Monday, December 15, 2014

the fancy dress

Do all 4 year old girls love fancy dresses? Because even my decidedly not fancy child really does! Since I had some fabric left over after making the tiny ones jacket, I decided I could make a dress for the bigger little. A little bit of spin, a little bit of sparkle, and we are good to go.

The dress is the caroline party dress by Mouse House Creations. The style is perfect and the pattern is simple and comes together great! It has a huge range of sizes so I know I will get to use it again and the fit is lovely. I made a 3T bodice with 4T length for my tall skinny girl and it fits quite well.

She chose the red lining with gold dots and the black sparkly tulle. I hate that tulle, but she loves it so I deal. I installed my first invisible zipper and it is not quite invisible, but it works. She wants a green ribbon for a belt so we are on the hunt for that and she plans to alternate her red tights and her silver tights with hearts. She looks so darn cute in it I can't stand it and happily, she has at least 4 chances to wear it this year! Maybe one of those times I'll even get a good picture!

So that was a fun make and I am already plotting one for a birthday perhaps? We'll see when the time gets nearer I suppose. But anyway, we are in the home stretch here before we leave so I am a bit crazed. I am looking forward to sharing a few gifts eventually too, once they are all given.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

yet another travel bag

Alright, I really have to stop making a new bag for my child every time we are about to travel. It's getting ridiculous! And yes, I am well aware that I made her a suitcase last year, but it has since become the spot for doll clothes, so this year I felt we needed a new bag. A duffle style bag that could be thrown around and squished in the car without fear of its demise.

Initally, the entire thing was going to be a surprise. But as it turns out, I like surprises a lot more than she does and usually she is pretty unimpressed, so I decided to let her pick out the fabrics. She got to pick out all the fabrics and the zipper and then I put it all together. The one piece that remained a surprise was the sparkly ribbon used for the handles, and that part was such a good surprise that I got an "I love mom" song, which I subsequently recorded and then whipped out the next time she hated me (roughly an hour later ha!). Oh parenting....

Anyway, I used the make your getaway pattern from gingercakes in the childrens size, which I have used a couple of times before in the larger adult size. The lining is a home decor fabric that I happened to have enough of and I added a gathered and elasticized pocket, split in half, on the inside. I considered more pockets, but at this point they are just a place for her to hide things and me to have to clean out, so this will be perfect for socks and underwear, and the outfits will go in the middle. I will say that I should have added piping, which might be always true, but oh well. I didn't have any and a run to the store was not in the cards.

So next year I imagine I will make some sort of travel bag for the smaller one. Or me. Or anyone that I might imagine needs one :)  Believe it or not, I still have some things to share so I will hopefully get around to that and also get everything done before we leave. The race is on!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

mama jammies

It is time to start sharing some of the things that I have been making lately. I am going to start with some jammies that I made for myself. I am still really working on making clothes for myself and getting my wardrobe to a better place, and this round of things was primarily to test out some patterns before I make the good version.  I used 3 patterns, the easy t-shirt, julia cardigan, and hudson pants, the last two of which are from one of the perfect pattern parcels. Please excuse the crappy pictures.

The t-shirt fits pretty well. It's a free one drafted only in a Large. My test version has some pretty serious problems. As in, the neckband went so badly that I didn't bother finishing the sleeves or hem since I was just making it to sleep in. That said, it's still comfy. I don't know if it is my perfect tee or not, I have a couple more to try, but it was simple and I like it.

Next up were the hudson pants. I went with the cropped length and a size...12 maybe? I forget, but it ended up bigger than I expected and I might have to size down if I make another pair. I have another lounge pant pattern to try, so we'll see, but they came together pretty well and look pretty nice. What I really need is a pattern I can use to make a pair of non-stretch sweatpants, and this is one I may try.  Made out of an old sheet, these are so comfortable!

The Julia cardigan came about because I wanted something to throw on for colder nights or in the mornings that would be comfy with no buttons or zippers or anything. It is perfect. I made a large and used more of that same old modal sheet that had a hole in it and it is comfy and wonderful. I have plans for another couple, a short sleeve and another long sleeve I think.

