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Here in Toronto we are currently in the middle of a heat wave and breaking temperature records almost weekly. Which means it may of seemed strange to knit up a very warm hat while it was 35 outside but the pattern was just too cute!

I will admit that I am very much due for a large knitting project kick-off (stay tuned!) and I have some Scotland yarn on hold for just a project. But I also really wanted to try my hand at color/pattern work and this hat has been calling to me for awhile now.

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The hat as you can see came together so well and was easy to knit together. The only down side is that it might be a tiny bit too small for my head. Which means depending on the size of my head come winter this may be gifted to a lucky friend with a smaller head.

I thought that doing a pattern like this would be scary and takes loads of concentration but it turned out to be easy to do and was able to knit up in no time! The pattern is from  Pom Pom Quarterly Issue 14: Autumn 2015 and does not take as much yarn as they suggest in the pattern.

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A Practical Summer Piece

One thing you should know about me is that when I own something and really like it I will wear it forever until it falls apart. I would like to thank Kate Middleton for bringing the re-wearing thing into proper fashion. This is the reason why I noticed today that my black cardigan is now grey and I will need to part with it soon. It is also why it is soon time to part with my cozy, fluffy red housecoat that makes me look like Elmo. When I replace the things I’ve loved so much I get picky with what I replace it with. But when a friend of mine sent me an image of the Purl Soho Housecoat Pattern I knew that it would be a great replacement! Best part was that I could be picky and pick my own fabrics.

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To put this one together I made my own pattern pieces using sewable-traceable paper/fabric from The Workroom (here in Toronto) as the pattern only lists the size of the pattern pieces as it was an automatic download. Was worth the time though because when I make another one I’ll be able to re-use the pieces I have now. And yes, I will be making another one.

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The lightness of the cotton makes this great for the summer time and the fit was perfect! I did change the length of it though to suit me so if you make it maybe measure yourself for the length you want.

 

 

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Something Pink…..

For the past year I have fallen in love with the color pink. That means that currently all I want to do it buy pretty pink fabric and stare at the pink wall of my bedroom that I painted a couple months ago. Now I don’t mean unicorns and glitter will follow (wait…I do love the unicorn emoji a crazy amount) but something about pink is just so damn pretty. I’ve added a couple new pieces to my future project list (which you can find here) and yes, they will probably all be in pink.

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Now with all this pink talk I will admit that I purchased the yarn for this project over a year ago. I always fall in love with Madeline Tosh yarn and this was no exception. I purchased it for a crochet class that had planned on taking to make this elaborate shawl with an complicated pattern. But after a very decent attempt at the class and pattern I scrapped the fancy shawl for this one.

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It was such an easy knit after I got the cast on down and memorized the pattern. This is a Netflix friendly pattern because you can just knit, knit, knit and knit without too much thinking.

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Now – what on earth to make with the left over pink yarn!

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Linden Sweatshirt

One of the down sides of running a blog and living alone is that you have no one around to take photos of you in your new hand made clothing on a week night. So with that said I know you all believe me when I tell you this sweater fits like a glove. It is the perfect sweater to throw on with shorts for a summer evening stroll with friends. I’ve already decided that I need one in light ballerina pink and one in a Liberty of London fabric fleece. I may have to raise funds for the second one but it would be amazing.

I picked up the grey bamboo jersey a while ago and it’s been sitting in my stash for about 6 months now waiting to be made into something. Originally the plan was to make a t-shirt and one day I was all set to get started until I started reading online all the info to know about working with stretch fabric. It was enough to scare into switching projects and stashing the fabric for something else.

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I have a happy place in the city of Toronto and that happy place is The Workroom which is on Queen West and only about a 20 min TTC/walk combo trip to from my house. Everyone seems to be able to answer all your sewing questions and the vibe is so casual that you feel comfortable taking your time picking out the right fabric for a project.

So, when they posted a class for the Linden Sweatshirt I was in! The class would not only serve as a reminder for some pattern making tricks I may of missed when making my dress  but it would also teach me to work with stretch fabric and using a twin needle. The two nights I spent there I came out with so many new tips and tricks plus my new sweatshirt. The twin needle stitching that is at the top of the sweater really finishes it nicely and I think next time I might do this at the cuffs as well.

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Starting to love seeing my hand made pieces in with my store bought items and loving them even more because I made them.

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Happy Stitching!

Socks that Travel!

