Archive for December, 2010

A Christmas Tail

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Far from the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, in a peaceful enclave nestled between Cambridge and Guelph, is The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada.  A place where donkeys and their equine cousins- mules and hinneys (a hybrid cross between a horse and donkey) seek shelter from a life of neglect, living out their golden years in a secure and caring environment, lush with rolling green meadows and woodland views.

Founded in 1992 by Sandra Pady, a sheep farmer who brought home her first donkey with the idea of providing protection for her flock, only to discover donkeys just protect animals that they bond with.  Captivated by their relaxed nature and gentle disposition, she quickly became a guardian to several other donkeys and set about creating a safe haven for them- the largest in North America.  Today, The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada houses more than sixty donkeys and equine, with a foster farm program that provides homes for another forty.  A non-profit charity fueled entirely by private donations, the sanctuary opens its doors between May and October, encouraging visitors to come and spend time on the farm, meeting and greeting the donkeys, getting to know their unique personalities and habits, amidst picturesque walking trails and picnic spots. 

The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada

Lets meet a few of the residents-


Indiana is a grey-dappled Mammoth donkey from Northern Ontario, born in 1997, and raised with three other companions.  During his time there, he developed delicate health issues which kept him confined to a paddock.  Sadly his owners knew they could no longer care for him, and contacted DSC where he resides today.  After two years of specialised care, and a change in diet, he has been able to join the main herd for brief periods of time.  


Solo is a charming grey-brown Standard donkey with a natural curiosity towards people and enjoys standing close enough to sniff ears.  He was born and raised in rural Quebec.  His early years included cruel methods of training which caused erratic and unpredictable behavior.  When his owner could no longer handle him, she reluctantly gave him up to DSC, knowing he would be well-cared for.  


Summer was born in 1970, a large dun-coloured Standard donkey with a grey muzzle.  She arrived at DSC in 2002 after a sheriff discovered her while on a call to seize property from a farm for non-payment of rent.  Her owner was long-gone and she had been badly neglected.  Summer’s hooves were so overgrown, she hobbled in agony from the stall to the waiting trailer.  It was during a record heat wave when she arrived at the sanctuary, so her name could be none other than Summer


Tibet is a small Standard jennet with a shaggy coat of grey and brown hair.  She came to DSC in 1997, after being removed from her home by a humane society officer who found her in such poor physical health, dangerously thin with her long hair matted and full of lice.  She was pregnant and gave birth to a healthy foal- Tengen who is often found close at her side in the fields.  

More than two hundred knitted miniature donkeys were sold this Christmas season through mail order.   These woolley donkeys were all made by one amazing volunteer- Jan, and are for sale at the Long Ears boutique on the grounds of the sanctuary.  The proceeds from the sale of these uniquely crafted items go to care for the donkeys in residence.  If you would like to help out and knit a few donkeys please click on the links at the bottom of the post.  

Happy Knitting and Happy Holidays!

Large Woolley Knitted Donkey

Mini Wooley Knitted Donkey

Festive Colour

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Christmas is approaching faster than the Polar Bear Express and if you are like many knitters, its down to the crunch with a few more rows to knit, a handful of stitches to cast off, and ends to sew in.  Then its time to relax and enjoy the festive season in all its radiance and splendor.  The dazzling light displays in the neighbourhood, and beautifully decorated trees with big shiny ornaments are only here once a year. 

Nobody holds a paintbrush to wool quite like NORO does, the unrivaled champion of colour in bright and cheery rainbow hues.  Embrace the spirit of the season with a simple basketweave scarf knit in Kureyon by Noro.  

Kureyon Scarf

Kureyon by Noro


Finished Size:  8.5 in/ 22 cm x 60 in/ 150 cm

Yarn:  3 balls Kureyon col. #226 by NORO

Needles:  5.00 mm

Tension:  18 sts and 22 rows = 4 in/ 10 cm in Pattern St

Cast on 34 sts.  Work in Pattern St as follows- 

Row 1- K2, *K5, P5*, rep *to*, end, K2.  Rep this row 5 more times.

Row 7- K2, *P5, K5*, rep *to*, end, K2.  Rep this row 5 more times.

Rep these 12 rows for Pattern.  When work measures approx 60 in/ 150 cm ending with a Row 6 or 12, cast off all sts.

