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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!

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

Blue flower

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Ahhhhhh July. The warm weather, the sun, the luscious green leaves, the flowers, the… forest fire warnings? The mosquitos? Ok, let’s move on. Amidst the quarantine and the COVID-19 pandemic, the weather here this summer has been exceptionally warm and beautiful so far, which made me want to create this little flowery piece of summer here.

This dress was made using the Vogue pattern 8667, a very simple straight forward dress that was just perfect for this light and airy flowery piece of cream and blue fabric I’ve had in stash for the longest time.

I chose view C, with the A-line pleated skirt, the short sleeves and no collar. I did end up having to make a few modifications to the pattern though, so let me run you through these very quickly.

First of all, I had bought this pattern ages ago, and noticed that the sizes included in the pattern were 16-24. Now that I’ve lost a lot of weight, I more would’ve needed something around size 14 or a little bit below, so I had to adjust the pattern accordingly. I did my best and I think it turned ou pretty good, but I did have to pinch up around the collar as I thought the neck opening was still a bit too large after a sewing it up. I think it actually adds some charm to the dress though, so I guess it’s kind of a happy mistake!

The other major modification that I made was on the skirt. I didn’t have quite enough fabric for the two-piece pleated skirt but still wanted an A-line instead of a straight skirt, so I used the lining piece to cut the front fabric instead of the pieces that were provided in the pattern for the pleats. I wish I would’ve had enough fabric to make the pleated version, but I still really love this dress and I think the basic A-line skirt also works very well.

The entire thing was lined to perfection with a dusty blue cotton, and I added a simple little sash in the same solid blue fabric to break up the business of the pattern. I have so much love for this dress you guys, I know for sure I will be wearing the hell out of it!

What have you guys been up to so far this summer?

Entrelac, anyone?

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I’ve had a lot of fun this summer/fall working on my first ever entrelac project, it’s a Tunisian Crochet blanket made with (too many yards!) of Bernat Maker Home Dec & Fashion in 3 different colors, and I simply LOVE (!) the result.

Entrelac Tunisian Crochet blanket

The pattern I used is Bernat’s Tunisian Entrelac Baby Blanket and I think it’s a great pattern for both, first time Tunisian crocheters and first time entrelac knitters, and there’s also a tutorial available to help you visualize what you gotta do, too. I made a slightly larger version of the blanket, reaching about 45″X50″ with 16 pattern repeats instead of 11, but otherwise followed the pattern pretty closely. Although I’m familiar with Tunisian crochet this was the first time I’ve ever done entrelac, and I’m quite glad I chose this pattern because it was a simple, easy and very fun to make.

This blanket is just so cute it’s to die for, and with the yarn I used the blanket is amazingly soft and squishy I could literally snuggle to it all day long. Plus, both cats approve because (as shown in the pictures) it was their favorite blanket before it was even finished.

Well that’s all for now folks, cheers 🙂

Gearing up

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Three full weeks after getting back from Hawaii I’m still on a sunshine high, and the current heat wave brushing over New England and Quebec probably has something to do with that. While we enjoy this year’s last summer outbursts, I’m slowly preparing for fall and gearing up for the upcoming holiday season. Since I make most of the presents I offer, makes perfect sense, right?

And this shawl is the first of the season, it’s a free pattern called Glitz at the Ritz from Helen Stewart. I used one skein of Malabrigo sock yarn in the “Solis” colorway and 1 package of blue/green glass beads from Walmart.

Rainforest Shawl

It was my first time actually making a beaded project, and I must say that I’m quite satisfied with the result. I’ve always avoided beaded projects because I thought the beading would slow me down significantly, but it turns out it’s really not that bad, I should have given it a try much sooner. I really liked the pattern, it was simple, straightforward and the instructions were clear. I worked the entire pattern as is, except that I omitted the beads in the star lace section partly because I didn’t want to have to open the second bead package, and partly because I was straight out lazy, but I’m actually quite glad I didn’t because I think it looks beautiful as is – I feel like the beaded and plain sections play very well together and provide a good balance. As usual you can find all the details on my project page, so head over there for pattern and yardage information.

Over the summer I also made a few more reversible tote bags using the Kwik Sew pattern K3700. I’m really, really growing fond of this pattern because I think it’s really versatile – you can make it reversible or not, on a serger or on a regular sewing machine and the shape of the bag is perfect to be used as a handbag, a project bag or a shopping bag, as you see fit. In both cases, I also had enough fabric to make a matching notion pouch with a zipper, that can be used with the bag or independently. Really, this might become an addiction in the near future.

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So what’s on your needles, folks?

Hawaiian adventures

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Earlier this summer, one thing led to another and I ended up spending a week of vacation in Hawaii. Yep, one beautiful week in a pacific paradise.

I’m lucky enough to have a lot of vacation time but I didn’t really know what to do or where to go this year. I took a week off on my birthday, so from August 27th do September 2nd and thought I’d figure something out eventually. And finally, one week prior to my vacation, I stumbled on a 600$ plane ticket to Hawaii. Yep. That’s what happened.

I am still amazed at what I saw and experienced there, and to this day I still do not understand why the entire population of the US still hasn’t moved to Hawaii yet… Because I would if I could.

In other news though, I did take advantage of my week off to finish a cutie little white cotton blanket for little baby Damien who will get baptized in October. I used 3 full skeins of Berroco Modern Cotton DK, and it’s just so luscious and soft I could bury my face in it all day! I might write this pattern out in the next couple months with different yarn weight/gauge and size options, so keep an eye out for that.

Between the vines

That’s it for now folks, cheers 🙂

Where has summer gone?

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Anyone else here feels like June was just yesterday? I swear, I really feel like summer just barely started, but it’s already the end of August, how exactly did that happen? Where was I? Where did summer go? I know, I know – it’s not technically over yet – the end of August and September usually bring some of the best summer has to offer, just before it all goes out with a bang in the fall, when the leaves change in October. And I know that I still have a lot of fun stuff coming in the next few weeks, but somehow I still feel lovelorn – summer felt so short, I want to start it all over again and rekindle the romance.

Oh well… at least, we had some good times. Less than a month ago, I spent a week in Ohio where we took advantage of the great weather and planned all sorts of activities. We spent a day at Put-in-Bay, on Lake Eerie, also visited the beautiful Shedel Gardens in Elmore, OH, went antiquing and yarn shopping and so much more!

Put-in-Bay2017-08-01 13.03.11Shedel 22017-08-03 11.04.22Untitled collage (1)

Although it’s been fun, I guess I haven’t been making much progress when it comes to knitting, sewing and such but I guess I have made a few bags, started an afghan and a baby blanket. I’m not quite ready to share those yet since but I should have something craft related to share with you next time, I promise! 🙂

Thanks you all folks, and I’ll talk you again soon!

Spring has finally arrived!

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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.

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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?

Peacock beauty

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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!

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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.

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