Tuesday, July 19, 2016

fo: Spotted Cardigan!

For some reason, despite having WAY less free time now that I run a shop than when I had a government desk job, I've been sewing a ton more.  Granted, not much knitting, but I've been bitten by the sewing bug hard.  Probably because I want to up my wardrobe now that I'm working a very public position in a creative field.  That and I've sworn to never wear blue jeans in the shop while open; that's sort of forcing me to rethink my wardrobe.

Anyways, all that blather is basically to say that I sewed a top.  :D

fo: Spotted Cardi
Actually, I sewed most of the top about 2 years ago, but only just finished it this weekend.  All that was needed was the neckband and hems.  Yeah, I'm not sure why it took me this long either.

fo: Spotted Cardi
ESPECIALLY SINCE IT'S SO CUTE.

Long-time readers who followed me over from my old blog might recognize this (though I am wearing it differently).  I sewed this cardigan up back in January 2012 in a heavier-weight light grey fabric.  I have no idea where that cardi went, but I'd received this exact yarn from Stacie in late 2011/early 2012 to duplicate her spotted version of this cardi.  Erm, I'm a little late, but glad that I finally got it done!  This is going to be a great light-weight addition to my wardrobe.  :)

fo: Spotted Cardi
Pattern: McCall's 6408
Fabric: Stretch jersey knit burnout (rayon/polyester)
Size: Small?  That's what my Pattern Review post claims.  This cardigan ran really big, and I believe I cut a small and graded out at the hips.  Despite the fact that my body measurements from 4.5 years ago placed me in the L to XL category.  Oh Big 4 patterns, why you so ease-y.
Mods: No idea.  I just cut out from the pattern I traced out way back when.  Oh, but I did hack off the sleeves at about 3/4 length and finished them with a strip of fabric sewn on.  And I didn't hem it because I'm not sure how to do it without ruining the drape, and it's curling in a cute way anyways.

fo: Spotted Cardi
The fabric is a little thin, and I find that it bunches over my butt when I tie it in the front.  I love it tied in the back though - It works really well with both my favourite little navy dress (which I so have to duplicate in a black fabric, like, NOW) as well as over my favourite teal pants and black tee.  It's a bit of a bolder print than I'd go for now-a-days, but it is a lot of fun!

fo: Spotted Cardi
Yep, pretty happy about it!  Don't mind the crummy photos though - I snapped them quickly before opening the shop this morning (hense the crummy light).

Have you ever finished a long-planned or half-sewn project that's been sitting around ready to be completed, and wondered why the heck you waited so long?

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Multi-Post: Canada Day, a Hummingbird Skirt, and a Dream Wardrobe

Okay friends, I'm going to mash 3 topics into this blog post, because I have a ton of post ideas and very little time to write right now.  BTW, owning a store?  Simultaneously epically awesome and completely exhausting!  I love it.  :)

Topic 1: Canada Day!

HAPPY (belated) CANADA DAY!!!  And to you folks in the States, HAPPY (early) INDEPENDENCE DAY!!

Canada Day!
I reduced the shop hours on Friday so I could go watch the parade in town, and I do not regret it for a moment!  The parade was a ton of fun, and I went a little crazy waving and cheering at everything and everyone with my wee little flag.  My favourite float was this one:

Canada Day!
It's hard to tell at first, but it's a little glass-blowing studio!  We've had one open up in town this summer, and I'm so impressed they got a float going for the parade!  The folks on the float pretended to repeatedly heat and blow "glass" (aka balloons and umbrellas) and a few people walked along side, blowing more "glass" and giving out candy.  I'm stoked to go do one of their glass-blowing classes - clever buggers also have a "date night" package, which is awesome!

Canada Day!
I might've gotten into the spirit (though I didn't think of a float - NEXT YEAR!!!!) and was up until 2 am the night before (/that morning) knitting up an ugly colourwork hat for a Canada Day display.  Don't look to closely at it, the colourwork is atrocious.  But it did the job, and looked pretty good surrounded by all the red and white Canadian-made product and string I could find!

Topic 2: Hummingbird Skirt


fo: Navy Hummingbird Skirt
Holy crap I sewed a skirt!

