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.
So summer sewing is in full swing here (get it - swing, HA!). I just started some shorts for my boys, a simple sling bag for myself, and some things for the home, but first, this little bonnet. It's adorable, yes? A little Laura Ingalls in design, but there's nothing wrong with that. The fact that the sun shines right into little eyes hasn't changed since Little House on the Prairie was popular, and this little bonnet pattern from Lea and Lars is perfect for summer sun. It's reversible, has an adjustable tie that provides a custom fit, and a brim that folds back when needed. Most importantly, she loves it and wears it all the time. She even fell asleep wearing it, which is the highest complement a baby can pay to an item of clothing right?
I followed the pattern exactly, making the size 12-24 months for our 12 month old. It fits well with room to grow. I found the pattern to be very easy to follow, with only one pattern piece to print and cut. Just be sure that you have some lightweight fusible interfacing around before you get started. It's key to geting a stiff, yet foldable brim on your bonnet. There is a lot of room for pattern play and personalization here, which I love. I also love that the finished product folds flat and rolls into a little cone for travel. I plan to make more just as soon I can.
What are you sewing for summer?
So last week I gave myself license to play around and just have fun with my sewing machine. It rained nearly every day, and sitting in the half dark of my sewing room, I found myself free motion quilting in silence, lost to the "real" world. Many moments I was transformed into a version of the girl I used to be, doodling in the margins of my notebook at school. When I came back to myself I was reminded that this is why I love to sew, and knit, and cook, and make things in general. It's for that hummmmm that takes over when you are really IN IT.
What I was left with Friday morning were quilted panels of varying sizes just begging to be made into pillows. All fabric is from the Japanese design house Kokka. Some are leftover from my big girl's Rosalie Quilt, with a few fat quarters that I picked up at Nido (such a lovely little shop!), and pom pom trimmings from Purl in the mix. Thread is Aurifil cotton 40WT in sand, which was a dream to quilt with. I'll definitely be buying more for my next machine quilting project.
Now to handstitch the pillow openings closed and fall into my next crafty zen moment...
So here I am, finally wearing my finished Danforth Pullover. It's poorly blocked and covered in leaf fragments from the walk in the woods we took just prior to snapping these photos (note windblown ponytail - oops!), but I'm giving myself a break on this one. I started knitting it last October, just before we moved. It was, admittedly, a terrible time to start a new knitting project, but I was stressed out and knitting needles were needed to calm my nerves. This was a start and stop project with a few rows knit here, a few rows there. I think my inconsistency shows in the finished garment, but I love it all the same.
Yarn is Berroco Comfort DK in navy. It washes well, stretches in all the right places, and is really really warm. Perfect for wearing on a cool spring day outside with little ones.
The pattern is pretty much my dream come true: top down, no sleeves, schematic included. It was incredibly easy to follow, and I think that the shoulder seam detail and deep armholes give the finished pullover a very modern look. It is essentially a shaped, ribbed tube, however, so it really shows every bump and lump on the body. Even though I gave it a good tug before taking these photos, just bending down to put the baby on the floor created the little ripples and uneven lines seem above. Now I think some bumps and lumps are just lovely facts of life, but worth noting for others who may be contemplating the pattern. For me this pullover as a big navy hug, and I plan to look to Pam Allen patterns again in fufure when knitting for myself.
What do you have on the needles right now? Something for spring?
So quilting was interrupted last week when my daughter told me that the deadline to bring in her costume for the school colonial faire had passed, and I better get to work because her teacher knows I sew. Yes, that's pretty much exactly what she said. I own a sewing machine and I know how to use it, so obviously I must handmake her a complete outfit that would have been worn in colonial America. Sometimes these demands make me mad, but this time I thought: fair enough. I declined to sew 120 aprons for the rest of the student body when asked, but one outfit I could handle.
So above you see photos of our girl striking her best colonial pose in her new calico skirt, eyelet shirt, and apron. The apron is simply a vintage tea towel that I was gifted years ago depicting (what I assume to be) colonial America. I sewed a wide black ribbon to each side, tied it around her back and it became a great long apron. The skirt is a little more than a yard of calico sewn together at the selvedges, with an elastic waist inserted. A quick sew for one time use.
The shirt was where I spent some time. I know there is little chance that the long skirt or apron will be worn again, but at least the top has a chance. The pattern I used is the Juliette Shirred Blouse from Sew What You Love with shorter sleeves, added length, and an open bottom. I was thrilled when my girl wanted to wear it to a friend's house with her everyday leggings (see below) the very day she tried it on. I'm not surpised - what's not to love about eyelet?
So the past couple of weeks I've been sneaking up to the sewing room to start a quilt for our almost four year old. He currently has two beds in his room: a twin he inherited from his older sister, and a toddler bed that he inherited from his older brother. He doesn't sleep in either of them. Last night, he slept in his brother's room, on a trundle. You see, the poor little guy is terrified at night right now, waking us over and over to tell us that the world is scary when you are all alone. We agree. Then in the morning he gets me alone and solemnly tells me that the other reason he can't be expected to sleep in his bed(s) is that he doesn't have a quilt "made by mom" yet. He hopes that by the time he's four he will have one for his "big" twin bed. Cue smile, complete with heart melting dimple.
