Sunday, November 11, 2012

Knitting Finishes!

My goal to knit a hat for each child is almost finished! I noticed that October was such a frantic month that I did not finish my post about Emma's hat, even though she has been wearing it since (Canadian) Thanksgiving over  a month ago. In fact, it seems to already be lost, though a thorough hunt through the van and under the couch will need to be done to confirm that. In any case, I've really enjoyed knitting all of these hats, and have tackled a different new challenge with each one so far.

 This was actually the second hat I made, and I showed you the start of it back here. My sizing was WAY off, and this hat, which was originally for Owen, fit Aaron. That was okay, because Aaron wanted one too. The yarn is Sweet Georgia Superwash. It is dyed in Canada, which is great, and it is really soft and dreamy to work with. The pattern is called the Bimple, by Wooly Wormhead, and more details about it are on my shiny new-ish ravelry page.
 It is super cute, and I had fun learning to make a stitch in between two stitches to make the increase in this hat. Also the little point is adorable, and it is long enough to be warm in the cold winters we have here. Aaron loves it, but he can never tell which way is up, so I tried to add penguin buttons so he would know the front from the back.
 My button - adding skills need work - they lasted one day. In any case, Owen needed a matching hat. His is not quite finished - it still needs blanket stitching around the edges and ties (in orange, of course). It fits him right now, so I fear it will be cute but short lived. I have a fleece hand me down hat for the deepest darkest days of winter that will do when he grows out of this one.
 As you can see , Owen was happy with his hat, and he loved that it matched his big brother's hat.
 Emma's kitty hat also turned out pretty well. It has a knit-purl-knit-purl and then reverse pattern, which made for tedious knitting and there are some spots near the top where I lost track of which row I was on where there are big strips of ribbing in the middle of the hat. But she likes it, and it still looks cute, so I'm not too worried. And as I said, it may be lost already, so we will be knitting her something else in the near future (I'm thinking a bubblegum pink Bimple to match her brothers?)
 The poitns on this hat were really cute, and I learned how to do alternate cable cast-on and kitchener stitch with this hat, so it was a fun learning experiment - see that bit in the middle of the back that doesn't match the pattern? that's what I was talking about. This yarn was Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label, and it was also really great to work with, and I loved this colour. It is a rather decadent purple for a two year old, but none the less, it was a cute hat.
 I love my daughter's sense of style these days. It just makes me grin whenever I see her.
Today when we were getting ready for church she declared, "I will wear a new dress to church today and I will look BEAUTIFUL."  We didn't have a new dress for her to wear, so she settled for a long sleeve shirt, her favorite summer dress plus a skirt plus striped tights. A girl after my own heart.

Tutorial: How To Patch Pants

This little tutorial will show you how to patch a pair of pants. The decorative embroidery floss is not necessary -- you could use regular thread instead, but it sure is cute on little boy pants.

You will need a pair of pants with a hole, sharp scissors, thread, a sharp needle, a piece of cotton fabric, and a piece of fusible webbing. If you want to make a colourful stitch around the edge, also get embroidery floss and a bigger embroidery needle (make sure its a pointy one).

The cotton fabric can be quilting cotton or a piece of an old shirt. Make sure its not stretchy -- like t-shirt fabric. Fusible webbing can be found in any fabric store -- just ask the helpful staff. You only need about 5 or 6 inches, unless you have a lot of patching to do.

Wash the pants. Before we put the patch on, we need to mend the pants so that the fabric is strong enough to hold the patch.

Thread your needle and tie a knot at the end.

To tie a knot, make a loop and push the end of the thread through the loop. Pull it tight. You will probably need to knot the thread two or three times to get a big enough knot to stay.

Push the needle into the pants just below one side of the rip, were the fabric is still all together.
Pull it out at the edge of the rip, and then weave your needle in and out of the strings left by the rip. Make sure the needle comes out for the last time on the other end of the rip, where you are pack to undamaged fabric. Pull tight. Turn the needle around, and do the same thing, starting from the other side. Go back and forth, weaving the thread through and tightening it before each turn until you come to the end of the rip. Then tie off your thread (I explain how to do this below).

You rip will now look something like this.

Now, but a piece of fusible webbing slightly longer and wider than the size of your stitched up rip. Lay the shiny, slightly textured side down on your patching fabric. Iron in place, following the directions that come with the webbing.

If this has been done properly, it should stick to the fabric like this.

Let cool and peel off the paper. The webbing should now be shiny and tacky. Cut the patch to the size you want it.

Place the patch over your mended rip. (Do you like my funky blue nail polish?)

Iron the patch in place. Make sure the iron is not too hot, and that you put lots of pressure on it.

If you are feeling lucky, you could stop here and let the patch be. But the directions on the webbing say "gentle wash only" and that doesn't give me a lot of confidence that its going to survive a day in the life of a little boy's pants. So I'm going to stitch it in place, just to make sure.

If you want to use normal thread to stitch it down, just re-thread your needle and tie a knot at the end the same as before. If you want to use embroidery floss, take an emboidery needle and some co-ordinating embroidery floss and do the same.

You might want to put a book or some cardboard inside the pants leg so you don't accidentally sew the patch to both the front and the back of your pants, thus causing a mess and much cursing and grumbling and stitch picking. Want to know why I'm researching Montreal? I'll tell you later.

