Lucky 13: Baby shower extravaganza

I figure yesterday’s post was pretty dry for much of my readership (well, at least my friends-and-family readers). So not to disappoint those who don’t care about my crafting plans but like it when I make cute things, here is a quick bonus post of the gifts I made for my friend Diana’s baby shower last weekend. I was going to include it on the end of last night’s post, but things just got way too long! Sorry for the photo quality (and quantity); I was working on these up until the last minute (really beyond the last minute, and I even enlisted my mother in the button sewing effort), so I just snapped a photo each before they went into the gift bag:

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This baby is due next month, so I figured I’d give something wintry for now and something summery for later. I tried to channel a little bit of a 30s/40s flavor with the prints, and I like the classic feeling the gifts evoked. Can’t wait to see them modeled by baby! My thoughts by project:

The bonnet is the Winter Baby Bonnet from Purl Soho, which is a free pattern on their blog. I got two of the kits, which now seem to be sold out, but you could definitely find the needed materials from other sources. It was a great pattern and I got to break out my walking foot for the first time. The stitch length was a little very short, but otherwise using it went without incident. Well done me! This was also my first time sewing with Liberty Tana lawn, and I loved it!

The booties are Saartje’s Booties, a pattern that has been in my queue on Ravelry for years. Weaving in all the ends was a little fiddly and I didn’t have a crochet hook available to make the button loops (I ended up braiding them), but I absolutely love them in the end! I used some Debbie Bliss Rialto 4 ply from my aforementioned stash and resisted going out and buying more yarn to have a contrast color (pats self on back). I love the simplicity of the garter stitch and black buttons, and the finished booties are so squooshy and delicious, perfect for little feet.

Finally, the dress. This is another Seashore Sundress from Oliver + S (see my last one here) in the 6-12 month size, and I don’t have much new to say about it, though construction was even smoother the second time around. The fabric for the dress and bloomers are from one of the Denyse Schmidt DS Quilts lines at Joann’s. The picture isn’t so great above, but the dress is in this great little flower print, and I have enough left over to make another baby dress. As you can see, I made no effort to match the plaid on the coordinating bloomers (which is printed on the bias but asymmetrical, argh!) because I thought it would be really hard, and it shows; oh well. As my Grandma Mary Jane said about sewing errors, you no one would notice from a galloping horse.

And there you have it. Knitting and sewing in one post! Next up, something for me!

And so the baby sewing begins…

I don’t know about you, but I know quite a few folks who are having babies lately. In the past, knitting has been my baby gifting jam (see this post to get an idea). When I started sewing again this spring, though my mind was immediately filled with thoughts of all the baby sewing I could get up to, and the internets are FULL of inspiration on that front. I quickly discovered Oliver + S patterns, and an obsession was born. (I should have an entire post someday about how Liesl Gibson is my hero, both sewing-wise and professionally, because she is. Seriously.) All I had to wait for was some one to pop out a girl baby, and I was good to go.

Well, some of those girl babies have popped out (ew?), and so the baby sewing has commenced. In preparation for this moment, I bought several patterns in a sale a few months ago, and promptly hit up a quilting fabric sale at Joann, so I currently have patterns and fabric ready for about five Oliver + S dresses (obsession, I told you).  In an effort to ease my way into things, I chose one of Oliver + S’s “one scissor” offerings, the Seashore Dress:

(c) Liesl + Co

I have to say, what attracted me to the pattern most of all was the bloomers, and the precious coordination possibilities. Plus the treasure pockets. Here’s what I came up with in my first outing:

Seashore dress and bloomers

I really have to get better at my photography and photo editing skills, but c’est la vie. New Year’s resolution. Anyway, I was pretty pleased with myself on the coordination here. I was less pleased with myself for cutting the fronts and back for the bloomers in two different orientations (back upside down), but I had enough fabric to recut the front only, so I just went for it and embraced imperfection. Otherwise the bloomers didn’t disappoint (and the suggested ribbon “tag” to tell the back from the front is pretty cute, too).

Seashore bloomers

There were a few firsts for me in this pattern. The main new skill was buttonholes. Actually, I would technically estimate these to be my 34th and 35th buttonholes, because I was so anxious about the entire buttonhole scenario that I made approximately 3 dozen practice ones. I think my confidence was initially shaken by a classic “failing to read the buttonholer instructions” incident, but rebounded with the aforementioned practice, and I think the end result was worth it. This was also more gathering than I’d done in other projects, best illustrated by the back view. Made easy by the excellent instructions!

