Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring KCW: Samu Fleece Jacket

Kids Clothes Week last week turned into Sick Kid Week on top of an already busy schedule, so I gave myself an extension (handy thing about voluntary challenges) and just finished up my one measly project today.  O's fleece jacket is getting pretty small, so I really wanted to make him a new one.  He looked through my stash and picked the camo.  Shocker.


I used the Samu Sweat Jacket pattern from Ottobre 6/2007 in size 140, which is a size up from his current size.  I usually buy or make the kids' outerwear in a size too big, especially for spring and fall items.  Otherwise it seems like they outgrow things before they've even worn them much.


The primary design feature is that the pockets and top of collar have raw edges.  I'm pretty indifferent to it with fleece, although it sure was simple!  I think it is a more effective look with the recommended sweater/sweatshirt knit.


The inside collar seam is finished with bias tape.  I love that, and I'm sure O will appreciate it too, since he tends to be sensitive about seams and tags near his neck.


Overall it went together well.  Some of my topstitching is a bit wonky, but it doesn't show much on fleece.  I also could have done a better job with lining things up across the zipper (the hem band, pockets, collar, topstitching).  Everything is just a little bit off, but no one else is likely to notice that when he's wearing it. But now you all know because I mentioned it.  


He tried it on last night before I had the zipper in and declared it a success.  Now it just needs to warm up again so he can actually wear it! It was pretty springy last week, but got cold again and snowed yesterday.  I'm so over it.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Travel Sewing & Knitting

During our spring break a few weeks ago, my aunt and I took a train trip to Boston. The train itself was a bit of an adventure. We started at a small station near(ish) her town in Wisconsin and took a train to Chicago, where we caught the train that we stayed on all the way to Boston.  We were on that one for about 23 hours, and while we had a sleeper car, I apparently can't sleep in a moving train, despite the fact that I have no problems sleeping in cars or on a plane.  Lesson learned.  I wasn't quite as crabby about it on the way back, both because I knew what to expect and the timing worked out better.  I'm not sure whether I would take that long of a train trip again, but it was a cool experience. 

Before we left, I made a few travel accessories.  More coffee cozies, one for my aunt and one for myself, as well as a hot chocolate cozy for O.  I used the same tutorial as the other times I've made them.

Guess which one is O's.
I also made an earbud pouch to throw in my purse.  It's been on my mental to-do list for quite a while, but I kept putting it off, thinking it would be putzy.  Not so; it was quite quick and is super handy.  It and the cozies are great uses for scraps.


We broke out the cozies in the Chicago train station while we were waiting for train #2.


I packed three knitting projects, thinking I'd knit a ton on the train, but I only ended up finishing one and a half.


The first project was some boot toppers for myself.  It was a different pattern than the last two pairs I made, but the same yarn and a similar feel (Details on Ravelry). I am still all about the cables.  I finished them on the way out and wore them a couple of times on the trip.


I also wore them today.


On the way back I worked on a cabled -- of course -- headband to wear running, but I was pretty tired by then and wasn't able to either memorize the cable repeat or manage to keep track of where I was on the chart despite the use of sticky notes and marking the row.  It's called Bamboozled, and that's a pretty accurate description of my state by that point, so I finished it at home (Ravelry details).  I'm quite pleased with it.  I'm more of a hat-wearer in the winter, but like a headband for running in the in-between weather.





This is unrelated to my trip, but my oldest nephew's birthday was shortly before we left.  He recently declared that he should have been named Zebulon, so I broke out the freezer paper and xacto knife and made him this.  Hopefully he found it half as amusing as I did!


And now I need to make a dent in my hour for Spring Kids' Clothes Week.  I have a lot of projects to work on and really only one is something for the kids (a new fleece jacket for O), so I'm going to stick to just an hour a day this time.  Of course I have a long list of things I'd like to make if I have extra time, but that's probably overly optimistic...

Friday, March 7, 2014

Hats and mittens and cowls! Oh my!

*Post title brought to you by our recent startling realization that O has not seen The Wizard of Oz.  This will be remedied soon.

I've been trying to look on the bright side with the whole polar vortex/longest, coldest winter in my lifetime thing and am mostly failing miserably (although it's actually a miraculous 33F right now -- woohoo!  I'm almost ready to break out the flip flops and sundresses).  I do, however, really like winter accessories, which are a bit of consolation.  And I really like being able to cover my badly-in-need-of-a-cut hair with a hat anytime I'm out in public and being able to act like it's because of the weather.

One pattern I have fallen in love with is the Kitschy Coo bibbed cowl.  Perfect for kids, and I have been known to swipe O's for myself also.  Here's his, which is made from the same camo fleece as his hat and convertible mitts.  The other side is black microfleece. I liked this so much that I actually handstitched the opening for turning so it would be reversible.  Shocking, I know!

He's actually not going spelunking; we were going for a walk and it was getting dark.

