Category Archives: Events

Christmas chez Bees

Here’s what Christmas looked like where I was this year:

There was baking:

Merry Christmas

Christmas cookies! Earl grey meltaways, sugar cookies, orange chocolate chip cookies, white chocolate cranberry shortbread, orange gingersnaps, and also wee meringue peppermint drops from a Regency-era recipe.

Christmas baking

Plenty to share — which is a good thing, because our extended family exchanges food (baking, preserves, that sort of thing) for Christmas every year.

There was singing:

The Orange Peel Carollers, in a 2009 video

I sing with a group called the Orange Peel Carollers, an offshoot of my parents’ Morris dancing group, Orange Peel Morris. We sing old carols from the English village tradition, combined with old Canadian carols as well. We sang at the Fort York Frost Festival for the first time, which was a real highlight.

I also got together with other friends and carolled door-to-door, collecting for the food bank:

There’s one more festive, musical event on my Christmas calendar this year, as every year: Twelfth Night revelries in Cambridge (Ontario). There will be food, drink, carols, a mummer’s play, Morris dancing, and also Regency-style English Country Dancing. It’s always a highlight for me!

There was ice and snow:

We all got together despite the most incredible ice storm.

Ice storm

The tree outside our front door, early in the day, before the bulk of the ice had formed.

Our power was out for about 6.5 hours the day the storm hit, but thankfully it came back on before the sun went down or the house got too cold.

Laddie’s preserved rosebud

Ice-laden rosebuds — photo courtesy of my dad

There was incredible food:


My father-in-law’s tourtière very nearly rivals my grandmother’s!

There was tourtière, there were TWO turkey dinners, there was peach pie and mincemeat pie and blueberry pie. There were, you know, a few cookies. There was baked french toast casserole, and bacon, and sausages. There was coffee cake for breakfast.


Phenomenal pub poutine — photo courtesy of my dad

There was also a wonderful pub lunch with excellent local grub!

And there was drink:


Cheers to family! — photo courtesy of my dad

There were hopeful dogs:

Hopeful dogs

Nike, Laney, and Tux “helping” my mother-in-law in the kitchen

There was crafting with family:

Sharpie tiles

Sharpie tiles!

Gillian suggested that we find a craft to do together one evening, so we collected ideas on Pinterest. This idea, from the Sharpie website, seemed particularly promising. We got some blank white tiles, some permanent markers, and a spray-bottle of rubbing alcohol, and went to town. You just doodle on the tile, and then spritz it or dab it or drizzle it with rubbing alcohol. Because the permanent markers are alcohol-based, the rubbing alcohol re-dissolves the pigment, and lets it redistribute on the surface of the tiles. When it evaporates, you can add more alcohol to continue messing with the design, until you’re happy with it. We also doodled on the ‘finished’ tiles with metallic pens, adding to the patterns created by the drips of alcohol. I experimented with tiles coloured with just one shade (the black and purple ones above) as well as more intricate designs, and it couldn’t be easier to get cool results! Now I just need to find some sealant to protect the final product, and maybe some silicone to make little ‘feet’ to turn these into coasters.

And of course, there was knitting!

Fingerless gloves for Gillian

Fingerless gloves for Gillian

I promised Gillian a while ago that I’d make some fingerless gloves for her, to go with the ‘Bacon cowl‘ (which I still need to blog about). I used the pattern for the awesome Rusalka gloves from Knitting New Mittens and Gloves, but omitted the fancy beaded cuff in favour of some sturdier ribbing. The main thing I like about this pattern is the very clever little chains that go between the wearer’s fingers. They’re basically crochet chains, but formed with knitting needles during the bind-off process. They mean that you can shove your hands into your pockets, or into heavier mittens, without the palm of the glove rolling down and getting all wadded up. Gillian’s actual Christmas present was a cowl, but I somehow neglected to take any photos of it. I reminded myself several times to take pictures but not post them until after the presents were opened… I’m going to have to count on Gillian to snap some photos of it in action!

Meanwhile, this super-bulky fox hood is super-adorable, eh?

Alice's hood

A fox hood for friends’ little girl

It’s meant to be big and droopy, but that does mean it’s large enough to go on an adult head too:

Mr. Bee makes a great hat model, eh?

