Thursday, February 19, 2015

Make MINE an Orange Strawberry, Please! A Sweater

For some reason, I feel this is Camden's most prim and proper sweater, yet!  Meet Make Mine Strawberry, designed by Terri Kruse of Ninja8tofu Designs on Ravelry (group link).
Excited about her Little Bunny Foo Foo Doppelganger Set from Gnome Acres!
I love that this has a bit of a classic little-girl cardigan look. Long sleeves, simple, long ribbing, several small, simple buttons.  Minus the fact that it doesn't remind ANYone of a strawberry, LOL, it's pretty cool.

(P.S.....You are forewarned that these photos are all incredibly awesome :O )

But....check THIS out!  I get MAJOR props, if I do say so myself, because I did something I NEVER do!  I upcycled buttons ;)  I had an Anthropologie shirt from a few years ago, but not too long after owning it, Camden accidentally ripped the front pocket - in a way that wouldn't have been easily mended...and said shirt had 9 buttons on it.  ORANGE!  Yay.  I took those suckers off like the thrifty person I am (at least in that moment!).  The yarn IS sport weight, but even at that, the buttons are honestly a bit too small for the button holes.  Fingering weight would worked a bit better for buttons this size, as they do tend to pop out.  Bah, humbug - I'll go with it :)

So!  The yarn!  I purchased this yarn over a year ago, I believe, specifically for this pattern.  I swear I bought it with the size 4 in mind, but I sadly didn't have enough yarn.  I knew this before I even started the button bands, and I checke around on Ravelry for Colour Adventures Dia Sport in Tiger Lily, but apparently, nobody has ever purchased it, aha!  Or many people are like ME and do not enter stash yarn.  Anyway, I messaged Elena, who is AWESOME, and asked about getting another skein, which she was able to do.  So, with that purchase out of the way, I had to work on other things to wait for its arrival, which is the only reason this project took so long (quite okay, as I was able to work on my Homegrown!)
Mom, I can't SEE!

The bright sun!!!
Therein lies the issue, though... :(  I had to add a skein of yarn dyed at a completely different time, and for some reason, I pulled an amateur move and didn't even CONSIDER it.  NOT a big deal, if I'd had three skeins, not all alike, and was able to knit them all at once, alternating and so on.  But I was starting to knit with a skein onto something already existing, obviously.  I did the buttonband and didn't notice it (though I do NOW), then I cast on for the sleeve and happily knit on the the drive to Vancouver a couple weeks  ago.....Only to see, in the bright, bright sun, that it was AWFUL.  Matt and my friend, Elissa, over at Sew Geeky Sachets, tried to convince me otherwise, but YIKES.  Anyway, long story short - I used my brain and realized/HOPED that I had enough left-overs of the original yarn at home and could alternate just the sleeves...which I did.  Whew.  So....freak-out amounted to nothing in the end.  I had even messaged Elena, like a fool - AND looked again on Ravelry, hoping someone had logged a skein of Tiger Lily all of a sudden, LOL.  All for naught.  I'm so dramatic.
Believe it or not, these three photos were my FIRST failed attempt....

Anyway, the pattern is super well-written and lovely, and I'd had one question when I was on the road withOUT the pattern, and Terri got back to me right away.  Naturally, Elena's yarn, as always, is lovely, and I didn't realize at first that I was AGAIN knitting with orange, but in person, Tiger Lily is obviously tonal, as compared to the Madelinetosh I used for Camden's Owlet....but I DO need a break from orange, aha!

Team work!
A proud winner, LOL....everyone IS, after all ;)
Coming in hot! (Photo courtesy of Cat!)
Meeting with the Ice Queen....both Greta and Camden were underwhelmed (photo courtesy of Cat!)
Lastly, speaking of Sew Geeky Sachets, you NEED to go grab you a Dream Pillow!  Camden has one, and NO JOKE, she is dreaming and remembering her dreams really well - better than she ever was.  Effing magic, I tell you, LOL.  Here's an example of one:

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Matchy Matchy!? Owlet Sweaters for Two!

Presenting the Owlet Sweater by Kate Davies!
About to be sick???  Aha! 

