Apr 112015
 

This morning, I whipped up a taggy crinkle toy for my little baby BOY!  Yup, this week we found out that we’re expecting a sweet little baby boy and I am so happy and excited.  I know I would feel just as happy and excited if baby were a girl, but it feels so much more real to know either way.  Anyway, we are over the moon!

So, the taggy crinkle toy.  This took about 30 minutes from start to finish.

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Here are all of my supplies.

  • Two fabrics (jersey, for softness, and because I had scraps in my stash that I wanted to use up, with high-contrast patterns.
  • Ribbon
  • Plastic crinkle material – – this is actually a washed cereal bag that I fished out of the recycle bin
  • Felt to match the fabric – – to just add a bit more squish to the toy

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I matched up my felt fabric and jersey and pinned the cut up ribbon to the outside of one side.

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Yay, blurry photo!

Sandwiched everything together.  Note that the plastic crinkle material needs to be sandwiched on what will be the inside of the toy (I actually did this wrong and had to rip the whole thing out).

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Then sewed three of four edges, trimmed edges, carefully turned the work right side-out, and handstitched the open edge.

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Lessons learned – – if I were to make one of these again, I would add more taggies and maybe make them a bit shorter.  I also didn’t add taggies to the end that I handstitched but I didn’t have enough ribbon material for anymore taggies, so whatever.

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Apr 042015
 

Today I sewed my first creation for the SHB Sewalong, two “Ultimate Catch-All Baby Bibs.”  This was a super fast and fun project to work on – – I finished both bibs in about 40 minutes.  The fabric is Babyville PUL from Joann’s and I believe the snaps are also Babyville brand. I had originally bought this fabric and these snaps because I was planning on sewing my own cloth diaper covers, but I have since lost interest in that project.  Fortunately, there are a lot of things that a person can sew for baby using PUL, like say, baby bibs.

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I think the catch-all pocket is pretty cool.  The bib can be worn without the catch-all pocket deployed, just as a flat bib, but two quick snap clicks create the nice pocket.  The bib is double sided (both sides PUL for easy cleaning).  The neck seems a bit small too me, but I compared it to a McCall’s pattern for a baby bib and it seems comparable.  As I am a complete newbie when it comes to baby, I have absolutely no idea how many bibs a person needs, but I figured that two would be a good start.

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Tomorrow, I’m hoping to sew up another items for the sewalong.

 

Mar 272015
 

It’s been a while since I felt capable of joining an along, be it for knitting or sewing or running or anything.  In addition to being 20 weeks in my baby-growing journey, I’ve been very busy with a lot of different commitments.  Earlier this week, however, I learned of a sew-along that sounds so serendipitously perfect for where I am at with life and am excited to participate; the SHB Sew-Along for the month of April is intended to help inspire, motivate, and compel those of us about to welcome or who have recently welcomed a small human being into our lives (or another person’s life) to sew baby clothes, baby accessories & toys, as well as maternity and nursing pieces (or other items for parents of small humans).

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The list of things I want to sew for my small human being (as well as for Josh and I to support us as parents) overfloweth and I’ve also been adding to my fabric and supply stash with the intent to complete these projects, so it’s about time that I make some headway.

Here is a list of things that I would love to sew during the sew-along:

Baby Clothes

I actually don’t plan on making very many baby clothes right now, except for maybe:

Baby Accessories & Toys

  • Ultimate Baby Bib w/ Catch All – This bib looks absolutely perfect.  I’ve got a few different yards of PUL and appropriate snaps specifically for this project.
  • Burp Cloths – By Rae pattern.
  • Baby Sleep Sack from Sew Mama Sew or Baby Sleep Sack from DIY Mommy both look like great sleep sacks that I can make from my stash.  I might try making a light weight one for the warmer months and a fleece version for the winter.
  • Sensory plushie or blankie – – like this Seahorse  or this Green Monster Rattle Toy, a Pinterest search brings up so many different ideas that look really fun to make and fun for baby.  Options include having some crinkle material or rattle sewn inside, ribbon sewn to the outside to play with, and even attaching a rubber baby chewy thing (actually, one of my co-workers gave me a nice rubber baby chewy thing, so I already have supplies to make this!).
  • Amish Puzzle Ball – okay, so this looks like something a quilter would make, so I would most certainly not do a good job of this, but I think it’s AWESOME

