Twist Recap

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Last weekend, I went to Twist Festival in St-André-Avelin, QC. For those who have never heard of it, Twist is actually one of the biggest fiber festival in Canada, with more than a hundred vendors, workshops and conferences in both French and English given by masters of their arts from across the country and sometimes beyond. It’s guaranteed to be good fun for every fiber artist, as almost every fiber craft was represented – spinning, weaving, knitting, crocheting, hand dyeing, sewing, quilting, felting; there really was a little something for everybody.

As any obsessive-compulsive knitter would, I made it a point to wear one of my hand knit sweater to the event (namely here my Golden Afternoon sweater) and I got quite a few compliments from total strangers, so that was cool.

I was also able to visit all my favorite kiosques (Pompon, la Julie Factrie, Artfil and The Blue Brick were all there, so lucky!) and I got to meet and chat with a lot of nice people from guilds or businesses I previously didn’t know of, so that was really awesome.

My new crushes:
Doudoulab. Annie creates beautiful rag dolls and plushies from new or recycled fabric and can even customize them for your child. That’s so cute!

Montreal Modern Quilt Guild. I totally didn’t know we had quilt guilds in Quebec. This is awesome, and now that I know they exist, I will make it a point to go see their quilt show (and maybe try to infiltrate their ranks). I also got to chat with Stacy & Betsy from Craft de Ville, who sell online various sewing and quilting and embroidery supplies.

La Vie en Bleu. This cute couple from Guadeloupe had a natural dye kiosque where they sold hand dyed tapestries, bags, scarves and clothes, all using indigo natural dyes and hammered leaf and flower patterns. They don’t currently have workshops, but they do plan on offering some starting in 2017. I really can’t wait!

My purchases:
6 skeins of limited edition 100% silk hand painted yarn from Artfil
4oz of a squishy Zenitude Fiber Arts Merino/Tencel roving from Lonely Oak Alpacas
A gorgeous felted hat with button from Arpents vert Alpaca

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My own creations:
I signed up to a hand dyeing class with the always cheerful Julie Asselin, and as we were all chatting happily we practiced our hand dyeing skills on a silk handkerchief and a skein of her scrumptious Piccolo sock yarn. That’s what I came up with:

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Any of you plan on visiting a fiber festival soon?

Sewing obsession

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Yep, I guess that’s what’s going on. I’ve made 3 dresses in the past couple weeks and I’ve been cataloging, sorting and organizing my fabric, notions and patterns like a mad person so I guess that sounds about right. And you know what started it all? This one little blog post I stumbled upon written by Charity from The Daring Domestic.

Now I know, it’s nothing new… This article was posted a couple years ago, but it’s very new to me. You see, I’ve been looking for a long time for a way to categorize and easily access my ever growing sewing pattern stash without having to go through boxes and boxes of stuff every time. I needed a tool to help me categorize my patterns with pictures and tags to be able to more efficiently find what I’m looking for and know where it is.

The solution Charity suggested was: Evernote.

This is something I honestly never would have thought of on my own and I was a little skeptical at first, but I decided to give it a try since my first few attempts at cataloging my patterns have been utter failures. I checked it out, tried a couple things and Man, oh man! I think this is it. Not only is it free AND accessible from any device anywhere, it’s also got everything I need – tags, pictures, written information and also a shortcut tool to make things even easier. Let me show you what I’m talking about.

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In Evernote, you can create “notebooks”, in which you can add several “notes”. In each note, you can write a title, type in the text you want, add pictures and add specific tags. I created a notebook for every pattern company I own patterns from, then, in each notebook, I created a “note” for each pattern I have, labeling them with the company and the pattern number. In the notes section, I wrote down the size I have, the date of purchase, the price, the difficulty and a short description then added a picture of the front – I will also add a picture of the back when I get a chance to be able to access the yardage requirements on the go. Once my stash will be physically organized and classified in boxes, I will also add the physical location of each pattern (ex. Box B-1).

There’s virtually no limit to the information you can add in there, so one could also use it to write down the mods or changes they made to the pattern, the fabric they plan on using or things they want to remember for the next time they use that pattern.

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Once the patterns are entered and all the appropriate tags entered, you can search through your notes using the tag function, and that’s what’s so cool about this system – let me explain first for the neophytes. Most people I know organize their sewing patterns by type – dresses together, pants together, etc., that way, when you’re looking something you want to make, it’s easier to narrow it down. But a lot of patterns contain more than one garment in them – separates or coordinates can have all in one a skirt, a dress, a pair of pants, a top and a jacket. And since your physical copy of the pattern can only be stored in one place (unless you have many copies of the same), it can’t possibly be in all those categories at once, so you might miss out on it or forget about it altogether. Reversely, it can also be hard to find said pattern if you don’t remember what category you stored it in. By using tags, you can tag a pattern as “coordinates”, but also enter a tag for all the specific garments it contains, like “dress”, “pants” or “jacket”. That way, if you search using the tag “dress”, your coordinates pattern that include a dress will show up with all the other dress patterns in the search results. Now THAT’S what I call efficiency.

There’s also a really nice feature called “Shortcut” that I find pretty neet. Basically, by clicking on a little star in the top corner of a note, you can link it to your shortcut page. It creates a list of the patterns you link, that you can use as a “To Do” list, or a queue if you will. That way, you never loose track of the projects you want to do next, and you can add information into your note regarding the fabric you want to use, the person you want to make it for or the mods you plan on making.

So, how do you guys organize your stuff?

Sew it up!

