Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Well, talk about getting things done just under the wire!  I finally sewed the last two buttons on my new cardi and blocked it.  The knit along ends tomorrow!   Phew.  Made it!

The cardigan in question is Penelope, another great design from Andi Satterlund, that was the project for the Untangling Knots Group fall knit along.  It is, like all of Andi's patterns, an easy to knit pattern.  I imagined I would have finished it a couple of weeks ago, because it is very simple and straight forward.  It is a full length cardi, so I anticipated a bit more time on the needles, than a cropped cardi would take, but I didn't imagine it would take more than a month.

I didn't have any crazy issues with it, like I did with my Sunshower cardi I knit in the summer - I don't know if you remember my adventures that led me completely astray multiple times (ahem.  all user error, of course, the pattern is great).  I had no problems except much to my dismay, my knitting mojo seemed to get up and leave this fall.

I have no idea where it's gone.   (If you spot it somewhere along your travels could you please send it back to me?  I've got loads of projects lined up to do for the holidays and no "Umph" to get them done.  Or really started for that matter.)

Where oh where has my mojo gone?  Oh where oh where could it be?????

Anyways, all that being said, I did finish on time for the KAL deadline, and I did end up with a cardi that I really love.  I knit this one straight from the pattern with no modifications what so ever and the fit is perfect for what I wanted!

This one is knit in some stash yarn I had.  Sirdar's Country Style DK - a wool/acrylic blend was used for the contrast and Universal Yarns Dolce Merino, which is a merino/microfibre blend for the main colour.   I'm hoping that the Dolce Merino holds up alright.  It seems like it could have a tendency towards pilling.  Both yarns are super soft though and well, stash yarns fit the budget quite nicely of course!

I think the only thing that my Penelope is missing is a new skirt to go with it!  I'll have to think on that.  Oh.  And a new pair of shoes.  (Those will definitely have to wait though.  LOL).

Monday, November 16, 2015

Under the Category of Better Late Than Never...

Or maybe we can all pretend that we just hopped in a time machine and went back a month!

I wanted to show you the few things I did for Baby Boy's fifth birthday in October and somehow time has flown by and here we are mid-November already.

Our littlest guy had not one, but three celebrations for his birthday! MADNESS I tell you.  Excessive madness!  LOL

Little Man made his brother a sign for the entrance way

The first was his "family birthday" party where I think I disappointed my nephew with my lack of handmade goodness in the treat bag.  I have to say, I felt both badly and incredibly honoured when he said, "What's the thing you made this year?  I always like the thing you make the best." And then he proceeded to list off the things I'd made in the past and I'm pretty sure he thought the cookies I'd made this time just weren't up to snuff.  One of my nieces had apparently been wondering on the drive out what kind of thing I'd have made them too.

So from here on in, I hereby declare that Auntie Sarah will stop being so lame and figure out something good to make for my lovely crew of nieces and nephews! (Really, I just couldn't come up with a good idea and then ran out of time.  No excuse really.)

Anyways.  Baby Boy is crazy about dolphins.  Specifically crazy about the dolphins Winter and Hope  of the Dolphin Tale movie fame.  We had got a second hand book about Winter last year and he immediately became obsessed. Playing Winter and Hope, talking about them, drawing pictures of them, telling us great epic stories about them...  So naturally a dolphin theme was what he wanted when birthday party planning rolled around.

For his family party I made a dolphin shaped cake and the aforementioned cookies.

Dolphin cake #1

Dolphin sugar cookies - still working on my Royal Icing technique 

A couple of days later we had his actual birthday, which required another cake and the traditional birthday crown.  I love that the little guys enjoy the birthday crowns still.  I never guessed when I made the first one for Little Man's first birthday that it would become a yearly tradition.

