As the pandemic quarantine continues, I’ve been knitting a lot more recently, actually more than I’ve ever done in the past few years. Which is great, because I feel like I’ve been neglecting my hobbies recently, and by doing so also neglecting myself a little bit.
So far in 2020 (and we’re only 4 months in!), I’ve already knitted 4598 yards in 6 projects, which is more than what I did the entire 2019 year (3473 yards in 6 projects) and already very close to 2018, where I knit 4715 yards in 9 projects. Given that we’re only at the beginning of May and that there’s still no sign of the end of the work from home situation yet, I will more than likely surpass my 2017 stats (which came up to 5481 yards in 7 projects) and may potentially even reach my 2016 numbers by the end of the year, which came up to a wonderfully impressive 10 928 yards in 17 projects. 2015 and 2014 are also very close behind, with 9314 yards in 16 projects and 10 292 yards in 15 projects respectively.
Now numbers don’t tell the whole story though, as I’ve been picking up more hobbies in the past 4 years (namely here spinning, pottery and I’ve also been much more phyisically active and cooking at home more) so it’s totally normal that my knitting numbers now are lower than the ones I had 4 or 5 years ago (and for very good and healthy reasons). But I think it’s also safe to say that I may potentially have not been putting aside as much time for myself as I should have, leading me to experience more stress, anxiety and affecting my overall mental health. I think this time “on pause” as led me to realize this, and hopefully, I will learn from this moving forward. I will try very hard in the future not to neglect myself and my mental health, pinky swear!!!
So without further ado, I would like to show you today a couple of the projects I’ve completed recently, namely here this cute pair of mesh market bags. I used the Ilene Bag pattern from Hannah Mason and knitted them out of 4 skeins of Fibra Natura’s Sea Song cotton yarn in pink and a few grams of plain white unnamed cotton yarn I had in stash.
I worked the bottom of the bag and the mesh section in the pink, then switched a contrasting color for the ribbing and the handle. Each bag used about 1.9 skein of sea song (just about 207 yards) and 100 yards of white for the ribbing and handle, for a grand total of about 307 yards per bag.
I did make a few small changes to the pattern, namely here adding some plain rows before the mesh pattern and some ribbing rows at the end; all the details are on my project page as usual so feel free to check it out there.
So how’s your quarantine going guys? How are you taking care of your mental health? Any tips to share?
While it’s still snowing heavily here, the temperature has steadily been getting warmer, the days are getting longer and longer and every day the air feels more like spring – and let’s face it, it’s just so darn pretty!
Spring makes me want to clean things up and have a fresh start, and I somehow really wish I could start by clearing my office desk top! But nevermind that, instead I’ve been chugging along WIPs that have been hibernating for a tad bit too long in my craft room. First, I picked up an adorable cardigan called French Kiss from the lovely Anne B. Hansen that I started back in November as a test knit but couldn’t complete in time due to unforeseen circumstances both in my personal and professional life. I finished the body (that I made considerably longer that the pattern called for) and I am now about halfway through the first sleeve. If I can keep things going at this pace, I should have this cardigan completed before the end of the month. Yay! Fortunately for me, I’ve been getting a lot of (feline) help and support along the way.
Secondly, I tidied things up around my sewing room and worked on a bag I made many, many years ago that needed fixing and put together 3 new additions : 1 reversible tote bag and 2 multi-way asymmetrical fold over clutches, that I find absolutely adorable.
As always, the reversible tote bag was made using my trusted Kwik Sew K3700 pattern, but for the little fold over clutch/tote bag, I didn’t use a pattern. I wanted to make an envelope clutch that could unfold and be used as a tote when needed, so I decided to put pen to tracing paper and figured it out myself. There’s the main bag compartment that has 2 little pockets on the inside (one zippered, one sewed over the lining) and there’s another compartment on the front, where the clutch folds over, inside of which there’s another pocket sewed onto the lining. There’s also 2 sets of D rings to attach the strap for the full size or the half size, and two different straps to use – one wrist lanyard and a full size adjustable strap. All of them feature small hooks to be detached and reattached where needed.
Although I love the final result, I struggled a bit to install all those zippers (there’s 3 per bag, folks!!!) the right way. Ok, I’ll admit it – there’s a zipper I had to rip and reinstall twice because it was installed inside out. Urgh! But you wouldn’t make fun of me for that, now, would you ? 🙂
Three full weeks after getting back from Hawaii I’m still on a sunshine high, and the current heat wave brushing over New England and Quebec probably has something to do with that. While we enjoy this year’s last summer outbursts, I’m slowly preparing for fall and gearing up for the upcoming holiday season. Since I make most of the presents I offer, makes perfect sense, right?
And this shawl is the first of the season, it’s a free pattern called Glitz at the Ritz from Helen Stewart. I used one skein of Malabrigo sock yarn in the “Solis” colorway and 1 package of blue/green glass beads from Walmart.
