sweaters and more

Despite the lack of posts, things are still thing happening on these fronts. There is a bit of sewing, a lot of sweater making (some big, some small), and a lot of sweater pattern buying – which is ironic given the latest thing going on – word that we are spending some time in the United Arab Emirates over the next year.

On the crafting front, we made our round of handmade teacher gifts, and I’m super happy with how they turned out. We made little bird and garden angel ornaments from the book Scandinavian Stitches by Kajsa Wikman.030teachergift

On the knitting front. I made a second Alberta vest, this time for my Dad’s birthday. I also managed to squeak out a cardigan for my sister’s new baby…whom I had the pleasure of visiting right after she was born. Its nice to know I am knitting for a girl, and I did a little stash diving to find a cute yarn perfect for the little sunnyside cardi  from Tanis Fiber Arts. I also got to see Mia in the Puerperium Cardigan I made for Christmas, which was fun.

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In the past two months I’ve filled up my queue with sweaters, purchased the patterns and skeins up on skeins of yarn…and managed to finish my very first adult sized just for me sweater. I love the pattern, the color and the concept. I made a stupid judgement call on joining the yarn, and I can see the places in the sweater which bugs me. I also have never knitted with this type of yarn before…and I’m curious to see how it all holds up. They yarn itself is knitted strands – I have not idea what that is called, but it seems to easily snag on things. It worked out okay, but I am not sure I’d use that type of yarn again.

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So, here I sit with a queue full of sweaters and a closet full of wool. Rumor has it I may need a sweater or two for the air conditioning, but more likely…in addition to reorganizing our lives, my favorite pastime may need a major overhaul along with my Ravelry queue and list of favorites. Oy  vey!

So, this little upheaval in conjunction with the enjoyment of summer life in general is part of the reason I’ve been putting this blog (and some crafting) on the way back burner and I anticipate that will continue to be the case…at least until we get settled and figure out how life in the UAE works.

in this neck of the woods…

Despite the lack of posts, and not participating in africankelli’s September sew along, I have been working on a few things. We have been adjusting to the school schedule thing again, and getting back into the swing of catching early buses, getting homework done and the fun of fall soccer.

On the knitting front, I’ve am slowly plugging away on the Calla Cami, which is going well. I just haven’t focused on it as much as I could. Sadly, I can’t quite say the same thing for the rock island. I made a stab at the starting rock island chart, but ended up with some mistakes and ripped it back to the garter section. I forgot to place a lifeline before starting, and wont be making that mistake again! Soon I will tackle the chart again. I’ve blown it up so I can see it better, marked it up so that the SSK are all highlighted green, and I just know that this time I’ll have better luck! I need to devise a better system of keeping track of the 17 – 6 stitch repeats on either side of the center section. Any suggestions? Oh, and perhaps an isolation chamber might help too.

However, I find it is always important to give oneself some success while struggling, so to help manage my frustration, I banged out another one of Katie’s lovely patterns and had fun doing it.  How can you go wrong…big needles, big yarn, a fun braided cable with a quick turn around! I can almost get excited about the first frost that killed all that remained of our garden, as it means its about time to wear warm woolly knits!


On to sewing…I finished up two projects. The first was a modification to the messenger bag I posted on earlier. This time around the purpose was to be a holder for my daughter’s LeapPad which she received for her birthday. I decided to add some padding to the body of the bag, a pocket for the USB cord, some slots to hold the game cartridges and a pouch for the charger. I also whipped up a sleeve for the device itself. She feels pretty fancy, and enjoys carting her whole set up around.

The second project was a new baby doll wardrobe for our friends’ daughters birthday. I found an awesome pattern over on this blog, reduced it a bit since our dolls were 12 inches and then went to town. I made a few tops, two skirts, a pair of pants and a fleece jacket. Sadly, I didn’t do much in the way of photos – but the feedback is that baby Sara, and her mama are quite pleased with all the new clothing.

