Month: February 2016

Lovingly yours…

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Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.
– Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights.

Pictures taken on Valentine’s Day, February 14th, 2016 by Jesse Schloff – http://www.jesseschloffphotography.com/

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Liebster award!

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Guys, I have been nominated by the lovely Becca from theknitted.com to the Liebser award. If you are not familiar with it, this award strives to bring light to small blogs and allow bloggers to connect and get to know each other better.

The process is very simple, the person who nominated you will ask 11 questions that you have to answer in a blog entry, then you have to nominate a few other bloggers who deserve a shout out. If you do not already follow Becca’s blog (and you should!), here’s a link to her liebster award’s blog entry.

The questions I received from her are the following:

1. How did you decide on the name of your blog?

Well, my first name is Stephanie, and Effie has been one of my nicknames since high school, so it was just (really) a no-brainer. I didn’t put much thought into it, I just thought it sounded nice and went with it!

2. Describe your blog in 5 words or less!

I hope people find it FUN, COLORFUL, LIGHT and JOYFUL – am I asking too much?

3. What is your favorite knitting technique or style?

Now I don’t really think I have a favorite knitting technique, but I certainly DO have techniques I DON’T like! Although I do sew garments, pillows, drapes and such, I hate sewing knits. So every time it’s possible, I prefer to go for a seamless pattern or alter the pattern to knit it seamlessly rather than going through the seaming process. Call it lazy – I guess it’s somewhat of a pet peeve of mine, but the less finishing I have to do when I finish a project, the better.

4. Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Hm, neither one, actually. I have to admit that I am not fully functional in the morning before 8 or 9, depending on the night I had, but I never really get up past 10. And I can’t go to bed at night before 9 or 10, but then again I can’t stay up until 3 either. So all in all, I’m really neither a morning person nor a night owl, I think I’m more of an afternoon person – and that’s when I’m the most productive. I’d say my most productive hours are between 11 AM and 7 PM.

5. Assuming money wasn’t a problem, what is one thing you would love to do?

I would love to travel the world. I like going places, connecting with people and discover new things. I want to see more, and I want to learn more about the world and I think travelling gives you more than you could ever get from a book or a documentary on a foreign place.

6. What is an item you can’t live without?

As sad as it may sound, my phone. I use it to keep track of my progress on Ravelry, follow knitting patterns on the go, take pictures of my knits, share stories on my blog, etc.and it also helps me keep in touch with my honeybee who lives far away through Skype and text messaging.

7. Who is your favorite knitting designer?

I have a soft spot for the elegant but simple designs of Melanie Berg (Mairlynd). She has the most exquisite shawl patterns, and simple but elegant sweater and cardigan patterns.

8. Do you like learning new knitting techniques?

I LOVE learning new things! I just recently tried working stuff two-at-a-time (like socks and sleeves and stuff) on a magic loop and I love it – it’s such a time saver!

9. What is your big knitting goal of 2016?

I want to knit more from stash and use the yummy handspuns I have. It’s a goal I’ve set myself the past two years, and I think it’s made me realize that yarn is no good sitting on a shelf. I bought it because I loved it, it’s pointless to idolize it from afar and be too scared to use it for something. “Waiting for the perfect project” doesn’t always work – sometimes you won’t see the perfect match until you try something, and then you’ll be so glad you did.

10. What’s your favorite book you’ve read recently?

Honestly, I haven’t read much recently. I’ve been so busy with work and stuff that I simply haven’t had a chance to open a book, except for my go-to read-a-few-pages-and-reminisce book Alice’s adventures in wonderland and through the looking glass. I know for sure though that my next book is going to be “Faim” from Quebec writer Patrick Senecal, that my mom so nicely offered to me for Christmas.

11. What was your dream job as a kid?

As far as I can remember, I think I wanted to become a signer, or a actress. Pretty far from my actual job as a city planner, but I’m ok with that. How would you know at 5 that you have bad stage fright?

