Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Holly and a Tartan Cara

Tina Givens has been really upping her game recently and releasing a lot of patterns.  So what is a girl to do?  Yep, how did you guess?  I bought some!

Here is the Holly tunic that comes with some slim leg pants too.  I used a linen mix fabric from last year that had a bit of a pattern to it.  The only change I made was to shorten the sleeves so that they were similar to the Violet that I have previously written about.

I'm wearing a plain slip underneath.  I think it is a Jaqueline but with a symmetrical hem.   On it's own, the tunic is a little short at the front for my liking, and would show off a little too much of the dropped crotch pants, so the slip works really well - although it is all surprisingly warm!

As you can see, the gathered sides add a lot of fabric!  It is rather cute though!

You can see the gathers here as well.  They are a nice addition, but probably not too forgiving if you are pear shaped.

I thought it went rather well with one of my home made necklaces, using a string of beads that were my Mums.

I thought I'd do my take on jeans and a plaid shirt with the lovely Cara . . . .

It was a bit breezy, as you can see, so I got some inside pics as well.

Now I know you are looking at this and thinking 'why didn't she match up the plaid?'  Well, there is a story behind that.  Along the lines of cutting out the back bodice on the fold and the front bodice with a seam allowance.  After a few swear words, and the fabric having a time out, I cut a bias panel to cover the front seam and left it at that!  Bah!  This is a lovely, soft, brushed cotton and I love it . . . except that the fabric clings to my jeans a bit.  Oh well.

You can see the triple zigzag on the neckline and arms, attaching the foldover bias biding.  My favourite, non-bulky way of finishing off the raw edges.

And the mismatched back pieces . . . . . but with a cute patch :)  Oh well, it will still get a lot of wear!

Well, I think that is me all caught up.  I've got more socks on the go, and planning what to make next.  This Lagenlook/Tina Givens fix is actually becoming a bit of an obsession and pushing the other styles out of my wardrobe.  Who'd-a-thought?!

What is your style?  Does it change?

Monday, May 9, 2016

More Socks, Easy Greyhounds and Some Charity Makes

I love knitting socks - not sure if you are aware, but there you go!  I've almost finished my third pair of the year - which is pretty good considering how much sewing I do, so here is the second pair.

The pattern is my own 'go to' pattern, Billy Basic (free here on Ravelry).  Nice plain socks, 64st cast on, I can knit these in my sleep.  The pattern is not the story here though, it is the yarn, Regia Pairfect.

As far as texture is concerned, this is not the softest yarn I have knitted with, but that usually doesn't really mean much when it comes to comfort.  I have used Regia yarn before and it is lovely to wear and very hardwearing.  But look at those stripes!  I love knitting with self patterning/striping yarn, nice plain socks and let the yarn do all the talking.  I don't care whether the pattern matches up . . . . but I do with this.  The yarn is a 100gm ball with a yard or two of yellow yarn then the blue starts.  About halfway through the ball is more yellow yarn and then the blue again.  So the idea is that you cast on just after the yellow starts, rib the blue yarn, then start stocking stitch with the stripes.  As soon as the stripes run out you start the heel and finish off.  And voila - two matching socks with NO effort at all!

I love them.  It's not going to stop me knitting my usual mismatched socks - but I'll be buying more of this yarn, for sure!  More details here in my Ravelry project page.

I also fancied making something different, so I knit a lovely scarf/shawl out of some yarn that was dyed for me by Sockbunny as part of a swap a couple of years ago.  I said that as I live in land-locked Alberta I missed the sea (I was born on the coast) and I had two greyhounds, so the gorgeous colours that you see below were incorporated together to make this beautiful skein.

The pattern is called Easy and knits up very quickly.  It took me less than a week - evening knitting only, and what looks like a fold in the scarf above is actually part of the pattern and looks like you are knitting in a different direction!  It is actually crescent shaped so drapes beautifully around your shoulders.  More details here in my Ravelry project page.

Just to finish off I wanted to share some goodies that I made for Galgos Del Sol.  They work to rescue and re-home galgo dogs - Spanish racing dogs.  If you are interested, take a look at our Facebook page!

Phew, glad I'm getting all caught up!  That's the second bus just come along.  One more I think!

Saturday, May 7, 2016


I don't post for over a month, then loads of posts turn up at once.  Yep, that's the way it is right now.  I have been knitting and sewing up a storm, but not got round to taking the photos.  Well now I have, so would you like to see what I've made?

