Monday, July 28, 2008

Becky's Bag

My friend Becky is moving this week to Ithaca, NY where her husband is heading to graduate school. We are going to miss her and her family. Her kids are almost exactly the same ages as mine. So this is my little token of a good-bye. Not necessarily very original, but I am pretty sure that she'll like it. Since we have been knitting buddies, maybe she can use it for her knitting projects.
I used this font for her bag. It is one of my favorites from the Cute Embroidery website.Inside fabric--lips, lips, and more lips!! This is just right for Becky as she is rather sassy! I also added a little inside pocket for more storage options.

Travel safe Becky!! We'll miss you guys!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sampler Stitch Purse

L. wanted to post a blog about her drawstring purse that she has been working on for about a year now. She just finally finished it this week. It is made out of Sugar 'n Cream--Neptune Ombre. We tried to re-locate the pattern online--I am pretty sure that we used one from Frugal Knitting Haus, but I couldn't find it to download. Since I had it saved on my computer we went ahead and posted the original pattern we based this one on even though L.'s bag is modified a bit.One thing about this purse is that L. is left-handed. I am right-handed. I taught myself to knit and purl left-handed so that I could help her. We both got it--then just recently I read something that said that left-handed knitters should just learn how to knit right-handed because all the patterns are written right-handed. I am back to teaching her how to knit right-handed. She is getting the hang of it and just started her new project--leg warmers. I wouldn't show her how to read that pattern until she finished this bag. She is hoping that they won't take her a whole year to finish. She wants to wear them this Fall to school.

FINISHED SIZE: (when flat) about 11 inches high and 10 ½ inches wide.

MATERIALS: Worsted weight yarn, about 300 yards. 24" circular needle, size 7, plus a set of double pointed needles for bottom decreasing. (Use any needle to give gauge)

GAUGE: 5 sts = 1 inch and 8 rows = 1 inch (measured over pattern sts.)

DIRECTIONS: Starting at top of bag, cast on 100 sts. Join being careful not to twist sts of round. Place marker for beg. Of round. P 1 round , k 1 round , p 1 round for top border.

First pattern: * K 2, p 2* around, for 8 rounds. Eyelet holes: * K 10, yo needle twice, k 5, yo needle twice, k 10 * repeat between* 3 more times. K next rnd, dropping off all yarn overs. (this will create holes )

Dividing row pattern: (P 1 round, K 1 round) twice , then P 1 round.

Second pattern—Seed Stitch: * K 1, P 1* around. Rnd 2: * P 1, K 1* around. Repeat these 2 rnds for 12 rnds. Work 5 rounds of dividing row pattern.

Third pattern: Rnds 1, 2 , : * K 2, P 2 * around for 2 rounds.Rnds 3, 4: * P 2, K 2* around for 2 rounds. Repeat these 4 rounds 3 more times.

Work dividing row pattern for 5 rounds:

Fourth pattern—Double seed stitch: Rnd 1 & 2: * k 1, p 1* around for 2 rnds. Rnd 3 & 4: * p 1, k 1* around for 2 rnds. Repeat these 4 rnds until 12 rnds have been worked.

Work 5 rounds of dividing row pattern, then work 2 more rounds to finish.

Bottom: K 1 rnd even.

Start decrease: * K 8, k 2 tog* repeating around. K 1 rnd even.
Next rnd: * k 7, k 2 tog*, repeating around. K 1 rnd even.
Next rnd: * K 6, k 2 tog* repeating around. K 1 rnd even.
Next rnd: * k 5, k 2 tog* repeating around. K 1 rnd even.
Next rnd:* K 4, k 2 tog,* repeating around. K 1 rnd even.
Next rnd: *K 3, k 2 tog, * repeating around. K 1 rnd even.
Next rnd. * k 2 , k 2 tog* repeating around. K 1 rnd even.
Next rnd.: * k 1, k 2 tog* repeating around. K 1 rnd even.
Next rnd: * k 2 tog * around.

Cut yarn, thread sewing needle with yarn end and draw through remaining sts. Pull to close bottom, and fasten off in inside.

Ties: Make 2: Cast on 145 sts. Do not knit, but bind off in k st. Starting at one side of bag, weave ties in and out of holes so ties end up at opposite side of bag. Starting at this side where ties ended, weave other tie in and out of eyelet holes to end up with ties at opposite sides of bag. You can make an overhand knot on each end of ties, if desired.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The bag that started it all

I am pretty sure that I am the one that started the "bag mania" around our families. The bag that started it all is the orange one on the right. I've had it for many years now. It was a bag that I copied from a bag I saw in the library one day when we were there for a story time, when L. was 4 or 5 years old I believe. I believe I discreetly followed this lady around the library to get a better look at the bag and make a few notes on a piece of paper so I could reproduce it later. It had this cute little side zippered pocket for the library card and if I remember correctly it zipped close at the top too. Then her name or her daughter's name was embroidered on the other side.
I didn't want to put a zipper in the bag so our "Library Card" pocked is velcro'd. Much easier to install and will not break or catch, etc. All great things when you are dealing with kids. These bags can hold a TON of books and then it also helps to keep all the library's books in one place so that they are less likely to get lost. And you don't have to keep swapping the stuff out of your other bags when it is time to go to the library.

