Halloween fun!

Oh the cro-bar was out the night before Halloween! We have made Zella’s costumes before, she was a bee at age 7 months (no pattern, but check out those wings!) then the following year I cranked out a crappy fleece Hello Kitty costume (just the body, the cute plaid dress was never done) but somehow no picture of this exists that I can find (Adam? Where are the Halloween ’03 pictures?) and for Halloween ’04 she went as.. well does anyone know who this is? In ’05 we used our first store bought costume, Shrek’s Fiona and then last year we put together a Hermione costume.

This year Z wanted to be Dorothy. Real bad. I had actually purchased fabric and a pattern (Simplicity 4139) for Dorothy last year but as usual I never got around to making it and she was fine with Hermione. This year however she threw down a fit in Target for those red sparkly shoes back in September and nothing was going to sway her from the yellow brick road. Since my sewing space is still not nearly done I decided to get the commercial costume and when I got it home I was appalled at how utterly crappy it is. The straps aren’t even fabric, but some kind of printed foam. The rest of the fabric is this extremely shiny, hangnail cloth and it doesn’t even have a closure! It is wretched. When Adam saw it he agreed with me that we weren’t going to let Zella out in that, not after all the times we complained about the awful boxed costumes we had to wear as kids. Adam agreed to make most of the costume since I have my hands full. That is where the comedy of errors begins.

First, I wasn’t totally happy with the fabric I bought last year – Kaufman gingham, 387 in blue. I felt it was maybe too light and maybe too small a check. So Saturday we went out to hopefully find the perfect fabric, forgetting to (duh!) bring the stuff we have so we just don’t buy it again or buy something even less suitable. Well, we bought something less suitable since navy was too dark – we got blue again but in an even smaller check (the 386). We got home, compared them, and decided to go with the original bigger check. Did I mention that by this time everyone is sold out of all blue ginghams? Sunday night Adam started cutting out the pattern after I quickly went over the way to do it.


I didn’t really check on him. Suddenly he comes out of the sewing room and tells me we are about 1/2 yard short of fabric! First I blamed the girl who cut it but then remembered that we ended up not using the fabric we bought the night before so that flaky girl could not be blamed. I wondered, could the layout in the pattern be an error? It wasn’t. Adam cut out view b/c (Elphaba’s/Glinda’s skirt) which is 6″ longer than Dorothy’s – 3 skirt pieces means 1/2 yard of fabric wasted. We had enough that we could cut out the straps and bands on the cross grain instead of the bias, and when Adam asked me why they “had to” be cut on the bias, I didn’t really have a good, intellectual answer, I just blurted out “that is just how they are always done!” with so much conviction that he was convinced too. He said, “if we we are going to do this thing, I want to do it right”. So now that plan was that I would get up early Monday, pack up both girls and buy more fabric. This only put us slightly off schedule in theory since we planned to cut Sunday night and sew Monday night to be done for the Tuesday office Halloween party.

Monday I got up horribly early – not even 10am! – and of course no store had the fabric I bought the year before. I got 4 yards of new fabric (the 388 in blue) so we could start cutting out the bib and skirt all over again! This time I paid a little more attention to the pinning and cutting. As long as he doesn’t make a mistake like missing a hemline, he actually does very exacting work (attention to detail that I simply lack) and we began sewing. I did most of the sewing but Adam did some too, real slow sewing.


It took a lot longer than we thought it would.

Major shortcuts were made. The lovely bias band around the skirt was left off – Adam got it started, successfully making a continuous bias strip and pressed both edges under 1/4″ all the way around the 12 feet or however long it was but a small error caused the strip to be a foot too short so we scrapped it. Also the zipper was truly cro-barred in, as I lost my zipper foot (which turned up Nov. 1 of course) and at 4am we were barely awake when we decided to leave the hem, buttons, and neck band finishing until the morning. The collar was so confusing I am sure it is not right, but it looks like the picture so I am not going to worry about it – the problem is that I had Adam gather, pin and sew the collar in and so instead of gentle gathers in the center there is a pleat at either side of the neck : / I guess I didn’t mention that sometimes the machine feeds the gathers in unevenly and it had to be adjusted for as you sew. However the next morning I woke up late, and discovered that Grace’s kitten was missing from the box so I freaked and spent almost an hour searching the house (Grace had moved him to Zella’s bed, of course). There was not enough time to do the hem and sew the buttons and hook-and-eye before the party so I made Adam come home from work and do the hem.While he was on the way, I put in one hook and one eye (big ones, all I had) and sewed the collar edges. Now time was really short and I am embarrassed to admit this but Adam had to use Steam a Seam to do the hem. There just wasn’t enough time. BUT we all got to the party on time :^)


