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.

Knitting Vocubulary, or the difference between a UFO and a WiP

First off, if you are a muggle as the Yarn Harlot so cutely says, UFO is an unfinished project and WiP is a work in progress.  They sound deceivingly similiar, and in the hands of the right knitter they are quite similiar.  But in the hands of many other knitters there is a vast difference between these two acronyms (if I, knitter for 1-3 years depending on how you count, can speak for the all knitters).  It is all about intentions and determination to get to the FO (finished object).

This is a UFO, my first UFO of 2007 in fact.  I stopped knitting it when I realized that there was simply no way it would fit on the head of an 18 month old.  I know this because it is decidedly smaller than the hat I knit for an infant that fits on a 2 year old (if a bit short).  And since it was already the beginning of February and I wanted to send S her mittens (notice the yarn, same skein) and wasn't in the mood to restart this project (considering the my UFO challenge project for January wasn't done yet…).  So I declared it a UFO and decided to shove it in the closet and deal with it later, much later, an unknown later.

This is a WiP.  It is my brother's christmas hat.  The hat that 2/3 the way through he decided was too long and didn't like all that much.  But after looking for yarn that said, "make me into a hat for your brother" for over a month I decided to just re-do it.  I had already ripped the hat out so the yarn was nicely wound into two seperate balls just waiting for me.  I pulled it out when I put the pink hat away.  I am using the Tychus pattern from Knitty, except instead of casting on 38 stitches I cast on 32 stitches and adjusted from there.  Honestly I sort of hate when I want to make my object in the same colorway as a pattern example, but Brother's school colors are red & white and he got a letterman jacket this year, so what is a sister to do but make his hat in red & white.

Of course a UFO can accidently be created as well.  You get excited about a new project before finishing one on the needles, perhaps that new project and/or need to use the needles from that other WiP and suddenly it has been a few months and one WiP has magically turned into a UFO.  These cute socks feel victim to UFO land in this manner (where are the needles? I scavenged them for Mittens v. 1.0).  I think I even turned the heel, which is apparently a magical thing.  However I have no clue how I did it and am pretty sure I did some stuff wrong (like the SSK bits).  So I am going to rip out the heel and start over, being more mindful of what I am doing.  This sock is my other February UFO challenge

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February 22, 2007. Tags: , , . Thoughts. 2 comments.