Everything New is Old Again

After putting Leaves of Grass in time out I picked up a swatch I’d made last fall for a sweater I just can’t make a decision on which got me to looking for my size 8 needle. I found it in my knitting basket along with a partially completed Lottie cardigan that was holding it hostage. I subscribe to the philosophy that if you’re going to make something for a new baby it’s best, if possible and reasonable, to also give a gift to the older sibling(s). I’d started this project more than a year ago as a big-sister companion gift for a new-baby sweater and left this, the larger, to languish when I decided two handknit gifts was possible but not altogether reasonable. OK, then, I thought. I guess I’ll go ahead and finish that up.

And I did! The knitting went along fine without incident, but… there always seems to be a but. Things are just not going my way lately in a death-by-a-thousand cuts sort of way. When I soaked this little sweater to wet block it it grew to gigantic proportions. With dismay I remembered that this had happened before with this pattern and Cascade 220. I threw it into the dryer which restored it to its original child-sized proportions, but fuzzed it up. It emerged looking hard worn without ever having been worn at all.

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Pattern: Lottie Cardigan
Size: 4T
Yarn: Cascade 200 Superwash

Not without it charm, but not gift-worthy. We don’t need another sweater that my child will deny and ignore, yet into her sweater drawer it goes to be denied and ignored. If it doesn’t have Minnie Mouse on it it doesn’t rate. Wait, do they make Minnie Mouse buttons? Of course they do! Silly me. But will that be enough? Worth a shot.

Baby Steps

Behold, what is commonly held up as the most unblogworthy of sewing projects:IMG_9317

Pattern: School Bus T-Shirt sewing pattern from Oliver + S
Size: 3T
Fabric: I dunno. Knit. Pink. With Stars

IT’S A T-SHIRT! A tiny t-shirt at that. RAAAAAAAH! THE CROWD GOES WILD!

OK, maybe not exciting for you, but very exciting for me! This is my first t-shirt, you see, and only my second successful attempt to sew with knits. This is also the first time I’ve used my serger to assemble a garment and the first time I’ve used a double needle. Even my mother, when I called for advice, said she’d never used one of those. Go me! I wish I’d followed up by asking her how she’d hemmed knits because I steadfastly used every tip and trick listed here (except for buying a 2nd bobbin casing because it would have been $70) and I still have tunneling, especially where my stitching missed the wonder tape. How does one sew over tape she cannot see? I expect the answer here is “measure better.”

One small step for a sewist, one giant leap into a world of stretchy garments.

Geranium Dress

Like everyone else in the sewing universe who loves sewing small dresses, I discovered the Geranium Dress, bought the Geranium Dress pattern, made it up, and delighted in it. Possibly unlike everyone else, I didn’t stop there. I made more Geranium dresses than I had possible use for. I made them in every size with every neckline and every sleeve. I made them in geometric, bird, floral, dinosaur, cupcake, and sausage (that one was for my restaurateur cousin) fabrics. I made them for friends, I made them for friends of friends. I looked for every opportunity to give the things away and when I ran out of outlets I stowed them in a drawer from whence I drew this quite wrinkled version to finally pass along:

Pattern: Geranium Dress by Made by Rae, View A
Size: 2T
Fabric: Bird-covered cotton from Jo-Ann

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It’s on its way to a little girl named Lark. Funny, that.

Yawn

More PJs. We moved the clocks back a week ago and this, for a short time, affords 15 whole minutes of adequate daylight to snap photos before scuttling out to work. Given that I’m getting 3 bodies out the door at the same time you can imagine how well that goes.

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You’d think having made this pattern 3 consecutive times I would be a pro by now. Instead I continue to make new mistakes and forget construction steps (some important, some not). There was the cuff mistake that set me back and then when I got to the buttonholes I dutifully got out my buttonhole presser foot, but neglected to put it on my machine and wondered the whole time why I couldn’t see what I was doing. The buttonholes turned out OK, at least. My buttonholes are never great. I’m waiting for time and experience to take care of that. If not that, then maybe a new machine with fancy buttonhole settings my circa-1980 Bernina Nova lacks (but I love her so!).

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Pattern: Oliver & S Sleepover Pajamas
Size: 5T
Fabric: Flannels from Jo-Ann boy-o picked out himself

I’m neither a cook nor a baker, but I do make a big deal out of Christmas cookies and I have to start early for our church’s Kristkindl Markt the first weekend of December. Sunday I tried out the new cookie gun I got last Christmas with fancy Christmas-themed discs my beloved vintage aluminum cookie press lacks.

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Spritzes are my favorites, favorites, favorites.

We’re scheduled to make some chocolate teddy bear spritzes tonight. I’m so spritz-obsessed I can’t even remember what other cookies I usually make. Luckily I have a helper and all I have to do is pass the Betty Crocker Cooky Book to the 4-year-old and he’ll point out to me all the cookies we should make.

The Pajama Predicament

Every time he spotted these on my sewing table my patient kiddo would excitedly ask “Are they going to be ready for tonight?!” No, not tonight, dearie. There’s still a lot of sewing yet, I would say. I’m busy embroidering toys, instead, I didn’t say.

