Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry CHristmas all!

For those that celebrate Christmas - I hope you have a wonderful weekend, doing whatever it is you do to celebrate. For those that celebrate other holidays - I hope they are as wonderful as they can be.
If you don't celebrate anything at this time of year, I hope you have a wonderful weekend filled with whatever it is that makes you happy.
I'll be back at some point next week - I'll surface after Christmas to possibly tell the tale of our day - how we combine my family, our friends, and my husband's family. It's always funny... And of course we will be heading to the cottage for New Year's as always - as soon as my husband can get away, or sooner if the boy and I decide we'd rather be there than home, and the hubby can join us later on - I'm off all next week, while he has some work stuff to take care of.

Best to all...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

last gift done!

I finished My Mom's flamingo last week, and that was pretty much the last of the Christmas knitting (except for the Baby Surprise Jacket).
It's far too cute for it's own good, and I can see my Mom getting a good laugh over it. I know she will take it to Florida with her, and I can even hazard a good guess as to where it will end up in her house down there... The only problem is I can also see some of her friends down there putting in requests for one of their own...

It's a free pattern from Spud and Chloe, and can be found here. THe only changes I made were the yarns (I used some Briggs and Little I had in my stash in the right colours), and because of that, I also increased the size of the needles to match the yarn. (I find it funny that a Florida flamingo is knitted out of a quintessential Canadian Wool.) I also just stuffed the whole thing with fibrefill, rather than the super ball they used. Other than that - pretty much as they made it! If I do it again, I may think about putting pipecleaners in the legs for a little more substance.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dahlia done!

I finished my Dahlia sweater a while ago, and have finally got around to taking some (crappy) pictures. I promise to try and get some modelled shots soon, but I wanted to post this before I forgot.

I love this sweater for a number of reasons. One - it's made of Elsbeth Lavold's Silky Wool, one of my all time favourite yarns to knit with. Love. This. Stuff. Two - it;s red. A great, blue toned red, that looks great on me. Three - the pattern - Dahlia has a wonderful floral lace back insert, and an unique construction. I got slowed down by the endless stockinette for the fronts, but made up my mind to power through it, because I really wanted this sweater to wear on Christmas Day.
The one downside - I wish I had just one more ball of wool - The sleeves are just below the elbow, and while this is okay, I would probably be happier with a few more inches of sleeve length.
Please note that having it draped on the dressmaker's mannequin does not even come close to doing it justice - it looks so much better on. I can wear it either loose and draped down the front, or with a cross over neckline,

anchored with a small pin. Either way looks great, and I can see a lot of use out of this.

Merry Christmas to ME!

Monday, December 19, 2011

quick addition

So my son's teacher let drop that he and his wife are expecting a baby. (at the end of June - how to take a stressful month for a teacher and send it OVER the top!) Anyway - he's a great guy, and has been absolutely wonderful so far this year with my son (and the whole class).
I had already planned on a pair of hand knit socks for Mr. L, but then thought about the fact he's so excited about this baby, and already has a toddler and (obviously) a wife, and well, because I always go over the top, I dug around my stash of gifts, and found a pair of toddler socks that had never been gifted (I think I knit them for my son years ago, and he outgrew them before I finished them...), and I have a multitude of scarves that could be gifted to his wife, but the baby... Well, I had a week, so...
 Yup - a Baby Surprise Jacket.

In a reasonably unisex colourway of Katia Jamaica 100% cotton. The best part of using this yarn? I already have a bunch of mitres squares made from it, and will have enough left over to make a stroller sized blanket to match the sweater! (The blanket will be an end of year gift.)

I should be done the sweater by Wednesday, so I can wrap everything up for the boy to take to school on Friday. I'll try and get a picture of all 4 items before I wrap them.

I knew having a stash of already knitted stuff, and access to "quick-to-make" patterns would come in handy one day...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

almost completely hand crafted

We had our company holiday dinner this week. We're a small company, and the CEO took all of us to the fabulous little restaurant and we had a great meal, with great people.
Now, my work clothing is usually pretty casual - jeans and sweaters are the norm, but for this, obviously I put out a little extra effort. And the best part?
Pants - hand sewn.
Sweater - hand knit.
Jewellery - hand crafted.

Other than the top and boots, I made it all!
I kind of proud of that. Especially because of all the compliments I received. Most recognized the sweater as hand knit, because most people here know I knit. I did mention I made the jewellery, but not the pants - that seemed a little strange to me...
 There are actually 5 bracelets there. I jumped on the trend of loading up the wrist...
Whatever - I was proud of myself.

And sorry for the office bathroom shots, but it was the only way to get a reasonably well lit full length shot. And looking at it - it's not as bad as I expected.

Oh! and I just realized, I'm even wearing hand knit socks! Go Me!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

just because

Because my Mom spends part of the year in Florida, and because she's my Mom, and because I couldn't resist...

I'm knitting my Mom a flamingo for Christmas. Most people have gnomes from me in their house, but for Florida, I think my Mom needs a flamingo.

I knit this much last night, the legs this morning, and I just have the wings and tail left. I'll show the completed bird soon.

And yes, I laugh when I knit this. I mean, c'mon! It's a FLAMINGO!

Friday, December 09, 2011

idea stolen from Knit Tech

Knit Tech often posts pictures of "down her street". I was driving to work earlier this week, and thought this would be a pretty shot. This isn't really my street, but it's close...

Plus it fills a blog post when I've only got half done sock heels, and ideas of how to finish 5 hats in a blink of an eye (5 hats that haven't been started yet...)

