fiber

FO Friday!

Posted on

Heyho crafties!

Just a short post to share with you guys my latest FO, a cutesy easy shawl started on September 27th, 2014 and finished on January 14th, 2015. It is my second FO of the year, W00T!! The pattern is called “Bamboo wedding shawl“, from Purl Soho, and the yarn I used is Cascade Heritage in the color Como Blue. I used a size 4mm needle instead of the 3.25mm needle the pattern called for because I have knitted with Cascade Heritage on 3.25mm needles before, and I just knew I wanted this shawl to be more airy and supple than that.

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Crafty-Effie/bamboo-wedding-shawl-2
http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Crafty-Effie/bamboo-wedding-shawl-2

It is the second time I have knitted this pattern, the first time was a little over a year ago as a Christmas present for my mom. It was before I started blogging so there is no photo of it anywhere here, but here’s one just for the heck of it 🙂

1039842_10151909815602475_405873816_oAs you can see it’s very thick, very wide, full of mistakes and not very long to boot. It was also my very first lace project, and I must say I made a lot of progress since then. The pattern that seemed so complicated to me at first now feels so easy and relaxing to knit now, and the result looks so much better too. Ah, the miracles of time!

2014 wrap up

Posted on Updated on

2014 is coming to an end, and as it is I am reflecting on my 2014 projects and I feel very satisfied by the progress I made and the things I learnt. I am just sitting here, on the couch, relaxing while sipping on some tea, and I reflect on my 2014 crafting year. It’s a thing I really like to do, mostly because every day life just goes by so fast that it’s nice to take some time at the end of the year to slow down, relax and look over what you have accomplished in the past 12 months. It’s especially nice this year because I just recently discovered on Ravelry that you can search through your projects using tags (like for example “2013” or “2014”) to know exactly how many projects you made or how much yarn you used during a certain year. Here’s the break down of my 2014 progress compared to the year before:

2013 : 4 385 yards in 7 projects (mostly shawls and scarves)

2013

2014 : 10 250 yards in 16 projects (sweaters, scarves, shawls, socks, hats and a bag)

2014

In total, I used over twice the yardage and finished twice as many projects in 2014 than I did in 2013, and it feels good. To those 16 knitting/crochet/weaving projects, I also have to add 2 464 yards of handspun yarn, 4 sets of placemats, and my first handmade quilt.

Oh, you haven’t seen it? True… It was one of my secret Christmas projects. Well, talking about my secret Christmas projects… Here’s a couple of them. First is the quilt I made for my dad. It is my very first quilt, so it’s very wrinkly, uneven and full of mistakes, but I’m still very proud nonetheless. I worked on it for 2 years, and finally finished it a couple weeks ago, just in time for Christmas.

dadsquilt

The second thing I want to share is a pair of socks I made for Emily. These Lemon & Lime socks were made using the Studioloo Bootsie-loo sock yarn I bought at the Twist Festival this fall, in the color “Linden Tree”. The pattern I used is called Seed Stitch socks, from Vogue.

Emilyssocks

Well, that’s my 2014 wrap up… I hope you guys all had a good time over Christmas, and I wish you all the best for the upcoming year. Take time to enjoy the simple things in life, and to focus more on the things and people you love, and what really matters. Life is short and precious, take advantage of every moment 🙂

Happy new year all!

A little guessing game – Christmas Giveaway!

Posted on Updated on

I have been working a lot in the past couple weeks on handmade Christmas presents for friends and family, and fortunately for me things have been cruising along at a very nice pace. I started my Christmas preparation a little late this year so things really could have gotten ugly – I am so very glad it didn’t, and I’m crossing my fingers that things will keep cruising until the very end!

Since most of those projects have not yet been gifted (heck most of them aren’t even finished!) I can’t really show you guys real progress pictures, but I guess we probably CAN play a little guessing game. Here’s a close up of 3 projects I’m currently working on for Christmas. If you think you can guess what one (or more!) of these items are, like or share this post and leave a comment below telling me what your guess (or guesses) are. Out of all the entries received by December 25th, I’ll give away a little surprise to one lucky winner.

