::Fun with macro… and sewing::

I am really behind in showing my sewing and knitting in the past weeks!

My current project being a tank top in a floral cotton voile, while making bias tape for the neckline and armholes, I took a couple of photos using a Micro Nikkor 105mm (macro lens).

Love the results and how you can see the definition of the warp and weft of the fabric!

And a bit more of macro fun? Detail of my sewing machine’s foot and plate, and a 3 inch mosaic bull we got in the amazing Spanish southern city of Ronda.


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From indigodragonfly and my secret knitting friend… look what I got in the mail

Last month I participated in the indigodragongly’s HOLIDAY GIFTAPALOOZA 2011. This is the package I received from talented and creative Kim and Ron, the owners, who organized this gift exchange. Check out their website to know what they are up to and go buy her wonderful dyed yarn and other knitting related stuff!

And this is what I got:

– A beautiful and very soft skein of exclusive indigodragonfly MCN Sock (75% sw merino/15% cashmere/10% silk) in colour ‘Driving under the influence of Muppets’.

– An intricate pattern for a pair of gorgeous mittens, ‘Preposterous’, by talented Torontonian designer Natalie Selles.

– Two very cute magnets that are already on my fridge, with 2 of Kim’s exclusive and beautiful colours.

– A pretty and very convenient knitting bag from the tireless ‘Cute & Cuddly Mutant Zombie Squirrels’.

– A ‘Gauge rage-o-meter’ tape measure with ‘indigodragonfly’ printed on it, also in blue!

– And last but not least, a recipe sent by my secret knitting friend, Lindsay to make delicious ‘Toblerone Chunk Cookies’, which I am planning to make this coming weekend, since I’ve started doing a lot baking this past weeks, and can’t wait to try them! Thank you so much!!!

Take a good look at my wonderful gift, and go run get Kim’s yarn… quick… just go!

(Pictures were taken with a new lens we are trying – and loving-, the Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX, AF 11-16mm f/2,8)

Look! Otis is on the holiday card!

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Two FOs and a new Sewing book!

I finally finished a winter skirt, Simplicity 2226. I had been knitting, sewing and handspinning non-stop the last few weeks, but no FO (finished object) to show!

I chose to make version A, but without the belt loops (called carrier in the pattern).

I really liked the idea of trying an easy way to add 2 big front pockets, and did a French seam for the side seams, which look and feel like having a more professional finish. I also got to use my Janome blind hem foot for the first time, and liked how the hem turned out; not to mention that it was a lot faster to do the hemming, but because of the French side seams, I had a lot of bulky fabric to go over, so I left those 2 small areas, the left and right seams to hem by hand.

I used a heavy weight cotton fabric I got at Fabricland Toronto, where I also got the Simplicity pattern.

The front and back of the skirt are gathered, and I found the fabric to be heavy to do this easily: it took me to stitch 3 lines of basting stitches to do it in case 1 thread broke -which happened when I was almost done with both the front and back gatherings!-, but I am satisfied with the results.

I am planning to make another skirt with this pattern, using a lighter fabric to wear in the Summer. I will also be going down in the size of the pattern, since I found that the size I chose, even though is the correct one for my measurements, it wastes a lot of fabric in the gatherings. I would prefer to have a bit less and make the skirt a bit tighter next time!

Take a look at a couple of shots we took of my new skirt:

Winter skirt

Winter skirt

Winter skirt

I’ve also finished a new set I made for my friend’s Y.’s birthday. This time, I made a zippered pouch with clear zipper end tabs -no more puckering there!-, a key fob and a tissue paper holder. I used some dupioni silk for the exterior and Amy Butler’s print cotton for the lining. She loved her gift and how the fabrics match!

Finally, and because I am more into learning to sew clothes -and loving it!-, I got a new book I had pre-ordered a few weeks ago, ‘Simple Modern Sewing: 8 Basic Patterns to Create 25 Favorite Garments‘ by Shufu To Seikatsu Sha. I am totally in love with the simplicity of the lines of Japanese sewing design and patterns, but had always found the patterns extremely difficult to read, and not just because they are written in Japanese! The lines of the different sizes in a pattern are sometimes most of the times overlapped and it is just difficult to re-trace the size you choose without feeling your eyes are breaking! The patterns contained in this book are simple enough to trace on your own tracing paper and even the paper used for them is very strong, not like the tissue-paper used in commercial patterns.

Like the name of the book indicates, with 8 basic patterns you can create a lot more variations and it can be used by beginners as well as by more advanced sewists, to create your own modified designs. And that is what I am planning to do: start with the basics and modify according to my own designs and ideas!

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::Birdie Sling shoulder bag::

I’ve finished the Birdie Sling shoulder bag and really like the results. I love making bags, and this was no exception! After finishing it, I was kind of expecting my husband would say to me:

– Oh boy… yet another bag!

But this time he said:

– Oh boy… that’s the prettiest bag you’ve made so far!

It is an easy pattern that involves some basic techniques, and since the original pattern produces a very big bag, I’ve decreased the size about 25%, to get a smaller one. I had seen some pictures of other people’s Birdie Slings and always found that it was too big for my liking.

