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!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Knitting Tool Profiles: The Circular Needle

This is the third post in a year-long series.1 I'll post a new one on the last Tuesday of every month, with facts, photos, and further resources about twelve knitting tools.

A further benefit is that it is impossible to lose on e of the pair, as often happens with straight needles. Even better, you can fit into even the narrowest chair (airplane seat) and still manage to knit without risk of poking your neighbor.
-June Hemmons Hiatt, The Principles of Knitting

Intreccio, 50 mm circs
Photo: artstringboutique

What is it?
Circular needles are knitting needles that are connected to each other by a flexible wire or cord.

Fun Facts
  • The first US patent for a circular needle was issued in 1918, although in Europe they may have been used a little earlier.
  • The 1900’s saw the invention of the circular knitting needle, which is in fact a pair of straight needles connected by a flexible material. Early circular needles were made of steel wire cable with the rigid ends crimped on. These joints would often snag the knitted yarn, which was a major reason why the circular needle was so slow in gaining acceptance.
  • In The History of Handknitting by Richard Rutt this is what is said about the circular needle; "The circular needle was probably developed in Norway. It was advertised as "Flexknit, patent applied for", in 'Ladies'Field' Jumpers(Book 1) in 1924. The flexible part was then made of steel wire cable, and the rigid ends were crimped on. The join would,with use and wear, tend to snag the knitted yarn, and this feature contributed to the slow sucess of the circular needle."
  • Circular shawls do not have the long history that square shawls do because of the relative newness of circs (from Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls by Martha Waterman Nichols).
  • According to June Hemmons Hiatt, circular needles are called "twin pins" in Britain.
Further Reading
Asking people about their experience is very valuable: read some feedback on the lived history of circular needles on the Knitter’s Review forum here.

Hiya Hiya
Knit Picks
1 First on needle gauges, second on cable needles.

Monday, March 30, 2015

What I'm Working On

Quick peek today at some of the knitting I've got on the go.

I'm really excited about this one. It's got me thinking of the warm weather, cause it's for Holla Knits Summer issue.
I just mailed the sample off... and I already can't wait to get it back!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Indie Designer Revisit

Designer: Linda Skuya
Blog: Inmost Knitwear

Rav ID: ElevenHandmade
Some Great Designs: ElevenHandmade's Rav Designer Page
Original Indie Designer Post: April 1, 2011

This designer has been all over the crochet world since I first profiled her in 2011!

To name a few:

Crochetscene 2014 with her fun, openwork top Coldwave Sweater. I always love it when designers make crochet fun and wearable. I can absolutely imagine adding this to my warm-weather wardrobe.

Crochet! magazine featured her Florette Scarf, a delicate, fringed accessory.

The Polka Hat, from Interweave Crochet in 2012. This beanie is worked without seams, and has eye-catching contrast colour bobbles.

Inside Crochet had her Torquay Jumper, Vogue Knitting Crochet had her Ballet-Neck Tee, and (one of my favs) It Girl Crochet had her adorable Edie Clutch.

And this isn't even to mention the many patterns she's independantly published.
I'll show you two of my favourites.

First, is the pictured Slide Tank Top. I don't think I need to tell you all how awesome this is. Crochet short rows and great colours combine to create a really fun and attractive warm-weather top. Can't you see yourself in this one?!

And the colourwork wonderland that is the geometric Drop Down Top. Please take a look at these (and the rest of her work). You'll never think about crochet in the same way again.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Capsule Wardrobe: Knit 3

Pattern Description:
Ruffled Crochet Bib Necklace
This is a triple layered statement necklace just oozing with ruffles and frills. Almost any yarn/hook combination could be used, to get your desired size.

Fibre Used:
Zauberzeug Wilma (held double)

lengths of necklace chain

No size.

Modification Advice/Errors in Pattern:

Alterations Done:
Just held the yarn double!

Would I Knit This Again?:
Possibly. I think it's a cute little stash buster.

