The Whole Knit & Caboodle

Barely coherent ramblings of a yarn-obsessed stay at home mom

There s’no man like our snowman!

One of my favourite memories from childhood involves a snowman.  I was probably no older than 10 or 11 and I remember having a LOT of snow that year.  It was one of the first years my parents were divorced and my sister and I were at our dad’s house for his week of shared custody.  My dad rented a little cottage on a lane back from the main road and behind us were other modest cottages and a few  family homes, most of the cottages being vacant for the winter.

We didn’t have money for sleds or skis but you didn’t need money to have fun in the snow and my sister and I along with a couple other neighbourhood kids decided we were going to make the biggest snowman ever.  It probably wasn’t the  behemoth I remember but it was pretty huge- I’m pretty sure one or more of the neighbourhood dads had to help us stack the snowballs for it.

We assembled the monster of a snowman, gave him a face, arms and buttons but we didn’t have any clothes for the poor little guy.  It was getting dark and frozen and wet we went inside for the night, SO proud of our masterpiece.

When we got up in the morning, there was an amazing surprise waiting for us- At some point during the night our snowman had acquired a hat and scarf and they fit our giant guy to a T!

We never found out who was behind it but not knowing made it that much more magical and I’ve loved snowmen since.

My two year old daughter is a little obsessed with snowmen herself.  Today we had the perfect snowman making conditions.  We’ve had a fair amount of snow fall in the last few days and it the temperature was mild enough that the snow was a sticky enough to pack it together.  We got bundled up- just my little bee and I- and wandered out into the winter wonderland that is our back yard.

We worked together, adding and shaping the snow (I was surprised at how interested she was in helping, being so little) and had him put together before too long.  “How does he look?” I asked my daughter as we were shaping him.  “With a EYES” she told me matter-of-factly.  

He stands about just shy of 3′ tall- about the same height as my daughter.  When we finished, she gave him a hug and a kiss on the nose and said “Wuv you sooo-man” (that makes my heart ache a little).

I’m so glad we got out this afternoon.  Here are a couple pictures of my girl and her new Snow friend.

A kiss on the nose <3

A kiss on the nose ❤

I'm not sure what he said but whatever it was, it was hilarious!

I’m not sure what he said but whatever it was, it was hilarious!

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Just call me “Twinkle Toes”

Along with the diamond earrings I’ve been (not-so-subtly) hinting about since we got together almost 7 years ago (!!  I was SO stunned and excited!), my husband bought me this awesome little nail polish kit- the Ciaté Mini Mani Month.  It’s a box that looks like an advent calendar and behind each door is a different mini nail polish (so cute!).  I think he really likes going into The Bay and buying things like that for me.  One year he bought me a Christian Dior makeup palette and it was one of my favourite gifts that year!  It might be that he likes to step outside of his comfort zone and into the woman’s realm of potions, powders and lotions- It could also be that he loves being fawned over by the girls at the cosmetics counter at the department store.. haha.

In any case.. I love this little set and I foresee a purchase of a couple full-sized bottles in my future!  It’s a nice polish, the colours I’ve tried have covered well and have been easy to remove.  One of the coolest things about the kit though is that it comes with four bottles of these tiny, multi-coloured metallic beads they call “Caviar Pearls”.  I painted my toenails this evening and used the caviar pearls only on my big toes.

Ciaté "Cutie Pie" with "Prom Queen" Caviar Pearls

Ciaté “Cutie Pie” with “Prom Queen” Caviar Pearls

This is the best photo I could get with the terrible light from the lamp.  The caviar pearls are really quite sparkly!  I might try them on my fingernails next.  I’m not sure if they’ll be really amazing or really annoying- we’ll see if they pass the crochet test 😉

Well I guess I should toddle back to bed.  I hope everyone had a great New Year and I’m sure 2013 has many, many wonderful things in store.  I have some really great projects to post in the next little while so keep your eyes open for them!