For Parents

  • Nursing Pads – Of all the disposable items that are probably easier to make once (and reuse over and over) than to go to the store and buy repeatedly, nursing pads have to be at the top of the list.
  • Nursing Cover – A nursing cover would be a great stashbusting project for an item that would surely be indispensable to me.  There are so many DIY tutorials around, but I do like the concept of this one, though I will probably make a few modifications.
  • Maternity Clothes – I have several patterns for maternity and nursing tops, skirts, and dresses that I’m excited to make, for which I’ve already procured the fabric.
    • McCalls 6966 –  which is for a maxi skirt but I think it would be so easy to convert it to be maternity-capable.
    • McCalls 6612 – is for a maxi dress with cowl neck and actually is listed as suitable for maternity wear
    • Simplicity 1469 – is a Megan Nielsen design for a maternity and nursing top and dress
    • Simplicity 1359 – is one of those patterns with a blouse, a skirt, and pants, all maternity specific

That’s probably a good place for me to stop.  If I were able to make even a handful of these items during the sew-along, I would consider that a HUGE success.

 

 

Mar 222015
 

I am so happy to have finished this dress, just in time for spring dress weather.  The pattern is Simplicity 1653, which is for a faux wrap knit dress.  I bought the pattern a few months ago, when I was on the hunt for patterns that would be suitable for both maternity and non-maternity wear.  The fabric is a knit from Mood and is very soft and amazing to have next to skin.

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I was excited that this is for a faux wrap dress because there is absolutely no way to have a wardrobe malfunction.  Though, since it’s not a real wrap dress, I don’t think it will work as a nursing dress, for after baby arrives.  Win some, lose some.

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Oh, here I am wearing my brand new maternity leggings!  I’ve been hesitant to buy much in the way of maternity clothes, because I’ll need mostly hot weather clothing, but right now I’m still wearing cool weather clothing.  But maternity leggings are basically normal leggings with a long super stretchy waistband, and I think that I could basically live in maternity leggings for the rest of my life… so comfy!

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Here’s the back of the dress.  Obviously, I didn’t bother trying to match my pattern across seams.  In hindsight, I have no idea why there is a seam across the back.  If I ever make this dress again, I will omit this seam.

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Yeah… I guess I don’t have much to say about this dress except that I’m pretty happy with it.  Because there is not seam across the waistline, I anticipate being able to wear this as long as the fabric is able to stretch across my belly.

Oh!  I don’t think I’ve shown off my haircut yet.  In a fit of hormonal duress, I took some sewing shears to my hair and tried giving myself some layered bangs.  I think they turned out pretty okay.

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Feb 142015
 

I’ve finally finished the baby blocks that I started about three months ago!  Considering that I made 48 blocks, I’m sure any reasonable person would think that a titch excessive but I’d prefer to have too many blocks than too few.

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I first found the idea for these blocks on Pinterest.  Naturally, now that baby is on the way, I’ve spent a lot of time browsing baby and toddler crafts and Pinterest and my ‘queue’ of things I want to make overfloweth.

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The instructions that were included with the original pin that I saw for these blocks, unfortunately, weren’t very good.  They basically suggested that you cut upholstery foam into 4″ cubes, cut fabric into 5″ squares (0.5″ for the seam allowance on each side), sew 6 squares of fabric together to form a fabric cube (leaving one side unsewn), squish the foam cube into the fabric cube, and handstitch the unsewn side.  VOILA!  A perfect baby block.

Of course, my blocks are FAR from perfect.

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The first problem I ran into was cutting out the upholstery foam.  The Pinterest tutorial suggested that one can simply use ordinary scissors  for the job.  Nope.  One does not simply use scissors to cut upholstery foam!  I ruined several pieces of foam attempting that.  Upon further research, I learned that a much more successful and precise approach is to use an electric carving knife.  I then embarked on a journey to find such a device at a thrift store and, lo and behold, found one for just a few dollars at only the second thrift store that I went to.  And I was equally delighted that cutting the foam using an electric carving knife was also successful.  Hooray!

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The other problem I encountered from the instructions was in cutting the fabric with a 0.5″ seam allowance on each side, resulting in a fabric cube that was the same size as the block.  After I cut out ALL of the fabric and sewed together my first fabric cube, I squished in the block and found that the fabric was much too loose and floppy. I removed the foam from the fabric and resewed all of the sides, so that there would be some negative ease, and that worked much better to fill up the block.  I later found an Amy Butler sewing for babies book wherein she has a pattern and instructions for blocks, and she likewise recommends negative ease.

This meant that I had to sew all of my fabric sides with a 5/8″ seam allowance (which was just a lot of wasted fabric).  I also chose to trim the excess with pinking shears.  And of course, handstitching was a great opportunity for me to make that final edge look bad.

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So yes, these blocks are not perfect.  But they are soft and squishy, with some different colors and patterns of fabric.  They can be stacked in many different ways, matching colors and patterns, or not matching.

