Knits and cross stitch

Since sewing is slow these days I thought I’d pop in here and share a couple of other projects from this fall.  First, a little sweater for O.  This is a fawn hoodie in Cascade Eco wool (Ravelry notes here).

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As per some other reviews the sizing on this one seems off.  I first cast on for a size 2 but realized it was going to be too small.  So this is a size 4, which actually seems like a size 2 with size 4 arms.  I enjoyed knitting with bulky yarn (nice and fast) and was happy to add my first zipper to a knit item.  The pattern originally closed with two buttons but I thought the zipper was a little less feminine.  I agonized over putting in the zipper (it took some blocking and there are a variety of hand stitching methods) but it ended up being quite easy.  So far O’s shown limited interest.  We shall see, seeing as it’s already getting short on his little belly.

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O has also outgrown most of his hats from last year, so here’s another go at the Purl Bee garter ear flap hat (Ravelry note here).  O hasn’t taken to this hat (he prefers to wear his sister’s hats) so E kindly modeled this one for a few pictures.

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I do really love this pattern (although again, I think it runs small).  It’s interesting and squishy and I love the shaping.  I also really love this Malabrigo yarn- great color variation and texture and not too heavy.

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Last up, I finished the Winterwoods ABC sampler from Alicia Paulson.  I loved this kit.  The materials were just so lovely.  The embroidery thread is hand-dyed with such beautiful color variation and the pictures are so sweet.  E really enjoyed watching me work on this and seeing the various letters and images take shape.

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I now need to find the best place to put it up.  To be honest cross stitch turned out to be not my cup of tea (as E’s kindergarten teacher has the kids say), as it was hard to get into any rhythm when constantly counting tiny squares.   But the materials were so lovely that I may buy her new alphabet sampler anyway.

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Looking at these pictures makes me ready for the cozy winter season. I may need to search out a little yellow tea kettle.  I think it was my favorite picture to complete.

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Hats, mittens, and a sweater

I’m a bit behind on sharing knitting projects and thought I’d catch up here.  First up, I made E a new hat using the Garter Ear Flap Hat pattern from Purl Bee (Ravelry notes here).  I’d made this hat once before and it’s a fun knit.  I had a partial skein of Madelinetosh yarn leftover from making E mittens last winter.   As you can see, the mittens are well used at preschool.  I loved the idea of making the hat match but wasn’t sure I had enough yarn.

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I finished the hat with only a bit of yarn left.  But then E decided that the hat needed a strap because it tends to slide up.  I think this pattern runs small because I made her the kid size and her head is average.  I used the tiny bit of leftover yarn to add a little button strap.

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O outgrew all his hats from last winter so I made him a little striped hat (notes here).  The pattern called for sock yarn to make a baby size hat.  I using dk and worsted weight yarn and made a few modification to fit his big toddler head.  I’m new to stripes and don’t like the way I changed yarn.  I’ve since learned a better way, but this one is a mess from inside and none too pretty from the back.  Despite being messy it’s held together and it stays on his head nicely.   It was a fun project because the three yarns I used are all from previous knitting projects for O- two vests and his baby sweater.

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I also made him a pair of mittens (notes here) to match.  It hasn’t been very cold this winter and mittens get in the way of his rock collecting and climbing.  But they do make a nice set.

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Finally, I made E an In Threes Cardigan (Ravelry notes here).  I wasn’t able to get any proper modeled shots because she’s not a fan.  But I did love the pattern and the yarn E picked is a pretty color.  It is big enough to fit a while, so maybe this one will see some wear in the future.  I especially love the metal buttons.

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While knitting this cardigan I also developed some upper back and shoulder pain that seems to get worse when knitting.  So I’m taking a knitting break and started in on a cross stitch project instead.  I’ve had this Winterwoods ABC kit for a couple years and it’s been a delight to work on so far.

knits : lizzieville11And now, off to do some KCW preparations.  Both kids are set for winter clothing but I couldn’t resist planning a few projects anyway.

Catching up : a new season of knitting

I took a little break from knitting, but near the end of summer I felt compelled to pull out my knitting bag and get back to work.

