Dots and Ties

I made myself a Jasmine blouse… in April of 2012. Yes, I know that’s about two years ago and I’m only getting around to showing you now. No, I have not been holding out on you because I hate it, because in fact I actually quite like it and wear it to work often. The thing is that I made this right before I went on my leave of absence, when we were in the midst of selling our house and packing up our stuff, and I was initially not blown away by it so blogging about it was not top of mind. Then last fall lovely Lisa from my quilting class was thinking of buying this pattern and I was full of opinions about it. When she asked if she could see pictures of it on my blog I realized that it was high time I dotted my Is and tied loose ends on this dotty/tie make.

See the tiny polka-dots?

See the tiny polka-dots?

The truth is that I don’t remember much about the process of making this garment, which leads me to believe that it probably went together fairly simply. All I can tell you is that for some reason I remember not being 100% convinced by it when I finished making it but I can’t quite remember why because it has now become a go to work blouse. I did take a look at my notes (yes, I keep a spreadsheet full of notes on everything I make…I did warn you I’m a bit… um… organized) and noticed that I cut a straight size 4, but the cuffs were a bit tight so I had to re-cut them in a size 6. I should also note that this garment is cut on the bias with no closures so there is a fair bit of ease built-in and if I were to make it again, I would probably go down to a size 2 at the bust and keep the size 4 waist/hip. I may even go up a size higher in the cuffs, all the way to an 8. I certainly don’t lift weights so either the cuffs run small or I store my fat from all that cake I eat in my biceps. You be the judge.

And the ties!

And the ties!

Pattern: Jasmine Blouse by Colette Patterns
Fabric: Super soft and drapey (and un-wrinkable!) polyester blend form Designer Fabrics.

Jasmine Blouse

You know, now that I think about it, I may just have to make this again. It is super comfy and I reach for it quite often as a work garment. Yes, I feel there is room for another Jasmine is in my future. Have any of you made this pattern? Have you ever made something you did not initially like only to find yourself reaching for it over-and-over again? I like that kind of sewing related happy ending, don’t you?

In Real Life

I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Gail in Chicago twice in the past two years. The time finally came for her to make the trip to the Great White North. Gail was in Toronto from Wednesday to Sunday of last week and what a great opportunity it was to catch up in person again – there is only so far e-mail correspondence can take you, right?  When Gail left and I started thinking about the time we had spent together in Toronto, I realized that her visit was a bit of an epic, four-day long, blogger meet up. Seriously.

On her first full day in Toronto Gail, Sara, and I had the opportunity to visit the lovely Kristiann of Victory Patterns at her studio in the heart of China Town.  Kristiann graciously showed us around the building, which houses quite a few fashion studios and various other businesses in the garment making industry. Most of the designers behind these enterprises are young women, rendering the building such a fun and creative vibe.  Kristiann also gave us a sneak peek at her most recent projects (spoiler: they are awesome!).  She was very generous with her time and we ended up going for coffee with her in Kensington Market, where we chatted away about sewing, creativity, love, and the magic of life.  Thank you Kristiann for a wonderful morning/afternoon!

Victory Patterns: Kristiann wearing her Madeleine skirt, Gail wearing her lovely silk Nicola dress, Sara wearing her handknit Kara sweater and I am wearing a soon to be blogged silk Roxanne blouse.

Victory Patterns: Kristiann wearing her Madeleine skirt, Gail wearing her lovely silk Nicola dress, Sara wearing her hand knit Kara sweater and I am wearing a soon to be blogged silk Roxanne blouse.

Prior to Gail’s visit, there was talk between her and Kristin about painting the town red while wearing animal print me-mades.  We called this event, where a number of drinks were imbibed by sewists wearing one form or another of animal print, “Leopard Cocktails”. Trust me, animal print + cocktails = fun! but if you don’t believe me, go try it for yourself.

Leopard Cocktails!  Go on, you know you want to.

Leopard Cocktails! Go on, you know you want to.

The night before Gail left we organized a dinner with a few other Toronto bloggers. In addition to Sara and Kristin, we were also joined by Gillian, Tasha and Catja. Some of us had not met before outside of blog or instagram comments, some of us knew each other well.  It was so good to have everyone sitting around the table, chatting away in real life.



