Monday, August 22, 2016

A Frog Hat

Lucky LOVES his preschool.  I knew that one of his main classroom teachers was pregnant and I wanted to make her a little crochet Wolf Hat for the little girl.  I found out later that Lucky's Hebrew teacher is due at the same time so I needed to make a hat for this little one as well.

I didn't know the sex of the second baby so I wanted to pick out something gender neutral, fun, and would work with colors I had in my stash.  The Crochet Frog Hat from Repeat Crafter Me fit the ticket and Would use up some of the green yarn that I've had in my stash FOREVER.

I used KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Worsted weight yarn in Avocado (26 g, 57 yards), White (not measured), Black (coal, ~1 yard) and a maroon color I had in my stash without a label.  Like the wolf hat I crocheted this on a size H hook and made a 6-9 month sized hat.

Since with the Foxy Wolf Hat I waited to do the embellishments until the end and couldn't see well enough to crochet with dark stitches in the near dark, I decided to start out with the embellishments this time. Of course, the embellishments for the frog are all circles so that is pretty easy to do and if I can't do this in the dark then I can't do the hat itself... but hey, I'm done with the fiddly bits!

I decided to modify the hat to be a skull cap, versus an earflap hat.  I did this based on the fit and size of the wolf hat and how it fit on Rowdy.  I followed the instructions for the fox hat size 6-9 months without any color changes.

I was worried that the eyes would not stand up because they'd be so heavy. I made sure to secure them to the hat in a few places and they did stand up!  Crochet is so sturdy compare to knits.  No blocking was required at all.

You guys, I've made two hats in two days and used up some yarns from my stash.  I've used up yarns that aren't the staple colors, such as black and white!  Wahoo!

Now I just need to convince myself that I don't need to replenish my stash...  Wool of the Andes is such staple in my collection that I love to have some on hand to make last minute baby gifts.  I wish that I had machine washable wool in my stash but I rarely had to wash my babies' winter hats so I did not personally find the car difficult.  

Ribbit, ribbit!  It is fun to say this around a fiber project when I'm not frogging (rip-it, rip-it!)  

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wellesley Reunion Tie Dyed T-shirts

This summer I celebrated my 10 year reunion at Wellesley College.  The class of 2006 is the purple class so I wanted to find some purple shirts for my favorite accessories... my boys!  I thought it would be fun to dress up Keith (who is always such a good sport), Lucky and Rowdy in matching purple tie dye T-shirts to help me celebrate this milestone.

I purchased two different purple fat quarter options for the applique. I'm not quite sure how the color of the shirt itself will turn out so I want to have the choice between a patterned and a solid to make the Wellesley W on the shirt.

My plan is to applique a Wellesley W on the front of each shirt.  Maybe the sizes will vary based on the age of the wearer.  I'd also love to add "06" to the shirt somehow but I don't want to get ahead of myself.  Let's see how hard the first "W" is.

Normally I do a starburst pattern when I tie dye, but I wanted to do something a little more subtle for reunion.  I accordion folded the shirts starting at the top right shoulder (from when I'm looking at it, left shoulder for the wearer) and folded the shirt along a diagonal.  I placed the rubber bands at intervals along this length to hold the folds together.

The Tulip Tie Dye Kit instructions say to either dye the shirts dry or dry them wet straight out of the washing machine.  I did prewash the shirts but I also predried them.  I thought it would be easier to fold them up when dry so I folded them first and then soaked them in some water for 30+ minutes.

Part way though the dyeing process

Guess what, friends!  I filmed the dyeing process so if you want to try to recreate this pattern for yourself you can watch what I did, not just read about it.  

I waited for almost 36 hours before unwrapping the shirts.  I timed this around naptimes and wanted to make sure I got a nice deep color. 

I am a huge fan of how the shirts came out!  I especially like how the red shirt came out, it exceeded my expectations for a single color tie dyed garment!  (I have a friend in the red class who has been going though some struggles and her baby is the same age as Rowdy.  Even though this isn't her reunion cycle, I decided to make her little boy a red Wellesley onesie to send some love.  The W is purple because he is part of the purple class in spirit.)  

The first two times I washed the shirts I included some Shout stain catchers in the wash.  A lot of color came out, even on the second wash.  I will continue to wash these on their own for a while so I don't turn anything else purple.

