Thursday, September 10, 2015

Make ALL the Baby Things!

Yes, thats right. Its been about a year since I last posted. But I have good reasons!

Reason #1 is that I got started making another Woven Plaid Blanket, but this time in KING SIZED.

Yes, I do know how insane that sounds. Thats why I gave myself a full year to get it done before my sister's wedding this past June. For the record, I did not get it done in time. It presented plenty of challenges, and it basically boils down to the fact that in order to weave it correctly (without shrinking it), I had the husband build a frame on which I could weave it - but the frame is also king-sized (at least in width) and it keeps me confined to the basement. Combined with the fact that I have to lean over uncomfortably in order to weave, it was a MUCH slower process than I anticipated based on the baby blanket size. The moral of the story being that I got about half of the weaving done by her bridal shower, so I presented it to her in its semi-complete status, with the promise that SOON I will get it done. Soon.

Reason #2 is that the husband and I got an awesome piece of news this February: We're expecting our first baby in October!!! Yaaaaaay!!!!

The wonders of morning sickness, followed by the feeling of "I'm so fat, why can't I bend forward" also made the weaving of the plaid blanket problematic. So instead, I decided that between me and all of my other friends who were sporting baby bumps, it was time to make ALL the Baby Things!

So, without further delay, here's most of the stuff I've been working on this summer!

Amish Puzzle Ball
Made for my cousin's baby boy Dylan who is about 1 year old.
Pattern Available Here

Baby Hat and Airplane
Made for our baby boy! He's getting an aviation themed nursery in these colors.
Hat was freehanded with hdcs, Airplane Pattern Here (requires translation)

Baby Blanket for Felicity
Pattern Available Here
Made using 5.0mm hook and single strand of Baby Yarn (Loops and Threads Snuggly Wuuggly)

C2C Baby Blanket for our Little Boy
Corner-to-Corner Pattern Here
Made Using Feza Fantastic Yarn I got on Closeout from the local boutique!

C2C Baby Blanket for another anticipated Baby Boy
Corner-to-Corner Pattern Here
Made using 11mm hook and 2 strands of worsted, held double

Genius Flower Headbands for Baby Felicity
Pattern Available Here
I really love this pattern! Very easy, quick, and adaptable. Not to mention STRETCHY!

Various Baby Boy Scrap Yarn Hats
Left: Textured Newborn Beanie (with pom-pom)
Right: Ribbed Baby Hat 
Center: Modified Version of Newborn Beanie
Rnds 5-8: Use DC cluster stitch (dc3tog, ch1, skip 1 st)
Rnd 10-12: hdc in each st

Scrap Yarn Baby Hats & Booties
Baby Bootie Pattern
Hat Pattern: Modified Version of Newborn Beanie
Rnds 5-9: Use DC cluster stitch (dc3tog, ch1, skip 1 st)
Rnd 10-11: sc in each st
I made 1 hat & pair of booties as a gift, and then I ended up making another SEVEN hats in newborn and premie sizes that were donated to the NICU at the hospital where my birth center is located. I still have enough yarn left over for a few more!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Purse of Many Pockets

The new purse!
So, I should have published this months ago, but I've been busy. I needed a new purse and I just couldn't find one that I liked with the right amount of pockets/dividers and the right price. I hate throwing my phone in my purse and having it ring and ring and eventually go to voicemail while I dig around trying to find it.

"I just put you in here! How are you on the bottom already!"

Anyways, I decided to venture again into the world of sewing and make my own purse. I found this free pattern online and decided to run with it.

I added an extra pocket on the end so that both ends have an elastic pocket, and I omitted one of the side pockets. Inside, there is the big zipper pocket and a plain pocket on the opposite side that I made large enough to hold my kindle. I didn't use a pleather bottom, just more of the same fabric I had, and I did construct it a bit differently by sewing the ends onto the bottom and THEN sandwiching on the sides.

My straps are also longer, since I like wearing my purses cross-body for walking through the grocery store. Both of the D-rings are on the same side, so that I could get longer straps, and so that I can put my keys there. D-rings are really pointless though, plain circles would have been better.

