Monday, March 31, 2014

Quiltfest 2014

The promise that raw crafting materials brings is almost irresistible. This is one of the many reasons I have multiple stashes.
There's the yarn stash, of course. It lives in a few places in my house.
There's also the crafting book stash; full of inspiration untapped and projects yet unmade.
This year, I've decided to diminish one of my often overlooked stashes, the cotton fabric.
I've been adding to it for years; now it's time to start using The Pretties. I've already jumped into some sewing. Next up is quilting! All those less-than-2-metres of fabric need using, and my friends need birthday gifts, so a fantastic synergistic solution has been found.

My friends are getting birthday quilts this year!

Up first for 2014 is my March 16 birthday friend. She's funny, strong, inspirational, and talented. I only hope she digs her blue/purple/green themed quilt. It's not the most exciting quilt in the universe, but will certainly do to keep a lap warm.

Next up: I need to learn how to take more interesting shots of quilts!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Indie Designer Revisit

Designer: Tara-Lynn Morrison
Blog: good night, day
Rav ID: goodnightdayknits
Some Great Designs: goodnightdayknits' Rav Designer Page
Original Indie Designer Post: June 4, 2010

A name change hasn't changed the structured, minimalistic beauty of goodnightdayknits.

When I originally profiled her in 2010, I was struck by her cohesive, focused style and modern aesthetic. Since then, she's published many patterns, some of my favourites being the lambton extra chunky cowl, the petawawa cabled toque, and the  windsor headband (pictured).

The lambton cowl is one of her free pattern; she's let me know there's more to come!

I'd also like to point you to her blog, where she has knitting tips and information that acts as a companion piece to her knitting booklets.

I'm very happy to announce that she's generously offered Canary Knits readers a coupon for 10% off. The code is MERCI; use it in her ravelry shop here.
Take advantage of this, folks! Her ebook collections are $18 for seven pattern. This coupon makes that deal even greater!

Ok, I couldn't resist throwing in this extra pattern pic because I love it so: the markham loop collar. It's perfect for this time of year, and looks like such a fun, cozy knit! I really dig that texture, and the beautiful chunkiness of the knit stitches running up the inside edge.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Thrysos; The Knit Picks Spring 2014 Collection

Introducing Thrysos!

Today Knit Picks' Spring Collection has been released. It's full of sweet, light, wearable designs for this time of year. Here is a link to the ebook version, and here's the hard copy.
My addition to this collection is Thrysos, a top-down lacy-yoked cap-sleeved shirt with a gentle ruffle at the front and a few generous inches of positive ease for a comfy wear.

Another one of my favourite details about this piece is the soft curve to the back of the shirt. You can see it faintly in this picture to the right.

Thrysos is a great layering piece; something to toss on over a cami in the milder temperatures of spring.  You can belt it or wear it loose; a flowing ribbon tied around your waist would look wonderful with this delicate knit.
Sizes are 33.5" - 61.5" at the bust.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Indio Cowl; Or, Making Summer Early

On Friday I got a great surprise.
The Knitscene Summer Issue preview went live, and it's featuring my latest design, Indio Cowl.

I love the way they've styled this issue; summer can be a difficult time to knit for, but all these designs are stellar examples of how you can't let the summer heat keep your knitting down!

The Indio Cowl is a simple, soothing knit that belies its amazing flexibility. Wear it around your neck close or long, around your shoulders or up over your head; wear it like a scarf, or even belt it (I love that picture). Have fun with this cowl and let it carry you through the different seasons of the year :)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Jenny Faifel
Blog: Cloud 7 Knits
Rav ID: SweaterFreak
Some Great Designs: SweaterFreak's Rav Designer Page

I love the way this week's designer uses shape.

In my inner viking sweater, shape appears in the flattering shaping of the sweater, but also the keenly geometric design decorating the yoke. On the pattern's projects page on ravelry, you'll see many different, great colour combinations (and even one that's modified for a very cute puppy!)

I've said it before and I shall repeat unto infinity: you can tell a good designer when an easily overpowering element (such as a ruffle) is integrated well into their work. Case in point: Foray.  This scarf is a ruffle, but a gentle one. Shape and shaping used to very good end. Possibly the chicest ruffle I ever did see.

