Etsy: Made In Canada

This Saturday, 33 cities across Canada will be hosting Etsy: Made in Canada pop-up shows. This little business of mine never would have happened without Etsy, so I'm super excited to be a part of this event, celebrating Etsy and all the amazing local artists you can find there. I'll be at the Burlington location, which you can find out more about here.  I hope to see you there!


Summer Sum-Up

Everyone talks about how much moving sucks. And it does. It really, really does. Especially when you have to do it in torrential rain. But what no one talks about is what it's like to move into a 100-year-old house for the first time. Well, that's exactly what I did this summer. And it was an adjustment, to say the least. There's a lot of getting to know each other happening in those first few months, and we seem to like to learn the hard way (ahem). But we're getting there, slowly but surely. Patience is the name of the homeowner game, I'm learning. Check back in another three months, OK?

Now before you start to think I'm a condo-spoiled, whinging brat, let me tell you that in between the unpacking, fixing, shopping, and bat chasing (eek), we managed to carve out some time to enjoy the summer as much as we could. There was the Panam Games, outdoor concerts, lots of entertaining, and plenty of reading in our lush backyard.

But it still felt like the new old house was hijacking our summer, so we decided to leave it behind and take off on a week-long roadtrip to Cleveland and Pittsburgh! It's a goal of ours to visit all the rust belt cities, so this gave us the opportunity to knock a couple more off our list. 

We've discovered through our travels that the accommodations can really make or break a trip and our airbnb in Cleveland was a perfect example of the former. It was in an old firehouse, complete with fire poles and a huge garage door, and was decorated floor to 15-foot ceiling with unique vintage pieces and art.

It was also in a perfect location: in the same building as a great coffee shop, across the street from a tea shop and cool bar, and a brunch-themed flea market filled the street on the Sunday that we were there! Browsing vintage and handmade while sipping on mimosas and snacking on oysters... could you ask for anything more on vacation?

On to Pittsburgh. What a stunning city. I mean, look at that waterfront. Mike had already been once before, so we spent most of our time away from the downtown, walking the Shadyside and Lawrenceville neighbourhoods. Butler St. was the highlight for me, full of boutiques, restaurants and bars, but it's loooong. We tackled it in three exhausting trips, so make sure you wear your walking shoes or be prepared to get friendly with Uber.

Happy hour was alive and well in  Cleveland, so aside from one amazing Thai meal, our diet consisted mainly of samples, saving our culinary splurges for Pittsburgh. 

If you're planning a visit, I highly recommend CureButcher and the Rye and Teppanyaki Kyoto for dinner; Coca Cafe for breakfast; and Tender and the Wigle distillery for the hard stuff.


Back on the home front, sewing has been a challenge this summer. Our new house has a fantastic attic space that was super excited to work in, but I soon discovered that, in the dead of summer, was a sauna. With half my stuff in the attic and half in the spare bedroom, I managed to crank out two big wedding quilts in August (more detailed posts on those to come).

I also started working on the Carolyn Friedlander Collection Quilt as part of Needlework's quilt along this summer. It's a more modern design than I usually go for, but I think it'll make a beautiful wall-hanging and I'm excited to experiment with colour and learn some new applique techniques. I'm on block 3 of 9 and loving it so far!

So that's pretty much my summer in a nutshell. Moving, road-tripping and quilting. Not too shabby. What did you get up to this summer?


Summer Pop Up

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. It's sure been a beautiful one here in Hamilton and the city has been buzzing with fun events. I've been super busy getting our new house in order ever since we moved, and my workroom is still in boxes, but when the cute boutique at the end of my street asked me to be part of their Summer Pop Up this Saturday, I couldn't say no. They're going to have vendors set up on both the street and in the shop, plus an espresso bar serving hot and cold drink, and live music. I hope you'll stop by and say hello!

Studio 205
205 King St. W.


Shop Update

I made a bunch of new zipper pouches and tea cosies for HandMade Market and I just updated my shop with the few that I brought home. I've experimented with some patchwork design and even vintage fabrics. Have a look and let me know what you think!


Me Made May Recap

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed a sudden influx of selfies over the last month, as well as strange terms like "me made" and #mmmay15. You may have wondered what this was all about.

From the words of founder Zoe Edwards, Me Made May
"is a challenge designed to encourage people who sew/knit/crochet/refashion/upcycle garments for themselves to actually wear and love them... The participants decide the specifics of their own challenge pledge, so that the month is appropriate and challenging for them." 
After intentionally building my handmade wardrobe for the last year, I was excited to be able to participate for the first time. I still don't have enough items to do an everyday pledge, but I could still play along. I vowed to wear three me-made items a week and sew three new pieces. 

Challenge accepted. Challenge complete.

You can check out my Instagram to see the 12 outfits I wore. As for the new things that I made, keeping reading.

