Friday, June 24, 2016

Handpainting Roving with Dry KoolAid

I love dyeing yarn, and I REALLY love to experiment with new techniques.  I've dyed so much fiber with KoolAid over the years but I've always mixed the KoolAid with water before applying it to any fiber.  The only time I added dry KoolAid to fiber was when it first passed through melting snow.  What would happen if I applied dry KoolAid to presoaked fiber?  

Video Contents
  • [0:00] Introduction
  • [0:51] Presoaking Fiber
  • [1:29] Arranging wet roving to be dyed
  • [2:41] Applying the KoolAid
  • [10:04] Spray bottle to help with dissolving the KoolAid
  • [13:25] Adding more yellow koolaid
  • [13:55] After 10 minutes, deciding to let it sit even more for color to wick into the fiber
  • [14:32] Wrapping up the fiber to heat it in the microwave
  • [16:54] Ready to microwave
  • [17:31] Unwrapping the cooked fiber
  • [18:57] Washing the fiber
  • [20:29] Conclusions

I squeezed too much water out of the roving in the beginning which made it hard for the powdered KoolAid to dissolve.  I ended up adding more water back into the system with a squirt bottle to help the process go faster.

I still didn't want to massage the color into the fiber because this would be more like traditional handpainting and I was really hoping to try a different method of application.  I do like how I will end up with random spots of color. 

This project involved a lot of waiting for handpainting, which is unusual for me since the handpaining projects usually go pretty quickly.  This wasn't as long as the snow dyeing experiments, but still took a bit of time.  I let the fiber sit for some hours to avoid massaging the dye into the fiber and to let the spots of color occur more organically.  

I really loved how the koolaid with tiny bits of water looked on the fiber.  I took so many pictures!  

In the end, I got color penetration in spots on half of the fiber.  I love it!  I think this could make a really fun single ply yarn where you could end of with twists of color in rainbow stripes, depending on how I decide to spin it in the end.  I am thrilled with the amount of solid undyed roving this time. 

It was hard to line up the fiber so you could see the sections of the most color and least color at the same time, but I really like the spotted effect of the colors.  You even see a little bit of breaking in the grape section!  I know that this will be stunning once spun and it is a great candidate for a gradient spin.  

If you were me, how would you spin this fiber?  I'm tempted to either do really narrow lengths to have multiple rainbow repeats or to do an N-ply gradient.  

Monday, June 20, 2016

Sewing my Own Crib Sheets

It was really easy to find under the sea themed fabrics, accessories and bedding.  Whales and other ocean creatures are common nursery decor themes so many of the big stores sell things that work on this theme.  It was much harder for me to find Dinosaur themed crib sheets.  When shopping Keith and Lucky found some fun dinosaur fabric and pointed it out to me, and suddenly I had the crazy idea to make some of my own crib sheets.

Since I didn't know what else I might want to do with the fabric, I purchased 3 yards of one pattern and 2.5 yards of the other.  (These were purchased on separate days and at the time I didn't realize that they were part of a coordinated line.)

There are many tutorials on how to make your own crib sheet on the internet.  My favorites include "How to Make a Crib Sheet" and "Crib Sheet Pattern" and "Easy DIY crib sheets."   I decided to measure my fabric against the mattress because the first mattress we had for Lucky was recalled and the new one is pretty deep.  The other sheets we own FIT, but it is a tight fit and it can be a bit of a struggle to get them on.  I wanted to use fold over elastic instead of making a casing for the elastic so I purchased 6 yards of 5/8" fold over elastic which was plenty for both sets of sheets.

Oh no!  I noticed some light blue stains on the dinosaur fabric of the sheets.  I have no idea where these came from but they are pretty hard to notice.  I was going to try to miss them entirely but the spots are spread out enough that there will be at least a few on the sheet.  I'm going to proceed and trust that stains will happen on sheets and it will be fine.  (I know that this either happened in the wash or were already present on the fabric when I bought it.  Thankfully these stains have not turned up on any of my other laundry items so it seems like a one-off error.)  

I pressed the fabric before I got started.  Since I"m concerned about having enough fabric to fit well on the bottom of the mattress, I want to make sure I have all the width I can before I get started.  I don't plan to iron the baby's sheets between each washing, but I may as well start out with things pressed the first time to make the sheet.

The boys' mattresses are 27.5"Wx52"Dx6"H.  39.5" for the width around doesn't give a lot of overhang for the sheet on the bottom side.

