Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Cross-Canada Dishcloth Swap!

Hello all!  Here I am, back in the Yukon, and glad to be here, even if it is snowing out. 

I had a fantastic trip back to Manitoba - saw lots and lots of people.  It was busy for sure, but some of those people I haven't seen since I moved up here, nearly 3 years ago!  Still, it was good to get home.  I've been cleaning like a mofo all afternoon - odd motivation to have after a holiday, but I think I know the reason.

Swap Dishcloths!
This was by a lovely lady out of Ottawa, ON.  Love the tulip, and the gorgeous red shade!

Wait, let me back up a bit.  Back in January or so, a member of the Canadian Knitters group on Ravelry proposed doing a cross-Canada dishcloth swap, where you'd knit two dishcloths and send them off to two other Canadians in the swap, along with a post card and any other little goodies you felt like including.  You would, in turn, receive two dishcloth swap packages from two other people across Canada.

Who could say no to that?!

Swap Dishcloths!
This package came from an evil woman out of Hilton, Alberta.  Why evil, you ask?  She also included a bar of homemade caramel.  SO GOOD OMG IT'S GONE ALREADY.  Caramel is my kriptonite.  Her dishcloth is lovely though, I adore the orange and I've never seen this stitch pattern before!
The packages I received were waiting for me when I got home last night, and let me tell you, I bee-lined for them, dumping my bags in the middle of the floor and literally ripping the packages open!  I might've been a little excited.  It was so much fun to see what my two lovely swap partners sent me, and learning more about their home town and province in their postcards. 

Here's the packages I prepared and sent off earlier this month.  All but the last has made it (the 3rd one was a swap angel package, covering for someone else.  It only went out a few days ago).

Swap Dishcloths!
I sort of made up this chevron pattern - I love goofing around on Excel.
Swap Dishcloths!
I adore this dishcloth pattern!  The link to it is here.  I might have to make up more of these for Christmas gifts!
Swap Dishcloths!
And another of the above pattern.  I forgot to pick up a bookmark for it.  :(
I got my packages ready early, although I left off sewing in the ends until the very last minute.  They all included a dishcloth knit using Bernat Cotton, a local postcard, and a notepad with a cover design by one of our local artists.  It was so much fun, and I would love to do it again sometime!

...anyone want to do a swap?  :)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Rock Post: The Sea to Sky Wall in Vancouver Airport

Have you been to the Vancouver Airport?  If you have, you've probably walked past this ginormous feature below.  Have you ever wandered over and read the little sign there about this wall?  Probably not, unless you're 1) bored out of your face (which, it's an airport, you're either bored out of your face or stressed out and running to catch a plane - there is nothing in between in an airport), or 2) a geologist.  And especially when you're both of these things.

Sea to Sky Wall in Vancouver Airport
Centre panel with waterfall.  The rock here is the Garbaldi Golden Granite (actually granodiorite).
I love this feature.  It's two stories high at least and has a lovely waterfall in the middle, which gives the surrounding air a lovely ozone-y smell.  It's as peaceful a place as you're going to find in a busy airport like this one.  And it has rocks, so bonus!

So as an extremely bored geo, I thought I'd share it with you.

Sea to Sky Wall in Vancouver Airport
One of the two side panels (and the entrance to the Maple Leaf Lounge).  The rock here is the columns of Rhyolite.
I'm not going to upload a photo of the write up since there was too much glare, so I've transcribed it below:


Shaped by the earth's heaving crust, fiery volanoes, and colliding terranes, the rocks and mountains of British Columbia tell a story over 200 million years old.  

Much of our mountainous west coast is formed of granite, an igneous rock.  Here, molten magma crystallized far below the earth's surface to become one of the largest masses of granite in the world.  North of Vancouver, Mount Garibaldi rose through the surrounding ice in a series of volcanic eruptions about 20,000 years ago, its granitic cone created by the cooling lava.

Displayed on this wall are two local varieties of igneous rock.  The ways in which they evolved resulted in their different grain sizes, crystal shapes, mineral content, and colours.  Both types of rock were quarried by Garbaldi Granite from unique deposits in the Squamish Valley, located near the Sea-to-Sky highway between Vancouver and Whistler.

