Friday, April 30, 2010

Zeus, the Top Planet Dog for May

Hello Friday... where have you been hiding all week? At least it seems you have brought along the nice weather for the weekend... woo hoo!

Earlier today we found out that Planet Dog has choosen this photo of Zeus as their May Canine Moment winner!

PDeats_Zeus

Zeus' photo and bio will be in their e-newsletter that goes out next week, as well as on their website's homepage for the month of May! Plus, Zeus gets to pick three free items from their catalog! Time for a tail-wagging shopping spree...

I hope to bring you a few reviews over the weekend, as well as a couple of giveaways! Stay tuned... in the meantime, I'll leave you today with Friday Fill-Ins...

1. I was hoping I'd wake up and find out today was Saturday.

2. The dogs wanted to go out and I left my book on the table.

3. Why is my month of May so busy?

4. A friend's brand new baby girl was in my thoughts today.

5. One of my father's favorite sayings was "no".

6. Exhaustion --I know that feeling!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to the beginning of the weekend, tomorrow my plans include watching my B's kick Philly's butt in the afternoon and watching Smoke or Ryan win in Richmond, under the lights and Sunday, I want to get some knitting done!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Doggy Day

Happy Doggy Day! If you haven't entered to win the Planet Dog Glow for Good Ball yet, you have until midnight tonight!

It's all about the photos today... because I'm a little lazy like that ... forgive me!

Tut: "Just hangin'..."

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Lola: "What, I'm not supposed to sit on the back of the couch like a cat? Well pppthh to you!"

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Zeus: "H-A-P-P-Y Dog!!"

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Sophie hangin' with her siblings...

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wildlife Wednesday

Happy Wildlife-Wordless Wednesday! brrr... it's a cold one here this morning. We even had snow flakes (although a bit further North got 10 - 12 inches of snow overnight)!

The first Robin's egg of Spring...

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Three days later, two eggs...

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I caught Chucky staring at me from his house-hole. He wouldn't go all the way inside until he was sure I was gone (read: I went to get my better camera for better shots and he disappeared)...

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While trying to snap a shot of the Robins hanging out on some brush, they scattered and I caught this one mid-flight...

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Happy Chipmunk...

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Catch up Tuesday

Is it really on Tuesday? Sigh. I had intended to post a review today, but time has gotten away from me. Stay tuned for reviews of some wonderful dog treats and products (just in time for summer activities with your pack!), as well as some great knitting books, including a giveaway of Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks!

Speaking of knitting.... I have a FO, although rather small. I whipped up a pair of the oh-so-cute Magic Slippers for our friends' new baby girl.

EllaBooties_410b EllaBooties_410

Aren't these just the cutest little slipper-socks ever? I had made a couple of pairs before, but working up these ones reminded me that I need to make more. With 3 baby girls born to our circle of friends within the past month (and at least 3 more on the way for fall), that won't be hard. This is a great way to use up extra sock yarn, although these ones were made from Patons Beehive Baby Sport to match the Vine Lacy Baby Hat that I had already made.

EllaBootiesHat_410

They make a really cute little set, don't they?

Yesterday was a big mail day... the Toe-Up Two-at-a-Time Socks books arrived for review, as did some SOAK samples and a Nina Ottosson Dog Finder game,which I am very excited to review (hopefully the Lapdogs share my excitement)! I've read about these really cool dog puzzle games before, but this is the first time I've seen one in person. My Loopy Ewe order also arrived. You see, I loved the 3 AM Enchantments Petite KIP bag that I reviewed last week so much that I had to order myself a second one! I also had a wonderful surprise package from Chan.... and lookie here are what happened when I tried to take a photo.


Changoodies410

Do you think Lola's longing for a margarita from the Start Your Ovens (Junior League of Bristol) cookbook? Tut appears to be checking out my "Hand Over The Sock Yarn and No One Gets Hurt" shirt, but I think he was really itching to get his nose on those honey flavored treats! I do love the shirt by the way... love. As for the honey treats, all four kids love those... Here's a shot just for you Chan! :) We all thank you very much!

