Thursday, December 30, 2010

There's an adorable knitted octopus in my future...

We kept it light on presents this year (I mostly bought family members charity donations in their names to organizations such as Madre and Doctors Without Borders)... but Masheka and I did get each other a few things. The below gifts from Masheka combined two of my obsessions: reading books, and making stuff. The man knows what I like!

Amigurumi Knits: Patterns for 20 Cute Mini Knits by Hansi Singh. I've sewn a few stuffed softies for Miss Z (well, ok, one, and I still have to embroider on the eyes, and yes, I will photograph it for this blog, and ... ok whatever), but I'd been wanting to try my hand at knitting some as well. I haven't attempted these yet, but flipping through, I'm especially loving the eggplant (and other assorted knitted vegetables), the kraken, the snail and the octopus.

Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People by Amy Sedaris. More of a lavishly photographed humor book than an inspiring craft book, similar in format and style to her previous book about hospitality, I Like You. I laughed so hard reading the first few pages I didn't mind at all that I have no interest in making weird crafts out of pantyhose (which I've seen her do live, with the nylons she wore to the book signing) or fringy-pom-pom anything.

Oh, and if you don't hear from me until 2011... Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Our Polka Dot Christmas

Christmas 2010

Miss Z and I rocked red and white polka dots, naturally.

Christmas 2010

"Da-Da" decked the curtain rod...

Christmas 2010

... and stoked the YouTube fire.

Christmas 2010

There was a pathetic little tree...

Christmas 2010

And homemade cookies for Santa.

Christmas 2010

Miss Z unstuffed her stocking...

Christmas 2010

Got a baby doll from her Grandmommy...

Christmas 2010

Sat (sort of) still for a family portrait....

Christmas 2010

And enjoyed her first Brooklyn blizzard (or snow, really).

Christmas 2010

And a well-deserved nap.

If you celebrate, hope you had a good one!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Santa Babies


When we finally started getting serious winter weather this year, Z needed an industrial-strength warm hat--one with earflaps and a chin strap. She'd already outgrown the wool hat I knit for her, so my mom bought the below cute RTW purple polar fleece hat with a velcro strap (shown below with her Zadie)...

With Zadie in her purple hat

... and copied it in about five minutes, first in green (shown with some simple no-thumb baby mittens I knit for her)...

Green Baby Hat &  Cream Baby Mittens

... and then in Santa-style colors, with an elongated crown (shown with an kimono-style top my mother sewed, think it's McCall's M4280 but don't quote me on that)...


And when a friend of mine who wasn't expecting her baby girl until New Year's Eve had her little cutie just in time for this Christmas, my mom made a newborn-sized version with a matching red diaper. Which I forgot to photograph before mailing to said friend. But I hope it fits!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Polka Dot Christmas Stocking!


It looks a lot cuter without the name blurred out, trust me!

My first project on my new sewing setup? Baby Z's first Christmas stocking. With appliquéd polka dots, naturally.

It's just an IKEA stocking plus the white fringe from a polar fleece IKEA blanket (the rest of the blanket was sacrificed to make cloth diaper wadding) and some felt appliqués (attached with a simple white zig zag stitch). I probably should just have sewn it from scratch instead of using the IKEA base--I was out of practice and trying to maneuver a completed stocking around my machine's free arm resulted in some pulled areas.

I'm working on an item or two to go in the stocking, but I have some purchased toys at the ready in case I don't finish.

Don't worry, she got some Chanukah sewing love too--here she is at her first candle lighting with her first Chanukah gift:


It's a cloth book my mom made her full of photos of her and me and Masheka sewn in with some green polar fleece scraps (that dragonfly on the cover was taken from an IKEA mobile.) She loves it, and flips through it repeatedly at dinner each night before dropping it on the floor.

Miss Z spins a mean dreidel, too:


A Sewing Room of My Own! (Sort of)


Or dimly lit corner of the nursery of my own, anyway. Viking machine + Horn cabinet + IKEA chair found in basement trash room.