So there they are. I have another shirt that I need to find time to take some pictures of while wearing it, and eventually I am going to make some things with the nicer fabric I have. Still to come, a bag, and a dress. I also started another quilt although who knows when I will get around to having that finished. In the meantime, happy week, friends!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I-spy a finished quilt!

Holy crap, it's December already! Perhaps it goes without saying, but it's crunch time. While I have not made it to this space much recently (trying to cut back on the computer time a bit) I have been sewing up a storm! I have made some really good progress that I am looking forward to sharing, and I am going to start with a finished, and gifted, quilt!

I have already mentioned this one a couple of times as I was working on it, but I have finished the i-spy economy block quilt for the preschool teacher and it has been given, and I believe already used for a picnic :)

Despite many many problems along the way, this turned out well. I am glad it won't be living at my house where I can see the mistakes every time I look at it, but it is somewhere that it will be super used and loved. I let the little one help me with laying out the blocks and she did a great job. She has such a good eye and it is so much fun seeing her carefully consider and then choose her combinations, even if it does test my inner control freak a little bit. The teacher was so impressed when I told her that I didn't do any of the color combinations.

I backed it with a polyester microfiber sheet from target, and while it is so cute, it was not worth the hassle. I think I have only really had problems with puckers on the back when using a polyester sheet, so I think I am done going down that road.  The quilting is organic wavy lines across, since I figured that would be pretty secure for a bunch of preschoolers, and the binding is scraps that I had laying around. It feels good to have made a quilt. I won't tell you how many more I'd like to make....but there's a new year coming and it is filled with possibility!

Still to come, a bunch of clothes for me, a holiday dress for the little, and a duffle bag for our travels, and then maybe it will be time to share some gifts. Our holiday journey begins on the 18th so I am feeling pretty pressed for time since I essentially lose a week. And hopefully in that time I will start my sweater so I can work on it while we are gone if I feel so inclined. With any luck, I will be back soon to share some of those other makes!

Monday, November 17, 2014

one more for the small one

I thought I was done making things for the littlest. And then, it turned out I wasn't. She needed a jacket, and while outerwear is something I go back and forth on being willing to make, I figured I could handle a little between seasons number for her. Enter the Urban Weekender Coat by Heidi & Finn, a perfect fall coat.

I honestly was not entirely sure that it was going to look the way I imagined with a more drapey fabric, but actually, it's better! I had this fabric laying around that I got on clearance with the thought of a jacket or skirt or something, and decided a soft fluffy lining was in order to add some warmth, so I got some smooth minky stuff. I like the sparkle outer a lot and it wasn't as bad to work with as I was afraid (spoiler: the other kid is probably getting a holiday dress out of what I have left). In fact the coat came together perfectly. I made the 18 month size, and I probably should have gone up a size to fit more layers under, but this keeps it slim which is good for the carseat, so there's that.

The buttons were perfect and have been sitting in my stash for ages, so that was pretty happy. I love the cowl collar and it looks so cute on her I can't stand it! She looks so grown up! All in all, a very satisfying afternoon sew.

Next up: a quilt top, and then some mama clothes sewing!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

quilt blocks!

No kidding, guys, I've actually been working on a quilt! And since I don't know when I will get around to another, I am really trying to enjoy this one. I started collecting I-spy type blocks a while ago with the idea of making a quilt for my little people at some point. Then the little one started preschool and her teacher is amazing and I saw the picnic blankets they were using, and well, I am sure you can see where this is going.

So I am making an economy block quilt, using 5" squares for the center, with blocks finishing around 9" when I sew them all together. 81 blocks should make a very respectable quilt, I think.

As far as fabric, I cut a square from everything I had that would work for a center and bought a small charm pack on etsy to fill it in. Then I cut all the squares for the surrounding pieces and let the little on match everything up however she wanted. My only rule was that they couldn't be so similar that you couldn't tell the squares apart, and it worked out pretty well. She picks such amazing combinations and I love watching her think about it and decide what goes with what.

