Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Knitting

The dust of frenzied gift making has settled and I finally have time to share what I have been doing with my bits and pieces of free time. Part of my time managment problem is that I have a really bad habit of working on, Oh I don't know, 3-7 different project going on at the same time. Having so many projects on needles and in the "to sew" pile leaves little time to think about writing. I also find it incredible hard to put down the hand on creative stuff and blog, although I'm not sure why since I waste a very good portion of my time messing about on the Internet.

On to the the knitting...

My list of gifts  I wanted to make for people for Christmas was a long one, longest in history. Some got done and some didn't even get started *sigh* The first item I absolutely had to make was one of the only two things my little guy asked for: a grey snake. I looked high and low for such a thing out there in the world and apparently there is no such thing in the stuffed animal kingdom. Black, blue, green and even pink but no grey.

I set to knitting choosing the curly snake pattern out of Itty-Bitty Toys. I needed this snake to be a slight bit bigger and fast so I used Cascade Eco which is a bulky yarn. I followed the pattern as written and came up with this!

He loves it!

I couldn't be happier even if he thinks it came from Santa no matter how much I tell him otherwise. He finally came up with the compromise that I made it but Santa brought it.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ridiculously Cute/Easy/Fast Baby Booties

These might seriously be the best thing I've made in a while. Why? Because it took me maybe 2 hours from start to finish, I love working with Koigu, I didn't have to buy more yarn to make them, they are seamless, have only two, TWO, ends to weave in and when all is said and done will produce the loudest awe's at any baby shower.

Convinced? Wanna make some too?

See, ridiculous!

If you knit and are on Ravelry you might even recognize these little cuties. The original pattern is Saartje's Booties a "hot right now" pattern that I have never wanted to make because of all the ends and a thanks. Too much work for such a small project.

Lit up with some fall sunshine!

Well turns out my sister is having a girl and she saw these on Pinterest so I though I'd give them a try. After reading the original pattern again I just knew that there had to be a better option. I put Ravelry to work for me and found Fleegle's Blog.  This wonderful knitter had done all the work I didn't want to do and converted the pattern for knitting in the round.

I made some minor changes like using Judy's Magic Cast On and I knit them two at a time magic loop style up until the straps then I had to put one on a holding needle. Easy Breeze!

 ACK! I just noticed that I sewed the buttons on backward! The baby won't notice, right?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Dia De Los Muertos AKA My Glass is Half Full

Sooooo it's been a bit...

While I didn't outright fail on the kids clothing week (I did sew more than an hour each day, I swear!) I didn't meet my goal *sigh* things happen, dinners need to be made, sick kids have to go to the doctor, husbands have birthdays that need cake...the list goes on and on and on.

At least I'm done in time for a day where my pants fit right it.

These Treasure Pocket Pants are from the great book Sewing For Boys. I've had the idea "in my head" for ages and used the KCWC as the kick start I desperately needed to make them reality, unfortunately I didn't have any idea how much time these would take. It probably would have been more clear had I actually read the pattern before I cut my fabric (oops!)

One of the reasons the pants took me so long is the lovely seam construction and attention to detail. These pants are built kid tough. I think the knees will blow before anything else. My littles could not wait to put these on and find treasures to put in the clever pockets.

The other is that I made two pair using the same fabric but in different sizes. You can use your imagination to picture all the comedy show that was me putting a 4t panel with a 3t one High-larious!

Really he loves them...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Kids Clothes Week: Hats

Oooh I can barely contain my excitement about this whole challenge. I mean if this went on ALL the time, you know the having to be accountable and such, I would never have to buy anything at a store ever ( I kid, sort of.)

I work well with deadlines and other peoples expectations and this is why I did alright in college. Yes it's true that I almost always did everything (maybe even a 12 page paper) the night before it was due. Scrambling to put the finishing touches on projects at 2, 3 or ever 4AM and then managing to somehow function, look good and be running on time (this was back before I drank coffee too.)

So here I am with a literal mountain of fabric and project ideas, not to mention blog posts to write. As I was cooking dinner and occasionally checking on the littles I wondered "How am I supposed to do this and still manage to wash clothes, cook, clean and pay attention to my kids?"

