Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Children's Placket-Neck Pullover: Done


For some reason, I faced the biggest mental block with the name of this sweater. I even had to refer back to Ravelry just to title my blog post. I made this lil sweater for my nephew, set to arrive this November. I cast on for Trellis first, but the pattern and the yarn didn't vibe very well. After two attempts with different needle sizes, I gave up and cast on for the CPNP.

Pattern: Children's Placket-Neck Pullover. Easy to follow and minimal seaming. Will definitely use again.

Source: Last Minute Knitted Gifts

Yarn: 3.5 skeins Mission Falls 1824 Cotton, Colorway 402. Size: 0-6/6-12. Because of the yarn sub, I followed instructions for the 0-6 version, except for the length measurements, of which I followed the 6-12. The final sweater dimensions are those of the 6-12 month size.

Needles: Size 6 Addis.


I enjoyed working with the MF Cotton, but will reserve it for projects with an "organic" feel. Its nubby texture workes well for this stockinette sweater, but hides cables and anything that requires sharp stitch definition.

I encountered some gauge issues... I started with Size 7 Needles, but the fabric was too thin and "holey" for me. I reknit with Size 6 needles and the resulting fabric is nice and dense, but maybe a touch thicker than I prefer. I'd rather err on the the "too thick" side, so I went with the 6's.

Final Verdict: Success! It's a versatile little sweater and because it's cotton, it should transition well through the winter/spring seasons. But for now, this sweater will collect dust while we wait for this baby to get here!


With this sweater off the needles, I am officially free to knit just for my baby! (Unless I fall weak and take on other projects...) I already started a new baby sweater set...

...The Pea Pod Baby Set

Friday, August 15, 2008

February Baby Sweater: Done


Yes, another baby project, but this one is not for my baby. Usually my friends and family like the surprise of learning their baby's sex upon delivery, which requires me to knit only gender neutral clothing. This sweater was a gift for the baby naming party of the newest girl in our family, so I was particularly thrilled to make something girly for once!

Yarn: Dream in Color Classy in Cool Fire, 1 skein (every last inch)
Needles: Size 6 Addis.

This sweater is a knitters staple, first in its Baby form and more recently, its Lady variation, so I won't rehash what we already know about this pattern. I'll just leave it at this: EZ + Yarn = Satisfying and Successful Project. Easy enough, right?

After hearing the praises of Dream in Color, I was a little stunned to find it a little rough and scratchy during knitting. I worried it wouldn't be a good match for delicate baby skin, but decided to press on. Luckily, after a nice Kookaboora bath my fears were squashed. Literally the second I dunked this puppy. the yarn softened up into drapey wooly softness. I had to exercise all my self-restraint not to rub the sopping sweater against my cheeks.
I'm currently working on yet another baby sweater, this one for my nephew due in November. After that, I'm only knitting for my baby until she's here. How is it that she's due to arrive in three short months and she has not one piece of finished knitwear? That's a problem needing attention.
Have a good weekend, everyone!
PS - I just got a new lens for my camera, hence all the pictures.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What a Bunch of Squares Baby Quilt: Done!

I'm still in the midst of my pregnancy-induced nesting binge, so I'll continue on in my parade of baby-related FOs. Here's the latest, my first completed (notice I didn't say started) quilt...

Pattern: What a Bunch of Squares from Denise Schmidt Quilts
Fabric: 1/4 yard each of 4 Amy Butler Prints from her Midwest Modern Collection, 1.5 yards light yellow Kona Cotton, 2.5 yards Amy Butler Quilting Solids in bright pink for backing.

Let it be known that I'm the most indecisive person on the planet. It takes me forever to make a decision and when I finally do, I still question it. Choosing the yellow was my most difficult decision in the quilt store. I wanted something subtle, which was not easy to find with a mix of warm and cool prints. While constructing the quilt top, I wavered back and forth whether I made the right decision to concentrate all the printed fabric into the squares. It looked to me like little color explosions in the midst of a wide expanse of washed out yellow.

Once I started the actual quilting part, I became enamored with the quilt. The punchy little boxes became delicate color cubes, reminiscent of log cabin squares. The topstitching that framed each square popped in the muted background. Not only was I in love with the quilt, but with quilting itself, the exact part of the quilting process I found most intimidating. I became so empowered that after finishing this quilt, I pulled out a full/queen-sized quilt top I finished this winter and quilted that, too! (Pictures/Write-up forthcoming).

My favorite square

Little details:
I quilted this as directed in the pattern - six sets of squares 1 1/4 inches apart per block.
I need to be less lazy and not try to sew over safety pins. I think I broke 4 needles this way. Oops.
While I used the pattern from DSQ, I followed many of the techniques outlined in The Modern Quilt Workshop:
  • I did not cut my bias tape on the bias. My quilt didn't explode or anything!
  • Rather than machine stitch one side of the binding then handstitch the other side, I used my machine and stitched the whole thing in one fell swoop.






Also, special thanks to Elizabeth at A Mingled Yarn (who is also expecting a girl in November!) for giving me the Arte y Pico Award! It's my first blog award!

I'll pass the award onto...

