Martinis For a Cause

Author: Valerie LaVay /


It has been quite a while since my last post. I have been posting on my Toadwerks blog and Soul Traveler when I get a chance before life gets in the way.
 I have been very busy in the knitting department lately with my focus being on knitting for a cause. I love this type of knitting for the obvious reasons of reaching out to others. This type of knitting involves very simple patterns which is great for knitting on the go, or knitting and catching up on some shows and movies. I try hard to use my stash but I inevitably end up buying just a little extra to get the right look. My yarn of choice is acrylic because it is easy to care for and it is inexpensive. Plus brands like Red Heart have a ton of color choices. In the past there have been complaints about the roughness of Red Heart. While still true on their standard brand, they do have some other lines that are a bit softer and include some fun patterns runs in them. Joann's has a great selection of acrylic yarns and they always seem to be on sale. This blanket below was made with all Red Heart yarn for a project called Welcome Blanket.   https://www.welcomeblanket.org/ They are associated with the Pussy Hat Project. The blanket is made with mitered squares which seem to go so fast and give you lots of fun options when assembling. I had a lot of fun with this one. The purple gradient kid's blanket was also made from Red Heart.
The local charity group I knit squares for has added some more options for knitted things so I have been able to knit some fun color scarves using some of my stash and of course some new skeins that I couldn't resist. I used Yarn Harlot's "One Row Handspun Scarf Pattern" for the self striping Grey and Pink Scarf shown below. It was a great pattern, easy but not boring!. The other scarves were done in plain garter stitch.
Just plain old self striping with some great colors
Self striping yarn with Yarn Harlot's pattern

Self striping with a pattern in the yarn.
If you have some stash you want to work through there are so many choices out there both locally and nationally. Time for a Martini! Happy Knitting!

Sock It To Me With A Martini!

Author: Valerie LaVay / Labels:

This past summer I FINALLY found a sock pattern I could do. It's a simple tube sock pattern that a friend of mine sent me. Now I am addicted! The pattern I am using is called "Tube Socks" and here is the link in case you would like to go to Ravelry and take a peek at this fun and easy pattern:
 http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/tube-socks-2 The picture above is the first sock in what I hope will be my holiday socks. I used Plymouth Yarns Heritage Knits. It has a good price point and it's self striping and creates that wonderful pattern you see.. The first pair of socks that I completed was from a sock yarn I purchased from an Indie yarn gal on Etsy several years ago with the intention of making a shawl. Because the yarn is purple and green, it makes it perfect for Halloween.
On a recent trip out to San Diego, I found a sweet pink speckled yarn that I thought would be a nice remembrance of our trip. I started knitting the socks on the beach. I named the yarn Seashells. Next up for me is to finish the other holiday sock so I can wear them before Spring! I also have in mind to make a pair of patchwork tube socks using the leftovers from my sock yarn collection. The thought of making a pair or two of socks to give as gifts for the holidays quickly flew out of my mind when I realize that I will have to start knitting for the holidays for next year! After all there are only so many Martinis one can drink and still be productive... Cheers!

Samhain Sew Fun with a Classic Gin Martini

Author: Valerie LaVay /


I have a friend who's birthday is on Halloween and he is a big fan of the the holiday. I decided to make him a Halloween theme throw for his birthday this year. It was a lot of fun to design and sew. I was determined to get it done in time for our Halloween Cocktail party so I could give it to him then so he could enjoy it a bit longer than for just one day. I used a combination of solid gray and black squares and gray and black printed Halloween theme squares for the quilt and I like the way it turned out.Although I made one for myself last year, I am very tempted to make another one for our other sofa! It may have to wait until next year though. My cat Gypsy enjoyed hanging out on the quilt while I took a picture of it! Good thing he is not allergic to cats :) I did forego the Martini until after I finished with the quilt. Cheers to me!


