Wednesday, April 23, 2014

New Dress; Can I Sew It Quick?

I dream big sometimes, people.

Here's the latest dress I've cut the pattern and fabric for. I'm trying to keep a maximum of only two patterns with cut fabric waiting in the wings, but it's hard, man. Damn hard.

By posting it on the blog I open myself to the pressures of the whole wide internet: don't cut out more fabric! you'll all proclaim. You juuust posted that there's a new pattern waiting, so sad, waiting.

This pattern is New Look 6699. It has many, many possible bodice/skirt combinations. If this first one works out, I can see this pattern becoming a fall-back staple in my collection.

And the dreaming big part? I have high hopes that I can sew this puppy in time for TNNA.
Let's see, shall we?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Thrysos Winner!

This is just a quick post to congratulate entrant #17, Cassiopia! You've won a free digital copy of Thrysos. It's in the mail to you right now.

Thanks to everyone for entering to win. Looks like most of us prefer a seamless design, especially from the top down!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Holla Knits Spring/Summer 2014 Blog Tour

For my contribution to this blog tour, I'd like to show you my own, personal, happy, second sample for me me me of Hawt Sands.

Many modifications happened for this sweater. For a few reasons:
1) This cotton is THE cotton I had in stash. Must knit from stash!
2) And while I already owned this cotton, I didn't own it in the proper amount for the main colour.
3) The seahorse is nowhere to be seen because I altered this puppy to be knit in the round. I feared the running-out-of-yarn, and somehow working it in the round made more sense in this perilous situation.
4) I did end up running out of yarn, right a the tip-top of the hood. So the hood's smaller than it's supposed to be.
and finally
5) I wanted to see it in some different colours, and thought ya'll might like to as well!

I have fantasies that one day it'll be so warm that this cotton pullover will make sense as a wardrobe option. Right now it's the vehicle for my maybe-spring-soon dreams.

Follow the rest of the blog tour! There's some giveaways too; you know you can't say no to giveaways!

April 7: Collection Launch
April 8: The Sweatshop of Love Blog
April 9: ModKnits Yarn Blog
April 10: Skeinny Dipping Yarn
April 11: Kirsten Singer
April 15: Canary Knits
April 16: Baah Yarns
April 17: Knitter’s Pride Blog
April 18: DovieJay Knits
April 22: Mari Knits
April 23: Magical Grammar
April 24: Knit York City
April 25: Under the Red Umbrella

Monday, April 14, 2014

Love Me Some Easy Sewing

This is the second Cynthia Rowley Skirt I've made. The first one was so simple and fun to wear that I couldn't resist a second.

I was motivated to finish it in time for my brother's bridal shower. Well, future sister-in-law's bridal shower, I suppose. A springtime shower calls for a happy springtime skirt, no?

Some stuff I'm learning about sewing:

1) I am not smarter than the directions in some cases. Probably most cases.
2) While sewing is much faster than knitting, you still need to be to be patient with boring and fiddly things like pressing and sewing tricky curves.
3) You should probably buy fabric for a project, and not the other way around.

I think point 3) might be a bit controversial; my entire yarn stash is based on "ooo pretty!" and not "well, I'd like to make the X sweater and it needs X amount of X type of yarn...."
This tendency has led me down a road of lotsa cotton quilting fabric, mostly in too-small amounts (and I never remember how many metres I bought!)

And to make matters worse/better, I've just gone on a fabric buying binge on etsy and got myself an embarrassingly large amount of cotton for future dream dresses and skirts. I'll show it off when it finally arrives in the mail (and I say finally because, even though I just bought it last weekend, now is never soon enough!)

I'm thinking of making up some more rompers, this dress, and these cute skirts.
Sewing season is upon us! Muwhahahaa!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Irina Bil
Rav ID: SameSong
Some Great Designs: SameSong's Rav Designer Page

It's getting warmer outside: prepare for a transitional wardrobe!
This week's designer has just the thing(s)!

Pictured is the sunny-day shawl of your dreams, Flower Blues. It's a well-balanced combination of colours, simple texture, and ruffle. You can always tell a good design when something as easily overpowering as a ruffle is used and integrated well into the piece!

You may, though, find yourself facing still-chilly temperatures. Ones low enough for you to say "yes! Today is a hat day!"
And for those days, I offer you Snow Leopard and Chocolate Vine. They have, respectively, a fun use of bold colourwork and a happy dance of textural surface.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Thrysos; Or, It's Giveaway Season Over Here!

This spring is hopping along. The sun is actually out today, and just yesterday, I saw some rogue tulip and/of daffodil sprouting in my garden. The mess of a winter appears to (almost?!) be over!

To celebrate, I'm holding a few giveaways.
I posted Tuesday about my new podcast and the two giveaways associated with it.
And now today, I have another giveaway for you all!


Thrysos is one of my new patterns, released the other week in Knit Pick's Spring Collection, titled In Bloom. It's a top-down blouse with a simple lace repeat across the yoke. Worked in the round, it includes a wee ruffle at the front, a relaxed fit, and a cute little dip in the back for an extra bit of coverage.

If you'd like a chance to win a pdf copy of Thrysos, just comment on this blog post and let me know what your favourite sweater construction is. Please don't forget to leave me some contact info so I can let you know if you've won!

FYI: Email list members get TWO chances to win! You can join the mailing list over here.

I'll draw and announce the winner on Wednesday, April 16.

Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

I Have A Podcast; And, Here's a Giveaway!

