Saturday, December 31, 2011

Knitting in Action!

On Monday, while watching the entire first three (last three? the original three?) Star Wars movies on Blu-Ray (what is wrong with you George Lucas changing the movies like that?!) I finally started knitting the Aidez Cardigan! I bought the yarn almost a year ago and have finally now cast on!

I'm using Cascade Ecological Wool in Tarnish (colour #8049). Eco is 100% undyed sheep's wool and is so squishy and springy - I just love it! It's so fun thinking that this is the actual colour of the sheep the wool came from - he must have been one nice lookin' sheep! This yarn was picked up from The Knit Cafe here in Toronto which is a pretty rockin' yarn shop!

On Monday night I tweeted the above picture of the start of the back of the cardigan. It is done in pieces (back, two fronts, and two arms) and then seamed together in the end. Did I mention that this is a free pattern from Berroco? And hey look, a little peek of my new Munki Munki pyjamas that Alex gave me for Hanukkah!

Tuesday morning/afternoon (with a Banana Republic and Over Easy break with Alex in between) I watched some full-length Miss Marple movies that my Mum gave me for Christmas and continued to knit! The colour is off in these pictures because they were taken with the lamp beside me on  - the colour is much closer to the first pictures of just the yarn on it's own. It's a really pretty mid-grey with little bits of brown highlight. The cables on this cardi are just awesome and I could knit them forever! Luckily this wool is pretty bulky (it's a heavy Aran/light bulky weight) so the knitting is going pretty fast.

I'm a bit further along up the back now and I can not wait to be done and show the finished product to you guys! I know this is going to be a cardi I'll wear all the time.

Rav'd here:

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Reflections + Predictions

Hey all! So how were your holidays? Did you eat too much and get the gifties you wanted? Were you driven crazy by your family or spend some time just relaxing? We celebrate Chrismukkah around here (that's both Hanukkah and Christmas for those of you not down with the lingo) and we had quite the time! I'll be back with some pictures of gifts both given and received very soon but for right now I wanted to share a little something else. Every year Sew, Mama, Sew asks bloggers and crafty peeps to share their sewing industry reflections on the past year and predictions for the upcoming year and I thought I'd take part! Oh, before beginning I'd also like to give a big shout-out to Melanie of A Sewing Journal who used my Countdown-to-Christmas Advent Calendar as one of her examples for "unexpected colour" in the article she wrote for SMS called Sewing Trends ~ Holiday Colour - thanks Melanie!

Looking back at the 2011 sewing scene, what trends stand out in your mind?
I've noticed, especially in the last few months, an eruption of more neutral coloured projects - think quilts in shades of white and creams or greys and cross stitch all done in one neutral colour (like blackwork). With many of these projects the fabrics aren't necessarily strictly neutral but can often be lightly washed shade of peony or lilac or mint. Solids have obviously been big this year and I think they'll be sticking around for awhile. I've also noticed a surge in complex paper pieced blocks - many of these seem to be inspired by Japanese quilting books and templates while still more are designed and drawn by the quilters themselves - amazing! The use of different basecloths for quilts - linen and voile for example - also seemed to be pretty popular.

What were some of your favorite things related to sewing this past year?
I loved seeing the start of something wonderful like Sewing Summit even if I couldn't actually attend myself. I did get to talk a little bit about it with Erin and Amy when I saw them at Quilt Market in Salt Lake City in the spring and I was so proud of them and happy for them that they started something so wonderful. Seeing all the blog posts and tweets and pictures afterwards made me extremely happy and grateful that our community was getting together and sharing with each other in a space that we could call our own. I'm not gonna lie, I was totally jealous afterwards that I couldn't afford to attend because I would have loved to have had the opportunity to hang out with all my sewing peeps, take the classes and workshops, and just be part of something that seemed so magical.

