Knitting for a niece (or a nephew?) : W.I.P. Wednesday

I’m very excited about being “Auntie Shellyfish” again (wee!), and thought I would put some of these new knitting needles to use for my future niece or nephew…though I’m sure the baby is a girl.  Don’t ask me why, just a hunch.

I got my first stitches cast on to make this sweet little hat.  I’m limited to using the yarn in my little stash, but wish I could use more vivid colours.  I’ve got more white and lilac baby yarn that I used for this scarf, and it should look sweet.  That yarn is so very soft, it’s a shame I don’t have more of it.

I’m also hoping to make these little booties because they are just so cute!  I love baby feet so much – baby toes are perhaps the cutest thing in the world, they must be protected! The pattern seems pretty easy (read : I can figure it out) so if I have enough yarn left over after the little beanie I’ll give it a go.

I’d have liked to use the blue pictured above for both the hat and the booties, but over the holidays Sam somehow managed to make his way into my workshop and he took out his frustration of being left at home on everything he found.  I was a bit heart-broken because he gnarled up 5 skeins of baby yarn I’d been saving.  More than gnarled up – they were stinky, too – so I had to trash them.  He also ate a few gifts I’d just finished making, which was a very heavy lesson in impermanence and in the absolute fleeting nature of the universe.  Sigh.

Have you had any of your works of love destroyed by a small child or pet?  I’m sure you have!

Do you have any new W.I.P.s in the works? We would love to see what you’re up to! Snap a shot of your  “in progress” masterpiece and add it to the  W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool. Whatever your works-in-progress, have a crafty week, and don’t forget to see what the other Wipsters are working on.

W.I.P. Wednesday : Needles…

My MIL was quite the fibre artiste in her day, though since I’ve known her she’s had too much pain in her hands to do much crochet or knitting.  Today she gave me these…

Mostly crochet hooks…so now I really have no excuse.  I need to get cracking on the crochet!  You may be wondering why the aforementioned MIL doesn’t teach me how to crochet.  She’ll be the first to tell you she just can’t do it.  She has no patience at all.  She tried to show me how to knit, and the lesson lasted 5 minutes, however, when my SIL taught me, I learned in 5 minutes.  Some people are born teachers, others, well, not so much.

Thanks for all your answers concerning last week’s question about how much yarn one should buy…I so appreciate it, and I know there are lurkers who are thankful, too!

Do you have any new W.I.P.s in the works? We would love to see what you’re up to! Snap a shot of your  “in progress” masterpiece and add it to the  W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool. Whatever your works-in-progress, have a crafty week, and don’t forget to see what the other Wipsters are working on.

W.I.P. Wednesday : More Knitting…

I finished up last week’s scarves, and started up this one which I’m hoping will be part of a scarf and mitten set.  The last scarf I finished had such thin yarn that this stuff feels so bulky, even though I’m only using 6mm needles – funny how everything is relative.  This yarn was a score from the outdoor market where we used to live; they were selling discontinued styles in bundles of six skeins.  Wish I’d have bought up more!  I love it, but it is a little more scratchy than the pink and white.

Hey, experienced knitters/crochet artists out there – how much yarn to you buy when you see some you love but have no real project in mind?  A few skeins?

Do you have any new W.I.P.s in the works? We would love to see what you’re up to! Snap a shot of your  “in progress” masterpiece and add it to the  W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool. Whatever your works-in-progress, have a crafty week, and don’t forget to see what the other Wipsters are working on.

W.I.P. Wednesday : Finishing Up Scarves…

A short post to show you what projects I’m trying to finish up…

a bit girly, non?

This one came together really quickly, but I had just a bit more to add to make it long enough.  I have this thing with short scarves, I don’t know what it is, but they drive me crazy.  If it’s not long enough for me to wrap it around my neck at least once with one end over each shoulder, it’s just too short.

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with this scarf since I started it back in October.  I love the super-soft baby weight acrylic yarn, it’s like a little puffy cloud of sweetness.  I bought a big bag of 6 skeins when it was on clearance last year, and I now wish I’d have bought more it’s so lovely.

