Winter knitting - Kirju mittens

>> Friday, December 20, 2013

Lately I've been knitting constantly and finding it makes me very happy. I wanted to show off my latest project, these pretty mittens! I love this pattern, it's called Kirju by Viki Wallner. It was just what I was looking for, a fingering weight yarn pattern that creates enough texture so the mittens are nice and warm.
I also have a bad habit of buying (and spinning) variegated yarn then having no idea what to knit with it that I'd actually want to wear. The texture in the stitch really shows off the little bits of colour in this hand-dyed Rhichard Devrieze Peppino (from Purple Purl in Toronto). This was an impulse buy, but worked out perfectly for one pair of mittens with a tiny bit of yarn leftover. 
You can see my notes on Ravelry, and while you're at it, become my Ravelry friend! For years people would ask me if I'm on Ravelry but I wasn't using it very much. But now every time I'm going to knit a pattern I go to Ravelry to see how it looks on other people, what their notes/tips were and even how it might look in my particular yarn. So helpful!

I finished knitting these mittens a few days ago and then lost them on their second day out. I was so disappointed, looked for them at home and knew they were at work, then looked for them at work and was certain they must be at home. Anyway, I finally asked at the staff entrance at the ROM where I was working in-house and the security guard said, "why didn't you just ask?" and handed them right back to me. They were even sitting on a shelf behind him in plain view! So happy to have them back.

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Homemaker magazine spot!

>> Thursday, December 19, 2013

So happy to find out this week that one of my Spoonflower fabric designs was featured in the UK magazine Homemaker! They used twelve Spoonflower designs to create a calendar, and my "Snowy Feathers" print is January. More details on the magazine spot here on the Spoonflower blog. I don't have a copy of the magazine, but they asked for my portrait so I guess I'm in it somewhere. The day they asked I was rushing through a deadline so the portrait is just a selfi in the backyard!

Incidentally, did you know that if you like a design, you can also choose to buy it in wrapping paper or wallpaper? I haven't tried it yet myself, but I think it's a great idea.

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City of Craft

>> Thursday, December 12, 2013

Artwork by Selena Wong
This year was busy, and with some hard times, and I didn't manage to apply for City of Craft. I've been there every year since the beginning so this doesn't feel right to me but I'm really looking forward to visiting and being able to just wander around and take it all in. Every year I'm amazed at how much talent there is out there and I find the show so inspiring. I also take home treasures that I still love years later. These are things that have the charm, beauty and quality of being hand-made by dedicated artists that give meaning to the term "labour of love".

Please go and treat yourself and your loved ones to the very best!

DETAILS
City of Craft 2013
December 14 & 15, 2013
Saturday 11:00am-6:00pm
Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm
$2 Admission
Children under 12 FREE
The Theatre Centre
1087 & 1093 Queen Street West
Toronto

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Toadstool cottage 2014 tea towel calendar

>> Thursday, November 07, 2013

Just finished updating my Spoonflower 2014 tea towel calendar. It's a nice idea, you can buy a fat quarter to get a single tea towel in linen cotton canvas, or a yard gives you four. I decided to go with the same theme as my previous calendar, and then decided to update that one as well for 2014.


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Illustration Friday - robot

>> Thursday, July 25, 2013


I haven't posted in ages, but I've been doing a lot of illustration and thought I'd do an Illustration Friday - last minute! The topic for this one was "robot" and the challenge I gave myself was to try to create something where you could imagine a story to go along with it.

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Winter City of Craft

>> Friday, November 30, 2012

I've been on the waiting list but was thrilled to find out I'm accepted to City of Craft! I haven't had much time lately to share my craft projects, but for now here's a sneak peek at the new pincushions I'll be bringing with me. This weekend I'll be making some pompom bird ornaments, and hoping to find some nice branches for my table to display them on!

This year the show is on December 8th and 9th, and there are three locations, 1087, 1093 and 1095 Queen Street West. As far as I'm concerned that's a whole bunch of craft shopping temptation.