The answer is still unclear but I am typing this in a clean living room having already washed my fabric, put away dinner and I even have a project to show off.  *I typed this last night as I was waiting for my fabric to dry

Ready set GO!!!

To be fair I did not just whip these up today. I finished them today. I'm taking this week to help me get back on track with my time spent here on the the blog, finishing old projects and starting projects that have, until now, lived only in my head.

Project Low Down

Pattern: my own made up simple hat. CO 133, knit a 1x1 rib  for about 7 or 8 rows until it looked how I wanted, added a couple random stripes  to give each hat a way for me to tell who's who's. Even decreases starting after the hat measured about 5 inches.

Needles: Size 2 for ribbing, 3 for hat

Yarn: Koigu that the boys picked out themselves.

Monday, October 8, 2012

I Heart Michigan

I can't think of a better way to kick of the Kids Clothes Week Challenge! Here We Go!

I have crush on my home state of the mitten. The lovely summer we had enjoying all it's water ways and sandy beaches only fueled the fire.

Wanting to share the love with my littles I searched out a simple shirt with a pic of the great lakes or just the outline of the state. Would you believe that this was hard to find? I didn't think it would be but for some reason all of the kids shirts had silly sayings or some wording like "Made in Michigan",  personally don't get the appeal.

While being lulled to sleep by the waves of Lake Michigan I had an idea, combine my many loves to make a great shirt! My kids, Michigan and Alabama Chanin style sewing.

I started with some plain shirts from Target, scraps from another project I'm working on, two pairs of tiny hands and lots of love. CHEESE!

Do you see that black spot??? Can you believe I sent him to school in this before taking any pictures? It was the only day he came home with not just paint but BLACK paint on his clothes. AHHHH! (don't worry it mostly came out)

Not sure if you have ever traced your littles' hands but, it is really hard. It's one thing to do it for a fun picture but it's a whole other ballgame when your trying to make a template for an applique. I needed their tiny fingers to be just so. Thankfully they were into the whole process and we managed to do it in about three tries.

Oh my gosh! I just just now realized that if youj are not a native Michigander or know someone who is you may have no idea that we here in the Great Lakes State often use our hand to show our location or what have you.

I ironed these, I swear!

After using a basic straight stitch for the applique I backed stitched on a little love for our town: Ann Arbor. Now don't go looking to compare the location to it's map counterpart, it's a heart in the general abstract vicinity of A2.

I kinda wanna make one for myself. Will. Have. To. Wait. Focus on the kids...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


*SOB* not him but his Mama. Loki went off to school today for the very first time and didn't even look back.

When I picked him up from school and he found out he got to got back tomorrow let me just say he was beyond thrilled.

The only thing I regret is not finishing any of the projects I had lined up for him to wear to his first day. Oh, well...the school year is long and we have time.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

At Least the Yarn is Lovely

I had high hopes, maybe too high, for this project.  I had been eyeing the Caramel pattern for some time but had yet to find just the right yarn, enter Madelinetosh DK. Ooooh *swoon* what amazing and lovely yarn. It's a dream to knit with just slipping through my fingers soft and light. The colors that are available are almost too much to bare. I had the hardest time choosing but settled on Milk, Coral and Robin's Egg calling the sweater Seaside Sunset Caramel because together they reminded me of how the sun looks as it dips into the sea just before slipping away. I started knitting it on the plane to San Francisco and you may have even seen it peeking out of my Show Off Bag.

Everything was going fine, I was loving the color combo, the pattern and the yarn. I bound off and tried it on *sigh* the back rode up just a little and I didn't really love it so I ripped it back just a touch and added three short rows to the back.  Fixed!

I blocked it (which took two months to make myself do) and gleefully packed it for a trip up north (if you are from or know Michigan you know where I mean.)I  Pictured being snuggled up on a slightly chilly morning drinking coffee outside while watching the lake wake up. Well fortunately it was hot and super beachy which I la la love more than anything so that was fine. Fast forward to the end of the trip on a very blustery day and it turns out this sweater was the only warm thing I brought. Bah.

Ack! Ignore the thread peaking out, Gah!