Over the years we've made a number of these for friends and family. The latest one is the brown one on the left. Z. felt he needed his own, and one that wasn't too "girly" looking. So I think this makes for the 4th one in our family alone. However, instead of putting "BOOK BAG" on his we put "READING ROCKS". He is very happy with it as he got to pick out the inside lining fabric and what it said on it. Inside lining fabric.
I am all for doing whatever you may need to in order to get your kids motivated and happy about reading. If that means they each get their own library bag and card then so be it. READ ON!


"She wore an itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot tankini..." O.K. not really, let's go black, white, and red and not itsy bitsy. That is the whole point of this project.
I've been unhappy this summer with my swimwear (or lack thereof), and have tried to find something else to buy for myself without any luck. I want a tankini; however, I don't want to flash my belly for the world. So buying a tankini isn't really an option as those in the store are about 2 inches too short for me.

My cousin Tiffany was here visiting and although her tankini was store bought, she inspired me to get serious about making one for myself. (Of course this was after we made a trip to my favorite local fabric store and we spent a wad of money on new swimwear fabric, etc.) Actually I should define "wad". I tend to be a cheapie when it comes to buying clothes. I spent $28 on swimwear fabric and ended up with a large bag of about 13 pieces of fabric that are 1/2 yd. to 1 yd. pieces. That translates into AT LEAST 13 swimsuits, but most likely it will be more since not all of them will be used for suits for myself. Little girl suits need less fabric, obviously. Even if I only got 2 suits out of that for me, that I like, it is well worth the money.

I've made other swimsuits for myself, but never a tankini top. The closest thing I've done to a tankini was a maternity swimsuit I made a couple years ago. I loved that suit as it was so comfy and covered up what I wanted it to. This time around I used that same now discontintued pattern, McCalls 2772. However I did go look on Kwik Sew's website and found two patterns there that are in stock and very similar to what I used. Kwik Sew 2868 is almost exactly what I used--view A with a little more added to the length, and then Kwik Sew 2689 you could also use and lengthen the top to your liking.Sorry, but as much as I like this suit I am not going to take a picture of myself in it to post for the entire blogging world. I know...chicken!! The bottom is a skirt attached to the panty. This was actually another suit that I had made, didn't end up liking the bust and so I cut off the bottom half and added elastic to make it a separate bottom.
Back view--fully lined top, straps attached at the back, tacked down. I did not put any bra cups in this one, but I am going to try it on my already in progress next tankini top. I mean really, every girl needs at least 2 or 3 swimsuits a season, don't you think?!

If you want to get serious about making swimwear I would recommend getting your hands on the Kwik Sew Swimwear Book. It has so many helpful sewing suggestions and how to customize your suit, or adjust it if you have a certain style pattern. It is a great resource book!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cub/Boy Scout "Mom's Pin" Necklace Tutorial

Besides being a cub scout mom myself, this project is for all of you out there who happen to be Den Mothers or Scout Chairs. May the heavens smile brightly on each of you, since clearly you are SPECIAL people!! Anyone who volunteers one way or another to deal with young, rowdy boys deserves more than they will ever get! Thank you, THANK YOU to ALL you WONDERFUL scout leaders!

The inspiration for this project came by way of my friend Kathy, who is working her way through her third cub scout (out of 4) and her second boy scout (one eagle already)! At a recent pack meeting she was wearing this ribbon necklace that had all her boys' pins attached to it. Me being a "newbie," I had to get to the bottom of this cool piece of jewelry. Here is what hers looks like:

Isn't she cute?! And check out all those pins her boys have earned! (Not sure about her son's goofy face. Probably had to do with the fact that this was his 50th picture of the day and he was getting tired of them...)

Evidently someone had made these necklaces for all the moms in the pack long before we ever got here from an idea they'd seen before. (I did some digging, and this is the only place I could find that sells them -- starting around $7.00/each.) I can't bear to spend that kind of money on things that I can clearly make myself, so here is my tutorial as I make one for myself.

My supply list (from my local JoAnn's store)

1 Prepackaged Grosgrain ribbon spool, measuring 18 feet or 6 yards long (5.4 meters) of the following colors:
7/8 inch (22mm) wide Centennial Blue
5/8 inch (15mm) wide Maize Yellow
7/8 inch (22mm) wide Olive Drab
5/8 inch (15mm) wide Red

1. Cut 18 inches of each of the 4 colors of ribbon (to prevent fraying use fray check on the ends or slightly burn each end with a match)

2. Sew the Yellow ribbon on top of the Blue, down both sides. Remember to use coordinating thread for the top and the bottom ribbons (different colors for each!)

