Post-birthday bliss

It was my birthday yesterday. Since Friday evening I was sung at and implored to eat cake on no less than three separate occasions. Somehow I persevered.

Seriously, though -- thank you all for the kind birthday wishes! I feel thoroughly spoiled and loved.

Through it all I was accompanied by the first of a pair of socks...

...that I am making for Thomas (aka Thomas Gandey, aka Cagedbaby.)

You might recall that I am quite fond of his work, especially his sublime release Will See You Now. If you are a fan of synthpop I can not recommend this one enough.

I'm aiming to finish these by my self-imposed deadline of socks-in-the-mail-by-Friday-morning. At the rate that I'm working, these should be finished long before. As Thomas has been waiting patiently for socks since early October he deserves no less than proper diligence on my part.

There are so many good things on the way...I'd best get moving.

A contest for the diligent

Lovely parcels have been wafting my way all this week, which is no great surprise as my birthday's this Sunday. I could get used to this.

And I have a little something for you as well: everyone who sends a picture of their finished pair of Camilla mittens to spillyjaneknits{at}gmail{dot}com between now and February 28 2011 will receive one free SpillyJane Knits pattern of their choice. I am not making this up.

There are myraid other delights in the works, including a couple of very cool collaborations. One of these is with Chinese avant-electronic duo FM3, creators of the Buddha Machine. I am not making this up, either.

When I think of the places that I've taken knitting (or should that be where knitting has taken me?) It's remarkable, really.

Free Pattern: Camilla Mittens

As I said the other day, your patience is appreciated. Now it's all about to pay off. My newest free mitten pattern, Camilla has been released.Sporting a fine stylized floral motif, she's a classic beauty. Interested? Pick her up on Ravelry here. If you'd prefer a direct link to her .pdf then please, right this way. She's free, so you don't need to mess around with my Etsy shop (unless you'd really like to.) Your choice.

Yes, instructions are included for producing fingerless mittens. Yes, this is the perfect first-colourwork pattern for those of you new to the field. And yes, I used Sunday Knits' Eden and Nirvana 3 ply yarns to knit her -- the colourways are Beet and Sand, respectively. Believe me when I say that there are few things more lovely than colourwork mittens knit in a cashmere/merino blend.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have socks to knit.

I swear

Distractions abound, but I would like you all to know that I am diligently working on Camilla, this season's free mitten pattern.I know that some of you have been waiting as patiently as possible and for that I thank you. Be assured that I have you and your interests in mind.

And now, back to work.

Get Spilly: mitten kits now available

Now here's some happy news: the nice people at Sunday Knits are making it easier than ever to get your hands on (and in) some of my mittens. They're now offering kits to make the five patterns of mine (at present) that call for their luxurious yarns. Check them out here.

Which ones, you ask, are those? Well, have a look:Left to right, that's the Flamingos, Schnecken, Juanita, Isidora and the Zarzuela mittens. Their patterns are all available on Ravelry and yes, in my (happily, finally well-stocked) Etsy shop. Please note that Juanita is still on sale until 31 January 2011 (coincidentally the day after my birthday.)

Now it's all over but the knitting. Enjoy.

Tea + Pookie

At home with tea and Pookie.Check out those drumsticks!

Working on Things that I'm supposed to be doing:
...and Things that I'm (technically) not:
And yes, there is the odd New Thing around here:...of which there isn't much to show just yet. That will be changing soon.

Thankyou, goodnight

As far as I'm concerned, when it comes to booking rooms abroad only the very old or the up-to-the-minute new will do. Better yet are those places which combine the two in a pleasing fashion. Yes, there is some pleasure to be taken in the anonymity and pedestrian "luxury" of the dusty-rose hotel room, but I much prefer having a few mysteries to unravel during my stay. Getting the Discovery Channel is also a plus.

My recent trip to the Kitchener-Waterloo area afforded me the chance to stay at the delightful Walper Terrace Hotel, which has seen a host of dignitaries grace its premises. If the place was good enough for Liberace...well. I wanted his room.

The purpose of my trip, however, was decidedly more of a knitterly nature: I had been invited by the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitters' Guild to hold a trunk show at their monthly meeting this past Tuesday. In typical trunk show-style, I met a lot of lovely knitters and they got to meet my herd of mittens and socks (which, when all laid out together, are quite a sight.) In typical busy-Spilly-style, I didn't get the chance to take one picture of the hall, my table or any of the knitters themselves. It was a time for meeting and experiencing, not looking through a lens. It was a lot of fun.

So thank you, knitters of Kitchener-Waterloo, for having me. I would definitely like to see you all again at the Knitters' Fair this September.

Florine's Love Flight

Shortly before the Old year turned into the New one I had the chance to spend some quality time with Florine Stettheimer's Love Flight of a Pink Candy Heart at the DIA. Fittingly, this is the painting that made me fall in love with her in the first place.

The woman on the balcony is Florine herself, reminiscing about her various love affairs, both actual and imaginary. It's wistful, fanciful and delightful.