The yarn didn't travel well (see the wrinkles) and I wish I had figured out how to make an extra small because the whole thing just feels too big and too floppy for me. To ease the flop I bought a pedestal button which works fine until I bend over *sigh*

Serious Button Action, I need to do some closure thinking to get it just right.

Alright enough with the blah..after looking at the pictures and seeing it on my friend Rae (whom it looks particularly stunning on) I see that it really is a nice sweater for the colors alone. I think I can play with the fit and if not I'm sure I could find a pretty good home for it.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Love Story: How a Knitter Fell for Hand Sewing

I'm still kicking myself for not discovering Alabama Chanin sooner. Seriously? Where have I been? Why did I not know about this? I remember when the first book was released and how I was drawn to the name and the cover but because it was sewing by hand promptly put it back on the self.  To think I was so close to meeting my new love.

The title could also read "Sewing For Knitters" because I have found a true companion to complement my deep deep adoration for knitting. Don't get me wrong there will be nothing that can replace the soothing sounds of needle tips clicking together as mere wisps of string are looped and caught to magically transform into a garment (highly romanticised but true.) I am always in awe of knitting. I look down to watch my piece grow and marvel at how amazing it is every time.

What does this have to do with sewing and how is it that someone who will avoid seams in a knit garment at all costs as to avoid sewing can now be so in love with it?

The idea of crafting a garment completely by hand, at first, terrified me. All the steps before you get to the actual sewing are very much the same as for machine sewing, although as I went to sleep last night I realized that cutting out the fabric is very much akin to winding a skein of yarn. The similarities to knitting keep coming. Once your fabric is cut out in pattern the project is totally portable, just like knitting. There might be a little set up such as testing what embroidery stitch to use, like swatching a knit. Pinning items together and "loving" your thread are like casting on.

Are you still with me?

The Low Down
Pattern: Alabama Chanin tank top from Alabama studio Sewing + Design size XS
Fabric: A thrifted XXL mens t-shirt

I used a thrifted shirt so that I could just dive in. I have a terrible tendency to hoard fabric and find it too precious to cut. Not so with some dudes giant purple t-shirt. The shirt turned out to be a super awesome find. It's a really lovely thin 100% cotton that's soft and has tiny purple and light purple stripes.

Let's talk about the sewing, oh the sewing. I love how it feels to be hand stitching the seams together. Felling them is my preferred look and I really love the whole embroidery bit. I even like testing it out to decided what would look best.  I went with the feather stitch because it was one I could actually figure out and make look good. I have a lot to learn about embroidery stitches.

One of my littles was about to sneak in the shot

Overall I'm really pleased with how it turned out but I did have to make some modifications. After I was all done sewing the binding in place I tried it on only to find that I really should have done so BEFORE I worked so hard on the embroidery (hand to forehead, doh.) The armholes gaped something fierce and there was no way to remedy the problem without taking off some portion of the binding. 

I only had to remove the slightest bit near the shoulder seams. I seam ripped and took in the shoulders quite a bit. I'm still left with a bit off a gap but nothing that screams "redo" or at least not to me.

More to come! I already stared another tank with thrifted shirts but this time with applique and I've order actual Alabama Chanin fabric to make a dress . Yippee! Hurray for Hand Sewing!

Friday, July 20, 2012

New Obsession and Love

Just buzzing by with a quick peek at what I've got in my hands and on my mind.

Thanks Alabama Chanin for a new way to spend my evenings.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hot Dye!

This week it has been HOT here in the mitten and we spent most of our time either getting wet outside or staying dry and cool in the AC.

By the end of the week I was all swum out and it really was too hot to just play outside (we're talking over 100 degrees!) but we were starting to feeling cooped up in our house. What did we do to beat the heat? Well naturally it's tie dye time!

Loki got a tie dye kit for his birthday and I figured what better way to spend our time outside but to strip down to undies (the boys, not me) and dye some things crazy bright colors. Unfortunately I have no pictures from the actual dye session because my hands got messy fast and corralling squeeze bottle toting tots with a camera was out of the question. Much fun was had and we all ending up with very colorful shirts and hands and even feet.

