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I present to you the newest member of my family: a Singer 401a. The machine I originally wanted was the Singer 501a, adventurously labelled “the rocketeer”. The rocketeer was everything I wanted in a machine: innovative (the slant shank was introduced to bring more visibility to the sewer), stylish (I’m a HUGE fan of the space-age styling, and a rocketeer would look fabulous right under the boyfriend’s soviet era space exploration poster), and durable (the rocketeer features only one non-metal gear, and it’s bakelite, which is essentially nuclear-proof). Unfortunately the rocketeer had just one flaw: it was impossible to find. I did see a few models pop up here and there on the local kijiji, never for less than 300$!

So why am I telling you all about the rocketeer if I couldn’t find one? Probably because it’s just such a beautiful machine!


So I set my sights on the rocketeer’s cousin, the 401a, which doesn’t have such a cool nickname. To my knowledge it actually doesn’t have a nickname at all! (Suggestions?) The 401a proved as difficult to find as its more stylish cousin. I finally spotted one about an hour away from home for 60$, and the boyfriend agreed to take me on a road-trip.

I was so excited I performed the two cardinal sins of buying used:

  1. I didn’t negotiate (I just gave all my money to the poor girl while trying to haul out the entire machine)
  2. I didn’t run the machine before I bought it.

Number 2 is the worst thing you could possibly do. The girl who was selling it said it still worked, but I had never seen it run, I was so excited to just get the machine in the car and home so I could try all the things! This was very dangerous, replacements for certain singer machine parts can only come off other old singers. With the difficulty I had finding this one, I now realize I might have had to find another one if the motor wasn’t running!


I did find some other things though. The machine was so dirty it turns out the colour you saw wasn’t the colour of the machine. It was the colour of decades of piled up crud! There was so much lint and cat fur in the machine you could’ve made a whole cat, and knit it a sweater with what we pulled out of there! But for all of its shortcomings, the motor purred, and the machine runs very, very smoothly. Which was surprising considering we found a drapery weight inside the body of the machine! Of course it was brought in for a tune-up, and since then I have actually sewed with it. dsc_0156

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at my new machine, I can’t wait to show you what I’ve been up to with it! And I also have a second surprise purchase to blog about!



Steeped Mittens


I present to you my new mittens. I designed the colour work and based the overall shape off of the popular herringbone mittens (my last pair of handknit mittens were the herringbone mittens… until my dogs digested them!). They were inspired by three skeins of patons classic wool (aran, natural mix and heath heather) from my stash and my favorite companion on a stormy winter day, tea!

I love them! They’re toasty warm and totally cute! I just wish I had done a better job on the actual knitting, I had a lot of tension problems and they’re still super evident even after blocking! I am planning on making a “dipped” model with just the last colour change from aran to a bright colour like yellow or hot pink!


2016 Knit List



Last year I made a 2015 Knit List. I only made two items on the list: Graham and Wishbone. Graham was never blogged about. I didn’t like the way it worked up in the yarn I chose so it was frogged almost immediately. Wishbone was blogged about here. You could say the 2015 Knit List was a failure. The 2016 edition though… it will be successful!

I’ve definitely upped the stakes this year, but I have also learned a lot in the last year. Each of these projects was selected to fill a hole in my wardrobe, since I have been wanting to move towards using knitting to contribute to my wardrobe.

Two more projects from 2015 need to be blogged (that were knit without being on the list!), then the first project will be Tongshan!

Aveeno Baby Shampoo Review


A few months ago I went to the doctor; I was experiencing “unusual hairloss” (~70 hairs). Having recently entered my quarter-life (read: twenties) I can’t help but panic about these things… Unfortunately for me the first thing she did was prescribe blood tests (I’ve never had blood drawn without fainting). Everything came back normal though (fortunately or unfortunately?!), so I followed her other suggestions: a gentle, sulphate free shampoo and… no blow drying!

