Thursday, April 30, 2015

Apple Dress, Visiting, and Petite Thoughts

A couple weekends ago I visited my parents. They don't live far, but outside the city, and are surrounded by fields and forest and fewer people.
I love visiting them for many reasons, not the least of which is this character you see below.
Ricky dog, the scardey dog.
Being there gives me a chance to get back outside in comfort and lovely surroundings, and reminds me that there's more birds about than sparrows, dark eyed juncos, and the odd, very angry, blue jay.

Chillin chickadee.

 The day I went was that magical one that us temperate-climate kids are familiar with. You know, that first day when it's actually warm. Where you can be outside without a coat on and the sun actually conveys a noticeable and exciting warmth.

Robin's nest, waiting for new tenants.
The trees haven't budded, and the winter warm layers haven't been stored away, but it's that cusp time of year when the idea of opening the house windows and breaking out the open-toed shoes becomes a more reasonable thought.
I took the opportunity to get a few pics of my newest dress crush. This is the same dress pattern that I used and fell in love with for my Capsule Wardrobe (the petite one. Holy cow, are my eyes opened now!)

I  totally get why petite sizing is important (duh) and why it's a thing (nearly half the adult female population is petite!) and that I AM PETITE. So, if I'm going to the trouble of making clothes for myself, I might as well look to patterns that have a fit starting point that's closer to my actual body size, right?!

That said, I recognize that there's always going to be something that needs changing. My body won't fit all the size points set out in the pattern. The fit still isn't perfect, but I'm learning. And it's getting me excited for a project idea that may take a long time to see the light of day.

I know, that's a big time teaser. But for now, I'll ask you all a couple questions.

  • Are you petite?
  • What are some petite modifications you've had to do in ANY of your clothes (knit, sewn, off-the-rack)?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Knitting Tool Profiles: The Stitch Marker

This is the fourth post in a year-long series1. I'll post a new one on the last Tuesday of every month, with facts, photos, and further resources about twelve knitting tools.

[Markers] can let you know how far you have come and how far you have yet to go. They can make you aware of the passing stitches and keep you on the straight and narrow road to rich and lovely pattern stitches.
I use lots of markers; horizontal markers, vertical markers, row counters, and "idiot tags". Some are absolutely vital to achieving a will-fitting garment. Some are simply helpers and reminders of where I am. I would rather speed along the highway of stitches with gentle reminders of where I am  than to have to plod along counting every stitch/step I make.

-Maggie Righetti, Knitting in Plain English

A selection of stitch markers
From top to bottom, left to right: locking stitch markers from RebeccasRoom, glass bead owls from winemakerssister, Jane Austen markers from knitgirlinidaho, Harry Potter themed markers from winemakerssister, breakfast! from Nadia Majid, Dr Who markers from SeeJayneKnit, adorable beer and pretzel markers from Lavender Hill Knits, a selection of different sized ring markers and Clover split stitch markers.

What is it?
A stitch marker is a small tool that helps you keep track of where you are in a pattern. There are several types, including ring, split, locking, and row.

Fun Facts
  • A great tip from June Hemmons Hiatt: using ring markers on a CO row can distort the stitches. Instead, use lengths of yarn; if knitting in the round this gives the added benefit of clearly showing if your stitches are twisted.
  • Low-tech stitch marker options include bread bag tags, paper clips, safety pins.
  • Because stitch markers are so small and, as Montse Stanley says, indispensable to trouble-free knitting, they make great gifts.
  • With the explosion of knitting we have stitch markers available to us for nearly any interest and fandom.
  • Maggie Righetti notes "you need to work in a horizontal thread marker in the middle of a piece any time you bind off or begin to shape the edges." These markers make it easy to measure the length of your knitting from any given point.
  • Righetti suggests using heavy crochet cotton for your horizontal markers; they don't distort the stitches and are less likely to leave flecks of contrasting colour in your piece.
Further Reading
The Principles of Knitting, by June Hemmons Hiatt
Knitter's Handbook, by Montse Stanley
Knitting in Plain English, by Maggie Righetti

Lavender Hill Knits
1 Read the others here.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Why I Love Instagram

One thing I've always felt a bit unhappy about is the level of interaction I can have with you here on the blog.Sure, you can leave a comment there for me (and I LOVE it when you do) but it's not terribly easy to reply to your comments. Sometimes I can find the commenter (because I want to say thank you and continue the conversation) but that usually takes a bit of hunting.

It's this level of interaction that I love, and it's a big reason why I love Instagram.

Find me there as @canaryknits

I know there's so many options out there for your social media delectation. But I want to do my best to convince you to join Instagram if you haven't already. I'm pretty big into it. I post at least once a day.

