craft

Colmena Shawl

Posted on Updated on

Gosh, has it already been two months already? I’m sorry…

But I’ve been working diligently on this beauty here, and it’s been taking most of my time as I’m not very efficient working cables. Resulting in me being a whopping 3 weeks late on this test knit. Beatriz, my deepest apologies!

Ok, let’s recap here. I signed up in September for another test test knit for SambaKnits, this beautifully textured Colmena Shawl. This is not my first rodeo, I’ve done test knits many times. What I didn’t realize at first though is that the entire textured section is all cables. That’s a lot of cables. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve done cables before and I know how to work them. But I’m not especially good at it. They seriously slow me down, leading me to greatly underestimate the time it would take me to knit this. But let’s pass for now abs let’s talk specs.

This shawl pattern is written for worsted weight yarn, and as always Beatriz was a charm letting us do yarn substitutions. I went for a couple skeins of Motley from Sugar Bush Yarns I had in stash. It is marked as a sport weight yarn but it’s a very thick and thin single that feels more like a DK to me. First surprise: it’s actually a self striping, which is not what I was expecting. How come I didn’t realize this?! Anyways, I decided to roll with it and knit the shawl with appropriately downsized 4mm needles.

I had committed to using the full two skeins I had, saving a third one for a matching hat or a pair of mittens. I did just that by adding one more full repeat of section 4, and working section 5 a total of 8 times instead of 4, all in all adding about 18 rows to the original pattern. I think I did great maximizing the yardage I had, though I ended up playing a fans a yarn chicken in the end abs lost – by about 10 stitches. So I had to borrow 12 inches of yarn from the reserved hat/mitten skein to finish binding it off.

All in all, it took me about 2 months to work through this shawl, which literally is FOREVER for me (thanks to the cables) but I regret nothing. I love this shawl, the feel of it, the colour, the texture, and given the choice I would still do it all over again. If you’re interested please do feel free to check out my Ravelry project page for all the details, and now I’ll hopefully be moving on to Christmas makes (Gosh I’m so so late this year!!)

Overall love

Posted on Updated on

Folks, I’ve been loving my new Heyday Dungarees so much that the fall weather setting in had me so very bummed I couldn’t wear them anymore (damn those cute cropped legs!) so I’ve decided to whip up another pair of overalls, this time with full length legs so they could be worn this fall / winter.

I used what I’m assuming is a cotton blend in a flowery print I’ve had in stash for the longest time, and I’ve added white accents for the loops, front pocket and side pockets.

I used the same Heyday Dungarees pattern from MBJM, this time around I installed a pocket on the front and omitted the ones on the back and I used the same sort of hack for the side pockets as I did on the first one. Last time I used this fabric, I was under the impression that this fabric had a bit of stretch but turns out it didn’t really, so the final product ended up a bit tight around the hips but I just simply love it nonetheless! It’s cute, comfy and so playful, and I’m sure I’ll get a lot of wear out of it in the next few months.

How’s fall treating you guys?

Stars align

Posted on Updated on

Today, beautiful warm summer weather is taking a break, as gray clouds and rain roll over my little town. It is not unlike my mood in the recent weeks, as I’ve been feeling a little bit stressed and under the weather. But that is nonetheless why it makes me happy to share with you this beautiful shawl I completed last week, another test for the lovely Beatriz from SambaKnits. This beauty is called the Jupiter shawl, and although the pattern is not out yet, I just simply couldn’t wait to share it with you all.

The pattern calls for roughly 650 yards of fingering weight yarn in two colours, about 400 yards in one and 250 yards of the other. It alternates plain lace sections with striped garter stitch sections in a beautiful asymmetrical crescent shape. The pattern provides both written and charted instructions, and it is a very simple and straightforward pattern to follow. This one was fun and such a quick knit!