(FYI - the post below was written MONTHS ago, aha!  I am just now posting this, and I'll try and insert pictures from when I first knit it until more recent times to see if there's a difference in growth!)

I am insanely excited about these sweaters - for a few reasons.  They're clearly super cute.  They were knit out of Madelinetosh, which I love.  Lastly, they fit as well as can be expected, when I'm always lengthening/hoping for the best (as in, I gotta make these sweaters last through the winter!).

The pattern itself, found on Ravelry, of course, is super easy.  You knit in ribbing, then in stockinette, from the bottom to the armpits.  This was my first bottom-up sweater, though it was Karly's third or so. The stockinette portion goes quickly enough, and I actually had Tiberius's sweater done months ago, but I didn't like how long it was, so, I ripped out a portion of it, which meant re-doing the cables, etc....which also meant waiting until late July to get back to the sweater, LOL.

I did fret quite a bit about the sizing on Tiberius's, as it's tricky to plan ahead for length on the torso and arms for a wee baby.  I originally wasn't going to get action shots on him, but as it turns out, the sweater isn't too shabby on him at this point - clearly a bit long and wide around, but it seems porportioned correctly, which makes me happy.  Camden's is just a bit long in the arms and torso, which is what I wanted - for that extra inch or two she could grow by next February.
As I said, the pattern is written well, though I did change things up on the neck ribbing - I'm not used to needing a stretchy bind-off, as I am a top-down sock knitter, and I've only ever done top-down sweaters.  I believe I added extra stitches to the neck ribbing on both sweaters, and I maybe went up a needle size on the last two rows of ribbing, plus the bind-off.  This worked out well, and the neck ribbing on both sweaters sits well, so, I'm happy.  Other than that, the only thing I have to say is that it DID make me a bit crazy to have all that weirdly tight knitting when the sleeves were joined to the body - which I know is normal but still isn't a good time, aha.

For Camden's Owlet, I used Madelinetosh Chunky in Citrus, and for Tiberius's, I used Madelinetosh Vintage in Log Cabin.  Now here is the BONUS:  I knit Camden's with Tiberius in mind - my plan is for this sweater to double as a sweater for him, too, down the road.  I have a few sweaters in mind that I plan to do that with, like the Carabe sweater by Justyna Lorkowska.
A week hike we were on

Also note her Cabernet cowl and hat! 
Just today at the park!  Look at those chompers!

Naturally, some random photos to end the post!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Homegrown, Handknit, Potato, Po-tah-to

This is BIG, people!

My very first sweater for ME.  I'm pretty stinkin' excited, y'all.

Note my Colette Violet blouse I can squeeze into these days....

I was super nervous in joining up with the Ultimate KAL over in the Plum Dandi group on Ravelry, but I'm glad I did.  I wish I was a crazy fast knitter like some of the peeps in the Plum Dandi group.  Some ladies are super awesome and whipped out 50 billion sweaters or somesuch!  (And P.S.  The knitters in this group are super awesome and supportive!)

I used some lovely yarn - Sanguine Sky on Cielo Worsted, dyed by Lisa Sanchez over at Becoming Art (FB page).  I LOVE her colorways and wish I had more, honestly.  This yarn was originally purchased for Camden, years ago, but I could never, for the life, of me, come up with a pattern I wanted to use with it....low and behold, I apparently wanted to use it for ME ;)  Also, I originally had four skeins, but she was awesome and dyed up two more for me, and they were slightly different in color, but it worked out fine with alternating, so, I wasn't worried.  I overall alternated every 2 rows, anyway, which is easy when working flat.  Also, I realize I used an insanely variegated yarn, but I somehow thought it would work, and it me, aha!

Buff biceps??  Or blouse bulk???  Both, LOL

I will say that I was one of only three people to work on Homegrown, that I know of, a lovely non-button-up cardigan.  I chose this style specifically because I'm still nursing my little guy and didn't want to have to worry about having to fit to my normal bust size.  I figured, also, that it was a good choice as my first cardigan for ME - pretty basic pattern, etc.  The pattern is by Melissa Schaschwary, known as dandiliongrl on Ravelry.  I can't wait to see who else finishes this pattern.