Changoodies410b

Saturday, April 24, 2010

REVIEW: The Stitch Collection

The Stitch Collection: A Box of Portable Guides to Knit Stitches
by Debbie O'Neill

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Lark Books (May 4, 2010)

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The Stitch Collection: A Box of Portable Guides to Knit Stitches is a handy collection for both new and seasoned knitters alike. Five separate 5" x 8" paperback books are packaged in an attractive box, making them perfect for knitters on the go.

Each of the five books is devoted to a different stitch category: Book 1 - Knit & Purl, Book 2 - Rib, Book 3 - Lace, Book 4 - Cables and Book 5 - Specialty. An introduction, section on choosing the appropriate stitch pattern and yarn, needle size chart, yarn weight chart and abbreviation and glossary section is included in each one. Over 200 stitches are covered, with each one including a thorough description, pattern instructions and a detailed color photo.

With it's portability and versatility - not to mention practicality - The Stitch Collection is a must-add to your knitting bookshelf (it would be a much welcomed gift for any knitting friend as well). Unlike most stitch books, these ones are sleek, lightweight and easy to toss in your knitting bag or purse. You don't have to lug an entire 400 page volume with you or spend time photocopying the pages that you need for each project. Simply grab the book that applies to your current project and off you go - saving your aching back by toting around only what you need.

About the Author: Debbie O'Neill is a software engineer by training and a knitter out of sheer love of the art. She teaches knitting classes and has a line of self-published knitting patterns under the name Nutty Creations. Debbie designs and knits from her home in Boulder, CO.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Outtakes on Friday

Happy Friday! Since it seems like everyone loved the "I'll just take this one" photos of Lola stealing reviewing the Planet Dog treats yesterday, I thought I'd share some outtakes from our photo shoot today. I still haven't decided if she's being cute or naughty, but I suppose it does make for some great review photos... sigh.

"mmm... dis smelz goodz! iz jus helpz myselfz..."

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Tut saying "MOM! I didnz doz itz... shez da one stealenz!"

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Zeus and Sophie coming in for a quick sniff...

PDeats_Sophie

At least they're all eager to help review stuff, right? sigh. I'll leave you today with some Fill-Ins...

1. Where are my happy days?

2. If wishes were horses beggers would ride, although I admit that I've never heard this and had to google it.

3. I'd like to see my B's win in Buffalo tonight.

4. When I was a teen, I thought life would be easier than it is.

5. One of my mother's favorite sayings was is cancer sucks.

6. I'd have a hard time doing without my good friends who are always there to listen.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to seeing the Bruins close out round 1 in Buffalo tonight, tomorrow my plans include sleeping in and getting some knitting done and Sunday, I want to relax and enjoy the day!

"Iz getz u stupdz ball"
PDball_Lola

Thursday, April 22, 2010

REVIEW: Planet Dog eats

Planet Dog eats
Where to Find:
Planet Dog


PDeats

Planet Dog has unleashed a new line of healthy dog treats called, simply enough, eats. The 100% organic baked treats are made in the USA and not only aid in tarter control, but offer super nutrients in every bite!

Designed with form, function and versatility in mind, eats are the perfect companion for Planet Dog's Orbee-Tuff toys. They are perforated to easily break into smaller pieces and can fit inside the treat spot of the toys to provide interactive play and wholesome goodness all in one!

Planet Dog eats are wheat, corn and soy-free and contain no wheat gluten. The rough, crunchy surface supports daily tartar control, contributing to healthy teeth and gums. Currently, eats are available in two varities, Pumpkin Pear Ginger and Salmon Seafood Chowder.

The Pumpkin Pear Ginger treats are a great source of dietary fiber, and are packed with vitamins. Pumpkin aids in digestion and it is a natural remedy for stomach ailments, including constipation and mild diarrhea. Ginger is a perennial herb that has potent anti-inflammatory properties, stimulates digestion and enhances the immune system.