Outside of these events, Gail and I shared mornings of lazy coffee drinking and knitting, as well as a couple of home-made meals followed by more knitting. Really, we knitted whenever we could.  We also had plenty of opportunity to walk around town, hit the garment district along Queen Street (where Gail was remarkably restrained), visit a couple of yarn stores, all the while talking about sewing and knitting. Non-stop. It was splendid!

Goofing around in the mean streets of Toronto. Oh, and wearing hand knit hats because it was still cold!!!

Sara, Gail and I goofing around in the mean streets of Toronto. Oh, and wearing hand knit hats because it was still cold!!!

But, all good things must come to an end.  It was a rude awakening the morning after Gail left.  During my first morning meeting at work I kind of started jonesing for the daily dose of morning coffee and knitting I had gotten used to over the past few days.

One of my favourite things about keeping this blog are the friendships I have developed with crafty gals from around the world.  Even better is when those friendships spill over from blogland into real life, don’t you think? 

Thank you Gail for making the trek to Toronto and for being such a great friend! Thanks also to Sara, Kristin, Gillian, Tasha and Catja for coming out to play and helping make Gail’s visit a success.

For my Bro’

My little brother has never requested that I sew or knit something for him. In fact, I was convinced that he found the stuff I make a bit kitschy, so I was very surprised when he asked if I would knit him a pair of socks. Of course I had to oblige!

Folded 2

The pattern I used is my standard sock recipe for a 3×1 rib by Kate Atherley. What is different about this pair of socks is that for the first time ever I tried the magic loop method. Fuelled by Kristin’s “Two Socks One Week” KAL, I casted on for these socks back in January. The idea behind Kristin’s KAL was that following the magic loop method and her own sock pattern, one could finish a pair of socks in a mere week. Ahem. It took me two months. This delay has nothing to do with Kristin’s excellent instructions (which are fantastic and include videos, so if you have never tried magic loop but have always wanted to, I totally encourage you to check out her KAL archives) but rather with the fact that over the past couple of months I did not knit all that often. You know how it goes.

Socks Folded

While there is an argument that magic loop promotes efficiency in that it makes things go fast, in practice I did not feel like I knitted any faster than with my usual DPNs. In fact, while I can see the merits of magic loop (i.e. you don’t need a collection of a gazillion DPNs – too late for me!) I found the wires got on the way and felt I never got into a groove with this technique. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very glad I’ve learned it and I’m sure it will come in handy in the future, but I ended up knitting awkwardly, so much so that I switched back to DPNs a few rows into my second sock. I was a bit worried that my gauge would be noticeably different between the two socks, but I’m a fairly tight knitter so the end result is just fine.

Modeled by my Bro'

Modeled by my Bro’

As for my Bro, he had to wait a whole month past his birthday to receive these. Luckily (and let’s be positive for a minute) spring is making a fashionably late appearance in these parts so he’ll likely get to wear them a few times yet before the warmer weather arrives. One parting thought I’d like to share with you: having never knitted socks for a man before it never crossed my mind that they would be so big. I ended up using almost the entire ball of yarn, something that never happens when I knit socks for myself. Go figure.

Results of Spring Clean Swap Meet

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Stash Diet’s Spring Clean Swap Meet.

Stash Diet Badge

A few of the items had more than one person interested in them so I used to select winners.  Here’s who the random robots picked:

  • Tiramisu Pattern: Ashley
  • Red Velvet Pattern: Tatiana DiMaio and Tasha (yes, TWO!  My friend Shar has a copy of the pattern she won’t use and she generously donated it for the swap – thanks so much Shar!)
  • Staple Dress Pattern: Nidarsha Senanayake
  • Liverpool Tunic Pattern: Sarah M.
  • Rooibos Dress Pattern: Kathy
  • Vogue Pants Pattern: Beth B.
  • Japanese Patchwork Book: Dottie Doodle
  • Rayon in Purple and Gray Plaid: Kathryn
  • Satin Backed Flannel: Beth B. (again!)
  • Quilting Frame: “E”

If the robots picked you, please e-mail me your address at stitchparade[at]gmail[dot]com so that I can get your goodies to you as soon as possible.

Thanks to everyone who participated – I feel so much lighter already!  Also, keep in mind that we will hold other swap meets throughout the year so take a look through your stash to see what you too can contribute.  Happy sewing!