Tag Archive | fleece

One jacket, comin’ up!

The boy needed a jacket. Or a sweater. Or something. The mornings are getting colder and the poor little guy needed some warmth for chilly fall days without hauling out the serious winter coat. He did have a jacket, but it’s faded, a size too small and covered in wood chips after Konik helped Mr. Gren bring in firewood a couple weeks ago. Yeah, I could wash it, and yeah, I could spend half an hour picking off splinters, but that still doesn’t make it the right size.

There is a cute little sweater in my knitting board book, but my knitting board is currently occupied with the very tedious and mundane project of making myself a shawl to wear over my baby bump. I really need to finish that, but there are so many more interesting projects to work on. My second thought was to crochet him a little sweater-type jacket. First was a vest and no matter what I did, it was going to turn out huge. Tore that out and found a crocheted hoodie in one of my magazines. I got about halfway through the back panel and realized that the gauge was not coming out right. Ah, using the wrong size hook. Ripped it out, started over with the right hook, and it still didn’t look right. Konik got a little fed up with me calling him over “just to measure.” Saturday morning, I sat there looking at the partially finished back to this sweater and weighed my options: 1) Tear it out and start over — again — rewriting the pattern as I went in order to come up with something that would fit him. 2) Find another pattern. 3) Forget that business.

I chose #3.

As Kenny Rogers so memorably put it, “You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run.” It was time to fold and walk away (he was talking about handicrafts, right?). At the rate I was going, the finished jacket was still a few days away, and that was banking on everything working out swimmingly, which — let’s face it — is a special kind of serendipity that doesn’t occur that often in crochet. For me, at least. The kid needed a jacket. So I chose option 3 and left my chair in the living room for the chair in my sewing room. Sewing provides a little more instant gratification than yarn arts.

I had a pattern that I bought at Value Village a few years ago when it would have been useful for the girls, but I never used it and they outgrew it. Good thing toddler sweats are unisex.

Dated 1985

Never heard of this company before. Dated 1985

Last year, I was bequeathed a bin full of various cuts of fleece. Perfect. I don’t have any separating zippers and nothing from which I could cannibalize one, so I needed to make a pull-over style jacket. That actually works out better for Konik anyways, since he has trouble with zippers, but can easily put on a pull-over by himself. And, since it rains 9 months out of the year here, a hood was in order. Oh sure, he could wear a hat, but then the rain would run down the back of his neck and I’m sure most of us have experienced how pleasant that is. Pockets are also a necessity because the boy doesn’t go anywhere without at least one matchbox car. And, yeah, they’d probably be nice for cold hands, too.

As you can see from the pattern, none of the views fulfilled all my criteria. I took the pockets from View 3 and added them to View 4, but left off the collar. No hoods to be found on this pattern, so I traced the hood from one of Rana’s jackets to use as a template.

IMG_2882

Mix and match

In addition to the free fleece, I also had a small amount of rib knit that I had purchased many moons ago to trim the baby sleep sacks I had made for Etsy (those will return someday. I’m still paranoid about getting potential sales items dirty in the cabin). A couple buttons left over from another project and that rounded out my supplies. Six hours later, Konik had his jacket. I love it when I can use items that I already have on hand and produce something useful and attractive. I’ll just say it: I’m pretty proud of myself.

He says it's warm and snuggly.

He says it’s warm and snuggly.

It’s roomy enough to fit easily over his clothes, but not so big that it’s going to swallow him.

IMG_2879For some reason, the way the back looks just really makes me happy.

Button placket

Button placket with a little topstitching

I made sure that the buttonholes weren’t too tight so that Konik could button and unbutton this himself. I’m all about independence, especially on school mornings when I have to get four of us presentable by 8:00. Anything that helps this process is welcome!

Hood action

Hood action

Originally, the hood was just going to be black, but when I tried it on the boy (just the hood, which his sisters thought was adorable and he thought was weird and exasperating), I could tell that it wasn’t going to quite cover his head (strange, since I traced it off one of Rana’s jackets. Makes me wonder how that hood fits her… I’ll have to pay closer attention the next time she wears it). The patterned fleece was just a long narrow strip, but fortunately, there was still enough of it left after cutting the yoke and pockets to make a nice little trim piece for the hood. One thing I didn’t take a picture of is the the little loop I sewed inside at the base of the hood so that Konik can easily hang it up on his peg. You might scoff at that, but, of all my children, he is the one who actually does hang up his coats (and puts his shoes away, and puts his clean laundry in his drawers, and clears his plate after dinner without me asking. Really, this child is amazing).

IMG_2876

This was my first time to use rib knit for its intended purpose as cuffs. All in all, it was a painless experience. I learned to pay attention to the direction of the stretch when preparing a cuff to sew onto the garment. Fortunately, I had enough fabric to replace my goof up. I’m really happy with how it looks.

Hands warm in the pockets

Hands warm in the pockets

Now that Konik is warm and toasty, I need to get back to that dreaded shawl. Hm, wonder what else I’ve got around here I could do instead…?

(No) Slip sliding away

Doesn’t sound like I’m about to introduce you to my new blue cardigan, does it? Well, you’re right. I’m not. Mr. Gren has been working a lot of evenings lately, so hasn’t been around to take any pictures for me. My next option would be to let Granota do it since Rana’s at school, but … she’s 4. Any photographs she takes tend to have an abstract vibe.

So instead, I’ll show you what I whipped up on Friday!

