Monday, April 30, 2012

Knit along with me ...

... the best is yet to be! (to paraphrase Robert Browning)

Corduroy Roads Socks 

These are the Corduroy Roads Socks. Notice anything odd about them?

There are only 3.
A pair for Cheryl and a singleton for Mr. Coco.

Now, since Mr. Coco still has 2 feet, something needs to be done.

Anyone want to knit along?

Here's what you'll need:

100 gr. of sock wool (We used 2 balls of Patons Kroy Socks FX. They've been steadily reducing the yardage over the years ....Don't think we didn't notice, Mr. Patons! these balls now have 152 m or 166 yds in each ball.)

Some leftover sock yarn in an equivalent weight for the stripes. 
We weighed ours and we used so little for each sock, 
it's hard to say exactly how much yardage you'd need ... but not much. 
Our scale says 1 gr per sock. A good use for your leftovers!

Set of 4 size 3 mm or US 2 1/2 double-point needles 
or whatever size you require to get 7.5 sts./in. in stockinette
We love our 5 inch Brittany Birch needles.

We're going to knit the second man-size sock which will fit a 10 inch long foot (Men's shoe size 8) but we'll be giving you the numbers for the lady's size as well (Ladies shoe size 6).

We like a Tubular Cast-On. Very pretty. Very stretchy. 
Worth the trouble to learn but if you want to use a different cast-on, who's to stop you? :)
For those who want to try, you'll need a crochet hook size 3.5 mm or US E/4
and a few yards of waste yarn in a distinctive colour.

So.....gather your stuff. Align your ducks. 
And meet us back here.....say, Wednesday? And we'll get started.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Red Hot Chili Pepper Bracelet

We've been playing with polymer clay. It's amazing. So cheap and you can do so much with it, so easily. We made these round, disk beads. We had thought there'd be a steeper learning curve but we're really happy with these beads.

They're about 1/2 inch in diameter. We didn't bother to sand them. We just jumped right to dipping them in Future Floor Wax. We had our doubts because, really, it just seemed too easy. But, look! They're pretty right?

So, we made them right up into a bracelet. Quick! Before they could get away.

And look at this lovely bead we had in our stash. Just one lonely bead and perfect for this project.
This bracelet measures 8 inches long.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Duetta's done!

Is it just us? We get an amazing idea and we think we'll just make it happen and then we realize what everyone else has already figured out ... Good Stuff Takes Time. It's always such a surprise to us!

paper pieced chevron yoke on the left, appliquéd hearts on the right

However today we're pleased to announce that the pattern for Duetta, that super sweet baby sweater that we talked about before, is finally ready. We knitted and quilted it. Three times. :) And wrote up the pattern. And then we had our trusty pattern testers knit and quilt it. Thank you to Kate and Annette and Maria!!! And then we tweaked the pattern. And then we knitted and quilted it in a larger size. And then we sent that off to see how it fit. And it was just about perfect!! And then we had the pattern proofread. Thank you to Stephanie! (How many patterns get proofread by someone with degrees in journalism AND education??) Thank you also to Stephanie for the gorgeous baby photography.

So, today, we are confident the pattern's finally ready. We listed it for sale at Craftsy. $5.00 for a .PDF that you can download immediately ... even if it's in the middle of the night and you just have to knit/quilt!!  Here's the link:

9-12 months size  with short sleeves - acrylic yarn - crazy quilted yoke

The pattern now has 3 sizes - 9-12 months, 2 years and 3 years and offers short or long-sleeve variations. It includes full-size templates for the quilted yoke and instructions for making that yoke in appliqué or by paper piecing. A fat quarter and some scraps will be plenty of fabric. 100gr of fingering weight yarn will make the 9-12 month size OR the 2 year size. 100 gr. of DK weight yarn will make the 3 year size.

slightly fuzzy photo of busy 3-year-old! (3/4 length sleeves) - our own simple yoke

It's a small project which goes quickly and makes a great gift.

Today, we're linking up with the Needle and Thread Network for the WIP feature although this is technically not in progress any longer. It's done!! :) Why not click on over and see what other Canadian needleworkers are up to. Every week, we have more and more participants.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A little south-west flavour

Sometimes the beads fall in our favour. This was one of those times. They just sort of chose themselves.

This lovely mix of copper and turquoise makes us think of sun and cactus.....and nachos. But that may be just because it's close to lunchtime.

~ Olé!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Pretty Buttons

We've spoken before about our sister-in-law who is a potter. Recently, she turned her talents to button-making. Here are some of the pretties she made:

We could hardly wait to incorporate them into a bracelet. We had 6 of the Preciouses and we used 3 in this bracelet. We have the other 3 set aside for another design.

