Tag Archive | sweater

Oh! I Want To Make That! Now!

124025535d79d799e41221839803134bThis summer I have suffered from a severe case of “Start”itis.

By definition, Startitis is a condition caused by seeing a new amigurumi crochet pattern and needing to make it NOW despite the fact that the last amigurumi project isn’t even close to being completed.

It is the process of abandoning the current amigurumi project that was being worked on previously, and leaving it as a UFO (unfinished object) to start yet another amigurumi project with the broken promises of later returning to that deserted project as soon as the new one is done, and before yet another new one is started.

My case of Startitis has been quite severe and it is going to take some time to get over at this point.

img_5668At the first of the summer, I found the cutest little lamb pattern. I have seen several cute lamb patterns over the years but I had passed on making them because of the challenge of crocheting the lamb’s wool. When I saw this lamb pattern, I was ready to accept img_5689the challenge, and started to crochet the pieces for this lamb. After crocheting the body with popcorn stitches, I needed a break from this project.

The popcorn stitches took a lot of time and concentration to crochet and keep count and I was feeling lazy. This was not a “watch tv” and still crochet project. I tried to crochet the other parts of the lamb that did not have popcorn stitches like the arms and legs, but the thought of the up coming parts with popcorn stitches just made me completely lose interest. I was determined though to see the lamb project through to completion until I spied an amigurumi pattern that I just had to make IMMEDIATELY!

Yes of course, you guessed it!

img_5687It was a ferret in a sweater!

I mean come on, EVERYONE NEEDS one of those don’t they? Boy, I sure thought that I did!

It was love at first sight when I first saw this ferret pattern and it was simple to put down the cream colored yarn of the lamb and pick up the dark brown yarn of the ferret and start on yet another new project. The ferret’s pieces crocheted easily, and I loved adding the little sweater to his body. I crocheted his head and the cut and tied yarn color changed for his little bandit face but then I promptly put my hook down. The problem was, I just saw the cutest momma and baby dragon patterns and I just had to make them both. NOW!

img_5695Since it was so easy to stop working on the lamb project, and start the ferret project, I had no problem at all in deserting the ferret project to start to crochet the dragons instead. I picked out burgundy and gold for the momma dragon and two shades of purple for the baby dragon and then I started crocheting on the momma dragon’s body right away!

Because I was in such a hurry to start the dragons, I didn’t take the time to read through the pattern first so I was surprised as I crocheted the momma dragon’s body just how big she was going to be, but since the body was turning out really cute I had no problem continuing to crochet on it. I finished the momma dragons body and then I started crocheting the next pieces until I was presented with a new challenge.

Yes, you again guessed correctly. I just had to make a black panther!

img_5693You see, while I was visiting with an old friend, I decided to make her an amigurumi and asked her what her favorite animal was. I was expecting her to say a dog, a cat, a mouse, a cow, a pig, a monkey, or, could I be lucky enough, a lamb, a ferret or a momma dragon, but her response was a black panther instead.

As soon as she named a black panther, I lost total interest in making her an amigurumi for two reasons. One, I have never seen a pattern for a black panther and two, I can’t see black yarn very well so it is more difficult to crochet with than other colors. Crocheting an entire amigurumi from black yarn and getting something that resembled a panther out of it was just too much for my little brain at the time.

But, as time when on and I thought more about it, my little brain started to design a black panther for my friend. This challenge intrigued me so I stopped working on the momma dragon to get the panther started.

img_5699After crocheting a few pieces of the panther, I put my hook down. Luckily, not to start yet another amigurumi project but to evaluate what I had been doing. So far I had a bag of cream and beige yarn and pieces of a little lamb, a bag with the cute ferret’s pieces ready to be stitched together, a bag with a big momma dragon’s body, and now a bag with black panther’s pieces in it.

tumblr_nrsok0hg571uawe7no1_1280I decided that I really had to stop this and focus on one project, complete it and move on. These were all projects that I wanted to finish, but I had let new pattern after new pattern get in the way. I could not allow myself to start a new amigurumi project again until I had completed these four that were already started.

So, my new amigurumi project was to pick one of these four current project and compete it. This was a great goal until I realized Halloween is in just six weeks.

Oh crap!

I had wanted to make more candy filled ghosts and spiders for Halloween this year. Now, what do I do? Do I abandon the little lamb, the cute ferret, the momma dragon and now the black panther to start on Halloween projects before it is too late? Stay tuned to see what I decided next time!

