slowest knitter EVER

I finished a thing! It only took me about 8-9 months! The sad thing is, it took me that long to finish a sweater for Hobbit. Who is not a super-tall human. And it was with bulky yarn. Isn’t that supposed to be fast to knit?

latte coat frontTechnically, I never actually finished it. There were supposed to be pockets, but I literally ran out of yarn. I didn’t block it (it’s acrylic anyway, so it’s not like that would do much), and I was supposed to sew on some buttons, but figured that pushing buttons through those tiny little eyelet buttonholes while trying to restrain a toddler was probably a lost cause. Anyway.

latte coat backThe yarn was Lion Brand Hometown USA, which I originally got from a cousin who had tried knitting and decided it was too physically hard on her hands. There were two skeins of the cream and one skein of the brown, and I figured it would be good colors for something boy. It looked like there would be enough yardage, based on what I read on Ravelry, so I went for it. And wow, was I wrong on the yardage. I actually had to go back to the store twice to buy more of the cream, and the last time I went back for more, there wasn’t any. The brown stripes on the sleeves were out of necessity, just to get enough length to finish. (And as you can see on the left side, I didn’t have quite enough of that either.) I also discovered that knitting super-bulky yarn isn’t that fun for my hands, either. I guess it’s because I knit pretty tightly, but it hurt. So I had to keep picking it up and putting it down and occasionally knitting another project instead.

The good news is, since I knit a larger size, even though it’s spring now and he probably won’t need this sweater, it’ll probably still fit him in the fall. The bad news is, I’m pretty sure he hates it. I tried to get it on him just long enough for a photoshoot, and these were the best pictures I was able to get:

nooooo This one was while yelling “nooooooo” and reaching out so I’d pull this horrendous thing off of him.

 

 

 

 

bye latte coatAnd if he looks happier here, it’s because he was managing to shrug it off himself. Sorry for the blur. I blame toddler physics– the kiddo in motion tends to stay in motion until an outside force acts on him and forces him to take a nap or something.

Oh well… I’ll try again in the fall. And if he still hates it, maybe Padawan will wear it? I hope so, because as long as this took me, it’s sad to think that it might have been a complete waste of time.

 

Year-end wrap up

Since it’s time to tie up the loose ends of 2016, here’s a few unblogged projects, my stashbusting update, and some exciting updates to my sewing space!

Unblogged project #1: Hobbit’s Christmas shirt. I had just barely enough of this homespun type plaid that one of my grandma’s friends offloaded onto me, and I did have to supplement a bit with some plain black. Most of it was straightforward sewing, especially since it is a larger size of the same pattern that I used for his first birthday shirt. The one place I did have trouble was the sleeve placket. I don’t know if it was the particular method given in the instructions, or pregnancy brain, or what, but I could not make sense of how this was actually supposed to work! And I know I ended up doing it wrong– the inside of the placket is so wonky, and there is absolutely no way I would have been able to add the button mid-placket that the instructions called for, even if I hadn’t opted to go with the more casual buttonless look. I couldn’t find any pattern help for this part online, so I’m definitely going to have to do a practice run or find another method before I make the long sleeved version of this pattern again!

Unblogged project #2: I made another batch of diapers, using some PUL prints that I was given last Christmas for this purpose. It more or less took me literally all year to sew these, because I just worked them in between all of my other projects. But I’m hoping that this will be the largest I have to go, since Hobbit will be getting to an age where I can attempt toilet training next year. I can’t say I’m entirely done with diaper sewing, because a friend gave me some brand name adjustable size covers that she didn’t need, and I’ll need to make some inserts so I can use them as backups for either boy when I’m behind on laundry. But I’m getting close, and that’s nice. Now I just need to figure out some use for these large scraps that the oddly shaped pieces left behind!