The Salmon Seafood Chowder treats feature salmon which is rich in minerals and provides an excellent source of high quality protein that contains all essential amino acids. Vitamin E and Omega 3 oils found in the salmon oil help decrease the risk of heart disease. Omega 3 oil can also lower triglycerides and low-density cholesterol in the blood, aid in regulation of blood sugar levels, inhibit tumor growth and lower the risk of cancer.

Lola just couldn't wait to get to work on her review...
PDeats_Lola2 PDeats_Lola3

"Consumers are looking for pet products with multiple health benefits and applications," says Stephanie Volo, Planet Dog's President. "By inserting Planet Dog eats into the Treat-Spot of our Orbee-Tuff toys, dog lovers can create an interactive play session and treat dispensing activity that also enhances their pet's well-being," adds Volo.

As for how they taste? We have photographic proof of a 16 Paws Up Lapdog Seal of Approval!

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PDeats_Tut PDeats_Sophie2

Keeping in line with their social responsiblity to the planet, eats are sold in a recyclable, 14-ounce virgin craft cardboard box, which certainly compliments the healthy, organic nature of the product. A peek-a-boo window allows consumers to see the treats inside before buying them. As a big dog Mom, I really appreciate being able to see the size and shape - there's no surprise when you open the box!

"We believe in truth in packaging," says Volo. "The box size is compact so consumers can see exactly what they are getting. There is no packaging trick or illusion with the box shape and it does not contain air pockets, fillers or sub standard materials found in other treat packaging," adds Volo.

Giveaway!!! In honor of Earth Day, we are giving away an Orbee-Tuff Glow for Good ball!

PDglowball

To enter, leave a comment here telling us what you and your pooch do to celebrate Earth Day or to help reduce your carbon pawprint year round. Receive a bonus entry by posting a link to this review, then email the link to your post to LAPDOGCREATIONS at AOL dot COM! As always, please be sure to leave a means of contact if your email does not automatically attach to your comment. Deadline to enter is Thursday, April 29 at midnight.

Sophie says, "BALL!!! Enter now!"

PDball_Sophie

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Happy Wordless Wednesday!

This little guy greeted me at my car the other day when I left the office...

Squirrel_41410b Squirrel_41410

These not-so-little guys surely would have liked to greet him...

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(yes, that's yet another shot from our recent group photoshoot)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

REVIEW: 3 AM Enchantments Bags

3 AM Enchantments Petite KIP Bag
Where to Find:
3 AM Enchantments

3AMbag2 Socks3AM_41310

Search "knitting bag" or "sock project bag" on Etsy and you're sure to come up with hundreds of options. What's the problem, you ask? They all start to look the same, as most are just knock-offs of other knock-offs. Some are those high quality bags that you'll love for years to come, while others... not so much. With all of the choices available, it's tough to tell which you're going to get when you place your order, making all of us much more likely to stick with our tried and true favorites, rather then venturing out on a limb for something new. Well, time to branch out... 3 AM Enchantments bags are that limb you'll want to grab!

When shopping for a project bag, you want something that not only looks good, but is functional and will stand up to the abuse we knitters will surely put it through. After all, we're always on the go (multi-taskers!) and certainly do not have time to fuss over ill-working project bags when we could be stitching!

3AMbag

Handmade by Keri in Missouri, 3 AM Enchantments bags are beautifully crafted from high quality fabrics. The details are key... each one is lined in a coordinating fabric and everything from the zipper to handle are made to match. If you shop at The Loopy Ewe, you may have already "wish-listed" several 3 AM Enchantments bags, as I had. Much to my surprise, Keri stalked me to find that I had wished for an Earth Batik fabric bag that is no longer available. So she surprised me with a Petite KIP Bag in the gorgeous limited edition Batik fabric you see in these photos... the very last one leftover from a special Loopy Ewe kit! I heart it.

The Petite KIP Bag is the perfect size for a sock-in-progress. However, I'll be the first to admit that looks can be deceiving! Measuring in at just 6" long x 4.5" wide x 4" tall, at first you might think it's too small. That is, until you shove your yarn cake and DPNs (or circular needles) inside!

