Monday, January 23, 2012

The Holiday Sewing Finishes!

Hey y'all! How are you guys doing? I am back as promised with some more of my holiday finishes - unfortunately, this year I wasn't able to get as many sewing projects done as I would have liked. I had grand plans for all the little things I was going to make people but in the end that just did not happen this year. However, I was able to finish one project for my Mum for Christmas - which was very important because I know how much she enjoys receiving handmade from me - and since I had Alex covered with the hat I knit him, I was able to give handmade to the two very-most-important people on my list!

Alex and I hoarded our pennies together to buy my Mum the Kobo Vox for Christmas - the Vox is a tablet and e-reader that runs on the Android platform. I think (for my non-Canadian readers out there) that the Vox would be most comparable to the Kindle Fire in terms of what it can do. It is full-colour, has a built in web browser, and since it's Android you can download apps from the store for free (I totally got my Mum hooked on Angry Birds)!

The handmade gift for my Mum was a case for her new Vox! I used this tutorial from Amber over at One Shabby Chick but resized it to fit the Vox - the original tutorial was written for the iPad but the Vox is shorter in both length and width (7" screen versus 9.7" on the iPad) and is a little thicker. I figured out the measurements and am very happy with the fit!

For the outer fabric I used this Books print from the David Textiles collection The Grand Tour by Victoria and Albert (most people refer to this collection as "Venice") which was done in conjunction with the V&A museum, and for the lining I used Kona Medium Grey. My Mum adores both the Vox and the case, and carries both with her every day - this makes me very happy!

I also completed this custom order for a lady that my Mum works with. She saw the coffee sleeve that I made for my Mum last year and requested five to use as stocking stuffers. The coffee sleeves are based on my own template, as I like mine to be wider and I've found that all of the templates I've looked at have been for narrower sleeves. Some of the fabrics were chosen based on things I was told about the people receiving them, but for two of them I was told to just go with what I like.
I found a couple of really great crafty books yesterday at my local store and I will be sharing them with you soon! If you live in Toronto head to the BMV on Bloor soon - the craft section is totally stacked right now!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Holiday Knitting Finishes and a Winner!

Hey y'all! Hmmm, seems like I'm only just now getting around to posting some the things I made for the holidays! Today I've got a couple of knitting finishes and I'll share the sewing finishes later - how does that sound?

I made this hat for Alex for Christmas using the Regular Guy Beanie pattern by Chuck Wright, which is a free download on Ravelry. I decided that Alex needed just a plain, neutral-coloured toque that he could throw on and wear with whatever, whenever. I changed the pattern slightly to make it larger and you can see my pattern notes here on my Ravelry.

This is what happens when you're a librarian who is also a knitter and has to work on the weekend! Alex picked out the yarn himself a few months ago - it's Alpaca Love in Cobblestone from Debbie Stoller's Stitch Nation collection (80% wool, 20% alpaca). Since Alex picked out the yarn and I was scared he would recognize it, and since he always asks me what I'm working on, I couldn't knit the hat at home. It took two weeks of subway trips to and from work (when I could get a seat - I do not knitting while standing up on the TTC as that could lead to serious bodily injury) and some occasional lunchtime knitting to get this little guy done! Definitely wouldn't take that long if you were able to knit it out in the open and not in secret!

Next up is the gift I made Barb, Alex's mum, for Hanukkah - the Damson shawl by Ysolda Teague! This pattern is available in Ysolda's book Whimsical Little Knits 2 or can be downloaded as a stand-alone pattern from Ravelry (I have the book and love it)! This was my first shawl and there was some frustrated ripping out, but I like the way it ended up. The only thing I'm sad about is that I don't have a better picture - unfortunately I kept forgetting to take pictures of it on the weekend when it was sunny and only snapped this the night before it was gifted.

For the shawl I used Malabrigo Sock in Persia, which I got from Eat.Sleep.Knit  - I saw "got" because I didn't purchase this skein but rather won it from one of the scratch cards that they always include (coolest thing ever by the way!). I picked both the base and the colourway but I must say that when this skein arrived I was a little disappointed - the base is absolutely lovely and with really generous yardage but I find (especially with the finer yarns) that Malabrigo's colours vary wildly! The picture for this colourway shows much more turquoise-green, and way less dark green and brown (this includes both the picture on their website and the picture on Eat.Sleep.Knit). Such is the way of hand-dyed yarns of course, but I find that Malabrigo tends be more widely varied than those from other hand-dyers.