What did you make that you’re most proud of?
Well geez, that's a hard question! I've made a number of things this year that I really loved and that were hard to let go of - let's face it I rarely make things for myself - but I think that the thing I'm most proud of may not be the best technically, and it may not be the biggest thing I've made this year, but it was made to bring a little sunshine and hope to someones day - the Life Quilt. You can read a bit about the Life Quilt in this post. There actually is another huge quilt project, that I am keeping for myself, that I am hugely proud of but I haven't had the chance to blog about it yet so we'll discuss that in the new year!

What sewn projects have you seen this year that you absolutely love?
There have been so many! I am constantly inspired by the fabric selections and patterns people have chosen, and the risks they have taken! I am in love with this little piece of magic by doe-c-doe, Jeni's Sewing Circle pillow, Corey's Door block from the Ringo Pie Bee (amazing!), Quirky Granola Girl's Ski Sweater block, lizzie_broderie's Camelot Quilt, Nicole's Snow Owl pillow, good-ness's mini tribute to Japan, the Go Anywhere Bag pattern by Anna at Noodlehead, all of Angela's Swoon blocks (and her feet!), and so so so many more!

Do you have a favourite sewing book or pattern from the past year to recommend?
There are a few actually but one book that really stands out in my mind is Natural Patchwork by Suzuko Koseki; also Scandinavian Stitches by Kajsa Wikman which actually came out in late 2010 but was enjoyed very much this year! Pattern wise I enjoyed many that were featured in Fat Quarterly and most all of the xStitch patterns from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery - such awesome, fun designs!

Are there any trends you’re over and done with?
Hmmmm, that's a hard one since I never want to "get a hate on" about anything that someone else loves, but I would say that I am kinda over the whole owl-on-everything phenomenon. I mean, really, I love owls and I use them sparingly in my own work (this kind of hearkens back to a Hemingway quote that Alex and I think is hilarious) but they do not need to be on everything. But as Amanda Carestio said in her post for SMS sometimes you think you're over something and then you see it done in a new and fun way and you're all like 'holy cow that is the most amazing thing I've seen in a long time', so you never know!

What are your thoughts about social media? How is it going for you? What do you love or hate?
I do love social media, but I must say that sometimes keeping up can be really overwhelming! I don't tweet, or pin, or roam around on Flickr as much as I used to - there is so much to see and talk about, but if I tried to keep up with it all I would never get any of my own creating done! I don't like the fact that some people have turned their entire use of social media into a vehicle for selling or for hating (um, really, that's not cool); I don't like that because of social media interactions some people feel left out or like they're not in the same league as other bloggers/designers/makers. I do however love the fact that I have met many of my life-long friends through social media - without social media there would be no Jennifer and Kaye inside of a shark cage at the Mall of America *wink*! Without social media there wouldn't be a Toronto Modern Quilt Guild and I wouldn't have the opportunity to meet so many awesome, creative people in real life.

Did you have a favourite fabric collection or print in 2011?
Oh, now that's another hard one! There have been some really fun collections this year but I didn't really buy very much. I absolutely adored Tula Pink's Prince Charming, Lotta Jansdotter's Echo, and Jenean Morrison's Silent Cinema (which is such a lovely, muted collection - I have a whole FQ bundle and am going to turn it into something really special I think).

What do you predict for 2012 in the sewing industry?
I predict that there will be more mixing of different types of crafty aspects together in the year to come - think patchwork and cross stitch together in one piece, hand quilting on solid decor items, and garments with special embroidered details. There has definitely been some of that this past year but I think we'll see even more of it as people attempt to make their work even more unique, interesting, and texture-rich. I also think that we'll see people stepping away from doing things for free - people will still offer free patterns and such on their own blogs and sites (and probably on the sites of friends) but I think we'll see a lot less of people doing free work for companies and publishers just to get exposure. Actually I think we've been seeing this already, and at least one publisher has already stepped up to the plate and admitted that it needs to change - which is really awesome! I also really hope that we'll see more opportunities for people in the sewing community to get together in person and really get to know each other.

Can you tell us what to expect from you in 2012? Any big projects or life-changing goals?
Well, I will be debuting my own line of PDF patterns in 2012 which is something that I've been working on for awhile now, but most of all I really just want to keep creating beautiful things! I don't know if any of my goals for this year are truly life-changing - I mainly try to take each project as it comes to me and work on it to the best of my ability without getting too far ahead of myself.