Copper Diamonds, NFS

She's planning to set up a little business selling her buttons (and some beads) online. Until she gets set up, if you'd like to order more buttons like these, just leave a comment and we'll make sure she gets back to you.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Up-Town Cat

A whole week's gone by and all we have to show for it is this one little bracelet. To be fair, we were sick for most of the time and we don't do 'sick' very well. It's because we have so little practice being sick and we're always so surprised and affronted when it happens.

Up-Town Cat

Up-Town Cat is the bracelet that we had started last Wednesday for the WIP on the Needle and Thread Network. We just knew it would be fabulous but what we didn't know was that it would take a few twists and turns on its way.

The focal disk beads are very cunning....beige brown with black yet sort of green, sort of turquoise. The turquoise beads we added last week got discarded in the end, in favour of a more mossy green look.

And the Czechoslovakian cat bead for the closure?
Black glass with gold painted details. Very cool.

Linking up to the Needle and Thread Network.
Go have a look at what other Canadian craftspeople are up to.

~Stay well!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Nothin' like a Sunday drive

The Sunday drive was the highlight of most 1950's families' weeks. It was a chance to get out of the house and we're sure many a housebound mother's sanity was saved by the custom.

Fast forward to 2012 and most of us would rather be boiled in oil. Yesterday, that's pretty much what it felt like. Suffering as we have been for the past few days from some nasty mysterious sore throat affliction with a side order of swollen glands, we still had to drag ourself out of our sick-bed to drive to the airport.

We tried to make the best of it. For instance....and especially for's the amazing solar farm we found not 10 miles from our home (on a route we rarely take). Can you see the giant platforms of panels? It looks vaguely like something from a science fiction movie....some weird invasion of metal aggressors. See the size of them compared to the farmhouse way to the left?

Here's another angle. Behind the farmhouse, you're seeing the bases (from the side) 
with the edge of the panels lying on top.

We have noticed many smaller solar panel set-ups lately but this is by far the largest. We think it's a very good sign for the future.

The other cool thing we found on this day of compulsory travel was this.....

Aren't they sweet? Chinese steamed buns with bean paste filling. So darn cute. We've been trying to figure out how they're made.

Today is dedicated to drinking fluids, popping ibuprofen and sleeping. We think we're over the worst of it.

~ Don't take your good health for granted!

PS.....Is there no end to the fabulous-ness of the internet? Here's a video for making the steamed bun hedgehogs.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

WIP #34 - Just doin' it

We're working today in a one-foot-in-front-of-the-other kind of way. We had the inspiration and now it's time for the perspiration, if you know what we mean.

This will be our next beaded micro macramé bracelet and it will be spectacular when it's done. The beginning is always kind of scary where we choose the beads and let them tell us how they want to be arranged.

The next part is just the doing of it. That's where we are now.

We have the perfect bead for the closure. It's a Czechosolovakian cat bead which you'll have to see to believe.

We drew guide marks on plain white cotton and put it over the cork board so we could visualize where we're going. We don't know why we didn't think of this before. It really helps to know where we are in the length of the bracelet.

When we grow weary of trying to force tiny beads on fraying cords, we switch over to the Corduroy Roads Socks. We have the Ladies' Small size done and now we're working on Ladies' Medium. They're coming along really well, actually. Good mindless knitting. The kind that calms a person down but doesn't make for very stimulating blog material. :(

Works in progress are just that, we guess.....
projects that we're plodding along with. 
There are other Canadian bloggers working on their own projects this Wednesday. 
Why not click on over and have a look?

~ We'll try to have something more exciting next time. We promise!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Getting in on the ground floor

Every once in a while we get a chance to get in at the beginning of something. Other times we catch on a little behind everyone else and have to scramble to catch up.

For instance, we've just caught on to the pleasure that is Downton Abbey. It took a little girl to turn us on to The Hunger Games but we're reading away now so we can converse knowledgeably with her (or pretend to). We missed the boat on Mad Men and now think we're so far behind, it might be useless to try. As far as Mad Men goes though, we lived through that era and we don't really think there is much to recommend it unless you want to celebrate how far we've come. (Pregnant women smoking and drinking and secretaries hanging up their bosses' coats for them and slick, arrogant men in positions of power. Really?)

So, now that we've established how old and out-of-touch we are....ahem!...... 

Remember that party we went to last week? the one for the one-year-old's birthday? Well, the baby's mother....the one who created that party.....has just started a blog of her own. So, this is our chance to get in at the beginning of a good thing. 