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I remembered that knitting is the perfect project to have sitting around.  I can knit a few rounds while the kids play in the backyard or chase each other around the living room.  I’m still kind of annoyed at my lack of control in knitting and the weird holes that always seem to be created.  But, I figure I can only get better with practice.  I started with a quick little dress for one of E’s stuffed animals.  She was given a set of three cat cubs (cheetah, snow leopard, and tiger) and these are some of her most loved toys.  Sadly they are tiny enough that they don’t fit into most of her doll dress-up clothes. So I made this little dress (Ravelry notes here), modified from a doll dress pattern I’d used before:

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Next, I returned to one of my favorite baby hats, the modern baby bonnet.  O’s versions are here (the larger size still barely fits), and the new version was a gift for a friend’s little baby boy.  My Ravelry notes for this new hat are here, and O kindly modeled the hat:

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I then started a hat for my father’s birthday.  He’s commented a few times on O’s cable baby hat so I sized up the pattern to make him a hat of his own.  Sizing up baby size/fingering weight to adult size/worsted weight was a bit tricky and I ended up ripping out the top of the hat and adding a few rounds (Ravelry notes here).  I hope this will be a good hat for my father’s many hiking and outdoor adventures.  This picture is the original version, as I forgot to get a picture of the final hat.

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Most of my knitting has been for the kids and I figured it was time to knit a hat for J.  So for his birthday this month I knit the Turn a Square pattern with some lovely Malabrigo wool (my Ravelry notes here).  I did manage to tangle up one of these yarns into such a mess than it took many hours to untangle, but otherwise I enjoyed the knitting process.

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I used the leftover multi-color yarn from above to make a first birthday gift for one of O’s little friends.  This is the Purl Soho garter ear flap hat in a toddler size (Ravelry notes here).

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I misread the directions and so the hat is taller than it should be and has an unintended gnome feel, but even so I really loved this pattern.  O modeled the hat for some pictures before wrapping up the gift.

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I love that little tassel on top.  I also didn’t think it was possible to make O’s cheeks look any rounder, but there you go.  I was planning to knit this style hat for O but he removed the hat between every picture I took, so I’ve cast on for a hat with an under-chin tie instead.

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Anyone else pulling out the knitting needles with the changing seasons?

Knitting for Thelma

E turned four last week and I can hardly believe it.  For one of her gifts I knit a few doll clothes.  I’ve been meaning to do this since Christmas, when E got a new doll.  She named her Thelma (which you may recall was her choice for O’s name, had he been a girl).

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To continue yesterday’s theme of knitting frustration, I kept running out of yarn on these projects and there are some mysterious holes.  I was using up leftover yarn and am apparently bad at estimation.  Hence these tricolor overalls:

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Apart from running out of yarn twice, these were so fun to make and they came together quite easily.  They remind me of O’s longies, although the construction was totally different.  O might need knit overalls at some point in his babyhood.  I also made a little stripey dress.  This is a great pattern but I’d forgotten how slow knitting with fingering weight yarn can be.  Next time I’d probably use sport or DK weight.  Monkey is modeling because there wasn’t quite enough yarn left to make a Thelma-sized dress.  But it was nice to finally use up this yarn, after making a snake, hat, bootees, and a bear.

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And not for her birthday, but I’d previously modified a baby hat pattern for this little pink hat:

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O loves Thelma.  E won’t let him touch her, but sometimes when she’s napping he likes to poke at her face and talk to her.

After her birthday, E lined up some of her favorite friends  in their handmade clothes.  By chance, E’s grandmother used the exact same stripey doll dress pattern to make her the dress on the left.  It is quite expertly done, as she’s a fabulous knitter.

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E loves her animals and dolls.  They get dressed up, packed around, and are the characters in all kinds of crazy imaginative games.  Here they are, off to the zoo:

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I love her look of determination.

**And, thank you for all your kind encouragement and sharing of knitting frustration on my last post!**

Thoughts on knitting

For my mother’s birthday, I decided to have another try at the honey cowl pattern.  I altered the pattern a bit (Ravelry notes here).

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I wanted a longer cowl that could be wrapped around twice.  This ended up a bit too short and I don’t like how I join in the round or weave in my ends.  I also knit some doll clothes (should be sharing these soon) that had issues.  All in all, I am feeling a bit frustrated with knitting.  With sewing, I usually have some sense of what went wrong with any given project and how to fix it.  With knitting the patterns can be a bit vague and you often don’t know the issues until the very end.  By then you’ve  wasted many hours on something that just doesn’t work.

