Happy First Day of Winter: Time for Mittens

It's the shortest day of the year and quite frankly, feels like the coldest. I know it isn't actually the coldest, but it's seriously chilly here. I'm really not a fan of the cold. Days like today, when I'm out freezing in my down parka, are the days when I dream of someday living in California. I envy my parents and their desert living.

The onset of winter and cold means that I need to start knitting some mittens. I lost a mitten last winter and have been wearing fingerless gloves since then. They were knit for use in a cold library, not really outside weather. With all the stuff I've had on the go, I haven't had time to start a pair of mittens until now. I also couldn't decide what kind of mittens to knit. My last pair had a cable and were knit in Cascade 22o. They were good, but it is time for a change. And then I saw these:


They're the Kate Spade alpine norwegian mittens. I can't really afford them (although...I just noticed they're on sale now...), but as a knitter, I can never justify buying anything that I know I can knit myself.

Mine are being knit up as a solid purple in Lion Brand Vanna's Choice (acrylic) rather than lambswool. I usually use Kris Percival's Warmest Mittens pattern from the Knitting Pretty book (which was my first knitting book) as my base for any mitten I make. It's a good basic pattern and it's free. I might make another pair in a slightly more luxurious and natural fibre once I figure the pattern out exactly. Until then, I'll just be happy to have mittens that cover my entire hand.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Sunday, December 21, 2008 0 comments Links to this post  

My albatross in pine

Four years ago, my parents brought us up a desk set from Texas. This desk has never really worked out for us. Too big, not big enough, et cetera. After trying to use it for school and then unsuccessfully trying to sell it as a set (desk, hutch, bookshelf and filing cabinet), I had the genius idea to use it as a craft/sewing desk. This is what it looked like when I first set it up:

craft desk

There are no photos of what it looked like after that, because that would be embarrassing. It was a giant collector of dust and junk.

The idea had been to do something like this:

a good idea

ReadyMade always has such good ideas, but I'm not so good with the follow through on them. Somehow, I completely forgot how pegboard worked. I used this crazy spray glue and glued it directly to the back of the hutch portion of the desk. Looked good, except...all the holes were blocked! Drilling didn't really work out. It was difficult to get through the back of the desk (the wood just splintered) and I didn't have the patience to drill through every hole. So the genius organizing idea never happened.

I should have known. The desk was trouble from day one.

As I mentioned, the desk came from Texas. I am not from Texas. My parents were driving through on their way to Canada from California and had stopped to visit friends in Dallas. This friend had purchased the desk when she lived in North Carolina and was going to get rid of it. My mom said, "No! Don't! It's a great desk!" And they rented a U-Haul and brought it to Canada for us, seeing as we didn't have much furniture at the time.

Things were shifted about the truck and U-Haul to accomodate the desk set. When my parents arrived in Canada and opened the back of the U-Haul, they discovered that because things were no longer packed as well as when they left California and had spilled out from containers and boxes.

The boxes of fresh dates had broken open and spilled everywhere. The worst was that somehow, the jostling of one container led to a bottle of clear nail polish breaking off at the neck of the bottle (WTF?), spilling all over the container. Which wouldn't be so bad except that a jewelery case with my mom's pearls also popped open. By the time this was discovered, the pearls were dried into a shellacked mess. We salvaged some, but the necklace was ruined and my mom was heartbroken (they had been a gift from a good friend).

This should have been a sign. An omen. A warning that this desk was trouble. Alas! We took it in and tried to use it. It has been moved around our apartment so many times that I've lost count. And now it is back in the living room, waiting for someone to come by and give me $25 for it. I'm keeping the bookshelf and hoping that he'll take the filing cabinet (with the drawers that would never stay shut because my floors are hopelessly slanted). I swear, if this guy doesn't show up this evening, I'm going to use the damn thing for firewood (it's really quite heavy and made of solid wood, not pressboard). Well, I would if I had a fireplace.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Thursday, December 18, 2008 3 comments Links to this post  

hot chocolate and knitting weather

Honestly, this is what the Environment Canada forecast is calling for at the moment:
14. the forecast calls for daggers

What is that? daggers?

