Saturday, April 19, 2014

Barber Pole Cowl


A little knitting. I am working on a project called Barber Pole Cowl and am enjoying the simplicity of it. I can pick it up and put it down easily when I need to. Lots of other things have me dividing my attention. 

Here's Thing #1


Sweet Sandy

Here's Thing #2


My big boy Brute. 

Things # 4, 5, 6, 7... You get the idea:


Sometimes the doggies nap.  One thing you can count on for sure is these doggies are rarely apart. 












Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Steel Cut Oats Chunky Cowl: Take 1


 
I saw a chunky grey cowl on Facebook the other day and decided I should make it.  I "shared" the photo so I could go back and find the pattern link, and right away, a gal at work (Mrs. R) said, "oh, I like that!"
 
Here's the pattern link for the cowl called Steel Grey Chunky Circular Scarf.
 
I set out to make this on Thursday when I went to knit at the knit shop with the girls. I brought 4 skeins of Berroco Weekend, which is a really light worsted weight yarn.  The pattern calls for knitting with 5 strands of DK weight yarn at one time.  I settled on 4 strands of my light worsted weight yarn.  Since my yarn is the color of oatmeal, I decided to call my project Steel Cut Oats Chunky Cowl, because I am silly like that.
 

 
This is one of those projects where you really can't judge the size of the item until you cast it off and try it on... at least that's the way things work for me.  I noticed when I was knitting the stockinet portion that my piece did not seem to be as tall as it should be, so I added a few extra rows.   When I finally cast off and tried the cowl on, I discovered it was not long enough.  In the pattern, it's pictured worn around the neck doubled up in a "figure 8". My cowl was like a choker!
 
 
It wasn't until I was adding my project notes to Ravelry and looking at other completed projects that I realized where I went wrong. Pattern calls for 15 mm needles (US Size 19) but I used smaller US Size 15 needles. Whoops.
 
I brought the cowl to the gal at work (Mrs. R) and she tried it on. She agreed it would look okay as a long circular scarf but just too short to wear it doubled up.  We counted the columns of stockinet stitches and decided, if I cast on an additional 20 to 25 stitches initially, the scarf would be great doubled up around the neck.
 
 
I have a ton of this yarn, so I plan to cast on again with additional stitches and we'll see how that works.  Whatever the case may be, this was a fun and very quick knit!



Sunday, March 30, 2014

Okay, Okay... one last sewing project for now... A sweet diaper stacker



Way, way back in 1995, when I was in my 20's and expecting my first baby, I made a diaper stacker. It matched the baby bumpers I made for the crib, the dust ruffle for the crib, the wall hanging on the wall, a little quilt, and every other thing I could possibly sew for the baby's nursery.  Truth is... I had the nursery ready by the time I was five months pregnant.  Yes, I was excited! 

I remember being particularly proud of the diaper stacker. I don't remember it being particularly challenging to make, I just remember being proud of it.  It was just a really neat thing to make for yourself.  I put a rigid piece of fabric covered foam in the base of the diaper stacker so it wouldn't droop when stacked full of diapers.

The other day, a gal at work, Mrs. M, had a going away party.  I brought her a blanket I had made for her. She's a new mom.  She's moving from Colorado to Minnesota. I made her what I called a "travel blanket". It was sort of long and narrow (fleece on one side and flannel on the other side and I added ribbons so she can roll up and tie the blanket in the shape of a yoga mat). I was envisioning her on her move half way across the country and needing a nice clean changing pad in places like public restrooms or on hotel beds where they don't launder the bedspreads (ick!).  Mrs. M loved the blanket and Mrs. K (who is due to have her baby any day now... I mean... any minute now!) liked it too.  We all got to chatting about sewing baby things and Mrs. K said she really wanted a diaper stacker! 

"A diaper stacker! I can make you one!"

I had Mrs. K look at a website (www.firststitches.com).  My local quilt shop called "First Stitches" has all of their fabric pictured on line and it comes in handy since I am doing a lot of sewing for others.  Mrs. K found fabric she liked on the store's website and I made up the diaper stacker.  I did go out and buy a pattern... I imagine I threw out my nearly 20 year old diaper stacker pattern long ago but am bummed that I did.  I wasn't confident enough to try to wing it with out a pattern.

