These days, it's not often that I manage to drum up a Finished Object to show and tell! However, in between my 'kitchen make-over' tasks this month, I did put together a little knit and sew present for a little girl who arrived safe and sound in September.
Here is a little bit of information about the two projects that compile this gift.
Pattern: Baby Bolero – One Skein - Leigh Radford
Yarn: Dyed Cotton – Blue Sky Alpacas - 100% Organic Cotton (purchased from Urban Yarns)
Yarn Comments: I used the recommended yarn and I found the Blue Sky Alpacas cotton really lovely and soft to work with. Forgetting how knitted cotton goes when it is wet, I gave the bolero pieces a good 'Soak' before I seamed them together. Although it was all fine when it dried, I did have an alarming moment when I felt that I was trying to pin out a droopy, loopy dishcloth. If I need to block anything made of this yarn again, I must remember to use the spray bottle, damp-block approach!
Pattern Comments: I did not modify the pattern but I did stray very slightly from the finishing instructions. I blocked the pieces before I put them together. Then I used a coordinating cotton sewing thread to seam the bolero as the garment is really small and yarn is comparatively bulky. I seamed the sleeves before I stitched them into the armholes (it just seemed to make more sense to do it that way). Also, I could only find 34 stitches, not 38, to pick up where instructed for the ribbed edging. This did not have any visible impact on the edge of the finished garment.
Now I have made this bolero before. I make it again because I remembered that it was a quick and easy knit. The instructions are clear and easy to follow and you can make it out of a single skein of Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton. This is how much yarn I had left over afterwards:
The only thing that I would bear in mind about this pattern, if you are considering making this bolero, is that the yarn weight is ever-so-slightly on the bulky side for such a small garment.
I found this when I made my first bolero. However, I put it down to my yarn substitution. Yet I struggled this time too. Although seaming with sewing thread did help, the seams were still a bit bulky. I think that this contributes to the garment pulling out of shape a little around the armholes. If you click here, I am hoping that the link take you to the Ravelry Bolero Projects page where, if you flick through a few pages, you will start to see the problem I mention in a number of project photographs.
Pattern: Improvised but based on a flannel cotton kit that I saw at The Cloth Shop
Materials: 1 metre of white cotton flannel; 1 metre of a quilting cotton in a fun print (purchased from The Cloth Shop); sewing and embroidery cottons
Techniques Employed: rotary cutting; piecing; top stitching; hand appliqué and embroidery
Comments: although this project was very simple, it is the first gift that I have made on my own without any input. It is not perfect by any means, but it still feels like a milestone. I do not think that I would have had the confidence to attempt this project without the input I have received this year from the sewing club and quilting class I have attended. Even if I had plucked up the courage to work on it without this input, I do not think that it would have turned out nearly so well.
Honestly - if you are thinking of getting to grips with your sewing machine but are not sure where to start then I do recommend that you see if there is some kind of a club or class in your area. Even if you are familiar with your sewing machine, it will mean that you tackle a small project once a month - if there is one thing that I have learned from my knitting it is that the more you do, the more you learn and the easier it becomes to get a good result. (Mostly!)
You see, the judges commented that her blanket was an odd size/shape for a baby blanket. Well, it was rectangular. Now, as the overall shape of most babies that I have met has been fairly cuboid (or rectangular parallelepiped, if you prefer), it seems to me that their general shape lends itself quite neatly to a rectangular shaped blanket. So I have made a rectangular one too!*
*Notes: of course, if the parents of my gift recipient complain about the shape of my gift, I will amend my ways and make square or round cuddle wraps in future!
Although both of these pieces are really simple, I am pleased with the way that they sort of complement each other and combine to make a complete gift. I like this idea and I think that I will look for more opportunities to do it again.
In the meantime, I hope that my gift recipient and her parents will enjoy their present. I have requested a photograph for my project files but, as I have still not received one yet for the pink cardigan that I dispatched earlier this year, I am not going to hold my breath!