As Beatriz was flexible with yarn weight substitutions, I opted for a skein of handspun I completed last summer and matched it up with 3 skeins of Fiber Co.’s Acadia yarn I had in stash. The combination was perfect, as both yarn contained this lovely, soft creamy blueish green. I had enough yarn to add a few rows to this shawl, making it a tad bit larger than the pattern called for. As always, all the information on yardage and length added can be found on my project page so feel free to take a look at it there if you’re interested.

Overall I’m super happy about this shawl as it is soft, squishy and buttery, and I really can’t wait for the weather to cool down enough for me to sport this one out!

In other news, I tried paddleboarding last week and it was so, so much fun!

Also there may be something on the loom at the moment, so I might have some exciting weaving experience to share in the next future.

Cheers!

Blue flower

Posted on Updated on

Ahhhhhh July. The warm weather, the sun, the luscious green leaves, the flowers, the… forest fire warnings? The mosquitos? Ok, let’s move on. Amidst the quarantine and the COVID-19 pandemic, the weather here this summer has been exceptionally warm and beautiful so far, which made me want to create this little flowery piece of summer here.

This dress was made using the Vogue pattern 8667, a very simple straight forward dress that was just perfect for this light and airy flowery piece of cream and blue fabric I’ve had in stash for the longest time.

I chose view C, with the A-line pleated skirt, the short sleeves and no collar. I did end up having to make a few modifications to the pattern though, so let me run you through these very quickly.

First of all, I had bought this pattern ages ago, and noticed that the sizes included in the pattern were 16-24. Now that I’ve lost a lot of weight, I more would’ve needed something around size 14 or a little bit below, so I had to adjust the pattern accordingly. I did my best and I think it turned ou pretty good, but I did have to pinch up around the collar as I thought the neck opening was still a bit too large after a sewing it up. I think it actually adds some charm to the dress though, so I guess it’s kind of a happy mistake!

The other major modification that I made was on the skirt. I didn’t have quite enough fabric for the two-piece pleated skirt but still wanted an A-line instead of a straight skirt, so I used the lining piece to cut the front fabric instead of the pieces that were provided in the pattern for the pleats. I wish I would’ve had enough fabric to make the pleated version, but I still really love this dress and I think the basic A-line skirt also works very well.

The entire thing was lined to perfection with a dusty blue cotton, and I added a simple little sash in the same solid blue fabric to break up the business of the pattern. I have so much love for this dress you guys, I know for sure I will be wearing the hell out of it!

What have you guys been up to so far this summer?

The things we love most

Posted on Updated on

After spending so much time home recently, I came to realize that it’s very easy to establish our own little routines, and get comfort from the small things. One of the things I noticed the past few weeks is that I truly love the handmade pottery pieces I have, and that I keep using them all the time. I even see it on my instagram feed, as most food pictures I post on there also happen to feature some hand made items.

Seeing that, I thought I could present you guys the last pieces I finished in 2019, talk a little bit more about the process and show you the full collections I’ve been using constantly since then.

First off, I think the last time we talked pottery, I told you my favorite part of it was actually applying the glaze, because it was always kind of a surprise how things were really going to turn out. Here’s a very good example of what I mean by that. Left picture is just after applying the glaze, right is the same pieces once out of the kiln.

You can tell it’s the same pieces, but man do they look different! Sometimes you can try to imagine as much as you want, but it’ll turn into something you never expected, especially if it’s a glaze you’ve never used before. Now since I’ve been using the same colour combos for a while now I sort of know what to expect, but I still do get surprises every now and then nonetheless.

The two main “collections” if you will, that I’ve been working on are this classic black and white (my Moody set) and the wavy white and teal (my Ocean set).

2019-11-20 07.54.12

2019-11-20 07.54.45

This black set basically starts with an even black base, then the pieces are dipped in white glaze on one side as an overlay. Except for the onces with the interesting texture, they’re pretty much all the same. The two small plates have specks on them, something I tried here (but didn’t quite like in this palette) but exploited a lot more in the second set I made, that I affectionately call my Ocean set.

