Archive for the 'Fiber Crafts' Category

Trick or Treat

Padmé Amidala

Anakin Skywalker

I convinced the urchins to choose costumes that went together this year. First time ever! And the real reason was because my niece and nephew were also being Star Wars characters and the nerd in me needed this portrait to happen:

Skywalker Family Portrait

Princess Leia Organa, Padmé Amidala, Anakin Skywalker, and Luke Skywalker

I hope you and your family had a very Happy Halloween. You can see our previous Halloweens here:

First Day of School

First Grade and Fourth Grade

First grade and fourth grade, it’s really hard to believe.

Retreat – Emphasis on the Treat

Last weekend I was lucky enough to head to Colorado again to hang out with Tara and Amanda for Amanda’s annual quilting retreat. Even though I hadn’t seen them in two years we just picked up where we left off. I cannot express how much I love sitting with friends and sewing. I swear Amanda can get me to try just about anything — she’s the one who first got me sewing triangles — and this time she finally got me free-motion quilting. Amanda’s sample quilt is so inspiring and mine is really coming together, I hope to show you some of it soon.

Red Roof Mini Quilt

There were lots of great women at the retreat and I was lucky enough to sit next to Penny who I have decided I want to be when I grow up even though I think we’re almost the same age. I took no decent photographs, the good camera stayed at home so I could take the sewing machine. That little quilt up there was my contribution to the mini quilt swap, I’m calling it Red Roof since the red triangle in the top left log cabin looks like a little roof on a blue house. It went home to live with Amanda and that makes me very happy. An Amanda made pillow came home to live with me.

Now it’s back to regular programming except that I have a crazy busy week and Tristan’s birthday party on Saturday. Thanksgiving is next week — how did that happen?!? We have company headed into town and lots to do. I just love this time of year, and it’s even better with the possibility of a finished quilt on the horizon.

Trick or Treat

I think we’ve reached a point — and I don’t say this to brag — where no one believes the urchin costumes are homemade anymore. We got tons of comments last night about how great they were but I got the sense that most people thought we spent a lot of money on them. Then again, I spent the weekend chronicling on Facebook my costume progress so my friends knew I made them. Really though, what difference does it make anyway? The whole homemade costume requirement lives in my head, it’s not like it’s a real rule. Rambling aside, I present to you the 2011 Urchin Costume Collection, an Ewok and an Owl:

Wicket the Ewok
An Owl

I hope you and your family had a very Happy Halloween. You can see our previous Halloweens here:


Wow, talk about a blogging break. I’ve been meaning to get back here but I guess I really needed the break. Blogging isn’t what it used to be, you know? But I do miss this space and chatting with all of you. And the making continues even though I haven’t been talking about it here. You can see some of what’s been finished
on flickr but I have to admit I’ve taken a bit of a break from there as well.

Easter Dress

But like I said, I’d like to hang out here a bit more so I’m jumping back in with the Kids Clothing Week Challenge that is going on this week. And for a little inspiration the photo above is of Katrina’s Easter dress. I made it in on the Saturday before Easter — although we had planned it out and gotten the fabrics long before — and it turned out so well. It’s actually separates which worked out much better than a one piece dress would have. It was inspired by a dress we saw on Etsy. Her headband is from Lisa’s Mini Mad Hattery who was great to work with. I have no intention of making anything this complicated for the KCWC, we’re starting today with nightgowns.

Feeling Inspired and Catching Up

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. We’ve been busy in the urchin house these last weeks and Thanksgiving day was a welcome calm. But here’s December and I am feeling so inspired to make this the merriest of Christmases. I have some things planned for this joyful month but I feel like that can’t start until we do some catching up, so here’s what we’ve been up to:

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  • Tristan turned 5. Five! I can hardly believe it. He’s gotten taller, thinner, and very few traces of the baby he was are left. I can get all weepy just thinking about it.
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  • Katie was the cutest gingersnap to ever grace the stage. Just a few weeks ago the choreographers asked if she could be in four performances instead of the planned two and she did incredibly well with the added commitment. That girl loves to dance. I’m sad that photo up there is blurry but it really is indicative of the weekend, an enormous ballet blur.
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  • My newest niece was christened last Sunday. Seeing your baby brother as a father is really a remarkable thing. He is head-over-heels in love with that baby girl. I knit that bonnet — twice! but more on that later — so her little wet head wouldn’t get cold.
  • Lots of other things happened since we’ve chatted last but those are the highlights. So what have you guys been up to?


    Back in October Tristan went to a party for his friend Mallory that happens to be the youngest of three girls. Katie is friends with the older girls so we know the family fairly well and I knew that they did not need any more toys. In the past we’ve given them craft and baking sets but I wasn’t inspired with a new idea this time. So, we decided to make her something she could wear.