I’ve been knitting socks lately like crazy! I used to think that knitting socks looks so complicated and scary but really after the first pair or two you can do it without thinking about it too much. At least when knitting top-down socks without any fancy pattern. I really like the fancy pattern but I also like just being able to knit away and create something so practical. Every now and then I pick-up some sock yarn that is just so damn pretty that I can’t put it back and it has to come home with me. While on my recent trip (see Ireland here and Scotland here) I picked up more sock yarn then I meant to but only because I loved it so much.  The sock yarn in the photo below is from Germany, Scotland and Ireland!! Talk about world traveled socks and that’s even before they  hit the needles.

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I knew that taking socks to knit on my trip would be the easiest thing and that it was a project I could carry around in my bag with me. I had promised a friend a pair of hand made socks and I always come through when I promise a finished product. So they were the Traveling Socks and were started in Toronto, knitted in Ireland and Scotland and will be traveling next by mail to my friend in Whistler BC. These socks get around!

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The socks here were for my brother and also went from Toronto to Vancouver earlier this year and they fit my brother like a dream!

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How did I fall in love with sock knitting so much? I owe it all to the “Custom Socks: Knit to Fit Your Feet” by the wonderful Kate Atherley. I was lucky enough to hear her speak on evening and her book makes it so easy to follow along and knit the perfect socks. Thanks Kate!

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Now – which sock yarn to knit next?!

 

 

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In August I’ve had my machine for officially a year. I have made many fun projects with it as you will see but I had a craving one afternoon to branch out and making my self some clothes. Now, i have some experience in this area from high school when I made my own prom dress in a home sewing class but was a little rusty. I had a moment of panic that I would open the McCaul pattern and it would only be the pattern with no instructions. Thank goodness I quickly learned that patterns do come with instructions and don’t expect you to put it all together without some guidance.

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When I set my mind to do a project I can normally turn it around quickly thanks to free evenings after work and often a free Sunday to sit down and get a lot finished. But I may of started this dress at the wrong time because it sat on the back of my sewing chair for a month or more. i started the dress at the same time as I launched the website and was planning my trip to Ireland and Scotland (more on that here). So when I got back I told myself that I must get this done so I no longer have it sitting looking sad on the back of my chair.

All it took was one Friday night at home to get most of it finished from where I left off and then another couple weekend mornings to add on what was still remaining and ta da! It was done and ready to go. Or – almost ready with the exception of the buttons. This was the same night that some of you may of seen on my social media (buttons to your right) my wonderful new vintage sewing Judy! She came in very handy on this Friday night when it came to pining on the skirt. She needs a little love but perhaps I’ll take a go at straightening her tomorrow.

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I’m a fan of waking up on a Sunday morning with coffee in hand, no make-up, slippers and just sitting down and doing a bit of sewing before my day starts. These mornings can be the calm in the storm of a crazy work week. Last Sunday morning of a long weekend I had expected to sit down and quickly learn how to sew a button hole with my machine. 3 hours later and much Googling I had a love/hate relationship going with my machine and friends to meet for some summer park time. In the end I had to zig zag stitch both side of the holes and then cut out the middle. So glad that this worked and not a moment too soon! Slightly sad to say that there are no photos from this morning probably due to the frustration I was feeling at the time.

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But then the dress was really done and fits like a glove! Off to the park I went for an afternoon of relaxing, drinking and gossiping. The pattern was so easy to put together that I’ll be keeping an eye out for a lighter fabric to make a couple more.

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Pattern: McCauls 6696, view A

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As a follow-up to my trip to both Ireland and Scotland I wanted to share with you some of the top tips I came home with about traveling alone.

