Travel Matching Game

So yet again it’s been aged between posts. I haven’t been feeling enthusiastic about sewing, or blogging recently, but with the long weekend just finishing, I have got loads done and I hope to finally catch up on telling you about all the old things I’ve made! Speaking of old, today’s make was a Christmas present for my friend’s daughter. Yes Christmas. In April. Slightly in my defense, this was for Christmas 2 in January, but still it’s a while since I finished this! In totally unrelated news, I signed up to Photoshop, so hopefully my photos will improve slightly from now on – though I don’t know how to do many things so far!

So, back to the Travel Matching Game. It’s from the book Stitch Savvy by Deborah Moebes of Whip Stitch fame. I like to make presents for people, but this year (unlike last year), I only made this one – I think because last year was before I had discovered making my own clothes, so my sewing time was spent less selfishly – which cannot be said of the last 12 months! Last year for the same kid, I made the Norman the Slug with a Silly Shell wall hanging and this year I wanted to do even better, so when I saw the patter in Stitch Savvy, I couldn’t resist!

In the first instructions, she says to fussy cut some fabrics you have lying around into squares of 3 1/4″, in pairs, to form the remember remember pictures of the game. I didn’t have any such fabrics and I thought it would be nice to make the game a little educational too (the kid is almost 3, so was 2 1/2 at Christmas), so I made life hard for myself! I came up with numbers and fruits for my boards – I also made life difficult by making 2 boards instead of one. I thought about letters, but since you can have only 8 pairs, it would have been weird just to do the first 8 letters – it’s a bit weird to do the numbers from 1-8 and not 1-10, but c’est la vie – that was apparently a compromise I was willing to make!

Here are my amazing sketches of my ideas:

P1020221P1020222I planned which colours would go on the backgrounds and which colours the numbers would be, to add an extra dimension of learning.

I even made pattern pieces ( so I could make this again some day):

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Time for a slightly embarrassing confession. Because I was making 2 different boards, I totally blanked on the fact that I had to cut out 2 of every number/ fruit and twice the number of backing pieces. So I cut out one of each number and one of each fruit and then realised what I had done and was very sad because it took aaages and I was only half done!

So the next thing I did (which is an extra step to the instructions in the book), was assemble all my squares:P1010768-PS-mediumP1010772-PS-medium

This is how I laid them out to sew together, too. I sewed them together in rows, then I sewed the rows together – simple! Also, it was good that I had these photos to refer to when I jumbled up the pieces by mistake! You then back each board with your main fabric (in my case pink gingham) and insert some really stiff interfacing, so that the board has enough body for you to get it in and out of the frame. I used the thin cardboard from the insides of my Christmas wrapping paper as I had forgotten to get any interfacing, and I figured card would work just as well! It was a bit tricky getting it in because I left myself too little of a gap in one corner to turn the board, and insert the stiffening.

The next thing to make is the frame of windows that go over the board of shapes. This was a little fiddly and the instructions weren’t totally clear, I didn’t think. It was only by looking at the photos that I knew what I had to do. So you have your main fabric cut out in a square 15″ x 15″ (you actually have 3 squares of the main fabric cut to this size) – she says heavier weight fabrics are good, but I knew the kid’s favourite colour was pink, and what could be better than pink gingham?! You also have a square of backing fabric (in my case calico) cut out to the same size, and you sew squares 2 3/4 in, marking from the middle of the big square, and having gaps between the squares of 1/4 in either side of the centre mark – so there’s 1/2 in between each window. I hope this makes sense! You also need to sew all the way around the outside, leaving the same gap at the edge as between each internal window.

You can just about make out the stitching below.

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So once you’ve sewn all the squares, you then cut out the windows, first cutting diagonally across the whole square up to each corner of stitching. Then you cut out the sides, leaving 1.4 in inside the stitching. The next bit was the bit I got confused about – you then cut in between the stitches for the windows on the backing fabric side – you kind of separate each window from its neighbour – you can just about see the cuts above, but it’s clearer below:

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You need to snip the outside corners of each window as well as the inside ones – you can just about see below there are diagonal cuts both sides of the stitching:

P1010919You then flip the backing fabric behind the main fabric to make the window look all neat – this is very nearly impossible to explain, but makes sense when you have the thing in front of you! A small word of advice, though – all the edges of the backing fabric that you have just cut will be exposed on the back of the frame, so if you want it to look neat and not fray to shit (like calico does), you might want to zigzag or neaten the edges before you flip all the windows through –  didn’t have time to do this because I left it a bit late to do all this sewing!

