I’ve written up a knitting pattern for a newborn baby hat. It’s a simple top-down beanie knit from about 100 yards or meters of fingering weight. I’ve done the increases in such a way that there is very little counting or marker placement which makes it easy to memorize and fast to knit, good qualities for gift knitting! You can download the pattern here or on Ravelry. I’d be happy to hear from you if you knit it! I handpainted the wool for the sample myself with acid dyes.
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Sometimes I get an idea and even though I know it’s crazy, I can’t get it out of my head so I do it anyway. This was one of those ideas. Not only is the skirt of this baby dress made from fabric, the bodice portion is both knit and crocheted. I’m not an expert in either knitting or crochet but I’ve done enough of both that there are certain usages that feel more comfortable in one or the other. So it was easier for me to switch back and forth between knitting and crochet rather than to make the whole bodice in one or the other. I’m not explaining this very well am I? Anyway, I’m pleased with how it turned out and you can see a picture of the dress modeled by the recipient on my Ravelry project page. There are also some more pictures and detailed notes there.
This is sized for 6-12mo. Making baby clothes for a baby you have never seen is always risky business so I poured over clothing measurements and knit and crochet patterns to figure out the right dimensions. I remember that when my girl was that age you didn’t want a dress that was too long because it got in the way of sitting up and crawling. It was also mostly useless to have any dress that didn’t have matching bloomers or tights because by the time you found something to cover the diapered bum that didn’t clash, she’d grown out of the dress. So the matching diaper cover was made from a Simplicity sewing pattern.
I’m rather proud of the little detail I thought of for the straps. I crocheted them with buttonholes along the entire length. The smallish buttons are on the inside of the back of the bodice. This way the straps are fully adjustable and can be worn crossed or uncrossed without looking like overalls. Don’t misunderstand, I love overalls on babies, but the regular overall style closure on the front wouldn’t have been suitable for this dress.
I think those are the right descriptive words. I’m proud of myself for making quick work of the math it took to make this pattern. I may need to make a few adjustments but it worked out pretty well. And I used up some chambray remnants to achieve the look of denim without the weight. The girl had requested a jeans skirt, but one that she could play in. Since she’s quite the monkey, that meant it had to have lots of room to move in.
Here’s a detail of the waist which I made adjustable by putting elastic in the back and sets of snaps in the front. When she grows past the smallest snap I can cover the one that will show with a brass cap which I think will look fine. It would have been better with buttons but this machine does not make the best buttonholes and I was more interested in getting the skirt finished.
I take neither credit nor issue with her choice of accompanying garments and accessories. . .
This started out as a project to make monster stuffies. The boy and I had done some sketches several months ago, so I pulled those out and made patterns. The girl and I pulled out colors and colors of wool and rayon felt, the jar of buttons, snaps, zippers and other odds and ends. The original idea called for using a functioning zipper for the mouth which would create a belly pocket. This took a little thinking but it wasn’t all that hard. I had hoped this would be easy enough for the kids to do a lot of the work. The wool felt is pretty thick to sew through so they did parts of it but some of it was just too hard. We stuffed the bodies lightly with poly pellets and wool stuffing.
We each made one stuffie and it turned out that we each chose a different one of the three patterns I had made. The girl stayed true to the original monster theme but the boy’s morphed into a caricature of Spider-Man and mine turned zoomorphic and became an owl. For some reason we have had a lot of owl “sightings” lately—Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (an excellent movie by the way), a non-fiction book about owls from the library, the kids have been hooting at the neighborhood owls, and when we went to get the girl her first backpack, she chose one with a cute forest scene, complete with . . . owls.
This was a fun project and I think we’ll make more of these to give away as gifts. I’d particularly like to find some patterned wool to turn into felt to use on these stuffies.
I received a very polite e-mail from a reader asking about the pattern for the cyclette bag (see here and here). I had intended to write up the pattern with pictures and apparently didn’t get around to it. Not a surprise. But looking back through the pictures I did actually make three of them! Which is a lot for me, I rarely make two of the same thing. But I didn’t take process pictures of any of them, waah.
So I decided to make another one and write up the instructions and take pictures along the way. It turned out to be a bit more involved than I had thought it would be. None of the sewing is particularly difficult, there were just more steps than I remembered. It is a rather clever construction (If I may say so myself) and requires no hand sewing but all seams are neatly enclosed. I’m not sure how I will proceed with formatting this one. The pattern lends itself to a few variations, which I may play out in order to incorporate into the finished pattern/tutorial.
But here are the pictures of the latest cyclette bag, inspired by the musette bag or feed bag carried by cyclists. The bag is sized to hold lunch and a water bottle, plus your wallet and keys in the inner zippered pocket.