V lace is a sweater that works shape into oversized, gently sloping bell sleeves and directional eyelets. Very decorative and simply striking.

Everyone, please click on this link: sleeveless in Vancouver. It's a very new design and is SO COOL! I let you to look at its awesomeness.

I could certainly go on, but I'll confine myself to just one more example: foxy loop. This is an infinity scarf that utilizes alternating stockinette and mesh sections to create an interesting shape and texture, while simultaneously acting as a simple, relaxing knit.

Oh! And she's got a mystery KAL happening right now. Check it. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

He's the Dude, Even Without His Sweater

I'm rounding the corner!
At least, I'm telling myself this partial truth in order to diminish my shame and guilt for still, on the eve of what I'm hoping may be spring, not having my boyfriend's Christmas gift complete.

I'm about halfway through the second sleeve, which means I only have to seam both of those in, knit the neckline, and sew the zipper.

But here I present photographic proof of the pile of knitting I've done. Really!
I joked about a month ago that I'd be seaming the last seam on the first really warm day of the year. This may prove to be part self-fulfilling prophecy, and part incredible perception.

I'm enjoying the knit - really! It's a very relaxing pattern to follow.
I also have these fantasies that, if I really do finish this just in time for my boyfriend to not be able to wear it this winter, he'll be handsomely sporting it on some wonderous night while we're camping.
Can you even imagine camping? Do you remember the summertime? I'm not sure it's real.
I'll keep you in the loop if I find solid evidence of this "summertime".

In the meantime, I knitterly knit knit away.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Freshisle Fibers
Blog: Freshisle Fibers and shop
Rav ID: freshisle
Some Great Designs: freshisle's Rav Designer Page

Fun colourwork accessories are my faves from the offerings over at freshisle's ravelry shop.

Hailing from the great land that is Manitoulin Island, freshisle likes to create her hand-dyed yarns naturally, with local plants and flowers. I see she's also had some traditional Canadiana influence some of her work; here, the pictured  Curling Rock Mittens and the super funny (and inventive!) Curling Rock Hat. I really like the colours of the mittens!

Here are the All You Need is Love mittens. Such great, classic, colourwork. I particularly like how she's chosen to create the samples in the opposing colours.

I think many of your will enjoy the Winter is Coming mitts; especially the pattern photo with the dog!

Check out her other work; there's an array of pieces there, some of which are a nod to the great Harry Potter!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sewing the 80s into My Heart

Perhaps a bit fancifully titled, but that's because I'm fancifully enamoured with this dress. I talked big talk about it here, and I've actually followed through. SO HAPPIES!

And for several reasons.

1) It looks so late 70s/early 80s. And that makes me smile.
2) It was another one of my used-store pattern finds.
3) I sewed this thing in less than 24 hours, and that's from cutting the fabric to finishing details!
4) I successfully included French seams, thus removing all need to hand stitch stupid raw edges.
5) Pocketsssss!
6) I'm well on my way to using up my fabric stash. And boy, do I love this birdie fabric!

Truly, I could go on, but I'll limit it to 6 and ask:
Have you been getting into the Springtime mood lately? That's another reason this dress exists and makes me happy. The idea that above 0 Celsius temperatures are coming along makes me a happy camper.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Beer Embroidery Complete! On to more Crafting!

I have an embroidery FO for ya!

Raise a Glass!

This was a very fun project.
I'm getting pretty keen on embroidery; it's colourful, soothing, compact, and a great way for me to use the scads of embroidery floss remaining from my childhood. 

What with the wonderfully large amount of foam-replicating French knots on this piece, I now feel I'm a near-expert-French-knotter.  I did have some issues at first, though, which were based entirely on my misreading instructions. I couldn't understand why my knots would keep unraveling. The source of the problem was when I wrapped the floss around the needle; I mistakenly had the needle pointing downwards. All those wee wraps just slipped off instead of knotting as they should.
Easy solution! Just make sure to point that needle up!

Looking forward to the next Red Letter Day Stitches pattern!