I chose to do a size 38, but when taking my bust measurement and back measurement, I found I wasn't sure I wanted to do that size on the whole.  I believe I cast on fewer back stitches, and I also had a slightly tighter gauge, as I liked the fabric I was getting on size 5 needles.  I can't quite recall, but I feel I started out with size 4 needles and thought it wouldn't fit me.  I got nervous and moved up to 5s, even though for the body, 4s might have been just fine, aha.
This photo captures colorway well, as it's not actually as glowing as it appears in other pictures

I did not do a 1 by 1 rib on the cuffs, as the pattern calls for, as I prefer the look of 2 by 2, and the only other "change" I did (unless you count my crazy sleeve-splitting decisions/indecision with the counts and pick-ups) was to make sure it was my length, rather than just going with the pattern length.  I think, even after blocking out, that I have a good length.

My only thing, other than thinking the back has too many stitches in the upper section/right at the sleeve split, is that I feel there are too many stitches in the front, also above the sleeve split.  I know it might be the style, but I am not sure I like how the fabric sort of gathers up by my armpits.  I do realize this just takes more thought in fitting, too, so, next time, I'll put more thought into gauge, etc.  A picky thing, maybe, as I love it otherwise.

So.  For my first cardigan, not too shabby!  I will likely want to do another cardigan for my second sweater, so, I'll have a think, and I've definitely got my eye on some gorgeous Lakes Yarn for possibly a Sople ;)
Source other news, there is home life.....
My new project bag from A Homespun House

A reindeer...of course

Ahahaha!  Silly big sister!

Who's that little guy, up front??

Date night with Elissa from The Rarest Bird

Aren't we just cute?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

First Time for Everything! Small Fry Jeans for Camden...and a Cute Figgy's Ayashe to Match!

Mom made me JEANS???

Camden has never owned jeans at all, so, this is a BIG DEAL, people.
She DID!

What it REALLY is, though, is all sorts of guinea pig-ish-ness being poured into Camden's wardrobe.  I figure that after a few pairs for HER, I might have jeans-sewing down at least a smidge so that I can attack either the Named Patterns Jamie jeans for myself - or the Closet Case Files Ginger jeans.  One or the other, LOL.

The pattern is the Titchy Threads Small Fry Skinny Jeans, so, I clearly went alllll the way - jeans AND skinny.  Camden actually truly hipstered herself, too, by pulling out her dad's vintage Nikes to wear the first time she sported this outfit, though she sadly styled herself differently this time, aha.  (And speaking of Camden, how loud does her music need to be right now?  Is she a high schooler or something??)

This pattern, by Laura Titchener (super nice lady, by the way, and that link is for her Facebook group!), is actually pretty easy to follow, but I did my usual second-guessing and that sort of thing (go ask Karly over at Paisley Roots, aha!), trying to make it more difficult, though there is one detail I think that bears picking over - well, two, really.  Again, lovely pattern, but I truly think that when I make a second pair, I will skip interfacing the fly guard if I'm NOT doing a zipper.  I didn't do a zipper this time, and interfacing that area just adds bulk, in my opinion, and when there is a little kid belly pushing the pants down (thereby shortening the rise and scrunching everything up), it makes for too much fabric, etc, in one area.  Also, I just may do a zipper, aha, mostly because of the gapping!  (I also wish I knew why there is that extra bit of seam (?) underneath.  Can anyone see that and explain?  I see that it looks worse in this picture than it really is, because of the camera angle, but everything is actually lined up, button-wise.  I might try moving the button over a bit to see if it solves it, but I don't know that this is the issue.

Secondly, I would LOVELOVELOVELOVE for this pattern to be in paper, rather than just pdf.  I wanted to punch my eyes out so many times when I was scrolling back and forth, back and forth, to try and find information.  It could be SUCH a great paper pattern, and information and pictures could totally be condensed.  I don't know of a paper pattern like this on the market (there is a Jalie jeans pattern), and it would be SO lovely.

