Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sewing Project Planning!

Uh, so I just placed my very first online order for fabric.  I'm sort of terrified, someone please hold my hand!  Although I'm not really sure if I'm more afraid that the fabric won't be what I expect, or that I've just opened up a very expensive can of worms....

I'm buying with a purpose though.  I know I haven't done much sewing of late, but there's two specific types of things missing from my wardrobe that I can't seem to find in town: 1) a coat that's not overly expensive (I'm looking at you, Canada Goose) and/or ill-fitted, and 2) pants.  PANTS omg.  I have one pair of jeans that I sort of like, and another pair that are okay so long as I'm wearing a long top, and that's not doing it!  I have other things I want to make, but I think I need to focus on those two. 

Let's start off with number 1: Winter Coat

I'm planning on making Grainline Studios Cascade Duffle Coat, the cropped version, probably with a hood.  I plan to do some mods to it, probably an FBA (maybe?  I'll have to double-check to see what Suzy did with her version, because it's fantastic) and I want to change up the pockets.  Patch pockets look fun, but they're useless for me since I always keep my hands in them and patches that high won't work.  Unless I do a side opening on them.  Hmmm.

The fabric on the left is for the body, a heavyweight steel grey melton fabric that's 80% wool and 20% nylon.  The lining is on the left, and is a 100% nylon "charcoal grey" bemberg.  I'll probably find some sort of thermal layer for in between, because these two won't cut it alone up here.

I know it's a boring colour palette, but that just means I get to play more with colourful knitted accessories!

And then there's the dreaded 2) PANTS.

This is entirely Gillian and her polka dot pants fault.  I love the pair she made, and since I like narrow legged pants (but NOT skinny pants), I think it'll be pattern to try.  It's Style Arc's Elle pants, and even though I've never tried this company before, they look pretty simple to put together and Gillian recommended them.  If I'm going to be playing with fit, I might as well try an easy pattern!

The recommended fabric is sort of annoying though - they want at least 30% stretch, which is not easy to find.  Hence the order!  I found two pieces that I'll try, including an indigo super stretch denim that's 96% cotton, 4% spandex, and 25% stretch on the left.  I hope it'll be enough!  The fabric on the right is called Chicago Jacquard Stretch Denim Pindot Midnight Blue/Black, and is made up of 65% rayon, 32% polyester, and 3% spandex.  I'm less certain about that one, but who could resist the look of it, and it has 40% stretch.  They're both medium/heavy weight, so I'm hoping they'll be alright for this.

I'm really good at planning, and not so good at actually sewing things, so we'll see.  But I've already ordered the fabric so maybe! 

I mentioned above that I'm afraid of ordering fabric online.  I'm more afraid of sewing pants.  SOMEONE HOLD MY HAND PLEASE. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Stupid Distracting Hobbies and Missed Eclipses

Only bit of the eclipse that I caught. :(
So I got distracted and I managed to miss the eclipse yesterday.  I'm so pissed at myself about it too, because it was a beautifully clear night here in Whitehorse and the moon was perfectly framed in my large front windows.  AND I have a camera that hates the colour green but takes wonderful pictures of the moon.  It was too light here still to see all of it, but we would've been able to see the last half at least.

I did manage to catch the very very tail end of it.  You can sort of see the Earth's shadow on the upper right side.  If you squint.  It was more evident with the bare eye, but my camera sort of caught it.  It's not as good of a picture as I can get, but I figured I'd lose my chance if I took the time to grab and set up my stand...thingy.  Thing that you put the camera on for steady pictures I'VE LOST THE WORD OMG HELP ME SOMEONE.

What was I distracted by, you ask?  A rerun of my (very unwise) favourite show, Mayday (it really don't help my flying anxiety at all) and knitting up this pretty dishcloth:

Waves of Colour Dishcloth
It's the Lizard Ridge Dishcloth by Laura Aylor (although I've dubbed it 'Waves of Colour'), knit out of some leftover bits of Bernat Handicrafter cotton I've had accumulating for a while.  It was a fantastic exercise in short rows, let me tell you, although I did substitute the Purlbee's short row technique for the one in the pattern, since it produced a much cleaner stitch.

I love the cloth and the show, but I don't think either was worth missing the eclipse.  :(  Did you get out to see it?  Was it as amazing as all of the pictures show?

If you don't say "No Heather, wasn't worth it at all, your dishcloth was a much better use of your time", I might cry.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

fo: Amethyst(!!) Henri, at last!

fo: HENRI!
Snotty expression is deserved, I think.
Dearest Henri, you're done at last!  And I couldn't be more pleased with you!  You're gorgeous, your so cuddly, and I want to just snuggled up with you forever!