I've got a podcast, peeps. (RSS feed here, and check out the notes here.)
Yeah, I decided to jump in. It's been fun so far, and something of a learning curve!

I was contacted recently by Family Tree Knits, who generously donated her lovely Family Tree Cowl and a Miss Babs Yummy 3 ply Toes, 82 y mini skein, in the colour Plum to giveaway! Listen to the episode here for details and enter to win here.
Birthstone Cowl, a NEW pattern from Family Knits!

But I also thought it'd be fun to have a little interview with her too.

What are you excited about?
Yarn, new patterns, starting new projects, and planning new designs. And being a part of the knitting community, which is a very cool place.

Most helpful/favourite knitting book?
I have the Complete Encyclopedia of Stitchery by Mildred Graves Ryan that I refer to over and over.

What are your favourite type of items to knit?
Anything wearable or usable, meaning that I want to be able to actually wear it, (or have it out and use it if it’s a blanket) and not just admire it from afar. Some things are beautiful but if I think I won’t wear it (or that my daughter won’t wear it) then I don’t make it. I love cowls, shawls and cardigans and big loose sweaters most of all. I like to have several projects on the go, so I have a choice of what to work on depending on the environment (I do a  lot of knitting while watching kids’ activities), so at any one time I tend to have a simple project and a project that needs closer attention. I also like to challenge myself with a new skill each time I start the next ‘paying attention’ project.

What's your favourite/most used knitting trick?
Spit splicing, or the russian join if it isn’t 100% animal fibre. I’m not a fan of weaving in ends, so if I can prevent it, I do. Although it seems like I’m always in public when I need to spit splice...it’s hard to act casual when I’m spitting on my yarn!

What's the newest trick/technique you've learned?
Icord edging! It is such a neat, clean edge, I love it! I first used it on the Garter Squish Blanket by Stephen West and for the first couple of inches I kept thinking, ‘How is this going to make an edging that looks like the picture? That would be too easy.’ But it’s true, and it works!

Where do you go when you need knitting questions answered?
YouTube videos by Pink Knits, the Purl Bee folks, and Knit Purl Hunter. And the Tin Can Knits website is awesome.

What made you decide to start designing?
I wanted to make a ‘family ring’ type of cowl that signified each of my family members (since I’m not really a jewellery person), so I decided to make it up. I realized that I often modify patterns as I’m knitting anyway, and I have gained confidence as a knitter over time, so I took the plunge.

____________


Interested in winning more?
If you like the looks of the Birthstone Cowl pictured above, just comment on this post for your chance to win. I'll draw the winner on April 21 and announce the winner shortly thereafter.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Hawt Sands; Get Ready for SUMMER!

Holla Knits' Spring/Summer 2014 collection is out today, and it features my latest design.


Buy Now
and
Check it out on Ravelry.

Hawt Sands is a pattern that's been brewing in my head for quite some time. A couple years, actually. When I saw the call go out for this collection I knew Holla Knits was the right place for this fun and unique pattern.

Worked flat with just the right amount of colourwork and a CUUUTE hood, I envisioned Hawt Sands a while back for the Holla blog. I'm actually rather proud of that writing; it sums up the pattern inspiration in the best possible way.
as the perfect beachy companion. I wrote a frolicking account of my Hawt Sands inspiration dreams

Knit one for the lakeside, knit one by the lakeside. A summer top and a cute bathing suit coverup. Even great for the spring! Knit fast, bunnies, knit fast; you can totally get one of these cranked out in less than a week. NO SLEEVE! I have to say, I think that's one of the major selling points :)

I'd love to see some Hawt Sands in different colours! What colours would YOU knit it in?

Friday, April 04, 2014

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Stacey Hsi
Rav ID: skudge
Some Great Designs: skudge's Rav Designer Page

I love it when I come across a new-to-me designer, they have just a handful of designs in their ravelry shop, and they're all so solid.

This week's designer is just one such of those! She's got two designs up and wow! I do likes them much.

Pictured is Pythagoras. A colourwork hat that has so many great shapes going on at once. Harmony in cacophony. It's a play on triangles, triangles, and more triangles. And as she says, "a few bonus diamonds too (but really we all know those are just two triangles next to each other)."

She also has posted the cute Ting-Ting Hat. It's a simple hat, but one that comes in three fits (fitted, slouchy, and squarish), with easy lines of eyelets making their way up the sides of the hat.

I am very much looking forward to skudge's next designs!

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Cross Stitch; Or, Sharper Needles Ahoy!

One of my 2013 Christmas gifts was this charming book.

It's by What Delilah Did, and is full of must-stitch patterns for the newbie through to the more experience Xstitcher.
I don't know much of anything about cross stitch, but the project ideas and charts in this book are inspirational; they've also motivated me to use them as something of a procrasti-craft. I really should be working on some designs but oh, those lovely silhouetted critters and colourful wee fox faces and stately owls!

I'm working on the silhouetted unicorn because UNICORN and it's really quite relaxing. It's repetitive and seems to create the same kind of intense enjoyment I get from crossing things off my to-do list. I think it's all that tracking stitches on your chart.

Anyhows, if you're looking for some pretty cross stitch patterns, no matter what your skill level, this book is totes for you. Once my unicorn project has reached a point where there's a semblance to the finished project, I'll have to post some pics for you.

If, on the other hand, you're looking for some funny and snarky cross stitch patterns, get thee to Subversive Cross Stitch. I have their book, and am planning a few of them for gifts later this year.

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.