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Yep, I noticed last week that I haven’t been sewing much lately other than small clothing repairs, and it made me realize how much I’ve been missing that free creative feeling I get when I chose a pattern, a fabric, imagine the multiple possibilities and make it my own. So over the weekend, I scanned through my bookcase, opened Tanya Whelan’s “Sew Many Dresses, sew little time” book I bought last winter and excitedly started a new project.

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For someone like me who’s 100% self-taught, this book is gold. Not only does it provide clear instructions and patterns for many different dresses’s bodices, skirts, collars and sleeves that you can mix and match to taste, the author also included sound information on fabric types along with several useful tips and tricks on how (and why!) make a muslin, fit a pattern and make different variations for a different look every time.

I’m very, very satisfied by the style and fit of the dress I made, but what matters to me even more is that what I learnt while making this dress is absolutely invaluable dressmaking knowledge that will help me in years to come to perfect my sewing skills and become better at what I do. I will definitely make many, many more dresses using the patterns and instructions provided in this book and, if you guys want to see them, I will happily share my adventures with you here in the future.

Happy stitchin’ guys!🙂

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Texture, oh texture!

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Things have been a little hectic lately for many reasons; namely here wedding planning in full swing, various knits in progress, tour de fleece and a week-long vacation spent visiting my soon-to-be in-laws in Ohio. I won’t bore you with all the details, but let’s just say that it’s been a little hard to keep up with everything.

First thing first, I want to share with you all my happiness as I found a fellow knitter on Ravelry who was sweet enough to send me her Cascade Heritage’s leftovers so I could finish my Dessine-moi un mouton. Yay! I started working on the sleeves last week and should very soon have something interesting to share with you guys so stay tuned!

In other news, I also just recently finished test-knitting this gorgeous Call &Response Cowl for the lovely Sarah Schira and I am in love with it! This design hasn’t been published yet, but I’ll make sure to update this post with the link as soon as it is.

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The pattern was every shade of perfect;  it’s easy to follow, it’s fun and interesting to knit and it’s got lots of changes so it’s never boring. I also love the fact that the cowl is tapered off towards the top, creating a very flattering shape around the shoulders. Awesomeness!

Among other cool things, I’ve also been spinning along a little bit as the tour the fleece is progressing, but I must say that I have been making very, very little progress on the gorgeous Merino/Tencel roving I started. Since the tour is almost over already, I think it’s obvious by now that I won’t finish in time but I’m fine with that – a little spin is better than no spin at all, isn’t?

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On the personal front, we’ve been enjoying the summer weather and people’s company; hanging out with my honeybee’s family, going to the zoo & attending my very first Air Show at the Toledo airport on the 16th. Much much fun in very good company!🙂

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Enough about me now, how’s been your summer so far yarnies?

The Good, the Bad and the Pretty

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Earlier this month, I started a modified version of Dessine-Moi Un Mouton, a wonderfully textured sweater pattern written by La Maison Rililie. I didn’t have enough sport weight yarn on hand to make it but I had plenty of fingering weight yarn, including a soft and squishy gradient pack of Cheshire Cat yarn from Frabjous Fibers that I had been dying to use. Consequently, I decided to follow my instinct and cast on this sweater on a modified gauge using fingering weight yarn.

First, the Pretty. So far, this sweater looks (and fits) amazing. I worked a certain number of mods that are detailed on my project page, but basically other than the modified gauge, I changed the color sequence, made the body much longer and added some short row shaping around the back. Look at that!

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Then, the Bad. As soon as the idea struck, I bought 2 skeins of Cascade Heritage yarn in color “snow” for this sweater before I had actually took time to read the pattern through – I foolishly believed that 2 skeins of Cascade Heritage would be more than enough for it (it’s 874 yards, folks!) but then, I realized that the color stripes were actually worked by alternating the main and contrasting colors every row. Oops.Turns out I don’t have enough to make the sleeves. Problem much?

Lastly, the Good. Luckily for me, Cascade Heritage is a readily available yarn; it’s nothing hard to put your hands on so I should without a doubt be able to find someone on Ravelry destashing it or, worst case scenario, buy another skein at my LYS. Since it’s such a light and natural color, I’m really not worried about the skeins not matching, plus the pattern alternates MC & CC so even if the color was a little off, it just wouldn’t show.

If all goes well, I should have a finished sweater to show you guys soon, so keep your fingers crossed!🙂

Valentine in July

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Hey folks! My “Will you be my Valentine” sock pattern is now live HERE, and you can get a 30% discount until July 15th using the code “VALENTINEINJULY”.

Cheers!🙂

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Sock weather

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Last week was really hot and humid so all I really wanted to knit was quick small projects like toys… and socks. And that’s great, because earlier this spring I received a couple skeins of Artfil Coktail self-striping sock yarn in color strawberry-almond from the lovely Yana. I thought the yarn was so deliciously scrumptious that it deserved to become something a little special to me – so I used it to make my first (ever) toe-up 2-at-a-time sock design.

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I had a lot of fun making these socks, they are relatively basic and feature Judy’s magic cast-on for the toes, a moss stitch instep&leg and a slipped stitch German short-row heel. The texture and construction is perfect for self-striping, speckled or variegated yarns, and they can be made as long (or as short!) as you want them to be to fit any yardage you have on hand.

If you’re interested in the yarn, you can visit Artfil’s website to find a retailer near you or subscribe to their sock yarn club, it’s available in 3, 6 or 12 months subscriptions.

And if you’re interested in the pattern, it is currently being tested here on Ravelry, so be sure to check it out and send me a message if you’re available to test, I’m still looking for testers in every size🙂

Have a great week all!