Tag Archive | small

Henry the Small Dragon

 

This is Henry, the small dragon. He is Harriet’s, the big dragon’s, little brother.

Henry’s body is as slender as Harriet’s body but due to the size difference in the two, his body was a much quicker crochet. His tiny wings, horns, and spikes are adorable but due to their size they were time consuming to crochet and stitch on.

Henry is very mischievous and is always into trouble. Harriet and especially Henry have stolen my heart and they sitting next to my sewing machine where Henry hides my scissors and steals my pins.

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Brusha Brusha Brusha

IMG_0355It was time for me to tackle another amigurumi project. After the completion of the dragonfly and conquering the challenges that pattern brought, I wanted to just make a simple project this time around. But, as I looked through my patterns for a simple project, I was not inspired by anything. I didn’t want to make just a simple amigurumi, I wanted to make an simple amigurumi with some flare. So, I turned to my to do list and decided it was time to try the brush technique I had read about in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi book. Instead of using fuzzy yarn to make a furry or fuzzy amigurumi, you make an amigurumi from regular yarn and then brush the yarn to get a fuzzy, furry effect. This is a great idea! I had been wanting to try this brushing technique for awhile now, but I did not want to try it on a complicated pattern in case I did not like the effect or destroyed the project. Since I wanted to make a simple amigurumi next, this would be a good opportunity to try the brushing technique out and if it I did not like the end results, it would not be very much of a loss.

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P1030479With all these thoughts of fuzzy fur and brushing, I picked the pattern I wanted to make, and yes, it is a very simple pattern. The design is called pocket pals. These various animals are made up of two feet, a body and two ears. I picked the dog for my first project and crocheted his pieces from Red Heart super saver 4 ply yarn in white and black. Next I picked the bear design and crocheted his parts from some heavy brown yarn that I don’t have any details on because I picked it up a thrift store unlabeled. I picked this heavy brown yarn instead of just another skein of Red Heart yarn to see how the different yarns would look once brushed. The pieces of these little pocket pals crocheted up quickly and easily and it was soon time to start brushing the pieces.

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P1030444The book said to use a wire pet brush to brush the yarn. I did not have one of these brushes, so I tried a variety of brushes from around the house. From toothbrushes to hair brushes to cleaning brushes, I brushed and brushed but was not getting the desired fuzzy effect that I expected. Just as I was about ready to give up and head to the store for a pet brush, the husband happened by to see what I was doing. Seeing the variety of brushes lying on my table and observing what I was trying to do, the husband left without a word but returned with 3 brushes from his tool box, a nylon brush, a stainless steel brush, and a copper brush. Now, it was time to get brushing.

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P1030445I started with the nylon brush since it was the softest of the three brushes the husband had brought me, on the feet of the bear. The results were good, but not great. So, I tried the copper brush next. Now, there was the fuzzy look I was looking for. I tried the stainless steel brush last since it was seemed to be the heaviest brush of the three brushes. The results from the stainless brush were not much different than from the copper brush on the heavy brown yarn of the bear. Repeating the process, I brushed the feet of the dog with first with the nylon brush, then the copper brush and last the stainless steel brush. The result was very fuzzy. Because the yarn of the dog’s feet was not as heavy, the nylon brush gave the same fuzzy results as the other two brushes but I noticed that it did take more strokes to get that result than it did with the copper brush or the stainless steel brush. Liking my results, I brushed the bodies and ears for both the bear and the dog. The book said I should brush the parts of the amigurumi before stitching them together, which is what I did. After I stitched the parts together, I picked up the brushes again and fuzzed up the joining stitches for a more even look.

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Because the bear and the dog were so much fun to make, I picked up some green yarn and quickly crocheted the parts for a frog. I picked up the brushes to start brushing when it dawned on me that frogs are not fuzzy. Darn! I could have made the bunny or the cat or even the chick and they would have been fuzzy and I could have brushed some more. Oh well, the frog was fun to make too. He just didn’t end up being fuzzy.