A couple of years ago, my sister-in-law got the girls little soft fleece slippers for Christmas. They loved them and wore them. And loved them. And wore them. To death do them part. I finally felt bad seeing those raggedy little things on their feet and Granota’s toes poking through the end and decided to do something about it. I’m not sure where SIL got the slippers, but I have plenty of fleece scraps and decided to just make some new ones myself. How hard could it be?

There are approximately 63.75 internet tutorials on how to make little slippers like this, all of them seemed to be for baby sizes, though. I studied the shapes of the pattern pieces and decided to just try my best to replicate that. First things first, I traced around Granota’s foot and based the rest of my pattern from there.

“Pattern” may be best interpreted loosely because, although I added a little bit of wearing ease and a seam allowance, the slippers still turned out decidedly narrow. Lucky for me, I have a little boy with very narrow feet and, doubly lucky for me, that first pair of slippers wasn’t in girly colors.

Konik models his new slippers that he will probably never wear because he insists on shoes at all times.

Take 2 involved adding even more ease and a larger seam allowance until the resultant newspaper pattern was a grotesquely large version of Granota’s little feet. I was dubious, but trial and error on the first go-round had already proved to be Error, so I may as well proceed with the new “pattern.” I have plenty of fleece scraps, so that was of no concern to me. However, the grippy fabric (which I had forgotten to list in my thrift store finds from last week) was more limited. It turned out to be enough and this second pair of slippers, while still not perfect, did fit the girl and I only had to use the seam ripper 3 times. Of course, once Rana got home from school and saw that her siblings had new slippers, she demanded new ones, which I knew she would. With slightly more slipper-making knowledge under my belt, I traced her foot and set to work. I think each pair of slippers ended up taking about an hour to make and there’s possibly enough grippy fabric left to make one more small pair. Not a bad day’s work.

Granota (right) and Rana (left) show off their new slippers.

The kids are happy, but I have to admit that it really wasn’t a very enjoyable day for me. I really dislike fudging around and making multiples of the same object to finally settle on one that is closest to my vision. I much prefer to have a clean, workable pattern where somebody else has already taken all that time to measure, experiment, etc. What about you? Be it sewing, crochet, cooking, fixing a car, whatever — do you like the tinkering process or do you prefer to have things already mapped out so that you can dive headlong into it?

It’s about dang time

Sheesh. After all the talk about getting my etsy shop open, there hasn’t been much mention of it here, has there? I guess I was racing the clock to get a few gifts done for Christmas and everything else had to be put on the back burner. But this past week, I suddenly found a huge dose of creative energy and made three retro-style aprons from 1940s reprint patterns, two fleece berets, five sets of cloth napkins, and I’m just ears and a face away from finishing my crochet bunny. Yee ha! I love weeks like this. It’s so energizing for me to be able to churn out projects one after the other.

This morning we woke up to a dusting of snow, which made a perfect backdrop for some photos of the berets. Granota was a willing and adorable model. She was already happily playing in the snow and didn’t mind taking a couple minutes to pose and ham for the camera.

The hats are now listed in my shop here. http://www.etsy.com/shop/TwoFrogsnGrasshopper I made the berets from some leftover pieces of fleece a lady had given me. The hats needed just a little something for interest, though; that’s where the flowers come in. I save any yarn scraps longer than a yard because “I might need it some day!” And once again, frugality pays off. I really love how the white flower looks against that gorgeous purple. I didn’t have enough of the green yarn to do the same kind of flower, so I made one called “spiderweb chain.” I’m pleased with the results!

Now, if any of you know any little girls that need some classy winter headgear, check out my listings! Later this week I am meeting up with a friend to do a fun photo shoot of the aprons and the newest fruit napkins (She’s the same one who took all the great photos of me in my black cherry dress this past summer!). Hopefully, I’ll be able to get those listed over the weekend!

Projects To-Do List for Etsy

  • Two-tone red/white scarf with a heart, like I did with the pine tree
  • More bunnies!
  • Finally, the fleece coats. I bought the fleece on sale years ago, and, after receiving compliments on the kids’ coats every single time we step out of the house, I’ve succumbed to the will of the people. Besides, I bought the fleece years ago, so it would be good to have it actually be something.

My personal project list has several items on it, as well. The tricky thing with both lists is that they are ever-evolving and subject to my whims and particular creative moods, as well as to needs that arise. One such need is that Rana apparently had a growth spurt since several of her dresses are now scandalously short and her pants are all high-waters. Even the ones I just made for her at the beginning of the school year. I think we’ll be hitting the thrift store for her, though, otherwise I may never be able to sew another stitch for myself for the rest of my life.

First project in the cabin

Ever since Rana was 1 year old, I have made coats for my kids. I meant to make new coats for the girls last year. Bought the fabric, even cut out the pieces for Granota’s coat and then… I don’t know what happened, but the coats never got made. And now the cut pieces are for a size smaller than Granota currently wears, so I couldn’t even use those. Rana and I bought new fleece right before our big move and I packed it into a bin to work on once we got things set up at the cabin. When Rana started at her new school, it dawned on me that the coat she has been wearing was the one I made her when she was 3. She’s 6 now. A new coat was definitely a necessity. In two days, I got it done and she was thrilled to death.

I used Simplicity 2745. I make the coats with two layers of fleece (so basically, I make two coats and sew them together) for extra warmth.

Super cute!

A look at my sewing area while I sew on buttons

I'm waiting to see a deer walk by one of these days

Hurray for being warm!

Nice and full makes it good for twirling