stripes

Plush toy galore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twinning

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

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

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

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

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

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!!)

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!

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!

Third time’s the charm?

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Or not. But then again, maybe. I just recently finished my third Askews Me Dickey from Stephen West, and although it definitely is my favorite one of the bunch, it is also the one that looks the least like what I was expecting it to? Just hear me out here.

Askews me Dickey is a DK weight brioche cowl pattern worked on 4.5mm needles. It is a very structured cowl with a long slanted neck and a very wide yoke. Here’s a picture of the two first cowls I made using this pattern, and you will immediately see what I mean by “structured”.

The two times I made this cowl in the past, it was always a black yarn in the background and a red or a purple-ish color on top, and both times the cowl turned out nice and firm, stretchy and comfy but slightly too large around my neck/face.

Be that as it may, I wasn’t planning on making a third one of this, because I don’t wear cowls all that often (and I just finished the lissome cowl that I’m very much looking forward to wearing), but while I was going through my box of leftovers for another project, I found a couple balls of leftover Eucalyptus yarn from Mary Maxim.

Most of you probably have no idea what that yarn is because it’s been discontinued for a while and I really don’t think it was all that popular, but I have used it twice in the past for a shawl and a cowl (made respectively in the gray & the natural color). For those who have never seen it, it’s an insanely soft and luscious yarn composed of 50% acrylic and 50% viloft, a natural fiber made from Eucalyptus. The yarn is super soft and pliable, it behaves a little bit like bamboo with a nice stretch but has a much heavier weight to it which makes it feel much more decadent. Honestly, I can’t even find the words to describe it – that’s just how much I love this yarn. Anyways, you can probably imagine that when I saw I had some of this leftover in two colors, I just HAD to find something to do with it, and since I had very little of both colors, I thought it’d be a great fit for a brioche cowl.

Obviously this yarn is much finer that what the pattern calls for, being a sport weight yarn rather than a DK. But knowing the cowl turned out a tad too large both times I’ve made it in the past, I thought it’d be perfect with this and a smaller needle. I settled on a 4mm, and looking back I probably should’ve went down to a 3.75 or 3.5mm needle.

Either way I knitted this up in just a few days since it is such a quick knit, but as I went, I realized that the very soft and pliable yarn was not responding very well to the structure of the cowl. I still finished it though, figuring that it might turn out ok once I had the yoke completed, but it really didn’t give any more body to this cowl. I looked at the finished product in dismay, I stuffed it in a bag and let it sit there for a few days before I came around to it. You see, I had so many expectations for this cowl and it just didn’t turn out the way I thought it would so I felt a bit sad, disappointed and apprehensive of how it would look like on me.

When I finally did try it on though, I realized that I liked this cowl all the same, and that it was OK that it didn’t turn out the way I thought it would. Lesson learned. Sometimes, life has a different plan for you. What do you guys think? Have you ever put time and effort in a project only to realize it didn’t become what you had envisioned? Did you get disappointed? Were you able to come around? Let me know!

And as always, if you’re interested in the cowl, feel free to check out my project page on Ravelry.

Cheers guys!

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 🙂

Snowflake

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So many projects, so little time!! Last weekend, I finally finished a sweater that has been on the needles since May 2017 (ahem!..) and I’m so happy it finally came together! Not only is it another project I can check off the WIP list, but it’s also a really pretty and cozy sweater,  right on time for the cold season.

The pattern is (of course!) Tin Can Knits’s beautiful Snowflake, and the yarn is some Berroco Folio yarn I had in stash in color “Raspberry coulis” and “tan”. Since I had only a couple skeins of each, I decided on a striped version of the sweater to maximize the use of every yard. I ended up using all but 3 grams of the tan and 13 grams of the purple. As always, all the details on the yardage, striping sequence and mods can be found on my project page so take a look at them there if you’re interested!

Now this is my second snowflake sweater, but I haven’t been able to wear the first one that I made 4 years ago at all recently because I’ve lost a lot of weight and the bottom half of the body has been incredibly loose and shapeless. I’m very happy to have this model on my sweater rotation again, but I’ll definitely have to do something about the older one at some point this winter.

I think it should be an easy fix, since I could probably just pick up stitches around the waist where it still fits, frog the bottom half and re-knit it with less hip increases (or none at all). Whatever I do, I’ll make sure to keep you posted on my sweater surgery, so wish me luck!

Now if you don’t mind I’ll go back to my needles, because I definitely got some catching up to do before the year is over!

Cheers 🙂

Comfort knitting

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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?