I made a shawl once.

Begun in the summer of 2012, finished early in 2013 and now eventually blogged in 2014.

Finished & blocked shawl

Left side of shawl

Shawl detail

Right curve of shawl

Pattern: Cladonia by Kirsten Kapur
Materials: Fleece Artist Peter Rabbit & Handmaiden Great Big Sea
Start Date: July 28, 2012
End Date: August 17, 2012
Blocked: February 8, 2013

I made this shawl for my Mom, out of yarn she selected during our trip to the Maritimes in 2012. There’s another version of this shawl with nearly the same yarns in blues that I knit for her in 2013.

I had cast on a version for myself in some non-fluffy yarns, but it sat unfinished for long enough and I finally frogged it last week along with some other long-standing unfinished lace projects.

One day, these Ceylons will have buttons

(mostly) Finished Ceylon Added pocket Added cuff band

Pattern: Colette Patterns Ceylon
Materials: Heather Bailey, Nicey Jane Hop Dot Sky
Modifications: Pattern fitted to my measurements. Modified sleeve (added cuff band) & added pocket.
Start Date: Spring 2012
End Date: Still needs buttons :/

(mostly) Finished Ceylon Added collar

Pattern: Colette Patterns Ceylon
Materials: I think it’s a Moda dot?
Modifications: Pattern fitted to my measurements. Added collar & modified/slightly de-puffed sleeve.
Start Date: Spring 2012
End Date: Still needs buttons :/

The one down side to my awesome old sewing machines is that I can’t easily make button holes. I also have a special desire to have a closet’s worth of amazing shirt dresses. I should probably figure out a solution one of these days. In the meantime, here are some (mostly) finished dresses that keep hanging around patiently for me.

Summer Dresses – Vogue 9728

Finished Vogue 8728

Pattern: Vogue 8728
Materials: Nani Iro 2012 Fuccra grey
Modifications: Pattern fitted to my measurements. Skirt cut to knee length.
Start Date: Early Summer 2012
End Date: Early Summer 2012

Finished Vogue 8728

Pattern: Vogue 8728
Materials: Peach ‘n Pink dots
Modifications: Pattern fitted to my measurements. Skirt cut to knee length.
Start Date: Early Summer 2012
End Date: Early Summer 2012

Here’s a couple of dresses that I made last year. Both of these were finished by summer. They were favourites for that season and anytime I needed a summer memory pick-me-up. Wearing the polkadot version with black tights and my saddle oxfords makes me feel like I should be a tap-dancing Minnie Mouse.

Finally Quilting

So way back in June of 2011, I started fussy cutting some unicorns and started putting together some blocks. Slowly but surely from then until lets say August of this year, I put together enough blocks to make a queen sized quilt top. I don’t have many pictures of the block assembly, but I’ll still tell you how things went down on this project.

Though I loved the colourful blocks, they started to look rather too busy and overwhelming all on their own. So I decided when I was nearly halfway to make complimentary muslin bordered blocks to alternate with the colourful ones.

Back in May, I went into intense production mode on the muslin blocks while out in the Quebec countryside in Charlevoix during a long weekend. When I got back, I realised that I only had a handful of blocks left in order to have a finished quilt top!

Scrappy Block

At this point excitement really kicked in. Having borrowed a friends floor to lay out all the blocks, I made a very scientific analysis of the balance of colours in the quilt and determined what there needed to be more of. Finished said remaining blocks. Then on an intense crafturday, I went through and re-trimmed all the blocks (moderately epic), then proceeded to leave them in a nicely trimmed pile for at least a month, if not two before attacking them on a sewing Saturday.

Rather than going through hours of possible quilt layouts on the floor, I decided to continue the “not too precious” process of this quilt. I separated the colour combinations into separate piles and systematically sorted the blocks into rows. After sorting them, I looked through them briefly to prevent too many repeating colours in the same row. Then I went to town sewing them together. By the end of the day I had a finished quilt top.

My brother let me raid his stash of fabrics to put together the quilt back. I combined some crazy 30’s reproduction rabbits with some pink woven ginghams and mystery fibre denim for the backing.

Quilt Back

I’ve really earned the quilting moniker of Miss Cut while working on this quilt. At many stages in the process, I’ve stopped thinking just long enough to screw up my cutting. All the quilt blocks are bigger than originally planned because my quilting ruler is 6 inches wide and not 5 (Miss Cut number one). When making the backing strips, I forgot to start measuring at the 0 on my cutting mat (not the first time THAT’s happened either) and had to sew an extra seam to get the proper width needed (Miss Cut number 2). THEN when measuring for the final length of each strip, I totally came up with some random number that wasn’t long enough and ended up with extra seams again! (Miss Cut number 3).

Not that it really matters in the end. The quilt is pretty scrappy even without a few extra seams here and there. It’s pretty funny how I seem to lose my brain completely at some stages of the process.

It's (almost) a quilt!