back view of quilt




Fall Knitting with Pomegranate Martinis

Author: Valerie LaVay /


It all started this summer with the Leafy Washcloth pattern by Megan Goodacre. It was love at first site with this easy fun pattern.Plus, I love knitting wash cloths. They make great gifts you can give as a set, or as an add on to other gifts. I love including one with my homemade bath products. It was by accident that I discovered there can be other uses for this leaf pattern. I decided to make some fall color leaves to give as gifts to some of my friends. One night I was happily knitting a nice pumpkin color washcloth when about halfway through I realized I was not using the right yarn. The right yarn being a cotton yarn. Instead I was knitting with some Red heart I have in my stash for craft knitting. I WISH I could blame the martini I was drinking, but I can't since I wasn't enjoying any adult beverage at the time. I am just plain scattered! I decided to finish the leaf and ended up with this curled piece of yarn project. I went downstairs and steam pressed it until it was flat. It looked so nice that I decided to use it as a table decoration.I also think you could make several of these leaves and make a banner out of them using clothes pins and pinning them to an Icord. If you want the leaves to hang without curling, you could trace and cut out the leaf shape on cardboard and attach with glue.
So what about this Pomegranate Martini you ask? Simple. Just add a splash of Pom juice to your favorite icy cold brand of vodka after it has been shaken, not stirred. The Leafy Washcloth pattern can be found on Ravelry as a free download. Cheers!

This Calls For A Lemon Drop Martini

Author: Valerie LaVay /



Where have I been? Besides sewing up a storm, I have been knitting a lot of squares of late, a bit too boring to post pictures of until you put them together. My two friends and I have been making afghans for the volunteer organization we belong to. We all used to go to the weekly meetings and knit and chat with fellow volunteers, but we found that it was getting harder to attend the meetings due to some pretty full schedules of our own, so we decided to work on squares on our own time and then meet to assemble the afghan. The latest afghan was so much fun to put together! I actually created the color theme for the afghan so that I could knit the daisies for it. These are the smaller afghans designed for children. The larger ones are 39 squares which seems a bit daunting to us (two of us knit) so we leave the big ones to the group.
 I am now working on the next one which is a Harry Potter theme. It's the Griffindor colors of maroon and gold. I'm hoping to add a Griffindor lion on one of the squares. I like the idea of doing the Harry Potter themes because they can be used by both girls and boys! At the moment, I am furiously knitting some I cords for little bags I'm making for my Etsy Store, Toadwerk and also hoping to complete "the other mitten" which will then become part of a nice winter set for myself. More soon!

Martinis and Tarot

Author: Valerie LaVay /



 This last weekend I did a vendor gig with my Etsy craft business, Toadwerks. Toadwerks specializes in making tarot cloth, knitted tarot bags and handkerchiefs. It is the tarot bags that have in the past month, had me longing for a Martini, or four, on a daily basis. Sadly, I could not afford the luxury of chilling out, when I needed to rev up my one woman production line. The paradox is that I sorely needed to chill out as the days got closer to the convention. I don't want to say that I was hard to live with, but I'm just saying that the cats were cutting me a wide path when they saw me coming. The day before the convention, as I was sewing on one machine while my embroidery machine was whirling away, I looked up and saw that my cat Gypsy was eying the embroidery machine and getting a bit closer to it than I was comfortable with so I went over and picked her up. Thinking that I was going to feed her to the machine, she did a kitty freak out that ended up with me having four nice long scratches going across my hand. Being the craft warrior that I am, I threw some ointment on my hand, wrapped it in gauze and continued on. My efforts and sacrificial blood letting, were rewarded with good sales on both the tarot cloths and the bags. More importantly, I was able to learn more about what the customers prefer in terms of colors and themes.It was fun to be able to sell my products in person to a target audience. Best part? It's Martini time once more! Cheers!

Martini Inspired By Nature

Author: Valerie LaVay /


On this TBT I am going back just two weeks ago when I was on a trip to Portland Oregon. I had the good fortune to be there just a few days before the Rose Festival which means that the rose gardens were in full bloom.It occurred to me, as I was sitting and knitting under a beautiful pink rose tree, that I had just finished a fun summer shawl that could well have been inspired by the colors I was seeing in the rose garden. I used a ball of Freia Hombre Lace in Melon which I purchased at Rose City Yarn Crawl. The only thing that would have made the day more perfect would have been a Cosmopolitan Martini in hand.