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Plastic Canvas Reindeer Basket

Remember waaaaaay back (haha, about 11 posts ago) when I said I was one of those crafters who does anything?  I come by it honestly.  Take a peek at the reindeer basket my mom made and sent all the way from Nova Scotia!  It’s made of plastic canvas.  I don’t even know how many of these she’s made, I remember her making them when I was still living at home ten years ago.  She sent it filled with chocolate and clothespin reindeer ornaments she made with my niece. ❤

Plastic Canvas reindeer candy basket

Plastic Canvas reindeer candy basket

This may be my last post before the New Year, I hope you all have a safe and Merry Christmas/Happy Holiday.  I have so much stuff to share in the New Year, I hope you’ll drop back!

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Free Skull Appliqué Pattern

Whoo!!  Orders are finished until after Christmas!  I cut it pretty close and pulled an all-nighter last night (probably the first intentional all-nighter since my University days) and powered through most of the remaining orders I had.  The last stitches were sewn this afternoon.  Phew!

Two of the orders I had were for hats that were Monster High themed.  I’ve seen commercials for the dolls but I don’t know if there’s a show about them or if they’re just a line of toys.  They seem to be really popular- even my 4-year old niece was asking for “Monster Barbies” last year for Christmas.

It took me a couple of tries but I finally came up with a design I was happy with.  It works up quickly and I thought it would be a nice “first free pattern” here on my blog.  If you have any issues with/questions about the pattern, please feel free to shoot me an email at thewholeknitandcaboodle@hotmail.com

Please excuse the poor artificial lighting :S

Please excuse the poor artificial lighting :S

 

Materials Needed: 

Small amounts of white and black worsted weight yarn

Ribbon/yarn in your choice of colour for accents (if desired)

Gauge:  Not terribly important.  With a F/3.75mm hook, my appliqué measures approx. 3″ x 2.75″

With an F/3.75mm hook and white yarn, chain 4.

Sc in second chain from hook.  Sc in each of the next two chains.  Finish off (I’m sure there’s a better way of doing this but because I’m running on no sleep and my brain has gone to mush from all of the orders I’ve been working on I can’t think of one right now).  This is the skull’s “chin”

With a new strand of yarn, chain 3.  Picking up the “chin”, work 2 sc in the stitch you worked before fastening off (joining in this stitch will allow you to use one of the ends to secure the gap that is caused by joining the two pieces). Sc in next st, 2 sc in last.  Chain 4, turn.

Working into the back of the chain, sc in the second ch from the hook and each st to the end of the row.  Ch 1. Turn.

Sc in first st, skip next, sc in next 7, skip next st, sc in last.  Ch 1. Turn.

sc in first st, skip next, sc in next 5, skip next st, sc in last.  Ch 1.  Turn.

2 sc in first st, sc in next 5, 2 sc in last.  Ch 1.  Turn.

2 sc in first st, sc in next 7, 2 sc in last.  Ch 1.  Turn.

2 sc in first st, sc in next 9, 2 sc in last.  Ch 1.  Turn.

Sc even.  Ch 1.  Turn.

Sc in first st, sk next st, sc in next 9, sk next, sc in last.  Ch 1.  Turn.

Sc in first st, sk next st, sc in next 7, sk next, sc in last.  Ch 1.  Turn.

Sc in first st, sk next st, sc in next 5, sk next, sc in last.  Ch 1.  Turn. Finish off.

Weave in ends and close gap made from joining chain with chin section.

Join black in any stitch and sc evenly around appliqué.  Finish off, leaving a long tail if attaching to a hat or other item.

Eyes (make 2):

Ch 3.  Sc in second ch from hook.  Sc in last ch.  Ch 1.  Turn.

Sc in both sts.  Finish off.

Attach eyes.  Embroider nose and add eyelashes and a bow if you’d like.

What’re you going to do with your skull(s)?  I’d love to see your FOs!

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Knittin’ Pretty

I thought I’d post a Christmas stocking I made this summer (yes, this customer was proactive!).  It was funny to be: a) Knitting while it was SO hot out and b) Doing Christmas orders so early but I was happy with how it turned out and the customer was SO pleased with it.  I even lined it so it wouldn’t get stretched out of shape over the years.  I may revisit this one when things slow down and make some for the fam 🙂

It was lots of work but so worth it!