And you're the perfect shade of purply tweed and texture.  SO MUCH TEXTURE.

ETA: People are being clever in the comments, and holy cow I didn't even see it Henri totally looks like an amethyst geode YOU PEOPLE ARE SMART.  Now I can't unsee it so this sweater is now dubbed the Amethyst Henri!  I DIDN'T EVEN GO THERE MENTALLY I HAVE THE BEST READERS.  :)

fo: HENRI!
Guys, this is seriously the best thing I've ever knit/made/sewn, and I don't ever want to take it off!  I finished this sucker off on the 22nd, and have worn it nearly every day since (I gave it a break on Friday, but promptly put it back on yesterday during my recovery from Beerfest Friday night *ahem*.

Pattern: Henri, by Ann Leachman for Holla Knits
Yarn: Knit Picks City Tweed in Brouche
Needles: 3.75 mm for main body and 3.5 mm for hems
Mods: a bunch

I'm not going to go into all my of tech and modification details here (although I babble about some of it below).  I just rewrote it all up on my Ravelry project page, so if you're interested in things like that, please go check out that link.  In fact, I'm going to keep this post pretty light on words because I've been trying to write it for a few days now, and nothing seems good enough for this sweater.

I have babbled about this before, both at the halfway point and when the body pieces were finished.  That'll have to do.  And the pile of pictures below, of course.  ;)

fo: Henri
I reduced the back width a bit, and I think it was a good decision.

fo: HENRI!
The sleeves sound up HUGE.  I'm okay with them though.

fo: HENRI!
Less okay with my sleeve hems.  I might reknit those later.

fo: HENRI!
Despite my mods, the neckline still wound up wide.  Not surprising considering I made a 48" wide sweater for a high bust of only 38" - that's 10" of ease on the upper chest and shoulders!  That's why I did all those mods - if I hadn't, this thing would probably be fall off of my shoulders right now.  I did add a line of crocheted slip stitches (for non-yarny people, that creates a firm, non-stretchy edge) around the inside of the back neckline, which has helped stabilize it a bit.  I might yet add one to the front, depending on how it behaves.

fo: Henri
One of my mods included adding width on the shoulder and reduce width at the centre front.  It's one I've done before in sewing.

fo: HENRI!
I was terrified of sewing up the side seams, but it went surprisingly well.  Michelle's tech knitting post helped a lot!

fo: Henri

fo: Henri
Look at all of that texture!

fo: HENRI!
Don't get the comments above wrong, I adore how this sweater turned out!  But we're all our worst critics, and I like to see what I would've done differently to learn how to handle things going forward.  :)  Live(knit) and Learn!
Oh, and this is what we woke up to yesterday morning.  Finished my cozy sweater just in time, I think!

Alright now, bring it!  I've got my skis and a cozy warm sweater.  I'M READY FOR YA!!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

fo: Gender Neutral Baby Sweater

fo: 5 Hour (err..Month) Baby Sweater
I finished this wee little baby sweater during our fishing trip to Haines, Alaska.  You might remember it from this post.  I've been putting off blogging about it because I'd hoped to do a joint post with a baby vest I knit, but I can't seem to get the buttons attached and it's currently sitting in timeout.

It's called the Baby Boy 5-Hour Sweater, and was designed to be less lacy than then classic 5-hour baby sweater.  I liked it because it could easily be gender neutral, and I started it for Darryl's sister when she was pregnant and didn't know the baby's gender.  I made the newborn size (0-3 months), planning to mail it to them before the baby was born.  Uh..that didn't quite work out.

They claim 5 hours to knit it, but I think they meant 5 months since that's how long it took me to finish it.

Though to be fair to the pattern, I spent about 6 hours on the sweater up to the hem, then put it down for 5 months until I shamed myself into finishing it.

fo: 5 Hour (err..Month) Baby Sweater
It has a neat construction.   You knit top-down to the sleeve divide, then knit across the front to the first sleeve and knit it completely, seam up the arm, then continue around to the second sleeve, finish it (plus seaming), then finish the row.  There's your sleeves, done, and you just finish knitting the body.  I hate knitting sleeves, so this way forces you to get them done right away.

I knit it out of some leftover Knit Picks Comfy Worsted from my Grey Amber sweater.  I think it took about 2 skeins to knit?  My Ravelry project page says 1, but I remember having to join on another skein not long after finishing the sleeves, so whether I started with a partial ball or used 2, I can't really say.

