Sunday, December 29, 2013

Cheeky Dishcloths from Grandma

These colourful dishcloths arrived from my Grandma as my Christmas gift this year.  It's a great gift all on it's own, as I've been wanting to make dishcloths since we have, literally, only 2 of them, but haven't quite gotten around to it.  But it's an even better gift when you hear the background behind them.

"Do you recognize this yarn that you left as 'scraps'? for me. Well - I'm sending you my scraps of same yarn!"

Sitting on top of these cloths was this envelope.  See, back when I was packing up my apartment to move up to the Yukon, I came across a bag of partial balls of cotton yarn, left overs from when I made this pillow:

Since I was downsizing, I offered the bag to my Grandma, who makes more dishcloths in a month than most people do in their lifetimes.  I guess she just came across the bag again recently and got an idea of what to do with it.

Of course, my Grandma is a little cheeky, so inside the envelope was this:

So hmm, what can I make with these itty bitty bits to send back to her?  Suggestions?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Possibly Some Over-Medicated Babbling

I have a hidious cold that Dr. Google has me convinced is either my imminent doom or possible bronchitis.  Regardless, I've been cooped up in the house, sunk miserably in the couch coughing my lungs out.  Or so it feels.  I'm going to apologize right off the bat, because this post is going to meander like the Red River.  Actually, I'm not really sorry.  It will involve a lot of knit talk, because that's all I've been doing lately.  Although I do have one sewing project down at the bottom!

My boyfriend has abandoned me for a hockey tourniment out of town.  Well, to be fair, I was supposed to go, but THIS COUGH.  I've spent the majority of today doing a Project Runway Season 5 marathon on youtube and knitting away at my Reverb cardigan I started back in November.

I know a lot of you aren't big knitting fans, but you have to admit, you can make some gorgeous garments doing it!

I'm actually about an inch further down from this pic.  It's a slow knit because of all the cables, but it's hard to put down once you get going.  Especially when you can't really do much else without epic coughing fits.  Again though, colour is off in this picture.  Stupid camera.
Fit check!  It's not too bad - I'm worried about the sleeves and the width, but I need to trust my math. Despite the fact that Geologist don't do math.  Eeep.  The colour in this pic is more true, but a little dark still.  ARGH CAMERA I HATE YOU.

No, I didn't get very far in NaKniSweMo.  Well, I got as far as the armhole divide, and then everything stalled out for Christmas knitting.  Which I should still be working on because I'm not actually done, but screw it.  I'm sick and I can knit what I want to!

I'm pleased with what I got done for Christmas though.  Aside from the out-of-no-where owl hat for a coworker's daughter, I also finished off two toques for the couple who hosted us for Christmas eve/morning. (They also got most of the salted caramels too.)  I thought it was very kind of them to open their home for two people with no local family, and wanted to do something extra for them.  I made The Natural Hat (which I made last year as well for a friend) and the Lace Vine Hat.  The latter is a new pattern and the first one the creator has released.  It's a pretty well-written and a beautiful pattern - my right-before-wrapping-them-up pictures don't do the hat justice.

Love the textures in this pattern, and it was a quick knit. So fun to watch the lace pattern develop!  Colour's off here though.
The toque was more of a teal shade, like in this photo, but...deeper, if that makes sense.
This toque turned out a little bit too short. The recipient immediately put it on and wouldn't take it off all morning, so I assume he liked it, but it didn't quite go down far enough. Think my tension was a little tighter than normal.
Let's not talk about what I didn't get done.  Like the fornicating beaver's hat I promised to design for my boyfriend, nor the other NSFW knit he asked for.  And the fornicating deer hat a good friend requested that's been nearly done for months now but I'm too lazy to pull back 4 rows to start the top decreases sooner.  (I have interesting friends.)  And then there's the hat my brother asked me for about 2 weeks before Christmas when I had all the above (including the two pictured) to complete.  Brat.