Dolphin cake #2

What a guy!  I can't believe he's already five!!!
 Finally we had his "school friend" party towards the end of the month.  I asked him what kind of cake he'd like figuring he may have been dolphin caked out by that point, but he requested an exact replica of the one he had for his family party.  I feel like I could make a dolphin shaped cake in my sleep now.  Ha ha!

Dolphin cake #3
I also wanted to have a game planned for the kids at the party.  I thought a rousing game of pin the tail on the dolphin would be good to amuse ten five year olds, so I got some poster board from the dollar store and painted a dolphin on it.  Then I cut out tail shapes from card stock - a different colour for each party guest.  Note to self: A loose weave scarf for a blindfold that the kids can actually see through kind of defeats the purpose of the game...  all the tails pretty much ended up one on top of each other in the right spot.  At first I thought the kids were just that good.  Then Little Man confessed,  "There's tiny holes in the scarf, Mom!  You can see right through it!!"  Ooops!

Help kids!  I need a tail!!!
And thus ends the birthday month of baby boy.  I think I'd better try and pin Little Man and Baby Boy down on their birthday themes for next year so that I can start thinking now of things to make for party favours.  Maybe that way I'll redeem myself in the eyes of my nieces and nephews!  :)

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Hallowe'en

Just stopping by quickly today to wish everyone a Happy Hallowe'en!

We've been gearing up here for a few days now for the festivities.  Thursday night the little boys did their annual pumpkin carving ('scuze the mountain of dirty dishes - we'd just finished supper)

Friday was the school Hallowe'en party and the boys were excited to get dressed up in their costumes.  Little Man decided he was going to be a vampire and was excited to wear J's old vampire/Zoro cape that I made him some time back in the late 90s. I made the bow tie as a new addition to the costume using Sis Boom's Bosco Bowtie pattern.  He combined that with his suit from our wedding last year, some face paint and a wig to complete his dashing Dracula look.  The wig stayed home from school as he decided he looked funny in it and thought his classmates might laugh at him.  There was no convincing him otherwise.

Baby Boy had his heart set on being a vampire bat.  For his costume, I used the very popular Max and Meena All Ears Hoodie.  What a fab pattern!!! I was so happy when I was able to get it on sale a few weeks ago - the US/Can exchange rate has been making me think twice about all my cross border purchases these days, so the sale was much appreciated and great timing.  By the way - on that note, if you're a member of the Max and Meena Facebook group, Jamie posts a one day sale almost weekly!  I think I'll make some other ears versions for the boys in the near future.  Best part of it?  After Hallowe'en has come and gone the hoodie can go into his wardrobe for regular wear!

So the All Ears using the fox ears slightly modified to be bat ears, self-drafted wings, his suit pants (apparently vampire bats wear fancy pants according to Baby Boy) and his mask from his spider costume last year made for a very happy little bat.

Of course what would Hallowe'en be without some treats??  I signed up to bring a sweet treat for the class parties - of course I did!  I LOVE sweet treats and  I LOVE making sweet treats!!!  I knew that this year I wanted to do some sugar cookies. With the class party in mind, a few weeks ago I even bought a new set of Wilton cutters at the dollar store that had an awesome combination of broom, hat, cauldron and shoe. Spoiler.  I did not use the Wilton cutters.  Nor did I use the entire bin of other ghosts, witches, bats, pumpkins, black cats etc. cutters.  I used a tulip cutter and a smaller circle cutter to make ghost and monster eyeball cookies.  I love doing the royal icing and although I'm still perfecting my technique and consistency, I think I'm slowly improving.  No leftovers came home so I think they went over well in the Kindergarten and Grade One classrooms!

Now, I'm off to peruse Pinterest for some fun and quick ideas for supper tonight and then some spooky sort of snack for after trick or treating.  We're getting together in town tonight to take the kiddos trick or treating with school friends and then all having a little get together afterwards.  Hopefully the rain clears out and it's a nice evening for being out.  Should be loads of fun though, no matter what the weather, with a crew of an exuberant six and unders!

