Archive | June, 2011

Hey, Y’all!

30 Jun

I was super excited this morning to see that I’ve been linked up by Destri over at The Mother Huddle, a great crafty mom site that I’ve used for various tutorials. If you’re visiting from there, welcome! I am very new to this blogging thing, and totally out of my depth around all the amazing artists and creators who are part of the internet crafting community. But it’s just thrilling to feel like I’m a teeny part of it.

Hope you like what you see, and I’d love it if you subscribed!

Pieced Linen Skirt

28 Jun

This has to be a short post, since my babysitting is out of town and I have a precious two hours while Abby naps for my actual work. I give you the pieced linen skirt, made out of remnants from my sling knockoff. It’s based on the skirt below, which is getting too small:

I got it up on its feet with a little running stitch, and Abby wore it to the park yesterday. Here she is exploring the sand after playing in the sprinkler (hence the wet patches):

I took lots of pictures while I was making it, so I’ll write up a quick tutorial when I have some time again. I love this skirt!

This moment

24 Jun

Inspired by soulemama: {this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.


Didymos knock-off, and a tutorial!

23 Jun

A while ago at the library, I admired another woman’s long wrap, which she told me was a Didymos sling. If you follow that link, you’ll find out, as I did, that they are hideously expensive. After briefly considering making my own, I decided just to make do with what I had, which you may remember from my lengthy babywearing post–until we were in New York a couple of weekends ago, and it became abundantly clear that Abby had outgrown all the options I had at hand. I tried carrying her in the Ergo (front carry), and, while it worked, I wanted to keel over after about three blocks. I tried the back carry, but the weight was too low and I hated the way the belt strap dug into my not-as-sleek-as-it-used-to-be midsection.

After a rather humiliating experience at Joann’s, when I discovered that I could not, in fact, use a 40% off coupon on some lovely sale linen, I ordered six yards of linen from and came up with this:

Yes, blurry iPhone pic, but it makes the point. I love it! Abby likes it too. I can’t say that she likes it better than the stroller, but getting her on my back and lugging the stroller down the steps and out the door actually take about the same amount of time. Would you like to make your own? I feel a little silly posting a tutorial for this since it’s so easy, but here goes!

1. Order yerself some fabric. I used six yards, but the Didymos measurements for a size 6, which is the largest that an average sized woman would need to wrap all the carries, is about 5 yards. I may end up chopping a bit off of mine, because it’s very long. The fabric should be lightweight and firm; no knits. I really like the linen, but you could also use a loosely woven but sturdy cotton.

2. Wash and dry.

Weird lighting picture. The color is much closer to the other pictures.

3. Rrrrrrrrip. The Didymos slings are between 27 and 28 inches wide. Since my fabric was a 60″, ripping in half worked perfectly and gave me two inches for hemming. If you have 44″, you’ll need to do a little measuring and cut so that your piece is 30 inches wide. Ripping is really the easiest option here, and it’ll give you a nice straight edge. Make a small cut on a non-selvedge side and just rip it in half.

4. Iron. I didn’t bother ironing any but the ripped edge, because I knew it would just get wrinkled again right away and, anyway, linen never looks really pressed. So, iron a few inches in from the cut edge.

5. Cut. The Didymos slings are cut in the shape of a parallelogram to make the knots easier to tie and to hang more nicely. So get out your scissors and cut. I estimated by marking fifteen inches in from the top edge on the left side, and fifteen inches in from the bottom edge on the right side. Then, I cut diagonally from my mark to the edge of the fabric. I should have taken a picture of this, but I didn’t. Here’s a picture of the remnants.

6. Baste. Sew a line of basting stitches about a half inch in or so in from the long ripped edge.

7. Fold and Iron. Using the line of basting stitches as a guide, fold the raw edge over an inch, and then over an inch again. Press!

8. Sew. Using a medium stitch length–about a 3 out of 4 on my cheap machine–hem close to the edge of where you folded over.

This one comes with a dog hair and wobbly stitching!

9. Sew some more. To make the folded edge sturdier, sew another line down really near the edge of the fold. If you have the time and the patience, I think a few more rows of stitching would also help. What makes the Didymos slings expensive (I think) is partly that their looms make the fabric just the right size, so there’s a selvedge on both sides. The selvedge is nice and firm to make the wrapping tight. So, anything you can do to make the edge of your wrap nice and sturdy is great!

10. Fix up the short ends (the parallelogram ends). I decided to let mine ravel, since I’m working with linen. If you want to do that too, sew two lines of basting stitches about an inch or so in. Otherwise, fold and hem as for the long edge.

Action shot!

11. Watch one of these youtube videos, and wrap your baby!

Double hammock carry:

Rucksack carry:

Frankenstein’s couch

20 Jun

It may not say much for my taste, but I’ve always liked the fashions of the 1870s because, not in spite of the fact that they look like upholstery: pleats, cording, heavy swags–love it.

Upholstered dresses, mid-1870s.

Making curtains into dresses, of course, calls to mind two famous cinematic (or novelistic) scenes: Scarlett O’Hara dressing up in drapery to go seduce Rhett Butler, and Maria Kutschera dressing her charges in drapery to, as it turns out, seduce Captain von Trapp. The critical commonplace (“critical commonplace” is what people say when they’re about to use a scholarly cliche) about women’s fashions of the mid-nineteenth century is that they restrict women’s movements as a symbol of restricted social roles, and that the upholstered fashions are symbolic of the way that women were supposed to be decorative rather than useful–in theory, at least, if not in practice. That’s why Scarlett’s use of curtains is supposed to be (I think) subversive: it upends the idea that women are supposed to be decorative by literally using curtains in order for Scarlett to do something extremely useful, when the men have all failed her. She’s performing being decorative in order to get the money that she needs: it’s an amplification of what women were “supposed” to be doing and I think is supposed to point out how absurd that is.

