Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Project that Will Not End

So titled, because that's what I called it during construction.  

My friend is a martial artist.  I was looking for crochet graphs for potential fund-raising projects, and I ran across the martial artist graph.  That graph is intended for filet crochet, and I knew I wanted to use all single crochet stitches.  So I rewrote the graph so that each X on the graph became a 2x2 square on my graph.  Then I started stitching.  This has taken countless hours - mainly because I wanted it to be perfect.  I got almost halfway through the graph and realized I'd lost two stitches somewhere, so I ripped it back almost to the beginning and became much more obsessive about counting stitches.  I ripped the borders off and redid them three times, because I wasn't happy with how they were lying.  Ultimately, there's a lot of work in this afghan.  (It's covering my queen-size bed in this picture - I don't know why it looks so square, because it's definitely a rectangle.)  But it turned out amazing, and she loves it, so....well-worth the headache. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Twirly dresses!

My niece loves to twirl, and she loves her aunt-made clothes.  And she loves her doll.  So I got a request for clothes that have matching doll clothes.  And I had every intention of getting these done much sooner, but life got in the way, and the sewing mojo vanished.  Doing the baby sling got it going, however, and I finished these prototypes.

I had gone through different pattern websites and run some ideas by my sister-in-law.  Some passed muster, some didn't.  This one did, and I hope my niece approves.  This is a prototype, to see if she likes it and how the sizing is before I use "new" fabric.  I used long held stash fabric.  The stars/lightning print was either a JAF or WM find when Thing 2 was a baby, because I remember thinking about using it for a diaper bag.  The green broadcloth happened to be in my stash, which was great, since it goes well.  I also didn't realize until later that there's totally a watermelon vibe going on here, but that's fine since it's summer.

This is a size 6 - tea length, with the waist ruffle.  Next time, I plan to try piping at the waist instead of a ruffle.  Just for kicks.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Another sling

I work with an animal shelter, and one of the technicians posted a picture of herself cleaning cages with a small dog in a makeshift sling (a towel tied around herself), because the dog wanted to be held close and cried until she picked her up.  I asked then, Do you need a baby sling?  The answer, of course, was YES!

Well, I don't have spare baby slings hanging around, but I do have fabric and skills.  I wanted this to be all stash, so I went digging and found this amusing license plate print from deep stash.  (Pretty sure it was from JAF many years ago.)  Since I was using a novelty cotton, I figured double layer would be best.  And I saw a tutorial for cutting one length WOF and the other 15-18 inches wide, then stitching long ends together.  You end up with a sling around 30 inches wide, but the seams are not on the edges, if that makes sense.

I wasn't going to use my good sling rings, but I couldn't find any welded steel rings bigger than 2" diameter, and that didn't work with the two layers of fabric.  So I gave in and used the ecru rings.  Hopefully I'll see some pics of this sling in action! 

Either way, I think sewing this jump started some sewing mojo....I'd been away from the machine for quite some time, and now I'm back in it - finishing some UFOs and planning more.

Friday, April 14, 2017

New baby sling

So a friend is having a baby, and we were having a surprise shower for her.  She's having a girl, and she likes to be very girly at times, so I thought it would be fun to make her a super girly sling.  Unfortunately, my only pair of sling rings* left were black.  I thought I could either go with a girly color and a black accent, or a black sling and a super bright accent.  Since I did not give myself much lead time, the decision was made when I couldn't find a really bright linen blend at JAF.  So I went with black linen blend and a bright pink print for bias tape.

I did the gathered shoulder instead of pleated for no real reason.  I think either way seems fine.  My friend was delighted to get the sling and loved the colors - so that was a win!

*I ordered new ring slings from - I decided to go with the neutrals and colors nylon samplers, just to check out more of the colors and have them on hand.  Basically, if you're buying more than 3 of the rings in the pack, it's worth buying the sampler.  Also, I discovered that an order over $35 gets free shipping.  My expectations were low for shipping time, since traditionally free shipping takes forever.  But I was surprised!  I ordered late on Friday night, got a shipping notification on Saturday, and my rings arrived Monday!  Great customer service.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Time for new appliqued shirts!

So I was told that my niece had requested a PINK shirt with Boba Fett on it.  Well....that kind of started an avalanche of shirts.  True confessions: I tend to buy shirts to applique when I see them on clearance or a really good sale, and I don't always remember what all I have.  So when I went looking, I discovered 14 total shirts, including 2 long-sleeved size 6-6X shirts (current size), 4 tank tops, and 8 short-sleeved size 7-8 shirts.  Then there are the numerous size 7-8 long-sleeved shirts that will not be discussed....

