tote

Lovely Spring

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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!

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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.

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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 ? 🙂

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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.

Bags 02

So what’s on your needles, folks?

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 🙂

From WIPs to FOs

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In the last few weeks, I have been putting in a lot of work on the multiple WIPs I discovered in my sewing boxes; just like I said I would. It’s been very hard to resist starting a new project but I am very proud to tell you guys that all that hard work was worth it; since I was able to finish 2 more sets of placemats, a craft bag and a big blue tote bag. Aren’t they just lovely?

bags

I also finished my Busy Bee Sweater earlier this week, and I am SO excited to show it to you today. It is my sweater for Very Shannon’s SSKAL14, and I (fortunately) was able to meet the September 24th deadline – although it has been extended now to October 8th. I was so sure I wasn’t going to make it, but somehow I managed to put the last stitches, weave in the ends and wash it on the 24th, and my honeybee nicely accepted to take pictures of it for me this weekend.

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Crafty-Effie/busy-bee
http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Crafty-Effie/busy-bee

Unfortunately for me though, even though my WIPs have been nicely transforming into FOs, I seem to have fallen victim to a streak of bad luck recently, and it’s been making my life miserable. It’s not like it’s really bad, it’s just stupid things that keep happening. I lost the pearl on my left earing while taking a bath. I knocked my head on the truck trying to pull something out. I made cheese bread, and it deflated in the oven. I dropped the couch on my feet and bruised my toes. Pulled a muscle in my neck. Had to absorb a 400$ unexpected expense. And so forth, continuously for the last couple weeks. Really, just stupid bad luck. I really hope it’s over, because I can’t take it anymore!

So talking about unexpected expenses… Have you noticed something new on the photos? Let’s have a closer look.

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Yes, I’m wearing glasses. I have never had glasses in my life (and to be perfectly honest I never suspected I would need them either), but my honeybee recently made me aware of the fact that I might have an eye problem, as he was able to read streets signs WAYYY before me… without his glasses. So I got an eye exam on Monday, and (surprise!) the optometrist diagnosed a slight myopia. Since it wasn’t all that bad, I could still choose to get it corrected or not, it was not required, but I thought it’d be a lot better to see things more clearly… So I got glasses. What do you think ? Does it look good or bad? Anyways, I guess I’ll just have to get used to them…

In the meantime, since I have been such a good girl finishing off all my sewing WIPs (and also because I had just finished my Busy Bee sweater), I decided to reward myself by starting a new knitting project, it’s a shawl called “Bamboo Wedding shawl” by Purl Soho. I have made one like that before for my mom, it was my very first knitted lace project. It’s a very nice, simple design that has a geometrical lace pattern that is easy to remember. I started it with Cascade Heritage yarn in Cosmo Blue, and I find it to be the perfect color for this shawl. I’m very excited about this project since it’s a nice change from all the sweaters I have been working on recently.

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On that note folks, I’ll go back to my sewing machine (or my knitting needles?) and wish you all a happy craft time 🙂