The ends results are quite wonderful and even more so because both kids really did all the dyeing of their shirts on their own with no help. I only stepped in to keep Astas from emptying the entire contents of every bottle of color onto one shirt. We also made shirts for their cousins and me, by we I mean me, can you tell which ones I did?

The hardest part for the kids was waiting. After the shirts where all colored they had to be wrapped up in plastic and left alone for 24hrs. Twenty Four hours!! A day in kid time feels like a year. It was as if we were on a long trip except for "Are we there yet?" was replaced with "Are they done yet?"  I didn't wait the exact amount of time recommended to rinse and wash them because there is only so much a Mama can do to keep anxious kids at bay. I did all the rinsing, washing and drying so I could surprise the kids after siesta time.  They were so happy and proud that they wore the shirts to bed and are still wearing them as I write this.
Proud Artists

 Goofy artists

 Firetruck sighting

 Closer view of the firetruck.

Trying to keep an eye on the firetruck parked across the street.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

And She Sews in to the Wee Hours

My little guy turned 3, THREE, this past week.  We have been talking about birthdays with him for a while because it's kinda been a birthday season that started in March . We asked what he wanted for his birthday and he said "Strawberry cake and presents."  I had the cake covered thanks to pinterest.

This was the best picture I could get because he kept dancing around (and my camera is crummy)

The "and presents" not so much. I was racking my brain and remembered "oh, yeah...the quilt....." I bought the fabric for it waaaay back in 2009 and even posted about it to keep me motivated. Clearly that didn't work. The day before his birthday, or that night before, I set out to finish the stinkin quilt. All I had left was to bind it all up. Piece of cake, right?

Somehow my brain was so fried that I could not wrap my head around how to do those mitered edges and I think I spent about a 1/2 hour struggling with the logistics. Luckily my brain kicked it into high gear and I got the machine sewing done. I then spent the better part of the evening hand stitching the miters into place with the injured thumb to prove it. The end result isn't perfect but when he went to bed after his birthday dinner he said "I need a blanket." I covered him with a gauze one he has been using since it got hot. "NO" he said "my new blanket, it's my favorite." Heart melting and gleeful smiling on the part of this Mama.

Frolic by Wendy Slotbloom with some other randoms to round it out.

Seriously could not have asked for a better end to the day or project.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Year in the Making

I have written this post in my head for, well, almost a year now.

I say "I really need to blog about this, but I have to block it first. I'll do it tomorrow." Tomorrow comes and I never feel like blocking. I knit a new thing, I weave in ends on another thing, I sew a little something. Summer turns to Fall, Fall turns to Winter, Winter turns to Spring and $!@&;^%$ it's Summer AGAIN??!

I have been saying " I really should block this." about once a week and somehow I never do it. I think
"I kinda want to wear it" as I lay trying to fall asleep. Tomorrow...

Tomorrow came and I did it!!!Maybe all this foot dragging is due to the fact that this was my second Buttercup tunic and so it wasn't a thrill to knit or finish. I made another one because I wasn't really that happy with how the first one turned out and I had to make some modifications.

The Low Down
Pattern: Buttercup by Heidi Kirrmaier
Yarn: Jaeger Trinity
Modifications: There are a ton and since I finished knitting this almost a year ago and didn't take good notes I'm making some grand guesses as to how exactly I modified my top. First off I omitted the gathering at the back neck to result in a more overall fitted look. According to my notes I did this "body, knit until measures 10 cm from underarm. after marker ssk knit until 2 st before next marker k2tog sm ssk knit until 2 stitches before marker k2tog"  I assume this was to take it in a bit so it fit better.   I knit the sleeve much shorter. In fact I only did a couple rounds after picking up the stitches for the sleeves then I bound off loosely and I didn't do the "puff" sleeve so I could get a tighter trimmer fit.

My overall goal was a more fitted top and I am so much happier with this version then I am with my first attempt.

Notice the red bracelet?

Here's a close up

It was a birthday gift from my friend Christy who has a wonderful line of jewelry over at B-side Metalworks. It's a wish bracelet that is so sweet in it's concept and look that I couldn't resist tell you about it. The idea behind it is to make a wish when putting it on and when the bracelet falls off your wish will come true. So cute!