Starting Point Wrap Mystery Knit Along

Yay! It's fall! :d time for #AllTheKNitting posts!

I've been knitting up a storm recently, both towards the end of the summer and after KnitCity this year, so expect a few knitting posts in a row :) First up: I'm finally posting about my Starting Point Wrap

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I'm so excited to share this project with you guys! This was my mystery first knit along and I was super pumped to take part! For those not in the know a mystery knit a long (MKAL) is when a pattern is released with only a minimal description (like what the item will ultimately be, ie. a scarf or socks, in this case a huge wrap) and the final dimensions, without an image or picture of the final project. This can be a pretty intimidating type of project to take on since you really have to trust the designer...you're literally investing hours of knitting without knowing if you will like the final result. Having knitted a fair bit in the last few years I've discovered a few designers that I would absolutely trust with my knitting hours. So when Jojli (one of my favorite knitting designers) announced this MKAL right before my birthday I was suuupppeeerrrr temped to knit along.

such a huge wrap!! my tiny arms don't do the full size justice!

such a huge wrap!! my tiny arms don't do the full size justice!

Now, I'm not usually a huge scarf knitter, some of my very first projects were scarves and the process can be kind of scaring especially when you are first starting off knitting. Don't get me wrong, you will for sure get knitting and purling down pat if the first thing you knit is a scarf, but its a really lllooonnnnggg project to start with and it's really easy to give up and either a) end up with a super short scarf, or b) give up on knitting all together.....so when I was first looking into the final dimensions of this wrap I was kind of daunted by the final size, 26.5" by 72". All knit in fingering weight yarn with size US6 needles (aka really skinny yarn on fairly thin needles = LOTS of knitting). But! since I've knit my fair share of fingering weight cardigans/sweaters I thought that I could probably handle this guy.....I also got really swept up in all the pre-pattern release hype (I love the knitting online community!) AND the first knitting clue was to release on my birthday....we all knew I was going to end up casting on in the end....it was fate.... Plus, I was going to ask for yarn for the project as my birthday gift and would have the whole summer to work on it until the fall came if the project proved too much.....little did I know......

Here are the yarns all nicely boxed up....

Here are the yarns all nicely boxed up....

...and here's how much of each was left at the end. You can see how little of the fauna was left! All the yarn details are listed below.

...and here's how much of each was left at the end. You can see how little of the fauna was left! All the yarn details are listed below.

Now that I had committed to casting on I then needed to find some yarn for my birthday wish list! There were so many amazing dyers around the world who came up with MKAL kits specifically for this pattern, it was so inspiring! I still consider myself a relative newbie when it comes to selecting colours for a multi coloured project so it was really great to see some colour combos by 'professionals'. Since I didn't know what the final wrap would look like (and therefore couldn't choose colours based upon what would look best next to each other in the pattern) I decided to focus on what kit colour combos I liked the best as a whole, as well as if the colours in the kit would work with some of the pieces I have in my wardrobe. I ended up falling in love with the colourway that Jojli used for the knit along instructions, C1 off white, C2 pink, C3 white with speckles, C4 purple-black, and C5 brown, so I decided to find a kit that closely resembled this pallet. In particular I wanted something with a pink, a speckled or variegated pale option, and a navy or black for the dark option. I ended up settling with a Sweet Georgia Yarns kit dubbed Grandville Island which consisted of C1 Birch, C2 grapefruit, C3 Fauna (a variegated pink, yellow and purple), C4 Charcoal, and C5 Ginger.

Lucky girl that I am, the #fluffyblondemonster took my hint (I mean he couldn't really miss it, I may have spammed him via text and email and in person about how much I loved this kit....) and even took me to check out the Sweet Georgia head quarters (they are based in Vancouver) to go pet all the yarn (it's a knitting thing guys, you have to go pet the yarn) and pick up my kit. I so pumped to cast on, I think I may have scared the #fluffyblondmosnter with the speed with which I wound 5 skeins of yarn, I was a girl on a mission!

