Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2012 wrap-up: puppy

Pattern: Mortimer the Dog (ravelry)
Yarn: Cascade 220
Needles: US5 DPNs

This is the last toy I knit for Isaac for a while. This is the first and only time he has snuggled with it. He usually just throws it on the ground and yells "No puppy!" Even though he loves puppies. Sigh.

Friday, January 11, 2013

2012 wrap-up: Mission to Mars quilt

I stocked up on Marty goes to Mars fabric this summer during a couple trips to the S.R. Harris outlet. I got enough for 2 toddler-size pillow cases, a quilt, and some leftovers. The quilt is made of mostly 4" squares, with a couple 4x8 and 8x8 pieces thrown in. It's 52x36 inches, the perfect size for Isaac's toddler bed. Which he used for a month before he switched to a twin bed. Sigh.


I wanted this to be perfectly square since (I thought) it was going on a toddler bed (for at least a year) it would be painfully obvious (to me, anyway) if it wasn't square. I also had pieced the back and I wanted the quilting lines to be parallel to the seams on both the front and the back of the quilt. I have been making quilt sandwiches by taping baby quilts to the floor with painters tape, but I've noticed that method doesn't always guarantee that the front and back seams line up perfectly. Painters tape is only so sticky, and it can only hold fabric for about an hour before it starts to give up. To make sure everything lined up I used a quilt frame.

My husband helped me make the frame. It's canvas tacked on to strips of hard wood. I think the strips are 2.5 inches x 6 feet. There are 4 strips. The first two are set up on parallel sawhorses. I use a tape measure and carpenter square to make sure the frame is set up squarely.

I start by laying the back of the quilt wrong-side down and pinning it to the frame, starting with the center of each side and working out. I pull it pretty tight. Then I smooth the batting over the back but I don't pin it. Last I pin the quilt top down, again starting with the center of each side and working towards the corners.

Once everything is pinned in place I baste the quilt using really long - about 3 inch - running stitches. Then I take it off the frame and it's ready to be machine-quilted.

My grandma taught me how to stretch quilts like this. It does take more time and I don't do it for every quilt, but this is my favorite way to stretch quilts.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2012 wrap-up: Ellie the elephant

I made this super cute elephant softie for a friend of Isaac's second birthday. I used the Effie and Ollie pattern by Heather Bailey. I highly recommend it. It didn't take too long, especially considering the amount of tiny pieces and curves you have to sew. I've found that the keys to sewing curves are going slow, decreasing the stitch length, and using the handwheel for a few stitches when curves are especially tight. I only had to rip out and redo one seam for this little guy.


I feel like it took a quarter bag of stuffing to fill this small elephant. I used a stuffing fork, which really helped to fill the trunk and legs.

When I do this again, I would do two things differently:  1) iron the fusible interfacing to the fabric before cutting the pieces. Every piece is interfaced anyway, so this would save you from having to cut each tiny piece out twice, and then iron them together. 2) the tail is impossibly tiny and you are supposed to turn it inside out. Sure it looks nice but it took 10 minutes. There are other ways to do it that would be a lot quicker and not require pins, tweezers, another smaller pair of tweezers and cursing.

Monday, January 7, 2013

2012 wrap-up: Rune sweater

I did finish a lot of things in 2012, I just didn't have time to post about them. So I'll be doing some wrap-up / catch up posts this week.

I finished this just in time for Isaac to wear for Thanksgiving and birthday celebrations. The first few times I made him wear it he would yell "Ow! Owwie!" One time I gave in and took it off him because he would not settle down. No, he is not allergic to wool. It think it just hurts him to look nice - he cries when I put on his cotton toddler vest that I made him, an acrylic vest his grandma made him, the sailor shirt I made him, and store-bought button down shirts. Tshirts do not cause "owwies" though. Sigh. I've made him wear this sweater many times now and he has finally stopped crying about it.


Above, all dressed up to go to the Walker Art Museum. Below, dressed up to see Santa at his day care holiday program. Santa (mom) gave him lacing cards, woohoo!

Pattern: Rune sweater (ravelry), size 2T

Yarn: Vermont Organic Fiber Company O-Wool Balance

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2013: the year I finish things

This year will be different. See - I've already finished something!

Yarn: Wolmeisse

Needles: US4 addi clicks

Pattern: Hitchhiker (ravelry)

The pattern is easy and makes a nice long scarf. The yarn is beautiful and there was a lot of it - over 500 yards I think - so it took a while to finish. Almost two years, actually, which is too long even for a gigantic ball of yarn. I've organized my yarn and fabric closet and noticed a lot of other projects that have been languishing for far too long. 2013 will be the year they are finished. I have plans.