September projects

Summer definitely is on the way out and fall is on the way in. Summer was late, short and hot this year and the sudden change to chilly, grey rain was a bit of a shock to the system! The rainy days have been interspersed with sunshine, but the early mornings are decidedly brisk. The advantage of this, of course, is that I can totally justify making use of the scarves and shawls I have been knitting! It isn’t quite cold enough to necessitate gloves, but it won’t be long, so I’ve cast on a new pair in a beautiful green alpaca. I have also been doing some test knitting for a couple of designers, so am well-stocked with hats for the season! I can’t show those for the moment, but I can show a few other things:

Dolcetto shawl in Toshlight Merino, Vermillion

Dolcetto shawl on the needles

This is “Dolcetto”, a beautiful shawl designed by Dani Berg. It was one of the patterns in the latest issue of Knitcircus. I fell in love immediately, chose yarn, then joined in a Knit Along on Ravelry (a completely fabulous resource for knitters and crocheters). I’m using Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Vermillion, a sumptuous, rich colour and a beautiful yarn.

Saroyan shawlette in green


This is Saroyan by Liz Abinante and is knit in Vintage DK by Berroco.

Asking for Roses shawl

Asking for Roses

This is “Asking for Roses” by Amy Swenson, knit in Tosh Merino Light in Smokestack.

Just one more bit of knitting for now!

Lacy shawl in teal laceweight yarn

Holden Shawlette

This is the Holden Shawlette by Mindy Wilkes, knit in two strands of Centolavaggi Laceweight yarn in a beautiful teal – my go-to colour this year!

I have also been doing some sewing, surprise! Last Saturday, I participated in the Treasure Chest Local Business Fair.

Booth at Treasure Chest Local Business Fari

Booth at Treasure Chest Local Business Fari

Messenger-style diaper bag

Diaper bag

This is a messenger-style diaper bag, designed to fit everything you could possibly need for an outing with baby, but not look like a diaper bag! The adjustable strap means it can be adapted for use across the body, on one shoulder, or strung across the handles of a stroller. There are ample pockets inside and out, of course, a water bottle holder, key clip and parachute clip closure.

Work in progress pouches for knitting projects

WIP pouches

These are a couple of the large WIP pouches I have been making for knitting projects. The front is clear vinyl, which is ideal when you have multiple projects on the go. These WIP pouches have turned out to be pretty popular, as they are so practical, made to order and unique.

Just one last thing before the end of this photo-heavy post! Last night was domestic bliss for us. We live in the city, but are hearts are a little more rural and after a few games of hangman together, Daddy read “Little House in the Big Woods” to the girls while they took turns making butter and I sat in my chair, working on my Dolcetto knit-along! It was relaxing, peaceful and a great end to the day. Now we’re looking forward to lovely, buttery toast for breakfast!

Homemade butter

Homemade butter


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Treasure Chest II

Tomorrow I will be participating in the Treasure Chest II Local Business Fair at the Costin Hall in Lantzville. This event gives small, locally owned businesses an opportunity to showcase their wares to the public. I’m looking forward to meeting with other small business owners, but am especially excited to meet new people and show what I do.

If you are in the Nanaimo area, please stop by and support local businesses, see some fantastic handmade products and perhaps check some things off your Christmas list!

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Knitting bag and other things

My recent fixation with learning to knit has rather diverted my focus from adding items to the shop, writing blog posts and even posting pictures of some of the one of a kind bags I have made. I have been trying to keep my knitting exploits separate from business posts, but after much consideration, I have almost come to the conclusion that that makes for a dull Pip ‘n’ Milly blog. When I am interested in a maker of handmade products, I confess that I am also curious about their life, what part of the world they live in, what other creative pursuits that they explore. It makes for a more interesting story behind the brand and gives a sneak peek into the life of the artist/maker/designer. Seriously, who really wants to just see products? Not me. Being bombarded with purely business related posts, tweets, status updates etc is a real turn-off, even when they are sporadic, like mine! I’m really not the type to spice things up, but in order to add a little interest and dimensionality (is that even a word?!!) to Pip ‘n’ Milly, I’ll be adding in some posts and photos about my knitting projects, gardening and maybe even the progress of our chicken coop!

So, to start things off gently, below are some photos of a beautiful knitting bag I designed earlier this year. Couldn’t believe I hadn’t posted it before!

