Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Mara by any other name

I don't know when it was I first looked up the meaning of my name. Perhaps it was in High School. Like a lot of people, I was named after a relative. In my case I'm the namesake for both my Opa and Oma, and I've always been sort of proud of that. Sure "God is gracious" isn't the most exciting meaning for a name out there, and Jeanne was sort of annoying to grow up with (I hated the first day of school), but now I like my name. It's part of me. And in a way, I think it matches who I am.

And while I don't put a lot of stock into name meanings, I do think they are worth considering. Which leads me to ask: why, oh why, would you name something this pretty Mara?
Sure, Mara sounds like a pretty name, but it means bitterness. Bitterness?
I love this shawls and how the ribbing looks a little bit like ruffles. I love that I think it is versatile enough to wear with a jacket or with a spring/summer dress. Bitterness? The only thing that could make me bitter about this shawl is that I want two! Or three! Wouldn't a nice light coloured shawl be perfect for spring? With the last traces of snow melting, that would be perfect!

On that note, Yay for spring and fun spring activities! Although a small part of me is sad to see the winter hat/mitt/scarf season go, there is so much good stuff to be looking forward to! I'm looking forward to getting out to do more.

Saturday, 19 March 2011


This story has a point, so stick with me. Okay?
So about 7 years ago when I had just moved to California I met Cyrille, a friend of a friend who was originally from France. His English was very very good, but when you are talking a language that isn't your mother tongue it's understandably there were still some things that he would get wrong.
Cyrille was big into surfing. And if you've never been to Nor-Cal you might not believe me when I tell you the Pacific is quite cold there. You wear a wetsuit. Some people wear neoprene caps! And gloves. And one day Cryille informed us that he really wanted to go get himself some booty... It took us a moment to figure out he really meant he was going to get some booties to keep his feet warm!
Maybe you had to be there for it to be hilarious...

Why am I relating this random story? (Other than the fact I love random stories??) Well, I was thinking about it because I made baby booties!

I got the super simple pattern from here, but to be honest... I'm not sure I'm in love with them. They are sort of cute... but will they really fit a baby's feet? I don't know. And I don't have a baby to try them out on. Oh well.
No real reason for making these. Other than to use up stash yarn. (you might recognize it from a recent sweater...) And I'm sure there will be someone soon to whom it will be appropriate to give these little gems. I just have to hold on to them until then.

Thursday, 10 March 2011


Aren't hobbies the weirdest thing in the world? And why do we chose the ones we do? I guess in my case it kind of helped that I learned to knit when I was young, but it was my choice to pick it back up after University. But what would have happened if my mom hadn't taught me to knit? Would I be flying model airplanes? Stalking celebrities? Reenacting civil war battles? Collecting stamps? More importantly, does it really matter what my hobby is as long as I enjoy it? (Well... minus the stalking celebrities one because I think that's kinda illegal.) Whatever floats your boat, right? (Or in some cases, whatever mails your letter...)

I was recently chatting with a guy I know from masters swimming and I told him I knit. He looked at me like I'd grown a second head.
"You... knit?" he said, one eyebrow raised. "Did you make that sweater?"
"No," I told him. "But I did make my hat, my mittens, my scarf. And I have made sweaters."
Then he looked at me like I'd grown three heads. (Good thing I have enough hats for all those heads I'm growing, eh?)
Needless to say I don't think he and I will become BFFs any time soon.
But why be a hater? Why not be a lover? An encourager. Besides, when you can make shawls like this one, I can't see how anyone wouldn't love it! It only took me two days to knit up (although I probably should have made it a little bigger). So, so, so easy. I love it so much that I don't want to take it off! Seriously, I'm wearing it as I type this.

Super, ridiculously simple, well written pattern from here. A friend pointed out that the simple ridge pattern would also probably make a nice straight scarf. Totally right! Probably a hat too. There are times when simple is best.

Speaking of things that are simple, yet awesome, look at this rice bag I got in the mail yesterday! Yay unexpected mail! Thank you! I love it.

I'm sure my aching joint will appreciate it soon too. See. Aren't nice people nice!?

If, unlike me, you can sew and like to sew, here are some instructions how how to make one for your very own.
So off you go people. Be nice and prosper.

Saturday, 5 March 2011


Before I made my white mittens, it had been awhile since I'd made a pair. It's been even longer since I'd made boy-sized mittens. How big are boy hands? Although I by no means have dainty hands, I would guess on average they are bigger than mine. Um... right?
But when I finished this set and asked my brother to try them on and tell me if I got the size right, he said, and I quote: "Who did you make these for?? The Jolly Green Giant?"

So does anyone know the Jolly Green Giant's address? Cause I've got some mittens for him.
Not really. Besides, he probably wouldn't need them in his warm valley.

But that left me stuck with the problem of how to make them the right size. For awhile I debated whether or not to felt them. They are made from wool for added warmth so they would have felted up quite nicely. And that would (with any luck) make them the right size. But... I'm just not that in love with felt. I think knitted mittens are nicer.
So I decided, to leave them as is. Instead to solve the problem I sewed fleece liners. I know! I, me, Jeanne, sewed! If you don't remember, I'm not so great a seamstress. With the liners I think they no longer feel too big.
(Um... they got gifted and I didn't get a good picture of the liners. Oops! Maybe I'll have to make another pair to show you. Haha. riiiight.)