Wednesday, September 29, 2010

more EZ knitting

I thought I had blogged this sweater, but a quick browse through the minimal posts I've put up in the past few months shows me that I did not.

High on the success of my first two Zimmerman sweaters, I was anxious to whip up another one, this time in cotton. I got a great price on some Lion Cotton Ease from (they have a small but nice yarn selection), due to an order snafu + a coupon they sent me, so I got two skeins of hazelnut for AJ, and 3 skeins of blossom for Daughter. In the end, with shipping, I think both sweaters cost maybe $20? Pretty sweet (though that doesn't include the buttons for Daughter's, nor the extra yarn I had to buy for AJ''s coming).

I knit up the cotton version with exactly the same numbers as the green wool version I'd previously knit. Rather than ribbing, I knit seed stitch for this version. But I guess it didn't occur to me that this cotton yarn would knit up to a different gauge than the wool. Wool has some give, and allows for a tighter gauge than this rather unforgiving cotton. So the sweater was coming out really boxy. But I didn't mind, because it was intended to go over other layers.

The problem became...yarn famine. Every knitter's nightmare! As I knit faster and faster toward the neckline (because somehow knitters believe if we just knit faster there will be enough yarn), it became sadly apparent that I would be quite literally just a few yards short for casting off.

Several 4-letter words later, I dug up a Joann's coupon and headed off to find more yarn. Of course the store does not carry the hazelnut colorway (at this point I would have accepted differing dye lots), so I had to go with the charcoal colorway as a complimentary color. That meant ripping the hazelnut neckline that I'd already knit, and reknitting it in the charcoal.

In the end, I like it a lot! I'd like to make another in cotton, as it's a great layer for autumn and spring. I would chop about an inch off the sleeves and add it to the body, but otherwise it's a winner.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"a charming chest warmer" for my little guy

Oh man, vests on little boys are SO adorable, aren't they? I was perusing the gazillions of free patterns available here, and came across this one. It's always fun to find worsted weight patterns for babies and young children and they are plentiful on the garnstudio website.

This wee vest took just over 1 skein of Patons Wool in moss heather. It's the 24 month size, which is the largest they offer, and the width is fine, but it could use a bit more length in both the body and the armholes.

Though it was fiddly to construct, I like the shoulder detail. The buttons open and make it really easy to get the vest on and off.

My little guy gets compliments galore when he wears this with a plaid shirt, khaki pants, and his brown Chuck Taylors. Cuteness!

Monday, September 20, 2010

wool saves the day (errr...night)

Here is a confession: though I have been knitting wool soakers for sale for about 2 years now, I never really used them myself. I made knitted pants for AJ and he wore them, but I used them over other diaper covers, never as a waterproof layer. I don't know why, isn't that weird?

Then over this past summer AJ started having a problem with an awful "diaper rash" which is not really the right was more like his skin was blistering after sitting in a hot, wet cloth diaper all night. We were having to get up and change him during the night again, like a newborn, because he would wake up in pain and demand to be changed. I don't know if it was the hot weather, his diet, the detergent I use, or what, but something was going wrong with our use of cloth diapers for nighttime. I researched the problem and discovered this type of thing can happen because of poor air circulation with PUL diaper covers.

Enter: wool. I wanted something soaker-like for summer (it was so, so hot this year), but not heavy or long. So I used the Little Turtle Knits pickypants pattern and made the shorts version. I lanolized them as best I knew how, and gave them a go:

Voila! No more awful blistery rash! And though the diaper smelled like ammonia in the morning, by the evening there was no smell at all from the wool. Truly amazing! These were knit in the largest size offered by the pattern (but it would not be difficult to make them even larger), using one skein of Patons Wool in light gray, and a tiny ball of leftover Patons Wool in denim. They worked so well I am thinking of making up a few pairs of pants for winter sleeping.

Fab! And the fit is so nice with this pattern...I'm thinking I should apply for a cottage license to sell this version. They are really excellent!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Daughter's jacket

Wow, I have been at this for almost 5 years now, and I just can't believe how much harder it is to blog regularly with two kids. I don't know how some of these amazing bloggers do it...cranking out projects and posts day after day! Here we are after a week, sheesh. At least I have a project to share.

Daughter needed a between-seasons jacket - something a bit heavier than a windbreaker, but not as heavy as a fleece or winter coat.

I bought Simplicity 5284, and 1.5 yards of pretty raspberry colored wide-wale corduroy at Joann's. The corduroy wasn't really heavy enough to be as warm as I wanted it, but conversely was heavy enough that I did not want to make facings from it. Because the jacket is so, so simple to construct (no collar!) I got the crazy idea to line the entire thing. I didn't see anything I liked for a lining at Joann's, and I was trying to keep this a low-budget project anyway, so I dove into my dwindling stash and came up with a hunk of old Tutti-Frutti fabric. I got it at Joann's long ago and never made anything from it. It coordinated perfectly.

I know this is not the best photo because of the backpack straps, but the bus was on its way and we had to hurry.