It's pretty icky outside. Not the worst I've ever seen, but enough to make me want to stay inside. And since the weather's plan is to turn into this:
15. snow and rain - just in case one isn't miserable enough

I think it's safe to say that today is a day to stay in with a cup of hot chocolate, my knitting and Twilight. (which, FYI, is not all that awesome. I'll still go see the movie because it's fully of pretty people, but I'm not sure it'll sustain my interest for an entire series of books. There is much better YA lit out there). My only wish is that I could read and knit at the same time.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Wednesday, December 17, 2008 1 comments Links to this post  

my first blogiversary was ... last month!

oh man! I completely forgot when I started blogging and it appears that I'm almost a month past the anniversary of my first post. boo. Although, to be fair - November is a rotten month Chez Pineapples. It's usually killer busy with school. As well, I believe my first blogiversary coincides with the birthday of Mr. P. He supports blogging, but I think he'd take offense if I skipped his b'day for my blog.

I'll have to come up with something awesome to celebrate and mark the occasion. something adorable and free for you? perhaps! stay tuned.

my birthday cake!

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Monday, December 15, 2008 1 comments Links to this post  

Due South: Sgt. S. Monkey, RCMP

Step aside Paul Gross! Here is the latest addition to the RCMP:

Due South: Sargeant S. Monkey, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

The monkey was sold to a friend (the excellent illustrator, Rhonda Mulder) at the Halifax Crafters Handmade Holiday Market and she made him even awesomer by crafting his delightful red serge. I believe this monkey is officially a Cornucopia of Awesomeness.

More to come about the Crafters market...I just had to share the Mountie Monkey tout de suite! It's nice to see what happens to the monkeys after they are sold and head off into the world. They take on names and lives that I have no idea about. If you have ever purchased or were given one of my monkeys and want to share their story with me, I'd love to see a picture of them in their new homes. Especially since I am horrible at remembering to take pictures of my monkeys before they are sold.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Wednesday, December 10, 2008 2 comments Links to this post  

Friday Panic: So much to do, so little time


I'm covered in paint and surrounded by monkeys, but not quite ready for the Halifax Crafters Holiday Handmade Market - which is tomorrow! Not acutally letting you see the corner of my living room that has been carpet bombed by craft, this is the scene Chez Pineapples:

15 monkeys:
monkey stock

(I'm kind of hoping I'll manage one or two more by tomorrow morning).

Some paintings:


luck cat

(fyi: I'm no artist. I taught myself to paint, so I like to think of myself as a "folk artist". Like Maud Lewis, only sillier).

and signs that refuse to work out:

third time is not a charm

I've used all the white foam board I own and I'm not sure how to remedy this. It will probably involve a last minute trip to Loomis and Toles (I know, it's Deserres, but I just can't shake the old name).

And there are still tags to make, bags to figure out, possibly ironing the hankies to add to the collection, a float to be gotten,and a cat to kittysit (which requires getting house keys). I think I may send husband to feed kitty tonight and I'll just head over the the house to stay overnight tomorrow (it's in the same neighbourhood as the craft fair - quite convenient).

I think I'll take a nap and then face this mess with a clearer head.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Friday, December 05, 2008 1 comments Links to this post  

I decided to brave the craptacular weather tonight and head out to the library. I usually make Thursday my library night, popping in after work, but a book on shibori felting was a few days overdue. I had wanted to go last night as I got an email yesterday telling me that Sublime Stitching was on hold for me. I really wanted to pick it up right away, but the decision came down to embroidery or Mr. P's birthday. The fact that I chose my husband shows I'm not too far gone as a crafter.

Aside from the Sublime Stitching, I'm super glad I dragged my arse out into the wind and rain: I found a book on re-constructing t-shirts (I've been thinking about looking for a link I had on how to make a bigger t-shirt fit) and the new Martha Stewart Holiday issue. Fantastique! Check 'em out (along with a few other recent finds):

library score!

my library rocks!

There's a book in the pile called "the home guide to craft" and it means business. it's not just how to knit or d├ęcoupage. oh no. this bad boy is telling me how to cast and mold resin jewelry. It's full of projects I'd love to try, but can't because my apartment probably doesn't have the proper ventilation or space for working with power tools. There's stuff I can do, but it's almost more fun to look at all the stuff i want to learn how to do (like needle felting or screenprinting).

Well, I've got more monkeys than I can count to get back to. I've had to organize a monkey making night. My friends are coming over to drink wine, eat pizza and sew eyes and tags on. Just dropped six monkeys off at Love, Me and there are still so many left over for the craft fair (eep!).

