return to sock knitting

About five years ago, I gave up on socks. I knit a beautiful pair from scrumptious Sweet Georgia Yarn, and I loved them. I’m even wearing them today with my winter boots. But then I started a second pair of socks… And they remain in my closet, unfinished. I swore off socks.

But! Last week I got a sudden urge to knit them. Perhaps it’s because of all the talented ladies in my knitting group who knit socks out of amazing yarn, I just wanted to knit something warm for my feet. I knew I was a good enough knitter to conquer the mountain of sock knitting.

Thus, I bought a few balls of sock yarn (breaking my yarn diet) and started this pair of Mr. Pitt’s Socks for my husband.


rhinebeck 2013 haul


Let’s break it down.

In chronological order of purchase:

Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in “Hay Loft”: I made a beeline for the Harrisville booth as soon as I got my Jennie the Potter mug. I knew they would have Brooklyn Tweed yarn, and I needed it for my Twigs and Willows cardigan pattern.

Brooklyn Tweed, Shelter


Harrisville Designs Shetland: Once at the Harrisville booth, I couldn’t leave without some of the Harrisville Shetland for the Catkin pullover!

Harrisville, Shetland


O-Wool Classic 2-Ply: I checked out O-Wool and then left the barn, thinking that I’d go back later in the day. I turned around halfway down the path, because that was a crazy idea! Who knows what colours they’d have left by the end of the day? (Good call on my part, as they did run out of some colours at the end of Saturday.) This fingering weight yarn will magically become the Perianth mittens.

O-Wool, Classic 2-Ply


O-Wool Local: This was my first unplanned purchase. The O-Wool booth had a trendy-looking scarf (the Blue Bell Hill Scarf) on display, and I wanted to knit that scarf. I wanted to knit that scarf in all sorts of colours, but these were the ones I chose.

O-Wool, Local


Freia Ombré in “Lichen”: I wasn’t expecting to see this pricy cake of yarn at Rhinebeck, but a vendor did have a small selection. I’d been admiring Freia’s long colourways on Ravelry for awhile now, so I decided to go for it. I saw someone wearing this made up into a hat in this exact colourway, but I might make a cowl.

Freia, Ombré


Miss Babs Yowza – Whatta Skein! in “Rainforest”: I wasn’t planning on buying two colourways from Miss Babs. I really wasn’t. But I did. And it was worth it. I was thinking I’d make the Gelsomina Aran with this, but I think that pattern would look nicer in a tweedy yarn. My two skeins of Rainforest will likely end up as a lace or cable (or lace and cable) cardigan.

Miss Babs, Yowza in Rainforest


Even more Miss Babs Yowza – Whatta Skein! in “Dance Moves”: Look at that purple! I just got into the Miss Babs line with my knitting buddies and look where that got me. I’m hoping this will become a Nanook.

Miss Babs, Yowza in Dance Moves


Cephalopod Beastie in “The Colour Out of Space”: These four skeins were packaged together due to variances in yardage. I saw it at the end of Saturday and said I’d buy it on Sunday if it was still there. It was still there. Those Cephalopod colourways are spectacular! I wish I had enough for a sweater’s worth, but I think I’ll be making a shrug out of this. Something that I can wear on a regular basis and show off to people, because I’m in love with this variegated green.

Cephalopod, Beastie in The Colour Out of Space


To conclude: I have a lot of knitting to do.


rhinebeck 2013 preview

I spent this past weekend in Rhinebeck, NY at the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival, primarily known to knitters as simply, “Rhinebeck.” I went with my knitting group – eight women, two cars, seven hours of driving each way…

I’ll have to “flash my stash” later this week after I’ve taken all the proper photos, but here I am looking very excited to be at Rhinebeck for the first time.

typegemsy at rhinebeck

My group and I got into line early so that we could be among the first to grab a Jennie the Potter mug. Jennie the Potter makes special limited edition mugs each year for Rhinebeck and we wanted to make sure we each got one.

jennie the potter mug

I enjoyed having a cup of tea in my mug this morning!

I wasn’t able to attend last year, so I am thrilled that I was able to go this year. Overall I had a wonderful time. My group stayed in a vacation home rather than a hotel, and we loved being able to relax in a living room together rather than all squeeze into someone’s room. There were so many people at Rhinebeck but the crowds were generally quite friendly. I couldn’t believe some of the line-ups! Other than the Jennie the Potter line, I didn’t stand in any others for more than ten or fifteen minutes to pay, but some vendors like the popular Miss Babs and Cephalopod Yarns had lines out the door. For those booths, I waited until the lines died down in the afternoon, and there was still a decent selection remaining after the morning crowd. I also checked out the sheep and a canine frisbee demo. One of the highlights, though, was meeting Gertie of Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing. I got her to sign my copy of Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing!

Stash photos to come… I was so very tempted to fall asleep cradling some of my yarn last night.

return of the projects

Well, it’s been awhile since my last post! I think it’s safe to say that starting a full-time job after working part-time for months requires some re-adjustment to your personal projects, like blogging. I’m just sorry I didn’t get my act together sooner! Truthfully, though, life has merrily exploded with activity since the new year. Rather than giving you the details, I will distract you with shiny projects.

