Sunday, 10 December 2017

Sunday Finds [SF7]

Hello Friends!

The cat that needs to be named - the new addition to the family

I think this will be my last Sunday Finds of the year.

Back in June I crossed path with Marce from BrownBerry Chronicles. Ok honestly, I can’t say I crossed path, I saw her in a room full of crafty ladies and did not had the guts to go and speak to her. Marce lives in Florida, travels a lot for work, records YouTube videos wherever she is and she KNITs. In one of her vlog she mentioned the Afterthought Heel socks, in short it’s a technic where a tube is knitted, closed on one end, then the yarn is cut where the heel is then added. Does is make sense? Now Marce pushed the concept even further, she knitted a very long tube, the size of 2 socks and then unravels the tube in the middle, make the cuffs and knit the heels. Go and see her video. In the same video, she also speaks about her creative retreat with friends. May I be your friend, Marce?

Sewing pants
I know last year I said I wanted to venture into jeans making… well it did not happen: I have the Ginger jeans pattern in my stash but did not touch it. And now I just added Closet Case Patterns latest pattern: the Sasha pants (plus a few more patterns too!). I want to make the Sasha pants in red, or yellow, or apple green…. So is 2018 the year I’m going to give trousers’ sewing a try? Heather Lou has created a great ebook on pant’s fitting, you can get it there.

I’m a podcast addict and it seems that I don’t have enough time to listen to them all. This week, I’ve listened to the 2017 Community Episode of the While she naps podcast. Abby Glassenberg and Stacey Trock, her co-host, share their recommendations in terms of books, podcasts, apps…. All the recommendations are linked in the show notes, and be aware it is dangerous, I may or may not have click on a few links and then click the Check out button on Amazon.

I can’t make up my mind: electronic calendar (very convenient, accessible from my phone, but a bit ‘cold’), the bullet journal (hyper customizable, but it’s like taking an additional hobby, it takes quite a bit of time) or a paper diary/calendar (I like to have a physical object, but it’s never the perfect layout). Anyway if I were to get a paper calendar, I might go for the Daphne’s Diary, I like the flowery happy design, the detachable pages, the coloring pages. Or I might go for the Quilter Planner, it’s a planner designed for quilters by a quilter. Have you tried any of these? What do you think?

This Sunday Finds post turned out as a fan girl post, nothing wrong with that!

Well, that’s it for today, I hope to see you around in 2018 with more Sunday Finds. Let me know what you have found and I’ll share it here.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

20-patch Block Tutorial

Today I'm posting on the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild blog.  Every month our guild has a Block of the Month, guild members make one or many blocks, bring them to our monthly meeting where the blocks are then raffled.   For December, I've selected the 20-patch block after seeing Ashley's scrappy quilts (here and here).  I really love a scrappy quilt, and I would love to win those blocks.  If it doesn't happen, I might still make a bright colour 20-patch quilt.

So here is my recipe for a 20-patch block.

  • White and solid or low volume grey fabric, think cold icy grey;
  • Out of each colour, cut:
    • either one 21x3” stripe,
    • or two 10 1/5 x3” stripes,
    • or ten 2x3” rectangles

Method if using stripes:
  • Stitch one white stripe with one grey, along the long side, you get two 10 1/2 x 5 1/2” blocks. Press all seams to the dark side.
  • If working with 21” stripes, sew them together, press toward grey and cut in half and you now have two blocks 10 1/2” long.
  • Sew the 2 sets of stripes together and press seams toward the dark fabric.  You now have a 4-stripe white and grey 10 1/2 x 10 1/2" block.  
  • Slice the block into five 2” wide sub-stripes across the block. Align your ruler on the seams for clean perpendicular cuts.
  • Reassemble the 2” stripes, flipping every other one in order to obtain a checkerboard block, measuring 10 1/2 x 10 1/2”. 

Method if using rectangles:
  • Sew 5 rows of 4 rectangles, stitching on the shortest side, alternating white and grey. Press all seams toward the grey fabric.
  • Flipping every other row, assemble the 5 rows together, making a checkerboard block measuring 10.5x10.5”.

Can we all agree that it’s a super easy block? 

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Sunday Finds [SF6]

Hello Friends!

I am the only one with consistency issues? My goal is to blog at least once between my Sunday Finds, but it didn’t happen, not because I didn’t sew or knit anything, but because I’ve been very busy sewing or knitting. And also because I tend to ‘forget’ to take pictures…

Georgetown University from Key Bridge

Anyway, here what got my attention recently.

These Instagram accounts
Following last Sunday Finds, I’ve digged a bit deeper into Sashiko, which leaded to indigo dye, Japanese ceramic. And then I lost many hours going through those Instagram accounts: Slowstitchstudio; Toa_Aiko posted this video: the fabric is going to the needle; Akai Ceramic Studio; and these hashtags Celadon and Raku.