One of a kind knitting bag

One of a kind knitting bag

This stunning bag using a Michael Miller fabric and coordinating lining fabrics, features heavily reinforced exterior panels to make the bag stand up well and support the weight of the bamboo handles without sagging. It also suede corner protectors, a clear vinyl pocket on the front for holding your pattern while you knit, a large front pocket, 2 magnetic snaps, a zippered pocket on the rear of the bag, multiple clear pockets inside, a dedicated scissor pocket and plenty of room for several projects.

Rear of bag showing the zippered pocket

Rear of bag

Here are another couple of versions which were custom made, so have a slightly different set of features.

Custom order knitting bag in totem pole fabric, with red polka dot lining. Photos shows clear front pocket, large front pocket with pattern poking out, adjustable flap, shoulder straps and red binding for top of bag and pocket

Custom order knitting bag

Knitting bag in a fabulous bird and leaf print in shades of purple, mustard, cream and black

Birdy knitting bag

These measure approximately 16″ x 6.5″ x 11″.

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Boy-friendly messenger bag

No, not designed for a boy, but for a mom who has three boys and wanted a bag which would withstand the rigours of an active, rough and tumble life! The exterior is a hard-wearing denim with a subtle herringbone pattern, whilst the original fulfilled her desire for something beautiful, personal and more feminine. I used my new deluxe hardware and am thrilled with how swish it looks. The bag features an adjustable strap, parachute clip closure, zippered pocket and divided pocket under the flap, rear magazine pocket, expanded pockets in the interior, patch pocket, key clip and strips of accent fabric on the front flap. The fabrics are all interfaced, pockets are interfaced and lined and the zippered pocket bag coordinates with the other fabrics used.


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Butterfly messenger bag

I worked on a particular order in July for a customer in Vancouver, but haven’t been able to post about it yet, as it was destined to be a special birthday gift. I’ve just heard from the recipient and she loves her new bag! Well, now that she has seen it, so can you!

This is a messenger-style bag with a dark/neutral exterior to suit her active lifestyle with her young boys, but the interior is bright, vibrant and fun. Practicality is paramount in my work and this bag is filled with great features, such as a magazine pocket at the rear, a wide, adjustable strap, divided pockets under the flap and inside the bag, a zippered pocket, key clip and a water bottle holder. Roomy, yet not bulky.

Butterfly bag - interior

Butterfly bag - interior

Messenger bag exterior

Messenger bag exterior

Messenger bag - front

Messenger bag - front

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Recent work

Once again, it has been quiet on the blog front! Some of the recent orders have been for gifts, so I don’t like to post about them until after they have been given, just in case! The summer holidays are here and we have been enjoying the leisurely mornings, playdates, sunshine and pottering about. We are planning a few outings for over the summer, including some parks, beaches, the Kite Festival, car show and exploring new places with the girls. There will also be as much knitting as I can squeeze in…

So, here are photos of some of my latest work. Hope you like it! Will try to post new items to the shop asap.

Custom order: knitting bag and matching WIP pouch

Knitting duo

The lady who placed this order was given a bag with those wooden handles many years ago, but the fabric totally didn’t suit her style or personality and she didn’t like to carry it. I suggested a remake in more suitable fabric, to coordinate with the Work In Progress pouch which she had ordered. I added pleats and a magnetic snap closure and her bag is now fresh, modern and much more appealing. The lady loved her WIP pouch so much, she ordered a second one for another knitting project! They are perfect for carrying small projects such as socks, gloves, a scarf etc, but I have found that my recent cardigan project required something larger, so I made this:

Large knitting project pouch with shawl

Large WIP pouch, with shawl project

It works beautifully, so I will be making more of these and finding excuses for bigger projects! The clear vinyl front allows me to see exactly what I have and makes it easy to grab a project on our way out the door.

Another great customer recently ordered another beach bag for his daughter, so her Mom could have her original one back!

Blue/green floral beach bag with pleated pockets

Beach bag/locker bag

Green/blue floral beach bag

Beach bag

This was originally designed as a locker bag for going to our local pool. The end pockets are used for shampoo, conditioner and comb and the bag itself carries towels for the four of us, so I roomy, practical bag all round! We also use ours for trips to the library, picnics, trips to the beach etc.

This is some of the pieces laid out for a special order, after they have been interfaced. Still a long way to go from this stage! Can’t show the finished object, as it is a surprise gift and has not yet been given.