So what are your reflections and predictions? You can find the list of questions and a linky on the SMS blog - if you'd like leave me your thoughts in the comments or a list to your blog post if you link up, I'd really like to know what you guys are thinking! Are we on the same wave-length? Have you seen some things going on in the online community that I haven't?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Some Holiday Stitching and a Winner!

Hey all! How's it going? I just finished day seven of a seven day work week and let me tell you - I am wiped! But there is sewing to do and a friend in from England so no rest for awhile yet especially with Hanukkah and Christmas fast approaching.

I sent off a little gift to one of my bestie's, Jennifer, last week and it arrived in Maryland yesterday - huzzah! Arriving within a week was a miracle in and of itself considering the fact that I sent her some fabric way back in October that only arrived two weeks ago - Toronto to Maryland should not take two months!

I made this little mug rug for Jennifer using the Je T'aime Cocoa cross stitch pattern from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery (which is the same company that I designed the Itching to be Stitching pattern for) and random scraps of fabric from my "string bag". Some of the fabrics include Heather Ross' Far Far Away II, Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley, and Heather Bailey's Nicey Jane. The one of the very far right side is from Joel Dewberry's Chestnut Hill collection (that print, in that colourway, is actually one of my favourites ever and I so wish I had more).

Here's a little close-up of the cute mug and marshmallows! He got slightly warped when I ironed him but I still think he's too cute!

I used some Heather Bailey Fresh Cut for the back and a greeny-khaki solid that I don't have a name for since I think I got it in the remnant bin.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer's Twitter

I also sent Jennifer a copy of Christmas with Anne and Other Holiday Stories which is a collection of Lucy Maud Montgomery stories that were published in magazines and such around the turn of the century. I have had my copy for about 14 years and read it every holiday season - I know Jennifer is going to enjoy it!

So I guess you want to know who won the SMS giveaway too? Well, after an overwhelming response of over 700 comments, the winner is...

Heather D. of the blog Crafting... Congratulations Heather! I will send you an email soon and I really hope that you enjoy the Heather Ross fabrics!

So what are you sewing up this holiday season, whether as gifts or for yourself? I want to know!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway Day!

Hi everybody! If you're stopping by Miss Print for the first time from Sew, Mama, Sew - welcome! If you've been around these parts for awhile - you know I love you! Feel free to snuggle down, put your feet up, and stay awhile. I bet you'd like to know what I'm giving away right? How does some Heather Ross sound?

I'm giving away four prints from Heather Ross' West Hill collection (which is out of print). Up for grabs is a fat quarter of tan matryoshka, a fat quarter of brown matryoshka, a fat quarter of the pink floral stripe, and a fat quarter of the cream floral stripe (this is the one with the yellow leaves, not the purple).

There are two chances to enter-

1.Leave a comment on this post letting me know what your 
favourite winter treat is - hot chocolate? holiday cookies? something else?
2. If you are a follower of this blog, or if you become one, please leave 
a second comment and you will be entered a second time.

The first entry is mandatory to be entered in the giveaway, but the second is optional and you only have to leave a second comment if you are a follower and want a second entry. This giveaway (as always) is open internationally. I will pick the winner on December 16th and announce it here on the blog by the 18th.

There are many more giveaways to enter over at Sew, Mama, Sew so make sure to pop by over there and check them all out! Thanks for stopping by everyone, and please keep in mind that comments are moderated - I will publish them as soon as I see them, but duplicate comments will be deleted. Good luck everyone and I hope you're having a wonderful day!

*the giveaway is now closed*

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Life Quilt...and seeing life in quilting

A few months ago, as some of you will remember, I was working on a quilt when my walking foot exploded shooting dark oil in splotches across the top; luckily I was able to get the oil all out (phew!) but wasn't able to complete the quilting until I got my new foot.