So I managed to get the back done in time to spend Canadian Thanksgiving weekend putting together the quilt sandwich. And because I’m a giant nerd, spent nearly a day trimming all the extra threads from the seams and raveled edges of the fabric before finally basting it together. Those little raveled threads at the edge of a project are my number 1 pet peeve, and I just couldn’t knowingly leave them on the inside of the quilt. Not that it really matters, they’re on the inside of the quilt where no one will see them, but I’ll know that they’re there. It’s like a Tell-Tale Heart thing.

So since Thanksgiving (mid October), I’ve been hand-quilting this quilt. And I’m even going as far as echo quilting the muslin blocks. I tried one block and love the result so much that I find it totally worth the extra effort.

<3 hand quilting ripples.

I’m sure some people will think I’m nuts for hand-quilting this, but they probably haven’t seen my slowly-growing Hex-a-quilt that I’ve been working on since the spring of ’09. I much prefer the look of hand quilting to machine quilting, so it’s worth the extra time and effort. And half the blocks have reasonable outline quilting in crochet cotton, which is remarkably fast to do. I often finish quilting 3 or 4 blocks in an evening.

Quilted Block

Outline Quilting Detail

Quilted Block

Slanty Winter Cross Stitch

I’ve been sewing a lot. I’ve actually been working on my army of dresses. And even completed a few which I’ve been wearing A LOT since their completion. The one thing I haven’t really done it take ANY pictures of them. I’ll get to it at some point. Honestly I haven’t quite figured out the best place in my new apartment to take such pictures. I miss the lighting in my old place.

Here’s some embroidery instead:

Finished sampler

There is a recurring theme with me. Get a sampler kit. Work on it furiously for a while. Get to a frustrating point then set it down for several months.

Kettle

Then pick it up again, forcing myself to finish before a new one arrives. I suppose that it’s better than leaving half finished embroideries to stack up.

Tea & T

This particular sampler got stalled when I realised that I miss counted when starting the top two lines and it got all slanty. Unfortunately the discovery was made once the top was all finished and I didn’t want to risk running out of floss.

First bit

And maybe there’s something about leaving mistakes, blah, blah, blah, human-made, yadda, yadda, yadda. The only issue is that they’re out of line. Small error with big results. However, it still seems stupid to take it all out for a counting issu. Or maybe I’m just being lazy. Whatever. I’m keeping my slanty cross stitch and starting something new.

Deer

Pattern: Winterwoods ABCs Cross Stitch Sampler by Alica Paulson
Materials: Cashel Linen & Weeks Dye Works cotton embroidery floss
Start Date: March 30, 2012
End Date: July 8, 2012

Something more honey badger-y.

Eff eff

SXSW Swag Hack

My office sent a couple of people to the SXSW Interactive Conference this year. When they came back, they were quite generous in sharing all the free swag they got. I really liked the artwork on the t-shirt I picked, but it was WAY too big for me to wear and way too awesome for this shirt to be destined to be a nightshirt. So instead, I brought in to Effiloché for my sewing tutorials one Saturday. Made a sketch of how I thought it could be converted into to a dress and Anne helped me make the transformation. Original SXSW Swag T-shirt My brief sketch of how I wanted to “hack” the t-shirt. T-shirt Hack Schematic I used this old pajama t-shirt as a guide of how I wanted the finished t-shirt dress to fit. Original Swag T-shirt & Favourite PJ top The armholes, neckline and side seams were all modified. I also added in 6 vents in a contrasting grey jersey fabric to create a full skirt. Ta-da! This T-shirt is now a dressPattern: Improvised from favourite PJ t-shirt top Materials: XL T-shirt brought back from SXSW by a coworker Date: March 17, 2012 I plan to draw up the instructions of how I made this transformation but this post has been waiting in draft limbo for too long. Maybe I’ll post them at some point.

Daisychain Sampler

I started this crewel work sampler with gusto back in July when I first received the kit. Basically I was completing a letter a day until I got to “Q”. While working on the “Q”, I got discourage by the lazy daisies I was making and the sampler got put away for several months and I worked on other things for a while.

Finished Daisychain Sampler
Pattern: Daisychain ABCs Crewelwork Sampler Kit by Alica Paulson
Materials: Appleton 2-ply crewel yarn
Start Date: July 14, 2011
End Date: January 29, 2012

But after getting back from Christmas vacation, I really wanted to finish some of the many many many projects I have that lying around in progress and half started. That combined with the announcement of a new cross stitch sampler made me get over my lazy daisy angst and get back to work!

1. Daisychain A, 2. Daisychain B, 3. Daisychain C, 4. Daisychain D, 5. Daisychain E, 6. Daisychain F, 7. Daisychain G, 8. Daisychain H, 9. Daisychain I, 10. Daisychain J, 11. Daisychain K, 12. Daisychain L, 13. Daisychain Q, 14. Finished Alphabet: F – T, 15. Daisychain R, 16. Daisychain S, 17. Daisychain T, 18. Daisychain U, 19. Daisychain V, 20. Daisychain W, 21. Daisychain X, 22. Daisychain Y, 23. Daisychain Z, 24. Finished Alphabet: A – O, 25. Finished Alphabet: L – Z
Daisychain Q

Within a week of picking it up again, I had finished it off. And I really don’t know what my problem with those lazy daisies was. The finished “Q” turned out just fine. I’m such a weirdo sometimes.

