Saturday, February 24, 2018

It's All About Comfort

It's been cold a lot here lately.  Even when we have a ridiculously warm temperature in the forecast it'll go something like this, "Thursday's high -3C... with a windchill making it feel like -35C"  What?!?!  Why can't we have anything nice??? Quit playing with us, Mother Nature.  At this point it's just rude.

So along with cold comes a great need for cozy, comfortable clothes.  I'm all about jerseys and pontes these days!  I had some quilted jersey from Blended Threads that I wanted to use for possibly another Grainline Linden, but then one of the Facebook groups I belong too was planning a sew along for the Hey June Halifax Hoodie.  Since I have a Linden already, I thought I'd branch out.  I made view E of the Halifax, but lengthened it significantly (too much maybe?), because while I really loved the cowl neckline and the interest of the front diagonal seams there is no way that I'm doing a hi-low hem.  I really can't stand them at all on me.  It just always feels weird, so I spend all day tugging at the front of my top and feeling awkward.  LOL

I'm pretty happy with my Halifax although I've discovered that the quilted jersey collects lint like a beast (as does the ponte that I used along with it) and it also seems like it's going to have a tendency to pill a bit.  I also feel that the black is a bit strong (does that even make sense?) and wish I'd gone with a charcoal instead, but I was using up stash so, whatever.  It's cozy and comfy and so I'm perfectly fine with its couple of downsides.

After all was said and done, I still had a bit of Ponte left in the stash and a hankering for another Linden, because I absolutely adore the striped floral one I made at new years.  I went hunting through my stash of leftover bits and bobs for the sleeves and settled on quilted jersey left over from my last year's Jasper Hoodie.

I'm super happy with how it turned out and again, other than the lint collecting factor of the ponte, this was a complete wardrobe win for me.

My final make is a bit of a dud.  I think I mentioned how my husband bought me a Silhouette Cameo for Christmas - best new toy ever - and I wanted to try doing a shirt with a logo on it.  I had bought a light grey tee from Walmart for the purpose, but it was ridiculous on me. First off the fit was weird.  Next problem it was tissue paper thin.  Nope. Nope. Nope.  So $5 worth of poly blend jersey from Fabricland and my "TNT" Molly Top pattern seemed the best route to go.  The saying, "Don't Make Me Use My Hockey Mom Voice" is a reference to the fact that one of the other team moms and myself are sort of a bit ... ahem... infamous for our loud cheering.

Now before you start thinking we're that kind of obnoxious hockey mom, we're definitely not.  We cheer everyone on for pretty much everything. You're skating?  We're going to cheer.  Your stick touched the puck?  Cheer.  Got a goal? We're hooting and hollering like a couple of lunatics.  So we are super encouraging to our little players, but just happen to be a bit loud whilst doing it.  I blame it on my years in cadets as a teenager, calling the squadron out onto the parade square and giving drill commands.  That whole comes from the diaphragm, not the throat thing apparently stuck and I am just loud.  Can't help it.  LOL

The tee is fine.  Except it was like Goldilocks and the freaking bears with that neckband.  The first one was TOOOOOOO big.  The second one was TOOOOOOO small.  The third one?  Well it's ok. Certainly not just right, because in the meantime all the ripping out and re-doing stretched the heck out of the neckline.  Then I actually burnt the fabric a tiny bit right in the front trying to beat the darn thing into submission. (Hello polyester!).  So it's not great, but it'll do.  Then there's the logo.  I think my placement is a touch off.  Maybe a bit lower? Maybe more line spacing? Maybe a bigger font?  I've no hot clue.  I just know it looks off to me.

In amongst the sewing, I've also been knitting, spinning, playing with the cutting machine and generally avoiding dishes, laundry and other sundry housework when I'm not at work or the rink...

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Just for Me - A Mystery KAL

Every holiday season for the last four years, one of my favourite designers, Laura Aylor of Fogbound Knits hosts a mystery knit along.  I've only had the opportunity to participate in two of them so far, but both times have thoroughly enjoyed it and this year's was exceptionally good!