I hope you all have a very fun and safe evening no matter what your plans are for tonight!

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Trio of Tees

Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadians!  I hope you're enjoying your weekend!  We had some glorious weather for Saturday and Sunday - it was a whopping 25C yesterday!!!  What a difference a few hours makes though.  The inclement weather rolled in after supper last night and it seems set on staying the day today.  It's raining cats and dogs and the wind so strong that I'm not entirely sure we won't actually end up in the Land of Oz at some point!

So it seems like a good time to sit down with a cup of tea and tell you about a new favourite pattern!  A few months ago I snagged Kennis Wong's Itch to Stitch* Idyllwild Tee and Dress pattern on sale.  I kept meaning to make it - I'd already printed out and taped together the PDF pattern, traced off my size and was just waiting for the right moment and fabric to sew up a new tee.  WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG?!?!?!

I finally sewed my first tee up at the beginning of Selfish Sewing Week (that ran from Sept. 28th - Oct. 3rd) and have positively been living it it since.  I absolutely love it! As a side note to all the moms and dads that see me five days a week during school drop off and pick up I promise I washed it in between wearings.  Really, I did!

However, since laundry and I are definitely not BFFs and I generally subscribe to the theory of sew something new in order to prolong the necessity of doing laundry, it only made sense that when I was in the city running errands the other day I picked up another couple of lengths of knits to make a couple more tees.  Given the knits I got were on sale,  I figured I couldn't go wrong!

I've done the longer/lower neckline and 3/4 sleeve option for all of mine so far as I was in dire need of new shirts for fall.  But rest assured there will be more variations on this top to come as seasons change.  I'm picturing the addition of a rainbow of sleeveless, short sleeve and cap sleeve tees into my wardrobe next spring.  Idyllwild comes with enough options that the pattern offers the possibility of 42 combinations.  This pattern whips up really quickly and I do so love a good tried and true pattern in my arsenal!

Little Man usually takes pictures for me if I don't want to use the timer on my camera, but this morning after taking a few pictures of my just finished third top, he said he'd rather be in a picture with me than taking pictures.  I'd rather that too, so we took a selfie instead.

Before I leave off I thought I'd mention that if you hurry over to the Itch to Stitch site, she's got a birthday sale on right now with discounts from 20 - 40% off depending on how many patterns you purchase. You'll see all the codes and details there at the top of her shop page.  She's also got a contest running too for a few more days.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Summer Sweater KAL Antrorse

I'm done! I'm done! I'm done!!!

I've finished my second sweater for the Very Shannon Summer Sweater Knit Along!  This one is Antrorse, designed by Shannon Cook of Very Shannon.  I won the pattern in a knit along in her Ravelry group last Christmas and thought it the perfect choice for this year's Sweater KAL.

I had initially started knitting my Cascade Eco+ pullover at the beginning of the KAL, but summer being summer, it quickly got way too hot to have mounds of warm wool piled on my lap, so I did put it aside for a few weeks while I worked on my Sunshower cardi I showed you in my last blog post.

Like Sunshower I had some adventures in knitting my Antrorse.  Not nearly as bad as Sunshower - I didn't have to reknit anything and it was certainly nothing design related, but I did get off to a spectacularly rocky start with my gauge swatch.

I spent and agonizing and hellish time trying to get my gauge to work out.  In a momentary lapse of all reasoning I actually was going the wrong direction needle size wise to try and get gauge.  I kept going smaller and smaller and gauge was getting so far off I couldn't fathom what was going wrong, I started suspecting a problem with the pattern.  Let me tell you, I felt pretty darn silly when moments after I posted something to that effect on Ravelry (wondering all the while nobody else seemed to note any problems with the pattern) it hit me that I should be using larger needles instead of smaller. More stitches to get gauge = needle too small not needle to big, obviously.  Sigh...  Oh gauge how you continually vex me so.