Starting from inside the pants, push your needle through the fabric about a 1/4 inch (5cm) from the edge of the patch.

Pull the needle through, and push it through the fabric so it goes in and out again.

Pull through to complete the stitch. Continue to stitch along all the edges of the patch. You might want to do this in a few sessions, as it is hard work for your fingers.

When you are done, flip your pants inside out, and push the needle through to the inside of the pants.

Now we will tie the floss off. Do a small stitch in the back, but don't quite pull it all the way through. Instead leave a little loop. Slide your needle through this loop and pull the thread through to make a knot.

Pull tight to make a knot. Trim your knots.

Congratulations, you're done! Good work.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Month of Finishes

I have decided that November is going to be the month of finishes. There are several quilts that have been hanging over my head for a loooong time in the half-finished state. I really like to have one or two quilt project max on the go at the same time, with several smaller projects (think clothes or toys) to break things up a bit. In the last few years, however, I've had several half started projects sitting around collecting dust and cluttering up my brain. I've decided that this is going to be the month to finish up three of the six quilts I have on the go at present.

What precisely do I have on the go right now?

Well, there is my Mom's quilt that is a two-years late 70th birthday present. There is sarah and molly's free piecing study (on the design wall this moment). There is the star quilt that is for our bed. There is the windmill quilt that is supposed to be a toast and tea quilt (but may just be a windmill block quilt). There is Owen's baby quilt. AND there is my Threads Together Bee Quilt. Whew!

I have finished my Threads Together quilt, and I want to finish the quilt for my Mom and the sarah and molly's quilt this month.  Then I will take a break from those to make a quilt for my in-laws for Christmas (I think) and next will be Owen's quilt. After that we shall see. But really, 6 quilts on the go is pretty silly.

Oh, you want to see my finished quilt? Well, I might just happen to have a few photos for you:
Here it is, all washed and folded, showing off its pretty scrappy binding. Since I had added a scrappy border, I finished it with a scrappy binding as well. Some fabrics are from the quilt, but I thought it would be fun to also add a brand new fabric that Cindy sent me a few weeks back with my swap quilt.

All except one of these blocks were made a few years back by the Threads Together Quilting Bee. The original plan was to receive 16 blocks, but I only ever got 12. One really didn't mesh with the others, and for a long time I just sat on the blocks, wondering what to do with them. Finally, I decided to make one more block, sash them with Kona Bone, add a scrappy border, and settle with a smallish 50 X 62 quilt.

I quilted it in what I choose to call organic straight lines (it could also be known as the "quilting with a baby on your lap and a toddler climbing on your back lines). I left it unbound for a coulple of weeks while I tried to finish my Mom's quilt (see above) and made Halloween costumes.
Here is the prettiest part of the back - the top 20". The rest is just Kona Aloe, which is a sort of weird blue-green that I love. I am really glad I finished this quilt - I've always loved these fabrics, and I chose them to remind me of a particularly peaceful moment we had on the trip to Ireland Dave and I took 8 years ago (with a baby Andrew in tow).

So, finish #1. Let's see if I can manage two more this month, shall we?

Friday, November 2, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

linked up at soulemama

Thursday, November 1, 2012


 Well, we had another fun, costume-sewing filled Halloween around here! When I was studying Theatre in university, I loved working in costumes and make-up. These days, I'm happy to translate a tiny bit of what I learned into fun Halloween costumes. The funny thing about this is that my kids think I can whip up any kind of costume or imagined item at a moment's notice.
In any case,this year I had two costume successes and one failure (but awesome make-up and hair to make up for it) . Andrew's vampire cape and vest were awesome, and turned out just how I had pictured them. The vampire cape was made out of my head (not complicated other than figuring out how to get the collar to stay standing up), while the vest was cut out courtesy of the Oliver + S explorer vest pattern.

Emma's costume was this kitty shirt and hat. The hat is also from the Oliver + S Little things to Sew book, and it was both simple and adorable. The sweater was copied off of a Japanese kids' blouse pattern, which I lengthened. I cut it out of fleece, then appliqued on the tummy with a simple zig-zag, and added a tail to the back. 
It was pretty simple and a big hit. Emma wore it with leggings and her own socks and shoes. She only trick or treated for about 25 minutes, but I think this costume will get lots of dress up use, and it will fit for another year, so its okay.

I had a plan to make a Darth Maul costume, but it didn't work. I was going to dye one of the Jedi robes I made last year black. However, the discount fabric was made out of "unknown fibers" and they were not fibers that took well to dye. Instead of black I just got a slightly browner robe. With two days left and no time to go back to the fabric store and finish sewing another costume, I opted to see what was available at the grocery store just down the road. They had this Darth Maul costume for 50% off.

 While the costume was perfect, the boys were not allowed to wear masks to school. That is okay, thought, because I'd been planning to paint Aaron's face and spike his hair. I initially tried to mix gel and Kool aid so his hair would match his costume, but the Kool aid was too itchy, so we washed it out (leaving his hair red-ish) and re-spiked it into these little horns. I had tons of fun doing this make up, and Aaron was happy with it too.

After Emma was finished trick or treating, the boys kept on for another 45 min. or so, right until they couldn't lift their bags anymore. We let them have a little bit of candy last night, but most of the haul was sorted this morning
All in all, the kids costumes were all satisfactory, and a fun Halloween was had by all.