I left out the facings altogether, opting instead for a full lining. Because there is no collar, the entire outside edge of the jacket is continuous - perfect for binding! I squeaked out enough 2" bias strips to go all the way around and bound the two jackets together like a quilt. The sleeve openings are not bound, though. It was getting very late and I was very tired, so I just turned both layers under 1/2", pinned them together, and topstitched around. The raw edges are hidden, and it looks really cute when the cuffs are turned back. I had no buttons that matched either fabric, so I went with these shiny black plastic buttons for now. I may replace them over the weekend if we get a chance to go to Joann's.

Total cost of this jacket: $9 including pattern purchase (because lining, buttons, and thread were from stash). And I have to recommend this pattern if you are wanting to sew a little jacket. It went together so, so easily. I will likely make more in the future (and it is unisex). Plus the pattern includes a jumper for a girl, pants for a boy, and a knit mock-turtleneck.

I have 3 soaker orders to complete over the weekend (you can certainly tell the seasons are changing when people start buying woolies again) but I hope to be back on Monday to share a couple more knitting projects from the summer.

Friday, September 10, 2010

summer knittin', had me a blaaaaast

Yes, it was an unusually hot summer for us here in the northeast, but of course I got my knit on anyway. Back in the spring I ordered some stuff from, and they sent me a coupon so I then ordered some yarn. I thought the kids could use cotton sweaters for Spring and Autumn.

I couldn't take photos of AJ's because he is napping and I'd surely wake him if I went in his room to dig up a sweater. But here is Daughter's:

Knitting Pure & Simple neck-down cardigan, size 6-8, on US 8 needles. Lion Brand Cotton Ease yarn in the "blossom" colorway, a mauvey-pink that suits my fair girl perfectly, about 2.75 skeins. The buttons we found at Joann's, and kudos to them for finally stocking some new buttons!

There is already food smeared all over this sweater, which is why the sleeve is folded funny. Yes, I tossed it in the wash right after taking this photo.

And of course summer is good for small projects, too:

Socks for me in one of the Kaffe Fassett colorways for Regia. It was nice enough yarn to work with, because it's Regia, but the Kaffe Fassett aspect didn't blow me away. I kind of don't like him, anyway. I can't figure out why people worship him when it seems all he does is smush obnoxious colors and prints together and call it "design." But hey, that's just me, and I tend to prefer plain things.

Socks for AJ, using Deborah Norville's sock yarn from Joann's. First Vanna, now Deborah...which blonde television beauty will be next to promote a yarn line? Anyhoo, this yarn is just ok in my book. It's extremely soft, but somewhat splitty to knit, and I don't know how it will hold up with repeated wash and wear. We shall see.

Gosh, I think that's about it. I'll have to dig around and see if I actually made anything else.

Today I got some red flannel PJ's about 80% assembled for AJ, and picked up a pretty piece of corduroy for a new jacket for I was putting her on the bus this morning I noticed her wrists were sticking out about 3 inches from her coat sleeves! I thought it was a size 5, purchased last year, but it turns out I lost a year somewhere in is actually only a 4T and we got it the year AJ was born. Yikes! The poor kid needs a new jacket! And it's National Sewing Month, after all.

What are YOU making?

Thursday, September 09, 2010

national sewing month

Hello! And happy autumn!

I've just sent my baby girl off to kindergarten, the weather has turned sharply cooler (from near 90F to low 60s), I've purchased my fall-scented candles, and I'm feeling all nest-y. It was nice to take the summer off from blogging, though there wasn't much to blog about due to the Africa-hot temperatures. All my entries would have gone something like this: "tried to knit/sew. Too hot and sweaty. Went swimming instead."

But school has started so I'm down to one kid at home, and the cool break in the weather is inspiring me to get out the sewing and knitting once more. We need many things as winter approaches, like new quilts, pajamas, sweaters, socks, hats and mittens to replace those that are worn and outgrown.

Just a quickie today as I've got english muffin loaves about ready to come out of the oven...

I was reminded by my good friend Karen that September is National Sewing Month! I typically don't notice things like that but this year I'm jumping in. I just finished up some pajamas for AJ:

McCall's M4643, size 2. I used the flannel I got at WMart in the spring when they were closing their fabric department, so these are a very economical "wearable muslin" of this pattern. It is incredibly easy to assemble these pajamas, as the front and back necklines are finished first, then they overlap (kind of like a baby onesie). The pattern calls for velcro at the shoulders but that sounded like a laundry nightmare to me, so I am using snaps instead.

Now that I know this is a great pattern, I am planning to make him several more sets in nicer flannels (though there is nothing wrong with this's just kind of boring and plain).

I began cutting out a red set today at naptime, and will hopefully work on those through the weekend. Then I want to tackle the Oliver + S pajama pattern for Daughter. Woohoo! Yay for fall sewing!

And on the needles...not that he technically needs more sweaters at the moment (he has 4, plus a vest, plus one on my mom's needles), I have begun an interesting sweater for AJ. I've seen this one around the blog circuit a few times, and it is certainly unique:

Looks like an amorphous blob, kinda. That's a sleeve snaking off to the left. So far it's a pretty fun and easy knit. More to come on this one!

I've also cast on for a hat to match AJ's new winter coat (Paton's wool on sale for $4 this week at Michaels, people...stock up, it's great yarn!), and some funky kneesocks for Daughter out of yarn we dyed together last year.

Mmmmkay, there's the oven timer! Time for some super-yummy english muffin bread! Welcome, autumn!