Tagged vancouver

Siren Song

I got a skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Lace from another local Ravelry member, who was destashing. It was a great value, and the colours were totally my cuppa tea. The yarn itself has been discontinued, sadly. It is lovely.

The first thing I tried to make with it was a Wispy cardigan, but the laceweight was just a little too fine for my liking. I wasn’t thrilled with the fabric, so I frogged it half way through. I later tried this cardi with a heavier yarn, and ended up frogging that as well. I think this cardi just isn’t right for me.

The second attempt was a Bonny sleeveless top, but I couldn’t get gauge. I did eventually make a Bonny, with a different Madelinetosh yarn, and I love it, but that’s a post for another day.

I let the yarn sit in my stash a little while longer, until I finally stumbled upon the perfect pattern. Siren Song is lovely, and would be perfect for the green yarn with its flashes of lavender. I had more yarn than the pattern called for, so I modified it a little.

Because I was using laceweight yarn, I used size 4 needles instead of the required size 6 needles. I also knit extra repeats of the lace. The lace has three charts, all of which are easy to memorize. I unfortunately neglected to record how many repeats I did of each chart, but I know I did extra repeats of the medium and small waves. I had very little yarn left when I finished.

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My Ravelry project page is here, if you’re interested.

A trio of Sewaholic Oakridge blouses

I found these great fabrics on sale at Fabricland in the fall, and knew they’d be perfect for Oakridge blouses. I already have two with the bow, so I decided to make things easier on myself and do the version without the bow.

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This first one is quite possibly my favourite, because the fabric is so unique. It reminds me of a Monet painting, specifically Waterlilies. You got your first peek at this fabric when I posted my machine sewn button tutorial. Excuse the creases in my skirt, I wore this outfit for a job interview this morning. Wish me luck!

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I loved this fabric too, because it is so difficult to find autumn colours. I love orange, and I thought I’d never say that. I still remember the adorable peach dress I had in eighth grade. It suited me really well, except for the colour, which was far too light for my complexion, and resulted in me looking pallid and ill. I generally prefer reddish or rusty oranges, and this fabric has both. I loved that the dots are random and imperfect.

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This is the final blouse. Remember that I said a while back that when I find a pattern that I like, I tend to make several garments all the same?

I didn’t need to make any adjustments to the pattern, since I’ve already sewn it twice before. I did, however, use some cotton lawn for the bias binding at the neckline instead of cutting a bias strip out of my fashion fabric. The reason I chose to do so was that fussing with a skinny bias strip in a slippery fabric felt like torture to me. Because I skipped the bias strip, I have quite a bit of fabric left over, so I plan on making myself some Colette Sorbetto tanks, which I can wear with sweaters or blazers. Thus far, I’ve only made them out of cotton.

I’m pretty pleased with my new blouses, and my work wardrobe is really coming together. Now I just need a job!

Another Colette Mabel

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Would you believe I made another one? I went to Dressew for notions, and meandered around the fabrics, because you never know what amazing things you’ll find. Lo and behold, I found this gorgeous black and red damask knit, which had to come home with me.

Laying it out was a bit tricky, since I wanted to be sure that everything was lined up perfectly. To do this, instead of laying out on the fold, I traced around half of my pattern pieces with chalk, then flipped the pattern over and traced around the other side with chalk, and cut along the chalk lines. I did the same for the outside waistband pieces. I didn’t have to do the back this way, because it has a seam down the centre, and I didn’t care how perfectly spaced the damask pattern was on the inside.

Hooray for pretty, comfortable clothes! It’s pretty comfortable, too!

Barred Owl

DSC_4633I was walking my dog this morning, and saw one of the resident barred owls in a tree near the pedestrian path through the park. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera, and my cellphone camera photos didn’t turn out. I decided to try coming back. I was lucky, because even though 45 minutes had passed, the owl was still there!

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The owl was sitting in a tree a little way down the dirt path that leads to the hiking trails.

DSC_4649I moved a little, to get better pictures of the owl, and it spread its wings, so I thought it was going to fly away. Instead, it flew into a tree that was closer to me, and not obscured by branches.

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The owl was most definitely not afraid of people. I’ve seen it (or others, I’m not sure how many there are in the park) several times now, and the park is well used by people. The trees the owl was in are immediately beside the paved path.