Nova at NovaMade
Jackie at Yarnish
Veronique at Tres Chic Veronique
Lobstah at Lobstah Life
Minty at Pepperknit

It was hard to pick just five blogs, but these are some that I rush to read as soon as they are bolded in my bloglines. You all have kept me inspired, made me laugh out loud, or just kept me entertained with your projects and musings! Thanks for that!

Rules
1) You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award, creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributes to the blogger community, no matter of language.
2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.
3) Each award-winning, has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.
4) Award-winning and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of "Arte y pico" blog , so everyone will know the origin of this award.
5) To show these rules.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Painted Silhouettes


I've wanted to make these painted silhouettes since Anna Maria Horner was on Martha last year. Finally, I found a perfect place for them - the nursery! That, plus my having the perfect amount of leftover fabric from the baby's quilt and this project was kismet.

I used the wren stencil provided in the tutorial and scoured the internets for some other animal shapes that could hold their own without much detailing. I fell in love with the fawn immediately, but waffled back and forth between the fish and an owl. I let J make the final choice and he selected the fish. which works because I want to make these stuffed fish, inspired by Ms. Julie Frick. I think the fish still needs a little something something - maybe a button eye will do the trick?



Materials
  • 3 12" x 12" x 1.5" canvases
  • less than 1/4 yard each print Amy Butler fabric, Midwest Modern collection
  • Fabric Modge Podge (I'm sure any variety will work, I just thought I would get more use out of the Fabric type)
  • Fabric Paint (I bought both Jacquard and a cheaper craft store brand and much preferred the craft store brand. The Jackquard was running and leaked through the fabric instead of adhering to it.)
  • Freezer Paper (Optional)
  • Paper Stencils
  • Paintbrushes


Comments/Modifications

I adhered to the tutorial for the most part, but diverged at a couple of points.
  • I used a standard office stapler, not a staple gun as specified in the tutorial. It wasn't even a nice Swingline or anything - just a mini variety J had in college.
  • I tried a couple of painting techniques to see which worked best for me. For the fish, I followed the tutotial to the T. However, after I applied the modge podge the fabric stretched out a buckled quite a bit. This, coupled with a hankering for some freezer paper stenciling, was enough to stop me from modge-podging the other two.
  • I had mixed results with both methods. The paint gripped much better to the modge-podged canvas because it had a bit more tooth. While I had to be more fastidious with my painting, overall, it was easier to paint and required fewer coats. Also, rest assured, the buckles and stretching magically disappeared as the canvas dried.
  • With the freezer paper stenciled versions, I ironed the freezer paper to the canvas, then painted the animal, removed the freezer paper, ironed the (now dry) paint, and then applied the modge podge. It was definitely less stressful painting with the freezer paper, but the fabric buckled during painting, then again during modge-podging. Unfortunately, the buckles are still somewhat obvious, but I'm slowly coming to terms with it. Also, the paint didn't set as well (even though it was fabric paint) and required two coats - one before and after modge-podging. Add those extra steps with the time it takes to cut your freezer paper and this method is certainly more time consuming.


All said and done, I prefer the tutorial's method. This was a refreshing project - it's been a while since I pulled out my paintbrushes and put down the needles (sewing and knitting). I can see more of these in the future.

Phew, that was a long post. Hopefully it made sense! I never thought I would write the word "modge podge" so many times in one post.
Oh, and one more thing! It's been a LONG time since I've been so smitten with a sweater. Have you all seen this?! I can't wait to cast on.


I think I'll keep the wheat color as the MC, but sub in an orangey brown and navy for the CCs.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Story of a Dress


I picked up this dress pattern and a couple yards of Amy Bulter fabric last summer with grandiose plans (I'm quite adept at making the plans, it's the execution where I struggle) of making a dress for a wedding over Labor Day weekend. When the dress didn't materialize for the wedding, I shifted goals and decided it would be my "cruise dress" for mid-September.

Fast forward to this Spring. Pattern and fabric continue to collect dust. I'm torn between making the dress and only getting to wear for a few months (weeks?) before baby belly balloons and not making the dress and not getting to wear it until next year.

I decide to press on and I finish dress before I'm even showing and now, at 24 weeks pregnant, it still fits perfectly. Many guess it's a maternity dress, of which I'm not sure if I should take offense. I decide to take as compliment.

The stats:
Pattern: Built by Wendy Dress, Style 3835
Fabric: Amy Butler, Lotus Collection, 2+ Yards
Time to Make: 2 evenings
Favorite Part of Dress: Pockets! All dresses should have them!
This being my first sewn garment in quite a while, I forgot how much quicker sewing is than knitting. From cutting the pattern pieces and fabric to sewing the final hem, this dress only took two work nights to complete. The pattern is intuitive and easy to follow, with plenty of opportunity for creative alterations. I stuck to the pattern as written for the most part, but cut for a larger size on the bottom to accommodate my er, pear shape. It worked out well and left some room for my expanding baby belly.
This dress has been finished for a few months and has already seen a lot of wear - usually once a week to work (hey, my maternity wardrobe is still pretty meager), a bridal shower, and some other more dress up occasions.
It's a winner!
Pretty neckline gathers
Oh, and thanks everyone for your comments on my last post! The quilt progresses and will make an appearance soon!