Until then, crochet forth and start yet another project before you finish the previous one on!

New Sewing Tools – Part 2 – In The Pink

DSCN4050The sewing process for the sweater started with the plan to use my second new sewing tool, a new pair of pinking sheers. When reading about sewing fleece, one of the suggestions for finishing the seams of fleece was to just pink the seam allowances with a pair of pinking shears. I used to have a pair of pinking shears many years ago. I loaned them to a friend and I never saw them again. I haven’t really missed owning a pair until recently though, so I decided to reinvest in a new pair of pinking sheers.

DSCN3982When I looked into buying the pinking sheers, I found that I could spend a lot of money for nice pair or a much smaller amount of money for just a pair of the sheers that people had reviewed and said worked well for them. As you and I know, a good pair of scissors is a valuable sewing tool. So, when it comes to buying sewing scissors, I believe that you should spend the extra money for a nice pair of sew scissors. But is that true when it come to pinking sheers I wondered? I decided to go against the grain and buy the less expensive pinking shears for now. Later, if I found that I used the pinking sheer all the time, and I needed a nicer pair, I could then invest the money and buy the more expensive pair.

I sewed up the seams of the sweater, ironed the seams open and pinked the seam allowances. This was easy to do, but it was time consuming to line up the pinked edges. When the seams were done, the pinked seam allowances looked good and pinking was a fine way to finish the edges, but I still think that I like the look of a serged edge better. A serged edge to me is just a cleaner look.

DSCN3721In the end I was happy that I did not spend a lot on money on the more expensive pinking sheers. I just don’t think I will be pinking all that often, and the less expensive pair will be fine for me for how often I expect to use them. Although, if I was going to be using pinking sheers on the majority of my sewing projects, I would definitely invest in the nicer, more expensive pair of the pinking sheers since I know how much better a project goes with good scissors.

Sewing the bias tape on was next. I learned quickly not to let the fleece stretch too much as I sewed the bias tape on. My plan was to sew the bias tape on, fold the edges over and to stitch in the ditch on the front, catching the bias tape on the back. This did not work for me though. I remembered to not trim the bulk from the seam allowance of the bias tape but to leave the bulk to even out the fabric from the heavy fleece to the thin bias tape. I did trim a little of the bulk off the edge to smooth the edges, but not much.

DSCN3974The problem with leaving the bulk is that after going around the bulk with the bias tape, the bias tape was too short on the back side to be caught by the stitch in the ditch seam from the front side. Rather than arguing with the stitch in the ditch seam, I decided to sew on the edge of the bias tape on the front side. Now, there was no problem catching the bias tape on the back side. I was using nice matching thread so the sewing on the edge looks good, probably better than the stitched in the ditch seam would have looked.

DSCN3723The last step was to apply the velcro closures. As I cut four one inches squares of velcro to sew to the sweater, the husband shock his head no. He said he thought that buttons would look better. Since this sweater is not for an infant, there is no worry about a chocking hazard with buttons, so I decided that using buttons instead of velcro would be fine. I asked the husband what he thought about sewing the velcro on as the closure and the buttons on top of the velcro for decoration but he thought that the buttons as the closures was better. He did not like idea of the Velcro closures for a three year old.

DSCN4045Because the sweater is unlined with no facings or interfacing, I put a piece of tearaway stabilizer under the fleece to help keep the fleece from stretching as I sewed the buttonholes. This worked out great! The stabilizer held the fleece steady as the buttonholes sewed and gave the buttonholes themselves more durability. The extra stabilizer was torn away so you won’t even know I used it nor will it ruin the look of the buttonholes inside the sweater.

DSCN3976Soon the buttonholes and buttons were sewn and the sweater was all done!

I think that this sweater is just adorable! I had a lot of fun making it and I learned a few new sewing things and I got to use my new sewing tools as well. I will keep this sweater in mind for the next time I want to make a fun and simpler sewing project.

Until then, sew forth and pink on!

New Sewing Tools – Part 1 – Cutting The Curve

DSCN4045I love to go to craft shows, but I rarely buy anything. I am one of those people that professional crafters hate. I walk around and see what they have made, borrow their ideas, then I run home and make one for myself. That is what happened this time, with my latest fleece jacket/sweater project. The lady at the craft show had made a simple infant unlined fleece sweater, finished with bias tape edges and velcro closures. The sweaters were just adorable, simple and cute, and since I was in the mood for a light project, I decided to make one of these sweaters myself. Plus, I could practice making and sewing bias tape and use two new sewing tools that I had recently acquired.

