Matching Cuties, and A Wedding.

As you probably know by now, I have two adorable boys. Often boys seem to not be as much fun to dress as girls, not as much pink and ruffles. Well that is true, I don’t normally dress my boys in pink, but they are SUPER fun to dress anyway. At least for me. And since they are so close in age its great to match them.

These cute hats
These cute hats

These hats were a gift from Susan at Denzel’s Baby Shower/Sprinkle. They came with matching outfits that I haven’t been able to get on them at the same time yet 🙂 Laundry you know.

So this summer my little brother got married, to the wonderful Mallory, and of course I wanted my Boys outfits to match. I looked all over town to find something wedding appropriate and in their sizes, Jesse was 17 months and Denzel was 3 months, and I couldn’t find anything I liked. So I decided to make them matching outfits. It started with vests:

Matching Vests

I didn’t have a pattern for the vests but I did have vests that fit them at the time so I just copied them (I promise I’ll give a step by step tutorial on how to make a vest, pattern and all, but it will be in a later post. I didn’t have time to take step by step pictures along the way while making these) I thought I’ll make vests and just get white shirts and tan pants. Well I couldn’t find those either in their sizes, without costing an arm and a leg, so I planned to make the whole outfit. Here are the fabrics I used:
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I did use a pattern from Butterick for the Shirts and Pants it is number #B5510 and can be found here, or at the local Joanns fabric. This pattern was VERY Simple and I loved it. The pants were made from a thicker almost corduroy fabric. The shirts were just plain white cotton. I do wish I had used something a little different for the shirts since they wrinkle really badly when washed. Also I would make them longer next time. Here are a couple more pictures along the way:

august 2014 055The pants just had stitching to make it look like they had pockets and a fly, but they didn’t :-). I top stitched the waste band as well.

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I top stitched the entire collar and down the front to keep it all laying flat. I also found a great youtube tutorial of how to make my machine do buttonholes. It can be found by clicking here.
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Jesse helped a ton 🙂 Here are the vests before they had buttons or were top stitched. I decided to top stitch them around the entire edge just to make them lay flat. I love the pocket square.

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All done and ready to wear:
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Unfortunately the pictures we took of them together at the wedding got deleted but we got this good one of Jesse:
jesse outfit
The two of them goofing off:

goofy

The following are a couple pictures of them in matching outfits just because I couldn’t resist. (Thank you Sharon Gross)

matching Plaid

This is from their Yiayia (greek for Grandma): Thank you! This picture was difficult to get as they kept wrestling, and honestly I think Denzel was winning.
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And this is a picture of them on the right with Dominic and Uncle Cris when they were around the same age on the Left. The outfits were from Aunty Connie Laipis. Thank you!
Matching Daddy and Uncle
And finally Jesse and Daddy with matching smiles 🙂

Daddy and baby

I would like to invite any local Moms who would like to do a small sewing project to contact me by commenting and we can find a night to get together and sew something small (vest for a boy, skirt for a girl). I would love to help you with sewing projects if you are interested.

This is a picture taken at the wedding, of my immediate family with the happy couple a little left of the center, we are on the far left.
Family

Next up, Halloween Costumes.

Baby Bassinet

When we found out we were Pregnant with our second baby it was a bit of a surprise, not unlike our first baby, but we actually realized what adding a child to our mix looked and felt like. Jesse was only 6 months old and we were just getting used to his little self being there. It was pretty surreal. But more then that it was going to take some thought to manage these two littles, since Jesse was nowhere near being done with his crib. So I thought about getting another crib, and a very good friend even offered me one to borrow, but then one day on my ramblings through Goodwill I found this:iphone june 2014 074It was priced for $25 and my pregnant brain couldn’t decide if that was too much or not. So I texted a picture to my Husband and he laughed and said you better get it or I will go there and get it. I just about missed out because of pregnant brain. I took it home and then I got excited realizing the fun I could have. So one evening I went to Joann’s fabrics (click here for a link to coupon page) and probably spent two hours feeling all the fabric and looking at EVERY conceivable material that could work and eventually I settled on this mixture of prints and patterns:

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I love that its yellow, teal, and grey, and has birdies. Not too feminine for a boy (even though at the time we didn’t know what we were having) and definitely made me smile. Most of these will be made into a patchwork blankie, with the grey mink as the backing, but that hasn’t happened yet. I only got the bassinet done before the baby was born, but I am planning to make the blankie yet for him, because nobody ever outgrows a mink blankie. Anyway back to the bassinet, I had to build the mattress and bumper pads from scratch, so really all I did was measure the bottom and sides and cut foam to that size and then sew a cover for the foam:

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I found the Green foam at Joanns as well and cut it to size. I did two layers since the thickness wasn’t enough with one but all the other kinds of foam Joanns had were too thick. I didn’t want him to sink into it.

