FOF: knitting plus sewing

FOF=Finished Object Friday.  It is kind of sad when you can’t remember the last project you posted on your own blog; luckily the blog still exists even though I didn’t include it as part of my Summer of UFOs (unfinished objects).  But I did finish several things, which I will be slowly revealing on Fridays.  That is the plan anyway.

In May of 2010 I decided to make this cute pattern (Rav link), the Two Summer Sundress by Natalie Larson, involving a quick knit top and sewn skirt, to be exact I decided to make three of them.  I managed to finish two of the three tops last summer, but only finish one completely, which worked just fine since that little girl lives in the tropics, but once September hit I put the other two away since sundresses are no good in Nebraska falls, winters or springs.  But I tackled them and sent them off before this summer was over, thank goodness they are sized to fit for more than one year (though it is yet to be seen if they will fit the girls for a second summer due to my procrastination).

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The first completed Two Summer Dress.  The 18 moth size was made with one skein of Cascade Pima Tencel (a lovely soft yarn), dot fabric (Robert Kaufman IIRC) and some heart lace trim I’ve had around forever.  I finished the inside with ribbon per the original pattern, but I followed my own sewing-sense for the skirt construction.

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The second Two Summer Dress. Another 18 month size was made with one skein of Knit Picks Shine Worsted, a yard of quilting cotton (I’ve forgotten the line, I bought it summer of 2010 though), and I finished the hem with a fabric ruffle.  I made the ruffle 2x’s the skirt width.  I also used straight grain strips instead of ribbon to finish the inside.  I hand stitched the strips in place, but machine stitched the skirt to the bodice since I could hide that line of stitching between garter ridges.

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And the final Two Summer Dress.  This is the 8 year old size and it took 2 skeins of Knit Picks Shine Worsted, the skirt is made from a Robert Kaufman print I found at Jo-Ann’s at least 4 years ago, the inside is again finished with straight grain strips and the rick rack was picked up recently to finish the skirt.  The rick rack is larger than average, but not jumbo rick rack.  As you can see the straps look significantly longer than the 18 month size.  This is the bodice that required re-knitting since my first version ended up not following within pattern schematic measurements and the top originally would have fit me and I don’t fit in girls size 8 tops.  I found the back fastening on this bodice to be problematic.  I think the physical weight of the bodice was too much for the simple buttonholes and buttons so I added a hidden snap to hopefully mitigate gaping in back.

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I wish I could further explain my skirt modifications, but all I remember is this: 1) I attached the skirt to the bodice while it was flat and sewed the final back center seam just before hemming and 2) I followed the pattern’s finished measurements but not the sewing instructions.  A few more pictures are in my flickr account and perhaps a wee bit more information in my Ravelry Project Notes.  And while I enjoyed these projects overall I think I will probably try another knit bodice+sewn skirt=dress pattern that a knitting buddy told me about next time since that pattern uses raglan shaping for a pullover with little cap sleeves instead of long skinny garter stitch straps.  Though that will probably only make a one summer dress.

September 23, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . Knitting, Sewing. 2 comments.

Christmas Presents for Dogs

Yes, it is silly; but I figured making a dog bed (yet another one) for my grandmother’s dog would make her happy. I used this Scrappy Dog Bed tutorial, but in a brief moment of sanity (sparse when you are crafting presents on what is your personal equivalent to Dec 23) I decided to use a 1/4 yard of some home dec weight canvas I had in the stash (woo Stash Reduction!). I did briefly consider adding piping but the lucky for me I couldn’t find any that matched. Then crafting insanity hit and I decided to personalize the bed. Luckily the dog’s name is short. Zoe. I used the template from this plush alphabet magnet set tutorial (which I’ve yet to make) because I really like the style and size of the letters (also it is handier than opening a word processor and futzing with the fonts for 45 minutes).

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I aimed for this to fit a standard pillow. I think the bed itself is a little too big, but my aunt pointed out that a queen size pillow would probably fit and it did (purchased once I arrived at grandmother’s house for easy packing)! To top it off Zoe the dog gets the favorite dog toy around these parts, a Nylabone. And here is a bad night-time shot taken at my grandmother’s house – I tried to get an “action shot” but it turned out to be a blurry dog tail on one half of the pillow.

