Sunday, March 25, 2012

My sorbetto

"I'm accomplishing goals!", she shouted. I really wanted to start sewing for myself more in 2012 so I made this sorbetto top for a couple of reasons. Reason one, silly me, I thought that a blouse would be sooooooooooooo much easier then pants. Reason two, it was free. Reason 3, I had this image in my head of red gingham in the summer. It took me 5 or 6 hours all together. I made this a size 12 but I did mod a couple of things. When copying the pattern, I added about six inches to the length. I did end up taking in the hip area but I should have anticipated that from the beginning since my hip to waist ratio makes me a classic apple shape. Boo. I added sleeves using the free pattern at sew weekly (which needed a mod itself being way too small for me at the first cut). I also added 3 vintage buttons at the pleat to balance my idiotic choice of white bias tape around the neckline. I dunno, its OK I guess. At least its wearable and doesn't look completely home sewn. You can see the darts are a little high on me. I should have adjusted them but after taking in the sides and re-cutting and sewing the sleeves I was kind of done. I've gotten so much better, but I still need to learn to be less lazy with my sewing. Half an hour of adjustments can mean the difference between a well fitting garment that you wear over and over and something that you spent hours making that just sits in your closet, judging you. At least it looks pretty good with stretch trousers and motorcycle boots.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

More knitting

I've been on a total knitting kick lately. Little man has been a bit high maintenance, wanting Mama and nothing but, so its been harder to get invested in anything that demands large chunks of time. I also really enjoyed knitting that last pull over for Jack so that's sort of fueled my knitting fires.

For some reason, I have this issue with Jack's clothing/accessories. I really have trouble with the fact that my child actually grows. Its not the whole "I can't believe my baby is getting so big" kind of trouble, though that crosses my mind daily. The kind of trouble that I have is not realizing that he has gotten physically larger to the point that I am continually stuffing him into things that clearly make him look like Chris Farley in Tommy Boy. I had one of those moments last week when I noticed that the little bear hat he always wears was beginning to resemble a yarmulke. To the yarn stash! I grabbed a couple of leftover bits and used my favorite go to hat pattern for stash busting, Jane Richmond's top down hat tutorial.

It only took a couple of naps and one stint in the waiting room at my doctors office. This is my first successful attempt at intarsia. I'm pleased with the result especially considering I made the pattern up on the fly and I like the way the colors came together too. I think it looks like something I might have worn at Jack's age, very early 80s. I really wish I'd remembered to switch to a smaller needle when knitting the brim, as it looks a little sloppy and the whole hat is a bit big, which I guess is a theme with me lately, but better big then small when making for kids right? And Jack seems to like it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Things we do after nap :: Pipe cleaner madness

I picked up a package of pipe cleaners on my epic trip to Joann's a couple of weeks ago with no clear plan, but I did know that these great colors and that delicious pipe cleaner texture would be a hit. I busted them out yesterday while Bruce was on a call from home and needed some space from a curious little man who loves to help Dada by clicking buttons on his laptop. These made for another simple, fun and infinitely customizable activity.

First we dumped the whole package out on the floor (that kind of mess seems to always be exciting to little people and grabs their attention right away). We talked about the pretty colors, we felt the soft texture and tickled them against each others faces and necks, we bent them and noticed how easy they were to manipulate. Then Mama made some creatures and Jack stuffed them into an empty cookie box.

I feel like this could work easily for a group of children of diverse ages. There are just so many directions you could take, structured art projects, sensory exercises or completely free play. I'm pretty sure that pipe cleaners will become part of my "go-to" arsenal from now on. And 15 minutes of pipe cleaner madness keeps a busy work-at-home dad and an under-caffeinated mama very happy.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Varying degrees of fail and win.

I've recently completed a couple of projects, unfortunately they did not all come out completely as planned. Exhibit A: The Child's Placket Neck Pullover from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. It's a lovely pattern, well written and easy to follow even for someone who had never done raglan sleeves or a placket neck. It only took 2.5 skeins of Vana's Choice from Lion Brand. Yes I know its trashy and I am a little embarrassed but 1, I'm too cheap to buy cotton and 2, I have felted every wool sweater I have ever known. It's a good choice for me. It also washes surprisingly well which is great for kids clothes since I refuse to hand wash anything and will inevitably throw everything we own in the dryer at some point (read 2) but I digress.

I did not swatch this project first. Let this be a lesson to us all. When changing both suggested yarn type and gauge, go ahead and swatch. Ive already got a second one on the needles though and he'll grow into this one eventually. (I'm realizing that these photos don't do justice how huge this thing is on him, but maybe this helps, he is a large 17 month old and this sweater came out at the 6-8 year old measurements) So its a sizing fail, but a definite experience win.

The second completed project is a lovie for a little boy that Ive been meaning to get to FOREVER. His mama asked for my help recreating one that had been destroyed. Pretty simple, or so I thought. Let me tell you, these minky and sateen blankies are tough to sew. They are diametrically opposed and super bitchy fabrics. Seriously, they hate each other. Also the minky hates irons as evidenced by that top left corner. Jeeze, thanks for telling me in advance minky, WTS? I totally winged this one. I eyeballed some rectangles making the sateen about 3 inches wider on all sides than the minky, slapped them together and machine sewed around the perimeter about a quarter inch in (insert plenty of swearing at this point). Then I ironed the sateen's edges over about a quarter inch and folded and pinned just inside the sewed line. Finally I hand stitched the folded edge of the sateen to the minky. This really didn't take long, maybe 2 hours total. Pretty good for all that hand stitching right?

I guess it doesn't look THAT bad, though the bunching is killing me. I can see it in this photo and it is making me crazy. Despite my grumping I was informed by the mama that her little man basically had a happy baby heart attack over it. So I guess that makes it a win?

The third thing I guess isn't really much of a project and isn't really mine to take credit for but it was such a win that I had to share. CRISPY FRIED SHRIMP! They had those bags of frozen, uncooked shrimp on sale at Safeway last week so we grabbed one. Dinner rolled around the other night and we decided to make shrimp tacos. Bruce, who has no fear in the kitchen (blessing and a curse) made a flour, cornmeal, cayenne pepper and salt dredge and an egg/milk wash. I'm sorry I cant post a recipe, Bruce is wont to literally throw things together. Luckily, they often the look like this.

 Oh god, it is so good. Is your mouth watering right now? These were so delicious it was kind of ridiculous. We added home made tarter sauce, corn tortillas and shredded cabbage. Mmmmm. This was of course the big win of the week. We'll be making these again for sure.