So when I lived in New York City I took the subway to work each day with literally millions of other people. Of those millions, a few made lasting impressions. One was a boy that rode the train with me nearly every morning for about the length of one school year. He was in high school and he knit. He knit sitting. He knit standing. He knit soaked with rain pressed up against strangers while discussing gossip with friends. His friends never seemed to notice that he was knitting, and this astonished and inspired me.
I carried his image in my mind for years, and each time I was pregnant I would whisper to myself, "this is my boy who will knit." Did the whispering work? I think probably not on our 7 year old boy. But this one... this 4 year old sweetie... I think just perhaps he's the one.
As you can tell from the photo above this kid loves his new Lulu sweater. In fact, he adores all things handmade, and has been asking since he could talk for me to teach him how to make, make, make. So naturally, he was involved in every step of the making of this cardigan. He picked the Quince and Co Opsrey colors himself, and was very clear that the darker blue (Fjord), was to be "surrounded" by the lighter blue (Belize). Alos, the buttons had to be a golden color that could also maybe be wood. I'm a night knitter, and knowing this he checked on my progress every single morning. Every. Single. Morning. For weeks, "how many rows did you knit last night?" was one of the very first thing I heard upon waking. So yeah, I think he needs to learn to knit, and soon. A knitting boy indeed.
*Knitting notes can be found on my Ravelry page.
So here we are on day 4 of Kids Clothes Week and so far all I've sewn are different versions of the same simple dress. I could say that I'm getting bored sewing this way this week, but that would be a lie. I'm actually loving the simplicity of it all. Getting to know a sewing pattern and playing with it is fun!! It's also nice to sew something that I know will fit and be loved. So far this girl loves each and every one of her animal dresses --and she's a fickle pickle when it comes to getting dressed, so that's saying something!
So what's different about this dress? The front is a patchwork of different fabrics, that's what! To construct it I used a largish scrap of the bear print, and flanked it with a yellow crosshatch print (leftover from the backing of our boy's Scout Quilt). Now I want to make more patchwork dresses using wonky log cabin quilt squares. There are just so many ways to make this same simple dress... Somebody stop me!!
So you know when you finish an item and before it's even pressed and worn you have ideas about how to make it well...not better, but different? Well that happened while I was sewing my girl's elephant dress big time. So though I had other plans for KCW this week, I ended up making two more simple raglan shift dresses, each slightly different from the other.
This dress is two sizes larger than the elephant version, and I added two rows of shirring at the empire waist with elastic thread in my bobbin. Sewing with elastic thread is magic for children's clothing. If you've never tried it, and want to, then check out this tutorial. Pure genius.
Pattern: Whole Grain Baby Raglan Shift Dress in size 4 (see my notes on this pattern in yesterday's post)
Fabric: Heather Ross Far Far Away 2 Unicorns in blue for body, and Snails in orange for sleeves
And stay tuned - the third raglan dress will be here on the blog tomorrow!
So when the first really warm day of Spring arrived last week my littlest girl had nothing to wear. Apparently she grew so much this winter that none of the warm weather clothing in her closet could fit over her head. She ended up playing outside all week in an undershirt and her brother's shorts. It was adorable and sweet for a few hours, until it wasn't. It was then that I signed up to participate for Kids Clothes Week, or KCW. If you haven't heard of KCW, it's basicly a sew along where you pledge to sew clothing for kids for at least an hour a day for a week. If you want you can post photos of your sewn items on the KCW community site, and/or tag it on Instagram. This week, KCW is serving as my own personal kick in the (handmade) pants by forcing me to sew this wee one a spring/summer wardrobe.
The theme for Spring 2015 KCW is Wild Things. If you knew this girl, then you would know that I could sew a simple white sack for her, and "wild things" would still be the theme - she's that, well, wild. (See above photos taken in the rain this morning for a glimpse of this girl's devilish nature!) She does love elephants, and elephants are wild things, so I chose this black and white elephant print to kick off the week.
Pattern is an old standby by Whole Grain Baby.
I'm not even sure that Whole Grain Baby still sells patterns after a quick internet search, but if you like what you see here, I suggest looking up the terms "peasant dress" on Google or Pinterest. There are loads of similar dress patterns floating around.
