Month: August 2014

One thing led to another

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Parlement 13

It is finally vacation time for me, and I can say (for sure!) that I have been waiting for this moment for a very, very long time. We can never really get enough of those, do we? But I was so stressed out the last few months that I sincerely believe that I really, truly needed a break from it all. Plus, summer’s been so busy for me that I feel like weeks and months just went by in the blink of an eye. Doesn’t seeing time flee so fast, right before your very eyes, scares the heck out of you? Well, I can tell you it scares the heck out of me, if anything! Where did my summer go? What did I do? and WHY, OH WHY IS IT SO SHORT?? So I finished work last Friday, and just like that, half of my first week of vacation is already gone.

Oh, I know what I did though. Saturday morning, my Honeybee and I set off on an expedition… A fiber expedition (I bet you wouldn’t have guessed). Last weekend was the Twist Festival, held in St-André-Avellin, Québec. It probably is one of the largest (if not THE largest) festival of it’s kind in the area, and I was just so, so excited to go! Even though I couldn’t stay for the the entire event, I still sniffed around the (100+!) vendors and found a few treasures to bring back home 🙂

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Since we were already so close to Ontario, my honeybee and I decided to drive a little more and spend a couple days in Ottawa. Since the weather was on our side and all the attractions were so close, we were able to walk pretty much everywhere. On Saturday afternoon, we saw the Canadian Museum of History, then on Sunday we visited the Supreme Court of Canada, the Parliament, the Canadian War Museum and saw the Rideau Canal, Library and Archives Canada and the Byward Market. All in all, we walked around 12K(±8 miles) in between places, plus whatever distance we covered going through the monuments and museums. Oh boy, was I sore the next day! We finished our trip by going to the Museum of Nature on Monday, then drove home. Here’s a few pictures of our trip, it’s really not the best quality but it is the best I can do with a phone camera! (yes, I know… I won’t forget my camera ever again. I. AM. SO. MORTIFIED.)

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Parlement 10

 

As I came back from vacation, I also noticed that I was nominated for the Liebster award by the very lovely Šárka from Berries and Yarn, I was very surprised and also very happy! I was not expecting to be nominated for it, but I found it very touching, and it’s really good to see people enjoy reading my random rants 🙂 So here are my answers to Šárka’s questions :

  1. What got you into blogging?
    I got into blogging because I like to talk about crafts, and I really enjoy sharing my adventures with like-minded people. Unfortunately for me, there isn’t a lot of people around with similar interests I can talk to, so instead of chewing my boyfriend’s ear off, I decided to share my stories on a blog 🙂

  2. What is it that you enjoy the most about the blogging experience?
    What I prefer about blogging is to be able to connect with people all around the world who share the same passion but have a different background, different views and different experiences. Being able to exchange with these people allow me to learn and grow, and gives me a different outlook on things. It’s a mind-opener, I think. 
  3. And is there anything about blogging you find annoying or irritating?
    Not really, except maybe when a post I make doesn’t reach people in the way I would’ve wanted it to, maybe 🙂 
  4. How do you find new blogs to follow?
    I generally look at blogs followed by people I follow, or look for specific tags (yarn, handspun, etc.)
  5. What inspires you?
    Life, in general 🙂 I tend to be a very positive, empathetic and free-spirited person, and I find inspiration in everyday beauty. Sometimes it’s just by looking out the window and seeing a mom and a child walk to the park hand in hand, or sometimes it’s just a song playing on the radio, or the way the light is shining through a piece of stained glass. I don’t follow a strict pattern when it comes to creation, I just feel it 🙂
  6. Do you prefer paper diaries, calendars, planners, stationery, etc, or do you rather go digital?
    I do both. I’m a very organized person, and I like to have digital planners, organizers and data bases. But when it comes to creation, nothing beats the good old pen and paper 🙂 
  7. What´s the best book you have read this year?
    I can’t say it’s a book I have read as much as a book I have re-read, and that would be Alice’s adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. I have been completely in love with Alice’s universe since the first time I saw the Disney movie as a child, until now – and I daresay I could never get tired of it. I re-read the two books earlier this year, and it still is like magic to me. Every time I read it, I discover things I did not quite see (or see like that) before, and it opens up to a wonderful new adventure to me. 
  8. Given unlimited time and resources, what is your dream project?
    Surprisingly, I don’t really have one. I think if I concentrated my dreams in a project, I would feel very empty once it is finished, so I prefer to simply enjoy creativity as it is, and enjoy every step of the way 🙂 
  9. On the other hand, what sort of a quick project do you go to for instant gratification?
    That… I don’t have one either. If I need instant gratification, I’ll go for a jog, for me creation is not about instant gratification 🙂 
  10. What was your favourite boy band in the 90s? Don´t tell me you did not have one 🙂
    Oh, I plead guilty… My favorite boys band in the 90s was the Backstreet Boys 🙂 

