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A Surprise for a Friend

Some odd weeks ago, I was texting my good friend Nikki who now lives in Washington and I showed her a blanket pattern I was considering making. She commented that she loved it and the next thing I knew, I was crocheting it for her without telling her. It was a baby blanket pattern that I worked to a larger size, and it was so easy to make once I found a video explaining the instructions a bit better.

I didn’t get any good photos of it really as I worked on it, but I do have this close up of it that shows the colors really well. I worked it up in Red Heart Super Saver yarns in Black, and Blacklight, and I used one entire Jumbo skein of black plus 3 regular sized skeins of Blacklight. The colors in Blacklight are truly neon and super bright.



Nikki shared this photo she took of the blanket after she received it (which is another story!) and posted it to Facebook where it got lots of compliments, which made me super happy! One of the points was a little odd center due to me not properly counting my stitches at the beginning but otherwise it turned out really well.



I’m planning on making another star blanket, but with more points next time, and in different colors. I’m thinking Pink Camo, Light Raspberry, and Aran. I was dying to share this one with you guys for weeks but had to wait until after Nikki had received it.

I was super worried she would never get it though. I dropped it in the mail one night and only after it went into the chute did I learn her phone had auto-corrected her mailing address into a street that does not even exist so I had no idea where her package would end up or if it would find its way back home. Luckily her mail carrier is stellar and figured out the correct address and delivered it to her!

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Slowly But Surely, Why Yes! A Blanket!

Its been about a month, most of which I have not been working on it, but I’ve got 49″ of blanket done now and hopefully a few more inches before bedtime. The biggest hurdle I’ve run into in working on it now isn’t time, (I have more time than I know what to do with most days) but the fact that at this point the blanket is large and heavy enough to be cumbersome in flipping it to work back the other direction at the end of each row. I could avoid that completely by knitting one way and purling back the other way (the whole thing is worked in garter stitch) but I am slow at knitting from right to left and I hate feeling slow at things. I’d rather flip it each row.

#bernat #blanket is more than half done now. 49″ and hopefully a few more before bed! #knitting #madebyme #crafting

A photo posted by Debra Leigh Wilson (@kittyloafdesigns) on

Anyway, just wanted to update on my blanket and make a post or two this week to show I am still alive! I’m really hoping to get to the 55″ mark on my knitting before this week is over. That’s another 12 rows from where I am right now. This yard is so nice and plush it gives me about a half an inch on each row I do. I’m getting about 11.5″ out of each ball of yarn, and I’m estimating that 7 balls of yarn will bring me to the end of things. I’ve currently got just a bit of teal and brown left, but almost 2 balls of white, so my last ball I buy will be in teal.

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Its Winter, So Why Not a Blanket?

I need my own cozy blanket for TV watching, laying on my computer, and for of course on the bed. It doesn’t need to be a huge blanket, because quite honestly, Mattie almost never gets cold, but I figured a twin sized one would be perfect.

After nearly a week, this is what I have done- about 23″ of blanket. It measures 58″ wide, and I’m using Bernat Blanket yarn in Mallard Wood, and Antique White. So far it’s coming along nicely, and I am hoping to get another 6 inches of it finished today if possible.

The Bernat Blanket yarn is a chenille yarn and is so thick and soft and snuggly! I knew it was exactly what I wanted to use as soon as I touched it. I did at first think about using the Sand color instead of the Antique White but when I got it home I just didn’t like it next to what I had already done so I went back to Michael’s and exchanged it for the other color. I knew I should have gone with my first instinct.

I plan on doing the stripes in random, varying sizes down the length of the blanket, probably none as wide as that first teal stripe at the bottom. That stripe is actually one entire ball of the Bernat Blanket- I got almost 12″ of blanket out of it! 😀

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McCall’s 6697 – The Barber Pole Dress

M6697I first saw this pattern while browsing on eBay and I knew I had to have it in my collection. Shortly thereafter, I was shopping for fabrics to use in it. Unfortunately, the only two fabrics I could find at Joann’s when I went that were similar in stretch and weight were in purple and black. I had initially wanted something with more contrast between them but purple and black was an okay combination so I went with it. It looks good in the pattern envelope, so why not?

