In Case You Don`t Procrastinate…

…then you may be interested in starting to make Christmas stockings now, rather than my chosen time in early December. Now, on the one hand, if you start now then you should have nice, tidy, complete stockings for Santa to stuff. BUT, if you delay like I d0, when fall comes around next year you will have a selection of stockings in various states of completion, which allows you to make an impromptu tutorial blog post. See, it`s all part of the plan.

I had someone who obviously does not procrastinate (cough… Amanda… cough, cough) ask me if I had knit Christmas stockings. Well, yes, of course, everything in my house is knit. So I decided to dig them out of storage, take a few pictures and share them here. Since I came across the aforementioned mishmash of complete and incomplete projects, here comes the tutorial!

For the pattern I used the free Cascade Yarns W104. It calls for up to 10 different colours of yarn but I used 5. Cascade 220 is a great yarn to use as it comes in a bunch of great colours, is durable and high-quality, and not unreasonably priced. It really is the workhorse of yarns if you ask me (and some people actually do). The pattern is more like a recipe, giving you the basic instructions and charts and letting you choose how it all comes together. It is knit in sections of fair isle, using two colours at a time. This is not as scary as it sounds, but does take some practice. The colour you are not knitting with at the time gets carried along in the back, which leads to `floats`of yarn. I used duplicate stitch to stitch the names on afterward (which only looks okay since the high contrast between the navy and white shows any imperfections).

Since these floats could get caught by whatever Santa chooses to put in there, I decided to line the stockings with pretty material. I traced the outline of the stocking onto the material, cut it out (leaving a seam allowance) and sewed it up with right sides together. I turned the stocking inside out and tacked the liner in place at the toe and heal.

I turned the stocking and liner right side out, flipped the top of the liner towards the gap between the liner and stocking and hand-sewed the liner to the stocking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I braided three strands of yarn together and wove them through some of the stitches at the top of the stocking to hang them from the mantle. All that`s left after that is to hang them by the chimney with care.

 

Oh Boy

I’ve been finding myself walking around lately with my shoulders hunched up by my ears. I’m waking up with a sore jaw and a headache from clenching my teeth all night. And you know what is causing all of this tension? My hobby. Ever since I got the notion to turn this pastime into a tiny business I have found it to be less-than relaxing, but that’s not something I would change. It is giving me something to work on besides the day to day keep-the-children-alive-and-make-sure-they-don’t-turn-into-axe-murderers. The biggest problem is that I have all these ideas floating through my head and not much time to work on them, nor the patience to allow it to happen slowly. My incredibly calm, patient and supportive husband sat down and worked out a plan for me and it’s starting to look less overwhelming. My shoulders can now be found at chin-level!

So much to do, so little time…

 

Not Your Average Pillowcase

The Mother Huddle’s Fat Quarter Pillowcase Dress is another pattern I’ve used a lot. I’ve made three already and have the fabric to make another one this weekend. I think I originally found this on someone’s Pinterest board and knew I needed to make it ASAP. The first one I made was so cute, but P absolutely would not wear it. The monumental fights we had over this dress made me alternately irate and sad. Eventually I felt so bad about it that I decided to start again from scratch for P. This next one turned out even better and she is willing to wear it on occasion so all was well in the end. The other two dresses, as well as the dress-to-be, are going to my friend’s three little girls. I hope I get a chance to see them all worn together!
The tutorial is really great. The pictures are clear and so are the explanations. I did have a bit of a problem in that my fat quarters were not quite wide enough to cut the bottom panel correctly for size 4. I ended up just trimming the sides up a little and making it a bit narrower than it called for, but it still fit fine. I’m sure that part of the problem was that my fabric wasn’t wide enough. I got the fabric for the first one from Fabricland but apparently they are discontinuing their fat quarter bundles. Fortunately, I discovered that Walmart carries tons of really cute bundles for $12. Unfortunately, there are so many that I can’t help buying more and making more dresses. If you are a friend of mine and you have a little girl, don’t be surprised if she receives one of these for her next birthday.

And Sometimes I Sew

I learned the basics of sewing back in junior high school home economics.  I actually got a C- in that class, which is pretty ironic given that my current occupation is home-ec in a nutshell. I hope I’ve improved, but I guess it is possible that I’m still barely-passing. My husband would never tell me if it were true, and that’s just one of the things I love about him.

Though I learned to sew way back then (more years ago than I’d like to count), I never had my own sewing machine and didn’t feel like I was missing anything. But then I became a mom, and lived in a house that wasn’t a glorified bachelor pad. Suddenly it seamed like a sewing machine was something I was supposed to have. So last Christmas I asked for one and, lucky me, I got it! It took a while to get my sewing mojo as it required taking some of my precious free-time away from knitting. But once I got started I was off to the races. I’ve finished a few projects since then, and I’ll share some of them with you in the coming weeks.

This afternoon I was inspired to show off my most recent project,  the Urban Unisex Hoodie by Heidi & Finn. I got some cute pictures of A wearing it while running around at the park and wanted to share them with you. My choice of fabric (a light-weight fleece and lightweight jersey) wasn’t the greatest as some of the seams got very thick and my machine had a hard time getting through. I also think the nap on the fleece bunged-up (that’s a technical term) the machine so I had to do some impromptu manual-reading to learn how to clean it.  The thread frayed and split a lot, which I’m chalking up to bad thread choice for the fabric, though that is a highly uneducated guess. In the end, I’m eager to try the pattern again with different fabric as the finished product is quite cute.

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Urban Unisex Hoodie