creativity

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?

Autumn feels

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In the blink of an eye, the warm and sunny days have been replaced by gray, rainy and chilly fall weather here in Quebec, and I just kind of find myself confused asking “Where did summer go?” “How can it be mid-September already?”. Am I the only one feeling that way? I think covid is affecting our time perception in strange ways!

Anyways, the colder weather has prompted me to start working on more weather-appropriate projects, including this colourful Brioche Vest from Purl Soho knitted in Noro’s Shinryoku yarn.

I made this vest in size 33 1/2”, except that I did not switch to size 5 mm needle as per pattern instructions as the vest was already more than big enough on the 4.5 mm needle. The only couple small modifications I made on this pattern were to sew the sides fully and to leave the shoulder stitches on hold instead of binding them off and closed the front and back with a 3 needle bind-off. The pattern is clear and straight forward, although if I do make this again I think I might work it in the round and separate the front and back after the first set of decreases instead. Interestingly enough, the one thing that attracted me to this pattern was the slits on either sides, but after trying it out on me (and this may just be due to how the fabric falls with the yarn I used) I did not like the fit of them on me, I thought it made me look like a potato bag -which, as you can imagine, was not the intended goal. So a decided to sew the sides fully to hug the hips down instead.

Also, I have to say that I am not a huge of the length/shape of this sweater. Had it been a tad bit longer, it would’ve been ok – with added waist shaping. And would it have been shorter, it would’ve made an amazing boxy cropped top. But I find that this one sits at a very weird length on me, so if I make this again, I will probably make adjustments to the length and possibly also use a slightly smaller yarn with a bit more weight and body – I think that would suit the pattern much better. And I really want to clarify that this is in no way a critique of the pattern itself (it is well written, clear and more than anything – free!!) but more of a word of caution to myself if I want to attempt this a second time.

Anyways, moving on to the yarn now. I had bought this yarn a little while ago, and although I am usually not a Noro fan, I thought would give it another try since kind of liked the colour scheme of the Akoya Haze colourway. Well, as luck would have it, I am still not a fan. The yarn is soft, but a bit too poofy and frail for me. And the colours didn’t knit up as I expected they would. So either I really am not a fan of Noro yarns period or maybe I just haven’t found yet what kind of projects these funky textured and colourful yarns should be used for. Either way, there is still room for experimenting as I still have almost two skeins of this left, and we’ll see how things go.

Either way, all things considered, I think you’ll understand that although I can’t say this vest is a disappointment by any means, I just don’t seem to like it as much as I would’ve wished to. I am not 100% sure whether or not I will really wear this so I guess only time will tell! As always, all the details of this project are available on my Ravelry project page so feel free to take a look there if you’re interested, and don’t hesitate to reach out or share any of your experiences!

Have you ever made a project that you ended up having mixed feelings for? Did your first impression stay true or did you grow to like the project in the end?

Until next time peeps 🙂

Heyday Stripes

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So something really fun happened this summer. I’ve been following the lovely Juliana from http://kleidermache.blogspot.com/ for quite a while, and when she posted a fabric destash on Instagram, I couldn’t resist getting a few pieces for myself. It’s not every day you get a chance to lay your hands on vintage fabric from Germany you know (especially in a travel-restricting pandemic..!!) and a few of those gorgeous fabrics were literally calling my name.

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The first one that drew my eyes in was the floral on the left side, then decided to add a stiffer cotton stripe canvas to the package. At first I really thought I would use the stripes to make a pair of loose, wide legged beach pants. I was pretty sold on the idea, and while waiting for the package I started browsing patterns, trying to find something that would fit the image I had in my head.

But then, I completely changed my mind when I received the package. First, let me just say that when I got this in the mail, it felt even more exciting than Christmas! So much joy and excitement and happiness! Also, knowing how much I love pattern and stripes, Juliana added a few more in the mix, and a lovely note. I have no words to express how grateful I am! This package was everything I could have ever wanted and some more!

So once I could hold the stripes fabric in my hands, and after turning it over a few times and giving it a good wash, somehow, it just screamed “Dungarees” to me. I don’t know why… I don’t have any dungarees in my wardrobe. That’s not something I usually really wear. And I didn’t even have a dungarees pattern in my collection. I’ve been very well resisting the dungarees trend so far! But this fabric… Somehow… Was really calling for it. And in the same time period, a friend of mine also post a super cute picture of herself in blue dungarees. So that was it… I was sold. It had to be dungarees!