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The Petite KIP Bag is great for on the go - tuck it inside your tote bag or purse and your sock project will be ready at a moment't notice. My favorite detail is that the zipper is not only the full length of the top, but actually extends over the sides, making it a breeze to get your needles and project in or out. This is definitely my perfect little sock bag.

If the Petite KIP Bag is a bit smaller than you'd prefer, check out it's sister, the KIP Bag which measures 10" long x 3.5" wide x 3.5" tall. Also available is the Emily Lace Bag, a sack style bag that stands up on its own and the new Notions Bag, perfect for all of your favorite tools.

Keri was nice enough to answer a few of my nosey questions... enjoy!

Lapdog Creations: Tell us about 3 AM Enchantments and how you got started. Where did the name come from?

3 AM Enchantments: I started 3 AM Enchantments as a way to pay for my burgeoning yarn habit. I picked up knitting after a bad breakup - the relationship suffered from the Quilt Curse, so I really needed to step away from the cotton fabric and pick up something new for a while. I made up a few sample bags for Sheri (The Loopy Ewe) and the rest is history. The name was born from a brainstorming session with a friend of mine. I was looking for something unique and memorable while being inoffensive. After batting around numerous "maybes," I settled on 3 AM Enchantments because all crafters know that 3 AM is the magic hour for a work in progress - hopefully by implying it is enchanted, I give you a bit of good luck towards having things go well when you are looking at that last minute push!

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Lapdog Creations: Which is your favorite of the 3 AM bag styles? Do you use your own bags?

3 AM Enchantments: I use my own project bags almost exclusively, unless they are all full (then I use a ziploc until I have a chance to make myself a new one, or empty an old one). Making your own bags is a blessing and a curse - I always fall in love with my bags, and want to keep "just one" of each fabric. Combine this with my tendency to cast on new projects just to have something to put in the bags, well it could spell disaster. Thankfully, I managed to get over the impulse to keep "just one" fairly early on, so my own collection is kept at about a dozen bags of various styles. My current favorite is the deluxe notions bag that I have from last year's Tempted @ 3 AM club. I've covered it in buttons with various knitting related (or smart alec) mottos. It makes me happy just to look at it! (This is a fairly new style and was just added for sale this week at The Loopy Ewe!)

Lapdog Creations: How do you choose your fabrics?

3 AM Enchantments: I solicit feedback and theme ideas from my Ravelry group, friends, and Plurk buddies. I am very lucky that my best customer loves to shop for fabric, so I usually have a list to choose from. For myself, I know that I have a comfort zone but I try really hard to extend myself past it. Since partnering with Eric, I have been letting him pick fabrics as well. It's a lot of fun for us to go to a quilt shop because we really are drawn to different things!

Lapdog Creations: You're one crafty chick... you knit, crochet, quilt, and of course, sew. What is your favorite thing to do and why? Do you find that sewing is more 'work' than fun these days?

3 AM Enchantments: My favorite hobby right this moment is knitting, mostly because I am still doing it "just" for fun. This is sure to change as we expand in to yarn as I will have to start knitting samples, which will not be "just" for fun anymore. Sewing can still be fun for me; it really depends on what I am working on. Sewing in 250 zippers is never a good time, but working on a new design or putting the last few seams in to an order can be! I do still sew for myself sometimes, and that is always fun. As soon as the machine is back from the spa, I need to get to work on a set of Christmas stockings for my sister and her family. That will be fun - I just hope I get to deliver them in person to appreciate the reactions!

Lapdog Creations: You mentioned your new partnership with Eric... tell us more!

3 AM Enchantments: I reached the point where I either needed to seriously expand, or get a "real" job. I decided to get a real job, and scale back on the bags. The real job, however, was tantamount to torture for a variety of reasons (first of which is the fact that administering urine analysis tests to federal felons is not "clerical" work on the planet I come from). So in swoops a very good friend of mine, Eric, who decides that I should go big - with his help. Four short months later, I've moved from Missouri (back) to Minnesota and 3 AM has become a partnership. I call him my Cabana Boy, but he's really closer to my fabric cutting slave, Starbucks fetcher and sanity saver. So far everything is going exceedingly well, and we're going to be getting our fingers wet (and probably turning them interesting colors) as we expand in to yarn over the next month or so.

