And once again

Immediately after I casted off my last pair of neon socks, I grabbed more of the same yarn in a different colourway.  This one is called ‘neon flower’.

Fluormania

My last pair was a plain St st pattern because I wanted the yarn to “glow” (ha!). This time I used my go to ribbed sock pattern, Basic Ribbed Sock by Kate Atherley.  When I compared both pairs I realized that I prefer a ribbed sock: they fit better and are way more comfortable to me.

The details

The details.

Once again, the yarn is Fluormania, made by German company Schachenmayr Regia. I took care to match the colour changes on this pair and I’m quire pleased with the result. Not much else to say about these socks other than they brighten up drab winter days like nothing else. If you are on the fence about knitting neon sock, I urge you to do it:  I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

Happy feet

Happy feet.


Clay

When my LYS announced a pottery class on their fall 2014 workshops roster, I was all over it. For a while I had been thinking about purchasing a yarn bowl but was not smitten by any of the ones I saw at shops and, quite frankly, I was worried that such an item would add to the clutter in my sewing/knitting space. Regardless of my doubts, the prospect of making my own yarn bowl was quite appealing as I had never worked with clay before and you all know that I like fueling my crafting ADD by trying as many classes in as many crafty disciplines as possible.

Playing with clay, before glazing and fire.

Playing with clay, before glazing and fire.

The class was taught by Andrea Piller, a local potter whose use of texture and subdued glazes makes for incredibly beautiful works of art.  Andrea guided us through the process of transforming a block of wet clay into our very own yarn bowls. During the two-hour class we started by rolling the clay (as you would with pie dough) to create a flat surface with which to shape the bowl’s bottom.  We then pinch pieced the sides, shaped the opening, and finally added our own personal touches. Once we were done with our shaped bowls, we got to choose our glazes so that Andrea could take the bowls to her studio for firing in her kiln.

Yarn bowl - front

Even tough I tend to like order and symmetry, I also like things wonky shapes so I decided not to smooth out the edges on my bowl.  The result is a wavy edge that I quite enjoy as I feel it highlights the handmade, one of a kind quality of it.

Yarn bowl - back

I added texture to the top half hoping that a mixture of white glaze with the blue I initially chose would create a two-tone effect in that area, but I found out later than my grooves were not deep enough so that the white glaze did not take.  No matter, I love it all the same.

AB - 2014

AB – 2014

The inside has another small detail: a swirl in the middle of the bowl, my initials, and the year on which it was made.  A signature, in a way.

Colour and texture

Colour and texture

This is my first time using a yarn bowl.  It is a totally unnecessary knitting tool (I mean, I got away without one for ten years and never felt the lack) but I very much enjoy glancing at it from time to time as I knit.  My bowl has become part of my knitting set up.  Instead of clutter, it adds colour and texture to the world around me, and aren’t colour and texture the stuff knitters’ dreams are made of?

 

Right Side Up (and dancing, too!)

Yes, I know it is 2015 (and best wishes for an excellent year to you all) but since everything takes me so long to get to these days, I am still catching up on blogging my last few makes from last year.  Remember my Upside Down Continental blouse?  Well, immediately after I finished it I cut another Lisette Continental Blouse and this time I got the pattern direction right. Yay for learning from mistakes.

Pardon me, but the sun is deceiving: it was cold and I had to put on a scarf.

Me and my shadow. The sun is deceiving: it was cold and I had to put on a scarf.

This fabric is Tiny Dancer A from the Fall/Winter 2013 collection of Liberty Tana Lawn.  As soon as I laid eyes on it I fell madly in love and it was one of the few prints I purchased during our visit to London two years ago. Here is a closer look:

Tiny Dancer

This was my first time sewing with Liberty Tana Lawn. I have been hoarding collecting the stuff for years (22 prints in total at last count) but up to now I had not had the guts to cut into any of my precious prints for fear of ruining them.   As it turns out, while this blouse is quite wearable, it is not perfect. The fabric was clearly not ruined (phew!), but I managed to mess up the neckline so that the shoulders bunch up a bit at the front and the fit is not at all smooth in that area. Since I did not have this problem with my previous two Continentals,  I think what happened is that the machine tension was off so that when I edgestitched the neckline I somehow misshaped it.

