Day 7: a shape

Yes, I skipped Day 6: share. I couldn’t think of anything I already had a picture of and nothing else presented itself during the day. In fact, I ate the rest of the ice cream for lunch. All by myself. I did not share. Because I am the maman and sometimes mamans deserve all the rest of the ice cream.

Which brings us to today, “a shape.”

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The stained glass window in my front door provides an assortment of shapes to choose from.

Day 5: tree

Christmas tree scarf (3)

This tree is on a scarf I made on my knitting board, lo these many years. It has been languishing in a bin, waiting for someone to love it enough to take it home. In other words, I made it for my Etsy store. I made up the pattern on my own. I even had to sketch out my own little grid because I had no graph paper at the time. The scarf used up two partial skeins of yarn that wouldn’t have made anything on their own, but I think the combined effect turned out pretty nice.

Day 4: white

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This swathe of white fabric kept me plenty busy this summer. I probably could have sailed a boat with it. But instead, I did some interesting Frankenpatterning to create a comic-con costume for my friend’s daughter. Any among you who are video game aficionados will recognize this character.

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The garb of Ezio Auditore from Assassin’s Creed

Ok, so now it’s white and black and red all over.

This was a fun, yet maddening project. The fun was getting to collaborate with my friend over several weeks; each weekend having a fitting with Miss F, then sending all the kids out to play while R. and I chatted and worked on our respective crafts. Also fun was trying out some techniques I hadn’t done before, namely the slashing on the sleeves. This is reminiscent of Renaissance styling. I found a very helpful tutorial done by a woman who creates her own garb for Ren Faires and the like.

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Sleeve in process

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Slashes are cut, showing the black underlining

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Finished sleeve, ribbon details and topstitching. The garment looks rumply because Miss F is much taller than me, so it doesn’t hang right on my dress form.

The maddening part was, I had to create this costume basically from scratch, using art from the video game and a fan-drawn diagram of the key components of the costume to translate it into real life. For the hood, I used a cloak pattern that I have, but turned the hood piece around to give it the trademark point in the front. The body of the garment was a combination of the cloak pattern and a woman’s suit dress pattern from the mid-90s. Of course, neither of those two patterns truly captured the complete look, so there was a lot of measuring, drafting, sketching, and trial and error. If I were to ever do it again (which I won’t), I know what I would do differently. There’s always value in learning.

Miss F had a fantastic time at the comic-con, rocked her costume, met new friends, and even won the costume contest! She mailed me the sweetest thank you note afterwards and R. presented me with a couple of beautiful thank you gifts that she made for me. But you’ll have to wait to see those…

F Auditore AC costume

Day 3: Stripes

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Another knitted thing, this time with stripes and this time for Granota. I finished this sweater more recently (about a month ago). I tried blocking it out earlier this week, but it didn’t take, so here it is pinned out again for another round of blocking. (For non-yarny people, that means steaming it into its final shape; if I don’t block it, it curls up like a scroll which makes it awfully hard to sew together. Even if I did manage to sew it together like that, can you imagine how rumpled and “homemade” it would look? Blocking is a necessity.) This is the wrong side showing. Cross your fingers that it will block out right this time!

One thing that makes me extra excited about this sweater is that I was on a mission to use up yarn from my stash. The aqua and the variegated are the only ones I managed to kill off, but at least the others are reduced!

Day 1: Warmth

It lives!!!

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Once again, I’ve resuscitated the blog to participate in The Idea Room’s photo challenge for the month of December. I’m going to do things a little bit differently this time and post about things I’ve made in the last, uh, however many months.

To kick it off, we’ll start with “warmth,” which was actually yesterday’s word, but when you’re chronically late like I am, what’s one day out of a whole month?

Warmth:

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May I present to you, my very first ever knitted grown-up sweater. It’s my second ever knit project, the first being a tiny sweater I knitted for Baby Sprinkaan just before he was born. I’m pretty proud of this. I made a thing! I made a wearable thing! And it is made out of the thickest, softest, chunkiest yarn I could find.

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Cozy Wool — I think it’s the Michael’s store brand

I have to wait for the very coldest days to break out this sweater or I’ll actually get too hot. I think that qualifies for “warmth.”

This sweater was fun and relatively quick to make, owing to the thick yarn and the humongous needles used to make it. Here’s a photo showing the size of those suckers compared to a regular ol’ pencil.

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Mondo knitting needles

I’m actually considering making another sweater like this in a different color. The next time I make it, I’ll pay better attention to gauge and measurements so that I don’t have to add an extra band of ribbing around the bottom to make it long enough to fit me.

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Another one of my famous “design elements.”

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To quote Rana as a 3 year old, “I’m is all worm and snoogly.”

When I’m not crafting…

…I’m probably gardening. My frequent long gaps in blogging this spring have been mostly due to me taking advantage of every scrap of nice weather to get outside, clear land, hoe, weed, lay a brick border, plant, and then tend to said plants. We had a couple of areas alongside our driveway that, according to the landlord, had been gardens at one time, but they were completely overgrown with grass and weeds. I dug all that out.

