Friday, April 06, 2012

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Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Teddy Bear Update 3 - All Done!

And I'm done!  I'd made this a featured project in my notebook because I thought it might take me a bunch of time to complete, but it went so much faster than I anticipated.  I'm super happy that I got him done so quickly.

I'd meant to put on a face on him.  I'd even gone button shopping with the recipient, but it was decided that the faceless bear was perfect just the way it is.

Oh, those teddy feet!  So plump and sweet.

And with a hugging arm for scale.  So cuddly ....

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Teddy Bear Update 2 - BearPod, The Emergence

Sewing together the teddy bear pieces went so quickly I didn't even think to take pictures.  Since I crochet, knit, or hand sew most of the things I make, I forget how FAST making things with the sewing machine can be.  Zooooom!

I did, however, document this part ... turning the bearpod out-side-right.  If I could have had you here with me, witnessing the emergence, I would have.  This photo essay is the next best thing.

The bearpod is all of the parts of the bear sewn together with the outsides on the inside.  Here is a shot of the inside-out head hole.
This is the belly.  Inside there are all the arms, legs, and the head.
All the bear pieces-parts are going to come out this tiny little slit in the back seam.  Ready?
Boop!  Here's the head.
Arm.  Arm.
Right leg.
Left leg.
Boiiiiing!  Body!

After this point, it's just a bunch of stuffing and sewing little holes in the body, legs, and arms.  I thought all the hand sewing would slow me down again, but it was super fast.  So fast that I forgot, again, to take any snaps.  So, tomorrow, you'll get Mr. Finished Bear photos.  Woohoo!

Friday, March 30, 2012

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Teddy Bear Update 1 - Cutting Out The Pieces

I have a friend that really loves my teddy bear.  So much so that I decided to surprise them with one of their own.

I looked at the fabric store for teddy bear patterns, thinking It would be easy to find one just like mine.  But I was mistaken.  I couldn't find a good teddy bear pattern at all.  Luckily, a quick internet search turned up the exact pattern I made Neville from on eBay.  Can you believe that this is my first purchase from eBay?  Crazy, huh?

I bought this amazingly soft and plush faux fur at the fabric store.  It's a very traditional teddy bear color.

So soft!  So cuddly!  I bought miles of this stuff.

The challenge with fluffy faux fur fabric, though, is that you can't just lay the pattern pieces on it and cut them out.  The fabric is just too bumpy and weird.  So I had to trace each pattern piece onto grocery bag paper, which is more durable.

Then I used the grocery bag pattern pieces to trace onto the back of the knitted fur base.  It was really hard to trace the pattern pieces, so I ended up using the sharpies.  I was afraid the marker smell would linger, but it dissipated within a day or so.

Teddy bears have a surprising number of pieces to make them all up.  It took seemingly forever to cut out all the pattern pieces, trace all the pieces onto grocery bags, cut out the grocery bag pieces, trace them onto the fur, and cut out the fur pieces.  Gah!  So long.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Purple Stripe Sweater - Update 9: Button Closure

I think I've finally reached the end of things to say about this sweater ... haha!
First, I want to marvel at the fact that I had this amazing wooden button in my stash.  It matches the mid-purple perfectly.  I still can't get over that.

I originally had the button closure lower on the sweater, but after wearing it a couple of times, I realized that it was too low once the yarn relaxes.  I also only had the purple button and a crocheted loop, but I noticed that the underneath ribbing would sag and fold back as I wore the sweater.  

Button 2.0 includes an interior button and loop.  The interior button is a small shanked button that I sewed onto the bulk of the steek for stability.

The purple button is not shanked, so I stabilzed it by sewing it on with a small clear button on the inside (aka an anchor button).  The inside-underneath button keeps the purple button upright ... meaning my yarn loop doesn't pull it over to the side.

TECHknitting recently had a lot of great posts about buttons in which you can learn everything you ever wanted to know and more about putting buttons on your hand knit and hand crocheted garments, inlcuding using anchor buttons.

Ta da!  I am wearing the hell out of this sweater.  I really should start on another so I'll have it for when this one wears out.

Friday, March 23, 2012

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Purple Stripe Sweater - Update 8: Project Notes

Paige emailed and asked me how I keep notes about my projects - specifically about modifications I make to patterns.  I thought I'd share my answer with you, too.

The first little chart I made was this stripe chart.  The brackets on the right  designate where I can carry the yarn and where I break the yarn.

As I was knitting, I would make notes on the printed pattern.  Any notes on other paper, like the stripe chart, I tape to the paper to keep everything together.

For each section of the pattern, I created a check box for every row (or set of rows).  I also indicated whether it was D M or L, which is Dark, Medium, or Light Purple.  And, I also put the cut/no-cut brackets on right to remind me NOT to cut the yarn.

All my mods are here, hand-written as I made them.  Then, after I was all done, I put them in my sweater's Ravelry project.  I did this because I love reading other people's posts on Ravelry that explain what they did on a pattern.  It can be *super* helpful to know lots of people made a sweater longer, or found the instructions confusing.

Another thing I love about Ravelry when I'm browsing through patterns is looking at other people's projects from the pattern.  I can see real people wearing the sweater they made.  I think that's a much better indication of what I might make ... since I'm usually not the same size as the model they used.  Sometimes a sweater that looks incredible on the model doesn't look so hot on a middle-aged woman.  

And, sometimes the converse is true.  I've seen plenty of homely looking sweaters really shine when someone gets creative with the color or changes just one tiny part of the pattern  So much inspiration and real-world experience can be found on Ravelry.  It's an incredible resource for my knitting and crocheting!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Purple Stripe Sweater - Update 7: Finished Sweater

Ta da!

It was a beautiful sunny day yesterday ... freezing, but beautiful.  I have my coat and scarf at my feet in these photos.  I'm sure everyone else at the park thought I was nuts. :)

You can see in this photo that the elbow gets a little baggy after a couple days of wear.  I like the length, so I'll just have to live with it.

Originally, I planned to do the ribbing in the medium purple color, but when I tried to order the extra yarn, it was on back order.  Of course, now, I can't imagine that ... the dark purple is the perfect ribbing color.

The only thing that's a little goofy is I started at the top of the back with the dark purple, so the stripe merges with the ribbing creating a weird angled shape.  If I hadn't done that, I'd have a crisp dark line around the back neck.  Next time I'll plan the ribbing/stripes better.

Here you can see just how windy it was.  I love the little peek you get at the light green steek.  When I went shopping for a shirt to wear with this sweater, I couldn't resist this v-neck because it matches the steek perfectly!

I still have a couple more things to show you about the sweater ... the button stuff, and my project notes ... but I didn't want to make you wait for the final photos anymore!  Or, more truthfully, I couldn't stand not sharing them!

I make everyone pet this sweater when they find out I made it.  The Knit Picks Comfy Worsted is so SOFT it's crazy.  It's also super fuzzy, which has resulted in gigantic pills under the arms and at the waist where my purse rubs the sweater.  I'm getting a sweater stone to help remove the initial pilling.  I get the sense that once the "baby duck down" fuzz has worn off, we'll be fine.

I've machine washed and dried this sweater a couple of times.  I've found that I have to dry it all the way so it shrinks back up to "knit size" then, as I wear it, it relaxes back to "cotton stretch size", similar to a pair of jeans.  I think I can figure out how to knit the next one so it relaxes into the right size.  Currently, after it relaxes, there's a little too much ease under the arms and at the bust.

Friday, March 16, 2012

What I Posted This Week in ...

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