Haha I've been missing my poor sewing room lately, and I've gotten an itch to sew that was getting unbearable.  After closing up the shop at 4 on Canada Day, I came home to have some quiet me time (I'm an introvert - though granted a socially-inclined introvert.  I've been needing some me-time to recharge after the last two crazy weeks).  I'd planned to sit and work on a store sample and watch a movie, but the sewing room - she called!  I wanted a quick project and, needing a skirt desperately in my wardrobe, I pulled out the pieces of a navy Hummingbird Skirt (by Cake Patterns) that I'd cut out literally years ago.

fo: Navy Hummingbird Skirt

fo: Navy Hummingbird Skirt
I put on my favourite audiobook and proceeded to sew for the next few hours.  Ah bliss.  Look at those pockets!  I sewed them wrong at first and swore a lot while ripping them out, but otherwise everything went smoothly.

fo: Navy Hummingbird Skirt
Hey look, straight side seam!  I can't remember what size I cut (I'm assuming a size 45" - based on how this fits across my hips and the size range), but I did absolutely no alterations and the fit is pretty spot on.  Granted, I'm not entirely certain how a skirt should fit, but it's pretty comfy.  It might be a little snug across the hips, but seems fine.  I'd probably add an inch or so length next time though.  I'm actually sort of happy with this length, but I don't normally wear shorts and most dresses I wear are closer to knee length.

fo: Navy Hummingbird Skirt
This is the best invisible zipper I've ever done!  It really is invisible - there's just some weird shadows happening in the picture above.  And some wrinkles and various fluff that accumulates in a yarn shop - what can I say, I finished it the night before and promptly test run it at work the next day.

Don't ask me what the fabric is - some sort of suiting that feels a bit wooly, but definitely has a poly-content.  It was part of a box of fabric sent to me from a friend, and I'm glad to get more use out of it.  :) 

fo: Navy Hummingbird Skirt
So I definitely need several more of these!  I think they're going to be a wardrobe staple, that's for sure.  :)

Topic 3: Dream Wardrobe

During MMMay'16 (erm - things got a little insane and I never got photos taken of outfits the last week or so of May, though I did stick with Me-Makes.  After hearing about the shop, I hope you now understand why), I won one of Zoe's giveaways!  It was a fun little 'go to the Fabric Godmother website and suggest a pattern you think they need to have on their site (mine was Cake Pattern's Tiramisu, btw - I do love me some Cake!), and I was so lucky to win one month of Fabric Godmother's Dream Wardrobe!  It was pretty cool, actually; Josie contacted me with a consultation document that I had to fill out, describing my colouring, my personal style, likes and dislikes, etc, and then she chose a pattern and fabric she thought would suit me.  I received her package last week, and this is what she sent:

Fabric Godmother Package
It's perfect!  I love the simple but fun fabric, and I've been eyeing up Darling Ranges for years now!  This was definitely a good experience, and I'll probably recommend this service to family members back home who want to send me something special for birthdays or Christmas's. 

Itch to sew...RISING!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Exciting New: Now Live!

Guys, I just bought a lot of yarn.  Like...a lot.  As in, an entire store's worth of yarn.

Itsy-Bitsy Yarn Store
THAT'S RIGHT FOLKS!  I'm now the proud owner of the Itsy-Bitsy Yarn Store in Whitehorse, Yukon!

Itsy-Bitsy Yarn Store
That is totally the face of a serious and experienced shop owner, right there.  

I officially took over the business this morning, and opened the doors to chaos and confusion as the former owner ran out the door to catch her flight about 3 seconds after we signed all the final documents, and I was left with a float all over the coffee table, paperwork all over the couch, yarn strewn everywhere, a crowd of tourists pushing to get in, and no debit/credit machine to be found.  It was a glorious!

Itsy-Bitsy Yarn Store
Luckily I've been actually working in the store all week so I wasn't completely in the dark, and everyone were so patient and understanding.  I even charmed a slightly grumpy lady from Chicago, who left the shop smiling despite the hassle of not being able to accept credit cards.  GO ME!

Itsy-Bitsy Yarn Store
How did this happen, you ask?  Well, back in February, I was facing my government job running out in June and trying to decide if I should apply for more jobs I'm capable and very competent for but not necessarily qualified for or retraining.  (As it turns out, there's just not a demand for less-experienced geos who aren't willing to relocate.)  Then an email from the LYS owners landed in my email.  And there might've been some hyperventilating after reading that they were looking for a buyer, because YES OMG YES.  A VERY immediate response, a whole whack of meetings, and months and months of business plan writing and some last minute panicking yielded this!

Itsy-Bitsy Yarn Store
Guys, it's been SO HARD to keep this under wraps, and it's entirely the reason behind all of the 'ZOMG SO BUSY' comments here and there.  Holding down a full-time and very mentally exhausting job while also trying to plan for purchasing a business is HARD holy cow.  I've nearly spilled the beans so many times, but it's been a bit tenuous and uncertain and I didn't want to jinx it!


Don't worry, this won't become a store blog.  I'll be posting just as irregularly as usual about all the stuff I make (and I've really got to get some rock posts up here - the title is starting to become false-advertising), they just might host better lit pictures within the shop, and possibly some comments about being a store owner.  

I will be starting up a separate store blog though (still hammering out what I want it to be), but I'll let you know when that goes live in case you want to follow along. 

