Monthly Archives: March 2016

Scrap Sunday: Sleeping Bag

Just a quick one for this Sunday, but a cute one.

Mr. No Thank You agreed on my suggestion on a mummy made sleeping bag for his dolly as I thought a plastic bag is not the appropriate choice. So he chose the fabric, I took the measurements and my little assistant (the girl, Mr. No Thank you was totally exhausted from the decision making) helped me draw the design and then the pattern.

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I decided to line the sleeping bag as facings on such a tiny scale would be a nightmare and even if it is only a sleeping bag for a doll, I still want it to look nice. Even as a child I always found the doll dresses cheaply made. I guess I already had an eye for top quality.

After the slight inside out problem last week, I decided to make a tiny sample first, just to see that I leave the right seams open this time. And I managed. Hard to believe, I know, but I did.

IMG_4624The sleeping bag went down well with the new owner – not only had the doll to sleep for three days non stop but he also requested a few new clothes 🙂

And I am rather happy too. It is actually cuter than the one for the life sized baby.

And I am seriously considering to create an e-book – except that I do not know how to do this or where to even start. But never mind. I am the proud owner of a brand new computer, surely there is a button for E-book creation. I’ll just put it on my to do list 🙂

 

 

Busy Business Bee

I had a very busy week. Businesswise. Well, obviously also familywise but that is the norm so doesn’t count.

So, apart from the observed knitting class (a crazy one, really. Not only did almost everyone turn up for once but there were also 2 new people and 2! who came to visit because they were interested in taking over the knitting class plus an unusually high number of children. It was crazy. But good. The observer was most impressed by the atmosphere in the class and how I managed to do my thing – I guess the poor man didn’t quite expect a bunch of chattering women with small children climbing all over the place whilst discussing numbers on needles and yarns and patterns and how to calculate clever things 🙂 ) – see I closed the bracket so we are back to the initial sentence – I also had a lot of custom orders to be finished.

Apart from about 10 yoga bags (another bracket but just to tell you that the pictures are really bad as taken in a rush this morning so I am not going to show you I think) I also had to knit a woolen cardigan for a little boy except that I didn’t know the parents nor the little boy and their personal taste.  Plus it was meant to be a special present, so I thought that  something classic rather than crazily colourful would be more appropriate.

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I have used my favourite pattern for these kind of things: Little Rascals by Julia Stanfield. I am a big fan of top down seemless knits.

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I have used Lana Grossa Cool Wool big, a lovely soft merino which can even be washed in the washing machine if you really have to. The shade is amazing too. It is a rather darkish blue for the classic look but it is a melange so there is something going on, it is not just a plain blue.

Just blue would possibly have been really classic. But also really boring, so I thought a bold red stripe with white edges will make it look fresh and sporty whilst still classic enough to not be offensive to someone who does not share my love of less obvious colour combinations. IMG_4610

So that was all nice and classic and precious (wool, remember) but a tiny voice of the little 2 year old girl in me said: “yuk, boring!” and it began to dawn on me that maybe the 2 year old who will actually wear the cardigan might not think: “Oh what a lovely and nice little cardigan in a neutral colour. It will go with many of my smart trousers and shirts for special occasions” so I decided to add a little thing to the outfit which would be more every day nursery style and might find more appreciation from the little boy (obviously without knowing him, I might be totally wrong)

So, this is the Wendebindemuetze from klimperklein with a triangular scarf.

Which leads to a slightly maritime outfit 🙂

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or slightly more classic, just with stripes

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I like it and hope the little boy and his parents will do, too. And obviously the customer who had ordered the cardigan 🙂

 

Scrap Sunday: the homemade tag blanket – a tutorial

I am really busy these days businesswise and I actually have to follow a rather strict time table in order to fulfill all pending orders. That sounds spectacular, I know. And I like it. Even if it is slightly, just slightly exaggerated. But I do have to make a few yoga bags (manly ones. I hope I will achieve this goal this time round) and knit a cardigan plus a birthday dress for my niece (ok, that is a private matter but it definitely has a deadline). Plus I have to write a scheme of work for my class “numeracy through knitting”. So while I was busy doing the latter, thinking a lot about numbers, shapes, patterns and spacial sense, I needed a break and thought finally making that little tag blanket might be a welcome change.

As super-ambitious teacher and generally smug person I thought I’ll spoil my readers with a little tutorial as I am clearly an expert of turning things inside out as I had recently experienced with the coat.