So now I just have to get these turned into a quilt top, and then a quilt, hopefully pretty soon. In the meantime, I have one more thing to sew for the littlest before I start on my clothes and then some giftish things. I think having this quilt top out of the way will free up some mental space and help me feel like I am getting things finished, and it will be even better when the whole quilt is finished. Slowly but surely, progress is made.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

drachenfels {the finish}

I am a knitting madwoman! Let it be known that even though it took me days to block and photograph this beauty (thanks crappy weather), it was finished by the end of October, which is what I was aiming for. This is the drachenfels pattern, by Melanie Berg. I kind of love her patterns and do have plans for others eventually. I fell in love with this one as soon as some test knits started popping up, and it was a long wait before it was published, but oh it was worth it!

I admit my color choices are a bit suspect and more of a throwing together of what I had instead of a careful selection, but I love it. I used knitsomniac designs plushy sock yarn in stormy weather and sea glass, and a skein of plucky primo in miss manners. An odd pairing, to be sure, and definitely a bit more spring and less fall, but I can't even begin to tell you how soft and wonderful this thing is.

It did turn out a bit smaller then the pattern said. I used a fingering weight yarn but the swatch was fine once I blocked it and all measurements are right except for across the top, which is substantially shorter. However, it is still plenty big and I am not in the least worried about it, just thought I would mention it. I think something about my increases was too tight so that top edge doesn't have the stretch it is supposed to. It was a super easy and enjoyable knit and I already kind of want to make another one.

Between this, the zilver shawl I made at the beginning of the year, and my rayures cowl, I think it is time to stop making things for my neck for a while haha. Instead, I am moving on to a pair of fingerless mitts, which seem a bit intimidating, but I am going to give it a go. I may also sneak in some top secret holiday knitting if I can manage it, but we'll see how time is going I guess. Also, I have actually been using my sewing machine and making a quilt! Seriously! Proof will be coming soon :)

Monday, November 3, 2014

the dragon and the princess

I learned a very important thing about myself last week. I really hate making costumes. I don't even know why, it's not hard and it's not that different from clothes which I generally don't mind making, but for whatever reason, I really dislike it. I am not ridiculous enough to say that I am never making another, because I am sure it will happen, but I just want to put it out there that I don't like it.

That said, I spent last week making costumes for the kiddos and I must say, they came out pretty cute. The big one wanted to be a dragon because her name means "little dragon" and since her sisters name can mean "princess" it just seemed too good to pass up. Initially, daddy was in charge of costumes this year, but in the end, he didn't have time or know how to use my sewing machine so I helped. A lot. I got a pattern for the dragon from joanns and modified it so I didn't have to make the entire body suit, which I didn't have the fabric for. I had a ton of felt so we picked the colors and I made a hood, tail, foot covers and mittens, and daddy made the wings. It came together pretty nicely with some things she already had and I think she made a pretty great dragon. The fire was obviously the coolest.

For my little princess I used the piece of cake dress by anna maria horner (again). I made the 12 month size since that is the biggest and just added a bunch of length. The fabric is an old curtain so I didn't have to hem and I put a panel down the front with some lacy bits to princess it up. The hat obviously makes it. I covered her birthday hat and added some elastic and the little fabric piece coming down. I admit I was really surprised that she kept the hat on most of the night. It was terribly cute and naturally she had a sign.

Sure wish I'd gotten a good picture of them together, but I'm pretty sure that's the story of my life. In case you are wondering, daddy and I had signs too and went as villagers haha. They looked cute and had a good time, so I guess that's a win no matter how much I didn't like the process. Now I am going back to my quilt. Yes, you read that right, I am working on a quilt and it is wonderful. It is my break before I jump into a bunch of the other clothes/gift stuff on my list.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

wee{ish} little clothes....

So, apparently it is Thursday already? Somehow that happened. I am not entirely sure I know how. But anyway, here we are. I would like to state for the record that these cute clothes I am about to share have been done for a week, and I even snapped some pictures before life happened and did not allow me to post them. These are all for the tiny one, who, as it turns out, is not actually tiny. I used 18 month for all of these and they fit a bit too well, but hopefully we'll make it through the winter. Thankfully winter is short here and they are quick and easy to make if she does outgrow them.

