Monday, June 26, 2017

FO: Starting The Degas Project

As you can probably guess (from my lack of posting anything else about it, lol), I did not win anything in last year's Mochimochi Land Photo Contest. It was my first try though, and to get honorable mention on my Letters To Santa photo I put together a week before the deadline is pretty cool in my book :) The whole competition experience though got my head in mochi photo mode. I had several ideas even during that week, but I had no time in which to execute them. Not this year! I'm planning ahead, and I'm making things mostly because I think they will be really cute, but if I can win something at the end of the year that would be nice too, lol. One of the first things I wanted to make happen involved lots of little ballerinas.
Anna Hrachovec has an adorable Tiny Ballerina pattern which I happen to have, and I made this little lady up in April. It's one of those things I've always thought was cute and wanted to make but never made the time. Flash to this year when I had the idea: try to recreate Degas ballerina paintings with knitted ballerinas! lol That will, obviously, take a lot more ballerinas then just one, but I wanted to make one to see exactly what I could accomplish as far as posing the little ladies.

I used Knit Picks Palette in Oyster Heather for her skin, and Golden Sun Bamboo in Nude Pink for her tutu and brown for her hair. I was unsure how the slick bamboo yarn would work for this project, but it was the best ballet pink sock weight yarn I had, so I gave it a try and I am pleased :)
Here's the back view. I had to lean her on an empty Gutterman thread spool to stand up, but it should also give you an idea of her tiny size :)
Since I was trying to copy a Degas painting that hangs above my bed, I gave her brown hair and tried to make the top of the tutu look like it was off the shoulder.
And look at her tiny feet! The only change I made was to make the skirt of the tutu with the knit side out (the pattern calls for the purl side, which would give more of a balloon to the skirt). I liked that it curved gently this way. It did make the skirt a bit longer, so I may have to take that into account next time.
Then I tried to pose her :) This was all done with pins and photoshop, but she does look like she's balancing, doesn't she? I may have to make future ones with longer arms if they need to touch above her head, etc. And obviously I need a better background then plain white (man was it difficult to get details with this stark situation).
So I made a ballerina :) I love how cute she is, and now that I have an idea of what I can do with posing her, I will be able to keep my Degas project going. You'll be seeing more of these little ladies in the future!

Friday, June 23, 2017

FO: Beagle for Baby

I found out earlier this year that my cousin would be having her first baby in June. I knew I wanted to make a toy for her, but it took me a while to decide what to do. Now that it's made I know it's so perfect that I can't believe I didn't see it straight off!
It's a beagle! This particular baby has two beagles siblings that my cousin has had for years now, and they are an integral part of their family. So why not make a mini beagle of her very own for the new baby girl :) I used the Beagle pattern from Fresh Stitches by Stacey Trock. I always love her patterns - they are so straight forward and well explained. Because of her fantastic directions, this puppy only took a few hours to make.
I love the body shape and the color blocking - I think with amigurumi dogs it can be hard to make different breeds, but this one is obviously a beagle to everyone, so that's a sign of a job well done to me. I love the bog floppy ears! I worked from my stash on this one (as ever), so this is made of Red Heart Super Saver in Cafe Latte and Black along with Vanna's Choice in White and Dusty Rose.
The back has a black splotch that continues onto the tail. I also love that the tail is curved to one side - so cute! To add to the fun (and hopefully make this more interesting to a very young baby) I added a jingling cat ball to the belly and a speaker to the foot. So not only does this have many appendages to chew on when teething, there are even fun sounds to go with it :)
I was also very excited to use some of my dog noses on this make! I have regular triangle generic toy noses too, but I grabbed some of these dog style noses at The Sewing Studio in one of their sales a while back and I've never made any dogs that called for a safety nose. I LOVE the little nose. I think it really adds to the cuteness factor on this doggy.
Once I finished assembly, I thought it looked a little plain, so I made a pink collar to jazz things up. All I did was chain 3, sc into 2nd st from hook, ch 1 and turn, sc 2, ch 1 and turn, etc until it was long enough to go around the neck. I cut a long tail so I could not only sew the collar together at the back, but also so I could go in and out of the collar and secure it to the body. In my experience it's pieces like this that get pulled on and stretched out and quickly look icky when they aren't secured down. I think it turned out as just the right touch :)
And here is the puppy with her new owner - Emma! Isn't she adorable?! I can't wait to meet here in person. I hope she grows to enjoy her very own beagle. My cousin says it's great to have a beagle that won't get up and leave the room when the baby come in, lol. 
Yay for babies, and cute puppies, and great patterns to make them with :) If you need a beagle of your own, I can't recommend this pattern enough!