After clue 2!

After clue 2!

It was pretty clear from the first clue that this large rectangular wrap would not come together in a 'traditional' way, meaning that we wouldn't be casting on the width of the wrap and simply knitting rows back an forth. The pattern begins with a garter tab cast on that slowly builds to an arrow shaped piece, one side has a rectangle and the other has a pointed end (hence the name starting point). You also knit the wrap in two identical parts, so two 'starting points', that are then joined by knitting an additional two triangles to fill the portions between the points. All in all a really cool way to make up a large rectangular wrap. This also made the knitting way more fun and portable, you didn't have to worry about the wrap becoming too large to carry around until the last clue! I actually knit a good portion of this wrap on a beach in Tofino with out having to worry about lugging it about or getting sand all over it. There were also eyelet, lace, and stripped sections of the pattern to break up the monotony of garter stitch (although tons of garter stitch are perfect for tv knitting!)

perfect beach knitting!

perfect beach knitting!

Since the project was divided up into two haves, in addition to the pattern itself being broken up into a series of 5 clues, I knit this waayyy faster than anticipated. I couldn't wait each week to get the next set of pattern clues and then to knit them which really drove me to knit as fast as I could to be ready for the next clue! In the end I knit this in about 6 weeks! crazy fast for the sheer size and yarn weight/needle size for me, making this a PB (personal best!) in terms of knitting time :) A PB that held for about 4 months until I beat it this week (more on that in my next post ;)

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Since the amazingly warm summer we've been enjoying has finally come to an end I've now gotten a chance to wear this beauty and I honestly love it. The Sweet Georgia tough love sock is light weight but durable so I know I'll get many fall walks and winter rambles with this oversized wrap. I've been wearing it around the office constantly wrapped around my shoulders (the heating hasn't kicked in yet), even going so far as to don it during a presentation, having it dramatically sweep about as I pointed out features of my slides. It also wears well as a large scarf which I also have been loving :)

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I'm really glad that I took the plunge and had faith in Joji to design an amazing wrap! and now that I've caught the MKAL bug I'm sure there will be more mystery knits in my future :D

Bikinis and Body Confidence

Hi internet friends! 

Summer once again ran away with me and before I knew it August came and went! SO much sewing (I think my project total for August was 2 shirts and 3 dresses, not counting the bikinis I'm going to share with you now)! Bikinis at the end of August? why for you ask? BALI :D

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If you've been lurking my Instagram you'll know that I was working on some Sophie Bikinis for our upcoming vacation. Again, Heather has hit it out of the park with this pattern and the accompanying online video course which was full of tips on tricks which really helped me figure out the whole process. I actually made both bikini tops first before working on the bottoms, primarily because I was so stoked about how well the first one turned out (the paler coloured one in the top of the photo above) so I coudln't wait to do the whole process all over again. For the second one I was super stoked with how well the patterning turned out, I spent a lot of time moving around the various pieces around on the fabric but it was still hard to imagine what it would look like all together until it was finished. 

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For both bikini tops I cut a size 6, with cup size 5, and wire size 38. The only modification I made was to widen the bridge by 1/4" in the second top (the one on the right in the above photo) to help the cups sit better which resulted in the bridge sitting closer (though not flush unfortunately). For the bottoms I did try to shorten the original high waisted bottoms that came with the Sophie pattern but it didn't really look right, so I ended up doing what it seems most Sophie makers did when they wanted regular and not high wasted bottoms and turned to both the Heiress and the Indigo Ruched Bikini patterns by Swim Style. I ended up with both patterns because I wasn't sure which set of bottoms I would ultimately like and with time running out I decided to try out both. They are more 'cheeky' than any other bikini bottoms I've previously owned but I've been spinning my little heart out at spin class so I actually wasn't too bothered by it when I was sewing everything up and trying them on in my apartment. I did add a bit more coverage to the ruched pair since this set was the one I was planning on swimming/snorkelling and possibly surfing in. 