The second picture is of the end of the zipper. I sewed it in flat and then made the corners of the cover by turning the whole thing inside out, folding it diagonally against itself, and sewing a line across the corners. Like this:

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It was a fun Project but I got close to not finishing because I went into labor a week early and was still working on the bumper pads for the sides. I didn’t get any good pictures on doing that process since I was kinda just trying to stay sane and focus through the contractions. But I did get the mattress and one side done before the little man came the next day. Here is a picture of him breaking it in just home from the hospital 🙂

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And here he is today just playing in it for fun.

Sept 2014 043Sept 2014 038 My Mom crocheted him the Chevron Blanket to match. I think he looks like a cabbage patch doll in the first picture. The cutest.

 

 

 

 

 

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He has out grown it now, so we found a different use for it:

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I do believe they have too many stuffed animals, but oh well at least they have a place to put them 🙂

Till next time, hug your babies tight and remember to thank God for them everyday.

Next up Matching outfits for a wedding.

And Its a Boy!!

Well, since the last post a lot has gone on in our little house, so I’ll start a series of posts today  to try to catch you all up. First and most importantly, we had a baby boy! His name is Denzel Martin Jones. He is named after my Dad. And he is a Gem. He is also very smiley and crawling already too. He was born on the 10th of April. And here are a couple Pictures of him.denzel 001He was a week old in this picture, and just perfect. He had tons of straight hair, not curly like older brothers. I love this picture because it is so sweet, yet really shows how full our hearts and hands are with these two little men.

Now to introduce the Hat Model, Mr. Denzel Jones!

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He is an absolute joy and he is a great hat model 🙂 I also made a big person sized hat (which I finished yesterday which prompted me to remember I had that other one for his pretty little head.) Here he is playing with it. Hats 011And finally, Mr. Chubbs

august 2014 458Next up, how I turned a goodwill find into a cozy bassinet for this little mans home coming.

I’m Back…

Hello everyone!
This will be my first post and it won’t even be about knitting. I’m going to explain in this post how to start a cross stitch project and give you some tips on how I like to keep my projects neat looking.
So the things you will need to start your project is a pattern, Aide cloth, your colored thread, a fine point needle and a scissors. The one I am doing (see pictures) came in a package from Micheals at a very reasonable price with all of this included. If you are just starting out I would suggest getting one of these to try it. As you get better and love it more you can get your own thread containers and buy aide cloth in bulk and do any pattern you like. More on that in another post.
Look at you pattern (or chart) and you will see each square has a symbol in it, these correspond to the colors and type of stitch you will make in that corresponding square on your aide cloth. You should also see faint lines that make up boxes of ten stitches throughout the pattern. These will make it easier to count out your stitches and find where you are in relation to any single stitch in the pattern.
Now find the center of your Pattern (or chart), it’s usually marked by a bold pointer, like this > on the left, right, top, and bottom. Follow all four to the center of you pattern and thats the beginning stitch you will make. Find the color that corresponds to the symbol of that center stitch and prepare it according to the pattern instructions. Most cross stitch projects are worked with two strands so you will have to split them from the natural six strands in each thread.
To do this you will take the end of the thread (cut a length of about 12inches) and separate two of the strands from the other six. But before pulling on them to separate them make sure to secure the OTHER end of the thread, get someone to hold it firm for you or I usually hold it in my mouth :-). Now you should have two strands in your left hand four in your right and all six from the other end in your mouth or secured some other way. Make the string taunt and pull your left and right hand away from each other. It should look like a Y. The reason you should secure the end is because if you don’t the thread tends to spin and turn and you will get a big knot in your thread. As soon as you have them split to about and inch left release the end that was secured and they should just pull apart easily. Thread your needle with the two strands and your ready to start.

