Finished Object – Emmeline Apron

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Here is another Montessori by Hand new release.

Thanks for all the wonderful comments on the Messenger Bag. I am sure Meg is beaming with delight, because I am 😀 .

In addition to the Messenger Bag, I also test sewed the Emmeline Apron. Everything about this apron was quick…how quickly I was asked to do it, how quickly I sewed it up, and how quickly I needed a Christmas present for my mom 🙂 . So for it to look so nice, even close up, is both a testament to my improving sewing skills and how wonderfully easy the pattern is.

Fabric: Amy Butler Lotus Pond in yellow and Sun Dahlia in green
Inspiration: Montessori by Hand Emmeline Apron
Modifications: None
Difficulty: 6
Enjoyment Factor: 8
Sewing Time:
1 day

The Good:

  • It’s reversible!!! How cool is that. 2 in 1 is always such a great feature. You can also use the ties as an added design element by tying them in the front or back.
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  • I was drawn to this pattern due to the empire waist shape. It even has darts to add even more chicness to the design. It would definitely be flattering for any shape. Besides, who knows when you will have to work the runway in your apron 🙂 . Yes, I have been watching too much Project Runway.
  • This has quite a few tricks for the newbie sewer. Gathering and darts. Nothing bad, but definitely a great place to learn them.

The Bad:

  • It is a little fiddly on the top ties when you first put it on because you need to adjust them to get the fit that is right for you. I would suggest tying them the first time, just keeping them tied for future use, and just slipping in over your head so they are ready to go when you are.
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  • I did forget to edge stitch around the ties as the pattern said, but that really is no biggy.

The Ugly:

  • Nope, I got nothing

Finished Object – Mischievous Gnome Messenger Bag

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Drum roll please…..dododododododoo

May I present to you the debut of the Mischievous Gnome Messenger Bag ala Peacock Chic! If this was an Academy Award speech I would be thanking Montessori by Hand for letting me test sew her wonderful pattern which she has for sale on Etsy, Alexander Henry for making the wonderful flora fabric called Mocca, B. Black & Sons for the gorgeous brown wool, and M.L. Fabrics for selling both at a discounted price. A few tears would have fallen during my speech and I would be driven off the stage by the “wrap it up” music and impending commercial break.

However, this is real life so let’s get to the review. This was sewn in 2007, but the blogging was postponed so that it coincided with Meg’s release of the pattern. Please note that my review on this one will be a little bias because (1) I had a chance to comment on all the little nuances I would have changed, but since this was such a well written pattern it mostly consisted of improving on an already good thing, and (2) I really did love making this bag so I want everyone else to enjoy it too 😛

The Good:

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  • Meg really paid a lot of attention to the little details and I think it paid off. I love, love, love the little patch on the flap. I don’t know why but that really makes me giggle when I see it. I also really like the topstitching on the handle and the top flap which gave the bag an expensive and professional look.

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  • The instructions for the inside pocket were very well written. I had never done a zipper pocket in a purse before and her instruction were as clear as a bell to me. I even refer back to them when I make other purses with this feature.
  • This is a bag that is made for real world use. It is rugged and throughly interfaced so even the thinner cottons fabrics I used will stand the test of time.

The Bad:

  • The wool used for this pattern was not cheap. At $15.00 a yard, and that was at a discount store, I balked a little at the price. But after seeing the finished product, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. You could also do this up in a corduroy or heavier weight fabric, but I would almost suggest doing it in wool at least once because it came out yummy.

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  • Pay attention to the topstitching. This is really a design element that just makes you ooh and aww at the end so break out that 1/4 foot or seam guide or whatever, but get those lines straight. I had more of a problem with measuring correctly which resulted in me having more lines of topstitching on my handle than the pattern called for. I just ended up doing the math and making sure the lines were spaced evenly.

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  • There is lots of ironing of interfacing. This is a totally necessary evil that I think makes this bag better than most, but still a pain in the butt. I did like the fact that she used iron-on interfacing instead of sew-in because there is less chance of anything shifting and no time consuming machine basting. Ok, let’s just face it…I am lazy 🙂
  • The strap on this bag is pretty long if you are 5’2 or below. I gave it to a friend, who is 5’1, for Christmas and she said she preferred it to cross her body than just hang from the shoulder due to her height. But then again this IS a messenger bag and that IS how they wear them so this is just a note for anyone of truly petite stature.

