slightly unravelled

Monday, July 18, 2011

Oliver Bunny

I bought the pattern and yarn in a kit for this bunny from kpixie a couple of years ago and then in languished on the shelf for a good long time.

Finally, on vacation and inspired by my then bunny-less nephew, I knit this thing.

It turned out to be much more tedious than I expected -- it is knit in many small pieces (head, ears, arms, legs, torso, tail) that get stuffed and sewn together. But I did it in about a week of knitting, so the pain didn't last too long.

Oliver Bunny

Oliver Bunny

And, the benefit of knitting all of the pieces is that the arms and legs were attached so that they pivot -- meaning the bunny can do many poses, including the splits!

Oliver Bunny

Ravelry Link

Monday, February 28, 2011

Panda Pillows

A while back I stumbled upon some dish towels at Anthropologie that had the Marimekko panda design. They were on clearance, but still expensive for dish towels. Instead of thinking of them as dish towels, I thought of them as fabric and bought two. Originally I had some sort of bag-making plan in mind, but it never fully developed, and the towels then languished with the rest of my fabric collection for a few years.

Until suddenly I had a need (or a want, more accurately) for some smallish pillows, and thought the towels could work.

Pillows made from Marimekkio dishtowels

I love them. It's the best use of the towels I can think of, although a bag would have been pretty cool.

Pillow made from Marimekko dishtowels

I made them envelope-style for easy removal and cleaning.

Back of Panda pillows

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Snail hat

I just finished this cute little "snail" hat from 2 balls of Diakeito Diamusee yarn. I bought the yarn years ago at some sale where I just couldn't resist the beautiful colors, but had no plans for it. I decided to make this hat to show off the pretty color changes, and I think it worked out well.

The pattern is free but in Japanese. It's mostly just a chart (with non-standard symbols, as far as I can tell), but heathermione wrote out the instructions on Ravelry. It's a very simple concept:

Knit a parallelogram:

cute snail hat (before seaming)

Then sew it into a tube and close up the hole at the top. That's where I ran into some trouble...closing up that hole at the top is hard since there's no decreasing first, and mine still has a small hole at the top.

cute snail hat

But I think it's a pretty cute hat, even with the hole. Here's the standard awkwardly-posed self-taken hat photo:

cute snail hat

Ravelry link

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


I seem to have taken a little break...but I am back now. It's a combination of things -- I haven't been doing as much knitting lately (but I've got the itch again), Ravelry fulfilled my "I need to show off what I made on the internet" needs to a certain extent, and, I don't know...laziness?

But! I browsed back through the blog and realized how much I enjoyed having that chronological record of what I've made and what I was thinking when I did it. So I'd like to get back to it. Probably not frequently, and probably not spectacularly (and, honestly, probably not to be widely-read), but hopefully somewhat consistently.

Let's start with the knitting I have done in the last year or so. I haven't been great at updating Ravelry either, and I put this stuff up there recently and realized I was quite fuzzy on the details...I have no idea what size needles I used or even which pattern for one of the items. These are details I need to know! Hopefully I'll be able to be more diligent from now on...

Victor hat

This is the Victor hat from Kate Gilbert (ravelry link). I knit it with 4 colors of Merino Style from knitpicks. I think the hat is adorable and I made the whole thing during one flight, so it was pretty quick. I have plenty of the yarn left over in all 4 colors and am planning to make another of these hats for a pregnant friend.

Baby Surprise Sweater Baby Surprise Sweater

This is a baby surprise jacket (ravelry link) knit in knitpicks Swish DK. Easy-peasy.

Baby Booties and Kurbis Baby Hat

And this is a Kurbis Baby Hat (ravelry link) I used knitpicks Swish Worsted. Again, easy and fun. But those booties? I have no idea what pattern that was. Sigh.

February Baby Sweater February Baby Sweater

This is a February Baby Sweater (ravelry link) where I replaced the lace pattern with plain stockinette. I think it gives it a nice cozy look! I was trying to make this one bigger than the standard size, so I scaled it all up...I think it's probably a 15-month - 18 month size or so. But of course, don't ask me what factor I scaled by...I have no idea anymore!

Moderne Baby Blanket

And finally, here's a Moderne Baby Blanket (ravelry link), knit in 4 colors of knitpicks Swish Worsted. It was a little boring to knit, but I was happy with the way it came out!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Bird Bag

Here's my attempt at making Amy Butler's weekender bag. I really love this fabric -- I used fabric from Joel Dewberry's Aviary collection for both the exterior and the piping/handles/lining.

amy butler weekender bag

The bag was pretty excruciating to make. I had read the warnings on other blogs and pattern reviews, but I still wasn't prepared for just how frustrating this bag was. The thing that makes it so tough is the combination of many layers, including the timtex (heavy-weight stabilizer), with having to get that piping on evenly, especially around the corners. I was pleased that my sewing machine handled the bulk just fine -- I didn't have any problems or even break any needles. However, I really struggled on those corners and there are plenty of noticeable flaws if you get close enough.

I added a couple of small pockets on the inside. I also reinforced the straps using the instructions from the Sophia bag -- stitching the strap to the bag along both edges and the x-shaped reinforcements; the instructions in this pattern sounded like they wouldn't make the straps secure enough. I took the bag on a trip where it carried very heavy things, and it held up great. I really enjoyed using it. If it looks a little misshapen in a few spots in the pictures, I think that's from the amount of abuse it took on the trip. A little steaming would probably pop it back into shape.

I went to the trouble of matching the pattern on the pocket to the main panel (can you tell)? I don't think it was at all necessary with this fabric, though, since the pattern isn't regular enough to make big difference. Good practice, though, I guess.

