Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Baby Bolero and Cuddle Wrap

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.

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Here is a little bit of information about the two projects that compile this gift.

Baby Bolero

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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!

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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.

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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:

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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.

Cuddle Wrap

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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.

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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!)

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The second thing that I would like to mention is that the shape of this wrap was totally inspired by Knitter Bunny's Baby Chalice Blanket which did not receive a prize in her State Fair this year.

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!

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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.

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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!

6 comments:

Robynn said...

Lovely. I think either of those would have made a gorgeous gift on their own, but together, irresistible!

Kelli said...

snort. giggle.

Team Knit ! said...

that bolero is so cute, and that blanket is amazing!! what a great fabric choice.

- Julie

Anna said...

The bolero is gorgeous, I absolutely love it.

yogicknitter said...

As ever a beautiful combination. You always have an eye for such things.

Mel xx

GrannyPurple said...

FO's are sooo encouraging to the rest of us...