  11. If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?
    That is a hard one since there is so many extraordinary people in this world, but if I had to pick one, it would probably be Gandhi.

 

So according to the rules, I should be nominating 11 other people with less than 200 followers and ask them 11 questions, but I must admit that I am not very much a “shout-out” kind of person -there’s too many blogs I like, and I have no idea how many followers they have. Plus, I feel if I had to make a list, it would be unfair to those I forgot to mention, or I would end up making a mistake and nominate someone who’s over 200 followers. It’s just really difficult for me 😦 If anything comes to mind, I’ll edit this post and add nominees and questions, but for now I will leave it at that. If you are reading this and wish to participate, I then officially nominate you, and ask you the same questions I was asked 🙂 Fair?

On that note folks, I think I will let you go and walk to the grocery store to buy myself a little treat to celebrate my 28th birthday 🙂

Cheers!

 

 

Confession Tuesday : My kingdom for a ball winder!

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Fellow crafters, today I have a confession to make : I do not own a ball winder. Yea, shame on me. I really wish I did own one, things would be so much easier, but I just never bought one. For me, starting every project requires hours of preparation; winding every ball by hand, untangling knots and fighting off playful cats, and sometimes it also comes the occasional tears of rage when things are not going my way. Yea.

I really didn’t mind it so much at first, because I thought : “Not every yarn that is sold out there needs to be winded, so why should I make a fuss about having to wind a few balls by hand here and there?” But as time passed, I slowly started to realize that most of my favorite yarns did not come in center pull balls, and that my handspun yarn needs to be rolled in a skein or a ball after coming off the wheel. So why do I not have a ball winder and a swift, really?

The reason I’m talking to you guys about this is because I just recently came to a halt in my Hollywell Cardigan as I finished the first pink skein, and I had to wind the second skein into a ball before I could resume knitting. As I was patiently winding it, I looked over at my project and realized that in a very short while, I would also have to start the stripes – so I would have to put down the needles again, and wind 2 other skeins by hand. I’m usually not much of a complainer, but I must say that at that point, realizing this made me a little upset. But since today is another day, let’s just try to focus on something fun (!) instead, and let me show you the progress I’ve made on my cardigan so far :

auth.aspxThe pockets are attached, and I’m almost done with the waist decreases, so things are really moving along at a good pace! I should already be done with the waist decreases, but I decided to give this cardigan a little bit more waist shaping than it originally had, since I’m (somewhat of) a curvy kind of Gal. I’m about a medium size overall, but I have rather large hips and a (somewhat) thin waist, so every sweater generally requires slight modifications to fit my unusual silhouette. I started it off with 248 stitches at the bottom, which was in-between size M and L, and I plan on decreasing until I reach 204 stitches, which is a little over size S. Then, I plan on increase stitches at the same rate, and finish the pattern following size M instructions. Even though I made so much progress on it, I still feel the fabric is very loose and uneven, so I really hope it’ll turn out OK after a good wash. It should, since the swatch turned out just fine after a run in the washer & dryer, but I’m still worried. Just have to wait it out, I guess.

