Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sleepy Time

A lovely repeat client messaged me about making "pillow beds" for her two young girls who often come into her room in the night and have nowhere to sleep.  My initial reaction was no way.  Sewing, and all that stuffing...then I remembered about something I had seen on Pinterest.  They had taken a sheet, sewed it up making 5 compartments, and stuffed each one with a pillow!  I suggested she pick out a couple sheets that matched her room, but she wanted these to be for the girls and wanted something soft, like fleece.  And instead of a pillow sham opening, how about a zipper?  And not five pillows, but maybe three?

Fleece is not cheap but does come in a lot of patterns.  I thought a long zipper was going to be expensive, but the store had 60" "duvet zippers" in colours that worked well, for only $3.50 each (I think that was the price, maybe $3.75).

 (My girls are much bigger than the girls these were made for, but they still thought they were really comfy!)

My first attempt at sewing on the zipper was not good.  My fabric was 60" long, but when I got to the end of the first side of the zipper...I had a lot of fabric left.  The zipper was quite wavy.  I had somehow stretched the fleece as I sewed.  So, I unpicked it and used pins this time, and got a much better result.  When I did the top stitching for the divides, on the first one, somehow the fabric shifted and the zipper ended up not being exactly on the edge, but in a bit.  I think because I did the dividers first and then the top and bottom seams.  On the second one, I did the top and bottom seams first, and that held it together better.  I even remembered to check the fabric pattern to see if there was a distinct top and bottom!

I was proud of myself for remembering to include the strap when I did the bottom seam...and then forgot with the second one.  When I first held up the pillow fabric, I thought I was going to end up with a strip left over, which I could use for the strap.  It just seemed like a huge piece of fabric.  There wasn't any left over in the end so I found some bright pink fleece in my stash.  I think I like it better than a matching strap!  And I love the contrasting snaps (they have little hearts engraved on them).

I really over thought the strap at first.  But once I had the pillows in, and folded it up, I realized I could snap the end of the strap to itself if I made it long enough!  So much simpler than trying to figure where to put the snap on the bed.

I didn't have very good pillows to fill them with for photos.  We really need new pillows!

Friday, September 18, 2015

And Sew, a Week Passes

I had hoped to have something to show by now.  Last week was the first week of school and of course, it evaporated as quickly as summer did.  This week also went Pouff! and disappeared.  On Monday, this week seemed like it was going to last forever.  I had lots to do, places to go.

What have I done?

Well, I did walk to school/work several days, I did do a lunch time skate, and all the other stuff I usually do.  Add in that my daughter is skating one more session each week (four sessions a week now, plus off ice, and assisting at the beginner classes), and that band started up, and that my son got a job that requires being driven there and back (very late)...

I have been working on two "pillow beds".  Made in patterned fleece, each will hold three pillows.  I haven't shown and WIP pictures because...it started off looking like a 1.5m x 1.4m piece of fleece, and it doesnt' look much different now.  Just folded in half, a zipper down one side, and a strap with a snap.  I have posted a couple pictures on Instagram if you use IG.  I WILL show the final result soon.

Knitting?  Still working on those Christmas stockings, crocheting a slouchy hat, and I've got a few other orders to start.  I went from nothing, to enough to keep me busy for week, all in just a couple days.  Crazy.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

And Another Mitten

A long time ago (well, probably just late last summer), my daughter decided she wanted to knit something for herself...mittens...I had a sideways knit, garter stitch pattern in an old Mon Tricot book, but the details were a bit lacking.  She picked out Easy Knits "Georga Wool" which I had gotten at Wal-Mart.  It says it's "mercerized" which is not a term used with wool. I think it's to indicate that this might be treated to be superwash, but the icons show hand washing.  There is a website but this isn't on it (BTW, the "DeLuxe" feels awful).    The gauge on the ball band says 18st/24rows on 5.5mm.  There is NO way this yarns knits to that gauge...remember Mission Falls 1824?  This is like, half the thickness.   Meg used 3.75mm needles!  I wrote the pattern out for Megan, row by row so she'd have an easier time marking where she was.  