Fabric is a Japanese imported elephant print for the front, and multicolor herringbone for sleeves and back by Timeless Treasures.
Shoes are Converse self styled by the little miss many sizes too large and on the wrong feet.
So I was determined to finish this sweater before the end of winter, but ended up binding off yesterday, which was technically the second day of Spring - Boo!! Lucky for my sweater, it snowed and we woke up to freezing temperatures, so it was worn with pride and smiles all day long anyway.
Pattern is Carrie Bostick Hoge's Camilla Pullover. It's an ingenious seamless knit that is knit in the round. The body is knit in one piece from the bottom up, so you can try it on as you go and see how long you want your body length (think hip to armpit) to be. Sleeves are knit in the round on double pointed kneedles separately, and then joined to the body. Once joined, you continue in the round to shape a raglan style yoke all the way to the neck. I knit a size small, on size US 10 needles, adding some length to both the body and sleeves .
Yarn is Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in the Optic colorway, and it's heavenly. This is the first time I've ever forked over so much money for yarn in my life, but it was worth it. I can't explain how squishy and soft this wool is, and how striking and unique the Madelinetosh colorways are. I now understand why Madelinetosh has such a cult following!!
For a few more knitting details, check out my Ravelry page. I'm actually a little sad that this sweater is off the needles, but that hasn't stopped me from picking my next knitting project. It's another Carrie Bostick Hoge pattern for my boy - the Lulu, in blues. New goal: to have a blue Lulu done by fall. I think I can handle that!
So last week I participated in Selfish Sewing Week for the very first time. In every single free moment I had I sewed for myself, and ended up producing four new tops! I posted some pics on Instagram as I went, but thought a quick roundup here would be fun too.
First up, I made another Lane Raglan in a double sided black and white knit. Neck and cuffs are made from scraps leftover from this Stellar tunic. The photo below is not my best, but take it from me when I say that this top is comfy, cute, and simple to sew.
Next up were a pair of Briar tops made using Megan Nielsen's awesome pattern. I love Megan Nielsen patterns for the multitude of variations within the pattern, and the many many tips she provides for personalization and ease of sewing both on her blog, and in her free tutorials. I first sewed up this full length, long sleeved version with a traditional neckband and double needle hems in a lightweight knit.
Then I tried a full length short sleeved version with a fold over neck, and raw edge/no hem sleeves and bottom.
Same pattern, but two different looks, right? Though I only planned to sew two Briar tops this week, I'm not done with this pattern yet. I'd love to try a modified Briar dress for the summer, and perhaps a center front seam cardigan like ones discussed here.
In the meantime, I've fallen hard for the the Julia Cardigan. Have you seen the Julia Cardigans that are posted all over the sewing blogs lately? My bloglovin' feed is full of 'em, so of course, I had to try one for myself. So glad I did. The Julia was a perfect end to my selfish sewing week. I would have finished this cardigan in under 2 hours if my serger hadn't needed re-threading. It's that quick to make. The result is a surprisingly fitted, on trend piece that will look good on everyone. One word of caution is to follow the measurements closely when deciding which size to sew, and to follow the instructions for cutting with or against the grain of the fabric. If you are looking for a less structured, looser garment, I would choose a jersey knit or other knit with loads of stretch. There isn't a lot of give in the version I made with this tight double knit metallic stripes, but man-oh-man do I love it.
So there we have it, more photos of me than I generally like to share with the world, and four new tops. If you made it this far in the post, thanks, and happy selfish sewing ;)
So it seems that I am working on a one-for-one model in my house right now when it comes to sewing. For every item I make for myself, I make at least one for someone else. Last weekend I made myself my first Lane Raglan, and this weekend I made this hooded Imke shirt for our four year old son. A shirt for a shirt seems fair after all.
I'm trying to use only fabric and patterns I already have, which is proving to be really fun. The kids and I take out sewing books and patterns, pore over them together, and pick what we like. They even helped me cut the patterns this weekend, and are beginning to see how many steps are involved in creating a garment.
