Monday, January 14, 2019

Handmade Gifts

We had a nice Christmas.  How about you?
 In spite of a power outage and an impulsive movie run, I finished these before the last minute.  They are jerseys for the boys' homemade game, Penguiness.  It's kind of a rough game to play in the living room, but they haven't broken anything for a while.
And I made sure I could differentiate the shirts in the laundry.
 I also made a few things to send away, like this watercolor portrait of my sister's cat,
 and coordinating monkey shirts for my other sister's little boys.  I used this pattern, and I liked it.
One of those little boys hasn't been born yet, but I know he'll need a blanket.  I made this with my boys' old jeans, and scraps from other projects.
The back is soft and gray, the border sunshine yellow.  I was looking for a rainbow-peeking-out-from-the-clouds effect.  What do you think?
 Some other babies have caught my attention, too.  I decided this little guy needed the Four Corners quilt I made a while ago.  I improvised a couple of  crocheted hats to go with it.
Some other friends actually had a girl, after three boys.  I don't know many baby girls, so I was excited to finally crochet the Eloise Baby Sweater.  I hope she enjoys wearing it as much as I enjoyed making it.
 This was fun, too.  I was invited to bring a prize to an '80s-themed bingo party.  After a brief brainstorm for topical ideas, I struck on a unicorn hat, with a rainbow mane.  I used this Sock Monkey Hat pattern for the white earflap hat, then added the ears, mane, and horn from the Unicorn Hoodie in Brenda K.B. Anderson's book Crochet Ever After.
 Even though the unicorn parts were meant for a child's hood, they fit just right on an adult's hat.  And I had all that yarn hanging around already, even the sparkly yellow for the horn.

At the party, I watched people open their wrapped prizes.  Most contained things like soap or candles, the dull things women give to each other when they don't know each other well.  I hoped fervently that whoever picked the hat would appreciate it.  She happened to be sitting next to me--a young horse enthusiast who doesn't remember the '80s, but loves unicorns.  She was so thrilled, it was contagious.  Crochet (and other crafts full of love) for the win!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Halloween 2018

Hope you had a happy Halloween!  Here we are setting out for trick-or-treating.  I know, the boys are big enough to not need my services as an escort very much.  But I enjoyed the walk, and seeing all the costumes.

Speaking of costumes, D2's was based on his hair.  It was sticking up when he awoke in the morning.  He refused to wear any sort of costume to school, but consented to don the old lab coat in the evening.  That little skeleton has been wearing a child-sized bathrobe for the past couple of years, so he got undressed for the occasion.

Photo credit
Scoot found his Chinese jacket at the thrift store.  Doing some research later, he found the same pattern has been worn by influential people in the past. 
Rollo had a very specific vision for his costume.  He wanted to be a Sandmaster, from Brandon Sanderson's graphic novel White Sand, illustrated by Julius Gopez.
I modified an old pajama pattern to look like it wraps in front, and added a hood from another pattern.  The sash came together pretty well when we found some a couple of cheap belts and some quilting cotton with a suitable pattern.
He was pleased, and did wear the outfit, sans sword, of course, to school all day.
We're all big fans of the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, and when I saw her new outfit in the (second) #1 issue, I knew it was a costume I could live with, too.  Thanks, Erica Henderson!
It was fun to make, and to wear.  I even ran a 5k in, well, most of the costume.  Being unbeatable, Squirrel Girl herself would never enter a race with ordinary citizens, so I left my unfairly (dis)advantageous tail behind.
I crocheted the ears, and made the earrings out of real acorns.  When we went to the trunk-or-treat at church, Dandelionslayer consented to wear a tail, too, to be Squirrel Girl's pal, Chipmunk Hunk.  I'm not sure why no one wanted to be Koi Boi.  Maybe next year!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Best Seat in the House

You've met Pengui, haven't you?  This little penguin puppet was D2's constant companion for years--until he got lost.  Even with the abundance of other penguins in the house, there was a Pengui-shaped hole in all our hearts until last winter, when he reincarnated.  D2 and Pengui picked up right where they'd left off, and we were all happy.

