Monday, July 13, 2009

Spring Got Eaten Up!

Here it is, July, and I have not written since May! I'm still here, just very busy with my work projects and children. I am still making things, though, and will catch up on posting soon! Latest is a Burda dress in quilting cotton (rather bulbous as there's zero drape), a Japanese pattern for a blouse made with orange/white gingham, and some knitting. Lots of knitting.

Post soon, don't give up on me!

xx ella

Thursday, May 14, 2009

cloudpuff baby sweater

More details on Ravelry.

I knit this recently for a friend's new baby girl. Not perfect, but I'm happy with it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

lunenburg trip

A month gone by and here are the remains of the day...

I sold my old house in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

Here are a few images from the trip there to clear it all out.

It was lovely, but it's time to move on!

Now for some pics.

This is not a quilt. I found it when I was house-clearing. Can you guess what it is?

That is correct. Seven year old German gourmet chocolates from a quick trip to Berlin when I was newly pregnant and very spaced out! Guess I forgot to give them away -- or eat them! The tin is pretty though -- orange. I think I kept it. I'll know when I open my boxes...

I've had this place for fifteen years, and it was special. But it's time to move on. Here it is mid-clear-out.

This primitive rocking chair went to a friend.

I love this old typewriter...but as it doesn't work, it was donated to the world at large. That's right -- left on a curb.

A favourite old lamp -lit up, it looks gorgeous. Not lit up, you can really see the plastic strips. I sold it for a few bucks to a junk store.

The best fishcakes in the world as far as I know. Magnolia's in Lunenburg. Served with rhubarb chutney....mmmmm. Addictive.

Or of course you may order fishcake and an egg.


Friday, March 20, 2009

sneakers in fantasyland

...well, imagine we had a lot of disposable income...for things like these...would they take me back to grade seven?...where would they take you?...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Anna Maria Horner - Good Folks

Look at spring, in fabric!

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Couple Raglan Sweaters in Progress...and some sweet links

This is a v-neck cardigan for my son, 6. Cotton/wool blend. Ravelled here. From the top-down sweater formula (see below). I love these colours. You?

Here is a baby sweater in progress, for a friend. It's super soft. Organic cotton.

Adapted from a brilliant Raglan Pattern Formula here. WAY easier than you might think, once you go through it and sort out what the heck the centre front stitches are doing. I'm a beginning knitter! This little baby sweater (for an impending girl) will only take one ball of some yummy "Blue Sky" cotton yarn. Ten bucks! Can't go wrong, baby.


I see that Lynne at Sugar City is now hooked on the knitting. I LOVE that. She and her sister-in-law are brilliant clothing/decor designers, so...the future bodes well for more cool knit patterns. I am like a crazed knitting-book consumer now. Dozens wait for me at the library. It's nice because unlike sewing (which I still and will always love) it is mobile. Silent. Stealthy.


Okay, here's a little gift.

Links to free patterns for very COOL designs. Trust me, I've been scanning ravelry and the net for freebie patterns and there are some gorgeous, free, inspired knit projects. There are lots of places where you can find links to free patterns. These are simply curated by Ms Kelly at toast n eggs. That is, me. Totally biased.

Enjoy, for today:

crocheted flowers
5-hour baby sweater (knit)


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Zoom-Zoom Library Bag

I recently made this doubled/interfaced library bag for a little boy turning 5. Love that Echino scooter fabric. I bought a few fat quarters in different colourways. Excuse the wacky variances in late winter light...

Do you have a nice bag for the library?


Thursday, March 5, 2009

paperwhites and a new table

How decadent.
We have a new table!

Once in a long while I enter the dining area in my house and the light is so lovely, it seems to erase dirt, scratches, cheap office chairs' hideousness...and it looks quite nice. It's my favourite spot in the house. We have a lovely fellow named Thomas King (via Smash) to thank; he designed and made our table over the Christmas holidays - we didn't have a table for Christmas dinner. We were using my Ikea MDF table covered in a table-cloth.

You can see some of the grey left on the boards. I love that.

The new table is made of old barnboard coated in a thick laquer and screwed to a base of steel. We're happy with it. Plus, with the addition of these crazy thick layers of self-levelling laquer, it wipes clean perfectly, too. We went to "Smash" in Toronto to ask for advice on having a rustic table built for less than a fortune. They were so helpful and great there. I recommend it, and Thomas.

