Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Ordinary weekend

Sometime it’s good to try new things. So in an attend to be more culturally integrated into the Florida scene, we went to a hockey game on Saturday.  What?  Hockey game in Florida?  Yep, Orlando has its own hockey team, the Solar Bears.  They were playing against the Sting Rays from South Carolina, another States well known for its hockey legacy Winking smile.

It was fun, fast and quite rough.  The Solar Bears got a few penalties for starting fights, but in the end they won and all was well!

Hockey game

Monday, 7 November 2016

How did this happen?!…

Yesterday, she was a baby…

Alice3

A teen with a nice attitude…

Alice2
Alice1
Alice

And now she’s 21 (which does not make any sense since I am only 32).

Red heartRed heartHappy birthday, my beautiful girl Red heartRed heart

Thursday, 3 November 2016

80s revival – the legwarmers

In all honesty, this project does not deserve a post, but Juliette’s legs are pretty and strong, and when she asks me to make something for her, I am happy to oblige.

So here are the legwarmers, all the way back from the 80s: 48 stitches knitted in 2x2 ribbing for a very, very long time.  This project deserves the Oscar of the most boring project I have ever knitted.  The good thing is that it was so eventless that I knitted on the road, at the movie, in the dark…

legwarmers

The yarn is Wool of the Andes from Knit Pick – 100% Peruvian Highland Wool, at $1.99 for a 110-yarn ball, it’s a bargain. The colour is Blossom Heather.  I’ve used only 2 and a half balls, I could probably use the rest to extend the Vivid blanket.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Rosari skirts

The Rosari skirt pattern by Pauline Alice has been out for quite some time, and as usual I’m late to the party… When I first saw this skirt, it reminded me of a very similar one I had when I was probably 6 (I should check my pictures album when I go to my parents’).  It was in leather, light blue, with pressure buttons, quite short, and I remember loving it.

This summer, Juliette was looking to buy a skirt very similar to this, in mustard, but Juliette is tiny and no retail skirt fitted her, so I got the pattern, got some mustard corduroy from Fabric.com, some quilting fabric for finishes and off I sewed.

Rosari skirt

I made the Mini version, with Pocket C.  The construction is fairly easy and fast.  I got into a bit of trouble with the pockets, those curves needed attention: at some point there are 4 layers of corduroy to sew together.  The pocket flaps and the waist band are lined with quilting cotton to minimise the bulk.  In addition, I finished all the seams with Hong Kong seam.  If you’re not familiar with Hong Kong seams, it is the process of enclosing the edges of the fabric with bias tape, this way there’s not visible raw edge.  It takes time, but it makes the garment pretty inside-out.

Rosari skirt2Rosari skirt1

The skirt turned out very pretty and goes well with leggy legs!  It got a lot of wear since it’s been off the machine, hence the wrinkles.

When a pattern works well, I tend to re-sew it more than once.  So same version, same pocket, same fabric in different colour and different binding, but still very pretty.  I’m sure it will look lovely on Alice (the leggy legs’ effect).

Rosari skirt3

I have a slight worry with this one, the black velvet keep ‘loosing hair’ and any dust seam attracted to the fabric, leaving marks (see on the back view of the skirt).

Now, I’ll go an make a review of the pattern on Pattern Review.  I might also consider making one for myself, longer, try different pockets and maybe in denim.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Some break under pressure…

…others bake under pressure!  It’s been a weird kind of week-end, for no special reason.  So after having been unpleasant to my family, I resorted to a more ‘healthy’ fix, I BAKED.

chocolate chips cookies with caramel

Those are Chocolate chips cookies shaped into little cups, filled with salted caramel sauce, covered with semi-sweet chocolate ganache.

I’ve used a trusted recipe from Martha Stewart for the cookies: here to get it.  I’ve baked this a zillion times, but I think it’s time to re-invent it and make it with less sugar.  I dropped spoons of dough in a tiny muffin tray, then once the cookies were baked, but still warm, I press the centre with a wooden tool to shape them into cups.

Next the salted caramel sauce, I’ve used a recipe from this year Great British Bake Off.  Here it is (go to step 6 for the How-to).  And finally, for the ganache, I melted a bar semi-sweet chocolate, added some cream and piped it over the filled cups.  I think my piping skills need some improvement and I should work on my ganache too as it did not stay glossy after being in the fridge.

Apart from that, you’ll be happy to know that we did not eat them all, it was far too sweet…

chocolate chips cookies with caramel1

Also the crankiness is gone, and I’m going to blame my initial mood on the full moon.