I got hung up on was the buttons.  By the time I got around to finishing it, I at least knew that the baby was a girl (since she'd been born 2 months earlier), but I still couldn't find what I wanted.  Granted, Whitehorse doesn't have the best selection - even if our awesome Local Yarn Shop has brought in a ton of beautiful buttons.

fo: 5 Hour (err..Month) Baby Sweater
But then Haines happened, and their LYS had THE PERFECT BUTTONS.  I adored the filigree-look to them, and they were the perfect shade of silver for the grey fabric.  You don't realize how many shades there are of silver until you're trying to pair it to another grey.

Anywho, there is this simple sweater, finished at last.  It's actually an easy pattern to knit, and I love the construction of it.  The recipient, Baby L, has already worn it to a wedding with a pretty little plaid skirt.  Her parents are so knit worthy - every time I knit for their kids, facebook winds up full pictures of the cute little sprogs wearing the knits. 

That reminds me, I need to get started on their Christmas gift.  I have a great idea planned for Baby L and her big brother.  More on that later.

Do you have any truly knit- or sew-worthy people in your life?  And have you ever managed to make things for kids in time for them to actually fit the item?  I think Baby L has outgrown her sweater already...

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

wip: Henri - So Close!

wip: Henri

Come on Henri bits, dry faster so I can sew you two pieces together and finish you up. 

And uh, I totally didn't start swatching for a new sweater tonight, nope not me.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Giveaway Winners!!!

Awesome Surprise for Awesome People
Hey everyone!  Here's the post that I'm sure a few of you have been waiting for...the results from my little Blogiversary giveaway!

I tried to make this as fair as possible.  I'm not a fan of random number generators, since I'm never sure how to count the comments - especially if someone accidentally posts more than once, or adds another comment with their contact info.

So I went old-school, writing everyone's name on an equally-sized slip of paper, folding them all in half, and put them in a bag.  The very first name out of the bag won.  BAM done.

So now, without further ado, THE WINNERS!  *drumroll*

Northern Lights Bag set: Karlie
The Knitting Directory: Emilee Gilliam
Ravens Fat Quarters: asteride
Knitted Washcloth set: Janefrogged
Black bean-dyed and natural alpaca yarn: Kat Riddell
Pattern Magic books: Tanit-Isis
Rose Quartz: Michelle

I'll be in touch in the next few days at the contact info you gave me!

OH BUT I'M NOT DONE.  Since this giveaway is supposed to represent the things I talk about and love the most on my blog, I can't not have a YUKON prize!  I'm not sure what'll be in it just yet, but I'm going to do what I always do when I decide to send a Yukon package to someone down south (which is almost everyone, unless you're in the northern bits of Russia or China, or in Alaska) and go to our local bookstore, Mac's Fireweed, and get some fun Yukony things to send along.  And the winner of that?

Yukon Surprise package: PattyJo!

ETA: Oh, forgot to mention how I got the winner!  Once I finished drawing names, I tossed everyone back into a bag and pulled one more name.  PattyJo, you lucky duck you.  :)

STILL NOT DONE.  I might've gone overboard a while back, and I now have about a thousand stamps and a ton of postcards.  Anyone want a Yukon postcard from me?  If so, please send me a mailing address (whatever mailing address you feel comfortable with - I swear I'm not fishing for info here no matter how sketchy this is starting to sound in my head) to sewingonpins at gmail dot com.  Guys, I love sending postcards, please give me an excuse!

I hope you all have had as much fun as I have with this giveaway!  <3

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Babbling and a Reminder!

Aha so I'd planned to do a few more posts this week, but after a week straight of blogging giveaway posts, I'm a little burnt out!  I don't know how people do continuous daily posts.  That stuff is exhausting!

wip: Henri
I haven't been that interesting this week anyways.  I'm working hard at finishing my Henri sweater by the Very Shannon Summer Sweater KAL deadline.  Which won't happen unless they extend the deadline, since I'm still on the cable section.  Oh my gosh, I'm so tired of these cables right now.  They are pretty though, and will be worth every twist.

wip: Rikochan
Despite telling myself I wouldn't start another project until Henri is finished, I uh did.  HAHA whatever I needed simple knitting as a break, because I'm not kidding, I'm SO TIRED OF CABLES.  I've started Rikochan, a shawl designed by Melanie Berg and I'm using the recommended yarn, Owl by Quince & Co.

