Sweet Lord summer is hot this year! Not that I’m complaining because the weather has been absolutely gorgeous (and I would much rather be hot than cold), but in this recent heat wave it’s been a bit hard to find the energy or motivation to work on… pretty much anything. These past couple weeks. in my apartment without A/C, I’ve been holing myself up in the basement living on berry-mint smoothies, nuts and salads. I can’t seem to muster enough energy or brain power to cook, sew, knit, blog or do any of the things that I like to do, but I have taken up another kind of activity – as soon as the sun sets and the temperature drops a little (like below 30° Celsius) I open all the windows, start the fans, put my shoes on and go for a long slow walk to cool myself down.
Please know that I’ve been meaning to write to post forever, and I am so sorry it took so long to get it out! First of all, here’s a shot of all the gifts and souvenirs that I brought back from Japan for friends and family.
Considering that I was travelling with only a backpack, I think it’s a feat in and out of itself to have been able to bring back this much stuff! But as much as possible, I tried to focus on small, light and portable objects that I wouldn’t bulk up my backpack too much. There’s a lot in there, but I brought back some snacks and sweets, letter sets, chopstick rests, stickers, notepads, bookmarks, postcards and things.
In addition to things shown in the picture, I also had an entire box shipped home from Kyoto which contained more sweets and snacks, yarn and some fabric, that I am about to show you in detail.
While I was in Japan, I visited 3 different craft stores. My shopping haul started in Kyoto when my sweet penpal Eriko took me to Nomura Tailor on Shijō Street. When I set foot in the store I was instantly AMAZED by the wide variety of fabrics and other products offered. Since I didn’t have much space in my luggage nor did I want to spend hundreds of dollars to ship giant boxes home, I had to limit myself to the three little pieces of fabric shown below, two adorable little precuts and 1 three meter long piece of cotton fabric that I may or may not use for a skirt in the near future.
The shopping haul continued when I got to Tokyo a few days later. There, I visited two adorable little yarn stores. The first one I went to was called Keito, and was located in Asakusabashi. It’s a very cute yarn store full of small little treasures. Among those, I brought back a beautiful fox shawl pin, a scissors shaped needle sizer, 1 ball of Noro fingering weight yarn and 2 skeins of insanely soft GENTLY 80/20 cotton/cashmere yarn from the Japanese company FGS Corporation. Gorgeous, right?
The last stop of my shopping haul was at Walnut Tokyo, a little yarn store located in the Omotesandō area between Shibuya and Minato. That store, although tiny, was absolutely adorable. The staff was nice and friendly, the atmosphere was very calm and quiet and the yarn, books and articles offered were all top quality. I browsed through many books and accessories, but ended up setting my sights on Arimisu’s Wanderlust Linen, a gorgeous 100% linen fingering weight yarn. I ended up buying 6 skeins of it, I just couldn’t resist!
What about you guys, any vacation planned this year? Are you planning to hit any craft stores or fiber festivals while you’re there?
In retrospect, 2017 has been a very, very full year. Although especially challenging in many ways, I feel like I grew as a person throughout. I started the year in a funk fighting off a heavy case of knitting blues, then experienced the loss of my maternal grandfather, hustled through a crazy busy spring and summer at work, spent fall trying to catch up on things and topped off the year with the loss of my paternal grandfather less than 3 weeks before Christmas.
Among those hardships though, I was also blessed enough to experience beautiful moments of happiness with my loved ones and alone as I traveled to Washington DC and Hawaii, celebrated the birth of my best friend’s 2nd son, attended the wedding of a couple charming friends and spent a lot of time with friends and family.
Needless to say, this all had a significant impact on both, crafting and blogging since I had barely any time to catch a breath all year. In 2017, I was only able to complete 7 projects, for a total of 5481 yards of yarn.
I can tell you that it is by far the least productive year I’ve had since 2013 but all is well, since 2018 already seems more promising (hopefully!). As the new year rolls around, I just finished spinning a 50% Merino / 50% Tencel fingering yarn I’ve been working on since July 2016 (!!!!!!), and also finished set of placemats I was supposed to give away for Christmas (oops?), and I’m quite happy at how they turned out.
So now, let’s wish for 2018 to be full of hope and love and dreams and fibery goodness.
Well, ok… I guess I’ve been re-garnishing my wardrobe lately. I added three fun dresses to my wardrobe in the past few weeks, and here they are.
The two sleeveless ones were made using the same princess bodice & circle skirt I have used before from Tanya Whelan’s “Sew Many Dresses, Sew Little Time”.
The third one, in a black & white abstract print, is a copy from a dress I bought many moons ago and liked very much. I carefully un-stitched the original dress, drew the pattern out then reassembled it.
The dress I made using the drawn pieces is very much like the original, I only made two small little changes. First I removed the belt loops that were on either side because I do not intend to wear this dress with a belt, then I swapped the original 6 panel skirt for a circle skirt. Although the skirt is a little shorter than what I usually wear, I am very happy with the result. Hurray!
I just finished the new sample for my feather and fan lace sweater pattern that is currently being tested, and I am SOOOO happy at how it turned out! It feels breezy, sunny, fun and perfect for spring. Awesomeness! I still have a few things to fix here and there before the pattern can be released, but I’m shooting for mid-February to early March. Things are moving so fast!
I just recently opened a test-knit for my feather & fan sweater pattern, if you are interested head over to this thread in the Ravelry Forums, there’s still a few spots open ! Here’s a short description of the requirements.
This sweater in worked top down and in the round using a DK weight bamboo yarn. It has a lace pattern on both sleeves and the front, and a progressive rib from the waist down. Please note that since bamboo tends to grow a lot when worn, I wrote the pattern with 2” negative allowance. If you plan on using a yarn that’s a little less forgiving, you might want to size up a little.
This test is scheduled to start on January 1st, 2016.
Deadline: February 15, 2016, for a release on March 1st.
S (30”) for 32” bust, M (34”) for 36” bust, L (38”) for 40” bust.
20 sts & 8 rows for a 4” square on size 6 (4 mm) needle in stockinette st
This pattern is pretty easy, you need to know how to Knit, purl, SSK, K2tog, YO, M1L & M1R. The instructions are written, no charts are provided.
My friends, I am so happy to announce to you today that I have finally finished my Stellata Cardigan! Yes! It looks great and it feels amazing, as I predicted. So… I am definitely going to wear the heck out of this one this summer! The yarn I used is Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy in color “peach”. Now that I’m done, I can definitely say that I LOVE this yarn. I will be using it again… Surely! It’s soft, comfortable and airy, and it also knits up like a charm.
If you have not used it yet, I definitely recommend it for any summer garments!
Amongsnt other things, I also completed a very (tiny) project for a little human in the making, who is supposed to be born sometime this summer. I used a cotton/acrylic blend so it’s not too hot and also easy to wash, the yarn is DungarEase from Knit one Crochet Too. I picked the color “Sand”, which I thought was perfect for a baby who’s gender you do not know yet.