My Favourite Things About it:
The possibilities: I have dreams of an ombre one!

My Least Favourite Things About it:
Can't think of a thing!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Capsule Wardrobe: Garment 4

The fourth garment is complete for my spring/summer capsule wardrobe! It might be late, and not perfect, but I love it anyhow.

Pattern Description:
Kasia Skirt
Great for summer fun, this skirt features gathering of the pocket backing and bold bib-front buttons. Try using a contrast for the pocket backing for some extra punch.

Fabric Used:
Two different 100% cotton fabrics.

zipper, interfacing

Size Sewn:
38, but the waist was far too large. The rest of the skirt fit well. I just took the waist in by about 3".

Modification Advice/Errors in Pattern:
Checked out reviews on Sewing Reviews and a number on Burda Style itself. Posted the most pertinent info below.

  • Peacock Chic says: stay stitch front curve to help in fiddly gathers, front pockets tend to pop away from body, add snaps, Make sure to use a thinner lining fabric for the pocket pouch. Thicker fabric will cause the pocket seam to press on the front and it may show.
  • punk_rose says: I would suggest making a size larger than the measurements indicate on the pattern, but not two. This made it a little too loose, and I had MORE fitting problems as a result. Also, choose a fabric with some structure, like cotton, but you don't want to use anything thicker than a canvas-weight, since in some places the layer are quite thick.
  • nicegirl says: My one complaint with the pattern is that the front bib lining goes only about halfway down the skirt. When I was planning this skirt I intended to make the inner front panel go the full length but then forgot while cutting and didn't have enough fabric to recut it. If you know it's there, you can see the ridge of the bottom of the inner panel at thigh level and it just looks a little tacky.
  • SewSara says: I should note that in step 9, they reference piece 9 along with 6&7, but piece 9 is the back hip yoke, not part of the waistband. I should also add that in step 4 & #8 when attaching the hip yoke to the skirt panel, it says to pin. I basted the yokes to the skirt before sewing and it helped immensely.
  • evildaemonlady says: modification of zipper on back and no buttons! Her blog here. First and foremost, the skirt has a back zipper. I split the rear waist piece and added 1.5 cm to each side at the center, so as to allow for a seam there. In the original pattern, the skirt's kangaroo pocket pouch hides a center front zipper and closes with buttons. In my version, I omitted the second front waist piece that used to top the kangaroo pouch and did not sew seams designed to keep the pockets separate from the zipper. Instead of leaving the flap free, I first basted it and then machine sewed it into the actual waistband when I applied it to the skirt. The waistband was applied last and in finishing, I hand sewed the waist facing to the top inside of the skirt.
  • andread says: There are a couple of minor errors in the instructions. In Step 8: When you go to assemble the waistband, the instructions will tell you to "position the interfaced center and side yokes 9 pieces 6 and 7)." I deciphered that the "9" there is actually supposed to be the open parenthesis, and it does not refer to piece #9. Secondly, in Step 9: After you sew the interfaced front yoke piece onto the skirt front panel, you will be instructed to "fold inside and press the seam allowance of the bottom edge along the interfaced front yoke," then sew it onto the yoke you already sewed, right sides facing. In order for that to make sense, the instructions to fold under and press the bottom edge MUST refer to the UNinterfaced yoke section (i.e., the one you haven't yet sewn onto the garment). Hope these clarifications are helpful!

Alterations Done:
Moved zipper to the back (which mean piece 7 is unnecessary and button holes didn't have to be done).
Had to take in the waist about 3".

Would I Sew Again?:
Maybe. I really like the look of it, and feel like I've learned a lot about it in the process of making.

My Favourite Things About it:
Pockets! And I think it looks flattering. To be honest, I was ready for it to look garbage on me (due to my lack of skills and my own materials, not the pattern itself).

My Least Favourite Things About it:
SO fiddly! I'm sure a more experienced sewist would have no problem, but I'm not yet able to envision the right way to