Speaking of Love, Me: If you're in Halifax tomorrow, you should stop by Love, Me Boutique for the holiday party (5-8pm). Tons of nice stuff in for the holidays, plus all the usual lovely stuff.I'm possibly biased, but I really do like that store.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 0 comments Links to this post  

Monkey Makers

Tonight at Love, Me was my first Sock Monkey Workshop. Now there are ten new sock monkey makers in the world - hooray for spreading the sock monkey joy! I was feeling woefully under-prepared as I went flying out the door, running late. That's the trouble with trying to do three or four things at the same time. But I think everything worked out in the end.

My day was split between making sure I had everything for the workshop, getting assignments marked, discussing marking, and finishing the instructions for this evening. Oh, and I overslept. I made it through the day, only a little bit behind the eight ball. I was seen trying to rush to work carrying four bags and a chair, but I made it. I did have to call the mister and get him to do photocopies, seeing as I ran out of time and forgot my wallet.

I'm pretty sure the workshop went well. One thing I did learn is that folks should have very little socks at a sock monkey workshop. Only one monkey came close to being finished. I did promise to post some links to help answer any questions the workshop attendees may have.

  • The first is one I recently posted, which is the monkey instructions via Urban Threads. My instruction sheet (which I hope to scan and post later), didn't really do a good job of explaining how to attach appendages and the mouth. I think the Urban Threads' instructions do a decent job of that. Especially the mouth. That's a tricky bit.

  • Next, is how to sew things on so that you don't see the stitches. The natural inclination is to do a whip stitch or the like around the mouth or arms. It's what I did for ages. But what really works is using a mattress stitch. But wait! Isn't mattress stitch for knitting? Well, yes. Technically it is. But look at the tutorial and then look closely at your socks. Your socks are mostly likely a knit - just a very very fine machine knit. This method is way more time consuming, but combined with a thread colour that matches your socks, you end up with almost undetectable stitches attaching your monkey bits to the monkey body
  • Finally, there is the subject of embroidery and your monkey's face. Embroidering a mouth and "nose" on a monkey can seem daunting if you've never tried to embroider. Well, pick up your floss, your needle and some scrap fabric, because you are going to learn embroidery with Crafty Daisies. Seriously. That's how I taught myself.
And with that, I'm going to head to bed. It's been a busy day and it's shaping up to be a busy weekend. Before I do, I'm going to share with you the site Monkey of Sock as it is full of sock monkey facts and tidbits. I passed on the little bits that I know, but this site really is everything sock monkey. It even has the dress that I mentioned:


I first saw that dress years ago and it is so awesome that I am always impressed by it. I don't know what would possess the making of such a dress or any practical use for it. but I do love it.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Thursday, November 13, 2008 1 comments Links to this post  

Eye eye: safety eye roundup

Yesterday was my first my first attempt at using safety eyes. The monkeys are always button or embroidered eyes, but there was something about the sweater bear that called for safety eyes and nose. Since I had to look online for sources of eyes/noses and how to use them, I thought I'd share what I found.

My original plan was to buy them in town, but eyes weren't easy to find - at least not around here. I did find some at Michael's craft store, but they had a very limited selection (that's why I used 18mm eyes on him). I'm a bit picky about the eyes I will use. I only like it when they are black or dark brown. I've seen others use coloured eyes well in their work, but I'm not able to envision my project with these eyes because they sort of creep me out (the eyes, not other crafter's work). My future eye purchases will most likely be online, seeing as I can find more sizes in the colours I want.

Noses were even harder to find. I definitely had to go online for those. Since I had no idea what the sizes would be or what size I needed, I went with a sampler pack I found in an etsy shop. Another place I've found online, which has a bigger selection, is Suncatcher Eyes (you've probably seen their ad if you read the Needle). Suncatcher Eyes is also on etsy, if you prefer to shop there.

sweater bear, safety eyes and nose

Since I was not really sure how they work, I hit the google and my bookmarks in search of info on the safety eyes. I found good explanations on eHow, as well as on the Suncatcher Eyes site. It's pretty self-explanatory, but I wanted to make sure I had it right.

Mochimochi Blog also offers a good tutorial on all kids of eyes for your plush work, not just safety eyes. A good tip on using safety eyes from Mochimochi: there's a chance that kids can pull them out of knitted toys, which sort of defeats the point of the safety feature.