This shirt is the Imke top from the lovely book, Sewing Clothes Kids Love. I especially like this book because it has patterns for every level sewist, many variations offered for each pattern, and a whole chapter offering suggestions for embellishment. Though most of the book is geared towards girls, the Imke top has bodice options for both boys and girls. For this particular version we chose to use the boys bodice, the straight sleeve, and the curved hood, which I lined with the turquoise knit. I didn't feel like hemming the sleeves and waist, so instead I added cuffs, allowing me to use my serger for the whole garment. Adding cuffs also gives the top more of a sweatshirt look, which my oldest daughter said would be cool.
So does the book live up to its name? Did my kid LOVE his Imke top? You betcha. Here is hamming it up with his little sister who is just out of the camera frame...
Fabric: Organic Knit Charlie Harper for Birch Fabrics in Bank Swallow Blue, purchased from FabricWorm, and turquiose jersey knit from my stash.
- Pros: Quick sew. Minimal experience with knit fabric required. I sewed it completely on my serger, which was wonderful (check out my seams above), but you can use a ballpoint needle on your sewing machine as well. PDF printable pattern so no waiting if you want to start right away. Clear instructions, including the best tips on how to put in knit neckbands that I've ever come across.
- Cons: None really. The only note I would make is on sizing, which I think is generous. I chose to sew the size small, which is my regular size when buying a t-shirt like this, but if you want a tight, body skimming fit, I think I would sew a size down one from your regular size. I like the ease though, and the longer length - so comfortable!
So these pants are exhausted. This is how they lay this morning, trying to get some rest after an action packed day yesterday. I should hide them before our little girl wakes up, because if she sees them, then she will wear them again today despite any and all protests I can muster. It should bother me perhaps...that my girl wears the same dirty, boyish pants over and over again, but it doesn't. Instead it inspires me. It makes me want to sew kids clothes again after I'd kind of given up doing so. I've been "off" sewing for my kids this past year or so, but seeing this yesterday made a switch inside of me flip back to "on".
You see, this girl playing in these silly pants yesterday reminded me of the boys at this age. So much so that when I woke up way too early this morning I went through old photos for an hour until, sure enough, I found these candids of our boys, each between 2 and 3 years of age wearing these very same pants.
These photos made me realize that even though my fourth grader would never ever wear a handmade item to school now, I still have time for this girl, and her pre-K brother. Time to sew. Time to play. Time I shouldn't waste. That's inspiring.
So this is a cropped version of the well loved In Threes Baby Cardigan. I knit this little sweater about two years ago while waiting outside of my older daughter's weekly music class, very pregnant, on a folding chair. At the same time each week a ballet class down the hall would end, spilling little girls in pink leotards everywhere around me. One little girl was escpecially fascinated by my knitting. Every week she would stand and watch me while her mother apologized, embarrassed by her interest. One afternoon, after a few minutes of silent observation, she said something very much like: "You're really just making lots of knots with that string you know, but it looks so nice and you are are doing it all by yourself. It's amazing that one day the baby in your belly will wear it." It was one of those wise things that young children say, and I recall writing it down on a scrap of paper afterwards. The scrap of paper was lost of course, but yesterday when I looked at the baby wearing the sweater I recalled that little girl in her pink leotard and thought how right she was... it is amazing.
Pattern: In Three Cardigan (cropped)
Yarn: Sugar and Cream, just one ball of Ecru for the body
Changes/Additions: I simply stopped knitting when I ran out of yarn, and crocheted one row of single chain all around the edges of the cardigan in a variegated colorway of Sugar and Cream just for fun.
So this summer the only thing I seemed to be interested in knitting was cowls. I would start one, see another on Pinterest that I just had to try, and start another. By August I had three cowls on the needles at the same time. Sadly, once they were finished, I found that I really, truly, only love one, and that's my narrow version of the Honey Cowl. The pattern is free on the Madelinetosh website, and it's so easy to follow. Why did I make mine so narrow? Well, because my yarn told me to. I used Katia Belice yarn (in colorway 301), allowing the variegation in the color of the yarn dictate the pattern. Put simply, I changed the pattern to end when the variegation pattern ended, achieving a look akin to intentional stripes.
Matching Honey Hat was an obvious add-on project. The hat is super loose, especially knit as I have with a cotton/acrylic blend. If I were to knit it again I would choose a yarn with more elasticity, but it's so lovely as is that I really can't complain.
What about you? Are you knitting anything new?
Hi there everyone! It's been a while, right?
