Sunday, November 21, 2010

Crepe Dress: Fabric

My Crepe dress pattern arrived this week! I've never used a Collette pattern before, but I really like the set-up. The instructions are in a little booklet, and the pattern pieces are folded up and stored in a pocket in the booklet's cover. I'm really pleased that the instructions will be so easy to use; this is a huge improvement from the patterns I've used before - just regular McCalls, Simplicity, Vogue, etc, but the instructions are always printed in tiny type on a huge sheet of paper.

I've also decided on the main fabric for dress. I had a rather unsuccessful look around town, not really expecting to find much cotton at this time of year. I was hoping for a navy shirting fabric with white pinstripes, but I couldn't find any navy! Weird, right? So I decided to branch out from my comfort zone (slightly, only slightly) and I ordered a gorgeous Amy Butler cotton print. Why is it out of my comfort zone? Well, I don't wear any pink at all, and wear very few floral prints. But I'm pretty pleased with this and am excited to receive it:

I'll be looking for a nice light blue for the contrast wraps, to match the accents.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Considering a Sew-Along

I think I'm going to participate in Gertie's Collette Crepe Dress sew-along. It's been a few years since I've sewn a dress, and I'd love to improve my garment knowledge and take advantage of the knowledge shared in a sew-along. Plus, I think the style will suit me. I'd like to make with nice navy shirting cotton, I think.

I'm only hesitating because work has been crazy (I've been working 45-50hr weeks since August) and I haven't been super motivated lately. Maybe this will be the push I need! And I can always bookmark the posts for later..

If you want to join, click the link above for a discount on the dress pattern!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Little birdie 02
Originally uploaded by loveasaverb
I've been busy sewing toy prototypes. This little birdie is made from a free pattern (I plan to make a whole mobile one day!), but I've made my own bunny, seahorse, and am trying to perfect a little owl. I'll share some more soon, but you can check out my flickr in the meantime!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I have two knitting goals. Saying them outloud (by which I really mean writing them here) will make them real:

1. Finish Jack's sweater before our anniversary (mid-November).
I stopped knitting for months and months. I feel guilty; this was supposed to be done for autumn. The body is done, and sleeves are about half-done. Then I'll have to knit the turtleneck, block everything, and seam the shoulders and sew in the sleeves (clever me, I'm knitting the sleeves in the round to avoid seaming).

2. Cast-on and knit myself a sweater... by the end of the year!
I will not cast on until Jack's sweater is blocking. But I have the yarn and pattern and I'm ready.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Things have been quiet because we got a new condo and are in hardcore renovation mode. I say "we" but my husband is doing most of it as I work full-time. Today we painted the kitchen and living room wall red, and it looks like I got in a fistfight! There are red blotches all over my hands and wrists. The bedroom and bathroom are all painted, as is the sewing/knitting/craft room (yes! that's right!!), and the hardwood floor is ready to be laid down. Stay tuned for actual knitting content.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I signed up for yesterday. It's a site for sewers that is based on Ravelry. It is still a bit barebones (in particular, the forums need more work and groups would be nice), but so far, so good. It was quite buggy in Firefox (in particulr the date on the projects) but works fine in Chrome.

My username on there is twolemons.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Birthday Birdies

I made this tote bag for my friend Req's birthday gift a few weeks ago. I used some lovely love bird cotton I picked up last fall and made it per my usual tote formula: muslin lining, a deep box shape -- I'm not sure the proper name of the technique and my Googlefu is failing me, but you can find the corners explained in this tutorial. It basically makes the bag three-dimensional rather than just lying flat, and I find it makes a roomier bag. There is also a little pocket inside, made of the bird fabric.

The cotton is very thin, so I added some fusible interfacing to the straps for strength. I only had the lightest interfacing possible -- bought to practive making appliqu├ęs -- but it worked well enough. You can see that I added a double line of stitching to each side of the straps. And of course the finishing touch is the decorative stitch around the top of the bag.

I filled the bag with a lovely, sunny bunch of flowers and it made a nice gift!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Mabel Murple: A Free Hat Pattern

I knit the first version of this hat on New Year's Day, then re-knit it a couple of months later to write up the pattern. I'm happy to share it with you as a free download. Check out Mabel Murple on Ravelry!

The pattern was named after the titular character of one of Sheree Fitch's amazing children's books. I loved her books as a child; her writing really instilled a love of language and reading in me. While knitting this purple hat, I kept thinking "Mabel Murple's house is purple, so is Mabel's hair..." so why not name it for her?

- 150 m (160 yards) of your favourite worsted weight yarn (I used Cascade 220)
- 5 mm straight needles
- 4.5 mm double-pointed needles
- 5 mm double-pointed needles
- cable needle of spare DPN
- measuring tape

Click here to access the free PDF! (also available through Ravelry)
Ravelry link

I hope you like the pattern!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Soon to come: a free pattern! My first!