One thing I did learn is that you have to cut a small hole in fabric like felt, something you can probably avoid in most knitted or crochet toys. I need to work on getting them even. Once the hole is cut, you're kind of stuck. (although, some of my "consultants" tell me that the crooked eyes work).

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Thursday, October 30, 2008 0 comments Links to this post  

New Plush WIP: Creepy or Cute?

I finally got around to working on a plush toy I've been planning.

Inspired by the monsters sewn by Blythe (a local artist I admire), I felted an old Gap cardigan (that I bought second hand, years ago) with the intention of turning into a toy. The sweater sat around for ages as I collected my thoughts and safety eyes and noses. I started thinking that it would make an interesting bear. Why a bear? I have no idea. Teddy bears have never really been my thing. Despite that, I took the plunge this morning and here my results:

1. pattern made from tracing Ikea PS Brum bear on newspaper:


2. He was a bit too bit too big, so I had to cut down the pattern:


3. Attempted sewing lots of rounded edges, which is still a bit of a challenge for me, and ended up with this guy:


Compared to the pattern's "muse":


And his head shot:


His eyes are crooked and a bit bigger than I'd like (I only have 18mm eyes on hand) and I haven't decided if I should embroider on a mouth or not. What I haven't taken a picture of is that you can see the thread at his seams. Overall, he's either cute or he's a weird craft mishap. I think I need to get back to the drawing board before I can introduce this dude to the world of craft fairs.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Wednesday, October 29, 2008 2 comments Links to this post  

Sketchy internet connections and cat toys

I've been housesitting this past week and trying out various cat toys on The Cat that lives there. The Cat doesn't have many toys, so I've been bringing some by to see if she likes them. She seems fond of the "postmodern mouse", which is really two squares of fabric sewn together, stuffed with stuffing and catnip and has a piece of ribbon for a tail. Mr.P says this sounds more cubist than pomo. I suppose he is right, but The Cat really doesn't care what it's called, so long as she can eat the ribbon. She seems to approve of toys she can eat (like the little furry mouse toy that took about an hour to destroy).

While watching Supernatural last night, I made a very cute felt mouse toy for her (no picture as I've loaned out my camera), which she promptly ignored. Apparently, the more time spent on making a cat toy, the less time the cat will spend with it. It is some sort of Universal Law of Cats. Elaborate? Expensive? Fabulous? Ignore! Cheap? found on the street? perhaps the packaging belonging to a fancy toy? Excellent! One of the first plush creatures I had ever made is hideous looking, but is the favourite of our "foster cat" Hastings (I use the word foster loosely, as he's been here three years):

Mr. NobbyHead

(that picture was taken after collecting the fluff from around the living room. He has since been sewn back together and is still a favourite. Hastings carries him around the house or kicks it with his back legs while biting it. It's far cuter than it sounds).

Off the topic of cats, the housesitting has meant that my access to internet connections have been extremely limited. My friends have their wireless locked down so tight that they no longer remember the password. Their neighbours are all too smart to leave their wireless connections open. And the coffee shop nearby has free wireless (or a neighbour with free wireless) but not so many power outlets, meaning that my mac runs out of "apple juice" and dies. Oh woe is me. And just to frustrate me a little bit more: my home connection is being sketchy! Bah!

Of course, I should remind myself that it is probably going as fast as my dial up connections of days gone by...but I won't. I've gotten used to fast, wireless internets and I like it.

Okay, must go hunt down a purple wig and a Clinique bonus time gift.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Saturday, October 25, 2008 0 comments Links to this post  

Craft Fair News

Halifax Crafters december08 show poster

Yessss! I've got a table a the Halifax Crafters Holiday Handmade Market.

Now I've got some serious crafting to do. Good thing I've outsourced some sewing to my mom. Well, she decided to give it a try instead of playing those "stupid games" on the computer and has taken a liking to it. Now I get boxes of monkey bodies in need of mouths and eyes in the mail.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Wednesday, October 15, 2008 2 comments Links to this post  

Free pattern Friday: Make your own Monkey!

I've been meaning to get a decent tutorial put together on how to make a sock monkey. Sometimes, I think I'd like it if how to make a sock monkey was some kind of state secret and the only way to get one is to buy one of mine. Then I could be a Professional Monkey Maker. But truthfully, I'm happy that the how-to of monkey making is out there for the whole world. If it wasn't, then I wouldn't have had a guide to make my first monkey.