The pattern sat on my sewing table for a while- a few months. I kept picking it up in passing. I had the fabric. I had the pattern. But I still hadn’t made the dress. Finally yesterday I laid my fabric out to start cutting. I wasn’t thinking about how many panels this dress must have to make the stripes but once I started cutting I was wondering if the cutting was going to take all day- There were I think 10 panels in the dress I had to cut.



The actual construction went smoothly and easily. There’s not a lot to it besides making sure the pieces go in the right order, and There aren’t any even moderately difficult techniques used in this dress. You sew the front panels together, sew the back panels together, sew together at the shoulder and side seams, and then made a narrow hem at the arm- and neck-holes and hem the bottom. Sometimes I skip out on hemming the bottom on knits but this was dragging the ground a bit so I had to.



I really love how this turned out and the color combination worked really nicely. If this wasn’t such a stand out design because of the striping, I would make this again. Its super comfortable and I love it!

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Simplicity 6816 View C & Kwik Sew 3740 View B

I told myself I was not going to get way behind on my sewing again and actually going to make the mock-ups I’ve created and keep my fabric stash flowing. If I buy more fabric, I need to use fabric I already have first, and I need to recheck my closet and see if there is any clothes I just don’t wear that I can part with. The reality is I do not have unlimited space for clothes, and it’s also rather silly to keep clothing I never wear, or stuff that doesn’t fit quite right when I have so many better options at hand.

Anyway, long story short, I pulled 2 dresses I never wear and listed them on my eBay and made myself two new shirts this afternoon. Ive got a half dozen clothing items up for grabs right now, and I will entertain offers on all of it. Seriously, just ask. Chances are I will accept it or something close to it. You can see my eBay items here. ( There are also sewing patterns, handcrafted jewelry, accessories, and fabrics listed besides the clothing.

detailweaveOkay, let’s get back on track. The first thing I sewed today was Kwik Sew 3740 View B. I’ve sewn this one before, in dark blue, and I love the fit. Its just a basic tan top, but it offers more coverage in the back- the shoulders and shoulder blades are fully covered. This time I used a tan fabric that is an athletic fabrics, and its supposed to help keep you dry. I’m not sure how good its moisture-wicking qualities are, but the stretch and drape are really nice, and it was super easy to work with. I have more of this fabric type coming in the mail tomorrow to make other workout clothes from. At left is a close-up of the weave o the fabric- as you can see, its pretty airy looking.

The only thing I do not like about this pattern is the stitch in the ditch parts for doing the neck and armhole binding, which I complained about last time as well. And because I never fail to royally screw up if I use matchy-matchy threads, I used a contrasting color on this. The stitching is not as hidden as it should be around the neckline and armholes, its actually very visible, but despite my sloppy stitching there, the fit is good and its very comfortable.



So, score 1 for a great fitting and easy to wear top that will hopefully have excellent properties as well.

The next thing I sewed today was Simplicity 6816 View C. I’ve sewn one of the other views before in a polka dot fabric, but really want to do them all as its a nice basic wardrobe builder with a nice fit and they’re super easy to put together.



The fabric is navy blue and a pale yellow, and I feel pretty good about almost getting the stripes perfectly straight across the top. I don’t have a photo of the back, but my stripe matching on the center back seam was about as successful. Its not dead on, but its also not super off either.

I made one change to this top as I was sewing, and that was to add 4″ to the length of it as when I sewed the other view I did, it’s really only long enough if I am wearing something quite high-waisted- otherwise its almost a midi top. This way the bottom hem falls just about at my hip and the fit is still good. I’m finally beginning to remember the things I need to do to make things fit the way I want them to as I sew, and not seeing so much “should haves” in hindsight.

