Monthly Archives: February 2012

Mittens, a monogram, and some knitting tools

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I finally finished some mittens I’d started for Dorothy in the fall. I should have photographed them before she stretched them out by wearing them layered over gloves but I didn’t. Dorothy specifically requested pink mittens so I used some inexpensive but soft yarn I’d picked up at Big Lots and this vintage pattern. The pattern was a very easy one to knook. I think knooking is probably much less complicated than knitting when it comes to situations that would otherwise require multiple needles. With the knooking cord securely holding the stitches, patterns like this are very portable. I’m going to use this same pattern to make some adult mittens next.

A small friend of ours celebrated his first birthday a couple weeks ago and I monogrammed this little t-shirt for him. I selected a font I liked, printed the child’s initial in reverse on paper, traced it to fusible webbing, ironed the webbing onto my fabric (an old worn-out dress shirt of Rob’s), then cut the letter out and ironed it to the shirt. Some zigzag stitches around the monogram finished the project off. It’s in my queue to make another of these for Worth with his own initial. I liked the “menswear” look this project took on with the font selection and the dress shirt fabric.

Since I’ve been doing more knitting (knooking, actually) I’ve had more need for rulers in my project bags. I typically have five or six projects going on at once and keep my supplies for each in separate tote bags. When I was only crocheting I rarely needed a ruler because crochet projects typically specify the number of rows the crocheter should work in any given part of the pattern. Knitting patterns, by contrast, often contain sections that must be knitted to a specified number of inches instead of rows. I’ve spent much of the winter pawing through drawers and peeking into other project bags to find my ruler when I need it. Finally it occurred to me that rulers are probably something one can just print from the internet. Bingo! I printed this PDF onto cardstock, cut out the rulers, then laminated them to they won’t bend and dog-ear in my bags. A simple solution and I don’t know why I didn’t think of it earlier–but I’m sharing it just in case you didn’t either.

Training pants and a dog toy

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I did some sewing for the boy this week. At 23 months Worth is on the young side for potty training by today’s standards, but we’ve decided to give it a go anyhoo. He’s not potty aware or anything, but I figure even if we spend a month wiping up messes from the floor we’re still coming out ahead of spending another year waiting for him to initiate the thing himself. I don’t really buy the arguments that one should wait until kids ask to be potty trained. Like really? It’s the toilet, not the shaping of his ego or creativity or anything touchy-feely. I’m not going to beat him for making messes; I’m just his mother explaining to him that life without diapers is better. We’re taking a low-pressure, high-enthusiasm approach and it is going well so far. We’re letting him hang out at home in the new pants, encouraging time spent on the potty, and then putting him in dipes for trips out. On the first day he seemed totally clueless; on the second day he consistently told me when he was peeing, and today (day 3) he actually made it to the potty once. Dorothy and I danced, we cheered, we passed around chocolate cake. Seems like progress. Anyway, Worth needed big-kid pants for this experiment but I got sticker shock when I went to look for some. Then I remembered my sister-in-law Molly had made some for Maggie, so I decided to do the same. I used the same pattern she used and they were easy to make and turned out really stunningly adorable. I used some cotton knits left over from a recent scarf project (stay tuned for a blog about that one) and mixed up the colors. I made six pair and spent $0 on materials, since I was using scraps. That’s totally in my budget.

And while I was being so frugal I hated to throw away the long, skinny leftover shreds of fabric in those bright rainbow hues, so I braided them into long braids and then knotted the braid into a new toy for Belle. She seems pleased.

 

Gifts for my nieces and a rag bag

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This was meant to be a Christmas gift for my niece Maggie but, well, it wasn’t. Now I’m giving it to her as an early birthday gift instead because by mid-March it’s probably going to get too warm to wear it. I used the Easy No Sew Summer Baby Doll Sweater pattern which I’d also used this summer as a gift for a friend. This is a good pattern and it worked up nicely in this Swish Tonal yarn from Knitpicks. I hope the soon-to-be-3 Maggie likes it.

My other niece Lila turned five this past week. She’s about Dorothy’s size so after my recent success with Simplicity 5704  (see below) I decided to try it again. This time I used Michael Miller cowgirl prints, which were surprisingly soft and should make this a comfortable dress for Lila. She loves pretty ponies so I hope she loves this dress too. As I was stitching this dress together it occurred to me that while having my children and my nieces close in age is nice now, it might be kind of sad in a few years when all the kids in my family are too old for homemade pony dresses (or heart dresses, or whatever). It’s a privilege to be turning out these frilly little sewing projects; not everyone has a pretty little girl to sew or crochet for, and I’m blessed with three at once!

This project is not nearly as cute but it will probably be in use long after the pink sweater and pony dress are outgrown. I replaced the tattered and torn Target bag that held rags on the back of my guest room closet door with a sturdy and sensible rag bag sewn from old sheets. The opening, as shown, is on the front for easy access. I did not use a pattern for this but it is basically two rectangles sewn together, one cut in two then sewn back together with a finished slit in the middle, and then gussets added in all four corners. I’d picked up the sheet it’s made from at a thrift store and it actually looks pretty nice in the yellow, red and orange brightness of Aunt Stephanie’s room.

Valentine Projects

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Did you know I’m Cupid’s mother? If any of my readers need some help with the love this February 14 you just let me know and I’ll let my son get in some target practice. (Wink.) A friend gifted me some cast-off fabric last year, including some very sturdy red cotton with black designs and hearts all over it. I decided to use it to make Dorothy a dress for Valentine’s Day. I used Simplicity 5704, a new pattern for me, and it turned out great. Her usual size fit her perfectly and the sturdiness of the fabric gives good fullness to the skirt and the sleeves. If I make this pattern for her again I might lengthen it a bit, as she likes longer skirts and this one hits just below the knee, but that’s the only change I’d make. It’s a good pattern and made a sweet dress that I suspect will get worn all summer.

I’ve also been dressing my home up a bit for Valentine’s Day. I used scraps from past February projects and some pink and white shirting from my stash to make cute place mats and a short table runner. Each mat is different. I sewed pockets to the front of each one for the flatware because I thought Dorothy (who sets the table) would think that was cute. I found the melamine conversation heart plates unexpectedly at Kroger for just $.99 each. The woman at the checkout who rang them up got so excited about them she decided to go purchase a set for herself when her shift ended! They are pretty cute, and were available with six different phrases. Now we’ll enjoy ten more days of very pink and loving dinners!