Modern Day Pilgrims

Monday, February 13, 2012

Something for Charlotte and the Boy

Before our pack-out last week, I was able to get one more dress sewn for Charlotte and just after the pack-out was completed, I was able to finish a knit blanket for The Boy.  

I'll start with the dress I made for Charlotte.  It is another Oliver + S pattern called the Birthday Party Dress.  For those who aren't familiar with Oliver + S patterns, they use a scissor system to inform sewers how difficult the pattern will be to sew.  1 scissors = beginner, 2 scissors =  advanced beginner, 3 scissors = intermediate sewer, and 4 scissors = advanced sewer.  I would say most Oliver + S patterns are 1 or 2 scissors, but this particular pattern was 3 scissors.  To the best of my knowledge, they haven't yet come out with any 4 scissor patterns.  I wasn't really sure why it was 3 scissors from looking at the pattern. It looked like a very simple dress.  I liked that it used buttons up the back instead of a zipper, which is my preference.  Once I started sewing it, I learned why it was 3 scissors.  There are some more advanced techniques used for this dress, but as usual, Oliver + S did a great job explaining how to do everything so that it didn't seem as complicated.  There was also a lot of hand work with this dress from having to blind stitch different sections.  I am so horrible at hand work, but I watched a few tutorials on blind stitching on the Oliver + S blog, and I can confidently say that my handwork on this dress is the best I've done yet.  I will say this, though.  The dress went perfectly until I got to the straps.  They don't look awful, but it's bad enough that I don't think this dress will be a contender for State Fair entry.  :-)  

 It's hard to see how detailed this dress is from the picture, but there are 3 box pleats that run the length of the dress.  The fabric I used is Michael Miller.

 The dress had 2 options: a tab front closure or a tie closure.  I thought the tie closure looked more cute and would help the contrast fabric stand out more.

 Here's the back.  Instead of buttons (my buttonholer isn't working properly), I tried out my brand name Babyville Boutique snap pliers and red snaps.  I think I actually prefer snaps over buttons even though you can't get as "fancy" with the type of snaps you use as you can with buttons.

 I remember the day when Charlotte loved to smile for the camera.  Now I'll just take what I can get.

 Thanks to Daddy's help, we got one decent one!

Okay, so now on to the blanket I knitted for The Boy.  I found a free knitted Chevron Baby Blanket pattern from the Purl Bee's blog.  Most chevron patterns are for crocheted blankets.  I don't know how to crochet, so I was very excited to find a free pattern for knitting the chevron design!  My original plan was to follow the color scheme the Purl Bee used but without using the super expensive yarn the pattern called for:

I was able to find a GREAT yarn through WEBS called Valley Goshen.  It is a 48% cotton, 46% modal, and 6% silk yarn.  It feels ultra soft and luxurious, and I love that the bit of silk adds strength to the yarn. Goshen Valley doesn't offer the exact same colors used in the Purl Bee blanket, but I was able to get close and WEBS offers a 20% discount on orders over $60 and 25% on orders over $100.  However, I did encounter one problem ordering from WEBS and it has to do with backordered products.  The lemon drop yarn was backordered and WEBS didn't tell me when it would be shipped.  Usually when things are backordered, the website tells you when it will be shipped and it's usually no more than a month or two.  WEBS didn't give any indication of when it would be shipped.  I ordered this yarn back in October and it is still backordered.  I think that if something is going to be backordered for more than 2 months, they should just list it as "unavailable" and not allow people to backorder it.  I'm moving in less than a week and now I have to figure out how to tell WEBS to either cancel my backorder or forward it to a new address.  

When I came to the point in the blanket where I was ready for the lemon drop color, I had to figure out what to do next.  I didn't want to skip to the green apple shade because that would completely throw the color spectrum off, so I decided to go ahead and look at other colors in the Goshen Valley line (that were IN STOCK) and create a new color spectrum for the blanket.  I came up with a butter yellow shade, orange, and red.  This color scheme was not what I originally had planned but I think it turned out okay for having to adjust the color spectrum in the middle of the project:

I also made some changes to the Purl Bee's pattern.  I made a test blanket before the real blanket with cotton yarn I had lying around, and I decided the blanket was too small.  Instead of casting on 100 stitches, I cast on 128 and I used a few more colors than the original blanket pattern called for.  I figured out that with the Goshen Valley yarn, I could sew 18 rows per color and nearly finish the yarn.  Little waste!  So instead of a 26" x 33" blanket, the blanket I knitted is a more generous 32" x 40" baby blanket.  I plan to make several more of these bad boys.  It is a great blanket to knit while you watch TV or when you really have nothing else to do and don't feel like sewing or reading.  Since I won't have my sewing machine while I'm staying in a hotel for maternity leave, I bought some more yarn to start on two more blankets - one for a girl and one for a boy.  Here are the color schemes I picked out, and yes, all of the colors were in stock this time.  The girl blanket is on the left and the boy blanket is on the right:

I can't wait to see how they turn out!!

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