Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A New Cardigan

There's a chill in the air these days, despite some crazy warm weather we had last week (crazy as in +30 C!!), it has felt like fall for a while now here on the prairies.  What's a girl to do when the weather turns cool? Why knit herself a new cardigan of course!!

I decided to knit Andi Satterlund's Marion.  I've had the pattern in my library since last fall when I won it in her KAL for  her Hetty cardigan, so when she announced in late in the summer that she would be hosting a KAL for Marion, I immediately jumped on board.  Not only would it be a great KAL, I could also "double dip" and use Marion for the Summer Sweater KAL with Very Shannon.

I've knit quite a few of Andi's patterns now. My first was my Miette that I knit last summer, then of course Hetty, then I knit Salt for a Christmas gift, then this spring I knit Myrna as part of the Outfit Along and now Marion.

I really enjoy Andi's patterns.  They are well written and easy to follow.  Each of cardigans that I've made, except for Miette, utilize short row shaping for the top down sleeve caps, which I really, really like.  You knit the upper back, then pick up the shoulder stitches and knit each of the fronts then join them together to finish off the body. Then the sleeve cap stitches are picked up and knit back and forth using short rows until the shaping is finished and then it's straight on down in the round from there.  I can't even describe how much I like knitting sleeves this way. If all sleeves could be done like this, I'd be a happy lady.  It really makes them feel like they fly off the needles.  I even got brave with this one, and once I had the first sleeve cap done I put in on hold and did the second sleeve cap, then put both on my circular and did them two at a time! Talk about speedy sleeves.

Now that I've got a great new cardi, I think I'm going to have to make some fall dresses and skirts to go with it.  I've got a Miette Skirt from Tilly and the Buttons a waistband facing and hem away from being finished and I think that will be a definite to pair well with my Marion, but I'll have to peruse my patterns and see what else I have in my stash too.

But first things first.  I need to finish a test knit I'm working on, then finish up my birthday swap gift for my Ravelry group so it can be popped in the mail to my little swap partner by Friday at the latest, Baby Boy's birthday party is this weekend, then I really do need to get a start on my Christmas crafting.  Phew! I'm going to be busy in the next little while I think!

Monday, September 01, 2014

Blog Hop!

I've been asked by Anna of Charmed Liebling to participate in my first ever blog hop.  (I feel like such a "grown up" blogger now!)  You'll recognize Anna's name from many previous posts of mine. Anna designs amazing bags and I've been lucky enough to test several of them for her (you can check out my test versions of the Rose Petal, Liebling's , All Day Out , Working Girl LaptopRhine Valley and Pink Peony) I love Anna's bags and her patterns are fantastic, I really urge you to check them out for yourself!

For this blog hop participants are asked to answer four questions :

1) What am I working on?
2) How does my work differ from others in its genre?
3) Why do I write/create what I do?
4) How does my writing/creative process work?

After I've finished my post, I'll be passing the baton onto the lovely Amy of Quixotic Pixels, who I "met" during our Outfit Along KAL on Ravelry this summer and Coo of Betty Stitchup (who I also met during the Outfit Along)

So! Without further ado here we go! A glimpse into the crafty and creative life of this prairie girl…

What am I working on?

I often have a few things on the go at any given time. Whether it be sewing or knitting there's always a project waiting in the wings.  Right now those projects are:

Swim Diapers in Progress
Some swim diapers - I started sewing diapers for Baby Boy when we switched him over from disposable to cloth around eighteen months. I went crazy making them. Its always good to have a large supply of diapers for a little one and I really enjoyed sewing them! Then he potty trained just after he turned two, so I switched to coming up with workable, reliable, reusable pull ups for a bit, but then he didn't need those any more so my diaper sewing days were over. Or so I thought. Then, earlier this year, I was asked if I could create some swim diapers for older children that have special needs. I'm happily back to sewing diapers, and although not quite the same as the ones I used to make Baby Boy, I really enjoy the process. Plus the PUL fabrics available on the market are just so much fun!