Make Fringes:  Cut yarn approx 9 in/ 23 cm, in groups of 5 strands.  Attach 7 fringes along each end of scarf.

Design by:  Michele Meadows   

Knit A Gift In An Evening

Friday, December 10th, 2010

With gingerbread cookies still to bake, trees to decorate and presents to wrap, its good to know some things can knit up in a hurry.  No matter how carefully we schedule and plan each day leading up to the jingling sounds of Santa’s sleigh, there is bound to be someone who pops up on our gift list at the very last minute.  Instead of rushing out to the mall and fighting through the holiday crowds, why not spend a relaxing evening at home, enjoying the ambiance of the season and make something truly unique and handmade.

Indie Knits by Sirdar holds the secret to knitting in the fast lane and making the speediest gifts for the holidays.  Each of these five accessories averages only two to four hours to make.  Now that’s what we call Santa’s Little Helper!

Floppy Hat in Indie by Sirdar

With oversize needles in hand, and two balls of Indie in colour 154, knit an ultra thick and cosy hat- Montana Style in less than two hours.  Its a stocking stuffer that will bring a winter’s worth of warmth.

Ribbed Indie Scarf

For beginners- try out this simple ribbed scarf in Navajo # 151, and watch how it zips across the needles with incredible speed.  Indie is light and lofty with a dramatic effect.  Amaze your friends with bold vibrant colour in well under four hours!

Aviator Hat in Indie by Sirdar

Indie revs up for snowy days on the slopes this winter, in a popular flap style hat with twisted cords.  Pop in a dvd with a favorite Christmas classic, sit back and knit.  When the screen fades to black, your gift will be all set for wrapping.

Indie Wrap by Sirdar

Picture an Arizona sunset, that’s where the inspiration for this colourful wrap comes from.  Cast on thirty-one stitches with 12.00 mm needles and within a few hours, you are at the finish line, ready to cast off and sew on a big button. 

Girl's Beret in Indie by Sirdar

Floppy berets and slouchy tams are easy to wear and right in fashion with little divas.  Make one for someone sweet with rosy cheeks, or save the fun for after Christmas, and fill a gift basket with a couple balls of Indie, a pair of 12.00 mm needles, and Sirdar Book #385.  Over the holidays there will be lots of time to sit and teach tiny fingers how to knit and purl.

All That Glitters

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Party season is in full swing, with twinkly lights setting the mood and perfectly prepared appetizers appearing on trays. Over the next few weeks its time to dazzle it up!  Add a little shimmer and shine and get ready for cocktails at five with a few close friends, and gear up to celebrate in style at the holiday office party, or join in the family festivities.  All it takes is a glittery cardigan, scarf or shawl to throw on over an everyday outfit and you are in the holiday spirit!

Christmas is a time to get dressed up and add a bit of sparkle-

Katia Book no. 62

Katia shines this season with silvery elegance.  This little cardi is knit in a strand of Elipse and Brisa, a dressy duo combining a lace weight metallic with a cotton/viscose yarn.

Katia Book no. 60

Go for Luxury and radiate great style in five shimmery shades from Katia.  Make an impressive entrance and catch the light from all angles with this quick knit openwork shawl.  This yarn looks like wire but is actually composed of mainly cotton with a thin metallic coating to give it shine.  Knitting or crocheting with Luxury is like creating a piece of handmade jewelry!

Katia Book no. 56

Galaxy by Katia has ten shades of sparkling colour for all ages- wheat, green gold, amber, cardinal, midnight sky, silver, purple diamond, dark forest and gold.  A fingering weight yarn that is ideal for crochet or knitting in lacy boleros, sleeveless shells, scarves, and wraps.

Katia Book no. 64


Bright and shiny ribbons and trimmings make the holidays a magical time of year and Sevilla by Katia tops the list. With more than thirty shades to choose from, including these rich coffee shades- copper, bronze, carmine, and cocoa, this flat ribbon style yarn will add sophisticated sheen to your holiday attire. 

Katia Book no. 64

Make a confident statement with a little help from Vanity by Katia in an openwork tunic to wear with this season’s trendy leggings.  Vanity is a lurex ribbon that knits up on 7.00 mm needles, and boasts a selection of metallic hues in silver, dark copper, black, graphite, iron, and gold.