So this is what the windows look like when flipped through:

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You top stitch each window once you’ve flipped it. And there are 16 of them!  The other 2 pieces of fabric that you had cut out at 15″ x 15″ are sewn together, leaving a gap to turn it through, and stiffened with the same thing as the boards. The you top stitch the window piece onto the backing piece. The other time consuming thing is to make all the covers for the windows – 16 at 4″ x 4″, which are sewn right sides together with a gap for turning them through, then each one is top stitched, which catches in the gap. Then all that’s left to do is sew on poppers to each little square and to the top of each window.P1010930-PS-mediumP1010932-PS-mediumP1010935-PS-medium

And here it is in action – she’s just about the right age to play a remember remember type game and she knows the numbers and the fruits, so it’s a pretty good present! I’ve already got a request for one from my sister for my nephew – but since he’s only coming up to his first birthday, I think he’s still a bit little for it!P1010950

Make It: Appliqued Baby Grows

I realised once I’d posted my post about 2013 that when I said I only made one present all year I was completely lying and had forgotten some stuff. I think I was thinking just of Christmas, when I’ve actually made 2 aprons, for my sister and my friend, and I personalised some baby-grows for my nephew. I guess this might not count as ‘making’ the present, but I still figured I’d post it/ them here.

My (very cute) nephew – is it weird that it’s still weird to say ‘nephew’ even though he’s over 6 months old?! – anyway, he’s growing a lot. And he can pretty much walk already, which is insane! It seems like 2 seconds since he was teeny tiny and new. Anyway, again, I bought him some new threads for Christmas as I didn’t have time to make anything from scratch. And it turns out baby clothes are kind of expensive, so I figured the most economical way to get him some baby grows was to buy a pack of 3 plain white ones from Mothercare and sew some little animals on to make them a bit more interesting.

Luckily I had some felt in my stash, so I didn’t have to worry about hemming/ fraying. I pretty much picked what animals to do based on the colours of felt I had. The Boyfriend wanted me to do a pig because I had some pink, but I had already decided on an elephant because I had some grey left and I thought an elephant and a pig might be a bit random. So I decided to do a jungle animal theme, making an elephant, a lion(ess – because I didn’t know how to make a mane) and a snake.

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I sewed on the eyes and tails, lion’s nose and snake’s stripes with various bits of wool from my stash. I considered cutting the little bits out of felt, but figured it would be way too fiddly to sew on.

And here are the 3 together. With a couple of little stripey t shirts, not a bad present if I say so myself!

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Baby Cardigans

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I really want to post about my foray into clothes making (by sewing and knitting), but I haven’t managed to finish anything in ages. I am almost there with a skirt and just need to make some button holes for my Gertie button-back blouse. I also have a couple of refashions to post about but (rather embarrassingly), I had a bad haircut a few weeks ago (though no-one I know commented on it so I don’t think it was as bad as I feared), so I didn’t want to take any photos! I know, lame, right?

So I have been digging through my computer and old photos of things I made ages ago, and I realised I have knitted 2 baby cardigans (one of which was for my friend’s daughter who is now 2, so I made them a while ago!).

I can’t find where I got the pattern from. I’m pretty sure I must have got it from a free pattern website but I’ve tried googling huge chunks of the instructions but it doesn’t come up. If anyone recognises it or owns it, please let me know and I will be glad to credit the right person. But since I can’t find it online, here it is, all typed out!

Abbreviations:
k- knit
p – purl
skpo – slip (one stitch onto other needle), knit, pass slipped stitch over
k2tog – knit 2 stitches together
m – make a stitch
st st – stocking stitch
g st – garter stitch

Size: To fit newborns
Use 4 mm needles

Back
Cast on 59 sts
K 5 rows
Beg with a k row cont in st st
Work 4 rows
Dec row k8, skpo, k to last 10, k2tog, k8
St st 7 rowsRep the last 8 rows 3 times more and the dec row again. 49 sts
Cont straight until back measures 15 cm from the cast on edge, ending with a p row
Shape raglan armholes:
Cast off 4 sts at beg of next 2 rows. 41 sts
Next row k2, skpo, k to last 4 sts, k2tog, k2
Next row p to end
Rep the last 2 rows until 17 sts remain
Leave sts on a holder

Left Front
Cast on 32 sts
K 5 rows
Next row k to end
Next row k 5, p to end
These 2 rows form the st st with g st endge
Work a further 2 rows
Dec row k8, skpo, k to end
Work 7 rows
Repeat the last 8 rows 3 times more and the dec row again. 27 sts
Cont straight until front measures 15 cm from cast on edge, ending with a wrong side row
Shape raglan armhole:
Cast off 4 sts at beg of next row. 23 sts
Next row k5, p to end
Next row k2, skpo, k to end
Next row k5, p to end
Rep the last 2 rows until 11 sts reamin
Leave these sts on a holder