Friday, March 07, 2014

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Julie Zaichuk-Ryan
Blog: Button, button...
Rav ID: gotthebutton
Some Great Designs: gotthebutton's Rav Designer Page

This knitter (and embroiderer!) is talented! Her design milieu stretches from cables and texture to colourwork and cowls!

Pictured is my favourite, Besotted. She says it best when she describes it as, "at once modern and traditional and perfect for whatever color combination you like best this year!" I love it in the colours pictured, but can you imagine it in a progression of ombre colours? (I'm not letting ombre go just yet. The more colours we can stick together the better, I say!)

For similar reasons, I'm also big on Hush and Classic Colorwork Cowl (it has hearts AND deer!).

Finally, I'm going to point out her beautifully bobbled Haworth, a textural delight of a water bottle cozy. I can't wait to see what gotthebutton designs next! I really love her ability to walk the line between classic and fun contemporary. Exciting!

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Plum Rondo: An Exercise in HappyTimes

I've had pan-craftual startitis.
It's a very serious condition, where you run screaming from your deadline knitting into the waiting, warm, and wuvly1 arms of every other thing you like that's crossed your path in the last two weeks.

Yesterday I showed you the skirt I just finished. And as soon as I get me a photographer, I'll show you the dress I just sewed, but today's peek into my plethora of procrasti-projects is the Plum Rondo a la Turk by Julia Farwell-Clay.
I first spied it in Knitty's Fall 2013 issue and fell in love immediately, but I didn't have the time or yarn to jump in.
Then I saw Threadpanda's very pretty version a few days ago and decided it's time for the Rondo to begin.
The pattern calls for worsted weight, but I'm stubborn and have had what turns out to be the perfect (coloured) yarn for the project for nigh on an embarrassing number of years.
It's madelinetosh Pashmina in Fig, Tomato, Citrus and Gilded. Oooo... fiery yarns...
This yarn is happiness running through your fingers as you knit. But one thing: it's absolutely not the right weight. Which means this will turn out to be less of a relax-a-knit, and a bit more of a doing-maths-a-knit. I chuckle with confidence and strut with unwon pride around the barnyard that is my Farm of Possible Doom (this is a very silly post. The mood happens to strike.)

Translated into English, I think I mean to say that it's all fine and good for me to be pleased with my progress and math/gauge messing now, but I suspect the sailing will stop being smooth about the time I have to navigate the beautiful yoke. In particular, I fear the demons row gauge un-checked may strike upon me.

But writing it out in a blog post means that it won't be a problem, right?

In absolutely unrelated news: the giveaway for the adorable Raise A Glass! embroidery pattern from Red Letter Day Stitches has been drawn and the winner is Meredith MC!
Congratulations! Just pm me on ravelry @canarysanctuary and let me know your preferred email address to receive the pattern pdf.

1 Uh.... the things I do for alliteration.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Addicted to SewLove

I have this habit, and it's a bad one.
When I have a long list of crafting To Do, I tend to procrastinate with other crafting.
I'm not sure where this habit came from; it was in my nature all throughout school to be done any sort of assignment as soon as humanly possible.

And while I may continue to rifle through my psyche for the root of this issue, I sort of can't complain about the output.

Case in point: the last week or so has seen me jump headlong into my sewing.
I've finished two garments in as many days, and want to share the first of them with you here:

Cynthia Rowley Skirt Pattern, Simplicity 2512

I'm quite happy with this skirt. I certainly have a ways to go yet in my sewing skills: I have no patience for closing up raw edges on the inside of the garment, and just wing it when it comes to installing zippers, but I'm getting to the point where I'm not really self-conscious about wearing my home-sewn garments in public.

This pattern was another used-clothing-store find, and in my size! Every time that happens I get so damn giddy.
But as for "my size", I've come to realize that I always have to cut a size smaller than expected to get a garment that will actually fit. According to the measurements on the envelope, I'm pretty much an exact size 12, but it's the size 10 that I'm wearing and fits me well.

Also: if you're thinking of sewing garments, I'd recommend joining Sewing Pattern Reviews. It's free, and gives you access to loads of great info about any given pattern. I'm off to write my first review - about this skirt!