Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wanna Win a Quilt?

No, not from me. I aspire to quilting someday, but just haven't gotten to it yet. From Camille of Thimble Blossoms. Her work is so pretty--I only hope I can make things as nice someday (well, with a little help from a great pattern designer such as she).

So, go on over, and check out the pretty, pretty quilt, and have a great day!*

*Would someone please inform the weather that snowflakes bigger than apricots is NOT an acceptable way to furnish precipitation in late April???

Channeling Forrest

8 yo DS: Mom, we're out of toilet paper in our bathroom!

Me: Well, there's a package in there. Go ahead and get some.

DS: Okay . . .

Kids are like a box of chocolates . . .

Saturday, April 19, 2008

More Sewing: Embellished Prefolds

After I finished the fitted diapers, I wanted to keep on going. The little shirts I had left weren't long enough to make fitteds, so I opted to make the baby's tiny little prefolds more fun. As I started, I thought I could do a quick sew-a-long just for fun.

First, lay out your t-shirt very carefully, lining up the front and back hems and making sure there aren't any wrinkles underneath. (That really fouls up the straight lines you need for this project.) Next, mark out the dimensions of the strip of fabric you'll need to cover about 1/3 of the prefold's width. For the newborn cpf's I've got, I decided 4" x 11" would do. The diapers are just over 11" long (after prewashing and preshrinking--they're much larger when brand new), and I like the embellishing fabric to cover just the center section, leaving the sides free to be folded or even cut so I can turn the prefolds into fitted diapers.

Here's the t-shirt, laid out and marked:

Next, cut away. I used my quilting ruler and rotary cutter; I suppose the braver and more experienced of you might skip the marking step and just cut with the ruler and rotary cutter, but I know that I'd end up cutting the wrong size if I couldn't measure thrice before cutting once. Here are the four strips and leftover bits of shirt.

Next, I serge the edges of the strips, making it really easy to turn under a neat 1/4" along the edge. (Be sure to check the differential feed so you end up with a nice clean, even edge. If the serging is ruffly or gathered, it just doesn't work. You can also press the edge, or just wing it, if you prefer. I just really like the serging for the way it stabilizes the knit fabric.

Line up the top of your serged strip with the top edge of the prefold, centering it on the thicker middle section. If you're planning on sewing down the top and bottom edges as well, start stitching twice the width of your serged edge down from the top of the strip, so you can go back and turn under that top edge, as well. I didn't do this, since I plan on adding elastic and waist tabs later, and will be serging the entire outside edge of the diaper afterward. I just wanted some instant-gratification first. ;o)

Backstitching at first, and turning the serged edge under as you go, sew closely along one edge down the length of the diaper. I usually start with the right edge, and move the needle as far to the right as possible, so I can get a close topstitched edge without missing the right feed dog. I use a slightly longer stitch length than usual, with a little lighter presser foot pressure so the knit doesn't stretch too much, and yet the stitches don't end up being super short due to the thicker fabric. At least that's how it works with my Viking Sew Easy. It's a good, non-electronic machine, but I realize that there have been all kinds of advancements and changes made since I bought mine nearly nine years ago.

Now, move your needle to the leftmost position, and repeat down the left side, sewing in the same direction as you did on the left side. Switching this way, instead of just turning the diaper around and sewing back in the opposite direction (as if you were sewing two left sides), keeps the strip far more even, and prevents some waving and puckering along the panel.

When you're done, hopefully you'll end up with something like these:

I tried to go for the more gender-neutral shirts, although I must admit that any son of mine will wear diapers with purple-flowers on them, because I like them so much. lol

As you can see, the knits don't make a perfectly even and smooth panel--but that's as much a factor of the uneven nature of the cotton twill diapers as it is of the knits. Still, I think they're awfully cute.

I think that these are my favorites, though . . .

(Someday we'll have some decent sunshine, and my photos will look nice again.)

Have a wonderful Saturday!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Catching Up

So, since the last update for Firefox broke the "Add Image" bit in blogger, I've been photo impaired. We'll see if Picasa will play nicely tonight . . .

I've been keeping busy, now that I'm not feeling so gunky and tired. Well, still tired, but not so gunky. My head nearly feels normal again. Hooray!

Since I've been reading Thimbleanna's blog, I've been inspired to do a little sewing. Granted, nothing nearly as beautiful as what she's been up to, but this project definitely has a high cute factor, and it's going to be very, very useful.

Pattern: Shar's Newborn Fitted (outside four dipes), and Shar's Newborn Fitted with umbilical scoop (middle two).
Fabrics: Various types. Cotton woven (bandana print), cotton flannel (top left), cotton sherpa fleece (inner lining on left two), organic unbleached birdseye (inners on middle two), and cotton knit (outers on middle & right two, inners on right two).

Notes: These are pretty straightforward turned & topstitched diapers. The outside four have a sewn-in soaker between the inner and outer layers, and the middle two have three complete body layers (two birdseye and one knit) with a three layer external soaker attached just at the inside front. These are newborn size, so they don't need to be uber-absorbent, and thinner dipes make for cleaner and faster drying dipes. I can always add in another doubler, if need be. They're all fastened with poly-resin snaps, affixed with a Snap Store press (which I looooove), and it makes for additional cute factor since I can pick fun colors. I just love playing with fabric, combining colors and patterns, and making cute little things. These were diaper cuts or fat quarters, with the exception of the yellow ones--those outers were cut from a 5T t-shirt that my niece outgrew. If you look closely, you can see the shoulder seams on the wings in front. I love recycling fabrics this way . . . especially when they're free! Someday, I'll graduate to "grown-up" fabrics . . . but for now, this is good practice. ;o)

Next up, my horribly tardy Baby a Baby Swap swag showed up more than a week ago. I'm so sorry, Heather, that it has taken me this long to get it posted! I had a good time knitting for my partner (who hasn't yet posted her swag due to the birth of her son right after she got her package--which I completely understand!), and I'm really pleased with the goodies that appeared on my porch (brought by my favorite man in the big brown truck ;o).

