Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye, 2012!

I'm not too big on resolutions, but one thing I definitely want for next year is to spend more effort on this blog. With that in mind, I used my new year's coupon and enrolled in the Shoot It! A Product Photography Primer Craftsy class. Bad photographs are the major reason I don't post as many finished projects as I'd like, and I figured it was time to actually do something about my half-there skills.

In the same vein, I decided to try not being afraid of bust darts after the unblogged Tiny Pocket Tank disaster. Apparently I would need double darts to accommodate 6 inches of difference without horrible little pucker point thingies? Two darts being bad enough, I decided to try doing a darted FBA on a Scout Tee. Here it is all cut out in some wild print cotton/linen and waiting to be sewn. FYI, I have not actually begun that photography class yet.

The tissue fit looked okay, and I checked the size with a similar shirt I have that fits and that also looked okay, but I still totally believe it could go horribly wrong at any moment... Tune in next year to find out.

In other news, my Etsy shop now has a Facebook Page, with a discount coupon for fans. The 15% off Boxing Week Sale, which can be combined with the Facebook coupon, ends tonight at midnight EST.

I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday, and have a blast ringing in the New Year tonight!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

HOME Reception Tomorrow

I have some pieces up at Elephant Shoes this week as part of the group show HOME.

If you're around, stop by this Friday for a reception with wine, snacks and the artists in attendance. The show looks pretty great, and it's an interesting mix of work. Something for everyone!

Personally, I made some terrifying dolls.

And a strange little house.

All the work is available after the 9th, so it's a good chance to pick up some art for gifting. Sadly, the work I have up at Mitzi's won't be down until after the holidays.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

ChoreoKAL Geysir Stretch

I joined Stephen West's ChoreoKAL after seeing Roo's post on it, and I'm having a pretty great time so far. The first pattern is the Geysir Stretch, a striped shawl/scarf, and we were supposed to base our yarn choices on our surroundings. This being Toronto, I went with the avalanche of rotting leaves we're currently buried under.

The yarns are Diamond Yarn Galway in 8920, Malabrigo Rios in an unknown colourway, and some Americo merino in a burgundy. The colours are a little truer in the next photo. My camera doesn't seem to like the orange tones in the first yarn.

This is a conversation friendly knit. In that I can still have one while working on it. It's also been a fabulous too-sick-to-go-outside project. I hate head colds. 

We're on day 3 of the KAL, and I'm hoping to get the stripe section done tonight. Wish me luck!

Monday, November 12, 2012

I'm Not Dead

Really! I have been super busy though. With what, you ask? Well...

There was some painting

And the painting led to some shows.

And then I got an awesome chance to do a residency at Spark Box Studios, the most amazing place ever. This was my studio space during my stay. The rooms are super adorable/comfy. And Chrissy and Kyle are the nicest folks around. I loved it. Can you tell?

Now I'm doing my best to get into grad school, writing away, and choosing and documenting my best pieces. It's a ton of work, but I'm feeling pretty good about it this time around.

There's also been some sewing and frantic Christmas knitting occurring. The countdown for crafty presents has begun!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Work in Progress

Things are going slowly around here, but progress is happening. Remember when I started this mini quilt? Yeah, me neither. Now it's getting some hand quilting, a vintage fabric backing, and some pretty pink scallop binding. No matter how long it takes.

I also have some exciting art news, but I have to wait for a few things to finalize before sharing. But believe me, I'm itching to.

Friday, June 22, 2012

10 Word Book Review: The School

The idea behind this is a review I could tell someone in less than 5 seconds if the need arises. That and it might actually help me remember what I've read?

 The School by T.M. Wright: Boundaries between life and death crumble. Better than its cover.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

First Finished Quilt!

There was going to be a photo shoot. Possibly involving the amazingly decrepit pear tree in the back yard. With close ups of the stitching and the neat little corners (mitered!) But... Then it reached 30 degrees inside my apartment, worse outside, and the A/C died. So I bundled the quilt off to a nearby air conditioned cafe and chilled (literally) until it was time to deliver it to it's new recipient.  