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And one of the joys of building blocks is always knocking one’s creation over into a big block heap.

As a kid, I loved playing with blocks… so of course, anticipating my own baby is an opportunity to recreate some of my favorite childhood moments.

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Dec 282014
 

After finishing my winter coat project, I had planned to sew a nice blouse but instead found myself gravitating towards patterns for knit dresses.  I have, after all, been wearing a lot of knit dresses this winter, with wool tights, boots, and of course a handknit sweater (or two).  So it made sense to make more of what I’ve felt like wearing.

This is M6697, a knit pullover, biased, and flared dress and I thought it might be a good way to use some of my stashed knit fabric.  I’m mostly happy with my fabric choices – – the purple fabric is probably a heavier weight than would be ideal for this dress and it doesn’t drape perfectly (it also can get rather clingy against my wool tights despite my wearing a slip underneath) and the flower fabric is a bit too flowery, even for me.

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Happily, this pattern was very quick and easy!  I could have easily started and completed it in one evening, but I spread it over two days instead.  Cutting out the pattern pieces and then the fabric was definitely the most time consuming part of this project.  And now that my pattern pieces are all cut to size, making another version of this dress will be a breeze!

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Overall, I’m very happy with the fit of this dress.  I cut a size 8 in the top part and then graded out to a 12 in the hips.  I should probably not admit to the internets that I didn’t make a muslin or do any fitting and didn’t even try it on as I sewed… instead, I sewed the entire dress and then threw it on to see how it fit.  I also want to mention that I’m very pleased with the shape of the neckline – – it’s just perfect for me.

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I will definitely be making another version of this dress.  On the pattern envelope, one of the drawings features this dress in gradient fabric colors, starting with the lightest color on the bottom corner and getting darker all the way to the opposite shoulder.  That sounds appealing to me, as does simply using more subdued colors.

Dec 262014
 

I’m officially calling this sewing project DONE.  This is the winter coat that I’ve been working on (very haphazardly) for months and it was a huge SLOG, so cumbersome, unwieldy, and bulky.  I’m mostly happy with the “finished” result, but I’m mainly happy to be done with it.  And, I’m honestly happy to be done with it in time to enjoy wearing it during the cold winter.

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Just as a reminder, I used a vintage sewing pattern – S5930 – and the outer fabric is boiled wool, unerlined with fleece (so warm!) and had intended to line it with some vintage taffeta.  Because I just really need to be DONE with this project, the full taffeta lining is not currently attached to the coat.  Maybe one day, after I have regained my sewing mojo, I will attach it, but maybe not.  When the process of sewing for me is not enjoyable, it’s very difficult for me to continue with a project, and this was my struggle with this project.

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The coat turned out pretty okay.  I think it would hang better with a nice taffeta lining (of course!) but it fits just the way that I had wanted (big enough to wear multiple sweaters underneath) and the bottom hem hits just at my knees.  The big front patch pockets are awesome and the collar can be worn upright or folded down.  The coat is very warm, cozy, and comfortable.  It also weighs about 30 pounds and is fairly cumbersome to lug around if I’m not wearing it.

Oh, and in the below photos, I was trying to pose with the deer in the background (we have lots of urban deer in Boise) but it’s mostly just their butts facing the camera.

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I’m very much enjoying my current sewing project, the foam blocks that I wrote about in my previous post.  They are so quick and easy, not bulky or cumbersome.  Fortunately, I do like my finished coat and maybe one day I will attach the taffeta lining.  Maybe.

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Dec 222014
 

With the longest night of the year in the past, I am excited for more sunshine in my life.  The SADs haven’t hit too hard this year, though in the past few weeks I’ve had several evenings where I felt pretty listless and weird.  I love the summers, when the sun doesn’t set until 10pm, but I really struggle in the winter when it’s dark by 4:30.

Of course, the best way to beat the SADs is to stay busy!  Josh and I have been trying to go on some adventures when the weather permits.  Last weekend, we went out to the Bruneau Sand Dunes and had a glorious day hiking around in the sunshine.

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Several weeks before that, the only thing to do was snowshoeing on a very gray day.  Part of our challenge this year of doing adventures is that we haven’t been feeling in top form – – Josh hurt his back while riding his bike on the ice and I’ve been feeling off.

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I’ve been doing a lot of knitting and sewing.  This is a doubleknit blanket that I am working on, to stash bust a lot of Jamieson DK wool that has been collecting dust for a long time.

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The pattern is derived from my Whorl Cowl, which I recently released and haven’t gotten around to writing anything about.

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And I’m almost finished with my coat (just need to add one more toggle button).  This project has been such a SLOG and I kind of want to hide the coat away and never look at it again.

