Friday, October 07, 2011

Gearing up for KCWC

This is my first year to participate in the Kid's Clothing Week Challenge. I am planning lots of pairs of pants for Ben using Anna Maria Horner's adorable Quick Change Trousers from her book Handmade Beginnings. (Cute examples are herehere, and here.) How many pants is too many? I may have fabric cut for 6 pairs. Which is 12 if I reverse them. Ahem.
I am planning several skirts for the girls using Dana's excellent and easy tutorial. I think some skirts with cute leggings will be their fall/winter wardrobe.
I haven't done a lot of clothing sewing. I have made myself some skirts in the past, and I make jammies for the kids every year for Christmas. I used various patterns for these. In 2008 Samantha's bottoms came from Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones, and ran small. (I could barely get them over her bottom, and they were too short.) Taylor's came from In Stitches and they ran ENORMOUS.

xmas pjs 2008
In 2009 and 2010 both girls came from Weekend Sewing. They are still large, but not ridiculous. I'm pretty sure Samantha can still wear both pairs, though they might be a little short. 
2009 xmas jammies

xmas jammies 2010

I've also made Samantha a birthday outfit for each year. In 2009 her dress came from a Simplicity pattern (that I don't know the number to). It was huge. And the diaper cover would almost fit an adult. 
ladybug dress

In 2010 I used another pattern from Weekend Sewing. I had originally tried to use this pattern in 2009, but I could not get the elastic thread to cooperate. I finally was victorious and the result was adorable. 
Birthday dress 2010

I hope to use this pattern again. I know that an adult size version of this pattern is somewhere in my downloads folder, so maybe someday I'll have one too!

This year we went with a simple skirt and an appliqued shirt to match. 
3rd birthday outfit

I also made her a special 'first day of school' skirt.
first day of school outfit

I'm looking forward to making more clothes for the kids. It's such a great feeling to know that you are keeping them warm! I recently purchased Growing Up Sew Liberated, which has some adorable clothes in it, and Little Things to Sew. I'd like to get Sewing for Boys too at some point. 

I have some more fall/winter clothes planned, but pants and skirts first!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Pity Party, table of one?

So all that dratted knitting only on socks seems to have flared some carpal tunnel symptoms in my wrist. No more knitting for a few days. It's hard enough to diaper children and make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. So I won't have any more socks done for Kent's gift. Oh, and I miscounted and I only have two finished socks. So he'll get two finished socks, two half finished socks and 3 balls of yarn. Great gift, eh?
I should probably not be posting either, as typing aggravates my wrist. Instead, go here and look at the pretty things I have for sale.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Baby Toys

One of the things I've enjoyed most in the knitting community is the Knitted Toys groups I've had the pleasure of starting and moderating here on blogger, on flickr and on ravelry. The ravelry group has grown so large that after three kids I had to bring on additional moderators who can better keep an eye on it. I never thought that so many people would want to knit toys and talk about it!

Knit tools
I've knit a few toys in the past few years. One of my all time favorites was the knitted tools set, from Vicki Howell's book New Knits on the Block (which I initially found very cheesy and impractical. Until I had kids. Kudos to Vicki - I know I will be making many things out of this book over the next several years!) I made these tools for my 'nephew' (Kent's cousin's son), for his first birthday. Kent even got in on the action and added a handmade personalized toolbox to complete the set. I hope we make many more of these in the future for the boys in our families! The tools knit up quickly and turned out pretty cute.

Joey Ramone
Also back in 2009, I had a special friend's daughter turn two. This family likes much of the same things we do, and dad (my coworker and friend) is very big into music (his son's first name is our son's middle name - named after a Texas singer/songwriter - great minds and all, right?). So I knew I had to pull out the big guns for her gift. Enter knitted Joey Ramone. Now, this is not a gift all parents can love, but I knew this would be the family that did. He turned out pretty cute for a punk rocker.

Ladybug front
Samantha's first birthday had a ladybug theme (love me a good theme), so I had to make her the adorable ladybug doll from Twist Collective. She didn't care for it much at first, but it is currently residing in my mending basket, because it is little too loved now (and has the missing wing to show for it!). I recall the pattern being a little fiddly, but well worth it!

Fiesta Tea Set
Last year I finally knit one of the patterns that had been on my 'must-knit' list since I got pregnant - the Fiesta Tea Set. I love it, though it is not very sturdy. I did starch the pieces, and that helped some, but the cups don't sit up very well. Perhaps some more regular starching is in order. This is a great toy for kiddos who are too young to have 'real' dishes in their play kitchen.