Here it is in it's new home, on the end of little Madelaine's bed (though not where she sleeps). The front is made of 4 nine patch blocks, each square is 5" finished for a 30" square quilt. I hand stitched in pink Cosmo embroidery thread just inside the edge of each square. The fabrics are flannels from Anna Maria Horner's LouLou Flannel line, except for the wavy gold fabric which I think is Little Folks. The binding is a cute blue bird flannel by Valori Wells. I like how they're just hanging out on the edge of the quilt.

The back is some cupcake flannel I picked up at the Fabricland. Because everyone loves cupcakes. 

My other excitement yesterday was when this bundle showed up in the mail. I won 2.2m of this gorgeous silk from the Tessuti gals last week, and they zipped it all the way to Toronto from Sydney. I'm thinking about what to make, but a Gabby dress would be pretty perfect (they sent enough to make any size in either length). I'm still working on getting the fit just right, with the massive fba I need, but hopefully soon you'll see me rocking some silk tulips. This has got to be the nicest fabric I've ever gotten to pet. Tessuti has also made their fabulous New York Cape pattern available as a download which is first on my list for fall sewing. Thanks, ladies!   

Saturday, June 2, 2012

This was going to be a post about pie...

This pie. It's a pretty excellent recipe. I halved the sugar and used unrefined raw sugar instead of white, so mine was a little more golden brown than white. And full of strawberries to go with the rhubarb. It was lovely. 

Then I lost my camera. So no pie pictures. It's got to be around the house somewhere, so when I find it, you'd better believe there's gonna be pie. In photo form at least.

Until then, here's a cool vintage pattern to look at. I love the back wrap on this one. The ric rac trim is also pretty great. I really want to figure out how to incorporate it into some of my sewing projects without things getting too over the top.

Also, because it's the weekend and I felt like it, everything's 15% off in my shop with the code 15OFFSALE

Next week we hopefully return to your regularly scheduled blog updates. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Monday, April 16, 2012


I'm off to see family the 18-24th, and hopefully the Governor General's Awards show at the National Gallery. I'll be closing the Etsy shop while I'm away, and I'm doing my last run of mailings tomorrow in the early afternoon. So if there's anything you were antsy to get, today's your chance.

I wish this one was about four sizes bigger
Hope you all have a great week, and I'll see you back here on the 25th!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Constellation I and Some Thoughts

Constellation I: Acrylic, dye, hand carved stamps, and graphite on wooden panel, 10" x 10", 2012.
It seems like every time I blink I've been away from my blog for a few weeks. Not so good. It's been hard finding my rhythm as a multiply self employed arts person over the year since I graduated, but I think I'm starting to find my groove. Now I just need to make sure blogging stays a regular part of that. 

No sewing's been going on the last little while, due to my studio time being spent painting and working on a large project for a friend of mine (I'll show you more soon). Also a full week out with the plague. You can see some of the art I've been working on over at my website, which I've been finagling night and day.

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend and busy stitching away for Me-Made-May-2012. I'm still undecided about whether or not I'm jumping in this time around. I think it depends on if I can ever sort out my &@**^*(@ darts...

Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring Wardrobe?.. Oh Look, There's Some Bread!

My Spring Wardrobe plans are going a little lot slower than planned. For some reason I thought teaching myself how to do an FBA would be fast and easy? Not so much. I think I need to split the honking massive dart I end up with into two darts, make them a little shorter, shift them slightly... By the end of a week of pattern wrangling, I felt my sewing mojo fly right out the window. I think some skirts are on the menu this week, since they tend to be just fine on me without alterations. But tonight I needed some sewing down time... So I baked my first ever loaf of bread.

