Friday, April 11, 2014

Kids Clothes Week: A Sally Dress for Easter!

My big goal for Kids Clothes Week was to make Dell this little Easter dress.  Everything else was just gravy, but this had to be cute since her brother has already gotten a little suit from his Nona.  And she definitely needed something with big pockets to hide Easter treasures.

Luckily, I had everything on hand and ready to go once I realized that this was the thing to do.  The fabric was bought, washed and pressed for last summer's Kids Clothes Week, but then found it's way to the back of the drawer once I failed at time management.  And the pattern is the Sally Dress by Very Shannon, another from Pattern Anthology, bought and printed ages ago.

I made the 4t size based on her chest measurement which ended up fitting her perfectly without changing anything, though it's a bit tight getting on and off.  I'll just pray that she makes it through the Easter festivities without spilling anything on herself and maybe see about adding a button placket to the back to make it last a little longer.

I also went with the longer sleeve, since we've still got snow hanging around.  And I added some bright yellow piping along the collar and waist.  I'm pretty excited to add piping to everything, especially since I've bought all the colors on super discount at Marden's.

The neckline was a bit tough to pipe, because you have to pipe the front and back pieces separately, then line them, then sew them together at the shoulders.  It worked, but the seams are a little bulky.  Good thing she's got plenty of hair to distract!

But the whole thing was super easy to make.  I think she'll need a couple more of these big pocket dresses for twirling and stashing this summer.

Linking up with Kids Clothes Week and Crazy Mom Quilts!

kid's clothes week

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Kids Clothes Week: Vintage V-Neck Tee Wonkiness

Last night I finally went through all the drawers and pulled out the old t-shirts that hubs and I don't like anymore so that I can make them into tees for the little man.  I was going to just do the old standby and use a shirt that fits him now to cut new ones, but then I remembered that I had the Vintage V-neck Tee pattern from last fall's Pattern Anthology.

But for the life of me, I can't get the "V" to sit nicely!  I carefully pinned and stretched, but still ended up taking out the stitches twice.  And after the last sew, it still didn't look nice, but if I took them out again I'd end up shredding the gray fabric.

The "V" looks so cool, but I might just recut the pattern to a crew neck, because I just can't stand patterns that are too fiddly.  And I want to make at least two more t-shirts because the kid has almost none to wear this summer.

But, on a happier note, I finally busted out the non-straight-stitch-only sewing machine and got to do fun things like zig zag stitches and sewing with my double needle!  But now there's two sewing machines on the dining room table and absolutely no room for actually eating dinner.

Linking up with Kids Clothes Week and My Quilt Infatuation!

kid's clothes week

Monday, April 7, 2014

Kids Clothes Week: Purple People Eater Sweater Dress

I try to keep things even among the kids.  So after I made Isaac his green sweater, I bought some more yarn and decided to make the same sweater for Dell.  I was only going to change the front panel, but then I got a bit carried away.

The pattern is a top down raglan, so I started with the neck collar.  I didn't like how the first sweater had a K1P1 rib, so I switched that out for a K2P2 rib and twisted my stitches so that the rib would look neater.   Now it pulls together much nicer and sits right up against her neck.

The next bit to knit is the chest, arms, and back.  I've been wanting to play with more textures, so I just started scrolling through stitch libraries until I found on that would work well with my increases.  This honeycomb pattern is worked over four stitches, so I was able to just add half and full honeycombs when I had enough new stitches on the sides.

Then I put the arm stitches on to waste yarn and had to decide how much of the honeycomb I wanted.  I thought of just continuing the pattern to the hem, and finishing it like a regular sweater, but I got a lot of votes for a sweater dress from friends.  So I continued the pattern to just above the waist and then increased every few stitches so that it would flair out a bit.  I have no clue how many I eventually added, but it was enough.

Then I realized that I only had one ball of yarn to finish the sleeves (still on the waste yarn) and the bottom of the dress.  I'd already cleaned out the store and had to buy a different dye lot, so I didn't want to have to go back and add a third dye lot to the pile.  The solution was short sleeves!  Which is perfect since the weather turned warm, and long sleeves would have been too hot to wear in the spring.

In the end, I love how it turned out.  It's so different from the first sweater, but I love that I'm getting comfortable enough with my knitting to start doing crazy things like this.

Linking up with Kids Clothes Week!

kid's clothes week

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The (not so) Definitive Guide to Quilting

So here is the absolute best way to quilt a quilt.  Not really, not even close, but this is how it often goes down for me.

First, you must gather your materials.  The quilt top is all sewn together, and you've begrudgingly pressed all your seams.  I do this on a tiny pressing pad on my dining room table.  I know, I should just grab the ironing board, but it squeaks and it's late and kids are asleep, so pressing pad it is.

Next, you must search through all your piles to find the one can of 505 Spray you own.  Lift it just high enough to realize it's empty (or at least close), and scour the house to find all the safety pins that have been doing other jobs since you discovered 505.

Pin.  Pin.  Stretch.  Pin.

Now that you have a sandwich all put together, you must contemplate how to quilt it.  I like to start off flipping through First Steps by Christina Cameli, which will usually help me decide between quilting an all over pattern or trying to quilt the individual shapes.  If that doesn't work, I pull out the Internet.

Once you have half an idea, it's time to hit a creative block.  This is the best time to just roll that quilt sandwich up in a ball, toss it next to the sewing machine, and pray that the elves finally take the hint that you'd like them to get to work.

In the meantime, look up cute animal pics on Facebook and watch TV.  Tonight, it's Gilligan's Island.  Bonus points if you can cuddle under something you've already quilted.  It helps get the good quilting vibes going.