FREAKING LACE WEIGHT!!!

I only just realised that I haven’t posted about this spinning project like AT ALL. Weird. Especially since it took me nearly a year to spin all 4 oz. of fibre (lame).

I started spinning this bump of fibre back at the end of March 2011. Yes that’s right, nearly a year ago. I decided to try spinning up some rolags using my new wheel ratios I’d gotten at Xmas.

Banana Rolags

I’ve been playing with long draw for a bit, but wasn’t really feeling like I had quite gotten the hang of it. I thought there was possibly some magic of the rolag that was somehow missing with my previous attempts sans rolag. I think my current comfort zone is some kind of semi-supported long draw. But long-draw looks so badass that I want to go whole hog.

How badass is that? How can I resist such awesomeness?

Well I’m working on it. Something I’ve found when working with the faster ratios is that it takes much more force to get the wheel going “optimal” speed. So for most of the spinning of this yarn I think I was only spinning at half mast. I’m going to work on that.

Singles from Rolags

Though making the rolags was quicker and more relaxing that I anticipated, they sucked to store while I spun them up. I only prepared half the fibre into rolags and it still took me several months to spin through them all. Life gets in the way.

Banana Split Singles

I spun directly from the roving for the second half of the fibre. So 1 ply was woolen spun and the other was worsted spun. As it turned out, the first woolen spun single was much much longer than the second worsted spun single. I wonder if there was some magic that happened in the rolag preparation that extended the fibre. Extra air whipped in or something. I was pretty even with dividing up the original fibre (or so I thought).

Spinning again

Remember that time back in September when I declared a personal spin-in? Yeah that never quite worked out. Again, life gets in the way. In fact, Fiona (my wheel) has been sitting in a nice sunny corner of the apartment pretty much since then.

20 wpi Laceweight

Until last week when I reminded myself how relaxing spinning yarn is while discussing zen activities with a coworker. I became determined to finish up the second half of the fibre (DETERMINED) and plied up ALL the yarn in the space of a few days (DETERMINED).

So so fine!

2-ply (one ply worsted, one ply woolen)
‘Banana Split’ Wild Hare Fiber Studio
100% Blue Faced Leicester
4 oz.
Approx. 780 yards
20 wpi

After washing, thwacking and drying, I measured and calculated the yardage. Approx. 780 yards of 20 wpi! I kind of blew my own mind. I know I’ve been spinning finer and finer lately, but that’s NUTS! I’m so excited. I’m going to run off and spin more yarn now. For reals 😉

20 WPI!!! Ok, last time. Now, I spin more!

Mom’s Xmas Yellow Shawl

Folded Shawl Here’s one last Christmas present that I knit. For the record, there was a high likelihood that this would have actually been finished in time to be wrapped for giving on Christmas day. It seemed a bit on the smallish side, so I wanted to check before finishing it off. Shawl on the railing Turns out I was right. My mom requested it be “much much longer” so I continued knitting until I ran out of yarn. That’s an extra 10 pattern repeats on both sides. That’s like 80% MORE shawl in this shawl! Yellow shawl Then I had a blocking conundrum. I usually do. Though I now live in a bigger place, I also have a roommate. We use our couches regularly and have no spare beds. I was going ready to block this sucker at my brother’s place when I realised that this shawl would probably do with a slight steam blocking. Because of the 40% cotton content, it was pretty relaxed already. More shawl detail! So then some steam. BOUM. Blocked. BOUM. Took some pictures. BOUM. Mailed it off. BOUM. Central panelPattern: North Sea Shawl by Cheryl Oberle from Folk Shawls Materials: Manos del Uruguay Serena in 2044 (baby yellow) Start Date: November 6, 2011 End Date: January 22, 2012 A week later I received this last picture taken by my dad to my cell phone while on the phone with my mom where she was telling me she thought the shawl was now TOO long. Um. What? I convinced her to wear it once and then decide. Turns out she’s fine with the length (even if it’s longer than she anticipated). What? Where's the flash? It could have been nice to have some additional repeats in the central pattern now that I think about it, but it’s still nice as it is.

Woodgrain Slippers

Tops & bottoms This is another project that I knit during Christmas vacation. And it was also a gift (that was given as balls of yarn). Finished slippers The pattern is something of my brother’s invention. It may have been figured out from some old slippers someone brought to him. I can’t remember. The knitting was super fast and it’s a pretty simple slipper formula. One of these days he might finally write it up. These were not knit for my feets: They're not for me.Pattern: Woodgrain Slippers Materials: Cascade 220 Heathers held double Purchased At: Effiloché Start Date: January 5, 2012 End Date: January 7, 2012 The slippers were pretty quick yet satisfying to knit up. They have quite a nice squooshy finished texture. I might (one day) eventually have to make myself a pair.