Holiday To-Knit List

Stay tuned very, very soon for the reveal of my socks.

In the meantime, though, I have stupidly agreed to knit too many things for Christmas.πŸ™‚ So, here’s my to-knit list:

  1. Socks for my dad. I’m not totally insane; these will be worsted weight socks. I’ll probably use the basic sock recipe I used for my socks but with far fewer stitches cast on (48?) and bigger needles (6?).
  2. Ear warmer for my mom. I may just do a super quick ribbed one, but I’m also considering the Irish Hiking Ear Warmer or the Blue Leaf Headband, depending on time.
  3. Hat for Brian. Probably the Man Hat.
  4. Fingerless gloves for Claire. Probably something pretty simple like Fingerless Mittens.

Written out like this, it actually doesn’t look too bad. Hopefully worsted weight will seem super quick after fingering weight!

And if I finish all that, I may tackle some toddler socks next…

I’m back!

Hello world! So, I had a baby. He’s a toddler now. And we moved to a new condo. And I haven’t been sewing at all (thus the total and complete lack of posting).*

However, I have gotten back into knitting!! In August, I knit a pair of toddler legwarmers as part of a swap. They were awesome. Sadly, I forgot to take a picture. But they convinced me to knit regularly again. I started a hat, and then got distracted by moving and life, but I finished it this week. I was inspired by the ridiculously cold weather that suddenly moved in to Chicago.

It’s the Aesderina pattern by Jane Richmond. Yes, I *bought* a pattern (and browsing through her website, I want to buy all of her patterns)!** It was an easy knit (and I learned a new decrease), and the resulting product is quite striking. I’ve gotten lots of compliments. Best of all, it was pretty cheap since I used less than a skein of Cascade 220 (in Spring Green, I think).

I have also started knitting socks!!Β  I took a 4-week class at Loopy Yarns. If you’re thinking of knitting socks, I really recommend a class. I learned the knitted cast-on (so easy! and stretchy!) and how to turn the heel. And I re-learned things like ssk and kitchener stitch. I’m not sure I would have stuck with it without a class. I now have 1.25 pairs of socks done. Knitting socks is a bit addictive, I think. They’re horribly time-consuming and a little complicated, but it’s so cool to think that I’ll get to wear warms socks that I knit. Still in progress, but here’s a sneak peek:

I’m on a bit of a green kick.

*It’s true that I haven’t been sewing, but I did sew a nursing cover since my last post. I also knitted a couple of diaper covers and took a crochet class (and never finished the crocheted scarf). But since that was all over a year ago, I’m going to skip over it.
**If anyone is looking for Christmas ideas for me…

An unexpected private knitting lesson

Hey look, a post!

I recently had a sudden and unexpected desire to take some classes. I hadn’t been planning to take any more sewing or knitting classes. I figured after the intro courses I could learn everything else online, and for the most part I do (I taught myself Magic Loop recently!). But I needed to get out of the house, and I guess I’m feeling like this is my last chance to take classes. I know my life won’t end when the baby is here, but I also know that with working full-time, I probably won’t want to spend my off hours away from the kiddo.

So I signed up for an Introductory Lace Knitting class at Loopy Yarns. It’s a one-time course and only costs $15, which I found appealing. It’s also only offered during the day, so I had to take a day off work (which I used to run various other errands too). The intermediate course is also during the day, so I won’t be taking it.

When I showed up for class yesterday it turned out I was the only one enrolled, so I got a private lesson! It was nice. We actually went less than the full 2 hours, but I’m sure I got as much content as if it had been longer with more people.

There’s not a lot to learning lace, which I knew going in. But it was nice to have someone verify that I was doing yarn overs correctly and to remind me to keep counting. I actually bought and used a row counter for the first time! The intro course has you start a feather and fan scarf. It’s a quite lovely and very simple pattern. I bought a second skein of fingering weight yarn (I’m not quite ready for lace weight) and will be making a shawl (a double-width scarf) instead since it seemed more practical.