Seashore dress, back

Looking at these sad, flat photos, I realize that my photos would be exponentially cuter if there were an actual little girl occupying these clothes, but since this has yet to be gifted, you, dear readers, are stuck sans baby. Also, this is obviously a summer outfit completed in the dead of winter, and in a size that won’t fit your average 4-month-old (it’s the 12-18 month size, for the record). I actually agonized a LOT about which size to make for this peanut who will be about a year old when Seashore dress weather rolls around. My pediatric training has been sadly lacking in children’s clothing sizing, and at one point I became convinced this was going to be far too large for this summer, so I took the dress on a frantic field trip to Target for some comparisons, and it seemed right on par with the commercial 12-18 month dresses. (Liesl, how could I have doubted you?!?) Since it seems most babies are on the bigger side these days, and a too small outfit isn’t of much use to anyone, I’m hoping this was the right way to go. Only time will tell. One last look at the dress before it gets packaged for gifting:

Seashore dress, front

I’m in the midst of a quieter spell at work, and that plus a few days off for the holidays means more sewing, knitting, and (hopefully) blogging. Up next on the blogging docket are a few little knits I’ve just finished, more baby sewing (shower ahead) and, sewing gods willing, a v-neck Anna dress I’m planning to have ready for holiday festivities. I have already made four (4!!!) bodice muslins for this bad girl, but I think the end is finally in sight. Ooh, AND I have some sewing field trips/fabric safaris to document. Busy busy, see you back here soon!

My favorite knits of yore

Phew, this blogging stuff is hard work! Not only do I have to make things, but I have to photograph AND write about them.  Sorry for the radio silence! I actually have been sewing, but it took me until this weekend to get some photos. (I also took a little sewing-related field trip, also yet to be blogged–stay tuned!) In the meantime, I started this post about some of my favorite knits, so I figured I’ll finish this one and save the sewing for blog-fodder later in the week. Patience!

These are almost exclusively baby knits, mostly because projects for babies are small, just like my attention span for any given project, and because in general when I’m knitting for a baby I have a deadline, unlike when I’m knitting for myself. My UFO collection is seriously impressive, but that’s another post for another time (or perhaps a crafty resolution?). Anyway, without further ado, here are some of my favorite knitted makes ever:

Benji’s cabled sweater

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This was a great project I made up in some Debbie Bliss Aran weight Cashmerino. I love that yarn so much. The pattern is from Melanie Falick’s great book Knitting for Baby. Here’s a close up of the hippo buttons (squeal!) and some of the cabling:

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Given that this baby (my cousin’s) is now in kindergarten, it’s not a very recent project! I’ve entertained making it again for many a baby, but I always get distracted by the glut of amazing baby projects on my list.

Ada’s knitted hoodie

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This pattern comes from my newest baby knitting obsession, Vintage Baby Knits by Kristen Rengren. Seriously, I cannot say enough about how much I love this book. I want to knit everything in it. Some lucky lady will be the recipient of this sweater, and another this dress (seriously, I love lace). And the ducky onsie? The cat sweater set? I just can’t. The first project I chose from the book was the Audrey Hoodie. I have some actual action shots of said baby wearing said sweater, but decided to keep little Ada anonymous. Needless to say, it’s even cuter on! This was also my first go at a crocheted shell stitch edging, which turned out well, though I omitted it on the sleeves because they were already really long. I made it up out of another teal Debbie Bliss yarn, this one a cotton (don’t remember which one). Another glamour shot:

Leo’s pirate sweater

More baby sweaters! Let’s make it a trifecta. Though apparently I never uploaded photos of this to Flickr, so you’ll have to go take a look-see on Ravelry. This was my first intarsia project, and a super fun make for my med school classmate’s baby (so also a few years ago!). I’ve never actually seen it on the baby, but I bet it was stinking cute! More Debbie Bliss yarn, this one was Rialto. The pattern is from the precious book Adorable Knits for Tots by Zoe Mellor. This post is really revealing my baby knitting book obsession!

Faux Isle Hat

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Finally, something I knit up for myself! As the above baby knit bonanza shows, I rarely knit for myself. Or rather, I rarely finish things I start knitting for myself. But this hat, THIS hat is one of my favorite projects ever. It’s became my go-to winter topper, gets a ton of compliments, and it was so quick and easy. I don’t even remember what the white yarn was, and all I know about the rainbow is that it’s some kind of Noro. I’ve thought many times about making another, but am always worried I won’t recapture the magic, so I haven’t yet. (Aside: Does this happen to anyone else?)

The Fuzzy Bunnies

Knitted Bunny Rabbit
Here’s something I have dared to recreate (shocker, more baby stuff): the bunny pattern from the Lovable Toys collection in Last Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. If there has ever been a knitting book whose aesthetic I would like to appropriate into my everyday life (okay, that’s a pretty specific superlative, but still) it’s this one. And this bunny is the first thing I knitted from it. First I made the above fuzzy bunny for the baby of one of my medical school instructors. Then I made a second one for my sister by request. It’s pretty much too cute to be believed and I love it. Next time, the elephant?

Anyway, I have a few new projects in the works (and a TON of UFOs hanging out in my crafting closet), so look for more knitting posts in the near future!