First up, a set of flashback skinny tees. The bird one is a knit from joanns that I've had lying around, and the other is one of daddys old t-shirts that ended up in my pile. Don't tell him, but it looks way cuter on her :)

Next on the list was a pair of jammies. These are the same alex and anna winter pjs that I have made her before, and they are still slightly large, but they work.

Finally I found this hoodie pattern at joanns (yay $0.99!!) and decided to give it a go. I do prefer the digital since the instructions are always better, but I made it through and ended up with a cute shirt. I almost wish it was my size, I just love it. I only had enough of this great pink/silver stripe fabric to make something for her, and I am glad I found a worthy project before she outgrew it. The sizing is a bit funny, and I made her the 1 size and it is a bit big, mostly in the sleeves, but dang it's still cute.

So that's my main accomplishment recently. I think I am going to finish my shawl this week and then I just need to figure out where to block it. Currently, though, I am stuck in costume making hell. I am not sure how I got sucked into this, but I think next year we may just buy the costumes because this is really not my thing. As long as it is reasonably cute and she has something to wear tomorrow (ahh!!!), I guess it will be alright. Once I get that done, I am totally stealing some quilting time! I have some blocks waiting to be sewn that have been taunting me all week.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

a big, boring list that doesn't even have pictures

I have spent the better part of the past day or two, considering the things I need to get done. I am overwhelmed, to say the least, and at this point I have no idea what is a realistic goal, which is killing me. Obviously, I thrive on lists, goals, order, and finishing things, so this spot I'm in, it's not great for me. I have so many big things that will take a while and not much that I can finish to propel myself forward, and the things that need doing span so many categories. It isn't even really a WIP post since most things aren't even in progress at this point. It is making me feel crazy and scatterbrained, so I am going to try to list things out and get a handle on them. There is always the possibility that this will make things worse, but I am going to have to face it all sooner or later, especially since I'd like most of it done by the end of the year.

economy block for the preschool teacher: I have all the center fussy cut squares, and have started the outer squares, but I need time to finish the cutting and get to sewing. I'd like to give it before winter break.
DWR: I am almost halfway done the arcs and I need to test out a block to make sure I can handle this. I have also had the low volume pile for the centers sitting around for months and I would like to be able to use them for other things....
scrappy pinwheel things: this may get rethought, I don't know yet, but I think it may end up on the babies bed when we convert it to a toddler bed

clothes (babe) {I just cut these out yesterday and hope to start sewing them up today maybe. Poor thing really needs some warmer clothes.}
flashback skinny tees

clothes (me)
julia cardigan: I have the pattern printed and I think I have some fabric to use
hudson pants x2: I have the fabric for a pj test pair and then I'd like a sweatpant pair
wrap top: I have fabric but need to order the pattern still
easy t-shirts: my next attempt in trying to find the perfect t-shirt
lane raglan: yes, I need another.

gifts {this is as far as I've gotten on this list but I'm sure it will grow}
duffle bag for the little: the plans are set, the zipper and straps are purchased, lining decided, need to get going
stuffed cat
stuffed dog

little's book: need to order more pictures and make it and pretty much everything
littlest's book: the pictures are all in the book! now for journaling and decorating and such.

drachenfels shawl: I am making good progress on this, and hopefully will have it done by the end of the month
fingerless mitts: pattern and yarn selected, this is coming next so I can wear them when it's cold
grace cardigan: this will be my long term winter knit I think, so whenever the mitts are done, this will begin.

And this is the realistic list with the things I know I am going to make, not even the wish list! I'm trying to convince myself it's really not that bad. And hopefully I will hit a productive streak and it will start going faster, but I still feel a little like I am drowning. I am going to take this week and try to finish up the baby clothes so she has more than one pair of pjs, and some shirts, and then decide what I can manage next. I also got a totally brilliant idea for how to make the t-shirt quilts for the girls out of their old baby clothes, but that has not even made it to the list yet. As ever, more ideas than time. Happily, I do feel better now that I've gotten all that out and have picked my starting point, and it is one that should produce some finishes pretty quickly, so hopefully I'll be back with those soon :)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Baby books in progress

Hey friends! I just thought it was time to pop in and say hi. I have been doing so, so much but have very little to show for it. I have continued knitting up a storm and am still hopeful that I will have my shawl done by the end of the month.