Since it was just me, the instructor also taught me the knitted cast on (I’d only done long-tail previously) and a different bind off as well. In all, well worth my $15, and I had a really lovely day off of work. I even got to catch up with my Intro Knitting instructor who was working at the store yesterday.

I really wanted to take a sock knitting course before the baby comes, but the final session of the next course is three days before my due date. Even if I’m destined to be overdue, I don’t know that I’ll still want to be taking the bus downtown at that point. So instead I signed up for Intro to Crochet! Yay for learning new things.πŸ™‚

I actually have some finished (knitted) objects to show off too, but that will have to wait until I manage to take pictures of them.

In the homestretch

Picture from The Brown Stitch. My sweater will look exactly the same. Except, you know, without the stripes.

So being pregnant has seriously zapped my crafting mojo. I was way to tired in the first trimester, and then my husband has been home for most of the second trimester, so I’ve been spending time with him and preparing the house for the baby. But now that I’m in the third(!) trimester I’m finally wanting some handmade things for the baby. I managed to knit a quick hat out of leftover Malabrigo Rios (picture coming), and I’ve started a sweater as well.

Picture from Ravelry. Definitely *not* my blanket!

 

I also started a Pine Forest Baby Blanket, but the lace pattern seems to be a bit more than my pregnancy brain can handle!

 

 

I’ll admit that I haven’t thought a whole lot about sewing. As part of the great condo reorganization process, we moved my sewing machines and supplies into our bedroom closet, and well, out of sight, out of mind. Knitting is so much easier to work into my life–I can knit while watching TV or on lunch breaks or while in a car on the way to Ohio.

Picture from Sew Much Ado. So (sew) cute!

But, there are a few things I do intend to sew. First up is a nursing cover. They cost so much to buy, and really this is not difficult or time-consuming sewing! I stopped at JoAnn in Ohio this past weekend (while in town for my baby shower!) and bought boning and D-rings. I already have fabric I can use. So now I just need motivation, and this *should* be an easy and satisfying project.

Picture from Made by Rae. My fabric will be a little subtler!

I also have been meaning to make some newborn pants out of fabric leftover from my own sweatpants. Maybe someday I will actually get around to these. You know, before the baby is a year old. We’ll see. This should also be a very quick project, and I’m thinking I could do the whole thing on my serger, which would definitely make me happy.

 

You may noticeΒ  lack of dresses and such on this list. That’s because we’re having a BOY! We’ve known for 10 weeks now but had been keeping it a secret to reveal at the Ohio baby shower. My mom found a great geeky (and tasty) way to do the reveal…

Our kid is destined to be a nerd.πŸ™‚

A simple skirt

Back in November, I bought some black Kona Cotton from Sew, Mama, Sew, with the intention of sewing another Beignet skirt. I even bought buttons and lining to go with it from Fabric.com. Well, when I got pregnant, I quickly realized that a Beignet was not going to fit me for long. So, I made a new plan, to sew a simple elastic waist skirt.

It took some time, but I finally made my black skirt.

Headless Kelly so that the shot would have enough skirt in it.

I used a tutorial, but I honestly can’t remember which one. Let’s just say there are a lot of skirt tutorials out there. It’s basically two rectangles with side seams and a foldover at the top to pull elastic through to make the gathers. If I remember correctly, the width is something like twice the widest part (usually hips), which makes the skirt pretty full.

Since the construction was so very simple, I did French seams for the first time! And I’m in love. There are NO exposed seams anywhere on this skirt. I always felt like French seams were more work, but now that I get it, I understand that it’s actually less work than serging/picking/etc. Duh.

Yeah, I don't do cute poses.πŸ™‚

You can see in the pic above (kind of) that I just have the waist sitting under my belly. So it’s not a maternity skirt, per se, and hopefully I’ll be able to wear it post-baby too. Also, I know it looks like my belly button has popped, but actually, I always had an outie; it just didn’t used to strain against my tops!

