Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Seychelles Top

Well, well, well.  Here I am again with another brand new Itch to Stitch* top pattern that I just tested.  I am a sucker for the patterns Kennis designs, especially since they require very little alterations to fit me (just some length in the bodice) so when the testing call came out for the Seychelles Top I filled out my application pretty much immediately.

Seychelles is a fun v-neck, pull on woven top pattern that has two sleeve options. You can choose either short sleeve with pleats at the shoulder or long sleeve with gathers.  Or be like me and make one of each!  The pattern is suited to so many different fabrics and can give a completely different look depending on what you choose.  Medium weight linens to lighter weight lawns and anything in between really is going to work, I think.

For my first version I decided to make the short sleeved view and bought some cotton shirting fabric at Fabricland in the city. It was on sale so my top cost under $13.00 which seemed a pretty good bargain for a test project. It has a bit of an embroidery detail which I thought was quite pretty, but simple enough to not be too fussy.  When I bought the fabric is was sleek and smooth, but when I popped in the machine to prewash it got a crinkly, puckery texture.  I wasn't quite sure at first and felt a bit disappointed that it wasn't smooth anymore, but I went ahead and cut my project out anyway.  I'm so happy I did!  I love the texture it has now and I think it's actually even better than it was in it's original form.

I really like how comfy the top is.  I often struggle with woven tops being too tight across the back and if I don't do a broad back adjustment I end up feeling like I'm trussed up, barely able to move my arms and needing something akin to the escape skill level of Houdini to get me out of my top.  Let me tell you I have got stuck in many a top in my day.  It's a horrifying feeling when that happens. I was super relieved to find that not only can I get in and out of my top without assistance or the prowess of a magician (thank goodness! No one wants to be trapped in their clothes!!!), but I can also move freely about.   Imagine that.  Full range of movement! LOL

I was so happy with how my short sleeved version came out that I immediately dove head first into my fabric stash to find something I could make a long sleeved version with.  What I came up with was a lightweight, silky feeling polyester that I had bought three or four years ago (intending to make the SOI Anderson blouse that I never got around to making).  Every now and again procrastination pays off. I'm glad I had it saved because it turned out to be the perfect fabric for those gathered sleeves! 

The only problem with my long sleeve top is that it is quite staticky.  How do normal people deal with this?  Am I the only one who walks around with clothes perpetually sticking to me with static? (insert lame "electric personality" jokes here should you wish - I'll leave that to you dear reader because telling jokes is apparently not in my skill set.  Or according to my children anyways, who routinely respond with an "Ohhhh.  Mom." and a groan.  LOL)

Anyway, static not withstanding, I really love my long sleeve version too.  I probably could have lengthened the sleeves just a teeny smidge, but I think they work fine as they are.

I suppose another problem with my tops is what to wear with them.  I think my cotton one is perfect with jeans and will go well with my Lander Shorts, this summer, but not sure what to pair with my long sleeved one.  I don't wear skirts anymore and don't really have anything except jeans to choose from.  I know a lot of the testers were pairing theirs with ITS North Point Trousers, which have definite potential. Or maybe I'll finally get to work on a pair of wide legged jeans like Landers or maybe the  Anna Allen Persephone Pants.  Or more than likely I'll just continue to pair it with my jeans I already have. 

So there you go!  That's the low down on the latest pattern from Itch to Stitch!  If you're wanting your own copy of the pattern, it is on sale as per usual for the release week over on the ITS site.

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Gothenburg Top

I'm back again with another test subject!  

It's probably absolutely no surprise that my latest pattern test is for Itch to Stitch* given it's no secret how much I love Kennis Wong's designing and pattern drafting.  Her sizing is always so consistent and I know exactly what size to make every time with no surprises.  For tops and dresses the only change I ever have to make is to add length in the bodice. (Pants are another story and are my nemesis no matter what brand of pattern I use and always require various adjustments that I never feel I've quite figured out. But that's another story for another day)

The newest ITS pattern is the Gothenburg Top.  It's in the new size range of 00-40 A-DD and is a long sleeved funnel neck top with a gently dipping hem in the back that requires a structured knit to keep the neckline from collapsing.  Ponte, sweat shirting and scuba are perfect choices.  You'll want to leave your drapier bamboo blends and light weight french terries for another project probably.