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P1030474This pattern was so much fun to make that I am keeping it in my crocheting bag permanently. Now, when I am stuck somewhere and don’t want to work on my current project or I am at a point where I can’t work on my current project, or I can’t focus on my current project, I can pull this pattern out and without much focus or thought, make a cute little pocket pal for someone. Also, the husband is going to have to buy himself some more brushes because I am claiming ownership of his current brushes and they now live in my crafting supplies. I see more brushed yarn amigurumi’s in my future.

I’m an Avocado, and your a Peach!

2840100105001For many years now I have read the fashion design books and web sites about body shape, and for all my life I have been an apple shape, round all the way around and even red after climbing a flight of stairs. Now that I have lost some weight, I am becoming more of a pear shape because of how I am losing the weight. I have lost most of the weight so far in my arms, legs, bust and neck areas. I have even lost weight in my wrists, fingers and toes.

For pete’s sake!

Now all of my watches, bracelets and rings are all too big and will have to be resized. And I guess I am not as big boned as I always thought I was after all, because I now have much thinner wrists and fingers.

Darn!

It’s not all good new though, since my weight around my middle is not departing as nicely or as quickly as I would have liked. But since I have more weight to lose all over during the next year or so, I can’t yet say what my final shape will be in the end, but for now I am calling myself an avocado. So, with that shape in mind, I pulled out my next sloper pattern, a v-neck, button up the front, no collar shirt, to be altered for my current size.

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P1030439To start out, I took a few measurements off of my recently altered t-shirt patterns, some measurements from my current shirts that fit ok, and some new measurements of myself. The first alteration I made was take 1/2 inch out of the shoulders at the neck and tapered the shoulder seam to the armscye on both the front and the back of the shirt. This took 2 inches out of the neck in total. This in turn helped to bring the shirt back up around my neck, shortened the shoulder seams, brought the sleeve up more onto the shoulder and reduced the amount of cleavage that wanted to show. Wow, you wouldn’t think that small of a change would make so much difference, but it did. The next alteration I made was to take 1 inch off of each side seam.

After looking at the new cut line and my measurements and remembering my new avocado shape, I decided to taper the side seams and add the inch back into the hips. This gave the shirt a “A” shape. I was concerned that this was going to make the final shirt look too blousey at the bottom, but since P1030433this is just a trial shirt I decided to leave the “A” shape alone for now. Taking an inch off the sides meant that the bottom of the armscye was higher and that the armscye was now smaller so I had to take an inch off the sides of the sleeves too.

I did decide to leave the shirt the same length for now, because I figured I would be sewing a good sized hem on it because of my bust being smaller now. I did remember to do the final alteration needed and take the 1/2 inch off the shoulders of the facings just like I did with the shoulder seams so that the facing and shirt would match. With this all done, I was ready to cut out the fabric and sew it up.

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P1030436Since this was just a trial for the newly modified pattern, I picked a fabric that wasn’t my favorite but yet was nicer than my last trial shirt and could be worn to work. After washing, drying and ironing the fabric, I got to the cutting table. Because I did not know if my new alterations were correct, I did not want to just chop up my old sloper pattern, so I made slits in the pattern and folded the old pattern to my alterations lines to make the new cuts. This way if I need to adjust something later on the pattern was still usable. Later on, I would learn that this was a very wise move on my part.

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The sewing of the shirt went smoothly except for the interfacings. I don’t believe I will live long enough to completely master interfacing fabric. I had been using a sew in interfacing that sewed in just fine but now that it is attached to the fabric is too heavy. Maybe it will soften up with a few washings. One can hope I guess. Once again, since this is just a trial shirt, I just chalked the wrong type of interfacing up to a lesson learned. After finishing the shirt, I decided that the design and color of the fabric was just too busy for an embroidery design so I declared the shirt finished. Now it was time for the most important part, the wear test.

