…and I know it is a disease because not only am I sewing cute things for Gracie, but now I’ve started making cute things for baby boys too! And I feel a bit clever about the whole episode. This is serious.
I have some big people sewing to show you, but it may never happen. I’ve noticed that the camera does not love me & my rear the way it loves babies. Funny, that.
Grace was baptized last week on our trip back to Ohio (and the land of dial up–sheesh!). I thought you might enjoy the story behind her outfit which was decidedly not the traditional christening gown.
One of my best friends growing up (and still today) lived in Australia for a year as a child. She and her family have maintained close friendships with the people they met for nearly thirty years now, and several of these women are accomplished knitters and seamstresses. One of them made this outfit to be worn by the first granddaughter, but eight years and four grandsons later, my friend’s mom decided that Grace should be the honorary first granddaughter and wear this unbelievable knitted gown and cardigan. And so she did.
I should have taken better detail shots for you guys, but even though I didn’t I hope the picture below can justify my next statement: I’ve never seen knitting like this before. The wool is as soft and fine as can be while still retaining that delightful crispy woolly feeling. The knitting itself is perfect from what I could tell, and the details are just amazing, an ideal blend of pattern and scale and execution. The front bands were sources of wonderment to me. Even though technically I could have made this outfit, I don’t know if I have the vision to blend all of the elements the way she did. I was very grateful to be able to wrap my daughter in these very special hand knit garments.
My contribution was bloomers (because I’m not a fan of flashing in church, no matter the age.) This initial clydesdale-esque version was quickly scrapped in favor of the subdued version above. She’ll thank me for that someday, I think.
And of course shoes. You all know I love making baby shoes (and if you don’t, you will soon!). Again an initial version was cute but not quite right. I ended up putting a girly pink ribbon on these and giving them my other best friend’s baby girl.
These were an early sample of my drafted Valentine’s day shoe pattern but ended up fitting the bill. Or the foot, since my daughter is not a duck.
Why the baby crafting mania? It’s not just me, it’s everywhere!
Well, it could be that babies are special. And that makes it seem extra important to shower them with handmade love.
Or it could be that they can’t object to your half-baked creations. See evidence below.
bunches of sweet and silly hats
Grace’s Christmastime outfit and matching doll
Grace was three weeks old at Halloween, and I’d decided on her costume even before we’d come up with her name. She went as candy corn!
I’ve been accused of hating on Valentine’s Day–patently false! How could I hold anything but the utmost respect for holiday (“holiday,” I would counter if that wouldn’t undermine my argument) that centers around chocolate and the sharing thereof?
Just get a taste of this scrumptious concoction and you’ll have to agree! My SIL stitched it up for Gracie, and since she also gave me the very best present a girl could ever hope to receive* I was able to make some shoes to match this tasteful frock.
Now, whether you are into sewing for babies or not you have to admit that being able to make shoes to match your frock lights up some place deep inside you, doesn’t it. I found inspiration for these here and here (she sells a pattern in her etsy shop) and was pleasantly surprised that my ideas for shape and construction worked with only minor tweaking. I’m quite certain that I will be making up several pairs of these for the next little girl baby I meet.
Hope your day was full of sweet little things!
*any fans of The Office out there? We were supposed to think it perfectly in character for boring Angela to be excited when she received fabric in the secret Santa exchange. Really I was wishing that family & friends would take note!
Hi! I’ve missed you!
If you are still out there I certainly don’t deserve you, but I never really did in the first place. If it makes you feel better, in spite of my apparent neglect you have no idea how often I’ve talked to you in my head. I’ve recently come to the conclusion, however, that mental blogging really isn’t all that effective (mental emails? Also disappointingly inefficacious, if you were wondering).
Why did I quit? I had a secret, a secret that consumed me to the point where I couldn’t imagine blogging about anything else, yet I wasn’t so sure how to blog about it. You’ve probably already guessed, because I’m a 20/30-something knitting blogger–and we all know I tain’t writin’ no book–that my “it” turned out to be a she. And a she who is 4 months old today! Surprise!
So I will use this post to recap 2009 in the interest of getting on with 2010. You don’t really have to read all this. Here’s the summary: we had a baby girl! We moved to Boston! This is the only thing I knit for her! Rav details
January: We complete our whirlwind tour of New England interviewing for my husband’s upcoming surgical residency with a trip to Boston. I think, Boston’s cold. We leave the city early and drive to Providence to eat fried dough on a frozen beach.
February: I vomit. A lot. I’m pretty much happy that I’m vomiting all day every day because it means we’re having a baby. But really, I’m a worthless sack.
