Baby and big sister gifts.

Our friends, Meredith and Bryan, are about to have their second baby. We met Meredith and Bryan because their daughter is super great friends with Charlie (and they saw each other one night out at a pizza place. Charlie was like, oh that’s my friend from school! and then we ended up all sitting together.) It’s so fun to have playdates with them because we all get to hang out too.

So a new baby means a new quilt! I used a pattern I’d never tried before – Storytime Squares by made-by-rae. My sister made an adorable version for one of her mama friends last year and it totally inspired me to try the pattern. I used 4.5 inch squares instead of 5 inch squares because that’s what I had already cut, so I had to adjust the sashing some, and then it turned out a little smaller than I wanted, so I added an extra border on the outside. I probably could have quilted it a bit more –  I really liked how the quilting looked after doing just a 1/4 inch around the big blocks and extra lines in the sashing, so I stopped there.  I am really happy with how it turned out!

My version of Storytime Squares

I knew that they were doing robots and monsters in their nursery, so I found a cute monsters flannel at Joann’s and used that for the back. Of course I forgot to take a picture ;) There are also a few flannel blocks in there on the front. It turned out around 41 x 41 inches.

I didn’t want to leave big sister out, so I made a little something for her too. My friend Mary-Heather pointed out this adorable pattern for a doll, Elsa, by Wee Wonderfuls, and I thought it would be perfect for her because she loves princesses and pink and purple. It was really fun to make and actually pretty quick – the hard part is the finishing touches, like the face and the hair. The pattern calls for felt eyes but I can never get them cut out quite right – I bet if I used better felt I could! So I embroidered a simple face. I feel like the face can make or break a softie like this – it is so easy to make the face accidentally weird or scary. Ha. Hopefully this doll’s face is just cute ;)

Flutterberry.

I followed the pattern directions to make the hair, and then braided it and tacked it down over where the doll’s ears would be. This made the braids hang really nicely. Her skirt is removable, and I can totally see making fun little dresses for a doll like this too. Big sister was very excited about her doll and decided that her name would be Flutterberry. :)

Hooray for friends and new babies and siblings!

 

More sewing with knits: the Laurel Tunic.

Happy Friday! I finished another sewing project: The Laurel Tunic, by Greenstyle Creations. Overall, I think this pattern is very straightforward to sew – it took me a minute to understand what I was supposed to do with the cowl neck, but the directions are very clear and I think a beginner could definitely sew this. My version took me a little while to finally finish because I kept seeing ways to make it better. The final version looks like this (not the greatest picture but you get the idea):

The Laurel TunicBut it took me a little while to get here. When I started making this, the top part fit great as it was in the pattern, so I put the whole shirt together with no alterations and declared it done. Hooray! Then I had Jacob take some pics of me in it, and I couldn’t believe how BIG it was on me. I just didn’t notice it until I saw the picture:Laurel Tunic, first go round.

So it looks cute, but it is kind of shapeless. Jacob said it looked like a square. Ha. ( I was like, why didn’t you tell me it looked so huge? and he said, I don’t know, I thought it was supposed to look like that!)I decided to take the sides in and remove the pockets (because this fabric is pretty thin and they looked bulky), and see how I felt about it then. Here’s take two:

Laurel Tunic take two.

 

Okay SO MUCH BETTER. Now it’s actually a little bit flattering! However, the length just wasn’t quite right for me, and it looked super weird with a skirt. So during my photoshoot with my friend Denise, I folded up the tunic to see if we liked it better shorter. And we did!

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ooooh this looks like a shirt I would buy at the store! So after work I ran home and trimmed some length of the shirt. I was so excited and happy after I hemmed it that I accidentally cut INTO THE SEWN HEM when I was trying to trim off extra fabric. (OMG I am such a dork.) So, the final version is a wee bit shorter than I originally wanted it to be, but ultimately I think the most wearable version of the shirt. When I make another one, I’ll definitely do the shorter length, and I may go down a size with the pattern, because I had to take the sides in A LOT for the fit to look right. I also think I would like a dress length version of this.

sewing-projects

After all of that, I ended up with a shirt that I love, and that I can really wear with lots of other things in my closet. I just used my regular old sewing machine for this pattern as well – she mentions in the directions when you need to use a stretch stitch (like a zig zag or the stretch tricot on my machine) versus just a straight stitch. I also tried using the twin needle on my machine for the first time and it really does make the hems look so finished (and more like the hems on ready-to-wear knits). I really am working up to using my serger! SOON.

Hope you are having a great Friday! I’ll leave you with a picture of our newly adopted pup, Wally. He’s one year old, and a snuggler.

Distinguished gentleman.

Tiramisu, the third.

So apparently I can’t stop making Tiramisus. Ha!

