Picking up where I left off….

Wow, I haven’t posted here since October. Not sure why I had the big break, but I’m feeling excited about getting the garden started back up and I’m working on some fun projects that I feel like sharing.

I stopped sewing new T-shirts for Griff once I realized that his overstuffed shirt drawer was getting really hard to close, and moved on to sewing things for myself. Now that I’ve gotten comfortable sewing with knits, a whole new range of patterns has opened up.

I’ve been wanting to make the Blank Slate Patterns Rose shirt for some time, long before I got up the courage to start sewing T-shirts for Griff. The design element that I find really appealing is the combination of knit fabric with an accent of woven fabric around the neckline. It can be made with any sleeve length from sleeveless to long-sleeved, so it’s an extremely flexible pattern.

I started out with some basic purple interlock from Joann Fabrics (either a cotton or cotton-poly combo, can’t remember which) and a fat quarter of Hoffman quilting cotton that I’ve been hoarding for probably 15 years, if not longer. Based on measurements, I considered myself to be between the XL and L, so I made the XL to see how it turned out. (Note: I took these photos with the self-timer on the camera, and I seem incapable of having a normal expression in that case, so please excuse all the dorky poses).

Closeup of the neckline:

I am extremely happy with how this shirt turned out. The pattern is cut very generously, though, and I felt that it was a little too roomy. I cut all the pattern pieces down to a size L and cast about for some more knit fabric. The only suitable yardage I could find was a rainbow polka dot rib knit I had bought with the intention of making some pajama pants, so I used that. I auditioned a bunch of red quilting fabrics for the neckline, but they were all patterned tone-on-tones that competed with the dots. In desperation (and probably because all the recent cold weather has damaged my brain), I decided to use the only solid red fabric in my stash: red polar fleece. Kind of a weird choice, but if you’re willing to wear a homemade rainbow polka dot shirt, you’re clearly not real picky about bizarre fabric combinations. I decided to add red polar fleece cuffs because you may as well go all-in if you’ve reached this point. Griff took one look at me wearing my new creation and said, “That is a happy shirt!”

The fit on this one was much better. I would have immediately made another one, but I was out of knit yardage in large enough quantities and the snow was due to start. I foresee making myself a bunch of these with 3/4-length sleeves for spring, and a pile more in short-sleeved and sleeveless versions for summer. Some people have made summery variations with stretch lace in the center panel instead of cotton, which would be fun to try. Linen, eyelet, seersucker, or even silk might be interesting.

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but Griff is still sleeping in his toddler bed. He’s no more than a good growth spurt or two away from needing to sleep diagonally, so we’re working on picking out a single bed for him. In the meantime, I’ve gathered a bunch of fabrics to make him a big-boy-bed quilt. He requested “aliens, rocket ships and robots”, so that’s what he’s getting. I’ve added some bright solids and tone-on-tones, and some cool star/celestial fabrics from my quilting stash for borders and sashings.

I also found this awesome space fabric panel. I thought about making it part of the quilt, but I’ve decided that it would be much more fun as a pillowcase or wall hanging.

During the icy/yucky parts of this past week’s snowfall when we didn’t want to be outside, I tried to think up something to keep Griff and I occupied for a few hours. I finally decided to make some Waldorf-style felt gnomes and a gnome house.

The felt gnomes were made using a tutorial at Wee Folk Art. They were very easy. I used a variety of wooden pegs from the craft store and added a few metal and glass beads as accents. Here’s the gnome family:

I half-assed a gnome house out of cereal boxes and masking tape, which we then painted (Griff really enjoyed this). I made the roof removable so it would be easier to get things in and out. I added some twigs to reinforce the roof and walls, and we glued flowers all over it. It looks like it comes from the mystical forests of AC Mooreia, where the magical Aleene’s Tacky Glue Trees drip their sap on passersby. 😉

Here you can see that Griff has given the baby gnome (aka Frosty Snow Gnomey) a Thomas to play with.

One of my favorite things is to watch Griff combine disparate sets of toys to come up with different scenarios. Pretty quickly he decided that the gnome house needed to be on the Lego grass, and they needed a fire hydrant and fire truck.

Orange Gnome (Griff’s favorite “because he’s taller than all his friends”) runs the gnome crane in the back yard (which is needed “because they don’t have arms to lift things”).

Blue Gnome “likes to drive fire trucks”.

Purple Gnome likes to take Frosty Snow Gnomey on tractor rides.

The gnomes also kicked all the Vikings out of the Viking longship and went on a joyride with a plastic plant.

I’ve started some broccoli inside and they’re coming along ok so far. I’m planning to direct-seed the first round of spinach, lettuce, mizuna and carrots once the beds dry out a bit during the warmer weather next week.

That’s all for now.

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