Hippo Baby Bunting

Pattern envelope for Simplicity 9215 showing a baby in a fleece bunting.

While I spend more of my time knitting than sewing, it’s safe to say that I tend to reach for both with a mentality of either “this will be fun” or “I could make that”. While perusing baby patterns last fall, I stumbled across Simplity 9215 which offers the sewist the ability to transform fleece fabric into a jacket, pair of pants or baby bunting. Combine that with Joann Fabrics having a sale on fleece during the upcoming weekend and it felt meant to be.

Now, the pattern envelope claims that this is an easy project. Having just curned out a wonky looking baby bunting I think it’s safe to say that the pattern pieces were finicky and the instructions left a lot to be wanting. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by the indie patterns I’ve been working with or perhaps I’m simply not in a place where I can picture how what I’m about to do will translate into the finished garment. Either way, I will aknowledge that my beginner sewing status played a role in the wonkiness of the finished garment as well.

For starters, the zipper is one of the first items that you sew on rather than the middle or last steps as I’ve previously worked. This is tricky because the instructions have you working with the front and back piece without the extentions in one step and then add in the extension in the following step. Honestly, it would have been easier to either attach everything together and to attach the zipper after sewing the shoulder seams and inserting the sleeves. In the end, I skipped the extensions (I’m still unsure how they fit together with the final grament, which is ok because I opted for a contrasting zipper on purpose) and was able to manuver my sewing machine around the extra bulk caused by installing the zipper so early. Also, my 14 inches zipper was a little smaller than the length of the body, I should have opted for 17-20 inches.

Another modification to the instructions I would have made (and highly recommend) is sewing the toe piece to the front before attaching the front pieces to anything. The area you’re manipulating is so tiny that any reduction in bulk is going to make it easier. Then, while I would like to think I could try pinning the bottom of the foot in such a way that I could sew around the foot and then up the side seam, the reality is that the bottom of the foot really can’t be attached until both leg seams are completed. So this step would indeed need to wait until closer to the end.

Finally, I couldn’t wrap my head around how to attach the mittens to the sleeves in a way that would make them usable. Now that the project is over, I think I would be able to if I were to rework the pattern? The directions here left a lot to be desired, but I’ll chalk this one up to being a newbie.

Would I make S9215 again? Perhaps in a larger size than 0-3 so that the manuvers are easier to make, but I also don’t see myself making this as a gift for anyone until I’m a little better at sewing. Luckily our little one will be small enough that the sizing won’t really matter (the feet in particular didn’t work out quite right). All in all, happy that I worked through the pattern (I learned a lot!), but a little bummed that one foot is smaller than the other and the larger foot is a weird shape.

A hooded baby bunting made of fleece with a hippo pattern on it.

Firefighter Knit Overalls

A while ago now, I stumbled across a firefighter-inspired print on Spoonflower and purchased a yard of it in their organic cotton knit. The theory behind this purchase was twofold: it’s a super cute pattern to make something for a baby and it would give me the chance to work with their organic cotton knit without committing to an adult size project.

Sewing with this fabric is like sewing with butter. Seriously, there were parts of this project that were 4-5 layers thick and my machine didn’t even skip a beat. Plus, it’s softer than I was expecting and one can’t help but imagine a pair of pajamas or an everyday dress being made with a different print.

In terms of choosing a pattern for the fabric, I knew that I wanted something on the gender-neutral side. As much as I love the Germanium Pattern as a dress workhorse, even using the sunsuit hack limits the sewist to a more feminine garment. Not that baby cares! Let’s be honest, baby will wear anything that you dress them in at this stage of the game. It’s really the parents that you’re sewing for at this stage of the game and, even though my husband and I are the parents for this one, I really wanted to add another workhorse pattern to my arsenal.

I don’t remember how exactly I stumbled upon OhMeOhMySewing Patterns, perhaps a Pinterest search for baby sewing patterns put them on my radar? While they have many patterns that have quickly earned an “ohh I want to make that someday”, I knew I found the pattern I was looking for when I saw their Knit Overalls Pattern. Cute little pocket on the front, the ability to choose between snap or button closures… it was perfect for filling the hole in my pattern collection. I also love that it goes up to a size 5 years!