    One morning at school dropoff we asked Mallory what her favorite color was, blue and also green, so that’s what we went with. I used the pattern Scrapbook Jeans and a Sweatshirt from Pink Fig Patterns. Tristan went with me to the fabric store and helped pick all of the fabrics, I had the blue and green Amy Butler to start with in my stash. The dot — a really great one — and the plain turquoise fabrics are from Georgia by Pat Sloan. I used a blue velour for the inside of the hood so it would be nice and soft. The whole thing came together in just a few hours so I’m thinking of more fun combinations including a ballet themed one for Katie to wear backstage at the Nutcracker. Wouldn’t that be so fun?


    We had a lovely halloween, did you? Papa’s parents and sister were here and it was so fun for them to get to enjoy this fun silly holiday and all the traditions with us. Saturday morning everyone carved pumpkins while I went to the farmers market. On Sunday afternoon they experienced the frantic making and last-minute engineering involved in costume development — this year was actually quite calm. Sunday evening they witnessed the annual Halloween group portrait — what started as a group of three tiny trick-or-treaters has expanded to a group of six — and partook of the annual doughnuts and cider before heading out to the neighborhood.

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    I actually made three costumes this year since Katie devised a plan involving a bat costume for her and my nephew. Those two were easy enough though, we used an umbrella split in two for their wings and I sewed two-sided velcro straps to the wrist and upper arms. Their ears were sewn onto “ninja” hat/mask things I picked up at the party store. The worst part was finding the black sweatpants and sweatshirts.


    Tristan decided back in the summer that he would be a Jawa — from Star Wars — this year so the main part of his costume was a hooded cape — Simplicity 5512 — in imitation brown suede. He wore two of Stefan’s belts criss-crossed on his torso, black gloves, and another ninja mask, this time backwards. the finishing touch was yellow lensed sunglasses. We tried all different things to give him glowing eyes — see last-minute engineering above — but the sunglasses were the best thing we came up with that still allowed him to see where he was walking.

    Halloween Urchins

    Halloween costumes are fun but I must admit, I’m always a little glad when I don’t have to think about them again until next year. If you’d like to take a trip down memory lane here are the costumes from previous years:

    Birthday Gifts

    Birthday Outfit

    Last weekend we celebrated my niece Gabrielle’s eighth birthday — eight! — and as in years before I made her some clothes. My sister is super-sweet and usually Gabrielle wears the outfit I make her for the first day of school. Talk about pressure! So, this year in discussing with my sister what to make we decided on something with blue, since that is Gabby’s favorite color, and something that has a skirt. My sister loves anything Asian — including her husband — and I remembered a kimono top from an old Ottobre and a plan was hatched.

    Birthday Outfit - Button DetailBirthday Outfit - Butterfly Detail

    The blue embroidered cotton was from my mother-in-law, I think she picked it up on a trip to Asia, and the brown is a batik from my local fabric store. The kimono top — #12 from Ottobbre 4/2008 — is fully lined and has a hidden ribbon closure — with butterfly beads — and flower buttons. The skirt is just gathered with a contrast yoke and pockets. I didn’t use a pattern just traced around Katie’s hand for the pocket shape/size.

    Birthday Outfit - Skirt Detail

    And for the fun gift from the urchins Gabrielle received two new outfits for her American Girl doll. The dress coordinates with the kimono outfit and the other outfit is just a fun summer outfit. Both were based on a simplicity pattern I got sometime when patterns were a dollar. For doll clothes you just really need a basic pattern and you can change it to suit your needs. In this case the top for the shorts is the bodice of the dress and instead of a skirt I used a pre-gathered bit of eyelet lace. The shorts are literally shortened pants.

    Beach Outfit

    Christmas Sweater

    A couple of weeks ago I started thinking about which sweaters I am going to knit for the urchins for Christmas this year. I’m thinking Boys Can Wear Pink and Sourpatch, coincidentally both from Petite Purls. But I realized that poor Tristan’s sweater from last Christmas was never finished. Bad Mama. So, I decided that before I could start this year’s sweaters I really needed to finish last year’s. I’m so glad I did because my boy wanted to wear it all day even thought temps were in the 90s.

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    The pattern is SK8R from Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines and knitted in Rowan Denim. I got six balls of it as a free gift for being a Rowan subscriber a few years ago and bought one more from another knitter on Ravelry. Well, I hadn’t quite finished the second sleeve and ran out of yarn! I put in a plea for anyone with the right dye-lot on the Rowan group and someone who also received it as a free gift sent me the extra skein that I needed. Thank goodness for Ravelry. After sewing all the pieces together I washed the sweater in hot water and dried it in the dryer. It shrunk up nicely and is still a bit big on my size 5 boy — the pattern calls this a size 4-6 — so I think he should get a couple of years out of it. Click through to the project page if you want more details.


    flickr photos

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