Mingos

My grandmother made us pajamas for Christmas every year growing up. It was the only present we were allowed to open on Christmas Eve and my brother and I always wore them to bed that night. I kept thinking about those pajamas from Christmas Past as I made these.

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I’m not sure why, though. I’m not planning on saving these for Christmas, and not for the reasons you might think. First of all, my house is c-c-c-cold. Then there’s the fact that my kids cannot be counted on to like the things I make them or use them even if they do like them. I”m OK with that, generally, or I try to be, but I don’t want to deal with it on Christmas Eve. Now factor in the competition from my mother who will surely gift Christmas-themed Disney pajamas that my homemade flannels cannot compete with. But the real kicker, the real reason why I won’t to save these for Christmas is because my 91-year-old granny is still sewing and sends pajamas to her great-grandchildren. Every year I think she won’t and every year she does. It’s a tradition I want to maintain, but it’s not my turn, yet. Call me superstitious, but I’m not going to meddle with something that’s working. Just in case.

Pattern: Digital Sleepover Pajamas by Oliver + S
Size: 4T
Fabric: Flannel from Jo-Ann

You might remember this pattern from last year when I made it three times before I burnt out. This time around the sewing seemed not nearly as arduous and I wondered if the break had done me good or if it was making the same thing three times that was such a drag or what was going on that my present experience didn’t seem to match up with my remembered experience. I pulled out one of last year’s pairs to look at them and no wonder! French seams, flat felled seams, everything was done up right because 1) I’m me; and 2) I didn’t want that cheap flannel fraying on me and leaving me with nothing but pajamas pieces after a wash or two. This year I have my serger and the sewing went much faster. Whew!

Impressionable

If I had any perspective on my own life or personality I could have seen this one coming a mile away.

The pattern of behavior:

  1. Notice that pinafores are a thing
  2. Scoff at pinafores
  3. Declare that I will never make a pinafore
  4. Repeat steps 3 and 4 – until –
  5. I see an example so awesome I drop everything immediately to make one

My distaste for a thing makes it interesting to me and that interest turns at some point into appeal.

That’s such an unflattering introduction to this style and project that I hesitate to link to the specific maker who tipped the scales, but I will list the confluence of circumstances that led to this make because it takes more than hate-turned-to-love to make a thing. The stars must align. In order:

  1. I was absolutely taken with the strap details on the Pippi Pinafore.
  2. I already had some fabric that would work well enough sitting in my stash that was not earmarked for a more practical make.
  3. The Pippi Pinafore pattern happens to be drafted to different cup sizes. I was unwilling to take a lot of time fitting a trendy garment I was’t sure I would like or wear, but with this pattern I could live dangerously and not make a muslin.

So I gave it a go.

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Preying mantis hands

Pattern: Pippi PInafore by Jennifer Luaren Handmade
Fabric: Robert Kaufman linen
Size: 10
Mods: Lengthened the bust 1.25″

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Did you see that mod up there? Where I lengthened the bust 1.25 inches? That’s because when I was sewing the bib it was to teeny I thought, “Oh, hell no” and cut out a new longer one. Good call, me, I’m pretty sure that as drafted the bib would only have come to … I’ll let you figure it out. Long torso is long.

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Not bad! I’m pleased. Now that I have made one I worry that I will fall into a different, equally predictable, pattern of behavior:

  1. Worry that wearing this makes me look like I’m trying too hard to be more on-trend than I am
  2. Worry that only home sewists wear pinafores and anybody who is not a home sewist will think it’s strange
  3. Worry that wearing this makes me look like I’m trying too hard to appear younger than I am
  4. Not wear the thing

In spite of my worries I did wear it and nobody laughed or pointed or mistook me for a 12-year-old or told me the style is too young or I’m too old. So think I’ll try to establish a new pattern of behavior:

  1. Stop caring what other people think
  2. Dress myself in things I like to wear

Peas and Carrots

Every year Hallmark (it’s headquartered here, don’t ya know) hosts a craft-type fair that features Hallmark employees and their arts, crafts, music, side-hustles, what have you. It is awesome and there is a lot of talent on display, but it’s a closed community of participation so you expect to see familiar faces and familiar wares which was why I was surprised to come upon a yarn booth this year.