I was so happy with the cowl that I made one for E also, even though I'd already made her a mini version of my ruffled cowl.  I also made her another pair of Sew Baby Mitten Wraps from two layers of fleece.  I lengthened the cuff for more wrist coverage.  She has teeny wrists, so I really need to move the velcro over, but the cuff of her winter coat holds them in place okay for now.  This fleece is an exact color match of her coat; I should have taken a picture.


And, of course, she needed a new hat.  I had just enough yarn left from this soaker sack that never made it onto the blog to knit her an earflap hat with a crocheted flower.  I'm pretty terrible at following crochet patterns, so I was quite pleased that I managed that little embellishment.



More recently, I made myself a Vrida Cabled Slouch hat, after I realized that the last time I knitted myself something was in 2009.  Yikes.  One of my goals for the year is more sewing and knitting for myself.  I love to make things for the kids and to give as gifts, but I've been stockpiling patterns and fabric and yarn for myself for years, and I need to make a dent in that stash!  Plus I know I'll be a grateful recipient.  ;)


This was also made to match the awesome felted sweater mittens that my sister made me for my birthday.  I meant to photograph them together, but apparently never did.  So imagine teal and charcoal sweater mittens, okay?


I am very happy with how this turned out.  I was running out of yarn and had to cut down on the body a little, so I was worried it wouldn't be slouchy enough, but it blocked nicely.  If I know you IRL, you probably either have already seen me wearing this or will soon enough!  


I also made my dad a hat.  When I saw him before Christmas, he complimented Ray and me on our red hats (the aforementioned 2009 knit for myself) and mentioned that he recently lost the hat I'd knit for him before.  And by before, I mean before O was born, so he was due for a new one!  Since I'm currently obsessed with cables, I went with the MacDuff hat and totally love it.  I made the M/L because he has a biggish head, and it's little large on me, but you get the idea.


It's a darker red in real life, but I have a lot of trouble getting reds and purples right with my camera.  User error, I'm sure.


Man, I do love a good cable, especially now that I relearned how to cable without a cable needle.  So slick.

In other news, I finally got a smart phone and am on Instagram now!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Sew Baby Travel High Chair

While E's sitting skills have improved dramatically in the past couple of years, she's still not reliable enough that she can sit at the table unrestrained.  I suspect that would be a head injury waiting to happen.  At home she uses a booster seat and at restaurants we usually just take her in her adaptive stroller.  Most people's houses, though, aren't handicapped-accessible (ours included so far), so we tend to run into issues when we're visiting people at mealtimes and forget to bring along the booster seat.  We're usually about an hour down the road before one of us realizes it's still strapped to her chair at the table.  We also run into space issues when we're taking longer trips.  We are continually putting off the purchase of a minivan, although that day is coming soon.  I saw a few tutorials for fabric high chairs and thought that would be the answer to our various seating and bulk issues, but I wasn't 100% sold on the design of any of them. 


Enter the Sew Baby Travel High Chair pattern, which I happened to see at Joann Fabrics a couple of weeks ago.  While it's more of a fabric-hog than some of the tutorials, I also thought it would work out better for E.  I dug out some ancient stash fabric --  I remember buying this when O. was a baby with the intention of making a pouch sling, but never got around to it.  (Believe me, there was no shortage of baby carriers around here, so that wasn't a big loss. I made at least three other pouches, not to mention mei tais and ring slings.  I was a bit of a babywearing hoarder.)  I think it's a stretch twill.


Cutting out the pattern piece, fabric, and batting may have taken longer than sewing it up.  The only change I made was to use 1.5" hook & loop left over from my cloth diaper making days instead of the recommended 3/4".

I'm quite happy with how it turned out.  It's sized for up to 2T, but E is skinny and can still wear 2T pants as capris, so I decided to just go with it as-is.  She has some growing room, but it would be quite easy to size up for a larger child who needs positioning help.


It folds up even smaller than I'd hoped and fits easily in the side pocket of the Thirty-one bag that we usually use for her things.


Something like this has been on my to-sew list for about a year, so I'm pretty psyched to finally be able to cross it off! 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tooth Fairy Pillow

A couple of weeks ago, E lost her first tooth.  It caught me completely by surprise and she ended up swallowing it (along with her second loose tooth last weekend, despite the fact that I kept checking that one!  Oh well).  Sometimes I forget that even though her development is nothing like a typical six-year-old, things like losing teeth are still going to happen at the normal times. 

As soon as I saw that little gap, though, I decided to sew up a tooth fairy pillow for her.  O has one, but I wanted her to have her own also.


I based it on these super cute ones on Etsy.  It was a quick little project.  Sewing on the buttons and embroidering the smile took the longest, and even that was fast.



It makes me smile every time I look at it. 


Friday, February 14, 2014

Birthday Knits!

