Monday, March 26, 2012

This world is but canvas to our imaginations. -Henry David Thoreau

Last weekend - St. Patrick's Day to be precise - was my friend Kim's birthday so of course I had to make her a present! Since Kim is super-stylin' and stuff I decided to make her a clutch purse.

The clutch is my own design, but is pretty darn simple! I wanted to make the type of clutch that could be carried as a bigger pouch but could also be folded over to "clutch" in the hand. It measures about 10x14" and I really like how the proportions all worked out.

The faux-bois fabric is home dec weight from Ikea and all of the leather bits and hardware are reclaimed from old purses that I've cut apart. The interior (which of course I forgot to take pictures of) is a chocolate brown cotton and there's a small zipper picket inside too! Frankly, when I finished this up I was really tempted to keep it for myself - obviously I didn't do that and I am happy to report that Kim loves it!

And, just in case you wanted to know, the April issue of Simply Knitting included this awesome little owl row counter that so cutely matches the owl needle gauge I shared in my last post! Eeep, too too too much fun!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Luck is what you have left over after you give 100 percent. -Langston Coleman

Well, it's been a crazy few weeks! Birthdays and parties galore - including my Alex's 30th (I got him a fly tying kit and he's already made about seven flies!) - sewing and knitting, and, rather unfortunately, I found out this week that I am losing my job at the end of the month. It is a contract position and since the CBC is partially publicly funded, the federal budget isn't coming down until the day before my contract is up, and because we're expecting large cuts since the Conservative government doesn't seem to like us too much, my contract isn't being renewed. I know that I'm not being let go because I've done anything wrong, or because people don't like my work, but really, that maybe makes it harder. Okay, anyway, I'm sure I'll figure it out. Actually that's one of the little mottoes my Mum and I share - we'll figure it out - we always do!

Enough about that, let's get to the good stuff! Remember in a recent post when I shared my first sock? Well...

I finished the second one the next day! This photo was taken about five minutes after I finished them at 10:30pm - I love them! I've been wearing them almost everyday around the house, as I think I've mentioned before I prefer slipper socks to standard slippers because I like my ankles to be covered so these are just perfect! These are the Cottage Slipper Socks and the pattern can be downloaded for free from Lion Brand (I believe there is also a crochet version); I used Lion Brand Thick and Quick in Oatmeal so they knit up super-fast since the yarn is very bulky. I may just need to make another pair! You can find these beauties on my Ravelry here!

Oh, another thing that happened this past week is that I came down with either food poisoning or some sort of stomach flu and spent four days in bed. This was really not all bad because it was actually quite nice to stay in bed and watch movies and knit *wink*! I finished knitting a hat (which is of no use right now because the weather is being crazy and it is seriously warm here) and I wrote my first knitting pattern! Eeeek! I'll share the hat when I take pictures and the knitting pattern when...well, you know, when the sample is actually finished and stuff!

I did receive ridiculous amounts of yarn in the mail week before last - which was actually quite funny because both boxes showed up on Alex's birthday and he thought for a minute that they might be presents for him, hehe!

I took this picture after I opened up the boxes and lordy was I excited! This is a combination of a Craftsy Knitting Mystery Box and an order from Eat Sleep Knit.

The Craftsy Knitting Mystery Box is available at a limited quantity near the beginning of each month through the deals section of the website - it is $25 USD and guaranteed to include at least $50 worth of supplies (mine ended up being worth about $75 or so). I'm not in love with the colours that I received (except maybe the yellow) but it was really fun nevertheless - I received one skein of Malabrigo Silky Merino in Camote, one skein of Cascade Epiphany in #1308, two balls of di.Ve Autunno, and a pair of rosewood Lantern Moon straight needles (which are absolutely gorgeous by the way).

The order from Eat Sleep Knit included one skein of Madelinetosh Tosh DK in Terrarium and two skeins of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Calligraphy. The skein of Terrarium is being paired with another skein that I already have for the pattern I wrote that I mentioned earlier, and the Calligraphy is being matched with some Tosh Merino Light in Tern for Sothia by Robin Ulrich.

These were also in my ESK order and are for more socks! I got one skein of Malabrigo Sock in Ochre and two skeins of Shibui Knits Sock in Sand - oh so very pretty!

And as if all that lovely yarn weren't enough this awesome little owl needle gauge was included with the March issue of Simply Knitting magazine - eeep! I love cute little notions like these - they just make everything prettier and so much more fun!

Now I know there has been a whole lot of knitting and yarn and knitting related stuffs in this post, but don't worry I'm still sewing! I've finished three bags in as many weeks and some other little secret projects - the bags I'll share just as soon as I take pictures (and after two of them make it to their recipients) and I'll share the other projects as soon as I'm able!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Itching to be Stitching - New Pattern Cover!

The lovely ladies - Amanda and Ashleigh - of The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery have released a new cover for the pattern I designed for them - Itching to be Stitching - and I thought you guys might like to see it...

What do you think? I think it's very fresh and pretty looking! If you're 'itching to be stitching' (hahahaha, I slay myself!) you can find the pattern available here. NOW HERE!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Little Sewing and a Little Knitting + the Giveaway Winner!