1) Do your homework and Google walk it. My first morning when I arrived in Ireland went so smoothly because I had researched their Leap card transit fare system ahead of time and had written down what bus to take and what stop to get off at. This was very helpful at 6:00 in the morning Dublin time and took the guess work out of it. I also had Google walked the area a little online before the trip so I knew I was walking the right way.
2) Pack light and take Soak travel packs. I’m not really a heavy packer but I’m not a light one either. Take clothes that you can spend the day in and you can layer up when the weather is cool. My Ireland bus trip day I took a jacket, big sweater, scarf, long sleeved, yoga pants and running shoes. Seems like a lot but the bus was warm and outside was freezing so I felt comfortable through-out the day. I was lucky to do laundry at my friends house in Scotland but if you can’t then take some Soak travel packs with you. It was easy for me to wash a sweater in my BnB bathroom sink so it was clean for my flight home.
3) Be prepared for the flights. I sat next to a girl on the way to Dublin that said she didn’t think about it being an overnight flight. But there I was with blow-up next pillow, ear plugs, big scarf and eye mask prepared to try to sleep. I even brought some cozy socks that I was very thankful for when the plane got chilly.
4) Have plans but be open to new plans. A couple of times I had to change my plans for transit reasons. Both times I was able to just figure it out and roll with the change. When traveling alone it’s nice to have the option to make the changes but you do want a plan to try to stick with. Know what you want to see in each city but don’t put them in any order.
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5) Visit the tourism office. These people know the city you are in and they will load you up with tips, events and maps at no charge. This allows also a person traveling alone to chat with someone about the options and work out what would be the best use of time. In Dublin they were able to call and book my pub tour for me without me having to call long distance.
6) Sign up for group tours and be open  to chatting with people. I can’t stress this point enough if you are traveling alone. I met some great people this way with simply asking “so where are you from?”. See if you can hear them speaking English first and then you know that there is a good chance you can make a new friend. Doing this made me feel like I was never actually traveling alone.
7) Air BnB it. This would probably be the smartest thing that I did. Staying in two amazing homes made each day feel like I was going home instead of to a stuffy hotel.  I would get a chance to tell someone about my day or visit with other guests over breakfast. My Dublin BnB felt like home when I stayed there the second time around which made the last couple days so relaxing.
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8) Pick your splurge items and book far in advance. I booked my trip 4 months before I actually took it which means I don’t come home to a big bill at the end of my trip because it was paid for months ago. Also pick a bit ahead of time what you want to spend money on. Maybe it’s lots of pricy handmade yarn or clothing. When I booked it I went for the first class meal extra on my flight home which arrived before anyone else and was so filling! Even came with a little bottle of wine and chocolate.
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9) Take a backpack. Each day either the night before or in the morning I would re-evaluate what was in my day pack and what I would need with me for the day. Always my iPad, passport, wallet and book. The book came in handy when eating alone and reading while eating allowed myself to have some nice long relaxing meals.
10) Write down what you saw before you leave so you don’t forget. Because of the 7 hour flight I actually wrote this whole travel series while on the plane home so I didn’t leave anything out. I made a summary the day prior during my long lunch in Dublin of everywhere I had been and on what days. Will make it easier when I get home and I’m showing my photos to friends and family.
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If you have any specific questions don’t hesitate to ask and you can always reach me via social media or contactus@betweenfriendsfibreandthread.ca
Safe travels!!

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Eat, Sleep, Serendipity – Scotland!

As mentioned previously in my post about Ireland I traveled to both Ireland and Scotland on one trip but had so much to share that I’ve broken it down into three posts. One about Ireland, one about Scotland and one on travel tips to these amazing countries and tips on traveling alone.

I arrived in Scotland straight from Dublin with a bit of a rough start. The people I found to not be as friendly as Ireland but I was very thankful for a wonderful girl working at the Scotland tourism desk who was able to help me find my way to Stirling after my car rental fell through. I was so thrilled that I made it to my BnB in Stirling in one piece that I simply dropped my heavy backpack and headed to Tescos for much needed refreshments.

My evening walk allowed me to slow down and see now amazing the architecture in the Scotland town was. I was hopeful that my time in Scotland would go much smoother than the day.

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I spent the next couple of days exploring Stirling on foot and traveling to Glasgow for an afternoon. The weather wasn’t in my favour for my day in Glasgow but it didn’t stop me from taking in a museum and exploring the most amazing little vintage store off the beaten path.

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I am very lucky to have a wonderful friend who lives in Dundee and my remaining days in Scotland were spent with her catching up over some good food and drink while walking along the beach in St. Andrews.  St. Andrews just took my breath away with the amazing buildings, walk ways, shops and the beach. Nothing is better than a walk on the beach with an old friend dreaming about the future. If you are ever in the area I strongly suggest stopping in at Cromars for fish and chips (or a fish supper as they call it) and eat it down by the sea or out on their patio. Trust me – it is worth the wait!

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I didn’t leave Scotland without a good yarn hall from Fluph which is a small shop in Dundee that had a great selection of local yarns to pick from. Before I knew it I was back on the train and back to Dublin for my final two nights.

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As a wrap it was a truly an amazing trip with some surprises that even I couldn’t of predicted to of happen. It was a great way to start the year of turning 30 and I’m heading home with plans to return soon and explore even more. As someone that lives in a busy city this trip was a great way to escape it for a short while.