I had finished my gift knitting - I'd really scaled back this year because I knew that with working full time now I likely wouldn't have the same time or energy for crafting as I used too.  In previous years it was nothing to be up late Christmas eve frantically trying to finish knitting a gift.  Last year in fact I remember finally going to bed at 4am and setting my alarm for 6am so I could get up and finish G's cowl.  I cast off and snuck it into her stocking as she pulled in the driveway at 7am.  It was madness and I knew that I didn't want that kind of last minute panic this year, so I made a point of finishing up before the Christmas season got under way.

So it left me with plenty of time to work on Laura's mystery KAL that she always dubs "Just for You" until after the whole pattern has been released at which point it gets it's own name.  This holiday's pattern is now named Retrospective.

When Laura sent out the planning sheet early in December I went down to my sewing room and started digging through my bins of yarn for two skeins of DK weight yarn.  I wasn't  happy with any of the choices.  They were ok, but nothing was jumping out at me.  Well nothing except the couple of
couple of skeins of Madeline Tosh yarn in the Composition Book and Lolita colour ways that I've been hoarding for the past several years since winning it in a gift knitting KAL for knitting the most gifts during it.  I kept by-passing the Tosh because it was too precious to use.  It's way beyond my normal budget.  It was special.  I needed the perfect pattern.

And then I said a big ol' TO HECK WITH THAT!  After all, if the whole point of Just for You was to treat yourself then why not use the special, precious yarn?  The worst that could happen was that I'd hate what I knit (not likely with a Fogbound Knits pattern, but one never knows), and then I could rip it out and still have my special yarn.  What good was hoarding it doing?  Sure it was pretty to look at every now and again, but really shouldn't the joy be in actually using it?

So I wound it up and when the first clue was sent out I started knitting.  I LOVED it.  I was so enamoured with the pattern, with the yarn, with the fact I could have a deliciously relaxing time knitting with no deadline.  It was perfect.

I have been desperate to show it off since casting off, but Laura had asked that we keep it somewhat on the down low until all participants had their chance at the mystery.  (She was doing two rounds.  The initial one before Christmas and one starting right afterwards for those who didn't get the chance to knit before hand).  So the pattern has now been released in it's entirety on Ravelry and here I am, finally able to show it off!

I adore this pattern and it was so much fun to knit up - getting a little section to work on each night for twelve days leading up to Christmas was perfect for me!  And I'm so glad I chose to use my precious Mad Tosh.  (except now I'm really coveting more...  those colours.  They're so amazing!!!)  I do have one more full skein of the grey, plus a smidge of both the skeins I used for the cowl left.  Maybe a pair of mitts or gloves would be in order...

 PS: don't judge the Christmas tree.  It's been down since Sunday afternoon - I took these pictures on Boxing day and New Year's Eve day. So well within the acceptable time frame for a Christmas tree! ;) LOL


Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Spur of the Moment Small Sewing Spree

Thanks to the holiday I have a three day weekend to enjoy.  I decided that I was going to use some of my time to do some sewing to celebrate the end of the year!  I've had a few projects that I wanted to get done, but before the holidays I was too busy with holiday prep, work and life in general to actually get to it.  Now was the perfect time!

Late yesterday afternoon I got all the fabric cut out for a top, a sweatshirt and a cardi.  Then took my little stack of fabric down to my sewing room and set to work.  The first one I tackled was the Linden Sweatshirt from Grainline Studios.  This one has been on my to do list for approximately forever.  WHY OH WHY have I not made it before?!?!  Oh! Right!  Probably because I waited until November to actually buy it and then had no time for sewing (see above mentioned excuse).  I did add almost three inches to length to accommodate my longer torso and a bit extra out of personal preference.

I picked up the fabric on my way home from work on Friday when I popped into the local Fabricland for something else I needed.  It's ponte de roma and from the clearance bin that I thought was a bargain at regular price for clearance.  I was exceptionally pleased to find it was 50% and my sweatshirt fabric cost me a whopping total of $7.70!