Can you see the mistake?

Anyway, the yarn is fantastic, but it’s so thin, and using the 4mm needles does take a long time.  The other frustration was when the needles were pulled out – much harder to slip them back in than when using 8s or 10s!  I’ve put it away twice to do other things, but need to get it done as it was supposed to be a holiday gift for one of my nieces, but is obviously still not ready.  I hope to finish it up by this weekend.

Do you have trouble finishing up your started and almost done projects?  It’s so funny, but the closer I am to completing the craft, the slower going it seems to be.  Must be because the challenge is over…



W.I.P. Wednesday : Knitting in the round, kinda.

Feeling a little knitting frustration this week, though I’m sure I’ll work my way through it. Going through the outdoor market last week I finally got my hands on a pair of circular knitting needles, and was all set to get to work on the beehive beanie. However, I need help! I am having one heck of a time trying to get these needles to work with me, or to learn to work with the needles.  This is one of  the many times in my knitting apprenticeship where I know the help of an experienced knitter would be so helpful.

Those of you familiar with circular needles may be nodding your heads with a knowing smile on your faces as I roll my eyes to the sky in frustration.  I can cast on my stitches with no problem, and joining in the round was no problem, either, but keeping my stitches from twisting seems a real problem, not to mention that things just don’t seem to be going very smoothly. Grr.

The good news is that I found this great video which taught me how to do a “long tail cast-on”.  It’s really clear and helped me so much, so I wanted to share it with you!

After casting on my stitches, I found myself completely perplexed when I actually tried knitting with these unruly things. After a few moments of frustration, I decided to try to find some help on using circular needles. This article helped me quite a bit as did this one with more ample photos (I’m such a visual learner!).  I’m not sure if I can describe it very well, but I keep ending up with more and more “play” (not a technical term!) with the yarn between the two needles (and no, I’m not losing stitches).

I’m guessing a bit more practice with these new needles will help me tame them, but if anyone out there has any advice, I’d sure love to hear it!

Do you have any new W.I.P.s in the works? We would love to see what you’re up to! Snap a shot of your  “in progress” masterpiece and add it to the  W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool. Whatever your works-in-progress, have a crafty week, and don’t forget to see what the other Wipsters are working on.

W.I.P. Wednesday : The Mad Hatter

It’s all about the hats, kids.

As I mentioned here I really want to try to make this adorable beehive bonnet, but that would require some circular knitting needles and I haven’t got any.  I’m sure they aren’t very expensive, but the only mercantile in town that sells them has been closed for the past two weeks for renovation! The frustration!

In the mean time, I was able to find a super-duper easy pattern in my beginner’s book I showed you here that comes together really quickly and just needs to be grafted/sewn together. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

So far I’ve only made these two : a tiny one I just sort of improvised hoping to make a small-enough one for my toddler niece, and a smaller but not too small version for a skull cap for Guppy.  I know I’ve been pretty lucky, because futzing with a pattern when you have no idea what you’re doing is probably not the greatest idea.  I’m still hoping to snag me a pair of circular needles, but this is fun for now.

And guess what I learned to do today? I’m purling! The excitement! The joy!

Do you have any new W.I.P.s in the works? We would love to see what you’re up to! Snap a shot of your  “in progress” masterpiece and add it to the  W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool. Whatever your works-in-progress, have a crafty week, and don’t forget to see what the other Wipsters are working on.

Fiber Arts Friday : My first scarf is done!

I’m happy to say that I was able to take advantage of a rather icky situation today and had the opportunity to finish my very first scarf.  I began working on this, my first real attempt at knitting, a few weeks ago, but never really had more than a few minutes to work on it.

Papa’s scarf, modeled by Guppy who is biting her lip to keep from laughing. Not at the scarf, just because I’ve wrapped her up like a baboucshka.