I knew that I wanted to use this bear fleece that had been in the stash for many years. In fact, it was one of the first pieces of fleece that I ever purchased. Since it was never picked to be used for a blanket, it was time for it to be a sweater instead. I picked a brown cotton fabric for the bias tape, but when the husband saw the bear fleece he said to change to a red bias tape instead. It was no problem to pull some red cotton out of the stash to make the red bias tape with.

DSCN4052I cut 2 inch strips on the bias of the red cotton fabric to make 1 inch bias tape. The cutting and sewing of the strips went smoothly. I am getting better at this process each time I make bias tape. After a lot of ironing, I had a pile of red 1 inch bias tape made. I did not know exactly how much of the red bias tape I needed, so I just made a fair amount since I knew I could make more if needed. If I had extra, I would just save it for another project.

Now it was time to cut out the sweater. I was on my way to the pattern stash to find an infant jacket pattern to use when I spied my Simplicity 8902 pattern laying by the cutting table. Why not just use this pattern? It is a tried and true pattern for me, plus the size 3 was already traced and ready to use. I had envisioned this project for an infant but there was no reason that a 3 year could not wear a teddy bear fleece sweater as well so that is what I went with.

DSCN4046As I cut out the pattern pieces I added an extra inch to the fronts for the velcro overlap and I got the chance to use my first new sewing tool. I wanted to curve the tops and bottoms of the overlaps so I used my new french curve ruler I had picked up on clearance recently. Usually, I would have looked for a plate or bowl to cut the curves, but it was nice to use the curved ruler with the markings to make more accurate, even curves with. Plus, the rotary cutter cut much smoother around the edge of the ruler than it does around the edge of a bowl or plate. It did not take long to cut out the pieces for this sweater and to begin the sewing process.

Stay tuned next time for the sewing of the sweater.

Until then, sew forth and curve on!

In The Hoodie

DSCN1257Even though Leftovers the bunny turned out so cute and I love his turtle neck bulky yarn sweater, I still wanted to make a version of bunny with the hoodie from the pattern. This lead me to my next amigurumi project, another bunny from the same pattern but this time with a hoodie.

DSCN1252Instead of looking for a specialty yarn to make the hoodie, I just picked some good old Red Heart yarn, and since it was almost time for my relay for life raffle donations, I picked breast cancer pink as the color.

The pieces of this bunny were easy to crochet especially since I had made the pattern before. I crocheted all the white parts, the ears, head, and legs but after finishing the body with the pink top, I realized that I had underestimated the amount of yarn I needed yet again. I was not going to have enough of the pink yarn I was using for the sleeves on the arms and to finish the hoodie.

DSCN1250This time though, I had used a normal Red Heart yarn so I could easily get more if I needed some. I first turned to the stash where I have numerous skeins of pink yarns, but guess what? None of the pink skeins in the stash matched the pink I was using. I would need to go to the store and buy more yarn to match the pink yarn or undo the body and use another pink. Bemoaning either of these options, the husband stepped in. He looked at the pink skeins of yarn in the stash and picked one he said was close enough. Hmmm. I had enough of the pink I was using for the hoodie but not the sleeves. Was this other pink close enough? I decided to go for it and see. So, I crocheted the hoodie next.

DSCN1253The hoodie crocheted up smoothly. The pattern is well written and easy to follow. To make certain I was on the right track as I crocheted the hoodie, I stitched the head, ears, and body of the bunny together so I had something to try my hoodie on. I was able to crochet the entire hoodie from the current pink yarn I was using. I then crocheted the arms of the bunny with the other pink yarn and stitched the arms and legs to the bunny. The husband was right. If you know I used two different pink yarns and look really closely, you can see the difference. If not, the second pink yarn matches the first pink yarn just fine.

With the bunny stitched completely together, I pulled the hoodie on and handed the bunny to the husband. After inspecting the bunny, he said that the hoodie needed to be bigger, at least one more row around the bunny’s face. Now, how was I going to add one more row around his face since it was made out of the that pink yarn that I had ran out of?

DSCN1248The answer was a white decorative edge all around the hoodie, around the face and the neck, and to make the hoodies ties white as well.

I tried a couple of different decorative stitch edges around the hoodie, but I finally settled on just a simple half double crochet. It was easy to do and it added a simple but decorative edge. The husband liked the extra white row as well.

