Friday, August 28, 2015

Perfect Timing for September....Banyan Shorts and Tees!!!

Omigosh....does THIS ring a bell???  Woe is me, for I cannot sew up a simple pair of shorts in under three months....?  How about THIS blog post from last year?

I want to say I'm not sure WHAT could have stopped me from finishing a pair of shorts I started THREE months ago (one week short of three months, to be exact).  I would LOVE to say I have no idea, but the reason is two-fold.  One:  Matt has been working in Idaho for the past four months, and he is about to be home - YAY! - it was pretty much a sewing buzz-kill with him gone.  We were busy most days of the summer (albeit busy in a FUN way, but busy, nonetheless), and I rarely got a chance to sew in terms of daytime or weekend sewing (especially when a certain little boy is tiring me out).  Essentially, after I tossed these shorts aside, I didn't sew all summer, which is pretty ludicrous (though I DID knit; I wasn't totally lazy, aha!).  I bemoaned EVERY day that I wasn't sewing, but I just couldn't get myself to the machine.
Where are her eyes???
That neck binding gap situation is making my twitch
So.  Here we all are, almost September, and I finished one spot of summer sewing - the Banyan Shorts and the Banyan Tee (I have the paper versions, but they are now sold separately, as PDFs on-line).  That is a total bummer, too, as I honestly did have a good plan set up, with a list of patterns I'd wanted to sew the past few months.

Oh - and the second reason is the heat.  I get sluggish and hostile when it's hot out, and I just wanted to sit around and knit, whenever I had the chance.  It seemed somehow easier, LOL.

Past incarnations:
That neckline totally lies flat!
Her first-ever pair! 
Gosh - Spring of 2013!???
Really, though, let's not lie.  There IS a third reason...and it's the fly extension situation.  It has been my nemesis through two previous pairs of Banyan shorts (and one pair of Small Fry Skinny Jeans).  I knew I somehow hadn't done those correctly, but I didn't know WHY....and I have to say that, after MUCH staring and reading and staring and reading, I don't think the directions in either pattern explicitly say HOW to create the correct look for the fly.  I finally nailed it, but only because I winged it, and they turned out okay.  I folded the fly over about a half inch and pressed it - where I thought the zipper should go, and it worked out pretty well.
Will my pants always have that funny gap because of kid bellies??
Not perfect, but it works
I do realize that I shouldn't have added length to the waistband - as in, if I had added MORE length, it'd be a cool off-center/side-button tab situation, but as it is, it looks like "Does Autumn realize her waistband doesn't align with the shorts?" - LOL.  I don't really care - no biggie.  I'll hopefully remember that for next time.

Also, I misplaced the fly guard, so, I ended up finding some cotton lawn from my Violet top (pictured here), interfacing THAT and making it work.  I tried to insert the fly guard in sort of the same way that I saw in a pair of jeans I had, though it obviously doesn't work on the left side (and ignore the non-matching thread color), but I love the fly guard as a different fabric, so, it'll do.

I have to say this is my favorite version of these shorts - so, third time's a charm, eh?  The pattern itself has always been lovely, despite that I think the fly extension directions for the wearer's left side should be more detailed.  Other than that section, I don't believe I did anything differently.

My signature two lines of stitching, LOL
As for the Banyan tees....I totally sewed those before the shorts, knowing that was the smart thing to do, so, the tops have been sitting around, unused all summer, as I wouldn't let Camden wear them until the shorts were done.  I definitely still need to work on my neck binding, as it gaps.  The green knit is heavier, but both knits work for this top.  I always find this tunic/top to be a bit long, so, on previous versions, I have sliced the bottom off a bit, though I can't recall if I did that with these two.  You can see I added the pocket to only one of them.  I may have tried on the green top but found that the pocket was coming out wonky.  Camden gets a LOT of use out past Banyan tees.  They're pretty stinkin' cozy, I'm guessing :)

For real - a LOT of words to say that I love the outfit that hopefully gets a ton of use in the next month - and then next Spring and Summer, aha!

Of late....
Sad morning kid??
Happy grape time!
The beginning of the end of the river days....
Her first missing tooth!!!  FYI - that other middle tooth was noted as loose mere minutes later :O

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Not Just a Song: Penny Lane, the Sweater

Oh, holy cow.  Has it been four score and eighteen decades since I last blogged???

Feels like it.  I actually swear I have a pair of socks and something else I need to blog about, but the dog days of summer blew past AND dragged on, if that's possible, and I have done NO sewing.  So, in all actuality, DARK days.  Camden has no clothing for the fall, other than a few dresses.  Thankfully, she just wears swimsuits and leotards all summer, so, we've been golden so far ;)

But check out, peeps!!!  What a fun sweater (project page here)!!!  This is one of those great yarn, easy pattern, lovely outcome sort of posts.  The sweater is obviously meant for the coming months (not sure why I chose to do a short-sleeved sweater AFTER this one, LOL), but I'm glad we're ready.
Getting that dance on!

The pattern is Penny Lane, by Julia Stanfield (Facebook page here).  I'm belatedly noticing that she has a sale in her Ravelry store with code "k2tog kal" - if I publish this today, August 13, go check it out!!  It's a pretty simple pattern with cable work down the front, only.  I did find the needle requirements written sort of loosely, so, I wasn't sure which needles to use where, only because I'm weird, I think.  I originally tried the neck on a smaller needle but went up to a size 5 and did the main sweater on size 3 needles.  My only issue with the pattern is that the sleeve count at the split is too high - in my opinion.  I think it's too much positive ease, and I wish I'd thought about that/realized that before I was as far in. In the end, I went with laziness, but I super decreased those sleeves.  In project pictures on Ravelry, you'll probably notice other people knit looser sleeves, but I don't like them baggy on the forearms.  The sweater is definitely meant to be knit as a tunic, when it's knit for girls, but I knit it a bit shorter - in essence of time and hand-pain.

