An Owl and a Cowl

My grandfather transformed into an anthropomorphic owl when I was a little girl.

He did this through the fables he wrote to me. The little girl in his stories went on adventures, while the “wise old owl” hooted a lesson or two.

An original OwlCard1“mad man,” Grandpa worked first at a large advertising agency, before starting his own. He was also a clever writer who, I think, kept a daily journal for decades. Until I turned ten, he also kept a log of all my activities, with pictures. After you’ve lived a decade, he reasoned, you could remember important events in your own life. Before that, it’s all a bit of a blur.

Our family’s patriarch turned 87 last week, and I couldn’t resist having a bit of fun with the card I made for him.

The Whooo’s the birthday boy? card:

I used this pattern from Love The Blue Bird’s blog. She made her owl in pastel colours. So cute.

I barely modified it. I used worsted weight yarns (except the beak was sewn on with super bulky, because I had it left over from making my pumpkin) and a 4 mm hook. I sewed the owl to the card stock after poking a couple of holes with a pin.



With the holidays coming up–and my dogged determination to make all my gifts this year–I have a bunch of half-finished projects sprawled across my apartment. But I did manage to put the final knot in one other project this week.

It’s Knotted by Nicole’s mindless scarf, using her pattern on Ravelry. I crocheted to 52 inches with the plan to make it an infinity scarf. I turned one side and sewed the edges togetherCowl Detail Photo1 with a craft needle. (She’s right when she says this project works up fast. I did most of it on the subway to and from work.)

I used Vanna’s Choice yarn, an acrylic, worsted weight in Grey Marble. The yarn was a gift and I liked the tweed flecks of brown and black. Oh, and I used a 5 mm hook.


And let’s take a minute to reflect on the amazing effort of our global yarn community this week – especially for Remembrance Day (or Armistice Day). So many great people crocheted poppies to sell to raise money for military causes and I’m so inspired!

Here’s just ONE of the many uplifting stories I read this week about a woman who made 1,500 poppies to celebrate her 70th birthday. I’ll save you the click: She sold them all and donated the proceeds to Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion. A round of applause for that!

So, what did you make this week?

Xo Jacquie

Holiday Spending Hang-Ups

Stressed out holiday shoppers are planning to spend less on gifts this year, a new study shows.

And I, for one, couldn’t be more relieved.

After another year of wedding-related events and new baby festivities, I’m strapped for cash. And yet, somehow all my friends are buying up houses all around me. Man, I’ve got to get more money in the bank.

Fortunately, it’s trendy to be cheap this year. A recent study done by the Bank of Montreal indicates that Canadians will spend an average $1,517 on the holiday season in 2014. That’s a more than 16 per cent drop from last year. I can only assume it’ll be the same for our friends south of the border, given the state of the economic recovery.

In that bank’s study, most of the drop came not from travel plans, but from gift costs. No doubt the Pinterest crowd is having some influence here. More upcycling and baking, less mass consumerism.

But the reminder that gift-giving time is around the corner is both exciting and frightening. I’ve gained a lot of new skills with which to make more complicated crocheted and loomed gifts this year, but I’d better start my engine! Time to make a gift list…

Meanwhile, I’m snuggling up in this beauty that I made to go with my new winter coat.

Victorian Cuff 1

It’s just a single panel made on the knitting loom, using the classic loom stitch over 24 pegs — 12 on each side. (Here’s a tutorial on that twisted knit stitch if you need a reminder).

I measured it around my neck as I went and when I figured I could slip my head through, I bound it off and tied a ribbon through it like a shoelace.

I figured the best way to do this was by putting a needle on the end of each end of ribbon and threading it through one side at a time. I cut about four feet or ribbon to let the tails hang extra long, but you could do less. I also secured the ends by melting them close to a candle flame to stop them from fraying. An alternative would be to tie them in knots.

The yarn I used was Loops and Threads Cozy Wool in a kind of mustard colour.

So, what did you do this week?

xo Jacquie