As soon as I got that sorted out, gauge was easy to achieve and knitting in earnest began.  No further problems were encountered other than the heat and knitting Antrorse was an easy, stress free task.  I knit it exactly as written and it turned out exactly how I hoped!

I'm really loving my new sweater!  I'm especially loving it this morning!  It was 3C when I crawled out of bed this morning.  Brrrr.  But Antrorse to the rescue.  I'm sitting here cozy and snuggly warm!  The Cascade Eco+ in the Lake Chelan colour way - possibly my absolute favourite colour way of all time - is warm but without the heavy weight you'd expect from it.  It's an absolute dream to knit with and pretty darn economical too!  Each skein has a whopping 478 yards of bulky goodness on it, which means a whole lot less darning in of ends too!  (always a nice bonus!)  I'm definitely going to be looking to add some more Eco+ to my stash the next time I have some extra yarn funds!!

So, for me, another Summer Sweater Knit Along comes to a close and I have to say it was yet again a great experience!  The knitters in the Very Shannon Ravelry group are all very chatty, encouraging and motivating, which makes the KALs held there so much fun!  I'll definitely be signing up again next year!!

Now it's time to switch gears for a wee bit before jumping into the next KAL (Andi Satterlund's Penelope KAL over at Untangling Knots Group).  I'm going to be getting a start on some hush, hush holiday sewing and knitting for the next few weeks!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Summer Sweater KAL Sunshower

I'm happy to report that I've got one finished object done for the Very Shannon Summer Sweater Knit Along.  The KAL was to officially end yesterday, but it looks like most everyone voted for a two week extension, which is all kinds of awesome, because it means there's a good chance I'll get to finish my second sweater before the actual deadline!  Whoot! Whoot!

The purpose of the summer sweater knit along is to keep knitting through the hot months of the summer so that you have a shiny new something ready to wear come the cooler temperatures of fall.  It turns out that finished project number one for me goes with absolutely nothing in my fall wardrobe, but no less than four dresses in my summer wardrobe.  Ooops!  But that's ok.  My fall wardrobe needs some boosting up anyways.  I'm sure I'll come up with something that will work with my new bright red Sunshower cardi!

(as an aside... I'm looking for inspiration in the fall sewing department!  I'd love to hear any suggestions you might have for me!  I've had a couple suggestions for Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress.  I'm thinking of Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans.  What else do you have for me?)

Anyways, back to our regularly scheduled posting about my new cardi.

Like all of Andi Satterlund's designs I've knit so far (Salt, Miette, Hetty, Myrna, Marion, Vianne and now Sunshower) it is an easy to follow pattern.  I love the way her patterns are written up, and I love the vintage vibe of her cardigans.  They're perfect for popping on over a dress too.  Did I mention this latest one goes with four dresses in my closet?!?  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that!  My only modification to this pattern was my usual one that I do on Andi's cardigans which is to eliminate some of the waist shaping so it doesn't have quite so much negative ease.

I used Ella Rae Classics in Monarch red from Webs for my Sunshower.  It is a bit scratchier than I remember Ella Rae Classic being - but then I've not used this particular yarn in about six or seven years and that was for a pair of mittens so maybe I've just forgotten.  Or maybe it's not actually that scratchy in reality and the hives that suddenly appeared on my arm this morning (what the heck?!?!) are just making me a bit more sensitive.  Who knows.  I normally wear Briggs & Little without batting an eyelash, so c'est la vie.  Scratchy or not, I think this cardigan will be getting lots of wear in the future!