' Itsy-Bitsy Yarn Store
I'm so excited about this adventure.  I've wanted something like this since I was a kid, but never thought it could become a reality! It's only starting to sink in that it's real, and while the panic I sort of expected is present, I feel so much at home at the store and like it's exactly where I'm supposed to be.

Itsy-Bitsy Yarn Store
Granted, that doesn't mean I'm not feeling a little crazy right now!

Itsy-Bitsy Yarn Store
Look what Sophie, the former owner left me!  (She's the one for whom I made the little going-away gift.) She said she got it when they first opened up in their original 138 sq foot location (can't really get more itsy-bitsy than that) as a blessing for the shop, and she decided to pass it on to me to keep up the blessing. That little banner is hanging up on the tiny storage closet behind a screen, and it's going to stay there for as long as I'm in that space! Isn't it lovely?

Anyways, I'm not sure how to end this. My heart is so full right now, and I feel so thankful to have this opportunity. I'm looking forward to the hard work it's going to take to keep this adorable little shop going, and I can't wait to give back to the community like Sophie and her husband did before me.

Wish me luck, folks! I'm going to need it.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

That Personalized Touch

I love the fact that I can sew, that I've developed the kind of skills where I can put a personalized touch on a gift relatively quickly if needed.

fo: Knitting Project Bag
A good friend of mine is leaving the territory on Monday, and I put together a little gift basket for her.  But it was feeling pretty impersonal, despite finding a few of her favourite treats and adding a thermos that I knew she'd probably use (and probably lose, but that's alright).

fo: Knitting Project Bag
So last night I whipped up a little knitting project bag out of a fabric I know she'll love...in about 20 minutes.  And it only took that long because I had to thread the drawstring and couldn't find the one safety pin I've managed to keep from the pack of 50 I bought a while back (like hair clips, apparently I only get to keep one of those no matter how many I buy, and that one becomes Precious and desperately coveted).

fo: Knitting Project Bag
Now the little gift is absolutely perfect, and I'm happy to send her off with a little something made from my own hands, even if I'm not happy to see her go.

I'm so thankful for the skills I've learned over the years, precisely for moments like this.  Do you ever add a little personalized touch to your gifts?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Pending: Exciting News...

I haven't been around here much lately - either blogging nor commenting, but there's a pretty exciting reason for that.  Which I'm not going to tell you yet because I'm a cruel woman, and also not a little bit afraid of jinxing myself.

It's a big change in my life though, and I'm equal parts excited and terrified.  Some of you may know (and if you do, please ssshhh!  :D), but I promise to tell you about it on Monday when it's official!

Oh man, this is a cruel post.  I probably shouldn't post it, but it's my blog and I can tease if I want to!

In other news, I'm really looking forward to having some time to focus on projects again (both knitting and sewing - especially in my newly reorganized sewing room!).  Things can't calm down soon enough.  <3

I hope the rest of your week is calmer than mine!

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Adventuring in Haines (and a good old garage sale find)

I adore Haines, Alaska - it's quickly becoming one of my favourite places.  Between the gorgeous drive (you can see part of the scenery and some of the town in this post; ETA: way to forget the link, Heather), the adorable town, and the friendly people, I'd probably happily move there!  If I could find a job.  And if it weren't another country.  Though a large chunk of the Yukon agree that Haines and Skagway and other nearby towns might as well be part of the Yukon - we're basically the same people, so we might have to plot stealing those areas back or something. 

Don't worry folks, we'll let you keep your flag - you're obviously fond of it if the presence of one on every single house is anything to go by.  We'll just stick a leaf on it or something!  ;)

(I am just kidding - please don't take this as a serious plot to invade or anything!  Though if you're not using those towns, we'll happy trade you them for some poutine and a Zamboni or something.)

Anyways, as you can probably guess, I had a good time in Haines this past weekend.  We went down for the Haines Beerfest (my first time going!) and had a blast.  The weather was extremely warm and I killed my ankles and feet by walking all over town in flip flops, but the beer was good and I made lots of friends by sharing my ginormous bag of popcorn with everyone.

BTW, three separate people stated "you must be Canadian" after I offered them popcorn.  Weird.

Singer 99K
What does this have to do with "Things I Make"?  Well, not a lot.  Unless you count this fantastic find I stumbled across at a garage sale there.

Singer 99K
It's a Singer 99K in pretty good condition!  The shellac is starting to peel, but she appears to run well and the lightbulb works.  I haven't actually tried sewing with her yet, since I need to find some time somewhere to give her a good cleaning and probably not a small amount of oil.  Not bad for $20 USD (probably about $26 or so CAD)!

Singer 99K

Singer 99K
I'm pretty stoked though.  Poor...everyone in Haines.  I crowed about my find to absolutely everyone who made the mistake of making eye contact with me! 

Singer 99K

 
Singer 99K
It came with some goodies under the machine.  I'm pretty sure all of those weird feet are rufflers.  Who ever used to own her must've been a serious ruffle-addict!