So now as tradition would have it, I would like to nominate 5 other bloggers, so they can in turn reveal a little more about themselves and nominate other deserving bloggers. I hereby nominate:

The questions I am asking you guys are the following:

  1. What’s your favorite blog to follow, and why?
  2. Apart from blogging and knitting, what do you like to do in your spare time?
  3. What other crafts do you know or would like to learn?
  4. Do you  prefer to knit following a pattern or create your own?
  5. Did you take up any new year resolutions?
  6. What’s your go-to knitting project for instant gratification?
  7. What was your dream job as a kid?
  8. What is the last thing you learnt as a knitter?
  9. What makes you smile in the morning?
  10. Who’s your favorite person to knit for?
  11. How many WIPs do you currently have on the needles?

Thank you all for participating, it’s great to get to know each other in the blogging world, and I hope I can make some of you discover a new blog to love/follow.

And sometimes, magic happens!

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For the longest time, I’ve been wanting to make a project using some of the handspun yarns I have. I’ve been spinning for a couple years now and during this time I’ve made several yummy handspun additions to my stash.

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I must confess though that aside from my unsuccessful BlueSand Cardigan attempt currently wasting away in the slumber pile, I had yet to finish a project using any of those gorgeous handspuns, and I thought it was such a shame! But earlier this week, inspiration stroke as I was going through my friend’s activity feed on Ravelry, and noticed someone had made an Arika Cowl. The pattern immediately piqued my interest because I thought it would be a perfect match for my Cheshire Cat purple handspun; it was the right yarn weight and yardage combined with a fun and unusual construction for a cowl, with an amazing fringe as a bonus.

I got so excited that I immediately bought the pattern and cast-on on Monday. Tuesday, the body was done, and I still had a full skein left so I thought I could make a matching hat. Since I had decided at that point to make the cowl with buttons instead of a seam, I quickly went around the pattern database looking for a hat pattern with a button in about the same yarn weight, and found the (free!) Moss Stitch Hat pattern from Erin Anton. Just perfect!

And following this streak of sudden inspiration, magic happened…

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Repetition kills… Creativity

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Last Christmas I made a white pompom version of the Star Anise hat for my brother’s girlfriend Virginie, and my step mom Carole was so enthralled with it that she asked me to make her the SAME hat in the SAME color. Hm.

Now I must say I love making knit garments for my loved ones, but never have I been asked to make the EXACT same thing twice (in a row!). As much as I wanted to please her, after receiving that request I just couldn’t bring myself to start anything and kept dreaming of hundreds of hats or patterns or projects that have been on my mind for a while, and how much fun they would be to try.

So after a little pondering, I decided to follow my heart and cast on a hat – not a Star Anise hat, and certainly not white – I opted for a soft pink, slightly slouchy version of the Tiima hat by the lovely Lilja Palmgren. And you know what? I’m in love.

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To make it more personal, I changed the border a bit from the original pattern, ditched the (time consuming) beads and the ribbon and added a pompom. I used Jade Sapphire’s Silk/Cashmere 2-ply yarn in color “Pinksicle” and I LOVED every stitch of it. It is perfectly soft, fluffy & yummy, the only downside is that it’s a very fragile yarn that tends to break easily – so be careful when working with it.

The hat turned out much bigger and slouchier than I was expecting looking at the pattern pictures (this is partly my fault for using larger needles for the main body), but as it turns out, I LOVE this version – and most importantly, my step mother does, too.

I think sometimes, people think they know what they want but their decision is only based on partial knowledge – because they simply don’t know what ELSE is out there, and how much better for them something else would be.

I chose a white Star Anise hat for Virginie because I thought it would be perfect for her, and I chose a pink Tiima hat for Carole because I knew it would fit her perfectly – and I think it’s good once in a while to take a guess and follow your instinct, because sometimes that’s the best way to find THE present that your loved ones will go crazy for.