Sunday, April 09, 2017

Killing Two Birds with One Spinning Wheel

When the sewing mojo was failing me (or more aptly sewing success was alluding me), I gave the sewing machine a bit of a break and took out my basket of fibre and sat down at the spinning wheel instead.  After spinning some Doodles In String Merino that I'd bought from Ram Wools Co-op when I took my drop spindle class last spring over the Christmas holidays I hadn't done much of anything at all really with my wheel.


It felt great to get back to my spinning that I'd been ignoring for awhile.  It wasn't being ignored for anything beyond a lack of time and energy, but I was worried that so many weeks away and I'd be back to square one with my very beginner abilities.  In the beginning of January I had started working on a batt from Tog and Thel that I'd bought at the Manitoba Fibre Festival last fall so I figured it would be thick and thin spun anyways with it's four beautiful ounces of Jacob, Icelandic, Merino, Merino Tencel and Mohair blended together.  



It was such a pleasure to spin.  I enjoyed seeing the different fibres and colours as they twisted together.  And while it is thick and thin in spots I'm getting more consistent with how I spin, so it's not as noticeable.   A lot of the thick and thin came from big blobby bits of fluff that didn't get attenuated as much as other bits sometimes on purpose, sometimes by accident, but I am pleased with the end result.  It's fluffy and cozy and while I have no idea what I'll make with it, I am very pleased to have it in my yarn stash!



Another bonus to all the spinning was that I realized early into resuming work with my Tog and Thel batt that the motion of treaddling was exactly the same motion as the very boring, but very necessary exercises that my doctor prescribed for my foot injury.  Killing two birds with one spinning wheel. Doing something I love while getting something I loathe out of the way!  Talk about a win-win situation.  


So as soon as I finished plying up the Tog and Thel I took out another squishy gorgeous bit of fibre I'd bought at the fibre festival.  This one was from Manjusha Farms located in southeast Manitoba.  It's a deliciously soft merino/bamboo blend and I spun the four ounce braid up in record short time - it only took a week from start to finish.  Getting up and spinning before work.  Spinning while supper cooked.  Spinning before bed.


I'm beyond thrilled with how the merino/bamboo turned out.  It almost felt like cheating it was so very easy to spin.  Again, it's not perfect - there are some thick and thin bits, but it's the most consistent I've done yet, and the final result makes me so happy!



It still amazes me that I can take a bit of fluff and turn it into yarn that, when I finally decide what to use it for, I'll be able to actually make something with it.  I do have a slight obsession with spinning local fibres.  I find it even more exciting to know exactly where the fibre came from and as a result find myself counting down the months until the fibre festival again (I've got a few to go given it's not until the fall...) Not too mention dreaming of some day owning sheep or mohair goats of my own.  Or maybe an alpaca.  Of course I know absolutely NOTHING about raising sheep, goats or alpaca, but a spinner can dream, right?


In the meantime I think I'll be calling on my neighbour up the way at Prairie's Edge Wool Farm to see if I can go visit her and her sheep and the very adorable Max the Goat.  (If you're at all interested in the Manitoba Fibre Festival you'll no doubt know exactly who Max is.  If you're not up to speed he's the incredibly personable, incredibly sweet angora goat that won all our hearts last year and continues to enjoy fame as he grows up)  Her shetland, and shetland/alpaca blend fibres were some of the first I ever spun and it was glorious. I have a wee bit left from last fall in my spinning basket and I definitely want more!  I have daily exercising to be doing after all!




Friday, March 31, 2017

#2017MakeNine - Make Two


So happy to have finally sewn a Jasper!
I promised I'd be back to talk about make number two.  It's my favourite make of the year (Ok - so I've only made four things and two were duds, but let's not focus on that, alrighty?).  For make number two I chose a pattern that I've been wanting to sew since it popped up on Pinterest long before it ever became a pattern.  Of course I'm talking about Paprika Pattern's Jasper Hoodie.

It's a bit ridiculous that it's taken so long to make, but full disclosure here, I was scared of messing up the welt pockets.  I have no idea why.  I've sewn welt pockets before.  I've sewn much harder things than welt pockets before and yet for some reason I was so intimidated.  I can't even tell how many times I bought fabric specifically for Jasper, chickened out of making it and made something else instead.

This time I decided that if it was in my Make Nine choices I was going to use that as my accountability factor and I would have to make it and it worked. And boy am I glad. As I said this is my favourite sewn make and I wear it several times a week.