Side bar: I found it really difficult to find swimsuit fabric that didn't have a weird pattern on it.....for the paler swim suit I had to buy a bunch of extra fabric so that I could cut around all the weird letters in the fabric (which didn't actually spell anything) and the weird hash mark things......soooo weird!

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So now we've come to the part of the blog where I'm actually wearing what I've made and while I usually have some apprehension about modelling my makes I didn't anticipate exactly how much how harder it would with with swimwear. Let me preface with that as a kid who grew up spending every summer at our family cottage and the beach I felt super comfortable prancing around in swimwear. This mental body positivity did not go unscathed as I went though my teens but has only gotten stronger, so I though, as I became an adult. I thought I had enough of a body image buffer that modeling my own swimwear would obviously feel uncomfortable but I hoped I wouldn't overly stress about it. PLUS I really loved the way they looked while I was modeling them in my apartment (in all fairness you look good in everything when Bey is blaring through the speakers....) so I was totally confidant that this would all run smoothly. #IGotThis

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Turns out that taking photos while on a beach in public in a bikini is quite stress inducing....I stressed a lot on our trip about taking photos, and I got really self-conscious and had to constantly stop myself from comparing what I looked like to others around on the beach. But! ya know what? I did it. I took photos of not one, BUT TWO, handmade bikinis on a beach....in public....and now I'm posting them on the internet...... And while I did not enjoy it at the time I think the pictures look pretty good (at the time I thought they looked horibble but I think it was the heightened self consciousnesses that the process induced)

Thankfully, during our trip the #fluffyblondemonster was his usual super duper supportive self. He even offered to just candidly take photos so that I wouldn't be focusing too much on the photo taking process AND he went ahead and deleted any obviously unflattering photos to help stop me from obsessing over imperfections that only a camera can really catch. He also put up with my pretty much constant refrain of 'do I look fat?' Which looking back upon I'm pretty embarrassed about but I just couldn't shake that feeling, (and to be fair to myself it's not really a normal thing to be posing around in swimwear so I think I should give myself a pass for this hopefully passing self-consciousness) .

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The two toned version with the wider straps ended up being my favorite and the set that I turned to most often through out our trip. The bikini fit well and I liked the extra support form the straps, especially when we were snorkeling in choppy waters looking for manta rays (we saw one! it was huge!). The ruched bikini bottom ended up being a big big...I cut the medium size and area coverage wise the size was good, after adding some extra coverage in the rear as mentioned above. But I think that the side, colour contrast parts were too big and I ended up pulling them up a lot while swimming. Luckily, due to the construction method, the side seams are still accessible so I can go ahead and make those shorter to make the bottoms a bit smaller and less likely to move around while swimming.

For the paler set, I ended up making some detachable straps so that I could use it as a strapless top when I wanted. Unfortunately, because the bridge is a bit too narrow, it doesn't quite stay up on it's on comfortably without the straps so I may go ahead and make them permanent. Instead of having the straps attach to the back of the suit, kind of like a regular bra, I decided to just tie them like a regular bikini which I liked the look of. The bottoms were from the heiress pattern, again a size medium, and they fit great! I really liked the hidden elastics construction on this pair and may make an additional one in the fabric of the other bikini for next year :)

staying strong!

staying strong!

my happy place :) knitting on a beach!

my happy place :) knitting on a beach!

Self body image issues aside I think my first foray into swimwear making (and as a result of it being a wired bikini top my first real attempt at bra making!) was a success! yay! :D

Kalle Shirts 1, 2, and 3

Hi internet friends!

oday's post is about one of my favorite MeMadeMay makes, the Kalle shirt /shirtdress from ClosetCase patterns. 

it's this image again but it's one of my favorites!

it's this image again but it's one of my favorites!