There was also a little selfish Christmas knitting: I made an ornament for our tree, and I’m awfully pleased with how it turned out. EARTH ORNAMENT The pattern is Pale Blue Dot by Denise Powell. It’s impeccably charted! It was published in the special Festive edition of A Needle Pulling Thread, so it’s only available for purchase as part of the whole magazine. I hope this particular pattern gets wider recognition in time, because it’s absolutely exquisite. (Knitting around a solid object’s not especially fun, but it’s so worth it in this case. Besides, you knit almost 3/4 of the globe before you have to insert the ball and knit around it.)

Pale Blue Dot

Pale Blue Dot ornament

There was Netflix and a comfy couch:

Unfortunately, for the last part of our holiday, there have been fevers, aches, and hacking coughs instead of festive carols and good cheer, but at least we were warm, safe, and  comfortable, and well-supplied with leftovers.

I hope Christmas (or whatever you celebrate) has been wonderful to you and yours this year!

A reminder: you have until Wednesday (New Year’s Day) to enter to win the giveaway for Green Gables Knits! I’m LOVING all the comments that are coming in, though I’ve refrained from commenting myself so as not to cause issues with the random number generator’s comment selection.

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Reminder: Indie Design Gift-A-Long ends tomorrow!

I’m up to my eyeballs with non-knitting work at the moment, but I wanted to remind you that the fantastic Gift-A-Long sale that I posted about earlier ends tomorrow! Well, more specifically, the sale part ends; the KAL/CAL continues until the end of December. So what are you waiting for? Go check out the Ravelry group, pick up one (or a dozen) of the patterns you’ve been eyeing, and get stitching!


Gift-A-Long Goodness!


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Indie Design Gift-a-long

The brilliant minds in the Designers group on Ravelry came up with a lovely idea to get us all in the gift-knitting spirit for the upcoming holidays. (Gasp, yes, I know, they’re coming altogether too quickly!)

They created (and I gladly joined) the Indie Design Gift-a-long!

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ColourRIOT Live! (Or, Speaking In Public With and Without My Sister)

The Kitchener-Waterloo Knitters’ Fair, hosted by my Knitters’ Guild, was a couple of weeks ago (September 14th). What a day it was! Read more about it — and then look for some exciting news at the bottom of this post!

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Alpaca action!

Let’s step aside from the colour posts for a moment, and talk about alpacas.

Why? Because with tragic news pouring out of Boston and elsewhere, the world needs more softness, more affection, and more silliness, and alpacas seem to provide all three in spades.

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Sweater Non-Progress and a Shaggy Dog Story

Last time I blogged, I was trying to decide which sweater to knit for myself. Truth is, though, I still haven’t gotten any farther than narrowing down that short-list. Life kind of got in the way.

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Soakboxes & TNNA

So, it sounds like the Soakboxes were a big hit at TNNA (the big yarn-world trade show that took place this past weekend). One day — one fine, fine day — I may become a yarn-world insider, and attend TNNA myself. But for now, it’s pretty damn cool to know that I was there by proxy.* / ** / *** / **** Continue reading


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KWKG Adjudicated Show 2012 – Part 2, The Show!

Okay, so (following on yesterday’s post) now it’s Tuesday, it’s a stinking hot day, there’s only one working toilet, and we’re about to have 150 people come to see the Guild’s Adjudicated Show. Everyone with me so far?

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KWKG Adjudicated Show 2012 – Part 1

After the whirlwind of Knit in Public Day, life really didn’t settle down much for the knitters, locally.

Every two years, the local Knitters’ Guild holds an Adjudicated Show. Members can submit entries they’ve knit in the intervening two years, based loosely around a theme that’s related to our programming. We invite someone amazing and inspiring from the knitting world to come to town as our adjudicator — four years ago it was the Yarn Harlot, and two years ago it was Anne Hanson from Knitspot.

This year, we had the pleasure of welcoming Fiona Ellis.

KWKG Adjudicated Show 2012

Fiona Ellis. Photo courtesy of Adam Benjamin/shuttermonster

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So, remember this image from yesterday’s post?

WWKIP 2012 @ Shall We Knit 11

Soakbox at WWKIP at SWK

Did it look at all familiar?

Lace Kelly Soakbox

Soakbox promo photos courtesy of Soak

Funny that, eh?