So, there you have it, that is what is happening in this neck of the woods. I am looking forward to getting back on track with projects and posting.

August Sew Along: Swaddle Blanket

One of my first sewing projects was the flannel swaddle blanket from the Fabric-by-Fabric One Yard Wonders book. This project, and looking at the book’s FaceBook page lead me to AfricanKelli.com and her monthly sew along. So, when Kelli asked if I’d be willing to sew another blanket and share my thoughts on the process, I said heck yeah! The timing worked well, as this past weekend I saw my dear friend Katie who is expecting.

The swaddle blanket is a simple project. Three pattern pieces are cut, the swaddle ties are joined to make one large tie, and then bias tape is sewn along the outside edge of both pieces. Once that is completed, you attach the tie to the back of the blanket and you are all done. It seems to me, the key to this project is patience and precision … neatly attaching the bias tape, and making sure that you get the seam enclosed when making the large swaddle tie.

I am still new to sewing, and the swaddle blankets are the only times I’ve worked with bias tape. I turned to the Angry Chicken tutorial on applying bias tape found here and followed her steps. I’m certain there are other ways to go about getting the bias tape on there, however I’m not very patient and the thought of lots and lots of pinning is unappealing so this seemed like a good way. In the spirit of full disclosure, my bias tape application wasn’t the neatest and I have already fessed up about my lack of patience. Despite the slips in craftsmanship, Katie was really pleased with the blanket, and I look forward to seeing a chubby baby all snuggled up in there this winter.

April Sew Along Project: Sewer’s Choice

I finished up my One Yard Wonders sew along nice and early this time around. We had plans to travel to Moab for the holiday weekend and I didn’t want to leave the project for after our return. However, we bailed on our Moab camping plans…between the winds and sands storms, and a seriously jet lagged and tired husband. But, that meant no last minute scramble, and completed projects ready for blogging. This time around, Kelli set us to the task of picking our own projects for the sew along. As she generously sent all the participants from last month’s project a yard of fabric, I decided to use it in one of my projects this time around. The fabric was a fun bold floral print, which I thought might be cute as a dress for my daughter. I bought a solid burgundy fabric to go with it and decided to tackle the Playday Frock (page 86). I had a grand notion that with the pockets this may be a dress my daughter could get behind. I should have known better. She is pretty particular about what she wears, and has a history of not being too fond of dresses. However, in my defense, she has been wearing more dresses recently, and has a particular fondness for all things pockets. I thought that perhaps with the prominent pockets in a contrast color, she might be into it. Alas, upon completion, the dress was promptly rejected. The giant scowl, crossed arms and verbal protests kind of put a damper on my plan for a fun photo shoot. At any rate, here is the dress…hopefully one day she will be open to wearing it!

Playday Frock

I actually did a few things from the Fabric-by-Fabric book this month. I made a second pot holder like the one I blogged about for Mother’s Day as a gift for my son’s teacher in a different fabric. I am still getting used to the fact that school is out for Summer and my little guy is headed for the first grade!

I also decided to sew a project for the little guy. A while back we purchased a loft bed and I added a little curtain to make a fort or cozy nook for him. I had fabric left over from that and intended to make him a pouf of some sort. I ended up making the Tuffet Inspired Ottoman (page 165), and I am happy to report he was thrilled with the project.

Tuffet Inspired Ottoman

Mother’s Day

When I picked up the fabric for last month’s apron sew along, I decided to get enough to make a gift for my mama for Mother’s Day. Being from Holland, my mom has a special fondness for orange and who doesn’t need a fun pot holder, especially in a new kitchen (my parents had a major kitchen remodel done last year)? I turned to my trusty, and always handy, Fabric-by-Fabric One Yard Wonders book…and made a cute pot holder. It is a little hard to tell in this picture (double handed modeling and simultaneous iPhone pic taking just wasn’t happening), but the pot holder is a long strip with a pocket for your hands at each end. Seems like a clever design to me, I’ll have to get feedback on the practical application from my mom.