Having finished my Linden (which there will be many more of I'm pretty sure!!!!) I decided to make the top next.  It's a... Molly Top.  Of course it's a Molly!  Do I make any other tops these days?  No.  I didn't think so! Ha ha!  I loved my v-neck version so much that I decided this one should have a vee as well!  This super soft, drapey fabric was from an independent shop out in Western Manitoba, The Fabric Snob.  I don't think she has this particular colour in stock right now - or at least I didn't see it at quick glance - but she's got loads of other gorgeous florals and her 10 oz solids are my go to for solid knits now, I love them so much!

I didn't get this one done last night but had set it at side when I got to the point of needing to do the neckline and the hems, so it didn't take me very long this morning to zip through finishing up this one and moving along to my third make of the weekend, a Blackwood Cardi.  I've been wanting to make another since I made my first Blackwood.  I even have another cardi that I'd sewed up about a month ago from a different pattern that's waiting to be taken apart and fixed up using the Blackwood because it couldn't even come remotely close to comparing with fit of Helen's pattern and I know that until I fix it there is no way it'll ever get worn.  I sewed up a long Blackwood for my daughter for Christmas and had some serious envy.  Good thing she wears a vastly different size than I do or she might not have actually got her Christmas present.  I was going to do a long one for myself, but alas when I bought the lightweight melange knit from Fabricland I was thinking short version and bought fabric accordingly.  Oh well.  Next one!

The other thing I did was to print off some fun labels for my newest makes!  Santa brought me a new toy for Christmas - a Silhouette Cameo 3 and it is SO MUCH FUN!!!!! It's like a label maker on steroids and then some.  I've been walking around speculatively eyeballing everything in sight for potential decals, labels and fancy cut paper.  During the holidays Patterns for Pirates put out a free file for clothing labels and I knew I had to use them.  I'm particularly fond of Size Sassy and Size Unique!  Take that society!  I refuse to conform to your ridiculous notions of sizing.

So not bad for a spur of the moment small sewing spree!  It felt great to be getting sewing done.  It also felt great to reduce the pile of fabric by three - goodness knows I've a long way to go before I make a slight dent in the stash, but it's a start.  (It turns out when I don't have time to sew, I just start amassing fabric at a pre-apocolyptic preparation worthy level instead.)

Well, it smells like my now traditional New Year's Eve roast beef is going to need some attention soon - it's been cooking for two and a half hours now and it's making me sooooo hungry!  Time to get the Yorkshire puddings prepped and start peeling potatoes I think!

I'd like to wish you all a very happy (and safe) New Year's Eve.  I hope that tomorrow's start of 2018 brings with it a year of happiness and peace for you and yours.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Wrapping Up One Week One Pattern

I'm not even going to bother with making excuses for not blogging or pretend that I might get back on some semblance of schedule with it.  But I'm here for the time being and I wanted to do a wrap up of sorts of my first experience participating in the One Week, One Pattern challenge, which is just as it sounds.  You choose one pattern for one week and either wear different versions of it, or style it differently or a mix of both.

The challenge was hosted by Sheona of Sewisfaction this year and if anyone can persuade someone to want to take part in something Sheona, with her bubbly, cheerful personality is just the person to do it.  I love her vlog posts and instagram stories and feeds.  She is down to earth and so easy to relate too.  So when she announced she was hosting this year, I couldn't help but join in.

I had a hard time deciding which pattern I was going to use at first, because there's a few I love.  I thought of making six more Blackwood cardi's, or maybe a few new Idyllwild Tees.  Maybe a couple more Anna dresses (but how would that work with jeans and steel toes five days out of the week?).  Finally I settled on the Sew Over It Molly Top.  I had five of them already, so I figured I could just double up.  Then I ended up making a Molly Dress the week the challenge was starting, and then another Molly top the evening of the second last day.  I already have two more planned.  Molly is definitely proven to be my go to tried and true pattern. It's such a simple make and I can whip one up in a little over an hour from cutting out to hemming.  The fit is spot on with just an inch and a half added for length, so it's a no brainer for me.  It makes me feel great being able to finish something easily these days when sewing time is so limited and I love wearing them.  It's definitely my number one "TNT" pattern.