I had seen before the Heyday Dungarees pattern from MBJM, and I thought this might be a good start for what I wanted to do. I thought the loop and straps closure on the front was the cutest thing ever, and the pattern seemed simple enough. I did make a couple changes though, especially on the pockets. I’m not a huge fan of patch pockets on the front, so I dropped the chest pocket altogether and slightly altered the pattern to create side pockets instead. I also cropped the leg as I was working on a limited amount of fabric and didn’t have enough for a full legged one. With all that being said, here it is folks, in all it’s glory! My vintage stripes dungarees!

Coral Cropped Top

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How’s your summer been so far folks? For me, it’s been filled with a lot of sun and warmth, some time with friends and a whole lot of sewing, knitting and home decoration projects, and I’ve been loving every minute of it! I finished last week a sweater called Diane, which is a free pattern from Berroco. And although it didn’t turn out quite like I expected, I must say that I am quite satisfied with the finished garment. The yarn I’m using is a wonderful cotton and linen blend, Knit Pick’s Lindy Chain in colour Conch.

Isn’t it just a wonderful sweater folks? Anyways, now let me run you through the adventure.

You may know this about me (or not) but I am a very intuitive knitter… Which is the nice way of saying that I dont really ever follow patterns to a T, nor do I usually swatch or block my projects, aside from lace shawls. I am very much the no-fuss type that will knit a sweater in natural plant fibers like bamboo, cotton or linen and will just plainly send it washer and dryer with all my other clothes. It shall fall however it will fall!

So once I decided to make this sweater, I had a very quick read through the pattern and looked at the pictures, and made a few decisions. I was using the same yarn weight as the pattern called for to I first decided to knit this sweater in the smallest size (36″ bust), use a single 3.5 mm needle size throughout instead of switching from 3.25 to 3.75 and that I would compensate the change of needle size by adding a few stitches to the body front and back, as I was obviously going to be working on a different (more than likely tighter) gauge. Since I don’t like seams in my sweaters, I also decided to cast on the front and back stitches using a provisional cast-on, and to attach front and back with a kitchener’s stitch at the end instead of a seam.

This sweater was a relatively quick knit, it took me a bit over a month of on and off knitting to complete, and I have to say I really wasn’t dedicating a lot of time to it. The instructions are clear and simple, and the pattern is easy to follow. As I was knitting through the body though, I had this strange impression that the body was much shorter than I had anticipated, looking at the pictures provided in the pattern. But I just decided to roll with it and see what it looked like once finished. As a side note, I also experienced issues with the bottom band and the neckband, as I think the pattern calls for way too many stitches to be picked up. It creates a very loose and shapeless band, which does not suit most projects very well. As such, I decided to pick up less stitches on the bottom band, and even less stitches on the neckband (all the details are provided on my project page).

Anyways I eventually reached the end of it and it is once I tried it on that I could confirm that this sweater was indeed very, very short on me – I had actually knitted a cropped top unknowingly. And you know, cropped tops are not really a thing in my wardrobe; as just like most women out there, I am very self-conscious about by stomach and my body. So what do I do? I still have/had a lot of yarn, so technically I could rip up the bottom band, pick up less stitches to create sort of a fitted band and knit it longer. That would create kind of a 50s style top with looser top and fitted waist. That is/was definitely an option. But destiny gave me a cropped top. Maybe I should just use this as an opportunity to challenge my little petty insecurities and just roll with it, you know? It is cute sweater anyways. And it’s done. So I decided to leave it as is, and every time I wear it, it is a conscious choice to fight my own issues with self-image. And it may also be a lesson to read through patterns a bit more before I start a project… Who knows? Because after re-reading through the pattern, I noticed that it DOES indicate that the finished sweater in size 36″ is supposed to be 20″ long… Which is definitely cropped for me. #Oopsies

Cotton cable comfort

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Weather recently has been yo-yoing between fresh spring and scorching hot summer with very little transition, and so it’s been a little difficult lately to just know what to expect or how to dress from day to day. As such, I’m actually very happy to present to you today a new very versatile addition to my wardrobe, this lovely cozy little cardigan that I’ve made as a test-knit for Beatriz Rubio from sambaknits, that should be published in Miss Babs fall 2020 collection.