I was lucky enough to win both yarn and pattern in the last Very Shannon KAL, and my fingers have been itching to knit it since it arrived in my mail box.  I haven't gotten very far since I really am trying to focus on Henri, but it's an easy knit so far.  The stripes make it interesting, which is good because this sucker is ginormous.  It's supposed to be about 70" long!  ACK!

Awesome Surprise for Awesome People
Speaking of giveaways, don't forget to sign up for my giveaway!  I'm making the draw tomorrow (Sept 7) evening at 6 pm Pacific time.  That's 8 pm Central time, 2 am London England time, 9 am Perth Australia, and 1 pm Wellington, New Zealand time.  That's Sept 8 for everyone past London, since you all live in the future!  Hey, will you tell me what the weather is like in the Yukon tomorrow?  That'd be really helpful.

Anywho, go sign up!  And you all who keep saying not to enter you because shipping to your country sucks, or haven't signed up because of that?  GET IN THERE AND SIGN UP.  I planned for this friends, so no worries! 

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Giveaway: Rose Quartz

Plus Rocks.

Awesome Surprise for Awesome People
Please see the main post for more details!

Prize pack includes:
1 piece of rose quartz

Okay, besides the list of prizes in the main post, you can't be surprised that I've thrown a rock in here.  Or mineral, in this case.  What's the difference between a mineral and a rock, you ask?  A mineral is a natural (or sometimes man-made!) substance with a characteristic chemical composition and atomic structure and specific physical properties (like creating a coloured streak on a piece of ceramic, being hard enough to cut glass or soft enough to scratch with your fingernail, having a metallic shine, or breaking in nice, often parallel, flat planes)  A rock is an aggregate, made up of often multiple minerals and doesn't have a specific chemical characteristic.

Clear as mud?  Are you saying to yourself right now, 'Heather, it's too damn early for science crap'?  That's okay!  Really, if you're not interested in all of that, just smile and nod, ignore the sciency bits, and admire the pretty rock *coughmineralcough*.

Awesome Surprise for Awesome People
Because boy is it pretty!  These photos don't give it justice at all, it's much pinker than my camera was willing to show.

Quartz is a silicate mineral, and the chemical composition is SiO2.  It's chemically similar to regular old window glass, which is made by melting - get this - quartz sand.  Cool, eh?  So a lot of the properties you see in glass is present in quartz.

Quartz is my all time favourite minerals.  There are other favs, of course, I doubt there's a geologist alive who only have one, but this one is definitely up at the top for me.  It's also one of the most commonly found minerals on the Earth's crust.  So lucky me, I'm pretty happy where ever I go!


Why is it my favourite?  There's a few reasons.  The very first thing that charmed me about this mineral (and it's beyond my comprehension why) was the conchoidal way that it fractures, where the fractures in the rock are concave and rounded, resembling a shell.  And how can you resist a mineral that can naturally form into a heart?!

Although, one of my least favourite things is it's crystal habit.  Probably because it's so over-used - everywhere you go, you can find quartz crystals being sold for their "meaning".  I'm sorry, there aren't many geologist who hold to that stuff.

But if you do (and I promise I won't judge you!), rose quartz is apparently "known as the 'Love Stone' and is said to be the stone of unconditional love. This crystal opens the Heart Chakra and is believed to encourage forgiveness and to help you to let go of anger, resentment and jealousy."


I also love that it comes in a variety of colours.  Guys, this mineral can be clear, white, purple, pink, brown, black, grey, green, orange, red, yellow, and blue.  It can also be multicoloured or banded.  Seriously!  Smoky quartz is my all time favourite, but unfortunately I don't have a sample to share with you guys right now.  The reason it comes in such a range is that quartz crystal structure of quartz is able to accept impurities well.

Awesome Surprise for Awesome People
Rose quartz possibly gets it's pink colour from tiny amounts of titanium in rutile (TiO2) inclusions, or possibly by something else - the debate has been raging for decades.  Regardless, it's a lovely variety of quartz, and one found in a lot of places.  Even here, somewhere.  I know there's a deposit somewhere between Whitehorse and Skagway, and I'm determined to find it someday!  That's where this sample came from, actually.  So some lucky winner will be receiving a genuine Yukon (or Alaskan - haven't narrowed it down yet) rose quartz sample!

Interested in having a pretty rock mineral for your shelf?  Please sign up below!  And don't forget to let me know how I can reach you if you win.  Link to an email in a profile, Ravelry account, or note it below.  GOOD LUCK!