“You weren’t here last year,” I said, side-eyeing the proprietor suspiciously. She hadn’t been, she assured me. I gingerly approached the yarn. I played it cool. I like yarn, but I’m also a price-sensitive recovering stash addict. I didn’t let on that I’m a dedicated knitter. I did not divulge that stumbling across an unexpected yarn booth made my day. Uh-oh, no prices. I would have to ask. I hate asking. Having to talk to someone is sometimes too much work to bother. But the yarn was nice and I like to support indie dyers so I did ask even though I worried I was setting myself up for embarrassment if it was too expensive for me. It wasn’t and I let my guard down. I admitted I was a knitter. I confessed I liked her yarn very much. And then I broke an informal rule I’ve adopted and bought yarn from her even though I had no project in mind for it.

I must have been feeling guilty because I took one of the 3 skeins (I didn’t fall too far, see? And the other 2 skeins are a matching pair of buttery yellow I bought with a general idea of a baby sweater. Also I might be forgetting a skein or two, I have mush for brains) and immediately cast on mittens for MJ.

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Pattern: World’s Simplest Mittens by tincanknits
Size: Child’s
Yarn: Knots & Rows Simplicity, Water Lilies
Etsy shop here!

And then a hat.

And then another hat after I frogged the first because it was entirely too large and gobbling yarn at an alarming rate. Did I think to measure the gauge of the mittens I’d made and plan appropriately? No, I did not! Here I thought I was winning when I actually measured the kid’s head instead of just guessing at that, too. One measurement is pretty meaningless without t’other. Ripping is annoying, but worth it if you end up with a perfectly sized hat and enough left over for a bonus! pom.

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Pattern: Barley Light also by tincanknits
Size: Knit toddler size to achieve child
Mods: Knit the garter stitch panel in plain stockinette

We have a matching set for as long as all the parts don’t get separated (so approximately 1 wearing) with enough pink to appease my kiddo even if it’s not the tonal baby pink skein she wanted to buy for her own nebulous 3-year-old purposes.

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I used every scrap of my skein and it was oh so satisfying. Are there knitters, I wonder, who make a point of trying to use all of every skein? I bet there are and I can see why.

Cannot Unsee What Has Been Seen

This is my 2nd Ryan Top. It fits great right out of the envelope – joy! – and I’ve long meant to make another one or several.

This fabric is another vacation souvenir. It’s not something I would usually go for and that was the point, to push my boundaries a bit. I had 2 scant yards of this fabric which turned out to not be quite enough for perfect pattern placement. Limited by my material, I was very intentional with my cutting and contemplative of the layout. I worried especially over the big red boxes and where I wanted them which is why it chafes so badly that for all my care I overlooked something important.

Can you see it?

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Pattern: Ryan Top by Whitney Deal
Size: Medium
Fabric: Something cotton? I’m a bad note keeper.

Do I need to point it out?

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Red Squares. Right on my boobs. I’m annoyed because I could have had a bit more wiggle room with that pattern placement if I’d remembered how looooong this shirt is. The length is something that surprised me the first time around, too, but I got used to it and forgot that I could easily shorten it by as much as 6 inches and have a top that’s not only long enough and, let’s be honest, would be more flattering to boot. I’m not a tunic + leggings sort of girl, but this pattern as drafted would work well for that purpose if you are.

So, not a total success, but I’ve worn it a couple times and probably will again. I need me a pink cardigan or a red scarf to carry it into the fall and winter. Bonus: a cardigan or scarf would mask my pattern placement embarrassment. The problem with picking a fabric that’s outside the box (ha ha I try not to miss a pun) is I don’t have anything like that in my wardrobe already. Maybe I should buy some yarn…

Bee in my Bonnet

I adore bonnets. I’m happy to harmoniously co-exist with bees. I often have a bee in my bonnet. Just ask my husband. No, don’t, he might tell you how I go on about how our children’s ridiculous bedtime routines or how much I dislike apples that aren’t baked into pies or crisps or my neighborhood’s impassable, crumbling sidewalks or how antagonistic KC’s drivers and roads are to bikers and pedestrians or any of the other things I rant at him about.

Look at this sweater I made instead. It’s a distractingly bright shade of yellow that I am confident will appeal to bees everywhere.