Singer 99K

Singer 99K

Singer 99K

There was also some buttonhole templates, but sadly no buttonholer.  I'm going to see if I can't find one for this machine - though my Kenmore does buttonholes just fine.  Maybe I'll track down some other feet for it too.

Singer 99K
Pretty sweet find, eh?  I need to figure out a name for her soon.  Any suggestions?

Friday, May 27, 2016

fo: Daelyn Pullover (aka Accidental Sweater)

fo: Daelyn Pullover
Please allow me to introduce one of my new favourite garments, my Daelyn Pullover aka the Accidental Sweater.  I've been teasing you about this one for a while - I finished it on May 1, it was dry by May 3, took pictures the following weekend and worn it a bunch of times, and am only now getting around to blogging about it.  There's a ton of photos here because I'm in love and I couldn't weed them out.  No regrets.

Pattern: Daelyn Pullover, by Isabell Kraemer
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca
Needles: 4 mm and 4.5 mm
Size: 38.5" at neckline, grading to 41" at the bust with a bit of extra stitches here and there
My Ravelry Project Page

I'm so excited to have finally knit one of Isabell Kraemer's patterns.  That woman creates some of the most gorgeous sweaters, and I need to make more.  The pattern itself was relatively easy (other than the short rows at the neck, which nearly defeated me), and it was just so lovely to knit.
fo: Daelyn Pullover
I'm particularly pleased about the fit of this sweater.  Raglan sleeves can be difficult with a larger bust - since pattern designers just have you keep doing raglan increases until you get the bust width you need, but often the armpits wind up closer to you waistline than your armpit.  Annoying.  There's a mod I usually use to help alleviate this, but it sort of worked/sort of failed this time.  More on that later.

Anyways, this pattern seems to avoid some of the pitfalls of a larger size raglan sweater, though I'm not sure if I can put my finger on the why just yet.  It might have something to do with the
fo: Daelyn Pullover
I only did two mods on this sweater, and the first worked out really well.  This is supposed to be a boxy sweater, but boxy doesn't always work so well on me.  Especially with a snugger waistband.  I have a prominent butt, which tends to cause fabric to pool at the small of my back.  To eliminate that, I added two darts to the back of the sweater about 1/3 of the way from each side.  See how it shapes the back nicely?
fo: Daelyn Pullover
It's so hard to see the darts with the garter stitch though.  I marked the location on the left side, and tried to point it out on the right with an arrow.  Can you see them?
fo: Daelyn Pullover
Yeah, I barely can.  It sure does make a nice smooth and shaped back though.  The front is still boxy (maybe too boxy) but the back is just lovely.
fo: Daelyn Pullover
The second mod was to add some width at the bust without having to continue the raglan increases, and I did that by casting on more stitches at the sleeve divide.  I've done this before, and it usually works out.  In this case, it didn't so much.  Oh, it gave me the width I needed for the bust, but it also gave me way too much fabric in the whole area.  See how the fabric gets pushed away from the underarm area when my arms are down?  Classic example of too much fabric at the bottom of the arm scyth (?? I'm too lazy to look up the spelling here).
fo: Daelyn Pullover
See what it does to the front?  I get these big folds of excess fabric in front of the armpit.  Oops.  Ah well, I don't actually care.  Live and learn.
fo: Daelyn Pullover
One of the little details I love in this pattern is how it has you do the finishing.  All ribbing ends with a row of knit stitches, then bound off knit-wise.  That leaves this pretty straight line of stitches at the end of the ribbing, like on the sleeves above.  It's a pretty little detail that I'm in love with.
fo: Daelyn Pullover
The pattern also has you do some short rows at the back of the sweater before starting the ribbing (you can see how the ridges are truncated by the ribbing along the right side).  This is to give a bit more length at the back, since garter stitch tends to be shorter than stockinette.

fo: Daelyn Pullover
Man, I just love the simplicity of this sweater.  Really makes the contrasting texture of the garter stitch (ridgey bit) and stockinette stitch (flat bit), and the lovely heathered yarn, sing.

fo: Daelyn Pullover
I think the only thing that I'm not pleased with this sweater (other than all that extra fabric above the bust, but that's not the patterns fault at all) is how high the neckline is.  I'm not used to necklines this high, so I find it a bit...constricting? against my throat.  But it's not too bad, and I'll just keep that in mind for the next sweater.  I think this pattern would look really good with a v-neck though, and I might have to consider knitting this pattern again in the future with that mod!

fo: Daelyn Pullover
And I'm hauling it along with us to Haines Alaska this weekend.  Which we're leaving for in...1 hour and I still have to pack and shower and figure out what knitting I'm bringing.  We have tickets to beer fest there (YAY!!), and you never know if you'll need a cozy warm woolen sweater while adventuring/sampling all the beer!