I was able to salvage this project by undoing my first bind off and redoing it with a stretchier sewn bind off.  I’m not sure how much of my frustration with knitting is about knitting, and how much comes from the fact that I’ve been knitting for about two years and sewing since childhood.  Perhaps I just need to find my knitting equivalent to Liesl Gibson and Oliver + S.  I need patterns that describe things in a bit more detail and guide me through new techniques, including the why.

Because when I see O dressed in knits and looking so snuggly I want to keep at it.

Birthday knitting : Lizzieville1Back tomorrow with some doll clothes, I hope.  And if anyone has suggestions on great knitting designers/teachers/patterns, I’d love ideas!

Winter knitting

Much like last summer, the last few weeks have been full of fun adventures but not much sewing.  I guess I also needed a little break after Kid’s Clothes Week.  I do have big plans for spring and hope to get more sewing time soon.  Until then, I finished up a few knitting projects.

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These are some pants for O (Ravelry notes here) using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s baby February longies pattern.  I powered through the less than detailed instructions and used up yarn from my stash.    They are super cozy, still a bit long, and despite some construction issues, totally functional.  Plus they make me smile.

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E kindly entertained O while I took some pictures.  I love watching their sibling relationship develop.  Best thing even.

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I also finished my honey cowl a while ago (notes here).  This is a very slow project.  I plodded through it for a few weeks and then finished it up in a burst of knitting at my monthly knitting group.  I’m not totally sold on the size-  it isn’t long enough to wrap around twice but is a bit roomy with the single wrap.  But I love yarn, and tucked into various coats and vests it’s been keeping me cozy.

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Hope you’re having good luck on your projects, or at least enjoying some adventures!

2013 year in review

I didn’t have plans to do any kind of 2013 wrap up, partly because I had no idea how to create the lovely, linked mosaics I’ve been seeing on so many blogs.  Then Liesl suggested using Mosaic Maker in her last blog post and I had to give it a try.  It was really easy- and fun to see everything put together in this one place.

First up, my Oliver+S sewing:

o+s sewing 2013

1. Sailboat pants, 2. 2+2 Blouse, 3. Class picnic shorts, 4. Ice cream blouse,                     5. Bucket hat, 6. Class picnic shorts, 7. Puppet show shorts, 8.Ice cream blouse,              9. Sailboat pants, 10. Ice cream dress, 11. Roller skate tunic, 12. Library dress

Some sewing from other pattern makers:

other clothes 2013

1. Quick change trousers, 2. Debbie’s Birthday, 3. MADE pants, 4. Knight/uptown hat,      5. Quick change trousers, 6. MADE pants, 7. Newborn pants, 8. Round neck top,             9. Geranium dress/baby shoes, 10. Beach Robe, 11. Geranium top, 12. MADE pants,     13. Newborn pants, 14. Round neck top, 15. Geranium top, 16. Reversible circle skirt

Some bags, baskets, baby items, and other sewing:

other sewing 2013

1. Divided basket, 2. Sidekick tote, 3. Sidekick tote, 4. baby washcloths,                           5. Baby burp cloths, 6. Fabric bowls, 7. Fabric bowl, 8. Divided basket,                             9. Lunchbox, 10. wallet, 11. Felt bookmarks, 12. Pincushion

And a whole lot of knitting:

knitting 2013

1. Christmas mittens, 2. Felted bowls, 3. Milo vest, 4. Baby mittens,                                     5. Baby shoes, 6. Gnome hats, 7. Vintage knits hat/booties 8. Pebble vest,                 9.Cable baby hat, 10. Saartje’s Bootees, 11. Baby bear, 12. Puerperium cardigan,         13. Baby slippers, 14. Mini fishy fish, 15. Big Ears the rabbit, 16. Doll shoes,                     17. Saartje’s Bootees, 18. Marisol the mouse, 19. Doll sweater, 20. Jelly bean socks

Hope your 2014 is off to a lovely start!

This and that: Christmas knitting

As 2013 winds to a close I have a few holiday-related projects to share.  First up, some knitting.