Friday, June 16, 2017

FO: Pinglewin

There are many reasons to make toys, usually involving a gift idea or an occasion. Other times you see a pattern and it just needs to be made for no good reason. This is one of those patterns that was just so crazy that it needed to be made.
Pinglewin by Anna Maltz is much more than just a normal, cute but derpy looking penguin. At first glance, all seems normal, right?
But it's not! This penguin can remove her black parts! Isn't that just the most ridiculous idea you've heard in a long time? I just love it for the mere novelty of the thing, lol. The black piece is knit as a "hoodie", and it can be removed from Pinglewin at will. I saw the cute penguins others had made and just jumped right into making my own without looking through the pattern first. I made the penguin itself first, which was pretty straight forward as far as knit toys go. Then I started on the hoodie. Holy cow, was that the craziest shape I have ever knitted! But I got there in the end, so clearly this is a good pattern.
Here's the front and back view. It's hard to see here, but the back has really neat shaping lines created by the knitting itself. It almost looks like a spine on the back center with black undies at the bottom (you can kind of see some white at the line I mean on the bottom). Another interesting thing is that you knit the hoodie right side out, but you weave in the ends on the knit side, flipping the purl side out for the finished item. This gives the penguin a neat texture.
 Pinglewin herself is knitted in I Love This Yarn from Hobby Lobby in their Antique White color while her beak is Red Heart Super Saver in Gold. You knit the body first, which looks like a bowling pin with feet, then you knit the arms. Interestingly the pattern has you knit the entire thing, leaving a hole in the crotch between the legs which you use to stuff the piece at the end. This made the knitting much less fiddly then if you would stuff as you go, so I really appreciated this. Adding the arms was interesting because you just have to finish everything else, then put the hoodie on and eye ball where you think they should go to fit the hoodie. Also I opted to knit the beak right on the penguin's face instead of sewing it on separately. It was a bit of a wrestle to make this way, but I love the result. The toy is a bit bigger then I thought it would be, but that makes it much more hug-able.
I seriously love the derpy face mine has, lol. Once you knit the beak, you embroider the eyes and give a little facial definition. Then you put the hoodie on and mark where your eyes should go there. The pattern has you use buttons for eyes, and I liked the pattern example with the little buttons but hers had 4 holes in the buttons and the only ones I found in my stash in that size only had 2 holes. I decided to just go with it, so now my Pinglewin looks a bit confused, lol.
And here's the hoodie without the penguin. It's pretty interesting looking by itself - kind of like a hoodie bathing suit with eyes, lol. It also made for a bank robber look before the bird had a beak die to the ski mask effect of the beak hole. Basically this thing was ridiculous all the way round the entire time of making it. I love it. You can kind of see the design lines better in the back photo here. Pretty cool. 

So now I have an awesomely interactive penguin in my collection :) Anna made a pink bunny suit hoodie for Easter, and I'm really loving the idea of making different outfits to make Pinglewin a seasonably appropriate decoration. We will see if that happens. In the meantime I'm just enjoying that judgmental face in the corner of my sewing room.

Monday, June 12, 2017

FO: Navy Skirt Refashion

This was a case of fabric love at the thrift store. I was searching the skirt rack of my favorite shop during a bag sale (everything they can shove in a paper grocery bag for $5), which  means I was being much more open to refashions, when I came across this lovely skirt. The fabric is 55% linen 45% rayon, and it's a 6 gore style with a button front. The only problem - it was extremely small. Actually I believe it was actually a size Small considering it had a 26" waist (the size tag was gone). In spite of its waist measurement, the skirt was very long and very flared - like almost a circle skirt - so I knew it was a great candidate for a refashion :)
I started by measuring my waist (39") and then measuring at various points down from the waist of the skirt to find the spot that fits my waist measurement. It happened to be about 6" down. So I made sure to add seam allowance and chopped the waist off.
I had to make sure the top button hole would still be accessible, so I had to fudge around with where to cut, but I got there in the end. Next I overcast stitched the cut edge (this stuff was already fraying like crazy) and pressed 1/4" over from the edge. I decided to use a ribbon for the inner waistband (from a spool of also thrifted ribbon). I cut the ribbon to measure plus a bit to fold over, then I melted the edge and pressed about 1/4" inside to give a smooth edge at the button bands. I edge stitched the ribbon at the pressed line of the new waist. Basically I understitched the ribbon to the fabric. This way I could just press the ribbon inside and it was all invisible from the outside. Then I top stitched around the other edge of the ribbon (about 7/8" down). My thread was such a dead match that the top stitching sinks right in. I had to do some forceful pressing to get the ribbon to curve around the waist, and I had to fold the ribbon under at the button hole so I didn't cover it, but it all looks fine from the outside now.
Next I had to figure out the buttons. The skirt already had lots of buttons, but with the new length on me the buttons stopped about 5" above my knee. That's a bit high for my comfort, so I took the buttons off the section I removed from the waist and made new holes for them below the original buttons.The bottom 4 buttons in the photo on the right are all new ones I added. I also had to decide on a finished length. After changing the waist it hit me about mid-shin, which is not generally a length I go for, but it wasn't awful. I just had to decide if I should leave the length or go just below the knee. Eventually I decided on just below the knee to keep with the summery feel (I just really like knee length skirts).
I now have a delightfully swishy linen skirt :) I love the fullness of the skirt - it really makes this feel more girly and fun. I was hoping this skirt could replace a previously much loved Refashioned Navy Blue Skirt. I wore that skirt until it was coming apart at all the seams. I still miss it, lol. So this new navy skirt helps to fill that void. This new skirt is certainly a bit fancier feeling being a linen/rayon blend and having such a wide hem span, but the color goes with a lot and most of my wardrobe is a bit dressier anyway so it works great in my wardrobe.
 Back view - I love the way this drapes. I'm narrowing down more and more clothing aspects that I like or don't like, and I don't really care for true circle skirts because they end up with pools of fabric over the tummy area. It just feels like I have to fiddle with them to keep them looking good. This skirt doesn't pool until below the tummy, giving a nice smooth look over my area I want to distract from, which I love. I will admit that the buttons seem a bit heavy for the angle of the grain of the fabric, meaning that they like to sink between the folds of the rest of the fabric (you can see this in the first photo), but that's a minor issue.
And what's a big skirt project without a twirl photo? I really like this skirt. Having worn it a few times now I may change the ribbon waistband to a petersham ribbon - the polyester I used was a cute color and I had enough, but it's a bit scratchy on my skin sometimes. Other than that I love this and know it will be a great piece to have in the Florida heat. And even better it only cost me about $0.50 to make :)

Yay for refashioning!