Reviews: December 2010 Archives
After numerous holidays of watching my mother put together yo-yos with her scrap fabrics, I decided that I too could make a yo-yo out of fabric. I jumped online and purchased a yo-yo maker and settled down to create my first yo-yo, which actually remind me of Angela's fleurettes from Season 3 of Project Runway. I was determined to make a string of yo-yos long enough to act as a garland for my Christmas tree.
Well, I was not successful starting with the smaller yo-yo maker template for a couple of reasons (according to my mother). First, I used cheap thread. When you have completed your yo-yo, you have to pull the thread through the fabric. My thread was not strong enough to make it through the pull. Secondly, I started with the smaller template. This prevented me from being able to fit my large fingers into the yo-yo to pull out the first thread.
I moved to the extra large template (2 3/8 inch
final product) after several failed attempts.
Armed with stronger thread and Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring playing on the TV in the background, I proceeded to follow the step-by-step instructions listed in the included instruction manual. The instructions were perfect. I used my mom's suggestion of putting my finger in the middle as I tightened the thread in the yo-yo to pull it all together.
Within a couple hours, I had produced several yo-yos.
(several weeks later... time passes...)
I put together about 250 yo-yos. I decided to string them together in a rainbow pattern for my Christmas tree. Since I cannot sew with a machine yet, I stitched them together by hand (after failed attempted with safety pins and ribbon).
I am still debating whether I could do that for an entire
I have written before about Lion Brand's Cotton Yarns (here, here, here & here) but this is my first experience working with their wool yarns. I am also a bit of a newbie when it comes to chunky yarn. Frankly, I would always tell myself: "Self, why should you pay $X for 80 yds when you can pay the same amount and get 120 yds?" So I ended up with a stash full of worsted weight and never knew what I was missing.
Fact: You can knit a sweater with fewer yards in Chunky weight yarn than worsted.
This is very true and I know because Lion Brand tells me so. They even have this groovy webpage complete with chart and all. According to their chart to make a 36 in. chest Adult sweater you need 1200 yds of worsted weight yarn. To make the same size but knit with chunky weight yarn you need just 900 yds. 300 yds less! That also calculates into time. The reason you need less length is because each stitch covers more, so you use less stitches and also less time! If I had only sat down and thought it through, not only could I have many more sweater but also more time to knit, well, more sweaters (deadly circle).
So getting back to Lion Brand Wool yarns, I started with Wool Ease Chunky in Coco Knits Prairie Boots pattern. I was not only amazed while knitting the pattern but also when wearing the finished product. With only 20% wool, there is no itching but there is the same stretch and forgiveness that I love knitting wool. Y'all know how I am partial to natural fibers but I could not tell that this wasn't wool when I worked with it. I knew from choosing it that there was some acrylic but I was shocked to learn that Wool Ease is mostly acrylic and less so wool. I was sure from handling that it was the other way around. Hindsight being what it is I should have guessed when I didn't have to deal with splits. Had you do a blind test with this yarn, I would have guessed it to be Merino with its soft touch and delicious fuzz but no itching. This was a perfect choice for this pattern because it gives such comfort to the feet.
My feet feel cushioned but also warm. The stitch definition is what you would expect from wool. A great definition for cable and textured stitches but also a little bit of fluff to soften the look. This yarn would be great for cabled hats, textured poncho/capes, chunky bags and cozy sweaters. Since Wool Ease is 80% Acrylic it is washable making is also great for kids' sweaters, scarves and mittens. The thick yarn will also knit up a quick and cozy blanket. You can find many fabulous patterns for this yarn on Lion Brand's website or Ravelry. Hands down you must try it; I'm addicted!
Hands down, I love Coco Knits shoes patterns. Not only do they look very attractive on the pattern cover but it seems as though I learn a new technique or a different twist on an old standard with every pattern. For such conventional accessories as shoes, Coco Knits is very outside the box. I enjoy knitting these patterns. Usually while starting a new pattern that could be a challenge, I find the need to totally focus. But with the Coco Knits patterns, I am more relaxed and can engage in gossip, movies, or knit while watching my daughter play. Coco Knits are not relegated to 'Nap time only'. Now to the Prairie Boots pattern specifically. The Prairie boots ended up being super soft and comfy AND WARM. As a cold natured person (my feet are like icicles after Oct), I saw this pattern and had stars in my eyes. The finished product turned out better than I had dreamed. The chunky yarn gives a great textured look to the relatively simple stitches. The combination of garter and ribbing gives this boot a classic yet edgy look because of the structure and composition. I find that the boots look great pulled up with leggings and when you wear jeans or khakis, folded over gives the most warmth and style. Because these boots are knit with such chunky yarn, they are really cozy, like a snuggy for your feet. I love curling up on the couch to knit with these on. I find my need for a blanket has greatly decreased. Plus, at a recent holiday party at my house, a friend discovered these in my knitting bag and showed them around. Everyone wanted a pair. They were such a hit that I am planning on giving them as gifts and to those I can't get to before Christmas will be getting them as Ground Hog's day present, New Year's, or birthday gifts. I used Lion Brand's Wool Ease and it was a pleasure. The color selection is out of this world, making it easy to customize this gift for any one. Fabric.com's Bulky Yarn selection is amazing so you can make the Prairie Boot in any fiber, in any color for any loved one or just to fill your closet. Everyone knows that for a girl to truly be happy, she needs super cute slipper boots in every color to match any possible outfit selection. The buttons really add to the classic, modern look. I should also add that this pattern even fits my athletic calves so it is not just for the petite.
Now for the knitty gritty. I will be making these again, because they were so fun but also because they are so great to wear. But when I do, I think I will try using a size 9 needle for the whole boot instead of changing to a 10. The ribbing on the bottom of the boot gives lots of stretch while hugging the warmth to your feet. But I think I can still achieve this with a size 9. Should that not work on the upper boot because of the garter; I will delay the change from 9 to 10 needles until I start the garter stitch. I might try changing it up a little by making the boot taller.
p.s. I wanted you to know that these boots can handle the action so they are shot amide my daughter's toy mess. They are battle hardened and perfect for busy moms.
Wee Christmas Dress
One of the joys of sewing and children is making festive holiday clothing. However, Being the son of a teacher who loved a good (and I mean GOOD) holiday sweater, my husband looked at me with a very wary eye when I told him that I was making my little girl a Christmas dress. No bells, reindeer or dancing cookies, he told me with a look that brooked no argument. "Why" I cooed innocently, "I had no intention of doing anything of the sort." And that was mostly true. So given my new rules, I sorted through my mountain of children's dress patterns and selected my favorite Oliver + S pattern: Birthday Party Dress. I had some very Christmasy but not overly Christmasy fabric that I thought would meet the rules that I had in my stash from years past (plus the rest of the pillow case used in my Sewing Green by Betz White post). It is Chateau Roccoco by Free Spirit, but here are some similar fabrics available that are not obviously Christmasy but will deliver all the cheer needed
Sancutary (Prints featured below)
This dress was cut in 2T and fit very well is all the right places. While she is not yet 2 it looks as though it will fit to at least her birthday in 2 months and even to the spring. The pattern goes from 6 M to 3 T so I can get another years size out of this pattern.
I really enjoyed making Oliver + S patterns. They are surprisingly simple which is very good considering you are making kids clothing. All the details that will make the clothes durable and lasting all included and there are no difficulties getting the clothing on and off. This is too often the case with kids clothing, especially the outfits that are too cute to pass up until you try to get them on a wiggling child or off in hast. The buttons down the back make this an easy on and off. Plus there was no silliness to make the dress look wonderful but uncomfortable for the child to wear. The Birthday dress was all adorableness without hindering my little one's movement in anyway. I loved it, loved it, loved it. I enjoyed making it so much I am making the Tea Party dress for a birthday party we are invited to this month. I know it will be a hit!