I made this little set of felted bowls for a dear friend who just moved into a new home.  The smallest bowl follows the “tiny felted treasure bowls” pattern from The Rhythm of Family by Amanda Blake Soule.  My notes for the larger two bowls are here.

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I also made some Christmas mittens for E.  The thumbs are a bit wonky but totally functional.

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They were quickly put to use for some sandy beach play last weekend.  This is the Family Mittens pattern and ever-fabulous madelintosh yarn.  So soft and the colors are lovely.

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Next up I’ve started a cowl… which might be my first-ever knitting projects for myself.  I’m not sure if I’m a cowl-wearing sort of person but I’m going to give it a try.

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I hope to share a bit more holiday sewing and crafting in the next few days before moving on to 2014.  Thank you so much to everyone who has read (and left kind comments!) this past year as I’ve tried out sharing my projects in this place.  I’m excited to continue creating and sharing and learning.  Happy New Year to you all!

Belated T-day Outfit

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A bit belated, but I finished O’s Thanksgiving Day outfit last week.  The pants were done in plenty of time, and he wore them while sleeping through our Thanksgiving meal.  The vest had a few false starts.  First I used a lovely, but ultimately too substantial, yarn to try and make an enlarged pebble vest (O outgrew his first one quite a while ago).  I then decided to try the Milo vest pattern instead.  This pattern goes through size 6 so I’m hoping to make many more vests for both E and O.

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The pants are another pair of quick change trousers.  I love these pants!  His first pair of trousers are well used.  I sewed these in the 3-6 month size again, but used a 3/8 inch seam allowance at the top of the side/middle seams for extra diaper room, easing into the recommended 5/8 inch allowance on the already baggy legs.  The acorn print is from the anthology woodlands line, and yes I managed to cut out half of the pieces upside down, a mistake I somehow keep making.  I’ve had my eye on this acorn fabric at one of my favorite fabric shops and was happy to finally buy some for this project.

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The other fabric is Robert Kaufman 21 wale corduroy in tan.  This is such a soft, versatile fabric.  I love the essex linen fabric I used last time but it sure wrinkles out of the dryer, and ironing the pants of someone who is three months old does feel a little silly.  But worth it for this sweet, easy-going, snuggly little guy.

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I think these pieces should get a fair bit of use over the winter months.  And E’s Thanksgiving outfit?  She got to wear a lovely dress her grandmother made because my plans didn’t work out.  I had some serious Japanese pattern complications, combined with some uncertainty about fabric choice.  I’m putting it aside to try to get some last-minute Christmas projects finished up.  Tonight, I am planning on some knitting in front of the Christmas tree.  I love this time of year.

Pink pants and baby mitts

Last weekend I finished up some pants for E.  These are yet another pair of MADE basic kid pants.

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I again used some of my old pants for the fabric.  For many years these were my go-to pants each evening after coming home from teaching elementary school.  Sadly the waistband had frayed beyond repair.  I had to strategically work around some worn spots and stains but I like that these pants can have another life.  I felt slightly more confident sewing with knits but my results are still a bit wonky.  For these pants I used my mother’s serger for the main seams and have to say, there will be lots more serging in my future.  I only know how to do the basic, overlocked stitch so I also used an old Singer Featherweight machine to attach the pockets and sew up the waistband.  I love how tiny and simple these machines are- so little to go wrong.  The machine has a box of intimidating-looking attachments (you need an attachment to do anything except a basic, straight stitch) but I really only use it for straight seams anyway.  These are particularly lovely machines for piecing quilts.

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The fit on these pants is kind of baggy because I serged up the outer edges rather than use a 1/2 inch allowance as called for.  I also retained the original pants hem instead of hemming.  I’m hoping they’ll last quite a while, and even now are fine for playing and dancing on the beach:

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My other weekend project was baby mittens for O.  I used the baby mitts pattern from Susan B. Anderson.

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The first pair was too small for O (not checking my gauge gets me into lots of trouble, plus I think O’s hands are really big) so I enlarged the pattern and made a second pair.  The smaller pair will get passed along to a friend whose baby is a few weeks and many sizes smaller than O.

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Baby mittens are the fastest thing yet to knit.  I may need to whip up a few more pairs!