Wednesday, November 28, 2007

No kidding!

I'm working on another sweater for my spring collection and thought I'd try out O-Wool Classic which I got from Ariadne Knits. The stuff is not all that exciting to knit with but what happens when you block it is pure magic!

See for yourself in the photo below: on the left is a swatch after a nice relaxing soak in a Eucalan bath for about 15 minutes. On the right, two sad little sleevies awaiting their turn in the sink ;0)

Not impessive enough? Check out what happens to the cables below. Can you guess which was soaked?

Nice, eh? I'm totally enamoured with this yarn. Plus it's organic and the 100% merino content is oh so soft. Double plus, the yardage is amazing! Can't wait to get my hands on some more. I have a feeling this one is about to become a staple around here. Here's a preview of my latest design using less than two skeins of this wonderful yarn.

Its another lap-shouldered sweater (because I think that's just the cleverest idea I've ever had!) with a quirky modern aran touch. I call it Get Ziggy. He's getting the spa treatment right now but I'm hoping to show it to you in all its (hopeful glory) next time.

But now, time for the final installment of my holiday gift idea meme: Dada's favourite things! If you are shopping for an almost 30, absolutely loveable, and self-admittedly geeky gamer, here's a list for you ;0)

Top row: The West Wing Complete Series DVD Collection ( we both loved this really smart show plus it has sentimental value for us since before we were married and living together, Stephen would drive up to my apartment to watch it with me on Wednesday nights...good times ;0), the Squirrel and Oak mittens I knit for him (they made his top 9 gifts of all time list! Oh, how I heart that man!), and lastly, the Nintendo Wii (I don't think I have to qualify that one -- it's a Nintendo people!).

Middle row: The Orange Box (you'll have to excuse me because I'm not a gamer so I don't know why it's sooo cool but apparently it is!), Old Navy performance fleece sweaters (they rock and he's always snuggled up in one which usually means I'm snuggled up with him too because I can't resist my warm and cozy man!), and finally the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy.

Bottom row: Zelda Twilight Princess game for Wii (he really enjoyed this one and I got to knit a lot while watching him play. Bonus, the music is cute ;0), Office Space (a classic for anyone who's ever worked in a cube farm like us), and lastly tunes in general but he and the Barenaked Ladies go way back!

So that's it for my family's favourite things. Hope it gave you a few ideas ;0) Wanna play holiday gift idea meme? Just write about your family's tried and tested favourite things and let me know if you do so I can get some ideas too!


Monday, November 26, 2007

My favourite things...

...and a sneak preview of what I've been working on for my first line of knitting patterns for wee ones set to debut this Spring over at Jujube & Lolo.

I couldn't figure out what to name this one but inspiration struck dada over lunch this weekend and it became Hickory Dickory Dot (oh that clever, clever man ;0). I wanted to come up with a design that featured lap shoulders. I've never seen a knitting pattern with lap shoulders before but seeing as they work wonderfully for baby onesies, I figured why not work them on knits too? And so I did ;0) I love the little polka dot pocket too. It's so much fun and then to top it all off, a knitted toy mouse because what baby wouldn't love to wear a sweater with built-in toy?

The pattern will be available from Jujube & Lolo on March 1st but if any of you would like to knit one of these puppies now, I am looking for 5 or 6 test knitters. Just send me an email at annypurls{at}hotmail{dot}com if you are interested and let me know what size you'd like to test. I'm planning on writing up the pattern in sizes 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, and 18 months. {Thanks for your enthusiastic response! I already have all the test knitters I need for this one. Cheers!}

And now for my favourite knitting things as part of my holiday gift idea meme.

Top row: Knitting project and notion bags from Piddleloop (it's made for sock knitting but I find it to be just the right size for holding a baby project in progress. It has a clever rivet on one side through which you can feed your working yarn to keep the ball safe from baby hands - love that!), MeiMei bamboo knitting needles which you can get for a steal on ebay (I got a set of 40" circs in every size for about $30!!! They are made of bamboo and the 'wires' are clear plastic tubes which are very flexible. I've been using these exclusively for months and even got a set of DPNs to match because I love them so much), Victorinox Swiss Army card which is not made specifically for knitters but might as well be! Useful knitter on the go features include a ruler in both centimeters and inches, a nail file, scissors, a pen, and more! Keep one in your wallet and you always have some emergency notions on hand ;0)

Middle row: Clover knitting notions (I love the spring loaded measuring tape, locking stitch markers, kacha kacha counter and chibi bent tapestry needles), The Best of Vogue Knitting book which brings together 25 years of magazine articles from legends like EZ and Meg Swansen covering everything from techniques to literature, to types of sleeves and yarn info. Each article is short and sweet and makes perfect bedside reading ;0), the Chart Keeper from KnitPicks is pure genius. It's magenetic! You just place your chart on it using the magnets provided and use one of the long magnets to mark the row your on. Need to put it away quick? Just close it and put it in your knitting bag until you are ready to pick it up again and you'll never lose your place again - love!)