The Ugly:

  • That I didn’t get to keep it for myself because I love the fabric combination 😦 . Such is the crafting life…one day you make it, the next you are giving it away. Yeah, I could make another one in the same colors and everything, but right now I am into the “one of a kind” crafting phase. Besides, what is art or craft without someone outside of the artist who can love and appreciate the work? And I know my bestest friend loved it!

Next up…The Emmeline Apron Pattern review!

Cleaning House (a.k.a. FO Parade)

I am usually not the kind of blogger to lump my FO’s into one post. Mainly because I love giving each of them their five minutes of fame, but also because I love the personalized comments…hee hee.

However, sewing has led me to produce so many FO’s that blogging them all individually would be either way too cumbersome or rather anticlimactic due to their simplicity. So here are some items, most of which I finished in the great crafting explosion of 2007, that will have to share their moment in the limelight.

Ginkgo Coasters

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These were some coasters that I made as a Christmas present for a friend. I used some Ginkgo ribbon for one side and then backed it with Amy Butler Poppy Fields Fabric leftovers.

First Serged Pillow

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I made this pillow in my serger class. The reason this is so memorable is that I learned to thread my machine! This seems to be the stumbling block for serger users so I jumped in with two feet and cut my threads so that I could thread it again in class. I think half the ladies in the class gasped, turned white and started saying prayers for me. In the end, it was pretty straight forward and I am SOOO glad I did it so as to dispel that taboo once and for all.

The Loop Scarf

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This sewn scarf was given to a friend for Christmas. I love the colors and the Japanese floral fabric has a wonderful texture to boot! I got the pattern from the Gifts to Make issue of Sew Stylish. The entire project took about 1 hour to complete and it produces such a lovely and sophisticated scarf when worn. Gotta love that.

Pretty Bias Tape Tote

Martha Stewart Bias Tote

Martha Stewart Bias Tote

This bag was another Christmas present for a friend. It is the Pretty Bias Tape Tote from Martha Stewart Magazine. It was a pretty simple pattern that I made a few modifications to:

  • added interfaced and lined to all the pieces including the straps
  • added a magnetic closure
  • didn’t stitch through the top pocket

Other than that it was pretty darn straight forward.

So that is my FO parade.  I think it covers all the items that were collecting cobwebs in the Flickr or pictures queue. Now on to bigger and better things 🙂

2007 Finished Objects – The Knit Edition

Grand Total:5 sweaters, 2 bags, 3 scarves, 1 shawl, 1 knit toy, 1 pair of socks, and 1 hat.
Wow, I have been one busy knitting bee this year. This has also probably been one of my most successful years for knitting as well. I tackled some complex techniques, designs, and learned a variety of new knitting talents. Some of which are: Tubular Cast on, two color knitting, cabling without a needle, lace work, picking up stitches, making a heel gusset, kitchener stitch, and knitting in the round.
Finished Object 2007 – Knits
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The Best Knits of 2007
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The Montego Bay Scarf was voted best knit due to its versatility and wonderous color. It has great drape and really works with a variety of fashions. It was a simple knit but one of those wardrobe powerhouses that just makes everything pop.
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Noro Butterfly topped the list because it was such a wonderful knit to make. It have a great color and is very warm and cuddly. It definitely makes a statement and it holding up nicely.
So there you have it, the knits of 2007.
Next up… The sewn objects of 2007

Finished Object – Shifting Sands Scarf

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“Hello ladies and gentlemen. Don’t I just look dashing in my new scarf”

This scarf was knit for my stepdad’s Christmas present. The criteria that was given to me for a good scarf by my stepdad was a good color, not too busy or flashy, not top long, warm, and heavy enough to hug the back of the neck and keep the warmth in. I grappled with what to knit and finally settled on Shifting Sands. It has been a project on my list for some time and I am glad I made it because it is a very, very good pattern. I can’t wait to make one for myself 🙂

Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease in Forest Heather Green
Inspiration: Grumperina’s Shifting Sands
Needles:
Size 7
Yardage: about 1.5 balls
Modifications: Cast on 37 sts and knit until it was long enough to just hang on neck
Enjoyment Factor:
9
Knit Time: 2 weeks in between holiday knitting and crafting

The Good:

  • I love all the cables. Mainly because they were so darn simple and yet created such a complicated look. I was originally intimidated by all those cables but when I finally got started I felt like the queen of the world by conquering my fears.
  • This pattern also works up pretty fast because of the simplicity of the repeating cable pattern.