So here is how it is done properly 🙂

You’ll need two nice pieces of fabric, I went for woven cotton, I guess, jersey might be softer but I wanted to use the cute animal fabric from the advent calendar. I also cut a really broken and scratchy face cloth into shape to add some texture. For the tags you can use all bits of left overs, ribbons, labels, bits of fabric,…. Just make sure you’ll have all the edges sealed. The easiest will be to fold them and have the open edges inside the seam.

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You could also add some crackling material, either in the main part or, as someone had commented last time, just in some of the tags, which I did for this one.

As one of the fabrics features unsuitably dangerous sharks, I cut (twice) a few blue waves and stitched them together with some of that crackling foil.

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I left the piece open at the bottom to be able to turn it inside out and that open side will later be inside the seam of the blanket anyway.

Next, you carefully arrange the layers. It works best if you smugly explain your baby or any other person present how brilliant you are that you whip this up during a “numeracy through knitting scheme of work” break, just before you’ll have to go shopping. And that you are going to take some pictures for your blog readers to explain them how things are done.

Basically, all you have to do is to put the layers in a random order on top of each other not caring about right and wrong side as long as you are taking pictures of the process. And pin everything in place. Make sure that all tags are looking inside, in line with the seam. There is no need to take pictures of the five tags that you pinned sticking out in the first attempt as you will realise early enough which way to place them. You are a clever and well rested person after all.

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Take an other picture to show your readers that the right side of the top layer is facing down as you are going to turn the whole thing. You are not stupid after all.

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Stitch around the four sides. For added safety, you should secure each tag by going back and forwards again. Actually, don’t go around the whole thing. Leave a gap of a couple of cm for the turning. Be proud of remembering that. I’d take a few pictures of that really.

IMG_4593Even if by now you might be realising that you actually hadn’t payed attention when you put the first layer of fabric on the table. And that the sharks will be facing inwards after turning. They are inappropriately dangerous for a small baby anyway and it might be better that way. No need to get the seam ripper out. You only have about 5 min until the baby sitter comes anyway.

IMG_4594Just make sure your readers will see that gap properly. That is the only important thing here.

And then turn the inside out. IMG_4595This might now be the moment where you are slowly realising that not only the wrong side of the sharks but also the old and scratchy face towel will be on the outside and the cute animals will be completely hidden. But possibly give the whole thing some added stability. And that scratchy face towel will really have a very different feel and the baby will enjoy that. At this stage it is all about different textures. After all this is why you created all these different tags.

So you could just keep turning the whole thing. Or you do take that seam ripper and take the whole thing apart.

No it is probably time for shopping. A bit of fresh air might not be the worst at this stage anyway. So do that and continue with this quick project later.

When reassembling the layers, just remember one thing: The two sides that are supposed to be on the outside later, need to be on the inside, with the tags in between them. The middle layer can either be underneath everything or on top of everything. Doesn’t matter. As long as the two pretty sides are facing each other and have the tags in between them. Easy. And actually follows the same principle as the crackling material in the waves. Remember when you stitched them together correctly in only one attempt?

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The benefit of this slightly longer process with the few extra steps before this one is that you will actually have a line of dots from the previous stitches showing you where to sew. Which is really helpful. So just be proud of it again.

Shorten the seam allowance, especially the corners.

And turn the whole thing inside out. You can either close the gap by hand or top stitch around all sides and close the gap during that process.

Now, it is optional to iron the whole thing. I decided not to take pictures of the ironing process as I would like to leave a bit of room for imagination to keep my readers active.

Time for more pictures. And to be proud. Before you finally go back to your numeracy scheme of work and all this thinking about spacial recognition and logic.

IMG_4597IMG_4598Needless to say that the baby was most impressed by the cleverness of his mum. And the crackling waves are so much fun. I really enjoy playing with them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bib project – part 3

You’ll probably be expecting scrap projects rather than endless thoughts about the perfect bib but a bib is actually a perfect scrap project too. So, lets just quickly look back: in part 1, we have mainly been discussing the different requirements one might have (age, material to be caught by said bib,….). In part 2, we were looking at different shapes and sizes.

Now, it is time to look at different materials.

I am actually fantasizing of a bib with multiple disposable layers of a highly absorbent and waterproof yet thin material. When the top layer is used up, you just tear it away and the next one will be ready for the next gush. Until NASA has developed this for an affordable price I will have to content myself with the fabrics available through regular fabric retailers but I would like to claim here and now that this has been my idea! I guess I should apply for a patent before announcing my brilliant ideas in such a public space. So lets have a look at other ideas for now.