When I first saw this pattern I was a bit hesitant....I'm still learning about how to fit things properly and one of my biggest fitting concerns is fabric pooling at my lower back, so with such a loose fitting and flowing pattern I was worried that I would just end up with tons of extra fabric around my rear end which probably wouldn't be that flattering......

However! Knowing Heather and her amazing-ness I was willing to bet that things would workout and after seeing a few Kalle-ies show up on the interwebs I was sold and I had to try one for myself.

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Such a windy day!

Such a windy day!

The first one I made was the pop-over tunic length version in a light weight viscose with an interesting stripe/bird pattern. I did my customary short person adjustment (taking in about 2 inches at the waistline) and dug in! While it did turn out awesome the high/low hem was simply too long on the back for me, it honestly looked like I was wearing an old school nightshirt/gown thingy (the blue and white stripes didn't help with that...) So I carefully unpicked the hem facing and used the pattern as a template to shorten shape the hem. In the end I took another 3.5" off of the bottom of the top.

I love the way this shirt turned out, it has a causal look while not being simplistic. It's super flattering with both jeans and leggings, and it is just so comfortable to wear to work :D (Side note: I developed a little 'shirt tail flip' action while wearing this shirt...because the back hem covers my bum I found it got really wrinkled if you didn't flip it out when you sat down, kinda makes you feel like a world class pianist flipping out your coat tails before sitting down to play....or maybe I've just watched too many bugs bunny cartoons as a kid where he played a pianist or conductor....)

A little wrinkly but that just means it's been lived in :)

A little wrinkly but that just means it's been lived in :)

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Since I love getting the most out patterns I went ahead and made a second Kalle shirt, again with the pop over variation in a solid forest green tencel twill from BlackBird fabrics. This fabric is a bit of a heavier weight than what I used for my first Kalle shirt but it still has really nice drape and I was interested in seeing what the pattern would look like in a more structured fabric. I am also trying to incorporate more solids into my wardrobe and I'm having a thing with green at the moment :P

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This second Kalle came together super quick and I'm really happy with the result! Overall I like the striped version a smidgen more than the solid one but that's mostly due to the hot weather we've been having here, the striped one is just a little bit lighter. (really hot for Vancouver I mean...I have a backlog of knitting projects to share with you guys but they will all have to wait until the weather cools down somewhat) Speaking of the hot weather this top also looks pretty awesome with shorts (see the pic on the left!) 

I now have two really awesome work and life appropriate shirts that both came together really quickly so I did what I always do....and made another one!

 

 

If you've been lurking my Instagram you'll know that I've had a cropped top version of the Kalle in the works. Well....here she is! 

The hat made the photo! and new sunglasses :D

The hat made the photo! and new sunglasses :D

The cropped top version is a little outside of my comfort zone....but it's so stylish that I had to try it.....and guys......I LOVE IT! I love the shape and again, like the other two, it's just so comfortable to wear, more so than I thought a cropped top would be! I wore it to work all day and didn't obsess over the fact I was wearing a cropped top (I only tugged on the front once or twice to straighten it) and I got so many complements :D

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#WorkIt

#WorkIt

I made this version in a lovely linen chambray from BlackBird Fabrics to give the top both structure and to make it summer appropriate ;) You'll notice that I am wearing a tank top underneath and that's because I'm a smidgen shy about my tum tums...I kept the same torso shortening adjustment as on my two other Kalle tunics but I think I may lengthen the front of the cropped version by about 1/2" in future iterations because I think I would then feel more comfortable wearing it sans tank top (although I would still wear the tank top when wearing it to work...). I should probably get on making some mid or high waisted jeans to go with this top ;)...and so the sewing list grows!

I find that little bit of short hair that won't stay in my bun hilarious!

I find that little bit of short hair that won't stay in my bun hilarious!

I'm sure there will be many more Kalle shirts in my future! I'm actually really proud of myself for adding more solids to my wardrobe, two for two here for June and July! I've got many more summer sewing plans in the works so stay tuned!