Initially, I meant to sew the 9-12 month version in pants because it’s going to be chilly by the time our little one can wear that size, but I wasn’t paying attention when selecting pattern pieces to cut out and ended up cutting out the front and back pieces for the shorts instead of the pants. Completely my fault and not a reflection of the pattern.

All in all, these little overalls came together super quickly and I’m thrilled with the final result. I may modify the bottom closure next time in order to incorporate snaps for easier diaper changes, but otherwise, the only change to the pattern I made this time around was to add topstitching to the top edging in order to help the lining stay in place after washing.

Having sewn the pattern using a knit fabric, I’m confident that the shorts version of this pattern could also be used when working with woven fabric (and you could probably lengthen the legs to turn them into a pants version). That being said, if you’re someone who works more with wovens than knits, OhMeOhMy also has a Woven Overall Pattern.

In case you were wondering, I’m already jonesing to make this one again. Perhaps another shorts version for my niece’s upcoming birthday?

Toddler sized overalls with yellow buttons and a firefighter pattern printed on them that includes hoses, fire extinguishers, hats, boots, axes and fire hydrants.

Camp Loopy 2020: June Challenge

img_20200609_084552As June comes to a close, I can honestly say that I didn’t feel rushed when working on this month’s knitting challenge. Though I chose to work a pair of color work double lined mittens, which essentially means that I knit two pairs of mittens, I don’t think a 400 yard project in a month is very challenging. Last year I had a lofter goal of knitting one adult sweater per month and found myself unmotivated to follow through with it in the end (In June I was successful, July I knit a scarf and August ran into September because I knit other things). This summer feels different because I feel like my creativity has been struggling to keep up with the amount of knitting that I’ve been doing.

Here is the prompt I had to work with this month:

Camp Loop 2020 June Challenge

The June challenge includes combining elements to make something new. What does that look like?

You can combine two (or more) different colors together. Here are some ideas –
From The Loopy Ewe website: Edith CowlVictoria HatHouse of Faberge CowlMerida MittensOranssi CowlAlbuquerque SunsetMagical Thinking, and Quindici.
From Ravelry: Jupiter CropRock It TeeThe ShiftOdyssey Shawl, and Breathe and Hope.

Or you can combine two different yarn materials together. (Combine different weights, or combine different bases. Or add a different material like beads to your yarn project, etc.). Here are some ideas –
From Ravelry: Ashbury Park ShawlImagine When (beads on points), Lily of the Valley ShawlMorningstarCalan Mai (combining two weights plus beads!), Charmayne, and Musicality (with beads).

Or you can combine two different patterns together to make something unique. Like taking the neckline from one sweater and adding it to another. Or the stitch pattern from one thing, and combining it with another pattern. Or the edging from one shawl to add to another. There are so many options with this one!

Since I’ve already mentioned that I worked a pair of lined color work mittens, it may seem obvious that I went with the first challenge: mixing two or more colors. This is true, I mixed red, charcoal and yellow together and am very happy with the results. I also happily took it a step further and knit the lining in a different yarn base to mix materials as well. Not to be an over achiever, my goal was to provide my partner with a pair of mittens to keep his hands warm (also to stop him from stealing my mittens).

img_20200609_164006
Pattern: Fiddlehead Mittens
Yarn used: Woolstok in Red Rock and Cast Iron, Road to China Light in Topaz

 

On going off the beaten path

94404582_725926194612925_8566214286488109056_nIt’s that time of year, there’s mud everywhere and people are remembering that it’s nice to go outside. For those of us who hike through the winter, this means getting up a little earlier to beat crowds to trails and having a backup plan in case everyone wants to hike the same trail you do. COVID-19 seems to have caused an increase in the number of people looking to get out. This is awesome and we’re excited to see so many people enjoying nature, minus the few people we’ve run into that don’t respect the trail (Don’t light fires in the middle of the brush! There’s a lot that can burn right now! Also, please clean up your trash.).

With everyone looking to hike, we’ve taken to seeking out trails that require all-wheel drive and some grit to get to or generally harder trails. We actually drove up to one mountain, only to turn around and attempt to access it from another side! It would have been an amazing story if we had been able to locate the trail and walk on more than an old logging road. Not that I’m complaining, it was absolutely gorgeous back there.

img_20200422_113123It seems as though our hiking habits have leaked into my knitting again; I’m currently working on another Flax Light by TinCanKnits and couldn’t help but deviate from the suggested “fingering” weight that the pattern calls for. For all of the sweater’s ribbing, the plan is to hold a skein of Rohrspatz & Wollmeise Lace-Garn that’s been sitting in my stash double. For the rest of the sweater, I’m holding the Lace-Garn with Stacy Charles Fine Yarns Luna Effects. The result is this fuzzy (and a little tacky) sweater that makes me feel like I belong on the original set of Full House. I can’t help but get excited as I set the sleeves aside and begin to take on the body, good thing I live in the mountains and might get to wear it on a cool summer night.