It's a super simple sew with only three pattern pieces! (Less paper to print and tape! WHOOOT).  I made mine out of a 1.5 meter cut of mystery fabric that I can't figure out what it is.  It has the weight and hand of a ponte de roma, but has the look of a double sided jersey (floral on one side, solid black on the other).  Who knows what it actually is.  What I do know is it is soft and cozy and I'm all about purple lately, so I love it.  It's also been in my stash for a few years waiting to be sewn up into something.

I think my fabric may have been a bit too "soft" as I feel like my neckline is collapsing in on itself a bit. It also has a bit of a sheen to it it that makes it slippery, which thankfully was tamed by some quick hand stitching on the inside. I'm not used to the funnel neck (I don't think I've ever owned one before!) so find I do fidget with it a bit, but I think I need to just get used to the look and feel of a funnel neck and also next time, I'll be a little more careful about my fabric choice.  Kennis gave us a tip in choosing fabric that I thought was ingenious, and that was to fold the fabric in half vertically and hold it up.  If it collapses it's too drapey.  If it doesn't you've got a winner for having a great structured funnel neck!  I'm going to be on the lookout for something more structured than this one to give it a try!

You can get the pattern over at the ITS site and it's on sale for the release week!


Monday, February 22, 2021

Picking Up the Needles

Knitting content has been few and far between over the last few years.  I still do pick up the needles every now and again, but not like I used to when I'd spend hours sitting in a comfy spot working on my latest project.  Now it's a bit hit or miss although  I am enjoying knitting much more than I did the previous couple of years when I didn't pick it up at all and had no desire to do so because every time I did it felt forced and like a chore.  Who needs a hobby that feels like a chore?  Certainly not me!

I'm a lot slower at knitting now then I used to be - I'm so out of practice, it doesn't seem as intuitive as it once did - but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.  Unless, let's say, you decide on a whim that you should knit something for your kids for Christmas and then you find out that whereas you used to be able to knit a hat in an evening or two it now takes you the better part of a week (or longer) and you run out of time to knit one kid something and you take until January to finally get it delivered to said kid and feel like a terrible mom...

Sorry.  I digress.

I won't show you all those projects.  I didn't take great photos of them.  Although I did a photo of the gnome ornaments I knit for each of them. 

Gnomes are magical and I can still knit those pretty quickly!  I even knit the "ADVENTure Gnome KAL" from Imagined Landscapes during December (Huh.  Maybe the gnomes were what was slowing my progress on hats and mitts... )

What I really want to show off is two projects I did for myself!  I'm so completely in love with both of them!

The first is the Midwestern Afternoon Shawl by Paper Daisy Creations.  I started knitting this way back in the summer - working on it through the boys' swimming lessons, then draping it across my lap (hello warmth! LOL) and working on it in the stands while they were on the ice during two weeks of hockey camp in August, then sporadically throughout the fall until it was done.  

It's knit from Indigo Dragonfly Fibres Filament o' Squid that I won in a knitalong years ago and a Little House in the Big Woods themed mini skein set, also from several years ago from Bluebird Yarns on Etsy.  I wear this shawl at least once a week!  It's my current favourite of all my shawls.  It's the perfect size and weight!

My other new selfish (uggh.  No.  Not selfish! *more on that in a moment*) selfcare knit is a brand new Myra hat from Knox Mountain Knitting Co. I knit their Laurel shawl for my mama for Christmas this year (unfortunately no great photos of that one either.) as well as other patterns in the past and have really enjoyed their pattern writing.   Part of what sold me on Myra is how darn good it looks with a big fluffy fur pompom.  