The diapers I'm working on now are for a little guy, who needs them as a requirement for the establishment he takes his swimming lessons at.  His mama wanted ones to last him from now until the requirement is lifted in a few years when he's a preschooler, so I set to work coming up with a "grow with me" design. They got put on hold for wedding dress sewing and wedding prep, but I'm going to finish them up this week and send them on their way! (Good thing his mama is a good and understanding friend of mine that wasn't in a rush! Normally I have diapers sewn and out for delivery within a couple of days of getting an order.)

I've also got a quilt on the go that started out as a baby quilt when I first found out I was expecting Baby Boy, only to be put on hold when I found out he was going to be Baby Boy and most definitely not a girl. I'm going to increase the size a smidge more, then quilt and bind it and call it a picnic quilt. It uses the old, now hard to find, Oh Cherry Oh line of fabric from Moda and so I've renamed it the "Memories of the Okanagan" quilt. When I use it for picnics down the road I shall fondly recall sunny days sitting on the magical, picturesque lawn at my dear Aunt Flora's Okanagan lake front property as she imparted her wisdom on the intricacies of cherries - the picking, the eating and the wearing as earrings - you know… pick two with the stems attached at the top and dangle them over your ears feeling quite glamorous for a bit before you eat them? Everyone does that, right? Perhaps I shall even sip a cream soda (something she always made sure to have on hand as she knew it was my favourite) while I think of those long past summer visits.

I've got the batting - I snagged some at the beginning of July when the fabric store was having a ridiculously good sale and don't laugh. I'm going to back it with the left over lining fabric from my wedding dress. Before you start thinking I've gone off my rocker and are picturing me using some slippery, hideous, 100% polyester lining to back my quilt I'll let you in on a little secret.  I used cotton sheeting to line my dress. I loathe dress lining with a fiery passion. There was no way I was going to spend a day sweating to death in that stuff.

And of course there's something on the needles too. There's always something on the needles! My favourite project right now is my latest pair of Rose Hiver socks, Fireweeds.  I had started these last spring, then other projects took over, but now that the weather has cooled and some mornings are downright frigid in the house I've started having the urge to knit socks again. I also have a sweater that I've just bought wool for, so that's going to be my next focus along with some exciting Christmas projects I have up my sleeve!
Cold weather? Bring it on.
Just don't bring it on too soon please!!
Wait a few months yet!

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I'm not really sure mine differs much from anyone else who blogs about their crafty ventures, so as such this is, obviously, going to be a much shorter answer than the previous one. I suppose I could claim it to be different in the fact that instead of focusing solely on one area of my creative life I tend to share about what ever creative process I'm currently working on. Whether it be designing and sewing swim diapers, reviewing a fantastic pattern I've found or making something tasty in my kitchen I like to include it here.

Why do I write/create what I do?

The answer to this may be even shorter, then the last. I simply love to make things. End of story. I write about the things I make because I like to share my projects with others, hopefully giving inspiration or ideas to help my readers want to create things for themselves as well.

How does my writing/creative process work?

Hmmm. This is a hard question to answer. I'm not entirely sure that there's any sort of of rhyme or reason to my creative process. It may in fact, upon reflection, simply be madcap, disorganized and fly by the seat of my pants!

For knitting and sewing I almost always buy fabric and yarn once I have a specific pattern in mind. I rarely buy to just have something in my stash. Although there are two flaws with this plan. The first being I often wish, like other bloggers, I could just go to my fabric stash on a whim and pull out a dress worth of fabric or a sweater's worth of yarn. The second being often times I order fabric online. I  will get swept up with an obsession about a particular pattern and order the fabric almost right away. However, by the time it arrives and I get the time to actually buckle down and make the item I've already been swept away with a new obsession.

So there you go. A wee peek into the inner workings of my creative brain. Once again I'd like to thank Anna of Charmed Liebling for asking me to participate in the blog hop. Please head on over to Amy's Quixotic Pixels to read about her creative process! I think you'll enjoy her blog. She does beautiful sewing and knitting! She sews jeans for goodness sakes! That alone pretty much makes her a sewing goddess in my books!!!!

Next take a jump over to Australia with the very talented Coo of Betty Stitchup! You have to see her outfits! She uses amazing fabrics and creates fantastic clothes with a vintage vibe. I got lost in looking at her "My Stitchups" page for quite some time the other day!