Are you one of those lucky sewists with a whole room dedicated to your crafty pursuits? With a sewing cabinet and a serger station and a cutting table and an inspiration wall and a fabric storage closet and a pattern storage cabinet and a dress form corner and a gravity-fed steam iron and ...

OK, I hate you. Or envy you, anyway. But not as much as I used to, because I FINALLY have a permanent spot for the sewing machine. No more hiding my beloved Viking Platinum 730 in a corner cabinet under a pile of breast-pump paraphernalia! No more lifting stacks of this and piles of that and clearing off the dining table before I can sew a single seam. OK, so my serger is still on a closet shelf and I still cut fabric on a cardboard mat on the bed, but... baby steps!

This was part of some serious apartment rearranging and decluttering. We put the crib in our bedroom next to the bed for easy baby access, replacing the cosleeper she outgrew way too fast. We even threw out our coffee table. It was just collecting magazines anyway, and now there's a nice big spot on the living room rug to put down quilts for playtime:


Patchwork baby quilt by my amazing mom, knitted purple diaper soaker by yours truly, and drool by Miss Baby Z.

So far my mother's been doing the lion share of the sewing (baby diapers, baby hats, a cloth book) but I actually made Z a few things for the holidays and maybe I'll even make myself some clothes soon. I also have finally learned to backwrap, so maybe Z can take a snooze back there while I sew and not be able to reach for any pins or sharp stuff. Here we are at a babywearing holiday party:

So yeah, more posts and actual finished sewn objects for you soon!

How about you? Do you have a drool-worthy permanent sewing setup... or do you have to tug your machine out of the bottom of a closet out from under a pile of old shoes and heave it onto a coffee table every time you get stitchy?

P.S. Apologies for dim lighting, but there's so few hours of daylight for blog photos in the dead of winter!

P.P.S. OK, I replaced the dimly lit photo with a better shot and added a few more details.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

FO: These socks are made for dancing!

Striped Lacy Mixed Berry Baby Socks

I finally got around to finishing the striped lace baby socks (Ann Budd's Better Than Booties Baby Socks, Ravelry details here) I started while I was in my crazy five-day-long labor. I remember working on these in the waiting room at L&D triage and my midwife finding that hilarious, but I think it was an excellent distraction.

The funny part is, the first sock--Labor Sock, let's call it--is perfect. The lace pattern is just right, and I made no mistakes (except for putting the lace up the sides instead of the front, but whatever).

The second sock--Tired New Mommy Sock--was another story. I was so out of it I had to redo the picot edge twice, and when I got to the near-end, I bound off the toe... and then realized I hadn't actually shaped it first, and had to unbind. The lace pattern is a mess, too. But I could go back on that--I was in a race against Z's fast-growing feet.

But they do fit--barely! Cute, no? Can you tell which is which?

Striped Lacy Mixed Berry Baby Socks

Not that I'm anti-booties. I LOVE booties, especially the two pairs of felted little Mary Jane style booties my Aunt Becky made, black pair shown here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Baby surprise!

No, no, I'm not having another one just yet, it's just that I finally photographed Baby Z (asleep) in her Baby Surprise Jacket:

Baby Surprise Jacket

She's fitting better into her February Baby Sweater, too:

February Baby Sweater

How most of my sporadic posts have become about knitting, I do not know. Someday I will rectify that, but I'm still cutting myself slack in the sewing department. I'm not even beating myself up about running out of time to sew a baby Halloween costume last month, and that's the one thing I ALWAYS sew for every year.

Luckily my Aunt Elissa and Uncle Damien came through with a cute RTW lion costume. I wore her out in a carrier but she wasn't allowed any candy:

Z's Halloween Costume

Z's Halloween Costume


I do still make a point of wearing something handmade every day, even if it's just my boring purple hat, shown above, or this old Simplicity 5914 skirt I sewed with some $2 polyester polka dot woven from a discount store (shown here in 2005, since I haven't photographed it lately):

Thrifty remix 8_15_06

OK, bonus photo: Farmer Z!

