a freeze frame

HANDMADE IS BEAUTIFUL

Friday, January 23, 2015

LIFE RIGHT NOW // JANUARY 2015

Second year doing Life Right Now! Probably one of my favorite feature here. Looking back at the previous ones is also super cool. Feel like joining? I'm adding a link at the bottom of the post for you :)

loving that mug. trying very hard not to order it right away. must save money.
thinking about doing another round of everything must go. Less is more. and my closets are full.
eating not much. I'm doing Whole 30 again to start the new year like a pro ;) (much harder than in Summer so far) 
wondering what the f*** is wrong with people. #JeSuisCharlie 
listening to Another Love by Tom Odell, and a few more. check out the playlist below ;)
enjoying my scrap yarn blanket. Wanted to start one forever and finally have enough left over yarn! it's going to be so pretty in like 10 years! 
making breakfast as I finish writing this. I may have found the perfect Mint Tea!
struggling with noises and silence.
feeling like snow might be coming our way, finally!!!
dreaming of the wilderness. and a farm in the middle of it.
finding it hard to put down my books lately. Forgetting to eat or sleep is happening a lot!
celebrating over 300 followers on Instagram. there are a lot of knitters out there clearly, that's so awesome!
watching a lot of movies (Golden Globes/Oscars season being open and all). The Imitation Game was amazing, Wild was just as inspiring as the book and you guys The Theory of everything <3
hoping to make this dress, this skirt and this other dress by 2016.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

YARN ALONG // THE SMALL ONES

Joining in with Ginny for the Yarn Along.
I love to knit. I love to read. Here's a little bit about both.


January. A weird one. On so many levels. But let's focus on the knitting. I started the year by getting as many things off the needles that I could so I would start 2015 fresh. So I finished a few projects, frogged a couple I just wasn't into and knew I wouldn't be, organized my stash and then I had no idea what to do. I started 3 different shawls/scarfs then frogged them all because I wasn't inspired. The one things I enjoyed was my Christmas pair of socks. So I figured I'd cast on small, quick and cute projects. Hence today'd yarn along: a hat, a new pair of socks, and little scraps of yarn that one day will become something big.

The pair of socks I cast on right after finishing my Reasons to be cheerful because I had some of that mustard wool left and I wanted to use it right away. I'm completely making the pattern up as I go with a thing in mind: simplicity. The cuff I fully ribbed because I wanted to try that for a while (and I love it), the heel is going to be an afterthought heel (never tried it before but curious!) and the foot is plain stockinette. I'm using a charcoal dark grey yarn with yellow as my contrast color for the cuff, heel and toe. Can't wait to see the final result.


The hat is Into Trees from the latest PomPom and was a total impulse cast on. I had this skein of gorgeous sport weight yarn and was going from my Ravelry library to pick a pattern and this is the one. I am pretty sure I don't have quite enough yarn for the original pattern so I am making a few changed here and there and hopefully it will work. The pattern is amazing and knitting up so quickly! Also in that PomPom is the Sorrel hat and I will confess to considering casting it on next. I love hats too much I know!


And finally my Sock yarn scrap blanket!! I have wanted to start one since I discovered Molly's version, then Little Bobbin's and finally Olivia's. Gorgeous right? I'm hoping to join in a few swaps to grow my (very small) collection of mini skeins so I can make the blanket grow and grow and grow. Have you heard of any?


Reading! Books, Words, Pens. Those are so important. So write and read and draw because it's such a precious and vital right! I've been reading a lot lately, including Charlie, the Frankie Magazine and on my Kindle: 1984, Little Women and Leaves of grass. I love how different each of them are compared to the others!



PS: Life Right Now is coming back this Friday and if you wanna join me get a post ready! There will be a linky widgety thingy on my post for you to share your own Life Right Now!
Friday, January 16, 2015

A YEAR OF SOCKS // REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL

First toe up socks!! And I actually really liked it! Makes it a/ super easy to try the sock as you go so it ends up perfect b/ use as much yarn as possible instead of making the cuff too short because you're worried about yarn management.

This pattern called for short row toe which is both pretty and perfect for my foot. It's not super pleasant to knit however because I kept losing track of where I was at in the wraps and turns. So I might give Judy's magic cast on a try next time I do toe up. So I can compare. Also, garter stitch toe are AWESOME! It's super cute and super squishy and thick which makes it extra comfy when worn. Will definitely do that again.

The pattern itself is very well written, like I said it was my first time doing toe up and I managed it using only the pattern and without having to rip so it's a big win! The texture is quite cute and not complicated at all. It's also some sort of ribbing variation which means that the socks is quite stretchy. That's pretty cool considering I tend to knit too tightly. So would highly recommend it! It's 4£ or so I think and well worth it.