She did really well for awhile.  Then winter passed and the allure of wool mittens waned.  She did pick it up now and then, but I did end up finishing the second mitten.  I had to alter the original pattern a fair bit to fit her and the wool, but they are so cozy and fit well.

I admit to being a bit of a garter stitch snob.  The only people who like garter stitch are either beginners who don't know the purl stitch, or people who use only fancy yarns so they don't have to do the purl stitch and make an interesting fabric for a plain yarn.  Right?  Sally Melville's "The Knitting Experience, Book 1:  The Knit Stitch" and Elizabeth Zimmerman's "BSJ" are the two exceptions.  And, I did knit an "Einstein Jacket" for myself and ended up feeling like a marshmallow (do you really need the link for that post? LOL).  I knew the knit stitch was enough for Megan and the sideways knitting added just enough construction interest for me.  There's not a lot of options on Ravelry for garter stitch mittens, and TO ME, most of them are not pleasing (or were the wrong size, wrong yarn, or too difficult for Megan).  Oh look...there's two pairs by Elizabeth Zimmerman...one of which is sideways...click on one of them, you'll see her sideways gloves...which are very similar.  I wonder if I have a pattern for them in one of the old Vogue magazines...

I started the mittens with waste yarn so that I could graft the start and end together; same thing on the thumbs.  But I kept thinking there's no reason to stop at the tip and knit back....imagine this.  You're starting at the outside edge of the hand, knitting from wrist to tip, up and down.  Then you get to the thumb, and these ones have a side placed thumb, WITH a gusset made by short rows.  You know I love me a side placed thumb with a nice gusset!  Then you knit the palm side of the hand, wrist to tip on each row...end at the edge and graft, then sew the top!
I finished this pair as the original pattern indicated, but the tops bugged me.  Surely you could knit from wrist to tip, shape, then continue over the top to the other side and down to the wrist....

I'll post the results of that experiment later as I still have to finish the second one.  Would anyone be interested in a well fitting, garter stitch mitten pattern, with NO grafting, no sewing?

Yarn In:  3017gr
Yarn Out:  100gr + 4791gr = 4891gr
Balance:  1874gr more used UP than brought in
Costs:  $145.08 /252 days = $0.58/day

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Three Little Mittens

I can't believe I didn't post about these mittens earlier!  What happened?  I was sure I posted about the first pair, but not the second pair.  I know I posted on my Facebook and/or Instagram page!  So none of this yarn is in my "Yarn Out" total?  Awesome.

I had this idea, back in the spring when business was slow, that I would start making mittens to have in stock.  I wanted a 100% Canadian wool, preferably machine washable.  I also wanted it to be worsted weight.  And affordable.  And available locally.  Well.  There aren't too many options for that!  I finally settled on Briggs & Little "Heritage", back in ....March.  This wool is great value.  The two skeins, 113gr each, cost me $13.45, and I got three pairs of mittens, ranging from large child to a large lady/small men.  I had just the swatch and a small ball left over.  I tested them in the machine, with a load of laundry on a gentle cycle, I think it was.  There didnt' seem to be any appreciable felting, though a hot wash/cold rinse might be another story.  Unfortunately, my gauge was something like 4.5st/in and the chart in Ann Budd's book of Handy Patterns only has full numbers.  I used 5.0mm needles (just for my own future reference).

I do hope to make more, in another colour and some smaller sizes, though I have to get more wool.  And, somehow, I suddenly got a huge influx of orders and inquiries, and I'm still working on those Christmas stockings!  Better get to work!

Yarn In:  3017gr
Yarn Out:  217gr + 4574gr = 4791gr
Balance:  1774gr more used UP than brought in
Costs:  $145.08 /246 days = $0.59/day