Me Made May 2017 Review

Hi friends! 

It's been about two weeks since Me Made May 2017 ended so I thought it was about time for me to share a bit of a review and what I learned from this year's challenge :D

I'm proud to say that I completed my challenge (minus 1 or two days where I was migraine-y so I'm giving myself a pass there). I set out to wear at least one me made item each day with at least 1 complete me made ~look~ or outfit once a week. Thanks to my new ginger jeans obsession I often had more than one me made outfit per week! It was super satisfying to have so many me made items to choose from everyday, and it really helped me see how far I've come on this me made wardrobe journey.

Marylebone Cardigan for the win! This may started off pretty chilly so this oversized, snuggly cardigan was a must have and it's featured in a number of the #MMM2017 shots (and of course my eyes are closed in this one..

Marylebone Cardigan for the win! This may started off pretty chilly so this oversized, snuggly cardigan was a must have and it's featured in a number of the #MMM2017 shots (and of course my eyes are closed in this one..

I love the back detail on this cardigan....hopefully I'll get my act together and dedicate a full post to this project in the future, I'm thinking closer to the fall again when it will see more use.

I love the back detail on this cardigan....hopefully I'll get my act together and dedicate a full post to this project in the future, I'm thinking closer to the fall again when it will see more use.

May started off a bit on the chilly side so I often found myself leaning on two of my newly finished cardigans, the Marylebone cardigan and my Earnest cardigan. I finished both of these earlier this spring (however I still need to update my revelry notes :S). The Marylebone is an amazing Bristol Ivy pattern which I splurged and bought Brooklyn Tweed Quarry for. SOOOOOO worth it! Quarry is a really lovely 'fluffy' bulky weight yarn, by fluffy I mean that it's very loosely spun and airy so you get the thickness of a bulky yarn without the weight. It is a bit tricky to seam with because it is so loosely spun, but so long as you give yarn a good extra twist as you go you should be fine. I haven't put the pockets on it or buttons, I'm still debating if the pockets are really needed or not...as for buttons I bought a bunch to add but I'm second guessing my decisions....by the fall I'm sure I'll have a decision made ;)

apparently I had a thing for grey this spring.... well technically last summer since I started this last year but you get the point....Also featured are my favorite Datura Blouse and on the right, Bruyère shirt both by Deer and Doe

apparently I had a thing for grey this spring.... well technically last summer since I started this last year but you get the point....Also featured are my favorite Datura Blouse and on the right, Bruyère shirt both by Deer and Doe

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The second cardigan that I wore a lot was my Earnest cardigan by Joji :) This was knit in Spud & Chloe's fine sock yarn and it was a beast of a project! Because it was such a fine weight of yarn and it's mostly knit in double seed stitch it made for a very long, but so worth it, project. I actually started this shortly before traveling to Mt. Robison last year and knit part of it while on the trail :D To speed up the process I also knit the sleeves two at a time but this was difficult because of the double seed stitch pattern, I had to keep untangling the yarn.....but it was all worth it in the end! I love layering this cardigan for the days that are just a shade too cool, or at work where we've been having heating and cooling issues :S  

Tofino :D

Tofino :D

What I seemed to reach for the most over the month was for one of my many Cheyenne tunics (Hey June patterns), Datura blouses (Deer and Doe), and my two Scout tees (Grainline Studios). The photo one image up has my fave Datura blouse, sewn for last years me made May, in a rayon blend stripy fabric, this guy has seen a lot of wear over the last year! The beach photo show cases one of my most popular Cheyenne tunics, by most popular I mean the one I get the most complements on at work haha! I was inspired by this post by LLADYBIRD where she made an archer shirt in the same flannel. Archer and I haven't really gotten on in the past, possibly because it was something that I tried to sew early on and couldn't get the fit right, but the Cheyenne tunic and I get along real well! I pretty much exclusively sew the popover version, no clue why but that's what I like :

One of my two scout tees, the first is shown in the first photo in that amazing Rifle Paper Co. fabric!

