stripes

Carnage and Destruction

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For 3 or 4 weeks now, Honeybee and I have been living in complete chaos in the house because I decided to undertake a major project – painting the kitchen. This may seem like a menial task for some of you, but I can assure you that we have experienced anything but. Thing is, our kitchen isn’t very big but it’s packed, the cabinets are painted and the entire room is nothing but corners, trim and moldings (ceiling included!). Add to that the fact that we just bought a giant 80” long kitchen table and that I opted for a 3 color scheme for the walls&ceiling and you’ll quickly understand it was simply impossible to paint everything at once so I’ve had to proceed in sections, moving the furniture and the stuff as I go so it’s been slow but steady progress in the last few weeks. I still have to paint the cabinets but things are working out fine, and I’m really excited to see it come together.

Since we’ve been painting quite a bit at home recently (we’re on our third room being painted since this fall) my craft room has been doubling as a storage room for quite some time now, so we could get the furniture out of the way while we were working on the other rooms. Since things are finally starting to clear up a bit, I’ve had a chance to tidy things around in this room for the first time in months, and I took this opportunity to use up some small fabric remnants or finish projects I started a very long time ago.

Among other things, I made a cute baby wrap for a friend who recently gave birth

Baby wrap

There’s also a cute little lunch bag  with a bee cotton print and a large, reversible tote bag made using the Kwik Sew pattern K3700 and some remnants I had in stash. This tote has a really nice shape and feels nice on the shoulders, and the pattern is actually really cool because it provides instructions to build these bags directly on a serger, both with apparent and hidden seams.

Bags

I also made a couple new placemats to fit into the new kitchen and the fabric might give you a hint as to which color I’ve used to paint a portion of the walls. I’ve actually had the fabric cut and prepped for those placemats for so many years now because it was left over from a set I made for my dad and his wife. I made them a set of 6, but there was fabric left over for 2 more placemats, that I never sew together because I didn’t want to offer someone an incomplete set. Since there’s only me and my husband at home right now though, I figured I might as well give it a shot, especially since the leafy green fabric is so pretty!

Placemats

Well that’s it for now folks, wish you all a fun-filled summer 🙂

Sew it up!

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Yep, I noticed last week that I haven’t been sewing much lately other than small clothing repairs, and it made me realize how much I’ve been missing that free creative feeling I get when I chose a pattern, a fabric, imagine the multiple possibilities and make it my own. So over the weekend, I scanned through my bookcase, opened Tanya Whelan’s “Sew Many Dresses, sew little time” book I bought last winter and excitedly started a new project.

SewMany-Dresses

For someone like me who’s 100% self-taught, this book is gold. Not only does it provide clear instructions and patterns for many different dresses’s bodices, skirts, collars and sleeves that you can mix and match to taste, the author also included sound information on fabric types along with several useful tips and tricks on how (and why!) make a muslin, fit a pattern and make different variations for a different look every time.

I’m very, very satisfied by the style and fit of the dress I made, but what matters to me even more is that what I learnt while making this dress is absolutely invaluable dressmaking knowledge that will help me in years to come to perfect my sewing skills and become better at what I do. I will definitely make many, many more dresses using the patterns and instructions provided in this book and, if you guys want to see them, I will happily share my adventures with you here in the future.

Happy stitchin’ guys! 🙂

Dress

The Good, the Bad and the Pretty

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Earlier this month, I started a modified version of Dessine-Moi Un Mouton, a wonderfully textured sweater pattern written by La Maison Rililie. I didn’t have enough sport weight yarn on hand to make it but I had plenty of fingering weight yarn, including a soft and squishy gradient pack of Cheshire Cat yarn from Frabjous Fibers that I had been dying to use. Consequently, I decided to follow my instinct and cast on this sweater on a modified gauge using fingering weight yarn.

First, the Pretty. So far, this sweater looks (and fits) amazing. I worked a certain number of mods that are detailed on my project page, but basically other than the modified gauge, I changed the color sequence, made the body much longer and added some short row shaping around the back. Look at that!

FotorCreated

Then, the Bad. As soon as the idea struck, I bought 2 skeins of Cascade Heritage yarn in color “snow” for this sweater before I had actually took time to read the pattern through – I foolishly believed that 2 skeins of Cascade Heritage would be more than enough for it (it’s 874 yards, folks!) but then, I realized that the color stripes were actually worked by alternating the main and contrasting colors every row. Oops.Turns out I don’t have enough to make the sleeves. Problem much?

Lastly, the Good. Luckily for me, Cascade Heritage is a readily available yarn; it’s nothing hard to put your hands on so I should without a doubt be able to find someone on Ravelry destashing it or, worst case scenario, buy another skein at my LYS. Since it’s such a light and natural color, I’m really not worried about the skeins not matching, plus the pattern alternates MC & CC so even if the color was a little off, it just wouldn’t show.

If all goes well, I should have a finished sweater to show you guys soon, so keep your fingers crossed! 🙂

Sock weather

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Last week was really hot and humid so all I really wanted to knit was quick small projects like toys… and socks. And that’s great, because earlier this spring I received a couple skeins of Artfil Coktail self-striping sock yarn in color strawberry-almond from the lovely Yana. I thought the yarn was so deliciously scrumptious that it deserved to become something a little special to me – so I used it to make my first (ever) toe-up 2-at-a-time sock design.