So I started digging through appliques and fabric scraps, and eventually matched templates/fabrics/shirts together.  Nine went the Star Wars route - including 2 Boba Fetts (one is on a tank top).  I'm especially amused by the R2D2 from keyboard fabric.

And then I threw in some random others, just for fun.  It amused me to use a paw print fabric for a paw print applique.  The butterfly is leftovers of a neat print that I used for bias tape to bind a baby sling.  The Pokemon bunny is leftovers from boxers for Things 1&2.  And the skeleton animals are leftovers from a project that hasn't yet been finished.

I sent seven shirts in the first box - both the long-sleeved shirts and 5 short-sleeved.  The rest of the short-sleeved shirts and the tank tops will go in another month or two.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Snowflakes in {Whenever that's not Winter}

I was on Pinterest a few months back, which is always dangerous.  I was thinking about what to work on after finishing the current afghan, and this snowflake afghan pattern popped up!  It's the free, it's worked in blocks, it's beautiful, and it's got some interest to the blocks - looked like a total winner!  Unfortunately, the pattern is written to sew the blocks together rather than crocheting them in place, but I figured I'd just crochet them together and see how things went.

I loved the dark blue/white combination, so I went with the Peacock blue and plain white Red Heart with Love yarns.  I don't remember exactly when I started it, but it seemed to work up pretty quickly.  An added bonus was that each block had only 4 yarn ends to weave in, instead of the 8 in the stained glass afghan.  And this afghan takes only 59 blocks instead of 82.  Also, it worked great to crochet the blocks together, so that's what I'll do again.  And the second row of the border gives some additional visual interest - almost looks like popcorn.

I really like how this turned out, and hopefully the recipient will, as well.  In the meantime, I've started the second version - this time with a dark red.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Repetition is the name of the game

When I find something that works, I tend to stick to it.  This is another example. I wanted a new afghan as a portable project.  So it has to be fairly mindless to do, interesting somehow in the end, and easily carried (so made in blocks or strips).  And I don't want to have to sew blocks/strips together - I want to crochet them in place.  This afghan had caught my eye years ago, but it was finally time to give it a whirl.

I'm always drawn to the shaded colors.  I love the ombres.  I just don't usually know how to use them without making everything seem too much.  So I chose a pretty yarn and went to town!  I think the ombre here is Wildflowers.  I made test blocks with both black and white, and I think both would be gorgeous.  But ultimately, purple is my aunt's favorite color.  (I used Red Heart with Love for the solid - think it was Lilac.)

I really liked how it ended up!  This is spread out on my queen bed.  I think it's really pretty, and my aunt loved getting it for her birthday.

I also made another one for a friend, but she hasn't gotten it yet, so I won't post a pic.  Eventually I'll get it up.  In the meantime, I wanted one for MY living room.  I have blue and brown couches, so I chose a blue/brown ombre (Reef Super Saver) and started up.  My intention was to use the dark brown (Red Heart with Love) for the whole thing, but The Husband thought it would be too dark.  So I searched the super saver aisles and tried buff and warm brown (I think) in sample blocks.  Then I thought it would be neat to use them all.  So I planned out a scrappy but organized layout and even enlarged the pattern by a couple of rows so that I could lay it out the way I wanted.  I think it turned out really well!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Color therapy

So this blanket begins with a story.  Once upon a time, long long ago (we're talking 14-15 years ago), I started a random baby afghan.  Normal baby colors and all.  This is the "Lollipops" pattern, created by Diana Sippel of Diana Lynn's Designs, and was found in the book Afghan Splendor, put out by The Needlecraft Shop.

I finished all the "lollipop" strips and started adding the white edging, and then I either lost interest or ran out of time or something.  No idea.  But I put the pieces into a plastic bag and stuffed it into a box of UFOs.  Somehow this passed the purge test when I got rid of a lot of yarn UFOs on freecycle six years ago before our move.  I think at the time I thought I'd finish it for a baby gift?  At any rate, Thing 2 dumped out the UFOs to take the box last year around this time, and I needed a mindless project for a day-long CE meeting.  So the stars aligned, and I got to work on finishing the afghan.  I did run into some trouble, as it was not wide enough, and I wanted to add another strip (or two?  I don't remember now).  But I couldn't match the blue I'd used - apparently Red Heart discontinued it at some point.  That started a frantic search, and I ultimately matched it to a blue in a baby yarn (that really seemed worsted weight) in another brand, and I finished the afghan, with no idea who it would go to.  Then a month ago, I gave it to an expecting colleague - who just happened to be sitting next to me when I had worked on it last year.  Full circle, eh?