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City of Craft Spring 2012

>> Friday, April 20, 2012

Here's a last minute post before the show tomorrow!
I have new crocheted pincushions, needle books and vintage jars with sewing supplies.
I also have the cake stand in the picture and another one as well and other vintage odds and ends. Can't wait for the show!

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Spring City of Craft!

>> Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Guess what? There's a Spring City of Craft show April 21st! I'm excited to be a vendor, and already thinking about how I will fill my table. For rummage I think I will have some vintage mason jars filled with vintage craft supplies and for the handmade part I will have all the usual goods, wristlets, bags and needle books, and possibly some fresh pompom birds just for Spring. The only problem is how I will manage to stay at my own table. More details and pictures coming soon!

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Art Deco Parrot Blue

>> Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My favourite fabric so far is a new version I designed of the Art Deco Parrot, this time in a blue, white and grey colour scheme.

I ordered a yard so I could make a pair of cushions in the cotton-linen blend fabric they offer. Being able to design the fabric myself was great because I actually adjusted the scale slightly so that I could fit two cushions with parrots down the middle of the front and back with just 1 yard.

Here's a picture of the cushions:
I love this fabric, it has a bit of weight to it and the nice feel of linen while the cotton makes it less floppy than pure linen. Incidentally, I also love the new Kona cotton that Spoonflower is now offering for a quilting weight fabric.

So I feel I've finally reached the point where I can design exactly what I want to decorate the home without having to compromise. I'd like to do curtains too, but that's a lot more expensive so it may be a while!



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Paris Poodle

>> Thursday, February 23, 2012

This week was busy with illustration work but I did manage to do a last minute entry to the Spoonflower contest with the topic "bicycles". It's called Paris Poodle, a poodle bringing home her baguette. One time, I did actually see someone bicycling home in Paris with a baguette sticking out of their basket, but it wasn't a poodle. I have to be honest. You can vote for Spoonflower bicycle fabrics here.
Last week's contest had the topic "jellyfish". I didn't think that topic would inspire me, but sometimes you can be surprised at what you'll come up with in these situations. It turns out jellyfish are kind of a popular motif right now, I didn't know that. I'm still loving mustard, so that's the colour scheme I chose for my jellyfish design (Jellyfish Drift), but I'm finding I've also veered into loving yellow too. Especially with white and grey. In the case of Paris Poodle I think yellow works because it's a more whimsical design.

I've ordered samples of both so I can put them up for sale when the swatches arrive. There are lots of new fabrics in my Spoonflower shop now, including the Yellow Rose print I've shown previously, and a blue and white version of the Art Deco Parrot fabric, my current favourite. I ordered a yard of the cotton linen to make cushions so I'll show you those in another post.

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Camera strap

>> Wednesday, February 08, 2012

I finally made a camera strap cover thanks to this clever tutorial by the lovely Karyn! Here's a link to a post about her new strap, and here's a link to the original tutorial.

As usual I managed to do things my own way, which wasn't really a good thing.  The bit I didn't notice right away is that Karyn used the selvedge to cover the seam which would have been particularly perfect as this fabric has a cute scallop line detail on the selvedge. But I only had a small strip of fabric left from making a tote so I had no choice but to fold the edge over and stitch it together that way. Because I barely had enough fabric I hand stitched the seam so I could make sure it was perfectly snug.

Also I didn't have any Steam a Seam 2 to fuse the fabric to the old strap, but the interfacing kept the fabric from puckering and all the top stitching holds it securely in place.

The end results are wonderful, the strap is just as functional as it was before but sooo much prettier.

p.s. you may notice that the fabric design in my last post has changed! I ended up changing it at the last minute because I thought it was a bit too busy. Anyway scroll down and have a look if you like.

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Ditsy sea creatures

>> Monday, February 06, 2012

The Spoonflower contest this week was fun, the theme was "ditsy sea creatures". In case you didn't know, a ditsy print is very small scale, so small that "At a distance, a ditsy print looks almost like a solid color". It's also a scattered print with no obvious repeat.