2019-11-20 07.51.172019-11-20 07.51.37

Half of those pieces (mostly the bowls) have a gradient-ish exterior and a plain white interior. The other ones (mostly the plates) have a basic white glaze with a bold teal brush stroke and a few specks here and there, reminiscent (to me) of the waves of the ocean.

I love those two sets so much I’ve just been using and washing and reusing them non stop since the holidays, and I really don’t think I will ever stop. They are very close to my heart, and although I do (and will probably continue to) experiment with other colours, just like the yellow ones in the first picture, I think I will definitely keep making pieces to add to these two collections as I go.

Talking about experiments, I tried something fun and different with these 3 pieces right there, as they were meant as a gift. There is some texture to them as I added some stripes on the side, then used a dark blue and green scheme with a lot of splashes of colour.

Overall I’m pretty happy with the result, and I hope the intended recipient will be too!

That’s it for today folks, new post knitting post coming soon 🙂

Cheers!

Pandemic knitting (& life update)

Posted on Updated on

Happy lovely spring to all you guys, from my couch as I self-isolate through this COVID-19 pandemic! I know a lot of us are feeling stressed, lonely, worried about health, job, financial situation, and all of that both for ourselves and our loved ones. But let’s just keep being positive, following Public Health guidelines and work our way through this one stitch at a time!

As a quick personal update, I’m sorry for being so notably absent again from the blog as I have been quite busy the past few months. The holidays passed in a breeze, and come January I started a new job that has been proving to be a bit challenging to adapt to. You may remember I had been working for many years as a city planner for a small town in central Quebec, well the new job isn’t only at a different government level but also in a different province and in a different language than my own. The learning curve has been incredibly steep, and it has taken me a lot of time and energy to acclimate to the new job and the new work environment so I have been doing not much aside from working, driving and trying to catch up on sleep. It is an incredibly interesting and challenging job and I am so glad I made the jump, although it was a little bit of a leap of faith, I’m telling you.

All that to say, the work from home situation I’ve been placed in since a couple weeks ago has actually been beneficial to my mental and physical health as the work has slightly slowed down and I’ve had more time to focus on myself, my needs and my wellbeing. I’ve been cooking more healthy meals for myself, exercising more regularly, sleeping better and also picked back up my long neglected hobbies. Although it is a bit lonely at times with the social distancing measures put in place, I really have nothing to complain about – I still have a job, still getting paid, still have everything I need and (more than anything) I am healthy.

Amidst all of this craziness, one thing I can say for sure though is that my time at home has been spent in good company with very cuddly kitties, many cups of warm delicious tea and cozy knitting breaks on the couch, which has resulted in me knitting up a brand new sweater in barely over a week. This new addition to my wardrobe is the Raindrops pattern from tincanknits, a pattern I’ve been wanting to knit for the longest time but just simply never got around to it. I knit this in size M using size 3.5mm needle instead of the recommended 3.25mm (as I’m kind of a tight knitter) and also changed up the cuff and bottom edge, to go for a split front/back with seed stitch border that would better suit my silhouette.

The yarn I used is Fiore from Nako, a yarn company I had never heard of before. It’s a 40% bamboo, 35% cotton and 15% linen yarn that is soft, supple and offers great stitch definition. It does tend to split a bit so you gotta be a little careful when knitting, but I gotta say it’s been a charm to work with, and as I tend to feel more comfortable wearing natural cotton and linen fibres per wool, it’s just perfect for me.

Overall, I’m super happy about how this turned out, and altough I’ve worn it a couple times inside the house, I really can’t wait for this quarantine thing to be over so I can show it off to the outside world.

I hope this short post has provided you a little bit of entertainment, and if any one of you is in need of anything (even if just someone to talk to) please feel free to reach out. Through these trying times, it is all the more important to care about one another and be an active (though distant) part of our close-knit communities.

Cheers!

Wheeling away

Posted on Updated on

Fall is slowly settling in here in the Great White North, the temperatures have been dropping (though this week has been kind of warm) and the leaves have turned deep and saturated shades of purple, red and orange everywhere you look. It’s great and bright and crisp and sweater weather is just around the corner; needless to say that I’m in a good mood.