It only took me and Mr. Gren about 15 tries to get that arch to stay up. Sugar pumpkins planted at the base of the far side and cantaloupes (transplanted from my compost pile) planted at the near base. Also in these beds on either side of the walkway: zucchini, cucumber, nasturtiums, marigolds, tomatoes, and basil.

It only took me and Mr. Gren about 15 tries to get that arch to stay up. Sugar pumpkins planted at the base of the far side and cantaloupes (transplanted from my compost pile) planted at the near base. Also in the beds on the right side of the walkway: zucchini, nasturtiums, and marigolds.

To the left of the walkway are cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, and marigolds.

To the left of the walkway are cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, and marigolds.

Continuing down the driveway, four pots of cherry tomatoes

Continuing down the driveway, four pots of cherry tomatoes. There actually are plants in there, but they’re puny.

Another arch for field pumpkins at the upper end of the driveway.

Another arch for field pumpkins at the upper end of the driveway.

To the left of my field pumpkin arch: lettuce, rainbow carrots, finger carrots, beets, cabbage, onions, a variety of herbs (few of which have come up; I'll to try again), and nasturtiums.

To the left of my field pumpkin arch: lettuce, rainbow carrots, finger carrots, beets, cabbage, onions, a variety of herbs (few of which have come up; I’ll have to try again), and nasturtiums. Also, a mole hole. Also, also, please excuse my ugly assortment of boards and newspapers — I was killing weeds.

There was another little bed in the backyard that had been aggressively taken over by periwinkles and weeds. As nice as periwinkles are, they had to go before they encroached any further on the backyard. I dug each one of those out by hand, hand-tilled the dirt, and let the kids plant some flower seeds there.

Lots of little flower sprouts. I can't wait to see it in bloom!

Lots of little flower sprouts. I can’t wait to see it in bloom!

I cleared and dug out another small patch below our oak tree for peas and radishes that don’t mind the shade.

I was worried about the squirrels digging up this plot, but instead it has been the moles!

I was worried about the squirrels digging up this plot, but instead it has been the moles!

And I planted lots of flowers, both in pots and in established beds around the yard.

Some flowers in pots (none blooming yet), plus four more containers for pear tomatoes.

Some flowers in pots (none blooming yet), plus four more containers for pear tomatoes.

These were getting scorched on the front steps, so they got moved to the back deck. Represented are alyssum, freesia, impatiens, English daisies, and some others I'm forgetting.

These were getting scorched on the front steps, so they got moved to the back deck. Represented are alyssum, freesia, impatiens, English daisies, and some others I’m forgetting.

My success has been mixed. The squirrels found it great fun to dig up the bulbs and seeds in the pots on the steps or, finding nothing to their liking, just knocking over the entire little pot in a cascade of dirt. Moles are churning up my main flower bed where I had daffodils, freesias, and a mix of shade-tolerant flowers to the point where I’m not sure if anything is going to live long enough to bloom there. The moles have also come up through the radishes, in the middle of the yard, and over in my main garden amongst the cabbages and beets. It’s maddening.

Ok, moles, now it's getting personal.

Ok, moles, now it’s getting personal.

But enough about the varmints. I hope that in a few weeks, I’ll be able to post some “after” pictures with more flowers blooming and more vegetables beginning to grow. if I’m silent on here, you know where I am…

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Sweet alyssum

Another jam session

Summer is upon us in the Pacific Northwest! Actually, we’ve had an unusually nice June (kinda makes me wonder when the other shoe is going to drop) and the girls ditched their fleece jammies weeks ago. The problem was, they have outgrown the spring nightgowns that I made them. That was four years ago, so I suppose some growing is acceptable. {sigh} Kids. If they’re not messing up clothes, they’re growing out of them. Whatchagonnado?

Sew new pajamas, that’s what! I found this pattern from 1982 at a thrift store some time ago and snapped it up for Just Such An Occasion. After considering her options, Rana chose the babydoll set with the little top and bloomers.

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Simplicity 5949 from 1982

It was a cute pattern to work up and nothing overly tricky. The best part of all was that I had fabric in my stash that perfectly suited this little pajama set. It’s a white lightweight cotton with pastel stripes — another thrift store find that I’ve been hanging onto for years. In the pattern, the yoke of the babydoll top is cut on the same grain as the rest of the outfit. I didn’t feel like trying to match up all those skinny little stripes and have them still come out just off enough to make your eyes buggy. My solution was to cut the yoke on the cross-grain instead which sends the stripes running parallel. No matching involved and no buggy eyes. Win-win!

Ribbon shoulder ties and a sweet little ribbon rose below the yoke

Ribbon shoulder ties and a sweet little ribbon rose below the yoke

By sheer luck, the stripes on the little bloomers met just right and make me look like a genius. Thanks, stripes!