Last year for Christmas, I received a Harry Potter scarf kit that my husband picked up from my local yarn shop, Wabi Sabi. Unfortunately endless stockinette makes me sleepy, so I haven’t really touched it because a stockinette tube scarf is a bit of a boring project. I wanted to have it ready for this winter though, so here it is, a work-in-progress:

Ravenclaw Scarf in the making

It is exactly 1/4 completed, as I have used up one of the four blue skeins in the kit.

I completed a toque over the weekend, which deserves its own post later. With some of the leftover wool, though, I did make myself a cute little coffee cup cozy:

Irish Tea Cozy

I was thinking of knitting a little “demi-octopus” to put on the cozy, but I can’t bear to cover up the beautiful colour shifts. I bought the yarn while in Ireland this summer (I have been busy!).

You can find the coffee cozy pattern at “another knitting blog”: here.

DIY sweet orange body butter

I don’t know if it was the power of Pinterest or the enthusiasm of the new year and all its resolutions, but when I stumbled upon this recipe for body butter, I knew had to make it.

sweet orange body butter

Pinterest led me to Rawmazing’s Homemade Body Butter Recipe. You’ll find the complete instructions and ingredient list there with lots of helpful tips and suggestions (check the comments too). I didn’t have any of the ingredients at home already. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever made a bath or beauty product at home, unless you include cutting up cucumbers for eye pads, which I don’t think you do. I ordered all of the ingredients from New Directions Aromatics, which has a Canadian branch. Their head office and warehouse are located in Mississauga, so I got my shipping notification yesterday and it was delivered to my house this morning! And I’ve got the day off, so by 1:00pm today I had six little jars of body butter ready to go.


I used coconut carrier oil, raw shea butter and almond oil; for the scent, I chose sweet orange. And yes, that is a lot of coconut oil!


Susan of Rawmazing says that the ratio needs to be 75% solid to 25% liquid oil. I was worried about measuring out the shea butter but it seemed to work well enough as long as I broke down the larger chunks into more manageable pieces to fill in the spaces in the measuring cup.


Hey! I forgot I had a double boiler! Thanks Mom and Dad, for such a sweet set of kitchenware as a wedding present.

I don’t have a stand mixer – saving that for a home ownership present to myself – so I had to use a hand mixer. I had put in about ten drops of the sweet orange essential oil, but all I could smell was the shea at this point. I added about ten more drops… but it still smells like shea! I’ll have to do some research (aka surf the net) to find out how much essential oil I should be adding. I just happened to have several small canning jars sitting around, making these the perfect travel size and gift size.

I’m going out for a run with a friend tonight, so I’ll definitely be using this body butter after my post-run shower. It does go on greasy before absorbing into the skin, as the recipe states, but it’d make a great nighttime body butter, or for a lazy morning when you have time to massage it into your skin. It gets pretty cold and dry during the winters in Ottawa, so I think this will help out a lot! They’d work well as little gifts too.

That was fun! These little jars should last 2-3 months, stored in a cool place. Now let’s just hope I didn’t do anything wrong and that they don’t melt in the jars!


enter embroidery.

My latest obsession? Embroidery. Let me count the ways.

I ordered in Stitch Step by Step on the recommendation of a coworker.

I asked for a 3 Month Stitch Sampler Subscription through Dropcloth on Etsy for Christmas, and Corey delivered! The first one will be sent out on January 15.

I bought some supplies from Ottawa’s latest fabric shop, the amazing Fabrications. They’ve started carrying items from Sublime Stitching, so I stocked up.


I spent several hours looking at all the patterns I want from Wild Olive’s Etsy shop (which is all of them). She has some great beginner’s tutorials, by the way.

I also ordered in a copy of Stitched Gifts, the cutest looking book. I love the idea of personalized embroidering. So simple yet effective!

Finally, I did a bit of practising today using Wild Olive’s swirly leaf pattern, found in her tutorial for Stem and Split Stitches. The hot pink fabric was perhaps a bad choice for the eyes, and I’d advise you not to stare at it too long. It’s not very obvious in the picture, but I used very light grey, pale pink, and pale mint green thread.


And it’s such a portable craft too! I can’t wait to continue… on lighter coloured fabric.

now that the holidays are over…

I hope that those reading this had a great holiday season. I certainly did!

Merry Christmas!

I’m a very lucky girl. I got some yarn and a Ravenclaw badge to make my very own Hogwarts scarf from my husband. He also gave me a choice: I could have a very pretty dress from Modcloth, or if I was feeling a bit braver, he would pay for a tattoo! Good thing I’m feeling brave, as I’ve been wanting a tattoo for a few years now but just haven’t brought myself to take the final step.

I’m ready to tackle 2013! I don’t normally make New Year’s Resolutions, but I do have some goals for this year. Some of them I made on my birthday last year and haven’t achieved yet, or are still ongoing.


I signed up for Sea Change from one of my favourite blogs, zenhabits, and would like to see it all the way through in 2013.


Improve my colourwork skills in knitting.
Improve my tailoring skills in sewing.
Contribute to my Project Life scrapbook on a regular basis.


Increase my fruit & veg intake and eat less meat (or at least less meat from a supermarket).
Work on running 5K three times a week.
Run a 10K race in 2013.

I started the new year off by doing the Running Room’s Resolution Run on New Year’s Eve, so now I have done two 5K races! It was hard because I’ve been sick for quite some time now, but I managed to finish comfortably even if I did have to take a few short walking breaks.

Happy 2013!