And as I am just starting my third pottery session at the studio Terramiel, I wanted to show you guys what I’ve been working on on that front. Throughout the past year, I’ve come to develop a deep love for pottery, and although I’m nowhere near good enough just yet, I’m slowly but surely making progress.

While most of my first pieces were blue or blue and white, I have since then opted for a couple different color schemes. I made quite a few black pieces dipped in white and a few white and teal pieces, some of them in a gradient-ish glaze and some of them sporting a bolt brush stroke and a few playful specks of teal over the surface.

I like applying the glaze because it’s always a little bit unclear/uncertain what the final result will look like. This element of surprise is something that I am quite fond of, and that’s probably why it’s also my favorite part of the process.

As you may have noticed, some of the black and white pieces have a bit of a different texture than what you would expect from a dipped piece, and that very well captures the uncertainty I’m talking about.

Those pieces were glazed the exact same way I glazed my other black and white pieces, but the firing process went a bit differently. They were put in the kiln by my pottery teacher, but she set it at the wrong temperature. She noticed about 6 hours in and stopped it, then restarted it at the right temperature, but the change made the glaze react a bit differently and it created clumps and bumps here and there on the surface where the pieces were dipped and the glaze was thicker. Though those pieces ended up looking nothing like what I expected, I think it’s such a happy accident because I love how they look and feel.

I am working on some more pieces, and will have more to share in the next couple months, but that’s it for now – and that’s fine, because it’ll give me time to rearrange my (overflowing) cabinets to make more room for the new pieces to come.

Cheers!

Third time’s the charm?

Posted on Updated on

Or not. But then again, maybe. I just recently finished my third Askews Me Dickey from Stephen West, and although it definitely is my favorite one of the bunch, it is also the one that looks the least like what I was expecting it to? Just hear me out here.

Askews me Dickey is a DK weight brioche cowl pattern worked on 4.5mm needles. It is a very structured cowl with a long slanted neck and a very wide yoke. Here’s a picture of the two first cowls I made using this pattern, and you will immediately see what I mean by “structured”.

The two times I made this cowl in the past, it was always a black yarn in the background and a red or a purple-ish color on top, and both times the cowl turned out nice and firm, stretchy and comfy but slightly too large around my neck/face.

Be that as it may, I wasn’t planning on making a third one of this, because I don’t wear cowls all that often (and I just finished the lissome cowl that I’m very much looking forward to wearing), but while I was going through my box of leftovers for another project, I found a couple balls of leftover Eucalyptus yarn from Mary Maxim.

Most of you probably have no idea what that yarn is because it’s been discontinued for a while and I really don’t think it was all that popular, but I have used it twice in the past for a shawl and a cowl (made respectively in the gray & the natural color). For those who have never seen it, it’s an insanely soft and luscious yarn composed of 50% acrylic and 50% viloft, a natural fiber made from Eucalyptus. The yarn is super soft and pliable, it behaves a little bit like bamboo with a nice stretch but has a much heavier weight to it which makes it feel much more decadent. Honestly, I can’t even find the words to describe it – that’s just how much I love this yarn. Anyways, you can probably imagine that when I saw I had some of this leftover in two colors, I just HAD to find something to do with it, and since I had very little of both colors, I thought it’d be a great fit for a brioche cowl.

Obviously this yarn is much finer that what the pattern calls for, being a sport weight yarn rather than a DK. But knowing the cowl turned out a tad too large both times I’ve made it in the past, I thought it’d be perfect with this and a smaller needle. I settled on a 4mm, and looking back I probably should’ve went down to a 3.75 or 3.5mm needle.

Either way I knitted this up in just a few days since it is such a quick knit, but as I went, I realized that the very soft and pliable yarn was not responding very well to the structure of the cowl. I still finished it though, figuring that it might turn out ok once I had the yoke completed, but it really didn’t give any more body to this cowl. I looked at the finished product in dismay, I stuffed it in a bag and let it sit there for a few days before I came around to it. You see, I had so many expectations for this cowl and it just didn’t turn out the way I thought it would so I felt a bit sad, disappointed and apprehensive of how it would look like on me.