Bottom row: Knit Stick Sack (great way to organize all your circular needles and extra bonus: the pick one helps raise funds for breast cancer research), ipod nano (need I say more? it fits in your notions bag and provides tunes or knitting podcasts to enjoy while you knit ;0), stretch markers from Orinda5 (made with superthin elastic these will mark your place without stretching out your stitches the way metal or plastic markers can - brilliant!).

Wanna play the holiday gift idea meme? Just write about your family's favourite things and indicate the person's age. Tell me about it if you do as I am always looking for nifty gift ideas ;0)

Happy knitting!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Logan's favourite things - a holiday meme part two

As promised, today is all about my little Lolo's favourite things. But first, a HUGE thank you goes out to everyone who jumped onto the Peace Baby bandwagon and to Whip Up and the Yarn Harlot who helped me spread the word. I am totally inspired by just how much was raised to date for the tremendous works of Doctors Without Borders all over the world. This is what the tally on the Peace Baby page looks like tonight...

Isn't that incredible! I am pleased as punch and can't wait to see little peace babies pop up everywhere as nearly 300 of you got the pattern so far! For anyone who might be interested in getting it as a kit, Bella Knitting will be offering the pattern and yarn for it on their new site which will launch shortly (I'll let you know when) and will donate proceeds of the pattern and yarn sale to the cause as well so it's an even bigger charitable bang for your buck. Here's a sample I just knit for Bella out of Cascade Pima Cotton (because we love wash and wear natural fibers for baby ;0)

And now, back to the little guy who inspired the whole thing. My little Lolo is 8 months old already and for anyone who is shopping for a baby this holiday season, I thought I'd share his tried and true very favourite things as part 2 of my home grown meme. So without further ado...

Top row: Skwish rattle (this one is actually put together with bungee cord and is really fun to skwish and enjoy the bounce back action. It is also very light and easy to grasp and was the first rattle both my boys were able to handle. The little wooden balls rattle ever so softly - like a little chime. Love it!), Weebles Storybook Castle (the first toy my 2 year old and 8 month old can play together! Lolo likes to make the moat go round and round and of course put the weebles in his mouth. They're big enough that I don't have to worry. Julian's been enjoying playing with it since he got it for Christmas last year), and board books in general but Billy Bunny by Maurice Pledger is a favourite first book in our house. Every page has a tactile component and it is an oversized board book which is pretty neat...this one appears to be on sale for $1 right now, just click on the link if interested ;0).

Middle row: Rainforest Jumperoo by Fisherprice (just like the good old Jolly Jumper with bonus toys, music and a height adjustable seat. Lolo looooves this one and has been jumpin' away since he was abut 3 months old. Great play station ;0), a silicone whisk (also a favourite of his older brother. Hours of entertainment and the only drawback is that I can never find it when I need it for pancakes!), and the Busy Ball Popper (this one is noisy, but giggles are practically guaranteed. The balls fly around to the beat of the music which is just a riot for wee ones!)

Bottom row: Kaloo Doudou Bunny (a favourite snuggly since he was a wee wee one ;0), Infantino Pail Pets (these were originally Julian's and they've been loved with the same fervour by both boys. One crinkles, one rattles, one squeaks. They stack, make great hats and carry other toys. Love, love, love - actually everything by Infantino is great!), and finally a wooden Haba rattle (these are such good quality wooden rattles in the most fetching colours. We have several different ones and Lolo really loves them. I prefer wooden non-toxic teethers to those scary plastic ones with mystery liquid inside! They're a bit on the pricey side but are totally heirloom quality - I'm saving them for the grandkids! - and make great gifts).

Wanna play my holiday gift idea meme. It's simple, just put together a little list of the things you and your family loves and include their ages. If you do it, let me know so I can check out your list and get some gift ideas too ;0)

Next up, my favourite things...and there'll probably be more than 9!


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Jujube's favourite things - a holiday meme!

Another day, another pair of mittens! I just can't stop making them. They're so fun to knit, they use up odd balls from the stash, and they warm up my peeps! Here's a pair for my Jubilee Bubilee.

