All I Want for Christmas …

The only thing on my Christmas list this year? A request for more time. In a day, in a month, in a year. So many projects on my to do list (both that I want to do, and have to do), and not nearly enough time! Which got me wondering; if I had less “stuff”, would I have more time to focus on the things I really enjoy? Less stuff means less cleaning/maintenance/energy spent thinking about it, right?

Then I read this article.

It really resonated with me. Having moved several times in the past few years, I’ve gotten really tired of lugging stuff around, only to pack it into boxes for storage in our new house. What’s the point?  So, slowly and surely over the next few weeks (because what better time than right before Christmas?), I’m going to be scrutinizing the stuff in our house, and playing hardball. I know that I’m happier and more creative when the space around me is tidy and organized, so I would think the same thing stands for items that aren’t being used but are packed away and taking up space – mentally and literally.

This time of year especially, I have an inordinate amount of items lying around, as I’m gearing up for one of the  local markets I participate in. November 27/28 at the Winnipeg Vineyard Center, Smash Knits will be a part of the Third and Bird Christmas Market. It’s a great mishmash of local artisans, complete with delicious food and drink, all supporting a great cause! Click here for more info.

Rightfully so, knitwear has been flying off the needles and hooks, nonstop. As a result my sewing machine is collecting dust and I’m chomping at the bit for the moment when things are peaceful and quiet and I can dive in to the myriad of patterns and projects I have bookmarked. That’s probably in 2020?

Until then, here’s a few things that have been going on in October/November…



For the past two months, pretty much every spare minute has been dedicated to knitting up a storm. This pile has been constantly growing. Sometimes, I just sit at marvel at all the cushy, cozy items that will soon be making their way to new homes.




Lots of cables and super chunky weight yarns in this year’s line up. Anyone else experiencing a love affair with Loops and Threads Cozy Wool?





This sweet little man joined the family last month. His name is Swanson, he is about 5 months old, and an absolute hurricane sweetheart. He spends a lot of time unraveling my yarn and biting my toes. Pretty adorable, I know. Swanson’s namesake is Ron Swanson, from Parks & Rec, which is Boyfriend Smash’s favorite actor. See pillow that I made below as an example of how deep his love goes …




Hopefully December will find me back behind the sewing machine, finishing up a few Christmas gifts and starting to tackle some fun summer dresses and bathing suits in preparation for Costa Rica in February 2016! We had our first snowfall/mini blizzard yesterday so the prospect of sunshine and coconut-scented sunscreen is especially tantalizing…

Where did summer go?!

Things have been busy the past few months in my neck of the woods! The summer months found boyfriend Smash and I working hard outside to build a deck


plant a garden (that didn’t thrive – hopefully next year!), and enjoy the weather. We also did a few inside projects, including building gallery shelving (plan here) to replicate my old ones


painting the LR/DR, painting my new sewing studio (eeee!!!)


and painting the bathroom. Whew, I’m tired just reading that list!


A best friend’s wedding at the end of August called for some fancy clutches, so I’m happy to say that at least the only sewing project I managed over the summer was for such a lovely occasion. These four beauties were made in taffeta (grey) and satin (purple), and were a lot of fun to sew! The pattern is from ConstructivPatterns. I can easily say I have never sewn with such a comprehensive, detailed pattern. At first glance the clutch may seem complicated to construct but this pattern made it so, so easy. Heads up, there is a fair amount of prep work involved, but it is completely worth it! The clutches were finished off with custom labels with our names on them, and a little sentimental embroidered heart and initials, requested from the bride in honor of one of her Grandpa’s.

clutchGiven that my last sewing project was a two months, I am certainly getting antsy to get back to sitting in front of my machine, but…. it’s fall, which means that Smash Knits craft markets and the Etsy shop are in full swing and keeping me busy with orders, so no sewing for this girl for a while yet! Instead my hands are busy with cushy cozy wools…

Pattern Testing Win … Bonnell Dress Pattern by Dixie DIY

I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting to publish this post, all! I was fortunate enough to be a pattern tester for the newest pattern being released today from Dixie over at Dixie DIY, and woohoo! is all I can say.