This is the most basic project there is I suppose : a scarf in point de mousse or knit stitch, but I feel really excited.  If I can do this, well, I do believe I can do other things.

Windycityvegan pointed me to this adorable beehive bonnet, and now I’m just yearning for circular needles so that I can make matching hats for Guppy, Monsieur Fish and I, because really, how crazy cute would we be then?

This is my first Fiber Arts Friday, a little something I stumbled upon over at Wisdom Begins In Wonder.  I do think that the term “fiber arts” is a bit extravagant for my little scarf (well, big, it’s over 2 meters as Monsier F didn’t wanted a custom job), but it’s fun to get my toes wet a bit with this knitting!

W.I.P. Wednesday : Knitting 101

I’m finally learning to knit.  I figured now that it’s reaching 22°c and 25°c outside it’s just perfect scarf-knitting weather…

Obviously I’m joking, but I am finally getting the hang of it. The problem is I’m such a visual learner – had I found someone to sit down with me and show me what to do, I’d have learned a long time ago I suppose.  I gave it a go a few weeks ago, but skipped so many stitches I pulled it all out and am giving it another go.  Hopefully I’ll get it done before too long!

(The grey scarf I’m knitting is behind the book!)

This book has really helped me. I had another one, but it wasn’t as geared towards “true” beginners as this one is. It’s got lots of diagrams and pictures, so that works for me.

I guess I’ll try to work in a few stitches between packing boxes next week as I’ll have a full week’s vacation. Happyfish.

A warm welcome to all our new Wipsters! If you’d like to join the Wipster list, just leave a comment and let me know. The W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool just keeps growing – don’t be shy! Those photos are there to inspire, and we would love to see what you’ve been up to. Think of it as your parents’ fridge : a safe and loving place to highlight what you’ve been working on (without the strawberry jam stains on the door).


W.I.P. Wednesday : Meet September’s Featured Wipster, Michelle


Happy September everyone! I love this time of year : crisp, bright mornings, bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils, carefully laid-out clothes for the first day of school…and especially all the crafty projects the autumn and the fast approaching winter holidays promise to inspire.

After a brief summer break, I’m truly happy to ring in the new school year (well, for the Northern Hemisphere anyway!) by presenting our September Featured Wipster, Michelle, who blogs at Living Slowly. Her beautiful contributions to the W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr group caught my eye, and I just had to share her talents with everyone! Here’s a little about Michelle, in her own words:

I think the desire to create runs in my family. My grandfather was a very talented carpenter and my mother spent much of my childhood sewing and crocheting things for my siblings and me.

beachblanket3Recycled Patchwork Beach Blanket

For me, creating art and crafting has been something I have enjoyed my entire life. Even in elementary school, art was my favorite class. I fondly remember walking through the isles of the storage room in my art class looking at all the supplies and being excited by the endless possibilities of what they could become.

I learned to hand sew as a Girl Scout Brownie and learned to use a sewing machine in middle school Home Economics class. To my amazement, I remembered the skills I learned as a girl when I returned to sewing many years later in college.

I don’t really recall what prompted my urge to learn knitting five years ago, but once I figured it out I was addicted. Knitting is so meditative and very calming for my mind which always seems to be going in too many directions at once. Knitting is my therapy.


As unoriginal as it may sound, my biggest source of inspiration truly has been my children. Crafting has taken on a new meaning since they were born. Being able to give them items that I have made by hand and filled with love brings me so much joy. Now that my son is talking, I can hear first hand his excitement when I give him something I made. That certainly fuels my desire to make crafting a daily part of our lives and to share my love of art with them.
5 Fun Facts About Michelle:

1) My first (and only so far) bungee jumping experience was in Queenstown, New Zealand. I jumped off the The Kawarau Bridge. It was the biggest adrenaline rush ever and I would love to do it again some day.
2) I have two tattoos. I have an ouroboros on my inner right wrist and Lola Bunny (Bugs Bunny’s girlfriend in the movie Space Jam) on my lower back.
3) I am the second oldest of six kids. I have three younger sisters and two brothers. I love being part of a big family.
4) Reading is a hobby I have always enjoyed, but since having kids have had little time for. As a child, The Little House series was my favorite. I wanted to be Laura Ingalls so badly. My most recent read was the Twilight series and loved it. Team Edward for me!
5) I graduated from The Rhode Island School of Design with a B.F.A. in Graphic Design. Attending R.I.S.D. was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The school is so full of creative energy. If could be a permanent college student, I certainly would. Being able to spend my day throwing pots, playing with the letterpress machine, painting, sewing and photographing it all sounds like heaven.

