Archives for category: baby shite

My friends Kelly and Josh are having a baby soon and I made them a couple of tiny kimonos as a present!

Kimono #1:

Kimono #2 (please excuse the awful photography):

Pattern: Lucy’s Kimono, from Heather Ross‘s Weekend Sewing

Fabric used: Kimono #1: anonymous pale blue quilting cotton with black swallows; black store-bought bias binding. Kimono #2: all Amy Butler, all the time–the main fabric is Full Moon Polka Dot in yellow, and the bias binding is homemade, from a fat quarter of Acanthus purchased at Purl Soho, so between the designer quilting fabric and the crazy markup at Purl, this basically means it is the most expensive cotton bias binding ever. (By the way, I love Amy Butler but what on earth is this Photoshop disaster going on on the splash page? And why does it take 5 minutes to load the fabrics list for each collection?)

Pattern notes: Heather Ross suggests in the pattern intro that this is one of the easiest patterns in the book, which I think is not really true. It’s small, which is nice, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a lot; the pajama pants from this book were much larger but also much easier to sew.

I found it pretty difficult to sew the bias tape around the curve of the neck because the front meets the back at a very acute angle that the bias tape has to be eased around. I couldn’t catch the second side of the bias tape consistently on kimono #1 when I was machine-sewing, so I ended up hand-sewing the bias tape in place to finish it.

I didn’t think the pattern pieces were clearly marked (I may have traced them off wrong, admittedly, but I don’t think there were any notches and the pieces are big blocky shapes, so you could conceivably sew them wrong by 90 degrees). The back and sleeves seem to be gentle trapezoids; I assume the wide end of the back-trapezoid goes towards the bottom end of the baby, and the wide ends of the sleeve-trapezoids get attached to the body of the kimono.

I didn’t use the super-narrow bias tape called for in the pattern; I think mine was 1/2 inch. It seems incredibly fiddly to work with the suggested 1/4″ bias binding for this pattern, and my version doesn’t look terribly different from the one in the book, so I’m not totally sure she used 1/4″ bias tape in the sample, either.

There are errors in the pattern–for instance, it calls for 1/2 yard of bias tape, but I think you actually need 1 1/2 yards; it says to sew the shoulder seams with wrong sides together, which is wrong, of course–they should be sewn right side together, unless you’re going for an edgy deconstructed look for your baby garment.

The book is pretty unclear about how the ties should be handled. As any woman who has worn a wrap dress knows, both sides of the wrap cannot be treated identically, because one side ends up on the inside of the dress and one side ends up on the outside. You are instructed here to “make sure the ties themselves… extend on the right side of the Kimono Front and Back in your sewing set-up” but I don’t know what that means for the side inside the wrap. I figured that there were basically three alternatives here:

  1. Don’t do anything with the inside part of the wrap (I didn’t think this was right because the book instructs you to make two ties.)
  2. Sew the 2nd tie to the inside of the wrap and tie one bow inside the kimono and one bow outside the kimono. This might be what was intended, since the photo in the book doesn’t show two sets of ties visible on the outside of the kimono. However, this seemed both annoying for the parent dressing the baby to fasten and annoying for the baby to wear–how would you like to have a bow tied on the inside of your shirt? Probably not a whole lot.
  3. Leave a hole for the second tie to go through so both ends can be tied on the outside. This is what I ended up doing, taking a cue from every wrap dress I’ve ever owned.

I did this by basically just leaving about an inch and a half of the side seam unsewn and stitching the tie onto the seam allowance on one side rather than catching it inside the seam like on the other side. Here’s a view of the inside of the kimono: you can see the hole with one tie passing through it, and the second tie sewn to the seam allowance: these two ties are tied in a bow on the outside of the kimono.

Here’s a view of the outside of the kimono, with the one tie extending through the hole:

As you can see, the seams inside the kimono are pinked. I think it should be pretty easy to do French seams instead, since most of the seams are straight and very short, but the fabric I picked was sturdy enough that I figured pinking would hold up fine.

Lots of corners on the inside of this sucker. I accidentally pressed and sewed down the seams down kind of randomly because I wasn’t always keeping future seam dependencies in mind. Some are pressed open, some are pressed to one side. The book probably instructs you on what to do, but at a certain point I gave up on following the instructions in any kind of detail.

If you decide to make this kimono and make your own bias tape, I strongly recommend a Clover bias tape maker. You will be one cranky cowboy if you try to make bias tape with one of the crappy metal ones instead. Also, Yahaira has posted an excellent tutorial for making continuous bias tape–including a link to the conversions for how much fabric turns into how much finished bias tape.

A mother at the baby shower said “I like the kimono style because if ‘things happen,’ this can be taken off without having to pull it over the baby’s head”–a practicality that hadn’t even occurred to me, naive as I am in the ways of baby-vom, but seems very sensible.