Knitting of this one was a bit of a challenge for me.  Not because of the pattern mind you, but because sometimes I'm just a bit daft about things.  I posted a week and a half ago about my fudging the pattern and then having to go back and re-knit it.  Well, things like that just seemed to keep happening.  Maybe I've been distracted or maybe I've just taken leave of my senses as of late.  I am not sure, but whatever the case I was glad to finally make it to the sleeve cuffs without further incident!  I had initially planned to do the sleeve caps individually then continue the rest of the sleeve two at a time, as I normally do, but my circular needle was both too inflexible and too short for it to be a convenient method.  I was driving myself batty dropping stitches and trying to keep sorted where the centres were.  I gave up a few rounds in, put the sleeves back on separate needles and zipped through the first sleeve up to the cuff in an evening.  The next evening I tackled the second sleeve, then put them back on the too short, too stiff circ for the cuffs.  I hate trying to keep track of ribbing and I figured it was easier to suffer through the TAAT with a bad needle then count rounds.  It worked and I finished it up pretty easily a few days ago!

Next up is going to be finishing up my Antrorse!  I'm so close - six more rounds of the bottom band, then onto the sleeves.  I have a beautifully long and flexible circular needle so it should be no problem to two at a time them!

I had told myself that after Antrorse is finished I would focus on holiday gift knitting exclusively, but Andi's gone and thrown a big ol' wrench in that plan.  (Yep.  I'm blaming her.  Not my lack of will power in the face of a new pattern.  Nope. Not that at all...)  She's gone and published another cardigan pattern this week and I'm completely smitten with it.  Not only that.  She's planned a Knit Along for it.  I resisted for about 30 seconds and then decided I'll spend the rest of this month focusing on gift knitting so that when the KAL starts the beginning of October I can knit, somewhat guilt free, on Penelope.  Take a look at those gorgeous scallops and tell me that you would have been able to resist.  I didn't think so! If resistance is as futile for you as it is for me, you should join the KAL on Ravelry.  It'll be fun!  (and Andi's even got a discount for the pattern going on right now!)  I'm dreaming of colour combinations right now and thinking that I have a nice caramel coloured DK for the main colour and if it works a really nice wine colour for the scallops and the button band already sitting in my stash... Fate?  I think so!

Monday, September 07, 2015

Goodnight, Sleep Tight

Back in June I bought some fabric for pjs for the boys.  In July I bought some fabric for new pillow cases for them.  I did get the pillow cases sewn up a few weeks ago, and then the pjs just the other day.  I don't know why I waited so long, especially because I was making summer pjs, but oh well, what's the saying?  A day late and a dollar short or something like that?  Story of my life. Ha ha!

So now that the weather is cooling down, if the forecast is to be believed, the menfolk in the house all have matching short summer pj sets.  I picked up the fabric on a trip to Marshall's/Northwest Fabric in the city.  I haven't been to that store in years, mostly because the last times I've gone I've not been overly impressed.  However, they've changed things up a bit there, at least in terms of their cottons.  Last time I had been you couldn't buy less than a metre of anything, but now their minimum cut is .5m, so that's a bit better.  They also now have a huge selection of what I call "the good stuff".  Name brands - the ones I see online but can never find at Fabricland - of course those name brands come with a hefty price tag.  A lot of the prints are upwards of $18/metre.  Yikes!  But when you factor in exchange and shipping, if I was to order online I suppose it would end up probably the same, or close anyways these days.

However, I did luck in that day back in June and as I went to get a half yard cut of the fabric I'd chosen I spied a shopping cart filled with rolls of Pokemon fabric.  I asked and the clerk told me they were $5.00/m and were that cheap because they were seconds.  I found the one I liked best and took a look.   I am not sure what was considered seconds about it, the print looked good, I couldn't see any flaws, so I picked up a couple of metres.

I brought the fabric home, washed it up and planned to get started right away, but I couldn't decide on what to do about a top because I knew I didn't have enough Pokemon fabric for tops and shorts.  Plus the boys always like me to make (BF)G pjs to match theirs.  In the end I grabbed a couple of $3.00 muscle shirts from Walmart.  One in (BF)G's size for his pair and then a 3xl to cut up for the fabric for the boys.  Only the boys have grown.  A lot.  I can no longer get two shirts out of one anymore, and so I had to go on a search for fabric again. Last week I did find a shirt that I'd bought the wrong size of for (BF)G a few years ago sitting in Little Man's closet for about ten years from now when he would grow into it and decided I could sacrifice it for the pj set.  I finally got the pjs done.