I've been all about knitting lately -- I think because it's been obnoxiously cold here for so long that I'm drawn to things I can do while I'm on the couch wrapped up in a blanket.  Heh.  There are a few February birthdays in my family, and everyone received something that I knit.  (Knitted?  Apparently they're both correct, but they also both sound wrong to me.)

In reverse chronological order, here's E's birthday sweater.  Since her birthday's today -- Valentine's Day -- it seems appropriate to start with her.

Sarah Jane Sews: Heart Cable Pullover Sweater

This was a top-down seamless raglan that I changed from a different cable to use this cute heart cable, making it sort of Valentine-y without going over the top.  I started it on Saturday and finished it in time for her to wear it to school yesterday, since she doesn't go on Fridays.  I would not recommend this short of a time frame.  I think my hands are still recovering.  It's a little roomier than I necessarily wanted, but I don't think she looks like she's swimming in it, and it'll give her some growing room.

She's been showing a preference for purple lately and was all smiles when I showed it to her and put it on, so I think she approves!


For my sister, I made another pair of boot toppers.  I used the same pattern as last time, but made a few changes


Ray had requested some slippers for around the house, which I was pretty excited about.  He rarely asks me to make him anything.  I decided to make felted slippers, which is always fun, and also less likely to be traumatic if they accidentally get mixed in with the laundry. They looked impossibly huge before I threw them in the washer!


They felted to the perfect size, though, which always seems rather miraculous to me.


Happy Valentine's Day!  I'm off to finish E's birthday cake and finish a few other last minute birthday details while the girl naps.  :)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Handmade Holidays 2013

I ended up not doing a whole lot of Christmas sewing this year (I had big plans, but didn't get to most of them), but there was a fair amount of knitting.  I just mailed out the last thing this week *sigh*, so I'm finally blogging about the gifts as well.

I made O's teacher some boot toppers and also gave her some coffee and coconut oil exfoliating scrub that apparently never got photographed.  It was brown and in cute jar, so just imagine that.  I was quite pleased with the boot toppers.  (Ravelry notes)  Someday I'd like to make myself a pair.  I looked on Ravelry a couple of days ago, and the last time I knitted myself anything was 2009!  I still wear that hat too.


E's teacher and para also got the scrub, along with some slippers.  I made her teacher Bea's Slippers (Ravelry notes) and loooooved how they turned out.  They took a lot longer to knit than I was expecting, though, so I had to find a quicker option for her para.


I ended up knitting double-stranded slippers for hers, and they were super quick and quite squishy.  (Ravelry notes)  She told me after the break that her kids kept swiping them from her.  Haha.


I also wanted to give a little some thing to the secretary at E's school, since I end up bugging her to sign in and out nearly every day at drop-off and pick-up time.  She had a bio up in the entrance at the beginning of the year that said she sewed, so I had that in the back of my head and decided to make her a jar pincushion and fill it with a few chocolates.  Honestly, she had one of the best reactions to a gift that I've given in a long time.  It made my day to see how happy she was that I had read her bio and remembered that she sews.


Here's my only actual sewn project!  Ray asked for a phone cozy for when he runs in the cold.  I took this tutorial and simplified it, since I knew he couldn't care less about the piecing.


O wanted to make E a blanket and decided a tie blanket would be the way to go.  He was right, she loves the fringe. He chose the fabric, I did the cutting and Ray and I both helped him tie it, but he did a significant part of it.

It looks like E's staring down that raccoon.

Back to knitting (I have no rhyme or reason to this post, I guess), my SIL requested an earflap hat for her younger son, so I made him this one.  (Ravelry notes)  This was my most shamefully late gift of this holiday season.  Winter doesn't seem to be ending anytime soon, though, so he will have plenty of opportunity to wear it still.  Hopefully it fits!


And last, but not least, the kids' annual Christmas ornaments.  (You can see 2011's here and 2012's here.)  O has been very into watching the Peanuts holiday specials, so I was inspired by this ornament on Etsy and made him Charlie Brown.  I wanted to use a glass ball like the original, but couldn't find any when I finally went shopping (I think Hobby Lobby has them, but it was a Sunday, so they were closed).  I settled for a paper mache one instead, so Charlie Brown is a little bumpier than I would have liked, but O didn't seem to care.


E's ornament was again based on her Halloween costume (as well as her on-going love of our cat).  It ended up being a huge pain to knit and then sew up this fun fur yarn, but I do like how it turned out.  (Ravelry notes)  I used scrapbooking stickers to put her name (blurred out, obviously) and the year on the ornament the cat is holding.  Stickers are the way to go.  Much less stressful than trying to paint the name and year with a shaky hand like I did on O's!

 

And that's it!  I felt really busy, but I guess I didn't really accomplish much.  Now I'm on to working on birthday gifts, since we have several in our family in February.  Winter KCW was this week, but I didn't even make an attempt this round.  I have been enjoying looking at what other people have been making, though! Have you been sewing along?

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