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P1030369I have wore this shirt a couple of times and although there is nothing wrong with the shirt and it is very wearable, I am going to make some more alterations in my pattern for my next shirt. Whie standing the shirt is fine, but when sitting the shirt presents some problems. I need a little room put back in the bust. I am ok with this because it will get rid of the “A” shape of the shirt which did turn out to be more blousey than I wanted at the bottom in my last trial shirt. I will have to add the same amount back in to the sleeves as well so I may need to lift the armscye up a bit so that I don’t lose that alteration when I add it back to the side seams. I also need to adjust the length of the next shirt trial, especially in the slits in the sides. The slits are there to help give you some extra room in the hips when you sit down, but the slits in this shirt are not high enough to do their job properly, so some adjusting is needed there.

The shoulder seam alterations seem to be good though and I like the fit around the neck. And after a couple of washings, the interfacing has softened up a little, but I am still very unpleased with the interfacing in this shirt. But that has nothing to do with my alterations. Yet, it was another good sewing lesson learned. Practice and patience is the key to all sewing, you know.

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I was, of course, hoping that this shirt, like the t-shirt, would be a good fit after the alterations but I knew not having the stretch of the knit to help the fit that my first try with it would not be perfect. And with that in mind, instead of moving on to my next sloper pattern, I have decided to do the right thing and make the new alterations to this pattern now and make another shirt from the newly altered pattern to get it right. As much as I want to say “Ok, that’s done.” I know that this is going to be a long process and I have to do it right. So its back to the drawing board for a few more revisions until I am happy with it.

The Long and Winding Road

941656_515344308514980_1754325710_nAnd so it begins. So in the last 18 months I have been able to loose some weight and keep it off. I’m pretty proud of myself. Although this is great news, it has caused a couple of sewing issues to arise. Namely all of my clothes are fitting me like plastic garbage bags and all my basic sloper patterns now need to be adjusted before I can start sewing myself some new clothes. Altering clothes and patterns is not one of my strong suits. I really hate to unpick seams. I am just lazy at heart. When I make something that needs to be taken in or let out, I take the easy way out and say that I will just adjust it the next time I make the pattern.

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P1020785This dilemma would have happened sooner, except I am like most women and I have a stash of clothes that I have out-fatted over the years but just could not bare to part with. And just knowing that someday I would drop those extra pounds and be able to wear those clothes again. And recently I have been wearing those clothes, but I am being teased about my ’80s shoulder pads and I can’t wear my ’90s grunge to work, so it is time to break down and either alter my recently made clothes or alter my patterns and make new clothes.

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Because of my hatred of unpicking seams, I decided to start out by altering my sloper patterns. While wearing one of my favorite ’80s shoulder pad shirts, I remembered that years ago my mom helped me to take a pattern from this shirt. Was there any chance I still had this pattern hiding in the back of my pattern box? This would be a great starting point if I did still have this pattern. Luckily, being the pack rat I am, I did still have that pattern.

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P1020787I decided to start this pattern altering journey with my t-shirt pattern. With the help of the old ’80s pattern and some new measurements, I cut out a current sized t-shirt for me. And I picked a fabric that I have a lots of, and am not the fondest of, to give this new sloper pattern a try. The sewing part of the t-shirt was pretty standard fare. I did try the shirt on a couple of times during the sewing process just to make sure I was on the right track.

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With the sewing of the t-shirt completed and the fit seeming to be good, I decided to do some embroidery on the shirt. When I started this project, I was not going to embroider a design on this shirt. Why would I waste the time and thread on a pattern fitting trial project? But, I was pleased enough with the fit of the final shirt to embroider on it so I did. I picked the Pig Pen design because I really like it and have always wanted a shirt with Pig Pen on it and I just hadn’t got around to it. You see lots of shirts with other peanuts characters on them but not usually Pig Pen alone. Plus, he looks good with the green stripe on the fabric, and since it is a casual shirt, he fits in on it quite well.

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P1020793As I was digging in the closet for the ’80s pattern, I found this black, white and grey striped t-shirt that I had made for myself about 5 years ago. It did not fit very well at the time I made it because the stripes are painted on the knit fabric and the paint took all the stretch out of the fabric. So, it was tucked into the closet for some later day project and that some day was now. It now fits me much better so as long as I had the embroidery thread and stabilizer out, I decided to add a design to this shirt as well and have another better fitting wearable shirt.

