Sunday, September 28, 2008

Silly Winter PJ's

I finished some flannel pajamas for No. 1. I was very pleased with both the workmanship and the finished product. However, No. 1 was less than enthusiastic about them -- I even had to bribe him to try the top on. I wasn't even able to get a good picture with him in it. I think it's because he's more into Transformers and Thundercats right now, and sock monkeys probably appear to be uninteresting to him. Oh well, I had the fabric long ago and only now have gotten around to making the PJ's.

I used Butterick 4647 but modified it a little. First, I added red modified piping. I was so proud of myself over the piping. I cut one-inch bias strips, folded them in half and used them instead of regular piping. I had seen this on one of No. 1's Gap pajamas from last winter. I think it works better than regular piping because there is none of the bulk.

Second, I made a back facing. I have a very difficult time with patterns where the instructions have you fold over the balk portion of the collar instead of using a facing. You can see a close-up here, where I also added my label.

Third, although a pair of pajamas do not warrant the detail, I used more bias strips to finish the edges of the front and back facing. I'm sure there's a name for it, but the technique I used was to fold the bias strip in half, sew it to the right side of the fabric, and then fold it out and iron. Very nice look. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of this detail, but I was actually pretty pleased with the effect. It was good practice.

Finally, here's a picture of my Amy Butler Sophia bag that I mentioned a while back. I have yet to use it. For some reason, I am a bit ambivalent about how it turned out, given how long it took me to complete the project.

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Favorite Heel

In my post for the Monkey socks, I mentioned that I used an Eye of Partridge Heel and a round toe instead of the ones given in the instructions. The following instructions are for a total of 64 stitches, which works out to usually a six inch sock circumference at a gauge of eight stitches per inch. BTW, the instructions are adapted from Charlene Schurch's book.

Eye of Partridge Heel with Seed Stitch Edging
Rows 1 and 3 (WS): K1, P1, purl to last 3 sts, K1, P1, K1
Row 2: K1, P1, K1, *K1, sl 1, rep from * to last 3 sts, K1, P1, K1
Row 4: K1, P1, K1, *sl 1, K1, rep from * to last 3 sts, K1, P1, K1
Rep rows 1-4 until you have 32 heel-flap rows; last row should be RS row

Heel Turn
Row 1: (WS): S1, P16, P2tog, P1, turn.
Row 2: Sl 1, K3, ssk, K1, turn. Note that there will be a small gap between working sts taht form heel turn and unworked heel sts.
Row 3: Sl 1, purl to within 1 st of gap, P2tog (1 st on either side of gap), P1, turn.
Row 4: Sl 1, knit to within 1 st of gap, ssk, K1, turn.
Rep rows 3 and 4, inc 1 additional knit or purl st after sl 1 until all side sts are worked, end with RS row. There are 18 sts left on heel flap.

Needle 1: heel sts. Needle 2: instep sts.
NOTE: It will get tight here transferring stsm, so you might want to have a cable needle or spare needle ready to help transfer the sts.
With RS facing you and needle 1, PU and knit 16 sts from side of heel flap, PU and knit 2 sts at the top of gusset. Continue with needle 1, PM, K16 instep sts from needle 2.
Needle 2: work rem of instep sts, PM, PU and knit 2 sts at top of gusset, PU and knit 16 sts from side of heel flap, K11 sts from needle 1.
Sts per needle: 43, 43. Needle wsnow hold left and right sides of socks.

Close G
usset Top
Needle 1: Knit to 2 sts before marker, ssk, SM, work est patt to end.
Needle 2: Work est patt to marker, Sm, k2tog, knit to end.

Gusset Decrease
Rnd 1
Needle 1: Knit to 3 sts before marker, K2tog, K1, SM, work est patt.
Needle 2: Work est patt to marker, SM, K1, ssk, knit to end.
Rnd 2
Work in est patterns.
Work Rnds 1 and 2 until you have 32 sts on each needle, 64 total.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Next Up: the Emmeline Apron & More Socks

I recently am into aprons, as you might be able to tell. This next one I am working on is called Emmeline from Montessori by Hand, now known as Sew Liberated. It's progressing very quickly so far. Here's one side of the fully reversible apron, without the ties in place yet. I was just noticing that the polka dot fabric I bought for the trim and ties has a very nice hand. It is something called Sevenberries made in Japan. I bought it at Mill End, which tends to have an assortment of fabrics from different companies, so not sure whether I will be able to find any more Sevenberries material.

I've also started another pair of socks, Spring Forward, again from

I will post the details later on, but for now it's a super easy pattern! The yarn is a lovely wool and bamboo combination from a company called Painted Sheep.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

In Anticipation of Fall

The days have been sunny and warm, but there is definitely a crispness in the air that clearly indicates fall is around the corner. In celebration of fall, I have finished my "Pumpkins Gone Wild" print dress. The fabric is by and was purchased at Mill End in Portland/Milwaukie. I purchased 2.5 yards, which was just enough with a little bit left over. I also bought the same amount in another colorway (white), which I thought about making into an apron at some point.

The pattern is Simplicity 3833 (view C), part of the 1960's retro line. You can find the pattern here. I originally cut a size 16 in a muslin, according to the size chart. I found that it was a little too loose so I went down a size, also adjusting according to the "petite" fold lines. It fits perfectly!!!

The back has a completely non-functional sash, but I included a cute little bird button detail. My 4-year-old thinks it's the best part of the dress. The button is by Dill, purchased at Bolt in the Alberta arts district of Portland.

I also finished my "monkey" socks from Cookie A. It's a popular pattern from What can I say? Despite all the sock patterns in my library, I can't resist the free ones from The pattern was fairly easy, but I modified it to knit on two circular needles. I also replaced the heel instructions with an "eye of partridge" heel, using instructions from Charlene Schurch's "More Sensation Socks." I have found that this is probably one of the most useful sock knitting reference books in my library.

The yarn is Araucana's sock yarn. It's a machine washable wool, easy to work with, and hopefully easy to wear.

The socks themselves took me several months to knit. I think I may have started them in March or April. I do recall I finished knitting the first one during our vacation in Kauai in late April. It says something about my knitting speed -- or the speed of the rest of my life -- that I just completed them this past week.

Finally, I substituted a round toe, directions also from Charlene Schurch's book, because I am not very good at grafting a regular toe. I also like the look of a round toe better. I think I will probably post instructions for both the heel and toe at a later point.