Archive for the ‘gifts’ Category


Posted on: 1 January, 13


Every now and then, there is project I just have to do for sheer joy of just doing it.  That was totally the case with these hedgehog mittens from Morehouse Farm.  As luck would have it, a good friend who loves hedgehogs has a birthday every year.  For once, I did not procrastinate… and that was a very good thing.  I was worried about learning how to knit a mitten, specifically the thumb part.  (There is a thumb in the photo, I just have my thumb tucked in so you can see all those quills.)  Well, a mitten thumb is no big deal, but those quills!!!  The quills were not hard, but they were time consuming… and plentiful. 


Look at all those quills.  Take a moment and look at how many there are.  I highly recommend this pattern because the mittens are to die for, but be prepared for all those quills.  They are worth the effort because look how cute they are. 

If you are making these for a gift, start early.  I started in October even though my friends birthday is in December.  Those quills take a long time.  I made lots of progress during the 24 hour gaming marathon.  The students cheered when I reached the end of the quill section on the first mitten.  Once the first mitten was completed, I had the motivation to power through the second one.  The mittens were completed before Thanksgiving.  The hard part was keeping them a secret until my friend’s birthday at the end of December.  Yes, there was lots of squealing when she opened the present.


Ok, one eye looks a little wonky in this photo.  Do you have any idea how difficult it is to take a photo of a mitten while you are wearing it???  I guess I could have used the timer feature and a tripod.  Besides, the wonky eye adds to his charm.

Oh… some details about the pattern.  It was about $30 for the kit which includes the pattern, yarn, eyes, and shipping.  The yarn is quite lovely and there is plenty to complete the mittens.  The directions were fine.  It took me a minute or two to wrap my head around how to do the quills, but I soon had plenty of practice and was whipping out those little buggers pretty fast in no time.  I don’t know how warm and/or functional these would be for real mittens, but they sure are cute.  My friend is an elementary school librarian.  She does a hedgehog unit with itty bitties every year.  These will be a huge hit!


 Ottobre 0311-4

I love freedom of baby sewing.  Colors can brighter, prints can be mixed with more abandon, and the whole mood is more playful.  These three fabrics were purchased years apart and in different states, yet they all work together.  The white fabric has shirring about every 1.5 inches.  I bought it because it was unusual, but never quite knew what to do with it.  The pattern is Design #4 from the 03/11 issue of Ottobre Design






Ottobre 0311-7Of course, a little dress needs little bloomers.  These are Design #7 from the same Ottobre issue.  The bloomers are generously sized.  I suspect that is too accommodate cloth diapers.  The pattern also called for more ruffles on the backside.  With the busy patterns, I opted for a single wider ruffle to simplify the design a bit. 

My apologies for the less than stellar photos.  Camera issues still plague me.  However, I wanted to make sure photos were taken before I deliver the gift tomorrow. 

Baby sewing is my favorite sewing.  Baby girl sewing is even better. This recipient of this gift is due to make her grand arrival any minute.  The pattern is Design #1 from the 03/07 issue of Ottobre Design.  The fabric is a calico that has been in my stash for many years. 

I followed the pattern with the exception of the sleeves.  I added a small inverted pleat so the sleeve would not be so wide.  Bias tape was used to bind the neck edge, hem and sleeves.  It adds a bit of color and gives a nice, clean finish. 

My original plan for the center front embellishment was three small ribbon roses.  I thought I had some pale pink ones in my stash, but no.  I debated what to do instead.  Running to the store was not an option.  Instead, I used a decorative stitch on bias tape.  It is simpler, but I like it better than the ribbon roses.  It will less bulky, and therefore, more comfortable than the ribbons roses.  Better for baby is always better.  I also made the matching bloomers for a complete look. 

Here is the back:

Between summer vacation and our last minute trip to Michigan, I have lost all sense of time.  All day Friday, I was certain it was Thursday.  I thought yesterday was Sunday so it felt really strange to have Hubski home all day.  Toss in a little insomnia and my internal clock has run out of batteries.

When I saw the comics and coupons in the paper, I knew today was Sunday, which is a great day for sewing.  I repaired the hasty zipper installation I did on my black skirt.  It wasn’t too bad to fix, except for trying to rip out black topstitching on black fabric.  I would post a photo but black never photographs well.  It is a very basic straight black skirt with the contoured yoke waistband.  The circumstances of its creation were not good, but it is a great skirt that I will use often.