Thanksgiving ready
Believe it or not, but even after living in the States for 4 years, I never hosted Thanksgiving at home, actually we spent the last 3 Thanksgivings in England (2015, 2014). This year, all the kids are coming home (except for Justin, Alice’s BF) and we are going to make it BIG… Off course, turkey is on the menu (Is a 14-lbs turkey enough for 7?) with Brussel sprouts, potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn bread, pumpkin pie…. I’m getting most of my planning and tips from the New York Times Cook planner. I will be making this potatoes dish: Cheesy Hasselback potatoes gratin and also this pumpkin pie with pecan brittle, because I don’t think I can stomach pumpkin pie AND pecan pie.

That’s it for today! I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving shared with family and friends. And thank you very much for stopping by my virtual space.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Sunday Finds [SF5]

FSU home game - parents weekend

All things royals
If you know me, you know that I have spent a large part of my adult life in England or in an ex-British colony, and that I have always been feeling a strong connection with Brits. No surprise, when I tell you that I’ve been glued to anything Royals recently. So my first royal related crush is Victoria and Abdul, not a master piece, but I love Judie Dench. The movie depicts an elderly, lonely Queen Victoria and it is kind of sweet. Also, still on Queen Victoria, I’ve been watching Victoria. This time we are at the beginning of Queen Victoria’s reign. I don’t know how much has been romanticized but again, it’s very sweet and enjoyable. And of course, I can’t wait for the second season of The Crown.

The Orlando Quilt Guild had Jen Lee, from Red Thread Studio, come to speak to us at our monthly meeting. Jen is a really enjoyable speaker, soft spoken and passionate. Her talk was on Sashiko, big stitch quilting and Boro (“tattered rag” in Japanese), and how well it fits into the Slow Fashion movement, slow sewing… Is it a coincidence or what, Wise Craft Handmade is having a sashiko along in November. Very very tempted to stitch along.

I can’t remember how I found this app Workflow, but it sounds like it could be a cool tool. On your I (phone or pad), it helps to automate some tasks, like storing your pictures or sending texts to established group of people. I am still figuring it out, but I can see some potential. Actually, if you are using it, I would really appreciate your input.

Well, that’s it for today. Have a lovely week!

PS. I would love it if you have something to share too. Anything that has caught your attention (love or hate, craft or non-craft related).

And just one more thing for today, because I can’t help myself and would really appreciate if you can give it a try: here is the latest video from the McCartney’s, “One day a week”.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

The different stages of a knitting project

Here is my creative process when it comes to knitting.

I've just seen a new pattern - I really like it
I want to make it now


I won't have a chance to wear it
And I have enough projects already on my needles

Yes, but it's really pretty
Look how other people have made it
I'm sure I'll learn something new
And my friend wants to knit it too

Ok, yarn and pattern have been ordered
I can't wait

Yarn has arrived, it's so beautiful
Let's take some pictures for Instagram
I can't wait

Before I start let's swatch
Or I can wing it
No let's swatch first
Swatch is good, casting on

Frantic few days of knitting

One sleeve done, let's work on the second one
Feeling good, both sleeves finished

But the yarn is so thin, it's taking forever
Getting bored

I shouldn't have chosen this color
Am I knitting too tight
I'm bored

Meeting friend to keep motivation
Her project looks so much better
Have I pick the right size, I'm sure it's off
Let's try it, I'm sure it's too small
Oh shoot stitches have dropped off the needles and unraveled

Hum! not that bad
I want to see it finished now
Some more frantic knitting
Another meeting with my friend
Almost there

Knitting is done
Need to bury those loose ends
Finishing touches boredom
Do I really need to block it
It takes so long to dry from wet blocking in humid Florida

The big reveal. I love it 😍
It's so pretty
I was right making those adjustments
The color is perfect
And my friend's pullover is perfect too.

I finished my PurlSoho Lightweight raglan pullover. It was an easy knit, on the boring side, lots and lots of stockinette…. I knit it as instructed, just added some shaping at the sides as I was worried it would look too boxy on me.

Finished a while ago too, 3 hats: Debutant hat from Karen Temple. The first one was finish at Squam where I took a class with Karen. The second one on the plan on the way back, they are fast to wipe out. Inspired by Amelia’s hat, a fellow Squam camper, I’ve added a few more twisted on the cables. The third hat was a special request from wintery New Zealand. Marie-Pierre needed a wooly-soft-squishy hat for winter. I knitted Fidra in raspberry Cascade Alpaca Chunky.

Finally, this last one, Waiting for Rain. I started it more than a year ago, frogged it at least 5 times, I couldn’t follow the pattern at first, then I was not pleased with the lack of contrast in the dark section. In the end, the shawl is beautiful, light. I might knit it again.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Sunday Finds [SF4]

Good morning friends,

Hope you’re all having an enjoyable Sunday. I’m spending mine in New York where the weather is absolutly beautiful. Here are my Sunday Finds for today.

Kitchen knives
I love to cook, but strangely enough I am not into kitchen gadgets. I do not own a Kitchen Aid, I do grate my cheese on a cheese grater, and julienne my veggies manually and I am fine with this, but my julienne is not (fine - got my joke :0). So the other day, I was asking my friend whose husband is a chef what kind of knives he would recommend. Guess what, better than advice, Chef Larry came with me to choose my set of knives. And now I am the proud owner of 3 Shun knives and they are game changers. Why, oh why hadn’t I invested in proper knives before? When it comes to crafting, I always make sure I invest in the best equipment I can afford, I should have done the same in the kitchen. So now my julienne is extra fine and easy to chop. In addition to being super sharp, the knives are also very beautiful with their pakkawood handle, and they come with a complimentary lifetime sharpening service.