Oh, and I got them this, too:

Why, yes! That is a Captain Kirk onesie from thinkgeek.com. A necessity for any well-dressed baby. (By the way, Josh and Kelly, if you’re still working on narrowing down names, check out this book. I think Cthulhu is a beautiful name for a little girl. Or Zaius, if it’s a boy.)

Pattern: Horned Owl, by Hansi Singh (rav link to project)

Yarn used: Wool Candy Fondant Merino DK in Truffle and Robin’s Egg, left over from another project; scraps of white yarn for embroidering the eyes

Needles used: US size 3/3.25 mm

Date started: November 14, 2010

Date completed: November 18, 2010

Mods/Notes:
This little owl made his first appearance melting a Dalek’s heart:

I made this owl as a gift for my cousin’s new baby–it will be a few years yet before he’s properly appreciated, but I think he’s completely adorable. Hansigurumi patterns tend to be very fiddly, with lots of grafting, but this one wasn’t bad; mostly worked in the round, mostly pretty straightforward.

  • The pattern is pretty skimpy on instructions for the embellishments. I ended up cutting a piece of CC yarn, folding it in half, threading the doubled end through a yarn needle, sewing a stitch and tying a square knot, doing this across several stitches and going back and tying knots in the strands between groups, then trimming everything and running a yarn needle through the yarn ends to fluff it up and separate the plies.
  • After the backwards legs on my Jackalope, I didn’t trust the “pick up stitches for left wing and work same as the right wing” instruction, so I worked the second wing separately, held it up to the owl to determine proper orientation, and sewed it on, to avoid the heartbreak of finding out one wing was backwards after knitting the whole thing.
  • I love the garter stitch texture on the wings, and the wee owly claws!
  • The pattern doesn’t give you required yardage! It doesn’t use much yarn, but beware if your yarn yardage is limited.
  • The picked up sts under the beak came out super loose and I had to duplicate stitch over them to tighten them up a bit.
  • I used small needles, and the owl came out pretty small. 6 inches high, maybe?



He is personalized with embroidery in the wingpit:

A couple of mice passed through our house over the last couple of months. The new-fangled, pleasant way, involving knitting rather than food scraps forgotten in corners.

This is actually Mouse #2–I don’t have pictures of Mouse #1, which I gave to Rahul’s little cousins over Thanksgiving, but it looks pretty much exactly the same as this one: i.e., very, very cute.

Pattern: Mousie, by Ysolda Teague, from Whimsical Little Knits

Size made: bigger than a rat, smaller than a ROUS

Yarn used: Caron Simply Soft Eco: about 0.3 skeins (74.7 yards) of Natural 0002, and about 0.1 skeins (31.5 yards) of regular Simply Soft in Soft Pink 9719. Scraps of black yarn for eyes.

Needles used: US 3 / 3.25 mm 40″ Knit Picks Options circular (magic loop). Well, given the US 3 size, these are not actually Knit Picks, but the compatible Knit Pro tips purchased off eBay.

Date started: December 12, 2009

Date completed: December 13, 2009

Mods:

  • Knit the gigantic ears separately and sewed them on later, rather than picking up and knitting.
  • Embroidered a friendly smile:
  • Stuffed mouse with gingham scraps from my fabric scrap bag, and weighted the bottom with pennies (the pattern suggests beans, but I was afraid if the toy was washed and the beans got wet, they would get moldy or soft or start growing inside the toy)

Notes:
This is a great little pattern for gifts, very quick and simple, but with adorable results–I knit up the mouse in about 4 hours total. With the worsted-weight yarn, it came out much bigger than I would have expected–here it is sitting on my hand for scale:

I didn’t have any suitable mouse-colored, machine-washable fingering-weight yarn, but I prefer to think the larger sized mouse is maybe less tiny and adorable, but more huggable for a small child.

I sent the mouse to my little cousin Emma, who is just about 3 years old now, for Christmas. I’m told she loved it, and named it Sally (without any prompting from Mom and Dad!)

We spent some time in Missouri with my boyfriend’s parents–just drove back up in one long go of it and here is how to benchmark that eight-hour drive:

  • 2 episodes of My Name is Earl + Shattered Glass + Shattered Glass DVD Commentary, or
  • Completion of 1 amigurumi jackalope ear, 2 amigurumi jackalope antlers, 5 1/2 amigurumi octopus tentacles, and a pair of Fleegle’s seamless take on Saartje’s baby booties (was I the only one who wound up with an extra isolated stitch resulting from the bound-off stitches in Round 25?)