It was lots of work but so worth it!

For anyone interested in this pattern, it’s a free pattern on the Bernat website.  It’s listed as an intermediate pattern which scared me a little bit (and I’ve never used so many colours at the same time!) but you never know you can do something unless you try, right? 😉

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Gotta catch ’em all!

Phew!  Less than two weeks from Christmas and I’m still hard at it!  I still have lots of orders but I know I’ll have them all finished in time.  I’m very lucky to have so many trusting (and patient!) customers.  I’ve been crocheting/knitting so much that my hands/arms/shoulders are sore but there’s no rest for the wicked right?

I don’t think I’ve watched an episode of Pokémon since I was a teenager and was babysitting kids who watched the show but I was asked to make a couple of Pokémon hats- a Pliplip (penguin) and a Teddiursa (bear).  Don’t ask me what they do because I honestly couldn’t tell you.  I’m very pleased with how they turned out though.

With most of my character hats, I do the faces in appliqué.  This is what makes them look so clean.  It takes more time but it appeases my OCD.. haha.

Gotta catch 'em all!  (And yes, I googled that.. haha)

Gotta catch ’em all! (And yes, I googled that.. haha)

This order will result in two happy little girls with very warm heads this Christmas! 🙂

Other than orders there’s just been a lot of the usual- tree decorating, card addressing, gingerbread house decorating.. although I think “On Top of the Microwave Dive” is a bad area of town, one of the gingerbread men has gone missing  (perhaps he was enjoyed with a glass of eggnog) you’ll be seeing his face on little gingerbread milk cartons before too long!

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“Making” Friends

I’ve been crocheting hats for two years now, since my daughter was born.  I’m quickly becoming well known in town as someone who does nice work and the orders start pouring in around the beginning of September.  Living in a semi-arid climate (read: desert-like climate- there are times when you actually see tumbleweeds blowing around), I don’t get too many hat orders from April to August and I was wondering what I could make when the weather is too warm for them.  Recently I found the answer.  Plush toys.

I had a request for Pascal from Disney’s Tangled (the little chameleon guy) and after taking a peek around Ravelry and Etsy I couldn’t find a pattern I really liked. Come to think of it, this seems to be a recurring theme in my adventures in crochet.  I think I’m going to stop looking for patterns all together.  It will save me a step and I’m always happier when I come up with a pattern of my own.

Pascal almost seemed like a fluke.  He worked up so easily and I don’t really remember having to “frog” anything while working on him.  Before too long I had the pattern written up and it’s now one of the best sellers in my Craftsy shop.  Here’s a picture of the little guy:

Don't you just want to hug this guy??

Don’t you just want to hug him??

He was really fun to make.  A few months back I had someone ask me to make them a Toopy and Binoo plush set.  Toopy and Binoo are characters of a French-Canadian children’s show called (what else?) Toopy and Binoo.  I had been planning and pondering them for a little while, working on them on and off (a nice break between hats/rush orders/family/life).  The customer who ordered them has the patience of a saint- she said she was not in a rush for them, she just wanted them for the end of the month.  I was up until 2 the other  morning working on them and YESTERDAY- the very last day of the month- I finished them.  I’m really quite happy with both of them but Toopy took the most work and figuring.  He stands about 15″ tall and though I’m not a fan of the show, I REALLY love him.  I don’t have a picture of Binoo that I’m happy with so I’ll add one later.

Toopy- from the front and from the side

Heeeeeeere’s Toopy!

Whenever I make something I’m particularly proud of (always for someone else of course), there’s always a fleeting moment where I think “I want to keep this!!” I have no idea what I would do with a 15″ plush mouse- it would probably end up going to my daughter who has too many toys as it is.