Back Side
Now take your cloth that is pre cut to size (if it hasn’t you would have to count it out and cut it with an extra 10 or 15 stitches past the edge of your pattern size), fold it in half (top to bottom) and in half again (left to right) and the twice folded corner is the center of your cloth. This is where you stitch your first stitch. Pull your thread through leaving a tail of about 2 inches which you will secure later. Stitch that first stitch (be sure to notice the angle of your cross (top stitch) since each stitch following this first one has to have that same angle on the top cross, this gives your project the look of conformity) and continue to stitch all the symbols for that colour till your thread is about 2 inches long. Then go through to the back flip your project over and carefully tuck that thread away in the back of your stitches. Tuck away at least one needle length of thread (1 Inch) and cut off the excess. Now go back and thread the beginning of you thread back into you needle so you can get rid of that first tail. Tuck it away as well and trim. You should try to make the back of you project as smooth and neat as the front. Now continue in this color or a color thats directly beside this first color tucking in your thread at the beginning instead of leaving a tail (you only need to do that with your very first thread). Just follow your pattern now and make sure you do the colors closest to the ones you already have done since skipping a bunch of stitches and counting things out works, but increases your chances of making a mistake and being off of you initial mark.
Some project have half stitches like the one I’m doing where you just stitch once in the direction of your top stitch and it gives the project a sense of dimension.
Well thats all for now come back next week for instructions on how to finish what you’ve started. We’ll go over top stitching, adding trinkets, washing and framing.
Take care and have fun!!
Completed Lighthouse

The development of the cotton industry in Nottingham

 

 

Yarn problems

The use of cotton for weaving had been established in seventeenth century Lancashire.  At this time cotton yarn was irregular in thickness and tended to break at thin, weak points.  The yarn was unsuitable for knitting on frames and produced poor quality stockings that laddered easily.  Henson reported that the first pair of cotton stockings were knitted in Nottingham in 1730.

To overcome problems with cotton, framework knitters needed a suitable yarn with uniform thickness and strength.  Yarn from India had the required qualities but London framework knitters found it difficult to work and rejected it.  After this a sample of the cotton was sent to Draper, a stockinger from Bellar Gate in Nottingham.  Draper successfully knitted stockings on a twenty-guage silk frame.  The pure white cotton stockings soon became popular with customers and were sometimes preferred to silk stockings.

The Foundation of the Knitting Industry

Excerpt From:

Investing in frames

William Lee Stocking Frame

During the early seventeenth century, knitting frames remained an expensive investment and few were built.  Even in the 1660s, frames could cost as much as £20 to £30 each, more than a worker’s yearly wage.  The hand knitters did not have to pay such high costs and could knit as long as they had a pair of knitting needles.  Demand for the output of hand knitters and framework knitters allowed both branches to expand during the two centuries after Lee’s invention.

 

To make the knitting frame profitable, framework knitters generally only produced high value, fine-gauge garments using silk and fine worsted yarns.  The frame could also be used for long runs of standardised products.  In comparison with framework knitting, hand knitting had low set up costs, new knitters could be taken on without the need to buy or rent expensive frames.  Hand knitting was also cost effective in that it used women, old people and children during the winter months when agricultural work was at its lowest.  It often provided a second income for the knitter and lower rates of pay were acceptable.  The work was also undertaken during the evenings by artificial light, unlike framework knitting which needed daylight to operate the fine mechanisms of the frame.  With framework knitters focusing on high value products, the lower value market was left open for hand knitters to supply.  Hand knitting was also able to compete with the frame by being more versatile in the creation of bespoke tailored garments.
The early framework knitting industry still maintained its centre in London with four or five hundred frames employed there in 1664.  Outside London, the East Midlands had built on the work of William and James Lee.  Around one hundred frames were in use in Nottingham and fifty in Leicester.  A further fifty frames were located in Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey and Hampshire.

Stocking

The industry moves to the East Midlands

Involvement in the knitting industry from this early period started to generate considerable profits for its workers.  A petition by London framework knitters in 1655 noted that raw materials cost only about 15% of the retail price of silk stockings.  The balance of between 8 shillings and 16 shillings a pair was retained by the framework knitters, hosiers and retailers.  The worsted stockings, more commonly knitted in the East Midlands at that time, were less favourably priced at between 1 shilling

and 6 pence and 2 shillings and 6 pence.  East Midlands framework knitters benefited from lower house rents and food prices than framework knitters in London.  These factors together with the lower wages and freedom from guild regulation were important in moving the industry away from London to the East Midlands.