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  • I like the fringe that I added to the scarf. Originally I was just going to leave it be, but I saw the slight curling on the edges and it started to bother me. Once the fringe was on I felt much better and it gave the entire thing some added weight.
  • The scarf is just long enough to hang on the neck but still long enough to wrap if desired. My stepdad normally only drapes it around his neck so I did not go for a super long length.

The Bad:

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  • The yarn. I can’t really say it was a bad because I love the heathered color and it will be easy to take care of. But I cannot say that I am in love with the Lion Brand Wool Ease yarn. It felt quite soft in the ball but was squeaky when I finally knit with it. A little like fingernails on a blackboard. And for some reason this yarn did not feel as warm as wool.

The Ugly:

  • No uglies on this pattern. It knit like a dream and produced a wonderful wonderful scarf. I can’t wait to do it again…and again…and again 😀


Finished Object – Denise Schmidt Scarf Wrap

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Yet another Christmas present done and gifted.  This was given to a friend who admired my first two DS Scrap Wraps I made earlier in the year.  Since this was not the first time I mad this scarf it went together very quickly.  One thing that I changed was that I made it thinner and longer – 63″ x 5.25″.  All the pieces are from my stash which was great and I love the little accent of green mixed in with the primary colors of the turquoise blue and chocolate brown.  The best part was that the recipient loved it!  I couldn’t have asked for a more enthusiastic response.

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No good, bad, and the ugly for this post because really it was just all good.  Great instruction, easy to make, wonderful results, fabulous to wear.   I can’t say more, except I wish it was mine 🙂

Finished Object – Denise Schmidt Scrap Wrap

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Yet another Christmas present done and gifted. This was given to a friend who admired my first two DS Scrap Wraps I made earlier in the year. Since this was not the first time I mad this scarf it went together very quickly. One thing that I changed was that I made it thinner and longer – 63″ x 5.25″. All the pieces are from my stash which was great and I love the little accent of green mixed in with the primary colors of the turquoise blue and chocolate brown. The best part was that the recipient loved it! I couldn’t have asked for a more enthusiastic response.

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No good, bad, and the ugly for this post because really it was just all good. Great instruction, easy to make, wonderful results, fabulous to wear. I can’t say more, except I wish it was mine 🙂

Finished Object – Box Bag

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This is a box bag set that I made for my secret swap partner in my knit group.   She was a burgeoning sock knitter so I thought she could definitely use a small project bag.  I filled the inside with sock yarn and sock knitting notions for her to get started.  She seemed to like it so…mission accomplished.

Fabric: Marimekko fabric found at Crate and Barrel Outlet,  Suede fabric
Inspiration:
Box Bag Tutorial on Drago[knit]fly
Modifications: The dimensions mentioned on the blog did not produce the size I was looking for.  I had to remake the bag using 15.5″ x 15.5″ dimensions.
Enjoyment Factor:
7 – mainly due to dimensional issues I had.
Time: .5 days

The Good

  • I bought quite a bit of this Marimekko fabric on discount and finally got to use it. I really like the color combo
  • The bag is actually very handy for small projects so is perfect for sock knitters.  This is exemplified by the abundance of these bags on etsy.
  • I really like the suede fabric.  I justed in on the back of the handle and the little zipper pouch.  I can’t wait for the Christmas crafting to be over so I can finally make myself a bag with this material.

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  • I used a zipper that was too long and it actually worked out perfectly because I did not have to worry about stitching around the zipper head when topstitching the opening flaps.  I just trimmed them later.  It definitely made for an easy and clearer line.

The Bad

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  • The dimensions on the pattern are for literally a box shaped bag, but the picture shows one more similar to mine or at least rectangular instead of square.  This was probably both a function of the 16″x12″ dimensions given and the sizing of the final stitched triangle that creates the sides (see pattern for clarification).  Either way it was too small for what I had intended so I had to make another using 15.5″ x15.5″ dimensions and making sure the triangle was much smaller.
  • I didn’t like how the pattern left you with exposed edges so I bound the cut edges of the bag with some extra wide bias binding from my stash.   It really gave it a more finished look.  Wish I had a picture to show you, but alas it is gone now.

The Ugly

  • The first bag left so much to be desired.  I wish I had a picture but it was just BAD.  The size was off, the sides were crooked.  But in the end I learned a  lot and was able to do a MUCH better job on the second round.