I've been on the fence about the Molly Dress since the City Break E-book came out to be honest.  I have definitely wanted to make one, but worried that it would look like a nightgown, or just too shapeless on my figure.  I have some gorgeous Ponte that I'd ordered from Stitchy Bee a while back that I wanted to make a dress with, but no way wanted to waste it if the dress was a disaster.  So I bought some fabric from the local Fabricland on my way home from work one day.  Unfortunately I misread the price and it ended up hella expensive, especially for a potential dud.  Ooops!  I decided to forge ahead with it though with the intention that if it was a nightmare I could chop off the bottom and have a really soft and cozy Molly top.  I LOVE the dress.  It gets all the heart eyes from me.  I have no clue what the fabric is - it's soft and feels like a cross between a really fine sweater knit and a brushed poly.

I documented my week on Instagram - most photos taken with my tripod and remote on my phone, and the weekday ones were taken at 5:30 in the morning, so photo quality is a bit dodgy, but hopefully you won't mind my less than glorious photography skills.  Here's how my week went:

Day One - the brand new Molly Dress

 Day Two - a Molly tee - this one is probably my least favourite Molly.  It's a fairly recent make, and it's ok, but there's very little drape to the organic cotton jersey and it turns out it's not as great a colour as I thought it was when I bought the fabric three years ago, but it's great for kicking around in.

Day Three - one of my early Molly's.  I think this was the second one I made last year.  Unfortunately I forgot to add any length and it's shrunk so it's on the verge of too short for me to wear comfortably.  But it has silver threads along the edges of the stripes which makes me ridiculously happy, so I still wear it more often than I should and then spend the day tugging it down.

Day Four - My first Molly.  Oh how I love this top!  It's so cozy and soft.  It's made from a sweater knit and it's only issue is that somehow a mad case of static cling has got it's clutches on it and no matter how I wash or dry it I can not get rid of the cling from hell.  I've tried everything I can think of so if you have any great solutions, please let me know!

Day Five - A recent Molly.  I totally meant to make a cardi with this fabric.  But then I felt like I was in the doldrums with my sewing and had nothing to wear, so it became a Molly instead.  I may or may not live in this top.

Day Six - this was my third Molly.  At first I thought this jersey from Minerva Crafts was way to drapey and that the top looked way too flowy, but it took mere moments of wearing it for it to become one of my favourites.  It's such a great top for work.  Not too heavy, and a great layering piece.  It gets a lot of wear!  (let's just ignore the wrinkles - it probably should have had a date with an iron before I took a photo in it.)

Day Seven - last but not least my newest Molly top.  This is a short sleeved version.  I thought I'd mix things up and make a v-neck on this and now I'm obsessing about a long sleeve v-neck Molly.  I could live in this top every day if it wasn't weird to do so.  

In retrospect, I suppose choosing the Molly Top wasn't the most challenging thing given I really do wear them all the time, especially during the work week.  It felt almost like cheating it was such an easy choice! As I mentioned I'm planning a Molly Dress with the Ponte from Stitchy Bee and I have a great monochromatic grey floral jersey that I just ordered on a black friday sale from The Fabric Snob that is pretty much screaming at me to become a v-neck long sleeve Molly, so clearly I'm not done with the pattern just yet!   

I have some other projects I'd love to tell you about in the near future, but not sure when I'll get the chance to be back to blogging, so who knows when it'll happen or if it'll happen.  I sometimes feel like so much time has past that there's not much point in writing about it anymore.  So I guess I'll just play it by ear and see you when I see you.  In the meantime, I hope this finds you all happy, healthy and enjoying life to it's fullest!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Brasov Wrap Top

Just stopping in with a quick post tonight!

No school for the boys + no sitter + plus the fact that they need my hubby at work way more than they need me (although it does hurt the ego a bit to admit that! LOL) meant that I had a day off of work today! I had fabric at the ready and the brand new, just released Itch to Stitch pattern, the Brasov Wrap Top* printed off and assembled!

Brasov Top
The crossover top pattern features figure flattering pleats and a nice modest neckline. I do prefer v-neck tops, and absolutely love a wrap top, but am always conscious of how my tops fit and making sure the neckline isn't too low or too revealing.   Throughout my day I'm up ladders, or bending down to get things and I also work closely with the maintenance team and often meet with vendors. The last thing I want to be worried about is if I'm at risk for an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction. Brasov is the perfect solution! I was so excited when I saw the first pattern photos for it and snapped up the pattern the minute I got the email from Kennis yesterday morning advertising that it was available!