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It just so happens that my mother in law (and pop too) is visiting with us. She recently picked up an iPhone, so sewing a cozy seemed like a good option. The fun part…well at least I think it is fun…is that I used fabric remnants from my knitting bag project which she helped me pick out – so I felt pretty confident she would like the print.

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For my part, I am meeting some other lovely mothers to hike the always brutal incline in the morning (thank you Nana for watching my kids on mothers day – my husband is still out of the country – so I can play in the morning), and later we are going on a family outing to the MAT circus performance in the afternoon.

Wishing you a Happy Mother’s Day!

Update: picture from this mornings adventures with some mama friends – the incline/barr tail on Pikes Peak.

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April Sew Along Project: Hot Pad Apron and Placemats

The project for this month’s sew along was a 2 part effort: the hot pad apron from the Fabric-by-Fabric One Yard Wonders book and placemats. I decided to get back on track, having missed last month’s pillows and purchased the supplies for the apron. This was a fun project to sew, and doing the pleats was a new thing for me.  I made one small modification to the pattern, making a skinnier, longer, double sided waist tie for the apron. I like to wrap things around and tie them upfront – makes me feel fancy. The pattern called for quilting weight cotton or home decor fabric. I went with the latter as I liked this print. Its a bit stiff, especially once you factor in the hot pads on the underside. I’m guessing with wear and washing it will soften up. When taking pictures of the apron, my daughter and I decided to try our hand at making raisin bread.

I was going to leave it at that, and just do part of the challenge for this month. However, I got a second wind at the last minute yesterday evening and decided to get the placemats done as well. I searched through the remnants and items in the closet, and pieced together a placemat for each of the kids. The left over fabric from our barnaby bear (February’s sew along project) became a placemat for my daughter, while my son’s is pieced together from the remnants of his messenger bag Christmas gift.

And speaking of my girl, here she is straight out of bed asking for pancakes to go with her new placemat.

Projects

Its been busy around here! And despite my lack of posting, there has been some fun action in these parts…

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I finished the Rosebud Hat by Jared Flood, tried it on and then I swooned. I loved the details in the pattern and the fullness of the cable braid and I am so glad I decided to try this project (and a slouchy hat). I’m really enjoying it, especially the soft cozy yarn. I’m certain I’ll be knitting this again.

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I provided a small assist to my friend who had it in her head to knit a pillowcase. This was her first foray into cables. Once she found something in one of my stitch books Super Stitches Knitting, we figured out the pattern, I gave her a quick lesson in how to cable and off she went to do the knitting. We reconvened sometime later, and I attached the knitted piece to some fabric and sewed a quick envelope pillowcase. I think it turned out lovely, and it’s got me thinking perhaps I’ll have to do something for my home. This month fabric-by-fabric sew along is for one of two pillow options…perhaps there is a way to integrate knitting into them.

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It’s official, I’ve started on the vest for my husband. I did a gauge swatch (a first for me) and even did it in the round a la this blog post from Jane Richmond. I’m only 1 inch into the project and already I’ve hit a few new firsts: first swatch (and in the round no less), first time doing the tubular cast on (I found this tutorial here and then also looked up the JMCO she used), the most stitches cast on for a single project, and my first time branching out of accessory/small project land. So many new things, and I haven’t even gotten into the heart of this challenge, the steeks!

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I’ve started on, and am half way through the next monthly motif. It’s a pretty herringbone lace pattern.

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And finally because I may have knitting ADD, spring on the brain and the desire to continue my obsessing over and wearing of scarves and cowls with the warming weather, I picked up some pretty green yarn (silk/merino/cashmere mix) and a pattern for a lacey little cowl.

…and meanwhile we are in the process of another project – a deck for our home complete with some replacement windows, a new window in the loft where before there was none and a fancy glass door leading out to the pending deck.

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It’s dusty, noisy and busy, and so very exciting!