Thanks so much to Michelle for taking the time to hang out with us at the Fishbowl! Do you have a favourite creative blogger you’d like to see featured next month? Remember, whatever your medium, we would love to see what you’re up to.

Do you have any new W.I.P.s in the works for Autumn, or even, gasp!,  the holidays? We would love to see what you’re up to! Snap a shot of your “in progress” masterpiece and add it to the  W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool. Whatever your works-in-progress, have a crafty week, and don’t forget to see what the other Wipsters are working on.


W.I.P. Wednesday : Craftivism, The Mother Bear Project, Collaborating & Finished W.I.P.s


Happy Wednesday! First off I’d like to share my finished W.I.P.s :


On the left is the very cute Easter Rabbit pattern I tested for the very talented Tacha. He is adorable, a fun sewing project and a wonderful gift idea for all the little bunnies in your life. She’ll have the pattern for sale in her Etsy shop soon, and while you’re there, check out her “Animal Friends” fabric book patterns. They are really cute and fun to make! What you don’t see in the picture (uh, because I forgot to snap it!) is that he has a zippered-back and you can stow sweets and surprises in his tummy! Guppy was a little frustrated that it was going in a package and traveling far away…little does she know that if I’d managed to keep it a secret it was going to be for her!

In the middle is the finished my most recent Black Apple doll. I made the legs and arms extra long because they are easier to grasp with baby-hands. I like this pattern, but I keep changing it each time I use it. I just need to draft my own pattern I guess!

On the right is the first stuffed animal/doll I ever had – a “Three Little Pigs” cloth storybook is under his vest. I’ve had that on my shelf since Guppy was born, and it’s got me thinking recently : how fun would that be? To make a cloth doll and have a quilted two or three page story built into her body or clothes? I need to give this more thought…it’s like an “Idea In Progress”.

Have you gotten started on this month’s Stitch-Along? I’ve traced the pattern onto some fabric, but haven’t gotten much further than that. I chose a cream-coloured cotton twill for the embroidered part, but I’m not sure what I want to use for the backing fabric. Time to raid the stash. I’d like to give these to Guppy so I’m having to work on the sly…not always easy in a tiny apartment!

Since I’ve got you’re attention I’d like to share this Craftivism opportunity with you! I know many of you are masters of the knitting and crochet world. I hope to someday join you, but for now, I’m just watching from the sidelines…


Anyway, I read about The Mother Bear Project on WhipUp, and it sounds like such an amazing project I just had to give them a mention here. This non-profit based in the U.S. provides crocheted and knitted bears to children in emerging countries who have been affected by HIV/AIDS. To some it might not seem like much, but I think that giving some handmade love to a child, showing them you care and that they do matter even if they are strangers, well, it’s the bee’s knees.

You can also read a very touching story (your eyes will get misty at the end) about a kick-ass woman named Phyllis Schmidt who has knit 100 bears for the project, and has started her second batch of 100. Oh, did I mention Ms. Schmidt is 93 years-old? I hope I am that cool when I hit my 90s.

There’s also a handful of Mother Bear Project knitting groups in the U.S. to check out, but even if you don’t knit, there are other ways you can help (donating materials, money, etc.), so get to it people!

Do you have any other links or stories about Craftivism opportunities? Let me know, I’d be happy to post them here. Have a creative week, and be sure to check in with the other Wipsters and our W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Group for more inspiration!