So, back in… April, I think it was? … Jacqueline from Soak sent out a tweet that she was looking for hand models for a secret project. Whenever Jacqueline says she’s plotting something fun, I immediately know it’s going to be awesome, so I leapt at the chance to take part.

Lace Kelly getting polished #1

Soakbox promo photos courtesy of Soak

Those of us who were selected were only told to come to an address in Toronto on a Sunday morning in May, wearing dark jeans and no nail polish.

I hopped on a bus from Kitchener, and (with the help of Jacqueline’s partner Ted, and no help from a mass of marathon runners) eventually found myself in Jacqueline’s condo near the waterfront, with three other volunteer ‘models,’ a photographer and her assistant, a manicurist, Jacqueline and her Soak staff, and Fiona Ellis.


At this point, Jacqueline and Fiona explained the new product that we were gathered to promote — and swore us all to secrecy for the time being! Now that the Soakboxes have been publicly launched, though, I can tell you all about them.

lace kelly, out of the box.

Soakbox promo photos courtesy of Soak

Each box contains a miniature spa treatment for your knitting hands. You get a bottle of Soak wash, and a matching bottle of their new Handmaid hand cream in a matching scent. There’s a bottle of Essie nail polish to match, and a skein of gorgeous Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport yarn in a custom colourway that goes with it all. And to top it off, you get a pattern for a pair of handwarmers to knit up in that yarn, designed by Fiona. There are four different boxes, based on four different Soak fragrances; each has a unique pattern that particularly suits that colourway. (I’m showing the box based on the Aquae scent, partly because it’s my favourite scent, and partly because — as you can see — it’s the box that I got to model.)

Soakbox: may your nails match your knits. #1

Soakbox promo photos courtesy of Soak

From left to right, above, there were: Cuff Au Lait, featuring Lacey; Clark Cable, featuring Scent for Celebration; Double Pointe, featuring Scentless, and (on my hands) Lace Kelly, featuring Aquae. 

The Soakboxes are obviously great gifts to give to knitters in your life. It occurs to me, though, that they also make great gifts for knitters to give to non-knitters! You could carefully take the yarn and pattern out of the box, work up the mitts, and then tuck the finished product back in the box to have a ready-made gift set for caring for both the mitts and the wearer’s hands.

Soakbox: may your nails match your knits. #2

Soakbox promo photos courtesy of Soak

It was such a blast to be in on this secret project before it was public knowledge. I even got to be the face — well, the torso — of the teaser post! (Umm, and how often does a photo of one’s bust get sent around the internet with a big ‘censored’ bar across it, in a way that makes one feel fantastically excited? That’s a new one for me.)

Top Secret.

Soakbox promo photos courtesy of Soak

The day of modelling was a completely new experience for me, too! I am so NOT a stereotypical model type person, from my general physique to the blotchy diabetic ulcers on my skin to my carefree (careless? clueless?) approach to style. This was perfect, though, as the fingerless mitts cover the blotch that’s on my wrist, and at least my fingers are toned and fit, even if other parts of me are not! I figured this was my one shot at modelling, so I might as well enjoy it.

Lace Kelly getting polished #2

Soakbox promo photos courtesy of Soak

I had my first-ever manicure — Jacqueline brought in a manicurist who does mobile spa treatments — and carefully sat still to dry my nails with the aid of the fan from a computer tower. Jacqueline and Fiona made us a lunch, carefully composed of white ingredients that would not splotch our crisp white t-shirts, and even offered to hand-feed those whose nails were not yet dry.

Lace Kelly

Soakbox promo photos courtesy of Soak

We each took some individual photos to show off the specific mitts we were wearing — check out how prettily Fiona has merged the thumb gusset increases with the eyelet lines in the Lace Kelly mitts I had on! We also took shots with the various products inside each box, and with the actual Soakboxes themselves.

You can get a Soakbox for yourself at the Soak website, or from your LYS of choice. (My LYS, Shall We Knit?, got into the Soakbox spirit with manicures using the polishes on Knit in Public Day. I hear that there’s at least one LYS out there doing classes based on the mitt patterns, too. I wonder what other creative ideas this will spark?)

** Full disclosure: I don’t work for Soak, and they didn’t pay me either to do the modelling or to write this post. They are, however, sending me a Soakbox as a treat.


Filed under Adventures, Events, Knitting for Gifts