Finished Object – Wee Wonderful Olive and Kitty

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The name explains it all.  They are wee and boy are they wonderful!! May I introduce Olive and Kitty from the Wee Wonderful line.  They were a blast to make and I love them so much I can’t don’t want to give them away.  I had been eyeing them on the website for a while but when I say the kitty  pattern at the Craft Inc. fair last month I just had to have it.  The next day I made kitty.  The very next day after kitty, I bought the pattern for Olive and made her.  If it hadn’t been for the need to make other Christmas gifts I would have continued until my whole world was populated by Wee Wonderful creations.

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Olive

Olive is a Christmas gift for me my niece.  I really loved making this doll and will probably make her some of the accessories when I have more time.

Fabric: Random Corduroy and Polyester Felt (not recommended)
Inspiration:
Wee Wonderful Olive and Archie Pattern
Size:
n/a
Modifications: I added little ponytails
Enjoyment Factor:
10!!!
Time: 1.5 days

The Good:

  • I love the result from such a simple pattern.  Everything was pretty inexpensive or from stash and the construction was easy.  I hightly recommend this pattern!
  • This was my second time doing embroidery (the first time was kitty).  I really like how the stitching brings like to the doll.  Adding the little white stitch to the eye was the final touch that made Olive come alive!

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  • I added a little ethnicity to Olive because my niece is black and mexican so a slightly darker skin tone was needed.  Also she has curly hair that is often worn in ponytails so I added that too.

The Bad: 

  •  Since I added to the hair pattern, stitching around the wisps of Olive’s hair and the ponytails was a bit of a chore.
  • Stitching those arms and legs in was no joke.  It was quite a bit of work to get those in.
  • The arms came out a little low.  I thought I measured the correct amount from the neck, but I guess the stitching pushed them down.

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  • I couldn’t find and didn’t really know about Wool Felt when I was making my Wee Wonderfuls.  I wish I had because the quality of wool felt versus Polyester felt is noticeable.  Polyester felt does not wear as well as the wool felt and therefore will pill (as seen on kitty below).  I did read in Sew Stylish Magazine, Gifts issue that if you can’t get wool felt you can control the pills by:
    • preshrinking felt in hot water, and drying it in the dryer
    • Then misting the dried felt with water and ironing it dry.  However, ironing typically causes the felt to melt but preshrinking should eliminate this problem according to them.

The Ugly:

  •  None

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Kitty

Kitty is a Christmas gift for a family friend.  Kitty was the first Wee Wonderful ever made and was quite a learning experience.  I made a lot of mistakes learned a lot of techniques about embroidery and felt on Kitty.  But either way she still is cute!

Fabric: Polyester Felt (not recommended)
Inspiration:
Wee Wonderful Put Together- Book #1
Size:
n/a
Modifications: None
Enjoyment Factor:
10!!!
Time: 1 days

The Good:

  • Kitty is a great beginner pattern for the Wee Wonderful line.  It was very easy to assembly and cut everything and it goes together in a flash.
  • Since I bought this pattern in person, I really liked the presentation of the booklet.  It is a high quality print and worth the money.
  • I like the yellow buttons I had in my stash for the eyes.  They look like really cat eyes to me.

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The Bad: 

  •  Polyester Felt!! See above for why I don’t like it, but see below for the outcome.  You can really see the pilling on Kitty.  However, the upside is that kitty is a cat and therefore it just makes her look furry.
  • The embroidery on kitty is less than stellar but it was my first time so it doesn’t look THAT bad.

The Ugly:

  •  None

Finished Object – Aprons Aplenty

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I have been a crafting machine over the past few weeks, and producing some pretty kick ass gifts if I may say so myself…which of course I do. Not only am I crafting for the upcoming Super Holiday of Christmas, but there are also some birthdays and baby showers sprinkled in there for good measure.

So for my friend’s birthday gift, she wanted some aprons to wear when she has a booth at craft fairs. She specifically requested a Christmas and a Spring season color apron set. So here are the details…

Springtime in Craft land Apron

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Fabric: Urban Chicks “Summer in the City” Fabric for the middle and birds on the edges, JoAnn’s fabric for front side panels
Inspiration:
McCall’s 3979 Vintage Aprons
Size:
X-Large (20-22)
Modifications: Added side seam pockets
Enjoyment Factor:
9 – love the construction details
Time: 3 days

This was definitely my piece de resistance in apron making. I have loved this pattern since I saw it made in black and white oil cloth material. I had yet to make it since, although I love aprons, I have very little use for them. So when my friend asked me for aprons I knew this one would be topping the list.

