February Giveaway Winner.
We made it! February is on its way out and we're one month closer to spring (in Chicago, you can't be sure it's arrived until May).
Before we wish February adieu, the end of the month at TresBienEnsemble marks the end of a giveaway. February's Giveaway winner,for a copy of Jane Richmond's eBook Island, by random selection, is Maria! Check your inbox, Maria, and get ahold of me to claim your prize! Thank you all for playing along. I loved your photo captions and definitely think we'll be playing this game again later in the year!
Keep on Casting On.
It's what we knitters do. A fact of our nature, or so I tell myself each time I set aside my current projects to start another. They'll all get done. Eventually. Sometimes the brain just needs different types of stimulation in different situations, which is why knitters invented stockinette, and lace, and cables, and color work, etc... Endless combinations. Because somedays you want to be vanilla, and others, you feel more like chocolate raspberry truffle.
Back, By Popular Demand.
Like a true egomaniac, Mike has weaseled his way back into the spotlight and gotten himself another blog post. I think he got jealous of all the attention Dulce received on Valentine's Day. Or, maybe he just wanted to read more comments comparing his likeness to Hollywood heart-throbs. Either way, here we are.
I should have sensed his scheme when he insisted upon joining me during a yarn shopping excursion. Mike is no stranger to yarn stores. I drag him into one every time we're out of town together. But, he's never been so eager to go as he was on that particular morning.
I remained oblivious as he slowly separated himself from my side and started browsing yarn by himself. I admired his enthusiasm as he pulled skeins and presented them to me, "Wouldn't this make a great cowl?" (in fairness, I think his words were, "neck thing"), "How many skeins do you think it would take to knit one", etc...
I did raise an eyebrow when he bogarted a portion of my Christmas gift certificate in the checkout line. But, he had tossed two skeins of Three Irish Girls onto the pile, so I let it slide (so unfair to play my weaknesses for delish yarn against me).
Later at home, he coaxed me with a hot cup of tea, curled up to me while I was on the computer and suggested we search through Ravelry together... Ok, I know. This one should have been a red flag. But, is it really so far fetched to think he would want to see every pattern in my favorites or see how easy it is to narrow search results using Ravelry's incredible filters? Before I even knew what hit me, he'd matched a pattern to the yarn he'd so sneakily chosen for himself, and I was knitting.
Well played, sir. Well played.
Pattern: Annie by Jane Richmond
Yarn: Three Irish Girls Sport
Needles: US 5
Notes: Annie is a wonderful and super easy pattern. The pattern produces a beautifully textured fabric. If I were to knit it again, I would use a provisional cast-on, so I could graft the ends together; otherwise, it's perfect.
Don't forget to enter to win a copy of Jane's eBook, Island!
All A Flutter.
This week, I'm like a humming bird in a field of honeysuckle, bouncing between blooms, 80 wing strokes per second.
For as short of an attention span as I have, and as easily distracted as I can be, it's a wonder I'm ever able to finish anything.
Yet, somehow, things get done. I can't help wondering whether there's a way to better harness my bursts of creative energy and focus them in a more beneficial, and ultimately more prodictive, manner. Suggestions?
Photographing my current projects was not one of the activities deterring my attention, however. So, in lieu of partially finished garments, I present you with fabric swatches for each of the items I'm currently working on.
Sewing has taken the upper hand for now. These fabrics are taking form quickly and hoarding huge chunks of my free-time. But, I would never not have a knitting project. That last fabric swatch is the yoke of my Grace cardigan from Jane Richmond's ebook Island. It's been a complete joy to work with so far. Don't forget, you can enter to win your own copy of Island by leaving you caption for the photo in this post.
Somebody Call the Doctor!!!
At long last, I have a little girl to knit for. I'm over the moon!!! As a general proposition, I love knitting for babies. Their clothes are so tiny, so adorable. But, my gosh. The lace. The ruffles. The dresses that are available to knit for little girls. It makes me giddy. When my friends Lydsay and Adam reported that they were producing female offspring, I rejoiced! I had the perfect pattern in mind for Baby Chicken.