Farmer Z!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Do you have more fabric than, um, actual clothes?

Circles stretch cotton

A lovely cotton stretch woven print purchased at either Mood or Paron's a gajillion years ago and never made into anything... YET

Cause I do. Thanks to some ruthless post-pregnancy closet curating (aka purging) this weekend, I realized today that I might have more storage space devoted to sewing and knitting supplies than I do to actual wearable sewn, knit and RTW items. I now have eight small drawers and half a closet for all of my clothes and shoes in the entire universe (including off-season clothes, special occasion clothes, etc)... and six very large drawers and a sewing cabinet full of fabric, yarn, patterns and suchlike.

And remember, I live in an 850-sq-ft apartment with my husband, a baby, two cats, and my mom (she stays with us during the week to watch Z). So my definition of ruthless purging might be different than yours... Also remember: this is AFTER a series of similarly harsh fabric, pattern and yarn destashings.

What does that say about me? That I'm forward-thinking, and ready to accept lovely new clothes into my life? That I'm living in a fanciful future, and not the actual present? Hmm....

It certainly makes getting dressed easier, since my options are so limited--most of the pre-preg clothes I didn't donate away are just SLIGHTLY too tight now to zip up.

And I'm really getting some serious wear out of that reversible skirt... even though I sewed it 35 lbs ago! The black swiss dot side is one of only two solid-color skirts I own that fit, and I'm kind of digging the patterned edge that accidentally peeks out at the hem, though it annoyed me at the time.

(Apologies for evening flash photos and my messy hair--I had my mom snap these when I got home from work as I don't have time for morning shoots these days).

More Baby Z

More Baby Z

More Baby Z

How about you, dear readers?

Pink Lacy Cardigan on Parade

Baby Z in her February Baby Sweater

Remember the pink lacy sweater I made Z WAY back? She's almost fitting into it!

And I still don't have any closures on it.

Baby Z in her February Baby Sweater

She's also fitting into the "Maine Doggies" hat and sweater set my Aunt Becky made her (in reference to when I was walking in the woods with my grandmother as a toddler and wanted to go pet the giant bear I thought was a big "doggie"):

More Baby Z

Sadly I didn't have time to sew a Halloween costume this year, but luckily another one of my aunts got her an adorable lion costume. Which is fitting, because thanks to her squirming, pinching, scratching and punching... nursing Baby Z is rather like wrestling a really cute little lion cub. Like I said, with her little fro-hawk, she's a natural punk rock baby... Grrr!

More Baby Z

("Anarchy in the Pre-K" onesie we got from Rockstar Revolution at a street fair--not affiliated in any way, just thought it was super cute!).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Simple Piece of Cloth

Not much sewing going on here lately, what with working full time and being a new(ish) mom ... but I've been playing with fabric in another way in the meantime!

Last month Z and I attended our first babywearing meetup, and after learning some simple carries (well, one simple carry) I bought a used Girasol baby wrap in "Tropical Sea" colors. Here's my first attempt on wrapping Z in a front wrap cross carry. It was super comfortable (Z is over 15 pounds, so the more support the better) for both of us--I walked around and did some light housework, and Z took a relaxing nap.

More on this later, with more photos and useful links. I just needed to break the blog silence!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Polka Dot Dresses in Progress (Yes, Actual Sewing)

Turquoise baby dresses in progress (Simplicity 3765)

Yes, actual sewing, not imaginary wishful thinking sewing. Yesterday's meeting of the Brooklyn Burdastyle Sewing Club got me so revved up I actually opened my sewing cabinet for the first time in four months, dug up a few of my many unfinished objects, and... sewed! (Z was taking a nap on Masheka's chest at the time, in case you were curious).

