Unicorn tails and hexipuffs

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When I first found out about the existence of MadTosh’s unicorn tail mini skeins, I knew that if I ever found myself in the same room as them, I would be in trouble. I can’t help myself around tiny cute things, and tiny cute yarn is even worse. Squishy, soft, beautiful MadTosh yarn wound in tiny little skeins in a multitude of colors? Yes, please. Never mind that they are a bit unpractical for the price… when did practical ever really factor into yarn shopping? (I’m trying to work on that, I really, really am.) For little pops of color, they really are a wee bit of fun.

When I found a giant box of them at the yarn store during the Boxing Day sale, I couldn’t help myself. It took much self restraint to limit myself to only four tails. During a sale, something clicks on in your brain that says, “Buy more! Think of all your saving! You deserve it for how shopping savvy you are.” And just look how cute they look wound up in little cakes!

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I think I may be able to squeeze 3-4 hexipuffs out of each mini skein, working in stripes and spots, and whatever fun combinations I feel like at the moment. I love the idea of using these hexipuffs to give me little pops of crazy, spunky, bright color scattered throughout my beekeeper quilt (when it gets finished approximately 12.63 years from now at the pace I’m working at).

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I moved!

Stitched Up in Toronto has a new home at it’s very own domain: stitcheduptoronto.com! Unfortunately, if you follow me on Bloglovin, this means you have to subscribe to the new address, so please click this link to follow Stitched Up. Thanks!

Things should mostly be up and running, but I’m still learning about all the different options moving off of Blogger provides (it’s a steep learning curve, man!) If you find something that doesn’t look quite right or a broken link, please let me know.

In the mean time, I hope you enjoy the new space.

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A challenge

It looks a bit like this out today (it’s colder and windier in person)…

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I think my knitting basket and I will enjoy these last couple of days of break together. I’m working on two sweaters and my January socks for the monthly sock challenge. Lots to keep me busy and warm.

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This upcoming semester is going to be a busy one. I’m the teaching assistant for two different courses, one I’ve never taught before, plus I’m taking the last course I need to fulfill the requirements for my degree. Add to that an important meeting where I have to present to my committee members what I’ve accomplished in the past year and the research plans for the year ahead. And, of course, actually getting some work done in the lab to hopefully get a manuscript or two out this summer.

It’ll be a full one that may not leave as much time for knitting as I’d like. But when all the craziness of working towards my Ph.D. gets to me, knitting helps keep me sane. At the very least, I’ll always have my commuting time to sneak some knitting time in everyday. And although work may keep me busy this semester, I still have lots planned for knitting. I’m joining Emily at Snapdragon Crafts in the Love Your Library challenge to use patterns I have collected over time instead of giving into the temptation to buy more (and more and more). I’ve picked out more than a few great patterns that will also use up lots of my stash yarn over the next few months.

 

 

2014: A year in knitting

From left to right: Prairie Spring socks, Belgravia in Summer, Business Casual socks

From top left: Pluie cardigan, November socks, Featherweight raglan
From bottom left: Courtyard beanie, Chevron Delight infinity scarf, Seaglass socks
This is just a handful of my favorite projects completed in the past year, because I find myself enamored of almost everything I made this year. (For a more complete list of all my projects this year, you can find more on my finished projects page.) This year saw 13 pairs of socks, 3 hats, 4 scarves, 10 sweaters/tops, and 1 wee baby sweater completed. Into 2015, I’m bring three projects on the needles. And I look forward to completing them and many more. 
And 2014 saw the beginning and growth of this blog, which I have loved building. It challenges me to grow and push myself in many aspects of my life, not just knitting. And it allows me to connect with all of you, who bring me happiness, companionship, and inspire me greatly. To all of you, I say thank you and wish you all a beautiful and bright 2015. Happy New Year!


Christmas gifts

Now that Christmas is past and everyone has received their goodies, I can share the finished items I made for gifts this year.

Project: Miss Cosmic Wonder
Pattern: Miss Winkle by Martina Behm
Yarn: MadTosh Merino Light in Cosmic Wonder
This was a gift for my sister, who is an artist at heart. I thought she would like the graffiti-like coloring of the MadTosh light (I know I love these splatter-dyed yarns). She lives in Austin, TX, so things don’t get too very cold for her. I though a squishy garter stitch scarf would be good for her – something she could get use out of when it’s cooler. And the loopy border makes the scarf interesting and funky, so it would make a nice accessory to wear to the office, as well.
Project: Song of the Sea scarf
Pattern: Song of the Sea by Louise Zass-Bangham
Yarn: Arucania Botany Lace in 2119
I had been saving this yarn for this specific scarf for awhile now, and it’s light enough that it works in warmer climates all year ’round, which is perfect for my grandma, who recently moved in with my parents in San Diego. She loved the infinity scarf I bought her last Christmas so much it was an easy decision to make one for her this year in a nice, bright turquoise. A simple something to keep out those cooler sea breezes while walking along the beach.
Project: Hitofude cardigan
Pattern: Hitofude cardigan by Hiroko Fukatsu
Yarn: Ice Yarns Arctic Merino
Figuring out knits for people in warm climates is hard – all the go-to items (hats, mittens, scarves) are definitely out (unless they go skiing a lot, which my family does not). So, for my mom, I decided to make the beautiful Hitofude cardigan because it is perfectly light and drapey. It was a bigger project than I originally wanted to tackle, but it actually knit up quite quickly (though at times, the skirt of the sweater felt like it was going on forever!). I was a little worried about the length of the sweater, so I followed this modified chart for the skirt, and I think it came out great! I definitely want one of these for myself, now. Maybe I’ll work one up this spring…
Now that the holidays are over I can get back to all my selfish knitting… until next year. 