March: I go to Colorado (the Tattered Cover bookstore recommendation was perfect, thanks!). I meet Erin and have a wonderful time eating with her at a strange little diner that was a little obsessed with sliders. Erin? If you’re out there, bring Kara and come see me sometime! We find out we are moving to Boston, courtesy of the match (eh, not worth the click–it’s the national resident matching program, whereby all future doctors apply to their desired programs and then agree to submit their futures–six years in our case–to some computer. I loved it.) We tell our parents about their first grandchild. We find out that my BIL and SIL are expecting six weeks after we are. My MIL has not yet stopped vibrating.
April: Did April even happen? I am still lethargic beyond recognition and not knitting.
May: We go to Boston to find a place to live. Ha. Ha ha ha! But we do, and I only cry a little bit when I write the check. We sell our house. Then we don’t.
June: DH becomes Dr. DH! We pack up our house. He walks at OSU’s graduation, takes off his robe, and we throw the cats in a U-Haul and drive to Boston with my parents to help us move.We sell our house, for real this time.
July: I’m a research fellow at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester. Best scholarly month of my life. My grandfather passes away after an extended illness. I can’t quite bring myself to write about him, here in the midst of my glib gabbing. But I miss him.
August: I’m vurry pregnant, it’s vurry hot. My mom comes to Boston to help me paint the doors in my slummy apartment, which were all bubblegum pink. One of my college best friends comes to stay for a few days, and does not complain when I drag her out at 10 pm demanding cupcakes. My in-laws visit. I finally win my FIL’s approval: 1) for bearing his heir, and 2) for my meatloaf. Then I open my mouth and lose it again.
September: I sleep. A lot.
October: Gracie* is born! (note: everything after this point is all Grace, all the time). My parents come to meet her.
November: I don’t sleep. At all. My in-laws visit. My nephew is born. I host Thanksgiving. Gracie grows, about a pound a week.
December: My parents and brother and his wife come for Christmas, it’s wonderful. The baby is properly doted upon and might never recover. My in-laws come for New Year’s, and my soon-to-be-BIL becomes my new favorite southern relative. Gracie grows.
Now, I can move on with a clear conscience. Thanks for reading!
(If you were wondering, I have no reason at all to quote AC/DC in this post’s title except that I tend to think in song lyrics and I just changed my blog’s theme. “I know I’m a scummy blogger but look! I had a baby!” was the only other option.)
*Her middle name is Grace. Her first name is way too google-able.
I need to ask: where should go when I’m in Denver tomorrow and Boulder on Monday? I have a couple of hours to kill in the City Center area in Denver tomorrow afternoon and all Sunday evening and most of Monday in Boulder. Any suggestions–yarn, fabric, food, sights? Thanks!
A new craft means a new set of blogs, and one of my sewing favorites is Dawn at Two On, Two Off. Not only is she incredibly prolific, but she’s got great taste and she has similar shaping to me (similar, not the same–don’t expect any bikini shots here folks! You can thank me for that if you wish). So when she makes something, I pay attention.
She made a wrap top from BWoF that made it to the top of my list, and I was pleased to discover that the pattern sold in the envelope–Burda 7890–also had a jacket. When we were in the northeast this December I found myself stealing my husband’s Northface fleece jacket, in spite of my rather deep-seated prejudice against fleece (the pills, oh the pills!). But can you even imagine me paying $70 or whatever for any clothing item? Me neither. Enter Burda 7890.
I did the full review at PR here, if you are interested in the details: http://sewing.patternreview.com/cgi-bin/patterns/sewingpatterns.pl?patternid=16217
I’ll just tell you all that it is supposed to be made with a sweatshirt or stretch terry, and I subbed a non-stretchy fleece in one size larger than I’d usually make. It worked out great, except for the forearms (you can see the wrinkles below). Must be those years of piano practice!
I also just sewed the zipper to the inside and skipped all the ribbon stuff. I will say the self-facing was very cool!
So the jacket has great lines, is comfy, and collects cat hair like it’s gold.
Then today, I finally made the shirt! PR review here
Also a success, with a 1″ tuck above the bust on all pieces. And I conquered the twin needle! It’s been a good day.
Next time I might bring the shoulders in just a hair. Then again, it might be the fabric.