Rosalina is a character from Super Mario Galaxy, a game for the Wii, which builds on the story of the long running Nintendo video game characters—plumber brothers, Mario and Luigi. She is the benevolent caretaker of baby stars called lumas. I previously made a few lumas out of felt for the kids.
The girl recently requested a Rosalina dress for her Groovy Girl doll, Sarah. Since she plays with Sarah quite a lot, I decided it was worth doing. I had several fabric choices in my stash and could have gone with a dressier velvet that wasn’t quite the right shade of blue or a satin that would have looked good but would have been very difficult to work with on such a small scale. I decided to use an outgrown tee shirt in the right color for ease of sewing and dressing the doll. Since I’ve made a few other dresses for this doll, it wasn’t too hard to draft a pattern that suggests the general look of Rosalina’s dress. I used a thinner white cotton knit for the trim, using the inherent trait of knit fabric to roll over in my favor. It’s a bit rough but I spent about as much time as I’m willing to spend on a doll dress. Done is better than perfect.
The star brooch and the crown are made from Sculpey molded over a paper skeleton, baked and brushed with silver paint and decorated with plastic jewels. I had intended to make those accessories out of fabric as well but I couldn’t find anything remotely suitable. Hopefully the paper skeleton inside the polymer clay accessories will give them some chance of survival.
Not that I’m particularly a fan myself, but I suppose this could be considered fan art. Or fan craft. Or something like that.
And yes, Sarah has big feet. Maybe I should have made the dress a little longer.
I have to say that the men in the house pulled off the best handmade presents this year. I helped a little but the ideas and much of the execution was theirs. The boy made his sister a monogrammed purse which she adores.
We traced and cut an oval from some stiff pink felt left over from another project. The boy used a fabric marker to draw a curly “S” in the middle of the oval and then arranged and sewed on felt flowers all around. I cut a very simple pattern out for a curvy purse with a large front flap, reminiscent of styles from the ’70s. I cut the pieces from some scrap leather I had. (I’m pretty sure it’s bi-cast or laminated but it looks surprisingly nice and I think it will hold up fine to loving use by a little girl.) The boy helped me machine sew the oval onto the front flap. He then used a fabric marker to stencil a sweet message on the inside to his sister. Later I hand-sewed the pieces of the purse together and attached the strap to rings at the sides. It looks great, the boy was quite proud of himself and his sister was over the moon! See the photos below for the play-by-play action.
I admit that I shamelessly copied this oogly eyeball from a picture on the internet. Unfortunately I cannot find the original source now to give credit but I see it’s not as unique as I first thought. I did make my own pattern and chose my own colors and my version is likely smaller than the picture that I looked at but it’s pretty much identical. I rarely if ever do that. Mostly because I’m not good at copying when I want to and moreso because I always have my own ideas on what and how I want to do things. The boy had wanted to make some monster stuffies and knowing how popular those are I thought we’d look around on the internet for images that we liked and then combine our favorite features into our own monster stuffie pattern. Along the way we saw these fabric eye balls that were just perfect the way they were. So we made wool felt eyeballs. This was the first and unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of the second which the boy did most of the sewing on because he wrapped it up and gave it away about as fast we got it finished. Made with wool and rayon felt and a little embroidery, and filled with wool stuffing and poly pellets. I still want to make the monsters but these were more fun than I would have guessed. Sewing a sphere is never an easy proposition but felt makes it fairly painless.
Here’s the girl carrying a baby doll in a pouch style baby carrier that I made for her cousin. Don’t worry, I made the girl one too. Now I’ve made so many baby pouches I could practically cut one out without a pattern and that’s exactly what I did here. But the style that came to mind as particularly appropriate for a doll carrier, was inspired by a real pouch style baby carrier idea from my friend Jen. I traced the finished pouch so that I’d have the pattern for keeps. I may post the pattern here after I try it out on a few more kids and different sized baby dolls/stuffies. I’m also going to “stick a pin” here to remind myself to tell you a little trick I thought up regarding handmade presents.
Just last week my neighbor shared with me several bags of yarn she’d received from someone else. The girl had seized on a small ball of pink and white novelty yarn which I decided to turn into a sweater for her favorite doll. (Don’t ask about the “dress” she has on.) My first top-down raglan sweater, ha ha. Maybe I’ll feel better about starting on a person-sized sweater now. I accidentally left the little sweater out and the girl saw it. I thought the surprise was ruined because of course she asked who it was for. But I answered with the name of her doll. The girl replied very seriously that she would wrap it up so that said doll would not see it before Christmas!
I originally bought this self-striping yarn to make socks for myself. I did but they were a little snug so the boy happily took possession. Then I made the girl socks out of the leftover. Then their Nana requested a hat made from the same yarn. Now discontinued. Ravelry saved the day—I posted an ISO on a Wednesday and had another skein in hand on Saturday!