Because the trip went off without any big problems or concerns I thought I would share with you all some of my own travel tips. As I was alone for most of the trip there will be some great tips on traveling alone!

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Eat, Drink, Serendipity – A Trip to Ireland

I have a big birthday that it approaching faster than I would like it to. But I guess they do say that being 30 is a wonderful thing! I’ve actually felt 30 for some time but I have a feeling that when its official I might wish for another couple years first. I’m a big fan at giving myself some type of birthday gift each year. It ranges from a new top to a spa treatment but this year it had to be big. So at the end of April I boarded a plane and headed off to Ireland and Scotland via an overnight flight straight from Toronto to Dublin.  Because the trip covered two countries I’m going to cover the trip in two posts so I can properly share my amazing trip here. I also have so many tips for traveling alone and to these two countries that I’ll be putting up a post to share this with you all very soon.

Ireland took my breath away. From the first steps off the airport bus and down a street towards my BnB I was in love. I arrived at 5:30 in the morning but I wouldn’t of had it any other way. I was able to take in Dublin before the pubs opened and the streets got busy with people. My BnB host was there with open arms to greet me at 8:00 that morning Dublin time.

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Now I come from a family that when we travel we don’t nap, or consider napping. You can sleep when you get home – my mom says (and reminded me of during this trip via text). So within the first two days I cover almost all the sites of Dublin including some wondering, getting slightly lost, a yarn store and a musical pub tour through-out Temple Bar area.

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The people of Dublin are so lovely and friendly. Everywhere I went I was greeted with people that were up for a bit of a chat and so welcoming into their shops and restaurants. The energy there in the city center (or town as the locals call it) is so alive and exciting. You can feel the history of the place at almost every turn whether it be down a busy street or a quiet small park.

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My original trip plan had included a drive from Dublin up the coast to Belfast. I wanted to get lost in thought down a country road with stone walls on either side. But sadly the cost and hassle of the rental car out weighted the dream so instead I booked myself on a full day bus tour that would curve my craving for the Irish countryside.

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The bus tour day was outstanding!! The day was planned to include the Titanic museum in Belfast, a drive along the coast to Giants Causeway and a walk across the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. Due to weather the rope bridge was substituted with a whiskey tasting which no one on the bus minded. Then very early in the morning of the bus trip the day got even better. Sitting right next to me sat three people from Ontario. They weren’t only just from Ontario but we’re good friends with some off my good friends. It was such a small world moment and truly a moment of serendipity. The people we met along the 13 hour bus day are people that I hope to run into again soon. This day had me laughing like I hadn’t done in ages and a smile on my face for the whole long day. The tour was outstanding and I’ve included some info about taking a group tour in my travel tips post. I can’t guarantee that you will sit next to someone you would of walked past in the halls of a college 7 years previously but I also now can not say that you won’t!

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The following day I left for Scotland but I could of stayed in Ireland the whole trip. I loved it so much that I was a little trilled that because of Scotland train times I would be able to spend two more nights in Dublin before flying back to Canada.

I was so happy to be going back to Dublin because there is something about visiting a city where you just know where you are going without a map and you feel more like a local than a tourist. My last day of course had a bit off shopping which included the wonderful yarn store This is Knit which if you go into you then must go to Counter Culture which is located within the same building for some lunch. I was lucky to pick up some of the nicest hand dyed sock yarn at the shop that will take a special sock pattern to knit up for myself.

Ireland – thank you for everything and I will be back and very soon!

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I keep going into fabric stores and picking up just a couple of fat quarter squares that I just can’t live without. Fabric that I fall in love with and is either out of my price rage or I simply don’t have a specific project in mind. The semi down side of this is that i am currently the owner of a good amount of pretty fat quarters just waiting to be used. I was able to use a few of them for my Caravan Cover project but wanted a project where I could use a few more. So when I came across the pin cushion carry all project from the Handmade Style book I knew it would make a great weekend project.

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Now by weekend project I mean a Saturday night project. It turned out with some tunes in the background and a cup of tea I was able to finish up this little project in no time! Now before everyone thinks I’m a hermit on a Saturday night this was a rare occurrence and I couldn’t not finish something up!

There was however one mistake that I did make which I discovered late at night and was the moment I knew it should probably call it a night. I had attached the top loop meant to hold scissors on the wrong side. So because of the late hour and that my larger scissors would never fit on it anyway I decided to for go the loop to leave more space for pins.

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The pockets on the sides were so much fun to are to make sure the pleats were just right and a functional size for what I needed. In the end this was another wonderful little project from Anna’s book.