Firstly, some Tina Givens love :)

I made another Violet tunic and some Oprah jeans.  Please excuse the glasses but it was very sunny outside and I was determined to take some photos!!

I used some coral linen that I also made a tunic from last year, and some leftover grey linen from even longer ago . . . . . . . The grey frills are bias cut again, and the bottom, attached, gathered, coral piece is separate from the rest of the side panels.  The designer has you cut the the side panels and the centre bottom piece all in one, but I thought that would cause problems gathering, and I like how it looks if is attached.

The Oprah's are made from a light(ish)weight black denim with a bit of stretch.  The only difference between these and the previous ones I made is that I made the legs slightly wider at the bottom, other than that - they are as per the pattern.

I took a few close ups as well . . . . .

This pattern does have an exaggerated balloon shape around the hips which suits me as I am rather cylindrical.

You can see the vertical seam (above) where I attached the coral frill as a separate piece to the centre panel.

And, of course, a patch on the back with a cute heart.  Love it!

How about you?  Do you stall when it comes to taking photos?  Any top tips?!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


I do like necklaces, and since I made the Tina Given's inspired ones last year, I have made quite a few pairs.  I have about 5 or 6 leather straps that I can then swap the beads in and out using lobster clips.

This is one of the wider straps - about 3/4" and the beads are faux turquoise and quite lightweight.  I need to restring the beads though as I put the lobster clips on the bead portion, whereas it would make sense (and cost less money!) to have them on the straps . . . . .

I wore this with my Sweet Violet tunic and it went rather well!

I recently attended an adult education class on Silversmithing and made some stacked silver rings . . . .

In three hours, I made five sterling silver rings.  It involved measuring and cutting the silver - we used different types, flat, domed, round, soldering it into a ring, then hammering it into shape and adding decoration.

They are not perfect - and considering they are all supposed to be the same size, I need to practice more, but it was really fun.  I would really like to make some wider ones with stones in . . . . oh dear, I feel another hobby coming on!!

There are some longer courses that cover other aspects of silversmithing in jewelry, so I may well be signing up for more courses!

Have you tried jewelry making?  Care to share?!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sweet Violet - with a Side of Oprah

The new Tina Givens patterns are gorgeous and with some new shaped pants and a 1920's styled tunic, they had my name all over them!  The patterns released released with 'money off', so Violet and Oprah made their way to me via the intertubes.  They are pdfs, and I have to say that unlike a lot of other, I rather enjoy the process of taping paper together, tracing off the pattern parts . . . . call me crazy (CRAZY!!)

This is the Violet tunic made from leftover linen/rayon fabrics.  These fabrics are from last summer's makes!  I didn't have enough of any of the colours for the binding so used some leftover patterned fabric.  And I love it!  I made this pretty much straight from the pattern - I made the largest size and my one alteration was to piece the front gathered skirt.  The original pattern has the front sides and gathered skirt (seen here in white) as being one piece.  I just knew that I'd have an issue attaching the front panel (in blue) to the one piece sides and skirt (all that clipping into corners, not my idea of fun!), so I just cut the fronts all the way down to the hem and cut the gathered piece separately.  I was then able to sew the blue panel to the white gathered skirt, then sew the two side panels on to the centre panel - I don't think you can see the difference, and if you can, it really doesn't matter!

The natural coloured trim are bias cut gathered strips - so no finishing required there and the back is solid natural.

Naturally there are pockets.  Most useful!  I bound the neckline, arms and bottom of the tunic with bias cut strips, 1 1/2" wide, folded in half and attached with a three step zigzag.  It gives a lovely 'finished finish' if you know what I mean!

It's rather boring on the back - then what would you expect with beige?!  I did attach a scrap of fabric (same fabric as the bias binding) to the back, and on the inside in the exact same place is another scrap with my label on.

It looks a little wonky, but it is a 6"x3" rectangle.  Honest!  I didn't add the gathering on the back as the guidelines are right were I have my rounded upper back and that would have looked awful.  I am happy with it being plain.

This is a little shorter than I thought it would be be - it is certainly a tunic rather than a dress.  I did lose a couple of inches in length due to my seam allowances on the blue panel - I must have used deeper ones than the pattern suggested, but I have adjusted my pattern and my next version will be that little bit longer.  (of course there is another version already cut out and partially made . . . . !)