I think I have shown you the farbenmix idea of upcycling old t-shirts. Definitely a great idea for a personalised gift. Just imagine how pleased the father of the child will be when he discovers that his offspring is wearing a bib made of his old Rolling Stones T-Shirt!

However, for our purposes (remember, these posts are about sensitive matters potentially being ejected through  a baby’s mouth), thin layers of old T-shirts will just not do.

When I read the suggestion by Hamburger Liebe to use a layer of an old towel I found it a bit excessive but I did give it a try and it is – well – close to perfect for our needs.

You have already seen these twos: a layer of a nice jersey on top with an old towel at the back, both held together with a contrasting binding made of ribbing.  The pirate bib is made using the free pattern from Hamburger Liebe, however I quickly made my own pattern to be able to have the button on the side rather than at the back. Much better for tiny babies who lazily lounge around the whole day.

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As the width of the ribbing as it comes is almost too short to go around my version,  I have to stretch it quite a lot which makes the bib curl up a bit after a couple of washes – I suppose the jerseys are still shrinking unlike the old towel which had been washed over and over again. This effect wasn’t planned but comes in handy when it is about catching material that is thicker than fresh milk. Personally I am really pleased with that but I quickly gave up the idea of making them for others as gifts as they do not look that great after a couple of hot washings and without ironing (lets be realistic here).

My next try was a version with a woven fabric instead of the jersey.

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This change of fabric type was a slightly negative experience as the surface of at least this particular woven fabric is surprisingly slippery, so the ejected matter just slides down and lands on the baby’s cloths. Which really isn’t the aim of a bib.To be able to give a proper verdict more extensive studies would be needed. Is it just this particular fabric or a feature of woven fabrics in general? I am not sure. Frequent washing have made things slightly better but according to my bib experience, digested milk adheres better to jersey than woven fabric. Who would have thought this was one of the crucial discoveries in this quest!

I really would like to mention one very interesting version found in a German blog for a triangular scarf with 4 layers, two pretty outer layers, one highly absorbent and one waterproof one. Clearly, this mother has found the perfect and pretty solution for her child. I haven’t actually made this one although it sounds almost perfect and I guess I would have tried it if I had had the two special materials at home. This package sounds very durable but I will  actually still have to change our bibs frequently. The main aim of the perfect bib might well be to keep the child underneath dry but unlike saliva, vomit will smell (and yes, baby vomit smells, even if it is only milk – believe me, I know what I am talking about ( as will probably all people who dare to intrude into my personal space :)) I have it constantly in my hair, behind my ears, on my neck, shoulders, often a little puddle in that middle section of my bra, as far down as my trousers, just everywhere. It does smell. Sorry, where were we? Ah, yes, so whilst the main aim of the perfect bib is to keep the child dry, I still tend to change the bibs frequently for air freshening reasons. So, I don’t actually need a bib that can stay on for hours and the old towel at the back soaks up enough and the cloths will still be dry until I change the bib.

I like the look of the contrasting binding but as I mentioned, the ribbing is a tiny bit too short so I did try with normal stretchy jersey.

IMG_4515It does keep the shape better but I still stretched it a bit too much. This bib project is actually the perfect practice for finishing curvy edges (armholes and necklines). It is a bit fiddly and as I am usually in a hurry, the results are not great if you get the chance of a closer look.

The last bib I have made so far has no contrasting binding. I put both fabrics right sides together, stitched around, leaving a little gap to turn the whole thing inside out, trimmed the seam allowance (before turning obviously) and top stitched which closed as well the little gap.

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It looks a bit more boring but was definitely even quicker to make. I also underestimated how loose the neckline will suddenly be without the stretchy binding. This bib does not sit very snug around the neck so it is not very efficient (nothing a second button couldn’t fix though).

So, this is where I am now. Did I already settle on the perfect version? Not really, I have to optimise the shape to make sure it sits tightly around the neck (well, without hurting obviously). I also want to make it a tiny bit wider on the sides to cover the shoulders a bit better. Which might then look a little bit silly. Well, because of the stiffness of the whole bib it looks like a cape already as soon as it turns slightly to the side  which reminds me a bit of Superman (so we had Shakespeare, John Wayne and Superman –  I am one proud mother, aren’t I)

The other thing is, that i haven’t given up the idea of a triangular version yet. The normal bib shape just looks so babyish and uncool. I rather like the bald John Wayne with big round eyes look. So, I guess this will be the next step – a triangle with toweling at the back. We will see if that covers enough or if it will just have to be the classic bib shape.