The Boyfriend and I went out and cut down our own Christmas Tree from the middle of the bush.  It was my first time doing that and was so much fun!!  Poor thing looks a little scraggly, but honestly it was one of the fullest ones out there.  I might've added too many lights to the poor thing - looks sort of like the centre of a galaxy, but at least he's a bright little tree!  I made some of the ornaments for it too.  Mostly brass bells with ribbons tied on, but I also made this little guy:

I love it!  Entirely hand sewn using felt, some lace I had on-hand and a bit of woven fabric for the noel part, some embroidery thread, some ribbon and beads, and a button.  I can't take credit for it though, I totally copied was inspired by this brilliantly talented person

I also made a bunch of crocheted snowflakes, but I didn't get them starched in time, and frankly, I forgot about them until just now.  Whoops.  Oh well, next year.

AND I should probably stop babbling.  I will say, though, that I'm stoked to get back into my sewing room (as soon as I dig it out of the Christmas Cleaning Explosion that happened in there AKA where everything that I didn't know what to do with got tossed).  I'm forcing myself to cull my wardrobe drastically, and that's made me think about the gaping holes in my closet.

Not the least of all is pants.  Might be time to dig these suckers out again.

Hope you all are healthier than me and knitting/crocheting/sewing up a storm this holiday season!  Or at least are enjoying your alcohol and merriment with friends and family.  Lucky buggers.  I'll just be here on my couch, coughing and pouting.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Christmas!

Salted Caramels: The best and most dangerous thing I have ever made. SERIOUSLY. 

Happy Christmas everyone!  I hope your days are full of good friends, loved ones, and seriously dangerous (and tasty) treats!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cute Little Hooters

I may have been utterly absent lately, but that doesn't mean I haven't been creating!  Boy, have I been creating.  There may be more posts in the near future.  Especially since the mining industry has gone down the toilet and I'm going to find myself with a lot more free time in the near future!  YAY MORE CRAFTING TIME!!!

This year, we're spending Christmas at the Boyfriend's Best Friend's Parents place, which will be fun and is so kind of them to invite non-family to their family event.  And I thought it would be nice to make them all toques, because they're all outdoorsy people and winter outdoorsy people, and you can never have enough toques.

So while I should've been working on all of these toques, I instead made my coworker's daughter (who I've never met) a toque instead.  Because I am the Queen of Procrastination.  lol  I tried to say no, but the project burrowed it's way into my brain and shoved all other projects out. 

Sneaky little owls.  You might recognize this toque.  I made the same pattern last summer and then gave it away to Suzy Bee Sews.  I love the pattern and I was glad for a chance to make the child-size version.

I was originally going to make it out of the bright pink yarn you can see hints of in the toque, but it's a bit of a scratchy wool, and it's for a wool needs special handling...nope, wasn't going to work.  So instead I used some admittedly soft acrylic I happened to have in camp with me, and I'm so glad that I did.  Easy care, super soft, and will take a beating.  And then added some pink touches, since the girl really loves pink!

As you can see, it's a bit small for an adult's head, but it'll be perfect for the little 8-year-old recipient.  The coworker is knit-worthy, considering all of the stuff he's done for me, last minute mind, without complaining.  My job would've been a lot harder without his help!

Someday, I'm going to make myself one of these...

The very best part of this toque is this:
Obviously ALL THE TOQUES will need pompoms now, because I've forgotten just how much fun they are to make!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Yeah I know, there's approximately 8 jillion of these National ____  ____ Month things.  Apparently there's one for knitting sweaters!

I don't actually think that I can succeed at National Knit [a] Sweater Month, since it involves knitting a 50 000 stitch sweater in just a month.  I not only started 3 days late, but I head back to camp this Thursday and I don't have much time to knit while there. 

But I thought it'd be fun to knit along!  I'd be happy if I could get the body done this month.

Collar and first pattern repeat complete today.

I'm making the Reverb by Tanis Lavallee, a cardigan pattern I've been oogling for about 6 months now.  I've even pictured it in this yarn, although I've attempted it on two other knitting projects.  I think this will be the best marriage between yarn and pattern!

And the best part is that I'm not the one who picked it!  I narrowed down my sweater choices to three patterns and the yarn to four colours, and asked my boyfriend for his opinion.  He picked this pattern and this yarn, and I'm so happy with his choices!