Of course I did that on purpose

Of course I did that on purpose!

On the inside of the bloomers, I sewed a little ribbon tag so that Rana could tell front from back. You can also see my French seam which I did on both garments. Rana tends to have some sensory issues when it comes to clothing and anything I can do to smooth things out and make it more comfortable is worth not having to listen to her cry and complain and eventually wear said clothing inside-out. Even though I’ve used French seams in many articles of clothing, I still have a momentary freakout when I begin sewing pieces right sides out, like I’m about to monumentally screw things up. I get a little neurotic about that.

Ooh la la

Ooh la la

And here is the full babydoll set, sans girl inside because, internet pervs.

Soft and cool for summer nights

Soft and cool for summer nights

Granota has told me that she prefers the full-length nightgown. I was hoping to make another stash bust for her, too, but I’m having trouble finding suitable fabric. I may have to break down and go buy something, but I hope not! We shall see…

Another picture afghan

Earlier this year, I mentioned having a couple of “commission” projects that I needed to get done before I could truly start on any of my own things. The first was making a Roman shade for a friend out of some sunflower fabric she had been hanging onto for years. It was my first go at making a window dressing more complicated than a rod pocket or tab-top curtain. I spent a lot of time reading tutorials and pondering the logistics of it. So that was January. When I finished up the shade (which I did not photograph, sorry), I immediately began working on an afghan for a friend whose canine companion of 14 years had just died right around Christmas. This wasn’t so much a commission as an idea for which I managed to convince some other friends to help fund me (not that they took much convincing — we were all heartbroken for our sweet friend, S, and wanted to do something to help lift her spirits). I presented my idea to them and the photograph I would use to make the afghan — a picture of S’s dog wearing a birthday party hat that she had posted on Facebook a few years ago. What a fun way to remember her little dog! I worked on this afghan everyday and felt like I couldn’t (shouldn’t) work on anything personal until it was done because I had a whole bunch of people counting on me, plus, I just wanted to get it to S as soon as possible.

I used a J Tunisian/afghan hook and Caron Simply Soft yarn; I like it for the sheen and the softness. Here are some “work in progress” pictures with the grand finale at the end.

A little weird and abstract at the beginning

A little weird and abstract at the beginning

Now it looks like a dog! 2/3 of the way done.

Now it looks like a dog! 2/3 of the way done with the picture.

All done and with a border on it!

All done and with a border on it!

I finished it late one night at the beginning of April and mailed it off the very next day. One of the other ladies contacted S’s husband to let him know that “a package” was coming and when it was to arrive so that he could grab it off the porch before S got home from work. He had agreed to video her opening it and then, with her permission, post it for all of us to see since we’re scattered all over the country. S had no idea that we had been doing any of this, so it was all a huge surprise. She was speechless! But she and her family loved the blanket and that totally made my day. I’m so glad I was able to make something so special for her.

Since then, I’ve been working like a maniac in the garden. Or rather, I made gardens out of overgrown patches of land along our driveway and cleared out another overgrown flower bed. I’ve just about got everything planted and I’m really feeling the itch to sew again, so there should be more consistency (I say. ha ha ha) coming up!

Blastoff to good dreams!

It’s cold in the basement at night and I always worry about Sprinkaan staying warm enough, even in his fleece footie pajamas. He had grown out of his infant sleepsack and I don’t like putting blankets on babies while they’re sleeping. Time for a new sleepsack!

The zippers I have for the infant sleepsacks aren’t long enough to go around the outside edge of the sack in a larger size, so I had to go with a center-zip design. I used a toddler’s jumper pattern for the top part of the sleepsack and the basic flared shape, just continuing then in a straight line to a couple inches past the length of the zipper. Like all my sleepsacks (some of which are for sale in my newly reopened etsy store), quilt batting is sandwiched between the print fabric and a white lining fabric. None of the zipper edges are exposed and all seams are encased.

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Putting in the lining takes a bit of thinking where everything is inside-out and twisted for awhile.

I found a super cute rocket ship fabric and bought just over a yard of it.

The zipper is 36″ long which makes the sleepsack pretty generous, lengthwise. I put two sets of snaps on the shoulder straps to accommodate future growth.

Snaps, zipper, and a fabric tab to keep the zipper pull from poking the baby in the neck.

Snaps, zipper, and a fabric tab to keep the zipper pull from poking the baby in the neck.

I’m seeing Sprinkaan using this to at least 3 years old, by which time he’ll be able to keep his covers on without suffocating himself.

IMG_6119Back when I made this (and took the pictures) Sprinkaan was not yet walking. He does walk now and, while I don’t put him in his sleepsack until he is in bed, he does toddle around his crib in it a bit. It pulls at his shoulders a little when he tries to walk in it, but doesn’t seem to trip him up too badly. When he gets older, he’ll learn how to put his feet in the corners and walk in it like his siblings do in their sleeping bags.

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Before his curls started growing, so this was around his first birthday in November.

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