Sunday, January 31, 2016

Quick end of January post

I know. We are all thinking the same thing, right? How can it be end of January already? I feel like I am finally coming out of some kind of post-Christmas fog!

I had signed up for the Secret Valentine Exchange hosted by Sanae and Ute this year, for the first time. I was both excited and worried if I would "get it right". I dived into lots of ideas in my head but it wasn't until I actually picked up the fabrics that I knew what was "right" for me to make for my exchange pal. (I just hope she likes it!) I am happy to report that my gift has been made and now some final touches to the package then it will be mailed out in a couple of days, well before the deadline.

One of the great things about doing this exchange was to get me back reunited with my sewing machine, but not before being absolutely horrified what a mess my space was. So I spent the best part of yesterday tidying up and reorganizing once again. When you add a new hobby (eg Knitting) you have to find new space for all "the stuff". My  workspace is feeling much better now and I feel ready to start sewing again!

Now I have to show off my first Nordic Wind shawl. I thought red would be a great colour theme for a February birthday girl.  Oh, the magic of blocking! 
In my last post I had wondered why my LYS recommended 5 colours instead of the 4 colours called for by the pattern. It turned out that, indeed, I needed 5 as I could not get the size I needed with just 4.  My next shawl is already on my needles but using a different yarn recommended by my LYS.

What I am excited about in February is the Spring 2016 Nani Iro collection that should be showcased next week! Of the little peeks I've seen, I am ready to bring some of this gorgeousness home!

Here's the February page from my Naomi Ito calendar.
While I was knitting like mad to finish my gift shawl, I was catching up on lots of BBC shows. I'm all up-to-date on Downton Abbey since abandoning it for awhile after Season 4 (please don't tell me what happens as Season 6 is still being aired here).  I watched some older series of the Great British Baking Show, which I just love but we don't get the current ones here. Now I am starting  Call the Midwife, which I never watched when it was on air, so it's marathon DVD watching which has been great for getting me finished with this shawl.

OK. So much for a "quick" post. Thanks for visiting. I noticed more people seem to be reading this blog which I thank you even if you haven't commented. Just this morning, I have finally started an Instagram account (melissa_makes). It'll probably take me awhile to get more comfortable with it but I'm glad I finally can cross this off my list (did you hear that, Margaret?). ;-)

I hope you have a good start to February. I am still on a tidy/reorganize roll, which is a good thing as I have one week before Chinese New Year starts (any excuse to say I didn't start New Year's resolution on January 1). TTFN.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

When knitting and sewing comes together

I am happy to finally show you some sewing but I have to confess to a bit of cheating as I made this top sometime last Fall but didn't get around to blogging about it. It's the wonderful Hemlock Tee from Grainline Studio. The fabric is Nani Iro En Garden from 2015.

As you can see I added some tiny pintucks in the front because I was still playing around with the pattern's sizing and the neckline was initially too wide.  The blues on this fabric are just gorgeous.

Last week I finished knitting a long skinny Baktus scarf.  The yarn is just yummy and is from Indigo Moon. Here it is being blocked. It's the first time I've tried blocking and it turned out really well, much longer than when the scarf first came off my needles.

Here comes a little more "styling" of the scarf.  It goes very well with this top.
With every project I am learning things. The Baktus is an easy garter stitch but it starts with increases, then decreases half way. You have to make sure you know where you are in the knitting "pattern" and I have to confess my mind often drifted away so that I am increasing on the wrong row.  I have left a few errors in this scarf. Oh well. I still love it as it fits snugly and is very soft.

My next project is the Nordic Wind shawl by Cabin Four. I can't tell you how many times I've started this, frogged, then...repeat. I'll tell you the story another time. I started off with a thinner yarn and I was struggling. Now that I am using the recommended Lettlopi yarn on 5.5mm needles, I am doing much better!  

The colour palette I chose is Red and the shawl is intended a gift for someone's birthday coming up soon! As you can see there are five colours here whereas the pattern calls for four. I am not sure why but when I was at the yarn shop buying up yarns for this, they suggested five as there might've been a not-enough-yarn situation from when they had knitted their shop version. I don't know. It was during the sale and my mind goes out the window during a sale and I just follow recommendations, at least for my current newbie state!  I will see whether I will use four colours or go with five. Any thoughts on this?
Here's a funny thing I've noticed with "mindless" (easy) knitting. On this shawl, on the wrong side, the row starts and ends with two knit stitches. Everything in between are purl stitches. Easy Peasy. However, I found myself one night doing the first purl stitches on this row, let my mind drift off somewhere, looked down a bit later and realized I was doing knit stitches instead! My fingers decided they liked doing Knit rather than Purl.  That was really strange to me. Has that happened to you?

Now I just have to remind myself to be more "present" during my knitting and not zone out during the easy bits!

Here's my new knitting mascot. I found her after the Christmas sales. I've dubbed her Ziggy, in honour of the late, great David Bowie.
Although I have started an account on Ravelry (MelissaEknits) I have yet to put my project notes there. Another item on my to-do list.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope your new year has gotten off to a good start!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Settling into 2016

I was going to say "Good Sunday Morning" but then realized it's past noon already. Time is flying. Never mind that we are into a new year, my mind is befuddled and it's all because all my little grey cells have been infected with the Knitting virus (more on that later). You will have to excuse me while I try to make sense in this first blog post of a sparkly new year!

2015 was  an interesting year for me. I can't think of the right word. Transitional? Trans-formative? Pivotal? I have had a stitching blog for years and started this blog simply because I was interested in trying my hand at sewing my own clothes, hence I was literally going to "hang" each outfit into my "Closet full of Posies".

But Life has a way of showing you new paths. My interest in sewing took off with Me-Made-May-2015, which was off set by the fact that my stitching was giving me literally "a pain in the neck". After May, my sewing continued to take off and it was so much fun. I loved sewing my own clothes! I won't bore you with my favourite makes from last year but one thing did really stand out for me and that was finding a favourite silhouette. Define it however you will - it's comfy and highly wearable.

Another great thing last year was learning how to refashion clothes, which I learned by really watching all of you out there. I learned it's ok to not like something you have made, put it aside as maybe you can give it new life later. This is what happened to my first attempt at the Hemlock tee, which was a bit too short but has now turned into a great dress since I found I had some extra fabric. I have been wearing this a lot this fall (please excuse all the wrinkles).  

Moving forward into 2016 I want to get back to sewing again (IF I can only put down those knitting needles!)  Last year I finally tackled sewing with knits so I can cross that off my list. I  made one item from linen and I want to make a whole bunch more. This year I'd like to tackle a coat (Clare) and maybe jeans (Ginger).

My "big" plans this year is to really learn more knitting skills - fair isle, socks, vest, cardigan. Meanwhile I am 'just' knitting along. I did this simple garter stitch shawl using 2 skeins of 100% merino wool.

I could've used another skein of yarn. It's a wee bit small but I love it. I am going to call it my shoulder-draper-thingy. It just covers my neck and shoulders nicely and is so soft and comfy. 
I am finding myself wanting to knit gifts for people. My hats were well received so now I think shawls are next. Another shawl like this is on my needles though I have more yarn so it will be a decent size. I will attempt the Nordic wind shawl soon as I now have yarn, which I purchased at my first ever stand-in-line yarn sale!

I don't think I've ever put myself in a stand-in-line for a sale situation, ever, but for yarn, I did! That's how bad I've been infected. I'll write more next time.

Oh yeah, a big end of year accomplishment - getting this baby to bloom!
Happy New Year! May your year be filled with wonder!