Good:

  • I absolutely love the unique design of this apron. It was so revealing to make. Every time another piece came together I would say to myself…”ta da!!”. I just love new construction techniques.
  • I like the color combo which was inspired by the bird print that my friend likes so much. This is definitely not a color combination that I am used to working with so it took quite a bit of mental massaging to keep going and know that it would look good when finished.

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  • There is a secret addition to this pattern that I made. I added in-seam pockets between the second and third panels of the apron! My friend specifically asked that the pattern be a full body apron and have pockets. So after racking my brain for a few days I thought “a ha”. Only thing is that I had never done an in-seam pocket, let alone made significant additions or changes to a sewn pattern. So when I actually pulled it off it was probably the biggest “TA DA!!!” moment of the sewing process.

Bad:

  • Figuring out the proper size. Yes, this apron pattern has sizes but no measurements to tell you how to determine which you are. Does it use modern sizing or vintage sizing as the name would imply. Either way I knew I would need the biggest size to err on the side of caution because both me and the recipient are quite boodyilicious.
  • The 1/4″ seams they asked for were to big and were not covered by the double-fold bias tape when it was applied. I even double checked the pattern to make sure it didn’t require Extra-wide double fold bias tape and it didn’t. So I sewed the seams at 1/8″ and the applied the bias tape and sewed over it again. Unless she is making all her craft sales in quarters and putting them in the pockets of her apron, I think the seams should be fine. Just need to make sure you sew at the VERY edge of the tape so that you capture the most fabric.
  • I did notice that one of the seams for the side ties had come loose so I repaired it and then reinforced the ties my sewing another line of stitching right outside the edge of the bias tape. I highly recommend this to add stability.

Ugly:

  • Sewn binding is an unforgiving mistress that points out every flaw you make along the way. It may actually be IMPOSSIBLE to sew this stuff straight. I tried people, I TRIED and still it looked a little drunken at the end. Oh well, if you are looking that close at my friend’s body you may want to buy her a drink 🙂

Christmas Sparkle Apron

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Fabric: Christmas Fabric from Micheal Levine
Inspiration: Kwik Sew 2311
Size:
N/A
Modifications: Deleted single pockets and added one long pocket unevenly divided into two.
Enjoyment Factor:
7
Time: 1 day
I was not much into the idea of the traditional Christmas color combo of red and green. In fact, I kinda don’t like those colors together when they are put on your body, so I had to break it up with some gold and a more sophisticated print fabric to liven it up.

Good:

  • This was kind of a nostalgic moment for me because I made this same apron pattern as one of my first ever sewn object in last year. It went much faster than the 4 weeks it took last time 🙂
  • I added a bigger panel style pocket instead of the tiny hand pockets so that it had more uses than holding change. Plus the xmas panel was too beautiful to cut up.
  • Used the label method in Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts. It was simple, fun, and effective. I will definitely be using it again on future projects.
  • Super fast.

Bad

  • Same binding tape issues as above.

Ugly

  • Nada

Finished Object – Elijah

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This cute little elephant was knit for my 2 year old nephew for Christmas. I can post it now because I doubt his internet skills are that developed yet.

Yarn: Queensland Llama Seta for Eli and scarf, Gray mix Paton’s Merino for eyes.
Inspiration: Ysolda’s Elijah
Needles:
Size 2 (2.75mm)
Yardage: about 1.75 balls (154 yards)
Modifications: Knit on 2.75mm instead of 3.0mm. Unintentionally knit the ear backwards on one side
Enjoyment Factor: 8

Knit Time: One to Two weeks

Good:

  • Love, love, love the pattern. Ysolda did a knock out job of making a wonderful looking toy without all the seams that most knit toys ask for. It was amazing how everything blended as you knit it. I love all the beautiful swirls on the head, feet, and hands.

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  • Ysolda’s pattern detail was impeccable. She gave you everything you needed without the guess work, even the direction to pick up the stitches. There was one problem found with the ear, that she has since corrected.
  • This is a real stash buster. If you’ve got stash, bust it on this pattern because it is well worth it.
  • I had to add the hand knit scarf because one I love the color combo of the light green Eli with the purple scarf and the fact that everyone deserves a hand knit scarf, even a knit elephant.
  • I like how you stuff the elephant as you go. It did make it hard to knit around sometimes but I liked the fact that when you were done you had a uniformally firm stuffed toy.
  • I love how there are lots of places for my nephew to grab on to when carrying Eli around. The trunk, the arms, the ears…perfect for a 2 year old.

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  • Ysolda was also holding a contest for Elijah Adventure stories which helped to motivate me to get this done quick. The story of my Eli and pictures can be found here. In the meantime, here is a sneak peak at some of his antics.