Fancy stockings in Leicester

William Gardiner recorded that around the middle of the eighteenth century ‘The manufacture in Leicester chiefly consisted in making pink stockings for the lower orders; and, for the higher, pearl-coloured with scarlet clocks.  In the dress of men the waistcoat flaps came down nearly as low as the knee; and the stockings made long enough to reach the top of the thigh, were gartered on the outside and the top rolled down as far as the leg….The chief [export] article was white and brown thread hose for Spain, Portugal and the West Indies.’

Saxony Frame

A presentation frame with some metal parts replaced by wood. The design is typical of a frame from Saxony, Germany. A box rail with two drawers for holding needles is located in front of the bench and the frame includes decorative wooden inlay. The machine was presented to Leicester Museum in 1849 by John Biggs and Sons. John Biggs was Lord Mayor of Leicester at the time. It was one of the first exhibits to be put on display at the town’s new museum.

 

The Resurgence Of Knitting

In the age of high tech and ready-made, old-fashioned knitting is making a comeback via social media. We’ll ask why.

 

Knitting is as old as the hills and as new as the wifi, Blackberrry, do-your-yoga generation. Your grandma did, or does it. So – it turns out – does the hotshot next door.

With needles and yarn and the old clickety-clack of fingers flying, it is may be the humblest of clothing crafts. Its popularity has risen and fallen over generations depending, historians say, on national stress and the economy. (See imgages of knitting over the years.)

Right now it’s come back. A way for information workers to make something that feels real. To chill out. To feel back to the land. To make community.

– Tom Ashbrook

Excerpt from:

 

Fashionable Stockings from the 1500s

Excerpt Taken From:

The Tudor court

Hand knitting in England expanded as an industry in Tudor times (1485-1603). Knitted caps and stockings were highly fashionable. From the time of Henry VIII, fine knitted silk stockings imported from Spain were part of court fashion. Previously, a piece of cloth was cut to the shape of a leg and the edges sewn together to create a stocking. By the time of Elizabeth I, knowledge of how to hand knit stockings had spread around England and documents refer to the industry in places as far apart as London, Kingston (Surrey), and Richmond (Yorkshire).

The first knitting frame

The increasing popularity of knitted stockings at court and beyond created opportunities for entrepreneurs to make money. In 1589 William Lee of Calverton, Nottinghamshire, successfully converted the actions of hand knitting with two needles into a mechanised process. This was the first knitting frame. Like the hand knitting process, the knitting frame produced a shaped piece of fabric that was then sewn together to create a garment.

Failure to get a patent

Lee wanted to protect his invention by obtaining a patent from Queen Elizabeth. Lord Hunsdon, a courtier, promoted the case for the knitting frame to the Queen, but without success. The woollen fabric produced by the early frame was considered to be too coarse compared with fine silk stockings. The frame was also seen as a threat to the hand knitting industry which might lead to many people losing work. Lee responded to the Queen’s comments and improved the frame by increasing the number of needles per inch from eight to twenty. This knitted a finer fabric. Unfortunately for Lee, his supporter, Lord Hunsdon, died in 1596, dashing any hopes of securing a patent for the frame.

French tribulations

Convinced of the value of his machine, Lee crossed the Channel to France where Henry IV promoted religious tolerance and actively encouraged the development of industry. Lee’s brother James, nine workmen, and nine frames, accompanied Lee on the journey. From a base in the town of Rouen, Lee began to establish his business. A contract was drawn up with Pierre de Caux to supply frames and train apprentices so that production of garments could commence by 26 March 1610. The business seemed to be progressing well, but unfortunately for Lee, the political scene changed rapidly when Henry IV was assassinated in 1610. In the uncertainty, Lee travelled to Paris and died a broken man around 1614.

London and Nottingham

After Lee’s death, James Lee returned from France with eight frames and seven of the workmen. James promptly disposed of the remaining frames in London and returned to Nottinghamshire where Lee’s apprentice, Aston, had continued to work on the frame and made a number of improvements. The route of James Lee’s return resulted in the establishment of two knitting centres, one based in London with the older frames, and one in Nottingham using the newer frames.