Anyway, my predilection for upholstery-inspired fashion is the only explanation I can offer for this:

A little blurry, but the only decent backside picture.

I don’t know what possessed me to think that this fabric would make a good romper. I wanted to make some rompers for Abby because she has a hard time crawling in dresses, and, well, rompers are cute! So, I spliced together the Sadie Shirt and the Big Butt Baby Pants and came up with something that can really only  be termed a monstrosity.

She’s been taking some steps!

Every once in a while I look at it and think, Hey, that’s not so bad. And then I see the look on my husband’s face and determine that, actually, it is that bad.

She's still pretty cute, though.

I’m going to detach the pants from the bodice and see if it works as a shirt–although, I cut the neckhole too big, so it may just end up in the “quilt” pile. That’s how I steel myself to cut into fabric: I promise myself that someday I’ll make a quilt out of all the scraps. As you can see by the mess on my floor in this pre-bias taped version, Abby located that bag of scraps.

What else can she destroy?

To say nothing of the fabric, I think my skills have not quite caught up to my vision. Maybe stick with other people’s patterns for now, hm?

This Moment

17 Jun

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. From SouleMama.

Whoa! a FO!: Sadie Shirt, take two

16 Jun

When I was a wee first-year grad student, a faculty member whom I admire and respect greatly told a friend of mine that she should take at least 1/2 hr a day to do something for herself. When my friend told me that, we had a good laugh: we both insisted that we needed hours and hours a day to ourselves to craft, cook, work out, read, watch TV, what have you.

Well, now I’ve married and spawned, and I can tell you that I would jump at the chance some days to have 1/2 an hour for myself–especially this week. You see, my babysitters (mom and dad) have both been out of commission lately, so all my spare time has gone to writing my dissertation rather than crafting or blogging. This has understandably made me a little cranky, so I decided today to take a mental health day and finish up my second attempt at the Sadie Shirt. (First attempt here.)

I thrifted a men’s XL Gap shirt a while ago and had it earmarked for a little shirt for Abby. After redrafting a pattern with a lot more wiggle room, I cut, sewed, and ended up with this:

A little assistance from Granddad in remaining upright.

Cute! It only took a couple of hours, and would have taken even less time if I had not: 1) sewed the right to the wrong sides; 2) had to recut the placket and ruffles; and 3) sewed the right to the wrong side of the placket and ruffles. I have absolutely no spatial sense, friends. (You might justly point out that sewing is not the best hobby for someone who has no spatial sense.) I’ve learned to be content with imperfection and to be resigned to having to pick out at least as many seams as I set in.

Can you see the dirt in her neckfolds?

I’m pretty thrilled with this. Except for a few stray threads, it looks almost professional. Chris and I wandered through a Wal-Mart the other day while waiting to go see a movie, and I inspected the seams of a few of their rompers. Blech! Compared to that, I have no reason to be ashamed of my insides.

Going after the dog.

Well, I’m still too ashamed to take pictures. That day may come. In the meantime, here’s another picture of the placket:

Alma Mater

6 Jun

Here I am on my old college campus, sitting outside my very first dorm. If you had told me as a freshman that a decade later I’d be nursing my baby on that same bench where (sorry, parents) I used to sit and smoke, I’d never have believed it. But there I was.

Last night in the City

6 Jun

I am exhausted. New York is a different experience as a tourist with a baby than as a carefree 21 year old who thinks she lives here! Here is a teaser iPhone pic until I get the real pictures uploaded. This is at the restaurant where Abby discovered she likes chicken tikka. A lot.


WIP Wednesday

2 Jun

I meant to post this yesterday, so we’ll count it as WIP (Work In Progress) Wednesday.

This is Jared Flood’s Pavement in Brown Sheep Nature Spun Worsted, which I’m making for Chris. I love the way it looks and I hate knitting it. First of all, I hate making scarves. They take forever, they’re boring and repetitive, and, in this particular case, cabling every fourth row is slooow. The pattern is also a little more difficult to memorize than I expected, so there are a few miscrossed cables. Add to that black, sticky yarn, and it’s not even good TV knitting. Oh, well. It’s not like he’s going to need to wear it anytime soon.

This is Milo, made out of some wool my brother brought me from Iceland and with a little colorwork to make it fancy. As you can see, I’ve just about run out of the blue, so I’m going to have to rip and stripe the garter yoke. Can’t face that at the moment.

This is actually finished: it’s a calorimetry, in some yarn that I can’t recall. I’m including it in WIP Wednesday because it looks terrible on me. To give away? To rip and make into fingerless gloves? I only have about 90 yards, so I can’t do too much with it.

8.30 in the morning, and Abby has already covered herself and the table in cream cheese.

And this is the beginning of a swatch in some Araucania that my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas. (Knitters are easy to buy presents for.) I am thinking of a sleeveless yoked cardigan for Abby; maybe a version of Tiny Tea Leaves or Shalom? Knitting ahead for a baby requires a leap of faith, since I have no idea what size she’ll be when it gets cool enough to wear wool again.

And finally–since I do actually have a job, of sorts:

Incriminating details have been blurred.

Article #2, which I finally sent off yesterday. Article #1 is currently in R&R limbo. (Oh yeah. Someone wrote a song about it.)