Thursday, March 28, 2013

FO: A couple of baby blankets

Time is waning!  I think this baby is going to be here soon.  Fortunately, I think we're as ready as we can be.  And slightly less importantly, I've finished most of the projects I set out for myself for the baby and our daughter.  In the last week, I finished up two blankets, one knit and one sewn. 

I originally set out to make the High Fidoodlity blanket, but it was just ugly.  So instead I went with the Chevron Baby Blanket from Purl Soho.  I used Berroco Vintage Chunky, a wool/acrylic blend.  It's very squishy and cozy, and should be very easy care as well. 

Our daughter is already using it to wrap up one of her baby dolls in the baby's bassinet.  That's a good sign, right? 

The other blanket I made is a little quilt made up of scraps of Notting Hill from my diaper bag

While I didn't use a pattern for this, I did find inspiration from Bailey Girls Boutique etsy store.  I figured, Hey, I can do that.  (And I think this counts as my quarterly Pinterest crafty completion New Year's resolution.)

I made 5" squares and sewed them together with a 1/4" seam allowance.  Then I backed it with white dotted minky fabric, which is really incredibly soft. 

I am really very happy with how both of these things turned out.  I'm looking forward to wrapping up baby boy or girl in both of them!

Monday, March 25, 2013

FO: Finished, with buttons even! Wasabi Cardi

I always feel like I should knit more cardigans.  Everyone loves them and talks about how easy they are.  And then I knit one and it sits for three weeks without buttons, and I wonder, What's easy about this?  If it were a pullover, I'd be wearing it by now.  I hate picking out buttons for the same reason I hate deciding where to hang pictures on the walls.  It feels permanent, and a bad decision will ruin things and haunt me for the rest of eternity.  Perfection is the enemy of done.

I couldn't find pink buttons that I liked or were the right size, so I went with white buttons with little white embossed flowers on them.  I sewed one on and instantly knew it wasn't right.  I showed my husband, and he put his finger right on it.  The white button was almost silvery, and the rest of the cardi is golden.  "Yellow would be better," he said.  Inspired!

One trip to the fabric store later and I had perfect non-haunting buttons, and later that day had a finished cardi.  Thanks, Honey! 

Pattern: Wasabi by Amber Bertram.  It's a free pattern!

Yarn: Knitpicks Stroll Tonal.  This is a great sock yarn because it wears really well.  It's not luxurious, but for a child's sweater, it should be a good fit.  I bought two skeins, but it only took one.  I turned the second one into a Cachou cowl

The yarn is tonal, and the very second I stopped the front V-neck increases, I got intense pooling.  This yarn has a tiny golden streak, and it was creating a little pot of gold in the back left.  So I alternated rows working both sides of my skein, and that fixed the problem.  It's not very noticeable from the front.

Process: This one was fun to knit.  You start with a provisional cast on for the center back lace panel, and do short rows in lace to make the panel curve over the shoulders.  Short rows in lace!  Knitting is amazing.  When you knit to where the raglan increasing begins, you pick up stitches along the lace panel and start your increases.  After that, it's a normal top-down raglan cardi.  I was actually done before I knew it, and was a little sad to see it end!

The sleeves have a little cuff detail.  I don't think I followed the directions exactly, partly because I couldn't really understand them and partly because I figured out how to do it myself.  I love that little detail. 

Product: I love it, and it fits my daughter very well, with a little room to grow for the summer.  It does look like it will be a little loose around the shoulders, and other Ravelers have commented as such.  I don't think it will be a huge problem, though. 

New techniques: Mmm, none really.  Asking my husband for button advice? 

Friday, March 22, 2013

FO: New Look 6205

I'm trying to make my daughter a few more things, especially sewn clothes, since sewing is so speedy (relative to knitting).  I really don't care for so many of the children's clothes currently on the market.  They all seem to be more appropriate for American Idol contestants than little kids--too much glitter and neon and sequins.  I tend to like beautiful prints and unique colors and more classic shapes with slightly quirky color schemes.  I love Boden

So for Easter, I set out to make a Boden inspired dress.  I used a quilting cotton I found on, and New Look 6205, which is a new pattern.  Here is the result:


 This is a raglan sleeve dress with a pleated skirt.  I liked that the pleats allowed for a fuller skirt without being gathered.  The sleeves provided for a bit of coverage without being puffy.  I love the pattern details and I love the resulting dress!

The process was a little weird.  The bodice is lined, but the sleeves aren't!  Because it's not really a full lining, you have to finish the neckline with bias tape.  I'm not super experienced with lining garments, but this seems a little odd to me.  Why not just figure out how to line the whole thing?  I didn't really spend the time to figure it out myself, either.  In fact, it was a little confusing how to sew the lining in.  You sew it along the raglan seams, with the lining right side facing the sleeve wrong side and the bodice right side. 

I'm trying to muster up the energy to repress that center pleat. 

The directions called for sewing the skirt to the bodice and lining so the raw edges would be showing inside the garment.  I thought that was a little silly, so I slip stitched the lining to the bodice/skirt seam allowance, and it looks clean and should feel comfortable. 

One thing I haven't figured out how to do is really finish the sleeve seams.  These are two-piece sleeves so that you get a really nice curve on the top.  But it seems like you'd need to clip the seams, which are then left raw because they aren't lined.  How would you finish clipped seams?  One on sleeve, I zig-zaged the seam allowance and then clipped notches.  On the other, I clipped notches and then zig-zagged.  I can't remember which one I liked better.  

I also knit her a sweet little cardigan.  

It's probably a little bit bigger than it needs to be, but then it will fit all summer.  I still need to sew on buttons before I can call it done and write a review of it.  Buttons will always be the death of me.  


