Friday, March 27, 2020

Maternity Leggings

This post is way, way delayed (in fact, the baby has now arrived, about two weeks before my due date!), but I sewed myself two pairs of maternity leggings this winter and only ever got around to photographing one of them.  These are the Patterns for Pirates Peg Leg Leggings, maternity version.  The pink pair is the under-belly V-waistband version, sewn in (if I remember correctly) Kauffman Laguna knit, which is a cotton-spandex knit that I wished had been just a tiny bit more stretchy for this pattern.  They were still pretty comfortable throughout my whole pregnancy, though - and I'm hoping I can still wear them now that I'm no longer pregnant.  They are pajama bottoms for my long flannel nightgown - in our midwestern winters, even a long nightgown doesn't quite cut it to keep my legs warm. 
The other pair, which I never got around to photographing, are black, and made in a 90%cotton/10%spandex blend I bought at JoAnn fabric.  They are the overbelly waistband version, and they have the perfect amount of stretch.  They were super comfortable and I wore them under dresses to work, church, and everywhere else at least twice a week.

Off the top of my head, I don't remember what size I made.  It was whatever the pattern suggested for my hip measurement.  I do know I lengthened them by 2.25", divided evenly at each of the three cutting lines as suggested in the pattern (I'm 5'10", and if I remember correctly the pattern said it was graded for a 5'5" woman).  The size was correct widthwise and the length was perfect.  
In the interest of not wasting fabric and I always need undies, whenever I cut out a cotton/spandex knit garment I cut as many pairs of Seamwork Geneva undies as I can from the scraps.  Between the scraps from these two pairs of leggings, I think I have 6 or 7 pairs of undies that I haven't sewn up yet.  We'll see if I get to that this spring/summer (or Me-Made-May?) - with two kids now, it will probably take me a while to figure out how to fit sewing time into my new routine. 

Monday, January 27, 2020

Newborn Sweater

I made this tiny sweater for a friend's baby daughter, who was born in October.  I had every intention of knitting it quickly, but in the end finished it just before Christmas and finally managed to mail it out today. 

It's the smallest size of Baby Tea Leaves, knit in Ella Rae Lace Merino DK.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Handmade Christmas 2019

 This year I was much more ambitious with handmade Christmas gifts than I was last year!  I made three different types of handmade gifts, all in multiples.  The first was eight pairs of tea towels with two of my grandmother's recipes on them, in her handwriting.  This gift was a long time in the making - when we visited my grandma LAST Christmas, I asked her for her cornbread and pecan crescent cookie recipes.  Then I photographed them, uploaded them to Spoonflower, and followed the Spoonflower tutorial for making family recipe tea towels.  We gave them to all of the households on my mom's side of the family, and I think they were a hit - since we live far away, I didn't get to see anyone but my mom open them.
 My one disappointment was that the Spoonflower fabric didn't seem to be printed on the straight grain.  This is the first time I've ordered from Spoonflower, and I don't know if that's typical or if it was some sort of user error on my part, but it was a bit frustrating that I had to fudge so much when I was cutting the panels apart.  In the end, I don't think it was very noticeable in the finish product, though.  Once I had cut the panels apart, I used spray starch to help get crisp folds on the hem (I just folded half an inch under, and then another half inch under on all four sides, and cut little squares out of the corners to reduce bulk).  I took some twill tape I found in my sewing desk and slipped it into one corner of each towel for a hanging loop.
I also made four little kid aprons for my son, my niece and nephew, and my cousin's daughter.  I used a free pattern available from Sew Liberated, which I originally saw on the Sweet Alchemy blog.  My son loves to help in the kitchen (he particularly loves baking bread), so I knew I wanted to make him an apron for Christmas.  I know my niece (6) and nephew (4) also like to help in the kitchen, so I decided to make them for all the little kids we give gifts to (our 18-month-old, our niece and nephew, and my cousin's 6-year-old).  My SIL loves Tula Pink fabric, so I decided this cute cut that I had in my stash was perfect for this application.  I didn't have enough to make the fronts and backs of all four aprons, so I used a different fabric for the linings - blue stars for the boys, and a grey/pink floral print I had in my stash for the girls.  Having different linings also helps distinguish my niece and nephew's aprons, since they're slightly different sizes.  

