Friday, August 26, 2016

A Train Tummy Time Outside Blanket

Fiber crafters are truly marvelous people.  I've received many gifts from fellow knitters, spinners and now sewers.  When I was learning to spin, a local spinner gave me a trash bag full of different types of fiber so I could experiment (including dog, wool, alpaca, cotton and more!)  Now that I'm learning to sew, someone on Ravelry sent me a bag of remnant cotton fabrics to help me have some scraps to play with.

Train Panel.  ~35" x 44"
I say scraps, but most of the pieces in the pouch from Canada are larger than a fat quarter!  Included in the bag was this wonderful train panel.  I would never be able to cut it up and so I spent some time considering what I should do with it.  I wouldn't want to make a quilt around it since the scale of the print is so big... what could I possibly do?

Rowdy will be 4 months old tomorrow and I currently struggle when we go outside to play with Lucky.  At the playground, I wear Rowdy in the ergo and that works great, but at home I want to be able to put him on the ground.  The small flannel blankets we have blow over and get scrunched up, which doesn't make for cute photos.  Plus if the ground is at all wet then I worry about my littlest getting soaked during tummy time.  Aha!  I can use this train panel to make a water resistant picnic blanket!  There are many awesome tutorials out there but I really liked the Picnic Blanket Tutorial by Design Sponge.

I considered quilting the trains (lightly quilting) to some batting but this project really doesn't need that amount of effort.  I got some fusible fleece (Pellon TP971F - Fusible Thermolam Plus) that I can iron directly to the train fabric to give it some more weight.  Then it will hold its own better once sewn to the oilcloth PLUS it will be extra comfy.  One yard of the oilcloth is a perfect fit for the blanket.

The back side of the fusible fleece grips onto the cotton fabric really really well.  It took a few times to align the panel and smooth it out but once that was done I was ready to cut.

I started in the middle with no press cloth on the wool/steam setting of my iron.  When I got to the edges I used a yellow cotton scrap of fabric as a press cloth.  I had to take a break from the ironing because Rowdy woke up.  I wanted to make sure I paid special attention to the edges and really fused the fleece to the fabric so I went over it a number of times.

The back of the vinyl is a little sticky, too so the fusible fleece actually stays on it really nicely.  I am only going to trim the vinyl a little bit but then do a double folded hem around the sides.  I started with one of the long sides and finger pressed the vinyl down once and then a second time for it to overlap the blue border.  I hated to put pins in the vinyl but I did it to hold the edges secure and then used navy thread to stitch down the borders.  After both long sides were done I did the short sides.

Woah, this is hard to sew.  i set my straight stitch length to 4.0 (tension 3) and had to pull it through the machine, the vinyl wouldn't slip through with the feed dogs on its own.

Once I got the hang of it I just made sure to let up off the pedal before I stopped pulling.  The second seam was MUCH better and straighter than the first.

I didn't change my needle... mainly because I don't know HOW to change my needle.  Thankfully the fabric didn't tear or anything like that.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!  This train fabric is so joyful and I'm so glad that I found a fun way to use it that didn't involve cutting it up.  Rowdy is currently sleeping so I have to wait for him to wake up to play with it outside.  I'd say I can't wait but please, baby, take a long nap!  (Of course Rowdy spit up on the blanket during his first tummy time!)

The train panel is just so pretty.  I'm not sure if you can tell from these pictures, but each section of the train has a different pattern it it so it look like it is made out of a bunch of appliqued pieces.  It make a beautiful blanket.

I really like sitting on this myself.  It is a great size for one adult, and I could see myself using it for soccer games or other times I have to sit somewhere while my boys are playing.  I think that I will make a larger one for the family to use in the future, although I shudder a bit at stitching two pieces of vinyl together and getting those through my machine. I wonder what else I can make out of oilcoth!

started and finished 5/13/2016

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.