You might recognize this quilted jersey.  It's from the same collection as the fabric I used for my Sew Over It Heather dress back in the fall.  It's not quite the same though beyond being only one shade of grey instead of having a lighter and darker side.  The other difference is that this one has WAY more stretch than the original fabric.  Knowing that the original fabric didn't have much give I sized up on my Jasper.  I also added a bit of length. Obviously I did not need to worry about sizing up or adding length and my Jasper is a whole lot more relaxed than intended.  No worries though. It's cozy and snuggly and I really love wearing it as is!

As for sewing it?  It really wasn't a problem.  In fact I would say it was pretty easy.  The only tricky part for me was lining up those welts perfectly straight and even that wasn't too arduous a task in the end.  Mine are a smidge off from the seam line, but I'm not going to quibble over such a miniscule amount.

Check out those "not really scary after all" welts!
I do have one tiny little grumble about my Jasper and that is the pocket lining.  It has a nasty habit of curling a bit at the top where it's not attached along the front, which occasionally leaves me with a bit of a lumpy looking line across my midsection.  Have you made Jasper?  Does yours do that?  What did you do about it???  I think I may just tack it down with a bit of hand sewing.  If I ever get around to it that is.  As I said, I wear this several times a week so it doesn't leave a whole lot of time for fixing it and it definitely won't stop me from wearing it.



I've been actually feeling a bit down about my sewing lately.  I'm not sure if it's because I'm tired, or if it's just fabric/pattern combos I've chosen or that I'm rushing a bit when I do sew since I always feel I have no time for it anymore.  But having two out of four projects turn out pretty lousy was quite a hit to my confidence so I've taken a bit of break from my machine and focused on my knitting and spinning instead.  The break has done me well and I'm getting some sewing mojo back.  I've even been so bold as to start cutting out my third Make Nine project this evening!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

#2017MakeNine - Make 1

Holy smokes!  Would you look at that!  I said I'd be back and here I am and months haven't gone by.  It's some sort of blogging miracle!  LOL

As a recap, the #2017MakeNine challenge was started by Rochelle of Lucky Lucille and I picked the following nine for myself.



The patterns I chose are the following:

By Hand London : Anna
Closet Case Files : Ginger Jeans and Morgan Boyfriend Jeans
Colette Patterns : Myrtle Dress
Paprika Patterns : Jade Sweater and Dress
Sew Over It :  Anderson BlouseBettyMolly Top and Vintage Shirt Dress

I feel like I took the easy way out and started with my TnT (tried and true) Sew Over It's Molly Top.  This is my third one and I reach for it all the time.  I wasn't sure if I liked it in the super drapey viscose blend jersey that I ordered from Minerva Crafts in January.  The jersey is absolutely heavenly to wear, but I wondered if the top itself was a bit too flowey for my curves (as in I hope it doesn't look maternity-ish - yikes!), but I've decided I don't care.  It is so comfortable.  I did add a wee bit of length to it as I wear it often to work and the last thing I feel like worrying about as I climb up and down ladders or bend and stoop to grab things is if my fish white belly is hanging out or even worse if I have the dreaded "plumber butt" look going on.  Eeeek!  I was generous with my length adding too, because if I have no other talents in this world, I excel at the one in which I can shrink pretty much anything at all.


When I ordered the blue marl jersey I also ordered a pink and purple striped jersey as well.  I had started out initially to make a Day Tripper by Schwin Designs.  What a disappointment.  Sizing seems to be huge on it (of course nearly every review I read after the fact mentions the sizing), the length was laughably long on me and the width careened towards sack like rather than merely slouchy or relaxed.  Given I was worried about it being too small going off my measurements I was pretty surprised by the end result.  (Note to self: read reviews before starting out.  Not after.) Also?  Every time I look at the fabric I think of the damn Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland.  Not that I have anything against it per say.  But I do NOT want to look like it.  I think it'll become a pj top at some point.  It's not a going out in public top.  That's for sure.  I really wish I'd stuck with my TnT Molly.  The fit is great and it always looks good in a stripey jersey.  Woe is me.

So that's update number one.  Next time I'm back I'll talk about my second make of my #2017MakeNine patterns!








Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Little Bit of This and A Little Bit of That

I don't even remember when I was here last.  I'm not even going to look. It leads to all sorts of misplaced feeling of guilt and disappointment in myself.  Life has been soundly kicking my butt lately with everything going on, the sloth has become my spirit animal.  It's hard to accept given I normally like to be busy, getting things done, and more importantly used to relish in my night owl tendencies.  What was that meme going around Facebook awhile back?  "I'm not an early bird or a night owl. I'm some form of permanently exhausted pigeon."  That pretty much sums me up right now.