I fell down a rabbit hole of faux fur pompoms earlier in the fall, when I discovered Canadian Peony Lane Poms.  As a result I now have a healthy stash of poms at my disposal.  (Clearly I have no restraint.)  But, let's circle back to my Myra hat.  I do have a point to this meandering, I promise.  A few years ago I bought a skein of Malabrigo Rios in the Arco Iris colourway and tucked it away in my stash.  When I discovered Peony Lane Poms, I chose a pom in the peacock colourway and the rosehip colourway specifically to go with  my Arco Iris Rios.  Of course then I needed to find a pattern that would go with my pom purchases and as I said Myra looked amazing with a furry pom in the pattern photos, so that was that.

I couldn't actually decide which pom I liked best with Myra at first, but then decided that since the Peony Lane Poms attach with a snap, I could sew the snap on and interchange my pompoms whenever I wanted.  Some days felt like a peacock pom kind of day and others felt like a rosehip pom day.  Lately though I'm pretty much solidly in favour of the peacock pom.   Who knew pompoms could be a whole "thing" LOL!

I've worn my Myra hat so much since finishing it.  It's warm and just the right length that I can wear it slouchy on warmer days and on the freezing cold days I folded the brim up so that it gave me a little more warmth on my ears. (something that was definitely necessary walking in -40C windchills!!) 

Currently I'm working away slowly on my Garden Variety - it's another pattern from Paper Daisy Creations that I initially started during the KAL that Lisa was hosting for it back in the fall.  I fell behind pretty quickly and then put it aside to do my Christmas knitting and Adventure Gnome KAL.  Since picking it up again after finishing my Myra hat, I've finished Clue Two and have started Clue Three and I'm starting to feel excited about finishing it up!  It may take me a bit though given last night it took me an entire two hours to do one single row.  I kept knitting it, tinking it back, knitting it, tinking it back over and over.  I couldn't get past the center stitch because something kept not working out.  Eventually it dawned on me that I might not be knitting this particular row wrong, perhaps my stitch count was off.  Spoiler alert:  my stitch count was off.  Sigh...

It may be a little while before I'm showing off this particular project!  Along with knitting my Garden Variety, I've also been busily sewing - a few projects just for fun, a few for Minerva and most recently a test for Itch to Stitch*  I've also been bit by the "embroidery bug" and have been thoroughly enjoying that as a new crafty venture!  Needless to say, there's not enough hours in my day!

So all that being said, I'm off to go sit in front of the TV and watch a bit of Netflix and try valiantly to knit at least one more row on my Garden Variety!  I hope you are all staying healthy and happy and finding ways to get through these crazy days we're living in.

*PS: I just remembered I was going to revisit the selfish/selfcare thing.  I used to have no problem with the term "selfish" when talking about knitting and/or sewing for myself.  In fact, I took part in several knitalongs and sewalongs over the years called selfish{whatever} without batting an eyelash.  However, recently I started thinking about the term selfish and the connotations it evokes and I realized I didn't really like it being attached to my crafting. The idea that what I was doing as a means of a meditative and often healing process and other times just for the shear sake of the joy of doing it could be perceived as being selfish (and all that entails) could easily become a slippery slope leading to feelings akin to guilt that I was doing only for myself and not for others and therefore should be considered wrong or at the very least frowned upon.  By using the term selfish it devalued what was and continues to be, in reality, a very valuable process in taking care of myself.  In a time that I am trying to be mindful of being kinder and gentler to myself, clearly this was not going to work anymore. By using the term selfcare instead of selfish I'm choosing to reframe, if no where else that my own mind, what this process of crafting means for me.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

The Octave Coat

Hello all!  

My blog posting habits seem to definitely fall under the category of "feast or famine" don't they.  I all but abandon ship for weeks on end and then I'm here every second day.  I've often envied those bloggers that could put out a post on a regular schedule.  Alas, that is definitely not me.  I'm sure if I were to impose some sort of schedule on myself it would most likely end up with me staring at the blank screen feeling as though I had nothing to say.  So, it is, as they say, what it is.

I realized I posted about my new coat over on the Minerva site (by the way, have you seen the new site yet?  I absolutely love it!!!!), but I don't think I so much as mentioned it here.  I'm so pleased with how it turned out, so I wanted to take a quick moment to show it off to all of you here as well!  It was my last project of 2020, and I finished it the afternoon of New Year's Eve.  

