Friday, January 27, 2012

Sorting & Matching Peg Dolls

One of my friends has a little guy who turned two last week.  I've had this Wooden Peg Sorting & Matching Doll tutorial picked out for him for quite a while, thinking two is just about the perfect age for such things. 

I found some candle cups at JoAnn's and the chunkier pegs at Hobby Lobby.  I really liked the simple faces on this version, so I tried to emulate those, but with boy/gender neutral hair.  I was so glad I had the teeny-tiny paintbrushes from the medal holder; they made things much easier, what with my lack of painting experience and all.

I used a matte acrylic spray, rather than glossy.  I tend to be a matte sort of a girl, but it did make it hard to see if I'd completely covered everything or not.  Hopefully two coats did the trick.

My next thought was that little sets like this tend to get scattered all over the house, at least in this house, so they needed a storage bag.  I'd pinned this clear storage bag tutorial a while back and thought it would be perfect.  

It went together easily, although I should have planned out the size better.  The dolls were drying in the basement, and I was too lazy to run down and actually measure how big of a bag they'd need, so I guessed.  I used a 7" diameter base, which was much too big.  Hopefully he has some other loose toys that would like to share a home with these little guys.

Every time I pulled the drawstring shut, at least one guy fell over.  He looks kinda pathetic, doesn't he?

When O. saw them, he decided that E. needs some for her birthday, and then when he noticed that one of them had green eyes, he decided we should make Harry Potter ones (this is not an original idea, apparently).  She doesn't have the manual dexterity to actually put them in their cups, but she might like picking them up and knocking them around, so we'll see if he remembers as it gets closer to her birthday.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Christmas & Chanukah Cables : Legwarmers & a Slouchy Hat

The final handmade holiday gifts: knitwear!

For my nine-year-old niece, cabled legwarmers.  I used this Japanese chart (link is to the PDF) and Red Heart Super Tweed in Landshark, so they'd be easy-care.  The chart was easy to follow and memorize.  I was very happy with how relatively quickly they knitted up, since I was working on them at the last minute -- as always.

The child's size fit her perfectly, even with boot-cut jeans stuffed into them.  I was afraid the yarn might not have been a girly enough choice for her, since she's much more into glam and glitter than I am, but she told me she was never going to take them off.  That's the way to a knitting auntie's heart for sure!

And for a friend, a Star Crossed Slouchy Beret.  I've knit this before, two years ago when I made red hats for whole family for our annual photo shoot.  In a weekend.  A long weekend, but still, that was insane.

KS Photography
I used a 10.5 for the main body of mine, which wasn't overly slouchy, so I went with the pattern's suggested 11 this time, in Mir Atlantis Periwinkle Peace Fleece.  It looked a little thin as I was knitting it up, but it bloomed nicely after a wash and blocking.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fleece Socks & Infinity Scarf

Why, yes, it is January 19th and I am still posting about holiday gifts....  I just mailed the last one on Tuesday, so there's one more post coming when I know it has arrived at its recipient's house.

My oldest nephew is 15, and we usually give him a gift card of some kind, but I like to have some "thing" for him to open as well.  Since I couldn't find him a unicycle, despite my obsessive stalking of Craig's List (if you're a local reader and see one for sale somewhere, please let me know), I figured fleece socks were the way to go.  These are the Green Pepper Polar Socks in the calf-high version, men's size 12.  I  made the regular/narrow width, but I think if I made the men's socks again, I'd use the regular/wide instead.  They looked a bit too narrow, although maybe it was just compared to the length of the sock.

Fleece socks are such a fun, quick, and useful gift. I still have two pairs that my sister made for me back when I was in college!

Then, for my friend who told me she wanted to start wear scarves, but was worried she'd look like someone from Designing Women, a ruffled infinity scarf.  I figured that was the least Designing Women-ish scarf style there is.

I used 7" wide strips of soft, thin jersey and did a lettuce edge on the serger instead of a zig-zag like in the original tutorial.  I think my fabric must've had some lycra in it, though, because it didn't ruffle nearly as much as other lettuce hems I've done.  Bummer.  Or maybe it was that it was two layers?  

I also constructed mine differently.  Since you're sewing it wrong sides together anyway, I sewed the short ends together first, pressed the seam allowances open and then sewed the long edges.  It seemed like a neater construction method.

Modeled here with my Jalie 2806

Friday, January 6, 2012

Crayon Organizer

I'm getting lazier and lazier with post titles as I try to catch up on blogging Christmas gifts.  Not feeling overly clever at the moment. 

For my four-year-old Curious George-loving nephew, a crayon holder.  O. had a serious George phase of his own, so I still have quite a bit of CG fabric in the stash. 

