Sunday, October 2, 2011

Diaper bag for a friend

One of my very best friends is having a baby girl (after three boys!) and she chose pink, taupe and brown for the nursery with an elephant theme. I was thrilled to find a fabric line in those colors that's available right now so I could make her some special things for baby Hannah's debut, sometime in December. I made her this sturdy diaper bag. I hope it matches her decor (I haven't seen any pictures yet) and that it will get used for play dates or diapers or something.

The dimensions are approximately 18" wide, 15" tall and 5" deep.

The elephants make two spacious front pockets on the front, lined with the pink, white, taupe striped fabric.

On the interior, there are four pockets, two large, two small on one side and a zippered pocket on the opposite side. You can also see the magnetic button closure here - my first time using this closing technique but it was surprisingly simple so I may use it again. This interior pocket is 9" by 10".

The back of the bag has the same elephant print from the front pocket and pink contrasting
 edging. I used the 70 weight Pellon interfacing for this bag so it's very sturdy and stands up all by itself. I also added it to the handles because I prefer substantial handles. I used the tutorial from Sew Like My Mom as a general guideline for the bag.

I made a bunch of matching goodies for little Hannah to fill it up with. My favorite is the minky blanket in Amy Butler's Lotus flower. I've been saving this fabric for something special.

I made it larger than average so it could be used in the stroller or car and as a safe play mat for baby. I used to use these all the time when I needed a safe, soft place to lay my little one for some tummy time, especially at someone else's house. I also used one for William to designate his safe play area, ie no big kid toys allowed on the blanket. Minky is supersoft and the texture appealing. I made a border out of the Amy Butler fabric on one side to give it a more finished look.

 I had more leftover fabric than I intended to have so I also made a diaper clutch bag in coordinating fabrics.

It fits the travel size wipes and two diapers but can be used for all kinds of other purposes. It has a velcro closure and a grosgrain ribbon pull tab.  I like the pink elephants on the inside.

I also made a soft changing pad with one thick layer of fleece and an interior layer of cotton quilt batting. I never liked how thin my changing pads were and even though this one doesn't have a waterproof layer, the whole thing can be tossed in the washing machine.

It folds up in quarters and has a velcro closure.

I also knit a baby cardigan for Hannah in Madeline Tosh superwash. I think it's really cute but I think the size is too large for a new baby. I followed the pattern for a 0-3 month size but I'm pretty sure what I've ended up with is more like a 6-12 month size. The pattern I followed is available for free (thanks Carole!) and is a top-down construction, my favorite.

I think the bag and home made goodies are finally ready to go to the baby shower with me. I hope she likes it. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Forest owl hat for William

Savannah loves her owl hat so much that little brother caught on and tries to steal hers whenever we need to wear hats outside. I tried to modify the pattern to knit him one in his size by decreasing to 76 cast on stitches, but it turned out to be baby sized - oops!

I used some of my leftover Malabrigo merino in Bobby blue for this one and sewed on owl eyes on only one owl. It is sitting in my stash of baby hats that I've knit, waiting for a new home. For take two, I used a skein of Malabrigo merino in Forest and cast on 88 stitches. This one turned out to be the perfect size!

I love the variegated greens in forest. William likes it so much that he hasn't taken it off. He says, "Look, Mom-mom, Willem owl hat," and points to his head. As I type this, he is sitting beside me with his owl hat on... I suppose I can call that a successful knit.

My little vampire with his new forest green owl hat.
I'd like to sew on some button eyes eventually but I think I'll have to wait until he's sleeping so I can get him to part with his new hat. Now the kids want me to knit an owl hat for myself!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Oatmeal raglan for William

It seems I don't knit enough for my little guy. This is especially apparent when he reaches into his sister's hat bin and pulls on a hat I've made for her as his first choice hat. I was glad to finally have the chance to knit him his own sweater, in a natural oatmeal color that he can wear with just about anything.

The pattern is from Jane Richmond. I used four skeins of Debbie Bliss Rialto to make it. When William tries it on, he likes the softness of it, and shows me by rubbing his hands over his tummy and saying "soft". I like the fact that it's machine washable, a must for little boys' clothing. I'm looking forward to watching him wear it in September when we go apple picking and for those walks when the autumn air is crisp.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Beret for tea leaves

After knitting Savannah's tea leaves sweater, I had enough yarn leftover to make something else. Since Savannah already has a favorite winter hat, I wanted to make her a beret. She's young enough to get away with wearing a beret and I think the colors look great against her shiny blonde hair.

This simple pattern is available for free on by Amy Rose, called the Adah beret. I knit it in the same yarn as her sweater, my favorite Malabrigo merino. I hope she'll wear it this winter on occasion with when her favorite owl hat, but it's pretty hard to get her to wear anything else on her head.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Tea leaves sweater in ocean palette

I forget exactly how I began knitting this sweater. It wasn't planned. I had five minutes to grab a pattern and some yarn before taking the kids to an indoor bounce house to play during our terrible heat wave (upper 90s for a week) so I would have something to do for two hours while they got their energy out (parents aren't allowed to jump).

So using some leftover Malabrigo merino (my favorite for its soft, squooshy, warmth) I knitted this up in size 8 for my daughter. The colors are marine colors for her love of all things oceanic and piratical - emerald green trim and bobby blue for the main color. She chose the buttons herself from our button collection. None of the buttons match exactly but they are all the same size and same dark navy color.

Most importantly, she loves it. It is soft and in her favorite color - she loves all things blue. And, I finished the pattern from start to finish without wasting anything or procrastinating. (This is something I'm always working on!)

I'm glad that she likes it. I can't wait to see her wear it under a long-sleeved shirt or turtle neck this fall.

