Friday, 15 February 2013

Baby Hats

Hello Everybody,

I just thought I'd share with you some baby hats that I've made recently. Back in September, my friend gave birth to her baby girl a bit earlier than expected and she weighed just 1lb 9oz! It was a stressful few months but she's doing well now and weighs nearly 6lb. Premature babies struggle to maintain their body temperature so have to wear warm clothes. I made her a few little hats. I forgot to take photos of some of them, but I'm sure you get the idea. They are really quick and easy to make and are great for practising knitting in the round, Fair Isle, stripes, intarsia etc. I mostly made knitted hats, but a few crochet ones snuck in too.

I found it quite hard to find patterns for teeny tiny preemies. The pattern I mainly used was one I found on a random typed piece of paper that someone gave me years ago. It's not credited to anyone, so I'll type it out here.

I made the smaller size, which I think still just about fits the baby (so probably up to 6lb). It also fit her when she was much smaller too. In the picture with the dusky pink hat, she was just under 4lb.

Using 3.5 mm needles (can be done in the round or straight) and DK wool (you can use 4-ply and smaller needles to size it down for a tiny baby):
Cast on 60 (70) stitches. Work 6 rows K1P1 rib.
Change to 4 mm needles (I actually didn't bother) and continue in stocking stitch until work measures 9 cm.
Then decrease:
1st row: K6 (7), K2tog, rpt til end.
2nd and alternate rows purl (or knit a row if knitting in the round).
3rd row: K5 (6), K2tog, rpt til end.
5th row: K4 (5), K2tog, rpt til end.
Continue decreasing as thus until approx. 12 stitches remain.
Work one row. Break yarn off and thread through remaining stitches. If worked straight, sew edges together with as smooth a seam as possible.

The crochet pattern I used was from Rosie's Cozies, it was the one with the ear flaps. The hats on this site are really cute and were designed for a 1lb 7oz baby that sadly didn't make it. I'm sure they can be easily modified for a larger baby. I only made one of these for the baby when she was still under 2lb but she wore it for some time.

I'm going to try and find some free time every month to make a hat to donate to the local SCBU/NICU. They are quick to make and can really make a difference. Make sure you use a washable yarn!

Thistle Girl x

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Sheep Toilet Roll Cover

Hello Everybody,

This might sound a little bit weird, but I made a Sheep Toilet Roll Cover for my friend's birthday. This may seem like a slightly strange gift but in my defence, the friend in question bought me the Toilet Roll Covers pattern book for Christmas so I felt she deserved one! I decided my first toilet roll cover would be the sheep pattern.

It's crocheted, not knitted. You start off by crocheting a circle and then spiral out from that to create the sides. The sheep's "wool" is created with fancy yarn and then a nose and ears are added. I created a bit of a scene at the pub at our local knit night when I brought along the loo roll to measure up!

It didn't end up looking very sheep like! I think I put the eyes a bit too close together. I didn't have any of the more sheep-like yarn that they suggested so I used some cream DK and some random frilly yarn I found.

I wonder which toilet roll cover I will make next?

Thistle Girl x

Monday, 11 February 2013

Owl Sewing Kit

Hello Everybody,

My friend was having a sewing party for her birthday and I thought it would be nice to make her a gift that she could use when crafting and sewing. I found this cute little owl on Etsy and decided to copy it. You can buy the embroidery design files here and quite a few people on Etsy seem to be making these owls and selling them. I'm not sure what embroidery design files are and I'm fairly sure my antique Singer sewing machine is not suitable for using them! So, I decided I'd just have a go at trying to copy it.

Here is the finished product:

I started off by drawing a template on paper, pinning it onto my two differently coloured fabrics and cutting them out. I then ironed on some stiff interfacing to give it some more support. I used a fabric scrap (curtain fabric sample) to make a little pocket on the front for bits and pieces and machined it on, making 3 separate compartments. I then cut out some felt eyes and a beak and hand-sewed them on using black embroidery thread. I used 2 tiny spotty buttons for the centre bit of the eyes as I thought they looked really cute.

I then cut out 2 long purple felt rectangles with pinking shears, folded them and machine sewed them into place. I made a little pin cushion for the other wing using turquoise felt. I hand stitched this into place and left a little gap to stuff it later. Next, I added 2 elastic loops for a stitch picker and 2 buttons to the underside wings for the closing clasp.

I pinned the two pieces of fabric together with the right sides facing inwards and machine sewed along the edge, leaving a gap at the bottom. I turned the owl inside out and lightly stuffed the wings. I then machine sewed a line along either side of the body and stuffed the body well with toy stuffing. At this point, I also stuffed the pin cushion and finished attaching it to the left wing.

Once I'd stuffed the body, I sewed it shut. The seam was a bit messy and lacking something, so I found a rectangle of denim and chain stitched my friend's name on it with embroidery thread. I then attached this to cover the seam. Finally, I added 2 elastic loops at the bottom to hold a couple of spools of thread and added a little elastic closure to attach to the buttons.

I bought a pair of pretty polka dot scissors, a measuring tape, stitch picker and a few pins and needles to complete the kit.

She seemed to really like it. It took quite a long time to make but I think it was because I was doing a lot of guessing and hadn't really thought it through before I started making it. I would definitely like to make another one as a gift. If I'm honest, I'd quite like one myself- they're rather handy!

Thistle Girl x

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Personalised Christening Gifts

Hello Everybody,

I was lucky enough to be invited to two christenings recently. Both were children of my friends, one a 6 month old boy and the other a 2 year old girl. As I was hunting around for a gift to give them, I decided I wanted to give them something a bit more personal. I thought I would make them each a picture that they could hang in their room.

After a bit of trawling around the internet, I found some inspiration for my little boy gift. I can't find a working link to the original artist at present but I'll link it if I find it. I totally pinched the idea but I'm not  selling it or anything. I decided to go with a nautical theme, all boys like that surely?

Here is the finished product:

It was quite simple to make. My biggest challenge was that I am not very familiar with my sewing machine so I got into a bit of a mess at times. I should probably have also bought the frame before I started the project, but you live and learn. 

I chose a cream coloured fabric for the background (I think it's actually old curtain lining!) and some pretty fabric for the boat and sail. You probably can't tell from the picture, but the sea is made from denim (offcuts from hemming my jeans). I used white felt for the cloud and a little bit of red felt for the flag. I ironed some interfacing onto the back of the background, to stiffen it a bit and make it easier to work with. I then backed my other fabrics with bondaweb and cut out the shapes before ironing them in position. Next, I just machined around the outlines of the shapes to create definition and to make the mast. I also machined the name in the cloud - it looks rather "rustic", but I quite like the effect of machine writing. My machine has no freehand foot, so it was easier said than done. After I finished, I ironed it again to smooth it over, before popping it in a frame I bought. 

Inspired by my first attempt at a hand-sewn gift, I decided to have another go for the next christening. This time, it was for a little girl. After another inspiration hunt, I found these simple designs by this lady - who sells them in her Folksy store.

Here is my finished product:

I chose some white material for the background. I then adhered bondaweb to various scraps of fabric and cut out the letters and the flags for the bunting. I ironed it all on, then machine stitched the top of the bunting before hand sewing around the edges of all the flags and the letters. I added a little birdie to finish it off. Hope she likes it. I learned from my previous error and bought the frame before I started to make the picture this time. It makes measurements a lot easier!

Thistle Girl x