I also worked on a baby gift.  Very good friends of my in-laws are about to become grandparents for the first time… and it’s a girl!  I very much like this couple and would have probably made something anyway.  However, I definitely seized the opportunity to do some baby girl sewing.  The outfit is complete, almost.  It needs a little something else, but I can’t decide on exactly what else.  After dinner, I got distracted watching a PBS special with J about cephalopods.  It was fascinating.  Grown up octopus are a little gross, in my opinion.  Baby octopus are positively adorable.

A slanket is a blanket with sleeves, perhaps one of the greatest inventions of the century.  When I read in bed, my arms always get cold.  I have tried (unsuccessfully) to hold the book through the blanket in order to stay warm.  Knowing that I was going to be stuck in bed, in winter, for many days, it was definitely time to make a slanket.

The sewing is beyond easy.  I admit, the sleeves are not hemmed yet.  They seemed long, but I wanted to use it for a while to decide how long the sleeves need to be.  I found the directions here.  I set the sleeves closer together than the instructions recommended.  In hindsight, they could have been even closer together.

The slanket has been wildly popular in this house.  It has been perfect for my recuperation.  The pressure of heavy quilts is very uncomfortable on my knee.  Fleece is lightweight, yet warm.  My arms stay toasty while I am reading or using the laptop.  When I get sleepy, I can simply pull my arms in and drift off to sleep.  The boys have each requested one.  My neighbor thought the idea was brilliant.  She is my Project Runway buddy, so I might need to make a couple so we can each have one while we watch the show.  I might have to send Hubski on a fabric run for me.  I will be ready to sit at the sewing machine much sooner than I will be ready to hike through a fabric store.

If you know someone who likes to knit or read while snuggled in a blanket, this would be a terrific gift.  The sewing could not be simpler.  You could add a little embroidery on the cuffs or center front to jazz it up.  Bindings could also add some pizzazz.  It could be scaled down for a child.  Just think about the width of a child’s shoulders when deciding on the sleeve placement.  My luscious fabrics could be used, like Minky or cashmere.  It’s not too early to start on holiday gifts for next year.  🙂

Just in case you thought I forgot how to sew:

I made this dress for the art teacher’s baby months ago.  I had not posted a photo because, technically, it was not finished.  All it needed was some little snaps on the inside and the bow sewn on the outside.  Five minutes.  Why did I procrastinate so long?  Today was the art teacher’s last day before her maternity leave.  Nothing gets me moving like a deadline hanging over my head, the sword of Damocles.  This morning, I sewed on the last little bits. 

The pattern is Design #9 from the 06/07 issue of Ottobre Design.  It is a great pattern for any season.  A light cotton fabric would be perfect for summer.  It would be cozy for winter in a snuggly fabric,with a long sleeve tee and leggings. 

Anyone recognize the fabric?  I could never bear to simply throw away a 1/2 yard of fabric.  Baby clothes are the perfect use for the remnants of other projects. 

I stayed home today to recover from that evil flu shot.  (Yes, I know, it makes me sound like a wimp, but it flattened me…totally.)  After lunch, I finally started to feel capable of being vertical.  I seized the opportunity to finish up a baby gift. 

The pattern is from the 06/08 issue of Ottobre Design.  The dress is design #5.  The pattern called for a wool knit which is not available in my area.  I substituted a soft, washable woven wool.  This pattern would work well with either a stable knit or woven.  They don’t show up well in the photo, but the little buttons on the shoulders are little hearts.  That curved yoke just begs for an embellishment. I hand embroidered a little heart and stars to mimic the pattern on the shirt and leggings.  It is subtle enough that mom could use a different shirt and leggings underneath. 

The little raglan tee is design #1 and the leggings are design #2 from the same issue.  As you might guess, these two pieces sewing up in minutes.  I used FOE for the neckline binding.  The fabric is a very soft interlock.  These two patterns would make great jammies. 

If this baby takes after mom and big sister, she will have bright blue eyes and blond hair.  The color of this dress will be perfect for her coloring. 


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