The pattern is the Octave Coat from Love Notions and I used a wool blend coating (provided by Minerva in exchange for the project) and a silky polyester lining that I purchased from Minerva to go with the wool.

Sewing the Octave was such a treat!  It went together amazingly well, and the instructions were easy to understand!  I did watch a quick YouTube video they link to in the pattern instructions for the pockets, just to make sure I was doing them correctly, but I probably really didn't need to worry!

I can't wait to start wearing my Octave on a regular basis.   I didn't take advantage when the weather was mild and now it's a bit too chilly to wear (we're suddenly having real prairie winter temperatures or at least on and off anyways - yesterday was back to above zero, then it plummeted again today).  As soon as things warm up sufficiently I'm going to be getting lots of use out of it I'm sure! 

As I mentioned I did post about it over on Minerva.  You can head over there to read all the details about my wool coat sewing adventures!

If you do hop on over to the Minerva site, feel free to follow me there too!

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

The Lamma Hoodie and Sweatshirt

 Hello again! It’s been awhile.  I’m popping in today to tell you about the newest pattern I tested for Itch to Stitch* 

It’s the Lamma Hoodie and Sweatshirt, which is a raglan sleeved, princess seam top with the option of either a hood or cowl neck as well as either thumb hole or regular cuffs. The Lamma also has in seam pockets. I can understand if you’re thinking it sounds like at least a dozen other patterns already out there already, but the difference with this one is that it has the perfect potential for colour blocking which is perfect for using up those pieces of fabric in your stash that are a decent size, but not quite big enough that you know what to use them for.  It also comes in regular and full bust sizing from 00-40.

For mine I chose to use a heavier cotton lycra paired with a sweater knit that was actually left over from the Blackwood cardi I made for my daughter for Christmas a couple of years ago.  I sewed a size 18 (full bust) and graded it down in the hip to a sixteen.  The only change I made to the pattern was to add 1 " of length.

I completely forgot (I'd forget my own head these days if it wasn't firmly attached) to take photos of the back of my sweater, and it's currently in the washing machine, so I'm including a photo of the pattern line drawings here.  I did my back centre panel in the sweater knit and the yoke in the black cotton lycra.

Lamma is on sale for the release week for $10.40USD for the release week over at the Itch to Stitch site.

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

A Bit of a Sewing Catch Up

Well hello my lovlies!  I'm back with a post I've been meaning to write for a few weeks now!  I've been busily posting my projects on the new Minerva site.  

Now it's no secret that I LOVE Minerva and they're one of my first stops when I'm looking for fabric, even though they're based in the UK, so shipping is sometimes a bit of a wait (but if we're being honest, where isn't a bit of a wait these days?  I'm currently waiting on things from the city only an hour away, so...).  Their  new site is AMAZING!!!! It's a "one stop shop" - a fabric shop, craft shop, and social media platform all rolled into one.  Have you checked it out at all yet?  You absolutely should if you haven't!  

You can follow fellow makers, see what projects have been made from fabrics you're looking at and search hashtags.  And buying fabrics is as easy as it ever was (And don't worry!  Customer service is still top notch too.  I know, because I already have ordered fabric from the new site.  LOL) 

First things first!  If you want to follow me, just click here and it will take you to my profile.  Next, I want to give you a few glimpses of what I've been posting lately .  Some of these projects I've had in the wings for a bit and others are brand spanking new, straight off the machine a few days ago.  Fun! Fun!!

Let's get down to show and tell without any further rambling from yours truly.  I'll link the projects to my posts on Minerva so you can read all the details!

First there's my Helen's Closet Pona Jacket!  I love how this turned out! I'm definitely planning another version of this for next spring!

My next project was a two for one deal.   I made a Sew Over It Emma dress and then had enough fabric left over to make a Halla Patterns Agnes dress.  Win.  Win!

Next up was a super fun collaborative project I did with the boys.  Having them so involved with the project was awesome!