I drew an 8x8" square in each corner, folded the right sides together and stitched along the line that I drew.  I then tried the sheet back on the mattress

One edge is about an inch too long.  I'm going to leave this as some wiggle room for when I secure the btoom, but next time I'll make sure to draw the squares closer to where the mattress lies.  (The other edge looks prefect)

After I decided to not modify the placement of my corners, I reinforced the corners as directed in the imperfect homemaker directions and then clipped the corners.  

After (left) and before (right) clipping the corners

Note that I left the selvage on the fabric because I needed every inch that I could get. I'm now ready to add the elastic.

I started out with 6 yards of chevron fold over elastic.  I placed a pin at the midway point so I would know if I used more than the 3 yards I'm estimating for the elastic.  I started on a long edge near a corner and using a straight stitch stitched around the length of my sheet.

I didn't stretch the elastic enough on the first side of the sheet, but I still used under 3 yards of elastic (maybe a foot or so to spare.)  6 yards is PLENTY for 2 sheets.

It isn't the tightest sheet that I've ever seen, but because the mattress is so tight in the crib I'm not worried about it coming loose from my kid wiggling around or anything like that.  I did learn that you want to pull the elastic as MUCH as you can as you stitch it to the edge of the sheet so that it will grip as tightly as possible.

I easily completed one sheet during Lucky's afternoon nap.  The cost of fabric might make this not worth it but if you're sewing other things then you can end up with coordinated sheets.  Of course, if you can't find sheets that match your desired theme than sewing them yourself is the way to go!  We'll see how well it holds up in the laundry after many washings.

For the second sheet I pulled the elastic as tight as it could go the whole way around.  Still not as perfect as some of the other tutorials show, but it will work!  I think it looks cute and I'm proud that I was able to do this all by myself.

First sheet started and finished 12.11.2015.  Second sheet started and completed 12.12.2015.  

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Lucky's No Sew Tutu

One day, as I was getting dressed, Lucky and I had the following conversation:
"Mommy is wearing a tutu!" (I was putting on yoga pants)
"Noooooo, [Lucky], Mommy is not wearing a tutu."
"IIIIIIIII need a tutu."
"Would you like Mommy to make you a tutu?"

I credit Daniel Tiger with Lucky's tutu request but I was more than happy to try to make my boy something. This is one of the first items he ever requested!  I'm not just happy, I was ecstatic!  A few days later Lucky and Mommy (and Daddy and Rowdy) went to the fabric store to buy some tulle to make a tutu for Lucky.  Since this was his custom tutu I wanted him to pick out the colors.

I really thought we would leave with one color (most likely orange) but Lucky picked out purple, blue and pink fabrics.  I think a multicolored tutu will be stunning!  I bought 1.5 yards of purple, and 0.5 yards of each of the blue and pink.

Shortly after getting home it was bedtime for Lucky and Mommy and Daddy wanted to watch Star Wars so I didn't make the tutu.  The next morning, I asked Lucky if he wanted to wear clothes or stay in his PJ's for a pajama party day.  "I want to wear my TUTU!"  Uhoh, Mommy had better get on this during naptime!

This is a no sew tutu, I plan on just tieing strips onto ribbon.  The ribbon I'm using is a shiny wire ribbon leftover from a Christmas Basket.  The ribbon was part of a box of leftover wrapping paper that Lucky has been playing in since Christmas Eve... and it is now April! (Seriously, a box of wrapping paper is a great activity for a 2 year old!  Lucky likes to "swim" and hide in it.)  He likes to drape these ribbons over his head like a necklace and pretend to be an alligator.  I don't think he'll mind if I re-purpose one of the ribbons in his tutu.

The tulle is around 54" wide.  My 3 ft tall 2 year old doesn't need a 2 ft long tutu, so I cut the fabric in half width wise before cutting the strips.

I folded the fabric in half again (so 4 layers thick with the pink shown) and cut approximate 2" strips.  I did the same with the blue fabric.  With the purple I cut 2.5-3" strips of fabric and I cut through 8 pieces of fabric at a time to speed things up.  The strips didn't have to be perfect since there will be so many bunched together no one will notice.

For each knot, fold the fabric in half and pull the ends through the loop like you would fringe.  I held two pieces of purple and two strips of either pink or blue for each knot, alternating the pink and blue sections.