I'm really happy with how my top turned out! I used 10oz cotton/spandex from The Fabric Snob that I had bought a few weeks ago. It was my first time ordering from there and I'll definitely be making future fabric orders!  Their jersey is top notch - super soft, great weight and fantastic recovery!!  Unfortunately between the fact I started out with less yardage than called for, and that my fabric had  shrunk a bit when I prewashed it meant I had to get a bit fancy in my cutting out the pattern. I ended up having to have a centre back seam and 3/4 sleeves, but that wasn't too big of a deal. Certainly not enough to deter me from using the fabric!  I did add 1 1/2" in length instead of my usual inch I add to Itch to Stitch patterns because I wanted a bit of extra insurance in the event that it shrinks more when I wash it again.

Brasov Top

If you act quickly you can grab a copy of the pattern for yourself with a 20% discount! I highly recommend it as a great wardrobe staple for fall and winter! (I'm also dreaming of doing a sleeveless version for spring next year too!)

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Leo The Lion, King of the Prairies

I mentioned my other road knitting project in my last post and thought I'd share a bit about it today with you.

Baby Boy - I really should think of a new name for him, he's hardly a baby now that he's in grade two and about to turn seven years old - made the discovery recently that everyone in the world (or at least all his siblings) have a sock monkey and he does not.  He had found my Paton's booklet, "Monkey Business" in the basement a week or so before we were to leave on holidays and he put two and two together and realized all those sock monkeys he's seen in his sibling's possession had to have been mama made.

He desperately wanted me to knit him something.  But not a monkey.  What he wanted was the last pattern in the book.  A cheerful looking lion named Leo.  I told him that as soon as I was finished knitting his sweater I would start Leo.  Every time he saw me knitting on his sweater he make a comment as to the fact that it was good I was knitting his sweater because then I could start his Leo.

He was actually playing with his lion in his head all the time and had so many imaginary adventures with the yet un-knit Leo.  Oh the stories he made up about their adventures.  It was unimaginably sweet.

Before leaving on the trip I let him go through my stash of worsted weight yarns and he picked out the colours he wanted.  I put together a kit of everything I would need to complete Leo from yarn, to needles, to fibrefill and popped it in my bag for in the front of the truck.  As soon as I cast off his sweater I cast on the lion.

I only knit on long driving stretches but slowly and surely all the pieces started coming together.  Lots and lots of pieces.  I am not overly fond of knitting toys.  Especially toys that have a billion fiddly pieces to sew together in the end, but it was a labour of love so I bit the bullet.

I worked on the head between Swift Current, SK and Medicine Hat, AB.  Then continued on two days later from Drumheller, AB to Calgary, AB and bit from Calgary, AB to Jasper, AB.  The muzzle was done while driving to the "Enchanted Forest" outside Revelstoke, BC and back into town again, and the body started somewhere around Rogers Pass, BC and finished somewhere between Calgary, AB and Moosomin, SK.  Seaming, his face, mane and feet (I ran out of yarn for the legs) were finished for the most part between Moosomin, SK and home here in South Eastern MB.  Last Wednesday evening I put the stitches onto the needles and got the four legs done and sewed them on and then added a few more strands in left over orange Berroco Vintage to add a little depth to his mane and fill in the bare spots that were left because I'd run out of the dark brown.  Since most of the knitting was done throughout Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta I've dubbed him "King of the Prairies".

Leo the Lion

I had Leo already by Baby Boy's bedtime and he was thrilled.  And not just him.  Little Man was equally excited for his little brother to have a "sock toy".  It was such a gratifying moment as a mom and as a crafter.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

SSKAL 2017

What a busy summer it's been!  I can't quite fathom how it's already September and the little boys are already back to school!  We finished off summer holidays with a bang and took an amazing ten day trip out West making it as far as Revelstoke, BC.  It was fantastic and we did so many amazing things on our trip!  One of the things that I did on the trip was knit.  Did you know that driving across Manitoba and Saskatchewan leaves a whole lot of time for knitting when you're not actually the driver?  A WHOLE LOT.