I always wish you could zoom in a bit more to see the fabrics better, especially with the small scale prints, so I thought would show you a close up of my design "Little Schools" (you can also click on it to see it larger):
The main thing that doesn't show up very well in the preview is that I added a linen texture to the background. I updated my design at the last minute because I thought the first one was just a bit too fussy. I like this one better. I also like how it looks from farther away, as if it's just scattered specks of colour.

p.s. I've been busy sewing too, there are lots of new wristlets in the shop.



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Art deco parrot

>> Thursday, February 02, 2012

The current Spoonflower contest has been my favourite so far. The theme was Art Deco with a limit of four colours. I was looking through my books and found a wonderful book I actually forgot I had. It's called Art Deco Textiles by Alain-René Hardy. Here's a link:



I've always loved textiles of course, but now that I'm actually designing them I've been revisiting my bookshelves and finding lots of help and inspiration. This book is absolutely packed with full-colour gorgeous pictures of Art Deco textiles. I bought it for the pictures, but I did start to read it as well and learned that Raoul Dufy created over a thousand Art Deco textile patterns. I was interested to learn that because I have always loved his paintings so much.

I also learned that tropical motifs were popular and decided to use that as a starting point for my design. I think the main reason I love Art Deco designs is that flora and fauna is so prevalent and I never tire of a pretty floral fabric or the charm that animals can add to a design.

I was really happy with my design, but after voting today I'm humbled by all the incredible designs this week. You can see them all and vote for your favourites here.

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Fabric Design lessons

>> Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fabric collection in progress: Vintage Roses
As I seem to have really taken to fabric design, I've invested in some fabric design books to help me learn some new techniques. I'll post more of them as I go along, but to start out I recommend Kim Kight's A Field Guide to Fabric Design. I've been following Kim's blog True Up blog since it started, and have always found it to be a source of fabric and sewing inspiration. So her new book came just at the right time for me as I was starting out with fabric design:



This book is small enough to not be intimidating, while being full of great tutorials and inspiration. The first thing I needed help with was how to design repeats in Photoshop and Illustrator and this book has nice clear tutorials on this. It also covers hand printing and digital printing, and even covers topics related to selling your designs. The best part for me was to have a book that's up-to-date and full of the kind of fabrics I love and sew with myself.

As I'm spending a lot of time on Spoonflower lately, I happened across Kim's guest post where she gives a bonus tutorial for her book's Blog Tour launch. So today I used her tutorial to add a printed selvedge to my fabric and I love the effect.

I'm still working on the collection of fabrics that started with the one at the top of this post, I decided to create some vintage inspired fabrics that I would want myself. When you love vintage fabric it can be hard sometimes to find the yardage or style you want for your projects, so this is the perfect solution. I'm looking forward to being able to print these designs in any fabric and order as much as I need!

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Sleepy cashmere rabbit

>> Tuesday, January 24, 2012

This is the little item I mentioned a while back that I was working on after City of Craft. She's a very small rabbit made from cashmere wool knit fabric and she has a little floral dress with lace trim, a crocheted lace cap and blue and white polka dot bag.

She's in my shop as of today, along with lots of wristlets and the last chickadee clutch. I've been meaning to list these things for some time. It seems my inspiration to take photos doesn't always go along with sunny days. But I've done my best!

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Animal Friends book

>> Friday, January 20, 2012

I've finally sewn up my own copy of my Spoonflower baby book Animal Friends. I have two copies so I have one in my Etsy shop.
I added quilt batting to the cover to give it some structure. But all the other little pages are just soft cotton fabric - perfect for chewing.

I sewed up one of the little animals that comes with the book just to see how it would look. One tip if you make them yourself is to roughly cut out the shapes, then line them up together by holding them up to the light. Pin them in place. Then after you sew them together you can trim them. I just added wavy lines around the animals anyway, you don't need to sew exactly on the lines!
If you'd like to sew your own, the fabric is available in my Spoonflower shop here.

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Happy New Year! New fabric designs...