In the end I only ended up with two purple strips left over!  Way to go, Mama, you finished up a tutu during nap time!  There will be one happy Lucky boy coming downstairs after nap!

I can use this skirt to approximate how much fabric I'd need to make myself a skirt someday.  I won't need to guesstimate the amount of tulle to purchase if I can start by measuring this around myself.  If I were going to make a tutu for myself I would have made wider strips and not cut the length in half.  Oooo, maybe used a long braid of tulle instead of the ribbon to tie the fabric onto.

Shopping aside, this whole project took me less than an hour to complete.  I love the way it turned out!  Layering the colors really made the skirt rich and vibrant.  (If you've watched my yarn dyeing videos then you know I love depth of color!)

It took Lucky too long to wake up from his nap, so Rowdy tested it out.  Oh my was this adorable!

I knew that even if Lucky only wore the tutu for 2 minutes it would be worth the effort.

At $1.99/yard and with a discount coupon this was a cheap project to my my boy happy.  Plus it is a great addition to our dress up box!   I haven't been able to use my sewing machine in a while.  Maybe next time I'll make a "proper" gathered tutu.

It turns out that Lucky was initially a little unhappy to see his alligator "costume" in the tutu but thankfully he got over it.  The day we created the tutu he only wore it for about 2 songs of dancing, but since then he has requested to put it on on other occasions.  He was so happy that I made this for him!

Project started and completed 4/6/2016

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Puerperium Cardigan for Boogaloo

I finally finished Lucky's Frozen sweater with less than month until the due date.  Because I was conservative with my yarn purchase I have enough left over to make a sweater for Boogaloo, too.  I can make a little newborn sweater so our boys can have some matching sweater snuggles shortly after Boogaloo is born.

My gauge from the frozen sweater on size 6 needles is close to what I need for the Puerperium Cardigan, too.  Wahoo!  I don't need to swatch again since I'm using the identical needles and yarn as with the frozen sweater.

The project is going super fast.  The different rows are easy to keep track of and without any cables or anything there is not a lot of attention that needs to be paid to the pattern.

I finished the small ball of yarn and started Ball 2 near the beginning of round 21.  For some reason I counted 142 not 140 sts after round 24.  Ugh, but I"m not going to worry about it too much.  There are 29 stitches on each sleeve and only 4 stitches for each edge so I'm not too concerned.  Huh... after Row 29 there are 164 sts just as there should be in the pattern.  I counted three times previously so I'm not sure what I did to get the wrong number!  I'm glad that it is working out, though.

Right before the 7th button hole (before I presumably start the edging part C) the underarm measures 12.75 cm. Wow I'm right on target with the way these pictures of other projects are!

Now that the body is finished I have a new decision to make.  Long straight sleeves, long tapered sleeves or short sleeves?  I still have 7.1 g of the original dye lot left so I have plenty of yarn for any of the options.  I have some plain long sleeve onesies (in both NB and 3 month sizes) so the short sleeved sweater could be super cute on Mr. Boogaloo.  Plus this would be significantly faster to complete.  I'm not sure how well I'd like the long sleeves on my baby and not knowing how he is proportioned I think I'll stick with short sleeves.

Rather than doing a magic loop, I switched to DPN's for the sleeves.  Knit one round with picked up stitches.  P, K, P, K and then bind off p-wise for consistancy with the rest of the borders.  The sweater needs blocking.  Light blocking, but it is still required to prevent any curling.  So I could mark the project as "completed" sooner on Ravelry (and check something off of my HUGE LIST before the baby arrives) I decided to sew the buttons on first and then block it with the buttons closed.

I wanted to use ladybug buttons for this sweater as Boogaloo was due in February.  I had two different packages of similar buttons, one that I purchased (left) and one that Grandmama picked up for me (right).

I selected Grandmama's buttons over my own because sewing through two holes is much easier on knitting than sewing through one.  I'm not sure what you call a button with a  hole on the back post only, but they make me so frustrated when applying them to knitting.  2-4 holes is much easier to manage.

I added the buttons to the top and bottom of the sweater first, and then the middle to help with spacing.  I think these lady bugs look rather cute marching up the unblocked sweater.

After some really light blocking the sweater was complete and ready for my baby boy to arrive.

Baby Boogaloo (aka "Rowdy") showed up in January, not February as expected but he is still my little Love Bug.

Isn't he darling wearing a coordinated sweater with his big brother, Lucky?  I feel so blessed to have these wonderful boys in my life!