Friday, 14 October 2016

London express – Fall edition

When your kids live in London, it is almost compulsory to do regular visits to England.  So a couple of weeks ago, I went there to make sure that they were well settled.  And yes, they were settled and already engaged in very busy student life (read: not much time for mom’s stuff, already booked with parties and friends’ stuff – and honestly, I am glad they were …

So after checking their accommodations, ordering some home supplies – how many hangers does one need?  is breakfast without a toaster possible?  how many inches of shelves space are needed?… I planned a couple of museum visits.

First stop, the Fashion and Textiles Museum.  I think it is probably one of my favourite museum in London.  I am not a great museum goer, but anything around textiles get me excided.  The TCM is quite small and from my previous visit it looks like the exhibitions always follow a similar setting: gowns/costumes on the ground floor with a single route to see them, then a few more on the first floor and finally a gallery of pictures.  I’ve seen an exhibition around Kaffe Fasset there, and another one on British designers to HM the queen.  The current exhibition is 1920 Jazz Age, 1920’s fashion, and as usual the display is great, the collection of pictures beautiful.

London Express - Fall edition2

London Express - Fall edition3

Next stop, the Victoria and Albert Museum for Undressed: a brief history of underwear.  I wouldn’t say I enjoyed this exhibition as much as the one at the FTM.  It was far more busy, everything was behind glass with reflection of the surrounding, and taking pictures was not authorised.  I took a couple of pictures of garments from their permanent exhibition.  I think I have something for the 50s…

London Express - Fall edition4

And this is Tottenham Court Road Station, the tube station by Victor’s home.  The mosaics are from Edouardo Paolozzi, check here to find out more.

London Express - Fall edition

And just one last set of pictures, the weather was gorgeous, not cold yet with a beautiful autumn light.

London Express - Fall edition1

Who said that the weather was gloomy in London?

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

The vivid blanket

When I drafted this post it started like this I'm going to try something new and have some kind of regular (ish) post on a regular subject. Sundays are going to be for Knitting. Obviously it did not work as plan...  As much as I like blogging and the memories it carries,  I seem incapable to channel enough motivation to come back here at least once a week.  Let me know if you have any recommendation to overcome this.

Well, back on the subject. Last time, I've shown you some magic knitting, this time is for the Vivid blanket. I've seen it all over the web.  Ok, maybe not all over the web, but at least on my favourite social networks,  Instagram and Ravelry.

Vivid Blanket

Vivid blanket is a pattern Emily Wessel the designer behind Tin Can Knits. It's a little bit lacy depending of your yarn choice.  After experimenting, I found that for me the best and fastest way to knit these, was to start on 4 double points needles, then switch to circular needle for the outer border.

I've use some Balmoral yarn (72% wool, 25% alpaca, 3% silk) from Sirdar which I had in my stash for ever; it has actually been discounted which is a shame because my blanket looks a bit too short.  I've made 25 squares, the dimensions are 34” square. 

Vivid Blanket1

I'm not quite sure how to go from there. Shall I find some similar weight yarn and make more squares? Shall I add a border in garter stitches? What would be a good finished size?  And anyway, what use have I for this in Florida?  I might opt for more squares as it makes it a pretty portable project. When I start working on this back in March, I was able to finish a square per day.  So one more row around the actual blanket means 24 more squares.  That’s totally feasible.  I could probably work on this while travelling, small, portable project.

To be continued…
  Vivid Blanket2

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Knitting magic

My goddaughter sent me this picture a while ago with a message which sounds like she was challenging me. That was enough to get me started.

Desktop4Pictures taken by my Goddaughter, somewhere in New Zeland

A quick search on Ravelry later, and I had this star pattern in mind. Rather than knitting the baby blanket, I've decided on making a scarf: I added garter stitches before and after the motive and on each sides. I also reworked the pattern in order to have a full big star on the centre.

And now, are you ready for some magic?  Depending on the angle you look at the scarf, you can either see white and black stripes or stars. Magic!

Magic knitting1

How does it work?  It is actually quite simple and clever. You need two contrasting colours of yarn, alternating 2 rows from each colour. The background row, in my case the dark one, is Knit on the front side, Purl on the back. The design colour, is Purl on the front, Knit on the back.  Knitting those 2 sets of rows will give a stripe texture piece. In order to create the motive, the Purl and Knit stitches are reversed where the motive happens.

Do find out more, you should go and check Pat Ashforth and Steve Plummer’s website.  Their work is super impressive, so detailed with so much craftsmanship, precise planning... They are sharing some very informative tutorials on how to draft a pattern from a picture.

Here is my very humble contribution to the world of illusion knitting.

scrapbooking papers6

Collages1