Since reading and listening to the Yarn Harlot's description of bobbles and their likeness to oddly positioned nipples poking out from under a sweater, I have a hard time looking at a bobble without smirking. I'm immature. I know... But fear of having this babe seem as though she were covered in nipples couldn't derail my plans to turn Lyndsay's and Adam's baby into a Dalek. These bobbles are obviously armor (regardless, babies love nipples). I wanted her to be able to wear it immediately, so I tinkered with the math to shrink this down to newborn size ("17 chest).
I had enough yarn left to knit a coordinating bib for her ensemble. This is a combination of EXFOLIATE! and the I love Stockinette Baby Bib patterns; I highly recommend both.
I don't know why bib-knitting has never occurred to me before. I mean, babies grow out out sweaters in a matter of months, but they sick and drool on themselves for years! Bib knitting is genius and ever so practical!
In my mind, I saw these pieces being used as a set. But, the bib ended up a lot bigger than I anticipated next to my modified, newborn-sized jumper. No biggie. She'll get to use one when she comes and the other well into her future (see above).
Now, it should be mentioned, there was a level of concern over this pattern at knit night. "But, Michelle, Daleks are evil... blah blah..." Duly noted. Not to worry. I'm not aiming to corrupt the child.
Her mother is a Weeping Angel. She doesn't stand a chance.
If At First You Don't Succeed.
...Dust yourself off and try again.
I completely missed the boat on the Hollyburn skirt sew-along deadline. It had nothing to do with the skirt. Rather, the blouse I had planned kept me from completion. Then, there's the small matter of finding time to take photographs between the hours of 9am-3pm while the sun is out. And, yeah, you know how it goes.
You may notice, the blouse photographed here looks strikingly different from Vogue 7820. The reason is, it is.
As I previously mentioned, I bought this fabric as an end of the bolt cut. There was 1 and 1/8 yards. I was over the moon when I laid out my pieces and managed to squeeze out the long sleeved version of Vogue 7820. I cut my pieces. I started to sew. Everything was rainbows and unicorns. Then, I realized I had two left fronts. My heart sank.
Total rookie mistake! You see, because the front of the blouse pattern is asymmetrical, the pieces are cut separately. And, because Vogue 7820 is an un-printed pattern, I completely overlooked the fact that I had laid one of the pattern piece the wrong direction. It was devastating. I would have taken photos to document my unfortunate mishap, but I was too upset to even think about it.
Determined to forge forward with my original blouse plans, I attempted to cut a right front from a solid black piece of fabric I had in the stash. What I had hoped would work in as an interpretation on colorblocking looked a lot more NKOTB than cool, and in a really bad early 90's sort of way.
Back to the drawing board. I rummaged through my patterns to find a different blouse that could be pieced from the fabric I had. Slim pickings. I have a decent number of blouse patterns but none that shared similar lines with the original pattern. Ultimately, I decided to sew the underblouse to Vogue 4092. Again, you may look at the pattern in comparison to my finished blouse and notice some variation.
So, what happened is.... I machine worked my buttonholes. Seam ripper in hand, I started splitting the fabric between the stitched lines to create the opening for my buttons. Then, I got to the top button, the final hole. And, I totally ripped right through the line of stitching and split open the front edge of my blouse. F*CK!
But, Lemons, lemonade, and all that jazz. I came up with a simple fix to "make it work". V-neck. A little trim here, a tuck there, some pressing and stitching...TahDAH! I'm not completely in love with the blouse I created. But I am pretty pleased with myself for not tossing in the towel, pleased enough to stand outside in 14F weather to take pictures. :-D
Now, the skirt. In direct contrast to the difficulties I encountered with the blouse, this skirt was a BREEZE!
I know there are a lot of you who have mentioned your desire to start sewing. I would absolutely recommend Sewaholic to you. This was my first time working with one of Tasia's patterns, and I couldn't be more pleased with my entire experience. First, the customer service is outstanding. I got email updates regarding the progress of my purchase and received my pattern within days of placing my order. That's a big deal to me.