What can I say...life, man...it happens. It's been busy the last couple of months as we've settled in to the rhythm of school/sports/life in our new town. Each moment spent sewing has somehow felt stolen, even illicit. There is just so very much to do with four small children under my care, and every moment that I am not doing one of those things is something delicate, something to be weighed and savored. So when I undertook to sew a new batch of baby items for sale I really wanted to enjoy it. That's why I departed from my usual pattern and took to patchwork. Each of the new blankets consists of a unique patchwork top, reversing to a solid minky dot back. I chose a wide variety of color palettes, and just had some fun.
For now they are all available at The Craft Lounge and my Etsy shop. So if you've been dying to buy your baby gifts from me (and I just know you have!!), but have been disappointed to find very few choices online, the wait is over. I've just added a dozen blankets to Etsy. If you have a free moment head on over, check them out and let me know what you think.
Here's a sneak peak at two of my current favorites:
So I just had lunch with one of these napkins on my lap and realized I never posted about them here. Boo! They are almost too simple to write about really, but I'm going to anyway.
The napkins are made of two fat quarters - one solid, one print. I sew them right sides together, pull them right sides out, press, and topstitch the edges with a decorative stitch. Easy peasy.
The real story is in the napkin rings. They are made by our kids with pipe cleaners and beads. Each member of the family has a ring with their name spelled out in beads. We store the napkins in a basket with the rings, and in the morning each person gets their napkin and ring for the day. One napkin per day is the rule, and after breakfast the ring goes on the napkin so we know who gets which napkin later for lunch or dinner. Clever, right? That's what I told my eight year old when she came up with the system! On the day the system works I have four kids with cloth napkins on their laps for meals. Big Smile...
Cotton prints are a whole fat quarter set of Anna Maria Horner's Pretty Potent fabric line, and solids are Michael Miller Cotton Couture in Jade and Empire Yellow. Thread is Aurifil in medium turquoise.
So we had a load of lovely summer guests last weekend, and we all enjoyed ourselves immensely. I should have been exhausted when they drove away on Tuesday morning, but instead I was wired with a desire to make something. So I dropped my oldest kids at camp, put the youngest down for a rest, and headed up to the pile of Constellation fabrics by Lizzie House that I've been noodling on for months.
I had a plan for these fabrics all sketched out with coordinating solids purchased and ready to go. Then I stumbled upon the Supernova Quilt pattern while reading my copy of Quilting Modern. (Yes, I read quilting books like others read novels - cover to cover, in bed at night, with a glass of wine or mug of tea in hand.) The Supernova pattern is an obvious choice for the constellation fabrics, but is it too obvious? I decided to try a mini quilt and find out.
To make the mini quilt I simply scaled all measurements down to 2 1/2" squares and followed the pattern as written. I used only Constellation fabrics to see how they would work without solids. I like the result, but think that when I choose a pattern, and go BIG (as in twin sized BIG), I will add some solids or small scale tonal prints for greater contrast. What do you think? What would you do with these fabrics?
So summer has us wrapped around its little finger. After a long, dark, snow filled winter it seems that there's nothing summer can do that will put us off this year. We've been busy travelling, swimming, exploring, and just plain sitting out of doors as much as we can. Lightning storms, local tornadoes, and the ineveitable visits to the emergency room with kids can't slow us down. We are too busy being in love with the longer, looser days and the possibilities they bring.
Why and I telling you this though? And what does summer have to do with this quilt? Well, everything really.
Summer inspired this quilt. Specifically, the many summers I've spent in Santa Fe, New Mexico immersed in earthy adobe browns, grey stone paths, orange sunsets, outdoor bluegrass music, and turquoise American Indian jewelry. The arrow motif was intentionally chosen to recall the Pendelton blankets ubiquitous in Santa Fe, and our home growing up. Yes, this quilt is summer in Santa Fe for me, and I'm happy to see it in my backyard drying after it's first washing, and wrapped around my son at night.
- Quilt was custom quilted by Melissa Kelley at Sew Shabby Quilting. AMAZING, right?
- Backing and binding fabric is Carolyn Friedlander's widescreen in Yarrow for Robert Kaufman fabrics.
- Binding was hand sewn using 2 1/2" fabric strips, the perfect width in my opinion for a nicely finished 1/4" binding.