First monkey

So in the spirit of sharing the monkey love, I'm going to link you to a fantastic tutorial on Urban Threads. That's pretty much how I do it. Of course, I'm still very new to the sewing machine technology. All of that sewing can be done by hand (I recommend using a doll making needle - they're crazy long, but make it easier to sew these creatures by hand).

You can use the pattern that is provided by the folks who make the original Red Heel socks:


That pattern was all I had when I did my first monkey. Somehow, he ended up without a tail. oops.

I've even given my monkeys some embroidery tattoos like the ones in the tutorial. Actually, I recommend the embroidery as a way of covering up either writing on the sock (like a brand name) or unsightly holes.For example:

hole in toe? (what you see here is the tip of the tail)



accidentally make a hole in the front of the monkey? (seam ripper accident)

he's all heart

now he's all heart!

Next time, more ways to embroider your monkey...like tattoos or monograms.


Posted byHello Pineapples! on Friday, October 10, 2008 1 comments Links to this post  

Bought: A Pin Cushion in a Flower Pot

I am completely enamoured by new arrival at work:

Pincushion Posy

Yes, it is a pincushion in a flowerpot! It's called Pincushion Posy and made by Freehand Embellished Apparel (sadly, I cannot find a website or etsy shop for this person). It's made from recycled pantyhose and wool and decorated with buttons, beads, and pearly stick pins. Oh, and embroidery scissors (which I've been meaning to buy).

Since I picked up an unexpected shift yesterday morning and I need scissors anyway, I bought it before anyone else has a chance to do so. I had my pick of the bunch and I think it took me a half hour to decide which one I liked best.

It's a delightful little creation. Prettier than the standard tomato pincushion and a stylish alternative to the arms of my chairs. Even Mr. P was excited by it (but then, anything to keep pins and needles and scissors out of the furniture).

Flower pot pincushion

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Sunday, September 28, 2008 1 comments Links to this post  

PacaFiesta'08: So frigging exciting.

Holy Crap I'm excited! PacaFiesta is back!

alpacas, originally uploaded by de Animas.

I knew it was happening again this year, but it had slipped my mind. Then I spotted it on The Loop's website and almost lost it.

I haven't been to PacaFiesta since 2005; I couldn't make it in 2006 (if it even happened that year) and then it didn't happen last year. I'm not sure how I'm getting there, but I am there. If you're in Halifax and you're a knitter/spinner/weaver/whatever, you need to be there. This is not just PacaFiesta, it is also FibreFiesta and it is like heaven. That is, if heaven was kind of warm and smelly with alpacas, llamas and goats. But it is definitely fibre lover heaven on earth.

(Sadly, I cannot find my photos of PacaFiesta fun...they are no longer in my flickr account and we have had some issues with lost photos after the Great Laptop Debacle of 2006).

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Sunday, September 14, 2008 3 comments Links to this post  

Scissor Shopping

Back in April, Security at Toronto's Pearson Airport confiscated my embroidery scissors. They were a cheap little pair that could fold up. I was told I could go back and check my bag, but I had just flown overnight from LA and I wasn't going to leave the security area. I was a little surprised that they had taken them. I really would have thought that LA would have tighter security than Toronto, seeing as on the list of possible targets, I imagine that LA is higher up on the list than the T-Dot Oh-Dot. Even if Toronto is a "World Class City".

Regardless, I gave up the scissors to Security and have been without since April. I get by most of the time, but I really do need a pair. I haven't really been able to find any in town that look worthy. Either they're really cheap looking, too expensive, or they're stork scissors. And quite frankly, stork scissors creep me out.

stork_ scissors

I just don't get the stork thing.

The Loop has some that come in a seriously pretty handcrafted wood holder (scroll down their page to see the wood stuff), but those are out of my price range right now (sadly, my eternal studenthood means they have to be under $20).

I've found a site called Silent Stitches that has a huge selection of scissors. I had no idea just how expensive scissors could get or how many varieties are available. So now I'm stumped as to which to buy. I had hoped there might be some scissor info on Feeling Stitchy or Pimp Stitch, but neither has covered the topic of scissors (yet...you should check both out if you are wanting info on other tools and tricks).