I was lucky enough to squeeze Camden into a friend's daugther's SFSJ (this pair, over at Irons in the Fire - and note how tall her friend is and how there isn't the bum-bunching/sagging!), and they basically fit, though her friend is taller.  I knew I wanted to take in the legs a bit, and I did, but I wish I'd taken them in more.  Also, I didn't remember to take length out properly when tracing the pattern, so, I didn't hack off the bottoms, and we are just going to fold the cuff twice on these.  I took a teeny bit out for the rise, but these are obviously so long on Camden, and she has no bum to fill them out.  I'm not sure I'm too fussed about it, as she's a wee kid, but when I make jeans for myself, these are things I will work harder on.  And who knows, in a pair or two, I just may put in a bit more effort for her jeans, too.

I used a stretch denim I picked up at Hancock Fabrics or Joann Fabrics....can't recall which, sadly, as I bought denim from BOTH places, LOL.  I know it's heavier on cotton than polyester, as just buying polyester makes me cringe, anyway.  I am pretty sure it was Joann Fabrics, now that I think about it!  Similar to THIS?  And I picked up a few spools of denim top-stitching thread at Modern Domestic when I was last in Portland.

Let me just say how FUN flat-felling is to me!  On the back seam of the jeans, I did flat-fell opposite the direction of what the pattern says, as I wasn't sure why it's supposed to be done that way. It turned out fine, so, i'm glad I did it.  For this pair of children's jeans, my machine worked just fine, and I used a denim needle throughout.  I also like the new Rowenta iron I received for Christmas from my mother-in-law.  It did a bang-up job on these jeans.

I did a couple other things differently on these jeans:  I am not a fan of buttons on elastic, as I don't like exposed elastic.  I thought for a bit about how to get around that on this pattern, as there are no side seams on the waistband.  I came to the genius conclusion (to me, anyway!) of keeping the waistband facing seam open on either end of the butt, sliding the elastic through, then closing both spots.  I hid the stitching for the elastic UNDERNEATH two of the belt loops on the back.  Granted, you can see the stitching on the inside, but I'll survive for now.

Secondly, I down-sized the back pockets, as I'm not a fan over overly large pockets on small children, and I think I did okay with sizing - and I didn't get too fancy with pocket detail, but I did a little something, aha!

An interesting thing to me, also, is that I interfaced the waistband facing, as the directions tell me to (I believe), but I have an issue where one end of my outer/denim waistband is stretched, as you might be able to see in one of the pictures above.  I'm totally bummed out about that, and I think that next time, I'll interface the denim itself.  That may be a faux-pax, but again, I'll survive.  Silly me, though, in that I wasn't thinking and sewed the button hole vertically, rather than horizontally.  Oops.  Also, I only just happened to have one jeans-like button lying around, LOL, so, I got lucky ;)

Whew.  Overall, pretty stinking cute, even if they're a bit saggy (which clearly would take fitting adjustments galore).  I'll take in the legs a bit more next time, and I'll make sure to take length out.

To match, I sewed up a Figgy's Ayashe top, which is a go-to pattern I love (clearly).  I definitely used fabric from Joann's, and this was a relatively quick sew.  I'd cut out this pattern (and the jeans) before Christmas, and I'd drafted a sleeve cuff, just to make it a teeny bit different from all the other Ayashe tops I've sewn.  It's nothing fancy, and it's the first time I've done something like this.  I opted for the first time to NOT use elastic at the waist - again, just to be different.  I think it works.  I added a bit of length to the blouse, so, it's clearly long-ish on Camden, but it'll fit quite nicely in a mere few months, naturally.  And I like to add a tiny bar-tack of sorts at the end of the neck slit, as it can tear open quite easily.

Such a fancy cuff

Basically, it's a super-fun outfit....nothing fancy, but a sort of fun, hipster effect!

Also, Camden practiced sewing for the first time on a machine today!!!

As for projects I've been working on....?  I still have Camden's Make Mine Strawberry sweater on the needles, as well as my Homegrown sweater.  I hope to finish Homegrown within the next two weeks, then I will follow up with the two sleeves and one button-band on Camden's sweater.