Right now, you can get the recipe for the party punch she served and see a really cute mermaid stuffie she made. If enough people show interest, she's promised to do a tutorial on the making of it. Stephanie's a wonderful photographer so we know there'll be plenty of eye candy on that blog, too. And quilting!

Here's the address:   
Click on over and tell her Grandma Coco sent you!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Deeper and deeper

Ever notice how you get into a new hobby and suddenly all kinds of doors open to you? You know. You take up knitting and find yourself wondering about spinning your own wool, for instance. We think when you consider adopting a sheep you might be in too deep but otherwise, exploration is good for the soul.

We've been playing with beads for a while now and recently began to consider the possibility of making our own. Why not? It's the logical next step, right? We tried paper beads but that just didn't grab us and then we found polymer clay. Oh, boy. Inexpensive and readily available. You can cure it (bake it) in a regular oven or even (imagine how much this excites us!) in a solar oven!!!

So, without further adooooooooo...... Here are our first polymer clay beads. They are dainty at 1/2-inch long which is the perfect size and shape for a beaded macramé bracelet. We used black, cherry red, silver and white and the beads that we got are more of a mahogany colour. It seems a big part of the process is: Surprise!! This is what you get.

We also tried a disk shape with the clay and colours more mooshed together. This one is also 1/2-inch in diameter. The pink is a little more pronounced. Pretty, right?

For the record, we don't see sheep in our future 
but we do see more bead-making.

Friday, April 6, 2012

More fun than a barrel of 'em

We thought one monkey might get lonely.

He doesn't look like much without his stuffing 
but once we breathed life into him ...

... he perked right up.

"Hey, you! New guy!"

"Say what?"

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Party!

We went to a party on the weekend and what a party it was!!

It started out with pretty invitations that came through the mail. You know it's going to be special when the invitation comes through Canada Post.

There were pink and white polka dots everywhere! And the food! Not your run-of-the-mill party food by any stretch. There were big, fat strawberries stuffed with cheese cake filling. Sorry, no picture of those. Too slow. :( Cupcakes! And fruit salsa with cinnamon tortilla chips! And a dill pickle cheese spread. And Jelly Bean Bark. There was SO MUCH delicious food. And you know what's really amazing? One woman did it all by herself. Oh, yeah, and that one woman is the mother of a one-year-old (the guest of honour!). We are amazed that she found the time. And we are amazed at how well she pulled it off. She could do this professionally. That's for sure. See for yourself. Here's the party table. There was more stuff on the counter behind us.

And we made cookies, of course. 'Cuz if you're in Grandma Coco's good book, you get cookies on your birthday.

Polka Dot Cookies - Happy 1st Birthday!

And this is what we made for the birthday girl .....

Isn't that just the cutest monkey you ever did see? We can say that because it's not our design we're braggin' on. This knitted monkey was designed by Annita Wilschut and the pattern is available from her Ravelry store. It is extremely well-written and very, very clever. We can't recommend it highly enough.

Now that we've had a day to recover we're linking up to the Needle and Thread Network.

If you'd like to see what other Canadian crafters are up to,
just click on the link.

...who are now
all partied out!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Back to bracelets

We just finished another cuff. We like these cuffs. They're not exactly dainty but they're pretty cool.

This one measures 8 inches long and is about 1 1/2 inches wide. The red disk beads are 3/4 inches in diameter. The 2 faceted black beads that close the bracelet came straight from Czechoslovakia. And we mean straight from Czechosolvakia because these were in the bead stash that we received as gifts. There were only 2 of them and this is exactly what they were meant for, don't you think?

And, in case, you're wondering, the light-coloured beads are grey. They make a more muted look than white would but the whole bracelet is still very dramatic, we think.

Don't you think they'd be right at home at a dinner at Downton Abbey? (our new fascination) or on board the Titanic?

~ Bidding you a beady good day!

We're not sure what to say

Over a week ago now we received a Versatile Blogger award from our friend, Monika.

We are honoured.

We think.

It's taken us all this time to figure out what to say. We are honoured. That's for sure. And grateful. But a little puzzled, too, because to be honest, isn't versatility in a blog just another way of saying it lacks focus? A sign of possible ADHD?

The blogs we follow are almost entirely the work of people who are truly passionate about a subject. One subject. They stick to that one topic and they do it well. We wish we could do the same. It seems life would be much less chaotic.

We, on the other hand, are dabblers and dilettantes of the first order. We fiddle with this and we fiddle with that. We're not really experts at anything. You know the phrase "Jack of all trades and master of none". Well, that's us.

Too bad there isn't a 12-step program for us.

"Hello, my name is Grandma Coco and I'm a flibbertygibbet." 

~  PS...... Thanks, Monika!