Patterns: June 2012 Archives
I started by cutting out a size 3 short from the Freshcut which turned out to be a bit big for my 3 yr old but I don't mind because that just means she can rock these shorts next year too. Then I cut two 4 in. wide strips about twice the length of the shorts for my side ruffles. With RS together press the ruffle in half lengthwise and then stitch down the open side using a ¼ in. seam. Turn ruffle RS out and press flat centering the seam. Run the ruffle strip through your ruffler foot stitching down the middle, along the seam. I set my ruffle to pleat at 12 sts, but if you want more ruffles set it at 6. If you don't have a ruffler foot (see my post on the ruffler foot here) then you can run a basting stitch down the center and pull the bobbin thread to gather as much or a little as you like. Fold each short piece in half and press a center seam. Pin ruffle- seam side down- to the short along the center seam you just pressed. Stitch in place along the center, going over your ruffler or basting stitch. Trim ruffle. Follow remaining short instructions to complete your short.
If you opt for shorts in a solid color, you can add some kick with a butterfly or owl appliqué and ruffle in the same material. You can also add the ruffle just to the bottom or right below the elastic casing for some waist drama. It is also fun to play with the length of these shorts. I love having some longer shorts for my daughter; it really fills out her wardrobe. These shorts are quick and fun and a perfect complement to any little boy's or girl's closet.
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1) Shrek Hat: My daughter is IN LOVE with Shrek so much that I knit her a hat for her 3rd birthday and she has rarely taken it off since. She has nicknamed her soon to be sibling, Shrek. So the new baby must have a Shrek hat to come home in at the very least so my oldest will know her at once to be a kindred spirit and welcome her right away (I hope!). This hat is knit with a combination of wool and cotton to make it a 3 season hat but it can easily be knit in just cotton for a spring/summer baby or merino or cashmere for a fall winter baby. Just make sure you get just the right shade of Ogre green!
2) Baby slippers: of the 2 must haves for baby on my list slippers make the cut. Hats and slippers were something I used for my #1 everyday no matter what else she wore. Socks slip off so easily but slippers were worth their weight in gold. I love the styling of Chaussons Mignons slippers and also how simply they slip on. I don't want to have to deal with fangles (buttons, ties, or buckles) on newborn so I am glad to have found a slipper pattern that is both cute for boys and girls and slips right on. I am going to work these up in a merino blend for softness but make sure they are washable because you never know where that spit up will land.
3) Toys: it is never too early to play with your babe even if it is just you acting silly with a knit toy. I love all patterns by Rebecca Danger (see Albert and my Murphy Dog) and Basil the Dino are perfect for boys and girls and will last into the preschool age while snazzing up the nursery. You can easily adjust the size by using a larger or smaller gauge of yarn and needle. Plus should your little lock onto this animal as their favorite, can't go anywhere without it, "oh no we left it at the restaurant which is now closed what are going to do now" you can knit another just like it. No need to scour store shelves to find its twin. Just make sure you choose a washable yarn of this on since it is sure to go places you wish it hadn't.
4) Hats: I love a good hat for babies when they are first born till about 3-4 months (when they can hold up their head and start to lose the monk hair). It not only keeps the babes warm but also adds some style to what can be a boring onesie streak. The Poppy hat could work for boys or girls depending on the yarn color and texture. For boys, I would go for a dark yarn or a denim textured yarn and something chunky. For girls, I would go for a finer gauge and I love the variegated look of the cover picture or a tweedy yarn. If this hat is destined for a newborn or less than 2-3 yr old, omit the button and add some style with a duplicate stitch instead. This hat is so amazing it could work well alone.
5) Pants or diaper covers: whether you are cloth diapering or not, you will want to show off those little legs in something super cute and more than a little fun. Das Monster leggings are both. With fun stripes that can be sized to your liking or omitted for a solid look; these leggings are sure to bring a smile to everyone's face. They fit right over an onesie or under a t-shirt or dress for easy dressing. The fun monster face on the bum will be as much fun to knit as it will to see in action for tummy time, first crawling or walking. Plus you know the old sibling will just giggle uncontrollably when they see their new baby with a smile on its bottom. Be sure to knit these leggings in a washable cotton blend for durability and to prevent pilling.
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Don't be fooled by this attractive nursery picture: the crib quilt and bumpers are considered unsafe. Check out my safe recommendations below.