Back view

Back view – I love that gathered detail.

Regardless of this issue, I like the blouse and wore it quite a bit over the fall months until sweater weather arrived.

The drag lines at the shoulders are hard to see, but they are there.

The drag lines at the shoulders are hard to see, but they are there.

Here’s the sleeve detail.  Someone asked how I made this modification on the last Continental I made.  I had to go back and look and it turns out all I did was trace a straight line from the armscyse to the length I wanted and then sewed a cuff about 10″ in diameter around the edge.  No flaring, no fussing, just a straight line and a simple gather, but I do think the cuff detail is a bit better than the sleeve finish on the original pattern.

I'm smiling so I must be pleased.

I’m smiling so I must be pleased. But how could I not when I’ve got dancers all over me?

The morale of the story is that I am no longer scared of cutting into my Liberty stash.  Or my Nani Iro stash.  Or any of my precious prints. At the end of the day, even though these prints are lovely and special to me, they are just fabric and what is the fun in sewing if you don’t love the fabric you are working with, right? Right.

Festive

Hello friends!  I hope you had a lovely holiday season and you are gearing up for fun New Year’s Eve celebrations. I must confess that Mr. Stitch and I usually stay in on New Year’s Eve and end up sound asleep way before midnight.  This year, however, we have special guests coming to visit so I decided to make myself a little festive top.

Sequins!

Sequins! Check out the scalloped edges.

The fabric was a very generous gift from Gail (thank you, Gail!).  It is the same fabric she used to make this awesome top last year. It is a knit base with the sequins sewn on top of it and I was surprised by how heavy it feels. Like Gail, I did not remove the sequins from the seam allowances prior to sewing.  Since the fabric is a knit base, it crossed my mind to use a ball point needle but then I forgot all about it.  A regular needle had no trouble getting through the little sequins and in fact, my machine behaved in a most stellar way.

Jesse peeking over my right shoulder.

Jesse peeking over my right shoulder.

Since the fabric is already a bit showy, I wanted to keep the pattern nice and simple.  I used my tried and tested Scout Tee by Grainline Studio with a few modifications:

1. I made the sleeves a tad longer and cut the sleeves’ edges on a straight line instead of the slight curve the pattern calls for.  This is because I wanted to showcase the nice scalloped edge of the fabric at the hems.

The inside scoop.

The inside scoop, with a bit of surgery.

2. I lined the inside with silk habotai.  Gail had warned me that the sequins felt a bit scratchy against the skin so I cut a lining and attached it at the neckline, making sure to understitch.  The sleeves on the lining are the regular pattern sleeve length as I did not want the lining peeking under.  The piece of silk I used was on the short side and I thought I could get away with it but when I tried it on I realized that despite the sequins, the fabric is a bit sheer so you could see where the lining cut off, right at my belly button. I had a remnant of silk habotai in a different shade of blue so I was able to perform a bit of surgery to lengthen the lining.  Luckily the difference in colour does not show when I’m wearing the top and while the insides are not perfect, I am not losing sleep over it because only I (and you – shhh!) will know this is the case.

The sleeve son the lining are a bit shorter.

The sleeves on the lining are a bit shorter.

3. I added a slit and festive satin bow at the back neckline, because, why not?

The back bow detail.

Back bow detail.

I am quite happy with how this garment turned – I love the bling factor of it.  Given my lifestyle, I won’t have very many occasions to wear it, but I foresee it will come out on festive nights for years to come.  Country living or not, a little sparkle over the holidays is always a good thing in my books.  May the year 2015 bring each of you joy and oodles of quality crafting time. 

Goofball dance move because it was so cold I had to keep moving when this photos were taken. Plus another photo bomb, courtesy of Jesse.

Goofball dance move because it was so cold I had to keep moving when these photos were taken. Plus another photo bomb, courtesy of Jesse.