With the exception of my Wiksten tank that no longer fits and some pajama pants that I never wear, my entire handmade wardrobe consists of dresses. This is a problem. So I was determined to use Me Made May to sew some separates.

First up was a boxy tee. I've been really into loose-fitting tops lately and they seem like something fairly simple to whip up once you have a good pattern. So, I proceeded to draft my own pattern. Haha!

I'd been saving my special polka-dot double gauze for a top just like this, and there was no way I was screwing up that fabric for a self-drafted pattern, so I made a tester out of some thrifted red chambray curtains that I have heaps of. And miracle of miracles, it fit right off the bat. Yes!

I ran into some issues with the double gauze, though. Sewing bloggers rave about this stuff and how it's so easy to work with, but I would disagree. It's delicate but bulky at the same time somehow, it's stretchy, it frays like crazy and it doesn't crease well when pressed. Sewing the bias binding on the neck was a challenge, to say the least, and the hem wasn't pleasant to sew either.

That being said, it's so delicate and soft, it's a dream to wear. In fact, I wore it three days in a row after I made it. So maybe I just need to get used to this double gauze business.

Next was a pleated button-down midi skirt.

I found this beautiful feather fabric at Needlework and immediately pictured this skirt. Isn't it funny how fabric can communicate like that? It's probably my favourite part of the sewing/design process.

Anyhow, I followed the pleated skirt tutorial on Sew DIY, which was pretty straighforward. But you do have to make some tweaks depending on the fabric you choose. Since this is a weightier cotton, I played around with the pleats for ages, trying to achieve the most flattering volume.

I also decided to keep the selvedge in there, and it makes me so happy whenever I see it that I think I should purposely include it in more garments.

I absolutely love the skirt and can see myself making many more versions!

Finally, there was the Alice Top.

Poor Alice. I tried my best to squeeze this third garment in by the end of the month, but unfortunately I can't wear it... ever. The neck was too tight; so tight that it wiped my makeup off my face! I also couldn't get the arm bands to ease in no matter how hard I tried. 

I know now that I chose the wrong fabric for this style; it needs to be much much lighter. Something like voile or, ahem, double gauze. I may also need to cut a size bigger. But, other than that, I'm at a loss as to what went wrong and at an even greater loss as to how to fix it. 

So, I hung it on a hanger, took a photo, and called it a fail. It's OK. We all have them. It's part of the game.

Despite the disappointing finale, I think I can conclude that Me Made May was a resounding success! Not only did I meet my challenge goals, but the inspiration and motivation I gained from the steady stream of handmade in my feed all month long was immeasurable. I found some great patterns to try, fabrics to search out and blogs to follow. It'll be a busy summer.

Maybe by this time next year I'll have 30 outfits to share! All I can do is try.


HandMade Spring Market

I've been busy today packing up all my aprons, robes, cosies and zipper pouches for the HandMade Spring Market, happening this Friday and Saturday at 13th Street Winery in St. Catharines.

If you still haven't bought your mom a Mother's Day gift, this is the place to do it. Or better yet, bring her along! In addition to some amazing art and craft, there will be food trucks, damn fine wine and some of the best buttertarts I've ever had. And buttertarts are kind of my thing.

It's supposed to be a beautifully warm and sunny couple of days, and apparently I'll be set up in the greenhouse, so feel free to bring me cold drinks (and buttertarts) when you visit. Just sayin. ;)

Hope to see you there!


Chevron Crochet Baby Blanket

This project kind of fell under the radar. I completed and gifted it back in March for a friend at her baby shower. In the deep freeze of January and February, I love having a crochet project to keep my hands warm in the evenings and this one certainly kept me occupied. It was probably the most tedious afghan I've ever made, being all single crochets, but the lush result was well worth it.

The pattern I used is by Krista Winters and is posted for free on her blog. I had no problems at all with the main chevron pattern. Although, it is helpful to know that you start your three single crochets in the first of three single crochets from the last row. Thanks to Jessica in the comments for that tip.

I did, however, ignore the instructions for the triangles on either end. I spent many hours trying to figure out why the instructions weren't working out and even tried some of the methods posted in the comments, but nothing was working. In the end, all I did was stitch it exactly the same way as the rest of the blanket, reducing each row by one until the "V" met in the center. Worked like a charm. So simple. I don't know why no one else suggested it. If you need a more detailed description, just let me know and I'll stitch a sample to remind myself. I have the worst memory.

I used a combination of Bernat Satin in Silk (white) and Red Heart Soft Touch in Shade (blue), because I had it on hand and because acrylic is so soft and washable, perfect for babies.

Now here's the up side of tedious crochet projects like this: you can watch TV while you work. Always a plus in my books. I crocheted through several seasons of The Good Wife for this one, and that's something to be proud of. That and a beautiful baby gift, I guess. Haha!


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