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


Monday, 19 September 2016

The Dove blouse

There are a few things I tend to shy away from.  Things like mystery quilt, swap with total stranger or pattern testing.  Not that I don’t like to do any of these, but I am not a super fast maker and I tend to start a new project on impulse.  Well, I sign for a pattern testing on an impulse…  When I read that Megan Nielsen was looking for testers for her new pattern my thoughts went: ‘why not?’ – ‘but her patterns are for young people, and I am not’ – ‘let’s register, anyway there’s going to be too many testers, I won’t be chosen!’…  And guess what?  I made it to the testers team!

So here is Dove, made from some cotton/linen bought at my local shop, the Sewing Studio (I think the fabric might still be in stock).  Was linen a good choice for this blouse?  NO because it wrinkles like mad and I had to iron far to many times during the construction.  YES, because it gives the garment a Bo-ho look that I love.

Dove has a V-neck, comes with 3 different sleeves: elbow, flare and bell sleeves (I made version 2 – flare sleeves).  I wasn’t quite sure about the flare or bell sleeves.  But again, the idea of testing a pattern was also to get out of my comfort zone.

Dove has a high-low curved hemline.  Did I mention before that I did not like high-low hemline?  I was WRONG.  I LOVE the high-low curved on this blouse, again the Bo-ho feel.

Dove test


Dove test1

Construction wise, it went like a breath.  The instructions are clear, going through each step in details (that’s why I love Indie patterns so much!).  The curved hem and the neck are faced which gives a nice, clean finish.  I had to grade the pattern as busty-me would not fit in the larger size, adding 3 inches.  It works well around the bust, but I think the shoulders are slightly too big now.  I am planning to make another one, and this time I’ll do a FBA and probably lower the French dart, and still add a bit of ease at the back.  I might also have to shorten the sleeves, they are cut in the bias and they have ‘grown’ since I made it.

I am so pleased and thankful to have been part of Megan Nielsen pattern testing. I probably would never have picked this pattern for myself and I would have been so wrong.  It is lovely, the lines are modern and flattering and I learnt that I am still young enough to be hipster ;).

There is a round up of the Dove Pattern testers on Megan’s blog, you can found it here.  There’s also an Instagram handle #MNDove.

NB.  have you notice my necklace?  I made it!  It is a fairly easy knotting project: glass and silver beads with contrasting silk thread, Buddha head stone and homemade embroidery cotton tassel.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Amazing people

Quilts made out of 93 blocks donated to the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild – finished size 66x66

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this picture.  You might have liked it or even commented on it.  For all the Likes and the Comments, thank you, thank you so much.  This is probably one of my most popular entries on Instagram.  As much as I enjoy the attention, it has also made me reflect on a few things.

First, I really wish I had not made this quilt, I really wish the #QuiltsforPulse had no meaning, I really wish that there was nobody to receive those quilts, I really wish that the event which has made quilters from all over the world sew hearts had NEVER NEVER happened, that none of us had spent this summer wild amazed by this tragedy, that we did not have to congratulate ourselves for the enormous flow of generosity, being overwhelmed by everyone’s response to this drive.

Secondly, if you follow our Guild blog or receive our Guild newsletter, you might have seen the stats associated to the #QuiltsforPulse drive, but I am not sure it can encompass the scale of the project. 
This morning was our monthly meeting and the normally empty tables at the back of the room overflowed with quilts.  I don’t think anyone can really grasp how much work our committee members have been putting into organising the smooth running of this project.

From receiving the quilts and blocks, opening the mail (and getting rid of the packaging),
From sorting the blocks and organising them into kits to be sewn,
From coordinating the distribution of blocks to be pieced together, tops to be quilted, backings to be assembled, finished quilts to be bound and labelled (I went to pick up some quilts at the back of a parking lot and felt like a dodgy dealer ;),
From taking pictures of every single quilt for further documentation,
From coordinating with the various organisations involved with the victims and their families, and other people affected,
From working with suppliers so we have enough batting, thread, fabric to work on the quilts,
From organising thank you messages to quilters,
From keeping us informed of the progress,
From keeping us motivated, moving things along…

There are some amazing people behind all of this, working, giving their time and energy to ensure that all the received donations are given back to those who have suffered.  I want to express my gratitude and respect to all of them: they’ve been working and are still working to make sure that this worldwide act of generosity is passed around.  This drive would NOT have been successful without them.