Nothing too fancy, basically a giant rye scone. I used the Rye Soda Bread recipe from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson. I love this book, and am slowly working my way through most of the recipes in it and Super Natural Cooking. Heidi also shares tons of great meals and photos on her blog. I try not to visit too often though, because I want to make everything she posts, and I'd never make it out of the kitchen. All of her recipes are vegetarian too.

Do you want bread yet?
A nice wedge of soda bread with goat cheese and a bowl of homemade veggie French onion soup makes for a nice dinner. Now if only I could bake some new tops...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tiny Pocket Tank

I finally finished altering my tiny pocket tank to accommodate seven inches of difference between my full and high bust measurements. It involved a few mishaps, but seems to have worked out in the end.

See those red lines? They make up the GIANT dart I needed for a two inch FBA (my first!). My pattern looks a bit like Frankenstein's monster at the moment, and I'm a little nervous about cutting into my fabric with it. Luckily my test run is some $2/yd poly/cotton I bought heaps of.

I'm a little behind on my challenge, so I'd better get stitching!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Handmade Wardrobe: Spring 2012

1&2: Tiny Pocket Tank from Grainline Studio; 3&6: Scout Woven tee from Grainline Studio; 4: Meringue Skirt from the Colette Sewing Handbook; 5: Tulip Skirt from Stitch Magazine by Jenny Gordy
Last week I mentioned Vancouver Emma (not to be confused with this Emma. Yep, I have two Emmas) and I were doing a Handmade Wardrobe: Spring 2012 challenge. During March we are both sewing four garments towards a mini-wardrobe for Spring. For me, part of this challenge is to use more solids in my sewing. I tend to gravitate towards bright and crazy prints. You might have noticed.

For the March challenge, like Emma, I will be making two of Grainline's Tiny Pocket Tanks likely without the pockets, and a Colette Meringue. For my fourth I will either make one of the other three garments in my Spring plan, or something else entirely. I just have to start by trying my first ever FBA on this tank pattern. Now you know why I mostly sew skirts and sack dresses... no bust fitting.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sneak Peak

Anna Maria Horner Lou Lou Flannels stitched up into a 9-patch quilt with just four blocks. 30" square finished sized. The AMH flannels are SOooooo soft. I originally picked these up as a fq bundle to be a lap quilt for my sister Lucy (couldn't resist the name). There's still more than enough left, and I didn't even use all the prints, so there's full fqs of some of them. I took these photos right before I basted the top to some cotton batting and a fun pink cupcake print flannel. On top of a table cloth. Yeah, I don't always think things through.

I'm planning on quilting it with big, loopy circles in each square, but I'm not completely set on it. Any thoughts?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

February Round Up

February was a little... embarrassing in terms of fibre intake. Although I finally picked up my knitting needles again and cleared a couple projects, one of them a long-term UFO, I only managed one single yard skirt on the sewing front (pictures soon!). Of the fabric that came in, 5.5yd were quilting cotton, 4yd were a $2.50 goodwill find that will be perfect for backing quilts, 4yds were two vintage sheets for yet another quilt, and 1.75 were vintage sheet fat quarters from Vintage Sheet Variety on Etsy. Lest you think I'm just sitting on a giant pile of fabric, I've already taken a pretty big dent out of the stash in March. Hopefully that will make up for some of it. The rest should be helped along by a little sewing challenge me and Vancouver Emma have going on to coincide with Grainline's Handmade Wardrobe Spring 2012. More on that soon.

To the numbers!        

          Out           In         Year to Date

Fabric:   -1yd       15.25yd      +14.25yd
Yarn:    -107g        0g             -107g
UFOs:   -1             0               -1


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Angora Turbanite

A rather large hat...

One of my last very overdue Christmas presents has finally been completed! This was a super fun pattern to knit up, though a bit of a brain teaser. The other Ravelry reviews really helped me figure out how it went together, and other than a couple confusing bits the pattern was well written and blissfully errata free. Also a fast project, finishing up in two evenings. Fun was had all around.

...on a rather small neon head.