The pattern calls for DK weight yarn, and I used Zooey Aran , a 60% cotton and 40% linen yarn from Juniper Moon Farm. Although technically a different yarn weight, it actually feels more like a light worsted yarn to me, and it actually knitted up to gauge almost perfectly so it worked out well. I knit the smallest size, and used almost all of the 5 skeins I had, a whopping total of 972 yards. I made no mods whatsoever, except for knitting 12 rows of collar instead of the 8 rows the pattern called for. I also think that if I had had any more yarn to spare, I would have made the collar even puffier as this design I feel would look simply amazing with a large folded collar.

It was a fairly easy knit, straightforward and well explained with a chart. The pattern is simply knitted and blocked as a big rectangle, then folded and seamed before adding the collar.

The finished cardigan is comfy, warm but still breathable and extremely soft! I know for sure that I will be wearing this a lot this summer on windy days or chill nights.

As you can imagine, the pattern is not out yet but I will make sure to link my project to the pattern page once it is.

Hope you guys are all safe and well!

Cobra Socks

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Guys, I finally released this week a new sock pattern, may I present to you my Cobra Socks!

They’re cute and funky, fit like a glove and more important than anything they’re one of those fun summer projects you can carry with you just about anywhere!

The pattern is written for toe-up two-at-a-time, and features a german short-row heel as weel as simple mock cables running along the top of the foot and wrapping around the leg.

The pattern is written in 4 different sizes from 7.5″ to 9″ foot circumference and it is worked with sock weight yarn on size 2.5 mm needle. I first came up with this pattern in April using a couple skeins of Manos del Uruguay’s Serena yarn, and I loved them so much I made a second pair in May using Malabrigo Sock yarn to add to my rotation, because I seriously had those socks on my feet all the time! I thought other people might also like this design as much as I did so I decided to write up the pattern, get it tested and then… Voila! It is now out there for all those interested 🙂

Pinky swear

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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?

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!

The Unfinishables

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We all have some of those, right? Well, staying home a lot more recently has given me an opportunity to revisit those, and to put the final stitches on a couple projects I (really) should’ve finished long ago.

First off is this luscious green cardigan I’ve started in October 2017 as a test-knit for the lovely Anne, for her French Kiss cardigan pattern. Now I feel particularly terrible about this one because I’m the type who will not sign up for a test knit unless I know for sure I can finish before the deadline. As luck would have it though, many unexpected things happened during that time frame that prevented me from completing the test. I felt horrible and apologized profusely, but after the pattern was published I didn’t feel as much pressure to finish the project so I just left it there and forgot about it. I’m so happy (and relieved) it is finally done, and right on time too – the colour and the yarn are perfect for spring / summer.

I used about 6 and a half skeins of Nettle Grove yarn from Plymouth Yarn in the colour “Mermaid”. This yarn is an interesting cotton, linen, silk and nettle mix, and although I’m not a huge fan, I gotta say that the final washed fabric is actually pretty soft and has very good stitch definition. I pretty much followed pattern instructions exactly, all the details are on my Ravelry project page.

Second project I want to show you guys is my second iteration of the Dessine-Moi Un Mouton sweater by La Maison Rililie that I had started in December 2018. It’s no secret that I love this design, I’ve used it before to make my Spilled Wine sweater (and made quite a fuss about it), and I seem to always gravitate towards this design to showcase something special. First time was a gradient yarn set from Wonderland Yarns, and now this time it’s one of my very first handspun yarn, that I had attempted to use for a BlueSand Cardigan before but ended up frogging (the unsuccessful attempt is still documented here).

Just like the first time I made this sweater, I’m using a staple yarn for me, Cascade’s Heritage Solids yarn, but this time I went for charcoal grey. I also again worked on a modified gauge (since I’m using fingering weight yarn), though this time I made this sweater one size smaller, since I’ve lost a lot of weight since I made the first iteration of this sweater.

Overall, I am just SO happy at how this one turned out, and I really cannot wait to wear it!! It’s fun, it’s playful, it’s comfy and more than anything, it’s not on a needle anymore. As usual the details on yardage and mods are available on my project page so feel free to check it out 🙂

Cheers!