Centre panel with waterfall:
Garbaldi Golden Granite is a coarse-grained rock known as granodiorite.  Its large crystals of feldspar and quartz were created during the slow cooling of magma within the earth.  The unusual golden colour of this granite developed over thousands of years, as iron-rich soils leached through its crevices.  The rock is quarried without explosives; a wedging system is used instead to avoid cracks and damage.

Other [two] panels:
Rhyolite is similar in composition to granite, although it is more finely textured.  It occurs naturally in 6-to-8 sided columns - the result of lava cooling rapidly at the earth's surface after a volcanic explosion.  The columns are easily quarried by machine from their loose deposits.

I have to note, before I continue, that granite and granodiorite are entirely different rocks based on mineral content, so I'm a little annoyed with the description above.  But oh well, granodiorite forms in a similar manner, it's only different chemical compositions of the magma itself that determines the rock type that forms.  LET IT GO HEATHER.

Sea to Sky Wall in Vancouver Airport
Close up of granodiorite, bright pink pen for scale.
Here's a close up of the granodiorite. It was difficult to photograph, since the yellow colour they noted actually masks to individual crystals.  I found one piece that was cleaner, so you can sort of see the coarse white feldspar, the light-grey quartz, and the smaller-grained, dark coloured mafic minerals (usually dark coloured, denser minerals that are usually the first minerals to crystallize from the cooling magma as they have a higher melting temperature).

Sea to Sky Wall in Vancouver Airport
Rhyolite columns.  Bright pink pen for scale.
Here, you can see the tall, narrow columns they were talking about in the rhyolite wall.  I actually thought that these columns only formed in another rock type - basalt.  We have columnar basalt in Whitehorse - maybe I'll write up a post about them this summer.

Sea to Sky Wall in Vancouver Airport
Close up of the rhyolite.  Bright pink pen for scale (you sick of me stating the obvious yet?  Sorry but too bad, I'm stoked that I actually remembered to include a scale in my rock photos!)
Here's a close up of the rhyolite.  I know it looks similar to the granodiorite, but it's actually very fine-grained so you can't really see any individual crystals, and those dark bits that look like the mafic minerals in the granodiorite?  Not actually minerals.  They're gas bubbles called vesicles, that formed when the magma got closer to surface and the gas within the magma that was dissolved at depth, started to separate out and form bubbles.  Pretty cool, eh?

Travelling sock wip
Cruising along on my sock!
And for something different, this is my travel project.  I'm making myself a pair of socks!  I wonder if I can finish this one before i get to Winnipeg?  I only have another 10 hours of travel...

My view of Vancouver while writing this post.  You're very pretty, Vancouver.  Someday I'll visit more of you than your airport.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Project: Spring Jacket - a Bit of Alterations and a Lot More Planning

Okay, so I mentioned last post that I'm tackling a spring jacket.  And I didn't really give you much details except "Minoru-like".  That's mostly because I was still working it out.

But now I have a much better idea of what I want!

I don't have sources for these, but they were all found by googling 'womens spring jacket' or 'hooded spring jackets'.  Sorry guys, I saved a bunch of photos (to be deleted later) for ideas, and forgot to nab the sources.

I'm hoping for something loosely fitted, but not way-oversized.  I want a simple shape without a ton of seamlines (i.e. no princess seaming), but lots of details like drawstrings, fun pockets (welt? patch? welt and patch? flaps?  WHO KNOWS!), sleeve tabs (maybe???), snaps, and definitely a hood.  I want a zipper front, but maybe with a flap overtop with snaps?  I want it to be easy wearing.  And I want it to be past my butt, but not to my knees - perhaps mid-thigh?  Maybe a little shorter?

I'm still uncertain if I want it lined or not.  The hood will be, for sure, and probably in self-fabric.

I don't want a belt.

In fact, I sort of want exactly this, with a few tweaks:

I was originally going to start with Simplicity 2508, but eventually decided against the princess seams for a boxier design.  After another dive in the pattern stash, I found New Look 6942.  And in fact, I've sewn this pattern up once before, almost exactly 5 years ago!  In fact, a couple of months before I even started blogging on Sewing on Pins, holy cow.