The new pattern is from "Simplicity".  Without going into a lot of details, I would like to say that the person who made up this design and instructions should be shot!  There were so many steps that were confusing and I kept telling myself, "there has got to be a better way to do this!?"  I was a little nervous about making the diaper stacker for Mrs. K.  I had a bunch of fabric at home so I decided to make a practice diaper stacker out of fabric that someone might like in a nursery before I tried to make the project with the more expensive fabric Mrs. K had selected ($10.50 per yard).  I am very glad I worked out the bugs on the practice project.  I modified the pattern on the second go around and it was a much more pleasant experience!

Here she is:


I love the gentle pleats on the side...



Nice fabric, right? The background is white or the palest of blue.  The design is a soft blue grey.
My modifications to the pattern were not huge.  I added a bit of fabric to the front panels so I could sew nice hems at the front openings (left and right) so there would be no raw edges.  The pattern did not allow enough fabric for a hem where you could fold it over two times. 

The one seam in the diaper stacker body is in the very back and you can see that seam through the opening in the front of the diaper stacker.  This seam had raw edges too.  I added extra fabric to the seam allowance and made a "French Seam" so the loose ends are encased and it has a nice, clean, finished look (My mom will be so proud when she reads this!  Fancy French seams!)

Also, the pattern called for cutting two bases for the diaper stacker and then sewing them together, wrong sides together, with a layer of batting sandwiched in between.  The edges stay unfinished and that bothers me.  I took a piece of rigid foam, cut it to the size of the base, and made a fabric pillow case for foam rectangle.  I stitched the pillow case closed so the foam is hidden inside.  The fabric covered foam rests in the bottom of the diaper stacker; this will also help the diaper stacker keep it's shape when it's filled with little diapers and it also covered up some of those raw edges in the base which bother me.

My biggest modification to the project was the top portion.  The pattern instructed that some arches shaped fleece pieces should be stitched to the top of the diaper stacker. Then the arch shaped fabric cover should be dropped down over that and then hand stitched down.  No way, Jose!  I fused the arch shaped pieces of fabric to matching arch shaped pieces of Pellon Fusible Fleece and then stitched them together. Then I attached the arched portion to the base portion.  Much easier.  Ways of modifying this pattern to make it easier to make and more cleanly finished on the inside continue to rattle around in my head. I like the challenge of "building a better mouse trap!"

I can't wait to give Mrs. K her diaper stacker. I am really happy with how it turned out!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A little bit more sewing... I "sew" hope you don't mind (groan!)

Okay, I'll try to knit a bit more so I can "talk knitting" but I wanted to show you a few more sewing projects in the next few posts.  Yes, I have been doing a lot of sewing and am enjoying it.

I found a cute pre-printed "look and find" book when I was looking at fabric on the Internet a few weeks back. This came from another great source for fabric on-line. This website is called "Never Enough Fabric" (www.neverenoughfabric.com).  Their prices are VERY good.  Many fabric suppliers charge around $10.50 for a yard of nice fabric.  On Never Enough Fabric, I have paid significantly less. The other thing that I like about this source is that the website generates a shipping cost estimate and if the website over estimates the charges, the shop refunds any overage charged to the penny.  That is very honest and I appreciate it!

Here's the little book.  It would be great for a little boy toddler. A great introduction to books.

 
 This is the front of the book...
 
 
This is the center of the book... the book focuses on numbers and colors... can you find the yellow bulldozer... can you find four motorcycles?  I was thinking of other fabric in my stash when I was stitching the book together.  I could make a pillow to match the book.
 
 
... and better yet... it would be cool if the pillow had a pocket and the book fit IN the pocket!



I felt pretty clever. :)
 

 
And being the mom of a boy, I knew it would be a good idea if the pillow cover was actually easily removed and easily laundered.  I found a 16" x 16" pillow form and popped that in the pillow cover.  Easy Peasy! 

Friday, March 28, 2014

A little more sewing...


Do you mind seeing a bit more sewing?
I made up these stockings a few weeks ago and just now found time to take some nice photos.

Now that I am selling things on Etsy, I am also finding myself buying some things on Etsy.  One of my favorite shops is called BywaterFabric.  Actually I have a lot of favorite shops... but I digress.