The Tiny Tea Leaves pattern is available on Madelinetosh by Melissa LaBarre or on ravelry. There's also an adult version of this sweater, which is the original version.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Aviatrix hats

Suddenly everyone I know seems to be pregnant. We know of seven babies that we expect to meet sometime in October, November and December of this year. One of the hats I wished I had had when my babes were small, is the Aviatrix. It is soft and stretchy, warm and has a chin strap to keep it on baby's lolling head.

The button can also be adjusted (I'm supposed to add a second button one inch higher than the first, but haven't yet). Here's the first hat I knit in Malabrigo Merino Worsted Indigo. It is so soft and the picture doesn't do justice to how cute these look wrapped around a pair of chubby cherub cheeks.

One wasn't enough with so many winter babies on the way, so I knit a second one too, in the same yarn but with Emerald colorway. This pattern is easy but not boring and perfect using up scrap yarn since it needs less than a skein and probably less than half a skein of yarn. I plan to make a few more in girly colors and as the new babies join us, I'll bring my stash of baby hats and let the mama pick one.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Big boy bedroom

Big boys need big boy beds. So, I built one for my big boy using the plans for a toddler farmhouse bed from Ana White. I built this bed back in October of 2010, but had so much going on then (as I do now!) that it took me a whole month to sand and stain it. Then, in December when my mom came to visit, she put three clear coats on top of the stain to give it a bit of shine and to smooth out the lumber. Because I wasn't ready to move my big boy to his own bedroom, which would be two flights of stairs away from mine, I decided to renovate our walk-in closet to serve as William's first space of his own. It's close to my bed if he needs me but far enough away that he may as well be in his own bedroom.

William likes to snuggle into his big boy bed with the duvet cover I made for him from recycled materials. It's empowering to think that I made everything for him (bed, sheets, pillows, decorations) except for the mattress.

The paint color in his room is a soft neutral tone, called Sand dollar from Sherwin-Williams in Duration, a low-VOC paint that is easily washable.

The pair of round pillows I made following the tutorial from StarDustShoes. They don't match exactly because I'm trying my hardest to not purchase any new fabric and to sew only from my stash to put a serious dent in it. The only fabric I purchased for William's bedroom was the cotton checkered print I used to make his fitted sheet and pillow case (and I only have a 4" x 6" scrap leftover!) and the airplane fabric for his round floor pillows. He loves airplanes and I wanted him to have an airplane-themed space to call his own. I intended the pillows to be a simple place to sit while we read bedtime stories as well as for decoration.

And of course, there are two airplanes on the wall. William seems to be pretty proud of these because he likes to show people his airplanes, which goes something like this, "Dad-ee, Dad-eee, See! See! Airpla-ane! Two, airpla-ane!" with lots of excited gesturing. I've cleared out two of the walls of the shelves that were there, holding clothing but have a little more to go until the space is truly William's. I'm hoping to build a simple drawer with handles to slide beneath his bed to hold some of his favorite bedtime stories. It would be wide and shallow, but perfect for holding an extra blanket and some books. Use of space is priceless in this house, which is much smaller than out last house.

My hope is that William will see this as his own special safe space and will enjoy napping and sleeping at night in his big boy bed very soon...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Another quilted bag

I hadn't quilted in such a long while that I joined the Spring Quilted Bag Swap through the Quilting Gallery. I had some reservations about the first bag I made (although it did receive positive feedback on flickr) so I decided to make a second one. The tutorial for the quilted bag is free from Geta's Quilting Studio (thanks Geta!).

This time I reinforced the handles with interfacing and instead of using cotton for hidden inner layer, I used canvas, which makes the bag stand up easily on its own. The print is one of my old favorites from Kaffe Fassett and I think it is reminiscent of spring, which is appropriate for a spring themed swap. I quilted it differently, loose circles in a kind of freestyle pattern that I think I like. I am looking forward to writing a letter to my swap partner, who is overseas, and sending this bag along with a handful of other sewing goodies.

Owl skirt

My daughter is currently in love with Kathryn Lasky's series, the Owls of Ga'Hoole, so owls are frequently on her mind. For Easter I made her an owl skirt. Every year we set out our Easter baskets the night before Easter and after the children go to bed, I tell them I place one or two small mommy-made gifts inside then go to bed so the Easter bunny can fill them up the rest of the way. I like that long after their baskets have been reduced to piles of candy wrappers, the mommy-made things remain.

The fabric is Robert Kaufman's Urban Zoologie, Owls. It's a fun print and in her favorite color of blue. Nearly everywhere she's worn her skirt, she's received compliments on it. There's a spacious side pocket that she's already filled up with pine cones, leaves, and acorns. It's always an adventure sticking my hands in the pockets of her clothes before tossing them into the washing machine; never know what I might find there!

I embroidered an owl on a shirt that matches the skirt, but she has two other coordinating shirts with this print and two coordinating sweaters, which is convenient. It also matches her owl hat. This skirt should fit her for at least two years with the elastic waist band, but if we tire of it, we can always find another use for the fabric and recreate it as something else. For now, we think the owls are super cute!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Quilted spring bag

It's been too long since I've quilted and my fabric stash isn't getting any smaller, so I joined a quilt-a-long for a quilted bag exchange and promised myself I'd use only scraps.

Here is my first quilted bag made from this tutorial. I do like the bag but I'm thinking it looks more like a diaper bag with these whimsical colors and less "serious" and adult like so I'm not sure if my swap partner will like it or use it.

I'll be sending this bag to another country, so I want it to be special. I think I'll sit on it for a week and see if I want to send this one. The good news is that it sews up in no time at all so if I change my mind, I can prepare another one quickly.

I also decided to send my swap partner one of my big, fat potholder hearts. I still use mine all the time.