3. Sandwich and pin the blue/yellow side in between the red and green for the back of the necklace. Don't sew yet...

4. Cut an angle on the front of each side making them match up in the middle. (You only need to trim a small triangle at the bottom, but cut them at opposite sides--see picture--cut one starting from the left and one starting from the right--then they will match up in the middle) Remember to burn the newly cut ends again.

5. Pin the fronts together matching up the angles and making sure that red ribbon will lay flat on green ribbon, since you haven't sewn them yet. Remember to again switch your threads to match the red and green ribbons.

6. Starting at the back (with it sandwiched), sew the red onto the green. Make a continuous loop around the red ribbon until you get to the back again. Sew a square in the back to reinforce the stitching.

Here are pictures of the back portion, with the underneath side showing the reinforcing square.

Here is the front, showing how they line up on both sides. You can see that my stitching continues on all 3 sides of the red as I work my way back to the top (neck) portion.

The finished product! I am very happy with how it turned out. I think it took me about 20 minutes to finish. Well worth my time and money.

I started out just buying ribbon so that I could make one for myself, but after searching for the right color and width of olive drab, I could NOT find anything that would work in the 'cut by the yard' or 'prepackaged' section of multiple fabric stores. It was both the wrong color green and not the right width for what I had already purchased of the blue, red, and yellow. So, when I finally came across the right color, I jumped for joy! Who knew that olive drab would be so hard to find! Maybe, you'll have better luck than me...

Total cost of 4 spools of ribbon: $12.00. Which will make 12 necklaces ($1.00 a piece). Clearly I don't need all 12 of them, so I am going to make the rest for the other new scout moms in our pack.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Jean Skirts--longer versions

Taking a cue from Emily we tried the jean skirts mentioned in the July '08 issue of Family Fun magazine. My girls wanted longer skirts than what was shown in the magazine and so we ended up using 2 pairs of jeans per skirt. To get the triangle piece I cut off a leg of another pair of jeans and split it open then used that to place in the skirt. I had to use one leg for the front and the other leg to fill in the back. If you were making this skirt, long version, for an adult I'm sure you would need two pairs of jeans to complete it as well.
I must say that M. wanted hers a little shorter, at the knee, but when she brought me this particular pair of jeans I thought it would be so much more cute in a longer version. I told that we can make a shorter jean skirt out of another pair of jeans. We made hers first and then made a skirt for L.
Love this cargo style made into a skirt.We had a little difference of opinion on whether it looked better to have her tuck in her shirt or not. I like it tucked in and she likes it hanging out.
Detail of back triangle and topstitching.

I left the jeans as long as they were, added the triangle and then adjusted the hem length accordingly. I pressed and hemmed the skirt using denim topstitching thread--which I LOVE!

I did not fabric glue our skirts either. I'm not thrilled about that and I can sew; therefore, I do it. I also used denim topstitching thread on the other seams so that it looks like we bought the skirts this way. That can be more important as your kids get older. However, they both have been thrilled with their skirts. I am pleased with how they've turned out and am debating on trying one for me now as I love a good pair of jeans.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Yellow Floral Top

Well, last night we did finish L.'s shirt, also Simplicity 3546. It was a collaborative effort on our part. She did the majority of the straight sewing--side seams, shoulder seams, hems, ties--while I did the harder stuff--setting in the sleeves and other gathers, along with the neckline. She did a good job and she is happy to be wearing it today.
Hers didn't have any embellishments on it except for adding some pockets. That is more her style. No elastic in the sleeves and no added anything. We did have to adjust the neck, but I think it is mostly because of the fabric. It is somewhat gauzy and therefore "stretches" somewhat. The neck was a little too open and we pulled it in a bit. She still needs to wear a camisole or something underneath even after having adjusted the neckline. I think the next ones we'll have to raise the neckline somewhat--even though it does just pull over your head.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Peasant Tops

I knew that this pattern would be discontinued for sure. I've been using this one for about 5 or 6 years now--when my oldest daughter was only 6. But it is such a good basic peasant top for little girls. My youngest daughter B. has needed some new tops and I found a couple cute pieces of fabric and just embellished them a bit. This first one I added some lace and ribbon that I already had in my stash and put it only onto the front. The thing about this style of shirt is that it is hard for little girls to determine on their own the front from the back. I also added about 4" to the length. I like the shirts a bit longer so that they aren't exposing their bellies as they are playing, etc. I also love the pink and lime green combo.

The second one was the from the remaining fabric from her big sisters' shirts. I tried to make it more closely resemble their style of shirt, but still used this same pattern. I just added much more length on both the hem and the sleeves. I put a casing in the sleeve for elastic and added ties. Detail on the front--attached a piece of ribbon and a piece of rick rack.
Here is M.'s shirt that we based B.'s off of--Simplicity 3546

L. wants to sew her own shirt, and at this point we'll see how she does. We'll have to post her handiwork later. I'm going to have to help her sew it. This isn't the easiest pattern to learn to sew on with it's gathers, casings, facings, etc.


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