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P1020794Now for the biggest test of this whole project. The wear test. And after having wore both shirts a few times, the Pig Pen shirt fits pretty good and is very comfortable to wear but I believe that is due to the knit fabric. If I did not have the stretch of the knit would my alterations be correct? So, I am not saying that I have officially completely altered my t-shirt basic sloper pattern to its new size, but I am getting very close to it. And I am not going to be tracing a new final pattern from the mishmash of the two patterns just yet. But I am using those as a base to use on my next sloper pattern, my v neck no collar pattern, and that will be made from a woven cotton fabric. By the time that one is made and wear tested I should have a completely new pattern with the correct sets of adjustments that I can use for some future sewing projects for myself.

Smaller? Yes! Easier? No!

I found it. When I made the purple Snoopy shirts from the pattern Sew Easy 118, I had bemoaned the fact that the smallest size in the pattern was a size 6. As you might know, I prefer to sew tab front shirts with a cut tab rather than a slit tab, so at the time I was wishing that pattern 118 also had smaller sizes. While digging in the pattern box for another pattern, I found the pattern Sew Easy 117, a cut tab front shirt in sizes 1 to 4. Obviously, I don’t remember buying this pattern or where it came from. But I am sure it came from the same thrift store as the pattern 118, and I probably got it at the same time), but somehow it had gotten separated from my other kid’s patterns and I was thrilled to find it again. I knew my next projects would be to make a kid’s shirts from this pattern.

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Setting on top of one of the piles in the stash was this red with stripes single knit fabric. I had pulled it out to make a sleeper from it but since it was just a scrap piece, there was not enough for a sleeper. It was though big enough for this pattern, size 1. I traced the size 1 pieces and quickly cut the pattern out. Once again, because the pattern was an older style, I shorten the tab, not by too much because I didn’t want to shorten it so much that the shirt would go over the kid’s head.

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Confident that I could easily sew up this tiny shirt in minutes, because I have sewn so many cut tab fronts on the husband’s shirt over the years, I started to sew. I was rudely awaken to the fact that the tiny cut tab front was not so easily stitched as he husband’s larger tabs. I learned very quickly to reduce the number of stitches per inch on the sewing machine as I unpicked and rest stitched the tab. The preset stitch length that I normally have my machine set on was to large to get nice even corners for the small tab. I also learned to cut the tab much more carefully. I learned that a larger tab,bigger shirt, is much more forgiving of sloppy sewing. So, my quick sew of this small shirt took a lot more time than expected but was definitely a learning experience.

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The embroidering on this small shirt was also not as fun as on a larger shirt. Most of my designs are approximately 4 by 4 inches. Although I could have squeezed a design that large on the front of this shirt,it would have laid from the tab to the armpit. Not really the look I wanted. So I had to pick a smaller design and even at that I had to pick one the was larger vertically than horizontally. Because I made this shirt with no design in mind to stitch on it, I was not disappointed when I finally picked Mickey Mouse as the finally design for this shirt. In fact, I love the Mickey on the shirt. The colors and Mickey mix well, and of course Mickey Mouse is always so cute.

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In the end, even though this did not turn out to be a quick easy sew, I am still thrilled to have this pattern, a cut tab front shirt in smaller sizes. I am planning to take the things I learn from makings this little shirt and make more.

The Tale of Two Diets and the Weight of a Wait

So several months ago my husband told me I was getting fat!

Well, ok that isn’t exactly true.

His exact words were more along the lines of: “You know dear we are getting older and we probably need to loose some of this extra weight we are carrying around so that we feel better and have less medical problems as we continue to age.”

But of course being a woman, I wanted to hear none of that! All I heard was “You are fat!” Now don’t get me wrong, I KNOW I am fat, since I have been considered “FAT” according to the Medical Definition of the term since I was about 3 days old.