Thankfully I still remembered how. By the time Z got up from her nap, I had almost finished two dresses for her, and it felt great. The polka dot one just needs hemming and a back neck closure button, and the medallion-patterned one needs the same, plus the skirt.

Turquoise baby dresses in progress (Simplicity 3765)

Turquoise baby dresses in progress (Simplicity 3765)

The pattern is Simplicity 3765 (full project details here). I actually cut these out in March, the same week I started this blog. I was visiting family in Massachusetts for my baby shower and my cousin's bar mitzvah, so my mom and I took a quick trip to Jo-Ann Fabrics, bought some cheap quilting cotton and a baby pattern. I cut out the fabric pieces, started to sew... and promptly got the flu and never touched them again.

Luckily I decided to make a 12-month size (since we got so many gifts in smaller sizes). Z is already wearing 9 and 12 month sizes in ready to wear, but these dresses are HUGE and probably won't fit her til spring.

A few lessons learned so far:

  • I still suck at gathering. Four months off has not given me the magical ability to make it even without the help of way too many pins and measuring. Grrr.
  • I won't sew clothes from Jo-Ann's brand quilting cotton again, even baby clothes. The patterns and colors are great, but it has no drape at all and the prints are totally off grain, so I had to give up on matching them in any way. I know quilting cotton is not meant for adult apparel, but I figured it'd be ok for a kid... and I may have figured wrong.

The other unfinished object I may finish in the next month is my chartreuse wrap cardigan (last seen here as a muslin) which is all cut out and 75% sewn. I'm almost pre-preggo size again, but I think it will still look nice belted/wrapped.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Blue Doodle Digitally Printed Hoodie

Blue Doodle Baby Hoodie (worn by Baby Z, 12 wks)

Baby Z models my first (and so far, only) foray into clothing sewn from digitally printed fabric. The drawings are my husband Masheka's sketchbook doodles, which I made into a pattern in PhotoShop and had printed via Spoonflower on organic cotton interlock knit fabric. The sewing pattern is the hooded sweatshirt from Kwik Sew's Sewing for Baby book. See my original blog post with full details and a closeup of the fabric pattern...

Here's another, sleepier shot:

Blue Doodle Baby Hoodie (worn by Baby Z, 12 wks)

I realize that dressing a baby girl all in blue will inevitably lead to strangers exclaiming "he's so cute!" but Baby Z couldn't care less, and neither do I!

Baby girl continues to outgrow her clothes at lightning speed--at not yet 3 months, she is in all 6 month and 9 month RTW baby sizes. And the way-too-big "foolproof baby hat" I knit her? Now a bit tiny:

Baby Z in her Foolproof Baby Hat

Baby Z in her FoolProof Baby Hat

My little Amazon woman!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

If I could sew one dress from my pattern stash...

I think it would Vogue 8280:

Vogue 8280

Oh... or maybe the Colette Ceylon, since it actually unbuttons in front for nursing:

Colette 1009 Ceylon Dress Photo

But... considering my rapidly changing size, I'm probably most likely to make Vogue 1027 (see Elizabeth or Stitchy Witch's lovely versions):

Vogue 1027

That is, if I ever get a chance to open the sewing machine cabinet in the next few months. Now that I'm back working full time, any minute I'm not at work I want to spend cuddling (+nursing) with Baby Z, so my only sewing time for now will be her weekend naps... I think it would be super awkward to try to sew with her in a sling front carry, and I'm afraid she'd grab for dangerous pins and such anyway.

I need to do a serious closet sort now that it's getting chilly--I couldn't find a jacket that fit me this morning and will have to wear a sweatshirt over my nice work outfit. All my pre-preggo clothes are in random bags or shoved in drawers I can't get to... And I dunno if they'd fit anyway--my high bust is back to 34, but my full bust is ... 42. Yeah, I know. MAJOR FBA WORK AHEAD.

Too bad I don't have time to join my Burdastyle Sewing Club in their trench coat sewalong for McCall's 5525:

McCalls 5525 coat