Thanks to the trip and hours upon hours of knitting time, I was able to finish my project for the Very Shannon Summer Sweater Knit Along.  The KAL ends today and I think this may be one of the few times I wasn't hoping for a deadline extension.  (Good thing too - Shannon mentioned recently that there wasn't going to be a vote for an extension this time!)

When the SSKAL was announced, since the rules allow for finishing up WIPs, I decided that I was going to take the opportunity of motivation of the KAL to finish up a project that had been languishing in my knitting bag for a few months and hopefully knit another project.  The project in question was Little Man's new Greyson sweater.  I had started it in March when I realized that there was no way he could squeeze himself into his original Greyson anymore.  Of course I shouldn't have been surprised.  He'd been wearing it since he was four years old.  No wonder it was too short and too tight!

I let him pick out yarn from Webs and he'd chose red and black James C. Brett Aztec - an acrylic, alpaca blend that I think will prove to be soft and very cozy.  He also chose how he wanted the stripe pattern to be. The sweater knit up fairly quickly given the very little I worked on it and within a month or so I was done.  Except the neckline was horrendous.  I should have taken a before shot to show how bad it was because it defies description.  I'm not sure what I did, but all my centered double decreases were not centered. Nor were they even in line with each other.  It was a hot mess.  So I was frustrated and left the sweater laying in my knitting bag until about a week into the SSKAL.  Then I ripped that offending neckline out, picked up the stitches and had it done and looking good by the end of the evening.  It was perfect timing, because the next morning Little Man woke up feverish and miserable.  Shivering and cold he curled up in his brand new sweater claiming it made him feel much better.

Greyson - Little Man

A few days later I had the chance to wind the wool for Baby Boy's sweater, because his second Greyson had also long since been outgrown.  He had also chose the black Aztec yarn and then had picked out some Estelle Chunky - an acrylic, wool, nylon blend - from the lys in the city and planned his stripe pattern.  I was determined to get his sweater done in time for wearing in the mountains, so knit like the wind, working on it every spare moment I had, which unfortunately with work and other mundane things like taking care of the house and yard wasn't a whole lot.  Thank goodness the sweater is small!  I started it on August 14th and by the time we headed out on the  highway August 26th I had just put the sleeve stitches back on the needle.

By the time I put my knitting down just outside of Moose Jaw, SK. because it was too dark in the truck to see anymore I had one sleeve done and 18 rounds plus a cuff left to do on sleeve two.  That was a LONG drive!   The next morning I picked it up again and had the second sleeve and ends woven in about a half hour or so west of Swift Current, SK.   Good thing too.  The next morning when the boys crawled out of the tent in Drumheller, AB it was quite chilly.  Baby Boy was thrilled to have his new sweater to put on and stay cozy until the sun warmed everything up.

Greyson - Drumheller

I had high hopes of getting the perfect finished object photo in the mountains, but trying to get photos of these two little goofballs when they're excited proves to be difficult, so I had to settle for this next one atop Whistler's Mountain in the Rockies.  You can sort of see the town of Jasper below through the smokey haze.  (No worries - there was quite a bit of land behind that rock they're standing on, it is just the angle that makes it look like they were perched on the very edge of the mountain!)

Greyson - Drumheller

Finishing Baby Boy's sweater so quickly gave me loads more road knitting time, but I'll tell you about that project next time!  I've got to catch up on some housework and then get the boys out to their power skate workshop this afternoon, plus I'm sure if you've read this long, you probably have other things you need to be doing too! LOL

Just one other quick "housekeeping" thing before I leave off.  I want to apologize for how some things are looking on the blog lately.  As you may be aware, Photobucket, which is what I used for a few years for photos on the blog, suddenly changed their policies without any warning in the spring.  In order to keep the photos showing up from them on the blog, they want a fee of $399/year.  Not going to happen!  So I need to clean things up and re-upload photos, but unfortunately I've had no time to do so yet, so please bare with me while things are in a bit of a messy state.