While we were down there, I also finished knitting a baby vest (Lime by Jane Ellison) and the Side Slip Cloche from Boutique Knits. Both fun little knits, and if I can get my act together, I’ll actually post about them sometime soon, with pictures…

Other productive things I did this weekend include eating fried alligator and getting poison ivy, both for the first time, but not at the same time. (Verdict: tastes like chicken/feels like burning.) Ah, the delights of southern Missouri.

I’ve been laid out flat by the flu for the last half a week or so, with the result that I ended up missing nearly all the things I had been looking forward to this weekend… knitting night (I was going to wear the beard hat!), working at the business school, drinks and fresh-baked cookies with friends, the farmer’s market, dinner at the new Ethiopian restaurant with a friend I haven’t seen in months, a Prince party (does my sunflower beret count as raspberry-colored?), and an ice cream-themed birthday party. No, instead, I spent my whole damn weekend lying in bed, all achy and coughing and feverish. I’m still not feeling well, but at least the hacking cough is nearly gone.

The weekend did have a few upsides.

I got to watch parts of various movies–I got bored of Flicka, and my DVD player refused to cooperate with more than 15 minutes of Winged Migration, but I managed to make it through Cat Ballou, and that was fun. I saw the Oscars. I liked the part about the Batsuit.  Helen Mirren looked stunning, just like last year. And I’ve sort of met Glen Hansard (the guy who won the Oscar for Best Song). He’s a friend of a friend, so I made it into his company after a concert–but if I remember correctly, there was just about a minute of quick chatter between the two of them before he had to dash off somewhere, and I never actually got introduced. In any case, it was definitely interesting seeing someone I know (if not directly, at least within a degree) win an Oscar on TV.

I was determined to make it out to the new yarn shop, In a Yarn Basket. Bloomington Ravelers have been waiting with bated breath and much discussion for it to open for months, since I spotted the Under Construction sign while dropping off a package at UPS in the same strip mall. So perhaps ill-advisedly (since this short trip wiped me out for the rest of the evening) after I dropped Rahul off at his band practice on Saturday, I decided to go down to the yarn shop.

I looked through the window. People were inside, peacefully browsing. I tried to open the door–and it was locked. I looked at my watch: 3:30. I rattled the door again. The woman came and opened it and said “We’re closed. We close at 4 on Saturdays.”

“But it’s only 3:30.” I showed her my watch.

She looked up at the wall. “It’s 4:20.”

My watch had stopped and in my feverish, cough syrup-addled state, I had no idea!

I looked in anguish at the people inside and she took pity on me and said I could come in if I didn’t take long. True to my word, I took a quick walk around the store. I took note of the price of Cascade 220 as a benchmark ($6.60, and they have tons of colors, and superwash). Then I picked up a hank of Cascade Eco Wool, one of my favorites, and nearly dropped it. $7.50 a skein. For 478 yards! The normal selling price is $15, and it’s a bargain at that price, since it’s soft, sturdy, fairly heavy weight (though I’d call it aran, not chunky as the label suggests) and I haven’t run into a single knot so far in any of the 3 478-yard skeins of it I’ve wound.

I checked a few skeins, just to be sure the price gun hadn’t misfired. They all said $7.50. So I picked up a couple of skeins in white and bought them. (I should have bought more–but I was trying to restrain myself, thinking I could always come back and get more.) I remarked on what a great price it was at the register, and to my surprise they didn’t look at it and immediately say “Oh, this is a mistake!” They just smiled and said “Yes, isn’t it great!”

But then, wouldn’t you know it, it was too good to be true. Someone else on Ravelry went in the next day and bought some and found them repricing all the skeins. They had made a mistake. They sold her the skeins she’d picked out at the cheaper price anyway, so I don’t feel too bad about holding onto the ones I bought, but alas–the permanent price of $7.50 for local Eco Wool was not to be. (Deep sigh…) At least the store has a different selection from Yarns Unlimited, and they seem to be very reasonably priced, so I look forward to going back to browse when I’m less sick and have more time. Oh, and they were giving away reusable fabric shopping bags rather than disposable plastic. I don’t know if that’s a permanent thing or not, but I appreciated it.

Since I didn’t have things like an appetite or mobility in the outside world to distract me, I also spent the weekend working on some creative projects. I got my Ravelry PDF pattern downloads working, sorta. You can download from each individual pattern page, but for some reason my store keeps saying “no PDF uploaded” when I know that’s untrue. I’ll give it a few days and try again. It’s exciting seeing people download my work–not like there’s any huge number of them, but still. Cool! I’ll add Ravelry download links to the individual pattern pages. The PDFs should print out nicely, no sidebar or comments or other browsery nonsense, and I’ve deleted most pictures from the pattern pages to make a nice copy to work from.