Ain’t it just the way it goes that when you finally do something right you don’t take good notes?? When I made my “Not Alpaca but Twillish” (rav link) jacket a year and a half ago (blog link), I made a lot of modifications to the pattern (a Norah Gaughan pattern “Alpaca Twill,” from Knitter’s Magazine 84, Fall 2006). I started out making good notes for myself, but by the time I got through my fourth and final version, I was just riffing and I can’t really tell you what I did. I’m still not sure how much help this post will be to anyone who wants to try something like it, but it’s the best I’ve got!
Three sets of notes, upside down, backwards…and totally useless. I didn’t mark which ones I ended up using, or even which ones didn’t work!
At that point, I started getting requests via Ravelry for my mods. Doh! But I’m actually grateful for those requests, because I started to put down my thoughts when they were still somewhat fresh in my head, or at least more so than now. So I’m going to do my best for those of you who have asked for help, and ask you for patience in return. I’ll be happy to clarify whatever points I can, just drop me a line.
First let me say I take great pleasure in wearing this coat. I wore it to my field’s big society meeting in Nashville (go AMS!) this November, and it was perfect for both the beautiful southern fall weather and the unpredictable climes of hotel conference centers. I could wear it running back and forth from the hotel, and even in the chillier conference rooms, without looking like I was in fact running around the city like crazy. I like that I can wear it with jeans or dressier pants, and layer it over simple knit shirts. I guess that, like all my favorite clothes, the point is that it is easy to wear.
Ok, on to some initial thoughts in no particular order…
1: Beware of hip ease. This note is for me as much as everyone else: be generous with hip ease! I’m used to using negative or sparse positive ease in sweaters, but that doesn’t fly for hips. Anyone know what kind of rules there are for ease in jackets?
My jacket closes at the hip but doesn’t hang there naturally, a circumstance I’ve convinced myself is the look I wanted–but really? if I were making this again I’d add much more ease, please. Part of my mistake was that I changed the way the fronts of the original jacket met, without compensating for the loss of inches at the hips. I didn’t follow the schematics for this hardly at all, and this was one place I should have at least noted the measurements.
2: Reduced sleeve puff. This is a personal preference, since I just can’t bring myself to do QB-sized sleeves. So I just skipped the last four increases of the sleeves (I made the smallest size, so I had eight less sts in the middle section to be bound off), and that was a really easy way to solve the problem of the puff.
the magazine photo, check out those sleeves!
3: Knit from the top down. The best thing I did was to make the fronts and back from the top down–which I recommend purely so you can determine a happy finished length, but also because then you can try on the collar section as you go, and rip out from the beginning if you need to do so. I personally abhor trying to figure out where I should be in the pattern when I have to rip a lot. Then again, looking at my revised schematic (below), you might think better going the other way!!
To knit it top down, I just reversed the instructions- CO where it said to BO, increased where it said to decrease, etc. For the sides, I cast on 3 sts and did increases when the pattern called for decreases, and vice versa (see specific notes section below). Oh, and if it matters to you, I did my M1 increases two stitches in from the edge–just where I thought it looked best.
4: Major collar reduction. Here was my major change: I made the collar about one third of the original size, and I also skipped the “work even” rows on the collar sides to make a sharper angle at the front. The original pattern shows a pretty good overlap and a tie under the bust, but I made mine to just meet at the front, and since my Ravelry pictures I’ve added a decorative clasp in the front center.
I also slipped the first st. of the collar side on each WS row to give it a nice defined edge. (See below for some of my specific measurements on the collar, if you think that will help you out!)
collar knitted as written (you have GOT to be kidding, I say!!), plus an initial attempt to understand how to fix it, and finally the finished result:
5: Made both front panels at the same time, in exactly the same way. I did this because then when I turned one around the rib pattern spiraled in opposite directions on the front. (Ok, and because by the fourth time I knit this collar I wasn’t being as careful with notes as I should have been and knitting two at a time takes care of that laziness!) This is just a personal preference, though. It made seaming a bit harder on one side, but I really like the effect on the front when the sides swirl away from each other rather than going in the same direction.
6: A question for you: I’m curious about yarn choice for this coat. I used a chunky wool single (not doubled), and although I’ve gotten some pillage under the arms it turned out to be a great choice. It has enough body to it that it doesn’t hang or cling too much, an important consideration for me in the rear view with a longer coat like this. I’m sure the alpaca blend recommended (Berroco Ultra Alpaca) has a great drape, but alpaca is so heavy and hot I can’t imagine it in a full coat–not to mention doubled. So I’m interested to know what thoughts people are having about yarn.
On to some specifics:
Just for your own guidelines, my bust is about 32″, and I wanted less ease than I would have had with the XS of 37″ given in the pattern. So my jacket is about 34″ at the bust.