Bag pieces laid out

Bag making in progress

More of my recent work:

Pleasted shoulder bag in blue butterfly print

Pleated panel bag

Custom knitting bag in totem pole fabric

Custom knitting bag

Pleated panel bag

Pleated panel bag

Red floral knitting bag

Red floral knitting bag

I think that’s enough for now! Enjoy your summer!


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Work-in-progress pouches

These are two of the recent work-in-progress pouches I have made for custom orders. The coordinating fabrics are from a range called ‘Butterfly Carnival’ by Fabric Freedom of London. The orange butterfly print instantly caught my eye and I am glad I went back for it. Both colourways are incredibly vibrant and striking. These zippered pouches measure approximately 9″ x 5.75″ x 2.5″ and are interfaced and have a clear vinyl side so you can see the project you are working on. They are designed for small knitting projects, such as scarves, socks, gloves etc, but would be perfect for all manner of uses. Each one is custom made to order, absolutely one of a kind and a complete steal at $25 Cdn.

zippered WIP pouch in orange butterfly print

Orange butterfly WIP pouch

Interior of zippered pouch, showing lining and clear vinyl front

Orange butterfly WIP pouch, interior

WIP pouch in blue butterfly print

WIP pouch in blue butterfly print

Interior shot of blue butterfly WIP pouch

Interior shot of blue butterfly WIP pouch

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WIP pouches

I have been sewing, despite appearances, and I have recently completed a couple of aprons for gifts, lunch mats, coffee cozies and several WIP pouches. I am particularly proud of the latter, as it took me awhile to figure out how to construct a zippered pouch with a gusset and a clear vinyl front. The technical problem being that I hate visible seam allowances and had to find a way to complete the design brief in a way that was achievable in terms of production. The end result is a very practical, attractive and thoroughly useful addition to the range of products on offer. The WIP pouch measures approximately 9″ x 3″ x 6″ (23cm x 7cm x 15cm). The original purpose of the pouch was to hold a WIP knitting project and it will happily hold a 100g ball of yarn, so is ideal for socks, scarves, gloves, hats and other ‘small’ projects. The WIP pouch makes it very easy to grab a project on the way out the door and have everything self-contained.

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How does your garden grow?

Out here on the west coast of Canada the winter can be long and wet and the glorious summers are much yearned for during those months. I suspect it would be a little easier to bear if we got more snow, as the rain does get a bit much after awhile. However, I appreciate that I might feel differently about it if I had to deal with snow at this time of year! We have had a chilly spring and the recent arrival of warmer temperatures has been good for the spirit. Last weekend was particularly enjoyable, as it constituted two of my favourite things: gardening and productivity! I love it when everyone feels like getting things done. We recently bought a playhouse for the children and have been planning a Secret Garden area for them, a very exciting prospect for the whole family. Having made a few trips to the Barton & Leier Gallery, we are really inspired to make more of our large space.

In addition to work on the Secret Garden, there is always weeding to be done, things to be tidied, plants to be pruned and seeds to be planted. I’m limited in the extent to which I can do most of that, but I pushed it as far as I could and enlisted Mum’s help to get the veg garden planted. We have decided to add a path this year and are removing strawberries to make way for blueberry bushes, plus we’ve shifted the herb garden over a bit to make it easier to pick without walking on the beds. I always find spring very refreshing, enlivening and invigorating, as do many others. It is wonderful to see the garden coming back to life again! The next few weeks will bring greater beauty every day.

This is the current condition of the garden and I’ve no doubt it will change quickly, as is to be expected at this time of year.

View of our vegetable/fruit garden


View of our produce garden, looking up towards the raspberries

Garden, Spring 2011

In an ideal world, we would have a studio in the garden somewhere, so I could work out there in the summer evenings! Had better start planning now!

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The Treasure Chest

Tomorrow, Sunday 17th April, I will be participating in The Treasure Chest, a local business fair showcasing a range of unique businesses on Vancouver Island. It is being held at the Rugby Club, 6700 Dover Road in Nanaimo from 10am-4pm. Free parking, free admission and some really great vendors. Come on out, support small business in your local community and get a feel for all the creativity and entrepreneurial activity going on around the area. Pip ‘n’ Milly Creations will be there with examples of bag styles, Grab & Go Lunch Mats, one of a kind gift ideas and more. Mothers’ Day is fast approaching. Perhaps a gift certificate is the answer to the annual question of what to get the special Mom in your life!

Treasure Chest local business event

Treasure Chest local business event

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