Obviously it's meant to be!*

* Yarn/pattern and him/me.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Finished Project: Plaidtastic Blue Archer

Hey would you look at that, I finally took pictures of my Archer!  I've only been wearing it near-constantly for the last 3 weeks.

Yeah, I'm pretty happy with it.  There's a couple things I'd change on the next one (and there will be at least one more, possibly a half-dozen because these are fantastic work shirts!  And every day shirts.

I forgot how easy button-ups are to wear.

Pattern: Grainline Studio's Archer Button-Up Shirt
Fabric: 100% cotton plaid flannel
Size: Size 12 from armhole upward, graded to size 14 at waist and size 16 at hips
Alterations: Other than size grading above, I did the following:
  • Narrowed the shoulders by 3/4 inch
  • Shortened bodice by 2.5 inches
  • Take in side seams by 1/2 inch
  • Reduced length of butt bustle by cutting along size 0 hem

I didn't do an FBA, just because this is a loose top and the toile I did (and didn't take a pic of, sorry) showed that I didn't need it.  I might do a small FBA next time though, just for a bit of extra room.

This fabric, while lovely, was skewed to an annoying degree.  I couldn't straighten it no matter what I did.  So I mostly gave up on matching the plaid, except for across the front.  I think I did a pretty good job, considering, but the bias button band helps a lot!

There are two major alterations that I'll make next time.

I shortened the bodice by 2.5 inches.  This was about 1 inch too much.  The butt bustle should've been a bit lower.

This one is probably the biggest one.  View A has a pleat below the yoke to give some extra fabric across the shoulders.  View B doesn't.  Definitely should've added that one in, because holy man is it ever annoying not having it.  REACHING FORWARD IS HARD.

Although I'm probably going to make more view A's in the future, because there's only so many butt bustles a person needs in the 21st century.  In this part of it, anyways.

So overall, I'm in love with this shirt.  Don't be fooled by the 'meh' face in some of these photos, it was entirely due to my horrible camera and not the top.  The top is easy to wear, both at home and at work, and with a few tweaks, will be even better next time.

But I will warn you, there's not a lot of shaping to this shirt.  The only shaping is at the sides, and it's a bit poofy at the tummy.  I'm happy with this right now, because I've been enjoying the camp desserts a bit too much and the camp gym facilities a bit too little.  Plus I do like to de-emphasize my body when at camp.

Wouldn't be too hard to add a couple darts in the front though...

ETA: I forgot to mention something that's come up in the comments.  I found the instructions for the Archer a little sparce, especially for a button-up top with a full collar.  I eventually gave up on them and followed the Archer Sew Along instead.  Maybe if you have experiences with this type of garment, the instructions would be fine, but for anyone new or newish to them, use the sew along.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Itchin' for a Skirt

It's weird weather here in southern Yukon - hovering around zero and the snow disappears almost as soon as it lands.  Odd for this part of the world at this time of the year.

It's making me want to wear warm skirts - or skirts with leggings (I blame Steph and her new leggings pattern).

I've also been wanting to try out her Hummingbird Orange skirt pattern, which needs less than a metre of fabric.  Incidentially, I've had this gorgeous burgundy corduroy kicking around for years, because there's only slightly less than a metre of it.

Coincidence?  I call Fate.

Now if only I knew what I did with the pattern pieces...


I promised a post on my Archer button-up last week.  It is finished!  I just loath my camera with all the passion in the universe, and not inspired to take pictures with it at all.  I'll suck it up this week and do it.  Just be prepared for a slightly frustrated photoshoot.  Here's a teaser, just to proove that it's done and that I actually wear it!

Because I would almost live in this thing (with one very important adjustment), if I could get away with it.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hello from a mining camp!

I have several finished things to share with you, and no way to post the pictures.  Silly restricted internet connection.  :(

Am in camp for another week, and as soon as I'm out, I'll share my first Archer, a knit cardigan, and a pretty knit hat (or two).  Plus a Sewing With A Plan plan!  Oh the plans I have, you have no idea.