On another note, I was blessed with very good news last week, as I got a message from krumel, the (amazingly!) nice Raveler who gave some of her time earlier this summer to test-knit my very first sweater pattern, the Summer Sea Stripes Sweater. She told me she just finished it and showed me a few pictures, and I must say I am simply AMAZED that someone could make something so beautiful with a pattern I wrote! Even her photos are a lot more professional than mine, I feel so ashamed of myself! -_-‘

The one on the left is my prototype, and the one on the right is the one krumel made following the pattern I wrote :

Fotor0817232424Since it is my first pattern, I have a lot of adjustments to make before I can really publish it, but things are definitely moving forward! Following krumel’s comments and suggestions, I’ll fix my pattern in the next few weeks, then get version 2 tested sometime in September and (if everything goes according to plan), I should be able to release it on Ravelry around the end of September or mid-October. Yay! 🙂

I’m not sure if it’s normal to be so thrilled about something so trivial; I have never published a pattern of my own so I don’t really know how but I feel so very excited! Any experienced pattern designers out there? How did it feel to publish your first design?

So that’s all for today folks, my rant’s over!

Hope you all enjoy your craft time, and the rest of your summer 🙂

Organization is key!

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Since I came back from vacation, I have been contemplating the fact that my stash’s storage method and organization system wasn’t living up to my expectations, and I felt like it really needed to be updated. I must admit to you guys that up until a few days ago, my “storage” mostly consisted of a few cardboard boxes, divided and taped together in an eclectic arrangement of size, shape and color. And to make things even worse, the skeins on the bottom were always full of hair because my cats kept rubbing themselves on it. Yea. So after quite some thought, I decided to clean out the basement, and see if I could find something in there that could be used as a compact yarn storage for my living room. Surprisingly enough, I did find something, and something I was not expecting! My epic search in the depths of the basement allowed me to discover two forgotten plastic storage units, with 3 drawers each, that would be able to contain most of my yarn and keep it clean and hair free. Awesome!!!

So that same evening, I cleaned and dried the two storage units, lint rolled my yarn and neatly put each skein away by color in my new yarn storage area. And guess what ? I LOVE IT!!

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On a different note, I observed recently that – maybe because of the weather? – craft projects seem to progress a lot slower for me in the summer. So to give myself a little boost of motivation I decided to take part in another KAL, which is great since I had such a good time on my first KAL earlier this summer with Nice And Knit. The one I just signed up for this time is Very Shannon’s Summer Sweater KAL; the CO was on July 30th and FO will be on September 24th. Basically any kind of sweater or top is accepted for this KAL, so I decided to challenge myself into making something I have never done before : a cardigan. I chose the Hollywell Cardigan, from Megan Goodacre, and I’ll knit it in Cascade Heritage yarn in a mix of grays and pink.

hollywell3It’s really exciting because it’s like a triple challenge for me: it’ll be my first cardigan, my first project with pockets, and my first sweater with a hood – weehee!! Since it’s summer and all I don’t have much progress to show as of now, but I have at least completed the pocket linings, and started the main body. I’ll try to make it longer that the pattern calls for because I like longer tops, so the ribbed bottom edge is going to be 4″ wide instead of the 2″ required in the pattern.

20140805_163203829_iOSI’m really excited about this project even though I have had some doubts about it at the beginning – I couldn’t figure out which color I wanted where, and I was worried 3.75mm neddles might be a little too big, but after examining my swatch and pondering over it for some time, I think it’ll be just fine the way I originally planned it, so I’ll stick with the plan and see how it goes! I settled for a pink bottom, light gray stripes and charcoal shoulders and hood, and I simply cannot wait to see how it’ll turn out! But since the ribbing is taking forever, I  guess it’ll take a while 😉

So since I have so little progress to show and so much more to do, I’m going to go back to my needles now and get cracking on my project so I can have something to show you (for real!) next time.

Enjoy your craft time guys! 🙂