>> Thursday, January 05, 2012

I've been keeping busy with the Spoonflower contests and learning so much while doing them. My Bluebell field fabric was #2 a couple of weeks ago and my Weekend Bread fabric was #7 this week! So now they're both for sale in my Spoonflower shop.
The current contest was good practice making a set of coordinates. I called mine French Seaside, and it includes a polka dot, a stripe, seagulls and a French yacht pattern. The set needed to include a dots and a stripe print, but I also created an extra print of a striped beach chair and made them each as separate prints to go along with the four-in-one coordinate fabric.
Sometimes you get caught up in making the illustrations, but I always like to make sure the result is a fabric I would actually like to sew with. And even better if I can picture a specific project for it. In this cases I was inspired by beach houses in soft grey and cream, like the beautiful one (Shell Cottage) in the last Harry Potter movie. If I was decorating a beach house I would like prints like these.

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Winter pompom wreath

>> Saturday, December 24, 2011

Once again inspired by the pompom festival at City of Craft I used pompoms to decorate our winter wreath. I was also inspired by some beautiful wreaths I've seen made from succulents. I love the mix of blue-greens.
So this one is essentially a tube (5" x 36") of thick wool fabric sewn together into a circle then squeezed into a wire frame to hold its shape. It was a bit of a rush job, so I think I may add some more details later, but for now it just has a few wool leaves sewn on, then pompoms and wool flowers clustered in one corner at the bottom. To finish it off I added a velvet ribbon and a store-bought bird that was amongst our decorations pinned in place in the centre.

This wreath was very easy to make, just cut flowers from wool felt in a variety of sizes and colours and layer them up, then create a few pompoms. I pinned everything in place before sewing it down to make sure I liked the arrangement. If you want to be extra quick you could bring out the glue gun and attach everything that way. Another option is to use a wreath form and cover it with yarn wound around it, then attach the decorations.

Happy holidays to everyone!

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Spoonflower baby book

>> Thursday, December 15, 2011

Spoonflower photos here
My latest Spoonflower contest was a baby book. Mine is called Animal Friends and it fits on a fat quarter. With a yard you get two books and two sets of matching stuffed animal characters.
My entry was #8! As before when you're in the top ten your fabric is printed by Spoonflower and becomes available for sale. You can find my book here.

I thought I would show some pictures so you can see it larger and also how the pages look in spreads once the book is cut out and arranged.

You can click on them to see them larger. Here they are:
Today I did a little tweak to the file so that the page numbers would line up perfectly because when I created these spreads I noticed some that were slightly off. Also I lightened the background blue on page one a bit. Overall this one was a lot of work but a really fun project!

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City of Craft - after

>> Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wool pompom wood thrush, stunning photography by Celine Kim
This is a little glimpse of my table from City of Craft. I had painted some branches for my display and they turned out to be perfect for hanging my wool pompom bird ornaments. These birds were definitely the stars at my table, they sold out at A Handmade Holiday, then at City of Craft by noon on Saturday and the few more I managed to make in the evening were gone by the end of day two.

I didn't invent pompom birds, but I think people liked the way these birds have a mix of colours that make them really looked like chickadees, or, (pictured above) a wood thrush. After the first batch I took Kalpna's suggestion and added glass bead eyes. This one was my favourite, so I'm extra happy it was captured in a beautiful photograph by the talented show photographer Celine Kim.

As always I'm left stunned by the incredible skill of lovely Becky in creating and managing such a wonderful, inspiring and also really really fun craft show. I can show you the treats I brought home in another post, but it was also about meeting new people, chatting about crafts and being inspired by everyone's creations, and, of course, winning a prize at Nutso (thanks to Chevaux de Bois for the Nutso board and Bespoke Uprising for donating my lovely fabric bundle prize!). Thank you to all the friends how visited, I loved seeing everyone.

Yesterday I was so tired I just watched a lot of tv and did a little quiet hand sewing for something I had the notion to make but no time until now. hint: she will make her appearance in my next post once her accessories are finished!

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