I also added a zipper on top instead of a magnet clasp because my purse loves to jump off the front seat of my car and dump out everything onto the floor.      No. Bad purse.

Anyways, here's more pictures of the finished product!

Closer view so that you can see all the pockets!

Outside Elastic Pocket
Inside Elastic Pocket

All of the Inside Pockets (4 total, 2 elastic, 1 zipper, + kindle pocket)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Crochet Lace Veil Project

So some of you have followed my journey in making my own crochet lace as the border for my wedding veil. The wedding is over, and the professional pics are in, so here's the top to bottom summary of everything I did.

Step One: Decide on a pattern. I had several attempts, seen here and here. I settled on this pattern that I found online. One of the biggest factors in the decision was the way the lace works up one motif at a time, as opposed to needing a base chain that is 17' long. HUGE advantage and I am very glad I went the motif route.

Step Two:
Make the lace! Or at least until it is approximately the right length.

Step Three: Once you have what you suspect to be the correct length of lace, grab yourself a scrap piece of fabric or tulle, and cut it to the dimensions you want the final veil to be. Then starting at the beginning of your lace piece, pin it on around the edge. This is dual-purpose. It helps you make sure you have the correct amount of lace, while at the same time, it lays the lace flat (at least in perspective to the fabric) so that you can make sure you haven't twisted it before you join it into a round piece.

Step Four: Make more lace as needed. I found out that I was about 12-18" short after pinning my lace onto the tulle template. I was definitely bummed, but at least it looked pretty!

Step Five:
Now that you're done making all the lace, join that lace into a round! Add another row if you pattern calls for it, or if you want to create a more stable section for sewing it on. My pattern had a second "round" that was done in the back ch loops.

Step Six: Remove all of the lace from the template piece. Wash it GENTLY in some warm water with just a dab of dish soap. If your lace color matches the color of your dress (or whatever color you want it to be) move to Step Eight. Otherwise, you're going to want to dye your lace.

Step Seven: Tea Dye your lace. Start by test dying any samples of your thread, to make sure you know how much tea and how long it needs to soak to get the desired shade. Dye it and let it dry completely. If you are insane, you could block it now while the lace is wet. However, I am not that kind of crazy, and since my lace was cotton, I decided just to iron it.

Step Eight: Press your lace. Enjoy watching it unfold into something beautiful! Be warned, now that your lace is nice and flat and arranged, it is probably even longer than it was before. The template you made before may be too small, depending upon how much your lace stretches.

Step Nine: Call in reinforcements! Extra sets of hands will help with the remaining stages!

Step Ten: Cut the veil material (sheer or tulle) to approximately the right size. We made mine quite a bit bigger than the template. We folded it into quarters, weighted it in place with some heavy books, and used the edge of grandma's dining room table to get a nice gentle oval shape.

Step Eleven:
Pin the lace around the edge. We found that once we pinned it, our tulle was too large. We had to un-pin everything and trim just a little bit of the tulle to get it to fit correctly. I am sure there is a way to avoid this, but for us, it didn't take too much time, and it worked out alright. It was easier to cut down a little bit of tulle than to have too little - since the lace couldn't easily change!

Step Twelve: Carefully sew the lace around the edge. We hid our sewing stitches in amongst the crochet stitches, so we just used a matching ivory thread. Tiny stitches!

Step Thirteen (optional): If you want to wear the veil on a comb, decide how you want to fold it an wear it. I found some great resources to help with this step. Wrap the comb in scraps of tulle and sew them in place, then gather your veil gently on a thread, and sew the gathered section of veil onto the comb. Add sparkles if you like!

Step Fourteen: Wear it with Pride! Pass it down to friends or family who want to wear it too!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Woven Plaid Baby Blanket

This baby blanket is so darn CUTE! I love the technique involved here as well, but I will be honest, I was a skeptic when I first read about it. I decided a baby blanket was the way to test it out.

It is incredibly simple and fairly quick to work up. You're basically making a mesh stitch blanket that is striped, and then weaving the exact same stripe pattern perpendicular through your mesh work. SO EASY!

Here's what you came for!

