!

What to gather:
  • wooden balls or beads- the ones I used are 1" in diameter.
  • fabric strip measuring a minimum of 45"-- the longer the strip the longer the necklace. Piece lengths together until desired length. For width, measure the circumference of your balls and add 1" for a 1/2" seam allowance. My 1" balls have a circumference of 3" so my strips were 4" wide.
  • large safety pin to aide in turning the tube right side out.
What to do:



because she looks so lovely sitting and knitting...

Enjoy your Snow Day-- if you are one of the lucky ones! And, Happy Groundhog Day to all!


The giant sucking sound...

... of time just d.i.s.a.p.p.e.a.r.i.n.g.
Pinterest who'd a thunk you would bring such joy... and such pain.
All I did was type in "knitting"....

You need to sign up and wait and wait and wait for an invite to this beta site. Once in you can keep photo records of all the things that inspire you on the web. Knitting, food, home decor, travel... anything that your heart desires! You can peek into the pinnings of others and they can be inspired by yours!!
Little hint--- if you know someone already "pinning" they can invite you immediately! Hey, I'm already pinning... hmmmm.
Just share with me your addie and I'll send you an invite.
Now, just don't blame me if the dishes are piling up; laundry is waiting; lawn is not mowed; cupboards are bare....

postscript 01/30/2011
I wish to share what some very clever readers are doing.
If you do not want to broadcast your email addie
but wish an invite...
simply do the following:

Step 1- Add your comment to this post with your email addie.
Step 2- Delete your comment.

I will get an email with your comment and address
but the rest of the world will be none the wiser...
you all are such smarties!


Don't you love it...

... when you happen upon something that makes you smile?
I'm a big keeper of ticket stubs, matchbook covers, cardboard coasters, cafe receipts. I tuck them into t-shirt drawers and yarn baskets and into books. I love that instant when one of those treasures shows itself. It is a priceless treat to be transported back to a lovely moment.
I've also kept many pretty postcards and lots and lots of snapshots...

I recently tripped across this photo from a pattern booklet I worked on years ago.
This fantastic face belongs to my great nephew. Yes... my great nephew! If you do the math... I know, it is impossible!!
Simon is now twice as big.
As soon as I could, I popped it up on Facebook and tagged him in the image.
I thought for certain it would cause grumbles of embarrassment.
Within a minute of it appearing he made it his profile picture. And, it has remained his picture for over a week now.
I look forward to his posts so I can see that wonderful smirk under that fishy little cap. And, ooohhh those freckles.

I dug through some of my working files of the various fish motifs I worked on while developing the design.
You can use it to come up with your own cap. Or use it on a bag... or a pocket... or a patch on a blanket... or turn it on it's tail and make it into socks...
Enjoy the full moon!


Back in the "dark ages" of the internet......

... always seemed to be the place I ended up when I was searching for stuff I was interested in.

Best Cheap Eats in New York City?
Is that a tick on my dog?

How do I make this $5 yard sale find look like a million bucks?
How do I make a sourdough starter?
You get the idea.

This internet resource is still one of the best ones out there.
Well, every year they hold a Reader's Choice Awards. This year they have expanded the award categories... and now knitting is included!!

You can nominate your favourite wool yarn, cotton yarn, sock yarn, knitting needles and...

... best book of 2010!

If you'd like.... you can vote for "Gifted".
That would make my publisher happy and that would make me happy... :-D
I am a wee bit uncomfortable with blatant self promotion... it might show.
Click here to do all of your voting!



...Rules to Live By

I posted these words by Robert Louis Stevenson back in July 2008.
I know I needed to hear them again today...

  • Make up your mind to be happy. Learn to find pleasure in simple things.
  • Make the best of circumstances. No one has everything and everyone has something of sorrow.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously.
  • Don’t let criticism worry you. You can’t please everybody.
  • Don’t let your neighbors set your standards; be yourself.
  • Do things you enjoy doing but stay out of debt.
  • Don’t borrow trouble. Imaginary things are harder to bear than actual ones.
  • Since hate poisons the soul, do not cherish enmities and grudges. Avoid people who make you unhappy.
  • Have many interests. If you can’t travel, read about places.
  • Don’t spend time brooding over sorrows and mistakes.
  • Do what you can for those less fortunate than yourself.
  • Keep busy at something. A very busy person never has time to be unhappy.

When you read the words it seems so simple.

It's all in the application... don't forget to breathe!


Be still...

... my heart.

These four, simple words fully capture the way I felt the first time I stepped through the door of Americo Original.
It was all I could do to keep from not forgetting to breathe in and breathe out....

Gratuitous and wantonly tempting yarn shop/nirvana photos ahead

This Queen Street West location, a few doors down from Bathurst, has become a Toronto yarn lovers mecca of all things lush and lovely.

Tempting baskets filled with fantastic pima cotton in a thick and thin fingering weight...

... snuggled next to bodaciously, bulky butter-soft wools.

There are loose, calling reelings of smooth, cool cottons in the most lovely shades...

... and gently twisted skeins of warm wools.

Ooooh... and lookie at what we have here! A whole wall of Winter Flame--- that seductive alpaca/wool of Mothed fame!
If I were asked, "if you could only knit with one yarn for the rest of your life, what would that one yarn be?" I would not hesitate on an answer. Americo Winter Flame!
The colours... the hand... the drape!
Sometimes I think it is fortunate I live about two hours away. Any closer and I could easily become The Crazy Yarn Lady because of my potential daily "fix".

Such lucky kniterati Toronto has!
Such a gem of a shop!!

Oh, and not to worry if you swoon and faint from fibre overload....

...even the copper ceiling is something to inspire.


A brand new year...

... and a wonderful new chapter!
Today I say goodbye to a wonderful era that spanned 18 years.
Today I open my arms to all the wonderful opportunities a fantastic change always brings.
As of today, January 1st, 2011, I and my partner have ended a licensing agreement with a company that made our Mission Falls yarns available to yarn shops for the past five years.
In a nut shell...

Many of you may not be aware that I was creative director of Mission Falls for 13 years and chief designer for 15. Even less of you may know that almost half a lifetime ago I co-founded and created Mission Falls yarns. All of the building and creating and learning.... what fun that was! What a gift!!
Being removed from the day to day of the business operations at Mission Falls for the past five years and not contributing creatively for three years has made the good-bye to this "baby" fairly easy.
I have authored books, contributed designs, overseen projects, made all sorts of "stuff" and traveled the world independent of Mission Falls and I am loving it.
I am sad, however, that Mission Falls yarns and patterns will do longer be available to you, the knitter, crocheter and maker.
Every time I read or hear mention of Mission Falls yarns it is almost always focused on the colours that defined them. I ADORE colour and it has always warmed me to know that my love of colour brought joy to others. Thank you!
Well, I am off to create more lovely colours.... fresh and fabulous colours... what a gift!