FotorCreated

I had a lot of fun making these socks, they are relatively basic and feature Judy’s magic cast-on for the toes, a moss stitch instep&leg and a slipped stitch German short-row heel. The texture and construction is perfect for self-striping, speckled or variegated yarns, and they can be made as long (or as short!) as you want them to be to fit any yardage you have on hand.

If you’re interested in the yarn, you can visit Artfil’s website to find a retailer near you or subscribe to their sock yarn club, it’s available in 3, 6 or 12 months subscriptions.

And if you’re interested in the pattern, it is currently being tested here on Ravelry, so be sure to check it out and send me a message if you’re available to test, I’m still looking for testers in every size 🙂

Have a great week all!

Monsters in the closet

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My very best friend just recently had a baby so I’ve been on a rampage gathering all sorts of baby-related patterns and things, and let me tell you that it is candy for the eyes! There are so many cute, adorable baby things out there, it’s like a knitter’s paradise!

You may (or may not) remember that I finished a gray baby blanket earlier this spring, and you may (or may not) remember that my honeybee gave me Rebecca Danger’s Big Book of Knitted Monsters for Christmas. Well wonders happened, and I put together a little gift for my friend including those two little beauties here:

baby gift.jpg

This is the very first time I’ve ever knitted a plush toy, and it was so much fun that I can foresee many-a-plushie for me in the future. The yet-to-be-named little monster (or Hugo the couch potato monster, as referred to by the author) was an easy, quick and fun knit, that provided lots of instant gratification and allowed me to combine two (otherwise unusable) small 50g skeins to create a unique, playful and soft toy for someone’s special little person. In this case, I used a little over half a skein of blue Malabrigo Silky Merino yarn and ¾ of a skein of gray Louisa Harding Grace Silk & Wool yarn, leaving some room for (maybe!) another smaller monster in the same color palette. Who knows?

Looking through the book, I fell in love all over again with all those adorable monsters and I can tell you that there might soon be an Angus the Attic Monster, an Irving the Icebox Monster, a Dot the Dress Up Box Monster or a Bea the Basement Monster in the works. Hurray for babies (and plushies)!

Double First

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Earlier this week, I finished this amazing Askews Me Dickey cowl from Stephen West for my good friend Alex, and I couldn’t be more pleased at how it turned out! This project is a double first for me, it’s the first time I knit anything from (the VERY popular) Stephen West, and it’s also is my very first brioche stitch project.

guralh cowl.jpg

 

Although it felt a little strange at first since I’ve never knitted brioche stitch and also because I don’t knit very often with more that one color at once, I must admit that I loved every single stitch of this amazing cowl; the pattern was easy enough to follow for a first-time brioche knitter, the yarn and pattern combo was perfect and the construction of the cowl itself was very interesting. As a bonus, the pattern also features my all time favorite I-cord  bind-off. Sweetness! All in all, I had a lot of fun making this project, and I can foresee many a brioche stitch in my future. I actually loved this cowl so much that I think I’ll make one for myself one in a different color some time this year, I’m very much looking forward to it!

Yarn A: 1 skein of worsted weight merino yarn, hand dyed by the lovely Yana from Artfil
Yarn B: 1 skein of Berroco Vintage yarn in black

Needle: 4.5mm caspian circular needle

Vacation is no time to be lazy!

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20150916_134139921_iOSGuys, I just came back last Sunday from an AMAZING vacation, and I feel totally recharged! It was definitely much much needed after working all summer with no real breaks, covering for everybody else’s vacation.

Today though, I feel like karma really does exist because after waiting patiently all summer for my vacation to come, I ended up with what was (probably) the most beautiful 2 weeks of the summer, weather-wise! Honeybee and I felt so blessed, we really wanted to make the most out of it and I think we did – we savored every minute of it.

We spent a good 10 days on the go, first visiting friends in Buffalo, NY then driving to Honeybee’s family in the Toledo area in Ohio, and then taking the bus there for a short 3-days getaway in Chicago where we met his (and now my) friend Jen. There, we visited the Art Institute of Chicago, the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, the Skydeck at the top of the Willis Tower, we also took a boat ride on lake Michigan, walked the waterfront and ate an awesome deep dish pizza at Uno’s downtown. Here’s a little photo recap of our time there :

ChicagoAfter all this, I felt totally revived, and it’s good because… I came back to a real construction site 🙂

Thing is, before leaving for vacation we started renovations at the house, mainly adding a shower to the bathroom and redecorating said bathroom and my craft room. Most of the hard work had been done before leaving for vacation, but not everything is quite functional yet.

The shower works, but the bathroom has not been repainted yet, and I don’t have a towel bar. The sewing room is painted, but the IKEA furniture I bought for it has not been put together yet. Since there’s still a lot to do, I am so glad I came back feeling so energized! I will share with you guys pictures of my bathroom and craft room makeovers when they are complete but in the meantime, I can tell you that I chose a very bright and playful color scheme for my sewing room that uses yellow, white and gray. Most of the room is very basic, but I went all out for the accent wall, with which I had quite a bit of fun. Want to see it? Here it comes…

Drum roll….

sewing roomTada! What do you guys think? Yay or nay?