Good luck all! 🙂

FotorCreated

December rush

Posted on Updated on

Hey-ho Crafties! As December rolls around, bringing its share of freezy-rosy cheeks and joyful moments, I want to share with you my thoughts as I am slowly getting started on my Holidays preparation. There’s a lot of mysteries and secrets around this month as most of my quick projects will be offered as Christmas presents, but I’m sure I’ll find a way to show you a glimpse of what I’m working on throughout the month without spoiling too much of the surprise 🙂

First off, I finished the Woodsmoke Sweater I was test-knitting for the lovely Megh Testerman, from Studio North. I am completely in love with the finished garment, and I can tell you that I will wear the heck out in the next few months as the temperature drops to inhuman levels (ok, I might be exaggerating a little bit). And I found the cutest owl buttons to go with it, isn’t cool?

FotorCreatedThe cardigan is complete, at 36 355 stitches. Needless to say that I did not qualify for the the NaKniSweMo this year, since the sweater was under the required 50 000 mark. I must say though, even though I didn’t make it, I’m still very happy about the sweater I completed, and I at least know I reached the goal in my own way – especially knowing that I finished my Frosted Rose cardigan during the challenge, which puts me at way more than 50 000 stitches combined.

Since I finished the 2 sweaters I have been working on in the last couple months, I (obviously) decided to start a new one, and I’m really excited about the project. I just cast on a couple days ago, the pattern is called Snowflake from Tincanknits and I’m using a lucky destash find of Plucky Primo Sport in the color Cryin’ Icicles.

20141204_180531371_iOS

In other news, I have been spending my time cleaning and decorating the house, and I slowly started cooking and baking for the Holidays – hmmmmmm, sugar pie!! (if you don’t know what this Quebec specialty is, you oughta look it up. Seriously. There, just click here).

So how’s your Holiday preparation going, fellow Crafties? 🙂

The spinning situation (and Sea Breeze Test-Knit!)

Posted on Updated on

I realized this week that I have not touched my spinning wheel since the end of the Tour de Fleece in July, even though a had such a large quantity of really nice rovings just laying around in my living room. I did the math, I have 62.5 ounces of fiber just there, waiting for me in a box. 62.5 ounces!!!!! And I haven’t touched it in months. So a few days ago, I decided to take a breather from my Cosmo Shawl and my Frosted Rose cardigan to work a little spin, using a really nice fractal roving I bought a couple months ago at the Twist Festival. It’s a 100% corriedale roving in color Periwinkle.

Filage

I thought I would be rusty from not spinning for such a long time, and I was sincerely expecting a little struggle as I started the project. But surprisingly enough, it seems my hands and feet remember the motions very well, my singles were very fine and constant, and the finished product exceeded all my expectations. Yay! It is so fine in fact that I was able to make over 400 yards of light fingering weight yarn with a 4 oz package of fiber, which is about 50% more that the longest yardage I have been able to make so far. I’m so exited! I feel like it really took forever, but it was just so worth it! I have also started the hip increases on my Frosted Rose cardigan, so things have been going pretty smoothly. 🙂

Frosted Rose

On another note, I’m very excited to announce that I finally finished writing the pattern for my Sea Breeze Sweater, yay!! I’ll have it test-knitted throughout the next few weeks, so if you feel like joining in (because, let’s face it : a couple more testers would definitely be more than welcome!) just send me an email at craftyeffie@outlook.com, and I’ll fill you in on the details 🙂

http://ravel.me/saphirsteph/sb
http://ravel.me/saphirsteph/sb

One thing led to another

Posted on Updated on

Parlement 13

It is finally vacation time for me, and I can say (for sure!) that I have been waiting for this moment for a very, very long time. We can never really get enough of those, do we? But I was so stressed out the last few months that I sincerely believe that I really, truly needed a break from it all. Plus, summer’s been so busy for me that I feel like weeks and months just went by in the blink of an eye. Doesn’t seeing time flee so fast, right before your very eyes, scares the heck out of you? Well, I can tell you it scares the heck out of me, if anything! Where did my summer go? What did I do? and WHY, OH WHY IS IT SO SHORT?? So I finished work last Friday, and just like that, half of my first week of vacation is already gone.