As you can see my neon head is still waiting for a fresh coat of paint. Perhaps today is the day?

I still need to take a few photos before I do my February round up. There was an embarrassing dearth of finished projects, and an equally embarrassing influx of fabric. Oops.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Finished Shawls! Also, Post #100!

Citron: a project for process knitters. I am not a process knitter.

I finally finished my Citron Thursday night, after 10 months of working on and off. You may remember me casting on way back in April. I blocked it that night expecting to take pictures Friday morning, but was thwarted by giant piles of slush falling from the sky. Seriously weather, what gives? I managed to sneak out this morning for some icy cold, housecoat clad photos. 

I'm trying to pay more attention to the photos I take for this blog, and I did a few things better here, like daytime shooting with natural light. What I didn't take into account was the vertiginous effect of all those intersecting lines, the wind, and that the charming decrepit state of the old gate would actually cause it to begin falling apart while I was shooting. Learning's what's important, right?

A Christmas deadline miracle. 
I finished this Oana shawl back in December, actually managing to get it to my mother on time for Christmas. I may have blocked it Christmas day in the early hours of the morning with the aid of a hair dryer, but it still counts. I love this pattern. Particularly the way it seems almost inside out, with the plain garter edging and lacy centre panel. Plain centres are one of my pet peeves with shawls, though I still plan to make a gazillion more Ishbels.

I also finished a long over-due Turban-ite for a friend of mine. The unbelievably sheddy angora is still drying after a soak in some lavender Eucalan, so photos have to wait. I'm also thinking of giving the model head a coat of non-neon paint...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Vintage Crochet Distraction Time

The crafting hiatus continues as I realize my studio is a non-functional disaster and needs to be sorted out right now. There was a toddler style foot stomp somewhere in there. There's also a few other doings requiring tons of time in the next two weeks, including everyone I know who ever left Toronto coming back for reading week. I kind of wish schools would stagger their reading weeks just so I could actually see everyone I wanted to without my head exploding. 

So without much to show you fine folks on the creation end of things, I've scanned a great 1945 bag pattern for your enjoyment. It's from Clark's Book No. 219, which I found one hot summer afternoon in a little store on College street that is open for 6 non-consecutive hours every week, over the span of about three also non-consecutive days. It is seriously odd. Much like this booklet, which features a film noire style glamour shot for every design. This is option 2711:

Doesn't she look like she's about to pull a revolver out of her purse? I think it would be adorable done up in some straw-like fibre as a summer bag, either in a tan or a bright yellow. I know I've seen bags like that on my thrifting journeys, and in the closets of my some of my lovely older lady relatives, but is yarn like that still available? Maybe some hemp or craft twine would do the trick. I think that circle on the front is a set-in change purse, which is all kinds of fantastic.

If you click on the pattern image you'll get a bigger version. I haven't actually attempted this pattern, so I can't vouch for its correctness/clarity/lack-of-insanity-causing, but if you end up stitching it, I'd love to see.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Peggie's Book

Phew! Fixing up my studio and sorting through/listing my patterns is taking way more energy than I expected. Still no excuse for dropping off the face of the blog-world. There's not much sewing or crafting going on right now, but I thought I would share one of my favourite sewing artifacts from my collection.

This is Peggie Gibson's Home Economics note book, from 1939/40. One of these days I'll get around to taking the rings out and scanning each page, but for now I offer a few highlights.

I love her drawings, and the way she used bits of fabric for colour. The pictures cut out from pattern and fashion magazines are great for seeing what caught a young girl's eye at the time. I keep wincing when I find cuttings from gorgeous catalogues, but I guess it would have been like cutting up your copy of the Anthropologie catalogue now. Not such a big deal.

I wish I could walk into a fabric store now and buy these by the yard. They'd be more likely to end up as quilts than clothes, except for that great navy at the bottom of the second column.

There are some gorgeous sewing samples in the notebook, and I want to find a way to capture them better than the scanner can. Peggie used a lot of liquid glue in her notebook so the pages are pretty warped and it's interfering with capturing the pages accurately.