If you want to see more of the quilts, have further details, go an explore some of those links: https://www.pinterest.com/OrlandoMQG/quiltsforpulse/, http://theorlandomodernquiltguild.blogspot.com/, https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/quiltsforpulse/.  Or go here and register to the Guild’s newsletter and here for the past issues.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Stash intake

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According to my google search, it looks like ‘stash’ is some kind of secret, shameful thing.  Really?  Why? When it comes to my stash, I don’t feel any shame.  I love my stash and all the possibilities that come with all my pretty fabrics.

While travelling in Oregon and Washington States, I had the chance to visit a couple of Quilt Stores and I couldn’t resist some shopping!


First stop, pre-road trip, the Sewing Studio.  This is my go-to shop for dressmaking.  There’s a nice large section of fashion fabric.  And I love the quilting cotton section too.  I needed some background fabric to carry on working on my Alturas applique (progress here), but I also found some gorgeous canvas linen from Cotton+Steel.  I’ve got plan for you!


Some more Cotton+Steel.  I’ve been waiting for a long time for From Porto with Love line.  I love those cats so much.  The rest is Juliette’s choices.  She wants me to make pillow cases and pencil cases (already done, two of them).  That’s not a lot of fabric considering I’ve visited 3 shops:  Modern Domestic in Portland.  I love this shop, very clean and light, there are little glass cabinets with tools’ display, lots of modern quilts and some garment fabric.  In Salem, I got some Anna Maria Horner’ from Quilted Forest.  The store is in a 50’s style building, there are quilts hanging all over the place, there was a nice mix of modern and traditional fabrics.  Such a shame it is closing down after 116 years in business.  Finally, I bought a pattern and a calendar at the Stitchin’ Post in Sisters.  I missed the Sisters outdoor Quilt Show by just a week, but still got to enjoy some quilts at superstore (yes, quilts above the vegetable aisle or the cheese section).


Last week, I went to New York while Philippe was on a business trip in Washington.  I HAD to go to the Garment District.  I spent a whole afternoon going from shop to shop, and I think I might have spent 3 hours at Mood Fabric.  I had read that the experience could be overwhelming so I went prepared with some project ideas.  This store is massive, the staff is very helpful and friendly and knowledgeable.  Here is what I brought back: some sportswear stretching fabric, some black corduroy, a little piece of silk, some soft checked shirting cotton and 2 pieces of lace (because I couldn’t resist).


And to come full circle, I was back to the Sewing Studio this week-end for a special event: Rifle Paper Co fabric debut.  That was a super cool event with an interview of Anna Bond, the founder of Rifle Paper Co, some samples made out of Les Fleurs line and plenty of fabric to buy.  As you can see, I’ve been super reasonable.

I hardly buy so much fabric in such a short spam of time.  So I had to come with a plan to ensure that the pile does not stay untouched for too long.

Sewing project.xlsx - Excel 16082016 100947

I also drew a few conclusions from these recent purchases:
  • I am developing some kind of addiction to linen canvas and to Cotton+Steel.
  • My girls are still at the top of my priorities, but I’m not too far from the top of the list.
  • I am going to spend a lot of quality time in my sewing room.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Etat d’ame

I've been away from this place for a month now, it was an unplanned absence (and it has been noticed at least by one of my reader ;). 

Honestly, during this past month, it felt that my world has been shattered, not shattered in big visible way.  It's more my inner world which has shifted. 

For many many summers, our holidays rhymed with family road trips. Actually, this blog started with posts about our first road trip in the States, way back in 2007. It was written with 6 hands, Alice, philippe and myself.  But this year, things changed, and there are signs of more changes to come. 

It started with Victor's graduation in early July.  He's soon going to be on his way to college. The same weekend, we celebrated Philippe's and Juliette's birthdays, the five of us, plus one. The 'plus-one' being Alice's boyfriend.  He seems a gentle caring person and a nice addition to our family circle (hopefully, he feels the same about us). 

Then Alice took off for a summer-long internship and wasn't able to come with us. Good opportunity shouldn't be turned off, so we road-tripped in Oregon without her, making me feel somehow guilty and not fully embracing the experience.