A large portion of my efforts, however, have been poured into a scrapbook of the littlest babe throughout her first year. I have spent the last few weeks collecting pictures and scraps of paper with notes about her on it and am now putting it all together. I am a bit over halfway done putting the pictures in and then I have to go back and do the journaling.

I am doing it like a homemade smash book. I took 12x12 scrapbook paper, figured out how many pages I needed, glued them back to back to make single pages, got some chipboard for covers and had it bound at fedex. I love the binding, I just hope the paper will hold up and the pictures will stay on through the little people looking through them.  These are just a couple pages I love, out of the 30-something I've done so far...and there will be a total of 76.

It seems pretty impressive, what with her only being 14 months old at this point, but I still haven't made one for the first kid, so that's up next. I had a box of things for her but when I went through it I realized I still need more pictures printed. Soon I will get that all sorted out and eventually these will be done! I also have clothes to make, at least one quilt, a bag, and some holiday gifts. I think perhaps my next task will be to make and prioritize a, I do believe that is how I will get next week started. For now, I will try to finish up all these pictures and hopefully enjoy a lovely fall weekend with my sweet little family and visiting brother-in-law. Happy weekend!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

drachenfels {part I}

Can't.stop.knitting! Last week, I cast on a drachenfels shawl, and now I am about halfway through. To be honest, halfway is an unfair assessment since it is the much smaller half, but still. I started at 6 stitches and am up to 136, and by the end will have 260.

This is the first section finished. I am in love with these awesome stripes, and now I get to switch to more traditional stripes and eventually add in my third color. This sea glass color is just amazing. And I love the way it goes together, starting at the corner and ending at the long edge.

These yarns are a dream to work with. I think I must have cashmere in all the things from now on haha! Soft and squishy and perfect. This project is so great for relaxing in the afternoon after school with the little and hearing about her day (when she cares to share) or snuggling up at night with a movie.

I still have some reservations as to whether I will wear these colors, but since it is so soft and will look great with my black jacket, I think it will be alright. I've never really worn a shawl much. Or at all. So it will be an experiment.

I am hoping to have it finished by the end of the month. If I don't slow down too much as the rows get longer. And then will come decision time and I will have to pick what is next, the sweater or the fingerless mitts. I have some time though, and whole lot of knitting to do before then. I am hopeful I will get some sewing in too, sometime soon.

Monday, October 6, 2014

a tiny cowl

Happy Monday! Or something. I actually have that finish that I mentioned...done and photographed with a model! As I mentioned earlier, after making a whole sweater, I felt like I needed a nice small project that I could get done quickly. Since it has been on my list for a while, I decided to go ahead and make my little one a cowl, even though the likelihood of it being used in the near future is very low.

I let her pick the yarn and she picked this tweedy recycled yarn that I have had for a while that I used to make myself some leg warmers a while back. I was surprised since I thought she would pick something more colorful, but it is a very sensible choice haha. She surprises me a lot with things like that actually.

The pattern is the child version of the sophia cowl by green bee patterns. It is a nice simple pattern that makes a nice little cowl. I did get bored and make it about an inch shorter I think, but since she is only 4 I figured that would work, and it does. I know I'm biased, but I think she looks so darn cute! Love this girl.

So that's my recent finish. I am making good progress on my shawl, which I am totally loving, but will definitely take a while to get to a finish I think. As the rows get longer and longer I am definitely slowing down. I also do have a few sewing plans in the works, a travel bag for the little and some clothes for me, along with working on my DWR quilt, so hopefully I will get going on all that soon. It turns out I have a harder time focusing and sewing when the baby isn't sleeping....and since we've had 2 molars come in, in the past two weeks, with another one almost through, not to mention the walking and almost talking....yeah, not so much on the sleep. I just have to keep reminding myself, this is not a race or a contest, just something I do to make myself happy, and as long as I am happy with the things I do make, it's all good. Have a good week friends!