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The Bad:

  • OMG my hand hurt the whole time. Knitting yarn that is supposed to be on size 6’s on size 2’s is like knitting with the hardest cotton you can imagine. Let alone the increases and decreases…OUCH! The pattern did call for 3.0 mm needles, but those odd sizes are hard to come by if they are not already in your needle stash, so I trudged ahead on my 2.75mm’s because I cannot imagine that the 3.0mm needles would have given much relief. Besides I wanted a think fabric so the stuffing didn’t poke through.
  • The time. Because of the hard to knit fabric, I had to take quite a few breaks to give my hands a rest.
  • Not really bad, but more of a challenge was the French knot eyes. It was not about the technique, which I googled and found a great video tutorial, but more about getting the right size and shape. Thank goodness I had done all the embroidery on my Wee Wonderful, so I felt quite in control when it came to the eyes.

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The Ugly:

  • I couldn’t figure out how to knit one of the ears. I am very bad at visualizing how things go together so I struggled to figure out what direction to pick up the stitches. I must have knit the ear 3 times – once upside down, once with big nasty purl ridge, and lastly backwards. The fact that I was fed up, you really can’t tell that it is backwards, and it was made for a 2 year old helped me to come to terms with the backwards version being good enough.

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  • Due to the thick fabric, I would highly recommend metal needles for this project. I started these on Brittany needles which are wood and kinda blunt. Bad idea! Two needles were sacrificed for the birth of Elijah. I am not too heart broken though because I didn’t like them that much anyway. Now those Susan Bates metal needles…now those were right on the money. The problem was that I only had 4 instead of the 5 needles your need for this pattern. So since the breakage on the tip of one Brittany needle left it with a sharp edge, that became my 5th needle that I used gingerly when the time came.

All in all a wonderful pattern that is highly recommended.

Finished Object – Endpaper Mitts

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Like my paparazzi picture?? Hee hee, who said you can’t learn anything from America’s Next Top Model 🙂 !

 

Yarn: Knitpicks Palette in Bark and Apricot
Inspiration: Eunny Jang Endpaper Mitts
Size:
8.5″ Hand Circumference
Needles:
Size 0 and Size 3
Yardage: 174 yards of Bark (3/4 ball) and 115 yards of Apricot (1/2 ball)
Modifications: None
Enjoyment Factor: 9

Knit Time: One Week!!

The Good:

  • Free yarn!! Yup, Free!! I got it from a lovely woman on Destash who wanted to get rid of some unwanted stash. Since I have been itching to learn colorwork, but didn’t want the Anemoi mittens to be my first foray into unknown knitting country, I decided that the endpaper mitts would fit the bill.
  • Quick. Very quick. This set of mitts took me exactly one week to complete. Maybe it was because I couldn’t put them down but it was quick nonetheless

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  • I learned a variety of new techniques – Italian Tubular cast on and bind off, colorwork, and did some knitting continental style.

The Bad:

  • Since this was my first colorwork project the second glove came out a bit tighter due to improvements in my technique. I luckily had no problems with terribly uneven fabric.

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  • I got a little bit presumptuous on the second mitt and mistakenly skipped over a step with the tubular cast off so I had to go back and retie my yarn since I had cut it already. Its not a visible issue for anyone else, but just goes to show how easily the pattern instills you with confidence so that you think you know everything and cut your yarn without referring back to the patter. BAH!!

The Ugly:

  • I did make a mistake on the first glove right around the wrist area because I obviously wasn’t paying attention. Therefore, the gloves are no longer interchangeable and the mistake glove will forever be the left glove unless I want to reveal the mistake to others.

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Finished Object – Noro Bradshaw

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Ok, so the weather turned out to be cold today (yes, 64F is cold to me). So I got to wear my Bradshaw today. Of course I was teased a bit about wearing a parka, but I went to lunch with a coworker yesterday and sat in the shade. It took me 2 hours to warm up again. Poor blood circulation? Maybe, but now I got Bradshaw to keep me warm!