Despite all, I have been getting a few things done here and there.  I've actually even finished a few things!  I often listen to podcasts on my drive to work and one I really enjoy is The Knitmore Girls.  They have an ongoing instagram contest in the works called "Operation Sock Drawer" and Gigi often talks about the socks she's working on or has already knit.  Listening to all her talk of socks inspired me to pick up a long standing work in progress and get them done.  I actually started the Tin Can Knits SeaWall socks on March 11th last year.  (Bear in mind it normally it takes me a few weeks at most to knit a pair of socks.)  I finally cast off these babies on March 8th of this year.  What happened????  It's an interesting enough pattern.  The yarn wasn't horrible.  How did it take me just shy of a year to knit them?  It wasn't even a case of second sock syndrome holding me up.  Sock number one took until mid-February this year.  Ridiculous!  I'm super happy to have them off the needles and out of my knitting bag!

Seawall Socks by Tin Can Knits
I also finished my Andi Satterlund cardi, Henriette for the Selfish Sweater KAL in the Untangling Knots Ravelry group.  This one thankfully went quicker than the socks and I finished knitting it in exactly a month!  I'll show you some modelled pics of it at some point - I want to make a dress to actually go with it first, and quite frankly it's still sitting on top of my dresser waiting to get blocked.  But here's a sneaky peek at it, taken while I was doing the finishing!

Henriette by Andi Satterlund
And you know, since I have so little time for knitting, I've decided to cast on ALL the things in the last few weeks.  This is so weird for me.  I'm usually such a monogamous knitter that I have no hot clue how I'll ever manage to finish any of it. Really.  No clue.  How do you decide which project to work on when you have more than one on the go?  At first I justified it.  Sock knitting for portable knitting (hockey practices, car knitting, waiting rooms, lunch breaks etc.).

Lumberjack by Tin Can Knits

Shawl knitting for at home.

Polarity by Elena Nodel

Seemed reasonable.  Except I keep picking up the sock at home, and the shawl has been languishing. And then I decided that I should cast on a Greyson for Little Man on Thursday night.

Greyson by Julia Stanfield

WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME????  We won't even discuss that even though I have three projects already on the needles, it hasn't stopped me from downloading patterns and picking yarn out (from my stash at least) for other projects.  Someone needs to intervene and put a stop to this madness of multiple works in progress!

I've finished very few things at the sewing machine, but do have two of my 2017 Make Nine projects finished.  I just haven't taken photos of them yet, although I've been wearing them loads since sewing them.  Also.  I've been collecting WIP sewing projects in a similar fashion to what I've been doing in knitting.  I'm like a magpie -  Ooooh!  Must have all the shiny new things!!!!  Seriously. Someone send help!!!

So that's at least a bit of an update on my crafty doings as of late.   I'm going to try to get my sewing projects up here on the blog in the near future (no promises though - who knows when I'll actually get back to blogging again it seems to be so hit or miss for me lately).


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Transitions

I have not fallen off the face of the earth, despite what the lack of blogging may lead you to assume.  It's just the last several weeks have been that of upheaval and transition.

I think I've mentioned in the past that last January things transpired such that my mother in law moved in with us.  It was a fairly quick decision to have her come here, but we tried to make it work, feeling it a better option for her than a personal care home.  Unfortunately my MIL passed away on January 7th after a incredibly short two day illness, just shy of one year since moving in. It was completely unexpected in the manner that earlier that day she had been fine and talk was of her coming home from the hospital within a few days.  Needless to say it was a shock to get a call from the hospital three hours later asking my husband to come back as quickly as he could as she was in severe respiratory distress.

I also, of course, started back to work full time just three days prior to her passing away.  As a result of everything going on, I'm exhausted, have not even remotely figured out how to balance working full time and obligations at home and my creative side has been starved.

I know it'll all settle down, we will all adjust to the new routines, 5:00am won't seem quite so ungodly and I'll get the hang of things at work and feel like I'm making headway instead of floundering continuously as I navigate through inventory programs and figure out the differences between machine parts and gain some confidence. At least I know my way around the place now and am not too much at risk of getting lost anymore. It does help that I work with my husband and he often drops everything to come to my rescue with answers. (and directions along with a thorough tour those first few days)  Maybe some day I'll be able to stay awake past 8:30pm again.  Maybe some day I'll also be able do a bit of sewing or more than a row or two of knitting.  I just feel completely overwhelmed at the moment.

