Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pirorohu Vest Pattern

Close up of the bee stitch on the body of the vest

 So I have finally published another knitting pattern.  This one is for a little 4 ply vest, done mostly in bee stitch.  This stitch works best in a verigated yarn, and mine is in 100purewool in Grenada.

The bee stitch keeps the knitting in the round from being too monotonous, and adds a lovely textural element to the vest.  The name of the vest - Pirorohu, means bumblebee in Maori and is of course, a reference to the stitch.

As with many of my other patterns, this has been test knit only sporadically, so there may be some mistakes in the pattern.  Please feel free to leave comments if anything is unclear.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Making underwear Tutorial

I've made P a few pairs of underwear now, and I thought I would share my methods with you, since they differ slightly from most of the tutorials I looked at.

Cotton knit fabric - I used some old t shirts to cut up, bonus points if you can include some kind of cute logo for the undies
Note: For hygiene's sake, the crotch piece of the underwear should be cut from 100% cotton, even if the rest of the undies aren't.

Elastic - I used regular old 5mm braided elastic, but this is a little bit hard on the skin, so next time I'll try and find some softer underwear elastic or FOE.

Most of the tutorials recommend that you cut up an existing pair of underwear to create the pattern pieces to work from.  This is a really good idea for a much loved and worn out pair of undies.  But the frugality in me balks at cutting up one perfectly serviceable pair of P's undies in order to create another perfectly serviceable pair of undies.  So instead I drew around P's undies as best I could without cutting them up.

You will end up with  3 pattern pieces - a front piece that looks like a curved T shape, a back piece and a kind of triangley squary shape for the crotch piece.

Cut out your fabric, making sure you lay the pieces so that the stretch of the fabric goes across the pattern 
I didn't take a photo of this stage, but you all know how to lay out a pattern right?

Next, lay the pattern pieces out, one on top of the other.  Lay the front piece on the bottom, right side up.  Next lay the back piece right side down, and finally lay the crotch piece, also right side down.  Pin all three layers together at the bottom (ie not the waist part of the pieces).  Its really important to lay these out in this order so they will all turn the right way out.

Sew/overlock all these pieces together.
Note: I use my overlocker for this entire project, but if you don't have one, a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine should do the job equally well

Sew the narrow end of the crotch piece to finish it.

Fold the crotch piece over so that the seam is sandwiched between the crotch piece and the back piece of the undies.  It should look a little like an hourglass.  If your crotch piece doesn't match up with the sides of your undies, trim the undies so that they do.

Pin elastic to the front and back pieces across the top on the RIGHT side of the fabric - this creates the waistband.  To find out how much elastic you need, measure along the top of the pair of undies that you used for the pattern pieces.
Sew the elastic to the right side of the fabric, stretching it as you go along.
Note: It pays to leave a bit of a gap between the top of the fabric and the elastic - this helps to prevent the elastic touching skin.  If you are overlocking, DON'T cut the elastic as you go, the gap at the top of the fabric helps with this as well.  Just go carefully.

Pin the crotch piece into place, making sure that all the edges line up.  Sew the elastic onto the legs, also on the RIGHT side of the fabric.  You have two options for working out the amount of elastic for the legs, you can either measure along the length of the undies, and cut accordingly.  Or you can keep the elastic on the roll and just sew it onto the sides of the undies - there is no need to stretch out this elastic, its mostly just to keep the undies comfortable when they are on.

Once you have sewn up the sides, the crotch piece should also be attached, with just the finished top edge not attached to the undies - it should remain pretty secure.

Once all the elastic is attached it should look like this.

You're nearly finished! Sew the side seams - double check that they are right sides together.

Turn them right side out and admire your handiwork

Including cute logo on the bum.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

In case you've been wondering

What I've been up to lately.

Sorry, no baby news yet, but shouldn't be too much longer.  I've been making P some underwear.  A little while ago I mentioned that she didn't have that many pairs of undies, and we had a conversation about it.  It went a bit like this:
Me: You don't really have that many pairs of undies
P: You could make me some!
Me: I don't really have the right elastic, but I could make you some
P: It nearly my birthday, I could ask for some elastic to make undies.

I love that she immediately wanted me to make, rather than buy them.  And I have finally got around to making her a couple of pairs.  They are super easy to make and sew up really fast.  I used several different tutorials to make mine up, and I will put a tutorial together about how I did it once I've made a few more.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Peace Basket

Okay, so I know I wrote a whole post about how Montessori hasn't really worked for us, but I just couldn't resist the idea of a Peace Basket for P and J.  Now it may (or may not) come as a surprise to learn that I have some issues dealing with P and J's behaviour.

You might have thought we lived some kind of harmonious, peaceful existence where the girls and I hold hands and talk through all our issues, but that just isn't the case.  Both girls are very stubborn and time out is a well used technique in this household.
 So I thought a peace basket would be a helpful addition to our disciplinary techniques.  I got the idea from Counting Coconuts peaceful space.  My basket is much simpler than her space, partly because P and J are younger, but also because when they need some time out they are usually very angry, and too many things would frustrate them further.

My peace basket consists of the word peace printed on a piece of paper.  I really loved these peace cards, but since both P and J are pre literate, it seemed a little pointless although they are very beautiful.
A shell from Rarotonga, so that the girls have to be quiet and calm and to hear the sea, and a crystal that we got in Egypt.

 And a finger labyrinth, made using this tutorial on Rhythm of the Home, that they can trace around and calm down with.  A really important consideration for us was that there was nothing breakable in the basket, since my children are likely to throw/break things.  As it is, P has already threatened to throw the shell.
The idea is to give the girls some tools to help them gain some self control when they are struggling with big emotions.
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