DSCN1255I debated about whether to leave the hoodie removable or stitch it permanently to the bunny’s head. The pattern did not stitch the hoodie to the head and after bugging the husband about it repeatedly, I decided to leave the hoodie removable. Since I expect a child to play with this bunny and to remove the hoodie often, I had the husband give the ears a good tug to make sure they were secure and would withstand the hoodie being pulled on and off repeatedly.

DSCN1242I’m not really happy with the hoodie, and to me, it looks like a bonnet, but that might be because of the pink or the white decorative edge, or because it is removable. The bunny is still very cute though, with or without the hoodie/bonnet on, so I am not too disappointed with the end results. I think some little girl will really enjoy playing with this bunny. I do see another bunny with a hoodie in my future. Next time though, I will use a dark color or gray for the hoodie and no decorative edge and maybe stitch it to the neck so it can be taken off the head but not removed. We will see.

Until then, crochet forth and hoodie on!

Leftovers

DSCN1114“Can you use this?” asked my mother as she tossed me a small ball of brown toned bulky yarn left over from her last project. “Sure I can!” I answered as I tossed the yarn ball into my stash. Since I only crochet amigurumi’s, I can always use small bits and pieces of yarn. I just needed to wait for the right pattern that would use a small amount of brown bulky yarn to come along, and it finally did. When I saw this pattern for a bunny in a hoodie, I knew it was time to dig this ball of bulky yarn out from the stash and put it to good use.

DSCN1116Because I would be working with this bulky yarn for the hoodie of this bunny, I decided to crochet the pieces with my H hook instead of my G hook that I normally use to make amigurumi’s. I picked white as the color for the bunny, but as I reached for my white skien of Red Heart yarn, I remembered the abandoned white pieces of the bad Snoopy pattern that I had given up on. Since I was using left over yarn from Mom for the hoodie, why not see how much yarn was in the left over pieces from the abandoned Snoopy project and use it up too.

DSCN1115I was surprised at how much yarn was in the white abandoned pieces and how much of the bunny I was able to crochet using these pieces. I was able to crochet the legs, ears, hands, the bottom of the body and half the head before I had to get my skien of white yarn to finish up. I should not have been surprised how quickly I ran out of the brown bulky yarn though. After crocheting the arms and the body, I did not have enough bulky yarn left over to make the hood. I did have enough of the bulky yarn to make a collar for what would now end up being a sweater rather than a hoodie. After completing the bunny, I decided that I really like his bulky sweater and I am not unhappy at all that he does not have a hoodie.

DSCN1117I gave the bunny a small pink nose, a little smile and tiny whiskers as well as a small pom pom tail at the bottom back of his sweater. And I jokingly named him Leftovers, since he was made from left over yarn, but now the name is starting to stick so I think I will keep it.

I have only one problem. I have a tiny bit of the bulky yarn left. I would say about 6 yards. Not enough for another project but too much to throw away. I have thrown this last bit of left over yarn away a dozen times and then dug it out of the garbage a dozen times. To keep or not to keep it, that is the question. It is currently sitting on my cutting table as I debate its fate. Any suggestions on what to do with a tiny amount of left over yarn? Please let me know if you have any great ideas for it!

Until then, crochet forth and left over on!

From the top of the Charts!

circularchartsThe patterns that come in my Crochet Today magazine have both written text instructions and a chart using symbols to show you how to crochet the pattern. In the past I have always promptly ignored the charts, and instead chose to follow the written text instructions to crochet my projects. That was about to change though. A few days back while I was searching for crochet patterns on the internet, I found a great Japanese web site with several great free patterns to crochet, P1020718but the patterns were all in the chart form. The instructions for each part of the amigurumi’s are in two charts. The first is a table with the count of each row and how many stitches are in each row, and the second is a chart with symbols. Great, I don’t know how to read those! And so I quickly decided that I wouldn’t be making any of those patterns anytime soon. But after I had thought about it awhile, I decided that the teddy bear pattern was so cute, that it was time to learn how to read and follow the symbols of the charts.

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P1020720At first, I only followed the table in the patterns. Because I have made enough amigurumis in the past I know how to increase from 6 to 12 to 18 to 24 and so on per row without really reading the instructions or, in this case, without following the chart. But, as soon as the pattern became more complicated, I had to finally learn what the symbols meant and how to follow the chart. To my surprise, it was very easy to follow the symbols of each row, and soon I found that I was no longer watching the table with the stitch counts, and I was just following along with the symbols on the chart. It was great! A whole new batch of patterns were now available for me to download and try out. I don’t know that I am ready for a really complicated chart pattern yet, but I am willing to try some more pattern that are just charts.

