Martine’s Road to 26.2

You know, I’ve ‘known’ Martine Ellis for about a year now and I can honestly say I never know exactly what she’s going to do next. I can also honestly say that I believe she can do anything.

We’ve never actually met — our homes are about 4,ooo miles apart — but I’ve had the good fortune of collaborating with her in the Merry KAL and iMake Magazine. She tirelessly produces more than a small army of creative types put together — from her popular podcast, to knitting patterns, to editing her magazine, to her countless crafty endeavors that she documents on her blog. Somehow she has even made time to answer questions for me from time to time as I worked on setting up the Socks with Sarah KAL and encouraged me to open my own Ravelry group. In fact, I don’t know that I’d have had the courage to do a lot of what I’m doing with my blog & the Socks with Sarah KAL without her. Martine is just such a force for good in this world — for that, for her energy, and for her all her tireless, fearless work she is someone I very much admire.

When she announced last fall that she intended to run the London Marathon this April, I can’t say I was surprised. Running to raise funds for Anthony Nolan, the UK’s blood cancer charity & bone marrow register, Martine — who is “not exactly a runner” — has been doing just that since October. I am just in awe of her dedication and all the work she’s been pouring into this race. I’ve also enjoyed the photos she’s shared of her runs via instagram and on her blog

guernseyIsn’t her island of Guernsey beautiful?

gorgeousguernseySuch beautiful paths…

guernsey run2And picturesque shorelines.

She has just done a tremendous job of sharing this journey — from the inspired photos to the snapshots of her training times. Her artistic documentation is only outdone by the actual physical effort involved. I’m so proud to say that I’m a supporter of her effort.

Today I’m telling you about Martine & sharing this undertaking of hers because she’s got just over a month to go before she transforms herself from this crafting, podcasting, magazine editing powerhouse…


To this Anthony Nolan fundraising hero…

martinerunsWho will run 26.2 miles for a good cause.

If she inspires you like she does me and you are able, please hop over to her fundraising site & sponsor her effort. Every donation — the big & small alike — gets her a step closer to her goal and provides funds for an organization that does a lot of good for a lot of people. If she inspires you like she does me, please follow her journey these final few weeks on her blog and instagram and cheer this amazing lady on. That kind of support is oh so important, too.

Join me in a chant, won’t you?

Run, Martine, Run!

All photos used with the permission of the lovely Martine Ellis.

iMake Magazine Issue 3 is Live!

Just a quick note today to let you know — if you haven’t heard already — that iMake Magazine Issue 3 is live & available for purchase!

imake 3 cover

Don’t you just love that gorgeous photo? It’s by the lovely & talented Libby at Truly Myrtle.

I’m proud and honored to be a contributor with my article & accompanying photos, “Leap Into Socks.”  It tells the story of how learned to knit socks and gives my recommendations for how to begin your own sock knitting adventure if you haven’t already. For readers who are wondering, my photos contain goodies from Signature Needle Arts needles, Dyeabolical Yarns, Sheepish Yarn Co, Churchmouse Yarns & Teas, and West Yorkshire Spinners — feel free to contact me for specifics.

As usual, however, mine is just one of many — this issue contains very fun and incredibly informative articles inside  to a variety of topics from cookery to craft and much more! I highly recommend giving it a read!

You can purchase iMake Magazine in the iMake shops here on Craftsy or here on Etsy. If you missed out on issues 1 & 2, you can pick those up, too, while you’re there.


Many thanks to Martine at iMake for asking me to contribute as well as for permission to use this photo.

Secret No More — iMake Magazine Issue 2 is Live!

The day has arrived that I can share the first ‘secret’ item I was working on. Yay! I am so relieved to not have to hold it in any longer!

In early September I reviewed a new magazine — the wonderful iMake Magazine edited by the talented Martine Ellis.  Some time later, Martine asked if I would be interested in contributing to the magazine myself. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity and got to work. Today, the fruits of this labor have been released alongside the work of an incredibly knowledgeable, skilled, and fun-to-read cast of contributors for which I am humbled to be next to in print. I am ever-so-flattered to share that not only does this issue contain an article that I wrote, but one of my photos was chosen for the cover.

I am kind of speechless.

OK, since this is print, I suppose I can’t be literally without words.

This is my first writing gig outside of self-publishing. To be perfectly honest, I am so excited. My excitement can only be matched by my absolute terror. I am very used to seeing my writing up in my own corner of the interwebs, but to see it out there in print in someone else’s publication is a whole different animal, at least in my eyes. But as they say, keep calm and carry on and all that. I will try to keep it together. I promise. I have to give many, many kudos to Martine for she did a phenomenal job editing my article & making it look fab in the layout. I could not have dreamed of a better outcome and for that I am so thankful.

I was lucky enough to get a preview of the issue and I can tell you it promises wonderful segments that involve cooking & shopping for foodies, crafty projects that travel well, lots of ideas for spreading holiday cheer including perhaps (wink-wink) a treat for you inspired by the Merry KAL, and even a bit on bringing music into your creative life. My favourite article, however, is one on photo editing which caters to those of us who tend to chose photography with our devices rather than a traditional camera — it is so helpful! All and all, as Martine says, “The magazine has 21 pages of creative inspiration for you to enjoy.” I couldn’t put it better myself!

Oh, yes. What did I write you ask?  Entitled The Perfect Skeins, I got to write about & share my tips for building a better stash & giving great yarnie gifts. I hope you enjoy! All the photos for my article were taken by yours truly & contain photos of my very own stash. Anyone who reads & has questions about a particular yarn, you are welcome to contact me — I’d be happy to fill you in on what’s what.