I found this kit to make these four stockings in BywaterFabric. The kit included the preprinted panel for the four stockings you see, the instructions, the tabs for hanging, the fabric for lining the stockings, and the fabric for backing the stockings. They only thing I added was some Pellon fusible fleece.  I can't recall if I followed the instructions to a "T"; I looked at a number of on-line tutorials for how to assemble stockings without a lot of hand sewing.   From what I understand, the fabric is from a line of fabrics by designer Julie Paschkis.  I think the line is called something like "Julen... In the Beginning."  Whatever the case may be, I found the design and fabrics included very appealing and it was a fun and rewarding project.  Oh, there are four little bird ornaments... I haven't made those yet.   As you can see, each stocking is different... a horse, a squirrel, a bird, and a mouse.  I like that I added the Pellon fusible fleece. It makes the stockings a bit more "substantial". I did a little top stitching on the fronts of the stockings in order to make them look a bit quilted.


This is the backside of the stocking... they all look the same on the backside.
 


Just one close up of the front... cute!
 

 
 
Nicely lined and ready to fill with goodies...
 
 
I like that these have a "folk art" sort of quality.  They are Christmassy, but they don't scream "Christmas!" if that makes sense.  I'd like to make more of these. I've seen some other pre-printed panels for sale on the Internet but none of them include all the coordinating fabrics to complete the project.  Fun, fun, fun!


Knotted Rib Hat



It felt good to knit a hat this week!
It's been a long time.

I saw this pattern on Facebook and decided to make it the hat since I had suitable yarn.  I used Cascade 220 Superwash (worsted weight).  When I finished the hat, I noticed the pattern called for Cascade 220 Superwash (aran weight).  I had never heard of this before. Maybe it's new!?  I think aran weight yarn is slightly thicker or heavier than worsted weight.  The pattern called for US Size 7 needles which is what I used.  The hat fits perfectly on my wig stand, Miss Wiggy.  To me the hat seems a bit short so I imagine the fit is more of a skull type cap.  I haven't even tried it on myself yet; I am sure it will fit someone. 

The pattern is called Knotted Rib Hat and the pattern is free. The pattern can be found HERE.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Travel Tissue Covers


My mom and I got to chatting about tissue covers made of fabric.  It sounded like a fun and quick sewing project and a good use for some scrap fabric.  Before I had a chance go "Google" a tutorial or pattern, my mom sent me a link and you can find it HERE.  Thanks, Mom!

The tutorial is found on a very cute blog called "Two Brown Birds".  I need to take some more time to look at all the patterns on that site. 

For a tissue cover, you need two fabrics which look cute together. For the fabric on the outside, you need a piece of fabric which measures 5 1/2 inches by 6 1/2 inches.  For the fabric on the inside (the lining), you need a fabric which measures 5 1/2 inches by 7 1/2 inches.  I was looking at the pattern on my phone and mis-read the measures and cut a bunch of rectangles which were 5 1/2 inches by 7 inches!  Don't do that!

Believe it or not, when I was cutting the fabric, I kept saying to myself, "Measure twice; cut once!" 
I should have been, "Read the measurements in the pattern three times, measure twice, cut once!"
Doh!

I love the Zebra print tissue covers above.  I was going to use a pink lining but, as I said above, I had some reading/measuring/cutting problems when I first got started on this project.  I like the contrast of the red fabric with the black and white Zebra print.  I showed my tissue covers to my little neighbor girlie... Miss B.  She's 9 years old. She picked the Zebra print and proceeded to tell me her entire room is done in Zebra print.  Wow, how smart am I?!  Miss B picked the Zebra print for herself and then I asked her to pick one for her mom and she picked the Zebra print for her mom as well.   So that leaves me with the Dragonfly print tissue cover with coordinating black fabric with polka dots.   So if you are looking for a really quick, really easy, really practical, and really fun sewing project... here's some inspiration for you!  I can see me making lots of these for little gifts.

For folks who follow this sort of thing, Teacher Appreciation Week is May 5 - 9 (2014).
Don't you think this would make a great little gift for a teacher!?

Let me leave you with a tip from my Mom... because Mom's do know best. I learn so much from my Mom!  Mom says she made cardboard templates to cut her tissue cover pieces. I used my rotary cutter, rulers, and a cutting mat, but having cardboard templates would really make the cutting a breeze!