I've left the images large so that you can enjoy the many fine details of this work. As far as I can tell, these are the only images of their kind online. Florine and her paintings have (so far) been regretfully overlooked.

I have to include an image with part of the frame. It adds a near-divine dimension to this romantic reverie.

And finally, one of Cupid:


My expedition to London is rapidly approaching, and I've got it into my head that I simply can not travel overseas without an excess of murky-coloured knits. It's a trousseau of sorts and lately it has been largely populated by neckwear. I intend to spend much of my trip outdoors so this seems appropriate.

This is all that remains of the four skeins of my beloved Noro Retro:
mainly because the rest has been turned into this:It might really be one of the most beautiful things I've ever produced. The patten is Saroyan, a simple, gorgeous and wonderfully versatile free pattern. Combined with the Noro Retro's subtle variations in colour and texture one ends up with something very close to the perfect scarf.

This week's project currently looks more like a nudibranch than a shawlette:and my working name for it is "Miss Anne Elk." Bonus points to the ones who can tell me why.

Reeling, but in a good way

Yesterday in the early afternoon I received a somewhat cryptic email from The Yarn Harlot. A quick peek at her blog confirmed my suspicions; she had written an entire post about me and my work.Believe me when I say that this is incredibly flattering and more than a little surreal. I still remember the days before I knew how to knit -- when my knitting friends told me about this Harlot-lady from Toronto with a knitting blog.

Last winter I found out that she knew who I was and that she liked what I did. In March I heard her read and got to meet her (she snuck up on me.) And now this.

Thank you, Steph. I'm already lining up a slew of nice pubs to take you to the next time you're in town.

So, to all the newcomers and the oldcomers and to those who have known me since before the beginning began, Welcome. Let's see what's around the bend, shall we?

Cheezburger Mittens! You can has!

Hot off the grill -- fresh, tasty and delicious mittens onna bun!
Allow me to serve up the I Can Has Cheezburger Mittens!

It's BBQ season all over again in the dead of winter. Whether you crave a nice grilled mushroom, a black bean burger or something of the more meaty persuasion on that bun, these mitts will hit the spot. Add your favourite toppings!

Instructions are provided for making these fingerless as well -- perfect for that early- or late-season cookout.

You can order these delicious mitts by clicking that wee button, over here on Ravelry or right this way to my eat-in Etsy shop (soon.)

Now I'm hungry.

Two new mittens + chickens

There are currently two new mittens in production. In a fit of impatience (and in the hopes of spurring myself on) I snuck first glimpses of these out on Twitter last night. So, maybe you've seen them or maybe you haven't. In any event, here they are now.

Inspiration for these mittens struck when I was mired in both a post-holiday Man v. Food marathon and a very intense (but brief) crush on host Adam Richman. Looking more like one of Adam's (often bizarre) eating challenges, these are mittens with many, many burgers on.Their working title is, fittingly, On A Bun. It's up to you to decide if they're veggie (or not.)

The second pair are also, coincidentally, this season's free mitten offering. I hope you like them.They're called Camilla, which was (and still is, actually,) one of my nicknames at home. I'm not quite sure where it came from, but I suspect that I might be named after a chicken:

You should really watch this video. It's one of Pookie's favourites.

Housethoughts pt. 2

I remember, as a child, being incredibly saddened by the fact that the house I lived in was only a scant handful of years older than I was. My parents had had it built and they knew every nook and cranny. It held no secrets.

For a child like me, in love with mystery and mythology from a very early age, this was devastating. I pretty much knew (but asked anyway, just in case) that there were no secret passages or magic doors in our basement. The odds of finding a portal to some fantastical alternate world there were less than nil. Somehow I carried on.Of course, these days I don't have that problem. Though I haven't discovered any mysterious doors or false walls in my basement (yet) the possibilty does exist. They wouldn't necessarily lead me to Narnia, but rather to somewhere more illict. In the 1920s, the fashionable area of Walkerville (which takes its name from Hiram Walker and is where I now live,) was a hotbed of rumrunning, what with it being on the border and all. All sorts of dubious characters from Al Capone to the Purple Gang to any number of self-made booze barons were on hand to profit from Prohibition. As a result, there are houses around here with hidden rooms and secret doors behind which one could stash their, erm, stash. There's even a really good scrapbook-style book about it.

And all the while my house stood here while the Twenties roared around it. I can't help but wonder what the house would divulge if it could -- I'll let you know if I hear anything.

Something Fresh

It's a fresh new month in a fresh new year and I have plenty of fresh new things on the way that you may very well enjoy.Case in point: there are three more new mitten patterns in progress and one of them is my annual free pattern. It's just another way to thank you all for watching and reading and knitting so enthusiastically. You know I appreciate it.

Don't forget that NaKniMitMo 2011 is now officially on, and that my pattern Juanita is this year's Official Mitten. Visit the forum on Ravelry here to learn more and/or take part. See you there.