Thursday, June 30, 2016

Get Baking!

Our wonderful school has a "Spring Fling" every June.  The highlight, for me, is always the raffle table.  For $5, you get 20 tickets.  There are usually baskets put together by classes, and LOTS of miscellaneous items--the types of things you re-gift to a raffle.  But awesome stuff that other people would love.  I've even put things in, like the year I did the red and white basket with my water bottle holders and a few other items. These past two years, I haven't won anything (but I make up for it at other contests!), but in the past I've gotten a lot of great stuff that I've been able to gift to others!  This year though, every class did a theme basket and there were only a few other items.  I'm not sure why, though last year (or maybe the year before?), they had a LOT of items, and then right at the start of the fling, it started to pour rain so it all had to be moved inside quickly.  And, well, last year, there was a group of moms from the parent committee who had been involved for a long, long time and their kids all graduated.  Anyway.

My older daughter's class got "Baking".  What could I contribute?  What could I create?  What could TracyKM Designs create?  I thought about an apron.  A bit boring, but necessary.  Then, I remembered I had a couple "Snowbird" patches I had bought from the previous conductor of our community band, who is involved with Air Cadets, and one squadron is called the Snowbirds--named after the Canadian Air Force Snowbirds, an acrobatic team.  Our school is named after one Snowbird member from our town who was killed in a crash.  I knew him in high school, and am so proud my kids go to "his" school.  I found a large piece of plain white twill (what the heck did I plan to do with 2m of white twill?!).  I even found some adequately sized red bias tape.  I have a scary looking old apron that is just a piece of twill with bias tape for the straps and tie.  I copied the shape onto the twill, cut, hemmed the sides and bottom and put the bias tape on.

Wow.  Pretty darn quick!  I had to stop myself from making one for myself!

I sewed the patch on, and it was ready to go!

I was disappointed at the fling, when I saw the basket, it was folded in such a way you couldn't see the patch.  Oh well.  The winner ended up standing next to me, so I let her know.

I can totally see making more of these aprons.  I have one more patch, I think, but now I know an embroider who happens to live across the field from the school and her oldest is starting JK in the fall, so I'm sure she'll be motivated to get the image digitized!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Cinch Sack and Grip Bag

My youngest, has a good friend who is a competitive gymnast.  For her birthday gift, Megan really wanted to make her a "grip bag".  I knew what the wrist grips were, but my daughter's skills at describing a grip bag left a lot to my imagination.  I couldn't figure out why you'd need a specialized bag and how I could sew one.  Finally I looked it up.   All it is, is an aprox. 9x11" bag with a drawstring.  Okey-dokey.  I could sew that.

Of course, I wanted it to be reversible, or at least, lined.  No exposed seams to get covered in chalk dust. I couldn't find a pattern that had the drawstring at the top but since it was pretty much like the cinch sacks, I just went with that.  A message to my embroidery lady and an image was found and wham! a quick (and affordable) gift.  Two fat quarters!  The embroidery cost more than the rest of the supplies.

 I loved the fabric Megan picked for the inside, though I really wanted it on the outside since it matched the fabrics she picked for the backpack.  I did sneak it into the design of the water bottle holder.  I simply used the scraps from trimming the fat quarters down to size.  They were perfect.  Originally, I thought the pocket was going on the outside, so I put the solid grey on the edge, to set it apart from the zig zag pattern.
 But no, Megan said the bottle holder had to be on the inside so no matter which way she wore it, the pocket could still be used.  Smart!
 A sort of faded zig zag pattern.

The outside is the same zig zag I used for my niece's back pack, a few posts ago.  I was hesitant.  Megan originally said one side would be solid grey, but I told her that was boring.  I thought the two zig zag patterns were very close in colour and style that there wasn't any need to have a reversible bag.  But it was a gift for Megan to give, so she got final say.

I hope it gets lots of use!

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Little Things

The nice thing about crafting your own items is you can make it how you want it.  Got longer legs?  Doesn't matter! Prefer side-thumbs instead of palm-thumbs on your mitts?  No problem!  Thick arches? Do more stitches for the heel!