One of my two scout tees, the first is shown in the first photo in that amazing Rifle Paper Co. fabric!

With my two scout Tees (one featured in the very first photo and the other right above) I found myself constantly wishing I had more. I have two cut out waiting to be sewn, and a third fabric choice waiting to be cut, but they keep getting bumped on the sewing list for more 'exciting' patterns. Patterns with more frills like collars or interesting design details instead of 'just a shirt'. It's ironic because what I do need more of are just straight up causal shirts that I can wear to work without a second thought. June's mission is to finish up these scout tees! I just need to remind myself that not everything has to be a challenge, I can just enjoy sewing up a simple top that I know I'll get a ton of use out of :)

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New pattern that I can't get enough of is the Kalle shirt dress! I sewed up this stripy/bird-y one for my 31st birthday and I LOOOOOVVVVEE it! It's such a wardrobe staple kind of top, I can wear it to work and then dress it up a bit to go out later. I'm already sewing up at least two more, one again in the tunic length popover style, and the second as the cropped top version! (I have my eye on some high waisted ginger jeans to wear with that one ;) ) When I first finished this shirt I was seriously undecided.....I had shortened the torso by my standard 2 inches but the back of the shirt was SOOOOO long, like it kinda looked like I was wearing an old school night gown (probably because of the stripes) I had to cut off around 3 inches off of the 'tail' of the back before it didn't make me look super short (and by that I mean shorter than my already short personage)... 

Despite starting off the month with 3 new pairs of ginger jeans AND starting/finishing a 4th pair during May, after looking back on all of my photos I noticed that I really didn't take many photos where you could actually see them! They've become such a staple in my wardrobe that I sometimes forget that 'yeah you made those' and 'yeah you should take pictures where you can see them'. With plans to make a few more, including maybe some more 'funky' versions, I'll have to make sure I document them well :D

 

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As usual Me Made May was a fantastic start to spring/summer! It made me really pumped to get sewing and knitting! I had tons of new ideas from seeing all the different posts! I love being constantly inspired by the amazing #maker community on Instagram and in the sewing/knitting blogger-verse. I also feel like I personally grew a bit, I was able to let go more and be less stressed about taking photos of myself. I even posted makeup-less photos which is kinda huge for me and I think is huge for a lot of women who feel the need to present the most polished and perfect version of themselves when on social media. Don't get me wrong I still had photos where I had my make up all done for work or for a night out like my birthday, but it was really freeing to also just take some photos while camping and at the beach and not be stressed about it. By the end of the month I felt like my daily photo session became more of a 'oh yeah I need to do that, I'll just snap some now' instead of something I was dreading to do. What more can you ask from a challenge than to inspire you and help you grow? :D

How the Ginger Jeans Helped Me Get My Sew-Jo Back

Hey Internet! Long time no blog post......

I know....for a while there I seriously lost my sewing mo-jo....I was still doing crafty things and knitting all the time but work and life just started to get the best of me and I found I wasn't enjoying any of it anymore....and it made me sad :( It's not that I no longer loved doing crafty things I just wasn't getting the joy and satisfaction out of it anymore. So I took a step back, and just allowed myself to chill and remove the 'pressure' I had put on myself to continuously do creative things at every spare moment... When I wanted to sew, I sewed, and when I wanted to knit I knit, and when I wanted to be a vegetable on the couch or go to spin class, or play HOURS of Zelda (breath of the wild what have you done to my life?!) then I just did those things and tried not to be mad at myself for not doing #AllTheThings all the time. And that really, really helped...just letting myself be myself without beating myself up for not doing every single thing on my massive 'I want to do all the things' list. I also started a bullet journla which also really helped because it let me write down all the ideas I have in my head for all the projects I either wanted to start or have started and create realistic goals for when I can get those projects done (I also got to deep dive into bullet journals on Pinterest which is highly satisfying) :)

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