The stash update: I started the year with around 426 yards of fabric, and ended with around 394. It’s finally going down! It looks like I used a total of close to 61 yards this year, and acquired about 30 1/2. Admittedly, about 17 yards of that was Christmas gifts this year, but I already have specific plans for most of those pieces due to the wardrobe holes that my mom knew about. She’s good like that. My stashbusting plan for this year is to donate several pieces that I just don’t think I can use, mostly pieces that other people destashed onto me that aren’t necessarily my taste. And then sew as much as the boys let me. I will have to purchase for a couple of specific projects, namely nursing bras/my coat lining/Halloween costumes, but I do want to focus on using what I have as much as I can.

Right now, I’ve been busy going through my jewelry supplies and drastically downsizing. Then I’ll have to tackle fabric, yarn and scrapbook paper. But I’m hoping I can get the room cleared and my new space set up as quickly as I can, because I have all of these pretty new fabrics and patterns, plus new toys to play with! Doug surprised me with a coverstitch machine for Christmas (eeeeeee!), and my mom recently informed me that she’s passing on one of her extra sewing machines to me, since she has multiple of those on hand. So I’m getting a newer model Bernina! My workhorse from the late 80s-early 90s is still running fine, aside from that one incident where the electric went out in the middle of my wedding dress, but I have to admit that it’ll be nice to have an actual stretch stitch that isn’t guessing at zigzags. And, well, a light on my machine that works, since that one has been useless for probably a decade. We’re still trying to sort out how exactly to configure the new space, but the most likely option at this point is to buy a wardrobe to store our clothes in the main part of the room, and then set up my sewing machines in the walk-in closet so that we can close the door and keep Hobbit away from all of the sharp pointy things. (As well as his little brother, who will henceforth be known here as Padawan, once he’s starting to get mobile.)

this is the droid you’re looking for

Oh, hi! Now that we’re past Thanksgiving here in the States and the Christmas season is starting, I guess it’s time I actually write about Halloween, right?

I wanted to make a costume that would be easy for an active toddler to wear without much fussing, so an oversized hoodie seemed to be my best bet. And since Halloween in our house is basically just an excuse to make and wear the geekiest things I can, I decided (last December) to dress Hobbit as BB-8 from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I’m mostly pleased with the results, which is good, since this hoodie took me a solid 2 1/2 months to make!

The pattern is the “Block Stripes Hoodie” from the Spring 2015 issue of Ottobre. This was my first time sewing any Ottobre, but I’d heard great things about the kids’ patterns, so I was excited to see how it turned out! The first half of this project was really just prepping the fabric, because all of that print is hand-painted. It went a lot faster after I finished that.

Overall, I was pleased with Ottobre’s directions. I had to wing a few things, because the directions assume you have a coverstitch machine, and I don’t. This was mostly problematic on the hood– I probably spent a solid 45-60 minutes carefully pinning the ribbed binding into place and sewing with the walking foot, only to have it end up rippling and flipping the raw edges to the outside. Maybe I should have shortened up the length of the ribbing, because it’s definitely much floppier than the sample picture.

IMG_4445I made the 92 cm size, in hopes that he’ll be able to wear it for at least a second year. It’ll probably work, because as you can see (as well as I could capture him, because he was literally running in circles around my parents’ living room at the time), the sleeves and body are both a little long on him. But wearing it as his costume did work out well. He didn’t even fuss about having the hood up, which is really good for a kid that immediately rips hats off of his head.

My only Halloween shots were off my phone. I did a quickie Rey costume for myself, using a rolled up pair of hiking pants (plus a safety pin and belly band), the cream tee I made over the summer, my scrunchy grey boots, and some cut up cheap sweater knit. I paired his hoodie with a plain onesie and grey knit pants.

IMG_4453So there’s my October sewing, other than some bibs and burp cloths for a cousin. I’ve been spending most of my sewing time this month working on a Christmas shirt for Hobbit, and my own Grainline Archer shirt. And trying to figure out the best use of my sewing time for the rest of this pregnancy, considering that my sewing room will also need to be converted into a second nursery. We have found out that Hobbit is getting a little brother, but he still isn’t falling or staying asleep super consistently. So at this point, we figured that having them share a room wouldn’t be helpful, since the boys would constantly wake each other up. I am hoping that I can still make another thing or two in the midst of packing and decluttering. The current plan is to set up the machine in our bedroom so I can still try to work some time in. You know, if the boys ever nap at the same time.