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Having these birds living in the park is a treat. We sometimes hear them calling to each other at dusk, and they’re not shy, so sightings aren’t really all that uncommon. I believe one of them roosts at the end of the park nearest to our home, because I see them around that end of the park fairly often. I ended up taking about 50 pictures of the owl, and these are the best ones I got. It was a pleasure spending time observing it, and I’m glad I got the opportunity to finally take photos. I left before the owl did – it may even be in the same tree now.

Completed Minoru

DSC_4559 I finished my Minoru jacket last week, and have worn it every day since completing it. It has been difficult to get pictures of it though, given that it is dark by the time my husband gets home from work, so we took advantage of this morning’s beautiful weather to walk the dog near the river and get pictures of my jacket.

I didn’t change anything about finishing the jacket, other than making the interior pocket an inch deeper, to accommodate my phone, and serging the raw edges inside the collar, as the edges remain exposed inside of the collar and I didn’t want them to fray over time.

I’m quite pleased with the finished jacket, and wore it for the first time last Friday. It’s a very comfortable jacket – it doesn’t bind at the arms, it’s roomy enough in the bust, and has a really flattering silhouette. It even saw rain on Saturday, and I stayed nice and dry. There’s also plenty of room to wear my down underlayer with it in the winter, so there’s no need to buy a separate winter coat this year.

DSC_4563Would I make this jacket again? Absolutely. I think it makes a fantastic all-purpose jacket. It’s sporty enough for walking the dog and light hiking, but stylish enough to wear around the city or on your daily commute.

There are a few things that I’d do differently next time, however. The side seam pockets are a little too far to the back, thanks to the elastic at the waist, which pulls them away from the front. On my next Minoru, I’ll take the time to do the welt pockets I discussed previously but decided not to do.

The hood is really big. In fact, I don’t like it all that much. I’d make a different style of hood altogether the next time I make this jacket. The hood has a seam down the center, but I find that a hood that has three pieces fits better, and I’d draft my own hood in that style the next time around.

I’d also consider doing a tie belt next time I make this jacket, instead of the elastic waist. It gives you a bit more comfort when switching warm layers underneath the jacket, as it might be a touch snug with my heavier down layer.

Much as the elastic cuffs were a pain in the rear end, I’d leave them as is, because they look nice, and are comfortable to wear.

My pockets need some tweaking, as every time I take my hands out of them, the pocket lining pops out. Tacking them to the hem of the jacket will fix that problem though. I also didn’t make the bottom outside seam high enough when I sewed them, as the pockets aren’t really a secure spot to keep things. When I crouch to pick up after my dog, sometimes stuff falls out of my pocket (such as my phone, the day I didn’t put it back in the interior pocket).

I’m pretty happy with this jacket, considering it was my first time sewing this type of outerwear. Am I 100% happy? No, but I’d say I’m 90% happy, which is more than I can say for anything I’d buy off the rack! I’ll get a lot of use out of this jacket, and when it is time, I’ll definitely make another.

View all of my Minoru Jacket posts here.

 

Up next, Sewaholic Minoru

I need a new rain jacket this autumn, because my old one no longer fits and I handed it down to my daughter. I was looking for a waterproof, breatheable jacket that was casual enough for hiking and dog walking, without velcro, that was lined. Do you think such a thing exists? I tried everywhere, and had two major problems… #1, I was looking for a style of jacket that is available in the spring, but not the autumn. Everyone had plenty of winter jackets, with removeable down or fleece liners, which made them much more expensive… I already have warm underlayers to wear with my jacket, so there’s no point in spending an extra $200 to get something I already have. #2, in order to get a jacket that fit me in the bust, it was too big everywhere else. When you added my requirements for lining (I don’t like the unlined jackets because they stick to your skin when you perspire), no velcro, and a colour that I like, I pretty much had zero options. After much frustrated shopping, I decided that the best course of action was to sew my own. Full disclosure, I’ve sewn outerwear before, but never with water resistant or waterproof fabric. I’m sure I’ll be relying heavily on this post on the Sewaholic blog, regarding sewing waterproof outerwear.

The first thing I did was choose a pattern. I decided to sew the Sewaholic Minoru, because the yoke gathers would make doing my full bust adjustment easy, since I wouldn’t have to add darts to the pattern (which would have led to more seam sealing). I also really liked the style of the jacket – it’s casual enough for walking the dog and even hiking, but still very flattering.