Bored with the white wall yet?

I probably went a bit too short on the skirt, given how full it is, but I think it’s still more or less work-appropriate. Because I’m pushing the waistband under my belly, the back looks a little shorter than the front. It should look better post-baby.

Anyway, it’s simple and comfortable. I may well make a few more of these in different colors to get me through the summer. But next time I will add pockets!

I finished the sweater!

Well, it only took 5 months…

Don't I look happy to be done?πŸ™‚

I don’t know exactly why I put this sweater down and took SO LONG to pick it up again, except that I feared the button band/shawl collar. But I’d done the hard part (picking up stitches) at my final knitting class, so what I had left was just a lot of long rows of 2×2 ribbing.

This sweater used to fit me perfectly.

I finally got around to working on it again and figured I should finish while the weather was momentarily chilly so that I could actually wear the sweater. I took advantage of an evening alone last night while I skipped out on a White Sox game I was supposed to attend (in 40-degree weather!) to complete it. I had decided that the button band didn’t really need buttons. I never quite way the buttons looked on the pattern, since they were off-center, and I don’t ever button cardigans anyway, so it seemed silly to go to all the trouble to make buttonholes and sew on buttons. As an added bonus, the button band didn’t need to be nearly as wide since it wouldn’t need to overlap. I was able to finish last night, even with weaving in ends and binding off taking way more time than they should.

Web cam pictures of myself from behind are always awkward.

I’m reasonably happy with the finished product. It’s not quite the shape I’d like, but that may be more the pattern than the execution. There are two execution problems. One is that I didn’t do enough rows of garter stitch on the bottom, and the sweater has a tendency to flip up on the bottom. The other problem is that as much as I tried not to, I must have been too tight on the button band, and it pulls the sides up. All in all, though, those things are fairly minor.

And hey, I actually finished an adult-size sweater. A baby sweater should be a breeze now…

I’m back!

Astute readers may have noticed that I fell off the radar there for a long while. I wasn’t just not blogging; I was not crafting at all. See, what happened was… I got pregnant!

I’m 20 weeks today, and I’ve finally started to get back into sewing (and knitting). I (thankfully) never did have morning sickness or any kind of problems with food, but I was EXHAUSTED in much of the first trimester, and all I could do when I got home from work was to lay on the couch and stare mindlessly at the TV until I went to bed an hour or more earlier than normal.

Once the exhaustion finally started to abate, I got completely slammed at work, and the thought of starting sewing again was too much. Also, I wanted to make maternity clothes, but it seemed too early.

Well, it’s not too early any more.

Yes, I have a bump

Pictured above is the first sewing I’ve done in quite a while and only my second piece from a vintage pattern. I used Simplicity 6238 from 1974, purchased from PrettyPatternShop on Etsy. The fabric is a cotton lawn from Fabric.com.

I have mixed feelings about the blouse. On the one hand, it’s SO comfortable, especially after trying to squeeze myself into too tight/too short shirts. And it’s light and airy in the suddenly warm Chicago weather.

This is why I don't usually wait until 5PM to take pictures. Please excuse the messy hair!

But the top is SO big. I know I’m going to grow and will appreciate the space in the belly area. But it’s too big in the chest. I’ll admit that I’m not used to sewing for my new cup size, but I actually just went with the pattern sizing for a 12, which should have fit and ended up with way too much room. I ended up adding some elastic at the waist on both sides, which did help cinch it up.

For reasons I can’t explain, the pattern called for a zipper in the back. I had plenty of room in the neck to pull it on without a zipper, so I left that out completely.

No zipper for me!

There you have it– a finished sewing project from me. More maternity clothes to come soon, since I’m running out of things I can wear. And baby clothes eventually too.

And finally, because everyone loves a cute ultrasound pic…

20 weeks