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January 7, 2011. Tags: , , . Sewing. 2 comments.

take the time to do it right

That is what I keep telling myself anyway.  I mean a hat with an uncomfortable lining probably would get worn just as much as a non-existent hat.

This summer I spied a sales bin full of soft wool-blend pastels. There was a bright pink, that made me think of a little girl I love and so I decided to knit her a hat. Of course I had to knit her sister a hat too, how could I not, but not too matchy, because that seems sort of insensitive.  And until she is old enough to tell me her color preference, she gets my second favorite combo turquoise and lime green (it doesn’t scream girly quite like pink and purple do, but still decided girly – because making girly stuff is such fun when it doesn’t involve ruffles).
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I knew the perfect pattern, Blue Sky Alpacas Polka Dot Hat Set (or the Rav link). Nevermind that the hat is meant for an adult and a different yarn. Different gauge, different size, oh and while I’m at it I’ll change the top shaping too…still I liked the polkadot density and $5 seemed like a decent price to pay to avoid trial and error to figure that bit out.  I thought, it should go quickly. And it did, sort of. The first 3/4 of the hat took mere days, except it turned out to be a great big swatch (how big?  like 22″ x 5″ big). Ribbet, ribbet, rip-it. The second hat took a week and then it sat, waiting for a lining. Picking up 100+ stitches has a way of grinding progress to a halt. Nevermind, I’ll cast-on for the second hat (I call that pretend progress). Luckily the second hat had only one little hiccup, quickly remedied by the LYS.

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Gah, Another nearly another 100 stitches to pick up. Why didn’t I just take the time to figure out double-knitting? Oh well, too late. See the pink lifeline? I think I’m on my 3rd rip of the decreases, first the lining was too big, then it was too small..
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And finally, 2 months later I finish the lining in the pink hat. Hopefully the third time is a charm and I’ll be able send both hats off at the end of the week.
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November 3, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Knitting. 1 comment.

My nephew turned 3

A month ago. This is about the gift I sewed for him.

Way back at christmas time I asked my SIL if she was interested in play kitchen stuff for her son.  She responded enthusiastically and as much as I wanted to try making a play-kitchen I knew something to fit in a priority mail box was a much more prudent gift for a far away auntie.  I started plotting.  Some kitchen pots ‘n’ pans, maybe dishes?, an apron and chef’s hat.  This percolated in my brain at the beginning of January and then I got distracted.  The shiny gets me almost every time. The first week of February I start bugging my husband for some input/approval of the plans.  And exactly one week before my nephews birthday (about 30 minutes before closing) I scram to the nearest fabric store to find a pattern and fabric suitable for a 3 year old boy.  I could make an apron in my sleep for myself, I’ve made a few of various styles – but I forgot to take measurements of the nearly always moving unless sleeping birthday boy when I saw him 2 months ago.

I grab a red striped tea towel, and (woot) a plain white kid’s “chef’s” hat and start combing the aisles for some suitable coordinating fabric eventually deciding to grab 1/4 yard of a solid dark blue cotton.  (And while I saw many many apron patterns and even a apron+chef hat toddler/kids pattern they were all, especially that toddler/kids pattern very girl oriented, think ruffles and scallops.) Thank goodness I found a hat for less than that hat pattern (again – drafting it was possible if I guessed at his head size).

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I know trick of angling the tea-towel sides and adding straps, but that made an apron that fit me.  I frantically started quizzing the internets and called my BF to get her to measure her 4 year old for me (since I do want the apron to fit for a while).  Most of the tutorials I found involved measuring the intended apron wearer.  Someone suggested one continuous drawstring tie for easy mutli-sized fit, like this apron.  I like the idea, nice and simple construction, but how would I keep the ties from being yanked out entirely? Finally I found the Montessori by Hand apron pattern for 3-6 year olds (the pdf link is in the side-bar) (thank you Meg/Sew Liberated/Montessori by hand, thank you One Pretty Thing and your awesome search, thank you also CraftyPod for re-reminding me of this resource in a not-so-recent-but-recently-listened-to podcast).  In the end I used the neck strap instructions from that, but sort of winged the rest of the pattern in my calcuated “winging it” way.  This included cutting off 6″ of length from the tea towel and using that extra for straps.

