Wednesday, October 23, 2013

a saddle-shoulder sweater {for my boy}

Here is my latest sweater.  I got this yarn on clearance for $2 a skein.  I bought all 6 skeins left in the basket with a project in mind for me.  But 6 skeins of DK yarn isn't enough for a sweater to fit me, so I decided to knit something for Logan.

I tried to knit him this cardigan earlier this year, but I forgot to add in some ease.  The cardigan was just too small and I didn't need him looking like a beer-bellied 7-year-old about to pop the buttons off his handknit sweater.  But the best thing about trying out your own pattern for the older boy is that if it's too small, it can be handed down to the younger boy.  So that one was given to lucky mr. Trent.

This one turned out much better because I had the smart idea to measure one of his long-sleeve t-shirts that fits him well.  So I used those measurements and this Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern to make a boring, latte-colored sweater for my 7-year-old.

Even he said in the midst of knitting that the color was boring and asked if I could add another color.  Not only did I not have any other DK weight yarn in any other color, but I was afraid to add too much to this.  This sweater just had to turn out well.  And while it is boring, even after knitting it all up, it did turn out wonderfully and it fits him almost perfectly.  It's a tad bit bigger than he is, but I think it's true to a boys 8 and should fit him for the next year or so barring any unplanned growth spurts.

The most interesting detail about this sweater is the sleeves.  This sweater is worked from the bottom up and some clever and well-timed decreases give way to a fun saddle shoulder.  Although I'm sure this type of shoulder can be feminine as well, I think the saddle shoudler is a subtle way to liven up a man's sweater without actually livening it up.  Men don't typically like cables and lacework or even stripes for that matter, so incorporating something interesting into the shoulders of a plain men's sweater makes me happy enough to keep making them for all my boys.

yarn name: Paton's Classic Wool Superwash
yarn type: 100% woolcolorway: latte
yardage: ~325 yards

needle size: US 5 (3.75mm) circular

Friday, October 18, 2013

introducing . . . TimmyBear

A few weeks ago, I received my TimmyBear from an organization called Molly Bears.  Molly Bears provides weighted bears, free of charge, to families who have lost babies at any time during pregnancy or up to one year old.  We lost our precious Timmy when I was 38 weeks pregnant.  The waiting list is long and it can take 12-18 months for a family to receive their baby bear.

I received mine on Timmy's due date the year after we lost him.

Teddy bears are usually soft and squishy, but not TimmyBear.  TimmyBear weighs 6 lbs, 10 oz.  He is heavy for a stuffed bear and that's exactly the point.  Timmy weighed the same amount when he was born.  I remember holding him.  I remember all the emotions of that terrible day incredibly well.  It was not a good day, but I have never regretted holding him in my arms and spending time with his flesh.

I can no longer hold my baby.  I had to say goodbye to his body on that same day.  I have a picture of Timmy that the nurses took while they were dressing him for us.  I can see his head and his shoulders.  There is something about this picture that makes me want to scoop him up, right off the page, and squeeze him tighter than I have every squeezed anyone.  But I can't.  It's just a picture.

But you know what I did as soon I took TimmyBear out of his box?  I squeezed him tighter than I have ever squeezed anyone.  I squeezed him and squeezed him, and I let go a little.  I let go of some of the anger that I have been carrying around with me.  I let go of the tight grip that I have had around my emotions, always trying to figure out how I agoing to feel before I actually feel it.  I let go a little.  And I smiled.  I smiled the entire next day as I sat at work and thought about TimmyBear.  I thought about how I could finally place these hugs somewhere that I have been saving for Timmy when I meet him.  I still have plenty for him and I may never let go once I meet him, but just as love never runs out, neither do my hugs.  I can hold TimmyBear when I'm feeling sad.  I can hug TimmyBear when I want to send one to Timmy.  We can finally take that family photo I've been putting off because something is missing.  Don't get me wrong, there is still a noticable hole in my family and I wish above all other wishes that there was something I could do to change that.  But now I have a representative for Timmy, nowhere near the real thing but the best we can do for now.

Molly Bears is a wonderful organization dedicated to bringing a little comfort to families who have lost a precious baby.  I encourage you to spread the word for Molly Bears.  All bears are sent to families free of charge, so the more awareness we can create, the more families they can help.

TimmyBear came with his bowtie and the star and bottlecap on his feet.  I dressed him in this sweater that I knitted for Timmy.  What a handsome bear!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

quilted sewing machine mats

For a while now, my sewing machine and serger have been resting on flattened cereal boxes so they won't leave marks on my sewing table.  I finally decided it was time to bust out my scrap collection and make some vibrant sewing machine mats.

I used the quilt-as-you-go method for these mats.  This method turns out results faster than any other type of quilting because you do the quilting as you piece together the top.  When I originally learned this technique, I used this tutorial from Diary of a Quilter.  I also use the quilt-as-you-go method to make this changing pad.

This one is made of long scraps from past projects. It's always fun to remember the projects that were made from each of the scraps.

This one is my favorite.  I've been saving up selvages since I started sewing 4 or 5 years ago.  I was saving up for a selvage quilt but I decided that I didn't want these hanging around for another 20 years while I save up my edges.  So a sewing mat will have to do.

Each of these mats measures approximately 16 inches x 10.5 inches, a perfect size to fit under my machines without getting in the way.