It was my first time actually making a beaded project, and I must say that I’m quite satisfied with the result. I’ve always avoided beaded projects because I thought the beading would slow me down significantly, but it turns out it’s really not that bad, I should have given it a try much sooner. I really liked the pattern, it was simple, straightforward and the instructions were clear. I worked the entire pattern as is, except that I omitted the beads in the star lace section partly because I didn’t want to have to open the second bead package, and partly because I was straight out lazy, but I’m actually quite glad I didn’t because I think it looks beautiful as is – I feel like the beaded and plain sections play very well together and provide a good balance. As usual you can find all the details on my project page, so head over there for pattern and yardage information.
Over the summer I also made a few more reversible tote bags using the Kwik Sew pattern K3700. I’m really, really growing fond of this pattern because I think it’s really versatile – you can make it reversible or not, on a serger or on a regular sewing machine and the shape of the bag is perfect to be used as a handbag, a project bag or a shopping bag, as you see fit. In both cases, I also had enough fabric to make a matching notion pouch with a zipper, that can be used with the bag or independently. Really, this might become an addiction in the near future.
So what’s on your needles, folks?
Carnage and Destruction
For 3 or 4 weeks now, we’ve been living in complete chaos at the house because I decided to undertake a major project – painting the kitchen. This may seem like a menial task for some of you, but I can assure you that we have experienced anything but. Thing is, our kitchen isn’t very big but it’s packed, the cabinets are painted and the entire room is nothing but corners, trim and moldings (ceiling included!). Add to that the fact that we just bought a giant 80” long kitchen table and that I opted for a 3 color scheme for the walls&ceiling and you’ll quickly understand it was simply impossible to paint everything at once so I’ve had to proceed in sections, moving the furniture and the stuff as I go so it’s been slow but steady progress in the last few weeks. I still have to paint the cabinets but things are working out fine, and I’m really excited to see it come together.
Since I’ve been painting quite a bit at home recently (it’s the third room being painted since this fall) my craft room has been doubling as a storage room for quite some time now, so we could get the furniture out of the way while we were working on the other rooms. Since things are finally starting to clear up a bit, I’ve had a chance to tidy things around in this room for the first time in months, and I took this opportunity to use up some small fabric remnants or finish projects I started a very long time ago.
Among other things, I made a cute baby wrap for a friend who recently gave birth
There’s also a cute little lunch bag with a bee cotton print and a large, reversible tote bag made using the Kwik Sew pattern K3700 and some remnants I had in stash. This tote has a really nice shape and feels nice on the shoulders, and the pattern is actually really cool because it provides instructions to build these bags directly on a serger, both with apparent and hidden seams.
I also made a couple new placemats to fit into the new kitchen and the fabric might give you a hint as to which color I’ve used to paint a portion of the walls. I’ve actually had the fabric cut and prepped for those placemats for so many years now because it was left over from a set I made for my dad and his wife. I made them a set of 6, but there was fabric left over for 2 more placemats, that I never sew together because I didn’t want to offer someone an incomplete set. Since there’s only me and my husband at home right now though, I figured I might as well give it a shot, especially since the leafy green fabric is so pretty!
Well that’s it for now folks, wish you all a fun-filled summer 🙂
Crafty Effie on Etsy!
So… I decided to open an Etsy Shop. I know, as if I didn’t have enough projects going on already, but hear me out! I have very good reasons to explain it (or so I think)!
You guys know I’ve been complaining about how I have too much fabric remnants cluttering my apartment and too many started-but-never-finished sewing projects piling up in boxes. Well, I recently decided the best way to solve this issue was to do a little stash busting and make many, many bags, placemats and zipper pouches to try to clear out some space in my sewing room. And even though project or notions bag always come in handy for a knitter, I think there’s a limit to how many bags a single person can use – so I decided to offer my creations to other people who might enjoy them 🙂
So here’s the beast, there’s not a lot of items for now but I will keep adding more as I make them. Please help me out by visiting/sharing/pinning or whatever else, it would mean a lot to me! 🙂
Thank you all!!! 🙂
From WIPs to FOs
In the last few weeks, I have been putting in a lot of work on the multiple WIPs I discovered in my sewing boxes; just like I said I would. It’s been very hard to resist starting a new project but I am very proud to tell you guys that all that hard work was worth it; since I was able to finish 2 more sets of placemats, a craft bag and a big blue tote bag. Aren’t they just lovely?
I also finished my Busy Bee Sweater earlier this week, and I am SO excited to show it to you today. It is my sweater for Very Shannon’s SSKAL14, and I (fortunately) was able to meet the September 24th deadline – although it has been extended now to October 8th. I was so sure I wasn’t going to make it, but somehow I managed to put the last stitches, weave in the ends and wash it on the 24th.
Unfortunately for me though, even though my WIPs have been nicely transforming into FOs, I seem to have fallen victim to a streak of bad luck recently, and it’s been making my life miserable. It’s not like it’s really bad, it’s just stupid things that keep happening. I lost the pearl on my left earing while taking a bath. I knocked my head on the truck trying to pull something out. I made cheese bread, and it deflated in the oven. I dropped the couch on my feet and bruised my toes. Pulled a muscle in my neck. Had to absorb a 400$ unexpected expense. And so forth, continuously for the last couple weeks. Really, just stupid bad luck. I really hope it’s over, because I can’t take it anymore!