Sometimes though, it's easy to say "Why bother?" when it comes to tweaking a pattern.  But why not?  Often, it doesn't take much (if any) more time, material, or expense.  And the results can be stunning.

I've recently made three sunhats from a free pattern.  It came in one size, yet each of my hats were slightly different sizes.  Most of them (there's really two "hats" per hat, as they're reversible) had some assembly issues.  I wasn't sure how to fix these problems.  Hats are circles, and circle math is complicated.

Yesterday I was going through my bookmarked patterns again, trying to decide which hat pattern to do this time for an order.   She wanted a flat top hat, rather than the "beach ball" style I had been doing.  I found Martha Stewarts' pattern for a reversible bucket hat, though I thought the brim was a bit narrow and angled down quite a bit, so I kept looking.  I kept thinking about a hat drafting tutorial I had saved.

It looked so complicated!  So much math and drawing!  I was considering just doing the Martha Stewart one, but thinking maybe I could use the brim of the one I had already done.  Then I started reading the comments, since there weren't too many.  One caught my eye:  "Thank you for acknowledging that heads aren't circular shaped, and the tapered side panels makes the hat look more professionally made." 

Wait! What!  Heads aren't circular, didn't I know that?  I mean, I knit hats that are "circular" though earflaps are always off center.  Mmmm.  Cowboy hats, and fedoras, and Tilley hats aren't circular!  Why was I sewing circular sun hats?  And why would Martha endorse this fallacy?  I mean, it says right on her site--take time every day to learn something new!  Martha!  News flash!  Heads aren't perfectly round!  Knitted fabric can shape to the head, but woven fabric doesn't!  Maybe this is why my sun hats flew off too easily!  Slipped around!  Even though they should technically fit!

(It's the same thing with sizing knit sweaters.  Designers just take the chest circumference and divide by two.  Look at your self in the mirror.  See something sticking out on your chest that isn't there on your back?  Is your front width the same as your back width?  Unlikely!  If it's a small difference, the knit fabric can stretch, but more than a few inches and you end up with a sweater that sags in the back and is too tight across the chest!  But it's the "right" size!  Really?).

I'm all for the little details that make my items unique and "better" than others.  I don't like the word "better".  I'd prefer, "enlightened".  Why make a hat a circle when it should really be an oval?

Okay, got the crown figured out, next came the side pieces.  Melly Sews shapes them, so the top is slightly smaller than the bottom.  I wouldn't know how much smaller to do this.  In fact, the template for the crown piece confused me--if I was doing this on my own, I would have just drawn a circle with the head circumference plus seam allowance, then squished it to an oval.  But this would result in a very boxy look. Think of a pill box hat.  Very straight sides.  It was a bit of work to do the side pieces, but actually, not a whole lot.  It turns out though that my piece is too big for a fat quarter (unless done on the bias), so I split it in two, and even remembered to add seam allowances!

The do you draw that?!  Can't use a compass, since heads aren't circular!  I just made many, many marks at the length I wanted.  Though I'm a little confused since the crown template is a bit smaller than the bottom of the side band....I'm just going to follow the instructions.  I cut a little pie slice out, then realized that I will lose another 1/2" on each side for the seam allowance.  Keep this in mind.  I also can not figure out how, if you cut the wedge all the way through the width, it will fit with the side piece.  You've made the seam line smaller by what ever you take out with the wedge.  Don't you need to keep this seam line the same as before?  Uh oh.  Just keep working...