Oh, I know what I did though. Saturday morning, I set off on an expedition… A fiber expedition (I bet you wouldn’t have guessed). Last weekend was the Twist Festival, held in St-André-Avellin, Québec. It probably is one of the largest (if not THE largest) festival of it’s kind in the area, and I was just so, so excited to go! Even though I couldn’t stay for the the entire event, I still sniffed around the (100+!) vendors and found a few treasures to bring back home 🙂

Fotor0827180811

 Since we were already so close to Ontario, we decided to drive a little more and spend a couple days in Ottawa. Since the weather was on our side and all the attractions were so close, we were able to walk pretty much everywhere. On Saturday afternoon, we saw the Canadian Museum of History, then on Sunday we visited the Supreme Court of Canada, the Parliament, the Canadian War Museum and saw the Rideau Canal, Library and Archives Canada and the Byward Market. All in all, we walked around 12K(±8 miles) in between places, plus whatever distance we covered going through the monuments and museums. Oh boy, was I sore the next day! We finished our trip by going to the Museum of Nature on Monday, then drove home. Here’s a few pictures of our trip, it’s really not the best quality but it is the best I can do with a phone camera! (yes, I know… I won’t forget my camera ever again. I. AM. SO. MORTIFIED.)

Fotor0827181555Fotor082718124

Parlement 10

As I came back from vacation, I also noticed that I was nominated for the Liebster award by the very lovely Šárka from Berries and Yarn, I was very surprised and also very happy! I was not expecting to be nominated for it, but I found it very touching, and it’s really good to see people enjoy reading my random rants 🙂 So here are my answers to Šárka’s questions :

  1. What got you into blogging?
    I got into blogging because I like to talk about crafts, and I really enjoy sharing my adventures with like-minded people. Unfortunately for me, there isn’t a lot of people around with similar interests I can talk to, so I decided to share my stories on a blog 🙂
  2. What is it that you enjoy the most about the blogging experience?
    What I prefer about blogging is to be able to connect with people all around the world who share the same passion but have a different background, different views and different experiences. Being able to exchange with these people allow me to learn and grow, and gives me a different outlook on things. It’s a mind-opener, I think. 
  3. And is there anything about blogging you find annoying or irritating?
    Not really, except maybe when a post I make doesn’t reach people in the way I would’ve wanted it to, maybe 🙂 
  4. How do you find new blogs to follow?
    I generally look at blogs followed by people I follow, or look for specific tags (yarn, handspun, etc.)
  5. What inspires you?
    Life, in general 🙂 I tend to be a very positive, empathetic and free-spirited person, and I find inspiration in everyday beauty. Sometimes it’s just by looking out the window and seeing a mom and a child walk to the park hand in hand, or sometimes it’s just a song playing on the radio, or the way the light is shining through a piece of stained glass. I don’t follow a strict pattern when it comes to creation, I just feel it 🙂
  6. Do you prefer paper diaries, calendars, planners, stationery, etc, or do you rather go digital?
    I do both. I’m a very organized person, and I like to have digital planners, organizers and data bases. But when it comes to creation, nothing beats the good old pen and paper 🙂 
  7. What´s the best book you have read this year?
    I can’t say it’s a book I have read as much as a book I have re-read, and that would be Alice’s adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. I have been completely in love with Alice’s universe since the first time I saw the Disney movie as a child, until now – and I daresay I could never get tired of it. I re-read the two books earlier this year, and it still is like magic to me. Every time I read it, I discover things I did not quite see (or see like that) before, and it opens up to a wonderful new adventure to me. 
  8. Given unlimited time and resources, what is your dream project?
    Surprisingly, I don’t really have one. I think if I concentrated my dreams in a project, I would feel very empty once it is finished, so I prefer to simply enjoy creativity as it is, and enjoy every step of the way 🙂 
  9. On the other hand, what sort of a quick project do you go to for instant gratification?
    That… I don’t have one either. If I need instant gratification, I’ll go for a jog, for me creation is not about instant gratification 🙂 
  10. What was your favourite boy band in the 90s? Don´t tell me you did not have one 🙂
    Oh, I plead guilty… My favorite boys band in the 90s was the Backstreet Boys 🙂 
  11. If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?
    That is a hard one since there is so many extraordinary people in this world, but if I had to pick one, it would probably be Gandhi.

