Tag Archive | hood

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

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.

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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).

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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…?

Mystery gifts: In-law Edition

Today you get two (two!) for the price of one! This post should have gone up Wednesday, but the power went out and kind of messed up that plan. But the extra day of waiting didn’t kill you, did it?

So, the next two mystery photos were this:

And this:

The first photo is of wool dryer balls that I made for my mother-in-law.

Put them in the dryer instead of dryer sheets to cut static electricity without any questionable chemicals. Bonus! I’ve been using a set that I received in a craft swap a year ago and I love them. My mother-in-law lives in Spokane which has a fairly dry mountain climate. She tries to avoid having to use dryer sheets, so doing laundry there can get awfully prickly. I thought these might help her out. They aren’t too difficult to make, but they do take some time.

First, wind a small core of wool yarn into a grape-sized ball. Then, put the little balls into an old nylon and knot the top and throw them into a load of wash, preferably hot water.

All ready to go in the washer

The balls need to move around enough to mat and felt the wool, but you still want to keep them contained so that they don’t come unwound. After running through the washer, throw them into the dryer with the clothes to continue felting.

Core wool ball

From here, you could continue wrapping yarn, or save a little time and wrap the core ball in a bit of wool sweater like I did.

Run it through the wash again in the nylon. Then keep wrapping with yarn and felting it up to the size you like. The balls I made were about the size of a tennis ball by the time they were done. It’s not an exciting process, but wrapping the yarn balls is actually kind of therapeutic.

You can see the separate strands of yarn, but they won't come apart now.

Next up is my sister-in-law’s gift. She had asked for something warm in the way of an afghan, hat or scarf. I didn’t have time to whip out an afghan, so I decided to make the most of her hat/scarf request and made a hooded scarf.

Bulky yarn hooded scarf

I actually had to unwrap the scarf to take a photo of it because some overzealous wrappers had already gotten a hold of it. Mr. Gren was downstairs, chomping at the bit to get to the post office, so I had Granota take a quick photo of me modeling it.

You get the idea.

What can I say? She’s four.

Here’s hoping it provides my sis-in-law many warm outings this winter.

That’s the end of all the mystery gifts! We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled program next week. In other words, next week will be full of other random and seemingly unconnected projects, just like always. I completed another blouse for myself the week before Christmas; finished knitting a sweater this afternoon that now needs to be sewn together; I’ve begun a multi-colored block afghan to use up a bunch of Red Heart yarn that I’ve had forever, and who knows what else I’ll pick up in between.