Once I decided on a pattern, I determined what modifications I’d make for my Minoru. First of all, I wanted to stay dry on wet days, so I had to buy waterproof breatheable fabric and seam sealing tape. I also wanted to be safe when I walk the dog in the dark, so I bought some reflective piping. The jacket doesn’t have any external pockets, so I will have to add some. I found this tutorial for adding side seam pockets to the jacket, but I really wanted zippered placket pockets, so that I don’t have to worry about losing things while walking the dog. I want to stay dry, but don’t want to spend a fortune on zippers, so I’m making my jacket with a flap over the zip. I could put the flap on the inside, since that should be sufficient in case of zipper leakage, but I may put it on the outside to cover the zipper. If I do, I’ll be using large buttons. I could use snaps, but I don’t always like the end result, and I’m unable to get more fabric if the snaps make a mess of things.

The next step was fabric, which was surprisingly difficult to find. I had to make things harder on myself, of course, because I really didn’t want a plain fabric. For whatever reason, the fabric absolutely had to have some kind of a pattern to it. After much searching, I discovered that Peak Fabrics had the best selection of patterned waterproof fabrics, and even their selection is limited. Other online retailers had camo fabric, but I am not a fan of camo! I bought some really nice chocolate brown and black textured fabric (I bought the last of it, so I can’t make mistakes), seam tape, and reflective piping from them. Their customer service was excellent, and I highly recommend contacting them if you are looking for performance fabrics. I bought Bemberg lining at Fabricland, at 50% off.

Today, I assembled my pattern, and will be doing my FBA. I will probably also have to add some extra to the upper sleeves, as I find that Sewaholic patterns are a bit snug in the upper arm on me. I plan to make my jacket a little on the loose side, so that I can put a warm layer underneath, rather than having a separate winter jacket. I also need to look into how and where to add the pockets. This looks like a useful resource.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to finish my jacket until later next week, because I need to make a trip to Dressew for zippers and wide elastic, but I should be able to make good progress over the weekend. Because I don’t have enough fabric to make any mistakes, I’ll be sewing up a muslin tomorrow, to confirm fit and pocket placement. Once I’m satisfied with my muslin, I’ll start sewing the actual jacket.

Oakridge blouse & some photography

Well. Raiding my stash was a failure. I have loads of quilting cottons in my stash, but they don’t have the right drape for this blouse (I could use them to make the Granville shirt, but I had my heart set on making an Oakridge first).

I suppose that means I’ll need to make a trip to the fabric store, which I will do on my way home today. I’m hoping to find something suitable for spring, since it has been so beautiful here lately. I know the rest of Canada and the US are snowed under, but we’re very fortunate here on the west coast… I don’t want to rub it in, but if you’re so inclined, this will show you just what we’ve been living with for the last couple of weeks. Crocuses. Daffodils. Cherry blossoms. Even the magnolia trees are blooming already. It’s been just beautiful.

Stanley Park seawall.
Stanley Park seawall.

I took this photo last weekend on the seawall at Stanley Park. It was cool in the shade, but once you got into the sunshine, it was nice and warm. We spent a couple of hours walking the seawall, talking, and taking photos. We’re very fortunate to have such a beautiful park in our city.

 

The lookout at Prospect Point, as seen from the seawall.
The lookout at Prospect Point, as seen from the seawall.
Siwash Rock.
Siwash Rock.
Mount Baker, as seen from the seawall.
Mount Baker, as seen from the seawall.

Mount Baker, as seen from the seawall (do you notice a trend here?). Port Metro Vancouver can be seen too. You can also see the crows going home to roost. I love watching the crows heading home for the night.

In fact, this is an opportunity to share more music with you! In January 2014, we went to see a concert called Sing it Forward, during which, I was first exposed to a young woman named Hannah Epperson. She’s an amazing violinist, and one of the songs she played is called Murder of Crows. The first thing I did when I got online the next day was buy her EP. I’ve only been able to find live videos of her performing the song, and this is the best one I could find… but if you like it, her EP used to be available on Bandcamp.com… but it’s not there anymore, sadly. If you visit her Facebook page, you might be able to find her contact information so you can buy her album, as it is wonderful. Give her a listen!

I’ll be back after I buy fabric, I promise!!!