Now it is time for me to cut and applique on the Wellesley "W".  I know that the W's will each be a different size because the shirts are different sizes.  I looked at the two purple swatches against the shirts and the solid purple is a MUCH better fit against the busy purple background

For the first part of the appliques, I am going to use Pellon # EZ2L (Lite EZ-Steam II Fusible webs and adhesives with backing.)  I cut the adhesive to be the approximate size I wanted for each of the shirts.

Drawing the Wellesley W is MUCH harder than I thought!  It took me a few times to get the shapes the way I wanted.

Thank goodness the W is symmetrical so I didn't have to worry about drawing the reverse.  Next time I do something like complicated I want to print it out and trace it versus trying to do it free hand.  

When I finally finished cutting out the W's I was super happy with the way they looked.  Phew!  It was worth the effort to draw them nicely.  

I love the way the ironed on appliques look.  Reunion is just over a week away, and I decided to skip sewing down the appliques for now.  I don't want to risk ruining the shirts when they look so crisp right now.  I will play around with sewing on appliques in the future.

When I washed the shirts (AFTER the first day of reunion) it turns out that I should have sewn the appliques on.  They pealed off of Lucky's and Keith's shirts!  At least I got some cute pictures of the boys on campus.  Rowdy's survived and I might be able to salvage the other ones at a later date.  Next time I'll make sure to sew them down before sharing them.

After washing
On the day of reunion, I made sure to take some pictures of the boys dressed up before we headed to campus.  The shirts looked perfect!  I wanted to make sure that I had some pictures that showed the W before we got there.  

Lucky was SO EXCITED to visit Mommy's school.  He'd been to campus at least twice before but this is the first time that he understood that it was a special place for Mommy.

We didn't stay on campus since we leave nearby.  Maybe when the boys are over they can have a sleepover on campus during reunion.  I imagine that there will be a lot more kids there for our 15th reunion!

One of the highlights of reunion is the alumnae parade.  It was wonderful to see alumnae for the 75th+ reunions!  It is like a glimpse into the future as we see alumnae walk and fall in behind them in order of class year.  Too bad it rained this year, but I think that 5 years from now the boys will walk with me.  I will have to make them new tie dyed shirts, but hopefully they'll be willing to wear them with me!

We went back to Wellesley later in the summer for official family pictures, but I really enjoy this one of us from reunion next to the science center.  

Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Bigger BB8 Fleece Blanket

The two sided BB8 fleece blanket I made for Lucky on New Year's was a huge hit.  Not only is this Lucky's favorite blanket for snuggling in our living room (or anywhere else downstairs), but Keith and I love using it, too.  Keith requested a blanket of his own that is a little bigger, so I set out to get fabric for a huge double sided fleece blanket

The BB8 fleece fabric is the best Star Wars fabric we found at our local JoAnns.  For Keith's blanket I got 2.5 yards of this fabric and then searched for something to complement it.  I didn't want to pick out the same plaid fabric that I used in Lucky's blanket and I finally settled on another fun bold print, Heart Paws!  Not only does this fabric bring Indy into the mix but it will make a different "backdrop" to use while photographing Rowdy for his picture of the day project.

With 2.5 yards of each fabric lining them up was much easier than last time.  With 1.5 yards the width was almost the same as the length so it was hard to line up.  I trimmed off the obvious thick slevage from the stars wars fabric by hand before starting.  Next, I laid out the fabrics with right sides facing and pinned the edges together.

As I was about to start the fabric I realized that I hadn't prewashed this fabric.  Whoops!  I know that I could probably skip it but I don't want any shrinkage of one of the fabrics to warp it so I tossed the trimmed edges in the wash.  This is only really a bummer as I was hoping to finish it up during naptime.  Oh well.  I'm glad I took the time to prewash.  Either the clerk who cut the fabric was not consistant or the BB8 fabric shrunk in the wash (it is most likely inconsistant cutting but you never know.)  

I stitched about 3/4" away from the edge leaving a 3"+ gap on one side so I could turn it right side out.  I didn't worry too much about being straight but I think I did a reasonable job.  Before turning the blanket right side out I trimmed the edges and corners where needed.  I closed the gap with a mattress stitch and then I was ready for the final hemming.

