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Monday, February 2, 2015

Spring Outfit for American Girl Doll


These cold, cloudy winter days have me dreaming of lovely Spring days.  This outfit is a new one for my American girl doll.  I display my dolls and their handmade clothes each summer at a local library and I wanted to make some new outfits.

The dress is from Simplicity pattern #0107.  A plain shift that is made of just a front and back.  Double fold bias tape is used at the armholes and neckline.  I used a zipper instead of velcro for the back closure. A cream colored baby rick rack (.25 inches wide) from Wrights trims the hemline.


The sweater was a pleasure to knit.  The pattern is from a Plymouth Yarn book that is out of print.  It is called Dolly Mixture.  The yarn is Plymouth Encore DK.  One of my favorites for doll clothes.  I cast on with the white and continued to knit with the turquoise.  The buttons are 3/8 inch white by Blumenthal.

The purse was fun to make.  I used felt and the purse from Simplicity pattern #A2108 another out of print pattern.  I found this several years ago at a Florida Walmart.   I sewed it by hand using embroidery floss.  The bead is from my travels.  I think the colors really compliment the outfit.


I really enjoyed sewing the purse.  I'm going to look at my other outfits and make purses for those too.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Favorite Photos of 2014

Happy New Year.  2014 was a busy year.  Lots of travel and fun knitting and sewing projects.  Here's some of my favorite photos of the year.

My beautiful doll from Whales.  Here's their website.
Bonnie and Pearl Doll Sweater by Debbie Trainor
Bitty Baby Outfit



Pierre the Bear Pattern by Leisure Arts
Cotton Market Bag
My incredible trip to Britain and the Provence Region of France.




Fabric Bag from Cath Kidston Fabric.  Here's more information






Can Can Shawl


Pro Size Potholder and Dishcloth Dress


Vero Beach, Florida
I have lots of ideas for 2015. 













Sunday, December 14, 2014

My Knitting Themed Knick Knacks

I love to Knit.  I spent at least a few hours everyday knitting.  When time allows, I love to sew too.  I love everything about knitting, the yarn, the tools, the patterns, the endless choices of things to create.  I also love being surrounded by things that remind me of knitting.

Here's a few of my favorite knitting related knick knacks
Hallmark ornament

Memento from a trip to Lancaster, Pa

TBC 1997 #25651
TBC 1997 #36501-1















The Quilting Bee by Goebel 1999


Yarn Shop with Knitting Classes
Boyds Bears #392104
#392104 Open


Sunday, December 7, 2014

My Fall 2014 Sewing Class

Before Thanksgiving, I finished teaching Learn to Use your Sewing Machine for the second time at my local community school.  The first time was in the Fall of 2013.  Here's the link to the results from the first class.  Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed teaching this class and working with the students towards completing their projects.

This class had 12 individuals enrolled.  8 beginners and 4 students who enrolled for a second time.  The beginner's each made a tote bag and the repeat students made pillows and learned to install a zipper.  Having 2 groups going at the same time was a little challenging but it all worked out.  Also, this time, I had my youngest students, 2 young woman aged 12 and 13.  They were very eager to learn to sew.  Here's their finished tote bags


In order to complete this project, we started with learning to wind a bobbin and thread their machines.  Then learning to sew a straight stitch and pressing open the seams.  These tote bags are lined.

My advanced students made pillows with a zipper closing.  Several of them made more than one.







The class was 5 two hour sessions and we spent the last week trying out making buttonholes and learning to use the machine to sew a blind hem.

My next class is Winter of 2015.  This time, I'm splitting the group into 2 separate classes, a beginner and an intermediate.  My intermediate class will consist of students that have already completed the beginner class.  I'm picking out 2 patterns for them to choose from.  One clothing piece and one household piece.  They'll learn to layout the pattern pieces, read the instructions as they sew their project, make a casing for elastic, and sew a hem.  My beginner class will be limited to 8 this time.  I've found that more than that is just too much of a challenge.  Especially in the first two weeks.

I use I Can't Believe I'm Sewing by Leisure Arts as the book for my beginners.  Their practice project is the coaster on pages 14-17.