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Pattern: Beekeeper Cardigan by Marie Greene
Size: 38
Yarn: Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Wool Worsted in Sun Yellow
Mods: Added buttons

I bought this yarn to make a sweater for Hubs. Alas, I never found a pattern for him that suited this yarn’s color or gauge. When the Beekeeper cardigan popped up it was the right gauge, right color, right pattern, right time. Ding ding ding ding! The only criteria this pattern didn’t meet was that wasn’t for Hubs. OH WELL.

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The pattern instructions were comprehensive, detailed, and backwards to what I’m used to with the gauge and sizing information at the end instead of beginning. I just couldn’t grok it. It took me forever – minutes, possibly! – to figure out where to find that info and when I did I skipped over the size information, picked my size based on the finished measurements and got myself into trouble knitting the yoke because I thought the instructions were referring to the former when they were in fact referring to the latter and they were not the same though both were the same number. Confused? I was, too! But it was in no way a problem with the pattern, it was a problem with my reading comprehension yet again. If putting that info at the end was a tactic to make a knitter read the entire pattern before casting on it did not work for me. I am clearly far too smart for that and I knit the yoke 3 times just to prove how good I am at (not) reading and following directions.

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Luckily it was a super quick knit for all that and I’m happy with it. The yarn doesn’t itch at all (this is the 3rd sweater I’ve made out of this yarn for this reason; they’re all winners and I might be getting superstitious), the sleeves are the perfect just-a-smidge-longer-than-bracelet length, the neckline isn’t too wide, every dimension is big enough but not too.

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“Bees & Buttons” is my new name for a haberdashery

The bees have completed their work for the year so I’ll have to wait until spring to see if they like my sweater, too.

Blue Skies

It wasn’t until I dug it out this Robert Kaufman Quilter’s Linen to make Hubs a birthday gift that I realized it did not, in fact, have any linen content at all, hence the “quilter” modifier in its name. So Hubs got a somewhat stiff 100% cotton Merchant & Mills All State for his birthday. And you are getting a brief, incomplete blog entry nearly 3 months later.

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Pattern: Merchant & Mills the All State
Fabric: Robert Kaufman Quilter’s Linen in Dusty Blue
Size: Bigger than last time.

I had made this pattern for him before, but I made it too small. I somehow missed the sizing information (unfamiliar UK sizing was too much for my brain to interpret) and guessed badly based on the finished measurements. Hubs wears it anyways. I considered this and the fact that he wears holes into the things I make him a compliment until I asked which of the 3 shirt patterns I’d made for him he preferred and he told me they were all pretty much the same. Well fine then.

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Indifferent husband in question.

This pattern, with its boxy guayabera feel, is my personal favorite. Not in quilter’s cotton, though, so next time I”ll make it in something lighter. Third time’s the charm, right?

Three

MJ turns three today.

Here is the dress I made her:

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Pattern: Lotta Dress by Companie M
Size: 3T
Fabric: Cloud 9 cotton I grabbed off the clearance rack at Joann

I’m always learning new things when I sew. This time I learned how far ahead of the needle my serger’s knife cuts and why you don’t serge seam allowance after sewing inseam pockets.

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Pro-tip: serge those edges THEN sew.

After a long time out it turned out to be an easy fix. I removed the pocket, cut an inch off the width of the skirt, and started fresh.

It’s the same pattern as the dress I made MJ last year. I used the same button loop placket and cap sleeves, but added the i-cord and used inseam pockets because I thought I ought to mix it up a little bit.

I’ve sworn off Joann Fabrics. Again. Joann, why can’t I quit you? Oh yeah, because you are the only place anywhere close-ish that I can reliably buy notions which is something I re-remember every time I need buttons. I got super lucky, though, and hit a timely and unexpected jackpot at Urban Mining: vintage buttons!

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I stocked up.

Unbelievably I found buttons that were a perfect match in the quantities and sizes I needed. And I needed 4 smaller and 3 bigger, so let’s take a moment to acknowledge the improbability of finding these buttons in a space mostly dedicated to furniture and knick-knacks mere blocks from my house, no long, trying to trips to Joann necessary!

MJ, of course, would have been happiest with Minnie Mouse buttons. Here is the godawful dress I made at her behest also out of clearance Joann fabric that MJ spotted, adored, would not let go of, and insisted be made into a dress immediately upon arrival home. She will surely wear this dress instead. Ah, well, more power to her. The girl knows what she likes.

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