Plush toy galore
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 🙂
Pandemic knitting (& life update)
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.
Longing for spring
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.
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.
Is it spring yet?
Hey guys! A couple weeks ago I wrapped up and reflected on 2018, and now I think it’s time to kick start 2019! To start the year fresh, I decided to start by “refreshing” my home a bit by sewing a cover for a chair in the living room.
It’s a chair I’ve had for quite a long time, and I really like it. The cats really like it to… Which is kind of a problem. My two adorable feline friends, Cassy and Picasso, have both been climbing on that chair for years and the fabric has gotten quite worn and torn with time. Since the chair has a fairly simple shape, I figured it would be pretty easy to make a cover for it, so I decided to give it a try.
I had bought a very nice, textured ivory fabric for this a couple years back, but since it’s kind of an expensive fabric I wanted to draft a pattern and try it out first, so I opted for a combination of coordinated fabric remnants I had in stash. In other words, the chair cover that I’m showing you right now is basically a “wearable muslin” version of the chair cover that I want to make.
There’s a couple things on this pattern I’ll have to fix for the actual project (better fit around the curved edge and the seat, length of the velcro strip, etc.) but I’m actually quite happy with the result! It’s clean and fresh and fun and playful, and more than anything it’s very colorful! Doesn’t it just feels like spring? or fall, maybe… Either way, anything but winter (hopefully)…!
I’ve had both of those fabrics for so many years now thought that I don’t quite remember what they are or where I got them from, but what I can tell you is that the floral is most likely a printed polyester woven fabric, and the solid rust one is a (very wide – 120″?) percale, normally intended for bed sheets. And as you can see, the cats already love it! And having an actual cover on the chair also makes cleaning a lot easier for me, as when the chair gets dusty or dirty, I can simply remove it and wash separately.
Either way, muslin or not, I’ll probably keep this chair cover on for a little longer before I make the other one, but with such a pretty motif I will no doubt keep it and use it again if the color scheme of my living room changes or if I move this chair into a different room.
How about you guys, what have you been up to since the beginning of the year?
While my backyard is still invisible under a giant snow bank, cherry blossoms are blooming all around the world and making me jealous, so I decided to make flowers bloom in my heart at least by making this lovely Blooming Shawl from Sachiko Uemura.
More precisely, it’s an unbeaded fingering weight version of this shawl, on slightly larger needles and with fewer repeats of the main lace section. I used all but 2.5g of a scrumptious skein of Piccolo sock yarn from Julie Asselin, that I actually hand dyed myself a couple years back when I attended a hand dyeing workshop given by Julie herself at the Twist Festival in St-André-Avelin, in Quebec (check out my blog post here!). What do you guys think? Not too shabby for a first hand dyeing experience, eh?
The Blooming Shawl pattern is very well written, easy and fairly straight forward. It’s got both, written and charted instructions and the main lace section only counts 8 easily memorized rows (I had it memorized by the second pattern repeat). The only thing that I thought was a bit annoying was that only one of the WS row had increases, and I would often forget them and work a normal regular WS row instead – causing me great grief when I would start the next pattern row and notice I had stitches missing! Overall, I really liked this pattern and surely will make it again, although next time I might make it a bit bigger.
As usual, all the information on this shawl can be found of my project page, so feel free to take a look there. Cheers!
Well, spring hasn’t really been springing lately, what with all the snow and cold weather and everything, but hey! I’ve been keeping my spirits up by knitting up a shawl out of one of my favorite hanspuns!
I used the free Bosc Pear pattern from Tetiana Otruta, it’s simple and fairly straightforward, didn’t do any mods whatsoever apart from repeating the main body section once more than the pattern called for, since I had extra yarn. I used all but 4 grams of the skein, and I’m quite happy at how it turned out! As usual all the details can be found on my project page, so feel free to take a look there 🙂
How’s YOUR spring you guys, any better than mine?
While it’s still snowing heavily here, the temperature has steadily been getting warmer, the days are getting longer and longer and every day the air feels more like spring – and let’s face it, it’s just so darn pretty!
Spring makes me want to clean things up and have a fresh start, and I somehow really wish I could start by clearing my office desk top! But nevermind that, instead I’ve been chugging along WIPs that have been hibernating for a tad bit too long in my craft room. First, I picked up an adorable cardigan called French Kiss from the lovely Anne B. Hansen that I started back in November as a test knit but couldn’t complete in time due to unforeseen circumstances both in my personal and professional life. I finished the body (that I made considerably longer that the pattern called for) and I am now about halfway through the first sleeve. If I can keep things going at this pace, I should have this cardigan completed before the end of the month. Yay! Fortunately for me, I’ve been getting a lot of (feline) help and support along the way.
Secondly, I tidied things up around my sewing room and worked on a bag I made many, many years ago that needed fixing and put together 3 new additions : 1 reversible tote bag and 2 multi-way asymmetrical fold over clutches, that I find absolutely adorable.