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Once the apron was worked out I dug around for some nice thick letters to applique my nephew’s name onto the band of the hat.  I quickly got frustrated playing with fonts in Word but was saved when I remembered theses alphabet magnets and the templates to make them were just the right size. I traced his name from the template onto trace paper and held it up to the hat to make sure it would fit (perfect!). I traced his name onto one paper side of double-sided fusible stuff (heat ‘n bond light), cut out the overall rectangle, fused it to the blue fabric, cut the letters out, ironed them on and then zig-zagged around each letter for better durability.  In the future I think freezer paper stenciling would be less expletive inducing. Also make sure to double check the orientation of your letters, unless you want to read them in a mirror. The light blue letters are the orientation you want if you fuse to the contrast fabric first.

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March 20, 2010. Tags: , , , . Sewing. 2 comments.

Trumpet the Crumpet and other knitted goods

Back in September when I decided to let my unfinished sassymetrical rest for the winter (last seen here) I started working on a series of smaller projects I’d promised various people (and a couple gifts).  There were 3 or 4 projects that each should have taken me a week or two to complete.  In mid November I was still working on nagging details.  Snaps to be sewn on, ends to weave in, seams to be sewn…  it was rather frustrating.  Now we are in the second week of December and I just sent off various fall gifts on Sunday evening (the joys of a 24 hour quick-shop/postal outlet, though the guy helping was baffled that I’d want to hear about the cost-differences between sending first-class/priority mail/parcel-post for even the third package sent while when I’m at an official Post Office they always give me those options without me asking).

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But not as frustrating as trying to work kitchener stitch with manos silky wool in the round over 50+ stitches.  Not pretty.  See, I’ve been siting on the crumpet beret (Rav link) which I’ve made for Fractone of Dear Blank, it felt like it was taking forever when really it was a 2 week project (started at the end of October) but I decided that the 1×1 ribbing was a great project to finally try out a tubular bind-off.  So of course I put off trying tubular bind-off for over a week then I dutifully did my two set-up rows to create double kitting and started to graft, I got about 5 stitches in when I decided it wasn’t going be pretty and undid that work and did  Jeny’s surprisingly stretchy bind-off instead. The Knitty pictures were failing me, but luckily Cat Bordhi made a video of this – Thank you Cat!  The bind-off is a little fluttery – I think it is supposed to be that way for the non-squeezing effect.  I hope  the hat stays on nicely and I personally like to find that sweet spot where hats don’t smoosh hair around your face and yet don’t fly off with a random wind gust.

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I also sent off two baby sweaters that I really really hope will fit.  My friend had twins this fall, and she sort of lucked out since I started the first baby sweater with no idea who it was for (odd for me).  This August I was lamenting about the idea of making not one but two baby items, contemplating sewing something instead, when I realized one item was already made and it might just fit.  Maybe.  I don’t know yet.  At some point this fall I decided I wanted to make little flowers to embellish the sweater so I flipped through Crochet Adorned and picked out one of the motifs, the 5-petal pointy flower, from Crochet Adorned’s Garden Party Cardigan (you can’t see it on most of the book’s photos, check page 39 where it is hiding between strands of the model’s hair on her left shoulder) and modified a raised center by picking up stitches in the middle and single crocheting towards the center then pulling the end toward the back.  These two sweaters were the subject of much procrastination mention above.  I finally stitched on the two matching flowers, going around the center about three times to make sure it was good and secure, but leaving the flower petals ends detached for a little more dimension.  And shipped those sweaters off, hopefully before the babes grow out of them.  Now to work on my long backlog of other baby items, I think a few of the babes might reach kindergarten before they get a knitted object from me 😦  The lesson – always have something baby related on the needles so stuff is good to go (great idea in theory).

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Of course what is the best thing to do in November, when you have nagging details to complete and a desire to make christmas gifts?  Cast-on for two selfish projects of course.  I joined a local knit-along and finally started my first lace shawl, Ishbel, as well as took a class to learn fair isle by making Selbu Modern.  Since I hope to start blogging again (actually I never stopped, I just never got past the draft stage of any posts) and can’t use Zarah’s techniques of close-ups (awesome idea) for some of my gifts I’ll tell you more about those projects next time.