I`ve got all my pieces cut out, and we`ll see how it goes!  I have realized that although it took a while to draft this, sewing it will be quicker because there won`t be all the crown pieces (six wedges) to sew togther and topstitch.  So once the template is done, making multiple hats will be so quick!  Put a little more into prep, and reap the benefits in the assembly and the finished results!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Sweet Vintage

We were heading out for a day, and there was a 45 minute drive, so I needed something easy to work on.  Keeping with the vintage feel of the Baby Surprise Jacket, I thought I'd whip up another "5 Hour Sweater".  Looking at the pattern though, it didn't really work with my  yarn, so I went with "Quick Baby Sweater" by Lorriane Major.  This is an oldie but goodie that I've done before.  The date on my print out is February 19, 2002.  Just days before I would have found out I was pregnant with Lucy!  On the back of the pattern is a doodle, by Rob, of how he pictured the awkward corner in our basement that he was renovating at that time.  I've made this sweater before and remember having a few issues with keeping track of right side/wrong side, and that happened again.  I also used smaller needles, I think 6mm with worsted weight yarn (on the smaller side of today's worsted).  I think the 6.5mm makes it just a little too loosey-goosey.  I've used this yarn for lots of other baby items, and I think I still have some left!!

I really don't have much to say, except the pink doesn't show up too well in the picture.  I made the seamless version.  There's no instructions for button holes, so I crocheted two ties (4 chains) and made bows.  This will go in the "In Stock" box as apparently my extended family is popping out boys only.

According to the first post written about this yarn, I had 70gr left.  Yet this one took 89gr, and there's the cat Lucy made, which took 20gr.  This truly is one of those never ending balls of yarn!!

Yarn In: 1586gr
Yarn Out:  4141gr + 89gr = 4230gr
Balance:  2644gr more USED than bought
Costs:   $74.87/162days = $0.46/day

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Still Knitting!

Yes, I'm still knitting!  While letting the wrist heal, I was doing a lot more sewing, but I still snuck in short blocks of knitting--can't really take the sewing machine in the truck!  I had the urge to get back to basics and do some baby items (and then found out there are babies coming in the family!  Since then though, they found out they're having boys).  First up, a Baby Surprise Jacket!

 Not much to say.  I started with no plan, except to use up the purple.  Which I did--had barely a few yards left over.  I stuck with the pattern, but did my decreases and increases so they'd be more decorative.
I ran out of the purple earlier than I thought I would.  If I had realized, then I would have done more grey sooner, or did a waste yarn cast on--which makes for nicer sewing up too.  I think the purple was "Vanna's Choice" or "Impeccable".  The grey I think was left over from the Rude Robot hat and the purple from the mermaid blankets.  All together, it weighs in at 184gr, and I used either 5mm or 5.5mm needles.  I have a bit of purple fabric from that first hobo bag  and I might make a little pair of baby shoes.  Trouble is, figuring what size to make.  I think this is about a size six months-12months, but most baby shoe patterns only come in newborn.

I even created a little slideshow to explain how to fold this sweater.  I know, there are other videos and tutorials out there, but I can't resist. 

Yarn In: 1586gr
Yarn Out:  184gr + 3957gr = 4141gr
Balance:  2555gr more USED than bought
Costs:   $74.87/160days = $0.47/day

Friday, June 03, 2016

Silent Auction!

I decided to make another drawstring backpack to donate to the silent auction at the big fundraiser dinner for the jazz bands my daughter is in.  I wasn't going to do red satin again though LOL!

I had some of this texture-striped black, just enough to do the outer bag.  I had this fun musical instrument fabric, but it wasn't quite enough for the inside.  I also had some black twill--not really enough for the entire bag either.  I've really been using up fabric lately!!  So, I pieced the black twill onto the bottom of the instrument fabric--very pleased with  myself for remembering to add the seam allowance to each piece to make it the right length.  I placed the pocket so one side is in the side seam and one side was sewn down.  However, due to the elastic around the top, it kind of pulls the side of the inner bag inwards.  I think from now on, the water bottle pocket goes dead centre.  Either inside or outside. 

This is the bag that gave a concussion on Victoria Day (May 23).  I thought I'd try do photos in my basement, since there was some natural light, and a pot light directly overhead, and I could sit on the stairs, and lean over the stairs (no railing).  I was coming back up the stairs after laying it out, and went to lean out over the side of the stairs.  I hadn't gone high enough, and headbutted the I-beam in the ceiling.  Full throttle.  My scalp is still a little tender to the touch, but I'm not getting the headaches and nausea anymore.  That was a rough long weekend for injuries, but since then, I seem to be doing okay!