We both lead very active lives and since my being overweight had not stopped me from doing anything that I had wanted to before, I just hadn’t really paid much attention to the issue. I’m very lucky to have had a very loving husband for 25 years now who doesn’t really see my weight as an issue and since we were pretty much both overweight when we met, when we were dating, and when we were married, it just wasn’t a high priority item on either of our lists to get the weight off.

At least it wasn’t until we reached our 40’s. Once you reach a certain age and things start to become more difficult for you,  like getting in and out of a car, or a chair, or those leather hot pants you bought back in the 80’s and thought were just “The Bomb” back then, you start to think about your future in different ways. Thoughts that when you are younger and in your 20’s and 30’s, you would never even have considered having.

So starting on January 1st, 2012 we both went on that most despised of despise’s, dreadful of dreadful’s, evil of evil’s. Yep thats right. The D word that we dare not speak it’s name or it will come and haunt us in our dreams while we sleep forevermore!


DUTCH CHOCOLATE CAKE!

Oh wait! That’s not it! I wish that were it! I’d actually “LIKE” to hear that D word!

No it was the other one that sounds a lot like DYE IT!

Now don’t get me wrong. Over the years like most modern women I have been on and off of several “weight reduction plans”. But for me anyway, mostly off.

I had done the New Years Resolution Fad Diets, along with every other woman on the planet for the last 30 years trying to get rid of a few of those extra “Holiday Pounds” we all seem to gain every year during the holidays.

But this year was different. This year about 6 months before January 1st rolled around my husband had started to compile data and do some research like he always does when he is getting ready to make a change to something in our life. And by January 1st, 2012 he had created a “Lifestyle Modification” for us.

When he first told me what it entailed I told him he was “Crazy in the head” and that there was no way we could do what he was asking. But three months later and 52 pounds lighter and several pants and shirt sizes smaller, I have to say he wasn’t so crazy after all. Well maybe crazy like a fox. He has lost more weight than I have in the same amount of time, but since he is more than a foot taller than me and male, that was to be expected.

He insists that since this isn’t really a diet, and instead is something we change in our daily behavior so it’s really more a psychological thing than a physical thing, that we should be able to stick with it over the long term rather than the two week’s and I’ve had enough holiday diets of yore. And I must say, it is nice to be back to my 10 year ago weight, and to not have had to give up too much to get here. My next goal of course is to get back to my 20 year ago weight and I think given some time and effort I can get to that point too. All in all I am excited for what the future brings.

Now some of you may be saying at this point “Super! You lost a few pounds! Now what does this have to do with sewing?”

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Well, I’ll tell you what it has to do with sewing!

Since I have lost the weight,  I now need to make several new articles of clothing to fit my reduced size and you should see the fruits of those labors showing up on here very soon! At least that is the plan.

Brownie The Bear

I have got to start reading patterns more closely. I found this free bear pattern by my favorite author on the internet and thought it was just the cutest bear. With that thought in mind, I put all my other crocheting aside and started making one right away.  After crocheting the body and the legs, I became quite disappointed. The bear was not turning out the way I had imagine.  I had expected a bigger bear. If I had read the pattern, I would have known the finished size of the bear was very small.

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I felt like I had too many pieces of the bear finished to abandon the project, so I continued to crochet. After completing the crocheting and sewing the parts together, I was disappointed once again. The bear is not nearly as cute as the picture. Where did I go wrong? To me, he looks more like a fox than a bear. If I had just made him out of red, he would be really cute. Looking at the picture, I have decided that his eyes are too small and too high on his head. I am about to give up on crocheting bears. I have not found a pattern that I really like yet. The other animals that I crochet turn out so much cuter than the bears that I am going to stick with them.

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My husband said I am too hard on the little bear and named him Brownie. He says he is cute, but agrees that he is not quite like the picture on the pattern but doesn’t need to be. He keeps reminding me that even misfit toys need love too. I know this and Brownie is starting to grow on me, but I am moving on to different animals in the future.