Monday, March 2, 2015

Will this Winter Ever End? Or Chili Booties

If you follow me on Instagram, you saw my solidly mediocre darning skills on display when I fixed these booties that I knit last year. Since the originals have been worn so often they got holes, I decided to knit myself a similar pair for this winter.

These are my new "Chili" booties, a free pattern from DROPS Design (DROPS 131-43) that you can find here. I knit them up in leftover Cascade 220 Superwash yarn from the Tree of Life Blanket I made for Taco.

Once you decipher the instructions, which are rather hazy, the pattern is very easy.  Essentially, the Chili bootie is a very simple sock, knit from the top down and with a very easy cable pattern down the center front. Since they are knit in a worsted weight yarn, they work up lickety split.

I wish I could recommend this pattern to first time sock knitters as an easy way to learn the basics.  Alas, the instructions are just not user friendly and rather confusing. I had to draw on my knowledge of sock knitting to figure them out. However, the booties themselves are very cute now that they are done. The cable pattern really is rather pretty.  I'm sure this pair will get just as much use as last year's booties.

Worn over striped socks. ha ha ha

It seems like this winter will never end. I've been reminding myself that each day is one day closer to spring. It's a bit hard to get out with such a little one, although Taco and I walk just about every day it isn't snowing or icy. This winter that means there are a lot of quiet days around the house. At least I have some new booties to keep my tootsies warm. 

Next up, a little embroidery project for Taco.

Monday, February 23, 2015

I Sewed! I Sewed! Woo hoo hoo!

I bet you thought that I was finding new motherhood so overwhelming and exhausting that all thoughts of sewing and knitting had fallen by the wayside.

Not true!

Okay, maybe half true. Or true on some days. But there are occasional days where there are nice long naps, and on those days I sew!

This is M6552, a McCalls Fashion Star pattern that I first sewed last summer for my mom as a maxi dress in wax cloth.  I sewed my own version in a cotton jersey knit that I bought as part of a haul from Fabricmart while pregnant.

After Taco's birth it rapidly became apparent that I didn't have enough tops for nursing or enough casual clothes. That's what happens when you dress and sew for a career and date nights. With it's plunging v-neck, I thought this pattern might fit the bill for fun casual nursing attire if I made it shorter. I've been wearing it with either a knit cami or a soft, sports bra style nursing bra underneath.

I made a few minor changes to the pattern. Instead of a drawstring I used elastic at the empire waist. Obviously, I also shortened the length. I was going for a long-ish tunic length, but this ended up being more of a short dress on me, which is just as happy an outcome. Like my mom's version, I shortened the bodice by 1.25 inches. Aside from that, I added an extra 2 inches to the center front which I gathered in the middle to gracefully camouflage any post-baby jiggle. My thinking is that even when I don't need the extra wiggle room, this will continue to be flattering as my body finds it's new normal.

This pattern is a real winner and perfect for where I am right now.  It's easy to sew, requires little fitting and is pretty versatile.  I could see myself sewing this in different lengths and tinkering with the sleeves - longer, shorter, or cuffed. For the time being, this is the sort of sewing I will probably stick with: easy to fit and sew patterns that I can nurse in.  

I finished this top almost two weeks ago, but it took more than a week to take photos. Clever girl tat I am, I waited until the temperature was in the single digits. Hence, the hat. I actually have three other projects to post just as soon as I can spend a little time with the camera.  So, do stay tuned!


Friday, January 23, 2015

Too Small (yay! sort of)

About 2 weeks before Christmas, I began knitting a cute little elf hat for Taco. Little did I know that knitting with a newborn is a one-row-at-a-time endeavor.  By the time I finished, Little Christmas had come and gone.
And now the hat is almost too small; it just fits on Taco's head. I should have used a stretchier cast on. But I'm choosing to be positive about the too smallness of it. It's sort of a victory (yay, breastfeeding!) that he's grown out of the hat in the time it took to knit it.

Anyway, the pattern is Red, White and Ewe Elf Hat by Vania Jenny of Knit While He Naps. It's a free pattern and I used leftover yarns in my stash for it.  It could not be easier to knit up and is very cute. I made a few little changes, eliminating the long tassels to make it safe for Taco to wear when I'm not watching like a hawk.  That's about all there is to say about this cute little hat. 

On another note, thanks for all the nice comments about my last post.  My secret to looking well: a husband who has paternity leave. Phin is a HUGE help and we are doing about as well as a new little family could, and better every day. In the last week, I've even found a few minutes every day to think about and plan a few simple sewing projects - looking at patterns, buying fabric and notions online, etc. So, I hope to be posting again soon. Til then, happy sewing, knitting and crafting.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Last 2014 Sew: Another Cardi-Shrug

Before I try to do a belated year-end summary, here is one last 2014 sewing project...

With all the sewing and knitting I crammed into the last few weeks of pregnancy, this was the one project that was finished just under the wire. Truly. I hemmed the sleeves while in early labor.

It's another Simplicity 2603. I used the last bit of my precious stashed modal fabric to sew this one up. I didn't have enough for the long version that I made the first time around. So, this is view D with the sleeves shortened to elbow length. I've been wearing this and the striped version non-stop now that Taco has arrived.

For this version I added a hook-and-eye hook to the end of the front drape and a sneaky thread bar hiding along each shoulder seam.

I had seen some RTW "nursing wraps" that had a button or snap closure similar to this. It enables you to drape the front over to the opposite shoulder for nursing. I thought it was a great idea but didn't feel like paying the mark up that seems to apply to all "maternity" and "nursing" clothing. Really, there is nothing "nursing" about this except for the hook and bar. 

I'm kind of pleased with myself for managing to put on a bit of lip gloss for these otherwise no frills, indoor, with-a-flash photos. What you see is what you get when you have a 5 week old.What you will not see with this cardi-wrap is any nursing slip ups!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy Anniversary: We Means Three

Ten years ago today we tied the knot.

Goin' to the chapel...

It's funny that after 10 years the most important and meaningful weeks have been the last three - now that "we" means three.

Happy Anniversary and Happy New Year to the loves of my life.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry & Bright

Wishing you every joy of the season.  Oh, and that Santa came too!

Taco was on the nice list!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

And this is love...

 I never believed in love at first sight before Sunday...

But then I saw him for the first time.

Baby Boy Taco*
19 inches, 5lbs 10oz (2.55kg)

Taco was 12 days late and his unexpectedly small size caused some complications with his delivery. But he was born completely healthy and is really thriving now that we're home.

He makes the funniest faces. Sorry about the wonky camera angle...

And we're done.

The only thing we're making around here at the moment is milk. I actually finished a few unblogged projects before he was born. Not sure I'll get to posting them soon. But look for us on Instagram.

My reality: better than any fantasy

* So, we're calling this tiny boy Taco for blog purposes. Yep, there's a story.  From the day he found out a new cousin was expected, my 8yo nephew Linus was horribly offended that we were calling the baby Raspberry. Cleary, Raspberry is a "girl name," and Linus was convinced that the baby would be a boy. His rationale: there are 5 girls in my generation but no boys, and there were 4 boys in his generation but no girls. So, the boys were "owed" another boy and Linus renamed the baby Taco. It seems only fair that we continue calling him Taco in the blogosphere, since Linus was correct.