For first time moms it can often be overwhelming and excited to decorate a nursery for your first little one. However, many stores, magazines and merchants can lead you astray with adorable pictures and over-the-top nursery decorating ideas. Here are some new regulations and recommendations on what not to make (or use) for your nursery and some helpful tips on what to make instead.
Crib Bumpers: This cute, decorative, soft boundary
tie to your crib and run the perimeter of the inside of your crib and were
designed to keep your babe from bumping his/her head on the side. While crib
bumpers have not been declared against the law, the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics,
who in my book makes baby law) have officially come out against crib bumpers.
The AAP takes the stand that bumpers do not really protect against injury and
can increase the risk of SIDS, suffocation, entrapment and strangulation. While
these decorative beauties do add a wow factor to you crib, the effect is not
worth the risk. (Read more here)
Instead of creating a crib bumper, make a fitted sheet and crib skirt combo to really show off your nursery colors and beautiful prints. These items are must haves for baby and the crib skirt can hide all your clutter or abundant baby toys once your little one has gone to sleep.
Crib Quilt: these little gems are a beautiful
way to show off your or a loved one's quilting skills and a great way to bring
more life and color into your nursery but a baby should not be covered with a
blanket or quilt until they are old enough to remove it themselves should they
become overheated or trapped. Make instead a slightly bigger quilt for floor
play, car travel or outdoor play instead. You can change out the quilt backing
from lightweight cotton to a heavier weight cotton or home décor fabric for a floor
quilt or laminated cotton for outdoor play. A floor
quilt will get much more use then a crib quilt which might be too small by
the time your little one it old enough to use it as intended and will provide
comfort for tummy time and a great backdrop for all those pictures!
3) Crib Pillows: Pillows have been declared dangerous for the crib for the same reason as crib bumpers but have been so for many years. Infants can easily get their face stuck under the pillow, inhale the pillow or become stuck under them so they pose a suffocation danger and increase the risk of SIDS. It will be at least 1-2 years before it is safe to leave your child unattended with a pillow in the crib so create some floor pillows instead. The floor is where most of your infant's play will take place and consequently where you will spend most of your time so make it comfy for all parties. Floor pillows make great seats for you, dad and siblings as well as an opportunity to make your nursery bright and engaging. You can appliqué animals or quotations of love and laughter while making sure you are as comfy as baby. Plus they make ideal reading areas when your infant grows into a toddler and beyond. I love Amy Butler's Gumdrop pillows because they are so fast but you can mix and match each panel to create a look for you.
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For the 4th celebration I have revamped my Felt Play: Wand with Magic Streamers in mighty red, white and blue. This is a fun alternative for younger kids how want to join in the fun without all the pyrotechnics. The variegated yarn streamers swish through the air with all the splendor of sparklers with no danger for little hands. The new design features the honored stars and stripes in fun felt that will last all the days leading up to the 4th of July and for many weeks after while the euphoria lasts even after the banners come down. My little one, who is on the cusp of preschool age but still a toddler in our book loves swinging her wand around, delights over the streamers and the occasional whacking o' the dogs goes unnoticed by the victims. I stuffed my wand extra this time because a year after my original creation made its debut, I noticed it is slumping a bit. I almost doubled the stuffing and the wand is stiff and much easier to swing and twirl.
Here's how to make your own Kid Safe Sparkler with magic steamers:
2 sheets of 9x 12 in. felt in Crystal Blue, Red and White
1 skein or leftovers of skeins in many colors or variegated colors. I used cotton for durability.
Download and cut out the wand pattern from my downloadable Felt Wand with Magic Streamers post. Cut out the wand and wand end from the blue and then cut out various small stars from the white and small ¼- ½ in. wide stripes from the short ends of the red and white felt.
Summer goes hand in hand with weddings and every knitter knows that knitting a wedding shawl is a rite of passage as well as a beloved gift that only you can give to a beloved bride for her wedding day. Even if the shawl is not directly part of the ceremony, it will serve as a reminder and symbol of the extraordinary day and summon up the feelings evoke every time the bride touches the soft knitted stitches.
Choosing a wedding shawl pattern is as important as choosing the yarn and color of your wedding shawl. You may choose to have the bride help you with all decisions or wish to surprise her with details that you picked that remind you of her in all three areas. The decision is up to you but do not feel overwhelmed by any of it. A wedding shawl does not need to meet any certain requirements other than it is made with love from you to the bride. It is akin to any other wedding present; its value is not determined by a receipt or store name. It is something crafted with a certain person knit into every stitch, just like all knitted goods. Have fun, just like picking out a birthday present. Some would say that what you feel can be worked into every stitch; so if you are worried, stressed or anxious over the reception of your gift, you are gifting those feelings to the bride. However, if you are elated, overjoyed and confident in knowing you are giving the bride a piece of beauty (no matter its final outcome) you are gifting those feelings for her marriage as well as a piece of hand knit.