Without further ado, the baby swag:

There is a pair of longies knit in a really nicely dense gauge, with jean-inspired details. (I should have taken a shot of the back, so you could see the little pocket outlines!) For added fun, there's a sweet little baby book, and two receiving blankets, which will see plenty of use. It's good to have some new ones, since all of mine are looking fairly worn out after four babies. ;o) And, to top it all off, there's a beautiful handmade, color-coordinated card from Heather. I just love it, and suspect it's going to turn into a page element in the baby book. Thanks so much, Heather!!!

And now, I just need to figure out what to make with these little stash items . . . .

Two really pretty woven placemats, coordinating blue napkins, and fun buttons. A knitting needle book? Crochet hook keeper? Or something else entirely?

And these . . .

Two fat quarters in wonderful, warm fall colors, and adorable little leaf buttons.

Ideas are welcome . . . I was thinking knitting organization, or a purseket, but I'm open to ideas.

Have a great night!!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A New Take on an Old Standard

I know we've all see those flyers with little tear-off bits with phone numbers on them. Well, this is an even better verions, imho. ;o)

See it here.

Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Music Monday Artist: Stephanie Smith

Stephanie Smith is just good. Long story short, here's my absolute favorite from her so far:

Sidewalk Pictures

She presses her hand to the glass door
to see her chalk picture
drowning in a downpour.
The puddle of color blends
until it fades
to sidewalk gray.

And when it's dry she'll kneel outside and start again,
sketching butterflies and birds
for all the people who can't see the sky
because they keep their faces to the sidewalk gray.

And she tries to open their eyes
to what's been lost between the black and white.
She covers all the ugly things she can't erase . . .
She paints
sidewalk pictures.

On city streets she draws red trees & purple flowers,
sometime a family with their big pink smiles and their yellow house
and people stop and they stare
well 'cause they crave the change from the sidewalk gray

And she tries to open their eyes
to what's been lost between the black and white.
She covers all the ugly things she can't erase . . .
she paints
sidewalk pictures.

She presses her hand to the glass door
to see her chalk picture
drowning in a downpour.
The puddle of color blends
until it fades
to sidewalk gray.

But she'll paint again anyway.

Sidewalk Pictures is from her Change album.

Stephanie's website is under construction, but she does have a MySpace page linked from there where you can listen to her latest album Waves, as well as clips you can listed to at (CD Baby's clips are actually long enough to really experience the song, unlike the 30-second teasers everyone else does. Oh, and if you haven't ever bought anything from CD Baby, I highly recommend it. Great customer service, with an outrageous sense of humor.)

And that, my friends, is today's Music Monday. Have a great week!

Instant Gratification

So, I've been kinda down and out with this late-pregnancy cold. Ugh. I've thought a lot about blogging, but Blogger hasn't implemented the direct synapse-to-publish feature yet.

In the meantime, I've been doing a little knitting to ease my impatience (on both the getting better and the getting thinner).

Instant gratification project the first:

Meghan's Braids, from One-Skein Wonders.

Specs: Needful Yarns' Joy, on US6/4mm bamboo or birch needles (bamboo circ & birch dpn). It fits my 6yo dd perfectly, and she can't get enough of wearing the thing. The braids were a little fiddly to add, but they were definitely worth the effort.

Mods: I stopped the seed stitch after about an inch so I wouldn't obscure the striping much, and so I could knit it faster. ;o)

Instant gratification project the second:

Newborn Pigtail Hat, inspired by the Pigtail Hat from One-Skein Wonders.

Specs: Needful Yarns' Joy, US6/4mm circ & dpn's. I cast on about what I thought would be good for a newborn hat, and knit it kinda like I did the larger one, but left off the ear flaps and braids, and added pigtails on top. It was fun, and used up nearly all of the left-over from the braided version.

Instant gratification project the last:

Specs: A felted bag. No pattern, just some random yarn that I'm not sure will work yet. I'm trying to decide if I should throw caution to the wind and knit in the Noro I bought for this, or just stick with stuff I've got in the stash that wasn't that expensive. Here's the color scheme (it's much nicer in real life, honest):

I have two skeins of Noro Kureyon, and I really love the colors. I just need to do a little research and find out if thick n thin handspun knit in garter will felt well with worsted-weight single ply knit in stockinette, and make a bag worth using. Any ideas or resources out there I should be aware of?

In other knitting news, I'm still plugging away on a Sprout cardi for myself (the longer version), and a couple other languishing WIP's. But, as it's overcast, and I'm tired, I'll save those for another day. (So sorry, all. I hope the photos above are enough to tide you over for a while.)

And now, off to do the music post for today . . .

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Again, I Urge You . . .

If you haven't signed up for the Ravelry waiting list, please do so. It's now taking just a couple of weeks to get in (as opposed to the three months I had to wait!), and it's honestly one of the coolest websites I have ever seen. Ever. (And I've seen some websites in the last ten years, believe me!)

Even if you don't knit or crochet, it's worth it to have the ability to go see the amazing things Casey has done with the forums and various features. Honestly, this is what the internet should look like, and should be able to do.

So, go sign up already!

MIA Monday

I know, I know. It's Wednesday. I seem to have lost a couple of days somewhere . . .

I had an incredible, awesome, wonderful time at the retreat last weekend, but ended up sick right afterward. So, the photos and stories will have to wait until my head and chest are back to normal, and I have some energy left for typing. ;o)

Hope you're all having a great week, and I'll be back as soon as I can . . .