I’ve been a *mostly silent* follower of her blog for a few years now, and have made up her Summer Concert Tee no less than 6 times. It’s the perfect… well, summer tee! So when she started posting sneak peeks of her newest pattern, the Bonnell Dress, I jumped at the chance to test it out. Additionally, I had some great tribal-esque border print fabric that I snagged for a song years ago in my stash, and this pattern was the perfect vessel for it.

I love the slight nod to the 50’s this dress lends, with a fitted bodice and gathered skirt. But what really caught my eye was the side cutouts and the gorgeous V-neck in the back. This is the perfect dress pattern for a summer wedding, a night out on a patio, OR – toss on a lightweight blazer (Morris, anyone?), and it’s perfectly appropriate in a biz casual work environment. I love pieces that do double duty!

Following the pattern was very straightforward, from assembling the PDF to constructing the dress. I didn’t clock it to the minute, but I was able to put this together in one afternoon of about 4 – 5 hours worth of sewing time, so that’s awesome. The instructions were concise, with clear illustrations at necessary parts. An eager beginner could tackle this project without much difficulty at all.

I sewed a straight size 14 for this pattern. It fit fine with no alterations required but… is a little snug in the bust.  I always think I can get away without doing a FBA, but I’ve come to realize that I need to suck it up and just DO IT! Dixie includes a link to a comprehensive FBA on her blog post of this particular pattern.

I also did not make a muslin as recommended *sheepish grin* (are we noticing a trend here? I’m impatient!) nor did I interface my waistband. These are two things I will do with my second make (and third, and etc). I’m learning more and more that it’s worth the little bit of extra time to take the additional steps, and usually the result is a better fitting and more professionally looking garment at the end of the day. So, patience is a virtue I am *trying* to apply in my sewing world.

I always have a tough time being on the other side of the camera, so forgive the  awkward poses that ensue. I enlisted my momma to play photographer for a bit, as I’m still getting comfortable with my wireless remote + tripod. Baby steps!

bonnell bonnell1 bonnell3

The zipper was promptly ripped out and reinserted after I saw this photo! Symmetry is a beautiful thing :)bonnell4

… and one outtake for good measure!

bonnell2All in all I’m so happy with this dress – it’s a fresh take on a classic silhouette, and a great summer pattern. Looking forward to making a few tweaks and having a few of these hanging in my closet… if summer ever arrives; this happened today, a few hours away from where I live. YIKES! May 29th in Manitoba, gotta love it.

Of note, I was provided a copy of this pattern free of charge to pattern test – all opinions are my own! 

WEST Handmade and Vintage Sale VII

Spring has (almost) sprung here in Winnipeg yet again! I’ve traded in my wool for some cotton and linen and my hands have been busy whipping up some spring/summer accessories for this upcoming sale. There’s always such an eclectic ensemble of talent at this semi-annual event; something for everyone!

I’ve had to put a few personal sewing projects on hiatus for a while to make way for more stock, but I am absolutely chomping at the bit when it comes to sewing up some pretty sundresses for warmer months!

Hop on over to the WEST blog to see a few snaps of some of the vendors that will be showcasing their wares May 2nd :)


Today Ashley of ChunkyKnitz is generously giving away not one, but two knit items! Three, if you want to get technical.

First up is a gorgeous knit twisted headwrap and a cozy crocheted cowl. Second item to go to a lucky winner is a color-worked beanie topped with a yarn pom pom. This item is sized small, so perfect for the little lady in your life.

Crocheting had come easily to Ashley of ChunkyKnitz but knitting had always eluded her. What started out as an experiment to see if knitting was in the cards for her, she quickly became obsessed with all things knit. Trying different fibres, tools, techniques, and patterns, she continues to grow and challenge herself.
ChunkyKnitz on Etsy opened in January 2014 and with the addition of social media, its popularity continues to grow as do the networking opportunities with other awesome makers.
Visit ChunkyKnitz on Etsy, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest @ChunkyKnitz and Twitter @ChunkyKnitz_204.

And in order to enter the draw, click here!