They're the target wave mittens from Norah Gaughan's Knitting Nature. I knit the medium size at a tighter gauge of 6 sts to the inch on US 6/4.0mm needles and ended up with a 3 year old size. Perfect! The yarn is Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool in red and cream. I even made a string by making a crochet chain with two (super long) lengths of yarn. Easy peasy ;0)

And in the holiday spirit these inspire. I thought of a holiday gift idea meme. It's simple, just put together a little list of the things you and your family loves and include their ages. If you do it, let me know so I can check out your list and get some gift ideas too ;0)

Here are some of Julian's favourite things (he's two and a half years old)!

Top row: Crocodile Creek Barnyard Puzzle (I love their stuff too because they come in sturdy storage cases with handles - we have the dominoes and memory game too!), Alligator Pie book of silly poems by Dennis Lee (published in 1974, it's a classic we all enjoy ;0), Imaginarium wooden blocks (Julian plays with these hours on end every day since he got them at age 1 and a half - they're simply a must have!).

Middle row: Super Makit Toy (retro building set that comes in its own storage box - love that! Bonus: dada loves to play with these too ;0), Mobi Tykelight Buddy (a portable night light that charges magnetically so totally child friendly - he used to carry this with him over to our room at night and light his own way), Balancing Cactus (a cool educational game where you take turns adding pieces trying to balance the weight - Julian likes to make really tall cacti and make pretend ice cream cones with it too!)

Bottom row: Home depot power tools set (we got these for him on his 2nd birthday. He plays with them everyday and often takes the hammer and saw to bed with him!), Ikea Lillabo train set (another favourite and at $20 for the whole kit immeasurably more affordable than Thomas the Train set at a comparable quality - I just noticed they now have expansion packs for this set!), Learning Tower (really expensive but has made meal prep time so much more enjoyable for both of us. It's set up at the end of our counter where I prep our meals and give him important sous-chef jobs to help. It's really stable, safe and he can get in and out of it by himself. It's also height adjustable as he grows!)

Next week: Lolo's favourite things (ideas for babies 8 months and under), dada's favourite things (for the almost 30 year old geek in your life), and my favourite things too (for the almost 30 year old mama and knitter ;0)


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rocking mittens and a fishy miracle

First, the knitting: I am over the moon giddy in love with my new Herringbone Mittens. The pattern is from the delightful Elliphantom and these puppies are pure genius! I've never encountered this thumb construction before, but I have to tell you that these are the comfiest and most natural fitting mittens I've ever made. And I la-la-la-la-love them ;0)

I wasn't sure about the poms at first and wasn't going to make them until I came across the instruction to "respect the Pom" on the second page of the pattern. So I did! I used Kate Gilbert's pompom instructions (the pattern links to them) which were really straight forward and resulted in nice'n'easy fluffy pompoms.

Aren't they glorious? They're just so fun and retro and I know anyone who sees these will want me to knit them a pair so I'll have to be very careful about showing them to non-knitters. Who could resist? I sure couldn't ;0)

And now for the sad part of this post, Julian's beloved pet goldfish, Nanapopo died yesterday. She really fought it to the end though. After being dead dead on Sunday morning, she came back to life Saturday night and lived through until yesterday! No kidding!

Stephen was the first to notice that she was belly up and totally still in her aquarium on Saturday morning. It was really sad actually because we had just proclaimed that it was upside down day since we were going to give the kids a bath first thing in the morning and then would go for a drive to the city to have breakfast with Grandma and Grandpa and cousin Kristen who was in town visiting colleges.

Nana and Popo in their new digs on Julian's first birthday.
Popo died a few days later and Nana became Nanapopo ;0)

So when Julian saw Nanapopo in this state, he thought she was playing upside down day too. Heart-breaking, isn't it? Well Stephen and I didn't have they heart to explain what this meant to Julian so we went along with the upside-down day thing too, got ready and left for the day.

When we returned to Julian's room, at bedtime, Nanapopo was still floating belly up, but then I noticed that she was moving. We thought it must be the filter pushing her around, but it really looked like she was swimming upside down. We went to get a closer look and not only was she swimming, but her gills were moving as were her eyes and mouth! Freaky, eh?

We gave her some fresh water and food and she was feeding! Though still upside down. She lived through the night and all day Sunday though she couldn't seem to get herself right side up again. And then yesterday, she couldn't hold on anymore. And died. Again. We think.

Isn't that the most amazing thing you've ever heard? Now we need to figure out whether we should just replace her or tell Julian that she died? He's not quite 2 and a half. What do you think?

I'd love to get your advice ...

Monday, November 12, 2007

It's mitten time!