The only thing I did differently from the pattern -other than decreasing the size-, was that I sewed a zippered inner bag pocket, instead of a big regular one. You can find a good tutorial for this type of pocket here.

One of the things I like the most is the fabrics I bought for the bag. I’ve found 2 BEAUTIFUL cotton prints at The Workroom in Toronto for the exterior panels and the zippered inside pocket, and then also got a solid matching cotton fabric at Fabricland.

The print cottons are from a collection called ‘La Petite École’ by Moda Fabrics.

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New fabric shoes

Remember these slippers I made a while back? Well… living in an apartment with carpet in almost all rooms, the soles wore out pretty quickly and I ended up having to make a new pair.

I used a Japanese-themed cotton fabric that I got at JoAnn in Buffalo, and for the lining I used a solid brown cotton I had in my stash.

New fabric shoes in Japanese-themed cotton fabric

Again, I covered the buttons with the same exterior fabric:

But this time, I made a washable sole that I attached with velcro. For the sole I used some felted knitted fabric I had from my first experiment with felting. I had made a small bag using Lamb’s Pride bulky in a pretty yellow yarn, threw it in the washing machine for a few minutes and obtained a pretty dense knitted fabric… exactly what I needed for these slippers!

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What’s that new look?

It’s a tunic I’ve made using New Look’s 6803 version ‘D’! It took me a couple of weekends to finish it, including the always time consuming setting up the pattern pieces and cutting fabrics. I always end up being surprised by the amount of time I spend doing this.

Since I wanted to ‘test’ this pattern, I used an inexpensive poly fabric I had in my stash that I got at Fabricland Toronto, and some floral print cotton for contrast that I bought at JoAnn in Buffalo, NY. I used the contrast fabric for the pointed placket, the sleeve edges and the hidden pockets. Loved how it matched the main fabric and I have actually worn it a couple of times, when the weather was not too hot in Toronto -we have a scorching heat of 35º Celsius these days!

I now have another fabric I am saving to make another tunic, which is a jersey knit, therefore, it will have its own challenges when I get to sew it, but it should be a good chance to try my hand at working with that type of fabric in a garment (Note to self: remember to get the appropriate needle for my sewing machine!).

I definitely learned a few things about making a garment, a thing I find pretty difficult, especially when it comes to fitting.

Pattern cut and laid out on main fabric

Detail of the pointed slit placket

New Look 6803

New look by the Toronto beach

Pocket in contrast cotton fabric

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:: On Victoria Day… a little bit of this and that ::

Today is Victoria Day, which “is a federal Canadian statutory holiday celebrated on the last Monday on or before May 24, in honour of both Queen Victoria’s birthday and the current reigning Canadian sovereign’s official birthday. It is sometimes informally considered as marking the beginning of the summer season in Canada” (from Wikipedia, if you would like to know a bit more about it).

Since we went out to do stuff over the weekend, I decided to stay today and … well… relax and do a bit of this and that. The results:

1. A pretty small project: a fully lined zippered fabric cuff, to hold money and any other little thing I might need when I go out for lunch at work, and don’t want to carry my purse. I’ve used 2 of the same Amy Butler’s fabrics I had used to make this lunch bag.

2. Reading: I started Audrey Niffenegger’s second book (after her successful first novel, ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’) ‘Her Fearful Symmetry’ yesterday. Strange novel about siblings rivalry, love in its different forms, a ghost, London’s Highgate Cemetery, and a London flat inherited by a pair of 20-year-old twins, which will be theirs, only if they move in from the US -where they live with their parents-, live in there for at least 1 year, and -second condition- if their mum and dad do not set foot into it!

There’s a lot of history behind London’s Highgate Cemetery. Lots of notable gravesites, and apparently lots of people touring the place as if it was a historic site. In fact, the author of the book worked as a guide of the cemetery during her research for the book! It is interesting to know that some critics have also pointed out a potential verbal pun in the novel’s title, since in a standard British accent “symmetry” and “cemetery” are almost homophonous.

3. Knitting: what’s in my ‘jumping sheep’ project bag?

I’ve started another shrug about a week ago, this time using Malabrigo Silky Merino in colour ‘Raspberry’. Am I crazy about shrugs these days? Yes, I am!

I am using Laura Chau’s ‘Dew Point’ pattern for the body, which I’ve knitted a while ago… remember? But I’ve decided to do a different ribbing, probably a plain 2 knit, 2 purl, so it is a bit stretchy. I have just finished picking up the stitches all over it to start the ribbing, so it looks a bit cramped right now…

4. Cooking: one of the simplest and also one of my favourite dishes, ‘Tortilla de papas‘. Instead of cutting up whole potatoes, I usually make it using frozen hash brown fried potato cubes, which makes it an even quicker preparation. This time I’ve added some red onions and bella mushrooms. Yummy…

And there is going to be some TV watching tonight! It’s ‘House’ season finale -which is getting darker and darker, I’m afraid to say-, as well as ‘The Chicago Code’s’, the latter, one of our favourite series lately!

Have a great week you all!

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