The crazier undertaking has been converting Azalea from a thin strap tank-top into a short-sleeved sweater. The body of the tank is simple enough, minus some cool lace at the bottom, and knits up relatively quickly. Once those pieces are knit, you’re supposed to pick up stitches and knit 3 rows or so to make straps. In other words, once you’ve knit the body it shouldn’t take much longer to complete the project. But I’m a knitter and what’s the point of knitting something if you can’t make it what you really want?

Using the yarn I bought in Spain, I enthusiastically knit the front and back pieces. Then I took a deep breath, picked up the side stitches and knit sleeve caps. Sleeve caps are really cool! I’ve never done them this way before, but I knit a different sweater that has you seam them on at the end and really like the way it makes the sweater fit. After knitting the sleeves, I seamed the sides and tried it on with my fingers crossed.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200422085305802_cover-3It fit! The armholes weren’t too small and the lace bottom hung nicely despite my first attempt at the single crochet seaming technique. Then I looked up and noticed how low the neckline was. I cannot stress how deep the v on this v neck was.

The problem with knitting is that you begin to run out of ways to fix problems as the problems appear closer and closer to the end of your project. At this point, I wasn’t going to pick up stitches and work a few decrease rows to make the neck smaller because I wanted the seam to line up with the ribbing. So I held my breath and picked up the many stitches required to start the neckline ribbing… only to be excited when it worked!

Overall, I’m happy with the way this tank turned t-shirt turned out. There are a few things I would do differently – like lengthen the body and skip the 6 rows of stitching before starting the sleeve caps — but it was a great experiment!

On that time I sewed a dog bed from pillows

The first moment where I felt like a homeowner was not putting the key in the front door. Nor was it having to call a plumber due to a leaking pipe. Painting didn’t do it, paying the mortgage didn’t do it. No, my first moment feeling like a homeowner comes from buying curtains and hanging a curtain rod.  More specifically, agonizing over choosing the correct curtains and hoping they matched everything else that I had decorated my living room with.

The same feeling emerged a few weekends ago when I purchased new pillows for my bed. This time, I laughed at the feeling because I’ve been purchasing pillows every few years for the last 10 years or so. This was not a new event, but man was I proud when I laid down on my new pillows and drifted off into a deep sleep.

There was nothing wrong with the pillows I had replaced — other than having gone a little flat for my side sleeping habits — which is probably what lead to the “I’m a homeowner” feeling. In other words, I don’t think it was purchasing the new pillows. I think it was the desire to repurpose the old ones.

Two pillows sewn together using mattress stitch.Enter my dog Loche. Due to various reasons, he found himself in need of a new bed (probably the number one reason is he’s spoiled and needs multiple beds around the house). Between the old pillows and the fleece fabric sale at Joann’s, it was destiny.

The first thing I did was spray the pillows with Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Home Spray (I don’t have fleas, just thought it was a good idea and I like the smell). Afterwards, I broke out my hand sewing skills to sew the two pillows together using mattress stitch. In my mind, this would allow the two pillows to stay connected as Loche situates himself on the bed. Knowing that Loche prefers to nuzzle between pillows, I sewed the indents facing inwards and the fluffier bits facing outwards.

A zipper being attached to fabric using a sewing machineThen I took my fabric (~2 yards of fleece) and folded it into a square. The first thing  I attached was the zipper, which I stuck on the shortest side so that I didn’t have to invest in a giant zipper. Then I sewed the other two edges closed and added the pillows. I ended up with just a little bit of extra fabric, which I put on top of the bed so that Loche could nuzzle into it.

The result? A cute little dog bed for <$20! Does he even use it? He kept trying to climb into it while I was “trying on” the pillow cover — and then he napped on it all afternoon. I think it’s safe to say this project was a success.

Loche on his new dog bed -- a navy bed with smores on it.