What's great about using this pattern as my starting point is that not only have I sewn this before, but I still have the jacket! (It's the bottom right jacket in this photo.)  So by trying it on, I could work out what pattern alterations were needed!  WOO HOO!!!  And hey look, here's some of them:

wip: Spring Jacket 2015
Sorry for the weird colouring, I tried to brighten it to show the lines better, and then the whole thing turned blue when I saved it.  And then it got a lot worse before it got better, but at least you can sort of see the mark up.

There's a few things that will change here - I'm still working out how the handle the zipper in the front, but I have my centre-line marked up, so it won't be hard to adjust it as needed.  Note to self: work out what you want here before tomorrow.  But in general, here are the alterations so far (marked up in red marker):
  • 1 1/4" FBA (5/8" on each side), using this method for non-darted tops and small FBAs
  • ...but instead of aligning the hip width on the final swing, I swung the original pattern piece (shown marked up in green, or possibly blue in the picture) out so that there was an added 1 inch at the hip
  • I'll also be extending the hem line down about 9 inches on the actual fabric, but I'll work out the length on the back piece
  • 1/2" narrow shoulder alteration
  • Dropped the armhole down by 1/2"
  • Raised the waistline up by about a 1/2"
I seem to be about a 1/2" everywhere - in fact, I think I only needed 1/2" on each side for the FBA, but I opted for a bit more room there.

I haven't altered the back yet, but that'll only need a 1/2" adjustment on the shoulders and armhole, plus re-tooling the sideseam below the waist, and all of this I can just copy from the front.  Oh and lengthening, of course.  I've also added an extra 1/2" width to the sleeves, and I might yet increase that by another 1/2" - I want those sleeve comfortable!

Was going to steal the two-piece hood from this gem, Simplcity 8936...
I was originally going to add both a hood and a collar, like on Minoru, stealing the hood from Simplicity 8936 (the old Thrift Store Find above) and the collar from Simplicity 2508.  But I despise a lot of bulk around my neck, and I think that it would just drive me batty.  Instead, I want just a hood, and I want it a bit smaller and in three pieces (which ruled out 8936).  Yet another dive into the Stash churned up another Thrift Store find:

wip: Spring Jacket 2015
The pattern is way too small for me, but I think the 3 piece hood will be perfect! Well, after I added a piece to it.
wip: Spring Jacket 2015
I might yet angle the top of the hood out a bit more so I get some decent coverage if it rains.  My fabric is heavy enough that the finished lined hood will be heavy enough to give it support.  But again, I'll work that out later.  I plan to make up a quick toile to make sure the pattern works before cutting into my fashion fabric.  I actually used the collar stand that comes with the original jacket pattern to shape the collar part of the hood, but I can't be sure that it'll work until I try it out. 

Again, the centre-line is marked up on the hood and some extra width is added to line up with the overlap over the zipper.  But I'm still working out how to do that, and I think I've worked out that I'll need to have a separate piece for both the outer zipper overlap and the zipper shield inside.  I originally thought I could just include the outer overlap on the right front piece and the inner zipper shield with the facing, but I think I've talked myself out of that now.

I might treat the whole jacket zipper like a front fly zipper on a pair of pants.  Not that I've ever really done that (except in repairing a pair of the Boyfriend's hiking pants - I win at being a Girlfriend for that, btw), but there's enough tutorials and I'm a smart cookie, I'm sure I'll muddle through it well enough.


Well okay, that was enough babbling for one day.  I've missed doing intensive planning posts and a lot of progress posts, like I used to do over on Sewing on Pins.  I have some thinky stewing in my brain about blogging - how I used to blog, how that's changed, and how I feel the whole online sewing community has evolved over time - but that's for another day. 

For now, wish me luck - because I totally want to cut into my fabric and have the shell sewn together by tomorrow evening!  Or at least cut out.  Maybe just the pattern alterations done.  WE'LL SEE!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Frankenpattern Planning

Holy cow what is this?  Three posts in two days what what?!  If you've missed the previous two, please check out my very first pair of (ginormous) handknit socks, and my (FINALLY!) finished Cardboard Cafe cardigan, the best garment I've ever made.  Haha I've been hit by a creative bug of late, but sadly it's coincided with a lack of any desire to clean, and my sewing room is a disaster, ye gods.