The pattern is intended for kids age 3-6, so I made the 4-year-old's apron exactly according to the pattern.  I made the two 6-year-old aprons the same width, but lengthened them by 2" at the bottom.  For my 18-month-old, I folded the top edge of the pattern down by 1" and took half an inch out of the center of the apron by hanging the pattern piece 1/4" over the fold when I cut it out.  I haven't seen any of the other kids in their aprons yet, but my son really loves wearing his when he helps in the kitchen - he reminds us to put it on him if we forget!
The last gifts I made this Christmas were two Open Wide zippered pouches, using a tutorial from Noodlehead.  I made the medium size, and used fabric I bought on our vacation in Hawaii just before Christmas.  These were for my husband's aunt and a friend of my mother's who spent Christmas with us.  They turned out really well and were easy to sew!  They also turned out larger than I expected - almost big enough to carry around a sock-knitting project in.  Here's a picture with a 12.5" ruler for scale.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Handmade Christmas 2018

I didn't make very many Christmas gifts in 2018 - I had a 7-month-old, I'd been back at work for a rather overwhelming fall semester, and we were flying cross-country to visit family for the holiday.  In the end, I made two gifts, both from kits I bought from Connecting Threads.  The first one was a Santa Claus apron for my husband, who cooks and bakes a lot (since our son was born in May 2018, he's made dinner almost every night and baked bread and desserts at least two or three times a week, as I've struggled to keep my weight up while breastfeeding).  He also gets really into the Christmas spirit, so when I saw the kit for the apron I really wanted to make it for him.  The kit was really well done and pretty easy to sew up - you can't quite see it in the picture above, but the apron has two large patch pockets on the front, so it's quite functional!
The other gift I made in 2018 was an advent calendar for my son.  This kit is for a quilted advent calendar with small pockets, which are topstitched onto the quilted background so they are almost invisible.  This is really adorable, and hopefully he will enjoy it as he gets older.  This year, we put little dove chocolates in the pockets, and he really enjoyed eating them when we remembered to let him (and he learned to say "please" for his chocolate!).  For next year, we need to figure out a location and method for hanging the advent calendar where we can see it and where toddler hands and dog mouths can't reach it easily.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Rainbow Baby Quilt

 One of my friends from high school had a baby boy in July, and I made a quilt for him.  I used a pattern out of a book I borrowed from my mom.  It was reasonably fast and easy to make, and I used a lot of scraps - I did buy new fabric for the background and backing, but all of the colored fabrics were leftover from previous projects. 

The backing is a nice thick cloud-print flannel.  It should be very cosy this winter!

I tried a new basting technique with this quilt.  I thread-basted it instead of using basting spray, which has been my go-to basting method for many years.  The thread-basting was very time-consuming, but it held the layers together nicely and I really appreciate not having to buy basting spray or deal with its fumes.  I was satisfied, and after I finished this quilt I bought some curved needles to make thread-basting easier in the future.
I quilted the quilt using the suggestion in the book with the pattern.  I used my walking foot to quilt a curved "echo" around each colored diamond.  It was relatively fast and came out looking really nice.  It's not a very dense quilting pattern, which made the finished quilt nice and soft.  

All in all, I'm really happy with how this quilt turned out.  The only thing I'm not thrilled with is my failure to heat-set the ink I used to write the label on the binding - it smeared in the wash.  But I've learned my lesson and I won't make that mistake again!

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Process-Oriented Knitting

Since my baby was born a year ago, I've really been savoring my crafting time.  So I'm not upset to have frogged and re-started two knitting projects in the past week.  It also helps that I don't have a time deadline on these projects, so I can just enjoy the knitting process without rushing.  The first project is this striped raglan sweater.  It's a pullover version of this cardigan that I made for my niece a few years ago, and my intention is for it to fit my son this coming winter.  I've been really enjoying the knitting, and was very pleased with myself for learning a new technique for jogless stripes!  Unfortunately, it was coming out way too big (which didn't actually bother me, it will fit at some point), and I ran out of the grey yarn before I finished the first sleeve.  So I frogged it, and I've started knitting it again in a smaller size.  So far, I'm enjoying it just as much the second time.

The second project is a pair of Skew Socks in KnitPicks Felici self-striping yarn.  I started the toe, got several rounds in, and then noticed that I'd done the Turkish cast-on wrong.  I have now ripped it out and restarted.  I don't mind re-knitting this small bit of toe so that I'll have a nicer pair of socks when I'm done.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

New Baby Socks

I cast on the first of these socks almost a year ago, as I was sitting in my hospital bed waiting for things to get going on my induction.  In the few hours before the contractions got too painful and close together to keep knitting, I finished most of the leg of the first sock.  

Then almost all of my knitting time vanished.  This winter, I discovered that I can knit in the car on the way to church or other activities in the nearest city (while my husband drives us there) - and I started making progress on my socks again.  Then, the baby started sleeping more hours at night than I need to, and so we started to be able to watch a little bit of TV in the evenings after baby bedtime, and I started making more knitting progress.  I finally finished these socks a few weeks ago, almost a year after I started them.  
Here's my "pattern."  The yarn is Regia Design Line by Arne & Carlos 4-ply in color 3657 Summer Night, which was a birthday gift from my mom last year.  I have about 27 g left (of the 100 g skein) so I should be able to do something with the remaining yarn.