Well, my littlest boy just turned twelve.  He didn't ask for much, but he did really want a bean bag chair.  After searching far and near, I finally decided to sew one for him.  The day before his birthday, I took Scoot to the fabric store, and we did some brainstorming on the way.  I was thinking about a fun print for the outside, when I had a vision.

Me:  "Wait.  I just envisioned a giant Pengui head."
Scoot:  "I would love to sit on a giant Pengui head!"

At the store, we considered all the options, but Scoot's encouragement set me back on track.  I followed these instructions, more or less.  I wouldn't recommend them for beginners, but I figured things out.  I started with the muslin lining, and I'm so glad I did.  It was good to already know what I was doing when I started on the gray plush.  Fitting the face on the curved surface was a challenge, but I persevered.  And a day and a half later, I presented D2 with this:
Everyone gasped, and, yes, everyone loves to sit on the giant Pengui head.

So, there's my Flight of Fancy, for you Project Run and Play fans.  I did sew the penguin pajamas, five years ago, for Scoot.  No, I didn't sew Pengui.  But the bean bag is one more last-minute crazy gift for my record, and I think it turned out well.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Peas, please!

I'm going to need some help picking peas this year.
Good thing Rollo is getting so tall!

Sunday, May 6, 2018


Congratulations, Rollo!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Denim Butterfly Quilt

I've mentioned my habit of saving old jeans and making new things with them, like patches and bags.  It all started when a friend was making a quilt, and I thought that would be a good idea someday.  But the idea of sewing over that many thick denim seams was daunting, and most pictures I saw of all-denim quilts looked a little drab.  Finally I found inspiration:  Lucy's Stained Glass Denim Quilt.  The solution to thick denim seams?  Only sew denim to a lighter sashing!  The contrasting color solved the drabness.  And I really liked the variety of sizes of her squares.  But our stock of jeans didn't include 12"x12" pieces.  So I fell back on the old Disappearing Nine Patch pattern, though I cut each piece separately, and added lavender sashing throughout. 
I thought I'd finish off a box of denim pieces, then move on to the pile of uncut jeans.  I didn't even use the whole box, and this is a full-size quilt.  Ah, more canvas for the future.  I think this would look good in a baby size with rainbow-colored scrappy sashing, but I'm not ready to do it yet. 
I quilted it with straight lines around the big blocks, and fancy butterflies (from Grandma O's embroidery files) in variegated thread.  You have to look pretty closely to see some of the colors, but it was fun to use the different threads.
Just as the denim front came from the family's old jeans, we sort of created the backing together.  Last summer, we ice-dyed some shirts.  It's a fun process--you should try it.
I rolled up a thrifted sheet and put it under the shirts' rack to soak up the extra dye.  The colors are more subtle than the ones on the shirts, but they are pretty.  I used the sheet for the back of the quilt.
It's a heavy blanket, and has already kept us warm for some cool spring soccer games.  Also, I think most of us will be able to sit on it for picnics.  This quilt has some rough spots, and won't win any awards.  But I'm pleased that I could use this leftover fabric and sew the vision in my head!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Red Plaid Sweater

The past few years, I've enjoyed starting a crochet project right after Christmas, for some crafty relaxation.  This time I made a plaid sweater.  I'm a long-time plaid fan, and I was inspired by this Plaid Pumpkin pattern.  I thought it would work well with the top-down raglan construction of this Classic Sweater pattern.
And it did, though I modified both the plaid motif and the sweater itself.  The pumpkin pattern uses three colors.  I'm sure it would have been easier to keep the plaid organized if I had.  But I couldn't find a lighter red that would work with the lovely Wine and Cream colors of Red Heart Fashion Soft yarn.  So I alternated the red and cream in the between-color spaces, like you would when weaving gingham.  The sweater pattern only calls for one color, so I had to estimate my yarn needs--and got it wrong.  I ordered two skeins of each color.  One was more than enough for the cream, but I ran out of red halfway down the second sleeve.  Oops! 
Also, I used linked double crochet for a more stable structure, and crocheted in distinct rounds, rather than in the long spiral described in the sweater pattern.  It worked better for the plaid.  Anyway, this was fun to make, and it's nice to have a new warm sweater now that the trees are blooming, right?  It's all ready for next winter.