I am really pleased that I made this up - I wanted to try the dropped/extended shoulder and I am pleased with the look on my 'not a stick insect' figure.  I will likely try some of the other TG tunics with cut on sleeves.

The jeans are the the Oprah pants. cut from a lightweight denim with 3% spandex.  I cut the medium size but extended the crotch curve to the largest size so that the legs were wider for my chunky pins!!  I made regular in-seam pockets using the Jacqueline pocket (I used that on the Violet tunic as well) and finished off the crotch seam and inside leg seam with top and edge stitching in regular thread that is the same amber colour as regular jeans top stitching.

Yep, the crotch is dropped (and it is quite 'pouchy' and the front) - and that may not be your thing, but who can tell under tunics?  They certainly are comfy!

Oh yes, well spotted - that is Noddy fabric inside the pockets!!  And why not?

The fabric looks more grey here . . . . I think that the picture is a bit over exposed.  For the hem, I serged the edge, pressed that to the right side and then folded up and inch (to the right side) and edge stitched the hem down with the same amber coloured thread that I used for the edge and top stitching.

And of course I had to add a label - especially as the front and back pieces are the same.  The brown fabric is Kraft-Tex and is also known as 'vegan leather'.  It is the same fabric used by Levi's and other jeans makers after they stopped using leather on the back of their designs.  I sewed it to the right side of my right butt cheek - no-one can see, but I know it is there!

And here is my 'Merchant and Mills' inspired photo!

Talking of Merchant and Mills, I ordered the book from Amazon after seeing the gorgeous garments that the lovely Ruth had made and featured on her blog, Core Couture.  It was supposed to be a Christmas present to myself, but will finally be here in a couple of weeks.  I know that there was a later publishing date here in Canada, but still! 

I picked up the shoes from my local outdoor shop, Mountain Equipment Co-op, reduced from a stupidly high number to $39 on the label, and just $19 at the till!  Woohoo!  They are canvas and have rugged sole - yet are as light as a feather.

So here we go - my first Spring outfit.  As the tunic is made out of leftovers from last year, it will go with lots of the cropped pants that I made, and of course the jeans will work with the slips and jackets that I have in my closet - lots of combinations waiting to be worn!

How is your Spring sewing coming along?

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Caterpillar Green Phi Socks

Caterpillar Green Yarns produce some lovely yarn dyed in Beautiful British Columbia.  Not a million miles from me, and it looked gorgeous.  I signed up for an email to advise me of the shop updates (this yarn sells out FAST!) and bought some Phi last week.

How gorgeous is that?  It is actually dyed in such a manner that you can knit a self striping shawl (the pattern is called Phi for You and can be found here on Ravelry) and as much as I like shawls, I crave socks.  So I 'caked' the yarn and made some socks!  The yarn has cashmere in it and is very cushy, so I knew they would be fabulous socks . . . . .

There is nothing special about the sock pattern - just my standard top down pattern, knit two at a time (I don't think I could knit a plain, one colour sock, any other way!)  More details on my Ravelry page.

All in all, a quick easy project, some new toasty socks and I have briefly satiated my yearning for Caterpillargreen Yarn . . . . . only briefly though!  I'll be watching out for the next shop update!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Power of Pinterest

I write and maintain this blog as a reminder to myself of what I have made, and any adjustments/changes made, and also as my contribution to the sewing and knitting community.  The fact that anyone reads my ramblings is a source of great pleasure, especially when comments are made - I love reading feedback and chatting with my readers.

When I am blogging regularly, I get a steady number of visitors a day, it varies depending upon how often I blog or what the topics are - some of the posts are more popular than other , so I was amazed to see these numbers leap ten fold for about a week in November.  When I looked at the 'source' of these visitors, they were all coming from Pinterest.  But what could be the picture that has caused this?

And it is from this post.  So, if you are in the game of wanting lots of visitors and spreading your name on the intertubes - get yourself pinned!

Fortunately things are back to normal now, and interestingly, despite all the visits, I don't think that I picked up 'followers'.  This is not a whinge or whine (I'm happy in my little corner of the 'tubes), just an observation . . . . . . although it was pretty cool 'going viral' for a few days!

How about you?  Have you have a photo or a post that went crazy?  Do share!!