Right Front
Cast on 32 sts
K5 rows
Next row k to end
Next row p to last 5 sts, k5
These 2 rows form the st st with g st edging
Work a further 2 rows
Dec row k to last 10 sts, k2tog, k8
Work 7 more rows (of st st)
Rep the last 8 rows 3 times more and the dec row again. 27 sts
Cont straight until front measures 15 cm from cast on edge, ending with a k row
Shape raglan armhole:
Cast off 4 sts at beg of next row. 23 sts
Next row k to last 4 sts, k2tog, k2
Next row p to last 5 sts, k5
Rep the last 2 rows until 11 sts remain
Leave these sts on a holder

Sleeves (obvs make 2)
Cast on 30 sts
K 1 row
Beg with a k row, cont in st st
Work 4 rows
Inc row k3, m1, k to last 3 sts, m1, k3
Work 3 rows
Rep the last4 rows until there are 44 sts
Cont straight until the sleeve measures 12 cm from cast on edge, ending with a p row
Shape raglan top:
Cast off 4 sts at beg of next 2 rows. 36 sts
Next row, k2, skpo, k to last 4 sts, k2tog, k2
Next row p to end
Rep the last 2 rows unwil 12 sts remain
Leave these sts on a holder

Neckband
With right side facing, k across 10 sts from right front
K last st together with forst st on right sleeve. K 10 sts
K last st together with first st on back. k15 sts
K last st together with first st on left sleeve. k 10 sts
K last st together with first st on the left front
k to end. 59 sts
k 5 rows
Cast off

Make Up
Join raglan seams. Join side and sleeve seams
Sew 3 press fasteners on to the garter st button band (place on at the neck, one level with the bottom of the arm hole and the third between these 2).

Hat
5 mm needles

Cast on 80 sts
K1, p1 rib, repeat to end. Repeat this rib row a total of 8 times
Garter st until the piece measures 13 cm from the beginning
Start decreasing:
(k1, k2tog) repeat 26 times, k2. 54 sts
K 1 row
(k1, k2tog) repeat 18 times. 36 sts
K 1 row
(k1, k2tog) repeat 12 times. 24 sts
K 1 row
(k1, k2tog) repeat 8 times, k1. 16 sts
K 1 row
(k1, k2tog) repeat 5 times, k1. 11 sts
K 1 row
(k1, k2tog) repeat 3 times, k2. 8 sts
K 1 row
Cut the yarn leaving a long end (50cm-70cm) to sew up the hat.
Drawstring finish:
1. Thread the end of yarn onto a darning needle. Insert the darning needle into the sts on the knitting needle
2. Pass the darning needle though the sts remaining on the knitting needle, one by one
3. Pull the yarn tight. Your piece of knitting should now naturally fall into a hat shape
4. Sew it up. Work the end into the back of the knitting

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Make It: Norman the Slug with a Silly Shell Wall Hanging

Norman

Last year I bought my friend Norman the Slug with a Silly Shell by Sue Hendra for her daughter. Little did I know then the pain I would cause my friend because her daughter loved it so much! She literally knows it off by heart! So for this Christmas I decided to carry on the pain by making a wall hanging of Norman.
This is what I bought to make Norman – felt in orange, yellow, and 3 of pink. I also got matching thread for all of this and some beads (for the hundreds and thousands on the doughnut) and some purple cotton fabric for the backing – a metre in total I think (so it could be doubled to hide all the stitching).

Norman-1a

First I made Norman from the orange felt, adding eyes made from a bit of wadding I had lying around (but 2 layers to make it not see-through), and with embroidered pupils.

Norman-3a

Then I sewing him onto the background…..

Norman-4a

….and added on his slime trail.

Norman-6a

I sewed the bead/ sequins to the pink felt, which I had cut out for the doughnut. I had to make it in 2 halves because of the size of the felt, which is a bit of a shame but didn’t show too badly.

Norman-13a

I cut out paper patterns for all the pieces. The doughnut I cut out round, and then cut the pieces out for the irregular icing. I saved the pieces I cut out to make the bread parts of the doughnut for around the edge. I used bondaweb on them as they were so small, so I could stick them to the background and then sew them – pins would have been no good!

Norman-10a

I cut the name out of the same pink felt.

Norman-18a

All that was left to do was to sew it all on to the background, which was 40cm x 40cm.

Norman-16a
Norman-20a Norman-23a

I used a piece of brown wool I had in my stash for the string Norman uses to tie on the doughnut.

Norman-27a

The last thing to do was the loops on the top to hang Norman from. I made them 9cm x 21cm. Sewed them in half lengthways, turned them inside out/ the right way round (the fabric doesn’t really have a back and front) and ironed them so that the seams were in the middle not on one edge. I them placed the loops equally spaced (allowing for the seam allowance), folded in half on top of one of the background pieces, with the raw edges of the loop lined up with the raw edge of the backing piece. I then put the other backing piece (with Norman on) on top of this, wrong sides together, with the loops in between the 2 pieces and sewed almost all the way around, leaving a gap to turn it the right way around. I then sewed this little gap closed by hand.

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(You can just about make out the pins in the corner where I sewed the opening closed.)