Finally, Juliette, who's a junior this year (a junior!) went for a week long workshop in Art college. The clock is ticking here too and Senior year and college visits are going to be upon us very soon.

All positive events, so why am I feeling off?  Probably because my life as I have been used to is shifting, changing. You can argue that we've been through many, many changes, moving around the world as we did.  Until now, I’ve been Philippe’s wife, the kids’ mother.  My days, my life has been shaped by theirs, from where we’re living to what we’re going to eat for dinner. 

Once again, nothing dramatic, I just need to re-evaluate, re-adjust and carry on.

It is somehow scary, but I am also feeling some kind of accomplishment when I see how they have turned out (and I know the job is not done yet).

Dinner at the Waldorf

In other news, my Grand-Mother is 95 today.


Saturday, 9 July 2016

Sewing for the model girl

I love when my girls ask me to sew for them!

Alice has a 10-week internship this summer and not enough working-girl outfits for the whole summer (student life rhymes more with jeans that straight skirt).  So I was happy to oblige and sewed a few tops and skirt for her.

First this almost neon top.  It has been under my radar for many moons (actually, it is one of the first thing I pined when I start with Pinterest).  The pattern is #101 from Burda Style Magazine – June 2011.  I don’t remember any difficulty sewing it probably because I did not follow the instructions, they were very short and I prefer illustrations…  I am quite please with the neck line, the secret of a neat curve is to go slow and steady, trying not to stop.  Fit-wise, I think the shoulders would benefit to be a bit wider and the under-arm a bit lower.  Still it is pretty, maybe a bit shear but again she is young and French so she can pull it off.

Pretty Alice

The skirt is a tested and trusted pattern, but you’ll have to trust me on this because it looks like I never blogged about it and I can’t find the particulars.  Anyway, look how well the pattern matches (OK, I could have done a better job with my zip, it shows a bit)

Now this Liberty top, it’s a Scout Tee.  Contrary to mine,  I haven’t made any alteration.  It fits her well.  I’ve use some Liberty’s from my stash, but as I did not have enough yardage to make the bias for the neck-line, I’ve use some quilting cotton. I love working with Liberty fabric.  The tight woven fabric does not distort when manipulated.  It only needs a very minimal seams treatment; which in this case is none.  I’ve been wearing my Liberty Scout Tee almost every week since I sewed and the seams haven’t frayed.

Pretty Alice1

It is very satisfying to make garments for my girls, everything looks great on them, I could almost believe that I am an expert sewist.

Question, do you keep a record of what you sew?  Where? On a log, a blog, or an online database?  If you go on an online database, which one do you use? Pattern Review, Textillia?

Saturday, 2 July 2016

She’s a mad cookie

I live with a very strange animal, with many faces, sometimes scary, sometimes so funny, driving me nuts, making me laugh.  There’s no character like her, she is infuriating, she speaks Chinese, she is doing magic, she coordinates her hair colour to her drink, she’s an annoying but loving sister, #shesamadcookie.

Alice Garnier


My last born is now 16 and she is very very sweet <3

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

W2 1DY

If I was into writing Memes, I would title the picture below “my face when I received my Riley Blake fabric for the Modern Quilt Guild fabric challenge!”  or “Are you expecting me to work with this?”.  My inspiration was zero, nil, blank…

Riley Blake challenge

The fabric was put away for a while (I have many pictures of my cat sleeping on it).  Time passed.  After I came back from London to help Alice, I was looking through my pictures from my previous visit, finding a collage from Edgware Road Tube Station in London got me starting.

I don’t know whether this could be called a ‘creative process’, I did not do any master calculations, however all the blocks, negative spaces are a multiple of 3.  As you can see, I work directly on my design board with a vague idea of where the quilt was going.  So I guess that’s improvisation!  I’ll have to consider that and reflect on it as I think of myself as a person who does not like improv.

Riley Blake challenge5


Above are the original pictures, down my interpretation.  Do you see it? The tiles, the stairs?

Riley Blake challenge2

Riley Blake challenge4

I’m pretty happy with the final result (and I guess my cat is too).

Riley Blake challenge1

Riley Blake challenge3

The quilt is named W2 1DY (which is the postcode of Edgware Station).

0You can see more quilts from the Modern Quilt Guild Fabric Challenge on Instagram under #MQGfabricchallenge.