lace

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!

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

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!

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!

Autumn Vamping

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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 🙂

Longing for spring

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While the weather lately here has been oscillating on wide cycles ranging from rain and freezing rain to heavy snow and extreme cold, I’ve just been busy trying to get back into an exercise routine, chipping ice off the patio steps and finishing up some projects, all the while wishing spring was here already.

And the project I’m going to show you today is just that: the sincere, deep and heartfelt expression of me looking forward to end of winter.

Luiza Wrap.jpg

I started this project late in November as a test knit for the lovely Beatriz from SambaKnits and it’s bright, it’s light, it’s airy, it’s leafy; all things spring that I so wish to see. The pattern is yet to be published, but once it is, it will be linked to my Ravelry Project Page. The pattern, that offers both written & charted instructions, is well designed, clear and easy to understand. The design is very elegant with asymmetrical lace sections sprouting from opposite corners of the wrap, and although some things I would have done differently, the pattern is built in a way that is easy to alter if you wish to change the width, the length, or alter the lace increases or decreases.

The yarn I used is Malabrigo’s Silkpaca in the “pollen” colorway. It’s a lace weight yarn, and I must say that I don’t particularly like working with lace weight yarns since they are so thin and so flimsy, but this one is especially soft and absolutely stunning so it made it all worth it!

With this shawl done, I still have a couple more projects on the needles that I would like to complete this month, namely here a little chevron lap throw and a second Dessine-Moi Un Mouton so please look forward to it in the next few weeks as I’ll be sharing my progress on both these projects soon.

Cheers! 🙂

2018 Wrap-up

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Oh, 2018… What a year! You’ve been full of new challenges and experiences, full of hopes and dreams, and so very, very fulfilling! Although it doesn’t show so much here on the blog (or on my Ravelry page… Yikes!) 2018 has been a very good year to me, both personally and professionally, and it felt good to reflect on it while cozily drinking some hot cocoa by the fire at my in-laws. I lost a lot of weight, made some lifestyle changes, advanced my career and I’ve been working a lot on myself to become a more positive and grounded person. I was also blessed with the chance to go on two amazing (life changing!) trips to Asia and was fortunate enough to meet many kind and generous people I’m lucky to call friends.

On the blogging & crafting front, I did very little knitting in the first half of 2018 but worked on many sewing projects whereas I’ve been knitting more and sewing less in second half of the year.

2018 projects

All in all, Ravelry told me that I’ve completed 9 projects in 2018, totaling 4715 yards of yarn. That’s 2 more projects than what I did in 2017, although it represents 766 yards less. To that though, I think we can also add the second Solace sock I had to reknit from the previous year to complete the pair, as well as a couple WIPs I’ve been making serious progress on, but simply couldn’t finish before the year end. There’s first a bulky weight chevron lap blanket that’s about 75% done, and a beautiful lace shawl that I’ve been working as a test-knit for the lovely Beatriz Rubio (Sambaknits).

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Doesn’t it look just lovely? I’m about 70% done now, so this project may be the very first you’ll get to see completed on the blog this year – please look forward to it!

For 2019, I wish to simply continue working on the same goals, namely here get fit and eat healthy, be positive and grounded and be kinder to myself and others. There might be some big changes coming my way in 2019, so there might be a lot to share in the upcoming months.

Until then folks, I wish you all the best for 2019. Cheers!

Winterlight

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Life is cold… SO COLD! *tears*

Guys, temperatures here in Quebec have been dropping as fast as the daylight hours have been shrinking, winter has been slowly creeping in as we’ve experienced the first snow falls of the season.

Amidst it all, the only that’s been able to provide me any sort of comfort is a cozy knit curled up with a blanket on the couch, so today I would like to show you one of my latest FOs, a Winterlight shawl by Meg Gadsbey made with The Blue Brick‘s Killarney Sock gradient yarn in the “Waterfall” colorway.

This shawl was a very fast knit because the pattern is so cleverly designed to provide interesting and varied sections with minimal effort by maximizing the use of the simple knit stitch. Most rows of this pattern are actually just plain knitted, making this pattern extremely easy to memorize and very fast to knit. It’s also a great pattern to show off a gradient or a hand spun, so I am sure that I will make many more of this in the future.

I added a few plain rows at the end since I had a bit more yarn that what was needed, but I basically just followed the pattern the entire way through. There’s no need to fix something that’s already perfect! As usual all the info and yardage can be found on my project page, so take a look there if you’re interested.