I made a few of these as gifts about three years ago or so.  It's a self-drafted pattern with a velcro closure and a pocket for a pad of paper and stickers.  I used fusible fleece to line the body.  The one thing I did differently this year was to make the crayon pockets 1" wide instead of 3/4". I think this helped limit pulling on the cover side.  On O's, which has been used and abused, you can see where each pocket is from the outside.

Gifts for the Runner

Well, we're both runners, but the husband is much, much faster.  Much.

I rarely make him gifts, so I was quite excited to have not one, but two ideas for him for Christmas!  See, there's been a pile of race bibs and medals getting shuffled around the sewing room/office for a couple of years, and I was 
a) concerned they'd get lost amidst the rubble, er craft supplies
b) irritated every time I had to relocate them
c) ready to cut the pile in half

So when I saw these medal holders, I thought, "Hey, I can make one of those!"  I got a long wooden plaque from Hobby Lobby and ventured to the hardware store to buy hooks and those picture hanging things that look like jaggedy teeth. I assume they have an actual name, but I can't remember what it was.  

I sanded the board, not nearly enough, which I didn't realize at the time, and added a few coats of white acrylic paint.  While I was waiting for it to dry, the following conversation occurred with the husband in the room: 

O. (whispering loudly): We need to get a hammer for those H-O-O-K-S for Dad's present.
Me: You know Dad can spell, right?

The next step was to paint the words.  I tried to come up with something clever, but failed and went for stating the obvious instead.  I used this nifty trick (oh, thank you, Pinterest!) to help, but still needed to make a Christmas Eve Day run to Hobby Lobby for a smaller brush.  I'm not sure why I thought one of O's paint brushes would be adequate??

Lettering done, I spent a ridiculous amount of time marking where the hooks should go, only to realize after the first one splintered the wood, that I'd need to use the drill, which I only sort of knew how to do.  So, back upstairs I ran to ask the husband for instructions as vaguely as possible.  I think I was unsuccessful, but the drill helped tremendously. 

I really love how it turned out.  The husband keeps talking about how I need one too, now (although my medals are all finisher's medals; he actually has placed in his age group a few times!).  It has yet to be made clear which one of us will be making said medal holder.  Honestly, if I had a do-over, I might just buy one from the original seller instead of making my own -- painting the letters took a loooong time -- but now I would like them both to match.  Hmmm...

The other part of his present was a scrapbook for the race bibs.  I know I saw the suggestion to use an 8x8 scrapbook for this on a blog somewhere, sometime, but I'm not sure where anymore.  I spent some quality time with the internet, looking up race results, and then even more quality time with Photoshop trying to make the results look pretty.  This was one of my favorite gifts that I gave this year.  I may even have emerged from the sewing room/office when it was done and proclaimed that I had just won Christmas...

Hey, if I can't be competitive pace-wise, why not be competitive about gift-giving?  ;)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

More Ornaments

The only gifts for my kids that I made this Christmas were felt ornaments. E. got her own owl ornament.  O. asked for one too, but I told him I'd seen something else he'd like even better.  I was right; he was thrilled.  I mean, really, what says Christmas joy like Darth Vader??

I also embroidered their names and the year on the backs.
O. had a playdate with one of his buddies a few days after Christmas and wanted to make him a gift also, so we made another book ornament.  This time, the book of choice was the Harry Potter Lego book, which was O's "something to read" this year (We do the "something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read" thing, plus a gift from Santa and stockings).  His friend had brought it to school earlier, so we knew he was a fan as well.

Continuing with the Harry Potter theme, which seems to be a constant in our house, I made the older of my nieces a Weasley sweater ornament.  Not just a Weasley sweater, though, but one for Draco!  I'd asked my brother which character he thought she'd choose, and that was what he said.  O. was befuddled.  Ha.  She later told me that it was probably more Tom Felton that she liked than Draco.  ;)

I had the pattern from Charmed Knits, but was looking for something in the round, so when I found someone's top-down raglan modifications on Ravelry, I was sold.  Done and done.  I can see many more of these in my future.  

O's Elf Hat

About a week before Christmas, we watched Elf, prompting O. to declare that he must have an elf hat.  I reminded him that he had a red and white striped hat from last Christmas, but he really thought it should be red and blue.  As I'm sure has been made apparent, I am easily persuaded to fulfill such requests.

I made this year's the same way, just a right triangle cut on the fold, but I cut the pattern piece into 4" sections for the stripes and made the ribbing for the band wider heightwise, but a bit smaller in circumference than last year's version, since that one fits me better than the boy.

Elfing it up on Christmas Morning


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