 

TiramisuSorry for the slightly crappy picture. I haven’t had time to get real pictures of it so my smudgy mirror selfies will have to do ;) This Tiramisu is made with some cotton spandex knit fabric that I got from Girl Charlee and it is so soft – it feels like wearing pajamas! It isn’t quite as heavy as the knit I used for my second Tiramisu, so I was worried that it would be super fiddly to sew with, but it was totally fine. The only thing I’ve started doing is when I sew a seam, I don’t start at the beginning – I start like an inch in, because my machine seems to want to suck the knit fabric in when I start sewing at the beginning. Since I’ve started doing this, I had way less trouble with the fabric getting sucked in and tangled up.

This fabric is obviously stripey, and the Tiramisu pattern gives you guidelines for matching stripes. I LOVE the way the stripe matching turned out. I want to make other ones in stripey fabric now!

Tira close up

Here’s a close up of the bodice (and please ignore my imperfect top stitching!)  The way the pattern works, the neck binding is a little bit shorter than your bodice pieces, so you gently stretch it to fit, which makes the whole bodice stay nice and tight and not gapey. I definitely have to do some fitting each time, so I baste all the bodice pieces together, and then pin so it fits, and then baste again. and then sew it up. This has worked super well for me! I also tried to do the pockets this time, but with this fabric, they looked lumpy and weird so I decided to leave them out. I think this next picture best shows how I feel about this dress:

yay!

Taken with Photo Booth on my work computer ;) I made it on a Monday night and wore it on a Tuesday! I wanted to mention that I’ve been using my regular sewing machine to make these Tiramisus. I *do* have a serger, but I’m sort of working up the courage to use it on actual seams on actual dresses. Ha. I am such a wimp. But I did practice threading it! Progress!

I’ve already started working on the (hopefully wearable) muslin for my next project. This one is the Laurel tunic, by Greenstyle. I started sewing last night and got close to finished with the top:
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I am making the medium and so far, the fit seems great!

What are you working on these days? Any sewing patterns that you are absolutely loving? Or knitting, even? :)

 

Tiramisu, the second.

I finished my second Tiramisu!

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I am really happy with it. This time, I made the bodice pieces just like I did in the muslin, but I went up one size for the skirt (since I had the issue where the skirt pieces were way too small) and that meant I also had to retrace the bodice pieces as well. I also used my cutting table, pattern weights, and my rotary cutter instead of pinning the pattern pieces and using scissors, and it made a huge difference.

I didn’t make any effort to match up the chevrons, but I think it still looks okay. This knit is a little heavier than than my muslin fabric, and it was much easier to work with. I also remembered to use the stretch stitch when I attached the binding to the sleeves and they are super comfortable – no tightness at all. I wore this dress all day at Easter with my family, and it is so comfy!

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I topstitched the sleeves and the neck binding, which seems to help them lay flat and also just looks nice. I haven’t hemmed this yet because the pattern says to wear it unhemmed for a bit so it can settle before hemming. NO PROBLEM. The nice things about knits – it doesn’t look unfinished without a hem! (I mean, it will look MORE finished with a hem but I’m totally fine wearing it with a raw hem for a bit.)

happy about my dress

 Y’all I cannot get over how wearable this is. I want to SEW MORE KNITS! and also more clothes! I always get the itch to sew clothes for myself when the weather starts getting warm, and this year is no exception. Luckily, I went through my fabric stash and found a bunch of voile that I bought last year – probably enough for a few dresses and a shirt – and I still have enough knit fabric for one more Tiramisu. I also may have hit up Joann’s during the one dollar Simplicity pattern sale and bought some more patterns that are meant for knits. Other things I’m planning to make are the Amelia dress (look at all the gorgeous versions in that blog post from Bolt!) and the Endless Summer Tunic (One Stitch Short Sarah made a super cute version of this tunic!) I always make grand plans for sewing and they don’t always happen, but it’s nice to dream about doing it and maybe I’ll actually make everything this time :)

My family!
Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates! We lucked out with some gorgeous weather here, so it was a perfect day for an Easter egg hunt. Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

More sewing!

It feels so good to be blogging again! And it’s so nice to chat with people in the comments. HI!

As soon as I finished Ollie’s quilt, I already knew what my next sewing project would be: the Tiramisu dress, by Cake Patterns. I’ve been wanting to sew with some knits for a while, and THEN Jacob got me a serger for Christmas, so now I really have no excuse. I ordered some awesome knit fabric from Girl Charlee - including some super cute and super sale fabric to use for a muslin – and got to work.

tiramisu-muslinI learned a few things in sewing my muslin. The Tiramisu pattern I used is one that you print out and then tape together, which is super handy but also sort of a pain. (But, instant gratification, so.) When I do patterns like this, I usually use freezer paper to trace the pattern pieces in my size, and then pin the freezer paper pieces to the fabric to cut it out. For me, the knit fabric was way harder to cut precisely than quilting fabric or some other woven fabric. So lesson one: clear off my cutting table, and use pattern weights and a rotary cutter instead of the floor, pins, and my scissors.