Must wait for a better connection though.  Pooey.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

GOOD NEWS! (both of the working and sewing variety)

Aha so yeah, I disappeared for a few weeks there.  I have a good reason though: I GOT RECALLED BACK TO THE MINE!!  \o/ \o/ \o/

S.S. Klondike Sternwheeler
And then a friend came to visit me as soon as I got home, so I've been a little busy visiting with an old friend and appreciating the Yukon.  Which was time well spent in my books!  It's funny how you only manage to visit some places when other's come to visit, eh? 

Anywho, I'm actually planning a sewing project!  I have a couple knitting projects to show off soon, but those need some finishing and I can't be bothered right now.  ONWARD TO NEW PROJECTS!

Right before leaving for camp, I got seduced by Grainline Studio's Archer pattern, thanks to Lladybird's version.  Yes, I know she wasn't happy with her version, but that wasn't because of the pattern itself so much as her execution. 

See, it's getting cold here in Yukon, and I need some easy warm tops that I can wear easily at work. As I'm severly lacking in long sleeve button-ups, this seemed the ticket, especially the pretty bustle version! 

Since I'm still wanting to support local, I scurried off to our crappy fabric shop to find something decent.  I found this...admittedly lovely blue plaid flannel, which should be perfect.  I even found some nice metal buttons that add a touch of a professional look (I hope).  Anymore decent finds, and I'll have to finally remove that 'crappy' prefix. 

Of course, now I just need to finish taping all of these go-damn sheets together.  ARRRGGGHH.

Have any of you sewn up this top?  Would you make that back bustle part straight or on the bias? 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Finished Project: Double Point Knitting Needle Case

It took a couple extra days, but I finally finished my double point knitting needle case!  (For those who don't know what those are, they're needles that have sharpened points on both sides of the needle, hense 'double point'.)

The pattern is from a tutorial by Crafty Avocado.  She walks you through the instructions clearly with lots of pictures.  I did make a few changes though (which I'll detail below), and if I were to make it again, I'd make a few more based on personal preference.  Great tutorial though!

Case opened!  The tutorial just had you do the protective flap with a straight edge along the bottom, but I wanted scallops to emulate the little trees in the green fabric below!  I also rounded off the buttonhole tab for the same reason.

How do you like my self-covered button?  I managed to centre one of the trees exactly on the button *cough*on my second try*cough.
And here's the flap opened, revealing the needles underneath!  The flap keeps the needles slipping out of the case when it's closed up, something I neglected to do when I made Fuss that crochet hook case.  Oops.

Another change I made was the stitching order.  The tutorial had you stitch down all of the upper pocket seams first, then the lower pocket seams, matching up with the upper seams where needed.  Instead, I stitched all of the upper pocket seams that didn't line up with the lower pockets, then stitched both at once in one long seam so that they'd line up perfectly.  (I hope that makes sense - I'm a little confused trying to explain it.)  I did, however, backstitch at the top of the lower pocket for more strength before continuing on.

The hand embroidery was...tedius.  All I can say is that it seemed like a good idea at the time.  If you decided to do something similar, I recommend that you not do it stick a larger knitting needle in the pocket to prevent yourself from catching the lining with the sewing needle.  It also makes it easier to stitch with a bit of support behind the fabric.

Now I just need to order a set of 5.5 mm needles to fill that gap!  The needles I have here are all the ones I can get in town.  :(

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with this case.  It was handy to have at the knit night I organized for last night, especially when one of the women asked if I had any DPNs on hand and I could say YES!  I think that I'd make more smaller pockets next time though, and maybe a flapped or zippered pocket for adding a few stitch markers (I'm always desperate for them and it's getting annoying finding them in pants pockets, the bottom of my purse, in amongst spare change, under couch cushions...).

I'd originally planned to use the fabric I found in Alaska a few weeks ago, but when I went to find coordinating fabric, I fell in love with the green tree fabric.  And then I found the yellow fabric for the outside of the case.  The orange and brown just cemented it and I changed directions.  Oh well.  Maybe I'll use it when I make a case for my circular needles.  I might have to design that one myself...

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Finished Project: Tiramisu (Finally!)