Finally! And none too soon. Nighttime temperatures have dropped and kiddo is outgrowing his PJ stock. We always get a big influx of pajamas during the holidays and these will be a useful bridge while we’re waiting out the gap. My idea here is to try to prevent ending up with way too many PJs. Wish me luck as I haven’t struck the right balance yet. Our neighbors across the way have a new baby and I told them I’ve been setting aside clothes if they want them and they’ll never have to buy another set of PJs again. Neighbor Dad said he thought they hadn’t used the same set of PJs twice in the first month of their new baby’s life. PJs: either you have an absence or an abundance. And often when you have an overflowing PJ drawer they’re off-season and useless except to make it so you can’t find the PJs you want or to instigate fights because you haven’t disappeared the footed PJs your kid pulls out to wear in the middle of summer.

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Bad light on a short day. My mom made that quilt! She’s very talented.
Pattern: Oliver + S’s Sleepover Pajamas
Size: 5
Fabric: Flannel something-emoji-rific from Jo-Ann

Chuffy picked out the fabric himself. He loves it and his excitement is adorable. I’ve had trouble with the waistband casing on both sets of Sleepover Pajamas I’ve made. I just don’t end up with quite enough space for half-inch elastic even skipping the stitching at the top of the waistband casing. I used quarter-inch elastic on the last set, but I wasn’t sure that would be hefty enough to keep these pants up. The half-inch cups a bit in spots, but they’re only jams and I’m not letting perfection be the enemy of good enough. I’ll try to remember to widen the waistband a bit going forward. It’s not a problem with the pattern, I’m just not a precise enough sewer and an eighth of an inch makes all the difference.

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Chuffy loves the smiley faces. Check out my face placement on those pockets!

Chuffy loves them which is very gratifying. They’re a bit big but that’s perfect. It’s not going to keep anybody coming back to my little neck of the net, but next up for sewing will be yet more jams in the dino fabric Chuffy selected. I’ve also got some embroidery for gifting and knitting for keeping on the boil. I’ve got lots of makes in progress, but it’s the time of year when life itself gets busy without me coming up with more projects for myself. Let’s put on some cozy PJs and hunker down.

(Dis)Economies of Scale

In my mind it makes sense that if I’m going to make a thing once it stands to reason that I ought to make it multiple times. I use this faulty logic to rationalize the cost of the pattern and the fabric and the notions as if the more I make a garment the cheaper its cost. I casually disregard the fact that two of these are incremental costs and the remaining is a sunk cost. There is no actual “saving” of money or achievable economies of scale for the single sewist.

The kids were with me on my last shopping expedition to Jo-Ann’s where there was an abundance of cute printed flannel. My more-is-better mentality combined with the children’s influence and I bought enough fabric to make each of them 2 pairs of PJs. That’s 4 pair total and it seemed like no big deal until I was doing the actual sewing.

Dude, there is a lot of sewing in these PJs. I love that, I find it wholly satisfying, I delight in the details, but it is also much slower going than I had anticipated. Granted, it would go faster if I hadn’t understitched the back neck to the facing instead of the shirt and spent an hour or more on the unexpectedly difficult task of picking stitches out of multiple layers of flannel, but still.

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Pattern: Oliver + S’s Sleepover Pajamas
Size: 3T
Fabric: Flannel something from Jo-Ann

I started with a size 3T in View B with the gathered ruffle details for MJ in the hopes that these might might useful both this year and next. Only time will tell, but after cleaning clothes out of the bins in the basement last weekend I was glad I cut out the larger size because we have approximately 53,000 pairs of 2T pajamas that I had forgotten about.

More of the same to come if I don’t abandon the PJ Project of Fall 2017. Chuffy is super excited about the emoji fabric he picked out, so that should keep me going for at least one other pair.

Old Growth

We were on a beach vacation in Delaware when I bought a sweater’s quantity of Shepherd’s Wool Worsted form Stonehedge Fiber Mill from A Little Bit Sheepish, an amazing multi-floor yarn store – I wish I could live there, or at least shop there regularly – in a quintessentially picturesque town. I bought a whole sweater’s worth in Chocolate Milk (that one got turned into a Peabody). The woman checking me out asked if I had ever used it before and assured me that it was fabulous. She was 100% correct. It. Does. Not. ITCH. At all. That yarn felt so good against my skin I bought some more and made myself a Daelyn Pullover.

I spontaneously picked up the three partial balls leftover from the Daelyn, decided it was surely enough for a toddler-sized sweater, and cast on Old Growth.

I knit sleeve #1. Lots of yarn!

I knit sleeve #2. Two is always a good number of sleeves. Doubt starts to creep in.

I started on the body. Hmm, only 1 partial ball left and still several inches of the body to go + yoke + button bands. Better suck it up and order another skein. So much for stash-busting. It doesn’t help that a sweater’s worth of Rosy Green Wool’s Big Merino Hug fell into my virtual shopping cart when I placed my order. I was saving money on shipping, naturally!

Against expectation that last partial ball was enough to get to the end of the sweater body with a whole single yard to spare. I broke into the new skein – shout out to good dye consistency between lots – for the button bands. So I guess I can make a matching hat? Yay? I sort of resent when trying to use up yarn creates more knitting.

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Pattern: Old Growth by Tin Can Knits
Size: 2T
Yarn: Stonehedge Fiber Mill, Shepherd’s Wool Worsted, Antique Rose