It's cold! Really cold! I'm talking raid- the- stash -for -mitten- yarn- and- cast- on- quick- cold! Presenting hot off the needles Squirrel & Oak mittens by the brilliant Adrian of Hello Yarn. I knit them using 2 balls of leftover Lett-Lopi in ash gray and brown heather and a US6/4.00mm circ for loopy magic.

They were a pure pleasure to knit. And quick too! I knit these in a day and a half - and I'm not talking exclusive knitting either. I'm talking nap time and every chance I get between nursing, feeding and changing Lolo and playing monkey gears with Jujube.

I think they are my favourite mittens ever and I'm almost sorry I already promised them to my husband. Almost! But the grin I got when he saw them for the first time made me feel really good about giving them away -- there were dimples and everything! I'm just happy they're going to warm up the hands of someone who can appreciate their wooly wonderfulness ;0)

I'd love to make a matching pair for Julian (how cute would that be?) though I'm not sure what kind of yarn would have the right gauge to resize these for a toddler. Would fingering yarn be thin enough? I have loads of Knit Picks Palette in the stash. Hmmmmm?! I'll have to investigate that later.

And now for something completely different: Peace, Baby!

Thank you so much to everyone who downloaded the pattern and contributed to Doctors Without Borders. We've raised $375 so far and I am feeling really good about that!

If you haven't done so yet, you can get the pattern from my new website at:

Thanks for all the nice comments about the new site too. Dada and I worked on it after the kids were asleep almost every night for weeks since we've never done anything like it and there sure was a lot to learn. It was really fun to see Stephen put his technological prowess to quasi-fibery use turning my ideas into an actual site with pages and counters and everything (see what I mean about how he deserves the mittens)!

I'll keep you posted on future developments leading up to the launch of my first line of knitting patterns for wee ones this Spring, but if you want to be sure not to miss a thing, you can sign up for the Jujube & Lolo mailing list by entering your email address at the bottom of the home page at:

Happy knitting!


Monday, November 05, 2007

Give a little peace!

I just put the finishing touches on my Peace Baby pattern and can't wait to share it with you. You'll remember it as my keyhole pullover and beanie with a cause ;0)

As promised, the pattern is available as an instant download in sizes to fit a newborn all the way up to preschooler and is yours free with any donation to support the tremendous work of Doctors Without Borders in refugee camps all over the world.

Get it here from my new cozy little corner of cyberspace (way more on that next time ;0)

Peace to you and yours!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Trick or treat....

...smell my feet, give me something good to eat, not too big, not too small, just the size of Montreal!

It all started in early September when we happened to be at Old Navy when they put out their halloween costumes (that place has the greatest costumes remember this one, and this one - love that place). It was late and julian was a zombie in the stroller and anxious to go home so in retrospect it probably wasn't the best time to introduce the concept of a costume. We thought we'd let him pick, but he was cranky and tired and didn't want any of it so dada and I picked them out and brought them home.

The next morning, while we were having breakfast, I excitedly remembered the costumes in the bag by the door and went to get the fireman costume to show it to him. The look on his face was of total shock and horror and he burst into tears and started pushing the costume back in the bag. He really didn't want to wear it. Heck, he didn't even want to look at it and quite frankly didn't understand why we brought it home from the store. That's when we knew it would be a hard sell ;0)

So we've been building up the costume since, trying to make it cool little by little. First it was all about how much fun it it to pretend and wear costumes -- it's just like on the Backyardigans! Then it was about how cool firemen are and how they spray water from hoses. Then grandma brought some books about firemen from he class (she teaches first grade). And this week it was all of the above everyday! And it worked because as soon as he woke up this morning and told him it was actually today, he couldn't wait to get on his get up :0)

Grandma and grampa came over for supper and to man the fort and give out our candy while we went trick or treating with our neighbours and their kids. Julian was so delighted, the sheer look of joy on his face was so heart-warming as he came down the steps with his bag of candy. I don't even think it was about the candy for him (he didn't even ask for any), it was about the decorations and walking around outside at night with his friends Patrick and Emily!

We hadn't gone half a block when what do we see at the corner of the street but a firetruck with real life firemen! They noticed Julian right away and came over to talk to him about how great his costume was and about how he had good boots to put out fires. They noticed his hat had a fire chief symbol on it and told him how special that was. They let him see their helmets. And then they even let him stand on the truck! It was the perfect ending to a perfect evening.

And what a bout Lolo? Well he didn't mind his hotdog costume at all so it took less convincing ;0)

Next time: Peace Baby, Baby! Dada needs another weekend to finish the site to host it and I need to go over the pattern a few more times...I don't want any errata in there. But Monday November 5th it is ;0)