A month’s worth of blogging in one post

I haven’t updated the blog in quite some time. These days it’s easier to just throw a few pics on Facebook here and there, but sometimes it is nice to collect a bunch of updates in once place so next year when I’m asking, “Were the tomatoes ripe in June?” or “What size were those shorts that I made for Griff?” I can just look here. 🙂

I have been on a little sewing binge lately. I finally decided to drag the sewing machine upstairs into the dining room, and that did wonders for my productivity. (Previously I had been sewing in the basement, which required working only in the evenings or dragging Griff downstairs with me for as long as he would tolerate the limited toy and book selection.)

I made two batik king-size pillowcases for my Mom’s birthday (by request). They turned out really well and I’ll definitely make more in the future. I used this handy tutorial, and they were better constructed than most of the commercial pillowcases I own.

Pillowcase for mom

Pillowcase for Mom

I made three pairs of shorts for Griff using the Fishsticks Designs Inside or Outside Pocket Pants pattern in 4T. This pattern is particularly nice because it allows you to customize with as many or as few pockets as you like: inside or outside front pockets, back pockets, and cargo pockets with flaps. As you can see, I chose a variety of options with these. And unlike button-down shirts (sigh), Griff loves these shorts and is happy to wear them. I will definitely be making more before the summer is over.

Griff shorts

I’ve also done some sewing for ME! I’ve been stalking examples of the Wiksten Tova tunic top for months and decided to go ahead and buy the pattern. Sewing the front inset is a bit tricky, but otherwise it’s a very doable project and I ended up with three very wearable tops. I made the XL and then hemmed it quite a bit shorter than the pattern calls for, and took in some of the extra fabric at the waist.

The first was a sleeveless version out of quilting cotton. I only had 1.5 yards of fabric, so sleeves weren’t happening. There are no instructions for doing a sleeveless version; I winged it by using a bias tape finish. I didn’t like the collar in the pattern, so I did a simple bias tape finish for the neckline on all three tops as well.

Wiksten Tova, sleeveless

This one is made of 2 yards of 56″ wide cotton voile. At $5.98 a yard, it was a pretty good deal. The voile was a pain in the butt to sew, but it’s very lightweight and comfy. Here I am with my little photobomber.

Wiksten Tova in cotton voile

Last, another quilting weight top (a Valori Wells fabric on sale for $5.98 at fabric.com). A top with sleeves takes 2.5 yards, so this was the most expensive of the bunch, but it’s my favorite. I love this print, it looks like dandelions.

Wiksten Tova in quilt weight cotton

I’ll probably make another sleeveless version for the summer once I find another fabric I really like. A lot of the example projects I’ve seen are made of flannel; I think I’ll be making a couple cozy versions for fall in a few months.

I also made Griff a beach robe from the MADE beach robe pattern. It uses either a large beach towel or terry cloth yardage (we opted for a towel Griff picked out at Target). The pattern only goes to 4T and requires approximately 3,591,295 yards of bias tape to finish the edges (otherwise the terry will shed and fray like crazy) but it turned out well and proved extremely useful on our recent beach trip. Kids really get cold after coming out of the water, and the robe worked much better for warming Griff up and keeping him from dripping everywhere than a towel would have.

Griff's beach robe

A few other projects include a handprint tree shirt for Sean’s Father’s Day gift from Griff (Griff is always amazingly patient with me when we do these painting projects!).

Handprint leaves

We also made a freezer paper stencil shirt for my mom that Griff painted (a little too vigorously, but it still turned out legible.)

Shirt for Nana

I had some iron-on inkjet transfer sheets that needed to be used up before they started getting old (they stop working well after about 6 months), so I used the scanner to make some copyright-violating shirts for Griff.

Griff shirts

The garden has been growing well. We already have more zucchini than we can use, the Rattlesnake pole beans are producing lots of dinner side dishes and Griff snacks (he eats them raw off the vines like a woodchipper), and the cherry tomatoes have just finally started to ripen. The Brandywine tomatoes are numerous (at least 20) but still very green. We have a couple baby Sugar Baby watermelons and Pike muskmelons in progress as well as several Betterbush butternut squash headed into their final ripening. The cucumbers are producing enough for salads and snacks. Our big win overall this year has been salad greens: the lettuce and spinach have all being doing extremely well both in spring and summer. We have lots of small bell and sweet banana peppers, but none ripe yet.

Butternut squash

Sugar Baby watermelon

Any's Apricot tomatoes

Brandywine OTV tomatoes

Eating the Rattlesnake pole beans

Hungarian sweet banana peppers

Jupiter Bell Pepper

Oakleaf lettuce

We have some Yukon Gold potatoes growing in containers (we ran out of raised bed space); we planted them in the very bottom and have been gradually filling the containers with soil and mulch to keep any tubers covered. They went through a period where it looked like they were nitrogen deficient. They seemed to recover after some fertilizing, but now they’re all leggy and hanging over the sides and I have no clue if we’ll get any potatoes or not. I’m planning to wait until the plants die off and then dump the pots over and see what we end up with. Next year I’ll plant them in the ground like a normal person.

Container potatoes

I’ve wrapped up the sewing projects I really wanted to work on, so now I’m feeling the yarn love again. I finished chain-plying some Shetland that I dyed a while back and I’m very happy with it, considering how sporadic my spinning has been and how out of practice I am. It’s only 100g (not sure on yardage yet), so I’m not sure what I’ll use it for.

3-ply Shetland

I have a ton of handspun just sitting around, so on our drive to the beach I used Wendy Johnson’s “Socks from the Toe Up” (an emergency purchase right before we left) to finally figure out Judy’s Magic Cast On and start on some toe up socks. (Toe-up socks result in less waste/running out of yarn when you have a limited amount of yarn; you weigh the yarn ball, knit the first sock toe to cuff until half the yarn is used, then knit the other sock with the remaining yarn. This way you get two socks with equal-length cuffs and don’t run out of yarn, say, with 2″ left to go on the second sock toe.) The yarn is DK to worsted, and I’m using size 3 needles, so it’s going quick. I do love me some 2-ply barberpole clown barf yarn, yes I do.

Handspun sock

The Tour de Fleece starts tomorrow! I’ve picked out some fiber to spin and joined one of the general purpose TDF groups on Ravelry. First up will be some Cupcake Fiber Company Corriedale/nylon sock batts that Sean bought for me as a gift a while back. If I manage to finish spinning and plying that, I have some Blueface Leicester and some superwash merino that I dyed ages ago that will come next. At this point I’m only committing myself to at least 15 minutes a day, which I think is doable and should result in at least one finished skein of yarn before the time is up.

Tour de Fleece 2013


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