The unexpected and unplanned

Today was one of those days where things don’t really go as you planned and it just tosses off the mojo of the whole day. I was planning to get a bit of work done from home and then kicking off the start of my holiday break in a fabulously lazy style. But the morning started when I woke up with a swollen eye thanks to a painful stye.  Then came a knock on the door and the announcement that the apartment was replacing all the windows in my unit. Starting right now.

I grabbed Rufus, stuck his leash on him, bundled up, and headed out into the freezing weather, not really knowing what to expect on how long this whole mess would take and kind of frustrated that a kink had already been thrown into that whole idea of a relaxing start to my holiday. (On a related note, I don’t really welcome passive aggressive comments about the state of cleanliness of my apartment from workers who show up unannounced at my door at 9:30am.)
Rufus enjoyed chasing sticks and rogue non-hibernating squirrels in the park for a bit before the freezing of my face could no longer be ignored and we sought shelter in the car. It was a very unproductive morning/early afternoon for me, but I’m sure the window installation crew feels differently. 
The day’s start put me in a weird funk and I couldn’t get back into the rhythm of things… even if it was just supposed to be the rhythm of vegging out on the sofa for a bit. But I did manage to get one thing accomplished today. I cast off and put on my December pair of socks for Liesl’s sock challenge.

They are just plain old vanilla socks, knit cuff-down in a skein of Turtlepurl Striped Turtle Toes that I picked up at this year’s Knitter’s Frolic. One of the best things about this yarn (besides great color combinations in pretty stripey colorways) is that it comes wound in two mini skeins so you can match the stripes on both socks – genius. Especially because with other self-stripping yarns, I am routinely too lazy to find the repeating color pattern and make sure my socks match as a proper sock should. So don’t tell my other poor stripey socks this is what they should look like if I were a diligent knitter – just let them believe they are unique (because they are!).
I’ve already cast on another pair of socks, too. I loved this pair over at Woollen Wilderness so very much that I can’t resist making a pair (or 5) for myself. 
Now to sleep, press reset, and try a less unexpected start to my break again tomorrow.

A few of my favorite things: Baking

Christmastime is one of my favorite times of the year, so I wanted to spend some time in these few remaining days before Christmas day arrives to share some of things I enjoy most about this time of the year.
One of the easiest ways to get me in a cheery mood is through my stomach, so we’re starting with yummy, delicious sweets, my precious. The holidays provide an excellent excuse for baking up a storm and then devouring it all with little guilt (until New Year’s arrives and reminds us just how naughty we have been).

Gingerbread cookies are one of my favorite things to bake during the holidays because (for reasons completely unknown to me) these treats aren’t really around any other time of the year. And it’s a crime because gingerbread is so delicious. And because they use molasses, something I never use in my other baking/cooking, they make me feel old-timey and very traditional, which I love about Christmas. I am always searching for great gingerbread cookie recipes. This year I tried one that produces chewier cookies, which was quite yummy, but I think it needed a bit more spices added to it.

When I’m not in the mood to chill and roll out dough, I go with these amazing ginger cookies. They are some of the most delicious ginger cookies I’ve ever had. I make them for gifts or bring them to the lab during the holidays and everyone raves about them.

I also love gingerbread with a warm, sticky toffee sauce. (I really like gingerbread, okay? It’s delicious, and I stuff my face with it as much as possible during the holidays.) This cake is one of those treats that is so delicious warm because the toffee sauce gets absorbed by the cake making a wonderfully sticky topping. It is just so comforting on cold nights.
When I’m not consuming large amounts of gingerbread, one of my other holiday favorites (and something else you can only seem to pull off during this time of the year) is peppermint ice cream. I use this recipe, which starts off with an amazingly delicious custard. If you don’t end up eating the custard right out of the sauce pan, it makes an excellent ice cream that never lasts long in my house.
I also really love making gigantic batches of peppermint bark. It’s easy to make and is a great gift (who doesn’t love chocolate and peppermint?).

I’m always looking for new recipes to try out during the holidays (I think this year I’m going to try some of these), so what are your favorite things to bake this time of year?