Just thought I'd share. I love seeing pictures of other bloggers' homes. I will probably never show you the rooms full of debris and chaos....but they certainly exist. Don't let this perfectly-lit sweet spot fool you. I recall I kicked the toys and laundry away into a corner. And the curtains need hemming. Bonus if you spot the pins. And you can see a sliver of red laundry bag there on the left....


Hello, Dolly

Having a rest.

Here is a doll I made (with help) recently, based on Emily's adorable Black Apple dolls
that many of you may have seen.

I love her.

This gal has orangey-blonde "hair" (velvet), a pale pink body, embroidered face (Emily paints hers), a recycled cashmere sweater dress, and boots made of bits of an old scarf that was accidentally felted. One night my guy actually helped me finish her and stuff her little legs. He carefully used a knitting needle to poke stuffing into limb ends.

It was a lovely night -- my man and me, crafting up a storm. A new trend? Nah. It didn't take. Manhood intact. ;}

But he had to admit later, he was pretty damn good at stuffing dolls. If he cared to do such a thing again.

Have a great day.

xo, ella

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Leonard Cohen

I was driving my son to school and after the drop-off my 3 year-old, along for the ride, listened to Leonard Cohen in a recorded live performance, on the radio. Singing "Hallelujah".

She wanted to know about it. I described him as an old man, a famous Canadian. She listened to the song intently and it was pretty emotional, hearing his ragged old voice. Then this morning the original recording of him as a young man was on the radio and I pointed it out. "That's the old man when he was young. The same song." And she took note of this. Really listened.

I'm not sure why that makes her brilliant, to me, but it does.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sporty French Space Dress

What do you get when you combine this j. crew dress (my original inspiration), with

...a heavily modified peasant blouse pattern from the lovely Anna Maria Horner's Seams to Me

...and thoughts also a little about Sugar City's dress (which I have the pattern for but didn't actually crack open for this)...

...with some inexpensive but quite nice finely striped cotton fleece purchase for 2. a yard!...

....and some mistakes (sleeves massive, had to sew a seam right up the sides..
...and an improvised neckline with a tie (after realizing that doubling fleece to make the jcrew style ruffle would be crazy-thick...)

You get this! (The dress, of course. Not my precious model.)

Wa la!

I am pretty happy with it and I have to say, I think my daughter looks adorable in it. I think of it as a French Space Dress.

It's super-soft and comfy and I did a stretch stitch in turquoise. A ribbon gathers the neckline. It pulls over.

Ahhh. Good to be back in the sewing saddle again.

What do you think?


ps I never post pics of my children here but for this I make an exception. Vivien looked so sweet, I had to do it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Good morning.

I'm not one to boast.

But I need some lists around here.

Today we are going to review past objects made in 2008, see what was what there. Then we will create our 2009 list of projects to make. For better or worse, knitting was most recently added to the crafty category.

It's better, I think, not worse. Now my sewing bug has started to return I am feeling quite perky, craft-wise.

Last year, I appear to have made the following things....let's see here....most of this stuff was blogged with an exception here and there...

turquoise quilted cushion cover
napkins for us
pillow covers for DH's aunt
about 6 cushions for us and others (lost track!)
cotton japanese top for me (which i love...from a japanese pattern book)
wee potholder
large potholder
table runner, insulated
two yellow dresses for my daughter
shorts for my son
Log cabin pillow cover
Doll quilt
Doll face doll
Xmas black apple doll
Tiger for son

(Julian, in the fall - he's 6 now)

Apron for emma – pink princess
Bag for emma
Dinosaur creature for liam
Pencil case for aiden
Creature for luke
Cape for ben
Cushion set for mil
Bag for mum
Knitted scarf for mum
Knitted hats a plenty (12?)
Lap quilt, my first
Robe – in hibernation
Grey bubble tunic
Duck egg flowered strappy girls’ top
Fuschia silk skirt for vivien
Maroon cord embroidered skirt
Rust pillowcase dress vivi
Boy’s Hawaiian shirt
Baby book
Embroidered t-shirts (harley and flower)
Noro capelet
Two hallowe’en costumes – monster and witch:

daughter Vivien, 3


Heidi’s purple bird clutch purse
Tons of small embroideries on linen, not used yet!
Placemat set for placemat swap
Tamara kid purse
Pink tutu vivien
Robot wallet

my bulletin board...see lovely ric rac goccos i'm saving for a special fabric basket?
and my son's description of a trip to the art galler?