Once the fabrics were right side out I made sure the corners were square by poking htem out with my fingers.  After I closed out the gap I pinned the fabrics together so the bottom layer wouldn't bunch during sewing and stitched 1" away from the edge all the way around the blanket.

My sewing expands, but I worked on the narrow surface to hem this blanket.  I probably should have opened it up so I would have more work space.  At least now I know I want to do this before I start quilting my first quilt!

Hurrah for a naptime project!  Both boys slept long enough for me to finish up this project.  Too bad it is May so it is pretty hot outside, a little too hot to be stitching up fleece.  I'm glad the evenings are still cool so there will be plenty of opportunities for the boys to snuggle with their BB8 blankets before the fall.

started at completed 5.11.2016

Monday, August 8, 2016

Dip Dyeing Braided Roving into WIlton's Violet Food Coloring

Two of my favorite dyeing experiments ever come from breaking Wilton's violet food coloring. The first video was dip dyeing a skein of yarn into the food coloring - I ended up with a stunning gradient from fuchsia to pale blue.  The second video was breaking Wilton's violet over a braided chain of roving.  What would happen if I combined the two techniques and dip dyed a crochet chain of roving into Wilton's violet food coloring?

The resulting braid is stunning, but there were a few problems with this experiment.  The wet braided roving got HEAVY and started stretching which made it much harder to dip dye than a skein of yarn.  Since I was moving the roving through hot water I was really concerned about felting.  Thankfully I got lucky and the roving is perfect and ready to spin.    I was also so concerned about making sure there wasn't too much blue coverage that I over-dipped early on and got too much pink coverage.  Whoops!

Watch the video to see more about this dyeing experiment.  Do you have any suggestions for other ways I can break food coloring colors on my yarn?  I have so much fun with these experiments!  

Friday, August 5, 2016

A Wolf Hat

Lucky has two teachers who are both due in August!  His last day of preschool is on Friday and on Wednesday I decided to try to whip up two hats for these teachers.  Will I make it?  (Lucky is going to be in the summer program but neither teacher will be there... let's go!)

Lucky's classroom teacher's last name is Wolf, so I knew I wanted to make this baby girl a little wolf hat.  I went to my favorite crochet hat designer at Repeat Crafter Me and decided to adapt the Crochet Fox Hat for this baby girl.

I decided to make a 6 month sized hat since it would be useful when the weather starts to get cold.  Plus, Rowdy is now the perfect model (just under 5 months old).  I know that he outgrew the Aviator hat I made in 3-6 month size pretty quickly so hopefully the next size up will be a perfect fit.

I pulled out my trusty size H crochet hook and some KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Yarn in White (16 g, 35 yards), Coal (1 g, 3 yards) and Bramble Heather (21 g, 46 yards) and started hooking.

Rowdy's 3-6 month hat technically still fits on his head but is a little short and snug.  The 6-9 month hat that I'm making now is 4 more stitches around than the 3-6 hat and has one more DC row. Hopefully we'll like this fit!

I tried the hat on Rowdy multiple times as I was crocheting.  I think that it is going to be a good fit, and I finished off the base of the hat while he was napping.

The hat base fits Rowdy PERFECTLY!

The embellishments for this hat are actually pretty simple.  I like that the nose is worked with picked up stitches.  It took me a few tries to get it right but the effort put into it was worth it.

I've never done an HDC decrease before. I had to look it up but it wasn't so bad.  I can't believe I thought the cheek fluff was fringe at first, these triangles are way cooler.  The cheeks are also crocheted directly onto the hat.  Less things to sew together and stitch on, so they look fantastic!

My Rowdy has cheeks for days.  The cheek fluff is ADORABLE on him.  I may need to make him a little wolf hat like this one for the winter.

There are a few embellishments, but little crochet pieces are super easy to whip up.  I almost finished this whole project in one day but it was a little too hard to see at 9 PM at night so I was unable to finish up the ears.  Oh well, those can wait until morning.


The ears are so perky!  I love how well they stand up on their own.  Repeat Crafter Me really knows what she is doing!

Finally, little button eyes finish the cutest little wolfman you ever did see.  

This little girl will probably be in Rowdy's preschool class some day.  Hopefully these little munchkins will become great friends!  For now, I leave you with a few more Rowdy pictures as he models this hat.