 

So according to the rules, I should be nominating 11 other people with less than 200 followers and ask them 11 questions, but I must admit that I am not very much a “shout-out” kind of person -there’s too many blogs I like, and I have no idea how many followers they have. Plus, I feel if I had to make a list, it would be unfair to those I forgot to mention, or I would end up making a mistake and nominate someone who’s over 200 followers. It’s just really difficult for me 😦 If anything comes to mind, I’ll edit this post and add nominees and questions, but for now I will leave it at that. If you are reading this and wish to participate, I then officially nominate you, and ask you the same questions I was asked 🙂 Fair?

On that note folks, I think I will let you go and walk to the grocery store to buy myself a little treat to celebrate my 28th birthday 🙂

Cheers!

 

 

A Crafter’s Guilt (And the Superwoman Syndrome)

Posted on

I am in pain. I have been in pain for the last few days, just a severe, agonizing sharp pain in my neck and shoulders. No idea where it came from, it’s just there. Is it a strain because of the long drive during vacation? Or did I pull a muscle? Maybe I pinched a nerve? Or was it a wrong move I made? Whatever it may be, I just couldn’t work on  anything in the past few days, so no spinning, no knitting, no nothing. Ok, maybe I did (a little). But no real progress here for sure. I couldn’t even finish the Tour de Fleece!

So today, since I don’t have anything craft-related to share with you guys, I will be talking about a very different topic; something I find a little bit more important and certainly a lot more personal : the overpowering, omnipresent, socially-created “Superwoman Syndrome”. We all know that in today’s lifestyle, a lot of women feel pressured to perform and achieve in a lot of different aspects of their lives. To name only a few, they feel like they have to be career-driven and professionally successful, need to workout and take care of themselves, they are expected to keep their house clean, get married, be good home makers as well as a perfect mom, they should have healthy and creative hobbies, they have to volunteer and get involved in their community, etc.

What the “Superwoman” does is to set herself (and the people around her) standards that are unnaturally high, standards that are way beyond reach or reason. And then, they tend to strain themselves compulsively toward these impossible goals. Inevitably, at the end of the road, when they realize they simply can’t achieve all those goals to perfection, they break down, cry and feel guilty, worthless and sorry about themselves.

It is a feeling that is very hard to fight or to ward off; I know it because I am sometimes guilty of it myself. See, “guilty”. That word again. Just like we weren’t allowed to show any weaknesses.Truth is, life is not perfect. And we should not expect ourselves to be either. But in our results-oriented society, we have learned to measure our self-worth entirely in terms of productivity and tangible accomplishments.

As I explained earlier, I have been totally floored by very intense neck pains in the past few days.  I knew I just had to rest and wait it off, but I felt so guilty not to be working on anything! – My apartment is getting messier and messier by the minute, and I’m not making progress on any of my WIPs! And if I don’t work on anything, I would be a worthless crafter, right? And I wouldn’t have anything to share on my blog, what an excuse of a blogger would I be? And that is when it struck me… I’m in pain because I’m stressed out. Why am I stressed out, I wonder? Maybe I’m stressed out about work, or maybe it’s my messy apartment. But I can’t be stressed out about fiber arts… right? That’s my hobby, that’s what I do to relax. Crafting, blogging, I do all those things as a hobby, so why would I care if I’m productive or not? But you know what? Even without noticing it, in today’s society, we are pressured to “have fun”. We are expected to use our free time “efficiently” and to “have a good time”. In other words, I’m putting pressure on myself to be productive in everything I tackle – be it work, housekeeping, hobbies, or anything else. And in my eyes, everything has to be done perfectly, and in a timely manner How ridiculous is that?