Anyway, he took a long time to make but looking at him now I’m glad I took the time, paid attention to the little details (ie the french knots by his nose) and really worked to make him as true to the cartoon as I could.  Plus the lady who ordered him is THRILLED which really is one of the best feelings I can imagine. 🙂

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Just thought I would come back and post a photo of Toopy and Binoo together.  I was able to get them to stand up together (the other photos I had of Binoo had him propped up with a copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy… haha.  My customer stopped by to pick them up and her reaction to them in person was AMAZING.  Definitely one of the highlights of my day! 🙂

Toopy and his pal Binoo

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My latest triumph!

You know, sometimes the projects you dread most are the ones you end up being most proud of.  I have so many orders lined up and a couple of them were for items I haven’t come up with patterns for.  When I first started making hats, I bought a lot of patterns.  As I grew to really understand my craft I started working out my own.  I still use the other patterns but it’s definitely a proud feeling when you come up with one of your own.

I had a couple of orders for Lightning McQueen hats and because I’m so busy I was going to buy a pattern.  I didn’t really see anything I was excited about so I bit the bullet and wrote my own pattern.  The notes I made are barely legible so I’ll have to type them out properly when things slow down a bit.  I’ll send it for testing and it should be for sale in my craftsy shop in the New Year.  I’m pretty happy with him, what do you think?

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Awkward family photos?

I’m a little photo obsessed.  I’ll admit it.  When I had my daughter I had the chance to get her in for newborn photos and that was it- I was hooked.  We must have had her in for professional photos 5 or 6 times in her first year.  I’ve slowed down a little bit- I’ve only had her in for pro photos a few times this year- our latest session being today.

While I was cruising around Etsy a little while back I stumbled upon the cutest little vintage-inspired apron and thought to myself  “How cute would that be in a “baking cookies” themed photo session?”.  I couldn’t have been happier with it, I can’t wait to see the photos!

For the session we also had the option of doing an outfit change and ended up putting her in a black lace romper.  She was getting a little tired of being posed (AND she had taken a bite out of a good half dozen chocolate chip cookies I had brought for the shoot and might have had a bit of a sugar high).  She noticed a small bed in the studio that the photographer uses for little, little babies.  Well.  my girl decided that she wanted to lie in it.  “BED?  Bed?  Bed?” she asked.  We dragged it over and told her she could sit on it but that she was just too big to lie down on it… That did NOT stop her.  I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard.

The original plan was to get some sweet shots of her with a pretty sparkling light background but we had to bribe her with a cookie and appease her demand for the bed.  We had her sitting on it for a moment but she had it in her head that she had to lie on it.  You could see the cogs turning in her head as she contorted herself, trying to fit into the teeny bed.  What resulted was this ridiculous kind of giant-baby, tiny-bed pinup pose as she awkwardly balanced herself on her side with limbs jutting out in all directions- all while trying to stuff cookies into her mouth.

I would have loved to have some of those sweet angelic shots to send to friends and relatives but let’s face it- she’s MY kid and the apple doesn’t fall far from the awkwardly posing, cookie gorging tree.  At the very least I’ll have some good blackmail photos when she’s a teenager. 😉

**Update**
Here are a couple of previews from yesterday!  Big thanks to Brynnstone Photography for capturing these moments for us!

Always the little ham! ❤

She will never live this one down.. hahaha

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Check it out!

Not too long ago I commissioned a very talented friend of mine to draw a picture for me to use on my blog and Facebook page.  I crochet more than I knit but because I’m “The Whole Knit and Caboodle” I asked him to draw me with knitting needles.  I’ve been aware of his talent for a long time now but I’m ALWAYS impressed with what he comes out with.  This one looks just like me!

Whoo! It’s me!

I showed it to one of my girlfriends and she suggested my husband get it as a tattoo.. his very own pinup girl!  He wasn’t so hot on the idea.  “Nothing a bottle of ether and a tattoo artist willing to work on an unconscious guy won’t fix!!” was my friend’s response.  Ha!  I love my friends.

Seriously though.  If you find yourself with an extra moment or two, head over and visit my friend David Cutler.  He’s amazingly talented and super funny (AND is taking commissions- you could have an awesome picture of your very own!!)

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