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Pile of discarded antlers in Whitehorse, Yukon, by KokoSnaps
I apologize for the blog-silence. I don’t really have much of an excuse aside from the fact that I’ve been working a bunch and when I get home the last thing I want to do is listen to my loud PC hum at me while I wait for programs to load.

This weekend I am headed to the GWN (The Great White North!) to visit my parents. Contrary to popular belief, Whitehorse, Yukon, isn’t snow-covered year-round. In fact, it is often warmer there during the summer than in the rest of the country. The heavens must have heard that I was on my way and decided to start the rain this week, with no plans of stopping. I was hoping to spend a bunch of time on my parents’ deck in the hammock, reading or crocheting, but it looks like I’ll probably be doing that from the comfort of the couch in the living room instead. My dad sent me an MMS message to show me what awaits my arrival, this was taken on the back deck, when it was 32 C in the shade:
empty glass
One of the other things I’d like to do, rain or shine, is collect wonderful Yukon-ey stuff for my big city friends (it’s true, they exist). Some need (I use this term interchangeably with WANT) things for their collections of natural curiosities, and others for crafty endeavours. One material that is so hot hot hot here is antlers. One could argue that this trend has passed, but I don’t think it ever got big enough to be played out (comments please?)
Check out this cast-ceramic version of an antler chandelier by Brooklyn-based designer Jason Miller. Here it is in an amazing AT house tour:
Brenden & Shannon's pint-sized pad, from ApartmentTherapy.com
Vintage antlers are pretty popular too, especially in a flea-market chic decor. I spotted this set, used as a hat rack, in a vintage shop on Queen W near Roncesvalles (hard to see is the 90$ price tag).
expensive hat rack

So, any other requests for cool things from the Yukon? I will be taking photos of the airport (?!?) for Craig, picking up antlers for Sarah & Becky, and a little bit of everything for Chris.

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Orange and Blue, aren't you?
Last year after I discovered crochet and went nutso making stuff, I searched for an outlet for all of it, and came across swap-bot.

Swap-bot is an online service that organizes group swaps and a community of creative individuals. Swap-bot takes the hassle out of participating in group swaps by organizing all of the participant information and doing all of the partner assignments. On Swap-bot, you can host swaps, join swaps, and chat with other swappers from all over the world. Give it a try!

I made lots of stuff, and sent it off. Got lots of really cute stuff in return, a couple of less-than-cute things, but in general it was a good experience. I got a good rating, but eventually I just got bored with it and preferred making things for friends.
However, I did get something pretty amazing out of this: my crocheted starfish. I participated in the Octopus Amigurumi swap sponsored by Octopus Revolution. The idea was for everyone to start with a really basic pattern, and give it their own twist. The octopus I received was a super-cute Japanese geisha-octopus with little origami paper crane buddies. It was also stuffed so tightly, I don’t know how people do this and crochet the toys closed! I guess it might be the type of yarn because I always use natural fibers which stretch more than acrylic.
So the octopus I made was green, made with Cascades Pastaza llama yarn, and I designed a little starfish buddy for it.
octopus & starfish buddy
Everyone who saw this loved it, and I was asked where I got the pattern and if I could make more. So this is what inspired me to make starfish in a whole bunch of colors and to make more octopi, but with longer legs.

Here’s a photo Karyn took of me selling my wares in my very first craft fair, ever! I sold about half of my “stock” that day at the Kid’s Trunk Show at the Workroom. You can now get your own starfish in one of 8 colors, at my etsy shop, thanks again to the Workroom and City of Craft for giving me my start!
Trunk full of Starfish - photo by Karyn of the Workroom.
(looking at this photo reminds me that I really should make more of the albino starfish!)

So when I first learned to crochet, I kinda went nuts. After the blue bunny and the happy poo, I realized I could basically crochet any shape I wanted, and started crocheting all kinds of things. My friend Chris asked me to make him a bearded cap like the one made by Vik Prjonsdottir.

The beard caps refer to a traditional cap called “lambshed-hood” which was used in Iceland by farmers who in heavy snowstorms had to walk long distances between their sheds and to the neigboring farms. The cap covered both head and neck and had only a small opening for the face.

The Beard Caps, 100 % icelandic wool, 3 different colors and shapes
Bearded Cap by Vik Prjonsdottir of Iceland

The thing is that Chris is vegan, so he chooses not to buy wool (sorry Iceland sheep farmers!). I told him to find some appropriate animal-free yarn and I would make a bearded cap for him. Well, months passed and summer came and went, so I finally bought some brown 100% cotton yarn and got on with it! I created my own version of the bearded cap, and crocheted a separate cap & detachable beard with mustache. This way, Chris could use the hat all the time, and the beard only when he felt like putting some extra fun in his day, or some extra warmth on his face. The beard has a small mouth-hole and two buttons, and the hat has two buttonholes just above the ears. There is also a built-in mustache, but now that I look at it, maybe it should have been a little bit bigger!
beardo recipient

p.s. go vote for Chris & Stu at hypercube.ca! (Only an hour left, help these guys win some cars!)