This is the fifth year that Debbie and I have been involved in the Indie Design Gift-along on Ravelry as both designers and participants. It's a fun event and it’s a chance for us to take a little vacation from designing ourselves, support our fellow designers by working from their patterns, make connections with knitters and crocheters around the world, and maybe finish off a gift or two or three. Last I checked there have been over 900 projects completed as part of the event! The event runs until the end of December, so it's not too late to join if you're feeling inspired.
These are the gift-along projects I'm working on this year:
Please excuse the slightly blurry photos for this post - as you can see, I had a little "helper"!
First on my needles were these Colorblock Slippers designed by Kelly White. I did the tech editing for this pattern earlier this fall and fell in love with it and knew I straight away I wanted to make a pair for myself.
The original pattern uses two colours, but since I was trying to use up stash yarn, I ended up using four colours. The two grey yarns are particularly dear to my heart as they are from a farm I visited during a family vacation in PEI five years ago. After I finished knitting the slippers I felt they needed something to bring the colours together so I added some free-style embroidery on top of the knitting. It took a couple of tries to get it looking the way I wanted, but I'm really happy with the way these turned out!
Next I knit this adorable Worsted Entrechat Bonnet by Lisa Chemery. It was such a fast and enjoyable knit - perfect for a quick baby gift. And to go with the bonnet I'm working on a pair of Toasty Talus legwarmers by Clare Devine. This may be the most-knit pattern I've ever purchased. I find these legwarmers so cute and practical and have made several pairs both for my own kids and as baby gifts.
Still in stash-busting mode with lots of babies to knit for, my next planned project is to make Granny's Favourite by Georgie Nicolson to use up these two leftover balls of Rowan Calmer that I've had sitting around for ages. I even have leftover matching buttons too - bonus!
Photo credit: Triona Murphy
Lastly, I could not resist buying the Cat Person pattern by Triona Murphy to make for my cat-obsessed daughter. I don't have any suitable yarn in my stash for this one, so I'll have to go yarn shopping... oh well, three out of four projects from my stash is not bad!
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One of our big goals for Sweet Paprika this year was to source a new line of Canadian wool yarns. We started contacting farms and mills last January, researching options, connecting with farmers, and collecting samples.
Eventually we settled on working with wool from Circle R Livestock, a family farm in southern Ontario. Over the spring we worked out the details to have the wool milled in New Brunswick, and we then spent the summer doing dye tests and creating colour recipes for our new Winfield (worsted) and Sutton (bulky) yarn lines.
Lately a lot of my crafting inspiration has come from my son, who is growing and needs things, and from my goal to live more gently on this earth and think twice before buying and using things.
My values of living frugally and buying ethically-produced clothing that is not damaging to the environment sometimes feel completely at odds with each other. For me, this is where mending, crafting, and buying second-hand come in. Can I mend something to extend its useful life? Can I knit or sew more of our everyday wardrobe basics? Is it something I can trade or buy second-hand rather than purchasing new?