craft

Plush toy galore

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I’ve been hoarding books and toy patterns for years now, and although I find them so cute and cuddly and had all the intentions in the world to make cute adorable plushies for the little ones around me, I have to admit that I only ever knitted a toy once, roughly 5 years ago. So last month, I decided to change that.

I dusted my toy making books, dug through the yarn leftovers and odd skeins I couldn’t find a use for and started making. And low and behold, I ended up making many more than I thought I was going to. Without further ado, let me now present you my humble little plush toy collection.

Those squishy fluffy faces come from a few different sources, so please let me walk you through.

The two siblings were made using Susan Claudino’s Voodoo you love me? , a sweet and simple pattern I’ve really enjoyed making. The instructions are super clear, step-by-step and easy to understand. The big brother was made using an unknown, unmarked yarn ball from my craft room closet. It is most likely an acrylic yarn of some kind in a bulky or super bulky weight. The little brother was made using some Berroco Corsica cotton/cashmere yarn I had leftover from a little baby onesie I made a few weeks ago (more on that in another blog post!).

The bright pink and white bunny is actually a crochet project, which I actually rarely do, so it was a nice change of pace. The pattern is called Framboise, and it comes from a book called Tendre Crochet from Sandrine Deveze. Now I wish I could link you the Ravelry page but it seems that book has not been catalogued right in Ravelry, and some of the patterns contained in the book (like this one, which also happens to be on the front cover) is not listed. But a quick search on Amazon or your preferred book store and I’m sure you’ll be able to find a version of it, it has been translated and distributed in many languages/countries I believe. I made this project using again a couple unmarked, unknown skeins of yarn that look like they’d be a cotton blend in a worsted weight. Now although the patterns provided in the book are all just adorable, I have to admit I wasn’t a huge fan of the construction of this one, as it makes us crochet the body and the head separately and then sew them together. Next time I make this, I’ll start with the legs and body, then switch yarn colour and work the head seamlessly, adding the filling as I go.

The big guy is Hugo, the couch potato monster. It comes from Rebecca Danger’s Big Book of Knitted Monsters. This is a favourite of mine, I’ve cherished this book dearly for years, even though I’ve only ever knitted one before. I made this new one in wonderfully soft Noro Shinryoku. Hugo is a super easy pattern and the final toy is just *SO* squishy!!

The last one I made is the star shaped little guy with a blue hat. This pattern is called Knubbelchen and is a free Ravelry download. I made this one out of leftover Universal Yarn Bamboo Pop and it is just so soft and squishy! The one thing I’m a little sad about is that I didn’t look at the finished measurements of the doll first, had I known how small it was going to be I would’ve kept knitting! But anyways I’ll keep that in mind for next time.

For obvious safety reasons I’ve used safety eyes for all the dolls. yardage info is available for the yarns I could track (i.e. not the unknown/unmarked ones) ok my Ravelry project pages here, here, here and here.

Hope you guys are all fully enjoying the last bits of spring, and I’ll talk to you again real soon. Cheers 🙂

Twinning

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So… something happened. I made a sweater, and it was just so wonderful and perfect and the colours were so amazing that I decided to make another one. A smaller one. A tiny baby one. And I couldn’t be more happy about the result ❤️

So first let’s get the basics down. This pattern is made (once again) by Beatriz Rubio from Sambaknits and it’s called Vinicunca. It’s a wonderful dropped shoulder cozy oversized sweater with tight sleeves. I made it in Berroco’s Modern Cotton DK in colour Gadwall. The contrasting colours are a bit of a closet clean out, I used a mix of what I had in a similar gauge that would fit the colour scheme I was envisioning. There’s Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy in there, Knit Pick’s lindy chain, Katia rustic silk and a couple basic cotton yarns to complete.

I made this sweater in size 2, no swatch, I just eyeballed it. Big mistake. But let’s be real, I just never swatch. I’m not a swatcher, never been, and probably never will be. I don’t care much for gauge, and I like to have variety in my closet so in my hand knit section, I’ve got sweaters of all sizes ranging from dramatically oversized to pretty darn snug, and I kinda like it that way. So back on topic, I didn’t swatch. and I probably should’ve. Because… I’m a tight knitter. And I liked the oversized look of this sweater. So… I ended up blocking the sh*t out of this one until I reached the desired size. NOT RECOMMENDED 😅 but I did. And you know what? It turned out just fine. But I made a slight adjustment for the mini version, and I made a mental note to myself for any other future iterations of this sweater to size up on needle size to 4mm because for this sweater, gauge matters. A lot. Anyways other than needle size I didn’t change much to the pattern. I omitted the sleeve decreases and changed up the number of repeats for the contrasting colours to jazz it up but that’s about it. All the details are on my Ravelry project page as always, including precise yardage, mods, etc.

For the mini version, I did end up making quite a few ajustements, as the pattern isn’t made for kids. It’s not perfect and if I do this again I left plenty of notes on my project page to do a better job next time but overall, I’m still pretty darn happy with the result. And the little lady too, so it’s all good.

So that’s all I got for today folks, I’ll see you again real soon 😉

Yes I’m alive (and well!)

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I know… I looked at the date. It’s been 10 months since I last posted on here. Why hello there, if you are still following, it’s been a hot minute. I’ve been spending the last 7 months trying to adjust to my new life as a mother, and it has not been easy, so I’ve been focusing on that and crafting has unsurprisingly been moved to the back burner for a while. But good news is, I’m slowly adjusting. And I’ve tried to pick back up some of my hobbies during my little bits of free time.

I cannot promise I’ll post often (or that I’ll post at all, for what matters) but hey, I’m here now and I can show you one or two goodies right?

So the FO wanted to show you today is the first project I finished since the birth of my Little Lady. It is a this Tunisian crochet chevron blanket, made in worsted weight Bernat’s Handicrafter cotton yarn, one in white and the other in a blue ombré. Now I tested something because I was lazy and wanted to reduce the (already insane) amount of ends I would have to weave in, so instead of working one row of squares, cut the yarn and start again, I tried to turn the work and crochet the other row of the same colour from the back instead. Not sure if that makes any sense to you? Anyways I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but I’m actually quite fond of the texture it creates, by having some squares right side facing and some squares wrong side facing. I might actually do this again! The blanket is pretty much lap size, and would be perfect for walks in the stroller, once weather permits. I used all but 10-15 grams of both skeins, and as usual you may find a couple more details on my Ravelry project page.

I’ve also completed a second raindrops sweater, a tincanknits pattern. The yarn I’ve used is a beautiful lush green Fino yarn from Manos Del Uruguay. Now I gotta say there’s more than a couple mistakes in this sweater, as I was having trouble keeping my mommy brain focussed enough to complete this knit. Fortunately for me, the pattern is extremely forgiving, and my many slip ups don’t really show too much. I’ve made a couple mods, including adding sone waist shaping, but other than that it’s very “by the book” – you can find all the details including yardage on my project page. I’m quite happy with the result, and will surely get a lot of wear out of it in the next few months as we transition to slightly warmer weather.

That’s all I had to share for now guys, not sure when I’ll be able to pop back again but I surely will one day (just don’t hold your breath).

Cheers!

Colmena Shawl

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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).

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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.

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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)

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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

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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!