I am very excited to announce that I have written my first pattern, a nice hat. Luckily I got it all written up before the end of the season! It will be available for free download soon -- I'm just waiting for Ravelry to recognize me as a designer so I can set it all up. But the PDF is ready to go, so I hope to share it soon... fingers crossed for tomorrow!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The world is quite different ever since the robotic uprising of the early nineties

My mum and dad came to town yesterday so I was able to give my mum her yoga bag. She seemed quite happy that it matched the little lunch bag I made her for Christmas. I made a yoga bag for myself last night, after yoga class, and used some of my favourite fabric:


I also tidied up my Ravelry queue last night, removing about a dozen patterns I'd never knit (a bikini? let's be realistic, people) and adding tags to almost everything else in there, then did the same with my favourites list. It was good to get organized; I'm expecting to knit three baby items forf co-workers this spring/early summer, so I was glad to get a refresher on the baby patterns I'd queued up.

I finished the body of Jack's sweater on Friday night (rejoice!), but can't work on the sleeves until I buy a second 3.75mm circular needle. The neighbourhood toy shop which carries a small selection of yarn and needles doesn't open until noon, so I'm enjoying a big cup of tea while I wait.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

FO: Yoga Mat Bag

I was feeling a bit restless last night, so I plugged in my sewing machine and made this bag for my mum's yoga mat. Just a little something to keep the mat from getting dirty while in transit:

(Note to self: no more photos of black fabric in direct sunlight)

The fabric was purchased at JoAnn's on my trip to NY last fall. I thought the black would ensure it doesn't look too dirty, and the flowers and warm colours are right up my mum's figurative alley. I used a bright orange ribbon from my ribbon colection for the drawstring:

I made one of these as part of a birthday gift for my sister a few weeks ago (with awesome BANANA fabric -- sorry, no pics). It's really easy to do:
1. Take a rectangle of fabric (make sure it will wrap around your mat with a few inches of ease)
2. Press and sew the little tube for the drawstring to be fed through
3. Pin the strap in place and sew up the bottom and side of the bag, securing the strap (the strap can be made with the woven stuff you purchase at a fabric store, or simply with a strip of fabric)

(I'm happy to provide a more thorough tutorial if anyone wants, but I'm sure there are a bunch that have already been published on various blogs.)

Did I ever mention my ribbon collection? My husband set up a nice dispensing station:

(And there are still more spools that didn't fit)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Homemade Dog Food

A few weeks ago, we had to make a batch of homemade dog food. Our local pet store took a longer holiday than we expected, and poor Monsteress ran out of food.

She is a 3-year-old American Staffordshire and is pretty small: 40lbs. We feed her what we consider the best food available (and I'm happy to support a family-owned Canadian company!): Orijens dog food. We usually feed her one cup of kibble for breakfast and one cup with dinner. Dinner is supplemented with fresh veggies (her favourite treat) or the occasional raw egg.

I started with this "basic dog food" recipe (on the right sidebar) but tweaked it for greater portions of meat and veggies. Here's what I ended up making:

Monsteress's Mash
9 cups water
4 cups uncooked brown rice
1/4 cup oats
275 grams ground lamb
500 grams ground beef (medium leanness)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 head broccoli, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 small sweet potato, diced
2 carrots, diced
1-2 tablespooons peanut butter

Combine water, oats, rice, and sweet potato in large pot. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to low-med. Add meat, oil, and half of the broccoli, green pepper, and carrots; put the remaining veggies in a sealed container to use as fresh garnish. Continue cooking approx 30 minutes or until the liquid is all absorbed. Stir in peanut butter and let cool. Keep refrigerated.

NOTE: the medium ground beef and the lamb were nice and fatty. If using lean beef or poultry, you'll want to add a bit more oil.

It was tempting to add some flavour so it would smell good while cooking, but I reminded myself it was for the dog, not me. Chicken broth would probably make it really yummy, but it would add salt that she doesn't need.

This made a large batch which lasted almost a week. We fed her 1.25-1.5 cups of the mash, topped with the fresh veggies or a raw egg for each meal. We of course also mixed in the remaining kibble for the first few meals, and added a bit of fresh kibble to the last few meals of the batch -- didn't want to switch her diet too suddenly. She ate every last bite!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

FO: Laura's Felted Bowls

My sister was not-so-subtly admiring some felted trinket bowls on Etsy this fall, so I made her a set for Christmas. This was my first dyeing project, and first felting project.

The knitting was very straightforward, and took only a few days to do all four bowls. The dyeing was the most difficult step -- I could not find Kool Aid anywhere in Montreal! I did manage to get some on a little trip to upstate New York, so I was happy about that. I usaed grape, cherry orange, and lemonade. The cherry took the fastest; lemonade had the least effect.

I was planning to felt by hand, so I had an idea to make the job a bit easier. Felting is caused by shocking wool (immersing it in very hot, then very cold water) and applying friction -- so I bought a pair of exfoliating gloves from the dollarstore. They're meant to be used in the shower, but why not use them on the bowls? It did go fairly well, but jeez, hand-felting is tiring! It took two sessions to fully felt the bowls and I worked up a sweat within the first two minutes.

After the two felting sessions, the largest bowl was still a bit floppy, so I sprayed all of the bowls with starch while they were drying. It is still a lottle wobbly, but the three smaller bowls are fine.

Yarn: Garnstudio DROPS Alaska, natural/undyed (3 skeins)
Needles: 6 mm
Pattern: Felted Nesting Bowls by Alice Themla

Overall, I'm very pleased. And my sister loved the bowls!