Saturday, October 30, 2010

How to turn a bear into a frog

* First look to make sure you can't find a frog pattern. I couldn't but perhaps you have resources I do not (or a smaller child). Second, look for something close to a frog, perhaps a bear:

Next project

* Decide that a bear is really a brown frog and you can do this. The buy the fleece the pattern calls for in green, buy the accent color as yellow. Get a tiny bit extra because it is on sale and you have no idea how you are going to make the head look froglike.

* Sew up the costume, omitting details like the bow around the neck. Frogs do not wear bows.

* Listen to your children when they say, just make it like ears only make the front look like an eye, you know with white fabric with some black sewn on.

* Find some white fleece leftover from the time you turned a bear into a panda (bears are very versatile)

* Borrow two black buttons from a child who seemingly has a bigger button collection than you.

* Do some hand sewing instead of knitting for two nights.

* Hear Tim Gunn in your head announce, "Make it work!"

frog head

* Adapt the mitten pattern to have a more fin-like look.

* Sit back and enjoy how froglike it looks.

flat frog

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Nine days

With nine days left and counting, dare I say I'm in good shape for Halloween.

I have the "clone" (colonial) girl dress completed and it is absolutely lovely. I need to still work on the shawl and mobcap, which are made out of a purchased lace panel.

I have the frog jumpsuit completed, and a good idea how the frog eyes are going to go. I have a little bit of handsewing on that, that I'll work on tonight instead of knitting. I do need to figure out the flippers and as my daughter says, buy the facepaint.

So of course I'm spending a ton of time in the sewing room and I'm thinking projects. For some reason I have a big starteritis going on the sewing projects. Not so much on knitting. Here's what I think I might be sewing soon:
A fleece jacket for me. I made one a few years ago (ok 8 years ago) and I love it but it is getting pilly. So when I bought the frog fleece and noticed fleece was 1/2 price, I bought a pretty blue for me.

PJ pants for me. I love making these, I need a new pair to replace one and MIL bought me some cute flannel. The big drawback is that I need to thread the serger first.

Brownie vests for the girls. I found a Mccall's pattern that is the right shape, if I can find some appropriate brown fabric, I'll be making rather than purchasing brownie vests. Also Mccall's patterns are $.99 at my Joann's this week. And seriously, if I can keep it under $20 I'll be saving money ($31 is what buying 2 will cost me). Of course I have to find brown fabric--I'm guessing 2.5 yards should do the trick. So even if I have to pay $8.50 a yard, I should still be good.

I wish I had such plans for knitting. I want to knit the teacher a nice scarf, but at our house, when I bring up patterns, everyone wants the pencil scarf.

Maybe in nine days I'll be able to concentrate on my knitting again. Nine more days.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

State of the costumes

I had a very real moment of panic when I looked at the calendar for something at work this week.  Oh my, there is only two weeks left to get the Halloween costumes done.  I still had sleeves and collars and oh my.
So this week, I set some goals, I only had two free afternoons, but I wanted to make the most of it. Collars, facings, and sleeves for the colonial girl (or "clone girl" as she puts it). I actually set that all for Wednesday afternoon, but only ended up getting the collars done.

I hate collar facings.  I think I do them wrong or something but they never lay the way they should, they are my least favorite thing to do in any costume. Boy, am I glad they are done.

I had some issues with the colonial girl sleeves as they have two pieces that have to be set in. And there was an error in the pattern directions because it told me to match up the "R1s" and there was nothing like that on the pattern. I did the best I could matching seams and notches, but they look backwards to me. So much so, I ripped out the first one and re-did it, but they still look a little backwards. I guess we'll have to wait for the fitting.

There is a moment in every episode of Project Runway where Tim Gunn comes in and says "Designers, I'm sending in your models for a fitting" and that's when sometimes things get crazy. My goal is that later tonight, I'll be doing fittings. I may find myself a little crazy as I deal with two very excited seven year olds dancing as I'm trying to figure out exactly where the frog should get hemmed and my big worry--making sure the colonial girl dress fits. Simplicty patterns are so whack that while the Frog was too big, I'm concerned that the colonial dress with be too small (and yes I did take measurements, and by those, she needs a size 8 everywhere BUT the waist where I am either measuring wrong, or somehow my stick figure daughter with the rib bones you can see, needs a size 14 waist).

Since I'm talking fittings, you might realize that I've lost a bit of panic, and I have... as long as everything fits, I should be in decent shape, which is good because this promises to be a busy week.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


I've been meaning to write for a while, but this time of year is really busy and October 1st I had this panic of thinking that Halloween was just at the end of this month and my progress on the costumes has been abysmal. Although I'm not sure getting distracted by thinking the kitchen floor needs mopping every time I got to cut out pattern pieces helps much.

I did finish the socks though--which means that before they were in school a month, I had made each of them a new pair of socks.

I did a toe up pattern, just a plain vanilla sock and made them pretty short. I used only one skein of Lorna's laces Shepherd sock and probably could have gone another inch or two longer. Of course finishing the socks meant that I had no travel knitting during a week when I needed about 4 hours of travel knitting, so I grabbed what was leftover from my hand dyed sock yarn and started some toe up socks for me. I have no idea if I'll get an actual PAIR of socks out of what I have left, but I'm pretty sure I'm ok with that, as it is helping me focus on the scarf or shawl I think I'd like to make out of my Ireland yarn.

And I'm really trying hard not to panic at the thought that Christmas knitting should start soon. I don't know the 2nd grade teacher as well as I'd like, and this year there is an aide int he classroom and she's the same aide I knit a scarf for when the ladies were in kindergarten.
scarfThe scarf I knit for the aide

Anyway, back to Halloween, because deep breathing and thinking of one thing at a time helps. I did get the frog costume cut out (double layer fleece UGH) and mostly sewn together before I realized that the size I made was WAY too big. So big it nearly fit me. So the frog costume will have one more seam in it an was called for because I decided the only way to make a fleece jumpsuit short enough (the crotch was at her knees!) was to take out nearly 4 inches in the middle. For all that fuss though, fleece jumpsuit costumes must be the absolute easiest things to sew as fleece doesn't really fray and jumpsuits have only one real tricky part--the zippers.

Today's task is to finish cutting out the colonial girl's dress. Made tricky by 1) wanting to get it right and 2)my wrist hurting again. The wrist problem though has been diagnosed as tendonitis and is being treated. It doesn't interfere with the knitting, but the cutting motion is really hard on it, so I have been cutting in shifts so I don't hurt it again.

So in summary: panic, panic, socks, decisions to be made and ouch.