It's awesome because
  •  many of us crafty people enjoy the visual, and Instagram does that very, very well
  • it's easy to show you like something! Just click the heart!
  • it's simple to interact with people: just leave a comment on their photo
  • you can hear news and keep up to date with your favourite people
  • it's a wonderful way to relax and "be" with other people from the comfort of your own sofa of an evening
  • hashtags give a great sense of community
  • you don't have to post your own photos to join (I know that's not everyone's thing)
  • you don't need a fancy camera! You'd be amazed at how great simple phone pics can be
  • I find it helps you to realize how visually stimulating your day-to-day life is; you get to "see" it through other people's eyes

How to find people to follow
  • check out your favourite people/yarn company/etc website; they might have a handy link to their Instagram account right there on the front page
  • search through those people's following feed
  • have a peek at different hashtags; some popular knitting related ones are:#knittersofinstagram, #instarav, #instaknit, #knitlove
Hope to see you there!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Indie Designer Revisit

Designer: Juliet Moody
Rav ID: joolsywoolsy
Some Great Designs: joolsywoolsy's Rav Designer Page
Original Indie Designer Post: May 20, 2011

Fun patterns continue from our revisited indie designer.

Check out the pictured Creme Brulee. With its openwork and simple shape it's a cute knit that can get you in the mood for the warmer weather.

I'm also a fan of Sparrow, a cute, fitted cardigan with cables, a crewneck, and long sleeves.

Most recently she's also published some sweet baby knits, like Milly Moo, Hatchling (I love this name!), and Bairn.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Capsule Wardrobe: Garment 6

The sixth garment for my capsule wardrobe is complete! And I've discovered something GREAT.

Pattern Description:
Simplicity 9548 dress
©1971; Misses' Bonus Basic Dress with Two Skirts and Two Bodices: (Including a Bonus Chart ... "How-to Make a Better Fitting Dress"). The dress has back zipper and optional self fabric or purchased belt. V. 1 & 2 have high round neckline and set-in sleeves. V. 1 with slim skirt has long sleeves. V. 2 with stand-up collar has short sleeves. V. 2 & 3 have flared skirts. Sleeveless V. 3 has low round neckline.

Fabric Used:
100% cotton

zipper. A big fat chunky one that's not meant for dresses but hell, big fat chunky zippers are a thing now.

Size Sewn:
Misses Petite 10 (32" bust)

Modification Advice/Errors in Pattern:
none found
Alterations Done:
If you can believe it, gloriously none. Well, nearly none. Just had to take in about 1" near sleeve because of my need for an FBA. At least, I think that's what my fit issue is.
Because of the near-perfection of this dress bodice I begin to wonder if my other dresses' bodice fit issues are more to do with petite upper chest/armscye etc... issues rather than a straight up FBA? Research is required.
Would I Sew Again?:
HELLS YES. People, this may sounds like Captain Lady Obvio-so, but the petite fit FITS ME better than the regular fit. Usually I have to take in much more for the bust darts, usually the skirt length is way too long, usually it's just a touch too large in the bodice across the upper chest and the waist is a smidge too low.
But this dress really, actually, feels like it fits.

My Favourite Things About it:
The fit. Also, it's convinced me that skirts can be longer than knee-length and I still like how they look on me.

My Least Favourite Things About it:
It actually didn't come with a belt pattern, I just made that up. But yah, that's just being nit picky. Also: next time, I think I'd add just a bit more room in the sleeve. I think my creating the (very small) darts brought the sleeve from perfect-fitting to a tiny bit small.

Monday, April 20, 2015

What I'm Working On

SUPER teaser-y photo for your peek into my current designs today.
This one is with some fantastic Lorna's Laces, in new colours that'll make their debut at TNNA in May.
I love how this is knitting up. Can't wait for you to see it in colour!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Melody Maria Fulone
Blog: Melmaria Designs
Rav ID: Melmaria
Some Great Designs: Melmaria's Rav Designer Page

Let's share some crochet love, shall we?
This week's designer works in both knitting and crochet, but I'll focus on her crochet here (mostly because Good Crochet always gets me really excited for that craft).

Pictured is the pretty Sunset Arrows. I remember a time when I thought knit/crochet jewellery was... not my thing. But lovely patterns like this have turned my opinion around. Can't you imagine it as a perfect accessory this summer? I totally see myself on the beach with this one.

Her Cotton Facial Scrubbers is an unusual little whimsy. Or is it? I mean, we're all in on the hand made dishcloths, why not a cute face scrubber? I can absolutely see this as a great way to make use of small scraps of yarn, and add a bit more colour to your bathroom sink-scape.

She has some wearables, too! See her pretty Red Lace Crochet Beanie and the warm-inspiring Summer Crop Top. I think I'm all about the crop tops this summer, so this pattern is totally gearing me up for the season.

With over 110 designs, I can only give you a wee sampling here. Check out her designer page for more!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Capsule Wardrobe: Garment 5

I've completed the fifth garment in my spring/summer capsule wardrobe! It's not my favourite. Read on.

