A Spunky Rumpus KAL

This was a cool knit along to be a part of. The pattern was really a recipe so everyone has a different shawl at the end. This is how mine turned out.

 

Rumpus Recipe Shawl in Family Pendragon Mystic MCN Sport, Eden and Family Pendragon Superwash Merino/Silk, Violet (trim for Miss Giraffe). Modeled by my darling Dancing Queen who, upon hearing my input for her poses, informed me, “Mama, I have modeled for you before” in and oh, so teenager tone.

She’s right. She has. And she is a natural. Until she gets goofy.

 

But, back to the shawl. To get the idea of scale, here it is on me.

 

Three things about this knit.

1. I love knit alongs! I love the chit chat, the exchange of ideas, the friendly incentive to keep going (and to finish). I love to see how one pattern can turn out so different when knit by different people and with different yarns. This one was especially fun because of the mix and match nature of the pattern, and because the people in this Ravelry group are so fun.

2. I love Family Pendragon! Every yarn, every fiber, it is all perfectly lovely. I love the colors and the textures. They do not disappoint. Check it out!

3. I love the way the layered ruffles look! I did not, however, love how long it took to knit them. Don’t even get me started on the binding off. Whew! The last row and bind off of the last ruffle took me an hour! But it was good movie knitting. And I love the end result!

Anything else that I have to say about this knit (and there was quite a bit) I said on my Ravelry project page here.

And with that, Christmas knitting is officially begun. Wanna guess who this is for?

 

 

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My latest sewing adventure has ended and I am thrilled with the results!

The pattern is Simplicity 2588 and the fabric I used was 3 yards Joel Dewberry Fabric- Aviary II Collection – Sparrows – Bark. (I don’t usually blog about sewing, so that sentence felt very awkward. How does one describe fabric? Is there a format?) I got the fabric from this Etsy shop. And, hey! I found out that fabric shopping is almost as fun as yarn shopping! Who knew?

I changed only one thing – I replaced the fabric belt with an old faux leather belt that came with a pair of pants and has been sitting in the back my sock drawer for years and years. It works perfectly.

This dress was inspired by a dress that I can’t afford, found here. I like mine better, but I still want that one, too. Ha! Amazingly, as expensive as it is to sew your own clothes, my handmade version of this dress dress cost me about half of the price of store bought one.
Disappointingly, The Man doesn’t like it. I don’t know about you, but I dress for my man and I want him to like what I am wearing. It is very discouraging that he hasn’t really liked any of my homemade dresses so far.

But, I really like it. A lot. A really a lot. Oodles and oodles a lot. So I can’t wait to wear it to my cousin’s wedding in two weeks.

Next I am going to try to sew some corduroy pants for The Boy and a dress for each of the girls to wear to the wedding. In two weeks. We’ll see if I can do it….

… in between all the spinning and knitting that I also want to do….

 

 

Two More for the Wardrobe

The sewing machine has been a buzz again and I have two more dresses to show for it.

First up was a kind of personal challenge. I had two yards of jersey knit and I wondered if I could make a dress with it. I had a design in mind and I wanted to be able to nurse The Fraggle while wearing it. I acheived both, but it does require a tank top underneath (I am a modest kind of gal).

This fabric at first did not really do it for me, and I started out using it as a kind of junk fabric to make the pattern with. After it was all figured out my intention was to cut it apart and make the real dress in something more “me”. But, once I put it on I really liked it. I don’t think that I need a pattern to make another one with the originally intended fabric (a lavender and white striped jersey knit). That will be proven (or not) when I next get a sewing bug. I have no pictures of this one, because I can’t find it right now… maybe it is in the laundry? I wear it that much!

The second dress was a variation of the green dress that I made a few weeks ago (blogged here). Using the same pattern, I changed the neckline and the length and fullness of the skirt. This one feels more formal to me and I can’t nurse in it. I guess we will see how much I wear it once The Fraggle is weaned.

This fabric was leftover from a blouse that my grandma made for me when I was a teen (why she had four yards leftover is beyond me. She must have approached fabric purchases the same way that I approach yarn purchases). I was going through the “black” phase, as most teens seem to do and the blouse was a 1990’s fashion wow. I can’t look at this dress and not think of that blouse… and the bangs that I wore with that blouse. In time I hope the negative sentiment fades because I really do like it and I want to wear it. Time will tell.

Oh, and for the bonus, those headbands that I showed you how to make (here)? Yup, I made some for these dresses, too! 🙂

All of this sewing has been very fun, but I am getting frustrated with my lack of knowledge. So far, I have made up each of the patterns that I have sewn, and I have come to the end of that road. So, I just ordered some patterns and some fabric from Etsy so that I can keep going on this quest to fill my closet with handmade clothing. Should be fun.

Tomorrow we will start a new weekly comic strip. The Bookworm and I have been working on it for a few weeks and we are so excited to be putting it on the blog! See you tomorrow!

Letting Go

We all have at least one. I know that I do. It haunts my dreams and lurks in the back of my mind. I tell myself that I will take care of it, but I mostly operate in denial. It holds me back from my full potential and takes up valuable resources. It is time to deal with it. What is this insidious evil lurking in the background of my life? What dark secret am I hiding?

Celandine is it’s name, but yours may go by a different one. A love affair gone wrong, the flames have fizzled, the vision has blurred. I know now that I will never complete this knitting project. It has sat in it’s unfinished state, forgotten and gathering dust, for far too long.

It really is a shame, too, because I had such high hopes for this knit. The silk yarn is amazing (not to mention expensive), the pattern is intriguing, and the color is perfect. I once had visions of wearing this cute little top with my red and white flower print skirt. It was going to be beautiful.