I'll probably just go for whatever looks prettiest and fits in my price range. But if anyone has a suggestion, I'm all ears.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Sunday, September 14, 2008 0 comments Links to this post  

Free Pattern Friday (Finally!): Dover Samplers

I have a bad habit of signing up for mailing lists online and I end up with all sorts of junk mail that I totally asked for. I get notices about shops I can't afford (like a local fancy-pants department store or net-a-porter), about ebay searches and academic conferences. Sometimes it's a bit much. But the one thing I've signed up for and actually really like getting is the Dover Free Sampler.

Dover is a publishing company that you might know for their odd assortment of paper doll books (like fashions of the 70s, famous child stars or the Queen Mother), colouring books, little books of stickers and "tattoos", and "stained glass" colouring books. Some of my favourites from their collection are the political paper dolls. You can get both Bush presidents, the Clintons and now McCain and Obama. You can totally re-write the American political landscape with your own set of dolls (actually, you could re-write American history with a collection of paper dolls from Dover).

They also do CD-ROMs of clip art and fonts. Some of the clip art collections are a bit lame in my book, but there are others that I totally dig. It's all royalty free fun for "professionals and hobbyists alike" (their words, not mine).

So where does the free pattern come in? Well, some of the free clip art that comes in the Friday sampler are things that I want to use as embroidery patterns. Check out some of my favourites:

US States colouring book:

Early American Design motifs:

Both of these were found in the sampler. And best part? You get the full size image, so you can play around with the size.

And then there is the clip art for which I no use right now, but I like them and file them away under the category of "inspiration" for future projects:

You also get e-mails about sales or deals, but so far, my budget doesn't allow buying anything like that - especially when I can get some of it for free. It's worth signing up for and even if embroidery isn't your thing, you're probably crafty enough to find some use for them.

Happy crafting and I'll be back soon-ish with more finds. And with some projects that I've been working on lately (I've got a couple of embroidery projects happening that I'm a little bit in love with).


Posted byHello Pineapples! on Friday, September 12, 2008 0 comments Links to this post  

In a pickle

I'm still playing around with the look of the blog, which is why it's starting to look like a little girl's bedroom threw up on my blog.

Here's one of my recent projects: Pickles!


My friend J.Lau and I made our first foray into the world of pickling and it seems to have been a success. Trouble is, we won't really know for another month and a half. You need to let them sit and, well, pickle for at least two months. Hopefully they're edible. I know they'll be garlicy - we put at least three cloves in each bottle.

I'm starting to feel the start of Sweater Weather around these parts. Today was still warm and inching up into the 20s, but a little bit of me is excited at the prospect of sweaters. Don't worry, I'm not wishing summer away - because I know it won't be long before I'm up to my ears in snow and slush and darkness. I'll enjoy the sunshine and the warm while I can, but I do love Sweater Weather.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Wednesday, September 10, 2008 0 comments Links to this post  

come back

As I slowly "recover" from my carpal tunnel (it's still there, but much better now that I wear my geeky wrist brace to type/write), I'm trying to get back to using my computer more and that means blogging again. My google reader had over 1000 unread posts! My e-mail inbox, which I'm a little obsessive about keeping "clean" had over 400. My desktop, which I am totally obsessive about keeping clean, was full of pdf, jpg, etc downloads. But I am slowly cleaning things up, organizing, and starting to think about what I have to do next. Once I get my desk top cleaned off (my real desk, not my computer desk top), I will start to write again. Hopefully I'll have something interesting to say and pictures to post.

I am also attempting to make my blog look prettier. This is easier said than done as I hate most templates and I am no web designer. I need to learn computer stuff/design so that I can make my own pretty blog and website. Nothing fancy, just pretty. Although, if you saw my very first website, the one I had on Angelfire in 1996, then you'd think this was pretty damn awesome. Man oh man, was that site ever bad.



Posted byHello Pineapples! on Friday, September 05, 2008 0 comments Links to this post  

Surprise! I'm a semi-finalist!

I had wanted to enter the Mochimochi photo contest and had grand plans to do so. Alas, for various reasons, my grand plans had to be put aside, the time wasn't there to stage an awesome photo. But I had taken this photo of my stackable cat at the vet:

Stackable Cat at the Vet

I added it to the Mochimochi flickr pool and went about my business. I've been a bit behind in reading blogs lately, so when I clicked on Mochimochi in google reader, I was stunned! to see that I was a semi-finalist. In fact, I'm so surprised that I've been overusing exclamation marks left and right.