Hook: 6.5mm
Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver (~260yds each of Soft Navy, Soft White, Light Blue, and Country Blue)
Additional Supplies: Yarn Needle (or bobby pin)
Pattern: Woven Scotch Plaid Afghan (also available on Ravelry)
Here is the grid for the striping pattern I used. It turned out MUCH larger than I had anticipated, but I still think it looked great in the end. Next time, I might try a simpler striping pattern.

I started mine with a base chain of 123sts and went until it was about 36" x 36" Large. I added a row of SC sts along the outer edge to hide my tie-ins. If I were doing this project again, I might wait until after the weaving to do that, as there was a little change in the shape during weaving.

I marked the middle stitch and cut some of my weaving strands about 60" long. People on Ravelry complained about not having enough excess, and I felt like more was better for this project. Using the middle stitch to mark the middle of my weaving pattern, start weaving with a yarn needle. You weave with a single piece of yarn, doubled over, and you'll do two of these into EACH mesh stitch - alternating your ups and downs. You'll end up with 4 strands in each mesh (two double-strands woven).

I changed my mind and ended up using the light blue as the center section,
but you can see the first double-strand being woven here. 

As you weave, be careful to pull on your blanket. The weaving snugs it up a bit, and you're going to want to keep it as even as possible. I found that it was better to work on a table or another flat surface for this part. Unfortunately it is not a lap project. Also, after my first few strands proved to be a good length, I had my hubby build me a template so that I could cut 20 strands at a time.

When you're done weaving, tie your strands together top to bottom and then again left to right. After that, you can cut your fringe to any length you desire and you're all DONE!

Like I said, this project turned out so CUTE! And as a bonus, I got it completed and shipped off before the baby arrived. The expectant mommy and daddy got it yesterday and they loved it!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tea Dye for Crochet Cotton

Those of you who follow my blog may be familiar with the ongoing saga of my crochet lace veil. I posted some of the samples I made here and here, and I have outlined my progress in photos over here on imgur.

To catch you up on things, I decided to crochet the lace to go around my bridal veil, and I've been working away on this for about a year, if not longer.

Well folks, this past Saturday, I finished the lace! 18.5 FEET of beautiful Sz 20 lace.

Except that the lace is white, and my dress is ivory. So I needed to tea dye it to match my dress.

Now, I had never tea dyed anything before, but I did have a sample of fabric from my dress shop, so that I could at least have a goal color to work off of.

I read about tea staining over on Dahlhart Lane blog, and I decided to use some of my old lace samples to run some tests.

I used 1 teabag for 2 cups of hot water. With the teabags and the lace all in a mason jar, I added the water and shook it all up. For the record, teabags EXPLODE when you shake them in a mason jar. Don't do what I did.

I removed my lace samples after 5, 10, and 15 minutes in the tea bath. Anticipating that they might be darker when wet, I waited for them to dry before comparing them to my dress fabric.

Once I knew the time I needed (5 minutes or less) I washed up my veil lace. I wanted to get rid of any residual oils from my hands, and any incidental dust or dirt. I was SHOCKED at how dark the water got. So GROSS! So I washed and rinsed the lace (using a dab of dish soap) three times total, just to be sure.
Finally it was all nice and clean again!

I prepped my bowl by adding 3 teabags and 6 cups of hot water, but I let the tea steep for a few minutes and then I removed the teabags. I was SO nervous about dunking my lace into the tea! All that hard work! But I set the kitchen timer for 4 minutes and placed it into the tea bath. After 4 minutes, the lace matched my dress sample fabric perfectly. Knowing it would dry a little lighter, I gave it another 30 seconds in the tea bath before I pulled it out and rinsed it. After a thorough rinsing, I washed it with a dab of dishsoap and laid it out to air dry. I chose not to block it at this point because, dear LORD, can you imagine pinning all of that. NO. no no no no no.

Once it was dry, it was a big ugly wad of creamy ivory. I got to work ironing it. This was the most amazing part. Time consuming, but amazing. It was so great pulling this ugly wad of material, pressing it, and having this lovely bit of lace appear on the other side!

So it is crochetted, dyed, pressed, and ready to be sewn onto tulle. I'm going to try and work with some family this weekend to get it completely finished!!!