Posing next to one of our backyard saskatoon berry bushes.
Please allow me to (finally) introduce the denim Tiramisu! 

Okay, not really denim, but a denim-like knit Tira.  Poor thing has been cut and partially sewn together since JanuaryWhy did I wait so long?!

For the people who don't know about this dress (I'm only assuming there's a few of you - although you must be living under a rock!), it's the Tiramisu dress, the first pattern launched by Cake Patterns.  Steph at Cake has put out a scad of them, and I've already made up her Pavlova and Hummingbird tops.

Saskatoons to the left of me, chokecherries to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with Tira.
Pattern: Tiramisu Knit Dress #0144
Size: 35 back bodice, 40C front bodice, waist and hip cut to my size (can't remember what I cut, but my waist and hips measure at 36" and 45" repectively).
Fabric: A denim-like sturdy medium-weight knit bought at our Crappy Local Fabric Shop, a diamond in the rough and the reason I still wander through there now and again.  Sadly, I have no idea of the composition because our Crappy Local Fabric Shop doesn't bother to put fibre content on any of their bolts.
Alterations: Sigh. Because I cut this out so long ago, I don't entirely remember.  I do know that my first bodice attempt was way too small, so I recut with a larger size.  I also had this almost all sewn together when I picked this up again last month, so other than needing to resew the underbust seam to bring the bodice wraps a bit closer together, I don't remember any other alterations.  I do know that next time I make up this pattern, I'll probably try cutting out the front bodice in size 35D, since the shoulder seams pull toward the back and there's some extra fabric above my bust.  Well, I'll try a toile of it, anyways.  I'm pretty happy with the fit as it is anyways, so we'll see if it improves it at all.

I did make a mistake in the construction though.  I understitched the pockets in the back skirt piece, but I completely forgot to on the front skirt piece.  Who knew that there were 4 pocket pieces?!  This causes the pockets to gape and stick out a little bit on the front skirt, but it really doesn't bother me.

I'm pretty chuffed about all the gold topstitching I did.  Because it was denim-looking, I embraced the jean look by sticking topstitching wherever I could!  I did a lot on the bodice piece, at the centre back and shoulder seams, around the sleeve hems, at the faux-wrap edges, and a double stitch hem around the skirt.  I really wanted to add more, especially around the under-bust and waist seams, but I thought this might be too much, and also make me more self-conscious.  That second one strikes me as being stupid, but sometimes you need to let your insecurities win sometimes when it means feeling so comfortable in a dress that makes you look and feel good!

Need to harvest these berries this weekend! Winter is on it's way, here in Yukon.
There is some wrinkles, bumps and lumps in the back.  Some of it (like at the underarm) could probably be fitted out, and I suspect will be helped with a change in the front bodice size.  Others are just my natural bumps and lumps, and I'd rather not focus too much on those.  Silly back lumps.  :)

Mmm...saskatoon tiramisu anyone?
Seriously, this dress is probably the most comfortable and flattering dress I've ever made and worn.  While I love Cake Patterns, I don't find that I reach for my Pavlova or Hummingbirds that often.  But this dress?  I finished it just a couple weeks ago, and the only thing that's kept me from wearing it more often is that I'm a slacker when it comes to laundry.  It's comfortable enough for kicking around the house, casual enough for running around and meeting friends for coffee, and pretty enough to wear to a wedding!  (All of which I've done in the last few weeks.)

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some saskatoons to go pick.  Yes, in my Tiramisu!  Now where did I put that ladder...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Alaskan Treasures!

Look at my crafty finds from a recent trip to Skagway, Alaska! 

Love the cheeky alpacas on the one piece!  I'm planning to make a case for my double point knitting needles soon, and was tickled to find knitting themed fabric.  These two were my favourites, although it was a tough choice.

Also hard to choose was my yarn.  I wanted to bring home something special as a souvenir from my Skagway trip, and spent a lot of time wandering around Changing Threads, fondling all the pretty Alaskan yarns.  Finally settled on this sock-weight yarn with accompanying sock pattern.

Realized when I got home that it's extremely similar in colour to another yarn skein I picked up a while back.

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