Friday, August 31, 2012

Whose Who? Owl Toque Giveaway

I've been knitting up a storm lately, but not actually finishing things.  This toque has been sitting on my shelf for weeks, completed except for the ends sewn in.  I lost interest in this toque because I sort of messed up.  I was afraid that it'd be too long, so I didn't do the plain knit rows between decreases (for those who don't speak knit, it means I shortened it quite a bit).  Here I thought I knew better, but that's dumb because what do I know about knitting?  Especially since this was my second project.  *facepalm*

For those on Ravelry, here's the link to my project (sorry, you need to be a member to see the page).  However, the project was a free one, and the pattern is linked offsite, so here's the pattern link if you're interested.  It's designed by Sara from Penguin Purls and is really well written!

It's also really tight.  I think I knit it too tight.  So basically, it's child sized.  Which is wonderful, because I don't actually have any children in my life old enough to fit this.

So I'm giving this toque away.  I just need to figure out how to block it (never done it before) and add a couple buttons to one owl for eyes, but if you have a kid who might fit this and will actually wear it, go on and leave a comment below, and I'll do the draw next Wednesday.

Keep in mind though, it's 100% wool, so don't get it if the kid is allergic.  And also it's my second completed knitting project, and there's a few whoops in it (not really noticeable though). :)

ETA: Will be doing the draw tonight at 6 pm PST!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Have You Seen the New Burda Plus Patterns?!

I'm having a tough time containing my joy over Burda's new plus-sized patterns.  Unlike what they've been doing lately, these patterns actually appear to touch the body below the shoulder!  *gasp*  Look!  Fitted jackets!  Flattering dresses and tops!  A corset top! 

I've tried to limit which ones I show here, but I love them all, seriously.  I don't know yet whether these are supposed to be in their magazine or just sold as patterns, but I need to find and buy them all.  Which of course makes me hope like crazy it's in the magazine so I can get them all at a decent price, but I think I'll buy them even if I have to pay full price for the patterns.

I mean, look at this jacket!  I love the leather and wool panels!  The hand stitched details along some of the seamlines are gorgeous too.

And I'm also in love with this jacket!  The leather trousers are probably not quite for me (I have epic thunder thighs), and yet I'm curious about them.  And now I've realized that I NEED a long white lacy skirt for the fall.

This jacket is similar to the ones above, but I love the lace detail around the neck (I think? Or maybe it's gathered light-weight fabric) and the hook and eye closure.  While I hate the fabric they chose for the corset, it's also pretty and has a lovely neckline.

I'm always always on the lookout for a pretty, basic, but flattering blouse.  Oh my love, I think I have found you.  How pretty is this?!  The Dirndl Blouse isn't showcased with the rest of the pattern in the spread, but it's here in the store, worn with the corset above (which shows off it's lovely neckline).

This dress is the last garment I'm showing (and really, I think that only leaves behind one top, which is basically this dress cut shorter), and I love it!  Well, I'm not a fan of how low cut it is (although I'm sure my boyfriend would love it), but is it ever gorgeous!  I love the fabric they chose for it too.  I even suspect that the mid-riff panel would help decrease the preggers look with all those gathers there.  Possibly.  Maybe? 

What do you think of the patterns?  Will you be off to buy them all, or are you going to take a pass this time?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pattern Weights

A couple good friends of mine from my sewing group back in Winnipeg got me hooked onto pattern weights.  While I prefer pinning a pattern to the fabric to make sure I get an accurate cut (especially in finicky areas), pattern weights are fantastic for tracing patterns.  But every time I saw them in the stores, I baulked at the price.  $13 for 4?  No thanks.

And then I saw The Petit Sewists tutorial on how to make up your own, and I was sold!  I picked up a package of 3/4" washers (inside diameter, they measure 2 inches across) within my first couple weeks in Yukon, I was that eager to make them.  Of course, then they sat on my desk for about 6 weeks...

Yes, I'm still using plastic bags as tracing paper. Shush.

As suggested in the tutorial, I stacked the washer 3 high before gluing and wrapping them up with some scrap quilting cotton I'd kept from an art project.  I think it's sufficient for weights, but 4 high would've been even better.  Still, I got 8 weights out of it, for $8, much more economical than $13 for 4.  And mine are infinitely cuter!

After finding The Petit Sewists tutorial, I discovered that this isn't exactly a new concept, and people more brilliant than me have been doing this for years!  And they don't all use this method, either.  Here's a few of my favourite links for pretty washer pattern weights:
  • SewChic made single layer washer weights, but boy did she get a lot! This would be great for when you need a little bit of weight, or stack them for more if needed.  And how pretty are her fabric choices! I just wish I knew how she got her fabric edges so clean.
  • Stitchin and Bitchin and A Spoonful of Sugar both created cute yoyo style weights. I love the button detail!
  • Sugar Tart Crafts and Sascha Romeo used ribbon instead of fabric, and boy do those look cleaner than mine. Shucks, why didn't I do that?!
  • But actually, my all time favourite and current target of my envy is the yarn-wrapped washers made by Walker Whimsy. Oo la la, look at the colours and that soft fuzziness.  I know what my next set will look like!
  • And just for a bit of fun and organization, Junie Moon has come up with an adorable way to keep all of your pretty little weights together.
If you have, or plan to, make pattern weights too, please let me know!  I'd love to see how yours turned out.  Happy creating, all!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Mini Wardrobe 2012: Planning and Wishful Thinking

So there's a mini wardrobe contest about to start on Pattern Review, and I'm a sucker for wardrobe contests.  I really have no idea if I'll be able to do it, I'm not exactly Ms. Speedy lately when it comes to sewing (or even Madam Turtle, for that matter).  But I figured, what the hay, I'll try sewing along and see how far I can get.  After all, I already had a tentative plan for upcoming garments, so I might as well try as not. 