Lapdog Creations: Yarn? Tell us more... please!

3 AM Enchantments: Yes, yarn - and lots of it! We're working on a new bag design as well - the handle is being a bit difficult but I have faith we'll solve the issue within a few weeks. We really have more ideas than there are hours in the day at this point - not a bad thing at all, but mildly frustrating that we can't implement everything at once! In the long, long term, the business goal is to eventually expand into hand crafted wood items as well, as that is where Eric's real passion lies. In the meantime, keep an eye on 3amenchantments.com for more information!

Thank you Keri... we'll be stalking, er, keeping an eye on you too! Can't wait to see what is in store with the yarn division of 3 AM Enchantments!

Lola gives her official sniff-of-approval...

3AMbag_Lola

Monday, April 19, 2010

REVIEW: I Has A Hot Dog

I Has A Hot Dog: What Your Dog Is Really Thinking
by Professor Happycat and IHasAHotDog.com
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (April 20, 2010)


ihasahotdog

If you're a fan of IHasAHotDog.com, you already know what to expect from the I Has a Hotdog: What Your Dog is Really Thinking book ... funny dog pictures and LOL-worthy captions - and lots of them! This book has had me LOLing ever since I opened it!

IHasAHotDog.com debuted in April 2008 to a robust welcome in the blog world and now averages 7.9 million page views a month in the US alone. To say it's a hugely successful blog is an understatement. The website's Facebook page currently has over 7,000 fans - all LOLing right along with Professor Happycat.

"I has a bwain," says Professor Happycat. Now Professor Happycat tells you what's in it and, from IHasAHotDog.com and beyond, lets over 200 LOLdogs loose on the world, all barking the truth about kibble, toys and bad kitties. This collection features many favorites and lots of brand new, never-before-seen photos that will have you barking out loud for more! And for all you hoomins, a LOLdog is a kay-nine picture with a funny, misspelled caption.

This hoomin loves the small size of I Has A Hotdog - it's perfect for tossing in your bag or leaving out on your coffee table to peruse whenever you need a laugh or two, on the go or at home. Having a bad day at work? Take out your copy and LOL a little. Sure, your coworkers or fellow riders on the commuter train may think you're a little too happy with all the loud chuckling going on, but it's okay... just show them a page or two and soon they'll be LOLing right along with you!

I Has A Hotdog makes a perfect gift for any dog lover on your list, no matter what the occassion. Birthday? Mother's Day? Get Well Soon? New Puppy? Get 'em a copy... it's a gift that's sure to keep on giving. Seriously, no matter how many times I read the same captions, I can't help but LOLing.

About the Authors: Professor Happycat is the illustrated cat featured on the popular I Can Has Cheezburger and I Has a Hot Dog websites. Ben Huh is the CEO of Pet Holdings, Inc, which owns and operates IHasAHotdog.com, ICanHasCheezburger .com and other popular websites. Ben has been featured in the New York Times, TIME, the LA Times, and Wired magazine, among many publications in print and online.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

REVIEW: Skacel Collection

Skacel Collection
~ Not So Plain Plane Knitter's Bag

~ Addi Cat's Magical Markers
~ Schoppel Wolle yarns
~ Zitron yarn
~ Sock Yarn Balloon Tying Creations

Where To Find:
Skacel Knitting

SkacelItems

Skacel sent a big box of goodies for review, including some brand new yarns and patterns from the Spring/Summer 2010 collection. We'll start off with their Not So Plain Plane Knitter's Bag...

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Designed by Skacel, and fabricated by DellaQ, the Not So Plain Plane Knitter's Bag is a great way to travel in style with small knitting projects like socks, scarves and baby items. The bag is made from DellaQ's signature silk material (striped on the exterior with a purple lining) and features 7 interior pockets designed to hold your yarn balls, needles and notions. The draw string closure doubles as handles and keeps everything in place when the bag is closed, yet allows you to open the bag up very wide to work from.