party girls

Just click on the dorothy tag to see the rest, including 3 taken by someone at Adam’s workplace party. Milly by the way was a flying monkey 🙂


I didn’t make any part of this costume, unfortunately. Next year.


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The most I can manage right now

Not much knitting these days! Milly is now 8 weeks old, Zella is as precocious as ever and absolutely no knitting has been done. It doesn’t help that my knitting bag and all of my tools are still packed, but mostly I am just too busy holding a chubby baby. When I was pregnant with Zella I queried all the experienced moms I could find, “will I be able to knit after the baby comes?” they all said yes – THEY LIED!! I did not have a chance to make a single thing until Zella was 18 months old. Likewise with this baby. I have a new sewing machine, but a much needed sewing project lies half cut out and abandoned on the kitchen table.


Guilt got the better of me last night: Thursday Zella bought a monkey from the dollar area of Target (she has her own money, I could not discourage her!) and later that night while we were eating with my dad she noticed its neck was a little open at the seams. Since I have always had a problem separating inanimate objects from animate ones, I could not let her exchange Monkey for a new one since I felt bad for it. I promised her I could sew it up as good as new then as soon as we got home I promptly became too busy to do so. Yesterday morning she woke up and ran out bright eyed from bed, hopeful to see the new improved Monkey only to find it with its neck guts still hanging out. I felt terrible. She has shown absolutely no jealousy for her new sister but at this rate it seems inevitable. Last night I woke up at 4am and sewed the monkey’s tracheotomy closed, then crocheted this little messenger bag for him/her:

I grabbed the nearest non-wool yarn, which was Debbie Bliss’ Cathay (1/2 cotton, some microfiber, some silk) and a lousy crochet hook I found lying around (my good ones, the Clover Soft Touch, are all packed in that knitting bag somewhere) and set to work. Lovely yarn! A little splitty with a too-small crochet hook but overall worth it. I had to sew it together with sewing thread and the chain strap is unfortunately tied on – all the requisite cro-bar features are there. I knew I’d find a use for that duck button eventually.

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Some WIPs and a FO

Remember the the Stria blanket problem? Well I finished it, I made a ripple instead.


The Stria is very very soft and cuddly but I fear I will not be using it again. It sheds while being worked and when I had to rip out the Hagrid hat I made before I set Zella up on the arm of the couch to frog while I wound the balls and she was sneezing up a storm. Also, I ran out of the orange with one row left to go, and I considered leaving it but Debbie at Black Sheep in Needham sent me plenty of orange from her stash so the row is complete. As usual, I made it too big so it really isn’t a good blanket for a newborn but it is the perfect size for Zella and since I still feel bad about not making her anything before she was born, it is all hers!


Notice that sad little green floral pillow? Doesn’t really go with my orange couch and certainly doesn’t go with the orange couch and bright pink ottomans so I got some Kureyon 209 and started a simple square pillow, excuse the bizarre perspective but here it is in progress with the ottoman in the foreground (Grace looks embarrassed at this point):


I was feeling OK about this simple, rustic HDC square until I saw this pillow pattern at gourmetcrochet.com and suddenly I felt ashamed. Imagine the Kureyon in the round starburst shape? Or the spiral?

So now I must tear out the 3 skeins I put into the sad pillow attempt. I will get Zella to do it.

Finally, since I am still needing to knit some kind of baby item (though there is also a very soft baby hat from Blue Sky’s organic cotton in there, almost done but also too big) I found this great color of K1C2’s Ty Dy (574) so I am making a really (truly!) small blanket for a newborn (easy, mindless knitting while I watch Doctor Who):


That’s all! No baby yet, due date was 3 days ago but I expect there’s another week at least left to go. Sigh.

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