For Christmas that year I knit the Hippo from Susan B. Anderson's Itty Bitty Toys book. Gah! The cute! I want to knit everything in this book! Hippo is also well loved, and has double ear replacement surgery and tail reconstruction. This is why we save leftover yarn people!  He was super easy and quick to knit. A great use of sock yarn for those who don't knit socks.

Finally, I knit this tiny owl (also by Susan B. Anderson - from last winter's Knit Simple (I think) for my brother's new baby girl this spring. Super quick, and I hope to make one for Ellie sometime soon.

I have a few other toys in the works and a few more to show on the blog. More soon!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Long ago FOs

I have quite a backlog of projects to blog about, what with the year and a half absence, plus the fact that I somehow didn’t post anything I’ve finished since, um, 2008. I won’t bore you with every. little. thing. - if you are really interested you can check things out on ravelry or flickr. But I’ll try to hit the highlights, starting with 2009. 

For Easter that year I knit her a little yellow cardigan. It is the Eyelet Ribbed Baby Cardigan  - a free pattern from Crystal Palace Yarns. I remember having a little confusion with the pattern - I thought it had the right side and wrong side reversed, but I couldn't tell from the photos. I also think either the fronts or the back was too short compared to the other side? I know I added length somewhere. I only had two balls of yarn, and even though I ordered a third, it didn't arrive in time. But it worked out great - it was a little cool that day, but not cold. And the sweet yellow echoed the yellow bits in her dress. 
Easter Cardigan

Way back in 2009 I knit the Tulips sweater for Samantha. I used up a bunch of Knitpicks Merino Style that I have no idea why I ordered. It took much longer than it should have, but I was probably working on 10 things at once. I modified the distance between color changes and the number, based on the amount of yarn I had. I also didn’t do the i-cord edging around the bottom, because I thought I would run out of yarn. It turned out really cute! She didn’t get to wear it much, because she outgrew it before it got too cold, but she did wear it around Portland when we went to Sock Summit. And hopefully, Ellie (one of our new sweeties) will wear it sometime. 
tulips baby cardigan
I also made Samantha a cotton sundress that spring/summer. I used a pattern by Zoe Mellor and some leftover Rowan Cotton Glace that I had left after I made my striped vest. I did end up having to buy another ball of brown, but it was worth it. It turned out pretty short for Samantha, but it’s a baby dress, so length is not super important. I also made the mistake of not going down a needle size for the seed stitch edgings around the armholes, and that is not a mistake I will make again! But again, baby dress. Most folks won’t notice. One additional issue I had with the pattern, (besides the length) was the length of the straps at the shoulders. They should be lengthened - the dress would fit better and for longer. I worry that it rides up along the back neck because they are so short.  But Ellie is wearing it now, so win!

That winter I knit her a pink cardigan out of a Nashua pattern book (Bloom) with some Cascade 220. It turned out pretty cute and I added adorable silver elephant buttons! I knit the whole sweater while we were on vacation - it was super quick and the yoke pattern was very easy to memorize. She wore this one a lot - it’s not quite the same shade of pink anymore, but very well-loved. 
Pink Elephant Sweater
For Halloween that year she was a cow. I used a pattern out of Wacky Baby Knits for her costume. This was a great project because I had the yarn in stash and it turned out really cute! I had made a cow hat for her when I was pregnant, and it still fit. One major modification I made was to eliminate the button band along the inner thigh. She was only going to wear it for a few hours, so it was easier to take it off to change her diaper. And even then, it wasn’t a big deal. Buttonbands can be such a pain that I am sure it was not worth it in this case! This was one of the few intarsia projects I’ve done, and by far the largest, and I was surprised at how easy it was! Don’t get me wrong, I won’t start churning out intarsia-ed everything, but it was much less stressful than I thought it would be. 
cow front

And, in keeping with tradition, I knit her Christmas dress. I used the Little Sister’s Dress pattern and some stashed solid red Lorna’s Laces. I added sweet little Mary Englebreit buttons on the yoke. It was adorable, and I cannot wait until Ellie is big enough to wear it! The only mod I made was to use two buttons instead of three, and to use a piece of yarn for the button loop, when I think it called for a crochet chain (but it has been 1.5 years since I knit it, and I have been pregnant and given birth, two things that screw with my memory). 
xmas dress 2009
Naptime is over, and someone is calling me. More soon!