I had this past week off from work (annual holiday that I had to take before the end of this month) and since we weren't going away anywhere I spent much of this week at home. I fully intended to sew and craft everyday to my heart's content but that really didn't happen (procrastinate much?); instead I watched Downton Abbey, some movies, went out for coffee with a friend, went thrifting, read four books, and only actually did a little sewing on Thursday. But I did make something fun!

I saw Tamiko's tutorial for this sock knitting bag on her blog and decided that I just had to make it (and pin it) because it was so pretty! Now let me preface this by saying that I had not actually ever knit socks before making this bag, but I just loved it so much, and really wanted to try making a round bottomed bag so I went for it!

All of the fabrics used (except for the lining) came from my scrap bin. The 40 squares that make up the patchwork exterior include some Heather Ross Mendocino, Joel Dewberry Modern Meadow, Patty Young Flora & Fauna, Basic Grey, City Weekend by Oliver + S (that white dot on yellow is one of my favourite fabrics ever), Sandi Henderson Meadowsweet, and a few others.

The lining fabric is also from Sandi Henderson's Meadowsweet collection. I did a few things differently than in the tutorial; I didn't hand stitch around the linen like in the tutorial but rather did two lines of top stitching in white thread. Instead of sewing my lining and exterior pieces together at the top while they were inside out (and then pulling them through a hole in the lining and sewing it up afterwards) I just turned everything right side out, turned the edges under a quarter of an inch, pressed, and top stitched everything closed. I also made my own draw string by basically making double-fold binding (strip cut at 1.5") and then top stitching along the open ends. I can't remember what collection the fabric I used is from but I think it's Lecien.

Ohhhh pretty! And because I know someone is going to ask - the yarn is Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Tern which I bought online at Eat, Sleep, Knit.

And then, just because I made a sock knitting bag, I did in fact knit a sock - it was magic I tell you! I've actually had this yarn and pattern sitting around for about 2.5-3 years but hadn't started them, however with my new sock bag in hand it seemed inevitable and so I did. This first sock was started on Friday night while watching Who Do You Think You Are, Grimm, and When Harry Met Sally with Alex and was finished on Saturday morning while watching The Young Victoria. The second one is on the needles now and I'll tell you more about the pattern, etc when I have the full pair!

I bet you all want to know who won the fabulous $25 gift certificate from the Craftsy Block of the Month Tour giveaway sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop, right? Without further ado...

Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

Woohoo, congratulations Heidi! Please send me an email so that I can send you your extra-special FQS gift certificate code. Thanks guys for playing along and I hope that you've all taken the chance to check out Craftsy's Block of the Month series.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Whatever fortune brings, don't be afraid of doing things. - A.A. Milne

A few months ago I was approached to do a commission for a baby quilt. The baby's sex wouldn't be known prior to birth (although I can tell you now that she ended up being a girl) so the quilt needed to be gender-neutral and one special request was made - that the focal fabric be classic Winnie-the-Pooh.

I like to refer to classic Winnie-the-Pooh as "naked Pooh". I was a little bit leery at first of taking on this commission because I have never made a baby quilt that uses typical "baby" or kid-type fabrics - it's just not my thing. But I said yes in the end because of the person who requested it.

Let me tell you - finding the classic Pooh fabric was a bit of a feat! It is out-of-print and not all of it was 100% cotton either. In the end I ended up turning to eBay where I paid a bit more than I would have liked (the shipping was positively atrocious too) but I managed to find a fat quarter bundle of four prints - one of which I didn't use because it was just a pink floral - and enough of a classic Pooh flannel for the backing.

I fussy-cut all of the centre squares and the cornerstones are somewhat fussy-cut too. The centres of the blocks at the four corners are hard to see because the fabric is a light-blue Pooh toile on white but they're fussy cut too. I paired each of the centre blocks with two prints from the City Weekend collection by Oliver + S for Moda. City Weekend is one of those collections that really grows on you; I wasn't so sure about it when I first picked it up at sample spree at Quilt Market in May 2010 but since then I have really fallen in love with many of the prints - especially the basic dots and grids - the yellow mini dot is now one of my favourite fabrics.

The centre block is definitely my favourite - I just love all of the colours together! I used nine different Kona solids too for this quilt - I'm pretty sure these were Maize, Banana, Lemon, Sunflower, Bluebell, Pear, Honeydew, Ice Frappe, and Aqua. Don't quote me on the colours though, I was comparing the cuts I have to my colour card and I might be off on a couple since a number of the colours are very similar. Oh yes, and I also used white Kona too!

The blocks with the geese are modified Weathervanes that I saw in one of my quilting books and the other four are ones that I modified off the original Weathervanes (when I got tired of making HSTs *wink*). I am really happy with the way it ended up! Using the Pooh fabrics and trying to come up with colours and a design without knowing anything about the intended mother nearly killed me, but in the end I think that it came out quite cute without being overly "cutesy" and the colours are gender-neutral but also really fun.

Classic Pooh Quilt
Finished Quilt: 36x36"
Completed: February 17, 2012