December 9, 2009. Tags: , , , . Knitting. 1 comment.

Sea Baby

I’ve had two skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton in my stash for a couple years now.  I bought it at a going out of business sale before I knew that 300 yards of worsted weight yarn isn’t a great amount for things, and cotton isn’t a great fiber for scarves when you live where it gets wet.  But I also bought it because I had been considering using it for a sweater and buying one skein seemed sillier and at 40% off I was lucky to get two skeins in the same color and dye lot.  Luckily if you look around and have friends popping out babies like crazy (this is year two of knowing at least half a dozen pregnant women) you can find baby sweaters that don’t take much yarn.  But you have to be quick since getting a sweater out of less than 300 yards of worsted means knitting a smaller size and smaller sizes, I have heard, are notorious for being worn once before they are outgrown.  Those growing babies, the nerve of them 🙂

Anyways.  I came across this Debbie Bliss baby jacket pattern on Ravelry and it seemed like just the thing for a quick knit (and a swatchless knit for the lazy). I decided to make the 3-6 month size which called for 400 yards of aran weight yarn. I thought worst comes to worst I buy a coordinating skein of BSA dyed cotton for the ribbing but my LYS knit night pals suggested waiting until I get to the ribbing as (IIRC) Debbie Bliss patterns can be overly cautious with the yardage requirements.  I’m glad I waited to purchase that 3rd skein, because I still have 33 grams left (of course the sweater weighs in at 162 grams so either might be up to 5 grams off measurement).

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I didn’t bother swatching (according to my Rav notes I did, but I think it wasn’t for this project), since the 3 month size starts with a cast-on of 48 stitches, and just decided if it looked off I’d rip it. The knitting was quick for me, this took me about 3 weeks (we will ignore the fact that it has been over a month for posting and I’ve yet to sew on the snaps). And at 28 cm wide and 25 cm from waist to shoulder it is within the realm of the pattern’s measurements (25.5 cm at chest and 25 cm length).  I still haven’t measured it to check my gauge, but that number would be fairly useless since I’ve already forgotten which needle I used (it was a US 7, but was it KP nickle or Bryspun? wait, a WIP picture saved the day, I used my KP Options nickle needle).  16 1/2 stitches for every 4″ (24 rows for every 4″) of course this gauge measurement was taken the lazy method (the sweater still hasn’t been washed) and I just set the tape on the sweater and started counting, no precise needles in place or anything.  Anyway, this was a fun quick knit in soft and luscious yarn (a tad expensive, but not bad for a 2 skein project) and hopefully I’ll soon figure out which wee one will best fit in the sweater.

June 30, 2009. Tags: , , , . Knitting. Leave a comment.

Happy Valentines Day

In the February issue of Martha Stewart Living, they have a section on homemade valentines.  Somehow this year I wasn't real big on the idea of making valentines, but the re-wrapped chocolate bar idea caught my attention.  I scaled back my aspirations to 4 nice chocolate bars (Dagoba, a different variety for each person) for my parents and siblings.  Please excuse the crappy attempt at hiding their names (I tried pixelation but felt the names were still visible and didn't have the patience for other tools tonight).

I went to the scrap booking section of a nearby craft store and looked for prints that suited each family member, I inwardly cursed each time I found a print I liked and it ended up being card stock, which is too thick to wrap around the chocolate bar nicely.  Then I wondered if it would actually have been cheaper to buy once of those paper collections (my paper sub-total was 5.54 for 4 pieces of 12 x 12 paper and 2 pieces of 8.5 x 11 vellum) and pick my selections from it.  I used a  felt tip calligraphy pen to write the name of each recipient on the vellum that topped the print.  I alternated between using a glue stick and a scrapbooking adhesive thingamajig.  I also wrapped the original labels under the pretty paper so they'd know what they were eating (this created a little bulk, but I felt it was important for them to know what they would be eating).  My beloved self-healing mat, corkbacked metal ruler, exacto knife (with a nice soft rubber cover over the handle), and bone folder were other tools I used.  I'm not sure how long this took me, and I have loads of paper leftover for other stuff (each bar needed about 4.5 x 6 piece of patterned paper).

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February 14, 2007. Tags: , , . Thoughts. Leave a comment.