Plus contests are good motivation.

No, the blouse design choice hasn't been cemented yet.  I'm starting to lean towards number 3 above though.  I still have to finish basic alterations on the blouse (fba, narrow shoulder adjustment, etc), so I still have a bit to decide.

I'm itching to cut into the mustard yellow knit, and I think a basic long sleeve top with some gathers at the neckline would be perfect!  And I'm determined to finally get the cardigan made in the fabric Stacie sent me eons ago.

Is that a pair of pants I see?  They may actually be a skirt, since I have an (ir)rational fear of sewing trousers.  It's a fear I'm going to have to face soon though, because there are next to no options for buying pants here in the North, and my two main pair of pants are going to kick the bucket any day now.

Like I said, I'm probably not going to get this whole thing done on time for the contest.  But it's pieces that I want to make up, so I might as well plug away at it, eh?

Speaking of plugging away at stuff, here's a sneak peak at one of my current projects:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Planning for the Kaleidoscope Vintage Blouse

Now that I have a working sewing space, I'm itching to get back to sewing.  And of course, I want to sew with the pattern (Simplicity 4888) and fabric (kaleidoscope cotton) that Kristin sent me the other day!  So I'm combining them.  However, I felt like the kalidescope fabric is just too crazy on it's own, so I've picked up some black cotton to create some sort of yoke to incorporate into the blouse.  I wasn't sure what kind of design I wanted though, so I traced out the blouse pattern and played a bit:

Although I planned to do it on all of them, I only coloured in the fabric print on #4 because THAT took me about 15 minutes.  But it gives a pretty good idea of what the finished top would look like.

While I do like versions 1-3, I really liked the mock sweetheart yoke version (4-6), and played around with sleeve and collar colours.

Which design do you like best, 1, 2, 3, or 4?  If you like the sweetheart version, which sleeve and collar treatment looks best?  I'm also considering using piping, and the colour of the collar will determine whether I use black piping or the coloured print piping.

SO MANY DECISIONS!  How do you designers make up your mind?!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

My New Sewing Space

After 2 months, I've finally got my sewing space set up!  I can't tell you how much of a relief this is, because for a while there, I thought I'd have to give up sewing until I moved to a larger space (and that won't be for a long while).

For those who don't know, I'm renting a room in someone's house.  My roommate is awesome, but there's no room anywhere else for me to store stuff, much less set up a sewing space.  So I had to convert my bedroom into a very organized working space.  You can see how I've organized the space below, including the arrangement, the storage I've come up with (so far), and the way's that I can convert it to a sewing area.  (Click to see full size if you can't read the writing.)

I'm so excited to get back to sewing!  I love my new knitting hobby, but sewing will always be my first love.

This will, of course, be a dynamic space.  I'll always be on the look out for ways to improve the space and make this easier.  I admit, I'm a messy person in general; keeping this space organized is going to be a challenge.  So far though, everything has a space (even if it's in the big miscellaneous basket), and that's half the battle right there.

Are any of your sewing or crafting spaces shared with other essential (or non-essential) parts of your home?  What kind of creative storage solutions have you come up with?  And more importantly, how do you keep your space tidy?!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Look at What Arrived in the Mail! (ahem, last week...)

The lovely Kristin from quiet and small: adventures in ph.d-land purged some of her fabric and pattern collection a while back, and instead of doing the easy thing of donating them, she offered them up - first come first served style - to her readers!  And I jumped all over that.  Because I totally need more fabric and patterns.

I liked the simplicity of the, erm, Simplicity pattern, especially that adorable peter pan collar.  It doesn't include a lot of shaping, but the size matches my upper bust, and I figured I could add some waist darts if needed while I do the oh so needed FBA.  Or I'll just try tucking it in.  I've been liking that look on me lately!

Kristin was trying to entice Tanit-Isis or Oonaballoona to take this one, but I was greedy and scooped it on them.  How can I resist those colours?!  I'm determined to have a more colourful wardrobe this winter, since oh ho hello there 24 hour nighttime.  I'll need some brightness to keep me smiling!  Plus it sort of reminds me of the northern lights that's going to totally make up for the lack of sunlight.  Kristin also threw in the black bias tape, which will be perfect for the blouse I have in mind for this. Not sharing that with you yet though, because I have a bad habit of changing my mind as soon as I say what I'm going to do.  Haha um, not so good for wardrobe planning.