But I'm sure no one comes here to read about my whining and feeling sorry for myself. So moving along. I have done a very teeny bit of knitting since Christmas and I have big plans to get reacquainted with my sewing machine this weekend... I hope.


I made a pair of mitts.  They were more a necessity than anything.  All my mitts somehow ended up with holes in the thumbs at the same time (how does that even happen???).  Rather than do the quick thing and just re-knit thumbs, I decided a brand new pair would be much more fun.  And since I was in it for the fun, I thought colour work would be brilliant.




I chose Wolastoq, a pattern that caught my eye earlier in the fall when I stumbled across it on Ravelry.  I had lots of colours of Patons Classic Worsted in my stash so I didn't need to go yarn shopping.  Better yet was it gave me a reason to finally use a tiny ball of cashmere dk weight yarn I'd been hoarding in my stash for years since it was gifted to me.  My mitts have a gloriously soft pop of colour in the inner cuff thanks to that cashmere!


My only gripe about my mitts are that they are really thick (sounds like a good problem to have right?) so they do not easily fit under my super tight cuffs of my parka and either fold down or don't go on all the way making them like huge monster mitts on my hands.  I need to find a solution so that they are a bit more comfortable to wear.   Just to be clear it is totally a parka problem and not a pattern problem.  I've run across this particular nuisance with every single pair of mitts I knit that are thicker than fingering weight and lets just face it.  I live on the prairies.  Fingering weight mitts are never going to cut it in -45C.

In other knitting news, I've started knitting a new cardigan for myself as part of Andi Satterlund's Untangling Knots annual Selfish Sweater KAL.  I'm knitting an apple green Henriette in hopes I'll have it finished for springtime.  (Well, hopefully I finish it for the KAL deadline of mid-February, but since I'm barely knitting these days I'm not holding out much hope in all reality).


Monday, January 02, 2017

Happy New Year!

I hope that the New Year is finding you all healthy and happy and looking forward to the blank slate of possibilities that is 2017!!

Baby Boy - #7 Timbits Initiation 
I've not had time for much blogging for quite awhile now.  Life seems to have a way of getting increasingly busier every time I turn around.

Hockey seems to have taken up a lot of the spare time this fall.  Not that I'm complaining.  The boys love it and it's been great for them!  Little Man has finally started coming out of his shell at the rink and the day he was giggling with one of his team mates in the dressing room was a great day!  I love seeing him making friends on the team and gaining confidence on and off the ice!  However, it is a time consuming sport.  I'm at the rink three days a week with the boys for practices and then we had games every weekend, often a game in one town in the morning for one boy and another town and another game a few hours later for the other.  I had commented that I should just send out change of address cards listing the arena as my new home since I was there so often.

Funny story about that was when we bought our new truck last month every time we turned on the maps in the Car Play function it would reference a weird address as "home".  I couldn't figure out why or even where the address was originating.  That is until the day I was looking up the hours for public skating at the arena and realized Siri was using the arena's address as home.   LOL! I really must spend as much time as I feel like I do there.  Ah... the life of a "hockey mom".  Could be worse. I know some families are juggling around practices and games for four kiddos and their spouse.  I've only got two to manage and every second year they should nicely end up in the same division.  PHEW!
Little Man - #7 Novice 
In other news, tomorrow, I'll be heading back to work full time.  I'll be trading my sewing shears for work boots and a hard hat as I've taken a term position in a parts department!  I'm both excited and terrified all at the same time.  It'll be totally different for me, but I'm looking forward to a new challenge!



I'm not sure what time that will leave me for sewing, knitting and spinning, but I'm hoping I can still manage to squeak out a bit of time every now and again to enjoy my crafts.  I know I used to manage it.  I know that many people do manage it every day.  I just need to wrap my head around the whole time management thing that is working outside of the home again.  It's been nearly seven years, so I think I've just forgotten how to do it!

It's timely that Rochelle of Lucky Lucille has started her #2017MakeNine.  Inspired by the challenge and all the sewists taking part over on Instagram I've decided to jump on board.  Going back to work doesn't change my personal goal of having a self sewn wardrobe, so this feels like a great way to keep it going in a more manageable way.