The yarn! I went super simple (and cheap) by using Cascade Heritage (it's a 80% superwash merino 20% nylon blend) in the best color ever: mustard yellow. Super nice to knit with + very sturdy yet soft. Definitely a reason to be cheerful! 


Now let's talk about the not so good stuff. Sock #2 is smaller than the first one. I have no idea what happened to my gauge. Well I have a small idea. The last 10 days have been super stressful and scary and sad so I might have taken it up on my knitting hence the tighter gauge. The sock still fits thanks to the stretch in the pattern but looks smaller by like a centimeter around the leg when worn. Handmade isn't perfect right? I'm ok with it. I just really really need to move on to two at a time knitting. If I can solve the tangles and yarn mess of the process first. Wish me luck.


PS: I have no idea what my next pair will be. I really want to try some self stripping yarn but can't seem to find any in France, or in stock. We'll see. 
Wednesday, January 14, 2015

QUINCE & CO: FOs & A REVIEW

Quince & CO is a US company that sells american wool, sourced and spun in the US (except for some plant fibers like linen that they source from Belgium). I have made 3 projects this year using 3 Quince & Co bases and I thought it was time I shared my feelings and opinion of it.



The 3 projects you can see here are the Schwimmen hat, the Whispering Pines shawl and the Warble cowl, respectively made with their worsted base Lark, their fingering weight Finch and their sport weight base Chickadee. All three are 100% american wool and come in the same (very wide) range of colors. I won't talk much about their dyeing techniques other than to say it apparently uses low impact dyes. If you want to learn more about it (and also superwash and yarn in general), i would highly suggest you listen to episode 5 of the Knit.fm podcast. 

About the colors though, like you can probably tell from the photos, Quince & Co 100% wool bases come in solid tones (rather than variegated in brands like Malabrigo or Madeline Tosh for instance) but the colors maintain a very earthy feel and by that I mean that you can select one of their yarn and then be able to think of a plant or flower that remind you of this specific color. In other words, it doesn't look too chemical too me (if that makes sense). They add new colorways quite frequently so you should easily find the perfect one for your project, if solid is what you are looking for obviously. They also have other yarn lines, such as linen or tweedy base like Owl that comes in different colors than the 100% wool ones.



Texture wise, I would say their pure wool bases is a mix of rustic and smooth, with a very modern feeling. The yarn is very solid and resistant like a rustic yarn would yet is soft enough than I don't have any trouble having it sit next to my skin. Their thinnest bases like Finch have enough drape that it works well for shawl with textures, but I wouldn't use it for pure lace for instance. The stitch definition however is amazing. I mean look at that hat! It's not even blocked by the way. Definitely my favorite thing about the Quince & Co yarn. The softness factor doesn't compare to many other yarns though, like Knit by Numbers, Malabrigo, Madeline Tosh... It does come with its own advantage though because unlike the yarns I just mention, I can tell my Quince & Co projects will resist and age very well. I've had no peeling issues so far. So clearly at the end of the day it all comes back to what you are looking for in a yarn and the type of projects you have in mind. I would definitely use it again for hats and maybe even sweaters (I really want to try their Tern base, which is a 75% wool 25% silk fingering!). 


Have you made anything using Quince & Co yarns? What did you think? Obviously the opinions expressed here are only my own and thus engage only me :)
Monday, January 12, 2015

26 BOOKS IN 2015

"She reads book as one would breathe air, to fill up and live."
Annie Dillard


I love books. 
My oldest memories are of afternoons spent in the public library picking book to bring home. Every week. Then changing library because I somehow had gone through most of the books in the other one. Then finally being old enough to move on to the adult section of the library, which sort of was the best day ever for little me. Then I grew up and there was movies and TV shows and going out and magazines and so on. I still read though. The magic is still there. It just takes more work sometimes. 

In 2015 I want to make more time for books and stories. And isn't a challenge the best way to do it? The one on Erin's blog (Bringing Up Burns) is just the best. 26 prompts. 26 books. I'm in. 


26 BOOKS IN 2015 PROMPTS: LET'S READ...

a book you own but haven’t read
a book that was made into a movie

a book you pick solely because of the cover

a book your friend loves

a book published this year
a book by an author you love 
a book at the bottom of your “to-read” pile

a book with a color in the title 
a book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit

a book you started but never finished

a book with a lion. a witch. or a wardrobe

a book with a female heroine 
a book set in the summer

a book of poems

a book you learned about because of this challenge 
a book that will make you smarter

a book with a blue cover

a book you were supposed to read in school. but didn’t

a book “everyone” but you has read

a book with a great first line 
a book with pictures

a book from the library

a book you loved ... read it again!!

a book that is more than 10 years old
a book based on a true story 


So, who's in?


Note: I will still be doing my seasonal book reviews here on the blog, but will frequently update this page with links to the books as I read them. Check out the link on my sidebar for quick access :)