Tuesday, October 26, 2021

A Test Bib

I'm making a batch of baby bibs as gifts for several friends with new or imminent babies.  I traced the pattern off of a set of handmade bibs we received from my friend Evelyn when my older child was born.  They were easily the most useful handmade baby gift we got, so I want to pass them along!

Each bib uses almost 3 yards of double-fold bias tape.  In the original set, Evelyn used handmade flannel bias tape - I can't imagine making and pressing that kind of quantity, so these babies are getting storebought poly/cotton binding.  

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Santa's Little Mask Workshop


I made a lot of cloth masks in December!  My kids' daycare started having the kids (age 2 & up) and staff wear masks in mid-November, so I wanted to make my 2-year-old some fun masks that he would enjoy wearing - we'd been having him wear a mask on the (very rare) occasions that we visited with friends outdoors, but not for school - it didn't seem reasonable to try to get him to be the only person at the daycare to wear a mask.  

I bought two Moda "Safety First" mask panels, each of which had 10 kid-sized and 8 adult-sized mask fronts.  I made up the Christmas panel first, and I'm now in the process of making up the non-holiday ones.  I tried out several different construction methods for both the kid and adult masks, before settling on our favorite style.

For the non-holiday masks, I'll: 
  • put the front and linings right sides together (I'm making the kids masks double-layered for ease of breathing but triple-layering the adult ones) and stitch the top and bottom with a scant quarter inch seam allowance
  • turn right-sides out, press, and topstitch the top and bottom edges
  • press in the pleats as directed in the panel instructions (basically a box pleat, most of the adult masks are done this way in the second picture above)
  • for the kids' masks, bind the side edges with double-fold bias binding and thread about 18" of very soft lingerie elastic through.  Tie a knot and use a lighter to singe the very ends of the elastic
  • for the adult masks, I'm cutting the two layers of lining 6x7" (for a 6x9" outer layer) so that after pleating I can fold the outer layer back and tuck the raw edge under to make a casing on each side.  Then I thread a continuous 1-yard length of 3/8" grosgrain ribbon through the casings.
We prefer masks that fasten around the back of the head instead of the ones with ear loops (although we do have a few ear loop ones that a family member sewed for us, and we like those for quick errands because they're easier to put on and take off).  For adults, the ribbon ties are adjustable to get a better seal around the face, and for both adults and kids it's nice to not have the ear loops putting pressure on our ears.  

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Knitting this Fall

With a baby, a toddler, a full-time job, and a pandemic going on, I didn't get much knitting done this summer and fall.  But I did get a little bit done.  The baby needed a hat, and I wanted to knit it for him, so my mom was gracious enough to watch the kids while I sat in her family room and knitted almost half a hat one day in October (even though we don't live in our house, she's the 5th member of our household for pandemic purposes).  I used about half a skein of the same Malabrigo Rios I used for his newborn frog sweater, which no longer fits.  The pattern is Tin Can Knits' Beloved hat/bonnet. I made the toddler size for my then 7-month-old, and it fits him perfectly.  
The other knitting project I finished was a pair of socks for a friend.  Her younger son has Down syndrome, and World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated on 3/21 by wearing crazy socks.  When I saw this pattern from one of my favorite knitting bloggers, I knew I had to make these for my friend!  The yarn is KnitPicks Felici and Stroll sock.  Blue and yellow are the Down syndrome awareness colors.  I started these socks in early March and had the wild idea that I'd finish them in time for World Down Syndrome Day 2020, but I didn't manage it.  Instead, I managed to finish them in October and did a front porch drop-off at my friend's house.  She was delighted with them, and pointed out that I finished them in plenty of time for World Down Syndrome Day 2021!
Here's a photo of the index card I used to keep track of the pattern.  It was fun and fairly easy to knit!


Monday, July 6, 2020


My sister-in-law sent us two masks that she made back in March.  We also had two cloth masks that my mom had made for us (with elastic around the ears), so when we needed more we had some experience with two different styles.  My husband and I prefer the style with ties, so I knocked off the ones my SIL had made to make six more.  