 


So where is your sewing machine?  When was the last time that you used it?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Yarn in Bourton on the Water


Visiting Bourton on the Water in the Cotswolds last spring was one of the highlights of my trip to England.  It is a lovely town.  Before I left on my trip, I researched local yarn shops and Bourton Basket was on my list.  It is a great shop. 
I spent time browsing through the shop and left with this scissors in a case with my initial embroidered on the front.  A nice memory to add to my knitters tool kit.

I bought a fingerless glove kit too.  These are a gift so I'm not going to share the finished item but the yarn is Merino and Fuzzy Wuzzy in a lovely purple.  One of the recipients favorite colors.
Bourton on the Water has the lovely benches along the canal.  This picture inspires me to find a bench and spend some time knitting outside when the weather is good.

Then there's the miniature village.  Here's one of my favorite houses.
The Cotswolds are a great place to visit and I wouldn't mind spending more time there.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Knitting Mittens for children

Three patterns, four mittens and I think that I've finally made a mitten that will fit a five year old.  I have been envisioning supplying mittens to children in kindergarten ever since I first read the The Mitten Tree .  I finally have the luxury of time since I retired from full time job.



Here's my attempts:

Mitten Number 1 is the Toddler size from the Snowy Day sets by Leisure Arts that I used to knit the hat I wrote about in this blog post.  So, How old is a toddler?  I usually think of 2-3 years of age.  This one looks to wide to me for a 2-3 year old.  I followed the pattern using U.S. size 6 and U.S. size 8 needles and Plymouth Encore Yarn worsted .  The pattern says that the finished measurement is a 5 1/2 inch palm circumference and a 6 inch length.  Mine came out 5 3/4 inch circumference and 6 inches in length.




Mitten Number 2 is from Easy-Knit Mittens .  A good pattern book, it has patterns in all sizes and gauges.  This one is knit using the pattern for 5-7 year olds.  The pattern calls for U.S. size 5 and U.S. size 7 needles.  This one I knit in Vanna's choice worsted weight yarn by Lion Brand.  I didn't like the instructions for the top so I changed it to be similar to the instructions I use for sock toes.  Here's how I finished the top.

Alternate Mitten Top

When instructions call for decreasing for the top using 32 stitches

Row 1- K1, ssk, K10, K2tog, K1 (16 stitches or half) then repeat for other half
Row 2-Knit
Row 3-K1, ssk, K8, K2tog, K1 (first half) then repeat for second half
Row 4- Knit
Row 5-K1, ssk, K6, K2tog, K1 (first half) then repeat for second half
Row 6-Knit
Row 7-K1, ssk, K4, K2tog, K1 (first half) repeat for second half
Row 8-K1, ssk, K2, k2tog, K1 (first Half) repeat for second half
Using kitchner stitch to finish off the final stitches


The pattern says that the finished measurements are 6 1/4 inch palm circumference and 7 inch length.  Mine came out at 6 3/4 inch circumference and a 7 inch length.  Definitely closer to fitting a 7 year old not a 5 year old.  Also, this yarn knit to a different gauge than the Plymouth Encore.



Mitten Number 3  is the start of the child size mitten from Snowy Sets.  I did the ribbed cuff in size 6 as the pattern calls for but used size 7 for the hand.  This is also a Vanna's Choice yarn.  As you can see I chose not to finish this one.  I should know better than to use self striping yarn for a project like this.  The colors just don't work.  I did, however, learn that I definitely need to use size 7 needles to get the width that the pattern calls for.  So I left it and moved on to Mitten number 4.



And Finally Mitten Number 4 is the correct size that I was trying to achieve.  It is the pattern for the child size in Snowy day sets using U.S. size 5 and U.S. size 7 needles instead of the size 6 and size 8 that the pattern calls for and Plymouth Encore Yarn worsted .  I knit my mittens using double pointed needles however, the book also includes instructions for 2 needle mittens if you rather knit them flat and then seam them. The finished measurements match the pattern at 6 1/4 inches by 7 inches




On Monday, I took these mittens to my current school and asked a few kindergarteners to try them on.  Mitten Number 4 is the one that is the correct length and width.  I'll be sticking with Plymouth Encore Yarn worsted for these mittens from now on.  It is my favorite wool/acrylic blend.  Lots of colors, good stitch definition, and machine washable and dry with a good texture.

So now I'm off to knit the second mitten for each of these and then I'll send them out into the world to keep some little hands warm this winter.
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