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I have started on a fun sewing project!  I’m making foam blocks, using upholstery foam and fat quarters.  I saw the idea on Pinterest and it seemed like such a fun and easy project, perfect to get over the slog coat project.

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Interestingly, none of the helpful Pinterest tutorials mentioned anything about how to actually cut upholstery foam.  At first, I tried taking scissors to it, which resulted in a horrible butcher job.  I also tried a variety of knives before doing research about how best to cut it.  The internet suggested that an electric carving knife would be best.  So I headed out to various thrift stores, on a mission to find a used one.  And much to my delight, I only had to go to two thrift stores before I found one and it was only $5!  As you can see, it cuts the foam pretty well!

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And I’ve got a couple of blocks done!  This project is nice because the fabric is so easy to work with (as opposed to thick layers of wool and fleece) and is pretty satisfying in how quick and easy it is to make up a single block.  I’ve got enough foam for 49 blocks.

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I’m also gearing up to start working on this blouse in some nice Ana Sui shirting that I got on sale from Mood.

Anyway, sorry for the silence around here.  The SADs definitely make me less motivated to keep up with the old blog!

 

Oct 022014
 

Greetings, everyone!  It’s been about a month since I last posted about my knitting and sewing progress and I wanted to give you a quick update.

First of all, the sweater that was in progress last month is all knit up and I’m delighted with how it turned out! I’m hoping to release the pattern soon so I’ll tell you more about this sweater then.

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Speaking of knitting patterns, for those of you working on the Umbra & Penumbra sweater, I’ve been receiving some questions about the  yoke and am putting together a FAQs post which I hope to publish here on my blog soon.  If you are someone who has been confused by any part of the instructions, please know that I always WELCOME anyone to email me with questions.  Alternatively, in the comments of my original blog post about the sweater, I’ve answered a few questions.

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Anyway, here is my current knitting project, another sweater, which I anticipate having done in about a week.

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As for sewing, I’ve made good progress on my winter coat and am hoping to have it finished it time for the cold.  There is still quite a bit to do – – the collar, facings, lining, and lots of finishing.  But, so far so good.

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I’ve got the main shell constructed as well as the fleece underlining.  The outer fabric is a nice boiled wool and combined with the fleece should make a very warm coat.  I will be adding a green taffeta lining, which I’m excited about.  At this point, I can tell that this coat is going to fit me exactly the way I want.  Because I tend to be very sensitive to the cold, being able to combine many layers is important to me.  In these photos, I am wearing two sweaters underneath the coat and it fits nicely.

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Anyway, that’s what I’ve been working on, slowly but surely.

Sep 052014
 

Waking up to chilly 42F temperatures this morning, I had to remind myself that it is still, technically, summer.  A few more weeks until the official start of autumn, my favorite season.  My garden continues to produce in abundance though I probably should start covering my tomatoes at night.  Soon, my daily haul of eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes will be replaced by winter squash and leeks.  Yum!  Of course, a major lifestyle transition that happens to me is spending less time toiling in the garden and more time with my sewing machine and knitting needles, as the cooler weather approaches.

This past weekend, I started working on a cozy winter coat.  The pattern is Simplicity 5930, a vintage pattern.  I’m making the version pictured in green – – knee length with deep patch pockets, a shawl collar, and a belt tie.

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I’m feeling rather proud of myself, as I’m using fabrics that I already had in my stash!  The main fabric is a nice purple boiled wool and I’m adding a fleece underlining (blue chevrons – – that won’t be visible) for additional warmth, with a green taffeta lining.  With all those layers, it took about 4 hours to cut out the fabric pieces.  Then I was able to sew the underlining to the main fabric and have started work on the pockets.  I improvised some topstitching that I thought would look nifty.

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In the way of knitting, my needles are clicking away on a cozy wool sweater, similar but different to one I finished last month.

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I’m hoping to finish this sweater over the weekend.  I’m working on the edging right now and then will have about a million ends to weave in, before adding the buttons and blocking.

Once I finish each of these projects, I’m excited to work on more projects.

Despite, my intent to sew from my stash, I did recently buy some fabrics from Mood  to sew some blouses and shirts.   Below is my haul along with my ideas for pattern pairings.

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For upcoming knitting projects, I’m obsessed with legwarmers right now.  I love the chunky textured ones as well as those  stranded with bold colors.  Definitely with boots.

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Is anyone else excited for the cooler weather to arrive?  Summer always feels so uninspiring, style-wise, for me because I just end up wearing jeans and a tshirt everyday.  Fall and winter are when stylish sweaters, coats, scarves, and boots shine.