On the plus side, at least I know that the handmade kid clothes that I have made so far will get some more use! If Hobbit doesn’t destroy them first…shortly after these photos were taken at my parents’ for Thanksgiving yesterday, of course he got the hoodie all muddy! But I’m pretty sure I got most of it out. I guess worst case scenario, BB-8 was a little dusty from all of the action, right?

Sewing for Boys: a birthday shirt for Hobbit

IMG_3926Okay, seriously…how the heck is my little boy a year old already? His birthday was last week, and so my main project this month was to make him a new little shirt to wear for that day.

The pattern is the Classic Oxford by Peekaboo Pattern Shop. I seriously wish I’d known about this site about 18 months ago, because they have several women’s knit patterns that have the option of buying a maternity and/or nursing add-on, and they’re all pretty cute in both the pregnant and non-pregnant versions. But they also have cute patterns for boys, which are notoriously hard to find. I strongly suspect I’ll be revisiting this shop for shorts and hoodies and the like.

 

IMG_3968I sewed up the 18 month size, out of some fabric I’d bought on sale shortly before he was born. It was a rather timely make as far as characters go, too! Though I haven’t seen Finding Dory yet, and probably won’t make it to the theater #becausehobbit. Oh well, that’s what DVDs are for, right? As you can see, this fits him pretty well. Which is a huge relief, after the sizing issues I’ve had sewing up big 4 baby patterns. (I’m still sad that the Star Wars shirt ended up so unwearably wonky in sizing.)

I was pleased with the directions overall, too. There was one point with the yoke where I just could not make heads or tails of how the instructions wanted me to do it, but I figured out an alternative that worked just as well and still left everything clean on the inside. I particularly liked how the collar stand worked out, because she added some extra length to the pattern and you had to line it up by stitching to the edge, not anything too fiddly.

IMG_3945I do kind of wish that I’d had thread that matched better instead of the navy blue. And the buttons were just regular shirt buttons raided from a giant jar that my grandmother gave me when she was downsizing to move. But I guess that’s ok, because boy clothes are more suited to just regular old shirt buttons. I did do two pockets instead of one, since the print is a little more reminiscent of a Hawaiian shirt, and was very happy with how the print placement turned out for those! So hopefully he’ll get several more wears out of this before he outgrows it. But at least I can always do the unbuttoned layered shirt thing to take this one into the fall. The pattern does go up to sizing for approximately 12 years old, so I’ll definitely be getting more use out of this pattern. Especially because it also has cutting layout hints for recycling men’s shirts for it, and I’ve already saved a worn out work shirt or two of Doug’s– I find the idea of him wearing shirts made from his daddy’s shirts adorable!

IMG_3938
One last closing shot. Aside from this, the bulk of my sewing this month has been altering a bridesmaid dress for my sister in law. But that’s almost done now. So I’ll wrap this up so I can finally cut out something for me!

Super Toddler Capes, Vol. 2


So just in time for Harry Potter premiere day, I have….capes that have absolutely nothing to do with Harry Potter!!

These are the two capes that I made on commission for a friend of my friend’s sister-in-law, whose kids received one or two of the original capes. One of them has The Incredibles fabric, and one has Batman. I really wish I’d written down the directions when I originally did them, because I was having trouble remembering– and now that I’m looking at the original picture close-up (which I should have done about two weeks ago), I used wider elastic and more narrow tabs. Rats.

Anyway, I finished these last Thursday, and sent them off last Saturday. Got an email from the mom earlier this week, and she was really happy with them.

I’m just two posts behind now! I finished my new car seat covers on Sunday, and had some fun with beads last night. But no pictures yet, too dark to take them now, and probably won’t get to it before the weekend. It’s middle school band camp time again, which means this week is nuts!