The pattern tells you to use a “lightning stitch” to seam the pieces – this is a stretch stitch that you’re supposed to use with knits. On my machine, (a lovely Pfaff Ambition) this stitch is called a stretch tricot stitch. However, it’s way more difficult to rip seams that have been sewn with this stitch. So I learned that I need to baste, baste, baste with a straight stitch, try the pieces on, and THEN sew with the stretch stitch once I’m sure things fit right. (I know, DUH. I didn’t say these were lessons that everyone needs to learn. ha.)

So I got the bodice all sewn up – I got lucky and the bodice mostly fit great. I had to make a few adjustments,and the neckline is a little snug, but not uncomfortable, and I’m taking notes for the next time I sew this. It’s my muslin, right? I just want it to be wearable. Next, I go to sew the skirt pieces together, and they are WAY too narrow. Now, I had a choice between sizes when I was cutting out pattern pieces, and I did choose the smaller of those two sizes, but I think the issue was in my cutting. (See lesson one!) I think the fabric was moving around too much when I cut and I cut incorrectly. To fix this, I cut two strips of fabric and seamed them on the sides of the skirt pieces. It’s a design feature. HAHAHA.

Finally I put all the pieces together!

Tiramisu muslin

It’s *mostly* wearable. I would need to wear a sweater with it at work because there’s a hole in the back where my fabric got stuck in my machine, and the sides might be a little weird from the extra fabric I had to add. BUT I can totally bum around the house or at the playground in this! and I think I’m going to be able to make one that fits really, really well next time around. So hooray for muslins! I’ve already cut out the pieces for Tiramisu number two.

A Quilt for Ollie.

Well I was going to post this all on Flickr but man, Flickr looks crazypants these days, and I thought, who is really going to go look at all of this on Flickr? Where could I post this info? I do still have this blog…so hi there! I’m posting on my blog about a quilt I just finished. Now it may be the case that no one will come here to read the quilt details either, but at least it’s a little easier to navigate than Flickr.

Quilt for Ollie, March 2014.
A quilt for Ollie.

Finally finished Ollie’s quilt! I started this when Cathy was pregnant. The finished quilt is 39.5 inches x 50.5 inches.

I didn’t use a pattern, but this quilt was the inspiration. It is basically wonky stars and nine patch blocks, alternating. I started with 4.5 inch squares and tried to stick with a purple-green-pink-blue palette. It’s a little loud, but I think that’s perfect for a baby quilt :)

This quilt is machine bound, and I used this method where you end up with a main binding color and then a little accent color. This is probably the first machine binding I’ve ever done that I was happy with.

The backing fabric is from a set of curtains I got on clearance at Target – I cut the lining out and it was perfect!
Quilt backing! Read more about the quilt here.

I also used my machine to embroider a label.
Quilt tag

I’m super happy with how it turned out! I can’t wait to get some pictures of Miss Ollie on her quilt. :)

Well.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I miss blogging, and how I’d really like to blog about some things – mostly sewing, and some knitting, and maybe some mom stuff too.   Someone on Twitter asked why I’d stopped, and I realized that, in my head, I’m still a blogger…I’ve just been on a super long extended break. ha. I couldn’t bring myself to take down this site, because I like going through the archives every now and then, and hey, what if I decided to post again?

OH HAI I AM POSTING!

So, what’s new?

C is two, and kind of a big boy now:
Happy!

I just got a new sewing machine, a Pfaff Ambition 1.0 (purchased with some of my prize winnings from being on Wheel of Fortune) and I love it. I’ve been working on some quilt blocks and making lots of clothes, including two Darling Ranges dresses:

Darling Ranges Dress.

Darling Ranges dress #2.

I’m knitting too – I’m working on Olga’s lovely  Aranami Shawl using some lovely Yarn Pirate yarn, and I’m about to start the Through The Loops Mystery Shawl KALat the beginning of June. I’ve never done a mystery knitalong of any kind and two of my friends at work are doing it too – it should be fun! I can finish Aranami before June 1st, right? ha.So, everything’s pretty much the same around here. I’m working on a new dress now - Simplicity 1801 - and am venturing into the world of full bust adjustments – eek! We’ll see how it goes.

I don’t know if this post means I might start posting more often … or if I’m just feeling nostalgic for my blog and needed to post. either way, hi!

Magrathea

MagratheaI finished another knit!

It’s Magrathea, by Martina Behm. I really really loved knitting this – the construction is super interesting, and the result is an asymmetrical shawlette/scarflette. The only issue I had was that I couldn’t quite get the points to block out the same way on both sides, but I think it still looks good.