When I finally did try it on though, I realized that I liked this cowl all the same, and that it was OK that it didn’t turn out the way I thought it would. Lesson learned. Sometimes, life has a different plan for you. What do you guys think? Have you ever put time and effort in a project only to realize it didn’t become what you had envisioned? Did you get disappointed? Were you able to come around? Let me know!

And as always, if you’re interested in the cowl, feel free to check out my project page on Ravelry.

Cheers guys!

Autumn Vamping

Posted on Updated on

I just recently finished my own version of Jennifer Dassau’s Vamping shawl pattern, a very popular choice among knitters for gradient yarns, and I am very pleased to report that it is just as wonderful of a pattern as people make it out to be. I mean, look at those sexy lines!

Now you see I’ve had this gorgeous 100% merino gradient yarn from The Blue Brick in my stash for a few years, over 3 I think, and I wasn’t really sure what to do with it. This yarn base called “Manitoulin Merino” (discontinued now – and the colorway, which was called “rose”, has also been discontinued since I think) is just insanely soft and pliable, but it is a single, and as such tends to be quite fragile so I wanted to keep it for something delicate that wouldn’t be subjected to too much wear.

As such, a shawl was very well suited, but I couldn’t for the life of me choose which pattern I wanted to make with it. I’ve already made an Iron Maiden, a Glitz at the Ritz, a couple Sunwalker from Melanie Berg, I’ve also made a Bosc Pear and most recently a Winterlight that would all have been very well suited for a gradient yarn and which I have all loved knitting. But I guess I just really wanted to try something new, ideally a different type of structure that would be a bit different from the traditional half circle or triangular shawls; something with a different architecture that would present the gradient in a different and original way.

And Jennifer Dassau’s Vamping is just that. The structure is interesting with central decreases instead of being at the beginning or the end, and it creates sort of a “V” pattern that is very fresh (at least in my mind) compared to so many other patterns out there. So I gave it a shot, and I am very pleased to report that the result is simply stunning. The pattern is very simple, but it does require to pay attention at least a little bit on the couple lace rows, which I have to admit I did not do. Consequently, I messed up in a couple places here and there, but the pattern is very forgiving and I don’t think it shows too much (I never ever use life line, and couldn’t be bothered to frog and fix it, so yea ^^). As always, all the details are on my project page so you can go check them out there.

All in all, I would most certainly make this pattern again, as I think it would be a great way to feature any gradient or handspun yarn you cherish.

Cheers 🙂

Cushion and chair cover galore

Posted on Updated on

Hey guys! Recently I’ve been a bit tied up with the house, with multiple projects going on and many ideas brewing so this week I have a few more home dec projects to share! Now I hadn’t made cushions covers in such a long time, probably years in fact, so I felt like it was time to finally make some new ones – especially now that I have a beautiful wooden bench around my dining room table to dress up.

2019-08-31 09.58.03-1

And while I was at it, why not make a couple more to replace the old ones in the living room, move the furniture around, sew a new chair cover, paint & reupholster my old bench and paint the backsplash in the kitchen (because it’s the same paint, you know…)? Ok, I admit it – I might have gone a tad bit overboard with the house stuff. But it looks absolutely gorgeous so I have absolutely no regrets! And with the new furniture now in, my dining room finally looks complete. Yes!!

All the fabrics I used for the cushions were 100% cotton, the chair cover is (I think) a linen or linen blend and the back of seems like a dark teal polyester/ nylon mix of sorts. The bench was reupholstered using some beautiful textured purple velvet I found for cheap at a local fabric store. So very happy to see it all come together!

Is it just me or if it feels like recently my blog has been turning into a design show? Next post, I promise, it will be all knitting and fiber and things!

Until then, cheers 🙂