Pick your yarn (go for natural fibers that can be blocked) based on the month of the wedding (cotton or silk for warmer months, cashmere or wool for cooler) to further help the shawl serve as a reminder of the wonderful day. Let this qualification also help you pick your colors. The bride may have green as a wedding color but choose a brighter green for spring/summer and a jewel tone for fall/winter. Lastly choose a pattern that reminds you of the bride in some way, either by the name of the pattern or the stitches used. If she enjoys flowers, let that play a central theme. If the bride loves sailing or rock climbing choose a braided cable that suggests rope. Lastly give yourself time. Time to make all your decisions and time to careful work on your shawl so that you enjoy it and have plenty of time to correct mistakes or practice a tricky stitch pattern.
I have only had the opportunity to make one wedding shawl for my now sister-in-law but I loved every second of it. I surprised her but worked closely with my brother to create it. I choose a mohair blend in cream and a modified Swallowtail pattern with an alternate border. The border is my favorite part but not part of the original plan. I tried for days to work the original border but found the mohair too tricky and the stitches too hard to count to see where my mistake was. So I scoured my stitch books and found the perfect compliment with a knit on border. The ending result was better than I had hoped and now a family heirloom. If I had not taken the time to really work on this shawl I would never have finished it due to frustration. Time is the #1 ingredient in making a beautiful wedding shawl and a poignant symbol to pass on with a wedding shawl.
The perfect summer project is a dishcloth afghan. It may sound a little odd but think of it as a big, soft, comfy blanket of swatches that look amazing all sewn up together. A dishcloth afghan is essentially like quilting, each square is a pieced quilt block and when each block is complete all the blocks are sewn together and the true beauty is revealed. I love dishcloth afghans because it feeds my need of color change, stitch change and quick gratification that only small projects can give me. Each dishcloth Afghan can be customized to your preference or for each gift recipient. Plus you only have to use the dishcloth pattern to inspire your blanket; you don't have to work it in cotton, try a selection of dishcloth patterns in Merino wool, a silk blend or Cashmere. Dishcloths are great for knitting in the car, in the park, on vacation or at the game. You can knit away on small projects all summer and have your blocks all worked up just before the leaves turn. You don't need to lug a huge afghan around to keep warm this winter. Or store more than 25 balls of one color either only to find out you only need 18 and now what are you going to do with 7 balls of biscotti brown wool!
For a wedding throw, you can select dishcloths in cables that represent entwining of love, working together and the beauty of two coming together and work each block in a soft wool blend for cozy nights watching movies. For the graduates, select patterns that remind the student of home or remind you of them (water patterns for swimming, cupcakes for a favorite dessert, etc) and work them up in a washable blend for ease. For a new baby, try ABC blocks, animals or different texture blocks in a cotton blend for breathability, washing and softness. For yourself, try the same or just 2-3 different dishcloth patterns worked in your favorite colors. I am running with this idea for my dishcloth afghan. I am using just one dishcloth pattern (from my Dishcloth Craze post) and am knitting it up in my favorite colors du jour: green, turquoise and gray. Then I will sew all my blocks up together (see illustration at the top) and then pick up stitches on each side, log cabin style, and work a 5-7 row garter stitch band to finish it off. You can try a simple band in a stitch pattern that compliments your dishcloths if garter doesn't work for you.
2009 Afghan by Lorena Haldeman and Sharon Emery
The dishcloth afghans not only make great cozy couch throws but also picnic blankets, car blankets, bed spreads and wall hangings because the size is so easy to manipulate. You can work just a few blocks or 30 depending on your needs. My favorite part is picking out the dishcloth patterns for each project, it is the same euphoria I find when selecting fabric for my next sewing project!
If you have one great t-shirt pattern than what more could you ask for. Well, maybe not a whole closet of the same shirt in different colors. Perhaps you would like the same fit but with a different sleeve, neckline or any other added detail to keep you on trend. So you scour the net or pattern books for just the right look and hope that that pattern fits just the way you like. Umm, nope, let's not do that and make out own instead. If you have a great fitting tee than you have the basics to get started. Making modifications is easy and you only need a few tools to get it done.