Recycling old prescription glasses
I am pretty annoyed that my insurance does not encourage re-using frames for prescription glasses, the cost of a new pair of glasses with frame is almost the same as using my old frames. As a consequence, I do have plenty of old frames, in good shape. I’ve been researching for a way to recycle them, and have found that the Lions Clubs have a program to recycle those unwanted glasses. The Eola Eye is participating to the Lions Club drive. So you know where my frames are going now and if you want me to drop yours too, just let me know.

Podcast and Slow Fashion October
It is not the first time (and probably not the last) that I mentioned how much I enjoy Sandy Hazelwood’s Podcast, Crafty Planner. Even better this week, she interviewed Karen Temple from Fringe Association. I had the pleasure to take a class with Karen at Squam last June and she is a lovely person with a very detailed oriented approach to knitting. Their discussion focuses mainly on the Slow Fashion movement and how to be more mindful with our wardrobe. I would recommend watching the Unravel video about what become of our unwanted clothes; it made me question my choices and made me smile too.

Friend's Finds
Last week, I’ve asked whether you have something to share. My friend RenĂ© sent me this link to a beautiful paper piecing pattern. I could almost have EPP envy right now. What do you think? In Liberty prints, or fussy cutting of novelty prints?

I hope you enjoy this, and would love to see what you have to share.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Altura - the many miles quilt

I’ve shown this quilt before. It’s started with a few precut charm packs of batik fabric. I am not overly in love with batiks, I found them to difficult to read, somewhat muddy. Still those had caught my eyes with their happy colors.

I only work of those blocks when I am travelling, and preferably in flights. And since they are needle turn appliquéed, I am not expecting to finish this anytime soon. So far I have 64 squares done.

Slow progress is still progress. And I like the idea of associating this quilt with some holiday memories (some of the blocks have been literally around the world).

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Sunday finds - SF 3

I did plan to do a Sunday Finds last Sunday, but obviously it did not happen. I was not prepared, I hadn’t not collected all the things I wanted to speak about, and honestly if I want this post to get out on Sunday, it really needs to be written by Friday night. Lesson learnt, I will aim to be better organized.

So here are my finds, some are new, some are old.

Meat free Monday
Do I see some eyes rolling? Where do I start? I am not a vegetarian, nor a vegan, but I am concerned by the state of our planet, by the state of our health… Years ago, I heart the McCartney’s campain, and to me everything they are saying make so much sense. Please go and read the About on the website. Then last week-end, I listened to a French podcast On va dĂ©guster: Cuisine vĂ©gĂ©tale et bienfaisante (sorry, my non French speaker friends). I was in shock, a whole one-hour programme on vegetarism and how it is beneficial for the body and the planet on a French radio. I could elaborate on how this is surprising coming from French foodies. But I’d rather encourage you to give it a try. At first, it might feel like you have no idea what to cook (and that when you go to the Meat Free Monday recipes tab), then hopefully it will become a way of life. At first, I was very intentional about it, then I extended the Meat Free meals to my #craftytuesday gatherings (thank you my Friends to going along), and now it is part of our diet. I don’t think in term of what can I cook to replace a chicken casserole for example, but more in term of which flavors do I fancy today. Please, please give it a try and let me know what you think.

News stands
Have you notice all the christmas magazine covers on the news stands. It is too early, far too early and it makes me despise those holidays. Having said that, I pick the first issue of Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s magazine. First, let’s talk about the cover photo. Actually, I don’t know what to think about it: Gwyneth almost naked covered in mud with obvious nipple patches… Have I lost you already? It’s a wellness publication. The first issue goes from ’the power of healing and transformation of crystals' (?!) to some interesting lunch box recipes, to articles like ‘Find your inner sex goddess’ or ‘Adore your pelvic floor’ which is actually a hot subject for Gwyny (do a search on her site and see by yourself. Warning - you might want to do the search in a private setting)… netherless to say that the jury is out, just let me read it, and if you want to have a look at it ask for my copy.

Gladdening Light
Now I am not going all ‘guru’ on you with this Sunday Finds, but I want to point your attention to an upcoming event: The Gladdening Light Symposium on January 25-28, 2018 at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL. The keynote address is Krista Tippet, the one from the podcast On Being. This will one more step in my soul searching journey.

Now something very light. I want to learn how to brioche. I have seen this book recently: Knitting Fresh Brioche by Nancy Marchant, and I am obsessed by this stitch. I’ve done mono-colour brioche in the past, but it was very basic. This bi-colour technic is intriguine and the final results are gorgeous. I have two patterns in mind: the River Rock Scarf, which could be a perfect Xmas gift, and Carmine and Rocko in varigated yarn that give even more depth to the project. Those will have to wait, I currently have two major projects on my needles.

Have a wonderful week, and if you have a ‘thing’ to share, please let me know.