Then there was the Paper Theory Zadie Jumpsuit.  It is as good as everyone claims.  Seriously!!!!

And the list goes on...  my next make was a project that honestly turned out to be my favourite dress this summer and fall!  It's the Itch to Stitch Anza Dress* and there WILL be another version made.

Which brings me to my two most recent makes!  The Closet Core Patterns Amy Jumpsuit was supposed to be a sneaky last minute summer project, however, one thing led to another and I just finally got the finishing touches done and the jumpsuit photographed the other day.

And last, but certainly not least is my brand spanking new Suki Robe from Helen's Closet.  It is glorious and I love it!  I feel so fancy swanning about the house in it!

So there we go!  Thanks to those of you who are still with me at the end of this very long list.  I'm excited to have all my projects up now and am working away on a new one as we speak.  It's such an honour to be part of the Minerva Makers "team" - a huge thanks to Minerva for generously providing all of the fabrics for these projects!  I can't wait to update you on my newest project when it's finished! 

Until next time, stay safe and healthy and happy crafting!

Friday, November 13, 2020

Sew Beautiful : Fortuna Joggers

Well, its another day and another pattern being featured from the upcoming Sew Beautiful book by Kennis Wong of Itch to Stitch*. 

Sew Beautiful cover photo

Today's pattern is the Fortuna Joggers and Shorts.  Back when we were initially testing the patterns for Kennis, I sewed up the shorts version.  I made them in a heavier ponte and wasn't sure how I really felt about them at the time because of my fabric choice, but come summer I wore them quite often.  They never got photographed and probably won't because they were my favourite shorts for gardening in this summer and as a result aren't in the best condition anymore.

Anyway, Wednesday turned out to be quite cool.  The unseasonably warm spell was quite obviously gone and I was so chilly all day.  So that afternoon I grabbed some french terry I had in my stash, my Fortuna pattern and my scissors and got to work.

Full length view of the Fortuna Joggers

This pattern, like all the patterns in the book, goes together quickly.  There's a few special details, such as the finishing of the pocket edges with a woven fabric that take them up in interest and skill level from a basic elastic waist jogger, but they're certainly not an overly involved project.  They are pants though, so of course I had to do some fine tuning in the fitting, but they're joggers, so it wasn't too bad.  Just the basic swayback adjustment of taking a wedge of out center back, scooping out the back crotch curve to eliminate some under the butt weirdness, and taking in the thighs a smidge. Nothing too labour intensive or crazy at all and I didn't let myself get dragged into the rabbit hole of overfitting. So in fact by the time I went to bed that night I had a new pair of joggers to my name. 

I did leave off a few details - I didn't put in a drawstring (Kind of regretting that now - the drawstring would have been a nice touch) and I didn't do back pockets because I simply didn't have enough fabric.  I'll let you in on a wee secret - even my front pockets are pieced together on the inside from smaller scraps, I was that short on fabric.  Try as I might there was no layout in the land that was going to result in enough fabric for all the pattern pieces, so something had to go and the back pockets were the only logical thing that could.   I suppose I could have skipped the cuffs at the ankles and used that fabric for the pockets, but I really, really wanted cuffs. Also I really only had enough length for the pattern pieces as drafted so without cuffs my joggers would have been too short, so to me it was a no brainer and no back pockets.

Fortuna Joggers seated view

These joggers are so comfy and cozy.  Not going to lie... the minute I got in the door from work last night I changed into my Fortunas and I'm pretty sure that's going to become a fairly standard routine for me this winter.  Now I understand why joggers are so popular. 

I paired them with my Carlsbad Cardi that I told you about yesterday, one of my Isidro tops and my favourite Manitobah Mukluks moccasins because did I mention the comfy and cozy factor???  

Sew Beautiful Carlsbad Cardigan and Fortuna Joggers

I hope you've enjoyed my glimpses into Sew Beautiful!  If you're wanting to pre-order it, I've provided all the links below for you.  And if you missed my other projects from the book you can find the Taktsang Dolman Wrap here and the Carlsbad Cardigan here.

Here are all the links to pre-order: