Owl dress for Althea

I’m so happy to have snatched the time to post this – Tessa is actually asleep in the bassinet!!! not on me!! Actually this dress for Althea was sewed entirely in Tessa’s second week of life. Then on day 12 she woke up and, well, I’ve had almost no time to sew since then.

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The pattern is Farbemix Muriel in size 134/140. It is a smidge big as Althea is about 134cm, but I am happy with that as it should last her a while.

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I have made this dress for her many times before, it is one of my favourite patterns, and seems to work well from toddlers to older girls. I used bias tape to finish the neckline and arm holes, and did a centred back zip. The fabric was denim from the stash, left over from a skirt I made myself I think. Althea’s getting so tall that it’s hard to get dresses out of remnants for her any more.

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The owl appliqué is an iron-on transfer from Spotlight, and we chose coordinating ricrac and ribbon. I am quite pleased with the effect, and am super glad that my big six year old is not past such decorative styles yet!

 

Rainbow hats!

Well I’ve finally succumbed to the matching thing and have made my children coordinating rainbow hats!

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The pattern is Luuk by Annis Jones the Woolen Horse, and the yarn is Knit Picks Chroma Worsted in the colourway Prism. I was basically inspired by a Ravelry project I found (here) and copied gluecksfisch’s pattern and yarn combination.

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The smallest hat is the 0-3 month size with the smaller bobble- it looks absolutely tiny! I made Julian (2.5 years, 51cm head) the Child 20″ size and it’s a very snug fit.

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(Two year olds – not the keenest photo models).

For Althea (6.5 years, 54.5cm head) I made the Adult 22″ size and the fit is pretty good. I did the big bobbles on both of the larger hats. Bobbles seem little crazy but I think they really make this style!

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(She would only model the hat if she got to show off her sticker art – cooperative kiddies aren’t they?)

The pattern was great – the alternating ridges really show off the gradient rainbow colours and it’s a bit more interesting than just a plain hat. This pattern has ‘purl front and back’ which was a new stitch for me and is darn fiddly.

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I’m really pleased with these hats and am planning to make one more in the 6-12 month size as I expect that the tiny hat will fit for about two weeks and may not even get worn as, well, a worsted weight woollen hat is not really what a March/April baby in a temperate climate is really going to need. I wasn’t quite able to cast on four practically identical hats in a row though – I’m attempting to cast on (third attempt now) a hat for me, and after that I’ll be back to fuzzy rainbow goodness!

A cardigan for the upcoming baby

So finally at 37 weeks I have finished a knitted garment for the upcoming bub.

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The pattern is Granny’s favourite by Georgie Hallam. I knit the 16″ chest or 3 month size, with middie length sleeves and approximately dress length body, though in actual fact I just knit until I ran out of yarn. We will see how it fits in due course but it does seem quite short and wide. My gauge after blocking was slightly too loose 22.5 or 23 stitches per 10cm, not the 22 stitches stated so that might be part of the problem.

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I enjoyed knitting this pattern, and it introduced me to a new technique – make one, using a simple backwards loop. I just googled for a youtube video as per usual.

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The yarn is Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 8ply that I dyed myself. This skein was originally intended to be a hat for Althea but I was just never really inspired to knit that. The yarn was dyed twice, once as a multicolour which was awful, then overdyed as a solid (the post about that is here). The result is a semi-solid, and I am quite pleased about how it looks knitted up. I don’t think that the colour changes detract from the lace pattern.

The buttons are plastic ones from Spotlight, I had to use reasonably large ones to keep the cardigan securely closed even though they are only yarn over buttonholes.

I have been gifted several other gorgeous hand kits for this baby – I are so lucky and my knitting friends have been very generous. But I am also pleased to have been able to make something myself. It gives me that good mama feeling, which can be a bit precious and fleeting amid the crazy chaos of family life!

My wintry Nymphalidea – finished!

I finally finished my beautiful Nymphalidea scarf/shawl, and I am very pleased with it!

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As you can see there are a few different ways to wear it. Not that I’ll be doing much of that any time soon given the very hot, and now disgustingly humid weather we’ve been having. But it can wait.

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I knit this much larger than the pattern suggested.  I really wanted to get to a third repeat of the blue part of the gradient (my favourite shade in this yarn) but sadly ran out of the plain blue yarn just as the gradient blue was starting to come in.

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I really enjoyed knitting this, watching the colour gradient, knitting a loose tension. And I’ve ordered some Knitpicks Chroma in the same colour way but worsted weight to make a matching hat, so sometime soon I’ll have a lovely winter set.

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My Ravelry project with all the details is here.

I also finished off this little hat for Julian that I started back in May! Pity it missed the winter.

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The yarn is my own hand dye and I do enjoy the pooling/striping effect that happened in this hat – rather good luck than anything! I think the reason that this project stalled for so long is that I hate circular knitting with magic loop. I am also not fond of double point needles. I only made headway on this when I started knitting in the round with a really short circumference cable so that I could just knit round and round.

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The Ravelry project for this hat is here.

Kaffe Fassett summer dress

My daughter Althea was given a gorgeous dress for her sixth birth last September. She absolutely loved it. It was however a very small size 9 (I had worded up the gift givers on size) and proceeded to shrink several more sizes in the wash. She squeezed herself into it for quite a while but I eventually convinced her to gift it to her petite five year old friend, whose Mum and I agreed that the dress was about a size 6. In compensation for having lost her favourite dress I decided to make her a new summer dress.

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I was after a very simple pattern (I’m pretty tired and I wanted to give it to her soon) and this Ottobre dress 3/2013-16 Flower Hexagon (sizes 92-146) fit the bill. I made size 134 – Althea is currently 133cm tall and you can see it is a loose and roomy style. I lengthened the skirt by 1cm as I thought the modelled picture looked a bit short and omitted the pockets.

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The back ribbon tie is a nice detail and the binding for the back slit was the only slightly time consuming detail. I like that this dress has short sleeves. There are not many older girls dress styles that are not strappy and it’s so annoying to have to ask Althea to wear a Tshirt under her dress on a hot day  for sunsmart compliance (bare shoulders is sunburn waiting to happen).

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The fabric was from the box of fabric that I ordered from fabric.com to celebrate finishing my PhD thesis and to be frank I was always disappointed with it. It is a rayon even-weave woven with a Kaffe Fassett design. The colours are more fluorescent that I expected and it has a real 80s vibe that I hate. I was never able to use this fabric for myself but Althea doesn’t seem to mind it. (If you happen to like it fabric.com has that design printed on cotton in stock – it’s called Millefiore Blue).

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In fact, this whole dress is not my favourite make really. The drop waisted and style and the bright print look really 80s, and not in a good way (well IMHO there is no good way). Anyway, the dress is cool for the current horrifically hot weather and fits well. The fabric is even not too bad at a distance ;)  Althea likes it so I guess that’s a win!

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My first lined jacket, speedy girl dress and conquering the blind hem foot

Well I can’t say I expected my first lined jacket to be in size 56cm (about a 000 I guess) but it turns out that it is!

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The pattern is Pikku Lapanen, from Ottobre 4/2012 – number 6. It’s a lovely little pattern designed for sweatshirt knit with a jersey lining – I used velour for the outer and cotton-lycra jersey from the inside. The velour is cotton rich and I hand dyed it teal many years ago and used it to make myself a Farbenmix Beala hoodie (Flicker set here!)

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The instructions for joining the lining and the body sleeves required a bit of thinking over, but the technique worked and produced a lovely finish with no exposed seams.

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The hood seams sewn last and then the edges are bound together using a ribbing strip. I was actually very disappointed with the ribbing trim finish – the first time that Ottobre instructions and techniques have not yielded good results! I wish I had used fold over elastic instead.

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The inside of the ribbing looks awful. The 3.5cm width of the strip was just not enough for a 1cm seam, and even though I trimmed the edges down I had to do a second row of topstitching to catch all the missed bits. I would advise using a 4.5cm wide strip of ribbing if anyone wants to make this jacket, or a completely different finish altogether. The velour knit was also a pain to work with as it’s a napped fabric and creeps and shifts, but the end result feels lovely and soft.

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Here’s the complete size 56 baby outfit!

I started on the next baby outfit in a size 62 (maybe 00) as I’m having fear that my newborn could outgrow the previous outfit in a few weeks – my friend just had a 55cm long newborn. I started with a sweater-knit dress.

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The pattern is Ottobre 3/2103 – 1. Speedy girl (sizes 56-92cm). It is designed for jersey knits but I think it works ok in the heavier fleecy knit I used here. This fabric is a remnant from the dress I made Althea for her fifth birthday (post all about that), and is Hilco Elisabet. I had very little left and had to introduce “design lines” to the back panel to fit the shape of the fabric I had. It is not terribly noticeable in my opinion.

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The neck and armhole edges are gathered with clear elastic that is then encased in the ribbing binding (I used 4.5cm wide strips rather than the 3.5cm advised). This makes for a very bulky bound finish. It is also applied in the flat not the round and you can see how thick the seam is – I had to hand sew the seam allowance down by hand as I couldn’t get that many layers under the presser foot of my machine!

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I used a twin needle for the hem. I am very pleased with this little dress and it just goes to show how a beautiful fabric and a simple pattern can give a great result.

My other great achievement this week has been that I have finally conquered the blind hem foot on my machine! School has just gone back for the year and I was faced with the very tedious task of letting down the hem on Althea’s school dresses.

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It is really not that complicated but I had attempted it a few times before and given up.

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I added a wide bias binding strip to the dresses to create a false hem, then used the blind stitch foot with a multi-step zig-zig stitch. Two zig-zags miss the front fabric and the third catches it – that’s why you need the guide on the foot as it must be accurate. You then turn and flatten the hem which pulls the end of the third zig-zag into a long vertical stitch. It needs to be ironed out.

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The end result is certainly good enough for a school dress, and very strong. I’m not sure that it would be very invisible on a plain fabric, as the vertical stitches are much bigger than those I’d take hand sewing the hem. However it certainly got a boring chore done much faster than hand sewing and now I feel much more willing to try this hem out on different fabrics.

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Only eight weeks (approximately of course) to go! I wonder what else I can add to the stack of baby clothes in that time?