Thank you all for reading, and I’ll see you again in a couple weeks for a little travel update 🙂

Orange Crush

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Guys, I’m so excited to show you the shawl I’ve been working on for almost 5 months now, it’s finally complete! Although it’s been a bit of a challenge, I’m so happy with the result!

Orange crush

Let me share a bit of a story to go along with this knit, because I think it deserves it. I’ve always been a huge fan of Melanie Berg, I love all of her designs and I’ve been eyeing Rheinlust since it first came out more than 2 years ago. To showcase the beautiful texture going on there, I wanted to use a solid or kettle dyed yarn to avoid any unnecessary visual distractions, so I opted for a couple skeins of the soft and beautiful (single-ply) Airy yarn from The Woolen Rabbit that I got at the Squam Art Fair in New Hampshire some 4 years back. It is a beautiful deep orange color, and mixed with the wavyness of the Rheinlust pattern, this shawl (to me!) looks like yummy gorgeous waves in a sea of orange crush pop! Don’t you guys feel the same?

Anyways, I started this shawl back in May as an airplane knit for my trip to Japan, but I quickly realized it wasn’t the smartest choice, as the pattern turned out to be a bit more challenging than I expected. I love lace patterns, but the way the waves kind of move along the knit got me really confused at first, and it took me a lot longer than usual to memorize the 22 row pattern repeat. Don’t get me wrong, the pattern is very clear and beautifully written,  but my drowsy Dramamine brain had a lot of trouble juggling the yarn, the needle and the chart on the tiny plane tray intermittently taken over by food & drinks and a lot of other junk. Bottom line here, I frogged and started over this shawl 2 or 3 times before I got it somewhat right, and I made quite a few mistakes in the the first third of the shawl, but fortunately they seem to blend in quite well in the wavy pattern. The delicate single-ply yarn, however, didn’t appreciate all the frogging, confusion and messiness and broke in quite a few places in the first half.

Together, these two challenges made me realize that I probably should’ve thought things through a bit more, and chosen a more appropriate knit for the plane ride. An easier design with a simpler pattern repeat and a sturdier two or three ply yarn would certainly have been a wiser choice, but regardless of the knitting challenges faced during the trip, I am so happy that I made this shawl!! It is beautiful, soft and drapey, and every bit as amazing as I imagined it would be. I followed the pattern exactly, but repeated the main body 8 times instead of 9 to accommodate the smaller amount yarn I had available, all the details can be found on my project page as usual. And it worked out perfectly! I mean… Would you look at that beauty?

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Either way, I shall learn from my mistakes and choose a more appropriate travel project the next time I go on a trip, which may come sooner rather than later.

See you again soon folks!

Crushing hard!

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I’ve been back from Japan for about 10 days now, and I gotta tell you, I miss it so bad 

Everything from the sights and the sounds, the food, the feel of the air, the atmosphere, the people; I think I really crushed hard on Japan during those two short weeks and now that I’m back it’s really hitting me in the feels! Nevertheless though, I’ve been pretty busy here, at work and at home, as I slowly readjust to my everyday life.

What I want to share with you all today is a little project that I couldn’t share with you before leaving for Japan, and that would be this little cute Camilla baby Blanket.

Camilla Blanket

You see, one of my Japanese penpals, Eriko, is currently pregnant and since she was kind enough to spend two days showing me around Kyoto and Osaka, I wanted to bring her a little something special for her little-one-to-be. So a couple weeks before my trip, I started this cutie little blanket for her using the three skeins of Brown Sheep’s Cotton Fleece that I had on hand. Since I don’t know whether the baby is a boy or a girl, I figured a neutral blueish gray would be fine.

Since I’ve already bought the Camilla Pullover pattern in the past, I did not buy the actual Camilla Blanket pattern but instead used the instructions for the fan pattern from the pullover that I first converted to RS/WS instructions, repeated 4 times and added a garter stitch border on the top, bottom and edges.

The finished blanket is about stroller size, measuring about 30″X32″. Since I was using a Worsted weight yarn instead of Aran, I worked the blanket on 5 mm needles instead of the recommended 6.5 mm. I don’t work very often with needles over 4 mm, so I took advantage of this opportunity to try the Kollage square needle that I had received as a sample a couple years back but never got a chance to use. Although I was a bit skeptical at first, I must admit that I was actually quite pleased by the grip and the feel of those square needles, and it felt very natural to use. Actually, I enjoyed working with it so much I think I might seriously consider getting them in other sizes, or maybe even by the interchangeable set.

All the details, save for the actual fan motif, can be found on my project page so feel free to check it over if you’re interested.