After all that, I sadly have to say that apparently I never took a picture.  Oh, well...but it did spawn an interesting next project.  So the pattern calls for 5 colors, and you make 4 repeats in each strip.  Finished size should be 30x38".  I had used 6 colors and 3 repeats in my baby version, and I don't think I ever measured it.  Anyway, I was in the fabric store, looking at yarn one day.  And I had had a bad day at work and just wanted some color therapy.  And I was drawn to the Red Heart blacklight yarn.  So I painstakingly picked out the five main colors that were in it, and I bought those and black to make myself an afghan.  I thought it would be neat to do the lollipops a little bigger for a grownup sized afghan.  And then I decided to rotate the strips so that the colors went diagonally across the afghan instead of straight across.  Ultimately it ended up almost the size of the top of my queen-sized mattress.  The Husband thinks it's weird that it's black, but I love it!

Ultimately, this is a great portable project, because it is fairly mindless in each phase and easy to remember what to do.  Also, until you're putting the strips together, everything is small and easily carried.  Worked out great for what I needed!  I have also since made a smaller, baby-sized version of the black light afghan - no pic yet, but it's for a friend who loves the colors and is hoping for a baby.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Shawl frenzy

I believe it's been previously mentioned that I don't sit still terribly well, and that I do better with a hand project to distract me from fidgeting.  When my grandma was in the hospital last year after a broken hip, I thought of crocheting her a shawl as a gift.  I'm familiar with the concept of a prayer shawl, where basically the idea is that you're thinking of/praying for the person as you work on the shawl, and then they are given a gift of warmth and positivity.  So I found a (naturally) free pattern online that would allow the yarn shades to be the star - bonus points that it was a mindless pattern, allowing me to work without paying much attention.  That's important when one is crocheting while attending continuing education meetings or church!

This one was given to my grandma.  The yarn I used is Red Heart with Love, which is softer than the regular acrylic.

This one became my mom's Christmas present.  She loves yellow.

This one, which didn't photograph well, was for a friend for Christmas.  I thought she'd enjoy the cheery colors!  It is the Fruit Punch shade.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Scrub caps

 You may remember that I previously was asked to make scrub caps for coworkers, which I did, using a free pattern.  And then I did make more as Christmas gifts for a few coworkers, though apparently I didn't take pictures. :(

Anyway, I was asked by another friend about making scrub caps for her and her coworkers.  At this point, I had given away my original prototype, so I needed something for them to try on.  I pulled the sea life print out of stash and made it up, using the same free pattern - no changes.  While I was at it, I made a scrub cap for another friend (late Christmas present) using the Dr. Who fabric.

Then I had the brilliant thought of trying to enlarge the pattern a bit, to see if it would be helpful for those with big heads or a ton of hair.  (I have both problems, and I haven't been wearing my own creations so far.)  The 101 Dalmations print was also from deep stash.

Ultimately, they were happy with the original size, and these are the resulting scrub caps, which are now ready for delivery!  I hope that they enjoy wearing them!

I decided to try out some of the other free patterns available on that site - but they are cut and pinned at the moment, not sewn.  So hopefully eventually those results will be pictured here.  It seems kind of strange that so many at work wear my creations, but I don't!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

New dress

Well, I'm a terrible blogger.  It's been MONTHS since I updated this blog.  I have been working on stuff, and I'll probably write a few posts all at once, then forget again, right?  Sorry.  It's what I do.

Anyway, I have been sewing on/off, but mostly off lately.  And I have several clothing prototypes in the works for my niece, who requested niece/doll clothing to match.  But I got annoyed with what I was working on, and there it sits.  In the meantime, I got busy with other projects but finally threw a quick dress into the mix.  This is the Fern's Fleece Shawl Collar Pullover from CKC.  I think I bought it back in December or January, and I bought this fabric (cheap fleece blankets from WM) for a test shortly after.  My intention was to make the test quickly and get feedback on it, then use faux minky from JAF for a Valentine's version. see how that went.  Well, I finally got around to cutting it last weekend, and I finished it last night.  Off to my niece it shall go, not that she'll have opportunity to wear it more than maybe once before it gets warm.  But then I'll be ready for the next version, just up a size, right?

This project works up quickly, especially with no seam finishes needed.  I made the entire thing on my regular sewing machine, since fleece doesn't fray.  When I use the faux minky, I will probably serge finish all edges, just to try to decrease shedding.  But with sweatshirt or regular fleece, it wouldn't be needed.

I think it turned out cute, and I have hopes that my niece will like it!