So I guess you'd like to know who won the Kate Spain Good Fortune FE bundle, hmmmm?! Without further ado the winner is...

Congratulations Taryn! Send me an email with you address and FQS will get your bundle out to you. I must admit that I'm a little jealous of your win... who am I kidding - I'm jealous every time someone wins something from FQS off my blog because for the most part I don't have any of the fabric myself! Sad but true.

Monday, January 9, 2012

It's Giveaway Time - Kate Spain's Good Fortune!

Hey all! So it's that time again - we've got another giveaway sponsored by the oh-so-very cool Fat Quarter Shop! This time around we're giving away a fat eighth bundle of Good Fortune, Kate Spain's new collection for Moda...that's right, isn't it awesome?!

It's so pretty! I'm especially in love with the greys and dark purples! This little - or not so little - bundle includes 36 fat eighths from the collection and judging by the colours I think this would pair really nicely with Kate's previous collection Terrain - which I was just playing with last night!


Okay, so I guess you want to know how to enter, right? You have two chances but please be sure to leave separate comments for each entry. Here's what you've got to do:

1. Leave a comment letting my know which downloadable
PDF pattern that FQS carries is your favourite.

2. Leave another comment if you are a follower of my blog.

That's it! Two easy-peasy ways to enter! I will close the comments in a week (on the 16th) and announce the winner here on the blog. International entries are, as always, welcome! Also, please remember that I have comment moderation enabled so if you don't see your comment right away it just means that I haven't had the chance to approve it yet (duplicate comments will be deleted). 

Man guys, I'm super-jealous of whoever wins right now - I want some of this gorgeous fabric for my very own! Good luck everyone - you're all winners in my mind *wink*!

*the giveaway is now closed*

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tal's Habitat of Love

So my friends Jackie and Ben (who both attended "library school" and worked with me) had a little baby boy at the end of November. His name is Tallis - Tal for short - and I finally got to meet him tonight! Knowing that he was coming along I started thinking about making a quilt to welcome him to the world; initially I started with working out a design (as I usually do) but that just was not working, so I jumped to thinking about fabric instead. Originally I thought that I would use "typical boy" colours and go with lots of blues and greens, maybe mixed with some grey, but then I decided to be a little more adventurous and settled on using pieces from Habitat by Jay McCarroll which had been sent to me by Free Spirit for the MQG challenge.

This is what I came up with! I went for a modified plus design that integrated various shades of grey - in this case Kona Charcoal, Coal, and Medium Grey - and also negative space. I could have made a standard plus quilt just using the Habitat fabrics, but I really wanted to do something different that was maybe more unexpected.

I took this little quilt (hmmm, forgot to measure it but I'd say it's about 42x47" or so) over tonight and I am so glad that Jackie and Ben liked it! Considering the fact that Ben mentioned awhile ago that his favourite quilt I've made was Sullivan's Steps, I was little worried that there might be too much pink (although I don't subscribe to the notion that boys can't have pink) or modern-ness for them, but it all worked out since they thought it was a-okay.

I used 100% unbleached, organic cotton for the batting, and quilted it with straight lines on the diagonal. The binding is also Kona Medium Grey. The backing is a solid piece of Kona Stone and I cut a label from the yard I had printed through Spoonflower to label it with.

This is one of the quilts that I mentioned in my last post was finished in November, so I am also super-glad that I finally got around to taking pictures of it before giving it away! Let me just say that working full-time during the winter means that it is dark when I leave for work and dark when I get home - not so good for picture taking! I'm hoping that in this new year I can be more organized with getting pictures done on the weekends, as long as the weather agrees with me that is!

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011: A Stitchy Year in Review

Here's a little mosaic of some of the things that I made in 2011. There are a few things that are not included in the above, including two quilts that were completed in November which I only (finally) took pictures of yesterday, a couple of knitting projects that haven't been featured on the blog yet, Hanukkah/Christmas gifts, and a few other small things.

Every year lots of bloggers/Flickrers make these mosaics with a little help from the mosaic maker, so if you've made one let me know about it! Post me a link back to your blog post or Flickr picture featuring your mosaic - I'd love to see them!