So today, to fight off all this unhealthy pressure that’s been piling up on me and to share something more meaningful with all of you, I decided to not blog about crafts. I’m blogging about myself, and I’m going to say what I want to say.

I am me. I’m not perfect. I am enthusiastic in everything I do, but everything certainly isn’t perfect, or productive. Sometimes I fail, and sometimes I’m tired, and sometimes I just need time for myself to relax and unwind. And it’s OK.

Busy like a bee!

Posted on

The Tour de Fleece is almost over, and although I could not entirely reach all my goals, I’m pretty satisfied by the overall progress I made during the Tour. I spun about 20 ounces of fiber, making total of 6 skeins of yarn ( – ok, 5 if we don’t count the one I made the day before the Tour started – yea, you can call me a cheater 😉 ). It was a very pink Tour for me, but I’m happy with it since I didn’t have a lot of pink, salmon or coral yarn in my stash, so I feel it’ll be a good addition.

 

Fotor0723201631

My original goals were to :

1) Spin finer and more consistent singles

I can say for sure that I totally achieved that first goal, since I am now able to spin yarn about fingering size. Yay! My singles are getting finer and finer, and more and more consistent, and I like it! I think I’m still over-spinning sometimes, but I’m half doing it on purpose, since I like knitting with a yarn that has a good consistent twist.

2) Learn Navajo plying

I made a few attempts at navajo plying – they were not all successful. But even if the results are not perfect, I think I’m slowly beginning to learn how to do it. My arms are starting to remember the motions, and I’m slowly making progress. I spun very little yarn using the navajo ply – less than 100 yards of it – because I still have to go at it really really slow to not mess it up. But so far, I’ve noticed that – contrarily to a 2 ply yarn – it works a lot better with very low twist singles. I guess that makes it a partially achieved goad, so it’s not so bad!

3) Learn how to spin cotton

Spinning cotton is HARD!!! I tried… I really did. But the staple is so short, and it requires so much spin that it’s all really hard to control. I think I’ll have to get a lot more practice before I can actually make yarn out of cotton, for sure. I’ll just keep practicing, and maybe it’ll become a goal again for next year. Wish me luck!

Next on the list for me : I’ll use one of those scrumptious handspun skeins I worked so hard to make! Ok, I admit – I still have 2 ounces of blue and 2 ounces of yellow to spin, but I plan on using those with my No, I’m not Swedish handspun yarn to make this really nice chevrons cowl by Star Athena. I think the colors are just perfect for it, and I am so excited to cast it on!

After that (or not – because sometimes, I get very excited and end up starting too many projects at once :P), I also have another fun sweater idea that I’ll try to put on paper. What I have in mind is a lacy-back, short sleeve sweater in a lace weight yarn, featuring the basic english mesh lace I used on this scarf. I’m thinking of using my yellow Toil and Trouble Merino Silk Lace and mix it with the gray alpaca lace yarn I have in stash. What do you think of this combination?

Fotor0723195349

On the menu for the next few months, I think I’ll also order some more of the green variegated Ashland Bay Merino/Silk fiber I used to spin my Delmar yarn. I really loved spinning this fiber, and it is just so soft it makes me want to wrap myself in it. So my plan is to order 8 or 12 more ounces of it to make about 800 to 1000 yards of scrumptious, sweater-worthy yarn. I’m so excited!

As you can see, I’m keeping myself pretty busy Crafties, and I hope you are too! Show me some of your current projects, I’d be really glad to see what other creative crafters are up to.

Until then, enjoy your craft time 🙂

Because everything is nicer on vacation.

Posted on Updated on

While spending the last 13 hours in a car Saturday, I’ve had a chance on the way to pick up my needles and finish my sweater for the Nice&Knit summer sweater knit along (#NKKAL). I’m definitely very happy about how it turned out!!

http://ravel.me/saphirsteph/sbhttp://ravel.me/saphirsteph/sb

The TDF has been going pretty good so far, I have been able to spin a brand new skein of yarn last week, full of colors. I used a combination of yellow and blue corriedale fiber, and although it didn’t turn out as soft as I would have expected, I’m definitely happy about the color scheme. And the best of it all is that with this skein, I was able to achieve one of my TDF goals, which was to spin a finer yarn! This one is about fingering size and is mostly constant, it’ll definitely be a charm to knit!