This is what I think is a vintage knit.  It's thin and has a lovely texture, and I'm considering making a long-sleeve t-shirt with some pintucks at the neckline or something. But now that I've said that, it'll probably become something else entirely.  Isn't the colour lovely though?  I'm loving this mustard yellow lately.  So pretty!

Thanks for the fabric and pattern Kristin.  I'm eager to get my scissors and needles into them! 

Watch out for my next post, where I show you how I plan to sew in a tiny room, which also serves as a change room, library, workspace, and oh yeah, my bedroom.  Goodness grief, this is going to be interesting.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

We Be Yarn Bombing

Photo Credit
I have been remiss.  I told myself I was waiting for this aerial photo of the airplane to come out. But then I just procrastinated.  And blog post topics (including some sewing!!!) have been piling up behind the log-jam of this procrastinated promised post.  SO HERE IT IS.

Well actually, here's a link to it, because the wonderful ladies over at Yarn Bomb Yukon have chronicalled it far better than I ever could, and it's their baby so they should get the blog post credit (and all sorts of other credit and kudos because they have busted their butts off for the last 6 months over this project).  So please head over to their blog, and check out not only all the photos of the yarn bombed DC-3, but also the progress posts and history of the plane.

For instance, did you know that this DC-3 is the worlds largest weathervane? (I'm sorry, that piddly one in Michigan doesn't come close to ours!)

The installation went really well on Saturday, and it was finished by 2:30 pm!  I admit, I think everyone was motivated by the ominous dark grey clouds starting to peak around the mountains all around us, but it was a monumental effort by everyone involved, and was a heck of a lot of fun!  I helped out by sitting in a lawn chair, live tweeting on my dumb phone and knitting.  :)

ETA: There's now a time-lapse video of the installation!  Go check it out, it's amazing!

Photo Credit
Oh, and see that Canada flag?  I crocheted the maple leaf from an entirely made up pattern. I'm pretty proud of it!  A little wonky, but you can tell it's the Canadian maple leaf! 

Thank you, Yarn Bomb Yukon, Yukon Transportation Museum, Yukon Arts Centre, and everyone involved with this project!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Look At What Happened Today!

Oh heck yeah, we yarn bombed an airplane!  More pictures and details to come later when I get better shots.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Owl Keep Your Cup Cozy

Please allow me to introduce my very first finished knitting project, the owl coffee cup cozy!  (For those not on ravelry, here's a link to the pattern on their blog.)  Okay yeah I know, it's a bit complicated for a first project, but I've also got a cable knit scarf in the works, which taught me most of the stuff I needed for this.  But scarves take forever and I banged this off in an evening, so it beat it out for first place. 

I used some the left over blue wool from this toque (Cascade 220, and I still have some left over!), and some black wool for the eyes.  I didn't like the googly eyes the designer suggested and didn't have any buttons even remotely the right size, so I figured that french knots would be best.

As you might've guessed from yesterdays post, knitting in the round with dpn (double point needles) is hard.  I will admit, it did get easier as I went, but my goodness look at that pointy mess!  There's FIVE NEEDLES in there! 

The only real problem is that the cozy is a bit big.  I'm giving this to my roommate, and I'm pretty sure it'll fit her travel mug just fine, but I'll reduce the number of owls from 5 to 4 in the next cozy.  (This might've been because I used size 5 mm needles instead of 4.5 mm, but other's on ravelry have mentioned the same problem.  Maybe it's also that the wool is too heavy?)

Here's the list of skills learned (and links to the places I learned them from) in this project:
Also, I have started and plan to finish reading every post that TECHknitting has ever posted, because my goodness that woman knows her knitting!

So...think I'm ready to start this sweater yet?

Monday, August 6, 2012

OMG Knitting in the Round

This, right here, might just be the definition of knitting hell. #omg #knittingintheround

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Look Mama! I'm Knitting!

Ugly ribbing and pretty cable knitting.
Still knitting, with a bit of crocheting on the side!  This hobby definitely takes up less room and makes less of a mess than sewing! (But I still miss sewing.) 

I took a knitting workshop on Monday night, hosted by Yarn Bomb Yukon.  What was supposed to be a lesson on how to cable stitch basically became a beginners class on knitting.  I think there were 4 or 5 of us who were just starting out out of the 6 or 7 in the class?  Since I'd taught myself the basics the week before, I caught on pretty quickly and helped out a few others who were struggling.  I didn't realize how lucky I am to have learned when I was younger, since by the end of the class, I had learned how to do ribbing and cable knitting, while other's were stuggling to figure out knit and purl (or just knit, in some cases).  Spending over 20 years as a crocheter probably helped, since I understand yarn handling and tension, stuff like that. 

Box stitch. Sort of. I butchered a few sections of it. This was good practice on keeping track of a pattern. 

The class was a lot of fun, and I met some cool people!  Some of the women from Yarn Bomb Yukon are part of a group that gets together once a week at a local pub for a sit and stitch night, and I think I'll join them when they start up again this fall.

Anywho, boring post is boring.  I'll try to post about a finished project (or possibly a book review) next time.  Or maybe more spazzing about someone else's awesome projects!  Heh heh.
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