After enough time has been killed, you'll just want to jump in.  Find a spot, put that foot down, and let it rip.  No matter how many quilts I quilt on this machine, I always forget how fast full throttle is, so those first couple stitches will always look horrible.  I try to hide those on a busy print and pretend they never happened.

Plus, I hate ripping out stitches, so once I start, there's really no turning back.  It has to be really awful for me to stop, and it's almost never really awful.

And right after your first pass, you'll have your first problem.  Tonight, I had some thread snapping (I blame the bobbin gremlins).  The best thing to do is say at least three mild curse words, get some chocolate, and chug along.  Once you have that first hiccup, the rest is pretty much smooth sailing.

I'm hoping to finish the quilting tomorrow and take some really nice pictures in the sun.  (I just have to watch out for those bobbin gremlins.)  Happy quilting!

Linking up with My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Scrappy Trip Around the World Finish!

 I finally managed to stop cuddling under my quilt to take some photos of it to post here.  It's been a problem and I've wanted to bring it everywhere, just in case the Polar Vortex attacks again.

 And see?  I'm not the only one who loves it.  How could I possibly take a quilt away from this girl?

This is the first quilt I finished at my guild's retreat a few weekends back (there's a great write up of all the fun we had here).  I've had the top done since forever and I knew how I was going to quilt it, but it just lay in a pile.  I don't know why it took so long, but I'm glad it's finally finished.

It's the Scrappy Trip Around the World pattern that got really popular about a year back.  I pulled out all of my scraps (then had a moment of shock at how many there were since it was my first time really digging into them) then started just cutting one slice of fabric off most of the fabrics in my stash.  The result is a snapshot of what I was sewing with at the time, and it's very different from the state of my stash now.

I quilted it in the Dogwood pattern from Elizabeth Hartman.  I've wanted to try it since first seeing it on her blog, but never really had anything that would work.  The second I started making this quilt, though, I realized it would be perfect.  The two inch blocks are a great size for the first time trying the pattern.  You don't have to travel really far, so the arcs don't get too distorted, and since there's so many of them, the mistakes disappear.

I made the back scrappy too, using a couple pieces of leftover flannel from quilting previous quilts.  It's not been washed yet (too hard to get it away from the couch), but it already is super soft and perfect for cuddling under and watching TV or knitting.

Linking up with Blossom Heart Quilts for Sew Cute Tuesday and Quilt Story for Fabric Tuesday!

  Sew Cute Tuesday    Fresh Poppy Design

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

WIP Wednesday!

The Seacoast MQG and Boston MQG retreat was a major success!  I managed to quilt two quilts (one that's been lingering for about a year) and got some serious work done on Pinkie Pie.  Pinkie is back on the list, and close to the top since I'm not dreading pulling her out to sew.  

But the big WIP is to put away all that stuff.  Packing was so easy, just toss stuff in a bag and go, but the unpacking looks awful.  I may just leave stuff in bags and projects and supplies out as I need them.  Not pretty, but better for my brain.  And besides, all the projects I never got to are packed with the supplies I need to finish them.  Why break up such awesome organization?

And while I was procrastinating from the pile of stuff, I decided to bite the bullet and rip out these socks for the third (fourth?) time.  I got mid foot and realized that I didn't like working the complicated cable pattern (I like patterns I can remember and don't need to constantly be looking at the book to get right) and they were probably going to be too big on me anyway.

So I ripped out until I was down to just 60 stitches on each sock (instead of the 68 I had), and put those back on the needles very carefully.  I restarted them using the Seagrass pattern from the book (Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time) which is just a staggered pattern of knits and purls over six stitches.  Way easier, and I can knit them quickly in the continental style, which was impossible with all the cables before.  Hope to have socks before it gets too warm to wear them!

Last on the short list of WIPs is my quilt for do. Good Stitches.  I picked the Pyramid Scheme block by Quilt Dad, and I got the last set of blocks on Friday.  I'm going to just piece them together without sashing, but I need to decide how to orient the blocks, all in the same direction, alternating so the big colored triangles match up, or something else entirely.  Now that I have them all I can really play.

And, speaking of do. Good Stitches, my circle was featured on Stitched In Color, so everyone should check it out here!  The pink quilt in all the pictures was the first quilt I worked on with these women, and I love how it turned out!

Linking up with Lee for WIP Wednesday!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday Finish: The Fastest Raglan Sweater

This sweater is proof that I can't let my hands rest for even a minute.  I was supposed to be knitting up a baby blanket for a friend.  It was going well until I realized the pattern was off an entire ball of yarn on it's supplies list.  So while I waited for my order to arrive (of course, the one time I order yarn online) I made this sweater.

I let the boy pick the yarn and I love the color he chose.  It's Jade Heather from Patons.  It looks green from afar, but close up it has specks of yellow and blue.  And knitting with it was really nice.  It has the right combination of slips off the needles so you can knit fast, but doesn't just slip off the needles and you drop stitches.  Makes sense?  Who knows, but I liked it.

The pattern is an oldie.  I went to ask my knitting partner-in-crime for her Elizabeth Zimmerman books, and she busted out this crazy raglan sweater chart where you just measure the person you're knitting for and follow the column of numbers for your cast on stitches, increases, length of stockinette, etc.  It's kind of amazing.  I've already bought more yarn to use the pattern again, but this time with a few variations.

The one bummer with the sweater is that the sleeves aren't really long enough for him to grow into next winter, so this is probably just going to be worn for a few months before getting sent to his sister's drawer.  I swear I measured and then had him try it on before I added the ribbing, so he must have had a growth spurt overnight.  It's the only explanation.

But he loves it, so I don't care about anything else.  Also, he's a goober who just wanted to eat snow the entire time I was trying to take his photo.  At least he wasn't cold!