As always, the reversible tote bag was made using my trusted Kwik Sew K3700 pattern, but for the little fold over clutch/tote bag, I didn’t use a pattern. I wanted to make an envelope clutch that could unfold and be used as a tote when needed, so I decided to put pen to tracing paper and figured it out myself. There’s the main bag compartment that has 2 little pockets on the inside (one zippered, one sewed over the lining) and there’s another compartment on the front, where the clutch folds over, inside of which there’s another pocket sewed onto the lining. There’s also 2 sets of D rings to attach the strap for the full size or the half size, and two different straps to use – one wrist lanyard and a full size adjustable strap. All of them feature small hooks to be detached and reattached where needed.
Although I love the final result, I struggled a bit to install all those zippers (there’s 3 per bag, folks!!!) the right way. Ok, I’ll admit it – there’s a zipper I had to rip and reinstall twice because it was installed inside out. Urgh! But you wouldn’t make fun of me for that, now, would you ? 🙂
Ok, 4 months is a long time. I have to admit, I really (REALLY) have been neglecting my blog… But then again I guess I’ve been neglecting a lot of things, because in those 4 months, I haven’t used my spinning wheel or my loom, only used my sewing machine for minor clothing repairs and barely made any progress on the WIPs I’ve had on the needles for months.
There could many different reasons behind this general disinterest I have been experiencing towards both crafting and the blog, but I think it’s mostly a mix of bad case of winter blues and a much needed break after completing such a big project as this dress. Add to that the fact that I also fell back into an old love of mine and picked up a couple good books to read, and there you have it – almost nothing to show for the last 4 months.
Actually, that’s not entirely true either because I DID finish one project since January, and that is the Star Anise hat that I started in December.
I also have a couple sweaters on the needles, namely here the Dessine-moi un mouton I showed you in July last year and the striped Snowflake I started early in January using some Berroco Folio I had in stash in color “tan” and “raspberry coulis”.
In other news, I also spent 4 days visiting Washington DC last month, and we had a blast! Although we were a bit late for the cherry blossoms, we still had a lot of fun visiting parks, memorials and monuments and visiting the US Capitol and the weather was just GORGEOUS the whole time we were there. For those interested, here’s a little photo recap of our fun-filled vacation in DC.
So that’s it for now folks, and I surely hope next time won’t be in another 4 months! Cheers!
Spring has finally arrived!
The sun has been shining brighter and warmer in the past few weeks, and as surely as it announces the approching spring, it also indicates the time where I switch from winter knits to summer knits.
Today I present to you my friends my Golden Afternoon sweater, made from Euroflax Sport yarn and using Carole Francone’s Clementine Pullover pattern.
I made a few mods that are detailed on my project page, but it mainly consists of adding length, switching out the 1×1 rib by brioche and adding some short row shaping to the bottom edge to create more dynamic lines featuring a longer back and a shorter front.
As much as I love the finished object and the motif used in this pattern, I must say that I am quite dissapointed by the way the pattern itself was written. It’s the first time this has ever happened to me, but I felt the pattern was… Incomplete. Or rushed. Let me explain a little more what I mean.
First of all, I felt the English version of the pattern needed a lot of polishing. The pattern designer is French so I understand well her struggles (my first language is french too) but there was still a lot of avoidable mistakes, both on structure and vocabulary, making the pattern hard to understand.
Also, I found the pattern was not providing enough details on the construction and shaping of the garment. The best example I can give you is about the waist shaping. The pattern says to keep both side markers to place increases and decreases, but do not provide any information as to how the waist shaping should be worked. It only says to “work them in pattern”, but there is no indication as to how to do that (especially when working an all over lace pattern), and no indication of how MANY increase or decrease rows there should be, or how many rows apart they need to be placed. This is one example, but I’ve noticed instructions (and finishing touches) were missing everywhere in the pattern, including at the separation of the sleeves and the transition from ribbing to lace and lace to ribbing. Somehow I feel like I should have just looked up the motif and wrote the pattern myself. Am I weird? Is it wrong of me to assume that when you pay 5 euros (7.44$ CAN) for a pattern, the designer should have done that part of the work for you? Having written some patterns myself, I would find it absolutely unacceptable to rely so heavily on the knitter to figure things out themselves after making them pay for a pattern.
I feel robbed. Have any of you experienced something like that before?
The last few weeks have been crazy busy for me, both at work and in my personal life, and in my book that generally means dealing with A LOT of stress. As a form of damage control and to let off some steam I’ve been trying to crunch a few minutes of knitting or spinning when I can to (somewhat) try to keep the stress under control. Fortunately for me, it’s been successful on two fronts; I’ve been able to keep stress on a manageable level and I’ve been making great progress on some super fun yarny projects, so yay!
The first thing I want to show you is my last spin, a fingering weight navajo plied yarn I just finished yesterday using some malabrigo nube I had in stash, in color “solis”. It’s 112 grams and 407 yards of yummy merino goodness, and I’m really excited to show it to you because it’s the first time I’ve plied a full skein using the navajo plying technique, I am so thrilled!
On the knitting front, I’ve also been making pretty good progress on my golden afternoon sweater, an all-over lace pattern called Clementine Pullover, from Carole Francone. I am not thrilled with the pattern, I’ll give you a full review once the sweater is done, but I must say that I absolutely LOVE the lace stitch. To make this the perfect summer top, I’m using some Euroflax Sport Weight yarn in color Goldenrod.