These masks are made of two layers of quilting cotton.  I started with a double-layer rectangle, 6.75" wide and 6" tall finished at the top and bottom edge (raw edges on the sides are fine, since they'll be enclosed in the bias tape ties).  I ironed in three evenly spaced pleats in the middle of the mask, so the finished pressed height is 4".  Then for each mask I cut two one-yard lengths of 1/4" double-fold bias tape, folded the ends inside, and sewed along the open side of the bias tape, enclosing the side of the mask in the middle.  By far the most time-consuming part of this was pressing the pleats in the mask.  

I made this round of masks using all materials that I already had on hand.  The limiting factor was the bias tape - I'm totally out now, and I couldn't find more online for a reasonable price/in reasonable quantities.  We need some more masks - I'd like to have about 20 by the time I go back to work in mid-August so we won't be scrambling to get mask laundry done all the time - so I'm going to try making my own bias tape using this tutorial.  

These masks have been working well for us.  One of my husband's coworkers admired them enough to ask if I was selling them (I'm not, but I will make a few extra in the next batch so my husband can give one or two away at work)!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Striped Skew Socks

These are Skew socks, with Knitpicks Felici yarn.  I really like how they turned out in self-striping yarn!  I used 2mm and 2.25mm needles.  I started them in May 2019 and finished them at the end of February 2020.  I did most of the knitting in the car riding to and from church (I'm a Unitarian Universalist and my church is in a city about half an hour away from the town where I live).

This is my second pair of skew socks (although maybe I should say third, because I knit the first pair twice!).  My first pair are one of my favorite pairs of socks.  They fit me really well, although they are a bit snug to get them on and off - but that also means that they stay put really well once they're on.  They're also interesting and fun to knit.  I rarely knit the same sock pattern twice, but I like this pattern so much that I'll probably knit it at least one more time!

Friday, June 5, 2020

Toddler Jammies

 For his second birthday, I made my toddler two pairs of summer pajamas.  The pattern is Peekaboo Patterns Alex & Anna pajamas, which has short, long, and sleeveless options.  My son is currently wearing 2T clothing, but he's in bulky cloth diapers.  His chest measurement put him in the 2T top, and his hip measurement around his night-time diaper put him in the 3T shorts, but I decided to make him the 4T top and shorts in the hopes that they'll fit him for at least two summers. 
The main fabrics are from a grab box I ordered from Fabricworm fabrics a few months ago.  The blue fish are a 95% cotton, 5% spandex jersey.  It was wide, so I was able to cut the whole set out of just half a yard!  I still have a second piece, which is about a yard.  The giraffes are an interlock knit, and it seems pretty stretchy, although the selvage didn't include a label or fiber content.  It wasn't quite as wide, but I still do have some leftover for something else - which is nice, because we love giraffes!  The interlock was very easy to sew.  I cut the contrasting bands on both pairs from scraps leftover from the two pairs of maternity leggings I made myself last winter. 
I constructed these almost entirely on my serger.  The instructions were very clear, and they went together pretty quickly and easily, although it would have been nice if there were notches to help with setting in the sleeves.  The only elastic I had was non-roll elastic (and I couldn't buy any other elastic because people pandemic-panic-bought all of the elastic!), so I couldn't sew the elastic directly to the top of the shorts as instructed.  Instead, I made a snug casing with a tiny seam allowance (so as not to reduce the rise) and threaded the non-roll elastic through.  I stuck a little folded scrap of the pink jersey into the back waist of each pair of shorts so that my husband and son will be able to identify the front and back (the shirts have the neckband seam at the back, so I figured the fake tag wasn't necessary there).  I intended to hem the shirt and topstitch the band seams with a double needle, but then I stupidly broke the double needle by installing it in my machine without checking that the needle was centered.  Instead, I hemmed the shirts with a zigzag stitch and decided not to topstitch the band seams.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Owl Baby Quilt

This is an old project.  I made two baby quilts last summer from the same easy pattern, from  book called 3-Fabric Quilts.  This one was for my cousin's baby, born August 2019, and the other was for a colleague's baby, born September 2019.  I can't find a photograph of the other one, but I was happy with how both of them turned out.

They were very easy and quick to make.  I think the most time-consuming part was thread-basting them.  I would definitely use this pattern or something similar again!