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The Not So Plain Plane Knitter's Bag was designed to fit comfortably on your lap, making it a breeze to work from. It is very light weight and since it does not have a hard form, you can easily squeeze into your luggage when traveling or carry it over your shoulders as the long drawstrings double as handles. Work on your project directly from the bag in your lap, then when it’s time to go, just cinch up the drawstrings and you will be quickly on your way! I think the drawstrings are actually too long to carry as a shoulder bag and would knot them about half way up if I were going to carry it in this manner, however the length of them does allow you to open the bag up almost completely flat.

Inspired by a small jewelry pouch, this much bigger version could also be used for many other purposes, such as an evening bag, a lingerie bag or even a large jewelry bag when traveling. It also reminds me of a Bingo bag that my Mom used to carry and as a result, the Not So Plaine Plane Knitter's Bag will be going to live with her. She'll be using it to tote her daubers, good luck charms and current knitting or crochet projects with her on Bingo night!

Skacel_stitchmarkers

Cat's Magical Markers, developed by Cat Bordhi, come as a set of 6 brass plated stitch markers labeled from A to F. Designed to fit circular needles up to US size 6, these markers can easily be slipped onto the needle or clipped over the cord in alphabetical order. I love the style of the open clips, which allow you to slip them on or off as needed.

Skacel_LaceBallZauberball

Schoppel Wolle's Zauberball (above right) was all the rage when I was at Stitches East last October (yes, I came home with one) and the unique single-ply sock yarn continues to gain popularity. New to the Spring/Summer 2010 line is it's sister, the Lace Ball (above left).

Zauberball, 75% superwash wool - 25% nylon, made it's debut last fall with 9 beautiful colorways. The Spring/Summer 2010 line adds 3 more to the collection, each one prettier than the next. The 100 gram balls yield 459 yards of amazing color repeats. If you don't knit socks, there are some beautiful scarves that have been created with it!

Lace Ball debuts as part of the Spring/Summer 2010 collection, to the awaiting "oohs" and "aahs" of lace knitters everywhere! Lace Ball is also a 75% superwash wool - 25% nylon blend and is available in the same 9 original colors of it's sister Zauberball. The soft lace yarn features long, gradual color changes in each 100 gram, 875 yard ball. Knitters know that sumertime is the right time for lace shawl knitting, so grab your needles, a Lace Ball and your favorite warm weather beverage, then head on out to chill for the afternoon in your favorite knitting spot!

Skacel_patternAmbientePolo

Schoppel Wolle's Ambiente (above left) is a 100% Merino, Extrafine Superwash wool that comes in 50 gram, 170 yard balls. This soft sport weight wool is great for everything from socks to baby items. Each colorway produces a unqiue print that adds some magic to your handknits - and gets those extra claps and "how'd you do that" comments.

Zitron's Polo (above right) is one of Skacel's best selling cotton blends of all time and is a favorite of many top designers, including Lily Chin. Polo is available in a variety of both solid and multi colorways and comes in 50 gram, 153 yard balls. The 60% Cotton - 40% Microfiber blend is uber soft, making it especially perfect for knit tops and precious baby items.

Skacel has just introduced an ingenious set of patterns that has me on the edge of my seat ready to put some of my sock yarn stash to another use! The Sock Yarn Balloon Tying Creations (pictured above) patterns are inspired by/fashioned after balloon tied animals that you’d find at a fair or a child’s birthday party. These amazing little creatures are knit in the round, with specific increases and decreases that allow them to be tied (after stuffing) into their respective species.

Sock Yarn Balloon Tying Creations includes patterns for 10 creatures in total, including a monkey, poodle, bumble bee and elephant. They are sold as a set, packaged in a handy, clear vinyl wallet that allows you to clearly see the pattern you're working from, while keeping it protected at the same time. I absolutely love this packaging and wish more patterns came like this. It is so much more handy and useful than boxes of pattern cards.

Whether you're into socks, lace or baby knits, Skacel has something for everyone in their Spring/Summer 2010 line... as for me, I'm itching to cast on my first balloon creation!