I wanted to make something that showed off the self-striping yarn but didn’t look like just any storebought hat. So I used seed stitch, random texture and the stocking cap shape. I think it turned out fairly well. More details on my Ravelry project page.
It can also be worn with the seed stitch brim up or down and the point to the side or to the back. I also tried sticking the point down into the hat and wearing it like a slouch. I’ll make some modifications the next time I make one but it turned out to be the general shape I intended. All in all, I’m pretty happy with my improvised design.
Some pics of recent spinning. Or not that recent. Apparently I started on this post almost a month ago. I somehow did not size down the photos, thought I double checked that, still couldn’t upload the photos, gave up for a while. Finally asked guru husband, then realized the photos were huge… I’m not computer illiterate. In my other life I was a graphic designer, really.
Anyway, both of these are around 4oz. The first is lavender and pink unknown wool that I received in a trade. To be honest it didn’t look like much before I spun it. I think there’s hope for it now. I don’t know what I’ll make with it though. Suggestions welcome.
And the other is 4oz. of Neapolitan hand-painted Shetland wool from Spunky Eclectic spun to about sport weight.
This second yarn was intended for the 4! Ounce! Challenge! on Ravelry but was plagued with problems from the start.
I did choose the colorway and I did want to try Shetland for this project. I even had an idea for what I wanted to make with it. It did not occur to me until after I received the wool that I probably should have ordered the progression dyed fiber instead of the regular handpaint. Oh well, I decided I would just separate out the colors and lay them out in a progression and spin from there. That way it would have a little more variety to it anyway. Right. Well, that did work out okay except that I spun the thing into one two ply yarn of 400 some yards that goes from unnaturally pink on one end through cream to chocolate brown on the other. That’s when I realized that what I really needed was two balls of approximately 200 yards each going from pink to brown in each ball. Hmm. So that set me back awhile. I thought about other designs. I did end up thinking a lot about all the different ways you could spin a handpaint or a progression dye and how the plying and eventual knitting could take many different turns.
I finally started knitting today. I have a plan to still complete my original project and have it look pretty much like I intended. I have a schematic, I have a swatch, I have WPI, SPI and I’m not afraid to use them. And I’m trying to take notes as I go along so hopefully if it turns out well, I can repeat it. Yes, I’m intentionally not saying what it is I’m making. I haven’t seen anything quite like it, even slogging through the vast patternland of Ravelry. It is historically inspired so I can’t claim the idea as my own but, designing it for handpainted handspun fiber, that I will claim. If it works that is. If not, well, I’ll just come back and delete this post. Oh yeah, nothing you publish to the internet is ever really gone.
And this is where random meets charming. Or something like that.
Cute huh? So here’s the story. Because you know I didn’t do this project completely for the fun of it. It’s Clam Festival weekend here in Yarmouth and a friend of mine was somehow involved in obtaining the prizes for one of the clam shucking events. So she ordered these cute bobble head trophies. The style reminds me of Precious Moments or Joan Walsh Anglund. I don’t know who’s idea it was to put sou’wester hats on them but I got the call to make it happen.
Making the pattern took some doing. I had hoped to find a pattern online that I could shrink down but I could find no such animal so I ended up looking at pictures of sou’wester hats (thanks to google images) and drafting the pattern myself. I also couldn’t find the fabric I wanted to use but this yellow nylon served fairly well. Luckily I’ve discovered the use of freezer paper which served as both a pattern for cutting and a guide for stitching around. I ended up making four of these little fisherman rain hats, so we have an extra one which happened to fit one of the dolls. I suppose now she needs a rain slicker to go with it. Sigh.
I think I’ll size this pattern up and make a sunhat or two for the kids in canvas or twill. It ended up being a fairly easy construction.
Please excuse the over-abundance of photos and text but I’m pretty proud of this project and I want to show you all the details. First I have to admit that this is a long neglected Work-In-Progress. I actually cut out most of the fabric for these outfits LAST YEAR! Generally you can’t get away with that when making clothes for kids but luckily my kids have mostly grown taller and not all that wider. I did make a few changes. The dress got an extra ruffle for length and I changed the bodice shape completely. I had originally cut out a button up shirt out of the fish fabric for the boy and then decided not to sew it as it is miserable, nigh on impossible, to get him to wear a dress shirt. So instead I opted to let him wear a polo (only slightly less miserable) with shorts sewn out of the brown plaid from Michael Miller and embellished with the fish and seahorse fabrics from Heather Ross’s Mendocino collection for Free Spirit ’08.
The dress is my own pattern. It is fully lined with the bottom ruffle attached to the lining. The cap sleeves were made by folding a long marquise shape in half and gathering the cut edges into the upper armhole which is deep enough to allow wearing over a close fitting long sleeved shirt. The elastic loop that holds the placket shut was made from a color matched hair elastic—one of my favorite tricks—easy to sew and usually makes the dress “I do it” friendly. Except for the little pocket on the front the dress could easily be worn with the placket in the front. The dress could also be made reversible as the manner of construction makes the inside as neatly finished as the outside.