I also got back to work on rewriting a shawl pattern I’ve been working on for months. I think I finally have it right now–it’s a good thing I sat on it for a while, because some glaring charting errors jumped out at me when I picked it up again and started working. It’s kind of amazing how much work lies in the divide between your own scribbled notes and a product that can be used and understood by other people.

I slaved away, too, at a pattern for a little sock yarn baby sweater and a test-knit of the smallest size, only to run into various annoying pitfalls, first numerous problems having to do with getting the length right, since the front border repeats are rather long compared to the total length of the sweater, and then, as I was nearing the raglan decreases at the top, running out of sleeve stitches to decrease. AAGH! I have test knitters for the other sizes waiting for me, so I can’t let the frustration stop me, but trying to resize a sweater while your head is fogged up with germs and generic cold medicine is seriously difficult.

Here are some pictures of the prototype of the baby sweater I’m working on. I’m calling it the Botany Baby Sweater (rav link), and hoping it will be a nice sock yarn stashbuster. This version, knit at light speed in Brown Sheep Wildfoote in Mistletoe for a baby that’s due any day now, was subject to numerous terrible math errors and last-minute fudging,  and I was hoping that the new version I was working on over the weekend would be immune to the same problems. Alas, it had its own, different set of problems.

I feel like the usual 8-sts-every-other-round ratio of increase/decrease for raglan shoulders doesn’t really seem to work when it comes to babies, because, as I mentioned in an earlier post, they are apparently very squat, fat creatures. So if you want to go from a reasonable body and sleeves size to a reasonable neck size, and you decrease 8 sts every other round, it seems to me that you will end up with an extremely long and ill-fitting raglan.

Of course, this is all still a theory, since my stupid nearly-finished test knit is sitting on the dining room table looking even squattier than I had planned for, and the baby raglan patterns I’ve seen always seem to follow that same rate of increase/decrease, so it’s possible there just may be some kind of underlying fundamental problem in my calculations. Will report back later. But not tonight–I think tonight I might need to take a break, rest my brain, and work on something relaxing that won’t stand such a high chance of being ripped back after 20 hours of work.

My old friend Detergent Baby is modeling. I really need to find a more photogenic model.

The sweater’s cute, at least, isn’t it? But like I mentioned, it’s annoying trying to get all the leaves to match up with the desired lengths in the different sizes. I’m working up my new sample in Colinette Jitterbug in Velvet Leaf, and if one thing kept me going nonstop on this sweater all weekend, it was the absolutely stunning look of the Jitterbug. I love the color and the softness and the bounce of it.  The body of the sweater is knit in reverse stockinette stitch and the sleeves in stockinette, and I just love the effect of the semi-solid yarn in reverse stockinette. (Plus, it hides the slight unevenness of my reverse stockinette better than the solid Wildfoote.)

The strange thing about the Jitterbug is that, like alexandrite, or maybe like Gwen the two-face in Seinfeld, it seems to look completely different in different types of light. In incandescent light, it seems like sort of an ugly, muddy brown, but in natural sunlight, it takes on a beautiful, rich, dark green color, tinged with gold.
My thought, by the way, with the Eco Wool was to make a Botany sweater sized up for adults, with pockets–but I’m really getting ahead of myself. Maybe once the pattern is in the hands of my test knitters and I’ve successfully finished at least the newborn-sized version.

So also over the weekend, I was horrified and kind of depressed to read this story about Virgin Mobile using random Flickr photos licensed under Creative Commons in their Australian ad campaign without contacting the photographers or the people pictured in the photos for permission. It made me all sad and paranoid to read people’s comments saying that a lot of people thought the 15-year-old girl in the linked story didn’t have a legal leg to stand on because the photographer (her camp counselor) had put up the photo under a Creative Commons attribution license, meaning Virgin Mobile could use it to promote their products without paying a red cent, and (according to some commenters) Australian law doesn’t require a model release for normal, everyday people who are neither celebrities nor professional models. Even if they’re not legally obligated to obtain a release or inform the photographer, it seems like the courteous, ethical thing to do–and it seems like they should have at least paid what they would have for normal stock photos. I mean, they’re Virgin, it’s not like they can’t afford it! I don’t want to watermark my photos, and it annoys me mightily when people disable right-click on their webpages out of fear of other people stealing their content, but sometimes I wonder if they have the right idea. I mean, there really are worse things to worry about, but it sucks to think of a multinational corporation grabbing your photos off Flickr and using them for their billboard ad campaigns without your explicit consent or knowledge. Especially since some of them are considerably more derogatory/defamatory than the “dump your pen friend” one.

Ravelry’s blog feed feature has been acting up (at least for me) and lately I’ve been getting new blog posts dumped into the feed in big chunks every couple of days–so it seems like everything’s quiet, then suddenly I have a huge list of blog posts to wade through. I’ll have to spend some time going back through everything I’ve missed because of the hiccups.

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