In other news, I think I've figured out what my first summer sewing project should be. 

I've totally seen these dresses made up before and couldn't figure out what the slits were all about. Shorts! Of course!

Also, the store is full of new patterns, and I'm in the process of listing a huge amount of plus size and half size patterns over the next few days.

I hope everyone's week is off to a great start!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

January Round Up

Like many of you, I'm trying to focus my crafting this year on reducing the stash and dealing with the mountain of half done projects in my life. With that in mind I'm starting a monthly round up, tallying how many yards/grams/UFOs are in  and out. I'm counting anything I've started this year but left dormant for longer than a week as a new UFO.

January was a bit of a bust with the grand total at 2yds of fabric out, used on my Tulip Skirt. None came in, but I did buy some wool felt for a craft project. I'm going with that not counting. So...

January: -2 yards fabric                 Year to Date: Same
               0  grams yarn                                     Same
               0 UFOs completed                              Same

Here's to hoping February is a bit more productive. Right now I'm knitting away on the last few rows of my long-ignored Citron.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

And the Winner is...

Number 7! I used, but have no idea how to show you guys that...

Congratulations, Lorraine! I look forward to seeing the flies on some hand knitted sweaters in the future.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Vintage Smiles

What attracts me the most to vintage is the evidence of previous owners. With patterns that usually means cut and altered tissue, someone's name carefully penned onto an envelope, or a discarded sleeve tucked away with its pattern piece. And a plethora of old rusted pins. Sharp ones. I love these little connections to past seamstresses, hoard vials of said pins and fabric scraps, and scan each little bit of writing before I can let them go. These are all fairly regular finds, but sometimes a pattern has particularly wonderful secrets tucked inside.

I was planning on letting this Simplicity blouse pattern from 1951 go off into the shop as part of my destash plan. When I pulled out the envelope's contents, I was surprised to find a card backing with it. I flipped it over, expecting a mail-in request for a pattern catalogue, and instead found this: 

I love these ladies and their big, wide grins. A nursing school graduation portrait maybe. Although the pattern was never used, it looks very similar to the blouses in the photo.

It's hard not to wonder about the woman this pattern and photo belonged to. Are any of these faces hers? Maybe a sister or cousin? Why did she never make up the blouse? Did she miss the photo, or perhaps had another copy framed on her wall?

I'll never get to know the answers, but I'm glad for the chance to wonder.

Giveaway Ends Tonight!

Just a reminder, you only have until midnight tonight to enter the Fly Button Giveaway.

Good luck!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Seriousaurus and Friends

The 80s were a strange time, filled with magical bears that shot happiness beams from their guts, children that grew in cabbage fields and yet were not feared as Village of the Damned style spawn of evil, and... Novelty sweaters? Oh, and I was born somewhere in there too. Let's take a moment to celebrate the decade with a few of its craft pattern offerings.

First up we have a Funshine Bear plushie pattern from 1983. Emma had a store bought one of these back when we were little. She loved that bear. I thought it watched me sleep during slumber parties, but I was somewhat suspicious of all glass-eyed toys.

According to the back of the envelope, you should end up with a little guy that looks something like this:

Not bad for fun fur, craft felt, and just a pinch of wanting to eat you.

Next up is a series of Cabbage Patch Kids Christmas tree ornaments from 1985. Because I know when I think of Christmas, I think of a tree filled with tiny effigies of terrifying vegetable children. Just wouldn't be festive without 'em.

And hey, you can always tie them to your bike basket or neck to keep the festivities going year-round.

Lastly, we have my personal favourite, the great Seriousaur of 1988. Forced to forever dwell on a sweater, he still manages to keep things cool. How do we know he's serious?

His glasses of course! Sadly there are no books on the sweater. But he had time now! Time for reading!

Poor Seriousaur. Someone needs to duplicate stitch some novels in there for him.