I'm really excited for her to wear her new dress and sweater!  Since she'll have to share attention with a baby soon, I wanted her to feel special in a new dress.  She'll be three in a month, and she's really starting to get into telling people, "My momma made this for me!"  So I might have the messiest house in the zip code, but hey, I made a cute dress. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

FO: Cachou Infinity Scarf

I love winter, but even I get ready for spring after a point.  That point has arrived.  When I saw this pattern on Ravelry, I thought of a spare skein left over from something else and cast on immediately.  This cowl is screaming spring!

There's not much make up happening around here these days.  I'm doing good to do my hair.
I have dreams of wearing it on a sunny day with a new white t-shirt, a denim skirt, some bare legs and cute shoes, and a waist.  I feel like I always have been and always will be pregnant.  If I get my waist back, it will be a springtime miracle. 

Pattern: Cachou by Hillary Smith Callis

Yarn: Stroll Tonal by Knitpicks.  I had a whole skein left over from another project.  This is a great sock yarn, but it's not luxurious. 

Pattern: Easy 4 stitch lace repeat.  Great TV knitting and would make a great gift. 

Final thoughts:  Lovely springtime infinity scarf.  Perfect for dreaming of sunny days, new blooms, new babies and returning to a normal body weight. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Yarn treats

We are going to have a crazy next couple of months.  We're having a baby in a few weeks.  We're moving house in June.  Aaaaand we're not exactly sure where we're moving.  Yesterday we got some news that means our plans to move into another house in town might have fallen through.  We could still end up moving across town, or we could move across the state.  Or even somewhere else.  So it was a completely perfect day to get something wonderful in the mail. 

I've joined the Tanis Fiber Arts Year in Colour Club.  (How much fun is Canadian spelling?)  I've admired TFA's yarns for a long time, but I've never used any of them.  I decided that during such a year of transition and change, maybe I should treat myself.  This is a serious treat!  Every other month, Tanis sends out a one-of-a-kind colorway on one of her bases and a new pattern commissioned just for the club. 

I am so thrilled about both of these yarns that I can't even bring myself to cake them up yet.  I just keep looking at them like they're Tiffany diamonds or something.  The berry colored yarn is her Silver Label, 100% silk, and was actually the January yarn.  After seeing pictures of it on Ravelry, I decided I had to join the club, so I received it with the March yarn.  The March yarn is her Blue Label fingering weight, 80% superwash merino and 20% nylon.  The pattern is for a beautiful pair of socks, and I couldn't be more excited.  

I never thought I'd be in the position of having a newborn and not knowing exactly where we're going to live.  It's not a position I'm really crazy about.  But I have some beautiful yarn and some great knitting to do, so take that, life. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

FO: Pockets a-plenty diaper bag

I've turned into a bit of a baby-making machine, in more ways than one.  For a while there, everything I was making was either kid- or baby-sized.  I'm finally making a couple of normal people items, but I still need to document the baby things.  Here's the biggie:

Why did I decide to make a diaper bag?  Because I wanted a new one, and it's somehow easier to justify spending $45 on fabric, $15 on a pattern, and $12 on notions than it is spending $75 on a ready-made bag.  Why is that?  Also, I loved this fabric, Notting Hill by Joel Dewberry, and this was a great excuse to use a bunch of the prints.  This project also gave me the chance to use some sewing skills on something other than a garment.  

I really love the finished product.  The bag is really big enough, and there are indeed plenty of pockets.  It has a flat bottom so it won't flop over and spill everything when I set it down.  I added purse feet to the bottom to protect it further. 

It has a zippered interior pocket and a cell phone pocket, so I guess I could pop my wallet and lipstick in there and not have to carry my purse.  We'll see. 

I had a helper!
It latches with a magnetic clasp, which is very user friendly. 

Those are the things I love.  There are only a few things I didn't love.  First, the rings on the strap are very heavy.  They really pull the sides of the bag in whenever I set it down.  I had trouble finding 2" rings as the pattern called for.  If I'd used the 1.5" rings, which were more available, they wouldn't have been so heavy.  So next time, I'd use those. 

The only other issue I had with the whole experience were the directions.  They were terrible!  I've never used a crafty pattern before, so maybe this is par for the course with these home-dec-ish projects.  But are you kidding me?  The drawings were not to scale and not very helpful.  The directions included lots of pictures for edging something in bias tape, which is a pretty common skill, but not enough pictures for things like sewing the bag sides to the bag front.  I had to rip that part out and start completely over once I realized that the bag sides actually curved around under the bottom of the bag.  In the picture, though, the bag sides ended way above the bag bottom!  Annoying. 

Also, how hard would it have been to throw a couple of notches in those pattern pieces?  That would have solved all my confusion.

Maybe this is just something that I struggled with because I never made a bag before.  But seriously. 

In addition to the bag, I also made a changing pad!  I love how this came out.  My mom came to visit for a week to help with the baby prep, and she actually sewed all the elements together and finished it off for me.  I think it looks fantastic. 

Again, though, the directions were horrific.  In fact, they were way worse for the changing pad than the bag, and made me think that no one had actually made the pad.  It felt like a complete afterthought.  The pictures showed two layers of fabric when the directions indicated one.  And it suggested sewing lining, batting and cover together with wrong sides together, then flipping right side out, then edging with bias tape!  If you're going to finish it with bias tape, why wouldn't you just sew wrong sides together and save yourself a lot of bulky edges?  That's what we did. 
There's a little holder for wipes, which folds up inside.

As bad as the directions were, though, it seems to be a great design, so maybe I should stop whining. 

I love the whole thing, and I can't wait to use it!  Although I can wait.  I only have about three weeks left, and I still feel like there's so much I need to do!