Sunday 27 June 2021

Birthday T-shirt - the stick stencil

 I couldn't let June go by without a t-shirt for the freshly teenaged kiddo. (oh my)

As always I asked what he wanted, what's the "thing" this year. No more Pokemon or fidget spinners.. this year he wanted a lacrosse stick on his birthday t-shirt. Not as easy as it sounds.

Obviously the stick part is easy, but the whole mesh basket bit definitely wasn't. I figured the only way to distinguish a women's from a men's lacrosse stick was the pocket, so I turned it to be side on. 

The stick, lettering (yes, I've outed his name, shhh) and head were all part of a freezer paper stencil. Then I just freehand painted the mesh.

On the back, a big number 7. His playing number.

Once I'd finished the painting (Setacolour opaque fabric paints) then it was a simple matter of sewing up the t-shirt. 

The pattern is Jalie Nico (Jalie 3669) is size Q with no alterations. The grey cotton lycra was out of the stash and came from RubyJam. It's a lovely quality, and I'd had other plans for it but c'est la vie. The sleeves were meant to be black, but amazingly I had no black cotton lycra left. A quick trip to Spotlight didn't yield any black but I phoned home and checked that the club colour of dark green would be even better.

I also zoomed out to buy a second bobbin casing for my new sewing machine (I really need to introduce it, it's amazing!). I'd had twin needle hemming down to a fine art with the old machine and needed to set it up nicely for this one. There is a factory bobbin holder (blue mark) that is looser tension so I bought that. It's not loose enough to use with woolly nylon and a twin needle so my hems are a bit tight. I'll take to it with the screw driver and tinker until I get the sweet up as sweet as it should be.

Meanwhile, unless the hems pop, he's a happy teenager and he's confused all the other kids in the team who suddenly thought personalised lacrosse t-shirts were an available thing. Nope!

Saturday 19 June 2021

Little crop tops and a failed leotard

Quite some time ago, I made a leotard for my daughter for the end of gymnastics term costume day. The theme was rainbow (again?) and so I used some of the leftover rainbow flame lycra seen here.

I thought I could be clever and mash the top half of one Jalie pattern with the shorts part of another, forgetting that the only way into a leotard is through the neck opening. With quite a bit of shoving we got a kid into the leotard but it was a disaster, worn once and then chucked.

But... the Jalie crop top pattern looked promising and so I made one in a scrap of cotton lycra. She loves it.

The lining is swimsuit lining and the neck and armholes finished with fold over elastic. The pattern is Jalie 3247, View A (I forget the size, but am pretty sure it's the only tracing in the package)

One wasn't enough, so I whipped up another two in the very last remnants of some lovely cotton knit.

They're in constant rotation and I think I hit the jackpot with these - at least compared to the impossible to get into, ill fitting, poorly laundered, not so bright rainbow leotard. Easy to succeed when you're following after such a trainwreck!

Saturday 5 June 2021

Irma Hat for my dad

 A few weeks ago I found myself in the city on a day off (now we're home-schooling and home office-ing and in lockdown v4 it feels like a lifetime ago and a real treat)…

For the first time I wandered into Morris & Sons and found the loveliest, squishiest wool. I decided to knit my dad a beanie.

I was interested to try a pattern with some texture or design to it, but I'm not yet feeling ready for cables. I found the Irma Hat - a free pattern on Ravelry and then read a lot of the reviews. 

It appeared it might need some sizing tweaks, and I know my dad would rate his head size as larger than average. So I upped the needle size from 3.5 (rib brim) and 4.5 (main body) to 4.0 and 5.0 respectively. I also cast on 108 stitches instead of 92

The other change I made in sizing was to knit 3&1/2 rounds of the hat body pattern rather than 2&1/2 before beginning the crown shaping. I'm happy to say the sizing worked out perfectly. I tried it on after I'd finished and before blocking it and it made for a pretty slouchy beanie on me, but when I'd tried it with only the 2&1/2 rounds it had too much of a skull cap vibe.

I found it much easier to get the right leaning stripes (K2tog) to look tight compared to the left leaning stripes (SSK). With a fluffy, multi-coloured yarn it doesn't look too gappy or unbalanced but it could get messy if I tried with a flatter yarn or a solid colour.

As a design change, and a chance to try something new I also altered the rib brim. I did a provisional cast on (waxed macrame thread worked really nicely as the waste yarn) with a crochet chain. Then knit double the number of 1x1 rib rows before folding the brim up and joining the cast  on row into the main knitting.

The double rib brim is so nice and extra squishy I think I'd always do this for a beanie from now on.
If I sound like I suddenly know what I'm doing, I don't. But I have this book (The Knitter's Book of Knowledge - Debbie Bliss) and it's brilliant!

I used two balls (2x50g) of the Morris & Sons Peru - wool/alpaca blend (green graphite colour). They came as shanks and I wound them into balls. Without really thinking about it I used the first ball pulling from the centre, and then the second ball winding from the outside. It means the colour stripes are mirrored which looks kinda cool and I wish I could say I'd thought to do it.

With the doubled brim, the greater number of cast on stitches, bigger needles and extra pattern repeat it turned out the 100g (approx 200m) was exactly the right amount of yarn. There's barely a ping pong ball sized leftover.

I posted it off to my dad on Monday and heard it had arrived on Thursday and he's happy. Perfect for pottering about in the garage in the middle of winter.

Wednesday 2 June 2021

Cartwheel Wrap Dress

 And with this pattern it's a wrap*. I have now sewn every Oliver + S children's pattern at least once (and many of them many, many times)

*Cartwheel Wrap Dress

The modelled photos are from quite some time ago. Late March perhaps? We'd gone into the city to see a show for the Melbourne Comedy Festival. 

By the end of the night the city was looking beautiful, as it often does...

The fabric was an impulse buy from the remnant bins at Rathdowne Fabrics. It's a cotton poplin with slightly diagonal stripes of elephants. I figured A would like the colours and who doesn't like elephants? I confess I sewed it because I wanted to. I have no ambitions for it being worn much and expect it may get handed down after only a few wears. Some patterns make you just want to sew them.

I'm going to be a bad blogger and not even try and remember what size I made. It will be written on the tracing interfacing as it's the only copy of this pattern. I suspect it's a straight size 12 which sees her outgrowing these beautiful patterns.

Of course it was a joy to sew with some clever details and finishing that I would not have figured out had I been trying to make an overlapping wrap skirt with lined bodice dress on my own!

I'm going to have make one of these patterns every few months for someone else's small child, just to keep my love of sewing from growing stale. They were the patterns that first made it all make sense to me, and they're the ones I always turn to for a the sewing equivalent of an amuse-bouche.

If you haven't sewn one yet, then dive in. Bon appetit!