I picked this shampoo up back in August, but I can’t stand reading product reviews that go something like, “I picked this up yesterday and I am literally obsessed”. Now that I’m almost finished the bottle I feel like I can give a good review. I was so excited to use this because one of my friends told me the day she put sulphate free shampoo in her hair she didn’t as much hair in the shower. Needless to say I had high hopes!

First a little bit of hair background, I have a lot of very fine hair with a few coarse strands woven in there. There’s a bit of a wave to it (naturally dried hair in these pictures), but if straightened/blow dried it will fall very flat and limp (limp hair in these pictures). I wash every 3-4 days, even though I produce a lot of oil (I produce a lot less now that I wash every few days as opposed to when I washed every day). The only other sulphate free shampoo I’ve ever tried was Dr. Bronner’s baby castille soap, which is for another day, so I didn’t know what to expect except difficulty lathering (the suplhates and their derivatives are usually responsible for a rich lather).

Now onto this shampoo! The first thing I’ve noticed is that it has a really odd smell for a baby shampoo. I’ve used a lot of baby products in the past and I’m used to (and appreciate) their clean simple scents. This shampoo has a much stronger, older smell. The best way I can describe it is as a “mature” floral scent, this is a bit more Chanel #5 than Marc Jacobs Daisy, if that makes sense. I’ve found the smell is strong in the shower, but it definitely doesn’t linger: I can’t smell it on my pillow the morning after a wash. I also have to use a bit more of this compared to a regular sulphate-full shampoo, because it lathers less and I like a full lather.

My favorite part about this shampoo is that it doesn’t hurt when I get it in my eyes. I don’t know how I’ve made it this long without learning an appropriate eye-avoiding shampoo technique, but I have. This was also my favorite part about Dr. Bronners: you could basically pour it onto your eyes with no irritation (please don’t do this though!).

BUT because of it’s built in “gentle conditioning” it does weigh down my hair, and combined with the doctors advice to quit blow drying, this means my hair is flat on my scalp immediately after a wash. Which is a major downer. Having healthy hair is great, but isn’t it better to have slightly more damaged hair that looks good?

And to compound the issue, I did not experience less hair loss, it fluctuated between around 70 hairs, just like before… So for me, switching to sulphate free shampoo didn’t affect my shedding during wash. But I do feel good about the shampoo because I figure anything that doesn’t burn my eyes must be better for my scalp and the environment (do fish eyes burn because of sulphates being washed down the drain….?)

Now I have to go shampoo shopping again and the question is: will I repurchase? Aveeno baby shampoo hasn’t quite convinced me yet, so I will look around before I repurchase!

Sweet Talking in September

Sally Hansen - Sweet Talker

I feel like fall is when blogging takes such a big hit; the daylight shrinks away so much faster each day, reducing photo-taking opportunity, and the school work just piles on! Thankfully, it’s my final year in university this year! To celebrate… I picked up a bottle of sally hansen complete salon manicure in Sweet Talker! Just kidding, I’m not celebrating yet, I just didn’t have a neutral nail colour in my collection, and I decided to try this one first.


The Shell Top


A basic shell top, made with Butterick B6175. This took me quite a while to make! I’ve never actually finished a top/bodice before, and I had a lot of trouble fitting the facings to the neckline and arm holes. In the end, I got it together, but there are some huge fit issues! The back is quite roomy, which would be fine, but the keyhole part sticks out from my body like a fish fin!

I wanted to make a shell top so bad, and I fell for B6175 because it offered the opportunity of short sleeves and a peter pan collar, which are some of my favorite things! I was hoping to make the shell top my alternative to tank tops and t-shirts since they are much more chic for the same amount of comfort, but… fit issues…


You can see in the picture above, right below my hat brim a bunch of the material is sticking out (like a fin…)! This was a big disappointment, but a huge lesson in the importance of making muslins! I tend to think I’m fairly “normal sized” (whatever that is), but apparently not, since there is clearly too much fabric in the back. I do love the way this top looks from the front though, the neckline and shoulders are so flattering, and because of that I will be putting the effort into making a muslin and attempting to alter the pattern to fit me better!