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P1020726As for the pattern I chose to start with, I was very unsure about the resulting pieces of this teddy bear while crocheting it up. I knew that I had followed the table and chart correctly, but I did not like the looks of the finished pieces. First came the head. When I was done crocheting the head, it was very flat and fat. I felt like I needed to add at least three more rows in the middle to make it taller. Then I studied the photo of the bear very closely and decided not to add the extra rows and just see what I got after I stuffed the head. Next came the feet. The feet came out huge and even much larger than I expected even though I knew I followed the table and chart correctly. But I didn’t know how to fix them, so I left them the way they were.

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After finishing the crocheting of the pieces of this bear and after stuffing the head and adding the muzzle and eyes, I felt a lot better about this look of this bear. Stuffing the head, helped to make it look taller, and made it look less fat. Stuffing the feet, made the feet look even bigger but I liked the big feet better after they were stuffed for some reason. And after stitching the legs and arms to the body and adding the head, I sat the bear down and fell in love with it. I really like the variegated yarn that makes it look like the bear has a sweater on and especially the white strip on the top and bottom and around the arms that encases the variegated yarn to give it a even more of a sweater look.

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P1020729P1020724As the bear sat on my table waiting for pictures, he fell over. When I picked him up, I noticed just how ugly he really was especially his big feet. Where had the cute bear I was in love with gone? I sat the bear up and there he was. The cute bear had returned. It did not take long for me to figure out that I really like the bear sitting upright but not laying down flat. I picked the bear up by his ears and folded his feet up to his body, cute. I let his feet drop, not cute. Folded the feet back up, cute. Let them drop again, not cute. The husband says I am crazy, that the bear is just as cute sitting or standing, but I have to disagree.

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I have named this teddy bear Sebastian and he is currently SITTING on my sewing table, but he will have to find a new home soon. Hopefully some one will want to love him even with those big feet.

Bibs and Blanks

First lets start with the bibs.

On May 17, a new nephew was born just in time for his older brother to turn 2.

I had already sent a couple of sleepers for the new baby but decided that some new bibs might be needed too. And I figured that the 2 year old could use them first.

The bibs are so quick to make but are also so much fun to decided what to stitch on them. I knew that the 2 year old would be going to see Toy Story 3 with his older brothers, so I decided to put Buzz and Woody on his bibs.

I really liked the Woody design but I was not as happy with the Buzz design. There is nothing wrong with the design. I just have others I like better. The third bib has a Donald Duck stitched on it because their mom is a big Donald Duck fan. So, naturally they all know who Donald Duck is.


Now on to the blanks. We stopped by the Disney outlet store the last time we were in Las Vegas.

They had these Disney sweater shirts for $3. They had the Disney tag in the the back but nothing else on them that indicated that they were from Disney. So for just $3, I could add my own Disney design to these shirts so I bought 3 of them.

They only had size 3, so I only purchased enough for the nephews that are or will be a size 3 really soon. Upon getting them home, I realized why Disney did not put anything these shirts and they went to the outlet store.

The shirts were made with the fabric inside out. But, I still like the looks of the shirts and I already owned them so I figured I would go ahead with the embroidery and the kids could just use them to play outside this fall. I debated between Mickey Mouse or Pooh and Tigger on the shirts, but Mickey Mouse won out.

I think that they turned out really cute. 

Another nephew of mine has taken a liking to outer space, planets and the space shuttle.

So, while the hoop was still sticky from the sticky paper and the thread was all out, I decided to embroider him a space shuttle.

I picked up this shirt awhile back at Wal-mart on clearance for $1.

It was the perfect shirt with great colors for the the space shuttle to be stitched on! . . . . . . . . . .

The last blank is the finished sleeper in the larger size. I debated quite a while about what design to put on the sleeper, puppies or pandas, but since it was going to the niece, it had to be a princess.

The embroidery process was not as easy on the completed sleepers as it is when I embroider during the construction of the sleeper but it wasn’t much more difficult due to the size.

I embroidered one last design, but you won’t get to see it until I finish the sewing for that one.

Stay tuned!

If you want to see my original baby bib post you can find it HERE.