I speak fluent three-year-old, so let me translate that for you good folks at home who don't.
"No pressure mom, but I can't reasonably be expected to try to sleep in my own room, in my own bed, alone, until I have my own twin sized quilt handmade just for me, by you, so get to work if you, or dad, ever want to sleep through the night again. Oh, and by means of disclaimer, even after I get a cool quilt and turn four years old I promise nothing. I may very well sleep on a trundle, or on the floor until I leave home."
Message recieved son. I'm working on it.
Fabric: Mix of Birch Organics Mod Basics, Birch Organics Ipanema, older Heather Ross Far Far Away prints for Kokka Fabrics, an arrow print whose origin I cannot recall, and a little Essex Linen by Robert Kaufman.
So remember yesterday when I said I made three spring dresses for my littlest person? Well this is the third. It's the Oilivia Top from Pink Fig Patterns with the optional ruffle bottom in size 12 months. This pattern requires a little more sewing experience than the reversible pinafores I shared yesterday, but it's totally doable if you have a little time on your hands. Though it's essentially a raglan peasant dress in design, the version I made requires knowledge of sewing with elastic thread, ruffling, finishing seams, and hemming. There are instructions for how to create shirring with elastic thread, and some simple black and white photos included, but it's really an intermediate level project. If you have a serger or sewing foot that makes rolled seams, then this will sew up fairly quickly. Hemming and ruffling took up most of my time, but worth it for such a cute look. Now if only spring would hurry up and arrive....
So in the past couple of weeks our mailbox has been stuffed with sunshine in the form of catalogs and offers containing seeds, outdoor furniture, and bathing suits. Stores are likewise selling sunshine, and lots of it. I went to buy some cold weather clothing for our little babe (she's outgrown nearly every onesie and pajama in the house) and could only find warm weather options in the store. It seems that retail businesses in America are selling for spring and only spring, but Mother Nature never go the memo. As I type this it's snowing outside, but the advertisers and marketers of America have me dreaming of sunshine. It's kind of like when I see a commercial for food and suddenly MUST eat...when I see spring clothes and I suddenly MUST sew. And sew I have.
Late at night and early in the morning I've knocked out three spring/summer dresses for my growing girl since Sunday. The first two are the reversible pinafores I'm sharing today. They are the reversible pinafore pattern available for instant download on Etsy in multiple sizes from Aliyah's Hope Chest. I highly recommend this pattern if you are looking for a practical garment that can be sewn without a serger in a short period of time. The pinafore is completely reversible, so all seams are contained and do not require finishing, cutting down sewing time a lot.
Something to note is that when you purchase the pattern your download only contains the actual pattern to print, not the instructions. The instructions are available to the public in the Etsy listing (it says: "instructions are available at this link..." in the listing), so I suggest reading the pattern instructions and viewing the how-to videos to help you make up your mind. As a visual learner I found that once I watched the videos I was set to sew without really refering to the pattern much. A great perk when it's 5 am and you are determined to have a new handmade garment on your kid by breakfast.
Now for the details:
Our girl is now 10 months and about 20 lbs, and 29" long for size reference. The floral pinafore is sewn in the 12 month size with piping added all around. Fabric is Cloud 9 organics Bed of Roses for JoAnn's and reverses to . This size fits little R perfectly, but there is no room to grow. She screamed when I pried it off of her last night.
The hot air balloon pinafore is sewn in a size 18 month with rik rack trim sewn into the shoulder seams of the outside, and along the front curved bottom seam. Fabric is leftover from this batch of blankets from the bright balloons collection by Robert Kaufman. It fits R more loosely, but is still cute, and was easy to get on and off.
Balloons reverse to:
Pros about the pattern: It fits close to the body but allows for lots of movement, which is essential for this age. It also allows for lots of personalization if desired. I added piping and rik rack to these pinafores, but I think a little pocket, some embroidery, or a patched front would also be great. Also, as I mentioned, no serging is required, these sizes require very little fabric, and it's a very quick sew.
Cons about the pattern: It's not really a con, but this a top really, not a dress, which the pattern listing makes very clear. I really love the short length for this cold weather layered over long sleeved and pants, but for actual spring and summer, I may add a little length and pair it with capri leggings or daiper covers.
What have you been sewing lately?
pattern/ modified flashback skinny tee, self-drafted moto knee patches
pattern alterations/ flashback tee: sewn in size 7/8 for slim 6 year old with two inch cuffs and additional two inch waist band and additional Lego brick fabric inset.
found at/ kcw projects
pattern/ stellar tunic dress by figgy's
fabric/ loulouthi by anna maria horner woven cotton scraps, purple jersey knit from stash
notes/ LOVE this pattern, great fast sew and on trend design for the older/not-yet-tween girl set **i know she likes it when she leaves it on for school after the am photo shoot ;)**
pattern/ treasure pocket pants from Sewing For Boys
fabric/ architextures by Carolyn Friedlander for Robert Kaufman
pattern alterations/ (1) sewed size 4/5 for my slim 6 year old with 2" added to length all around, (2) used contrast fabric for pockets, and (3) made single waist casing for elastic rather than double.
found at/ kcw project page
read about kcw by clicking on button below
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