Here’s a schematic I drew off of the original pattern piece to show you how simple my collar mod ended up being. The red line is about where I think my collar ended up, with the mark “collar point” where I stopped increasing and started decreasing on that side.
The 9″ mark is at the collar point, and the 10″ mark is at the fold line.
Here are some other shots to try and show the shape:
Good luck! As my dissertation adviser is wont to say as I leave his office, “Couragio!”
I just discovered that Sulala is two years old today! What a perfect day to dive into my sewing habit with full force.
My entire sewing career is linked to this machine (minus a few brief flings, notably a one-night stand with my 4-H leader’s machine and a continuing affair with my mom’s Bernina), so it stands to reason that I can use her as the foundation for my sewing back story. My mom sewed a great deal for me on this machine when I was younger, happily stitching pants for me when I refused to wear jeans or any store bought pants, for example, or crafting the entire wardrobe for my Am*rican G*rls doll. In junior high, I made bags of varying quality, but never really got into sewing. During high school I golfed. In college when Mom upgraded I inherited the Singer. I made a few blankets for DH (imagine the domesticity of your RA sewing in her dorm room!! Wouldn’t you want to turn to her with all of your problems?) and my grandma, and then of course whenever I moved I made curtains and other household-y things for our various dwellings.
I think I had to wait until I understood patience a little more to really get into sewing, though, and patience is a lesson that knitting has never stopped teaching me. I wonder if anyone else has had this experience: until I started knitting–or maybe more accurately, reading blogs about knitting–it never really occurred to me that the fault of poorly fitting clothes was not mine! Until I was able to make decisions about how I wanted a sweater to fit, I did not understand how my body shape really affected what I bought. I simply thought that I could not wear the majority of styles that were on the store shelves because I wasn’t shaped right. (Well, and then there’s the fact that I am cheaper than dirt and never really put much effort into anything regarding looks.) For example, I have a really hard time buying dresses that fit upper and lower halves together, so in my head for years I’ve just thought I can’t wear dresses.
Why all of this self-reflection is relevant is that watching all of you have such tremendous success clothing your own beautiful selves, not as a chore or to hide anything but as a fun challenge, inspired me to try. And that meant turning to my faithful Singer. So last June with my trip to Ireland and Switzerland as my motivation I began to capital-S Sew. (I just realized that really it all started with making a dress for a wedding, but I don’t have a picture of it!!).
Dancing in Atlanta’s airport: Ok, so I did make these pants (highly modified) from Butterick 5101 and a JoAnn’s knit, but the picture is showing my travel purse. I had such a rough time finding the perfect bag to take along, and finally just a day or two before I left I threw this one together. It ended up being…not perfect by any means but certainly functional. The funny part about the purse is that it is made from a pair of pants that were headed to the wadder pile. Can anyone guess where (hint: the straps were cut from the legs…)? I can’t recount the state of mind that led to this revelation that pants would give me the purse shape I was looking for, but ain’t that the state of creativity sometimes?
Next is another Butterick 5101 top, view A, made from a nice Ponte knit. Well, nice for this top but not so nice for the pants shown above because it has pilled like crazy (Rats–just realized I made this top twice too, and only have a picture of one version!). Wrap tops can be trouble, but this one a) actually covers a little bit on top and b) doesn’t cling and cut in all the wrong places in the middle. Oh, and c) was very easy to sew! This picture is obviously not from Swizterland, by the way!! I know there are some WI’ers out there cheering right now!
Here’s that top again with a dress I made to go with it. I’m really hoping that I’m just standing at an awkward angle in this picture, and that my bottom half is not actually attached to my top half like this. I love the fabric, though, a Moda cotton I got on sale in Tennessee. The dress is New Look 6788, view B, and I had to make some major modifications to it so it ended up being a little “meh” without the top over it. Turns out that this “dress” when made according to the pattern is really a “sack” with no shaping at all. I took in the front, added front and back darts, and took in the center back seam to get some semblance of a dress shape to it. There’s no zipper, which is what really should have clued me in that something was wrong here! I’d make it again, with shaping and a zipper though. But look–the final result is me in a dress!
And a skirt!! Simplicity 5524, in another Jo-Ann linen look (gotta learn to finish seams!!). If ever there was a skirt to convince me that I can wear skirts, this is it. It was easy to make, is easy to wear, and I daresay even looks decent. You can tell I did a fabulous job accessorizing it with the daring choice of a white T-shirt!
Ok, I’m out of patience with looking at myself for today. More to come!