Then, there's the pattern and instructions. If this sewing pattern was the instruction manual to an airplane, and I, a person who has never flown an airplane, sat in the pilot's chair using it as my only guide for operating, I'm pretty sure I could get airborne. The instructions are that clear. So, don't be scared (of sewing, or the thought of me attempting to fly an airplane); you can do it.
I did opt to line my skirt. It's my preference to do so. I feel a little too naked without one. I also did my hem by hand, adding a little touch of lace, because I'm fancy (HA!). The fabric is a gorgeous 100% wool crepe. It drapes and moves beautifully and was a dream to work with.
I hope that you never make the same mistakes I made with my blouse. If sharing my stupidity can spare even one soul from similar heartbreak and spikes in blood pressure, publicly humiliating myself is totally worth it. :-D
If you missed it, February's giveaway is posted and open for entry until the end of the month!
It's the middle of the month (already), which means it's time for a giveaway!
This photo is from a 1960's issue of Spinnerin Magazine. In addition to "high fashion" knitting patterns, Spinnerin has some of the most... unique... photo styling I've seen in a knitting/sewing/textile publication.
To enter, leave a comment captioning the above photograph. Be creative. Be Funny. Anything goes. The prize is a digital copy of Jane Richmond's new eBook ISLAND. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on February 28.
*Entrants are eligible to submit multiple comments
Be My Valentine??
Pretty, pretty please!?!?!?!
Dulce would love nothing more than for each and every one of you to be her Valentine. Really. She loves everyone. They don't come sweeter than her.
The dogs both need new sweaters. Much like I slacked in knitting Mike a winter hat, I've been a terrible puppy mommy and put off knitting sweaters for my furry babies. This sweater wasn't purposefully a Valentine's sweater, but the timing did seem to work out particularly well. I mostly wanted to make Dulce a sweater that was as sweet and darling as she is.
This sweater is directly inspired by Ms. Savannah Cottage's Puppy Love Dog sweater. I adore her patterns, alas, Dulce is much larger than a yorkie. And, Dulce has an unusual body shape. Her part corgi/part beagle??? make-up has left her with short little legs, a long body, and a sturdy chest. I've been toying and fussing with the fit of this sweater for weeks. I'm still not completely pleased with it. I'm contemplating cutting off that collar and working some short-rows over the backs of the shoulders.... Thoughts? As far as the colorwork pattern is concerned, I mostly ad-libbed. The yarn is Knit Picks Palette: Serrano, White and Cotton Candy.
I've dedicated a considerable amount of free time over the past week to a work-in-progress of the organizational variety. One of my New Year Resolutions involves my ever-expanding sewing pattern collection. It's unwieldy. Previously, there was little order or reason to way I stored my patterns. It made things impossible to find. Frankly, I couldn't keep track of what I have. So, I enlisted the aid of Vintage Pattern Wiki and Pinterest to create an online archive of my pattern collection.
In the process of archiving, I've been able to contribute a number of patterns to the Vintage Pattern Wiki compilation. I'm so glad to be able to add to the site, since it's a resource I use constantly! I've divided my Pinterest boards by manufacturer- it seemed the most logical way to organize them. Having my collection available to view online is going to be a major asset during my impulses to purchase patterns! (j/k....not really) As for the patterns themselves, I've been getting them properly stored in the process also, but that's a post for another day.
I'm not done. I have a lot of work left before I'm finished. But, I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. These are some of the 'gems' of my collection. Obviously, I'm a sucker for neckline interest and a full skirt. However, I do have a lot more 'practical' patterns than I originally anticipated. You can see my Pinterest boards HERE if you're curious.
While riffling through my stash, I found this little hat. It was abandoned and unfinished, yet mostly complete. Serendipitously, I had Super Bowl plans with a little friend whose head would fit this. I stopped my rummaging and finished it.
I had a small amount of yarn left from the hat; too little to reasonably return to the stash; too much to discard; the perfect amount to knit a monster friend, Mojo. I love when things work out.