But, reality has to surface eventually, and according to my Ravelry page on this project, I have not touched it in two years (wow! Two years? I started this before I got pregnant with The Fraggle? That is a lifetime ago)! So it is time to let go.

Now comes the tricky part. Frogging. Not my favorite thing to do, but even more so with all these little lace squares. And my heart breaks when I think of all the work that went in to each one. I bought 0000 needles to make them with! But then….

Lightbulb!

Headbands.

Cute, right?

So, I am letting go, but with reservations. And I will wear Celandine in my hair, instead.

Knitting Knecklace

See what I made?

Wanna make one, too? Here’s how I did it. (If you want to just buy one, I got the idea here. Mine are not as dainty and elegant as the ones in this Etsy shop. Drool city, I tell you!)

This necklace takes only one yard of laceweight yarn, two brass ring stitch markers and a necklace chain. You will need scissors, pliers and cutters (I used my leatherman), and two tapestry needles (or skinny DPNs or something).

First, I made a teeny, tiny skein with one yard of yarn. Wrapping it around four fingers (slightly spread apart) seemed to give me the right size. I used the needles to hold it while I twisted the loop into a skein.

And finished it off with this little manuever.

(That looks like the yarn is thread through the eye, but it isn’t. I just used the end of the needle to pull the one end of the skien through the other)

Next, I cut my chain in half. My chain was a little long, so I actually cut about an inch out of the middle.

Using the pliers, I then opened the brass ring and thread it through one end of the skien and one end of the chain. Then I bent it shut.

After repeating that last step on the other side, I put on my new necklace delightedly.

Not bad. Not bad at all.

Yarn used was Knit Picks Shimmer Hand Dyed in Elderberry; brass rings were from Knit Picks also, found here (mine were used and so no longer look brassy, but have faded into a more silvery look); necklace chain was found in my jewelry box (no link… haha!)

There She Sews Again

In my daydreams of sundresses and strappy sandals (as described yesterday), my head is usually adorned in matching headbands. So, of course, I had to engineer a pattern for that, too. What I came up with was so easy, and looks so great, I thought I would show you how.

Welcome to another WoolAndChocolate tutorial! 🙂

How to make a reversible headband for summer wear.

1. Make your pattern. Roughly it should look like this. A single piece of paper isn’t long enough, so you may need to tape another page to the first to make it long enough.

2. Cut out two pieces, placing the wide end on the fold of your fabric. I chose two very similar fabrics for this one, but it is fun to mix and match contrasting fabrics, as well.

3. Sew the two pieces together, right sides facing each other. Sew along the sides, leaving the ends open. Now, notch the curves so that they lay flat and trim wherever it’s needed.

4. Turn right side out and press it flat.

5. Now turn the ends under and press them in place.

6. Using a matching thread, top stitch around the entire edge.

7. Tie on your head and enjoy!

Sundress Prototype

It is not often that I pull out my sewing machine and try to design clothing for myself, so last week was very, well… interesting. With the hot summer weather approaching I have visions of sweet sundresses and strappy sandals. I imagine an entire wardrobe made by me, for me in gorgeous colors and airy fabrics. I started searching for inspiration on the internet and found bucket loads of ideas. Then I went stash diving – not the knitters stash dive into wool and alpaca, but the seamstress’s stash dive into cotton lawn and organza. This is what I came up with –

Being without a pattern, I remembered the wisdom of my grandma, and I got out some plain muslin to make a first draft. I somehow managed to fashion a dress and then (regrettably before taking a photo) I cut it into pattern pieces. With those pieces, I made this-

Okay, okay, I will model it for you…

(Why is it that when I model my knitting, I feel awesome, but when I model my sewing, I just feel like a dweeb?)

So, this little green number still has some areas that need work. It is too short and the skirt is too full for my figure (a feature that looked nice in muslin, but not so nice in lined cotton). I like it, though – it is comfortable and cute and nice and cool.

This dress is fully lined, because I love lining dresses (call me crazy), and because the fabric is a little shear, and if I have to wear a slip with it, it will hang in my closet for two years before getting thrown in the Goodwill bag having never been worn!

I have also completed a second dress, this time with an a-line skirt and gathered bodice –

But it doesn’t fit right and I think I am going to have to take it apart and try again. That is a little discouraging, so I have been stalling for a couple of days.

All this sewing is exhausting and I remember now why I turned to knitting. But, it is rewarding, too, and I am getting better at it as I go. Maybe before the heat gets here, I will have that wardrobe that I am dreaming of.

Or maybe I will just knit another pair of socks….

That Was Easy

A new creation just flew off my needles with only one frogging on the path to success.

Three things about this knit.

1. It doesn’t get much easier than this. A garter stitch scarf on large needles, picked up 32 stitches along the center of one side, kfabbed in each stitch on the way back, then worked a blown up version of the Stella Pixie Hat over 64 stitches, grafting the top together with some kitchener magic. My only difficulty was determining the amount of stitches to pick up, so I did have to frog it once, when I realized that it would only fit someone with a freakishly small head.

2. It doesn’t get much easier than this. My daughter’s smile was all the reward I needed. She is so easy to please and though I hate this yarn, it was worth it.

3. It doesn’t get much easier than this. Even the photo shoot was short and sweet. I’ve got a great knitted item on a beautiful model just as the sunset cast a beautiful pinkish tint to the world. That is a formula for fabulous pictures.

Oh, and the remaining 20 yards or so of this yarn went in the garbage. That was easy, too. 🙂