I knitted this for a Mother’s Day swap with my lovely February 2010 Ravelry pals, or Ravelmamas, as we like to call each other. :) (Our group started because we were all pregnant and due around the same time.) It’s winging its way to a secret location right now!

 

I look sort of nuts in this picture, but I wanted to show you how long the scarf got once I blocked it. o hai I am so dorky. I used Araucania Ranco, which is soft and lovely and comes in beautiful colors. I actually went to the yarn store looking for a semi solid worsted weight yarn for a different pattern, but I fell in love with this yarn and decided to knit Magrathea instead. I’m glad I did. I had so much fun knitting it that I immediately cast on for another shawl – this time, for myself.

One last (kinda crappy) pic so you can see the lace a little better:

Magrathea, from the back.

from the back.

I already received my swap package and got an absolutely beautiful Aeolian Shawl – from a mama who just had another baby, too!

Gorgeous shawl from my Ravelmama friend Jamie.

Gorgeous shawl from my Ravelmama friend Jamie.

Yay for Ravelry friends and swaps!

Finally finished.

I finished my skirt (Rav link)!

Sawtooth skirt (with indigo ripples at the bottom)

Finally! Finished!

and I really, really love it. See?

Appropriately excited about my skirt.

I am dancing a jig!

It’s super swingy and comfortable.  I put elastic at the waist and could probably cinch it even a little tighter, but it’s totally wearable as it is. I’m wearing a (borrowed) slip in these pics, and I think I’ll definitely need to wear a slip with it, but I don’t mind at all.

The body of the skirt is the Sawtooth Skirt, and the lace at the bottom is from the Indigo Ripples pattern. I sort of chickened out on the lace in the Sawtooth Skirt pattern, but this worked out perfectly.

The yarn – Berroco Linen Jeans – seems like it’s going to hold shape pretty well.  I soaked and blocked it and the yarn felt really strange when it was wet, but once it dried, it’s nice and soft and comfortable again. I have to admit – I love the result, but I did not love the process of knitting this skirt. It’s just so. much. stockinette.  I’ll probably wait a little while before trying again, but I bet I’ll knit another skirt in the future. Now that this one is done, I can concentrate on some other summer knits. and baby knits, for all the babies that are on the way in my life.

And maybe some big boy knits for Charlie, who is no longer a baby. OMG when did this happen?

totally a toddler.

Suddenly he is walking! and running! and wanting to be outside ALL THE TIME. We got some family portraits taken a few weekends ago (and we used ZoomWorks, who were aawesome), and he was all over the place – walking towards the camera, toddling around outside, and laughing a lot.

fun times.

silly schmoo.

I’m looking forward to summer and hot weather and taking lots of fun weekend trips with my family!

skirt!

I have been trying to knit a skirt for YEARS. Seriously. I’m totally inspired by all the lovely skirts that Diana of Bestitched has made – so wearable! so flattering!  I’ve tried several times using some Euroflax Sportweight that I’ve had in my stash for ages, and every time I knit it up, it comes out too big. Even if I do a gauge swatch. (which I sometimes, um, skip. ha.) So, last July, I found the perfect pattern and yarn to make a skirt – the Sawtooth Skirt, using Berroco Linen Jeans.  I swatched! And started knitting!

Progress.

Fast forward to this week – I’d finally picked it up again to finish it, and the waist was looking huge. I pulled it on just to see if it would fit, and it looked GIANT. Sad panda. I decided I was going to rip it, because this yarn is beautiful and I didn’t want to waste it.

Knitted skirt,  almost done.

Then a friend suggested trying some elastic in the waistband. I was planning to use elastic for the waist, so it seemed like a good idea to at least TRY before ripping all those hours of knitting … and guess what? IT FITS! (see a tiny preview pic to the left. bonus shot of my toilet included.)

I am so so excited about this, y’all.  I don’t mind ripping things out when they aren’t going to work, but I have been wanting to knit a skirt for so long.  I’ve decided to do the lace from the Indigo Ripples skirt pattern at the bottom of this one instead of the lace from the Sawtooth Skirt pattern, because I am lazy. (The Sawtooth Skirt pattern has you knit the bottom separately and sew it on.) Now I’m knitting like a crazy woman because I can’t wait to wear this skirt! Right in time for warmer weather, too. Hooray!

We had such a nice weekend. The weather was amazing here – sunny, breezy, warm. We went to a birthday party for our friend Hayes on Saturday and Charlie had so much fun playing outside.  Hayes got a water table for his birthday, and those things are FUN.

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water table!

On Sunday, Charlie got to hang outside and watch his dad do yard work – one of his favorite activities.

Charles in charge.

I hope you had a lovely weekend too :)