Saturday, 26 April 2014

Icelandic Sweaters

I wanted to do a post all about Icelandic sweaters.  I am a huge fan of not only traditional Icelandic sweaters, but also Icelandic wool, specifically Létt Lopi; although I haven't tried the other Lopi yarns.   It's sturdy, warm and has a bit of a halo to it sometimes which I absolutely love!  There's a lot of fancy designer yarns out there with fabulous colours and feel soft but when your fabric gets bigger than the size of mittens or a hat, it drapes too much.  I don't like wimpy drapey sweaters that in a couple months look raggedy and old.  Létt Lopi is not a wimpy wool.  It actually looks better and better with time.  It'll start to felt slightly but no pills.

So, here is my most recent Icelandic sweater.  I completed it a couple weeks ago.  Check it out on my Ravelry page.  It's a super comfy sweater and finished just in time for spring.  No more winter parka!  Sometimes I wear this with a long sleeve shirt underneath and a scarf when walking to the river.

More pictures!

Now, here is a sweater I completed in January for my husband.  I've worn it a couple times myself.  It's just a little baggy on me but still looks good.  This sweater has a folded 1x1 ribbed collar that I really like.  It makes a nice finished edge.  Here is the ravelry post

Here's the inside to show the stranding.

This is the very first real Icelandic sweater I've ever knit.  I went a little crazy with the colours.  I had so much fun knitting this thing!  It's the same pattern as my husbands sweater.  They're so easy to knit and don't take too long.

So, I think I'm done with Icelandic sweaters for the time being.  Now that I have a couple in different colour schemes, it will be a while before I make another. They will definitely get a lot of appreciation and use.  On the horizon, perhaps may be an Icelandic fall jacket or something of the like.  Who's to say?

Thanks for reading!
Happy Knitting!

Friday, 25 April 2014

Me-Made-May 2014!

I, Nayla, ( sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14. I endeavour to wear at least one garment handmade by myself each day (except for days when I have to wear a uniform for work) for the duration of May 2014'

That's my first official Me-Made-May pledge.  I'm actually looking forward to it and I think it is a really great idea. Click here to sign up!  I think we often get excited about sewing (or knitting) new garments but then don't feel as proud as we should to wear them out in public.  This is a month about being proud of what you made and showing it to the world.  Let the rest of the world see the amazing things that can be done by hand.  Much slower than mass-production factories but so much more rewarding, unique and sustainable.  

The few times I go to the mall,  I see all the same styles.  Everyone wears the exact same thing!  It's kind of funny actually.  I very often kind of giggle inside.  Pant leg styles, in particular are nearly always the same.  So, who exactly is it that gets to decide what the style is going to be?  Well, I remember my Home Ec. teacher in high school who taught us that fashion swings in a pendulum-like way.  At the time, all pants were pretty much straight or maybe slightly tapered.  According to our teachers theory, the dreaded bell-bottoms from the 70's will return (gasps erupted from the students).  Nobody believed such a thing could ever happen.  A short time later, we were all wearing flare-legged pants and thought they were great.  So…. my point is,  we are pretty much slaves to what is offered at the mall.  Personally, I don't care what is "trendy" and prefer not to know.  What I like about sewing and knitting is that I can create whatever I want.  I can sew vintage patterns if I want or I can make bell bottoms if that's what I feel like wearing.  I can also choose my own fabric, yarn or whatever.  The point is to make what you like to wear, not what the mall says you should be wearing.  I can go on for a long time about this.  I guess I am a bit of a non-conformist with some things.

I also don't like the idea of mass-production in general.  It just makes me sad.  Just a lot of suffering for all involved, including the planet.  The main reason is the focus is usually on quantity and not quality in order to make bigger profits.  People buy lots of cheap things that they can then throw out and buy new cheap things that are the new style.  It's just insane, really.  Then I think of all the poor underpaid workers ruining their health and well-being by making all this cheap clothing.  I really don't want to have anything to do with this whole system.  It's just totally insane.

Ok,  I've gone off on a tangent.  Back to the fun of sewing and knitting!

I've realized that I have more handmade garments in my closet than I initially thought.  It's time to learn to like wearing them more often.  Sometimes, if I know something is not perfect, even though it's not visible,  I tend to not wear it.  So this is about accepting imperfections and learning to love what you made.  I think it's going to be an awesome challenge.

Thanks for reading my rant and...
Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Hawaiian Quilts

I'm back to my blog after a very very long time.  I feel sorry to have neglected it for so long.  Nevertheless I have been busy with all kinds of crafts.  Most recently,  I have discovered the amazing world of Hawaiian quilting.  My husband and I were in Maui not too long ago.  Our hotel was decorated with these amazing quilts.  The first of which is the most stunning right at the entrance to the lobby.  This design is called "Ulu" meaning breadfruit in Hawaiian.  It's meant to signify prosperity.  This quilt was so inspiring I decided to make a miniature version myself.

Here are a few more quilts which adorned the walls.  I got to see them everyday!  Every time I pass by I stop and admire those little hand stitches.

It was hard to get a good shot because of the glare off the glass.

One day I came across this quilt shop.  I got some patterns from here.  I also went to another quilt shop; the Maui Quilt Shop  I believe.  That's where I bought a couple Hawaiian quilting books.

When I got home I started on this Ulu appliqué design for a cushion/pillow.  Pretty crazy huh?  I was just so inspired.  I really enjoy doing the old-school needle-turn appliqué which is the traditional Hawaiian way.   It's slow and relaxing.

Here's the back

And here is the really fun quilting part!  I used doubled wool batting so it's nice and puffy and soft.  Unfortunately I found it difficult to get small even stitches, but it's ok.  I enjoy it anyways.  It's good practice and I'm sure it'll get better with time.  The main thing is that I enjoy it.  

It's almost finished!  I still have a bit of quilting to do.  Then I'll have to sew it into a pillow cover.  I'll post a photo when it's completed.

Happy Sewing!