I really hadn't thought my little guy would even rank, but, hooray me! I'm a semi-finalist! (my reaction was, and is still,: "what the eff? I'm a semi-finalist? seriously? awesome!"). (my original plan was to ask the vet to post, but I quickly saw that he was too busy with real cats to hang out with knitted cats).

I knit this stackable cat while my cat Alistair was in quarantine at the vet. It was knit to look sort of like Alistair. Here's a shot of Al for comparison:

Alistair, 10 days after radio-iodine

If Alistair were square and made of yarn, I think he'd sort of look like the stackable cat. But unlike Alistair, knitted cat was much easier to take to the vet. Check out Alistair in his carrier (going home, away from the vet...you'd think that would make him happy):

in the carrier

not so happy kitty.

Anyway, if you've got a minute, you should go vote for my stackable cat. Because votes would be awesome (even if I'm not the best one there).

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Thursday, August 07, 2008 2 comments Links to this post  

Craft Related Injuries

I think I have carpal tunnel syndrome.

While I am quick to assume the worst and go all hypochondriac by diagnosing myself on the internet, the truth is, I have quite a few symptoms. Mainly, my wrists hurt like hell and I get a tingling in my hands.


The carpal tunnel, while not directly caused by crafting, has been a total (pardon the pun) pain to deal with.

This is a HUGE problem seeing as just about everything I do involves using my wrists. At this point, my thesis is all typing and writing. When I've got free time, I'm usually writing by hand, using the mouse to arse around on the internet (facebook and google reader may be my downfall), or embroidering/sewing/knitting/crocheting: all things that require similar repetitive motions by my hands and wrists. And until now, all done without much thought to ergonomics (my bad, but my desk and chair really don't understand ergonomics). For over a week I've been forced to avoid such things as it meant severe pain. The only thing I've been able to do is read or watch TV. It's getting better, but it still hurts a bit as I type this. So frustrating.

But I may have a solution. At the very least, I have something that might make my wrists hurt less. I was reading an old issue of Knit.1 (the winter 06-07 issue) that I picked up at the Library and found the Lion Brand Stress Relief Gloves.

Stress Relief Gloves by Lion brand

I think I need to buy a pair. Bonus: they're only $16 (hooray affordable!). Although, I'd probably consider getting them if they had cost more. Anything that promises to ease the pain, even just a little bit, is okay in my books. Because I have crafts to do and a thesis to write!


(This was a surprisingly painful entry to write, and not just because of my wrists. For some reason, my brain is refusing to function quite right and I'm struggling to put together a couple of coherent sentences. I think I need to go to bed early).

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Wednesday, August 06, 2008 3 comments Links to this post  

Free Pattern of the week: Happy Pride Week Halifax!

Halifax's 20th Pride Week came to a close today, so I thought that I'd make Pride the theme for the free pattern this week (late, as per usual). I was able to go to the parade this year and the weather was fantastic. Despite Environment Canada's threats of rain, it was sunny and hot and made the parade that much better. Aside from a gap mid-parade, it was long (lots of floats) and fun to watch. I capped the day off with a stop at a friend's pride party, which led to me mixing drinks like I was 18 (this morning, I remembered why I stopped drinking rye. Why I stopped drinking most dark booze).

In my search for pride week related patterns, I came across the Craftzine.org entry on Liz Collins' Knitting Nation 4:

Knitting Nation 4: Pride Flag

Impressive, non? Knitting Nation is an "ongoing, collaborative performance and site-specific installation project" created by Collins, who is an artist and a professor at RISD.

As impressive as it is, it's a bit much for your average knitter. We can leave that to the professionals. Instead, I offer you something a little more manageable:

Knit your mind Felted Bag

The "Knit Your Mind Felted Bag" is designed by Donna Druchunas for her Subversive Knitting site. The site is dedicated to charity and activist knitting. So, while not on as grand a scale as the activist knitting seen at Knitting Nation 4, it is activist and a reason to knit yourself a new bag. Druchunas features knitting charts for a number of themes, including a pride flag.

And with that, I wish a Happy Pride to all, and to all a good night.


Posted byHello Pineapples! on Monday, July 28, 2008 0 comments Links to this post  

A work in progress: half way there!