I may work on another view of this pattern tomorrow and use another piece of fabric I have destined for it- I’ve still got my orange eyelet fabric and the yellow burnout fabric to use. I’m leaning towards using the yellow burnout fabric first.

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McCall 6173 View A

A while back I posted View B of this pattern McCall 6173 (here), finding that while the pattern was easy enough to put together once I had the right fabric, they were more skinny pants than leggings. I had cut the pieces for View A shortly after, but only just got around to stitching them up today. While View B has an elastic waist, View A has a zipper and waistband. It also has several darts, front and back. The real question of course, is does it make leggings as shown on the envelope? Nope. Not even close.

pantsThe fit around the waist, butt, and hips is comfortable and decent… for pants. I took an inch and a half from mid-thigh all the way down, and I still have skinny pants. I’d have to take a lot more of for leggings to appear out of this pattern, even though the zip-entry version is a better fit.

I honestly can’t imagine how much modifying I’d have to do to make these into leggings- I cut these as a large according to my waist measurement, but I almost think I’d have to cut a medium and tweak from there to get a true leggings fit. As you can see, they’re still baggy around the knee, and way too loose at the ankle for leggings.

I am really pleased with my fabric though I wish the zebra strips were a bit more obvious. They are in the weave of the fabric, and there’s no color differences, so you can only see them when the light hits just so. Oddly enough when I ordered the fabric, I was worried the stripes would be too obvious. Go figure. There’s also just the right amount of stretch and good stability in this fabric, and I feel like I made a good choice for these pants.

Will I make the other pair I had planned, and already bought fabric for? I think so. That pair is supposed to be this same view, so I anticipate a new pair of comfy (but skinny) pants in my future. This view of the pattern was super easy to work up, and it flew by, except for the part where I stitched a dart into the wrong side of the fabric.

I think I might work on Simplicity 1716 as mocked up here as well.

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Simplicity 1613 View D

S16131I had purchased this pattern (Simplicity 1613) months ago and did a mock-up of it back at the end of May. I had a plan to do the band around the neckline so the stripes were vertical instead of horizontal like the rest of the top, but in practice, I am glad I didn’t do that.

I had some problems with this top, namely that I’m still not sure I made the elastic casing correctly, but otherwise it was pretty quick and easy and only took me about 2 hours from cutting to finishing. I looked forward to making this top since I chose the fabric for it, but in all honesty, its not my favorite thing I’ve made this year. I think the pattern envelope looks better than my reality of what I made with it. There is also the issue of when wearing it, the shoulder straps don’ want to stay in place- I’m pretty sure the model on the envelope is using double-sides tape to keep her straps up and where they belong. :blink:

Still, the fit is really good, as the sizing was spot-on, and I’m not unhappy with it. I think it would have been better if made with a heavier knit fabric than the one I used. Would I make it again? Yes, most likely. I don’t like the sleeveless and long sleeved versions of the twisted neckline, but the short-sleeves one is kind of cute, and I’d like to make another version like this one but  sleeveless. Its just a really cute top and I love the bared shoulders a lot.

S1613Anyway, a solid 4 out of 5 stars for this one, which isn’t exactly bad. :happy:

I’m not sure how noticeable it really is, but my face is all blotchy because I got a pretty nasty sunburn last Saturday at the beach and its peeling now, as is my chest, one shoulder, and my back. I wish I could cover it up with make-up for the pics, but make-up isn’t so useful of peeling skin. :cwy:

I’ve also got some ideas for my prom dress I’ll need in November. One of my friends is having a prom-themed party for her birthday and obviously I need an amazing dress. Mattie has agreed to be my date so long as I make him a 100% cotton shirt, and I of course need a dress. I have two patterns in mind, and I might already have the perfect fabric in my stash- a deep platinum colored medium-weight knit that I think would look great in either Butterick 5491, or Simplicity 1612. Obviously I am thinking of the long versions here, but I have months to decide what to do so no rush!