This is the photo that I showed at the time with the quilt all basted; I was finally able to get my new foot at Creativ Festival in October (it is surprisingly difficult to find the proper Janome foot in Toronto and I tried to order one from a shop in Guelph but that was such a farce that I gave up) and finished the quilt last month. Just in case anyone wants to know the prints are from Kate Spain's Fandango collection and the solid is Moda Bella in Snow (I believe it's snow anyway).

This little quilt is going my friend JJ's mum who is sick. A few months back JJ decided to put together a project and asked her friends to contribute - she asked that we use/put the word "life" into situations and take a photograph so that she could put the images in places where her mum would see them everyday and she also created a gallery. I decided that since I see life in quilting that I would make a tangible object for her mum to have (I also sent her a picture to put into the gallery) and this little guy will be leaving my house sometime very soon to join JJ and her mum.

Seeing "life" in a quilt or in quilting is an interesting concept, but one that I also think is a very true part of my own everyday. I really can't fathom who I would be without quilting and sewing and creating and designing. It kept me sane when I was getting through grad school, helped to keep me in food when I was looking for a job, and has introduced me to so many people - some of whom are my very best friends now.  It's been difficult recently with a full-time job and the lack of sunlight hours to find time to do everything that I would like and that includes creating - the lack of sunlight hours has really put a cramp in being able to photograph my completed projects too (I have two quilts and a couple of other smaller projects that I need pictures of). Sometimes all I want to do is sit on the couch and just sit, but what I really need to do is kick myself in the pants and get back to the sewing machine. The last few days I have really been trying to do just that and completed both a gift for a friend and a couple of Christmas commissions. I have one more really big project that I need to make myself work on, but then I can pick things just for me for a little bit (or at least I hope so).

While being a librarian is a big part of my life, I think that it would be more true to say that creating is my life. Even when I'm doing other things I am thinking about designs and seeing patterns in architecture and the objects around me everyday. I feel extreme satisfaction when I can help people with research and answer their questions, but I feel an even bigger sense of well-being and accomplishment when I see people using my designs or when they tell me that they love something I've made. I am a nervous person by nature and was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder a few years ago - I sometimes become awkward in social situations (which is not helped by the fact that I am partially deaf) and have a hard time talking to people I don't know. This is easier with the quilty people though because there is automatically something that connects us to each other and something that can be innately understood - I feel much more myself and accepted with people who craft even if it is still sometimes hard and difficult to join in with the group. Like every other area in life quilting and sewing also has an "in-crowd" or a popular group, and they are darn intimidating let me tell you!

So that, just in case you wanted to know, is a little part of me.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pretty in Patchwork: Holidays

So remember a few days ago when I said I had some news to share but I needed photographic evidence? Well I've got it and...I'm in a book and stuff...

Yup, that's right! Awhile back John asked me if I'd like to contribute to a book he was writing - of course I said yes! The result of this is the above book Pretty in Patchwork: Holidays! It is currently available as an e-book and will be released in print in the summer of 2012...which means that I will of course be blogging about it again when that happens! The book is full of really amazing projects and designers (I'm sure you will recognize most if not all of them) - contrary to what you might think not all of the projects are Christmas-related... there are also projects for Hanukkah and Thanksgiving as well as variations for even more.

This is the project that I designed for the book - the Countdown-to-Christmas Advent Calender! The tree is made using paper pieced hexagons and the letters are stamped onto the fabric using number stamps and an ink pad suitable for fabric. The pockets are just big enough for a small toy or small chocolate and are very simple to make.

Jeni (who also had a super-cute bunting project in the book) has already actually made a variation on my pattern and blogged about it - it's so awesome! You  can buy the e-book here if you'd like and one neat feature is that you can actually flip through the whole book before buying and see all the project - did I mention there over 30 of them?!

Geez guys, I'm so excited! It's so awesome to finally see it and I know I'll be even more excited when the print version comes out - you can be guaranteed there will be some goofy picture of me holding it in a bookstore (I mean, really, have you guys seen the pictures of me from Quilt Market with the Sample Spree sign?)! So what do y'all think?