French napkin apron
Apron for Anna Claire
Pink chickie pillow Vivien
wee pillow Audrey
padded headboard for guest room...

speaking of which, I should post's a before of the old guest room...

(this is old guest room being converted to office for DH...I painted it all white...even the floor! Ahhhhh....must post pics!)

So now we see that even lazy crafter like myself, just puttering away at stuff, really adds up!! It feels good to have made all these things in place of purchased objects. My gifts were not always spot-on or perfect, but I felt it was important to try to make something for a gift, if possible. And to involve the children in its creation, where possible.

Next year. What's on my list for next year?

Finish son's block quilt (awful pic of in-progress)

finish daughter's strip quilt
make mysef two a-line skirts of wool-linen-bamboo fabric I found
make some casual sweat-tops with cute modifications from some finely striped fleece
(that's today's project!)
i made my son a turquoise bean-bag chair for his sixth birthday -- my daughter gets a yellow one, so i have to finish that - it's cut out

i should do something with all those wee free-hand embroideries on linen
i owe my DH an apron for his god-daughter
my son wants a red backpack - it's cut out
olive corduroy pants - i bought a ton on sale, might get 3 pairs out of it!
some fabric baskets for us and for gifts
ric-rac gocco prints might be used on the above...i am saving them...
i recently finished 2 fabric bags -- a purse for me, a car bag for a boy - i need to post pics!
I want to knit myself a mustard-coloured cardigan, and a pale blue cardigan
i would like to make some light, colourful sweaters for the children for spring
i would like to make my daughter a handsome wool spring coat, vaguely French-looking
I would like to make a quilt for our bed -- king size -- maybe large abstract rectangular pieces?
i'm making a surprise object for my Mum -- she has a gallery opening next week!!

This is a very messy post, I apologize...but I always love reading people's FO lists and what they plan to make this year.

And what about you?

have a lovely day


Friday, February 20, 2009

Hello from depths of winter

Lately I've been accumulating terrific free knitting patterns. I can't quite afford the swanky wool I would like for a cardigan so I use my creative energy on finding cool sweaters for me and the kids, and easy sock patterns. It's a personal contest-- see which one is the EASIEST. And I discovered the term Second Sock Syndrome. Where you knit one sock and say, satisfied, "there, that's done" then realize with dismay you have to do it all over again. Which is....well...boring. Now I have a man sock and a kid sock finished.

They're waiting.

Shall I post all my great free pattern finds? They're curated, if you will.

I'm super busy so will post a couple pictures of things. I made two very cool bags -- one for a little boy and one for me.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

lost in knitland

I am supposed to be working for a living. You know, making money doing what I do best. Only...the knitting is more fun.

My get-up-and-go...left.

Am I too young to retire?

What would we use for money. Magic buttons?

I am knitting obsessively. Like there's a war on and the soldiers need socks.

I actually found a #4 double-pointed needle in the bed last night when I rolled over. Glad I found it. And not my sleeping partner.

I wish I could go to the yarn store. Pretty much a constant feeling.

Will it pass?

I gather projects. I love making lists of them. And thinking about them. And starting them. Oh, I realize there's no money in it.

Many things are given away. Freebies.

I even try to make up patterns.

I might end up living in a cardboard refrigerator box. Curled up under my crazy knitted aphgan, knitting. If you see me, bring me a long espresso, okay?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

hats, hats, hats

I've been on a hat-knitting bender. Here's one patiently modelled by my son. Look at that shaggy hair. I can't bear to cut it. It actually looks sweet without a hat on.


I love how the hat yarn stripes on its own.

I knit this hat after I learned how to rib. Aren't the colours great? For a sweet red-headed eight year old boy in Cape Breton.

Further evidence I've gone knit-nuts. Here's some yarn.

This brown stuff (sorry about photo, what's up with my iphoto? argh) is yarn for a cozy tam for my DH's aunt in New Brunswick.

(Will someone help me mail my finished projects? I'm so bad at getting down to mailing...I have several completed hats sitting on the piano near the door.)

Here's an almost-completed tam. My own design. If you want to call winging it a "design".

My son's new scarf made of scrap yarn. A few mistakes in the ribs...try to ignore that part.