Disaster of a Sewing Room
Whatever, I have Plans.  I need a new spring/fall jacket something bad.  My favourite jacket is disintegrating (literally), and I want a change anyways.  Though I'm having a heck of a time finding what I want.  I like the overall look of Sewaholics Minoru, but I don't want to deal with the fitting issues I know I'm going to have.  And I sort of want to use some of the patterns in my stash - I've bought so many patterns that I haven't used at all of late, and I can't really justify yet another purchase.

Frankenpattern Planning
But...nothing is quite perfect.  But I like bits and pieces of a couple patterns, and there's details from another pattern I want to add, and other details I'm going to make up and throw in on my own.  I think.  I'm still hashing this out.  I'm pretty excited to get started on this - it's been a while since I've challenged myself with a sewing pattern(or patterns, in this case) and I think it'll be fun.

And just cuz I'm cruel to myself, I'd like to have it done by the time I leave for a trip back to Manitoba next Thursday.  AHAHA!  But come on, I'm unemployed, this should be more than doable!

Thursday, April 09, 2015

fo: The Cardboard Cafe Cardigan, Done at Last!

Cardboard Cafe Cardigan
And I absolutely love it.  It's actually been done for a while, pretty much right after I finished seaming the thing, but I've been dragging my heels to get it photographed.  Sorry the photos aren't great - I sucked it up and took them outside despite the crazy winds we've had this week.  Hence why there's so many photos with my hand on my head - I'm usually holding down my bangs.  And I kept slipping on the wet dead grass, so I clung to that tree a lot.  I'm a stellar model, I know.

Cardboard Cafe Cardigan
ANYWAYS, here's the details:

Pattern: Cafe au Lait by Klever Knits
Yarn: Classic Elite Yarns Mountaintop Vail in Adobe colourway (aka cardboard coloured).  This yarn is fingering weight, but knit on 4.5 mm needles, so it went much quicker than your average fingering weight sweater.
Size: 48" bust
And here's my Ravelry Project Page, for other little detail.

Cardboard Cafe Cardigan
I'm not actually leaning in any of these pictures - my backyard slopes to the right, and I totally didn't account for that with the tripod.  It looked straight relative to the fence, and I totally didn't realize how slanty it was until I saw how tilted I was.  Oops.
I did a couple of mods.  First off, I'd planned to make this sweater end at the high hip area instead of the butt length the pattern is designed for.  My swatch told me that the length wouldn't change after blocking, so I knit to 15" or 16" total length from the armpit, which should've been the right length.  I also reduced the original batwing-like underarm by increasing the amount of stitches on the underarm from one pattern repeat each step to two pattern repeats (does that make sense?).

Cardboard Cafe Cardigan

Cardboard Cafe Cardigan
The sleeve length was perfect for me - I wanted them full length since 3/4  just doesn't work for me, too chilly!  These were knit to pattern for size 48, and I only added a 1" ribbed cuff.
While the sleeve mods worked wonderfully, as you can see the length...didn't.  If this had been knit out of wool, I think it might've.  But this yarn is 70% alpaca and 30% bamboo, and if you know anything about these fibres, you'll know that both of these fibres grow like a mo-fo.  I should've known better.  Le sigh.

It also didn't help that the originally fairly snug (but still comfortable!) sleeves also grew, which helped drop the body below them down by a couple of inches.  But wow are these sleeves even more comfy now!  I'll have no problems layering t-shirts underneath these suckers.

Cardboard Cafe Cardigan
Despite the epic growth, I'm not at all upset.  I'm not usually a fan of tops at this length, but I'll make an exception, because this butt-length sweater is my ALL TIME FAVOURITE GARMENT I'VE EVER MADE.  I don't care that it covers my ass, it looks awesome and it suits my style to a tee!  And goes with all of my casual tees.  I can honestly say that this is not only my most successful knitted garment, but also my most successful garment, period.  And that's saying something, considering that I've nearly worn my grey and purple Linden sweatershirts to pieces already.

wip: Cardboard Cafe
Look at how the fabric changed with blocking!  Pre-blocked dense and squished fabric on the left, airy and light-weight fabric on the right.  What a difference!
Despite the lacy-ness of the fabric, this sweater is remarkably warm, but not overly so.  I think it'll be the perfect layering piece for Yukon summers, which can still be chilly in the evenings (which regularly get down to single digits Celsius), but still work for a daytime layer as well.