As always, the entire magazine includes a load of links & bonus material to compliment and enhance the content. To get your own copy, you have the choice of two venues through which to purchase. Issue 2 of iMake Magazine is available through iMake’s Craftsy store here  OR through iMake’s Etsy store here. I do hope you’ll treat yourself to a copy & enjoy!

In Review: iMake Magazine

Martine Ellis is a rare breed. A creative dynamo with an endless stream of interests & inspiration, if you are a creative or DIY-type you really ought to be paying attention to her. I first “met” her through the MerryKAL which she generously offered to co-host with me back in January. Then I started listening to her podcast, a really top-notch program that touches on craft, cookery, the island of Guernsey where she lives, her travels, sewing, music — it is a really lovely mix of topics conveyed in such a friendly, welcoming tone that it’s hard not to love it. One thing led to another and before I knew it I was following her blog, her facebook page, her twitter, her instagram — I just couldn’t help myself. I love that Martine tries everything – you really never know what is coming next, but you can count on the fact that her energy & enthusiasm will be absolutely infectious.

A few weeks ago, she launched her latest endeavor, iMake Magazine.

imake mag coverI, of course, picked up a copy straight away. This pilot issue — like everything Martine lays her hands on — is organized neatly & professionally with a layout that matches her tone perfectly. The e-zine contains articles on cookery, local interests, craft, tech, personal stories, and finding inspiration — a really nice mix if you ask me!

The tone of each article is very distinct and it’s clear that each contributor is well-versed in his/her field & cares deeply about the subject matter on which they write. I found the articles on rare sheep breeds & foraging to be quite fascinating – both articles made me wonder about such themes in my own location on the other side of the Atlantic. ‘The Golden Toilet‘ is both amusing & informative, offering some useful suggestions for finding & nourishing an ethic of inspiration in daily life. Especially effective though was Kate Ellis’ ‘Doing My Bit‘ in which Ms. Ellis discusses her work with Doctors without Borders in such a candid, warm tone that I felt like I was sitting down to coffee with her.

What iMake Magazine does best, however, is its instruction. Its ‘how-to’ and ‘why do’ articles are second to none. From whipping up a batch of pesto to trying out Audioboo to starting a podcast to upcycling vinyl records — Martine & her crew make these segments so clear, concise, and easy to follow that readers would be fools to not take advantage of them. To enhance the excellent information provided in the magazine, in purchasing it you will also gain access to loads of helpful, useful, and neatly cataloged links, or ‘Bonus Material.’ It’s the cherry on the sundae of this wonderful publication!

The quality of this little magazine in both content & layout make it a little hard to believe that this is only Issue 1 for iMake Magazine. Issue 1 of many — at least I certainly hope so. The sheer avalanche of ideas, information, and energy in this e-zine is well with the $5 price tag. Available for download from both the iMake Etsy store & the iMake Craftsy store, the iMake Magazine is well worth your time & money. Check it out today!

imake mag

Twiglet Mitts

Over the past few months I’ve sung the praises of Martine – the creative lady behind the iMake blog & podcast – many times. I live in the middle of the United States and she lives on Guernsey, an island in the middle of the English Channel, so we’ve never met or even spoken to each other, but as co-hosts of the MerryKAL we have been in touch over the last few months many times via email. I’ve also been listening to her podcast & even left her an audio message which she shared on her show. I have been so thankful for her involvement in the MerryKAL — the space she’s provided for the KAL in her Ravelry group has been such great fun. Beyond that, the energy & enthusiasm she brings to everything she undertakes is contagious and so fun to be around. It’s hard to not walk away from one of her projects smiling & excited for whatever comes next. In fact, I find it pretty hard to move at the speed of a mere mortal afterwards. It’s a curse I happily bear!

A few weeks ago, Matine very kindly gifted me one of her patterns: her Twiglet Mitts. I did a stage four stash dive (this was pre-organization, so it was kind of a big deal) to find the perfect  yarn. I was looking for something kind of earthy to contrast the lace, so I settled on some Dream in Color Smooshy in the November Muse colorway.  I am a big fan of Dream in Color yarns — they are also a US distributor of The Herdy Company, makers of pretty much the cutest sheepy gifts on Earth (they even make a lot of their stuff in the UK — love those ‘local’ manufacturers!). Some day I totally want these.

But I digress.

Anyhoo, Smooshy & pattern in hand, I started out on my Twiglet Mitts the day before leaving on our spring break vacation to Omaha.20130325-170112.jpgThey were super fun to knit — not too hard, but not boring either. I did the bulk of their knitting in the car to and fro’ our vacation spot. By the time. I got home I had finished my beautiful mitts.

twiglets both fullI have thumbs that were made for a hitch-hiker which makes my hands rather wide — it makes me well-suited to piano playing, but I did need to add on stitches to make these mitts fit properly. Have no fear, though, Martine includes easy to follow directions for doing this. She thinks of everything.

twiglets close upI love how this yarn makes the lace a little rustic.

twiglets wristsAnd yet there’s this hint of daintiness with a slightly scalloped edge.

on handThe fit could not be better! There is a lot of hype on her Ravelry thread from those who have completed the pattern about the excellent fit of the thumb. I am here to concur that this thumb construction is the best fitting thumb I’ve worked. She really outdid herself perfecting it!

I’ll be announcing the lucky winners of the MerryKAL giveaway shortly — some of the lucky participants will be winning a copy of this pattern. Thank you again, Martine, for contributing the patterns & helping make the April giveaway — and the Merry KAL in general — awesome! For those who don’t win a copy, you can purchase the pattern on Ravelry here. You won’t be disappointed!

For details on my Twiglet Mitts, check out my Ravelry project page here.