Amy Butler Weekender Travel Bag

Amy butler weekender bag inside

Thursday, March 27, 2008


bargello pillow

Mostly this bargello pillow was a cinch to make. It replaced knitting as my portable project for a couple of months. Once the needlepoint was completed, making it into a pillow would have been simple...were it not for that adorable-but-finicky piping around the edge. Overall, that upped the frustration factor and probably added 2 hours to the total work time, but it was worth it.

The pillow was originally inspired by the Jonathan Adler bargello pillows. At first I was shocked by the price tags on his, but now I have to say that his prices are reasonable -- a bargain, even. His 22" pillows are $145, with the smaller pillows for slightly less. I made a 14" pillow, and it took me 2.5 months. I probably spent around $12 on the pillow insert + fabric and cording, and if I had actually purchased the yarn and canvas (instead of getting them from the needlepoint supply stash in my parents' basement), that might have been another $40 or so. Add the $52 in supplies to the price I would have to charge for my labor, and I think I would have to value the pillow at about $2,052.

The Jonathan Adler website says that the needlepoint is done by hand. I do really have to wonder what tiny price the stitchers are receiving for their work if the pillows are selling for only $145....

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I made this simple spring/summer dress using Butterick pattern B4443 and a Japanese cotton print.

Dress from Japanese frog print cotton

It was very easy to make, and I'm pleased with the results. If I make the pattern again, I'll make it smaller -- it's definitely too wide across the shoulders. The version on the cover looks like the skirt is not that full, so I had made a size larger than I normally would to have a fuller skirt, but it wasn't necessary.

Japanese cotton -- frog print

I LOVE this fabric. It's a Japanese cotton ( I ordered from Fabrictales -- despite the fact that the fabric actually ships from Japan, their shipping rates are very reasonable) with a cute frog print. I love that it's whimsical but manages to be subtle at the same time.

Finally, just a note -- it's much more flattering than it looks in the picture. You really need to see it in action, even slightly so, to really get a good sense of the shape. I was unable to capture it well in a photo. I think I need a photographer for these types of things...propping my camera on a surface, setting the timer, and trying to place myself in the picture just didn't work today. I guess my stiff arms and tense shoulders don't help either...

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Amy Butler Sophia Carry-All

I completed the Amy Butler Sophia Carry-All. I think it's very cool, but it was a little frustrating to make, largely because of:
  1. The many layers of fabric / interfacing / fleece that were hard to sew through;
  2. The combo of the piping and the rounded shape: either one would have been fine on it's own, but trying to sew the piping on while keeping the curve even is very hard; and
  3. Attaching the bottom to the sides -- three walls and piping all meeting together is just asking for bad things to happen.
There really are a lot of flaws on my bag, most of which you have to inspect closely to see, so they aren't showing up in the photos. It was fun to make, and I am enjoying a feeling of accomplishment. Although it's imperfect in many respects, I'm happy with the results.

About the pattern:

Overall I think the pattern was written pretty well and gave good details and accompanying diagrams. However, I was very disappointed to find a couple of errors in the pattern. When I paid $12 for the pattern (a substantial price, I think), I was paying for the creativity of the designer and the expertise of the pattern writer. The errors in the pattern should have been caught by careful proof-reading, and I think the pattern producer had an obligation to do that. I noticed the errors on my first read-through.

I did email the Amy Butler company about the errors, and they were responsive and sent me several free patterns (which I think was the right thing to do). They have posted a correction of the most substantial error on their website -- BUT, the correction is not the right one, or at least not the most practical way to correct the error.*

Anyway, like I said, I like my bag a lot (although....not as much as I like this version). I'm looking forward to using it in Spring / Summer, although I am kind of regretting choosing white's going to be hard to remember never to set the bag down on the floor. I added a bit of the exterior fabric to the inside as a trim at the top of the pockets to make the inside more interesting. I love the fact that it has 4 pockets -- those will be very useful!

Amy Butler Sophia Carry-All

Amy Butler Sophia Carry-All

*The error in the pattern is that it calls for 1/8 yard of timtex ( 1/8 yd = 4.5 inches), then expects you to cut the bottom panel out, which is 5.5 inches wide. The correction on the Amy Butler website says to get 1/4 yard of timtex instead. You don't actually need 1/4 yard -- 1/8 yard is enough. Since the 5.5 inch bottom panel includes 1 inch of seam allowance, you can subtract a little more than an inch from the width (and length) of the bottom panel timtex piece, so the 1/8 yard is wide enough.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


I haven't done much sewing in the last, uh, ten years or so. I now have an apartment with plenty of space to use for cutting out fabric and setting up an ironing board, so I'm trying to ease myself into sewing. So far that mostly consists of stockpiling fabric and patterns, but I've finally made some more substantial progress.

I started super-simple with a couple of pillows. This project was supposed to be a confidence-builder, so I even avoided zippers by using an envelope-style back, making it so the pillow can be slipped in/out of the cover.


envelope-style pillow

My next project was this top from Built by Wendy Simplicity pattern 3964. It was still pretty easy (and zipperless!), but did have a few challenges, mainly the corners on that contrast inset piece. I like the top though, especially the sleeves, and hope to eventually make the dress version of it.

Top with contrast yoke

Next up: The Amy Butler Sophia Bag!

amy buter sophia bag pattern

Monday, January 21, 2008

Cabled Scarf

vogue knitting holiday 2006 cabley scarf

It was a long time in the making, but I eventually finished this "cabled scarf" from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2006. I started last January and finally finished in October. I love the look of the cables, but really, after an inch or two all the novelty of actually knitting them wears off.

I used Knitpicks Andean Silk. It makes for a pretty heavy scarf, but soft and cozy, too.

vogue knitting holiday 2006 cable scarf