Pattern Description:
Simplicity 1158 dress
Junior Misses' and Misses' One-Piece Dress: "Simple To Make" dress is sleeveless and features a low, rounded neckline. It may be worn as a casual or party fashion depending upon choice of fabric. The full skirt may be gathered or softly pleated. Ball fringe trims view 1. View 2 neck and sleeve edges are bound with bias.


Fundamentally feminine and universally flattering with her cinched waist and voluminous pleated straight or dipped hem circle skirt, Flora is the definitive party dress. Choose from two entirely different bodice variations: a classic sleeveless faux-wrap style or the more demure tank bodice, with her high square neckline and simple shoulder straps.

Fabric Used:
100% cotton


Size Sewn:
Simplicity bodice size 15
Flora skirt size 6 US

Modification Advice/Errors in Pattern:

Alterations Done:
I've sewn both parts of these dresses before; decided to add a bit of oomph by using the skirt from my Flora pattern.

Would I Sew Again?:
Maybe. I wasn't as careful as I should have been, and while I can see that it's entirely possible for these two separate pieces could fit together well, I didn't try quite hard enough to make them work. With the end result that this isn't my best technical work. The zipper isn't sewn in great, I was frustrated and ripped a bit of the fabric with my seam ripper, the waistline isn't entirely even...
Added to that: the bodice seems a bit large. I had sewn this bodice before, and that dress fits really well. But, what I forgotten was that I had significantly taken in THAT bodice. With the end result that this one is a bit roomy.

My Favourite Things About it:
My high levels of neon sunshine in this fabric. That and I will NEVER tire of how fantastic the dipped hem skirt from Flora is.

My Least Favourite Things About it:
My own impatience, and stupid lazy mistakes.

Monday, April 13, 2015

What I'm Working On

Quick peek at my progress on the very pretty Velma.

This is a fuzzy warm sweater designed by my friend Allyson. It was inspired by her long-furred pet cat, Velma.
I'm working on it in a super deep stash collection of old Handmaiden yarn. Just on the front panel right now, and looking forward to rounding out the neckline and moving on to picking up stitches (Yes, you heard me, looking forward to picking up stitches).

Cause I know this sweater is going to be great!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Indie Designer Day

© Meiju K-P/Tanu Kallio
Designer: Meiju K-P
Blog: Meiju Knits
Rav ID: MeijuKP
Some Great Designs: MeijuKP's Rav Designer Page

There are so many pretty patterns from this Finnish designer! I'm just gonna run these down in point form for you all.

  • Aureed (pictured) features a lace panel on that back that forms a pleat (something I'm sort of obsessed with recently).
  • Warszawa Soft is another cardigan with a back lace panel, but this one has a great, long length and drop sleeves that give it an entirely different feel from Aureed. 
  • Tavie = luscious cables. That's all I'm saying. Go look at it now!
  • Glazed Pecan Hoodie shows this designer's strength with cardigans. I mean, look at that hood button. So cute!
  • I knew I had to profile this designer when I saw that she had a cape pattern. Yes! Capes! Check out her Cocotero.

And there's so much more! Click on her Rav Designer Page to explore!

Monday, April 06, 2015

Capsule Wardrobe Addendum

Yes. There isn't enough stuff I want to sew. MOAR ON PLATE, PLEEEEZE!

Pattern Description:
Crepe: A sweet and easy wrap dress with no closures to sew. The dress wraps in back and has cap sleeves. The wide ties encircle the waist for a comfortable dress with a fitted look. Version 1 has a rounded neckline, while Version 2 has a shaped sweetheart neckline and waist ties in a contrasting fabric.

Fabric Used:
Two different 100% cottons


4, version 1.

Modification Advice/Errors in Pattern:

Alterations Done:
As soon as I found out that this dress didn't have any closures, I knew it was the perfect candidate for my ridiculous, over-the-top unicorns and rainbows fabric. So, reversible it is! That was a simple fix. Just substitute the facings for your secondary fabric and sew away. FYI: you still only need two waist ties.

Would I Sew this Again?:
Yes! Fast and cute and no closures!

My Favourite Things About it:
How I entirely overlooked this pattern for ages because I didn't envision it without the sweetheart neckline (I know, the scoop neck is RIGHT THERE on the pattern front.) When I saw Ysolda's version, which also happens to be in quilting cotton, I had that urge you get when you want it NOW and went out the next day to buy the pattern.
Also, I appreciate that Colette sizes their patterns for a C cup rather than a B. I still should do an FBA, but it's less work.

My Least Favourite Things About it:

Friday, April 03, 2015

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Dennis Marquez
Rav ID: dennismarquez
Some Great Designs: dennismarquez's Rav Designer Page

Oooo, yah. Look at that shawl.

So far, that's one of just two designs published by this week's indie designer. It's called Eagle Twist, and features a central cable and radiating waves of colour.

Watch this designer for future fun stuff!