And some replies to the pajama post...
Deirdre wanted to know which pattern I use - pajama pants are so standard, I use whichever one is on sale when I buy them. What I look for is a basic pant - straight legged, elastic waist - match up the waist and inseam to whoever you ware sewing for and off you go. What you want is a pattern that has 2 pieces for the pants - a front and a back. Period. No other extraneous pieces. When you cut - you have two fronts and two backs. Regardless of what the directions say, I do this:
sew inseam seam. press open.
sew crotch seam. press open.
flip around and sew outseams. press seams open.
press hems and sew. Press casing for elastic, sew, leaving opening at back (I also sew a ribbon tag at back to help putting them on...)
Insert elastic, sew ends together (making sure it's not twisted), sew opening closed. Done. I production line this process, so any fabrics that use the same colour thread, all get done at the same time. That's why I can do it so quickly. Also, I don't finish the edges. I don't want a seam with a folded or serged edge, I like the slight ravelling you get - it makes the seams softer, and softness is key with pajamas. Plus it saves time! And if your pjs wear out, well, you get to make more! For my son (who's approximately 5'7" now, I usually buy 2.5 metres - once I prewash it and shrink it if necessary, it's usually enough. For anyone taller, buy a bit more. There's usually enough left over to make a small drawstring bag as well if you want. I find I make a ton of bags with my scraps - great for wrapping!
My local fabric store, Fabricland, has a super selection of flannels and cottons suitable for pajama pants - we have fun with the patterns, since they are PAJAMAS, and really shouldn't be taken seriously. What's the fun in serious pajamas??
Dee - maybe we need to have a pajams sewing meetup-workshop - I know LuckyCanuck wants in on that as well!

And I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who still thinks thank-yous are important. My son still sends out thank you notes. He has to be prodded, and he's not always thrilled about it, but he gets why he has to do it. Funny how surprised many people are in getting them. This year, he will probably be sending emails instead of hand written notes, but that's okay.

Thursday, December 08, 2011


I've spoken of sewing pajama pants before. I'm a well-oiled machine when it comes to making these in bulk. Seriously,. I can make a pair in about an hour - cutting, sewing. elastic inserted, everything. I love them (and would live in them, except my husband takes offense when I try to wear them as clothes outside the house...), and my son loves them. I made a bunch for my nieces and nephews a couple of years back, and heard nothing about them, so I assumed they were not well received. Turns out they are, and the kids were disappointed last year when they didn't get new ones. Too bad. Should have said something to me... As I've said to their mothers - these kids are totally old enough to talk to me direct - even by text or email. (One SIL actually had the gall to say to me her son didn't think I knew how to text! This is the same kid that was all over my Blackberry Torch last year, calling me the "cool aunt" for having the latest technology!)
So I cut them no slack - we have a family list that notes everyone's address, email, cell number etc. There is no excuse for not getting in touch with me. Two of the nephews asked for pants again this year, so two are getting them, along with some other people.

This is the total so far (Not all made this past weekend - some have been done for a while...) 10 pairs:

My son gets the fish and basketball ones:

The two dance patterned one (in their own drawstring bags from the leftover fabric) are for the two girls at the cottage - their parents are great friends of ours, and the girls and our boys are inseperable all the time up there):

The Elvis ones are for my friend Sue - a huge Elvis fan, and fan of pajama pants like I am.

The others will be given to the boys, or kept for future needs. That's a ton of items checked of my to-do list!
If only the knitting would go as quickly...

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Canada Post is making my life difficult...

I ordered some stuff from Knit Picks. (Because, you know, I NEEDED more wool and stuff...) I got a notice from Canada Post that it had entered their system, and was to be delivered on December 2. Perfect! Friday, I'm working at home, so I can get it before the weekend, and start some stuff I think I can finish before Christmas (because, you know, I'm in total denial as to what day it actually is...) The morning of the 2nd, I check Canada Post again, and find out it's now being delayed until Monday December 5th! Because from it's arrival in Mississauga, ON, (about 45km from my house) Canada Post decided to send it to Stoney Creek, ON (about 120km further west), then to MONTREAL, QC (about 560km EAST!!) before sending it back to Mississauga!
Yeah, I'm ticked. On top of all that, it wasn't delivered Monday, even though the Canada Post website said it was in Aurora. (Aurora is not that big a town - if it was there Monday morning, it should have been at my house that day...)
Now it's Tuesday, and I checked the website - it says it has been successfully delivered.
Let's hope so...

Friday, December 02, 2011

the last of the glitzy sewing

Sewing for myself now takes a back burner. It's December 1st, and Christmas gifts now take precedence, both in sewing and knitting.

But before that happens, I finished one more thing for me.

This jacket was a quick sew, even with princess seams and a waist seam.

I did change the tie - instead of the self ties attached to the front (they were kind of awkward), I simply made a couple of belt loops and used an existing silk scarf I had.

I had the perfect hemp yarn in the perfect colour to make the belt loops.

The fabric is a shot silk/polyester blend - it's actually a bright yellow warp with a black weft yarn, and together the make this greenish tone. It's really pretty, and shines differently when the light hits it at different angles. It's perfect with some wide legged black washed satin pants, and a black silk shell. That should do it for my Christmas party needs.

Mind you, I'd rather be wearing jammie pants, yoga pants or jeans and one of my beloved hoodies. But circumstances dictate that I have to look and act like a grownup a few times during the next month, so I bite the bullet and do it.