For my patterns I've chosen the following:

By Hand London : Anna 
Closet Case Files : Ginger Jeans and Morgan Boyfriend Jeans
Colette Patterns : Myrtle Dress
Paprika Patterns : Jade Sweater and Dress
Sew Over It :  Anderson Blouse, Betty, Molly Top and Vintage Shirt Dress

I've already dived head first into my fabric bins and come up with some fabrics for my Make Nine projects!


The top fabric with the balls of yarn is for Betty.  It was supposed to be made last summer, then in the early fall, and then for Christmas and well... you know how it goes.  I already  knit a cardi to match it a few months ago (more on that in a future blog post - how am I so behind on blogging about my projects?!?).  The second from the top is a slinky, silky poly fabric that I bought ages ago for an Anderson Blouse or Pussy Bow Blouse and this is going to be THE YEAR that I get it sewn up.  I'm thinking of using a gelatine treatment to tame that fabric into submission for cutting and sewing.  Third in the stack is the denim I bought well over a year ago to make another pair of Liana jeans after I did the test for Itch to Stitch.  Obviously they never got made, so hello Ginger Jeans!  (another pattern I've had forever.  It's even been printed out and assembled for probably a good year and a half...).  The bottom fabric is another long time stash dweller.  I've got to take a better look at it, but if I think it'll drape nicely, it's going to become Myrtle for next spring/summer.

So those are my upcoming plans for sewing.  I'll have to catch up later with my annual round up of holiday crafting post and my plans for knitting and spinning, because I think I've prattled on far too long as is here today! (Thanks and congratulations if you're still reading!)

Happy New Year!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Secret Pyjamas... Only Better!

Oh my goodness.  I am so over the moon ecstatic about my new dress for fall and winter.  It's the newly released Heather Dress from Sew Over It and it's ABSO-BLOOMIN-LUTELY fantastic!!!

I want a whole wardrobe of Heather Dresses.  Seriously.  I could wear this dress every day I think.  After wearing it all day I actually considered the idea of wearing it to bed tonight too.  Then I decided that would be wrong, but this dress is like secret pyjamas.  Only better, because it feels really great and put together.

I was a bit unsure on the style for me, because it's so far from what I normally sew for myself, but really the pockets sold me.  I do love a good pocket on a dress.  Also the fact I had what I thought might well be the perfect fabric in my stash pushed the idea right over the edge and onto my sewing desk.

I had picked up the lightly quilted knit fabric a couple of weeks ago for about $7/metre at Fabricland with the plan to finally make my Paprika Patterns Jasper sweater, but procrastination being what it is, the fabric was still sitting there uncut when Heather came across my radar.  I definitely wanted to try the colour blocking and my fabric having the light grey side and the dark charcoal side seemed like the perfect choice.  The fabric itself doesn't have a lot of stretch because although it's essentially a jersey the quilting of the two layers with a thin batting in between them makes it really stable.  It also makes it really cozy.  And really, really comfy.


I had some troubles with my ridiculously slow internet connection that led to troubles downloading my pattern, but Rosie from Sew Over It - who is super duper awesome, by the way, fixed my woes immediately and got me up and running again.  I just feel it needs to be said, in this day and age when customer service just doesn't seem to be what it once was, that Sew Over It customer service is really, truly top notch.  I'm so impressed with the company as a whole.

Once my computer issues were fixed it took next to no time to get printing and assembling my pdf pattern and cutting it out.  Sewing it was a breeze.  I did use a t-shirt knit for the pocket linings to reduce bulk instead of using my quilted fabric and after one attempt in the quilted fabric for the neckline, I abandoned that for a strip of charcoal ponte that I had left from a project I'd made last winter and am really happy with the results.

My only issue, besides the whole computer one, was not pattern related, but iron related.  I really need to clean my iron I think because I had a moment of sheer dismay when it suddenly got nasty rusty coloured stains on my front of my dress.  I was so upset I put the dress aside for a few days while I decided what to do.  I was considering buying enough of the fabric to do a whole new front panel, but that seemed so silly and time consuming.  Not to mention annoying.  Finally I decided to just not worry about it.  The stain is right along the pocket opening's edge and I figured no one could see it really unless I point it out and if they did happen to see it they're going to have more to concern themselves with then a stain on my dress because quite frankly they'll be at risk of getting punched in the nose for being that close to me.  You really can't see it unless you're that up close and personal with it.

So there you go!  A total win for the wardrobe with this one! I'll definitely be on the hunt for fabric for more Heather dresses in the future!  It's the perfect dress for with boots and tights for the cooler weather and I think with shorter sleeves and lighter fabric it will be pretty awesome for spring and summer too!