I had posted before about a quilt I was working on for a friend's baby. The quilt is made up of squares that were signed by friends and family who were at the baby shower. The baby in question is now three months old and no longer lives in my building, but from what I've seen in photos, she's damn cute. Anyway, a very exciting thing happened tonight:


I finished embroidering the squares! Now the back needs to go on and there is quilting to be done, but I'm very pleased with how it's turning out. I will post better pictures once I have better light to take photos, but I was too excited to just fold it up and wait to take the picture.

Even one of the cats was psyched about it and checked out my handiwork:


Although, it could be that she just likes to climb under things, especially blankets.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Friday, July 25, 2008 1 comments Links to this post  

Retail Therapy: Pineapples at Love, Me

I've been hanging out at Love, Me Boutique lately, picking up some working hours here and there. I really love the store. It's the sort of place where I'd work for free if I won the lottery. My last bunch of monkeys sold out (hooray!) and I've been trying to keep on top of the monkey supply and demand chain.

About two weeks ago, I was excited to see that some had sold, but then realized that sadly I forgot to take a picture. It was made out of some fantastic bright coloured socks (pinks and oranges) that I really loved. I am horrible at taking pictures of my work. I finish something, declare it done and walk away.

The same thing almost happened for a few other monkeys that are/were available, but I've been snapping pics as I shut down the store (hooray for camera phone):


I fell in love with the socks that made the monkey on the left. I found them while visiting my parents and knew that those socks would make a pretty spiffy monkey. The monkey on the right is made of what I like to call "pre-loved socks". That means I (or someone I know) used to wear the socks and they've been washed within an inch of their life (and any holes are conveniently covered).

Anyway, here are some other shots (apologies for any poor quality photos - low light + camera phone = kind of crappy photo):

Monkeys and Clem at Love, Me

Along with the two monkeys is Clem, the Sock Experiment. He's been "adopted" and is off to make new friends in his new home. Also in this photo: fable quilt (hanging up), dujoo onesies, uptown tub soap, cabin and cub wooden kids' bank, bobs and lolo DVD.

Here's a monkey I had a lot of fun making:

bad ass monkey @ love, me boutique

He is embellished with some fun times bedazzling studs. He also has pearly button eyes. I feel this gives him a bit of White Stripes-ishness. I think his studded cuffs and earring make him a bit of a bad-ass.

bad ass monkey @ love, me boutique

And finally, a pink monkey that was a pain in the ass to make. It's the sock that I melted:

pink monkey @ love, me boutique

The monkey did recover from the melted legs, but the result was substantially shorter legs than planned. But then, I like to think that their imperfections is what gives them character.

So that's it for now. If you're in Halifax, be sure to stop by the store. It really is lovely and full of awesome things that are all handmade by awesome artists and artisans.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Thursday, July 24, 2008 0 comments Links to this post  

Wednesday win stuff: Pimp Stitch

The gals over at Pimp Stitch are giving away one of their super nifty looking kits that were made for Renegade Craft Fair. While I'd like to keep this news to myself in the hopes of keeping the odds in my favour, that'd be a little too mean...even for me. So go comment and have a happy Wednesday!


Posted byHello Pineapples! on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 0 comments Links to this post  

Lessons in Knitting: or Why Gauge is Important

Way back in March, I posted a free pattern for a french press cozy. The finished product is meant to look like this:

frenchpress cozy - design*sponge

The pattern looked easy enough, so I set about knitting one for the french press that the Mister was keeping in his office at school. I don't usually make coffee with the french press, so I hadn't bothered to see how the cozy worked until this morning.

french press cozy gone wrong


french press cozy gone wrong

I quickly threw the buttons on this morning, so they're looking mismatched and haphazard, but they are the least of my worries.

french press cozy gone wrong

Oh Elizabeth Zimmerman! How right you were. The chapter on gauge is required reading (I still haven't read it). I've never been one for gauge, but it's a math thing. I honestly believe I have dyscalculia (math dyslexia), so anything that involves math is not my friend. This is probably why my first (and only) sweater was a bit of a disaster (it was HUGE!).

Although, to be fair, the french press was in the office at school and I wasn't able to check my knitting against it. I might actually be right on gauge, but that doesn't help if his french press is smaller than the model used for the original pattern.

Ah well. I'll just have to frog it a bit.


Posted byHello Pineapples! on Monday, July 14, 2008 1 comments Links to this post