So talking about unexpected expenses… Have you noticed something new on the photos? Let’s have a closer look.
Yes, I’m wearing glasses. I have never had glasses in my life (and to be perfectly honest I never suspected I would need them either), but someone recently made me aware of the fact that I might have an eye problem, as he was able to read streets signs WAYYY before me in the car… without his glasses. So I got an eye exam on Monday, and (surprise!) the optometrist diagnosed a slight myopia. Since it wasn’t all that bad, I could still choose to get it corrected or not, it was not required, but I thought it’d be a lot better to see things more clearly… So I got glasses. What do you think ? Does it look good or bad? Anyways, I guess I’ll just have to get used to them…
In the meantime, since I have been such a good girl finishing off all my sewing WIPs (and also because I had just finished my Busy Bee sweater), I decided to reward myself by starting a new knitting project, it’s a shawl called “Bamboo Wedding shawl” by Purl Soho. I have made one like that before for my mom, it was my very first knitted lace project. It’s a very nice, simple design that has a geometrical lace pattern that is easy to remember. I started it with Cascade Heritage yarn in Cosmo Blue, and I find it to be the perfect color for this shawl. I’m very excited about this project since it’s a nice change from all the sweaters I have been working on recently.
On that note folks, I’ll go back to my sewing machine (or my knitting needles?) and wish you all a happy craft time 🙂
Wrapping up WIPs
This month, I decided to tackle a considerable task; which is to gather and sort all my sewing supplies and to organize them in a single, sewing-dedicated room in my apartment. You see, I have been sewing for over 11 years now, and throughout the years I accumulated an impressive amount of fabric, patterns, notions and projects that are now scattered all over my apartment. I’m sure you can appreciate how daunting of a task this can be, but if you can’t really picture it, here’s a few images of the different places I have fabric and supplies stored in.
Before you judge me, I have to explain to you why my sewing things are so disorganized. It is not because I’m messy, carefree or negligent; it is simply because in a short period of 7 years between 2004 and 2010, I lived in 7 different apartments in 4 different cities, moving approximately every 10 to 18 months. During that period, most of my possessions were boxed and unpacked, to then be re-boxed, moved, and so forth a hopping number of 7 times, until I finally settled down a little over 2 years ago, coming back to my hometown. In this packing craziness, a lot of my things have been mixed, switched over, separated, reunited, used as packing supplies, etc., some of those things even stayed in boxes for YEARS, because I had no immediate need for them at the moment and I knew that I was going to move again soon anyway. So when I finally moved to my current apartment, you can imagine how much of a nightmare it was to unpack everything. I somewhat managed to concentrate most of my sewing stuff in 2 different rooms, but there is no organization system whatsoever since everything has been in such a hot mess for such a long time (heck I’m not even sure what I have anymore!).
What actually triggered the adventure is that earlier this week I had to put my hands on fusible interfacing to fix the waistband of a pair of pants. Not much of a problem in most cases, but knowing how chaotic my notions are, it definitely was a problem for me. I heaved a long, desperate sigh, and started frantically looking through the countless chaotic fabric & notions containers that I have to find what I needed. I knew I had some, I just couldn’t figure out where; but somehow, no matter how hard I looked for it, I just couldn’t find it. As I finally reached the point of desperation where I was considering just going to the store to buy some more (AGAIN), I stopped myself, looked around and decided it was just time to finally do something about this horrible mess. The very same day, I started going through my bins, boxes and baskets to evaluate the damage, and in the midst of it all I discovered an impressive amount of unfinished projects; including 4 sets of placemats (yes, 4!!), a baby bag, 2 pairs of pants, a cape, a laptop bag, 2 quilts, 2 tote bags, as well as a certain number of miscellaneous clothes that needed to be repaired or altered to my size. And I’m telling you my friends, this is only the tip of the iceberg – because there’s a lot of things in there I’m not even sure anymore what it was supposed to be.
Because I have limited space in my apartment and because I like things to be neatly organized and easily accessible at all times, I decided that my “Organize-the-Sewing-Room” project just had to start by completing as many of those WIPs I possibly could; that way I’ll free a lot of space to be able to set up a better, more functional system to efficiently sort and store all my supplies. So far, I completed one set of 7 placemats (the beige/orange one on the bottom right corner), fixed 2 pairs of pants that needed to be sized down, bought assorted biais tape for the remaining 3 placemat sets and started looking for missing patterns for the bags (because yes, somehow, some of the patterns got separated from the project – don’t ask me how!). This sewing room adventure is probably going to be a very long and strenuous one, but I’m hoping to finish most of my WIPs by November, to be able to start sorting and organizing fabric and notions in December. I’ll keep you updated on my progress, but let’s hope I can have a functional sewing room by Christmas..!
On a different note, I have also been making progress on my #SSKAL, the body of my Busy Bee sweater is almost done! Yay! 🙂 I cannot wait for it to be done and washed, so I can finally wear it!
So that’s it for today folks, wish you all a fun-filled, craft-filled weekend 🙂