I used a commercial pattern for the brown plaid shorts and added flap topped cargo pockets made from the Mendocino prints and trimmed with the bias cut plaid. The placement looks low on the hanger but seems fine when worn with an untucked shirt.
This is the second in a series intended to show the steps from fiber to finished item. See the first here.
The fiber: a 4oz braid of handpainted merino in colorway Rocky Mountain High from Spunky Eclectic. As purchased and unrolled from the braid.
singles: I pulled 1oz. off the top and then split it into four lengthwise. I arranged the pieces so that I would spin two singles with roughly the same color repeats. I then plied them together.
plies: After plying, I transferred the yarn from the bobbin to the yarn swift. You can see the color shifts very well. Then the skein is washed and hung to dry to set the ply. If the twist is done evenly then the plied yarn should hang fairly straight. On the left is the yarn above and on the right is the same fiber spun at a thinner weight.
finished yarn: ready to knit or crochet
project: I chose to knit a hat for the girl with this yarn. I looked for a simple pattern that would have texture but still show off the color gradations in the yarn. I couldn’t find what I wanted so I ended up making up my own pattern. I had intended to finish with a crochet border that would make the hat about an inch longer but forgot to take into account that the textured stitch I used ate up yardage faster than a simpler stockinette would so I ran out of yarn. It fits okay . . . I’m still thinking about what to do.
stitch: The stitch I used must have a name but I couldn’t find anything like it so if you know what it is called please tell me! It’s so simple and fast and a little girly without being too delicate. (The following instructions will only work in the round. A bit of adjustment would be needed to work it flat as the stitch pattern causes the starting point to shift.)
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: *K2togTB, YO* repeat
Repeat rows 1 and 2. Way simple.
See even more ramblings on this hat in my Ravelry projects.
Or something like that. I have apparently lost the boy’s basic pants pattern, waaah. I looked high and low for it and finally gave up and drew up a new one, mostly based off the most recently finished pair. I was planning special Christmas pajamas but I needed to test the pattern before I cut into my nice new flannel. I decided to use this great moss green brushed twill and accent it somehow. But I didn’t have time to deal with pockets and patches and a bunch of topstitching, etc. so I decided for some reason that tuxedo stripes a.k.a. windpant stripes down the sides would be less trouble. You’re laughing at me right?
Guess what! I found a great way to apply these stripes using a variation of my flat-felled seam variation. You know that doubled over and double topstitched seam on your jeans? That one, except I have my own way of doing it on a home sewing machine. I probably owe you all a tutorial on that too.
Anyway, I applied these stripes in a similar manner which requires very little pinning and relies almost entirely on your sewing machine and iron to make the straight lines. Much better than appliqué turning those little stripes and then pinning and stitching them down perfectly.
But of course what really matters is that the boy liked them immediately despite the lack of pockets. He even told me that he likes the pants I make him better than his other pants. Words to melt my heart. Of course I know it’s really about that soft brushed twill I use.
PS. These pants were made before Christmas. I have lots of stuff to post but I’ve been working hard at reorganizing the kids’ room. The boy has been very excited about this but the girl has been none too pleased. Such is life. You win some, you lose some, and perhaps eventually I’ll be caught up and everything will be put away.
It was snowing this morning. Rather soggy snow, but snow all the same. It won’t stick around but it is making us thinking seriously about shaking down the rest of those leaves so we can get them raked up off the lawn. Bushes need to be wrapped, outdoor lights need to be checked, basement windows sealed . . . pumpkins disposed of.
I finished this hat for the boy a week or two ago and he’s been wearing it every day but he hasn’t let me take a picture of it on his head. Finally he relented this morning. It must have been the promise of snow.
Knit without a pattern, I used the Merino/Corrie handspun/handdyed fingering weight yarn in a color I call stormy autumn blue. The name was knit into the hat using a little Corriedale that I spun, Navajo plied and dyed pumpkin color with Kool-Aid. It’s a handsome color combination and just right for the boy. I used a provisional cast-on so that I would be able to pick up the live stitches after I was done knitting the band making it self-lined under the colorwork. I got the idea from someone else’s blog of a very different looking reenactment hat which I can’t find to link to now, sorry about that. I found the letters here but stretched them taller to fit my gauge.
I scattered the decreases rather than have obvious lines and that worked pretty well. You can see them if you look for them but they hide in the variegated color of the yarn pretty well. I blocked the hat on my own head for about two hours and then left it to dry overnight over a bowl. This worked out really well but I wish I had one of those styrofoam wig holders to block hats on. Gets kind of hot wearing wet wool indoors!