They boys are happy.
I think they'd pretty much given up hope on ever getting their Pokemon Pjs

I used an older version of Simplicity #1605 for the shorts.  (The only difference between my version which has a different number and the current version is the picture on the pattern envelope is switched around and the people are different) and then for the little boys I used Fishsticks Designs free tank top pattern.  Both patterns are ridiculously quick to sew.  (Again.  Why did I wait so long to make these up????)  Since I was so late in the summer getting these done, I went with slightly bigger sizes than I might have had I made them at the beginning of the summer like I'd planned.  Little Man's are a size 8 top and boys medium bottoms, Baby Boy has the size 6 top and boys size small bottoms.  I am really hoping that means they'll still fit by the time next summer rolls around.

About a month ago I also finally sewed up the long pj pants for (BF)G that I'd bought fabric for about two years ago.  They were a disaster.  Not sure if you can see it in the photo, but there's an odd little "design feature" with the waist tie at centre back.

These will be racing right into the donation box!
(BF)G politely waited a few days before mentioning that something seemed a bit off on the fit.  I'd already noticed something looked a bit off, but after all.  It's the pattern I've been sewing for him since about 2006, so what could go wrong?  I couldn't figure it out and then he asked, "Did you sew them backwards?  They feel like they're on backwards".  Well crap.  That's exactly what I did.  The buttonholes for the waist ties are neatly sewn centre back, not centre front.  So I undid the waist casing, put a couple of properly placed button holes in and re-threaded the ties with the added "design feature" where they show on the centre back. Except the fabric - which was sold as 100% cotton obviously has a really high polyester content and has no natural give to it so they are really not very comfortable even the right way around and to top it off I made them a bit too small.  They're headed for the goodwill I think - maybe someone else in the world will find them useful.

I mentioned pillow cases.  I'm really happy with how they turned out!  I used the same tutorial I used for the boys Transformers pillow cases in the spring and it has got to be the easiest method EVER!  My only hang up is that no matter how many times I do French seams I always end up doing at least one the wrong way and sewing right sides together for the first pass instead of wrong sides together.  EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.  This time I think I did two of them that way.  On the same pillow case none the less.  You'd think I'd learn.  All that aside, the end result was great, the quilt cotton is super soft and snuggly feeling (unlike the solid cotton I used for the transformers pillows that not only collect lint and fuzz like nobody's business, the boys claim that they are scratchy.)  I'll definitely be making more pillow cases in the future!  And maybe I'll even remember to do my French seams correctly the first time! (probably not, but hope springs eternal)

I adore this "Canadiana" and camping print -
although I hope that if I'm camping those creatures aren't coming that close to my tent...
especially that bear.  Stay away bear, stay away!

I was going to save writing up this blog post until I had some new pjs too, but my pjs currently look like this :
No where near done
Not even close to being finished. Or started for that matter.  I've not even finished cutting out the shorts pattern let alone chosen fabric for them.  The pattern is Purl Bee's City Gym Shorts and the top is EYMM's Everyday Essentials Cami.  The problem is the fabric for the top.  I'd bought a yard of it a few months ago from Girl Charlee intending to make another Jocole Yoga Skirt.  But then the fabric arrived and it's pretty much paper thin, with almost no recovery in the stretch.  I was pretty annoyed about it, but figured it's saving grace is that it is super soft so would be comfy for pjs, but now that I've cut it out, I've completely lost interest in the entire project because my annoyance with the fabric has been renewed.  We'll see what happens.  For the time being I think I'm just going to be putting the whole kit and caboodle into the bin on my desk I have for WIP and ignore it for a bit.  I'm going to focus on working on some different projects instead.  And maybe when the annoyance fades I'll sew up the pjs for myself.