Cardboard Cafe Cardigan
The buttons are probably one of my favourite parts.  They're made locally from caribou antlers!  No, the animals weren't harmed in their making - caribou shed their antlers, and they're not difficult to get a hold of.  I bought the buttons at our local yarn shop (LYS) last summer in a fit of pure love, with absolutely no idea what I'd do with them.  As soon as I started this sweater, I knew I'd found their mate!  Sadly, I only bought 5 of them, and discovered after the buttonband was finished that I actually needed 6.  Oops.  Luckily the LYS still stocked them, although the price had nearly doubled!  EEK!

Cardboard Cafe Cardigan
I probably won't wear this sweater buttoned up very often, since I love it open - but I'm glad that it can button closed without any straining on the buttonband.

I'm pretty proud of myself, not only because it's an awesome make, but also because I managed to start and finish a sweater in almost exactly 2 months!  This is unheard of for me, and I'm pretty stoked.  It's been such a fun knit, especially since there have been a few of us knitting this one together during the Holla Knits KAL.  Have you seen Michelle's Cafe au Lait?  So pretty in purple!

And despite being quite sick of this stitch pattern, there's a tiny part of me that wants to knit this again, but in a dark neutral (navy? black? charcoal grey?) that actually ends at my hip this time.  AAHH THAT'S CRAZY TALK THERE HEATHER!


I know there's been a lot of knitting on here of late, and very little rock/sewing/anything else (besides one little embroidery post).  Don't worry, you'll be getting an eye-full of sewing projects and plans for sewing projects soon!  I'm behind on my Make a Garment a Month, but they are coming, and I have a deadline I'd like to hit for one of my makes, so keep an eye out for those!

Oh Look - A Pair of Socks

My First PAIR of Socks!
AHA look who finally finished her first pair of socks!  You might remember these from a wip post I wrote back in February.Why, oh why, did I choose to make a men's size 11 for my first pair?  At least they're knit out of aran weight yarn (way thicker than normal sock yarn), so they went quick.  Here's my Ravelry page for more details.

They would've gone quicker, but I'm knitting for someone 3200 kms away and it's supposed to be a surprise.  This lead to a lot of time wasted making people try the one sock on, googling size conversions, ripping back unnecessarily, and finally turning to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's Knitting Rules book for guidance.

My First PAIR of Socks!
And then having to admit to myself that the first sock was indeed too short.  *sigh*

My First PAIR of Socks!
My First PAIR of Socks!
My First PAIR of Socks!
My First PAIR of Socks!
Although honestly, it took me less than an hour to rip back the toe and add the extra length.  I'm a little bummed that the toes don't "match" as well as they did before ripping, but these socks were never meant to match anyways.

My First PAIR of Socks!
Guys, I've been bitten.  I know I know, I always swore I'd never knit socks, but now I NEED to knit (at least) a pair for myself!  And luckily, our local Fibres Guilde is having a Two-At-A-Time workshop next Tuesday...perfect timing!

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Well Hello There, New Hobby

Embroidery Project
Happy April, all!  And if your circle of family and friends are anything like mine, April means HUNDREDS OF BIRTHDAYS.  Ye gods, people, you can try for babies in months other than in July, seriously.

And of course, Darryl's family is the same.  His birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks, and his Mom's is this Sunday.  And being the annoying boy that he is, hadn't planned to send her anything.  So I made the woman a card.

Embroidery Project
I'm kind of stoked about this.  I've been wanting to get into this style of embroidery for a while now.  I found the pattern in Stitch Zakka, compiled by Gailen Runge, and managed to finish it off last night.  I had all of the material to do it and the book on my shelf for ages now, so why not.  Especially since she makes everyone cards herself - I figured she'd appreciate it.

Embroidery Project

Embroidery Project
I even finished the fabric edges and made sure the back was tidy, just in case she wants to use the project as a bookmark or something.  It's a pretty simple motif, but was a fun first embroidery project.  Now I want to embroider everything!