Fotor071072048http://ravel.me/saphirsteph/nins

The only down side about this yarn is that I think I put too much spin in it when I plied, and the finished skein turned out much more twisted than I would’ve wanted it to be when I got it off the wheel -_-‘ Even the cat was making fun of me!! I had to let it soak for a long time to let the twist set, and stretched it out real good as it was drying. Oh well.

10527062_10152237491787475_1401975636_o_medium2

I still have 2 ounces of blue and 2 ounces of yellow that I’ll spin as solid colors, and I’ll combine the 3 skeins to knit the  Comptown Races Cowl with it. Isn’t going to look amazing?? I cannot wait to start it! So since my fiber stash has been shinking considerably, last Thursday I decided to stash up again on fiber, and I went for the first time to a little shop located in Nicolet, Québec called the Julie Factrie. I really liked the place, and thought it was cute and quaint (and full of my favorites!). The shop owner, Julie, is a real fiber artist, and it was a pleasure to chat with her for a little while. I left with mostly solid colors this time, and I’m really looking forward to spinning those into wonderful and colorful skeins.

10552113_10152239161272475_2132118162_o

What’s cookin’

Posted on Updated on

Yesterday was a holiday for me (June 24th is Québec’s national day), so I took advantage of the day off to make some progress on my sweater for the Nice and Knit summer sweater knit along (NKKAL). I created the pattern from scratch and named it the Sea Breeze sweater, the idea sprung up from the really beautiful Kit Camisole Cassy posted on her blog (knit the hell out), you should definitely check it out. I thought the linen stitch that was used in this pattern was so pretty that I just had to use it somehow in my summer sweater project, so I came up with a plan.  And to complement the nice stitch, I decided to use very soft summer colors; including a pale blue, baby blue, lavender and aqua. This yarn is really nice to knit with, it’s a 100% mercerized cotton from Austermann, you can buy it on Artfil’s website (you’re welcome). At this point, I have almost reached the waistline, so it’s really starting to look like something. I really can’t wait to finish it!

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/saphirsteph/sea-breezehttp://www.ravelry.com/projects/saphirsteph/sea-breeze

On a different topic, I also spun last week the last bit of fiber I had 😦 So no more spinning for me this week. Do not worry though, I have a (considerably large) fiber order on its way, and this one should last me for a little while. Since I have been mostly working with wool recently (BFL, Merino, Merino/Tencel, etc.), I decided to widen my horizons and (on top of the few ounces of wool I ordered) I also order different types of fiber I have never spun before. I ordered bamboo, 1lb of natural bleached cotton (so I’ll also be trying my hand at dyeing – W00t!) and an 8oz of merino/silk fiber. I simply cannot wait to get them! Weehee!

So the last thing I spun was 8oz of Malabrigo Nube 100% merino fiber, in the colorway Baya Electrica. The singles were (as a general rule) a lot finer and a lot more consistent than my previous spinning attempts, and the final result turned out to be about 1040 yards of Worsted/DK weight yarn in 2 skeins 🙂 The result blew me away, the colors just pop right up! Somehow, I noticed though that it’s a color that’s not very photogenic and the pictures really can’t compare to the real thing; but here’s one to at least give you an idea :

http://www.ravelry.com/people/saphirsteph/handspun/cheshire-cathttp://www.ravelry.com/people/saphirsteph/handspun/cheshire-cat

I affectionately name it Cheshire Cat. I think I’ll be making a sweater out of it, maybe something like the the Pull me over ? or maybe the Briar Rose Tunic ? I’m not quite sure yet. Anyways, there’s still plenty of time left to decide since I’m not even half way through my Sea Breeze Sweater, and I still only have about a third done on my Spring Leaves shawl. Plus, I might not be knitting all that much this week since there’s a rhubarb pie recipe that I absolutely have to try. Hmmmmm, scrumptious!

So that’s all for today folks 🙂 Enjoy your craft time!