My yarn is Colour Adventures, base Dia Twist DK in colorway Raspberry Chocolate (I also just checked out her store, and she has a lovely green gradient worsted set in stock!), and it was super lovely to knit up.  It's definitely tricky to get the colorway across correctly in the pictures.  I always recommend Elena's yarn, and she does co-ops a couple times a year, where you can pay less for her yarn, which is awesome.
This photography stuff is EASY ;)

Nothing much else to say - other than crazy photos, due to light and a kid who doesn't care to pose these days ;) summer has been going....
Awww, little guy can only party so long
Friends in town!!!
Grandma and Grandpa came to visit!
LOL at the only slide camden was able to use....
Of course....

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Knitting Toys: Never Say Never (A Bonbon Bunny!)

Let's be honest.....I'm just more of a practical knitter, in terms of what I choose to knit (clearly NOT in terms of yarn choices that are more expensive, etc....LOL) - I like to knit items I know are meant to keep my children warm.  Sweaters, cowls, hats and socks fit the bill.  Am I the wise knitter who only knits one sweater each per year for my children?  Well, no.  Let's not go THAT far.

But...a TOY????

I used to say I didn't like "knitty things"....and here we all are.  I also said I didn't want to knit toys.  I mean, who has time for that?!  There are too many other things to knit - and SEW.  Then I saw the Bonbon bunny by Susan Claudino (her site is No Knit Sherlock).  OMG.  I die of cuteness overload, if I'm being real.

I knew I wanted this for my daughter....THEN I thought to myself, "Gosh, don't all her COUSINS need these, too?!"  So....I guess one could say, "Here we go....."  So far, I have only managed to squeeze in Camden's, though I have great plans for using stash yarn for one for Tiberius, Camden's friends and then possibly her cousins.  Whew.

It is honestly a super fast project.  It did take me two months - but only because I didn't have on hand any wool with which to stuff the sucker.  I know most people use poly-fil, but I clearly want to veer from polyester, wherever and whenever I can, so, I found a bump/bat/roving/squishy bit somewhere in Portland.  I need to find them again when i run out :O.  This made me super happy, of course!!!  It should be enough for several small toys.

Susan is a detailed, clear pattern writer, and I had no questions about the pattern at all (weird, right??!!  LOL).  It is designed for worsted weight yarn, but I used Gnome Acres fingering weight House Gnome yarn in the colorway Little Bunny Foo Foo.  (I had, by the way, tried to knit both a hat and a sock out of this yarn, to no avail, so, this was the best project for it.)

It turned out pretty cute, for my first toy, though there is a bit of wool fuzz peeking out.  I did buy 9 mm and 12 mm eyes from the shop 6060 on Etsy, and I should have used the 9 mm, just because the backs on the 12 mm are awkwardly big on the inside of the head, so, I couldn't get the stuffing to fill it out nicely - poor thing looks a big awkward ;)  Ah, well, as he is cute, anyway.  Well, I say he is a boy, but Camden says her bunny is a girl.  Last night, the bunny's name was Colorful Bunny, but now, her name is Knuffle Bunny - after the Knuffle Bunny books by Mo Willems (who is AWESOME, by the way!).

That's that, folks....don't think you won't see more of these ;)

Also, we got up to some nonsense, as always....
Salt, glue and watercolors

His favorite place

Yes, that's right....Theeeee Cpt. Smith - of Titanic fame/not-fame

Homemade play dough...using my garlic press :O

Saturday, July 11, 2015

To Gift or Not to Gift....A Zilver

Such a pretty shawl!!  I actually finished it a few weeks ago, and though I've been quiet on the blogging front, I have been at work on another project (my first knitted toy, which will be my next post).

I wanted to finish this Zilver shawl (a free pattern!) in time for the Stitch Addiction podcast KAL, and I did, though I didn't win, aha! I do love that extra motivation, though, for doing a project.
Of course....
I used Crazy Monkey Creations Monkey Toes (I have to say I'm confused now, as Monkey Toes is 100% merino, and I swear mine has bamboo content...), which is some of the first hand-dyed yarn I'd ever purchased - way back at the first Sock Summit.  I have misplaced the tag, so, I'm not sure of the colorway, but I managed to use 90 grams of the 100.  I did want to do more rows, but at that point, I was over it and just wanted it done/wanted less hand pain.  I am pretty sure it blocked out to 59 inches for the wingspan, which works, though a bit longer would be nice, LOL.
She gives up?
It's lovely and soft - and I would totally keep it, but I know how it'll go with shawls - I'd love to keep them all, so, I feel I should gift this one, if my friend would like it.  I'll bring it on my trip in a week or so and let her check it out.

Besides being awesomely free and a simple design, Zilver was easy to follow, no issues to be had, though I agree with Nina from the This Old Knit podcast about wishing the shawl had a garter tab cast-on, rather than a simple cast-on.  And it's funny - I have a rounded point at the bottom, rather than a pointy point ;)

Lastly, a few days in review.....

Making puffy paint!!!
Crazy puffy project 
Floating with friends
Saying good-bye is so hard....LOL