Tools you will need:
Big paper- This is to draw your new pattern on and make notes as you go. I use a huge roll of newspaper print that you can ask your local paper for the end rolls. My mom uses rolls of painters' paper or you can use a roll of freezer paper.
French Curve- This is a set of weirdly shaped measuring devices that can help you make graceful and appropriate curves that are great for necklines, hems and hip lines among others. If you don't have a set then you can easily use household finds like plates, knives (the edges often feature soft curves just be careful) oval or round frames or you can print an image from the web and adjust the size.
Clear quilting ruler- this will help you extend sleeve lines, hem line or width of your pattern.
To make a shirt like mine, I choose a well fitting front pattern piece from a crew neck tank (I used our free pattern download HotPatterns Flutterby Tank) that I had previously modified into a deep V-neck with attached capped sleeves. Since I was only modifying the top I decided to only add paper to the top part of the pattern to save paper and hassle. I traced the pattern line I wanted to keep and added my new lines. I made a more modest v-neck and added some slim kimono sleeves (attached, not set in). To make a nice v-neck, always make the v-neck narrower than you think. Remember that you are creating a pattern piece on the fold, so it will be twice as wide as it looks and you will probably be adding some neck trim so that will make it even wider. Too wide V-necks can slide off your shoulders and expose bra straps. A proper v-neck is also slightly curved toward the tip of the 'v' so using the French curve really helps obtain that gentle slope. I added 4 in. to my arm holes to get a nice, slightly fluttery kimono sleeve. Then I cut out my new pattern piece and matched and taped it over my existing pattern piece. Voila a new t-shirt pattern piece. I opted to use the same pattern piece for the front and back of the shirt to give an interesting back. It turned out really great. I also ended up adding 6 in. to the length, adding elastic to the sides to make it into a maternity shirt for now. After the babe is born I will cut off the extra length and remove the elastic.
If you want to try other changes, I recommend folding your paper in half when you are drawing your modifications so you can open it up to see how it will look or drawing on a muslin so you can see it with drape. Try changing the rotation of the v-neck to make a boat neck, just changing the back neckline of a crewneck for a dramatic and sexy scooped back or changing the length and width of your set in sleeves. Raglans can also be easily modified to make sweatshirts, halter and tank tops. All you need is paper and some imagination (or inspiration from the net).
Check out Holly's Flutterby here and special thanks to her because I borrowed her picture
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Linoleum Dishcloth by Kay Gardiner
Whether you are new to knitting or have been clicking the needles since you were "this small" you know that dishcloths are big business to a knitter. Some, like my Mother-in-law, knit them all the time for around the house and as gifts. Others, like me, knit them when they have some extra cotton to use up or as just a small project to knit during a movie. There are as many reasons to knit dishcloths as there are dishcloth patterns.
I love dishcloths but don't knit them that often. But when I used to teach classes, I would start my students off with a dishcloth as their first project for several reasons:
1) Unlike a scarf, a dishcloth is small and easily finished within a few days for a beginner. This means they get the sense of satisfaction of their first project sooner and can show it off and feel confident about starting a second project
2) Unlike a first scarf, you probably won't cringe when you look upon your first dishcloth and you can use it right away.
3) Dishcloths can be used 365 days a year
4) Frogging a dishcloth won't lead to depression
Dishcloths are infinity practical and everyone can use them. They are one of the few gifts that can be given to a guy or a girl (everyone cleans even if they don't dig the frog stitch pattern you selected for each of their dishcloths). Dishcloths make great samplers, so if you are dying to try a new stitch pattern, incorporate it into a dishcloth and try it out and then use it. Dishcloths are portable and great for summer knitting. They won't cover your lap; and people will easily recognize them so you won't have to explain the twisted shawl collar Vogue Knitting sweater that looks like your cat fought over (at least until you block and seam it- then won't they be admiring). Dishcloths are great for first time home buyers, hostess gifts, baby showers (make great burp cloths), college students, stocking stuffers, and everyday "I think you are special" gifts. These little gems help pass the time and can fit your exact mood. If you want something you can memorize and knit in your sleep while you watch baseball- done. If you want something a bit tricky to take your mind off things- you got it. You can even knit them with a mind-blowing challenge to take your knitting to the next level. Dishcloths are amazing.
Knit Striped Dishcloth by Lion Brand