My obsession with Bradshaw began when I bought the Noro Knits book for the Butterfly pattern. The contrasting collar and cuffs caught my attention straight away and possibly even more than Butterfly, if that is possible. As soon as I got it home I google searched this baby to death and only came up with one other instance of the sweater at HPNY knits. How could that be?? Such a wonderful sweater going unrevealed. Well, that is when I google search the yarn…the rest is history, or at least to be continued later in the post

Yarn:

Inspiration: Noro Bradshaw Sweater from Noro Knits
Needles: Size 10.5
Size: 38-40
Yardage: Approx. 1048 yards or 8 skeins of Iro, 3 skeins of Berkshire Bulky
Modifications: Knit the body to 29″ instead of 34 3/4″, knit the collar to 9″ instead of 14″, only increased sleeve cap stitches to 60 sts in an effort to reduce the bat wing effect in the underarm.
Enjoyment Factor: 8.5

Knit Time: August 24 – September 29

The Good:

  • Sale Yarn: I cannot stress enough how imperative sale yarn is to my knitting. As I was saying above, I google searched the yarn and Holey Moley was I surprised at $20.00 a skein for the base yarn, Noro Iro, and $17.00 for the recommended Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Super Chunky!!! That makes this sweater nearly $275.00!! now I like the sweater and all but nearly $300.00 is pushing the edge of knitting sanity. That is when my faithful partners Little Knits came on the scene with 58% off Noro Iro, and WEBS produced the suitable substitution yarn, berkshire bulky, at an economic price. All in all, the sweater cost me a little less that $100.00. Pricey yes, but have you calculated your knitting projects lately?? You will be surprised at how much we could save by going shopping 🙂

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  • Both yarns were wonderful:
    • Noro Iro: despite being 80% wool, is really softened by that 20% silk content. It is not scratchy at all (disclaimer: I do find Kureyon to be scratchy but not prohibitively so). The knots were horrendous, but wonders of spit splicing made me less angry with the situation. When blocked it really did not grow that much, nothing to change your knitting needle size for.
    • Valley Yarn Berkshire Bulky: I love this yarn. I used it on my Doctor’s Bag and it fit perfectly as a sub for the DB Super Chunky. It is soft and a pleasure to knit with because it slides through your fingers like butter…mmmm silky soft. It is a loose spun yarn so some pilling, haloing, and stitch definition should be factored in. However, my Doctor’s Bag still looks really good so I knew it would stand up on my sweater. Note, this yarn grows like a chia pet. My garter stitch gauge swatch (read: my sleeve bottom because I was too lazy to make a gauge swatch) grew by about 1.5″ in width and that was without any extra stretching so beware.
  • Knits up pretty quick, except for the garter stitch. One month for a knee length coat sure isn’t bad.
  • I really like my buttons. I also used a backing button for more stability. I highly recommend this as the finished result is amazing.
  • I love the contrast color I chose. Every time I look at it, it makes me want to put it on

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The Bad:

  • Beware of the measurements. I know that every knitter is different but if I didn’t have the issues with Butterfly I might have knit on this blindly. Surprisingly I didn’t have a problem with the sleeves as I had thought I would, they actually came out perfectly in length. What I did change was the finished sweater length. I am 5’5″. If I hadn’t cut off that 6″ of length I would have had a trench coat. I was going for a shorter length but this one is fine.

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  • The sleeve hole size. When I finished the sleeve cap, I pinned it in and noticed quite a bit of extra material right in the underarm area. Huh?? what is that used for outside of giving me those dreaded floppy underarm bat wings. I didn’t really know how to fix it so on the second sleeve I only increased sleeve cap stitches to 60 sts instead of 66 in an effort to reduce the bat wing effect in the underarm. Since it was ribbed stitched I didn’t think that would be an issue. I think it helped quite a bit but I still have some extra room in the arms.

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  • I am not a drop sleeve gal. Good to know ones personal style preference and I am definitely putting this on the list of things to avoid in the future. I really like this sweater but the drop sleeve makes me feel like it is falling off, plus I just don’t think it is that great a look. Don’t get me wrong, it won’t keep me from wearing this sweater, but I will steer clear of them in the future.

The Ugly

  • Garter stitch, garter stitch, garter stitch. I won’t repeat it here, but I think I summed it up pretty well here.

Finished Object – Montego Bay Scarf

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I will apologize ahead of time for the crappy review of this project. It has been finished for quite some time and I only remembered it because it was cold enough to warrant the donning of knitted accessories today. Besides, the blogging fodder as been in short supply due to my continued exhaustion and the endless nature of my Bradshaw sweater, which I hope to have finished this weekend…*crossing fingers*.

Yarn: Blue Heron Rayon Metallic in Mossy Place colorway
Inspiration: Montego Bay Scarf
Needles:
Size 8
Yardage: 550 yards
Modifications: After knitting the skinnier scarf I casted on for 65 stitches, approximately 1.5 times the stitches, it wider and shorter
Enjoyment Factor: 6

Knit Time: Ummmm….hmmm..about 2 weeks? Guess I should have blogged about this before not, eh?

The Good:

  • The pattern really show cases the yarn.
  • It is really light and soft so it is made for that not quite hot, not quite cold in between weather.
  • It is a great, simple accessory piece that I thinks I will love due to the softness of the yarn. I also love the slight bling bling from my yarn choice.

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The Bad:

  • Knitters Ego! It gets you every time. You think you know the pattern, it is simple right? Ahhh, you forget to knit 3 instead of 4 stitches on the end and that is when the pattern starts to go haywire and your knitting starts slanting in the wrong direction.
  • Monotony. This pattern is definitely a filler knit. It is that project that you pick up when you need a mindless knit, but definitely cannot serve as you primary focus

The Ugly:

  • Nothing really, or at least nothing I can remember so I guess that is pretty much the same.

In conclusion, there really is not much that can be said about this project.  Pretty much, just knit it!  In the end you will have a finished object you love!

Finished Object – Swallowtail Shawl

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This post will be about two finished objects – one knit object and the wedding shower it was for. Don’t know if I have mentioned it before but I will be the maid of honor at my friends wedding in less than 4 weeks, with only 2 weeks of dieting in vain before the dress fitting. That depressing thought aside, I was privilegded to be a bridesmaid with one of the most crafty people I know. She puts Martha to shame. We worked very hard to pull off one of the best wedding showers I could think of, if I do say so myself. But first for the knitting details…

Yarn: Jaggerspun Zephyr Wool-Silk
Inspiration: Swallowtail Shawl
Needles:
Size 4
Yardage: 600 yards or less
Modifications: I used almost all the modifications given at Pepperknit, you can see her post for details. (1) increased budding lace by 5 repeats (2) did mods for Lily of the Valley border, (3) used different size needles for the last few rows and for bind off
Enjoyment Factor: 7 due to the fact that I am not a lace knitter

Knit Time: 7/21 – 8/21/07

The Good:

  • Buying the yarn from Sarah’s Yarn was a blessing. They have a complimentary yarn sample program where they will send you samples of almost any yarn they carry and all you pay is the shipping charge. Since I was looking for a particular white (i.e. white white or bridal white) this was truly a wonderful discovery. Their service was wonderful and fast. This made buying the yarn online that much better.
  • The advice from Pepperknit. This write up was as indispensable as the pattern itself. I loved the detail and it just made the whole thing that much better

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  • The size worked out to about 64″ x 29″ which is not super long. It laid over my shoulders nicely but was not quite long enough to tie or anything.

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  • I loved pinning this out. Pinning out lace is soooo satisfying. I love the result and the super taunt feeling of the fibers being shaped into such a beautiful garment. I used the instruction from this Yarn Harlot post. The string idea was a life saver.

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  • The nupps were not nearly as hard as I had thought. In fact the two lace sections that included the nupps were probably the fastest of the entire garment.

The Bad:

  • I am not a lace knitter right now. I will not say that I will never be a lace knitter but the concentration needed to complete the intricate lace is pretty intense. I had to reduce all outside knitting stimuli to just listening to an audio book. One of the things I like about knitting is the ability to multitask and lace definitely hinders that.

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  • This shawl took quite a long time despite the fact that others have done this in days. I had the audacity to think that I too could finish this shawl fairly fast. Well, without the ability to bend the space time continuum this was not the case, which resulted in a complete sequestering of self to complete this in time.

The Ugly:

  • Absolutely nothing. It came out perfectly!

Now on to the shower, which went off spectacularly despite the wedding. We definitely had some wedding showers as well as wedding heat, humidity, cold, and intense wind. I think the weather ran the gamut while we were there. But ultimately it definitely worked in our favor. Here are some pictures of the wonderful decorations thought up by my crafty partner in crime and bridesmaidship, Mrs. B.

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The decorated gazebo. I just love those pink and orange pompoms ala Martha Stewart

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Future bride with the Swallowtail Shawl. Here matching dress was totally unplanned as she did not know the color. What a cowinkidink!

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Lovely Butterfly topped cupcakes

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The floral table decorations with the stamped patterning and fan party favor

 

It was quite a bit of work but well worth it for such a lovely bride. Next up…finding a chub constraint (a.k.a girdle or spanks) 😯 and some gold colored shoe boxes shoes for my boats 😦 Wish me luck!